Jul 31, 2007

Coupons + Sales = Trouble

I think that we all have issues with shopping. Some of us hate it and avoid it at all costs. Some of us would like to take up residence at the mall. Then there are those of who just hate to shop for clothes but we could shop for other things, lets say shoes or yarn, all day long and still not get enough.
School supplies in abundanceI have shopping issues too but they're not the usual ones. I clip coupons and I shop the sales and I really love getting a good bargain. The problem is that I get in ruts and can't resist a deal. This is why there are about 4 large bottles of canola oil in my pantry right now. Likewise the plethora of dish washing detergent in my basement. I haven't bought any in months and I still have quite a stockpile. Ooops! The worst was a discovery I made in the vanity in my daughters bathroom a while back. I sat down to organize under there one day and found 17 large tubes of toothpaste. 17! How long will it take to work through that?

Now, you may be wondering why the picture accompanying this discussion is of school supplies. For 2 girls in elementary school this doesn't look like an unreasonable amount of back to school stuff. Right? Maybe just a little excessive but not too far overboard. Ummmm... what if I said that this is the leftovers from last year's back to school shopping? Yeah, I've got some issues. On the positive side - I don't have to do much back to school shopping this year.
Mmmmm... BFLSometimes, my buying issues are a little easier to understand. Who could blame me for stocking up on BFL when I found a sale? That box, which arrived on Monday, holds 2 pounds that are just screaming to be dyed and spun. Can you tell how much I want to get back to spinning?

So what are your shopping issues?

Jul 30, 2007

Look -It's a Sock!

sockapalooza sock 1I finished the first of my Sockapalooza socks last night. I used a lacy rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks so the sock doesn't look like much here. I'll need to block it before it goes in the mail so that it doesn't look like a weird blob when my pal gets it.
I know I said it yesterday but this is just the weirdest yarn. See the blue in this picture? In some light, the blue totally disappears and here it looks electric. Weird.
The reason I was able to get so much knitting done last night was that my house was really quiet. On Sunday evening there were wild storms that blew through Northern Virginia. Our house was just fine (thanks to the new gutters) but hubbo's office wasn't and at about 9pm her had to go out there to take care of some stuff. He's the facility manager so blown circuits etc are his thing. I waited up as long as I could but I finally fell asleep. Good thing because he never came home. He was working till 3 am and had to be back at 6 so he just slept on a couch. Poor baby! Tonight I came home and he was out cold so I was totally on my own. Nothing to do but knit.
Other than the knitting there's not that much going on. We got letters from the girls counselors yesterday and they made me smile. DQ is described as "never without a book" and "very into the drama" so clearly they know my kid quite well. Stinky's counselor says that she's "easily one of [her] favorite campers" this summer with a quirky and unique sense of humor. I love that!

Jul 29, 2007

Spontaneity and Sockapalooza

It's hard to believe that the girls have only been gone for 2 weeks. It feels like so much longer. I continue to miss them terribly but not so much that hubbo and I haven't been able to make the most of our kid-free days. the ability to pick up and go at the drop of a hat is a wonderful thing. On Friday night I can home to a lovely Sabbath dinner prepared by my DH. The wine was poured, the candles were waiting to be lit and the house was filled with the smell of chicken, potatoes and broccoli. It was all perfect. After dinner, as I settled in to knit and watch some TV, I took a quick look to see what was playing at the cheap movie theater near our house and found that a movie on my wish list was starting in 7 minutes! We dropped everything and made just in time to see the start of Waitress. Hubbo and I both enjoyed it very much and, as we drove home afterward, we felt so good. A little spontaneity is a fabulous thing.

IMG_1512Arriving home after the movie, I finally cast on for my Sockapalooza socks. For the second time, I'm going down to the wire on a pair of socks for a swap. It's totally not intentional. I mean to get a head start but life gets in the way. In the end, as long as the socks get there in time it's all good. Right?

My biggest problem with these socks was that I had no direction. My pal didn't say too much about what she wanted. I appreciate her flexibility but when you have no list of likes and dislikes then the wealth of possibilities can be paralyzing. At least it is for me. I'm a bit indecisive on my best days, and on my worst... welllll... It's not such a good thing.

My apologies for the crappy picture. I'm having camera issues. At least I'm not having knitting issues now as I was earlier this weekend. It started with the yarn. It was calling me and that freaked me out a little because I've had this marinating in my stash for quite a while and I thought I hated it. I got it at MDS&W 2006 and once I got it home I couldn't remember why I bought it. (fiber fumes?) I'd pull it out and look at it and wonder what I was thinking. I didn't even want to give it away because I didn't want anyone to hate me for sending them ugly yarn. Then, on Friday I took it out and started playing with it and I actually like it again. It's a weird yarn because the colors look kind of different inside and outside but, no matter where it is, it always looks kind of fall-like. I showed the sock in progress to hubbo and a friend and they both like it so I feel encouraged.

Jul 27, 2007

ECF - Kandinsky Edition

This painting is one of many that we saw at the Phillips collection yesterday evening. Doesn't it look like it's got something to say?


Everyone keeps telling hubbo and I to "take advantage" of our time alone while the girls are away. We have, but probably in the way that our friends expect us to. Last night we went to a museum after work. We went to see the American Impressionism exhibit which runs through September 16th and we were lucky enough to catch the end of an exhibit called Lyrical Color: Morris Louis, Gene Davis, Kenneth Noland and the Washington Color School. The latter exhibit ends this weekend.
IMG_1497Hubbo and I really enjoyed this museum. It's not too big but it is full of wonderful works of art displayed in a manner that is best described as accessible. There are no roped off areas in front of the paintings, just a request that you stay about 2 feet from the paintings. It's just a request though and you can get up close and personal with the collection which includes Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Bonnard, and O'Keefe among others. One of the best known paintings there is the Luncheon of the Boating Party by Renoir. Go check it out - it's fabulous!
The museum is in Dupont circle, and area I'm not too familiar with but I really love. It's full of great architecture and a bit of whimsy. Check out the nifty squiggly thing on top of this roof. I just love it. I also loved the house with the purple door that was right down the street.
IMG_1494After we left the museum we took the long way home, driving up embassy row. I was reminded once again of just how wonderful Washington DC is and why I love living here. There is just so much to see and we've barely scratched the surface.

Jul 25, 2007

Mail Call

IMG_1481I came home today and found that the ever growing collection of construction materials was still there. I'd rather that it was shrinking a little as stuff was installed in the house but, it did provide a good place to pose DQ's shawl. The blue tarp hides the drywall and cement board and that pile of boxes next to it hold the lovely tile that I chose. There is natural stone, glazed ceramic and some glass tiles that are unbelievably sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!
Back to the shawl... I think DQ will love it. It came out pretty well and, in an unusual turn of events for me, I have a bunch of yarn left over. Maybe she'll want fringe or something when she gets home from camp. Then again, maybe I'll just save it in case repairs are ever required. It's not the softest yarn or the best example of my spinning so I'm not sure that there are many other great applications for it. Maybe a bag. I could make a cute little pouch for her to carry when she wears the shawl. I could even felt it to even things out a little. I'll have to think about that.
IMG_1478As I said, the yarn in this shawl isn't my best effort but it's one of my first. I think it may actually be one of the first things I spun on Charlotte and working with it was a really good opportunity to think about the spinning. When I spin I have a tendency to fear thin-nesss. When the yarn starts getting thin I worry that it will break. This yarn had thick, underspun spots and really thin spots and they were all just fine. (I think that it's a credit to the pattern - the Flower Basket Shawl) that this inconsistency in the yarn produced a really lovely result.) Knitting with this yarn I also noted the many spots where Charlotte went wild and got away from me, producing corkscrewy curls of wickedly overspun yarn. I don't really get those much anymore so knitting with this yarn was nice because it showed me just how far I've come.
I can't really offer a photo shoot until I see DQ next month and she can model it with her blue dress. I really wish I could be there when she gets it but I can imagine her reaction and that will have to do. By the time she returns I should have my new blocking mats so I can block it a little harder before a real photo shoot. The more open this shawl gets, the better it looks.
IMG_1482Speaking of camp news - we're getting mail from my girls this year. That's a nice change because, in the past, DQ was not good at keeping in touch. This tear we're getting mail from both of them. Predictably, there are lots of requests. Please send more batteries, please send scrunchies, please send... whatever. I also got a thank you when DQ received HP7 earlier this week. I was hoping that she'd say something like "Mom You Rock" but a simple and timely thank you will work too.
I love sending letters and stuff to my girls at camp. It keeps them close somehow. We are having one small problem with the camp mail though. I can't read some of it. Ugh! The ones I have trouble with are fron Stinkerbelle and it has a lot to do with her learning disabilities. She is trying hard but she still uses a lot of what the teachers call "temporary spelling". I understand and I'm ok with that except for he fact that she's aking for stuff and I can't figure out what. I see the request for Webkinz. I know what they are too which is half the battle. The other notes from her are a mystery though. Any clues? It would also help a lot if she'd stop using Sharpies to write home. She is the Sharpie Queen.

If I remembered...

If I had remembered to upload my pictures to Flickr last night, I'd be showing you the state of things at my house. I could show you the shawl for my darling DQ which is blocking in my basement at home. I finished it late last night - soaked it, blocked it and went to bed. Why is it that I always wind up blocking stuff late at night after everyone else goes to bed? I love the magic that happens when you block a piece of lace but the process itself is not so much fun. I think that it's going to get better soon. The karate place where my daughters go on occasion is being renovated - including new mats. Naturally, I volunteered to take a few of the old ones off their hands.
I could also show you the mess that my house has become in the midst of the bathroom renovation project. The master bath has been stripped out to the studs. It's quite a sight. you never know what you'll find when you open the walls either. We found that the exterior wall wasn't insulated at all. I guess that's because it's brick... but still, a little insulation couldn't hurt - right? Yesterday they finally started to deliver the stuff that will go into the bathroom. My carport, which we use as a porch, is currently full of drywall, tile and other stuff. I could show that to you too but I suspect it'll be more fun to see it after installation.

Jul 23, 2007

Still Not Finished

Remember how I said that I had a whole bunch of stuff to finish before I took my girls to camp? I'm a little embarrased to admit that some of the stuff on the list is STILL not finished. Case in point...
Still not quite finishedHere is the Shawl for DQ. Yes, it is still in the UFO pile and not yet in my darling daughters posession. I cannot tell you how much I just want to finish this. Thankfully the end is finally in sight. I've completed 12 repeats and I'm mid way through the edging now. I full expect to be able to block it tonight and mail it off to DQ by Thursday. She'll have it in plenty of time to wear it to banquet. Yay! That ought to make her really happy.

After I finish this I'll need to finish off a few baby gifts and my Sockapalooza socks. They're both in a pretty good place but I really don't feel nearly as inspired by them as I should.
More violet BFLI think that one of my biggest knitting problems is that what I want to do most right now is spin. This is all the proof you need of how badly I want to get back to my wheel. This is a bit of BFL that I dyed up over the weekend. It ought to be the last little bit for my Hanami Stole. Now that is some knitting that i cannot wait to sink my teeth into. I'm so excited that I've started toting around the first skein of yarn for it so that I can check out any beads I find to see if they could be "the ones". After all of the work that is going into this stole I really want it to be just right.

Jul 22, 2007

Sprinkler Anyone?

It's been a while since we took a tour of the garden. Shall we?

Swirling Water

Believe it or not, we didn't have any sprinklers that would work to water our little garden. This is one of the options we picked up this weekend for watering the garden. When this thing gets going I can stand there and watch the water swirl around for quite a while and be perfectly happy. Mezmerizing! It's a wonder that anything at all has grown this summer with the erratic watering schedule we've been keeping. And yet, it totally has.

Zucchini AlertWe must be doing something right. Just look at this zucchini! Hubbo and I are going to have a a yummy meal later this week. Now we just have to figure out what to do with it. Grill it perhaps. There is certainly more than enough for the 2 of us. I just love the idea that we can come home, pick a zucchini, cook it up and eat it super quick!

The Other Yellow SquashHere's something else new. The first of the squashes from the other set of yellow squash producing plants. Sorry I can't be more specific than that. I'll have to go locate the tags. You can totally tell that the 2 yellow squashes are different types because the color is so different. One is way brighter and more orangey than the other.

Playing in the garden was just a small part of our very satisfying weekend. We did a little shopping for home renovation stuff, a little visiting with my dad, a little reading by the pool, a whole lot of knitting, and we capped it all off with a lovely dinner out with friends. It was wonderful. What did you do?

Jul 19, 2007

ECF - Pool Landscape Edition

Another Eye Candy Friday, another picture of a flower. Surprise, surprise!

I took this picture at the pool we belong to - which is where I hope to spend a good part of the weekend. Hooray! I can take a book or some knitting and actually concentrate on it without constantly trying to fend off requests for snacks or complaints about who's doing what to whom.

I hope that you have a great weekend!

Jul 18, 2007

Yarn Comes and Goes

IMG_1421See... I found Mosaic. It was such a neat little yarn store in Blackburg - just a few blocks away from Virginia Tech. I arrived on Saturday afternoon and found it full of knitters - all sitting and knitting while chatting. It was such a nice atmosphere. The shop seemed pretty busy, with people constantly coming and going. It's the kind of place that I could totally see myself enjoying if it was close to my house. The yarn there was really nice but nothing new. That didn't stop me from buying some though.

IMG_1422Look at the cute decorations. They said that these yarn balls actually have styrofoam balls as cores but you'd never know it. I was told that Gina originally put them up as Christmas decorations but they liked them so much that they decided to keep them up. I can totally see why.
There was something else I saw at Mosaic that was pretty inspiring and I have no pictures of it to show you at all. They Hokie Spirit blankets were there. They were all folded up in the back room in a really large pile. I really wanted to get closer but I got distracted by something (ummm... yarn maybe) and I never went back. I also didn't take a picture of the map above the couch with all the pins stuck into showing where the squares came from. Let me tell you - there were a lot of pins!
IMG_1454These are the bags from my purchases. Normally I wouldn't take a separate picture of them but just look at how cool the bag from Mosaic is. It's a triangle! Have you ever seen such a cool bag?
IMG_1455Here's what was in the bags. Nothing too earth shattering but very nice in it's own way. I got some Louet Gems to coordinate with a skein of Claudia's Hand Paint. I also got a skein of Twize which is 100% Bamboo. It's my first bamboo yarn and I was thinking that I'd make a Dream Swatch from it. They actually had one all knitted up there and it looked pretty cool. Then I went to Asheville and found 2 lonely skeins of yarn from Knitsmith's, a company I've never heard of, in a sale bin. One is Cashmere/Alpaca in blues and greens. The other is called Sockezze and it's a Superwash with nylon. It's probably not quite enough for a pair of socks but I'm sure that eithert of these would make an excellent Dream Swatch. Now I have 3 great possibilities. The last thing I picked up in Asheville was a ball of Tofutsies. I've wanted this yarn for quite a while.
I'm just very curious about it.
So this is all my sock yarn. I could swear there was more but now that I see it all laid out like this, it doesn't seem that bad. Does it? Certainly it's enough to keep me busy for quite a while but it's not obscene. I really love it all too. Some of it was souvenir yarn that reminds me of where I got it. Some skeins were gifts or prizes. Some I just bought because it called my name - loudly. Will I ever get to knitting it all? Maybe. Will I share? Absolutely!


This brings me to the point where I thin the herd a little. I said that I spend to much time each year at the W*lmart in the town where my daughters camp is and, as I thought about it, I realized just how true that is. The night before we left home I was thinking about having to go to the big W. I could picture it perfectly in my head. The funky way the parking lot is set up. The specifics of the layout of the store. I could see it all so clearly which struck me as wrong because I'm only in that town twice a year for about 24 hours each time. I shouldn't be that familiar with the stupid store!
In this frame of mind I plotted to avoid that store alltogether this year and stopped at T*rget in Blacksburg. I felt so clever. But, as we drove from Blacksburg to NC we realized that we were still missing stuff so I went to big W... but only once! I think that's a small victory.

As I cleared out my sock yarn shelves to take it all outside for a picture hubbo got a little excited. I think he was hoping that it was leaving the house permanently. Clearly I still need to thin the herd so, the random number generator has spoken and I'll be sending Carol a little something.

Jul 17, 2007

Jealousy and Separation

I'm home again.

Girls in the MountainsWe broke up the drive to North Carolina into 2 days. On Saturday we went as far as Blacksburg, VA where we arrived hours before check in time at the hotel so we had time to do a few errands. We also had plenty of time to check out Mosaic and buy a little yarn. (More on that tomorrow.) In the evening I took the girls to see the new Harry Potter movie. It was fine. I'm not a huge HP fan but DQ is and she said that the movie was mostly true to the book although there were a few things she felt couls have been done better.

On Sunday morning we completed the drive. The traffic moved at a pretty good clip and before we knew it, we were in Asheville, stopping for lunch and a mini yarn crawl. The stores we saw there were ones I've visited before but fun anyway - Earth Guild and Asheville Home Crafts. (Again, more on that tomorrow.)

WelcomeWe finally checked in at our hotel on Sunday night in plenty of time to prepare for the back to camp festivities. The rest of the night was a blur of kids squealing with delight as they saw friends they hadn't seen since last year. DQ was thrilled to see a certain boy and the two of them were inseperable most of the night. (Awwww... how sweet.) Stink found a few new friends too and had a blast. I was left on my own, meeting parents and keeping tabs on where ther girls were.

Dropping my daughters off each year inspires mixed emotions in me. On one hand, I am so happy for them. It makes me feel so wonderful to be able to give them such a fabulous experience. When I see them connecting and reconnecting with the kids at camp, I know that they are in the best place for them to be.

CabinsThe camp is in the mountains of Western North Carolina and the setting is beautiful and rustic with fresh air and plenty of room to run around and spread out. The program is built around appreciation of Jewish heritage and traditions and the shared background among the campers creates a sense of instant community among kids who come from all over the country. (This year I saw license plates from Louisiana, Florida, Indiana, New Jersey, Colorado, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, DC & Georgia and there are many kids who fly in.) All this is good and gives me a sense that the money it takes to send my girls here is well spent.

On the flip side of all of my pleasure at sending my girls to camp are feelings of jealousy and a little sadness. I grew up wishing that I could go to a camp like this. I knew friends that did and I read about it in books. It always sounded like so much fun and now I can see that it's everything I dreamed it could be.

As I left the camp on Monday, my eyes were surprisingly dry. In the past I cried for a while after parting with my girls because I miss them so much instantly. Not this time. This is DQ's 4th year at camp and I knew, without a doubt, that she'd be fine. For her, the month at camp is the best part of the year. For Stink this is something new. She's been away overnight before but never too far from home and never this long. In the weeks before camp I kept saying that she's a really strong, independent kid and I was confident that she'd be just fine but... inside I worried. What if she cries when I leave? What if deep down she's feeling separation anxiety? What if she's scared? She's actually about a year younger than the rest of her bunk and normally, a kid her age would do a mini session. Were we pushing her to go away before she was ready?

Mommy WhoShe dismissed me! My Stinkerbelle was making friends before she even finished packing and, on the way to lunch, she asked if she could go now. Where? Back to the bunk to play with her new friends. The picture at right was taken during out brief tour of the camp with her new bunkmate. She just couldn't wait to go off and do her own thing. As I left the camp for the long ride home I knew, without a doubt, that my girls were just fine without me. It's kind of a sobering thought.

Jul 12, 2007

ECF - Inside Out Edition

As much as I love taking pictures of stuff from the right side, every now and again, I find that the wrong side is every bit as compelling. When I went to take a picture of this flower in my yard the other day I just had this urge to catch the light in the petals. I love the way you can see all of the veins in them. What do you think?

Flower Veins

We hit W*lmart tonight and bought a bunch of stuff on the list. This trip didn't count against the official number because we haven't left home yet and that's a really good thing because as soon as we got home we remembered a few more things - a new shower caddy, a bathrobe... I'm sure there's more that I'm forgetting. There always is.

I was thinking of doing a little contest to see how many times you think we'll have to hit the big W but I hate to even think about going there more than once. On the other hand, my sock yarn shelf is overflowing. Really! Ok, post your guesses in the comments and, when I get back I'll choose someone at random to help me thin the herd.

All joking aside, I do think that we're pretty well packed now. I've got maps and reservations and all kinds of fun plans for stuff to do along the way to NC. The girls and I are splitting the trip down into 2 equal segments and we'll start the first one bright and early on Saturday morning. Who knows... there may even be time to stop at a yarn store or 2 along the way. Hmmm...

There'll be no blogging here till at least Tuesday because I'll be on the road until late Monday night. Have a great weekend and send good travel vibes my way. Thanks!

Jul 11, 2007


Who would've thought that there were so many fans of blue nail polish? Certainly not me. DQ was thrilled to hear that you all appreciate her handiwork. I believe her response was something like "See, mom, I was right!" Yep, she's a sweetheart.
Last night was all about packing and working on that darned shawl. I knit - they packed. Packing for camp is always a little bit of a challenge because I want to send them out into the world looking their best which means that the clothes they wear must fit and be free of nasty stains. The princesses also seem to have 2 criteria they use for packing - the first stuff they put their hands on and the stuff that will make their dad and I the craziest. Packing last night was very well supervised. We made them try the questionable stuff on and retrieved things long forgotten in the backs of drawers. It was all good until DQ tried on one of her dresses and hubbo had a cow. It looked killer on her and she knew it. Did I mention that the camp is co-ed? Ummm, yeah.... I think that hubbo would prefer to send her in a burlap sack. Suddenly he's remembering what he was like at that age and I think he's a little nervous.
Tonight I'll be heading to T*rget or W*lmart to fill in stuff that's missing. I'm hoping to avoid the endless trips to W*lmart upon our arrival in North Carolina. It seems that we do our best thinking on the road and, each year, by the time we check into the hotel the night before camp, we've got a list of stuff that was forgotten and must be purchased prior to arrival at camp. Care to try to guess how many trips to W*lmart we'll make this year? I'm hoping that it'll only be one. (I'm not stupid enough to think I'll get off without at least one trip.)

Blue Toes

Blue - top to bottomLast night, as I sat and worked on DQ's shawl, she did a little appraisal of my toes and found them in need of improvement. From my vantage point, my pretty, red, pedicure still looked just fine but, admittedly, I don't get up close and personal with my toes all that often. She does so I took her word for it and let her change my polish. Check out her selection. Isn't it nifty how it matches the shawl I'm making for her? Do you suppose that there's a motive built into this or is it just coincidence? Perhaps she's hoping that my blue nails will be a constant reminder of the shawl that needs finishing. Nah... she wouldn't do something like that. Besides, as you can plainly see, the shawl is making decent progress. I'm nearing the end of the first skein of yarn and racing towards the finish line.

Jul 9, 2007

Garden Report - with veggies!

Some time ago I promised to show you my pathetic little garden. Well, here it is. These are 2 views of the puny strip that runs along my patio before dropping off in a serious slope towards my neighbor's fence. It doesn't look like much - does it?


If you get closer, you can see that there are really good things happening. Just ignore the crispy oregano plant please - I keep it to remind me that my thumb is still far from green.

Melon BlossomsCheck out these melon blossoms. The tag says that they'll be musk melons but there's no fruit yet. There are quite a few pretty yellow flowers on the vine, which weaves it's way from one side of the garden to the other.

Yellow SquashI love this sunny yellow squash and the way it's neck curves gracefully back on itself. It's one of many that's growing in our little garden so I'd better find some good recipes fast. This is especially true since, in my excitement over starting a garden, I bought 2 varieties of yellow squash. I just wasn't paying attention I guess. The other one has lots of flowers but no veggies yet.

PepperNow, how cute is this green pepper? I have a few of these too. One of them appeared in the garden annex (a spot in the landscape that we're saving for a Japanese Maple yet to be purchased and which currently serves as home to extra veggie plants) weeks ago but hasn't made much progress. I look at it periodically to see if it's ready for harvest. At this point I'm tempted to pick it but I'm just not sure how I'll know when it's ready. It would be such a shame to cut into it and find that we should've waited just a bit longer.

While I was out surveying my garden tonight, DQ was inside using our computer to remotely search the catalog of our local library for more stuff to read. She has already shipped a few books to camp but she cannot be without reading material for even one minute so she's looking for stuff to read on the ride to camp. We'll be in the car for 8-9 hours and she can do a lot of reading in that time.

Anyway, she just read A Wrinkle in Time and now she wants to read everything she can find by Madeleine L'Engle. As she checked out the results of her search, she noted with amazement that all of the records online noted the year 1918 and commented to hubbo and I that Madeleine L'Engle wrote and awful lot of books in one year. I laughed for a few minutes before correcting her. Ummm, DQ, 1918 is the year the author was born! Perhaps I ought to give her a crash course in reading records in the catalog.

Jul 8, 2007

All at Once

As a friend of mine said to me recently, "I should probably be freaking out right now but I'm not." Admittedly the cause of her distress is a little more major than mine. She's sent out invitations to a somewhat important party (less than a month away) for which she has yet to settle on a caterer. Ooops!

I suppose that I'm in a bit of an ooops situation myself. I've got a bunch of stuff that's happening in the next week or so (most of which I've known about for a long time) and I've suddenly realized that I'm ill prepared for most of it. This is really not like me. I arrive at airports way before flights and pack weeks in advance. I like to be ready was before it's necessary.

Flower Basket ContinuesThe shawl for DQ and the blankie for Stinky which I had hoped to be able to send to camp with them are still unfinished and my girls are due at camp in a week. The shawl may happen but the blankie is unlikely. Stink-o may be correct when she says that she hopes it's done by next year. I could easily bind off the blankie now and call it done but I want it to be bigger - about 9 more strips worth. The shawl looks good and it should be done by now but I keep getting lost in the pattern. The handspun looks great, giving the shawl a bit of a rustic feel, but it makes it really hard to read the lace. Every time I think I'm back on track something goes wonky.

There is other knitting that is due or overdue too. A few friends have had or are about to have babies. I put off this knitting until the last minute because I'm a little superstitious. Now one baby has arrived and the other is immenent - and earlier than expected. I finally went shopping last weekend and this is what I got.

Pink Cotton GlaceDale Baby Ull

Although you can see that something has made it on to the needles already I can't say any more than that without spoiling the surprise.

It's probably fair (kind of) to blame the library for the current state of my knitting. I had put a few books on hold - one of which I was really dying to read - and, after waiting for weeks, they're all available right now. Worse, one of them, a biography of Einstein, is every bit as good as I hoped and very hard to put down. I may have partially solved this problem by giving in and buying a copy of this book. Now I'm not reading under a deadline.

The plate may sound quite full already but wait... there's more. We are renovating 2 bathrooms while my daughters are away. In fact, the guys will begin demolition the day we leave. I have chosen the tile, the fixtures, the cabinetry but it probably won't matter much because I haven't chosen the lighting yet. I'd better get on that super-quick.

Maybe I can run to Home Cheapo between loads of laundry. As I mentioned at the top of this post, my daughters leave for camp next weekend and we still need finish packing. Thankfully, we already shipped 2 very large boxes of bedding, towels etc to the camp and it ought to arrive well before my girls do.

JitterbugWhy is it that with all of this stuff going on all I want to do is knit socks. I don't even feel like knitting fancy ones. I just feel the urge to knit endless boring rows of stockinette. It could be this lovely skein of Colinette Jitterbug that I picked up (on sale!) over the weekend. Should I mention that there was barely any room on the shelf to stash this lovely skein? It would apear that I am currently maxed out on sock yarn or... maybe I just need a new place to hide put it.

Jul 5, 2007

ECF - Pink Flower Edition

I took this picture right outside my office recently.


As usual, I have no idea what they are but I love them. Have a great weekend everyone!

Jul 4, 2007

July 4th... 1997

Smithsonian castle

Happy 4th of July! I hope that you had a day as wonderful as ours. We did lots of pre-camp errands in the morning before going to a BBQ in the afternoon. Perfect! Our day today was actually not unlike the way we spent our 4th of July 10 years ago. Then, as now, we were celebrating more than just the country's birthday. Today we were celebrating a friend's birthday and welcoming another friend home. Ten years ago the 4th was our farewell to Long Island.

Looking back it's hard to recall exactly how I spent June of 1997 beyond remembering that I was very, very busy. We packed up our apartment - well, actually the movers did that. I just supervised. I arranged with my school to complete the work for my MLS at another university. One of the oddest things was quitting my job and realizing that, in a neat twist, I'd been there exactly 7 years and 2 days - just long enough to get fully vested in all of the profit sharing etc. That was certainly lucky!

We finalized the purchase of my shiny red car and arranged to install an alarm in it. Hah! In NY car alarms were ubiquitous but in Virginia - not so much. That thing turned out to more of an annoyance than anything else, especially when it rained. It was super sensitive and storms would set it off. My neighbors loved us when the siren would blare in the middle of the night which it did regularly.

During that month I said a lot of good byes too. We had a lot of family and friends in New York and it seemed that every minute was spent saying good bye to somebody. The culmination of our farewell tour was a barbeque at my in-laws house (where we stayed for a week or so). Everyone was there and it was great. The next morning hubbo, the drama queen and I drove off in cars loaded with the few things that were not in storage. As we drove south I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of adventure. It was so unexpected and exciting to be moving so far from home. Washington, DC was not totally unfamiliar but still pretty new to us. We'd been there before on vacations and always enjoyed it. We just couldn't wait to start this new chapter in our lives.

Jul 2, 2007


Not the yarn - me! I am unbalanced lately. When I'm in a spinning mode I forget my knitting and vice versa. Lately the spinning has been winning. Yesterday, as I wrote my post, the realization hit me that my daughters go to camp really soon and the knitty goodness that I hope to send with them is no where near ready. That said, Charlotte and I will need to spend a little quality time apart.

BFL Family

This yarn is for my Spun Stitches project - Hanami. It's best described as a family of yarns. Each one relates to the next but is very individual and, I think, would stand well on it's own. The color you see is pretty close but what's missing is the sheen and the softness. I love this yarn something fierce but it's not finished yet. This is about 600 yards of yarn and I need at least 880 so I still have a bit of spinning to do.

Fricke WinderI mentioned my new skeinwinder in passing the other day. Here is a picture of it next to my wheel. It's a Fricke 2 yard floor standing skein winder and it was my gift from my dear husband on our recent anniversary (13 years!). It is making me so happy because winding the yarn off onto the niddy noddy and then having to try to figure out the yarndage was the one part of spinning that I really wasn't enjoying. With my new toy it's so much easier and faster.

I did a little online research before I chose the Fricke and I'm very pleased with it. There is one small gripe though. Some of the pegs that the yarn wraps around are not quite smooth so I'll need to take a little sandpaper to it. It wouldn't be good for the yarn if it gets caught on the pegs.

Jul 1, 2007

Folklife Festival 2007

What a weekend! Two weeks from now I'll be delivering my girls to Summer Camp but right now, I'm savoring every minute with them so this weekend was all about family time. Saturday we finished choosing the tile for our dual renovation projects. Then we went to see the Fantastic four movie. I thought it was just ok - not really my thing - but the rest of the family loved it.

Today we went to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. This year the areas of focus were the Roots of Virginia, the Mekong River and Northern Ireland. It was so much fun. This was our second time attending the festival and, as in pervious years, there was way too much to see in just one day. Sadly, DQ was a bit under the weather so hubbo took her home early but Stinkerbelle and I stayed nearly till the very end. Here is a sample of what we saw.

Folklife Festival 2007

1. Weaving, 2. Paper cutting, 3. Masks, 4. Sugar Candy Art, 5. Porcelain Flowers, 6. Stages of Silk, 7. Fish Trap Baskets, 8. Silk Wheel, 9. Carved Log Canoe, 10. Indigo Dyeing, 11. Wood Carving, 12. Cool Quilting, 13. Addition Sculpting

There was just so much amazing stuff to see. We saw amazing wood carvings and a statue being created by a man using a very small spatula to add plaster little by little to a metal frame. I was in awe of the porcelain flowers I saw created in front of my eyes and there were incredibly fragile sugar candy designs. One of my favorite things were the fish traps. These beautiful baskets were gorgeous while also serving a practical purpose.

Daria at the WheelThe Roots of Virginia area was especially fun for DQ because she got to show off some of what they've studied in school. They had exhibits showing the agricultural heritage and the contributions to our culture from the slaves. To illustrate the african influence they brought over many artisans from Senegal. They played music, made pottery and baskets, and so much more. The skill on display was amazing.

Not only did we see cool stuff - some of us got a chance to try a few new things too. Stinko got to try throwing a pot on the wheel. She got such a kick out of it and, better yet, she got to take the tiny pot she made home! She was so into the clay that also spent a little time hand building a clay bed. It all made it home in one piece - amazing!

Sculpting LimestoneShe also got to try her hand briefly at stone carving which was being demonstrated as part of an exhibit about building preservation. She was less excited by this than by the pottery but it was great that she had a chance to experience it.

There were tons of other things that we saw and many of them were displayed in a very hands-on manner which kept Stinky thoroughly engaged. Many of the artists were kind enough to offer her little samples too so we came home with a few treasures.

This is one of the great, family friendly events offered in the Washington DC area and it's free. If you ever get the chance to attend - grab it!