Aug 29, 2008

My DC - Week 27

I've wanted to share this building with you all for the longest time. It's one of my favorites. Maybe it's the red brick (which I've admitted to being a sucker for) or the grand spaces inside. Whatever the reason I just love this place and that feeling has grown recently as Stinkerbelle attended camp here. Now this is truly part of My DC.


I've featured shots of the interior before that I took when we attended the Family Day celebration that is held here every year to kick off the Cherry Blossom Festival. It was during the festivities this year that I heard about the summer program there. We knew right away that it was just the thing for Stinkerbelle and signed her up for World Builders. For 2 weeks she explored the architecture and culture of places like Africa, Spain and Japan through visits to museums, the zoo, and hands on activities. At the end the parents were invited in to see samples of their work and hear about what they learned. It was fabulous and I highly recommend it.

The shot of the building you see above is what I saw every day as I exited the Metro right across the street to drop Stink off and pick her up. What you can't see there is the terracotta frieze that wraps around the exterior. I took a whole series of pictures of it and created a mosaic for you. Isn't it gorgeous? Look at the details and the feeling expressed.

The Building Museum

I adore this building and all of it's warmth and beauty. I'm very jealous of the behind the scenes tour that Stink got. They even got to go on the catwalk way up in the 4th level of the great hall. I'm sure that she could tell you lot's of fascinating things about it but if you're really interested then you can read all about it here.

Have a great weekend!

Aug 28, 2008

Happy But Wet

Picture 020A few months ago we saw a bit on TV about how Journey found their new lead singer on You Tube. Almost instantly I was on the internet buying tickets to see them when the tour hit our area. Last night was the night and wouldn't you know it, it rained lightly but steadily all night, which made our lawn seats a little soggy. No worries though, we had a blast.

One big distraction from the rain (note the umbrellas in the picture) was a woman who was sitting just a bit in front of us. You can see her and a friend in the picture. She danced through the whole concert. Cheap Trick, Heart and Journey - she shimmied, swayed and acted out the lyrics through it all. At one point a guy between her and us got up and imitated her. He also mooned her. She never noticed but the rest of us laughed out loud.

Picture 024The crowd was like nothing I'd seen before. Not just because the fans covered a whole spectrum of ages from kids like Stinkerbelle to folks decades beyond retirement. Another unusual thing about the crowd was the high number of Filipino fans. Arnel Pineda, the new lead singer is from the Philippines and I guess it's a big deal for members of that community. Whatever the reason, it was noticeable and kind of interesting.

We met up with close friends during the intermissions and the first thing one of them asked me was if I was knitting or crocheting during the concert. They know me so well. The answer was crochet - Kippot of course but only for a little while. The keyboardist for Heart was actually wearing a neat crochet top (and pigtails).

Picture 021This was the first really big concert for the girls and they loved it. (Ignore the pained look on DQ's face - she had a blast) One of DQ's best friends sat with us during Heart and they had so much fun sharing it. They enjoyed every minute of the set but I was a little disappointed because they didn't do some of their biggest hits. The ones they did rocked! Nancy looked older but great and Ann looked, ummm, let's just say that the years haven't been kind. She sounded fabulous though.

Journey also sounded great once they warmed up a bit. They did all of their greatest hits and I sang along with most of them. One of the coolest things was the logog that flashed on the screen after Don't Stop Believing. It was made up like the Sopranos logo in black and red with a gun for the "r". Very cool. so how did they sound with the new lead - close your eyes and it could be Steve Perry. Really. They sounded great.

Aug 26, 2008

Fickle Knitter Syndrome (FKS)

Rav ShotHave you got it? I went over to Ravelry to update the project that I just finished and the evidence was right there staring me in the face. I've got it bad. Some of those projects don't even have have pictures! Not only that but there are some really ancient projects that never got into Rav. Ugh!

In a weird way it wouldn't be as bad if these were all really old UFO's. Sadly most of them are pretty recent. It's just so hard to stay focused when every blog I visit and every new book that comes out adds something to my queue that I MUST KNIT right away!!!

Well, in an uncharacteristic display of retraint I have finished 2 projects and resisted casting on for anything new. Instead I retrieved a few UFO's and I plan to power thru them before casting on for anything new. Well, I'll wait at least until I finish a sock or 2, maybe an overdue gift too. Who knows, it would be great to finally wear Sahara. The body is nearly finished.

Wedgwood Shrug

I had to stay a little late at work last night and when I finally left, it was with the knowledge that I still had work to do when I got home. Ugh. On top of that, there were Metro delays. All in all it seemed like a bad start to the evening and yet, it was not a bad night at all.

I wish could show you the dinner that was waiting for me. Hubbo and the girls put together a delicious meal that included pepers and tomatoes from our garden. Yum.

After dinner I unpinned my shawl and I have to say that I am in love! It is everything I hoped for and I could happily talk about it all day long. I cannot wait to show it off.


As if that weren't enough, I finished Stinky's shrug that I'm calling her Wedgwood Shrug last night. From the very beginning of the project I envisioned it in solid blue with a few white flowers and leaves. It reminded me of Wedgwood dishes and the name stuck.


It seems like more often than not, at some point in each project I develop a fear of running out of yarn and this was no exception. Since I was planning on using the white to trim the shrug out anyway, I used it for 3 rounds in the ribbing. It turned out that there was plenty of yarn to make the shrug but now I'm happy that the white stripe is there. It works with the embroidery.

DSC_0593I modified the planned embroidery too and it's just perfect. I initially wanted to go all around the edge of the ribbing but as I started the embellishment I quickly realized that it would look awkward when the shrug was worn. I decided to keep it all on the back. Using one of Nicky Epstein's books as a guide, I embroidered two little flowers and a bit of vine on the back of the shrug. It's a little irregular and imperfect but sweet in it's own way and not half bad for my first attempt at embroidery. I would definitely do it again.

The pattern is the Two-Tone Ribbed Shrug from Fitted Knits and it worked fine for me. Right now it's a little snug on Stink-o but I'm sure that the cotton yarn and less than gentle wear it will get will stretch it out a bit soon.


The only down side of this project was the yarn. I'm pretty sure that I've used Cotton Ease before but it was harder on my hands than I remember. I don't regret using it though because the color is great, it will wear well, and since it was so cheap I can let Stinkerbelle wear it till it falls apart without one little bit of sorrow. It's all good.

Aug 25, 2008

Hooray for Finishing

On Friday afternoon I finished knitting the shrug. Now it just needs a little finishing work.

With that out of the way this weekend was clear for the shawl. It was my constant companion everywhere I went. I think that by the time I bound off the last stitch my whole family heaved a sigh of relief because it was making me crazy.


It is blocking now and I couldn't be happier. It's pretty big - 26" by about 66" so I had to use 2 of the gym mats to block it. They work really well. The pins stay put and the mats are firm enough to move around without disturbing the lace. I suspect that by tonight I'll be able to take the pins out but you'll have to wait a bit for the modeled shots because I've got something specific in mind.

For now the picture above will have to suffice. Once the shawl was all blocked out I noted 3 errors which I believe are probably misplaced yarnovers. They're small errors and most people will probably never notice them. Two are visible above. They don't bother me at all. I am beyond thrilled with the results and I can't wait to show it off. Just thinking about it makes me fell happy all over again.

Aug 22, 2008

My DC - Week 26

Stinkerbelle has been going to camp here in the DC for the past 2 weeks so she has been commuting in with me each day. It's been so nice to have the extra bit of time with her - just the two of us. Her camp is in a different part of the city and that's been a nice thing too because we all know how much I love to explore my city.
Today I present the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial

It's found at the Judiciary Square Metro Station. You emerge from the station into a plaza between 2 shaded walkways. At the ends of the walks are lions perched protectively watching their young. It's a nice metaphor for the way that law enforcement officers protect us.
The low walls lining the walkways are carved with the names of fallen officers and at each end, beneath the lions, are quotations. One reads "It is not how these officers died that made them heroes it is how they lived." Another is shown below.

Finally in the center of the plaza is a medallion.

Today my house will finally return to normal for real. DQ comes home after spending 2 weeks in Connecticut at my sisters house. As she noted, she's only spent one night in her bed in the past 6 weeks. We'll all be really happy to have her home.

Have a great weekend!

Aug 21, 2008

Late Summer Distractions

Ack! Where did my down time go? August is supposed to be the month when everyone goes on vacation which leads to less traffic (check!) and less work (nope!). There are so many things that I have to finish in the next week and stuff keeps getting in the way.


I just need to remember to keep breathing, keep chugging along and no matter what - don't stop! The last increases on the shrug are done but the yarn is running low so it'll be a race to see which finishes first. The shawl has 2.5 repeats left in the middle section before I move on to the bottom border and blocking. Totally do-able. Kippah number 30 is on the hook so I'm still on track even if my pace has slowed a little bit. Next week, when I no longer have company during my daily commute I'll get things back on track.
Duty calls - gotta run!

Aug 19, 2008

Bruce Has His Say

Others have noted it before me but blogland is really quiet lately. I suppose that it's a summer thing. Everyone goes on vacation from home and blogs. Memes are made for times like these when you're wrapped up on lengthy projects and feeling relaxed. No drama or major occurrences to write about.

I saw this little interview meme on a few blogs recently and I found myself wondering what Hubbo would say if I asked him the same questions - so I did. Here is what he said.

Me: What is your favorite thing about my knitting?
Bruce: Warm feet?

Me: Really?
Bruce: No, I like how happy it makes you.

Me: Awww. What is your least favorite thing about my knitting?
Bruce: The yarn is taking over the house.

DSC_0550Me: What is something I have knitted that you recall as being good?
Bruce: The sweater you did for Reed and the Shawl you made for your grandmother.

Me: Do you think knitters have an expensive hobby?
Bruce: Yes! More expensive than my hobby.

Me: Interestingly that brings me to the next question. Do you have any hobbies? Bruce: Golf & softball.

Me: And you think they’re less expensive?
Bruce: Absolutely!

Me: What about the fantasy football?
Bruce: Still cheaper than all the yarn in the house.

Me: So, if we compared money/time spent on hobbies, who would win?
Bruce: You. You do your hobby every day.

Me: Do you have a stash of any kind?
Bruce: What do you mean stash? What is stash? Extra golf balls?

Me: How about the growing collection of golf clubs? Or softball t-shirts?
Bruce: I didn’t buy the golf clubs.

Me: They’re still taking up a lot of space
Bruce: Your yarn takes up more

Me: Has my knitting in public ever embarrassed you? Honestly.
Bruce: No. You haven’t tried knitting in synagogue yet. Really, no.

Me: Do you know my favorite kind of yarn?
Bruce: Koigu? Is that right? You like the merino wools but you don’t really have a favorite.
Me: Good answer.

Me: Can you name another knitting blog?
Bruce: Carole Knits, Scout’s blog, the Yarn Harlot. I’m thinking of starting a blog for husbands of knit bloggers.
Me: Haha, I knew you'd say those.

Me: Do you mind that I want to check out yarn stores everywhere we go?
Bruce: Occasionally. I think I should get points for finding a yarn store to get you a treat when I was in NYC recently. I even found it on my own in the middle of everything.
Me: Yes, that was really nice.

Me: Do you understand the importance of a swatch?
Bruce: Yes. It gives you your gauge.

Me: Do you read Knitting4Shirley?
Bruce: Yes.

Me: Have you ever left a comment?
Bruce: No

Me: Do you think the house would be cleaner if I didn't knit?
Bruce: Clean and cluttered are 2 different things. It might be less cluttered. I wouldn’t have to think of building a fiber room.
Me: Fair enough.

The picture above was taken earlier this week. It's a gladiola that I totally forgot about. I didn't even notice the stalk growing until the flowers were just about to open. What a nice surprise.

Crafty Glass

DSC_0540Last week I mentioned that my girls and I found a crafty activity in Charlottesville. I didn't say any more than that at the time because I wanted to be able to show you the results in the post and they hadn't arrived yet. Well look what yesterday's mail brought.

We stopped into the Glass Palette on a whim just to see what they did there and we got totally hooked. In the front of the store was a display of work by the owners of the store. There were functional pieces like bowls and plated and many pieces that were just totally gorgeous and fanciful. Most of it was fused glass although other glass art was represented. It was the kind of stuff that I crave.

Glass crafting

They do all forms of glass craft at the Glass Palette but fused glass is a biggie and that was great because I've seen places where you can learn stained glass but fused glass was something I'd never had and opportunity to try.

DSC_0542The projects that you can do range in size and price from small pendants and earrings to whatever your imagination and wallet can stand. We stayed with modest choices. DQ and I made pendants and Stinkerbelle made a suncatcher.

There was a fabulous variety of glass in a rainbow of colors that were clear and opaque. We were encouraged to check them all out and let our creative side go crazy. The staff were really helpful and taught us all how to use the nipper and the scoring tools to create the shapes we wanted. It was a new experience for all of us. We experimented with size, shape and layering until we had designs that we liked and then we left them behind to be put in the ovens.

DSC_0541Look at how great the results are. Stinkerbelle tried to recreate a scene from Superman with icebergs and such. I was inspired by the elements a bit and created a representation of the sun and rain. DQ just went totally abstract with her favorite colors. The staff helped us decide what texture we wanted for the final product - how much of the bumpiness to retain. Look at how DQ's pendant changed from the picture in the collage above that was taken pre-firing to the one at right of the final product. Totally cool!

We are a family that loves our souvenirs and bring back something from most places we go. My girls are often drawn to knick-nacks and stuff that I consider silly but I have one rule that I always impose on them. It must be something of the place - something that is closely tied to an experience or something they see. I'm not dragging stuff from the ends of the earth that we could just as easily buy around the corner from our house. This may be the best souvenir yet. Something that we created that we couldn't have made anywhere else. If you ever get the chance to try it I'd urge you not to pass it up. It was so much fun.

Aug 18, 2008

Knitter's Tan

Actually, what I have is more like a knitter's burn. Gorgeous weather coupled with a need to work on my lace shawl in bright light led to lot's of knitting by the pool this weekend. I am now well past the mid-way point in the shawl but I suspect that looking at unblocked lace growing gets pretty boring after a while.

DSC_0539Progress shots of Stinky's Shrug are better. As you can see, the arms are done and I've picked up and started to work the stitches for the ribbing. I like the way this is turning out and I expect that Stinkerbelle will enjoy wearing it. What I don't like is working with this yarn. It's really hard on my hands. I'll be so happy when this is complete.

The pattern, Stefanie Japel's Two-Tone Ribbed Shrug, calls for 2 colors but I went with one. I have some embellishment in mind and this weekend I went to the library and found exactly the right thing in a book there. With any luck, this little shrug will be finished by the end of the week. Yay!

Aug 15, 2008

My DC - Week 25

Way back in June I featured the Willard and Pershing Park which is right across the street from it. I only showed you part of the park at that time because the fountain wasn't working and the reflecting pool was green and gnarly looking.
It's amazing how things change. As we were walking to pick up a ride home after work the other day we were struck by how peaceful and pretty Pershing Park was.


It's so corny but I just want to call it an oasis in the city. Wow is that corny but what else would you call it. The day that we took these pictures was one of those rare summer days in DC when you don't feel like you're going to melt from the heat and humidity.
There was a little bit of a breeze rustling the leaves on the trees and the long grasses. The sun was shining and it was so lovely that we felt compelled to stop and sit for a moment.


The fountain was working and the sound of the water was kind of soothing. There was a bird splashing about in the top of the fountain. It wasn't bothered by the fact that the water was green at all. It's funny because the algae on the water which I would normally think of as nasty seemed to add positively to the atmosphere. I'm not sure why though.


After a while it was time to get up and continue on our way. It was a shame though because I could have sat and listented to the water and looked at the Crepe Myrtles for hours.

Aug 14, 2008

N is for...


One is a good number in just about every instance. It means that you are first, the best or the fastest. Those are all good things of course and we'd all love to be recognized as the number one something or other.

My creation

Two is nice because it's even. I was a lousy math student and learning the times tables was a huge pain but I still remember feeling relief when I saw a question with a 2 in it. At least I could rely on getting those correct. Maybe that is why 24 is my favorite number.

DSC_0371Although many of us like the symmetry of 2's, three is a much better number from a creative standpoint. Three pictures arranged on a wall, three shrubs in a landscape or three buttons on a sweater tend to be more pleasing to the eye. There's and edge to the uneven-ness. Three is also noted in other arts like writing and photography which have rules dedicated to the number.

Some people favor 7 and call it their lucky number. I guess that it was pretty lucky for me when I took this picture while crossing the street. I made it across and got the shot. Woot!

Numbers are everywhere we go. On buildings, recipes, patterns, etc. I am dismayed to find that the teachers were right - you really can't escape math!

My creation

ChaiWhile the relevance of some numbers is simple and straightforward, others are deeper. In Judaism, the word Chai means life and the Hebrew letters that are used to spell it, het and yood, add up to 18 which makes 18 special. It's found on jewelry and in art. For weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs monetary gifts are often given in multiples of chai.

Because 18 is an auspicious number, when I got to the 18th kippah I decided to do the special one that DQ will wear at her Bat Mitzvah. I embellished the white band with clear class beads and added a series of Swarovski crystals in shades of blue to surround the star in the center. when she stands and the light from the skylights hits her just right the crystals will sparkle and shine.


While we're talking about numbers, I'm just about to complete kippah 27 so I have finished a little more than one third of the kippot. I set a pace for myself of 10 kippot per month and I'm currently ahead of where I need to be to keep up. Anything can happen but right now I'm feeling like I may finish early. Hooray!

Aug 12, 2008

Two Duh Moments

I can't believe that I forgot to post yesterday. I meant to. Really I did. I just forgot. I guess that there's more to getting back to normal than just catching up on all of the blogs that you've missed. It'll take a little while.

DSC_0529One thing that I haven't forgotten is my knitting and crocheting. It's ever present and ever changing. Case in point... my battle with startitis conitinues. The newest symptom is this little shrug that I started for Stinkerbelle. She has a dress that she'll wear to two upcoming events and, like the dress I plan to wear, hers is sleeveless so I want to make her a little shrug. The first of these events is just over 2 weeks away so I finally started this shrug, the Two-Tone Ribbed Shrug(Rav link) from Fitted Knits. After considering a bit of Rav research I decided to use Cotton-Ease in a pretty turquoise color.

This is what it looked like at about 6 o'clock last night. It has since been frogged and restarted because I made a stupid error with the increases. It was stupid because I misread the instructions and only did the increase on one side of each marker instead of both. Duh! I knew this was wrong. It felt wrong. It looked wrong. It was wrong but still I continued. It's amazing how often I ignore my instincts like that. Thankfully now I'm back on track and I'm certain that this will be ready in plenty of time for Stinky to wear.

DSC_0493Speaking of stuff that I'm knitting on a deadline - my shawl is suddenly making rapid progress. August is a quiet time in law firms so I brought my shawl to work and did a little work on it during lunch on Monday. It was so much better and I got so involved with the shawl that my lunch may have been extended a bit. I think that the bright lights in my office are really helping. Duh! Of course it's easier when you have proper lighting. I'm again amazed at how long it took for me to figure this out. I still have quite a long way to go but I'm feeling more optimistic now.

In the picture of the shrug, you can just barely see the stitch markers I'm using. They're cute little cupcakes that I got in my Sweet Treats swap package. In the middle of all the recent craziness I got my package from the recent beach themed swap. My partner in this swap was Marisol and she put together such a lovely bunch of treats. There were tea bags and candy and all kinds of stuff to get my toes beach-ready including green and gold nail polish that my girls and I will have fun with.

DSC_0495The cute little bag also held some gorgeous sock yarn in colors that are very "me". I'll really have to choose the pattern I use to use it for carefully and make sure that DQ keeps her hands off it.

I really hope that Marisol likes the treats that I chose for her as much as I like mine.

Aug 11, 2008

Seeing C-ville with my girls

DSC_0474After what seems like an eternity full of comings and goings and general craziness I'm hoping that today brings us to a more stable point. DQ is visiting relatives for 2 weeks, Hubbo is concentrating on finding employment of some kind and Stinkerbelle and I will be commuting into the DC. She's attending a camp downtown and I'm back at work. It's the most settled our schedules have been in a long time and it's so nice. I can talk to both of my children every day and things are a little more predictable. That's a good thing.

Hubbo and I picked the girls up on Thursday and it was great. They were happy and smiling and full of stories about camp. Truly, it seems like everything reminds them of a funny story, song or prank. We'll be listening to them reminisce for a long time.

Because we are selfish, we didn't bring the girls home right away. Instead, we stopped in Charlottesville for a 2-day min-vacation. We just wanted the girls all to ourselves for a little while. DH and I were in C-ville last summer but the girls weren't so we retraced our steps a little to share what we saw with the girls.

We went to Monticello and we walked around downtown a bit. We ate gelato at Splendora and we had delicious meals at a few eateries. We got crafty at a super cool place but I'll save that for another post.
DSC_0465One of the places that we went this year was new to all of us. We stopped at UVA and walked around for a while. DQ protested that she was too young to look at colleges but not with much force. As you can see in the photo above, she had her cell phone back after a 4 week long separation during camp. It was a very joyous reunion. Thank goodness we changes her service plan right before we gave her phone back to her!

DSC_0470We started at the Rotunda and it was so beautiful. We walked all around it and appreciated it from all of it's angles. Even if you didn't know that this was the school that Thomas Jefferson built, the connection is unmistakable.

We wandered around the great lawn and imagined what it must be like to live in one of those rooms. The doors to each of the roooms bears a small brass tag with the name of the room's occupant. It's a far cry from the dorm room I had when I was in college. It really must feel like living history.


According to a plaque that we read, the land that these rooms and the Rotunda were built on was part of the original farm owned by James Monroe before he became President. After his presidency he moved to Ashlawn-Higland which is closer to Monticello. Evidence of the close relationship between Jefferson, Madison & Monroe is found all through the area and it's kind of fun to think about the times that they must have spent.

Even the little alleys that run between and behind the buildings had a quaint and quiet feel.

DSC_0476Thomas Jefferson was comitted to the separation between church and state and UVA reflects that in it's founding as a completely secular educational institution. These are ideals that I admire greatly and find really meaniningful.

This is the University Chapel. I have to say that I love looking at churches - especially those with gothic flair like this one. There is a warmth to the rough stone and a grace to the soaring, pointed arches.

DSC_0471Stinkerbelle was such a ham. She insisted on being photographed with with all of the statues and mimicing the poses. Here she is with George Washington.

Aug 8, 2008


I haven't been around DC much over the past two weeks and when I have been, taking pictures was not foremost on my mind. In lieu of the usual DC shots that you'd normally see here on a Friday, here are a few pictures I took while I was in NYC. Enjoy!






Aug 7, 2008

Happiness is...


For the past week I've been obsessively watching the camp website for pictures of my girls like this one. By the time you read this... we'll be having group hugs. Yay!

Aug 6, 2008

Deadlines I Won't Be Meeting

As promised, I've got a bit of fiber to share today in the form of project updates.

DSC_0434Here is one of the socks that's currently on my needles. This is a simple sock in Fiesta Boomerang in a color called Alaska. I love this yarn soooo much. The colors are great and the yarn is soft. It almost makes me look forward to the colder weather when I can wear these socks. That's probably a good thing because it may be January before I finish these. So much for completing multiple pairs during the Summer of Socks. I think that there are just too many things competing for my attention right now.

DSC_0437Here is a supa-crappy picture of the shawl I'm working on. I like it so far and I think it'll be perfect with the dress. I just doubt that it'll be done in time to wear with the dress. It's not quite at the half way point. That's a problem because there is no Plan B. Either this shawl gets finished in a hurry or I wear a different dress. No good at all. Crap!

Both of these projects and a few more are in my bags, ready to hit the road. In about 24 hours I'll be giving my girls huge hugs and I can't wait. Some parents have their kids fly home or take a bus. I'm not sure how they do it. I can't wait even one extra minute to see my daughters. We'll be there with bells on when the gates open. I'm a little pathetic right now - barely contained. It's not pretty.