May 29, 2009

ECF - Weed Edition

I was going to take a picture of my lilies for today but then I saw this, a Dandelion, and it caught my eye and reminded me of another recent picture taking episode.

I was walking down the street in DC a week weeks ago and stopped to take a picture of a pretty flower that I've often admired. A couple of tourists from Australia stopped and told me it was called Lantana. Then they laughingly said it's a weed that grows all over where they live.

Isn't it funny how a weed to one is a pretty flower to another. Enjoy this lovely, ethereal, Dandelion and the weekend ahead.

May 28, 2009

Eclipse Socks

DSC_0305Now that DQ and I wear about the same shoe size she has become my favorite foot model for all of mu socks. It's much easier to take pictures of someone elses feet than it it your own.

She doesn't mind and models willingly and, usually, cheerfully. In return she occasionally gets to keep the socks. This is a fine arrangement but recently I saw a pattern that could've been written just for her and I made a pair. I figure that it's nice to get something made with you in mind rather than just something I decided I could part with.

The pattern is Eclipse Socks by Julie P Miller. It's pretty basic as far as the sock itself goes. The fun is in the red ribbon embellishment added after the knitting is finished. For those who are unfamiliar with the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer, the third book in the series features a red ribbon waving across the front cover.

I'd never done any overstitching before but it seemed like a good skill to add to my knitty bag of tricks. It was way easier than I thought it would be and the result was perfect. DQ thought so too and even though it's May and the temperatures have been climbing she has already worn these wool socks to school. She just had to show them off.


These have been finished for a while already. long enough so that the initial photo shoot was done in Mystic. Above is a picture we took on the edge of the Mystic River while watching the drawbridge.


Can you tell how happy she was with her new socks?


May 27, 2009

Ten on Tuesday - '10 Celebrities You're Tired Of'

As soon as I saw the topic for this week (after I had already posted for the day) I started putting my list together. I am admittedly an avid consumer of celebrity gossip but if I'd be a very happy girl if some of them returned to total anonymity and were never heard from again. I don't wish them ill but I do wish them away. Far, far, away.

10 Celebrities I'm Tired Of

  1. John Mayer - if you didn't see this one making my list then you're just not paying attention.
  2. Lindsay Lohan - Get it together girl!
  3. Paula Abdul - Nauseating
  4. Paris Hilton - How is she relevant to anyone or anything?
  5. Mel Gibson
  6. Tom Cruise
  7. All the MTV "reality" show stars - Who cares
  8. Ann Coulter - Shut up
  9. Rosie O'Donnell
  10. Jessica Simpson

Good thing there are quick little lists like this for really busy days like today. Which "celebs" would you like to banish to another planet?

May 26, 2009

Big Plans and Improptu Hanging Out

The title of this post pretty much sums it all up and it was really all very good.

Going into the weekend we had plans to belatedly celebrate Stinkette's birthday. I spent days working on a cake in my spare time and this was the result. It was supposed to look like a softball hit a birthday cake. I was sure it would come apart but thankfully it held together and thrille Stink and her friends.

I wish I had better pictures of the party itself but it was in an arcade-like place with dim lights and black walls. Not good for taking pictures so they all look like the one below - only worse. it was great fun though. They just turned on the games - skeeball, Pac-man, dancing games, pool tables, Wii, air hockey and more - and the kids had the run of the place all by themselves.


The big plans also included a softball game on Saturday morning (they won - yay!) and a Girl Scout field trip on Sunday.

We rounded out the weekend with a bunch of stuff that was vey last minute like a quick trip to the pool and a lovely dinner out with good friends. It was all very tiring and wonderful.


We finished the weekend with a very low-key barbeque with friends at our house and as soon as our guests left we fell into our usual pose of recline in the living room exhausted but happy.

It's amazing how a super busy weekend feels so much longer sometimes. It's like the time stretches to fit all the stuff in. What was the high point of your weekend?

May 22, 2009

ECF - Forgotten Flower Edition

Here's a little surprise I found in my yard recently. It shouldn't be since I'm sure I planted it - I just forgot. It do like it though.

I hope that this weekend is wonderful for everyone out there - especially those of you who have a long one. It'll be a busy one for us but I'm looking forward to all of our activities starting with knit-n-flick tonight with DQ.

May 21, 2009

Decked Out

This summer marks 10 years in our house. When we bought it all those years ago I sold it to hubbo as my "house with possibilities". We are only the second owners and the original owners had no imagination at all so the house was mostly unchanged from it's original 1965 condition back then.

One sore spot was the backyard which sloped wickedly away from the house. The lawn back there is rutted and you can easily twist your ankle stepping in a hole. BAD, bad, bad. But I told hubbo that it didn't bother me at all because I had the perfect solution - a deck. It would eliminate a bit of mowing for him and turn the yard into a lovely oasis of suburban living.

Fast forward 10 years and this is what my yard still looked like.
Backyard before

Until about a month ago when they finally broke ground on our long-awaited deck. Every day for a week we ran home to see the progress. The nasty slope of the yard threw one last curve our way when they were building the stairs because there was no level spot for a landing but our contractor came up with a great solution. A landing with a railing and steps off to the sides. Talk about lemonade from lemons - it's a cool design feature now.

Backyard during

Here is the finished deck complete with trellis. The contractor said my trellis would be great for hanging plants and it may, but I don't 'cha think it would be a great place to hang drying yarn?

Note the new windows - Yay! The sliders leading to the deck are new too. For a few weeks we had a deck with no access from the house. What a tease!

Backyard after

It took a long time to finally get our deck but it's so worth it. Look at the lovely, leafy, view. When I'm on the deck I feel like I'm in a tree house. It's so much better than I ever imagined.


Naturally we'll have to break it in right with a party but not this weekend because it's full to the gills with a certain Stinky girl's activities including a belated birthday party. Soon though.

Perhaps we'll enjoy some Lemon Chicken on the deck this weekend.

May 20, 2009

Willow Potholders

I've got another finished object to share. This project has actually been finished since April 28th and I'm finally getting around to blogging it now. Sheesh! Busy isn't the word.


Anyway, I've already discussed the many things I love about this project. I enjoyed picking the pattern and working out the kinks. I enjoyed enhancing my crochet skilz. I really enjoyed seeing the finished product turn out exactly the way I hoped it would.

The only thing I'd change is the colors I selected. I like the colors and in most cases they worked out well. I'm not embarrassed by the results at all. I just think that with a bit more planning (as opposed to dropping a bunch of random "pretty" yarns in my virtual cart) may have made the results even more satisfying. It's not even a matter of color as much as it's about the shades. More contrast would be good.


I suspect that I'll make more of these because I'd like a few for our house. That's probably just my new excuse to make more of these. Initially i thought I'd make a few extra to send off but life got in the way.

Meanwhile I need to get these labeled and shipped out. I hope their new owners like them.


Cross-posted to the Hot Pads and Potholder Swap blog.

May 19, 2009

Ten on Tuesday - Cities I Love

Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is kind of timely. It's our '10 Favorite Cities' and this came up over the weekend when Hubbo and I were watching CBS Sunday Morning. They did a segment on my number 1 favorite city and I felt a little resentful because I'd hate to see my fave become a hot spot. It would spoil it. What is my favorite city? Here's the list:

  1. Asheville, NC - It's artsy, it's got character and I just love stopping here every summer. I've told friends that if I ever leave the DC area it would be to move to Asheville. It's just a place that makes me smile.
  2. Washington, DC - I think that I've already documented my great affection for my adopted home.
  3. NYC - I'm really happy that I don't have to live here but it's a great place to visit. The hustle and bustle that prevents me from comfortably living here (I dormed here in college) is exactly the thing that makes it exciting to visit. It truly is the city that never sleeps.
  4. Toronto, Canada - We took a family trip here in 2002 and it was fabulous. We went to the Hockey Hall of Fame and the CN Tower. We toured the ROM with my cousins and generally hung out. It was too much fun.
  5. Ottawa, Canada - This is another great Canadian city. My Aunt and Uncle live in Ottawa so we've visited many times. It's got great museums and beautiful spaces.
  6. San Francisco, CA - Visiting here in December of 2004 I was smitten. We did a walking tour of the city on Christmas Day and it felt like the city was ours alone until we got to China Town and found people milling about and having fun. It was so obvious that I adored everything about San Francisco that a much younger DQ felt it necessary to remind me that we were not moving there. She was rather emphatic on that point.
  7. Boston, MA - I spent a summer here when my dad was living nearby. I wandered the city mostly on my own and had a lot of fun. I remember the huge thrill my dad got seeing his book on sale at the Harvard Coop. Actually, most of my memories of Boston are tied to my dad.
  8. Charlottesville, VA - I guess this is more of a town than a city but I'm going with it. This would be the scene of yet another family vacation. You can just feel the history in the air and downtown is so quaint.
  9. Jerusalem, Israel - I was here on a teen tour as a kid in the 80's. Yes, there are lots of very important things to see here and I saw most of them. It's all very wonderful but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that my most vivid memory is of drinking Long Island Iced Teas with a bunch of friends. I was 16.
  10. Eilat, Israel - I was here on the same teen tour. It's the southernmost point in Israel and it's mostly a resort city. Three words - deep blue sea. Need I say more?

Here's a picture to pretty this post up a bit. This is a close up shot of the petals of my Heart of Darkness iris. These flowers are nearly black and they're so hard to capture but they look amazing in person.

Darkest Iris 2 - 5/12/09

May 18, 2009

What Was I Thinking

DSC_0180My weekends lately are filled to overflowing and a lot of it is sporty stuff. If this keeps up maybe I'll even get into the act eventually. It will if Stinkette has her way.

This weekend Stinky ran in the Girls On The Run 5k with hubbo as her buddy-runner. She says that next year she wants to run with both of us. We'll see. That's a pretty tall order for me.

Aside from the 5k, she also participated in a track and field gathering and had a softball game withing less than 24 hours. I thought for sure she'd fall over from exhaustion after all that but no, not my girl. She just keeps going.

DSC_0204I've been battling allergies all through the past week. They were so bad that they had my head pounding nonstop all last week despite all the Advil and Zyrtec I took. Thankfully it's clearing now and on Thursday night I finally got another sock on the needles.

This is the start of the Mad Color Weave socks by Tina Lorin. The pattern is from Sock Madness 1 but it's not one that I test-knit. I love it though and I've wanted to knit it for ages. Now that I am, it's going so fast. I just love well-written, engaging patterns that you can commit to memory with no problem. Those are the best for commuter knitting. I can get so absorbed in a pattern like this that I no longer notice the weirdness (and rudeness) around me.

The yarn is another story. It's All Things Heather in a color called Neon Vegas. Try as I might I cannot imagine what frame of mind I was in that this seemed like a good idea. The green in this yarn is wicked bright. I really don't know anyone who would wear socks this eye-searingly bright. DQ says that I could wear them with looooong pants and closed up shoes. I suppose I she's right. I just can't imagine wearing these socks but they're fun to knit.

May 15, 2009

ECF - LC Edition

LC is how librarians I know refer to the Library of Congress and it's classification system. I've been to the LC buildings before to do reserch and I hold a LC library card but I've never taken a tour... till now. It seems that this is field trip season and last week DQ's English teacher took them on an amazing, all-day, trip that included the Capitol, The Folger Shakespeare Theater, The Supreme Court, Georgetown, dinner at Sequoia (yum!) and a tour of the Library of Congress. I took and early lunch (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) and joined them for the LC tour. It was so worth it. You must see it if you get a chance.

From the outside it's ok.


But once you get inside it'll take your breath away.


These pictures are the best of the few I took but they don't even show the best of the LC. It's full of treasures and meaning and beauty.


Today, field trip season continues and DQ is at a band competition and an amusement park. I am at work. She's got such a rough life.

May 14, 2009

Mother's Day in Mystic

I have to admit that Mother's Day has never been particularly good for me. It could have something to do with my very first one where my husband's grandmother said some very nasty things to me that caused her to come to blows with my mother-in-law and my husband's aunt. While I have had some nice Mothers Day's since then, including the one I spent in the hospital snuggling a newborn Stinkerbelle, mostly it's known around my house as the day I force the family into household projects - usually gardening. It works for us and it's satisfying but not really celebratory.

This year I had a perfect Mother's Day. PERFECT!!! We were in Mystic, CT for my b-i-l's Navy retirement but Sunday was ours. We walked around downtown a little and ate lunch at Mystic Pizza (remember the movie?) and spent a lot of time at the aquarium.


DQ and I were standing at the edge of the Mystic River (taking modeled pictures of socks of course) when she wondered aloud if they still use the drawbridge. On cue the horn sounded and the gates came down and the drawbridge went up. We both giggled when the only boat to come through turned out to be very little. See it?


I love aquariums and find them very peaceful. On Sunday we got there ahead of the crowds (2nd to arrive) and breezed in on a gorgeous, sunny, day to enjoy the exhibits at a very leisurely pace.


It seemed like everyone at the aquarium on Sunday was in such a good mood. We spent quite a while with one of the groundskeepers who happily pointed out the frogs and turtles hiding in their habitat. He was from Jamaica and said that it reminded him of home.


We saw the Birds of the Outback exhibit where you could get up close and personal with very colorful birds. They gave you popsicle sticks with millet attached on entry so that you could feed the birds.


Some of the birds would hop on your stick and hang out with you for a while. I am sooooo not a bird person but this was great fun. I didn't even mind that I got tons of bird seed in my hair. I did mind that a bird nailed my Nikon with poop (ewww) but thankfully it washed off and no harm was done.


We saw Sea Lions and Whales and touched Stingrays but Stinkerbelle's favorite exhibit was, by far, the penguins. This one is a 3 month old chick named Blue-Blue. It's so young that they don't even know the gender yet but Stink is positive Blue-Blue is a boy. It should come as no surprise that her aquarium souvenir was a stuffed penguin that she has named... Blue-Blue. She would've preferred to take the real thing home.


I don't normally show off the gifts I get for birthdays, etc because they're not usually blogworthy. My husband means well and tries hard but very often he's just a shade off the mark.
When he does get something I like it's usually because I've given him a pointed hint. I do that a lot.

He's also not great at keeping secrets. He's like a little kid who's just bursting to tell someone what he's done. It's funny but it makes the actual gift-giving odd.

My girls are also not great at keeping secrets.

I am almost never surprised...

except for this Mother's Day...

IMG_2726[1]When I was truly speechless.

I got a new toy, an iTouch. I love my new toy. I love that I had no idea at all that it was coming. Happy surprises are priceless.

May 13, 2009

Dimpled Diamonds

DSC_0139Lest anyone should forget that this is a knitting blog, today I'll share one of the recent finished objects.

This is a pair of socks that I test-knit for Sock Madness 3. The pattern is called Dimpled Diamonds and was created by Deborah Swift who created the pattern for the Godmother's Socks that appeared in Sock Madness last year. I test-knit both of these patterns and I and I have to say that working with Deborah was great. I tend to be very apologetic about pointing out errors and making suggestions because I feel like I'm being a nit-picky pest but she is so understanding and willing to work through it all.

One of the fun things about this pattern is the transition at the cuff from the Quilted Lattice to the Modified Dimple Stitch pattern. Doesn't it look cool?

For this pattern I chose to use a yarn I hadn't tried before. Plymouth Happy Feet is a Merino/Nylon blend so I hope that it'll wear well. I do know that when you're test-knitting socks there can be quite a lot of tinking and re-knitting going on and this yarn stood up to it well. It's a little hard to tink because it wants to stick to itself but I think that it'll be fine in the long run.

This yarn is lightly variegated but I think that this is one of those rare patterns where a wildly colored yarn would work well. That's the beautiful thing about Sock Madness - you get to see so many different versions of the sock pop up all at once. The may interpretations of a sock can be very inspiring.


Now I find myself at a weird moment where I have no socks at all on my needles. It's actually kind of uncomfortable because I'm so used to reaching for the sock in progress whenever I have a free moment. I've wound 2 yarns into cakes that are all ready to go. On the one hand, my Dimpled Diamonds have me thinking of turning a crazy skein of All Things Heather into Mad Weave Socks. I think that the travelling stitches could be just the thing to tame that skein. On the other hand, there is a gorgeous skein of Creatively Dyed yarn that is screaming to become a pair of Cat Bordhi socks. I have her New Pathways for Sock Knitters book with me and I'm tempted to dive in. Decisions, decisions. Maybe I ought to just grab a random skein and start a simple toe-up sock while I figure out what to do next.

May 12, 2009

20 and Done

We had such a great weekend. Possibly one of the best Mother's Day's I've ever had - full of suprprises and family time. Perfect!


We were out of town for this Mother's Day, in Groton, CT to celebrate my brother-in-law's retirement from the Navy after 20 years. He hates to have his picture taken and he never smiles but doesn't he look so happy here? Obviously my sister, niece and nephew are all really happy too. Everyone was so excited for them and we look forward to whatever their new life brings them.


Ever the blogger, I remembered to take my picture for MacroMay. I saw all of my b-i-l's medals pinned to his chest and I knew I had to get a picture of them out in the sun. They looked so cool.

20 Years - 5/11/09

There is much more to share from last weekend that I'm not sure when I'll get to show off the most recent finished objects. In the past week or so I've finished 2 pairs of socks and the rest of my potholders. Stay tuned.

May 11, 2009

Quickie with a Penguin

I hope that you all had a Mother's Day that was as wonderful as mine.
Hey There
I'm still having fun so here's a quickie post to say hey, and I'l get back to the blog tomorrow.

May 7, 2009

ECF - Birthday Cupcakes Edition

Here's a bit of literal eye candy.

10th Birthday Cupcakes

These are some of the cupcakes I sent to school with Stinkette yesterday to celebrate her birthday. There were 43 of these - each with a chocolate chess piece on top. I try to make the cupcakes different each year and represent my girls interests a bit. Stink loves chess so that was this year's theme.
She only has 28 in her class but I like to make enough for her to give one to her favorite teachers and friends in other classes etc. Oh, and I made about 30 to take to her softball game last night too for a post game celebration but sadly the game got rained out. Anybody want a cupcake? I've got lots.

May 6, 2009

Daria's Double Digit Day

How's that for a bit of alliteration? Can you say it 10 times fast?

Today is the birthday of my baby girl. It's a big one for her - double digits - but she'll always, ALWAYS, be my baby girl. Thankfully she's perfectly ok with this. One might even say that she relishes her position as my baby.

My Baby as a Baby

What I do know for sure is that my sweet girl is amazing. She is smart and courageous and strong in ways I never was. She works hard in school and she is becoming quite an athlete too. She plays fastpitch softball, swims and loves to shoot hoops in out yard. She loves to create with markers, clay, and anything else she can find.

She does drive me a little nuts on occasion but I adore this girl and I treasure every single minute with her. I look forward to her next decade, and her next, and her next...

Birthday Girl

I love you very much Daria!

Yikes! The Haul

DSC_0499Thank you so much for the good thoughts. I'm still taking things a little easy and my shoulder is feeling much better.

My blog absence yesterday had nothing to to with injury and everything to do with messiness. You can see a small part of it at left. Yesterday they came to install our new windows. ALL our new windows. They pulled out every window on the main floor of our house. We also had some related electrical work done so there was spotty power in my very chilly house all day. Good times! In the end it all got done and the house looks great. I'm just so happy that it's done.

If I had blogged yesterday I would've shared my MDS&W haul with you. A few people had asked how much I got that it caused me to hurt myself. Well, I'm not sure if the fiber was the cause but here it is - you be the judge.

Here is some of the spinnable haul. I got 2 from Gale's Art on the bottom. The one on the right is what she calls Black Blue Faced Leicester. She used the darker wool to dye and I love the effect on the colors. The left one is Merino that DQ said I had to get. That was a theme for the day. On top are 2 tops from Bullen's Woolens. DQ insisted that I get them after I got a very good deal on something else from their booth - details later.


I got a bit of yarn too. From top to bottom I got STR Lightweight in Thraven and County Clare, the dark salmon is Shelridge Farm Sock yarn, Below it is lighter peach and bluish Ellen's Half Pint Farm sock, and at the bottom is Peace Fleece worstsed for a 28Thirty for DQ. She would also like to see the Thraven yarn become socks for her. We'll see.


Some of what I got was not actually fiber but fiber-related. I got myself a simple Golding spindle to see if using a really good spindle might help me learn to spin on a spindle with some degree of success. The mug is from Jennie the Potter and I love, love, love it. It was the first thing I bought and possibly the only thing I'll get to keep for me. The family had better keep their hands off!


I got a bunch of other stuff - Cormo to spin, Jamie Harmon angora yarn, a nosty and wpi tool but I'm skipping the pictures of them. This post is getting long. I can't skip my best deal of the day though. This is a box of Bog Buns from Bullen's Woolens. It's got about 3 lbs of fiber in 51 colors to mix and match an play with. Stinkette saw it and immediately thought of felting it. I'm thinking of spinning it. She normally sells these boxes for $100 (I think) but was offering this one for $75 since it was her old put-up and some of the colors are ones she no longer works with. DQ thought I should get it but I wasn't sure. The day was getting kind of spendy thanks to a certain evil teen influence. Then they offered it to me for $50 and I just couldn't leave it behind. DQ noted correctly that the difference in price totally covered the tops I was loooking at in the same booth so... what could I do. I bought them. On the way home it hit me that 8 oz of fiber usually costs me about $19-24 sooooo 3 lbs for $50 is not half bad at all.


May 4, 2009

MDS&W 2009 - Unusual is the Word

The best way to describe this weekend would be unexpected. I did go to Maryland Sheep and Wool but nothing went quite as I thought it would. No bad, not good exactly - just different.

In the past I attended MDS&W with my buddy Felicia but the addition of a certain nearly 2-year-old has changed her priorities a bit so she begged off this year. My daughter heard this and siezed the opportunity to join me. Yay! She played it down to her friends because admitting that you're going to a yarn festival with your mother by choice is just not cool but I know the truth. she came because she wanted to and I love that. Unfortunately her school work load has been really heavy lately so she spent the first part of the day in an off mood till I ordered her to go sit and take a quick nap. After that it was all good.

MDS&W 2009 - 5/2/09

Before she left for her nap she accompanied me to the Ravelry meet up. Last year I passed on this due to the crowds. This year I found a spot to pull myself up on one of the walls and sit (which turns out not to have been a great idea - more later) and from my perch I observed all of the crazy. I chatted with my wall-sitting neighbor but I didn't mingle much which dismayed my daughter. She would have me do a full-on meet and greet but that's just not my style. DQ came face to face with parental dorkiness.


I did other things this year that I hadn't in the past. I got lost on the way to MDS&W because, in a thoroughly uncharacteristic move, I neglected to check a map and missed the exit twice. I never go anywhere without advance prep. Once we got to MDS&W I waited in the ridiculous line at The Fold and scored 2 skeins of STR. I'm still not sure why though because I usually laugh at the folks on that line. I even walked down to watch the sheep dog trials. That was fun.

The Sheep Dog Trials - MD S&W 2009

Another thing that kept up occupied was watching the sock machine demonstration. it was way cool but not enough to convince me to buy a machine for myself. I suppose that could change if I watched a few more times.


At the end of the day I carried home a lot of stuff. More than I expected. I can (and will) blame a lot of it on DQ. She is quite the enabler. She carried a lot of it but even the stuff I was carrying became quite painful at some point. Even after we dumped it all in the car my left shoulder still hurt... a lot. And when I reached up to massage my shoulder it was hot and there was a lump where there shouldn't be one.

Hubbo took me to the ER where the doctors said that I had the case of the night because they don't see the type of lump I had all that often. It turns out that I had torn one of my shoulder muscles (lifting myself on to the wall maybe) and a hematoma had formed. Ugly and painful but after some really good drugs (Percoset! Vicodin!) I'm feeling much better.

It's a good thing that my injury wasn't more serious because I have lots of pretty new fiber and toys to play with.

May 1, 2009

ECF - Pink Dogwood Edition

Yesterday I posted a picture of the Dogwood tree in my yard. Today I offer a shot of my neighbors Pink Dogwood tree. I covet this tree. I am not a pink girl but there is something about pink dogwood flowers that are just so delightful.

Pink Dogwood
This weekend is Maryland Sheep & Wool and, since I don't melt, I will be there rain or shine. It will be a totally different MDS&W for me for many reasons. Not the least of which is that I really don't have a shopping list this year. Nothing at all that I must get. That won't stop me from getting stuff but hopefully it'll keep the spending down. Maybe.
Have a great weekend - I will.