Apr 30, 2010

ECF - Lone Iris Edition

I'm back after 2 days of classes - exhausted in the best possible way. There is just so much to process.

Here's a picture from Morikami Gardens. I kind of love the lonely iris hidden in there.

Lone Iris

Apr 29, 2010

Can You Imagine?

Ideally I'd be showing you a bunch of recently finished yarn today. Believe it or not I have 4 new skeins of handspun at home. Unfortunately a change in plans last Saturday put a cromp in my plans and when I left for class the last of those 4 skeins was still hanging out to dry.

It's ok though because the delay was for a good cause. Saturday DQ asked me to take her and a friend to the mall and I agreed. I envisioned dropping them off and going my merry way. Imagine my surprise when she told me that they wanted me to stay because - get this - they wanted my opinion! Srsly! How often does that happen? You gotta sieze those opportunities when they come along.

Anyway, here's a word cloud to pretty thing up a little.


Apr 28, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

DSC_0249It's not all flowers and yarn around our house. There are other growing things like strawberries. This is one of about 8-10 that are in various stages of development on my deck. It's the only one that's turning red at this point but I'm encouraged. Let's hope it's yummy.

DSC_0256And look here. This looks like a mess but, in reaity, it's a whole lot of very neatly planted seedlings that are waiting for a good day for planting. A day without rain. Without an over stuffed schedule. Without frost warnings. Yup - frost warnings. I'm writing this on Tuesday night and they're talking about frost warnings again. Isn't the first day of May just 3 short days away?

Thank goodness my classes are indoors. First class is steeking. I can't wait.

Apr 27, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Favorite iTouch Apps

Still no peonies yet. They sure are taking their time opening up.


The closed buds I shared the other day are indeed irises. Not just any irises but my beloved black irises. It looks like they'll open much faster than the peonies. Won't they look wonderful together?


I hope that you enjoyed the pretty flower pictures because I really don't have much to add to the topic for today which is officially our 10 favorite iPhone apps. I don't have an iPhone so I changed it to iTouch but even so I have to admit that my favorite thing about my iTouch is being able to plug it into my car and listen to music and podcasts. I could drive forever with my iPod plugged in.

Here's the list:
1. Scrabble
2. Tetris
3. Trivial Pursuit
4. Stone Loops
Is it wrong that my first 4 apps are actually games?
5. Multi convert - because I can't keep the measurements straight to save y life.
6. Maps - I don't use them for much since I got the Geee Peee Esss in the car but I like it anyway.
7. Sol Free - can't forget solitaire. So sad that half my list is games.
8. US States - Just in case I have a sudden need to know how many counties there are in Alaska.
9. All Countries - Ok, I'm a dork but who else has all the deets on Seychelles at their fingertips.
10. Stitchminder - I am still a knitter after all.

Which great apps am I missing?

Apr 26, 2010


Look at all that red! We unexpectedly got tickets to Friday night's playoff game and, even though our team lost, it was awesome. Just being in the Verizon Center with so many extremely excited fans was great. I bet you could count the number of people there who were NOT wearing red on one hand. We were absolutely Rocking The Red to support our Caps.

They had places set up where you could get your face painted or spray painted. Here's Stinkette getting painted with her 8 for Ovechkin. She already had spray painted eagle on her other cheek. It stayed there all weekend - even for softball pictures.


DQ got painted too. She got a 22 on her forehead for Knuble.


Even Bruce and I got painted up. We were one very spirited family!

And this was only the start of our very busy weekend. So tired.

Apr 23, 2010

ECF - Season of Surprise Edition

Sometimes I think that I'd like to be one of those gardeners who knows exactly what she planted and where. Other times I think that it's fortunate that I'm such a haphazard gardener because it turns Spring into a season of surprise.


I can't wait to see what these are.

Apr 22, 2010

Now Quite There Yet

Please excuse the crap photos. I suspect that I won't get a good shot of this until it's finished.


Here is my Que Sera. The color in the picture above is pretty true. It's a soft, minty green. Below the color is way off but you can see that the fit seems spot on. I was hoping for a layering piece with lot's of ease and is suspect that after a light blocking to open up the lace it'll be just right.


Obviously this means that I've arrived on sleeve island. I can't imagine that the sleeves will take a long time but I hesitate to predict thatI'll be wearing this to MDS&W. If I hadn't gotten into the classes and taken a detour into the land of spin then this would be complete by now. As it is, this week is pretty busy and next week will likely be the same so I probably won't have another FO until after MDS&W. That's ok. The process is the thing and right now it's working for me. In addition to this, I've finished one Kai-Mei sock and started the second and my simple commuter sock is up to the heel. Keep knitting.

Apr 21, 2010


Can you believe that MD S&W is just over a week away? I'm making my plans and getting ready. It's a bit more involved this year because I'm spending more time than usual. Not only will i be there to meet and greet and shop (duh). I'm taking classes too.

They have some great classes at MD S&W and in past years I'd look through the list and think about how cool they'd be but, as with the lottery, you've gotta be in it to win it and since I never bothered to apply - I never got a spot. This year I sent in applications for 3 of them on a whim. There's only 15 spots per class so I figured I'd get none.

Surprise! I got into 2 classes and they fit right in with my current goals. On Wednesday I'll be up there taking Child-sized Stranded Hat with Steek which is taught by Katherine Misegades. Now that I've successfully completed the stranded mittens I want to expand my colorwork skillz a bit more. This ought to help a lot.

The other class is the one that turned my fiber play upside down. I got into Sock Exotica with Judith MacKenzie McCuin!


As soon as I got the confirmation I pulled out my wheels and got to work. That's when I realized just how long it's been since the last time I spun. Actually that's inaccurate. I can't remember the last time I spun. How sad is that? It was probably late last summer.

Anyway, I've been spinning a bit just about every day over the past week and a half. I started with the bobbin on the extreme left which was about half full when I put it aside. It's Mama E's C*Eye*Ber Fiber that I got long ago. Moving along from left to right we have fiber from my LYS (Ashland Bay -Spice I think) followed by a Grafton Batt and Gale's Art Black BFL in Proud Peacock. Since I took this picture I spun more of the Gale's Art and now I'm onto some creamy Cormo. I hope to have a ply-fest this weekend to clear the bobbins for class next Thursday

The more I spin the more ready I feel for class. I'm also learning a bit about my relationship with my wheels. Charlotte will definitely be the wheel who comes to class with me and Nellie may be finding a new home soon. We're just not getting along.

As if all this wasn't great by itself - the classes will necessitate me staying in MD Wednesday night. I'm hoping to find other MD S&W folks to hang out with but even a quiet night by myself could be cool.

Apr 20, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Ways To Be Green

This week's topic for Ten on Tuesday is 10 Ways To Be Green. It's very timely since Earth Day is this week. I'm looking forward to getting some ideas for new things to do.


1. Grow some food - Even if you don't have a big space you can still do a bit of container gardening. Above are strawberries and below is spinach and both of them are growing on my deck.

2. Leave the car at home and walk or ride a bike. - I should do this more than I do but the hills, the hills. I blame it on all the damn hills in my little corner of suburbia.

3. Ride share - I am a firm believer in this and I almost always commute by slugging or taking the bus.

4. Compost - I really want to start a compost pile at home. I could put lees in the trash AND get lovely, rich soil for my garden. Win!

5. Turn the lights off - I feel like I spend half my life turning off lights behind people.

6. Use reusable bags when shopping - of course the key is to remember to take them into the store and not to leave them in your trunk. I'm getting better at this one.

7. Use reusable bottles for water instead of buying endless bottles of water and tossing them out.

8. Pay your bills online - Save a few trees

9. Take shorter showers - I'm trying to convince a certain teen thast this is a good idea.

10. Recycle!


Apr 19, 2010

Opening Day

I got out and rode my bicycle this weekend for the first time I bought it. Granted it wasn't for very long but better to start small than not at all. Right? DQ and I figured out that we could go over to the parking lot at our pool and ride around, and around, and around in endless circles and avoid dealing with too many hills between there and our house. Yes, the circles got old pretty fast but we were mostly trying to get comfortable on our bikes. It was way more fun riding with DQ than by myself.


The other big event this weekend was opening day for Stinkerbelle's softball league. She really loves softball and she's happy the season has started. Her goal is to make the select team (as opposed to the house team) and we've told her that it'll take a lot of practice. I think that she's getting the message because she's been doing batting practice with Bruce.


I think it's helping too. She had 2 really solid hits in the game. I think that this one was her triple. Yup - triple! If she keeps hitting the ball like that then I'll be hoarse all season. There are worse things.

Apr 16, 2010

ECF - Iris Edition

Not only is it Friday but my irises are in bloom!

I am a very happy girl.

Apr 15, 2010

Spring Randomness

What is it about this time of year that makes us all feel so random? It seems to be everywhere.

* I'm still watching my yard for blooming things. This is what my peonies looked like a few days ago. They look like they're ready to pop but still nothing. I love how juicy they look.


* All the floral observation has taken a toll. I got to work yesterday and realized that I had yellow pollen all over the front of my grey sweater. It was really noticeable so I went to the bathroom to wash it off and hid in my office in my soggy sweater for the next hour.

* I am trying really hard not to write long rants about the tourists who have once again descended upon our fair city. They are all over the freakin' place and especially in the Metro. Why do they all want to be on Metro during rush hour? Not only do they take up all the seats - they park their strollers and gigantic suitcases in the middle of everything so that it's difficult to get in or out. Not that I dislike tourists or anything.

* At least the Nuclear Summit is over. Talk about commuter nightmares! I was very last to work the other day because I got caught by 3 motorcades - including the president. That one closes down intersections for about 20 minutes at a minimum.

* Oh, and can someone please tell me what's up with this? It looks like little floppy dog ears on the helmet but that can't be it. Can it?


Apr 14, 2010

Spring Inspiration

Immediately after I finished the last pair of socks I cast on for a new pair. These will be Kai-Mei by Cookie A. I'm using one of my 2 skeins of Wollmeise in a color called Pesto. Look at how the color blends with the leaves of my lilacs.


I've had this yarn for a little while and I was trying to figure out what it is about it that people go nuts for. Sure the color is really deep and rich but, to be perfectly honest, in the skein this wasn't really that impressive. Now that I'm knitting with it I love it. I still can't put my finger on the reason but I do like it quite a lot.

I think the Kai-mei in the Wollmeise is going to work well but there is one small problem with this project. I don't think that the patterning on the foot will make great commuter knitting. This is why I cast on for a second, totally different, sock. This one will probably stay simple and make a wonderful companion on my travels. It's Koigu and I have no idea when or where I bought it. It's very pastel which makes it totally outside my usual color palette. That's probably why it caught my eye in the stash. It's working for me so far.


Doesn't the fledgling toe look lovely among the peonie buds. Any day they're going to pop and I'll be sure to take pictures when they do to share with those of you for whom spring hasn't quite sprung yet.

Apr 13, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Favorite TV Shows

Today we're talking about our ten favorite TV shows. Really? Just ten? I watch way more TV than I ought to so this shouldn't be difficult at all.

First the pretty.

Morikami Start

Now the list.
  1. Law & Order - all of them. After all these years I still love these.
  2. The Good Wife - I really enjoy this new show. Julianna Margulies is amazing in it.
  3. Project Runway - I really should hate Heidi. It ought to be a crime to look like that after 4 kids. The show is way to much fun though and I love the way Heidi says Nina Garcia's name. It's the little things folks!
  4. The Closer - Kyra Sedgwick and the rest of this cast work so well together. Thank yew!
  5. Bones - Talk about a cast with chemistry! I love watching Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz.
  6. The Amazing Race - Not only is the scenery beautiful but the challenges are amusing as well.
  7. House Hunters International - This is totally escapist in a whole 'nother way. It's cool to see what passes as a great new home around the world. Who wouldn't be jealous of the folks buying the centuries old shack with the disintegrating walls and no working kitchen?
  8. Burn Notice - The whole family can watch this one together and it's a little MacGyver-ish the way they get out of the trouble they always get into.
  9. Psych - Another family friendly show with tons of 80's references that make Bruce and I chuckle.
  10. Top Chef - I can't wait for Tom and Padma to come back and put a bunch of new chefs through their paces.

What are your favorite shows?

Apr 12, 2010

I Forget

I had a very clever post for today fully composed in my head but now that I'm finally ready to write it all down - poof, it's evaporated. Good thing that my yard is so inspiring right now.


Is it terribly redundant to say that this past weekend turned out quite different from what I had planned. There was a spur of the moment sleep over, indecisiveness at the local nursery and a wicked migraine which all threw me off a bit.

I did get a lot done though. We planted broccoli, potatoes, and brussels sprouts and pondered where we'll put all of the other veggies that we'll be growing this summer. We have dozens of seedlings that are sprouting vigorously in our kitchen right now and I have no idea where we'll put them all. We'll just have to improvise.


How do you like these pictures of my lilacs? They are now in full bloom and I was a bit surprised to see that they're white. It's been so long since I planted then that I totally forgot. They're not very fragrant either. This is probably not a bad thing since 3 or the 4 members of our household have allergies. We're happy to see the pretty blooms without the scent.


I hope you like pictures of flowers and growing things because my yard is in bloom. Irises and peonies are about to pop and the crepe myrtles became quite leafy overnight. And the veggies... oh the veggies! I think the zucchini is trying to take over the world.

Apr 9, 2010

ECF - Beach Edition

It was so lovely dipping my toes in the water at the beach.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Apr 8, 2010

Into the Spring Socks

It was a happy coincidence that I finished a pair of socks the night before we went to Morikami Gardens. DQ might disagree though, because I made her model the socks there. I tease about her but she's actually a pretty good sport about modeling my handknits and volunteered. Maybe because in Florida there was little chance that her friends would see it.


I'm not sure that there's a lot to say about these. The yarn is Claudia Hand Paint in Caribbean Blue. Lovely stuff. It's a joy to knit with.


I did a pretty standard toe-up sock with all my favorite components coupled with a Swirly O leg. All good... and perfect for commuting.


The only potential issue with these socks is that DQ predicts that they'll be too big for me. I haven't tried them on yet but she obviously has and she found them a wee bit roomy on her feet which are slightly bigger than mine. She thinks that I ought to give them to someone with bigger feet than me. I'm still not sure about that.

Apr 7, 2010

Morikami Gardens

So Long BlossomsI won't have any fabulous Cherry Blossom post this year. I totally missed them! These sad little flowers that were barely hanging on were all that remained on Yoshi when we got home. There weren't even any petals left on the ground around the tree. I guess they blew away.

Never fear, we got a bit of Japanese culture while we were in Florida. On Friday, after Bruce's sister and her family left, we went to visit Morikami Gardens with my M-I-L. She was thrilled when I suggested it because it' one of her favorite spots and it was really close too.

The gardens are set along a path that circles a lake. It winds and meanders and along the way there are statuary, and bridges, and lovely little spots to stop and listen. You can hear the bamboo clicking as it sways in the wind and smacks against itself. I found the sections where the pine needles were caught in the trees very interesting.

Morikami Flat Garden

Being in the gardens reminded me of some of my favorite blog friends too. Like this large rock garden reminded me of Margene. It was such a tranquil spot. They change the patterns in the rocks many times each week. It's supposed to be a great spot for meditating.

Morikami Late Garden

And gorgeous views like this reminded me of Carole because I'm sure she'd love taking pictures here. I can just see it now.

Morikami Bridge

There were also turtles that reminded us of our Frankie who was home in her tank watching over our house. I'm sure that with us away she was every bit as relaxed as these guys.


It was such a lovely day. We wandered through the gardens and the museum stopping along the way to appreciate the quiet and the sense of calm.

Morikami Gardens

I can see why my M-I-L would love a place like this.

Apr 6, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Magazines You Love

Magazines are sneaky suckers. They grab you when you're at the checkout counter and suddenly you just have to take them home. Then, before you know it, you're picking up the same magazine every month and it seems like you'd save a bit of money by subscribing. And on it goes until you find yourself receiving more magazines each month than you can possibly read.

Or is that just me?

Anyway, here is my list of 10 Favorite Magazines:

  1. People - This is truly my guilty pleasure. I've been a subscriber since about 1989 and I'm currently renewed through late in 2012. That's just nuts! I can't believe I'm admitting this.
  2. Cooking Light - This balances number one a bit. They have some really great stuff in here.
  3. Real Simple - All that practicle advice in one nice, neat package. Sadly I had to let this one go because I couldn't keep up.
  4. Interweave Knits - They have the best patterns in here. Innovative and interesting.
  5. Vogue Knitting - This is fantasy knitting. I find that a lot of it is stuff that I'd knit if .... if I was thinner, if I was younger, if I was more daring, if only. Occasionally there's something that says knit me now but it's more about fun and inspiration.
  6. Knitters - This is a mixed bag of a magazine but in a different way. On one hand there is a lot in here that is weird or boring, but on the other, I've made quite a few patterns from this one too. It's also the first knit mag I started reading.
  7. Smithsonian - I always feel guilty that I don't read this one cover to cover but I feel smarter having it around. know what I mean?
  8. Martha Stewart Living - I don't get this with any regularity but I pick it up all the time. Love her or hate her - the woman knows her stuff.
  9. Washingtonian - Great local stuff.
  10. Spin Off - because I like to pretend that I do more than just look at my wheels. So sad.
Every post ought to have a picture or 2 to pretty things up or make you smile. I think that this one fits into the latter category. It's Stinkette on the beach in Boca Raton. She was digging in the sand but it looks like she's just to tired to go on.

Digging in the sand is tiring

Apr 5, 2010

Spring Break in Pictures

You probably guessed from my Eye Candy Friday picture that I was on vacation last week. It was Spring Break for my girls and we did something rare for my family - we went to Florida. It was prompted by my M-I-L's illness but a trip to Florida is a trip to Florida no matter what the reason. There was lots of sun and fun and relaxation. Now I'm back to the real world and catching up so here is my Spring Break in pictures.

Before we left town we saw the Bon Jovi concert. That little speck in the bottom right corner is Jon. Yeah, our seats were that good. They still rocked though.


One of the three pools we enjoyed. This one was in the courtyard of our hotel.


We also went to the beach. We're extremely fortunate that Bruce's aunt has an apartment right on the beach in Boca Raton. I'm not a huge fan of Florida but I could get used to this view.


We didn't just look at the water either. Some brave souls actually went into the frigid water. DQ and her dad can debate anywhere.


We did a wee bit of site seeing too. We went to Morikami Gardens. It's one of my M-I-L's favorite spots. It's so peaqceful - I can see why. More on that later in the week.


We had such a good time.


Apr 2, 2010

ECF - Airplane Edition

Isn't vacation grand?


Apr 1, 2010

Distractions Everywhere

BikeLately I've experienced a bit of rare focus. I've been considering a bunch of WIP's and how I can turn them into finished obects. I'm not in a hurry, it just feels really good to cross them off my list. I'm trying to maintain my momentum and get things done but it's so hard when the sun is shining and there are shiny new things all around.

One of the shiny new distractions is my new bike. This one I'm willing to dedicate a bit of time to. I'm not big on exercise for exercise sake. It bores me. I've tried gyms and circuits and classes. They're good for a little while but it gets slowly harder and harder to force myself to go and, finally, I give up.

I love the idea of riding a bike. I can go exploring. See things. I can even listen to podcasts while I go. The only impediment is where I live which is a really hilly area. No matter which direction I go when I leave my house I encounter hills immediately. I hope that as time goes by this is less of an issue but right now it's a serious challenge.

If only those hills were preventing me from getting to fibre space. If only!


I've been there 3 times in the past month or so and the stash enhancement (which I totally didn't need) had been considerable. Most recently DQ and I were there for movie night. We saw Cry Baby and I found the yarn for a new cardi. So much for the focus on WIP's. Que Sera!