Jul 30, 2010

ECF - Reader's Choice Edition

Yellow Gladiola...


Or Pink Crepe Myrtle.


You decide!

Jul 29, 2010

Sneaky Reaper

It was a little weird around my house last week. I'm not talking about the quiet. I'm talking about being watched. At first I thought it was the turtle. She has been known to give me the evil eye on occasion - usually when she's hungry. But she was just her usual ornery self. She even bit Bruce! But it wasn't her this time.

For a while I kept looking over my shoulder, sure that I'd see someone there. But nobody was... until I finally caught a glimpse of a pasty white face in a black hood hiding in my golden mops. I went to take a closer look but he was gone.


The next day I cought him again. This time he was perched in my dogwood tree with no easy way to escape. I had him.


So I went to take a closer look.


And I was surprised to find the grim reaper except that he really wasn't all that grim. He was more sneaky than grim and actually kind of cute. Creepy cute!

As cute as he was I still wasn't sure that I wanted him skulking about the house. Goodness knows what kind of trouble he and the turtle could get into. So I sent him to Stinkette at camp with strict instructions to lay off the ghost stories. He can keep her company until I return to pick my girls up ONE WEEK FROM TODAY!!!! Let the countdown begin.


*This is actually the Grim Reaper from Creepy Cute Crochet and I made him out of a bit of Lion Brand Cotton Ease with a size F crochet hook. This is one of about 5-6 figures that Stinkette requested from the book by tabbing all her favorites as soon as the book arrived, so I know just what to do with the rest of that yarn.

Jul 28, 2010

July Potholder

I've been finishing stuff lately. I guess that's what happens when there are fewer people around to distract you. Not that my girls are distraction but, you know what I mean. More me time can mean more productivity. Anyway, the bottom line is that I've been finishing stuff so there's a backlog of stuff to share. Good for me and good for the blog.

This is the back of my latest creation for the Dazzling Dozen Potholder Swap. The person receiving them in July said that her kitchen was olive green and I liked that as a jumping off point for the colors. They're a little retro but in a good way. More olive than avocado if you know what I mean.


For the back I went with the Scalloped Potholder pattern again. It's so easy and it's become my go-to pattern for a simple balance to the more involved patterns I seem to gravitate to for the fronts like the Snail Shell pattern from the Harmony Guides Crochet Stitch motifs: 250 Stitches To Crochet. I was inspired by some that I saw on Ravelry. They were so beautiful that I had to try them myself.


The yarns were mostly Elann Sonata except for the dark brown which id Tahki Cotton Classic. I've amassed quite a collection of these and it's given me a nice palette to chose from.

On to the August potholder.

Jul 27, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Things to Do Instead of Watching TV

Are there really 10 things to do instead of watching TV? Just kidding. I know there are. I'm actually the most likely in our house to turn off the TV and do something else.

1. Read a book - What kind of a librarian would I be if this wasn't the first thing on my list?
2. Play board games - This is the most likely reason that our family will turn off the TV on purpose. Stinkette loves family time playing games.
3. Talk - Call a friend, visit a neighbor or talk to your family. You never know what you'll find out if you ask.
4. Spin - Truthfully this is better for me with the TV on but I suppose that it's possible to become one with the wheel and bliss out on wool fumes to the point where the environment becomes irrelevant.
5. Knit - Again, I like it better with TV, like watching the season premiere of Project Runway on Thursday - Squee! I can see this as a quiet activity, especially if you're working on really complicated knitty math or lace.
6. Go to the pool - No TV in the pool but it's awesome anyway.
7. Go to a concert - They have concerts at the lakeside park in our neighborhood on friday nights in the summer and we nearly abandoned the TV to go last week but it was still in the high 90's at 6pm and I would surely have melted.
8. Gardening - now there's a good excuse to turn the TV off and get outside. Free the garden from the camouflage of weeds. Then again, that could just be my garden.
9. Go for a walk - exercise.
10. Read - I started with this one too but it really can't be overstated. Read a book, a magazine, a cookbook or even a knitting book. Stimulate your mind.


Jul 26, 2010

Momcation Plateau

The momcation continues although this weekend was more balanced, which is to say that there were a few fails mixed in with the good stuff. I think I'd prefer to have my weekends a little less balanced and more weighted towards all good.

The fails weren't huge, more annoying than problematic. The movie we saw Saturday night was not quite as good as I thought/expected it to be. I drove a bit over a half hour (in nasty traffic) to get a light fixture at IK** (after checking the availability online on Friday) only to find them sold out. Apparently they were very popular because another woman was looking for one too.

I also went to get my car inspected yesterday and got there just a little too late and saw the "Last Car for Today" sign posted. That was probably my fault because I was feeling lazy and couldn't tear myself away from the project I was working on.

Speaking of that project - I wouldn't call it a fail but it isn't making me wildly happy either. It's a hat (seen below) that should've taken a day but due to mistakes it's still not done.


On the postive side, I did finish another project this weekend and went to my favorite button store where I scored the perfect finishing touch. A quick stop at the yarn store also scored good stuff.

Add a lovely dip in the pool and a great dinner with friends and the weekend balanced out nicely bu I still wish it had been a bit more good and less balanced.

Jul 22, 2010

ECF - Second Act Edition

Tomatoes and Brussels Sprouts aren't the only coming attraction in our garden. Strawberries are growing again too. Apparently watering them vigilantly helps a lot.

Have a great weekend and stay cool! It's supposed to hit triple digits here again tomorrow.

Garden Report - July 22

Last weekend I finally had the time to devote a little attention to the garden and see what it's been doing and the answer was - a lot. It wasn't nearly as pathetic as I thought. Here is part of the harvest so far. The corn is a little sad, especially when you compare it to the zucchini. I put the salt shaer in there so that you can see how puny the corn was and how ginormous the zucchini is. I probably ought to have harvested them sooner but zucchini are sneaky little suckers. They hide under big, shady, leaves and you don't even know they're there half the time. This isn't all of it either! I gave another big one to our neighbor right after I clipped it and there are a few more still growing and blossoms too!


There was a bit of an accidental harvest too. I was weeding the garden and unearthed some of our potatoes. There ought to be plenty more where these came from but I want to wait for Stinkette to harvest them. It's kind of her thing. She'll harvest them and insist on making them into her special roasted potatoes for us. Yum! I hope they can wait.


The garden isn't finished yet either. There are 2 kinds of tomatoes growing in planter boxes on the deck. These are bigger and still quite green. The others are smaller and almost ripe. Maybe I'll share them next week.


Our broccoli experiment this year was a fail. It grew and at one point it looked kind of broccoli like but i kept waitig for it to get bigger and instead it went to flower. Oooops! I thought that my brussels sprouts were headed for failure as well and then I saw Margene's garden post which included a shot of her still growing brussels. It occurred to me that I was looking for progress the wrong way. I took a closer look and found these.

Sprouts sprouting

I can't wait to eat home grown sprouts. I'll steam then and they'll be great. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

Jul 21, 2010

In Awe of Norman

Last night we went to see Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg at the American Art Museum here in DC. It was wonderful. The four of us (we went with friends) loved the pictures and the short film accompanying it. It was interesting to hear what appealed to Lucas and Spielberg about the paintings. They see each picture as single frame stories and as you look at them you really get it. The connection between Rockwell and these directors becomes so clear.


Unfortunately you're not allowed to take pictures inside the exhibit so the closest I can show you is this picture of the courtyard outside it. I really love the undulating roof. If you're in the area I hope that you'll go see the exhibit and tell me what you think. It'll be here until January and I hope to go again. If you do go here's a piece of advice, they are apparently expecting crowds and long waits on the weekends but on a Tuesday night we were able to go right in. Just sayin'.

Jul 20, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Things to Bring on a Camping Trip

It's about a month and a half since the first camping trip as a GS troop leader. You have no idea how stressful I found it to prepare for that trip. I was so sure that I'd forget something major - like food - and we'd have an awful time. It all turned out fine but I did learn a lot for next time and now that a bit of time has passed I'm ready to think about what I'd do differently next time.


The things that I would (and will) bring on any future camping trips are:
1. Smores - Marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers - Yum! I get hungry just thinking about it.
2. Bug Spray
3. Allergy Meds - just in case the bugs bite me anyway.
4. A Soccer Chair - because the days that I could spend a prolonged amount of time on benches are long gone.
5. A Tent - Ok, this may seem obvious but on our last camp out we stayed in rough cabins and it's really not the same.
6. The First Aid Kit - ours got quite a work out on the last trip. My troop (and family) may be a wee bit accident prone.
7. Sticks for cooking hotdogs etc - we were advised to bring some this time and it was such a good call. Can't rely on finding good ones laying around.
8. Air Spray - for the bathrooms of course. They can be a little *cough* rough and a fresh smelling spray make them much more bearable.
9. Batteries for the flashlights - nothing like waiting 'till night fall to realize that your flashlight is kaput.
10. My camera - there is so much to capture on film out in the wild.

Jul 19, 2010

Week One

One week ago today I dropped my girls off at camp.

Since then I've received 2 notes from each of them. They say that they're missing me. They also say that they're having a blast and that's really good because I am too.

Don't get me wrong, I miss them terribly. But there is something wonderful about waking up in the morning and having nobody to take care of but myself. Nobody needs money for anything and nobody needs to be dropped off anywhere. I just need to get myself where I need to be.

Since they've been gone I've seen a movie, been to the pool, read books and magazines. I've even done something totally shocking - I went to the gym to work out on Sunday morning. Simply shocking!


Of course I'm knitting too. These are one of the 2 pairs of socks that are on the needles right now. Clearly this one has a way to go but there are other projects that are nearing completion. It would seem that all this relaxation is really good for knitting progress.

Jul 16, 2010

ECF - Fall Dreams Edition

This summer has been defined by record breaking heat here and there doesn't seem to be any end in sight. It's the kind of weather that makes you wish for fall. With that in mind I've got a picture of my Japanese Maple today. It's not really a fall picture but the colors have the right feel for it.

Stay cool and relax!

Jul 15, 2010

Deep Blue Socks

Just to prove that I really am still knitting, today I've got a finished pair of socks to share. The pattern is Spring Forward by Linda Welch which I knit in Neighborhood Fibre Company yarn in a color called Georgetown. I love them both. and I really love them together.

The wavyness of the pattern together with the goegeous deep blue just screamed for a pool shoot and thankfully I have friends with a gorgeous one. DQ graciously modeled the socks. She said that she'd be fine doing it at the neighborhood pool but there are kids from school there and they don't really need to know how weird I am - especially when we could do the shoot at a friends house. They already know how weird I am.


Anyway, there really isn't a lot to say about a project where everything goes right. Great pattern - great yarn. I even knit the pattern "as written", complete with the patterning on the foot. I almost always leave them plain.


I do have a quick note about the yarn. The color is even deeper and more amazing in person but, as much as I love a rich cobalt blue, I almost passed on this yarn. See, I used this yarn before for my dragon socks and it bled all over my fingers. So as I stood looking at the yarn at Fibre Space and reminding myself of why I shouldn't buy it, a shop worker (I don't recall who) helpfully said that I should try it again because it no longer has the same problems. I am so happy to say that they were right and that it didn't bleed at all this time.

The temps here should reach the hifgh 90's again today so I'll put these in my sock drawer and wait for fall.

Jul 14, 2010


Today I've got a little travelogue of our annual pre-camp detour. The destination was Roanoke, VA.

I'm sure that there are great things to se and do in Roanoke but the girls and I were really in the mood to chill out and soak up the atmosphere. The girls and I enjoyed the small town feel.


As we wandered through galleries here and there we saw certain landmarks featured again and again. Like the neon star on the hill. Sadly I took my picture during the day when it was unlit.


The Dr. Pepper and H&C Coffee signs too.

Roanoke Landmarks

One of the first things we saw was the market square. We went downtown to see what the Center in the Square had to offer but found ourselves wanting to walk around and see the city rather than focusing on one of the museums in there.


It was a Saturday and there were vendors lining the sidewalk. We bought some homemade soap that smelled divine and after carrying it home in my duffle bag, all my clothes smell fabulous too. Kind of fruity.


We saw a movie while we were in Roanoke too. Stinkette really wanted to see Despicable Me which was playing in 2 places - a big multi-screen venue and the smaller and way cooler Grandin Theatre. Without a doubt we made the right choice. It's an old building with character that's locally owned and run. Very cool! The movie was really good too.


After dinner downtown in the market we found our way back to Pops, a little spot around the corner from the Grandin Theatre for dessert. It was such a nice surprise. Aside from serving delicious sundaes it had the authentic feel of a neighborhood soda fountain which really charmed the girls and I. There was a dj spinning old vinyl in one of the bay windows and lots of folks coming and going and having fun.


Roanoke was just perfect for us. Relaxing and charming.

Jul 13, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Things You Like About Where You Live

I am home again after my annual trip to drop my girls off at their camp in another state. It is really hard to have them so far away for so long but I'll get through it. I always do.

On the way to camp we took a little detour to explore another town. We don't do heavy siteseeing on these detours. It's more about getting the feel of a place. This fit's well with the Ten on Tuesday topic for this week -10 Things You Like About Where You Live. Exploring other cities and towns allows us to think about what we like and don't like and appreciate our home even more.

1. The proximity to Washington, DC - I love the city and it's close enough to make spur of the moment trips just because.

2. Our neighborhood pool - Growing up I always longed for a pool but we didn't have one so I was at the mercy of my friends who did. There were many days I wished my friends would come home and invite me over for a swim. Now we have a pool a block from our house that we can use at will. This was very high on my wish list when we bought our house.

Dive In

3. Our Schools - Another thing on my wish list was great schools and we scored on this one too. I love how involved the parents are, the myriad programs and opportunities, and the rigorous academics. I couldn't ask for more.

4. The Fairfax County park system - There are parks and greenspace everywhere. We've got a park by a lake with a really night playground within walking distance from our house and in the summer they have concerts there.

5. The Rec Centers - This is another county thing. The rec centers offer pools, exercise rooms, fitness and crafty classes, and summer camps in really lovely settings - and all for very reasonable cost.

6. Fairs and festivals - They're in DC and closer to home. There are movies under the moon and book festivals. There is really no weekend where there isn't something to do. (what a great excuse to share another picture from the recent folklife festival)

Mexican Altar

7. The Smithsonian - Many great cities have museums and most of them are well worth the cost of admission but... we've got fabulous free museums. Free is a fan-freakin'-tastic word. Right now I'm trying to decide the best evening to go see the Norman Rockwell exhibit for FREE!

8. My community - We bought our house in part because it was close to our synagogue. Being part of a large and thriving community makes all the difference. When you live so far from your relatives it's so comforting to have a wide circle of friends who love and support you.

9. Public transportation - Busses and trains and slugging. There are seemingly endless ways to get to work each day. And if you're coming to visit there are 3 airports that are reasonably close to us. (What are you waiting for?)

10. Everything I've forgotten to say already. I really have so many reasons to love where I am and I think all the time about how happy I am that we settled exactly where we are.

Jul 9, 2010

ECF - Festival Flowers Edition

There were garden displays in the Mexico presentation at the Folklife Festival too. This is from them. I really like the soft greenish color of the flowers.


Jul 8, 2010

Random Time of Year

I am filled with a deep and abiding hatred of all things Metro today. That outrageously mismanaged system combined with oppressive heat and clueless tourists has made for many miserable commutes this week.

I am still trying to stay positive. See, pretty flowers! That's a happy thing.


I am also feeling really random. It's that time of the summer.

Last night DQ went to see Eclipse again. It was her 3rd time. Surely she'll get tired of it soon. Right?

Well, I hope that she's had her fill because she and Stinkette leave for camp shortly and they won't be seeing any movies while they're there. We already shipped 3 large boxes filled with clothes, linens and other essential stuff to camp.

Any bets on how long it'll take for them to start sending me notes requesting stuff they forgot at home? last year I think the first one was sent out hours after I dropped them off. I wish I was kidding.

Tomorrow after work we'll hit the road. We are taking a brief detour on our way to camp. I'll tell you where when I return. I really love road trips with my girls. We laugh and explore and enjoy our time together all while seeing somewhere new. Brilliant!

Good thing we're not detouring to the beach. Stinkette has swimmers ear and can't go in the pool (or I expect, the ocean) until monday at the earliest. She's in a bit of pain right now but it's getting better. By the time I drop her off at camp she should be in pretty good shape.

Jul 6, 2010

2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is one of those things that makes DC a great place for families. Each year there are 3 areas, each focusing on a different state, region or theme and the displays they offer can be fantastic. You see architecture, crafts, food, and other aspects of a culture and it's very interactive.

This year even the Folklife Festival was hit by the recession. Alabama, the state that was going to be featured had to pull out and the themes that were represented had much smaller exhibits.

Even with the cutbacks there was still a lot to see at the festival that made it worth braving the triple-digit temperatures. One of the themes was Mexico and they had amazing stuff. These dancers called Chinelos performed in their full costume including velvet gowns. They must've been so hot.
Mexican dancers

In one of the tents we saw this woman spinning. They said that she'd been doing it since she was 7. I was impressed! I can barely spin without screwing up but she'd turning the crank on the wheel with one hand and controlling the fiber with the other.
Spinning since she was 7

In the same tent as the spinner they had a cool display of wool and dyeing materials.
Dye stuff

Some of these skeins had been dyed during demonstrations earlier in the festival. It would've been interesting to watch but the day we were there it hit 100 - way too hot to be dyeing.

The coolest thing we saw had to be the Voladores. The Teenek of Tamaleton performed the Danza del Bixom Tiiw ceremony. Four men representing the 4 directions climb a pole and fly down attached by ropes in honor of Dhipaak, the Lord of Corn. They said they weren't really performing as much as they were sharing the blessings on the corn. They said a lot of other things too but much of it was in Spanish so DQ understood everything but me... not so much. Still cool though.

Danza de los Voladores

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Ways to Enjoy Summer

The past weekend was long and good. It started with a Bat Mitzvah for the daughter of some very close friends. By request, I made a special kippah for the Bat Mizvah girl.


We celebrated the event with a pool party at their home and it was so much fun. It was even more fun the following day when we returned to help them (try to) deplete the amazing amounts of leftover food. Yum!

During the party on Saturday, most of the adults stayed out of the pool. We were too busy eating and drinking... lots of drinking. On Sunday we all got in the pool and a huge water gun fight broke out. I never actually left my perch on the edge of the pool but I got drenched anyway because Miss B, my favorite 3-year-old, was using me for target practice. The funniest part was that she couldn't fill the water gun herself so she'd hand it to me and ask "please fill" and then use it to shoot me again. How could I say no?

So my weekend was full of classic Summer fun - a perfect lead in to today's list "10 Ways to Enjoy Summer."

1. Get wet - in the pool, on the beach, in a sprinkler, with water guns or, water balloons. Get drenched!
2. Have a party - we love to invite everyone we know and party on the deck.
3. Eat lots of good food - more often than not you should include ice cream.
4. Drink up! - Iced tea of course. What'd you think I was talking about?
5. Read a good book - I've already knocked one off my list from last week and I'm well into my second.
6. Knit - It's sooooooo relaxing.
7. Relax with friends - it doesn't always need to be a big party. Just hanging out by the pool with my neighbors can be really nice.
8. Go exploring - See something new. Or something old. This weekend my girls and I will take a quick tour of a "new to us" town on our way to camp. Smal vacations are just as good as big ones.
9. Go to Camp - If you're a kid this is a big one. At this time next week my girls will be away at camp in the mountains in another state. I will be writing letters till my fingers fall off.
10. Relax! - Just chill out and let all the needs, wants, and musts go for a little while.

How will you be enjoying the Summer?

Jul 5, 2010

Happy 4th

It may be the 5th but we're still celebrating and enjoying a 3-day-weekend. Yesterday we were hanging out with friends in our matching t-shirts like the super-dorks that we are. It was great!

To those of you who are also enjoying a day off today - have fun!

Jul 2, 2010

ECF - Corn Silk Edition

This morning on my way to work I saw an older woman at the commuter lot - clearly on her way to work - wearing a shirt that said "I've used up all my sick days so I'm calling in dead" in really big letters. Hardly a unique sentiment but it made me wonder what her job was that this would be appropriate attire.

Well my eye candy this week is a bit more appropriate. Here is a bit of corn silk I spied in my garden. I suspect that many of us will be eating corn at a BBQ or a party this weekend.

Enjoy the corn and the weekend!

Jul 1, 2010

Life on the Deck

Yesterday was glorious. The heat finally broke and, more importantly, the humidity disappeared - at least for a little while. We took full advantage of it by eating dinner on the deck. I love that deck so much.

Having a usuable yard has inspired me so this year I planted a bunch of stuff in boxes around the deck. Look at the sweet little slowers on my tomato plants. There are actual tomatoes growing on another plant too. We should do well if we can remember to water them.


We also put up a few birdhouses and feeders around the yard. It's such a kick to watch the birds come and go. There are all kinds of birds and I we're starting to get curious about what they all are.


Then there's this guy. I hate him! It took him a few days to find the feeder but now that he has he's not going away. There is a tree with limbs that reach towards the deck and he hangs out in there and watches. Every time we chase him away he retreats there but he keeps coming back.

He's a messy sucker too. The first sign of his arrival was a huge mess of half eaten seed all over the deck.


Look at the theiving little punk. He's ruining all my fun.


I think he knows it too.