"Whatever shall we do in that remote spot? Well, we'll write our memoirs. Work is the scythe of time." --Napoleon Bonaparte, on his way into exile.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

"Tennis balls are like meatballs..."

...yet another profound statement from Tess. She comes up with these all the time, and I try to remember to write them down as quickly as possible.

We were at the tennis club last night for the end of E's league tournament. We missed seeing him play but hung around for snacks. Tess & I were watching players from the cafe when I told her, "Daddy's warming up the meatballs for the party," and she came up with the statement that's had me laughing all day. Toddlers can be frustrating, but magical. They have a whole new way of seeing the world.

She also said "Good shot!" to one of the guys on Court 1; proof that her Daddy is having a positive influence on her. It's one of the reasons I love playing with him; he always finds something about your game to compliment, and only teases gently when you mess up.

We have been thoroughly enjoying the Australian Open this past week; sat and watched the Men's Final this afternoon (a rerun; E actually woke up at 3a to watch the first hour live before he fell back asleep). I've figured out the game enough to shout "Wow!" and "Awesome!" and "YES!" every time Safin hit one of his amazing shots. And there were plenty of them.

Thanks to Digital Yarn for reminding me how fun it is to watch tennis (although I can't knit while doing so). This link is keeping me amused now that the Fun Down Under is over for another year.

Grocery list

Just so you know, that romantic dinner never happened. Not, in any part, due to E's lack of trying. See, we had our next-door-neighbors' daughter sit for us that Friday I had my party. Just for an hour, because I had to leave at 4:30p and E didn't get home until 5:30p. When he got home, he asked our sitter if she could sit for us Wednesday night. He also told her it was a secret. From what I understand, either she or he said they would get back to the other. And since it was a surprise, The Family Organizer (that would be me) didn't know to confirm it with all parties involved.

Only I found out about it Tuesday night, and didn't confirm it either, so perhaps I should step down as FO. Anyway, crossed wires, something lost in translation, whatever, 5:50p Wednesday night rolls around (she was to be over by 5:30p and she's famously early), no sitter. I call next door, leave a message on their answering machine (another Bad Sign), call E, who gets cell phone numbers, still -- it was never confirmed. So yeah, a big disappointment, but I overcame it by shopping at Trader Joe's today. To the tune of $113. Hey, dinner would've been at least $50, not including the cost of the sitter!

I don't know what it is about Trader Joe's, I get confused in there. This time I got caught up in the frozen food section. I bought 7 different microwave bowl meals, mostly for E to take to work (he prefers my cooking, he told me when I showed him, so he's still a romantic). Our freezer, pretty much emptied to make room for pierogis in December, is now dangerously full. Here's the rest of the list (keep in mind, I've got 7 bowl dinners packed in with all this):

Chicken Chimichangas (2 pkgs)
Tamales (3 pkgs)
Roasted Corn
Pot Stickers (2 bags, pork for E, veggie for me)
Stuffed Chicken Breasts (3)
(actually those went into the fridge to defrost for tomorrow...)
Ratatouille (no I did not have to run upstairs to check the spelling on that,
Petit Peas
Roasted Red & Yellow Peppers
French Onion Soup (!) (2 servings. I have no idea how they packaged these, they're in a box!)

Hopefully those bowls will get eaten this week...after all, I don't have any home cooking to do. Thank you, Joe!

"And now for something completely different:"

Rubber rooster rubber rooster rubber rooster! Posted by Hello

Made this last night and posted it to my favorite stamping/sharing group at Yahoo, Stamped Art Scans. These ladies are really great, they always have something nice to say, and they share whatever they're working on. Doesn't have to be CTMH, which is a welcome relief. I belong to a couple of those groups already and I'm famous for saying "but this (or that) isn't CTMH" (usually patterned paper or cardstock. Some folks are picky about it. If they can't sell it, they don't want to see it. Stifling.)

Friday, January 28, 2005

Other than knitting...'s what I've been doing.

The Perfect Tree Posted by Hello

It felt good to get a layout done last weekend (clicking on the title will hopefully take you to a bigger version at I was with Lisa, who gave me (!) the Jolee's Boutique garland for the tree. A perfect match for papers from an old CTMH kit. The scrapbook store had the Quickutz die for the title.

I wish CTMH would come up with a great journaling line stamp like Stampin' Up has (which I used here). I am so tired of coming up with a journaling box. I'm getting brave enough to stamp right on my finished layout and write away, while the images and memories are fresh.

Read on if you need a knitting fix...just thought I'd try this in two different entries, since the next one (which was actually my first today) is so dang long!

Startitis and Secret Pals

Yes, I have it. Startitis, as described by Bonnie Marie. I cleaned out my knitting box today (well, so far, only a box..and -gulp- 5 bags!) and I have 7 things in various stages of "started:"

1. Irish Hiking Scarf (my personal favorite WIP at the moment)
2. The Afghan (SOON to move to the FO list, swear to God!)
3. Green scarf (actually an FO) and hat (not yet started, really) set
4. Colori socks (one started...panicking...first socks, on toothpick needles!)
5. Cup cozy (have ripped twice, can't figure out double increase)
6. Yarn Girls hooded V-neck sweater (back started)
7. Black garter stitch-trimmed cardigan (swatch started)

I'll need Mom's help on the socks (she's already tried with the cup cozy), so that's a project for my Florida luggage...since the needles are metal, I can't take them on the plane. I don't think I'll really be able to knit on the plane anyway, not with a three year-old along. Eeeesh, what were we thinking? Well, we were thinking of not driving this, what exactly do you do in an enclosed space for three hours with a 3 yo? Besides buying drinks for everyone else on the plane?!

I'm really bummed that I didn't get in on the Secret Pal 4 swap. Only because I'm clueless, not because they're mean, or anything. I've seen the Fiber RAOK group, but don't think I read enough knitting blogs to be clued in to everyone (anyone, except Michelle!) on that list. But I love the questions for the SP swap. I'll answer them anyway, just because they're fun. Is that legal?

Props to Minxxy, Michelle, and Plath, who do have a clue!

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer high- end/natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?
I'm allergic to wool (not severely, just annoyingly, I'm okay if I layer) and especially to mohair (can't come within 5 feet of it!), but I don't care for 100% acrylic (so no on Red Heart). I was a LB Wool Ease fan, until I tried to block it. I'm intrigued by LB Landscapes and their Thick N Quick Chenille. I love, love, love silk yarns, and I'm very intrigued by linen, bamboo, and soy yarns.

I have been trying to find a nearby supplier for Adrafil's "Jumping" yarn, which I bought up north at a YS my mom frequents. Four hours is a long drive for yarn, but I love this stuff. Especially the red. I've done too many baby hats in Jumping's mint green to look at that color ever again!

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
I used to think I'd like to learn to spin, until I took inventory of my WIPs. Let me get my first sweater done, 'k? And I taught myself to crochet left-handed, but it proved weird and difficult, as is trying to re-learn righthanded. Sigh.

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)
I absolutely hate the smell of stale cigarette smoke. Otherwise, no on any other scent-related allergies. See wool allergies, above.

4. How long have you been knitting?
Since roughly June 2004 - started again after a 12-year hiatus with a fun-fur scarf for my massage therapist (I still need to give it to her! Bad gift knitter! Bad!)

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yes, but I hesitate to share it. Did when I was pregnant and somebody whined about me being greedy (asshole)! Gunshy.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
Coconut. Vanilla. Citrus. No florals but lilacs, which are a sentimental favorite.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?
Dark chocolate, baby. Sour candies, gummy bears. Jelly Bellies. Sour Jelly Bellies!

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
Scrapbooking and rubber stamping.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I wouldn't know an MP3 if it bit me on the ass. I have RealPlayer installed, but not all CDs work on it.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer?
Earthtones, black, rich purples, magenta, deep blue-greens. Hell, all greens except kelly. Pink & orange. Red (bluish, not orangey).

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
One 3 yo daughter and 30-something hubby. No more cats, thanks. A dog next. I'd love a horse (in my dreams).

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)
To have a second child, live to a ripe old age with my hubby, and enjoy grandkids someday. Live someplace warm. Maybe write a novel.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
Silk/wool or cotton/wool blends.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Novelty yarns, multicolored boucles.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
My first sweater and this crazy cup cozy.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
So far, hats. Hopefully, socks & sweaters!

17. What are you knitting right now?
See my WIP list, above! I'm obsessed with finishing my first sweater.

18. What do you think about ponchos?
I made myself one but I can't carry my backpack purse when I'm wearing it, so it's turned out lovely but rather useless. I'm greatly intrigued by shawls and lace knitting...

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
Straight, unless it's a hat.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Bamboo or metal, oddly enough! I love Inox needles. I've heard a lot about Addi Turbos but dang, they're expensive!

21. Are you a sock knitter?
Not yet. I have a book on socks done in sport weight yarn that looks waaaay easier than these damn #1 toothpicks I am working on right now!!!

22. How did you learn to knit?
My friend Kevin. I still have a sweater he designed and left to me when he took off for San Francisco in 2000.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
12-15 years old (when I first learned to knit), but it has been well and truly "rewired" for WIP #6, at top.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
My daughter is a die-hard Disney Princess fan, but I have lately found myself strangely intrigued by Tinkerbell. Go figure.

25. What is your favorite holiday?

26. Is there anything that you collect?
Not if I have to dust it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

What's for dessert: Crumb Cake (and camping memories)

Crumb Cake
Mix together:
3C flour
2C sugar
1/2t nutmeg
1t cinnamon
1/4t cloves
Cut in:
1C oleo or butter, softened (I'm a butter fan for baked goods)

Add to rest of crumbs:
1C buttermilk (or mix 2T vinegar + enough milk - at least 2% - to make 1C)
2 eggs
1t baking soda dissolved with a little vinegar

Put into greased 9x13 pan or two 8" cake pans (round)
Sprinkle with reserved crumbs
Bake at 300 degrees (yup, that low) for 1 hour

I made this cake for Carrie's party and was delighted when she gave me back what was left, as they were heading out of town the next day. Mmm...crumb cake.

It's a childhood recipe that instantly reminds me of our Lutheran church and the camping "club" we belonged to there. Crumb cake, along with camping cocoa (a horrible blend of cocoa and -UGH- dry milk) immediately brings back memories of rainy (without fail!) Memorial Day weekends, the smell of canvas and campfires, and the silence of fishing with my Dad.

Lake Chemung, 1969 Posted by Hello

Just the thought of getting 4 (!) kids together with camping gear makes me tired. I don't know how Mom did it. Then again, in this early trip, we rented a cabin, but still. Camping with four kids! That's one of my older brothers and my baby sister. I'm the one with toothpick legs, wearing the U of M sweatshirt. Spooky, huh?

E's main redeeming quality, in my Dad's eyes, is that he is a U of M grad. Dad was a huge Wolverines football fan from way back. Dad's biggest disappointment is that none of his kids managed to go there. Now I'm living in the backyard of the Big House, and both Dad and I have been to a home game, a dream come true for my Dad.

On the relationship front, E let it slip last night (when I shared my plans to knit at Zingerman's with the MeetUp group tonight) that he had arranged for a babysitter (surprise!) and wanted to take me out to dinner instead. I've been on his case about more romance (surprise is a major element for me) so this has already perked up my mood (and his, he was grinning ear to ear about his "secret" last night). Now if I just had something classy AND warm to wear...!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Happy thoughts

mmm...cables Posted by Hello

Cruising along on the Irish Hiking Scarf. Cabling is so soothing. Just eight rows and I'm back full-circle. The Cotton Fleece is lovely, soft and thick. Perfect. And no curling, thanks to the pattern's garter-stitch edge. It's a keeper.

And this made me laugh this morning. Who knew llamas were just like toddlers? I followed the link from Freddy's Llama-along link, which I have to think hard about before joining. I still have my first sweater (back only, so far) on needles, which I am dying to get to, and I just bought/set aside yarn for my first cardigan (black, Cascade 220) from this book (the garter-stitch edged cardigan on page 101). I have been looking for ages for a solid black winter cardigan to throw over...well, everything, and I since I've learned to knit, why not just make one, right? The fact that the shop had exactly the number of skeins I needed was the sign I was looking for.

I need happy stuff, because I got some sad news from an ex co-worker yesterday. I emailed her some silly stuff last week, which she almost always responds to, so when I didn't hear from her I feared the worst. Sure enough, she finally emailed me back yesterday and told me she (and two others, basically the school appearance team) got the ax.

I called her right away (around 10p) and the first thing she said was "you finally read your email!" We're going to get together next week (sans managers) with some other former co-workers and help her cry in her beer (or gin and tonic...this place makes a mean g&t).

It makes me glad I didn't get together with the ex-editor just after the holidays. I understand she's just a managerial pawn in this latest turn of events, but everyone is getting treatment I should have been offered, namely unemployment. But that's a whole story I've been trying to put behind me for a year now, and I have to let it go.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

What's For Dinner: I hate fish fish

I really hate fish (although I love seafood), yet somehow I recently came up with a recipe that is bearable to me. It was one of those moments when I bravely bought fish and came home to a weird mix of ingredients in my pantry (including the classic, I Have No Idea Which Recipe I Bought This For: Coconut Milk -not the "lite" stuff, either) and threw them together, thinking it sounded...right.

And lo, it was.

I Hate Fish Fish
I put aluminum foil over a broiling pan for easy clean-up. I've tried poaching fish in a variety of liquids and it still tastes fishy. Blech. You will need:

As many evenly-sized (small to medium) filets as you & yours will eat (I usually cook 3, Tess loves fish, go figure) of a light-tasting fish such as Orange Roughy or Tilapia (my personal favorite).

Coconut Milk (I suppose you could use Lite, but it's pretty runny. The regular stuff is like butter. No, really, spreadable - like butter). Spread this over the fish filets.

Sprinkle on top:
bread crumbs (go easy)
dried basil
dried ginger
sweetened coconut flakes (easy on this one, too, it burns like paper)

Unhook the smoke alarm (at least at my house. I can't broil a THING without the damn smoke alarm going off. Any hints? Let me know).

Broil at about 500 degrees, second rung down (not too close- see? I try) for just under 10 minutes.


My party went okay. People trickled in late so I never really got the whole intro-thing started. We just fell into conversation. I really need to open with the usual: thanks to the hostess, put down your catalogs and STOP TALKING, here's a project we're going to do (and then do it, myself, all the way through). Problems arise when people don't understand I have the floor. And that's my own fault. Yeah, being assertive, that's my strong point, snort.

Carrie had six people after all, including my buddy Ella, who MADE the party. Before she placed her order, I had a grand total of $64.65 in sales. Yup, five people ordered about $12 each. That's one paper pack. I'd say that's pretty lame but they were mostly housewives, and I know what my budget is as a housewife. I'd try to order at least $25 worth, though. I mean really. $12. I'd want to at least make the shipping and handling worthwhile, not to mention help out the hostess with her party rewards.

But with Ella's order, and Karen's outside order, the total came closer to $280. I've learned not to order anything for myself, especially as I'm only making 10% commission as a Junior Consultant and I've already put out $50 in supplies for the party.

But hurrah, now I'm a full-time consultant again (as soon as I write my nyah-nyah letter to corp). Hopefully I can get a few more parties under my belt in April (and July...and October...) and keep that status for the rest of the year.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Party plans

Tomorrow's card projectPosted by Hello

Woke up this morning in a slight panic about my CTMH party tomorrow. I haven't done one since Mom's, last May! Somehow, though, I feel that I know more now than when I did my first party, last January, even though I've only done a grand total of 3 parties since becoming a consultant in November of 2003.

My mom's party was (to me) a disaster. She meets with a stamping group once a month; the women she meets with are known to show off a card they've worked on (one card!) for two hours. I put together some fun (quick) projects for them: mini comp books, a card with glitter using our awesome Write N Rub pen; then, there was the great mini-scrapbook promotion going on that month: a 6x6 album with all the pages done already (just add photos). I'm still selling that one, at the regular price.

For starters, my mom thought only 5 ladies could come, since that's all that RSVPed. The morning of the party, she had 6 more reply! We ran to the post office to make copies of the order forms (I think I'd planned for 7 total, just to be safe, but...eleven! Yikes).

Then, once the gals got the catalogs in their hands (and got together for the first time in weeks), it was yak, yak, yak. I could barely introduce myself, yet alone show them projects! I had one lady do a card (pretty much on her own), and I walked one gal through a mini comp book. Overall, sales-wise, it was a decent party, $600 - nothing to sneeze at - but my Mom won't do it again. She feels compelled to invite people that don't stamp or scrap, and a couple of those gals ordered things they've never used, so she feels bad, like she pushed them to order. My opinion is, let me do a workshop that gets them using that stuff! Even if it's a year old. Sheesh. I can't even get my Mom to have a party!

I called Carrie, my hostess, right after I met with Karen on Tuesday, to let her know that her party was off to a good start (with an outside order from me), and she told me she only had two definites, but was going to call some more on Wednesday to get a response.

As usual, they are more of a scrapbooking than stamping crowd, which I can make work. My first party, my own Jump Start party (where I was consultant AND hostess, and I got all the hostess rewards), I think I sold only one stamp set, and still had a $350 party - on just cardstock, patterned paper, and albums.

So it's a toss-up. I love presenting stuff, I've never had a problem with public speaking (the usual nerves, but they disappear once I get into my groove), but it's going to be a tough sell when I can hear crickets. In winter.

In the spirit of Not a Damn Dime Day, I figured out how to use my scanner as a copier today, and put together a scrapbook project for them as well as the card project (who knows, some of them might be thinking about stamping. Can't hurt to have a nice Valentine's card to take home). I've got everything all together (I think) and I'm rarin' to go.

Back to knitting ('cos I feel guilty if I don't write SOMETHING about it), I have only one more round of single crochet around The Afghan, and I am done. Notice I didn't say I am done! (exclamation point...) Because I'm still not happy with it, but I realized my inlaws are tickled that I knit them something for Christmas. And that will have to be enough. Live-n-learn. C'est la vie. Okay, I will stop now.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Curling, Part...?

The curling continues... Posted by Hello

Another FO! Yay me. This was, truly, the first project I picked out after my crocheted scarf.

Mom shared a blocking technique from a friend of hers (who swears by this method), using an upholstery block, T-pins, and a spritz bottle. Get it good and wet and let it dry overnight. It behaved until I wore it; the warmth of my body un-blocked it (this is where that Downy Wrinkle Releaser-technique might come in handy...I wonder if it smells all perfumey, though?)

Also, the pattern called for a silk/wool blend, but I went cheap (and comfortable, for me) with a cotton/acrylic blend ($3 a skein as opposed to $6 a skein). Perhaps that is my overall problem. Hey, I'd love to use the quality stuff, but being allergic to wool doesn't make it worthwhile. I wear a beloved knit hat with merino ribbing, but it drives me insane with itching! I've been waiting to get used to it all luck so far.

I have a matching hat for this scarf to knit yet, but I'm trying to figure out how to do it in the round as opposed to the flat method in the pattern. So far all I've figured out is that I'll have to get rid of a couple of cast-on stitches, to make up for the seam and keep the pattern intact.

In non-curling news, I have my first Close To My Heart party since May, this Friday at my friend Carrie's. Karen helped it get off to a great start by meeting me at Jungle Java, where we ended up sitting in my car so she could look through a new catalog (she can't make it to the party on Friday). Wouldn't you know it, after talking about visiting Jungle Java all day with Tess (who was almost looking forward to it, as I assured her "Kicking Boy" would NOT be there), she fell soundly asleep and didn't wake up until we were safely back at home.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


I haven't been writing because I've been knitting...or rather, crocheting. The edge on my in-law's blanket, to be exact. Mom showed me how to crochet (again) while she was down here the weekend before last, and I've been struggling with it ever since.

Part of the problem is, I taught myself (about this time last year!) to crochet left-handed (I'm extremely left-handed). So I'm un-learning and learning at the same time. The good thing is, last year, after crocheting my mile-long scarf (which I never wear; Homespun in crochet is just too heavy and the scarf is truly too long) I got into knitting "instead." So maybe this year's lesson in crochet will drive me to new knitting.

I'm crocheting too tight (as I did with knitting when I first learned), so the edges are not calming down, despite pre-blocking them before finishing. One of the gals in my MeetUp knitting group has suggested Downy Wrinkle Releaser, spritzed on and left to dry, although this afghan is a bit big for that, I might be desperate enough to give it a try.

I did get a great new start on my Irish Hiking Scarf: I forgot I had two skeins of Brown Sheep's Cotton Fleece in a soft, off-white. I bought two skeins to play with gauge (I wanted chunky, and got 3.5 stitches to the inch on a #9 needle, with two strands held together), and with 200+ yards on each skein, I have more than enough left to finish my Hiking Scarf. It's turning out a bit loose, but soft and pretty and very Aran-looking in the off-white. Pictures soon.

Writing. Goodness. I haven't written a word (except for my daily diary) since the new year began. I took Julia Cameron's Vein of Gold out from the library (again...I really just need to buy it) and finally looked it over this morning. After finishing another glorious Rosamund Pilcher book, I realized Cameron was right about putting down your own Narrative Time Line - like Danielle Steele (not anyone I aspire to be, but a best-seller, like Pilcher), Pilcher, I've found, is writing her own life story (revolving around WWII; always a lost love, somebody perfect, main character comes into a chunk of money which eases early worries, etc. etc.) over and over.

It might help me clarify my writing if I put to paper my own life, with all it's ups and downs. As Cameron so eloquently puts it, "If our self is still hidden from our view, invisible and inaudible to us due to its being cloaked in the interpretation of others, we may quite naturally fear we have nothing to say."

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Tess is watching Ice Age again, I've been able to sneak in a shower, and this entry is thanks to Unfurnished Brooklyn:

1. Denise
2. NEEsers*
3. Dee
*yes, it's spelled that way. It's a pronunciation thing...

1. dbcapra
2. motownlady
3. motown66

1. my cooking skills
2. my sense of smell
3. I think I'm a pretty good mom

1. need to work on my sense of humor (about myself)
2. tendency to get depressed
3. tendency to slack off

1. Polish
2. Finnish
3. French

1. bees
2. wasps
3. cars/trucks coming up from behind at a high speed*
*still freaked out from our accident, Christmas 2003!

1. orange juice
2. breakfast
3. coffee that order!

1. black turtleneck
2. black jeans
3. olive green pashmina

1. Joe Mugg's Coffeehouse CD #1 (various artists)
2. Jim Croce
3. Rufus Wainwright

1. Mercury (Kathleen Edwards off of #1, above)
2. Time in a Bottle (guess who)
3. California (R. Wainwright)

1. Pilates
2. crocheting right handed
3. singles tennis

1. romance
2. sense of humor
3. lighten up about "budgets" and money in general (ya right)

1. I have an ex-fiancee
2. He needed psychiatric help
3. He got it

1. hands
2. eyes
3. tush

1. ride a roller coaster
2. sky dive
3. drugs

1. knitting
2. rubber stamping/paper crafts
3. cooking

1. have more coffee
2. finish cleaning up Christmas decorations
3. get Tess playing quietly

1. librarian
2. writer
3. historian

1. St. Petersburg
2. Paris
3. New Zealand

1. Lara
2. Finn
3. Audrey

1. get to the top of the Eiffel Tower
2. write a book
3. design a sweater

1. I love climbing trees
2. I'm pretty good with the mechanical stuff
3. I like watching football

1. I love shopping for clothes
2. I worry about my weight
3. I cry at the drop of a hat

1. Jon Stewart
2. Denis Leary
3. Jude Law (hey, I'm only human!)

I'm working on my 100 Things About Me list, too...but will be back to regularly scheduled programming soon.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Silly ole girl

Sorry, I've had way too much fun taking pictures of Tess this weekend. She's really been testing boundaries lately so the sillyness and girlyness is a welcome relief.

Yuk Posted by Hello

First, we've had a taste for our toes. E thought this would be a pretty risque shot, but we have full (ahem - actually empty) diaper coverage here. Besides, look at that expression on her face while she munches away! (after I just asked her to stop...)

Barre fly Posted by Hello

She is really into her fairy dress and (numerous) tutus, as well as music and dancing, so when a ballet barre was requested (after reading a book about a girl who's father sets one up in her room), Daddy jumped to the task and had one up by sunset. We're still contemplating the idea of having a mirror on the wall across from her bed...

Now, if I could just get her to play another CD besides Nutcracker. Or I'm gonna crack.

Sweetness and light Posted by Hello

The dress-up obsession continues with some tulle left over from a holiday gift: a (you guessed it) tutu her cousin made for her. Tess put the leftover material on her head but it wouldn't stay on until Mom came up with the Bridal Crown Solution. I forgot flowers as well, but we soon put that right.

Hippo/Diego Posted by Hello

I've been putting this yellow hippo in Tess's bed since she was an infant, in hopes she would pick it as her lovey. She fell in love with tutus instead, which worked out well, portability-wise. But lately she has taken to mothering the hippo (which always seems to be crying, for some reason) and even named it "Diego" after the sabertooth cat character in Ice Age. Funny, because I've had a secret crush on Denis Leary for years...

Just don't eat my yogurt, please! Posted by Hello

Mom brought her dauschund, Abby, down with her this weekend. Despite Tess's fear that Abby will eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner right out of her hand (Abby is now on the "Don't YOOK at me!" list), when the heat comes on under my kitchen sink, they are right there together sharing in the warmth.

And yes, the fairy costume came with wings.

At least Abby asks nicely Posted by Hello

Hard to see Abby in the background here, but she can sit up and beg until you fall over. Even if it is only homemade playdough.

Basket case Posted by Hello

I always panic when Tess gets quiet. This time she managed to climb up onto our bed, dragging her Dora blanket, a pillow, Diego, and an empty toy box (her "canopy") with her to snuggle up and look out the window. Whew.

If you can stand it, tomorrow (or whenever I next post), I have pictures from the Fisher Building in downtown Detroit. Yes, I dragged Mom to City Knits. But I never had a chance to look around - I was too busy chasing down Tess.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Evening off

Nothing like an "evening off" to refresh my mood. I took off last night despite the crummy weather as soon as E got in and sat down to dinner. I took his SUV so that I could get through the roads and headed to Knit A Round. Closed - bummer. I was hoping to start a new Irish Hiking Scarf in Cascade 220. Gorgeous colors and plenty of yardage (and, at $6 a skein, inexpensive- our key word from yesterday). But alas, the universe interfered with my knitalong plans yet again. Mom's in town this weekend, though, so I shall return to a yarn shop - any yarn shop! - and not be daunted. It's turned out to be a quick, fun pattern to knit, so I should be able to start a new one in another color (with enough yardage!) to still get it done by the deadline.

Speaking of Ireland (sort of), I have been been inspired by Karen D's latest entry about synchronicity~messages from the future~weird symbolism, and found a number of signs of my own to interpret. First, the Irish Hiking Scarf, then the finishing of Andrew M. Greeley's Irish Gold. I was ready to throw this book across the room on a number of occasions (horrible repetitive writing, two-dimensional characters, I'll never read another) except that it made me nostalgic for my trip to Ireland, back in 1988.

On the Cliffs of Moher

Hanging out at Windmill Lane (catching a glimpse of Larry Mullen, U2's drummer), getting used to the taste of Guiness (still love it), classes at Trinity College (it was a summer studies program), my host family's Corgi (still love that breed), my lonely trip to Galway & the Cliffs of Moher (got my Unforgettable Fire cover shot - see above) because I promised my mother I would not travel to the North of Ireland (and my roommate/buddies were headed to Belfast that weekend), O'Brien's tower, (many) ruins of abbeys and cathedrals, Celtic crosses, walking around Dublin (and around, and around, and...we had to walk everywhere) after taking a green double-decker bus (#62) from Goatstown Road...I could go on (I think I have)...

That's a scrapbook I have yet to put together. Gotta find my negatives and get my memorabilia out of the magnetic album I (still) have them in. Ouch - acid eating away at everything...

After my disappointment on north campus (where Knit A Round is), I headed to downtown Ann Arbor for a taste of my winter vice - Seva's (vegan) Cocoa Cake, and a cup of decaf coffee. Can't resist. To burn it off, I walked the two blocks to Borders flagship store (store #1, where it all began).

Something I read online yesterday (spent waaay too much time online yesterday) made me think of looking up Proust - I've never read his work. I found an inexpensive mass market of the first volume of In Search of Lost Time (a.k.a. Remembrance of Things Past), Swann's Way, only $6.95. The original translation (1954?) of the first volume was $20, and I am all about saving money (see yesterday's entry).

There was an even newer (2000) translation but it was still $14. I realized after deliberating for 20 minutes that I just need to READ it, I am not a translation snob, so I went for the cheap (1981) version. To be sure, I compared the first couple of pages of that to the 1954 version, and they were virtually the same, except for some flowery language in the older one (which I'm happy to avoid).

On my way to checkout, I came across a book (hardcover, $22, no thanks) that cracked me up, French Women Don't Get Fat. I'm part French (paternal grandfather) and have always wanted to visit France, so I picked it up out of cultural curiosity (not that I'm also looking for diet tips, heh). The chapter on chocolate made me laugh out loud, but I'll wait for the trade paperback version.

Ireland and France - lots of travel signs for me. Not that I can do anything about it, but it's nice to dream.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


I'm in the dumps. It's winter, I know. I wish we could all hibernate, like bears. All I want to do is eat and sleep. I have been managing to work out every other day, which is good, except that it makes me want to eat more.

E and I have a truce right now. It's the budget again, always is. The thing is, when my spending is limited, I feel like I'm a teenager, handing over my paycheck to mom and dad. Only now I'm not earning a paycheck.

I've run out of Rose Heather yarn for my Irish Hiking Scarf. I've been to two JoAnn's stores and they are out of everything. When they re-stock it will probably be spring colors. Perhaps I'll just have to do something daring, and work the scarf in different colors. That would be a conversation-starter (it would start something like this: "Looks like she ran out of yarn!" and continue, "Poor dear, she's on a restricted budget.")

Tess is yelling for me again. She's been playing upstairs quietly, which usually means one thing - time for a diaper change. I almost miss the "two-minute warning" she used to give as a baby (grunting, red in the face, funny noises, etc.). Sigh. Back to work.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Journal for Patti

Journal for Patti Posted by Hello

Last year I used decorated composition books exclusively for my journal(s) (I ended up needing 4 of them). I had a ton of comp books left over from a craft fair I prepared for in the fall of 2003; a total waste of time as I did not sell ONE. Might as well put them to good use, right?

This year I'm back to my standard Borders clearance journals, one of the large ones, with 300+ lined pages. It's good to know I'll get the whole year into one book. I sat up late Sunday night and decorated the inside cover with my favorite stamps (the cover is black fabric this year, so I could only stamp the outside cover in metallics and white), just to get the creative juices flowing and to start playing with my stamps again (I have so many, and not all Close To My Heart. Jody Poesy is a favorite, and featured heavily on the journal I created for Patti).

I pulled a blank comp book out once I'd decorated my journal for 2005 and just had fun with it. Only I opened it after I decorated it, and discovered I'd decorated it upside down -- D'OH. I went to bed and took care of it on Sunday morning -- and added fibers and silver photo corners while I was at it.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Finished Stuff (Knitted)

Waldorf Doll
Nature Spun yarn
Finished May 16, 2006

Waldorf doll
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

Pink Fluffy Cloud Sweater
Peter Pan's "Wendy" yarn (seriously)
Finished March 14, 2006
That's one happy kid!

pink fluffly cloud sweater
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

Wedding Shawl
Dropps cotton viscose, simple garter stitch shawl
Finished March 12, 2006 ,
despite some SERIOUS 1st trimester, all-day nausea.
What can I say, I had a deadline!!

shawl front
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

HP Gryffindor Scarf
Plymouth Encore Yarn (burgundy)
and Dalegarn (gold)
Finished (?) November 25, 2005
(after HP IV movie premiered!)
WIP photo taken October 26, 2005
(finished project photo features me looking really ugly, sorry)

POA Scarf
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

First Sock-Yarn Socks
Fortissima's Disco Colori yarn,
free pattern from Patternworks
Finished November 11, 2005

First socks
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

Circus Socks
Artful Yarn's "Circus," pattern on ball band.
Finished September 15, 2005
One skein made one pair. I worked with what I had -- size 10 DPs, instead of the 11s called for, so these turned out small. Turned out perfect for my MIL, who's birthday was coming up and who has tiny feet. Thanks to my SP4, Cece, for the yarn!

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Baby hat & booties
Knit Picks Shine Twist
Finished August 28, 2005

With the successful turning of my first heel (yay me!) I turned to an old pattern (meant for Adrafil Jumping yarn) and quickly knit up this set (previously I'd only braved the hat). Unfortunately, because I substituted yarn (Knit Picks' Shine Twist, AMAZINGLY soft & great for baby stuff), my gauge was quite loose and got looser as I worked, so one bootie turned out bigger (!) than the other (artfully hidden here...ya right). So technically, this is my first pair of finished socks (still working on my second adult sock), but they're a little off.

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Fairy Socks
My own pattern, regular sock yarn,
size 0000 needles (no kidding!)
Finished August 11, 2005 and
donated to the Urban Fairy residing at Sweetwaters Cafe
in downtown Ann Arbor, MI
Update: Mentioned in the Washington Post article on
the fairy doors of A2!

Oscar hat & scarf
Plymouth Stone Cotton, Plymouth Yarns pattern
Finished March 16, 2005

Posted by Hello

Cup Cozy,
pattern by Mariko,
via MagKnits
finished February 2005

Posted by Hello

The Afghan, due Christmas Eve 2004,
gifted February 14, 2005 (oops) to inlaws
Knitted with Lion's Brand Wool-Ease
Pattern from Yarn Girl's Guide to Simple Knits

Posted by Hello

Hubby's hat
Ann Norling's "Any Gauge, Any Hat" pattern
Old Rowan yarn (dark grey)
Finished November 2004, gifted Christmas Day
(yay me!)

The Cap Posted by Hello

Plymouth Encore, two strands held together
Finished October 2004

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Burly Spun/Italian Blue scarf
with #35 needles (!)
Finished October 2004

Bulky scarf Posted by Hello

W.U.S. (World's Ugliest Scarf)
The (crocheted) scarf that started it all...
Spring 2004
...then I decided to try knitting again!

Posted by Hello