"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.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Knitting without points

The things you'll do to keep a sick (again) toddler amused. Just like me (as a child), she loves munching on uncooked pasta. But her idea of "knitting" involves unwinding an entire ball of yarn, so I combined the two tasks and tried to teach her to knit today. Her dad will be happy to note it did not involve any life-threatening sharp objects (yes, he puts knitting needles in that catagory...sigh).

(a.k.a using uncooked fettuchini noodles)Posted by Hello

Not that she was able to get the hang of it, but it kept her occupied for a whole minute. Enough to get the spaghetti sauce turned on and the noodles stirred.

The only downfall... Posted by Hello

Tess had a 101 fever last night, and again this morning. No vomiting, though, thank goodness. A tickly cough that came and went, nothing chesty or serious. But after being allowed to play outside nearly all day yesterday, being trapped indoors today was a bit more than she (or I!) could take.

Oh, yes, you might notice that Cinderella is so last month! She got a new princess outfit for Easter. The Cinderella ballgown was more like a rag, so I was happy to make the switch. She really wanted a Belle outfit, but there were none to be found anywhere. Snow White was close enough, as it has a yellow "golden" skirt. Thank goodness she didn't go for the Sleeping Beauty costume, that involved long net sleeves that would have lasted about a day.

We gardened together yesterday. Sixty degrees, wha-hoo! Fever later, boo.

Tonight was a (brief) night off for me; I picked up the new You Grow Girl book at Nicola's. Highly recommended (the book, not necessarily the bookstore. Independently owned, good; owner "issues," bad. I frequent it only because it's nearby...long story).

The YGG site was my home page for a while but I've discovered the Garden Web forums. I start with such enthusiasm every year but always fall apart with unanswered questions, so I'll be over at the GW forums a lot, asking away. I've "inherited" -- read: bought a house with -- perennial gardens up the wazoo, which I was promised by my home inspector would need no maintenance; she lied. They are monstrosities of maintenance, and, curbed by my lack of knowledge and fear of bees & wasps (helpful little garden visitors, actually), I get overwhelmed every year.

This year I'm taking it slow. I want to get stuff cleaned up early and then just get out of the way. I have some flowers started indoors from seed, some new plant ideas (marigolds, onions) that should help with the nastier pests, and some plants that will actually attract Those That Should Not Be Named (even if they are helpful), which will be planted FAR AWAY from my back door flower garden, directing TTSNBN away from my acute peripheral vision. It's a start.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Paper bag scrapbooks and magic mermaids

These are wildly popular right now. Only problem is, they are very, very, very NOT acid free. Yup, in about a year all that hard work will crumble into dust. Haha, not really, but it does make me think twice about making one. Then again, there's a wonderful sense of creative freedom allowed with such a temporary medium. If you screw up, it won't really matter, will it?

Here's another, more colorful, CTMH-related paper bag book link: Brenda Harmless' instructions involve cutting off the bottoms of the bags. Not sure of the advantages, but seems like a slimmer alternative. That would be important when it comes to sewing together the binding.

Mom called yesterday, she thought to visit another knit shop in Florida and they had a skein of Velvet Touch in my dye lot! Good thinking, Mom!! Oh, and they have some very beautiful Magic Friends of the Sea to knit, in a kit. Hmm...well, now I'll have enough Velvet Touch left over to make one of Kate's bunnies (got the pattern last week). Once I see how knitted toy-making goes, I may give that kit a try.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

A decent night of cropping

The last time I said I was "off to crop" I didn't actually get to crop, due to a registered-croppers-only event at the store that night. I was just back from vacation and forgot to check the store calendar. Another lesson learned.

I've decided this year I need to scan my layouts as soon as I finish them; I'd like to have all of my album pages on a backup CD. Not that it's the ideal image ("stitching" 12x12 layouts together with scanner software creates dark vertical lines on the final image), but at least if anything happens to my albums, I've saved all that hard work somewhere.

Larger, more clear images can be seen here.

You'd think I'd be tired of Disney Princesses by now. Almost.

Cinderella's Royal Table Posted by Hello

I had so much fun with 3-D Jolee's stickers and flat Sandylion/Disney stickers on this one. I mount the flat stickers on cardstock, cut them out, then put a pop dot under them to give them the same 3-D look as the Jolee's. That's an idea from my favorite idea book, Pinecone Press' Tag and Eyelet Book. I've had this one a few years and I'm always referring to it, mostly for reminders of how to do different things with stickers. You're always tempted to just throw them on the page, which can lead to the "sticker sneeze" effect: stickers all over the place with no dimension or order.

I found a new book last night that I kept "visiting" as I cropped: Memory Maker's Tags Reinvented. It was a bit pricey at $20 but I get an awesome discount (25%) as a "V.I.P." member at my local scrapbooking store. A $15 purchase seemed much more justifiable. I've been pouring over it all morning and have a ton of new techniques I'm looking forward to trying out. I like that it focuses on techniques, one by one, and shows "in progress" photos of certain techniques. No ads, either. That's what drives me insane with most of Creating Keepsakes' books.

And tags are a great way to experiment with new techniques in small doses, instead of trying to apply mesh, dimensional glue, distracting collage layers, etc. etc., to an entire page or layout.

Ariel and Belle pictures Posted by Hello

Kind of tricky with two different Princess color schemes, but it worked out okay, with Ariel's red hair and Belle's blue dress colors crossing over on each page.

Two Disney layouts down, two to go...but most likely not until next weekend. Resume knitting, everyone.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Crane Awakening

This is the first morning all week I woke up without the sound of sandhill cranes flying overhead. Crazy as their call is (you'll hear it when you go to the site above - like windmills that need a serious oiling), it was comforting. A sound of spring.

If someone were to ask me what cartoon character I most resemble (yes, I have no transition for this next subject), Shelleyness has already answered that for you: Smithers (I really miss Shelley, BTW. Ah well, babies do that to you). I don't come out well in these comparisons (see: Nellie Olsen, yesterday). But then again, if I'm Shelley's Smithers, that makes her Burns, so it evens out.

And so it was with typical Smithers adoration that I followed the crowd when Yarn Harlot put up a link for Take Back The Knit. I just got my copy yesterday. I love zines. And mail, so it was a double thrill. I might even submit something for Jae's next knitting zine, I'm that inspired.

I'm also hungry, because I ordered up her vegan/freegan zine, Ripe (#2) as well. My curiousity was piqued because it's a winter issue, and it can be hard to cook with fresh veggies in the winter. She's got terrific pantry-stocking advice in it, which I can easily fulfill living in Ann Arbor, hippie ground zero (I kid because I love).

I'm looking forward to testing some of these recipes out on my inlaws. My MIL cooks vegan for my FIL, who has been ill with advanced prostate cancer going on 3 years now. I think he is surviving due to her diligence with a vegan diet.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

PSSO I love you; Five Questions

Tess' sweater back - done! Posted by Hello

I stayed up until 11:30p last night, so entranced by the K1, PSSO, K1 and K2tog routine was I. I gave up with about 18 rows to go, thinking it would take me another hour or so to finish it up. Forgetting, of course, that the further I went, the less stitches I had to work with. D'oh! So it only took me 20 minutes this morning to finish.

My first-ever sweater back! Does it always stay this exciting? Or am I just a big knitting dork?

I stopped by the shop last night and was surprised to see Lynne workin' her drop-in knittin' thang. (yes, dearie, I will get to your questions in a sec!) Gotta love antibiotics. It's good she's up and about, even if she does hate my green hat my green hat made her mad (I hate the word hate, why did I use it? Twice?!) I hated (there I go again!) was mad that the fushia fizz Velvet Touch they had on hand was nowhere close to matching the dye lot I have (it's way duller than mine), so, we're even. At least they have an ordering staff who MIGHT be able to do a shop swap and get me JUST ONE MORE skein of the right dye lot (color 1216, lot 5313, if anyone out there might know of another resource that could help me. Just in case). I might be able to finish this up without it, but I had to go down 3 needles sizes to get gauge, so I have a sinking feeling I might need that security skein.

Sent off my swatch to Mom this morning, so that she can take it in to the shop in Punta Gorda and see for herself that that last skein I left behind (lesson learned!) isn't still there. She said the gal on the phone wasn't very enthusiastic or helpful, so Mom offered to go there again (yeah, big sacrifice, Mom, haha) and check it out. Who knows, maybe that the girl on the phone only took a cursory glance and that last fushia fizz skein is sitting waaaay in the back/bottom of the bin.

So, Lynne's questions. Here's the deal...If you would like to participate in this blogging phenomenon, follow these simple steps:

1. Leave me a comment saying “interview me.”
2. I will respond by asking you five questions here. They will be different questions than the ones below.
3. You will update YOUR blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Here's my answers, Oh Great Drop-In One:
  1. What is your all-time favorite book?
    I have to pick just one?! Impossible. I loved all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books as a child, and Charlotte's Web, then moved on to Watership Down, stopped reading in high school (AP English will do that to you, although I loved Return of the Native for reasons that are lost to me now), then have had such a steady diet of good books since my early twenties that it would be hard to pick one. Phillipa Gregory made me love historical fiction with The Other Boylen Girl. I can finish anything Rosamund Pilcher writes in about 2 days (though I hate hesitate to finish her books). And, I have very fond memories of Loon Feather, since it takes place on my favorite island, Mackinac, and has some fantastic Michigan native history (a female lead character is always most intriguing to me, too).
  2. Describe the coolest thing you ever knit.
    So far, my cup cozy always makes me smile!
  3. What character from children's literature do you most identify with?
    Nellie Olsen. Yup, the snotty blonde girl. Although my father never owned a general store and we were never rich. I always get cast (mainly in musicals) as the snotty girl/mean lady. Go figure. Oh, and Wilbur the pig always pulled at my heartstrings. How's that for confused?
  4. Would scrapbooking be a good way for me to get organized? Or is it the short path to the loony bin for the chronically disarrayed?
    Oh, that is the shortest of shortest paths, m'dear. Just get a photo box (you can get some decorative ones at JoAnn's or Michael's) and start sorting to your liking -- by kid, by years, by events, whatever floats your boat. Write some thoughts down on index cards as you go through the pictures (if anything comes to mind). The journey of a thousand miles...
  5. If I gave you a ball of cotton yarn would you make a couple of dishcloths for project Scrubbie?
    Hey! You already asked this question! Aw, that's okay. Actually, I have some green cotton left over from my Oscar hat & scarf...
    >>insert evil laugh<<
    --alas, it has acrylic in it. Would that do?
    Either way, the answer is yes, of course. Because I donated to the American Red Cross just SECONDS before Yarn Harlot started Knitters Without Borders, and I'm still feeling left out.

    Especially if the scrubbie involves a PSSO.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The potty training is going...well... Posted by Hello

Join the Gang!

Totally non-knitting related (Tess & I are doing online research on skunks, squirrels, and raccoons):

I'd join, but cool names like The Reverend are already taken. Oh, and Bob.

Here's the Pinky Fluffy Cloud Sweater, so far. I'm really cranking on this, and I've only been out to a knitting group once this week (Monday night at the Chocolate Cafe). Which turned out to be only me. Looks like everyone else is sick, too. All I have is a bad head cold, so I'm thankful.

Tess' sweater, back. Almost time to decrease! Posted by Hello

Take care, ladies!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Sickly weekend

Another 2004 layout done... Posted by Hello

No cropping for me this past Friday. We actually had Tess at the doctor's around 2p, she was that sick. Eyes glazed over, groaning instead of giving a simple yes or no to my questions, STILL vomiting, almost 48 hours later.

E insisted on giving her chicken broth as we left for the doctor's; stupid me, I forgot to let him know that the sodium in broth would dehydrate her even worse. Well, if it had stayed in her, it would have. The car ride might have made her woozy, too, so I can't entirely blame it on E. Although he kept forcing liquids down her at an alarming rate at the doctor's. Again, they didn't stay in her for long.

The doctor thought she was "mildly dehydrated" but not enough to warrant a visit to the ER that afternoon. I brought my knitting, just in case. Like I'd be able to knit if my daughter were hooked up to an IV. Shudder.

She had two more bouts of vomiting after we got home, then all was quiet. She very slowly munched 3 bites of banana on Saturday morning and I restrained myself from doing the happy dance (just in case I jinxed it). It was so spooky to see her zoned out on Friday, and to not hear her (incessant) voice. She was still weak today but playing it up a bit. She took a bath tonight and sat up in the tub for a good 20 minutes, so I knew she was faking a bit.

She's regressed: "I'm not a big girl, I'm a little baaaaby," she says, wanting to be carried everywhere. Once you've kept down pizza, the free ride's over, girlfriend.

So today I stayed home locked in my scraproom unti I finished the above layout. I got my Close To My Heart package on Friday and it was nice to be at home, surrounded by my stamps and inks, just playing. The layout design is from a CTMH "book," more like a pamphlet, called the ABC Scrapbooking Program. A little random stamping, some metallic cardstock, simple but elegant, despite the silly theme of the photos. Tess is dancing with her aunt in the upper left photo, munching on a big ole turkey leg in the one on the right. Hey, it's just good to see her eating again.

Tommorow -- the pink fluffy clouds making up her Velvet Touch sweater. Mmmmm...

Friday, March 18, 2005

Last night at Cleary's...

Yes, I did actually leave my sick child at home and go out for a Guinness last night...shame, shame. But I do love me some Guinness, especially on St. Patrick's Day. I can wear my Trinity College T-shirt. I came by it honestly!

Sorta came in handy that my new hat -n- scarf set are GREEN!

Image hosted by

Stacey -n- me...Posted by Hello

Check out her NEW RING!!! Posted by Hello

And her lucky socks! Posted by Hello

Tess is hanging in there. Pretty lethargic. I could give you gory details about what's coming out of what end, but I'll spare you. We took her to the doctor's today, she is only mildly dehydrated. E insisted on giving her chicken broth before we left the house; of course she threw it up (and a bunch of water/Pedialyte) in the doctor's waiting room! Yikes. Other than that incident, the vomiting has calmed down. Now for the other end...

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Just a little color, please

Tess has been mighty ill since 4:30p yesterday. Here's a tip for parents: if there is even a HINT of stomach flu going around, DO NOT give your child Superman ice cream. Not only is that blue dye permanent, it is completely freaky coming out of your child's mouth.

Oscar hat and scarf! Posted by Hello

Having a three-way mirror in our bathroom is rather handy for photographing hat & scarf projects. I'm trying to tilt my head to show off the decrease in the hat while centering and focusing my camera lens, thus the goofy pose. I'm not that in love with my reflection.

I have two skeins left of the yarn I used - Plymouth's Stone Cotton (52% cotton, 48% acrylic). It's a lovely shade of green with flecks of turquoise. Each skein is 106 yards, enough for a scarf or a hat, plus I have about a third of a skein left over from making my hat, so I have about 250 yards total. Let me know if you'd like to trade, a la Jenn. Sadly (or perhaps not), I don't have enough stash to make a trade with her right now.

Or perhaps I should just gift it to Rabbitch? I hear she's always looking for some green cotton. Anyone have her address?! Haha.

I'd love some more of this Peter Pan's "Wendy/Velvet Touch" I started working with yesterday. The color (fuschia fizz, bright pink w/orange) is just what I need to welcome in spring. It is coming, isn't it? Like, Monday - right?! I just can't bring myself to work on my "musk" (read: boring dusky fleshtone) or black sweaters right now.

I've called my mom to pick up more of it while she's still down in Florida. I left one skein at the shop, hopefully it's still there. I'm starting a sweater for Tess but can't get the gauge right. I've gone from a size 7 to a size 5 needle (tried out a 6 in there, too), and the gauge is staying at 4-4.5 stitches to the inch. I need 4.75 and I'm being picky. What's really weird is that I got 4.5/inch on the 7s and 6s, but it went to 4/inch on a size 5 needle...WTH?! I can't believe I have to make this sweater in size 4 needles; that just seems wrong.

I'd like extra, too, just because Kate finally got to me. This yarn is perfect for her bunnies, soooo soft! Temptress!

Little gardener Posted by Hello

Hope springs eternal. I've planted hollyhock, poppy, and morning glory seeds. I like that there's still snow on the ground outside my kitchen windowbox. And the little nun planter came from my friend, Kris. When she moved to Portland, OR, she gave away all of her cool stuff (her grandmother's 1920s beaded headpiece! Sob!!) but she managed to salvage the planter and her 007 spy camera for me. Seriously, the camera is from the 1960s and fits in the palm of your hand. Very cool.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Seesaw Graphics

Not much to say today. Just found these ultra-cool Asian stamps, and had to share:

Seesaw Graphics

Beware - a little window pops up claiming you have to install a Chinese language program, but I hit Cancel and the images popped up just fine.

These are not your mother's Asian stamps!

I have my own Close To My Heart site now; it's pretty cool. Let me know if you want to view it. I'm goofy about posting personal info here.

I'll be getting my latest CTMH shipment on Thursday (St. Paddy's Day), including my first 12x12 (linen) album from them. I did some Florida pages and realized I didn't have an album for 2005! Oops. I figured I should probably have one from CTMH. Then I can use it for demos, too. Indian Corn Blue. I'm tired of navy blue and forest green albums, but not quite brave enough for a "Buttercup" pale yellow or "Garden (pale) Green" one yet. Unless I stop hauling my annual album to every crop...

I'm so geeked to be getting a linen album, finally! It's inexplicable.

Oh, and am I allowed to admit my fascination with Everyday Italian? Must be because it's on at 4:30p, about (hopefully) an hour before E gets home, and Tess is equally fascinated. Almost as good as her napping. And maybe she'll pick up some cooking tips. You know, once your kid knows how to make breakfast, you're home free...

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Blah blah blah

How did I get both of these things on the same day last week? Posted by Hello

Yup - my first Woodland Woolworks catalog (the Spinning version) and our b-day gift for Tess (a Disney World castle playset, with a miniature Sleeping Beauty and the infamous spinning wheel) came on the same day. Spooky.

I can't believe I haven't been around here for nearly 2 weeks. Sorry about that. I am so far behind on reading blogs. Vacation was a great re-charge for me, creatively, but alas, it's still winter out, and that has me indoors, brooding. And staying away from the computer, generally. It's such a colossal waste of time when I get on; I seem to get nothing done.

I went to a Stitch-n-Bitch this past Monday; it doesn't look like we'll get things rolling there anytime soon. The woman who started the Ann Arbor SnB group is peeved that people are trying to move away from Wednesdays at Starbucks, as she orginally planned. I don't know if it's fear of change or just bad weather keeping people away from the Chocolate Cafe on Mondays, but I was the only one there for a half hour, then one other gal showed up - without any knitting! - and didn't stay for long. The cafe owner is really trying to help us get going; seems there was interest while I was away on vacation, but it petered out.

And that's what I'm feeling right now - petered out. I've eased back into a regular workout routine, M-W-F at the gym, which has really saved me from getting ultra-depressed, but my energy levels in the evenings are still pretty low. Now if I could just get to bed before 11 p.m. - don't know what's up with that! I stay up late but get little done, just recharging from a day with a toddler.

Open houses for preschools are starting up. I'm hoping to get into the local co-op, but I hear space can be tight (it's the cheapest, at $12 a day, and parents - uh, make that MOMS - have to get involved on a regular basis) so I want some back-up plans. We have an open house on Saturday at 4p and another one on Sunday from 1-3p. Hard to believe my baby is going off to school this fall. Just preschool, but still. Now, if I could just get her potty trained!