"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, April 26, 2005

Like this is going to keep me honest

Living room Posted by Hello

Tess is away for the week -- I know, feel free to insert a GASP right there -- so what am I doing this morning? Certainly not cleaning up the mess she left behind. And that photo up there is AFTER clearing a path to the couch for E last night.

First, however, I'm updating my Creative Books page. I've got a hair appointment (yes, another gasp!) at 1:00 p.m. so I'll see how long it takes for me to update my booklog and THEN get started on the mess. I've got all week, after all.

In homage to Lynne's blog about her teenage son's room, I'm going to attempt to keep myself on track with The Big Clean. I have no one to blame but myself -- Tess is only 3. "Clean up time" is good for about 2 minutes of busy-ness for toddlers.

Play room Posted by Hello

This girl has way too many toys. And clothes (I've spared you photos of her gleefully deconstructing her closet as we packed for Grandma and Grandpa's). Either Once Upon a Child or Children's Orchard is going to see me come bustin' in this week.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Chart font, a.k.a. Lisa P. ROCKS!

Posted by Hello

Did you know there's a font for writing knitting charts? Lisa mentioned it to me at MeetUp the other night; here's the link in my inbox today!

Writing a chart as I've gone along on the front of my raglan sweater has had a twofold purpose: it kept me on track, and I'm learning how to write charts! Now, if only I could use this font in Word from the bottom up...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Frogging and the Everglades

Sounds like they would be related. But alas, I'm talking about knitting (the first part of my title is, anyway). I went to my Tuesday night Knitting MeetUp and Lisa P, faithful organizer, helped me frog the front of my Pink Fluffy Cloud sweater. I was nervous about ripping back because the yarn is so fuzzy. When we ripped back the second side (the only side I finished), I did it myself, announcing that it would "make a woman of me." But I have to give credit where credit is due; Lisa P fearlessly picked up stitches for me on both sides without batting an eyelash.

Seems I decreased from 3 to 2 stitches on that first finished side, then, following directions (I thought), I knit a *total* of 26 stitches for the first side. However, I need to do 26 *more,* which would have given me the 28 stitches I needed on that side (and the 29 I needed on the other side, as opposed to 31). At least I know how I messed up. Valuable lesson learned.

Everglades layout (see it bigger here) Posted by Hello

Remember those postcards I bought? I scanned them, reduced them, and printed them out on inkject "fabric"/paper. Then I distressed them and sewed around the edges, and attached them to distressed shipping tags. As usual, I had a ton of photos from our Everglades tour, but reduced them down to five.

I cropped on Friday night, 7-11p, then again Sunday from noon-3:30p. Saturday I went to the antiques market in Saline; I didn't go until the afternoon, but I was glad to go at all. Four huge livestock barns, an outbuilding, and countless tents filled with antiques; I only got through the four barns. I am helplessly mezmerised by postcards, but shook myself awake and only bought $16 worth (I had about $50 worth in hand before I "woke up" and sorted them out). Then I spent waaay too much time at a booth with old newsphotos; I found some tennis photos and fashion photos from the 1920s, my favorite era.

Beatrix Blackwell, circa 1928 Posted by Hello

I've been trying to find information on this socialite (there's information on the back of each photo, a news "caption"). First I googled Beatrice Blackwell, then realized her name was spelled Beatrix. I completely forgot about "Trixie." Being on the social register and all, wouldn't she have a preppy nickname like that?

Off to find out.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Raglan confusion

A bigger photo here, if you'd like to help! Posted by Hello

My MeetUp organizer, Lisa Putnam, strongly suggested I make a chart for the decreases on the front of my Pink Fluffy Cloud sweater for Tess. This after reading the instructions and declaring them "excellent." They may be, but this is my first sweater so I'm trying not to freak at the fact that the left side (as shown here, still on the needles) has more stitches than the right, and by my chart, is going to be several rows taller than the right as well.

If you're looking at the bigger photo, you can see on my chart that I ran out of paper at the top for the left side. That's how much bigger that side is going to be.

Now, I know there is a bit of a crossover at the V in the middle of the neck, but right now I'm wondering, should I go back and divide the stitches more evenly, or just keep knitting the left side, and the extra width and length will take care of itself in the crossover?

For now, the thought of un-knitting both sides is exhausting. In reality (not on the chart), I have about 5 stitches (my gauge is 4.75/inch, so -- an inch) of extra knitting along the side when I fold the front in half. I'm more worried about the extra length at the top. Could that much be eased in when I finish it?

Thank goodness it's just a little sweater for Tess. I think I'll set it aside for the moment and go back to my sock.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

No egg puns, please.

Posted by Hello

Blogger keeps collapsing IE so I'll save this quickly and often. Just in case the entry seems cut-off to you...

I cropped on Sunday with my friend, Lisa T. Too short a time -- I can't get much done in 4 hours. My biggest accomplishment was the mosaic eggs on the left side, a new technique I learned from the Memory Makers book I bought a couple of weeks ago. I was tempted this past weekend to start buying scrapbook magazines again, but I still have a year's worth of Creating Keepsakes, plus a ton of idea books, so I'll cool it for now.

I know, I haven't talked about knitting in a while. Still working away on the Pink Fluffy Cloud sweater. I'm planning on going out knitting tonight; two groups meet: the MeetUp gang, at 6:30p, and a new SnB/not SnB group, at 7:30p. Politics.

I've been a bad secret pal. Sent a hodge-podge package out before we left for Florida, then just emails. She stated (in her blog) that she didn't need any more yarn, then dropped a big hint about a book she's been eyeballing, so I got it for her (after I emailed her and checked her recent knitting purchases -- just stuff for her secret pal, nothing planned for herself right now!) A Rowan book should make up for a lot, right?

Off to send my knitter a note, now that I think about it...

Sunday, April 10, 2005

My husband makes lousy coffee

I tried to give up coffee, really, I did. When I was REALLY sick (as opposed to being just full of snot, as I have been for (going on 4) days now...) with a raging sore throat, I could not bear to drink coffee. I managed tea just fine, and that did the trick as far as bringing me off caffeine...very...slowly.

But yesterday Tess woke up too early, and I needed it, bad. I let E make the coffee, because he makes it weak (or I was taught to make -- and love it -- "Swedish strength," by my father, whereby you could stand a spoon up in it...or, as Hawkeye once said on M*A*S*H*: "give me a slice of coffee, please"). E's coffee was so awful I barely finished it. But finish it I did, and I made the coffee myself this morning. Ahhhhh...

Back to my snot. How is it I could go through THREE boxes of Kleenex in 24 hours, and STILL be blowing my nose? This virus...well, I was going to say it sucks, but actually, it blows. Sorry, couldn't resist.

On another (less graphic) note, I finally entered a Monthly Stamps Club contest! I don't know why I waited so long. Truthfully, though, this month's sponsor is a particular favorite of mine. Each month a different vendor sponsors the contest, and you win products from them. You don't have to use their products, but you do win $$$ to spend at their site. Sometimes there are only 3 or 4 entries. Looks like Cat's Pajamas are very, very popular -- I'm in a field of 14 this month!

I don't know if it's kosher to tell you which entry is mine (and I think you have to be a stamp club member to vote anyway). Let's just say I'll be really, really BLUE if I don't win.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

I'm it...

Out. of. Kleenex.
Teeth. Falling. Out. Of. Head.

And Tired.

Perfect time to do a meme. Thanks, Lynne, since I'm clueless about music and movies of late.

1. You're stuck inside Farenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

One of those Norton Anthologies. Nice & thick, a slow burn. Except for the tissue-thin papers. That might cancel out the sheer size of the book.

Wait, it has to be memorized? Crap. Think I missed the point on this question. Obviously I've never read Bradbury.

2. The last book you bought is:

You Grow Girl, because I've got to get my garden on. Yes, I paid full price. At Nicola's. Insane.

3. The last book you read:

Oh, my book blog is sadly outdated. I just finished The Sweetest Taboo, by Carole Matthews. Brain candy from my SIL, who also has a weakness for chick lit. As Jacques the Shrimp would say in Finding Nemo, "I am ashamed." (guess what Tess is watching while I write this...)

4. What are you currently reading:

Lark Rise to Candelford, by Flora Thompson, (a district library book sale find, 50 cents!)
Hope's Edge, by Frances and Anna Lappe, (going back to the library soon, 2-week due date on new books) :( Kinda depressing, actually.
Powder, by Kevin Sampson, A book show freebie. God, I miss those days!

All much more respectable than chick lit, I hope.

5. Five books you would take to a deserted island:

This is a hard one, because I rarely read books twice. Never, in fact. There are so many new books out there, or old ones I haven't read yet, that I just read and read and don't look back.

I like Lynne's idea of a survival strategies time I pack for an overseas plane trip, that will be in my bag. Along with:

1. A complete collection of Hans Christian Andersen's folk tales (less repetitive than Grimm's Fairy Tales)
2. The complete set (7 books in all, I think) of the Laura Ingalls' Wilders Little House series. Can that count as one? Please? Hey, I'm the one that's got to lug it around in my luggage.
3. That Russian For Beginners book that I can't find anywhere...dang it. I'll have time to learn the language, finally.
4. World of Knitted Toys (and the yarn to make plenty of friends), so I'm not caught talking to "Wilson."
5. Julia Cameron's Vein of Gold, and a really big notebook to write in. With some pens, of course.

Now, for the tagging...I guess I have to stick with people who stop by on occasion, so...

Michelle, you're up!
and Andrea, 'cos I don't know her all that well...
and Susan, because she already keeps a cool sidebar of what she's reading on her site (and I haven't caught her reading chick lit yet)

Monday, April 04, 2005

Color-coordinated cropping and antique shopping

It started when I was cropping Friday night. These new Craft-Mate notion boxes were flying out the door. At $20-$33 a pop, I wasn't jumping up to get one myself. But then I realized I drag my tackle box along EVERY Friday, and never open it. I started to think of how unorganized the tackle box is, with fibers, beads, buttons, charms, etc. etc. stuffed in it, no order to it, everything buried in the bottom compartment and stuff falling out of the open slots every time I forget to lock it and accidentally carry it off half-opened.

Sunday I went back to the store just before closing time and got the big one, 56 compartments, thinking I couldn't possibly fill it with the stuff from my tackle box. Until I got the idea to sort everything by color. I'm obsessed with color.

Spooky. Posted by Hello

So yeah, everything fit. Or I made it fit. It makes me want to use my notions now, so it's a good purchase. Only the tackle box is nowhere near empty.

Tackle box Posted by Hello

It's filled with tools - eyelet setter, pliers, wire cutter, needles. etc. etc. and all the rest of my notions - all the neutral stuff: gold, silver, black, copper, pewter. So much for *reducing* my carry-alongs for cropping.

Still sick. Going on week 3, so I hope this is the last of it. I barely slept Friday night after returning from my crop. I made the mistake of drinking hot black tea all night, then going home and taking a cough expectorant. Man, I was wired. I didn't sleep until 4a. Somehow I still woke up in time to go the antique show in Chelsea at 8a. I was completely wiped by the time I got home, around 10a. The weather was cold and rainy and it finished me off.

I picked up "vintage" postcards and auto decals for my Everglades layout (oh, and vintage buttons, which made me realize I needed to get organized in that department). I want to try printing images on cotton (Office Max has the fabric for ink jet printers), but it has been impossible to find old Everglades ephemera. Here's a postcard that just tickled my funny bone.

Alligator races Posted by Hello

Found some very cool auto decals as well. I just realized "Wolverine" is spelled wrong on this one. Ah, well, everything can be fixed in Photoshop.

Decal Posted by Hello

I found a Florida decal, too, crooked, but again...the wonders of Photoshop.

Then we went out Saturday night, unbelievably, to a fencing friend's house. E hasn't fenced in ages; although he still has all the gear, he did not bring it along. It was good to hook up with old friends we haven't seen in a while. The fencing club is "unofficially" known as the AADDS -- Ann Arbor Dueling and DRINKING Society; these guys know how to have a good time. One of them is off soon to be a brewmaster in Boyne City (he's a brewer at Grizzly Peak here in Ann Arbor), so we had some mighty fine beer Saturday night. I woke up with a flaming sore throat Sunday morning, but otherwise slept well and made up for Friday night. With the time change, we all slept until 10:30a.

Last night, not so good. Up every. hour. on. the. hour, to cough up a lung. I'm wiped again today and Tess is starting to get cabin fever. Hopefully we'll be out and about tomorrow.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Another weekend flies by...

Posted by Hello

...and another Disney layout gets done. I used the Magic Kingdom map on the right page, covered by a 12x12 sheet of vellum to tone it down. I was having so much fun Friday night (despite being voice is gone today) I started journaling right on top of the vellum. That is so not me. I usually practice, practice, practice, and try to get it nice and even. Well, that's what my computer is for, and today I did the main journaling block via PageMaker, with Lettering Delights fonts I purchase last month during their dollar sale. I knew the "LD Walt" font would come in handy for this layout!

As always, you can view the full-size layout here.