Monday, December 28, 2009

Candle glow...

...after it's all over, time at last to relax and savor the memories. I think it was a good Christmas, I hope that everyone else did too!

Now it's time to start thinking ahead for new goals and resolutions for the new year. If I've learned one thing in my (many) years on earth, it's that the best-laid plans are the ones that go the most wrong! Doesn't stop me, though.

Once I get my thoughts in order, I'll share them here. It's a good way to hold myself accountable! I've already got a couple of things percolating--Project 365, the Knitting Olympics, the 10 Shawls in 2010 project--as well as continuing to work on the house.

If I don't get back here to say it, happy New Year to you!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Deck the Halls...

...and walls, and every other surface that will allow it! Not much done so far, but here's the beginning:

The Great Wall of Rubbermaid has been reconstructed! This is 6 trips from the storage unit; doesn't include the trees, which are currently out on the front porch, or some of the Village houses, but you can get the general idea. Yes, there is such a thing as excess.

Although I don't think Susan would think I'm excessive!

Christmas mugs are fun. Yes, there are a lot of these; I probably won't be keeping every one of them, because I have others that I like better. But they will definitely have to go to good homes.

I think.

Then there's the feather-tree quilts. I made these little guys many many years ago; they are trimmed with buttons, many of which came from my mother's button box. Yes, there are two; they look very similar, but one is more muted colors and has more vintage buttons. The other has a brighter red and more of the "new" buttons I've collected over the years.

There are pictures of both of them on my Flickr page if you want to compare.

I have a couple more Christmassy quilts, which are still among the "missing." I can't tell if they are in the Great Wall or not, but it doesn't look like it. I'm sure they are here somewhere, because they were out last year.

More updates as we make more progress. The manger scene has now been set up; the Baby Jesus is hidden away (he comes out at midnight on Christmas Eve) and the Wise Guys have started their trek, although right now they are on the mantel, clear across the room. (They will arrive on Epiphany, unless we just can't stand it any longer!)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Just a Drive-By

Or, aaahhh-chooooo! Still not sure if this is allergy or infection, or some of both, but whatever it is, it can go away already.

But it's December, and somewhere there is ice and snow and real winter weather. Here, well, we had a little rain the other day, and it left a dusting of powder on top of the mountains, and snarled traffic, and we had Severe Weather Warnings. Because, you know, we got a whole inch and a half. Yes, 1.5" of rain.

There is more due this weekend, and I think its major purpose will be to mess with my plans to get the holiday decorations out. But we'll see.

In the meantime, I am busily working on Christmas gift knitting. I have a rather ambitious project--don't tell on me, in case I don't make it, okay?--of making hats for all the grands. With the great-grand, and the grand-in-law, that's a total of 14. I'm plugging away at it, and making progress.

Look, I even did this: that's me with my knitting, in front of the MGM lion, in the lobby of the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Who else do you know who goes to Vegas to knit?

Well, knit, and spend time with the daughters, and cuddle the great-grandbaby too. This was not my first trip to Vegas, but it was the first time I've stayed in one of the big hotels on the Strip.

It was an experience.

But I didn't gamble. Some things never change!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

In Celebration of Standard Time!

Presenting a couple of cute critters that were encountered last night:

a ladybug clutching her sippy cup and eating pizza;

and a rather unhappy dinosaur. He doesn't like things on his head, and his expression clearly states: You can make me look adorable, but I don't have to like it!

More cuteness--and some actual smiles...on my Flickr page. Click on the badge over there!

Would you believe I have actually been knitting, and even finished a couple of things?

Here's the proof: Argosy scarf, in four colorways of Mmmmalabrigo Merino Worsted. That's Lime Blue, Apple Green, Curacao and Lettuce.

Of course it doesn't take a full skein of each to make the scarf, so I've been making hats out of the remainders.

See that? There's the Lettuce one, all done. As I write this, the Apple Green is a little over halfway to the top decreases.

Not sure if I'll keep using the same pattern--it's quick and easy. It's the Boy Hat which I found on Ravelry. Easy enough that I was able to copy the directions onto 2 post-its. Because, of course, my printer is still among the missing.

One of those projects for a cool weekend. Apparently, the Universe does not want me grubbing in the garage, since we've had nothing but hot and miserable weekends.

Sigh. I believe in winter. I do believe, I do believe...but the proof is not here.

Anyway, this little hat is not really meant to have a turned-up brim; I posed it on top of a little basket at the quilt shop, and had to roll it to make it stand up.

However, since I'm a bit of a pinhead, I have to roll it on my head, too.

Have I mentioned that Mmmmmalabrigo is soft and squishy and feels nice and warm?? It's also loosely spun, so there's a thick-and-thin quality that makes it look very rustic.

And lastly, here's an FO that I for one never quite believed in--yes, the Paris Scarf is finished!

Well, except for running a couple of tails in, and giving it a good wash and block. After all, it's been all over: on airplanes, trains, buses and cars; in France, and New England, and up at Asilomar; not to mention innumerable coffee shops and other knitting venues!

It's also been on more needles than is reasonable for anything that's this (relatively) simple: the original set, Bryspuns, fell apart on the TGV between Nice and Avignon, and were replaced by some that a French shopkeeper found in the depths of her stockroom. Those were kind of skanky aluminum, but needs must when the devil drives sort of thing, you know? Once I got back to the Land of Multiple Needles, I tried it on Options--too slick; bamboo--too sticky; an old Balene--perfect needles, horrible elderly cable that wouldn't play well with me. Sigh. Then I bought a set of Zephyrs, and oh my, they are perfect for Sea Silk! I've also moved Birch onto them and they are perfect with Kid Silk Haze, too. (Not so good with Mmmmalabrigo; the Options are working much better!)

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a hat, and some baby sweaters, and a few other projects to go work on.

And can I just say how very happy I am to be back on Standard Time? It was so nice to wake up this morning to sunshine and the knowledge that the day wasn't already half gone! Tomorrow will be the test: on a workday, having a little extra sleep time is a real blessing!

Where do I sign the petition to abolish hateful nasty Daylight Saving Time??

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Random Musings

Decided to take a little break yesterday, since I got off work early, and went to Antique Row in downtown (or is it Old Town?) Pomona. Hadn't been for a long time, and I've been a little curious about how the antique business was doing during the economic downturn.

While walking over to the main "malls" I spotted this interesting building. It's one of the old brick buildings that line that street, and it's apparently in the process of renovation. I was amused and amazed by this treatment of the building--it looks like an overlay of smooth stucco has been applied to parts of the building, so that it looks as if it's emerging from a shell. A candy shell--like a Jordan almond--was what it made me think of.

Looking down the street there's another building getting the same treatment.

I'm so glad to see these wonderful old buildings being restored and recreated! Now I'll have to make a point of going back a few more times to check on progress, and see what's going to be going in there.

The whole street was pretty lively for noon on a Friday afternoon. There were a number of people in the different malls, and I overheard a couple of calls that were apparently buyers asking to reserve particular items. Most of the shops in the one building I really toured (it used to be Robbins Antique Mart, now it's just "Antique Mart" with a big blank on the sign where Robbins used to be) were having sales, which is par for the course especially this time of year. I know there were certain dealers who always had sales, back when Bob and I used to go for a Saturday or Sunday outing. They'd mark their prices way up and then discount them to the "normal" asking prices.

Hot buttered muffins for breakfast today. I've been looking at the raisins and wishing for something with raisins in. Earlier this week I made (and eventually ate) gingerbread with raisins in it--sooo good!

So muffins were the next thing. They did hit the spot, too.

Looking at my "new" Fiesta reminded me of the dealer in Pomona (or as my son-in-law says, "P-town") who had a whole double display case of original Fiestaware. I'm glad to see that the re-issuance (in lead- and cobalt-free glazes) doesn't seem to have hurt the market for the originals. He had some lovely stuff. There was a set of 8 ivory cream soup bowls that I could easily covet. At $40/each, however, covet is all I will do! I'll keep using my all-purpose bowls, thanks!

The new yarn is from a swappypack I received this week, from CyberFiber on Ravelry (who is also my Facebook friend Elizabeth). Although swaps tend to sometimes get mired in drama, the RR swaps have so far been pretty drama-free. I did this swap, as well as a Magic Yarn Ball swap, and I'm signed up for a Books and Yarn swap. The idea of that one is to pick a book (or two depending on whether they're paper or hardbound, new or used) and yarn to go with the theme.

I've got an interesting partner, and I'm looking forward to putting together a really amusing package for her.

The last picture is the contents of my swappypack spread out for maximum viewing. There are also more pictures on my Flickr page if you want to see the stitch markers or granny-square earrings or other goodies up close.

Yes, that is a "cattle-pult." Did I mention this was a "shop local" swap? That's why my yarn came from Indiana, which apparently has cows too. All I remember from driving through it is many many cornfields, rush hour traffic in Indianapolis, and the sign that said "Do not spit on the monument." Obviously there is much much more!

And now I must go find my super-glue and do a little surgery on the Shun Giraffe, who had an unfortunate accident on the way. Maybe he just lost his head from the yarn fumes...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009's really mine!

But, of course, today Firefox and Blogger are not playing nicely, so first you'll need to enjoy the glory of the crape myrtle tree!

It really is a lovely vivid color, glows in almost every kind of light. So naturally, when I try to take a picture, what you see is the haze in the air.

The thing about crape myrtles is that the little devils put out a nice very very ultra-fine mist. The particles are so small that you can't really see them with the naked eye, but the camera catches the refraction of the sunlight and makes the picture look hazy.

So, really, not bad photography, just very interesting.

Oh, this does show up on any car that is parked under the tree for any length of time. Yes, that means my new car too. Since the best place for me to park just happens to be directly under the tree, well, I guess Kiwi needs to take its chances.

Besides, a light dusting of pollen and hot pink blossoms looks really nice on a kiwi green car!

What I mean about it really being mine now is that my new Glornak sticker came today. That was the one thing that really made me sad about trading in the Purple People Mover--I couldn't get the sticker to come off.

Not to worry, the Sheldon Store had more. And they ship super fast, too.

After spending almost all day Friday, and most of t he weekend, hunting for the original pink slip (title) for the Ford, I gave up. Today I went to the Auto Club and ordered a duplicate. I also changed the insurance policy to reflect the new vehicle.

Cleaning out the files has been rather cathartic, and the shredder has been quite busy. I think there are at least 10 bags of shreddies going out on the curb tonight. Well, they're in trash cans, but they're going. I'm still frustrated that an important paper could get mislaid. I'm sure it will turn up. Eventually.

So that's been the story around here. Knitting and crocheting have taken a back seat to paperwork, and even now I'm blogging instead of doing what I really came onto the computer for today, which is checking on my bank account to see what I've paid and what I haven't. I'm really amazed that my credit score came back as good as it did, considering my rather haphazard approach to record-keeping and bill-paying lately. (It was good enough to get me 0% financing on the new Kiwi. That's pretty good!)

Hopefully I can get out of Paperwork Hell soon and return this blog to tales from the yarning and quilting side of life. I sure hope so!!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

No Pictures Today

Well, I have been trying to upload pictures for the last few days, and every time I try, I get a half hour of "working" messages and then it either times out, or gives me a "bad request" notice.

So I guess I need to refer you to the Flickr badge over there, which will take you to my page where you can see all the photos I would have uploaded as well as lots more. And you'll have to make do with text today, sigh, which will look like a nice long bunch of paragraphs.

It's too bad really, since we've had some great stuff going on here. Camp Grandma happened (with lots of help from the aunties, the cousins, and the cats) including a trip to the beach, a shopping spree at Justice (who knew that was the hottest place for tweens to find their new school clothes?), fun at the park, dinners in and out, learning to decorate cakes with Auntie D4, the Long Beach Aquarium, tea and art and rambling at the Huntington, a very hot trip to the Arboretum, and learning to sew.

The next adventure for me came with reading about the "Cash for Clunkers" program. I'd been so busy it barely registered, even though I'd been kind of thinking in the back of my mind about what my "next car" would be for quite a while. Then I saw a photo on a news website of MY TRUCK with "clunker" painted on its side! A little research quickly showed me that the clunker cash would be quite a bit more than even the high blue-book on the truck, so I called my "favorite" dealership to inquire about availability on my presumed next choice. Ummm, they had one left, and had just sold two, didn't know when more were coming in.

Off I went to talk and test drive. Yes indeed, my poor purple truck did qualify for the top $$$ on the program; and after test-driving my first choice (the Escape hybrid) and a second choice (Mariner, non-hybrid), plus running some numbers, i eventually drove home in... a kiwi green Mariner! It turns out that because I do so much freeway driving, the hybrid wasn't the best choice; the Mariner (and the gas-only Escapes) get about the same highway mileage and have more pep.

I dunno. I've been trying to feel a little bad about condemning the Purple People Mover but I just can't do it. Already I love the new one, even though it's not as big and doesn't have nearly as much hauling capacity as the purple one. I guess I'll find out at the end of the month when it's time to load up and trek to Asilomar again--maybe I need to repack my tools and fabrics anyway, since there are a lot of things I've brought the last couple of times that I wound up not using.

This would have been a much more attractive post with pictures. Didn't realize how spoiled I have been in the past! Here's hoping Blogger gets it together so I can go back to posting pictures!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Still July, At Least!

First off, let me point you to a new link on the sidebar there: John and Ryan are heading West, and will be blogging about it. You've seen John on this blog before, he's also known as #1 grandson.

I will be looking forward to reading about their travels. It reminds me of my own journey West, back just a few years ago. Picture in your mind's eye for a moment: me, age 20, with a fresh new college degree (ink not quite dry on it!) and a contract to teach in Los Angeles for a year; friend with same. We set off in a '53 Chevy with $300 between the two of us, and actually made it all the way on that. (Did I mention that in 1962 gas cost, oh about 25 cents a gallon? That a night in a pretty decent motel was less than $10, and the fleabags ran $5?)

The rest is history. Although my contract was only for a year, I met someone who convinced me to sign another kind of contract--that one lasted 42 years!

And led, sort of indirectly, to John and his cousins...

If you're tuning in for the yarn pr0n, here's a bit of new stuff for you.

This is the newest from the STR club. Inspired by heirloom tomatoes and all their glorious colors, Garden Daze has reds, oranges, greens and a nice sort of tealy green. I was (shhh!) a little underwhelmed with the sock pattern, but then I don't knit socks, so it's kind of a moot point.

IF I were to want to knit some socks--and, it's always possible, if someone I love enough wants a pair badly enough--and I wanted to use this pattern, I'd probably do it in a semisolid instead.

Who, me? A rebel? Whatever gave you that idea?

I'm a little disappointed in how this picture came out, because the yarn itself is so much deeper and richer in color. There's also a lot more red than you'd think from looking at t his view of the hank.

It's from Fiber Optica, laceweight, hand dyed in the Rekjavik colorway. It's one of those things--I was on Ravelry, just quietly reading away, and there it was at the bottom of the page. I had to click through to the Etsy shop, and well, that was that.

I'm busily chugging away on my granny squares for our Summer of Crochet Love GCA and have rediscovered the seductive power of crochet. Couple of things are helping this new addiction (or should I say, revival of an addiction) along: I have a hook that doesn't make my hand cramp up, and I'm using Noro Silk Garden, which has so many variations that it's just tantalizing to see what will come out next.

I mean, I'll be going along, crocheting from a ball that is showing bright turquoise, magenta, and deep green--and what's under my hook is grey, brown, dull olive. Some of it is underspun and very thick; some of it is overspun, and almost the size of fingering weight; there's VM (vegetable matter, for you Muggles, meaning bits of straw, grass, etc that didn't get cleaned off in the processing), there's bits of thread--it's an adventure in a ball of yarn! No one knits or crochets with Noro expecting perfection; the rusticity is a major element of its charm. My count as of t his afternoon is 57 squares; I'm on the 14th ball of the stuff. My goal is either 99 or 108 squares, which will make a pretty good-sized afghan (or two lap blankets). We'll see if I can finish this before the lurve wears off! Pictures next time, or hit my Flickr page to see the beginnings of this.

(Explanation: I'm writing this post on Firefox, which doesn't cooperate very well with Blogger, so I can't add pictures part way through a post and then move them to where I'd like them. So I think that tonight my squares will have their own photo shoot, and they can be another post.)

Monday, July 06, 2009

All Over In a Burst of Glory

The Fourth of July 2009 is history, along with the preceding 233 Fourths. Now it's back to life as we usually know it, for better or worse.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend and maybe took a little time to reflect on the good things in your life. I know I did, and I feel truly blessed. Sure, it's easy to focus on some of the negative stuff--the aches and pains and troubles and trials and tribulations, but in the midst of all that, there's the sweet smell of baby hair, the glory of early dawn, the radiance of sunset, the great boon in communication with faraway loved ones...the fun and fascination of the internet, even!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Fireworks, Family and Fun

Is this not the world's most beautiful apple pie?

There's even sour cream in the crust, and the apples are pre-cooked and drained before being put in the filling so the bottom crust doesn't get soggy.

If D4 decides to change fields, I think she'd have a great career as a pastry chef!

Li'l Missy discovered that Grandma's slippers are nice and fuzzy inside and feel very good on little feet.

Unfortunately, they are rather large on little feet, being intended for Grandma's clodhopper feet.

So navigating around in them is problematic. However, she did give it her best shot.

Check out those curls. She's got great hair already!

Heading over to D5's in a few, to celebrate the Fourth with family and fireworks. Depending on the state of the neighbor's trees, there's a good view of the fireworks at the Fairplex from D5's front lawn. Her talented hubby rigs up the speakers outside and plugs them into my iPod with the patriotic music program on it, and we can listen to John Philip Sousa and Lee Greenwood and the rest of them while watching fireworks.

Cool stuff!

Of course I'll bring something to do with my hands, assuming they won't be full of babies--with the three youngest grandkids there, plus baby Paige (do I really think of myself as a great-grandma?), there may be enough so I'll get a little baby-time.


Here's wishing you and yours a grand and glorious Fourth (assuming of course that you're in the US and celebrating it; I think the Brits have a little different "take" on it than we do, and I know Canada Day has just passed).

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Another Day, Another Month...

What have I been spending my time on, you may ask? Well, not this:
It's suffering from neglect. I just am not loving the way it's coming out.

Maybe I need to let it marinate a bit more.
Now., Lady Eleanor III is moving along. She'd move even faster if she wasn't so long and didn't provide such a nice WARM lap covering. When it's 90 degrees and 90% humidity, well...
The Grandcarrot's sweater is moving right along. I do believe that it is just about to the shoulder decreases. This is one of those patterns where I don't think the "payoff" in terms of texture is really worth all the effort of creating it, but we'll see when it's done. It is a cute design!

Then there's the Wee Boy's sweater. It's got a finished back, and I'm well up the fronts. Yay for small sizes!

The yarn is Sirdar Snuggly, a really nice-feeling synthetic. It's not that "crunchy" ack-rylic, and after seeing how the Sweet Pea sweaters have held up to being washed and worn and washed and worn again, I'm very pleased with the yarn.

Ah, but this is the Summer of Crochet Love GCA for the OOPs knitters. I had several ideas in mind--even bought some luscious alpaca in black, white, and two shades of grey to make a crochet blanket.

Yeah, so not going to happen! When I saw what my fellow OOPsers are doing--Ellen and Madge and Annette especially, with their bright colors and Koigu and Babette or Babette-wanna-bes? I got out my 10-pack of Noro Silk Garden and started granny-ing.
Well, Noro is full of surprises. Four of these blocks came from one ball of yarn--I can get 4 blocks and the start of a fifth out of a skein--and the new skein I'm working from has purple in it! (No purple in the first one.) I am not joining them as I go, because I am going to get another batch of SG in a brighter colorway and mix the squares up. Otherwise I'm afraid this would just be a giant yawn. Then again, it might not. Noro is full of surprises!
One week, our group went to Abuelita's in South Pasadena for a "field trip" and for our usual knit day.

Do you really think I could go to a new yarn store and come out empty-handed?

This is the new Rowan Studio book and I'm making t he little sweater on the cover. In Rowan's Summer Tweed. I'm really enjoying knitting with this yarn, and the pattern is quick and easy so I can work on it while I'm spending time with Li'l Missy. "Watching" isn't the word for what I'm doing, exactly, since she's at a very interactive stage and has been known to grab my ball of yarn, clutch it to her chest, and exclaim "Mine!" with an impish grin.

It's summertime so the quilts on the backs of the sofas have changed with the season. I thought June 30 was a good day to put away the winter trees.

Hence, watermelons.

And ice cream.
No, these are not new. They go back quite a ways, in fact, and were class samples way back when. But they are fun and summery.

You know what else is summery?

Ripe apricots. The tree is producing a small crop this year--it either needs a heavy pruning, or else it's at the end of its productive cycle.

Kind of like me??

Anyway, I'm going to try to do better and keep the blog updated. This is going to be a busy summer, what with the Vegas gang arriving on Friday for a long holiday weekend, then later in the month the Denver bugs will be spending some time at Camp Grandma. (I'm surprised they can tear themselves away from their pretty new house, but I'm glad they're going to come to visit!)
I'm also planning to go to Asilomar again at the end of the summer, so I've started "training." The pedometer is back in service, thanks to D4, and I'm back to keeping track of my steps. Pretty pathetic when I can barely make it to half of my daily goal--but then, that's what a goal is for, right??

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Knock, Knock, Is This Thing On??

What, you may ask, has been occupying me since the first of April, leading me to neglect my poor blog?

Are you sure you want to know?

All right then, I'll tell you. And if I forget some of it, well, I'll have to chalk it up to old age or something like that. Certainly there have been a lot of reminders lately that I'm not exactly the spring chicken I feel like inside.

However, I can still get the happy when I'm in a loverly yarn shop and there is a surfeit of wonderfulness. And some of it can come home with me.

Really, what a shock, huh? This was taken at Twist during a "field trip" with my knitting group. It is a fabulous shop--and yes, they sell online--with an extraordinary selection of yarns, including that Malabrigo I'm cuddling (yes, it came home with me) and the Dream In Color Starry next to it. Considering that I was less than 5 miles away from Webs only a week before, and didn't get to go, I think I was being very good.

Well, at least good for Twist's bottom line that day. Our whole group found something, I think , but you'll have to check their blogs and Flickr pages to see. Or their Ravelry stashes. (You can check out my Flickr, too, for more pictures of this and the other things below.)

The Grandcarrot had a birthday, and turned 3. Here he is with his Auntie D4 and his birthday pinata. Made for him by his loving and slightly demented Auntie.

If you haven't met the Yo Gabba Gabba gang, you won't recognize Plex, the friendly robot. He was a big hit, and the little kids didn't seem to mind taking a whack at him--he was, after all, full of good treats!

I noticed that when the kids were scavenging up the loot after a well-placed whack opened him up, that some of them were taking the opportunity to take home an arm or a leg. Well, why not?

Here's something I didn't think I'd see for quite a while: a four-generations shot, and guess who is the oldest generation?

That's right. Little Paige Nicole, with her Grandma (D3) and mom Jessica. At least I'm not quite the oldest in the family--my dad, at 91, has me beat. We would have loved to get a picture of him holding his great-great-granddaughter, but he's not well enough to travel and it's a little far for Paige to go just yet. (Pics on Flickr of my dad meeting his 3 youngest great-grands, if you want to see. Maybe next time I'll post one of those here.)

Here's a shot of granddaughter Alyssa, at her college graduation in Providence, RI. Those are 3 of her proud aunties with her, and her carroty cousin who was more than a little overwhelmed at the whole giant graduation ceremony.
Alyssa graduated with her AA in Interior Design from New England Institute of Technology the day after she got married! Talk about a busy weekend...
Several of us, well, okay, all of us from California, flew out to New England for the wedding and graduation. D1 met up with us there in a miracle of scheduling. We met up with her in the baggage area of Bradley International and shuttled ourselves to a nearby Doubletree, which was a great place to rest and regroup.

There may have been wine involved. In fact, I'm sure there was. The little ones did eventually settle down in their temporary homes, and by morning we were able to get a couple of rental vans--followed, of course, by the obligatory breakfast at Cracker Barrel.
We spent Friday visiting my dad--the Massachusetts part of the trip--then found our way down to the lower part of Connecticut to #2's house, where we visited and relaxed till it was time to split up. I went to the wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, and the rest of the gang went to Mystic Pizza for dinner. There also may have been a trip to a package store for beer and wine and champagne...

Saturday was the wedding, followed by the reception at the wonderful Mystic Aquarium. I'm only including one picture from the reception here--if you want to see more, check out the Flickr links! This is me, in my pink suit (sometimes I call it my pink whale suit, but The Daughters don't like that so I won't do it here) with #2, D1, D4, D5, and D3. It was a beautiful wedding and the reception site was perfect.
So that's a quickie recap of the last couple of months. I've left out whole bunches of things, like D1's new house and being almost snowed in while we were in Denver, and peahens in the jacaranda tree, and how fast Little Miss is growing, and how cute the little grandboys are being, and all kinds of other stuff. I guess I will just need to be better about maintaining the blog.
I'll try!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

April Already??!

Not the best picture I've taken of the little cousins, and I'll work on getting a better one. However, as anyone who's ever had a toddler in this age bracket already knows, they are perpetual motion machines, and getting even one of them to stand still this long is a major feat.
I did get several pictures of blurs. Sigh.
Anyway, time does seem to be marching on, and March has marched its way into history. Time for some new blog resolutions, or maybe just trying to do a little better. Let's see how I do!
There are some interesting and exciting things coming up this month. First up, tomorrow morning D4 and I will be on a plane to spend 4 days with D1. While we're a Mile High, there will also be the opening of signups for the much-anticipated Mean Girls Yarn Club, on Friday. Then at the end of the month, most of the California contingent will be on a plane headed for the East for #1 Granddaughter's wedding and college graduation--talk about a busy weekend!
Oh, and Great-Grandaughter #1, aka Paige Nicole, made her appearance last week. So instead of having a "lucky 13th" grandchild, #13 turned out to be a "great" instead. Pictures are on her great-aunts' Flickr pages, since my phone has stopped accepting pictures. (Yes, I know, it's probably time for a new phone. Sigh.)
In yarny-goodness news, there's a new Yarn Club in town, and the signup frenzy will be happening on Friday April 3! The club is being organized by Laura from Dizzy Blonde Studios and Knitty Knitterton of the House of Awesome. (Did you see my Awesome yarns in previous posts? Yeah, those base yarns are sooo soft, and the colorwork is to die for.)
Club details:
  • Website is The Mean Girls Yarn Club
  • Signups begin April 3
  • Shipments will go out every other month for 1 year
  • Cost is $150 for the year, payable in one lump sum or 3 installments of $50 each
  • Membership is limited to 50 people
  • Colorways will be club exclusives, and will never be sold outside the club.
  • There is a theme within a theme, and guessing is encouraged.
  • Each skein will come with a little something COLLECTIBLE attached to the band, and a little extra "something else."
  • There are Ravelry groups for both dyers: Dizzy Blondies and House of Awesome.
I'm encouraging you all to head over there and sign up, just please please leave a spot open for me! If I don't get in, there will be some sort of major tantrum going on, probably with a triple back flounce and a touch of acid reflounce too! (Okay, that might not make sense, but if you're a Ravelry Rubbernecker, it definitely will. And if you're not, why not?)
So, that's it for March, and looking ahead to April, it looks as if it might make for interesting blogging.
Especially if I don't get into the club... because we all know I NEED MORE YARN.

Friday, March 20, 2009

More March-ing Along

First day of Spring today, and it does look as if spring has sprung around here today.

I went out and took lots of flower pictures. Uploaded them, and most of them are so blurry they're unusable.

Boo. Bah humbug. Guess I'll need to go out there and try, try again.

I did get pretty decent picture of the Mock Orange, which is in full bloom back there. The tree is huge, and it smells absolutely wonderful in the back yard. Yay for fragrant trees!

Oh look! The spider plant seems to have grown some Awesome Sock yarn. I'll give you a link to Sharky's etsy shop, but right now she seems to be sold out.

This is her sock weight in a color called Power Tie. It reminds me a lot of Bob's favorite red tie, the one he always wore when he needed a little extra confidence.
There was another hank o f yarn in my package from Sharky, too. A worsted weight, in shaded bright pinks.
Look how nicely the pink yarn goes with the pink Transvaal daisies! And by the way, these little survivors have made it through another year, and have come back quite exuberant. The other one, a pale pink, is also doing nicely. Thank goodness all of the plants didn't die off with last year's massive invasion of the contractor's men.

See, even some of the daffodils survived. I'm planning to feed all of the surviving bulbs and plants so that they can make it through another year.

The brown iris is once again holding forth, and I'm so glad to see it! If you look at some of the pictures from last year, you'll see this stalwart survivor bravely waving its pretty flag (pun alert: irises are also known as "flags" in some places, tee hee) next to the ditch the plumbers dug to replace all the pipes.

Whew. While the lawn still looks horrid, and there are a lot of valleys where the filling-in was pretty sloppy, I'm cheered and encouraged by any signs of recovery. Acutally, the irises seem to be doing well everywhere. I'm glad we were able to move them out of the driveway border since that is now a wasteland of concrete, broken glass, nails, and general yuck. I'm hoping that with a little hard work it will be a good place to plant--I'm thinking lavender and sunflowers to start.
I've got seeds, and starter pellets, so maybe I can grow my own baby plants this year. I do get some teasing about having a "relationship" with my plants, but gee--why not?
For instance, when I look at this iris, I think of Sheila, who gave me a whole bunch of tubers when she thinned out her iris bed. She was a quilter and the only person I've ever met who (like Bob) was born in Wilmar!

And the lilacs are beginning to bloom. Only two panicles so far, but it's coming along.

I like this silhouetted against the bare trees in the neighbor's yard.

Here's Li'l Missy, giving me the ol' stinkeye because, after all, doesn't everyone need to have a drawer to sit in? Her next step after this (Mom says it's ok for her to play in this drawer, so it's ok with Grandma too!) was to empty everything out of the drawer onto the floor, so she could get her whole self in there. She's very focused when she's doing something like this--and she also put everything back in when she was done, and closed the drawer and the door too. It's so much fun watching her learning and doing--everything is so new!!

I have more pictures (including Cousin N8) but I'll save them for another day. I'll also fill you in on my latest "plunge" since I've joined the world of Facebook. Sigh. Only way to keep up with all the family, I guess!

Friday, March 13, 2009

March Maunderings

Is there anything more appealing than the doorway to a wonderful quilt shop??

This one is Back Porch Fabrics in Pacific Grove. And it's just as wonderful as it looks.

Yes, it was Asilomar Week again.

There are some rituals involved with going to Asilomar, although they are very fluid. One of them is visiting Back Porch. They have a fabulous collection of fabrics, and their book selection is great. They also make every effort to be Empty-Spools-friendly, so when you walk in the books by the teachers for the current session are right there on display. (Assuming your teacher has written a book! Not all of them have, including my teacher for this timeast

Their back room is set up as a gallery with ever-changing displays. This time, it was quilts by their very talented staff. Last year, it was quilts by Ruth McDowell from the Thomas Collection.
Well worth a visit, any time I'm in the area. And, it's only a block from Monarch Knitting. Did I mention that I love this area??

There's some wonderful scenery at Asilomar, and even though the weather was stormy and rainy and windy much of the time I was there, I loved it anyway.
I thought the sun behind the clouds and the wind-whipped trees were wonderful.
This is my first project--well, except for a "trial run" at the technique. My teacher was Sylvia Einstein, who does wonderful "fractured landscapes" by building up layers of split and pieced fabrics. My blocks are supposed to be trees--use your imagination!--and they're done with cutting the block apart and inserting the strips to form the tree shape. I had done something similar in a workshop with Doreen Speckmann the first year I was at Asilomar--she had us experimenting with window panes on scenic fabrics.
I really like the technique, and once I get my sewing room set up, I'll probably experiment with it some more.
The second quilt top is what Sylvia calls Magic Squares. It's a very simple technique--this quilt is 20 blocks, and they are all cut from 4 fat quarters of batiks, except for 3 shapes cut from the remnants of the batik from the tree quilt above it. The border was something I had with me--yes, I brought my famous tub O batiks with me, and by a serendipitous chance it had a whole baggie of precut strips left over from my class with Colleen Wise three years ago. Made the tree quilt much easier to play with!

Lots more pictures on my Flickr page. I'll try to make sure they are all captioned but you know how that goes. I'll leave you with one of my favorites: