Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I'm spoiled!...wrotten.

One of my very favorite friends sent me an incredibly nice package...it arrived today...

I was talking to The Saint on the phone when he was pulling into the driveway and I was still at work. He said "what did you order now?" and I said "nothin, why?" "well, there's a big-ass box on the porch and I'm sure it's not for me!" I told him to hurry up and get out of the truck and see who it was from, I had my fingers crossed that it was from who I thought it might be from..."it's from Grace somebody from somewhere in New Jersey"...on my end there was much cheering and squeeling let me tell ya.

Yes, I knew exactly who that package was from and what it may hold for me. Grace, did not disappoint. This is the most amazingly generous package I've ever received, ever! Just look at all this Multi-Tasking goodness...
There were yummy treats including my favs, Lorna Doones, coffee flavor Nips, single serve Cappaccino, Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles by Cat Bordhi, Small Batch Baking by Debby Maugans Nakos, Snyders pretzels, nifty office supplies, Jelly Belly,
3 skeins of cheerful orange/yellow Peru Luxury DK from Little Knits that Grace's husband, Tom dyed.

and yes, that is one of her fabulous shawls there...just for me! I even got to vote on it, what a sneak she was too, having that contest for everyone to pick which one she should send.

Here we are, it needs a darker backdrop but I was in a hurry...I packed her up and drove over to City Knitting so someone could take our picture. I'll be taking some better shots soon, promise...

Here is more info on the shawl. And while you're there, say hey to Grace and check out her other fantastic projects.

I can not thank you enough Grace. You made it a super special swap for me, xxx000.

Monday, May 26, 2008

It's great to be back home, part 1.

Hello everybodee! We're back home from our mini-vacation to Traverse City, a bit tired but refreshed from our days away. It was cold up north, typical Memorial Day weekend type of weather. We saw some intrepid souls camping at the state park. Not us! We stayed in a cute little motel where there was a mini-fridge, cable tv and heat! It was in the 30s in the mornings and not much past 60 in the afternoon. Being right on Grand Traverse Bay there was a constant wind blowing and coming across that 40 degree water - it was chilly.

There were some folks out sailing but there were not many power-boats in the water. We saw two large scooners, I managed to get a couple shots of this one with black sails...sort of looks like a pirate ship doesn't it?

We stopped at several yarn shops and I collected a few choice yarns. On Thursday it was Lost Art Yarn downtown, where we had a really nice visit with Gertrude and picked up a couple of interesting skeins of sock yarn - after making the foolish statement that I was trying to knit through my sock yarn stash this summer. I guess my yarn management policy is more like knit one, stash two, hahaha.

Here's the almost finished sock from one of the two skeins...

it's Opal Mississippi, super-fun Mardi Gras colors. The other skein I picked up is Lang Aktion and it came with a tiny little skein of reinforcing yarn to match.

I found a beautiful red Shi Bui for an Irish Hiking Scarf for myself and some hand painted Schaefer Anne yarn to make a stole I saw a model of at Thistledown Shoppe in Suttons Bay. The stole is called Scotch Thistle Lace and was very pretty. I managed to pick up a couple of cute gifty things for my secret swap partner too...

We got to meet Kathy, the proprietor, and she was oh so nice and friendly. Her shop is small but mighty! She has packed some fabulous things in that space and I enjoyed my leisurely browse while The Saint chatted with Kathy from a comfy chair. Although he was disappointed that there was no Sports Illustrated, LOL.

No trip to Traverse City would be complete without a visit to Yarn Quest and I managed to find a pair of skeins of Interlacements "Tiny Toes" in the Carbon Dioxide colorway that will make a lovely pair of socks (they're pictured lower left in the above photo).

So I have to go wash my dishes and enjoy the sunshine and spend some time with The Saint and I'll be back later with the rest of the story...and I know you're ready for a break too, aren't you? mwa-ha-ha-ha!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Grama's got a brand new bag, and a very cute Grandson!

Is this the coolest 12 yr old you've ever seen?

Last night's athletic awards banquet was very nice and Stinky got a couple of awards. What he didn't get in height he has made up for in speed, a great sense of humor and super-coolness. He got the coolness from his Papa, I think...

speaking of cute, how do you like my new bag?
I found the instructions on the Mackville Road blog. Thank you!

I think I may have to make a few of these for some special friends...

Gotta go pack now, tomorrow morning, we're outta here! Have a great weekend!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Vacation...it's a wonderful thing!

I'm livin one of my 4 vacation weeks...are ya jealous? Sorry, not! LOL
I've worked hard since last September waiting for another week off to roll around. We canceled our trip to Florida since the price of gas is...well you know what it is...ridiculous! We're saving a little gas money and keeping what's left of our vacation budget "local"...going to our new favorite little hideaway in TC.

Rena will be our dog-sitter for a few days so we can escape from the city. She'll spend 4 days dealing with this...that's Sam the party-animal, lol.

We'll stop at our favorite little fishing village, taste a few wines and check out this cute little yarn shop in Suttons Bay. And we'll go have a flight of tequila at a great place within crawling distance of the motel. It will be a great few days.

In the meantime we're trying to get a few things done around Chez B. There's tinkering to do in the garage, according to The Saint and I have laundry and knitting to do in the house. As you can see, I'm gettin a lot of that done sitting here working on this, hahaha. Don't tell him and he'll never know, lol.

I've been doing a bit of sewing, and some planning for my next crochet project (see photo below) maybe I'll start that in the car on the way up to Traverse City on Thursday. It looks like something I could get done while we're away and I think I have enough of some tan yarn in my stash that I could give it a go. Isn't it cute?

Also wanted to show off my new things...I won this cute needle gauge necklace during Ravelraiser '08 from Purlescence across the Pond

and for Mother's Day Rena gave me one of these super fabulous project bags that she made with her own two hands. Aren't they cute?! I love them! She gave me the second one a couple days ago when she got it finished.
I'm not sure what makes me more proud about receiving them, the fact that she stayed up until 1:30am finishing one in time for Mother's Day or the fact that doing so makes her so much more like me...she makes me so proud everyday I cannot tell you.

I've been sewing some fabrics myself,
these will be cute notions clutches when I get done. I found the pattern on the CraftMagazine blog. Love that site! You should check it out if you're looking for some fun ideas.

Thanks for stoppin in and checkin out my life. It's always fun. Have a great week, and have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend here in the States.

And Happy Victoria Day to all my Canadian friends.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Knitting Hands

While trying to think of an interesting topic for the blog today...

I remembered having taken pictures of several knitters at the most recent Late Night Yarny party at my fav knitting spot.

So here are a few pair of hands, in no particular order and with a spinner thrown in, doing what we do, when we're inclined to ply our craft.

Bet you'll recognize the last pair of hands, which are crocheting instead of knitting, lol

The appeal of these pictures for me is how different each person's hands are from the next.

I find hands fascinating. They say so much about the person they are attached to.

Mine look just like my Mother's and her Mother's and her Mother's before her. At almost 52 I am seeing my fingers begin to twist and bend just like theirs have. Perhaps I should buy stock in an ibuprofen manufacturing business.

I find it sad, in a way, that I have never seen any of the women who came before me in my maternal line do such things as knit or crochet, or even sew a dress or kercheif.

I must thank my paternal Grandmother for my crafty ways, and she wasn't even blood-kin...she became my Dad's step-mother when he was 5. Thankfully it made no difference in her relationship with me. I could do no wrong in her eyes. Everyone should be blessed with such a Grama.

Hope these pictures will inspire you our give you a good thought or two. If so, my mission is accomplished and I'll be on my way now.

Thanks everyone for stopping in and saying hey! Have a great weekend!

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Visit from Kate Jacobs

Yay! She's here...I'm so excited to have a visit today from Kate Jacobs, author of Friday Night Knitting Club, with some answers to a couple of questions Cass and I had about her newly released book, Comfort Food. She's exploring a new setting, the food tv world, but once again, she is giving voice to an independent woman willing to work hard for what she wants.

I'm happy to present her reply here and would like to thank her so much for considering this a worthy forum...

Is Gus based on anyone you know or would like to know?  
You have written tragedy into your main character’s lives in both books;
do you feel that it’s necessary to have tragedy, that it builds a better story?

Most characters I write ultimately end up being simply
themselves: Not me or someone I know. Though certainly aspects of Gus’s
character in Comfort Food – her elegance, her warmth – owe a lot to the fact
that I love watching Ina Garten on Food Network. I am a huge fan of The Barefoot
Contessa. But Gus isn’t Ina, and she certainly isn’t me. I’m not a good enough
cook! You know, little bits of my personality and my quirks can seep into the
characters, that’s for sure. But even when that happens the characters do not
become stand-ins for me. Someone said to me recently that a writer is everywhere
and nowhere in a book and that strikes me as accurate. There are times I do use
a personal experience to find my way into understanding a character. That’s how
I got to know Gus: I imagined a shared experience. You see, my husband and I
went through a bit of a health scare shortly before my first novel, The Friday
Night Knitting Club, was published. (Talk about putting everything in
perspective!) He ended up in hospital with a mini-stroke and it was frightening.
Fortunately, he recovered fully; today, you’d never guess. But those days were
awful. Overwhelming. We felt blindsided, truly, having just come home from a
vacation cruise celebrating our fifth anniversary. Happy endings are fun. To
live. And sometimes they’re fun to write. And while I do think conflict or
challenge is important to storytelling, tragedy isn’t necessary for a story to
work. But I drew on my very real fear of my husband dying when I thought about
Gus. How would that change my direction? How would it change Gus? That’s why Gus
is widowed around the age I was when my husband was ill, and it’s also why I
made her a mother. Because my husband and I don’t have kids yet and the feeling
we’d always had – that time is on our side – quickly evaporated that night. So
what I think you’re sensing in my books is something else: There are moments
about which I feel profound sadness, such as the unexpected death of someone
close to me almost five years ago, and the experience of my husband’s illness,
and so on. The feelings sneak into the writing, I think. Even as I try to create
breezy, fun-to-read stuff, even as I laugh a lot in real life and don’t take
myself too seriously, these emotions and memories poke through the pages every
now and then. It’s in those moments you probably see the real me more than at
any other time. And yet Comfort Food is meant to be a cheery, comforting book; I
hope readers finish with a smile!

Thanks, Kate. I'd like to wish you good fortune with Comfort Food. It's been a pleasure
to have you as my guest.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day...the dress, she's done!

I present to you a nice bouquet of Oregano for this special day, this beauty survived the winter in my herb garden. Too bad we don't have scratch-n-sniff blogs, lol.

Yes, folks, my version of "June" is finished.

Weighing in at a smidge under 2 lbs she's a bit hefty.

I love the lace
however, I'm not crazy about the bodice, I should have made it smaller so it would have negative ease and give the model more definition...

ok, ok, I won't make you wait any longer...please ignore the not so dazzling model, it's the dress you came to see after all, isn't it? lol

Oh, to be skinny and 16 again...

I plan to make a variety of "under-skirts" for her. I'll sew some buttons around the inside of the bottom edge of the bodice to attach said under-skirts, use the dress as a pattern for the skirts and make them just longer than the dress. Sounds pretty fashionable don't you think? Thanks go to Kim at City Knitting for her part in the brain-storming about how to do the lining.

Thanks to all of you for your interest and enthusiasm during her creation. It's been your curiosity that has kept me hooking on her when I was so sick of that cream color cotton/acrylic yarn. Knowing the yarn, Emu Cottons On DK, was manufactured in the 70's made it the perfect yarn for the job, as this dress reminds me of something I would have worn in high school had I the skills or attention span at that time to make such a thing.

I started on March 8th and finished yesterday which was May 10th. Not bad, I don't think.

Now, on to some socks and the beginning of my Great American Aran Afghan. One of my Ravelry friends, Rowan aka RowanoftheMist has extended an invitation to join him in a KAL group focused on creating of this beautiful afghan and I've decided to give it a go. We figure it could take a couple of years to complete...

I must go knit for a couple hours now before I take my Mom out to dinner.

Life is tough at Chez B.

Thanks for stoppin in, have a great week!

Monday, May 5, 2008

organization vs creativity

Happy Monday everybody!

I often wonder does anyone else have the same little quirks that I have...like not being able to create in a disorganized/cluttered space? I can ignore clutter just so long and then I have to go crazy with the cleaning.

Yesterday was the day that I couldn't take it anymore. I woke up yesterday and was on a mission...at the end of a long, strenuous day (with some muscle help from The Saint) I have a nicely organized, dust-free space in which to set my mind free, ahhh.

What a great morning it is!

On Saturday I ripped back the bodice straps of the crochet dress, I just didn't like the fit of it. The arm hole was too low and made it look frumpy. Obviously it was designed for someone taller than I. I ripped down so I could remove about 2 inches of the bodice and now I can carry on with the straps and finishing.

I can certainly see the end of this project that started on March 8. It took me a couple weeks longer than I would have thought but overall I got it done in a reasonable amount of time. It's difficult to get things done when you have to live the rest of your life at the same time. ;-)

I started a new sock too. I had about 3 inches of the Ribbed Lace sock from Sensational Knitted Socks done and wasn't liking how it looked. I must have been doing one of the stitches incorrectly as it was not nice and smooth like the illustration. The Louet Gems will now be a plain stockinette sock. It's going nice and fast and I don't need any instructions! A good on-the-go project.

Gotta run, it's time to go to work. I'll probably have some things to add later but I'm out of time...

Tonight I have to be the official notary at an event this evening...trying to break the Guinness World Records for number of shots of tequila downed simultaneously, the goal is 1500...doesn't that sound like fun?