Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Samhain Everyone!!!



Here's wishing everyone a Happy Samhain and a Happy Halloween as well.- I have much to do today, so I'll leave you with some really cool websites to check out :)

...For the ultimate in jack-o-lantern carving, click here.

...A pattern for all of you zombie lovers, click here.

...A shawl that I'm considering making... how can one resist a dragon such as this?

...How did I ever miss the sign-ups for this KAL?!?! Oh no!!!

...One of our family's loverly castles...well, OK, we don't really own it anymore, but someone we're distantly related to a few hundred years ago lived there. Does that count? :)

...and to top off all of this semi-useless information, and make this blog complete, you MUST go here...

I have no idea what they all have to do with one another, but hey, you got to kill a few boring minutes at work, right? ;)

Happy Samhain!


Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Raisin in the Son

I would like to start off by saying thank you to my Secret Pal for the card that was hiding out in my mailbox today waiting in ambush! Perfect timing for that little ray of postal sunshine. Eli has been very sick today- very oozy with fluids...we probably would have done better this morning with a tarp and a hose... :) He is much better now. He released the demon that was making him throw up...cue in dramatic music...it was a raisin!! That's right folks, one lone raisin wreaking all that havok on our household!! During his nap, and after I had changed clothes for the fifth time, I snuck out to the mailbox and low and behold, I found a card wishing me a happy Samhain. It's funny what wood pulp and some ink can do to lift a person's spirits, so, thank you again. It was much appreciated after such a long morning :)

Here's a picture of our little geyser post raisin eviction. He grabbed his bottle, climbed onto the couch and this is how we found him- kickin back with his mind on his bottle and his bottle on his mind...He might as well enjoy it while he can, because next week the bottle goes bye-bye. Shhhh...don't tell him I said that... ;)




I finished my first preemie hat sans pom-poms, because I'm in the process of figuring out the architecture of said pom-poms. They can't be too hard to make, can they? I took a picture of it, but decided to wait until it's really done to post it. I also turned the heel on sock number 1 for my Sock-ret Pal. Man oh man, there's nothing like turning a heel! I love sock making!

Well, that's about it. That's enough excitement for me for one day! Whew!!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Socks and Stones

Not too much going on today, so I thought I'd share a progress picture of my Sock-ret Pal's pair o' socks. She supposedly doesn't know my secret spy identity, so I'm presuming it's OK to post it. I switched from Lorna's Laces to this awesome hand painted superwash sockyarn that I found at the yarn shop in Maryville. The colors are GORGEOUS. Oh mannnnna, do I want to keep this pair...but I won't. I'm using the baby cable pattern from the book, Sensational Knitted Socks. Love this book!




I'm also posting a picture of a medicine bag that I knit using wool directly off my drop spindle. I spun the wool then proceeded to knit the bag right off of the spindle using a live twist- single plyed yarn. Using a live twist creates a beautifully textured yarn- very alive- very "old worlde" looking. I keep my small treasure bottle of garnet chips in it. (my birthsone)



F.Y.I. Garnet is a stone of health, extracting negative energy from the chakras and transmuting the energy to a beneficial state. It has been used as a sacred stone by the Native American Indians, the South American Indians, the Aztecs, the African Tribal Elders and the Mayan. It has also been known as the stone of commitment-devotion, love and understanding. This stone produces an energy which is predisposed to discourage chaotic, disruptive and disorganized growth. (source: Love is in the Earth by Melody- highly recommended book!) This has been a public service announcement :P

That's about it for today :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

And Now For Some Dwarf Tossing...


Hahaha! I thought this picture was so funny and just had to share it!

My mom also sent me some lovely pictures taken around her house. This one is a view of Tellico Lake on a brooding rainy day. One can almost imagine a solitary canoe slowly making it's way along the lake's edge...




This one is taken off of the bridge right by her house, of the Tellico River in all of it's Autumn glory.



The last shot, I'm not sure where it was taken, but aren't the colors gorgeous? Thanks mom! Keep 'em coming!



I did some knitting last night on my first preemie hat. I'm using some cheapo acrylic yarn, but it's actually not that bad. Go figure. It's quite soft, is a pretty lavender and seems to photograph well! It's for a good cause, so I'll just have to get over myself and put my yarn-snobbery on the back burner for this project. It's amazing how small the hat is! It could be a sock. It throws me back to the time when I could hold Eli's head in the palm of my hand, with room to spare! Wow.



We're off to Eli's circle time this morning. It's his social hour where he gets to run around like a madman. It's good- burn off that energy!! Today the circle leader is doing the letter "C". Not sure exactly what it will be, all I know is that we have to bring an empty egg carton...could get interesting!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Good times



To make a long story short, we didn't win the $59 million jackpot for the Tennessee Powerball, so we had to come back...As always, my time in Tennessee was too short, but full of memories. I think the hardest part was the drive-time. 15 hours is an awful lot to ask of a 19 month old, but he powered through it like the champ that he is and I'm very proud of him. Below is a picture of Eli amusing himself with his feet. Yay feet!




I took a gazillion photos, and want to post them all, but I know that's a bit much sooooo, I'll post a few and tell the story along the way.

The first real event that we went to when we got there was the semi-annual Coker Creek Fall Festival. It was nice. We wandered around through the vendor area and picked up some lovely homemade soap- orange blossom scented- how funny! There was an entertainment section, but Eli had it in mind that he wanted to go every which way but with us, so we cut the day short after having some homemade chicken and dumplings and pineapple cake. Ah well. I think he was getting in one of his "big" teeth and that was making him testy.




On Sunday we went to the Flea Market in Sweetwater and once again, had to cut it a bit short due to Mr. Grumpy-pants. While we were there we did manage to pick up a few much needed household items and I found these awesome tapestry totebags for $4.00. Couldn't believe the deal! They are the perfect size for carrying knitting projects.

On Monday, my mom stayed with Eli while Jack and I went Thrifting. There is THE coolest thrift store located in Sweetwater. We walked out of there with a set of circa 1970 brown mushroom coffee cups, a matching mushroom glass cutting board, a ceramic potatoe (for holding mashers), a cheeseburger shaped ketchup dispenser (what is it with me and food shaped food containers?), an awesome ankle length denim skirt and a curtain panel circa 1965 that I plan on cutting up and making an apron skirt out of- yes, I fancy myself to be one of the Von Trapp Family Singers :P

On Tuesday, we made a pilgrimage to my favorite yarn store, The Knitting Nest in Maryville, where I loaded up on some gorgeous mint green ribbon yarn, a new set of DPN's, the Vogue knitting men's issue from last year, and some gorgeous hand dyed sockyarn that will eventually turn itself into a glorious pair of socks for my Sock-ret Pal. The best part of the trip that day was coming home to my first package in the mail from my spoiler- that was THE coolest! She sent me a pair of footie socks that will be great for Miami, a ball of Sockotta sock yarn in some pretty festive colors, stitch markers that she had made just for moi, a sachet of her homegrown lavender- yum!, a tape measure, and a beautiful card with a photo of a mountain view. Thank you thank you!! Muuuu-ah- big kisses!




On Wednesday, Jack, Eli and I stayed around the house and relaxed. My mom had to go to work, so I decided to make an apple pie. I used the recipe out of the Better Homes and Gardens red & white cookbook circa 1970, and we couldn't have been happier with the results. I'm planning on making a few more of those babies for some lucky friends of mine in Miami. I was looking for some "thanks for being good friends" gifts and I've found them!




On Thursday, we just kicked around town while my mom was at work and then headed home to cook her a nice meal as thanks for her neverending hospitality. I made some country fried chicken (out of the same above mentioned cookbook), spaghetti squash with butter and garlic parmesan potatoes (recipe courtesy of mom!) Jack was in his own little chicken heaven and hasn't stopped talking about that dinner to this day. I'm glad to have such a fan of my cooking, seeing that I didn't acquire the skill until 2 years ago. I used to avoid it like the plague!



On Friday, we went to dinner with my mom at a little Italian Restaurant in Madisonville and then we headed into Knoxville to go see Marie Antoinette. My mom stayed home with the little dude and we went off on our luxourious date- the first we'd had in 10 months- doh!! The movie was great and so was Borders afterwards. I picked up the Knitting for Peace book and found a great pattern for preemie hats in it. Eli was 9 weeks early, spent 7 weeks in the NICU, being 3 pounds when he was born. When we were there, the nurses gave us some knit hats that had been donated, to help keep his little noggin warm. I've wanted to do some charity knitting and am so happy to have stumbled across this book- now I'm pointed in the right direction. I've decided to knit one hat or pair of booties a month and send them out as a package once a year. I hope and pray over every stitch that the baby that receives each hat makes it through OK. I try to put a little bit of magic in each one.





The rest of the time there was spent leisurely. Lots of talking, reading, wood stacking, window washing, shopping, and of course...knitting!! Whew...I think I'm finally caught up :) We had a good ol' rural time.




Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Running to the hills...

We are leaving tomorrow morning for the Smokies!! Can't wait. Still lots to do. Couldn't leave without saying adieu. :)

All is right in the universe: Going North is GOOD... My boy is sound asleep in bed... My bags are packed.... I've heard from my Sock-ret Pal Charlotte and my Secret Pal as well... I've also made contact with the two that I am spoiling. I'm feeling bad for those who haven't heard from their spoilers. What's up with that?

Well, I must run. Good night all.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Stuff

Woo-hoo!!!! I am bigger than my knitting!! I have beaten it into submission! I've shown it who's boss...well, OK...maybe that's a bit of a stretch :) My project is up and running again. Not only did I frog 4800 stitches and live to tell about it, I learned how to fix an ENORMOUS hole that I created while putting the stitches back on the needle. The moral of the story is: We fall, so that we may learn to pick ourselves up again. This experience has allowed me to experience frustration, anxiety and stress, yet it has helped me with my patience, perseverence, and given me such a sense of pride when I tackled this obstacle. I'm now back in my "I love knitting- knitting is relaxing" warm fuzzy place. Yay!

I'm stilllllllllllllllllllllll waiting for my sock yarn. Why is it that it always takes so long, when you really want something from the Postal Service? Maybe I should just stop thinking about it and it will appear. If it doesn't show up soon though, the postman is going to become my hostage- JUST KIDDING (in case Big Brother is watching ;) I'm not paranoid or anything... *grin*

I finished one of my tarot bags last night for my friend in California and I'm really happy with how it turned out. I hope she likes it just as much!




I also finished my zombie book and am on to the next installation of my doom and gloom literary tour. I think after this book, I'll be out of this phase and probably need a good dose of happy.

Currently Reading: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
This is the story of a man and his boy and their survival after a nuclear holocaust. This was written by the same author who wrote All the Pretty Horses. So far, it's a quick read and out of all of my recent books, this one is written with eloquence. There are parts that make you stop and chew on the words for a bit. His writing is simple and gorgeous at the same time. It has received high reviews across the board.




In the DVD Player: Fun With Dick and Jane with Jim Carrey and Tia Leonney (2005)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Flannelpalooza

I don't know what it is about Sunday, but it always inspires me to write about my weekend. It definitely wasn't as exciting as last weekend with the birthday party, but I did get a bunch of sewing done. Seeing that we live in a tropical climate, Eli really doesn't have a whole lot of cold weather clothes, so I decided to make him a few pairs of flannel pajama bottoms for the trip to Tennessee. The first pair, the blue ones with the animals are a little bit long, but that's OK, because we just roll them up and he can grow into them. I found that getting a good hem on a toddler traveling at the speed of sound is virtually impossible!!



I used them as a guide for my second pair though, and they turned out perfect. I think I'm going to make a matching robe for him. I'm currently making matching Pajama pants for his daddy- they'll look so cute together! Awwww... *grin* There is something so rewarding about seeing my child running around in clothes that I made for him. It's really cool, actually. It brings you back to the basics.



I haven't done a whole lot of knitting this weekend. I finally frogged my project in need of frogging and 4800 stitches later, I'm still breathing! Now I have to conquer the fear of starting again. Must remember: knitting is relaxing... :) Thank you Charlotte and Em for your words of encouragement!

I did a little bit on my Watercolor socks. I'm officially on the heel flap. Woo-hoo!! I'm coming up to my favorite part in sock making (besides finishing the second sock), and that is turning the heel. It's still magic to me. I don't think that will ever get old. On another note, I'm hoping the yarn that I ordered for my Sock-ret Pal's socks will arrive tomorrow and I can get started on them. They would be a nice project to bring to Tennessee.

I'm also more than half-way through the zombie book and I actually like it. Weird. It's not as gory blood and guts as I thought it would be. It deals more with the human condition and the triumphs and the tragedies that go along with it. There are also a lot of "what-if" scenarios that make you wonder what you would do in the same situation. It's very interesting. Who would've thought.

Currently Reading: World War Z by Max Brooks

In the DVD Player: Off the Map- this is a GREAT movie starring Sam Elliot and Joan Allen. It's about a family that lives in New Mexico, living on $5000 a year. There is a free-spirit quality about it that drew me in immediately. The cinamatography is gorgeous. The movie makes me want to sell everything, pay off my debt and build a mud hut in the desert!! haha! I could just sit there and knit and sew all damn day long...well, it might be a bit uncomfortable without air conditioning...OK, a mud hut with A/C. Now we're talking!!




On the Needles: Same ol' stuff. Where art thou, o' yarn coming in the mail?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Secret Pal 9 Questionaire

Hello Secret Pal! Here you go!


1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I love Lorna's Laces, Socks That Rock, Mountain Colors Bearfoot, any superwash wool, Silk. I've haven't tried any Noro yet or bamboo, but it is on my must-do list! I'm reeeally addicted to sock knitting right now, but I do branch out and do other projects every once in awhile. Fibers that I absolutely don't like: one word (or is it two?) 100% acrylic. Squeeky yarn freaks me out ;P

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? haha!! Right now they reside in a big jumble in a plastic tub in my bedroom!

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I learned how to knit when I was 7, from my mom and my grandmother. I kept with it for a few years, then discovered boys. It was all downhill from there. Just kidding! I picked it back up seriously, about a year ago. I would consider myself an intermediate knitter. I can perform all the stitches (whether they're correct or not, who knows!), I can make socks, sweaters, etc., but have yet to attempt a "true" lace pattern. When I say "true", I'm talking something out of the book, A Gathering of Lace, with laceweight yarn. I attempted the Super Spiral Shawl a few months ago and it didn't go so well :) I'm working a lace pattern now, but it's a bit different with worsted weight yarn! I'm now wondering if I really know what I'm talking about... :)

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? Yup. Here it is: http://amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/ref=yourlists_pop_1/104-7916770-5060761
I also have an eQuilter.com wishlist: I think all you have to do is enter my email address to do a search.
5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)My favorite scent is Nag Champa. I also like Lavender, Warm spicy scents, Apple, Creamsicle, Vanilla mixed with other fragrences. The only scent that I really don't care for is a heavy floral.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I don't have much of a sweet tooth. I'm not a big fan of candy or chocolate. I do love coffee, though. It's a must have every morning in my house!

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I sew. I've been making bags and clothes for my family lately. I also quilt, do cross-stitch, dye yarn, do beadwork, and yes, I am learning to spin. Whew!!

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)I listen mainly to folk/acoustic rock- Ani Difranco, Rusted Root, Ray Lamontagne, anything bluegrass, I also like "bluesy" music, new age and celtic instrumentals. I think my computer could play a burned CD.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? I just plain ol' love color. The only colors that I don't care for are pastels and plain grey. Grey is a nice complimet to other colors, just not alone.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I am a stay-at-home mom. My son is almost 19 months old and is the joy of my life. My boyfriend's name is Jack and he is a wonderful father and partner. We have one cat. His name is Sam- he's a 13 year old siamese and is sweet as can be.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Unfortunately, I don't get to wear any of that stuff! Well, maybe once a year when I visit my mom in Tennessee! I really only get to wear the socks and bags that I make. I am going to try linen and cotton one of these days to make a camosaule/tank-top. (sp?)

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Socks, socks, socks! :P

13. What are you knitting right now? Socks (go figure), a super secret Christmas/Yule gift, a beaded silk/mohair scarf. I'll be starting up another pair of socks shortly.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Handmade gifts are one of my all-time favorite things on this planet. I also believe in using them proudly, rather than just looking at them.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I like both straight and circs. I prefer bamboo and wood, but am dying to try a pair of Addi Turbos (sp?)

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Nope. Hopefully I'll be aquiring them around the holidays *grin*

17. How old is your oldest UFO? 5 months

18. What is your favorite holiday? Halloween, of course!! Better known as Samhain (pronounced Sow-wen)

19. Is there anything that you collect? I'm collecting purple fabric right now for my upcoming patchwork quilt for my bed. I also collect sparkly things- beads, jewelry, junk- I don't really care what it is as long as it shines and I can make something out of it :)

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? I would love to try Noro, Glitter Alpaca by Cherry Tree Hill, Cashmerino- Debbie Bliss. Anything really! I've been dying to get my hands on some of Nancy Bush's sock knitting books. I don't have any mag subscriptions, but I do love reading Vogue Knitting.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? I think I'd like to learn how to seam really well. I'd also like to learn Fair Isle.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? My foot circumference is 8" and my shoe size is US9.

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd) Jan 25th.

Whew!! That's alot of info! My fingers are cramping up!! :P

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Scary Things and Not-So-Scary Things

Ahhh, I'm a coward...I have yet to frog and my project sits there mocking me!! I don't know what my major hang-up is. I know this is my first frogging attempt, but come on now :) *hanging head in shame* I'm doing it tonight, no if's and's or but's about it!! It's funny how something so small can become so large in your brain. Talk about prolonging the agony...

Some good stuff: Eli and I went to Chuck E Cheese the other day, for the first time, and mannnna, is that place cool or what! We had a blast! He is still at the age where it's affordable to go there, so it didn't bankrupt us. Jack went online and found one in Knoxville, so we'll be making a family pilgrimage to worship at the alter of rat when we're in Tennessee. Woo-hoo!! I love being a kid again!! I'm finding that's one of the perks of having children. Good stuff. Makes up for the diaper changes and teething :)






We're stranded at home today :( Sharing a car has it's benefits (less money on gas, maintenance, good for the environment, yadda, yadda) but on days when you had things planned, and end up carless, it sucks. Eli and I are supposed to be going over to a friends house for finger-painting and circle-time with some other wee munchkins, but alas, no car. That's OK though. We can still walk to Toys R' us and Best Buy...and we can fingerpaint with ketchup and mustard on the kitchen floor (I think there's still some there from last night's dinner- TOTALLY kidding of course...and I can shop online for my Sock-ret Pal. I love getting packages in the mail, even if they're not for me!! *grin* I can still pretend! Last, but not least, I can take on of these fabulous patterns that I got on sale at JoAnn's and create some glorious monstrosity to oh so proudly wear down the runway in my livingroom (Jack says I still don't know how to "say when" when I'm creating anything- I go overboard on sparklies and beads and ribbon, etc.) I think I'll make a bag...




Currently Reading: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, by Max Brooks
Hmmm...another book I wouldn't normally read. Am I detecting a trend here? Jack is the most surprised by this one, because he knows of my above average zombiephobia. Ever since I was a little girl of 9, spending weekends with my dad in a big rural Pennsylvania farmhouse, I've been freaked out by zombies. For some unknown reason, he thought it was OK for me to watch Night of the Living Dead. Wrong Answer pal. I still can't watch that movie to this day! So there's some background to it. I myself can't believe I'm reading the book.




In the DVD Player: Failure to Launch (2006) with Matthew McCaunaghy and Sarah Jessica Parker.

On the Needles: Same ol' projects. I'm waiting for my sockyarn order so that I can start on my Sockret Pal's socks. I hope I've chosen the right color and pattern for her. I'm going with Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Blackberry and I'm going to do some sort of cabled pattern. I think they'll turn out gorgeous!! I loooooove the color of this yarn and hope she will too. Her tastes are different from mine, so I'm learning how to think/shop through someone else's eyes. It's pretty cool. You know me and my comfort zone theory! It's good to go beyond it.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Frogging Pooh Pooh

It's Sunday morning and time for the weekend recap. It's been pretty good so far, pretty full of activity. Yesterday, I dyed 8 skeins in the morning and they turned out gorgeous!! They are currently drying, waiting to be skeined. I achieved some really rich color combinations and am so pleased with the results. Color just makes my toes curl :)




In the afternoon, Jack, Eli and I headed over to my friend Mitzi's house, for her daughter's first birthday party. There were soooo many people there- we'd been to smaller parties in high school! There was a bouncehouse, a clown, face-painting, a cotton candy maker, a popcorn machine, tubs of beer and wine (woo-hoo!), and this fantastic catered food, Cuban style. It was really good- I wish I knew what I was eating! I can't wait to see what this little girl's Sweet Sixteen will be like! Mitzi and Dennis did a fantastic job.

Eli was semi interested in the emaciated Pooh character, so we strategically placed him for his photo op! Looks really into it, huh?




Afterwards, he insisted on demonstrating his champion chair stacking skills. He's quite gifted! *grin*




Winding down the evening, I finished my book, The Ruins, and came to a few conclusions:
1) I did enjoy it, even though it wasn't my typical read.
2) I don't think I want to go to Mexico anytime soon, no way senorita!
3) I am now going to be eyeing all of my plants a little bit more suspiciously- I caught myself doing it this morning when I was out on the back porch, watering the aloe and lavender!!

Today, I will be mentally preparing myself for some serious frogging later on. *Cringe.....* I will be retreating to my Fortress of Solitude with my super secret project, which I super seriously messed up. Arrrgggggggggg!!! I found out the other night how far knitting really does fly! :) Well, let's just say, I've been working on a lace pattern for a few weeks and now I'll be unworking on it- *crying* Ah well, it had to happen sooner or later, right? This is my first serious frog project. It had to come sooner or later, right?