Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday quickie

I have not been knitting since I finished my dad's fingerless gloves. He loved them too. My sister was happy to see her own pair of fingerless gloves. She had apparently 'borrowed' her husband's that I gave him last year because she loved how they kept her hands warm. Logan loved his hat and mittens too, so more happy knitting gift recipients.

I did some spinning Friday and Saturday and have more to do on the purple merino/tencel I picked up at Woodland Woolworks. I may be able to be plying for Wednesday knitting/spinning at Haggen's.

Sunday and today I've been out of commission from a right sided migraine. Mine are usually left sided. Might also explain the awful nausea that I woke up with.

I really need to do a couple of online classes tomorrow so I have my fingers crossed that I will be migraine free to get them done. Send healing thoughts my way please.

January knitting plans include a pair of socks and doing the mini ornaments that I didn't get done before Christmas. I can then store them away for next year. I have tentative plans for next year's gift giving and if I follow the plan, less stress will happen.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

We have survived the last couple of days successfully. No major family dramas, just some happy news. The cousin-in-law is pregnant and due in August. So more baby knitting in the future!

While in the shower (am I the only one that has this happen?) I remembered that I had planned to do a Blanket Buddy for Jenna. She's 18 months old and I did the Christmas Kiss Hat for her last year. So I gathered supplies and took it along with us to the MIL's house. After getting a couple of Candied Apple Cheesecakes going in the oven and then popping in the Gingerbread Cake, I sat down and started knitting on the Blanket Buddy.

We were the first of the family to arrive and there was a partially completed 1000 piece puzzle on the dining room table. Since that's where everyone gravitated to, that's where I was working on the Blanket Buddy. I did pretty well at resisting the lure of placing puzzle pieces until they pulled out the second one. Even then it was out for a couple of hours before I got sucked into the lures of finding the pieces for the area that you're working on. (We did finish the second 1000 piece puzzle before dinner.)

Fortunately this is a quick knit. I opted to do the yarn doubled, using up some of that Red Heart and fast on larger needles. I didn't finish it last night though. So once we were back over there this morning and in between opening up presents and watching others do likewise, I was working on the Buddy.

I finished it up just in time for Jenna to get it and go home for a nap and then on to the rest of her busy day with her mom. Dad works for ODOT and was off to sleep before going back on shift. Here she is showing that it was instant love for her Bunny Buddy:

Corbin and Kaisha also like their knitted gifts:

The ladies all loved their necklaces and the guys their hats and fingerless gloves - success! Speaking of fingerless gloves I had completed one for my dad and still needed to finish the other. I had planned to do that last night but the whole Bunny Buddy sidetracked its progress. When we got home this afternoon and after getting things settled back down, I sat down with it and got the second one done this evening - yea! They go down to my dad on Saturday:

I've decided that the two hats for the nephews are going to become books. They'll appreciate them more than the hats I think. Plus I'll actually be able to get out of my neighborhood to do the shopping!

Thus my dad's gloves officially ends the 2008 Holiday Knitting Frenzy! I did join the Christmas 2009 Monthly group. It starts out with doing ornament miniatures in January and lets me get those ones that I really hoped to get done this year done for next year, and ahead of time! I'll see how much of the KALs I'll be able to follow along with that line up with what I hope to make.

Friday I get to go back to spinning. I've missed it! A little break from knitting is in order I think before starting up in the new year.

Monday, December 22, 2008


I won a contest! Judy decided to challenge her readers on identifying tools. I was one of the four winners to correctly identify the tools that weren't thrown out.

I'm the new owner, once Judy and I connect up, saving her postage at Haggen's of Schaefer Anne in the Toni Morrison colorway.

Any suggestions for a cool pattern to use? Socks or other. Though with the amount of yarn I could get several pairs of socks out of it I would think.

Thanks again Judy!

He's not crazy

So since we've been getting the snow Norbert has been watching the sliding glass door and the dog door. At night I've been putting the cover in so that no blowing wind could come through. Saturday night Norbert was particularly barky at the door, and he didn't want to go out to potty. I finally had to lock him in the bedroom to keep him from keeping watch at the door.

Last night, at about 12:30, I got up to get some crackers to settle the acid reflux and stopped to look out the back door to see what it was doing. A shriek did escape and I was all girly, sitting on the foot of snow where the birdseed had been was a rat! Body length about six inches and with the light coming on it darted towards the house. Right where Norbert has been insisting that 'something is there'.

Freaked me out! I woke Brandon up to tell him about it. He assured me that there was rat poison under the house but nothing he could put out along the house because of the dogs. So glad that I've been keeping the cover on the dog flap, or I'm sure this brave rat would have tried to be inside the house. Ick!

I should trust Norbert's nose. It works really well. I just thought that he was 'hearing' things. Since I don't trust that his hearing is 100% from all of his ear infections, that's what I wasn't trusting.

Oh, we got another few inches last night and are supposed to get another two today. We're still in Oregon right? We didn't get mystically transplanted to some area that is supposed to get snow? Other than a few years as a small child I've lived in the Willamette Valley my whole life, I don't remember getting this much snow.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What I've been doing since its been snowing....(pic heavy)

I've cranked out six beaded necklaces. I'm getting good, I can now play with the bead placements. Here they are:
Showing the placement:
That's 1068 beads total that had to be pre-strung before knitting.....

I have a batch of German Mustard made from Tammy's homebrewed beer. I have a couple of small jars for giving, one for Tammy and one for us. I have another bottle of beer that she had for drinking that may end up being another batch.

In the fall I usually do some type of pepper jam. I've done peach, apricot and nectarine. I wasn't in the mood to can and put it off. Thanksgiving and I find that I only have a few jars of pepper jam left and people are demanding more. We talked about it and decided to try out an orange-pepper jam. Totally cheating and bought three containers of frozen oj, three habeneros and the zest from a little 'Cutie'. I ended up with 12 jars of pepper jam for holiday gift giving and some for the shelf for the year. They kind of brought some sunshine in while it was snowing this afternoon:
Those flecks you might be able to see in the jars are the habeneros. I roast them in the toaster oven and then scrape out the seeds and the pith holding them. Still gives a lot of heat to the jam but not as much as with those also in the jam. I don't worry about the blackened part just figuring they add to the rustic-ness of the jam.

I finally put together Bailey's flower girl wall hanging. I had cross-stitched this years ago and its just been hanging out. Then I saw threadbunny's use of her cross-stitch and quilting skills combined and thought - great idea for mine! I think it came out well and will look great in a little girl's room.

Still have two hats, fingerless gloves (one for sure, two possibly) and house socks to make. The way the snow and ice are working, I'm not getting out of the house soon. So lots of knitting will get done!

An idea of how the snow has been over the last couple of days:

Over those few days, I've been throwing out bird seed for the birds. I've had layers freeze. Today I was noticing that the Mourning Doves are particularly plump, think they knew something was coming?

Stay warm & dry and hopefully also knitting up your own storm!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Further Friday Funstuff

(click on image to take your own quiz)
You're a Gryffinclaw!: You are a determined and intelligent person who is used to getting your own way all the time. You are very passionate about your beliefs and will defend them until your last breath. Often Griffenclaws work as lawyers or activists because they have feel so strongly about a certain subject. You feel that knowledge is to be used in a practical way and you often have a very low tolerance for people you consider of low intelligence. Although you aren't a social butterfly, you don't have trouble making fiends, people are usually drawn to you. Your weakness is that sometimes you can be insensitive, you're too busy being witty that you don't realize that you're hurting peoples' feelings, often your friends. With the wit of a Ravenclaw and the passion of a Gryffindor you can face all your battles in life head on!


I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"You have a shy personality. You tend to hesitate before trying new things or meeting new people. But once people get to know you, you open up and show the world what you are really all about."

I could survive for 1 minute, 6 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor

Created by Bunk

Zoo animals have fun in the snow

KATU had this on their site so I thought I'd share the direct link to it on YouTube. Some video of the Asian Elephant baby playing in the snow along with the Amur Tigers and a Wolf. Makes you want to go check out the zoo!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

we have hats & more snow.....

Sunday we had the snow drop a few inches on us. Then we spent the last couple of days with below freezing temps, thus ice on the roads. I haven't been out of the house really since Saturday. This morning it started snowing after 8am and other than maybe 15 minute periods it's been snowing steadily all day long in one form or another. (teeny, tiny snow flakes up to the big fat fluffy ones as a comparison)

Today, my couch potato (AKA Norbert) has been hearing things outside and so feeling the need to investigate these noises. While he can act like the biggest woos, be afraid of meeting new people, he finds moments of braveness (proven rat kill to his name).

Nessa joins him as backup whenever he leads the Charge! She, though she has that pesky cocker once past the lips forever on the hips, is the more active of the two overall. She's being a little more sensible about the need to really go out:

Over the last couple of days I've finished up a couple more holiday gifts - hats for an uncle and a brother-in-law. Same pattern done up differently than the one that I did for cousin-in-law Kyle - Turn-A-Square, a Jared Flood pattern:

What I still have left to make:
4 bead necklaces (I've done a ton of them already and if I'm lucky these will be the last ones I'll ever make!)
2 Swell hats
1 pair house socks (worsted weight, big needles, should go fast!)
1 pair of gloves

Wish list - mini socks, mini hats, mini sweaters ornaments (these are the last things I'll be trying to work on.)

We're supposed to get more either freezing rain or more snow this afternoon with lots more snow overnight. Looks like the winter vacation came a week early to the school kids in the area. ;^)

Back to the knitting!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Piggy Mittens All Done!

Finished up the second mitten of the second pair. Took photographs and everything. They're flashed but I don't know that I'll get good light tomorrow.

Here they are:

ETA: I forgot to mention that the light pink one was asked to be a pattern photo for the pattern designer. It's the number two photo for the design. (Ravelry pattern link, must be a member - sorry!) Here's her blog for other patterns.

Off to bed. Tomorrow will start work on the gloves for mom, but might throw in a hat for a change up. We'll see how it goes.

Keep warm and dry!

Second Pair in Progress & Snow!

I stayed up late last night reading/finishing a book, so was up late this morning. By the time I was up there was a nice coat of snow on the ground. It's pretty much been snowing most of the day. I think we probably have about four to six inches on the ground in places. We're all staying inside keeping warm. I've been watching movies and working on the Piggy Mittens Pair #2:

Earlier in the day I took a few photos of the yard, there's more snow now but you can get an idea of how the wind has been blowing:

Nessa and Norbert ventured out this morning while there was less snow. Norbert is a bit of a priss in regards to his toes and getting them wet/cold. We'll have to shove him out in a bit. Nessa went out and snuffled around in the snow and then shivered over the snow balls that accumulated in the feathers on her feet:

We were supposed to go over to Judy's and help decorate her tree. She likes having the grandkids help. With the snow we opted to stay home. I'll let Brandon borrow the Subaru to go to work tomorrow. I'm supposed to give a talk at one of the high schools and pick up niece Kaisha from school and watch her for an hour on Tuesday. It's supposed to get colder and more snow on Wednesday. It's going to be an interesting week!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

One Pair Down, One to Go

Finished up the first pair of Piggy Mittens this afternoon. Just one more pair to go and they are done! I'm flipping the colors on the second pair to make them different, okay and because the light pink probably doesn't have enough to make a second pair.

Here they are:

Friday, December 12, 2008

Baby Love Blankets & Mittens or Gloves

I finished up the third and last Baby Love Blanket - yea! It came out well. It might just squeak in under the small blanket category but I used what I had on hand.

Here's Teddy sitting with all three of them casually arranged. I tried doing it during a brief clear-sunny sky moment but my batteries needed a recharge.

With the Baby Love blankets done I went back to working on the Piggy Mittens. I started out working them for a large child's hand and thought that looked too big. Ended up following the small child's pattern. Some of the directions assume that you have an actual child hand to measure/try on the mitten in progress, so a lot of guess work went into the creation. Again, I lost lighting so fluorescent and flash off, sorry about that:

Just have three more to make!

I was going to do a "driver's glove" for my mother but have heard its fiddly pattern instructions. I was resisting working on them. This means that I really didn't want to make them. So put aside that idea and found a different pattern and I'm sure things will go better. I had thought to do a version for William but he noticed the task list and started questioning design/color and so I'm not going to make them until he's ready for something like that. Honestly, makes my knitting list easier so I'm not going to complain!

Still have hopes to make some mini-ornaments before Christmas. Have the patterns already to go and sock yarns ready to be used. Just need to find the time of course. I also keep having thoughts of making sock blockers and SIP tubes. Those will most definitely end up having to wait until after the holiday unless a miracle happens.

Found out that we've been put in charge of organizing the 'kids' in what we'll be eating Christmas Eve. I decided that I'd do a crock pot of chicken curry, have one family group do the salad and toppings and the other group the munchies stuff, well we'll all share a bit in that but you know what I mean.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A hat and progress on Baby Love #3

I took a First Degree Reiki class this weekend (Saturday and Sunday) for continuing education credit. It was a fun class and I look forward to using it with clients. Business building plans in the new year. I wasn't sure how much down time I would have so I took along the Baby Love Blanket #3 - Diagonal blanket:

I'm further along after the class. I had breaks and lunches to work on it and was glad. It was the perfect thing to work on while there. I received the yarn from Tiggywinkleknits last Wednesday, and posted it last week. The plan was to increase with two skeins and then start the decreases with the other two. I've completed the increases and started the decreases. May or may not have it done tomorrow night to give all three blankets over to Bobbie.

Last night I finished up the Jacques Cousteau hat that I was initially intending for one of the BIL's. Since I'm using stash yarn, leftovers from Kyle's fingerless gloves, the Berroco Pure Merino, the finished hat fits more of a child sized person than an adult. I had planned to send a hat up to my nephew Garrett, so looks like this is the one:

Just two more hats for nephews, two pairs of mittens for the nieces, and a more items than I'd really like to think about for others. ;^)

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I received the tape measure today in the mail from Michele. I wasn't the first to use it though. Kat in the Insomnia group was curious how wide her project was so it was cool to whip out the peppermint tape and have it oohhh'd and aaahhh'd over, then used.

Before that though, Sharon aka Stitchjones, delivered a skein of her yummy sock yarn in the winning colorway. I had participated on one of her contests and was declared the winner a while back ago. Sharon hadn't any of the skeins available until recently when she dyed some new stuff up. I'm looking forward to after holiday knitting and future socks with this yarn (named I'm With The Band):

I did a new WIP photo of the Baby Love #2 blanket (pattern name is Logan's Half Blanket - but I also have a nephew by that name so confusing), you can see in the sidebar. I have I think half a skein left to go. Yea! I'm finishing this tonight before I go to bed, no matter what the time. ;^)

So in a moment of insanity last night while Bobbie was checking in her charity yarn and she flashed that she had four skeins of purple yarn that I said I'd take them and make another baby blanket. Crazy right? Thankfully this stuff is aran weight and I'm so totally using the US10s on this next blanket. I'm also going to 'cheat' and do the Diagonal Baby Blanket. Big Yarn, Big Needles - Fast Project. I also took two half balls of yarn that will be used for preemie hats for a different charity project. Here's the yarns:

Smaller group for the Insomnia group and they rearranged the furniture. I also had the problem of the sun shining in at just the right angle to hit one window and then bounce directly to me. Such an odd problem to be having this time of the year. ;^)

Need to make dinner and then back to the knitting - blanket must be done tonight!

Thursday afternoon fun

Elvish name translation site - click the appropriate link to find your name.

Tamara (not my full name by the way) - Tami, Tammi and Tammy all fall under this category
Meaning - Palm Tree ( um okay? I guess if that also included a white sandy beach and turquoise waters that would be cool.)
Elvish name - Meldainiel
Pronunciation - Mehl-dye-nee-ell

Here it is a beautiful sunny fall day with lots of wind. I have hopes it will help the tree out front finish dropping its leaves. Then again, we don't have leaf pick up until I think December 12.

What's your Elvish name?

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Where interesting thoughts arrive

Last night I grabbed a slice of mozzarella cheese and headed off to the facilities. The wrapper crinkles had of course been noticed by both dogs as the source of 'cheese'. Thus I had plenty of company when I arrived at my destination. Then again most people with one or more pets will tell you that like having little kids your days of going to the bathroom alone doesn't happen often.

I used clicker training and food to train the dogs. I spent more time training Nessa than I did with Norbert because he's William's dog. We have had fun with agility (Norbert) and Rally Obedience (Nessa) and Tracking (both dogs). Nessa has a few more fun obedience stuff under her training belt than Norbert does.

This was really brought to my attention last night with the cheese. I was willing to share, they just had to work for the privilege. It was the last that caught my eye in the different abilities. Both were standing and I asked for a 'down'. Nessa instantly flattened herself on the floor in a nice fold-back down as trained. Norbert looked at me like I was doing drugs. Crinkle brow back at him. You know 'down' so I tried with both hand and voice cue. Still looks at me like I'm crazy.

A standing down was taught to Nessa because it was one of the different skills needed for Rally-O and the first level stuff. Norbert was never taught it because I had no intention of trying to teach him that stuff. One because he doesn't enjoy it and two because he's too damn short. He stands 11 inches at the shoulder, he's a small fry. It's painful to try to teach heeling and fronts on my back and bending in half repetitively.

So there we were in the bathroom and I'm receiving this epiphany of thought on the differences between my two dogs. Norbert also has a hard time with 'spin right' and 'spin left'. To him there's only one and why are you trying to get me to go the other way? Something that William has been trying to work with him on and since he's not using a clicker, Norbert isn't differentiating that he's supposed to be learning something new. Apparently a great many interesting thoughts are arrived at in this location. It must be the quiet that helps facilitate them. ;^)

I think this spring we'll try to find out when there's a Tracking test going on and see if they can both get their first titles. Both loved playing the tracking game. If only we can keep away from rude obnoxious labs and their owners - I don't care if you "think" your dog is 'friendly'. My dog is telling your dog that it's afraid of it and yours looming over it is *not* friendly in any way. With Nessa this includes all dogs that are 'big and black' so lab owners please try not to take great offense. If you'd like to get clued in on the body language of dogs, do please check out or buy a copy of Turid Rugaas' "On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals".

ETA: Norbert does know 'down' in the context of having learned them from doing 'puppy push-ups'. A 'down' to him comes from being in the 'sit' position.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We might be on a roll dear....

I slogged on Sunday afternoon and evening and met success in completing the Razor Shell Lace Scarf - yea! I had to wait until Monday and a clean empty kitchen sink before I could soak and block. I'm not sure why people have problems with their Malabrigo Lace (quick knock on wood) after wetting and blocking. I used some Lavender Eucalan I have and a nice hot soak for about half an hour before taking it out of the water. Gentle squeezes to get the excess water out and then a quick roll in a towel before pinning to the ironing board. Blocking really did help things out I think. Here's what I ended up with:

I had cast on for Mom's Driver's Gloves but I'm not sure what it is about the pattern that isn't speaking to me right now but seeing the Original Spiderman Mitten on my desk decided what I would work on Monday morning - it's mate. So between household chores and shows and computer time I finished up the second mitten before bedtime. I think they will go to Logan, he's five and should have small enough hands for them to fit and maybe not be toooooo long:

Looking at these coming off my list of projects in progress at Ravelry made me realize that I hadn't spent any time on the second blanket for the Baby Love Project. So I picked that up last night and added rows to it, then remembered to pick it up and work on it while I was watching 'Sara Conner' on HULU and then watched last week's episode of 'CSI: NY' (I'm the only one watching either shows and they also occur at the same time as shows the rest of the family watch, so this is how I continue to watch them). Just have to remember to jiggle the mouse every ten minutes or so and the screen saver won't activate (yes, I know it would have been easier to change the time preferences). I'm continuing work on the baby blanket this evening and well into the second skein out of three. I may just be able to get it to squeak to the proscribed length.

We've stumbled into a show on one of the cable channels called 'Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations'. Anthony travels to different countries and goes local eating what they eat. He has a particular fondness for anything coming from a pig and loves it if its also fried. They bleep his language, but doesn't use it a lot, has a penchant for drinking a lot and used to also smoke on the show but that isn't often seen (mentions that he's a two pack a day guy). So the show is sightseeing and food with local culture and a character doing it all.

Why do I mention this? Well, Michele (PDXKnitterati) had a statue as an indicator of where she was this last weekend and asked the readers to guess where she was. I'd shown the statue to Brandon and we both had no idea. Well in the several episodes that were recorded this weekend we were watching was one set in Colombia. The city of Medellin had a plaza with similar statues, one with a lone horse. Brandon pointed out the similarity.

Kat, a nickname due to an overabundance of curiousity, and I'm at the computer doing a search trying to find out the plaza, then skipping that and going for the artist's name. Artist is a Colombian named Fernando Botero, so used that as a search along with 'man & horse' and came up with the fact that Michele was visiting in Clayton, MO. The statue was in front of a Starbuck's too. Yes, Michele picked up the first peppermint mocha (changed from latte) of the season there. ;^) While now knowing that she'll have trouble hiding in the future, she also decided to reward me with a seasonal tape measure (scroll to the bottom to see) from Lantern Moon. Thanks Michele!

On the book front I'm making progress in decreasing the pile of books beside my bed and also going through the ones the library delivers. I've noticed that there is a definite trend in writing in the first person. I used to hate that and toss the book to the side without reading. Now I give the book a chance before I either continue or toss. I also have found that frame of mind also impacts the enjoyability of the reading. One book I recently finished I had tried to start probably six months ago. I found it slow reading and put it aside for another book. Luckily it didn't get chucked into the 'take to the bookstore for trade-in' pile.

I'm not sure if I'm lazy, the books are really that good, or what. Justina Robson's 'Quantum Gravity' series comes to mind as a recent example. I enjoyed the first book, kind of felt like I got bogged down in the middle of the second book and the third book I'm having a hard time jumping into at all. In fact I've put it aside after three chapters (it's also a library book) and started another book, put it aside also (another library book alas) and then fell into that book I had put aside for six months and gobbled it up like hot buttered popcorn.

What gives? I've read previous books by both of these authors and enjoyed them, why am I having a hard time starting one a new series, and the other a continuation? Am I being lazy and want it to come easily to me? Have I rotted my brain with 'candy' reads? (Candy - not a lot of thought or effort, usually pertaining to something in the romance genre - predictable in the extreme.) Then I looked at some of the books coming up and they are all in the first person. Why? Is it easier to write? Looking back while writing a blog I get tired of seeing all the "I's" and try to mix it up.

Anyway share your book thoughts, or not. I need to get back to 'Inside the Actor's Studio' and the interview with Daniel Radcliffe and working on that baby blanket so that I can get back to some serious holiday project work - I have seven pairs of mittens/gloves to make as well as five hats and four of those beaded necklaces to whip out before the 25th. Why am I working on this blanket again? I don't have time!! Oh, yea, its for charity and that's important too.

Congratulations for making it this far. ;^)