Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Summer is NOT over!

Don't dare say it. Don't point out that the days are getting shorter. Don't point to the calendar and show me that there are only 7 days left until Labor Day. I'm covering my ears (la la la la la). What, what was that you said? School starts in 8 days? Oh yeah, I'm all about hearing those words. I'm listening now.

While I'm in denial that the weather will soon turn cold and I won't be able to wear shorts and be barefoot 24/7, I am trying to be much better prepared for my holiday knitting than I was last year. Here's my list:
* I've decided that King Thing and Thing 2 will get sweaters. I started on King's last spring but still need to find a pattern and spin yarn for Thing 2's.
* Thing 1 requested a thong for the second year in a row. I absolutely refused last year but might do it for grins and giggles this year. King Thing says that I should make it out of wool - ouch!
* McGuyver Mom will get a scarf (she loves them and was sad that I didn't make her one last year but made Dad one) and perhaps a camisole though probably not by Christmas especially if I have to spin for it.
* Ebay Man/Dad is a huge question mark but then again, he always is. How do you buy something for the man who has everything?
* G'Ma will get either a snuggly lap blanket or some sort of silky scarf (her neck gets cold).
* My brother and nephew will get matching firefighter Cheekies (my lil bro will hopefully finish training in Sept. to become a Howard County Firefighter - hurray!) These are my top priorities.
* Friends will probably get a smattering of mini cheeky little monkeys and handspun goodies that have yet to be designed. And somewhere in there I hope to finish Rogue and start Eris. Oh yeah and knit and design lots of felted bags. And teach knitting classes. No I wont be busy.

So, as I swatch for my first holiday project, I need your help. As I mentioned yesterday, this is the Cascading Leaves pattern by Annie Modesitt from Scarf Style. Now its meant for a solid yarn but I used variegated handspun of the same gauge. Here's how it looks after three pattern repeats. While I acheived my goal of the fall colors, I'm wondering if the pattern is recognizable or appropriate for this yarn.

Close up while blocking (I was a little too aggressive when blocking it and had to whisper sweet nothings in its ear to get it to soften up)

This is a shot after blocking.

What's your vote for what I should do with this knit? Should I...
a.) Pick another pattern. You're dreaming about this one.
b.) Finish knitting it with the handspun but another yarn would honestly look better.
c.) Forget it, the handspun isn't working at all. What were you thinking?
d.) Finish knitting it. It looks great! Don't change a thing.

Either vote using the poll on the left or leave me your response in comments. Vote early, vote often. I need your collective guidance.

In the mind drivel department we have an unsolved mystery in la casita de muse - the case of the traveling pants. These are the pants.

They're nice pants, Lee Dungarees in fact. They're right at home on the couch there and are content not to move. They're made for a man. A tall, skinny man - neither of which is King Thing. They magically appeared in our mini van three weeks ago. And we can't figure out who they belong to. They don't belong to Thing 1 nor any of our visitors, family or friends. If you are missing a pair of pants, please contact me. I'm dying to know where they came from.

And straight from Patternworks' New for Fall 2005 files
This cute mini kacha. So cute!

and this beautiful Marjaana yarn that's named after famous historical women. How cool is that?

These are going on my birthday wish list!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Living the Dream

Before I get into knitting and spinning news, I have an aside. You see on August 28th, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King shared his dream of a different United States with the world. A world where people are judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. A dream where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. In the 1960s, we all know that this was quite a lofty dream.

Over 40 years after that speech - one that still raises the hairs on my arms and makes my heart skip a beat - my family is living the dream. My husband chuckles and says that our little bi-racial slice of Americana probably isn't exactly what Dr. King had in mind but I beg to differ. Had passionate leaders like Dr. King not fought so hard for civil rights several decades ago, our family would simply not exist today. I am eternally grateful for those who worked hard and laid down their lives so that I can fulfill their dreams for a better tomorrow.

I'm not entirely a pollyanna and I know that not everyone in the US (who wants to have this freedom) have been as fortunate as I have. I also know that there are many around the world who are still dreaming this dream. For those still fighting, please don't give up. Dreams do come true.

I say all of this because another related dream might come true in the not to distant future. Some of you may recall our dear friends whom we've visited in California and who have visited us the last couple of summers. We've been close friends for half of our short lives and have spent most of them on opposite coasts. Well I got a mysterious call from Mr. K last week asking about some major cities in Virginia and North Carolina. I calmly tell him about the various cities and finally ask why. "Oh, we're planning on putting the house on the market next week and move to the East Coast." I nearly shit eggrolls but maintained my composure until I got off the phone. King Thing and I did the happy dance and then calmed down again because we've all been talking and dreaming about this for 10 years now and we'll believe it when we see it. But sure enough, we got the call last night that the house is on the market. Somebody pinch me. You have to understand that these people, who are also living the dream, are our soul mates. We have agonized for years at the thousands of miles that separate us. And now we might be reunited. I'm trying to stay calm. I know if its meant to be, it will happen. But I can't help but jump up and down with excitement when no one is watching. I'll keep you posted.

Okay, back to knitting and spinning.

I officially started on my first Christmas present, Cascading Leaves from Scarf Style (Thanks again, Heaz). However, I'm putting a new twist on holiday gifts this year. I'm going to try to spin the yarn for all of the projects. For this scarf, I spun up a gorgeous merino/silk blend into fine singles.

And then plied from both ends of the center pulled ball to get this.

I thought about Navajo plying to preserve the beautiful color variations but I didn't want a three ply, heavier weight yarn. And try as I may, I wasn't successful at spinning the roving into ultrafine singles without much cursing. Either way, I'm happy with the results. My goal was to produce a yarn with fallish colors so that the leaves in the pattern would look like well, err, fall leaves. I'm working up a swatch and hope that I won't be disappointed.

And I finished knitting and felting the "dreaming tote". I plan to put the finishing touches on it tonight and load pictures tomorrow. I'm very pleased with the results.

No, I haven't finished my knitting room though I sufficiently marked my territory over the weekend. What I did do was lots of yummy cooking. Last night, I grilled filet mignon, barbecued shrimp and sauteed crab cakes for an ultimate surf and turf night on the deck since the weather was perfect. We had simple sides of asparagus and garlic feta mashed potatoes. And for dessert, pears in puff pastry. They're simply peeled, cored, stuffed with chocolate chips, wrapped in puff pastry and when brown, served over a pool of caramel.

It was a great ending to the weekend. Hope that your week has started right as rain (no pun intended for those in the path of Katrina).

Friday, August 26, 2005

Where in the world is Zira Monkey?

I used to love watching "Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?" with Thing 1 when he was little. Did anyone besides me watch this show? The catchy little do wop song is bouncing around my head now. So where is that little monkey diva now? For those who haven't been reading her blog, she made her way from Amanda's in Illinois and spent some time vacationing in New York with Moze and her family before they headed back home to Israel. Do you recall the song "Cows with Guns"? Well this is a monkey with a gun...

Go Ahead, Make My Day!

You can check out more of her adventure in Israel on her blog. First, she's making out with Mickey on the plane and now she's staring down the barrel of a 9mm. A regular 00 Monkey - tee hee!

Many thanks for all of the birthday wishes for Thing 2. You guys are so sweet. Both of my boys are wonderful kids, even when they drive me nuts. I really do count my blessings. For his birthday, we went to the ninth level of hell also known as Chuck E. Cheese. If only I liked beer, I could endure this place. I'm still holding out for the Chuckster to open a bar and then its on. Instead, I brought my knitting and rocked and knit in a corner.

Don't I look overjoyed to be there? I was binding off the bag that I dreamed about. More about it in a minute. I need to wax poetic about Thing 2's cake. I make special request birthday cakes for all of the boys' (including King Thing) birthdays. Thing 1 requested Sponge Bob two years ago and I made him complete with his damned square pants. One year there was a perfectly round baseball cake, special icings, a cat, you name it, I'll make it. I don't LOVE to make cakes but I sure do love to eat them, so I'm always happy to comply. Thing 2's wish was for a chocolate on chocolate cake. I whipped out my new favorite cookbook from the Junior League of Washington and immediately found a fudgy brownie cake recipe. Three layers of dense fudgy chocolate goodness paired with homemade chocolate buttercream icing and you have the makings of a serious chocolate coma.

Mmmm, look at that cake. Um, I mean here's Thing 2 blowing the candles out. Anywho, we'll do a real celebration with all of his friends sometime in late September. August is such a bad time to have a birthday because everyone is so busy with school and vacations. But he was happy with the cake and Chuckie's so I'm golden again. He'll shit bricks when his computer arrives. I mean shit rocks (can you guess the movie that quote's from?).

I had some knitting and spinning fun with last night as I hosted an impromptu fiber gathering at La Casita de Muse. Nana Sadie Rose was there with her great beautful Mavis knitting tote. There was much sharing of FO and UFOs, lots of talking and nibbling too. I spun up some DreamCatcher roving that I bought this Winter in a gorgeous red, blue and yellow colorway. Wanna see pictures? Umm, I got so wrapped up in the moment that I forgot to take any. I promise to take some when we meet again the first week of September.

Finally, a clarification. Sorry I made it sound like I'm eating nothing but colon blow. If I was, I think I'd weigh a whole lot less by now. What I've been doing is eating it for breakfast and for snacks because its so good for you and healthy. It is quite powerful stuff though.

Have a super weekend and all of you in the path of Katrina, stay safe.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

3285 days

Happy Birthday Thing 2

3285 days ago at this exact time, my life dramatically changed when my second sweet boy came into this world. Over the last nine years, he has brought me much joy and also some tears. He has reminded me to hear the voices that call us from inside. He is a Renaissance child with a profound love for the arts and sciences. He's an indigo child and speaks to me with all of his heart and soul. He's in touch with his feminine side, loves to play dress up and gives me fashion tips when we go shopping. He's a naturalist and feels that he should care for every living thing. He loves to slay people with his wit, charm and charisma. He's Don Juan and opens doors, pulls out chairs and kisses women on the hand when he meets them. He drives his brother nuts with his wacky and eccentric ways. He summed it all up a few days ago by telling me that "being a phreak isn't easy but someone has to do it." Two devastating miscarriages and nearly two years after we started trying to have another child, our dream was realized. I love you! You were well worth the wait.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Ooo La La

Yesterday, the postman brought a naughty little RAOK for me from King Thing. Vickies Secret lingerie. Oooo la la is all I could say after opening this little package.

Matching skivies. Its a good thing. The pink brasserie that goes with the undies is on backorder. Which means more goodies from the mailman in the near future. I wonder what he'll have in mind when he gets back in town. Hmmmmm.

The heat is on for me to get my ass in gear and buy birthday prezzies for Thing 2 and King Thing. We had a little birthday soiree on Sunday before King Thing went out of town complete with homemade tiramisu - yum! We gave Thing 2 a vintage PS1 game called Tomba. Now, that may sound like a cheesy gift but let me give you the backstory on this game.

Tomba and Spyro the Dragon were the first games that I bought when we first got our Playstation back in 1998. Being a kid of the 80s, I grew up playing Atari games and never got it out of my system. I was in hog heaven. The PS1 was supposedly for Thing 1 who was five at the time but once he went to bed, it was on. Tomba is highly addictive and is one of those adventure games where you have to unlock levels, save the good guys and get rid of the bad guys. Hours of non-violent fun - the perfect game for kids. Enter Thing 2. This kid refused to crawl and would instead crab walk on the floor. Thing 1 would constantly leave his games and cds on the floor and Thing 1 would "drive" them around on the hardwoods until they were so scratched up you couldn't even begin to play them. Guess what sadly happened to Tomba? Yup, I caught him driving it one day. I mourned the loss of that game mostly because I hadn't beaten it yet. Tomba 2 came out a year later and balance was restored in la casita de muse. So a few years pass and Thing 1 finds a demo of the game on an old PS1 CD. What happened to this game, mom? Did we ever have it? Thing 1 and I lay the guilt trip on him about how he ruined our lives when he destroyed the game. Okay, so we exaggerated but it made us feel better. So then we did a search for it online and find that after three years, the game is still hugely popular and runs for around $40 - $50. Damn. I hid the demo and we forgot about the game after a few weeks of nagging. A few more years pass and its now August 2005. Thing 2 finds that damn demo CD (why didn't I make it magically disappear) and starts nagging me again. The boys have since discovered the internets and Half.com and know that there are ways to find this game on the cheap. I stall them and tell them I'll check for it another day. Sneaky mom that I am, I found it, ordered it and got it here in time to make his day. Supermom to the rescue! I'm the shiznet. I'm golden. I rule! Phew, a long story but then again its the most excitement I've had since my lingerie arrived :)

So while the iron was hot, I decided to try to make some other birthday wishes come true. King Thing asked for only two things - ESPN gameplan and some Johnston and Murphy shoes. No problem I say. I'm the queen of the internets right? I contact Adelphia (who's customer service sucks ass) and find to my chagrin that its not offered in our area. Damn them. Damn them to hell, I say. I'm glad that TimeWarner and Comcast are buying them out. Alright, there's always the shoes right? I'll just special order them. I get a call from Jos A. Bank telling me that this Abner shoe that was ordered has been discontinued and no one in the entire world has it in size 8.5 wide. Strike 2. Crap in a can. I have nothing for his birthday and its less than a week away. What's a girl to do? I am no longer golden. I'm tarnished silver plate :( I only hope that I have better luck getting Thing 2's computer.

Several have asked that I chronicle my fiber room transformation. I'm embarassed to show the before picture because the room looks so bad. Most of the yarn had already been organized and put into the closet. Its all of the "other" stuff that's not very organized.

Ugh, it is sooooo hideous. Yes, that's a mattress in the corner. It goes to the nifty Ikea chair that I bought in June and still haven't put together. I pretty much just chuck stuff into the room and shut the door for two reasons - one, I'm trying to keep everyone else out and two, I've found two wasps in there over the last year. Heaz can attest to the fact that I'm a wimp when it comes to flying bugs so I've avoided staying in there for long periods of time. But I have to face my fear and claim what is rightfully mine. I kept mumbling to myself "this is cutting into my knitting time" but it has to be done. My top priority was to get the crap in the closet so that I could tape the baseboards. No waxing poetic about photos, trinkets, lost balls of yarn and patterns. Just shove it in a box and put it away. The strategy worked and in less than an hour, the bulk of it was gone and my first directive had been accomplished. Tonight, phase two - tape the baseboards and test an area to see if I like the paint I picked. Stay tuned.

In knitting knews, I finished the back of Cantaloupe and am giving it a little time out for hurting my wrist with all of those little elongated stitches. A new felted tote came to me in a dream over the weekend and I'm working to quickly get it off my needles and into the wash. Ah, the magic of the washer. I feel like a witch hovering over a caldron while I'm waiting to see what comes out of the soapy ooze. Hopefully, I'll have something worthy of pictures tomorrow.

And if dreaming about knitting wasn't enough. I ran into a former colleague at the local coffee shop today. She has thrown off her chains of corporate oppression and is now teaching yoga. She never looked happier. I told her about my fiber aspirations and she gave me a big "Do what you love" pep talk. Is this the universe-fate-spirit-God's way of telling me something? I'm trying to hear you but the connection isn't the greatest. Don't give up on me yet.

I'm still a big loser and have now lost 7 pounds to date (I'd actually lost 9 but I sat on my laurels and two crept back on). I'm eating a steady diet of colon blow (heh heh heh. Rock Chick reminded me of this funny from SNL earlier this week.) aka homemade oatmeal with golden raisins and cinnamon and started exercising regularly. My arse and legs are killing me but I'm starting to see results. Yeah, its cutting into my knitting time but there won't be any knitting if I'm dead, right?

Friday, August 19, 2005

Fabo Friday

Since I shot my wad on pictures over the last couple of days, I don't have anything left to show y'all. I DO plan to knit my heart out this weekend. And get into birthday mode since King Thing and Thing 2 have birthdays within a week of each other. King Thing is getting some mac daddy keyboard from his mother. We're still trying to figure that one out since he hasn't said a word about wanting one and we already have one. In the last few months, his family has given us a drum kit, some tom tom drums and two guitars for Thing 1 and now a keyboard. I figure all that we need now is a tambourine and we can start our own little version of the Partridge Family. How fun would that be, all of us jammin' in matching polyester jumpsuits - NOT!

The Things are now beginning to eyeball my fiber room as a prospective music room since its the only incomplete room left in the house. Just because it looks like some sheep imploded in there does not give them the right to stake their claim. But I'm going to fix it so that no self-respecting, testosterone driven staff bearer will want to come near that room with a ten foot pole next week. Between some sparkly terra cotta colored paint, candles and fru fru curtains, I will finally stake my claim on what's rightfully mine. Its mine, I say M.I.N.E. MINE! Sorry about that but any of you mom's with kids (spouses included) know that there is very like "mine" in your life as you're expected to share EVERYTHING. I constantly hear
"Mmmmmm, that looks good. Can I have a bite of that?"
"Can I borrow your (fill in the blank)?"
"I needed some scissors so I took yours out of your knitting bag?"
I took up knitting in hopes that no one would be interested in my girly hobby and now all of them (including King Thing) want to play with my stuff and want me to teach them to knit. In general, I'm flattered but in secret, I wish I could have some things to myself. My blog is still our little secret so don't tell, Mkay? (*end crazy mom rant)

Not much else to share with you except that I was accepted to be a test knitter yesterday - woo hoo! I'll let you know as soon as I do if I can reveal any more information than that. I'm so excited that I might burst at the seams.

And there are some great random bits that I'll share (in case you haven't seen them already) from Bloglandia...

*** Courtesy of several blogs I read, I found this beautiful cabled sweater pattern - Kepler - by Emily. Check it out, its worth adding to the must knit list.

*** Thanks to the generousity of knit bloggers around the world, Oliver's mom - Emma - now has enough money to purchase the car seat that he needs. If you aren't familiar with his story, check it out. This is one very special and very cute kid! I'm so impressed and reassured by the impact that a group of people can have on just one person's life. Imagine what mountains we could move if we harnessed its true potential. And in case you're wondering, its not too late to send in a contribution. This little guy has many expensive needs and his family can use the help.

*** Boogie is in the homestretch (only six weeks to go) with the little bun she's been cooking. I'm thinking we need to start a "guess the due date" contest. Anyone game? Go show her some baby love and send her some energy vibes.

Nothing else exciting here. No big plans for the weekend. No stress. No problems. Life IS good :)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Beacherific Weekend - parte dos

As promised, here are the picture of the guinea pigs. Booger (Thing 1's piggie) is the white one and Mai (Thing 2's piggie) is the brown one. They really enjoyed swimming and would just swim in little circles. Trust me, they weren't way out in the deep water and they were just fine after their swim (I don't want to be flamed for animal cruelty as we are huge animal lovers in la casita de muse).

Booger with Thing 1

Mai with Thing 2

Mai paddling as fast as she can

Booger goes for a swim

After their swim, they fluffed and dried off on the beach before we covered them with the umbrella so they wouldn't get sunburned. Sorry but no pictures of Mavis in the water since she's not allowed down there after 9 am.

This little buggie wouldn't leave me alone the entire time I was at the shore. I'd shoo him away and then find him on my towel, my leg (eek!) and twice he crawled into my knitting bag. I don't have the slightest clue what kind of bug it is and we've never seen one that looks like it before in our lives.

This seagull followed me too. Maybe he thought that my yarn was a tasty treat. He just kept coming closer and closer the longer I sat there.

And in case you're wondering, this is my progress on Cantaloupe since I came home. Still not quite finished with the back but I'm plodding along. I had to give my left wrist a break since I over did it by knitting at the beach AND on the way home (4 hour trip) in the car for about 8 hours non-stop. Ouch! Let's just say I was on a mission.

I've gotta get some birthday shopping done for Thing 2 who turns nine next Wednesday. We're thinking a laptop since he's always mooching ours. Anybody have suggestions for good quality, relatively inexpensive laptops? Anywho, I can't believe that my "baby" is so old. This time nine years ago, I was super bitch because I was already a two weeks past his due date and I was ready for it all to be over. To this day, that boy can't be on time for ANYTHING! Go figure.

I'll leave you with my attempt at an artsy beach photo.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Beacherific Weekend

Well Mother Nature pulled out the stops over the weekend. Sure it was H.O.T. The kinda hot that will fry the bottoms of your feet if you walk on the sand without sandals. But on the oceanfront, the water and the breeze made for the perfect weather. I took refuge under the umbrella part of the time snapping shots of the Things because a.) I'm trying to keep my cocoa puffiness in check b.) like a dumbass I left my swimsuit (and curling iron, makeup, contacts, comb) at home c.) I hate body gravy - ewwwww.

This is a shot from the beach of the shoreline. The houses are built right on the dunes so the view is gorgeous year round.

King Thing and the boys frolic in the Bay...

*** Since Blogger images take so long to upload (it really does suck), I'll show you a few shots at a time over the next few days. Otherwise, we'd be here FOREVER. I have the cutest shots of the piggies swimming with Thing 1 and 2 in the Bay.

I did get to Ewe Knit Kits though I had the testosterone trio in tow. So instead of spending a couple of hours visiting with Bobbie and her wonderful staff like I usually do, I did a drive by fondling of yarn and emerged with only one skein (albeit a beautiful variety of turquoises) of Manos. However, we'll be back for a week at Labor Day and they've invited me to their knit-in on September 1st.

Cantaloupe also got in on the beach action. This is a shot of the two of us hiding in the shade.

Many thanks for all of the sweet compliments on her. The only good thing about knitting with this cotton is that its not too sticky when its hot. Otherwise, this stuff is quite a pain in the arse. There's no give at all. In this picture, I've finished the ribbing and just started the lace armhole decreases and the back pattern. As of today, I'm almost finished with the entire back. Those little elongated stitches while very cute are very time consuming. There are a bazillion of them on the upper back now. I still love how this knit is turning out inspite of my gripping.

While my poor corset is sulking in a corner, Jen debuted hers today. I LOVE how it turned out and her tip about adding the ribbon to the button band will definitely help me when I get to that point.

In other news, Zira met some celebrities this week at Stitches Midwest. She hammed it up for the camera with the lovely and talented Nancy Bush and Bonne "ChicKnits" Marie. From the looks of it, Amanda really showed her a good time. From here, Ms. Z is headed to New York to meet up with Moze for a trip to Israel. A lot is going on in that part of the country right now. I suspect that Zira will dabble in some politics before her visit has ended.

I'll leave you with an ethereal picture of the sky I took while at the beach. It was truly inspirational. More photos tomorrow.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Virtual Striptease

I saw this on all places CNN over the weekend. Its called Watch Me Change and was developed as a new marketing ploy by The Gap. You can make and dress a virtual image of yourself or someone else, dress them in Gap clothes and them then do a little PG rated striptease for you. I'm a sucker for new marketing ploys and had to check it out. I made myself a cute little hottie rather watch my own image doing the dancing. Check it out and have a little Monday fun.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Missed it by THAT much

I spent yesterday fighting off a migraine. I've only had one in my entire life and it was two years ago. I had the auras, the nausea and the feeling that my brain was going to explode and ooze out of my ears. In order to avoid that "someone has been playing rugby with my brain" feeling, I'll do ANYTHING! I went to bed the night before with a splitting headache but thought that it had something to do with the "dinner" that a friend encouraged me to eat with her and Thing 1 and 2. It consisted of a blondie topped with Ben and Jerry's toffee ice cream, butterscotch and chocolate syrup and whipped cream AND a regular brownie topped B&J Chunky Monkey ice cream, Oreos and butterscotch and chocolate syrup. Yes, she's a bad-good influence (her philosophy is life is short, eat dessert first) and it felt so good to be soooo bad. To be honest, Thing 1 and 2 ate most of it but I can't help but think that the sugar overload sent my system over the edge. Anywho, I woke up with the headache and thought that maybe I needed a jolt of Joe. Wrong, it made it worse. Midway through my breakfast, I was chugging tonic water and hoping that I wouldn't have to pray to the porcelain goddess all day. Then the wooziness started and while I never saw the auras, I knew that a migraine was headed my way. Every two or three hours, I was popping three Advils and drinking plenty of water. I still feel like I have a hangover but I was able to keep the majority of the pain away. Phew! That was close.

In spite of the throbbing, I was able to knit some more on Cantaloupe. I'm going to have to get more yarn but I'm determined to finish this in time to wear it this summer. I'd show you pictures but it doesn't look very different than it did a few days ago except that its twice as long.

We're heading out to the beach this weekend. This weekend is literally supposed to be the calm before the storm Irene skirts Hampton Roads next week. The forecast - 100% beacharific! In addition to soaking up some rays and working on Cantaloupe, I plan to sneek away to a knitting shop or two (my fav is Ewe Knit Kits), stay out of MIL's way and visit with MacGuyver and Ebayman (aka Mom and Dad).

Live each day as if its your last, let your family and friends know that you love them and remember to take time to breathe deep. Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Dim sum blogging

I feel like I only have small tasty bits of things to share today, like a dim sum bar. Mmmm, its making me hungry just thinking about it.

The biggest news is what Zira has been up to since she left in July. My little monkey has been a very busy girl. Based on what Froggie Meanie posted both on her blog and Zira's blog, she had a hella good time in Newfoundland. That place is too beautiful for words. Zira ate lots of yummy traditional foods and even got to see some Moose! I've never considered visiting Newfoundland until now. I'm definitely going to add it to my "must see" list (when I retire, of course). Thanks a million for showing Zira a good time and sharing your vacation with her, Froggie :) Go check out her adventure. I'll be waiting right here for you to return (cue "Jeopardy" music).

Glad you made it back. Now Zira left Froggie last Monday for the long trip from Ontario to Illinois to visit Amanda. Well, the monkey chick arrived yesterday! Not only is she going with Amanda to Stitches Midwest later this week but she might even get to meet Mr. President. Apparently she's already met Yoda (who is more of a VIP than Dubya, in my opinion) and they're getting along famously :) I can't wait to see what Zira and Amanda get into this weekend.

I was also pleasantly surprised with a RAOK from Bethanie who congratulated me on my weight loss. It was Debbie Macomber's The Shop on Blossum Street (seen in this photo, nestled in a cloud of Finnsheep with an uber cute knitting note card and Zira's post card from Gros Morne National Park). Thanks for the wonderful surprise!

Yet another tidbit, "Cantaloupe" is rolling along. Here's a shot of the back.

There has been a tad bit of frogging and some swearing as I struggled to figure out how to make the elongated stitches. And I ended up buying three pair of needles (since my Denises don't go below size 5) while trying to figure out what size and type of needle worked best on cotton. I finally settled on some size 3.25 Inox metal circular needles which have helped me double my knitting speed (the bamboos straights were killing me). I've also decided that unless I'm forced to, I will probably never knit with regular sized straights again (except for double points, of course). They're just too rough on my wrists.

A dim sum spinning shot.

Just a bit over the weekend while King Thing watched. No, he's not mesmerized by my spinning prowess. Like all of the "things" in my house, they want to see how fast they can spin it. I've caught ALL of them spinning the wheel at warp speed when they think I've left the room. Why, oh, why can't they leave my toys alone? I've tried to explain that when they play with it, they are screwing up the twist, the tension, etc. Blah, blah, blah, tension. Blah, blah, blah expensive toy is all they hear. Damgonit. Momma can't have anything...

We got our pottery back and all in all they came out just fine.

I'm too much of a perfectionist and wasn't thrilled with how my sheepy tea bag holder came out. The sheep was supposed to be white but the pink bled through in spite of several coats of paint. Boo hoo :( In retrospect, I should have made it grey like I did with the sheep on the bottom of my mug. Isn't he cute?

I love how Thing 1's square plate came out (he and his friends THINK that they're anarchists - ha ha ha). And Thing 2's chip and dip bowl is the perfect size for a little afternoon snack. And I'm madly in love with my ginormous mug. Perfect for tea or coffee. Yes, either of these tasty beverages truly bring me peace which is why I chose the "peace" symbol. My hope is to take the Suppa club there this fall for some painting and knoshing :)

Not much else happening at La Casita de Muse. In addition to losing another two pounds - woot! woot! - I've been in serious zen mode for the last couple of weeks. While a few interesting ideas have been pitched to me just in the past week - including a knitting related business proposal, several tote orders and news of a job opening in the area - I'm trying not to "force" anything in particular to happen. I've thrown off my chains of control freak (I'm a Scorpio, what more needs to be said) oppression and have let fate have her way with me. It's a bit scary at times but according my horoscope, I'm supposed to sit back and enjoy the ride. For now, I'm content to see where it all takes me.


Friday, August 05, 2005

How can it be the weekend again already?

Wow this week really flew by. I never even got a chance to post about last weekend. So, here's a quick recap:

Last Friday, we watched National Lampoons Vacation with a sandwich theme dinner (Remember the scene where the Griswald's discover that Aunt Edna's dog whizzed on their lunches? Classic.). Saturday was spent with very good friends and relatives at the 4th Annual FloydFest. Its a serious world music hippiefest that grows by leaps and bounds every year. I'm extending an invitation NOW for all of you to come out and experience it next year. It's developing quite a reputation as being one of THE up and coming musicfests. Here are just a few shots from the festival:

This is the beautiful dreaming creek stage and some of the vendors. Don't you LOVE the monster mugs and pottery? The only fiber artist I could find was this woman from North Carolina who brought her handspun and hand woven ponchos and shawls. Maybe I should set up a booth with the Cheekies next year. Hmmmm....

This is a shot of me and my dear friend, E and her sister. We were wet and squishy by the time we got home but a good time was had by all. On Sunday, I cooked a monster breakfast (there were ten of us and man, were we hungry) and sent everyone safely on their way home.

Last week, a big group of us (kids and adults alike) painted our own pottery at a place called Glazed Bisque-It.

I pick them up tomorrow so we'll see how they turned out. I also changed the ballcock assembly in the upstairs toilets (she says while making manly grunting noises). I enjoyed it if for no other reason than to get to say the word "ballcock" - tee hee! Other than smutzing with Blogger, Flickr and posting my Fifi pattern, the week has been very quiet. Except for much playing and relaxing at the pool. Yup, I'm turning into a serious Cocoa Puff.

I hosted the knit/spin in at my house last night. There were only three of us but it was so fun to have these two lovely ladies all to myself :) I hope that more can make it next month. I just love talking fiber. I broke out Arwen for the first time in two weeks and worked on spinning the neverending-but-oh-so-wondrous Finnsheep. Made me so happy that I washed up a couple of batches more today :)

Speaking of fiber, I have been knitting just a little bit. I started a double top secret project on Tuesday after receiving a French lace pattern RAOK. Its another knit in cotton (gasp). Here's a shot of it. I LOVE the color. Its sorta cantalopey.

I haven't forsaken the corset. I just got bored. I'm almost to the waist shaping so it will be done soon. I'll go back to it in a bit when this French pattern overwhelms me which I expect sometime next week. I also bought Jenna's new Eris pattern. Oh yeah, this is itching to be knit this fall AFTER I finish Rogue. I am so in love with this knit and can't wait to get started.

I've also been taking felted tote orders from friends. I have two already and more on the way. In the meantime, a couple of felted monkey orders came in. I'm still wondering where all of this will lead me. I'm willing to let fate have its way with me for now.

On that note, I'll leave you with a shot of one my hydrangeas. Have a great weekend and happy knitting and spinning!

Monday, August 01, 2005

So you wanna knit and felt a bag...

Finally, here's my attempt at a tutorial for felting. Holy shittake mushrooms you don't know how I've been wrangling with sitebuilder since Friday to get it to post properly. I promise that pictures are a part of the pattern but I'm having a hard time getting them uploaded. Thanks for your sweet comments on my little tote, Fifi (she's was given this name by my friends at movie night on Friday). I love felting and love to share my knowledge when possible. Its not an exact science as each project is different no matter how hard you try to keep the variables the same. If you have any questions, feel free to email me or post it in the comments. I plan to eventually make this a PDF as soon as I find a suitable place to host the files.

Link to Fifi

I'll have a weekend recap tomorrow. I need a break from all of this pattern stuff for now... Phew, this is hard work.