Saturday, July 16, 2011

One Moment, Please…

As has been the case recently, I’m struggling. I’m overwhelmed and trying to sort things out so it’s not so much. So I’m grabbing the small moments—the little things. I planted a calla lily bulb a couple or more years ago. The leaves always came up, but it had never flowered.

This year it did for the first time. And that made me happy…

Calla Lily 003

Calla Lily 002


…for a moment.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mucha Do About Nothing

OK, that was kind of silly. But it’s a silly day. Here’s a project I just finished test-knitting. It’s a lovely little Art Nouveau scarf and…well…sign me up.  It’s called Ivy and was designed by Mara Loog. The pattern will be available in mid-July. I’ll try to scoot back and provide a link when it’s available.

I was assigned the laceweight version and ended up using Knitpicks Shadow in Juniper. Hence my project name (which I’m sure is botanically incorrect, but it sounded pretty) Juniper Ivy. I’m nothing if not creative in the naming department.

Juniper Ivy Garden

Juniper Ivy Beaded Edge

Juniper Ivy Dayflower


Juniper Ivy Cast of Characters

Here’s me not figuring out how to get pictures to appear where I want them. But at least, they’re visible, right? I gotta grab all the positive I can.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

The Women In Me

I’ve been away for a while. Not physically, just mentally. I finished a few WIPs (yea!), and am trying to get some things in order. A thread about the women in our lives sprouted up online, and has spawned several side conversations that I feel the need to talk about.

I am one of the fortunate few, apparently. My mother has always been wonderful. I had both of my grandmothers in my life on a daily basis until I left home. I was close to many of my aunts. I have even been blessed with two mothers-in-law who treated me like a daughter.

My mother attended every band concert, school play, athletic event, and conference there was. Perhaps I didn’t appreciate the effort at the time. Or more accurately, I took it for granted. I thought all mothers were like that. She would be doing the same for her grandchildren now, except we have all scattered across the country. She is in her 70s, and is easily a day’s drive from my sister and me (opposite directions), and a couple of hours from my brother. It kills her not to be there for any event. I think of this when I read of people who complain that their mothers or grandmothers or mothers-in-law can’t be bothered to drive across town to spend time with their children. Of course, there are two sides to every story, and I often hear only one. But it always makes me grateful that I have a drama-free family. No one is feuding or playing a passive aggressive game. We like each other. We would spend more time together if we could.

I don’t know what else to say other than I wish this for all people.


Reynolds Kids

My mother (standing) and her siblings at my folks’ 50th wedding anniversary.

PS…My dad is awesome, too. He didn’t get to attend a lot of stuff because he was a farmer, and as anyone who grew up on a farm knows, when the farm calls, everything else waits. He can build a tractor out of baling wire and duct tape, though. He was McGyver way before his time. :)

PSS…Happy Birthday, Mom!

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Marilyn and Lester…together again

I belong to an internet forum (don’t we all) where I met Lester and Marilyn (not their real names). I didn’t actually meet them, of course, but they were frequent and much-loved contributors. Lester had to be 80-ish, and Marilyn probably clocked in around mid-60’s? Close enough. Lester was there first. He was intelligent, well-read, very down-to-earth, blessed with common sense and wisdom, had a well-honed sense of humor, and was like a father/grandfather to us. And he loved Marilyn with all of his heart and soul.

He had a way of cutting to the heart of the matter when there was a kerfluffle on the forum. His wise words were always delivered with kind directness. He was refreshing and wonderful and made us all want to be a little better.

A year or two ago, he suffered a stroke while picking a tomato out of his garden and died shortly thereafter. We were all heart-broken, although none so much as his beloved wife, Marilyn.

Marilyn, who had not participated in the forum much prior to his passing, came to spend more and more time there among those who loved Lester. It was easy to see why they worked so well together, even though their history was in interesting one. We all grew to love her, and were especially glad that that voice of wisdom and common sense was still there among us.

She became ill over the past few weeks, and her family has let us know that she is in organ failure and is dying. She may, in fact, have already passed as of this writing.

While we are all terribly sad and will miss her, the first thing we all thought of was that she would be with Lester again. I know that the term soul-mates is incredibly cliche, but these two people were obviously meant to be together. The universe threw them together via some pretty convoluted means, but it was clear that it was supposed to happen. To a person, regardless of our views of the afterlife, there was a sad joy in our community with the absolute knowledge that they are where they belong—with each other.

God speed, Marilyn. And say howdy to Lester. :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lingering in another girl’s paradise

My best friend and I used to have this coping mechanism whereby we would imagine what our alternate universe counterparts would be doing in their world on a given day when we were experiencing …uh…teh suck in ours. There were plenty of alternate universe spa visits, let me tell you. While massages and pedicures don’t actually fix anything, they are certainly a more positive (if expensive) way to escape reality than, say, heroin. Of course, for po’ folks, pedicures and massages only exist in our imaginations.  But it’s what we had.

Today, my alternate universe counterpart is having a 2 hour massage, complete with hot stone treatment, and a pedicure that’s heavy on the foot massage and light on the polish.

I’m having a bad week and a worse day. I’m overwhelmed, and I’m struggling. It happens. I just needed to clear my head a bit.

But my family is happy and healthy. Sometimes one needs to step back and focus on that.

My whine for the day was brought to you by a picture of…

Brett Knitting


Raymond Knitting

…because it makes me a little happier. :)


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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Fancy Schmancy

Because I am technologically challenged, I decided to use Windows Live Writer as a publishing tool. So I’m just playing around. I hope it doesn’t make me cry like all the other mean girl applications do. (I’m probably using the words “publishing tool” and “applications” incorrectly, but that’s all I know.)

And now it’s time for gratuitous pictures!

Let’s call this “Breads I Have Baked”.

First up, we have Buttered Rosemary Rolls in a cast iron skillet. These are a staple at our house. Thanks Pioneer Woman!

PS…you’ll notice that two of the rolls are nekkid, rosemary-wise. That’s because one member of our family has not developed a taste for rosemary—yet.

Rosemary Rolls

And now, here is my friend Naan. Mmmmmm, Naaaaaan. (Say that like Homer Simpson). I don’t remember where I got this recipe. I’ve tried several recipes I’ve found online. You just have to experiment. I haven’t found the perfect one, but I suspect since I’m not baking them in a hot clay oven, they won’t ever be as wonderful as the ones we get at our local Indian Restaurant. But they don’t suck, either.

Naan 003 

No knead bread. My carpal tunnelly wrists thank Jim Lahey. Note: I use 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 1/2 c water after some experimentation. The amount of water you need will vary by your regional humidity and room temperatures. I always sprinkle sesame seeds on top, because who doesn’t love that nutty roasted sesame smell?

No Knead

Well, ok. That was pretty easy. Yea, Windows Live Writer!

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Filth Flarn!

I'm having one of those days. You know--the kind that makes you want to say naughty words? I'm still trying to decide whether to keep this blog PG-13 or let it all hang out. I think I'll keep it clean for now. It's all good, though. I expect to win the lottery any day now, and if nothing else, I will no longer feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest from all of the financial worries.

This was a boring post. Let's add pictures. This was a flannel quilt I made for a baby gift. The lighting isn't very good, but I did quilt wind swirls and grass and waves. You can almost see them. Wish I had taken better pictures. But as my mother always says, "Wish in one hand, shit in the other--see which one fills up first." Oops. There I went and used bad language anyway.


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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sushi sells sea shells by the sea shore

The in-laws invited us to lunch. We're po' folks, so they take pity on us and drag us out once in a while. The sushi, as always, was amazing. Even the 10 year-old loves it. We rarely eat out, being the Thrifty McFrugalsons we are. When we do, we like it to be something we can't make as easily at home. No steakhouses for us. The mister has perfected that at home. We tend to go international. Thai. Indian. Greek. Sushi. It's all good.

Not much going on here. We're supposed to get another snow storm tonight and tomorrow. I've settled in with some laundry and some knitting. I did pull out the sewing machine this week and made me another rice bag. I had some dried lavendar from my patio garden, so I threw that in there as well. Pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes, then it's nice and toasty and fragrant. My back has been talking to me, so I usually wedge it around my lower back and my knitting chair. I need to sew more. It helps with the instant gratification that knitting leaves to be desired.

I cast on for a three way shawl (link to come) to use up the Lion Brand Amazing I thought I would love but didn't. It's very velcro, so not very pleasant to work with. The colors are pretty, but it's scratchier than I thought it would be. There's an error in the pattern that I discovered right away. The cast-on is 40, but the third row is k2tog, yo all the way across. This has you ending with a yarnover which basically has you purling a hanging piece of yarn on the first stitch of the return row. Others found the same issue. There are a couple of options, but I think I'll go with beginning and ending with a single knit stitch, and doing a yo, k2tog to the last stitch, then finishing with a knit stitch. That seems to be the most symetrical solution.

Not rocket science, really, but I"m such a rule-follower that altering patterns is never my first thought. No wonder I hate errata so much. When I was a new knitter, I always did exactly what the pattern said and drove myself nuts on more than one occasion thinking that I was surely doing something wrong. It never occured to me that there could be mistakes in published patterns. And not just a few. It's apparently a given. Now I know to search or just adapt if it's something simple like this one.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Widgets and Tweaks

Found the template I want, but it's an oldie, so I'm not able to customize it easily. Were I well-versed in HTML, I could widen the margins and get rid of the negative space at the edges. But I'm not. I'm also not good at picture-type things, so let's play, shall we?

This is my pup, basking in the sun and attempting to look aloof.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Slipper-y Slope

I have a slipper block. Everything else I knit, including socks, generally comes out fine. Slippers, not so much. The first ones I did were M. J.s . The pattern was fine, but it involved seaming ends to sides. I am not the seaming queen, so there were unsightly holes and bumps where the uppers joined the soles. Yesterday, I knit the first of Brightly Beaded Moccasins from this book. I skipped the colorwork and the beads. I really just wanted a pair of slippers that would stay on. The pattern wasn't hard, but again, it involved seaming, and picking up and knitting. I don't know why I suck so badly at these things, but I do. The slipper is too big, and the seams could be a little less bulky. Once I stop pouting, I'll rip it out and re-knit it smaller. But not right now. Later. When I'm over it.

I'm mostly cranky because I have Sylvi in my queue. I even have yarn for it. It requires seaming. If I were rich, I could hire someone to seam it for me. But alas...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Pay It Forward

OK, so I don't usually jump on the Facebook bandwagon of pasting status updates in solidarity, but a crafty friend posted the Pay It Forward status, and I bit. The first five people who respond get a handmade item from the poster in the coming year. Maybe it's something that's done every January. I dunno. I'm kind of out of the loop on those sorts of things. I requested an item from her, posted the status, and in no time had five recipients of my own. Knowing I have a whole year is a bit of a relief, although I do tend to procrastinate. I'm thinking one per month is pretty doable.

What to make? I'm leaning toward fingerless mitts. I can knock them out pretty quickly, and they don't take much yarn. I could burn a little stash while I'm at it. I'll be posting the progress. Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wish You Were Here

Welcome to the maiden voyage. I anticipate the look changing considerably as I figure out this whole bloggity thing, so hang on.

The weather here in the cave today was partly cranky with scattered self-pity. I dubbed it "the day from heck" in an e-mail to my husband. Nothing even worthy of a full-on rant. Really just a half-assed attempt at a day.