Friday, August 31, 2007

Ice Cream Social

I took the youngest DD to her Kindergarten class for an ice cream social yesterday. She was so very excited! Her best friend from daycare just got moved over into her class, so they were both thrilled. They were positively giddy. Until they walked into the classroom and met the teacher.

Now, this teacher is AWESOME! She was my oldest's teacher and she is just terrific. I think the reality hit them full in the face - "We are going to school!" and it suddenly felt a bit scary. This is the part where it is great that they will be in the same class. These girls have grown up together and are good friends. While they are both a bit bossy and very confident in their environment at daycare (and parties with the same group of kids), this is a 'bigger pond'. They suddenly felt unsure and insecure. I'm very glad they'll have one another to get by.

I'm bit grumpy about the photo. Camera phone. I tried to lighten it up, and it honestly looked fine on my computer at 5:30 am, but looking at it now, it isn't so hot. Mom was not prepared for photos, mom was just happy to get off of work early and do something exciting with the girls. That will have to be good enough for now. There will be other photo ops with the same crowd very soon.

I'm nearly finished with the quilt square. In fact, I should have it all done today by the end of lunch, unless I'm interrupted. By bedtime for sure. Then it is back to the slipper. Yippee! Tonight (or tomorrow morning EARLY), meteors. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! A nice long one for those of us here in the States. Though they're never quite long enough, are they? LOL

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Oh dear!

brew knits --


Pretentiously academian

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at

I forgot where I found this one, but, Oh dear! I have to say, that it does sound a bit like me. I prefer to think I don't really come off as pretentious, but that's not really something I'm likely to be able to judge myself. So, in the event I really am a pretentious git, I'm sorry, please forgive me. I won't make any appologies for loving academics though, that is just who I am. LOL

I think my brain is finally starting to wake up. I can't tell you how very foggy I've been all week. Maybe you noticed it in the previous two posts, but it has been pretty bad. I would like to blame the lunar eclipse or something, that way it wouldn't be my problem, it would be the universe causing the problem. Notice I didn't say "conspiring against me". That just sounds a bit too parnoid or desperate at this stage. I prefer to save that one for bigger problems. Hee!

I have been paying a bit more attention to the cosmos lately. I attended a guest lecture on extra-solar planets, which was quite interesting. I don't think most of the art students were all that excited, though. (Extra-solar planets are the ones outside of our own solar system.) It is so nice to sit in on a lecture for fun. Anyway, I missed the lunar eclipse this week because I preferred to get some much needed sleep instead. However, there is a cool meteor shower on Saturday morning at 4:30 PST, the Aurigids and I hope to catch that one. It sounds like we could be in for an amazing show, if the skies are clear. Always a bit dodgy up here in the Pacific Northwest. I'll probably set the alarm, go out and see if it is clear, then go wake up the kids. We can lay out on the deck under a pile of blankets if needed. They love doing this!

So until then everybody sing: Blue skies, smiling at me, nothing but blue skies, do I see...

Monday, August 27, 2007

Quilt Square

Note: I appologize in advance for my overall incoherent rambling. I have no idea why my brain isn't working well, but yesterday I commented on someone's 'incomplete sandwich'. In case you are wondering, it should have been 'incomplete sentence'. And no, I wasn't hungry at the time. LOL

Here's a shot of the quilt square. I'll try for a better photo when it is complete. The lighter blue is actually very bright blue, the middle bit (that looks like it has an "S") is very dark blue.

I took the crossstitch to Tae Kwon Do last night and caused quite a stir. A number of the kids, primarily boys, thought it was the coolest thing they'd ever seen. They crowded around, much to the annoyance of my daughters, and wanted to know how it was done, what the pattern looked like, what colors I was using, etc. The only reason they didn't ask to try it was because it was time for my class and I had to put it away. It was pretty wild, but fun. A few of them were old enough to give it a try (over 5 y.o.) and at least one of them looked interested enough to want to try it. I'll probably take it again on Friday, just to show him how much work I've done on it. Maybe I'll have even finished it. (hope, hope, hope)

My knitting never caused such a stir. At least not with the kids. I've had one or two inquiries, but never the crowd that I had yesterday. It was fun. Maybe now they'll have the same questions for my other work though. You know, now that they've talked to me once I'm not quite as "other" as before. Hard to say with kids.

Anyway, I'm making good progress on the design and I'm easily halfway done now. I should be able to get it done by Sunday and that's all that matters to me right now. As predicted, I'm getting a bit of a bug to do more stitching. I even went so far as to consider a weekly schedule of knitting for 5 days, spinning for 1, and stitching for 1. Dreams are cool, aren't they?

First Foot

Okay, here's a photo of the first slipper so far. I still haven't finished the crossstitch, but I figured since I had the camera out, I might as well get both.

I seem to have a heck of a time with the photo part of blogging. More often than not, that is what keeps me from posting, a lack of pictures. Goodness knows I've always got something to say. (Even if it isn't all that interesting to anyone else. LOL)

I'm using Cascade yarn in a very bright red. This one is for my oldest DD, and she picked out some very vivid colors compared to the youngests' pastel choices. It suits her. The pattern calls for 10 or 10.5 US needles and I had to go up a size (I think), so I'm using 11US on these. Or perhaps I'm really tired and forgetful and I'm using 13s, but I don't think so. (I mean, I don't think it is 13s, I know I'm a bit tired today.)

I'm really anxious to get back to this project. It goes so quickly, I'd really like to get these finished up and get the next pair out as well. I'm very curious about this whole felting thing, and if I can make it work properly. Also, it is a project that has my girls pretty excited. I have no idea why, but they are. I'm not sure if it is because it is for them, or because it is slippers. Whatever. We'll see how long the love affair lasts once the slippers are done. Children, especially young ones, can be so fickle.

There's a bug going around my school and also daycare. Some kind of 24 hour stomach flu with a high fever. It made me think that I almost wish for a sick day, just so I can try to finish things off. Then again, I don't actually want to be sick. I just want to be home stitching and knitting. So I'm back to diligently washing hands and avoiding people who look a bit sickly. Since we're approaching finals, all the students look a bit sickly. hee!

I am taking a half day off on Thursday for a Ice Cream Social for the Kindergarteners. It is a get-to-know-you thing for them and should be nice. I'll probably take both girls, my oldest had the same teacher and the youngest always tags along to the school stuff for the oldest. It seems fair. Maybe there'll be a little time left at the end of the day to get some stitching done then. I'll get a picture up of the quilt square tomorrow.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Ye Olden times

Isn't he just adorable. Or maybe it is a she. I'm afraid I didn't check. LOL

The family went to a medieval village this weekend and had a lovely day. The girls helped to crush apples in a cider making demo (sadly, no cider to be sampled). We ate at the Inn, although the girls only sampled the food Himself and I were eating. We watched a play, and that was where the girls found the sheep (there were two, but one was sleeping) and decided to share a bit of grass. The youngest was a bit nervous about getting too close to the teeth.

The oldest DD went in for some archery and did quite well for her first ever attempts. There were a few arcade type games; a cross-bow shoot-the-dragon game, a catapult-&-sink-the -ships game, a catapult-knock-down-the-castle-walls game and a fire-the-cannon-and-smash-the-towers game. They both played these several times and did very well. They seem to have better hand/eye coordination than mom, which is a good thing. However, I don't think I'll be getting them many toys that can be launched/shot at me in the future. They're too good.

The girls also made some candles. This was a lot of fun, something I would enjoy doing more of in the future. I'm not sure they would have the patience for this if it were an on-going hobby though. I think it was the crowd of other people trying it out and the novelty that kept them going. The wax was in a pot of water over a big fire, and that was cool too (as it were). Until the wood popped a bit of coal onto my youngest DD's foot. She wasn't hurt badly, but it stung a bit and she was mightily offended that the fire would do that to her. Her enthusiasm for the candle making dimmed a bit from that point. I would still enjoy it, but I probably wouldn't do it over an open fire sort of thing. The electric stove doesn't pop out sparks like that, so she might give it a try again.

Knitting-wise, not much going on these days. I need to get a photo of the slipper up, but it isn't quite completed yet. I've gotten part of the top bit done, but I've had to stop. I am crossstitching another quilt square for a wedding at church and I have a due date of Sept 5. I've spent maybe 45 minutes on it so far and I've got a looooong way to go. The quilt is all in various shades of blue and white, so it is pretty and a nice break from the earth tones of the last 3 or 4 quilts. I'm not saying earth tones aren't pretty, I'm just saying 3 or 4 quilt squares all in shades of brown, rust and cream get a bit old after a while. The stitch patterns are interesting, but not that interesting, and they don't compensate for repetitive color schemes. I'm enjoying the six shades of blue (although two are so close in color that I don't think the difference will be visible unless they are right next to each other in a good light).

Once I finish the quilt square I'll be able to get back to the slippers. I'm also working on a new website for myself. I kind of needed something professional looking for a position I am applying for this week. So, my evenings have been full of computery stuff and I've really missed the ability to sit down with the knitting and just go. Does that make sense? Crossstitch is fun, I love it, but right now I want the simplicity of the slipper project. One yarn & just keep going. The multiple threads of the crossstitch, trying to decide what shade of blue to use where, etc., isn't quite as relaxing. That's okay, I've got two weeks at most & then it will be finished. I wonder if I will have adjusted into a crossstitch mode by then? I've got a few of those projects I'd like to finish too. heh, heh, heh

Yep. I really need to take up candlemaking...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

One FO down...

Okay, here's the shawl. I took some of me wearing it (or my girls took some of me wearing it), but my hair was in the way and it just looked weird. Stats: Eros Glitz color 115, 2 balls of yarn = 1 nice scarf for dear great aunt in Florida. Just in time for hurricane season. You know, 'cuz the one thing you really need then is a scarf. LOL

I've cast on for the first slipper for the oldest DD. It will be red. The youngest is horrified that it isn't pink and also that I'm not knitting hers first. It's a hard life, you know? She seems concerned that maybe I've actually lost my mind* and that I might be knitting her some red slippers by mistake. Somehow that seems more likely to her than the fact that I might really knit slippers for big sis first.

*I lost my mind years ago, but the girls haven't figured it out. Yet. The time will come when it will be painfully clear to all that I have no mind left. Right now they just think I'm very "silly". Sometimes. Works for me.

Anyway, we had a very long conversation clarifying that she wants pink slippers. And maybe purple or light blue also, but definitely NOT red. I've got it. She's not convinced. So cynical and so young. I don't know where she gets it.

I'm really liking the short projects. A week or two and BAM, you're done. I think a few of these are in order before tackling something bigger. I've forgotten how nice it feels to finish a project. I still don't know what I'm going to do with the blue sweater. No rush, but I still feel like a bit of a slacker that it isn't fixed yet. I think I'm just sweating the sweater (heh, heh) because I'm really sweating the job search thing. Tons of applications out and not a single nibble. Very frustrating. I'm working on another one very close to home. This would be a great one to have, so my stomach is starting to hurt (in true Charlie Brown fashion) on this one while I work on it. Bah, it'll all work out as it should. In time.

I got mail today about my baby's kindergarden class. sigh That is such a bummer & so exciting at the same time. She will have the same teacher that her sister had. Mrs. W is awesome and will be a perfect match for DD#2, or I think she will. Sometimes I wonder if it isn't cruel to inflict #2 on anyone, she never stops talking unless she's singing (usually making up her own songs) or asleep. I think that's why she's so very skinny. Her metabolism is incredibly high burning energy to keep her mouth in motion 24/7. LOL Such as very sweet girl, I can't believe she's gotten so big. Guess I'd better get those school supplies soon. I wonder if I can knit a muzzle... LOL

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

There be pirates!

This weekend was a busy one (as usual). The girls and I had belt testing for Tae Kwon Do. We all passed. Then we were off for a celebratory lunch. On the way, we heard about a pirate festival going on and decided to check that out. The ship in the photo above is the Lady Washington. Sadly, we missed the walk-on tours and we did not have advance reservations for the evening sailing (with mock battle), so this is as close as we got. One of these days I am determined to sail on this ship! She was in the first Pirates movie, btw, so my inner geek was very excited to see her. LOL

DH was in charge of the photos and did not take any of the actual pirates at the festival, he only took video. There were swordfights every hour and lots of games for the kids to play, complete with a treasure map & pirate booty at the end. All in all, a lovely impromptu excursion and the girls had a blast.

My little Cheetah belt above. She is surprisingly willing to wear the headband to class this time. She hated the one she had before (as a Tiger belt). She and I are working on the same forms, which is really interesting for us both.

A photo of my oldest in her sparring gear. She did a really great job sparring with a black belt candidate. I'm really proud of the little monkey, she had to work very hard for this (purple) belt. It was the longest form she's done and it was a real struggle at times. (No pictures of me in my gear. Sorry, but really, you'd thank me. Barring all of my insecurites of my appearance in general, I look really, really bad in white. My hair being so very white and my skin so fair, I look quite dreadful and washed out. I try to dodge all cameras when in class or testing.)

I was able to finish the shawl this weekend. Barely. The fringe didn't take as long as I thought it would. (a good thing) I'll post the picture and the other info on it tomorrow. (I need to take a picture first!) I also worked on a guage swatch for the first pair of slippers. It really is a boring process, isn't it? On the one hand, there's the excitment of starting something new, getting the feel of the yarn and enjoying the color change from the project that came before. On the other hand there is the tedium of postponing the actual start of the new project until you are sure the needles and yarn are a good match. Can you tell I'm trying to see the glass as half full?

I found that I had to go up a size on the needles to get guage. Usually I'm spot on for whatever the pattern says. This time, not so much. It isn't a big deal or anything, but it is unusual. Perhaps I'm just used to knitting things that don't require I make guage. Who knows. Still, the girls are excited that I'm going to start a project for them. I just hope they fit. Someone.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I've been holding out on you. Well, not really, but I placed an order for some Scout's Swag yarn in Death Eaters and Socktoberfest and they arrived this week. Hop over there to get a better view of the colorways, my photo is not good (the 7 y.o. again, but also the lighting - sorry). I got a Merino/Tencel mix and it is soooo soft. Do I need more sock yarn? Have I finished even one pair of socks? Does it matter? LOL

I'm looking at using the Death Eater colorway for the Bellatrix sock over at Socktopia. There's a Lime and Violet influence on that one, I think. I don't have any plans for the Socktopia yet, I just really liked the mix of colors. In fact, I like too many of her colorways. I see far too many purchases on the horizon if I don't temporarily "forget" about Scout. :)

I'm still going strong on the shawl, if not as fast as I would like. I hope to have the knitting done by the weekend, then I can work on the fringe for the next week if necessary. That will still leave plenty of time to get it in the mail for my great-aunt's 95th birthday. She is in pretty good health, although I believe she is getting a little forgetful/confused at times. (So am I and I'm not 95!) I'm hoping we can get out there to see her in the next year. She now lives near my in-laws, so it is a possibility.

I'm definitely going to work on some slippers after the shawl is done. It'll give me something small and simple to work on before tackling another big project. I'll also get to try felting. I'm not all crazy about felt in general, too many itchy experiences in the past I think. Still, they should be comfy on the feet. Who knows? Maybe I'll develop a new passion - like I need one. LOL

I've been having a bit of a weird week. A blood vessel burst in my eye, so the entire outer half of my left eye is solid red. I mean a solid dipped-in-blood looking red. It is an interesting social experience since most people look you in the eye at least once. I did check it out with the doctor, btw, and he said it is a "normal" thing and is harmless in and of itself (barring a blow to the head or vision impairment, etc.). It looks really disturbing, especially for my squeamish students. heh, heh, heh. I've had some fun with them this week, giving them the "evil eye". They can't wait for it to get better (probably about another week considering how nasty it looks) adn several suggested I wear an eye patch. I took a picture, but I'm not posting it. It is pretty freaky. My youngest DD told me I was evil because I had a red eye. Cartoon villians = red eyes = fair enough. I told her I was only half evil because it was only one eye. My oldest chimed in and said "no mom, you're pretty much all evil all the time." I have no idea how they got this way.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The shawl

The shawl is moving along nicely. (Please pardon the photo, my 7 y.o. took it and decided to include the Dora blanket scrunched up in the back.) I need about 28 rows to complete it and then it will be down to adding the fringe. Somehow I think the fringe will be the harder part, but maybe not. I just haven't done it before. The shawl has gone pretty quickly, but I really hate knitting into the front and the back on the first stitch. The ladder yarn is a pain to pick up that way.

I still haven't made any decisions or committments on the blue sweater. I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself, but at the same time, I'm still feeling relaxed about the whole thing. This leads me to believe the quiet part of my head is going to make a big push for ripping the whole darned thing and staring over again, possibly with a different pattern. >sigh< Never trust the quiet part of the brain, right? I won't worry yet. I'm just going to finish the shawl, maybe work on felted slippers for the girls and let it slide for a bit. I wanted it this summer, but not if the 'challenges' of making it fit are rushed and make me hate it instead. I'd rather work at it at a comfortable pace and not stress about a completion date.

I'm also trying to decide what 'big' project will come next. I could just do small things, maybe even gifts for Christmas! Though I really don't want to start stressing about what I'm working on that much. I gave up on being a single project knitter, but I'm still trying to avoid being a panicked Christmas knitter. I'd rather not give knitted gifts than get myself in that groove. We'll see how that goes. Anyway, a cardi for Himself or a sweater for the youngest DD. Hmmm. I guess I'd better see if DD still likes the yarn she picked out last year. LOL Perhaps I'll start there.