Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Top 6 Things I Don't Want for Christmas

The other day, DaHubby was de-cluttering and ran across some papers that were old and dusty and from my other life. They were "Top 10" lists that I had written in the early 90's while peddling books and sharing wisdom and wise-cracks with friends local and otherwise. Although I have to admit to loud guffawing several times when he read them off to me, I realize they were rather specific inside jokes to those of us slaving in the Christian bookstore industry in the last decade of the last century, so I'll spare you. I will, however inflict you with a new, fresh....

Top 6 Things I Don't Want for Christmas

6) New compilation CD by Christian Barbershop Quartets: "Mighty to Shave"
5) "365 Reasons Why Today is Not Your Day" Calendar
4) Shag carpet for the dashboard of my car
3)Yarn hand spun from the fur of a smelly dog.
2) New Bose 8-Track Tape Player!
1) Grow Your Own Pet Rock

But seriously, may your Christmas be filled with many blessings and much laughter!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

In Memory: Van Johnson

I've chosen this picture of Van instead of one from his earlier "heartthrob" days in the 1940's, because it was taken circa 1985, about the time I was privileged to meet him. I like to play a little game connecting myself to a multitude of celebrities through "my buddy, Van Johnson", since he and I worked the same summer musical at Casa Manana--he as headlining star, me as walk-on extra and apprentice stage hand. I think it's fair to say that he was a really good actor, maybe not a great one, but always reliably good. Because the bulk of his stardom was 50-60 years ago, there may be only a few who will read of his passing and feel any sense of loss. But having name-dropped him for so long, you can be sure that, at our house, we bid him a fond farewell. I think SuperCraftyDancerGirl summed it up well this morning when she said that now I will have to refer to him as "my buddy, Van Johnson--may he rest in peace."

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Funny thing happened after the Roman Encampment...

Do you ever ask yourself, "If I take my 8 year old son who has spent the summer learning about ancient Rome to a wonderful event populated with grown-ups dressed as Roman soldiers, will he get anything at all out of it?"?

Well, I don't know what YOUR 8 year old son would do, but this is what mine did:

Here's a pic of troop formation:


Of course--make your own Roman army! Why didn't I think of that?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Remembrance Day

I know it's 2 days past Veteran's Day/Remembrance Day/Armistice Day, but better late than never, right?

A friend sent me an article that was slightly more intellectual than I think I was capable of absorbing with background noise of JrBravesFanatic building massive block towers on a wooden table. But, these were my comments to her on it and I thought I'd share:

As an amateur historian, I've studied WWII and its aftermath quite a lot as well as spending my life in total awe of my step-grandfather who served as a Marine Raider in the Pacific. Yesterday we watched a 1943 movie about a man who served as a spy in the ranks of the Nazi SS, which led us to speculate on how horrible it must have been to have to pretend that the horrors perpetrated by the Nazis were no big deal. If we value life, we have to be affected at the loss of it, whether in war or in peace. This is where I could get on my soapbox and decry the desensitization of our culture and its subsequent affect on Remembrance Day/Veteran's Day. If, after all, we count human life as cheap, then what would it matter that there are men and women who have served our country in wartime who bear the internal scars that come from witnessing atrocities? But the author of the article was focused on our response as Christians, not that of the culture at large. The question I see is--is there a difference? Do we really remember the death and resurrection of Jesus? Or is it another in a long line of stories far removed from our daily lives--stories like those about the men who liberated the concentration camps and were never the same again?

This is the lesson that history can teach us--that our lives are a gift, made possible in large part by the deaths of many.

Thank you, Veterans, for what you've done for all of us. And for my fellow historians, may we never tire in our efforts to remember yesterday for the good of tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Charity Knitting spotlight, part 3 which I remember that every stitch counts and every idle moment could be filled with stitches...

While researching the info we need for Operation Christmas Child this year (shoe boxes are due Nov. 17th--yike, that's 12 days from now!) I ran across an article on the Samaritan's Purse website about a woman who definitely "gets it" when it comes to knitting for charity. Yet another example of how, in this life, it's the little things that matter--how I spend my time every day adds up to the life I'm living. I've found that, for me, the more I can knit for charity, the more I'm reminded how blessed I am. Years ago when I was selling books for a living, life could be stressful, with deadlines, employees, customers, and huge stacks of books all vying for my attention. I had a friend who sold books in another state, and no matter the stress I faced, I knew I could always call her and I'd feel better. She dealt with the craziest, most unexpected challenges in her store and we would laugh about how there was always someone with worse problems out there, and it was usually her. Knitting for people in need makes my needs seem smaller and less important. It makes me say things like "in the grand scheme of things" and "someday we'll find this moment hilarious" and "I love you".

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Election Day minus 3

First, some history...

During WWII, our boys were sent into battle after having been taught that the enemy was not comprised of individual men--regular guys with parents, sweethearts, wives and children. They were, for the most part, convinced that the enemy were nothing more than dirty, Godless Nazis, Fascists, and Japs. How else could we send boys raised in a Judeo-Christian belief-system to kill other people--lots of other people? It's called dehumanization. Your enemy isn't really a human, rather something much less important, and much more dangerous, an animal with orders from a tyrant.

And now...

Election time draws near (finally!), and I see a similar trend has emerged. The political pundits on both sides are working overtime to revile and slander, to dehumanize the opposition until it is easy to see the Godless, freedom-hating threat to our country, personified in Candidate A. Or B, or C, depending on which side has your ear. And as good little Americans do on both sides, we listen, we repeat what we hear, and we begin to believe that our way is the only way and any other way leads to catastrophe or worse.

I am very thankful we have so much freedom of speech. Without it, the political pundits would not get paid for what they do, they'd be jailed for it. And forget blogging! What I'd like to remind us who claim to be Christians is that we are to be salt and light--somehow different from those around us. Our views should be shaped less by the media and more by the Bible. Naturally we have the freedom to listen to whomever we choose, (and to vote for whomever we choose) but when we start spouting, I mean, talking about politics, can anyone really tell a difference between us and CNN?

Does it really help your cause to bash your opponent? To dehumanize him or her? Have we forgotten that it says somewhere that "all men are created equal and are endowed by God with certain inalienable rights..."? That the opposition's candidates are individual people, regular guys and gals with families and passions and the courage to run for political office? Doesn't anyone else remember hearing the same warnings of dire consequences in 1992??

I'd like to challenge those of my readership who are Christians to pray before you speak. Sounds easy, I know, but I'm not through with you yet. Stop for a moment and re-think your "Oh, God, if you don't do something now, that awful heathen will ruin our country, and isn't it time to use that fire from heaven thing again???" prayers, and remember what Jesus taught us.

He said:
"You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that." Matthew 5:43-47

"But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken." Matthew 12:36

Isn't it possible that He meant for this to be true even now?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Today in history

Today we remember Henry M. Muhlenberg, who died on this day in 1787. He was born in Germany and came to this country in 1742 in response to requests from Lutheran congregations who wanted someone to provide leadership for the Lutheran church in America. Lutherans today still use liturgies descended from the one he proposed in an effort to unify churches in the colonies. He is considered the father of American Lutheranism.

Today we also celebrate the birthday of DaHubby, born on this day in 19 mumble, mumble, in the city where Muhlenberg first landed in America. Avid baseball fan, involved family man and hard-working grounds keeper for the castle gardens, DaHubby manages to find time to appreciate and support the knitting of those he loves. He has recently returned to the church of his ancestors, who are rumored to have known Martin Luther himself. Happy Birthday, Dear!

Monday, October 06, 2008

World Habitat Day

Today is World Habitat Day. If you are reading this in the comfort of adequate shelter, you are better off than the one billion people worldwide who currently live in slums. I wonder, what would happen to the quality of life if everyone who felt compelled to upgrade their kitchen counter tops to granite gave that money instead to Habitat for Humanity? It's just a thought, and I admit it's a decision I've not been faced with, but watching House Hunters and seeing so many whining Americans turn down a potential home based on the floor coverings or the wall color tends to make me philosophical. That and the fact that I know of a group in Central America right now, building a house with Habitat for a family who needs it. Let's be grateful out there, people.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Flying Geese Afghan... finished!
Yarn: Peaches & Creme solids and ombres
Needles: size 6
Triangles: 306
Finished size: approx 50" x 36"
Pattern: Flying Geese Blanket by Ann Hahn Beuchner from Mason-Dixon Knitting
Happiness Level: 4 smilies :) :) :) :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Charity Knitting Spotlight, part 2 which I continue to natter on about charity knitting...

Remember this sweater? Well it finally got mailed off to Knit for Kids. I don't really remember how long it took me to knit it--those were the days pre-Ravelry before I could easily record the start and end dates of my projects--but I'm pretty sure it's safe to say it took longer to get it to the post office than it took to knit! Which brings me to:

Reasons to knit for charity, 4-5:
4. If the charity is in another city/state/country and you have to mail it, it gives you a chance to work on your follow-through for getting things out the door and to the post office.
5. Knitting for charity gives you the chance to learn new knitting skills, stitch patterns, etc. while helping someone else be warmer and feel loved.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Due to circumstances and technology beyond my control, the "Charity Knitting Spotlight, part 1" post ended up being posted before it was completed, and I can't seem to change anything in it. I'm sure this has nothing whatsoever to do with Tulip the Cat sitting between me and the keyboard.

So, here's what I left out:
The gals at Mason-Dixon Knitting will be collecting the tiny hats for mailing to London, so check with them for mailing info. Or show up at Stitch & Pitch at Shea Stadium on the 25th. It could happen.

And if you need further inspiration, watch this video and realize that those cute little ladies knit faster than you!

Or you can just imagine Miss Marple feeling chilly in January.

Charity Knitting Spotlight, part 1 which I natter on about the why and for whom of knitting for charities...

Behold the tiny hat with big plans to keep older Brits warm in the winter!


Reasons to knit for charity, 1-3:
1. As Scrooge's partner Marley said, "Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business." Or, in other words, if we're put here to help our fellow men, women and children, then why not knit for them?
2. Small projects like the Big Knit tiny hats don't take much time or yarn, but can be really fun.
3. Charity knitting like the Big Knit encourage the spread of knitting know-how.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Books, books, books

Found this on StarKnits, and felt compelled to play:) Not sure how some of these books made the list, but then, I'm a book snob. Resisting urge to send a list of books that should have made the list to the Nat'l Endowment for the Arts, with lots of Anthony Trollope, some P.G.Wodehouse, Dorothy Sayers, and Jan Karon. And HELLO? Where is the Mark Twain??

The National Endowment for the Arts believes that the average American has read only 6 of the books on the list below.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline (or mark in a different color) the books you LOVE
4) Reprint this list in your blog so we can try and track down these people who’ve read only 6 and force books upon them

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen--probably my fave of Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens--I tried to read this, does that count??
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro great movie, great soundtrack, haven't read it
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (yes, all of them!)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl the org. movie is my fave.
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Onward to 2010

Bob Costas called and said he's got jetlag, so I've got to do my own Ravelympic update.

SuperCraftyDancerGirl brought home 4 medals in 3 events. You've seen her performance in the Free-For-All Freestyle and one from WIP's Wrestling. Here's another WIPs Wrestling

and one HatDash:
In addition to my WIPs Wrestling medal for the Shawl to end all Shawls, I got one for this Springy scarf:

And this little retro number won me a medal in the Home Stuff Hammerthrow:

And lastly, Ravelympic gold in the Scarf Stroke:

Now, in addition to waiting for our endorsement deals, we're gearing up for Top Secret Christmas knitting. Which is a real stretch at the end of August when the heat index is 91 degrees at 9 am.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ravelympic Me

Finally! Thanks to the magic of the Ravelympics, I have completed the Shawl to End All Shawls. It's long, luxurious, and way to hot to use just yet. It's even a bit too hot to knit, but I guess that's what ceiling fans are all about, right?

Thank you to all who organized the Ravelympics and gave me the motivation I needed to get this monstrosity off the needles and into the wardrobe!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ravelympics are in the Bag

Doesn't this look like some scene from a pretty little French village? Either that or the heat is getting to me! This great picture is brought to you by the SuperCraftyDancerGirl, who has completed this bag in the WIP's Wrestling event.

Monday, August 11, 2008

First across the finish line... SuperCraftyDancerGirl, with her very own pair of fingerless gloves made from her very own pattern. She's made some for friends, but this pair was for her, and it was the first completed Ravelympics event in our household.

Now she and I both are remembering why our other projects
had been languishing unfinished for so long. Let's just say we are living illustrations of slogging. Ravelympics spirit and determination are strong, though, so expect to see completed projects in a few days!

Here is her first medal:

And I'm surprised at how pleased I am to hear things like this from JrBravesFanatic:

"Mom, did you know it's almost 1:00 am in Beijing?"
"Hey, does anyone know where the other badminton racket is?"
"Have you seen my archery target?"

Ahh... Olympics!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Knitting fans everywhere are gearing up for the first ever Ravelympics. Ok, maybe not, but WE are and that's what matters most, right?

In case you haven't heard, the "real" Olympics start this Friday in Beijing, (a word that is cool because of all those dots), and realistically, this affects about .0001% of the actual population. I mean, how many of us really know an Olympian?? Which may explain why you may not have heard that the Olympics start this week. Hello! BUT. I think it's safe to say that everyone knows someone, who at least knows someone, who knits--or at least crochets. Which means that some of that number are bound to be participating in a Knitting Olympics of some sort, and if they're lucky, the Ravelympics in particular. If I've not publicly stated on this blog how great I think Ravelry is, then let me just say it now. I think Ravelry is great! The ability to cross-reference a pattern or yarn with thousands of other knitters who are using that pattern or yarn, is power, pure fiber power.

As for the Ravelympics, we on Team Kudzu (it's tough, pervasive, found in the South, and hard to get rid of--why didn't we consider it as a mascot before now??) are in training for the opening ceremonies this Friday. In Beijing, that's 8:00 P.M., and here, that's 8:00 A.M. Which just further illustrates what I'm always saying about knitting being so educational--we had to find out what time it would be here when it's starting time there, which led to discussions about time zones and date lines and our whole wacky world. So, what all this meant to us in practical terms (ie, what's this got to do with knitting?), is that we can start our Ravelympics events at 8:00 AM our time.

Events, you ask? What events? Well, SuperCraftyDancerGirl and I are both participating in the WIPs Wrestling Event, which means that projects that have been languishing (is that ever a good word to use in South Carolina in August!) will get brought out and, hopefully, finished by the end of the Olympics. For me it's a certain Shawl, and for her it's a market bag that went into hibernation when a toddler pulled her knitting needle out of all the stitches. I have to mention that SCDG handled this unfortunate event with amazing grace and maturity beyond her years. I think I might have passed out if it had been me!

I will also be participating in the ScarfStroke Event, knitting a "V for Victory" scarf from the National WWII Museum. If I didn't hate humidity so much I'd want to work there. SCDG is also participating in the FreeForAllFreestyle Event, creating some fingerless gloves. Because that's the kind of knitter she is, and I cannot take any credit for it--I prefer to follow a pattern or at least start with one.

So if you're reading this and you're on Ravelry and you haven't signed up for the Ravelympics yet, you'd better get busy! There is a deadline, after all. And while I can't guarantee daily updates or even media coverage, we will keep you posted on our events, our projects and our Ravelympic adventure.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Five more

Five More Easy Rules for Complicating the Simplest of Endeavors:

1) Find a dozen other "must knit now" patterns while I'm working on a big project. Can you say, short attention span? Did you know that if I follow the original pattern, my The Geese, They Are A-Flyin' Afghan will consist of 306 tiny triangles? I did that math in my head, then checked it with a calculator when the number came out so large.


2) Get through the check-out line at Publix and realize I forgot sliced turkey. Do I leave everything and run back to the deli, risking the ire of those waiting in line behind me? Or do I come back another day, knowing full well that it's too hot to get back out and run another errand, and what will probably happen is that lunches will consist of whatever we can scrape together from the pantry and fridge for the next week? Yep, I chose the road less traveled and now we're out of corn dogs, too.

3) Plan a pool or beach outing and it doesn't rain, it monsoons. Is that a verb? SuperCraftyDancerGirl sent me a long list of "you know you're from South Carolina when..." and this was on it: You have actually uttered the phrase "It's too hot to go to the pool".
And I honestly thought--you mean everyone doesn't say that??

4) Clean up after geriatric cats. Yes, animal lovers, I know they are worth the effort, but Clarence the Well Advanced in Years can make some serious messes. Often.

5) Be reminded that I never had a banana seat on my bicycle as a child. Thanks, Kay! You, too, Jani!

6) Land on a blog and find out that I not only missed entering the contest, but the prize was a LIFE-TIME SUPPLY OF YARN AND NEEDLES! Oh, the humanity!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Today's quote(s)

Today's quotes are from Amelia Earhart, born on this day in 1898. I've always admired her--flying cool planes, setting records, lunching with Eleanor Roosevelt.

She said:
"The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one's appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship."

She also said these things, which made me think of knitting:
"It is far easier to start something than it is to finish it." (Alpaca shawls on small needles, for example)

"Never interrupt someone doing something you said couldn't be done."
(Like, say, knitting slip covers for chairs)

"Flying may not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price."
(As is knitting, and some really lush yarn)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Twelve Signs of Summer

1) It takes more than one trip to water all the flower pots on my front porch.
2) The mosquitoes have joined forces and are working in shifts to make sure they are available to annoy us at all hours.
3) The grass is as high as an elephant's eye, thanks to the daily rain deluge.
---ok, daHubby just cut the grass, so we'll just say it's achingly green from all the rain---
4) There are beach towels and swim suits drying on the back porch.
5) Tomatoes! Lemonade! Watermelon!
6) Ceiling fans are all turned to high.
7) The cats are taking long lazy naps. Oh, wait, they do that all year.
8) New episodes of Monk and Psych.
9) It's too hot to knit with alpaca.
10) The boys are watching a lot of baseball. Oh, wait, they do that all year. (love you guys!)
11) Two words: heat index.
12) The countdown has begun...only 2 more months till the weather cools off!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Many Happy Returns of Degas' Birthday


No, it's not my daughter and her friends, it's "The Dance Class" by Edgar Degas, born on this day in 1834 in Paris. Happy Birthday to one of my favorite painters.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yeah, I'm old-fashioned, what of it??


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Are my eyes really brown?

Over the years, I find I've become increasingly less political. Sometimes I'd rather just "tend to my knitting", if you know what I mean. But, this is an election year---it feels more like an election DECADE---and it seems that most everyone is endorsing one side or the other.

Although I was tempted to put bumper stickers representing candidates from both sides of the aisle on my vehicle, they started dropping out of the race at alarming rate, and it wasn't funny anymore.

So, after having examined the various candidates and their qualifications, such as they are, it is time to decide. Without further ado (mostly because JrBravesFanatic would like to go to Webkinz world now, please) here is candidate " what we give" endorses for 2008:

"I stick my neck out for nobody."

Friday, June 27, 2008

Peer Pressure

I am surrounded by people knitting lace, mostly scarves, both in the real and virtual worlds of knitting. There's the beautiful, popular Lace Ribbon Scarf, the Mist Lace Scarf, and the
Feather and Fan. I felt myself crumbling to the peer pressure, and after a few false starts am 51 rows into the Lace Ribbon scarf. Here are some things I've learned:

1) I can read a chart! I finally figured it out! Go me!

2) The row counter is my friend.

3) The life-line is my other friend.

4) I can't knit lace if there are human beings around--they will inevitably ask a question, fuss at their sibling or make some sort of distracting sound, necessitating the use of #3.

5) While the yarn I'm using has beauty that will be almost impossible to truly capture in a photo, it's 100% merino wool and it's summer in South Carolina. It makes my hands hot just contemplate.

6) There's a reason this is a popular pattern (1300+ Ravelry-ites and counting). It's gorgeous. Even when I do it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Who knew?

I'm not sure what they used to decide this, but who am I to argue with a computer-generated Blog Readability test??

blog readability test

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dish cloths and wash cloths and bags, oh my!

Here's one for me and my kitchen:

I don't know why, but Log Cabin knitting is so soothing.

And here's one for daHubby:


These guys were subconsciously adapted from the Big Bad Baby Blanket pattern, pix of which can be seen here, and daHubby's was finished on WWKiP Day.

And then there's this one that turned out too long:


And then there are the bags...both from the Elisa's Nest pattern:



Both bags have found homes elsewhere, so I'm knitting one for myself--slowly!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Me:"And what shall we name your little pet rabbit?"

Her:"We shall name him....celery!"

Him: "No! No vegetables!"

Me: (snicker, snicker, go to blog)

The object of the discussion:


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Happy Birthday to M.C. Escher

I don't quilt unless it's something I can knit, but I still see quilt patterns in in M.C. Escher's (born on this day in 1898) works. I don't know what this one is called, but it looks like Flying Geese to me. Flying Geese meet Flying Fish, that is.

Does anyone still have one of those crazy neckties made from an Escher print??

And then there's this close up of a bag SuperCraftyDancerGirl is making...coincidence?


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


The border is finished! The blanket is finished! The prissy little mitered corners are finished!

It is now time to start something else, and since I'm on a major Peaches & Creme kick, I'm guessing it'll be something cotton....though maybe not QUITE so bright!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Patches blanket...a journey

Just when I thought I'd knitted squares longer than I could stand, I had one left and we did a trial layout.

Then we gathered them all up and stacked them in the order to be knitted into strips.

Then came the sewing and more sewing, and the weaving in of ends. My tip for endless end-weaving: DO NOT, under any circumstances, count the ends. Just settle in and start weaving, then be j-u-b-i-l-a-n-t when you finish.

A general tip for taking photos for blogs or Ravelry: either use your 11 year old as the photographer or as the prop for the items being photographed. This counts as "time spent with the kids".

Now I've got to decide what to do about a border. This is a hotly contested topic in our house, and unlike many decisions, I'm not content to let the kids make this one. Don't ask me why, because they vote no border and that would be easier. While I lovelovelove
Susan B. Anderson's original design, I just don't see myself making pom-poms as a border. I think I expended the necessary patience required to make multiple pom-poms while I was weaving in all those ends!

Echoing my own thoughts in the scary way only she has, my friend Jani suggested either applied I-cord or a garter or seed stitch border. I promise, she hasn't seen it yet, and I haven't mentioned what sort of bordering I was considering, and yet somehow she knew. Right now I'm thinking of picking up stitches on each side, separately, and doing each side a different color (using colors already in the blanket), then knitting miters in the corners with maybe the stripey pink and white color. Because, obviously, this blanket is NOT colorful enough!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Son Also Crafts...

This just in from JrBravesFanatic---a lovely hand sewn patchwork pillow, completed just in time to give to his grandmother for Mother's Day. It looks a little larger than it is, but, at about 5"x8", it was still a good bit of sewing for a little guy! Thanks goes to SuperCraftyDancerGirl for threading needles and adding the button :)

Mother's Day blessings to all my mom friends out there!!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Today's quote, May 10

Happy Birthday to Fred Astaire, born on this day in 1899, easily my favorite of Ginger Rogers' dance partners! lol

He said, "Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you've got to start young."

And, "The higher up you go, the more mistakes you are allowed. Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it's considered to be your style."

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Lessons learned from Craft

We've been watching the dvd of Craft in America at our house and I find it so refreshing to hear from others who are passionate about their chosen craft. It reminds me that one of the reasons I love to knit (or hand sew or cross-stitch) is that I feel an inexplicable link to the women who have gone before me, making things for their families. I imagine some sturdy pioneer wife making clothes by hand while planting a garden, raising a passel of young'uns, slaughtering chickens for dinner, and settling the frontier. Too much Laura Ingalls Wilder in my youth, do you think??

I also read a recent post on Ravelry about one knitter belittling another knitter because her preferred methods were different--in this case, simple vs. ornate. I think the point the judgmental knitter missed was that we all have something to contribute. It makes little sense to me anyway----what could it possibly matter to someone who likes to knit lace whether someone else only does garter or stockinette stitch?? That was something I appreciated about Mason-Dixon Knitting; there are a lot of just plain knitting patterns. I like doing lace, but I LOVE having something simple to work on, especially for times when I need to concentrate on something other than knitting. Like life, for example!

The artists on Craft in America weren't judging what others were doing, they were just thankful to be able to create things and express themselves through craft. And that attitude empowers me to appreciate what I do as well as what others do, without feeling intimidated by others' quality or quantity. Yes, I want to improve my knitting, but not because I'm trying to keep up with the speed knitters or master knitters of the world.

It all comes down to this: nine-tenths of the people for whom I knit will not be likely to receive an item from me, look at it and say, "Wow, you could have done better!" Frankly, I'm thankful for that. And for the fact that I don't have to slaughter chickens for dinner...

Monday, May 05, 2008

perfectionism + blogging = stress

...or, why I would blog more if it weren't so hard to get it right.

It's hard enough to come up with something "blog-worthy" on a regular basis, and harder still to manage to get the photos from the camera to the blog, but those peripheral items tend to present a challenge, too.

For some unknown, no doubt narcissistic reason, I feel compelled to list my latest reads in the sidebar of this blog. Simple enough, no? NO. One recent listing, a fun selection from Dorothy L. Sayers, has created difficulties for this perfectionist. I want to provide some sort of link, just in case someone, somewhere, at least once in this lifetime, decides to click on the book title to see what I've been reading. I like to use Barnes and Noble sometimes, and I went the other day to the listing and used it for the link. I repeat, simple enough, no? Yes, except the "excerpt" for the book was wrong. I admit, I was blogging on borrowed time that day and just left it so I could go do whatever it was I needed to go do. But it bugged me so much that I went back later and changed the link to the listing at Amazon. Because the excerpt is correct.

Does anyone really care? Probably not, but I feel better.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Some recent knitting

A sweater for my friend Claire's new baby, from Itty Bitty Nursery.

SuperCraftyDancerGirl finished this sweater tank!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A quote or two for today

Today's quote comes to us from Anthony Trollope, fabulous Victorian novelist, born on this day in 1815.

He said:
"That I can read and be happy while I am reading, is a great blessing. Could I have remembered, as some men do, what I read, I should have been able to call myself an educated man."

And this from Phineas Finn:
"Remember, I do not recommend motion at all. Repose is my idea of life; repose and grapes."

If you've never read any Anthony Trollope, I highly recommend him. He wrote 47 novels, so there's plenty to choose from. Miss Mackenzie might be a good one to start with, though I'm sure other Trollope devotees would have their own recommendations...

Monday, April 21, 2008


It was a beautiful weekend to be in Asheville. The mountains were at their mountainous best after a bit of rain. "Bad Fork"??? It looks good to me!
Truly gorgeous!

The Grove Arcade was a lovely combination of great architecture and cool shops.

And then there's the "souvenir" yarn---some from the Arcade's Asheville Homecrafts, and some from the aptly named Yarn Paradise. Thanks to Heather for blogging about Asheville Homecrafts---otherwise we'd have missed it and the Arcade.

Thanks to DaHubby for schlepping to not one but two yarn shops on our weekend getaway! There are more socks in your future :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Earth day thoughts...

With Earth Day on the horizon, I just thought I'd mention something the kids and I saw today. Shopping at our local mega-mart we were bombarded by the "go green" campaign, the current marketing fad in our country: green cleaning supplies, t-shirts with green slogans, energy saving light bulbs, even a display of earth-conscious dvd's. Outside, however, we had a front row seat to reality. The small field between the parking lot and the street was rapidly and industriously being transformed from wooded lot to barren wasteland.

Maybe I'm just a bit cynical, but am I really the only one who sees the disparity between something that is
actually green and something that is only labeled as such? Maybe in our generation, it'll only be style over substance. However, since SuperCraftyDancerGirl was the first one to comment on what we were seeing today, there is hope for the future. She gets it.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Abstract Mitered Baby Blanket

What you see here is the result of a group effort. SuperCraftyDancerGirl designed the layout after I said I wanted to make this a mitered production, and JrBravesFanatic and I knitted it.

Oh, and Tulip the cat gave it the occasional bathing, too. (Eww!)

The decision about whether to put on a backing or not has not been firmly made at this time...

added 4/15/08:
Ok, I've woven in all the millions of ends, and the back is no longer offensive to me. So I think I'll just leave it. SuperCraftyDancerGirl says it looks good, and since she's my official style consultant, it must be ok!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I Can Dream, Can't I?

Latest fantasies:

(While surfing blogs): I click a link and discover that someone else I know in real life is actually a closet blogger, writing really worthy stuff...

(While stuck in "Palmetto Traffic"): I'm home in my own backyard, stretched out on my lounge chair, enjoying the warm spring afternoon and the fact that the bugs haven't all hatched from wherever it is they go in the winter. I'm reading some deep meaningful book and not having to back-track at the bottom of each page, because I got it the first time....

(While planning or participating in the weekly Life Skills Grocery Acquisition Home School Field Trip): Home delivery of groceries has become a reality, complete with all the best deals, coupon usage and meal planning, all available at the click of my mouse....

(Just about every day): I awake in the morning totally refreshed, having gotten enough quality sleep the night before to propel me through a morning workout (don't laugh, I'm dreaming here, remember?) and the rest of my day....

(During Lent): I arrive at service on Easter morning, truly understanding the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus in a new and profound way. I'm able to communicate these new insights in a meaningful way to others, all because I've been able, all throughout the Lenten season, to focus on what really matters...

(At least every other day): Instead of fighting over who gets to sit where, my children hold meaningful discourses about the nature of existence and the best way to love their neighbors as themselves....

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Book Search

Ok, all you out there in Knitting Land, I need your help. I have a birthday coming up and I want to put a knitting book (or two) on my wish list. I already have Mason-Dixon Knitting and love it. Anyone have a knitting book that they just can't live without?

That was how the post started.... but then the youth at church had a babysitting fund-raiser, and DaHubby and I stepped out for the evening. No, wait, it'll make sense, bear with me. By the time we'd braved the Friday night dinner crowds (does everybody in town wait till Friday night to go out to eat?? Ugh! I guess that makes it obvious how rarely we go out to eat on a Friday night), we had only a teensy amount of time left in child-free freedom. So, being the wild and crazy couple that we are, we went to B & N to browse through all the books we don't have time to read. I went first to the Knitting section. Admittedly, it's technically the Crafts section, but they could have one section just for knitting or maybe knit and crochet and they could call it Fiber Arts. I'm just saying. Anyway I looked at all of the knitting books they had that I hadn't already looked at or read from the library and I made a startling discovery about myself:

I don't think I WANT a new knitting book on my shelf at home.

Doesn't that make me some kind of knitting heretic? But I stood there looking at all those beautiful books with all those great patterns and helpful tidbits of advice and I was just overwhelmed by the realization that I have enough projects in my mental queue, and I don't want any more! I was stressing out right there in the middle of B & N!

After that, I naturally had to go soothe myself in the Military History section, which made it all better :) I found a new book about the WWII home front called, get this,
The American Home Front: 1941-1942. It's always a good day when I can find a new book about the home front (and dig that catchy title!).

The upshot of all this is that I'd rather not have knitting book recommendations at this time. Maybe when I get the multitudes of projects on my needles and in my brain under some control, I'll be able to find the space in my life for a new knitting book. Until then, I can skulk around on Ravelry and feel guilty that I haven't fleshed out my notebook any better than I have. I mean, really...we can put a man on the moon, but we can't find a way for photos to magically jump from our digital cameras to some usable form on Flickr without our intervention???

Friday, February 22, 2008

Another Bad Joke Friday

The last Bad Joke Friday was such fun, especially the contributions of Becky and Dale, that I decided to have another one!


Did you hear the one about the botanist who was trying to research some details about a particular kind of fern? He sent a request to all his colleagues, asking them to send him any information they had about it.

Unfortunately, he didn't word his request very well, and all the botanists he'd contacted thought he was looking for details about any ferns, rather than just the one species. So within just a few hours of sending it out, his fax machine was buzzing with piles of useless documents about all kinds of ferns - there were tree ferns and wood ferns, ostrich ferns and cinnamon ferns... but very few about the particular type he wanted.

So he sent another message to everyone:

If it ain't bracken, don't fax it.


Q: Why is a trumpet player like an Egyptian Ruler?
A: They have their Tutankhamen.


Q: What's a mummy's favorite type of music?
A: Wrap.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Goodnight Moon, or Why the kids were up late

A great big thanks to DaHubby for remembering the Lunar Eclipse last night (before it happened, no less!!). After church, we came home, told the kids to get ready for bed, then kept an eye on the clock. The kids do NOT keep an eye on the clock at bedtime, as their ultimate, nightly goal is to see how long they can fool the parents into letting them stay up just a bit longer, and this takes considerable energy and concentration on their part.

Then, at 8:45, after making sure they were all ready for shut-eye, we said, without any previous warning, "Put on your shoes and coats." It's so much fun to spring things on them! So out we trooped to the front yard, no doubt giving the neighbors something else to talk about. We discussed what causes eclipses and watched the moon slowly but surely turn dark and reddish. It was a perfect eclipse-watching sky, with only a few wispy clouds and a fantastic view of the moon.

As I heard the 7 am bus pull through this morning, I was so thankful that we homeschool, and can make our schedule adjust to things like a Lunar Eclipse.

Or the Great Backyard Bird Count, for that matter. By the way, remember how I said that birds avoid our yard during the Bird Count? I think I need to amend that to say that birds avoid ME during the Bird Count! Saturday the kids and I went out and saw a grand total of 4 birds (2 species) in 30 minutes. This was about what I expected. Then Sunday morning, DaHubby and the kids sat there and spotted 15 birds (9 species) in 45 minutes. Ok, no problem, that's great. Then later on Sunday, while visiting friends out in the country, I sat for at least an hour with my binoculars and saw, are you ready for this? ONE BIRD! Out in the country! One lousy hawk that I never was able to positively identify. And that's when I began to take it personally. Monday morning we saw something like a chickadee and two geese, but I didn't have the heart to submit those "results" to the Bird Count.

I can see why the birds in our area might really like DaHubby, as he's the official feeder filler. But what they don't take into account is that, often I'm the one who brings the empty feeders to his attention. I'm the woman behind the feeder filler, for heaven's sake!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Survived another one (or, Why I don't blog very often)

Yesterday was our annual homeschool bowling party, organized by yours truly. Great fun was had by all. It is the only Big Event that I organize all year, and every year on the day after, I remember why---it's exhausting!! But, like I said, a great time was had by all, so it's worth it.

Today we start the Great Backyard Bird Count. I always wonder where all the birds go on this particular weekend. In years past we could look out and see dozens of birds at the feeder all week, then when the GBBC rolls around, they stay away in droves. Or would that be flocks?

Birding is one of those things (like knitting or homeschooling) which seem hard to do until you actually try it. I've been birding, with varying degrees of fervency, for the last, well, we'll just say for many years. (Don't you hate it when you go to count up something like that and realize just how many years it's been?) SuperCraftyDancerGirl is less enamored with her feathered neighbors than is her brother, but she is good at identifying species, especially on our walks. JrBravesFanatic's love of critters naturally extends to the bird community, and when he was younger he surprised me by being able to sit in my lap QUIETLY watching for birds to come to the feeder during our GBBC experiences. Da Hubby will believe everything I say about the birds we see, so that's always fun. Not that I am purposely misleading when it comes to bird info, but he doesn't quibble with me when I can't tell a Red-Shouldered Hawk from a Red-Tailed Hawk. Gotta love a guy like that!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Happy Birthday, Chuck! (One day late)

Yesterday was the birthday of Charles Dickens, one of my favorite authors as a child--well, ok, more like Jr. High and up. I wouldn't want to give the mistaken impression that I was reading David Copperfield in Kindergarten or something. I mean, I was a pretty sharp kid and all, but maybe not THAT sharp.

I think, aside from all the great writing, Dickens should be remembered for trying to change the world for the better. He didn't just write about things that needed to be improved, he put his money where his mouth (or pen) was and made a difference.

That should give us something to think about during this season of Lent. Are we being intentional with our time, our talents, our resources? The sermon at church on Ash Wednesday challenged me to get past the distractions in life ---- is there any way to do this besides minimizing the distractions??? ---- and.... then what? What happens when the distractions are fewer? Will I become a better steward of my time, recognizing waste when it happens and turning it into something that will bear fruit? Will I be better able to focus during my devotion time, instead of thinking about my plans for the day? Will I be more patient with those around me, setting aside my agendas (even when the agenda is knitting!!) to remember that the most important things in life are not things, but people? Will I wax philosophical on my blog on a regular basis???

I guess I've got 40 days to find out.....

Meanwhile, JrBravesFanatic just walked by outside the window. I can't say for sure, but it looked like he had a large clump of Spanish moss on his (knitted cap on his) head. Naaahhh, couldn't be!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Bad Joke Friday

Q: Why does a chicken coop have two doors?

A: Because if it had four doors it would be a chicken sedan.


Did you hear the one about the dromedary whose fur was an amazingly close match in color to the desert sand? He was almost impossible to see.

Some called him 'the invisible dromedary', but in reality he wasn't invisible; he was just really well camel-flaged.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

NOT my New Year's Resolutions...

1) Get bumper stickers representing ALL the Presidential candidates and put them all on the car.
2) Buy a big box of curriculum and force my children to sit in school desks every day while they complete it.
3) Put the local traffic police on speed dial and report license numbers of drivers who cut me off in traffic.
4) Give away all my knitting needles and yarn.
5) Sit in the front window with the curtains open and a pair of binoculars. Every day.
6) Only watch movies made after 1990.
7) Convert my blog to all politics, all the time.

And since it's 2008, the 8th thing that is NOT my New Year's Resolution:
8) Throw out all the dishes and use nothing but paper, plastic and Styrofoam from now on!