Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Are we related?

...I just can't tell.
Me My son
(Left: Me around age 2 / Right: The Bud last week at the park)

Today was the second meeting of the summer for the "Sippers" group (the name is still open for discussion). I was the host, and the Bud was the Ham. :)
I always look forward to our meetings - the time seems to fly once we get sipping and talking.
It was decided that we should take pictures at our meetings. Both times this summer we have forgotten until the end and have taken a "timer" group shot, so they look a little alike. :)
Sippers Meeting #2
We should have plenty of photos to flood JT's back to school slideshow!

Sippers: click here for a copy of the photo.
Em: I still have your bowl!

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Friday, June 22, 2007

I'm Fakin' Knit

When I taught myself to knit earlier this year, I struggled with the fact that I am left-handed. Somehow I ended up learning to knit a mirror image (left-handed) of combined knitting.
This is fine. You can't tell with the finished product, but when I am reading patterns now, I need a translator.
There are other combined knitters out there, but I think of it like playing the viola. It is rarer to be a viola player who started out playing viola (like me). More likely a viola player started on violin and switched to viola. When I have to read treble clef, the VSI players (viola as a second instrument) think more naturally about it than I do - it was a first language for them. The other combined knitters out there (who have posted helpful information on the web) have switched to combined after having knitted another way. They understand the patterns from both points of view.
I am ready to learn a bit more and move on to something a little more challenging. However when I read patterns I seem to understand them in theory, but when I do what they say, it doesn't look like it should. I can't just trust the pattern and forge ahead. I have to figure out what the result is supposed to be and try to figure out how to create that result in my own lefty-combined world. (leave it to me to make things as complicated as possible).
This is what happened with Grumerina's Jaywalker sock pattern. The pattern seems so straightforward and simple. But no matter how I tried I could not make the double decreases have the nice ridge. Mine looked like a big ol' slanty thing.

After spending 2 hours trying to make by double decrease look like the pattern intended, I decided on my own variation.
Fakewalkers (or variation on a theme by Grumperina)
I dyed this yarn a while back with KoolAid. I was planning for something a little red for the June/July Project Spectrum colors. I thought that the contrasting colors would look great with a zig-zag pattern (hence the Jaywalker pattern).

Fakewalkers (or variation on a theme by Grumperina)
Here is my change:
Instead of round 2 of the zig-zag pattern I did -
K1, M1, K6, SL1-K1-pass the Sl St over, K1, K1-slip it back-pass the next unknit stitch over it -slip back on working needle (this makes it mirror the stitch on the other side of center), K6, M1,K1
I may not be explaining this in a very knitterly way, but then again I am fakin' knit.
And hey... it's working for me.
We will see how it continues...

Any lefty-combined advice is welcome. :)

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Computer Vortex

Last night I was pulled into some type of computer vortex. I received and invitation to Ravelry - an online community for knitters and crocheters. Suddenly it was very late and usually the Bud is quite an early riser - I was a little worried.
Fortunately he went to bed later than usual as well and slept in until 8:15! Whoa! (when you are expecting 6am - 8:15 is a dream)

Our days around here have been pretty laid back since summer started.
We've filled the days with biking on the Greenway, walking to the library and some crafty stuff during nap times.

20 Months
It's hard to believe Radley was 20 Months last week!
And yesterday he read his first book. The book Hug by Jez Alborough only has three words repeated through the book: hug, Bobo, and Mommy.
Yesterday (in his little reading corner) he picked up the book and was "reading" it. He was jabbering as if telling the story inserting the word "Bobo" every so often. When Auntie Sara came over later, I asked him to read the story about Bobo wanting a hug to her. He went and got the right book and then jabbered the story saying "hug" and "Bobo". *sigh* They grow up so fast.
The Bud's Reading Corner

Last weekend at Mom and Dad's I brought home a few items from my childhood: a small rocking chair and a doll cradle originally from my great-aunt Betty.
Radley has been having a great time rocking, and putting his babies in the cradle. I made a quick quilt to cover the mattress. I love to make projects where I don't have to buy a thing. I made this with small pieces I had on hand and backed it with part of a flat sheet I stained with tea last year.
cradle and rocker

I also finally fixed the big hole in our couch in the den. I love our couch. Not only is it comfortable and well made, but it was also free from a friend who was getting a new couch. Someday I would love to have it recovered (or at least get a slip cover), but for now in the den, it can match our eclectic "junk style".
Couch Rip Repaired
I put patches on the rips (hmmm, the patches match the doll quilt). and turned a ripped pair of jeans into arm rest covers. Davin thinks we should just keep patching it all over. If we do that, I think I will need a real upholstery needle and maybe a thimble - it hurt my finger a bit sewing on those patches.

I've also been plugging away at the camouflage socks. I have finally turned the heel on both of them. I am trying to not let myself start anything new until I have finished them, but we will see.
Lorna's Laces - Envy Socks
I have been disappointed in the flaws I have encountered in my Lorna's Laces yarn. I have heard so many great things about it, that when I had a gift certificate for my birthday, I wanted to try it. I have had to hide a few yarn defects as I knit. I'm not sure why I didn't get more excited about making these after I started. I think as I get to the flat part of the foot I will like the colorway better. Although I have a bit of pooling at the ankle - I think it will go away after the decreases into the foot. Perhaps a different pattern would have been better, but I am still learning. I think for my next pair I may be ready to up the ante a bit and try a more complicated pattern... perhaps Naga, Diamante or Jaywalker.

I may take a break from socks and try something completely different... maybe the infamous BSJ.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

What's in a Name?

Summer Sippers
Last night was the first "Summer Sippers" Event of 2007. We are a group of colleagues who enjoy spending time with each other outside of work. Originally we started meeting after work...particularly Fridays after work. At that point we called ourselves the "Beverage Commission" or "Beverage Committee". It worked well to be able to ask if there was a committee meeting after school and not worry about who might be listening in. Then we started to meet during the summer, and it was decided we needed a summer name - so "Summer Sippers" was born. So we have had a school year name and a summer name for awhile now. Although one "affiliate" still chooses to call us "Teachers Gone Wild"- Ahem.
Now it seems we are up for name discussion yet again... is there a name we could have that would not depend on the season? A name that could, say, I don't know, be put on shirts for our August-Campout-Slumber-Party? (Wow - we are cheesy!)

I tried to put the first letter of each of our names in an anagram maker. The best choices were "Blanker" and "Barn Elk". *Sigh*

I got some great anagrams for Summer Sippers:
Supreme Prisms
Primmer Pusses
Impresses Rump
Prime Sperm Us

Em: I think this needs to be on the agenda at the next meeting! ;)

Sippers: Click here for a copy of the photo.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

School's Out For Summer

Friday was the last day of school. It doesn't really feel like summer vacation is here to me yet. Perhaps when I don't have to wake up for work tomorrow it will start to sink in. :)

Apricot Jalapeño Jelly
I have been asked for the recipe a few times since I made the jelly last weekend, so I thought I would post it here. Nancy originally found it online, but she made a few changes to make it her own.

Nancy's Apricot Jalapeño Jelly
½ to 1 c. jalapeño peppers, stems and seeds removed (I only used 1/2 c. with my last batch, but I would use more next time)
1 large red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed (you could use ½ red + ½ orange bell pepper)
2 c. cider vinegar
1 ½ c. dried apricots, finely chopped (about ½ pound or so)
6 c . sugar
3 oz. liquid pectin
4 drops red food color (or whatever to get color you like)
Chop peppers fine and combine with chopped apricots and sugar in a large saucepan or stock pot. Bring to a boil and boil rapidly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Mix in pectin and food coloring. Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal. Then process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes to ensure proper seal.

Sunday's Walk
Today was gorgeous, and we went walking with Grandma Sharlene and Great-Grandma Alphie down on the Stone Arch Bridge. It was perfect weather for wandering around outside, and it has been awhile since we have been walking in that area. Not only is it beautiful, but it is filled with so much history.
Sunday's Walk
Davin says I stink because today was absolutely beautiful, and the rest of my first week of summer vacation is supposed to be exactly the same way!
To that I say "nana-nana-boo-boo"!

I know that I need to have a summer plan for myself - at this point the summer always feels endless, but it gets to August pretty quickly and then I feel myself starting to cram things in. My first goal was to finish a few things I have already started. I checked off one today by finishing the cashmere cowl I was working on. I like its simplicity, and the cashmere is so snuggly.
Cashmere Cowl
I have books to read, project ideas, many things I have been meaning to "get to" for a long time all in my summer plan, but I won't reveal them now. That way if I don't get to them, no one will be the wiser - after all, it is summer and there will be much relaxing and hanging out with the budlet.

I am very excited about my latest discovery: I did a little research on ants and peonies. I have so many great peonies now, but I didn't want to bring them inside because of the ants. However I read recently that if you submerge the blooms in water for about five minutes you drive the ants out without hurting the blooms. I tried it tonight, and I think it worked.
Sans Ants

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Bud is fine, (fine, fine)

The Bud is fine,
The doggone Bud is fine

(sung to the tune of The Girl is Mine).

He has been mostly back to normal this week - a little whinier here and there, but overall he has been his happy-go-lucky self.

I left a folded duvet out on the floor of the den the other day, and it has become the Bud's new favorite toy. He will do a forward "Nestea Plunge" and roll all over. He also likes to hide under a layer and surprise us. I can't bring myself to put it away yet.
Words are spilling out all over the place these days too: pizza, buckle, book, bunny, bagel... we are now into the stage of having to watch what we say and spelling out words instead of saying them. Ah, parenthood.

Yesterday we went for a bike ride - during the gorgeous, morning half of the day, not the crazy, thunderstorm half. We have recumbent bikes, and there are many recumbent bikers in our area these days. I don't know about other cities, but around here there is an unwritten rule: if you pass another "bent" rider, you must acknowledge them with a little wave, and possibly also a smile-nod. It's like being in a special club, and with that gesture you are saying, "I totally understand your choice to ride a "bent" and not a "wedgie".

Last night - during the crazy, thunderstorm half of the day - I made a batch of Apricot Jalapeño Jelly. A friend gave me some for Christmas, and I finally asked her for the recipe. It is tangy, spicy and sweet all at the same time.
Apricot Jalapeño Jelly
The new project Spectrum colors are Black, Red and Metallics - this fits with red, right? Well the lids are gold anyhow.

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