Saturday, February 27, 2021

Signs of Spring and HELP ME!

 Not daffodils, not cute little birds, not baby bunnies--it is a bunch of wound up yarn for Spring knitting!

I don't have a lot of big plans on what to knit, but I did want to wind up some bright and happy yarns for spring knitting. All suggestions welcome!



These two pinks are from Blue Moon Fiber arts and I think will become the Hundred Acre woods shawl.
One skein of colorful rainbow yarn--ideas welcome!


This was a kit for the Hug Shot Cowl but now I think I want to do something else with it. What should I do?


One big beautiful skein of woolmeise in yellow, olive and black. Ideas welcome!


Some crazy colored Hawthorne yarn from Knit Picks. Ideas Welcome!

Friday, February 26, 2021

Two more houses and some cards!

 I finished the last two Kaffe houses last night---and now I need to sew them into squares (I'll have enough for two 2x2 squares), knit the backing, sew the front onto the back, knit a flap, and then felt. WOOH! That's a lot but I think they'll work out fine.

I also have spent some time working on some Artist Trading Cards for the trade group on Rav.  This month's theme is crocuses. These cards are multi media, and include inking the background on cardstock, doing a gel print for the crocus and leaves and cutting those out 'fussy', and some embossing with sparkly stuff. I like these a lot.

I also made my own envelopes for the cards this go round.

And thus is my craftiness for today.













Thursday, February 25, 2021

Hello FO!

 

This is the 'secret handshake' cowl by Casapinka--sort of. I just kind of picked and chose the sections that I wanted to knit, and I only used on color of yarn (Zauberball crazy). It went pretty quickly and I think it looks good (if a bit on the 'fall' ish side but that's ok).

The weather has been quite wintery with lots of storms and rain but yesterday was a bright day with minimal wind. We took a little break at lunch and did a walk on the beach.

Tim has created some clay 'rocks' so he hid some of those.

There was a lot of debris but nothing more interesting than this bottle covered in mussels. 

The beach never disappoints!

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

TNT

 I've finished the outlines, and started some pops of color. I like it better!




Monday was a bit of a miserable day in several ways. It was very, very wet--over an inch of rain, and it was that sideways blowing rain.  Miserable student issues--it was the first day of registration for spring term, and all kind of glitches manifested themselves. 

And then a bunch of rejected applicants to the Master's program I run decided not to accept the rejection and were demanding an accounting of why they didn't get it. When I told them, they told me that I was wrong in rejecting them. It was exhausting. 

But on the bright side: this is the last time I'll have to deal with the start of registration! And spring is coming! We've only got one more month or so of winter! So it's all good!


Monday, February 22, 2021

Two more houses

 One looks wonky but it isn't. 




The second one is the wonky one. It just needs some straightening out.

Several people have asked how fiddly these are. Well, they're ok. They're made with bulky yarn (I'm using Kureyon Air) and there are only 25 stitches and 28 rows in each house, with four color changes. However, you only use two colors at a time so it isn't that bad.  I still don't like intarsia and I'm going to have loosen up some floats before I felt, but that's ok. 

I think I now have six and I'd like eight for pillows. I also need to knit backing and a flap---so that will be 50 stitches and 56 rows which isn't really that much. I'm going to sew it all together before I felt it. 

So depending on how they felt, I think this is a good project. I think the reason I can be kind of sanguine about them is because they will be felted, and any booboos should be less noticeable. Alternatively, the felting will be a shit show, and that's kind of ok too because this has been a pretty fast little project. 

We had a quiet weekend, once we got back to Pacific City on Saturday. Our friend KC came by Saturday to say goodbye--she's headed back to her 'winter' home in San Diego (long story) but she and her partner Tink will be back here in June (with their adorable dogs). Sunday we hung out after walking the dogs, watching the rain storm and working on craft projects. All in all a great day.


Saturday, February 20, 2021

Work and work and work and alpacas

 We've been in Eugene for a few days--Tim had a dentist appointment and we did another round of cleaning out the house. This weekend's goal was to empty our closets and (much) of our dressers and take it all to either the dump or St. Vinny's---we ended up with nine 28 gallon bags of clothes and bags for St. Vinny's and really only a bag and a half for the dump. We also dumped a very very old mattress and box spring set, and Tim took out a bunch of closet organizer shelves so we can organize the closet in our bedroom on the house.

But there was also a trip to visit these sillies.



I get very used to seeing Mana's butt. Notice she is only on three legs here. She did a crazy pronk dance so I got to see that!


Sisters---Georgia on the left, Manna in the middle.
Georgia and Mana.


Georgia smiles for the camera.
Mana's fleece is gorgeous.

The boys. Atom is the second from the left.
Chaco and Calypso.
 Calypso.


"This is my good side."


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

What I've been reading

 I've been tracking my reading in a sidebar and I can see it is going to get--unwieldy--in a bit. So I thought I'd summarize my January reading for you and then I'll get rid of that. 

Talked about Books
-Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam: I LOVED this book. What happens when the world might be ending? So well written with great characters.  It sticks with you long after you finish.


-
Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour: a young black man gets an opportunity to join a financial firm in a sales position. Such a great story of what it is like to be a black man in a white man's world, and what goes right and wrong.

Psychological Mysteries

-An Act of Love by Nancy Thayer: you may know Nancy Thayer because she does romances but this is an earlier work that is not. It's the story of a family of stepsiblings and whether one step sibling was responsible for a horrific act on another. It kept me reading but it is kind of a disturbing story.

-The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins: this is a modern retelling of Jane Eyre. I don't think we need modern retellings of Jane Eyre.
-The Girls Weekend by Jody Gehrman: a group of college friends meet at the San Juan Island house of the 'successful' one and mysteries ensue. I liked this one and it is a page turner.

Nantucket based Chick Lit
-Surfside Sisters by Nancy Thayer: this is more of the Nancy Thayer that you might be familiar with. A good story about two friends and how they grew apart, I really liked it.
-Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand: I honestly think Nancy Thayer can't hold a candle to Elin Hilderbrand in the Nantucket Chick Lit competition. Winter Stroll is the second of the series maybe, and it is a light holiday read. 

Cozies
-The Long Stitch Goodnight by Amanda Lee
-Thread Reckoning by Amanda Lee
-Stitch me Deadly by Amanda Lee

These cozies are based at a small embroidery store in a small town on the Oregon coast and I wish I lived near that little town because the shopping there looks amazing! These are mindless cozies that follow a very specific format which is good if you are having a lot of insomniac nights. 

Uncategorized

-Three Stages of Amazement by Carol Edgarian: this is a sad book about how a family copes with loss on a micro level and deception on a macro level. I liked it.

-The Divines by Ellie Eaton: rich girls in a rich girls boarding school in England. A bit of a 'fish out of water' story that was kind of compelling---I did rush through the end because it went on too long.


-Confessions of a Curious Bookseller by Elizabeth Green: I'm kind of a sucker for books that are written via text and email, and this is about an unlikable bookstore owner and her 'issues' with her tenants, employees, and competitors. The email/text stuff is fun but this is another book that went on too long, especially with such an unlikable narrator. 

-Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls: I always get excited about David Nicholls books and then I get kind of bored. This is about what happens with a non-theater person gets involved with a summer theater troupe. As you might imagine, chaos (kind of) ensues.


So that's January! I'm a lot slower in February 

Houses and Mandalas

 I finished two more Kaffe houses, making for a total of three, and I have a fourth on the needles.  I think I can make a pillow out of four, plus a backing. 

These will be felted.

I've also been playing around with Mandalas, using stencils, acrylic paints, and some interesting little tools  called dotting tools. The metal ball at the end of the tool makes for tiny dots. I think you could do it with a paintbrush? But gotta have the tools (these are really cheap so I didn't feel bad about getting them).

I want to do some mandala painting on rocks to hide on the beach, and you may think these rocks are simple but they are NOT! It's challenging to do all those little dots. 

I'll be back later today with a reading summary!








Tuesday, February 16, 2021

TNT!

 Today's TNT presents the finished "Stargazing" which is charming and simple and was done in time for Valentine's day.


I didn't mention yesterday that we watched "The Dig" on Netflix Saturday night and enjoyed it very much. It's the story of the excavation at Sutton Hoo and it was quiet and charming, with great actors. Tim asked if I ever saw the burial ship at the British Museum, and I said I had been to the British Museum when I was 20 and probably saw it but probably also had no idea of its significance. 

Ah youth. 



Monday, February 15, 2021

It's a double holiday whammy!

 Not really.

Sunday was Valentine's day (which is weird, as most holidays are, during a pandemic) and today is President's Day (which technically I don't have 'off' but I'm pretty much caught up on everything, plus Tim has off*). The weather has been very wet,  with snow and ice west of us--we have plans to go back to Eugene this week but the roads between here and there are both closed due to ice and downed power lines, and while there are alternative routes they would add probably an hour to the trip).

We did mark Valentine's day with cards, a lovely dinner, and my first attempt at a cake in many many years.  Don't be impressed: it was a Duncan Hines box Devil's food cake. It had cherry filling (again, don't be impressed, it was from a can) and I made a chocolate ganache glaze (you can be a wee bit impressed, but this was pretty easy).





I finished a pair of socks for Tim which bore me. 

How was your weekend?

* Usually on 'holidays' I do research work, but all that is done because of retirement (yay). And Tim's 'old' job only had a few official holidays, the rest were 'floating' that often he just didn't take and then added to his vacation time. So holidays other than Christmas and Thanksgiving are kind of a 'new' thing for us!).

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Little bits and pieces

 The insomnia continued for a few more nights, but last night I slept pretty well eve though we had a bit of a storm. It was possible we would get snow (yay!) and ice (boo) but it turned out just to be a lot of rain--an inch yesterday and another inch and a quarter by 4am today. It seems to have stopped out--and it's warm---so I guess our snow is no longer an issue. But I was hopeful!

Comet was ready, with her new jacket and her laser beam eyes.

The insomnia limited my knitting--I just couldn't do it, it seemed, when I was awake--but I do have a few things to show you.

The 'Secret Handshake' cowl is coming along--it's a bit hard to see the pattern because I'm not changing colors, and the pattern is just a mere suggestion to me. I really like this yarn (Zauberball Crazy) and so I'm just knitting along til I'm done.

I'm creating my own hat pattern for a slouchy hat using Lambs Pride yarn. It will have a Saxon Cable wide brim, and then I'll pick up stitches for the slouchy part. The saxon cable and this yarn unfortunately don't photograph well, but here is what we have so far:


We finished watching "The Pack" last night and it's cute---it's "The Amazing Race" with dogs. I was happy with the winner. We also have started watching "Father Brown" which is a very, very cozy mystery.

I've done a bit of work on getting one of my 'retirement' projects going: and that is writing cozy mysteries! I've been reading A LOT of them (if you look at my reading record you'll see, and I'll recap those sometime this month) and I think I have a good (and marketable) idea. Two top areas for cozies are 'craft' cozies and 'animal' cozies. So my idea is to have cozies set on an alpaca farm. There may be some on sheep farms? I'm not sure. There are a lot of craft cozies and I think I can blend the two to have some fun stories. I have my central characters starting to get fleshed out, and I have a list of possible storylines, so I'm feeling hopeful. 

Given my cozy excitement, and my horrible winter term class, retirement can't get here soon enough. I only have four weeks til the end of this term (and then, one more term, ten more weeks!) and I can't wait til the end.

I'm not sure what's up for the weekend--we planned on hunkering down in the storm but we may have dodged that storm bullet--I can see some blue sky outside but tere's a lot of wind. We'll see! Have a good weekend!


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

So Much Insomnia

 Ugh--I was up at 2:30 and didn't really get back to sleep all night. I probably dozed a bit between 5:30 and 6:30 am but I'm kind of a wasted blob today (I did row and did a bit of yoga, and we had a good walk, so I'm not a total blob). 

But there is a sock in progress:

And lots of other things that I'll show later. 

I'm running out of steam writing this post!

We are due for some winter weather starting tomorrow--temperatures below freezing (which is rare for here) and precipitation which will be goodness knows what.  It should be interesting!



Tuesday, February 09, 2021

TNT

 I think some of you know that I belong to the Cozy Blue Stitch Club. We have an amazing clubhouse with an open bar and a chocolate fountain and unlimited puppies and everything you would want in a club! 

Kidding.

What is great about the club is that you get a kit each month for $13 (most of these are also available to purchase individually)--the printed fabric and the floss. I would say in any given year I love nine out of 12 of the kits and even the ones I don't love I end up eventually stitching (or will). 

Well, this month's is called Stargazing and I immediately popped it in the hoop and started stitching. Cozy Blue does a lot with stars and moons and constellations, which I love, and this one gives me a little 'Up' vibe that we all need now don't we?



This one is about 75% done and I"m sure I'll finish it by next week.Maybe by Valentine's day!

Monday, February 08, 2021

Ah, the Super Bowl ads

 Kym asked what I thought about the ads on last night's SuperBowl. I was expecting the usual group of high energy, celebrity focused ads and hoping for some messages talking about how brands have engaged with the serious social issues of the past year: climate change, political divisiveness, social and racial justice, and the pandemic.  We saw plenty of the first group, several with some missteps, and a few of the last group, which were disappointing on a few levels.

Let's start with the disappointing ads attempting to make social commentary.  The Jeep ad talking about bringing the country together? How exactly does Jeep want us to do that, and how are the facilitating those efforts? No mention of that, which isn't surprising for a :30 ad, but Jeep gave us two minutes of Bruce Springsteen reading what could be some really bad Bruce Springsteen lyrics but were more likely overstressed copywriter lyrics.  

Toyota encouraged us to hold on to hope by using what some scholars called 'inspiration porn'--using the achievements of a disabled person to show us that if "this person" can hold on to hope then we can too. This type of message is a huge concern among the disabled community and this is not the first time Toyota has used this tactic. Toyota has admittedly done a lot for the disabled community, innovating a lot of great products, but tends to miss the mark with their messages. 

The one ad that seemed to 'work' in this vein was Chipotle's  "Can a Burrito Save the World" because it supports the  environmental values that Chipotle stands for. And it was done in an energetic and engaging way.

I loved the energy of the M and Ms ad and the GM ad (although really, 35 EV models in four years without telling us why?). It was fun to see Tracy Morgan in the Rocket Mortgage ads, Jason Alexander in the Tide ad, and John Travolta in the Scotts ad, but did they really need to be there? Michael B. Jordan in the Alexa ad was kind of weird, as was the 'Flat Matthew' ad. An ad that meant to be lighthearted (I think)--the one for Cheetos--made me uncomfortable as it showed a woman who was hiding to eat junk food and lying about it. 

It is fun to see celebrities after a year of really not seeing a lot of celebrities, I guess, but all the frenetic activity in non-masked environments just seemed so off to me.

Two food delivery services--Door Dash and Uber Eats--featured the importance of eating and buying local. Door Dash used Daveed Diggs and Sesame Street characters  and Uber Eats used Wayne and Garth (and Cardi b) from Wayne's World.  While I'm all for buying local, these messages seem sort of odd given that if we are going to get food delivered, it *has* to be local to some degree (meaning, the physical location of the restaurant is local even if the food it cooks got delivered from a distant central food distribution place).  Door Dash talked about buying all kinds of stuff locally (and not from Amazon, I guess) and said they would donate $1 per order to Sesame Street. However, they are getting called on the carpet because of the huge fees they charge restaurants for using their service--up to 25% of the total value of the order. YIKES!  Door Dash and Uber Eats are both the focus of a class action lawsuit that charges that restaurants have to increase their 'dine in' costs to fund the huge costs of deliveries. 

And I really wondered why the Door Dash ad had no one in masks.

So yeah--bright sparkly Super Bowl ads tend to obscure the lack of any meaningful social action on the part of companies. The tone of most ads seem to try to recognize that this year is 'different' yet many of the ads just seemed out of place for where we are in our society today. Especially the Jeep ad. 

So there you go. Thanks for letting me overthink everything I saw on tv!

Sunday, February 07, 2021

Happy Knittiversary to Me!

 Today--that is, Super Bowl Sunday--is my Knittiversary. 

I first learned to knit as a teen from my mom, but it didn't take.

I tried again in my 30s, but a little gauge issue kept me from keeping it up.

SuperBowl 2003---I wasn't interested in any of the teams playing, so I got a Lion Brand Learn to Knit Kit and picked it up again. This time it stuck!

I cast on for the "Secret Handshake" cowl by Casapinka but instead of using four different yarns I'm doing it with one skein of Zauberball Crazy.  So far it is working!


It's busy here--I gave a guest lecture in a friend's class at the U of Washington yesterday (an online master's class that meets every other weekend). It was fun but it was a chunk of time in the middle of a Saturday so that kept me from doing some other things. 

I painted some rocks to hide this week (although--I'll have to figure out when. The forecast is for snow on the coast starting on Thursday, which is really rare. I'm kind of excited though!).

We watched "The Hummingbird Project" last night. It was right up Tim's alley--it had to do with computers and Wall Street (his former occupation) and mining (one of his majors) and had good acting. It is a little hard to follow if you don't understand about trading stocks, but still good.

Jessie Cat is once again worrying me. Around Christmas she just stopped eating, and we changed up her food so that she started eating again and gained back a lot of the weight she had lost. Now she's slowed down again--so I guess I try switching up the food again. She's 17 or 18 so this probably isn't that odd behavior---but I'd be happier if she was eating a lot. But as Tim said, it is what it is, and her last bloodwork was fine, and she's on thyroid meds, so we just do our best. 

We will be 'watching' the Super Bowl--I watch the ads for work (I teach advertising and brand responsibility) and I'll be casting on for a new hat and finishing up a new TNT surprise. Tim is working on a project for the living room. He also is making a feast: sous vide spare ribs, beans, salad and fresh bread. And I'm making chocolate chip cookies right now so we'll have enough food for a week!

Happy Super Bowl Sunday and enjoy the week--stay warm those of you in the line of the most recent snowstorm!









Thursday, February 04, 2021

A Little Kaffe House

 Let's start off with this: I am not a fan of intarsia. I suck at intarsia. I will do anything to avoid intarsia.




So yeah.

Kaffe Fasset did a pattern for Modern Daily Knitting's Field Guide 16, and I kind of love it. As I was pondering what to do next, I started thinking--it would be fun to knit a felted pillow of four (maybe?) houses. 

Then I started thinking--well what yarn? We have these cool rugs now and it would be nice to 'match' the rugs but not be too matchy matchy.

And then I remembered that I had some leftover Noro Kureyon Air which was used for this and this and I thought a. the colors were great and would match the tones of the rugs and b. it's thick so it will make a big piece and c. it will probably felt great. 

So there's the first one. It's not the best intarsia but I can work on that. And I'll measure this and then felt it so I can figure out the best size to do. 

And I ordered more Kureyon Air--I need about 20 grams worth of two colors and 10 grams worth of another two per square, and I can wind off what I want from the Kureyon.

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Sometimes you just have to say--

 "I'm done with Pressed Flowers."



I had a bunch more rows to do and you know what? I said "I don't want to knit on this anymore." So I had two choices: put it away or do the incredibly tedious sewn bind off and call it done. You can see what I did.

It's blocking and I'll show you all of it in its glory when it is done.





Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Gloomy TNT

 We're in a bit of a wet and cloudy phase of winter.  I know a lot of you had snow--yay!--and we just have wet and drab. Even my TNT is drab.

So to brighten things up--let's look at some washi tape!



I love washi tape. It is cheerful and it makes me happy. And organizing it satisfies my need for control.   

What little thing do you love?