Friday, March 26, 2010

Domesticity

I had a day of tea and sunshine, cooking and knitting.  I signed up for the Goddess Tea Club and got my first installment last week. It contained a lovely smelling herbal tea called Fir and a small baggie of a Summer tea and a really gorgeous teacup and saucer and today was finally the day to try it.
                                                      

Can you see the steam coming off the cup in the right hand picture?  The aroma was just amazing and the sun was shining on the table and I sat in the sun and drank this incredibly delicious tea and treated myself to a stupendous half hour of Peace and Quiet.  (The kids were upstairs playing legos.)  I drank the Fir and it did remind me of the forest with a slight mint taste and was very flavorful without being overpowering.  To be honest, the smell was so strong that I wasn't sure what it would taste like but it was just amazing.  I can't wait to let my husband try it.  And look at that beautiful Japanese china teacup.  I don't own anything so delicate and lovely so it was such a beautiful surprise to find it in the box too.  This is not a paid ad but if you like tea I recommend Goddess Teas and you can find her at http://goddessteas.com/.  Plus she's a knitter.  C'mon.

I'm continuing to chug away at the i-cord border of N's blanket and I love it.  I'm also starting to think about which project I want to take with me on vacation.  Oh so many choices but I think it might be one of those yummy yarns I put in a post a month or two ago.  Beginnings.  There's a quote from the movie Dune that I like about beginnings but the one from the book doesn't apply so much here.  That's what's great about beginning a knitting project.  There's not so much committment  in it because you can always rip out and start over or reuse.  Still, the time is gone but what a nice way to spend time.

And cooking.  I'm cooking pre-vacation and made some dinner rolls which came out a little funky probably due to the whole grain white flour I used and I made sauce in preparation for putting together the eggplant parmesan tomorrow.  I'm using my Mother-in-law's incredible recipe except that hers includes meat and I don't eat meat.  But I'm still including her secret ingredient which I was only given about 5 years ago (22 years into knowing this family) when she was ill and couldn't make the eggplant for the Family Reunion in the summer.  I can't reveal it here but I'll let you know next week if it works without meat or not.  And waffles.  Gobs and Gobs of waffles were made today. 

My Mom says I was born a generation or two late and she might be right because for me this was the perfect day.  Domesticity Rocks!





Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Babies, I-Cord and Basketball

Projects
It's not done yet but I'm very excited with N's (my 5 year old nephew's) blanket.
It's almost done.  If I had realized how much I could knit with 4 skeins of Lion Brand Homespun I would have made it wider but it got so long that I thought it would look strange if I kept going.  Too long and narrow.  As it stands now I think it's perfect for a 5-10 year old and this way I can make him another when he gets to be a big teenager.  Sorry for the rather crappy picture but the Syracuse game is on and I can't take time away to do anything nicer.  Jared Flood, where are you when I need you?  And how do you do that anyway?  I was thinking about that today.  It's the lighting.  I think an eye for that "just right" lighting is a real talent. 
But the best . . . I-Cord edging.  Why didn't I think of it sooner!  If I had I wouldn't have done the 5 stitch garter edge but it's still great even though it's going to take me as long to do the i-cord as it took me to knit the whole blanket.  That's okay.  Apparently I'm an idiot because I love doing idiot-cord.  It's rhythmic and looks so good that it's worth it to me.
No other projects going on right now but I've got one more week of work and then SPRING BREAK and SKIING for 6 days so I'm already pondering what project to bring and looking up yarn shops in Vermont.  I'm thinking sock yarns.  I've got several sweater amounts that I want to use already so unless I hit some killer sale it'll be sock yarns for me. 

Musings
And I've got a new niece!  My parents were here when we got the news and it made me wonder what it's like to see your family grow into generations.  She's beautiful, of course, and I can't wait to meet her.  New life is just amazing and reminds me to hug my children and count my blessings and wonder at the world we live in.  DD (7yo) is also amazed and keeps repeating, "We have a whole 'nother person in our family now!"

Now if Syracuse can win tonight . . .

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

And I'm Back!

Projects
It took a ski day to get my mojo back because as uninspired as I've been I could not, in a million years, think about riding in a car for an hour doing nothing with my hands.  So I pulled out my nephew's blanket in Homespun and after a few frustrating minutes trying to remember the pattern, because of course it wasn't in the bag, I got my mojo back and I got a good 15 inches done on it today.  Yeah! 

It's interesting that this came up now because just Friday while I was raking leaves I was listening to some podcasts that I was behind on.  I listened to Belle of the Ball episode 94, The Mood Ring of Knitting.  She talked about how she was stressed recently and hadn't been knitting because of it.  So I kept wondering if the same applied to me. There's been stress aplenty but actually I think I got burned out from deadline and production knitting.  The Ravelympics and knitting all those cozies did me in and I actually became more interested in cleaning the house than knitting!  Egads!  Of course the early spring weather contributed to that feeling but it's amazing how much I can get done when I put down the needles.  Which reminds me of a song, do you remember this one?



I can imagine Hoots the Owl singing, "You gotta put down the needles if you want to have a tidy house." 

Musings
Check out what I found in the "Letters" section of the 1993 Winter Issue of Knitter's that I was browsing through the other day. "In your Fall, '92 issue you printed a letter from someone regarding the Fibernet computer network.  I own a PC but do not have a modem so am not able to access this network (also the phone bill would be a bit much!). . ."  At the risk of sounding like an old fogey - man, remember that!  Remember modems and paying by the minute for being online?  And look how far we've come.  Not just Ravelry but all the myriad ways the crafting community uses the internet is amazing.  What about Flikr and all the knitting magazines and sites and buying yarn online and blogging!  Wow. 

It really came home to me how crazy incredible the net is as a tool for communication when I was putting together the quarterly newsletter for my son's middle school.  So the different teams in the school and PTO committees and whoever else is interested e-mail's submissions to me.  These submissions have photos in them, links to websites and text.  I basically just cut and paste and format everything nice nice and add bookmarks and all so it's easy to move around.  Then I convert it to a pdf file, post it to the website, send an e-mail to the community so people know it's there (just one e-mail and just one e-mail address to type in), and all that amazing information is passed onto the parents and students.  Amazing!  Yesterday there were great photos of the kids in school and their projects and links to teenage brain development (very interesting) and so much more. 

It's mind blowing if you stop and really think about it. Whether you're knitting or wondering what your child is doing at school you can find really targeted information while sitting in your pjs drinking tea.  So much has changed since 1993.  I wonder what the next 17 years will bring?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Now Where's that Mojo?

Projects
And we are done with the 72 cup cozies.  They came out brilliantly and the staff at the school just loved them. 
I wish I had a picture of all of them because it was kind of impressive but it just didn't work out that way.  But you get the idea. 

So we finished them on Tuesday and since then . . . nothin'!  Okay, Wednesday was St. Patrick's day (and the 27th anniversary of my first date with my husband I might add :) and by 8:30 I was ready for bed.  I only stayed up until 9:00 so I could finish watching Human Target with Mark Valley, my new favorite show.  (Well, after Caprica on the SciFi channel.)  It's a good guys/bad guys show in the old fashioned way.  There's no psychological profiling or creepy music or rape or children getting hurt or kidnapped; all the reasons I can't watch most of the other cop shows out there.  This one is more in the vein of Rockford files with a little technology and ninja and spy stuff going on.  It's all very clean and the good guy always wins although he has some dark past that's slowly being unveiled.  Plus I went to high school with Mark which is just cool.  It's on Fox at 8:00 Wednesdays in my lineup but if you get a chance and you like this kind of show I highly recommend it.  You can click http://tv.yahoo.com/show/44757 to watch old episodes.

But I digress from the projects.  I didn't pick up any needles on Wednesday and almost didn't today because I was so busy cleaning and what not.  I mean that refrigerator!  How does all that crap get in the bottom of the freezer!  It wasn't even food.  I think.  I hope.  But it's clean now and we have food again so I took a break with my daughter before her big learning fair night and tried to knit.  I took a whack at the Quickie Cowl (Rav Link) but although I like my yarn and I like the pattern they didn't like each other.  So I ripped it.  And I didn't even pick up anything else.  Truly, I'm baffled.

But there's sooooo much to do around the house with Spring apparently coming early.  I mean really, what's with 60 degree (F) weather in mid-March in upstate NY.  That's just wrong.  Where's our snow!  Tomorrow I have to go out and rake the winter crud out of the lawn.  I'm giving myself 8:30 to noon to do it then I swear I'm taking an hour to knit.  At least I'm hoping I'll want to knit by then . . .

I took a browse through my Ravelry page to look at WIPs and that was a bit inspiring.  There are things in there I'd like to work on.  Only time will tell.  I'm not in danger of completely losing my mojo.  I hope.


Musings
Tonight's musing is a "Favorite Thing" a la Jackie at the KIPing it Real podcast and Dr. Gemma of Cogknitive.  My favorite thing today, and a short rant, is homemade vegetable stock.  Homemade veggie stock rocks.  It tastes so good, has no sodium if you choose and costs about $.50 to make.  So why oh why do they charge $3.50 per hermetic container for veggie stock in the stores.  When you add together the reduced packaging, the healthier product and the incredibly cheaper cost it just makes no sense to buy stock in the store.  It took me about 5 minutes to get the old veggies out of the fridge this morning, fill the pan with water, peel an onion and throw it all in and I've got the equivalent of 7 of those hermetic containers made out of veggies that would have gotten tossed otherwise.  Now I know that to get the finest veggie stock you're supposed to use quality vegetables but my life doesn't usually work like that and what I got today is fantastic.  I'm making vegetarian hoppin' john in the crock pot next Monday and vegetable soup and rolls one day next week so I'm just as thrilled as can be.  Yummy goodness.  Those Dove Bliss white chocolates aren't bad either.  Just sayin'.

P.S. Hi Mom!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

Projects
I'm on my way to 72.  Cup cozies that is. 
The kids have done a bunch and some other parents have done a bunch but I'm way over this thing.  I'm behind on my Ravelry Christmas Monthly Make Ahead which are totally my own goals and all things I chose because I want to make them so I'm dying to get on it with it already.  I think if I power through this weekend working on these then I'll be done and I can move on.  I'm gonna be the Little Engine That Could all weekend.  Chug. Chug. Chug.

Musings
Somewhere I heard about guilty pleasures.  I think it was a podcast about books and a literature professor was confessing to enjoying a raunchy romance novel now and then.  But my guilty pleasure is the Wendy Williams show.  It's the greatest, silliest pop culture show ever.  Wendy Williams is a wild, self-possessed . . . NUT!  She's great and funny and totally camp in a not-coy way and does her pop thing with abandon.  So when the kids are gone on play dates late in the late afternoon I sneak in and watch it.  Me, the one who basically doesn't even want a TV and reads science fiction and "Literature," and knits and discusses politics and the meaning of life and how to make the world a better place.  Aw the heck with it . . . let's just watch some Wendy Williams!






But really, if life is getting too serious for you there's no better antidote than Wendy Williams.  Or the Muppets.  Or Monty Python's Flying Circus works too.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Now I Remember

Oh yeah, now I remember why I don't read anymore.  I realized today when my daughter needed something and I had to put my book down again.  It's much easier to put your knitting down that it is to keep stopping a book.  That's why I started knitting so much when the kids were young and stopped reading so much.  I'm just really really bad at putting a book down but I can set my knitting down mid-row.  I have no will power when it comes to a good book.  Maybe that's what an alcoholic feels like if they have a drink - they can't have just one.  If I'm reading a book I can't just read one chapter.  It's all or nothing for me and I can't stop reading until I'm done.  Considering that the kids still like to eat several times a day I suppose I'd better wait a while now before I dive into another good book.  And I didn't get much knitting done this weekend either.

I did, however, finish Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer and it was amazing.  It reads like an action adventure story and you can't believe it's non-fiction.  The characters are bigger than life and it certainly strips away the romantic mystique of Everest.  I love hiking.  We went backpacking above tree line in British Columbia for our honeymoon and it was magical.  Sleeping in a tent on New Year's Eve was one of the most memorable nights of my life if largely for the sound of the silence.  And I have daydreamed about big mountains.  My sister-in-law has actually done some real mountain climbing and rock climbing and I toyed with asking her to take me some time but a little tiny crevasse at the top of some bouldering in the "Gunks" of New York State took care of any rock climbing aspirations I might have had.  I was scared up there although I did manage it and in fact went back and did it a second time. 

For now it's back to knitting.  I've got 52 more coffee cozies to go unless the kids really come through and if I get them done fast enough I'd like to add some embroidering and beads and embellishments to some of the more plain ones.  But tonight I think I'll go browse Ravelry.   :)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

What the Ravelympics Did for Me

The Ravelympics got me reading again!  Huh?  Yup.  I got my first project done and was thrilled.  Today I'll get that little sweater for the baby into the mail.  I must!  Then I got a lot done on the front of my Alpaca V-neck but I can tell you exactly where I broke down.  My folks and my Uncle and his girlfriend were over visiting and I was knitting away as we talked.  When I got to the armhole bindoffs and had to pay attention so I set it down so as not to be rude.  That was the last I've seen of that project.  It sat on the floor in the living room for a couple days right where I had been sitting.  Then I put it in it's bag and it hasn't come back since.  I started reading some Jasper Fforde books instead as recommended by Dr. Gemma of the Cogknitive podcast and my mother-in-law.  Those books are fabulous!  Mystery, action, fantasy with  more literary references than I managed to catch, I'm sure.  There's a character in them called Mr. Runcible Spoon.  Seriously?  I love Edward Lear - that's pure magic.  They're funny and intriguing and smart all at once and I highly recommend them. The first book is called the Eyre Affair and the second was Lost in a Good Book.  Now I'm keen to get to the library and find some more although my son had a copy of Into Thin Air and I've started that.

Since I became this rabid knitter I really stopped reading so much and that sort of bummed me out.  But now I'm reading a lot and not knitting much and that's bumming me out.  Sometimes I can do both at once but right now I don't have the concentration ability for that.  Where do I find that elusive balance?  Do I set a timer?  30 minutes of reading then 30 minutes of knitting?  That seems a bit goofy.

And . . . out of the frying pan and into the fire.  If the Ravelympics were too much pressure for me you'd figure I wouldn't give myself anymore deadline knitting.  Right?  Wrong!  I heard "they" were looking for a little extra favor for the staff at my daughter's elementary school (which I love love) and in my infinite wisdom I offered to knit cup cozies.  72 cup cozies!  Am I out of my mind.  It's not as bad as it seems.  I teach knitting to a group of kids from the school and a few of the parents so I recruited them.  The kids were quite keen to help and I hope each of them can do 1 or 2 but it's totally bonus if they do so I'm preparing to make bunches and bunches of them.  We're just doing a 6 1/2 inch strip of garter which I'm then seeming up.  They look cute!
One of the kids made the one on the right.  I think it will make some teacher very happy.  I'm going to put a Starbuck's Via packet in each cup, a tea bag and a hot chocolate packet.  Starbuck's is giving me a nice discount on the Via packets (that's their new instant coffee) and they're donating the cups which is great.  I'm going to use Paul Newman's RoyalTea tea bags too. 

So yes, I'm reading but still knitting too.  If you like books with strong women, mystery, fantasy, humour and literary references definitely check out Jasper Fforde's books. You won't be sorry.