Monday, July 30, 2007

Knitting and Life

Knitting Content:
I began a Rowan Kid Silk Haze shawl night before last while we were watching “The Number 23” and “Premonition (both were not worth the price of the rental). I am totally enthralled with this yarn though! It’s like knitting with cobwebs and the shawl is as light as air. I keep making Mr. Bee fondle it. He’s beginning to get a wee bit annoyed and downright concerned about my sanity, but I don’t care. This stuff rocks! It’s like Fairy Princess knitting!


The shawl pattern is from the “One Skein Wonders” book. I got a copy from the library and then thought I’d photocopy a couple of the patterns I liked. Once I marked all of the patterns I wanted to copy with little Post-It note thingies, it fairly bristled with the little red markers. A book with that many good patterns is a keeper so I went to B&N and got my own copy. After all I am the queen of seeing a skein of yarn that I like an having to cart it home with no idea what I’m going to do with it! This is the perfect book for those special skeins and orphans I have in my stash.

Anyway, when you finish knitting the shawl, you are supposed to string beads along the edge with nylon thread. I will have to look into that little detail more before I commit to it as I’m afraid beads would be too heavy and drag the piece down and make it hang funny. The whole shawl will only weigh 25g! The Kid Silk is a lilac-y color (or course) and would like pretty with some dark purple beads, and God knows I’m all about the bling, but I’ll have to see once I’m done.

I bought some new swag at Knit Night….yes…again. I am cutting myself off until October now; a self-imposed yarn diet. I have more than I can knit up before I’m 60 now! But it’s so irresistible! They are getting all of their new winter yarn in. I got a skein of Tofutsi’s sock yarn, two skeins of Fiber Artist Sock Yarn and a skein of lace weight that is to die for!


Knit Night was fabulous. The crabby lady wasn’t there or if she was I didn’t see her. Everyone was in good spirits. One lady even played a ukulele and sang a couple of songs. I didn’t last long since I haven’t been sleeping well lately. Mr. Bee and Ben came to pick me up around 9:30. Ben got to meet Heather, Sow’s Ear Chick Extraordinaire! And she gave him a treat which made her A-OK in his book! Now he stares intently at the building whenever we drive by. I swear he would scream “HEEEAAAATTTHHHEEEERRRR” (a la “STELLLLAAAAHHHHH”) out the car window if he could.

Oh, and I forgot about this. I ordered some Cherry Hill Ribbon yarn from the Discontinued Yarn Girls to make scarf/shawls to go over wool coats in the winter.



Life Content:
We saw a coyote and a pheasant on the way home to lunch today. Not together thank goodness. The coyote ran right in front of the car on the road between two cornfields! It always amazes me to see nature and the ‘burbs smoosh right up to each other so closely. [One time I saw a turtle laying eggs right by the side of a busy city park path during a 5K race!] The pheasant was down the road a piece from Wyle E. so he’ll probably live another day. We’ve also been seeing a Kingfisher by a small pond near work for the last couple of weeks and our old friend Mr. Red Tail Hawk has been skulking about the telephone wires on the way home. All of the sightings are like little miracles to me. Restores the soul it does!

Big Ben has been very repentant since his little Arts and Crafts fiasco on Saturday. He can’t seem to cuddle enough or do what we ask of him quickly enough. If I had know that all I had to do was let him chew up a coaster to get him to heel when walking and sit at crosswalks I would have let him have at all eight of 'em months ago!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Wavy Scarves and Usetabee Coasters

What is crafting really? It's turning one thing into another.... I turned this Cascade Quatro yarn...

Into this Wavy Scarf (modeled by Bentley-The-Dog)


Whereas Bentley-The-Dog, in a sudden burst of inspiration which occurred when we left him alone in the house this morning, took a coaster, much like this one....in fact it was exactly like this one...

And turned it into this....

Sometimes there is a fine line between crafting and canine vandalism.... Is this artistic genius?

Or...

!!!Bad Dog, Bentley!!!

Yeah, that's what I thought too.....

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Attitude Schmatitude! Hit Over The Head With The Grumpy Fairy Stick!

Boy is it Hump Day today! I’m having a really hard time getting over it despite all of the happy crappy ‘Choose Your Own Attitude’ platitudes I keep spouting at myself. Today, for no apparent reason, I awoke on the Dark Side and chose a ‘fat, grumpy, tired and old’ attitude, thank you very much. Now, I’m on such a roll that I can’t seem to turn it back around. Might as well ride the wave and be the best fat, tired, old grump that ever there was I guess!

Most of yesterday wasn’t a bad day. I got really great news from the home front. Friends brought us back See’s Chocolate from San Francisco-YUM. A friend told me that I looked very ‘streamlined’ which although don’t know what that means, she ws smiling when she said it so I took it as a compliment. And best of all, I wore my ‘fairy princess’ shoes. I have a pair of gold, lame, beaded flats that I sometimes wear with my khakis or brown jeans. They look totally ridiculous but make me feel (sparkly glitter) magical (sparkly glitter). The magic began to wear off towards evening when I found myself frazzled and snapping at Mr. Bee, “Hey! Don’t mess with me! Don't you know I’m a F-ing Fairy Princess!!" In that moment...poof...I magically transformed from a fairy princess into the Grumpy Fairy and proceeded to thump myself soundly on the head with my own crabby stick. I gave myself such a sound thrashing that it carried over to today!

Tomorrow will be better. The Neph is coming over for Movie Night. We either go to the cinema or rent DVDs the last Thursday night of the month. Mr. Bee is gaming with The Noisy Boys so it’s just The Neph and me. Tomorrow night we are on tap to watch “Bridge To Tarabithia” and “The Last Mimzy”. We’ll make popcorn and have a high time of it.

I also (So Help Me God) will finish the Wavy Scarf. I don’t know what it is with me and this pattern. It’s really straight forward. Some would call it ‘Easy’. But I have knit five rows and un-knit three almost the whole, entire way; two skeins of Cascade Quatro worth! I’ll be so happy to be done with it! Then I have two wee balls of leftover sock yarn with which I will make a couple more pairs of Tiny Toes socks to have in my gift stash for the next baby that comes along.

[Is it OK to make infant socks out of wool? The other ones I did out of Cascade cotton/nylon blend sock yarn. I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout birthin’ no babies Ms. Scarlett, so I would appreciate any advice y’all have on this. Do tiny toes get too hot in wool? Is it a pain to care for wool laundry wise? Should I not waste my time or the new Mom’s? If it turns out to be an OK thing to do, I’d love to use up these bits of high end yarn. If it’s not OK what do you do with your sock yarn leftovers? Any ideas?]

Friday will be my salvation since it will be Knit Night at The Sow’s Ear. I will be sure and sit faaaaarrrr away from the nasty lady this time. Friend-Anne just got back from California and will be meeting me to catch up. Seems like forever since I’ve seen her. And I will start a new project! YAY! I have had lots of things in mind, but wanted to clear out my knitting basket of half-finished projects before I started anything new. So I did; Cascade tiny toes, STR socks and Wavy Scarf will be finished. How mature of me….this time. All bets are off the next time something shiny catches my eye! I’m sure I’ll be off and running again with another eleventy-kajillion things half started.

Saturday is Last Saturday Knitting I think. Since I’ve missed the last three months, I am looking forward to it. Let’s hope, I don’t end up wandering around saying to Mr. Bee, “I’m SURE that there was someplace I was supposed to go this afternoon….but I just can’t think of where…” like I did last time. That would make me fat, grumpy, tired, old and STOOPID! And that’s just more than I could bear!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Hogwart Socks

I have never read a Harry Potter book and I only saw the first movie which made me horribly seasick during the Quiddich scene but even I know these latest socks are Hogwart colors!

The basket weave socks are done!
One side has the gold 'lightning bolt' and the other has a white one. Pretty psychadelic but I like the basketweave pattern. It's made from Socks that Rock yarn that came in my Rocking Sock Club packet. I decided to go in a different direction with it!
"Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same."
-Francesca Reigler

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Photo Essay of Saturday

( Click on pictures to make larger.)

Heron at Lake Belle View

Falls at Lake Belle View
Still waters

Bi-Plane Crop Dusting Corn Fields
Finished socks for tiny toes




Friday, July 20, 2007

Fuzzy-Furries and Pickles-On-A-Stick

Seventeen years ago today, I married my soul mate. Seventeen years ago last week, we met for the very first time. [I’ll let that sink in a minute. Go ahead. Take your time.] Gather round, Children and I'll tell you the tale....Mr. Bee flew to Maine to meet me in person after we had been pen pals for a year and a half. This was back in the days before email even! We actually used paper, pens, stamps and the Postal System! He arrived on Friday the 13th, 1990 (see it’s not always an unlucky day!), proposed on Sunday the 15th and we were married the following Friday, the 20th. We don’t believe in sittin’ around and mullin' things over, me and Mr. Bee don’t! My parents and friends were convinced he was an ax murderer and that they would never hear tell of me again when I moved to Wisconsin on Labor Day weekend 1990. But it’s all worked out alright. We review the situation every July and decide whether or not to renew our contract for another year. Some years negotiations are stiffer than others! This year was a breeze. We’re in this thing until at least July 20, 2008.

We are going to the Dane County Fair to celebrate. It was semi-cheap entertainment that happened around our anniversary date back in the beginning when we didn’t have much money and has now become a tradition; hokey as it is. I get to hug and coo at all of the animals, yes even the piggies and chickens, I am truly pathetic when it comes to fuzzy-furries, and Mr. Bee gets his customary pickle-on-a-stick.

I don’t remember pickle-on-a-stick being a carnival delicacy back East but it’s big out here in The Flatlands. As far an I’m concerned, the lowly pickle-on-a-stick doesn’t have a lot going for it. Number one, it’s a vegetable for God’s sake! With all of the other choices; funnel cakes, cotton candy, corn dogs, and deep fried Snickers bars, there is something inherently wrong in celebrating the gluttonous excess that is ‘The Fair’ with a glorified cucumber-even if it is on a stick. There is a suspicious lack of sugar, chocolate and greasy, deep fried goodness in a pickle-on-a-stick. There are some foods that just aren't 'fun' even if they are on a stick. The pickle is one of them. Sweet potatoes and liver also come to mind as stick-unfriendly, un-fun foods.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like it's good for you. The sodium in one of those babies will raise your blood pressure and kill you faster than back-to-back rides on The Zipper (notorious deathtrap-ride-of-all rides at the carnival), but I just don’t get it. It really trips Mr. Bee’s trigger though…so...so be it I guess. He probably doesn’t understand my preoccupation with talking to each and every goat, cow and sheep either….and yet the whole thing has lasted seventeen years. Go Figure.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Monkey See-Monkey Do

I’ve got a wicked bad case of Monkey-See-Monkey-Do lately. Or at least Monkey-See-Monkey Wanna do! I am working on my second pair of baby socks for my coworker. I still have to quilt my mini, knit another basket weave sock, and finish my wavy scarf. One would think that this would be enough to keep one busy, no? No. I have GOT to stop blog-surfing so much because now Adrian over at Brooklyn Tweed has made me itchy to get my drop spindle out again and Mel has me wanting to start yet another scarf not to mention all of the Mystery Shawl talk has got me thinking….hmmmm…maybe lace…Sheesh!

On top of all of this, Harriet has been on my back lately too. Those of you in the South Central Wisconsin region may know Harriet as the automated voice of our library system. I have it sooo good here. Any book that catches my eye at a book store, gets jotted down in a little notebook I keep in my purse. Then I go home and log into the online library database and reserve it. Harriet calls me when it is at my library and I go pick it up. If a book is particularly popular, there may be a long wait, but that’s OK by me, I’ve always got plenty kicking around to read. I go through dry spells when Harriet doesn’t want to talk to me…and I know a word famine is afoot. Then she gets friendly again and she may call me once or twice a week. And occasionally, like this week, she begins a stalking campaign when she calls me on a daily basis demanding that I go to the library and pick up my loot.

Get off my back! I’m reading as fast as I can, Harriet! How was I to know all of my waiting lists would come due at once??? I read books at the rate of one every two to three days and she is STILL way ahead of me. I have seven books on my nightstand and she is ringing again. I think she’s trying to kill me. And the books that I have are the ones that only have a two week expiration on them because there are other folks clamoring to get them; Richard Bachman (Stephen King), John Saul, Dean Koontz, Eileen Gouge…..all this and I still plan new knitting projects!?! Sigh. I ain’t right in the head some days.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Quickie




I finished one of the baby socks for my coworker. I made it out of the dreaded Cascade because the elastic keeps it on baby's foot better. Talk about instant gratification-just a couple of hours for this cutie! The other one will be finished tonight.



Movie Recommendation: Pan's Labyrinth. It's in Spanish so it's subtitled. It's an adult fairy tale. A couple of graphic violence/death scenes but it was amazing! Great story! Two thumbs WAY up!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Yummy Omelets, Knit Night and Lotsa Loot

Started off the day with a yummy brunch at The Bavaria restaurant in Middleton. Artichoke heart, asparagus and portabella omelet with raisin toast. Doesn't get much better to that! We had early eye doctor appointments and went out afterward. It was good news. Despite my inability to see a moutain of laundry that needs doing, a half inch layer of animal fur on my carpets, and a heavy patina of dust on all of my furniture, the doctor says my eyesight is just fine. With my love of reading, crafts, and all things shiny, losing my eyesight is one of my greatest fears, especially now, with the diabetes. But a stamp of approval for another year was all we need to head out for a big breakfast to celebrate.

Apparently some psychic part of me started celebrating last night before I even had the appt. Went to Knit Night at The Sow's Ear and treated myself to some loot. They had gotten a new shipment of brilliantly colored, highly fondle-able and sparkly-shiny new yarns in and I partook of the bounty:


Cascade Fixation Sock Yarn. I don't like the feeling of knitting with it because it's really stretchy but I loved the sample socks they had and I got an adorable free sock pattern with each pair; a twisted rib one and a tulip one. They'll make great heavy duty socks to wear instead of slippers at night in the winter.

Blackberry Ridge Sock Yarn. You can't tell by this picture, but it's my favorite color; a blend of blues, teals and purples that I call 'Melted Peacock'.

Four skeins of Rowan KidSilk Haze to make "A Day In The Life Of A Cat' dress scarves with. It's almost as thin as cobweb and is a mohair/ silk blend. The red even has some glitter stuff in it. Sigh...bliss.

Knit Night wasn't really crowded. I think a lot of folks don't know that it is every other week in teh summer. There was one REALLY nasty lady there last night. She kind of put a damper on the festivities. She's a regular and is generally negative but last night she was in a real funk. I'll remember to sit out of hearing range next time. Otherwise it was pleasant to visit with the cronies and knit a bit.

Tonight is movie and pizza night at Chez Bee. Off to have a slice, watch Ghost Rider (guess who's choice that was?) and work a bit more on some baby socks for a coworker. Have a great Saturday night.

Later: Review of Mr. Bee's new favorite movie, Ghost Rider. If there's anything better than Nicholas Cage, it's Nicholas Cage ON FIRE!





Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Power Of Positive Thinking

After apparently working off some very bad karma for a few days prior, I woke up yesterday and decided that praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, I was going to have me a good day no matter what The Universe threw at me. I would remain positive and upbeat and not let others attitudes decide my own. The day went swimmingly. Problems arose and were handled. Negativity and pettiness didn’t even begin to penetrate my cleverly crafted positivity force field. I even arrived home to find a package from The Sow’s Ear on my doorstep. I hadn’t ordered anything so I was surprised. I opened it to find a kit that I had won from a door prize drawing that I signed up for last Knit Night! It’s a groovy little purse kit made from lace yarn! Those guys are the greatest! Lady Luck was finally smiling on me!

Things just got better today when I put my 40 cents in the coffee machine [yes I’ve ventured into the dangerous waters of hot beverages again!] and cha ching! Money started pouring out the change slot faster than I could catch it. Score! [It’s about time that darn machine paid off! I’ve plugged enough money in it over the years! ] I grabbed a spare cup and caught as much as I could before the little change flap jammed and the coins stopped cascading out! No, I didn’t keep the loot. I called the vending company and they came and fixed it. And even though I never did get my cup of coffee, I got a giggle out of the I-Love-Lucy-esque predicament I found myself in.

Just goes to show that just when you think The Universe is out to get you and you’ve been kicked around as much as football at the World Cup finals, It picks you up, dusts you off and shines on you again! Problems are all in the interpretation. I just finished reading The Secret, which as it turns out is no secret at all; like attracts like…birds of a feather and all that. But it was a good reminder that it’s MY attitude that determines how my day will go.

My friend Rob has been collecting little quotes and experiences of things that inspire him and make him smile and posting them on his site. I think I’ll try to do the same. Here is my first ‘quote of the day’:


The only difference between a stumbling block and a stepping stone is the way you approach it’. Author Unknown

Sunday, July 08, 2007

( Blogger won't let me title this so I'll do it here...) HEATWAVE PRODUCTIVITY

Since southern Wisconsin was roughly the same temperature as the surface of the sun this weekend, I spent a lot of time in the coolness of the basement working on my mini quilt. The top is pieced and the borders are on! YAY!!!!!


(I'll get a better picture when there is more light out. I took this one a little late in the evening. The Ricky Tim's fabric makes the background almost glow!






I also finished one of my basket weave socks from the new Socks That Rock yarn from Blue Moon Fibers. The pooling was a little weird, but I really like the pattern. Gives the socks an extra little "somethin' somethin'".











Remember the old Hollywood legend that back in the day, when the filmed bedroom scenes, even between husband and wives, each person had to keep one foot on the floor at all times? I think it was the old Dick Van Dyke show that I heard that about. Anyway, so the question today is....if you've been told to stay off the couch, but you need to get up there to look out the window...does it really count, technically, as being ON the couch as long as one foot is on the rug?




Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Morning Stroll

Ben and I took a 3 mile hike this morning; early before it got too hot. We walked through a meadow that was like walking through a huge bouquet, there were so many different varieties of flowers blooming-Brown Eyed Susans, Daisies, Chicory, Purple Thistles, Butterfly Weed. Deep breath....and....sigh! What a way to start the day!

We also saw an interesting wasp nest. From a healthy distance of course:

We chatted a while with Mr. Groundhog:
And then we came home and mourned the death of my hydrangea bushes. The thunderstorms last night knocked them all down:
And now it's time to take a shower and get ready for the day! Fourth of July plans include a geocache, quilting and the movie "License To Wed". Doesn't get much better than that does it?! Have a great Fourth everyone!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

If You're Grumpy and You Know It....

Gosh the wheels fell of this day wicked early!It's been a trying day work-wise. For a bunch of folks that get a free day off tomorrow, everyone is in an unusually grumpy mood. Are you? If so, here is a photo my Mum took while she was here that proves that pets and their owners do tend to resemble each other after a while... Guaranteed to make you smile! This is Ben and the unflappable Mr. Bee:






Sunday, July 01, 2007

WIPS!

I promised photos and here they are! Wow, seeing them all together makes me feel productive!

This is a closeup of my wavy scarf!:

Here is a long shot. It's laid out a little wonkey but you get the idea. (The color in the close up is true. It's Cascade Quatro.)


Here is a basket weave sock I'm working on with the hand-dyed yarn that came with my latest Rocking Socks package. I started it at Knit Night and didn't make a mistake so you can tell it's an easy pattern!

And last but not least, mini quilt blocks I have completed this week. They are paper pieced and about 4" square. The background blue-green swirl is from Ricky Tims.

Went to friend D&T's last night for supper and had a great time. T made a stir fry to die for! Then we played a few games of Tsuro. Mr. Bee won every one of them so we all stomped off in a huff grumbling that he'd somehow cheated (or maybe just I did), but it was fun anyway. D & T have been working hard on the gardens that surround their house and D gave me a tour and some ideas of things to plant on the north side of our house next summer. I'm leaning toward alisum and feather pampus grass.

Anyway, I'm headed back to the basement to get at least one more quilt block done. It just won't do to leave everything all asymmetrical like that! :-)