Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Diva Challenge 76 and Aerial Maneuvers

OK. Confession time. I cheated on this week's Diva Challenge. I don't have a whole lot of time to spare this week. I'm working on some knitting commissions, and I have a work conference, and there's always the mountain of spinning...so my entry for this week's challenge, which is to tangle where you're from, is a couple of pieces I did a while back. But they fit the bill, so I'm going with that. I'm all about adapting on the fly this week. I love the idea of tangling where you're from.  I tend to do a lot of Maine designs because I love it so much.  It's beautiful and inspirational to me.

Here is a piece I did when I first started tangling.  I can't remember what that fish tangle along the bottom  was called, but I really like it. I was surprised that a  lot of people missed the moose the first time around!

And here is one that I did as a t-shirt design idea and entered it in the employee art show at work.

It's the second lobster I've done. The first one I filled only with tangles that reminded me of the ocean. That one is hanging in the Burton Gallery in Sacramento California (otherwise known as my Aunt Marion's living room). This one is filled with a little bit of everything. 

My baby swallows are all grown up!  Yesterday all but one began practicing aerial maneuvers from the eaves to the tree out on the lawn and back.  The airspace over the patio got quite crowded.  The last little guy has made it out of the nest and is crouched on his belly on the overhang so I suspect today he'll 'bird up' and earn his wings just like his four siblings. 

Ben, naturally, is terrified of them. They don't help to alleviate his fear by dive-bombing him as he comes out the door. He's having a difficult time getting his potty business done. It's hard to pee when you are only 2 inches off the ground, cowering for your life. I hate to tell him but after this batch is gone, there is another batch ready to hatch in the next in the other corner of the patio. Best to just hang with my theme of adapting on the fly!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Arne and Carlos and Diva Challenge

Last night I went to Knitter's Guild where the AMAZING Arne and Carlos spoke. I had wanted to take their Christmas ornament class on Sunday at The Sow's Ear  but I had to work. They couldn't have been more engaging, funny speakers and were very friendly to everyone. They live in an old train station built in 1900 in the mountains of Norway outside Oslo. They've fixed it up to be truly lovely and even landscaped it with gardens that no one though possible at the elevation where they live.  They have been fashion designers and now concentrate on knitting pattern books using traditional Norwegian patterns with a twist. I got both of my books, one on Christmas balls and one on knitted dolls, signed and had SUCH a great time. (I also learned a very important fact. It's pronounced E-kea not I-kea. They should know!)

I didn't get home until 9PM and had chores to do, but I was so reved up after the meeting and anxious to start this week's Diva Challenge that I ditched the chores and started right in!  Now you all know where my priorities lie!  The challenge is to use the tangle 'Cadent'.  Cadent is what I consider a 'staple' pattern; one of the ones I use most from my arsenal because it's just so versatile.  The challenge said that it didn't have to be a mono-tangle...in other words you didn't have to use just Cadent but I did...aside from the embellishments.
I couldn't have asked for a more relaxing, enjoyable evening that visiting with knit friends, listening to great speakers, learning new things and tangling.  I'll try to remember that tonight when I have double the chores!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Stress Relief

It's been a pretty stressful week for me.  When I start ruminating, I know what to do! Get out the pen and paper. You can imagine the state of my psyche when this emerged! Yikes.  I call it Weird Science.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Catching Up

Things have been a little crazy around Chez Bee lately. Work has been busy, which I like. The 'kids' continue to amuse me, which is essential to my happiness. Yesterday I had to help a Mechanical Engineer remove paper from the hole punch. His educated mind couldn't grasp the concept I was explaining as 'just wiggle it'. I finally went over, grabbed, wiggled and popped it free and he was incredulous. You would have thought I'd blatantly displayed one of my numerous super-powers.

The Knit Chicks came by for a Girls' (and Ben) Night get-together. I made the mistake of trying to 'teach' Ben not to rush the door and slobber people...to let them get in and settled first.  He didn't take it well and consequently Mr. Life-Of-The-Party sulked in the bedroom all night instead of attending to his honorary aunties. I've never seen him so ticked and pathetic. It was kind of scary at the time because I thought maybe he was hurt or sick, but in restrospect (since he was back to his old goofy self the next morning) it was hilarious. I think he was genuinely embarrassed to be scolded in front of his lady friends!

I made lemon sponge squares for our girls' night. TWICE. I saw the recipe and thinking that it couldn't be easier, I decided to try them.  Combine an angel food cake mix and a can of lemon pie filling and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. So I did. I got the cake mix and a large can of filling, mixed it, put it in a greased 9x13 and let her rip. What came out of the oven looked like the landscape of the moon with hills, hollows and buckles, until it hit the cool air whereupon it shrank from the edges of the greased pan and formed a smallish wad of some kind of flubber-like substance.I swear I saw it move on its own.  I could barely rip it apart. I think I invented an entirely new plastic!  Re-reading the two line recipe, I discovered my problem; a REGULAR sized can of lemon pie filling (such as Wilderness) in an UNGREASED 10x15 JELLY ROLL PAN! Somehow those small details had escaped me and I basically messed up anything that possibly could have been messed up. So I gathered up the materials once again and started anew and TA-DA! They came out perfectly.  It said to dust with powdered sugar but I put a little glaze on instead. So my simple sponge squares weren't so simple but I'd definitely make them again.  The second version first next time though!

The fleeces that I sent to the carding mill came back on Thursday as roving for me to spin ...well half of it did..NINE pounds worth!  Some of it is Mick-the-dark-colored llama and Bert-the-white-sheep mixed together and some is just Bert. I started spinning it and did a small test skein of Mick/Bert and a large skein of just Bert. I forgot how much I enjoy the rhythm of spinning. And it's extra special because I know the animals so well. I get the rest of the batch this week or next; Thor-the-whit- llama and Frances-the-white-sheep and Wee Teddy the black spotted Shetland.  I'll spin up as much as I can before the silent auction in August.  Some of it can be sold there and I think there will be more for the website store as well. I think I have my work cut out for me over the next 8 weeks!

We've gotten some new animals at the barn:
Two 4-week old Shetland cross lambs (temporary names are Petal and Poppy).  They are still being bottle fed and are small enough (less than 10#) to be picked up and snorgled. I spent a goodly amount of time doing that last Sunday!

And a pygmy goat names Zeuss (which I HOPE is a temporary name). I haven't met him yet, but just by looking at his photo, I can tell he has a high level of snorgle-ness as well!

And on top of all of that, I have been in a cleaning, reorganizing mood and have thinned out my possessions and rearranged furniture to the point where I can't find anything now! So that's what I've got going on....all of which leaves Mr Ben exhausted:

Notice how he keeps one ear alert in case there are treats involved somehow...except for that lemon flubber...even he wouldn't eat that!  What have YOU been up to?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Diva Challenge #74: Concentric/Eccentric Circle String

This week's  Diva Challenge was very interesting. It called for the 'string' , or penciled guidelines that you draw and then pattern in, to be concentric/eccentric circles. I think the hardest part was drawing the string and sticking to it. It looked ugly and I wanted to try another, but my rule is to keep whatever comes first no matter what. Thus, I give you...well.....er.....this:
Hmmmmm....yeah...I know...WAAAAYYY out of my comfort zone, but it was challenging and that's what it's all about.; stretching and growing. And above all it was fun. That Diva...she sure knows how to throw a party! I can hardly wait for Mondays to come around so that I can see what the new challenge will be!  Thanks again Diva! You ROCK!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Diva's Challenge-UMT Bridgen

This week's challenge was to use the tangle Bridgen from Carol Ohl's blog.  Not a lot of time, so it's not as neat as I usually like-didn't get to clean up a lot of the pencil, but I still like the design so I'm posting it!
One version of Bridgen is the border and another version is the dividing line with the white 'pearls'.  I think the connectors between the pearls kind of look like springs. Even though I didn't have a lot of time, it was relaxing and much needed break. Another great challenge! Thanks Diva!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Cooper and The Garden Guest

I discovered earlier this summer that finches aren't the only thing that like my thistle seeds. Even though there is a plethora of seeds...