Wednesday, April 29, 2009


...not much knitting going on...I've been kept entertained at work.  While it seems wildflower season didn't do much here (that I managed to capture anyhow), the yucca around campus are in bloom.   These delicate flowers are found on some rather gigantic yucca (some of the foliage is as tall as I am, it seems!) and are only open in the morning when I go into work.  By the time I wrap things up to head home, all the buds on the stalk are closed tight!  Hopefully they leave the stalks intact so I can see what the fruit looks like later this year.

Friday, April 24, 2009


With the temps flirting with the low 100's I finally decided to go in and have my hair chopped off.  It's in braids because it's being donated to Locks of Love.  For those that are interested, but don't think you can get your hair out to 10-inches, it looks like the minimum length requirement for Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program is only 8-inches.
I wound up donating somewhere between 10 and 12 inches of hair - I gave the stylist the opportunity to play, with the only requirement being that the hairstyle be easy to maintain and not require much fuss in the morning.  They opted to leave it a little longer than I usually go for, mostly because I've been thinking about doing something interesting with color (yes, apparently they can put color into my hair without totally ruining it (I went to an Aveda salon)) - so we'll see, if by the time I'm up for the next trim I'm also up for the color experiment (we're thinking of hiding the color underneath, so it peeks out and doesn't require as much touching up).  Anyhow, it's much cooler now :) and definitely dries a heck of a lot faster!  Now if I could just remember not to go to bed with my hair does strange things now that it's short when I do that ;)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

While this last winter has been crazy across the country, I can't help but wonder if we've damaged the environment past the point of repair - ever the optimist, I've continued pondering ways to reduce the ways I strain the environment. We do recycle a lot, we've installed compact fluorescents throughout the house, I carry reusable bags to reduce our consumption of plastic ones, we pay a little extra to have green energy put on the grid. Our home landscaping is xerescaped, and our houseplants are watered with gray water or rinsewater from when I wash veggies for cooking. We try not to overconsume by way of purchasing extraneous "stuff" and we try to dispose of what we do have to throw away responsibly. If I need to go to the store on the weekends, I try to walk over, after all, it isn't far. Every little bit helps, I figure.

If you've any green tips you'd like to share, please do post them - I'm always looking for new ways to reduce my load on the environment!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Just in time for the 99 degree temps ;)  I finished another "cardigan" - that's right! Marble gave up nesting on top of this particular project and I've got it done!

Well, in all fairness, I knit it up pretty fast, offering up some other woolens for Marble to nest atop....More details?  Of course! Have a look here.

Friday, April 17, 2009


I guess I don't ever often think of all the various crafts I've dabbled in - and I do love my's a nice relief from my day job, and it provides a creative way to customize my home and gifts for others. I recently received this book:

It's an extremely solid and heavy tome, beautifully produced and just over 400 pages in length. While it covers 32 different types of crafts, this particular volume does not touch on any of the needle-arts, nor does it touch on various other crafts including stained glass, weaving, or pottery amongst others. Here's a snapshot of the table of contents (sorry, my scanner has taken to being temperamental so I had to try to make do with my camera).

Surprisingly (to me, anyhow) I've actually experimented with a bunch of these craft techniques - though I can't say that I've ever had a resource for all of them in once place. Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts is a photo-rich resource for ideas on various crafts if you're looking to do a little organizing, decorating or embellishing, or if you are looking for possible handmade gift ideas. Each section includes basic information about supplies required and several projects along with basic instructions and plenty of photos.

At the end of the book is a list (complete with photos) of commonly called for tools and materials, each with a brief description of what they are used for. This section is followed with a couple pages on seven must-learn basic techniques including: box wrapping, tying a bow, using a bone folder, making a deckle edge, using a screw punch, brushing on glue and cutting with a craft knife. The book is finished with several pages of templates (each referenced back to the project and page number in the book that they are used on) as well as some recommended sources for craft supplies.

While this book is not quite all-inclusive by way of all the crafts out there, it is very well put together. It brought back fond memories while I browsed the contents, and certainly has given me ideas for plenty of things to try out in the future. If I could just find the time ;)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

a knitter's excuse

If ever you wonder why the knitting progress can be slow going, now you know. Would you want to disturb this kitty if she was sleeping on your handknitting projects when it is just as easy to grab a project that she *isn't* sleeping on?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Only a few more...

...before I resume with the knitting, or other things. I promise.

While the glass was amazing, I think my favorite shot was actually this one. Not so happy about the flash, but there was no capturing this little guy without it - the sun was going down and he was going for his evening meal. So brave, there were people all around, and I was snapping photos - totally didn't seem to faze him at all! I was stunned once I reviewed my shots and discovered that I managed to catch him with wings back and nose in the penstemon!

I also really liked this capture - it's actually an HDR modified shot - the blurry bits are actually other visitors wandering around while the 3 exposures were captured. It looks like an alien landscape! I'm pretty certain that that crazy upside-down-flower chandelier is the same one that looked like orange carrots in the sun.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Practicing 'Wichcraft

Throughout the year and especially during the warmer months, it seems I turn to sandwiches. Of late, I've been enamored especially of the breakfast sandwiches at Bertha's Cafe - but Bertha's is a ways away, and they will be moving at the end of this month (and will be closed while they renovate their new space). I was really excited to check this new book - 'wichcraft - out. Both beautiful and a fun read, the book doesn't disappoint. The table of contents features large thumbnails of the detailed sandwich photos throughout the book - it's like a menu of sorts!

I've never had the pleasure of visiting any of the 'wichcraft restaurants, but I certainly look forward to doing so the next time I happen to find myself in proximity to one. In the meantime, I'll satisfy myself by taking some inspiration from the cookbook. 'wichcraft is broken down into several sections including breakfast sandwiches, cool sandwiches, warm sandwiches and sweet (think dessert) sandwiches. There's also a section in the back with recipes for "pantry" items like dressing, sauces and condiments for the sandwiches included in this book. I'll admit, while some of these sandwiches are not anything I would have ever thought of conjuring (boucheron with grapefruit and crispy olives or raw yellow beets with avocado, grapefruit and radish sprouts) - their description and photographs sure make my mouth water. I'm looking forward to giving a bunch of these sandwiches a try over the next few months!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Even better...

...when the sun goes down.

More glass from the Chihuly exhibit!

I really adore the combination of the more or less straight uprite blue glass and the swirling blue glass in this installation. It would have been even more perfect if some of the agave were blooming.

More red waving tubes - these were further back in the garden, not right at the entrance. I really think they look more like flame at night with the red, yellow and orange colors.

One of my absolute favorite installations was of this green glass, in an alcove if I remember right. They remind me if pitcher plants or fiddlehead ferns with their swirling knobs on top.

And finallythere is this crazy, amazing installation right inside the main entrance to the garden. It is crazy and huge - and it looks much more spectacular once the sun goes down - at least I think so anyway!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


We interrupt this blog stream to announce a winner...

Congratulations, Abby! You've won my copy of Knitting and Tea! Email me and let me know your mailing address and I'll pop it off to you shortly :)

And now...we return to our semi-regular programming.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Flora...and fauna too

Here we are, continuing on with the photographic diversion. All these photos are from the botanical garden - seems the wildflower season for me is going to be a bust this year :( Still getting back in shape with the knee, and my other half has been escaping for some much more difficult hikes of late (2nd manuscript in the works!)

I thought these were really pretty - unfortunately there wasn't any signage nearby so I don't even know what they are. I'm guessing they aren't native, but they sure are lovely!

And I always love the gold poppies when they make an appearance. This patch appears to be primarily Arizona wildflowers - the red things in the background were more glass :) and the bokeh-d stick like things are ocotillos.

This guy was busy trying to impress another bird nearby...I'm amazed my camera managed to even capture him as I was shooting with a wee point and shoot (digital elph). Unfortunately the blue sheen on his plumage seems to have been lost in the capture.

Here he is on his perch atop a saguaro.

Knitting news, I'm on the bottom part of Whisper, so you may see this set from the botanical garden broken up with some kniting ;)

Friday, April 03, 2009

And now, a diversion.

Just a warning - the next few posts may or may not have anything to do with knitting (it depends mostly on how fast I knit on that Whisper Cardi)....

I've given artwork a try in several different media - one form I tried while in college was glass blowing.  While I never did get terribly accomplished, I did manage do develop a fine respect for those who do work with glass, and jumped at the opportunity to go have a look at the Chihuly exibit at my local Botanical Garden.  For those thinking of visiting, you'll need to make advance reservations, and I highly recommend scheduling soon - all the better to avoid the oncoming heat, and also catch the exhibit pieces both while the sun is out and then after dark.  Also, I noticed that my limited photography skills were not that great at capturing the glass and surroundings - best to go see it in person if you can!

We managed to take a bunch of photos....and I admit, I'll be spreading them out over several posts :) A couple of my favorites from one of the areas (next to the succulents, I don't remember of that pavillion has a specific focus or not) were these pieces:

twists and curls - a closeup from this rather large sculpture:

it's like a bunch of grapes...but better somehow :)

These orangy carroty things are a closeup of one of the "chandeliers"
And these look incredibly fluid - like those fabric sock tubes that you sometimes see blowing around at events - they also remind me of flame - a whole bunch of them are found right at the entrance to the botanical garden.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Frolic has been moved from my carry all to the regular knitting bag....I still need to transfer the stitches to a long piece of yarn so I can try the body on for length.  You could say I'm procrastinating and taking a break from the 2x2 ribbing....

In place of Frolic, I've stuffed the year old Persephone socks in my bag for travel/everywhere knitting...of course, this doesn't necessarily mean that I'm getting much done on them - esp since I've gone and cast on for another new project.  

It's the Whisper Cardigan from the spring Interweave Knits! At least it isn't another pair of socks ;) I'm knitting it from Noro Silk Garden Sock in the natural colorway (very nice yarn, I believe this is the first "traditional" Noro I've knit with and I'm finding it to be a pleasure to work with (I discount lotus because it's not really what comes to mind when I think Noro))

Anyhow, I seem to have latched onto this new project, knitting it exclusively while I'm home - and even bringing it with me on occasion if I know I'm going out to knit.  If all goes well, I might have a new cardi by the end of this next weekend! (I'm on the 1x1 round and round ribbing part...1x1 ribbing is no more fun than 2x2 ribbing, in case you were wondering) :P