Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Beauty and Greatness

and they belong to all of us.

If you haven't caught the show, there is a 6-part miniseries shot by Ken Burns on PBS showing this week - check your local listings OR view them online through October 9th.

The United States currently has 391 National Parks/Monuments/National Recreation areas. I've been to 33 that I can recall, I have lots of great memories from my various visits. How many have you been to, and do you have a favorite?

Monday, September 28, 2009


So, all that crazed knitting was done in preparation for my attendance at a grand event: the Marriage of one of my cousins. We practically grew up in the same household - so he's like a brother in many ways. You can have a look at the finished shawl over here.

Speaking of brothers, *sniff* they're all grown up. Look at them all, in suits and ties no less! I had to go through a crazy number of photos to pull this one (they were all being goofy in the other photos) I guess somethings never change ;)

The ceremony was outdoors, at the Nixon Presidential Library - out in the rose garden. The setting was stunning, the flowers (arrangements, and otherwise) were also beautiful. There were rose petals in abundance.

The bride and groom - aren't they lovely? I saw their photographer sneaking round to the other side - but we figured we shouldn't go sneaking around during the ceremony in an attempt at photographs.

The little ones in the wedding party were especially adorable - I don't have photos of the little man who did a recitation of Mr. Roger's "It's you I like" - very well done and way too cute!

The reception was indoors - and the food was prepared by an ex-presidential chef (and it was very tasty too). Behold, the cake:

Simple and elegant, white and dark chocolate with raspberries...and pastry cream.

Congratulations, Julian and Christina! We wish you happiness, good fortune and health!

Friday, September 25, 2009

OPF - Hello August!

Eep, it's already the end of September and I totally forgot to share the fiber I got in August :) It's quite lovely - though I haven't yet made friends with my spinning wheel (I was too crazed working on that shawl)...I saw a sample worked up by Kiki when we met for knitting this past weekend. Her lovely swatch/sample make me realize I really need to get on with learning how to navajo ply properly - course this does mean re-learning how to put more twist in my singles since I had switched to spinning primarily low twist singles a while back. Ah, the joys of learning new skills :) (ps - there's a great tutorial on YouTube right here in case you're trying to get navajo plying down too)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


It's not all desert here in Arizona. We have some pretty spectacular riparian areas - I always marvel at the glorious colors of redrock country.

The redrock and the foliage naturally complement each other - Mother Nature sure is clever ;)

...just beware the Poison Ivy. Portions of this area are filthy with it!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Down to the wire!

The Secret of Chrysopolis Shawl, which I apparently cast on for 2 years ago this month, has been finished, and the knitting needles officially harvested!

it's currently staked out and blocking, getting ready to pack it up and take it with me for a wedding. Finished, it's an impressive 27.5" wide, and probably about 6-feet long. Of course, once it's unstaked, there will be more photos :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Chicken Rides Again

Seems like more and more bloggers that I read have found their way into publishing - I've been reading Amy Karol's blog: Angry Chicken for a long time - she makes me aspire to actually do fabric-craft rather than simply acquire fabric ;)

Her new book: Bend the Rules with Fabric is my speed - not so much focus on the sewing, but the embellishment and personalization. The book starts out with a quick primer on design elements and color theory along with a fantastic listing and explanation of various tools or other materials you might use in your crafting adventures. After the basics are taken care of, the book moves on into the projects. As the subtitle explains, there are projects that include stamping, painting/drawing, stenciling, various methods of image transfer, dyeing and using fiber on fabric (think simple embroidery or applique). Each technique is explained using simple instructions - and my favorite part? The pros (why this method will make you happy) and cons (why this method will make you sad) for each technique are also there for you to guide you on your crafty way.

This book takes me way back to when I used to craft a lot more with fabric - and it's also introduced me to some new techniques. I'm looking forward to seeing what I can make "new" again!

Coincidentally, Amy also authored some great gift tags: Bend the Rules Gift Labels - in addition to one perfect for crafters (reading "I made this, just so you know. So don't say anything mean about it") - there are 7 others that you may find as perfect as I do including "Don't get too excited. The box is from something else." :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

And now... interlude. While I knit like a mad woman, the cats practice synchronized sprawling. If you make like you're going to rub their bellies, they usually will roll to the side:

See? Excuse the extraneous fluff on the carpet - clearly, it's time to vacuum again!

Monday, September 14, 2009


...we have a problem.

See that wee bit of yarn? Not nearly enough for oh...150+ rows more of knitting, is it? Thank goodness I am dyer...but probably better, the second skein was still available! I'm making swift progress on harvesting the needles out of this project by way of actually finishing it. I'm now knitting down to the wire - I want it done for an event this weekend. If I am going to make it, I need to have this baby staked out and blocking by Saturday Night...think it'll happen?

Friday, September 04, 2009


Hmm. Not quite a look I'm excited to be sporting, but I've found I've managed to damage myself again! (worry not, I only have to wear that evil looking boot at night - I'm still trying to figure out if it's Plantar Fasciitis or if I've somehow managed to give myself a stress fracture)

After having given up heeled shoes a while ago, I found myself crazily drawn to these lovely ruby red, modestly heeled mary janes from John Fluevog. After hearing several acquaintances sing the praises of Fluevog shoes, and realizing I needed to come up with an outfit for an upcoming wedding, it was a perfect opportunity to see if my Keen-loving feet will tolerate heels (I do realize that PF or stress fracture means I'm not supposed to be prancing around in heels, but I figure there isn't *that* much walking involved and the wedding is a month away). Due to my lack of knowhow when it comes to fancy womens shoes, I had to rely on the advice and guidance of the kind individual who answered the phone when I called to place my order - kudos and thanks to Rebecca from the Chicago Fluevog store - she was very helpful in guiding style and size selection and notified me that apparently Vogs can be purchased by layaway plan. Egad.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Getting Organized

Apparently, my household has been struck with a bout of Autumnal Organization - between myself, my husband and our cats, we've managed to clutter up the place since our Spring Cleaning event and once again find ourselves going through everything and trying to decide what items to keep, what to donate away, what to try to resell and what to just throw (or freecycle) away. While traumatizing at the time, I always do find a good bout of organization to be incredibly invogorating once finished - how about you?

Just in time, my friends Illanna and Kiki have a great idea for the month of September!

It's the Great September Needle Harvest! The concept is deceptively simple - harvest/free up as many needles as you can from your UFOs by either actually finishing them, ripping them back, transferring the project to stitch holders, converting the project into something else (for example, felt it down and turn it into an ornament, a bag or perhaps even a creature!), give the project to someone else to finish (with their own needles ;) ) or...just pitch it (without the needles, of course).

There's a Ravelry group, and prizes for incentives - click on the banner or the link above to join us in our harvesting!