Thursday, November 29, 2007

Peanut Buttery

One guess. Who let Bubba eat peanut butter out of the jar? Mom or Dad?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Burners are Everywhere

You never know...

where you'll find...

the man...

This one was on Sauvie Island, Oregon

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

There's No Place Like Home

This photo mirrors how I felt when we got home from our week's vacation. Warm and cozy.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Just Little People

When I was pregnant my husband kept saying "I hope you know about babies, because I don't." He thought they were aliens. I kept telling him that babies are just little people. I kept hammering the idea in. One night there was an almost toddler at a dinner party we attended. He was drinking out of cup, and my husband said in amazement, "look, he's drinking out of a cup. And he's wearing shoes." I just stared at him and he said, "like a little person. I get it!"

I take my son to "child observation" classes run by the community college. The kids get to play, the mothers talk, and it is run by an instructor. When I watch all the toddlers at play, I think of all the potential there. Who knows what they will do, and see, and become? They are little people. I think that we are, to a great extent, born with our personalities. Some are outgoing, others more introspective. Sometimes, if I look just right, I can imagine the room full of adults, not kids. How lucky we are to watch these little people develop.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

NaBloPoMo Day 25

Today is my son's sixteen-month birthday. I wonder when we will stop counting months and start couting in years?

We went to our first cyclocross bike race today. Pictures to follow.

Almost have one sock problem fixed.

I haven't found participating in NaBloPoMo as hard as I thought. I have plenty to say and show, I'm just a bit short on time to write and get photos uploaded, etc. Hope to do better before we're done.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Deja Vu

The other day I was lying next to my son as he fell asleep for a nap, and I got the strangest feeling of deja vu. I was thinking about what snack I could eat while I got on the computer to finish writing the previous day's blog post. I remembered I bought a bag of Smart Popcorn the day before, when the feeling hit me. I remembered sitting in what was then our office/sewing room working at the computer wondering what it would be like when the baby was here and experiencing a strong sense of deja vu at that time.

I don’t know a lot about deja vu, it’s something I would like to read more about, but I have felt it quite a few times. But there have only been a couple times when I have had a feeling of deja vu about a time I had deja vu.

I wonder what triggered it? We just got through moving the baby’s crib and adding a climbing structure in his room, maybe that reminded me of getting ready for his birth? But, no, at the time I had the original feeling we hadn’t made any changes to the room. Maybe I was working on this same blog that day and eating popcorn? Is it that simple? Did I just imagine that I had a feeling of dejavu last year?

Memory or imaging? I wonder?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Watch It, S.F.

Dear San Francisco,
There are so many reasons I love you. Your sights and sounds. The fog that wafts in and over you, keeping us cool and you subdued and vaguely mysterious. The fog horns that announce it. The view of the bay, downtown, and the Golden Gate Bridge towers as you drive in from Marin. Nooks and crannies, and alleys and stairways with names. Oh, and you have such good food. Thai, Italian, Indian, Japanese, fancy, cheap, sit-down, take out. And the ultimate food: a burrito from Gordo’s. How multi-faceted you are: you have quiet neighborhoods, museums, the beach, a National Park, bookstores, Chinatown, North Beach, the Mission. How could anyone ever get bored?

You certainly have your conveniences. MUNI goes within four blocks of almost anywhere in the City. And one can read a book or knit or daydream instead of driving and then searching for a parking place. There are plenty of late night groceries, drug stores, bookstores and bars for all our needs. Fifteen minutes to the airport and you are on your way to anywhere. You have nice neighbors, too: Berkeley, the Marin Headlands, the Russian River. Miles of hiking trails on the Peninsula, in the East Bay, up North.

But sometimes, my dear S.F., I fantasize about leaving you. Leaving you for a place less crowded. Especially on days like today when I happily went out to take my son to see a friend only to discover that someone had keyed not only the passenger side, but also driver side of my truck. My beautiful red truck, the first new vehicle that I have ever owned. You house some rotten people, I must say, City by the Bay. Sometimes I just want to get away to a friendlier place, a place where people stop at stop signs, don’t spit on the floor of the bus, say “thank you” when you spend money in their store. Yes, I take things too personally, but other things have been bugging me lately: graffiti on people’s homes makes me sad, trash on the sidewalks, too.

I know there are bad people everywhere, but there are just so many in your seven by seven square miles one can’t help but run into them often. And it is easy to be anonymous in a big city. Even though we are surrounded by people it is easy to think no one cares or notices what we do, the good and the bad. It really makes me sad sometimes to drive on the freeway, each of us in our little box. I’ve had lonely nights when I looked out the window, unable to count all the numerous lights in other homes, thinking I can’t be the only one needing a friend.

I know you think you have a pretty good hold on me. I was born here, have fallen in love here, had my heart broken here, grew up here, even went to college here, and now am raising my son here. You know how I enjoy taking him to the places I loved growing up. But don’t be so sure of yourself. Remember, I am married to a man who has lived in and loved many places. He would not hesitate to leave you for a new town. And I wouldn’t mind having some room. And some peace. And more than one Country music station. But there would have to be a taqueria. Even Hood River, Oregon has a taco truck, thoug. Better watch out, S.F., you are really ticking me off.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everyone is having a nice day with their friends and families.
I am having one of the lowest stress Thanksgivings ever. We are going to friends of my in-laws. I didn't have to bring a single thing!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I Think I See Dead People

You know how you think you see someone who has been dead a long time? You are walking down the street and a person with the same build or hairstyle or whatever passes you and your mind tricks you into thinking it’s them. My father has been gone for six years, but sometimes I swear I see him. When he first passed away I would see him all the time. Once I was convinced that I hadn’t really watched him waste away from cancer, that he just decided to put on a big show so that he could start another life somewhere new.

A couple weeks ago when I found out an old friend died I started seeing all kinds of dead people. On one trip out on errands I saw my father, both of my grandmothers, and a friend who died of breast cancer. I "saw" her at the grocery store right after buying a pink breast cancer awareness bracelet.

I think our brains try to help us cope with loss. If we can still see our loved ones we are reassured that we have not forgotten about them. Othertimes I think that they are actually visiting us from the beyond.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sock Problems

I've got two pairs of problem socks. I hope to fix them over the next week.

Problem socks numero uno:
1. Not enough yarn to finish sock number two:

2. Fist sock too big:

3. Toe of first sock is stiff. Suspiciously like the way you would expect it to feel if a small child gnawed on a teething biscuit and then stuck sock in his mouth.

I took the warning on the sock label (it is Cascade Fascination, part elastic) to not stretch the yarn while knitting a little too seriously, especially since I knit loosely to start with. This resulted in a too big sock, and caused me to run out of yarn. I knit the second one with more tension.

The plan:
Frog entire first sock. Use resulting yarn to finish second sock. Hope against hope that there is then enough yarn to do a new sock at the correct gauge. Ignore foreign substance, it ought to wash out.

Here's how they compared in size:

Problem Socks Numero Dos:

1. Again, sock number one (top) is too big:

2. Is a victim of pooling on the foot.

I tried to get tricky after reading: Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd. This is a great book! I highly recommend it.

My problem is that I have a long wide feet, narrow heels, normal ankles, and sturdy legs. Store bought women's socks are too small for me, men's a bit large. That's why I want to knit my own socks. I took all my measurements and decided that the basic formula of the leg being 100% of your stitches, ankle 50%, foot 100%, 50% at the toe, down to 20% would not work for me.

So I fiddled with the numbers, made the leg bigger with bunch of decreases down to the the ankle. Well, the top was too big, and the decreases too close together. And the ankle still to big. The foot was okay.

I used fewer stitches for the second sock and was much happier with it. The cuff fits better, the ankle still just a bit loose. I also decided to make it shorter, to hit my calf at a more flattering spot.

Here is a photo of both of them. The first sock (right) really fits worse than it looks:

The Plan:
Frog the first sock from the top down, and then knit back up based on what I did for the second sock. I don't know if this is even a viable solution. We'll see. Ignore the pooling. I actually like it. Looks like lightning to me.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Shameless Self-Promotion

First off, be warned I'm am writing this post so I can enter a contest and to make my NaBloPoMo quota for today.

You may have noted Manolo's Shoe Blog over on my link list. He has been a favorite of mine, and over the years he has added several blogs. My favorite at the moment is Ayyy! Recently he added Teeny Manolo, if you are interested in kids, kid's fashion, and celebrities check it and The Glinda out.

Tomorrow we should be back to talking about knitting.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Somewhat encouraging words

I was taking a much needed walk to the market a little while ago while the "men" watched Sunday Night Football. I had my knitting bag along, hoping to sit in the coffee shop for a few minutes and swatch some alpaca I just bought. I have been fondling this yarn in the LYS for months, dreaming of using it for a stranded sweater I hope to design for myself someday.

As a passed an apartment building I saw a middle aged women with an overnight bag head towards a car, followed by a man in his thirties with another overnight bag, followed by a pregnant woman in a green scarf. I noticed she was quite composed and carrying a knitting book.

It looked like they were going to the hospital, with the bags and all, but it was nothing like when I went. They weren't frantic or rushing. Whereas, sixteen months ago I was screaming with contractions one minute apart. I could barely get in the truck. My neighbor was staring (little did I know I was almost 9cm by then).

I went for it and asked the three "is this it"? The future grandma smiled and said "yes". I think the mom-to-be smiled. I was so happy for them. I felt blessed to see these people as they were about become parents. I wanted to say something brilliant and encouraging. I said, "good for you. You are about to have the most amazing few hours of your life." I got a block away and wished I told her "you are about to have the most amazing moment of you life, when you hold that baby the first time." And I really wish I had given her the skein of yarn as kind of a good luck charm from one knitting mom to another.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Waste of $5.99

Edited 12/22/07 - see happy ending to this story here.

Dear Golden Bridge Enterprises,
I am writing to complain about a product you import, "Sultan Special Turkish Delight", made by gulluoglu, code 582. I sent them an email several weeks ago, but received no response.

I purchased this product for $5.99 at my local produce market. Here is a photograph of the package:

I didn't know exactly what Turkish Delight is supposed to be at the time, but judging by the photo it looked like it would be a juicy variety of treats with coconut, sesame seeds, and pistachios.

Imagine my disappointment when I opened the package and saw this:

First, there are only two kinds, not four like on the package. Second, they are not individual treats rolled in coconut and nuts, but just cut off a big roll. None have a piece of pistachio on them.

Here is a photo of the package and product together:

I tasted one and it was hard, dry and flavorless. I have since researched and found that Turkish delight is supposed to be soft and sweet.

Here is the back of the box:

"Special" Turkish Delight? Hardly. This is nothing short of false advertising. The photo shows four kinds of confection there are only two. They are not covered except the edges. They do not have slices of pistachio, only ground up pistachio. I looked at the ingredients list and sesame seeds aren't even listed, but there's a sesame seed confection on the package.

I look forward to hearing from you and receiving a refund of 5.99.

Best regards,

Friday, November 16, 2007


Snapped this at the zoo yesterday.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Measure Twice Knit Once

This is a 12" square I knit for an afghan that is going to be auctioned off at a benefit for an injured cyclist. Ali posted on Ravelry asking for knitters to contribute a square for Amy who was hit by a drunk driver, is unable to work, and has medical bills to pay.

I said "sure", and went to get some blue worsted weight yarn the next day. Ali is going to be sewing all the pieces together (and knitting a bunch herself) and wisely asked that all the squares be a shade of blue and have a 1" garter stitch border for uniformity. I swatched, did math, cast on, and double-checked the width after a couple inches. It was 12" so I kept going, and after a couple evenings was near the end, and measured to see how close I was to 11" to change back to garter stitch. Well, I was at 10.5" but something looked wrong, the piece was was more of a rectangle than square. Uh oh. I measured and it was darn near 14" wide.

So I frogged and counted the number of stitches that equaled 12" and cast on again. After a few inches it was still wrong! At least I didn't get 10.5" through again. I added just a couple stitches and everything was fine. I actually finished it in about 28 hours. I blocked it last night.

I wish Ali luck. She is a good friend to Amy. I once had to piece together a group quilt where all the squares were supposed to be the same size. They weren't and I had to fiddle and fudge the border strips to keep it square, for the class show. Hope to see a picture of the finished afghan. It's neat to see other people's interpretations and talent. I bet some will be cabled and fancy, while others will be simple like mine, which just has a garter ridge every few rows.

I think it is so cool that people do knitting and sewing for others, be it chemo caps, blankets or quilts. It benefits the maker, too, it feels good to stop for a moment and think about others.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

When Tile Attacks

I've been learning a lot about residential remodeling since I met my husband. Some of it is mundane, like the difference between eggshell, semi-gloss, and glossy paint. Some of it is more sinister. Today I learned that ceramic tiles are pure evil.

See this pretty tile, the blue one? Not the glass tiles, they are innocent.

Well, my mission was to get it here today in "quarter round". This is quarter round. I collected about five of them in different colors trying to find a match. Looks pretty benign, huh? Just wait.

It was critical that it get here today because it is the very last piece the tile installer needed. If it didn't get here he would couldn't finish and the painters couldn't get started on time, and we are under a very tight deadline. I already spent a considerable amount of time tracking down the right color due to a screw up with the original order with the designer.

So I placed my order on Monday with a company nearby, who had to ship it from their warehouse in Texas. They were to ship it Tuesday to arrive today. I called yesterday afternoon to get a tracking number, and after some difficulty finding my order I was told they didn't have the number yet, but was assured the order shipped, and I could call today at 7:30 a.m. to get the tracking number. When I called this morning, same thing, trouble finding my order, but I got the tracking number and found that the package was at FedEx's warehouse and was guaranteed by 3:00. I was hoping against hope that it would come earlier so I could take it to the job site. I checked a while later on-line and the package was out on the truck.

I hung around the house all day, and no package. I even went downstairs around 1:00 to check if maybe a neighbor was going out when FedEx came and they signed for it and left it, not knowing it was urgent. I went back on-line around 2:00 and it said package delivered at 11:50 a.m., to the wrong city. You cannot imagine the dread I felt about having to call and tell my husband he would not have it today, or at a usable hour tomorrow.

I immediately realized that the salesperson forgot to change the ship-to address to mine, and shipped it to their warehouse. No wonder they could never find my order. I was screwed. There was no way I was going to drive to their warehouse and get the tile, and get stuck in traffic on the way back. We stayed in the house all day, I didn't dare even go out for a little while and leave a note asking FedEx to leave it. It was that serious. At this point my son needed to get fresh air and run around, not be forced to ride around in the truck. Did I mention the $45 I paid for shipping?

I called, got the person who took my order, told him what happened and yet again he had trouble finding my order. I had to give him the tracking number. He then told he would ship it to me and I would have it tomorrow. I said no way. I asked why they thought I kept calling for the tracking number for an order being shipped to them? And why would I have paid $45 for something unless I really needed it? He put me on hold. Finally he said he was coming up here that evening and could drop it off but not until after 5:00p.m. I said great, as long as my husband had it by 6:00 in the morning.

I made the call to my husband. He was dubious. But I was confident. The guy was either nice and wanted to do right, or was not going to let anyone find out he made a mistake. Either way I didn't care, as long as I got it. A while later, while starting dinner I was horrified to see blood streaks on my son's face. I couldn't find a cut. Then I realized it was his hand bleeding, and the blood was from him sucking his finger. I found a cut on his knuckle. On the floor was a broken quarter round tile. Yes, I let him have quarter round tile, knowing he likes to throw things, knowing tile breaks, especially when thrown onto... a tile floor like our kitchen. They just seemed so solid. Genius.

It was one or the other of these evil pieces of ceramic:

Obviously the tile nation had come together to give me grief. First by stressing me out by colluding to get the tile guy to mis-ship my package, and then by tempting me with their beauty to to the point of allowing my son to sort and carry them around, and ultimately cut himself.

So he's bleeding, not too badly, but it is getting everywhere. It won't stop because it's his knuckle, which he keeps bending and sucking on. Can't keep pressure on it. Try a tight band-aid, he chews it off. Try holding his arm up, he screams from the imposition of not being able to use his hand. I'm trying to help him and hoping that the tile guy doesn't show up right then. To my credit, I did not attempt to take a photo for you, my dear internet, I dealt with his pain.

I think of the irony that I'm desperately waiting for tile while dealing with a tile-related injury. Thankfully my husband drives up. Dinner and bedtime proceed. No tile comes, though. Finally, after father and son are sleeping and I'm trying to come up with a post here, I see a car outside. Thankfully it was the tile guy. I rush to the door so he won't ring the bell and wake the baby. I go downstairs, crossing my fingers that they are the right color and shape, wouldn't that be the icing on the cake getting the wrong thing after all that? They are correct. I peek in the bedroom to let hubby know so he won't be awake all night worrying about the job.

All that fuss for this. Eleven blue tiles. From Hell:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Regular Customer

Today, in my capacity as Operations Manager of Viking Princess Construction I patronized the San Francisco Dump. It turned out to be a day full of feathers in my cap.

First, my mother, who was along as baby entertainer, was impressed that I knew a direct route across town from baby swimming lessons to the dump. It's through neighborhoods we don't often traverse.

Upon weigh-in, I was greeted by "J" who just said "San Francisco, right?" (You have to declare where your junk originates). In the past he has commented "third time this week, huh?"

I backed into my stall. No-one waved me in like they do for the women and rookies. By the way, you don't dump your junk into an actual hole in the ground. You dump it into a building, and it gets whisked away. They call it "clearing the decks."

Then taciturn dump employee "L" jumped into the back of the truck and helped me pitch the debris onto the pile. He has helped me several times before and gave me a mask on a particularly dusty day. He showed me how to unload just enough stuff, and then yank the tarp lining the truck to dump the rest. Since then I always put a tarp down. I think he noticed.

Finally, I weighed out and, according the the new rule as of September 1, 2007, presented my i.d. with my credit card. The cashier, "F", said "you don't need to show me your i.d. You are what we call a regular customer." A very proud moment, indeed.

Monday, November 12, 2007

NaBloPoMo Day 12

Dear Internet Friends,
I am enjoying this whole daily posting challenge (National Blog Posting Month). However, today I am at a loss for ideas. Don't want to post another photo, don't have finished knitting items, don't want to complain about my life again.

To stay in the running for prizes and glory I am forced to share a dirty secret. I am a vegetarian. I am a liberal. I like watching the PBR. That's Professional Bull Riding for you city-dwellers. I would probably enjoy watching it while drinking a PBR. That's Pabst Blue Ribbon for you micro-brew drinkers.

I blame Country Music. And Wranglers.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Daughters of Norway

If you are stopping by here because you are interested in Scandinavia, and are a woman of Scandinavian decent or your spouse is, I encourage you to check out the Daughters of Norway.

The goals of the Daughters of Norway are:
  • To unite into a sisterhood, women who wish to preserve Norwegian heritage
  • To maintain among members a knowledge of the history, culture, and language of Norway
  • To build a strong support system and bond of friendship within the sisterhood
We have lodges throughout the West Coast, especially the Northwest; Nevada; Idaho; Montana; and Des Moines.

Our lodge meets monthly, we have a business meeting, a cultural presentation, and refreshments. We learn a lot, and eat a lot of good food. We have an annual Christmas party, and events in the summer. In addition, cultural groups meet to stitch, rosemal, scrapbook, and study genealogy. Sometimes we dress up like Vikings. Sometimes we coerce family members to do so as well.

At our meeting today we were graced with the presence of the Grand Lodge President and Vice-President. The cultural presentation was about Christmas cookies. Three of our members demonstrated Spritz, Rosettes, Krumkake, Sanbakels, and Julekake. Of course there were samples for everyone.

Afterwards we feasted. This is just a third of the table.

The cultural presentations are varied, and entertaining. A few meetings ago Norwegian Folk Dancers preformed. In June the topic was weddings. Our cultural director was able to borrow a brudekrone from Vesterheim. We all got to try it on.

And it truly is a sisterhood. I have made many good friends. They don't mind that I can be silly at times.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

iPhoto Library Randomocity

You think this blog is a jumble of random stuff? You should see my iPhoto library.

While scanning through I came across this:

Lovely. Even more lovely? The fact that last Sunday when my husband and I traded jobs, I was there. That was my one option for that type of necessity. Great.

Have I mentioned I’m a vegetarian?

Nanny, phone home.

I don’t know why, but it just tickled me that there was an ad for 50 Cent in Copenhagen. I always thought of Scandinavia as so civilized.

Night-time at Tivoli Gardens in the Spring. Cold and creepy. Actually it was beautiful. None of those photos turned out.

Close-up of the fringe of a scarf I knit out of hand-dyed silk. The poor thing is four years old and has only been worn about five times. It is too long, really. But I finally found a way I like it yesterday, so hopefully it will get more usage now.

Some things I just don’t want to know about.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Things you didn't know existed

Being a vegetarian city-dweller I never knew camouflage clothes existed for babies:

Now that I live with someone who used to hunt I find Fur-Fish-Game and the Cabela's catalog in my mailbox, so I'm getting used to that kind of stuff. But I was still surprised by:camouflage lingerie.

Edited to add: In the interest of full disclosure I must tell you that while I was typing this post I was wearing a red union suit.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Overheard chez Viking Princess

Me: "Will you please go stop our son from pulling the barrier away from the fireplace because he isn't listening to me".

Husband: "What?"

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Janice AKA Mom AKA Office Manager

Lately it feels like all I do is work. And it's not like when I worked "outside the home". With that you get to have a few minutes to yourself when you commute, to enjoy a cup of coffee, to think, to get a paycheck as a reward. Yes, there is still housework and there are errands to run, but those are done bit by bit, without interference. There are still stretches of time to do things you enjoy or to do nothing. And there is not a little person constantly whining and complaining at you. All day long. Yes, you have a boss, but that's still just 8-5, M-F.

I'm "on" from 6:15am when my husband leaves (which sets the kid off to restless sleeping which keeps me from going back to sleep) until about 8:30pm when my son goes to sleep. The little dear still wakes up screaming 2-3 or more times a night. So I wake up groggy. Yes he naps, and my mother comes and helps several days, but then I'm running errands or cleaning the house. There is very little time for me. And my husband gets home pretty late, then there's dinner, clean-up, and getting the boy down to sleep. I do get some time to myself at night but I'm often too tired physically and emotionally to knit or do anything. And time with my husband? Almost nil.

Some days it doesn't feel like I am doing my job too well. Things don't get done. I get aggravated. There is very little time to do what I need to do, let alone do anything for pleasure. I sneak time in on the internet here and there. Partly, that's just life with an active toddler. Completing anything is a major undertaking. Sweeping? He must mess up the pile of dirt. Paying bills on-line? He gets mad that I'm ignoring him. Wash the dishes? Ditto. And going anywhere in the vehicle except at naptime? Suicide mission. And part of it is the nature of having your own business. It is definitely not 8-5. And right now my husband is working seven days a week, so things are especially bad.

I was trying to figure out why it is so hard. I was thinking that I really have three "jobs":

Kenneth's Mother
-body servant to illiterate, incontinent dictator

General Contractor's Office Manager
-communication liason
-dump master

-social director
-travel director

That doesn't leave much time for:


It's hard to explain if you're not living it. A toddler needs constant supervision. There's no taking a break when you get burned out. I don't get weekends off. I'm cleaning, typing invoices, or something. Even if I get to go somewhere for a couple hours on a Sunday afternoon I will come home to a mess to clean up, and the laundry will still be there.

Yes, I do get to spend really good times with my son. And he is thriving, so one job is going well. But, I really have to work hard to keep myself thriving. It's a constant battle when I am pulled in so many directions.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Moment of Rememberance

I found out that an old friend passed away last week. We were very close about ten years ago, lost touch, later I heard that his life became very troubled.

We were actually acquaintances for years, then became friends when I was going through a really hard time. We had a lot of fun. He could be so kind and funny, but always thought he was awful, and not worthy of good things. Our lives changed and we drifted our separate ways. For a few years I would see him around the neighborhood.

It's funny, I can still remember some moments we spent together so clearly, ten years later. The Christmas he took me to spend with his family so "the first Christmas after" would be spent in a new place. His parents drove us around to look at the Christmas lights, like we were kids. A random shopping trip to Ross. The night forever known as The New Year's Eve Janice Drank Champagne Straight Out of the Bottle. The day after "TNYEJDCOOTB". Taking cabs everywhere (I never take cabs, too cheap, I take the bus).

I guess I already did a lot of grieving for him, when I heard about all his troubles. So the sadness I feel isn't acute. But it's there, and sneaks up on my in quiet moments, like this.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Easy Giraffe Costume

In this post I’ll show you how I turned these “materials”:

Into a toddling giraffe:

I wasn’t going to make my son a costume this year since he is to young to go trick-or-treating or understand what Halloween is about. But he got invited to a costume birthday party, so I decided what the heck. Plus, the zoo has an event and he loves the zoo, hence the giraffe idea.

First I looked on the internet to get some ideas. Then I made some sketches of different concepts. My main considerations were that I didn’t want to spend a lot time or money and that the boy doesn’t like loose clothing, getting dressed in general, but does love running. So I made the tunic easy-on, sleeveless, with slits. The “horns” were a little more difficult to figure out. I contemplated making a cover for his ball cap or something elasticized, perhaps knitting the horns.

I went to the fabric store and bought way too much giraffe print, a pack of seam binding, brown yarn, and black fun fur yarn. I picked up a girl’s headband at Target just in case things got desperate with the horns, figured I could glue fabric and horns on. Bubba already had brown pants, shirt and hat.

The first thing I did was trace half of the front of an existing sweatshirt of his to make a pattern. The front of the tunic is one piece of fabric and the back seamed in the middle in order to have a place to attach the tail and have a back neck opening. I added a half an inch to the center seam to make it roomier, extended the side seams to make it longer, added 1/2” seam allowances on the side and neck. Then, since I am lazy and didn’t want to make a separate pattern for the back, I added another 1/2” for a seam allowance to the center which is folded back when cutting the front (which is cut on a fold); and drafted a higher neck line with s.a. for the back which I cut to the side s.a. line, so it could be folded back, too.

Next I sewed a tube for the tail, turned it right side out leaving both ends open. Sewed the center back seam with the tail in the seam (leaving a couple inches open at the top), then the shoulder seams, and the sides, leaving the bottom couple inches open. Tried it on my model to discover the tail was way too high; tore out seam, repositioned tail and sewed back up.

I didn’t do fancy finishing and couldn’t properly sew since I couldn’t have the iron on with Mr. Toddles running about. Kept telling myself it was just a costume. I just turned under and stitched around the armholes, the edges of the side slits, the straight part of the neck opening. I used the seam binding to cover the raw neck edge leaving tails to tie the back closed. I mistakenly bought single-fold bias tape so I didn’t have much to work with. It’s the one part that looks kind of bad. I folded up the bottom edges to make hems. Finally, I took a bunch of lengths of the fuzzy yarn and stuck it into the end (raw edge turned under) of the tail and simply stitched it closed back and forth, catching the yarn inside. The tail was really cute, I'm bummed I didn't get any photos of it in action. Here it is:

And the back closure:

I was still not sure how I was going to make the horns, and was determined not to stay up all night. So I tossed aside the idea of covering the ball cap. I made small tubes of fabric for the horns, stuffed them with fabric scraps and added yarn as for the tail. I sewed a tube to cover the head band, the horns in the seam, with a slit open near the end to slide the band in. The horns wouldn’t stand up so I unfolded a big paper clip, and from underneath ran an end into each horn. Slid the hairband in and didn’t even bother to hand stitch it shut. I'm glad I didn't spend a lot of time on it because he refused to wear the horns much.

All in all I was happy with the costume and entered it in a contest at "The Poop". We didn't win but got to see a lot of really inventive, cute costumes. Check it out. There are more "after" photos on his blog. Email me if you would like the link.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

My First Socks

These are my first socks. I’m really happy with them. They actually have been finished for quite a few weeks, I just never got around to blocking them. Yesterday I finally just washed and dried them so I could get photos. Thanks NABLOPOMO and Ravelry for the incentive.

I decided to try these after a failed attempt almost two years ago. Since then I have more knitting experience in general, and have used the size 1's enough that I felt comfortable. It was fun to just follow the instructions and trust that they would turn into a sock. I did some stuff wrong, but that's okay.

Pattern: Sock It To Me Plain Toe-Up Socks from
Yarn: Can't remember. Wool patterned sock yarn. Band lost while project abandoned
Needles: #1 US bamboo dpns
Problems: The first one was bound off a bit too tightly.

Here are both of them, stacked:

See how they are almost the same size? Cool.

And, of course on my foot. They fit quite well.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Card Weaving

I bought a book about card weaving many years ago, in part, I think, because it looked like weaving that would take up a small amount of space. The book has gone through several moves, patiently waiting on the bookshelf for me to use it. Since I started learning abou Scandinavia and the Vikings, I made a Viking costume which has woven trim, which would have actually been a card woven edge. That made me remember the book.

In card weaving the pattern comes from the warp threads, rather than the wefts, which are woven back and forth. The pattern is made by turning cards that have the warp yarn threaded through holes towards you and away from you. One end of the weaving is anchored to an object, the other to the weaver. The Vikings used card woven bands with long wefts left hanging as the top edge for weaving fabric, the wefts essentially became the warps on a weighted loom. The book, "Card Weaving" by Candace Crockett, from Interweave Press, came with enough cards to get started, and I had yarn I had collected for tapestry weaving.

I read through the step-by-step instructions and was thankful that I had already done some weaving, a lot of it made sense. Much more sense than when I first got the book.

I was all set to go but needed a shuttle. This seemed like a good excuse to finally visit Carolina Homespun. It was a good visit, Morgaine is really personable and knowledgable. I got the shuttle, a real tapestry beater (I used a kitchen fork previously), and some sock yarn as well.

One evening I picked out some yarn, and marked my cards. I don’t have warping board so I looked around the dining room my sewing room for a solution and keyed in on the chest of drawers. It worked quite well.

I spent a bunch of time threading and combing the cards. It probably would have been easier if the yarns were all the same weight. I did a little that night, and then some more at a sewing group. See the pattern?

No? Don’t worry, it’s not your eyes, I had a hard time keeping the cards moving right. This is as much as I got done:

Verdict: Cardweaving will have to wait a while. It is not a good thing to try to put down with a toddler roaming around. It was difficult to pick up the rhythm of the pattern with distractions both at home and when I was gabbing.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Copenhagen in Spring

This photo, of Rosenborg Castle and the King's Garden in Copenhagen, is one of my favorites from our trip to Scandinavia last year. First, it captures the wonderful moment when we turned a corner and actually caught a glimpse of Spring. Spring was late in coming last year and the whole time we were in Norway it was grey and cold, and sometimes snowing. Copenhagen was just as cold and worse, I was disappointed with our hotel room. We were pretty tired of grey, grey, grey, and cold, cold, cold, so the sight of these crocuses was really uplifting.

Secondly, it resembles some of the photos in the tourist brochures. I was quite proud of myself.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


I just heard about National Blog Posting Month. Since I haven't posted in over two months, sounds like I should sign up!

I do have knitting stuff to post ("stuff", well I'm off to some great writing, huh?), including finished objects.

There are lots of neat prizes, and a great group of bloggers involved, so check out NaBloPoMo. Thanks to Kerflop where I read about it in the nick of time.

Hope a post about posting counts!