Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Vespa and I have been getting loads of Christmas cookies and other edible goodies. She's so thrilled when she gets a whole cookie and doesn't have to share it with Mingus or Greaseball.
Note that her ears are so ginormous that I can never fit them whole into the frame.
Friday, December 17, 2010
My fears about my neighbors having a hard time this Christmas were mostly quelled. I walked Vespa a little earlier than usual, and was pleasantly surprised to count 9 blow up Christmas things gracing their house. They also had 2 lighted reindeer and festive paper decorations, too.
The only thing strange now is that they run the air compressors for a couple of hours, stop it for a few more hours, and then run it again late at night. Maybe they are trying to conserve energy. If the rain stops tonight, which is highly doubtful, I'll walk Mingus by the house so he can have some Christmas cheer as well.
Oh, but on second thought, Mingus has royally irritated me and perhaps he deserves only a lump of coal. A few days ago, I arrived home from work ready to eat my arm off and grumpy from the unexpected two hour commute. I was starving in one of those "nobody better get in between me and the food" ways. All I had to eat was some leftover lunch from a work cafeteria - it wasn't stellar, but it would do - and a hunk of Acme olive bread. As the food is heating up, I'm looking for the bread. I can't find said bread. However, I found a shredded bread bag on the floor, sans bread. Bad Mingus! I was sad, but at least I had my lunch/dinner to console me. I put the food down and went to wash my hands. When I returned, my dinner was gone! Double bad dog!
The boy later informed me that the bread bag had not only bread, but a hunk of salami in it, and that the bag was previously nestled in his work backpack.
Now, some of you may ask why I blame Mingus instead of Vespa, and the answer is that he is a very bad dog who takes advantage of situations. He once snagged a mouthful of roasted leg of lamb while company was over. Vespa, on the other hand, has never counter surfed. Never.
Plus, Mingus has a special relationship with carbohydrates, and most specifically, bread. Last week, he sniffed out a piece of bread I had wrapped up in my purse, opened my purse, and ate it. Nevermind that I earmarked that bread for him. (The restaurant I went to serves a lot of senior citizens, and the wait staff presumes that all patrons want to take home leftover bread, butter, jams, etc. I like the idea of not wasting.)
And this is why Mingus's middle name is "Don't Mind If I Do!"
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Beware the super stealth ninja tawashi! Ninjas are taking up a big part of my brainwaves, and I'm not sure why. I made this little guy while I should have been making a gift, but I could not help myself. The ninja just wanted to be made, and I was merely the humble vessel. Crochet patterns are a pain to write out, but pretty easy to chart. Perhaps I'll make a ninja tawashi chart so more ninjas can materialize and take over the world.
I also spent a little bit of time sketching my perfect ninja in AutoCAD. I'm sure that's what my high school drafting teacher had in mind when he told us that we were learning an invaluable skill. Cracking open the CAD to sketch ninjas sounded like a fun thing to do, so I did it with gusto. I think these are going to be incorporated into a new project.
What project? Probably an embroidery project because that's another thing sucking up part of my time, in a most pleasant way, of course. I have a vision of legions of cartwheeling ninjas embroidered onto napkins.
And speaking of napkins, the picture above is a joint gift project by the boy and I. Gotta love a husband who sews! We found 100% hemp material at Dharma Trading Co., and we snatched up a few yards. He cut them up and hemmed them, even adding some cool mitered corners. I personalized them with some French knots and split stitches. It's funny, but as of two days ago, I never embroidered in my life. Thank goodness for kind strangers who post videos!
I think the coolest thing about embroidery is that the start up cost for the necessary tools are cheap. Although I admit to having $50 of stuff in my cart at one point (so many fancy, unnecessary tools!), I walked out of the craft store only paying $5 and some change.
I also made a demented rainbow dishcloth for a relative. This is the relative who sent me a Betsy Ross Pig ironing board cozy that was later used to cover low window at and old employer's bathroom. For this relative, the louder the colors, the better. I used a lot of my kitchen cotton scraps, and added a double crochet border.
What did I ever do before learning how to crochet? I really like it for the neat borders that can be added quickly to any project. Before I learned how to crochet, to get the same effect I would have to do an applied i-cord, which is neither fast nor fun.
I have some other gifts to share, but they'll have to wait until after they're gifted.
Monday, December 13, 2010
This year, it seems like less people are decking out their houses. My most favorite decorated house last year had seven (!!) Santas, the type that are blown up like parade floats, hanging around their house. One was on their front deck, two snow globe Santas were on their lawn, and there were a few more all lit up in all their kitschy glory. Oh, it was always great fun to walk by that house! This year, the house is completely dark. No lights, just a wreath on their front door. Because I'm fascinated with hoarders, the first thought that crossed my mind was that they are reformed hoarders (I once saw the inside of their solidly packed garage) and that step one of their new lifestyle as non-hoarders was to tone down the Christmas decorations.
As for us, we just have lights this year. A Christmas tree proved to be a nightmare since the cats wanted to munch on the needles and Mingus thought we brought a port a potty inside the house. Ick. I won't be able to have another tree until I can get over that trauma.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
On Ravelry, one of my obsessive compulsive behaviors is to check how many Ravelers have made my International Cat Hat France: Le Mieux. 94 people have made mini berets for their cats and (small) dogs. It's strange and cool that a nagging idea of a bereted Greaseball resonated with at least 94 other people. A blog giveaway is in order once it reaches 100!
Click here to see a bunch of cats who eat croissants and drink coffee. You must have a Ravelry account to view the project page, but if you don't and you knit/crochet, you surely are already a member!
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Over the past weekend, I was on my own without a plan in sight, so what did I do? I organized my yarn stash and wound all the sock yarn scraps into balls. Then I laid them out on the table and tried to get them to tell me what they wanted to be, but so far no luck. The colorways are all so different and not at all complimentary to each other. But, I do enjoy looking at them and remembering the projects I made with each one.
That was Random Item #1, which is probably not so random for a crafty blog. Random Item #2 is that I've been watching and watching and watching a pair of French twins, Les Twins, dance on YouTube. (I told you, random!) I'm fascinated by them, and by new style hip hop in general. Perhaps this is a case of being attracted to something that would be impossible for me to do, like being the center in a professional basketball team. YAKfilms has a variety of hip hop dance videos that are oddly compelling.
In on topic news, people have actually been making and buying my Tilden Park Scarf! I don't know at what point I'll feel comfortable calling myself a designer, but this does make me feel one step closer. It's been such a fun process! Many thanks to Rani for being my first customer! That was so cool!
Monday, December 6, 2010
I'm thrilled to announce that the Tilden Park Scarf is now available for purchase through Ravelry! If you're not a Ravelry member, don't fret, you don't have to be a member to buy the pattern.
The Tilden Park Scarf is ruffled and ruched infinity scarf that adds a feminine touch to any outfit, from a little black cocktail dress to your favorite worn in tee. I've been wearing mine doubled up to add some ruffly goodness to my jackets.
The Tilden Park Scarf takes 480 yards of fingering weight yarn. Pictured is my scarf in Schafer Anne (60% superwash merino wool; 25% mohair, 15% nylon; 560 yards/133 grams per skein). It is knit in the round, so when you're done, you only have 2 ends to weave in.
Many heartfelt thanks go out to the kind people who test knit this scarf in 2 weeks and provided me with invaluable feedback. Also, the pattern looks extra spiffy thanks to my graphic designer friend who performed a layout miracle! Making words and pictures on paper look pretty, balanced, and yet easy to read takes mad skillz.