Monday, December 31, 2007

Post 112-Post Holiday Revelry

I'm back!
I woke up early this morning to babysit and was greeted by this:



You would never know that I live in Chicago and within 5 miles of downtown, it looks like I'm out in the country. I love days that look like this, fog is in my blood, I'm Scottish after all (and now related to Pocahontas?).

So here are some lovely pics of my trip to Hot Sprints Arkansas, ahh, the center of culture down under. :)

Everything looks peaceful at 30,000 feet.



Hot Springs second claim to fame:



Creepy old hotel where we had Festivus brunch:




Creepy old VA hospital up on the hill, can anyone say "REDRUM"?



A lovely park in front of some of the hot springs, and yes, they are really HOT!



A very relaxing video of the bubbling hot waters.

video



Overall the holiday was good even though my bitch aunt showed up a day early, her very voice grates my spine. On the upside of this unexpected arrival is that I got to see my cousins, the musician and his brother the soon to be reality tv star. So for my last night there I hung out in the guest room watching Secretary (love this movie) in my iPod (thank-you for making a video iPod) and I began my first sock from the new Cat Bordhi book.
The quilt is well under way, it was really nice using my grandmother's Janome sewing maching and Rowenta iron, is was a lovely wednesday evening, me sewing and grandma working on her 3-D puzzle.

Future Survivor Star!


Quazy-Famous Emo Musician



I stayed in the guest room that evening knitting because I wanted to avoid evil aunt, but I did hear some very interesting details about Survivor, which I don't think are top secret but I still won't repeat.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Post 111-Arkansas

Happy Festivus! Just a quick notes from the land of bad food, bad accents but tranquil peace and clean air, Arkansas. I recieved lots of lovely items from my relatives, several kitchen gadgets that I actually didn't have, simple things like a spatula and potato pealer (I use roomies). The best thing was my Harmony Set of needles from Knitpicks, ahhhH! They are so pretty and shiny, colorful needles ar4e not my style (I wish they made them out of natural color laminated wood, that would be a awesome)but that's ok, at least I didn't have to pay for them and they were a lovely gift that I really wanted. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to meet up the local knitting group and get a good cup of coffee, that's what I'm missing the most. My flight in yesterday was almost uneventful, I managed to get my metal circs through security, it just would have helped if my suitcase made it on my flight, a large number of people on my small flight were missing luggage. When I opened it up at my grandmothers condo later that day I had the loveliest note from the TSA saying they inspected my suitcase which is why I think it was on the later flight, huh.
Did you know that it was illegal in the state of Arkansas to sell or serve liquor on Christmas? Yup, only on this one day, talk about mixing church and state.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Post 110-At Least It Was Craft!



One of the blogs I like to visit is Reknit.com. Recently they had a link to a crafty project where you take old wool trousers from a thrift store and make little Sympathy Dolls. Cool, I thought I would make a couple as some more holiday gifts for my relatives because once again like every year I'm worried that I didn't spend as much on them as they spent on me, vicious cycle. I went to the craft store and was dismayed to find that my Joann's doesn't even sell fine wool fabric that you would make suits with, wah?? Never fear, there are other things I could use, like the bag of wool sweaters I bought this summer at the Salvation Army and had already felted, perfect for my project! So at midnight I pulled out my sewing machine and went to work. The first one I made was the striped one, I loved it so much I'm keeping that one for myself, it will be my travel doll, something I keep on my nightstand.



These were really fast and fun to make, the only stupid thing I did was use blue sharpie to make the pattern outline on the fabric and it ended up getting all over my new manicure, fuck. So my options to fix the manicure are to completely remove my Essie Mademoiselle nail polish and redo it, or just do a couple coats of a dark red color over and save myself from the mess. Dunno what to do. So I may not have been knitting yesterday but at least I was being crafty.

Well I have three batches of chocolate chip cookies to make today, I bring them with me on vacation, the chocolate chip cookie is the official family cookie, I know it's strange. This year I'll make a batch of dark chocolate, mini chips and mint chocolate, yum! I really like carrying them with me on the plane and every year I buy a cheap hat box at TJ Maxx, I like the look of carrying a pretty hat box in the airport, kinda old fashion, but people know when the look at me that there's something special in that box. Bonus of this is, if I get delayed at the airport I'll have fresh homemade cookies to eat and share.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Post 109B-What's German For Moo?

I had a good day today, it started off with a productive interview, I had yummy brunch at the best place in the world, The Bongo Room, but then the day went crappy after that. With the newly discovered Starbucks invasion I was upset (see previous post, duh )and while at the grocery store I thought I would do a good thing and donate blood because they were having a blood drive. Well due to my childhood 3 year stint as an Air Force brat in Germany, I have been permanently barred from donating blood because of Mad Cow. My friends always thought I was a little strange but damn, Mad Cow??? You mean my yarn addiction can be blamed on a brain condition I picked up overseas as a kid, ahhh, that makes sense now. That might explain why I don't eat as much red meat as I do chicken.

A little holiday fun I made for my grandmother. This stars my grandma, cousin, aunt, my cat Pie and me! Kinda dorky but it got me in the holiday mood.

Don't send a lame Holiday eCard. Try JibJab Sendables!

Post 109-There Goes the Neighborhood

I've lived in my neighborhood since I graduated from college and in that time (less than 10 years) I've seen a lot of changes. My area in the neighborhood is not were it gets trendy, it's the family area where you must have a dog or a baby to live (I have a dog). I don't own, I rent, and 30 years ago the neighborhood was shit, I think someone was even stabbed on my doorstep, or was it shot. It's a really cool part of the city, right by the highway and the el line that takes you into the city or the out to the airport, heck, the two-flat I live in is probably worth 450,000?(I rent the garden from the owner who lives above) But it's still a cool neighborhood and relatively safe, if you're not a bicycle that is. Well it's going to shit again, between the only bar that has cider on tap(which I love) and my favorite Cuban restaurant they are putting in a coffee shop that rhymes with fivebucks. Holy-Fucking-Shit!!!!! Why couldn't a cute and hip coffeeshop go in that bought local roasted coffee and put money back in the neighbrhood? I admit I do visit the evil seattle company stores from time to time, but in expected areas like Michigan Ave, where's it's ok to have sold out to the corporate machine, or in cities where they have NO OTHER COFFEE shops, like Hot Springs AR. When I visit I don't expect quality coffee or espresso, I go for the sweet fancy drinks. There goes the neighborhood, you might as well call us West Lincoln Park. Damn.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Post 108-YEA!!!!

I've got a secret, oh, I already said that, well I guess I can tell everyone now.....If you watched the season finale of Survivor 15-China, in the last half hour they showed a quick preview of some of the contestants for season 16-Mircronesia/Palau, and well, my cousin Jason was on it.



YEA! My little cousin Jason, older brother to Adam of The Academy Is, the kid who I used to wake up early before school to make blueberry muffins for and who I made a lobster Halloween costume for is a contestant on Survivor 16!!!!! I haven't gotten the official ok to announce it, but seriously, they showed him on primetime TV, so it can't be that much of a secret anymore. If your a gambling person I would put my money on him getting far in the game, really far, so far he could be on the jury......it's just a hunch....

Nora got me some lovely lush yarn for x-mas, all handmade locally in South Carolina, but seeing as how I'm at an internet cafe, I can't tell you the manufacturer, I didn't write it down, ugh. I still haven't finished sister #2'S scarf, well it's hard to finish something you haven't even started, but as much as I would love for it to get there by X-mas, I'm in no rush, I never get their gifts untill the new year, so meh! I did some work today, yes I was up by 8 a.m., some crazy lady paid me to wrap her holiday gifts, that was easy money.
I'm tired, toodles!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Post 108-Gardening

No I don't garden this time of the year, are you silly, it's snowy and icy outside. I've been interested in what my Celtic birth tree is, there doesn't seem to be a general consensus, some say I'm an Alder with a secondary influence of the Rowan tree, I'm going to go with Rowan, because well, you figure it out, duh.



April 1 to April 10
Rowan, the Sensitivity
April 1-April 10: Those born between these two dates also fall under the lesser influence of a secondary tree...the Rowan, also known as "The Service Tree," whose motto is "A Delight for Birds" or "The Sensitivity." Rowan individuals are full of charm, cheerful and talented without being egotistical. They like to draw attention and basically love life...even its complications. Somewhat restless, Rowans are both dependent and independent. They constantly strive for approval from others and detest loneliness. Rowans possess excellent taste, are artistic, passionate and emotional, with a burning desire to create a better and more beautiful world. Rowan people make for good company but find it hard to forgive what they perceive to be transgressions.



I am a
Nigella


What Flower
Are You?




Uh, I'm just a little bored and am totally taking advantage of the internet being up right now.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Post 107-Success!

I made bread! This is my first successful loaf of real bread, not a nut bread, but REAL bread that looks like I bought it at Red Hen Bread, the artisan bread shop down the street. Thank-you Cooks Illustrated for having a easy recipe that required very little kneeding, a little beer and the strange method of baking bread in a Dutch Oven. I can now add bread making to my cooking resume.

Just Add Butter!


No knitting done today, I know, I know, two weeks until X-mas! I did make that lovely loaf of bread, put the outdoors holiday decorations up, and worked some more on making a vintage sequined tree ornament. Last night I did make some homemade chili, I even took pics of it, but thought that was a little too much, I make chili all the time, but not bread.
That's all!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Post 106-Knitting Intervention Needed!


I'm serious here, in the church of knitting what do you do when you hear a fellow knitter say they're loosing the faith, um, desire to knit. Help is needed and right away, I wish Hallmark made an e-card for knitting cheering-up. As an honored member of the church of knit I did my best to reboot the failing knitting machine that Megan is, I showed some creative and interesting patterns on Ravelry, suggested that pod-casts be listened too, recommended knit blogs to inspire and informed about the newly released Knitty winter issue. Hopefully all will be saved though I think coming to a Stitch N Bitch meeting soon would help too.
I wish I had the lifestyle and time to knit because I needed to wear clothing and the only way to was to make them myself. I have a great likening to the idea of if you needed it, you made it. Granted, it is so much faster and in most cases cheaper just to go out and buy that knitted garment. I try to remember several things that make me a knitter...

-I can probably make it better (that is if my competition is child labor in China)
-I can make it fit my unconventional shape
-I can make it the color I like
-I can make it in a color that looks good on me (though sometimes what I like and what looks good on me contradict each other)
-I can make it in a fiber I like/lust for
-I can make what style I like even if the 'THEYS' out there don't think it's currently fashionable
-I knit because it's cheaper than a drug addiction
-I knit because I can

Friday, December 07, 2007

Post 105B-Ask and You Shall Recieve

Right now I'm babysitting for a friend which is why I've been able to post twice in one day. I went to check my e-mail and was getting alittle worried because I hadn't recieved a my ticket via American Airlines with my flight information. Last year I gave up my seat on a flight and recieved a voucher which I used this year to fly. But, I had to send it regeistered mail to AA and given the quality of Chicago's postal service I was getting worried that they lost it. So I called AA, and after MUCH waiting they confirmed that they just recieved and would be processing it within the next 12 hours, and I would get my e-ticket. As much as I was worried that they would not get my voucher, I really called because the cost of the flight just dropped 30 bucks and I was hoping to get in on that price, if they hadn't recieved my voucher that hadn't charged me for the difference yet...see how my mind works. Well, to my surprise the lady at American that I talked to on the phone secured my flight at the lower price, yea, I never thougth they would actually do it and was totally prepared for them to say no, that I was locked in at the first price. The bestest part was that this was the lowest price I had seen the flight for since I started looking. See, I truely believe in asking people, you never know what you'll get by simply asking, the worst they can say is no. This flight to visit my grandmother and aunt for the holidays will end up on costing my $24.80, Hah!

Post 105-Soooooo Close

I'm excited about a project I hate, the evil Habu bag. I pulled it out to finish but then realized I had to locate the instructions somewhere. After a rather quick look through my knitting bookcase I found it, yea! With the pattern in one hand and tapemeasure in the other I realized that I am only 1 inch from finishing the widest and slowest part of the pattern, after that just the strap to do! It's nice to realize that you are further along in a pattern you hate then you realize. At the last guild meeting someone made the large ring bag from Interweave Felts, they didn't like it, but wow, my grandmother would, I almost wish I was making that instead of the silk/paper bag, ugh.
Not much else going on, still doing some work for the ditzy jewelry designer, had an interview at a company I really like, and have been enjoying the snow.

Now that's good snow!


Hand knit socks feel good when it snows!


I made a couple of the Calorimetry head bands, I really like the concept, but I think it needs alot of adjustments. The pattern said to CO 120 sts, but I only did 100, and also went down to a size 6 needle. I have to problems with this pattern and it's my heads fault. I have no back bump, or at least one big enough for the band to grip, same thing with my heels, I can't wear shoes with a thin strap over the heel, it just won't stay. I also no longer like the ribbing, keeps stretching the headband out. I think with some left over grey wool yarn from John's Urban hat I will take the basic design, 100 sts, short row it every 6 sts so it's not so wide, start and end with a purl row and then just make it stockinette with a twisted knit stitch. Does that make sense at all??
I was glad to get a comment from a stranger about my blog posting on photographing food, see, I'm not the only one.