Tuesday, November 26, 2013

WIP-it Tuesday...

...because I'm not sure when I'll have time to post again.

The Southern Skies shawl has been getting the most play lately. It's been so cold that all I want to do is snuggle under a blanket. The shawl is easy to work on when I'm bundled up. I just finished edging repeat number 41 of 58. More than 2/3rds done...YAY!

The Mediterranean Mermaid is on a temporary hold until after Thanksgiving. Here's what she looks like now:

Mediterranean Mermaid, as of 11/26/13

I'll stitch her face before going back to the hundreds of brown stitches in her hair.  I'm trying not to get bored with all that brown so I can continue forward progress.

The biggest WIP of all is Thanksgiving dinner. Tomorrow's schedule is full.
  1. Go to the grocery store early to get all of the veggies and fruit I need.
  2. Get Mr. Turkey into the dry brine
  3. Make the sides: dressing/stuffing; mashed potatoes; sweet potato casserole; jello mold (The Husband's mom likes that); gravy
  4. Bake desserts: pumpkin pies; cranberry cake; apple-pear galette (if there's time)
  5. Make Spinach dip (for Thursday and Friday)
Yup, non-stop cooking all day. The bonus will be that on Thursday I only have to worry about the turkey, vegetables, and last minute appetizers. Everything else just needs reheating and that's it! That will give us enough time to rearrange furniture and set the tables, and not be crazed by the time company arrives.

It took all weekend, but house is as clean as I can get it. There are a few last minute things to clean up, but nothing we can't handle on Thursday morning.

Mom thinks she's arriving in the 10am time frame, so I know she'll pitch in wherever.

I haven't cooked for my family in years...I'm really looking forward to this!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Eye Candy Friday and running headlong into Thanksgiving...

...we'd trying to get the house together for our dinner guests on Thursday. Part of "getting ready" included replacing some dead flowers in the courtyard and cleaning up the backyard. Not that we think that anyone will want to hang out in the backyard because it's been a little cold. However, it might be nice if it didn't look like the lawn was taking over the world!.

The Husband bought some replacement plants for the couryard. We have some bacopa flowers that will bloom for a while:

Bacopa bud

Some salvia:


and more salvia:

Salvia #2

The jade plant had decided to help by flowering as well:

Flowers on a jade plant

Up this weekend: Turkey Day preparation!  We have added 3 more relatives to the guest list and we're now up to 12 for dinner. It's a good thing I went ahead and bought 12 napkins, napkin rings, plates, etc.! We're very happy about it, though. It's the first time we've been able to have these relatives over for dinner, so it's very cool.

 I have a mile-long shopping list, most of which needs to be purchased on Tuesday or Wednesday. I've taken Wednesday off so I can cook as much ahead as possible.  Once I found out how many people we're having, I cruised the ads to find the least expensive 20+ pound turkey. Score 1 for Nob Hill! $14.99 if you bought $25 worth of groceries. Yup, a no-brainer! 

Since it's going to take a few days for it to thaw and I need it thawed by Wednesday so I can dry-brine it overnight, I went to Nob Hill last night. Mr. Turkey is now in the refrigerator doing his thing.  I bought a lot of the staples I need for the dinner and the makings for cranberry sauce. I always make the cranberry sauce the weekend before Thanksgiving so the flavors meld properly.

Most of the weekend will be spent cleaning--putting away craft items that have migrated to the living room, dusting, vacuuming, and mopping all of the floors. I'll have to mop the kitchen again, but at least I'll start with a clean floor!

I also need to wash all of the plates, glasses, and silverware that we'll use for dinner. My goal is to get as much done on the weekend, so Wednesday is all about cooking and putting the final touches on the house.

As long as the food is great, the rest of it will fall into place. Of course, I might get a little frazzled around the edges, but that's why there's champagne, right?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

WIP-it Wednesday...

...in which we have an almost-finished object, and two new WIPs.

The almost-finished object is the art yarn I did did at Spin-In. This is Verdant [Ravelry]:

Verdant art yarn, first look

I haven't determined how many yard there are and I estimate the weight is Bulky.

One of the new WIPs is Cazadero Mist [Ravelry] that I started at Spin-In:

Cazadero Mist handspun, bobbin #1

The other is a cross stitch piece. This is Hive by Shepherd's Bush:

Hive, as of 11/20/13

Here's the current WIP list:

 WIPs in rotation:

  1. Mediterranean Mermaid (cross stitch)
    Still stitching her hair. I may work on her face to take a break from all of the brown!
  2. The Night is Purple and Full of Stars (Southern Skies) shawl [Ravelry]:
    Stitching edging repeat number 36 of 58. I'm trying to do a few rows everyday so there is more forward progress.
  3. Carbonized Zombie socks [Ravelry]
    I'm still knitting the heel flap, but I'm within 5 rows of completing it. Can;t wait to move on to the next part of the socks!
  4. Cazadero Mist handspun  [Ravelry]
    Working on bobbin #1
  5. Hive cross stitch (see above)
    Working on the "V"

Waiting to be rotated in:
  1. Anasazi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  2. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Halloween Phat Fiber samples (spinning) [Ravelry
  4. Love Scissor fob (cross stitch)  - cycled out temporarily
  1. Going Snow Global quilt (quilting)
  2. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  4. Seaweed Cardigan (knitting) [Ravelry
IDJ (It's Dead, Jim)
  1. Watercolour Cats
  2. Watercolour Lighthouses
WIPs To Be:
  • A wall hanging (weaving) using the natural color handspun I did last summer
  • A peacock or mermaid quilt for me.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

unexpected activities...

...that was the name of the game this weekend.

On Saturday, I fully intended on doing the laundry and working on the cookie list. Instead, I spent the day going through boxes and magazines that were in our loft.

It started with the Husband saying we need to go to Goodwill with a couple of bags of clothes that accumulated. I agreed and asked him to hold off until I had a chance to look for a few things I knew were hiding in the loft.  Once I got up there, I had the urge to organize it. Whenever I want to organize, I know I won't rest until it's at least close to done!

The end result: The Husband had to make a special trip to the recycling center to get rid of 100+ magazines and other paper items that we no longer needed to keep. Goodwill got  2 bankers boxes of books, games and frames, plus 5 large garbage bags full of clothes, shoes, baskets, and stuffed animals. I blocked the cats' hidey hole in the loft with items that we are keeping, but don't need to have in view. We found the floor in the loft and can actually vacuum now!

I still need to go through the contents of the loft cabinets, but I'll do that after Christmas when they are not stuffed to the gills with Christmas decorations.

Sunday morning started with a lovely sunrise:

Sunrise 11/16/13

The other unexpected activity was a last minute Sunday Spin-In. It was a small group, but still lots of fun. I started and finished an art yarn (no pictures yet) and then started spinning a Royale Hare top.

I also started another Monthly Musing cross stitch pattern, called Hive. I love these because they go so quickly and are easy to see when your eyes are tired.

I hope to have pictures of the latest WIPs tomorrow.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Eye Candy Friday...

...looking forward to the weekend!

Today's eye candy is one of my entries for the company calendar. Every October, we have a contest to pick the pictures for our calendar. Employees and their spouses are allowed to enter three photos; the winner of the previous year's contest is not eligible.

Pink in the morning

This was the best of my three entries, but it did not make the finals. Oddly enough, the picture that I thought was the weakest of the three did make the finals. I didn't win...oh, well. At least this time I was closer! Maybe I'll make my own note cards with it.

Up this weekend: Nothing specific planned as yet. There might be a Spin In on Sunday, but nothing's been decided yet. Regardless, I will do some crafts at some point during the weekend.

I want to peruse the cookie recipes and get closer to the final list. I also want to work on the Thanksgiving menu. Actually, it's more the appetizers that I need to worry about; the main meal will be pretty much the same--we have it down to a science at this point. With more people coming this year, I want to make sure there are enough munchies to hold them while I get the meal together.

I've been buying some of the items I need during my lunch breaks. Yesterday I bought new tablecloths and napkins. Today. I want to scope out candles and decorations at Cost Plus.

I'd gotten out of the habit of retail therapy, so it's been great fun going to different stores and gathering what I need. Maybe I'll do more of that over the weekend!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

WIPs are like tribbles...

...they keep multiplying, falling out of cabinets, and appearing where you least expect them!

I found two more WIPs when I was looking for my cache of DMC floss. I was looking for the floss because I was hoping that I already had the colors I need for the mermaid's hair. I opened and emptied all of the cross stitch storage boxes. I didn't find the floss, but I found the partially completed Watercolour Cats and Watercolour Lighthouses. The designs are by Sekas & Co.--you can see pictures here.

I bought the chart packs in 1999. I have no idea when I started the projects as I did not write it down. I know: " Bad crafter! Bad!" At any rate, I took a good look at both projects and decided that they were no longer my taste and I would not finish them. Two more for the IDJ (It's Dead, Jim) pile.

Apparently, there is a Watercolour Dragonflies project hiding somewhere. I wrote that one down as a UFO in January of 2001. It will turn up when I least expect it, I'm sure.

I'm still looking for the DMC floss cache. However, for the sake of the current project, I bought the 4 DMC colors I needed to stitch the mermaid's hair.

Here's where the WIPs stand as of today.

WIPs in rotation:
  1. Mediterranean Mermaid (cross stitch)
    I have completed her torso and stitched the hair on the top of her head. I am now stitching the rest of her hair and there's a lot of it. I replaced odd blue highlights with lighter shades of brown, using DMC 838 as the starting point. So far, it looks OK. As I get more of her hair stitched and stitch her face, I'll be able to make a better judgement on the substitutions.
  2. The Night is Purple and Full of Stars (Southern Skies) shawl [Ravelry]:
    Completed edging repeat number 28 of 58--almost halfway! If I'd stop falling asleep in the middle of stitching a row, I'd make better progress!
  3. Carbonized Zombie socks [Ravelry] I knitting the heel flap and it's going slowly. Still don't like knitting the bird's eye pattern.
  4. Love Scissor fob (cross stitch)
    I have stitched everything except the people. I started the little man's boots

Waiting to be rotated in:
  1. Anasazi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  2. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Halloween Phat Fiber samples (spinning) [Ravelry
  1. Going Snow Global quilt (quilting)
  2. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  4. Seaweed Cardigan (knitting) [Ravelry
IDJ (It's Dead, Jim)
  1. Watercolour Cats
  2. Watercolour Lighthouses
WIPs To Be:
  • A wall hanging (weaving) using the natural color handspun I did last summer
  • A peacock or mermaid quilt for me.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

weekend report, quick hits version...

...because it's already the end of the day.
  1. I knit two more edging units for the Southern Skies shawl.
  2. I knit a little on the bird's eye heel for the Carbonized Zombie socks.
  3. I stitched a bit on the Mediterranean Mermaid.
  4. I would have done more, but Sunday was taken up by a migraine. It was so bad that I couldn't think straight. I went to the grocery store to get the ingredients for lasagne and forgot to buy cheese. Right...my brain was that messed up.
  5. Saturday was a kick! We took BART to San Francisco to see the Daughter teach her class for the Under Armour event at Macy's in Union Square. I don't think I said much about this, but our daughter has a sponsorship with Under Armour. Occasionally they ask her to teach at events, like the one on Saturday.

    Since it was so close to home, we went to watch. It was energetic, inspiring, amazing, and very loud! Everyone seemed to enjoy it, though. Here's a class picture--our kid's the one with the microphone:
Class Photo at the Under Armour  event 11/9/13

 Back tomorrow with some WIPs and IDJs.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Eye Candy Friday...

...TGIF! Today's eye candy is brought to you by the Autumn color-range--you know, oranges, yellows, golds.

This time of the year, we have lots of pansies blooming in the backyard and not much else.

Autumn pansy

and a waning pansy:

Waning pansy

A white pansy:

White pansy

and a yellow verdolaga flower:

Verdolaga flower

Yesterday's sunrise was interesting:

Sunrise, 11/7/2013

Up this weekend: The Daughter is teaching a free class for Under Armour at Macy's in San Francisco. I'm going to cheer her on!

The Husband and I have some planning to do as we found out last night that my mother, brother and his wife, and my nephew are coming for Thanksgiving. This is very cool as it's been years since my mother has come to us for a holiday and this nephew hasn't been to our house since he was very small. However, it means that we need to rearrange furniture and make sure we have enough plates, silverware, etc. for 4 more people. We have plenty of time to prepare and are really happy that they will join us. I have no worries that I'll have to make extra food as I cook enough for an Army anyway...

I'll fit in my normal errands and chores in where I can. Crafts will occur in the cracks. :)

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

WIP-it Wednesday, November style...

...the end of the year is fast approaching!

The one WIP that is getting lots of extended play if the Mediterranean Mermaid.  For some reason, I find it more enjoyable to cross stitch than knit, at least for now.  Here is what she looks like:

Mediterranean Mermaid, as of 11/6/13

Sometimes I wonder about cross stitch designers and their color choices. In addition to the odd blue color in this mermaid's hair, the designer uses two shades of brown that have such subtle differences that it is hard to distinguish them even under the Dazor magnifier lamp.  Seriously?  If I can't tell the difference under high magnification and bright light, will it really make the finished picture that much better when it's hanging on the wall? All it's doing right now is making me crazy while I try and figure out if I've stitched it "correctly." Guess I shouldn't care if there is a stitch or two in the wrong brown...

I've made a little progress on the Carbonized Zombie Socks. I'm working on the heel flap. If I'd been thinking clearly when I started this part of the sock, I would have remembered that I really dislike knitting the bird's eye heel. It looks very nice when it's done, but I don't like knitting it.

I've finished edging repeat #20 of 58 for the Southern Skies shawl. I keep falling asleep in the middle of a row, which does not bode well for finishing this shawl by the end of the year. :(

I've done a bit of fiber acquisition in the last month. I received my October 2013 installments for the Rockin' Whorl Club from Blue Moon Fiber Arts - one bump BFL and one bump Superfine Merino-Mulberry Silk:

Rockin' Whorl Club, October 2013

and for the ProVerbial club from A Verb for Keeping Warm - Lipstick 1 bump Merino and one bump Cashmere:

ProVerbial Club, October 2013

In addition, I snagged two Wild Card Blind Batts from the Yarn Wench: Gradient Violet (obvisoudly more purplr IRL)

Gradient Violet Wild Card Bling Batt

and Mermaid (I know!):

Mermaid Wild Card Bling Batt

Now I just need to carve out some spinning time!

Monday, November 04, 2013

October 2013 recap...

 ...a little of this, a little of that. One more month to get something finished before the baking frenzy begins!

  • 10/2 Bunnies and Duckies and Bears, Oh My! baby quilt (quilting)
  • 10/5 Pretty in Pink handspun (spinning) [Ravelry]
    Pink Layered batt from Caliope's Fibre;
    approx 50 yards, worsted weight
  • 10/13 Bulb by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch) 
  • 10/23 Be a Witch by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
  • 10/27 Windsor Denim and Chocolate handspun (spinning) [Ravelry]
    Merino-Tencel top (4 oz) from Royale Hare;
    134 yds chain-plied, 12 WPI
  • Books:
    1. Maddy's Oasis , Lizzy Ford
    2. Close Knit Killer , Maggie Sefton
    3. Always Running , Luis J. Rodrigues
    4. The Next Always , Nora Roberts
    5. Rebel Heart, Lizzy Ford
    6. Forever, Jacquelyn Frank
    7. Forbidden, Jacquelyn Frank
    8. Darkness Rises, Dianne Duvall
    9. Burro Genius, Victor Villasenor
  • 10/5 Carbonized Zombie Socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • 10/16 Be a Witch by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
Worked on:
  • Anasazi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  • The Night is Purple and Full of Stars (Southern Skies) shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • Love scissor fob by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
  • Mediterranean Mermaid by Mirabilia, originally started 11/6/11; restarted 9/1/13 (cross stitch)

Works In Progress, did not work on:
  1. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  2. Halloween Phat Fiber samples (spinning) [Ravelry]

  1. Going Snow Global quilt (quilting)
  2. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  4. Seaweed Cardigan (knitting)  [Ravelry

WIPs To Be:
  • A wall hanging (weaving) using the natural color handspun I did last summer
  • A peacock or mermaid quilt for me.  

Friday, November 01, 2013

First Eye Candy Friday for November...


I can tell when it's almost winter because the office air conditioning goes into overdrive. Everyday, it gets colder and colder. And nothing we can do about it as the ancient heating/cooling system in the building sucks...the thermostat that controls my half of our suite is in someone else's office controls. It actually controls 2.5 suites on this floor. Good luck getting everyone to agree on a temperature!

Today's eye candy is from my studio...well, from the courtyard outside my studio. I hung a birdseed sock from an arm of the patio umbrella. Lots of finches and sparrows come to feed at different times of the day.

Hanging out at the bird feeder

This guy was a little pig:

Mr. Piggy

And I never saw the front of the bird hanging sideways of the sock. He was probably the bird I saw hanging from his feet at the bottom of the sock, completely upside down,  later in that day.

Up this weekend: Originally I wanted to take a quick trip to the Monterey Aquarium, but they are having their Jellyfish Jamboree this weekend. That means lots of people and kids...no, thanks.

I need to go through my cookie recipes. We are one month away from Cookie Madness and I should start preparing!

Aside from my normal errands and crafts, I have nothing special planned.  Sometimes those are the best weekends!

Eye Candy Friday...

...and rolling into a long baking weekend. I'm completely loving the skies and clouds. 11/30/18: 12/5/18: Today was a co-w...