Friday, November 30, 2007

I'm a student!

Well if 3 Sundays in a row at a community college county as being a student, well then I am. I just enrolled my self in a beginning millinery class over in Redwood City (bit of a drive) for the end of Jan. to Feb 10th! Yeah I get to learn how to use hat blocks. Not that I could ever afford them, but hey I'm pretty hand with wood tools. Like that'll ever happen....
But aside from the hellacious week, it's the weekend. My big plans are to make a fruitcake and hopefully some of my fabulous raspberry jam. I've been sitting on frozen raspberries since the end of the season in August, and man is my freezer ever full. It's not only berries in there though. There's a butt load of plums from last year that I never jammed, and I should try try try and get to those this weekend also. I can't wait the kitchen is going to smell so yummy.
In other endeavors, the purselette to match the hat, well she is finished. Aside from the chain handle that is. Next time, perhaps pictures. The husbeast took the wonderful USB of Gimp~togo away from me, but has promised to give it back eventually (you know when he's done with it) . Perhaps the weekend will give good promise of light. Lord knows the evenings are rather lacking lately.
Ahhh I am still listless, I think that may be the term that applies to my mood. I'm trying though. Soon I shall be back to normal. I believe a bit of this is to be blamed on my ho hum attitude to the change is holidays. It's just soooo sudden, really the day after All Hallow's Eve they were putting up the Christmas favors, and I'm just not ready. Really though that's like 2 months of Christmas, not 12 days.!
Cheers and go have a good snog this weekend, I insist!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I got nothin'

So ironies of ironies, my bff emails me, yeh you know who you are, and she's all 'Everything alright' ~Since I've been so quiet lately. Just in case I was being too quiet, all is well. I'm still a little mopey but a lot of it has to do with the Allergy meds. It's either an allergy or the onset of a cold that just has me pooed! The ironic part of this is that she hasn't even written a word in like ever... but that's just my little jab from where I sit. Now if only I could remember where I left my little inter-spacial-dpn's to poke her with at her desk. Wouldn't that just be great. You could poke someone in the hand with a little knitting needle through your computer screen... oh just so you know I'm claiming the copyright on that little invention.

I've been busy. The kind of busy where I had house guests, moved the last motorcycle from the old roomies ! Woohoo. Oh and if you ever think it's a great idea to marry a man with 4 motorcycles, and none of them work; well um, yeah, at least mine still works. And then there's the finished capelett, which has been blocked and is beautiful. I also made a pair of elbow length mittletts, which I call the uber mitts, in the same yarn. As the hat is made just as yet not photographed, well I'm a slacker. Reason being is that I'm working on a matching purse (to the hat) and want to get it done and right before I shoot them all.
In other words I slack big time.
I must say that one of the highlights this weekend was Dickens Faire, over at the Cow Palace in the city. I always get lost going around and around and through the rooms. From the moment I got out of the car up until the last moment we were leaving, it seems as though I got nothing but compliments on the latest hat. Oh and have I mentioned that the pheasant plume on it was sooooo tall that it tends to bend in door frames! Seriously tall. I felt as though I couldn't move my poor head much under it though. I am rather glad it had a test run before the ball, as I found out that all the accoutrement made the topper a bit off. It needs a comb to better stay in the hair. And I experimented with loops of elastic instead of a head band, and well it needs a comb. I hate having to adjust the poor little bugger all day long. Aside from all the great booths and neat people I really like Dickens. Finding a proper dress for Dickens may prove to be difficult. What can I say, I'm just a Renn Faire reject! Oh and we accomplished our goal of finding and purchasing the most wonderous and most perfectous leather masks for the Ball. Mine is white and a bit feathery in design. The husbeast though, gah, gorgeous workmanship. I've been eyeing this proprietor's work for the better part of 10 years, and am proud to have a handmade mask from Peekaboo masks. Unfortunately the man doesn't have a web address, but he is always to be found at a Nor Cal Faire.
I promise to be back with picts. I'm just so tired and lazy, and making excuses. Soon though, soon.
I need to get going on a few more hats also, as I'm sure the young gentleman is looking for his, and well who knows who else out there requires a mini topper of my creation.
Cheers anon til then.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Welcome Back

Hope all had a lovely Thanksgiving. It certainly was nice having 4 days to do things, and nothing. Sooo, back to traditional work. I'm going to go mope... but have a great day otherwise.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

And now for something new.

When I say new, and something; well they refer to me finally grasping the concept of short rows. Yes the elusive short row is now a comprehension of mine. And get this, I finally get short rows. Hey did I mention that short rows are something I can mark off my list of something to comprehend. Yeh, great.
Evidence of short rows.... it's one of two under ruffles on the capelet. And yes the second underuffle would mean that the capelet would be nearly an FO. Only nearly because there are still a slew of ends that need tucking in. I had a shot of the collar w/ me in it, but unfortunately I deleted said pict, and yes it was cute. But there will be more.
Besides knitting on the capelett like mad, I also made my mum a pair of matching mittletts and Sweet Mary Janes. Sooo cute, and both such easy knits.
Done just in time for her birthday and her trip up to my brothers for Thanksgiving. They should be there in just about an hour's time. Gosh I bet it's real cold up there now. It was freezing when the husbeast and I were there for Hallow's Eve. But what's one to do but recognize the sheer beauty of winter in all it's great coldness. Just that many more sweaters one can bundle themselves up in.
We're off to the husbeasts parents house, always good food and great company. I still remember the first time I went over there to meet them, his dad pulled out a huge binder of scavenged and rummaged images of communes throughout the 60's that he's still compiling. They are strange hippy Christians ... but very nice folk.
Hope everyone else enjoys their Thanksgiving. (that is if I don't come back before then).
Cheers for now.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Is it my turn yet?

Ah the struggles for sanity. You know, the personal kind. The kind where you contemplate the benefits of a career and/or a family. Timing is a key element to this whole thing that revolves in my mind. The questions of timing are what keep me on my toes. When, how the hell do I ..., and to what. If I want a career in a particular field of art, just where the hell does one begin. Of course the right answer is with a portfolio. Well I'm working on that one slowly but surely. I need to have more deadlines, harsher critiques on myself, and eventually perhaps some classroom time to hone the particular techniques I lack.
I envision tables of dyed and felted fabrics, wool with silk, or even forms to shape the fabrics to... So much to be done but again it's time that seems to elude me and mock my efforts. It's times like these that I feel like *just a crafter*. Times like these that I prefer to be a creator, a maker, an artist in a world that needs designing. I want to be that eccentric, you know the older woman with the wild hair and curious outfits. I want to be the one that identifies something different in the world and marks it as something familiar and like-kind.

My husbeast is precious. He is strong for me, and he is rather giving for reasons I can't quite put into words. I feel as though he will be able to afford me the time and space needed to get these ideas out of my head and into the real world. He is patient with my Filbert-gibberty manners. He is precious and pushy when need be. If only he knew just how adored...
But here I am to bring you the latest news in my current millinery endeavors. This is la petite chapeau styled for the Venetian Ball coming up in December for the husbeasts outlandish software company. It is still as yet unblocked, and unstyled. But alas ze is sewn. I do swear that the hardest bit is the back seaming. I finally figured that if I angled the fabrics that I would get a straight seam. Still it took a bit of fidgeting and well it is just about spot on when it comes to the lines meeting up. But that's nothing a little stylization, and some ribbon would come in to benefit. I believe I trim this one in browns, so as best to match the dress. And I am still as yet undecided about what else to adorn it with. Perhaps some pheasant plumes and certainly some vintaged brass would be lovely. I like the way the the framed hat is horridly mad hatter like. Right now there's just some cardboard for rigidity. So we'll see how the final piece comes out in the end.
I still have all those little cotton mushrooms I need to put onto something. Or things I should say, as there are 50 to a package. Yoinks so many!
Tonight I may finally get my truck back from the body shop. Again this is where I shake an angry first at the stupid flock of turkeys!
And also I finally get to knit downtown. You should have seen me jonesin' last week, all just to knit in public.
Cheers and here's to a good nights sleep tonight *crosses fingers*

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The proof is in the Pudding...

Mmmmm, pudding. Have I ever mentioned that I love Tapioca pudding. It's my absolute favorite. All those little bubbles of squishyness, yum.
But this really isn't about pudding is it now.
So what you see here is evidence of my knitting related injury. Yes it's true I have shoulder-itis. Ah so painful. But I have used 5 balls and am onto the 6th which is depleting faster and faster as this monster grows. It really is a quick knit.
But sadly last night I hurt so much from knitting on this the previous evening, that I had to pick up a needle and thread and begin on the hat for the ball. As evidenced by my horrible phone pict, yes these two items are relatively the same color. The hat, ahhhh how I love the fabric I found for it. It's just so wonderful and such a color that I find peaking out all over my house. At first this was to be vertical stripes that would find themselves coinciding on the brim, top, and the vertical part. But alas big, thick, chunky stripes don't like to converge in nice, pretty lines when they need to be sized down considerable from the top of the hat to the base. So sadly I cut another piece of precious fabric and placed the stripes horizontally, which really does work for me still. As you may see from the pict, I am at my stopping ground, as I had reached the back seam to la petite chapeau. They are always the most difficult to manipulate. But fantastically the sewing has gone rather quickly, as it's nearly finished from one nights work. I would estimate that a hat may truly take 3 nights to construct. Damn this day job!
And soon my loverlies I may have real picts to show again. The husbeast had a wonderful epiphany the other evening when I was whining to him how he's rather ruined my computer (he did warn me not to move it into the home with him...) and he realized that he had a computer program that I could take to work with me and use it also on my home computer. It's called Gimpshop ToGo. And it's a free plug in that doesn't require any software to be installed onto one's work computer. When I'm done with the pict I'm working on, I just save it to the little card-thingy, and go home, viola, c'est fin! So this GIMP program is just like Photoshop, but not as easy to navigate, but it's free so if you can't afford the $$$$ for photoshop, or don't have a hacker friend (hey wait I married one!...) then you can use this great program. There are help books out there to give aid when using the program also. I believe the link provided may give anyone interested enough info...but if not don't ask me, I just do what the husbeast demands. (Well, he doesn't really give me a choice now does he when it comes to actually buying software, now does he.)

Monday, November 12, 2007

a hat for all seasons.

It was another eventful weekend around East Bania here. For one I finally got to go shopping for some essentials. Essentials like material for my Venetian Ball hat. Did I mention that the husbeasts company is throwing a Ball in the big city on the 8th of December... at a rather fabulous hotel, very riche and posh. Thankfully he gave me the invite immediately and now I am finally preparing. Being in the style of a Venetian Ball, that means we get to dress in fancy costumery! Something I absolutely adore. He's leaning towards being a penguin, the Linux goofball that he is, and well I'm aiming for some sort of winter inspired woodland creation.
So far my colors are a periwinkle/slate palette. And the dress is being shipped as we speak. Joy. I decided Saturday that I CAN and I will make the Casual Glamour Capelet I've been eyeing for so long. So I went shopping at Article Pract in Berkeley, and grabbed 13 skeins of the most softest and most glorious yarn I have yet to knit with. It's 100% Baby Llama, in a worsted weight. It's also a newer yarn,

See that, that's Mirasol Miski yarn from Peru, in shade 101, which is very winter in color, and very pale, and very pretty. The great thing about this company is that proceeds from the purchase (well some of them) go to educating the kids of the village it hails from and making a new school for them.

I've gone through 2.5 of the 13 skeins necessary to make this, but since I started it on Sat. and it's now Mon. I believe that's a great start. *crosses fingers* The pattern for the capelet is super easy, just knits and purls and some YO, and eventually some short row shaping. Aside from grabbing the yarn Sat. I went and spent a pretty penny for a yard of fabric that I believe may be perfect for the matching hat. Picts to follow.

And then,.....

Dicken's begins on the 23rd of Nov. You know, Dickens just like Renn Faire, but in Edwardian garb! And the mask maker will be there, and I'm dragging the husbeast along so we can grab a few leather masks for the Ball.

Yes and now I realize that I have nothing better in my life than to plan for future events. Oh well, at least I have fun preparing for them in the mean time. Well nothing else, besides replanting my garden from the old house into the front yard of the new house. I think it looks great, and everything will grow in rather pleasingly.

Cheers for now. Happy knitting.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Cookies, woohoo.

'Tis that time of the season, where the persimmons are ripening on the trees just so, but doncha know it's persimmon cookie time. Oh yeh, sure.
My version of Persimmon Cookies was from a typical recipe, but since we've just moved and I left all the regular flour in the old freezer, well I improvised.
Persimmon Cookies
2 ripe persimmons, pureed
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
Dissolve baking soda in persimmon pulp and set aside.
Sift flour, spices and salt together, set aside.
Cream together butter or margarine and sugar until fluffy, beat in egg and persimmon. Stir in dry ingredients. Stir in nuts and raisins.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

So it seemed that all the recipes I googled were relatively the same, so this is the first one that came up...
I used Irish butter from Trader Ho's and doubled the batch since I had 5 persimmons.
The puree was the worst part of the entire experience as my little Cuisinart attempted to burst my eardrums with it's shrill motor. Seriously the sound was deafening and kind of throbbing while it worked. Yeh it's a rather new acquisition.
I also peeled my little Fuyu persimmons before I pureed them. Nice and crunchy they were though.
The flour I used 3.5c of wheat and .5 of self rising. They were really squishy and somewhat like bread. I'm not sure it that was from the self rising or if they're normally like that.
I also adjusted the cooking time to 20 minutes.
With all said and done, I'd have to say they were rather yummy. I believe there would have been more of a persimmon flavor had I used the standard Asian one, Hachiya, but I have yet to steal any of those from an old neighbor's tree!

Onto the knitting tails...
Last night I trudged through and struggled with the puddle formerly known as the Hemlock Ring blanket. And I may have won. There was a ton of swearing, much drinking, and perhaps even a little shaking (in a corner perhaps more rocking than shaking..), and now there are 2 rows that I give up on and am planning on just tinking back those two to get it back to where it should have been were I paying attention to my knitting. I swear I've never worked so hard to get so many extra stitches where there were none before. But it'll work, or I'll be damned.
Secondly a huge thanks goes out to Alyson of the Yoyo Knits. I am the proud owner of new Noro, via a sale she pointed over at Woolgirl. Yeah, 5 new colorway of the Noro Silk Garden. I swear by that yarn. So loverly and wonderful and colorful. I'll be making a few pairs of slippers with some this time around I believe.
Oh and did I mention I'm back on Ravelry, yes my work has finally unrestricted my access. My belief is that some big wig higher up, or such is a knitter and complained that she/he couldn't get on. I was hoping someone eventually would. Take that Big Brother!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Knee Deep in Hemlock

and when I say knee deep, I mean knee deep in some major surgery. See I was getting into a groove last night while watching that horrid Superman Returns movie (yeh still no cable~still cool by me though) when I looked at the last set of stitches before a new row and realized that 15 stitches is no where near the 36 that all the other set had. So a plan was devised and instead of putting it off for tonight, I ripped, and I ripped and now there's 24 rows that need some attention.
Those are them on the holder, I practically had to rip back to the beginning of Jared's pattern for the feather and fan section. Turns out that I was off by 1 stitch somewhere after the first repeat. Yes that 1 stitch turned into 24 rows of reknitting. I must admit though that I'm kind of stoked that after these 7 years of knitting that I am confident enough to be able to fix such an erroneous mistake without ripping the entire thing to the frog pond, not like I had to last Thursday. That's right I've really been working on this since Friday morning while our leaky pipe was being fixed.

Now onto figuring out how to get to work on Friday. The only day of the week the husbeast and I don't carpool since I work at 1 in the afternoon, and he doesn't. Turns out my truck won't be done until Friday morning, I decided to get the dent on my hood fixed since there are no turkey's in our new neighborhood. Yep that's right Turkey's damaged my hood with a pecked dent about 1/4" deep, and numerous scratches otherwise! Not quite as bad as the husbeasts though.

So in other news, while waiting for the husbeast last night, I made my way to Beverly's crafts and picked up some consolation fabric, it's kinda cool but still not what I need for the next hat, this is just for something in the mean time.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Talk about crafting spazz's

I know what a horribly unoriginal post, and title as it's already been done by KnitSonya yesterday. But really she got me to thinking, and then last night as I was organizing the house yet some more, I was just rehashing all my crafting junk. And all my non crafting things that I still have no idea what to do with. You know those things that accumulate and stick around for the just in case some day scenario where I may be able to figure out what's what. Well those bottle caps are the majority of them, but there are more in the kitchen, it's like they're breeding. I can't even envision what they could become. I have used some in art projects before, but that wasn't much, and that wasn't that cool. Perhaps someday I'll show you. I liken that project to an artists tambourine. Yeah......right.
Then one Halloween I was at this huge, rad, weird party up on the hill. I sat on a couch and opened the abandoned plastic bags, and oh my do you spy what I found looking up at me. A multitude of eyes... no really.
It was thousands upon thousands of eyes! In all manners, and shapes and colors, ok 4 different kinds. And well there were tons and I gave away handfuls at a time. This is what I carried home with me, after I put a few back into their place on the couch. I do believe there was some sort of free sign with them, so fret not over my thieving nature.
All these little things, what to do. And mind you there are stashes of these things all over the house. I am trying to keep them to a minimum. But I just can't throw out my junk. I may need it some day... I .. just .....know it. Oh well they can be humble-ized by sitting on top of my fridge in a huge jar in the meanwhile.
In knitting news, here's the latest on the newest Hemlock Ring blanket. This is done in the loverly cascade ecowool, on size 9's with oodles of stitch markers. I love knitting this, I love what it's to become. I can't wait to make more.
That's it I must go now, cheers.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Slimey, Stinky, Snake!

Well hello and welcome back from the foray we call the weekend. So was yours eventful? I know mine was.
Let's start with Saturday, shall we. It was a rather good day I must admit. We made two full loads in my truck and transported 6 heavy barrels and an assortment of up rooted plants. There are still 2 barrels (one is a pond) and a few other things. But man are those dang barrels heavy. And trust me those hops really don't need all that dirt ~ they didn't even grow that well this season. To the ground with them I say, to the ground with them!
Then later that night was the old roomy's birthday BBQ. That was rad, but weird for reason's I don't think I should go into, but let's just say some hopeful female I know has very little tact! I mean whining to me that she may have made the wrong choice at someones Birfday cele, ahhfg. What the fuck. I believe the phrase is a ~modicum of decency, please. (In other words, act with some honor and tact, and like a woman should)...
Then, then there was Sunday. The Sunday where we finally broke down and went washer and dryer hunting. Not my fav. thing in this world. We went to 3 different places, and settled on the one where I locked my keys in the truck in front of. This is not the first time I've done this. So it was a very long day, and we didn't go with the GE's I was eyeballing, and we didn't go with the whirlpools the hubeast was wanting, but we settled on the Frigidaire set that was an improvement on the Whirlpool, but a better price than the GE's. And we paid no tax due to some sales promotion we lucked in on.
I really want to talk about the first sales man that was trying to steer us the way he wanted us to go in the buying process, but his cologne stunk just as awful as his tongue slithered. And yes he was a liar and a snake. Oh my was he ever. I really don't even want to relive the experience so I shall save you the details. I was really happy when he had his fourth (yes, we really were there all day) set of clients on and about the floor when we walked up to this nice, and quiet older gentleman and asked him if he was free. Well wasn't he accommodating and forthright with us. Such a relief! I couldn't get over the pict of him and his wife with afro's on his desk -how cute they were together and just starting out back in the 70's.
That was my weekend, well despite the update on the new Hemlock Ring blanket, I'm into the feather and fan repeats and how fast it goes. I love this blanket, and I love the softness of the cascade ecowool. It's so cost effective and lovely to the touch. I can't do anything but suggest this wonderful wool. 500 yards people, that's a lot.
On the hat front, since I had my dog, and my mum's this weekend I didn't get to Stone Mountain and Daughter for the fabric I need, nor did we get to Ikea (probably a good thing) and I didn't get to sneak off to Urban Ore for the Cast Iron thing I've been wanting, or to see if it's still even there. But it was productive nonetheless.
Soon we may have DSL. But I haven't whined to the husbeast loud enough over it yet. I don't really feel like I care to at this point.
Oh and evidently Meh is just the sound of the cat mocking the entire creative world. I'm just saying.
And I reallllly miss Hero's...

edited to note, a huge thanks to my BFF, for pointing out that Monarchism and modicum are two very different things. And if you happened to see the dictionary on my office desk earlier, you would know that I really had tried to find that elusive word, but failed miserable, because well just cause I said so! That's why.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

2 beers and a Commission later

Last night was cute enough, we ended up going downtown briefly. But it was great because I got to see one of our long lost friends who has been hiding out in the Portland area for almost a year now. Welcome back Jordan. If only I were 7 years younger, and if only I weren't married. But he's just the sweetest little punk rock kid you've ever met. Big heart, deep scary voice!
How's bout's some gossip! Yeay, well turns out that the roomy finally found a lady friend at the huge All Hallow's Eve bash we missed while at my brothers, and she's a long time friend, and the best bud to his youngest brothers girlfriend. I've only been trying to hook them up since last Tahoe Renn Faire, what was that, May? Jeesh, at least they made the effort themselves! Woohoo congrats old roomy! (there goes 5 years of celebacy out the door.!)
And last but not least, because I was wearing my latest hat last night, that I have yet to show in completed detail, well I got another commission. And this time it's from a BOY of all people! How rad is that. He was sporting one of those mini-mohawks and big brassy sunglasses, and a horridable English accent ~we got on famously! So the commission is to be grey and purple stripes, and I'm thinking it should sport a long pheasant plume. It'll be so cute. I can't wait. Oh and get this, I had him try on my hat to make sure it would stay with the clips and elastic, and it was no problem. I love it! Now I get to barter for a very rad painting by a wonderfully talented young man! Woo hoo.
Yeah kindda excited to do another hat.
Not that I don't have another one already lined up for the husbeasts company Winter Venetian Ball in December. I'm thinking of doing mushrooms. You'll see, uber cute.

Tonight is the Beer Bitch Meetup, but before that we go to look for a washer and dryer. Eh ghads I can't wait...all my stockings are getting rather ripe.
Cheers for now. On the needles a bit of frogging on the Hemlock Ring blanket.