Tuesday, December 30, 2008

...More Christmas

I missed all my knitting buds so much while I was up in Connecticut, slaving away for my mom! I have been dancing in the streets of Philadelphia, celebrating being home.

While in Simsbury I did get a small chance to interact with knitters. I went to the Simsbury Stitch'n Bitch at the Starbucks and spent some time with Rachel (rav link) who was knitting a snazzy fair isle beret. I also had what Jeannie called a "play date" with Bev. I had such a great time with her, hopefully if the girls do a road trip to Stitches in Hartford in the fall, you'll all get to meet her. And Julie (rav link) from Creative Fibers stopped in to Say Cheese for some fromage...I immediately recognized a fellow knitter from her sweet fuzzy armwarmers. She told me about Creative Fibers after-Christmas sale. Jeannie and I dutifully went shopping and did our best to relieve their inventory!

Part of my Christmas present to Muffy this year were some ornaments for her tree. I knitted up a bunch of covered glass balls with leftover sock yarn and gave her a few.

I also made her some adorable garland from recycled Christmas cards and clear nylon thread. The garland is super easy...I used a huge circle punch that I bought at Michael's. You punch out the circles, use glue stick on both back-sides and sandwich the nylon thread between.

I spaced the circles out about 3 inches. Its green and every other color under the sun. Some of the circles were fussy cut, so there are cute little faces, etc. on them. They give a great splash of color to a tree short on ornaments! Start saving up your Christmas cards...


While at the parents, Muffy and I rummaged through drawers in the guest room closet and found bits and pieces of our childhoods...an AEPhi sweatshirt from college, my graduation dress from high school, Paddington Bear, Raggedy Ann, and my much loved, lumpy baby doll Drowsely. Drowsely once had beautiful silky yellow blond hair. Much love and over attention had turned the 'do into a Don King look. Mom tried to salvage the hair years later...now she looks like a deranged monk. I think she should have stuck with the Don King 'do!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Finally, a white Christmas

Its been a long time since we have really had a white Christmas in CT. Days before Christmas we had two big snowfalls, great for the holiday visuals, bad for retail. I spent the weeks leading up to Christmas working at the cheese store my mom manages. I now know more about cheese than just Velveeta...I can even recommend a strong flavored brie or a milder one...how 'bout one with mushrooms for an earthier cheese. Are you impressed? I certainly am!

My parents have tons of deer in the woods behind the house. This visit, they frequently came down into the yard. Artemis and Tosca got quite a show...these guys are seriously bigger than squirrels!

Artemis is all about being in the center of the Christmas morning festivities.

Tosca is terrified of Christmas and for the second year in a row hid upstairs all day. She even refused to come downstairs for some attention and admiration when the guests showed up for wine and cheese before Christmas dinner.
This little guy has been in our family forever. His paint is disappearing, a side is broken in...but he still makes me smile. I love him.

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and Santa brought you everything on your list!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Its all about me.

Dear friend, Jen, has commanded me to titillate you all with seven things about me....mwha ha ha...
  1. My senior year in college I rounded up a bunch of co-conspirators and sorority pledges and made lime jello in the fountain at the Cathedral of Learning.  FYI, it took 4 cases of jello.
  2. I can recite from memory the Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey. 
  3. My one cat, Artemis, was never properly weened.  After 14 years, she still sucks on my left ear....slurp.....slurp....slurp.
  4. I was born at the beginning of the baby boom after the JFK assassination.
  5. I have arches in my feet that you could drive an 18-wheeler under.
  6. I once got stuck at a one-star "hotel" on top of a Swiss Alp, trying to view the Matterhorn.  It was the beginning of July and there was a blizzard.  For the record, I don't actually think the Matterhorn exists.  Its just a painted cardboard set that they occasionally pull out of storage and photograph....I'm just sayin'.
  7. I am currently amongst the ranks of a bozillion unemployed Americans.  Anyone know of an opening for a SAP business analyst??  I hear its all about networking...
I choose Robin, Andrea and Mick to play along.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Washoe


Last Thanksgiving this sweet bag of bones showed up at my uncle's home in Nevada looking for some attention and food. He had no collar and a bad case of fleas. If it weren't for the fleas and a holiday schedule at the vet's, there is a good chance that he might have ended up in a suitcase bound for Philadelphia. My uncle lost a black cat, Midnight, several years ago. I think Midnight sent this fellow to fill in the gap. The kitty stopped coming around shortly after I returned home. Broke my heart, cause I thought he was so close to being let in the house.

Well, he made it through the winter and started coming back around late this spring for some grub and conversation. He is quite talkative. By the end of the summer he'd been in some bad scrapes and needed emergency surgery at the vet.


All fixed up, he is now completely in control of the house. No longer scrawny, he looks like a bowling ball in a fur coat. My uncle has named him Washoe. He is a great cat, full of love, with a great purr. He also has no shame and not a trace of kitty aloofness.

It was great to get to know him over Thanksgiving. I am back to a trio of black kitties to love!





Monday, November 17, 2008

Meme time, meme place

I have been tagged for this Book Meme by Robin, the intrepid traveler.

The rules for this meme are:

Grab the nearest book

Open it to page 56

Post the text of the sentence on your blog along with these instructions.

Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the closest book.

My book is Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon. The book is hanging out on the shelf by my computer awaiting its fate...sold on half.com or passed on to a friend to read. Let me know if you are in the mood for a fun, charming murder mystery.

The fifth sentence on page 56 is: "Not for the first time in his career, Brunetti reflected upon the possible advantage of censorship of the press."

I'm now supposed to tag a few other bloggers to do the same:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fun with Jeannie...

or how not to wear a beret*

Golf anyone?

Snoods are back in fashion, aren't they??

Don't have a paperbag or lampshade handy?

French chef hitting the wine or eyepatch alternative?

The Queen from Alice and Wonderland

Ahhhhhhhh, now that is so much prettier!


*Berets are Ysolda's Gretel and the Purl Bee Beret


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lago Atitlan

Returning to our previously scheduled adventures in Guatemala...


Muffy and I spent the night of my birthday at a very special place, the Casa del Mundo on Lake Atitlan. The guide books love this place and who can blame them? Truly, if I were to return to Guatemala, the Casa del Mundo would be why. The only flaw we found with the hotel was poor lighting in our room. Oh, and the huge, HUGE muffin sized spiders that were hanging out on the wall by my bed. The booklet in the room said not to worry, they weren't poisonous. Just really massive.

The hotel is very eco-friendly, even the water is solar heated. So in the spirit of the place I chilled out, and became spider friendly. I know, rather surprising isn't it? As I said before, Guatemala was a growth experience.

The hotel is so relaxing...hammocks on porches, terraces, a wood-fired hot tub, books to borrow, games to play and really yummy food. Dinner at the Casa del Mundo is served family style and all the guests sit down together for a candlelight meal. The experience was lots of fun and so civilized after the prior day's chicken bus trauma.

This Lace Ribbon Scarf was my choice for travel knitting. Who knew this scrumptious soothing shade of Mini Maiden would be the same color as the beautiful Lake Atitlan?

And that with all the wild bright colors of Guatemala, this lovely shade of blue would be the one to follow me home and take over my knitting? I have been very busy since coming home, working on adorable DC's Trellis Lace Capelet in Rowan 4-ply Cotton. Funny how the color reminds me of something.




Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tree of Happiness Meme

We interrupt the previously scheduled installment of Lisa and Muffy's most excellent Guatemalan adventure to bring you this short meme...

I have been tagged by the crafty Carina to do the Tree of Happiness meme. I sort of forgot to do the last one she tagged me with, so I am trying to be a better blogging friend :) I am tagging these lovely people: Marissa, Andrea, Minders, Sherry and Jen. The Happiness Tree sayeth that you must list six things that make you happy. These are six of my happy bringers:

1. Beautiful weekends in the city, when nothing is so pressing that you cannot spend the day on a park bench in Rittenhouse Square reading, knitting, watching the dogs and their owners and gossiping with the other "regulars."

2. My two little furry balls of love, Artemis and Tosca. Yes, Artemis, I still love you even though you bit off the skein of Mini Maiden and buried it in my bed the other night.

3. Hamburgers...medium rare...caramelized onions...I'm just sayin'

4. My girlfriends. You all know who you are! And am including a shout out to those too, that I have only met in this electronic world.

5. The Olympics. I have been an Olympic junkie for as long as I have memories. I love the wild pageantry of the opening and closing ceremonies, the drama of the competition and the heroic achievements of the athletes. Its a big two week emotional drain for me. Boy, am I wiped out. I am also happy that tonight is the end, now I can look forward to 2012.

6. And today I met and fell in love with my friend Amy's little girl, Danielle. She has really grabbed my heart. Sorry, Jeannie, I listened carefully, but there was zero ticking of the biological clock.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Chichi and the Chicken Bus Ride from Hell

or the continuing saga of Lisa and Muffy's most excellent adventure.

Chichi, emmm Chichicastenango, is famous for its large Mayan markets held on Thursdays and Sundays. We left Antiqua on Saturday afternoon for the 5 hour trip up into the highlands.

Unfortunately, we had to take two chicken buses to reach Chichi, with an absolutely horrific transfer in the driving rain that left us soaked to the skin. Our first bus was fortunately a cushy ride to break me in gently. The connection found us on a bus with people three deep in each seat and packed like sardines in the aisle. We were the tallest of the sardines...I know...Lisa tall?...how could that be? Well, Mayans are rather short in stature. So that put my bottom directly in their faces...nice, huh? For three and a half hours, I not only had to hold on for dear life, but concentrate on not farting in any one's face.

The highlight of the chicken bus ride to Chichi happened when rounding a curve way too fast. The lady sitting directly behind me did not just brace herself against my ass, but grabbed a whole hand-full and held on way too long. Muffy and I cracked up, she was mortified.

Once we made it to Chichi we changed into dry clothing and headed out for dinner. Lots of yummy tortillas, chorizo and the best hot chocolate.


We got an early start at the market, kind of walking the perimeter, before diving into the heart of it. The market is not just handmade items for sale to tourists, there is also a lot of commerce going on in raw materials for the crafts, like this yarn stall. Beautiful colors, but it was really crunchy.

Chichi was my first introduction to street/market food with a tamales for breakfast. What I wish is that I had a picture of the hurt expression Muffy adopts when haggling with vendors...the you wound me to my soul by over charging me look...priceless!

Unquestionably, my favorite part of our visit to Chichi was sitting in the Iglesa di Santo Tomas. Listening to the quiet prayers of families, watching the rituals of lighting candles for the dead and leaving offerings of flower petals and liquor. It was so calm and peaceful compared to the pushing and shoving crowds outside in the market.

There are more Chichi pictures here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Guatemala, Part I

I have just returned from Guatemala, where I was traveling with my sister, Muffy. She was there for two months, studying Spanish and traveling; I joined her there for a week.

It was quite an adventure, and certainly more of a growth experience than relaxing vacation. Muffy has pronounced that after this, my friends are no longer allowed to call me prissy. Are you all taking note?

The Guatemalan countryside is gorgeous. This is the rainy season, so everything was so lush and green. The countryside stands in very sharp contrast to most of the towns and homes that you see. It seems that this is a country with an extremely small upper and middle classes and an overwhelming amount of poverty. It has really put my life and how lucky, blessed, or however you want to put it, I am, into perspective. It also gave me an even greater respect for my sister and the time she spent in the Peace Corps in Benin.

We spent my first night in Antigua. This was a gentle insertion into the country...very touristy and not very crowded. We stayed at the UmmaGumma Hostel, a colorful funky little place. I had my first encounter with a Guatemalan spider hanging out in our sink. I squealed, I shrieked, I let it live. See, I said it was a growth experience.

For me, the most beautiful part of Antigua was its ruined churches, victims of numerous earthquakes. La Merced, one of the city's main churches was undergoing a renovation inside. The altar area was a blinding display of gold and silver gilt...way over the top for my taste. We did watch some of the restorers at work on one of the side altars and it was cool to see the new gilt being revealed. La Merced though was not to my taste and confirmed my love of Pisan-Romanesque churches.

There were some lovely homes in Antigua that seemed to be hiding even more lovely courtyard gardens behind their walls. I loved this orange flowering plant that covered this rooftop. There are more pictures here of my time in Antigua.

Stay tuned for part two!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Maude

An allegory for knitting my Maude...



Yup, after a rocky midpoint...brain farts, an inability to understand directions and the english language in general...Maude and I have been running joyously down the hill, arms flailing wildly, and giggling maddly.

Knitty D, darling, get over it, embrace your Maude and run headlong down the hill!

Blogger is not letting me post her pictures...booo...come see her at knitting circle.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mutant

What a wonderful weekend I had! Saturday I met Stacey at the Ant's Pants Cafe for a yummy brunch, with mandatory sweet potato fries. Then we headed over to La Va for some knitting. Our Maudes are looking lovely, but how can you go wrong with acres of Koigu? I am almost at the half way point and the short rows. Hope I don't mess it up.

Andrea came over on Sunday for brunch and sewing. She made scrumptious blueberry muffins, and I tried my hand at an impromptu quiche.

I figured how wrong could you go with six eggs, milk and a ton of swiss cheese? I took my cues from swiss cheese fondue and threw in a bunch of nutmeg and a glug of Kirsh for a little whooo-hoo. The thing puffed up like a huge souffle, absolutely brilliant. Fortunately it tasted pretty good too. So, that is not the mutant of my subject line.

I cut out a layered skirt by Amy Butler and Andrea played with the serger. The machine was misbehaving in embarrassing fashion. The back loop stitches were all loosey goosey and sluttish. We threaded and rethreaded, tightened the tension, loosened it, and called Jeannie for her advise. She recommended a repair shop.

Andrea got it working within her acceptable limits and finished off one of her Piddleloopish bags. She gave me a 5 minute tutorial and fled. I was left with my prepped fabric and a third of a bottle of champagne. Well, champagne should never be wasted.

WARNING: never drink and use a serger. All mistakes are permanent. Here is my mini mutant.

It's actually quite cute, despite the goof. Fortunately it was on my second corner so I could repeat my error and make it symmetrical.

Despite its odd shape, it still held a big ball of sock yarn, and almost a whole sock on DPNs. I think it would be much better with circular needles. Guess I'll have to take up the Magic Loop!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What's making me happy...

Friday's experience as the "human pincushion" turned out
not to be an issue on many accounts:
No shots in the bum(yeah!)
The cutest male nurse with the best touch...
what, you're done already?
No bruising, no soreness.
Turns out knitting is an excellent way to
keep your muscles moving to disperse the vaccines. Who knew?
And the best (sorry, Robin) it cost me zip, not even a $30 co-pay!!!!!!!!

On the way home, I stopped at Eastern Mountain Sports.
Another charming young man (and you know how I love them)
helped fit me for a backpack for the trip.
Guatemala here I come!

While I was tromping around the store with a weighted backpack,
I found these adorable shoes!!
OMG, they're Crocs...
Sherry, I think your hubby would let you
out of the house in these.
Uber uber comfortable.
I may buy more...just sayin'

And I have finally conquered the Baby Surprise Jacket.

Take that Elizabeth Zimmermann!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Aux armes, citoyens!

Yesterday the good citoyens of Philadelphia celebrated Bastille Day. Yes, I did say Philadelphia.

Philadelphians celebrate by storming the Eastern States Penitentiary. The rabble comes armed with many things... muskets, single shot pistols, pitchforks and pool skimmers. The festivities kicked off with God Bless America, followed by a rather weaker rendition of the Marseillaise. We really needed a french Kate Smith to lead the way.

The banter between the leader of the peasants and Marie Antoinette (with her huge bon-bons) was particularly funny this year. Or the sound system was better so I heard more of the punchlines. The script is always very current, possibly written that morning. They did note a drop in local joke potenial now that John Street is out of office.

We are still waiting for Marie to meet her end, not at the guillotine, but by toppling drunkenly from the ramparts of the prision. But please, Marie, for the love of all things French, what are you doing swilling Korbel? This is your last day...wouldn't you want to go out with a bottle of Perrier Joeut Fleur de Champagne?

Every year Marie's wig gets a little wiggier. I think she's been hanging out a lot with drag queens this year. I wish my pictures showed all the birds, mardi gras beads and assorted unidentifiable stuff tucked into it.

Madame de Farge's knitting celebrity has been eclipsed abit by the likes of the Yarn Harlot, Ve-Ve, Eunny and Elizabeth Z (damn that Baby Surprise). Regina, Marissa, Robin and I let her know that we still thought she rocked the knitting world. She very graciously took some time out of her demanding beheading schedule to pose with us for a picture.

This little girl's costume was awesome. She looked fabulous. And now I know what to do with all the left over scrap quilt batting that I have shoved in my trunk/coffee table.

But the absolute bestest part of the day...Tasty Kake is back!!!! Gone are the horrid Twinkies of the last few years, ta-ta Hostess, hello butterscotch krimpets. The little cakes hurt like hell as they hurled down to earth from the ramparts. But the sugar high was worth it, sans doubt.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Matter of Preference


The design element of the empire waistline came up as a topic last night at knitting circle. I have always pronounced the term ahm-peer, the French pronunciation, not the English way, em-pyre.


My sister Muffy would normally have told me I am being pretentious, but she's not around this summer. Kate stepped into the vacancy and called my pronunciation douche baggy.



Uhm, that's douche baguette to you, missy...

Monday, July 07, 2008

Turning Japanese

My weekend's highlight was a visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art's new Perelman Building. I love that the PMA has acquired this cool building, that was empty for several decades. I am a huge fan of recycling the beautiful empty buildings in our fair city.

Some gal pals went to see two exhibits, Fashioning Kimono: Art Deco and Modernism in Japan and Hello! Fashion: Kansai Yamamoto, 1971–1973. Quite the fun contrast.

My apologies for the sub-par photos, however they are remarkably good considering they are from my crackberry!

These two kimono were amongst my favorites. Both are hand tie-dyed using the shibori method. All of the lighter areas were created by tying off tiny bits of fabric....thousands of them. Talk about anal detail. The effect is stunning.



The Kansai exhibit was funky, baby! I wish they had more pieces on display, but they did have a wonderful video playing of a Kansai fashion show from the 70's. (BTW- nice to see models with a little meat on their bones.) The mannequin below is wearing a knit turtleneck bodysuit with a Kabuki mask on it....anyone relieved that I didn't see that in Vogue Knits when my taste was less refined?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

I am an intelligent person who can count to 100.

I have been knitting for many many moons.

I have knit many baby sweaters.

I love to knit with Koigu.

Many of those baby sweaters were knit in Koigu.

I think garter stitch shows of Koigu brilliantly.

All of my Koigu baby sweaters were knit in garter stitch.

So why am I getting my ass kicked by Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket?

Hubris.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mary, Mary...

....quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

Oh, my...I'm verging on needing a 12 step program. Watch out Meg, I am catching up to you!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Pesto?

Basil Part II has been off the needles now for weeks. This one took me a fraction of the time it took me to knit the first Basil. But true to Lisa-form, I really dragged my heels on blocking the blanket. And then dragged them again on posting my final pictures.


I think this pattern would be wonderful knit in most any finer gauge yarn. There is however an undeniable magic to knitting it in Koigu. Anyone else want to have a baby, so I can knit another?