Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Holiday Adventure

Knitting and gardening have temporarily been interrupted to bring you this holiday adventure tale, courtesy of DH and the intrepid Buddy.  Hope you enjoy it!

ICE GATOR!



Ice Gator relaxing on the bench




Ice Gator hears some noise and heads to the frozen pool to hide




Ice Gator does his Apollo Ohno interpretation - Go for the Gold, Ice Gator!



While relaxing after skating, he hears the approach of an Alaskan beauty...hmmm





She doesn't notice Ice Gator




Careful now, just a little closer....




Ice Gator goes Ninja.  Careful, Alaskan beauty!  Look out!




Ice Gator makes his move!  Gotcha!



I'll stash her for lunch later.




Back to my hideout across the frozen pool.




Slow going, but I'll make it.  Wait!  Is that Buddy the Wonder Dog?




It IS Buddy the Wonder Dog.  Can I keep the frozen girl away from him?




Oh, no!  Buddy sees the Alaskan beauty's predicament and readies himself for battle.




The Alaskan beauty is saved by Buddy the Wonder Dog.  CHEERS!




It's all in a day's work for our hero, Buddy




Monday, December 21, 2009

A Matched Set

There just might be a few collections around my house.  Candles, martini glasses, menorahs, baskets, yarn, and fiber all seem to have plenty of company around here.  One of the other cupboards that is crowded is the mug shelf in the kitchen.  For years, we've collected coffee mugs from places we've been, and I enjoy the conversation that ensues when I use a selection of these for coffee at a dinner party.

Ever since the Princess started college last fall, my desire was to get the last college mug so I could complete the set of the kids' schools.  For Chanukah, she brought me my coveted mug.

Behold the story of our kids' higher education, as told through the mug collection.



I love it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Challah for the Choliday

Lucky us!  The Princess learned how to make homemade Challah a couple of weeks ago and treated us to a loaf or four when she came home.

She and friend Ben were whirlwinds in the kitchen to a spectacular result.  We had the first loaf for dinner the first night of Chanukah, Ben took a loaf home to his family, and two more are in the freezer for our family last night of Chanukah dinner tomorrow.

Here's a little photo journal of the Challah experience.
























Happy Holidays to you!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Vacay(s)!

Since my whole post just disappeared, I'll try again!  My absence from the blog hasn't totally been out of laziness, but vacations!  In mid-October, DH and I flew to Florida, where we embarked on a week-long Caribbean cruise.  We left from Fort Lauderdale, stopped at Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Grand Cayman, and Costa Maya.  Without writing a whole travelogue, I'll hit the highlights with some photos.  Hopefully they will stay put this time!

The ship was big:



Are we having fun yet?



Knitting was done

















On Grand Cayman, we went snorkeling from a 78 foot catamaran.  It was fun; the water was crystal clear and there were lots of colorful fish to see.On the way back, we stopped at a beach where rum punch was served by crew members in inner tubes! It doesn't get much more convenient than that!

















We had a couple of formal nights.  No photo of the Malabrigo shawl being worn, but here's a shot of it on our balcony.  The cream colored Mystery Shawl was worn a couple of times.  It's so cozy!

















This chef enjoys his food...and it was good!



We had an "exciting" bus ride on Grand Cayman but ended up at a lovely beach restaurant for lunch, then visited a turtle farm.  It was great.
















































Costa Maya was so interesting - we went on a visit to the ruins at Kohunlich, which was a 2+ hour bus ride (Mexican bus) from the harbor.  It was worth it to see these thousand-year old ruins, though.  A very educational (and hot) day.




















When we arrived back in Florida, we left on a short driving trip through part of the south that we'd never visited before.  Next post will cover that - I'm through fighting with blogger for today!





















Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In My Room.....

Once upon a time, there was a college boy who lived with us.  He went away to school, he traveled to Australia for a semester, then he returned to us for the summer.  The summer dragged on and on and his room got messier and messier.
















He finally found an apartment to move into, and moved from our house on September first.  Shortly thereafter, I claimed the room as my own.  It didn't start out much better than when he lived here.












But the stuff I was moving in was much more exciting (at least to me) than the stuff that he'd moved out. After cleaning, carrying, storing, shopping, and arranging, my new yarn and fiber room was complete.














I have a lot of my yarn displayed in these shoe organizers.  I know it's not the best way to keep the yarn clean and dust-free, but I love being able to look at it and touch it whenever I want to.





Buddy likes to visit my room.  He has a blanket to sleep on in here now.







I love my room.  I wish I could spend all of my time there.  In a perfect world.....

Monday, October 5, 2009

We Interrupt our Regularly Scheduled Knitting Content

for a quick commercial message.

We own a condo in Palm Desert, CA, which is available for vacation rentals.  It was previously listed on a vacation rental website, but we decided to take it off of there this year.  So I have started another blog which details all of the amenities of our condo and gives contact information.

We have lots of availability for rental this winter, so please check it out and contact me if you are interested in a trip to the sunshine sometime during the upcoming cold season.  It's a great place to visit.

There's a link in the sidebar, or use this one: Palm Desert retreat.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What I Learned at the Fair

Ever since we've lived in this house, we've gone to the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe, Washington most summers. When the kids were little, they'd go on the rides, we'd watch the pig races, look at animals, and of course eat lots of scones. As my interests evolved over the years, I've enjoyed looking at the displays of fresh produce, flavored vinegars, and flowers. I always love looking at the handmade quilts that are on display and the knitted items caught my eye the last couple of years.

In reading blogs, I noticed that some people actually entered their knitting into the fair! Of course, people have to enter or there wouldn't be anything there to look at, but I always thought you had to be some kind of expert to enter. I was reading Yarn Pirate last year and she entered some handspun yarn and items knitted from her handspun into our own Evergreen State Fair (she lives an hour or so north of me.) Last year I was interested in seeing her work, so I made it a point to find it and see how she did. She had ribbons on her items and that got me thinking that maybe it wasn't so far-fetched for me to actually enter something of mine.

So I looked at the entry categories and dug around in my closet and came up with two items that I thought looked impressive enough. One was my Kauni cardigan and the other was my Pillars of Fire socks. (Ravelry links) The socks were ones that I didn't think I'd messed up in any way, they're made in beautiful Wollmeise yarn, and I hadn't worn them much so they still looked new. The cardigan always gets a lot of attention, so I thought it would be a good entry.

I filled out the forms and turned them in. When the fair opened, we went out to see how I'd done. The knitted items were in one room and were mostly in glass cases. The handspun items were in another room, and were displayed on shelves, hangers, and dress forms. The handspun area was what I'd remembered from last year, not the encased-in-glass knitting display. Here's a photo of the area last year.




Anyway, we looked in the cases and found my stuff. The cardigan had a white ribbon on it and the socks had a blue! I hadn't won one of those great big rosettes that say "best of category" or "best of show", but I was happy. Ribbons from the fair! Woo-hoo!




Buddy was a little too close when I went to take a better photo of my socks. See his feet?


When I went back to pick up my items, I understood more about what goes on. Each item is judged and an evaluation form is filled out by the judge. I thought they just looked at the item, decided whether it looked cool, and awarded ribbons. Wrong. They really rate them on lots of categories; finishing being a very important one. I found that I had received 97/100 points on my socks, being graded down slightly on degree of difficulty, presentation, and because they noticed the end that I'd neglected to weave in. Oops.

It seems like the ribbons are awarded based on points; so there can be multiple blue or red ribbons in a category. The big winner is the person who gets the rosette, I guess. You can see that lots of the socks in this case have ribbons on them.


My sweater was a different story. I received 72/100 due to "technical errors". This meant that they really looked at the outside and the inside of this sweater, which was the first colorwork I'd done, and the first sweater in the round with steeks that I'd done. I'm not that good at finishing, and this judge totally knew that! So that's what I really learned - how the judging works. It's not enough to enter something that looks nice; it has to be technically perfect as well. (An aside - the judge spelled steek as steak, so too bad I can't get points for spelling.) This was so helpful for next year, since now I know the judging criteria and I can choose a project to enter that is more carefully finished. Probably not another sweater, but you never know!

I'd really like to work on my spinning until it's good enough to enter something into the handspun category. In a forum post on Ravelry, the Yarn Pirate declared that she wouldn't enter the plain knitting category because it was too hard. So I guess my stumbling in and entering and winning a blue ribbon was beginner's luck. It's sure whetted my appetite for next year. I want one of those big fancy ribbons!

Since we can't finish the post about the fair without showing some of the other essential items, here they are. Goats, scones, and Elvis. I hope you had a chance to go to the fair this year and that I've encouraged you to enter something. It's fun!