Thursday, June 30, 2011
2. The Snowman, Jo Nesbo (library ebook) - Books on the Nightstand has mentioned this book several times, so of course I had to download it when I found it at the library. Norwegian crime fiction is apparently (thank you Steig Larson) on an upswing, and Nesbo's book is one of the beneficiaries. The only downside is that the translation occasionally seemed off - especially in the first half of the book. There was literally one chapter ending that stated something to the effect of "insert dramatic pause" and you just knew it was a mistake because it fit so oddly into the rest of the narrative. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this book a great deal, and I can only hope that US publishers continue to release Nesbo's work.
3. Caleb's Crossing, Geraldine Brooks (library audio) - I absolutely LOVED People of the Book, so I had high hopes for this one. It was good...but also disappointing. I love that Brooks once again tried to bring to life a slice of history. I was dissatisfied with the story and found the female protagonist to be (while likable) entirely too modern and self-aware for reality. Ah well.
4. The Bells, Richard Harvell (library ebook) The Bells is a great favorite of one of the cohosts of Books On The Nightstand. In fact, he mentions it OFTEN, and so of course I had to try it. It's now one of my favorite books, too. Historical fiction, fairy tale, love story, feast for the senses (especially your ears), adventure...The Bells has it all!
5. Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, Alison Arngrin (library ebook) My oh my, Nellie Olson wrote a memoir and I LOVED every minute of it! While yes, there was all sorts of fun backstage info about my beloved Little House (which is now beloved by my girls) the best part of this book is in the story of a child actor who grew up in a crazy household, had some really bad things happen to her, but was able to find healing before it destroyed her and then went on to use it as a catalyst for good. Argrin is funny, open and to the point, and I wish I knew her in person as she just seems like she would be someone great to know. (There are two other Little House memoirs, and I may have to hunt them down at the library as well.)
6. Dragon Keeper, Robin Hobb. Let me start by saying that I love Robin Hobb. Her fantasy novels have been among some of my favorites, and this one looked promising enough that I accidentally bought it twice. Now I can't get through it. Weird.
7. A Room With A View, E.M. Forster (Classic Tales Podcast) I think perhaps I've hit a B.J. Harrison threshold of some sort. I love him, and I love his podcast and all the great literary works that he's performed. But. I had trouble with this one. It seemed dull, and I don't think that was Forster's fault. It could be simply that Harrison does better with more masculine works and/or points of view?
8. In The Garden Of Beasts, Erik Larson (library ebook) Fascinating! I heard about this from several sources, and I am glad I read it. I think I would have liked Ambassador Dodd, although his daughter annoys and vexes me. My only complaint is that Larson spends too much time on the atmosphere of pre-WWII Germany. More historic details would have been a better way to convey how tense it was than constantly telling us it was tense.
9. Stardust, Neil Gaiman (my audio, performed by the author) I snuck this in before the end of the month. It's my idea of comfort reading, and I have no idea of how many times I have both read my copy of the graphic novel and/or listened to the audio. Quite simply one of the most perfect stories ever constructed, and Gaiman could read a phone book and make it sound fun.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
2. A quick perusal of my Ravelry queue shows more than a few colorwork socks in line. I'm going to have fun making some decisions! Even better, colorwork sucks up more yarn so that I'll have more leftovers for my blanket.....
3. I thought I would take a moment to expand upon how I hold my yarns in colorwork. As I said yesterday, until now I've always picked up the yarn, knit the stitches, dropped it and picked up the next yarn, and so on through the row. As you might imagine, this is a slow process. It did, however, allow me to learn to get a nice, even gauge with pretty floats in the back.
Again, I've always held the yarn in my right hand, tensioning it by weaving it over the index and ring fingers and under my middle and little fingers. When I knit my middle and index finger tend to squeeze together lightly to further stabilize the yarn.
What I'm doing now is that I tension both yarns as usual, but only place the working yarn over my index finger. The other yarn hangs loose to the back. When it's time to switch colors I bend the index finger, lower my middle finger, and then when the yarn drops off of my index finger I do a little scoop to pick up the other yarn. (Are all of you non-knitters thoroughly bored now?) It's a little bit faster and is helping me to adjust to the idea of holding both yarns at once. As of now I'm pleased with it as an intermediary step, but there are better techniques out there that I would like to learn.
In the past, I have tried to hold one color over my index finger and one over my middle finger...but that doesn't work because of the way I tension the yarn. Inevitably the yarn that goes over my middle finger isn't tensioned at all and goes all wonky. Also, my ring finger feels strangely untethered and starts to feel tight. Ideally, this would be my perfect solution, so I will be trying to figure out a better way to do this.
One fix is to hold both yarns continuously over the index finger and just shift a bit so that you use whichever you need without having to drop them....but this fix has eluded me. When I try it the yarns end up so close together that it's near impossible for me to separate out one from the other. There are gadgets to help facilitate this project, but I think they are silly and most likely am not going to waste my time on this technique.
The other fix is to hold one yarn in each hand. I'm not at all so good at holding the yarn in my left hand, though, and when you add DPN's into the equation my attempts have been largely bungled by not-so-unexplainable clumsiness. Ahem.
I would like to point out that the one thing working against me in all three cases is that I have 20ish years of knitting experience, and my hands long, long ago found positions that were comfortable and easy for them. I don't honestly remember the last time I had to think about what my hands were doing when knitting a project!
However, none of that means anything. The beauty of all of this is that there is a chance to change, old habits can be readjusted, new tricks can be learned and I intend to have found my perfect fix by the end of the summer!
I will definitely keep you updated.
Thanks to Kelley and Shelda for the conversation topics!
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
But what I really want to say about Aimee is that I love her honesty. Good, bad and ugly she will bluntly lay it out like it is....and thank God! There have been times when I've really needed to know that my reactions to certain situations are normal - even when those reactions aren't what society tells us they should be. With Aimee I feel completely safe being myself, and so I'm VERY happy to have a little piece of her in my blanket!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
And the pleats make me swoon.
Not only is it fully-lined, but it also has four roomy interior pockets.
Monday, June 20, 2011
A quick bit of research on the Internet sent me to the one store in town that carries the fabric that sets my heart to flutter. Lovely.
Any guesses as to what I made? or who the designer is?
Tune in tomorrow to see the fruits of my labor!
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Just a quick word to let you know that I haven't fallen off of the face of the earth.
Rather, last Monday my girls went to spend a week with my parents. Normally when this happens I either get sick (I have a terrible habit of getting very ill when I relax. That started in high school. The most annoying example would be when I came down with a really horrible case of vertigo the first time my parents took both girls for the weekend. Seriously, who gets veritgo?!) or I have to use the time to tackle a big project...like cleaning out the basement.
I am very pleased to tell you that neither one of those things has happened this time. Instead, my husband took the week off as well and we decided that we were going to devote the week to fun.
It's been the best vacation we've had in years.
We are not the kind of people who really enjoy travel all that much. It stresses us out, and quite frankly all of our fun stuff is here in our home. By fun stuff, I am referring to my husband's computers and my crafting supplies. Sometimes I wish we were different, but it is what it is.
Without our children, we've had plenty of time to unwind. We've gone out to eat almost every day (In fact, I haven't cooked once! Yay!), have spent as much time together as we liked, and have also had the alone time we both need so badly. My husband has been gaming to his heart's content - and has also finished another short story. I have made several goals with my knitting, but have also tried something completely different. (Post coming soon!)
Tomorrow I will be picking the girls up so that we can celebrate Father's Day.
And Monday I will be back to regular posting!
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
I had grand plans for this week, but they've all been derailed by a rather horrendous summer cold. The running joke is that if I didn't like kissing my husband so much, I wouldn't have caught it. Even my grandmother rather solemnly told me this morning that, "that's what you get for necking with those boys!" In my defense, he wasn't showing any symptoms at the time.
The good news - being this sick is an excellent excuse for staying in bed with my iPad to catch up on the ebooks I downloaded from our library.
The bad news - I went back to the gym on Tuesday for the first time in months to restart my exercise program. (This was mere hours before the first tickle in my throat started.) Not only did I have to miss a class I've been wanting to take for more than six months, but I also worked hard enough that my body hurts. Normally I enjoy this sign of hard work, but right now...well, let's just call it all bad timing.
So here are a few random things, and we'll all hope that I'm back up and normal in a day or two.
- We received a letter in the mail a few days ago to let us know that the Princess has qualified for the gifted program, EEE. (Extended Educational Experiences)
- I am, quite naturally, enormously proud.
- I can't help but also being a bit worried. One of these days I will have to write a post about my own conflicted feelings about my experiences with the 'gifted' label. It's not always good, folks.
- Thank you to my mother in law, who whisked the girls off for some fun at the pool today.
- When I posted the picture of the cats a few days ago, I should have given you the punch line. My husband's only request when we decided it was time to add a new cat was that we not get any more black pets. You will notice if you look back that I managed to bring home a tortie and a grey. Ha.
- Can I just tell you how glad I am that we brought home two new cats? I think the kitten would have driven us all nuts if she didn't have another young cat to wrestle with constantly.
- I'm back on my thyroid meds. Back in December I went to see my doc to tell her about the food allergies, and we decided to drop the pills for a while to see what would happen. After all, I had not noticed any improvement on them until I had my allergies straightened out. Alas, I went in for a follow-up test this week and my TSH level has gone back up by two points since then. It's still in the normal range, but the fact that it's rising is a definite sign that I need the pills.
- Granted, I have felt like dog doo for much of the last few months, despite having been a very good girl on my allergy diet. Hopefully this will be the last little puzzle piece to fall into place.
- The cicadas are making me nuts. The last time the 13 year cycle hit was prior to our marriage, and as I was living at the family farm I didn't notice them so much. Living as we do now - surrounded by trees - we don't dare go outside because they are so loud. They are actually drowning out the dreaded highway noise!
- Odd fact for the day - I like donuts, but I certainly haven't ever eaten them often....maybe twice/year or so. (They are, of course, off of the menu permanently now.) So why is it that I now dream about them ALL of the time? Strange.
Time for another nap.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
I had been contemplating making on for quite some time...but was never really happy with the patterns and designs I had seen. This beauty, however, was just exactly what I wanted...and the price was phenomenal!
For those of you who aren't spinners, a wrist distaff is a tool that you use to control your fiber when spinning. By wrapping the fiber around the distaff, you are able to keep it neat and manageable and can easily put it down if you need to. Already I am wondering how I ever lived without it!
I did want to also mention that this particular Etsy seller is a gem. She has incredible customer service and is very friendly.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Which is why it was so important that the girls and I went back on Saturday with my good friend Frankie Pooh and her kids! (Her kids being Cupcake and The Boy - the two I babysit.)
The stingrays are the best.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
tendency to make crazy-difficult garments for my children = lack of self-confidence as shown by a need to one-up other moms in the only way I know how (sad, but true) also love, also pride