Monday, December 21, 2009

Knitting Knitting Knitting

I've suddenly had a second burst of desire to make more things for Christmas. This is six days before Christmas Day.

I've just had a trip to the craft store.

Please pray for me.

Edited to add: Actually, four days before Christmas. I was in denial. I need more prayers.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

One Handmade Gift

Well at least one person will get something handmade this year. I'll model it for you:

Specs: Size 9 needles, some kind of yarn with pom-poms attached that I bought at a chain store. I can't find the ball band, but that's where I got the pattern--it's just 15 stitches across, knitting between the poms (this was actually pretty difficult!). The person that this is for asked for something "soft and pink" and it is both! Hope she likes it. (Hope she doesn't read the blog...)

I can't share some other things, in case of pre-Christmas exposure to the intended gift-ees. ;)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

On her first evening off from school...

Shannah did absolutely nothing. She laid around the house, in her pajamas, reading her new crafting book. She took a long bath. She cuddled with Roxie. She watched the Christmas lights twinkle. She drank hot tea. She watched the Food Network on TV. She refused to learn anything productive.

She went to bed early.

And it was wonderful.

Just a little note to say...

...I've finished my finals...

...and just purchased this book...

Let the crafting commence! ;)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Random sort-of-Christmassy List

1. There are massive craft-related giveaways going on this week at the Sew Mama Sew Blog. Massive. I'm even being self-less and sharing the links. Crafty wonderful free goodness. :)

2. I am on a cleansing diet for this week. I hate diets. Hate them. Am becoming a rather crabby bitchy person on this diet. Christmas season seems less Christmassy when someone brings you a pecan tart and rather than eating it you have to put it in the freezer. Or you open your Advent calendar and are sad to find a chocolate. I see why there are feast seasons and fast seasons. Fasting in a feasting season is hard on me. But probably good in the long run, right? I'm building moral stamina and practicing self-control. Or something like that.

3. Just finished reading Beloved by Toni Morrison for class. You must read this book. And then read some literary criticism about the text. And then be blown away.

4. It IS Christmas season, isn't it? Here are some fun things that are related to that time of year:
-Go Elf Yourself and your family. (This almost caused me to do serious bodily injury to myself, due to lack of oxygen from laughing so hard. I'd share my video here but I know it'll be more funny with your family.)
-Make White Chocolate Holiday Hash. It's a crowd favorite. You'll love it. Especially if you're not on a cleansing diet.
-Remember Christmas traditions and think on them when you should be working hard. My favorite Christmas tradition when I was little was listening to a Peter, Paul, and Mary TV special with my mother while she, my sister, and I decorated our tree. We always had a real tree, a tiny little thing in a pot that resembled a Charlie Brown Christmas, and after it had served its purpose inside, my stepfather would plant it out behind the house. We still have a staggered line of pine trees out there--each one year younger than the one next to it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monthly Update

I see I last posted on November 1st, so here on the eve of December I post again.

Spent this Thanksgiving in Kansas and loved it. It was in the 60s there (I don't think this is normal) and I got to accompany my cousin's one-year-old on a wagon ride with his grandpa (my uncle). Also met the newest member of that family, who is very very small and still feeling serious about her entry into life. My family is ripe with United Methodist ministers on both sides, and I toured a couple of churches and it was really great to see the improvements being made and the growth there. I also ate lots of wonderful things (not just on Thanksgiving day) including several varieties of pies. I felt rather nostalgic traveling with just my mother and sister, the three of us together in Mom's SUV was great. I knit and talked and drove and talked.

Roxie had a lonely Thanksgiving at a "pet resort and spa." The "resort" gave me a Thanksgiving card with a picture in it that they'd taken while Rox was staying there. She looks so sad and a little stressed. She's slept it off, though, and seems no worse for the wear as she lounges beside me on the couch. It was too rainy yesterday for a really good walk, but we've had several cuddling sessions to make up for the stress.

Merry Christmas season! I am enjoying plotting planning for Christmas this year. Not as many handmade gifts as last year, I'm afraid. But it is fun to carefully think about everyone anyway. And there's always buying handmade things. ;)

Next Tuesday are finals for this semester. I am inordinately proud of myself for having successfully finished a semester of school while working full time. I've learned so much and had such a great time doing it. It's heaven for me to be reading and writing about and talking about great texts...and I'm looking forward to my Spring classes and my two Summer sessions and then... who knows? I'll have a Bachelor's degree! In true Shannah style, I think I'll ace my English classes (the hardest, senior level classes) and just do okay in the Freshman Political Science class. Is it bad to be so terribly one-sided? Maybe I should just go with what I'm good at and enjoy the ride? I'm classified as a "non-traditional" student now anyway.

I'm looking forward to a month without school where I can read not-as-good books and knit and sew and spend time away from campus, relaxing with the boyfriend and the dogs. Life is very good this year.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Some Knitting

Another good, quiet, productive weekend. (I do miss Andy when he's out of town, but gosh I get a lot done!)

Outside it's so beautiful. The rain has stopped for a bit (we've been positively covered in rain here, which would be nice if my car's passenger-side window rolled up all the way, but since it doesn't, well, we won't discuss it...), so now we have that fabulous in-between weather, where it's cold but not too cold, just warm enough that you only need a light jacket, and the leaves are falling off the trees in little wavy motions in the woods behind my apartment. Roxie and I opened the door this morning to enjoy the cool air and the birds chirping. We were interrupted by a cat fight immediately in front of our porch (I had to go sit on my big dog so she wouldn't jump the gate to assist), but even with the door shut we were able to enjoy a bone and some coffee, respectively.

This afternoon has been for studying and reading and paper writing. (Roxie has been napping and snacking and napping.) And also something else: knitting.

Note the needle size compared to hand size there. Yes, this is to scale. Those are size 50 needles! They're perfect for my busy life right now, where every stitch needs to count for fifty stitches...and they do. I've got a blanket more than halfway done in one day, for my friend's wedding next weekend (let's hope she's too busy preparing to read this, or doesn't care about the element of surprise). And I'm okay with the fact that this knitting isn't intricate or delicate. I still think of her and her fiance with every stitch, and it will still keep them warm this winter and many winters to come.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Evening

In celebration of the cool weather we're having, I've put on socks and a sweatshirt and turned on the oven. I made some vegetarian staples:

Lentil stew with fresh green beans, red peppers, tomatoes, and pearl onions...

...and chocolate/white chocolate chip cookies. (Aren't those a staple for everyone?)

Now, to eat warm things and read about feminist literary theory. :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

It Must Be Getting Colder Outside...

...for I've got on my hand-knit socks! ;)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Quick Status Update

Monday at Midnight:

Four page theater response paper? Done. 15 source annotated bibliography? Done. Outline for in-class paper on Hegel? Done (sort of). Bed? Nope, there's still some reading to be done. But, oh, a weekend with family was so worth still being up! :)

And it's always nice to be at home, even if the dog, maybe, has fleas and the sink, kind of, has dishes in it, and the trash, perhaps, needs to be taken out, and, supposedly, there's laundry to be done.

I say busyness sure beats boredom.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

So Long, Summer

Lightening shot down and it THUNDERED last night. Roxie stared out through the window into the darkness, thrilled by who-knows-what, wagging her tail occasionally. I sat on the couch and read a story by Nathaniel Hawthorn and some theories on Freudian literary theory and also a little Hegel and Austen. (Such variety of class this semester!)

Today, as is appropriate for the first day of fall, it is chilly here. I'm wearing my tights and my boots for the first time under my skirt since last winter, and I've had my umbrella out and a jacket on.

It makes me happy; it makes me think of last fall and anticipate my new fall ahead.

So, goodbye summer! Goodbye heat and beach trips and cherries eaten by the pound and little portable knitting projects. Goodbye dog panting beside me in the heat. Goodbye sweet iced tea.

Hello, Fall! It's time to dig out my sweaters and tights. Time to make soups and chili and lentil casseroles. Time to cover myself in hand knit things, in socks and blankets and shawls and scarves. Time to go out in the chill air and hike around the woods with Roxie and Raider joyously running ahead. Time to think about cooking and making things for others and taking little vacations to see family on special days. Time to stay up late with hot tea, reading a good book.

I'm from Texas, so I know the weather will go back up for a bit soon, but it is so nice, for today, to think ahead, to anticipate fall and winter spices, to pull out the heavy wool, and to open the door a little and let the fresh, cool air inside.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Good Company

A great weekend this weekend--it was pouring a soft, happy rain outside. I did all of my homework for the week and still had time to knit and sew to my heart's content. Andy was out of town, so I again had possession of his little dog, and there is no better company on a rainy weekend than this:

two warm sleepy dogs, ready to cuddle on the couch.

(I do apologize for the bad photo quality on the blog here lately. My camera broke (or ran out of battery?) on a trip to the beach and I've put it somewhere very safe--too safe--and so we are stuck with what I can get out of my fast-declining cell phone.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Why I Knit

I had a pretty crappy day today.

So here's what's healing me: big yarn on big needles, round and round in stockinette. I think I'm making a cowl to keep someone warm this winter.

I've covered myself with a blanket I made and I'm listening to public radio. I've got some hot tea brewing. All of this, and the rain falling outside, are helping.

I'm feeling warm. And healed.

In Which I Start Out Strong But Still Leave Out Any Craft-Related Content

I started a little redwork embroidery based on this pattern last weekend.

That's it. That's all I've got related to any craft activity. And my camera's broken. So if you were hoping for any crafting excitement, sorry. I just disappointed you.

But-let-me-just-tell-you-what. I have learned, this week, about Jaques Derrida and deconstruction.

Now, wouldn't you think that an English student in a major state university would have heard of this guy before, well, she had been taking classes for six years?

Well I had not.

And I find it almost insulting to think that, because I was a creative writing major, the aforementioned university felt that I didn't need to know about major methods in literary criticism and thought. Shouldn't writers, more than anybody else, know what is going on in writing, and why, and how?

Now I'm an English literature student in a non-major state university. And gosh, am I learning.

I don't know that I particularly like Derrida. Maybe I do. I'll let you know. As soon as I understand it...

So, there's a digression onto some literary territory. Next post I'll try to get back to something more craft-related.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

I'm Alive!

I'm not sure where I am, it's either driving: to school or from school, or to work or home from work, or to Andy's or home from Andy's.

Or I might be at a baseball game, like last night (Come on Rangers!).

But I promise, I'm thinking of crafting! And there's a long lonely weekend ahead.

So stay posted!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Words, Words, Everywhere

Today I have learned so much about captivity narratives and New Criticism and David Hume and Edmund Burke that my mind is full of language.

You've seen this before. We've all seen this before, but I am tired and fresh out of class and it struck me as a good sentiment:

"Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern; it will come out a rose by and by. Life is like that; one stitch at a time taken patiently." --Oliver Wendell Holmes

I shall embroider it onto a pillow.

Maybe tomorrow.

Tonight, I go to bed with the good kind of exhaustion. I am accomplishing a lot these days.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Flowers for School

See what was delivered to me at work today:

Andy scores again. He's the best. :-)

Introducing Shannah the English Major

Yesterday morning I left the house at 6:30 A.M., and I took my pink, purple, blue and brown spotted backpack filled with books, and I stopped for a tall non-fat no-whip Mocha from Starbucks, and I parked in the parking lot at my new university, and I was off!

I went to my first class, which is canceled for two weeks while the professor leads some sort of governmental emergency mission in Alaska. Not canceled in the sense that he didn't leave us any work to do, but canceled in the sense that I don't have to actually GO to the class for two weeks. I think this is a positive.

So I walked about campus, fiddled around in the student union, checked out the library, and sat out in the sun.

My second and third class were with the same professor, in the same room. I have American Lit and a kind of "baby theory" English class that I probably should have fought harder to get out of. Except: I'm really excited about both of them; they look interesting, and who doesn't need a good and thorough review when they've been out of school for two years?

Then I went to work.

Then I went back to school and faced what will probably end up being my most terrifying class to date. Literary Criticism. Part 2. My professor is vintage--she's been teaching at my school for forty years. She believes that she is doing us a great favor by ripping our papers apart. She loves Heidegger. She wishes the semester was only Heidegger, but they required she teach other things. She hopes that we will have great in depth discussions in class. For class on Thursday we'll cover selections from David Hume and Edmund Burke. Some light reading. As for last night's class period? I took four pages of notes.

Well, look here. I'm already learning! :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Check List

New Notebook. Check!
Fresh Notebook paper. College Ruled. Check!
Unused dividers. Check!
New Box of pens and pencils. Check!
New highlighters. Check!
Sticky Notes, pop up tabs. Check!
New backpack. Check!

School books. Check!

Dining room table turned into desk/workstation. Check!

House cleaned? Yes.
Papers sorted? Yes.
Clothes washed? Yes.
Backpack packed? Yes.
Lunch packed? Yes.
Coffee ready for one-button punch in the morning? Yes.

Well, I think I'm ready for school tomorrow. (Now, where did I put the car keys?)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Letting it Go

Last night I had a vision of myself as an organizing queen. I was going to sit down on my couch and go through two boxes of old papers. I was going to file them in clearly labeled folders, in order of date. I was going to be completely ready for school to start, with no baggage, with a new organizational method.

Did you notice the tense there?

It didn't happen.

What did happen was me, close to tears, with seven years worth of paperwork in my lap, on the floor, and spilling off the coffee table. No organization at all.

Now, at this point, I could have made myself a cup of caffeine-filled tea and plowed on through. I could have channeled my well-organized Grandma Mitchell and just thrown things away. I could have taken myself to task and whipped myself into shape and did all of those not fun things and had my past more organized with my present.

I didn't.

I made a cup of caffeine-free tea and put everything back into the boxes. On one I wrote "Misc. Paperwork 2002-2008." On the other I wrote "Misc. Paperwork 2008-August 2009" and then I put them in a closet. And then a started a new filing system and filed everything for the rest of August away neatly. And then I went to bed.

What can I say? I'm too tired to sort through all that crap. I'm moving forward. Highly organized from here on out!


(No. Definitely.) :-)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Quilt Paintings

Oh! Stop by Helen R. Klebesadel's website and look at her paintings of quilts.

I am in love.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rushing Forward

Why, hello, Blog!

Since my last post, I have been to another Rangers game, to Austin to visit good folks, and to the wedding of a dear college friend. I have also registered for four classes, changed my work schedule, familiarized myself with a new campus, and bought books.

And, I have, dear Blog, pieced all of the squares for a quilt, ironed them, and "squared up" about half of them.

I have knit a dishcloth. (Sometimes things are measured in little progresses.)

I have tried to bake two kinds of cookies (cranberry chocolate chip and chocolate/white chocolate chip bars) with great disappointment. But we ate them anyway.

So next week I return to college, full-time, to complete an English degree begun seven years ago. I am excited. I have three English classes and a Political Science class and a B I G stack of books. I went shopping this week and bought a new backpack with pink and purple polka dots, and a purple notebook I've filled with college-ruled paper, and lots of pens, pencils, highlighters, and sticky notes. I am ready.

I'll also be working full time.

So... here we go!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

On Piecing (Or, rather, on cutting)

After my successful completion of a tiny quilt in one evening, I was feeling very full of myself. I decided to pull out the quilt kit I bought right before I broke my arm, and figured that, in one evening, I could really knock part of it out. I had visions of needing things I didn't have, like more batting and basting pins.

Can you tell that I'm new at this?

Here is what I did get accomplished with the twenty-four fat quarters in the kit: washed them; dried them; ironed them; squared them up and cut them into strips.

That took four hours. FOUR HOURS. This is a LAP quilt, not a king size quilt.

But I was meticulous. Every one of those strips is close to perfect (except maybe the last four or five--I was getting tired and my back started to hurt...). As I cut, hunkered over the mat on my floor, I thought about quilting and how I was taking big pieces and cutting them into little pieces so that I could make big pieces again and I wondered at why I am so committed to making these things to keep people warm and whether it really matters and if this quilt would one day end up in a Goodwill with no one to love it. (My mind does wander.) And then I thought about our grandmothers and great-grandmothers cutting up pieces of their clothing to make something that would be beautiful and useful. I still have one with pieces of my grandmother's dress in it.

It's just awfully hard on this twenty-first century girl, having to delay gratification. I must learn to be patient and wait for beautiful things to develop, to take the time to cut perfectly, to know that the end product is worth all the time I invest in it.

I want to learn to do this with food, too, and my schoolwork, and, even, with my relationships. Because the best things sometimes take a while to square up, to cut just right.

I still have to cut those strips again, into squares, and then I'll begin the long (apparently it takes a while?) process of piecing. And then sandwiching. And then quilting. And then binding. And then I'll have a little lap quilt that will match my living room perfectly.

And it will be warm. And beautiful.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Doggie Day Care

Today is carpet cleaning day at the ol' apartment, so Roxie got to do something she's never done before. Doggie Day Care.

And they have webcams.

I don't just think she had a good day. I know she did. She looked out the window, sniffed butts, wrestled a little, and relaxed on the couch(see above). Periodically people came in and petted the dogs and cleaned up messes. Very cool!

Monday, July 13, 2009


Whew! Been a bit busy here.

I've been recovering from:
1. My poor knitting gauge.
2. A two-week visit with a wonderful friend.
3. A great trip to Kansas City with Andy.
4. A fabulous weekend with my mother.
5. The process of enrolling in school again.
6. End of month and end of quarter closings at work.

So, sorry about the non-posting there for a bit. I'm reorganizing the life here, preparing for fall.

Be back soon.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Oh Yeah Right

There comes a time in every knitter's life when she remembers something very important. Something at the top of every pattern. Something that every knitting book reinforces.


Apparently I'm knitting a sock for a child. And I've been knitting away. I've even turned the heel, you see, hoping that it would suddenly get bigger. It didn't. This is as far as I can get this sock on my foot:

And I have little, size 7.5 feet.

I don't know any children.

I guess this one is going to get ripped out and started again. Sigh.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


For the next two weeks, Roxie and I have a couple of friends visiting.

There's Otis.

And then there's another lap for Roxie to rest her head on.

In other news, Andy brought me back another great mug. This one is from the Spy Museum. It says "Beware Female Spies."

You do have to watch out for those...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Oh-klahoma... (Or Things I Love About Summer, Part 2)

...where the wind comes sweepin' down the plane! And the wavin' wheat can sure smell sweet when the wind comes right behind the rain...

Too bad I can't sing in writing--I can really belt it out. (Really. It's a family joke. They always stand a few feet away from me in church, to protect their eardrums. Long term exposure to my singing could cause hearing loss. At least I'm on key though...most of the time...well, when you sing as loud as I do you SET the key, so...)

I had a wonderful Father's Day vacation at the farmhouse in Oklahoma. I am lucky to have such a place, built with my stepmother's grandfather's hands. There were eight original children raised in the spot; they sat around a big table in the little dining nook and ate together. And now, it's a home full of wonderful memories for so many of us (when you start with eight, you increase exponentially!). It's a peaceful place, where you can hear the wind stopping against the house. It feels safe from the elements; it has a big basement. It's just...a sturdy old thing.

When we got in Friday crews were finishing up the harvest of my grandfather's wheat, and it was something to watch. Three threshers cutting huge swaths in the wheat. We went out later in the evening and watched them harvest at night. It was really something--spotlights on the field, grain dust blowing up in the air, reflecting light and looking like a fog around the threshers. I'm sorry my camera was broken.

Saturday I talked and talked and talked with family and friends and knit on my current sock project (they're Spring Forward from Knitty in Lorna's laces shepherd sock, "Franklin's Panopticon" colorway, in case you're interested). Being a vegetarian is hard on the farm. I missed out on some homemade fried chicken that looked awfully good (I kept running through the long list of reasons I don't eat chicken in my head the entire time my grandmother was cooking), but I had plenty of mashed potatoes and fresh-picked green beans and blackberry cobbler (from the garden's blackberry bushes). Sigh. Even the memory is making me feel satisfied. We played Farkle (my brother is a big fat cheater). We talked. (Did I already mention this?) We napped. Little brother and I went out and picked more blackberries to replace the ones that went into the cobbler. We ate a lot of them before we got inside. We went to bed late.

On Sunday, we all went to church together and I sat in the choir (I tried to tone it down a bit, so as not to hurt anybody's eardrums). Then to Italian food restaurant. Then, sadly, home. Good food and fun like this can only be had in small doses.

I had good company in the car, too. Brother and stepmother and I could solve the world's problems, if only everyone would listen.

The sock grew considerably. I took a picture on my phone, just for you, dear Blog.


OhMyGosh! (in a good way)

I just clicked over and saw that the blog got a "makeover" from my friend Abby. I drew the little sketch and then she improved it. In purple.

She's fantastic.

Isn't it gorgeous?

I think I'll just sit here and stare at it a while.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Things I Love About Summer, Part 1

1. Cherries. I have a story about cherries, see below, after the ***. But, aside from that, cherry pits make me think of summer break from school, lounging in the kitchen and spitting in the trashcan.

2. Seed spitting. (speaking of cherry pits) And watermelon seeds. What other time of the year are you allowed, encouraged, even, to spit?

3. Swimming. There's nothing like feeling that hot hot sun beating down on you and then getting into the water and feeling it splash over your skin and just...ahhhh. Summer essence, right there.

4. Fireworks. Even though it's not here yet, Independence Day is around the corner, and flashy displays will be everywhere. When I was a kid, they terrified me (once I hid in the bottom of my uncle's boat and cried while the rest of the family sat up top and ooo-ed and ah-ed), but fireworks have grown on me. They're celebratory excess of the best sort.

5. Snow cones. Like eating ice, but better. When it's over 100 degrees here, nothing cools you like a snow cone. Spearmint is the best, followed by mango and cherry.

6. Sock knitting. Hooray for wonderful, portable projects that can travel along with you on vacation and sit with you at the pool and rest in your lap while you eat corn on the cob.

***I did a little grocery shopping yesterday on my lunch break. Somebody in line, a few people down, asked me how much the cherries were that I was holding. I told him they were about $3/lb, which was on sale for half off. This sparked a big conversation in line that generally went along the lines of oh-my-god-how-could-you-spend-that-much-on-cherries. I really didn't think that $3 was that expensive. This one, ahem, larger-ish man was really kind of rude and I wanted to note that I was getting somewhere better spending $3 on cherries than he was spending whatever he was on hamburgers and french fries, but I didn't. Then the checker(!) said that you could almost fly to pick your own cherries for that price. I was really angry by the time I checked out. Who critiques other people's purchases at the grocery store?!?

Sorry to end so abruptly--I'll be adding more, soon, but unfortunately as I get older there's still work in the summer, and that's where I'm headed now!


Monday, June 15, 2009

Craft Fail

Have you seen this website?

I have a submission. I tried to make a laundry bag out of a pillowcase for Father's Day. My dad is leaving this week for a two week mission trip to Africa, and I thought it would be sweet to have a handmade laundry bag to take along. I picked out one of his mother's old pillowcases that I have, and went off to JoAnn's Fabrics to buy some twill tape. They only had black, and the pillow case was light green, but I figured I'd go with the flow. The entire time that I made this bag I thought it was a good idea. It wasn't. It's terrible. So terrible I couldn't bring myself to take pictures. Though I did go ahead and give the pillowcase/laundry bag to my father yesterday. I think my brother summed the thing up best when he saw it: "That's stupid. What is that, a pillowcase with some ribbon sewn on?"

Yes, Zach, that's what it is.


I did give my dad something wrapped up inside the pillowcase (it actually made a pretty good gift bag)--a leather journal that he can draw in. And yesterday I learned that there are parasites in the water in Africa that bore holes through fabric. Maybe my bag is destined for some bigger, more exciting adventure there, as a home to tropical parasites?


Friday, June 12, 2009

Knit in Public Tomorrow

Tomorrow is World Wide Knit in Public Day.

Don't miss it!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Has it been a week already?

Oh my!

I'll post something crafty soon. There has been a little knitting on a sock, a little knitting on another sock, and some planning for a project.

Last weekend some of this knitting was done on a trip to Galveston. My camera broke, so there are no pictures... :-(

Andy and I stayed at The Hotel Galvez which was just fabulous. Beautiful, old, right on the seawall. Sigh. I could live there.

We spent as much time as we could on the beach, either walking or swimming. (We burned ourselves something fierce, too, despite repeated coatings of sunscreen.) The beach is definitely recovered from Ike, as was our hotel, but we could see evidence of its destruction around the island.

Other trip highlights included the Rainforest Cafe (Which was quite the dining experience! I'm making a note to return with some children!), some wonderfully melt-in-your-mouth Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream (I had "Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road" -- isn't that a wonderful name?), and some pretty fancy sandcastles.

But our time in the water and on the beach--oh the beach--was the best part. It was particularly beautiful at night, with the moon reflecting over the ocean and the horizon disappearing into darkness.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Yarn Harlot

(Sorry about the pictures here, I forgot my camera and had to use my mobile phone.)

Last Friday, the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl McPhee was at Legacy Books in Plano, so I went to see her. (I read her blog every day, like everybody else does.)

It was amazing sitting there with about two hundred other knitters, all of us with projects on our laps. I am starting another pair of socks:

I had so much fun chatting with the others around me about what they were working on, what they wanted to work on, the best local yarn store, etc. I've really missed my knitting community since I moved.

And here she is (you'll have to click to make it bigger--she's way at the back, teeny tiny):

She is wonderful in person. Funny, laid back, Canadian accent. Just what I imagined. The funniest part was when she opened for questions, because they were all really personal. People asked about her dishwasher, her new car, her husband. How strange to have people so far away from you know such intimate things about you.

Now I'm reading her books (autographed, of course!). Very funny. Very good.


Monday, June 1, 2009


There was a casualty while I was at work today.

RIP toilet paper roll.


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Major Effort

I'm concerned about this week because watching two dogs is soooo hard. Look what I'm having to put up with this evening:



My New Coffee Mug

Andy bought me this a few weeks ago:

Because who doesn't need a little silliness with morning coffee or evening tea.


(Excuse me while I go clean the mirror...yipes!)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Go-Read-It Post

You absolutely must read this story of some photo albums found in a flea market: "The Eternal Sunshine of Fred & Anne". It's a testament to the power of photographs and the way that we interact with them.

(Found via this post on


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Celebrating Baseball Season

I am enjoying baseball this year. I'm no expert, and am probably embarrassing to go to games with sometimes. (For example: A few weeks ago I was trying to orient us to the stadium and asked someone with a "Can I Help You?" sign where Home Base was. She widened her eyes, looked at me, and then asked, "Home Plate?" Andy just shook his head sadly.) But I do like watching the game and I know enough to cheer (sort of).

So, in celebration of the sport (despite the Ranger's horrible loss to the Yankees when I was there Monday) I give you a find: Baseball socks. Occasionally I post a list here of things that "I would make if I had the time, but I am too lazy busy right now to think about seriously," and these socks would be on that list. The women's size, with the cool stripes. I mean, those stripes really are unusually cool, and the technique sounds interesting: "festive knitting."


Saturday, May 23, 2009


(I'm really enjoying this long weekend and all my crafting time...)

When I was digging through my supply drawers yesterday, working on the quilt, I found a bag with one completed sock and one 2/3 completed sock. So this afternoon, after minimum effort on my part, I give you:


Why did I wait so many years to finish these? They're fabulous, and they make me think of Mardi Gras.

Stats: Broadripple Socks from on size 3 Crystal Palace bamboo dpns (I love these, too, and don't know how I left something on them for so long--now I'm ready to start a new project with them!). The yarn is Jojoland "Kaleidoscope" (100% Merino Wool) in Color # HM09.

Now, I only have to wait until next winter to wear them, as summer has definitely come to Texas.


One Day Lap Quilt

Yesterday I made a little quilt. I sort of used the Purl Bee's "Sunny Tied Quilt" tutorial, but on a much smaller scale and with a few little changes.

Back in January, I bought a half-yard set of three Amy Butler fabrics from Home Grown Pillows.

When I laid them out to look at them the other day, I thought they looked pretty good together, and so yesterday I made a little trip to the store for muslin backing, batting, and wool yarn. I washed my fabric, pressed it, trimmed it, and sewed the top together. I pressed that, and then did as the Purl Bee said, laying out my quilt sandwich on the floor.

I marked the top every six inches and tied it together. (Note to myself here: I like how quickly a tied quilt can be finished, but I don't love sitting hunched over on the floor, struggling to push a needle through three layers of fabric and batting. I much prefer sitting on the couch quilting, even if it takes longer.) I trimmed the batting to match the quilt top, unpinned the backing from the carpet (I didn't have a tile floor to tape it to like the tutorial suggested) and cut it one and a half inches from the top and batting. I finger-pressed, folded, and pinned the backing over the quilt (this is all in the tutorial), took the whole thing to the ironing board and pressed it. I don't like the way the zigzag stitch looks in the tutorial, so I sat down and hand-stitched the border.

I took a bunch of photos before I washed my quilt because I was absolutely terrified that something would go wrong despite my pre-washing the fabric and testing the colorfastness of the wool I used for the ties.

(click to make these photos larger)

But it did survive the wash! And the ties felted in a fuzzy, friendly way that I like.

This quilt was so easy, and would be perfect for someone with limited knowledge of quilting. Perfect for baby blankets -- all you need is three half-yard cuts of fabric, muslin, batting, and wool yarn, and, in about 7 hours, you'll have a new little lap quilt to love!

This one's for me.



Last week, while I was suffering under this new development of allergies, I had good company.

Today when I uploaded pictures to my computer, I found these photos of Raider on my camera. He's a good boy.