Wednesday, September 26, 2007


My friend's dad died yesterday. We knew it was coming, cancer - brain tumor, but it still sucks. You can plan, and prepare and try to be strong, but when it hits it always knocks you out flat. Even though it's been over 5 yrs. since both my parents passed, I still don't know what to say except, it sucks and 'I'm sorry you had to join the club'.

I was able to clear my schedule and am heading down to KY to see her for the weekend. I wish I could stay longer, but I know right now she'll have plenty of support. In fact, it'll probably be a bit smothering for her - in a good way. It's the later part I worry about. I know people say it gets easier with time, but sometimes it's the time that makes things harder. 4 or 5 weeks or months or even years down the road, everyone elses lives have gone back to normal and you're still wondering when the big hole in your life is going to be filled.

With my life being so up in the air, I don't know when I'm going to be able to visit her again in person, so I'm really glad I'm getting to visit her now. I just wish there was some way I could make this easier for her.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

haircuts and bonfires

While Mike is gone, I've got a couple of friends living with me here in the house to keep me company. One of which has always had long beautiful hair, that came down to about her waist. She and her friend had been growing it out since they were little, and finally decided to cut it off and donate it to Locks of Love.

Here are some before pictures:


wait for it....

wait for it.....

some after pictures:

I really love it! I think it brings out her face and looks super cute. From her expression, she totally agrees:

It makes me want to cut my hair shorter. I had often heard that once you cut, you just want to keep on cutting. Now I know... it's true.

Last night was supposed to be knit-nite in Homewood, for my group here, but we had some brush at work that needed to be burned, so we decided to have a bonfire instead. It got pretty big, and we went through a lot of the wood, but there's still plenty left. You can see some of it piled up in the background:

In the meantime, I was trying to make sure the spirit of knit nite was still there, and brought my knit-lite needles with me. It's actually the first time I've really used them. Because of the flash, you can't see that they're lit up, but, Man! they're bright! especially the tips... note to self - don't point them directly in someone's face....especially your own. I learned the hard way, but only after my friends sitting beside me had to shield their eyes and remind me to point them to look where I was pointing them while knitting.

We had food:
and water,
but forgot cups - ah well - we made do.

Overall, little knitting was done, but it was a good evening nonetheless!

An update on other things on my needles.. I can't seem to get the head right on the giraffe. I'm going to try one more time, and then change the concept a bit. Right now, I can't get the sizing right, and it's not matching with the rest of the body. Once I have something I like, I'll post more pictures. But while I was visiting Mike, I did get the foot of my second Wavryn sock done - yeah!

Oh, and no word on the job yet. No news is good news right? right?.. right.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I love my husband

But I've missed him.

I finally got to see my hubby this past weekend, and it was sooo nice.

It didn't start out so well, with a 2-hr delay in Chicago, (because of bad weather in Atlanta) and then another 2-hr delay Atlanta (because of more bad weather in Atlanta), so I arrive in Charleston at... 3am. But other than that (and the fact it made me miss him even more) it ended well, and really was a wonderful, perfect weekend so I can't complain too much.

Saturday we went to the beach, played a little bocce, and went out for a great crab dinner. That's something I'm really looking forward to in Charleston - eating more seafood!!!

On Sunday we took it pretty easy. Mike wanted to use his grill, so we planned a steak and asparagus dinner, and headed to the grocery store to pick up what we needed - it's amazing how much more you spend with 2 people - we got cheese, and salami, and crackers, and...lots more. I kept having to remind Mike that although I do have a hollow leg, and I know I eat more than my fare share of food, there's only so much I can possibly eat in the next 2 days! Then we hit church and on the way home realized we had forgotten a few things in our first trip. As we were checking out of the grocery store, the lady behind us couldn't keep from laughing as she looked at our loot ... a red onion, a wine opener, a stick of chap stick and a pint of ice cream.

"I don't think I want to know what you guys are having for dinner - that's the oddest assortment of things I've ever seen!"

We weren't sure if was worth explaining the meat back at the house or the fact that I have our wine opener back in Chicago - so we just smiled and let her guess :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The giraffe marches on...

without a head at the moment :)

I've finished all four legs of the giraffe and the body. Each leg got progressively better as I made it, which makes me want to go back and re-do the first one. I'm resisting, and waiting till I have the neck and head done, and then seeing how much time I have left. My deadline is Oct. 5th - not too far off, but close enough to put me in high gear. I know I procrastinate.

I had a basic idea for the body, egg shaped, perhaps kidney bean as well, and here's what I ended up with:

I ripped it out a few times before I was satisfied with this version. One was too long, another too kidney-bean-ish, too narrow in the middle... you get the point. This one is not exactly what I envisioned, but it's acceptable to me. I will need to pull that point in - or turn it into the tail or something.

That's one thing I don't have a problem doing - ripping out. Both of my knit-nite groups always make fun of me because I'll be going along, and then riiiipp, I'll just start pulling something out.

"What?! Wait, what are you doing?"

"It wasn't going like I wanted it to." *shrug*

It just doesn't bug me. I think it's because I know if I get it done and I don't like it, I won't wear it - or even give it as a gift, so I might as well fix it now. I had that problem with a Debbie Bliss hoodie I made, and I almost didn't give it away, because as I seamed the hood itself, it created a point at the tip. I ended up fiddling with it for a while and my friend convinced me it was cute, so I gifted it.

That's also why I don't have any pictures of the head yet - I've been crocheting, and frogging and crocheting and frogging. Now I don't always pull it all the way out, sometimes I just go back part way. I'm pretty good about checking as I go along to makes sure it's turning out like I expected. That's part of the fun for me.. OK, this isn't working, but if I go back and add some stitches here then maybe.. no, now I need to add some here, but crochet some together here... So that's how my process works. The only problem with this is, I don't take notes (because I'd be changing them constantly) so if I ever wanted to repeat it,or write out a pattern, it'd be hard. That's probably why the legs are all different!

I am shortening two of the back legs. I'm making it a bit realistic, and a bit cartoonish. I like the "realness" of the knees, but the head is pretty exaggerated at the moment. This whole process makes me really appreciate artists out there a whole lot more.
I guess I'm just lucky that my critic is only 3 weeks old!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Schedule - time, deadlines, travels

I'm finally going to go see M!!!! It's been about a month and a half and I really miss him. I'm heading out next Friday, and will be there for the weekend. It totally makes my week! I can't wait to see him, and his school and where we live! I've been so focused on selling this place that I forgot I have a home in SC too.

I've also set a deadline for both the giraffe and and bear. In October, I'm heading to DC to see my brother my sister-in-law (Kristin) and the baby. My brother will be out of town, so I'll be able to help Kristin out with the baby. Therefore, the giraffe has to be done by then. I've got the body and all 4 legs done, but I'm having a little bit of trouble figuring out the head - pictures to come...

Then it's my family's year for Christmas, (we alternate every year) and my 3 brothers and I are all going to San Fransisco to see brother #2 (Alex) for the holidays. So, I'm thinking the bear needs to be done by then before then. I'm thinking it'll be the perfect Christmas gift, and I like the idea that all my brothers will get to see it.

I think I've narrowed the choices down to the pink series and the black/white/red series. But right now, that project is on hold as my sewing machine is broken - the tension knob came off. *grr* I hope it's fixable, but I'll have to wait until the repair books I ordered from the library come in and see if I can fix it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Creepy Creepy Spider...

I work outside with groups in a pretty woodsy area, and I love my job. I enjoy being outdoors, the bugs don't bother me too much and when the weather is nice, it's the perfect place to be. Now it has it's moments - standing in the rain for 2 hrs belaying kids in tee-shirts is not the best part of the job, but I don't do my job for the perks.

A couple of weeks ago, we had weather just like that - 80 mph winds and torrential downpour all week long. It also happened to be the week I was working doubles all week long. I came out pretty unscathed, although a bit water-logged and thought the worst was past. But I've noticed there's been some residual effects. The worst of it being the mosquitoes! Normally, they don't bother me much. I don't know if it's my diet or the fact that I don't have much meat on my bones, but I can stand with a group outside and have one person get 10 bites in the first 5 minutes, and I won't have but one by the end of the day. I don't question this, just count my blessings and try to refrain from eating bananas right before I go to work.

So, last night A (my roommate while M is away) and I decided to hang out with me and watch a movie I had rented. Just as we were getting settled down to watch it - we kept finding all these mosquitoes in the house! We don't know where they came from. We've surmised that we must have left the door open a bit too long, but it was really irritating. I spent the whole movie swatting myself because I kept feeling them land on me. I think we managed to kill them all by then end of the night. This morning, I woke up with three new bites on my arms. *grrr* And of course, every time I itch, I'm sure it's another.

The other phenomena brought on by all the rain is the influx of outdoor insects...inside. My rule is, if I'm on your ground (outside) - you win. I leave you alone. I walk away. You live. If you're on my ground (the house) - that's a whole other ballgame. This week, I've been finding more spiders in the house than I have in the past 3 months - and that's with all the cleaning I've been doing for showings!
I am truly not a fan of spiders. Usually if I find one, I calmly talk to it and say, "I will be leaving the room for a while, and when I return, I expect you to be gone or deal with the consequences." and then, I leave the room. If it doesn't listen to my warnings, then I feel I am not responsible for my actions... If I return, and the offender has not removed itself, then I usually call to M. When he was here, it was pretty easy - I'd call for him and he'd remove the spider (He thinks it's bad luck to kill a spider in the house), gently taking it outside. Now that he's in SC, I have to be tougher.

With the small ones, I find something that keeps my fingers/foot/body part as far away from the spider as possible, and smoosh it, (hopefully with no guts left behind on the carpet/floor/wall) and then throw it in the toilet. I'm always afraid I didn't REALLY kill it, and if I throw it in the garbage can, it'll crawl back out and extract revenge on me. A good flush of the toilet make me feel much more comfortable, but I really don't like dealing with them either way.

With the bigger ones.. well I've only had to deal with one, I think it was a funnel web or grass spider. I don't know how it ended up in the house. It was BIG. I sang to it:

"creepy creepy spider...
I don't want you here any more
Creepy creepy spider...
pleae crawl out or towards the door.."

But it didn't leave. I even tried vaccuming near it (couldn't vaccum it up - see garbage can comment above)
Luckily A was here, and she scooped it up in a jar with a postcard and took it out to the end of the backyard for me. It's nice to have another spider-guard around. But even so, the influx of spiders is freaking me out a little. The only thing worse to me is what I call the house centipedes, which enjoy - guess what..dampness. *sigh* I guess it's a loosing battle until it dries out a bit. In the meantime - spiders beware!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Quilter I am not.

So, I had this great idea for a softie/stuffed animal for Gabrielle, and have decided on a bear. I didn't want to waste the fabric that I have trying to make my first teddy bear, so I went to the thrift store an picked up a few scarves and a cotton button-down shirt to practice on.

This has been enormously beneficial, as I don't have any guilt when I mess up that I'm ruining or wasting or using up all the fabric I so carefully collected. It's going well, and I'm able to adjust the templates if I don't like them. Here are a shot of the practice piece so far:
I think I'm about ready to start with the "real fabric". Now my problem is choosing which pieces to use. See, I just collected the clothes that "if I closed my eyes and pictured my mother, these are the things she would be wearing". There was no contemplation of design or even a whiff of a thought about color, or fabric, or how they would work together - especially for any type of quilt.

I am so not a quilter. I'm not really even any type of artist in my head. That's what M is for - he's got the eye for color and design, and he did help me before he left. I pulled all the clothes out, and he separated all that I laid out into groups that went together. Now, I have to choose a pile. This shouldn't seem daunting, but to me it is.

I want all the fabrics to go together.

I want it to be worthy of a family heirloom.

I want Gabriella to love it.

I want it to be special and perfect.

I want my brother to realize what it is at first glance, to recognize 'mom' in it.

I also want it to be fit for a little girl.

I'm having trouble picking which lot works for all the things I want.
So I sat down today with my camera, and pulled all the groups out, and spreading them on the floor, took pictures of the combinations. This helped some, because I didn't have to keep moving the fabric around to see how they looked.
I think I'm just afraid of it not being perfect. ....

Any quilters out there? or anyone just good at color and design? Lend me your eye - tell me what you think:

I call these the blue/purple florals:

The blue/purple/green on the left is a scarf, and was made in Hilton Head on vacation - we all made our own shirts, and she of course, made a scarf. The third fabric down, the pastel floral one, I remember her wearing to my brothers' college graduation and Easter. And I'm not all together sure I like the coral shirt in with these.
In my mind, these are really girly-girl fabrics, and although they have a vintage feel/vibe, they might be a little overwhelming together.

These are the green blue series:

I've always love the black, blue and coral dress, I think because of the pattern, and the other two patterned dresses are just 'old-school mom' to me. The green is a simple silk blouse. Once again, there's the HH scarf, (there is another one further down, in blues with a little bit of black)
I like this combo, but I don't know if it's right for this project, but I can't put into words why.

The pinkish series:

This "series" is the one Mike liked the most color/combo wise, but I'm not sure it's girly enough. Then again, I'm not all about super-girly. And I did call it the pink series... It's growing on me.

The top fabric (right) is another one where I think of my mother instantly when I see it. That would be the type of pattern I would look for when buying clothes and gifts for her. Mom's style has it's own "classic" category in my head.

What's weird is - as I look at all these fabrics, and group them all together, and rearrange them and describe them in words, they kind of contradict the image of my mom that I have in my head. If you had asked me before tonight if my mom was a floral person, I would have said Definitely Not. I don't think of her or her style as 'flowery' at all, but I've noticed that in every grouping, there is at least one flower pattern. It's really strange when you are the one to contradict the image you've had in your head all you're life.

These are, in my mind, 'Classic Mom' - black, red and white. I know I pulled out a lot of colorful patterns and dresses, but she did wear a lot of the basic colors too.

I'm thinking these are too similar or .. there's not enough contrast... or something. And yet, I do like them together - I think it's because the fabrics on these dresses are really nice and would make great softies. Plus, they are clothes she wore later in life, so I have stronger memories of her from them.

The last few pictures are left-over bright fabrics that I threw together, but I think they're too bright. Plus the green doesn't go as well as it looks on the computer. It's a bit more.. new grass green, and to me it looks more sea-foam-ish in the picture. The pink is the same fabric in both pictures, and that blue is a really bright blue.

I realize with all the different fabrics I'm going to have to back some of these, but in playing with the scarves from the thrift store, I used some iron on interfacing that worked really well. I've think I've got the technique down well enough... now it's just making a choice.

The Giraffe ... legs

Ok, since the baby Gabriella (since she finally has a name) is now over 2 weeks old, it's about time I get her gifts done. So far, I am 3 legs into the giraffe, and a sample head, leg and body into the bear. Here are some pictures of what I have so far on the giraffe - he too will need a name soon... I'm thinking
Gangly Ggsomething Giraffe - George perhaps?

I love the way the little legs's my favorite - and their knees! - they make me laugh. They aren't turning out exactly how I imagined, but I found a pattern for what I had in my head here, so it's been fun seeing what I come up with, without one. I just hope the body in my head matches the legs when it comes out on the hook!!