Sunday, November 29, 2009

HOME: Day 4

Thats right. We have been home for 4 days (arriving Chez Nous around 8 am Thursday morning after and all night drive from NS). So much happened while we were away and so much has happened since that I am a bit blurry around the edges, brain wise.

I had my first Margaritas in Puerto Rico and can now say that I like frozen as opposed to shaken. So there. I can order Ms with authority!

I drank before noon more than once. Don't look at me like that.

Yes it was margaritas...they are shameless temptresses I tells ya.

I spent lots of time on Palomino Island soaking up sand and swallowing my fair share of sea water when snorkelling.

Hman made my want come true when he rented a Hoabie Cat and took me over to Palominito Island which was taunting me with its lovely desert isle-ness. While we were there a guy came out of the water after swimming over from Palomino, thats how close it is. But I am not in such good shape as swimmer dude.

There were iguanas every where. Very cool.

The frogs known as El Coqui are very very LOUD for their tiny size. Prompted several evening sessions of yodelling "koKEE koKEE koKEE" around the resort. My husband is not too embarrassed...given enough beer he started doing it too.

I met super fabulous people and caught up with others that I haven't seen in awhile. I had fun.

And then when I came home I was offered a super cool job that I am thrilled to pieces over. I am now a yarn company sales rep. Or "account representative" since Julie says "sales rep" is passe. I must be pretty old school because sales rep keeps popping out. Thrilled does not even cover my joy. I am stoked!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Girly stuffs

I'm not a big time girly girl but I do like me some girly stuff. I love pretty clothes and shoes but never really get a chance to wear them being a stay at home mom and all. I do colour my hair to both give it a bit of flair and to cover the $^^$#$ing greys that have been multiplying in the last couple of years, but I am not real regular about it.

Now I have a trip coming up. I also watched a video my my friend Karine's (topstitch girl in the side bar) blog of how she does her minmalist make up. Together the two mingled in my brain and made me buy stuff. Thats my story and I'm stickin' to it.

First of all, nowadays everything seems to break me out. My skin was resilient as a teen and I wore pounds of make up with no more breakouts than an average teen girl would experince. Wash my make up off before bed??? That was for sissies...and sober people since in University bedtime was often preluded by alcoholic beverages. No real adverse effcts. NOW? Even washing my face can sometimes cause an eruption. I've tried pricey stuff and cheap stuff...natural stuff and chemically stuff..its all the same to my face. My facial skin seems to have the temperament of a toddler being given pureed peas...accepts it and then spits it out and has a tantrum.

Since watching karine's video and having this trip coming up, I bought some Neutrogena "Healthy Skin" cleanser for wrinkles and acne...thats should cover it right??? So far so good but its only day two and a half. Of course, washing my face makes it then feel a tad dry afterward so today I got myself some Neutrogena daily moisturiser for sensitive skin. Its oil free and seems nice and light. Lets keep our fingers crossed!

Now, going away always makes me revamp the make up case, too. For someone who almost never wears this stuff I have a fair bit. I tossed my old (virtually full)foundation and powder, washed all my brushes and applicators. I invested in a new neutral eyeshadow quartet, lip liners to use as lip stain since they were super marked down, a new tube of foundation to combine with my daily moisturiser (only won't do it daily ) for a tinted moisturiser effect instead of the feeling of having a layer of shellac on my face (which I am hoping will be easier for my skin to tolerate), a new pressed powder compact, and a fancy powder brush with a cap for having in my purse to deshine while out. I had one before but I lost it or broke it. I cleaned my sharpener and sharpened all my eye and lip pencils. My blusher is still pretty unused so I kept it.
I think I'm ready facewise, to travel.

I coloured my hair too. Can't have all those strangers seein' my greys now can I? Plus now my roots and ends resemble one another again which is always nice. New shiny hair and a fresher face. Wish I'd bought some new shoes too! I'm feelin' girly!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I dyed a skein of cashmere and this was the result

What I started with was a fairly bland skein of cashmere in a shade of beige/tan/camel. It was very yellowy light brownish...or brownish yellow? I called it icky. Anyways, it was the last one of this colour in the shop and sweet, amazing, superwoman Ginette gave it to me with the orders to dye it and make something nice for myself. OK!

I soaked it in warm water laced with a healthy splash of vinegar while I prepared the "dye". I went through my cupboards to see what blue food colouring I had left and came out with Wilton's in Sky Blue. Not at all what I was aiming for but it was blue and the skein was soaking so I mixed up a good strong batch of blue water laced with the miracle substance also known as vinegar. Because the Wilton's gel always seems to leave bits behind I strained my solution through a paper towel lined strainer. No gooky jelly bits in MY cashmere thank you very much.

The skein was squeezed out and laid in a Pyrex baking dish and I poured the dyeall over and around it and then kinda smooshed it around to try and get the solution all through the skein. When i was satisfied with my saturation I topped the dish with some plastic wrap and fired it into the microwave for between 2 and 3 minutes to get nice and hot. then it sat for a little while until it was cooler and the dye was pretty much out of the water and into the yarn.

I took the whole she bang to the laundry room sink for squeezing out the liquid and for rinsing in sinkfuls of clear water. then I went a further step and gave it a soak in Soak . In the skein the colour was kinda...odd. Hmm...olive, khaki, blueish green in there too, hints of the original colour. I was not sure I was happy with the results. When it was dry it was better....or maybe I was just used to it. In the ball though, I definitely liked the effect of all those shades mingling!

This pretty yarn cake is currently being made into my own Pretty Thing Cowl, pattern by Stephanie Pearl-MacPhee. Its slow going because patterns with charts challenge my brain and attention span very much. But its smooshy and soft and I am told I look great in greens, so I am happy and will be happier still when its DONE and I can wear it snuggled around my neck.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Halloween guys

We had a zombie complete with nasty teeth compliments of food colouring and a wizard. He's NOT Gandalf or Dumbledore...he's just a silver wizard. Lets be clear on that. ;oP

Things seen at Rhinebeck

Rhinebeck and its loot

A lot of the joy of Rhinebeck is in the people you get to know. Cases in point are viewed in these pictures.

We have the lovely and charming Veronik and her friends Carol and Laura, whom I have laid claim to. mwhahahahaha

We have Isolda Teague disguised as Bob the Ravelry mascot. She knit that head ehrself in about a week or two. Bizarre. I didn't actually meet her but just snapped her picture.

We have my Mindy from Virginia with Joanne and Otto of Strauch Fiber Equipment Company and Heidi who works with Mindy in the Kid Hollow Farm booth where this photo was taken. Joanne is my new email mentor in locker hooking and Otto is just a cutie pie. Heidi is actually shorter than I am. For REALS.

And then we have most of my loot. Not pictured are my two sweatshirts and my earrings. And the stuff I gave as gifts already.

Goodbye, Harley

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Lazy Knitter Slippers: a recipe

I am on my 3rd pair of slippers...these ones for s certain sister who wears through the soles of everything wooly that is knit for her and so needs more wooly footwear. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!

The first two pair were for the boys. They really like them. I thought to myself that since they are so easy and quick to make and I am just kinda making it up as I go, why not post a recipe for them here? They resemble my friend Barb's slippers but her's have more shaping and charm. These are quick and dirty knitting for those who feel that "good enough" is good enough. If you are looking for perfect fit with short rows and decreasings and cunning technique, go away now. Shoo shoo! Off with you.

Alison's LAZY KNITTER Slipper Recipe

MATERIALS: yarn, needles, tape measure, darning or tapestry needle, scissors.

First off, pick a yarn, any yarn. Get your favourite gauge with said yarn and write it down. For slippers, as with socks, firmer tends to be better but its your slipper so whatever works for you.

Step the second: Measure the foot around the widest point and measure the length of the foot from heel to toe tip.

3rdly : Do the math. Take your stitches per inch and multiply by the circumference of the widest part of the foot. Round up or down to get a number divisible by 4 for casting on. There is no ease factored in so these are the only numbers you need. Got it? Good.

CAST ON! Leave a nice length of tail for sewing up later. Knit in garter stitch for the number of ridges to give you half of your foot length or a little shorter (its a slipper, not rocket science). When you reach about mid length switch to 2X2 ribbing. Continue to knit until your piece is the length of the foot. Break or cut your yarn, leaving a nice bit for stitching. Thread the yarn onto a darning or tapestry needle, feed it through your working loops on the knitting needle, slipping them off the knitting needle as you go. Cinch the toe of the slipper as tight as you can, stitching to fasten it, and then start sewing up the selvedge edges that make the top of your slipper. Stop when you reach the garter stitch!! Finish your ends and cut your yarn.
Go to your cast on tail now. Folding your cast on edge together, stitch the halves of the edge together with the cast on tail securely. Finish your ends cut yarn. Turn the slipper inside out/outside right to have your seaming on the inside. VOILA! Slipper one is done. Put it on the intended foot and admire your cleverness. Make another to match.

What I enjoy about these slippers: I love how easy and brainless they are. The bigger your gauge the faster they knit up! I am using my Alafoss Lopi stash up for some cozy family slippers. The second slipper can be calculated by simply counting garter ridges and ribbing rows rather than needing your tape measure. The ribbing tightens the slipper around the foot for a good comfy fit and if the slipper is slightly too short, then the fit is even better with no slippage on the foot that makes some slippers clumsy for walking in (everyone has encountered the " loose slipper shuffle" I am sure). The pointy heel corner will stretch out for the heel in this case as well. They are pretty stretchy so our making them just to the measurement of the foot without having calculated in any ease makes them crazy simple!

TIP: Wooly slippers are notoriously slippery on bare floors so caution should be used . To create non-slip pads for the sole, cut out patches or a whole sole from rubbery non-slip shelf liner and whip stitch them to the soles of the slippers. The liner I used was Duck's "Easy Liner" from Walmart and its sold as a roll and comes in various colours. You might find smaller amounts of something similar at dollar stores. Another option could be to paint the sole with liquid latex use for making hooked rugs non-slippy.

If you need a quick basket of slippers by the front door or as a gift, feel free to use my recipe and create your own Lazy Knitter Slippers in any size or gauge.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Harley update

Harley will soon be called Dungeon Cat because he is living in the bathroom lately. Yesterday he took his oppotunity at freedom as a chance to pee on a wool sweater I had lying out to dry after washing it. OMG! This whole "sick cat pees everywhere " thing is highly annoying. His little life almost came to an end for that one.

He is still underweight by a lot. He still has a drunken swagger when he walks. He's very klutzy when attempting normal cat things, because of his muscle loss and nerve damage I guess, so he crashes a fair bit which can't be fun.

We began his trial on Prednisone on Wednesday and he has had a big turn around with his activity level. He REALLY wants outta the bathroom/dungeon but given his nasty habit thats not happening. He is also eating more on his own from his food dish. This is heartening but its still not enough to get his weight up. I'm still forcing some liquified foods down his throat daily to get as many calories into him as possible.

So, while Prednisone is not a cure for his condition, its making him much more comfortable. This is a good thing.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

How I made my brother laugh in the early '70s

I have the distinct memory of making my brother laugh hysterically in the back seat of dad's car during a drive to somewhere or other...probably to Nanny's house. My method? The Manamana song I'd seen and heard on Sesame Street. I may have been about 4 yrs old which would put my stellar performance sometime in 1970? He did the girl's part while I manamana'd my heart out to his pee in his pants, tears in his eyes laughter. My brother is 11 1/2 years older than me by the way. He also liked to tape record me singing my ABC's which I would mess up on purpose like this" A-B-C-D-E-F-cookiemonster....". He also used to get me to attempt to put my foot in my mouth, and being gullible and compliant I tried with a will.
Now we are all growed up and I don't make my brother laugh anymore. At least I'll always have my back seat captive audience memories.

I miss old school Sesame Street with is mild violence (that chef falling downstairs laden with desserts)and weirdness (Fisherman Jones cartoon, Yipyips, psychadelia..). It was so cool.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

I love Christopher Walken

Seriously, the man is an $^&ing GENIUS plus he's funny as can be. His weirdness is delightful!
My friend Kadi, also a Walken lover, pointed me to this video of him "performing' Lady Gaga's Poker Face". LOL It really is funny when you take song lyrics and just read them. TRY IT SOMETIME!!! I suggest something like Dah Doo Doo Doo by the Police or Radio Gaga by Queen!! hahahaha