Friday, April 30, 2010

Crochet Soirée CAL

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I finally got decent photos of the scarf in daylight. Here are pictures of the finished scarf. Really love the pooling and stripping the Bernat wool blends made throughout the scarf.

The flowers especially turned out quite lovely. I plan on crocheting a hat to match before I wrap it up and send it to my niece. I know she'll love this, her favorite color being blue.

I had previously posted about this scarf CAL here.

The CAL at Crochet Soirée ends today, and the prizes are really yummy. One prize in particular would thrill me to no ends: a full set of crochet hooks by Boye. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed.

For your viewing pleasure, the Frog Pond blanket!

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finally got a nice day to take pictures of the finished Frog Pond blanket made using the African flower motifs that I found while cruising Flckr. The blankets look gorgeous and I'm quite proud of how well they've turned out. I blame the motif for most of that LOL They are quite addictive to make and I already have several other projects in mind using this motif.

I couldn't find a pattern for making up the half hexes using the african flower motif so I designed my own. I wanted a nice straight edge at each end and the half hex filled the gap and finished off the edges very nicely. I love the scalloped edge the hexes give along the sides of the blankets. Now to ship them off to my twin nephews!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Internet DTs!

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Wow, amazing how much we depend on the internet for so many things in our lives. 
News - both local and global
Email - keeps us connected to friends and family from everywhere
My knitting and crochet groups - they are my inspiration

So what do you do when your modem decides to crap out on you at 2 am this past Monday? Well, crochet your heart out, review paper editions of knit & crochet magazines and books you've been putting off looking at because you're usually on the internet checking email, and updates from your knit & crochet groups. 

Then you call your internet provider and go through all the different hoops they insist you perform to make sure that it is truly the modem that's crapped out. That took over an hour of various reboots of both the computer and the dying modem as well as deleting internet connections and reinstalling said connections. Switching cables around to ensure that it wasn't the problem. Until finally, they decided that the modem (which was 12 years old) was indeed on it's last leg. It was sending packets but not receiving them. Go figure since I told them right at the beginning of the tech support convo that it wasn't receiving and that indeed it was sending.

It finally came today!!! oh joy!!! After pulling out the old modem, cables, wiring, I plugged in the new one and waited the prescribed time, then started up the computer and waited. Opened the web browser to find that it wasn't connecting, check the little computers at the bottom of my screen to see the same message as Monday's. Little or no connectivity... Ahhh!!!! Again, I go through the wire jungle, switch them for new ones we always keep on hand .... just in case... switch the telephone cord.... just in case, reboot the computer, reboot the modem... still no connectivity. While doing all these various calisthenics..believe me, to get to our computer wire disaster in the making, you require calisthenics  LOL since everything is behind the desk which is against the wall. You may think, what's the big deal... right... try having 2 giant 24 inch crt's on your desk which alone weigh 75 lbs each! the desk itself is made with 1 inch plywood doubled up in a lot of places. (anything less sturdy and the crt's would have been on the floor long ago) This desk is so solid, you can get up on it, jump up and down and dance on it and it doesn't even make a yes, it's solid! and yes, we know from experience! LOL

Anyway... while doing all this, I unwittingly unplugged the router! Ack! Noooo!!! I quickly plug it back in and all I'm seeing is the single wee green power light. Nothing else is lighting up! Oh geez.. now what?! After waiting a few minutes, the router still hasn't lit up so back to the wire jungle to figure out if something is bent or crimped. Go back to the router, unplug it again and plug it back in, reboot the modem, reboot the computer and wait (patiently? Hah!) to see if all these various bits and pieces of technology will cooperate and give me back access to my virtual world. And while praying to whichever gods of the internet there may be, I watch the little computer icon on the desktop go green! We have connectivity folks, no clue what happened, guess the stars and planets were all aligned properly, but I'm back!!! 

Btw, the one who suffered the worst from this internet breakdown was my darling husband. Poor guy couldn't check any of his groups, blogs, updates, etc... and usually, while he's going through a kidney stone crisis, he'll spend most of his time concentrating on the virtual world instead of the reality pain brings, these past couple of days have been pure hell for him. He will be one very happy guy when he will finally be able to surf again.

As for baby blanket #2, it's halfway done insofar as the top stitching or tambour crochet is concerned. I'll likely finish it today or tomorrow at the latest, then it's photo time! I will be adding this pattern to my Ravelry designs page for a free download soon.

I've also been working on a couple of new crochet designs. One is of a lovely scarf and the other is of a matching hat. 

With my Mom's 71st birthday coming in June, I want to make something special for her. So I've also been working on a design for a sleeveless  zip/button  vest-style for her. I've already decided that she will also get the scarf and hat once I'm done working out the design. 

For a lady who is turning 71, she is in amazing form. She and her boyfriend go out dancing every weekend. They are part of a Senior Sandbag League (baseball pôches (fr)) and their team is leading by over 1000 points over the rest of the league's teams which means they will be travelling to Quebec City again this year for the league finals. She has her own market garden that she tends to and a market stall from which she sells fresh picked vegetables, eggs and local in-season fruits. So my vest design will have to be utilitarian as I can see her wearing it in early spring and fall while working in the garden. She also does supervision duty at the local elementary school during lunch times throughout the school year. I just hope I'm as able as she is when I reach 71.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mousie's first day

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After tying a pretty piece of red yarn, she had found, into a bow at the tip of her tail Mousie felt she was ready to go exploring. She jumped down from the arm of the sofa where she'd been left and landed on a lily pad. It was so soft and cushie and she scurried around for a bit and came up face to face with a strange purple beastie. She, as all good mousies are, said "Good Morning!" but the purple beastie just ignored her. She didn't know that this odd looking purple beastie wasn't finished yet. Like her, only after the last stitch is knotted and the last bit of yarn is snipped, does the magic take hold and they come alive and start exploring.

She sighed and off she went to explore other places, looking for new adventures and hoping to make new friends. The next leap she took landed her into a rather rocky spot but what interesting textures under her paws. She especially loved the smooth shell her paws rested on.

Her next leap took her way up in the air and she landed with a hoomph next to a very strange looking creature who blew smoke and rumbled most menacingly in his throat. She cringed, thinking this was a mistake, but the creature just kept on rumbling. After a few moments, she realised he was singing, or at least what she thought might be singing. So she sat next to him and tried to sing, but only squeaks came out which the rumbling beast noticed. He stopped his rumbly singing and looked down at her "And what are you, pray tell my dear?" he asked in his big rumbly voice. Mousie had never heard such a big rumbly voice before and felt very small and very frightened. The large beast noticed she was quite afraid and attempted to soften his voice. But how much can you soften your voice when you're a big dragon that rumbles all day long. Don't be afraid little one, he said, I'm a dragon. What is your name and what are you? Mousie felt a little less afraid but still kept an eye on the dragon, I'm Mousie, and I got born today! Is that so, said the dragon, and where are you going all by yourself on your first birth day? Mousie thought for a moment, I'm exploring. I want to see the whoooole world so I can make friends and learn new things. Dragon rumbled a laugh which made Mousie's whiskers quiver. He is a big dragon after all and Mousie is so small next to him. Dragon noticed she wasn't feeling too brave, It's alright Mousie, I wish you good luck in your travels, learn and make many friends. Those are the things that are really important for a growing mouse to do. So Mousie with a wave and a squeak left dragon who had already gone back to his rumbling song.
She scurried across the top of the cliff and came up with a start against a rather large statue. It made her feel a bit afraid but she didn't know why. She looked the statue up and down, it had whiskers like her, and ears and a tail, but it didn't move or speak. What a strange world this is, she thought to herself. As she took a jump to get to the next cliff, she thought she saw movement out of the corner of her eye, but when she landed and looked back, nothing had changed.
This next cliff was all bumps and crevices. Long flat slabs all standing on end and in the middle, a very odd looking creature sat with his legs hanging over the edge. He was smiling to himself and singing a song about fish. She didn't know what fish was, but according to the creature, it was good eaten cold, fresh from the river, whatever that was. She slowly made her way to the creature and politely cleared her throat. The creature kept right on singing about fish and slapped his hand on his thigh at certain points in the song. By the time she was noticed, she was sitting next to him and with a start, he stopped singing and let out a small yelp. Ahh! I didn't see you, said the creature. Why were you sneaking?! Mousie didn't know what sneaking meant, but she wasn't hiding from the creature either. I'm Mousie, who are you? she asked the creature. He threw back his head and laughed, I am known by different names, today you may call me Sméagol. Do you want some fish? Mousie's eyes grew big, Nice to meet you Mr. Sméagol. What is fish? Again Sméagol threw back his head and laughed, It is the most delicious meat you would want to eat, especially fresh caught, nice and cold. You sink your teeth into one and it makes you feel all nice inside. Mousie didn't think that it sounded very nice, especially the way he laughed. She thought it would be a good time to move along and see where her next leap brought her. She jumped off Sméagol's lap and with a hasty goodbye, she left while Sméagol scampered off in the other direction yelling back, I'll bring you a fish!

Mousie hoped he wouldn't. It didn't sound very good to her. Although she did wonder what she could eat in this big world filled with all manner of odd creatures and adventures. This time she landed next to the long flat slabs that the Sméagol had been sitting atop of. Running alongside the slabs were all kinds of creatures, all different, all very busily moving along, where to, Mousie did not know. She tried to ask one of them as it raced by, but it was gone before she could finish saying good morning. Then one of the oddest looking things stopped, looked her up and down and said Baahaah! which in her language meant, Hello! Mousie wasn't afraid of these creatures since some were smaller and most were her size. At least she didn't think they would eat her! After some introductions, since more creatures stopped to say hello, Mousie asked what she could eat since she'd noticed her tummy was beginning to rumble like the dragon. Sheepie and Bunny told her about a wonderful food called chocolate and if she was lucky, she would find some. She would know it was chocolate when she saw all the bubbles. She thanked them all and off she went in search of chocolate.
She met many other creatures on her search for chocolate. Some stranger than others. One even had chicken legs but didn't look like a chicken. He called himself a Totoro. What a strange name she thought to herself. At least the Totoro knew where she could find chocolate and find it she did. After one nibble, she knew that this was what she would love to eat all the time! What a strange and wonderful world she thought as she leapt from cliff to cliff.

She met, sheepies, bears, turtles, all sizes and shapes, colors she'd never seen before and all of them spoke of the big bunny. She asked if it was the purple creature she had met first thing after being born that morning. It wasn't him they all told her, Bunny was this beautiful, soft and cuddly bunny who had come from a very special place and he was looking for a very special creature to go visit where he had come from. Mousie wondered what could be more wonderful than this place she was in now. 

It had been a long day filled with excitement, new faces, adventures of all kind and she began to look for a place to sleep. She asked all her new friends where she could go to sleep and as they were explaining, a soft voice called her name. She turned and saw the most beautiful bunny ever. He had long soft luminous fur that looked so soft and cuddly, she could just imagine curling up in that fur and going to sleep with a song in her heart. She was so in awe of the bunny that she uttered a squeak instead of a proper answer. Come and sit with me Mousie, said bunny, I have a very special job for you. And Mousie slowly made her way over to where bunny was sitting. She saw that he had the prettiest eyes, and as she knew it would be, the softest fur. She crawled into his arms and Bunny began to tell her of a special place he had come from and he wanted her to go there. He told her of the wonderful human  called Samm who lives there and of all the new adventures she would have and things she would learn. Mousie felt her heart fill with joy and she slowly drifted off to sleep listening to Bunny's voice telling her of her new home and of Samm.

This story is dedicated to my bestest friends in the world; my Andy, my Karen and my sistersoul Samm.

© MarieAnge 2010

Froggies and Lilypads and Babies Oh My!

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I had previously spoken about this blanket in this post and this post. It's been a few weeks and for anyone wondering where I'm at with these blankets, here's an update.

I'm looking at the end run for the first blanket. I have 6 small sections left to top stitch. Glad that is all that's left since I'm quickly running out of the blue I used for the top stitching. I was hoping to have enough left over to crab stitch around the edge once but nope, no such luck. So I will be looking for another complementary color to do that with since I feel the crab stitch will give the blanket's edge the firmness it requires to lay flat.

I originally joined all the hexagons at only 3 spots, knowing that I would be doing some type of joining to reinforce once the blanket was completed. I'm not fond of blankets with ridges on top or underneath so I went with the top stitching. When I work on blanket #2, I will be doing the topstitching when I have a row of hexagons done. It will be easier that way and I won't end up manhandling a blanket with one hand while pulling up the loops from the underside. Interestingly enough, the style I chose looks a lot like the faggot stitch used in embroidery since I'm pulling loops up through alternating chains or each hexagon. 

I love how the motifs remind me of lily pads surrounded by water. All that's missing is a few froggies scattered amongst the flowers and that may just happen :)

None of the hexagons have been blocked since I feel that blocking on a blanket makes it appear stiff and that's the last impression I want this blanket to cast. I want Mom to take the blankets and use them instead of squirreling them away in a closet to be forgotten and never used. I didn't do all this work for the twins only to find out 20 years from now that they sat in a closet being saved because they were 'too' special.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Reading and a story

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When my two were little, I read to them every night. My daughter's favorite childhood memory is of the family on a camping trip, roughing it with tent and campfire and of me reading by the light of the campfire from the Redwall series by Brian Jacques I'd purchased at a yard sale. My darling daughter never lost her love of books and reads voraciously. With my son, being disabled, his reading level is of a first grader although he still loves looking at books especially National Geographic.
As my daughter got older, she took over the responsibility of reading to her baby brother. Many an evening I sat on the edge of the bed listening to her reading to her brother. What made it that much more special is that she was reading from a book I owned since I was 5, the book given to me by my grandmother to read through the summer as she had already noticed my love of books.  I still have this book and cherish it.
I happened upon this article published in the NY Times about a father reading to his daughters and the impact it had on his youngest daughter. It reminded me of how reading to my children left it's mark on them. They are both free thinkers, and extremely imaginative and I attribute that to developing an early love of books and reading.

And as my daughter pointed out in the comments... I used the wrong cover picture! See! she remembers! LOL The cover to the right is the correct one.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Oh The Memories Slipping Through My Fingers

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The first time I watched the movie Mama Mia, I heard this song sung by Merryl Streep. I remembered hearing it when I was a teenager and it didn't really mean much to me then. Now though, the song brings back a lot of memories and buried emotions. It plays through my tears and my regrets.

13.mamma mia!  -  slipping through my fingers []
Found at abmp3 search engine

Today is the one year anniversary of my sister's passing. I still can't believe a year has gone by already. It feels like yesterday that I was talking to her on the phone, hearing her ragged breathing, the tears that threatened to flood our words of encouragement to each other over the wires that carried our voices. That was our last conversation before things started going downhill fast for her. I have regrets, I know I always will. But I also know she forgives me those regrets because she sent me a wonderful soul sister to build new memories filled with happiness and joy; doing all the things that sisters do. 


I love you, and I always will.

I miss you, and I always will.

I hug you in my heart as I always will.

Take care of me as I know you always will.

Thank you

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'll clean when Sears comes out with a riding vacuum!!!

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Yes, I poached this from someone's signature, but it's soooo true!

I've been sans vacuum for a couple of years now. With no steady income, investing a bucket load of money on a vacuum cleaner for our wee apartment just didn't make sense. So I'd use a hand broom or a regular straw broom to get the worst picked up. Being that we have utility carpeting it wasn't that difficult, but still a vacuum does do a better job without the ensuing dust storm. 

Thanks to my soulsister, I now have a working vacuum cleaner! And I love it! No more dust bunnies hiding under the couch, laying in wait for poor Gambit. It's amazing how much you appreciate something when you've had to make do for a long time, and I know it sounds ever so domestic of me, which is the furthest thing as a rule but it does feel nice to be able to vacuum. This also encourages me to get my stash organized as it's been growing into a monster against the wall of the wee living room, threatening to take over LOL Just ask my husband, he'd agree completely. I'm sure he'll be happy once I have conquered the stash and put the living room back into a semblance of a room we spend time in and not just used as storage for my stash. I know I will be.

One thing that bugs me though... Why is it guys get riding lawnmowers, or gardening tractors that does all the labour for them when we as women are expected to lug, push, pull and basically manhandle our cleaning equipment to get the job done!?

Monday, April 12, 2010

How I love Mondays!

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Monday for me has become a very special day. It's the day that my bestest friend in the world comes to Hamilton and we spend an hour and sometimes a bit longer together! We usually have a quick bite at Timmy's while we show what we've  been working on to each other, be it hat, scarf, sweater, socks, blankets. There's always something new or sometimes we bounce ideas off each other for a solution to a kink in the current project or sometimes a future project. We enable each other wonderfully!

We are so in sync with each other that we even answer questions before they are asked or send something via email to the other that was needed without being asked. We are coming up to the anniversary of our first official meeting. I say official since we'd said hello a few times in the past when I used to work for one of the companies leasing office space in the building up to 2007. But only last year did it finally click so to speak and knitting did it. 
So, this past Monday, we were going to have a quick bite at Timmy's but instead we, on the spur of the moment, (how gemini of us!) decided to go to Len's Mills. I'd never been so wasn't entirely sure what I was walking into but I discovered very quickly that it was the perfect spot to be! Picture a warehouse crammed to the ceiling with tons of crafty items, what a place to be inspired! I needed some green yarn to continue working on the two blankets for the twins and having checked the nearby store (Hart) and discovering they had nada for green yarn, my dearest friend offered to go to Michael's, but since we'd been last year, and the selection wasn't as enticing as I'd thought it would be, I suggested Len's Mills and off we went! 

We got our yarn fix LOL I walked out with 4 balls of Patons Astra yarn in 2 shades of green and my dear sweet sister walked out with a few patterns since she kept muttering to herself, "No, no yarn today" while we walked through the aisles, fondling and petting the various yarns on display, picking up copies of the free patterns hanging everywhere and commenting on various yarns, how well they worked or didn't work. Even discovered I'd been crocheting with an Alpaca blend and joy, I still have several balls of it left, so I just may end up making something for me! ...I'm thinking a cowl with a matching hat, maybe some wristers, since all this yummy softness would be awesome against my face next winter. Being a shade of dark cherry ice creamy blend, it really appeals to me.

Mondays for me are the cream in my coffee and when life prevents us from meeting up on that day, the week just doesn't feel the same... like something is missing. I never thought I'd admit that I have become a creature of habit, especially when it comes to my dear sweet friend, my sister soul.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Pale blue dot - We are here!

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Sometimes we need to be reminded of just who we are and where we are in this big place called the universe.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Flower Scarf CAL

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The scarf is done!

I'm actually quite pleased with the outcome for this pattern. I found it on Crochet Soirée as a CAL challenge. I figured why not! and signed up. The CAL started on April 5th and I finished the scarf today! I used Bernat's wool blends (discontinued unfortunately) in a blend of blues, makes me think of winter ice with the color shifts. The scarf pools beautifully and feels comfy and scrunchily yummy. I know, I'm gushing, but this is the first item I've crocheted that I actually like the feel of the finished item. The pattern called for a 4 mm hook. With the yarn I used, I had to go up to a 5.5 mm hook since the smaller hook sizes made the fabric way too solid. Not what I was wanting out of a scarf.

Finished dimensions for this baby are 17 cm wide by 320 cms long without the attached floral fringe. What can I say, I love a long wide scarf! I think my niece will love it as well. Now all that's left is to find a hat pattern and crochet a matching hat and she'll be all set come next winter.

I wanted to take a photo of the finished scarf all nicely laid out, but by the time I had the camera set up, Gambit had usurped the scarf and was all tucked up under the flowers. I didn't have the heart to wake him so I took a picture of my sleeping baby. Isn't he the cutest?!

It's still not too late to sign up for the CAL. It ends April 30th. All the finished entries will be included in a draw for some very nice prizes. Go check it out!

If you've never been to Crochet Soirée, it's a nice place to hang out, nice patterns and great friendly folks ready to help with any questions. It's free to sign up and you get a newsletter reminding you of the free pattern Fridays!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What do crochet and coral have in common?

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Geometry of course!

Although mathematicians claimed that hyperbolic space could not be seen or demonstrated, Margaret Wertheim shows us many examples of these beautiful shapes in nature as well as in crochet during her talk presented on TED tv.

Through math, marine biology, feminine handicraft, environmental activism and a crochet hook, Margaret Wertheim founder of the Institute of Figuring leads a project to re-create the creatures of the coral reefs. Margaret and her sister hope to draw attention to distressed coral reefs around the world that are rapidly dying  from changing ocean saline levels, overfishing, and many other threats.

And now... for your entertainment pleasure....something completely different!

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I was introduced to this video via my daughter who is a huge annime fan. So blame her!!! LOL

Both my husband and I laugh every time we watch this video. Gambit flees with a flick of his tail if we start to sing it to him. I think he knows what we're saying LOL


Monday, April 5, 2010

Well folks, the jury is in on the frog pond binkie

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I've mentioned in previous posts that I found a really cool crochet motif and decided to turn it into 2 baby blankets for my newborn twin nephews. I also posted a not very good picture of my progress at that point.

Well, I haven't stopped working on it since then. Remember, I set myself a goal of finishing what I start to combat the dreaded "Startitis virus".

Within seconds of laying the blanket out of my bed, Gambit was right at it, inspecting every inch of it, smelling and walking around it, on it, and finally, after some deliberation decided that he approves of my work so far! (19 motifs)

I'm really enjoying the creative process for this blanket. I started off with a hexagon motif, chose colors and then set to with my crochet, assembling the hexagons as I go. Finally, to give the impression of lily pads, I'll be adding some blue between each hexagon. I'll also be adding a bit of whimsy to the blankets, but that will be a surprise for later. Still stewing on that idea and really now, can't give it all away, can I?
I've been keeping notes on the blanket so I may end up writing up the pattern yet. First though, I'll finish the blanket! 

Here in all it's glory, the Gambit approved binkie!

Doesn't he just look like the cutest kitten ever all curled up on the edge of the blanket? Last time he was a kitten was 8 years ago but that's not stopping him from behaving like one most days!

Last night, he was having a rollicking good time with one of his toys. I had an extra McDonalds kougra (neopet plushie) and gave it to him last year. Up until last night, he'd pawed it around a few times, but not much else. The toy just lay in the pile with the rest of his unwanted amusements. For some reason last night, he dug him out and there began a grand game of toss and chase. He would nab it with a claw and toss it up high enough to bounce off the ceiling in different directions and he'd follow in hot pursuit and toss it again when he'd get to it. This game went on for 20 minutes or so. I didn't dare move since he doesn't seem to want anyone moving about when he's playing this game, so no photos. Sorry! We don't even dare laugh when he's up to his bengal games since he takes laughter as an insult and we wouldn't want that now would we :)

On a different note, I know Easter was yesterday. I just felt too sick to really care. But to all my readers, Happy Easter, or whatever you want to call it if you celebrate it.

In case you're wondering who this silly looking cat/dog/monkey combo is, it's Marsupilami
One of my favorite characters from a comic book (bande dessinée) written by André Franquin. He would bounce in and out of trouble always coming out smelling of roses and his trademark "Houba!" exclamation.

Other comic books I enjoyed as a kid were filled with well loved characters like Boule et Bill, of which the modern equivalent would be Calvin and Hobbes. Others that I looked forward to reading were Astérix and Obélix, they made me laugh and The adventures of Tintin, I loved Captain Haddock for his incredibly convoluted swears. I also awaited with anticipation the further adventures of Lucky Luke. All these bandes dessinée were collected by our catholic elementary school librarian, considering the times and how most adults felt about comic books, it was quite surprising that she would keep ordering the books as they were released. Whatever reasons she had, I loved and cherished every one of those books. Would rush over to the comic book section every week to see if a new one had been added. I read each one several times, scrutinizing the art work, laughing over the jokes and prat falls and wishing I could keep the books for my very own. And all this shows that I was a nerd before the word even existed! LOL

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Ugh... I hate habbing a cohld

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Yes folks, you've read it right or at least that's what it sounds like when I say it LOL

Wham, Bam not even a thank you Ma'am! I come down with whatever sniffles my boss had on Monday,  but because I'm already weakened from the Norwalk virus, I'm getting the supersized version!  I started off with my head feeling stuffy and rapidly progressed to the "stick a tissue in each nostril" level of game play since if I moved my head in any direction, my nose would spring a leak! Today the nose isn't leaking anymore, it's clogged solid, my throat is achy and scratchy and my voice has dropped an octave... sexy you say.. sure if you don't mind the hacking cough that comes out between every 3rd or  4th word! LOL

Hubby is avoiding me like the plague.. well at least most of the time. He comes near me just long enough to make sure I'm still breathing. So I live in one room and he lives in the other when we're awake. I don't mind that much since I'm feeling too darn miserable to care at this point. 

I don't know if any of you have ever seen the Monty Python skit from Life of Brian when they come walking through the town during the plague yelling 'Bring out your dead" and someone carries out their dad who's not dead and proceeds to convince them that he's about to kick the bucket so might as well take him anyway. Well, at this stage, I'd have to say I'm a prime candidate if they ever need a stand in for the "I'm not dead!" guy!

I have not been outside to enjoy any of the gorgeous weather I keep seeing when I check the weather network or manage a peek out from our basement windows. I get to see treetops, a bit of sky and some bushes that grow in front of the window. Nothing green on those yet but I did notice a couple of crocus were poking their heads out of the ground on Friday. Whee!

I've been working on the first of 2 baby blankets for the twins. It's coming along quite nicely. I'll have to take a photo to show it off soon! I spoke with my Mom today, wished her a Happy Easter and got caught up on the family news back east. The twins are doing super well, already up to 7 lbs each and they were born a month ago at just under 5 lbs! They've had to id each one of the boys with a bracelet since they are identical to the point where even Mom and Dad are wondering which is which before they check their bracelets. Still no baby pictures to post. I hope to get some soon.

Ok, going to crawl back into my wee ball of misery.

Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, April 2, 2010

It's midnight on Good Friday, what are you listening to when you don't have cable?

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I did a bit of temping last week and at the beginning of this week, that is right up until the Norwalk virus brought me to my knees, crying and begging for the pain to end. On Monday, my boss came in with the sniffles. I did my best to avoid any contact, but it's difficult. On Tuesday, she came in saying her sniffles were getting better. Awesome! I thought to myself. I haven't been sick all winter, will my luck hold. 

Words I wanted to take back soon after lunch when my stomach rebelled and waves of nausea had me feeling like I was on a ship wildly rocking and the waves of warm and cold didn't help matters in the least. I went to the washroom hoping against hope that it was just my IBS giving me grief but again, lady luck was against me. 0 for 2 so far. I went back to the reception desk and tried to stay calm, but I was having cold sweats. I started thinking maybe it was food poisoning since I'd purchased a whole wheat pasta salad at a local deli for lunch along with a sandwich of smoked turkey breast with no extras to keep the calories down. (joys of diabetes) After a few more minute of pure misery, I decided I should go home. Told my boss I wasn't feeling well, she looked at me and commented I did look green around the edges and to go on home. I got my stuff together, took the elevator down and when it stopped, I stepped out only to quickly sit on the ledge next to the elevator. My head and my stomach were competing for attention, not good! Once the waves of nausea slowed down, I made my way out the front door, I took 3 steps and that was it. My stomach wasn't having any more of this nonsense of trying to go home. It lurched, I lurched and there went my lunch. I think that was the most embarrassing moment of my life! People who were walking down the sidewalk were taking wide detours onto the street to avoid me :( No one bothered to ask if I was ok, even from a distance!

After a visit to the local clinic, I went home with a strict regimen of clear liquids and rest, no taking diabetic meds since the doses would make me crash. The diagnoses was a Norwalk virus, pretty nasty little bug too. Dr told me to stay home to avoid contaminating others until Friday. Great!

The rest of that day was muffled in a haze of pain. It seems that neuropathy doesn't like it when there's something else hurting and makes things hurt to the enth just so I don't forget it's there. My legs were especially bad, but my arms and back weren't much better. My loving husband lathered the outside of my legs with BenGay and that worked just long enough for me to fall asleep.

Well, it's Friday now, I felt somewhat better yesterday, but now I'm feeling yucky again. I think I caught my boss's cold! Go figure, I avoided getting sick all winter and now that the weather is finally getting nice, I come down with a freaking cold. I just hope it doesn't do it's usual mutation with the COPD jumping in just for the heck of it.

Oh, and what am I listening to?
Too many DJs - belgian brothers Stephen et David Dewaele (pictured in the video) who take songs and mash them together with other songs that come out sounding pretty awesome. Have a listen to one of their tracks. This one is Benni Bennassi Vs. 50 Cent Satisfaction - In Da Club Mix

For those who know me in person, yes, I listen to this and much more. I'm never going past 21! LOL

Why is it... startitis explained

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With the wealth of information now available online, the knitting and crocheting community has come out of the living room and spilled over onto buses, trains, parks, ball games, doctor's offices and anywhere one is apt to be found waiting patiently to be served. We as fibre lovers fearlessly wield our needles, crochet hooks and spindles while the populace at large watches in awe as beautifully stitched garments and yarn flies from our fingers giving birth to original garments, yarns, and much more. It has also given birth to the newest disease on the block known as "Startitis".

Why is it that multiple patterns, stitches, blocks always seem to come in groups? I find one and I want to make it, then I find another and I want to start that one too! and so on and so on...until I have a pile at least 3 feet high of projects that await me, softly calling to me, begging, trying to make me feel guilty. And then, I realise, I've developed a rather bad case of "Startitis"!

For those non fiber readers, I will explain. Startitis is the problem knitters, crocheters, and fibre lovers encounter when they have too many projects on the go and keep finding more wonderful things to try. That leaves us with many many projects begging to be completed. It has become a problem for most knitters and crocheters. We are like children in a candy shop when it comes to new fibres, patterns, stitches, and the accompanying paraphernalia of needles, hooks, stitch markers and so on.We can't resist!

Symptoms vary from one to the other, but the dominant one is bags and baskets holding partially completed projects being hidden in closets, behind furniture, under the bed, in the attic, at friends' homes, in the car boot and the list of hidey holes goes on. These symptoms are not to be confused with stash gathering or stash nest padding. Those are another can of beans I have no intention of opening today.

How to battle it?

Reward system: This works only if the guilty party is willing to finish a project before going on to a new one. It usually works if two fibre lovers team up and encourage each other. Trying this method by oneself usually leads to dismal failure and more 'startitis' items to be squirrelled away.

Frogging vs gifting: Go through your piles, bags, boxes of unfinished projects and seriously ask yourself "Will I ever finish it?" If the answer is no, frog it! If you stopped working on the project because you didn't like the yarn, Gift it! Someone else will love it I'm sure. Once you've separated the projects into 3 piles, of which the to be finished pile is hopefully the smallest. Get rid of the pile for gifting asap! Otherwise it will sneak it's way back into your stash when you're asleep! The pile that's to be frogged, get busy and get it done! You'll be adding some much loved yarn back into your stash to be used for new projects and you will feel so much better.

Once the frog or gift piles are gone, look at what's left and put them in priority of when it needs to be finished. Be it for a birthday present, Christmas, surprise, whatever, assign it a deadline. I surprised myself on how many projects I finished during the Ravalympics held in February, just because there was a deadline!

Now I'm not making any promises that these suggestions will work, but at least it's a start and one way to help ourselves out of the "Startitis" cycle. 

So what do I have in my "Startitis" pile you may ask? Yes, I will be honest and list everything in the pile. I'm not proud of it, but I'm the first to admit, I'm addicted and I need to slow it down somehow LOL

A child's summer top of my own design half done
A kitty blanket - crochet
A skull blanket - knit
A pillow cover (2 squares done, 6 more to go!)
A dress for a 19" barbie
A hoodie scarf - will be frogged and design changed
3 pairs of socks (2 crochet, 1 knit) all 3 are experimental
1 pair of baby socks w/ a 2nd pair needing to be made
2 baby bibs of my own design, one to embroider, the other to actually finish crocheting
A small collection of 3"x3" granny squares for a child's top. (this one doesn't really count since I make the squares out of leftovers from other projects, but I'm listing it anyway)
A dishcloth - trying out a new stitch pattern - See?!?
A child's top for winter - will be frogged - too small to fit any of my nieces

And... a baby blanket I started today! I wanted to make blankets for the twins who were born last month but couldn't settle on a pattern I liked. Yesterday I found the perfect pattern. It's a crochet hexagon block called African flower. It is super easy to make and looks incredibly gorgeous! I'm using stash yarn to make this blanket. The green is from the same yarn I had used to make a chemo cap for my sister last April before she passed away. I wanted to use the rest of the green for the boys' blankets in memory of their aunt who would have adored them. Each hexagon measures 6" from side to side and I'm using worsted weight yarn with a 5.50 mm hook. I'm assembling as I'm going hopefully to cut down on weaving in ends and hours of tedious seaming once the hexagons are all done. I still may run a row of crochet stitches to better secure the hexagons to each other, but I'll have a better idea once I'm done assembling them.

So where does that leave me you ask?

I'm going to focus on the baby blankets and finish them since I want to send them to the boys before they outgrow their cribs. LOL From there, I will finish the wee pair of socks since they are also for my two nephews and can be sent with the blankets. After that, I plan on frogging the hoodie scarf and starting that one over with changes to the pattern. This one has a deadline of May 31st so I have to get busy.

The child's summer top I'm designing now has a due date of June 30th that I've set for myself so I get it done or frogged. Either way, it will be over.
The kitty and skull blankets will remain on hold until it's Fall again since I'll die under them LOL The pillow cover blocks may get frogged. I'm debating on those.

The baby bibs will be next since I want to finalise the design on these and get the pattern published!

Somewhere along the way the dishcloth will get frogged and a different stitch tried out since the current one isn't doing it for me. Thank goodness I'm not desperate for a dishcloth!

Boy do I have it bad!!! LOL
I just joined a CAL over at Crochet Soirée that ends April 30th! Mind you the pattern is really cute and I know who I'm making the scarf for already :) My 16 year old niece will love this funky fun scarf. Scroll down the page a bit and you'll see the Flower scarf post. Nothing to buy, just make the scarf, follow the instructions for entering a picture of it in the CAL before the end of April and get a chance at a prize! How much better can it get? Don't forget to sign up for their free newsletter... which is how I found out about the CAL :)