Saturday, October 28, 2006

mission accomplished

Laundry detergent supply augmentation
The detergent seekers have returned to the motherland.
 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

nouveau message

somehow we missed something we wanted to see in holland because we thought it was in belgium, so instead we decided to go to luxembourg. Make sense? No, not to us either, but it was a good move. Saw Vianden Castle today, first castle on this trip -- totally worth the hike up the mountain to it and, believe it or not, my legs are barely tired. We were within a few kilometers of Germany, so kidlunch included weiner schnitzel, of course! Most beautiful train rides.

Back to Paris in the morning so we can spend our last evening here having dessert on the Trocadero during 9ç00-10ç00, when the Eiffel Tower sparkles. Then home, and weàre all ready. Looking forward to getting back to work, so we can get some rest!

This keyboard is closest to normal (for me) to date, but I still had to ask for help to find out how to make an (at) symbol.

See you all soon!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

amsterdam & brugge

amsterdam is crazeeeeee! we liked it anyway, but so diff. from the other pllaces we've been. glad to have visited there now because if the kids were older and more aware, it might have been a bit more uncomfortable in places. ;-)

in brugge, belgium now. love it here. just had an awesome day of lacemaking, cathedrals, chocolatiers, cafes, art, candymaking (where fireworks went off in our brains -- more on that later). Walking many miles a day, so sore legs, but worth it -- prettier on the cobblestone streets among 1,000+-year-old buildings than on the subway.

I'm in a youth hostel now to use their internet access. Has the usual keyboard setup,but keys are like on a tv remote control, not a regular feel to them at all, so almost as handicapped feeling as when the keys were scrambled.

Bren, Ulla Popkin store in the courtyard around the corner from where we're staying.

to lacemaking museum tomorrow, then to Brussels...we think! woo hoo!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

ooch; my qching legs

ze covered so,e ,qjor ,ileqge yesterdqy: Stqrted zith the
,ust run to cqtch trqin to q,sterdq,:


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

creer un message blog

were in paris! notre dame today. wow is this place beautiful! hqve gone by subway qnd bus; and walked for miles; including q long zqlk qlong the Seine qnd 422 stairs to the top of Notre Dame tower. I think that,s more stairs thqn bruneleschis dome:

cqn you tell thqt I,m q professionql trqnscriptionist? No fair moving qll the keys around!!

will visit mona; venus, and the tall pointy thing tomorrow; but ze got q good viez of it fro, the top of notre dq,e todqy:

if youùre hqving q little trouble reqding this ,essqge; it gives you q clue hoz ze feel trying to bumble our way around this city: itùs q fun puwwle to decipher. too tired to fix typos: more lqter; but for noz I zill publier le ,essqge; such qs it is: ha!

clues: q=a

Sunday, October 15, 2006

leaves falling, spirits soaring

In this, my favorite time of year, we are being treated to an absolutely glorious weekend, components of which include brisk temps, sunshine galore, breathtaking foliage, an abundance of old and new friends with whom to work and play (and often it's hard to tell which is which :-), and a heartwarming feeling of satisfaction. Yesterday's highlights included a family favorite autumn party and a relaxing evening out with a friend.

In the quiet calm early this morning, I finished this pair of socks made of superwash sock yarn from Sweet Georgia Yarns in the English Bay colorway, two skeins of which were gifted to me by a friend who won them because of a donation to the Heifer Project through the 2006 Spin-Out fundraiser. That's a whole lotta good karma wrapped up in one socky spiral. And it'll continue from here.

I have more to show, but it'll have to wait. Today, Scott's pumping out apple pies and pumpkin muffins (among other goodies) in the bakery and there's an apple fest calling our name. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 14, 2006

stripes and silk

While Jesse was reading a good book to everyone yesterday evening, Leah decided to start to figure out how to knit with 2 colors. As with her hand sewing and machine sewing of quilt sections, she prefers to give it a go using common sense first, and then asks me to show her how I do it.
Not a half bad first effort. No gaps between color changes. Certainly no worse than my own first attempts at knitting with more than one color, relying on nothing more than common sense for technique -- see March archives for March 17 entry titled "On the Flip Side," to which I cannot link directly for some reason.
Just for the fun of it, here are a couple of pics of some silk ribbon embroidery I did a few years ago on a purchased cardigan made of jersey knit. This is the bouquet in the breast/lapel area.
And here's a spray of flowers on the corner of a pocket.
I wore this yesterday and received many compliments on it. It felt good to realize that I was wearing a silk ribbon-embellished cardigan, lampwork bead necklace, and handknit socks. :-) Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 12, 2006

carried along by color

Our spinning wheels have been loaned out to friends so they can become further addicted too, so I did a little plying of Leah's singles last night to clear the bobbins. Some of this is luscious Grafton Fibers (bought in VT) and some is Fleece Artist (bought in Nova Scotia), a few more assorted batts/braids of which are waiting in the spinning stash. Mmmm...soft wool, incredible colors.
I didn't realize it last week, when I weathered a trek to mall hell (oh, the things I do for these children), but there's a gap in sizes in the Leah's sneaker stash and she was in need of fresh sneaks for some serious walking in our near future. So off we trekked again last night. We narrowed down the candidates and were able to bump some Keds off the list (since we've been through this before and they just don't fit her well) when I realized the only thing that made a particular style enticing was the charms dangling from their laces. She chose these spiffy pink and white sneaks instead and we made a couple of charms of her very own. Turtle for one foot, elephant for the other, from beadstash supplies. One happy twinkletoed Goober.

Today we're celebrating our 15th anniversary just a teensy bit. Only just a teensy bit because mostly we're working a lot today, knowing that soon we'll celebrate in style, somewhere outstanding. But we're certainly taking the time today to think back on that fantastic day and the family and friends who made it special. (Apologies for image quality -- digital snap of a photograph.)

We left our reception by hot air balloon, tossing the bouquet as we were up, up, and away. The trees that day were just about as beautiful as they are today and the future looked equally bright. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Jesse created a K'nex fishing pole a few days ago. I think he started with a design shown in a K'nex idea book, but has added to it. It's now a collapsible-to-half-length, trigger release mechanism, fully functional pole with a hand crank for the 8-lb. test monofilament on the reel. A rubber band acts as the spring on the trigger release.

The fisherman's thumb goes on the blue lever you see at the top of this picture. Pushing down on the lever releases the drag on the reel and it snaps back to locking position because of the rubber band.

It worked beautifully at our favorite swimming hole a couple of afternoons ago. Jesse caught sunfish on it and dinner that evening was bluefish caught on his first party boat trip.

 Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 08, 2006

from Zayre's to Auntie Viola

Remember that yarn I mentioned last week, the skeins I'd get on sale at Murphy Mart or Zayre's when I was a kid and I'd make them into toy clowns for sale? Well, some of that yarn has been with me for all these years, and a bunch was added when my Gram cleared stuff out of her big house and moved to her apartment a few years ago. The last time I used it was to make an afghan to donate through a group a couple of years ago. Leah has used lots of it as she became more proficient at crocheting and then knitting. But lately, we've both moved on to different kinds of yarn and the acrylic stash was virtually abandoned.

Then came a post on a Freecycle-like group (swap/sell/barter/borrow/give/request) that I thought of a couple of months ago and has recently gotten underway, thanks to an enthusiastic volunteer who moderates the group. The message was from a local homeschooling family, requesting yarn for their 88-year-old great aunt, who keeps her hands busy with making items to be raffled as fundraisers.

Well, I talked to Leah about it and we agreed that we're happy to send our unused stash to Auntie Viola in Rhode Island. When I originally responded to the person requesting the yarn, I told her I probably had 40+ skeins to offer, but it ended up being much more than that -- two big boxes full to overflowing! Yahoo in so many ways -- cleared out our yarn closet, helped a fellow stitchaholic, and set some good karma in motion so maybe someday when we're in need of yarn, it'll come our way from an unexpected source. :-)

And remember how I said the Goob was all atwitter about the idea of morphing t-shirts, as shown in the Generation T book a friend has and offered to loan to us? Well, sho' 'nuf, when I came home with the book on Friday night, Leah took it into her bedroom to devour. When she emerged in the morning, she had marked her intended projects with paper scraps...
This busy little beaver wasted no time. The very next morning, she chose a project, grabbed the freebie shirt from a baseball game earlier this summer, pulled out the red sleeves we saved from Jesse's Renaissance Faire squire tunic, and set to work. She learned some new sewing terms and techniques along the way, removing the usual t-shirt sleeves and adding some flouncy red ruffled cap sleeves.
Meanwhile, Jesse built a k'nex fishing rod with all the working features of a usual rod, including a trigger release casting mechanism. Not only that, the thing telescopes so it can be collapsed to half its length for easier transport! He and Scott went fishing last night and this rod performed beautifully. Unfortunately, Scott didn't take the camera. I know Jesse was planning to make some modifications to his fishing rod last night, though, so I have a feeling we'll get more opportunities to photograph his creation. And maybe we'll be having fish for dinner! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

time-space romp, part III

The last stop on this weekend's romp through time and space was at the Archaeology Expo in Storrs, where we met up with friends and spent a rainy afternoon chatting with knowledgeable and enthusiastic folks, and exploring their exhibits. Exhibits/activities included excavating and reconstructing a skeleton, flint knapping, drilling stone, testing stone lamps like ones found in a cave in France, fletching with turkey feathers, trebuchet and ballista construction (and a video showing how much fun it can be to launch pumpkins the length of a football field and call it research), Connecticut brownstone and other quarries, antique machinery, mining, and a really interesting exhibit about silkworms and silk harvesting, where Jesse and an exhibitor spent quite a bit of time unwinding a silk cocoon. Really made us understand how much work goes into that silk that we have in our spinning stash and elsewhere in this fiber-laden house. Hey, we even spotted a knitter in the wild!
Home again for an evening of making stained glass stars. I did just a small bit of stained glass work a few years ago and haven't touched it for a while, so I basically had to learn all over again, but it was great to have Jesse and Leah join in and learn it with me. Jesse's done a fair amount of soldering in his electronics projects, so he was very comfortable with the soldering iron, and Leah's eager to learn just about everything, so we all took turns and learned from each other and helped each other and ended up with three stars by the end of the day. The plan is to wire wrap them and dangle a glass bead in the center.
Monday brought us crashing back to reality. Nothing at all went smoothly. I won't bore you with all the ugly details, but will illustrate the depth and breadth by saying that this day included a broken pair of brand new eyeglasses, a visit to mall hell (where there is an absence of chainmaille rings in two large craft supply stores and very few size 11 sneakers that do not look like they belong on the feet of a gangsta rapper), a near head-on collision with a moronic neighbor on my little one-way street, a whopping dental bill, the roof of my car being bombarded by acorns, a visit to the police station, and a suicidal enormous turtle with a bad 'tude. Seriously, a giant freakin' psycho turtle was a part of my day here in the 'burbs.

By evening, I was wiped out, so I figured I'd just chill with something mindless and wind up a few neat little cakes of sock yarn. This seemed like a fine plan for the first 7 yarncakes, but on the 8th one, I have no idea how it happened, but the outer portion of the ball came flying off the winder and got all tangled on the yarn feeder thingy and made a big terrible mess before I even saw it! So I began untangling and got this far before the family took pity on me. They said I should go to bed and they'd take turns to fix it for me today.

It appears that I made it through the night without anything bad happening in my immediate vicinity. Let's hope this is the beginning of a trend. Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 02, 2006

time-space romp, part II

On Saturday, we zoomed from the Renaissance to Ireland (with a stopover in Portland for a refreshing beverage with friends ;-). This was the Celtic music festival called Pipes in the Valley, held at Riverfront Park in Hartford.

It was an absolutely perfect autumn day for some incredible music, including that performed by Albannach, chillin' above before their turn on stage. We parked on the East Hartford side and enjoyed a nice walk along the river and over the bridge to arrive at the festival. Totally cool moment when we realized that was a didgeridoo we heard wafting across the river along with the bagpipes and drums!

We wandered from the Irish step dancing to the long sword demonstrations to the birds of prey and spent lots of time at the caber toss competition. Leah was enchanted by the Celtic knots and Jesse by scoping out who had daggers stuck in their socks, below their kilts. For me, it was all about a destination yet unreached and the sweaters. Oh, the sweaters! Look over in the right margin here (scroll up to beneath the Glastonbury Glassworks logo) to see a collection of pics I took of the beautiful Arans along the way. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 01, 2006

time-space romp, part I

We've been zooming through time and space for the past three days and, boy, I'm tired. Before we get to the time romp, though, I wanted to show you a little project that's recently underway.

On the left below, you can see a nice big cone of variegated tencel that I got at Webs last winter. On the right is some burgundy cotton yarn harvested from a sweater from Goodwill.
I'm knitting 2 strands of the cotton with 1 strand of tencel, in the lace rib pattern (#79) in Stitchionary. I did some simple figuring per Jackie Fee's Sweater Workshop to come up with a planned cardigan for Leah. It's super soft and the effect of the blend is exactly what I hoped for: nice bit of sheen from the tencel and subtle variegation, enough to make this clearly not a solid color but not so much variegation that you lose sight of the lace rib pattern. I don't know if I'll have enough of the burgundy to do the whole sweater, but I have some options in mind if I need to go to Plan B.

The blue yarn at the bottom edge of the sleeve is the result of using a provisional cast-on. This is a new technique for me. It will allow me to knit up the sleeve from the cast-on and then go back and pick up those cast-on stitches that are being held temporarily by the blue yarn, remove the blue yarn, and then knit down to add a ruffled edge, without a seam between the two segments.

This weekend's time traveling began with Friday at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire. Besides the rip-roaring nor'easter that passed through midday, we had a fantastic time. We knew lots of people there, so it was a really comfortable environment, seeing friends everywhere we turned.

Many of our friends were wearing costumes, and we were too. We had heard that the participants in the RenFaire really like the contribution to the fun when folks dress up, and I'd have to say that it does add to the experience to join in like that. Leah's fair maiden dress and Jesse's squire tunic began as a a woman's dress and a man's t-shirt at Goodwill, and they were morphed into Ren costumes with supplies from our stash while watching some travel videos earlier this week. Jesse smite a knight, Leah swooned over fancy finery, and a good time was had by all (once the weather stopped threatening to take us to Oz). Posted by Picasa