Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy Birthday!

I'm back! Sorry for the long break. I was out of town and then sick with the crud. The crud is still hanging on, but it's getting better.


First off = We got a new puppy! (yes, we are gluttons for punishment.) But. I haven't been able to get a good pic of her yet. She's tiny and moves too much. I'll get it for you later.


My Dad's feet make their first appearance on the blog!

I finally finished the socks for my Dad. Barely made it under the wire. I've decided that making a man's sock is not fun, especially when I have a deadline. A few too many stitches. I really loved this pattern though. It's the Baby Cable Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks. I used two size 2 circs and Knit Picks Sock yarn in Essential - Terrain Twist. The toe was from the Magic Cast-On tutorial and the heel is a short row one. I was worried that the cable would be too feminine, but this turned out to be a really nice manly sock. The color turned out great too. It should match a lot of his wardrobe.

Check out what happened to a candle on my Mom's mantle. There were some others, but this is the only sad one. They have gas logs and this one was directly over the fireplace. Guess it got a little too hot huh?

One Sad Candle


And last to be mentioned, Today is the Youngest's Birthday! The official party will be next Saturday, but he gets the first mention today.

Happy 2nd Birthday Youngest!


Be sure and check out tomorrow's post - a contest is coming!

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Christmas Song!

Merry Christmas Everyone!


A Christmas Song just for you!



I will be out of town for the next week, so please don't be disappointed if there are few posts.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Pics are finally here!

This post is a little later than I had planned. Life interrupted the photography for a while, but here it is now.

These pics turned out well I think, but I wish I had made a little bit bigger light box. I could not put the whole set in it to photograph it. I'll have to show you the set in pieces instead.

For the Clay Pot Nativity Set that I made, there are sixteen pieces and each took a while to make. I'm considering making more to sell, but they'll have to be custom ordered. It will be a little late to have it for this Christmas, but that's ok, I'm patient.

I've come up with some cute ideas to mix clay pot people with knitting and I'll have some of those after Christmas.

I don't have an Etsy store yet, but if anyone is interested in getting one of these sets or even part of one you can email me at sjmercureAThotmailDOTcom and I'll get you the pricing information.

So, without further ado (click all pics to enlarge):

The Basic Set - Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus and the Stable

Three Wise Men and Camel

Shepherd and Stableman with Sheep, Donkey and Cow

Innkeeper, Angel, Drummer Boy

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Meanest .Mommy. Ever.

I have been given the "Meanest Mommy Ever" award by the Eldest. Wanna know why?

There was a Holiday Gift Shop at his school. A place where the little kiddies could by their family some great gifts for Christmas. He was so excited about doing this.

We had a small talk when I gave him some money about who to buy for, mainly his Dad and his PawPaw (my Dad). He already had gifts for everyone else. He looked at me and said "And I can get myself something too!"

I replied, "No, You don't need to buy yourself anything. Christmas is for giving a gift to others, not yourself." I thought this was pretty simple and straightforward. A done deal right?

Not.

That afternoon when I picked himself up from school he couldn't wait to tell me everything he got. He got Dad and Pawpaw something. Oh, and also something for his little brother, The Youngest. I was a bit suspicious over that one. He doesn't really do a whole lot for his brother. The suspicion was confirmed when he said, "Oh and I got myself two things."

Now, I know that it's difficult being a 7 year old when confronted by all that cool stuff. However.... Not only did he not mind me, he was selfish.

So, I decided to turn this into an Object Lesson. (7 year olds hate those.)

He got to donate those two really cool toys (and they were pretty cool I must say) to a wonderful cause:

I wanna urge everyone to donate a toy for this wonderful cause. The Eldest may have toys overflowing out of his room, but some poor child will have nothing. Give a little love to a child near you this year.

The Eldest is a good kid. There was only a little of his lower lip pouting out when he put those toys in the box. He conceded that he was helping others and maybe that wasn't so bad. I think he's learned his lesson.

I think next year I'll let him pick out another couple of gifts to donate too. This is one lesson I don't mind repeating over and over til he learns it.

The Definition of Silence

Never turn your back on an almost two year old. Ever. If you hear silence, run, don't walk and go find the said child. I guess the same goes if you hear screaming, but the silence is often worse.

Normal definition of silence:
Silence: n.
1. The condition or quality of being or keeping still and silent. (Forget this one, the Youngest doesn't know how to keep still.)
2. The absence of sound; stillness. (I repeat, he doesn't know how to sit still.)
3. A period of time without speech or noise. (I only wish)
4. Refusal or failure to speak out. (NOW we're gettin' warmer.)

I think we need to add a few more numbers to this list. Something like:

5. The sound that brings terror to a Mommy's ears.
6. The sound of a child bent on wreaking havoc on the living room, or the cat, take your pick.
7. The sound you hear when a child is hell bent on destroying (or climbing) something he knows he's not supposed to.

Would you like a few pictorial examples?

How about when he redecorates the living room with diapers?


How about when he decorates the trees with his own diaper ornaments?


And the loud annoying Hallmark decoration?



Or adds them to the stack of gifts?

Or unrolls a whole brand new roll of toilet paper on the floor?


The face of guilt:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ways to hold yarn for knitting

How do you hold your Yarn and needles when you are knitting? And does changing it affect your tension? For me it does. There's no "right way" or "wrong way" to hold yarn when knitting. To each his own. But it does fascinate me how many ways there are to hold the yarn when knitting.

I learned to crochet first. My mom taught me. When crocheting I held the yarn in my left hand. So, when I picked up the knitting needles for the first time, it felt more natural for me to do it that way. Now in English style knitting, the yarn is traditionally held in the right hand. In Continental style knitting, the yarn is controlled by the left hand. When I do my Combination style knitting, left is the way to go.

Now that we've figured out which hand to hold the yarn in, how do you hold and control it with that hand? Now most people (unless you're Annie Modesitt) don't just let the yarn hang down, they need to hold it to control the tension of the yarn in the stitches.

I became curious about this subject recently. I was watching a show (can't remember which one) on tv and this one lady was doing a demonstration of how to knit. She showed both English and Continental styles. I didn't pay as much attention to those as how she held the yarn. It was different than the way I do it. I was fascinated. I tried it on the project that I was working on and discovered that the tension on my project was completely different. I went back to my way, but I now I watch others for their methods.

Here is how I hold my yarn:

Image 1 - From the Top


Image 2 - From the Palm

Video - How I load up my yarn on my hand:


video


I haven't seen or found many people discussing this subject online. I have seen it in published books, but most online articles that I've found just explain the different styles of knitting and avoid how to hold the working yarn.


Here are a few links I've found to some of the different ways to hold your yarn and needles. I'm sure there are many more out there, I just haven't found them.

WorldKnit
ExpertVillage
The Scottish Gypsy
How Stuff Works



I would love to know how you hold your yarn!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lightening Round!

So it's time for a lightening round of "What's Shea Been Up To?"

First, not much good news on the socks. I had to rip about 2 inches last night. I had big gaping holes between the heel and the leg of the sock. I tried to get over it, I tried to tell myself that I would go back and sew them up later, but I just couldn't do it. I had to fix the holes. So rrrriiiiipppp I went! I caught back up today, but jeez I'm so far behind schedule. I may be finishing these socks in front of my Dad. I haven't had a lot of time to devote to these because of another Christmas project which I'll show you part of in a minute.

Second, I helped the Eldest make his first Gingerbread House. This was from a kit and I will never buy the kit again. It would be easier to do my own. There wasn't enough frosting to do the job properly. But, eh, The Eldest had a ball doing this anyway and it did turn out cute.
Model of Eldest's dream house?
Third, I made a light box today to help photograph my projects. But I didn't have any poster board and this definitely needs poster board! Tissue paper in the back just won't do.

Fourth, Here is a portion of what I have been frantically making for the past couple of weeks. Yep, it's a clay pot people nativity set. There are only three pieces to the nativity scene shown here. Once I get that poster board, I'll do a proper pic. with all of them. There are a lot of characters in this nativity set. I made two sets at once too and it almost killed me. These are all very detailed. Like I said, more to come tomorrow (hopefully.)

Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus at the Inn

Mommy's been busy and I think someone's feeling neglected.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas and Crafts

What does your Dining Room table look like this holiday season? Do you have a beautiful centerpiece? Some fun place settings? A beautiful tablecloth and matching napkins?

Mine currently looks like this:

And I cleaned it up a bit before I took the pic too!
Crafting is such a messy business. At least there's a giant collapsed box protecting the surface of the table. What's that you see? An Incredible's cup holding sharpies and paintbrushes? More terracotta pots? Hmmm.... I'll have details about what I've been scrambling to get done in a few days.

On the opposite side of the room though, is a bit of Christmas:

Notice the cat? See what she did to the garland?

This was a sappy sentimental purchase on my part. Growing up, my grandparents had a silver tinsel tree with blue ornaments. So I wanted one. I put a peacock in place of the star though and added some teal blue ornaments to tie it together. And let me tell you, Widget the cat is very pleased. She loves the garland and the silver on the tree, not to mention the dangling ornaments. Luckily, the Youngest has left this one mostly alone. Alas, the large traditional tree has not quite fared as well from the little terror.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

knitting gremlins and toupees

Sometime between last night and this afternoon, gremlins got into my knitting bag. Here is the current and proper state of my sock knitting. Can you see how the needles are laid out? One needle is for the cabled side and one needle is for the stockinette side and when laid down, everything should be flat. Can ya see that?
Click to enlarge
Now, last night when I put the knitting down everything was fine. When I picked it back up this afternoon though, oh boy. One of the needles, instead of having both sides pointing away from each other, were pointing in! How the heck did this happen? I have no clue. Nothing is wrong with the socks or stitches. Why? and while we're at it, Why Me? I had to pull the needle out from one end and re-do it. Now I'm back at the above proper knitting with 2 circs configuration. It had to be gremlins!

I've been working on a time intensive project lately. I'll have to show you it later when it's closer to completion. It's not knitting, but it is crafty. Anyway, I was working with some fun fur and the Youngest got a hold of it, put it on his head and proudly yelled "hat!" You can see his new toupee below.

Daddy's got a new rug!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Nigerian scam email breakdown

I promise I'll start putting photos back into the blog, but I couldn't pass this up!


I received an email today that amused me to no end. It was one of those Nigerian scam emails that you hear about in the news so often. The spelling and grammar are blatantly horrible. It kills me that so many gullible and obviously illiterate people have been taken in on these things. Why? Why does this work?


Here is the email in it's totality with some additional comments from yours truly:

ATM CARD PAYMENT FOR FUND BENEFICIARIES
INTERNATIONAL CREDIT SETTLEMENT
OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR
OF OPERATIONS
CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA.


ATTENTION BENEFICIARY: (Why is this moron screaming at me in upper case letters?)

THIS IS TO OFFICIALY INFORM YOU THAT WE HAVE VERIFIED YOUR
CONTRACT /INHERITANCE FILE AND FOUND OUT THAT WHY YOU HAVE NOT RECEIVED YOUR PAYMENT IS BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOT FUFILLED (shouldn't this be fulfilled?) THE OBLIGATIONS GIVEN TO YOU IN RESPECT OF YOUR CONTRACT / INHERITANCE (make up your mind. Is it an inheritance or a contract. Do I have to pay or get paid? I'm so confused) PAYMENT.

SECONDLY ( Wait, where was the firstly?) WE HAVE BEEN INFORMED THAT YOU ARE STILL DEALING WITH THE NONE OFFICIALS IN THE BANK ALL YOUR ATTEMPT TO SECURE THE RELEASE OF THE FUND TO YOU. (I'm sorry, but that whole damn sentence was gibberish. Could you please speak/write the Queens English?) WE WISH TO ADVIVE (advive? Did you just say advive?) YOU THAT SUCH AN ILEGAL (um, just like this letter it's illegal dumba$$) ACT LIKE THIS HAVE (has) TO STOP IF YOU WISHES (why is this plural?) TO RECEIVE YOUR PAYMENT SINCE WE HAVE DECIDED TO BRING A SOLUTION TO YOUR PROBLEM. (Typical man. Did I freakin' ask you to solve my problems? Can't you just listen for a change?)

RIGHT NOW WE HAVE ARRANGED YOUR PAYMENT THROUGH OUR SWIFT CARD PAYMENT ENTER ASIA PACIFIC (So what exactly is a swift card payment enter asia? Is that some newfangled electronic funds transfer that is done in Japanese B-movie speak?), THAT IS THE LATEST INSTRUCTION BY THE PRESIDENT CHIEF ALHAJI UMAR MUSA YAR-ADUA (say that ten times fast) (GCFR FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA. (hello? dummy? where's your end quote?)

THIS CARD CENTER WILL SEND YOU AN ATM CARD WHICH YOU WILL USE TO WITHDRAW YOUR MONEY IN ANY ATM MACHINE IN ANY PART OF THE WORLD, BUT (There's always a BUT isn't there?) THE MAXIMUM IS ONE THOUSAND FIVE DOLLARS PER DAY (cause God knows, we wouldn't want to take more from you that day, we might get caught by some Government watchdog agency), SO IF YOU LIKE TO RECIEVE (I before E except after C - gee, your grammar teacher sucked.) YOUR FUND THIS WAY (So am I giving or receiving? It's not quite clear enough for me.) PLEASE LET US KNOW BY CONTACTING THE CARD PAYMENT CENTER AND ALSO SEND THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:


1.YOUR FULL NAME
2. PHONE AND FAX NUMBER, (why is there a comma here?)
3. ADDRESS WERE (obviously this person has spent time here in the deep south. It's fairly common to substitute were for where. IE: Were ya'll goin' fer lunch?) YOU WANT THEM TO SEND THE ATM CARD
4. YOUR AGE AND CURRENT OCCUPATION
5. A COPY OF YOUR IDENTITY ATTACHED TO E-MAIL (Will a clone of me fit in an envelope?)

MR IGNATIUS IMALA (Love. the. name. love. it.)

INTEGRATED (Just underwent a merger of Nigerian jerks and panhandlers) PAYMENT DEPARTMENT
EMAIL:drignatius1@yahoo.com


THE ATM CARD PAYMENT CENTER HAS BEEN MANDATED (Sure they have)TO ISSUE OUT
$8,300,000.00 AS PART PAYMENT FOR THIS FISCAL YEAR 2007.


ALSO FOR YOUR INFORMATION YOU HAVE TO STOP ANY FURTHER COMMINUCATION (Again, more deep south speak. What we have here, is a failure in comminucation.) WITH ANY OTHER PERSON(S) OR OFFICE(s).

THIS IS TO AVOID ANY HITCHES (Now that, my friend, is some fantastic legalese. Do legal departments use the word hitches?) IN FINALIZING YOUR PAYMENT. AS SOON AS YOU REPLY TO THIS IMPORTANT M ESSAGE (m essage in case you missed it) FOR FURTHER DIRECTION IN THIS REGARDS (more unnecessary plurality) AND ALSO UPDATE ME ON ANY DEVELOPMENT FROM THE ABOVE MENTIONED OFFICE.

NOTE: THAT BECAUSE OF IMPOSTORS (and people who can't spell), WE HEREBY ISSUED (God, the grammar mistakes are killing me) YOU OUR CODE OF
CONDUCT, WHICH IS (811) (you can call 911 later when you realize you've been scammed) SO YOU HAVE TO INDICATE THIS CODE WHEN CONTACTING
THE CARD CENTER. (That way we'll know which moronic American is forking over their hard earned cash to us.)

PERSON IN CONTACT OF THE CARD CENTER. (In case you couldn't figure this out from the dude's title below)

(Mr Musa Bello)

CHIEF AUDITOR TO THE PRESIDENT (Thank goodness someone is auditing the president in Nigeria, wish someone would do that in the USA.)
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
ATM CARD PAYMENT FOR FUND BENEFICIARIES

EMAIL ADD:mrmusabello@gawab.com

Saturday, December 08, 2007

knitting causes bad dreams

Do you have stress dreams? You know, those dreams that cause you to have nightmares; those dreams that are the symptoms of the stress building up in your life?

I have two and they come and go interchangeably with no notice. I expect one of them anytime now due to the socks that I'm making for my Dad for Christmas. I hate being under a time constraint, I really do. Pressure is not good. Pressure bad. Pressure causing stress. So. I'll either have dream A. or dream B. sometime really soon. Guaranteed.

Dream A is where I'm arrested for something I didn't do and no one believes me and I'm sent off to prison. I've never been in jail and hope never to be in jail so don't ask me why this one keeps recurring in my slumber.

Dream B however, has happened in the past. You see, in this dream, I'm back in college (God forbid) and it's coming up on finals week. The problem though, is that I've skipped too many classes and no matter how well I do on the final, even if I ace it, I'm still gonna flunk the class. But wait! I've just got to ace that exam. Maybe God will step in and save me somehow and let me pass that class!

I'm tensing up just writing about them. No kidding, Dream B is particularly stressful and while I was writing about it my shoulders slowly crept up to my ears.

These socks are killing me!

By the way, notice the Christmas ornament update. The kid got another one.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I'm on the Pay It Forward bandwagon!

So I'm jumping on the "Pay It Forward" bandwagon. Have you heard about this? Feel like doing something for someone else?

Be one of the first three bloggers to leave a comment requesting to join this PIF, and you will receive either a handmade gift or knitting yarn or quilting supplies from me at some point in the next 365 days. I'm changing the standard rule of just a handmade gift to add the option of giving knitting/quilting supplies instead. I can't guarantee the gift will be knitting, but I promise it will be fun!

What's the catch? You have to promise to do the same for someone else. Just put these simple directions on your blog, get your three comments and it's off to the races! How much fun is that? You'll feel great about giving and you'll make some friends as well. I know I'm excited about it!

To follow the links to see where this all started, begin here at the Arts & Quilts blog.

*****

I found some sites with videos and tutorials on Knitting and one on crochet that I thought that I would share. Some are basic How-To on knitting, but there's some really interesting stuff for intermediate and advanced knitters as well.

Check them out:

Knitting Links

Mostly Basic Sutree

Mixed:
Ehow Knitting Videos and tutorials
Make: Blog Videos
About.com
KnittingHelp.com
HelpThing


Crochet Links

Ehow Crochet videos and tutorials

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

kids, knitting and at&t

I swear that my children, my knitting and AT&T are causing my blood pressure to sky rocket.

First, I picked up the sock that I am making for my Dad out of a worsted tweed yarn. I already had the toe pocket, all I had to do was to begin the pattern. Well, I did just that. Unfortunately I did the pattern all the way around the sock, not just on the top of the sock. I was watching a movie and didn't notice this until I had done about 10 rows of the blasted thing. When I noticed, I might have said a few cuss words, but decided to rip back and try again. It turned into the biggest mess ever. So I cussed some more and frogged the whole thing.

I began again today (but with sock not worsted yarn) and decided to try the 2 socks on 2 circs thing again. The 2 socks at once thing is working, but about 6 rows in, I realized that I had cast on 2 more sts on one than the other. Its still early enough in the increases that I can fudge it and make it work. Trust me, my Dad will never notice. Still, it's aggravating.

Second, AT&T DSL decided to die last night. I could neither blog, nor read my favorite blogs. Do you know how much time I waste a day reading blogs on crafting and knitting? Way too much. Hi, I'm Shea, and I'm an internet blog addict. I swear I started getting the shakes.

Third, and most annoying, was the Eldest. A week ago, I caught him telling a lie. I threatened him and went on my way. Now, a 7 yr old, even though normally a compliant and basically good child, will still try to lie to get out of trouble even though he should know better. And honestly, who hasn't? But! He was caught again last night. Busted. Cold. Or rather, I should say very Hot.

Around 5:30 yesterday I noticed that it was getting really hot. I thought I'd been moving around too much and ignored it. About 10 minutes later I thought, "Whew, I'm roasting, maybe it's the wool sweater I'm wearing." Heh. I went and looked at the thermostat to see if I just had a fever or if it really was hot in the house. Guess what? It was not just hot, it was damn hot. The thermostat had been cranked to 86 degrees! By 11:30 it was still 77 degrees in the house.

Of course, when questioned, Eldest said in the most innocent of voices "I didn't do it." Well, if I didn't do it and his Daddy didn't do it and the Youngest can't even reach it, then by process of elimination, Eldest must have done it. Yep. Lied to me again. So, he now must endure an entire seven days without anything that runs on electricity or batteries. Full electronic restriction. And, his DS is now in my possession. It's a tough time before Christmas. I told him that yes, I would have fussed at him about the thermostat, but I wouldn't have punished him otherwise. But the lie is another story completely. Next time it'll be a month of electronic restriction. Not pretty.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Spinning and Weaving in Iran

I found a site that has some fascinating picture of women in Iran. Beautiful women in gorgeous clothes. It has women that are young and old living all types of lifestyles. But especially interesting to me was the pictures of the women working with fiber.

Preparing the fiber!

Spinning yarn!
More Spinning!

Weaving!

More Weaving!
The actual site can be seen HERE. I would love to give credit to the owner of the site for their fascinating photos, but I don't read the language this site is written in. Wow, what an amazing group of photos!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

knitting dilemma

I gots a dilemma here at Chez Shea. It has to do with the Minimalist Cardigan. As it turns out, it's not so minimalist.

My swatch LIED to me! I was so careful. I swatched. I washed. I laid it flat. I measured. Oh the inhumanity! My sweater is measuring up to be one size up from the one I intended.

If I had been freakin' paying attention though, I would have caught this soon enough where frogging the whole thing would not be as painful.

My dilemma is this: Do I hope for the best and go ahead and block it and hope it will be a smaller size? Or do I frog and begin again?

Sure, I could force it to be smaller as I block it, but we gotta remember that this is done primarily in Moss Stitch which tends to stretch. What are the chances that it would just stretch back out?

But! I was so close to the finish on this. It's a very painful thought, beginning again.

What would you do? Please, I'm begging you, leave a comment and help me out with some advice!

As Katie Scarlett O'Hara said, "I'll think about that tomorrow" or at least after Christmas. Now I have to get to work on my Dad's socks that I promised him. I am aiming to get one pair done, but hope for two. I refuse to stress myself out on this one. If I get two done, great. If not, he gets an IOU on the second.

Obviously I'm not one of those people who line up a million and one projects for Christmas. Nope, not me, no way. I got enough stress just keeping the Christmas ornaments alive each day from the Youngest's efforts to destroy them all one glass ball at a time.



I am my Christmas tree's Champion! I will defend it's, err... balls? it's chastity? Why exactly am I defending it again? oh yeah. children + glass. = bad. right. got it now, thanks.

Cammie says, "If I'm not looking at you, you can't see me hiding under here."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Crochet Cluster Stitch Shoulder Bag


Here's a blast from the past vintage pattern for you. The Crochet Cluster Stitch Shoulder Bag from circa 1975. I was a whole 6 years old when this one was published in an unknown magazine. My mother clipped this out and for some unknown reason has been able to keep up with it all these years. She made it for my kindergarten teacher, who is, hopefully, still alive and still has her bag. Since it was made from acrylic, we're going to assume the bag, at least, is still around. 'kay?

This is too cute not to share. I haven't made it yet, but it's on my to-do list. This would make a really cute Christmas gift and looks really quick and easy. Hope you enjoy it!

Welcome to my World

Welcome to my world. The world where you spend lots of time decorating your house and tree with lots of glass and shiny bits and sundry other fragile, breakable items. Then, you spend the next month and a half or so yelling at the almost two year old who can't seem to keep away from all the pretty lights and ornaments. This is the child who also cannot control his impulses to unwrap the cool paper and neat bows.

I love Christmas and all the bells and whistles that go along with it. So, I must "gird up my loins" (so to speak) and be prepared to have high blood pressure issues and lots of mixed drinks readily available to control said high blood pressure issues.

The first of the high blood pressure issues however, have had nothing to do with the Youngest and everything to do with light strands. I began getting the tree lights out of their respective boxes. I plugged the first one into the wall. Half of the lights came on. Not an all or nothing situation as per usual, but half. Well, damn. I grabbed the next strand and plugged it in. Again, half. This happened not once, not twice, but three damn times! Why me?

Instead of going along every single light to try and puzzle this out, I'm opting for the "go shopping for more damn lights" approach. I have less patience and less time, mainly due to the help of a certain almost two year old.

*****

I had a wonderful time at Thanksgiving and I've decided that if my waistline is to survive, I really need to avoid my Mom's cooking. I gain several pounds every time I go there.


The kids and I went on a walk while we were there and here's a couple of pics from it:

Beautiful!
Chasing big brother

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mr. Whipple

I feel so sad now. I just found out that Mr. "Don't Squeeze the Charmin" died. He was 91 and appeared in over 500 commercials for Charmin. So sad.

This is my last post for a few days.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving Holiday!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Police!

MMMMMM Sting.......

Last night I had one of my dreams fulfilled. I got to go see The Police live in concert at the Philips Arena in Atlanta. I could almost feel my nose bleeding, we were so high up and far away. They had three humongous screens set up above them though so you didn't miss a thing. That was really cool. And they were so incredibly loud. Awesome!


Every 56 year old man should have arms like Sting. OMG. He's still amazing. Where most older lead singers have lost most of their vocal high range, he hasn't lost much. And he has an amazing stage presence. I swear, if he passed be by on the street and crooked his little finger, my hubby would be a thing of the past. Oh my. He can be my sugar daddy anytime he wants.

Unlike of course, Andy Summers. The man cracked a smile once in two hours and never moved more than 5 feet away from his assigned spot. He is absolutely the oldest looking and acting of the bunch.

Stewart Copeland may have gray hair on his head, but he's got to be one of the hardest working men in show business. The man never stopped moving. He gets a great workout every night. We lost track of how many drum sticks he threw up in the air during and after each song. I wonder how many sticks he goes through a night? He didn't stick to just his one drum set though. He had a range of percussion instruments that rose out of the floor behind him for him to wail on; a giant gong, tympanies, xylophone, bells, and loud dangly things. He never missed a beat. He's a freaking percussive genius.

Wow what a show. They had a tight play list and played most of their big hits. These old geezers can still rock with the best of them.

Want to see why the concert folks aren't worried about people having camera phones on them at the shows? Let me show you a couple of pics that I took. I absolutely cracked myself up taking these terrible pics:

This one was taken during Roxanne - notice the red lights?
Don't have a clue when this was taken, but it sorta sideways shows the huge screens above them.


Really bad nose bleed shot
Very crooked opening number shot.

So there you have it. They should pay me to take pics with my camera phone at all the big shows, don't ya think? :) My hubby spent the whole time laughing at me and calling me a geek - especially when I told him I would be posting these bad boys here for you guys.


Here's the play list from the show:

1- Message in a Bottle

2- Synchronicity II

3- Walking on the Moon

4- Voices Inside My Head/When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around

5- Don’t Stand So Close To Me

6- Driven To Tears

7- Hole In My Life

8- Truth Hits Everybody

9- Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic

10- Wrapped Around Your Finger

11- De Do Do Do De Da Da Da

12- Invisible Sun

13- Walking In Your Footsteps

14- Can’t Stand Losing You

ENCORE I

15) Roxanne

16) King of Pain

17) So Lonely

18) Every Breath You Take

ENCORE II

19) Next To You



EDIT: I forgot to mention that the opening band, Fiction Plane, had Sting's son as the lead singer. When we got there we thought Sting was singing. Nope, it was his son. Sound's JUST like his dad. Pretty cool.

Also, Sting mentioned that the last time they played Atlanta was in 1978. I was 9 years old folks. Dang that was a long time ago.



Thursday, November 15, 2007

It's Elementary My Dear Watson

This Pic cracks me up. Today at school was "dress up like a book character day." So while most of the boys (8 of them to be exact) dressed like Harry Potter, the Eldest decided to be different and dress up as Dr. Watson from the Sherlock Holmes novels of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He would have been Sherlock if we could have found the right had, but this was the best we could do. The teachers loved it, but the kids were clueless. What elementary kid (besides mine) even knows who Sherlock Holmes is?

He wore a jacket of his Dad's that was long enough to be a trench coat on him. We just added a mustache, pipe and hat. He said that none of the other kids "had as much detail with their costumes" as he did. Notice we had to roll up the sleeves a couple of hundred times to get the coat to fit.

I'm glad that he's game to try and be different from the other kids. That will serve him well later on in life.
It's elementary my Dear Watson!

Oh, and thanks for the correction about my last post Lizzie! I didn't know that about Xmas.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

CHRISTMAS and the politically correct jerks

This article ,others like it, and commercials on television from the past couple of years really twists my knickers. I'm sick to death of the politically correct crap surrounding CHRISTMAS. Must we all apologize for calling the holiday what it is? It's CHRISTMAS folks. That's right, not Xmas, but CHRISTMAS. Yep, got to have the CHRIST in it to be CHRISTMAS. The holiday contains CHRISTMAS trees, not holiday trees.

Do you hear the Jewish people apologizing for Hanukkah? I don't think so, and I don't think that Christians should apologize for saying the word or celebrating the holiday of CHRISTMAS either.

The politically correct crowd are so scared of offending the athiests and the agnostics that now they are avoiding all references to the word Christmas. This is not just a "holiday" where we spend money on lavish gifts for loved ones (and money on white elephant gifts for everyone else.) This is a religious holiday. It's our Lord and Savior's holiday. It is offensive to us Christians that our holiday is now treated as a pariah holiday.

Do you think the Jewish would put up with this? What of the African Americans and the completely fabricated holiday of Kwanzaa (before you get upset, check the website - it even says "Dr. Maulana Karenga, the creator of kwanzaa")?

So why are the Christians being bashed? More importantly, why are the Christians allowing it? Every corporation is now tip-toeing around the word CHRISTMAS. Again, must we all apologize for calling the holiday what it is? I refuse to set aside my religion and my love of CHRIST to make the politically correct jerks happy. I'm absolutely and completely offended at the direction that society is taking on things like this.

But that's just my 2 cents on the subject. If this offends, well too bad. After all, didn't I say that I wasn't going to apologize?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

football, knitting, cats and desk lamps

Wanna see how great I am with a digital camera that has a major delay between when you push the button and it actually takes a picture? Sunday was the Eldest's last football game of the year. He had the ball, was hauling major a$$ down the field followed by a whole crowd of the opposing team. I clicked the button and what did I get? A foot, a hand and the football peaking out from behind one of the coaches. Great.
My son's in there somewhere.

What else was I doing during the game? Well, it wasn't knitting that's for sure. Keeping the Youngest from charging out onto the field took four arms and four legs. His Dad and I had our hands full during the whole game. I swear he needs a Nanny Octopus to keep him under control. It really is wrestling with a wild monkey folks. Notice the look he's giving his Dad for holding the back of his shirt.

I don't know who you think you're messing with bub, but if you think holding my shirt's gonna stop me, you've got another think coming!

As far as the cardigan goes, I got the back finished and am a little over halfway done with the right front. Here's the current piece being modeled by Widget the Supervisor doing one of her quality inspection checks:

She says "Knitting's fine, but the desk lamp could be a little warmer."

Check out the color of the knitting and the color of the eyes.

Perfect match!

Monday, November 12, 2007

contests!

Hi guys!

LotusKnits is running a contest over on her blog. She's giving away something "semi-solid". I hope it's just yarn. Having been around kids and one bulimic cat, the term semi-solid has taken on a whole new meaning. :) ETA- forgot to mention - If you do enter, tell her where you saw the contest mentioned. thanx!

You can find her contest and several others over here at WiKnit, a new blog for knitting contests. I plan on stopping there frequently. I love free stuff! Next to sale, free is my favorite word! (I also like exclamation points, can ya tell?)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sat. evening knitting and other misc. stuff

I'm so bummed. My alma mater let me down last night. They just didn't bring their game to Athens last night. However, I got tons of knitting done. I've almost completed the back to the Minimalist Cardigan. Yesterday when I picked this up, I had only about a third of what you see here accomplished. This is very speedy knitting for me. Of course with the game taking twice as long as it should have due to all the flags the refs had flying everywhere, there was lots of time to put into my project.

Back almost finished!

Here's an interesting link, but I have to wonder what the artist could possibly have been thinking. Why? Why would someone build a city with eggs? I'm all for crafting and art, but mine is a little more practical. I don't usually (notice the caveat?) make something just to say that I did it.

On the nanowrimo novel front - it's a no go for right now. I'm still writing, but not to the extent that they expect. There's a little too much going on in my life to put that much time into it. By the time the kids are in bed in the evening, I want to relax and unwind, not beat my head against my monitor because I can't come up with 1667 words a day. That takes the enjoyment right out of writing for me. maybe later.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Combination Knitting Quagmires

Do you knit strangely? Do you change the way you knit depending on the type of project that is in front of you? If you answered yes, then we may have been separated at birth.

I'm a combo knitter. I fell into this quite accidentally. I thought that I was teaching myself Continental style knitting. Not so. I screwed that up royally. I had finished two sweaters before I realized that I had twisted all the stitches. So, I did some research and found that I combo knit. I'm a hybrid knitter. Hmmm, could I call myself an eco knitter? a green knitter? anyway, back to my point.

I find that thanks to the hybridness that is combo knitting, that I can't knit exactly the way that I'm supposed to. Here's some examples:

- when I knit stockinette in the round, everything's just peachy.
- when I stockinette flat, things start going wrong.

Why? You can put the blame on Purl. Let's see if I can possibly explain this. I don't have any visuals, so bear with me.

I take my right needle and insert it into the first loop on the left needle as if to purl. I then take the yarn in my left hand and wrap it around the right needle back towards me in a clock-wise fashion using my thumb (the thumb reference is really irrelevant, just thought I'd share.) Basically it's wrapped the short way around.

So say I've done an entire row of purls and then turn the work. Now what's wrong with this you ask? Well, the loops are set up wrong for doing a proper knit stitch. The correct way, the side of the loop closest to your body should be just ahead of the back loop so that your loop is slightly angled to the right. right? still with me? So, on my needles, it's backwards. The back side of the loop is just slightly ahead due to the way that my purls were done.

Now, if I were to go ahead and do a knit stitch in the front of the loop, it ends up being twisted. But if I knit from the back of the loop, it knits up just fine. By the way, this really messes up patterns where the directions say "knit through back loop" because the designer wants you to twist that stitch. I then have to knit through the front. Can get a little confusing to say the least.

Here's where my quagmire comes in. I refuse to change the direction of the purl just to make the knits happy since I can purl much, much faster this way. But, I want to knit the correct way. I like sliding that needle in through the front leg of the loop. It's fun.

On my current project calls for a Moss stitch. Oh boy. K1, P1 across the first row, P1, K1 across the next. This really messes me up. If I knit the way I always do, I'll have "loop legs" going in every direction. But I'm stubborn, I found away around the dilemma. This is where learning to "read" my knitting has completely paid off. All I've done is to purl through the back loop while still wrapping the yarn towards me in a clock-wise fashion. It's worked beautifully. My loops are all turned the correct way for the knit stitch and I'm now a happy camper.


Make any sense at all? Leave a comment, I'd love to hear from other knitters about this kind of thing. How do you change your knitting depending on what project you're working on?

Monday, November 05, 2007

3 big mistakes

I made a couple of semi-mistakes this weekend by going out to my Mom and Dad's place. The Eldest begged to go and who am I to deny my children their Grandparent's company?

Mistake #1. I'm now two days behind on my novel writing. Don't know if I'll be able to catch up, but we'll see. Let's see, 1667 words a day. Friday I only finished 862. SO, 8o5 for fri, 1667 for sat, 1667 for sun, 1667 for today. 5806 words to catch up on. might not be happenin'.

Mistake #2. My mother and I should never, ever go to Walmart together. We're both enablers of the other. It's always fun to help someone else spend their money right? Well, we spent each other's money and way too much of it too.

Mistake #3. I picked up my knitting and got a whole three rows done. wow. what progress.

Here's the progress of the cardigan so far:
so soft! so green!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Knitting and my new favorite artist



This awesome picture is from an artist named Banksy. An absolutely amazing artist. Visit his site and look at the outdoor work he's done. I love his sense of humor. This pic has everything to love. It has tea (I love tea). It has Grannies. It has knitting. It has punk knitting grannies. What's not to love?

I finally cast on for the Minimalist Cardigan (try spelling that out three times fast) and it's coming along swimmingly. I started on the back and I'm about a third of the way through. I'll have a pic sometime later this week. I began this on Halloween night and added a little more on during the boring carpool wait at school.

If posts are a little sporadic this month, please be patient. I took the Nanowrimo challenge and a lot of my creative writing urges are being consumed by it. Plus, I have knitting and spinning to do. Oh, yeah, and I have to figure out how to fit in cooking, cleaning and the children. There's a husband in the mix somewhere too, but I'm afraid he might be ending up last on the priority list. He'll live.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Welcome to the Halloween edition of AllThingsShea.com.

halloween_e0


Have you been wondering what to dress your cat up as for Halloween? Well, the wonderful people at Cat Prin are here to help. For a couple a thousand yen, these too could be yours!

Here are a few samples from their site.

Anne of Green Gables - for those who want to seriously humiliate their kitteh!

OOOOO! Scary Leopard Kitty!

Frog Cat - I particularly like this one. My cat needs this.

Lovely Girly Blouse - doesn't she look happy?


Bunny Cat - confuse all the kids in the neighborhood! It's not Halloween, it's Easter!

Even more crazy cat costumes from their site are HERE.


More Links and Funny Safety Tips for Halloween:

  • Here's a few Halloween Links for you:
The Worst Halloween Costumes of All Time from retroCRUSH

Ultimate Guide to Halloween Candies of 2007 over at I-Mockery

  • These have been done elsewhere, but they're so funny I thought I'd repeat them. Here's some Important Halloween Safety Tips for you on this scariest of nights.
1. When it appears that you have killed the monster or murderer, NEVER check to see if it's really dead.

2. Never read a book of demon summoning aloud, even as a joke.

3. Do not search the basement, especially if the power has gone out.

4. If your children speak to you in Latin or any other language which they should not know, shoot them immediately. It will save you a lot of grief in the long run. However, it will probably take several rounds to kill them, so be prepared. This also applies to kids who speak with somebody else's voice.

5. When you have the benefit of numbers, NEVER pair off and go alone.

6. As a general rule, don't solve puzzles that open portals to Hell.

7. Never stand in, on, or above a grave, tomb, or crypt. This would apply to any other house of the dead as well.

8. If you're searching for something which caused a loud noise and find out that it's just the cat, GET THE HELL OUT!

9. If appliances start operating by themselves, do not check for short circuits; just get out.

10. Do not take ANYTHING from the dead.

11. If you find a town which looks deserted, there's probably a good reason for it. Don't stop and look around.

12. Don't fool with recombinant DNA technology unless you're sure you know what you're doing.

13. If you're running from the monster, expect to trip or fall down at least twice, more if you are female. Also note that, despite the fact that you are running and the monster is merely shambling along, it's still moving fast enough to catch up with you.

14. If your companions suddenly begin to exhibit uncharacteristic behavior such as hissing, fascination for blood, glowing eyes, increasing hairiness, and so on, kill them immediately.

15. Stay away from certain geographical locations, some of which are listed here: Amityville, Elm Street, Transylvania, Crystal Lake, Salem, Nilbog (you're in trouble if you recognize this one), anywhere in Texas where chainsaws are sold, the Bermuda Triangle, or any small town in Maine.

16. If your car runs out of gas at night on a lonely road, do not go to he nearby deserted-looking house to phone for help. If you think that it is strange you ran out of gas because you thought you had most of a tank, shoot yourself instead. You are going to die anyway, and most likely be eaten.

17. Beware of strangers bearing tools. For example: chainsaws, staple guns, hedge trimmers, electric carving knives, combines, lawnmowers, butane torches, soldering irons, band saws, or any devices made from deceased companions.

18. If you find that your house is built upon a cemetery, now is the time to move in with the in-laws. This also applies to houses that had previous inhabitants who went mad or committed suicide or died in some horrible fashion, or had inhabitants who performed satanic practices.

19. Dress appropriately. When investigating a noise downstairs in an old house, women should not wear a flimsy negligee. And carry a flashlight, not a candle.

20. Do not mention the names of demons around open flames, as these can flare suddenly. Be especially careful of fireplaces in this regard.

21. Do not go looking for witches in the Maryland countryside.