Friday, May 30, 2008

Eye Candy Friday

I've seen a lot of blogs that post cool pix on Fridays and call it "Eye Candy Friday". I think that's cool and I'd like to join in. I just hope it's not a club or something that I'm suppose to belong to to do it. Hmmmm?'s my eye candy for Friday. It's a picture my daughter took of part of her harp. It's such a beautiful instrument. For anyone unfamiliar with the harp these are some of the moving parts at the top of the strings that are moved with pedals at the bottom to make notes sharp, flat, or natural. For example, if the "c" pedal is moved to a certain position it will change all the "c" strings on the harp. This operation is on pedal harps. A harpist playing a harp like this plays with both hands and both feet at the same time.

A folk harp has a lever for each string which is moved to sharpen or make a note natural. They can only be flat if they are manually tuned to that. Each string is adjusted individually, by hand, during the song, as needed. There are other harps without levers or pedals that are tuned to the needs of a particular song. I believe a Paraguayn harp doesn't have any levers or pedals.

I find this all fascinating. It's such a beautiful and versatile instrument. My daughter has been playing the harp for over eight years. She plays classical music with a symphony. But, her true love is playing contemporary, jazz, latin and other types of music that surprise "Stairway to Heaven", "Clocks", Rag music, etc. I feel lucky everyday to hear live harp music in my home.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Starting Something New with Something Old

I finished the second sock that I'm calling Easter Camo (cuz it looks like camoflauge in Easter colors). Using smaller needles did get rid of the bagginess but even though I made it to the measurements of my foot length they are a bit small. The good news is that I think they'll fit my mom. So, now mom gets a new pair of socks made by me. Kinda cool cuz she's made stuff for me all my life and it's always fun to be able to make something for her. These are colors she really likes too. :)

I've spent a lot of time the past few weeks trying to find a pattern that will advance my skills but still be in the range of possibility for success. I may have found it. I spent a long time on Ravelry this weekend and found a bunch of really cool vintage shawl patterns. I have a lot of alpacca yarn that I want to use up and started making this "Crescendo Shawl" pattern with blue alpacca yarn. So far, so good. I've made it through one repeat of the pattern and I'm in the middle of the second. I even placed a lifeline! I have one small mistake that I haven't been able to figure out how to fix but it's the kind that I think no one will be able to see and it doesn't affect the count or anything so I'm just leaving it. I'm hoping this project will advance my skills and build my confidence. I've been feeling discouraged lately about being able to do more advanced knitting.

Here's another one of the vintage patterns I found that I would like to make. I love the collar on it. This one is called "Adagio". Since my daughter plays the harp and plays in a symphony I thought it was fun to find a whole list of shawl patterns that are named after parts of music. Some of the others are: Allegro, Contralto, Harmony, Metron, Minuet, Sonata, Symphony, Concerto, Fantasy, Lyric, and Waltz. The directions on them seem very clear and easy to understand too.

On a side note...we had some crazy weather here last week. What was originally forecast to be a nice week turned into days of crazy storms...rain, hail, and, yes...even Southern California!!! Unbelievable! We finally have blue skies again today. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Warm weather would be so nice!

Happy Knitting and have a great week!

Sweet Story

A local newspaper has published a beautiful story about Debra, the owner of Crochet Cafe. It's such a warm and wonderful tribute to Debra and to the best part of our human nature. You can read it here. Her life is truly an inspiration and she will be missed by many.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Flower for a Friend.

I'm posting this flower for a friend. She's in my thoughts and prayers as she fights for her life right now. Last Summer she finished her last chemo from breast cancer. In November everything looked great and she had reconstruction surgery and everything was supposed to be on the way up. Unfortunately, recovery from the surgery was tough and less than a month later she found lumps in the other side of her chest and was experiencing headaches. She had cancer again and this time it was worse and growing fast in her brain and lungs. She had surgery to remove it from her brain and just finished radiation about a month ago. She was just feeling a bit better from the sickness of that and yesterday I got the news that the lung cancer was worse than they thought and she isn't expected to make it through the week. Within an hour or so I got an update that she wasn't expected to make it through the day. Such shocking news and soooo sad.

I'm so glad that I got to know her and spend time with her in this past year. She's one of the sweetest people I've ever met. She's so kind and caring to everyone she meets and has a soft, sweet voice. She's smart and talented. She's a great mom to her two boys. She has a great little yarn shop going in Old Town Temecula too. She opened it a little over a year ago as a crochet shop and named it "Crochet Cafe". She was surprised to see how many people knit and she quickly started carrying knitting supplies and learned to knit. I took my spinning wheel in a few times and she caught the spinning bug too. A few of us went to the Santa Monica fiber fest last year and she bought herself a spinning wheel and we came back that night and I tought her to spin. She's a natural and was quickly spinning beautiful yarns and selling them at her store. A couple of ladies were even fighting over who was getting that first yarn that she made to sell. She had chairs and tea and cookies in her store and made sure everyone knew that they were welcome to come and sit and hang out knitting, crocheting or just visiting anytime. She started regular knit/crochet times one night a week and one morning. They grew quickly to the point that the store is literally overflowing with people. There was often a group sitting in the store and a group outside in the courtyard. It's a great place to meet a lot of wonderful ladies that share a passion for knitting, crochet, yarn and other fibery fun hobbies. She also carries a great selection of yarns that I don't see anywhere else...kelp/silk, shrimp/chiton, bamboo, corn, etc.

I don't know the latest on her condition. I just know that I'm feeling very sad about what is happening to her. And even though I'm going to miss her sooo much, I know it won't compare to what her boys (16 and 18) are going through, and what her parents must be going through. It seems so unfair that someone so sweet would have to go through this and that her life could be cut so short. I'm sad that her boys won't have her with them as they finish maturing, get married, have kids, and on and on. I guess that's how life is though. We never know what the next day will hold or how long we have. We need to make the best of every moment. And, with that I'm so happy for Debra that she spent this last year with her own yarn shop, doing what she loved, and surrounding herself with the love of her many new friends.

I love you Debra and I'll miss you so much.

UPDATE: Debra passed away peacefully last night at about 11 p.m.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sneak Peek

Here's a sneak peek at what I started working on yesterday afternoon. It's a knitting needle organizer thingy. I'm using left over fabrics from a quilt I made last year and some antique lace. I'm so excited and having so much fun. I have a lot left to do on it and I have a busy day today but I hope to have more to show very soon.

Have an awesome day!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hot Days, Cool Trips

This is part of my herb garden. I have three half wine barrels that I've filled with soil and planted herbs in. This one has Cilantro, Basil, Orgegano, and Sage. We're loving having fresh herbs again! Yum! We've gotten spoiled the past few years with having fresh herbs in the Spring, Summer, and part of Fall. During the Winter I wonder why I bother buying dried herbs at the store. They have almost no flavor compared to the fresh ones.

More seeds have sprouted in our water trough garden and we even have a baby tomato. It's so exciting! I took pictures but it's not much to see yet so I'll hold off on posting one until the garden grows up a bit more.

It's been very hot here (over 100) this past week. Cool escapes have been nice....

My husband and I went biking along the ocean from Encinitas to Del Mar and back on Saturday while our daughter was at orchestra rehearsal. It was such a beautiful day down there. Ahhhh! I loved it. Yesterday I went on a fun trip with a friend to Carlsbad and Solana Beach/Cedros. It was so nice to be near the sea again. The weather was perfect. We walked around Cedros and browsed some really cool shops. We also visited some quilt shops and I fell in love with Amy Butler fabrics and patterns. Wow! They are so beautiful, colorful, and fun! I knew my daughter would love them so I showed them to her online and she's in love too. We hope to go take some classes this summer to make some of her great bags.

My second Easter Camo sock is almost finished. I didn't knit on it much over the weekend because of headaches and busyness. I'll probably finish it today or tomorrow. I'm inspired by our fabric outing yesterday and plan to head into my crafting studio/guest room to do a little sewing today. I have plenty of fabrics to keep me busy!

All the windows are open and the birds are singing. What a beautiful day today! Nice temps again. It should be in the 80's today and in the 70's the rest of the week. Sooooo nice. Perfect crafting weather for a solar powered, barometrically challenged gal! :-)

Friday, May 16, 2008

I've been wondering something....Why is it that some blogs get lots of comments on their posts on a regular basis and others that are just as good hardly get any? Are the ones with lots of comments done by people that are famous in some way? Or is it that they've just been blogging for a long time? Is it because of all those little group labels they have down the sides of their blogs? I love blogging... crafting my projects (which I do anyway), posing them for pictures, choosing the pictures, composing the posts, etc. But, I have to admit that it does make it a lot more fun when I get comments...which I don't get many of.

I've read about how to increase visitors to my blog. I've tried posting pictures regularly. I've tried posting often. I've tried posting less often. I try to give interesting details. I read a lot of blogs (which I love to do). I comment often on other blogs. I've joined a couple of online groups. I tell people about my blog. And, I hear from friends sometimes that they checked it out and liked it. But, they don't leave comments either.

I've noticed that some blogs get lots of comments right away after a new post and others that are just as nice or nicer hardly get any or none at all. I've wondered if it has to do with what they're posting...if it's a lot of projects, more complex projects, etc. But that doesn't seem to be the case either. So, as far as I can figure, right now, is that the ones that get lots of readers and comments are either famous, knitterly people or that they've just been blogging for a long time and have slowly picked up blog pals along the way. So, I'll keep on posting and having fun with it for that and see what happens over the long haul.

In the meantime...if you're reading this...please take a moment to say, "hi". I'd love it. And, share your thoughts on this subject...even if you're experiencing the same thing. I'd love to hear from you.

In the world of knitting I've been busy. I finished up another scarf for charity this week and made another wash cloth. I'm half way through the second sock made out of that Easter Camo looking yarn. And...I tried my hand at lace again and got frustrated at it being the four letter word that it is! I understood the pattern just fine. No problem. I could do everything it said. But, on the fourth row (I know...that's not very far) I needed to go back a few stitches and couldn't figure out how to undo some of the YO's and K2 together TBL. I didn't know which way they were suppose to go and I got them twisted up and ended up ripping it all out. It didn't help that the yarn was a darker blue color which made it harder to see. I feel like I should be able to knit lace. I made the monkey socks. I've done mobious knitting. I understand the patterns I keep trying. But....for some reason it's just not working. I'm so determined to get this though. I'm wondering if I need to take a lace knitting class or just keep working at it til it works. If I could just get it right for one repeat of the lace...or even half a dozen rows...I could put in a lifeline. That would be good.

On an encouraging friend that started knitting a couple weeks ago is hooked. She is loving it so much and learning new things by watching videos on YouTube (we don't live close enough to be able to help her often). We went yarn store hopping together yesterday and had a lot of fun. It's so fun to see her getting excited over yarn! Wow! She's anxious to start her third project already. Her daughter is doing great too. So exciting!

Our new garden is growing great! Yay! New radishes are coming up everyday and new leaves on the other plants. Can't wait to be able to eat fresh veggies. Yum!!!

Happy knitting and have an awesome weekend!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Dirt Instead of Diamonds! :- )

Wow! It's Monday again, already! Time flies! Last week was busy but good. It was filled with a lot of daughter stuff. She took her driving permit test (which she passed the first time. Yay!). She got a haircut and we finalized stuff for her to go to the prom on Saturday. She had a friend over for dinner on Friday. And then the normal weekly busy-ness. Saturday was a wonderful day spent with my daughter doing her nails, helping her with her hair, easing her pre-prom jitters, and then taking tons of pictures. She looked so beautiful! She had a good time...not great like she had hoped because her date was kind of a dud...but it was fun. We're still trying to catch up on sleep from such a late night.

Mother's day was nice. I got a truck load of garden soil and a load of mulch delivered in our driveway on Friday. While our daughter was at the prom we went plant shopping and we picked out veggie plants, more herbs, and two more wonderful smelling half wine barrels for planting herbs. Sunday was spent in the back yard filling the old watering trough (275 gallons big), half wine barrels, and an old wash tub with soil and planting (raised beds = great soil and keeps doggy out!). We re-mulched the flower beds. And, my husband attached drippers for all the new plantings. I joke that some ladies get diamonds for gifts...I got dirt! But that's what I wanted. I'm not a diamond kinda girl. Fresh, rich dirt and plants are much more exciting to me. I love our new gardens and can't stop going out to look at them. I'm so excited to see them grow and start harvesting yummy veggies and herbs. So far we've planted three different types of tomatoes, Anaheim chilis, peas, radishes, Lemon Balm, Peppermint, English Thyme, Lemon Thyme, and Rosemary. We still have some yellow flying saucer squash to plant and I want to get some more seeds for some other things. The Cilantro, Oregano, Basil, and Sage that I recently planted are doing great. We also planted a Salvia/Red Sage plant for the hummingbirds. There have been so many of them this year. They fly around our yard a lot, eat from our flowers and plants, drink from the watering drippers, and they like to hover over our grass...we're not sure what they're doing when they do that though...unless they eat bugs...I'm not sure. But, we sure enjoy them. I'll post pictures of the garden as it grows.

The picture at the top of this post is of two washcloths that I knitted last week. They were fun to knit and turned out soft and nice. I love the colors. I'm going to make a bunch of them in different colors for Christmas gifts. I'll add nice soaps and things to make gift sets. That'll be fun.

The friend of mine that started knitting a couple of weeks ago is doing great and really enjoying it. She's on her second washcloth and her daughter is loving knitting too. Pretty exciting!

I gave my mom a bag of alpacca yarn yesterday for Mother's Day, along with a pattern for a lacy shawl. I have more alpacca yarn for myself and plan to knit the same shawl. We may be knitting on them at the same time. That's always fun. I'm planning to start mine today.

Have an awesome week!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


This is a picture from our trip to Zion National Park last year. The reason I'm posting it today is because we're planning another trip to that beautiful state for next summer and I'm dreaming of warm weather. What a nice fantasy! It's cold and dark again here in Southern California and I'm sooooo tired of it. Just when it gets warm and we start to we think it's here to stay a while we're zapped with cold again. Ugh! My husband and I were talking about this the other day and how it's like the country is in a weather carnival on various types of rides. Some areas have been in the dunk tank. Other areas seem to be on the tilt-a-whirl with all the tornados. And then there is the roller here where it was over 100 a couple of weeks ago (up), then (wheeeeeee) back down to 60 and cloudy, then back up into the 80's (up again before the next drop), now the temps are down again. Whew! What a ride! I'd like to go on one of the more steady (and warm) rides for a change. That would be fun. :)

In the knitting world I had a fun day last Friday teaching a good friend to knit and going shopping with her for needles and supplies. She was very excited and doing very well. She's hit a few bumps but I'm hoping to get her through it so she can enjoy this same wonderful passion. But, at the very least I think her daughter has fallen in love with it and has taken over the yarn she was working on. So funny.

For me, I couldn't wait to knit with my bamboo yarn so I started a washcloth with a seed stitch heart. It should be an easy project but I've been having a lot of trouble with it. I'm not sure why except that sometimes that happens for a few days (brain glitch?) and then I'm off and running (uh...knitting) again. It's really soft yarn and feels so great knitted up. It is a bit slick and hard to keep the tension even though. It was suppose to be a quick project. Oh well. But I hope to have a picture of it completed very soon.

I went to Michael's last weekend looking for one thing and ended up in the yarn area (as usual) and couldn't resist buying some of the "Sugar 'n Cream" cotton yarns. They had soooo many pretty colors and the price was so cheap that it was hard to choose just a few. I had a pile of all the colors I loved and my daughter helped me narrow it down to three. I got "Summer Splash", "Strawberry", and "Faded Denim". I plan to make some wash cloths with these. If they turn out well it might be a great idea for Christmas gifts with some nice soaps. I did so bad at Christmas last year. I'm determined to do better this year so I'm trying to start early.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Sock #1

Here's sock number one of my simple sock project. The smaller needles made this sock the perfect size. It feels so good. And, I think I kinda like the colors now. It's always so fun watching a color pattern develop with variegated yarn. And, the challenge will be, as always, to try to get the second sock to turn out similar. We'll see how it goes. This simple sock has been relaxing and fun and I'll get started on my second one but I'm ready to dive back into my lace sock project again (potamus).

The weather may finally be stabilizing...hopefully. It was sunny the first couple days of this week, cool, but sunny. Then on Wednesday it was cold, cloudy and windy. Another wintery day. But...then, Thursday it was sunny and wonderful and it's suppose to be nice for the next seven days or so. Ahhhhhh! Soooo nice. I was determined to make the most of yesterday.... I went shopping to buy herbs and flowers and came home and did some planting and yardwork. My herb garden is started (yum...can't wait to use them). And, I planted a color pot (so pretty). My daughter came home and decided that she wanted to work outside too. She got the mower out and mowed the front and the back. Wow! That was nice! And, then we both worked together doing more trimming and cleaning up. It was so much fun. It stayed nice into the evening and we enjoyed dinner out on the patio. Ahhhh. I love it!