Thursday, December 31, 2009

Review: The Looking Glass Wars

I FINALLY finished this book. I've only been working on it since early this fall. Haven't had much time to read. The Looking Glass Wars is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland from the perspective that Alice is a refugee from Wonderland who told her tale to Lewis Carroll who published it in a book.

Alyss Heart is the princess of Wonderland until her evil Aunt Redd slaughters her parents and Alyss is forced to flee to the "real world." She is adopted by the Liddells, forgets her previous life and is about to marry a Prince when suddenly she is taken back to Wonderland in an attempt to overthrow Redd.

There are some great re imaginings of characters with the Mad Hatter who is actually the bodyguard (his hat is a deadly weapon) and Bibwitt Harte who is the real White Rabbit and Alyss' tutor.

This book is rather dark with Redd basically destroying Wonderland in an attempt to squelch the resistance against her rule. I am hoping it will be rebuilt in the second book.

It's a good read. A little slow in parts but it has a good plot line. A definite read if you like the original story but I think it would be enjoyable even if you are not familiar with the original story (I've only read parts of Alice in Wonderland and I have seen the Disney version).

Review: Chalice

I picked up Chalice by Robin McKinley a few days ago at Barnes and Noble. She is known for writing retellings of fairy tales and for her two books about the fictional land of Damar (one is a Newbery winner and the other was Newbery honor). I really like her writing style but I was disappointed with her last book Dragonhaven It was written in first person from the point of view of a teenager and while she pulled this off marvelously, it was really hard to read from that point of view because it was so scatterbrained so I quit after a few chapters (I have this rule that if a book doesn't hook me after a few chapters, I won't continue reading it).

Anyway, Chalice is not a fairy tale and it does not take place in Damar. Chalice is actually a girl named Mirasol. Chalice is actually her title, one of the member of the Circle. The Circle basically rules a region of land and Chalice is second in power only to the Master. The story opens with a new Master coming to power. The previous Chalice and Master died unexpectedly, leaving a vacuum. The position of Master is hereditary and the younger brother of the previous Master had been sent to live with the elemental priests of fire. His training had left him no longer quite human but he had decided to try to become the new Master because to get a new bloodline of Master would throw the land into disarray. To many it seems that he is not quite the best choice for Master.

Mirasol was a beekeeper before she was chosen as Chalice and the bees factor into the story quite a bit.

It is an interesting read. It begins a bit abruptly and doesn't quite fill you in on exactly what Chalice is. You sort of have to piece it together from the plot. However, it is a decent read and has an interesting storyline.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

White Christmas

I figured I'd never see a White Christmas again. I mean, I live in Dallas-Fort Worth. It's not supposed to snow there and it was 70 degrees yesterday. Well, this was the view out my front door:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Progress on Stocking

I don't think the stocking will be done by Christmas, but I continue to work on it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.

Comfort Ye, My People

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.

The People Who Walked in Darkness

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation,

Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

There were Shepherds

Another Year Older

[sigh] This year I think I actually feel a year older. Could be the lack of sleep connected with feeding the baby every 2-3 hours or so.

After listening to my family sing Happy Birthday horribly off key this morning, I got two presents.

My husband got me this:

and I got this from my aunt and uncle:

I think I will do my Christmas cards today (hey, better late than never)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Finish!

So I finally finished "Texas Christmas" today

Here's what it looks like finished with buttons to hold the stitching in place.

Another piece of good news: I fit into my prepregnancy jeans yesterday. Yay!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Progress on the WIP

I made even more progress this weekend on the Texas Christmas. Once I find some fresh batteries for the camera, I will take another picture and post it.

Good news for today: My wedding ring fits again!

Bad news for today: The baby was on a feeding spree that started somewhere around 6 pm and went until 3:30 am. She would not sleep. She was HUNGRY!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Current WIP

I'd say I've made decent progress since I only started this last night.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I finally finished the hat today. Zoé did not sleep well for Mommy today and Mommy got a bit frustrated. But knitting the hat and watching Boston Legal cheered her up a bit. I've posted a picture of the finished project (the TLC Baby Amore did turn out nicely but I'm still not thrilled with working with it). I've also posted my laugh for today brought to you by Jerry Espenson singing along to the Boston Legal Theme.

Boston Legal Theme sung by Jerry

Monday, December 7, 2009

More surprises

I came home today and there was a large package at the front door--a Pack 'n Play from my aunt, uncle and cousins.

Had a little bit of time to work on the hat, mitts and booties. Need to post pictures when I get them done.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Baby shower

I was supposed to go to a baby shower today. Didn't have time this week to make the gifts. I'm making a hat and booties and mitts (using the pattern on Knifty Knitter's website). It's a great pattern but I'm using TLC Baby Amore instead of my usual Simply Soft Baby (which I haven't seen around lately and I had the Amore on hand). Not sure that I like the yarn. I will take a picture when I get them finished. Going to bed soon to catch a little bit of sleep in between feedings

Sleepless nights

So, Zoé went in for her first checkup today. She's lost too much weight. Now I have to feed her every 2 hours, no exceptions and also supplement with formula. Don't think she's too fond of the formula. Starts looking to feed off Mommy instead (and you should have seen the face she gave Ken when he tried to give her a bottle). She's also a bit jaundiced. Have to go have her foot pricked again later today.

More pics have been posted in the picasa album (see last post).

Her name is actually pronounced zo-ay (French pronunciation)

Friday, December 4, 2009

New Baby due date wasn't until Dec 18, but I woke up at about 1:30 am on Nov. 30 to discover that my water had broke. When we got to the hospital (Baylor Medical Center at Frisco), I was already at 3 cm. I opted for the epidural which they had to do twice (because the first one only numbed my left leg) which left me numbed for most of my contractions but it not numb the pain when I had to push. She was finally born at 11:54 am. 7lbs, 11 oz, 20 1/2 inches long. She's perfectly healthy even though she's 3 weeks early (I think someone miscalculated somewhere).

Click here for more pictures

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Another awesome giveaway!

I can't believe Judith is giving this away. It's an unframed Angel of Summer (Lavender and Lace). It's gorgeous. You've gotta sign up for this one. If I win it, it's going into the baby's room.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, I was blessed to have my mother and mother and father-in-law over to our house. I am thankful for my loving husband, new family, the baby on the way and God's providence in this horrendous economic time. And also for the food which turned out marvelously.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Stocking progress

It's been a busy week. My mother and mother-in-law are coming for Thanksgiving so there has been a cleaning frenzy. Got more baby stuff today handed down from one of the mothers at school.

The bassinet was looking a bit empty, so I thought I'd improve it.

Then I decided that he looked a little cold.

I'm not getting anxious at all. No, not at all.

Oh, here's the current progress on the stocking. We had 10-20 minutes between calls so I got a bit done.

On a sad note, my beta, Mario, died today. I think the water here has something fish-toxic in it. I use Start Right in the water which I've used for 20 years and had great success (we kept a goldfish in a bowl for 16 years). I noticed that his fins were getting raggedy. I didn't realize that betas don't shed their fins like my goldfish did and didn't realize until it was too late that he was sick until he turned whitish and we changed the water with bottled spring water but I think it was too late and even though he seemed to have perked up, he died today.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Excellent giveaway

Check out this excellent giveaway on Angela's blog. The box is gorgeous.

My Christmas present needs to stay away from yarn and floss

So, I got my Christmas present early. I've been wanting one of these for years but settled for a Dirt Devil last year because it was $50 and this was $550. But, it was on sale last night at Home Depot for like $440 and that's the cheapest I've EVER seen we needed a new vacuum anyway, one that would do the, it's now my Christmas present.

Perhaps it has TOO much suction, as I've already sucked up one ribbon and one sock. Both ended up wrapped around the beater bar. Fortunately, the beater bar pops right off.

They're not kidding when they say that the ball makes it more maneuverable. The motor is actually in the ball part so it actually doesn't feel heavy and awkward when you push the thing.

Fun facts I've learned about Dyson:

1. He invented his first vacuum in the 80s (after 5 years and 5127 prototypes). It had his cyclonic energy and it was bagless. When he tried to sell it to vacuum companies, they all turned him down because they make like $500 million a year in vacuum bag sales. So, he sold it to a Japanese company and it was a huge hit in Japan.

2. In 1993 he had made enough off the first vacuum to start his own company. Marketers and retailers didn't want to sell his DC01 because it had a clear bin and people didn't want to see the dirt that had been in their carpet (to which my husband said "Come on! Everyone opened up their vacuum bag to see what was inside.")

3. Dyson also has a bladeless fan and a hand dryer. They have the hand dryers at Ikea and they are awesome. They actually get your hands dry!

Oh, and to answer the question, "Why are these things so EXPENSIVE?"

Well, I found out that the motor is actually a digital motor run by a microchip which emits no carbon. The dust bin is made from the same stuff they use for riot shields. The ball is made of glass-reinforced polypropylene, the stuff they make car dashboards out of. Dyson also has its own microbiology lab. They actually keep live dust mites on site so they can experiment on how to get rid of them. That's why the vacuums are certified by 12 allergy associations worldwide. The thing comes with a 5 year warranty. They must be expecting it to last...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Review: Stargate Atlantis Season 5

Finally finished watching tonight. Definitely some excellent parts. I especially liked Bill Nye the Science Guy as himself. The finale was also excellent. I wouldn't say it was the best of the 5 seasons though. I will be sad to see it go. I thought it was an excellent series with great cast chemistry. I honestly don't think Universe will last that long.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Progress Has Been Made!

Yay! Got a lot more done on the stocking.

Tutorial: Making a bookmark out of plain Aida

I picked up this kit a few years back. But, you can use the idea with any piece of Aida. Take any count of Aida and cut a strip of it to fit your design. Make sure that you leave at least an extra half inch on each side.

When you are completed with the design, fold the extra Aida over on each side and stitch. For this particular bookmark, I used the backstitch boxes around the Pooh characters and lined up the holes with those on the back side to tack down the edges. You could also run a backstitch from top to bottom forming a border on each side or use thread that matches the Aida. As a last step, fray the edges on the top and bottom and you have a bookmark.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

34 days and counting...

Today was a cleaning day. I finally put all my clothes into my closet. Why now, you ask? You only moved into the house mid-July. Well...seeing as most of my wardrobe no longer fits me (at least temporarily), I really didn't see the point of actually taking it out of the boxes. But as my mother will arrive here for Thanksgiving a week from Wednesday, I figured it was time. I also wrapped her Christmas presents (including the hat and scarflet).

We also did our Thanksgiving shopping. Got all the fixing for a pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes and the 18 lb turkey. You know, you can cheat now and get the pumpkin in the can with all the spices and you have to add is the 2 eggs and the evaporated milk. No fun I say (well, I also make my pie crust from scratch too).

Progress was made on the stocking. Hoping to post a picture tomorrow.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Loom Knitting Resources (project list)

Loom Crafts with Knifty Knitter
Chick blanket
Winter blanket
Baby's first quilt
Baby bear
Baby bear blanket
Toddler sweater
Toy bag
Girl's shrug
Scarf and hat
Prairie scarf and hat
Afghan shawl
Mommy and Me blanket
Baseball and basketball pillows
Broom horse
Pirate costume and boots
Fancy dress up
Journal book covers
Socks, Hair scrunchies, boa/scarf
Bird marionette
Worm marionette
Ball crafts
Candle/bottle toppers

Learn New Stitches on Circle Looms

Bordered Scarf
Woven-top Hat
Popcorn Bobble Ha
Drawstring Purse
Seed Sttich Spa Set
Mobius Shawl
Diamond Lace Shawl
Shell Stitch Afghan
Chevron Baby Blanket

Learn to Knit on Circle Looms
At-Home Comfort Socks
Mom and Daughter Bangle Bags
Make it soft Scarf
Make it soft Hat
Striped Squares Baby Blanket
Keep-Warm Tubular Scarf
Keep-Warm Hat
Relaxing Afghan

Loom Knitting Primer
Simple Hat
Garter Stitch Hat
I cord Hot Pad
Purple Trendy Scarf
Rainbow Fish Pillow
Winter Hat
Chunky Ribbed Socks
Child's Mock Cable Hat
Children's Earflap Hats
Ribbed Leg Warmers
Mock Cable Socks
Weekend Socks
Brocade Baby Sweater
Garter Stitch Scarf
Velvety Soft Blanket and Hat
Bliss Baby Blanket
Mock Cables Poncho
Fingerless Mitts
Eyeglasses Case
Waves Shrug
Power Pink Scarf
Double Knit Ribbed Scarf
Striped Scarf
Yoga Mat Bag
Felted Accessories Clutch
Felted Handbag
Felted Laptop Cozy
Soft Felt Slippers

Knitting Wheel Fashions
Neck Cuff and Belt
Ear Warmer
Basic Hat
Sequined Hat
Spiral Hat
Shaggy Dog Hat and Scarf
Mohair Bag
Cotton Bag
Hat and Shawl

More Knitting Wheel Fashions
Faux Feather Boa
Basket Hat
Visor Cap
Fur Stripes Ear Flap Hat
Fingerless Mitts
Blanket Poncho
Double Knit Scarf
Irish Lass Beret
Corkscrew Scarf
Adult Scarf
Infant Socks
Cozy Quilt
Checkered Flag Scarf
Felted Fedora
Felted Flower
Felted Wallet Belt
Felted Slippers
it's a Wrap Sweater

Tutorial: Ribbed Stitch and Interrupted Rib Stitch

This is one of my favorite stitches that I have done. It is for the long loom only.

Ribbed Stitch

The trickiest part of this stitch is making sure that you wrap the loom the proper way.

Keep wrapping the loom in this manner for the number of stitches that the loom calls for.

Go back over the loom, using the same wrapping pattern.

Knit over.

Some patterns call for the loom to be wrapped in this manner:

Interrupted Rib Stitch

Start with the Ribbed Stitch shown above. Every so many rows, the pattern will tell you to switch directions. I am using green yarn so that it shows up better.

First is the turn.

Then you will wrap in the same manner, except you will be going opposite the way you were going.

If you use the alternate method, it will look like this.

After knitting over, it will look like this:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

36 days and counting...

Today I was subjected to the movie "Mall Cop." It wasn't horrible and it had its moments did mean 2 hours that I was paid to be off the phone. And there was pizza (fortunately, there's also Zantac and Mylanta).

Still don't know which hospital I'm going to but I do know that the baby's head is down.

My mother waited 50 minutes in line today to get her H1N1 vaccine. Apparently if you're under the age of 50, they squirt the live virus in your nose. Kind of glad I only got the normal flu shot yesterday. She's lucky and was able to have the shot form of the H1N1 vaccine.

Also have to share this link: Star Trek motivational posters Melia had it on her blog. Hee hee.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Of course the one day it's slow enough at work that I could have got some major work done on the stocking....I left it at home

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Weekend

Friday and Saturday happens to be my weekend. It was a lot of running. We were supposed to stay home and clean but...well...that didn't really get accomplished. Not much stitching got accomplished either. I did take all of the baby stuff out of the packages and organize it. I also made my husband stay up to 2 am Thursday night so we could get the bassinet and swing together. And I washed all the bottles. Yeah...I'm nesting. Got the diaper bag packed for the hospital already. I'm starting to get my stuff together too. Only 41 days to go, but you never know with babies. I could be having her tomorrow for all I know.

I will post pics of the stocking when I have more of it completed.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Baby stuff!

So, today I came home late (got the oil changed and then went to church) and I was greeted with baby stuff courtesy of Jackie (my stepson's ex-girlfriend). It was so sweet of her! I have stuff now. Like bottles and a bassinet and a swing and a hooded robe with Pooh ears on it.

Made progress on the stocking while I waited for the oil change. It took like 1 1/2 hours because they had to order parts for my diesel Beetle

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Sniff...left stocking at work...sniff...nothing to do tonight....guess I'll go to sleep...sniff

Monday, November 2, 2009

Another project done!

Yay! Today I finished the hat.

Working on Season 5 of Stargate Atlantis. Can't wait to see how they ended it. Only took me about 5 episodes to get the hat done :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hoorah for new projects!

Well, I was able to successfully remove my partially finished Ruana from the yellow round loom so I could start my woven-top hat. I'm 100 rows in. I think it's looking good. The mock cables are looking good. I'm using Bernat Softee Chunky New Denim Heather.

Now for the woven-top hat....

I'm using Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick Fisherman's Wool on the large yellow round loom. Finished the woven top part. Kind of reminds me of a pie crust

Grr....did the top of the hat not quite correctly, fortunately, it didn't take that much time to fix the problem

Back to the grind

Ugh, beginning of the week and the phone was already ringing off the hook bat 6am this morning. No chances for stitching today. :(

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Night

So we decided to check out Keith's (Ken's brother) haunted halloween maze. It took them two days to set up and a canned food donation was required for entry. Unfortunately I have no pics because it was dark and they used black lights. They had a mix of live people and automated characters. This year's highlight was the electric chair. What you think is an animatronic prisoner being electrocuted but when the electrocution stops-the character gets up, freaking out just about anyone. It was fun watching people freak out.

Tutorial: Decreasing and finishing

Yay! I finished it! Well....mostly. Even with my excursion to Lewisville to go to Aidaworks (great needlecraft store for those of you in DFW) and the stop at Hobby Lobby, I'm finally ready to finish it!

Decreasing in the middle of a row:

The book says this is good for a gradual decrease

1. Wherever your pattern says to decrease or knit two together, move those stitches onto the next peg TOWARD THE MIDDLE OF THE LOOM. You will now have a gap of empty pegs.

2. Move the other stitches in toward the middle of the loom to fill in your now empty pegs.

3. Wrap and knit as usual. If there are three loops on a peg, knit the bottom two over the top loop so one loop remains.

Binding off

Go get a crochet hook.

1. I have numbered the pegs. You are going to remove 1, 2 and 3 in that order and put them on the crochet hook.

2. You now have three loops on the crochet hook. Put two loops over the third so you have one loop left on the hook.

3. Put the next two stitches (4 and 5 in that order) and the crochet hook. Put two loops over the third so you have one loop left on the hook. Repeat, going in numerical order.

4. Pull the working yarn through the last loop and weave it into the piece.

Finishing the other end

1. The anchor yarn is holding your live stitches. Put three loops on the crochet hook. Pull two loops over so you have one loop left on the hook. Put another two loops on the hook and repeat until you reach the end.

2. Run the yarn tail through the remaining loop and weave in the edge.

Yay! It's finished

Tutorial: Stockinette on the Long Loom

Well, last night I started the Scarflet project (it's from the Loom Knitting Primer, a book I highly recommend). It uses the stockinette stitch for the long loom (a stitch that I'm pretty sure you cannot duplicate on needles). As you can see it's a very tight weave.

For materials, I'm using Bernat Solo "Tomato" which unfortunately is discontinued. I'm using the pink knifty knitter loom.

I've never actually done this stitch before, but, so far, I like it.

How to do the stitch:

Casting on

1. Make a slip knot and put it on the peg.

2. Using a zigzag pattern and skipping every other peg, wind the yarn across the loom as shown. The yarn will not be twisted at all.

3. Turn the corner. You are still going on the outsides of the pegs.

4. Continue going back in the same zigzag manner. You will use all the empty pegs you didn't get the first time.

5. This is IMPORTANT: You need to put a piece of yarn across the pattern you just made. It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. First, it's going to help when binding off. Second, the last two pegs on the right will not form a proper stitch without it (I know because I didn't use it at first and they didn't work properly and I had to start all over---so SPARE YOURSELF).

6. Wrap the second row just like you did for the cast on row. You will start at the upper left hand peg which is the same one that you have the slip knot on.

7. Knit

8. Repeat wrapping in the same manner. I'll have to put binding off in another post.