Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

For your Halloween viewing pleasure--a short serene video to help rid your psyche of little ghosts and goblins:

Hee Hee!

One really gets the full effect of Halloween when one works in an elementary school! As seen in some of the previous photos, I used to dress up, but I no longer do. This was the extent of my Halloween attire:

My favorite Halloween thing to wear is the necklace you see in the photo below:

The Halloween beads are lampworked glass and the others are Czech cut glass and Swarovsky crystal. I made the Halloween beads some years ago. Lampworking is when you work with glass rods over a torch flame. Those of you from Maryland may have seen this done in the glassblower's shop at Ocean City. Those little animals and figurines that are made there are not blown glass but rather they are lampworked glass. Here are a couple of photos of what the process looks like:

You see a metal rod with a coating of bead release and a glass rod. Both are held in the flame--the metal rod to keep it warm and the glass rod to melt it. When the glass rod begins to melt, it grabs the metal. You have to keep it moving constantly or gravity will cause the glass to drip off the rod. You can use this gravity to your advantage when trying to create unusual shapes. There are all kinds of things you can do to shape the beads as well. Once they are completed, they have to be put in a kiln and brought to 900 degrees then they are to cool slowly which takes the stress out of the glass. I really like trying to make face beads or other shapes. Here are some close ups of the Halloween beads:

I also made a couple of ghost beads which I chose not to put in this necklace.

Moving on to other FO's--
I present to you my finally finished Surplice Camisole from the book Knitting Lingerie Style:

The first photo matches the color best.
Here are the details:

Pattern: Surplice Camisole from Knitting Lingerie Style
Size: the smallest one
Yarn: Tahki Sierra (Silk, Linen, Nylon blend) 3+ skeins
Needles: KnitPicks Options size 6 and 7, 24 inch circulars
Modifications: Instead of knitting the front and back totally flat, I knit the bodice pieces flat, seamed the shoulders and side seams then picked up the lace stitches and knit them in the round.

I'm okay with this sweater, but I doubt I'll wear it much. One problem is that the armholes aren't deep enough. You can't see it in the above photos, but check this one:

Note the side with my arm down. You can see wrinkles on the side. They are are result of the armholes being too shallow. I made them a little larger when I blocked it, but other than that, there's not much I can do.

I'm surprised that it doesn't look too bad without a cami underneath. I have a nude colored bra on and that's it! I doubt I'll be making any more lace sweaters. It doesn't feel structured enough on my body. I like fitted tops and the lace doesn't hug enough, if that makes sense. I love so many of the summery sweaters that I see, but I really don't like wearing them. If it's hot outside, I'm not putting on a sweater--period! If I wear any summer sweaters, it will be layered over other tops. I think I will focus my attention on silk blends for the fall and merino blends which are ultimately my favorite things to knit!

I started swatching for the Silken Scabbard. I must say that the Silky Merino that I'm using is some kind of nice stuff!

I'll start the actual sweater tomorrow night. I'm going to have a strange morning tomorrow. I have to take Mikey to the vet for blood work. He has to be tested 6 - 8 hours after he gets his insulin shot and their last appointment on Saturday is at 1:00. That means I will get up at 6 a.m., feed the cats and give him his shot, then I will go right back to bed until around 10! I think his dose needs to be adjusted. He's been crying to be fed all the time so something just isn't right. Speaking of eating--Elvis has been a total pig lately! Elvis, you may remember, is our water turtle. Every so often, I'll treat him to some fish--usually buying about a dozen and a half feeder fish. Typically, he eats about 6 or 7 in the first couple of days, then he finishes off all the rest except one during the next week. The last one usually hangs around a couple of weeks. Twice in the last month, I bought him his 18 fish and they were gone within a day! Two days ago, after work, I got him 2 dozen fish and they were gone by the next morning! I don't know what's cranking up his appetite! Maybe it's a seasonal thing!

Tomorrow is the Mexican celebration of Las Dias de los Muertos!

Bushism of the day:
"There's a lot of blowhards in the political process, you know, a lot of hot-air artists, people who have got something fancy to say." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., May 17, 2007

Kitty Cam: From the archives--Greg doesn't like competing with the pumpkin for the job of Chief Halloween Decoration

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Final countdown!

Less than a week until the election. I'm getting really nervous. I just can't imagine how anyone can be undecided at this stage in the game!

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on Obama!

Knitting news--My Surplice Camisole is still damp, so there won't be any photos tonight! I will share some tomorrow night--I promise! Tonight I will swatch for the Silken Scabbard and order yarn for Baby Cables. I found some at Webs that looks like it will be perfect!

Here is the last batch of old Halloween photos:

The kids decided to be ghoulish. Jeremy as Count Dracula:

And Emily as Morticia Adams!

Bushism of the day:
"And one thing we want during this war on terror is for people to feel like their life's moving on, that they're able to make a living and send their kids to college and put more money on the table." --George W. Bush, interview on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Jan. 16, 2007

Kitty Cam: Mikey on the lookout!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Finally! I finished the Surplice Camisole! I will wet block it and post photos once it is dry!

Here are some more Halloween photos:

Robin Hood

And the belly dancer!

Bushism of the day:
"The best way to defeat the totalitarian of hate is with an ideology of hope -- an ideology of hate -- excuse me --with an ideology of hope." --George W. Bush, Fort Benning, Ga., Jan. 11, 2007

Kitty Cam: Samantha knows what to do on a cold day! Take a nap!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Role Model

In case you missed Michelle Obama on Jay Leno--here is the entire interview.

What a totally down to earth, gracious individual she is!

Moving on--I'm still plugging away at my sweater. Almost done! I've been looking for a suitable yarn to use for a second one in the KAL. I may have found something suitable!

It's still cold and damp around here. I hope it warms up for the Fright Night activities!

Here's some more old Halloween photos. In this photo, Ems was 5 years old and in the first grade. Jeremy was 3. We had rented Ghostbusters at home and Jeremy saw the StayPuft marshmallow man at the end. He became obsessed with him! So, I designed the costume for him. Ems, every bit the typically little diva girl, had to be a princess!

Of course I had to get into the act. Fortunately I had a jumpsuit that I had made so I plastered some Ghostbuster stickers, borrowed a hat and Jeremy's Ghostpack to escort the little darlings on their annual candy haul!

Bushism of the day:
"I'm a strong proponent of the restoration of the wetlands, for a lot of reasons. There's a practical reason, though, when it comes to hurricanes: The stronger the wetlands, the more likely the damage of the hurricane." --George W. Bush, New Orleans, March 1, 2007

Kitty Cam: Chelsea cuddles in Em's pink blanket!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rainy Days and Mondays

That's today! It's cold and rainy which is quite surprising! I had heard that it would be in the high 50's which is chilly for this time of year, but I was rather surprised to look outside before 2:00 and see that it was raining! It never made it into the 50's. I remember more years with Halloween being in the high 70's than in the 40's! It's typically quite warm in these parts this time of year. What gives? As a result of the rain, I went straight home after my leadership meeting today. I just didn't care to stop at the grocery store or post office. I just wanted to come home, prop up my feet and fix a cup of Mango Ceylon tea which soothes my soul. I always fix dinner on Sunday so that DH and I have leftovers on Monday. Thus dinner involves fixing a plate and popping it into the microwave!

I'm going to finish my high school hockey game schedule then veg out in front of the TV while working on my Surplice Camisole.

That's really all I have to share today--except, of course, some more Halloween pix!

These are from different years. First we have Ems when she was 4 and me when I was ????

That Sylvester costume has a lot of mileage on it. A former reading teacher at my school and myself would switch that one and the Roadrunner one each year. We would go into the staff lounge, get in the costumes and raid the classrooms making the kids give us candy. We wouldn't talk--we'd just gesture. The kids never knew who was in the costumes. We'd then go and change back into our street clothes and visit the classrooms again as if nothing happened. These days I'm a party pooper. My dress up days are over!

Next we have Bird a few years later. He found a Beetlejuice mask at Sears Surplus. It was one of those that had a tube with a squeeze bulb at the end. When you squeezed the bulb, snakes popped up on top! My task was to make a Beetlejuice suit which I managed to do using a pajama pattern!

Bushism of the day:
"I think that the vice president is a person reflecting a half-glass-full mentality." --George W. Bush, interview on National Public Radio, Jan. 29, 2007

Kitty Cam: From the archives---Where's Cosmo?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weekend update!

Not too much to update. I did decide to finish my sweater. I worked on it this afternoon while doing my facial and I got a fair amount done. I also took it with me to work on while I got my pedicure. As you can see--Sunday is a day when I pamper myself! Anyway, I only have about 4 inches of lace left to do so I figured I'd suck it up and work on it tonight and tomorrow night which should do the trick. That way I won't have to feel guilty. I know myself too well. Once an UFO goes into hibernation, it stays in limbo for all of eternity. So it is best to avoid that situation!

Back to work tomorrow! In the meantime, here are some more Halloween memories!

Here we have Jeremy in the recycled cat costume as the Cat in the Hat!

Ems as Tinkerbell!

So of course Yours Truly had to be Peter Pan!

Bushism of the day:
"That's why we are inconveniencing air traffickers, to make sure nobody is carrying weapons on airplanes." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., April 3, 2007

Kitty Cam: Samantha is insisting on being fed!

No one does political humor like SNL!

In case you missed it . . .

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I have a dilemma--I'm debating whether or not to start the Silken Scabbard for the SKC Knitalong. I still have to finish the sweater I've been working on. It is just a matter of finishing the lace which is a brain dead type of knitting--very simple memorized design. I am just not motivated right now because it is more of a spring/summer sweater. It's cold now and I want to get my hands on merino. I have another summer project started--the Dayflower camisole. I think that I need to have a summer knitting bag and a winter knitting bag. The summer UFO's will live in the summer bag until they are finished and the winter UFO's will live in their bag during the warmer months. I will knit about an inch more of the lace so that I can take my size 6 needles to use for the Silken Scabbard. Once I've done 3 inches of lace, I switch to size 7's so that will be the game plan. I may save this sweater to work on at knitting group on Wednesday nights. I'll work on the SS the other nights. At least I will be finishing it! That's the plan.

Yesterday I took a sick day. I really felt yucky. I slept until 11 then lay around on the couch all day. I never got dressed, called out for pizza and didn't really accomplish anything. The only thing I did, which was minimal--was to London Shrink a piece of wool fabric that I bought at Joann's Thursday afternoon. I won't tell what the new project is. It is something that was planned in reverse. By that I mean that I bought some rather special unusual buttons--3 to be exact and I had to decide what to do with them. When the proverbial light bulb came on, I envisioned a particular garment to be made out of wool flannel. This project will be kept incognito until it is finished! As far as London shrinking wool goes--check the side bar. I have a section of downloadable tutorials and there will be on on preshrinking wool fabric there shortly!

Today I spent an hour in the car simply to go to G Street for interfacing! Traffic was a bear. Joann's just doesn't have a real selection of interfacing. I wanted fusible hair canvas which I was able to get there to the tune of $18.98 a yard! WoW! The interfacing cost more than the fabric! I wanted to get some extra for my supplies stash, but I decided against it. Instead, I found B Black and Sons online which carries all types of hair canvas for much less--and it's 70 inches wide! I placed an order for several different weights of fusible and non fusible to keep on hand. The other item I have to get at G Street is Bemberg Rayon lining. Joann's only has it in red, beige, black and navy. It's really frustrating since all the other fabric stores have closed.

We are getting close to Halloween so I thought I'd share some photos from the past. This whole week I will be showing off some of the costumes that I've made for the kids. Halloween was always a huge deal at our house! We dressed up and would go to both sets of grandparents' homes for photos and goodies before going trick or treating! These will be only a fraction of the photos. My mother in law always dressed up as well and I have more photos with her and the nieces and nephews.

The first photo is of Ems' first Halloween. She was 11 1/2 months old and just starting to walk!

Unfortunately you can't see the sproingy little tail. It was a spiral tail with a point at the end and it would bounce when she would toddle around.

This next photo is one of my favorites! This was Em's second Halloween when she was just under 2!

This costume had little gossamer wings that velcroed to the back. This one was my own design.

The next year, we had Jeremy so he got to be the devil and Ems was a kitty. No surprise there!

Ems always loved kitties. We didn't have any cats then but both Grandmas did! In fact her first word was kitty!

Let me not forget the costume that I made to wear at school:

Our mascot is the Roadrunner! This costume has a big tail that sticks up behind. McCalls patterns made a series of patterns for Loony Tunes characters and I bought most of them. It's a good thing because they pulled them off of the market shortly after they were released due to copyright issues! You will see more in the next few days!

Bushism of the day:
"I'm going to try to see if I can remember as much to make it sound like I'm smart on the subject." --George W. Bush, answering a question about a possible flu pandemic, Cleveland, July 10, 2007

Kitty Cam: Mikey takes a nap on the dining room table.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Opie and Happy Days!

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Live from New York!

Video number 2 for the day!

President Bush endorses McCain! This one from last night!

Style icons

With all the talk about the $150,000 clothing bill for Sarah Palin, I found this video to be refreshing.

WoW! Shopping at the Gap! It doesn't get more middle class than that!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

This 'n that!

First off--Here's Jon Stewart with his commentary on the latest trash talk!

On to other stuff--I've been somewhat unproductive this week. I'm coming down with something--just sort of dragging all week. Ems came home Monday night. We didn't see her all day and night on Tuesday then she hung around with us last night before going back to the Burgh. I had taken her sewing maching in to Sew Fair for repair as the needle arm wasn't going up and down. I was afraid that I would have to get her a new one. Her current machine is the Singer Athena 2000 which I purchased for $500 back in 1979. The Athena is the first computerized machine ever built. That machine served me quite well for a number of years and I used it to sew most of my contest entries back in the day. I replaced it with a top of the line Elna in 1992 which my parents got me for my birthday. I was thrilled that the repair to this machine ended up only being $100. I was also delighted to find that Sew Fair carries Kwik Sew patterns. G Street has discontinued them and since Hancock closed I haven't been able to find them! I picked up three:

The last one is perfect as a layering piece. I had been looking for a scoop neck knit top.

I also stocked up on McCall's patterns at the Joann's sale. First I got a bunch of jacket patterns. I love jackets since I turn the heat off in my classroom.

Here's my favorite:

My frustration is that I can't get enough of the fabric I want to use for that pattern! I had seen this fabric a couple of weeks ago and it stopped me in my tracks! At the time, I didn't have a pattern in mind so I didn't get any. I won't buy stash fabric because I never know how much to get. This fabric, for example is 60 inches wide and typically 2 yards would be enough to make a jacket, skirt or slacks. Unfortunately the pattern I now have in mind takes almost 3 yards. When I went back to get the fabric, it was gone. I called every Joann's in a 50 mile radius and only one which wasn't very far away had some of this fabric.

If you look at it carefully, you will see that it is not a typical houndstooth. I was able to get a yard and a half. A couple of stores have it on order so I will check back with them. If I can't get enough then I will make a skirt.

I also got a dress pattern and a couple of skirt patterns:

I will have a lot of sewing to keep me busy!

I've been working on the lace part of my sweater. I've decided that I will spend tomorrow night (TV night) plugging away at this sweater. I've totally lost my motivation and I really need to finish it. All I have to do is finish the lace. The seams have all been stitched and the ends woven in. Once I finish the lace and block it, I will weave ribbon through the eyelets.

The color looks a little washed out in the photo. It is sort of a light greenish gold. The yarn is Tahki Sedona which is a silk, linen, cotton blend. I want to finish it so I can start the SKC knit along. There are 3 choices and I want to make two of them. I already have the yarn (Malabrigo Silky Merino) for the Silken Scabbard. Here is the pattern:

I may change the sleeve either to a 3/4 length or a belled sleeve. The color I have is a lovely buttery gold. The other pattern which I like and just purchased is called "Baby Cables and Big Ones."

I really like this version that I found on Ravelry:

Note the belled sleeve. This style of sleeve is more flattering for me so if I get around to making this, I will make that modification. I've been looking a yarn and I found an apple green or a rust color that I like for this. I will wait until I'm almost finished the first one.

Last weekend I went to New York State to do some genealogical research. I left on Friday and spent Friday afternoon roaming some historic cemeteries taking photographs. Saturday I spent the day here:

This is an old courthouse built in 1841 which houses the Orange County Genealogical Society. I was able to get a lot of sources for births, marriages and deaths that I couldn't find anywhere else. New York is not a good place for research as they did not require vital records to be kept until the very late 1800's so you have to find things like deeds, wills, old newspapers, church records etc. Fortunately a lot of local records to the area were compiled by volunteers and are housed in the research room there which is open all day on the third Saturday of each month. We didn't have school on Friday so it worked out really well. I drove home Saturday night and got home around 11 pm. Now I have to catch up on stuff around the house!

Bushism of the day:
"Information is moving -- you know, nightly news is one way, of course, but it's also moving through the blogosphere and through the Internets." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., May 2, 2007

Kitty Cam: Chelsea and Mokey snuggle together.