Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Harlequin Scarf

What do you give someone who suffers seasonal affective disorder? A bright, colorful, warm handmade knitted scarf with orange fringe, that's what! It took me about two weeks to knit, but a lot longer to finish. You know how that works. You zip through the main part of the project and then for some reason, it take weeks and weeks to sew one last stitch. C'est la vie.

But it's done. My father-in-law loves wearing crazy hats to walk the dog. His latest acquisition was a court jester hat with great colors and little tassels on the end - given to him by my husband. I felt the hat alone wasn't enough to cast away the winter blues. No. He needed an added accessory. Enter, the crazy colored harlequin knitted scarf. It was my first attempt at intarsia (knitting with chunks of color) and it was great fun.

The package was sent and delivered a few days ago. I'm hoping it's new owner will enjoy the brilliance and joy of this scarf as well as the occasional odd-ball looks he'll get from the neighbors.

Harlequin scarf - the early stages

Harlequin scarf - final product

Friday, April 2, 2010

Art Projects Revealed

So, guess who finally graced us with his presence 2 weeks after the new water kettle arrived? You got it, Mr. Swivel Base himself. Unbelievable. It was hiding in the cabinet behind some other stuff. Anyway, I must put this behind me.

Art project. Our first art project was due end of February. To recap, the quote was, "Cleopatra, catching but the least noise of this, dies instantly." February's birthstone: amathyst. Timothy and I both scrambled on the very last day and here's what we came up with.

Jen's project

Timothy's Project
(nickel and amathyst colored rhinestone)

On February 28 we submitted our projects and searched out the next written work for our March inspiration. This month it was my turn to pick the book. I chose The Bible. I picked the page and Timothy randomly pointed to a sentence. We landed on the Book of Job 42:11, "Then came there unto him all his brethren" March's birthstone: aquamarine.

As usual we were down to the wire. The night before, we stayed up late to finish our masterpieces. The result:

Jen's project
(acrylic paint)

Timothy's project
(mirror and aquamarine stone)

The April project is now in effect. The idea of couple's month was thrown in there, so we might work on a project together. We'll see. April's source of inspiration comes from Edgar Allan Poe's, "The Oval Portrait" The quote is, "...the spirit of the lady again flickered up as the flame within the socket of the lamp". Birthstone: Diamond/Crystal.

Can't wait to see what we come up with. Can you?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Must Create Art!

So, it's been several weeks and I've tried everything I could to find that swivel base for the darn water kettle. I consulted tarot cards, read tea leaves, used a Magic-8 ball, followed a bunch of tracking dogs - the works. Nothing. I've searched high and low and there's no sign of that darn thing, so I gave up. I logged onto Amazon and bought my husband *another* water kettle. It arrived two weeks ago. The household is now at peace.

In other news, Timothy and I agreed to commit ourselves to a monthly art project. This is how it works. At the start of every month, we pick an important (or maybe not so important) piece of literature. The bigger the book the better. Then we pick a page number, any page number. We open up to that page, and then randomly point to a line on that page. Whatever sentence we land on is what we use to serve as inspiration for an art project. It can be any type of art - painting, drawing, sculpture, jewelry, knit/sewn project, woodworking, food, anything. In addition to the quote, we can also refer to the birthstone for the month in which the project is due. We can use the color, the shape and/or the meaning of the stone as added inspiration.

For the month of February, we pulled a quote from the complete works of Shakespeare. We landed on this quote, "Cleopatra, catching but the least noise of this, dies instantly." February's birthstone is amathyst.

Not bad, eh?

I already drafted my art piece in Photoshop. I'm worried that my hand-made version will not live up to it's technology generated counterpart. I drafted it in Photoshop just to quickly visualize what was just a garbled idea in my head.

If all else fails, I can just hit the print button, right? I mean, just because I did it on a computer doesn't meant that it's not art. I did in fact make it myself. It's not like I adjusted the hue and called it a day. It was actually a little more involved than that. I do of course prefer to make a hand-made version of it. So, we'll see. I'll keep you posted. I can't write updates on my progress because it's possible that Timothy may read my blog entry. So, you'll all have to wait until the end of the month to see the final product.

Guess what? I start my sewing classes this Sunday. I am very excited about this. Our project will be to sew an apron. I'm hoping I'll be able to learn the basics and then in two weeks time create my own couture dress. I'll have to map out that project plan.

Thanks for reading :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Swivel Base, Where Art Thou?

This past Christmas, Timothy received a very nice electric water kettle. It's the Capresso H2O Plus. It's swank, it's modern and much better looking than the cheap plastic one we've had for several years. There are two pieces, the kettle and the accompanying swivel base that plugs into an outlet. We've used it about three times. In a mad rush to clean the apartment in time for a dinner party, I seperated the two pieces. I placed the kettle piece in the cabinet where it belongs and the swivel base...well, I cleverly hid it so that no one would be able to find it. Isn't that fun? So, it's been about a week and I still can't find it. Yay, for fun ideas!

I feel so terrible. I've looked everywhere for this thing. Timothy was so excited for his new water kettle. Finally something classy that we can leave out on display. And what do I do? I lose the piece that heats up the water. I called the company to see if I can purchase a replacement base. They said that they don't sell that part alone. They sell the kettle, but not the base. You know what the whiz-kid customer support person suggested? She said, "I think you should just have the person look and see if they can find it."

Really? Is that your suggestion? To look for it?? Okay.

I shouldn't cast stones. I'm no more of a genius than she is. I mean, I did in fact separate the two pieces. And the worst part is that as I was doing this, I remember saying to myself, "This isn't a smart thing to do."

For some reason, my hands completely ignored my brain and went off and did their own thing. After that, my mind went blank. I should try hypnosis.

Anyway, I'm still searching high and low. I suppose I'll have to bite the bullet and buy a new kettle *sigh*.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Welcome 2010

Wow, it's been about a year since my latest post. I've been neglecting my blog duties. So what was 2009 like? Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up: Started knitting a shawl, got laid off, summer started, stopped knitting a shawl, joined Facebook, updated resume, found another job, Michaels, TJ Max and Whole Foods opened up across the street, got a hair cut, went to the Bahamas - overdosed on conch, went to a funeral, went to a friend's wedding, visited my friend 8 hours after she gave birth, had a terrible Halloween, went to another friend's wedding, had an early Christmas in Denver, and last but not least started writing in my blog.

I'm sure there are lots of things in between that I've omitted. If I remember, I'll be sure to add it in.

I haven't knitted in over 6 months. Now that winter smacked me in the face, I started getting an itching for yarn. Today's high is 28-degrees, perfect weather for knitting a chunky baby alpaca scarf. As soon as there's progress, I'll post pictures. For Christmas, my mother-in-law gave me a stash of Donegal wool. She actually bought it in Donegal, Ireland - where she lives. My father-in-law, gave me a gift certificate to the Lamb Shoppe. Chritmas has treated me very well.

I'm hoping the new year will provide blog-writing inspiration. Here's to 2010. Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Christmas Gift Finally Complete!

Yes, I know. It's mid-January and I finally finished the Christmas gift I was knitting, as mentioned in my Nov 17 entry. It was a present for Timothy. The good news is, it's a scarf and we're still in the dead of winter. So, it's not that late. Late would be giving it to him on Palm Sunday. So yes. He was very happy with the gift. Especially since he had to borrow my scarf for the past few weeks. It was a much needed gift. There's nothing worse than getting a knitted gift from someone that you absolutely can't use. A pastel-pink toilet paper doily in the shape of a French Poodle, for example. I try to keep my gifts practical, whenever possible.

The scarf has a great pattern that has an old Celtic feel. It was easy enough for me to get through, but intricate enough in detail to impress. There are a few minor mess-ups, but the pattern is so forgiving that you hardly notice them. And with my subpar record for fixing knitting mistakes (see previous entry), it was better that I just moved on.

The hubby loves it. And I'm very happy.

Frogging the Gloves

I am fuming. Fuming! I started knitting some fingerless gloves for a birthday gift. They come in handy in the office for keeping warm, while freeing up your fingers for typing, filing and similar "digits-required" activities. The birthday is coming up this Wednesday. According to the pattern instructions, you can knit these babies in one weekend. Great. Sounds like the perfect gift to me.

I started knitting on Monday. Since I had the day off, I spent a good portion of the afternoon on my project. Hey, not bad. These are coming out pretty nicely. I was about 70% done with the left glove and then all of a sudden, something terrible happened. Honestly, I'm not exactly sure what. I just know that I ended up with too many stitches. Not only too many stitches, but they just didn't feel right. It was very strange and a little difficult to describe.

I'm not very good at ripping out stitches and fixing my mistakes. If I can't make it through all the way in one shot, I'm doomed. Of course there are some minor exceptions. If I knit where I was supposed to purl, I can certainly go back and fix that. If I screw up the pattern on the current row, I can take it out stitch by stitch and fix that. Anything more complicated than that, well, like I said, I'm doomed.

So doomsday arrived and I sat staring at my work for about 15 minutes, trying to come up with SOMETHING. I tried taking out the first couple of rows and picking up the stitches. Didn't work. The stitches kept falling out of their loops. It was a mess. I finally decided to frog the whole thing. It was a sad moment. Very sad indeed.

The birthday is tomorrow and well, obviously, I won't have them done. I'm still determined to make them. But dagnammit! I wanted them to be done. *Sigh*