28 June 2014

And Now For Some Knitting!

Before I go any further, thanks very much to all of you for your kind comments and concern about my fall.  It's still a mystery what happened, though I am still of the belief that I tripped, fell, and knocked myself out.  In any case, I'm feeling better a little bit each day, and have gone from really swollen and purple to slightly swollen with more of a yellow tinge. :-)  I got the stitches on my upper lip taken out, and head back to work this coming Monday.  The dentist even put a temporary fix on my tooth!  So, I'm getting there.


As promised above though, I have a knitting project to show you.  This is one I am really pleased with, and that was fun to knit.

On May 10, we added another great-niece to my family when my niece Julie and her husband Keith became parents to baby Penn.  You may recall from a previous post or two, that I had been wanting to make the Baby Tea Leaves sweater for her.  Well, I got that really well underway when I realized that I wasn't gonna have enough yarn to finish it!  (Sometimes I wonder about myself.   But that's a post for another day.)  But thanks to Ravelry, I could search for projects based on the amount of yarn I had, and found one that I thought was worth a try.  And before I knew it, I had a sweet little baby sweater for a sweet little baby.

I just love the way it turned out!  If you are looking for a baby knit that has some interest but is not overly involved to knit, this is it.


Project:  Penn's First Sweater
Pattern:  Liliana, by Irishgirlieknits
Size:  3 months (smallest)
Yarn:  Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport Solid, in the Lace Kelly colorway (I used most of one skein)
Needles:  Size 5 US
Modifications:  None
Comments:  I got this yarn as part of a Soakbox package, and had every intention of using it for myself.  But when I decided to make a sweater for my new great-niece, I wanted to use stash yarn if at all possible.  I decided since I'd had this for a while already and had not used it, I'd go ahead and use it for this project.  I'm so glad I did, because not only is it a beautiful color, and lovely yarn to work with, but it's a little different for a baby.

The pattern is really well-written, and once you get going on the lace part, it's very easy to memorize and finish.  If you want a quick and lovely project for a small amount of yarn, I recommend this one!

Not only did I have yarn I liked for the sweater, but I found the perfect button for it:

I truly love this little birdie button!  The little bit of blue in the middle matched the yarn perfectly, and it added a perfect touch of whimsy to the whole thing.

The package including the sweater was sent, and was a big hit.  My niece said that the sweater fit now, but also had plenty of room to grow.  And since they would be leaving their apartment in Brooklyn to go to Los Angeles during June and July for her work, she said it would be especially useful.

Here is a picture of Penn wearing her sweater.  (She looks rather shocked about the whole thing, don't you think? Please note that the color in the picture above is closer to the actual color of the finished item ... but that one doesn't have a baby wearing it!)

We are looking forward to meeting her in person once they get back from California.  In the meantime, I'm glad that a little bit of us is already part of her life.


Have a lovely weekend!

25 June 2014

The Big Fall

Last Monday in my e-mail, I got the prompt for that week's Ten on Tuesday, and thought it sounded like a fun one.  So I wrote the post, and scheduled it to appear  on Tuesday.  Since I would be at work on Tuesday (I had taken Monday off, since it was Bloomsday), I wouldn't have to remember to post it when I got home that evening.

As it turns out, if I had decided to wait and post on Tuesday, it never would have happened.

Monday evening while The Tim was at work, Dug the Doodle Dog and I went out for his evening walk, and it was so pleasant, with a nice breeze.  We were going along on our way home nicely.  I was going to give Dug a treat, and maybe give myself a manicure when we got home.  Next thing I remember, I woke up and I was lying in the middle of the street, with Dug sitting next to me.  I sat up, and saw that my glasses were broken, and I was covered in blood, and bleeding.  A woman brought a towel over, and was trying to help me, and a young man came up and asked if he could call someone for me (I was with it enough to give him the number for The Tim at work).  Another lady was kind enough to drive me and Dug home for The Tim to meet us there.

So when he got home about two seconds after I did, we headed over the ER at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, which is not far from our house.  They of course took me back to a room immediately.  Since I couldn't remember anything about what happened, they wanted to keep me overnight for observation and do a bunch of tests.  I got ten stitches in my upper right lip, some inside, some outside.  I broke off part of a front tooth.  There were no observation rooms available, so I spent the next 24 hours in my ER room.  I had approximately 1,000 tests of  all kinds, was poked, prodded, questioned, had blood drawn and my temperature taken approximately 100 times, and finally they let me go home on Tuesday evening.

Coming home and taking a shower - washing off the dried blood and cinders from the street - was one of the best things ever.  I still hurt, I missed a week of work which pains me since I of course I didn't really have that much sick time.  I look much better than I did last week, but would still likely frighten small children (and have certainly startled a few adults!).

On  top of which, The Tim and I had both made plans to take the week we are currently in as vacation.  We had some plans to do day trips, and some other things.  Instead, I have been going to a bazillion different dr appts.

I am lucky.  No bones were broken or fractured, my injuries will [eventually] heal, and I can get my tooth fixed (though not soon enough to suit me).  But from the day-to-day standpoint, it really sucks.  My fave glasses are DOA, and I am in a lot of pain, besides looking like I lost a prize fight.


However, on the bright side, I did get to wear all of the wristbands they had available at the ER!  ;-)

17 June 2014

It Never Gets Old

I saw the prompt for this week's list, and thought it would be especially fun to do.

10 Movies You Can Watch Over and Over Again and Never Tire Of

1.  "Harvey" - I love Elwood P. Dowd, and his family's embarrassment and attempts to control his "problem."  And the "portrait" that Elwood has painted of him with Harvey cracks me up every single time!

2.  All of the ridiculous "National Lampoon's 'Vacation'" movies.  The Griswolds are like my family in soooo many ways.

3.  "To Kill a Mockingbird" - more than excellent.  Every.Single.Time.

4.  "It's a Wonderful Life" - I know plenty of people can't stand this, but I'm not one of them.

5.  "A Christmas Story" - the dad in this movie reminds me so much of my dad!

6.  "Singin' in the Rain" - the cornball-ness of the movie is fun, and the scene giving the movie its title makes me so happy whenever I watch it.

7.  "Room With a View" - one of the most aesthetically pleasing movies I have ever seen, with a story and acting that I just love.

8.  "Casablanca" - it's got romance, history, Nazis, Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Peter Lorre ... you're getting the drift here, right?

9.  "Gaslight" - young Angela Lansbury is sooooo evil!

10.  "Auntie Mame" - oh how I used to wish that I had an Auntie Mame when I was a little girl!

You can probably tell from this list that I really like a lot of old movies, and I do - they are like lifelong friends to me, and so many not included here are also favorites.  There are more recent ones that are also repeat watchings for me, but these are the first ten that came to mind while I was writing this post.

That's it for now ... I'd better get ready for my close-up ... ;-)

14 June 2014

MDSW Wrap-Up

Well, as promised, here is the post about what I purchased this year at Maryland Sheep and Wool.

I think if a few years ago, you told me that I would go to a fiber festival and not buy any fiber at all, I would have wondered what you were smoking.  But in the last few years, I have actually become more circumspect about my yarn purchasing.   This is not to say that I still don't need to cull my stash, but each time I do it, there's less stuff there that I don't want/wonder why I bought it in the first place.

My new personal rule for MDSW has become:  If you feel that you have to have it, because you won't see it anywhere else, or it just really strikes you, then buy it.  Otherwise, admire it and move on.  To be honest, this has worked well the last couple of times I've attended.  So I can't say you'll never see new yarn here after I take the trip, but it won't be a given.

Anyway, here are pictures of almost everything I bought, except for two items.  At the booth for Jennie the Potter, I bought a small ceramic bowl with a crab holding knitting needles painted onto it.  I can't get a good photo of it to save my life.  Anyhow, I bought it to put on the dresser in my bedroom, to hold my watches and some pieces of jewelry that I wear nearly every single day.  I also bought a pair of small ceramic earrings with sheepy faces on them.  Again, no photo was possible, at least given my non-expertise.

But here are the things I was able to photograph.

When we first arrived, there was a very young girl selling these stone garden markers for a quarter.  She was so cute, and so sincere, I bought this one for The Tim's cucumber plants.

And in one of the booths in the Main Building, there was a set-up with all kinds of woven items.  I'm not usually one for ponchos, but this caught my eye, and I kept thinking about it, so at the end of the day I treated myself to it.  I've already worn it several times, and received many compliments.  I like that it is something that doesn't *have* to be worn poncho-style, and can also look like a really pretty woven wrap.

So that is my small but pleasing haul from this year's festival.  I enjoyed seeing all of the yarn purchases on the bus coming back to Philadelphia, but never felt a moment of regret that I didn't buy yarn for myself.  :-)

08 June 2014

May Book Report

Before we go much more into June, I wanted to remember to share with you the books I read during May.  For whatever reason, I felt like I didn't get that many books read during the month, but my list on Goodreads shows otherwise ...

The Bookshop, by Penelope Fitzgerald.  The year is 1959, and Florence Green, a widow, decides to use the small amount of money she inherits to open a bookshop in a small village.  She finds a location that - though not in perfect condition - suits her needs and her budget just fine.

Many in the village are a little bit surprised that she even thinks a bookshop is a necessary thing, but they patronize it for a while.  Unfortunately, Mrs. Gamart, a local patroness of the arts (and genteel bully) thinks that Florence's bookshop location would make more sense as the spot for a local arts center.  When Florence doesn't back down, she has made an enemy with friends/relatives in important positions.

Soon, Florence's bookshop sees the few customers it had, diminish.  And eventually she throws in the towel and decides to close.

I listened to an audiobook of this title, and enjoyed it immensely.  I felt for Florence, from the beginning, when it already seemed the her bookshop had a tenuous existence.  Once she crossed Mrs. Gamart, it was clear that things would not work out.

I really liked this story, and the image it painted of a particular time and place.  I felt that I could see the characters and the village clearly in my mind.

Espresso Shot, by Cleo Coyle.  Another installment in the Coffeehouse Mysteries, in which Clare Cosi has to figure out who is trying to kill her ex-husband's fiance only a couple of days before the wedding.  And as the person who is providing the coffee and specialty beverages for the reception, along with her friend who has started a pastry bakery, Clare has plenty to do without having to investigate anything.

This was the usual fun, light read that these books usually are.  With one exception. And that is, that the person who was killed at the beginning of the book because she was mistaken for the bride-to-be, is supposedly from Wheeling, West Virginia.  Clare suspects this when she first talks to the girl, because of her "twang."

I spent the bulk of my life in Wheeling, and still have family and friends who live there.  The only time I ever met anyone with a "twang" at all was when I met someone from someplace else.  If people have a speech pattern at all there, it's closer to the way people in Pittsburgh speak than any other "accent."

This may seem like a small detail to most readers, but having spent my whole life explaining that a) I am not from the South, and b) why I don't have a Southern accent, means that I am especially sensitive to this kind of thing.

Having said all of that, as I said, this is - like the others in this series - entertaining enough, and especially good to read when you are in the mood for a book that  doesn't have to be, or claims to be, great literature.

The Anatomist's Apprentice, by Tessa Harris.  Dr. Thomas Silkstone is a young doctor who has studied the very new/theoretical field of anatomy in the American colonies (Philadelphia, to be exact).  He is in London continuing his studies, when he becomes involved in the investigation into how young Sir Edward Crick died.  Though Crick was not popular, his sister, Lady Lydia Farrell, witnessed his mysterious and gruesome death and wants to know what happened.

At the time the book takes place, doctors had very little knowledge that helped them determine other than obvious causes of death, and bodies were buried quickly due to rapid decomposition.  Dr. Silkstone has read and learned of other methods to determine ailments and causes of death, and although he has a hard time getting the local coroner to help him, he manages to uncover not just what/who killed Crick, but other devious dealings among the upper crust.

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green.  This is a lovely book. I know a lot of people who have read this and thought it was one of the most amazing books ever.  I wouldn't go that far, but I feel it was well-written and a book that made me want to keep reading.

Hazel and Augustus meet at a support group meeting for children/young people with cancer.  They are drawn to one another because they see through a lot of the "special"-ness of cancer, and those who have cancer.  Though they do not have a lot in common on the surface, they know how life works, and that cancer is - for those who have it - as much a fact of life as their eye color, height, etc.  Both of them have experienced the uncomfortable friends, the worried parents, and the people who see it as their raison-d'etre to help cancer patients, even when their help can be misguided.

The story is sad, but hopeful.  A lot of people thought it was depressing, but I didn't feel that way at all.  I found it to be a very true accounting of how it can feel to be ca cancer patient and/or survivor.  There were some really funny parts, often gallows humor, but that too is realistic.

I like that it "explained" (at least from Augustus' and Hazel's viewpoints) how unwelcome the good intentions of others can be.  The story is a strong reminder to notice and live in the here and now, which I think is the most valuable thing it could have told the reader.

I would recommend this book, unless reading about people with cancer really upsets you.  It's worth a try, in any case.

The Blessings, by Elise Juska.  I really liked this book.

The Blessings of the title are a close-knit, Irish-Catholic family who live in Northeast Philadelphia.  The book is the story of their family, but not necessarily told in a regular, linear fashion.  Each chapter is "told" from the standpoint of one of the characters, outlining their feelings about their families, themselves, and where they do or do not fit in.  They have all been part of so many of the same experiences, both good and bad, and they have been exposed to so many family events and rituals.  And yet, each person feels something different.  Each person is both one and part of the larger whole.

The thing I really liked about this book was the fact that each character felt there was some watershed moment in their lives, but not necessarily the same one.  So often, you assume that your siblings felt the same and experienced things the same way that you did, only to learn differently.  And even though of course that makes sense, it still seems surprising.

It was also a story about a family that may have looked pretty perfect to outsiders, but was not that much different from anyone else's family.  Happiness, sadness, conflict, ambivalence, frustration, annoyance, pride, embarrassment - just a few of the things that make families what they are.  And probably keeps them going.

I would recommend this book.  It is well-written, and the characters are not necessarily stereotypical, though like all of us, they have aspects of their personalities that are.


I love reading.  :-)

06 June 2014

Five Favorites for This Friday

It's time for me to remind myself again of the things that have made me happy this past week.  I try hard to remind myself of something every single day, but since Fridays are happy days in general (leading to the weekend), I especially like to end on a good note here.  :-)

1.  Springtime.  Though I must admit that my allergies are driving me nuts, we are inally having a real spring.  Most days are in the 70s (or occasionally in the low 80s), and the nights are comfortable for sleeping.  Just being out makes you feel good!

2.  Free yarn!  I think I mentioned here before that someone was going to give me some of her handspun for free.  Well, we finally got together the other night after work, and not only did I get free yarn, but spent a fun time getting to know her a little.  (A two-fer, if you think about it.)  I'll take pictures and share soon.

3.  A wonderful thank-you note.  First of all, it was mail that was actually addressed to me from another individual (as opposed to a company, etc.).  Kim sent me the most amazing, kind thank-you note ever.  And it was a nice surprise, since she was thanking me for something I wasn't really conscious I had done ...

4.  Flowers.  A lot of people in our neighborhood, and in the rest of the city have flowers growing in window boxes, and/or planters, pots, etc. in front of their houses.  They are just happy - not "planned" or formal, just happy, bright flowers growing almost wherever you go.

5.  Wind chimes.  When we were home over the Memorial Day weekend, we bought a set of wind chimes and hung them in the garden.  They are not very "noisy" even when it's really windy, but when I hear them, it just makes me smile every single time.

What about you?  Did you have some favorites from the past week?  I sure hope so.  Have a happy springtime weekend!

02 June 2014

Belated Report

The first week of May is when the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival happens every year in West Friendship, Maryland.  Rosie's Yarn Cellar usually reserves a couple of buses to make the trip, and it is always very popular.  I've missed it for a couple of years for one reason or another, but this year I had the chance to go, and as usual, it did not disappoint.  

Sure, I love seeing the yarns, needles, and everything else.  But I will admit that this year, I had no specific thing I wanted to find.  I figured if I saw yarn that just really called out to me, I'd buy it, but since I have plenty of yarn I decided I would not buy something just for the sake of buying it.  What I always really like the best is seeing all of the animals!  Sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, bunnies, dogs - it's the best time, period.

Here are some of the photos I took this year.

 My friend, DC, likes the animals and the yarn, but was particularly excited when she saw this!

 "Well, hello ladies!"

 This looks like true sheepy contentedness to me.

This is a one-month old baby goat.  Oddly enough, the guy holding him would not let me take him home with me.  Go figure.


So, what did I buy?  I've decided to save that for another post.  I just want you to enjoy seeing what the day was like, just being there.  It was perfect weather, and with perfect weather, good friends, and all the animals, it just doesn't get better than that.  It was truly one of the best days ever.