Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Believe The Hype


I am of the variety of person that tends to be wary of The Hype. I rarely lend credence to what the masses are saying or being swayed by. When politicians, anchormen, and expert panelists begin to speak with any fervor, I drift off into my own thoughts feeling like I have heard all of this rhetoric before in some previous life. I am neither completely cynical or stoic or idealistic mind you, I just find that the words Crisis and Plan are often overused and ill defined at that.
I like to prove things to myself, on my own terms, in my own time. I am sure I have annoyed people along the way, ignoring their advice, then changing my tune as if I had concurred all along. I apologize. I know I am terribly guilty of immediately and adamantly making up my mind on a topic for I am a creature of deep, often impractical emotions, and then contradicting myself as if all that fuss never happened. I even extend this stubborn wariness to the knitting community. I have for a year or so read the zealous exclamations extolling the virtues of Malabrigo. "It's so soft! It's so beautiful! It's so mmmmmm..."
'Whatever', I said, reminding myself how I've been disappointed in the past. Of course, that was all before I tried Malabrigo. So friends, like the child who is tricked by the babysitter into eating broccoli casserole and discovering after years of gagging and starving that broccoli smothered in cheese is actually good, I ecstatically declare:
It's so soft!
It's so beautiful!
It's so mmmmmm...
Which hat pattern do you suggest I knit?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Nighty Night


This child of the sweet-cheeked long-lashed variety makes my heart hurt a little I love him so much. I've entered the photo over on the iYfaces blog. This weeks theme is Black and White. I took this at night, after he refused to go to sleep until he crashed on the couch at 10:30pm. The original photo is barely visible since it was dark in the room. I overexposed it and turned it black and white. The result is grainy and blurred which is how I felt after pleading with him to go to bed for 3 hours. Whether my perspective or the shot is distressed his beauty shines through. The fact that he is sleeping helps. By 9:30 I was considering selling him to a circus. Lucky for him I instantly turn to mush at the sight of a slumbering child. Love you, wee dude.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Taking Notes

I have been busy making notebooks with favorite photos. This picture was a Christmas card insert taken by my talented cousin Michelle. I loved the photo and wanted to do more with it than box it up. Using some scrap paper, glue, and a paper grocery bag, I created a very stylish and practical 4x6 notebook for keeping track of random but important thoughts. I am planning on making larger sizes with my own photos that have around 50 pages to sketch, write, and make lists in.

For all of the Neil Gaimon fans out there, have you seen this super creepy interactive site? Go ahead, button your eyes, but don't cry to me if you have nightmares later.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Deep Thoughts?

I was all geared up to write this post about profound spiritual thoughts as a balm for your Friday soul. But meh. I just don't have it in me today. This week has had an aura of possibilities for future ventures, like considering opening an etsy shop to sell some prints and sundries. Any advice is appreciated.

I have been busy making discoveries about previous inhabitants of my fair town and literally stumbled across an answer to a question that had eluded me for almost two years. I had not been searching from the right angle. All I needed was a fresh perspective. A friend called it serendipity. I am inclined to agree. Serendipity is the gift of making fortunate discoveries by accident. This whole week I've felt like something has shifted, the dovetail of my endeavors and interests has slipped smoothly into the joint. Connections are being made between the disparate things I love like photography, art, and history. Maybe the only obstacle to their union has been my lack of perspective.

I am sure most of you reading have said "huh?" and I apologize for the vague nature of this. I can't put my finger on what I am trying to type exactly, other than to write: I feel like serendipity is in the air and I am taking deep gulps, expanding my horizons, believing ever more in myself, my creativity, and my need to share.

On the knitting front, there are secret socks being made and an Owls sweater being frogged. It occurred to me that I never need wear anything heavier than a light sweater and a coat in my climate. I do however, like to snuggle under blankets. I'm thinking an Owls inspired lap blanket. More to come...

Serendipity. Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you've found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for.
Lawrence Block

Monday, February 16, 2009

Appreciation


Thank you all for the wonderful birthday wishes. I had a fabulous weekend full of loved ones, cake, presents, and even a few hours completely alone. That's right, all by myself for the first time in almost 6 years. When you are young and people say things like "having children changes everything" or "time goes faster as you age" you think things like 'yeah, whatever' and 'an hour is an hour is an hour'. Then all of that stuff they warned you about, cliche or not, actually happens. Your only recourse is to start slipping those same warnings into random conversations with people even 3 months younger than yourself.

Aging has it's perks. You are more aware of who and what really matters to you. When you are lucky, those people celebrate you like my family and friends did this weekend. Roses, a new orange ipod, yarn money, and a very special package from N01Alicat (rav) in Staffordshire, England were my abundance of happy gifts. Check out the perfect lavender bag knit kit and incredibly cute stacking doll stitch markers she sent. I write ridiculous rambling letters to Ali and she still sends me gifts; a friend indeed. A few of you asked if I made the birthday silhouette in the previous post. Yes I did and let me tell you, if I had any time management skills when it comes to my art, I'd plaster the world with little vignettes. And knit everyone a pair of socks of course.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Darn.

There are a great many things to do while taking cold medicine. You can nap, read magazines, call a friend, or read blogs. Never, under any circumstance, should you grab a pile of laundry and toss it in the machine with out removing your favorite purple pair of socks first.

The entire heel of my Madeline Tosh 'logwood' socks emerged from the machine- well, actually, it didn't emerge at all. It was simply gone. I am normally never at a loss for words, especially colorfully combined curse words, but this sight rendered me speechless. All I could manage was a half-cry half-cough "ga-huh". I can still feel the visceral pinch behind my belly button. I reverently set the wounded sock on the dryer and backed slowly out of the room.
the Lady to the rescue! Her timely post on the darning of a well loved pair gave me hope. I picked a row of stitches on the sole, then another at the bottom of the heel flap. I turned a new heel with leftover yarn, knit two extras rows so I could pick up stitches at the sides, then closed the hole with Kitchener stitch. The heel turned out lovely if a little lumpy and it can withstand a good tug. All is right in the world again, at least for today.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Bird Love


Self realization #35: I love things in the sky.

The category 'things in the sky' includes but is not limited to: birds, stars, planets, satellites, bicycle shaped clouds, hot air balloons, comets, the moon, the sun, constellations, astronauts, zephyrs, siroccos, gales, hopes, dreams, ideas, radio waves, fireflies, runaway balloons, balls, and business men in cheap suits.

My cat Nikkita and I like to watch "the bird channel" in the mornings. The doughy mix on the table is homemade suet and it is not unusual to have an avian congregation of at least 3 dozen clamoring a few feet from my back door. Yes, those are two clementine crates fashioned into a bird feeder. I keep track of all of the species that visit, but my favorite is the Eastern Bluebirds who have now brought 3 sets of hatchlings' to my suet over the past year. I have gained a new regular, Atticus, a mockingbird in a dapper grey suit with crisp white French cuffs.


This weekend, my husband and I watched the night sky to see the space station fly overhead. We also spotted a shooting star together. Yesterday, it was close to 70 degrees, so we put out a picnic blanket in the back yard to process some much needed vitamin D. Suddenly an eerie chorus sang out. The cries were shrill and long, ending on a plaintive down note. You know the sound; Hollywood uses the red-tailed hawk call in every desert scene. I turned to look over my neighbor's roof and there were 8 hawks all floating on the thermal draft there. I have never seen more than two hawks at once and was wildly excited and thoroughly freaked out. They were directly over my neighbor's conspicuously yapping puppy after all. But they didn't swoop, they just soared, following each other for another hour.

I googled hawks hunting in packs, fully expecting to read an entry stating this was the Native American omen of the end of the world, when a tiny bit of info erased my worries immediately. The red-tailed hawk lays eggs from March to May. What I photographed was not a brutal hunt or sign of the Apocalypse. It was the raptor equivalent of speed dating. I hope my boys found nice girls to bring home. Love is in the air.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friendship Socks

For Nicole, who understands sometimes there are no words, and is cool with that.

Yarn: Knitpicks Essential Kettle Dyed 'wine'
Needles: US#1 dpn

Can I just say I am having issues with giving these away? They are so pretty. This color doesn't photograph consistently, every shot I took was a slightly different hue, but each was beautiful anyway. They look good in every light. I am going to wrap them up nice with a fun card, and when I am free of this chest cold I picked up I'll hand them over. Lucky for her, they are too small for my feet or I might have pretended to have lost them.

I am not the only one who knit these socks. When I was sitting at my Grandma's bedside, my 10 year old cousin asked to knit a row. I wrapped my arms around him, showed him how to juggle the needles, to make the loops and gently slide them off. He knit a whole row. The wonderful Kenyan hospice nurse laughed at us exclaiming "boys do not knit this" but Joey persevered and quietly said "I do!" Curiosity got the best of her and she held the needles for awhile too. Knitting around others has always brought questions from the non-knitters which opens a doorway to conversation. I love those conversations. You never know where they will lead. Most of them usually end up in a good place full of times remembered and memories made. Whether you quilt, sew, knit, paint,or bake, the items you create are meant to be shared. Our work gives shelter, warmth, and beauty to those around us. In return we receive the shelter, warmth , and beauty of friendship. This is why I knit.





Wednesday, February 4, 2009

For Grandma

Thank you all for your words of support last week. My sadness was caused by waiting for the phone call that my Grandma Fox had died. I spent a couple of days with her in Atlanta the weekend before last, was able to say goodbye then, but having to leave my dad and brother to come home and wait in a daze for a week was more difficult than saying goodbye. I couldn't start to cry, I couldn't start to mourn, I could only wait.

Grandma lived a long, full, laughter filled life, one we can all learn from. She taught me how to tell a good story, make mashed potatoes, and to laugh, always laugh, even in the worst of moments. Hers was a life to celebrate, not to mourn. I miss her, but I grieve for my family, they are in such pain. The sorrow I feel is a result of not being able to say a magic word and take all of their hurt away. I know this will come in time, but for now, we all are left to make our own way out of the fog.

As we stood by her graveside, my Grandpa remarked the cemetery people must be related to parking lot people. Not a tree in sight. He was right. The only thing growing from the earth were the headstones and memorial benches. I thought of one of my favorite thinking spots back home, the old cemetery behind the library, with it's huge shading oaks and rolling hills. I may have to accidentally push a few acorns into the ground next time I visit Grandma. And a rose bush. Those were her favorite.