Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Favorite Spot

Nephew Jeremy McCarroll, avid camper, hiker, fisherman, father, worker, writer, and all around good person, has a favorite place.  That place is a good place to be and is detailed here on his blog.  If you don't go to the link and browse around, I'll make it easy on you:

The Spot and its rules:
1. The Spot is The Spot. It has always been The Spot, even before it was The Spot.

2. There is no way to The Spot. The Spot is the way.

3. You cannot find The Spot, but if you look for it in earnest, it will find you.

4. The Spot looks as good on a beautiful spring day as it does in the dead of winter. The rule is you can’t argue with that.

5. Respect The Spot and The Spot will respect you. Disrespect it and you may take the Walk of Shame.

6. Never disclose the location of The Spot to those who aren’t prepared to truly know The Spot.

7. There really aren’t any rules for The Spot.
(Jeremy and his daughter from his blog)

I love that he said of his weekend camping experience that he was not rushing to find the best camping spot with the most level tent ground and that he said in yesterday's post:
I guess what I’m getting at is I am passing on my spot, the best one, to the next person who gets there.
And so I thought about that for a bit. 
Here is my Spot that is:
  • a place where I am alone (relatively) with thoughts
  • a place where I can love and be loved
  • a time apart when reflections relate to actions and consequences can be examined
  • where I can be productive and where the end results might help someone else along the road
…generally, that spot is in my easy chair in my house, with knitting in my lap and large windows to look through and beyond.  But it often changes.

Where What is your Spot?

Be sure to check out Jeremy's Glossary of Camping Terms.  It is a hoot and oh, so accurate. ( I've been known to walk the Walk of Shame.)

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Human Web

I am still surprised the six degrees of separation theory among humans actually occurs.

Sunday morning I was breakfasting with a woman whom I had never before met.  We were both in Phoenix for a few days but, coincidentally, were both living in Colorado.

Not five minutes into chit chat, she mentioned she was from Castine, Maine but was staying in Colorado for a few months.  Hmm...I knew of that small town of Castine, Maine.  Why, ten years ago while on a cooking class vacation in Italy for a week, I had met a couple who were from Castine.

Hmm... the man's name was Harry and I had a recipe book he had compiled and sold in 2000.  And by golly, that cookbook was still on my kitchen counter. In fact, the book and Harry are mentioned in this post from almost year ago, along with one of my favorite recipes from his cookbook:

The woman across from me gasped.  Harry and his wife were her very good friends.

She wrote down the names of the recipes that were my favorites from the book and said she would be sure to tell Harry that we had met.

Six degrees of separation
(picture from Wikipedia)

It is a small world.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Crochet Sue and Ophrah

Do you crochet?

(from Craftzine)
Sue would be cool at my play station.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Meltdown at the end of Day One

Those 5 days (3 in tournament play) in Phoenix went quickly while playing the 23rd (?) annual Phoenix Scrabble tournament with co-directors Larry Rand and Barbara Van Alen.  Eighty opponents played one another in mostly good humored competition.

One quick story:

At the end of the first day of tournament play, a Division One player (top division) was frustrated when his opponent played a seven letter word and bingoed out, leaving him with a rack of tiles counting against him.  He slammed down his tile rack and stormed out of the tournament room and did not return to play the remainder of the tournament.

The word his opponent played against him was
 " M E L T D O W N " .

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Good News and Ah-Choos" by NPR - Health

The podcast showcased here is important to me because it deals with breast cancer and spina bifida, two health conditions with which I am much too well versed.

If either breast cancer and lymph node removal and/or spina bifida has touched your life, please go to this site and do a quick download and listen to the first ten minutes of  THIS PODCAST.

(photo shown at referenced NPR Health site)

You will be happy to know there is some good progress with research and surgeries going on with both conditions.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Make Custom Buttons the Easy Way

That clay you buy in hobby stores has so many uses that I completely forgot that it could be used to make buttons!!

It is an amazingly easy tool for creating beads.  A couple of years ago, I did a post on making beads for earrings, thusly:

(layering colored clay with gold leaf)

(rolled into a tube, cut into pieces, and then rolled again in the palm of hand for a bead)

There was a stash of clay still in my craft closet that had not seen the light of day since 2008.

Thanks to KnitDragonFlies and her recent blog post on making custom polymer clay buttons, she brought to light using polymer clay for making buttons.  So out came the Fimo from the box: a bit dry, but still pliable after exercising my hands with the stiff polymer.

It would be just the ticket to make one inch buttons to match my newly sewn Knitting Workshop Tribeca Shirt.

I mixed some blues and green Fimo together to create an aqua-ish color that matched the blouse fabric, then streaked it with purple straight from the package, layering them together and rolling this mixture into a tube.  Then the tube was cut into 1/4 inch circles and further rolled down to make a flatter circle.  The top of a pill bottle was used to cut out button circles, similar to cutting out biscuits from dough.

I also made some matching beads for earrings from the striped purple and aqua clay mixture.  Then the cookie sheet came out and the beads and buttons were baked for 30 minutes at 230 degrees F.

After cooling, I applied clear nail polish for a lacquer finish.   Here are the buttons pinned onto the fabric:

The aqua is not a perfect match to the fabric, but they will do.  And it was fun to create a one-of-a-kind accessory.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friends Forever

First aired in 2009, with over 2 million hits, you might not have seen this...

77,777 visits to my corner of the world

After almost three years of blogging on this site:

Compared to The Huffington Post with 28 million visits a month, my blog readership is definitely small potatoes. 

But that number will all the sevens in it just struck me as somehow significant.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Take the 10 Minute Art Challenge

Ninety-one entries as of 2-9-11 came into The Daily PaintWorks Challenge found here.  This is a fun experiential art challenge.  More information from the same site says:
The rules: Get a timer. Divide your canvas or canvases (I used 2 - 6x6in Raymar canvases) into 8 or so small squares (or rectangles). They should be smallish – a couple or 3 inches square or thereabouts – they don’t have to be perfect. Now choose ONE object. Just one. Set your timer for 10 minutes. Paint your object in the first square. When the timer goes off – stop! I mean it. Repeat until you are done. You can rotate your object and/or change the light for each new square.
The objective: You want to get a feel for your object in terms of brush strokes. Make sure you SQUINT and SIMPLIFY! Whatever you do, DON’T get bogged down by the details or you’ll never finish. Try to think of it NOT as an apple (or whatever you’ve chosen) but rather just shapes and colors and values. Paint what you see – not what you THINK you see. If you find yourself doing the same thing every time – experiment! You won’t learn unless you try something different. Expect the first one to be bad – you are getting a feel for just how long 10 minutes is. They will only get better.
Carol Marine of Austin posted the above challenge on the Daily PaintWorks website.

Here are some of the entries for Carol's challenge:
Now YOU try it.

Here is an owl I chose to view, and then paint:

Looking for shapes?  I think not...still too focused on detail!

The fourth attempt was the better one.  But it still had too much detail.  However, it did look a bit less like a cat and a bit more like an owl.  Back to the drawing board.

The 10 Minute Challenge was a great exercise. IMHO.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Norwegian Shawl (Sivia Harding)

Four months later, the Sivia Harding Norwegian Shawl found here on Ravelry is finished.  Dimensions are 74" x 33" from  2-ply, Cascade lace weight yarn, hand dyed in Cherry Creek, NC.

(blocked and drying)

Here is the couch wearing the shawl:

Of all the shawls in all the towns I've ever knit, this one was the most difficult (for me) to finish.  But I'm glad I did, and ya can't say it will ever be too small at over six feet in width.

Sivia Harding has a wonderful line of knit patterns found here at Sivia Harding Knit Design.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Half-Time at Super Bowl

Were you underwhelmed with Super Bowl entertainment?
The Black Eyed Peas brought the youth, but little else. "I Gotta Feeling" the NFL will be looking to try and find a better balance in time for Indianapolis next year.
picture: Dave Martin/AP

Hope your snacks and friends made it more enjoyable.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hospice and Knitting: The Beat Goes On

A new group is starting up tonight at our local hospice (Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado) where I volunteer.  The group is "Knit & Chat" for both staff and volunteers.  It will be a chance to socialize, knit and gain information to help with patient care.

In 2010, the Education Department at hospice offered Online Education.  I completed a course in one day entitled "Because You Never Died Before".  Great information, excellent speakers, and a quick test at the end.  I'll be taking more online courses this year.  We will likely chat about some of the new online offerings while we knit.

This is my current knitting project, still on the needles, and found here on Ravelry.  It is the Norwegian Scarf found at Silvia Harding Knit Design.  The yarn is laceweight, 100% silk, hand dyed, purchased in London in October.  About another month of intermittent knitting, and it should be finished. This Norwegian Scarf is what I'll be working on tonight at the Knit & Chat group.

This  is the Bandito scarf I finished on Sunday.  It was an easy pattern with good stitch definition, and I'll definitely be making more scarves from the Bandito pattern (free).

And back to hospice: if you have ever thought about volunteering at your hospice, now is the time.  It is truly a rewarding experience.