Thursday, July 29, 2010

Favorite Audiobooks Currently on MP3 player

This is a partial listing of books I've been listening to, along with a few quick notes about the books/authors.

Excellent! one is The Help by Kathryn Stockette.
Set in the late 50's, early 60's, five characters speak in Southern dialect about racial issues and social mores that keep you wanting more from this author.

Anything by Swedish author Stieg Larsson, such as this one available at our local library:
Larsson is a mystery writer, and his character action takes place in Scandinavian areas.

The Good Apprentice by Iris Murdoch: (read most of her books in the 80's, and she is still going strong)

Olive Kittridge by Elizabeth Strout (give it an "A" score)...
This is a toughie, and another excellent reader which makes listening a pleasure.

Any of Jane Austen's books ... see them here on Amazon!

Failure to Appear by J.P. Beaumont (he has a series, but this is the only audiobook I could currently catch at the library). 

A Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.  Here is what a Ravelry friend said about it, and I concur:
That narrator is magnificent! She’s doing wonderful Australian accents, mixed with English, Irish and the occasional AMerican (which seems to be the only one she can’t swing btw). It took me a while to get sucked into the book, but now I’m finding it to be wonderful!
So much to listen to, so little time.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Toad House

An easy way to make toad and frog houses for your hopping critters can be accessed here.

With that process in mind, a bit of looking around on the internet came up with some classy accommodations for toads that can be purchased here (picture also courtesy of that site):

DIY showed the handmade toad house below.  That required a clay pot, glue and pebbles.
Our backyard toad is a big fellow, so he needed a fairly large opening for an entrance.  Using a galvanized steel vase turned on its side and half filled with dirt, here is what I came up with:

It took several days for Mr. Toad to find his new home, but hopefully we can keep this renter through the rest of the summer.

Amazing how his toady skin is camouflaged in the dirt!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Yet Another Scarf: Beehive Pattern

This project was supposed to go down to Dallas in a week to keep my hands occupied with a fruitful occupation.  But, dang it, it got finished before I even left!

The Beehive Scarf, found here as a complimentary pattern from Tilli Thomas, was knit with a beaded yarn that came from Livermore, Colorado.  I found it online from Bountiful Yarns.

Finished dimensions: 71" x 9"
Yarn: wool and silk, with glass beads about every six inches throughout

It sparkles! 
Fortunately, there is another project in the works that will travel to Texas in a carry-on.

(Ravelry friends, this page shows all the details of the yarn.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

GoD and DoG

Over two million people have viewed this on YouTube.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Get-Away with Friends, Alpacas and a Fiber Mill

The past few days were spent in a cooler weather clime of  Hot Sulphur Springs, a small Colorado mountain town.  A trip over the Continental Divide and to the top of Trail Ridge Road outside Estes Park provided us with outstanding scenery.  This is a picture of a glacier field at the top of Rocky Mountain National Park, at an altitude of over 12,000 feet above sea level, where it was cool and rainy:
Outside Granby, Colorado, friends Dotty and Natalie found a fiber outlet alpaca farm, mill, and store called The Lonesome Stone.  Owners Marv and Linda Dewey of Lonesome StoneNatural  Fiber Mill and store have over 70 alpaca on their ranch.

Here are some young alpaca catching a few sun rays between rain showers in the high country:

Linda Dewey, one of the working owners of Lonesome Stone, was kind enough to show us around the mill, explaining the carding process of the wools all the way to the hand painting of the finished yarn.  This is Linda with one of her two Great Pyrenees who work with her in the mill:

More photos of the inside of the mill:
(this is a picture of the bottles of concentrated  dyes used in the hand painting of the yarns, a few of which are shown below, along with a shot of some yarns available for sale in the front of the mill:)

Yes, we spent a few dollars on some luscious yarns. But more of THAT later!

Thank you, Linda, of Lonesome Stone, and Dotty and Natalie for a great trip!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Tricks TV Serial

Being big fans of Netflix and BBC Television, the better half found a BBC television series called New Tricks.  The link from Wikipedia is here.  It gives a rundown of the stars, background of the show, etc.

The most interesting parts of the show IMHO (we saw just the first one hr. premier) were: 1) all the characters were at LEAST sixty years old; 2) the main character, Amanda Redman, is a woman with a few extra pounds on here, quite bright without being too cynical; and 3) the catchy lyrics in the theme song.

Take a look and listen:

The lyrics go something like this:
It's alright, it's OK, doesn't really matter if you're old and grey.
It's alright, it's OK, listen to what I say.
It's alright, doing fine, doesn't really matter if the sun don't shine.
It's alright, it's OK, make it the end of the day.
Hi-tech, low-tech take your pick, you can't teach an old dog a brand new trick.
I don't care what anybody says.  (Dennis Waterman)
This BBC series is a testament to all invisible older women:
Aside from the recent Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, there is a general absence of older women used in advertising, signifying a cultural obsession with youth and beauty, and reflecting a societal contempt for older women, affecting their self-esteem, and encouraging younger women to become petrified of ageing.
This is the finding of research by Dr Lauren Rosewarne of the University of Melbourne which looks at the portrayal of older people, and especially older women, in advertising. Her research will be presented on Thursday 6 July 2006, at the Annual Conference for Psychology Specialists Working with Older People (PSIGE) - part of The British Psychological Society - at the University of Sussex.
After analysing 177 outdoor advertisements, Dr Rosewarne found that less than four percent of the female characters that appeared were portrayed as being over 30 years old, and none were portrayed as being over 66 years of age. It was also noted that when older women are portrayed in advertising, their presentation is vastly different from that of younger women, with older women often being cast in stereotypical and negative roles such as the nagging mother-in-law, or brothel madam.
The research suggests that instead of being due to aspirational marketing strategies that don’t deem the older woman a figure of ambition, the absence is actually demonstrating the function of advertising as a mirror to society. While the mirror fails to be reflective of real age distribution in society, it is successful at reflecting contemporary societal contempt for older women more broadly.

Detective Chief Superintendant Sandra Pullman (Amanda Redman) is my new hero.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Crocheted Smart Car

But would it go through a car wash and not have its drawers drooping?

Flickr user, Start the Day, shares this fun sight caught out on the streets of Rome.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Knitted Wire and Beaded Bracelet

Attempting to make a bracelet with about two hundred 4-10mm glass beads, I was hung up on a technique relating to securing the beads to a flat surface. This video was helpful:

and here was good information and a free pattern to make another attractive bracelet.

With stretchy cord in hand, the first attempt was too bulky.  Rip.  Out it went.

There was another attempt at beading a bracelet, but the fiber was polyester, too thick to easily bead, and  too glitzy:

A third attempt at beading yet another bracelet using waxed weaving floss (a small diamater orange macrame thread) resulted in this clash of colors:

Below is a picture of the final cuff.  It was made in a similar manner to that found free at this site. Not only did I end up knitting on size 3 needles and copper wire, but also added embroidery floss crocheted edges.

At Spun Magazine, the author of this pattern says:
If you are one of those knitters that has to touch every yarn you see (and owns a good bit of it), then you probably look at the myriads of beads on the market with an envious eye. All of those colors and textures are just begging to be tried. But – how can you possibly knit with every yarn and learn to bead at the same time? Here’s a logical solution: knit with beads.
Like you, I like to try new ideas, but so many seem to take too long to learn or too much of an investment. That is what led me to design a beaded bracelet that a beginner knitter could do with expert results. While knitting jewellery is a bit more tedious, in just a couple of hours you will have a piece that costs hundreds of dollars at a jewellery show (and you can say you knit your original yourself). 
There are thousands of beads: glass, crystal, gemstone, clay, wood, etc. Any of which could be incorporated into a unique piece of jewellery, but for a basic bracelet (shown here in blue topaz, crystal quartz, and aquamarine) I recommend beads approximately 4mm in size.
Give it a go and made a beaded bracelet, if you have the will.  It is not a project for the faint of heart.   I'm thinking that was my last beaded bracelet knit with wire the size of dental floss.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Faces in the Garden

Today's blog title was unabashedly stolen taken from a similar post by a fellow blogger who writes Awake with Charm & Spirit.  Please go to her link and see some beautiful photography in her garden.  I would show it here, but it is copyrighted.

Kiki's posting back in June made me think of the many faces in my garden, so with digital camera in hand, I searched  in my garden early yesterday morning.  This is what I found:

A Mother Mouse and Baby in a pot of flowers on the patio, and this:

A turtle and a toadstool in with ground cover.  And,

this Laughing Girl was with some marigolds was right out in plain sight.

In fact, I found so many faces (and even forgot to take a picture of the rooster's face on the weathervane), that I made this video of  Faces in the Garden:

Music: " Heavenly Day" by Patty Griffin

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fourth of July Patriotism

Cupcake picture courtesy of Ginger:

On Ginger's blog, she gives the easy recipe of how to create these patriotic cupcakes!

Is your American flag flying outside?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sunbeams through Clouds and Bob Ross Teaching

While on the morning walk, I caught a photo or two of sunbeams filtering though billowing cumulus clouds.

It did not seem like too difficult a task to try and capture a few beams in oils coming through clouds on a landscape.  (Wrong.) 

This, after many painting attempts, does not nearly capture that view:
It needs lots more contrast in the lights and darks and many more layers of paint.

The late Bob Ross shows how to make clouds on a YouTube video:

NOW, after reviewing the Ross video, let's take a snippet of the cloud from the lighthouse canvas:

And with a little fan brush work, here is a later rendition of clouds with a bit of tutalage from Bob Ross:

The pinks need to be worked in, along with more white. It is a work in progress!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Headbands for Babies

A quick and easy knitted gift for a new baby girl: a headband.   Better yet: a headband with a flower on it.

Amy Andersen's free baby headband pattern can be accessed here!  Here is Baby Pink Headband for newest niece Karter:

Susan Anderson gives a pattern and video on her website detailing how to make these five petal flowers.  She calls them "pacifier clips", but these little gems can be used for a variety of purposes, such as making one and sewing it onto the baby headband.

This is Baby Purple Headband for Big Sister and Niece Ella.

Here are some close-ups of the "pacifier clip flowers" using the same double knit method:
Too bad those baby nieces Ella and Karter were not available for the photo op to go along with their new hair accessories.