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Archive for June, 2006

Have You Seen This Yet?

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

This is the cutest baby blanket ever. Dawn Brocco has been designing a long time, and often she does traditionally inspired sweaters. This time, the cutest baby blanket I’ve ever seen.

Maybe Kristi of Red Dog Knits will want to knit three of them? Ouch. She is going to need a fairy knitmother to gift her with all that yarn, but how beautiful that would be.

A Bird in the Bedroom

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

Oh, my! You have already heard me complain of lost sleep because of a bird’s nest underneath the air conditioner… four feet from my pillow. The baby birds yell (chirp?) loudly, asking for food, and it starts much earlier than the time I normally would awake.

But this morning not long after waking up, I went upstairs (where the bedroom is) and I heard an odd sound. I worried it might be a bird. I did not see anything under the bed, and was relieved for a split second. Then I looked behind the headboard (the bed sits at an angle) and there was something that at first just looked like a “dust bunny” given that I was not wearing my eyeglasses.

I looked again. Guess what? A small brown bird was blending in with the brown wood floor and brown wood trim. He (she?) was so still and quiet I didn’t recognize him at first. Drat!

OK first things first… I called Brian and laughed a bit. I knew what to do, but I had to let off a little steam first. Then I went up there with an old shirt from the rag bag. I tossed the shirt in a soft crumpled pile on the poor, scared, unmoving bird, wrapped him up as best I could without hurting him, went down the stairs and outside, and released him on the ground in the shade just below where the air conditioner is.

He sort of flitted away, flying not too far above the ground, and hid under a rosebush. A decent plan, in any case. If he calls out enough, his mom will hear him. I hope he survives. There are very few cats in the neighborhood and he seemed very close to flight, so I’m guessing he’ll make it.

Dang! How can I work on my big knitting project with that sort of excitement? It was enough on my mind to distract me from choosing which of 11 colors of beige I should use to knit my next stitch…

OK, back to the knitting.

Coopers Glen Music Festival Site

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

It’s up! The Coopers Glen Music Festival web page is now on the naturecenter.org web site! We (The Fabulous Heftones) are confirmed for Saturday, August 26, at 5:45pm.

We are really looking forward to this concert. It’s in Kalamazoo, a pleasant drive from Lansing, even easier from Grand Rapids, and a hop skip and jump from Battle Creek. This will be the biggest event we’ve played that has not been focused on Ukuleles. It’s going to be such fun!!!

Photos from CD Release Party

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

Tinisha KnittingMy friends, I now bring you photos from our CD Release party. The photos of dancers I took during the jam session, the rest were taken by Mariam. Thanks bunches, Mariam!

The Fabulous HeftonesFirst is a photo of Tinisha, one of the knitters who attended the pre-concert knit in. Other knitters in attendance attending were Mary, Mariam, Patty, Diana, Audrey, and Kristi. I sure hope I didn’t miss anyone but I think that’s right. I had special door prizes for my knitters, that was great fun!

Fabulous HeftonesNext are three photos of Brian and I performing our music. Knitters, notice that in the photo with me looking up, I’m wearing my new shawl where I spun the yarn from Bonkers fiber.

The third photo of Brian and I was during the “bouncing ball” sing-along of April Showers. We had such fun with that! I won’t tell you how long it took for me to make that sign (40 pieces of letter-sized paper, all taped together a zillion ways) but in the end it was worth the effort. See the sign on the wall behind us?

Fab Heftones Sing AlongLast are two photos of dancers during the jam session. First shows how well kids fit in at Magdalena’s, and next shows Mom and Fred in front and Diane and George back left, dancing away in the aisle, as though there were really a dance floor or something!

Magdalena's Teahouse
There were people from all areas of our lives there. Music Friends from many places, a Dance friend, knitters, two computer students, family, CityKidz (older kids from my knitting program at Foster Center), even someone I know from the late 70’s/early 80’s when we volunteered at MSU for a young women’s group. It was the best, just the best!

Magdalena's TeahouseNow that I got through my busy Monday work schedule, I’m starting to calm down a bit. Next is a pretty intense knitting project which I’ll unveil in due time. Eleven colors of yarn. Ack! And because of the CD party I left myself a very small timeframe in which to do it.

Brian notices that this is sort of how I do things, and he’s right. I tend to do things in sequence, one deadline at a time. So now that the CD party is over I can do the next thing. Even if it really needed me to do some of it before now.

(Actually, to be fair I worked on the plans for this project in 2005. I made a chart for it in December. I bought the yarn just recently. I’ll start knitting tonight after I click “save” on this post. Which actually is being written late on June 26 but I’m going to date it for the 27th since I already posted twice on Monday.)

I guess part of me needs to be a drama queen at times, or something. But somehow a little adrenaline rush gets me working better. I don’t focus too well without a deadline, I hate to admit… so here I go to wind a few of my yarns into center-pull balls.

Knit away! Hi ho, Silver! (…or something like that!)

Photos from Concert on Otterwise Blog

Monday, June 26th, 2006

Diana, my brother Eric Oscar’s wife, writes a blog called Otterwise. She put up a column and then several photos of our party last night. Scroll to the bottom of the entry to see the photos. For the record, the first photo is me waltzing with my Mother, Liz, during the jam session.

A quote that brought tears to my eyes: “I love music so much, and Brian and Lynn are Magic on stage and off.”

Thanks, Diana! It was great having you with us.

It Was Fun!

Monday, June 26th, 2006

We had our CD party, it was a wonderful time. I have photos, thanks to Mariam.

However, I slept like a rock and today I have some work to do for my last day with my community ed class in Haslett, so photos will need to wait.

Thanks to everyone who made this party a success. Rod controlled the bouncing ball for our sing-along, Mariam took photographs, Mariam and Tinisha handled CD coupons, Martha distributed the door prize coupons to everyone for me at the break time so I could chat with folks. Thanks to the musicians who brought instruments for the jam, and the folks who danced while the jam session was rocking!

Thanks to Nancy who did two shifts at Magdalenas Sunday with a great attitude, and worked like crazy getting food to the appreciative crowd. Thanks to Miko for encouraging us to play there, and friends and family, students, knitters, dance friends, everyone. It was a room full of great friendship and music.

Especially big thanks to my friend Anne who decorated the stage for us almost single-handedly and then had to leave after maybe one or two songs because her 4 yr old needed a change of pace. As 4 year old children do, she wasn’t at all bad, just ready to go.

More later. Right now I need to be a computer instructor for a few hours…

A Little Crazed, a Lot Happy

Sunday, June 25th, 2006

Fabulous Heftones at Magdalena's TeahouseI spent much of Saturday preparing for our CD release party Sunday. I’m getting excited. I have most of the things on my to-do list crossed off. Last night I went to bed several hours past my normal bedtime, and was awakened once more by the birds nesting under the air conditioner, about 4 feet from my sleepy head. They are quite an enthusiastic crowd, those birds!

I ran a zillion errands Saturday but did remember to enjoy summer. I spent about an hour on my porch in the hammock, reading and dozing a bit. It was wonderful! Then we saw Daniel Cook (Daniel the Minstrel) play at Altus, while we enjoyed the company of Teri and Chris and Deborah. In fact, when the restaurant closed we stood in the parking lot and talked longer. It was great weather for that, and the sun stays out so long right now we really enjoyed it.

I have accomplished all I can reasonably do tonight so I’ll go to bed at a normal hour for me. Tomorrow is a retirement event for a very special person (the minister who married us, who also was key in my adolescent life), and Mom and I will leave for that at noon.

As far as the CD Release party, I don’t do big deals easily and I’m just sure I forgot something. I think what I’ve forgotten is that I’m supposed to be enjoying all this. Actually, I am enjoying much of it but worried about my distractable self. I used to *be* a secretary but these days I wish I could hire one for myself!

I guess most things I worry over don’t matter given enough time, anyway… so I will go to bed, sleep like a baby, and enjoy Sunday as much as I possibly can.

After all, this is about friends and people who love what we do, coming together. To enjoy our music. How fun is that?

Photo: Brian and I performing at Magdalena’s last month as featured performers on a Thursday open mic night. It was hot that day and we wore our African clothing (my caftan is from Kenya, his shirt from Ghana). Sunday we’ll be in our customary formalwear, Brian in a tux and me in a floor-length dress. Costuming *is* an art, you know? And a fun one at that!

Sunday: Join Knit In and/or Jam Session at Our CD Release Party!

Saturday, June 24th, 2006

Knit inI got word today that I can hold a knit in from 6-7pm or so before our CD release party (which starts officially at 7pm) at Magdalenas this Sunday. Local knitting friends, please spread the word or at least bring your own knitting and join me. I will give a free Fabulous Heftones bumper sticker to each knitter.

Remember that Magdalena’s has a great new kitchen. They have really great frozen-fruit smoothies, baked goods, salads, quiche and what they call raw soup (think gazpacho but not always with tomato base) which gets rave reviews from those who try it. They buy organic produce from local farmers. They are worthy of supporting with our business, my friends!

Jam sessionThe focus of the evening will be a concert, where Brian and I will perform the 14 songs on the CD in the order in which they were recorded. The rest of the evening is for fun, frolic, music and of course selling a few CDs to those who wish one. There is a $6 cover which will support Magdalena’s.

Magdalena's TeahouseAlso, we will hold a jam session after the formal part of our CD-Release concert, so bring instruments… guitars, ukuleles, kazoos or maracas or a quiet drum. If there is such a thing as a quiet drum, that is… There are neighbors living upstairs so we try to be respectful even as we make joyful noises!

If you are in town and looking for a fun time, come on down. We have fans from age 4 to retiree… the music is timeless/ageless. Bring a friend and join us, if you will.

Bring yarn, bring instruments, bring friends, bring knitting, bring a great big smile on your face. We’re really looking forward to this event.

Photos: 1) A knit-in at Foster Center (March 2006) during computer lab time… ten CityKidz and six adult knitters, one not even related to any of the kids… all ages and even a boy who attends regularly (someday I hope that’s not noteworthy). 2) Ukulele jam session at Evart Dulcimer Fest in July 2004. 3) Magdalena’s Teahouse for Phil Wintermute’s CD release party, April 2006 (Miko Fossum, Phil W, and Seth Bernard).


Friday, June 23rd, 2006

With this humidity, my handspun shawl almost did not dry overnight… but I wore it anyway (in the air conditioning, I need wool all year ’round). I love it. The blocking did it a world of good.

In fact I committed to write up the pattern, and as quickly as possible. I’m already knitting a second one in a Debbie Bliss wool thick/thin variegated yarn. It’s in pinks, oranges, and yellow. This one will be a sample at Rae’s shop. I’ll make another in the same Debbie Bliss yarn but in a different colorway, for Linda at Little Red Schoolhouse. Then we’ll see what fun stuff I can find at Threadbear… but who knows how long this all will take.

I *am* at about 5 inches knit (from neckline) on the new shawl already. I’m taking notes this time around, so that I can write the pattern faster. Usually I look at the final item and count stitches, sort of transcribing the knitting from the piece.

This is a really fast and fun knit, but I have SO much to do this month I don’t know how much I’ll be able to focus on this new design and how much I’ll be dealing with the new ideas.

Oh… meanwhile I’ve scheduled new classes, at least one each at Threadbear, Little Red Schoolhouse and Rae’s. I’ll be back here with details soon.

Meanwhile I”m falling asleep at the keyboard. Gotta sleep! Seeya soon.

A Little Knitting

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

yarnI am spending most of my focused time on the music business right now… press releases, emails, postcard mailing, posting posters in appropriate businesses, getting to the (wonderful) radio station spot, rehearsing, planning.

I’ve never been one to enjoy or excel at big gatherings. In fact, I nearly got an ulcer worrying about the party that was our wedding. I was really clear about wanting to marry Brian, but the party nearly did me in. Too much to plan makes me woozy.

But here I am planning a CD release party. Truth be known, the CD has been out a while but has mostly been seen in other states as we have run the Ukulele circuit. Now it’s time for our local friends and family to help us celebrate. And I must confess, it takes a long time to really learn that many songs (fourteen on this album) well enough to perform them as a set. It’s one thing to record something, it’s another to perform it live.

I had a pipe dream that we could have our release party at Frances Park in Lansing, It’s a formal 1920s rose garden. But it’s a very popular wedding spot during prime garden season, and what if it rained?

So we’re very happy to have Magdalena’s. We’ll decorate a bit like a garden and be safe inside from the storms. Since today we had a tornado warning, I’m liking this option just fine… better than an outdoor event.

But believe it or not, during all this planning, I’m knitting a little. I’ve finished the knitting but not the sewing for a water bottle for Threadbear and didn’t have my sewing needle when I had time to sew. Probably tomorrow when I watch the computer lab at Foster center on that one.

shawlBut I did bind off the shawl I knit of the Bonkers! fiber I spun into yarn not too long ago. Well, I finished spinning it recently, anyway.

I made a sort of crescent-shaped shawl in mostly garter stitch and dropped garter. I am very happy with the shape, it sits on the shoulders well. And the stitch pattern I chose really works for the lumpy-bumpy handspun yarn. It’s lovely.

I tried it on as soon as I bound off, but this sort of thing really needs to be blocked (wet thoroughly and then laid flat to dry) before anyone can tell what the shape/texture of the item will be. When I got home tonight, I wet it, blotted it in a towel, and laid it out on two sweater dryers (nets on a frame) without pinning (lace usually is pinned but this is more casual than that).

Here are photos of some of the yarn, and then the shawl drying. While I wait, impatiently.

I’m pleased with the colors although they are very busy indeed. They remind me of a rose garden. Cherry/Berry red and deep purple with bright turquoise and hot greens. Roses, leaves and sky. Lovely. I may wear it to the CD release. After all, it’s called “In the Garden,” right?

I have a new camera as of today (woohoo) and am still figuring out how to adjust color for the new one. The yarn photo is closer to the color of the yarn as opposed to the colors shown in the shawl pic, at least on my monitor.

Water Bottle Bag Class Saturday

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

Bags to Go! by LynnHWell, finally (thanks to a kick in the behind from my friend Rob at Threadbear), my Bags to Go! pattern is finally ready. It’s not on my website yet but will be soon, and you can order it any time by sending me an email at Lynn AT ColorJoy DOT com.

This pattern has two basic shapes (see photo at right) that you can knit to fit as far as size goes. There are exact stitch counts for the bags in the photographs but many instructions on how to alter to fit your favorite size. One pouch is flat, for sunglasses or Palm device or Ipod or wallet. The other pouch (the one which is getting all the attention) is actually a cylinder for carrying a water bottle. This one is sized for a relatively small bottle since that’s the size I prefer (they weigh less to cart around).

I actually had the pattern ready to go and then decided to add another option to the pattern. The originals were knit with one main solid color and bits of decorative yarns knit along in key spots.

Bags to Go! by LynnHHowever, I realized that not everyone likes to use novelty yarns. So I was chatting with Rae one day about some fun colorways of Karaoke wool/soy silk yarn she got in, and how to use the colors to their best advantage. I decided to try a bottle holder in just one rainbow-like colorway with no knit-alongs. It turned out cute as a button. (See photo at left.)

The little loops at the bottom were the suggestion of Cheanne, who was at the shop when I was pondering the too-long length of I-cord I’d made for the handle. They are optional, but I think really attractive.

So now I’m offering a class this Saturday 1-4pm ($25 includes a pattern) at Rae’s, to do the water bottle sans knit-alongs. You could use Karaoke, Noro Kureyon, or any fat worsted/aran weight yarn such as Lamb’s Pride worsted. Solids or multicolors will both work for different effects. It takes less than a ball of the fun Karaoke or Kureyon yarn, so is a very affordable and not-too-hot-to-knit project for summertime.

Will anyone join me? It should be fun, just a one day class covering lots of tips and tricks. We won’t finish but you will learn everything you need to finish it in the next day or so. If you haven’t made friends with Double Pointed Needles yet, this is a good starter project. The needles are nice and big (Size 7 DPNs, if you have some bring them along). The thicker yarn is easy to manage, if sockyarn and tiny needles put you off.

Call Rae at (517) 336-9276 to get details and sign up. Or buy the pattern at either Rae’s or Threadbear… or for those out of town, from me via email.

Thanks again for your support of my work. It’s a good time working for you!

Fun at Impact Radio

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

Oh! Such fun we had!

Doug and Corrina were the best of hosts tonight at the Progressive Torch and Twang radio show. They asked great questions, they had us play 4 songs live (one from the CD) and they played six cuts (!) from our CD (which has 14 cuts total). Wowie. And they were fun as well. You can not ask for better hospitality than we had tonight. Thanks so much, you guys!

Now, I wonder if I’ll ever get to sleep. I’m on such an adrenaline rush I can barely sit still. It was supposedly a “day off” for me today but I spent time doing publicity for our Sunday show and this radio spot. I did get some good food at New Aladdin’s restaurant and stopped by briefly at Rae’s to do a little bit of business. But it was mostly Fabulous Heftones Day. I enjoyed it.

Now I will go sit on the couch and try to mellow out by knitting the yarn I spun from Bonkers! fiber, dyed by Tracy Bunkers. I’m making a chunky shawl, something on the order of a crescent or semi-circle shape. The yarn is so colorful it’s like knitting an old fashioned rose garden minus the thorns. Busy, but fabulous!

Let’s hope the knitting calms me down so I can actually get to sleep tonight. I need to breathe. Yeah, breathe!

Correction: it’s 88.9 not 89.1!

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

Fabulous HeftonesI had it wrong… the station where we will be tonight calls itself 89 Impact and I thought it was at 89.1. It is really 88.9! Whoops. You might have found it anyway, but these days with digital tuners you may have missed out.

So, here’s the real scoop:

Progressive Torch and Twang
WDBM 89 Impact radio (tune 88.9)
(limited broadcast area, mostly East Lansing)
Show 8pm – 11pm, Fabulous Heftones start around 9pm.
Tonight. Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I have heard rumors that this show also airs on WKAR 90.1 but I can not find any information on it anywhere on the web, so it may just be a rumor.

Photo: Fabulous Heftones at Altus, Valentines Day 2005. Photo by Regina Fry.

Thanks as always for your support, local friends!

Update on Granola Bars

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

Funny, things happen to those who wait. I remember the time I made homemade shortbread. It came out a bit scorched on the edges and tasted like sand. I trimmed all the scorched pieces, threw them away, and saved just the middle part overnight. Thought I’d really screwed up.

But shortbread is basically sugar, flour and butter. And overnight the butter was able to slowly seep into the flour. And in the morning they were gorgeous and tasty. And I wished I could get back all the bits I’d tossed.

So it has been with the granola bars of last night. They were light and crumbly last night. This morning? crunchy, chewy, whole. Very few crumbs, no more than any other granola.

It still is a bit too molasses, not enough ginger for my expectations. Susan wrote that I could use applesauce. I think I’ll sub that for the egg next time. Somehow I forgot I used to use applesauce a lot, early in my food substitution days. Diana suggested substituting peanut butter for wheat germ (bulk and oil) but I just don’t like peanut butter very much. Maybe I’ll try that for a change of pace someday.

I’d still like to add some fruit. Worst case, there are some dates I can get at the American Bulk Food, the best dates I ever had in my life. They are a little more moist than other dates, and very tasty. But if I could add a fruit that was not dried, that would be even better. (Dried fruit is classified as a mold food, a mild allergy of mine, and it often has corn sweetener added which can make me very ill.)

I crave tart cherries or cranberries, for example. I’m thinking on that. Sounds too wet for this sort of project, but maybe not. After all, blueberry muffins are not a problem, are they? And if fresh fruit won’t work, maybe I can use some lingonberry preserves (from Sweden, all sugar/no corn sweetener) to sub for some of the moisture. The fruit in the preserves is not as wet as fresh, and it is quite tart enough to make me happy. Lingonberry preserves are sort of pricey for food, yet a very fine occasional treat.

But right now, for breakfast, a couple small molasses granola bars and Ethiopian black tea are just about perfect together. Strong and a tiny bit overpowering (like me I guess) but still very nice. Earth muffin food for sure (no, I have never ground my own flour) but satisfying. I think I’m closer to the final product. The texture makes me very happy.

Remember, I’m the grrl who figured out how to make pumpkin pie with no dairy products and no eggs. That took almost a dozen tries to get that recipe working right. I’ll figure *this* out even more quickly.