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Archive for May, 2010

Picnic Lunch, Old Town

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Cynthia and I had a long lunch today, Friday, near the fish ladder in Old Town. It is a work day for both of us, but we like to meet once a week for lunch to make the day nicer, and we missed our typical Tuesday this week.


Since I’m working on a sock design, I can’t write much… but let us just say I’ve never really had a picnic lunch done properly. This time I did. I believe the photos tell the story well.


I created home-made everything (mostly made last night): black bean dip, guacamole, black olives, and rhubarb crisp, with brewed iced tea. Oh… there were also sesame/brown rice crackers, which were purchased. The paper plates (and plastic tray in which the crackers came) were disposable, and everything else was/is reusable.


It was perfect. Sunny, 86F/30C, sitting in the shade near the water. We had just slightly too much food, a luxury. And of course, very good company and conversation.


These last 2 photos were behind me as I took the river view photo. I love the tree at bottom left. It’s actually a metal sculpture, and is a favorite of mine.


The building shown is next to the big parking lot in Old Town. I love porches above the 1st floor. I bet that corner balcony is a lovely spot in which to sit, at this time of year!

Heavenly Summer

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

My Kind of Weather!

It has been a good several days for me. It is genuinely hot here if you stand in the sun, need to do physical activity, or have a car without air conditioning. However, indoors (no A/C) or on the porch, I am in my heyday. This is MY kind of weather!

Summer Food Experiments, Rhubarb Recipe

Just as an update, I have been cooking some wonderful food including a salad tossed with cold barley grains (barley contains gluten but one could use mixed rices instead), some flavorings and fresh veggies. I made a fava bean dip that turned out great (if you have not tried fava beans, they are magnificent legumes indeed). We ate fava beans for breakfast every morning in Egypt, so I am especially fond of them since I returned from Africa.

I even made a first try at a sort of flat bread, cooked in a cast iron pan. In my dreams it was like an Indian chappati, but in the end it looked more like a very thick brown pita bread that had no hole in the middle. It was chewy and worked well to eat with the fava beans. When I refine those recipes a bit more, I will share them here with you.

I did also pick some rhubarb last week. I made a slightly-too-sweet rhubarb crisp for us. The rhubarb was so fresh, it made a soupy fruit filling rather than a sticky one, but it was a treat anyway.

Next time I’m out of white sugar, I will substitute with a smaller amount of brown sugar. It did not work when I used the specified amount. Live and learn. (Click this link for the Rhubarb Crisp recipe, scroll to the end of that long post to see it.)

Singing in Lansing

We had a great time at the East Lansing Art Fair. If anyone took photos of us singing that day, please consider passing a photo to us. For some reason I forgot to ask someone else to take photos. I did get shots of other bands, but they are not edited at this time.

Our next performance will be with Wally Pleasant on Friday, June 4, at MAC’s Bar, East Lansing. Really. No smoking, I’m liking that prospect, myself.

Knitting Progress

Now I am working on two sock designs. Both have deadlines in the next few weeks, one is due early next week. This is why I have no photos today on the blog.

It’s wonderful to be back doing socks again, though. I’ve designed two hats, a neckwarmer and a legwarmer pattern most recently. Socks are like going home.

Happy, Happy, Happy!

And I just can not stop saying how happy I am with this weather. Nobody else seems to love it as much as I do. I think I feel like a kid on her birthday – the adrenaline rush keeps repeating as I proceed with my life. I wait for this every year.

May you be comfortable wherever you live, whatever you prefer. As for me, I’m giddy with summer. Anyone else?


Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

We knitters in Lansing (Michigan) are making Comfort Bears for the Police Department. I have written about this here before. The bear pattern that I wrote to assist the project is called Fast-Finish Teddy (Free Version/PDF Download Here).

Bears Knit from LynnH Pattern

Bears are being knit using any pattern the knitter wishes. However, since I did the presentation at Schuler Books (scroll down), many folks are using my pattern.

I wrote the pattern to be very, very easy. There are cuter bears (though I think mine’s adorable). However, I am willing to bet there are not easier ones to knit.

There are three versions of the pattern out in the wild. There is the version I handed out at Schuler Books, which is no longer available, because of two newer revisions. There is the free PDF version linked above, which is 5 pages long and contains all instructions to make it easy for someone who knits regularly.

KnittingKidzWithBearsAnd then there is a 7-page printed version of the pattern. It contains many more photographs, and explanations of every technique in the pattern, including how to make a knit stitch. It includes photos saying “it should look like this before you bind off” and such things. I’m currently using that pattern to teach High School art students to knit.

Right now, you can buy that Enhanced pattern, printed in color and in a page protector, at Rae’s and Threadbear (links below). One dollar of each pattern sold goes to EVE (End Violent Encounters), an incredible charity in Lansing which has helped two women I know personally.

Bears are being collected at several Lansing-Area shops. These above are some of the ones at Rae’s Yarn Boutique, made from my pattern. She had many more which were knit in other designs.

Local friends, you can also drop bears off at Threadbear Fiberarts, Woven Art (East Lansing), and Yarn Garden (Charlotte). If you are not a knitter or crocheter, they are accepting sewn or purchased bears as well.

The first bear pickup is scheduled for June. There is another pickup in December, and the plan is to keep knitting for this project continually. Unfortunately, I am afraid that there are more kids in sad situations than the number of bears we can reasonably knit. We are giving it a good old college try.

I am particularly fond of the face on the white bear at the bottom right. Isn’t that big nose and smile, just perfect??? The kids I teach to knit at the shop, pictured above, are very fond of the large brown bear at the back. It’s made of very fuzzy, very fat yarn on big needles. Adorable.

Sunday, Fabulous Heftones at E Lansing ArtFest!

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

The Fabulous Heftones, Coopers Glen FestivalIt is always a joy to play at events here in Greater Lansing. Brian and I, as The Fabulous Heftones, will perform at East Lansing Art Festival tomorrow.

The weather is gorgeous this weekend. The other performers scheduled are very fine, indeed. There is great food (my friend Altu’s restaurant will have a booth). And of course, there are excellent artists showing and selling.

This show is an honor. It’s our first time at this event. Details:

East Lansing Art Festival
Sunday, May 23
12:15 to 1:00pm
West Stage, Abbot Rd. at Albert
Downtown East Lansing

The Audience Makes a Difference
Local friends, it will be a glorious, sunny day. Come on out early in the Festival Day and say hello. It means a lot to see familiar faces in the crowd. I have heard from several folks that they plan to come out.

As a performer, I literally sing to folks in my audience (it unnerves me to sing in a blacked-out auditorium, though I can do it). The more familiar faces, the more lovely my own performing experience.

I can sing to Cyndi, to Gwen, to Mom, to Rae, to Rod and Deb… sort of thanking them for being part of the experience. We make new friends at every show, but I’m all about relationship; the more, the merrier.

What Music will You Hear?
If you have not heard us before, our music is primarily from 1900 to 1930 with a few instrumentals that Brian wrote. Many are familiar to contemporary ears.

Here are links to a few songs we have put up on our website. (Click to listen, or save as a free gift from us if you know how to do it on your computer.)

For Me and My Gal (Lynn Singing)

Shine on, Harvest Moon (Brian Singing)

Epley Breakdown (Lively Instrumental)

Wish to be Notified of Future Shows?
If you would like to be on our email list, announcing upcoming events, either leave me a comment (make sure you fill out the email address box, it won’t be seen by my readers) . I’ll get you on the notice list.

(Photo is The Fabulous Heftones, singing at Cooper’s Glen Festival in Kalamazoo, August 2006)

Charlotte Gives Back Concert Photos

Friday, May 21st, 2010


Brian and I performed in Charlotte, Michigan (pronounce “shurr-LOT“) a few weeks ago. It was a benefit for the SIREN center of Eaton County, an organization which works with homeless and domestic abuse clients and their families.

The organization turned away over 500 people last year for lack of funds. We wished to help them help others. Many folks are one paycheck away from homelessness… It’s an honor to be in a position to help.

charlottewallyandbrian(Yes, I’m a bit behind on photos, but these were too fun to skip. It was a grand time, and the Charlotte Performing Arts Center was a great place to sing.)

I did not get photos of all the acts. In addition, musicians move so much and the lighting is so intense, that it was hard to get many photos. However, what you see here please me.

Photo 1, Brian and I/The Fabulous Heftones.
Photo 2, Wally Pleasant (at right) with my Brian backing him up
Photo 3, The Lash (Wally’s wife, Alisa, is the lady in red, far right)


We had a blast! The folks from SIREN were more than appreciative, too. We got to meet a bunch of them. They had so many volunteers backstage that night, we all could have had a 10-course meal and taken home more. The food, the hospitality, the space… all were top notch. Best of luck to SIREN in their current year.

Mom is Volunteer of the Year, Again!

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Go Mom DetailMy mother, Liz Troldahl, is a fine woman. She had trouble learning to read as a child, and that experience turned her into an amazing reading teacher. I have heard more than one colleague exclaim “Liz can teach a ROCK to read!”

Helping one child overcome reading challenges, is enough to change the world in a real way. Mom taught before I was born, taught over 20 years in the Okemos School system in Michigan, and continues to volunteer both in Michigan and in Florida. Mom has truly impacted the lives of thousands of children, many of whom are now adults themselves.

This year, my mother was once more honored for her hard work, changing the lives of kids. She was again awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award at Southwest Elementary school in Polk County, Florida. Here is a peek of the article from the online version of the Polk County local paper, The Ledger.

Here is a photo of Mom with her family… me, Mom, my brother Eric Oscar, and Mom’s partner Fred. Either my husband Brian or Eric’s wife Diana took this photo (I think it was Diana). This was the day we celebrated Mom’s 75th birthday and my brother’s 49th birthday, if I have it right.

Mom has a “recumbent tricycle” on which she rides miles and miles. She rides to the mall, where she takes an exercise class a few times a week, then she rides her bike home. GO, MOM!

Susan’s Story: Good News/Bad News

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

chipperchippy250Susan just finished my Chippy Socks for Kids class. She took it at Rae’s Yarn Boutique and went home on Thursday night with just a bit of the first sock’s toe to complete. For some reason, I did not take a photo as I often do.

Monday, I got an email from Susan telling the rest of the Chippy Sock story (she gave me permission to use it here):

Good news.  I finished my first chipper sock Thursday evening.  Finished it as soon as I got home.  The instructions were great and I had no problem finishing it up.  The sock “looked” (operative word “looked”) fantastic.

Now for the bad news!  Friday morning I came out of the bathroom after having my shower…and my niece’s little dog Bentley ran up to me so happily only for me to see that he had my chipper sock in his mouth.  Yikes.

He looked so cute though that I couldn’t be mad at him.  I just thought “Well….my cue that I need more practice”  Oh well.  Life is too short to get frustrated.  My philosophy…if no one dies it can be fixed.  Unfortunately the sock cannot be fixed (he chewed on the cuff where the sock started and nibble a bit down.  I’ve still shown folks my chipper sock (I’m so proud of it) and am going to start on a new one tonight…(snip)

I thought you might enjoy the story of my chipper sock…

ChipperColorCapFixationFor the record, I named my socks “Chippy Socks” because they seemed like potato chips, I could not stop at merely a pair. (There are six socks in a set.)

Recently I released the pattern for a child’s cap which coordinates with those socks. It was not intended to knit in multiples, so I named it Chipper Color Cap (C3) to imply they were related.

chippercap3layersUnfortunately, this two-name thing is causing some confusion between them for my customers/students… which does not bother me in the least. I’m showing some of the photos of that cap here, one shown with three of the six socks Ewe-niss test knit for me when I was developing that pattern.

An 8-Minute Gift of Peace

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Frenzied? Give yourself a gift.

Take 8 minutes. Sit still with a cup of tea or coffee, and watch this video full screen. One glance at this man’s face and I knew I wanted to hear what he had to say. He just looks loving and peaceful to me.

This is not religious in nature. The message is his personal understanding. It is thoughtful and human, and loving.

Sit still and listen. It could change your day.

Living Here & Now


Pure, Playful Joy

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

I got the most wonderful visual surprise on Saturday! I had to share it with you.

My friend Doug Berch was performing at Altu’s restaurant on Saturday night. I decided to be part of the audience and knit with any knitters who might come.


As I turned into the parking lot, I caught a quick glance of color in the background next door. I was intrigued.

The lot next door to Altu’s restaurant used to be a large party bar, starting back in the days when East Lansing was a “dry” town. Altu’s is the last building in East Lansing, and that bar next door was the first in Lansing (one could drink in Lansing in those days). It was a popular place for years, but in the last decade or so it had struggled and then closed for good.

Last year, the building was torn down. Now it’s a green space. It’s still a bit scrubby, but in the city we like green spaces of any sort!

And Saturday, there were six children, all in a sort of train, enjoying that space. The smallest child was in the front, and everyone behind was attached by putting their hands on the shoulders they could reach in front of them.

These kids were dressed so colorfully, that I saw them from Michigan Avenue before I pulled in. I stopped my car the moment I could, and took a distance shot (first photo). Then I waited, not that long, and took a few other photos when they came closer to me. (For the record, all parents were watching from nearby.)


I am thrilled with the second one here. Perfect, playful, in-the-moment joy.

It made my day. I hope it might make yours now, too.

Inspiring Quotations

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

Barbara Winter (Author of Making a Living without a Job… I wrote about her here) has inspired me again! I love quotations, and she has a full page of some of her own favorites, here on her blog:


Here are two that hit me particularly deeply:

All sorrow and trouble of this world is caused by unhappy people….The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert.


We must do what we conceive to be right and not bother our heads or burden our souls  with whether we’ll be successful. Because if we don’t do the right thing, we’ll do the wrong thing and we’ll be part of the disease and not part of the cure. ~ E. F. Schumacher

As you can see, Barbara’s book has inspired me, as well. I really wanted to share a quote from that very book here with you.

Unfortunately, I have put the book in a place where it does not belong, sometime after taking that photo. Must find it… meanwhile, I recommend a visit to Barbara’s blog.

Do Plastic Bags Multiply like Tribbles?

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

The other day I got frustrated with a deep drawer in our kitchen. It holds kitchen towels, mostly, but it also holds some plastic bags for convenient use. That is, bags from stores, not zip bags.

Well, the drawer was so full I could not fit the towels in it. I decided to excavate. I don’t know how we fit all these bags in that drawer!


We are using re-usable grocery bags much more lately. Some of these have been in that drawer for over a year.

Only a few are in there now. The rest are in storage in an out-of-the-way location. Progress!

Change is one small step at a time. I like this one.

An Amazing Video

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Wow. Diana found this one somehow… “The Ross Sisters” singing three-part girl harmony at the beginning… and then amazing acrobatic/contortionist/dancing. Wowie.



Sometimes these old movie clips disappear from YouTube, but today it’s working great.

Thank You

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

I feel a need to thank every single person who has ever purchased a pattern of mine, who has read this blog, who has taken a class from me. I want to thank every shop, every guild, every fiber festival, every library who has hired me. Thanks to the galleries who have allowed me to display my work.

Last night I was doing bookkeeping before bedtime. I allowed myself to worry a bit. I like to say that “worry is not action,” but sometimes it sneaks up on me when I am not paying attention.

This morning I woke up, and I’d sold several patterns and a Fabulous Heftones CD on my shopping cart while I had slept.

I am very sure I am doing work I was meant to do. I get thank you notes frequently. I can feel the magic in the air when I teach. I see the proverbial “light  bulb” go off over folks heads while I explain new concepts to them.

And people I don’t know, continue to knit my patterns, order my patterns, support me on the merits of a web page’s presentation alone. I am grateful. I am humbled.

Back to my life’s work. Thanks, again.

We must do what we conceive to be right and not bother our heads or burden our souls  with whether we’ll be successful. Because if we don’t do the right thing, we’ll do the wrong thing and we’ll be part of the disease and not part of the cure. ~ E. F. Schumacher

(Photos are Kim’s 2nd Maxi ZigBag, Mary’s Chippy Sock and Gwen’s polymer clay beads. All students in my classes. They inspire me to continue doing what I love.)


Saturday, May 8th, 2010

I have much in my life for which I’m grateful. First and foremost is my husband, Brian, but I’m happy to say that the list is long.

Yesterday I got an email from someone I don’t know. She is a knitter who bought my Fast Florida Footies in 8 Sizes Pattern, years ago, and who has knit the pattern multiple times. The note just thanked me for the design, and said she’s not done knitting these yet. How kind of her to take the time to write.

This morning, I opened my email and there was another thank you. It was from a student who took my Chippy Socks class this recent past week. She felt it was just the thing she needed, which turned her day around. How wonderful is that? Again, I am touched that she took the time to let me know.

Last night, I went to my PO Box. Not only did I get a check from a customer, but I got a fat padded envelope. It was a gift from a woman who has taken my computer classes numerous times over the years, but who I have not seen in several months. I just love her, I miss her… and then I get a gift from her out of the blue. How incredibly heart-warming! (Thanks, Z!)

In the envelope? An Andean knit hat. The real thing. I’m bowled over. She has me pegged to a “T.” Many people think of me when they see many colors together, and I am honored.


However, if you get down to details, there are some multicolored things that are “me” and many that are not quite. My knitting obsessions are Turkish socks and Andean hats. This gift is spot on, and something hard to find in Michigan, to boot. I’m busy looking at the details, trying to figure out how it was made.

The hat seems to be knit from the bottom edge up to the top, and from a preliminary look I think the ear flaps were picked up and knit to the point, flat. Then the edging which looks like checkerboards appears to have been knit separately and attached. I wonder if it was attached with crochet rather than sewing, this is what I think at first glance.

I wish I had Deb Robson, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts and Nelda Davis to look at this hat with me. They uncovered so many mysteries about my Turkish Socks and a bit about the few Andean hats I had when I spent time with them at Sock Summit last August. Deb could tell on one sock that the knitter had changed not only to another white ball of yarn, but a totally new fleece. Amazing.

Lately with the car expenses, I have allowed myself to become a little  more afraid than I normally am. I think that when one has fear, one must balance action to address the issue causing it, with action acknowledging what one does already have. I’m a lucky person with a fine husband, good food, and a roof over my head.

So tonight we sing at a benefit for the Eaton County SIREN shelter. They turned away over 500 families last year. I am grateful I have never been in need of housing/shelter. I know I’m not better than any of them, just luckier. (They deal with domestic abuse and homelessness, which sometimes intermingle in the same family). I am glad to be part of the assistance they need and deserve.

If you are in the Lansing area, perhaps you would like to come to the event? It will be an amazing show, four performing acts in all… and you will help a fine cause, as well.