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Archive for July, 2010

Hello! (Soft Block Print)

Saturday, July 31st, 2010


I printed this postcard in 2005. The image consists of five different “soft blocks” or “eraser stamps.” I used different brands of soft block material (including a dollar store eraser, and art store Speedball block). I printed with rubberstamp-oriented “dye inks.” I still like this image quite a lot.

If you haven’t tried eraser carving, it can be a quick creative outlet. Use a craft knife (Testors or Exact-0), or better yet, a v-cutter such as those for linoleum or wood carving. Carve up one side of a white plastic eraser and use it like a rubber stamp. Many inks/paints work.

No Longer Secret: Summer Squiggle Sock!

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

It is old news that I don’t like secrets. Somehow a secret feels like a middle-school problem to me. I do not feel comfortable leaving people out when others are “in” on the secret.

Kindness  is important to me, and secrets feel unkind. Since I typically self publish, this is not normally an issue in my work.


However, I am in an industry which sometimes requires such silence. When I had my Hot Waves sock design in the “Joy of Sox” book last year, I was not to release photos of the sock itself until the book was released.

I got paid to make the pattern, and you might say I got paid to keep that secret for a time. Of course, I did as I was asked, and it has worked out just fine.

This spring I designed a sock which was just released the first week of July. I designed the sock using Yarn Hollow yarn (by my friend Rita). It was specially made for the Rae’s Yarn Boutique Sock Club.

For those who follow me regularly, you know I am most happy with knitting when it involves two to four different yarns, in different colors. In this case, the yarn had many colors in one skein. I had to stretch my general approach to knitting, and find a design which was very different in approach than most of my work.

This yarn is a wonderful, super-stretchy sockyarn with cotton, bamboo and nylon. It is in some of my favorite colors… bright blue, bright turquoise, spring green and yellow. If you have ever tried to knit with a yarn which has high contrast in one skein, you may understand the challenges I faced. Many stitch patterns just disappear in all the exuberant color! (For the record, the photo below shows the colorway best, on my monitor.)


I had swatched a stitch pattern in another multicolored yarn before the “real” colorway arrived. When I got Rita’s yarn (which I liked better than the swatch), that pattern did not work. I did more swatching.

Multicolored yarns do best with slipped stitches, knitting in the row below, and garter stitch (where the yarns blend together on the surface of the yarn. In this case, I used a slipped stitch to make a vertical squiggle up the sock, with lacy holes next to the squiggles.

I am very pleased with the design. I’m also happy (in the end) that I was pushed to work with color in a way that is not my standard approach. Grown-ups need to keep growing, right? It was good for me, and the result is pleasing.

For those knitters interested in structural details, this sock has a new version of my “start with a square” toe-up method, which turns into a swirl toe. It also uses an afterthought heel, which is decreased in a swirl, as well.


You can order the sock kit for one month, through Rae’s website. For $35, you get my pattern, Rita’s yarn, a set of beautiful double-pointed needles, and a few treats in a pretty box. For some reason, the photo on her site still shows an earlier sock club design. Rae assures me that if you order now, you will get the current sock kit which is pictured here in this post.

(For the record, this yarn is so stretchy that the sock runs a little big. If you are knitting this design and have any doubt about which size to make, round down to the next smaller size.)

Thanks to Rae for inviting me to do this project. It was fun, and I learned a lot. Thanks to Rita for working out a perfect yarn and colorway. And thanks to the calendar, for getting to a point where I don’t have to keep a secret any longer!


Photos from Kenya, December 2004

Monday, July 26th, 2010


My life changed when I went to east Africa for 38 days in 2004-2005. My friend Altu, who grew up in Ethiopia, took me to meet her family. During that time we spent 1 week in Kenya and 1 week in Egypt.


I have written several posts on my African trip and put up many photos here, over a few years. Click if you want to see the series of Africa posts. There are 45 posts in all, some have text which is not about Africa but they show photos. Many, but not all, of the photos are from Ethiopia. Few are from Kenya.

Today a friend posted a note on Twitter, with sad news about Rhinos. I decided to go peek at the photos in my previous posts and see if I had put up animal photos. I had not.


The week before Christmas, 2004, Altu and I went on a morning half-day adventure in the amazing Nairobi National Park. It’s right outside the city limits.

Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya, a true city with crazy street traffic and big buildings. In one photo you can see a herd of hartebeests in front of what looks like a string of condo homes.


But most of the park was wild and without a view of human occupation. We did not see zebras or baboons  but we saw pretty much everything else the Wikipedia article about the park says it holds.

I just put up 23 photos of that half-day adventure on my Flickr account. They are set up so they can be viewed as a slideshow. I have wanted to do this since January of 2005.


Understand that some of the close-up photos are low digital quality. This was 2005, and I used my digital zoom on that now-uncool camera to get some of the photos. It still shows that I really did see these animals.

You can click on them here (or in Flickr) to see more detail, at least on the better images. To get back to this post, click “back” at top left of your screen (or hold Alt and tap your  left-arrow key lightly, in Windows; open-apple key plus left-arrow on a Mac).


I hope some of you enjoy my Kenyan wildlife photo collection/slideshow. If you want more information about the park itself, you can read more on Wikipedia.

Being Human

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

I have been without words for you lately. My life is at a point of change and re-evaluation, as lives do at times, and I find myself without a blog topic.


It started when my car needed a new engine (last April). It was a hit I was ill-prepared to deal with. My reserves did not add up to the cost of the repair.

Without going into details, this spurred a reality check. I am very happy with my life in so many ways, and yet there is a need to change. How can I change to increase income without decreasing happiness? I am absolutely sure this is possible (in part because I have genuine gratitude for income, even in years when I’ve punched a clock at a box store to get it). I am not sure how it will go this time.

This happened, also, at a time I realized that I was over-using my speaking voice. I love teaching and public speaking. I also sing, but as a trained singer, my singing voice is less impacted by use than my talking voice. I have a wonderful doctor who is helping me get the voice healthy again. However, this summer I am not teaching as much as I did last year.

A big part of  my support system involves lunches or tea dates with folks who love me. I work alone at home a lot, and those meals with loved ones really balance and ground me. Lately I’ve made a point to do less of that social time, and more alone time at home (where I write and knit and otherwise work and live).

With my newly quieter time, I am swatching a lot, trying new knitting techniques. I’m contemplating where I will take my next set of knitting designs. I also have been tossing things from my past, going through old boxes of papers. I found at least one paper from as far back as 1984. It is great to get free of clutter and the residue of what was truly a different Lynn.

One weekend I decided to purge the kitchen of everything I did not truly want to keep there. It was magic. Here’s a photo of the counter just before I finished. I noticed how pretty the colors were, just my everyday cooking/serving items.


I assure you I am well. My life is very good. I have everything I need and many extras. My husband loves me. I do not need anything else. It is just as though someone switched the “channel” when I turned my head and I’m getting my bearings for the new reality. Everyone has times like this. It just happens to be my turn.

Meanwhile, I think of you often. I have been blogging since November 28, 2002. This is my published post 2,963. Many of you have become real friends to me, some of us have met in person. You are real and important in my heart and my life. I’m quiet right now, but I think of you as I take photos wherever I go. Somehow, though, I have not found words when I sat to write.

It may be that I will start posting those photos for you, with minimal text. I have so MANY things I want to say here, but for now I wonder if ColorJoy-ful photos will be how I stay connected with you for a little while.

Hugs to everyone out there.


Fun and Geeky Photo: Ann Arbor

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

My dad used to introduce my mom as his “First Wife” to get a raised eyebrow. My mom would reply that he was her “most recent husband.” They had not ever been married to anyone else…

So in that train of thought… this is me with my FAVORITE brother. I have no other siblings, but this man is truly a joy in my heart every time I think of him.


I call him Eric Oscar Ole Olson Troldahl Cranberry. My dad started that, too. He figured that “Ole Olson” was the most Norwegian name ever. Eric Oscar Troldahl is a pretty good Norsk combination, as well. So he became Eric Oscar Ole Olson Troldahl.

Then one night when we were probably in Middle School, we were playing hide and seek with neighborhood kids. there were two Erics. My Eric was wearing a burgundy pair of pants and burgundy top. The other Eric was wearing blue top and pants. I was born focusing on color more than anything else (really?) and declared them “Cranberry and Blueberry.” For the duration of that game, that’s what we called them rather than Eric.

This guy was my “Dude of Honor” at my wedding to Brian. This guy was with me the day my father died. We were together the day his first wife Kelly died (at age 27, out of the blue). We know how to do up *and* down together. We are a team of the best sort. I don’t like to cook, but I always loved cooking when we cooked together at Mom’s house.

This photo was taken by Eric Oscar’s wife, Diana. I call her my “Sister in Love.” I’m passionately unhappy with the phrase Sister in Law, anyway… it makes it a government assignment rather than relationship… and can either mean my brother’s wife or my husband’s sister… a wholly unacceptable English phrase in my mind. So Sis in Love it is.

Friday, Mom and her partner Fred, his granddaughter V who is visiting Michigan for the first time, Eric and Diana, and Brian and I all had lunch in Ann Arbor. We met up at Zingerman’s Deli which is the most AMAZING place for customer service ever (and for food, as well). Had a wonderful time.

When lunch split up, Brian and I went to REI and bought some foam pads for camping in the tent. Mike, our helper in that store, was equally excellent at customer service. I did not imagine a large store like that would have such excellent, friendly service.We went next door to Whole Foods and had more friendly service… a great day being a consumer, which I don’t do as often these days.

Good news doesn’t make it to TV broadcasts. Let me tell you that it was a great day in Ann Arbor, with my family. It was a great day for Customer Service. And the weather did not hurt, either!

Happy 50th Birthday to my favorite brother. Many, many more!

From the Garden (a Little)

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

I am spending a little time each day this week, weeding out old things that I don’t need anymore. I have boxes that I have moved from house to house and now is the time to purge.

I’ve been through about 6-7 boxes so far. Only less than one box stays, and that may thin even further at a later date.

At the same time, we are having a bit of a heat wave. Today is hotter than yesterday, and it appears that my living room is 86F/30C right now (5pm). Outside is maybe 94F or so.


Somehow the distraction of this big project, coupled with heat, made me ignore lunch until almost 5. Mind you, I get up later than others do, but lunch is usually about 2pm or so. Whoops!

It is too hot to cook, I’d say, so I made a salad. We had a can of black beans in the refrigerator just for salads. I drained/rinsed them, added a tomato and basil from our own garden, and then added olive oil and some spinach. It was light and cool, and just right.

I ate it on our fun porch… green table, purple floor. And the salad was pretty, too!

Be Yourself, Be Uniquely You

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Late last week I was running a bunch of errands. I found myself waiting at a busy Lansing stoplight, next to an amazing vehicle, driven by an amazing-looking man.


The vehicle was a motor-tricycle which was decorated to the extreme. The man driving was wearing a helmet (as is required by law in Michigan). However, this helmet was a work of art on its own merits. It had large horns coming out of each side and what appeared to be hair on the top, above the horns. Somewhat viking-esque, perhaps?

This guy is TOTALLY into it. Remember, one can not buy passion. It comes, and we listen and act… or we let it pass us by. I have high regard for those who grab on and go!

This guy is into his own style.  It’s not my style, nor the style of anyone else I’ve seen in town. I was impressed.

Allen Street Neighborhood Market

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

AllenStJulianaI am a big fan of neighborhood events. I also especially love buying from people who own their own small businesses. Allen Street Market fits both bills.

One of the food vendors, I know from knitting. Their kids took my knitting classes when I was at Foster Community Center.

The market is literally on my route between home and Rae’s Yarn Boutique or Foster Center. I pass by the location nearly every day.

On Wednesdays, it comes alive! This week was a special treat. They had scheduled Strawberry Festival (though there were few strawberries there this week), and thus a musical act followed by Habibi Dancers.

HabibiAllenLynnSolo12Originally, Jen Sygit was scheduled to sing. In the end, friend Julianna substituted (with her friend Jeff). Julianna has a LOVELY voice and I enjoyed her set very much. Here’s a photo. Notice she has her ukulele in her lap.

After Julianna sang, I was part of the show by Habibi Dancers. Sheila (also a Habibi) came and thankfully did a great job taking photos of us, with my camera. Thanks, Sheila!

(For the record, the market is a magnet for people from all parts of my life. I saw contra dance folks, knitters, musician friends even a woman I met when I acted/danced in Pippin! at Riverwalk theater, I think in 1992. I feel so right there, all the facets of my life come together at this market.)

It’s hard to recognize me in my garb as my alter-ego, Eudora. I’m wearing a light green tunic with blue skirt and coins. I’m often in the front because of my height (or lack thereof).

Speaking of ColorJoy… I think the Habibis qualify!





Joy! (Have a safe, happy weekend)

Friday, July 2nd, 2010


I have a friend who will become aged 6 next week. Last year, her mother heard me say that I had never used sidewalk chalk. So one day, my little friend and her mom gifted me with a big bin with many colors of chalk.

Last year I used it once at the yarn shop. This week, I used it the first time for just the fun of doing it.

Have a great and safe, happy and joyful weekend.

A Butterfly Says Hello

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Yesterday I was at the Okemos Public Library (Hope Borbas Branch – Mid Michigan). As I exited the building, I admired the garden.

A movement caught my eye. It was a butterfly on a Purple Coneflower (Echinacea) flower. I can’t tell you how happy I was to have my camera close at hand!