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Archive for June, 2011

Google Street View: I think I’m in a photo!

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Tuesday when I left the house, I saw an odd vehicle drive by. It was painted like a commercial vehicle, and it had a pole coming out of the top, with a globe shape crowning the pole. As it went by, I read the text on the side of the car: Google Street View.

It went down our street and one block to the dead end. It turned around and came back toward me. I have an inkling there is one image of me walking to my car, and perhaps one of my pretty blue JoyBug at the stop sign.

I saw the car again on Wednesday, closer to downtown. This is sort of fun! Have you ever seen this car?

LoveLansing Walk Home (Purple Paint, Plus)

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

I had the last repair done on my JoyBug two weeks ago. I decided to walk to the bus stop and go home for a few hours.

I had such a nice time on the way to the bus stop that I decided to keep walking. In the end, I walked the full three miles home. Here are some photos I took on my walk.

Images: 1) Street art… magazine page (?) cut out with a silhouette and pasted on painted utility pole. 2) Purple trim on house, Kalamazoo Street, Lansing, Michigan, USA. 3) Purple painted stairway on same house (notice the other colored spots of paint). 4) Purple-trimmed house a few blocks from my home.

 

Last Day for Pattern Sale: Buy 3 get 1 Free

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Tonight at midnight (Eastern Daylight Savings Time), my Buy 3 – Get 1 Free PDF pattern sale will end. If you have been inclined to buy a few of my patterns, this is a great time.

Thanks to those who have already taken advantage of this, and helped me handle the extra car repair bills I’ve had recently. My JoyBug (Bright Blue 1998 New Beetle) just took us out of town this weekend in fine shape. She’s worth my efforts to keep her on the road.

As soon as you put a third pattern in your shopping cart, the system will tell you how to get the free pattern. It’s easy.

Thanks again!

(Images: ZigBagZ Maxi Collection, Chippy Socks for Kids, Colorama Crescent Shawl.)

TED Talk: Jill Bolte Taylor

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

One of the most-viewed TED talks is by Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain researcher who watched herself have a major stroke. The miracle is that she lived and recovered (thanks in great part to her mother’s unceasing love and work). She can discuss what it feels like to switch between the right brain and left brain functions.

This woman is smart, well-spoken, and an amazing performer. She will keep you enraptured through her 20 minutes. Highly recommended.

If clicking the photo doesn’t work, click this link to go to the TED page with her speech.

Here is the text from TED’s website:

About this talk
Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one. An astonishing story.

About Jill Bolte Taylor
Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor studied her own stroke as it happened — and has become a powerful voice for brain recovery.

Knit, Swirl Photo from TNNA

Friday, June 24th, 2011

I went to the TNNA trade show last weekend, in Columbus, Ohio. TNNA (The National Needlearts Association) is a major trade organization for knitting/ crocheting/ needlework shops. This particular gathering in June is where many stores order the yarns they will be selling in the upcoming Fall/Winter seasons.

I have always enjoyed this show – this was my 5th year in attendance. My friend Rae (Rae’s Yarn Boutique) took me with her my first three years and we always connect frequently even if I don’t travel with her.

Last year I roomed with Rita of Yarn Hollow (a handpainted yarn business). This year I roomed with Deb Robson of Nomad Press (which published the 2nd edition of Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’ “Knitting in the Old Way” and Donna Druchunas’ award-winning “Arctic Lace.”).

More on Deb’s own amazing new book (click link for review on sunsetcat.com) in a later post… suffice it to say it’s incredible.

Visionary Authors

There is a group of knitting writers who work in a group organized by Cat Bordhi. Cat calls them Visionary Authors, and they had a booth at the show. Deb is associated with this group, and so is Sandra McIver.

Sandra just came out with a book called “Knit, Swirl.” The Visionary group included a number of folks who knit patterns from that book, in order to show off actual garments and help Sandra with her book release.

Deb wrote a blog post about her own Swirl here. I took this photo when I was in the Visionary booth at TNNA (with permission):

Five swirls, four authors. Left to right: Mannequin, Sandra McIver, JC Briar (who just put out a book about using knitting charts), Cat Bordhi, Deb Robson.

Turquoise Swirl Circle Skirt?

Of course, Deb’s version in turquoise delights the color-lover in me. She alternated several yarns in the project, which is something I love doing.

Deb is taller than me. When I tried on her jacket in the hotel room, my instant response was that I would love to make one without sleeves or center seam, and wear it as a skirt.

I later actually looked at the book itself (and the schematic drawings in it). I realized I would not have to make any real adjustments to the design from the book. It would be simple to make the imaginary skirt I’d love to wear.

The Swirls are either oval or circular, and they either have arms placed in the center or off center. I could knit a circular one with center arm hole, not knit arms, and not sew up the arm hole.

I would have to improvise a waistband in some way. Even a row of eyelets with a drawstring would work.

In my spare time…. (she said).

Pattern Sale: Buy 3, Get 1 Free!

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Hi, friends. I’ve got a special going on with my downloadable/PDF knitting patterns! If you buy any 3 of my patterns, you get a fourth pattern free. There are 30 designs to choose from.

If you have not tried my patterns before, they include very clear written instructions. If I need photos to help illustrate a point, I do not skimp on them. If a chart might help you, I include one (with alternate text for those who don’t find charts comfortable).

I list many yarns that will work properly, for any pattern I write. This means that you might find the right yarn in your stash. If not, surely you can find something great at your local yarn shop.

There is a new feature in Ravelry’s pattern program. I can put together a “promotion” with no need for a coupon code.

You don’t need an account with Ravelry to take advantage of this offer. You don’t need an account with PayPal, either… you can give a credit card to Paypal and not bother with that. The payments are handled securely, so there is no need for worry there. I never see your credit card information.

Click Here to view my Ravelry Pattern Store

Why now?

My beloved New Beetle, JoyBug, has had a series of reasonable, needed repairs recently. “She” has been so loyal to me for so many years (built in March 1998, I got her in March 1999)… I want to keep her on the road and in good repair.

She’s still solid (almost no rust), and a delight to drive. She’s been paid off for years (her best attribute of all).

She’s worth the expense. It just happened that three repairs were needed rather close together, and I’m reeling from the timing.

Thanks for your consideration.

If you were considering a purchase or two before, perhaps this will be a good deal for you. Only $18 for four patterns – well-written, well-tested and in English rather than gobbledygook! My patterns are ideal for traveling knitting, too. Only a few grow large enough to make your lap warm.

On Ravelry, there is also a gift feature. Gift any Ravelry member with a pattern, rather than keeping it for yourself. Perhaps you’d like to do a knit-along with a friend or two… you could gift the pattern to the group.

If it doesn’t sound good to you… if this is not your thing… no problem. I am of the belief that one gains nothing from saying nothing. However, perhaps you were waiting for an invitation. If you were, here it is.

More knitting news tomorrow – complete with photos!

 

Walking/Singing/Knitting in the Rain

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

What a crazy weather day it has been in Lansing! I went for a walk at 1pm, and it was so sunny I chose the shady side of the street. By the time I got home at 1:35, it was misting. By 1:40 we had buckets of rain coming down. Since then we’ve had sun, then more downpours, then sun again.

I had planned to ride my bike to dance rehearsal tonight. I think I’m officially not bold enough to chance getting that wet. I’m a fair-weather bicyclist, though I do enjoy a walk in snow and rain.

I took a 26-second video of one of our downpours this afternoon. The Flickr upload made it a bit grainy, but just about at the middle of the video (14 seconds in) a guy down the far end of our side street is bolting across the street to close the windows of his truck. Good thing people are drip dry!

(Click to be taken to the video’s page on my Flickr account. Click the “back” button to return here.)

A better video (this has the potential to make anyone smile)… Gene Kelly dancing in the rain, from the movie “Singing in the Rain.”

 

Ric Elias: 3 things I learned while my plane crashed

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

If you have not discovered TED talks yet, I highly recommend you check out TED.com. These are talks of 18 minutes or less, which are informative and often incredibly inspiring.

When I need a boost, I can go to TED’s home page, search by subject, and find something that makes me believe in humanity again. What a service to the world!

It’s Father’s Day, at least in the USA. My father died in 1973 and thus I find this day rather difficult, even now.  This photo was taken just a few years before he died. (Does anyone notice I’m wearing turquoise in this photo, circa 1971? I’m consistent, anyway.)

However, I celebrate the many dads in my life, who light up and smile when I ask them about their kid(s). These men do not make the news. It seems only the sprinkling of unwell/damaging fathers get press, and that makes me sad.

The 5 minute talk by Ric Elias (a passenger on the plane that was crash-landed in the Hudson River near New York City, in 2009), recalls the time he thought he would die very soon, and what his thoughts were at that time. He explains how his life has changed since that time. It’s a good view at any time, but perhaps most appropriate on Fathers Day.

“I no longer try to be right. I choose to be happy.”

“Above all, the only goal I have in life is to be a great Dad.”

I hope you view this one, and then explore the website for more inspiration (many talks are also available as .MP3 podcasts through iTunes as well). It’s worth your time, guaranteed.

ColorJoy, the Blog, is about creativity and artfulness in our everyday lives. Life choices are themselves a creative effort… and relationship is the most honorable artform I know.

 

Detroit the Beautiful

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

“We no longer live in a leisurely age – the impression must be immediate, strong and complete–color has this vital power. – Wirt C. Rowland

(Quote from the Guardian Building website.)

Brian and I spent a day in Detroit last week. I hope to put together a photoset on Flickr with many of the photos I took. However, I’m on the way to a trade show (TNNA in Columbus, Ohio). These photos should whet your interest in more.

On the way to downtown, a castle at a major intersection:

A beautiful entry to a shopping area downtown somewhere:

And my favorite: the Guardian Building. I got one photo inside, this is it. My camera was low on batteries and the flash went off, so I hope you like it. (the area to the bottom right is an elevator waiting area.) Incredible!

How Hot WAS it?

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Does anyone remember the Johnny Carson Tonight Show? Johnny would say “It was SO hot today…” and Ed McMahon would dutifully ask “How hot WAS it, Johnny?” Then would come a punch line.

Here is my punch line, in the form of a photo:

For my metric friends, this translates to 30.2C inside and 40C outside. To be fair, this thermometer tends to read about 2 degrees high most of the time. I do know that it was 91F (32.7C) according to the National Weather Service, at around 7pm.

I walk with friend Cynthia many weeks, and today we decided walking was unwise. The sun was fierce, there were no clouds and no wind. I brought us both iced tea to drink and we sat on the bank of the Grand River not far from the dam and the Fish Ladder.

We had been at that same spot last week. It looks as though the river has dropped from 1-2 feet since last week, just an amazing change in water level.

On the way to the park, we saw a blue heron overhead. They are so amazing, so prehistoric and noble.

On the bank of the river, I heard something splash as we sat down. I guessed it was a turtle choosing to hide from us. Once upon a time I learned a lot about turtles, and this turned out useful today.

As we were chatting, I saw this tiny bit of brown stick out of the water. It looked like a branch, but it was not. May I introduce my wild friend?

Can you see him? Here’s a close up.

Another prehistoric-looking natural being, a snapping turtle (and a big one, at that). There was one more turtle we saw peek out very briefly. It had a long, skinny tube-like nose. It certainly was a soft-shelled turtle of some sort. I was excited because I saw it, and because I knew what it was.

There was a time when my life was so chaotic that I did not notice nature. Now I’m seeing birds of prey sitting still in trees by the side of the highway. It is wonderful to relax into my surroundings enough to observe.

We felt as though our hot day on the bank of the river, was a tiny vacation. I am SO excited I actually got a good photo of the one beast… cool, huh? Nature is its own art, and a chance snapshot of a moving, wild target is a very exciting find.

Gratitude, Quality, Luxury, More Gratitude.

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Relationship Celebration

Saturday we attended a wedding reception which was lovely. The space was beautiful, the company was spectacular, the music wonderful. However, it was *HOT* outside.

Brian remembers the groom as a baby. I met him when he was a young teen or tween. What a nice young man he is now. He’s good company and a good musician. I wish them all happiness, all the time.

A Great Gathering

At the reception, we got great food and plenty of water to drink. We all drank water through the day, but even so I got too much of my beloved summer heat.

By the time we got home, I didn’t feel well. I drank a lot more water, ate a little, and slept just about forever. Heat can give me headaches, and I just had to slow down.

A Cooling-Off Treat

SO: Sunday I went to the food Co-Op. They have Stonyfield Farms vanilla ice cream, the only ice cream I’ve found with ingredients I can eat (no eggs, potato starch or xanthan gum). It’s a luxury product, one that even kings could not have at one time.

I also got some organic milk and organic whipping cream. Organic Valley brand (it’s a co-op) whipping cream works for me. (It’s just cream and carrageenan, a thickener made from seaweed… totally natural. Some whipping cream has “natural” preservatives in it.) We always keep organic frozen strawberries in the house.

Not Taking this for Granted

It was a very big day when I realized I could have a homemade strawberry shake even with all my allergies. I did not eat any dairy for 5 years, so ice cream is a big treat.

When I was a child, most places with ice cream offered only vanilla, or maybe vanilla and chocolate. If I was very lucky, I could order strawberry. I think I liked it best because it was a prettier color, to be honest… although I’m not a huge chocolate person even now.

So Sunday I made all-organic strawberry shakes with fresh-whipped-cream (sweetened with brown sugar, my favorite). We both had one, and it was a lovely treat.

I’m grateful that it’s summerlike, finally.

I’m grateful for friends and happy relationships.

I’m grateful for time to rest and cool off on Sunday.

I’m delighted and grateful, that I can eat such high-quality foods. Yes, this is luxury. Gourmet!

Monster Lump for Isabel

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

I just finished a small knitting project. I hate to admit how long I took to finish it, since it could easily have been completed in part of a day.

Nonetheless, I’m delighted with the result. Just look:

The pattern I used is a free one from Rebecca Danger (who makes many knitted “monster” patterns, she’s wonderful). This design is called “Monster Chunks.” The Free Pattern is here.

(I made the face very different than Rebecca did – less Japanese, more kid/stuffed animal. I got the idea for the tuft of hair from my friends at Sticks & Strings, a yarn shop in Old Town Lansing. Love it. Makes the monster look a little like a pinkish tomato, though… don’t you think?)

But do yourself a favor… check out this wonderful, charming, happy video called Monsters on Parade. One knitter, Sara Roth, knit a litter of little Monster Chunks and made them into a stop-action animated Happy Birthday video for her child. I’ve watched it several times, even though I’m generally not a fan of videos.

Rebecca suggests sweater-weight yarns for these. I have lots of sockyarn leftovers and am rather fond of tiny knitted things, so this one was knit in fingering weight/sockyarn on size 2.5mm/2US needles.

The only thing that caused a problem with the smaller gauge was stuffing the feet. My fingers were too big, so I used a drinking straw to push the polyfill into the toes. No harm done, and absolutely ADORABLE!

The last precious day I had with Isabel was before her April birthday. She saw the Monster Chunk pattern and insisted I cast on RIGHT NOW.

It’s now June, but I have a finished monster ready for her, whenever I get another precious day. She is such a fine little person (aged 7) that there is a waiting list for her days off! I do think she’ll enjoy a birthday spread out over a month or so. More presents is always a good thing!