Monday, October 31, 2005

The Handle-less Well-Traveled Bag

I finished up Dawn's awesome pattern this weekend. It was really simple and hardly took any time at all. I then had my first felting experience ever. I was a little nervous. What if my washing machine ate my bag? What if it wouldn't felt? What if the sky turned purple and it started raining onions? What if? What if? :-) I shouldn't have spent so much energy worrying. As you can see, the bag looks great:

You may also have noticed, or oh-so-smartly figured out from the title, that there are no handles as of yet. I actually bought some canvas straps at Joann's the other day that I thought would look cool. Got home, held them next to the bag, and they look HORRIBLE! So I am going to bring the bag with me tomorrow when I go and buy new handles!

Besides finishing the bag this weekend, I also spent a lot of time reading. Which is a good thing, because book club is next Sunday so I need to get Broken For You done! I like it so far, though I am a little wary of how easily these "strangers" lives seem to be locking together. I never trust books that suddenly do the surprise/revelation that is the equivalent of "that nice woman that the protagonist connects so well with is really her long lost mother/sister/aunt/dog catcher!" Seems like an easy fix to me. But. I am not finished with the book yet, so I am trying to not jump to conclusions. Sorta. :-)

We had about 25 trick-or-treaters tonight. The cutest was a group of middle-school boys dressed in suits, fedoras, and sunglasses, calling themselves the "Windy City Mafia." Now, off to eat that leftover candy....

Friday, October 28, 2005

Happy (early) Halloween!

First off, here is my ode to Halloween:

Image hosted by

I think it is appropriate because I will probably spend a good chunk of this pre-Halloween weekend watching my Simpsons DVDs (I have seasons 1-5; hope to get 6 for Christmas!) and crocheting. Doesn't sound very exciting, but this is the first weekend in about 3 months that we have absolutely nothing planned. Nada. Zilch. No dinner with friends, no letterboxing, no family events, no visitors. My hubby is soooo excited. It will be nice to spend some quality time at home, just the two of us.

And what will I be crocheting? Well, I have made great progress on the Well-Traveled Bag. I am about half-way done. I hope to finish and felt it this weekend (although I am not sure what I am going to do about the handles. I may end up posting the "finished" bag without handles!). I am using this lovely wool from KnitPicks which I was going to post a pic of, but then decided it would be more exciting to post the finished product. So ya all will have to wait a day or two! I also picked up some rust, tan, cream, and dark brown RH to start a block afghan for our library. No progress to report there and everybody know what RH looks like, so no pics! :-)

The other exciting (well, to me) thing that I will likely be doing this weekend is planning our first-anniversary trip. Our anniversary is in Feb. and we have some very dear friends who live in Ireland. So we are probably going to visit them. I am soooo excited. I have visited Ireland several times, but have spent most of my time in Dublin. So this trip will focus more on the rest of the country. I am going to pull my Ireland tour books and maps out of storage and start planning this weekend! (Cuz I am a bit obsessive and like planning trips several months in advance!)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Now I'll always know what day it is!

Long time, no blog! I had a very busy, fun weekend pursuing my other all-consuming passion, letterboxing. So I didn't have a ton of time to blog... but I did finally finish my hubby's scarf! Hurray! This thing has only taken about a month or so (jeez!)... mostly because my husband wanted it insanely long. We measured it last night and it was over 8 feet! Here's DH proudly modeling the finished product:

Note that he has it looped around his neck twice and he is over 6' tall!

In other exciting news, you may have noticed that the Crochet Pattern A Day pic (and desperate title -- "The Perfect Gift For Me!") is no longer living in my sidebar. Why? Because the way cool Dawn of Wild Yarn had an extra calendar and sent it to me as a RAOK. My jaw about hit the floor when I opened the package. It was the last thing I was expecting. Thank you soooooo much, Dawn! I knew my love of ChocoCat would pay off some day! ;-)

I also purchased way too much yarn on Thursday and have started a few more projects... but I'll save all that until next time!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Just a plain old mid-week update

I have finally decided what my next project will be! Take a look at the Well-Traveled Bag, courtesy of Dawn. Isn’t it adorable? I have been itching to try a felted bag, so I can’t wait to get started. I placed my order last night with Knitpicks for Wool of the Andes. I selected tulip, rain, avocado, and cloud. When I told my husband these colors, he looked blank and then wanted to know what that meant in “real” colors! So from now on, I’ll just say “pink, blue, green, and cream, honey!”

I finished “A Night in the Lonesome October” a few days ago. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. There were even a few twists at the end that I didn’t see coming! I really would recommend this book for teens looking for a seasonal read. However, they really can’t be too young, because the main character is Jack the Ripper. It was odd to feel sympathy for such a notorious killer, but in the book, it is all in service of saving the world (this being fantasy and all!). Younger kids might not grasp the concept that sometimes you have to do bad things for a good cause, though. My current read is “The Drowning Tree” by Carol Goodman. It is shaping up to be a nice, academia-set murder mystery, in the vein of “The Secret History” or “Possession.” My only beef with these types of stories is the conceit that every character speaks Latin, knows Greek mythology, is intimately familiar with obscure historical facts, or in the case of the Drowning Tree, can recite Tennyson and appreciate stained-glass art. Ah well. Paradoxically, I think that is also part of their allure. Wouldn’t it be nice if everybody was as smart, educated, and sophisticated as these characters? (Says the woman who quotes Homer Simpson on a regular basis!)

And on that note... here’s a Homer quote that ties in nicely with my book ramblings:

“Ah, beer, my one weakness. My Achilles’ heel, if you will.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Mom + crafts = ???

Wow -- my internet connection is horrible tonight! I hope nothing happens (i.e., the cyber black hole strikes again) because I actually have pictures to share. Oh! Aw!

Picture #1: The coasters I made with my mom over the weekend. She went to a class to learn how to make tile coasters. I thought she meant like mosaic tile. You know, where you smash up glass and plates and glue them back together. :-) Turns out, these coasters you keep the tile whole (shucks!) and glue/shellac images to them. My mom fell in love with the technique. Me, I'm not so crazy about it. As you can see from the picture, this type of craft highlights everything I suck at in the crafty world. You know, cutting in a straight line, sharp creases in paper, getting it right the first time (no frogging here!)... So here is my slightly pathetic set of 4 coasters. Try not to look too closely at the corners! I do love the pictures, though.

Image hosted by

Picture #2: My mom has knit and crocheted for years. She taught me both years ago, when they were uncool, and I promptly forgot how to do both! :-) And am just now relearning. But, being the kind woman that she is, she lent me a big stack of her old magazines and books, ranging from the late 70s to the early 90s. Here is, by far, the best cover:

Image hosted by

Picture #3: And from this lovely little book, take a look at these outfits! A family friend tried to convince me these were back in style. My response? Maybe for somebody else, but not for me!

Image hosted by

Picture #4: Is also from a 70s-era crochet magazine. I love it because my mom made this afghan. I mean, same colors and everything. When I flipped through and saw this pic, I had flashbacks to my childhood (complete with avocado green and gold furnishings!).

Image hosted by

Picture #5: Because my mom rocks, she also gave me a bag of old yarn. A little bit of fun fur, some chenille, some wool... woo-hoo!

Image hosted by

Moms can be pretty wonderful.

EDIT: For some reason, my pictures are blurry and huge. I don't feel like fixing them now... sorry!

Monday, October 17, 2005

I have been RAOK-ed!

By the wonderful vigilant20 at Crochetville. This wonderful, talented, SUPER lady made me the superb button for my blog that now lives on my sidebar. Isn't it wonderful? She worked in images of books and yarn, since those are the two things I talk the most about on my site. HURRAY! Can you tell that I am excited? It was so unexpected (which I guess is the purpose of RAOKs, but still, you just don't expect it!) and made my weekend. I couldn't wait to see what my button would look like... and am still grinning over it!

Thanks again, Lynn. You rock!


I saw this on Kimberly's blog and thought it was cute, and had to try it myself. So, you google your name plus "needs" (i.e., "Jane needs") and see what you come up with. Here are mine, with my responses:

Jennifer needs a cold shower *** I like hot showers better.***

Jennifer needs a tutor who can help a client with their Probability Exam in the Somerville area.***Probably, true, since I don’t even know what a probability exam is!***

Jennifer needs to be in a mental health facility right now ***How did they know?***

Jennifer needs to better understand Trump's business ***He has more to his business than saying, “You’re Fired!”?***

Jennifer needs a smack daddy ***Jennifer will smack back!***

Jennifer needs to know your new address to re-subscribe you ***To what? The adventures of my life? I didn’t know it was serialized.***

Jennifer needs to say away from Hope ***But Hope is so nice!***

Jennifer needs to stay away from these types of ballads.***Are you saying there is something wrong with cheesy 80s love songs?***

Jennifer needs copies of the Constitution and By-Laws ***Though it wouldn’t do me any good.***

Jennifer needs space ***Don’t we all?***

Jennifer needs to check her Palm Pilot to tell you what she’s doing from day today. *** I am too low tech for a Palm Pilot. How about I check my sticky notes on my computer monitor?***

Jennifer needs to keep on improving ***As if I am not perfection already!***

Fun, fun! And not nearly as dirty as I was expecting!

Tomorrow: The fab 70s-era crocheting books I got from my mom. And YARN YARN YARN!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Guilt Be Gone -- POOF!

Ok, I am feeling better about my slacker-ish ways on the book (Thanks for sympathizing, SP!). It just wasn’t for me. And even with a degree in English, sometimes you just can’t get through a book... right? (This is, perhaps, a little bit o’ rationalizing on my part. Ah well.)

My husband recommended a light, fun read to me last night. It is A Night in the Lonesome October, by Roger Zelazny. It is fantasy, which I don’t read much of, and written almost at the young adult level... but I can see why the DH enjoyed it as teenager. It is set in October leading up to Halloween and told from the point of view of a dog ~ a very good watchdog. Magic, murder, and creepiness abound. So far, it is lots of fun as a “pre-Halloween” read. And I am positive I will finish it! My book-y guilt was also eased a bit by ordering a few (Ha! A few! Do you see the Future Reads list now? It is huge!) books from the library. I am always happiest when I have a big stack of stuff to read!

And on the crocheting front... not much has been happening there. Still plugging away at the ginormous scarf for the hubby. It is at least 6 feet long at this point! I also found this link for a yarn sale going on until Oct. 31st. I think you have to order over $30, but some of these prices look awfully tempting.... I may have to sit down with my patterns this weekend and really plan my next few projects, so I can feel justified in ordering some of this!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Guilt of the Unfinished Book

I am feeling a little depressed about going to the library tonight. Why? Because I am returning Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed ~ and I have not finished it. This is distressing to me for several reasons.

1) I finish EVERYTHING that I read. Everything. Even junky mysteries or predictable romances or Stephen King. The general rule is, if I start it, I finish it.
2) I loved the first book I read by Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel. I mean, I own it and have re-read it multiple times. Every time I re-read it, I feel like I am learning something vital and important and so “common sense-ish” that I can’t believe I didn’t think of it on my own.

And yet, despite reasons one and two, I am returning Collapse unfinished. I just lost interest at the transition from ancient to modern times. Story of how the ancient Easter Islanders destroyed their environment, leading to their demise: Fascinating. Story of how the modern Haitians live in poverty and despair because of environmental concerns: Depressing.

This probably shows a lot about my character. I love history and science (especially wrapped up together... like how scientists use pollen samples in ice cores in Greenland to figure out what the ancient Norse ate: cool!) but only at several degrees removed. I don’t want ‘in my backyard’ environmental science. It just makes me feel rotten.

So the book goes back only half-read, and I stew in guilt, and wait for my book club book to come in (Broken For You ~ it’s fiction so I will be able to indulge in some pleasant escapism)....


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Fireworks! Giddy dancing! Gleeful chuckles!

What has caused this oh-so-merry outburst at the end of a long/boring day of work? My Secret Pal, of course! I came home to a box on my doorstep, that instantly brightened my day. Shall we see why?

In case you can't make out what all these goodies are, let me list them for you: a lovely yarn card, two sets of Red Heart hooks (in some funky colors, too!)(and I can't wait to try out the size P-- huge!), the Interweave Knits Crochet magazine (which looks fab), the Vogue Knitting on the Go, Crocheted Scarves book from my Wishlist (hurray!), and "A Book of Handy-Dandy Crochet Patterns" compiled by my Secret Pal. Is that not incredibly cool????

Seriously, SP. You rock. Thanks so much!!!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Sonata Baby Hat

As promised, here is a pic of the finished hat:

I used this pattern and Sonata (cotton) yarn (from the stash I bought yesterday). This was incredibly easy to make. I mean, I had never crocheted a non-square object before this. And look! It turned out great! :-) I highly recommend this as a beginner hat, especially because the time involved was minimal. I started this yesterday afternoon and finished today ~ with breaks for sleeping, eating, and going through a corn maze today! I am going to do another one (lots o' babies have been arriving lately in my world) and am considering using a smaller hook on the next one... I don't know. This was a G hook. Has anybody used a smaller hook on this pattern? What were the results?

Now, I am off to start hat number 2 -- I mean, to make dinner!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Mmm... yarn (drool)

Why the drooling? I bought some lovely yarn from Jaime who was de-stashing and de-booking. Good for her, and great for me! It came today and I have been oohing and aahing over it all day. Look at this!

And this!

And finally, look at this book!

It looks BRAND NEW. I flipped through it and about half to three-quarters of the patterns look good to me. Considering I bought this at half-price, I think it is fab.

I actually bought 12 "yarn logs" (as my husband likes to call them) of the pink/green/purply-gray cotton. I already started using the twelth on a baby's hat for one of my girl friend's kids. It is wayyyy cute and about half-way done. I'll (hopefully) post a pic tomorrow of the finished product.

I must go. My yarn is calling me....

Thursday, October 06, 2005

A few of the things I love about Ann Arbor

One of my pet peeves is when newly-transplanted residents to Ann Arbor do nothing but bash their new home. "It's not New York; therefore it is the worst possible place on the planet to live." "Berkeley is way cooler." "The restaurants are horrifying." etc., etc., etc. Having lived in both teeny, tiny Michigan towns and a fairly large non-Michigan town (Denver), I happen to think Ann Arbor has a lot going for it. The downtown is vibrant, the shops are usually non-chains, the food is some of the best in the midwest, and the U brings in quite a bit of talent and culture. So, in honor of my adopted home, here are a few of my fave places in Ann Arbor:

Shalimar. I eat lunch here at least once a week. Why wouldn't I? It is walking distance from work.
Image hosted by

Aunt Agatha's. Ann Arbor has tons of book stores. TONS. Almost every street has a new or used shop on it. Aunt Agatha's is one of our faves for stocking up on old mysteries. I love that the owner recognizes me and the hubby and remembers that the hubby is a John Dickson Carr fan -- and even holds on to copies for him between visits.
Image hosted by

The Arb. A great place to walk. Lovely year round.
Image hosted by

The church where we were married (just 7 months ago!). Awww....
Image hosted by

And finally.... just one of three LYS in AA. How dangerous-I mean great, is that? This one happens to be on Main St., which happens to be in walking distance of work... you see the problem, I am sure.
Image hosted by

(Brought to you by the Ann Arbor Board of Tourism. Kidding, kidding. Actually, brought to you a by a local knit-blogger who was a little too critical of AA in her last post!)

Having said I am an AA girl, I promptly went and took this quiz to find out what other city I should live in! I am not going to quibble with the results:

You Belong in Rome

You're a big city girl with a small town heart
Which is why you're attracted to the romance of Rome
Strolling down picture perfect streets, cappuccino in hand
And gorgeous Italian men - could life get any better?
What City Do You Belong in? Take This Quiz :-)
Find the Love of Your Life (and More Love Quizzes) at Your New Romance.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Why am I grumbling and grousing? Because I wrote a fab post last night. There were pictures. There was drama. There was interesting, exciting content. And then there was nothing, when Comcast went down and my post was lost. So I am grumbling.

To recap, without any pics and without the good cheer of last night:

1) It is too hot in Ann Arbor for October. I want it to be fall.
2) My hubby bought me some lovely fall colored flowers (insert lost photo here) so it isn't all bad.
3) My progress on my first pair of socks is slow (insert second lost photo here), but fun. I like the self-striping yarn.
4) The second scarf is going great, I have about 5 feet of it done (There wasn't a photo of this, but there should have been. Just pretend.). It is a hdc, whereas Scarf #1 was a dc, so it is taking a bit more time. I like the Wool-Ease much better than the Homespun, though.
5) Maybe there was something else? Who knows. It has all been sucked into a cyber black hole.
6) Oh wait, I do remember. I sent my SP a package early last week and have yet to hear from her. I am anxious to know if she got it. Should I send a little note?

Over and out. Hopefully, next time I post from home, Comcast will be up and running and I will have lots of perty pictures for y'all.