Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Autumn is here (finally!)

I woke up yesterday morning to the strangest sound outside the window. It was like drops of water were falling out of the sky and landing on the ground with a soft patter. I jumped out of bed to look, and sure enough, rain! Plus, it was chilly ... so chilly I actually put on a pair of socks for the first time in months, and used my bedroom heater for the first time since I moved in to my new place. Hurray!

Isn't this acorn cool? I saw it on the ground recently and had to stop and examine it because it looks so unusual. Hard to believe the pattern on it is just dust.

Nature is amazing. I have no idea what made that design, although it looks a bit like the outline of a winged creature.

I was under the weather on Sunday, so I only participated in the yarn shop hop on Friday evening with a friend. We went to three shops and then out for Thai food. I bought this one little skein of Malabrigo on sale. It's isn't the most beautiful color (okay, it's kind of plain and ugly), but they didn't have much of a selection and the price was too good to pass up. It matches some of the other Malabrigo in my stash, so I bought it to make a striped felted bag.

My little sister got me hooked on yet another vampire series. The House of Night books are definitely written for teenagers, yet I couldn't put the first one down. I'm halfway through the second one, and I also started watching a new show, The Vampire Diaries, on Thursday nights. I don't know why I'm so into the whole vampire thing now ... I never read any of Anne Rice's books when they were popular or watched Buffy when it was on.

I really do read grown-up books, too. This memoir about birdwatching is pretty good ... but it could use a vampire or two .

I've been knitting quite a bit, but I can't show you what I'm making because it's part of the It's All About Me swap. This picture is a little hint. Or maybe it's a big hint :o)

Here's another hint. Actually, it's just an excuse to include a picture of my sweet boy.

Isn't he handsome?

This black kitten is a keeper, too. My boys love their tissue paper and cardboard boxes.

Happy autumn to you.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Artist Trading Cards

Yesterday I planned to visit a few yarn stores as part of the Peninsula to Pier Yarn Shop Hop , but when I stepped outside I immediately changed my mind. It was hot! I think the temperature reached 100 degrees, and it was a stifling heat with no breeze whatsoever.

Fortunately I'd hit several yarn stores Friday evening, so I didn't feel too bad about missing out yesterday. Instead of shop hopping I turned on the air conditioning, got out my craft supplies and worked on my October ATC's. Charlie helped.

This ATC is from September. The theme was autumn.

This one is also from September. The theme was supposed to be back-to-school, but I liked those little foil leaves and the decorative paper so much I wanted to use them again.

This is a 2.5" x 3.5" collage on canvas I made Friday night. It's so tiny and simple, yet it took several hours to make it.

It is going to be sizzling hot again today, so I'm going to stay in and read, watch a movie, and knit.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

So happy

One of my favorite television shows has returned! I had the biggest smile on my face when I sat down to watch the first episode of Dancing With the Stars on Monday night. Not only do I love the dancing, the music is awesome, too. I got lots of knitting done the last two evenings as I watched both of the two-hour episodes.

I'm rooting for Donny Osmond right now. Ever since I heard him sing on the soundtrack to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Coat I've been a big fan, plus I have fond memories of watching the Donny & Marie show as a kid. But Kelly Osbourne looked great last night, too, surprising everyone with her elegant dance moves. It would be fun if she took home the trophy.

This weekend is an event I look forward to all year, the
Peninsula to Pier Yarn Shop Hop . For three days you visit local yarn shops from San Mateo to Carmel (about 100 miles), getting your passport stamped at each one. The shops offer a special ball of yarn for sale along with a free pattern to knit a square that can be used for an afghan. If you get a stamp from every yarn store, you are eligible to win a $400 gift certificate at your favorite shop.

The shops buzz with energy and excitement during this event, and my enthusiasm for knitting is renewed. Sadly, many of our local yarn shops went out of business over the last year, but there are still a dozen or so involved in the hop. I'm going with a knitty friend and can't wait!

In a couple weeks
Dogwood and I are going on an afternoon boating excursion at Elkhorn Slough in Moss Landing . A naturalist will be on board to talk about the birds and marine life-- the slough is rich with otters, sea lions, harbor seals, pelicans, and more. I've gone kayaking there a few times and it was absolutely wonderful.

This is the pontoon boat we will ride on. It's nice and stable, and the water is calm, thank goodness. Dogwood and I both get seasick, so I had to confirm with the tour operator that there wouldn't be rough water. I think it will be educational and fun, plus I just love being out on (calm) water. There are lots of whale watching tours around here, but I haven't been on one in years because of the seasick factor. Next year
I plan to do more kayaking in the slough-- one of my goals is to spend more time outdoors, being active.

Happy Wednesday to you ... hope you are having a great week.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Moss Landing

Yesterday I spent the day in Moss Landing, which is about an hour's drive from where I live.

It offers a harbor full of sailboats, beach, antique shops, wetlands, and lots of wildlife.

This sweet-faced sea lion was lounging on a dock. It was surprising to see the sea lions up where the sailboats come in and people sometimes need to walk.

There were signs everywhere warning not to feed or go near them.

I moved slowly and stayed a safe distance away.

Isn't that cypress tree spectacular?

So many interesting colors and textures around the harbor.

I love pelicans-- they look prehistoric with their long bills. I'm always excited to see them.

I had lunch on the patio of a Mexican cafe and then visited this antique store. They had great stuff, but it was a little pricey.

I did find postcards on sale for .35 cents each and vintage ephemera.

After lunch I went for a walk on the beach. Oh, my feet were so happy to be in the sand! Although the sky was grey, the air temperature was comfortable. Little shorebirds scampered along the water's edge, and the waves roiled.

The water was too cold and too rough for swimming, but it was wonderful to hear the crashing of the waves and sound of the seagulls.

I enjoyed it so much that I want to go back next weekend, too.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Art Supplies

Inspired by my new art books and this
post on Woollywotnots , I treated myself to new art supplies this week. I've been wanting to try Pitt artist pens for some time now, and I also picked up alcohol inks, a brayer , and new acrylic paints in neutral colors.

The alcohol inks are for making splotchy, transparent backgrounds on collages like this one in the book Taking Flight by Kellie Rae Roberts. She offers detailed instructions with photos. I love how it looks.

My background didn't quite turn out like the one in the book. Well, not at all! I didn't attempt to draw the figure (that's way out of my league), but I did want my splotches to look like Kellie's. I used a bit too much red and didn't apply the inks correctly to the collage.

That's okay, I'll keep trying. I think I have a sense of how to do it better next time. (Step one: follow the instructions!)

It was warm here today, as expected, and I took an evening dip in the pool at my apartment complex. Oh, it felt so good. I love to swim, but rarely do it because the pool gets so crowded. But this evening I had it all to myself and it was heavenly.

Hope you are having a relaxing weekend.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday Chitchat

The rain is gone and now there is a heatwave in the weekend forecast. Boo! I hope this is the last warm weekend of the year. I want to feel that crispness in the air and break out my long-sleeve sweaters.

Have you heard about the "It's All About Me" swap sponsored by Artistic Creations by Natasha Burns ? It has quite a twist-- you make something special for yourself rather than for someone else. I think it's a wonderful way to finally get that project done you've been putting off, especially if your craft projects tend to be gifts for others. I hope you will consider joining in! I'm still trying to decide what to make for myself-- the deadline is a month away, so there is time.

This book, Artist Trading Card Workshop, arrived in the mail yesterday from Amazon, and it has me excited about making more ATC's. I'm eager to learn some new art techniques.

The book has techniques for using phone book paper, fun foam, fabric, fused fiber, and more. I wish it included a few more details in the instructions, but there's enough info to get started and it's fun looking at all of the examples.

I picked up this book, Lace & Eyelets, at Recycle Bookstore last weekend. When I started knitting, lace was all the rage. Now I think socks are the in thing, but I still love lace.

These are some of the patterns in the book. I'm always looking for lace patterns that aren't too complicated for scarves.

Well, that's all the chitchat I have for today. Hope you're having a great week.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Gifts from Ganky

Last evening we had our first rainstorm since spring. It was cozy being in the house with the two cats, working on my knitting with the windows open so I could hear the rain. This morning when I left for work everything smelled fresh and wet. I adore rain and can't wait for autumn to arrive in full swing with lots of wet weather.

Tonight when I got home from work, there was a surprise waiting. I recently won a giveaway from Theresa at They Call Me Ganky , and the package was in my mailbox.

Inside was the September issue of Better Homes and Garden and a tote bag filled with goodies-- a candle, garden ornament, notebook and pads, and this adorable little birdhouse.

Theresa also sent a wall plaque and plate, each with inspirational quotes. I really like those quotes and might hang both in my kitchen. They are so bright and cheerful.

Apollo liked the tote bag best. I put it in the window to try and get a picture of it before the light faded away, and he sniffed it for a while and then started nibbling. I quickly put it in a safe place.

Thank you, Theresa! That was such a generous giveaway, and I love my gifts.

PS. Toni over at The Tattered Cottage is having her first giveaway. Please check it out!