Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cool August Nights

I can't remember ever having such a cool summer here in California. I dislike hot weather, so the mild days and cool nights have been wonderful. This morning when I woke up it was so chilly I actually considered turning on the heater.

On Sunday I stopped by my local yarn shop to take advantage of their birthday special. After they ring up your yarn, you pick a chip out of a bowl and receive the discount on the chip. My chip was for 20% off. I bought a couple skeins of Katia Tobago, which is 100% cotton. I'm knitting a boring old kitchen cloth and enjoying it tremendously.

You also get to pick a free cloth project bag from a selection made with vintage-looking fabric. I love this soft rose pattern.
I'm still reading Pride & Prejudice sequels and spin-offs and showing no sign of slowing down. Recently I watched the movie from 1940 with Lawrence Olivier as Darcy. It was entertaining, but a little silly. They changed an important part of the story, which was hard to swallow, and the actress who played Elizabeth, Greer Garson, looked to be in her mid-thirties. She was gorgeous, but not quite right for the part.

I'm listening to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on audio during my commute back and forth to work. I almost gave up on it it a couple times because it is slow in parts, but now that I'm more than halfway through it is getting really interesting.

Last of all, I went to see Eat Pray Love. It was good, but much lighter than the book. The one thing that has remained with me is Javier Bardem, who gave an excellent performance.

Well, that's what I've been up to you. Anything new with you?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Grumble, grumble. Sigh.

I am so frustrated. I want to create, but it just isn't working. In the mood to knit, I took my plastic bins of yarn out of the closet and picked through my stash, hoping for inspiration. Nothing. I spent an hour on Ravelry looking at patterns. Nothing. So I got out my paints and embellishments, intending to collage. That started out well, but it didn't take long before I abandoned it, muttering, "My art sucks." Grrrr. I feel like a flower that wants to bloom but can't quite get enough sunshine.

So instead of showing you my latest works-in-progress, I'm going to share some of the artist trading cards I received recently from my swap group. (They are all photographed at an angle so that Blogger doesn't turn them sideways when I upload them.)

The one on the left is from Rachel at Not-So-Plain Jane. The one on the right is from Deb at Garage Sale Gal. They both have such an eye for color and design. You probably guessed the theme was butterflies.

From Cory at Pink Dogwood Blossom. She made it with her own handmade paper.

From Jill. I love the way she combined the butterfly stickers with the painted tree. The photo doesn't do it justice.

This one is from Cheryl for our Under the Sea theme. I love it!

I'm going to drag myself to the Farmer's Market and then go off in search of a chocolate eclair. It's shaping up to be a lazy Sunday. Maybe a day spent laying around doing nothing will prove to be restorative.

Do you ever get the creative doldrums? How do you snap out of it?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Black & White Wednesday :: Hands Knitting

"Knitting is clothing made in spare moments, or round the fire, whenever women gathered together...
It's something to celebrate, clothes made in love and service, something women have always done."
- Anne Bartlett,
Knitting: A Novel

Thanks to Linda at Natural Suburbia for Black & White Wednesday.

(Hands courtesy of Dogwood, who by the way is having a giveaway !)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Crafty Weekend

I knew that Cory had planned some crafty activities for our weekend together in Grass Valley, but I didn't quite comprehend the fun that was in store for us until I arrived. It was like an arts & crafts retreat.

When I got there at noon on Friday, she whisked me in to her studio and taught me to make this cool handmade paper. It's made with brown paper bags, paint, glitter, spray-on webbing, and gold coloring. Very fun and easy to make, but I went a bit overboard with the glitter.

After a trip to the incredible Ben Franklin craft store, we spent the evening needle felting.

On Saturday morning we departed for T Pots Pottery in Truckee, owned by Cory's wonderful daughter Teresa. The drive there through the Sierra Nevada mountain range was breathtaking.

I've never painted pottery before and wasn't sure I could make something that I would ever want to look at again, but Cory and Teresa patiently walked me through the process. The above picture is the plate I painted before it was dipped in glaze and put in the kiln.

And here it is after. The flowers were created with a stencil, so it was quite easy. I also made a fused glass dish, but will have to show you that at a later time.

After dinner at a yummy Thai restaurant, we went home and sat outside on the deck intending to knit and chat. The evening took an exciting turn when a Western Screech Owl popped his head out of the owl nesting box. Her backyard is a birder's paradise.

This morning before I left, Cory taught me how to bind a little book made with folded paper that can be painted and embellished. I can't wait to start working on it. The above photo is a similar book that Cory created.

Rocky supervised all craft activities :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Black & White Wednesday :: Apollo

Phew, I got in just under the wire for Black & White Wednesday ... it's 11:45 pm.

Since Charlie was the subject last week, to be fair I am featuring Apollo this week. He is a sweet, well-behaved cat, and awfully skittish. Lately I've been letting him go outside for a few minutes each night, and it was a joy to watch him roll around on the grass for the first time.

On Friday I am off to Grass Valley to visit with Dogwood. See you when I get back!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Looky look

... at what arrived in the mail yesterday.

An owl towel!

Cute potholders! With owls!

Jen at Miss Punkie Pie made them for me in exchange for the Apple Tree Scarf. The owl towel was a complete surprise-- I thought I was only getting potholders. Jen was so sweet to remember that I love owls.

Aren't those mushrooms cute? They remind me of the 1970's.
And Strawberry Shortcake.

Thanks Jen!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Booties Galore

Finally. Someone I know is pregnant! I get to knit for an actual baby, not just for the love of tiny little things. I used Frog Tree Pima Silk for the seed stitch booties, and oh my, it is wonderful to work with. I'm not exactly sure what it is about cotton/silk blend yarn that makes me so happy ... maybe it's the softness, the way it glides smoothly over the needle, or the slight sheen. Or maybe all three.

Matching caps are in the queue.

Yesterday I went to San Francisco with my family and needed an easy knitting project for the drive there, so I started another ripple scarf using the same pattern as the Apple Tree scarf. You might remember this Fairytale yarn from when it arrived last spring. This pattern gets pretty tedious after a while, but I really like how it looks with the variegated yarn.

We are having an uncommonly cool summer (hopefully I didn't just jinx it), which might be why I am getting enthusiastic about knitting again after a short break.