Friday, February 29, 2008

Sock Knitters Pentathlon - Queen Mermaid

This is Queen Mermaid - a hand dyed superwash yarn from Enchanted Knoll Farm. Its quite lovely, and this picture doesn't really do it justice. Its much more subtle and very evocative of the sea. Being a Pisces, we do adore images of the sea. Ironically however, I don't like swimming in the sea because I am not at the top of the food chain there.

This is the yarn I'm going to use for the up coming Sock Knitters Pentathlon 2008. The first pattern will be released tonight.

I'm very excited. OK, I'm a geek.

Sock Knitters Pentathlon

The Sock Knitters Pentathlon starts tonight. What is the Sock Knitters Pentathlon you might ask?
This is group will test your sock knitting skills. During the course of the year, competitors will knit 5 pairs of socks in 5 different styles.
Yes, it is a sock knitting competition.
Knitters will be placed by how quickly they finish the assigned patterns. First to finish is 1, second is 2 etc. Lowest score for the 5 patterns wins.
And there are prizes, oh yes, prizes.
At the end of the the Pentathlon prizes will be awarded to the knitters who place first (gold), second (silver), and third (bronze).
Now, I have a terrible and faulty reputuation for being rather competitive *shifty eyes*. This is totally false. Do not believe anything you might hear to the contrary.

The faux competition is part of the fun! *shifty eyes*

Monday, February 25, 2008

To the Creativity Cave Batman!

I'm taking this online course on creativity...

But first let me explain how I got there...

There's a great podcast that I subscribe to called hip tranquil chick. Its done by Kimberly Wilson, a DC area yoga studio owner. The pod cast is what inspired me to first try yoga.

For this class we're reading three books. Hip Tranquil Chick by Kimberly Wilson, 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin and The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. And it all sort of started with the Artist's Way.

Kimberly had mentioned in a pod cast ages ago. Then I read a reference to it somewhere else. Then it practically jumped off the bookself and into my lap at the bookstore. AND it has a Fuji-esq image on the cover. I bought the book and read a few pages and then had to put it away. I would be a lot of work and I wasn't quite ready for it yet. Then Kimberly had to go and create a class about discovering your creativity featuring this book. If that's not a sign, I don't know what is.

So in the coming weeks I hope to offer reviews of these books and some notes on things I'm discovering. It should be a fun ride.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ode to Mommy

I have to say, one of the things I'm most greateful for right now is my parents. They're pretty freaking awesome. And I can appreciate that now that I'm out of the hate-your-parents teenage stage. And I'm not the only one who things so.... on the Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm blog.. Susan was having a very bad day, until...
That's when I found this, posted by Glassneedles to the ravelry group:

"Please remember the name is “Community Supported Agriculture”. This group can be very important to our investment. We might not be able to stop in to help with the chores but our dsicussions might let Susan know we haven’t forgot her."

See???? I'm not the only one thinks s

Sunday, February 17, 2008

My life, as we know it, may have come to an end

I finally broke down and bought a new printer. My old printer I got for free with another electronics purchase and when "The Ex" moved the computer stuff, I don't know what happened, but it never worked again. The death of a technology toy is always sad. However, this is not a major life tragedy. I can print stuff from work. I have a snazzy color laser printer at my desk. However, there have been times that I've really wanted/needed to print things at home. For example, I did my taxes online and it would have been more convenient to print the second I finished and sign the return. So I filed my taxes and got my modest return and decided a printer would be my one splurge item. Printers are relatively inexpensive these days and are jam packed with goodies. I decided it would be a wise business decision to invest in a multifunction model. This baby prints, prints in color, prints PHOTOS, copies AND scans. That's right folks, I can do it all! Instead of typing in recipes I find in cook books, SCAN HO!!!!!! If I find a scrap of fabric I want to scrapbook, well, I can just copy it! I want to share a crafty image with the Mamajama? Hello printer my friend!

Take today for example. We had a Scrapbook Extravaganza with the ladies from work. Scrapbooking is a new thing for me and I haven't quite decided if its THE thing. There are a few ladies at work who are just mad about it. The do scrapbooking WEEKENDS. We get together now and then and share tools and supplies and basically socialize for a few hours. It is great fun. And since I don't really have a lot of supplies, I get to borrow some cool stuff. I did 4 pages and here you see a corner section of my LeeLuu Page. One draw back is my scrapbook is 12"x12" but the scanner flat bed is 8.5"x11". C'est la vie. I'm sure I could figure out how to cut and paste small images into a bigger one, but I'm not that bored today (but you never know what will happen tomorrow).

Yes, yes, the printer is an exciting new tool. I can print photos, I can scan ideas. It's very exciting. That however, is not the really exciting part.

The ladies put together a raffle for a Circut.

THE THING CUTS PRECISION SHAPES. It is the most amazing thing I've ever seen. One of the Ladies brought it into work for a scrapbook night, and I was over the moon. Not in love enough to race out and buy one. They are pricey suckers. The machine itself is $300+ and the software bits are $80 a pop. GULP. While I could afford it, there are other things I'd like to dedicate my resources to.

By now, Dear Reader, you have probably figured out who won the raffle. This little machine is soooooooo cool. It cuts flowers, it makes perfect letters. It's super exciting. I could see myself sitting entranced by the machine for HOURS. I have it on my coffee table right now. I have a feeling, it will get a work out this week.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Rollcall: CuteOverload

I recently added a blog roll to GNA (that's GlassNeedleArts. I had to give a training session today so I'm in over-explanation-mode). I thought I'd give you a little review of each of the sites over the next few days so that 1) I'll start living up to my own hype of I-wanna-be-a-writer-thus-I-should-write-everyday (hello Hyphen, my dear friend) and B) you'll become obsessed with the same websites I'm obsessed with. Yes, I like to spread around the Interweb Addictions.

May I present....


Oh CO (CuteOverload. OK OK OK! I'll chill) how do I love thee, let me count the ways.

1) Cute animal pictuers delivered to your computers SEVERAL TIMES A DAY. And were not talking "oh hey look cute" kinds of cute. I'm talking about the make-your-jaw-drop-and-expell-an-extra-loud-awwwwwwwwww-at-your-cubicle CUTE so that you're coworkers think your mad.

2) The most hysterical captions and headlines EVA.
Here's just a snippet:
'Sup, my bitches
I'm just trying to get comfortuhbuls
I COMPLETELY disapprove

3) Cats'nRacks
Yes, it is exactly what you think it is.

4) 38 Rules of Cuteness

5) The Bonus Features.
Click to the site and check out the bar on the right. You'll find amazing features that you'll lose many many many hours of your life to in a warm fuzzy bath of cuteness... like CuteTracker where you get to pick the cutest picture of all! Or how about CuteCaps where readers post hysterica (and lame) captions to pictures.

6) I lof your ear flops

The only bad thing I can say about the website is that the comments section can get a little out of control with people arguing about nonsensical issues.

Click on over, you'll get sucked in. Trust me

Monday, February 11, 2008

We’re on a roll!!

No not the Kieser kind… hmmmmm kieser rolls, I wonder how they’re made… STOP that Amy! Focus! Focus!


Pardon moi. I have let the intoxication of the challah bread woo me… hmmmm challah..

OK OK Back on track.

I just saw “A Tradition of Quirky Artists” listed on a blogroll for the first time! Woo hoo! OK, yes I know that’s not very exciting, much akin to seeing your name in your 8th Grade Band Recital.

Clickety Click on over to the Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm and read all about it!

Always the bridesmaid...

Continuing on the non-crocheting front - sorry - I went and picked up the bridesmaid for one of the weddings I'm in this spring. Now I went with the MamaJama to get measured at the place - Bridal Reflections in Massapequa NY - just to make sure they go their measurements correct. They do their thing, and size me at two sizes bigger than I normally wear. Honestly, I was fine with that - I know I'm not a size 2 and that formal wear can run on the small size and blah blah blah… Talking to some of the other bridesmaids, they seem to all have gotten sized at their regular size or just one bigger.

This made me go “Hmmmm” just a little.

So myself and two of the other bridesmaids (did I mention there are ELVEN bridesmaids in this event?) go this weekend to pick up the dresses and get fitted. First – they fail to mention to the bride who told us all to go ASAP that they don’t do fittings on weekend. This means all of us city folks have to trundle out to Long Island yet again after work one day to get this done. Then I try on my dress…

And I begin swimming in it. It’s at least 2 inches to big all over – not just that the waist is a little loose, but it’s fine across the hips – nope, the darn thing is freakin’ huge all over.

The girl working there tried to convince me that I must have changed measurements – I think me and the jeans I squeezed my lard-butt into this morning would have realized if I had lost any weight, let alone 2 or more inches. She really was condescending and quite a little bitc… erm, I mean annoying.

Now, I know how dresses are constructed and tailored, and with the seaming in this dress, the work that would need to be done would be quite extensive and frankly I’m paranoid that it would turn out horrible because I don’t know the quality of their seamstresses. I believe the MamaJama was also quite peeved – especially when was hysterical when I called her but that’s another story. (I cry at the drop of a hat – or apparently the drop of a dress…)

The only upshot is that one of the other bridesmaid’s dress is a touch too tight in the bust, and they were talking about letting it out. Instead we’re going together and we’re going to just trade dresses so she can get the bigger one and get that sized down and I don’t look like I’m sporting a bloody caftan.

The reason why I’m posting this – besides just to rant about obnoxious shop girls and PMS-induced hysterics – is to make a point about how the loss of knowledge of fiber arts and even basic skills such as being able to hem a pair of pants or fix a button leaves people vulnerable to situations like these. If I hadn’t signed the contact that says that if I ordered the size they recommend that all the alterations would be free (thank god I did that) I’d be paying out as much as the dress costs to get it fixed. Kinda like the woman-visiting-the-mechanic routine, I feel that it’s almost criminal how people – men and woman – can be taken advantage of because they feel that it’s too difficult to learn how to do it. Now I’m not saying that I’m stellar at it, and if I had a really nice piece I would have my mom fix it (and that’s why I love her) because, frankly my sewing skills aren’t exactly the neatest… but I can do it by myself if I had to. I ran a cottage-industry in college – and got paid in food and beer – by fixing buttons and fallen hems for people, even though I offered to sit them down and show them how to do it themselves…

I have a similar rant about the Geek Squad/Firedog type places that offer to set up your computer for you – I mean, ok, it can be a little intimidating at first but most of the time, the cords have a little picture that you line up to the plug with the same picture. And all the plugs are diffent sizes and shapes, so unless you really ARE trying to put a square peg in a round hole you’ll figure it out. And hell, most big name computers these days are COLOR-FREAKING-CODED (did I mention this is another thing I made $$ off in college?) And again, I did offer to show people, but they thought it was too complicated.

Society tends to push us towards a mentality of specializations and that if you’re not in that group, well then you’ll have to go to someone to have it done. Or just throw it out and get a new one. And I admit, there are times when I farm it out to a professional – such as eyebrow waxing and surgery – because it’s worth the time to me to just have it done right then or it really IS a specialty (I’ve thought about performing the self-surgery thing, but trying to get my hands to work in a mirror can be annoying. And I’m afraid blood would stain the floors.) But to shorten a pair of jeans? Or fix a button on a cardigan? Or even – gasp! – learn how to knit or crochet to make your own scarf – heaven forbid!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

OH Challah

OH Challah
Originally uploaded by amynowacoski
My boss always asks me Monday morning what I did over the weekend. I know when I answer "Well, I made Challah bread" (with the appropriate gutteral sound on the "ch"), he'll look at me funny, and then ask what "challah" is. That's a wee bit "ethnic" for these parts.

Holy cow, This is a tasy bread! I know Glass Needle Arts is more focused on knitting and fiber projects these days, but bread baking is an art too! I love having a Kitchen Aid standing mixer. In 10 minutes, the dough was soft and shiny just like it was supposed to me. I let it rise a bit longer than I should have (I of course, forgot to set a timer) but I think that made it even more tasty. I have to bring it to work tomorrow or I might just end up eating the whole thing!!

Oh I made pita bread too this weekend, but I didn't think to take pictures.