This blog pause brought to you by….

…the month of APRIL.

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  • I’ve got TONS to SAY….but NO DESIRE to write it down.
  • I have knitting pictures to share, still no mojo to put ‘em up.
  • I’m getting ready for the Force of Nature’s SIXTEENTH birthday, so I’ve been shopping and sewing.
  • Down THIRTY SIX pounds so far…so I bought a birdbath.
  • I have bought more sewing patterns this month than in the previous 15 years COMBINED.  I’m disgusted with my own acquisitiveness. TRULY.
  • Book is progressing. Slowly, but  progressing.
  • Garden is progressing – no faster than the book. Ugh.
  • One more thing……

Yes, this is still a knitting blog (as much as it ever has been…..whatever!), but I am getting back into sewing and it will get mentioned here some. I am SO tired of paying lots of $ for ugly things that don’t fit. There is a recent SPECTACULAR blog post about this – everyone should read this I think. GET READY

I leave you with a few words from one of my favorite philosophers:

“Well, Art is Art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now you tell me what you know.

 - Groucho Marx



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A really good book -no fooling either!

'Abdu'l-Bahá in Their Midst‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Their Midst by Earl Redman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I strongly recommend this book to everyone, but especially to those who may be feeling down about the condition of the world, or their own lives/families, or whatever. You do not need to know anything at all about ‘Abdu’l-Baha or the Baha’i Faith to find this book of use.

A few weeks ago, the author was visiting family in the town where my mother lives. She met him, bought the book and raved about it. Last week, while I was visiting her, I started reading and I finished this today.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS BOOK!!!

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Happy Naw-Ruz!

I have updated, added photos and new content (especially about teaching!) to “Yahoo! I’m a Baha’i!” as part of my gift and service celebration of Naw-Ruz. So read it again if you have a few minutes please. I would love more feedback!

And now: Here’s a lovely video for you! Please ignore the ads that sometimes come up – I’ve not got any control over those unfortunately. There’s another one here-guaranteed to make you smile: http://vimeo.com/61994592

Yahoo!! I’m a Baha’i!!

“Yahoo! I’m a Bahá’í!” : Staying Motivated

Soooooo….The world getting you down? Don’t feel that spiritual spark? Too much duty & steadfastness, and not enough victory? Are you beginning to think, “Why bother?”   Well, here’s some things I do, and they might help you!

Read The Writings Every Day

Immerse yourselves in the Ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets, and
discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths.
- Proclamation of Bahá’u’lláh, pgs. 118-119

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I find it is important which Writings you pick to read. Pick something that you find uplifting if you are discouraged, such as something about the victory of the Cause ( the compilation “Be Thou Assured” is one of my favorites; “Victory Promises” is another ); perhaps you shouldn’t read about all the things one should be doing. When you are feeling more “muscular”, read the “shoulds” then. (more…)

The next post won’t be for…

…everyone.  Or rather, everyone can read it certainly, but it won’t be everyone’s cup o’ tea.

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I taught a class on this back in 1998, & I’ve put it up on various little websites I’ve had over the years; it hasn’t been available for awhile & now is the time to give it a new online abode. Consider this an invitation  and/or a warning. :o)

A Super Quick Update

Just so’s ya know I’ve not forgotten about you. :o)

  • Diagnosed with diabetes a month ago – lots of dietary changes; lost 20 lbs. already……
  • The kitten is making knitting very near impossible. Still there will be some pictures soon. Maybe by next week.
  • But I can do some sewing! And it’s the Olympics!
  • A sewing pattern review can be read here: Simple tunic by Habibe Acikgoz
  • Am going to try to do Artisan Square’s Stitcher’s Guild’s “Sewing With A Plan 2014″. Even if I don’t make the deadline (April 30th), I MUST have some new clothes so as not to be mistaken for a bag lady…
  • This bag lady is WAY cuter than I on my best day.....
  • Will be using several patterns & pattern companies as part of this S>W>A>P>, so I’m joining this contest:

New to Me Pattern Company

Be well & happy!

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Now let’s do something else that’s meaningful.

Is everybody good? Fat n’ happy?   Coming down from the high (pie-induced) of Christmas?

santa mouse

Remember this book? So sweet.

Good.

I asked Studmuffin to write a family update (read last year’s here), and he did think of some things to say, but would not SHARE. Hmpf. Now he & the Force of Nature are in West Virginia visiting Grandmamma – the Duke of Curl & I have to work. So I guess no funny letter for 2013.

So this noontime I’ve been paying bills and sending $ donations to our favorite charity - Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders.  Some years ago, Grandmamma started giving a donation to Catholic Charities instead of giving us Christmas gifts; a change I welcomed! Goodness knows I keep us well-supplied with mountains of stuff….  Studmuffin has 5 siblings and several of them send us lovely things – pears, cookies, meats & cheeses – every year for Christmas. We don’t do it every year, but when we do give something, we give a donation in their honor to a charity we like. In the past, we chose:  CARE, Habitat for Humanity & Direct Relief.

We like to use different ones – not that we give huge amounts (I wish!).  There is SO MUCH need and giving money to these VERY worthy organizations adds much meaning to this season for me.

Stepping up now

Stepping up now

I encourage you to do the same!  We chose  Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders because they are working in all those places you hear about in the news where TERRIBLE things are happening.   You can let all that stuff make feel powerless, guilty, cynical and depressed OR you can give some scratch; the choice is all yours.   And they are doing AMAZING work – even if you don’t/won’t/can’t give, take a little time and read some of the blog posts from the volunteers and patients. LOOK HERE.  It will do you good, I promise!

::::STEPPING DOWN NOW::::

Not much knitting is happening because of the KITTEN.  She is loads of fun and FEROCIOUS.  I’ll tell much more about her in a later post. But I do promise actual knitting photos soon….and gardening stuff too!  I know – you gotta SIT DOWN because of all the EXCITEMENT…..

Have a terrific 2014 everyone. Lemme hear from you at some point. :)

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Mitten Swap Package ARRIVES!!

I’ve participated in 4 other mitten swaps and in two of them, I never received any mittens.  It happens….but it does bum you out some, especially since I make FABULOUS mittens (usually a custom design) for my “swapees”.  Kara from South Dakota, I am working on finishing yours BIG TIME!

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You see, I had an extraordinary (and embarrassing!) gauge accident….which I’ll blog about later. Ahem.

I used to do LOADS of swapping several years ago, but like some of my enthusiasms, it burned brightly for a time and then it passed. I have made some wonderful friends online through swapping, and getting goodies in the mail is terrific!!! I did try to do a cowl one last year through Ravelry, but my partner & I never actually bonded unfortunately.  In the end, I never sent her anything and she never sent me anything.  Oh well!

So this swap was hosted in the Ravelry Mitten Exchange group and my “swapper” was Vicki from Montana. The theme was “Partner’s Choice”, so I asked Vicki to share some of Montana with me as I have never been there.  I’d love to go;  the re-make of “Flicka” from a few years ago was filmed there and there was SO much natural beauty in the scenery,  besides Tim McGraw…….. I never got it about him before….OH MY! He is a fine, fine, FINE looking human being–

timmcgraw But I digress.  :)

Vicki came through like GANGBUSTERS!!!  Everything arrived on my door step yesterday; it being Thursday and that’s what night I host my radio show, so I had no time to take photos til today.  First, let me say:

Moose & Owl Thank You

So here we go!

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Welcome Sewing Pattern Review people!

Today, the day before my 45th birthday no less, I’m a featured subscriber on the sewing.patternreview.com website.  How lovely! How unexpected!

In honor of this unanticipated delight, I will talk about my capsule or mini-wardrobe I made to wear on my 3 week trip to India in June 2010. First some pictures:

Arriving at Lucknow Airport

Arriving at Lucknow Airport

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Lunch at the Mumbai Baha’i Center

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I made 6 tops, 3 bottoms, 1 nightshirt & 1 pair of bloomer underwear for my trip. Many more pictures of the 120+ singers from 25+ countries can be found on Facebook if you look for the Voices of Baha in India – FYI.

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Got a knitter on yer gift list?

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I have suggestions purloined from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, a.k.a. the Yarn Harlot. Not that anyone has to do anything for my birthday or anyfink.*  :) It’s just in case y’all have a knitter to give a gift to and could use a little help.

 

Knitting Art:

  1.  Keep Calm and Cast On
  2. Knitting Rhyme print
  3. There’s no such thing as too much yarn” 
  4. Yarn Pyramid
  5. Working Girls
  6. The Knitter
  7. Viva la Yarnolucion
  8. Knitters Eye Chart

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Temporary Tatts:

  1.  These ones from Soak
  2. Tilly Flop 
  3. Kate Broughton

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Knitterly Paperish things:

  1. note card versions of the Knitting Rhyme poster
  2. Buffalo Girls greeting cards
  3. beautiful print cards
  4. letterpress cards with cables on them
  5. Knitterella cards and tags
  6. KnitLove has a set of graphics
  7. design journal
  8. great custom tags
  9.  your knitter could use this one
  10. in this paper

The Yarn Harlot will have many suggestions throughout December, so click on over there to get the most recent suggestions.

Coming up soon I’ll have actual pictures of my knitting! And more yarn crimes fer your horror/enjoyment.knithollyborder

And for something COMPLETELY different:  I love listening to Radio Paradise most of the day. I like them so much I’ve written them fan mail (really, I have).  And sent them money too.  No commercials!!  Very eclectic mix curated by one guy.

_______________

*

  • My birthday is December 13th.
  • I will be 45 years old.  Yay!!
  • I need NOTHING.
  • If you must do something for my birthday, I ask that you call someone you love but don’t talk to often enough, and tell them how much they mean to you.
  • If you’re all caught up with everyone you love and everyone is sick & tired of hearing how much you love them, a donation made to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, or Habitat for Humanity, or CARE would certainly suffice!
  • Thank you for reading and caring. Truth be told, “thank you” doesn’t begin to COVER it!!!!!

________________________

Cartoon used without permission but with affection & attribution!

‡‡‡ by Natalie Dee.  See all of her stuff here!

Update

  • Hadn’t realized it has been so long since I’ve posted.  SORRY!
  • Have not received any pictures or video from the David Wilcox happening.  I so wish I had!
  • Almost through month 11 of 24 month Yarn Diet – have only bought 7 skeins of yarn: 6 skeins for things I’m knitting for the Force of Nature & 1 skein for a swap.  Studmuffin said that yarn bought for our kids’ needs/wants doesn’t count, and I feel oogy about giving stash as part of a swap package……
  • Working on the book in fits & starts
  • Been seriously in the pit of depression since August, with a couple of weeks reprieve sprinkled through October & November, enhanced by difficulty sleeping most nights.  I think I need a different antidepressant……..Am afraid to change because of side effects.  :::sigh:::  All I want to do is go hide in bed.
  • Still eating tomatoes from the garden!  I definitely wanna write a serious post about the garden successes and failures, but it’ll have to wait.
  • Knitting is happening.  Photos of knitting are happening.  Blogging about knitting – not happening, obviously.  I have plenty of more yarn crimes to post but I got so few comments on the last one, I’m kinda thinking I’ll abandon the yarn crimes posts……
  • Got diagnosed with high blood pressure last week.  Both parents & both brothers on BP meds I found out this summer, so I don’t feel too bad about it. Hope the hed I got is the right one for me.
  • Duke of Curl is mostly laying about playing video games.  Force of Nature a royal pain in the tuchis but she’s 15 so what else is new?
  • Really have to find a job – seriously do not want to. Many reasons – mostly too personal and/or specific to post here, but I’m praying on it.
  • Working on my French again in hopes of becoming somewhat proficient & keeping the brain sufficiently stimulated…..
  • My friend Shannan R. has beaten cancer!! She got a clean scan
  • Working out has seriously stalled.  Please pray for me!

I’m also asking for prayers for friends: Cindy T., Tangela S., Cheryl P., Vicki C., Tracy B., Hayden L., James G., Marge W., Grace S., Malulinka H.

So how’s by you?

Do you make art? Wanna make some $?

Here’s book review about a book that can help.

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Make Art Make Money: Lessons from Jim Henson on Fueling Your Creative Career by Elizabeth Hyde StevensMake Art Make Money: Lessons from Jim Henson on Fueling Your Creative Career
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

STRONGLY RECOMMEND – I am a huge fan of Jim Henson and his work. About 10 years ago, I became intensely interested in **how** he: did his work, attracted great associates and managed them, made $ too – all whilst creating wonderful art that has such globally positive messages. There wasn’t anything available that I could find….

Earlier this year, a new, much more comprehensive biography of Henson was published which I listened to (audiobook) greedily, hoping to gain more insights. Most of the insights had to do with how much of an impact his art had on me over the course of my life! Others had more to do with his seriously huge work ethic, gained mainly thru the remembrances of his colleagues. I went looking for more, and found this gem.

The author has done quite a bit of deep analysis of Henson’s life & work through which she has drawn some very sensible conclusions which are applicable to any art form, certainly not only puppetry. Hyde Stevens also references a number of other sources to support her conclusions that have added a number of books onto my “to read” pile; in addition, this Kindle book has got wonderful footnotes, almost all are hot-linked.

I’ve not yet finished reading this book as the author has not yet finished serializing it; I look forward to every “episode”!

View all my reviews

David Wilcox in Huntsville – brief version/Cliff Notes

Where:  Straight to Ale Brewery / Folk Mission 

When:  Friday, October 11th, 2013

Who: singer/songwriter/storyteller David Wilcox (and MOST unexpectedly – me)
WilcoxNewPhoto ( I don’t have a promotional photo so I’ll use this one from 2010 in Lucknow, India)

What:  David Wilcox (DW) was partway thru the second set and started playing one of my FAVORITE songs that he does – “The Kid”.  He forgot the words to the second verse.  Being the shrinking violet I am NOT, I called out the next lyrics.  Several others did too, and after a moment, DW said, “Would the woman who first shouted out the lyrics come up & sing this for me?”  I got up on the stage with DW.  I told him that I could only sing harmony with him.  I *IMMEDIATELY* forgot all the lyrics – I was almost no help in remembering; rather more laughing & crying at the same time.  However, he was kind & gracious and I sang some harmony, & we got through the song.

Several people took videos & pictures; they promised to send them to me – I will post them when & if they arrive.

This is the song in another time & place by different players:

Yarn Crimes – Pinterest Vol. 1

I believe I have mentioned that I love Pinterest.  It’s true – I do love it. But I love it EVEN more now that I have found several “boards” there -  chock full o’ yarn crimes.  I feel a little guilty; this is easier than taking candy from a small person. In the past, I’ve collected most all the yarn crime photos in a file on my ‘puter. I do have a (quite a) few & I’ll put (a few of) those first!

Could this guy look a little more uncomfortable? Perhaps a spike up his bottom? No?

This was PROFESSIONALLY made -  I kid you not.

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I’ve received a complaint.

In the last ten days, I’ve gotten a couple of comments on my post last March: “Something really important REALLY” that the picture I posted of Jyoti Singh Pandey was not the right photo. After looking into it, I’ve found nothing that tells me the picture I posted was not Ms. Pandey, but I did find a different picture of Ms. Pandey that I’m posting below:

JYOTI-SINGH-PANDEY

Jyoti Singh Pandey – She was 23 years old.

I will also replace the previous photo with this one in the post from last March. Now, watch this video. Thanks!

This blog break brought to you by a misplaced camera n’ stuff….

So way back a couple of months ago I swore to you, my dear readers – that there would be pictures of actual knitting in the next post. First, the camera battery charger was lost, I bought a new one, then I couldn’t find the camera. Once i found the camera, I discovered I had bought the wrong kind. So back to the store to return it & get the right one. Then charging and the taking of the photos; each step along the way accompanied by a couple of weeks delay. Some delays were longer than others, and there is knitting still to be photographed…..but this is what I’ve got.

Reversible Brioche-orimetry

The lovely & talented Boris

The lovely & talented Boris modeling

Reversible Brioche-orimetry

Raverly project link

Back in 200-whatever Knitty published the Calorimetry head-thing and thousands (nearly 16,000) of them have been made.

The left side

The left side

I’m on a real brioche stitch kick lately. It is very easy to knit, it only looks difficult.

The right side

The right side

It’s such a lovely ribby, squishy, feel-good stitch I think everyone should learn it and should be much more widely used than it is.

The sporty side

The sporty side

Doing an easy Ravelry search, I saw someone had already done a brioche stitch knock off of Calorimetry – Yay!

The other, regular side

The other, regular side

I made this for a friend’s 18th birthday – I needed something QUICK. She just started college at MTSU, so I checked out their school colors – blue & white!  I’ve got that.

Very quick to knit! Embroidering the white stripes took almost as long as the knitting, since I had to figger out how not to let it show on the regular side.  I’m happy with the result and more importantly Squidney liked it too.  We almost had to wrestle it away from her cousin.  who is a guy!

MODS:  I changed how the increases & decreases happened so that there would not be small holes alond the midline.  That also meant no buttonhole, so crocheted one on one end.  I used a double button on the other end so it is truly reversible.

And of course, Boris dutifully modeled the end result (I hope that satisfies those of you who were wondering when he’d make another appearance)!

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The Force of Nature’s Cabled Scarf

Ravelry project link

The Force of Nature, my dear daughter, wanted a soft, warm scarf to match her winter coat & glittens to match.  She chose the pattern.sept_16_2013 004

Changing the pattern a wee bit – instead of the 3 strand braid on either side of the main pattern, I changed it to to a 4 strand or Aran braid – I think I knit those better than the three strand, and it only adds 4 sts overall.

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I did try to do one repeat a day. This yarn is lovely to look at and to feel but it is splitty and not much stretch….which is exactly what I expected. :)

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After I got the knitting done. it was more than a month before I got the ends woven in.  She didn’t want any fringe; I did try a cabled edging, but decided it was better plain so I took it off. I was blocking the next project below so this got blocked too. Yarn didn’t bloom hardly at all, but I think I gained a skosh more stitch definition in the cables plus it smells nicer.  Very soft & warm.  Haven’t yet cast on for the glittens but will soon. More photos on Ravelry

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Color Affliction shawl

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This may be the best picture of the colors.

Ravelry link

Last fall our little Wednesday night knitting group decided to knit the EXTREMELY popular Color Affection Shawl  together.

I got some rather inexpensive laceweight yarn, 3 skeins for less than $25 – a silk& alpaca blend I really enjoyed knitting with.

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Not my best blocking job….

I loved the colors in the skeins but I am less pleased with them in the shawl – not contrast-y enough for me I think.

another angle

another angle

So I was in no hurry to block it. So 9 months after i finished the knitting, I blocked it and discovered a good thing….and a bad thing. The good thing was that the silk it really shows up after blocking…and I had more than enough pins to block it with. However i forgot about blocking it to the pattern’s stated dimensions, when I found:

the HOLE

the HOLE

Yep, right there along the border.  See the extra white headed pins?  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  Is it moth damage?  I don’t know – I sure hope not! but one strand did break (or was eaten through)  and all of my blocking mojo drained immediately through my left foot. All of my desire to do a really great, smoothly curved hard blocking abandoned immediately in the hope of not making the hole worse.  After it dried and I had to go to bed so I had to take out 450 pins… I spent 45 mins.  trying to fix the hole.  It isn’t my best work, that fix but it’ll do. I plan to take some prettier pictures outdoors soon.

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Another another baby blanket

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The baby this was intended for has outgrown the blanket – I will make something else for her I think.

Came up with different color scheme  than the original pattern – from the Biscuits & Jam random stripe generator

It turned out QUITE small.  I added almost 10 ins to length.  I realized a big ol’ part of my problem with this is the needle: Kollage square ones.  I like the squareness, joins good, cable good….but the skritchiness of the metal tips is for me like fingernails on a chalkboard.  I switched in a HiyaHiya needle of the same size…..AAAAHHHHHHHHH!  No more gritting the teeth. Too bad; I really wanted to like the square ones.
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500,000 ends all woven in – Too small a blanket for that many ends. This, even with the “extra” 10 inches & the side ruffles is a pretty small blanket. Really newborn sized.  Still has 2 ends to weave in.  Then it’ll go in a bag and weight until someone else is preggers with a girl.

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Currently working “on the needles”:

  • A baby surprise jacket or BSJ for hubs’ co-worker’s baby.  If’n ya don’t know what a BSJ is, do a search – you’ll find LOADS about it.  Tens of thousands have been made.
  • Another 8″ knitted square for Knit-A-Square…so far so good.  Aiming for 60 by Jan. 1, 2014, have done about 18 so far – mostly in brioche stitch. :o)
  • Another Brioche-orimetry for someone who looks good in red.
  • An Op-Art scarf for a British comedian.  No, I’m not joking.
  • Another scarf that I wanted to make. Mildly “stupid knitting”.
  • A plastic pellet filled computer wrist rest.  It only needs casting off & a little finish work to be complete. Dunno WHY I’m procrastinating….
  • A hot water bottle cover in the shape of an hedgehog.  I’m not exactly certain where it is at the moment, but I am determined to finish it so I can use it.  Well, actually, I have already used it a bit last winter……

I will soon cast on:

  • the glittens for the Force o’ Nature
  • Mittens for a swap partner
  • Plaid mittens for twin nephews – I think this may be the only Christmas knitting I’ll do this year.
  • Mittens for a very dear friend; I may make her some mitts too.
  • A waistcoat for the Force o’ Nature – in black.  I gotta get new glasses first. I need to go back into bifocals I think.
  • There are several hats that I want to make too.

I want to resurrect a woolen purse I was making for me a few years ago as welll, and there’s a shawl or two, and the entrelac scarf……oh yeah and that afghan for our own couch…..

That’s all for now! Hopefully there will be a new installment of YARN CRIMES in the next 2 weeks.

So, what are you making right now?

The Nerdist’s Way – quick review

The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life)The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level by Chris Hardwick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I first heard of this book on my favorite podcast, Jane & Jen Knit Funny. Thought I’d give it a whirl as an audiobook. Chris Hardwick is a comic/podcast host that I enjoy only occasionally, but I figured the audiobook might be more engaging than the physical book – plus I had a credit.

I think this book is GENIUS. Hardwick has found several ways to see aspects of himself -that he’s been seriously teased about- as positive, and use that to change his life. He genuinely wants to share his learning with you. He’s very enthusiastic – sometimes annoyingly so – but he’s NEVER preachy. He is often funny and self-deprecating. If yer a nerd, you should read this. I definitely recommend the audiobook.

 

2 year yarn diet, part deux

cheat_on_your_diet

…But I get a small reprieve!

Oh the happy hours I have spent in the last few days, avoiding housework, avoiding book writing, avoiding anything that seemed like work – including the garden! So after much and much trolling around the interwebs & consultation with the Force of Nature – WAY more than she wanted btw – I decided I would pick:

  • a worsted weight yarn
  • in an oatmeal-y color
  • about 400 yds
  • for $50 or less
  • in a yarn I haven’t used yet but have been thirsting after

Lovely criteria, but none of which narrows it down all that much. Poopies.

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The 2 year yarn diet

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So y’all, I have a good bit of yarn. Don’t believe me? Check out this old post that has pictures: http://wp.me/p6skg-EB   Go ahead; I’ll wait.

Friends, that post is from December 2011.  During 2012, I certainly didn’t buy as much yarn as the previous 24 months, but I definitely added to the stash a fair amount.  On this here blog, when we get into December & January, I love to fall into the olde trope of an end-of-the-year-list, and so I’ve done a knitting projects roundup or something like that.  I’ve noticed that I complete about 10 projects a year, even though I seem to knit lots more than that.

This is someone else's stash. I like it.

This is someone else’s stash. I like it.

As tired as that end-of-the-year-list thing is, it definitely gave me an “AHA!” moment: I have a HUGE amount of yarn given my current level of completion.  That, coupled with the end of overtime for Studmuffin in November 2012 – he’d been able to work as much overtime as he’s wanted for 10 or 11 years and it added about 20 – 25% to our bottom line – coupled with “sequestration” – which will cost us another 20% of income AND the kids need braces and lots of other things, I knew I had to get disciplined! Hence, the 2 year yarn diet.

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Ze garden so far

Time for an update!  Thanks to the Force of Nature for all the pictures taken just a few minutes ago.

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looking West to East, roses in the foreground – I wished I’d gotten some pics of them 3 weeks ago when they looked AWESOME.

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The bed closest to the gate (bed 1)

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Other end of bed 1.

I’ve had serious slug challenges – replanted beans, peas & cukes 3 times……

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Another view of bed 1 – this was our original garden bed.

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Keyhole garden view 1  Yes, the tomato is *taller* than the corn!  I planted dwarf corn so I wouldn’t have to climb a ladder to harvest it.  Next year though, I’ll plant full size corn in the keyhole!  I may make a corn & cucumber only KG……

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Keyhole garden view 2 (to the left of view 1)

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Keyhole garden view 3 (to the right of view 1)

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I think Studmuffin thought this wasn’t gonna work at all.  Perhaps next year, I’ll combine 2 cages to make a bigger tower…or maybe some kind of KG….

Bed 2 (no picture) has just a few volunteer garlic plants – sweet potato slips should get planted this week along with companion tomato plants.  Bed 3 (no picture) is planted with cukes, canteloupes & a couple of watermelons.  I still need to plant some pumpkins…..

I love organic gardening.  And I love GARRETT JUICE.  I think it has made a big difference.  I need to spray some tonight as I was gone this past weekend. There will be more pictures (hopefully this week) of the front gardens soon.  How’s your garden growing?

Arrested Development

I don’t watch much tv, but some years ago, Studmuffin got the 3 seasons of Arrested Development on DVD. I **really** wasn’t gonna watch it, but I kept hearing the funniest dialogue…. I did get hooked in spite of myself.

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So now, years later, the belated fourth season is available on Netflix, and I’ve been watching an epidsode or 2 after dinner when the schedule allows. They have had LOADS of the famous in cameo roles – it’s hilarious and awkward and wonderful and I’m really enjoying it.

Tonight’s episode had Tommy Tune in it. I love him. I only realized after looking him up on Wikipedia that he was born the *same* year as my *DAD*. I hope you have a chance to see all the seasons of Arrested Development. :)

Here’s some bonus Tommy Tune for you:

Keyhole gardening resources

I am loving my keyhole garden (KG)!
Back in April.  Note the bird deterrent hanging there.  Don't laugh too hard - it works!

Back in April. Note the bird deterrent hanging there. Don’t laugh too hard – it works!

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing; I had a big slug problem but now I have food-grade diatomaceous earth & that has helped. The extremely unusual weather patterns have meant that I’ve not had good luck in direct seeding my KG but I will overcome that.
I know now that in building my KG my layers were too thick since the top of the garden had dropped about eighteen inches already, but I have plans to build two more which I’m collecting cardboard for.  One of the new ones will be my permanent asparagus bed!  I promise to take some more photos very soon. I also hope we can build one at the Baha’i Center here.
My parents were here for a few days and are now interested in building their own KG. Yay! I pray that the “KG infection” spreads! I sent them an email with a bunch of links & I hope others will find it useful too. My dream is to see these popping up in backyards (or any yards!) all over the place.
My parents will need to do something like this to keep the critters out!

My parents will need to do something like this to keep the critters out!

Here are some good links for websites:

This was the first website I ever saw about keyhole gardens: http://www.valhalla-project.com/2012/01/from-africa-to-valhalla-keyhole-garden.html
(Watch the videos too)
An article about them & Dr. Tolman: http://www.texascooppower.com/texas-stories/nature-outdoors/keyhole-gardening
Dr. Deb Tolman’s DVD on how to: http://www.debtolman.com/dvd.htm
An overview of keyholes at Dave’s Garden: http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/3726/
These guys sell kits which look really good!: http://keyholefarm.com/
About halfway down this page, there’s a very good photo of an intensively planted keyhole garden: http://keyholefarm.com/update-021112-skirting-the-update/
(However, this guy has NOT sloped the planting area, nor filled the garden to the top, but I’m being picky….)
http://www.zombieapocalypsesurvivalists.com/2013/02/keyhole-garden.html

Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/keyholegardens?fref=ts – this is really good to look at to see the materials lots of other people have used, and many times Dr. Tolman will answer questions directly.
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And some good links for videos:
Dr. Deb talking about her gardens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hobrYWufEN0
Very sweet animated video about KG’s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUUJDG4zv5c
Keyhole Farm (the kit people) made this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVTQxstJ1Ck
This page has several lovely videos of keyholes in arid, rocky southern Africa: http://www.sendacow.org.uk/keyhole-gardens
Lots of resources here too: http://www.sendacow.org.uk/lessonsfromafrica/resources/keyhole-gardens
http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/feeding-the-world-with-rocks-raised-bed-keyhole-gardens-in-africa-video.html
This could be my favorite of all the videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grritAZ7CHI
(It’s unusual in that men are shown helping….and you can ignore the recommendations against tomatoes & corn!)
More Dr. Deb: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oejd1aiarOs&list=PL775DE7ACF3C961EF

I encourage y’all to watch all of these ‘cos it will give you a good idea of how to make your garden. Go to Google images & search for “keyhole gardens” & it will show how people have used all different kinds of things for the walls.  I find it inspiring!

Even though hers aren't raised up the way mine will be, I like her layout!

Even though hers aren’t raised up the way mine will be, I like her layout and her enthusiasm!!