Tuesday 28 February 2012

Triumph of Hope Over Experience

Mini Diva's birthday is next week - so I thought I'd make her a cushion to go on her bed. Clever Ania made me a machine-embroidered monogram and a lilac fairy to either patchwork or - more likely - applique. I have an idea in my head, of hearts, in different colors, layered and what we here in the east call 'on the huh'.

However. That sounds all fine and dandy, but - as ever - the issue will be converting this idea into something that does not look completely like the dog's breakfast ... always a challenge. So I will centre myself, breathe deeply an 'Om', remind myself that I really should have at least one virtue - and Patience is as good as any - then embark on this stitching adventure with a cheerful and happy outlook ...

And Destructo Boy is home sick with flu, so I can't shouldn't mustn't swear need to remember to close the door properly and firmly.

So now I am off to find some heart-shaped templates ..... 

Thursday 23 February 2012

The Sap is Rising

The final date for mailing out in the Blog Hub Swap is this Saturday, but thinking ahead I have signed up for two new projects: firstly on the 5th March is the KAL (Knit-A-Long) of the beautiful Lily's Slice of Pi Shawl, designed and organized by the lovely Chrissy of Stitched-Together. You can find the Ravelry group for it here, and if you join the KAL, Chrissy gives you a nice discount on the pattern.

I have been pondering what yarn to use to make this shawl, and once I had checked the yardage (1000m), I knew I had the perfect match: gifted to me quite some while back by my friend Steph, this YarnAddict Pure Silk Lace in the colorway 'Jewel' has been patiently waiting for it's soulmate project to announce itself:

So pretty I photographed it twice. You can see there are some interestingly faded looking parts - I'm curious to see how this will look when knitted; I'm hoping for a subtle graduation of color as opposed to oops the dye didn't stick to this bit ...

And secondly - FanFare - Knit and Crochet Blog Week is back for the 3rd time from 23rd - 29th April, 2012. Organized by the fablas Mimi, who is finally back online so that we are no longer Mimi-less, I am really looking forward to it: the blog topics she comes up with are always interesting, and as a result of the past KCBWs I have found some great blogs to read - and made some lovely friends too. You can find my last two starting here for 2010 and here for 2011.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Cheaters Lose

So a while back - quite a while back, it turns out - I blogged about my hunt for a Cissus, either antarctica or rhombifolia, I wasn't going to be fussy. It was a long search, so I was very happy indeed when I ran it to earth in a hobby nursery (I say hobby as it was in such a state it could not possibly be being run as a professional business - dead plants everywhere are not the bestest of adverts, don't you think ?)

I'll remind you that my loving DH paid £6.95 (nearly $11) for a teensy little rooted cutting which looked like this:

Almost totally abandoning my theory of mothering, I cosseted that plant - but only when no-one was looking. Cosseting doesn't count if you are the only one who knows about it and it is done secretly behind closed doors when everyone is asleep or out. It had the best windowsill, the correct amount of watering, the perfect compost, it was spoken to lovingly in the tenderest of whispers .... in spite of all this, last week DH compelled me to admit that it wasn't just dormant, but that it had literally curled up and died:

I'm not sure if you can quite make out that it had had a little growth spurt of lovely baby soft green leaves: titillating me and drawing me wickedly into a presumptuous and premature expectation - nay, more solid than that even - more of a complacent smirk of success.

Just as I had made the decision to admit defeat and add this to the brown bin, we happened to make a trip to The Range (tagline: 'if we don't sell it, you don't need it'). Out the back in the gardening section was this:

About 10 plants of Cissus rhombifolia 'Ellen Danica'. For the absolute bargain price of £3.99 ($6.30) each. I could not grab one quick enough. In fact, I nearly grabbed two, but I managed to overcome the impulse of greed. Handsome, healthy plants of a decent size - from Holland, I was told. And here is the one that came home with me and my huge smile so wide that it showed teeth and everything:

I know no fear. For XIII Death is inextricably linked with III The Empress. Without one you cannot have the other. But I shan't be cheating with this one.

Monday 20 February 2012

Melodramatic Monday

Well, a change is as good as a rest, right ? My MIL often fans the tiny melodramatic spark in me, and this time you, Dear Reader, must pay the price.

The children have been away for a week staying with my MIL, at Mini Diva's request. Plans and arrangements were made, which - not for the first time - have crashed and burned because my MIL changes things at the last moment without much apparent thought for the effect on other people, who may have made their own subsequent plans and arrangements based on what was originally agreed, for example, the MOT for the car, a long-awaited, anticipated and promised day trip, meals and days out for my MIL who was expected to return the children and visit for a few days. At least this time the spanner in the works does not upset the children. This disruptive behavior is compounded by my DH bending over backwards to accommodate her.

I'm not even going to get into the (admittedly petty) fact that each. and. every. single. one. of DH's siblings and their significant others received a hand-knitted scarf from me last year as birthday gifts. That's 9 scarves; made from rather expensive yarn, too. One person didn't even bother to say thank you. My own birthday gifts this year from his family ? One. A lovely gift, from the same person who gave me a thoughtful gift last year.Yes, and I know we don't give just to receive, but this is just an extra few straws on this camel's back. I might feel a bit ashamed later, but right now I'm boiling angry. Obviously I won't be wasting my time and money this way again.

Oddly enough, how this makes me feel vicious and stabbity was not what I meant to write about. But I feel better for letting even a bit of it out, so it can stay. After all, it's not like any of my family or in-laws read this blog.

And then, the coup de grâce was the discovery made while mucking out Mini Diva's sty; no, no, no - nothing interesting and talk-show-worthy like drugs or birth control; after all, she isn't quite 9 years old yet. But if I hadn't totally lost my sense of humor just now, I'd be laughing:

Thursday 16 February 2012

Leaving on a Jet Plane

After many hours burning the midnight oil, trawling Ravelry and her blog, red-eyed, bleary and overcaffeinated ..... actually, Not. My swapee seemed easy to find gifts for. I say 'seemed' because I don't know yet if I got them right. I thoroughly enjoyed putting it together, even so.

This was my box:

It needed to go to my swapee in the USA. Declining to pay the iniquitous postal charges of the Royal Mail (£35 ! that's $55), Google was mi amigo, and therefore my box started the 1st leg of its journey like this:

It was received on Monday 13th ....and one of the nice things about losing one's memory is that whatever is in her box will be almost as big a surprise to me.

Edited to add: as of midnight Weds. 15th Feb. my package is still not being blogged about, although all the packages have been opened in one go,  and bunged back into the box, apparently to be blogged about on an ad hoc basis. There's more I could say, but I deleted it.

Tuesday 14 February 2012

For My Valentine

I saw your doubletake there, but it's OK, don't run away, you are on the right blog, even though you know I don't do cutesy - this did make me giggle, particularly when I put it together with the following song for The One I Love:

Surrealism ? I haz it.

Monday 13 February 2012

The Mills of God

Well, now. Having railed a few times here, here, and here about the unethical and money-grubbing behavior of the head of Tarot Professionals, a while back I wrote a post disengaging myself from this Katz who seems bent on making the whole tarot world his personal litter tray; his latest attempt is to trademark ''World Tarot Week''.

Recently, I find that the scales have fallen from the eyes of quite a few others in the tarot community, and I am no longer a lone voice crying in the wilderness:

Lisa at Tarotize
Michael at Tarot by Michael
Paul Nagy also seems to have withdrawn his support, along with a few other previous fans who I see in the list of contributors to that thread.
my old sparring partner, Major Tom, that stalwart of indie tarot, has been kicked out without a reason being given, as has
Robin Dalton; I wonder if she received a refund ?

Of course, there still remain those established tarotists who, for whatever motives (I hesitate to suggest they benefit financially) continue to laud Katz and his spin, not to say obfuscation; usually they are American (bless them, are they born gullible ?) - Den Elder, Mary Greer, Enrique Enriquez - or novices to tarot, noobs in the tarot community who seem desperate to give this Magician money in their quest for knowledge, in spite of the somewhat dubious practices of his organization - handing out awards to fakes, listing people as honorary members without their knowledge, trademarking ''World Tarot Week''.

I merely sit and watch peacefully as the revelations gain strength and impetus. Myself ? I'd prefer to keep my distance from Nemesis 

                    allegorical painting of Nemesis by Georghe Tattanescu

Thursday 9 February 2012

Pray, Love, Remember

'' There's rosemary for remembrance; pray, love, remember.
And there's pansies; that's for thoughts.''

                            Hamlet, IV.5.

Today my mother would have been 75 years old. The similarities between our personalities were far less obvious than the differences, but just as strong. Taken at my cousin Linda's wedding ... umm ... about 22 years ago, the photo below quite clearly shows the difference; I believe I may have mentioned before the challenge to me that is 'subtlety'.

One of my favorite photos of her is this one:

She is still very much missed.

Monday 6 February 2012

If At First You Don't Succeed .....

... try, try again. And once or twice more. Really, until you run out of patience or you get hungry, cold and wet and go home.

Yesterday we woke up to a generous covering of snow; parental chores completed, after lunch a visit to one of the nearby parks was indicated. Sebastian loves snow, so we took him as well, and I took my camera, a Xmas gift from DH.

So here are some fantastic photos of Sebastian gambolling in the white stuff:


 Aha ! Gotcha !

Friday 3 February 2012

Another One

This lovely card from the Victorian Flower Oracle is what I wish for today. Kinda depends on the kids behaving, though, so I amn't holding my breath if the pre-breakfast sparring was a sample of the day ahead ....

My godmother was doing some tidying and came across this photo of my mother holding me, somewhere between newborn and 6 weeks old: it was a lovely birthday gift to send to me, and I was surprised to be so emotional about it.

But then again, knowing that something is hormonally caused doesn't mean that one is in any way able to either mitigate it or control it. Without drugs or alcohol, anyway.

Wednesday 1 February 2012

FO Fri ....No, Wednesday ,,,,,

So while I sit here anticipating the builder's visit, I thought I'd share a couple of FOs with you; yes, I know it's not Friday yet (I already have something in mind to blog about for then) but it is Imbolc/Candlemas, for the traditionalists amongst us, and it shows my intent to continue finishing and completing things.

First is the little sweater for my youngest nephew's 2nd birthday later this month (I blogged about it a while back, here). This has been my second go at intarsia - and I don't think there will be a third; for me, the results don't warrant the hassles. I had ripped it back once, as I wasn't happy with it: whatever I did, the stitches where the color changed just didn't seem to 'sit' right.

The yarn (James C.Brett Kool Kotton) itself was fine to knit with; perhaps a little lacking in elasticity considering it is 50% cotton, 50% acrylic - but I wouldn't shy from using it again in a project; and it is very good value with a decent color range.

And secondly I whizzed through a Lady Bertram Shawlette (also blogged about, here) for my friend Haylie's fundraiser; I say whizzed - I actually recorded how long it took to make, and it turns out it was about 19 hours (I am not a fast knitter, but also I am not slow). I did knit 2 extra chart repeats as I had plenty of yarn left and wanted a bigger shawl. At minimum wage, this would cost £115 (approx. $181) plus £7.25 ($11.43) for the yarn ...

Look at my mad blocking skillz; it is not straight on purpose, I tell you ....

The yarn (Jawoll Magic in the colorway 'Butterfly'') was fabulous: easy to knit with, soft, beautiful graduated color changes, and a lovely halo effect.

and now in the sunshine .....the Omen-esque shadows are also artfully on purpose ...