Wednesday 27 March 2013

WIP Wednesday 137: Agony Without Ecstasy

Spiral Tarot

There has been an ongoing trend for retro, kitsch and vintage. Of course, when I say that, both you and I are imagining Laura Ashley, Cath Kidston, stressed white-painted Shaker-style furniture, handsewn quilts and copper-bottomed pans hanging from a wooden rail in our country kitchen next to bundles of home-grown dried herbs.

In actuality, what we are far more likely to get are some horrors from the Decade Without Taste ie. the Seventies. Oh the vileness of the avocado bathroom suite; the stunting of one's color sense and love of random gidgets that resulted from too much time spent trailing after one's parents in Habitat. And there are just no words for the plasticness and the nightmare wallpaper. It is simply amazing that we survived without bleaching our eyeballs, or poking them out: anything to reduce the aesthetic agony. I am permanently scarred. And I don't care how many times bell-bottoms and flares come back round, you will NEVER see me in them unless I have been drugged senseless and forcibly dressed.

So seeing as my DH poisoned me with mushrooms this weekend (the flaw in his plan being that he also ate them and was ill too) and sickness if not the actual mushrooms affecting one's perceptions of reality, I thought I would inflict upon you my own little hommage to the 70s:

I wish I could claim some mitigating irony. But sadly I could find none. Of course, you realize not only the colors but the crochet itself is retro-kitsch ? The only saving grace of these pieces of cushion covers is that they are leaving my house as soon as they are completed. 

Yes, the intended recipient is a relative of mine, why do you ask ?

Now, while I hang my macrame plant holder next to the lava lamp, I am absolutely positive you will find some soothing prettiness over at Tami's Amis ....

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Ostara 2013 Tarot Blog Hop: Alchemy

Cat's Eye Tarot

You may have arrived here from the Master List of participating blogs, you may have jumped forward to me from Joy's blog, or perhaps you are going widdershins and visit me from Koneta's blog .

You may be one of my crafting readers and will perhaps be thoroughly non-plussed, and your eyes and brain will glaze over in boredom at my meanderings today: but I would value your comments just as much (if not more), as they bring me a fresh view of things that has not been circumscribed by the ruts of experience and knowledge.

The topic of the Ostara Tarot Blog Hop 2013 was conceived by the host, Morgan Drake Eckstein of Gleamings in the Dawn, and the title was 'Dancing Between Light and Darkness'; Morgan explains it so:

 For example, a person can both hope for and fear success at the same time. The same holds true for relationships and health. Often one wonders if anyone would consult a reader if they were not in a place of mixed feelings about an issue.
 So in light of this tendency, I thought it would be a good time to look at situations, spreads, and cards that are naturally ambivalent--either one thing or another--until we decide whether to read them as light or darkness.
Basically, those things that naturally dance between light and darkness. Is something good or bad--well, for many things, it is a matter of how one chooses to look at it.
I have trouble getting all philosophical about things - after all, it is not 3 a.m and I have not imbibed 2 or 3 bottles of wine, I am fuelled by mere tea from tea leaves, not mushrooms. But it seems to me that to view things as black and white, or just light and shadow, is too simplistic. Opposites exist and together they make a balanced whole:

But for me, it is where the two opposites meet that is of most interest - and there is at the same time no gray area, as you can see in the above symbol. 

Of course, tarot encompasses this in Trump XIV Temperance, which is all about blending, balance and moderation; and it could be argued that this is the most important concept contained with a tarot deck - that all things must combine in order to produce a balanced whole

Housewives' Tarot

For example, where someone might describe themselves as a Wands person, in fact they are a combination of all four suits (akin to the four temperaments) and the Wands traits predominate most of the time; it is only the self-actualized person who will have all four in perfect balance. It behoves me to point out that even in Star Trek, there is no self-actualized person, despite what Kirk thinks of himself, and what we think of Mr.Spock. But together they attain the blend and balance of which we speak - Kirk is Wands through and through, Spock is - logically, Captain - Swords; Bones in the caring profession is Cups, and do not overlook Scotty's practical Pentacles contribution to the team.

So XIV Temperance depicts that perfect alchemic state of personal harmony to which we as semi-enlightened beings aspire:

Ansata Tarot

 But unfortunately, too much navel-gazing thinking and personal contemplation is not only egotistically narcissistic, it is anti-social, and many of the drugs which open those windows are illegal

Hudes Tarot
 and that means that we forget to pay sufficient attention to our surroundings and people near and dear to us, which often leads to imbalance with awful consequences:

Whimsical Tarot
 I expect this bit near the bottom is where one might look to see some kind of hypothesis, summary or conclusion .... or maybe even the Meaning of Life as revealed by Me; I must apologize, as there isn't one - I have dragged you with me through this ramble for no purpose at all.


You may find that elsewhere, people are making sense:

Wednesday 13 March 2013

WIP Wednesday 135: Octo-Tumnus

Shadowscapes Tarot

Just popping in quickly to show you my progress on the Mrs.Tumnus Shawl KAL, created by my friend Mimi.

Do you see how I make that sound like I have a busy busy busy real life ? 

I don't - today involves blogging, walking the dog and a snooze before getting Destructo Boy from gym club after school. But just for a moment, I had you fooled - admit it, you thought I was normal and just cramming wads of activities into my crowded schedule and simply making everything sound very organized and smooth, as opposed to dwelling in lethargy.

Oh well. That would take way more energy and enthusiasm than I have.

Back to Mrs.Tumnus: I am well along into the short row stockinette section, and I love how clever this way of shaping a crescent shawl is. I've used 4.5mm needles throughout, even though it is 4ply/fingering weight yarn, which gives a fairly loose knit, but I think blocking will allow the lace section to really blossom.

Unfortunately, in the meanwhile it looks like some kind of sick octopus.

I doubt you will find any sick seafood over at Tami's Amis .....

Monday 11 March 2013

I'm a Survivor

The Restorers, Druid Plant Oracle

I made it through the weekend ! Go me !

This is no mean feat: remember Mini Diva had a slumber party with 4 friends over. That is five 10 year old girls altogether. We ran some of the steam off during the afternoon, at the park; then we all ate tons and tons of pizza; then they got out their sleeping bags, sweeties and 'Mirror, Mirror' DVD  .....then played a raucous game of 'Murder in the Dark'.

They trashed the room and then fell asleep late. They were awake early, breakfasting on more sweeties. After collection by their various parents, the only dispossessed item we had leftover was a mere one pair of socks.

The trashed room had been cleared up by the girls as a team, including the spilled cups of water; nothing was broken, the browser history is showing only Vevo and Youtube music videos (no Justin Bieber, they do have a modicum of taste).

So I did the ironing, opened my fabulous Mothers' Day present and went back to bed for a snooze; DH cooked me fresh asparagus and steak for dinner, followed by Tarte Tatin. I would show you a photo,but I only thought of that after I'd eaten it all. Trust me, it was good. Not as good as mine (like his roast potatoes) but a good attempt nonetheless.

This morning the kids went to school in the falling snow, and Sebastian and I got our daily dose of fresh air with snow too: he is now snoozing contentedly on his big dog bed, and I think I may go try to catch up a bit with the Mrs.Tumnus KAL. But it's far more likely that I shall copy the dog, just that I will be on the sofa.

Friday 8 March 2013

FO Friday 128: Grape Soda Mitts

Gilded Tarot

I have just popped in quickly to brag about finishing the Cafe au Lait mitts, in Sirdar Country Style DK, colorway 'Heather' or 0529:

grape soda instead of cafe au lait

I altered the pattern so that the lace stitch pattern did not run across the palms, which I think will be more comfortable as plain stockinette. And I even remembered that the right mitt would need to thumb gusset to therefore be on the other side .... really, I do not have the words to convey the true scale of this achievement.

The yarn has 30% real wool in it, which makes it feel a little on the itchy-scratchy side to me, somewhat like the knitwear from my childhood. I have done what I can with fabric conditioner, and the recipient may like it regardless - after all, there do exist those sad souls who still use Izal by choice. Or so I am told.

And since we are now talking - literally - about crap, I need to go clean house ready for the five 10 year old girls who are descending for Mini Diva's birthday sleepover tomorrow. I don't even know what I was thinking. If I was thinking at all.

See nice things over at Tami's Amis .....

Wednesday 6 March 2013

WIP Wednesday 134: Mood Indigo

Spirit of Flowers Tarot

I don't think that I have either taken enough meds or drunk enough gin to excise the very unaccustomed sentimental and maudlin feelings that today's WIP (Work In Progress) brings.

It is Mini Diva's 10th birthday. 

She is feisty, self-willed, independent, confident, smart, argumentative, cute, loud, tall, hungry and amazing.

But this is how she was when she was 2 years old:

I love her now, but I do miss the little cutiepie she was just yesterday.

And just to prove I can be  just as  cheesily OTT as the next perimenopausal woman, please to try the stinky Gorgonzola .... 

Probably no mushy stuff over at Tami's Amis .....

Friday 1 March 2013

FO Friday 127: Frankenwabbit 3, The Final Sequel

Alice Tarot

Here we are, another week done. And after a recent dearth of FOs the size of the Sahara, today we have two. 

Well, one and a half really, because mitts come in pairs and I have completed only one, which makes the half: But I will take any crumb.

Cafe au Lait mitt

Not washed or blocked yet, which I'm hoping will have a beneficial effect on the curly top edge: I used the Miraculous Elastic Bind-off, and not only is it miraculously elastic (as promised) but somewhat bulky, giving the mitt that kind of almost frilled look ...

And here we have him, the pièce de résistance: I present to you, Frankenwabbit.

He has been washed and dried, although unfortunately not in a tumble dryer which I think would have benefited the fluffiness of the yarn. Washing him I knew had a high-risk element to it for other reasons, namely, since I sewed it together, maybe Frankenwabbit would come apart and then clog the filters with his guts ... but no, that gory scenario was just a worrisome wraith of imagination. 

What it did do was re-distribute his bowels and intestines within his body - I had put more stuffing in that recommended, plus a small bag of polypellets in his bum to weight him which after the wash ended up closer to his neck; and if he had had less stuffing, he would not have been so easy to pull and manipulate back into some kind of normal shape. Yes, I know I have called him Frankenwabbit, but that was supposed to be humorous, not an actual description of his actual appearance.

I shall not be making him again. But say I were to fall victim to total memory loss combined with creative insanity, then next time I would be looking to knit lots of him in the round, to avoid all that seaming. This is also definitely not a pattern that would work in a plain, non-fuzzy or non-furry yarn: the end result relies on that for not only the cuddly look, but the actual cuddliness.

The final touches were his fluffy tail, which, since he is sitting on it, you cannot see, but which although invisible I promise you - like gravity - is there, and the pretty ribbon round his lack of a neck. Now all I need to do is work out how to package and/or wrap him ....

 Hop on over (oh how they all laughed at the pun) to Tami's Amis  to see more prideful objects ....