Monday, October 29, 2007

Nerd Ornament

I bought a kit at Maker Faire and put it together this weekend. I think it's a great ornament for our Christmas tree this year!



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Reviewed: "The Fugitive Queen" by Fiona Buckley

Ursula is now Mistress Stannard and is pulled back into a web of intrigue when her ward, Pen, is tripped up into some court intrigue. Ursula must take her to the north to settle her onto her newly acquired land and married off. Oh - and Ursula should make a side trip to find out if Queen Mary is really guilty of the crime she was accused of.

This book was okay. I found it read very similar to the previous book. Mary Stuart played a part in both books. A forced marriage by kidnap was in both novels.

I don't know. I'll read the last book in the series. I'm starting to sour a little on the series as the story lines seem to run together.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

WIP: Little Treasure Jacket - Front Right


I've cast on for one of the sleeves and decided to knit it in the round for a portion of it and then go flat on the top.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Reviewed:"A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini

I initially didn't want to read this book as I find Hosseini's stuff a little sad, but the ladies at church highly recommended it. Initially the story seems to be two separate stories, but midway, Hosseini pulls both women's lives together in tragic circumstances.

I liked being able to try understanding how women will allow themselves to be treated as second class citizens, but Hosseini explains it very well. It seems that it's mostly a function of survival.

The characters of this book will live with me for quite sometime and I won't soon forget them. This is a great read.

WIP: Little Treasure Jacket

This is the back of the jacket. I initially did the bobbles wrong. I moved the yarn to the back, slipped 3 stitches and then knitted - this put the bobble on the wrong side of the work. Once I kept the yarn in front while slipping, the bobbles popped right out.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Maker Faire

DH gave me the best present ever!

We had a couple of obligations that popped up this weekend, and it was looking like I was going to miss being able to go the the Austin Maker Faire this weekend.

http://makerfaire.com/

Well, DH said he'd cover the obligations and encourged me to go alone.

I am so excited!

So, I'm off to Maker Faire tomorrow! Whoo Hoo!

FO - Little Treasures Baby Booties

Yarn: Sandnes Garn Mandarin Petit (White)
Pattern: Little Treasure Booties from Simply Knitting 31, August 2007
Size: 3 - 6 months
Needles: US 3
Thoughts: I knitted this flat, so I had to sew up the bottom/back. I'd like to try to convert them into knit in the round. Super fast knit.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dexter

Well, a new season of Dexter has started and it's been fun to watch. I never would think that I'd ever root for a serial killer to allude getting caught, but I do with this series. Jeff Linday has another Dexter book out (Dexter in the Dark) and I'm next on the library list to get it.

I'm currently reading A Thousand Splendid Suns. I am borrowing it from a lady I met at Westside UU and it's started out pretty good. Hosseini writes so well and there's usually a thread of sadness that runs through his work.

Oregon Vest

Here's a photo of my progress on the Oregon Vest.

I'm just a little tired of knitting on the Arwen. :( I'm starting to feel the need to knit a toy!

Tandem

J found a deal on our local Craig's List:

We bought the little tandem bike in hopes of getting M a little more used to being on a bike. We have rented a tandem twice - both times was when we were in San Francisco - and M LOVED being on the bike.

But when we come home and tries to ride her own bike, she panics and ends up crying. Bicycle riding in our household is just not a thing of joy.

So, I got an idea to see if we can find a tandem in order to get M more acclimated to riding bikes.

Well, she didn't want to get on because the bike will tilt. She didn't want to get on because she didn't want to go fast. She just kept on making up excuses. So, I did an evil terrible thing. J & I told her that if she would not ride on the bike, we will sell it. She didn't want that, either. So she braved getting on the bike with tears streaming down her face. So, I took her around the loop, all the while M was screaming at the top of her lungs. She was screaming so loud that some of my neighbors came out to see what the racket was all about. I rode the bike to all the places M refused to go. J was watching and encouraged me to keep going. So I did.

Well, I guess it was the best medicine, because M now LOVES riding the bike. Every day last week whenever she got home from school, I would HAVE to take her bike riding.

I guess sometimes we have to terrify our kids for their own good. I just hated having to do it while it was going on.

Knit-In 2007

I belong to the Bluebonnet Knitting Guild of North Texas and we had a knitting event last Saturday. We basically show up at Stacy's Furniture and use their community room. The price is $10, but it's worth it. We get a great goodie bag complete with a 10% off card for Joann's, yarn, craft scissors, a cloth tape, and two project bags. This year the guild asked various members to put on a "Circle of Learning" where we'd teach a new knitting technique. I taught how to bead while you knit. It was fun.

I cast on for my Oat Couture Oregon Vest with some Eggplant Lion Brand Suede. I thought I had met gage, but after I've knitted quite a bit of the vest, I'm off by two stitches, so I think the vest will be smaller than I want. I may have to frog the thing - which isn't good with the "Suede". LB Suede is really a chenille yarn and doesn't frog well. (sigh) I guess I'll be pulling out my calculator to see if I can recover from this.

Disney ride photo's

Ride photo's are fun to look at after you get off the ride, but we rarely buy them. Below are the sum total of the photo's we've ever purchased - and it's really because we think the terror-filled faces are funny.



Sunday, October 14, 2007

Reviewed: "An Ice Cold Grave" by Charlaine Harris

This is the latest Harper Connally novel by Charlaine Harris. Harper is called into a small town by a newly elected sheriff to help her find some missing boys. Harper finds them and the killer goes after Harper and lands her in the hospital.

I have to admit that I don't like Harper as much as I like Sookie. Harper seems to be a bit more fragile and more dependant upon her step-brother. I did like the big plot point that happened in this novel - I like it when a writer who dangles a big plot point through several novels finally meets it head on rather than keep on dangling it. Now I'm looking forward to seeing how Ms. Harris will handle this in future novels.

I also have a confession - I think the young black psychic is FAR more interesting than Harper Conally and I'd actually like to see Ms. Harris spin off a series about him.

Reviewed: "A Pawn for a Queen" by Fiona Buckley

I have enjoyed the Ursula Blanchard series. So much, in fact, when my local library didn't have the rest of Ms. Buckley's series, I found them for a reasonable price from on-line and will donate them to the library once I'm done reading them.

A Pawn for a Queen finds Ms. Blanchard a widow once more and is summoned to her girlhood home - the Faldenes - and asked to go after her cousin, Edward, who is working to try to usurp Queen Elizabeth.

General observations of this book: I like where Ursula is in her life. She's not having to be a spy anymore and she's enjoying raising her daughter. Her family, however, brings her back into her former profession. Ursula is shown as a bit of an adventure junkie as she allows herself to be used by the family that really doesn't care for her.

There are some BIG story plot lines in this book. I won't spoil them, here. I'm just glad I pushed through and bought the book.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Summer

Here's the summer panel.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

More M Fashion Sense

She loves wearing her baseball socks with dresses and she loves her new sparkly princess shoes.

I love her headstrong sense of what makes her feel pretty.

In progress - Arwen

I have about 20-inches knitted (out of a total 28-inches from the bottom to the shoulder) of the front and back of the Arwen. I've divided the top into three areas (left front, back, right front), so I'm knitting with three different balls of yarn at a time. It allows me to keep the pattern going along the front all at the same time.

In Progress-season panels

I've been intrigued with quilting for quite some time (my grandmother did it a lot) and never felt that my sewing skills were up to snuff. My mom said that if I can sew my daughter's princess dress that I can do a quilt. We were bumping around a quilting shop in Granbury and she encouraged me to buy a kit. I bought a kit to make the Every Season Quilts.


I'm really intimidated by appliques and dragged my feet to start doing this. So I finally dragged everything out this past weekend - mainly because I'm getting tired of knitting on the Arwen and needed to change up my crafting projects.

Here's the front part of what I've got done - I still need to cut out and iron the Summer stuff. I'm happy with what I've done so far but have learned that I don't sew 1/4" consistently as my blocks don't line up. But that's part of my type A showing, so I'm pushing on.

Next: Embroidery, sewing a zig zag around the appliques, adding batting and a back, sewing around the words to "quilt" the design.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Reviewed: "The Sleeping Doll" by Jeffery Deaver

I picked this book up from the library to take with me on the Disney trip - I needed good trash - something that would go quick.

Well, this book didn't go quickly.

I picked it up mainly because Deaver had introduced a new character to his Lincoln Rhyme series and I liked her. Her name is Kathryn Dance and she's a body language expert. I enjoyed her in The Cold Moon and thought this book had some good possibilities.

The story started out good and fast. Daniel Pell was a very smart cult leader who found himself being very intimidated by Kathryn because she wasn't easily moved by him - which spooked him. Daniel busted out of the jail, and the rest of the story is about catching him.

I got bored when Deaver would talk about how Dance was able to watch the "subject" and become a human lie-detector. It just got repetitive and was something I already read about in The Cold Moon.

I became impatient when Daniel Pell kept getting away - and the way he got away was similar each time. Hyper observant criminal is able to foil the cops because the people around him gave it away. Deaver used this device way too much and it became - yeah - repetitive.

But I kept reading because I had to know why Pell had stayed around and not just disappeared. The end of the book was pure Deaver with a twist that was good and interesting. I'm glad I stuck with the book because I enjoyed the end.

I wouldn't recommend the book, though. Too slow.

More Disney Photos

Areiel spent some good time with M in her Grotto. Here's M with Ariel:


The tail would occasionally flip. I don't know how these girls do the whole Character thing. Their mouths must hurt at the end of the day and be blind from all the flash photography. Thank goodness the Grotto was air conditioned.


Here's the whole crew! Of course, M had to do the pop star pose. . .And this pose is funny as my sister used to make this same pose when she was this age.
I call it the princess pose.

Princess-y goodness

Here are the photo's of M with Cinderella, Aunt K, and the family.




She was very hungry when this photo was taken, and thus, grumpy. It was nice, though, because Cinderella noticed that M's dress was homemade (squee!) and gave me some props!

Arwen Update

I've finished knitting the 17-inches below the arm hole and tried to figure out how to modify the pattern the way Kate Gilbert wrote it.

Um. Nope.
I could try to figure it out, but just casting on and knitting the sleeves separately will work out. I'm working from three different balls at once, but since I'm used to keeping track of the cables by knitting it flat, I just switch from ball to ball in each panel area.

Here's a photo of the cardigan so far

And a close up of the cables - see how nice the Comfort keeps its stitch definition? I love the seed stitch border on either side.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

M's School Photo

Okay, M was right, the headband wasn't bad. . .
But for some reason, Mom screwed up and didn't have the pig-tails centered.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Wednesday & Thursday - Days Five & Six

Wednesday was spent at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Center. J & I had been several years before and weren't allowed to go to the Gantry part of the center because there was a shuttle launch scheduled. This time, we were able to go and it was really cool.

They were also redoing the Rocket Garden in the late 90's. It's been redone and I have to say, I always thought the rockets were mock ups at smaller scales. It was cool to find that they were the real things - and shocking because they were so small. I mean, the rocket Alan Shepard rode is down right puny!

We also went to the Mad Science Mission to Mars show. M was able to participate as well as her dad. It was cute.

While we were checking out at the gift shop, I noticed some folks behind me with "DAWN VIP" badges on. I, not being the shy one, asked if they had anything to do with the upcoming launch. Yes, they were payload specialists for the Delta II rocket.

You see, the next day was a launch of an un-manned rocket. Specifically, the Dawn mission will send up probes for two asteroids located in the Asteroid Belt. They won't get there for 8 years.

After we went to KSC, we headed back to the hotel and spent some time on the beach again. This time, we ate dinner at the Sand Bar as it was free chicken wings with the purchase of a pitcher of beer. M had a grill cheese and there some great live music. M loved it so much, she had to tell the musician that she really liked his music. I gave her a dollar so she could tip him. He was really tickled and came up to us to tell us what a great kid we had.

The next day, we woke up early and headed out for the beach again. We got there and it took some time for the launch to go. We thought that it may had been scrubbed, but it wasn't. . .
(sorry it's sideways - still don't know how to operate my camera phone well)

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We headed back to the hotel, checked out, and got to Orlando early - so we tried getting on an earlier flight - successfully! M was ready to be home, and so were her parents.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Tuesday - Day Four

No more Magic Kingdom - Yay!

My in-laws wanted to have a going away breakfast, so we ate at the Whispering Canyon Cafe located in the Wilderness Lodge. The staff basically had license to abuse you - in a fun way. The table next to us asked for ketchup and the waiter made a big deal about it. J needed some ketchup and asked me to grab the ketchup from the table next to us so he wouldn't have to suffer the humiliation. WELL! That backfired. The waiter noticed we had ketchup on the table and told the whole restaurant that J had STOLEN the ketchup.

They also had occasional events for the kids. M participated in a broom horse race and was deputized - if she promised to never go to Sea World. :)

After breakfast, we went to the airport and picked up our rental car - Cocoa Beach, here we come!

We stayed at a great little mom & pop hotel, the Fawlty Towers. We were just one block away from the beach and it was a perfect location. We checked in and headed off to the beach. I forgot how much fun the beach is.

Well, M LOVED the beach. I think it was the first time she wasn't stressed out on the trip. Collecting shells with her dad was great fun to watch. She wasn't a fan of swimming in the ocean as she didn't like getting knocked around by the waves or the taste of salt water.

The hotel also had a pool, and M wanted to swim in it. Later on, J & I hung out at the hotel's "tiki bar" and found a new to us beer: Yuengling Traditional Lager. It's yummy!

We noticed a beach bar on our way back to the hotel, so we ran over and had some great fish taco's there. Great fun and another early night.

Cool Construction Geek Photo

I love watching stuff being built. I had a meeting in Arlington and had to stop my car to snap this photo.

This is the new Cowboy's stadium under construction in Arlington, Texas. It's massive and they still haven't hit the top elevation yet.

Very cool.

Monday - Day Three

We woke up at a decent time, ran downstairs to eat breakfast and ran into the rest of the family. For some reason, we didn't get our acts together early on, so we hit the Magic Kingdom at 9:30 am. We thought that the crowds would be smaller, since it was a Monday. We were wrong.

Since it was so crowded, we headed over to the Jungle Cruise. The line went surprisingly quickly and the kids had fun. M got scared when we went through an old "temple" that was dark, but all in all, I think she enjoyed it.

The Aladdin Flying Carpet ride was just next door, so we rode it. The kids were great as each kid got a turn to control the carpet.

Of course, for me, a trip to Disney isn't complete without riding the Pirates of the Caribbean. The ride has been updated to include Johnny Depp's "Captain Jack" and the hill you slide down was longer than I remembered. The updates are very small and the ride is essentially the same as when I was a kid. Poor J, he sat it out with M.

Next up was Splash Mountain. M is okay on roller coaster stuff and loves the log ride at the local Six Flags so she was receptive on going on the Splash Mountain ride. The ride has a lot more puppets and dark places than I remembered - it's also surprisingly a long ride. I guess this has more to do with worrying about M's fear of the puppets, but it seemed like the ride kept on going. She did great on the steep drops.

We then tried to get on the Thunder Mountain Rail as M has ridden similar rides with no problems. She panicked as soon as she saw the cars go through a couple of tunnels. As we were in line, one of the workers said that they will not start the ride if a kid is screaming that they don't want to ride. M was almost to this stage as we got closer to the front. J, once again, took M to sit out the ride. He's a great dad. The first part of the ride would have sent M into fits, but the rest was just fine and she would have had fun. Oh, well.

We were hungry about this time and had a mediocre meal. Afterwards we watched a parade. The in-laws got tired and we started back towards the hotel but decided to ride the Monorails to go see Epcot. The kids and my SIL got to sit in the front of one of the legs of the Monorail rides and the kids all got cute "Monorail Co-Pilot" cards. Sitting on the Monorail wasn't enough down time for my SIL's kids, so they headed back to the hotel, too. We stayed behind and went to watch a show that was put on in front of Cinderella's castle. We then did another ride on the carousel and It's a Small World. By this time, we needed to head over to the final character dinner held at the Liberty Tree Inn. This was where the kids got to see Chip n Dale (my youngest nephew was really cute and kept hugging them when they came by), Goofy, Pluto, and Minnie. The food was really great (beef, ham, & pork with corn bread dressing, mashed potatoes, & string beans topped off with an apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream). I think it was my favorite dinner the whole time we were there.

The SpectraMagic parade was going on and we actually found the BEST observation point where we could see everything. M hit the wall, so we headed home and got into bed around 9:30 pm again.

Since M was so distressed with most of the rides, I have to say that the Magic Kingdom wasn't all that magic for her. I am looking forward to when M is a little older and braver. Her 7 year old cousin was really great and tried to encourage her to go on the rides. I am always impressed at how well the nephews and her get along.

Reviewed:"Here, There & Everywhere" by Chris Roberson

I really enjoyed this book as I've been going through an interest in the whole alternate universe theory lately. Roberson did a great job showing how a young girl who was very interested in Physics because her father encouraged it (he was a professor). The girl received an object she called the Sofia. The Sofia would allow her to explore different time lines - including being able to travel forward and backwards within her own time line. It's a lonely life, but she's very happy with her lot in life. I won't divulge the ending, but I was satisfied with this story. It's a very light read and Roberson does a good job explaining some difficult physic concepts.

Texas Legislation

J pointed this out to me this morning. I can't believe it - our State Reps are voting more than once! I am very surprised this happens and would like this to stop.