January 30, 2009

Friday's Sweet Stuff

This really nice pottery comes from Meghan Elizabeth Pottery. I love the chocolate brown color. This ice cream bowl for $25 would definitely be used for chocolate in my house. Check out this and more here or at the Linden Hills Natural Home Store in Minneapolis.

January 28, 2009

Wednesday's Comment Call-out: One step forward...

This may not work well as a regular because reading comments makes me so angry sometimes and the rest of the time it's just exhausting. So this is going to be very general.

I was just reading a bunch of comments on Sarah Palin following an article about how she is/is not a feminist. They are all so scathing. I don't disagree with most of them, but at some point I was just done with all the name-calling. "She's a witch," "she's a crazy conservative," "she's a liar," and so on and so on. She's also a woman who is not immune to having her feelings hurt. Among many I know, I would not be popular for defending her but I guess I'm doing it anyways.

And that's because it's tiresome to listen to Group A criticize Group B for trying to impose their views on the world, when isn't Group A doing the same thing but with different views? I'm not saying people shouldn't express their beliefs, but I always wonder if we're doing it wrong. Especially when you're reading blogs and comments, people are so nasty. I suppose because it's easy to be mean and condescending and self-righteous when you aren't looking your prey in the face. I think feminism is about questioning, not judging. And evangelizing, be it for a religion or any other cause, is most effective when done with humility.

January 27, 2009

Last minute bulky winter set!

Winter will be over soon, but it's not too late to make winter-wear! I wanted to make a bulky winter item like a hat, but then had a hard time finding patterns for matching mittens and a scarf that used the same yarn. So here are the patterns for a super easy and fast winter set.

One skein each of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick colors: Claret (A), Denim (B), Wheat (C), Grass (D), and Spice (E)

DPN size 10.5
DPN size 13
DPN size 15 (or size 15 circular needle with 5” cord)
Tapestry needle
One stitch holder
One stitch marker or safety pin

Mittens (make 2)
Fits woman with a small wrist [average wrist]. Finished width of hand is 4”, and finished height (with cuff) is 9 1/2” (without cuff is 8”). Finished thumb is 2 1/2” at shortest edge. If your hand measures longer or shorter, simply add or subtract 1-3 rnds from the hand/thumb sections.

With A and DPN size 10.5 needle, CO 16 [20] sts and distribute across three needles.
Placing a stitch marker to indicate the beginning of the round, join and knit 2, purl 2 rib for 6 rounds.
Switch to B and knit the following sequence twice:
Rnd 1: Knit to last 2 sts, kfb, k1
Rnd 2: Repeat rnd 1
Rnd 3: Knit
Switch to C and complete the directions for 1 of the starred options below.
*For small wrist only: knit the sequence 3 more times. Then work Rnds1 and 2 once more.
*For average wrist only: knit the sequence 1 more time. Then work as follows:
Rnds 1,2,4,5,7,and 8: Knit.
Rnds 3 and 6: Knit to last 2 sts, kfb, k1

Knit to last 6 sts and slip those last 6 sts to a holder.
CO 3 sts to right needle, and making sure your stitch marker is at the beginning of the rnd, join and knit 4 rnds.
Switch to D and knit 11 more rnds.
Switch to E and begin decreasing as follows:
Rnd 1: (K4, ssk) 4 times, k1
Rnd 2: Knit
Rnd 3: (K3, ssk) 4 times, k1
Rnd 4: Knit
Rnd 5: (K2, ssk) 4 times, k1
Rnd 6: (K1, ssk) 4 times, k1
Rnd 7: Ssk 4 times, k1
Rnd 8: Ssk twice, k1
Break yarn and weave tail through remaining sts.

Transfer the 6 held sts onto two needles. With a third needle and C, pick up 4 sts along hand edge. Placing a stitch marker to indicate the beginning of the rnd, join and knit 4 rnds.
Switch to D and knit 2 rnds.
Begin decreasing as follows:
Rnd 1: (K1, ssk) 3 times, k1
Rnds 2 and 3: Knit
Rnd 4: Ssk 3 times, k1
Break yarn and weave tail through remaining sts.
Weave in all ends.

Finished length is 64”(without fringe), and finished width is 5”.

With A and DPN size 15, CO 24 sts.
Placing a stitch marker to indicate the beginning of rnd, join and knit all rnds. Switch colors at random to make various sizes of stripes. Or to recreate the pictured scarf, knit as follows:
A: 7 rnds
B: 14 rnds
C: 3 rnds
D: 20 rnds
E: 10 rnds
A: 3 rnds
B: 6 rnds
C: 16 rnds
D: 6 rnds
E: 3 rnds
A: 26 rnds
B: 9 rnds
C: 6 rnds
D: 3 rnds
E: 18 rnds
A: 7 rnds
B: 3 rnds
C: 14 rnds
D: 19 rnds
E: 3 rnds
A: 9 rnds
B: 4 rnds
BO all sts loosely and weave in all ends. Make fringe that cinches both ends of the tube if desired. Pictured scarf uses (for each end) two 12” lengths of each color. Fold the strands of each color in half, stuff the loops through sts in the first row of the scarf, feed the tails through the loop, and pull tight.

Follow the pattern on the Lion Brand website.

If you’re knitting for someone with a large head, add sts in multiples of 4 and remember to decrease the same number of extra sts at the top.

For the pictured hat, knit as follows:
A: All of rib section (20 rnds)
B: 4 rnds
C: 11 rnds
D: 6 rnds
E: 4 rnds

January 26, 2009

Monday's Wise Words

Well, there wasn't much fun stuff out there....so here's a funny, if slightly stupid, video. I always go for things about the ridiculousness of commercials, because I know they get to me! Blurg!

Learn how to be a better woman in 2009 - click here.

January 25, 2009

Sunday's Mischief Managed

This is perhaps Penny's most outrageous scandal. It started on Christmas Day, 2008. We took her over to Becky's house in the morning so we could prepare some chicken wings for later, then put the dogs (Penny and Gretzky) in their kennels and headed out to the xmas party for one side of my in-laws. Upon returning to Becky's house after said party, we released the dogs and welcomed our good friends the Rownds who were in town and were joining us for dinner. Everyone had a lovely time and at the end of the evening, we packed up Penny's belongings and went home.
The next day, Joe and I were sitting in front of the television when Penny comes trotting in with a green ball that is most definitely not hers. She had stowed it away in her own kennel so that it would be transported home.
Penny has one toy to her name - a bone - because she destroys toys and this one is pretty indestructible. Not only does she destroy them, she eats them and processes them through her digestive tract - which isn't good when you're talking about rubber bits and yellow fuzz. The funny thing is that she's otherwise not a chewer - never chews shoes or pillows and gave up chewing blankets after she teethed. It has also been hard to play with her because all she wants is for you to chase her and try to get the thing. She's horrible at fetch - doesn't bring the ball to you and even if she did she would just run away with it.
But here she is with this green plastic ball, saying "play with me!"

Suddenly, with this ball and this ball only, she brings it to you for you to throw. She still wants to resist giving it up, but the only word she always responds to ("stay") will make her relent. She also still wants to chew on the ball, but seems to do so much more gently than with anything else.
Like many other things, she likes to roll on the ball. Either getting its scent on her or her scent on it. I don't know, but it's hilarious when she accidentally bumps it out of her reach and then pounces on it like a cat.

Sometimes she's so insistent that you play with her she starts whining. Once when I was trying to finish a knitting project, she came over and put the ball right on top of my knitting.

Here, she's obviously relishing her own cunning at stealing her best friend's possession.

January 23, 2009

Friday's Sweet Stuff

So here it is! For the first ever Friday's Sweet Stuff, I've chosen these cool, reusable cup sleeves. "The Cozy Corset Cuff" was created locally by DangerKitty Designs. They come in really cute fabrics like this owl one, are reversible, and can be customized. Unlike some products, there is actually a layer of insulation to keep your fingers comfortable. Plus, twelve dollars gets you a nice gift for a coffee drinker who doesn't bring their own thermos to the barista. Click here to see more and order one.

Regular features

I've been thinking about making this whole thing a little more structured by posting regular features a few days a week. So here's what's in the works:

Monday's Wise Words: Comments on and links to articles that are of interest to all you intelligent beings out there - focusing mostly on feminist issues.

Wednesday's Comment Call-out: Reviews of the best and worst reader comments out there - focusing on those that either make me so, so mad or laugh out loud.

Friday's Sweet Stuff: Comments on and links to products/services/people that are awesome - focusing on other local crafters.

Sunday's Mischief Managed: Comments on the life of Penny, my Jack Russell - focusing on her stinker moments.

Look out for more...coming soon!

January 22, 2009

Lunch of oranges

Who says you can't have a balanced (by which I mean varied) meal made of all-orange foods?

January 20, 2009

Women who lie

The Star Tribune has an article online this morning about a recent study showing that women may be less likely to be able to control hunger impulses than men. Basically, 13 women and 10 men fasted overnight and then were exposed to their favorite foods while using a technique to suppress thoughts of hunger. Brains scans showed lower activity in the men's brains, but not in the women's, even though both groups said the technique decreased their hunger.

I don't take exception to the article - or even the possibly dodgy study. As usual, I take exception to some of the reader comments. As soon as I read the part about the discrepancy between the women's responses and brain activity, I thought, "great, another case that idiots out there will take to mean that we can't trust what women say, especially when it comes to their own health and bodies." Sure enough, slowasscivic says:

"See even while hooked up to scientific instruments women will try and lie! Just be honest! :) Excuse me while I go grab some delicious cake NOM NOM NOM."

The civic isn't the only thing. Or maybe it's me - am I too slow to get that this reader was making a joke? Sorry, it's just not funny when there's so much other crap out there, like this OBGYN clip from Global Sports Fraternity. The group says they simply bring out the comedy in pro sports, but that's a lame excuse for showing women, their body parts, and their personal situations in totally inappropriate and unrealistic ways. Blurg!

January 14, 2009

Hand warmers

Mmmmmm, toasty. My right hand becomes even more frigid than usual when I'm on the computer for hours at a time, so I made the hand warmers in Last Minute Knitted Gifts - and used up most of the extra yarn from Penny's sweater. I should have just enough to alter the sweater if I so decide.

January 11, 2009

Penny's sweater, finished?

Well, the sweater is unfortunately a bit ill-fitting. So I might take out the ribbing at the neck and rework it. It really needs to be longer, with more buttons. Of course, the button I used was the only one of its kind so I have to buy some and then hope that I actually do fix this, and if I do I'll post the pattern. Penny doesn't exactly love it, but she doesn't try to walk out from underneath it like my cat Simon did when my mom put his Halloween cape on him. Next year, I might try this dog sweater pattern instead.

January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

We had a good time last night at a friend's house; playing games, drinking champagne and beer and bailey's, and setting off explosives.

My hopes for 2009 are plentiful and I've been thinking about resolutions even though I usually don't make them. From the lists of popular ones: enjoy life more. For me, this will mean getting out and doing stuff - even sometimes when I feel like sitting in front of the TV instead. It might mean going out even after a long day of work (presuming I get a job). The job thing is also on the lists of popular resolutions.

Conquer fears? Somehow this isn't on the lists I've seen. Doesn't everyone have fears? Well, I do. Am I ready to face them? Well, who wants to do that? Are you crazy? So it might not make the list. I want to be ready to face them, and I guess that's the first step, right?

I also want to be a warmer person. Ironically, I'm horrible at correspondence yet when I write cards I can say the most intimate and sincere sentiments. I hope I don't come off as cold in real life, but fear that I do. It might have something to do with the fact that, more than once, people have told me they thought I was a bitch when we met. Somehow I've just seemed to get more shy as I get older. Plus my at-rest face isn't very welcoming, I admit. In a related vein, I want to be more open about my opinions and I want to stick up for myself more. Knowing that I hold things in, I also know that getting more comfortable expressing would probably do me good. And I want to be less apologetic for who I am. Whoever that is at whatever time it may be.

I want to write a song and share it.

I want to hang things in my bedroom.

I want to start brushing my dog's teeth.

I want to plant things in the yard.

CRAFTWISE...I hope can hold on to the motivation to do projects while working full-time, because it's therapeutic. Plus, it's awesome when you get to give people things you've made. It's also awesome when people BUY things you've made. I'm hoping to knit Joe this sweater. I need hand warmers for myself. And there a couple new babies on the way...I'll probably copy Danger Kitty's resolution about using her stash instead of buying more and more stuff, and I'd like to be in some more craft shows this year (more than I was in 2008, which was one, so God help me if I can't do better than that).