Friday, November 28, 2008


A note to let you know I'm still here and OK. I know it's been a week (longer?) since I updated last; I have spent this week fairly quiet everywhere, not just here.

I have been quiet on my blogs.
I have been quiet in my email.
I have been quiet on Twitter (except for one day...).
I have been quiet in real life.
I have been quiet in my own mind.

I find myself being an observer on life. Simply sitting quiet and observing closing the life around me. The subtlety of emotions flowing over a friend's face. The interplay of light and shadow on the landscape. The rhythm of others lives.

I started new meds a week ago. I don't know if this quiet is part of the chemical balancing in my brain. If so, it will be temporary. Soon you will find a blog-orhea onslaught of news, links, and contemplation.

Mental conversations are beginning to return, which is the first step.

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Page 56 Game

This is going around again. I think last time I saw it was about 3 years ago? Anywho.. feel free to play and post your sentence in the comments.

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence along with these instructions in a note to your wall.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

"In spite of its delicate appearance, this is a straightforward pattern to knit and incredibly rewarding to watch grow!"
2-at-a-time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes

I had next to me as I checking the right way to cast on for 2 wrist warmers using the Magic Loop method.

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Linky Love Eleven

Almost a perfect alliteration.

I've spent a remarkable amount of time this week saving blog pages and webpages to my delicious page. All the the intention of eventually using these when I need help or inspiration on a crafty post. So I'm not going to say a whole lot about these links today.

Instead, simply enjoy:

1. KnitWiki explains the magic loop with links to other tutorials on doing it. Magic Loop is how I knit.

2. Holiday decorations are nicest when they're hand-made! Gingerbread Snowflakes's tutorial is based upon the Japanese Timari balls.

3. These were popular a few years ago, and continue to sought because of their obvious recycle/green element: How to make a juice-drink pouch purse.

4. Continue with the idea of green crafts, wouldn't a bunch of MomsGoGreen Coffee Sleeves sewn from scraps in your stash be great stocking stuffers/hostess gifts?

5. AllSorts Criss Cross Coasters would be another GREAT holiday hostess gift.

6. Consumer Craft offers a list of beading instructions. Useful all the time.

7. Whole Foods offers a number of recipes for great home-made holiday gifts.

8. One Pearl Button offered a tutorial on turning a cashmere sweater into long gloves and a cloche. If your best sweater has developed a small hole (darn moths!) this is a great way to save it.

9. On a different vein, how about making a DIY R-strap for your camera? I didn't know I wanted this until I saw it!

10. Little Hut wrote a fabulous tutorial on recycling your junk mail into charming paper trees. So beautiful

11. Thinking you'd like to try knitting socks this winter? Here is a basic sock pattern.

OK. So you do have favorite tutorial/instructional posts to share?

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tidying Up Art: a TED talk

Today I am featuring Ursus Wehrli's talk on "Tidying Up Art." His observations are all about taking works of art and tidying them up. It's funny and thought provoking.

TED talks are always worth checking out. I will typically spend a Sunday every month just catching some inspiration. Enjoy.

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Friday, November 14, 2008

As you might have noticed by quantity of my blogposts (a-hem)... I have had some issued over the last few many months that are interfering with my ability to put together cohesive and comprehensibly posts.

We won't talk about the computer problems plaguing me lately. My laptop was returned to the shop yesterday for another 2-3 week stay while replace the motherboard they replaced 3 weeks ago. Yes, 6 out of 9 weeks my perfectly set-up, all the programs I want just as I want them, everything customized and organized to my personal whims laptop has been gone. I've working on borrowed -and therefore not optimized for my personal tastes- laptops. Yesterday, when I took my laptop back, I just broke down and bought a new one. I'm working on getting it all perfect, but I think I need my old laptop back to compare notes, share files, and have them both looking/working the same. Then a weekly swap of data etc., and I should ready the next time something dies.

I digress.. we were talking about my not being productive.

Over these past many months I've had hundreds of starts; thank your stars these efforts hit the trashcan before I hit publish. Compelling? NO. Understandable? Not really. Readable? Not quite.

Between my chronic insomnia and the drugs I take to sleep, I've lost something of myself. Today I am finally seeing a doctor (a specialist) to help me find the way to being me, both outside and inside. I've been waiting 3 months to see this guy. While it is a very long time, it let me do some of the work on my own that we likely would have done together, so the time was not a waste. (fyi: there are drugs you must wean yourself off of slowly. Molasses in winter slowly. No matter how quickly you might wish to be switching to something else. I believe that work is done. Yay!)

Now I am of the "I want things to change, I want them to change RIGHT NOW!"

Part of me is thinking, I've already waited 3 months, when I return from this (very first getting to know us) visit I want a plan for the future outlined in detail steps 1-20 with a clearly stated outcome. I want to sleep tonight, wake up feeling good tomorrow, have my mind clear by Monday, and be able to remember shit like words and concentrate for longer than 30 seconds by the end of next week. (yeah, if I were clearer headed, I would re-write this sentence into something grammatical. Instead, I'm admitting my flaws and living with it).

I know I'm setting my standards too high.

So I'm wanting all those things, but realistically willing to settle for something less. Like a 5 step plan that ends with checking back with him in a couple weeks or a month. Maybe a blood test ordered (could all this be hormonal?), probably just the skeleton outline of a plan.

It's a step in the right direction,.

(just got a call from dr. office. He's out sick. Everything delayed until Tuesday night. I think this whole process is supposed to teach me something about patience. I'm hitting publish anyway.)

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Monday, November 10, 2008

MeMe Time

Found on AllSorts

Where is your mobile phone? Recharging on the kitchen counter.
Where is your significant other?upstairs
Your hair colour? Dark Ash Blonde (at least that's what the box says).
Your mother? Was crazy, now deceased.
Your father? Dead.
Your favorite thing? I have to choose one?
Your dream last night? I do not remember dreams.
Your dream goal? I don't let myself dream.
The room you're in? family room off kitchen
Your hobby?creating
Your fear? disappearing and/or success
Where do you want to be in 6 years? Living in a condo in Oakland I think.
Where were you last night? Dinner at Won Thai, then home watching the Warriors.
What you're not? Confident
One of your wish-list items? Hike the Grand Canyon
Where you grew up? Cleveland, Ohio
The last thing you did? Vacuumed the first floor
What are you wearing? sweats and a t-shirt
Your TV? Flatscreen. And on.
Your pets? two dogs
Your computer? Windows
Your mood? apathetic
Missing someone? Nope.
Your car? 2002 VW Passat Stationwagon
Something you're not wearing? jewelry
Favourite shop? hardware store/book store
Your summer? a hazy blur
Love someone? Nope.
Your favourite colour? red
When is the last time you laughed? Thursday
When is the last time you cried? Wednesday

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Welcome Winter With Hand-made Hats

crossposted at BlogHer

I turned my clocks back Saturday night, resigning myself to the too-soon-dark evenings that are a daily reminder that winter is here. With these darker nights come more time snuggled on the couch knitting, crocheting or embroidering. And the perfect item to work on at the beginning of winter?


Hats can dress up a dreary winter outfit, change the look of a too-often worn coat, and keep your head warm and dry. A pretty hand-made hat is also a great way to show one's crafty skills. So lets take a look at winter hats:

Making a great winter hat

When I found the Jayne Cobb hat pattern on Ravelry, I had to laugh! As a fan of Firefly, the idea of making and wearing this is especially endearing. Something I could crochet in an evening makes it doubly appealling. But the best thing about this pattern? It pointed me to the magic adjustable ring instructions which will make any project that begins with a crocheted circle easier in the future, even granny squares!

niece, Sarit, is one lucky little girl. She gets a uniquely designed hat, loses it, and her aunt designs another one. So far Sarit has received: Odessa (requires a ravelry sign-in) and a Black Sea hat. Sarit's third hat is under construct: purple, beads, and an interesting cable pattern.

Lee Meredith discusses How to Knit a Stripey Short-Rows Wavy Hat as a contributor on CraftStylish.The patterns is a free PDF download that accompanies this post. I have some Koigu yarn that just might be perfect for this!

I know Chloe Nightingale calls her pattern The Bobble Headband but, as shown, wouldn't it make a nice hat for a long-haired gal? Or are those multiple layered headbands? Either way, it requires just a bit of yarn and almost no time.

Kevin and Nichole McIain offered directions for knitting a baby hat on a round knifty knitter! I don't own one (dare I say yet?), but these would be great for my friends' many grandbabies sprouting up!

Want something completely different? Craftster held a Felt-Along for needle felting a hat over a 3D form! These are similar to the gorgeous wool felt hats you find in boutiques and fancy department stores! Instructions even include how to make your own hat form.

I'm sure we can felt an old sweater, then cut it up and make a great hat, but I haven't found this exactly as a tutorial. Curiously Crafty, though, as a fantastic tutorial on sewing a hat with 3 free PDF downloadable patterns; startng with felted sweater is just an (unstated) option. And ThreadBanger gave instructions for turning a non-felted sweater this brimmed beanie.

Maybe you'd rather buy a hand-made hat?

Have you taken the Handmade Pledge? All it takes is a quick trip to Etsy to find crafters selling warm and wonderful hats! offers the charming "newsboy" styled Faith hats, each made from recycled sweaters and available for toddlers, children and adults. (I knew someone else would think of this!)

Monica Burnett offers a variety of knit hat styles for sale. I love her jasmine turban, with the buttons and beads trim!

FunnyFinn asks (rightly): Who knew hats could be so much fun? when she shows her fleece "neck-warming helmet." It's just one example of her whimsical fleece children's hats. Makes me wish I were a child again.

Where Finn is whimsical, Liza Rietz offers classic cloches, and momerath makes a two-color woolen hat sound romantic:
Winter is sexy. No really: Clouds of breath, ice-skating hand in hand, peeling off cozy layers, making up after snowball fights. ... This hat will fill the bill on two of those counts, at least.

Interested in hats for charity?

Warm Up,America! joined up with Save The Children for their "Knit one, Save One" initiative:
Save the Children's Knit One, Save One initiative is asking knitters and crocheters to take three steps before December 31, 2008: 1) knit or crochet A baby cap; 2) write one personal note to the new President asking him to lead the way to save millions of babies globally; and 3) if possible, donate $10 towards a "Newborn Care Kit" to help parents better care for newborns.
There are several very easy baby caps patterns available either for the knitter or crocheter.

Ronni Lynn Spolls requests that knitters make soft chemo caps:

"The Heather Spoll No Hair Day Hat Program"
We encourage each of you to knit one or two or a few chemocaps and donate them to a cancer treatment center in the area where you live. It's neighbors helping neighbors one chemocap at a time and yes it does make a difference!
They offer a variety of chemo cap patterns.. including patterns you can use for men going through chemo.

This is a start on the warm wonderful ways we can warm our heads. What are some of your favorites? Share them in the comments.

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I Am Proud to be An American

For the first time in over 8 years, I am proud to be an American. The election of Barack Obama as our 44th President fills me with hope.

However, the work has just begun. We cannot wipe our hands clean, sit back, and rest on our laurels. Wresting the Presidency away from people who used divisive techniques, force and swagger to promote their agenda is just the starting point.

Now we have to learn how to grow as a UNITED nation again. Put away the "us" and "them" in favor of the "we".

In the next several months and years, we must work together to solve our economic problems, to find a workable plan to our energy future, to educate our population, to fight the growing epidemic of obesity.

These are just a few of the problems WE have to solve. Which means each of us needs to examine our personal priorities and commit to continue working forward with the same (or more) energy than was expended in this political battle.

What ISSUE are you willing to commit your time and voice to in the future?

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I HATE Standard Time.

This time of year and in the spring, everyone complains about the time change. We hate the disruption that change brings. Yet many people declare that they LOVE Standard time.

Me? Not so much.

In case you're confused about which we have when, we are now in Standard time. Back in the 1800s when time standards were being adopted around the world, Standard time showed the relationship between local time and time anywhere in the world. It was mainly adopted to make train schedules work.

During WWI, many countries began adopting Daylight Savings time to save energy and increase productivity. At the moment, the US government has declared that -for most of the US- daylight savings time is in force roughly 7.5 months of the year (mid-March through end of October). Standard time rules during the winter months when increased darkness does little to effect energy savings.

Beside the disruption in sleep patterns (and I understand major confusion among animals), most people really have little problem with one time or the other. I say this because at BOTH time changes people complain about hating Daylight Savings Time and, I'm sorry, but you can only hate it at one change. If you really hate DST, then you spent the last weekend celebrating the clocks move.

I, however, truly hate standard time and was sorry to see last Saturday come.

See, like many animals, I have a set circadian rhythm. My body wakes up at its own same inner-clock time and does not fall back to sleep. I could lie in bed more, but I will get no additional rest. During DST, I awake within 10 minutes of 7 am; a decent time to get up considering I go to bed at 11 pm. Close to the eight hours sleep I need.

You see where this is going, right? During ST, I wake up at 6 am. Even if I went to bed at 11 pm. Even if I'm still tired. Even if it's dark.

My body doesn't recognize the time change and there is no way to train it to stay asleep an hour longer. I wish I could.

So I hate Standard Time and my lost one hour of sleep every night. I wish could accept it as the chance to be more productive for an hour, but that doesn't seem to happen. The extended dark doesn't lend itself to more productivity.

Those who love Standard time and hate DST, please tell me why?

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.


Monday, November 03, 2008


I collect quotes as I wander around the internet. Quotes that speak to me or make me think of a friend who should hear these words. I save these in an draft post to keep them on hand.

But why not share these? Why hoard them to myself? I thought tonight that sharing some of these with you would be a positive step in a world full of less-than-positive. Here's 10 I've collected. Enjoy and please share a quote or two of your own in comments.

“When we don’t turn away from pain, we open our hearts and are more able to connect to the best part of ourselves and others–because every human being knows pain. I’m not sure what enlightenment is, but I’m sure it has something to do with turning pain into love.”
–Myriam Greenspan, from “On Moving from Grief to Gratitude” in the January 2008 edition of Sun Magazine.
The soul won't invest in a compromise" Christine Kane's blog
“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.” - Swedish proverb
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain. [1]
From DUNE.
"The bulk of mankind are schoolboys through life." Thomas Jefferson
Before something happens in the world, it must happen in your mind. CS Lewis
"You can have anything you want
if you will give up the belief
that you can't have it."
~ Robert Anthony
It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no results.
“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world. Someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” – Tom Bodett
"We must use time creatively . . . and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do great things.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Ghost Story

I wonder if we all have a true life ghost story? I do. Mine's a little different.

When I 20, my father bought a used car from a guy he worked with whose wife had originally purchased it. It was a 1970 AMC Hornet SST. It was determined that when I graduated from college, this car would be mine. And so it was.

Her name was Persephone. For the first several years we owned her, she would run like a dream until the first cold hints of winter blew in. Then she'd go to hell. Finding her name was the saving grace; a gentle little talk with her, an encouraging word, and she ran like as reliably as my current German-engineered car, but in a time when "running reliably" was not used with any automobile.

Most of the time, then and now, I drive in my cars alone. In Persephone, though, I never alone.

There was a palable spirit that resided in the back seat. A blur in the rear-view mirror that disappeared if I looked in its direction. A feeling of a protective soul watching out for me. A Back-Seat Driver. I could feel it (him? It always felt like a him) sitting just behind my right shoulder. Late at night, stopping at a drive-through for some kind of nosh, I'd always offer my protector of bite. He never took one.

I wondered if was me, comforting myself by creating this feeling of a protective spirit in the car. But why only in the car? If I created this spirit, I'd want it with me any time I was alone and needing protection: walking through a parking garage (still creeps me out); down a dark street; in a distantly located public restroom; along a quiet and deserted hallway.

OK, those places all STILL give me the heebee-jeebees! And I don't sense any ghost-protector.

It was only that car. When she was totalled in an accident and had to be replaced, at first I reveled in the sense of freedom I felt. No more spirit backseat driver looking over my shoulder. I have, however, come to miss that sense of companionship I felt; that never-being-alone-even-when-alone.

Nowadays, I'd welcome back that spirit.

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.