Friday, November 30, 2012

NaBloPoMo is NoMo

Whew, I made it!

NaBloPoMo November 2012

I managed to post every day in November!

The good:
-I managed to kick out some posts that had been waiting in draft mode for me to finish them for quite a while!
-I made myself be a little less of a perfectionist so that I didn't take forever with each post.

The bad:
-I had to post a few boring posts just so I could say I posted that day.
-I STILL have some backlog, not to mention photos I haven't even processed (I went to Europe this Summer, for heavens' sake, and you've seen exactly zero pictures!)

I don't know if I'll do this again next year, but it was interesting to see if I could do it. Thanks for hanging in there with me through it all! I predict much less frequent but hopefully more interesting posts to come. =)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Theme-a-licious Nail It November Wrap-Up

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times (well, maybe just three): This month is all about finishing Random Thoughts.

Unfortunately, I still haven't gotten it done! But I am going to sit down tomorrow and DO. IT.

I have half the hemstitching done:

*sigh* Surely I can get this done tomorrow????

I can't even show you my finished Silver Rose! I was honestly sitting here trying to get it bound off before I wrote this post, just so I could say I nailed SOMETHING in November, but then I realized I wanted to do Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (and I couldn't remember how to do it and it was 11:15 PM and OHMIGOSH I JUST NEED TO GET THIS POST UP!)
Sooooooo close.

So have you all been waiting anxiously for the announcement of the 2013 themes?? Anyone??


Well, anyway.... There was some misunderstanding with the Lottloft graphics department about when graphics were "due".... =) But I don't want to put off announcing themes for 2013 any longer!!! about a teaser? Here are the themes from 2012 that will be returning!!

Jardin January

March Madness

Amazon April

Jumanji June

Is your favorite in the list? Any guesses on what the new months will be?? OK, how about one new theme...

Opulent October
It's time to don your tiaras and bring the bling! Stitch on projects with sparkly fibers, beads or charms.

What do you think so far?

Next month is...

Delightful December
The holidays are a time for least, that's the theory! No stress on whatever you want and enjoy!

I think things will be relatively stress-free for me...I just have to finish up my sister's ornament! Who knows what I'll work on then!!

I hope your Nail It November went better than mine and you actually finished something!! Please add your link below (to your wrap-up post), and visit some other Themers if you can (everyone loves comments and encouragement!) Our next post will be on the 15th, when we'll check in with Delightful December. And don't worry if you haven't posted before...just jump in whenever.

1. Bonnie's World
2. Joanne P
3. Jackie
4. Karoline
5. Yana Hanim

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

RIP, Faithful Shoes

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Today was not a great day. Oh, I am feeling much, MUCH better now that I'm on antibiotics. Now I'm just tired, not completely fatigued. =) Thank you for all the well wishes! But today at work, we moved from one floor to the other...from a floor with a wonderful, open floor plan, plenty of light, where I sat by a a floor with high cube walls, half the number of lights in the ceiling, and no window.


But not only did I have to pack up and move to a cruddy cubicle, where I spent a half an hour trying to Lysol all the strange brown, sticky smudges off the desk and drawers, I also was wearing a pair of my favorite shoes...these:
They have high, chunky heels but are extremely comfortable. Actually, I should say they HAD high, chunky heels, since just as I was about to tote all my stuff to my new dungeon cube, this happened:
By the end of the day, here's what they looked like:
Actually, I kind of love the fact that these shoes didn't limp along (no pun intended) for a while, showing wear but making me think, "Hey, they don't look THAT bad! I can still wear these!" Nope. They failed SPECTACULARLY, leaving no doubt that it's time to find a new favorite pair of shoes.

In other news, my free skein of Biggo came from Knit Picks. Did anyone else get in on this great deal? Only a $5 purchase and they sent you a free skein! I was hoping it would match my Silver Rose hat so I could make it into a cowl. It doesn't match as well as I'd hoped, but I think it's still destined to be a cowl. Any good pattern suggestions?

Mamma needs a new pair of shoes. Really.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Glass-making Experience

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In one of my Geekend updates, I mentioned we'd gone for a glass-making experience at a local studio, but I only gave you a couple teaser photos. It's time to tell the whole story!

This is one of the best Groupons I've gotten! Now, when I signed up for this "studio" glass-making experience at Janke Studios, I had a certain picture in my head. "Studio" conjured up visions of us sitting at stylish heavy wood tables, on high stools, with our cute little Bunsen burner things in front of us, goggles on, as we worked with teensy glass blobs. You know, like at the glass blowers' shop at Disney.

I was not prepared for a 2,000 degree F (1100 C) furnace and 6 foot (2 meter) blow pipes!
Yowza! But BOY, was it fun!

It was a small class; just us and one other couple. It would be impossible to have more in the class! We started with a glass (well, a cup ;) of wine and some appetizers from a nearby restaurant. Then, we got a whirlwind bit of instructions thrown at us! Seriously, it was a lot of information to take in, but our instructor was with us every step of the way, and everyone did fine.

First, we made "flowers". I am quoting the word "flowers" because they looked more or less like flowers...some more, some less. =) The first step was to lay out different colors of frits (glass chips) in a circle. Here you can see some of our creations ready to go on the long table with the little gravy boats full of different-colored frits...
I'm looking expectantly on from the bench where we worked the glass. Michael and I wore sandals rather than the closed-toe shoes we were supposed to wear, so we weren't able to walk around with the pipes...ooops. In my defense, the website didn't mention this little restriction!

The next step was for our instructor to get some clear, molten glass out of the big furnace (the big, black cube in the top picture up there) on a pipe, and plop it down on top of our frits.
Clearly, this is a heat-proof table. =) It had a specific name, but by this time it has escaped me! The reason the glass looks orange is that it's so hot! There's no orange in there at all.

The next step was to pinch all around the disc with the jack (that's those giant tweezers I'm holding). You'd occasionally need to dip the jack in water (where it made a satisfying little tsss! sound) to keep it cooler than the glass so it wouldn't stick.
You have to move FAST, because the glass is kind of like frozen honey in consistency (or at least what I imagine frozen honey is like!) It's difficult to explain, and our instructor told us we'd just have to get our hands on it (figuratively, of course!) before we'd know what it was like. At the same time, it had less give and more viscosity than I was expecting. Like I said, difficult to explain. You are rolling the pipe back and forth along that side there while pinching with the jack. And you have to keep things moving or it just droops!

Here the instructor is standing behind a heat shield while she warms up my "flower" in a smaller furnace before the second step. Since it was about 85 degrees F (about 30 C) outside, I wasn't sad I had the sandals on and couldn't perform this step!

Now for step 2 of "flower" making: pulling out the stem. I think we all misunderstood this step a bit; we thought we were supposed to be making the flower more bell-shaped as opposed to flat. But really, you have to pull the heck out of the thing to make the stem happen!
Since the glass wants to cool, and the thinner it gets, the faster it cools, you are fighting a losing battle to get the stem stretched out before it's too cool (and solid). You can't really put it back in the warm-up furnace, either, since it's already drooping off the pipe.

At the point, it's cool enough to come off the pipe...a simple "whack" on the side of the table, and it pops right off! Since the pipe is far cooler than the glass, the glass "wants" to come off the pipe, so it breaks right off. Then the flower goes in the annealing oven, which cycles down from 2000 F slowly so the glass hardens and does not crack.

After our "flowers" were done, our instructor explained our next project: paperweights (or Art Glass Orbs, as Michael calls them =). She got some more glass on the pipe, then dipped it into one or two colors of frits at our direction...
...then she handed the pipe off to us and told us to go nuts! Twist, pull, loop back, make some branches, whatever! Here's me going nuts.
Hmm, that doesn't look too crazy. But again, you had to go FAST! She told us what to do if we did or did not want bubbles (I did). Basically if you don't want bubbles, you have to work to make the ending blob really smooth with no crannies.

And here's Michael doing his thing.
He ended up with a very tall glass orb. =) If we'd had time and been on our own, he probably would have put it back in the warming furnace and had another go. Of course, at this point we had no idea what it would look like, since everything was glowing bright orange, so it's not like we could plan how the colors went.

Next, the instructor got a giant glob of clear glass on the pipe to cover what we'd done, and shaped it a bit on the table.

Our part was to use these wooden scoops, which had been soaking in water, to help form it into a round shape. There were different sizes of scoops, but thankfully our instructor told us which number to use.
The final step was to use the jack to pinch the heck out of the "neck". Basically, the bottom of the orb needed to be as close as possible to the size of the pipe--or smaller--so that it would pop off easily.
You can see the brighter orange part inside that is the colored part. It's brighter because it's hotter. We (and by "we" I mean "our instructor") actually had to reheat the clear part in the warming furnace so it would be as hot as the interior, or it wouldn't cool correctly.

And here are the finished products!
You guys saw that shot already, but here's the side view.
It's interesting to note that the color you put in the very center of the flower got pulled down into the stem a bit.

And here are the Art Glass Orbs. =)
That's Michael's on the left; he used blue and green. I used blue and the "class mix" (leftover frits and what's busted up from all the mistakes).
That white and red stripe was from some class mix pieces. It's pretty cool how the colors, which started out as those chips you saw, got swirled all around!

I like this last shot of mine because it shows the part I worked so hard to twist around and around!

We were done with the class in just two hours!

Hope you enjoyed the blow-by-blow of our glass-making class!

Glass-making classes are very fun, and even better, I completely failed to injure myself!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Geekend That Was, 11/25

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My list for the holiday weekend:

1. Eat lots of good food. CHECK
2. Do lots of stitching and knitting. CHECK
3. Catch up on some chores and get a head start on Christmas planning. FAIL


In my defense, I am still not feeling well. In fact, I went to the doctor today, hoping she'd tell me I had a whopper of a sinus infection and give me antibiotics. Instead, I said some magic words ("racing heart") and ended up getting an ECG, blood tests and a chest X-ray to make sure I don't have walking pneumonia! And I still don't have antibiotics (the doc is waiting 'til she reads my labs).

Anyway! You're here to hear about stitching. I'm about halfway done with the hemstitching on Random Thoughts. I was procrastinating because I wasn't sure what thread to use. I decided to go with the sewing thread, although I kind of wish I'd used the pearl cotton...the sewing thread seems slicker so it's more difficult to get a good pull.

The directions said to hemstitch from the front, which is not what I've done in the past. So I decided to hemstitch from the back like I've always been taught:
So from the front, you almost don't see what's gathering those bundles together.
(Ignore the basting stitches there!)

We spent Thursday with my family (and Michael's). We did not throw ourselves into the crazy throngs on Black Friday. I used to go to an in-town mall with a friend and watch everyone else lose their minds while we calmly sat at a cafe sipping hot chocolate, but not this year. In the afternoon, we visited a park in the Old Fourth Ward near the Beltline. That area needed more water retention lakes, so they made the park multipurpose.
There is a kids' playground with some really cool features (I didn't get a picture since it was crawling with kids and I didn't want to look like a creepy stalker!) But there are plenty of benches and terraces and places to walk.

After our short walk, I was pretty well done, and that's when I knew I probably needed to go to the doctor today.

Saturday night we went to see A Christmas Carol at The Alliance Theatre. They always do a fantastic show...Marley flew, the Ghost of Christmas Present disappeared into the floor, and the cast was merry and bright. I was so tired I almost passed out during the second act (reason two I went to the doctor today; who passes out from the strenuous exercise of SITTING AROUND WATCHING A PLAY???)

My stumpwork bird got some love as well. I am getting better with the long and short stitch, but I still have a long way to go (no pun intended).
Here he is with the main part of the wing and his tail done.

And, of course today I signed up for the next stumpwork class. =)

At least being totally incapacitated is good for my WIPs.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fall into Winter Giveaway Winner!

Another short post today...but I should have a massive Geekend update tomorrow. =) I was actually planning on posting some different things this weekend, but our Internet was out part of Friday, so the minute it came back on, I posted the Christmas Tea post I had ready to go for next week, just so I wouldn't miss a day! I'm all out of "buffer" posts, though....

But you don't want to hear about my Internet troubles, do you? You came here because you saw the word "Winner"! I had the hubby give me a random number, and the winner of the Fall into Winter giveaway is...

McKenna C.!

McKenna, please email me your snail mail address. =)

Hope you all had a wonderful (holiday, if you're in the US) weekend!

Saturday, November 24, 2012


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If you need some help making a joyful noise this holiday season, have I got just the thing for you...

I will even forgive their bad grammar (no apostrophes in The Hallelujah Chorus, kids!!) because they're so awesome. =)

Giveaway results tomorrow! Hallelujah!

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Christmas Tea

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You know when you walk up to the door that you're in for a good time.

Your table is personalized, just for you.

Your sparkling flavored water awaits.

You can start anticipating by perusing the soup choices for the day.

Then the tea comes, and it's time to get down to serious business. Cream and sugar? Yes, thank you.

Chocolate chip and white chocolate cranberry scones await clotted cream and jam. And more clotted cream.

Isn't this cup just the most gorgeous thing ever??

Pretty red beet soup looks very festive with a Christmas tree crouton.

Be sure to pause to admire the decorations around you. And, if you're lucky, the Winter birds outside the window.



Then the savories arrive. Cucumber and cream cheese Christmas trees, cranberry and pistachio chicken salad, onion and gruyere tarts and curried egg salad sandwiches.

But save room for the sweets!

No one does tea like my sister! These pictures are from last year's tea, and I'm so excited she's doing another one in two weeks!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


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Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the US!
We'll be celebrating with my parents...there will be turkey and tons of good food.  But most importantly, we'll be with family, for which I am very thankful. I'm also thankful for all my blog readers! =)

I never posted a picture of this travelling pattern once it was framed. I thought I'd also share the details of what I used to stitch it (nothing like its original materials):

Fabric: Random 28-count pale lavender Jobelan (?) from stash
(words) HDF Purple
(sheep) WDW Charcoal
(sheep) Needle Necessities 120
(leaves) WDW Hunter
(tree) GAST Dark Chocolate
(flowers) HDF Dark Amethyst
HDF = Hand Dyed Fibers. Please note that I had some older fibers in my stash. My “Purple” is probably more like today’s "Nosegay 2111".

Eat a turkey, don't be a turkey.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

WIP Wednesday (Almost a Hat)

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I have made some progress on my Silver Rose (Rose Red by Ysolda Teague) since last week.
If I knit half as fast as half of you, it'd be done by now. But I'm a very slow knitter. And, of course, I knit on a couple other things, resulting in no VISIBLE progress...and I stitched on some things. *sigh* If only I were project-monogamous (projnogamous??), I'd probably have a lot more finishes. But that's just not the way we roll here at the LottLoft!

Actually, I thought I was really close to being finished--round 51 out of 57!!!--but then I flipped the page and saw another chart.


Oh, well, 51 out of 72. Maybe you'll see this one next Wednesday, too. =)

By the way, I detest weaving in ends (I'm sure I'm the only one. No? =) so I used this trick from TECHknitting when I started my second ball. AWESOME!! Although I'm pretty sure I messed up the second part, because I had to do it twice...and I ran into some snags when I had to purl (i.e., WHAT DO I DO NOW???). But I made it work. And I'll probably be doing this from now on!

For swifter WIPs, visit Tami's Amis!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Red Alert

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Just a quick drive-by post tonight. I did a teensy bit on my stumpwork class piece.
I've never done silk shading before, and I started by making the stitches WAY too small. It looks like trash right now...I started stitching longer stitches over top of the smaller ones. I hope I can make it look better!!

I have no idea what I'm doing with this silk shading stuff!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Geekend That Was, 11/18 (Actual Random Hermitting)

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So, it looks like I'm fighting off yet another illness of some sort...this time with a fever, the usual on-and-off fatigue and sinus congestion. BOY THAT FLU SHOT SURE IS PAYING OFF BY KEEPING ME WELL, ISN'T IT??

*ahem* But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Saturday after a little Halo, I washed and pressed Random Thoughts. I was kind of obsessive about rinsing, so that's all that really happened that day on Random Thoughts.

Saturday night we went to see Skyfall (the new James Bond movie). I think it was a "normal" James Bond movie...great action sequences, visually stunning sets and costumes, and a ridiculous plot held together with duct tape. And don't forget the outrageous bad guy. Oh my gosh. We saw it in IMAX, which is VERY VERY LOUD. But not nearly as LOUD as the PRESHOW COMMERCIALS which were RIDICULOUSLY LOUD. I literally held my fingers in my ears the entire preshow ( it really a "show" if it's commercials? To paraphrase Black Widow, "I don't see how that's a show.") Oh, how it made me wish I hadn't wasted my youth preserving my hearing and had instead subjected myself to constant earbuds and loud rock concerts as I looked around and saw I was the only one flinching through the whole thing.

Sunday I woke up feeling bad again (fatigued). I did make it to church this time, but I was done after that. (Well, until choir.) Bad for the chore list, but great for the hermitting!

The first thing I had to do to prepare Random Thoughts for the hemstitching was score the fabric (run a tapestry needle in a line on the reverse side) for folding and cutting. A little nerve-racking, since it was a lot of counting and I had to get it all right...because next was cutting.
Terrifying!! Then folding the corner and MORE CUTTING.
EVEN MORE TERRIFYING. Only about a dozen diagonal threads from the stitching!!!

Next comes mitering the corners and pinning things in place... you can baste the sides. Here's the whole thing pinned...
...and basted. You can probably tell by the light that it took me all day.
Now I "just" have to do the hemstitching. I had emailed the designer about what to hemstitch with...Cynthia emailed me back and said she does her hemstitching with sewing thread! Gutterman's buttonhole twist...I don't have any of that...I just have some Dual Duty you think it's close enough??

It seems like the closer I get, the slower I go....

Old Geek-outs