Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Happy Birthday to meme

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I was going to make up my own birthday meme, but that seemed like too much trouble. ;)

1. Type in your birthday (minus the year) in the search bar at
2. List three interesting facts, two births, and one death that happened on your birthday.

Three facts
1. Apropos: 1951 - The Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, limiting Presidents to two terms, is ratified.
2. Hilarious: 1964 - The government of Italy asks for help to keep the Leaning Tower of Pisa from toppling over.
3. Yawn: 1986 - The United States Senate allows its debates to be televised on a trial basis.

Two births
Dudes, I'm going more than two, because some seriously cool people were born on "my" day:
272 - Constantine I, Roman emperor (d. 337)
1807 - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet (d. 1882)
1902 - John Steinbeck, American writer, Nobel laureate (d. 1968)
1930 - Joanne Woodward, American actress
1932 - Elizabeth Taylor, British-American actress
1934 - Ralph Nader, American consumer activist
1934 - Van Williams, American actor
1964 - Todd Bodine, American race car driver (this one is for Jean)
and to make up for the embarassing
1980 - Chelsea Clinton
we have what would probably be the two I listed for real:
1981 - Josh Groban, American singer
1962 - Adam Baldwin, American actor
People. Adam Baldwin! How cool is that? I just love him in "Chuck" right now, but my enjoyment is enhanced by having seen him in "Firefly". What's that? You've never seen it?!? I command you to remedy that immediately. And, you know, it's my birthday, so you have to do what I say. ;)

One death
2003 - Fred Rogers, American children's television actor (b. 1928)

I can fit in a "Firefly" blurb nearly anywhere...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bunch of Drips

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First off, thank you for the kind comments on my Easter Fairy. I should make a habit of posting progress pictures, because you all are better at seeing my progress than I am! =)

So if you've been asking yourself, "Hey, where has Heather been lately? Why no blog posts?"...or even if you haven't been asking yourself...the answer is: the joys of home ownership. Or, more precisely, the mind-numbing stress associated therewith. Our old place is still not sold, our new place has various issues, and the contractors have abandoned me to sub-contractor h#ll, which is where you place many, many calls trying to get people to come do stuff for you when you are not paying them for doing it. If that sounds nigh-impossible, then you've got it about right. Oh, yes, and my HR rep at work decided to abandon me.

I'm currently in process of trying to get subcontractors to resolve the following problems:
  • The heat pump is not performing to spec. When it's 65 degrees (18C) outside, it's only putting out 85 degree (29C) air. It should be putting out 100 degree (37C) air. I've already been charged for a service call, during which they also fixed more gas leaks at the furnace (upstairs is furnace), but did not find "anything wrong" with the heat pump. The owner of the company is supposed to come out Thursday at 10:00.

  • The downstairs faucet does not shut gradually tapers off its flow until it stops. They've theoretically contacted the contractors to reorder the faucet, but since I'm dealing with the same company as the above issue, I'm not holding my breath.

  • There's a giant crack in the drywall. It was patched last Thursday, and was supposed to be sanded/painted Friday, but the guy never showed up. I had rearranged my morning to accommodate him, and poor Michael had to get up early to make sure we had paint on hand. He's supposed to be coming back this Thursday...again, I'm not restricting my oxygen over it. But, this is going to necessitate taping up a bunch of plastic to try and thwart the inevitable creep of drywall dust across the entire premises...if you've had drywall work done, you understand. If you haven't, there's no way to adequately explain the insidious nature of drywall dust. It's like the Harry Houdini of construction debris, only in reverse: It can get in anywhere.

  • The small window in the shower is cracked. I'm sure it happened because of the building day, the crack was 4", the next, it went the entire diagonal of the window (about 15"). I was informed by the glass guy on the phone that they don't warranty windows, because "how are they to know how it got broken." So, basically, he called me a liar. I told him to call the contractor, because we were not paying for a window broken due to building shifting. I'm sure he called the contractor right away. I'll pause while you wipe that dripping sarcasm off your monitor.

  • The shower door no longer closes properly (see building shifting, above). This is the same sub as the window, so lungs will still regularly fill with air.

  • There are a few leaks in the garage. We haven't called them on these yet, because they just finished fixing all the leaks coming in at the front of the unit.

  • This very morning we discovered a leak in the bedroom which appears to be coming from the roof. We discovered it because the paint was bubbling on the wall. Can you say, "More drywall replacement, sanding and painting?" *sigh*

This is all not to mention the old place. I have been very slack with trying to get contractors out to help us, but when I do try, they either do not call me back, or say the job is too big, or I've gotten the scope wrong despite the fact that Michael has written it out for me, and I have to start all over. *sigh* An inspector is coming out early on Thursday (are you starting to see the pileup I have to deal with before I go to my haircut around noon??). I'm hoping once we get that report, it will be easier to get a contractor to fix the issues, since they will be concise. Then, we can start work on the things we can do ourselves (or with the help of our crazy friends). But still, I'm not starving my red blood cells over it.

And don't even get me started on the City of Atlanta splitting our property at the speed of moss, our ephemeral parcel ID tied to no physical address, and our homestead exemption paperwork...really. Fortunately, the husband of the year is taking care of that so I don't explode from stress...again.

I promise more interesting and non-ranty posts soon. I have actually made progress and even taken pictures...I've just had no motivation to post them.

Double entendre: Your Key to Quality Blogging. We've got some leaks, but the real drips are our contractors.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Fairy Legs

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I can't wait to see what kind of search engine hits I get from this post. It's bad enough with this one lying around in the blog. I've finished one medallion of the capelet! I've done another block on my Herringbone Block Scarf! But I don't have pictures! For now, we'll have to make do with a progress picture of my Easter Fairy, which I am slowing despairing of actually being a fairy by Easter. Maybe if I get her done by the end of Spring, that will count. For something. I'm not sure what. I know she's going to be beautiful. I'm sure a lot of you could have her done, like, next week. But I'm a slow stitcher. I enjoy the pretty, pretty floss too much. One thing that amazes me about this design and its floss colors is that when I first stitched the legs, I thought, Holy cow! Those are bright pink! I think my fairy has rosacea or some kind of skin condition, anyway. But now that they're backstitched, she just looks like she's a healthy shade of pink. Amazing.

I promise more progress pictures soon. And I promise I'll actually work on something on my Monthly Theme list. Although, Mirabilia is technically one of my favorite designers, so, you know...I'm not too far off.

Spring creeps slowly nearer...we even walked to lunch today, it was so nice outside!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Trying to merge reality and stitching

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I thought I might set some goals for my stitching this year. In years past, I had a set rotation, and I just hoped for the best as far as something actually being finished. Hope springs eternal, as they say, and so did my WIP pile. Occasionally, I would have a "focus" piece or be doing a stitch-along (SAL). The SAL pieces were usually what ended up getting finished. I don't think it was the accountability factor (I believe I have the best SAL-to-FO ratio of the group, though not by much). I think it was the fact that I had broken the project up into concrete chunks, worked to finish them, and felt a sense of accomplishment when I finished a chunk.

So, here's what I did:

  1. Went through the list of WIPs I keep on my PDA and marked the ones I'd like to finish this year

  2. Went back and picked the ones I thought I could realistically finish this year. Made a secondary list of projects I'd like to work on this year

  3. Made a guess at how many hours I had left to complete each project

  4. Considered the likelihood of warping the space-time continuum

  5. Threw a couple more projects out of the list

  6. Figured out how many hours a week I could possibly stitch

  7. Realized I had never, ever, stitched that much in one week and decided four hours a week was the best I could hope for

  8. Figured the "weeks" each project would take to complete

  9. Ranked the projects by how soon/how much I wanted them done

  10. Wrote myself a checklist

I was pretty pleased with myself. It was definitely doable, and at the end of the year I'd have 4 shiny completed projects and some good progress on others. Then I realized that there was also knitting and beading.


I thought about how I've been crafting since we've moved. Mainly, I've been too distracted to do anything too complex. I've been knitting a lot. Why? Because it's a lot easier to pick up knitting and do it for 20 minutes than it is to pick up stitching and do it for 20 minutes. Or, at least, it seems that way. Plus, the lighting where we watch TV is less than optimal. And that's usually the only time I'm crafting...while we're watching TV.

So, I decided to be less intentional about the knitting. I do want to complete Astrid by the Fall, so I scheduled that in a bit. I also decided that I'd try to make time to stitch during my off days, upstairs in the nice, natural sunlight. (Usually no crafting happens then...only cleaning, errands, catching up on sleep, personal maintenance, paperwork, etc.) To that end, I splurged on a Pandan box that I'd been coveting for at least a year to keep a project in upstairs. I also hoped to do the finishing on something the last week of each month, and I'd have a travel project. Beading would just have to happen whenever (sadly, currently minus the "whe").

My list of projects to be completed was
  • Easter Fairy by Mirabilia
  • Magical Night
  • Autumn Jewels
  • Bumblebee Stumpwork
  • Sapphire
  • Pansy scissors fob (yes, finally, Erin!!)

Here's a sample of the checkoff chart I came up with

And how's it looking after a few weeks?

Yeah...I think I'll get back to warping that space-time continuum. Or maybe give up altogether and just go with the monthly themes!!

JiffNotes for the non-stitchy
SAL = stitch-along: a group of people who are stitching the same piece at the same time (sometimes, even, at the same pace)
WIP = work in progress
FO = finished object. Or, Frosted Orange, but in this context...finished object.
UFO = unfinished object
rotation = working on a series of projects, one by one, in a set order, over and over until they are finished. How you determine when it's time to move on to the next one varies from person to person (time spent per piece, calendar division, goal completed, whim, etc.)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Knit happens

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Sorry for no real-time blogging yesterday, but there was too much shopping knitting going on. Saturday morning, after a fabulous breakfast, our first class was with Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton, for which we had done homework. It was an interesting pattern, although I didn't pick up any technique tips, since she says she worries very little about technique, and we should knit the way that makes us happy. One thing that made me happy was the way the colors in my Noro were happening:

After class we got a two-hour break. That was not nearly enough time to do this cute town justice.

Especially not when we had a fist full of coupons from lots of the local merchants. We did manage to score a few things, though. To the left is why we were late for the afternoon Intarsia class. Jill's having a cool square one custom-made with hydrangeas. No coupons for this one, so we dashed out after the intarsia class. (I have nothing to show from that class; I gave up on it halfway through and actually learned more from the fair isle teacher, Verian, who was sitting beside us. She has incredible designs and brought some amazing sweaters she'd knit. I might actually be able to do fair isle if I was sitting by myself in a quiet room with calming music playing.) Since I'm on that annoying stash diet, I spent some cash on exotic foodstuffs instead. OK, maybe not "exotic", but defnitely super-yummy. We saw a lot of gorgeous jewelry, but it was all super-pricey...though I might have gone back for a really cool lampworked seahorse if I'd only had a coupon!! We were almost on time for the Medallion Capelet class. I told the teacher that I was going to magic loop it rather than use DPNs. She was concerned at first, since she had never done the technique herself, but I basically absolved her of responsibility for me. I ended up with a decent amount done...

Please notice the fabulous upholstery on the sofa in the breakfast room.

After class, Jill and I ran to the knit shop, where I scored some beautiful Lantern Moon rosewood needles and a cool Brittany turned crochet hook (remember, needles are excluded from the stash diet. ;) ) Jill bought some gorgeous yarn, which I'm sure you'll see soon on her blog. From there we went to dinner at Madison's.




The night ended with a pajama party in the breakfast room, with lots of different yarns and WIPs to peruse.

The next morning, we had a class with Cornelia. She showed a bunch of her designs that use the same basic stitch pattern and talked about her design technique. She gave us a purse pattern to work on with the yarn we brought:

I got one section done, but realized I wouldn't have enough yarn to complete the purse, so I'll start it over later. The coolest part of the class was that Cornelia let us try on some of her stuff!!

After I tried this one on, one of the ladies nearby said, "That looks great on you! You have to knit it tonight!" LOL! Another lady tried it on after me. When they told her it looked good, she said, "Is it too young for me? I thought after I saw Heather try it on..." I walked over and told her that I hoped it wasn't too young for her, because if I knit it, I'd be wearing it for the rest of my life!!!
I also liked this one, even though it was orange...

I couldn't help the pose. =)

I wodner how many times that's been used as a blog post title?

Friday, February 1, 2008

My kind of swank

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Wireless internet!

This place has got wireless internet! Not to mention, free Dove ice cream bars at any hour of the day or night! So thanks to the new toy, you're getting practically real-time blogging!

The rooms are plush. Take a look at the bathroom:

See the roses? There's enough towels in there to outfit a small regiment. And you should see Jill's bathroom! It's like another wing. And she has a fireplace! We've got plasma TVs on the wall. We had cookies in the room at checkin. And best of all: Turndown service. Chocolate on the pillow, baby.

Robes, and slippers laid out on a white cloth. I've never encountered the white cloth before. What am I supposed to do with that??

This place is so fancy...

Yeah. No plain Gideons Bible for them! Leather. Monogrammed.

After a lovely dinner at Wild Thyme Gourmet (two words: chocolate pate), we went back to the Lodge for the welcoming wine & cheese reception. There were door prizes. Crazy door prizes. One was a silver art jewelry piece worth $100! Here, Monica holds up an art glass plate valued at who knows how much. We may have to jump the winner in the parking lot.

(You can't see it, but over to the left is the freezer with the Dove bars.)

I won a cool purse:

Isn't it cute? It's way bigger than what I normally would carry, but the Q1 will fit inside it. =)

Everyone we met was very nice, and actual knitting did occur (I did a few rounds on the Pomatomus sock). In a very bizarre "Small World" moment, Jill and I discovered one of the teachers is someone we used to take tap classes with! I must sign off now...typing is a lot slower on my teensy keyboard. I can't wait for the classes tomorrow! And to see what shows up in the drawer in the assembly room with the titillating label: "Warm Pastries".

Did I mention there were free Dove ice cream bars???

All times are soon...

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Well, it wasn't done as "soon" as I thought...

...and it's got more than a few "imperfections" in it...

...and it was a HUGE pain to finish...

...and the final binding stitch was put in without much fanfare in the car on the way to work...

...but, gosh, I'm happy with it!

Shiny scissors fob weight quarters provided by Kentucky quarter, for where I took the class, and one 2007 quarter, know, when I "theoretically" finished it. =)
I finally finished Catherine Theron's Quaker Sewing Case...and I'm already forgetting what a pain in the neck it was!!!

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