Monday, August 29, 2011

Last Summer TUSAL

(What's a TUSAL?)

I can't believe this is the last one of the summer!! There are some interesting bits in here: yarn from a finished scarf, fluff from trimming the Bumblebee, organza bits from his wings and sparkly bits from Dasher. And some single silk threads from Random Thoughts, but they get kind of lost in the mix.

We had an exhausting weekend; we helped with a "While You Were Out" style makeover on one room of a friend's house...we even ripped up the carpet and put in flooring and my knees are still paying for it. Sunday we went to see "Dralion" at Philips Arena. We'd seen the show years ago (10?) under the tent. It was interesting to see how the show had changed over the years, and how it had stayed the same.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

War of WIPs Call to Arms #6

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I really thought I was going to be proclaiming victory today but--alas and alack!--it was not to be. I actually finished my second Errant Lace sock last night! However, when I held it up to the one that had already been finished, a couple problems stuck out...much like the toe of the sock I had just finished. Even though I wrote notes when I did the first sock, I clearly changed up the toe decreases from what I wrote. Now I have one nice, rounded sock toe (the one that was already done) and one sock toe that looks like it was made for a banana. Since my feet are relatively symmetrical, the toe needs to be redone. I should have taken a picture, but it was late and, as Moaning Myrtle would say, I was DISTRAUGHT.

The second problem was that I seem to have been WAY MORE TENSE as I was finishing this sock. Even though I did the same number of rounds (Notes! I made 'em!) the sock ended up about 3/4" (2 cm) too short. I finally just pulled out the entire toe.

Also! And here is where I really should have taken a picture...these socks look crazy. I mean, the color variations between the two are so insane, it looks like someone made them crazy looking on purpose. It doesn't even look like a mistake. It looks INTENTIONALLY INSANE. Unsurprisingly, this immediately endeared the socks to the hubby (I'm not saying he's crazy, he just likes crazy things...HE MARRIED ME, DIDN'T HE??) while I stared at my feet in disbelief.

So I went to bed waffling between:
  1. I will add like 8 rounds, then reknit the toe (*grumble grumble* have to splice in more yarn 'cause I already cut it *grumble grumble*) and just get them OVER WITH.
  2. I will knit AN ENTIRELY NEW SOCK with the same yarn on bigger needles...the color will be better, since it started to calm down on the foot (top-down, they are). BUT THIS YARN IS SO SPLITTY UGH!
  4. I will knit entirely new socks with this yarn...I have almost 1/2 the ball left! 450m total! I could knit some DANG KNEE SOCKS if I rip these two socks out!
Opinions?? What should I do?? I am mad at these socks and they may need a timeout. After I get them back on some needles. They lay in a pile of ripped-out yarn carnage right now.

But such is the nature of WAR!

Edited to add: I nearly forgot! I did successfully complete the side quest of organizing all my needles! They're all listed in Ravelry now, with the project in the comments if they're currently in service. Although...I know I have some size 9 tips wandering the countryside somewhere...they did not come up in the cataloging of in-service and out-of-service needles. Hmmm....

Join the battle with us! Visit Revelations of a Delusional Knitter to enlist!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WIP Wednesday (Pretty Fuzzy Bee)

So this is my "big" progress on Pretty Thing: least it's more than last week. I used Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Cast-on, because I tend to cast on and off very tightly, this piece has a sewn cast-off, and I wanted it to be consistent. However! The cast-on was a HUGE pain in the neck to knit the first row into. Despite the fact that it's really stretchy NOW, it was SO TIGHT on the needles it was ridiculous. Even the stitches on the cable, before they are knit, stretch by creating gaps between them rather than the individual stitches getting bigger. I'm sure it will pay off in the long run, but it wasn't fun. And I also decided to switch my cable length to 24" AFTER I had knit two rounds (I added two extra repeats...that was some math there...figuring out if, as others had done, an extra repeat in the length equaled to an extra repeat in the width). For some reason, switching the cable was mind-bending for me...probably because I was going from Magic Loop to...not.

I also made some progress on Random Thoughts...

And I finally screwed up my courage and cut the loops on the Bumblebee! Here's a closeup after I cut half the loops on his abdomen.

All of the abdomen and half of the thorax cut. Mmmm...thorax...have I used that word since eighth grade biology? Shame on me if I haven't.

Then I trimmed. And trimmed. And trimmed and trimmed and trimmed. And finally I stopped, because I was afraid I'd keep "evening up" until there was no fuzz left. You know, kind of like my mom used to do with the brownie pan..."I'm just evening up this row!"...and then suddenly there were no brownies left. So here's the result...the thorax still needs trimming, but I was mentally exhausted from trying not to FREAK OUT the whole time I was cutting, so that will have to wait.
The wings are FINALLY done (I had to redo some veins I had stitched when the written directions didn't jive with what I remembered from class). Well...I still have to cut them out, too...SCARIER EVEN. But the end is in sight!

For more WIP Wednesday eye candy goodness, with 50% less drama, head over to Tami's Amis!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gorgeous Giveaway

Head over to ! Happiness is cross stitching ! to enter her giveaway for an absolutely gorgeous stitching set!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Top 100 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Novels

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Stolen from Annette, who stole it from Measi. =)

I'm not sure I entirely trust a list of sci-fi and fantasy novels compiled by listeners of NPR (I listen, but don't consider myself a "listener")...nothing's wrong with NPR listeners, but I would expect the list to be more heavily skewed towards books with a political/liberal bent (yawn!). Nevertheless, (ooo, I just lost my non-NPR-listener status by using that word, didn't I?) I'll probably try to read most of these!

Bold = ones I’ve completed
Italics = ones I won't read in the future (switching things up...I generally finish books I start, so I'm leaving out the "attempted/started" category.)
Plain = let's assume I'll read them someday. ;)

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien (Can I double-bold? LOL!)

2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams (Or triple-bold??)

3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card

4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert

5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin

6. 1984, by George Orwell (Listen, I went to a really...umm...non-literature-intensive high school, so there are a lot of "classics" I never read.)

7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury (Saw the play, though.)

8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov

9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman

12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan

13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell

14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson

15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore (Although I love graphic novels, I probably won't get through this one. I think we own it, though, so maybe....)

16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov (Saw the movie, though =P)

17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein

18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss

19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley (Movie definitely doesn't count, I think.)

21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick

22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King (I know...but I don't think I can handle Stephen King, really.)

24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke (I HAY.TED. the movie, so I have no desire to read the book. Anyone want to tell me the book's better?)

25. The Stand, by Stephen King (See 23.)

26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson

27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury

28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut (Plot summary doesn't sound remotely interesting to me.)

29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman (Omigosh, this sounds hilarious.)

30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess (No. Nononono.)

31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein

32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams (Gee whiz! Finally another one that I've actually read!)

33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey (Loved the book until the first mating flight. Really?)

34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein

35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller

36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells

37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne (Hmm, not sure if I ever read this!)

38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys (I keep thinking I've read this because I've read "Harrison Bergeron," which for some INEXPLICABLE REASON I keep mis-remembering as "Algernon Bergeron".)

39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells (Seen the movie.)

40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny

41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings

42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley

43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson

44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven (Duh, Halo, of course I wanna read it! =)

45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin (I gotta admit that the brief summary on goodreads makes it sound like I'll hate it, but I'll give it a try.)

46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien (Oooo, now here's one I DID give up on. But now that I'm older--out of middle school and not so loathe to read anything reeking remotely of history--I want to give it a try again.)

47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White

48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke

50. Contact, by Carl Sagan (Ugh.)

51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons

52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman (Had to read it after I saw the movie...I had questions about whether some things REALLY happened in the book. Unsurprisingly, they did NOT.)

53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson

54. World War Z, by Max Brooks (I add this to my list...hesitantly. I like zombie books in theory, but not in practice...they're gross. Also, I was recently scarred by watching a couple episodes of Walking Dead...UGH.)

55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle (*gasp!* How could I have not read this already?? IS ABOUT UNICORNS!!)

56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman (War. Hunh. What is it good for?)

57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett (Gotta read The Color of Magic first!!)

58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson (I will try the first one, but I am skeptical that I will enjoy it.)

59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold** (Have the first couple..)

60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett

61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind (Read the first one...not sure I can stand the sadistic sections for a second, third, fourth....)

63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy (Ugh, I'll probably hate this one, too, but I'll give it a try.)

64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke

65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson (Holy crap, I'll probably hate this, too!)

66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist

67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks

68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard (I don't even want to read the summary. I'm supremely uninterested.)

69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb (Another triple bold!)

70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger (Note: not for pre-teens!)

71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson

72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne

73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore (Holy shamoley, how many books are in this series??? I'll at least try the first one! Homeland, right??)

74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi

75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson

76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke

77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey (Ew, no.)

78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin (The summary's not really doing it for me, but I'll give it a go.)

79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury (Sounds like no likey.)

80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire (LOVE the musical. HATE the book. As I tell every parent that takes their children to see the musical, NOT APPROPRIATE for kids.)

81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson (Hmmm, the summary's not grabbing me here, either, but I'd give it a try.)

82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde (LOVE. Love love love! Triple bold! Exclamation Marks!!! Scared to read the latest because then there will be no more to read!)

83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks

84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart (?? I feel like I read this book in high school; I remember reading some book of Arthurian fiction and being wholly shocked by the amorality contained in it...pretty sure it was this one.)

85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson (Eh, sure, I'll try it. Anyone else starting to feel this list is very weighted to books in the last 10 years?)

86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher (Already on my list!)

87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe (OK, I'm not thrilled about reading a book about torturers. But it's been called the second-best fantasy series behind Lord of the Rings? I suppose I'll try it...maybe...someday....)

88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn (A THOUSAND TIMES YES. Timothy Zahn, you have spoiled me for any other Star Wars author. Thank you for gracing the Halo-verse with your presence.)

89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan (Also already on the list!)

90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock (This poor guy must have gotten teased unmercifully when he was a kid....)

91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury (Oh, heavens. I remember reading "The Veldt" and that it was creeeeepyyyyy. This book will probably scare the heck out of me!)

92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley (Just not interested. I read Twilight under heavy protest, and I'm embarrassed enough that I liked that.)

93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge

94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov

95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson

96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle (Ah. Finally a synopsis that doesn't include the words "epic battle". =)

97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis

98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville (Wow. I'm not sure what to think after reading that synopsis!)

99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony (So, I've read Ogre, Ogre, and A Spell for Chameleon...twice, because I forgot I read it the first time. I really, really want to like these books, because I LOVE puns, but.... Well, first, I don't like toilet humor. And A Spell for Chameleon really annoyed me with its female character that it either pretty and dumb or ugly and smart. Ugh.)

100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis (I've read the first one and it was great. I'll definitely read the rest. But DUDES, where is The Chronicles of Narnia on this list??!? I just can't read those too many times!)

Yikes, only 16?? I may have to give up my geek card!

My "to read" list on goodreads is now 392 books!

War of WIPs Call to Arms #5

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After last week's victory, this week's progress has been more sedate, just dipping my toe into starting another campaign.
These are the Errant Lace Socks, knit in Tofutsies, which is a great yarn but VERY splitty. I should have taken a picture of the other sock; the spiral is much more consistent. Oh, well, such are the trials of variegated yarn!

Join the battle with us! Visit Revelations of a Delusional Knitter to enlist!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WIP Wednesday (Buzz)

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The only "progress" I made on the Origami Turtle was to get yarn wound so that I can start the right and left front sides simultaneously.
See what I mean about it not being stretchy AT ALL?

Since I finished my lace learning project last week, I did cast on Pretty Thing:
Er. Started to cast it on, anyway. I'm using Jeny's Stretchy Cast-On. I've only done it once before, so it's not like I can just sit there whipping it on like long-tail.

And I did finish my redo of Bumblebee's wings!
Whew. I'm glad those are over. But now...there is only...

Dun dun DUN!!!

Cutting. That's right; I have to not only cut all the loops on the bee and trim them to a bee-shaped fuzz, but I ALSO have to completely cut out those wings from the organza. Yikes. This is way scarier than hardanger! With these, I have no confidence they won't just fall apart.

I'll leave you with a picture from our trip to the Botanical Gardens this weekend of an orchid which only blooms for a day:
Lucky us to be there!

For more WIP Wednesday eye candy goodness, head over to Tami's Amis!

Next week: Actual stitches with yarn rather than just yarn!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How to Recover History in Subversion (geek alert)

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WARNING: The Geek Content of this post is rated R for Really Technical Programming Mumbo Jumbo (don't read unless you're familiar with source control systems and hate dealing with them! This post exists to help Googlers like me with similar problems....)

Seriously, you might want to skip it.

Yesterday I spent about three hours fighting with Subversion. Somehow, it deleted a file from the server, when I was trying to switch to a revision. Due to some things that happened today, I'm thinking it actually occurred when I tried to resolve a conflict. Whatever.

Now, I had another local copy of the file, but I needed the entire history, because I was desperately trying to avoid branching (the default strategy for branching: Desperately Try to Avoid).

"No problem," I thought. I'll just commit this here local version, and it'll hook it back up to the history, and I'll be able to get to it."

WELL THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN. The old history didn't show back up; just one line of history from the commit I'd just done.

WHY did I think that'd work? Because it worked that way in CVS, and no one has told me there's any difference between the two in that regard, just that Subversion is "better" than CVS. So far, notsomuch.

Anyway, to reduce my epic battle to the solution you're really here for, if you Googled, there is no way to rectify this situation through Subclipse in Eclipse. You need to use the command line interface to svn. I used this vanilla version for Windows (just unzip the distribution and plop it on your hard drive...there's no install), but you might (and I might!) want to explore TortoiseSVN.

The magic command is then:
svn copy --revision 9752

(Note: doesn't exist, so don't go looking for things there ;)

This looks REALLY strange, but you're essentially copying a past revision on top of the current one. You need to replace 9752 with the revision before you deleted the file (to do this, Show History for the folder containing the file; you'll be able to tell the last good revision from there).

I found lots of sites that suggest you can do a Reverse Merge to get a deleted file back, but that didn't bring the history forward for me, since I deleted then added the file, wiping history. If you just deleted the file, try the Reverse Merge first.

If you got here through Google, would it kill you to leave a comment telling me if this was useful to you? ;)

Nothing to see here! Move along! Pretty pictures coming tomorrow!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

War of WIPs Call to Arms #4

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Comrades, I have success in battle! The Kingdom of Peaceful Knitting now has leaves which twine gracefully rather than a mess of unruly vines!
Pattern: Branching Out
Yarn: Knit Picks Elegance (sadly discontinued...I LOVED this yarn)

There are a few mistakes right at the beginning, but that's OK, since this was my lace learning project. Hey, all work with needles is a learning experience, no?

Here's a pre-blocking picture...well, half pre-blocking, anyway...because it's more true-to-color. This yarn is ridiculously hard to photograph for some reason. It's a nice grassy green. A little yellower than my normal taste, but I think it will work well in the Fall.
I learned tons doing this pattern; I even recharted it because I couldn't figure out how to fix a mistake from the chart that was originally given. do I say...didn't line up decreases above the stitches that were being decreased. Impossible to tell how you'd gone wrong. I'm going to blog about it when I get more time, and also show some of the mistakes I made along the way.

So for my next lace project, I think I'm going to do Pretty Little Thing with the qiviuk I got in Alaska. I don't think that'll advance my lace learning, but I do want it done and it will work well with my whole "you can buy anything if you start it" mantra...that has otherwise been beat up a little this week. =) After that, I want to do Juneberry by Jared Flood. I saw an awesome one at Ravelry made with Silky Wool...and I just happen to have some of that in my stash!

Join the battle with us! Visit Revelations of a Delusional Knitter to enlist!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WIP Wednesday (Cheesy)

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Michael took a business trip to Wisconsin.
He brought back Wisconsin, made from cheese. This was a much better gift than the cheese top hat. An actual top hat. That you're supposed to wear on your head. Yeah.

Hey! Knitting!
I finished the back of the unfortunately-named Origami Turtle! I think I'm going to cast on for both sides of the front at once. But I need to wind some more yarn, so that's going to have to wait for a few days.

I did make a little progress on Dasher.

And I used some precious daylight hours to finally restart the large wings for the Bumblebee.
I briefly tried to rip out the old ones, but that was going to be WAYYYY too much trouble. Fortunately, I had just enough thread-covered wire to make a new pair.

Unfortunately, I am an idiot and started them on the backside. It doesn't really matter, once they are cut out you totally won't be able to tell. Just for grins, here's a closeup of the small ones (with the one I started on the backside).

For more WIP Wednesday eye candy goodness, head over to Tami's Amis!

State-shaped cheese is definitely tastier than regular cheese.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hogwarts Leavers' Party

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At the end of June, the first wave of invitations went out.
(You probably need to click to read it. You may not be able to tell, but the envelopes/paper are metallic gold. You know, because MAGIC.)

This was a change from the past seven (7!) parties we'd done: Before, we'd met Friday night to eat, play games, then head to the movie at about 10:30pm (fewer kids). But we'd all agreed that we'd like to discuss the final movie, so we restructured the party. At the time the "save the dates" went out, we weren't sure what movie times would be available, but we figured there'd be one around 10:30am.

Once we found out that the 3D IMAX was either at 9:45 (AM!) or 12:50, we changed our "lunch" plans just a bit, and the second invites went out.
Fancy postcards...(also sparkly gold)
If you're in the US, google leavers' party right now.

This cleared up something for me...after O.W.L.s, there was talk of "continuing" to N.E.W.T. level. I wondered what Hogwarts students who weren't "continuing" would do? Was there a vocational school at Hogwarts? Now it all makes sense.

So around noon on Saturday, Michael and I set out for Atlantic Station: He to hold places in line and save seats, and I to sit at a nearby cafe and distribute tickets. And snacks.
You know, just so people would have energy to walk across the street to the theater. ;)

My long-suffering waitress was much confused by the fact that I arrived alone, Michael showed up, then left, then another male showed up and plopped down across from me. I think she eventually caught on. After all, the cafe was serving drinks like "Gryffindor Punch".

Every Harry Potter party at the Lott Loft includes a few constants: Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, licorice wands, and pumpkin pasties. Several of you asked where to get Peppermint Toads.
I'm afraid that this particular packaging is available only at the Lott Loft. If you wanted a Muggle sweet that was similar, I'd pick up a package of Junior Mints, though. ;)

After the movie (which I thought was fantastic...and I don't think that always!) we repaired back to the Lott Loft where tea awaited.
(My sister manages to turn her back in practically every picture I take!)

My wonderful sister, along with my equally wonderful nephew and niece, not only made tea but had everything ready for us when we got back. She does cream teas at her house which are completely mindblowing. This was more of a high tea (in other words, a meal), with sweet scones with her amazing clotted cream, and super-delicious savory scones (sun-dried tomato and basil) with basil butter frogs I made.
The savory scones are a keeper. There was only one left!

While everyone enjoyed tea, we discussed the movie. We also enjoyed the scrapbook Tony and Julie brought of their time at Hogwarts. (Remember the invitation where we requested guests to bring "favourite memories to share"?)

The scrapbook is awesome!! I wish you could see the whole thing, but you can at least see the pictures and some of the captions in their picasa album here.

We handed out attendance pins.
Our seven-year attenders were very proud. =) As they have every right to be...anyone who survives seven of our parties deserves a major award! (Though these pins are not really fragíle.)

Next course of tea was shepherd's pie.
Which was on this tiered cool. But that's not what's sitting there.

What's sitting there is Bakewell Tart. It looks rather unassuming (though pert and pretty), but it is SO. GOOD. Jam, cake crumbs and almonds with fantastic icing on top.
I mean, really.

We also had a trifle I made. (That's Pumpkin Juice there to the left.)
It was also yummy (and, as my nephew said, "It's filled with fruit! It's healthy!" Yeah...that can of sweetened condensed milk would beg to differ...). However, my attempt at a Hogwarts crest didn't go as well as I'd have liked. Maybe they were appropriate for a "student-made" dessert.
Special thanks to the spouse for making a late-night run for more heavy whipping cream. Note to self: YOU CANNOT HAVE TOO MUCH HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM. This is impossible.

After dessert, we subjected our guests to had a trivia know, a review session for our N.E.W.T.s. I restricted myself to only asking questions from previous parties. But I am known for creating wicked hard trivia. I thought there was going to be a mutiny over the characteristics of a werewolf...hey, I go from the books ONLY. ;)

Perhaps the Butterbeer dulled the pain a little. =)
Butterbeer is not for the faint of heart, nor for those trying to watch their sugar intake. I'm pretty sure this is the most sugar you can drink, per fluid ounce, unless you're drinking straight simple syrup. Actually, this may be MORE sugar than simple syrup.

Warning label on the side:

WARNING! Bottles from authorized dealers equipped with Summoning Charms for recycling purposes.

Not for consumption by gnomes, house elves or people who don’t fancy butter. Muggles may experience dizziness, dry mouth and/or additional limbs.

We had one Muggle at the party, and a couple bottles were labeled, "Muggles, such as Mr. Ralph Dulap, may experience...".

We've had an epic, over-arching Butterbeer storyline through the eight parties, which I am not sure any of our guests really grasped, but which amused Michael and I, anyway. According to Quidditch through the Ages, Butterbeer sponsors the Ballycastle Bats. So the very first party, we had bottled Butterbeer with a sidebar featuring Ballycastle's mascot, Barny the Fruitbat, and boasting Butterbeer as "proud sponsors" of the Bats. The second party, we noted that the Bats weren't doing as well, but we were still "loyal sponsors". The third party, the label was much less enthusiastic. Finally, at the fourth party, we only had Butterbeer on draft. Honestly, producing the bottles was a lot of work and fuss, and few were keeping them as souvenirs. One year we had hot Butterbeer, and last year we had Butterbeer à la Wizarding World. But this year, we had to do the bottles again...there were some attendees who had never experienced bottled Butterbeer. I give you...the triumphant return of Barny the Fruitbat:

After trivia we had "Hogwarts, a History in Four Minutes or Less". Guests were challenged to produce a short skit (poem, song, limerick, kabuki, flaming mime) depicting their time at Hogwarts (or Harry's time; we weren't being choosy) and they were given pipe cleaners to enhance their presentations. Guests had been dropping like flies, though, so we were down to a skeleton crew of two teams of 2 and 3 rather than 3 teams of 6 like we'd planned. So things were much more restrained than, say, the Goblet of Fire party where fans of the Bulgarian and Irish Quidditch teams were yelling competing cheers. =) My favorite highlight was the pipecleaner Pygmy Puff, modeled by the lovely Vicky.

We handed out Hogwarts "Who's Who" forms. The winners will be announced when the yearbook comes out. I'm still trying to persuade the yearbook staff to wrap things up.
Finally, we played Kinect Harry Potter. I wish I had pictures of this...or better yet, video...that was some awesome flailing we all did. ;)

This is one of only two or three pictures of me across all eight parties!
It's been a great run! But I must admit, I'm a little relieved. I stress out big-time over making sure everyone has enough food, and that the games are fun and able to be enjoyed by everyone.

So, now that I don't have to keep my "trade secrets" anyone interested in any recipes? Pumpkin Pasties? Pumpkin Juice? Butterbeer? Last year's Cauldron Cakes or Golden Snitches?

Thanks to my guests for all the great memories...Gilderoy Lockhart Kabuki will go down in history as the funniest thing ever.

Filch sure is glad we won't be trashing the place anymore.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Mail Call!

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It was a good mail week! First, Jenny graciously sent me her kit leftovers for Sweetheart Tree's Sunflowers and Bumblebees Welcome.
I love the card! She even drew me a cute Mickey Mouse inside!! Thanks, Jenny!

Then, I may have had a really bad day at work last week and decided I needed to join Nordic Needle's Hardanger Ornament of the Month Club.
You get all the fabric, fiber and beads for the whole year in a zippered pouch, complete with needles and a threader, and then you get a pattern sent to you each month. There's a charge for the initial pack, then one per month (not 100% clear in their explanation...and it looks like the initial price now includes the July and August pieces). They are layered ornaments, or you can keep them separate for two a month. I love the first one...the second one I think the layering doesn't really add to the design, so I'll keep them separate. You know, when I eventually stitch them....

I also got this book (thanks to the wonderful hubby):

It reminds me of our trip to Europe two years ago when we visited Istanbul (not Constantinople). Yes, I know I never blogged about that...maybe someday (once I get thru Alaska!) I'll do some "retro rovings" posts.

I just can't keep the new stash out of this place....

Thursday, August 4, 2011

War of WIPs Call to Arms #3

OK, I couldn't resist doing my own war graphic once I saw Calophi's. I'm really more of a *pew pew pew* gal than a hack'n'slash or mana-user, anyway. So with Delusional Knitter's kind permission, I've made my own banner to enter the fray!

Successes this week in the war! First, a reconnaissance mission resulted in a photo of the squirrel!
Er, yeah. Or a somewhat-squirrel-shaped blob.

Also! Although no photographic evidence exists, I am ONE ROW AND A BIND-OFF (and, you know, blocking and such) away from restoring order to the Leafy forest of the Land of Peaceful Knitting! How could I stop short of my goal??!? That Doctor Who episode ran out just a leeeeetle too soon.

Join the battle with us! Visit Revelations of a Delusional Knitter to enlist!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WIP Wednesday (not an actual turtle)

So once again, let me apologize to those of you who came here last week expecting to see some kind of turtle made out of origami and awesome and instead got only part of the back of a sweater. Maybe someday I'll design an actual knitted, folded turtle to make up for your trouble. ;) To those of you who missed the whole kerfuffle...this project is named "Origami Turtle" in Ravelry because it's made with Berroco Origami yarn in colorway "Turtle Bay", and that was a lot more interesting than its pattern name, "Santos". I did make some more progress:
I wish that I had figured out the length of the sweater versus the moss stitch/eyelet pattern section measurements before I started, because I would have decreased the moss stitch sections by an inch each (I'm making smallest size). I did not want the very top of the sweater to be eyelets, because I thought joining two eyelet sections across the shoulders would look weird (or at least unbalanced). So I'm truncating the height of the final moss stitch section. Hopefully *that* won't look too weird.

A couple of you asked how the Origami yarn is to knit with. I don't mind it. It is completely and utterly UNstretchy, though. If you love love love wool, you would probably hate it. But it is not splitty at all, and that's usually what makes me dislike a yarn. It reminds me a little of a yarn I got from Habu. I think the color variation is wonderful and it has not pooled in any unattractive way, so that's good, too. The unstretchiness of it makes me a little nervous about my tension while knitting, since I'm pretty much self-taught and feel I don't know what I'm doing in that department. But the finished product looks great to me, so I'm happy so far. It'll be interesting to see what happens when I block it. In my finger-blocking tests, it seems I'll have a lot of leeway as to vertical vs. horizontal stretch...could be a good thing, could be a bad thing! If you have specific questions, I'm happy to answer them. =)

I FINALLY finished my July portion on Random Thoughts (on the 31st!)

I've put it away for a little bit, and put a few stitches in Darling of the World:

Now I'm trying to decide if I should throw myself into trying to finish the Bumblebee, or work on Dasher a bit. I think I'm going to bite the bullet and finish Bumblebee!!! I am going to have to restitch two of the wings to make myself happy...the first two I did are crap!

For more WIP Wednesday eye candy goodness, head over to Tami's Amis!

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