Friday, August 31, 2012

WIPocalypse of Olym...Hellenic Proportions!!

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This update is so late, I may as well have changed the name to Fall Fun WIPocalypse. Hey...I might use that later on this month. ;)

I was surprised when I looked back over how much I've gotten done since the last check-in. Or, more accurately, how many of my WIPocalypse projects I've worked on...the actual amount of progress probably isn't that impressive. =)

Hmmm, I feel like you've just seen most of these...oh, THAT'S RIGHT, YOU HAVE!

Random Thoughts - I will definitely get this done this year!
Now I just need to withdraw the threads for the hemstitched border and figure out whether I want to finish it with the turned-back border or not....

Ye Shall Prosper - incredibly boring at the moment.

Les Rubans - Oh, just look at the previous post. =)

Origami Turtle - All blocked! But sadly still awaiting construction...

Hearts and Flowers Ornament...minuscule progress.

Visit Measi's blog to see more earth-shaking WIPocalypse posts by clicking the graphic at the top of this post!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Theme-a-licious Altius August Wrap-Up

My sewing classes continued this month. We learned to make bags! I got some foam mats for blocking knitting, and I needed some kind of containment system. =)
I think it worked out pretty well, considering that I showed up at class with various fabric and no idea what kind of bag I was going to make!

Behold, my stunning box stitching for strap stability!
I'm really excited that I can now make any size bag I want.

I did get some other things done, but due to my work armageddon, I STILL haven't gotten the Lottlympiad posts up, and those projects are part of those posts.

Now it's time for...
September Smalls
We all love gadgets, and none better than the teensy tools and holders we make ourselves. Let's stitch some smalls--needlebooks, fobs, biscornus, scissors keeps, pincushions--or knit some teensy things--amigurumi, jewelry, sachets....

So how did your Altius August take off? Please add your link below (to your check-in 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 September Smalls! And don't worry if you haven't posted before...just jump in whenever.

The Geekend That Was(n't)

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These past two weeks are not ones I would want to repeat. I try to keep things relatively positive here (with a liberal dose of snark, of course), so I won't go into the gory details. But I've worked EVERY day for the past two weeks, including last Saturday and Sunday, when I normally get Fridays off, and some of those were 11-hour days. Not to mention that it was on a VERY high-pressure project. I am BEYOND exhausted. I nearly resigned a few times. But things should be a little better now.

I do apologize if you've emailed me and I haven't gotten back to you, but I have not answered any email in two weeks. I'll get back to you soon! After I sleep for about 12 hours. But to make up for my absence, I have pictures of orchids!

Before all this madness started, we made a trip to the Botanical Gardens, where they currently have a sculpture installation. Here are some of my favorite shots from the trip.
Cool metal sculpture at the entrance to the Gardens.
This sculpture is made from old tires...
Of course, the wildlife is always more spectacular than the installations. =)
Too bad this one is blurry, but I thought it was cool that I caught this little guy in flight.
Nice texture...
...and colors.

And now, as promised, orchids!

Sculpture in the orchid house.

I love these orchids; they always remind me of hummingbirds.

In the tropical rotunda, there were several quail families with baby quail!
They were too cute, and SO tiny. We spent a while hunting for them, and as I was very still, a family came within a foot or so of me, and it was a real treat to see them scurry by up close.

This Chihuly chandelier was inspired by the pitcher plant display that used to be in one of the conservatories, but it now hangs in the main lobby.

Now I'm gonna go sleep for a day...

I have disappeared because of work...let's all look at pretty flowers and forget all about the horror.

Friday, August 17, 2012

For Once, a Full TUSAL

(What's a TUSAL?)

My teeny TUSAL "jar" is full! That's what sewing in a lot of yarn ends will do for you!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Theme-a-licious Altius August Check-in

I took my second sewing class this month...pillows! We couldn't make up our minds on a fabric to go with the sofa, so we picked a Christmas fabric instead.

I'm pretty pleased with the straight seam I sewed, although my attempts to get the medallions to line up (not match, but line up) failed. It would have been easier if I had cut the fabric side by side rather than vertically.
You can't see it in the pictures, but some of the gold color in the fabric is metallic's very subtle; just a little here and there. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with it! I'm going to make at least one more pillow. And I'll still have a lot of fabric left...I'll have to come up with something else to make!

I have some other things to show, but they'll have to wait until after the Lottlympiad update. ;)

So how is your Altius August going? How are you taking your stitching to a higher level? Please add your link below (to your check-in post), and visit some other Themers if you can (everyone loves comments and encouragement!) Our next post will be on the 31st, when we'll wrap up Altius August and talk about September Smalls! And don't worry if you haven't posted before...just jump in whenever.

1. doing bad so far. .
2. Sherrie
3. India AKA Jo who can't think of a clever nickname
4. Therapy-by-Thread
5. Altius August Catch Up
6. Silvermoon Tea
7. Karoline

The Geekend That Was, 8/12 (Drunken Otter Napkin)

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Friday night was a great night! My aunt and uncle (from Pennsylvania) were in town and so me, my three sisters, and all the nieces and nephews that were in town gathered at my parents' house for a potluck. My from-my-deck-garden roasted tomatoes were a huge hit, along with my fresh basil vinaigrette. Good thing, because I was seriously bummed out on Friday. I slept for about 10 hours and woke very groggy and with zero motivation to do anything even remotely useful, like think up an original or appealing salad. I dreaded going, but we just had a fantastic time, and my dad looked great. He's even saying he thinks he'll get better now!

Saturday morning I had my second sewing class, where I showed up with 4 yards of fabric where I really only needed 1. Hey, I followed the class directions! My handiwork will be coming to a Theme-a-licious update near you. ;) I broke my first needle! It turns out that my cheapie sewing machine, which comes with about 23 fancy stitches, does NOT come with the correct presser foot required to actually USE said fancy stitches...or basic zigzag! Yep, you heard me right. The teacher had never heard of a sewing machine not coming with a presser foot that works for zigzag. I gotta buy one. What a racket!

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that in this sewing class, I had produced a cocktail napkin that looked like it was sewn by a drunken otter. A few of you (well, OK, ONE of you) requested pictures. So, here you go, world's most useless cocktail "napkin":
I still think it's more like a coaster, but I didn't want to argue with the teacher. Here's a closeup of the corner where I tried to fix my crazy topstitching with MORE BAD TOPSTITCHING:

So I must apologize to the ten of you waiting on Lottlympiad updates. I had intended to post one mid-week last week, then the closing ceremony post today. But, as usual, time got away from me. You're still going to get two posts...they'll just be a little tardy. Why not combine them into one post, you say? You think Jim can complete his character arc in just one post??!? ;)

Sunday was, of course, jam-packed with Olympic goodness, punctuated (bad pun alert!) by Michael's finger tangling with some broken glass. He's OK and we didn't need a trip to the emergency room, but I have added "get actual first aid supplies" to my to-do list!

I am theoretically learning to sew. They jury's still out on whether it'll take or not.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Geekend That Was, 8/5

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It's all about the Olympics. And we watch it all!

Well, not "all". We only have "rabbit ears" on our TV; no cable or satellite, so we are watching whatever is on NBC and trying not to be spoiled. (Yes, we could stream live, but for two late-rising working people, that's a little bit of a tall order.) We do watch pretty much EVERYTHING NBC shows. When we were in Europe over the Summer, promos were constantly on the BBC, with "London Calling" playing (it got so we would drop whatever we were doing to do a 5-second dance when they came on). But in the US, coverage always begins with a mash-up of Olympic suites by John Williams. I'm wondering, what theme music brings the Olympics to you where you live??

Friday I spent most of the day waiting for packages (new projector for the church and blocking mats!) and waiting for the air conditioning service guy to show up. On a related and yet unrelated note, we got a nifty new techie thermostat. I present to you, our Nest:
It learns your schedule and figures out when you're away, so you don't have to remember to set it higher when you leave. Today it told me it had completed its first auto-learning cycle and that it was ready to go with auto-away...we'll see how it does. Oh, did I mention that I can control it from the Web? Those nearby patched holes were from our old thermostat, which swan-dived into inoperability a whole two weeks BEFORE its 5-year warranty expired. Boy, the engineers really screwed that one up (I still think all electronics are designed to break five days AFTER the warranty expires. My theory is that they use integrated timers with wee grenades embedded into the circuits. I HAVE A DEGREE IN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING!) God bless Home Depot; even though they no longer sell this brand, they cheerfully gave us full store credit, since I was able to unearth the receipt!

I noticed I lost a couple followers...I hope it wasn't my Extra-Long Lottlympiad post! Or maybe I offended some Aussies?? Remember, Jim does not speak for the Lottloft...we have no control over his antics. He probably gets all his information from bad 80s movies. Thank you to all 10 of you that actually read to the end, and enjoyed it, even. ;) That post took up a lot of Saturday, actually. Sunday was church, lunch, errands, visit to Dad (where he spoiled the gold medal tennis match for me), more errands, and trying to catch up with the 17 hours of coverage we missed while we were out of the house. I was kind of deliriously happy when I found out coverage ends at 11pm tonight instead of midnight. Holy sleep deprivation, Batman!

And just for fun, let me share a post that brightened my Monday...a really cute post full of bunnies.

I was shocked to get on the elevator yesterday and see, from the integrated news feed screen, that there are other sports going on right now.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Lottlympiad Opening Week

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Bob: Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the first update of the Games of the Second Lottlympiad! We have a lot to catch up usual, Jim is here with me to break down the action.

Jim: G'day, mates!

Bob: Jim, what are you doing?

Jim: Bob, by the fires of all the shrimp on the barbie, this is shaping up to be a ripper Games!

Bob: Jim, why are you speaking in an Australian accent?

Jim: What?

Bob: Why the Australian accent? We're in London!

Jim: But...but this is a British accent!

Bob:, it's not, Jim. It's definitely Australian. And although Australia is a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth at its head, you wouldn't call it "British". You're eight years too late...mate.

Jim: But I've been practicing all week! (sobs)

Bob: Check some YouTube videos, Jim.... While Jim pulls himself together, let me talk a little about the time difference. We're six hours behind London, so it's possible that as we delay our updates, there might be spoilers out there. But here, you can be sure that there will be no spoilers.

Jim: That's right, Bob...for instance, we'd never tell you that a Bronze medal was earned in Synchronized Shawling before we go out to Ted and Cynthia at the Aquatics Centre.

Bob: Jim!!

Jim: What??

Bob: You just told them a Bronze was earned before we showed the coverage!

Jim: No, Bob, YOU just told them a Bronze was earned...I said we wouldn't tell them that.

Bob: (sighs) Let's go out to Ted and Cynthia at the Aquatics Centre.

Ted: Thank you, Bob...Jim. Cynthia, we have had a great start in Synchronized Shawling.

Cynthia: Yes, Ted...surprisingly, we can announce that a Bronze medal has been earned.

Ted: Let's take a look at the Bronze medal winning performance.


Cynthia: This is the Jeanie shawl, knit it Dream in Color Starry, and it has a high degree of difficulty, not only because it's a cabled shawl, but it's also reversible.

Ted: And the cables are floating!

Cynthia: Yes, and we can get a better sense of that when we see this shawl in the air.


Ted: You can really see the cables all lined up from that angle.

Cynthia: And speaking of angles, look at the matching angles of entry here, so important in a Synchronized event.

Ted: There's also a unique approach and takeoff going on, right, Cynthia?

Cynthia: Yes, Ted, we are cabling without a cable needle here, which saves a lot of time, and energy. And of course, conserving energy is very important when you have to put together so many repeats to get through the qualifiers, semis and finals.

Ted: Kind of makes you wish the repeats would keep going, doesn't it?

Cynthia: Yes, especially when you get such a nice rhythm going. But it's going to have to wait for another day.

Ted: Back to you, Bob!

Bob: Thank you, Tim and Cynthia. Now I'm sure we all enjoyed the Opening Ceremony...


Bob: Yes, it was great to see the Queen with actor Daniel Craig--


Bob: (eyes Jim)--who plays British super-spy James Bond--


Bob: A very unusual entry into Olympic Stadium for the torch, coming right up the river Thames in a boat--


Bob: (sighs)--driven by David Beckham, who was so instrumental in getting the Games to London. The boat was carrying the torch bearer, who was--


Bob: (sighs) Yes, Jim. As I was saying, we all know that some events start as soon as the Opening Ceremony does. This is why on the first full day of competition, medals are awarded. There was some excitement at the Bead Triathlon's opening swim in Hyde Park. Let's go out to Steve and Julie.

Steve: Thanks, Bob! After a lot of gearing up during the Opening Ceremony, we had a Bronze on the first full day of competition!

Julie: Nice! But isn't all that beading going to make for a bumpy road ahead?

Steve: Perhaps, but endurance is part of the Triathlon, and the next leg looks like it's going to be pretty smooth, if we make it that far. Back to you, Bob!

Bob: Thank you, Steve. Another opening day event was Sailing, in the Starboat division.

Jim: Yeah, you might say it was smooth sailing to a Bronze medal, Bob! See what I did there? Bob?

Bob: Yes, I see what you did there, Jim...spoiled another event result. You know, let's not bother going out to Gary at the venue. Let's just show the medal result.

Jim: Very smooth. Don't we expect some choppy waters ahead?

Bob: Yes, but not with this boat. And I think you'll be surprised with the curves of the next boat, if we make it that far in the competition. Hopefully we'll have more from the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy next week.

Jim: Bob, what are you trying to pull here? Portland is in the US!

Bob: (sighs)

Jim: Bob, you sure are sighing a lot. Are you feeling all right?

Bob: I'm fine, Jim. Now, this is a historic Games for many reasons, including some new events for women that are debuting. Jim has been keeping up with the drama and successes of some of them.

Jim: That's right, Bob, and I'd like to take this opportunity to encourage our viewers to tune in to the Tomorrow show to see our special interview with the family of the first Bronze medal winner in Boxing, from right here at the Lottloft!

Bob: JIM!!

Jim: What??!?

Bob: (sighs) I was just about to announce that the Bronze medal in Boxing was earned.

Jim: Wait, what? Haven't we done that yet?

Bob: No, Jim.

Jim: But that happened, like TWO DAYS ago!

Bob: (sighs) Let's just take a look at the medal ceremony at the ExCel Centre, shall we?


Bob: There you have it, another historic moment in these Games. Now let's go to North Greenwich Arena where Al, Tim and Elfie are waiting to talk to us about Floor Exercise.

Al: Welcome to the competition for women's Floor Exercise. Tim, Elfie, what are we looking at here?

Tim: Well, Al, this is really just the preliminaries, but we already have a Bronze medal in Floor Exercise.


Elfie: Yes, but you'll notice that there are a few steps out of bounds here and there, a few form breaks, and all of those things cost a tenth of a point.

Al: The preliminaries. Before it even happens, this lasts a lifetime. Back to you, Bob.

Bob: Um, thank you, Al. I'd like to take you out to the Aquatics Centre again, where Dan and Rowdy are recapping swimming, but it seems there is only a small amount of progress in the Random Relay.

Jim: Yes, Bob, it's still the preliminaries there as well, and swimmers really work better during daylight hours, at least in the current row.

Bob: You mean "lane," Jim...but why do you say they work better during daylight hours? Is it all the over-one stitching?

Jim: Duh, Bob...have you not seen their swim caps?

Bob: Uh, yes, I've seen them--

Jim: Well, they're BLACK! Clearly, they're solar-powered.

Bob: And on that note, I'll sign off for this update. Hopefully, we'll be back sometime this week, now that the home team are all out of the hospital. Cheerio from London!

Jim: Bob, why are you talking about cereal?

Bob: (sighs)

Will there be more medals in the Lottlympiad? Will Jim learn to speak in a proper British accent? Stay tuned!

Old Geek-outs