Friday, May 31, 2013

Theme-a-licious Monochrome May Wrap-Up

I thought I'd get through a few more projects this month, but I really enjoyed what I did work on. After all, they were all my favorite color! =)

First was Sapphire Star...
...followed by Celtic Knotwork Crosses...

And you already saw the latest picture of Toccata last week.

I probably would have gotten around to more projects if I hadn't been trying so hard to make the latest Cookie A socks work with this nice blue yarn I got at Stitches South. Unfortunately, they ended up like this after the THIRD CAST-ON:
Two great tastes that don't taste great together: these socks and this yarn. Not that socks would taste very good, anyway. I love both the pattern and the yarn, but they don't work with each other.

I did finish the other sock club socks, in a nearly-monochrome color:

Tulip Socks by Cookie A
knit in Felici from KnitPicks

As for my ornament, it did not get finished! =( I didn't even get a picture during the daylight hours today. I'll have to post one soon. It's going to be very pretty; I want to keep working on it until it's done.

Now it's time for...
Jumanji June
Is it a jungle out there in your stash? Give some love to the projects with animals or birds.

Ornament Theme

This month I mainly want to work on Dancer (the second Mirabilia reindeer). And I've already fished a reindeer ornament out of the Giant Pile 'o Ornament Kits. I'm sure some other animals will romp their way into my hands. =)

So how did your Monochrome May go? Are you ready to see in Technicolor again? 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 of June, when we'll check in for Jumanji June!

1. Kerry
2. Katie
3. Tiki Stitches
4. Katri
5. Serendipitous Jo
6. Topcho
7. Nic

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Geekend That Was, 5/19 (The S is for Shopping, Right?)

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Did you all see Star Trek?? If you're a Benedict Cumberbatch fan, you MUST. We ended up seeing it Thursday night (around dinner time), which was awesome because the theater was fairly empty so there was no one behind me kicking my seat or making inane comments ( least not during the movies...we won't talk about previews), or in front of me checking their text messages. Anyway, it was excellent. I can never get enough Karl Urban (Bones), but at least the Scotty content was good. On a related note, Karl Urban is going to be in a new JJ Abrams show this looks pretty good.

So! This weekend was International Hermit and Stitch Weekend.
(You can click the picture to see others who were participating.) There wasn't as much hermitting as I thought there'd be! Most of it happened Sunday, when it was disgustingly rainy all day. After church and a very yummy brunch at Octane, featuring The Little Tart Bakeshop (sausage, potato and kale turnover and an apple berry crumble tart...NOM), we headed home and continued trying to repair the milk steamer. We had to give it up as a lost cause, unfortunately. Then I turned my attention to stitching. Well...and knitting. The socks are nearly finished!

I did get some more done on my ornament for the month...
...and Toccata I. I am seriously behind!

We were out most of was free museum day, so we couldn't resist a trip to the High Museum at that price. =)
Afterwards, we went clothes shopping (mainly for Michael, although of course I managed to find a few things!)

And on a completely random note, in case you're excited about new episodes of Arrested Development, here's a guide to help you prepare yourself: previously, on Arrested Development. You're welcome. And, I apologize in advance for the time you'll waste there. =)

There was stitching, there was eating, there was a movie, there was a modicum of culture. And I managed not to punch anyone when we walked through the modern art (sic) section of the museum! is supposed to inspire emotion, but unfortunately modern art (sic) only makes me very, very angry.

Friday, May 17, 2013

LA Trip Day 3 - Hollywood and the Magic Castle

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I'll make it through these posts eventually! =)
Previously on the LA Trip...
Day 1 - The Getty Center
Day 2 - Joshua Tree

Day 3 of our trip did not begin well. During the night, Michael had developed a fever and chills, with a cough. I really wanted to take him to a minute clinic but he did not want to miss the walking tour we had already booked in Hollywood. So we said goodbye to Palm Springs (we hardly knew you!) and drove back into LA. After finding a Walgreens and loading Michael up with drugs, we headed off to find lunch.
Just across the street from where our tour was meeting, we found a grilled cheese sandwich and soup restaurant! It was awesome, and fortunately the special was a "Thanksgiving melt" that included turkey and cranberry sauce.
YUM. The corn chowder it came with was great, too.

Thus fortified, we went to meet up with our tour. Our guide greeted us by saying, "Who's super-smart and booked a tour on a Monday, so that they're getting a private tour??" (That would be us.)

And here's where I really fell down on the photos, folks. The thing is, ground zero of Hollywood (where the barn was located where the first studio started, or where ABC, NBC and CBS radio studios were simultaneously within a block of each other) just isn't that interesting architecturally. However, it is INCREDIBLY interesting historically. The tour was awesome! We wandered around a little bit after the tour, and then drove around for a bit snapping pictures out the window...
The gates of Paramount! So many fabulous movies came out of this studio!

Soon, we arrived at our hotel for the might...The Magic Castle Hotel.
  Sadly, it was too cold to try out the pool. =(
I wish we'd been able to stay here more than one night! This was a great hotel, and the staff were all super-friendly. PLUS, they had an extensive list of free snacks. Want a Coke? Free. Famous Amos cookies? Free. M&Ms? Free! You just had to ask at the front desk. At night they had hot cider and butter cookies out in the lobby, and in the morning there was a nice Continental breakfast.
Our room was ginormous! They had upgraded us (once again, the benefits of travelling "off season"), so we had a giant suite.
These two pictures just show the living room and kitchen! There was a separate bedroom and bathroom.

I thought this was a really nice touch; even though my birthday was Wednesday and this was Monday, they had asked Michael if we were celebrating anything and he told them we were celebrating my birthday.
They even matched our bedroom decor to my Kindle Fire. =P
Can you name the artist?

The main reason to stay at this hotel for us, though, was that it gave us the opportunity to go to The Magic Castle. Yes, I am a huge geek and adore magic shows. Yes, I had lots of magic tricks when I was a kid. Are you surprised? Have you met me?? Since it is technically a private club, you can only get in if you're a member, have an invitation from a member, or stay at the hotel. Since we didn't think NPH would take our calls...

...we were more than happy to stay at the hotel. Unfortunately, no pictures are allowed inside the club. We got a quick mirror shot before we left.
Note that there's a dress code. =) Here's what the castle looks like from the outside:
The performances we saw were INCREDIBLE. First, though, let me describe what the interior looks like...picture a Victorian Gothic mansion crammed with all kinds of magic and mystical-looking paraphernalia. The colors are all rich woods, browns and burgundies. When you enter, there is a reception desk and little gift shop off to one side (very, very "little"...there is really only room for one or two people in there at a time). To the left is a door, on which you must knock while saying "Open Sesame". =) When you enter, straight ahead there is a bar, to the left is a sign telling you where to queue for the closeup magic parlor, and to the right is a staircase that leads up to the higher floors (and down to the "dungeon"). The "dungeon" contains another bar (closed while we were was a Monday night), a room with small tables where visiting magicians can do impromptu performances for each other, and a display that shows how one of the members helped create the ghostly effects in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. Upstairs is the dining room and more performance spaces.

The whole recap would be boring without pictures, but the highlights were seeing Houdini's handcuffs, the closeup magic show where I got to sit about four feet from the magician and he did the most amazing coin routine ever (I only saw one get palmed, and these were 2" coins) and he made a business card fly around the room, and getting picked from the audience to help with the quirkiest, creepiest magician I've ever seen! We stayed well past midnight and were a little disappointed that the final show was cancelled ("not enough people"), but we were pretty thrilled by the whole experience. And honestly, with the way Michael felt, we didn't need to stay up any later! We got to see two closeup magicians, a humorous stage magician, and the main stage show with a couple humorous magicians and a fantastic female illusionist. On the way out, I got to tell the last magician we saw (the one I sat four feet away from) how much we enjoyed his performance. "That was amazing...I couldn't see how you did anything, and I was watching really closely!"

"That's funny," he replied without missing a beat, "so was I!"

Movie magic and "real" magic in LA...coming up, more movie magic and Disney magic!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

WIP Wednesday (and the stripes continue)

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I am still liking this pattern with the stripes!
I wish I'd done an afterthought heel (even though I don't know how to do one =) but I'm not too mad about how the stripes joined up after I picked up the heel flap stitches. If I were more persnickety, I would have cut the yarn and restarted the striping sequence at that point. But I just wanted to keep knitting! I always struggle with dividing the stitches evenly for Magic Loop after picking up the gusset stitches. Does anyone have any hints?

For better planned, more coherent WIPs, head over to Tami's Amis!

Theme-a-licious Monochrome May Check in

I haven't been moving through my projects as fast as I would have liked this month. Part of it was because I've been working to get things done for the giveaways I've had. One of them was something stitched all in blue. I can't show it yet, because I just mailed things off today and I want it to be a surprise, but here's a little peek...

Once that was finished, I was able to start filling in spaces on Toccata I.
I'm so far behind!! Since it's May, I should have five rows done to be on track for getting it done this year. Fortunately, the rows don't take too long. And they're really fun.

I also made a BIG START on my ornament for the month:
WOO. Aren't you impressed??? I know it's not blue, but it is monochrome. =)

So how is May going? Is your stitching feeling monotonous, or is it easier to see your progress when it's all one color? 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 of May, when we'll wrap up Monochrome May and talk about Jumanji June!

1. Lynda @ TAGM May Check In
2. Serendipitous Jo - Theme and Anti-theme
3. Katie
4. Tiki Stitches

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Geekend That Was, 5/12

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The big news from last week is that I got a new sewing machine!
I have wanted a new one because the one I have is very, very basic, and we don't always get along. A Gold Box deal popped up on Amazon for this one, and I couldn't resist! IT IS SO AWESOME!! It does all sorts of fancy stitches, even letters, and it came with more presser feet than I knew existed (there's even one just for attaching a row of sequins). But those things are just icing. The things I love (so far) are that you don't even need a foot pedal to operate it (you can start and stop it with A BUTTON), it's CRAZY easy to thread, it's got an automatic thread cutter, and it always ends with the needle down (SO handy for turning corners). I didn't have as much time to play with it as I wanted, so I didn't get anything completed. Hopefully after this weekend I'll have something to show. =)

On Saturday, we took Michael's parents on the annual "Gardens for Connoisseurs" tour to benefit the botanical gardens. Although it did sprinkle a couple of times, it was a pretty good day overall; the temperature was just perfect.
The peonies were in bloom...
...there were lots of gorgeous spaces in the nine gardens we visited.
We also went to the Botanical Gardens. (I still need to do a post on the current exhibit.) As a bonus, when we got to the Gardens, the rose show was going on!
I'll show you more in another post. =)

My new sewing machine rocks!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Carnival Trick TUSAL

(What the heck is a TUSAL?)

I think I need to stitch more so stick man doesn't hurt himself!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Geekend That Was, 5/5

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I did a lot of sewing on Friday, but since one of the things I made is going out to a long-suffering giveaway winner, I can't show it to you yet. =) I did some other crafting I also can't show you, but while I was at it, I finally made stitch markers from some charms I bought in New York years ago:
It took me all of 5 minutes. Gee whiz, why did I wait so long??

Saturday after a good breakfast,
we went to see Iron Man 3. I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially Don Cheadle kicking some butt! If you haven't seen it, stay until the bitter end after the credits. There's a coda that's worth the wait. Better than schwarma. We saw it in 3D IMAX (really liemax, since it wasn't a true IMAX screen), and I'd say the 3D wasn't worth it for this movie. We mainly saw it in that theatre...and I am going to come off here sounding like a total elitist...because we were hoping the higher price point would keep out the idiots who check their cell phones or talk during the movie. What helped me more, though, was wearing earplugs. As I've mentioned before, I have freakishly sensitive hearing, so this time I took some earplugs and just lightly put them in my ears. I couldn't hear anyone next to me slurping, "whispering", crunching popcorn...or laughing, which was kind of weird...but I had no problem hearing the movie dialogue. I'm doing this from now on!

In the "my really expensive education ought to be good for something" department, I helped Michael diagnose an issue with his milk steamer.
We had to make two trips to Radio Shack. The first one was to get a new fuse for the multimeter, since it wasn't reading voltages ANYWHERE. The second was to get a thermal fuse for the steamer. Of course, that may not fix the problem, but a $3 fuse is a good gamble for fixing an $80 steamer.

Sunday dawned rainy and icky like Saturday, but by the time we got out of church, it had transformed into the most beautiful day. After brunch with friends (a wonderful surprise), we dashed over to the Botanical Gardens, since we knew it was supposed to start raining again between 3 and 4. I had wanted to see the new exhibit, "Imaginary Worlds," but I didn't think we'd be able to with all the rain. I'll do an entire post about the exhibit, but here are a couple teaser shots.
One nice surprise was that the "bog" plants were in full bloom. I don't think I've ever seen them at this stage in their lifespan before! I was amazed at the colors.
There were a lot of other pretties as well. =)
We made it through all the new displays and back into the car before the first drops fell!! We're going on the annual private gardens tour this weekend for Mother's Day, so we'll be back again.

To round out the weekend, I made the latest cookies in the Cookie A Sock Club, Chocolate (I pronounce it as "exponentially chocolate" =).
These cookies have melted unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder and white chocolate chips in the mix. I wish I'd taken the time to chop the white chocolate with cocoa butter (chips don't usually have it), because it is SO much better. Eh, that's OK; these cookies are still AMAZING. Actually, I might make them with butterscotch or peanut butter chips next time!!

Why yes, there is no stitching in this post, how astute of you to notice. It's driving me crazy, too!!!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Friday, May 3, 2013

Finished Object Friday: The Origami Turtle LIVES!

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Here are the promised "glamour" shots of the Origami Turtle!

Pattern: Santos by Berroco

Yarn: Origami by Berroco, in color Turtle Bay
These pictures were taken on our deck, and they're not too bad of me! Of course, I threw out all the ones where I looked super-dorky. =)
Now ya'll can understand why the trains annoy me sometimes, yes?

I love this sweater!! To see more Finished Objects, head over to Tami's Amis! And to see even more fibery goodness, wander over to Wisdom Begins in Wonder.

Old Geek-outs