When She Shines

So Mr. Honey and I went to the Cubs game on Wednesday afternoon to watch the Cubs play the Astros and if you’ve ever seen or heard a Cubs game, you know they sing ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ during the 7th inning stretch and they have a celebrity lead the singing and the celebrity throws out the first pitch. Now, everyone knows I loves me some Mr. Honey but the first pitch was thrown by and the 7th inning stretch was lead by:

Terrance Howard. I won’t drool like that again until I’m 80, outta my mind and sitting in a corner at the home. Thank you, God.

See that pattern? It’s a nice pattern. A nice pattern that’s a pain in the rear end. The thing about being a knitter is this: we like challenges. We like looking at a picture of something and saying to ourselves we can master it and then we like putting it on the needles and doing the k2 and k2tog and the yo k1 psso and all that stuff and seeing the pattern come together right before our eyes. (That’s why I grin when people say knitters are patient. Are you insane; we knit for the instant gratification.)

But some stitches, no matter how beautiful they are and how glad you are to have done them, are a pain to do. This butterfly pattern is a 26 stitch repeat so I placed a row marker every 26th stitch to make sure I stay within the lines. I don’t know how many times I had to tink back but it was more than a couple and more than a few. It required concentration. And thought. And math. And a bunch of Mr. Honey Stitchmarkers. Well, at least they were cute.

Another thing about us knitters – we like to say how much of a challenge something was so we can get more appreciation when the end result comes. It’s kind of like labor – or so I hear. All that pain and then you get a beautiful baby.

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Framed!

So what happens when an afghan comes off the needles? Well, in my house, it goes on the wires and gets framed. I choose not to be one of the dedicated knitters who places their afghan on the ironing board, gets out the iron and steams the afghan section by section.

In fact, I was one of those knitters who never blocked anything and thought it was fine.

But then sometime last year, I discovered the steamer and my life has never been the same. Then I found out about blocking wires. I was thinking about getting blocking wires but they weren’t long enough for the afghans I was making. And they were a little pricey. Certainly there had to be an alternative.

Enter Mr. Honey.

He got me wires from his place of business and months ago I started framing my afghans and steaming them. He got me two different sizes of wires and it’s actually fun putting them on and steaming them and such.
If you’re a purist, you will want the blocking wires and God bless you…but if you’re like me, and you want some flexibility in what you have, go to the local hardware store and get friendly with your associates cuz they can hook you up.

If you can find him, you can even ask Mr. Honey.
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Gulp!

Shout out to My7Kids! Thanks for being one of my first followers!

I didn’t put an end date to the contest. I have been asking for folks to vote on their favorite haiku (and they have, just not on the site – which sort of defeats the purpose, but I guess I didn’t explain that) today I noticed I didn’t say when I would tell who the winner was:

an oversight of huge proportion
and we clearly have one winner
I have to go back and count to see who the second place winner is. So, I will announce the winner on August 1.

I’m such a dweeb.

Wondering about the lampshade? Wondering when I would get around to telling you about it? Well, now is the time! It’s the Photo Lampshade from Sassy Shades on Etsy. Kristi makes it and other kinds of unique lamp shades. This is what I mean when I say I am in awe of what people do in the world of handmade and with their creativity. Artistic lamp shades – what a great idea! I wouldn’t have thought of it and I wouldn’t be able to do it, but Kristi can and she does.
Check out her store. You may find a gift for that person who has everything – but a photo lampshade.

Chicago Top Ten for the Week of July 26

It’s been quite a month so far. I am expecting good things to come right before the end and I pray I am on the right track – one thing that has remained consistent – there are some talented artisans in the Chicago area and when I am ready to do the holiday shopping, I will be looking in some of those shops first!

This week’s list is a lot of fun as you shall see as I bring you, in no particular order, this week’s Top Ten:

Darling Acorn Earrings
Ellejewels
These are the cutest earrings. I admit it: I have put them on my favorites list.

Arctic Sunset Dress Fond
Geometrically pretty and a well put together item.

Beaded Butterfly DaLee Trinketry
Elegant, simple, fun. What more can a girl want?

Rag Doll patchworkz
What can I say? She has my hair.

Locket Emily Wiser Jewelry
Because sometimes old school is the best school.

Look, halfway through already. We had a block party yesterday. We’ve had them for the past six, seven years or so and this is the first one we’ve attended. Our neighbors down the street asked us to come and this year Mr. Honey said yes. It was a great deal of fun and every family that participated won something. We won a $15 gift certificate to a restaurant – fitting since we have a date night every week!

On to the final five!

French Laundry Earrings by leaves of glass
First, you have to love the name, and then the color!

Handstamped Julies Jazzy Jems
If you can get close enough to read it, then you should have no problem reading the restraining order.

Chiclets on a Saucer
by Chicagoish
I loved Chiclets as a kid and they look so cute on the clock!

Matte Metallic time2cre8
Can’t believe this is a handmade thing. I love it!

Knit Tattoo Swallow Kisses
You’re kidding, right?

Now come on, admit it, this is a great list. You should go shopping in these stores and others!
Have a great week!

Loopy Fun, Tamales and the Danger Needles


Don’t forget to vote for your favorite haiku!

Thank goodness I don’t do crack – not just because, as Whitney says, “Crack is whack!” But because my friends are enablers to the nth degree. When we went to St. Louis we did a white elephant exchange where you place in a bag a skein of yarn you think is less than appealing and you get one in return. Well, I got three balls of fun fur or facsimile thereof which put me over the moon.

My buds thought I was nuts but in subsequent conversations, I convinced them I loves me the Fun Fur and I loves me the acrylic yarn.

Well.

The gang took over Loopy Yarns yesterday and Lisa said she would bring me some Fun Fur from her stash – so did Jo Ann – so did Mary Ann – and we did another white elephant where I got this tote from Lisa along with a skein of Lion Brand Thick and Quick in a green color. (Which perfectly matches the other green skein I have some where in my stash!) So, yet another tote bag, a dozen skeins of Fun Fur and eyelash yarns, AND Lisa popped in the Danger Needles (size 50) you see in the bag. I swear I was looking for the battery holder and a book on Zen and knitting which I am going to read – how much you bet I actually like it? (See, why it’s a good thing I don’t do drugs? Imagine what would be in my tote bag if I said something like: “Marijuana’s nice. I can do good things with weed.”)

We all trouped over to PJ Clarke’s for lunch (my guy pal, Mark, is partial owner) and we had some good food and then we trouped back to Loopy’s. Most of us took the EL and let me just say that second set of 35 stairs that followed right after the first flight of 35 stairs just about killed me. I made it home just in time to change clothes and go to my Wednesday evening knitting group which met at Tamale Hut Cafe. Three of us that went that morning, met there that evening along with 14 others so we had a crowd that evening.

I met some great new folks (StitchCraft is up to 80 members!!) The place was a fun place to knit and it was really nice.

Let me say this to those of you who might not be in a knitting group. FIND ONE! Make one, crash one, lurk in one. Some of the best people I know are in a knitting group and the kind of synergy the St. Louis group has with each other is amazing, the StitchCraft group is diverse, talented, fun and every once in a while we do something good for the community. Both groups are welcoming and willing to share knowledge (and Fun Fur!) I sincerely felt joy yesterday because I spent that time with my sisters (nothing against brothers, there just weren’t any) and we got some good, old school contact.

There ain’t nothing better than that.

The Poetry Corner

We had some really nice entries for the Haiku Contest – but I am, of course, neutral. Here’s the deal – I am going to post the haikus and you make a comment and tell me which one you like. The top two winners will win a set of 4 Mr. Honey Stitchmarkers – one of which he will personalize!

Let the voting begin!

1. Ideas and notes
rough sketches or detailed prints…
creativity

2. knitting in the round
makes mister honey horny
so knit all around

3. knitting my new love
yarn, needles and a pattern
made for someone loved

4. glue, tape and scissors
silver wire, nylon thread
all within arm’s reach

5. stole keys from an old
typewriter at the day job
totally worth it

6. knitting and crochet
decoupage and beadwork too;
they keep me busy

7. fabulous felt, fuzzy, firm
warms the hands, heart, toes
and even, the odd nose

8. Scrapbooking for fun
Silver putty for bracelets
and weaving for rugs

9. I craft to stay same
Without it, step back, watch out!
Scary girl I’d be!

10. Macrame, tatting
Crewelwork and applique-
My clothes are unique

This Week’s Chicago Top Ten – July 20, 2009

It’s an exciting thing to go searching through store after store searching for things that literally make you stop and look. But that’s what I do every week for the Chicago Top Ten. I go through stores by Chicago based artisans and stop when something catches by eye. That’s the only criteria – it has to ‘make me look.’

Here, in no particular order, are the Top Ten items that made me stop:

Peace for Two by SwivelSpace
Earrings and necklaces are probably my two most worn items. So a necklace that’s a little funky and a little edgy will work for most day.

Lampwork Lariat by Inglassworks
It’s shiny, sparkly and intricate – oh my!

Cameo Cookies by Sweetambs
They only look like jewelry – honest, they’re cookies!

Sterling Silver and Blue Stone Dangles by mLindvall
Oh, these are preeettttyyyy!

This Bird… by Kittenintheengine
Harkens back to the 60’s – the decades of protest and change.

We are halfway through this week’s picks. I am pleased to say how different this list is shaping up to be compared to all the others.

Heart Cluster Necklace
by Offbeet
I love stuff like this. I can see this around my neck.

Plum Dichroic earrings by GlassCat
These are mine – go get your own.

Sullivan Personalized Stationery
by Silhouette Blue
I like personalized stationery. I have some and yes, I still send letters Old School.

Earrings by lizsage
This is a ‘retro-fresh’ (I made that up a little while ago) reminds me of Rowen and Martin’s Laugh-In. The show that helped launch Goldie Hawn!

Hot Pink Pasties by Belmont Burlesque
That’s right – pasties – and they come with a bottle of glue!

The only way you can get this kind of variety is to have this kind of variety available. Kudos to the CCA (Chicago Creative Authority – I just made that up, too!)

All Systems Go

Y’all know what this means. It means I’m going to try and logic away something that probably doesn’t have a lot of logic behind it.

Like why it’s July 17 and it friggin‘ freezing in the house and we don’t have the air conditioner on. We do have some open windows to let in the fresh air – but it’s supposed to be fresh summer air. You know Summer? Change the first vowel and that’s what we’re supposed to be doing – Simmer(ing). I cannot explain why global warming causes us to be cold.

I can’t explain all the recent interest in Mr. Honey’s Old Chevy. Did I ever tell you the story about his Old Chevy? It’s so..male. When Mr. Honey and I started dating the subject of cars came up (I have no idea how – I was driving a Pontiac Sunbird – no one talks about that on purpose) but Mr. Honey mentioned he drove an Old Chevy when he wasn’t driving the company car. (I could care less about what cars men drive which is why I’m not sure how this conversation came up.) Anyway, I was out with some friends who knew him and I mentioned I started dating him and said, “He mentioned the strangest thing. He wanted me to know he drove an Old Chevy. Like I care.”

The two of them practically threw themselves on the floor laughing. (Yes, this has something to do with knitting; just wait.)

When they finally came back to their senses, they informed me the ‘Old Chevy’ was a 1965 Corvette convertible. Oh, yeah, that’s funny.
When I asked Mr. Honey about it he said – with a straight face – “I didn’t want you to like me for my car.”

So now, of course, I hate the car. He has drained it of all fluids and taken off the tires and the car sits covered in the garage. He has not driven it in eleven of our thirteen years of marriage. I mention every year how he should get it back in driving condition and take it out for a spin or sell it. But he hasn’t seemed interested in any of those three things.

But everyone else loves it and no matter what function we’re at someone will slide up to me and ask me if I can get him to sell them the car. My usual answer is “If you have a buck 68 in your pocket right now, you can take it home.’ Would you believe NO ONE has managed to have $1.68 in their pocket?

But two people have been seriously pressing Mr. Honey to buy the car and he asked me if I could sell it to either his brother or his best friend. Both of whom have cleared this pending purchase with their wives and they are ready for the bidding war to begin. And my answer?

Absolutely not.

I bet you’re not as surprised as he was. Here’s how the conversation went:
“WHY NOT?”
“Duh.”
“What duh?”
“Do you want to sell the car?”
“I’d prefer to keep it but I haven’t driven it.”
“OK so you sell the car to your best friend or your brother both who we see on a pretty regular basis and how are you going to feel seeing your Corvette brought back to life and if you want to drive it – you will have to ask their permission?”
“That would be weird. I’d like to fix it – it just hasn’t been a priority.”
“You wouldn’t be doing the work yourself. How bout this? Get the car fixed. Drive it yourself and if the thrill is gone, feel free to sell to whom you like. Until then you cannot sell this car to anyone you know.”
So now, he’s interested in getting the car repaired and driving it himself. I haven’t been able to get him to consider that for eleven years. I can’t explain it.

So what does that have to do with knitting?

I have to start yet another knitting project:
I can’t explain that either.

020604

Give In To It


How do you not love this face? I see this face and I just smile or crack up – depending on how many people are around and if I care whether or not they think I’m crazy. Believe it or not, these are bath bombs. I’m used to seeing them look like, well, round things that have no character. To own the truth, I didn’t think they really needed character until I saw this little cutey. Now, a bath bomb ain’t a bath bomb unless it has a smile.

This face made that face. This is the face of Beth Merriman and she runs Chickscratch on Etsy. Her shop makes vegan spa products – so no animals will be harmed in the making of your me time. I interviewed Beth a little while back but I wanted to make sure you guys knew about her stuff because besides the bombs, she also makes candles and hmmmmmm body butter. Doesn’t that sound naughty and nice?

Beth and I are simpatico because she tends to be a little…messy…no, let’s say creatively organized. We do the best we can but creativity cannot wait for anyone – except mebbe Merry Maids. She also works in theatre. I almost majored in theatre and I have done school and community theatre. (Did I ever tell you I won the Stanley Perry Theatre Award at Aurora University? Don’t even ask me where that bowl is. My guess it’s in the garage.)
But this isn’t about me..it’s about Beth and her wonderful store.

Check it out – it’s a hoot and a holler…and with faces more than just a mother will love.

An Embarrassment of Riches

You still have a few days to enter the Haiku Contest.

Do you see them? Can you count them? How many are there? Let me help you out. Five. Five afghans in the making. Five big, old projects going on at one time. Ten knitting needles. Two cable needles, eight project bags (hey, it’s a lotta yarn.)

You know what else?

One is missing from the photo. Another afghan project in another bag did not make it to the photo shoot.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. It may still turn out to be a good idea – we’ll have to see how long it takes to get them all done. But here’s another little kink in my knitting armor – my nephew is getting married next month and I have taken the ‘handmade’ vow so I am, of course, knitting them a nice blanket or afghan for their new apartment….it ain’t in the picture above. It ain’t on the needles. It ain’t been picked out.

Hah. This must be what they mean by living dangerously. Why, you ask, can’t I designate one of the undone to belong to them when it becomes a done. I thought of that, too. But the answer is obvious to me – she likes blue – but not just any blue – a dark, bright blue.

But wait, you say, there’s a blue strip up there. It looks like it might qualify as a dark, bright blue.

And I would agree. But here’s the thing.
I told want to give them that one.

Nothing like standing in the way of your own success.

Aha, you say (you are a talky bunch today) there’s a bright blue square up in the corner that could, mebbe, pass as darker, if not exactly dark.

Again, I would agree. And now that you mention it, that might become the gift because although she likes blue, my nephew likes green and that particular afghan is called Stained Glass and has a multitude of colors and is more likely to go with whatever color scheme they have in their new place.

Here’s the idea I actually had – I would finish all the afghans (believe it or not, they will all be done within a few weeks cuz that’s how I roll) I would post them with everything else in the shop and then they can go through the shop and select what they want and then I would ship it to them.

How did we get on this? The subject was the five afghans in the making. Two of the five are made in one piece; the others are squares or strips (the one that is missing is also squares) which is why they will be done in a relatively short order. Can you tell I am working on the gold one at the top? It’s slower because of the pattern but it will be beautiful and with it out of the way the others will move and it will all be done, as I said, in a few weeks.

If I don’t start any others.