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Category: Screens & Tunes (page 1 of 2)

Hibernation

All last week the forecast was showing that new snow would be here for the weekend. On Thursday, the forecasted snowfall totals for Friday/Saturday were stepped up a bit. It quickly became evident that this weekend might be a good one to hibernate at home. Friday morning’s commute was a bit longer than normal because the first round of snow was coming in. Thankfully, the rest of the snow held off until I was back home before dinnertime.

(click the picture for details)

I woke up on Saturday morning to quite a bit of snow on the ground and it kept falling all day. The neighborhood soundtrack throughout the day was filled with shovels scraping the pavement, wheels spinning in the snow/slush and the whir of snow blowers. Before long, lawn chairs were out in the street as parking spot placeholders.

My “goals” for the weekend were simple.

  • Never ending pot of coffee: The french press was in constant use all weekend – the It’s a Grind Winter Blend is my current favorite. A bit of Italian Sweet Cream creamer & my sheep mug made it perfect.
  • Finish holiday cards: Umm, I had good intentions of getting cards out at Christmas and then life got in the way. So I’m going with a “New Year’s” approach instead. Signed, sealed & ready to go in the mail tomorrow.
  • New knitting project: I cast on a for a new “big” knitting project & have been making great progress on it. As the inches of snow increased, so did the inches of blue garter stitch. More details later this week.
  • Order 2008 pictures for scrapbook: It’s January – time for a scrapbooking retreat in 2 weeks, so I had fun going through the past year & figuring out what pictures to be ordered.
  • Catch up on Netflix: Ladies in Lavender and The Ballet Shoes were perfect knitting flicks.
  • Make a pot of soup: At the grocery store on Thursday evening I decided that I was in the mood for a pot of cauliflower soup. I found a couple of good recipes on a few food blogs & ended with my own hybrid that hit the spot (roast the cauliflower, onions & garlic before going into the pot, add some walnuts in with the ‘normal’ ingredients – blend it all together- yum!). Since I had the big pot out from the back of the cabinets, today I decided to make a big pot of chili for this week & the freezer.
  • Read: Between Christmas gifts and library books I had no shortage of reading material. This weekend it was The Reverend Guppy’s Aquarium and The Lace Reader.

I had hoped to head over to Jen’s for a bit of knitting this afternoon; however, I feel like I’m fighting off the start of a cold so I’ll continue to hibernate. (And be very grateful for a building mate who shoveled my side of the garage!) The snow is definitely getting old this winter – there have been too many long commutes in the snow, slush & slick. It was nice to enjoy this snow storm from inside my cozy home.

Hanging Out with the Folks…

Instead of heading to the airport to fly back to Chicago on Friday I picked up a rental car (a slick new Azera which the family has dubbed Hank) merged south onto I-75, set the cruise control & headed down to the ‘Ville to hang out with Mom & Dad. It was a fun weekend – filled with playin’ in the dirt, grillin, chillin’ & knittin’.

Playin’ in the dirt…

Saturday was a gardening day for Amy Artisan & Dad Artisan. I definitely inherited my green thumb from him and since I didn’t do my deck plantings or flowerbed this summer since I’m traveling it was fun to ‘play in the dirt’ for a bit & help get everything planted at home.

The first thing we did was plant the zinnias in the front flowerbed. (Zinnias are an Artisan Family favorite flower.) As Dad lifted up the turtle statue to move it out of the flowerbed he discovered a Mama Skink had nested & was watching over 6-8 eggs. So, the turtle statue will stay where it is & Mama Skink now has a lovely flowered & mulched home for her babies.

Skinks Home

We also planted up several color pots for the front entry to the house as well as the back deck. I think my favorite planting was the red & white coleus in the red pot – look closely & you’ll see a familiar “As Seen on TV” item – that’s right, the coleus are in the “Pasta Pot” from several years ago. The pot had outlived it’s usefulness in the kitchen & was such a pretty color that we thought it would be fun to plant into it – the red coleus leaves are a perfect match for it. Next year I vote for basil in the pasta pot – how fun would it be to grow “pasta herbs” in the pasta pot?

Pasta Pot Coleus

The other color pots indeed contain a lot of different colors: zinnias, coleus, petunias and more!

Flower Pot Color

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Grillin’…

Dad & I cleaned up the grill & made use of it for dinner on Saturday & Sunday. Saturday got the grill going for the season with turkey mignon, Vidailia onion slices and yellow squash slices. Sunday was yummy marinated steak. The meals were rounded off with super sweet canteloupe and Mom’s homemade strawberry pie. Having Mom’s home cooking is always great but I appreciated it even more this weekend since I’m eating out ALL the time while on the road.

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Chillin’…

A couple of fun movies that we watched over the weekend: Nanny McPhee & Glory Road. Both were fun flicks & good entertainment!

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Knittin’…

On Saturday afternoon Dad & I went to Hobby Lobby & spent the vast majority of time in the yarn section. There were several ‘new to me’ baby yarns that look like they would be so soft & cuddly for baby blankets – I have to make 2 baby boy blankets this summer so I think I will try some of these yarns instead of reaching for my “standard” Bernat Cotton Tots.

While browsing through the yarn at Hobby Lobby on Saturday I found a good selection of my favorite Sugar’n Cream for dishcloths – including several colors that I haven’t seen in store before. So, even though I had some SnC yarn in the suitcase for hotel knitting I picked up 5 balls of summertime colors. Saturday evening I got started on 1 “Grandma’s favorite” & kept on going all Sunday afternoon & evening. I’ll be finishing up the 5th dishcloth later this evening. Since suitcase space is a premium 4 dishcloths stayed in Georgia for my mom & sister to enjoy.

Summer Flavor Dishcloths
(L to R: Cherry Swirl, Swimming Pool, Key Lime Pie, Creamsicle)
These colors just seem to capture the vibrant fun of summertime!

Also…a bit of hotel knitting…Last week was fairly busy in the evenings here in Chattnooga – the annual Riverbend Festival was in full swing so our project team checked out the events on a couple evenings. I still managed to get 2 small knit projects completed: a simple dishcloth & a scarf.
Hotel Knitting

Project Spectrum: Blue Hydrangeas

As I was taking pictures of our flower plantings last night & Dad was watering the plants he asked if I needed any more blue pictures for this month and suggested that I take some pictures of the hydrangeas along the side of the house. So this Project Spectrum digital collage is from Amy Artisan & Dad Artisan.

Blue Hydrangeas

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All in all it was a great weekend – it was a treat to hang out with my Dad on Father’s Day!

The Wheels on the Car…the Rows of the Sock…go round & round…

The weekend road trip to Ohio was a lot of fun. As we got on the road we did a quick trip down Michigan Ave. (aka the Magnificent Mile) to take in the gorgeous displays of tulips. It was a beautiful day for a road trip – as we covered the Indiana Toll Road I was amazed by all the shades of green we say – grasses, trees – it all was so lush. We made a slight detour through Indiana’s Amish Country & enjoyed a delicious lunch and did a bit of shopping.

Once in Findlay (aka Flag City USA ) we had a very nice time celebrating Clara Pearl’s birthday. She loved the lap blanket – it will be well used when she gets chilled. To celebrate her 70th birthday, the word went out to everyone to send her cards – by Saturday afternoon she had received close to 90. One of my cousins and her family came down from Toledo on Saturday afternoon to celebrate. On our way home from dinner at a local favorite, we stopped by a park to see the final days of the annual Easter story sand sculpture.

Scenes from Ohio

On Sunday we were able to enjoy seeing my cousin’s kids in their church musical. After lunch with them we hit the road & managed to avoid a lot of rain on the drive back to Chicago.

Over the course of the weekend I got a fair amount of knitting done – including having to frog one project on Friday evening (by the time we were back in Chicago I had recovered all that knitting progress and then some).

Last night was the first (of 2) session of my “Knitting Socks on 2 Circulars” class at Arcadia. For this first pair of socks I have decided that I’m not going to use any of the hand dyed yarns that I’ve picked up over the last couple of months – I want to “practice” with other yarn. So I’m working with Cascade Sassy Stripes in the purple/lavender colorway (#769).
Socks on 2 Circulars

There is only one other gal in the class – because we had both done socks before we started right in on our sock yarn instead of practicing the technique on scrap yarn. I now own my first pair(s) of Addi Turbos (#2) & I cast on for a basic sock. The first couple of rows were hard to visualize “where to go” when you reached the end of a half. But after about 3 rows it clicked & I was moving stitches to the cable, turning the sock around & picking up needle ends without a problem.

In the class we will not complete a sock – rather we will learn the basic parts. Next week we will work on the gusset. So during this week I want to get tube & heel flap done so the gusset work could be on a wearable sock. When I got home I worked round & round for about an hour & then put the sock down to work on some other projects that need to be finished within the next 10 days.

Sally Says…Welcome to the first installment of “Sally Says…” – this will be an occasional feature on Amy Artisan where I share fun things that I’ve discovered through my iPod (name Sally by my sister). These may be podcasts or music & I don’t know how frequently they will appear.

In the last couple of weeks I have started exploring podcasts more & have discovered an assortment of fun ones. A couple that I haven’t seen mentioned before:
KnitTunes Music to knit by…each episode is dedicated to a specific stitch or type of project.
CraftLit – Some knitting talk & then chapters of books to knit by – currently it is Pride & Prejudice.

Also in rotation on the iPod are the tunes of Family Groove Company – a great band from here in Chicago. They have just released their second album, Charmer. If you are in Chicago, they are having a release party at The Cubby Bear on Saturday evening – it’s sure to be a great time.

Since this post is a bit of a hodge podge – here is one last random item for today. I’ve never watched American Idol – I saw one episode of the first season & it didn’t pull me in. Well, I’ve been watching this season. Why? Because one of my sister’s students has been a contestant. Yes friends, my sister taught Paris in her Psychology class last fall. So, we’ve been cheering her on. Once the Paris audition aired earlier this year she came back to the high school & wanted to see my sister. Here is a picture of Rebec with Paris.
American Idol
In addition to the class taking some pictures with her they were also treated to an impromptu performance of her audition song. “Knowing” someone on the show has been fun – even though she didn’t win the competition it will be fun to see where she goes from here.

While the knitting pictures are few – the knitting hours in the past week have been many. In the next couple of weeks I will be able to reveal pictures of the projects.

Knitting Comfort…and other things…

This morning I mailed this afghan square to Christine for her Comforting Jef project – the knit blog community has been sending in lots of squares a 2nd blanket will also be made for Vickie’s brother Michael .

Comforing Jef Afghan Square

It’s my “standard” pattern – the dishcloth that Grandma taught me to knit with & I have made into lots of baby blankets. This is the Blue Berry Cotton Tots yarn – I knit it on size 8 needles so it is a denser square than normal but still very soft & cozy. This was a great knit project on the flight home to GA on Thursday & I finished up while watching the new Pride & Prejudice DVD on Friday night with the family.

There were several other crafting encounters with the family while I was home over the weekend. First up, a “Reading Wrap/Lap Blanket” for my Aunt Clara Pearl who will turn 70 at the end of April & is recovering from some health issues. On Friday afternoon my parents & I strolled the yarn aisles of JoAnn ETC & selected the “Waterfalls” Homespun colorway.
Weekend Crafting
What’s that in the picture…oh, an iPod! Have I mentioned that I have an awesome little sister? On Friday afternoon I received this lovely little “prezzie” & a great handmade card from her – she left me speechless. Rebec asked if it would make it into my blog – of course! The first listen on the iPod was Pink Martini (of course) & on Saturday afternoon as I cast on for the wrap I was listening to some knit podcasts that I had thought I would just listen to on my laptop (when I didn’t own an iPod) – Pointy Sticks, Cast On, KnitCast. I plan to knit a case for the iPod – which Rebec has christened “Sally” – I haven’t decided on the colors or yarn but Rebec has stipulated that it include a pink/raspberry stripe for her. Stay tuned for a finished object sometime soon.

In other crafting news from this weekend…
– My Project Spectrum Red & Pink Post Card is on its way to Italy.
– Kudos to my sister for finishing her first scrapbook – her trip to Scotland & England. It has been fun to see her develop her own style & the album was a treat to look through!
– Dad continues to make progress on his Poppy Needlepoint project.
– Many thanks to my Mom for whipping up this shoe bag for me while I was home. I decided I needed something better than a Jewel plastic bag for carrying my dress shoes back & forth from work. I came up with my design needs & Mom whipped it up in no time.
Shoe Bag
The design details: 1/2 yard of cotton (a Tracy Potter print), 1/2 yard of a flannel to line it, a drawstring. Inside are 3 pockets (aka my design needs): a small one at the bottom to hold a dryer sheet for freshness, one pocket to hold a spare pair of knee highs, one pocket to hold some bandaids for bad shoe days. (Since there isn’t a lot of pink & red content in today’s post my favorite red heeled loafers are modeling the bag.)

Spring blooms were in full force while I was home this weekend, unfortunately I didn’t get pictures of Dad’s garden taken before the rain moved in.

That’s all for now…I’m hoping to get some more pink & red crafting in this weekend – if not the colors may run into next month…

Knitting for Subtitles

Knit Valentines

This project was the perfect weekend knitting activity while waiting for the Olympics & working my way through the at home Netflix. This weekend I ended up with all foreign films at home…having to read subtitles means that the knitting can’t be too complicated. These Valentine themed dishcloths will be making their way to my Mom & sister with some coordinating dish towels.

The knit details:
Melissa’s Knit Valentine DishclothI see some of her other designs as future “quick projects” in the coming months
– Strawberry varigated Sugar n’ Cream yarn (4 dishcloths from just under 2 1/2 balls of yarn)
– Size 8 needles
– The Valentine Day’s Sheep from Katie’s Shop was the perfect accessory to mark my odd row needle.
I had originally planned to use a solid color yarn for these; however, this was the only Valentine themed Sugar n’Cream yarn at Michael’s on Friday afternoon.

The movie details…thoroughly enjoyed The Chorus/Les Choristes. Also, I “finally” saw Cinema Paradiso & loved it – as often as I’ve heard the soundtrack it seems like I would have seen the movie by now. Interestingly enough, one of the ‘old movie’ songs in the film “Anna (El negro zumbon)” has been wonderfully redone on the latest Pink Martini CD.

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