Thursday, December 29, 2011

Merry Christmas (belated)

Hope everyone had a very merry Christmas. I drove down to see my Dad, stepmom, et al. The presents were well-received. The weather was nice and traffic was not too bad.

I finished a bracelet (the silver and black beads one). I've started another one using hand-dyed thread. It's only the 2nd time I've used hand-dyed thread. This one is shades of black and brown and I'm using silver/clear beads.

Here's a neat idea I got from another blogger: 2012 TBR pile challenge. I'm going to try and pick out 14 books tonight. The challenge is to pick out 14 books that have sat on your TBR pile for a year or more and read 1 a month. You pick 14 so you can discard 2.

My dad and stepmom came to meet me for lunch at work. That was really nice. I've been here for 10 years and it's only the 2nd time Dad has even seen the building. It's the first time either one had seen my office. Only 1 of my co-workers was in the office at the time.

Short post today.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays

Happy Hanukkah. Happy Solstice. Three days until Christmas and it's a warm, scattered wet, day. Yesterday, my coworkers distributed Christmas present. One made homemade chocolate chip cookies with her son. Yum, delicious. One gave me a s'more kit (chocolate, graham cracker & marshmallow). Another gave me chocolate crème wafers, plus chocolate and fuzzy socks from another coworker. I need to take a bag to work to help me carry the stuff home.

Our office holiday party was Monday. This was the sculpture on the dessert table, yest it's made of chocolate.

I took part in a Secret Santa online. My present has arrived but I haven't opened it yet (that's for Friday) but the sender accidentally said something about the contents in the gift tag. Oops.

Here's an interesting essay/list about body image, for fat women. It's very healthy.

Here are some reasons for a man to look for a woman who reads.

Did you hear about what's been happening at K-Marts (and a few other stores with layaway) around the country? People have been paying off the layaway for random strangers, people who had laid away children's items mostly. The store might call Mrs. Jones to tell her that her $250 balance (which she wasn't certain she was going to be able to pay off to get her children toys or clothes for Christmas) is now $20 because someone anonymous paid off most of it. One woman hung around the layaway desk and registers and paid for items telling people 'remember Ben', presumably her late husband.

Some troops came home from Iraq last night. They showed a clip on this morning's local news show.

I finished another bracelet last night after work and started another one. The one I finished is the burgundy and black one I mentioned in my last blog. I'm using the same beads with silver thread. The metallic thread is a little more difficult to work with but it looks really good. It's also smaller, so it may take more thread/beads to cover the same distance.

I'm tempted to try and make a hat for my niece but I have 4 days to do it. I might be better trying to make her another bracelet this year in her school colors but in gold metallic thread with black beads.

Dad's present still hasn't arrived. I'm getting a little worried. 

Here's are a couple sunrise pictures

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ooh, Scary, 2 Posts in Less than 1 Month

Tuesday was the big winter blood drive where I work. I stopped by my office, took care of a couple brush fires, went and donated blood, came back, ate at my desk while I worked, then back to the blood drive to volunteer. I was a donor escort; escorting folks from their chairs to the canteen. They were a little short of volunteers so I had 3 pods (7 chairs with a central equipment table) to handle. Up to 4 people might finish at the same time. I missed escorting a few. I did have one near faint. She got a little dizzy as we neared the canteen but the Red Cross worker and I, helped by a 3rd person I never did identify, eased her to the floor. She didn't ever lose consciousness, I think, but she definitely needed more recovery than most. Another person I was supposed to escort got dizzy while in the canteen, at about the same time. Whee!

Here's a bracelet I finished this week. I have no idea what to name it. Any suggestions?
Here's the one I'm currently working on, I needed a break from pastels. I enjoy them, but not a steady diet.
I don't know what to call this one, either.

My brother finally gave me my niece's list. She is definitely more her mother's daughter.

I took part in an online Secret Santa. I mailed out mine today. According the organize, the one I'm getting might arrive today.

I have mom's present (henna for hair and I'm going to help her apply it this weekend). Dad's present has shipped. I have my brother's present, my sister-in-law's present, and maybe my step-mom's present. That still leaves a list of people I need to get presents for. Some presents I'm splitting with other people. I have at least one new person on my list; one of my oldest friends has gotten engaged. We'll be meeting her at New Years.

I'm sure I have other things to share but it's late and I want to head home.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Season Has Begun

And by that, I mean I've gone to my first Christmas party. It was supposed to be my second one but I got sick and didn't go to the first one. I gave Chris the latest Edge book by Ilona Andrews. He had just learned it was out and hadn't gotten a copy yet. I still have his other present but I haven't wrapped it yet.

This one was mostly getting together with friends, playing games, eating supper and then opening presents. It was very low key. My SO bought three books from my wish list while one of my friends found the perfect journal for me to use as a character journal for an upcoming game.

I made some serious progress on my sock. I have about another half inch before I start on the heel. Again.

I am waiting for my brother to call or email me. I have a questions for him. Shopping for my niece is getting harder and harder. She's 16 now and very different from me or my brother, in many ways. She has her own interests, which is as it should be. She should not be a clone. But it was so much easier to shop for her when she was 6.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

I've been making a few bracelets. Not a lot, because I've been distracted, but a couple. Here's Pearly Girl (thanks to the nice lady who named it for me).

I've started one in pale pink with purple beads.

I've taken some sky/cloud pictures and some flower pictures.
frost bitten pansy

touch of blue

And the clouds came rolling in

The sun sets

clouds like scurrying sheep

Very red

Wild Rose

December Rose

I've made a Blue Rose character (not that I expect to play her any time in the near future, but I can wish, right?). I'm reading Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusades, with the intention of reviewing it. I bought the new game The One Ring, set 5 years after the events in The Hobbit (by J.R.R. Tolkien if you've been living under a rock or not from an English speaking country).

Saw both parents at Thanksgiving (no, this is not typical and hasn't been since they separated when I was 6). Dad came by for lunch on Thanksgiving Day; thank you, K&W for being open so I didn't have to cook. I at supper with the SO's parents. I was supposed to donate platelets on Friday but I got a migraine; and aspirin means no platelet donation. I went to Mom's for the weekend. We went to only 2 stores; an AC Moore & a thrift shop. I did pick up some new audiobooks.

I found out the cassette tape iPod accessory in my car doesn't work so well anymore. All that noise was not coming from my car stereo, after all. My car stereo is old enough to be in college, so I wasn't surprised when the noise quality declined. Except, those pops and static were from the cassette hooked up to my iPod. I've been listening to some audiobooks instead.

I took part in NaNoWriMo. I wasn't expecting to hit the 50,000 words, I just wanted to finish my short story. And I did. I'm going to wait until the new year to look at it again and start the editing process but I have a beginning, a middle and an end. The end desperately needs work, but it's there.

I've started reading Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series. Bluntly, the blurb for the first book turned me off. But I've enjoyed her Guild Hunter series so much, I decided to give her other series a try. I've read the 1st two books now and I'm looking for the 3rd.

I just read a book by a new (to me) author, Jessica Sims. Or is it Jennifer? Anyway, the book title is Beauty Dates the Beast. It's an entertaining book and I'm looking forward to the next one.

I figured out what to get my mom for Christmas. I found a really good source for hair henna. Unlike what she used to use, this stuff won't turn her white hair to neon orange.

I'm still working on what to get Dad. He might get a stove or something for a reservation resident. I'll have to look. I think he might like a charity gift this year. I saw a book I thought he'd like. I was right, too bad someone already loaned him a copy.

I have an idea for my brother (he was the 1st one I figured, I just need to order it). But I'm at a loss for my sister-in-law. My niece will be getting a new pair of earbuds and maybe a bracelet made to order. If I find an interesting cd, she might get that, too. Maybe.

I have a couple things for the SO already. But there's still quite a few people I'd like to get something for them. I need to pull out my list and make decisions.

The VCR died. Or maybe just the tape that's in it did. The tape is kind of hanging from the VCR, like a cat holding a mouse by its tail. There went my copy of Strictly Ballroom.

Last night I went to a presentation about Chang and Eng Bunker. Do you know who they were? They were the original Siamese twins. They took a physical drawback, and it was severe (the King of Siam almost had them beheaded for being a 2-headed Chinese demon) and became businessmen. They were sharp, too. They were successful enough to buy a good tobacco farm in North Carolina. They married and had full lives. They were articulate and made sure all their kids had a good education.

WARNING: Politics Ahead

Friday, November 18, 2011

Um, Been Awhile, Huh?

Didja miss me?

Okay, what should I cover?

Here's a hankie edging I'm making: Well I was going to show you, but I'm having trouble adding pictures today.

I mailed off the commissioned bracelet. I hope she likes it.

Tomorrow, I'll be running the Beginner Box for Pathfinder. Hopefully, I'll be able to run by the sewing machine place and drop off my sewing machine to get fixed.

I was at Mace and I signed up to run a Spirit of the Century game (Around the World in 80 Murders) & an Ironclaw game (Me and Vittorio, Down by the Graveyard). But no players showed up. For the Ironclaw one, it was the 1st session on Friday & at least two players just didn't get to the con that early. A 3rd one misread the schedule and thought the game was Saturday. Oh well. It happens. I can try to run them at another con, then.

I've been watching Once Upon A Time and Whitechapel. Radically different shows, but both have kept my interest.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Another Quickie

I suddenly realized I hadn't posted anything this week. Eep.

We took the SO out for supper at a Brazilian steakhouse Friday night. Much nomminess.

I helped A.S. at her booth over the weekend. I sold two bracelets and got a commission for another one and for a glasses 'chain.'

Monday, three of us went to the fair. My bracelet got nothing. Pout. But one of the local tatters (Triangle Tatters) got a blue for her scarf with a tatted edging. So that's good.

I finished the commissioned bracelet and it's gorgeous. Woman has fabulous eye for color.
Promise of Wine 

Today was employee appreciation at work. I made a tiny snowflake for someone's Christmas card (active or retired military person). Gotta go. Time for my bus.

Friday, October 14, 2011

State Fair time

It's time for the State Fair. I'm taking the day off work on Monday to go see it. Even then, I will probably miss a few things. There's just so much to see.

As promised, this is the website of the nice lady who had the tatting shuttle giveaway. This is the website of the gent who made the shuttle. Doesn't he make lovely things?

The Lacemakers is going out of business. I'm really sorry to see them go. They've been the vendor at Palmetto Tat Days for at least 2 years. Really nice people.

I sent off a snowflake to help the NC Conservation Network raise money. Too bad I forgot to take a picture before I sent it.

Tonight, a few of us are taking my SO out to supper for his birthday. We're going to a Brazilian steakplace. It's not cheap, but oh-so good. Apparently, my reaction to the grilled pineapple was funny. According to my SO, I looked like an addict, both before and while eating it. He said it's an expression he has never seen on my face before. And here I thought I was a biblioholic.

His present arrived yesterday. I was stupid and didn't order it until late so I had to pay for expedited shipping to get it here in time. Another friend's birthday was last week. I have his present, too. His present showed up overnight, even without the expedited shipping.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Short Post

Cause I'm not feeling so hot. But here's the shuttle I won (see, it's even an action shot).
It's a David Reed Smith shuttle, made of white oak. Isn't it pretty? It feels good, too. (I really should link to his webpage, he has really pretty stuff, not just tatting shuttles, but like I said, I don't feel very well).

I got the family letters written again. Now I just need to mail them.

I have restarted my sock. Wish me luck.

I finished reading The Meaning of Everything. Very interesting. I really want my own copy of the OED now. Too bad it's 20 volumes, plus 3 addenda. If I could get the CD set, I'd be happy.

Wanna see the yarn bomb? It's grown.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Heritage Day at Oak View

The first Saturday in October is the Wake County Park System Heritage Day. I spent the day at Oakview. Along with other members of the Triangle Tatters.
This was across the path from us.
Lovely lads, aren't they.They're brothers.

The weather was gorgeous, if a bit chilly. I was glad I had brought a blanket, I used it to cover my legs and loaned it to another tatter at one point.

These gents went marching by. I learned to 'hear' the order 'elevate; fire!'. It was the only warning they were about to fire.
Here are some items I had displayed:

I also had an incomplete bracelet, my incomplete bangle bracelet (I have the thread, I just need to finish), a bookmark and some size 80 thread with edging. Carol made about 70 bookmarks with a little flower glued to a strip of cardstock with a note about the Tri Tatters facebook page on the back. They were gone by about 2 pm.

I bought some lye soap, a soy candle and a little bag. Neither the soap seller nor the candle maker had any in kudzu blossom scent. Quelle dommage. {Hmm, I wonder if I spelled that correctly, college French was a long time ago.}

Here are some cloud pictures; which is better, with or without the lamp?

What about framed by buildings?
Or just bare sky?

Wow, you're still reading? Sunday was not as exciting. It was 'fix the boyfriend's closet' and run errands day.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


The last time I tried to donate platelets (and failed), one of the nice phlebotomists recommended that I try drinking a gallon of water the day before my donation. I had an appointment yesterday but I wasn't sure if she meant a gallon the day before or a gallon in the 24 hours leading up to my donation. So I did both. I started drinking water as soon as I woke up, until over the course of the day, I'd drunk a gallon. I also set the clock about 24 hours before my appointment counting that water as part of that gallon.

It worked. The first stick went easy peasy. The second one was a little more painful, but not excruciating. Oddly enough, today, the former stings more than the latter. I watched The Shadow Strikes (from 1937) while I bled. Wow, no background music. At all.

I totally forgot to share these pictures from Palmetto Tat Days.
 Morning sun over the dining hall
 The lake, visible from the dining hall
Maxfield Parrish clouds on the way home.

Anyway, on Tuesday, I spotted this outside my office building.
My very first yarn bombing in the wild.

I quickly tatted this during my commute Tuesday and Wednesday (project, book, pattern and thread)

As you may remember, I totally screwed up the bind off on my socks. I have run a 'magic thread' through the loops (that I could find) to hold them until I can get them back on the loom. I suddenly realized last night that I could try on my sock. Here is the result:
That's right. I frogged it. Turns out, the sock was too small. I adjusted the loom and I'm going to start over.

Tonight is our Traveller game. It's so late 80's. For the second session in a row, we'll be dealing with bureaucracy and paperwork. Our characters got just over half of the signatures they need for their latest contract. And hopefully, have thrown their rivals off the track. I think the engineer is still upset about them derailing his race track plans (they invaded the region).

The GM handled it pretty well. We roleplayed the first couple interactions and then we just rolled dice. We all deal with bureaucracy and red tape in our everyday lives. We don't want to do so in our fantasy life as well.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I'm Home and I'm Tired (Palmetto Tat Days)

I am back home again from Palmetto Tat Days. My friend and I left Thursday morning and arrived at the site in time for supper. We did have a slight problem with my GPS but we called A's husband and he went to the Palmetto Tat Days' website and gave us the directions. We've corrected the problem and if it's at the same site next year, we're good.

We picked up our pre-paid stuff (this year's pattern cd, t-shirt, and kits) and started shopping in the vendor room. The Lacemaker was this year's featured vendor. Very dangerous people. I spent money. I did stick with my 'probably going to spend this much' budget, even if I didn't stick with my 'going to try to only spend this much' one. I bought some threads and some books, as well as a pair of split ring pliers. I had no idea such things existed but oh this will make my bracelets and other jewelry easier to make.

Some of the instructors also had stuff for sale. Some had kits, or books they'd written, or shuttles they'd made/decorated and one person had hand-dyed thread. Noooo, that's not dangerous to my bank balance.

My first class, on Friday morning,  was the Hearts Afire Cross by Sandra. It's all dimpled rings and even a column of dimpled split rings. I used Lizbeth size 20, I think it's Springtime. I can now do dimpled rings in confidence.

 My other class on Friday was a broomstick picot snowflake by Martha Ess. It's from her new book: Fun with Picots (I think that's the title). I bought a copy of it, by the way (and got her to sign it). She made broomstick picots easy. For some reason, I didn't take a picture of my snowflake (I made it dark purple) but here's the first one completed in class.
They had the banquet Friday night. We had crackers (you know, those British things you pull apart with a large pop, they have silly paper crowns or hats, silly jokes & a tiny toy inside).

After that was the attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the most tatters tatting the same pattern at the same time. Yes, I am in those scenes. No, I won't tell you where or when.

One funny note about it, when Palmetto approached the Guinness folks, they thought Palmetto meant tattooing. Even they've never heard of tatting.

Georgia Seitz was the auctioneer and they auctioned off the quilt and wallhangings seen in the video. The money raised goes to scholarships, allowing people to attend Palmetto Tat Days who otherwise couldn't afford it. I bid on one thing but it quickly got too rich for my blood and I dropped out.

There was a night owl class after that but I wasn't feeling too well and headed up to our room. Riet was teaching that class and apparently it was a lot of fun. The sort of class that really fuels creativity.

We were up early for the Early Bird the next morning; it started at 6:30 am. It was a snowflake, one designed by Jane Eborall. I had a little bit of trouble starting but I managed to get one point done. After I made my 3rd mistake, and the one I couldn't easily fix, I decided it was time to stop working on it. No, it's not a hard pattern, I was just not fully awake and aware. They were silly mistakes.

After breakfast, I took Abby Small's Crystals n' Cuffs class. Oh wow. Very easy pattern and I want to make so many of these.

After lunch I checked my silent auction bids. I won a few, I lost a few. The auction closed at 3:15, during the afternoon class break.

I had another long (2 session) class in the afternoon. I took Erin Holloway's bangle class. I picked a kit that had huge beads in it so I decided to tat over 2 bangles instead of 1 and bracket the beads between bangles. Here's my bracelet after I finished the 1st set of bangles.
I have it posed on my drink bottle. About this time, when I held it up, I commented that it resembled a 1920's era beaded lampshade. Since I added so much to my bangle (tatting over 2, doing 2 sets), I ran out of thread. As soon as Erin has a chance, she'll send me more. I would have finished if I hadn't run out.

I may have gotten some of the timing wrong on the events but I had a great time. A and I headed home after breakfast on Sunday. We took our time. We stopped several times to stretch our legs, and so forth. I got home about 9 pm. So tired. But it was worth it.

Next post: what books I bought and other matters

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What I've been doing (some pictures)

I've now tried kumihimo. Wow, it's easy. I started with the yarn from the kit (which was in Japanese, by the way). I couldn't read the kit instructions so I did what any 21st century computer savvy person would do: I turned to YouTube. I quickly found some instructions. Here's my 1st kumihimo braid. Something I learned, get something to hold the loose ends or they will tangle. 

Once that was done, I pulled out some ribbon yarn from an unsuccessful project and wound 4 lengths on spool winders. I put about 2-2.5 yards on each one and tied a knot to make a loose loop for later. Here's some shots of the braiding in progress, both front and back.

And here's a comparison of the two braids.

I finished that Saturday and pulled out some red and black embroidery floss. I have started a spiral pattern braid.

I have decided to enter this bracelet for my tatting entry at the State Fair.

Last week's Doctor Who (Night Terrors) was just creepy. A friend has an adopted child and he found it touching. Eventually. Anything with creepy toys is creepy.

Yes, I know what the anniversary is. I'm very quiet person and I usually grieve in private. I haven't been able to watch any of the memorial services, hurt too much. Yes, crying gives me a headache.

I've been involved in an interesting Fate (gaming) discussion on Google+. It has revolved around the Fate system and how it relates, or doesn't, to Old School Renaissance Gaming. One point in the discussion was that OSR is not a hard and fast point, it's a scale. For some points on the scale, Fate system is an excellent fit, with the exception of the high risk of character death. It relies more on player experience and input, unlike some of the more modern versions of DandD. In 1st edition DandD, the player would have to say, “I'm climbing up to look behind the statue” instead of 3rd edition's “I roll my search skill.”

It was not a good week at work. I spent most of the week frazzled and out of sorts. It was a short week but felt longer than usual.

I took a really long weekend, because we had a convention to go to. Friday through Tuesday, including travel days. This was a special gaming convention, in celebration of a friend's birthday. We finally got to meet his fiance. She's a really good cook and we decided that we like her. We ate some really good food; the China Bistro still has really great dumplings. They had a new one; pork and pumpkin. It was so nommy. We ate at Minerva's, an Indian restaurant. They play Indian music videos and movies (MTV, I think), which adds some entertainment. There was also the Shiny Diner; which I wish they'd open around here. They buy local foods and have jukeboxes at every table, with volume controls. The only 'drawback' is that everyone hears your selection, and vice versa.

Our home campaign of DandD 3.5e Forgotten Realms was Sunday, too. We ended early, because we made it out of one zone unexpectedly. Our GM didn't know if we would go attack something else or just leave. GM wanted to time to prep the next section. It was a trifle anticlimactic as we bribed our way out instead of killing everywhere we went. It was probably effective at hiding our trail, though.

After playing, we spent time discussing Dr. Who. Yes, we're geeks.

I re-read some of JD Robb's In Death stories. I've been wanting to re-read Memory in Death for awhile. Let's see, what else have I been reading. I finally read Changes by Jim Butcher. Now I want to read Ghost Story and the last story in Side Jobs. I need to finish The Meaning of Everything.

I went to the bookstore on Friday, cause my mood was so bad that I really needed the pickmeup. I bought a few books, although the one I was looking for wasn't there. I read Must Love Lycans, by Michele Bardsley this weekend, one of the books I picked up. I left the others in my car, so I would get something else done rather than just read all weekend.

Next weekend, I go visit my mom and the weekend after that is Palmetto's Tat Days. Then I have two more weekends and the State Fair begins. One weekend will be Historic Oakview Park event and the the other has the home Forgotten Realms game. I will not have a free weekend until the one before Halloween.

I got a recipe from a women's magazine the last time I was at Mom's. It's for no-machine ice cream. Here it is. I'd recommend 1.5 tsp of vanilla and definitely put it in the freezer, but it's delicious. I used splenda and lactose-free milk and it worked fine.
no machine homemade ice cream:
1 c whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbs sugar
quart-size zip top plastic bag & seal
kosher salt
gallon-size plastic ziploc bag

Put 1st 3 ingredients in quart-size bag.
Combine 4 cups ice & ¼ cup Kosher salt in gallon-size plastic zip-top plastic bag
Place smaller bag inside big bag & seal big bag
Shake large bag vigorously for 6-8 minutes, do not squeeze bag
When smaller bag is plump & willowy, ice cream is ready
Remove smaller bag, wipe off salt & ice
Serve immediately as soft serve or freeze for 20 minutes for hard ice cream