Friday, December 22, 2006

Empty the house...fill it up again

Normally, my house is filled with guitars and amplifiers
see... these are a few of my companions

In order to make room for the crap, uh I mean the tree, I asked K the elder to haul his ass off of the couch and take some of the guitars and amps upstairs. Oops, I mean that I politely and respectfully asked his assistance in carefully placing them in a quiet corner of my study, upstairs where no one will injure themselves or the equipment. Through the use of his male-female translating device, he heard, "take them upstairs and toss them willy-nilly all over the bedroom. Put as many on my side of the bed so that access to my much-loved place of sleep is totally blocked. Then turn off the light without warning me that they're there. I really want to put my foot through my new Fender". 12 guitars, 3 ukeles, 4 amps and one lone banjo are too much for one woman. Just ask my bruised calves

I'll distract myself with photos of my new wellie-boots (thank you L.L. Bean's clearance section!!!)

Aren't they the happiest boots ever? They're already nicely soiled with garden muck, just like all boots dream of being. Man, $10 can buy happiness - who knew?
I'm going to need them, as the freezing rain is dropping from the sky like millions and millions of little accidents waiting to happen...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bubbi, I love you

My Grandmother, Edith was a very special person. 4'11", red-haired and with a strong sense of self, she ruled her home with love, kindness and a very sharp understanding of what was 'right'. Born to an urban doctor who helped insurgents in her country's civil war, she learned early in life to stand up when necessary, be counted, do right. She adapted to a culture that was not hers and mastered a lifestyle that she could not have dreamed of in her tumultuous, war-filled childhood. She was elegant, well-mannered and civil. She was also strong-willed, decisive and imbued with a need to guide her daughters to become the kind of young ladies that she thought appropriate for their station in life. My mother fought her all the way, from birth to death; my aunt was her pet and garnered the benefits of the position.

In turn, her girls grew up and went off to school. Bubbi kept herself busy but the house didn't feel 'right' during the day, with no one there but her and the housekeeper. Despite her charity work and running a very busy household, she was lonely. Mein Zeyde, my beloved Zeyde had his Buster, his little brown dog who went everywhere he went and no one understood her emptiness better than her loving husband.

One day, in his overcoat pocket, he brought home a little brown, white and black ball of fluff. He offered Edith the chance to reach into his pocket to 'see what he had found on the street'. The truth was that he had contacted every breeder that he knew to find a suitable dog for his lady. In that odd way, Trixie came to be a member of the clan. Who knew that a little Pekinese with the personality of an empress could fill such a void!?! Trixie was her pride and joy, a replacement child and an irreplaceable friend and companion. She was long gone by the time I was born but she was still a fixture in our lives. When I was five, my mother took me to a toy store to buy my birthday present (we chose our own gifts, usually - yes, I have that kind of family). She was shocked when I trundled over to a stuffed Pekinese doll and proclaimed her to be 'the new Trixie'!.

This photo is but one of the many that dotted the table tops in their home, my Grandmother looking on Trixie as she would a baby. Even if I don't have Edith's loving hands and sensible words, somehow I was lucky enough to have inherited this photo... and the knowledge that a good dog, well-loved, is worth much more than any riches you can win. I aspire to be the kind of person my dogs believe me to be. I also aspire to be like Edith - Grus Gott

I miss you, Bubbi und Zeyde. Shluf mein feygele - a malakeh a tu git.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Eastenders, down & dirty

Omigawd, it was embarrassing! I was watching my beloved Eastenders and the whole plot about Kat and Zoe (and that awful, sleazy Uncle Harry) was finally revealed. When K came in the room, he asked "why are you watching that crap?"...uh I mean, "what's happening?". I started to explain and then in a total PMS moment, started blubbering about how sad it all was, how well-written, blah blah blah - he looked at me with the eyes of man who has just met a rabid raccoon in a dark alleyway and doesn't know if it will tear his face off or just share its rotten garbage-finds with him. I pretended that it wasn't happening but I kept sneaking a peek at him through the corner of my eye. Panic, definitely panic...

Brains or testicles - I strongly believe that the human body can only hold so much mass. Just before we jettison off from Heaven before we are born, God gives us the choice - brains or testicles. You stand in a line, get your 'item' and then parachute to Earth. K stood in 'that' line and so, he just doesn't get hormones and a well-written, sad story and what it can do to a grrl...

I do love my Eastenders, much to the chagrin of most of the Brits that I meet. One of them, a refined young man (Hi, Daniel!) was horrified that I preferred EE to Corrie... some things ya just can't explain.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Destruction in 8 Short Hours

I realize that I have not shared my recent visit with extreme destruction. Milles Pardons - here is a short photo-essay
The trucks and monster-chewer machine pulled into the driveway. K the elder said, "I think that today is the day". Then, we heard a loud 'crack'!

The monster chewed and chewed - he took out the office first

and then he chewed and chewed some more

I think that he was still hungry because he chewed some more

until there was nothing left

In 8 hours, we went from

to this

It's sort of a shame - Pablito really liked the barn roof

When I was little, mein Zeyda told me about escaping as a young man - the family walked for 6 weeks, praying for safety, food and a warm place to sleep. Just when things looked their worst, the sun came out. Even when we face a challenge that feels like the end of the world, the sun is there

He was right, as usual
I miss you, Zeyda


Why ,if this is the 'most wonderful time of the year', is it so hectic? We try to cram so much into so little time... and resources. I'm frantically trying to get some work done around the ranch before the kids come home. As a 'mixed' family, we celebrate both Chanukah and Christmas, just not in the way that you might expect. Being more 'spiritual' than 'religious', we use this time as an excuse to give gifts to show our love (well, we do this all year 'round actually...), we celebrate our ever-growing collection of family and friends and to take time to cook a couple of really special meals. On Friday night, I made a (truly blended) meal of onion & apple latkes and shublek, with kraut and pickled beets! The first batch of latkes were too big and a little mushy inside. The smaller ones were filled with crunchy potato goodness. A little apple sauce and sour cream and we were all good. I'm sure that the shublek had some non-kosher content but what the hell, it was good. We'll repeat the latkes tonight, I think and maybe some cooked-until-it-falls-apart sauerbraten, too... YUM!

There's a heck of a lot of knitting in front of me right now but I think that I can get through it - 4 pairs of mitts, 3 hats, 3 pairs of socks, and numerous pet toys... as well as anything else that catches my fancy. Yeah, in my knitting dreams!

I bought my last three skeins of yarn last Thursday. No more 'purchased yarn' for me. Now, that doesn't mean that I can't receive gifts of yarn. It just means that I will not be buying any more yarn until June, 2007. Do you think that I can hold out for this long? I'm not sure, myself... If I try to shove some money into your hands to "buy" me a gift, smack some sense into me, please!

I was going through my digital photos and found something very personal that I wanted to share.

My two white-bearded guys, Jack & Kevin, in all their TV-viewing splendor

and I also found something not-so-personal to share

My son, Pat's band (which shall remain unnamed to protect our older, more conservative relatives who would definitely disapprove of its name)

My other son, KC's creation - Strongbad the Pumpkin. He made this a couple of Halloweens ago and it's still one of my favorites. He's such a creative kid.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Bye Bye Rara

When I was born, my father was stationed in North Dakota and couldn't get home in time to see me make my debut. When he finally managed to wrangle leave and get back to the City Unique, he rushed into the tuck shop and purchased 'the only teddy bear they had left' (or so the legend goes - Dad is kinda dramatic, sometimes...). Rara was my constant companion through all of the normal childhood trials and tribulations (and a few abnormal ones, too)

And then, he was gone...
Actually, I sent him on his way... to the dump. I had hung onto him until I left home but my mother, inexplicably, stuck him in my hands when I decided to move "away" for the "last time". He ended up in a damp coal cellar, moldy and stinky... and falling apart. He had seen all the life that he needed to see and with my allergies, he was making me seriously ill. So long, old friend. You of sleepless nights and story-time under our pine-tree tent. Of cocoa and toast and Star Trek on Sunday mornings. Of childhood and of childish things...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

More free kntting patterns - this time, stuffies!!!!

Once again, I’ll compile a knit-list – this time of stuffies and fun things… of course, there’ll be some that you’ve seen before…maybe not. Please let me know of some that I should add

Pablo is not a stuffy...

Pocket creatures – is that a stuffy in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

I particularly like the crosses-for-eyes, just like the dead bunnies I used to draw when I was a child

So long and thanks for all the fish

When robot met muffin
father of wrmm

Ok, I like cat-sized toys that I can make in a hurry because my dogs eat them in a hurry

Nothing says “I love you, mom” like a severed finger

What’s better than a monster? A spaghetti monster!

Imagine the possibilities!?!

Every baby should know where they come from and this takes it to an all new level

One of my most favorite of movies ever!

Reminds of my DIL’s stinky stinky hedgehog, Jerry Lee (maybe a stocking stuffer for her?)

No matter how evolved you think you are, you can always use one of these – admit it

This was K the younger’s nickname when he was little (and when I’m feeling mommy-esque, now) – it’s a cute, child-friendly little doll that looks quite simple to make up

K the younger also has a thing against tomatoes….maybe he knows something that we don’t? (I love this girl!)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

can't... log

A while ago, a nice bunch of ladies invited me to join a new blog called Mittenfest - which is great.... except that I can't get Blogger to cooperate and let me log-in to post

I'll just have to post my mittens, etc here instead. I've been knitting like a mad-woman lately, immersing myself in the satisfying warmth of small, gratifying projects while I dream of the bigger projects that I want to accomplish...soon.
Here's just a bit of the holiday knitting that's going on in the Bumbershoot Haus

I finally moved my bead jars out to the office, in an attempt to claim it for my own... I have a mile or so to go before I can totally clean out my (old) bead cabinet but it felt good to move these guys out there

I had all but given up on my jewelry business and then I met a former client. K the elder and I went to Baker Bob's for a coffee along our walk and as we wandered around his lovely new store, a lady approached me and asked if I was "the lady who used to make jewelry at the farmer's market?". It started a nice conversation about some pieces that I had made for her, years ago and how much she loved them. What a nice pat on the back! I love beads, I love glass, I cherish the creative process that goes into putting elements together into something special and beautiful. I see it as an extension of the sacred, as part of everyday life connected to our souls. It was very affirming to know that a little thing that I made a long, long time ago had meant so much to this lady.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

more free hat patterns (and maybe some other junk)

I gave in and knit a bit yesterday, working on a beanie with this cool graph on the front. Since I've fianlly mastered the mattress stitch, I don't feel so bad about knitting hats flat and then stitching them together. I'm using Bernat Super Value and Bernat satin for the kitty - s/b nice

Again with the freebies - this time, I'll add a few more hat patterns that I dig

Pav was good enough to remind me of - one that I've had on my to-do list for quite some time but somehow have never found time to do. I just figured out though, that I would need to shorten it a bit to make it fit my weird head

Why have a baby if you can't dress them up in silly hats?
This is a sweet lace leaf and cable hat that would be good for a grandma or mom gift

Not exactly a pattern but I am going to work something up along these lines…how does black and pink sound? If I can come up with something, I'll add the pattern to this site, to share

again, I love the swirly top of these types of decreases

Heeeeeeere’s Noro!Love it, love it, love it!

My hero!

My youngest son DID look a lot like Yoda so why not?

I really like the texture of the Hayden hat - Thanks, Miss Finch!

Ok it’s not a ‘knit’ pattern but it is just what you need if & when that big bank heist is on your agenda and you just don’t have a thing to wear

Rumor has it that Elvis is alive and well and living in Tweed – haven’t met him myself…lately but let’s all celebrate the life of the King by whipping out the yarn and needles and crafting a head of hair

I adore this girl! She’s has given me so many things for my knit-list!
Who, I ask you, doesn't need an adult sized chicken helmet?
it’s lacy and it’s a cap – it’s a lace cap

I love water .... and beanies

Once again, Kody May surprises with this little delight

Monday, December 11, 2006

Free Hat pattern bonanza!

It's going to be a knit-free day for me.. the pain of my PA is pretty heavy duty and I will need to slow things down, once again. I figure that is it's bad enough to wake me up at night, it's pretty bad. I've been trying to get my Holiday knitting done early but I'll have to slow down. Another focus has been, of course, the Lanark Knits project. I've only managed to add another 3 pairs this week and I am driven to get them out to the local kids. It was another freezing drizzle morning and I watched my neighbor's kids slipping and sliding down our road on their way to school. The only thing that's worse than cold hands are cold, wet hands....

I have to get my newsletter finished today and proofed tomorrow, 1st thing. I hope that it looks good. My ED has great ideas and I just hope that I can incorporate some of them into the final product.

Since my knitting will have to sloooow down for the next few days, I thought it would be nice to share a few of my favorite hat patterns. The Internet is such a boon for people like me - short-attention span knitters looking for variety and color. I routinely scan the 'Net, looking for future projects and ideas and here are some of the finest out there in Blog-land. (if the link doesn't work, try and scroll dowwwwn) I love the message of this cool, ribbed cap - I'm a sucker for a good crown design and this one is pretty special. Besides, Morse code is coooooool

Rumor has it that K the elder will be hiding some Noro in my stocking this year - I sure hope that he meant for Xmas... If and when that does happen, I think that I'll make this simple beanie

I'm also a sucker for Fair Isle anything and this hat is the best of many worlds - good pattern, nice colors and a beautiful crown!

This cap has a sweet pattern that flows beautifully around the head - something that I appreciate in a hat. It's a nice solid little cap but with a special design

Back in Salzburg, we have hats similar to this one- I love the shape and the color work. Plus, it's from MagKnits - one of my favorite resources EVER

This cap is a nice balance of lace and density - I can see it keeping your head stylishly warm and the lace gives it just enough ooomph to make you feel special. I was thinking of making it in buffalo or mohair...

I adore vintage anything and these head wraps fit the bill perfectly. The romance and (perceived) glamor of the 40s makes my knees weak and I think that you couldn't help but feel transported back in time if you were to wear this

It's probably a good thing that I didn't spawn a daughter 'cause I would've made her wear hats like this. I mean, it's a daffodil!!! I love it:)

Anyone who knows me would never guess that I like Hostess cupcakes. I was introduced to these sweet treats rather late in life but have made up for lost time in my (only occasional) consumption (but more than anyone who knew me back in my granola and whole grain childhood would have ever believed). This cap is a fitting tribute to the cake, in all its glory

Before I get carted off to the Demented, Screechy Old Ladies Home, I want to wear hats like this around town. I can just see me going into the post office wearing this beauty and watching the postal agents try not to giggle or make eye contact with me. I still think it's a beautiful creation!

Fair Isle? No, Fake Isle - yes! using variegated yarn to make a FI fake!!! Pure genius (and pretty to look at, too!)

I've only recently discovered this Blogger and can't say enough good about her creativity - great hats!!!! If you like that, you might want to check this pattern out, too - - pure delight!!!

I recently saw a KAL that featured a baby hat that looked like this one but the fact that the designer has set out to create a Hershey's Kiss beats the band!!! I love it (and no risk of contamination LOL)

Once again, a lovely lace beanie that I really want to make. The biggest decision will have to be what color???? This is actually a trifecta - whether child, man or woman - there's a model for you :)

Knit ... like a pirate???? Yes!!!! Who doesn't need a tricorn hat? It may not be practical for 2007-wear but I think that it would be fun for those days when the world just doesn't feel sane

A real stocking cap! yeah, my kids would give me 'that look' if I tried to gift them with this but I think that I would wear it, once and a while
I love this movie and when I told K the elder about this pattern, I could see a spark of interest gleaming in his eyes...hmmm, maybe I'll have to pick up some red yarn this week

Another recent discovery for me, this grrl knits! I love the possibilities of a beaded design like this - just think of what you could put on this cap!?! I love beads and I love knitting - this is definitely the best of both worlds! This simple, lacy beanie may be another option for the phantom skein of Noro which may or may not be coming my way

I could see this little sweetie on my little niece, Allie-Pallie (or, Mini-Me as I like to call her)- a rough and tumble hockey player by day, a sweet little cuddler by afternoon - this 11 year old is a doll! A simple ribbed cap, it's specialness is found in the darling rose and leaf embellishment

For all of us Star Wars fans, this R2D2 cap is pretty neat - way to go, grrl! I so want to try my hand at this one!

Old chickens like me cannot pull of this hat
but I can see it on some SYT. I think that I may have had a similar hat when I was 3... The designer has kicked but on the sides of this hat - neat texture and lovely hat!

A nice balance between lacy and solid, this cap will keep you warm and fashionable

Another FI wonder - this is a really nice hat but I think that I would use a variegated yarn instead of switching colors

It's a hat.. or a glove for a very very big person I love this guy and personally, I think that wearing a giant glove on your head might be fun...

A nice lace hat, I think that this will be fun to run up

Another vintage pattern that reminds me of Newfoundland, fishers and the Atlantic It's a blend of beauty and practicality.

Are your needles ready? Need to make a quick dash to your LYS? On your mark, get set, GO!!!!