Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Summer weddings and looooooong road trips.

My brain isn't firing all of it's little fiery things...synapses? Whatever...so rather than some of those 9th grade English class paragraphs with a topic sentence, some exposition and a nice summary sentence at the end, I give you: a list.

Item 1. People like to get married in the summer. Is this because we have lots of pagan friends who don't like to sanction their love within the site of some bearded old guy who lives in a house full of stained glass windows? Who knows, but we drove 12 hours each way to attend a wedding in Tennessee last weekend and we'll be driving for 4 days (2 there, 2 back) to attend another wedding in Massachusetts this weekend.
B. Manimal and I experienced a moment of truth when we looked into the back seat and saw this: We are parents...driving a minivan with kids in the backseat. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
3). With the exception of some youtube vids of baby animals and disconnected minutes of random children's programming at friend's houses, Pete has been a TeeVee free baby until this trip when I borrowed a DVD player to bridge the many hours of boring, strapped in riding. It took him 1/2 an episode of Elmo's World before he mastered the phrase "More TV please!"

* Roadtrips are good for knitting:

This sweater was featured on the cover of Mothering Magazine a few months back and I've been obsessed with it ever since, so when we got the book in at Woven Art I knew that I was obliged to knit one...plus I haven't actually knit anything for Soon-to-be yet, and that seemed inexcusable. It's almost done...one more seam and some buttons to sew on.

Eff: HOW THE HELL DID I GET SO PREGNANT? And how am I going to survive the next two and a half months? Ragnarson was an extremely aggressive little fetus, but I swear he wasn't this big. Soon-to-be seems to favor a more deliberate pushing and stretching motion as opposed to his kick boxing brother, and I can't decide if it's better, or worse. Sometimes I won't even realize that the uncomfortable sensation in my stomach is baby related until I look down and see the distinct shape of a noggin sticking out from under my rib cage.

Six: I forget what if anything I wrote about the "sewing nights" that I used to host in the years before I joined the breeders, but on the off chance that I mentioned him, I'd like you all to give a rousing congratulations to our old Totem Male, Yammer the Onner. He finally found a good woman to take him in hand and mold him into the man we all know he can be. Awwwww.

Yellow: Ragnarson has turned into a crazy talking fool. I know that it's unreasonable, since I have watched him grow from an inert lump of newborn into a crazy walking-talking-jumping down the stairs two year old (as of two weeks ago...), but every new thing still blows me away. Intellectually I realize that my infant son will someday be an actual Man (or Manimal rather, since he does take after his Papa), but conceptually I have yet to grasp that my son will grow up. A random selection of things that shock me: sentences like this one "Water, please, water big cup, that one please water," the increasing coordination and agility that lead to things like escaping from the gated off front porch, and climbing up on the counter, selecting and peeling a banana, and the fact that his favorite place is the library, and his favorite people, the librarians.

Ragnar...only 30 hours of driving between me and a normal life.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Guess whose got a new camera?

That's right...me!

Ragnarson loves looking at pictures of himself, and he's chanting in the background "big kid! big kid!" since maybe you all missed the fact that he's all big and grown up.

But we have a serious blog problem, although there's still a few months to sort it out. According to my 1/2 way point ultrasound (which was a month and a half ago, where does the time go?) I can't go on calling baby (sorry, big kid) the first Ragnarson anymore, since in the beginning of November I'll be asking you all to welcome Ragnarson the second. There's nothing wrong of course with having numbered children, but it's just not for me.

So just what the heck are we going to call these little guys?

Ragnar...breeder of men.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Dear Ragnarson...

Hey little man. You know I love you right? I just wanted to get that out there, since you might have over heard me say somethings that we both know I didn't really mean. I realize that you're becoming more cognizant, and so I've been making an effort to watch what I say around you...such as not referring to you as "a jerk." I just wanted you to know that I'm trying okay?

So you're getting a little older, and I feel like we can sit down and talk man to man about somethings that need changing, or mom to man, or whatever.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is...this no nap thing? It's killing me man. Nap time is my recharge time. Nap time is the time where I do crazy important things like unload the dishwasher and eat lunch. Nap time is mommy time, okay? So if you insist on not taking naps then some other stuff if going to have to change. Like spending all of your "awake" time velcroed to my leg? Yeah, that's got to go. And the constant whining when I can't immediately decipher what you want, it's getting old, so old. While we are on the subject, I'd like to mention that you might be better understood if you spoke in English instead of Japanese, because quite frankly, I don't speak Japanese.

I don't want this to seem imbalanced, or like I'm placing all the responsibility on you, so here's what I'll do for you. You can keep your "half" (by which I mean the middle 2/3rds) of the bed, as well as the use of the floor, every square inch of it, for your toy storage. I will continue to launder your clothes, at the rate of three outfits a day, and keep the cupboard supplied with a combination of healthy and not-so-healthy snacks (I wonder which one you'll eat). I will even change the batteries in your noisy, blinky sound and light extravaganza toy, which yes, I have been "forgetting" on purpose....see? I'm really trying to open up here and take responsibility for my...uh...imperfections. I will make myself available for half hour to hour long stretches of book reading, toy piling, and airplane riding, as well as continue to supply the go-go power for those leisurely stroller rides.

In exchange I ask only that you give me a two hour stretch in the afternoon where you sleep, or play quietly by yourself so that I don't go stark staring mad. That's it, just two hours once a day.

So how about it little man, do we have a deal?

I remain sincerely,

Ragnar...yo momma.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fun with kitchen garbage...

But first, I wanted to show you the hat that I knit from the really bright skein of yarn in the last post. I intended to post this the very next day, since that's when I knit it...honestly I think the yarn was still slightly damp. My first Navajo Ply...a little over spun, but look! Handspun stripes. How stinkin' cool is that?
And now! Fun with kitchen garbage. I have a few personality traits that Manimal finds incomprehensible, and sometimes downright irritating...there are more, but I repress them. He has no idea how much garbage I haven't hauled home off the side of the road...I was thinking for awhile about scavenging couch cushions from all the nasty old couches that get hauled out to the curb...the couch is awful, sure, but there's probably some good foam in that cushion. I come from a long line of garbage pickers.

Anyway, for the last year or so, I've been saving my onion skins in a mason jar, much to his confusion, to say the least. He even asked, in a tone of voice that some might have described as derisory, if I was planning on transporting this jar of garbage to the new house with me. Of course! That's valuable dye stuff.

A long time ago, one of my mother's friends told me that the key to dying with onion skins was to have "a lot" of them.
Turns out that one mason jar, so packed full that you literally can not fit one onion skin more, plus another overflow jar, when turned out into my largest "common use" stock pot (not the mega five gallon stock pot in other words), is A LOT of onion skins. This is probably a 3 gallon pot, and it's two thirds full of onion skins.
But, oh lordy, look at that color! I'm still sort of flabbergasted by the whole thing, and I'm sure that the man of my heart will be disappointed to learn that I am not only going to continue saving my onion skins...but now I'm on fire to experiment with all sorts of other things that usually go down the garbage disposal.

Here's the quick and dirty if you want to try it at home. Apparently no mordant is needed when dying with onions skins, so all you have to do is put your skins in the pot, simmer for an hour (don't boil, as that apparently can ruin the pigment), then strain out the skins, and add your yarn. Simmer for another hour and then leave over night. Voila!
For comparison I brought out the skein that I dyed with walnut husks. I thought that was amazing at the time, and I suppose it still is for something I picked up out of my backyard, but the onion skins definitely take the cake.
"What? Are you taking pictures of something? You must be confused, because I was standing behind you, and obviously there is only one thing worth taking pictures of around here. Silly momma."

Ragnar...getting in touch with her crunchy granola side.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Fibery Goodness...

Long time readers might possibly remember the "free wool" sweater. This is a sweater that I have been working on, literally, for years. The history, briefly: "free wool" from a local mutton farmer, remarkably nice for "meat" wool, I picked the shit out of it myself before sending it to the mill to be washed and carded. This was early in my spinning career, so my only option for spinning it was on a drop spindle (which I made myself, not bragging, just mentioning it as part of the story of how attached I am to this baby). I am not a huge fan of two ply yarns, so I spun it as a three ply, which ended up being a sort of sport weight. I started spinning it into my fantasy sweater, that is, a cardigan, cabled, with a hood. It started out being Fiona Ellis's Celtic Icon, but I wasn't a huge fan of the cable on that sweater, so I substituted an Elspeth Lavold. Ran out of yarn half way through, and was rescued by a friend who happened to have some lying around in a closet. Did I mention? Drop spindle, three ply?

So what did I do last Friday while I should have been working in the studio?

I frogged it.

I finally realized that there were just too many problems with it, and as I am always telling my students, it's worth it to rip it out so that you end up with something you really love. Firstly, I learned to spin making this sweater, and there were at least three distinctly different weights of yarn in it. Secondly, the wool that I got from my friend is just different enough in texture that I know it will bug the shit out of me. Thirdly, in the four years that I have been working on this my gauge has changed signifigantly, making one half of the front and inch longer than the other, and one sleeve an inch and a half longer. Forthly, I have a lot more experience with sweater design now, and I feel like I can make something that I'll really love.
So here is about half of the sweater yarn (still haven't ripped it all out yet). The yarn on the right was the "heavy" weight that isn't going to be a part of whatever I ultimately knit out of this. Turns out having undyed yarn in the house was just too much of a temptation, and I found myself out in my backyard at 5 o'clock in the evening, picking up last years walnuts to dye it. It didn't turn out quite as dark as I'd hoped, but I'm pretty amazed by the results. This is my first experiment with natural dying. I have some onion skins that I've been saving, and I think the "light" weight has a date with that dye pot.
And finally, I spent some quality time with my spinning wheel this weekend. I was throughly sick of the project that I have been working on, so I bought a little splurge package of roving at Woven Art. It had very distinct bands of color, so I abandoned my usual "long draw" method and worked at keeping the colors as separate as I could...of course when I was done I couldn't bare to ply it with anything, so this is my first experience with "Navajo Plying." There are some overspun sections, there are some "coiled" looking sections...but over all I am totally in love with it. I was actually intending this to be the first of the "pay it forward" items, but when all was said and done the skein was only about 50 yards long (navajo ply definately robs you of some length), and I wouldn't want to give someone a skein of yarn that wasn't long enough to knit something out of.

Besides, I have a pregnant friend, and I think a baby hat would be just the thing to show off those stripes.

I am so impatient to knit with this that I am going into the bathroom every half hour or so to "see if it's dry yet," (that would be fondle it, since of course I know it couldn't possibly be dry yet.)

Ragnar...such a god damn hippy.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saved Seeds...

I am an amateur seed saver. I think it was hearing about Monsanto and the terminator gene that got me all fired up...plus spending money every spring on seeds at the garden center.

Anyway, the thing about saving seeds is that there are a crap ton of seed in...oh say, a tomato. So while I might want to grow 6 or 7 black plum tomato plants in my garden, I definitely don't want to grow 200. And seeds have a shelf life....plus I'll be getting more this fall when I do the seed saving thing again.

So...if you are a gardener type, and you want some seeds send me an email and let me know your address, and what kinds of seeds you would like. I can't guarantee the varietal, or the viability of these, so plant at your own risk.

I have:

Tomatoes: These first ones are getting a little old, and they were from tomatoes that I purchased at a farmer's market. They're heirloom varieties, but I don't know exactly which ones. I also have relatively few of these so it might be first come first serve.

Orange: this is a medium sized tomato that's bright orange when ripe.
Yellow: same as above except canary yellow.
Purple: I think this is a smallish tomato and I think it's more like purple streaked.
Pink/Yellow: This was a great sandwich tomato, large and ruffled and very tasty. I suspect it of being a variety known as German Pink.
Green Zebra: Smallish sweet, has green stripes with yellowish green flesh when ripe.

I also have some Green Zebra seeds from last year. I'll probably mix them together for distribution purposes.

Also from last year I have some

Brandywine Tomato: Large, ruffled and sweet.
Black Plum: Just slightly larger than a "cherry" variety, very nice for salads, frustrating for sauces since they're so small.
and a tomato that I'm calling the
"Volunteer Plum" since it was growing in a community garden space that I took over last year. This may be a good old Roma, but it was a very productive, good sized plum tomato.

And in the non-tomato category there is

Sugar Baby Watermelon, this was from the CSA, but it's an heirloom so it should breed true. Small green skinned, pink fleshed watermelon.
Acorn Squash
Butternut Squash
and Calundula which is a daisy like flower, edible and medicinal, an annual but it reseeds itself like mad so plant somewhere that it won't matter if it spreads a bit.

So let me know if you want any and I'll try to get them in the mail by the end of next week.


Ragnar...domesticated and shit

Monday, March 23, 2009

Knit it...

I seem to have been avoiding the old blog lately. Fairly often I think "maybe I'll blog" and sometimes even sit down at the computer before thinking "ho, hum, but what would I say?" I think it's called "the first trimester," it's when everything seems harder than it should and you really just want to stay in bed for...six...more hours.

I do have a bit of homework to do. I want to introduce you all to the "knit it forward" ladies: yberry (who hasn't done her cut and paste post yet, naughty naughty Ms. Berry), Sarah (who went to high school with me...that should be interesting), Obsidian Kitten (who used to live here in Michigan, but ditched us for a fancy life in the big apple...we forgive her), NancyAnne (my BOSS), and Andi (quilter, mother and knitter extraordinaire).

For you (lucky? only time will tell) ladies, I have a short questionnaire:

Are you allergic to anything? Food, fiber, anything.

Are you mortally offended by any colors? What about colors you love? Answer carefully, I am bloody minded and evil.

Is there something missing in your life? A potholder maybe, or a nose cozy?

Post your answers in the comments....

Ragnar...just that lazy.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Cutting through the bullshit...

Having a monster toddler has the same effect on your brain as drinking a pint of whiskey with breakfast. You pass through the world in a dreary haze, with occasional moments of manic joy, or anger, and when you climb in to bed at the end of the day you have an impression of what you did, but no very clear recollection. What did I have for breakfast? Did we go to the library?

I find that the prospect of having another wee human to sustain and nurture is a wonderfully focusing prospect. I've also worked out a really great (hopefully) mutually beneficial babysitting scheme with a friend, so I have certain days during the week that I am (almost certainly) guaranteed to have some time when the Toddlerasaurus is attached to someone elses leg, however briefly.

(a brief aside, to demonstrate what I mean about toddler/whiskey brain...I just tried to spell check Toddlerasaurus)

This is the state of my brain at the moment. I have a brief window of time before I am engulfed into the vortex which is newborn. I feel very strongly about not wasting that moment. I spent my last few studio hours gathering up unfinished projects that had hit the interminable puttering stage and (sit down for this) THROWING THEM AWAY, I shit you not. I am also mentally rearranging the to-knit list and moving three or four big projects on to the FROG.IT list. I'm inviting some friends over next weekend for a craft-eat-bitch party and I think my project is going to be frogging about three half knit sweaters. It'll give all the knitting newbs a good scare, don't you think?

Ragnar...productivity is the new black.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Questions I knew the answer to, but asked anyway because I'm just masochistic like that. Part 2 of 22

Me, to the Manimal, approximately a week and a half ago:

"Man, I haven't had heartburn since I was pregnant. Come to think of it, smells have really been getting to me, and my nipples hurt, and my back hurts, and I'm always thirsty. Do you think I could be pregnant?"

Ragnar....knocked up yo.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The (fill in the blank) old days.

I think there might be a few bleaders that have been with me since the very beginning of this here bloggerino. Perhaps they've all headed out yonder in search of greener, more interesting, more frequently updated pastures...but there might be one or two people around who remember what the old D.P was like before I had a camera.

Long rambling essays about my life as a cubicle rat, occasional teasing references to knitting projects, either begun or completed...

Well now the newbies are going to get a chance to enjoy picture free piracy as well. I think the camera fell off the couch one too many times, since now it only takes blurry pictures. There are about a bajillions things on the list that clock in before "buy a new camera for the express purpose of taking pictures of my knitting projects to post for strangers on the blog," boring things like keeping our gas and electricity on, and keeping up on the mortgage payment, so it will probably be a good long time before illustrated piracy is back on the map.

Of course I can always take crappy cell phone pictures, so it won't be totally barren...but...yeah, crappy cell phone pictures.

Enough whining, on to the content.

So I have to say that Ms. NancyAnne's feisty comment about holding me to my 12 month promised raised a bit of the viking in me. Oh yeah? Oh yeah, well you know how many things I've finished in the last month?

Three, and one of them had buttons on it.

With one more to be completed today, and possibly another by the end of the week. That's five things missy. Of course I could say 12 because I have no photographic evidence at the moment, but suffice to say I am feeling pretty cocky about adding a whole bunch of new projects to the queue.

And double besides, I only have 4 takers so far, so that's even more doable.

My first thought was to knit everyone false mustaches, in styles that I felt suited their personalities. My second was to search around in the unfinished object bin and find half knit things that suited their personalities. My third, of course, was to play by the unspoken rules and start a new projects, start to finish. I wonder who's going to win? My angel, my devil, or my inner mustache lover. Feel free to drop broad hints on your blogs about what you might be hoping for...oh and Andi? It's all piratey baby.

Ragnar...photo free yo.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Toddlersaurus Rex

Everyone knows that parenting is about insanity, right?

It is insane that I can get pelted in the face with balls day after day, hour after hour and still have a warm fuzzy feeling when I look at my son.

It is insane that my 18 month old is getting is two-year molars in already.

It is insane that I sleep with a 30 pound baby on my chest night after night.

It is insane that I read this over on handknitter's blog and thought "Oh, what a great idea. I love that. I'm totally doing that."

So here be it:

The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me! My choice. For you. This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

- I make no guarantees that you will like what I make.
- What I create will be just for you.
- It'll be done in the next 12 months.
- You have no clue what it's going to be.
- I reserve the right to do something unusual.

The catch? You have to put this in your blog as well. Pass on the love!

That's the text as appears on Sarah's blog. I'm clarifying a couple of points. Firstly the item will not necessarily be knit. I'm a crafty ho, you know, it could be...I don't know, made out of chewing gum and Popsicle sticks. I also want to point out the specification that you have to post this on your blog...that means only people who blog are illegable. I'm not running some hand-made gift charity thing here. You gots to reciprocate.

And yes, Ragnarson is manically destroying my house, manifestly refuses to nap, thinks the phrase "no hitting" is the funniest thing he's ever heard, and wants to be held, by me, for 24 hours per day. This is probably why I think adding 5 more items to me (shrinking! yes) to do list is a perfectly wonderful idea.

Ragnar...can you feel the crazy?

Note: Although there are now more than five comments, there are not 5, valid, willing, blogging comments, so it's still open...come on people, it's going to be pretty sad if I can't find 5 people who want me to make them something.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Strange noise....

I just spent 10 minutes trying to track down the source of a strange noise. It was sort of a chirppy, high pitched sort of cheeping noise. I thought at first that it was an alarm on my roommates' cell phone and thought about breaking into their room to turn it off.

Then I thought it was a squeak in my CD player, but when I put my ear against it, it was apparent that it wasn't coming from there either.

Finally I opened the backdoor and realized that it was a bird sitting on the neighbors tree.

Spring...come soon, I've been stuck in side for so long, I've forgotten that birds sing in the morning.


Ragnar...cabin fever is my middle name, baby.

PS...looking for test knitters for the Viking Hat, both Baby/Toddler Sized and Adult. Email to jessyhenderson(at)geeemail(dot)com. Thanks

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Very helpful.

Ragnarson has developed a very "helpful" streak. It's been building for awhile now. He loves the broom, and will get it out of the closet and push it around for minutes at a time (a long span of activity for him).

A few days ago I heard a strange squashing sloshing noise and realized I hadn't closed the bathroom door. Running to the bathroom, because squashing and sloshing + baby could equal mess of unrecordable proportions I found that Ragnarson was plunging the toilet, lovely.

He also loves the snow shovel, and likes to push around any snow that makes it up onto our porch (not as much as used to, since we have nice overhangs now). Several times he has completely cleared the deck, neatly enough that Manimal remarked once upon coming home: "you shoveled the porch!" No, no, that would be your 18 month old son.

And then there is the not so helpful tool using side of his nascent personality. A few minutes ago I caught him using his toybox as a step stool. He had reached up onto the counter and liberated the butter from it's tray, holding it in his left hand while picking chunks off with his right and eating them. Ugh.

So far we are "gate free" at the new house, except for one on the front porch, which essentially turns the whole thing into a big outdoor playpen. I'm trying to teach him the phrase "Make noise outside." Won't our neighbors be thrilled that we are back.

Ragnar...go play outside!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Resolutions revisited....

I did want to read some Austin.

Ragnar...I love me some classics...and brains.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

How lazy can you get?

Someone on facebook tagged me for this Meme, and I sort of vaguely remember being tagged for something sort of like it about a year ago...so I'm doubling up.

You all can consider yourself tagged.

25 Random things about me, that I'm sure you really wanted to know, really.

Baa, I'm a sheep, baa.

1. I embrace the "womanly" arts. Cooking, knitting, spinning, hell I'm even known to embroider on occasion. I try to do it with enough attitude that it becomes a feminist commentary.
2. I hate talking on the phone.
3. Whenever I do one of these "talk about yourself" things, I end up writing answers that are way too long and full of needless exposition.
4. Knitting is my meditation.
5. When I was pregnant I thought I would be the type of mom who's kid had a few nice high quality toys, hand made by little Gipetto type woodcarvers. Turns out I'm the kind of mom who gives her kid whatever plastic crap he wants, if it will gain her a moments peace.
6. I have a stainless steel problem. Especially bowls. At a rough estimate I have approximately 30 of them in various sizes. (Actually I just counted them, I have 34.)
7. In the last two years I've started four separate knitting projects with the exact same shades of eggplant purple and lime green. I didn't realize this until I started cataloging all of my unfinished projects. Mittens, a sweater, and felted bag and cant' remember what the 4th one was.
8. Since we moved into the New House, I've been making my bed everyday. I think this is a sign of maturity.
9. Every year on my birthday I turn 30. For awhile we referred to it as my (fill in the blank number) annual 30th birthday party, but I've lost track and I honestly can't remember how old I am without subtracting from the year that I was born. Oh yeah, I remember. I'm 30, so much for maturity.
10. I'm really really excited about gardening this summer.
11. I started my blog because I didn't have the guts to quit my job...now that I don't have a job I barely ever blog.
12. My favorite color is orange.
13. My pirate/skull obsession started as joke.
14. I am always a little self conscious when I am pushing a stroller. They seem so big and awkward, and I wonder if I look like one of those yuppie moms that push their kids around the mall. It doesn't help that my stroller is a "jogging" stroller.
15. When I cook an animal I try to save one of their bones. This only applies to whole or almost whole animals. For birds it's usually the wish bone. When I roasted a lamb I saved a couple of vertebrae.
16. I've avoided smoking cigarettes because I'm sure that I will become hopelessly addicted to them and become a pack a day smoker overnight...people who know about my relationship with caffeine know that I am not exaggerating.
17. I wish I could play a musical instrument.
18. I don't own a television...but sometimes I check out television shows from the library, so that I can see what everyone else is talking about.
19. I love, love, love my dishwasher, and my rice cooker. I just made my first loaf of bread in a bread maker...I must be getting old. The next thing you know I'll be buying a microwave.
20. I just roasted my first turkey. It turned out GREAT!
21. Petoskey makes me laugh, even when I'm not in a laughing mood.
22. I am learning to like squash.
23. Even though I have a pretty good voice, I am embarrassed whenever anyone hears me singing.
24. The next thing I want to figure out, as far as cooking goes, is what to do with a whole fish. The Oriental Mart where we shop always has big piles of fish with their heads and eyes and everything and I'm too intimidated by them to buy any. They also have shrimp with the heads still on. Maybe I should start there, not so many bones.
25. Sometimes I wish I could wear girly stuff like high heeled shoes and make-up without feeling completely ridiculous. The combat boots with a skirt thing looks okay now, but it's going to be pretty odd when I'm 60.

Now go and randomly type things about yourselves. No really, people really read these things. Really.

Ragnar...totally loving her new house. The camera broke, or I'd post some pictures of all our crap cluttering up the place.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

That new house smell...

is a combination of sawdust, polyurethane and cleaning products. I LOVE it.We've been collecting our belongings from various caches around town (friend's basements, my studio, etc.) and moving them over one pick-up truck load at a time. Although I'm very excited about moving in, I'm also a little sorry to realize that in comparison to the newness of the house, our furnishings and junk look extra crappy. I was sort of in denial regarding the quality of our belongings. You've heard of Shabby Chic? We specialize in Salvage Yard Not-Very-Chic. As one of our friends commented upon entering: "It looks like a Steelcase museum in here."

So imagine me arranging and rearranging our "vintage" office furniture, trying to somehow to make it look cozy and inviting. I'll be out of touch for awhile until we get our internet switching over to the new abode.

Ta ta.

Ragnar...home again.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


When Manimal came home for dinner tonight, he gave me the low down on the work they'd been doing at the new house.

Stove: hooked up.

Drier: hooked up.

Windows: construction gunk removed from tracks

Front Entryway Tile: sealed.

Kitchen Tile: scrubbed and ready to be sealed, tonight after dinner.

"And you know what else needs to be done, after the kitchen tile gets sealed, before the house is habitable?" he asked.

"I don't know, what?" I asked.

"Jack shit."

Ragnar...I'm in love with Jack!

PS: tomorrow I'm going over to take pictures of everything before we fill it up with our crap, so check out House of Straw sometime this week for finished photos.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Monogamous knitting...

But first, a finished object. Yes it looks exactly like the last finished object I posted. That's because I've been knitting the horned helmets non-stop...this one is bigger though. The grown-man-who-should-know-better that this one's for has a 25 and a half inch cranium. Usually I can try things on as I go and get an idea about how they'll fit, but this one just made me feel like a little kid playing dress-up...if her papa was a viking.
Notice that it fits a 26" soccer ball like it was made for it. And those horns? All me baby. I'm so danged proud of my self I could just spit. I am told that the recipient hasn't removed it since he put it on, and that it's the only hat that's ever fit him properly so I guess all those years of higher math finally paid off. Ratios people, it's all about the ratios.

If your first finished project sets the tone for the year, then 2009 is going to be one hell of a party.

And speaking of knitting in 2009, what's with this goal to become a monogamous knitter? Huh?

Well I had a little sit down with myself awhile back and said, self, said I, you need to get this knitting thing under control. If you don't reign in a bit you're going to be putting yourself at risk for all sorts of knittingly-transmitted-diseases, like stash-lice and UFOitis. And then I answered myself, okay self, I'm willing to discuss it, but you have to drop the knitting as sex metaphor because it's just sad, and no one likes that sort of junior high humor anyway, okay?

Long story short, I've realized that the reason I never finish anything is because I have (at last count) 14 things on the needles (no wonder I can never find my needles). And I flit from one to the other until I'm just not in the mood for any of it, and then I start something new. So I've written them all down and I'm seriously trying to whittle the list down to a managable size. I've even started writing down "promised" and planned knitting projects in a "list" with the intention of whittling those down as well. So far, so good, although instead of picking one item off the list and working on it until it's done, I'm still allowing myself to flit from one to the next as long as it's already started...sort of like an alcoholic visiting all of the old watering holes before going on the wagon.

The prize at the end? I haven't decided yet, but I've had my eye on some of those fabulous fair isle sweaters....dum dum dum dum.

Ragnar...knit slut no more.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Gate Crasher

Of course I knew there would come a time when I couldn't rely on babygates to keep Ragnarson in his place. Naively I thought that time would come when he was three or so. Turns out I was wrong by about a year and a half.

We call this tricycle his "seige machine." He uses it as a combination battering ram/stepping stool. I've tried hiding it but then he uses his toybox or a laundry basket.
So far I've managed to catch him before he gets the second leg over, but after a couple of thwarted efforts he gets pissed and just rips the gate out of the door frame.
Usually he pulls it down on top of himself, but a few days ago while I was cooking dinner, he managed to pull it out of the doorframe, staggering backwards a few steps, but remaining upright. When I stuck my head around the corner to see what was going on he was standing there looking like the Incredible Hulk, holding the babygate in front of him, which he then tossed to the side before stomping into the kitchen to confront me.


For his next trick: he is learning the fine art of nose blowing, which is pretty useful what with all the winter colds that have been going around. This morning while I was folding laundry though, he was pulling kitchen towels and washclothes out of the laundry bin faster than I could fold them, and blowing his nose on every single one before dropping it and reaching for another.

Little...sweet darling baby.

Ragnar...proud? mama.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Be it resolved...

I usually do end up making some sort of nod to the tradition of New Years Resolutions...even on those years that I manifestly refuse to resolve anything, I have to honestly say that there's a deep down, follower inside me that just can't let January 1st pass without whispering something like: "work out everyday, I'm going to work out everyday! but not tell anyone about it, because I'm not making any resolutions this year...yeah."

And I'm feeling a lot of change related energy right now, what with (almost!) moving into a new house, a completely empty, new house where for the first time in my life I won't be living in a space that's full of other people's baggage. Add to that the fact that I'm having to reevaluate my lifestyle, finally coming to terms with the fact that Mommy Ragnar is in fact a different person from Step-Mommy Ragnar, and you have a me that's practically vibrating with good intentions for the New Year.

Freshly Inspired by Jodi Green and her Uberlist, both the 2008 and 2009 versions, I give you: Ragnar's Completely Ridiculous, Unachievable but Well Intentioned List of the 100 Things I Want to Manifest in 2009. I may at some point expand on some of these but for now, a simple list.

1. Smile at people, and make eye contact.
2. Participate.
3. Become a monogamous knitter.
4. Grow food instead of plants.
5. Take myself seriously.
6. Work in the studio at least once a week, even if that means going in for an hour and puttering around, accomplishing nothing.
7. Organize.
8. Get better at making things out of wood.
9. Take a class in something.
10. Spin
11. Reupholster the "dining room" chairs.
12. Publish at least 4 new knitting designs.
13. Submit at least 1 design for publication.
14. Do not allow the new house to fill up with junk.
15. Build 2x4 shelves for the studio.
16. Keep the Etsy store up to date.
17. Knit a sweater for myself.
18. Build a light box to facilitate the taking of better pictures of artwork and crafts.
19. Get excited about things.
20. Sew curtains.
21. Read something by Jane Austen.
22. Post a project on Instructables.
23. Stop using Ragnarson as an excuse for why I can't get anything done.
24. Make a chore schedule.
25. Economize.
26. Visit someone in a far away place.
27. Eat less pork.
28. Eat more lamb and goat.
29. Brush and Floss.
30. Build a wood oven in the backyard.
31. Whittle.
32. Make a dressform.
33. Send postcards to people instead of emailing them when I'm just writing to say "hi."
34. Stop eating candy at work.
35. Use my datebook.
36. Do laundry before I completely run out of clothes.
37. Make some artist trading cards.
38. Go to the dentist.
39. Compost.
40. Read less crappy chic-lit.
41. Sing.
42. Socialize.
43. Use up yarn.
44. Sew clothes that I will wear.
45. Send birthday cards.
46. Buy music.
47. Write a story.
48. Recycle
49. Ride my bike
50. Do not knit things that are not on "the list."

Half way through, whew. Take a breather for a second.

51. Make something out of clay.
52. Wear color.
53. Enter at least one quilt show.
54. Be a better friend.
55. Do not delay making phone calls.
56. Use Ravelry as a tool, not a distraction.
57. Take Rat Girl to a play.
58. Go to Wednesday night knitting group...once in awhile.
59. Follow through.
60. Bake bread.
61. Design my next tattoo.
62. Work in the Gardenhouse, at least once a month.
63. Keep a better record of knitting projects.
64. Eat at home.
65. Strength train.
66. Work on the yard.
67. Earn money.
68. Be less judgemental.
69. Work with K and B on quilt tile designs.
70. Plan meals in advance.
71. Take vitamins.
72. Cut back on caffeine.
73. Make deliberate decorating decisions on the house.
74. Replace plastic food storage containers.
75. Preserve food for winter.
76. Get fresh air.
77. Make soap.
78. Go to art shows.
79. Subscribe to a magazine.
80. Cultivate patience.
81. Make halloween costumes for the family.
82. Buy in bulk.
83. Teach a quilting class.
84. Tell people that I love them.
85. Approach local galleries about showing my work.
86. Don't worry about what other people think.
87. Use reuseable shopping bags.
88. Explore "found objects" in my quilts.
89. Repaint Ragnarson's blocks.
90. Reject guilt.
91. Sew fabric produce bags.
92. Sketch.
93. Ask for help.
94. Invite people over.
95. Read a non-fiction book.
96. Go camping.
97. Sew in the third dimension.
98. Swim in one of the great lakes.
99. Forage.
100. Listen to myself.

Ragnar...show me what you've got 2009.