Saturday, December 19, 2009

Subtle Hints ...

Let me just tell you it is NOT easy to blog during the holiday season!! Between Christmas sweaters and holiday handmade gifts, there's not much left over to write about.

At the risk of spoiling everyone's surprise:

Turns out soap isn't exactly easy to make but the challenge sure is fun! I have made a coconut-palm (the oils came pre-measured in a kit) soap with Tangerine and Calendula and my very own Avocado-Olive oil soap with Eskimo Kisses fragrance.  Still in the pre-labeling phase is a third batch of Hemp Oil soap with a wonderful cedar-patchouli fragrance.

I sure hope everyone likes their presents - this doesn't send a message that they smell, does it?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Soap Making - Not as Glamorous As You Might Think

The search began this morning with a jaunt down the grocery aisles only to discover that no one (Read: NO ONE.  Not one company.) sends their juice to the Vons of Coronado in glass bottles. Plastic bottles filled the shelves from one end to the other. The next store was closed and the third had exactly one choice in glass bottle of minimum 40 ounce capacity. One. So I bought that and a gallon of distilled water and was on my way. Oh, and a doughnut. Yum!

After emptying the juice bottle, rinsing it, and recruiting my fine husband to drill the appropriate holes in the lid, I donned my safety glasses and measured the distilled water into my Lye Jar.

The next step involves convincing highly toxic sodium hydroxide it wants to join the water in the jar. The soap shop thoughtfully provided the NaHO in the shape of large, hard, flat chunks of white stuff. Like salt flats only burn-ier. And not at all excited about getting into the bath.

One learns that not only should ones eyes be covered but a mask for breathing is not at all nerdy at this point,  it's a luxury.

A quick stir and here we go:

Fascinating Fact: The lye solution heats up to 200 degrees Farenheit just by mixing it. That's hot - and it happens FAST!

Now it sits overnight - or until tomorrow in my world. Then we can mix the soap and pour it into the mold.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Fuzzy Faces

Finally, something I can blog about! I have been thinking I would have to resort to blogging with FCC-style beeps to keep from exposing Christmas Knitting Secrets. Something like this: Today I worked on [beep] for [beep]. It's really coming along nicely. I took a picture and it looks like this: [No Photo Available.] See how dull it would have been?

But instead I went to A Simpler Time Alpaca's and Mill and was amazed at their machinery. Which I didn't take a single picture of - it's hard to describe the 15-or so step process, let alone capture in photos. I did take a picture of a great hairdo and some babies:

And I love that white face ... what'choo lookin at?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Temptation's Accessories ...

It's the secret time of the year - everything on my needles is a gift that I don't want to post and all I'm doing is knitting to meet December 24th deadlines!

Here's one current swatch:

It really wants to grow up into a silky-alpaca-merino scarf. It's a wee bit tricky but seems to grow quickly - I will have to see if I can manage a few for Christmas!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ski Bunnies

Talen and her classmates are heading to Mammoth for intersession this year. What's the first thing they arrange? Why accessories, of course!!

Here's the beginning of an ear flap hat - all the rage in San Diego this year!

And that's an original painting by Talen in the

background ... will post that when it's finished.

Can't wait to see how this turns out!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I Love San Diego, I Love San Diego ...

Excuse me whiule I step outside (in my slippers, but barefoot would work, too) and try to appreciate the weather that is San Diego in November.


No, look closer:

Yes. Downtown San Diego. Thursday November 5th at 8:34 a.m. People are outside in shorts. That's it folks - that's what we get. We might get a splash or two of rain in March - stay tuned and I'll be sure to let you know. But you are looking at our weather.

But on the upside this week, our friends were down from Alaska winning right and left at the ARBA Endless Summer Rabbit Convention - "In Search of the Perfect Rabbit." Let me tell you, if they didn't find it here...

Or here...

(Yes. That's one big angora bunny, my knitting friends.)

... then I truly don't believe they were looking very hard!!

It was great to spend time with all of our friends who were down from Alaska. They were a breath of fresh air in the midst of a city that sometimes loses it's freshness.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Christmas Knitting ...

Yes, it's Grandma Betty's sweater. Yes, of course Talen gets to wear it first. She always gets to do EVERYTHING!!!

And even though it was acrylic and I tried not to like the yarn as I was knitting, it really wasn't bad at all. Best of all, I have a finished product almost as warm as wool, worked up in a jiffy, and machine washable!

Talen even said she wants one for herself ... that's quite a compliment!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Temptation's Progress

Bwah-ha-ha-ha ... the evil mother trades lunch money for sweater modeling!

And doesn't she look fine in her brother's boxers?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Beyond Me

It is simply beyond my abilites to collect. Anything. I used to tell myself that if I were to collect anything, it would be teapots. Now I am the proud owner of this beautiful (astounding, actually) set:

and all I see when I look at those tiny cups and saucers is clutter. And a possible lead poisoning hazard. So I packed them away, because containers are the answer to all clutter, yes? As long as it's in a color-coordinated container, I can bear their existence.

Hand-painted  vase, anyone? I have one somewhere, in one of these boxes ...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ode to Temptation

I love this sweater.


If this sweater belonged to some else, I would covet it and want it for my own; but it is mine, all mine.

Lovely, silken hand, gentle drape, wonderful tomato sauce with flecks of tweedish sludge color, shapely shoulders, subtle neckline.

If only my blog had feel-o-vision, you too would be tempted, I assure you.

Noah: The Real Story

As has been mentioned, my Noah is one of the cutest beings ever! He's also a bit of a clown and I think I owe him this:

That's right. One afternoon we were on our way to swim lessons (about 100 yards to the right of this photo spot) and I asked him to put on a 100% wool sweater, despite the 80+ degree weather. He didn't put up a bit of fuss and struck this silly, 100% Noah-Style pose. And then I fiddled with the sweater, made him put his hands out of the sleeves, etc. and snapped the photo I used in the "Ready for Arcata" entry. But this folks, THIS is the real Noah.

Monday, September 14, 2009

It's My Birthday and I'll Block If I Want To!

Tobin's sweater is off the needles and ready for a wash 'n block:
Here it is just daintily dipping it's little toes into the cool water:

And a more enthusiastic plunge:
(Sometimes you have to give wool a little push)
Then, finally, after a bit of splashing about,
there's a rather icky little bit of wool gunk left in the water:After some gentle squishing, being rolled in a towel, and a few hours laying flat in front of the fan, we have a soft, almost sweet-smelling sweater ready to snuggle.
I'll have Noah model it after school so you can see!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Knitting Until My Eyes Cross ...

And I'm just beginning to think up Christmas knitting projects ... my fingers are twitching in fear!

Friday, September 4, 2009


Call me crazy (I know you will anyway! but even though it is baking hot outside, once I saw this pattern:

( Simple Summer Tweed Top Down V-Neck by Heidi Kirrmaier

and this yarn (City Tweed DK , a silk-merino blend in Romance)
(both photos used without permission but credit to the links above)

I abandoned all thoughts of holiday knitting and ordered up 1200 yards or so of this fabulous yarn to make myself yet another sweater.

Folks, you'd better act now and put your requests in REPEATEDLY if you want anything hand knit for Christmas! This is some fierce competition for my knitting time!

P.S Tobin's sweater IS still proceeding nicely ... the body is at least half done and then I get to join the arms to it and make some shoulders for it. NOT forgotten!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Knitter's Progress

Here I am, all rested up and ready to return to work. I have been busy the past few days trying to make headway on my baby brother's sweater, Here's the latest:I am hoping that if you squint your eyes up and look carefully, you can fill in the blanks between waistband and armpits, then again for the shoulders, neckline ... OK, I'll admit, there's a long way to go!

And just in case a sweater wasn't daunting enough (and for THIS knitter, it isn't! I scoff at danger like this!) just take a look at the body I am knitting it for:
Yes, the gangly one on the right. The one standing next to my 5'8" tall daughter. The one with the 21" long arms. The one who was sick with the flu yesterday and battling his first big ick in the town of Arcata, home to Humboldt State University.

I caved when he asked me for a wool sweater to combat the cool, damp weather in Arcata. But looking at that photo, I can safely say I will refuse if he asks me to knit him leggings!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Vacation 2009: The Beginning

And our vacation begins to take shape ...

Day One we will leave San Diego and drive 440.40 mile north to Morgan Hill, Ca. We'll be staying the night there so we can leave for San Francisco well rested.

Day Two: A bit of exploring around San Francisco. I still haven't decided if we will stop at the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco. I know Noah would love it but I am kind of "attractioned-out." There are so many attractions (Zoo, Sea World, Legoland, etc. in San Diego that I don't really feel the need to travel to see more! I would rather see more of the city.

Then it's across the Golden Gate and north to Eureka to see Tobin and his new school. I can't wait to poke around hippie-town Arcata. After all of the big city, So-Cal living I've done, I am ready for a bit of the Natural Folk. We are sure to get our fill of them this trip!

(Gray. The Color of My Childhood Home.)
Wait until you see all of the fun little things there are to do in Arcata: a little zoo, the Natural History Museum at Humboldt State. Somehow if the whole group gets in for under $10 it's more worthy of a quick peek!

After Eureka? Well that is not quite ready yet ... stay tuned!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Sharon Kay Penman Books

Because I am a dork and I want to be able to remember this:

1101-1154 - When Christ and His Saints Slept (Volume 1 of a trilogy)
1156-1171 - Time and Space (Volume 2 of a trilogy)
12th century - Devil's Brood (Volume 3 of a trilogy)
1192-1193 - The Queen's Man
1193 - Cruel as the Grave
1183-1232 - Here Be Dragons (Volume 1 of the Welsh Trilogy)
1231-1267 - Falls the Shadow (Volume 2 of the Welsh Trilogy)
1271-1283 - The Reckoning (Volume 3 of the Welsh Trilogy)
1459-1492 - The Sunne in Splendour

Yes, that is all of them, in chronological order. What a relief! : )

And for good measure:

My lovely Talen taking a moment to beautify with a Lavish clay and kelp mask ... complete with SD Pride-inspired Rainbow manicure!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In Response to Two Certain Someones

Taunting? Hey, I pay an outrageous amount to live here ... how about if I do some dollar-cost averaging by sharing?
Outdoor dining ... with excellent wine:

Appropriate attire: short sleeves (no sweat stains), shorts, and sandals for all! (Thank you, Random Family, for walking by right when I needed you!)

And the Burger Lounge ... a green restaurant serving grass-fed beef alongside quinoa burgers and Classic Coke (Mexico style - the BEST!) Sometimes I really love California!Also source of said Calypso-salsa-kind of confused music. And more outdoor dining space. Wish you guys could be here to savor it ... it really is delightful!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Farming: City Style

Today I mailed off our subscription form for our first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) plan. I chose J R Organics Farm because they seem just right - not too big, not too small, and reasonably priced.I can't wait to see what we get in our boxes throughout the summer!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Eating Eco

With the coming of Food, Inc. and a sick son on the mend, we've been inspired to eat more healthy food. We are striving to eat - food. Just food. Not processed food, not something that resembles food. Just food.

We started at the Mercato in Little Italy.

Enjoying a conversation with the farmers who grow this produce; the farmers who raise the chickens. How else would I know that of all the egg-layers at San Pasqual Academy, none have fallen ill with the tragic chicken sicknesses so common in commercial layers. Why important? Because if your chickens aren't crammed together and making each other sick, they don't need to be injected with antibiotics. Hmmm.

Some familiar faces are also at the Mercato. Here we have what might just be Bread and Cie - although I'm not sure and there are several artisan bread vendors.

And is that Venissimo behind there? Noah sampled his first pecorino cheese and enjoyed an imported goat gouda at that very booth. Delicious!

The Mercato is every Saturday morning from 9 to 1. Come enjoy some sustainably farmed produce, imported cheeses and fresh breads. Your tastebuds will thank you!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Noah's First Cake

Heavenly Apple Cake from

The full photo album here.

Soooo yummy ... moist and appley with just a touch of cinnamon!

Great work, Noah!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

My Little Pretty ...

After not knitting (*gasp*!!) for a week I worked through the "empire" row and beyond today. This yarn is a cotton/acrylic blend that is butter soft and delightful.

I do hope that this doesn't "bloom" like a lace. What work a sweater is to be such a mystery at the end! To the Whims of Blocking Fate ... Be Kind.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Ahh... nothing more than an update to catch everyone up on the goings on around here. May '09 shall be summed up with "The Month Noah Was Sick." On to June ...

Noah has been out of school since ... well, way back in May. At least 5 weeks with a virus, Bells Palsy, and migraines. It's been spectacular. After 2 1/2 years of struggling to keep up between bouts of what we thought was IBS but now seems to be abdominal migraines, I have just given up. It's a wonderfully freeing feeling!

We are going to the pediatric neurologist next week to find out exactly what causes all of these (By "all" I mean daily. Every day. Without fail.) headaches. His doctor and his current school director have both recommended home schooling or a variation thereon for a while and I'm starting to think it might just be a good idea. A pain in the butt, but a good idea. More on homeschooling in the near future ...

And at work .. well. I have been working so hard and thinking so hard the past few weeks my trainer probably saw smoke coming from my ears. I was about ready to give up and head for phones when we started; I thought I was at the end of my learning curve. But Kristina busted me right through. And how you ask??

Like this:

By completely overwhelming me with 100's of pages of Mobile Field Force, SWAT, and Critical Response Team data. By scaring me to death with endless maps of our divisions, long lists of beat responsibilities ... an overload of information. So much information that suddenly *poof* telling two officers to point their cars toward a bad guy and do their thing seemed SIMPLE.

See why I am so difficult? Do you see?

That was all going so well that we signed up at the Y. We've been doing cardio on the bikes, lifting weights, and swimming. The swimming is fun time but today I think Noah swam 6 laps or so ... not bad for a sick kid. He might recover yet!

And in anticipation of Food, Inc, and all it brings ...

... we round out the week with Organic Chocolate Chip Cookies. Mmm... Those are fair trade, organic chocolate chips you see there - and tasty!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hot Fashion Tip

Anyone can tell you I am one of the least fashionable people in town - and I rather like it that way - but I am about to stand tall and belt out a bit of fashion advice.

If you are over 30 years old; if you are strolling the streets of cozy Little Italy hand-in-hand with your girlfriend; if your hair is thinning and you have rather the look of middle management about you ... you are simply past the age when it is appropriate for your trousers to expose more than 2 inches of your undergarments.

It looked silly in high school. It looks ridiculous on the misbegotten young hoodlums who wear their pants entirely beneath their 'cheeks'. (Image mercifully withheld.)

It becomes an absurdity (although somewhat amusing) when I see your Ralph Lauren boxer briefs peeking from your Rock & Republic jeans. Did you not know there are people available to help you better fit your jeans when you shop the great Republic of Bloomies?Rather something how those jeans fit, isn't it? Just saying ...

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Steeking Hangover ...

Nah, things are going just fine. For those of you who are wondering how this whole thing is working out, here's a photo of the new edge:

It's not much so far but I not only had to go to work today (sigh) but also had to put down the sweater to work on the baby sweater for Katie who is due in TWO WEEKS.

Knitting Emergency!