Saturday, March 28, 2009

First day of gardening, 2009

We both got out into the garden and did some cleanup and planting. I bought some ranunculus (ranunculi?) in planters just to put out on the front stoop:

I love ranunculus and hope I can have them in my wedding bouquet, if they are hothouseable (because I don't think they're in season in November). But for now we get to have them on the front stoop.

I also cleaned up the bed under the apple tree, clearing away all the dead foliage from last year, and uncovered the hostas starting to come up:

I tried to take a picture of the budding pear tree and lilac, but they were too hard to photograph yet.

We also did some work on the vegetable garden but I discuss that in the Armageddon Garden Club blog. Please read further over there. :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Signs of spring, borrowed

Knitting Iris reported in poetic language about a flock of robins returning to her area. Worth a quick read.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

How many weeks' salary should you spend on an engagement ring?

We have a really cool new feature at (where I work)! The Stacker, an online polling tool, has been a part of the site for months, but as of today anybody can create their own poll. Then you can share it on Facebook or all the other community sites (e.g., Digg).

My poll, which I'm giving my version of the full court press, asks how many weeks' salary someone should spend on an engagement ring. I've put it up on Facebook and Digg and LinkedIn. I am hoping people will take the poll and pass it on to their friends, and just generally come to the site and create their own polls and add to the buzz about FiLife.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Productive weekend

I guess all I need is for Adam to go away and I get a lot done. That sounds terrible! But when he's here, I prefer to hang out with him on the weekends, rather than go out and do a lot of errands. Anyway, this weekend he's been in Vegas, so I've been on my own, and as a result I've been pretty productive. Not as much as I could be - I had an idea I might clean out the garage or plant some stuff maybe - but not too bad.

For one thing, I finally went to David's Bridal and tried on some dresses. I've been dreading this, because I am plump and I don't feel very pretty lately, and I hate trying on clothes even when I'm thin! But it had to be done. I've already tried to get a dressmaker to make me a dress, but the cost was too high. I'd like to keep it under $1000. Anyway, I was also planning to go by myself, which would have been a nightmare, but fortunately Adam's sister Tracy offered to come along. It made the day, because otherwise I would have been too shy to stick up for myself with the sales person and also, who would have taken pictures? With Tracy there, I had more of myself accessible to myself, if that makes any sense. The sales person was super nice, too. I didn't really find anything I liked, although I did try on at least one dress I wouldn't mind being married in. So perhaps I can say I have a backup choice now.

I also found a website, Martin McCrea Designs, later yesterday, which has a lot of funky designs for wedding dresses all under $1000, and they have a pretty tolerant return policy (they have a storefront in Arizona, but the rest of us have to buy from them online) so you can try on dresses and return them if they aren't the right thing. I will probably try a few of their designs. This means I have to acquire one of those push up corset things of my own...

Tracy also pushed me to get going on the website, and did a bunch of the design/HTML herself for me to upload, which got me to make a wiki page for the bridesmaids, so that is under way as well. I need to program an RSVP app, but I have several months before that's needed. I have to send lists to my girls who are planning the rehearsal dinner and the shower/engagement party and researching hotels for out-of-towners. So there's lots to do.

Also, today I finally photographed several skeins of yarn I have been meaning to put up on my Etsy store, and I listed two of them. I'm trying to space them out a little bit, to try and maximize the exposure putting up new items briefly gets you on Etsy.

I also spun some yarn last night while listening to a book on tape - I connected my iPod to the tuner (AUX setting) and listened to it thru the stereo - One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson. I read her first book, Case Histories, a couple years ago I guess, and really liked it. The guy who is reading the BOT is Robin Atkin Downes, who does all the different voices, and is hilarious. Also, it's all these different accents - posh and street English, as well as Irish and a variety of Scots. Ladies and men. Very well done and entertaining. I recommend it. (Mom, if you want me to send you the CDs let me know.) I got about 2/5 of the roving spun while I listened. It's really lovely roving by pigeonroofstudios, one of my favorite wool dyers.

It's called PANSIES, and it's just gorgeous. And the yarn is spinning up beautifully as well. I can't decide whether to ply it or leave it as a laceweight single. I'm getting better at spinning consistent weight. If I ply it, it'll muddy up the color, whereas it's pretty nice as a single. We'll see. I took a picture but it failed to capture any of the color variations going on.

The last thing I spun was somewhere between sock and sport weight, a 2-ply, and I feel proud of it. It's shetland wool. I washed it and another skein I spun of camel/silk, a 2-ply sport weight, yesterday and both are almost dry now.

Oddly enough, they are almost exactly the same color. But have very different hands. The silk is on the right, the wool on the left. This is what the one on the left was spun from:

LEAF MOLD, also from pigeonroofstudios

The skein on the right is 50% Baby Camel / 50% Tussah Silk from Spirit Trail Fiberworks. I don't have a picture, but if you follow that link, you can see all the fabulous blends she sells.

I also have this on deck:

WINTERBERRY, also from pigeonroofstudios

Pigeonroofstudios is Krista McCurdy's fiber business. She sells through Etsy, as well as at Article Pract, a fiber store in SF, and recently I heard from various sources that she had a highly successful booth at Stitches West. I can't really overstate how much I admire her dyeing skills. I recommend going to her sold items list and scanning through all the gorgeous wool and yarn she has sold to get a sense of her range. Obviously, I'm a huge fan. My big regret is that nobody sells her stuff on the East Coast. It's hard to get, and items tend to get snapped up from her Etsy store as soon as she posts them. As a former painter, I'm very appreciative and not a little envious of her skills as a colorist; as one who's done only a little bit of dyeing so far, I know how hard it is to do even passably, and she makes it look so easy. I wish I could get the same results in roving that I was able to get in my wall pieces, but oil paint on plaster is a hugely different medium, and I have a long way to go before I will have anything like that kind of control. And I still have a ton of fear, which is so unhelpful.

In the meantime, I can appreciate the work of artists like Krista McCurdy, Sundara, about whom I've waxed floridly fannish in the past as well, and Jennifer Heverly of Spirit Trail Fiberworks, whose fiber club I recently joined. She does amazing work as well.

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My parents both have bad bad colds and I am sending out some good healing vibes their way. Y'all get better soon! I love you!