Thursday, November 29, 2007

Grab Bag

Here, at last, are the Opal Feelings socks I made for Meital awhile ago. She's already worn them two or three times, so I must be waaaaay behind on updating you. Please note that I broke with tradition and made them match!

Now, this is the next step in the process that began like this (scroll down to third photo in this post), then moved on to this (again, scroll down to the third photo). As you can see, I am moving at an inebriated and incapacitated snail's pace (a sober, healthy snail moves far, far faster than this) on this project. I always seem to get myself on the hamster's wheel with other projects, and certain things languish. I suspect that one of these days I will be seized with an uncontrollable urge to finish this project and it will, at long last, be completed. But not today.

And this is a lovely flower that appeared in our (once again) sadly neglected front yard (my knitting friends will not be surprised to learn I typed "yarn" before catching my error) this week. I think it must be some kind of lily, but truly I am clueless. Anyone?

I had a fabulous afternoon at the community center today. I helped a new girl named Rachel, who is in the 7th grade, with her English homework. Imagine trying to memorize (and understand) which preposition you use with which time expression. Does anyone know why we say "in the morning" and "in the evening" but "at night"? I have no clue, I only know what is correct and what isn't. I hadn't seen the kids for awhile (due to a previous commitment two weeks ago, and a migraine last week) and it was wonderful to spend time with them.

I have made a few Chanukah cards, and some gifts that I can't show you yet. Meital's octopus and Avi's socks are also nearly done. There may just be a chance I'll get everything done by Tuesday night. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Something New

I have been a lurker at the Gothic Arches challenge blog for awhile now, but have never made anything in this shape before. I've wanted to, but never got around to it. When I saw what this week's theme is, there was no way I could pass it up! Here is my very first (but likely not the last) Gothic Arch. The background stamp (which quite likely you can't read) says, "Hand over the chocolate and no one will get hurt!" I've had it for awhile and only used it occasionally. The images I used mostly came from back issues (circa 1993 and 1994) of Chocolatier Magazine, to which I used to subscribe. The text at the bottom comes from a cookbook I own called Death By Chocolate. See why I couldn't pass up this particular theme challenge? I probably own more than a dozen books (and cookbooks) exclusively about chocolate, including one highly technical tome entitled Chocolate, Cocoa, and Confectionery. This book not only includes all kinds of chemical equations, but diagrams for various machines used in the production of chocolate. Just a little crazy about chocolate? I'd say more than a little...

In other news, I am fast approaching the toes on both of Avi's Chanukah socks. And most of the pieces of Meital's octopus are complete (currently working on the scarf). I need to sew up the pieces, buy stuffing and stuff them, and sew the wee beastie together. With Chanukah about 6 days away, I'd say I'm in fairly good shape, but I don't want to anger the Knitting Goddess.

I'm also working on a couple of other things, and hope to share them with you soon.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

No Time

I'm barely holding my head above water, here. You may or may not know that Chanukah starts in less than two weeks... I am trying to make secret gifts for all three of the other people who live with me, and it's getting a bit crazy-making. Every time one of them leaves the house, I try to remember which project is for that person, and start knitting as quickly as possible. I've finished knitted items for my sister and nieces, but want to pick up a second component before those go in the mail. Gifts for Avi and the girls are: leftovers socks for Avi, fuzzy scarf for Liat (and the Doll Bag, if at all possible), and an octopus toy for Meital. I'd also love to make a London Beanie for Avi, some gloves for Liat in Koigu, and a washcloth for Meital (her request, believe it or not).

I did recently finish a pair of socks for Meial in Opal Feelings, but I haven't had time to upload the photo to the computer yet! I also had a productive period, art-wise, recently. Here are some ATCs I sent off for a swap:

The theme was A Play on Words. I had no idea what to do for the longest time, then one day while thumbing through an old bartender's guide, I found these drinks recipes. Perfect!

We've also been busy with translation work, which hasn't helped with the holiday gift-making. Reminds me of a sign my father used to keep on his desk: "I like work, but it sure breaks up the day."

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Dare You

I just took part in a kind of challenge + one-on-one trade over at ATCards. You agree to make a trading card for the person before you in the dicussion thread, who has challenged the group to make something on a particular theme. The woman before me dared us to make an ATC using a lottery ticket. I was the one who accepted her dare, and this is what I made. I used a brush to stipple color on the ticket, then found some images I thought fit the theme. The coin in the upper right corner is actually gold colored and very shiny.

The other part of the dare is, after agreeing to make the card for the woman who wanted a lottery-themed card, I got to dare the group to make a card for me! No one responded to my dare for a knitting-themed ATC (not sure I understand that... After all, doesn't **everyone** love knitting?), I revised it to an ATC relating to books. I got an immediate response, and a wonderful lady in The Netherlands will be making my dare card. I can't wait to see what she comes up with!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Happy Birthday, Linda!

Today is my wonderful sister's birthday. She opened the last of the 50 cards this morning. (You may recall that it was the square-shaped card in bright yellow and orange, with a stamped sun in the center). So I guess that endeavor can finally be considered complete. It was great fun for me, and I think I learned alot.

We worked quite a bit today on a translation project. But I managed to squeeze in some time for fun in my craft room, and here is the result:

These four gals are for an Artist Trading Card swap called Women with Wings, over at ATCards. Most of the examples I've seen so far are rather on the serious and artistic side, but somehow I was overcome with a sophomoric urge toward irreverence (no surprise there, eh?), and this is the result. If all goes well and the glue dries quickly, they'll be in the mail tomorrow. I only have three, no four, more swaps to get done. I can't seem to stop signing up for them. They're like potato chips, or something...

Aside from knitting a bit on Meital's sock, I haven't done any knitting today. Maybe later this evening. I have alot to do!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

No Visual Aids

I'm afraid I don't have any pictures for you today. In fact, a lack of photographic evidence has prevented me from writing and telling you what I've been up to for several days now. Today I've decided, the heck with that, I can always just jump right along to the "tell" portion of our program, and save "show &" for another day.

I've been doing lots of fiddling around in my crafts room, working mostly on cards for a swap called Women With Wings. My gals are nearly ready, and you can bet I'll share them here when they are ready to make their debut. I've also been doing a little bit of this and that, but don't have all that much to show for it, yet.

In knitting news, I'm moving right along on Meital's socks. Today we went to Jerusalem to see my MIL, which as you may know means Optimum Sock Knitting Time. I managed to finish the leg, work the heel flap, turn the heel, and start the gusset decreases on the second sock of the pair. If those words are meaningless to you, I apologize. I'm in a real rush to finish this pair, so I can start on the leftovers socks I am going to make for Avi for Chanukah. Over the summer, he finally, with great reluctance, agreed to let me knit a pair of socks for him. His single condition was that I am not allowed to buy new yarn in order to make his socks. So I've gathered up a bunch of copacetic sock yarn, and hope to turn out a respectable-looking pair of socks for him by the evening of December 4th. To make sure I have enough yarn to make the socks identical, I am planning to (for the first time ever) knit both socks at the same time. Today a turn on sock #1, the next day catch up to that on sock #2. We'll see how it works out! And of course I want to surprise him, so I have some camouflage knitting set up (a baby hat in sock weight yarn on double pointed needles) to work on the next time we go to Jerusalem, two weeks from today. If I didn't have any small knitting project to work on, he would surely notice, hence the slight of hand...

Liat's colorwork Doll Bag is also proceeding apace. I'm on the fourth of five bands of colorwork. I think I have figured out a workable solution to the two-handed knitting problem. To many I'm sure it would seem awkward, but so far it seems to be working for me.

I'm nearly done with the body of the octopus I am knitting for Meital for Chanukah. I can only work on it when she's at school or asleep, so naturally today I didn't touch it.

I really want to make gifts for my sister and nieces, too! Maybe I'd better see what I can come up with, because time is definitely running out. Too bad this is one of those years that Chanukah comes so early in December.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Too Busy to Blog?

Yeah. I don't buy it, either. I have been busy, though. Honest! The trading cards shown above are Meital's submission to an ATC swap we are both in over at ATCards. (I am thrilled and delighted to tell you that if you click on that link, you'll see a card I made.) The theme of the swap is Snowmen (or Snowwomen, or even Snowkids!). Meital's cards are, of course, hand drawn.

Here are my cards. Most of the stamps I used are by Dee Gruenig/Posh Impressions. Now I'm busy making more cards for more swaps and private trades. If you're interested, you can see many of the cards I've made over the past year or so here: My Flickr. It's not 100% up to date, but fairly close. I've got a ton of different things in progress on my stamping table, and will add them to the Flickr album as they are finished.

In knitting news, I have started the toe decreases on the first sock for Meital. I know, I thought I would have shared a progress photo with you before now. Sorry! I keep forgetting to photograph stuff during the day when there is enough light for a good picture.

Liat's colorwork Doll Bag is coming along nicely, though I'm still not enjoying the process much. My friend Joansie suggested a yarn thimble, which supposedly keeps the various strands of yarn separated. I am thinking about it, though I don't really see how helpful it will be... Any thoughts from experienced fair isle knitters?

Last night I started a new project, a baby hat knit from sock yarn. It came about through a combination of circumstances. One, I have been wanting to start something new for the community center, and Two, Knit Picks badly messed up an order I placed through a friend, and I ended up with some Bare Essentials tweed, when what I wanted was plain Bare (the yarn you can dye). So I got out my Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns and cast on for a baby sized hat.

And that's about all that's been going on here lately.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

More ATCs

For the first time in I don't know how long, I didn't knit when I got up this morning (don't become alarmed, I did later on!). Instead, I started working on ATCs. I finished up a few I had started yesterday. Actually, this one I started months ago, then sort of ran out of ideas. The background is a label taken from a bottle of juice. The Hebrew says "What's the bird?" which works as a play on words in Hebrew just as in English ("What's the word?"/"What's the story?" - the word "story" in Hebrew rhymes with the word for "bird"). Quite serendipitous, that.

This card is one I just started last night. It was done to fit the November theme at ATCards, which is White & Gold. The Hebrew says, "All the world's a stage." Background is white paper painted with gold Radiant Pearls paint. Masks came from a local magazine. The letter stickers at the bottom left are one of my new purchases this past week.

Now this card is one that uses a background I started long ago and didn't like. I simply added more colored walnut ink spray, and it really came to life. When that was dry, I added flecks of rust orange Radiant Pearls. The leaf and the butterfly are things I found at our local art store this past week. The image of the woman was purchased at Collage Stuff, and the text came from a clothing catalog that was delivered to our house a few years ago.

This ATC and the one that follows were inspired by the teachers' strike here, which has been going on for weeks now. This man is the head of the teachers' union that is out on strike. He is a real publicity hound, and I believe one of the reasons the strike has yet to be settled is that he likes being in the limelight too much. The words on his hat say, "Without education, there is no future." I asked Liat to write out the caption for me. It says, "Without the media, there is no life." The background and photo came from yesterday's newspaper.

This woman is the Minister of Education in Israel. The postage stamp features a popular character from a series of books used to teach children to read here in Israel. The word in the middle says "Indifference." Again, the background, the word and the photo of the woman come from yesterday's paper.

In addition to all of these ATCs, I also got back to work on a project from a month or so ago, and started another project. And, I started the heel flap on the first sock for Meital. All in all, a productive day!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Busy Day

May I present the Duck Family? They're from the Jean Greenhowe book, Knitted Animals. Meital is thrilled and delighted with them, so I'm very happy. I've already started another toy for her, an octopus. I have a list of six toys she wants me to make for her (for now). I could knit only for Meital and still be busy until the end of my days!

Here is what my ATCs for the Club Posh Winter/Glitter swap look like. The stamps are all from the Dee Gruenig Signature Designs (formerly Posh Impressions) Snowman set, for those who are interested. I had added little dots of glitter glue and considered the cards done, but my girls convinced me to add more glitter, so I I put it on the snowflakes. I'm not sure if you can see that here, but they are very sparkly in person.

I spent part of the afternoon making more ATCs. They were cards I had started awhile ago, then set aside, likely because I couldn't figure out what to do next. I got five cards done, and it feels great. I will show them to you tomorrow (the glue is still drying). I also took out a background I had done on heavy watercolor paper and not been happy with, and added another layer of color on top of what was there. I used colored walnut ink, and this time it looks alot better. Once that's dry, I can use it for backgrounds. I also added some gesso to a number of magazine and catalog photos of models, and soon they will be dry and ready to alter. I want to try out some more of my new art supplies, so I hope tomorrow will be a productive day, too.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

"Best ever!"

After last night's cookie baking party and ATC making extravaganza, Meital declared the day "The best Halloween ever!" I am one happy mama. The cards above are Meital's ATCs. She tried several new things last night and came up with some real winners, if you ask me!

I only managed to make these two during our art session, and I give full credit to Meital for coming up with the idea of the small shapes cut from black paper. I used some of her leftover pieces in my ATC.

I also managed to come up with an idea for the Winter/Glitter ATC swap I'm in over at Club Posh. I got my cards finished (all seven of them!) today. Except, my daughters think I was a tad parsimonious with the glitter. I had hoped to avoid the glitter-everywhere-until-2020 syndrome by using glitter glue, but the girls feel more bling is needed. So tomorrow I'll be touching up the cards. If they dry in time, I'll post one here so you can see what you think. That, of course, assumes that the glitter will actually show up in a scan or photo. We'll have to wait and see.

The knitted gift for Meital is nearly done, and barring unforseen acts of Nature, I may well have it all set up in her room by the time she gets home from school tomorrow. I can't wait to see her reaction!