Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ring Out the Old

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

On the first day of this year, I posted those lines, which always bring a lump to my throat for some reason. I thought it might be nice to finish out the year in the same way.

On January 1, 2008 I had 138 full skeins of yarn in my stash (and countless leftovers). On December 31, 2008 I have 119. Of course, that number has gone down and then up and then down again over the past 12 months. Maybe a year from today I'll have gone below 100. That's one of my goals - to use more of the yarn (and other things) I already have.

In 2008 I did not knit as much as I had done the previous year. Still, I am proud of the knitting I did accomplish. Here's the list:

Community Knitting:
4 pairs of slippers
1 pair of socks
6 pairs of mittens
2 pairs of wristwarmers
3 hats
2 toys
1 scarf

A total of 27 items (my largest category, for some strange reason...), including washcloths, toys, baby clothes, hats and sweaters.

Only three items here, one for a friend of Liat's, one for a friend of mine, and one for the sister of a friend.

A vest and the lace trim I used on my recycled jeans bag.

This one is the shocker: only 11 pairs of socks this year! That's probably because I didn't make any baby or toddler sized socks. But still, less than a pair a month? Surely next year I will do better.

Even though I feel I should have done more this year, I know I am very lucky to be able to create things and give them to people in need, or to people I love. Lately, I have come to appreciate more than ever just how full and lovely my life is. Having caring friends is a large part of that, and for that I want to tell you all: thank you. May 2009 bring you all good health and much happiness.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Once upon a time there was a simple, rather homely, garter stitch afghan.It was made many years ago by a budding knitter, who knew little about appropriate sizes for things and could only work the knit stitch, but who loved to knit. Apparently, she also knew nothing about the differences between acrylic and wool yarn, for she used both in the same project, which she proceeded over the coming years to dutifully machine wash and dry as needed.

The funny little aghan was loved and used, especially by the knitter's young daughters. But one day, the knitter finally opened her unobservant eyes and realized the thing was hideously deformed. The wool yarn, you see, had felted quite nicely over the years. And the acrylic...hadn't.

So one blustery winter day during school vacation, the knitter and her daughters unravelled all the acrylic yarn, and rolled it into balls. The felted pieces were set aside to be repurposed as...something else. (Tune in later). It was agreed that the salvaged yarn from the old afghan should be put to use as part of a new afghan. The new afghan will be made up of many cute little knitted fish.

To be continued...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Meital's Knitting Bag

Shortly after I made the recycled jeans bag for myself, I got the idea of making a similar bag for Meital. I even knew which colors I wanted to use, and set aside a stack of fabrics.

But we all know how slowly I operate... In this case, it was a good thing, because I had something I could make for Meital for Chanukah! At first, I'd had a different shaped bag in mind, but then I realized she needed something that was long enough to hold her knitting book (Jean Greenhowe's Jiffyknits) and her 14" straight knitting needles.

Once again, I used an old pair of my jeans. I added a few items I'd saved over the years; a pocket from a pair of jeans Meital probably wore in preschool, and a butterfly embroidery from another old pair she'd loved into holes. Liat made a beaded butterfly especially for the bag.

I started searching out trims to put over the seams, and started adding beads and sequins to embellish. Thanks go to Liat for allowing me to raid her bead stash. And I once again used beads and sequins salvaged from our old plastic mules. There is only a small amount of embroidery, but I pulled out all my hand dyed threads and glossy rayon floss for the occasion.

I'm pretty pleased with the finished result, and so is Meital! (I am not, however, thrilled with the blurry photo).

Here's another one.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Knitted Gifts

In all, I made 6 knitted gifts this year: 3 pairs of socks, 2 hats, and a pair of wristwarmers. Above are the socks for Meital, from Sockotta yarn I was given by my lovely friend Ellen. See how nicely they worked up, Ellen? Meital is delighted with them, and immediately pulled off her socks and put these on when she opened them last night.

And here are Liat's socks. I succeeded in surprising her with these, which made me happy. She thought I would start on them once Meital's were done, and I deliberately fooled her (how evil of me) by waiting until the very last second to finish Meital's socks. Meanwhile, of course, I was secretly working on these as well (up to and including taking refuge in the bathroom to knit undisturbed, once the girls were home on vacation and my stealth knitting time was limited. Yarn is Cherry Tree Hill. Liat also immediately pulled off her socks and put these on last night.

This is the hat I made for Liat, and which did NOT surprise her. This is the second Coronet Hat (pattern on Knitty) I have made; the first one was a gift which has not yet been received, but Liat saw it and wanted the same hat. Actually, she wanted that exact hat, but the color was perfect for the recipient, so I had Liat chose another yarn from my stash (some acrylic I've had for awhile - very soft and a pretty color, but it squeaks when I knit with it. 'Nuff said.) For Liat's hat, I simply picked up the stitches along the cabled band on the right side, so that there would not be a folded up brim; I also made the hat shorter so that it doesn't come down over Liat's earlobes and get tanlged in her earrings.

I've already shown you Avi's socks and the wristwarmers, so we're about caught up now on knitted gifts. Next time, I'll show you the knitting bag I made for Meital.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Where to Start?

Hello out there! I hope everyone had/is having a very Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy Chanukah. Once again, in spite of my good intentions, I failed to send out holiday cards this year; but I have been thinking of you!

So much has happened since the last time I posted, I hardly know where to begin. So first off, I will show you two of the gifts my sweet, talented and creative girls gave me (not that I'm biased or anything).

Liat made me this bookmark (to go with the Harlan Coben book the girls also got me). The top photo is of Meital, the bottom of Liat. I thought this was just so cute and clever! I hate to hide it inside a book.

And Meital, my budding knitter, made me this sweet little pumpkin from Jean Greenhowe's Jiffyknits, a fantastic book for new, young knitters. All of the adorable toys in the book are made with garter stitch rectangles - small ones. Just perfect for someone who is learning to knit but doesn't have a lot of patience for knitting in one color long enough to make a scarf or even a blanket for a Beanie Baby (dating myself here; probably I should have said Webkins, no?). Once she'd made the pumpkin, Meital decided to add accessories, so she knit a blanket and two hats (they fit on the pumpkin's stem, isn't that cute?).

Okay, enough gushing. For now.

Also this month, I knit a hat to go in a care package to an IDF soldier. The girls' schools often have package drives before Chanukah, to send boxes of goodies to our soliders. Usually, the boxes include soup mixes, snacks, candy and cookies, but you know a knitter just has to include a knitted something, right? The photo is saved from being completely dull (after all, what's exciting about a 2x2 rib black knitted hat?) by the lovely model, don't you agree?

Here we have the wrist warmers I knit for my niece Kim (being modeled by Liat). I have learned that they arrived safely, and fit perfectly! (Love it when that happens).

I have more to show you, but will save some for next time...

Thursday, December 11, 2008


It has become a running joke in my family that I never remember anything, and I never notice anything. Now, I can offer you proof!

Jill presented me with this award (thank you, Jill!) almost a week ago, and I either didn't notice, or noticed, and then forgot (sadly, both are entirely likely scenarios). I appreciate it and am honored.

The Spreader of Love award the rules are:

1. Post a copy on your blog

2. Mention who gave you the award

3. Pass the award on to 6 others. I choose the following:


4. Leave a message on their blog letting them know the honor has been bestowed upon them.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Crazy Time

I'm sure many of you are in the same predicament as I, crafting madly in an effort to provide lovely gifts and/or cards for your friends and loved ones for the holidays. Still, I apologize for how long it has been since I last posted.

Above you see the socks I knit for Avi, in Opal. Last year, I knit him socks for the first time, by his own request, using up scraps of leftover sock yarn. The resultant stripey socks came out pretty well, and he wears them every night during the winter. I decided to make handknit socks for Avi a Chanukah tradition, but this time I knit the socks from a new skein of yarn. A year from now, if all goes well, he'll have what I was taught was the requisite minimum of any item of clothing, as per the following scenario: a pair in use, a pair in the drawer and a pair in the laundry.

Right now, I have one other completed gift. Another is nearly done. Then I have a number of other things in various early stages of development. Cryptic as that is, it's all I can tell you for now.

So I'll leave you with a gratuitous shot of baked goods, in this case a caramel cake, and wish you all happy crafting!

Friday, November 21, 2008

One Project Done

Today I finally got around to finishing up the dish and bone that go along with this puppy (pattern by Jean Greenhowe). Meital has had the puppy for a while now, but the project didn't feel complete to me until I'd finished the accessories. Now I'm trying to figure out if I should make her another toy as a surprise for Chanukah, or maybe give her something to wear (fingerless mitts?).

Meanwhile, I'm working on another gift that is coming along nicely. I've managed a few rounds on Avi's second sock today, but I really need a nice long chunk of time. He needs to go to Jerusalem again on Sunday, so I hope that will be my opportunity. I have an idea for another gift, which I will start as soon as I finish the other one. Sorry to be so vague, but I don't know if potential recipients are reading this blog.

The cookies have been a big hit (no surprise there, I guess). And other than that, the only thing I have to tell you is that this little guy

has been waking us up at about five every morning this week (kingfishers have quite a raucous call when they're in flight).

I hope to have more baked goodies to share with you tomorrow (wish I could share them in person!).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stash Enhancement

A couple of days ago, Avi and I went to a bakers' supply store called Mr. Cake, where they often have all kinds of products and supplies that you just can't find anywhere else. I came home with a big bag of Belgian milk chocolate for melting, peanut butter mini-chips and caramel mini-chips. The last two items were new since the last time I'd visited Mr. Cake, and I was thrilled to see them, since I have a whole bunch of recipes I've been wanting to try that called for those items.

Today, I made 12 dozen peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies, some of which were then dipped in the melted Belgian chocolate. I must say, in all honesty and modesty: YUM. I left a fair number of cookies nude, however; they will be easier to take to school and share with friends that way.

I've also been working on socks, sweaters and other items I'd like to finish up within the next month. No progress photos, because right now I'm in the Slough of Despond, feeling like no matter how much I knit, I'm not making any progress! Hopefully I'll get past that over the weekend.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cookies Interruptus

Now, see...that's what I'm talking about. I tried to be a responsible adult, and look where that got me.

I did all my chores (well, most of them) like a real, honest to goodness grown up. Then I went to make another one of those huge batches of chocolate chip cookies. Didn't really notice the time, except to realize that now I had some available.

There I am, innocently minding my own business, creaming the butter and sugar together in the good old Kitchen Aid, mixing together my dry ingredients like a proper little baker, when...all of a sudden...

Avi walks in the kitchen and says, "Are you sure this is the best time to make cookies?" (Pirates of the Caribbean aside: too bad he didn't say, "You don't want to be doin' that, mate." But oh well).

"Um..." said I, with my typical brilliance. I looked at the clock. Oh. Three in the afternoon. And I'm the one who asked Avi to make a roasted chicken for dinner. Check.

So, I finished up the dough and stuck it in the fridge. Avi's down there now, wrapping up the bird to put it in the oven to slow cook (it's wrapped in foil so it will stay juicy). And I will be making cookies after dinner, instead of before.


And on a different note, I give you:

My Go Team! socks (pattern available here). Of course, mine say Maccabi Tel Aviv. But you knew that they would.

And to further satisfy your sockish cravings, I present the first completed Chanukah sock for Avi (need to cast on the second one) and the start of a sock for Meital. The yarn was a gift from a sweet friend (thanks, Ellen!).

And that's it from here. Wish I had a cookie (grumble, mumble...).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Don't Wanna Grow Up

I am very lucky to have a family who doesn't complain when I'd rather bake pecan bars (with and without chocolate on top) than make dinner - though today I did both - or knit stuff instead of dusting the living room.

Because if you give me even the slightest opportunity to choose, I will always do what is fun, rather than what is responsible.

Today I did some of both, though, as mentioned in paragraph one. In addition to knitting and baking, I mended clothes, did laundry, and finally, at long last...

...updated Liat's denim jacket. The four patches I sewed on today were purchased on our 2007 vacation. We bought the jacket itself in Maine in 2006, and Liat had the brilliant idea of displaying her patch collection (a work in progress) on the back. Too bad she doesn't have patches from all of our trips - it would have made a cool record of all of our destinations. Even so, it's a fun piece of clothing. Too bad sewing the patches on is anything but fun. At least that's done until we take another trip.

Of course, the list of things I didn't get done today doesn't bear mentioning. But after all, I need to leave something for tomorrow's To Do list.

Friday, November 7, 2008

On the Mend

Although I've still got the sniffles (and a bit of a cough) I feel much better. Want proof?

Last night I made these Double Chocolate Brownie Cookies, from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, 365 Great Chocolate Desserts by Natalie Haughton. You've got melted chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and more chocolate chips in these babies. They are soft and extremely chocolatey. Want a bite?

The recipe calls for chopped pecans, but I didn't use any because Meital doesn't like them. I think next time I will include them, because I think they would add that something special...

Today I attached the photos of the new players onto Liat's Maccabi bag. I know, it doesn't look all that different, but trust me: those in the know, know. See that one empty spot? I think soon there will be some changes made in the roster, so I have left one spot open.

Other than that, I've done some translation work, some housework, and just a wee tiny bit of knitting. I've thought quite a bit about stamping, but haven't accomplished anything in that area...yet.

But tomorrow is Saturday, and I've got high hopes...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

From the Sick Bay*

Yep, I'm struggling with my second bad cold in two months. What fun. I'd been planning to post for awhile, but haven't had the energy. Here's a little of what I've been doing (the stuff that's worth sharing, at any rate).

While searching for the small umbrella I know Liat bought last winter, I ended up cleaning out the bottom of her closet. Aside from the dust bunnies and dessicated bug corpses, I found four pairs of sneakers that were too small for her. Luckily, three of those pairs still fit Meital, who is now enjoying them. I also cleaned out several rather ratty pairs of slippers, and these plastic scuffs. Liat and I each got a pair of these a few years ago (mine are pink). We mostly loved the beads and sequins that decorated them, but it also turned out they were perfect for wearing outside by the pool, since any overflow of pool water wouldn't hurt the plastic. But as you can see, the plastic didn't hold up too well in the toe area.

You know I wouldn't let these scuffs go into the trash without salvaging all that bling, right? While some of the sequins are losing their pearlescent coating, most are just fine. Now I need to get busy de-nuding my scuffs. Wonder how Liat and I will end up using all this bounty?

I've also been knitting. As you can see, I'm past the heel now on Avi's first Chanukah sock (in Opal, of course). I am trying to work on these without his noticing, but Liat thinks he is on to me. We'll find out next month. I just turned the heel today on my second "Go Team" sock (pattern is from the Six Sox Knitalong Yahoo group). Of course, my socks say Maccabi Tel Aviv! (but you knew that). Originally, I ordered two balls of yellow and two of blue (this is Knit Picks Palette), specifically to make this pattern. Unfortunately, somehow my order got turned around (I had to order through a friend, as Knit Picks doesn't ship internationally) and I only got one of each color. My friend suggested doing the socks this way, and I think it was a brilliant idea on her part. And finally, the green (Plymouth Encore) sweater back you see there is the start of Meital's Starsky Jr. sweater. Once I can manage to keep a thought in my head, I plan to get back to work on that. But for now, I'm sticking with good old stockinette.

It's for the best, trust me.

*Sick Bay

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's Goin' On?

Yet another song reference... Can't think of anything better, unfortunately. Here is the baby cardigan I showed you before, all done except for the buttons. I used some of the yarn Meital swore she absolutely had to have when we were in a fabulous yarn shop in Oklahoma City in 2007. She graciously allowed me to use her yarn to make this sweater, and I promised her I would save it for if/when she has a baby. I will wait until that happy day before finishing the sweater by adding buttons.

I have also finished the first of my pair of socks, and hope to share a photo soon. I cast on but haven't started knitting the second sock. I got sidetracked between Meital's English homework, a burst pipe in the girls' bathroom, and making tomato sauce for tonight's dinner.

Yes, my life is glamorous and full of non-stop excitement. Thanks for noticing!

Other recent activity includes working on Meital's Starsky Jr. sweater and a bit on my top-down raglan sweater.

Aside from all that, I am busy working on the editing and translating of a special project for Maccabi Tel Aviv. I also write/translate for their website (I know you remember!).

I also made approximately 1,702 chocolate chip cookies yesterday...some of which I gave to Meital's friends, who were over to work on a project for school. Most of the rest will be handed out to the girls' friends at school.

What I really need to do is start thinking about stamping up some holiday cards. I have a couple of ideas, now I just need to find the time to settle down in my stamping room and see if they work or not.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Special Visitors

I had to smile when I read Alison's post on Thursday. The timing was just perfect. Because today, we were honored to have two very special guests in our home, cousins Birgit (above) and Ruth (below). Birgit and Ruth, who are sisters, are visiting in Israel from Sweden. And they are my father's second cousins.

I think I am the first in my family to meet these two delightful ladies. We had such a wonderful time, talking and laughing together. I had prepared a list of questions (yeah, that's the way I am), but as it turned out, I somehow or other already had the answers to most of them in my files. Clearly, I didn't prepare enough beforehand. But I learned a bit more about this branch of the family. More important, we met two truly wonderful people and had a terrific time together.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Feeling Papa Maxish

My maternal grandfather, Max Kameny (shown here with my grandmother in a photo from the mid-1970s), was a wonderful man, playful and generous, smart and opinionated, and always sure he was right. He also loved to fix things himself. Sometimes he was more successful than other times, but he always tried his best and had the best of intentions.

So today, when I finally got around to yet another home improvement project I've been meaning to accomplish, I thought of my Papa Max. I think he would be proud, not only of my efforts but of the fact that I didn't have to buy anything in order to complete it!

We've had our dining room set (purchased at Scandinavian Design or some such place) for about 19 years. As you can see, the chair seats were not only showing their age, they were in the process of spilling their guts and dying a painful, highly visible death (the dining area can be seen from our living room, so trying to feed guests from the coffee table wouldn't have helped avoid the shame and embarrassment).

After spending a great deal of time thinking about buying fabric to recover the chairs, consulting friends and relatives about the appropriate place to locate such cloth, and agonizing over the fact that I had not yet actually acquired anything, I finally decided to see whether the fabric I bought for a large-scale cross stitching project about 10 years ago (possibly more) might not fit the bill. It did, and it didn't. I feel (and luckily for me, Avi agrees) that this fabric is perfect, and I wouldn't have found anything better had I indeed gone shopping. However, I only had enough cloth to cover the seats of four chairs (of a set of eight). Once again luckily for me, only four chairs were in a state that absolutely demanded instant action.

Avi is so pleased with the results, he has asked me to go back to the same store (my lucky streak continues, because I remember exactly where I got this fabric) and get enough to cover the remaining seats, plus all the chair backs (they don't actually need it, but like me he is a proponent of the old matchy-matchy). I rather doubt my luck will extend to the store having the identical fabric in stock after all this time, but that's out of my hands.

That's not all I did today! I knitted a bit, worked in the garden, translated yet another article for the basketball team's website, changed all the sheets and did laundry. Right now I'm relaxing in front of the computer with a lovely glass of Shiraz Cabernet, and hoping all of you are having a fun and productive day, too.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Today was rather a boring day, spent doing such stimulating things as mending ripped pockets and giving the bags I've made for Liat a going over (reinforce felted strap on Doll Bag, remove players no longer with the team from her Maccabi bag). I also did laundry and ironing.

What? You're still awake?

I did finish up the Jean Greenhowe puppy for Meital, but will wait to introduce him to you until he has his "accessories" - a bone and water bowl, of course! I also worked a smidgeon on my current sock. And I worked in the garden.

An althogether thrilling and blog-worthy day, no?



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Reveal and Repurpose

Hello everyone! Just crawling out of the bag of chocolates where I've been hiding to say, yes I'm still alive. Now that my niece has had her birthday (and has opened her gifts) I can finally reveal the things I made for her. Above is a fun gadget called a Stitch a Mug. The plastic mug and liner pop apart and you can add a decorated insert. It comes with a precut piece of plastic cross stitch canvas, which is what I used. I changed the colors in the design of an augury that I found in one of my many cross stitch booklets so that it would have teal, which is my niece's favorite color. Her initials are on the other side.

Then I decided that she also really, really needed a piece of birthday cake! This was quick and easy to knit up. The only change I made (if I remember correctly, since it's been a month!) is that instead of knitting a candle out of I-cord, I knit a thin strip and sewed it around a cut-down drinking straw (a la Jean Greenhowe, who is absolutely the cleverest toy knitter out there, as far as I know).

Another something I did a while ago was search out a way to reuse the clear plastic caps that come with the current favorite ice cream treat here at Bag of Chocolates.

I came up with a sort of mini-shrine idea. I had seen something done with a tuna can at Ten Two Studios, and had - once upon a dream - saved a washed and scrubbed tuna can for transforming into a shrine. Never happened. I ended up tossing out the can. But for some reason this tiny little cap seemed to work for me. I also use some of these for paint palettes for those liquid acrylic craft paints, but I've already got a million things that work for those. In any event, I backed the cap with a circle of leftover painted and stamped cardstock that I'd saved for oh, about forever, from another project. Glued in the lovely lady (who was missing half of her face for some reason - she came that way) from Collage Stuff. Glued part of a fish tail from an advertising circular for a pet shop over the flat part of her face. Added sand from our local beach and shells that were originally on a necklace that no one ever wanted to wear. The little pearl-like beads were part of a piece of costume jewelry that (do you detect a theme here?) no one wanted to wear. The ship's wheel charm also came from Collage Stuff.

I have a feeling I could have a lot of fun with these, once I get back to them. Meanwhile, I've got a bunch of Halloween cards that really need to go in the mail, birthday cards to make, and a second something or other to come up with for my niece (she of the knee socks) for her upcoming birthday. I hope to have some finished things to show you soon: I have one sleeve left to knit on the baby cardigan, am sewing up the Jean Greenhowe puppy for Meital, and have some super-cool socks on the needles (for me!), as well as the 17.33 other projects in the works. Time to come out of hibernation and get busy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy Dancin'

Oh, yeah. I am SO happy to be finished with these knee socks for my niece! They really are the same length, they just don't look that way in this photo.

Here is a close up of the increases for the calf. Quite a long time ago I posted about how ugly my increases were turning out, and how I ripped back and started them again. I am so glad I did.

Interesting facts about these socks (well, they're interesting to me, anyway!):

* I used three 50 gram skeins of Regia Nation Colors yarn, and about one third of a fourth skein.
* Also used an undetermined amount of plain blue Opal yarn for the heels and ribbing.
* I started the first sock on June 5, 2008, originally working from a pattern which quickly revealed itself to be less than useless. I then spent quite a few weeks avoiding the sock, doing the math for the sock, avoiding the sock some more, avoiding the math, redoing the math, avoiding the sock, and so on. And on.
* Finally finished the first sock on September 28.
* Started the second sock on September 28.
* Finished the second sock on October 15.

Now, if that's not pathetic, I don't know what is. I had the first sock on the needles for 16 and a half weeks. Once I had finally figured out all the math and realized I didn't need to fear the sock, I was able to start and complete the second sock in 2 and a half weeks!

Oh well.

Once I had finished the socks, I took the photos then ran through the house, waving them in the air and shouting, "They're done! They're done!" If you don't believe me, ask Avi's friend in Sweden, with whom he was chatting (and using his webcam) when I rushed into the room.

Then, do you know what I did?

Yep. I cast on for a new pair of socks! For me this time, cuff down and fairly standard, except they call for stranded color work, which should be fun and only mildly challenging (remember the Doll Bag?).

Then later on, I did something I've never done in the 2+ years I've been knitting socks. I cast on for a different pair of socks. Plain 2 x 2 ribbing. For Avi, for Chanukah. He will see me working on my socks, and I will only work on his when I know he won't see them. So I've got stealth knitting and camouflage knitting going on at the same time.

Pretty cool.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tag and Pocket

I've been up to all sorts of things, and here is a glimpse at some of it. Above is a pocket and tag set; I copied the idea from a thread on Club Posh. Since the pockets are not yet available for sale, I tried creating my own. All stamps by Dee Gruenig, images colored with Marvy markers.

Here I did a more vintage version. I am so in love with my Distress Inks by Ranger, I just had to use them! The original is more yellow/orange than it appears here. Again, all images by Dee Gruenig, and available at Sunday International, on the fabulous EZ Mount.

I've made a few other things lately, but I'm less pleased with them. I do like the background I made here. I sprayed watercolor paper with water, then with Adirondack Color Wash, then smooshed a piece of plastic wrap on top and let it dry. Love the cool effect, which is why I didn't go to too much trouble covering it all up. Can you guess what the message inside says?

I've also been hard at work on the knee sock, and have finished the calf increases. Now I am going to start decreasing toward the knee, then all that will be left is the ribbed area at the top and the afterthought heel! Tomorrow, we're going to Jerusalem, which of course means lots of sock knitting time, and no stamping time.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Spinning my Wheels

I spent most of the day in my stamping room, and the only thing I have to show you is something I finished yesterday! I'm nearly done with a few things that I worked on today, but one I want to submit to a magazine, and the others... Well, I'm not happy with them yet. Plus they're not really finished. Even if I hate them I will probably post them for your reviews next time.

The piece above is something I made in response to a challenge on the Ranger Ink Link group. The theme is harvest, so I got to thinking about my genealogy work and what it means to me, and came up with this piece, which I call Harvest Your Memories. The women in the art are my great grandmother and her sisters; the photos were taken in Russia in the early 1900s. I really enjoyed making this piece, playing with my new Distress and Adirondack inks and thinking about my ancestors. Maybe one of the reasons I feel so blah about today's creations is that I am using either purchased collage art or free downloads from the Internet. Hmm, I'll have to think about that...

Yesterday I took a little dip in the frog pond; spotted a misplaced increase in the knee sock and ripped back about an inch and a half. It took me all day (well, in between bouts in the stamping room) but I finally got back to where I'd been when I spotted the boo-boo. I am now more than halfway done with the calf increases. If I keep at it, I feel confident I can get these socks packed up and in the mail to my niece by the end of this month (uh oh...did I just tempt fate with that statement??).

Tomorrow is Yom Kippur, also called the Day of Atonement, the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar. It is a day for reflection and soul searching. Many people fast, and many also spend much of the day at services in the synagogue. I wish for my friends who observe the day an easy fast, and may we all be sealed in the Book of Life.

Monday, October 6, 2008

This is Only a Test

Several weeks ago, I started wondering which of my dye based inks truly lasted, and which faded over time. I ran a test; then a couple of weeks later, I ran another one using different colors. I stamped the images, then noted which companies the inks came from. Then I left the paper out on my stamping desk, where it was exposed to both direct and indirect sunlight. Today, I stamped the images again, below the first set, so I could compare. Above you see the results. In the first set (the leaves), I used Adirondack, Close to My Heart, and Marvy. In the second set, I used Distress Ink, Close to My Heart, and Marvy.

As you can see, which inks faded was perhaps more a matter of tone than company. The colors are pretty off on the leaf set, and I'm not positive I used the exact same Marvy color on the leaf I stamped today. Oops. Anyway, I guess it's more a matter of trial and error. Except that I do think those inks that claim to be fade-resistant have a better chance of staying true over time.

Today, when Liat brought in the mail, I was suprised to see an envelope from Scott Publications. Turns out they sent me a contributor's copy of Just Cards, volume 11, which is where my bees and apples card was published. I was delighted to have a new stamping magazine to browse through. But imagine my surprise when I realized there was another of my cards in the magazine! Pretty cool.

I spent part of the day working on some more backgrounds and cards. In fact, I should go and check on how my version of the tie dye paper towel background came out (if you follow the link, scroll down past the enormous photo in her header to see the tutorial). I didn't want to use the inks in my microwave, so I sprinkled salt on the damp paper towel instead. Hopefully, I'll show you that tomorrow.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Last in the Series

This is the fourth and last Halloween card in this series. The male model is from the same catalog as the woman in the three previous cards. The asparagus came from a circular from a grocery store. I had a couple of other, similar things at the half-way stage, but my enthusiasm has waned. I want to try taking the next set of cards in a different direction. So today I cleared off my stamping table and am set to begin again tomorrow.

I've also been knitting on my niece's second knee sock, and am about 1/4 of the way done with the increases up the calf. Now that I've finished the first sock, this one seems a lot easier. What a relief!

Well, Maccabi lost their first home game of the season last night. They put up a good fight, and ended up losing in overtime. It was a thrilling game, and we were lucky enough to have been given two tickets to the game, which meant that all four of us attended a game for the first time. The girls sat in our regular season ticket holder seats, and Avi and I sat in the gift seats, which were located in the next section over. It meant we could actually see them and make eye contact during the game, which was great.

Next week, the four of us are going with a bunch of our friends (and their kids) to see the Harlem Globetrotters. I haven't seen them in years! I am so excited for the girls to see this slice of American culture.