Thursday, January 31, 2008

Short and Sweet

I made these for Liat to take to school tomorrow, so I have no idea how they taste. They sure smell good, though. No eggs in them, which Avi likes. I will probably need to make these soon (this weekend?) for us. I changed the honey to dark corn syrup, but otherwise I pretty much made these as called for in the recipe. I hope there's enough to go around: she has 39 people in her homeroom class!

I also worked on my Waffle Weave Sock, the worsted weight sock, and my sweater today. The valentines went off in the mail, which was a good feeling. I think/hope two weeks is enough time for them to reach the recipients.

I made one card and started a second, as well. I am trying to build up a selection to send off to various stamping magazines, to see if I can get them published.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008



That pretty well sums things up here at Bag of Chocolates. Ah well, as the song goes: "Mama said there'd be days like this..."

*Same Sh*t, Different Day

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Stormy Weather

The sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house
All that cold, cold, wet day.

Dr. Seuss

Yes, today was cold, windy and stormy. It still is now that it's evening. It may not be all that different where you are.

While I was "sitting" in the house all day, I did many different things. First, Avi and I finished up another translation job. Then we completely rearranged our home office, cleaning and weeding out superfluous papers and detritus along the way. The room looks a whole lot better and is a WHOLE LOT cleaner. No photo, because...hey. It would be way boring.

Here's something else I did today. Four dozen cookies. The original recipe is called Oregon Hazelnut Oatmeal Cookies. While I'm sure Anna's version is fantabulous, Avi prefers pecans, and there's no such animal as Butter Flavored Crisco here (I know you're not surprised). As you already know, there is also no such thing as butterscotch chips, so I used my old standby, white chocolate chips. In effect, these cookies bear a striking resemblance to the other cookies I made featuring dried apricots, pecans and white chocolate chips. But these have oatmeal. That makes them much more better. Right? I haven't tasted these yet, but I suspect they will be quite tasty.

I also did a little more work on the old valentines. Not much, unfortunately. I wish I had about 47 cards all set to go, because there are so many people to whom I would love to send a valentine. I've set Thursday as my deadline; I figure fourteen days for the cards to be delivered is rather pushing my luck, but I just don't have very many cards ready yet. Though I did have an "A-hah!" moment today, when I realized that I actually have until February 13th to make cards for Avi and the girls. I tell ya, I'm so quick, I scare myself. Or something like that.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Simple Pleasures

Sometimes, you just need comfort food. Today I decided to whip up a batch of what we used to call Chocolate Sticks when I was a kid. Basically, they are chocolate chip cookies in a pan. It just doesn't get any more comforting than that.

Another good thing that happened today was that I got my order of dishcloth cotton yarn. Plain cotton yarn, at $1.12 per skein. That, too, is comforting.

Meital and I both cast on for washcloths this evening. I am making the blue one for Liat, Meital is making the pink one for herself. This is her first washcloth and she is thrilled to be able to make something so pretty and easy. She told me she thinks she's becoming addicted to knitting washcloths! Now that goes beyond pleasure, and straight into nirvana.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Something for Everyone

Today was a busy and productive day. First I did a little of this. More bran muffins, back by popular demand.

Then I finished these. This is the pair I made based on Ann's pattern. They are the fourth pair of slippers I've made so far for the Cheyenne River Reservation. I've started a pair of worsted weight socks in the same red you see in these slippers.

Then I got this ATC done for my wonderful friend Sandy. The Hebrew word says "ahavah," which means "love."

I even found the time to make these. I'm not sure, but I think I need to get another 47.25 valentines done before the end of the week. For some reason, snail mail doesn't fly across the Atlantic at quite the same speed as, say, an E-mail. Or even a carrier pidgeon. Oh, and you can rest assured that the card on the right will have an extremely corny, not to mention punny, Valentine's Day message inside. I'm a traditionalist, after all...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

You Make My Day

The idea of the Make My Day award is to name up to ten people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration. You are supposed to let them know you've given them the award by posting in their comments.

I read many blogs, some every day, others I check in on every couple of days. Some of the people I've actually gotten to know on the Internet, and consider them my friends. Some friends seem to be taking a break from blogging; if they haven't posted lately, I didn't mention them, though I do still check their blogs and hope they will start up again.

Here are my picks, listed in alphabetical order:

Cookie Madness I don't know Anna personally, but she offers up a deliciously delightful array of fantastic recipes, sure to tickle your sweet tooth. She writes beautifully, and her recipes are clear and beautifully autographed.

Jill Jill is a friend I met on Yahoo 360. Like me, she has become disillusioned with them, and has made the switch to Blogger. It's always a pleasure to stop in and see what Jill is up to. She is a warm and supportive friend.

Joansie Joansie is a wonderful lady, one of my earliest blog friends from my days on Yahoo 360. The big frustration of my relationship with Joansie is that I met her right *after* I visited in her home town. How I wish I had known her while we were there. What a fabulous time we would have had! Joansie does beautiful work.

Karin Karin is a friend I met on Knit Talk. She has a sweet manner to her, and makes her support known in an understated way that is like a warm glow in the heart. When I read her blog it is like reading a letter from a long-time friend.

Lizzie Lizzie is straightforward and has a fabulous way of putting things. She is a devoted mother and grandmother, and always has projects on the needles for those she loves. She does plenty of charity crafting, too. She finds all kinds of great websites and patterns, and shares them with her readers.

Pioneer Woman Ree is another person I don't know personally, but she is a hoot and a half! Her blog is positively addictive. She generously shares hilarious stories about her life on a ranch, and takes glorious photographs. Be sure to check out her cooking blog, too. I check in on the Pioneer Woman several times a day, in the hopes there'll be something new.

Sheep Shots Ann is another tell-it-like-it-is person. She's got a marvelously blunt way of expressing herself, and is one of the most generous knitters/bloggers I've come across. She really inspires me to do more than I think I can for others in need, though I bet she'd be surprised to hear it.

Spin Dye Knit I have been very lucky to get to know Alison a bit online, through Knit Talk. No one spins a tale better than Alison. A visit to her blog will touch your heart and make you see the world in a whole new way. Talk about an inspiration! She is an extremely talented knitter and designer, and is author of the book Wrapped in Comfort.

Yarn Harlot I don't know Stephanie, and am really just one of thousands of lurkers on her blog, but I love the way she writes, and check in on her blog every day. She makes me laugh, and she makes me think. She challenges me to try things I never thought I could do, knitting-wise.

So that's my list. There are many other people I could mention, but then I wouldn't be able to stop at 10 (or 9, which is how many I have here). The blogging community is a fascinating and wonderful place, don't you think?

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Good Stuff

If life were only all about socks and cookies! Here is a closeup of my new pair of socks in progress, the Waffle Weave Socks by the talented and delightful Judy Sumner. Isn't the pattern cool? I am just tickled... well... yellow, by these socks! The yarn is Lana Grossa Meilenweit, one of my souveniers from this past summer's yarn crawl, uh, I mean trip to the U.S. It's not a perfect match for our team's colors, but it's good enough for government work (as the saying goes).

I also found time for these Super Small Batch Extra Large Chunk Cookies. Meital calls them "Children's Treasure" because there are so many good things hidden inside the cookies. I used white and bittersweet chocolate chips, chunks from a milk chocolate candy bar, M&Ms, and Oreo Cookies inside. I ended up getting six cookies (instead of the four mentioned in the recipe) out of the batch. My kids (and one of Liat's friends) LOVE these, and I will likely make them again. I'm thinking they might be good bake sale items for next year's graduation party fundraisers for the sixth graders (Meital is in fifth grade now).

I had a hard time shaping a perfect "log" of dough, so my cookies came out rather lopsided. For some strange reason, no one seemed to mind....

I wish you all a day of hand knit socks and warm, delicious cookies!

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Okay, that's not a real word. But you knew that, didn't you?

I actually managed to get my vest finished, and wore it to the game tonight. Avi was very proud of me, and bragged to the man sitting behind him about it. This is the same man who commented a few weeks ago about my knitting socks during halftime. He'd said that it had been years (a hundred at least) since he'd seen anyone knitting. He seemed very pleased to know that I was carrying on the tradition. A charming gentleman.

This vest has a complex and murky background. Basically, I got the idea for it from a sweater I saw in an old Knit 'n Style magazine. Their version was in pale yellow and pale lavender, done in garter stitch with the two-color cable up the front. After learning from some knowledgeable knitting friends that garter stitch can get very stretched out and unappealing, I opted for stockinette. I put two purls on either side of the 6 stitch cable. I changed the colors, obviously, and didn't make the sleeves. In the end, I followed the basic sweater pattern in Ann Budd's book, The Knitters Handy Book of Patterns, and just used the two color and center cable idea from the magazine. The sweater was very easy to knit, except for the cable. Every time the colors switched over so that the yellow cable was on the blue background, and vice versa, I had to carry the yarn across in floats, as you do with colorwork or fair isle knitting. Not difficult so much as a bit fiddly. The sewing up made me miserable, of course. I think tomorrow I'll cast on for a top-down, knit in the round raglan pattern from Knitting Pure & Simple. I could really go for knitting more seamless items.

Naturally, I still need to finish up the second colorful "Ann" slipper, the TSGFSVS, and of course my current sock, the Waffle Weave Sock pattern from Knoxsocks Designs.

I even made time today to translate another article, do my weekly volunteer gig at the community center, and make these:

These are One Bowl Cheerios Muffins. I didn't have enough plain yogurt, so I made up the difference with some capuccino yogurt I had on hand. I also didn't have cinnamon chips, so I fell back on Old Reliable: White Chocolate Chips. These are very tasty, but came out rather moister than I am used to in a muffin. Unless someone in my family tells me they adore them, I may not make them again for awhile. Unless, of course, I try a few substitutions...

Oh, and by the way? We won the game.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Work is Good

That's what I keep telling myself, anyway. Especially when my gaze falls on my vest, stuck all day at row 154, a mere 4 rows shy of completion! First there was an editing job, then a combination editing/translating job. Interesting stuff, and an enjoyable challenge. But as the saying (perhaps quoted in an earlier post?) goes: "I like work, but it sure breaks up the day." In my case, it would be, "I like work, but it sure disrupts my knitting schedule!"

Ah well, now the work is done and I can finish up the knitting. Tomorrow, I am determined to get the vest sewn together and ready to wear. There will be photos. Or so I fervently hope.

And if I'm very lucky, there will also be muffins...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

We Have a Neckline

Whew! I am delighted to report that the vest is coming along beautifully thus far. As you can see, I have started the neckline decreases. Since I have been using a row counter, I know that I have about 32 more ever-decreasing rows left to knit. I will, of course, still need to steam block and sew it together. I have been doing a ribbed edge at the armholes, and am hoping to get away with not having to knit on some kind of finishing edge there.

And in honor of today being Tu B'Shvat, I baked some cookies. These are called White Chocolate, Apricot, Almond Chunk Cookies, but since Avi doesn't like almonds all that much, I used pecans instead. We also didn't have white chocolate bars, so I used chips. These spread out a bit more than I'd hoped, but they are extremely tasty. Happy New Year of the Trees!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Vested Interest

I've spent much of the day knitting on the front of my vest. Whenever I stopped to take a break, Avi would point at the couch and tell me to get back to work! He scoffs in the face of my conviction that there's no way I can finish the vest by Thursday evening. He even wanted to make a bet on it.

In the face of his enthusiasm and belief in me as a knitter (wow, did I really just type that?!), I feel I must forge on as best I can and see whether or not he is right. He so often tells me that he is always right, which in itself would normally leave me determined to prove him wrong. But since it's also in my own interests to play along, that's what I'm going to do.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have another 92 more rows to knit on my vest.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Of Socks and Things

Here are the socks I made for my mother-in-law. The yarn is Knit Pick's Simple Stripe, which was discontinued a while ago. I ended up making four pairs of socks with this yarn, in four different colorways, and I think these are my favorites. Now, to knit up more of the yarn in my stash! I started a pair of yellow socks for me, and am going to be doing Judy Sumner's Waffle Weave pattern. I'm looking forward to those, but first I want to finish up my vest.

Speaking of that, I've made very little progress so far today. We got an unexpected rush translation job, which took up far too much time this afternoon. Oh well, some people actually spend something like 8 hours a day, five days a week, working. Or, so I'm told.

What I have done on the front of the vest so far, I'm not wild about. The cable looks too narrow to me, but I don't know if I want to bother to rip back and start again, just change things starting in the current row, or forge on ahead, pretending, er...hoping things will look better the more I knit.

I finished up the washcloth for Liat's friend this morning, so that was one positive thing. I am delighted to be able to tell you that Liat actually knit two rows on the cloth. She hadn't picked up knitting needles in years, but she still remembered what to do. I may make a knitter of her yet, though she insisted she just wanted to be able to tell her friend she helped make the cloth.

That was the last of my dishcloth cotton, but I went online and made a yarn pig out of myself last night, so nine new skeins should be joining the stash at some point.

I also made more bran muffins today, a double batch. The first batch barely lasted two days. Oh, and I mailed off the cards to Keiki Cards.

I guess the only thing I didn't accomplish today was working on my vest!

Saturday, January 19, 2008


The bigger your hurry, the more likely you are to make mistakes. Last night I picked up my vest, determined to finish up the back piece and get started on the front. Then I noticed my little problem. The photo shows the inside of the vest. If you follow the line of yellow and blue loops up the middle, you'll notice there's a point at which I did not pick up the yellow yarn from under the blue. It wasn't that obvious from the outside of the sweater (the part that is on public view). But I knew it would bother me. Often, I can fix a problem that has occurred a few rows back by dropping one stitch down row by row, then picking the stitches back up again (like going up and down a ladder). That wouldn't have worked in this case, because I needed to wrap the working yarn. So I tinked (in case you didn't know or notice, "tink" is "knit" spelled backwards) back four and a half rows of 88 stitches each. Took awhile, but I fixed the problem and got back on track.

But what I didn't do was finish the vest back last night. Today we were in Jerusalem and I didn't bring the vest. Instead, I finished the socks for my mother-in-law (photo tomorrow). Now I'm going to go work on the vest, and see if I can get this back piece done. Finally.

I'm beginning to have doubts as to whether I'll have time to make the front of the vest, steam block the pieces and sew it together before, say, 6:45 p.m. on Thursday. What do you think my chances are?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday Falderol

What could be better on a freezing Friday afternoon than some fabulous, fresh On the Fence Brownies? These are as fantastic as they are fattening. Frivolous, yet filling. And of course, brownies never go out of fashion!

Today was a another good day. I worked on MIL's sock, on the slipper for the Rez, and on the TSGFSVS. I have yet to work on my vest, the saying goes...the night is young! I have also received a commission from Liat: a washcloth for a friend of hers who has a birthday next week. This project will, no doubt, finish off the last of my dishcloth cotton. Sigh... I suppose now I will be forced to purchase some more... Oh, the agony! (NOT)

Here is a gratuitous shot of my little corner of the living room. I have a friend who refers to her spot as her "nest" and I like that very much. So, this is my nest. As you can see, I have no qualms about leaving out my various projects. Just one of the advantages of declaring your home a toddler- and pet-free zone. Of course, if the day should come, say 10 or so years from now, I would not be averse to the notion of childproofing my home so as to accomodate the younger set.

I also managed a wee bit of cardmaking and rubber stamping. Not too shabby. Friday felicitations to all!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cards and Muffins

I've been busy making cards for Keiki Cards lately. These are sort of a Spring theme.

And these are... well, isn't it obvious? Found the template for the shamrock online at the website. Family Crafting, or some such thing.

I also made these bran muffins today. They are absolutely devoid of even the tiniest possible "wow" factor. I believe naming the source of the recipe will cause any mild interest you may have in the recipe to evaporate: The Jewish Low-Cholesterol Cookbook, by Roberta Leviton. I would like to mention, however, that these are in fact absolutely delicious. And super-easy to make. They make a more-than-acceptable breakfast, and are perfect for travel snacks. Of course, all of the above doesn't mean that I won't be making something incredibly decadent tomorrow!

I also volunteered at the community center today. A couple of weeks have gone by since the last time I was there. The kids asked why I hadn't come. There was a new program director, as well. So much can happen in a few short weeks! But the kids are truly in need of something to do once homework is completed. Otherwise there is lots of yelling and fights over petty things. I am planning to come up with a project or two for them. Last year, I taught the kids how to make Artist Trading Cards, and arranged for swaps with kids in the U.S. Maybe this year I could have at least some of the kids make cards either for children with chronic diseases or for elderly inhabitants of old age homes.

That was my day today.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Around the House

Let's wander into Liat's room for awhile, shall we? She's off at school and will never even know we've been here. This is the door to her room. As you can see, she considers her door a work-in-progress. She's fairly satisfied with the outside, and has started collaging the inside, as well. I'm not sure if you can see in the photo, but Captain Jack Sparrow is a clear favorite.

Here's what you see when you stand in the doorway. For some strange reason, I tend to find all kinds of excuses to wander into Liat's room throughout the day. I wonder why that would be?

Now, I think this is ingenious and even almost fiendishly clever. Liat puts up these sticky notes to remind herself of upcoming tests. One note per test. At present, these notes go all the way across her wall-mounted bookshelf. The kid has got a whole lot of exams coming up.

And what's this? Ah yes, the book Liat is currently reading in Hebrew (she's reading a novel by Lawrence Block in English). She took this book out of the school library just the other day. I will be very interested to hear what she thinks of it. I'm sure almost all of you have read this book. Did you enjoy it? When I read it, I really didn't understand what all the fuss was about. I suppose I ought to read it again. In English, of course. What is it? Just a little novel called The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger.

Okay, that's enough about Liat. I simply must show you my greatest achievement of the day. It's pretty outstanding. I hope you won't be jealous and get upset with me. After all, not everyone gets to do something this exciting right smack dab in the middle of the week.

I cleaned out the kitchen junk drawer.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Working Hard - Hardly Knitting

Good thing I showed you my progress photo a day early. I've spent most of today working, either doing actual translations or taking care of various details involved in running the business. So... much work, little knitting.

I did make, per Liat's request, another batch of Can't Stop cookies. No photo this time because, hey...if you've seen one Can't Stop cookie, well, you know the drill.

I am working on the heel flap of the sock, and am about halfway through the cuff on the slipper. And that's it so far today on the knitting front. I have high hopes for this evening, though. Let's not forget my vest is on a deadline!

I'm having a great time reading through the archives on this blog. She is witty, has an unusual slant on things, takes fantastic photos, and lives a life that is worlds apart from mine. What's not to enjoy?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Progress Report

Normally, I like to give progress updates on the 15th of the month, but I went ahead and called for this photo shoot today. I wonder what the heck I'll post about tomorrow? Anyway...

Today I began the armhole decreases on my yellow and blue vest. I am going to try to have the vest finished and ready to wear on January 24th, when our team plays against Milan at home. Having a do-able deadline is really going to get me moving on this project.

I finished the main part of the first colorful slipper. I plan to guessed it...ribbing round the ankle. Then I'll discover whether or not I can replicate this marvel of colorwork.

Here's what it looked like on the inside, before I wove all those ends in. Talk about a whole barrel of fun? This ain't it, kid.

The second sock for my mother-in-law is just shy of the heel flap. Once I hit the stockinette foot, it will practically fly off the needles. Or something like that.

Any other stray knitting you see in the photo may - or may not - be the TSGFSVS. That's for me to know, and you to find out.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Avi and I just got back from a basketball game in Tel Aviv. It was sooo cold outside! The problem with dressing appropriately to go to basketball games is, it's freezing outside and too hot inside the arena. But afterwards, as we scurried back to the car, which was parked in the farthest parking lot, I asked myself why the only thing truly keeping me warm was my hand knit socks. Oh, and my store-bought wool gloves. It's because I have yet to knit myself a hat or a neckwarmer! I really need to get on that, though I suspect that by the time I do, it will be too hot for such things. Well, there's always next season.

Meital's skit was a big success, and she thinks the group will get a good grade. This morning we did some frantic searching for a reasonable facsimile of a royal tunic, and came up with something that I quickly ironed and put into her bag along with the crown. Such a lot of fuss and preparation, for a performance that probably lasted less than 5 minutes. Oh well, I think the only thing I regret is that I wasn't allowed to see it.

Today was busy, work-wise. This is becoming more and more the norm, which is fabulous. I also managed to squeeze in some knitting on the current sock (still the second one for my MIL), the slipper (still the first in a pair that aspires to be beautiful like Ann's), and the Top Secret Gift for Someone Very Special (TSGFSVS). Once again, my vest (I've definitely decided it's going to be a vest, especially after experiencing the heat in the basketball arena again tonight) didn't make the cut. I have to agree with my friend Liz, who told me I need to set a deadline for that project, to make sure I do end up getting it done. I wonder if a week from Thursday (the next time we have a home Euroleague game) is a reasonable deadline? Maybe I'll just have to see what I can do.

And maybe I can do something about my apparent addiction to parentheses. Hmmm...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Fit for a King

Today I made a crown. I think sometimes being a mom means being part Imagin**r (those folks who come up with all the creative stuff for The Mouse. Nuff said, I don't want to be sued...). This particular piece of headgear is made up of a recycled Corn Flakes box, some fairly new gold foil paper I picked up at Office Depot because it looked cool, and some ribbon that most likely was purchased about 13 years ago. I'm sure you're not surprised to learn that I am the kind of person who hates to throw something away, because someday it might come in handy. In the end, it always does.

Now, you might be asking why I made a crown. Well, you never know just when you might need an elegant, yet lightweight, symbol of your regal-ness. Of course, if they rang my doorbell right now and begged me to become Empress of the Universe, I would, naturally, decline. After all, most Empresses done have time to knit, now do they? The real reason I made the crown is that Meital and some friends are performing a skit for their Bible class tomorrow. Meital wrote the script, and plays the part of King Saul.

Another thing Empresses don't have time to do is bake Cranberry-Raisin Oatmeal Cookies. These are a heck of a lot of work (there are 18 ingredients listed!), but they are worth it. Really a delicious, substantial cookie.

Hmmm, maybe once Meital's skit is done, I could crown myself Empress of Cookies. That would work.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Good Day

Today was a pretty darned good day, overall. It was the kind of day that is a hodge podge of things, just the way I like it (there we are, back to that box of chocolates a la Forrest Gump).

One of the things I did today was make these. We don't have butterscotch chips in this country, at least not anywhere I was able to look. So I substituted what passes for white chocolate chips around here. Next time, I think I'll just go for the chocolate. These are quite yummy, and the nice thing about them is that they'll be a good summertime treat, since they do not need to be baked.

Another thing I made today was this. It will go out in Sunday's mail (no mail here on Saturdays) to a friend of mine who was in a (thankfully not too serious) car accident a while ago.

I also found the time to finish these. This is the third pair of slippers I have made so far for the Cheyenne River Reservation. I used the pattern here, with the modification that I added my usual short, ribbed cuff. They look rather enormously wide for their length, but I am sure they will stretch and be able to accomodate someone.

I now finally have the opportunity to cast on a pair of slippers using Ann's recipe for the cute and colorful footwear you can see in the button to the right, at the top of my blog.

The other thing I did today was go to the library at the American School with my friend Chaya. The school is about a 10 minute drive from my house, and has a spacious parking lot (not by any means a standard feature in this country). However. Can you say "Li-berry disappointed", boys and girls? Well, wait. First of all, this school has an incredibly gorgeous campus and a lovely new library. A rather empty library. A library that is, quite naturally, geared toward the interests and research needs of students, from grades 1 - 12. I was not terribly surprised that I didn't find my favorite authors on the shelves. There were plenty of other very fine writers' works there. But I was distressed when I learned (and believe me, I double-checked) that the library didn't even own a copy of a novel for young adults called Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer. It was recommended to me by a lovely and intelligent young adult, and I had been looking forward to reading it. Hrmph!

That clinched it. Well, that and the fact that for your $100 annual membership fee, you get to use the library for 10 months. It's closed during the summer, naturally. I actually did see a number of non-fiction titles that looked interesting, but I left without signing up (or forking out the cash). I can always go back if I change my mind. Chaya reminded me of another library that has books in English, and since I'm already a member of the organization that runs it, it won't cost me anything to borrow books from there. The catch? This library is in the heart of downtown. No convenient parking, and a fairly largish hassle to get there. I'm also not sure how extensive it is. I think I'll call over there next week and ask a few questions.

Of course, if I want to go all glass-half-full on you, I can say that a lack of fresh reading material means I'll get lots of other things done this weekend!

And I'll leave you with this:

A virtual playdate. Sheesh!

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I consider the fact that I made this card today a victory. I keep meaning to spend some serious time in my stamping room, but haven't found much opportunity. I've asked myself whether or not I've been procrastinating, and I've decided I haven't. What I have been, is busy.

We finished up the more recent translation job for our neighbor today, and no sooner did we shoot off the work in an e-mail when an e-mail came in with a new job from someone else. Pretty good timing. So we spent much of the afternoon on that.

Somehow or other, I managed to work on my mother-in-law's sock, the ultra-top-secret gift, and the second slipper in the latest pair for Cheyenne River Reservation. And I made the card you see above, which is going to be sent off to a friend who recently broke her arm up near the shoulder and may need surgery. Tomorrow I want to make a card for another friend, who was in a car accident not long ago. She is mostly okay, but is also suffering from broken bones and is in need of some cheerful mail.

I'm hoping that in spite of the work yet to arrive, I will be able to go with my friend to the library tomorrow. I haven't found a good place to borrow books in English, but Chaya is going to take me to the library at the American School, which isn't too far from where we live. The school caters mainly to children of diplomats. The entire curriculum is in English, and apparently the school library is not only impressive, it is available to people who are not affiliated with the school. I can't wait to check it out!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Half and Half

(visualize a very artistic photo here)

Lately I've spent a fair amount of time contemplating the way I look at things in my daily life. Not long ago, a friend told me that her resolution for the new year was to stop being so negative (I hadn't noticed that she was, which leads to the very interesting point that what one person considers negative, another may see as perfectly normal and acceptable behavior).

In all too predictable fashion, these thoughts led me back to the timeless example of whether a person sees a glass as being half-empty, or half-full. (This is where I'd like you to do the visualization, please. I'd intended to photograph a variety of glasses with various liquids inside, but it seems my daylight hours are spent in far less edifying pursuits, such as earning a living... And it's darn near impossible to get a good photo of glassware if you have to deal with the glare of a flash. 'Nuf said.)

Anyway, the more I thought about the whole half-empty/half-full debate, I realized that perhaps that particular test isn't an adequate indicator of pessimism or optimism. Because I realized that I see the glass as half-empty or half-full depending entirely on what exactly is in the glass. If it's a glass of tea, apple juice, or coconut milk, I will most likely look at the thing and declare that it is half-full. In fact, I may well declare in all earnestness that the glass is full to overflowing! But should the glass contain a lucious chocolate milkshake, a fragrant cappucino or a nice merlot, I will swear the thing is, at the very least, half-empty. (Then I will go on to defend my decision not to spare even half a sip to anyone who asks for one!).

I obviously can't speak for anyone but myself, but I don't think most people are 100% pessimistic, nor are they optimistic every waking moment. Life has its ups and downs, and we deal with them as best we can.

Okay, enough of Philosophy 101.

Today I finished the first moccasin slipper, and started the mate to it. I also started a new project (because, you know, I'm just whipping through my sweater/vest and the sock for my MIL... NOT). This new project is a surprise, a gift, for someone very special who occasionally reads this blog. So while I can't show you revealing photos, I will perhaps share annoyingly blurry or truncated photos, and drop vague hints that will be (or so I hope), in the words of the immortal (and gorgeous) Captain Jack Sparrow, "maddeningly unhelpful."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Not Much

Not much to show. Not much to say. Not much knitting done today.*

I worked a bit on the sock for my MIL. I knit a little on the latest slipper. I finished a card and started another. I read a little (okay, more than a little. I think I actually found a book that I'd never, ever gotten around to reading. Didn't remember a thing about it. So of course I had to read the whole thing in two days...)

Avi and I got a new translation job and did that. We also got another one that we will start working on tomorrow.

It was really a very quiet, uneventful day. Nice for me, not very interesting for you. How embarrassing. Here I am, fulfilling one of my friend's preconceptions that blogs can be supremely uninteresting. I hate being boring, but I did want to try to post every day this year (guess we'll just have to see how long that lasts!).

* Believe it or not, I didn't realize I'd written a rhyme until I went back to proofread the entire post!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Again with the Slippers

There's just no way to make dark brown slippers look good, unless there's lots of natural light. It was about 5:30 p.m. when I took this picture, ergo no natural light. But the good news is, I finished the skein of Wool-Ease Chunky! Destashing, and no more dark brown slippers to drive you into a boredom-enduced stupor. This pattern is one I found at Knit Addicted. It's called the Bulky Yarn Booty. It's a very easy pattern and works up super-quickly (obviously!). Of course you know I already cast on for another pair of slippers, using yet another pattern. I want to try a bunch of different patterns, then go back to the one I decide is my favorite.

I also finished up the first sock for my mother-in-law, and started the second. I even managed to work on my blue and yellow sweater, which I am contemplating demoting to vest status. There are a couple of reasons. The pattern calls for a rather large armscye (that's an armhole to us normal folk), but if I reduce the size of the armscye, I have no idea (and am not sure I want to have one) how to adjust the sleeve cap accordingly to ensure a proper fit. That's the first reason. Actually, we could in all honesty call it the only reason. The second reason, which is really more along the lines of a justification, is that I am making this sweater for wearing to basketball games. It is rather unlikely that I will wear it anywhere else (though as those of you who know me realize, anything is possible). Inside the basketball stadium it is rather warm, especially if you are a true fan who jumps up and down, screams, whistles, insults the referees and otherwise works up a light "glow". A vest would, in all truth, be much more practical, not to mention comfortable. I won't even go into the fact that I can finish a vest up right quick, whereas the doldrums known as "sleeve island" have been known to swallow up enormous gobs of time, leading to the unthinkable possibility that my team sweater wouldn't be ready to wear before the weather heats up. I'm about 99% decided to go with the vest idea.

Since we just purchased the Pirates 3 DVD (insert happy dance), I feel completely justified in asking, "What say you to that?"

Sunday, January 6, 2008

First Finish of 2008

Here is my first finished project of the year: the first pair of slippers I've made for the Heet the Feet blitz on now at the Native American Support Yahoo Group. Notice the cute button over there on the right? It was made by the very talented Ann. Unfortunately, I have no clue as to how to make that button into a link to Ann's blog, so if you want to check her out you can click on her name. I've already started another pair, but am using a different pattern this time. The slippers above were made using a very basic pattern that I learned in Home Ec class about 329 years ago when I was in seventh grade. Ann refers to them as Girl Scout slippers, so I imagine many knitters learned the pattern there. I like to add a ribbed cuff to make the slippers warmer and help keep them on better.

Isn't the drawing shown behind the slippers cute? Meital gave that to me yesterday. She drew a picture of the Mama Duck I knit for her, and M.D. is knitting!

In other news, Avi and I finished the translation job we got on Thursday. Now, let's see what else I can accomplish before we get busy again.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

My Day

Avi and I are both feeling a bit under the weather, so we agreed to finish up the translation work tomorrow. We e-mailed the first half of the job to the client, and he was very pleased. We actually have a bit less than half still left to do.

We had a very nice visit with my in-laws in Jerusalem today. As predicted, I got a fair amount of sock knitting done. I am nearly done now with the first sock of the pair for my mother-in-law (she has amazingly small feet). I also did a bit of stamping today, which is always fun. Any guesses what I worked on?

Oh, and I also had time to make these. It didn't take too long to make them, but I'm not a big fan of rolling out dough and slicing it. Probably because I never think I've done a good job. The fact that the dough is not at all sweet makes for a nice balance with the very sweet Nutella. Not to mention those charmingly petite mini chocolate chips. Mmmmm.

Friday, January 4, 2008

This Just In...

Yesterday evening, just before 5:00, a client called with a translation project that he needed done right away. By Saturday, he said. Of course, he had already wasted who knows how much time trying to translate it himself. We've managed to finish about half of it so far today, and will finish it up tomorrow.

I did manage to accomplish a couple of other things, as well.

Here is the completed front of the anniversary card. All that remains is to glue it to a folded card base and write a message inside. The envelope is already stamped and addressed. Let's hope I don't lose the darn thing before it gets to be a reasonable date to mail it. After all, I don't want it to arrive in California ten days before the anniversary.

I finished up the slipper you saw here yesterday, and have started its mate. I also turned the heel on the sock for my MIL. But sadly, no baking was done today.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Thief of Time

Procrastination is the thief of time.
Edward Young

Here's my theory: if I brag to you all enough about how well I'm doing with my New Year's Resolution, I'll be forced to keep it up all year or die of sheer embarrassment.

In the interests of not procrastinating, today I started working on the anniversary card for my parents. The big day is January 26th, and I like to mail cards out ten days to two weeks ahead of time. Normally, I would start thinking about making the card 'round about January 15th, agonize over ideas and finally get the thing in the mail on about January 19th. Not this time, pal. Keep a weather eye on the horizon, because I hope to be posting a photo of the completed card tomorrow.

The other thing I did today was start a community knitting project. I joined this group, and am making pair of child's slippers for their "Heet the Feet" project. The yarn is Wool-Ease Chunky in Walnut. I hope you can see the beautiful tweediness.

This yarn is so soft and thick! I'm knitting the slippers on needles several sizes smaller than the yarn company recommends, because I want a thick, dense fabric that will hopefully last for a while.

I found and printed out some intriguing new recipes that call for one of Liat's favorite foods, Nutella. Looks like tomorrow will be another baking day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Out of Limb-o

Have I mentioned yet that I am a HUGE fan of puns?

After the excitement of the morning, I decided to shake a leg and put into action my previously-determined course of action for the day: cleaning out my art/stamping room and making some cards. I cleared off nearly all the magazines, plastic and metal containers and other detritus that had collected on my stamping table for the past few months. There is still a small pile of things to sort through, but things look much better. After all, my organizational skills are leg-endary.

I also, at long last, completed the third of three ATCs I had promised to make for my friend Sandy. (She sent me hers ages ago, and has been extremely sweet about waiting for mine). I hope she likes them! She requested a snowman, an Autumn card, and a Chanukah card, all with the Hebrew words for those things somewhere on the card. I managed to comply with her request without resorting to any "feets" of leg-erdemain.

I also made a couple of greeting cards. This one is for my friend Shelly.

And this one is for my friend Sue's MIL, who could use a bit of cheer these days. As you can see, the background is the same on both cards. I used a Posh Impressions Rainbow Sponge to make the stripes on a 4.5 x 6" postcard, then cut that in half so I could make two cards from one background. I think such frugality is completely leg-itimate, don't you? The pale lilac frame you see here is, in real life, much closer to the lighter color purple in the stripes. Scanning always messes up the colors, and I have no clue how to remedy that. Whenever I try to adjust the color in a scan, I end up making things worse.

Now I need to leg it back into my stamping room to get busy on a birthday card for a special friend. It isn't late yet, but I suspect it will be by the time it arrives in her mailbox. It feels good to be making cards again. I think I've gotten a little burned out on trading cards, so I'll focus on greeting cards for the next little while.

And I promise not to continue with these puns in my next post. I just can't leg-itimize it.

They Weren't Kidding

I have written to the friend who sent me this leg, and I hope she will reply soon with an explanation. Most likely, she thought there might be someone here in Israel who could use a prosthetic leg.

I have a feeling I'll be hearing about this every time I go back to the post office.