Thursday, December 30, 2010

wavy rib scarf finished

It took me a year.  This is a Christmas present for my dear stepson, David.  A 2009 Christmas present.  I got into so many projects that a few weren't finished in time last year.  My New Year's resolution on 1/1/2010 was to stop procrastinating and finish some projects.  I put that off until this year.  So, my New Year's resolution for 2011 is to stop procrastinating last year's non-procrastination resolution.

I'm amazed and just a little envious of the number of knitting bloggers who seem to finish a new project every freaking day.  I'm lucky if I finish (anything other than a bookmark which takes 2 hours) in less than a month.  I guess it helps to not have a day job.  I work (and I LOVE my job, so don't get me wrong), and have my iTunes habit to support, so time for knitting is not in plentiful supply.  When I retire, I plan to do nothing but knit and blog and have wonderful yarns sent to me for free by people begging me to mention their product.

This scarf was a free pattern I found on the Lion Brand yarn site.  I used Berroco Vintage in coriander.  The yarn is a very soft wool/acrylic blend that is machine washable.  I had to rewrite the pattern instructions so that I could follow them more easily.  You can find the pattern instructions rewrite on Ravelry.  If you knit and you're not on Ravelry, why aren't you?
From knitting
At about the half way point (or 30 inches) of this scarf, it seemed to refuse to get any longer.  In spite of that, I'll knit more scarves.  It took Helge Johansen of Norway 23 years to knit the longest scarf on record (knitted by one person) at 11,363 ft.  It took me a year to knit 5 feet, so...I won't be trying for the new record.

Off to dig out those other unfinished projects and make good on my New Year's resolution.

There's lots of love (and one or two swear words) knitted into that scarf for you, Dave.  You must send me a picture of you wearing it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

lunar eclipse

If you missed it, or live in a cave and didn't know about the total lunar eclipse that happened ridiculously early on the morning of December 21st, 2010, I have pictures!  You won't get to see another one from North America until April 15, 2014.

Before Wayne and I went to bed that night, we got out the big tripod and my tiny Panasonic Lumix and set them up.  I set the Lumix to it's 'night scenery' setting, because I can't  be bothered to figure out the optimum manual settings.  I also set out warm clothing to jump into when the alarm went off at 3:00AM.  Then we went to bed and I did my usual before sleep reading (I was reading a really good book...Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart, which I hope is not a foretelling of the world of the next lunar eclipse in 2014).  The book was so good, that I didn't put the it down until something like 1:30AM.  Two minutes later, the alarm went off.  Wayne, jumped right out of bed and got dressed while prodding me to do the same.  I groaned, I mumbled, I said 'f@#$ it, I'm not getting up, you take the pictures and I'll look at it tomorrow'.  I woke up enough to realize, this is a rare thing and I do want to see it in person.

In the backyard, the red moon, at about 3:15AM was totally eclipsed.  We had to position the camera to shoot through the branches of a big oak tree, but had a clear view.  These are not the best pictures, but I'm proud of them.  My favorite is the first one, taken before I set the zoom to the maximum 10x my camera will take.  You can see Orion's belt in the lower left.
From lunar eclipse
The next few were taken over the course of about 5 minutes.  The exposure for each is 8 seconds.  If I'd thought to use the timer to take the shot, maybe they would have been even clearer.  The aperture and focal length are different for each.  Click on the individual pictures if you want to see the settings.
From lunar eclipse
From lunar eclipse
From lunar eclipse
From lunar eclipse

Here is a wonderful time lapse version of the eclipse from YouTube:

We like the moon.  But maybe not as much as cheese.


A trip to the moon - Georges Melies
Uploaded by jedall. - Check out other Film & TV videos.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

xmas spirit courtesy of robert earl keen

I'm an atheist.  I have a Christmas tree and lights on my house, or at least I will once I finish decorating the tree and can convince my dearest husband that it's not too cold to go out and put up the lights.  It's Florida.  It's not that cold, honey.  You'd perish in New England.  I love Christmas (except for all the TV ads and a lot of the sappy music).  To those Christians who think their holiday has been hijacked, I say "pfffttt".  No one is stopping you from celebrating in your own way.  Try to be more tolerant of others.  'Tis the season.

I celebrate this holiday because I love hearing from family and friends this time of year.  I love it because I love presents.  I love getting them and I love giving them.  I love getting paid time off from work.  I love to bake and the way zucchini bread makes the house smell wonderful.  Most of all, I love this song.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

landscape bundling

Wayne has a cigar while he and Caliope bask in the chilly sunshine by the pond after bundling all of the tropical plants in our yard.
From Blogger Pictures
The big orchid table is surrounded by blankets and sheets with a tarp on top.  A heat lamp and rope lights are inside to keep them from freezing.  Staghorn ferns look like big alien cocoons hanging from the oak tree.
From Blogger Pictures
The tomato plants have dozens of green tomatoes on them.  They are wrapped in sheets thrown over an old step ladder.  The gingers die back every year, so they aren't covered.  They sprout again in the spring.
From Blogger Pictures
I hope these moon flower buds will be okay.  Their vine wraps around one side of the pond pergola.
From Blogger Pictures
Orengi and Moby should be fine.  Koi are pretty cold hardy.  We just cut down on feeding them when it gets really cold.
From Blogger Pictures
The big white bird of paradise was a challenge to bundle, but the picnic table came in handy for the task.
From Blogger Pictures
All of the hanging orchids, mostly vandas, are hung in the garage.  The orchids in bud are in the house...placed up out of reach of our 4 cats.
From Blogger Pictures
Now that the outside is ready for freezing temperatures, it's time to give Fred5 a new home.  We went to Petco to see about a replacement motor for a 5 gallon Eclipse Hexagon tank I've had for a couple of years.  This is the second Eclipse tank I've had and both motors took a crap.  I'll never buy another one.  Instead of a motor, which the store didn't carry, I bought a small (2.5 gal.) hex tank of the Petco brand.  Fred5 seems very happy in his new home, and it has a nice LED light in the lid.  It even has a blue nightlight in case he's afraid of the dark.
From Blogger Pictures

Friday, December 3, 2010

drive-by shooting

I've been catching up on reading some of my favorite knitting blogs.  Anne Hanson's KnitSpot post featured photographs taken from a moving vehicle while on a trip through New York.  I thought about my other favorite knitting blogs and realize that all of them feature photography, not just pictures of knitting, but really good photographs by people who also knit.

Anne's post made me think about how I also carry my camera everywhere.  Shooting pictures from a moving vehicle is quite a bit easier with the automatic digital cameras available today.  I don't recommend taking pictures while behind the wheel, with the car in gear and traveling down the interstate at 75 mph, but I admit to doing it.  The following were taken while driving home from south Tampa to north Tampa on a stormy summer afternoon.  They were taken with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3. Click on any of the pictures to go to my Picasa web album and see them larger.
From drive-by shooting
From drive-by shooting
From drive-by shooting
I took these pictures while a passenger when Wayne and I drove to Fort Pierce early one morning. We were on Hwy 60, I think, somewhere near Yeehaw Junction.
From drive-by shooting
Sunbeams and big rigs. What could be prettier?
From drive-by shooting
The following were taken in 2006 during a trip to visit David in Las Vegas. We drove up to the mountains and spotted wild horses. One of the foals had a perfect heart marking on his side.
From drive-by shooting
 Living in Florida for the last 30 years has made me miss mountains. I couldn't get enough of them while in Nevada. These were taken with a Pentax Optio 50.
From drive-by shooting
From drive-by shooting
From drive-by shooting
Somehow, the landscape looks even more beautiful in black and white.  This reminds me of a shot from an old Western movie before that awful colorization.
From drive-by shooting
The Panasonic Lumix is so simple to use, even an idiot can take perfect pictures.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Leigh's Turkey Pot Pie

My favorite part of Thanksgiving is the leftovers.  Specifically, turkey pot pie.  We just polished off the rest of the one I made Sunday and I forgot to take a picture of it for the blog.  Mostly because I didn't even think about blogging about that.  So, instead here's a picture of another pie I made.  Just imagine it with turkey and veggies inside, instead of what's really in it (apples).The only recipe I follow is for the pastry, and I use the one for a 2 crust 9" pie from my trusty Fannie Farmer Cookbook.  After making the dough, refrigerate it before rolling it out while you prepare the filling, as follows:

  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1/2 onion
  • 4 or 5 carrots
  • a couple stalks of celery
  • about a cup of broccoli (I hate peas)
Chop those up into bite sized pieces and put them all into a steamer until al dente (just barely fork tender).  Make the sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons of butter (not margarine!)
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • about a cup of chicken broth
  • about a cup of heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
Make a roux by melting the butter and adding the flour, whisking until smooth.  Gradually add the broth while whisking, then the cream.  Keep whisking and adding more broth (or cream), until the mixture begins to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste. Once it begins to thicken, turn down to simmer, and roll out the bottom crust for the pie. Fit the crust into a 9" pie plate.  I used a 9 inch square and 2 inch deep pan for this one.  If the sauce gets too thick, add more liquid but don't worry about it being too thin, the potatoes will thicken it when you cook the pie.

Chop up into bite sized pieces about 2 cups of your leftover turkey.  Put the turkey and the veggies into the pastry filled pie plate and pour the sauce over.  Roll out the top crust and crimp the edges.  Decorate with bits of shaped dough, and brush the top with egg if you want it shiny.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350 degrees and continue cooking for about 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown.  I have no clue how many calories are in this and I don't care.  It's really good.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Trois Fleurs Lace Bookmark

I finally got down to typing up the chart I made for the new bookmark.  It has three lace flowers surrounded by eyelets around the edges.  The fun bead I picked for the tassel echoes the flower shape of the lace.  I found out that the Windows version of CET Knitting Symbols font works almost perfectly with Apple's Pages.  Almost.  I just could not get any of the alt-codes to work, so had to improvise a "t" for the more commonly used knitting symbol for a twisted stitch.  You can find the finished charted pattern here.

I love the part where I get out the pencil and graph paper and draw the design.
From knitting
The finished bookmark looks great with this color-way of Mini Mochi yarn.  Blocking:
From knitting
Finished:
From knitting

Fueled by homemade turkey pot pie, I was able to get through the frustration of (still) learning Apple's Pages version of working with tables as opposed to Word.  The pot pie is to die for.  I'll share my recipe next blog.

Monday, November 8, 2010

trading wheels

It's perfect bike riding weather.  While I prefer two wheels without a motor, Wayne likes something with a bit more power that makes a lot of noise.  His motorcycle had been sitting in the garage gathering dust for years, when he recently decided to take it out, dust it off, rebuild it and start riding again.  Here's the old Harley-Davidson Shovelhead in all it's current glory.  I do like the sound of it running.
From bikes
Saturday morning, he took it out for a ride around the neighborhood.  He stopped to talk to some neighbors and while they were chatting, Wayne spotted a unique bicycle in their garage.  He came back to the house and traded the Harley for the Huffy beach cruiser and rode back to the neighbor's.  It turns out that the neighbor had bought a bicycle at a yard sale for $20 for his wife.  His wife didn't really like riding it, so Wayne offered to trade for the Huffy.  She loved the Huffy.

Wayne found the Huffy sitting out in front of another neighbor's house a couple of weeks ago.  It had a "FREE" sign on it.  Apparently not a bicycle mechanic, someone got frustrated trying to fix it.  Wayne easily fixed it (he can build a motorcycle, after all), cleaned it up and we went for a couple of bike rides together.  This is the beach cruiser all cleaned up, with my bike in the background.
From bikes
The new bike is a Jesse James West Coast Chopper Bicycle.  Even trades are so cool when everybody's happy! 
From bikes
From bikes
From bikes
From bikes
It's a lot more comfortable than his other bicycle...
From bikes

Sunday, October 31, 2010

happy halloween

The pumpkin is carved.
From halloween 2010
From halloween 2010
The graveyard is ready.
From halloween 2010
The skulls await trick-or-treaters who dare to ring the doorbell.
From halloween 2010
Those who are brave enough to darken our threshold will be rewarded with nerds, laffy taffy, and eyeballs.  BWWAAHAHA!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

vegetable canvas


Jack-o-lantern to be.  Shall I carve the traditional scary face?  I'd like to do something fantastic, but my Dremel tool is broken.  I'll post a picture when I carve it.

halloween orchids

Slightly cooler evenings have the autumn orchids blooming.  It's been incredibly dry, making it necessary to water.  The rain-barrel is nearly empty.  There are buds on several orchids that haven't bloomed in a couple of years, and even one on our brsdm. golden gamine 'white knight'.  Can't wait to see what that one looks like.  I should have pictures in a couple of weeks.

Bulb. Doris Dukes is on her second set of blooms.
From orchids
lc. (laeliocattleya) mini purple maikal is very pretty right now.  That's the orchid pictured in my blog header.
From orchids
This yellow and magenta lc. is fragrant and stunning, but the tag faded, so I don't know what the name is!  I'll have to scout the rest of the tags and make new ones for the faded ones before I can't read them.
From orchids
Onc. Lambada 'Cutey' has small flowers that take FOREVER to open, but are well worth the wait. 
From orchids
Our double angel trumpet took a beating last winter and took a while to recover, but rewarded us with one giant sized bloom. 
From Garden
A moonflower by the pond.  The fragrance is intoxicating.
From Garden

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pinwheels Lace Bookmark

The pattern in this knitted bookmark reminds me of pinwheels.  It is a little bit more challenging than the other bookmarks I've designed...but just a little.  If you'd like to knit one, the pattern is free.  You can also find this pattern and bazillions of others on Ravelry, the best freakin web site for knitters evah.  The yarn used is Mini Mochi, a mohair blend sock yarn that has beautiful long color changes.  I bought it at Fiber Art, Inc.  I used the new nickel plated dpns I got in a set from KnitPicks.
From knitting

I'm excited by a couple of books I just brought home from the library.  The Essential Stitch Collection by Lesley Stanfield & Melody Griffiths has easy to follow and well photographed patterns and charts for 300 different knit stitches.  Knitting Lace by Susanna E. Lewis is one I just might have to buy.  Our library didn't have a copy, so I received it through interlibrary loan from the Lee County Library System.  The book is based on a 19th-century sampler of knitted lace that resides at the Brooklyn Museum.  The sampler is 15 feet long and averages 3-1/2 inches wide, featuring 91 different patterns.

I wish interlibrary loan had succeeded in getting me Knitted Lace Designs of Herbert Neibling, but only one library in WorldCat owned it and they weren't willing to share.  I learned about that book while reading Franklin Habit's blog, The Panopticon.  That's another for my Amazon wish list.