May 31, 2006
greetings, baby Nathaniel
Welcome to life on the outside. I can't wait to meet you this weekend.
go, Alice, go
can you guess what I'm making?
May 30, 2006
Some last-minute green projects
Saturday's yard sale netted us enough to buy ourselves supper and coffee, lunch the next day and more coffee, and about twenty bucks worth of plants for the garden. So on Sunday, we finally pulled up the tarp that's been making us look like the Sanford and Son of the neighbourhood for almost a year now, and after rejoicing for a moment in the sight of all that dead grass (or "F-U", as a fellow grass-hating friend likes to call it), we dug up about a third of the yard, turned in some peat and manure and got down to the planting. The long-term plan is to move the steps from the side of the porch to the front and replace the porch, but for now we'll plant the garden around the nonexistent new steps, pull the godawful siding off the front of the porch and slap a coat of paint on the original railings that lurk beneath.
We've decided to scrap (for now) our plan of having this front garden all native plants in favour of just getting it filled up with things we know will spread fast. Here's the map of what we've put in so far, which I'm pretty sure I'll need to refer to next spring since I can't ever remember what I've planted from one year to the next:
1. sedum (the little kind that looks like worms), from Owen and Pat
2. blue-eyed grass, from Owen and Pat
3. primrose, bought with yard sale profits
4. ajuga, bought with yard sale profits
5. some kind of lily, came with the house
6. bachelor's button, came with the house
7. spider wort (purple flower), from Owen and Pat
8. mystery plant (that spreads like crazy) from Owen and Pat
9. another mystery plant from Owen and Pat
10. columbine, two kinds: a dark red one and the lighter red one that's native to here; bought with yard sale profits
11. daisies, from Owen and Pat
12. honeysuckle, came with the house
13. forsythia bush rooted from a branch stolen from the bush on Caroline's parents' old property in Kingsville, after someone else had bought it
14. we think this is some of the echinacea, from Mikell's place
15. spider wort (white flowers) from Owen and Pat
16. cardinal flower, bought with yard sale profits
17. hosta from my old place in London; this is its fourth and final home
And the bonus plant, so tiny I missed it when assigning numbers: siberian aster, bought with yard sale profits (I keep wanting to type "winnings" there)
The mystery plant (#8) is pretty, whatever it is.
Because Monday was the hottest and most humid day of the year so far, clearly it was time to do some canning (hey, I'm a rocket surgeon now, remember?). I put up a small batch of kiwi chutney, just in the nick of time since we've just run out. Here's a little photo essay of my afternoon, minus the boiling water and sweat (I also decided to boil up a pile of potatoes for home fries, since I'm some kind of glutton for punishment. Today I'm making salads, and we're eating a gloriously cold supper).
Being rather fond of superlatives I'll quite happily state that this chutney is the best ever; we eat it two ways, either on top of a tomato and chick pea curry, or spooned onto a chunk of 4 year old cheddar on a wheat thin (a staple at our parties). The recipe is from the Bernardin Guide to Home Canning.
May 26, 2006
I started listing some older prints in my etsy shop today; here's a few:
These are nicer than any of the things we'll be selling in our yard sale tomorrow, but the yard sale stuff is going to clear up way more storage space. We've actually managed to get one corner of the basement cleaned and organized, and one large piece of furniture moved out of the middle of the room. A tidy house is within my grasp, I know it.
May 25, 2006
I've found the answer to all my problems.
Okay, maybe just one problem.
Remember Alice, the camel-hair yarn? I brought her back home with me from Athens, and conferred with her yesterday about what she wants to be. I've decided to forego the Phildar pullover in favour of something else, something far more unique and elegant which will change my life and maybe even make me look stylish and not like a slob all got up in a sweater too fancy for me. But in the meantime I have to wind the skeins into balls which, because I have no swift (and even though I always carefully drape my skeins around the back of a chair first), always results in my having to deal with an unbelievably frustrating tangle. Like this one.
Well. This morning as I gazed at yet another several hours worth of untangling before me, I puzzled. And I pondered. And I came up with a solution so dazzling in its simplicity that I can scarcely believe I never thought of it before.
(cue chorus of angels, if only to drown out the sound of all my knitty pals slapping their foreheads, rolling their eyes and saying "duh!", which I guess is better than pounding their knees Sammy Maudlin style and howling with derisive laughter)
I feel smart. I feel ready to perform rocket surgery almost. I feel like breaking out the tequila and orange juice in celebration, but I think I'll wait until after noon for that.
I received a lovely package in the mail yesterday from Bonnie, a cute little bag and some stitch markers bearing a much-needed message:
That's a crappy photo but here's a detail:
I've been spending a few hours every day photographing things to list in my etsy shop, and now have some t-shirts and new buttons up, including more of these buttons that I was giving away at MDS$W.
Still no elevator shirts, but I promise I'll make those in August when I get back to the studio. I've got a bunch of older lithos to put up, as well as some sweet little notebooks and lots more buttons, I'm just taking my sweet-ass time to do it, that's all.
May 23, 2006
give the frog a loan
Hey, what's this thing here? Wait, let me get all this dust off, it doesn't look like this has been touched in a while, whatever it is. It looks like some sort of diary or something. Hey, wait a minute! This is MY diary! And there are still some empty pages in here! Guess I'd better write something in them, eh.
Canada's not quite how I left it, but still a fabulous place to be. I've been kept incredibly busy since I got back: there's just so much tea that needs drinking here, sunshine that needs sitting in, hockey games that need watching, naps that need taking. I've still been able to find a bit of time in this rigourous schedule for knitting, though. And since I just signed on (better late than never) to Project Spectrum, I guess I'd better have something green to show.
Over the May two-four weekend I re-started my Orangina, which had been languishing in a bag since last summer. This is a totally mindless lace pattern, easy as pie and perfect for knitting while watching the Edmonton Oilers kick arse or Twin Peaks dvds borrowed from colleagues (hey, I told you, I've been busy!). The yarn is a recycled cotton that's a bitch to knit with (commercially made cotton sweaters are almost always made with several strands of unspun cotton thread, which means that if you get too caught up in, oh, say watching Twin Peaks or something, you can split stitches all over the place), but it's going to be totally worth it to have a lacy top this colour. I was inspired to break out the bright green for this by Crumpet's lovely Orangina.
In other knitting news, the Opal tigers have been kept busy making the rounds of coffee shops:
I thought this yarn was going to be so, so awesome. I wanted it badly, badly enough to go looking especially for it at MDS$W (how geeky does it make us that I asked a few brand-new acquaintances if they'd seen any Opal Tiger sock yarn and they were able to tell me which vendor had it and where I could find them, even though that vendor only had about two balls of the stuff? GEEKS! And I ran straight down there to get it, too). But now that one sock's ready for short-rowing and the other is past the heel, I'm wondering where the heck I'll ever wear these tacky things. Ah well.
Further proof of what a complete slackass I am: I received these artist trading cards from Melanie back in April and I'm only getting around to showing them to you now.
I've been working on some atcs of my own and will have a bunch ready to send out soon. Anybody else want to trade?
Something else I've been meaning to show you: Melanie also did some quilting inspired by the linework in some of my recent woodcuts. Very cool.
One more for May's green theme, then I've got to go sit in the sunshine some more. Somebody's gotta do it.
A new kitchen scrubby frog for my collection.
May 16, 2006
My first year of grad school is over.
We celebrated this fact with a mug of America's finest. Which actually isn't really all that fine, but it wouldn't be the first time I've opted for style over truthfulness (be warned).
Maryland Sheep and Wool was a blast, and a well-needed (if poorly timed) break from the end of the semester scramble. Taking those three days off meant I had to come home and pull an edition of 15 prints and an art history exam out of my arse in one day, and I didn't really do a stellar job on either of them, but it was worth it. I met a whole pile of new people, both total strangers that I've already come to think of as friends through the crazy intimacy of the internet and also some fabulous completely-new-to-me people. The social whirl was completely overwhelming; I'm trying to trace my weekend in order of events so as to come up with the most complete list I can muster of all the people I met. All the weekend's good stories have already been told by others, so I'll just give a boring link-fest of everyone I can remember: Jane, Mouse, Norma, Nipper Jenn, the elusive Rock Chick, Booga J (who showed me a prototype for a new bag design that is really, really cool, Kirsti you're going to love it), the Keyboard Biologist, Claudia, Silvia, Wendy (who I may have offended with a foot-in-mouth comment made with no ill intent but sort of snarky-sounding nonetheless), Cassie, Juno, Cara, Chris, June, this Sarah, that Sarah, Lara (possibly the most gorgeously photogenic person I have ever met), Lauren, Jenna, Frecklegirl Jessica, Jody with a "y", Jen, Kate, Amy, Coleen, Mama E, my countrywoman Rachel H who has no blog, Nanc, Isel of the beautiful Orangina, and probably a lot more that I've missed.
I came away from the weekend completely exhausted, pushed through the last few days of school and then slouched around Athens with Peter for a few days before heading home, where so far I've been a total slackass even though I brought more than three months worth of work with me. Oh, and I got my cheesy 1985 haircut this morning, but you'll have to wait to see a picture of that, I'm using shared internet now and my turn is over. Ciao!
May 07, 2006
Hotel bathroom, farmer tan
The only bodily damage I suffered at MS$W.
May 04, 2006
Ain't much room in a discount tomb
This morning I realized that I've pretty much reached the point where I can no longer function properly unless I start getting more sleep. I've begun dozing off during the afternoons, which is fine when you're at home on a lazy day with nothing to do but lounge on the couch with a cat on your chest, but not so appropriate in school, say for instance during a studio critique. It only lasted a few seconds though, and I don't think my professor noticed.
Last night was a rare evening off: my brother Kela and his girlfriend Liesl came down for a short visit and stayed overnight at my place, and we gorged ourselves in a disgusting manner at The Grit, then stayed up much, much too late. And got up early, of course (story of my life). But it was nice for a change to deprive myself of sleep in order to spend good time with family, rather than the usual working late into the night and rising early to work.
Soon, very soon now, I'll be able to lie around at home with a cat on my chest. But not quite yet.
May 02, 2006
Always take your camera with you everywhere
That way you won't have to turn around and walk all the way home to get it when you find a big pile of free skanky ho shoes all neatly lined up next to the dumpster behind your local lavanderia.
No, I didn't take any. For someone who's digging the faux-crocodile-mule-with-shiny-circular-buckle look, though, this will be an awesome find, because that lucky fashionista can have the choice of yellow, orange or black. Score!
On my way home to get the camera I passed three young ladies who were heading towards where the shoes were, and I thought for sure (making grossly unfair assumptions based on the way they were dressed) that they would be really, really into these shoes, and as I hurried back towards the dumpster with camera in hand I was worried that they would have already upset the lovely tidiness of the shoes and mess up my photo. They also looked like the sort of girls who might beat me up if they caught me taking pictures of them trying on shoes behind a dumpster. Sadly, such a blogworthy shot was not to be had, they either passed on the other side of the dumpster and didn't see the bounty, or they didn't need any new shoes today.
Other blogworthy shots that got away forever these last few days include an ample woman with a gigantic, rock-hard yellow beehive wearing pink camouflage sweatpants and matching pink camouflage jacket and fuzzy slippers, a long horse trailer with four horses all wagging their heads out the windows in the breeze, and a bluejay overextending its jaw in order to carry a beer bottle cap on edge in its beak.