Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Elly

This is the first March 24th in twenty-one years that I haven't spent with my eldest. She's in Dublin preparing for an exam and interview in order to enter a new school. She's accompanied on her journey by her boyfriend, making a sort of mini-holiday out of five days. If I remember correctly, they're going to have a wander through Dun Laoghaire and later check out the Guinness Storehouse for a tour and a meal.

Going through old photos of her, it's easy to see how much she's changed over the years, but I can also see the person who she's always been.

Elly loves the sunshine, the rain, the snow, the trees, the clouds, the wind, and the flowers. When she was little she liked knowing that her name meant "sunshine".

Elly at less than a year.

At one and a bit.

At two and a half (looking a bit gnome-ish).

Elly loves people, old or young. Nothing makes her happier than to be in conversation with another person, and she has a great gift for relating to others no matter how different they are from her. She also adores animals. In planning for a move overseas, when talk turns to things she'll need to get once she's there, the conversation frequently starts with, "I'll need a cat".I've had to put a moratorium on her bringing anymore pets into the house.

At six.

She loves art and books, and has a fantastic memory for words and a great gift for writing. These particular gifts will serve her very well in the future.

At eleven - sketching at Lower Fort Garry.

Where's the best place to find people and conversation? A party, of course. Another of Elly's great loves in life, THE EVENT. Whether it's a loose gathering of friends at coffee shop, or something more grand and formal, this is where she feels at home and comfortable.

At eighteen.

Happy Birthday Elly!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Handmade for Jane

This was the little mystery from my last post. A silk and bead necklace for Jane.

I thought the silk cocoons looked like eggshells, perfect for Easter. Jane thought that, finished with the green beads, they looked like snowdrops. I can absolutely see that when I look at it now.

I made a ultra-simple tie closure for the back, that way she can wear it as a choker or a pendant.

Happy Handmades!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Birthday Part I and Handmade Part I

I've got two first halves of things to show you today.

First of firsts, we had a brief mini birthday for my eldest last Saturday. It was only a mini event because it wasn't her birthday.

Elly will turn 21 (...21?!...) on the 24th, but since she's going to be in Dublin (...Dublin?!...) at that time, we thought we'd give her part of her birthday present early.

She wanted a new camera,

she went to the store and chose one and told me, "quick, go get it, the sale ends tomorrow."

Why Elly, you look surprised and delighted, I guess those years of acting lessons really were worth it.

Second of firsts is my handmade-of-the-month for Jane.

I posted it on Monday so it should be there Wednesday or Thursday. Since it hasn't arrived yet, I won't show the final product. However, this is the beginning:

I didn't use all of this, only bits and pieces. Some beads, some undyed silk ribbon and those fantastic undyed silk cocoons (worm removed, if you don't mind).

and this is the end:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Never Say Never

Though I haven't mentioned this until now, for the last few weeks our little house has been in quite a state of chaos.

Back around mid-February the laundry room drain pipe broke leaving us with no clothes-washing facilities here at home. The media room, which is on the main floor below the laundry room (yes, I know that's a stupid place for it, but I didn't design the house), had to have it's walls torn apart in order to fix the pipe. That in itself is disruptive, but this particular room has oak-panelled walls, much more complicated than drywall. Not only did the wall where the pipe was located have to come down (in very carefully labelled pieces), but the wall beside it (where some insulation was damaged) also had to come down. AND, in order to get parts of that wall down, parts of a third wall also had to be removed (this had to do with the panels and trim that all fit together much like a puzzle). It felt like the work would never be done.

To top all of this off, of course, it was during one of the worst cold spells I can ever remember and every member of the household slowly fell ill with a nasty bout of flu. I'm sure that between the many trips to the laundromat and all the workmen that passed through the house, I succeeded in letting loose that awful flu bug on an unsuspecting city. I really missed having a washing machine. It felt like the house would never be clean. Of course, all the work is done now, and so is all the laundry.

During all this, I knit this. I tried to think warm thoughts of summer in an effort to hasten spring.

Knit from a cotton linen blend called Camilla ordered from Elann, I chose a lovely soft blue. So clean and fresh looking.

It's knit with a ton, or there abouts, of glass beads. This wrap should be very cold to the touch come summer.

Though this last project was fairly easy, once I'd memorised the pattern repeat, I wanted to start something more brainless for my next project.


Wait for it.

Yup, I'm knitting socks. Now, my knitting friends know how much I hate knitted socks, how I roll my eyes every time someone says "look at this great new sock pattern", or "I bought the most gorgeous sock yarn". To me it seems that everyone on Earth is knitting a pair of socks, and I get completely sick of listening to it all.

At first, three or four years ago, I was seduced by all the new and interesting sock yarns on the market and I started to knit a few - a few pairs. I bought lots of sock yarn, it all seemed so appealing, until I realised that I don't find hand-knit socks all that comfortable. They bunch, they slip, they never fit right. Maybe it's my feet, but I can't stand hand-knit socks. I was never going to knit another pair of socks, never. About two years ago I gave away all the sock yarn in my yarn stash.

Well, all except for two.

This lovely pink/purple/red combo and some very nice teal-blue.

Hmmm... I suppose that means one more pair after this. Then,

never again.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

All About Nigel

As it's Nigel's birthday today, I thought it would be fun to show you some early photos of him, like I did for Jane, but I'm not sure where all the best shots have disappeared to. I know there was a fantastic one of him dressed as a cowboy (pre-law school), but they've all vanished mysteriously, hm...curious.

Since I can't show you the great love of my life, I thought I'd share some of the great loves of HIS life.

Here are a few words and phrases that, if you drop into conversation, will make him smile:

single malt scotch (Nigel will probably tell you that should be capitalised),

jazz (his tastes run far wider, but my camera lense doesn't),

controversial author,

Criterion Collection,

director's commentary,

You might also try: vinyl, widescreen or metacritic.

If none of these conversation topics appeal to you, it's always fun to ply him with single malt scotch and get him to say "Withnail and I" five times fast.

He'll giggle like a school girl.

Happy Birthday Nigel!

Monday, March 3, 2008

February Button-Of-The-Month

Yes, yes, I know it's March, and yes, yes, the February button did arrive in February.

It arrived on Friday, the very last day, and I'm only posting now. Tsk, tsk, as my eleven-year-old would say. However, what I lack in deligence my sister makes up for in good taste.

Beautiful buttons. They are a little more purple than the photo suggests, but I think you can see all the sparkle. They are cut glass. Very lovely. Thank you Jane!

Also in the parcel was this cracker. It's hilarious, made of pewter with a tracker number. The idea is, you take photos of your cracker somewhere interesting or doing something interesting and post them to the artist's website, part of which is called the Cracker Tracker. Too funny.

Now, where to pose this little lovely.