Thursday, July 31, 2008


Here's the latest addition to the sock stash, Classic Elite's "Summer Sox". The colorways are both bright and softly blended, and the fact that I am a lousy photographer is just accentuated by this fantastic yarn. Love these colors, and the fiber content (40% merino, 40% cotton, 20% nylon) is silky and super squishy. Heart the socks made with this...

More yarny-goodness. A passel (whoa, where'd that word come from?) of self-striping yarns to play with. Imagine the mittens, the scarves, the baby sweaters... just oh.
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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Out of my tree

Busy day, not sure where to begin, but the brownies and 'contraband' Robin brought in eased the transition back to work-a-day readiness. Herr Becher had to work over-time today, so no "kid-free Wednesday" at the shop for me. Xanax was consumed, I may have gotten a bit shrill at the seven year old, and, as LeAnn is my witness, I didn't choke anyone until they passed out, though I'm sure a jury of my peers would have found me blameless if they'd heard the shenanigans in the back room towards the end of the day.

We're all home safely now, and I've gotten everyone kicked off the computer long enough to post, but the smell of sulfur is in my nose, so I know they are lurking. As reigning Mother of the Year, I'm also letting them eat cereal and ice-cream for dinner. It's how we roll on tough days, and it keeps my tiara shiny. Today was also Eli's first day back in cloth diapers, and it went well. Herr Becher even delivered the little man to the shop in a 'Monkey Doodlez' all-in-one dipe. Got them from here and it was speedy-quick, and the dipes are fabulous. I almost wish I had a tinier child in diapers, because they've come a long way from when we first started out in 1995, and the fun colors make even the curmudgeon who is Eli a willing participant at changing time.

Melly has finished her bag stitching marathon, but was in need of ice-cream afterwards, so there's probably a traumatic, behind-the-scenes story there. Once the sting has worn off. She called to give me another "you were right", and I didn't even gloat (this time); she'll probably post a photo. Maybe.

Tomorrow I'll have photos of the newest yarns to arrive at Clementine's. Classic Elite's summer sock yarns have begun to pour in, and the Queens of the 56 Stitch Socks have graduated to smaller needles... and more stitches. Taking over the world, one sock knitta at a time... it's what I do. Latah, crafty mommas. C

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Little bits

Ahh, Tuesday. This is what I won't be doing today, but the sample quilt has hit a wall (creatively speaking... I didn't actually throw it), so a little time away is a good thing.

Instead, Monday Mandi is coming over this afternoon with her chirruns to watch over the Becher chirruns and keep everyone alive so Herr Becher and I can escape to a flick and a quiet dinner alone. I may possibly faint over the excitement. We haven't been out together since my birthday (Thanks, Melly!), and that was in March.

I had another ranty-pants post scheduled for today, but if Other People are going to be in my haus, I must vacuum and make beds and do all those other things that normal people do to not embarrass themselves because they are not gerbils and don't live out of laundry baskets, with wet towels on the bathroom floor, and little bits of chopped up paper everywhere because the three year old is learning how to use scissors. I'm exhausted just thinking about it, so I'd better get busy.
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Monday, July 28, 2008

The tip of the iceberg

You know how sometimes you start on one thing (a quilt, for instance), and then you remember that you bought something to do a similar project, but you can't remember exactly which stash bin, in which closet, it's in? So, you go rummaging around and you do indeed find the five packets of charm squares, with their matched-up yardage, but you're missing an important element, so you hot-foot it into town (calling Rob to meet you so the crazy has a witness), and instead of pulling it all together, you end up with more bits and pieces?
Exhibit A: Three different "charm quilts" in the larval stage.

Exhibit B: Two yards of hot pink and lime green batik that threw themselves at me as I stood at the cutting table, chatting to Neppie, minding my own beeswax... the other batiks were languishing in the bottom of a bin in the closet. Now I have serious yardage, to make something eye scorching and impressive... except I just happened to buy a kiwi-green zipper today, too. Could be meat, could be cake...
Exhibits C&D: Once upon a time I fell in love with jelly-rolls. Those cute, clever rounds of pre-cut fabric that are so enchanting to the speedy string quilter. They fall to pieces when you play with them, and they get really ugly if you wad them up, hurriedly, to make a mess 'go away' because your in-laws are coming, or you don't want the cat sleeping on them a third afternoon. Anyway, everyone knows about my peeve with Moda fabrics not staying in production, so when I saw these two luvvies on the bolt (top of photo), I bought all that was left. The scrunched up bits are the jelly roll that hasn't morphed yet.

Then, I apparently had a stroke, as you can see from the pile in the bottom of the photo. I'm the biggest bah-humbug ever, but that, my friends, is Christmas fabric. Charm squares and yardage. Enough for a holiday nap quilt. For when I'm in the nursing home, because of my stroke, which I suffered buying Christmas fabric. This is where I'd also tell you about the four yards of pom-pom fringe I bought to embellish something, except I'm not that girl, and if it does indeed make it into a quilt, I'm not signing the back. (It was also lime green.)
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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Deja Von't

'Sale' items aren't always what they should be, and I am now bearing the brunt of a Black and Decker, obviously returned, shiny new iron with the (you know the name if you're a knitter; their needles don't stink)"Inox" stainless steel soleplate. It is exactly the same as the other one we own, except this one has a somewhat defective temperature dial. It doesn't want to go past 2, and no amount of fiddleling with it will loosen it up. Great. I'm not going to sound the least bit crazy as I stand at the returns counter, iron in hand, explaining that my husband mistakenly bought me a frigid, possibly gay, appliance. The proof? Well, it's uptight and doesn't want a girl touching it's knob.
Yep. That one will probably get me a security-guard escort right out of Target.

Herr Becher, the wonderful man who was so willing to stop and buy me a new iron on his way home from work this afternoon, has been able to force the knob dial around to the six, which is the high heat setting that I use for all my patchwork-pressing needs. Tomorrow will be the real test of it, but the receipt is at the ready just in case "Mr. Frigid" tries to burn the place down or scorch my fabric.

p.s. This is for all of you who aren't Melly, because she's already gone and spoiled her humpigs. The healthy ratio of water to sugar is 3:1. Boil it, cool it, and it'll keep nicely in the feeders without getting scummy. Not that it'll have a chance. It's guaranteed to turn hummingbirds into humpigs in no time. You'll be cursing the entire avian population as you drag yourself into the grocer's for more sugar. Do yourself and the humpigs a favor and stock up on sugar now.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Wild Kingdom

I actually got to sew this morning before heading into town. Granted, it was minimally invasive patchwork, but the piecing went together easily and well, and I look forward to sewing more tomorrow, since it'll be a "home day". We might have to venture out for food, in which case I'll bother to buy myself a new crappy iron. I'm notorious for dropping them, which is why I can't pay more than thirty bucks for one. No new Rowenta in my future, but as I'm just a patchworker who overdoses on spray sizing, a steam iron is wasted on me anyhow.

Miss Melly came in today for more bag fabric. It seems she's on a bag stitching bender, and can't heap the abuse high enough. Well, that and she knew I needed me some Melly. After she took off in her pretty red convertible, my day started slowing way down. The kids were all on fire in the shop, and me without my tranquilizer darts... dammit. My one faithful sock student showed up with a completed sock, and the other is being 'magic looped'. It was interesting, though somewhat hard to concentrate, what with looking for Marlin Perkins to arrive any minute to corral the kids. Herr Becher finally did (I sure miss Marlin Perkins)and closing up shop was peaceful. As was the chocolate cone I got for dinner on the way home. Now, I'm off to knit on the 'Clapotis'... the final ball begins now.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Faces at Clementine's

Getting into town a bit early left me time to pick up these lovlies: "Pinot Grigio" hibiscus. The full sun has fried my brain, and I will admit tropical bevs might be on my mind,as well.

Here's the Denyse Schmidt fabrics that arrived yesterday. Full-on cheater quilt is wating to happen, probably with the pink leaf fabric for the back.

I am seldom seduced by comical fabrics,but the cow snouts totally threw me off guard. The eggs are darling, and the barnyard print is just for grins. Super-cute for kids' lounge pants, quilt back, crib sheets, and anything else you might need to cowboy up.

The Japanese invasion continues with this stylized wave fabric in indigo. The white version has been a popular choice for people who paint their own colors on, but some of the yardage on this bolt has already been tapped for a corset and a 'storm at sea' quilt.

Now I have to get back to my knitting. The Mockery sock requested I play 'Jane's Addiction', since it's a slow day. I'm off to enjoy the live version of "Jane Says" and the comfort of the glider rocker. Such a contradiction.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

And then something went 'zing'...

Such a long day was had today. Sinuses in an uproar, but my boss is kind of a battle axe, so she threw me in the car and made me go in anyway. Good thing, too, or I'd have missed the Man in Brown. He delivered a box with five bolts of 'County Fair' fabric by Denyse Schmidt. Free Spirit has taken her best prints (mainly from the first collection, "Flea market Fancy") and printed them on home-dec weight cotton. They are calling it canvas, but I'm totally smitten with the prints, especially the one that looks like a scrappy log cabin quilt. I have never liked a 'cheater cloth' in my life, but am quickly learning to never say never.

Aside from feeling like death until the meds kicked in, it was another fun day at Clementine's. I made lunch out of cupcakes and pepperoni bread sticks (trust me, they went together just fine), and some knitting on the second 'Mockery' sock happened. While I was "at work", Herr Becher was moving furniture around at the Haus. Now Eli can have his own bed, right in the next room from ours. This means no more stepping on Legos at two a.m. whilst trying to retrieve him from the boys' room upstairs when he wakes up howling for us. It also means not having a toddler pushing me out of the bed, or trying to weasel my pillow away from me.

Tomorrow, pictures of the new fabrics. Tonight, more 'Sopranos' to watch. The spouse is very into this show... possibly the Bada-Bing girls are a big draw. Dunno. (Oops. I just had a sarcasm.) Okay, you go be crafty. (Unless you are Ann, who we all know is crafty, but now there is a nice little spot waiting for a Clementine's Dry Goods four-color ad in the back of the next issue of "Stitches" magazine and I opened the media packet and felt something in my head sizzle. Ann, sweetie, darling, can you 'splain it to me, in little words?)

p.s. Cat is a blue-point Siamese, rescued from a dance studio, where she was kept alone, spending her days chewing the faces off her stuffed 'luvvies'. She has made a full recovery, and enjoys speed-racing through the haus, smacking unsuspecting passers-by, and taking baths on the dining table, usually during meals. She answers to many names, but 'Cat' and 'Tikki-Tikki' are her two favorites, and she will do anything for the chance to play in water. I'm told that when I'm gone she stays hidden all day, and when I'm home she's never more than three feet from me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I feel a bit like this...

I had a terrifically entertaining post about getting my eyes dilated today, and how it's taking for freekin' ever to wear off, and how I pretty much just want to curl up with Cat and do what she's doing, but Picasa and blogger aren't playing nice, and two paragraphs of my life and how I lost my white Suburban in the post-dilation glare, and was only just rescued by my darling's red polo shirt as he finished loading the groceries into the car (it was all 'one stop shopping' today) are now gone forever. Now, I'm hitting the post button and going to lay down. Hopefully the sewing faeries will come later this evening and set up my machine so I can begin assembly of my "Black, white, and read all over" quilt. It refuses to play nice... I may have to get aggressive. After my nap.
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Monday, July 21, 2008

Shoes, before and after

Couldn't wait,and the camera was handy...

Behold the mighty "Miss Piggy" shoes. Sorry about having to perch them on the toilet seat, but that's where the idea came from (and the light is better in there at eleven at night). C
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New Shoes

Yesterday ended up being a washout, creatively speaking. Late in the afternoon we had quite a little storm rip through, taking our power with it. Herr Becher gave in and fired up the generator around eleven p.m., which required him to make a fuel run. Finally, with power restored to the well pump and refrigeration units, we got to sleep. Everything came back on this morning at four on the dot, just in time for him to be up and ready for work. Air-conditioning rocks... I'm soaking up as much as possible after being out in the heat this evening.

Tomorrow is RedRhonda's official thirty-twelve birthday, but tonight was her birthday outing. The plan was to go see Batman, but by sevenish on a Monday, it was sold out. So much for the IMAX experience. We saw 'Hancock' instead. It didn't disappoint, and who doesn't want to look at some Will Smith for a few hours? The only drawback was my new shoes. Got them on clearance from Hanna Anderson, and they are super cute. They are ginger-pink Mary Jane "clogs", and they kill my fat little feet. Being a woman who will suffer for beauty, and somewhat convinced I didn't need to feel the toes on my right foot, I wore the new arrivals out this evening. Then, some stupid man goes and sits, in a practically empty theater, one seat in front and to the side of me, taking up my swollen foot propping spot. I did not dare to remove the shoe, knowing I could never get it back on (after the salty steak I'd eaten for dinner), so I sat and enjoyed the movie while my toes tried to die.

This story would seem very pointless indeed, except for this one little thing. Due to Swedish people having, apparently, some freakishly flat feet, the ankle straps on adult women's shoes are engineered to only fit ten year old children, so I made an adaptation. Using a matching double-faced satin ribbon and the fuzzy side of an adhesive velcro-dot, I made a bow to hide the unused portion of the closure. Sure, I spent the evening looking like an over-weight Flamenco dancer, but I got a compliment on my rockin' cute shoes, right after the movie, while Red ("can't hold her Coke") was in the loo. I'll show them off another day, because the ribbon trick was a spot of brilliance on my part. I should have made Red a card, but there's just so much crafty to go around in a day. Now, my g&t is wearing off, so it's time for bed. Later, crafty mommas. C

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Idle chatter

Yesterday as I was leaving the shop, one of my customers stopped by. Seeing as she's a bona fide pastry chef, trained in South Carolina where they might know a thing or twenty about patisserie, I let her try one of the croissants. Her response was extremely favorable, which I deduced not just from her pleased expression, but from the fact that she chose not to save some for her husband.

As a self-taught baker, everyone assumes I won't share my recipes, but you'd be wrong. Behold the fountain of all baking knowledge, the only book you'll ever need to make fabulous artisan breads, breath-taking desserts and cakes, and of course, an array of 'breakfast pastries' that will make you legendary. "Baking with Julia" is the only book I'd grab if my kitchen were on fire. It's the necessary first ingredient in every pastry I make.

I sprouted an extra copy when the original started spewing pages. One to peruse, and one to use. Now I'm beginning to think I may need a copy for each child, penning in my notes on how to make it "like Mom's" where necessary (like adding a drizzle of corn syrup to the brown sugar in the sticky bun pan so the resulting 'caramel' won't be grainy), but the butter-stained, crinkled paged first edition will stay home with me.

Well, that's about all I have to 'fess up to this morning. It's time for my haircolor (just covering grays, nothing fun about it) to be rinsed off. I've had an urge to sew today, since every time I pick up my knitting it's like someone switched on Bob Ross in my head and I find myself drooping off to sleep. I knew this day would have naps in it. So, after a shower and some basic grooming, we're (the chirruns and myself) off to retrieve my sewing machine from the shop (Madeleine's, too), and it's going to be a stitchin' day.

I also have the back to buy for the ugly bookcase that still needs it's fresh coat of paint, but a trip into Lowe's sounds too painful for words. I may have to drug myself for that one, but I can't be the only person afraid of being crushed to death by five-gallon paint buckets in the big-box hardware store. Gads, Margaret.
Okay, gotta get busy being busy... I think Thimbleanna's bee motif was apt, but then again, what symbolizes ADD better? I know. She's right on the money with that, eh?
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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sneaking in a blog-meet

Saturday is coming to a close, and it's been a busy one. I meant to post yesterday, but the baking of croissants waits for no woman, and by the time I got to a good ending spot, it was half-past two, the dough wasn't acting right, and as I have no access to the alarm clock, was forced to scrawl a note to Herr Becher to please wake me. He promptly did, three and a half hours after I came to bed. It was all worth it, though, because today was a chance to have a super-fun and crafty chica come and play with us at the shop. It was just a perfect day of chatting up Miss Thimbleanna, knitting, hanging out with the crafty vixens, and, of course, pie. But for some icing on the cake of the day, Thimbleanna brought me a present... a very smart and snappy goodie, filled with chocolate, and emblazoned with my name across it... also in chocolate. (I heart it... thank you sooo much. It's so pretty!)

It has already taken up residence in my 'knitting' bag (only took four tries for Lands' -we put our apostrophe in the wrong place on purpose to drive you mad-End to get it correct. I have three this color that say 'books' on them). Filled with knitting gew-gaws and emergency sugar rations, it plans to just cavort around in there looking adorable. I'd say that it probably caught the cute-bug (disguised as a bee, seen in this photo, below) from The Thimbleanna herself, but she might think I'm being sappy and come back through town to smack me in the head. The woman has mad skilz, mad, wondrous, crazy sewing skills, and her knitting isn't to be mocked, either. Those socks will eventually be done, simultaneously no less, and then may the Mockery begin. Oh, yeah... I may have contaminated her, too. Soon the Mockery will take over the world! Oh, dear. I've gone and let my evil plan out of the knitting bag...

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig. If the Mockery sock and I are to get everyone knitting, we have to get busy. Probably a giant furball on the project will have to be tape-rollered off. Also, I'm getting the sense that this may be slowing down the 'Clap'. Must make note to look into the possiblility of knitting black holes being instigated by felines. This one in particular growls if you attempt to access the knitting.

It was such a perfectly lovely day, and to top it all off, I get to stay home tomorrow and have a knitting marathon in front of the television. I may even work a nap into the schedule, as well. I'll just keep my lil' bumblebee bag well stocked with 'round counters' and knit myself silly.

a post-script about the upstairs loo. Problem resulted from the typical "one kid doesn't flush properly, the next one is booby-trapped" event my chirruns are so prone to. Fancy fixtures are a menace... just say no to pull-handle flushers (it's a "pull up" lever) and yes, I'm still considering a.)nailing the door shut, and b.)how they can be so 'duh' about indoor plumbing.
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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Water-boarding, Becher style

Because my children apparently have no long-term memory or survival instincts, they decided to thoroughly trounce the whole 'evening of calm' I had planned. I was aware, first, of the noise... rivulets of water dropping from a great height onto wood, then then sound of water splattering onto the rug under the table. The next clue that something was horribly amiss was the panic in the hushed voices of the Becher offspring, when the realization that a measly two bath towels was not going to make this go away...

water literally pouring from the woodwork. The opening between our kitchen and dining room is nine feet wide, and every inch of it was dripping.

The baskets took quite a beating, but they needed dusting anyway. Whether that could have been accomplished without a rainy-day toilet parade is anyone's guess, but I'm going to assume there are indeed better ways. I'm also going to assume that serving bread in these baskets would be a health risk.

So, what started as a quiet evening with intent to knit and start croissant dough has, instead, become a bleach-bathing fiasco in the middle of my house. The 'kitchen' side of the opening is barely dripping now, and proper precautions have been implemented so that the gathering at the shop Saturday won't be adversely affected by lack of chocolate croissants and rhubarb pie. I know now that my children are trying to kill me, and that the machinations of indoor plumbing are beyond their capabilities. All I can do now is confiscate the DS game, contemplate nailing the bathroom door shut, and try to keep everyone alive until their father gets home.
Obvioulsy, I have no ego left, or I would not have shared my little nightmare. I'm just keeping it real... and, for now, real is drippy, soggy, and in need of more bleach.
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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Parrot head,er... foot

Today was mani/pedi morning, with an emphasis on the pedi. Twenty percent off boutique items lead to the acquisition of these guys... and who doesn't want a bit of macaw underfoot?

This is an "old" baby quilt (Eli's, from three years ago) which will be replicated soon as a shop sample. I just haven't gotten around to slicing up the fabrics yet. Black/whites, or Oriental prints, or Amy Butler... simple quilt, endless possibilities.
Another view of 'endless possibilities', on the knitting book rack in the back hall of Becher Haus. Startitis is upon me, though I am knitting the toe of the first 'Mockery' sock tonight... just as soon as I tink back the first two decrease rounds. Somehow my brain tried to invert the direction of the toe decreases, because I thought it would look better. Anyone want to chime in? Yes, you are correct. My middling intellect finally deduced that toes are observed from the top or bottom, and rarely from the side, so reversing the shaping (ssks and k2togs swapped about), while entertaining and whimsical (and a darn good brain-teaser for the seasoned sock knitter), was a big disappointment. Not that I won't be tempted to try it again, perhaps on a sock with more 'meat' between front and back, say, four stitches between decreases instead of two.

In the meantime, I have another 'Mockery' to knit, and the haus is getting back to a normal rhythm since Herr Becher's parents have headed home. This means no more nice, clean kitchen floor, or sorted toy buckets, or folded laundry. Luckily, I have a high tolerance for wrinkled clothes, the toys are upstairs, hidden from view, and the floor only needs washed if you stick to it... that's why we went with barn boards anyway.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I think it's Tuesday

Tonight is knit-night, as we've taken it down to just one evening a month. Gas prices being a huge pain, and the summer, super-busy craziness everyone's engaged in conspired to make me alter my knitting behaviors. It'll be a good one, though, and I hope if you're local, or find yourself suddenly consumed with an intense desire to hot-foot it to Franklin, Indiana, come on in. I'll be unlocking the door six-ish, with mayhem to commence immediately.

Mandi informs me we may have the opportunity to make a raffle quilt, but due to the lack of a "head's up" from The Church, it'll be a thrown-together affair. Soooo, later this evening, as we sit around playing in the shop, color planning will be on the agenda (ooh, sounds serious, dunnit?), and I've already got an interesting plan for a pseudo-Amish quilt, using the bright 'rock candy' frosted prints. Might work, more likely will be a disaster. Only a sample block (or four) will tell. Must go off to sleep now. Two trips into town, party-prep, and having a wonderful time with most excellent people have made me a very tired Madam. And I got not one darn picture... as usual. I'll be losing a lot when my mind starts to go. No photographic evidence might have been a good thing this time around, though! G'night, all ye knittas.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Two lost days and a teenager

I think it's after midnight now, so that makes this Monday's post. With two children having birthdays on the 12th, and the in-laws arriving at two-ish, Sunday afternoon, blogging got lost in the shuffle to get all the sheets washed, buy groceries, and hide the whore-panties. Later today we're having a bit of a celebration, for the two children who have survived yet another year of constant humiliation at being my offspring. Earlier, I had a nice rant at the now eleven year old son, about watering the Jemima-dog as soon as he wakes up. Not a difficult chore, and we really do ask precious little of the wee mite. There may have been shrieking, certainly bad words slipped out, and in the end I believe he'll take my request seriously. Otherwise, I'm smearing him with peanut butter and letting her have at him. The teenager is suddenly struck with ennui at everything. Her new gaming system? Boring. Her new stash of books? Sigh. Riding her new bike, free from any worldly cares? So yesterday. She's fading as quickly as her hair color. Shoot me now. All I have left is the trip to the Clinique counter for eyeshadow and lip gloss. The upside is she's turning her first heel on some stripey socks... so I guess there's hope after all.

I guess I must've been tired earlier, because I find myself having to tink back two more rounds on those fabulous socks. I got a bit lazy and lost another yarn over, only to discover it two rounds later (noticing a round sooner could have saved all the tinking, but where's the sport in that?) and now it's languishing on the dresser. I worked on 'Clap' instead, and am appalled to find that there's a knitting black hole in ball #4, too. Later, I'm making a pitcher of something called a "Hop, Skip and Go Naked" (I know, poor timing with the 'rents here and all) to see if there is a correlation between alcohol consumption and discovering worm holes... perhaps I'll find a way to make my hours on needles seem to fly by. Can't hurt to give it a whirl, and I'm now an expert tinker. Gotta go sleep now. Photos to post later today... *smooches, pooches* C

p.s. That Crocker Woman awarded me prizes (over in the sidebar... I'm sure you noticed them). She knows me well. That's all I have to say about that... spot on, Melly. You Rock.

Friday, July 11, 2008


You can't pick your parents, your siblings, or your ancestors. You get to pick a mate, but the fine print on that contract is sometimes illegible until way too late in the game. Your children are little, genetic time-bombs that magnify your faults to the world... sometimes they announce said faults loudly, in chime-y little voices that even the deaf crone ahead of you in the check-out line can plainly hear. But choosing a friend is the blame you get to own. Friends are the fruit of a life well lived, the chocolate chips studding the cookie of your existence. They are gifts of time, of coffee, of a shoulder to cry on. They offer to paint, to build, to rescue. They are there for laughs, for dinner, for bail money. We live through our friends, and their experiences often shape how we see and experience the world. A good friend will throw caution to the wind to get you out of a scrape, and a great friend will be right beside you as you barrel towards the unknown.

I've had the Ya-Yas on my mind for days now, because my circle of friends keeps growing. The knitters and stitchers who come in to play, to rant, to grieve a gone-awry project, are all becoming like family, only better. What a blessing to have so many creative people coming in to share ideas, to support each other, even to collectively cringe when one of the group has a project derailment. I think of our blogging community as a extension of this family... a group of people who are all here by choice, not because we're trapped in the same gene pool, but because we value the imaginations of our fellow bloggers. To all of you who frequent this blog, and to those who have had the misfortune to witness my brand of crazy first hand, a toast (oops, I forgot to mention this post was byob) to you... long may we all create, and long live patience, understanding, hope, and laughter, because we're going to need it, and we'll be called upon to give it. To my sisters in misdemeanors, tantrums, and good, old-fashioned pissing contests, I salute you. You make me stronger, and I adore every one of you. The Ya-Yas were a good idea, but what on earth shall we call ourselves?

p.s. Josetta is dangling cake at me... I might pee myself! Come on down, girlie, you are missed!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Little Miss Ranty-pants

If you are grouchy about the high cost of fabric, or thread, or fun and funky patterns, don't direct it at the woman who dumped out her home's equity, her childrens' college funds, and her husband's sanity to open a shop filled with the best quality quilting cottons and as many fresh, fun sewing patterns as she can afford. Just drive up the road to the nearest JoAnn's or Walmart and see how far your dollar takes you, and notice how not nice the selection is. It's okay. She won't be offended. Also, do not yell at her for not carrying notions... as a quilt shop, she didn't think to stock buttons, snaps, and elastic, nor can she afford it at this time. The yelling isn't going to help, and perhaps your hearing aid should be checked.

If you are embittered about the apparent lack of knitting classes, please note that the shop owner is available at all times during normal business hours to assist you with any project you want to attempt. This being said, you could also note the ongoing sock class, the knitted 'quilt wrap' kits which were designed for a "knit along" (kal), and the infinite varieties of scarves and sweaters laying about the shop. Pick a yarn and get started. Knitting is the shop-keep's passion, it's her reason for getting out of bed in the morning. Otherwise, she would have just pocketed the tens of thousands of dollars and built her own stash with it. And the cozy, comfy chairs would be in her own home, rather than in the very public 'knit pit' for you to use at your whim.

We are all feeling the crush of higher fuel prices. Freight costs have gone up, sales tax is higher, and if you are local, the aftermath of the June flood waters is still being unfurled. The south end of 'old Franklin' will not likely recover, and the houses which withstood nearly a century of ice storms, tornadoes, droughts, and torrential downpours will not be replaced. A big, scary slice of life is missing from our tiny hamlet. Yet, when I drive into town, things seem to be changing. Every day is a chance to be hopeful, every day is another go at making a home for the crafty vixens who come into Clementine's. Every day I hope to convert another color junkie into a fabric designer aficionado, to wean someone off the Red Heart and onto pure merino. Every day I get up and wonder "who will it be today?"

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Coming to Terms

Our heroine's addiction was fueled today by a surprise visit from one of the fabric dudes. Clementine was in total control, in a rather, "I don't require your wares, serf" sort of way, when Mr. Fred pulled from his sample case a cloth covered in cupcakes, nickle-sized, on a black background... and then he showed it with a pink background, too. So, coordinating micro-dots were purchased, and then some froggy fabric got in the mix, and before you know it, there was a list. That's not even the best part. She mentions to Mr. Fred how much she longs for the new Heather Bailey collections, but as a Very Small Shop, in a Very Small Town, the usual purchasing terms are prohibitive, and had he ever heard of them doubling the repayment length? Oh, ho! The nerve of that woman. Mr. Fred says he's going to do some checking and so we shall find out soon enough.

That is enough for now. The kids are cleaning the upstairs in preparations for the paternal grandparents visit, a mere four days from now. I'll be in the Xanax bottle if you need me. C

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Off Day

Ah, the sock. What is there to say about this most perfect of creations? I heart it, even after having to tink back two rounds. Lost a yo in there somewhere, but I have it all back to better, now.

Today was haircut day for the Becher chirruns. Here, Madeleine is sporting her first eyebrow wax, along with a fresh pixie-cut... oh, and the "Vampire Red" chunks. Also, there appears to be a rabid weasel behind her...

but it's just one of the dwarves. Group photos never go very well, which is why I don't spend a fortune of professional photography. From l to r, back to front, we have Snarky, Squinty, Sweetie, Squirrely, and Withering Stare. We had quite a day, but more about that tomorrow.

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Monday, July 7, 2008

Bigger than your palm

The spider in the previous post, that is. For some reason (the lack of smashing them, most likely), they grow huge here at Becher Haus. 3.5"x 4.5" is getting to be standard size, and I am creeped out just thinking about my many-footed friends in the basement. Ugh. The poisons we have used routinely don't work on spiders because they don't lick their feet. Weird, huh? The bug man told me that's how most poisons work... the bugs groom themselves and each other (ants are very big on social grooming... who knew?) and ingest the toxins that kill them. I have no ants, roaches, or termites, but the big, honking arachnids are taking over. Perhaps they have more to do with our otherwise critter-free home than I would care to know.

Tonight I am knitting more on the two pet projects, the Clapotis wrap and the Mockery socks. A Netflix disc did not come today, but that's okay... plenty to watch around here, and I'm ever thankful of the simple patterns and expanses of worry-free knitting these two projects are affording me right now. Dinner was Chinese take-out (I over-ordered, as usual), and the kids are all doing the cleaning up. A glass of iced decaf coffee waits for me by my knitting bag... the one cleverly labeled 'books', because Lands' End goofed my order. The 'knitting' bag is en route. I'm not holding my breath. I'll bet they spell it with one 't'. Pardon my sarcasm, but in the order of six "monogrammed" totes, only two were what I actually ordered. Just keeps life interesting, you know. Go be crafty... I'll be back tomorrow, with pictures.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

It's good, but gets worse...

Today I managed to thwart the forces of non-knitting (aka 'evil') with some non-Clap sockish type knitting... in my pajamas. All day. No bra, no shower, just knitting. No cooking, no cleaning, just series television on DVDs, Herr Becher's banging taco dip, and the 'Mockery' sock. I had to haul it into the bathroom for a late evening photo-op. It wanted to sit on the sink, but after putting pink in Lillian's hair and 'vampire red' in Madeleine's, the sink wasn't a viable option. I shortened the ribbing to ten rounds, and went 1x1 instead of 2x2, but everything else in the same... this is Shibui sock yarn, purchased on our Harlot-stalking trip this spring. So far, I adore this pattern, and will be knitting it again in a 'shaded solid' from the freezer stash.
Now, every once in a while I've been known to put up a picture of a creepy-crawlie. The other day, Herr Becher hollered "you have to see this" from the depths of the basement. He also mentioned I should maybe bring the camera along, and then told Joe to grab the ruler out of his math book. I stayed a good two feet from it, and in the lower shot, the ruler is not touching the wall, but is about four inches away (the man would not get any closer, even when I called him a nancy-boy). Also, I have to mention here that we pay for a service, so that our house won't be infested with crawlies. Mr. Foster (our certified bug-man) did in fact tell me that to off spiders, he'd have to 'bomb' the house. For someone with my level of OCD, what this actually means is I'd have to scrub every surface, every drawer and cabinet, every piece of furniture, wash every piece of fabric, have the draperies dry-cleaned, the window screens replaced, and repaint the entire interior of my house, just to not freak about the poisonous residues clinging to everything. Or, I can take creepy pictures, spin on my heel, and carry my fat little bum back up the basement stairs, away from this hand-sized critter who, not surprisingly, won the bet. We did not, and still do not, possess the cajones to mash this thing. A little voice in my head said that it's probably eating things I really don't want to see... so we left it, with it's little, glinty eye, alone.

My only regret is that I used to think the things that went 'bump' in the night were just the cat, but I've given myself photographic proof otherwise. This is also why I've banned the dust-ruffle. No sense giving the crawlies an express lane into the bed. Ick. I'm off to launch another load of towels into the wash, and knit six more rounds of 'Mockery'.
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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Objects in mirror...

Last week I was having a rush-around morning, and as I was barreling towards town, radio cranked up loud, I caught the slightest movement in my peripheral vision. Hello, Mr. Train. Fancy a snog? I have learned my lesson, and I do not have infallible breaks, so the volume is lower, and the pace a bit slower, even on rush-around mornings. Oh, I lost count at seventy cars. (It were a big'un.)

A new taste was acquired this past week. Miss G loaned me two seasons of t.v. to knit by, and threw in some viciously hot chocolate. This one has hot pepper seeds in it, and it's actually great for setting off a flood of endorphins. I bought a Lindt and tried their version of chili chocolate... this one hurts more. Thanks, Gaylen. I'm already on bar two, and am torn between hating Target for being so homogenized and loving them for the very same reason.

Someone finally brought in a birdie sling when I had the camera with me. This was done for an elderly aunt, and so is not in 'Amy Butler' fabric, but the cut of this bag is wonderful. I have more patterns on order, as the first eight were gone in less than two weeks. Another customer made this bag in some of the 'Lotus' collection fabrics, and it looked amazing, in red, blue, and gray, with bits of chartreuse tossed in for good measure. Fool-proof and fabulous.
Well, the Becher Brats are decidedly noisy, and as it's after ten now, I have to go be the troll under the billy-goats' bridge. Herr Becher has an early morning tomorrow and sleep needs to happen around here. (No, not for me... laundry and kitchen cleaning await my ministrations, and some knitting on Clap, if the meds take awhile to kick in.)
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Friday, July 4, 2008

red long necks

The kids are all crowded around the upstairs windows, straining to see the neighbor's fireworks. I am notoriously not a fan of fireworks, and thus not inclined to sit outside to be chewed up by mosquitoes, all for a bit of bang and sparkle. I can't say exactly when I stopped being charmed by the Fourth of July... possibly the year we sat in a traffic-jam with a screaming toddler, or the year we had the best seats ever, and all the kids wanted to do was chase fire-flies through the field (thereby stirring up the mosquitoes). I'm always a sucker for that 'Hallmark moment'.

The neighbors are doing it up right, to their credit. There is music, beer, a huge bonfire, beer, fire-crackers, beer, and a goodly supply of the nice, "illegal" fireworks... and beer. Oh, and guns. Target practice is a big part of every celebration, here in the hills. And beer. Beer is big, too.

Tomorrow, life will resume it's normal pattern. I had the shop open for an hour and a half today, but saw not a single human being out and about, so I changed the phone message and played hooky. On tomorrow's to-do list is buying the chirruns some fireworks. They can save them for the two July 12th birthdays here at Becher Haus, and I'll look into getting a keg delivered. Speaking of, I should probably get the cake ordered, and plan the menu. Usually all they want is roasted corn, hot dogs, and watermelon... not exactly a culinary challenge, though it does mean I'll have to remove the family of mice from inside the grill. Ugh.