Saturday, January 31, 2009


One of the earliest blogs I started reading, way back when we were all using AOL Journals as our platform, was Crochet With Dee.

I loved reading about all of the things Dee was up to. She was living the dream. This talented lady had taken her enthusiasm for her craft and managed to make money doing what she loved. Not only is Dee a registered teacher of crochet, but she designs her own patterns and has had them published!

She's also a really nice person who spends a considerable amount of her crochet time doing things for Charity. Every year she does her 60 scarves in 60 days challenge. She makes some really wonderful (and beautiful!) chemo hats that she donates to local hospitals. And, she always seems to be looking for people who can benefit from her big heart and talent.

When we made the crossing, she did also and today blogs at Crocheting With where I still follow her.

I'll let Dee introduce herself in her own words:

Hi, I'm Dee Stanziano, crochet teacher, designer, enthusiast. Crochet is my passion, and because of this, many, like Gwen Blakely-Kinsler and Carolyn Christmas call me "The Crochet Cheerleader." I invite you to join me here, and at my website, where I share my passion for the art of crochet. :)

O.K.... now, why am I telling you all about Dee? Well, in addition to the fact that you should be following this nice ladies blog anyway, she was also kind enough to leave the following comment on my last entry.

CrochetWithDee said...

I love it! Your stitches look fantastic, and the color combo is awesome! Your friend will love this treasure! :)

To have someone like Dee say that my stitches looked good... well... just Squeeeeeee! LOL!

Now, in reward for all of you who have waded thru this entry so I could squee, I offer up another pretty picture of a flower to remind you that, yes, Spring is on the way!



Thursday, January 29, 2009




Look what I just finished. It's for a friend who really, really likes orange. I started it as a present for her 16th birthday and I'm only 4 months late getting it finished. LOL! Her whole bedroom is done up in oranges and pinks. Sounds like it would clash, but it is actually very pretty. Since the pretty (and bright neon!)  orange thread I found for her afghan was a little too bright, I fell back on a favorite afghan pattern I have that uses 2 strands of yarn held together while you crochet. This way I could add a strand of heather colored yarn and tone that wonderful bright neon orange down a little bit. It came out pretty nice if I do say so myself. Now I just need to find a nice box for it so I can ship it to her in Canada.

I love this pattern. It works up fairly quickly using just a chain stitch and double crochets. It is a ripple afghan, but instead of the points you usually see in a ripple, it has a more scalloped effect. And, because you use two strands of yarn held together, you can do a lot of interesting things with color.

This picture shows you how it is scalloped at both top and bottom.


And this close-up gives you a feeling for the wonderful textured look you get with this pattern.


I like the softer look of the more rounded peaks and valleys of this pattern.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Good Beginning




G & I  watched the Inauguration on TV. First on HLN and then on CNN. I had the computer on and was following Twitter feeds for #Inaug09 and #Inauguration in separate tabs on Firefox. Actually I was skimming them for content, you could NOT keep up with either stream. You would get thru one page and already there was over 1000 new Tweets waiting for you to refresh. I am still following both feeds and they are continuing to be updated. And, not just by people in the U.S. either!

When Mr. Obama stood up to be sworn in I quickly typed in my welcoming message and left it up in Twitter while I watched the swearing in. I actually liked that Mr. Obama seemed a little nervous as he took his oath. As he finished his oath I hit the Enter key to welcome my new President to the office. I then shut the lid on my laptop and focused on President Obama's first speech as our leader. I have to admit that I was NOT disappointed. As soon as he was finished speaking I looked at G, and said, "Wow!". I then opened my laptop to see what the rest of the world had to say.

Mostly people seem to be positive and looking forward to this new administration. I feel very optimistic myself. The President's Inaugural speech was fantastic. You can get a full transcript of the speech in several places online. There are a couple of 'cloud' pictures of his speech up online and I include two  here. One at the top of this entry and one at the bottom.

Here's hoping that today's promise becomes tomorrow's reality.



Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK Day, The Inauguration, and a Flower Pic...

People have been commenting in different venues today that it is somehow appropriate that Martin Luther King Day and the Inauguration fall together like they have. I guess that is so, but I think that every person has his own message and we should not try to lump one man's message with another's.

Martin Luther King's message was a wonderful one, and I always like hearing his I have a Dream speech.  Often the fact that Mr. King's message was for -everyone- and not a certain group of people gets lost in the hype, and I find that sad. Mr. Obama (soon to be President Obama in a few more hours!) will also have a message. Let's hope that people will be open to hearing it, and realizing that his message too is for every U.S. citizen and not just for a some.

The Inauguration. Wow! This is going to be an Inauguration filled with firsts... and with history. I love that Mr. Obama is using the bible used by Lincoln at his inauguration. But, for some of the firsts: Mr. Obama's official portrait is the first to be taken with a Digital camera. There are going to be other firsts too, many having to do with how people get their information about the event. It will be all over the television and radio, of course, but there is also an official Twitter feed, stuff on You Tube, and a special Flickr photo group set up.

Personally I have the Twitter feed running and I plan to watch the actual Inauguration on TV. I heard someone today mentioning that they would like to have been one of the people lucky enough to be in DC tomorrow. But me, I think I would take a pass on that. Not only is it going to be incredibly crowded, and just getting around is sure to be insane, but it is also going to be just a little on the CHILLY side. I think I'll be much more comfortable in my living room. I won't have to worry about being cold, or not getting there on time, or not finding a good vantage point to watch from... or...  yeah, the list goes on. Still, I do look forward to watching it all unfold in living color!

It will be a day of speeches, and spectacle and history... but the really important work will  start on Wednesday. I'm hoping that fresh blood in the White House will start a turn around, but I'm also hoping people realize that we didn't get into this mess in just a short time and it will not all get fixed by next Friday.... or even by next year. I'm hoping they give our new leader a chance.

And now.... for anyone who slugged thru all of the boring stuff to the very end... I give you another pretty orchid picture.



Sunday, January 18, 2009

It's Cold... Here, have a Picture!

I almost hate to complain about the cold. I know, I know, 25° doesn't really seem that cold to most of you... especially those of you who have been dealing with the below 0° temps, but still, if you aren't used to it,.... It's COLD! LOL!

So, here. Have a couple of pictures I took last fall at the Orchid show. They are pretty and at least it's not pictures of snow or ice ;p







Saturday, January 17, 2009

Slowly I Drift toward the Darkside

First it was e-mail, then the Internet, blogs/journals, Pogo and flickr. Those bad habits led to an RSS reader (so you can keep up with even more stuff!) Kicking and screaming I ended up with a MySpace page. Now.... I've joined Twitter. Yes, I'm on of those Twitter people. And, I blame Scalzi! If it hadn't been for him allowing his CAT to twitter..... well, once I started following Ghlughee's feed, it led, predictably, to me following Scalzi's. then he did an @ to Wil Wheaton, so I added him. A few of the blogs I follow have Twitter feeds, so I've been adding them. But, I was in denial. I didn't Twit... I only read what others Twitted. It was kind of like being a lurker on a Blog. Then, one day you see something... and you reply to it. And, you are done. You have joined the masses. You Twitter. You add a Twitter client to Firefox so you can follow your Twits without having to actually go to, and you admit defeat. The Internet is actually sucking up all of your time and there is NOTHING you can do about it!

Next thing you know I'll have a FaceBook account. Yeah, we all know I'm headed there. I'm not even sure why I'm fighting it. LOL!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Is it Possible?

Can you be Harry Pottered out?

Right before Thanksgiving I decided to revisit the Harry Potter Universe. I had a couple of reasons.... I had read the books as they were published and had seen all of the movies to date as they were released (and own them all on DVD and have viewed them all many times since!). The problem was the books stretched out over a pretty good stretch of time, and my memory isn't always the best. Oh, I knew I retained all of the main ideas from each book, and these main ideas were reinforced by each of the movies as they came out, but I also knew that there were subplots left out of the movies, and there were things that I didn't remember clearly as I made my way thru each new book. I also had plans to pick up the new Tales of Beedle the Bard. And, finally, with Christmas right around the corner this would keep me from buying any new books.... at least for a little while and still have plenty to read!

I went to my storage unit and dug out the first 5 books and pulled the last 2 out of my bookcase here. I was ready to start. Looking at the books, I remembered when I picked up the first one. I had been hearing about the Harry Potter books for a little while, but hadn't picked any of them up yet. I was at a bookstore buying something else, and as I stood at the checkout I noticed a a trade paperback version of the Sorcerer's Stone in a display sitting there. I shrugged and picked it up, figuring I would see what all the hoopla was about....

I didn't read it right away, after all I had the two books I had actually gone in to buy that I read first, but soon I picked it up and and opened it and began to read... I was quickly captivated by this world of witches and wizards and magic. Next trip to the bookstore I looked and found the next two books were also out in trade paperback format and I grabbed them. I quickly devoured these and wanted more. By a trick of timing it turned out that the next book (#4) came out in paperback just as I finished the third. From then on I was hooked and bought each book in hardback within a day of them reaching the bookstore. This is saying something... I rarely buy books in hardback. I usually wait for the less expensive and more portable paperback versions, but with these books I couldn't wait!

Still, as much as I liked them, I hadn't re-read any of them till now. I started with Year 1 a couple of days after Thanksgiving and read straight thru till I finished Year 7 this evening. I was right. There were many little things that I had forgotten, or not caught on my first read thru. Knowing how it would all end, I saw many early hints and little things that I had overlooked or missed. It was a very enjoyable way to spend the Month of December, and I finished it all up with the Tales of Beedle the Bard this evening. These books are definitely just as good the second time around... and I'm sure I will enjoy them again in the future.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard was a quick read, but a fun one. It's only 107 pages and is comprised of 5 Wizarding Tales, much like our Fairy Tales. One of the stories, of course, plays an important part in The Deathly Hallows.  It wouldn't be of any interest to anyone who wasn't already a fan of the Harry Potter Universe, but was a nice way to round out my Harry Potter Journey.

Now I am going to go to my TBR pile and pick up something not Harry Potter related to read! LOL!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy Fifth Birthday, Spirit!




I'll bet you were wondering just who (or what) the heck Spirit is. LOL! Well, Spirit is the Mars Rover that landed on Mars five years ago today. Twenty-one days later Opportunity (a second rover) joined Spirit on Mars. It was hoped that these two rovers would last at least 3 months...... That was five years ago! Not that the two haven't had problems. Poor Spirit can only go backwards now, and Opportunity has a problem with one of his arms. They've also had a few power problems. Both rovers get their power from the sun using solar panels. Dust tends to cover up the panels causing a power shortage.

Still, all things considered, these two tough little rovers have definitely gone above and beyond. Want to get the whole story? Click Here for the BBC News article. And Here for some photos sent back by Spirit and Opportunity. Things like this just fascinate me.

Friday, January 02, 2009

And A New Year Begins...

Yesterday we greeted a New Year, and many people made resolutions that they hope will make their lives better during the coming year. Of course, many things, such as the economy, are pretty much out of our control, but some things we can at least try to make better.

I don't usually make New Year's Resolutions, mainly because it is just setting myself up to fail. The first thing that happens when I feel I have to do something, even something that is good for me or that I should do, is that I have a perverse desire to not do that thing. Yeah, weird, I know. Still, looking back at the last year and forward to a new one always makes us aware of things we would like to change, do differently, or get rid of. So, instead of making resolutions, I decided to make suggestions to myself! LOL!

First and foremost, I want to spend more time with my camera this year. I really neglected taking pictures this last year. I don't even have a good explanation... I just was not inspired to grab my camera last year. I want to change that. Last year was just a blah year for me all around. I was busy... but I wasn't doing anything creative. I want this year to be different. I am hoping to make 2009 a year of being creative. Along with the above idea of getting excited about photography again, I want to do other things. More time with Photoshop, more time spent crocheting, knitting, working with pastels and chalks. Just overall whatever creative thing strikes me I want to pursue it this year. In addition, I want to continue to make plenty of time to read books, watch movies, and enjoy being with my family. If I can make all these things a little bit more of a priority this year, I think it will be one of the best years ever.

I think one of the best things about the beginning of the year -- heck, the beginning of anything -- is that things look so bright and hopeful and new and ... Shiny! LOL!