Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thursday Tab- Danish OTA Dolls Part #4

Look familiar?

I recognize those eyebrows

Teen-ager? Yeah, like Sophia Loren as a teen (I love love love the artwork on this one)

and Ann Margaret. Don't we all need swimsuits with boob triangles?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Winter Wonderland

I don't need a thermometer to tell me when the air temp is below zero- a quick sniff will tell me one way or the other. This morning, the air was above zero, but the wind chills certainly weren't. However, the sky was blue and the sun was shining, and frost etched the trees. So I dressed up, went outside, and took a few quick pics.

The South Dakota prairie

is starkly beautiful at all times, but especially so in the winter.

The creek has frozen over

and is too big to get in a single shot.

The house looks very different from this angle,

and even the cleanup is beautiful in its own way.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Back to Normal

My Christmas prep often takes most of the year because I start in January, salting away socks and hats and mittens as gifts. My trees (especially this year) go up very early. So for me, on December 26, it's over.

And by over, I mean everything is put away and my house is back to it's usual non-festive disarray. That also means that it's time to go back to work, though this year, I didn't take a holiday break. I knitted seriously every day, including Christmas. But I'm excited about this book and the projects, so except for the constant underlying worry about the deadline, it wasn't like work. It was more like *fun* knitting, with marvelous (free) yarn.

I'm very much engrossed in Robinson Crusoe, which I am listening to as I treadmill. The story is fascinating, and I know that this is a book that I will want to read when I finish hearing the Librivox version. I do wonder if 'Ol Rob will come to understand that he spent two years in slavery, desperately plotting an escape, only to be shipwrecked on a voyage whose aim was to capture more slaves for himself.

Outside, it is a very white world. And since the sky is blue and the sun is shining, I may venture out to take some more pictures. People are out and about again, and the stores are open and I suspect that mail will be delivered today. The blizzard was nasty, and now it's over too. I'll leave you with a few more snowy shots from the last few days.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Digging Out

The worst of the storm is over, and now the work begins.

My husband knows people...

The eagle-eyed among you will note that not only is The Hub in shirtsleeves, but he's wearing neither hat nor gloves. The cabs of these suckers are warm. And they have music. And probably a beer fridge.

Not everything needs to be plowed.
Remember this? and this? This is what it looks like this morning:

Indeed, much of the cleanup cannot be done with the heavy equipment. The front steps, for example, with their 3' of snow covering, will have to be dug out by hand. And this drift:
will disappear, eventually, on its own.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Wind Sculptures

We took advantage of a lull in the storm, to take the pickup into town for a few pics. It's... interesting... and oh so beautiful out there.

This picture isn't nearly as sharp as I'd like. The wind carved out delicate bowls in the snow.

and waxed whimsical on these trucks

and dangled snow off the Lumberyard roof

and carved canyons by the chairs

and graceful dunes by the house

and nearly buried my car.

Blast from the Past- Cross Stitch Plus, May '93- Sampler Bell Pull and Pillow

Some of you may remember that I spent 14 years writing and designing for craft magazines, before I wrote my 6 mysteries (and before I started writing knitting books). Sometimes it was a couple of years between the time a project was finished and when it finally hit the stands (much like book publishing, come to think of it), so a few of my articles came out around the same time that my first mystery was published.

That's the case with this Sampler Bell Pull and Pillow, which was published in House of White Birches' Cross-Stitch Plus in May of 1993. HWB is still in business, though Cross Stitch Plus is long gone.

I have a copy of each of the magazines that published my articles (I sold my first one in '80, and the last was published in '94), but they're in storage. However, my friend Lorah found a few in her collection and she gave them to me.

I kept very few of my own designs, but I do have the bell pull, still hanging on a wall. I have no idea what happened to the pillow (gotta say good riddance to eyelet lace, though...)

It was worked with a single strand of wool embroidery thread from DMC called Flower Thread, which does not seem to be in production any more. I did the design on 18 ct wool cloth that I got from Wichelt.(side note: I haven't done cross stitch in a long time- I'm glad to see that Wichelt is still in business. They provided most of the cloth that I used in my years as a cross stitch designer, and I was always very happy with the quality of their fabric).

These charts could be adapted to Fair Isle knitting, if you adjusted the colors to just 2 per row.

p.s. I loved samplers, and designed a boatload of them, back in the day

Friday, December 25, 2009

Who's dreaming of a White Christmas?

We're wide awake.
The Weather Service wasn't kidding about this storm. It took awhile to build up steam, but we're in the middle now. Luckily, we celebrated Christmas with the SD Son and SO and 3 Grands last night, and have no need to go anywhere today. Indeed, we couldn't go anywhere even if we wanted to. We're going to hunker down, and eat leftover turkey and make a drink, and watch another disc of Season 5 of Lost.

All in all, a pretty great holiday.

So, what's it like outside, you ask? Well, lookie here:

Elderly Snow Angel in action

The wind is an amazing sculptor

25mph winds, 21 degrees, snowing (hard to tell how much we've gotten already, since it moves around a lot, but I'd say we have 6"-8" of new, and that much more predicted by Saturday). I was nice and warm inside all those bulky layers (except for my face, which was freezing).

Most of the front steps are buried

Remember the gate pic from a few days ago?

Lotsa snow

very low visibility

and high drifts (that's The Hub).

I hope everyone is safe and warm and having a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thursday Tab- OTA Danish Paper Dolls, Part 3

Merry Christmas Eve! (and for those in distant enough time zones: Merry Christmas!)
Here are some more of the Danish paper dolls that were printed on the backs of OTA breakfast cereal boxes.

Anne Mette looks like the least innocent skier in the world.

Annelise and her eyebrows are ready for a 3 hour tour...

Birgit is off to a movie premiere

with her clone, Liselotte.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sock of the Day #3- Hand-Dyed, Crusoe, and The Coming Storm

Sock of the Day #3:

This was my first successful experiment in dyeing self-patterning yarn. I dyed and knit this yarn before I thought of writing a book on the subject, back when I wasn't quite sure it could even be done on a small scale. At the time, we were living in a single-wide trailer while we built the house we live in now. I made the long skeins by stringing yarn from the kitchen cabinet knobs, through the living room, down the long, narrow hall, around the bedroom doorknob, and back to the kitchen. Over and over and over again. I used Rit dye because that's all I could get my hands on.

Luckily, the notion worked. I don't remember what brand this yarn was- I know it was peach colored (the spaces between the stripes are the yarn's base color), and that I got it on eBay on a cone. For cheap.

I also know that it was totally unsuitable as sock yarn. These socks have been repaired multiple times.

Both of them.

The latest repairs were made after taking Merike Saarnitt's darning class at the Sock Summit (you can tell which ones they are- they're the ones that look neat). I not only fixed new and previous holes, I did some pre-emptive reinforcement of weak spots. They're good for another round of wear.

(Side Note: you may remember that I am a tad anal about stripes matching on my socks, so you might also expect me to experience discomfort when my repairs don't match the original fabric. Nope. I don't care at all. In fact, I rather like the mish-mosh of yarn colors on the soles of my feet. Go figure).

I've started listening to Robinson Crusoe, and am enjoying the story, though I'm only a little over a chapter into it. I have noticed that a great many of the volunteer Librivox readers are tentative and herky-jerky in their delivery for the first couple of chapters on any given book, and then smooth out and relax for the remainder. I hope that happens with RC, because this reader tends to pause every third or fifth word, whether the text demands it or not.

This is what our yard looks like this morning:

Cold, white, and wintery.

The Weater Service is predicting a major storm slated to begin later this afternoon, and continuing maybe until Sunday. We may get up to 16" of new snow, and 40mph steady winds. They're saying that it could be the worst blizzard  since '67, which is before my time here. I've seen some pretty big snowstorms in my nearly 40 years in SoDak, and we're smack in the middle of the warning area, so this one is going to be a humdinger. We're stocked up with food and booze, and I have all the ingredients for turkey dinner tomorrow (and Heath Bar Fudge, if a real emergency arises), lots of wine, the presents are wrapped, and we have a generator (not that we expect to lose power). And I have wool socks enough for everyone's feet. I'll keep all y'all posted. And I'll take pics.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

We were supposed to get 1" of new snow overnight. We got 4". Starting tomorrow, through Friday, we're slated to get up to 10" more, and high winds. We're in a Blizzard Warning, which means the storm is definitely coming. The Governor was just on TV, pleading with people to stay home (or leave now, while the roads are still relatively clear).

Luckily, all of our people are here (those who will be here, anyway. The CA Contingent is staying there), and I'm done with my shopping and wrapping, and have plenty of food and drink to last us for the duration, so though I do not wish a blizzard on anyone, if it happens: we're ready.

The girls and I made Peanut Butter Blossoms.

I ventured out this morning to take pictures, in my winter wear- snowpants, Carhartt jacket and hat, Sorell boots, (rated for    -20 degrees, purchased in the 80's and still going strong), and Ragg Wool gloves with Thinsulate linings. I was toasty warm- in fact if I'd been out very long, I would have become overheated.

The snow is highly mobile, so some spots are bare.

Others... not so much (no swimming for awhile)

An old gate

Hay bales. Big hay bales (these are over 5' tall and weigh over 1,000 lbs)

In sheltered spots, the snow piled up.

Stay warm everyone. Stay toasty, hunker down, and drive carefully. The next couple of days are going to be interesting.