Thursday, May 31, 2007

There are some days....

There are some days when I feel like SUCH a moron! I've been going nuts for the last couple of days thinking that the checks to the credit card company had been lost in the mail! My credit card balance wasn't getting any lower and neither was the amount of money in my bank account. I was paranoid that it was lost! At least my bank account hadn't decreased cuz then I would've really been worried about stolen checks and such. It had gotten so that I even called up the credit card company to ask what was up with it! Well, as I shuffled stuff around on my desk, what do I find, but the unmailed envelope to the credit card company! Ya...I feel like a moron. I wonder what else is buried under here that I thought I had mailed!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I was obsessively doing this over the weekend

Chinese Torquoise necklace

It wasn't my favorite stone out of the bunch, but it was the first to speak to me and say "Make me into this!" And it's also come time for me to stick watermarks on my pictures. After the whole ebay debacle of a few weeks ago...I guess it was time. There's a couple of more shots, including one with it on my neck...I'll get around to those. And yes, this is going to etsy.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Hubba hubba!

I had shown Amber and Svetlana the new Joan McGowan Michael book Knitting Lingerie Style: More Than 30 Basic and Lingerie-Inspired Designs. They flipped through it, there was interest in some of the patterns. I mentioned the heavy use of Cascade Fixation with the cotton/elastic combo. They pointed me to elann's Esprit yarn. Of course, on the front page of was the LARA PINWHEEL SWEATER WITH CROCHETED EDGES and I drooled. Wow! I think I found my circle jacket! I also really like that crimson color!

On a somewhat hockey related side note, I have this superstition that whenever I wear red while Cornell is playing, we lose. Sometimes, I've noticed that when I wear the other team's colors, the other team loses. So...if I went with the crimson color, does that mean that Harvard loses?

Saturday, May 26, 2007


A lot of beading, some blogging, even a little bit of knitting, and I even did some updates! I cleaned up just a little bit. At least right now, it's something I think I can work, it's good. It was a refresher course on CSS.

Another finished orchid

Now I can post this!

Orchid Shadow Box

I needed a bit of a refresher on how to make these orchids and Amber's birthday provided a perfect opportunity. Now that I've actually given it to her, I can put the picture up on the blog. I really need to lighten this picture, it's a little dark.

I must admit, starting to make this again was a little interesting. The notes I took made sense at the time, but looking back, I had to decipher them a bit. And there were some parts of the assembly that I did forget to write down...oh well. It was a good dry run for the pattern writing!

Materials and other techincal details for the beaders

I had bought these really amazing looking 2 cut beads in New York in January and I thought they looked perfect for an orchid. Amber, Patricia and Helena who were all with me at the time also loved those beads. So perfect, I had my main beads. The lesson learned from Anne's orchid was to use a bead for the sepals whose shade or finish is slightly different from the actual petals. I found some in Tohos at Bead Obsessions. Then I added in some yellow to accent. Once I had the flower colors settled, it was time to look towards the greenery portion of this plant. Well I have something like 3 master hanks of these size 10/0 olivine iris 3 cut beads that are just beautiful and I thought they would go very well with this plant. I strung them up and made the first leaf and it looked wonderful.

In all of this time, I was also thinking about the final presentation of the orchid. I was initially going to plant it in a pot, like a regular potted plant but at some point, I realized that Amber has very little surface space left in her place. While an potted orchid is pretty, there are more important things surface space can be used for. Then I realized that I had a couple of shadow box frames that I had bought at Michael's a few years before when I was experimenting with beaded flowers in shadowboxes. That experiment didn't work too well because of the glass piece. But looking at the orchid, I realized that if I mounted it in and left the glass out, this turns more into a sculptural piece of artwork than I had originally intended. The whole shadowbox idea definitely worked because I know she has wall space. I also verified this by sneakily checking out the whole place while I was over watching Grey's Anatomy on Thursday nights, so I knew this would fit.

So, how did I mount the thing in? First I cut a stake that would fit diagonally across the back. Orchids are held up by stakes and this one, even if it's fake and framed, isn't going to be any different. Then, I made 3 pairs of holes on each side of the stake in the backing using a hammer and a small nail. Then, I used 30 gauge green floral paddle wire to wire the stem and leaves together, and into the back. Yes it stays. I didn't put another backing on to the frame to hide the twisted wires in case she ever wanted to take the flowers out of the frame to dust or wash.

It was a wonderful Friday

Yesterday, started out at work, where Svitlana and I had agreed to bring in all of our beaded goodies so we could stare at them. It looked like this:
This is what you saw when you walked into our office

You can click here for more pictures. Needless to say, we didn't get much work done. Of course, we had to drag some coworkers in to say, "Look at all these pretty things!" and I even managed to sell one of the necklaces in the process. My etsy shop is a little empty now.

After work, I made a quick stop by Whole Foods for some seafood to grill and some summer roll wrappers and headed over to Anne's house to start chopping my vegetables. It was a little gathering to celebrate Amber's birthday. We had the birthday girl, Amber, Svetlana and her little cute little boy, Nina, Patricia and her husband Chris, and of course, Amber's parents, Anne, Tim, and her brother Kevin for a little bit. It was a great day and we were able to grill and eat outside. Time flew and by the time the presents were opened and we were sitting around chatting, it was late and I was ready to fall asleep on the couch!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

graphics and templates and lack of sleep

I'm really quite tired but I'm up playing with websites. Another step in getting my computer up and running involved downloading ftp software and getting connected back to and Judy Yiu Designs. Something for you all to learn about me. You've seen the beautiful works that I can create and you'd think I'd have some artistic talent. Well, it works great in 3D but when I have to go 2D, I really suck. Don't believe me? Take a look at both of those websites. I think they can both use an overhaul, the Judy Yiu Designs site especially.

Okay, so by day, I am a software developer working in the likes of html and asp and sql. But you know what? I'm just arranging text and form fields on a page, though these days, it's more of a project management role and making sure people get their work done and done correctly. There's nothing involving graphics there. I don't do 2 dimensional graphics. I don't do layouts and designs.

These days, I've been thinking about either paying for and working with a web template or just hiring a graphics person to provide a general template design that I can then maintain. Of course, I can always take it one step at a time and do it slowly. But you've got to remember that staring at this stuff for 8 hours a day, I don't really want to do it any more when I get home!

So, I'm here, soliciting opinions for either how I should present either of the pages mentioned above, or your opinion on getting someone who specializes in graphics. I know the websites need to come up to snuff since I am trying to turn this all into a self supporting hobby. I can't deal with website editors. I am a software developer, therefore I deal in code. I would prefer to open the html page in Notepad and edit the straight text than to open it in a WYSIWYG editor and go nuts because I can't specify things to my preference. So...HELP!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


One goes through moods. I knit, I spin, I make beaded flowers, I make beaded jewelry. Depending on my moods, I focus on one. Well I really haven't been in a spinning mood. I think it's the fact of trying to spin down a 1 lb. ball of fiber and I think I'm doing it 3 ply and I've only got a bobbin and a half. So, that's the spinning. The knitting, I'm stuck in between projects and I haven't been inspired so I've been keeping busy on the grasshopper sock - the April kit from Socks That Rock. Flowers...well I did just get through some. I still need to take some pictures. And I guess I'm in more of a beady mood right now. I dunno. Maybe just more beady things in my future for now.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Another weekend with finished objects

This is the fossil stone necklace.

Fossil stone necklace

The stone is called fossil stone and I was in a mood for fringe. Some Czech glass beads are dangling off the bottom here while there are little pieces of moonstone in the necklace and some unknown stone I had picked up in China last year. I'm currently working on the fringe of:
Torquoise necklace in progress

this piece of torquoise. I have to admit that I'm not really a big fan of the torquoise you normally see out there. However, when other colors start coming out, like in this piece there are deeper blues, I get all warm and fuzzy inside.

My problem right now is that my goal is to add at least one new piece to the etsy shop each month but May is getting close to the end and I don't know which piece to add. I really like this fossil stone piece so I don't know how I feel about putting it up. I've thought about a black cab piece that I've worn out a few times...Anyways...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Finished Objects Galore

Yes, I've been a busy girl. This section on the top down raglan is also posted to the Sweet Life Knitters blog.

Finished Top Down Raglan

I finished my top down raglan last weekend. It started out that I wanted to finish a cotton green summer top before the Mother's Day outing with Amber and Anne. But when I finished that on Saturday, my hands were still itching to knit, so I picked up the top down raglan and kept going! I finished off the neck, weaved in the ends, and was done, and I wanted to knit more! So I picked up some socks to keep knitting. Thankfully, it was night and about time for bed :) But here's a picture of Amber modeling the sweater. The picture came off of her camera. It was a chilly day. She wanted to wear the sweater, so we brought it along:
Finished top Down Raglan

Yarn: Patons Wool Classic
Needles: Knit Picks size 8 circs, Knit Picks size 6 circs for the neck edge
I had measured the neckline of a sweater I had liked and calculated the cast on stitches based on that calculation. I started with the sleeves and the back edge. The front was cast on by first increasing a stitch at each end, then I cast on 2 stitches at each edge, then 3 stitches, and finally, I cast on the middle front so that I had just a few more stitches on the front section than the back. I have the actual numbers around here somewhere :) Then I knit, increasing at the raglan seams every other row. When I got to a point where the sweater was a comfortable distance below my armpit, I put the sleeve stitches on spare yarn and continued knitting the body. For the body, I started decreasing 1-2 inches below the join and decreased 4 stitches (2 stitches each side) every 5 rows, 3 times. Then I knit another couple of inches and began increasing back out, 4 rows every 5 rows, 3 times. Then I kept knitting until it was long enough to my liking and I actually put the stitches onto holders so I could work on the sleeves. I wanted to be able to keep knitting if after I finished the sleeves, I decided the body wasn't quite long enough.

The sleeves I picked up and knit. Every 25th row, I decreased 2 stitches until it was long enough. I chose to do a gradual decrease because I didn't want bell sleeves or anything resembling bell sleeves and I was afraid that would happen if I didn't do the gradual decreases.

I did end up picking up the stitches from the lower sweater edge and knit a few more rows and then bound off. Finally, I picked up stitches along the neckline and went down 2 needle sizes and knit an inch or two. It was just enough to even out the neckline and bring the edge in more so that the neckline isn't falling off my shoulder. Many of you have heard me joke about this being the "Flashdance off the shoulder sweater" but no, I need something that stays on my shoulders and I don't have to worry about falling off. This neckline works.

Comment on the yarn. I love it! It is so soft and I love the fact that I can spit splice and not worry about too many ends!

Finished summer top in sage green

Finished Summer Top

Pattern: Sirdar Spinning Ltd. - Pattern 5083 - sleeveless version

Yarn: Classic Elite Provence in a sage green (2609-303), 3 skeins

Needles: Knit Picks size 5 for the body, Addi size 3 for the borders

Notes: My gauge swatch was bigger than what the pattern gauge called for. However, I was able to work out the math so that with my pattern gauge, I could follow along the instructions for the smallest size. My rows per inch ended being half a row more than what the pattern called for so I made up for this by knitting 6 extra rows into the main body, just above the lower edge of ribbing, before I started counting for the waist shaping increases. Then, at the arms, just before I start the neck shaping, I knit two extra rows. When I went back to pick up around the edge, I still followed the instructions for the smallest size for the number of stitches to pick up (without adjusting for the 2 additional rows).

Final thoughts: I really enjoyed making this. The pieces knit up really quickly. The seaming was quick and easy because it was a one for one seam. For the sleeves, you pick up stitches along the sleeve edge and knit two rows and then bind off. That really completed the pieces and finished off the edge beautifully. The only problem I have with this top is the neck edge is a little wide and because this is cotton, by the end of the day, the neck is ready to fall off of my shoulders. I'm going to need to find a way to keep this on my shoulders.


I'm sure you've all noticed that there hasn't been much here in the ways of beady things. Yeah, I've been distracted with the yarn and the fiber. There has been a flower in the works but I'll wait til I've finished with that to post a picture. I haven't done much with cabochons and jewelry though. I've been unmotivated and uninspired for a while with what to do. I've had a couple that had been set, but... my creative process, I set the stone first and create the necklace as it speaks to me. Sometimes we reach an impasse where the cab stops talking. That's where I've been for a while. Well...

Svitlana's back at the office. She's been home on maternity leave for a few months. In case anyone needs a memory refresher, she made these beauties. This week was her first week back so we've been showing each other our finished pieces from the last couple of months. The amethyst sage in one of the pictures, it looks blue but it was the picture. In real life, it is still purple, a very beautiful purple. So, Svitlana's back and so is the motivation, and inspiration...and that nagging voice that keeps asking me where the next pretty stone and necklace is :) So, I present to you a stone that has begun speaking to me again. I had started this stone back at the farm. I had intended it as perhaps a shawl pin, but the size just seemed a little big. So the stone sat and sat. I brought it to work with me for show and tell and also found Jamie Eakin Cloud's website and inspiration struck! Jamie Eakin Cloud is the author of Beading with Cabochons: Simple Techniques for Beautiful Jewelry the book I originally learned to set the cabochons from.

Beady thing - work in progressBeady thing - work in progress
Beady thing - work in progressBeady thing - work in progress

I questioned whether or not I should add another layer of fringe to this, but when I did add it on, the fringe seemed to overpower the stone, so, just one layer.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

My friend Josh reminded me of today. They work with existing microfinance institutions in developing nations to make loans to small businesses. You are helping to fund that loan and sponsor the business. I don't remember how I had heard of this in the past but Josh reminded me of this today when he sent me the link. It gave me the warm and fuzzies. It's a way that we in the priviledged world can help someone less fortunate. So the warm and fuzzies got to me, and I signed up and gave some money. So, just something to think about.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Busy weekend!

  • I discovered that why yes, you can sand the rust off of the iron railings, slap on some primer, and then a coat of paint!

  • The Buffalo Sabres are really sucking. Their OT game on Saturday looked like they were playing to not lose.

  • I finished that green top! I wanted to finish it for Sunday when I got to spend the day with the Dugger/Murphy clan. I need to wash it again and let it dry properly. The cotton stretched. Pictures to come later.

  • After I finished the green top, I still wanted to knit so I even finished the top down raglan! I picked up the stitches on the neck and dropped down 2 needle sizes and knit a few rows and bound off. That really pulled the neckline in. The sweater itself is really comfortable! Again, pictures to come. They're all on Amber's camera.

  • Spent Sunday wandering through Virginia with the Dugger/Murphy clan. It was a lovely day. I was very tired and passed out almost immediately upon reaching home.

Then, Monday doesn't count as the weekend but I did go bike riding again. Rode from Rosslyn to Old Town Alexandria with a coworker who's been after me to get a bike. I was not allowed to laugh at him and I was supposed to call 911 if anything happened to him. I did not get to laugh at him and I did not have to call 911. I don't know how I would've explained to my boss that I had to call 911 on him. It's funny though. Running, you get that immediate pain feeling. Biking, the pain doesn't set in for a while. I like that post exercise pain.

I also worked on some more flowers.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Intro to the drop spindle

Thursday night at Starbucks, Lynn (who needs to update her blog) had her drop spindle and was spinning away. I was complaining at my lack of talent with the drop spindle and how I just couldn't do it. Amber had given me a pretty drop spindle for Christmas and it had been sitting there, after my first sad and pathetic attempt. Lynn had some great fiber to spin with and let me try it and well, it worked pretty nicely. Then, she showed me how to start it off and then I was anxious to go home to give it another shot. So, when I got home, it was already midnight. But I blogged, and then I tested out the spindle and success! Even better, it was with this blue fibery stuff that was driving me nuts! Two of my biggest fiber frustrations finally came together into something!
First successful attempt!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ups and downs

And sometimes, life's annoyances intrude into your crafty escape.

Downs - I run the Beaded Flowers Database. I had started this because I got sick of flipping through various books, looking at bad pictures or no pictures of flower patterns. Some of the old books don't have pictures for each pattern. Studio Baboo had a listing in document format but that still required hunting and digging through books and you can get a paper cut in the process. Since I'm a software developer and stuff like sql and php and html and javascript don't scare me, this database was the result. This database has been in existence for a few years. I run it and don't ask for donatations because somewhere deepd own inside, I do believe in open source and the sharing of knowledge and information because in the end, that's how we can advance. So it bothers me that there is at least one person out there who has to go and ruin it for the others.

A couple of days ago, there was a post to the beaded flowers yahoo group about an ebay auction with pictures that were taken directly from my site. The person who sent this email is the person who made those flowers and donated them to the website. The ebay seller did not have permission to use those pictures. She has already alerted eBay to unauthorized use of her picture but is still justifiably upset by it. Some other (opinionated) members of the group have spoken up about this issue and basically dragged me into this. As the person who runs the site, yes, I'm hosting them and using the with her permission. I even give her credit for the flowers and the photographs. Beyond contacting eBay and pointing that out, I'm not sure how else I figure into it since I don't hold copyright over those pictures.

As a designer of flower patterns, I know I have to pay attention to others infringing on my copyright. Yeah, I'd be mighty pissed off as well if someone made use of my photographs of something I had done without my permission. But relatively speaking, it's not as mightily pissed off and threatening lawsuit as I would be if someone had taken a pattern of mine and tried to pass it off as their own. I guess this is where this blog comes in handy because you can see things I've done and it's documented for when I did it. So, I kind of have mixed feelings about this. But also, I don't exactly want to be pissing off my target audience for my designs.

I did email ebay tonight to point out where the pictures came from and how they were altered. Because ya, well, if those were my pictures, I'd be mighty pissed off.

Ups - Someone I don't know bought my stitch markers from etsy. And even more exciting, someone I don't know hearts me! That's exciting :)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

While I was cleaning, I found the picture index from when I got up close and personal with the Stanley Cup. They are found here. The film had been sitting around for too long which is why they suck.

Maryland Sheep & Wool

Okay, it's the requisite post after the sheep and wool festival. Since it was my first, I had heard many things, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. First, I did not find the deep fried twinkies. I'm upset :( I did want an angora bunny (a lot). I also got to look at sheep and pet an alpaca and hold an angora bunny. There was a lot more restraint on the spending than there had been at Stitches. Amber and I drove up Saturday morning to start shopping. We wandered around and we each fell in love with sweaters. I ended up buying the Mom's Lace Sweater kit with the black black yarn. I think I want some pewter buttons. Then, it will fit right in with my winter wardrobe of greys and blacks. I also picked up a basket. I like the basket. Svetlana and Anne met up with us Saturday night in Columbia. I was exhausted and wanted to go to sleep but I wanted to wait for them to get to the hotel so that we could do some show and tell.

Sunday started out bright and early with the Sheep to Shawl. We got there in time for the end of shearing and watched them start spinning. There was a lot of spinning and we ended up shopping since Svetlana and Anne hadn't done any shopping yet. Lunch time approached and we went to the car to get out blankets, camp chairs and food (thank you Svetlana!) and made our camp by the entrance. It was a relaxing afternoon. I spent most of it at camp alternating between napping and knitting. We were joined for a bit by Nina and Patricia also stopped by on her way out. Please note the new url to Patricia's blog. We finally left MDSW and went to a Starbucks to use a bathroom. I finally made it home, showered, ate, and crawled into bed. A good weekend!

Anyways, pictures are here. Pictures of what I actually bought, to come.

I'll probably also be documenting my fiber stash. Please see sidebar for my current spreadsheet of what I've got. I want to try to spin through a lot of it this summer.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I smell like farm

Sheep and Wool was a blast! I got home, took a shower, and realized that I smelled like farm. So that should be washed away along with all the dust and stuff. Photos and details to come...tomorrow? I"m really just too tired right now and want to eat and maybe do some mindless spinning. I really got the urge to spin today.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Sheep and Wool!!!!!

Sheep and wool! Sheep and wool! It's my first MD Sheep and Wool! I missed last year's because I was down in New Orleans at JazzFest. And I hear they have deep fried twinkies!!! You gotta love the deep fried junk food! Good thing I did get out to get some exercise today. Next post will be reporting back from Sheep and Wool.

These are a few of my favorite things (1)

Cue Julie Andrews

I took the bike out to the Mt. Vernon trail today. Since I work in Rosslyn, VA and very close to the Key Bridge and one end of the trail, I brought the bike to work with me and showed it off to my boss and coworkers. Then after work, I changed, got on my bike, navigated through the traffic to the trail and went. It was...interesting. I was getting used to the feel of the bike. The padding on my shorts got caught in the seat a couple of times, preventing me from properly getting onto my bike. I also played around with the gears to get used to the shifting and feel of where they should be on different inclines. When riding towards Old Town Alexandria, there is a little bridge just before you go under the set of 14th St. Bridge that's a bit of a hill. Not a great distance but still, for me, it was traumatic. I've got 3 gears up front, and my boss had told me to get the chain on the little gear in the front to go up the hill. So, I was a little too over eager and took the chain off all gears completely. I'm stuck on the bridge and thinking, "Oh my god! What do I do? I should've had him show me how to take the back tire off cuz we would've then covered how to put the chain back on!" I decided to play around with it a little bit on a grassy area off to the side and if I got desperate, I'd call my boss and sound pathetic and ask how I fix my bike. I did figure out that the chain stretched so I was able to get it back on the small gear. So I got back on the bike and road a little more to one of my favorite places. There's a bend in the trail when you approach Reagan National Airport. It's the last section of one of the decent paths and you can actually get up close to the fence that keeps you out of the airport. I enjoy standing there under the flight path as the planes take off and land. It's really amazing. I normally stop here to enjoy it when I run Mt. Vernon so I decided to make this my turn around point where I could pause for a few minutes, enjoy the planes, and grab a drink of water.
Favorite Things - 1a

Favorite Things - 1b

Thank you camera phone. I also figured out how to pair the phone with the laptop thru bluetooth so no more emailing these pictures to myself.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A bike! A bike!

I got a bike!

'06 Trek 1500

After all the talk about getting one, I finally got one! It's an '06 Trek 1500 and was on sale, as they're making room for the '07 models. It rides really nicely. It actually was even smoother feeling than the two '07 models I tested out this weekend. So, Friday after work, I'm taking this baby out on the Mt. Vernon trail.