Sunday, May 1, 2011

moving again ....

.... before you faint, no we're not moving physical abodes ... we REALLY like Virginia.

But we are moving to a full website with blog and other stuff that I think you'll enjoy.  So re-set your favorite to:

Thank you for reading this note and heading on over ... click around and let me know what you think (remembering of course that it is a work in progress and may still need a little bit of tweaking)!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Yarn-Along: April 27th ... Easter break and lots of driving ...

... and therefore, lots of knitting!

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a single photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~ Ginny at small things

We were blessed to be able to take a short road-trip down to North Carolina to visit dear friends for Easter and a few days after.  About 20 minutes from their house on Easter Sunday, our van started making a very odd, scary sound (so worrisome, I actually stopped knitting for that final stage of the drive!).  We got to the house and the men took care of the van (we got it back on Monday evening, $300 later!) while the kids played with their NC counterparts and the mom and I knitted.  Poor dear, she's pregnant with their 8th and so can't knit too long ... it makes her dizzy.  

But I got lots done.  Here's what I got done since last week:
 Two scarves in cashmere/silk/merino blend (yes, VERY luscious!) -- the top one is a gorgeous teal that I've called "The Long and Winding Road" while the lower one is a beautiful true royal blue that is called "Lapis Lazuli Lace".  Both patterns should be up by the end of the week ....
A cable sampler jacket is currently on the needles.  Knit with KP's Cadena (a wool/alpaca blend bulky) the jacket is going quickly.  The welt is a cable I "unvented" which grows into a 9-stitch braided plait with seed stitch as the ground.  I have jury-duty today and tomorrow, so I can get lots done on the jacket today!

Read-aloud?  Not so much read since it's Easter break 'round these parts!  On my nightstand, I'm just about done with Motherless ... a fiction book packed with Church teaching (and the explanations of) for all things bioethical -- end of life, abortafacients/abortions, IVF, etc.  What a great book ... I can't wait to review it!  I'm also reading Smashing WordPress to get my new website up and running -- I've got a deadline of May 1st to have it ready; next week, the yarn-along will come from there (God willing!).

How has your knitting and reading been progressing?  Don't forget to check-in over at small things and catch up with all the others as we participate in this week's yarn-along.  [Oh and do leave me comments on your reaction to my knitting ... I love comments and advice and suggestions!]

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Yarn-Along: April 20th .... lots of knitting accomplished this week!

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a single photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~ Ginny at small things

Wow, this has been an amazingly prolific knitting week (must be because we did a 6-hour round-trip road-trip with dh driving and me knitting!).  That said, here is what I got accomplished since last week:
Spring is Blooming baby blanket (30" diameter) - (immediate pdf download $5.00)
 Malcolm's Easy-Peasy, One-Piece One-Button Vest (pattern coming soon)
 Hand-dyed Harvest Fingerless Mitts (immediate pdf download $4.00)
Ruby Red Butterfly scarf (pattern coming soon)
Cool, huh?  But with that much knitting, not so much reading got done.  I did finish No He Can't (scariest book I've ever read but a must-read for all voters).  Here are the books we're reading this week:
The family reading:  we're still working on our Shakespeare unit using the Lamb book and BBC dvds (got thru MacBeth and Merchant of Venice; this week, we'll do Taming of the Shrew and As You Like It).  We're also reading Chasing Vermeer, a great first novel with puzzles and mysteries woven throughout the story ... plus all the rabbit trails for art history!

My reading:  I'm still getting up to speed on CSS and HTML and WordPress tech stuff.  I'm such a geek ... I LOVE this stuff!  I also just started Motherless ... an amazing bioethics novel that grabs you from the get-go!  Written with a decidedly active Catholic world-view, this is an interesting story about end-of-life issues.  Very good so far.

On the knitting needles:  since I just finished the Ruby Red Butterfly last night, I haven't cast on yet.  But that little ball of yarn?  A blend of cashmere (50%), silk (25%) and merino (25%) in a lovely deep teal color ... yes, I swooned when I got it!  (The Ruby Red is made with the same fiber blend ... knits lovely and has GREAT color definition).  I've already charted the stitch-pattern for that one ... a cable/lace scarf!

Ginny is a little late posting this week's yarn-along ... but feel free to leave comments below and let me know what's on your needles and on your reading table!  And a blessed and happy Easter to one and all.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review: No He Can't: How Barack Obama is dismantling hope and change

Disclaimer:  I rec'd a review copy of this book through the publisher's Book Sneeze review program.  The review below is my honest reaction to No He Can't: How Barack Obama is dismantling hope and change.

I've been to many places in my almost-50 years of life and I have to say I love our country -- there are few places on this earth that can boast of major political upheavals occurring peacefully, of the freedoms we Americans have and use daily, of the wealth and power of our nation.  But these great benefits come with a price -- the price of responsibility for knowing what is happening in our country, of knowing what our employees (remember, when you vote someone into office, they are for all intents and purposes your employees -- if you don't like what they are doing, you must "fire" them!). in Washington are doing for us, and in ensuring that we never allow these rights, these freedoms to be taken from ANY American.

Kevin McCullough's book, No He Can't, is a book that every voting-age (or even, soon-to-be voting age) American should read.  McCullough defines four major policies areas and what the current administration, that is, Mr. Obama, is saying he'll do, is actually doing and what the end results will be if these policies remain unchecked.  The policies areas covered include:

  1. the economy -- on the campaign trail, Mr. Obama stated that there would be no tax increase for families making less than $250,000 per year; but in the same speeches, he swore he would remove the tax breaks of the Bush administration -- the net result?  By cancelling the tax breaks, the tax bill for everyone went up.  The $1.3 TRILLION stimulus package, the brain-child of such experts as Mr. Obama, Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi -- a package that could have been distributed to each family in the United States (where a family of four could be given a check for $17,000) -- instead went for corporate bail-outs, "cash for clunkers" (that no one wanted anyway and which ran out of funding within a week of the program's start), and millions to STD awareness. In other words, the huge national debt incurred by this stimulus package was a major flop ... and one that we'll be paying for the next few centuries.  Remember, these politicians are our employees -- "we the people" elected them and asked them to do a job; is this the job we asked them to do?
  2. national security and international policies -- in May 2010, Mr. Obama gave the commencement speech at WestPoint.  His topic was that he was intent on shaping a new international order, to minimize the US role of securing democratic values around the world, and "implied that America should not claim the mantle or the right of self-protection or self-responsibility" (pg 79).  He was talking to newly graduated Army officers, men and women who would shortly be asked to go out and defend our country -- and the President of the United States tells them he's basically moving toward getting rid of these jobs?  That's like telling a group of new-hires in a company that in the next few years, we won't need you anymore!  Mr. Obama, who seems to promote a non-American agenda (buddying-up to anti-American international leaders like Chavez of Venezuela and Castro of Cuba, embracing blatantly non-democratic policies),on one of his first international trips as President he spoke to a group of Egyptian students in Cairo; the speech "equated the roots of freedom in the United States with the origins of Islam, a religious system that enslaves women and dehumanizes and kills opponents" (pg 84).  Really?  Is this what we want our hired President to say?  Is this what we think?  
  3. domestic policies -- all of the domestic policies pushed by the Obama administration (health care bill, education policies, recreating the definition of "family", allowing millions of federal dollars to go to Planned Parenthood, etc) seek to shift our democracy to a socialist state through more and more, bigger and bigger government, to cause our free market economy to implode, and to punish those who disagree with his policies.  When the blogosphere was rampant with critical essays about the proposed health bill, the White House website asked readers to send links to anti-administration posts to the White House so they could track the dissidents!  Really?  In a democratic country, we're encouraged to rat on each other?  Hmmm ... so much for the First Amendment!  Is this what we want our elected officials to say and do?
The final section of the book, "render unto Caesar", lays-out what "we the people" need to do.  McCullough asks the reader:  how do we treat our political officials, and most especially, how do we treat our President?  We elect these folks ... and the elected officials are our employees.  If they are not doing their job, they need to be fired.  We are stockholders in the country, we all benefit when all is well and we all suffer when things are not good.  We elect officials who we think will fix things.  We have hope that our officials will fix what's broken, leave the overall good things in place, and make, FIRST, the country a better place, and SECOND, make the world a better place.  Is our current administration doing this?  Why not?

Politically, I'm a conservative -- want smaller government, less federal spending, protection of rights for all humans (from the pre-born to natural death).  I am a Roman Catholic and believe in a merciful God and my right to practice my religion.  I don't want any of these things taken away ... I don't want a debt that my great-great-great-grandchildren will have to cover.  I don't want bigger and bigger government.  I don't want a socialist state where the liberal elite tell me and mine what we should do.  I am part of "we the people" and I think Mr. Obama needs to be "fired" at his next "review" time.

I highly recommend this book to all voting-age Americans!

Monday, April 18, 2011

I love my UPS man ...

... look what he brought today:
check out this post ... the top in the center of the cover -- it's mine~!  For more info, check out this link:
More Knitting in the Sun ...

Abandonment to Divine Providence is like a tapestry ...

knitting directions for the baby blanket pictured can be purchased through my Ravelry Store ... the blanket (30" diameter) is titled, "Spring is Blooming".


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Yarn-along: April 13th and Spring has sprung!

After what seemed like YEARS of winter weather (not snow, but ooky-mooky, icy cold days and dreary skies), we are FINALLY getting a bit of spring.  This week we're getting rain that promises to have our garden blooming fit to beat the band -- the dogwoods are blooming out, the hostas are unfurling and the Japanese maples are covered in red-green leaves.  Gorgeous even if the sky is not!

But, you've come to see what I have for this week's yarn-along, haven't you.  Here's the idea:
~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a single photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~ Ginny @ small things.

This is our yarn-along!
On the needles:  a baby blanket for a dear friend (and dh's colleague) whose wife just had their 4th child ... a beautiful baby girl ... last week.  The blanket is knit in the round, so you're not getting the full effect here (as it's still on the circs), but the yarn is different shades of Dale of Norway's Falk (a washable wool version of their traditional Heilo).  With a pink center and than 3 shades of purple ... it's very appropriate for a baby born right before Easter!

The yarn skeins on the right are kool-aid dyed yarns we did yesterday in our St. Agnes Fiber Club.  The greens/blues is in fingering weight for a pair of socks for me and fingerless mitts for BamBam while the reds/purples is a worsted weight for me to make String Bean a pair of fingerless mitts, too.   

On the reading table: we finished Another Whole Nother Story and I decided we'd do a fun introductory unit to Shakespeare.   Using the classic Charles and Mary Lamb Tales from Shakespeare as our spine, we'll learn about the master's comedies and dramas.  We've started with Macbeth ... having read the Lamb synopsis, and having memorized the witches' "boil, boil, toil and trouble" speech, we're now in the process of watching a BBC version.  We're just about finished and will then turn to Merchant of Venice for something just a tad "lighter".  This is a GREAT way for the kids to learn about (and learn to love) Shakespeare before having to analyze his works to death later on.

My reading:  I'm building a new website (to be unveiled soon ... please pray for me!) so of course I've been poring over books like WordPress for Dummies (which is excellent, btw).  I'm also continuing my early morning spiritual reading/prayer time with the classic, Abandonment to Divine Providence.  Since I'm such a fiber-fanatic, and to prep for my talk this past weekend (which went wonderfully ... thanks for the prayers), I've been loving reading the pre-publication copy of The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook (review coming soon):  this is a treasure trove of clear and concise information about all animal fibers used to make yarn (weaving/knitting).  This book is eye-candy for this fiber fanatic!

Enjoy your day .... visit the other folks who participate in Ginny's yarn-along ... and let me know, too, what's on your needles and on your reading table!

BTW, the wrap I was working on last week ... 
Spring Garden wrap 
for $6.00 (MUST be able to read charts!)