Sunday, January 27, 2013

Roaming Tigger’s Florida Adventures

RT and I have been in Florida for a week. The first half was spent in Bradenton with the Hubster. We had a number of adventures.

Almost as soon as we hit dirt in Florida, we headed out on a sunset cruise. We did actually get a sunset on this particular evening, so Tigger wanted his picture taken.

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Early flight had meant early wake-up, so we went to bed shortly after the AFC Championship game ended (boo, ratbirds!) Besides, we had plans for Monday morning.

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Apparently, John and Mable Ringling (yes, the circus Ringlings) based in Sarasota, Fla., where Mable built their grand home: Ca’ d’Zan (which means House of John)

With all the landscaping around the mansion, it was hard to get a good view of the full house, but RT gave it a good shot.

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After we took the docent tour of the first two floors, we spent a little time on the back patio. You can see that the entire back of the house is full of art glass, and really, this is just the middle-third of the mansion.

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Then, we went over to the Circus Museum, which is also on the grounds. Tigger thought it might be cool to be part of a Trained Animal Show in order to see more fo the country

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But then he tried it for a few seconds and really didn’t like it very much.

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And, just for the record, the Hubster and I were there as well. This is us on the boat dock. John Ringling invested heavily in real estate and owned everything you could see across the water. (click through to embiggen … if you must)

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On Tuesday, we took advantage of one other piece of our package, a tour of Pirate City, winter home of nobody’s Pittsburgh Pirates.

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Our tour guide had clearly been taught to fear showing people anything interesting. Even watching a dozen high-A guys play catch made her twitchy. So we were polite and moved along. To the South Florida Museum! Which has a very famous resident!

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Snooty, the Manatee! Snooty is in the middle. His tank buddies were Charlie and Epac, who have their tails tagged and are getting ready to be released back into the wild. The manatee presentation was a lot of fun, and we learned lots of stuff about Snooty and other manatees.

Tigger was fascinated by the manatees once he’d met Snooty, so we went to the marina to see what we could see.

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Tigger was a little bummed that this was the best we could do “in the wild.”

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So after some lunch, we headed back to our room, where Tigger found some friends on the beach that reminded him of home.

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It wasn’t much of a beach day, but this was a great way to end it.

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A few more days, currently in Vero Beach, and we’ll both be headed back to the real thing.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

WiP Thursday: Sunshine

I’ve been in Florida since Sunday. First it was three-plus days in Bradenton with the Hubster, now I’m finishing my first full day in Vero Beach with my Dad and Aunt Suzie.

I didn’t want to bring any of my other in-progress projects on this trip. I wanted simple. Period. Of course, I also needed something simple for the theater last Wednesday when the Hubster and I went to see Les Mis (stage show, NOT the movie!), so I cast on a Harry Potter scarf.

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This is leftovers from my Nittany Lions doubleweave blanket from two summers ago, and the scarf will have the same recipient. Now you will excuse me while I go back to my book. There is sunshine to chase tomorrow, pictures to take, and Roaming Tigger escapades to document. I’ll be back!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WiP Wednesday

So. The Hubster’s slippers officially last two winters. Period. Right around the holidays, holes appeared in the heels of his latest pair of Fuzzy Feet. So he needs something else.

We have a front-loading washing machine, and that makes it tough to do the fine-adjustment felting necessary for a pair of slippers that fits. And since his slippers wear out on the soles, I decided to try a new plan of attack.

Of course, the Hubster wears a men’s 11.5 wide, which means that pretty much any slipper pattern that’s out there won’t fit his Hobbit Feet without some adjustments.

I picked Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Add-A-Booties because they are re-sole-able. So I’m getting a pair first for my women’s US 8.5 feet so I can figure out how this pattern works before I adjust it for Bigfoot. The first slipper got to the sole decreases last night.

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I’ll finish with the Eco Wool sole, then pick up and knit a Wool Ease second sole for durability. I figure the wool insole will felt a little and the acrylic-heavy outer sole will help these things last longer.

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And, if they don’t, I can just add another sole! Expect to see this slipper get finished and three more parade through the blog. It’s a good thing they’re pretty quick!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

WiP Wednesday: Hogwarts Express

So. I’ve had the yarn and beads (yes, beads!) for Hogwarts Express hanging around for several months. I got the pattern for Christmas from an awesome friend, and a couple other online friends wanted to start too.

 On January 1, I started knitting again. For the first time since my Mom died on August 12. (I'd been doing some crochet and lots of sewing and weaving. But no knitting.)

 Last Wednesday, my progress on the Hogwarts Express looked like this

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And this morning, it looked like this

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How about a close-up of those owls? 
 
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Yep. Express is about right. I may have it done by the weekend! (maybe. Knitting time will be very scarce the rest of this week)

I’m already planning what I’ll take with me on an upcoming Florida trip at the end of the month, and I’m sure I’ll get back to my previously-in-progress projects soon.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Christmas Crafting

Exactly one person got something handmade for Christmas this year. My dad. I decided in August that I wanted to make him a double weave blanket. Some time in September, I dropped off color cards for Harrisville Highland at his house and he gave me a little bit of direction to pick colors.

Again, the lovely and talented Sara at The Mannings helped me along with project planning. My notes from my Double Weave Blanket class were a little uh … lacking … so I guessed a little wrong on some dimensions, but it came out just fine in the end.

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The warp was wound and chained by mid-November. And I went ahead and wound the first cone-worth of weft thread onto bobbins.

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I sat down to start weaving on Sunday, December 2, and immediately stopped. Because I clearly had a problem.

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See that great big gap in the fabric? Between the orange threads?

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Oh yeah. I missed a dent. And, of course, it was squarely in the middle of the reed.

I un-wove the weft I’d already put into the blanket. Out came the knots on half of my warp, and I moved each thread over one hole in the reed. And then I sat down to start weaving again.

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Crappers. Apparently, I got distracted before I totally finished the job. Stopped again, un-wove again, fixed. Again. At least then, it was off to the races.

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The above craptastic photo was taken just before the blanket was wet-finished at my friend Dianne’s house. You can clearly see the fold line, running horizontally across the picture.

And, you can see a good look at the pre-washing fabric here.

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Sadly, I’m a dork and forgot to take a fabric close-up after washing. Oops. Before the Harrisville Highland was washed, the spinning oils on the threads led to an extremely translucent fabric.

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And, the last stop before the blanket hit water was in the repair shop.

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In an effort to use as much of the warp as possible, I had a really crappy shed for much of the last few inches. Those gigantic toe-catchers were the result. Thankfully, my awesome teacher made sure I knew how to fix this before I left The Mannings two summers ago. No harm, no toe-catchers on the final blanket!

After a bath, the blanket was much less see-through…

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The fabric fulled nicely and turned into a really great fabric that my Dad will hopefully enjoy for years.

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I still enjoy double weave blankets, and I’m already plotting my next one!

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Double Weave Blanket for Dad 

Thread: Harrisville Highland 
Colors (# of cones): #2 Red (1), #65 Poppy (1), #39 Russet (1), #66 Melon (1), 
#52 Toffee (weft, 2 cones) 
Width on Loom: 31” in reed (unfolded to roughly 60")  
EPI: 8

Monday, January 07, 2013

Better Late than Never

So. My dad asked for placemats for Christmas. Christmas 2011. I got them done for his December birthday. In 2012. Oops.

He wanted placemats for the big table at the Lake. That table sits eight, so eight placemats. The wonderful and talented Sara at The Mannings helped me project plan.

Then it just took for.ev.er for me to get them on the loom and woven. But I finally got them done!

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I got eight full-sized placemats out of my 6.5-yard warp, then a shrimp of a ninth mat. I just wove until I couldn't get a shed, then I stopped. Camera lens-cap included for scale. I figure it’ll be good for the napkin holder and salt/pepper in the center of the table.

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Because we have a small human who spends a lot of time at the Lake, I figured that ScotchGuarding the placemats would be a smart plan of attack. We had a dry sunny day (Cold, but dry and sunny), so I spread everything out on the driveway and went to work. The reason I did it on the driveway?

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The marks are already gone from the driveway. Yay, snow and shoveling!

Dad got the finished set of eight placemats for his birthday, and seemed really pleased. Here’s hoping they have a long stay on the big table up at the Lake!

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Rainbow Placemats 

Thread: 3/2 Perle Cotton 
EPI: 32 
Reed: 8-dent 
Ends: 480 
Width in reed: 15” 
Length per full-sized placemat: 24” 
Warp Length: 6.5 yards 
Quantity: 8 full placemats, small 9th mat

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Huntington Library

I actually had one (almost) completely free day on my California trip, so I took some time to visit one of my very favorite places in the greater Los Angeles area – Huntington Library!

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Shortly after arrival, I came to the saddening realization that the battery on my “real” camera was dead. But, Roaming Tigger still wanted to take pictures, so my cell phone camera had to step up to the plate.

After discussions with my Aunt about our favorite Gardens at the Library, RT and I started at the Chinese Gardens.

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We were sad to discover that the Chinese Gardens was missing all of its water elements. Drained for repair/maintenance. Booo!!!

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Maybe there will be water on our next visit?

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But there were still some cool elements in the Chinese Gardens, including this one bit of sidewalk!

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Then we moved along to my long-time favorite, the Japanese Gardens.

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There were huuuuuuuge koi in the main pond!

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And we visited the bonsai garden.

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As always, it was an awesome visit. Here’s hoping I can go again soon!

Friday, January 04, 2013

New Pauley

In early November, I was lucky enough to be able to venture back to my old stomping grounds at UCLA for the re-opening of Pauley Pavilion after an 18-month, $130M+ renovation. And a 40th Anniversary Title IX celebration.

I got to see a lot of friends, former co-workers and some family. Most of what I did and saw wouldn’t be terribly exciting to people who aren’t me, but I did take a bunch of photos of shiny New Pauley.

After flying out to the left coast on a Thursday, I got a good night’s sleep at my aunt’s house, then spent the day on Friday visiting my old haunts around campus. Then I made sure I was at the Pauley entrance in time for the ticket ceremony.

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The Chancellor, Athletic Director, Matt Pauley, and a number of other dignitaries were first to enter the renovated building. While we were waiting, classic games in Pauley Pavilion history were shown against the new fa├žade of the building above the shiny podium.

I wrote about the ticket ceremony HERE. Most of what I could see of the pre-game ceremonies was the scoreboard, but I wrote about it all HERE
 
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I wrote two other stories on my trip (HERE about the Title IX ceremonies, HERE about UCLA’s head women’s basketball coach if you’re interested), but mostly it was just awesome to be back out in Los Angeles on a weekend when I could see so many of the people who made my eight years as a Bruins awesome. 
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If you want to see more of my New Pauley photos, I have a small photoset on Flickr, HERE.

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Thursday, January 03, 2013

E Street Shuffle

Since I’m trying to keep my “catching up” somewhat chronological, the next Very Cool Thing to tell you about is my trip to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at the end of October.

Tickets went on sale the Friday after my Mom died. Since my dear friend Sairy was willing to drive out from New Jersey for the show and help me play the Ticketmaster game, we were able to get some damn good seats.

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The Ticketmaster Fairy was very, very good to us. We were close enough to watch the stage, not necessarily the big screens. And we were awfully close to the runway that divided the floor.

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It was my first show since Clarence Clemons passed away in 2011, and I admit to spending a good chunk of the show watching Jake Clemons, Clarence’s nephew, who has taken over the sax for the E Street Band.

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We had one moment of excitement with a drunk in front of us getting thrown out (think the Ron White “Drunk in Pub-LICK” sketch. The drunk was a very big dude and was hauled out of there FAST), but then this happened.

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And really, anyone who doesn’t have a good time at a Bruce show is trying to be a grouch. Not many shows better than The Boss, and the Wrecking Ball tour was a lot of fun!

All pics are from my cell phone camera. Not bad at all for a phone that's ready for replacement!