Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day 31- Fiber Addiction? What Fiber Addiction?

Fiber, yarn, remote control shooting

Canon 450D; Canon 50mm 1.8; ISO 100; f11; 2.5 sec

I do not like to own something that I cannot use correctly. It is a waste of my time, and a clients time, if I cannot use my equipment with dexterity and competence. I can, for the most part, produce very good quality photographs with a camera that is now 4 years old (an antique in the SLR pantheon) and a boat load of lens that are middle of the road in quality and price. Keeping always in mind that it isn’t the camera that takes the picture, it is the humanoid behind the lens. I know my camera well. I shoot only in Manual and only in RAW. I don’t say that with any hint of snootiness believe me. I do that because I like to have total control over what I am doing with my equipment.

Obsessive? Whose obsessive?

Control freak? Whose a control freak? Certainly not me.

But there has been one piece of equipment in my camera bag that has stymied me. It has caflomoxed me. It has given me heartburn and embarrassment in front of family and friends.

It is my remote control shutter.

I mean seriously folks. This thing is tiny and has a limited number of buttons. It comes in a small box that doesn’t have a lick of English printed on it, except for the little sticker that tells me that it was, naturally, make in China. The directions are printed on a piece of paper that is the size of a 3x5 card and include the directions in English, Chinese AND Japanese. And yet, every time I brought it out to use it, more than likely when we were taking group family photographs, at a time when I am nervous about the fact that I claim the mantle of “photographer” when my father is in the group (the original family photographer) as well as TSiL (who is also a photographer), I cannot seem to make it function.

Set up the shot…..calm the family down……get in place……point the remote at the camera……push the appropriate button…….nothing, nada, zero, zilch.

And that perhaps might have been because I had not REALLY taken the time to read that little section in the camera manual. I had skimmed it. Oh I know my manual, that is the first thing that you should always do when you receive a new camera or camera body, read and study the manual. Evidently I had skipped over that part.

Today was the day that I set myself the task to master the thing. I have opposable thumbs and an at least average intelligence for the love of Peter, Paul and Mary! I can do this thing. And I think I have. The light level in the kitchen was very low on purpose, with just a hint of weak sunshine coming in from the right. The shutter tripped with the remoter control.

I am happy.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day 30–A Gift From the East

Day 30 - A Gift From the East

Canon 450D; Canon 50mm 1.8 @ 50mm; ISO800; f5.6; 1/20 sec

I have a love affair with oriental rugs.

Love. Them.

This happens to be the newest rug in the collection, a gift from TMO and TSiL at Christmas time. Brought all the way from Pakistan in the suitcase of an acquaintance.

Serious lovage.

Thank goodness none of you saw me laying on the floor and contemplating the rug as I thought about how I wanted to photograph it. It is probably good that people generally don’t see how I work. I am often times laying on the floor….or the ground…or hanging off something.

It is just the way that I roll.

Semi-Wordless Wednesday

1991_Summer(rev 0)

Today is this child’s birthday. The Shoe Queen. The progeny. The fruit of my loins.

That is such an odd phrase, fruit of my loins.

Moving on.

Here is a picture from each one of her years of life. Enjoy.

image_12_2_2009-72(rev 0)

1992_sleeping (rev 0)

image_7_9_2007-9(rev 0)

1994_Dressing_Up_C-1 (rev 0)


1996_Kindergarten__1_(rev 0)

image_7_9_2007-18(rev 0)

image_19_1_2007-17(rev 0)


Top-54 (rev 0)

image_13_2_2009-69(rev 0)

Top-135 (rev 0)


IMG_3660-1 (rev 0)




image 29-4-2009





Happy Birthday Bennie Boo.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Rainy Stream of Consciousness

It is a gloomy day here at Chez Knit.



I really shouldn’t complain. I know I shouldn’t. I mean it is 56F at the moment which, here in the Frozen Northeast Ohio in January is sort of like a heat wave in the middle of July. I keep thinking I should put on shorts and go and sit in the sun.

If there was any sun that is.

Which there isn’t at the moment.

And it has started to rain.

But that doesn’t bother me as we all know because I live for rain. I thrive on rain. And I actually have the window open at the moment. You know, the one right beside my office chair. Even though the damp air that is pouring through the window is quickly making my crazy mane of hair look like something straight out of the Bride of Frankenstein.

It is on days like this that I really want to just chuck everything for the whole day and read a book like when I was little. Little and had nary a care in the world. And my mother did my laundry for me…and cooked all my meals. But she didn’t clean my room.

Although I know that she desperately wished that she could. But she would just quietly close the door to my room and hope that nothing organically threatening was growing in there. Sort of like I used to do when Cartoon Girl was growing up.

Did I leave the track here? Did I have a point? I know I did when I sat down but now for the life of me I can’t remember where I was going.

Oh yes. Oh how I wish I could just sit all day and read a book. You know, I think that is the one thing that I really resent about adulthood, the thought that it isn’t a legitimate use of my time to sit and read a book for hours on end. I suppose that is just a self imposed thing that is resident in the overcrowded recesses of my brain. I could sit and read a book all day if I wanted to.

Dang it I WILL sit and read a book all day and not feel guilty about it.

But if someone could come over and finish the laundry and make the rolls for tonight’s BBQ Pork sandwiches with Cole Slaw I would really appreciate it. Oh, and you could also put the vacuum cleaner away too cuz I sort of left it in the middle of the dining room floor and it might continue to reside there for a few more days if you don’t. I have a great capacity to walk past it for days on end and ignore it.

And another thing, if you could finish cleaning off my desk and weave in the ends for sock #1 of my Debbie’s Psychotically Colored Socks (the name keeps changing) then that would be good.2013-01-28 19.37.54

Oh all those ends to be woven in just make my head hurt.

I should also cast on that pair of socks for HHBL. That would then make, ummmm, like 6 things on the needles. That isn’t too many is it?

And the sheets need to be put back on the bed. But not before HHBL and I turn the mattress when he gets home.

Maybe I will read a book tomorrow.


Day 29–Poolish

Day 29 - A Smack of Yeast

Canon 450D; Tamron 18-270 @169mm; f6.3; ISO 200; 1/30 sec

It is a cloudy and rainy day, although the temperature is hovering close to 60F. Break out the shorts and the drinks with the little umbrellas!

It just seemed like a day to bake some bread.

It helps to give me some motivation to get the laundry done.

And yes, poolish is a real term. It comes from the French, the word “poolish” meaning Polish. The technique evidently was taught to the French by the Polish. It just means that you mix together an equal amount of flour and water, along with a bit of yeast, and let it sit and ferment for a bit. Up to 15 hours if you so choose. And then you add the remaining flour and water and some more yeast and salt to make bread dough. Your bread making will never be the same.

That is your new word for the day.

You can thank me later.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 28–The Morning Walk

Day 28 - The Morning Trail

Taken this morning with the trusty iphone. We were all hoping that these tracks belonged to a large dog.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Day 25–A Piece of Family History

German POW Time Book, Muscatine Iowa

Canon 450D; Tamron 18-270 @ 42mm; ISO 200; f5; 1/25 sec; VC on

My grandparents were from Iowa. And during WWII my Grandpa Pringle worked for the H. J. Heinz company. One of his jobs was to be in charge of the German POWs that came from a POW camp in Muscatine, Iowa and who worked for the H. J. Heinz ketchup factory.

This is the time book that was used to record the hours that each POW worked. And lest you wonder, they were all paid for their work.

I knew that Grandpa had worked for H. J. Heinz and I knew that he had been involved with POWs but I knew little beyond that. So you can guess that I will be doing some research.

7 Quick Takes (Vol 199)


So here we are again, another week gone, another seven days of slothful indifference to the vicissitudes of life. I really just wanted to use the word vicissitude…..once I figured out what it actually meant.

Moving on. Remember your marching orders. When you are done covering yourself with a nice warm layer of blather you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at my quickly rising anger at realtors who make house showing appointments and then cancel at the last minute, over to Conversion Diary to see what everyone else is doing.

May my blather be a blessing.

Oh how I love the Winter weather in the Frozen Northeast Ohio, especially the weather that we get around Chez Knit. It so suits my mood. Crazytown.

It was cold, 15F, which was balmy compared to earlier in the week. The sun was out and the sky was blue with lovely, fluffy clouds. I ventured out to take a couple of pictures, wearing a boat load of layers because, even though 15F was balmy it is still rather bracing. Then it was back inside for five minutes to gather up my books that needed to be returned to the library. And when I pulled out of the garage………

2013-01-24 09.18.00

This was what I was greeted with. Snowmaggedon. And it snowed like this until I was almost at the next town over where the snow gradually tapered off and there were blue skies and sun and fluffy clouds. I returned my books and returned home, a trip of no more than 45 minutes. And when I got home the sky was blue, the sun was out and the clouds again were fluffy.

Welcome to the snow belt.

As we all know, I knit socks. It is one of my obsessions passions in my knitting life. In fact it is one of the reasons I took up knitting again after a 30 year long absence. I wanted to knit socks. I needed to knit socks. I could not be stopped from figuring out how to knit socks.

But the problem with having knit an obscenely large amount 30+ pairs of socks is that I end up with a boat load of left over sock yarn. And the question has been what to do with all of it. I have knit Christmas ornaments with some of it. I am currently making a pair of socks that I am tentatively calling “Debbie’s Rainbow Technicolor Dream Socks” with some of the left overs.

But that still leaves A LOT of left overs. But there is something on the horizon that might help me, both to use up the sock yarn and to use up some stress.

Me STRESS? I know that comes as a shock. Remember, I knit so I don’t kill.

Moving on. In my knit group at least one of the members is knitting squares from sock yarn that will eventually be put together for a cover for her bed. I had resisted the idea. I didn’t really think I wanted to knit mitered squares in garter stitch, which isn’t my favorite for some reason. I am prejudiced against garter stitch. But then I was rearranging my immense yarn hoard stash and got to looking at all the small balls of sock yarn and……

2013-01-25 07.08.32

Voila, a mitered sock yarn square. Each square is about the size of the palm of my hand and doesn’t take all that long to produces.

2013-01-25 07.10.32

Voila again! A pile of SEVEN mitered sock yarn squares. I am on my way folks.

And I only have 493 more squares to go………..

I will keep you posted on my progress. I figure I will be done in about 2020 or so. Just in time to put the blanket on my bed in the nursing home.

In my continuing quest to become Ma Ingalls who makes everything that she cooks with or eats (as much as possible that is). This week……

I made ricotta cheese.

Do you think that Ma Ingalls even knew what ricotta cheese was?

Moving on.

Can I tell you how stinkin’ easy it was!!! In fact I am going to do another batch and I will even take pictures and tell you how to do it.

We had some last night in the Mini Lasagna Cups that I made.


I am currently exploring Goodreads. If you are on there come and find me. I have been there for a while but still haven’t decided if it is ultimately for me. Cousin Peter loves it as do others. I don’t really need it to just keep track of the books that I have read because I already do that with the ever growing Book Database that I maintain. But it is still fun to see what others have been reading and are thinking about reading.

And yesterday BarbN pointed out that the mobile app has a bar code scanner capability.

Oh my goodness and all the saints in heaven. I tried it out. Instant gratification. And we all know that I am TOTALLY about the instant gratification. I can see myself completely wasting time just scanning all the books on my TBR pile

I at first wrote that as waisting and then had to think about it for a minute before realizing that wasn’t the correct wasting. Cursed English language.

I will probably plan with the scanner and the site for a while and then abruptly abandon Goodreads and never go back.

Of course that is what I thought would happen with blogging and yet here I am still. Slogging away.

I am still keeping up with my 365 Project.

Yes, I know it has been less than a month and that is nothing to brag about. If I make it through until December THAT will be something to brag about. I have been thinking about the project and I am wondering if I will do sort of a monthly “thoughts on the project”.

And this is really a boring topic and everyone, all three readers that are here regularly, might just now be yawning and leaving for another cup of coffee.

But I am trying to work this year on slowing down my photo process and being more intentional with how I take pictures. Not just going out and doing the “Point camera and take a boat load of pictures and hope one is good” method, which I have been guilty of in the past.

I am trying to study a bit every day and learn something new or try something new.

And then there is all the work I need to put in with Photoshop Elements. I love that program.

And then there is the side project of going through the last couple of years of photos and weeding out the “extras” from my years of “Point the camera and take a boat load of pictures and hope one is good”. I am a picture hoarder.

Still not missing cable in case you or Time Warner were wondering. In fact I am so not missing cable that I could easily be persuaded never to have it again. Netflix streaming, Netflix DVD’s, Amazon Video and our own collection of videos is now awesome to me. Although I have been watching some football on the basic channels that we get with the antenna.

I am currently making my way through The Up Series. It was/is produced in England and has followed the same group of 20 students since 1963, starting when they were all seven years old and catching up with them at seven year intervals. I just started watching the installment that has them all reaching the age of 28.

I am totally fascinated.

2013-01-25 07.53.36

One of my progeny, who shall remain nameless, left me this loving little reminder of her visit.

I am getting all choked up.

It was tucked away in the drawer in the half bath by my office.

I spewed my coffee on the mirror when I found it.

I have SUCH thoughtful children.

And even now I can hear her saying, “MOM WHY DID YOU PUT THAT UP ON THE BLOG!!!!”

Sweetie, you have to have known that if you left that for me that it would eventually end up here. I just couldn’t help myself.

8. BONUS!!
I just wanted to pass along a Kickstarter project for all of you to view. Megan is a friend of Cartoon Girl. I have provided the link below as well as the short video that goes with it. Go on over and see what she is raising funds for.

Nonesuch Garden

Repackage the Nonesuch Dolls

Don’t worry, I am not going to become a blog that tries to sell you things…..unless you would like to buy Chez Knit. I just think that Megan’s felt dolls are the bomb. The Cheetah especially makes my heart sing. And I wish she still had the Squirrel available.


Someone actually makes FELTED squirrels??? They must be major works of art!!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pictures From The Crypt of a Food Related Variety

I have been scanning pictures again. In fact I am well on my way to completing the “I want to have a digital copy of ALL the pictures” project.

And I have discovered something about myself.

It isn’t a new phenomenon that I take pictures of the food that I am about to eat. I have been doing it for a long time.


Germany 1983.

The question is, did I really then partake of the fish? I seem to have suppressed the memory.


Sydney, Australia 1997.

Chinese stir fry take away in Australia? I think I will.


An ill fated ice cream accident in Hawaii 1999.

I had to go back in and get another scoop. I take my ice cream seriously.


Somewhere in Israel in 1998.

How can you fault a country that will feed you olives and bread and cheese at breakfast.


Kona, Hawaii, 1999.

Those my friends are coffee beans. The little jewels that I live for. These are right off the bush and ready to be fermented. Fermentation! That must be why I like coffee…and beer so much.


Ghana 2006.

I think it was chicken….maybe…and fish….maybe. But I did not eat the snails.


Peru 2010 and again in 2012.

I wait with glutinous anticipation for the time when we can drive down to the little stand beside the Pan American high way and I can have pillows of dough filled with brine cured olives.


Flaming Cheese in Tucson, 2012.

That sort of sounds like an indie grunge band…..

And NOW!!!! Flaaaaaaaaaaaaaming CHEEEEEEEEEEESE!!!

Or not.

Steak at Lone Star

Steak in Mexia, Texas, 1978.

If I could just remember the name of the restaurant. You know the one, it was by the side of the road. You had to wait in line for like hours to get in. It served the most fabulous dead cow. The accompaniment for the steak, and that was the only meat that they served, was a small side salad, a pile of white bread on a plate with those little patties of butter that had a piece of wax paper that you pulled off the top, a baked potato…..and then the best piece of beef that you have ever tasted.

And sweet tea of course.


Tohono Chul, Arizona 2003.

ENCHILADA for breakfast. Be still my beating heart.


Baby squid testicles tentacles Peru, 2012.

And this isn’t the first time I have tasted these beauties. That might have been in Cuernavaca in 1998

And last but certainly not least, let us not forgetIMG_6877A

The Pepper of Death.

Somewhere along the coast of Peru, 2012

I am an odd duck.

And these pictures are only the tip of the ice berg my friends.

Just the tip.

Day 24–Winter Maiden

Ohio Snow Maiden

Taken with my iPhone and edited with Camera+

I was going to run back into the house and grab the big girl camera to take the photo. But the light had been so variable this morning. We had a Lake Effect Snow Warning which meant that some times the sun would be out and the sky would be blue, and then in the blink of an eye (literally!) the snow would roll in and blot out the world. The sun was shining, I had my iPhone in hand and Camera+ does a fabulous job of editing so I went with it.

Day 23–Winter Leaf

Winter leaves

Canon 450D; Tamron 18-270 @ 100mm; ISO 200; 1/40 sec; VC on

I stood at the sunroom windows wondering if there was a picture out there that was calling my name. The snow was mounded up on the leaves and stuck to the branches and so I grabbed the camera and put on my boots AND my hat AND my coat AND my fingerless gloves and I tromped down to the lower side of the house and into the woods to get this photo. And it was 12F at the moment. The things that I do to get a picture that I like!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Scrap Book Prison

Scrapbook prison

View my prison. My scrap book prison. Oh I can hear all you scrappers out there. You are scratching your head and wondering why I am viewing this as a prison. It doesn’t look too bad I know but to me it is a prison. An overloaded, unusable, scary scrapping prison.

Somewhere in the last few years of blogging I think I mentioned that for a time I was a Creative Memories consultant. I am not a born consultant. A good consultant sells stuff to OTHER people not just to herself. A GOOD consultant makes her quarterly minimums without having to include more useless overhead for herself that she is never going to use in a million years of scrapbooking.

I was not a good consultant.

I was not a good consultant for a number of years. Long enough to buy enough paper and punches and albums and stickers and scrapping paraphernalia to sink a large battleship. Don’t get me wrong, I have used my scrapbooking materials over the years. I have enjoyed them. I have spread them out and looked at them. I have clasped them to my ample mammaries and basked in the glow of my hoard. And it was a hoard no matter which way you looked at it. When I started with scrapbooking I was still in the “inflow” stage of my life, the stage where if I started doing something I had to collect ALL of the toys never thinking about the fact that there might be a time when I wouldn’t want so much stuff. Inflow never outflow. My hoard made me happy. My hoard kept me company. My hoard helped me feel better about myself.

Isn’t that what a hoard does at first? It makes you feel better about yourself. It is your friend. It loves you and gives you affirmation and a pat on the back and a Well Done Old Chap! Or at least your hoard wants you to think that when all the time it is sucking the joy out of your life and actually making you feel awful about yourself.

Believe me when I say that the picture you are seeing now is NOTHING like what the stash looked like at the height of my CM craze. Half the basement was set up as scrap booking workstation. Good golly I shudder at the thought of it now. When we put Chez Knit up for sale the first time around I was ordered encouraged to pack it ALL up and put it away because no person in their right mind would want to see all that scrapping stuff. And so I did, grumbling all the way. And during that almost year process when the house refused to sell, a funny thing happened. I didn’t really miss the hoard all that much. I didn’t really even think about it all that much after a time. Oh I missed scrapbooking don’t get me wrong. I like to scrap. It is an extension of my creativity just as my knitting, sewing, cooking/baking and photography are.

As Neil Gaiman would say, “Whatever you do…Make. Good. Art.”

And so, when the house was off the market for a bit I unpacked all the stuff and put it back, intending to pick up where I left off. Happy in my scrappy hoard.

But I wasn’t happy at all. In fact, when I would go downstairs to do some work I just couldn’t. I was paralyzed by all the choices presented to me.

I would stand there for a bit and survey all that needed to be done.

I would lay out a page and look at the hoard and wonder what paper, from the innumerable different patterns and colors, I should use. And what stickers would be perfect or perhaps I would cut something out with my Circuit. And then there were the other embellishments that I might use.

I would fiddle.

I would crop a bit, I might even get a page or two done half heartedly.

I would look at my phone to see if I had any emails.

I would think that I need another cup of coffee and then I was done. I just couldn’t do any scrapping because there were TOO MANY choices for what I wanted to use. And there was so much to be done that I was paralyzed.

In fact, as of this moment I have produced perhaps 4 pages in the past TWELVE MONTHS. It is amazingly pitiful and saddening. My creative scrapping joy is gone.

But there is hope I hope. I am cleaning out and paring down and selling. My scrapping area must be de-bulked like a tumor that is killing me. For it is killing me, or at least a part of me that was so very creative and filled with joy.

And I miss my creative joy. I miss it so very much.