December 29, 2005

I'm thankful for yarn.

During this holiday break, I thought it might be a good idea to catch up on some of my stories that never did make it out in blogland. This one is from our Thanksgiving trip to Baltimore. You may remember some of our adventures from here and here.

I love three of my local yarn stores (LYSs) and I would (could) never deny them any of my yarn funds. And although I do dally with online sources, I still remain quite faithful to these local loverly ladies. But when one travels, the will and desires tend to wander, too.

I visited two LYSs while in Baltimore; one was a hidden treasure and the other one is rather famous in the knit-blog community. I went to Baltimore for the turkey and the family (which some may say if full of turkeys - ha!), and I fell in love with the LYS.

My hidden treasure was almost literally in my brother's back yard! The Cloverhill Yarn Shop was probably 1/3 of a mile from my lodging's front door; just off the main drag in Catonsville, MD. (If anyone is ever to go, I can recommend some tasty food joints, too.) Oh, and what a treasure it is! The staff was friendly ('specially for northeasteners, I'm guessing that's the yarn-love effect), the store was wonderfully coated in yarns, and their notions and needles section was probably the best that I've seen. It's not that they had tons of everything, simply tons of what I like/want/need. (ha)

This was the first time that I've seen (fondled) Manos del Uruguay in person. Oh, the colors! Oh, the softness! Oh - I drooled! (sorry) Much of the sock yarn was nothing like I've seen (different brands), and I could have easily bought everything in their clearance bins. Okay, I know that I can't be the only one that does this - check out the clearance bins. In fact, part of my internal LYS rating is based on the quality of merchandise in this area. By all means, the Ewe's clearance section is an amazing room of woolen goodness and should be world renowned. But I digress.

I could have stayed and groped yarn for hours at Cloverhill, but my companion, Nana Jean, had already humored me for longer than necessary. So I paid for my goodies and left. [sigh] Besides some new needles, I added the following items to my stash:

Stash Enhancement
  • 3 skeins of Manos del Uruguay in color 112-Moss, which was used for Matt's hobo mitts and a scarf (still in progress)
  • 2 skeins of Trampoline Stretch in #238-Still Waters
  • 1 skein each of Froehlich Wolle Special Blauband Multicolor in #7246 (light purples) and #7247 (dark purples), which I hope to use together for a pair of socks
  • 3 skeins of Sugar Knits "Yarn Naturally Dyed by Hand" 100% Pima Cotton dyed with logwood, which is a soft, light purple. These were hand dyed by Marie Sugar, who wrote The Complete Natural Dyeing Guide.
  • 1 skein of Sugar Knits wool/rayon boucle dyed with fustic and indigo, which created a beautiful green and blue varigated yarn

sock & I at Metro station - don't mind the stares

From there, Matt humored me with a trip in to Alexandria, VA to... (everyone say it with me)... Knit Happens! We took the Metro and it was a treat to ride such a well-run public transit system. We took the green line to the yellow line and exited at King Street, just blocks from Knit Happens. We stopped for a little refreshment (packed turkey sandwiches) and regrouping (there's a reason I drive everywhere - bleh), before heading down to this mecca of the knitblog world. Matt was a bit embarassed, but agreed to take my pic of this auspicious event.

We're here!

The store was smaller than I expected, but had a wonderful array of fibers. And without a second to spare, I found the Koigu! (Yum) I even saw Kristine (owner), but it was a bit busy and I didn't want to sound like a fool blathering on about my blog and her blog, excetera, excetera. So I silently crept around the store, picked my Koigu (which took a long time, I might add), then paid and left. From Knit Happens, I added the following to my traveling stash:

  • 2 skeins each of Koigu KPPPM in #304 (purples and greens) and #334 (russet, browns, and greens)
  • and I couldn't leave without 2 skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the Knit Happens coloway
  • made us laugh

    Overall, we had a great Thanksgiving holiday. Friends, family, and fiber - huzzah! I'll leave you with a picture of a sign we saw on a store front in the shopping district of Alexandria.

    Posted by Nanc at 10:14 AM | Comments (3)

December 28, 2005

It's in the cards

Our holiday message, that is. Our Christmas cards!

Every year we talk of making our own holiday cards and most years we do. (Um... last year was a bust.) Of course, we always wait until the last minute to come up with an idea, an image, and a medium. This year was no exception, except that we knew we wanted to do silk screening. (Er... so yeah. We, um.. we were going to tell y'all about our silk screening adventures sooner or later, there just never seemed to be a good time. It's an article in the making, we promise.)

So continue on to see how our cards turned out this year.

Hmmm... perhaps we should find archives of the previous years' cards.

Christmas cranes, ja?

For some peculiar reason, we had birds on the brain. Specifically, paper cranes. I wonder why? Anyhoo, this led us to our card design.

We printed (silk screened) black 5"x5" cards with white pine tree branches and one of two messages inside. Matty (sweet, sweet Matty) folded all 60+ paper cranes. I put in a string to make them ornaments, and we rubber-cemented them to the front of the cards. (Rubber cement so that they can be removed from the cards and placed on a tree or whatnot).

Our festive flock.

We created two messages: one was a simple and beautiful message for the season, and the other ... Well, we didn't lose our sense of humor and this second message tickled our feathers a bit.

Do ya' think the mail carriers enjoyed these?

Here, the final product is shown in velumn envelopes that we used on a selection of the cards. It really was the "icing on the cake", if you will, and made the cards shine.

Posted by Nanc at 11:26 AM | Comments (7)

December 26, 2005

29th Annual Christmas webcam

Christmas is a time for memories and tradition. For instance, gathering around the um.. yule-evision for a viewing of that Christmas classic Elbo The Elf *, roasting chestnuts on a open (propane) fire, or having that Christmas cookie dough fight. Perhaps you have your own traditions.

One of the things that we try to do each year that we aren't with family is to repurpose the fishcam for a couple of days as the Christmas webcam.

Avid visitors from previous xmas webcams will notice a key difference this year. No big tree. That is due to the new kitten in the house. Instead, we have a couple of smaller, more put-out-of-Walter's-reach trees. Oh, and that ever so creepy snowman head. (What's up with that snowman head? I mean, I can totally see how Santa's workshop would be unionized, but is there some sort of jolly mafia up there in the north pole? Was there a hit put on this snowman? Is this a warning to his family? Yikes!)

Merry Christmas, everybody.

Update: Happy Boxing Day! (or is it "Merry"?) We had a happy and fun Christmas day. We missed you if you weren't here, and if you were, then thanks for coming out. The camera is down until next year (at least). We wish you all a super happy new year.

* What? You don't know and cherish Elbo the Elf? Well no longer will you have ignorance to blind you to this touching and memorable story. Come back in a day (or two - it is the holidays after all) for the wonderful story of Elbo. Our *gift* to you!

Posted by Matty at 06:49 PM | Comments (2)

December 21, 2005

It's like this next Sunday, right?

Um. So yeah. We're still here. And we've been thinking about a lot of great things to post. Stories and projects and recipes - Oh, my! But, you see, there's this impending deadline (What? No - it has not already past. Hush yo mouth.), and we're trying to get a bunch of great things done and a short amount of time... while continuing to live our "normal" lives.

So please be patient with us and I promise good and exciting things to come.

No, I will not give you any hints.

No. I will not whisper it in your ear no matter how much you promise to keep it a secret.

And no, you cannot unwrap one gift, even the smallest, until it is time.

Now go play nicely with the other blogs, and we'll see you after the holidays.

Posted by Nanc at 08:44 AM | Comments (4)

December 12, 2005

Cheaters - Feline Foibles

There is the occasional need for good, bad TV. And since the advent of "reality" shows, both the 'badness' and our need to watch has grown exponentially. I say this in the "we" of Matty and I, but I am fairly certain that a large portion of the populous are doing the same damn thing.

One of the shows that we watch is Cheaters. Joey (or Joel) Grecco tells us all about local (DFW area) infidelities and trysts. No, I am not going to write all about the greatness (of bad) that is Cheaters, or go on anymore about crap TV. This was all an introduction to prepare you for what you are about to see when you click 'Read More'.

damn paparazzi

{in a sing-songy, childlike voice}
Walter and Dil, sitting in a chair, K.I.S.S.I.N.G.

Guess who we caught snugglin' together? Yep. Little (ha!) miss Dil and sir Walter! Don't they make a cozy couple? Ya' know, hate is just as strong an emotion as love. How easily this can get mixed up!

Slocombe hates with a passion

And look who's not too happy with this new arrangement. Is that jealousy, Mrs. Slocombe? (Okay, actually she hates any and all. Just this time we caught her amazing hate-rays beaming from her eyes!)

After we took their pictures (and cooed and made kissy noises), Dil promptly left in a hurry for anywhere-but-here. She refuses to comment on the events of that night.

Bonus Walter pic

Walter doesn't apologize for his behavior or even believe that anything was wrong. He can be found chasing all of the cats any time, night or day. Plus the hu-mans, too. When asked to comment, Walter purrrred and mumbled something about not hating the playa', but the game.

Slocombe continues to hate.

Posted by Nanc at 12:47 PM | Comments (6)

December 05, 2005

My new favorite stupida commercial (with video goodness)

I have found another commercial that I enjoy. I'll be honest, I've watched this one at least 15 times and I still find new layers of sublety and subtext. This commercial has everything: skeet shooting, cowboy lamps, and 80's power ballad hair.

You can't resist. Why try?

Take a look at the commercial below. That may be all you need. The commercial does all of the heavy lifting on this one, so you may not need to read my witty retorts.

Do you really need my comments on this one? All right, here we go.

Did I mention I really like the lamp?

(Mid shot of a couple sitting on a couch holding hands. The room is a wood-grained suburban rumpus room, replete with an awesome cowboy lamp)

It really saved our marriage.

We couldn't find a single activity we liked to do together

Really? You couldn’t' think of even one activity? Not even collecting kitschy lamps? I'll be honest… the real star of this commercial is that lamp. It's just beautiful.



He's so into his skeet shooting.

(action shot) Pull!

Wow… that's a fantastic skeet-shootin' hat if I ever seen one. Though, let's be honest, if you're doing this in your suburban back yard, it's more like neighbor-shooting, and less like skeet shooting.

Frankie says, "relax"

(The yoga room has a lovely view of the beach--- Oh wait…I was fooled… it's just wallpaper. )

(new age chimes) And I love my yoga.

Again, a fantastic location shot, that takes us out of the commercial, to the relaxing yoga room, to look at blonde girl midriff. Eternal questions in this shot include: Why is there a lamp growing out of the palm tree, and why doesn't this girl have a belly button?

At this point, we are almost 20 seconds into the commercial. What the hell are they trying to sell me? What is this product X, where the key demographic is couples with cowboy fetishes who enjoy yoga and skeet shooting?


I mean, Dungeons and Dragons always sounded like so much fun, but with that 20-sided die? I thought, 'oh, brother."

Ahh… product X has something to do with D&D. There's so much wrong with this statement. If you think that D&D sounds like fun, there's obviously something very wrong with you. The 20-sided die is what threw you? Really?

And all those manuals…

But that's where the book comes in.

So, you didn't like the manuals, so you're going to buy a book? Oh, it seems that you were stymied at the old logical thinkin' pass there, cowgirl.

I'm getting sick of both of you. I hope that a new character is introduced soon in this epic commercial. Maybe an expert DnD player? No—wait… if they used one of those, then they wouldn't sell any books. How about a Xena Warrior Princess knockoff with power ballad hair.

(Scene changes to warrior princess. Art composites provided by Mrs. Watkin's 3rd grade advanced art class.)

Xena's lawyers would like a word with you, ma'am

Have you ever wanted to play Dungeons and Dragons, but were too intimidated to try?

No. thanks. But while I've got you here WPwPBH, I just wanted to make a generally snarky comment about your warrior ugg boots and your boyfriend Alley oop. I'm done now, so, please continue.

You are not alone.

Yes, actually you are. That's why you're watching G4 late at night---oh, dang, perhaps I share too much. But don't fear, overweight guy who still lives at home, you can have a thriving social life, just by playing D&D.

D &D is a hugely popular pastime that lets you ride your imagination into a mythical world full of beasts and sorcery. But many people think that D&D is too complicated –not to worry, friends.

Who thinks it's too hard? I don't understand! And hands down, those are some of the worst drawn unicorns I've ever seen. And believe you me, I've seen some pretty bad unicorns. But, I suppose, contracting out to third graders for the artwork… you get what you pay for.

D&D for Dummies makes it fun and easy, giving you all you need to play, including ready-made characters and maps.


D and D for Dummies hooked it up. It gave me the confidence I needed to begin my journey, from first level barbarian to epic-level dungeon master.

And it gave us something fun and creative – that we can do together

(Besides the one thing in the back of the Volkswagen)

Ha ha, that too.


This is my new favorite commercial. True, I don't get out much, but darnit, this commercial is fantastic. Someone with vision, insight and a sweet looking cowboy lamp had a dream and made it a reality.

In a pathetic attempt to deflect a cease and desist letter, I should also mention that the book in the commercial, actually has had positive reviews, and if you collect lamps, and shoot skeet in your backyard, I highly suggest that you go out and buy this book.

It's true, my old favorite commercial has been shunned for this new goodness. Go mock it and make it feel inadequate here.

Posted by Matty at 05:34 PM | Comments (5)

December 01, 2005

HeckOfA Souvenir

These aren't your grandma's My-relative type-Went-To-cityname-And-All-I-Got-Was-This-Lousy-T-shirt mementos! (Phew, that was tricky to write!) Unless your grandma rocked. Which she might have. I dunno; I don't know yer g'maw.

Anyhoo, the point is that Bonez and I picked up a bit more that a tchotchke that will last... well, a lifetime.

HeckOfA Welcome

When traveling, Matty and I like to explore some of the lesser known museums, displays, and what-nots. The crowds are typically minimal (if at all), they're quick, and we usually get a bit of a laugh. During our latest trip to Baltimore, MD, we wandered down to the Baltimore Tattoo Museum.

school history was never this interesting

Although this is a nice enough museum (lots of history, stories, and artwork), the biggest thrill was getting our 'souvenirs'. Yes, tattoos. Both Matty Bonez and I: tattooed.

While I already have one tattoo (dragonfly on my right shoulder) and plans for more, Bonez had never really been of the "permanent art on my body" mindset. I'm not certain what really changed his mind this day; not peer-pressure, not machismo, and definitely not it's-the-kewl-thing-to-do. But he came into his idea and was happy. We didn't get our tats that day, but instead spent a week deciding what and where. (Two VERY important matters.)

Me? I fell in lurve with a bit of original flash (aka artwork) by Sailor Jerry, the "father of Old School Tattoo." I went for simplicity to enjoy the design as is; no color, no shading. In the pic above, you can see the case where the flash was on display and caught my eye. Here's a close-up.

Honestly, Matt gave more thought and consideration to his bit of ink. His new tattoo is full of meaning and emotion and thought (which I find endearing). He didn't find it in the books of flash or the artwork on the walls. In fact, he couldn't find exactly what he had in mind even on his trusty internets. So with a handful of printouts (of similar, but not quite's) and an example piece, Matty worked with his tattoo artist, Chris Keaton, to come up with an original tat: an origami paper crane.


Both of our tattoos are on our left sides: mine curves around my shoulder and across a bit of my back, Matty's is on his upper arm. Both of our tattoos are avian-related, yet specific to our styles. And we got them together. (I don't know how one could add a bit of sap to getting tattoos, but I think I just did.)

ConfettiSox2 considers some ink

And for a hoot - here's a pic of my SecondSockSyndrom second-sock in progress. I just got my tattoo and I'm waiting while Bonez gets his new ink. I'm to the toe! (I have since finished this sock, btw.) I wonder how difficult it would be to design intarsia or fair-isle socks using tattoo flash? Cuz I know it would be kewl!

Posted by Nanc at 01:31 PM | Comments (6)