Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm Back

Comcast internet was down for a while around here. My internet service with them has been bad for a long time, but this is the first time my internet service has been completely gone!

Since my landline phone connects to the world through the internet, it wasn't working, either. My cell phone insisted that wifi wasn't working and quit, too. It came back when I turned off wifi, when it switched to being an actual phone.

So, I called Comcast on my cell, and got an out-of-order notice. Their phone service was gone. Their website was down, too.

I got an email from them this morning that said they were experiencing "widespread involuntary maintenance." I got the impression that nature played a nasty trick on them.

I wouldn't be upset with them if this was the only time there had been a problem, but my TV service has been an ongoing problem for 4 years, and internet doesn't work too good, either.

If it was possible to get service from anyone else, I would.


Holly went to Michigan and (among other things) gave Malaia and Johnny their Christmas presents.

Here they are with their presents:

Johnny got a hat, mitts, and a hood. Malaia is wearing the hood in this photo. Malaia got socks, which she is wearing on her hands for the photo.

Johnny's presents are made with Classic Worsted Tapestry in Loden, which I showed a photo of a few posts back, while they were still balls of yarn. He wore the hat and mitts over the weekend when he went skeet shooting. I hadn't thought about it, but this yarn is not only handsome (Holly described it as "very manly"), but is an effective outdoor camouflage for this time of year.

The hood is from my wimple and hood pattern, and the mitts are from my long, short and easy mitts pattern. The hat is from the Watch Cap pattern available free by clicking on the link in the sidebar.

Malaia's socks are made from Red Heart Heart & Sole sock yarn in toasted almond. She wanted socks last year, and this year she's gotten them. I made three pair of them for me and liked them so much I wanted three more pair, but when I started knitting the second set of three, the more I looked at them, the more I kept thinking they looked like they should belong to Malaia. So, she got three pair of socks.

I'm working on a new line of patterns, and the pattern for the comfy socks will be one of the new ones. I designed these socks to be similar to some socks that were created for an made for diabetics. Holly doesn't have diabetes, but someone recommended them to her and she said they were the most comfortable socks she's ever worn, so I made similar socks with modifications for hand knitting.

Well, that's two presents down, and it means that I can show a lot of what I'm making for Christmas on my blog because Malaia was the one who was reading my blog and was certain that anything I made was for her.

While we're on the subject of knitting patterns, the free Santa Hat pattern is still up on my blog.

This is a quick and easy knit that will keep your head warm and look festive for the holidays. You can make it in more traditional colors (like red), too. I made one last year for Robin in his favorite color, all black. I like mine in navy blue, though. It blends with my coat and other clothes, and still manages to look Christmassy.


If you're interested in buying a tablet computer, either for yourself or as a Christmas present, I put together a page where you can find many of the current contenders. These are not always the best deals, but they not only have the specs for each computer, but also reviews from customers who have bought and used them. Hope this helps.


There's a new Chuck on tonight, along with a new The Event and Hawaii Five-O! Chuck and The Event are really dynamite!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

That's a photo I took in the park behind my apartment the other day.

I don't have a lot to say today, except Happy Thanksgiving!


But I promised you an update on the Christmas stockings I'm knitting, so here's a photo.

It hasn't been blocked yet, and still needs the decorative stars and the loop to hang it with. I have one of them done (as far as this one's done) for a friend for Christmas, and am almost up to this point with the second one for sale. This isn't a very good photo. It's grey and rainy today, and the light was almost gone, and I was in a rush. Also, the memory card in my camera was full and I have to archive it and wipe the memory, and didn't want to spend the time today.

There will be a better photo of an actual finished stocking real soon now.

You can't see it too well in the photo, but there are beads on the upper part (the leg).


Last night, while I was watching TV, there were so many ads for places that are selling stuff unbelievably cheap! Both Sears and Best Buy have the Cruz tablet on sale for $50 less than Borders! Many stores will be open today, and will open their doors tomorrow at 4 or 5 am! So, if you're in the market for Christmas presents, get out there and grab them while they're available!


I took this photo from my window last month, but I thought I'd include it to remind me of what a beautiful universe we live in.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

33 Days Until Christmas!

This will be a post full of holiday ideas.

And, if you've never noticed, there's a widget at the bottom of this page that tells you how many days are left until Christmas, so you can check back here anytime.

First of all, since it's coming up later in the week, Crazy Aunt Purl has put up a post about how she's making stuffing and turkey at her house. These are good, easy and workable recipes, from a no-nonsense knitting writer, so get on over there and check it out if you're someone like me who never knows how long to cook a turkey.

She's doing her turkey in a crock pot, which is something that I've often thought would be a good, foolproof way of doing it but have never tried. Mainly because I don't have a crock pot. But I think I'll get one and do my Christmas dinner that way if I'm home for Christmas. She says the crock pot keeps it from overcooking and guarantees that it'll be nice and juicy! Sounds good!

If you want to do a more traditional roasted turkey, you can find all the instructions here. This seems like the best general outline I could find for times and temperatures for roasting.


Now I'm switching the topic to Christmas presents, which people are beginning to think of with increasing panic at this time of year.

I came across a great listing of handmade presents for geeks. If you plan to buy something for a geek, you might find some good ideas here.

I was in a Borders store yesterday, and they had e-readers on sale this week. If you know someone who reads, you might want to check it out. I tend to lean toward the CruzReader and the Cruz tablet.

If you actually go to a Borders and look at both of them, you'll see that the Cruz tablet has a much clearer, easier-to-read screen than the CruzReader. The reader is a reader (duh), but the tablet is more like an iPad, more like a computer than just a reader. Both of them are color. There's not that much difference in price, so I tend to think I'd prefer the tablet because it'll be easier on the eyes, and will have a lot more functionality.

If that Cruz tablet sounds like a good deal, check out the Nookcolor. It's also a small tablet computer, that runs on the same system (Android) as the Cruz tablet (and some Android based phones), but it's about $50 cheaper and has a higher resolution screen than the Cruz tablet. Both tablets are smaller than an iPad, but both have or will have similar functionality as the iPad (from what I can tell) with a much smaller price tag.

Both have expandable memory (to 32 gigs) by the use of an SD card for the Cruz and a mini SD card for the Nookcolor. Both of these are also small enough to be almost pocketable, too! I especially like the loop on the Nookcolor so you can put a hand strap on it to help prevent dropping it. From what I understand, most of the apps that are available for my phone (I have a G1 from T-Moble, and I highly recommend T-Mobile as a phone company) will work on the Nookcolor as is or with a program converter. But there will be a whole new app store out for the Nookcolor in January, so it'll be even more computer-like.

I also feel I should mention that there's an app available for my phone that's similar to the one available for iPad that shows the night sky when you hold it up to the sky. I'm guessing it should work for the Nookcolor and Cruz tablet, but I have no proof of this yet, so take it with a grain of salt.

I went into my local Dollar Tree yesterday, too, and they have small lumps of (plastic) coal to put in someone's stocking or give as a present for someone who has been naughty this past year. Two lumps for a dollar.

And speaking of stockings, I will have a series of about 10 hand knit Christmas stockings available for sale in my Etsy or Art Fire stores. More on that in the next few days. They'll all be multicolor red with a white fur yarn "cuff," beading on the leg, white, glittery heels and toes, and knit stars on the hanging loop. I should have a photo or two in the next two or three days, and if you like it and want more than one, let me know so I can reserve them for you.

This now concludes the extended infomercial!


We're having another new Chuck, The Event, and Hawaii Five-O tonight. It looks like Castle will be off TV for this week and next. The holidays always interfere with regular programming!

Have a fabulous Monday night!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Miscellaneous Thursday

Yesterday I walked over to the library to get some books that were in for me. It turns out they were comic books!

Excuse me, graphic novels.

I saw Avalon High on the Disney channel over the weekend, and back when they were just showing trailers for it, I found out that it was written by Meg Cabot, one of my favorite authors! Which immediately drove me to the library website, and an order for the books. It turns out that you can get it either as a book, or as three graphic novels, and the listing on the library website didn't tell me that! And, since I ordered them (because they didn't have them at that branch of the library), I had to wait for them. It turns out that the had the book in the library all the time!

So, I went back today, returned the graphic novels, and got the book.

Meg Cabot writes most of her stories about kids in high school, but she's a writer who really tells a good story. I love her Mediator series, about a girl who can see and talk to ghosts. In fact, I looked to see if they had the beginning books of the series to borrow, but they're out at the moment.

So, I've finally got the book in my hands, ready to read!

But I won't be reading it immediately.

Two things I ordered from Amazon showed up today. The first is a book by Jim Butcher, full of short stories and one novella about Harry Dresden. It's called Side Jobs.

Side Jobs: Stories From the Dresden Files

In the last full book of the regular series (Changes), it ends with an outrageous cliffhanger, and the sequel to that is the novella in Side Jobs called Aftermath. So, I'm going to read that first.

I have to find out what happened to Harry!

The other thing that arrived is something that I've been wanting to see in it's entirety ever since it aired on ABC Family and was broadcast without the closed captioning by Comcast. Since I have hearing problems, and Comcast also broadcast it with the sound going off and on, I missed a lot. So did people who can hear just fine! I can't wait to see the whole thing! Comcast has a lot to answer for!

If you're a science fiction fan, you'll probably love The Middleman! It pokes fun at other SF programs, and has a comic book flair that so absurd it's truly lovable! Holly, if you're reading this, the DVDs would be a great gift for Malaia and John. It's nearly as funny as Red Dwarf!

The package comes with a sticker on it that says "Sands of Zanzibar! The cult hit on 4 DVDs. Packed with Extras! As serious as a garbage bag full of rottweilers!" And it is, indeed, that serious!


So, naturally, instead of arriving on Tuesday or Wednesday, when there is almost nothing on TV, it had to arrive tonight, when I expect to be recording two programs at once for at least three hours, and then more after that.

Tonight, we have Vampire Diaries, Bones, and The Big Bang Theory, although they're on at the same time, so you'll have to choose what you want to watch. I expect to record Bones and Big Bang, and then switch to Diaries for the last half hour. There's a new Fringe tonight, too, and The Mentalist!

And, as if that weren't enough, there's a new episode of Burn Notice on tonight called Hot Property! An embarrassment of riches! I'm so thankful I have TiVo!

Bones just came on, which means that Big Bang is on, too, and I'm missing it! I have to go!

But I'll leave you with a photo of the yarn that arrived yesterday:

The white Fun Fur and white yarn for the heels and toes hasn't arrived yet. I'm hoping it'll be here tomorrow. Doesn't that look like it will be perfect for some Christmas stockings?

Have a great evening!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Human Target is Back!

The season premier of Human Target is tonight at 8 (here) on Fox!

Yes, I know that it's not science fiction, but it's a great action adventure show. Each week Christopher Chance (Mark Valley) protects someone who has become a human target, or as In Plain Sight puts it, "Somebody wants them dead."

For fans of Pushing Daisies (which I loved!), you should know that it also stars Chi McBride, who played Emerson Cod, the knitting detective who wrote and made pop-up books. He always plays a character that I just want to run up to and hug.

And for fans of Torchwood, there will be a new character in the series played by the same actress (Indira Varma) who played Susie.


The yarn for the Christmas stockings arrived today. It's a very bright, warm red, perfect for the Christmas season. I still need the white yarn for the toes and heels and the fun fur for the cuffs to start, but they're going to be really terrific! I'll have a photo for you real soon, now.

I have to go. The tail end of the Doctor Who marathon on BBC in America is on, and I really want to watch it!

Have a lot of fun tonight watching Human Target!

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's Monday

I'm becoming a real stick-in-the-mud lately. I've been knitting like crazy to get some Christmas presents done, and watching TV while I'm doing it.

Which means that although it's been a lot of fun for me, it's not a good idea to post photos of what I'm making because some of the people I'm making presents for read this blog. So, I can't really tell you about it.

But here's something I can tell you about.

I've ordered some yarn to make Christmas projects that I plan to sell! I'll be making a limited edition of 10 (if there's enough yarn, and I think there will be) Christmas stockings!

The main yarn for it will be Classic Worsted Tapestry yarn in Chili Pepper. It's a self patterning yarn as you can see by the knitted sample below.

There will be a cuff around the top of white Fun Fur from Lion Brand, and the toes and heels will be plain white yarn. There will also be some size E glass seed beads randomly in the leg of the stocking to add a little sparkle. The beads I'll be using have a "rainbow" finish, in other words they look like carnival glass.

Although the yarn is named Worsted, it's light enough that I can actually place the beads at random with a crochet hook if I want to rather than stringing them before I start to knit. I haven't decided which way I'd rather do it. I like the spontaneous place-as-the-mood-hits-you freedom of using a hook, but the project will be more portable if I string them first. I think I'm going to use a hook, but haven't decided absolutely.

Which reminds me that Tulip has some new crochet hooks that are just coming out, and I've read some really good things about them. They'll be distributed by Caron in the US, but they don't have any available yet, or didn't last week, anyway. There are aluminum hooks with black handles and gold hooks as well as steel hooks with blue handles.

The links show a whole set of them, but Caron will have the aluminum ones available individually. They haven't said whether they'll carry the steel hooks individually, though. Personally, I like steel hooks better, because the hook part is smaller and easier to insert, but the shaft is tapered, so you can push it through to the diameter you want for your project. It's easier for me to use and much more flexible as to effect created. Steel hooks are just too small for some projects, though.

You can find a review of the aluminum hooks here.

If you're using them for beading, like me, Tulip will (someday soon) have out a line of Sucre beading hooks, specifically intended for beading! They're color coded according to size, and you can see the sizes offered and the color coding by following the link.

While I'm on a roll with knitting content, I want to make sure you know that Vogue Knitting is having a sale on their patterns, just in case you're looking for something to knit someone for Christmas, too!


Speaking of TV, there was a lot that was interesting on this past weekend.

The Golden Compass made it's TV premier on Saturday and Sunday, completely uncut according to the advertising. It was fairly true to the book, but suffers from the fact that the book was the first of a series of three books that comprise a whole story. They did their best to give it a good ending, but all the ending really did was promise that there would be more to the whole thing, which hasn't happened so far.

ABC Family put on as much of the Harry Potter movies as they could over the weekend, too. I recorded them on my TiVo, but haven't watched them yet. Of course I've seen them all, but this time they're showing tons of trailers for the next movie, which is the first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I want to go see the movie, but it will be a cliffhanger, so I'm a little less sure.

There's a new episode of Chuck on tonight! It wasn't on last week, and I really missed it! It'll be followed by a new episode of The Event, which continues to be top-notch in the exciting, science fiction, action and adventure departments! There will also be new episodes of Castle and Hawaii Five-O. Obviously, Hawaii Five-O isn't science fiction, but it has Alex O'Loughlin (Moonlight) and Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica) in it, and it's really a good show.

I'm going to get back to my knitting now, and make some great Christmas presents. You'll hear more about it later.

Got to go! Chuck is coming on!

Have a wonderful evening!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day!

Happy Veterans Day!

Veterans Day is a national holiday in the United States, but other countries celebrate it, too, under other names. You can read more about it at the link.

If you followed the link, you know more about it, and I won't go into it here except to say that I'm proud to be a veteran.


Yesterday and today were more "binary" days. That is to say that they're dates that have only a one or a zero in the number that represents that date.

Yesterday was 11/10/10, and today is 11/11/10. Next year (logically) it will be 11/11/11!


I've almost finished another Christmas present. It still needs a tiny bit of Kitchner stitch and to be blocked. With any luck, there will be a photo tomorrow. The item is a hood, and it's part of a set which will include a watch cap and pair of mitts, so there's still more to knit before the whole present is done. I've been making a pile of stuff that just needs a little bit done to finish it, and I'm planning to spend tomorrow afternoon just blocking and sewing. Blocking isn't so bad since I have a steamer and a good place to use it with the other blocking needs stored right nearby.

It's the sewing that I like least about knitting.

So, there may be a lot of finished objects to show over the weekend. A lot of anonymous FOs! Some will be Christmas presents and some not, and I'm not going to identify who they're for. So, you can consider that they're all for me, and just forget about Christmas!


Burn Notice is on USA pretty much all day today. The first episode of the new season is also on, along with all the great Thursday evening shows: The Vampire Diaries, Bones, The Big Bang Theory and The Mentalist! If you're a Psych fan, the first episode of the new season was on last night, but they're rerunning it tonight. Check your local schedules! Oh, and in case I forget, BBC in America will be going nuts with Doctor Who all Saturday!

Have a fabulous weekend, and feel free to tell me about all the wonderful projects you're making for Christmas!