Saturday, October 31, 2009

Baby Blanket

Things on the schedule to do today:
Wash dishes
Clean kitchen surfaces
Clean up the tiny bits of kitty litter the little cat leaves on the carpet
Go to grocery
Make dinner
Debate tonight's plans
Change sheets
Make many books
Do some stuff for work
Clean the man-cave (overflowing with my stuff as well as his)

Things done today:
Wash dishes
Go to grocery (but forgot list, and forgot plans, and wasn't hungry, so got only milk and have no dinner plans)
Made one book (just like the Martini Record below, so no photos)
Made two self-binding baby blankets from the pattern here

One entire department at work is expecting -- 2 people, one pregnant herself, one with a pregnant wife. Due at the same time. (That department will be useless in a few months!) I figured, with Christmas and everything coming up, I wouldn't get something knitted in time, so I whipped out two flannel blankets -- figured the blue edging (which is also the back) and the yellow flowers make it unisex enough -- one's a girl, and one's to-be-announced. The pattern's really enjoyable, very fast, and the geometry of it suits my mathematical brain. Hope the parents-to-be like them!

Of course, that means I'm very behind in inventory for the book fair next weekend, and the house isn't clean, and I have no plans for dinner (speaking of which, I love the name of the blog "Things to make instead of dinner"), or whether or not we're going to an office party tonight (heh - Himself is coming straight from work, so he could go as a doctor!), and I haven't done anything for work....

Well, that's the way things go around here!
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Thursday, October 29, 2009


I made these oaty-cakes from Simple Up the other day. Figured I'd better take a picture of the last two before they were all gone! My only difference was (as you can tell) using a heart-shaped cookie cutter. They are somewhat granola-bar-ish, so I think I'll make them again with perhaps some honey, or peanut butter, or dried cranberries mixed in, cut them into ovals, and call them granola bars. Really very excellent -- a bit dangerous (eat over a plate!), but not too sweet, not too dry, not too anything but irresistible.

And aren't my plates sweet? They're the "Flower Shop" Nick and Nora pattern (which I can't find online anywhere), and each size of dish is a different pattern. Got them at a resale shop where I was volunteering -- I fell in love with them, and that was that. Meant I didn't have to register for dishes when we got married! At some point, I plan to paint our "great room" in the yellow tint you see at the top right corner.

So: Oaty-cakes: very good! Go, make some!
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Martini Record

What do you think - make a journal of interesting mixed drink recipes?

The paper entertains me. The insides are standard linen resume paper, hand-torn, very nice.

Sewn with waxed linen thread.
Zooming in on these two pictures (shadows heightened in the lower one), you can see the difference in the sewing -- this book was sewn with single-needle coptic style sewing; the florentine book below was two-needle sewing, and I think it looks a lot more even.

Tutorials, of course, can be found through the links at TJBookarts' website.
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New book

I had fun with this one, my first two-needle coptic-bound book. I used a lovely florentine-style (maybe actually florentine -- it's "made in Italy"!) paper for the outside, and a Japanese print on the inside.

Plain blue copy paper matches nicely.

If you zoom in on the picture below, you can make out my stitches. I think it looks a lot better than single-needle coptic, but it's more of a pain (especially as I have only one curved needle, and had to do the other straight!). Pink cotton thread. These colors make me happy!

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Brief notes

Oddly unable to find time to post lately, although I can find time for other things...

But just wanted to say:

This skull hat is awesome, totally making one for my teenage cousin.

And, See Mommy Sew is giving away fun scrappy bits -- and Between the Lines has cards! and beautiful things!

That's all -- the husband's on the night shift for a week, so I should be able to get stuff done, photograph it, and publish it!  (Now my 15 mins are up, so back to work!)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


A few years ago, I typed up all the letters my grandparents wrote each other in the early 1940s (when he was at West Point, she was in Houston or NYC, and they were dating/engaged).  (More on that at some other time.)  One of the more entertaining bits to me was when she wrote of her excitement that her office had purchased air conditioning, and that it would be turned on between 1 and 4 pm in the summer. 

I have a few coworkers who don't have air conditioning.  (I live in Houston, if you've missed that.)  I've lived in India, where air conditioning is rare and it's often 90 degrees at night and humid, but with good ventilation and a fan it's not bad, except when there's a power cut and your fan gives out.  (I've also lived in England, where there was once a news story on TV on how possibly one could manage to sleep when the temperature only got down to 70 degrees at night -- however, they mostly don't have fans and mostly don't/can't open their windows, so I can imagine it might be a bit suffocating at times.)  Last September, after the hurricane, most of us went two weeks or so with no electricity.  Not bad, inconvenient, but not bad.  (Yes, if you depend for your life on electronic medical equipment, bad.  For most of us, not bad.) 

Why am I thinking of this?  Someone was just yammering on about how it should be mandatory for the City to provide free air conditioning to everyone in town, because it's a necessity of life and it's a basic human right. 

When did we get so soft?

There was one interview on TV after Hurricane Rita a few years back, where the reporter asked a fellow how he was managing to survive with no air conditioning.  His response?  "I haven't got it anyhow, so it doesn't bother me!"

Friday, October 2, 2009

Rigid Heddle Mats

I made these two mats a while back on my rigid heddle loom.  I used the Sugar and Cream yarn, which I love -- it's the same yarn as in the star blanket I made a while back.   It was just a simple weave, not trying to get any fancy patterns at all (although I did have fun with my graph paper plotting out how to warp it to get fancy patterns in plain weave).  Overall, I'm pretty pleased.  I didn't weave in the ends when changing colors, as it really bulked up where it duplicated (the yarn's so thick), and I figured I'd have to do something with the edges anyhow, as I'm not yet overly steady on the tension at the edges. 

You can't really tell from these pictures, but this one (that I made first) is longer than the other.  They were intended to be placemats, but I didn't measure properly when warping on, so one's placemat-shaped, and the other's squarish.  I realized when switching that there wasn't enough yarn, so left only a very small gap for fringing in between the two.  I think I may just zigzag over it on the machine to hold the fringe in place, rather than knotting ... any opinions on that?

Not bad for functionally a beginner, though, right?

(I did do several pieces 15 years or so ago, all with some sort of scratchy earth-toned stuff that I've seen in weaving shops since ... I prefer non-scratchy finished products, so I prefer working with things like this.)
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