Friday, January 29, 2010

Angel Time

As a teenager, I was introduced to the vampire novels by Anne Rice.  Her storytelling was excellent, and I found myself drawn into them, readily identifying with the characters.  I got away from reading Gothic, dark, and horror (I used to be a Stephen King fan, too) stories, and so never read any of her other works, but always remembered the Vampire Chronicles with fondness, and connected to memories of my life at the time.

Several years ago, in 1998, Anne returned to the Catholic Church she grew up in, and in 2002, consecrated her writing entirely to Christ.  This made me intensely curious about her new books and what it meant in relation to her older books.  However, because I didn't immediately run out and get any of the new books, I ended up forgetting about them.  Until last Christmas, that is.

One of the Christmas gifts I received was a copy of the novel Angel Time.  Curious as I was to dive into this, I also found myself a little reluctant.  I think on some level I feared that it would somehow tarnish the memories I had both of the books and my life.  Yes, I do realize that's a bit silly, but there you have it.  I finally got over this when I picked up the book on Tuesday and began to read.  I was finished the next day.

Mrs. Rice is still an excellent story teller, and I greatly enjoyed this story of hit-man-turned-agent-for-God.  I found there to be a sense of joy in this book, which I hadn't noticed in any others, and even found that her dealing with faith wasn't the in-your-face preachy-ness that can sometimes be found in "Christian" novels.  There is still plenty of the supernatural to be found, but from a lighter perspective; forgiveness, redemption, and the deep love of God for His people being the main theme, as opposed to the search for meaning in earlier books.  I also found myself wondering how much of it was autobiographical, as there are some similarities between the author and the hit man.  I liked that she doesn't shy away from the ugliness or beauty of the Church's past.

Bottom line?  I recommend it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Tea Party

For Christmas this year I received a lovely tea package consisting of a cookbook, a selection of teas, and a measuring spoon from the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, B.C.


On Saturday I was fortunate enough to host a tea party with my knitting group.  We all decided that dressing up was required - a hat and/or a shawl.  Everyone's hats and shawls were lovely, but I must admit I find hats to be a bit of an inconvenience when indoors.

On the menu:
  • Salmon Rolls on Rye Bread
  • Cucumber Sandwiches on White Bread
  • Curried Chicken Sandwiches on Rye Bread
  • Egg Salad Sandwiches on Multigrain Bread
  • Orange Cream Scones
  • Empress Scones
  • Mockshire Cream
  • Scottish Shortbread
  • Russian Tea Cakes
  • Fresh Fruit Tart
  • Fresh Fruit Salad
  • Earl Grey Tea Cake
  • Fairmont Empress Blend Tea
  • Fairmont Earl Grey Tea
  • Vanilla Caramel Truffle Tea
The food turned out well, the company was excellent, and a good time was had by all.  I wish you all could have been there.

The one thing I promised myself I'd remember and then promptly forgot?  My camera.  (Sigh)  One of these days I will actually remember to take pictures of these types of things. 

Friday, January 22, 2010

Some Favorites

Life is busy.

Updates coming soon.

In the meantime, here are links to some of my favorite knitting pattern sites:

The Anticraft
Knitting Pattern Central
Twist Collective
Antique Pattern Library
Heirloom Knitting
White Lies Designs


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Swallowtail Shawl

One of the last knitting projects I completed in 2009 was the Swallowtail Lace Shawl by Evelyn Clarke.

The pattern has both written directions and charts, is very clear and easy to follow with no errors, and is free.  It has the "rest row" after each patterned row making any errors very easy to spot and making it knitting that I was able to do while doing other things, like watching T.V. and listening to books.  And it has nupps which I enjoy doing.

 I used the bombyx silk in the abalone colorway that I knit up last summer.

I love the way this turned out;  blocking made such a huge difference!  I also made a point of working in the ends as I went, so once it was blocked it was done.

And a big thanks to Gypsy, who was kind enough to model this for me. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Herringbone Men's Pullover Sweater

The January/February 2010 Catalog for Knit Picks is out, so I can now share with you the project I did.

I knitted the Herringbone Men's Pullover Sweater.

The pattern is found in Men's Knits by Erika Knight, the yarn is City Tweed DK in Desert Sage (green) and Tabby (brown).  I completely fell in love with this yarn!  It is so soft and easy to work with, and the tweedy texture is fabulous.  Buy and use this yarn.  You won't regret it.

The pattern is well written and did not contain any errors.  The sweater is knit in pieces and seamed together, with the neckband being knit on at the end.

And both of my men would wear this sweater if it were knitted in their colors - a big complement as one of them is super picky and won't wear most designs.  It also knitted up fairly quickly, and was interesting enough to work on that I never got bored.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Girls Day Out

One of the things I've missed since I moved is being able to spend time with my friends in the city.  To help remedy the situation, a friend and I got together over New Year's weekend for some sushi and a movie.

We went to lunch at Takamatsu, and it was so much fun because my friend had never had sushi before.

 California Rolls and Nigiri sushi with wasabi and pickled ginger

We didn't just stick to the California rolls either (although we did have some) - we also had nigiri and sashimi.

Sashimi with wasabi and pickled ginger

The entire time she kept saying "I can't believe I'm eating sushi." which I could relate to because I had the same reaction my first time too.  Once you get past the mental stumbling block of eating raw meat, you realize that the flavor is excellent.  Funny thing was that the only things that had cooked fish in them (the California rolls) were her least favorite things.

Then we went to see New Moon.  I've read all the books, and I'll admit I've got some issues with the plot, even setting aside my disbelief.  However, if I completely check my brain at the door, they can make for some okay mindless entertainment.  And so can the movies, although I really thought the first adaptation was not good at all.  The second adaptation was better, the cinematography was too, and I think the performances of the actors were a little better as well.  I'm not saying I'll add it to my list of favorites, but it was okay.

Our final stop was the nursery to shop for some roses for my friend's garden.  I love the way that nurseries smell.  I also tend to get very grandiose ideas about a garden of my own, but reality always kicks in and the plants, unless they're houseplants, never make it home with me.  Maybe it's all that oxygen being generated by the plants.   Anyway, we were able to find some that were on her list, and then I headed back to tiny town.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Oscar Meyer Muffin Sweater

I finished and delivered the second baby sweater I was working on. 

Its the Oscar Meyer Muffin Sweater.

The yarn is Mary Maxim Starlette in Medium Willow and Chocolate, and so very soft.

The design was improvised - I decided I wanted to use the herringbone stitch pattern, then that it was to be a cardigan, I wanted it seamless with knitted on sleeves, added in some buttons, and a baby sweater was born.

What an adorable baby!  Welcome to our world little Oscar.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

2009 Wrap Up

It's a good thing I don't do New Year's resolutions, because I'd have already failed if I did.  I had toyed with the idea of making a resolution this year about being more regular in my updating here, however, knowing that making a resolution is the best way to get me to NOT do something, I refrained.

Hmm... Perhaps I need to add even contemplating something as a resolution, seeing as we're well into 2010 and I'm just now getting around to finishing this post (it's been languishing in my drafts).  Thankfully, I have a friend who lets me know when it's getting to be too long since I last posted.

Anyway,  2009 is over, 2010 has begun, so here's a look back at some of the things I did last year:

I participated in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge, (yes, I know that's almost like a resolution, but it says "challenge" right in the title so it doesn't count, okay?!) and actually finished the 52 books.  It was a close thing, though, as I finished the last book on New Year's Eve, and I had to start counting audiobooks which I had thought I wouldn't count in the beginning.  Some of them were new, some were old favorites, some got started and never finished (no, I didn't count those), and, much to my surprise as I'm usually a fiction gal, at least 1/4 of them were nonfiction.  As much as I enjoyed the books, I don't think I'll do this again, as I do believe I read less this year than ever before.

I took up a new hobby - golf.  This one has been particularly wonderful as it is one that I share with my husband and son, and it marks the first time that has ever happened.  Usually our interests are so divergent, or, on rare occasion, 2 of us will share an interest, but all 3 of us never happened.  Funny thing is that I'd tried it a few times before this and thought it an awful game.  This time I actually learned how the game is supposed to be played, and what I was supposed to be doing, and, astonishingly, that made all the difference.  Now if only I could improve my score...

On the knitting front, I managed to accomplish quite a bit more than I had expected.  Some of them were started in 2008, but all of them were finished in 2009.  Here's the list; the projects link to my Ravelry page, but if I don't have a picture for it, I didn't link it.

Projects completed:
Lines 'n Vines Cardigan
Mystery Stole 4
2 pairs of Felted Clogs
Tibetan Clouds Beaded Stole
2 mystery projects
Sidelines Sweater
Tropical Mer-tini Socks
Fanboy Socks
Secret of the Stole III
Tokena socks
Tree of Life Afghan
Cables and Textures Baby Sweater
Arizona Thermal Socks
Galveston Shawl
Oscar Meyer Muffin Sweater
Triangular Summer Shawl
Swallowtail Shawl

So, obviously, I won't be making any resolutions for 2010, but I'd like to pass on a blessing for the New Year that I found at

May peace break into your home and may thieves come to steal your debts.
May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for $50 bills.
May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips.
May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy
May the problems you had, forget your home address.

In simple words . . . may 2010 be the best year of your life.