Chiara: December 2006 Archives

It Finally Smells Like Christmas In Here

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I didn't bake any Kitmas cookies this year. I didn't bake anything for Kitmas. It was weird, but with our travel schedule and whatnot it didn't really make much sense. But it still didn't feel quite right.

But today, I'm baking. And it feels wonderful. The blueberry buckle is done and the banana muffins just came out of the oven. The apple-oatmeal bread is next up. Then it's on to making pie crusts for the French apple tart and spinach-ricotta pie. The waffles will wait until tomorrow.

Yay. Baking.

And to All a Good Night

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We're home, after 7 days in Connecticut. It was a good trip. We got to see lots of folks (though there were still more we wish we could have connected with). The weather was good - just some rain, but mostly temps in the 40s and even 50 some days. At least it looked like Christmastime - bleak and gray - even if it wasn't bitterly cold.

I think the highlight was taking my nephew to New York City on Christmas Eve Eve. We rode the train in - his first time in Grand Central Station - took the subway to the Natural History Museum (what 8 almost 9 year old doesn't love a good natural history museum?), then hopped back on the subway to go to Rockafeller Center and see The Big Tree. On the way we saw Times Square, mounted policemen, and genuine New York Sewer rats (a first for me, if you can believe it). When I saw him on Christmas I told N that we could go to the city again next year and he asked if maybe we could go to the art museum. Squee! I love being an auntie.

E had to go to work today, but I got to stay home and try to bring some order to the house. We had a bottle of cologne go haywire and I've spent the day doing laundry and trying to get the smell out of all the luggage. Other than that everything seems to have arrived home intact. Except for E. He came home from work sick. After a cup of tea and a soak in a hot tub he's gone up to bed.

I'm trying to figure out how to spend the last 4 days of my vacation in the most relaxing, yet productive way possible. It looks like the top of the list includes housecleaning (a necessary evil), kitten cuddle time, baking, and knitting (since I ripped out all of the wireframe that I had worked on before leaving for CT).

Oh, and sending out the last of my holiday cards. I ran out of cards before the trip and was so busy while there didn't have time to write them. So if you haven't gotten one yet, don't fret - you are loved; I'm just a goober and didn't buy enough cards. :)

So, in a rare burst of creativity I had the bright idea a month or so ago to create a poster for the IA Summit in March. I submitted a proposal for a poster called "Wireframe as Art." I would take the humble wireframe from paper and transform it into other media, specifically cross-stitch, knitting, and quilted.

I've been working on and off on a cross-stitch version of a site blueprint. It's coming along, isn't very challenging, and I really should be more finished with that I am.

Today I picked out a wireframe to base all my wireframes upon. I wanted to ground this work in a real deliverable that we used for a real client. I got out my four balls of yarn and started to work.

I cast on 60 stitches, knitted four rows, and then added another color for the footer text. I did this in a purl stitch (the rest is just stockenette), because I thought the difference in texture would add something. It just looked stupid.

So, I ripped the whole thing out, cast on 60 again and stitched four rows. This time I added the line of color matching the stitches of the background and I like it much better. I added on another four rows of background.

Now comes the grey boxes. I added the gray like I did the line of color of the text, and quickly realized that I was carrying over way more yarn that I probably needed to. It was messy and ugly, so I ripped that out. I found one of my knitting books and read up on multi-colored knitting.

The wireframe really isn't going to be that big - probably about the size of a placemat. So I took the suggestion from the book and made small balls of yarn and put them in separate cups. This way I could pick up the color I needed as I got to that section. I'm just working with squares and lines here... shouldn't be that bad.

Knitted Wireframe, Take 3

Well... let me recap a bit for you.

1. I started knitting one year ago. I've made three scarves and am 2/3 done with a sweater. I still don't know how to decrease. Ripping out makes me nervous because I have a hard time picking the stitches back up.

2. I'm making up the pattern as I go along.

3. I've never worked with multiple colors before. I now have 7, soon to be 8 jars of color feeding into the work.

4. Apparently you have to do something when you are knitting blocks like this so they don't end up separate and with holes between the color blocks. I haven't quite figured out how to do that consistently.

5. While the stockenette stitch looks nice, it's rolling like no one's business. I knew it would do that, but underestimate just how much. I still don't know how to go back and add a ribbing to the edges so it doesn't roll.

Knitted Wireframe, Take 3

So, I now find myself in the middle of a mass of controlled chaos. I've been knitting for 4 hours so far and I'm afraid to stop because I'm worried that I'll be lost when I pick it back up. Not to mention the fear that the cats will "help" with the yarn management. There is no way I can do this on a plane. Which is fine, I just now really feel like I have to hurry up and finish this while I still know what is going on. And feeling hurried is not A Good Thing for this project.

Knitted Wireframe, Take 3

Letter to Santa Elf

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I'm having a hard time to come up with things for this list this year. Most of my thinking goes towards things we need for the wedding. But here are a couple of things I'd like. I certainly don't expect to receive everything on this list.

Yarn. Yarn, yarn, yarn. I love the local shops ImagiKnit or Noe Knits. Both have gift certificates. I have a couple of sweaters that I would like to make.

  • Central Park Hoodie. Need 3294 yards. Gage is 17 sts and 24 rows = 4". In a dark reddish heathered color.

  • Dragon Skin Wrap. Need 2400 yards. They recommend the Kollage Yarns Yummy (80% bamboo, 20% merino wool). I think a light mauvy color would be great.

Massages! I would love gift certificates for massages at Re:Fresh Spa, a local spa in San Francisco that I really like. My back has been really knotted lately. Probably from all the knitting.

The Beatrix Potter/Peter Rabbit Wall Calendar. The only place I've found it the past few years is from Amazon.com in the UK.

A page-a-day calendar for my desk at work. I don't have a specific one in mind. I like ones with quotes by women, or the 'for women who do too much' series.

I've worn out my current pair of Dansko clogs. I wear them everyday and LOVE them. A new pair would be awesome. Size 41, Dansko professional. Brown or Black.

I'm starting to wear out the t-shirts I sleep in.
English Major: You do the math
T-shirt. XXL please.

A blocking board to block knitting. The large board that's 33 x 51 has my eye. There's a number of places online that have them. Sandee's Kwit Knit seems to be on the cheaper side with shipping.

My headphones for my iPod are on their last legs. I really need some new ones. I like the little Sony white ones.

There are a couple of magazines I would like to renew or start getting:

Added 12/9/08:

Before I just went and signed myself up for this, I thought I should probably put it on the Kitmas list. I'd love an individual membership to the Knitters Guild.

I Made It Big!!

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There are a bunch of us from work here (well, 5, including me) in Las Vegas for the Web Builder 2.0 conference. We met tonight for dinner, since the conference doesn't start until tomorrow.

I got down to the restaurant early, and well, since this is Las Vegas there were tons of slot machines outside the restaurant. So I figured, what the hell, I'll put in a dollar and see what happens. I played the nickle slots, since I didn't want to be too free with my dollar. I won a $1.70.

Wow! I've never won at a slot machine before. This is my second time ever playing. So, I took my ticket (they don't give you coins at the machines anymore) and waited for the rest of the group. But it was still early, so I figured, what the hell. I'm up 70 cents. Let's try another dollar. This time I won $13.20.

Double wow! Up almost $15!! Giddy with my new found wealth, I went and met my party and we had a lovely dinner. A few of us were hanging around afterwards, waiting for folks to get back from the loo, and I thought why not? I'll try another dollar.

THIRTY-FOUR DOLLARS AND 85 CENTS!

I won $49.75 from playing $3. I think that's pretty cool. But as tempting as it is to try something with higher stakes (like the dime slots!), I cashed in my tickets and now am safely upstairs in my room reviewing slides for my presentation later this week. Let luck be a lady for someone else tonight.

Quitting While I'm Ahead

Oh, and in case you are interested, it's the Little Green Men machine outside of Mesa Grill.

Clash of the Traditions

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E and I get along pretty well. Most of the things we do are in synch, or at least fit together in a ying and yang kind of way. There are occasions though where we are both baffled by each other's behavior.

Today we put up the Christmas Tree. During the said assembly, we discovered that there are a number of Rules For Assembying The Christmas Tree that the other didn't know about. They include:


  1. Order that the lights are wrapped around the tree. E starts at the top and works down, and I start at the bottom and work up.

  2. How attached the lights must be to the tree. E not only nestles the lights between the branches, but separates the wires and wraps those around the branches. We do live in an earthquake zone after all — you never know when the lights might leap off the tree.

  3. How ornaments must be applied to the tree. I firmly believe that all ornaments must be put on the tree with an ornament hook, even if they have a ribbon or string to hang from. The exception to this rule is the bird's nest, because, duh, there's no place to put the hook.

  4. Singing is required. I "sang" (I say "sang" cause anyone who has ever heard me sing knows that I can't carry a tune in a bucket) while we assembled the tree. E made the "oom-pah-pah"/counterpoint part noises that the lower brass instraments he always played.

    The cats had much fun "helping" with the tree. Their help mostly took the form of chewing on branches, pawing at light strings, and sitting under the tree to make sure it didn't go anywhere.

    In any case, it's festive as hell in here now.

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