last night we had another bad storm, one that rocked the walls and pounded against the glass of our antique windows all night. it was hard to sleep through; and when i did fall asleep the bangs and howls of the wind weaved in and out of my dreams.

this morning when i woke up, however, i was amazed to find this:

a world covered in a thin sheet of ice! it glistened and sparkled as if the trees and shrubs were made of glass.

in other news, i've finished my sister's booga bag. one more christmas project down, about a bazillion to go. good thing the cold weather makes me want to stay inside and knit!


finished koolhas

i couldn't sleep last night, so i finished programmer's koolhas this morning, at about 3 a.m.

overall, i think it turned out pretty well. the decreases were a little confusing, but in the end it turned out all right.


samantha's show

my friend, the very talented samantha, had her graduating show opening this friday in the empty set of boyd hall. it will be up till i think next thursday, so if any of you clarion students need a break during finals week, stop by and see her art.

a brief preview of her work:

all images belong to me, all artwork is (c) samantha stevick, 2007

and of course, the artist herself:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


camera issues

next semester, i'm taking a photography class with dr. nulf (yes, for those of you that know the story, i finally got into the damn thing!!!) i am very excited. for all of my photography meddling, i really don't know what i'm doing. i'm just starting to understand things like shutter speeds and f-stops, and my knowledge is quite fuzzy and mostly gathered from wiki articles and forum discussions. it will be nice to have someone actually explain things to me, start to finish. of course, there's always the risk that the class won't live up to my high expectations, but that's a risk i'll have to take i suppose.

which brings me to my most recent photography conundrum. right now i have a little fugifilm point-and-shoot. for the class, i need to have something that lets me shoot entirely manual, and i'm pretty sure that this complies. the only thing i'm worried about is that it might not let me adjust the white balance, but maybe i'm just missing that bit so far. overall, it's a nice camera. it was cheap, as far as decent cameras go, a bit less than $300. but like i said, it's a P&S, and definitely not a DSLR.

to be honest, i'm intimidated by SLR's. i oogle them, drool over them, but i refrain from purchasing one because i'm not exactly sure how to use all of it's bells and whistles. granted, after this class, i may have a firmer grasp on it. so my question is, is it a better idea to learn on my little P&S, or should i go out and obtain a medium-priced DSLR, perhaps canon's EOS 40D?


hebalistic thursdays

tonight, after many hours of working, i finally finished a mama k's christmas present, an herbal balm made specifically for her. lately my herb collection has gotten a little out of hand, and i new that mama k really liked lavender, so this seemed like a really good idea.
after some brief research (i had never made balm before) i came down to this general recipe:

1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. dried herbs
1/16 oz. beeswax
1 t. vitamin e

first, set up a double boiler. this is basically a large pot halfway filled with water, with another, smaller pot on top. turn the heat on high (so that the water under neath starts to boil) and add to the smaller pot your olive oil and your dried herbs. for mine, i used some anise seed, orris root, marshmallow root, yarrow, red clover heads, a couple of cinnamon sticks, and lots and lots of lavender:

cook this mixture down for about four to six hours, stirring occasionally and checking to make sure that all of you water in the bottom pot dosen't evaporate. (add more water to bottom pot as needed, just be careful not to get any water into the herb/oil mixture). after four to six hours, strain the mixture using a cheesecloth or several coffee filters. discard the herbs. add vitamin e to oil.

at this point, you basically have an essential oil. you could do several things from here, including just keeping the oil and using it like you would store-bought essential oil. you could add some sugar and make a lovely sugar scrub, or add to a batch of soap, ect.

however, we are making balm. so once again, heat your oil in the double broiler, and grate your beeswax into your warm oil. stir until melted. if you want a thicker balm, use a bit more wax, if you want a thinner balm use a bit less than recommended. it may take you a few tries to get your proportions just the way you like them.

once wax is all melted, pour into clean, dry metal or glass containers for storage. let cool completely, and cover with lid. balm may keep up to a year in cool, dark place. this recipe made about 3oz of balm.


knitting tarot

over on ravelry i'm part of a forum of ladies who love both knitting and tarot. it would seem that the recently released knitting tarot would be right up our ally. that is, of course, until you look at the price tag.
now don't get me wrong, i'm all for independent designers. and, i can appreciate the fact that this deck is hand-printed, which racks the price up a bit more. however, at this stage in my life, there's just no way i can afford it.
many of the ravelry girls felt the same, and we've decided to make our own knitting-themed tarot. as such, here is my contribution for this week:


playing with the new camera

cell phone:


pilot light:

the last two were supposed to be a rose and a heart, respectively. :shrug: oh well.



today, as i went out to the barn, this is what i was greeted with:

and all i could think of was how desolate things start to look around this time of year. you can just tell that everything is beginning to seal itself off, curl up, and prepare for winter. there's a stark nakedness to these woods in the fog, and it's made even more dramatic by the snow and the mud. not to mention that we've been having terrible storms here lately. not really snowy, but wet with very strong winds that howl in the night, just as i'm about to drift to sleep. when i was a little kid and i heard that, i always thought it was a banshee.

even the horses seemed particularly stressed this afternoon. i tried to take pictures of misty for online friend kol, but it was a useless venture. she wouldn't stay still:

i guess i can't blame her though. storms are especially hard on horses. aside from the fact that they have to stay in their stalls because of the lightening, they can feel the storms. the pressure and the excess electricity does strange things to the little hairs in their ears, and i can't imagine that it's a pleasant sensation. especially when combined with that haunting sound in the wind.

'tasha update

some of you have been asking about 'tasha, and how she is after the accident.
well, she lives. she's learned to get around very quickly on her hoppy-foot, and as time goes on she seems to use it more and more. she dosen't seem to be in much pain. every now and then she'll turn herself just the right why (trying to scratch an itch or something) and she'll yelp for a second, but those instances are coming few and far between.

overall, her staples have healed without infection, and she seems to be happy and healthy once more. she's learned to stop and smell the roses.


productive saturday

i woke up this morning feeling unusually productive. i mopped all the floors, made lunch, and even found some time to take WIP pictures:

my sister's booga bag. i've never used noro before, though i've long admired it's use in other projects. the trouble is, noro isn't all that cheap, and most projects require a whole lot of skeins of it! when i came across this pattern that only required three skeins, i knew i had to make it!

programmer's koolhas hat is about midway to completion as well. i am absolutely in love with the color of this yarn. it's an intense blue that is lightly heathered with purples and greys. soo pretty!

in an unrelated matter, i've come up with a new tea recipe that i think is particularly good.

it's looseleaf earl grey, bergamont, orris root, lavender, and just a hint of vanilla. the earl grey has the caffine to wake me up in the morning, but the lavender and vanilla keep it from being a jittery, overly excited awake. the orris root helps with good dreams, and generally lends a wonderful scent to this tea.



i know what you're all thinking, two blogs in one day?!? i guess i'm feeling writerly. i'm sure that this is just the "shiney and new" aspect of this new blog, and it will fade over time. i will write in spirts where i post three times a day, and then won't update for months after that. but you're my friends, and will forgive me.

anyways, what is it about this time of year that makes so many people nostalgic? is there something in the fall air, the decaying leaves, that subconsciously reminds us of our own mortality? or perhaps it's a sick twist on holiday traditions, christmas is, for me at least, very seeped in the past. as such i tend to think back to long-forgotten christmases every year around this time. it's a depressing habit because it seems that no christmas will ever be as epic as that christmas when you were a little kid, when you didn't have to fight shoppers and balance your checkbook to get other people gifts, you just made them with your crayons. when you were hoping beyond all reason for that one.perfect.toy, and when you opened it on christmas morning everything just fell into place. the year becomes sealed forever in your memory as being somewhat of a christmas nirvana, that you'll never reach again.

some older friends tell me that this is not true, that when i have children of my own i will feel this excited, feverish anticipation of christmas once more; if only reflected in my children's smiles. but that seems far into the future, and rather intangible for this holiday season... doesn't it?

even my perfumes have become nostalgic as fall edges into winter, and the wheel of the year comes rolls and closer to it's pinnacle. my latest order from black phoenix alchemy lab was as follows:

antique lace

i'm particularly excited to try r'lyeh, described on the site as "a hellishly dark aquatic scent, evocative of fathomless oceanic deeps, the mysteries of madness buried under crushing black waters, and the brooding eternal evil that lies beneath the waves." those of you who understand my feelings reguarding atlantis will completely see how this could be nostalgic for me.


funny how plans don't pan out like they should...

instead of working on the hemlock ring blanket, as i'd hoped, i find myself knitting jerod flood's koolhass from IK's holiday gifts magazine.

why you ask? koolhas is one of the few things that programmer requested for christmas. and he didn't just say "savvy, knit me a hat." nono, he looked over at my computer one day while i was on jared's blog, saw said hat, and said "that's pretty neat." he also picked out a gorgeous color of yarn for the project, knitpicks wool of the andes in heathered sapphire.

i've also cast on julie anderson's booga bag for my sister's christmas present. it's a quick and easy, mindless knit. i expect to finish the actual knitting part this weekend. i'm not sure how long it will take me to felt it though, as i have no washing machine at my disposal. : /


defending lolita (aka i'm always saying the wrong things)

i find more often than not, that when it comes to the internet i'm always saying the wrong things. my problem seems to be that i rely far to heavily on sarcasm in my everyday speech, and in type, sarcasm comes out all wrong. without the inflections in my voice, the hint of a smile on my face, my sarcasm gets misinterpreted as being obnoxious, self-absorbed, or just plain creepy. i'm always sticking my keyboard in my mouth, so to speak.

most of my favorite books are a bit controversial, but nabokov's is probably the most notorious. lolita is kind of disturbing, if you just look at the basic plot. but that's what makes nabokov such a brilliant writer. he draws you in, and makes you start to feel for one of what should be the most vile of anti-heros, humbert humbert. the reader begins to sympathize with humbert, despite of themselves. not to mention that nabokov was famous for playing literary games. there are so many other things going on on top of the basic story, so many literary allusions and subtleties that you could read the book a hundred times and still not understand everything that navokov has going on. it's a beautifully written, not too graphic book about a very disturbing subject. but it's nothing like people think.

anyways, i tried to defend the book to an internet friend recently with little or no success. i feel really bad about this, probably worse than i should. i'm an english major, and i should be able to acurately articulate (in the written word) my feelings reguarding literature without creeping anyone out.

:sigh: like i said, i'm always sticking my keyboard in my mouth. i should probably wait to discuss anything that i feel truly passionate about (such as russian literature) until i've actually meant a person.... : (

i should also get back to writing my presentation.



today i got my new harmony wood needles from knitpicks.

they're soo smooth, and the colors are wonderful! i'm really excited to try them out. they will be broken in on my long-awaited hemlock ring blanket!!
that is, after i finally finish this:

poor 'tasha

my poor puppy got loose from her chain and hit by a car last night. she's black, and the driver said that she just came out of nowhere. he very kindly brought her back to us. we had to take her over the the emergency vet hospital for them to sedate her and give her some x-rays. they've told us that she has a broken shoulder blade and nerve damage down her right front leg. our only options are to let it heal on it's own and see if the nerves repair themselves, or get a surgery ($$$$) that the doctor said wouldn't definitely cure everything. so we've decided to just let her rest and heal and we'll see what happens. if you could, send some good thoughts her way?


give me turkey or give me death.

well here we are again kids, racing ever-close to homemade, stuffing-filled poultry goodness. dear god, but couldn't we all use a break? i don't know about you, but i'm exhausted.
on the knitting front, i'm still tugging away at elya's diamond and smocked baby blanket. i was hoping to finish it this past weekend, but i didn't get the chance. instead i was stuck on my couch with my lappy, trying to focus on various graphics/ papers that are due soon. :sigh: maybe over break i'll finish it.


new and exciting!

after having worked on this all day, i'm ready to throw in the towel and call it a blog. (or a waste of a saturday....) it's not nearly as good looking as i want it to be yet, but i'm still a big confused about how to edit the code here on blogger.