Saturday, April 12, 2008

My Retirement Plan

No, I don't make a fortune... and lord knows, I don't save a fortune. But my husband and I do have three fantastic (and talented) kids. So, we regularly invest our time, energy and money in them, in hopes that they will think fondly of us when they've become rich and famous, and at least choose a decent nursing home for us!

Some of their skills are, of course, more marketable than others. Take for instance, my twins. Molly and Austin are 11 years old, and their school has recently completed a Tae Kwon Do unit in gym class. This was really exciting for them, because they had both taken lessons on their own a few years ago, so it was a chance for them to excel a little bit. (I don't know about you, but the words "excel" and "gym" would never have been used in the same sentence to describe my life... unless there was a "not" in there somewhere!).

So, last night was their belt testing (all of the students tested for and received a yellow belt... my kids are actually blue belts, but I think the idea of testing with their friends was still pretty cool. Here's a shot of the group (actually before everyone was fully assembled... I think they had about 150 kids by the time everyone arrived)

My kids have all enjoyed martial arts (karate at first, then later Tae Kwon Do) and I have to say I think it's great for a variety of reasons -- physical activity, discipline, respect, persistence... the list goes on. But the very cool thing about Tae Kwon Do is the board breaking. For each belt, from the very first, the student is required to break a pine board (for the kids it's usually 1/2" to 3/4" thick). The first time you see it, you're sure someone is going to break a bone, but even the littlest of the kids can do it. It was especially exciting to watch 150 kids breaking boards!

So Molly and Austin have their talents, although so far we haven't found any that will pay for mom's retirement. Emma, on the other hand, may be on to something!

Emma is 14, a freshman in high school, and a very talented artist. Here's her most recent work

Now I know I'm her mom, but I just think this picture is amazing. Scary good. So good that I wanted it to be able to carry it around with me all the time. So, I went on over to Unique Skins and had it made into a skin for my phone. What do you think?

I didn't apply it perfectly, but I think it came out very cool. The back is just the hair and the earring and jewel... it almost has a woodtone look.

So, I'm thinking that I get Emma to work producing more of these masterpieces, and get her selling prints and skins for phones, iPods, laptops... While reminding her of the investment her loving parents have made in art lessons, computers, paints, etc. Who knows, I may end up with the deluxe suite at the nursing home!

The astute among you may have noticed that there was no knitting in this post. This is because the stupid scarf still has me aggravated. I don't actually like how it looks at at narrower width. I think I'm just frogging the whole thing and reskeining and finishing the yarn, and waiting for future inspiration. If you have any ideas for something that can be made with a couple hundred yards of dk-weight yarn, let me know. Otherwise, I'll have to find something to marry it with in the future.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Just Because You're Paranoid, Doesn't Mean You're Wrong

Ok, remember how I was paranoid that I wouldn't have enough yarn to make the scarf a reasonable length? Remember how I did all the math and I was sure I'd be alright? Well, I was wrong....or right... depending on how you look at it. (Apparently I was dozing through some of those honors math classes in school) I got to the end of the yarn and had a scarf about seven inches wide and (after simulating blocking) about 24 inches long. Just not quite long enough. I mean, it fits around my neck and all, but to be practical, you'd have to use some kind of pin or brooch to close it. Too complcated.

So, a quick frog, and I'm back to knitting a slightly narrower scarf. Now it's about 4-5 inches wide, so I'm thinking that should translate to a reasonable length. Fortunately, Morning Surf is a quick, easy knit, and it's really fun... the way you make those stringy parts is to do multiple yarnovers on one row and then drop them off on the next. There's something very satisfying about "dropping stitches" on purpose! (kind of like frogging a finished scarf, now that I think of it)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Back to Spinning

It's been several months since I've done any serious spinning. I'll tell you the reason, but it's dumb. I'm just telling you that up front. I have a really nice comfy chair in my room where I love to sit when I watch TV and knit or read or blog. But not when I spin, because the plush carpet makes spinning just far too much work for my tired legs. So, I like to spin in the kitchen, on the linoleum floor (or out on the patio, in season). This all worked out well until the TV in the kitchen stopped working a few months back. I really hated having a TV in our kitchen, so I was more than happy when it stopped working... until I realized I had stopped spinning. Apparently, without the ability to watch TV, I am unwilling to sit alone in the kitchen. (go figure!)

Fortunately, the dry spell is over, thanks to Naomi. I met this fascinating woman in a spinning class about a year ago. When I emailed her a few months after the class to say that I'd love to get together and spin some time, she replied that she would, too. Of course, it would have to wait a while, because she was in Cambodia with Doctors Without Borders for the next 6 months. Man! Somehow my story about the great meeting I ran at work that day fell a little short. Ditto my nail biter about the mystery of who was eating the candy out of the candy jar on my desk. Yep, saving lives in the jungle just seems to trump office life. Fortunately, Naomi is a delightful and gracious woman, who doesn't take herself too seriously and who has no interest in being considered the next Mother Theresa. She just saw an opportunity to do some good, and she did it. Very nice... we should all be so willing to put our money where our mouth is.

So, now she's home, and we finally got together for an evening, and some wonderful stories were shared, and some pretty good spinning got done.

You like?

It's a beautiful merino/Tencel blend from the Spunky Eclectic fiber club. I got it ages ago (maybe last November) and I'm so glad I finally got it spun up. And, since I was on a roll, I actually started knitting it up right away.

This is the Morning Surf Scarf. I love how the color changes add to the undulating feeling.

Here's one a little closer in:

My big concern at this point is whether I have enough yardage to make something that's a usable length. Every way I measure, it seems like it will be fine, but I tend to get paranoid about having enough yarn. Always. It's just my little neurotic thing...well, one of them anyway.
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