Thursday, December 20, 2007

A fun, old fashioned Griswold family Christmas

Christmas is quite literally only days away. Denver is expected to have a white Christmas, and just like in the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band song,

"all along the rockies you can feel it in the air

From Telluride to Boulder down below. The closest thing to heaven on this planet anywhere
Is a quiet Christmas morning in the Colorado snow."

Before you go all mushy on me, let me let you in on a little secret. Colorado may be prettier to look at than L.A. at Christmas, but the spirit is no stronger here than anywhere else. That part of Christmas is carried within. Remember those immortal words of Ebenezer Scrooge, "I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."

Most of you don't know that there was a model for the Griswold family, and we were it. Yeah, that's right, I'm married to Clark W. Griswold. Life with Sparky is never boring. Like Helen Griswold I've come to expect the unexpected as part of my everyday life. I gave up on a fun old fashioned family Christmas years ago. I spent New Year's Eve 2001 in a hotel room in Holbrook, Arizona after the drive shaft on our class C mini wini motor home shot out the side like a rocket and just missed the windshield of the car behind us. According to the state patrol, we should have been dead. Combine Robin Williams in R.V., with the Griswold's trip to Wally World and mix in a bit of Ricky and Lucy in the Long Long trailer and you'll get a picture of what vacations are like for us. Don't laugh. I can make the hair on the back of your neck stand up with our "memories."

It is because of my National Lampoon existence that I was so worried about Beth in England. Obviously the curse of the Griswold's weakens when the family is split up. She had some Griswold moments, but by and large the trip was more good than bad.

Christmas 2007 is going to break a record as the most expensive season we have ever had. After the veterinary bills of November, the replacement camera lens, 2 sets of car tires (one of which was a good Samaritan act), and a lost cell phone, I knew I'd better pay attention to my inner Helen Griswold voice instead of Martha Stewart. There was more on the wind, I could feel it.

(FYI: Mike has lost so many cell phones the phone company won't insure him anymore. One was frozen in the snow while picking up after the dogs. Another met a watery end in the toilet bowl. This time the phone was under Ruby Bear's bed. We vibrated that thing for 3 days and never got so much as a raised eyebrow from Ruby. I suspect her of working for AT&T)

Sarah went down with bronchitis and missed several days of school and work. I love the new medical policy of not giving people antibiotics. Instead I was sent to the pharmacy to buy two different kinds of Musinex at $20 a box and a bottle of cough syrup. A Z pack would have been $40 cheaper and would have worked faster, and Sarah wouldn't have had to return to outside life still contagious, which is how she got sick in the first place. (Don't even get me started on my pandemic soapbox)

Michaels Craft Store, in its infinite wisdom decided they should get into the extended holiday shopping hours business. After putting in 6 hours of school, Sarah heads for Michaels where she works the closing shift, newly extended until 11pm. I suppose it is possible that someone might need a bottle of Martha Stewart's all-purpose craft glue at 11 at night, but I rather doubt it. I also don't see hundreds of men turning to Michaels for their wifes gift at zero hour on Christmas Eve. Sarah is coughing her best and manning the framing department waiting for that big last minute Christmas sale that will never come.

Forrest, Ruby's brother has a things for wheels. He attacked the BBQ until he ripped the tires off and it collapsed. When it was gone he turned to the trash can for solace. It is now rolling with a decided limp. Forrest went to the vet on Saturday after ripping a toenail off in battle. $60 bucks later he hasn't learned a thing.

Sarah came home Friday night screaming about the ignition on the cruiser. Her key kept getting stuck. Great, we were going to need a new ignition and new chip keys....Four days later the car is still at the mechanic and the ignition never got replaced. They couldn't get the key to stick. They did however find a leaking shock absorber, and broken water pump, a leaking celanoid on the brand new transmission, and a timing chain ready to kick the bucket. Estimated cost of repair: $1700. This comes on the heels of a $3000 transmission put in this past summer. I think the car may self implode before Sarah finishes cosmetology school.

Two days ago my dryer went out. With a puff of acrid burning plastic smell it died. I have clothes racks of underwear standing in front of the Christmas tree.

But I want to make sure I end this blog on a positive note. After all, we Griswolds are nothing if not optimistic. We make the best of a bad situation. We really do try and keep the spirit of Christmas in our hearts all year. We soldier on after we kick the plastic Santa's ass and take a chain saw to the neighbors tree.

"Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse. "

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our nuthouse to yours. -Tigerlily

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A State of Grace

A State of Grace is defined as the following:

1·· (Christian theology) a state of being protected or sanctified by the favor of God.

In the crazy aftermath of Beth's coming home, in what I thought would be that respite between Halloween zaniness and the business of the holiday season, I took Quincy in for eye surgery. Quincy is the patriarch of our doggy pack. The last of a trio of dog boys whose antics inspired stories and whose living affected our family so deeply that their loss is still very painfully felt. Aging now, with a gray muzzle and salt and pepper eyebrows, Quincy is the one we call our benevolent buddha. The dog has never passed a day in his life unhappy. He loves everyone. He sees no bad or evil in the world. He'd recently developed a bump on his lower right eyelid. It didn't seem to bother Quincy much, but it wasn't exactly attractive. Sarah kept complaining about it and wanted it removed. I hated to spend what I knew would be a chunk of change to have something rather harmless removed. At his checkup the vet said it would be an easy matter to freeze it off, and the price wasn't bad, $150.00. I set the date. By surgery day the bump had decided to grow a large pink nodule that burst open and threatened to quickly do it again. It seemed more certain that this had become a necessary surgery rather than a cosmetic one. A good thing in the end.

But when I took Quincy in, he did something he had never done before. He refused to walk in the office. Once in the office, he tried to get back out. When the tech came to get him he refused to move. He braced his feet. I had to trick him into following me to even get him to move. He looked at me. Let's go home momma. Let's forget all this. I really don't want to go. Alarm bells rang. Why, why is it when we get this messages, these instincts we don't listen? In the parking lot I nearly went back in. On the way home I began to really worry. I remembered my sister's cat that fought all the way to the vet only to die on the surgery table. I rememberd my father. Never sick a day in his life and then a fall in the snow and a sniffle. Then a cough that didn't go away. Three weeks later he was gone from lung cancer so advanced it had spread to his bones. The knot in my stomach would not go away.

Quincy came home from surgery smiling but looking rather bedraggled. The sight of his eye alone that first night had me in tears. The bump had been a tumor and had extended below the eyelid about 1/2 inch. As that first evening wore on the eye began to swell and Quincy became more stressed and by morning there was little doubt he was in pain. We went back to the vet for an additional shot of pain meds. and a steroid injection to help his lungs. By day 3 post-op his breathing was gurgling. By day 4 there was little doubt there was respiratory problem. He wasn't eating or sleeping, his breathing was rapid and shallow. I made more than 10 trips back and forth to the vet in that first week. Quincy got so used to going that he would just stand at the garage door waving side to side with weakness when he heard my keys. By the weekend there was no improvement and Quincy was straining for every breath. The vet was completely bewildered. Said the surgery had been very routine and uneventful. There seemed to be bronchitis in his lungs.

By Saturday morning I truly feared he might not come out of it. He was that weak. Unable to eat, unable to walk, barely keeping himself hydrated, Quincy looked as though he had aged 10 years overnight. The weight was falling off of him and we had taken to calling him Sticks as he looked like a wrinkled and sagging balloon held up by stick legs. In secret I was calling him Sticks the Lunger (only someone who has seen Tombstone is going to get that reference to Doc Holliday). This happy little guy, who had never been sick a day in his life, who had recently been more active than we'd seen in years, in the span of a few days been reduced to this, and it was all my fault. I begged him to forgive me for not listening.

When I looked Quincy in the eyes, I saw the look of someone who has given up. He wasn't fighting anymore. Maybe it was his age, maybe it was because he is such a happy fellow that he fell into such a depression. Those eyes frightened me and in that most desperate of moments I did what everyone does. Beg. Make bargains. I promised him toys and treats, anything if he would just please fight harder. I plied him with McDonalds kids burgers and bits of beef tenderloin. I tried chocolate chip cookies, his favorites. Anything to spark his interest. I planted hundreds of kisses on the black smudge on his forehead. We always called it his thumb print from God. Fight. Fight harder.

Maybe its because I spent so much of my own life in a state of bronchitis or pneumonia that I suffered so with his every breath. I knew what it felt like. How exausting it was just to breathe. That breathing too deeply brought on coughing, and coughing hurt so badly it was to be avoided at all costs. Quincy didn't want to be alone, and he didn't want me to leave him. The house was so hushed. The other dogs never barked or squabbled. They stayed close. We needed help, and the vet and his endless medicines were not going to be enough. My prayers alone were not going to be enough.

I sat down at the computer with Quincy at my feet and composed an email. I sent it to everyone I knew asking for their prayers and happy thoughts. Beth and Sarah both posted bulletins on My Space and their blogs and favorite hang outs asking for help too. The responses began to come back almost immediately. My friend Ricky in Georgia, whose partner is a vet offered any help they could. Our vet had promised to check back with me but it had been nearly 36 hours and still no call. I emailed my dear friends immediately with Quincy's current status and all his medications. I told them what the vet had told me about the surgery. Jeff emailed me right back. It sounds like aspiration pneumonia. Turn on a humidifier or take him in the shower. Run the hot water and get that steam going. Start doing coupage (percussion treatments) to the sides of his chest several times a day for 5 minutes at a time. Check his gums and make sure they are pink. Pink means he's staying oxygenated. Gray is bad. We had to help him expel all that bad stuff out of his lungs.

Not 10 minutes after that email came in, the vet finally called. He told me word for word exactly what Jeff had just said with one caveat. Oral antibiotics can take up to 5 days to take effect. That was news I could have used earlier. No wonder he seemed be getting worse. He was.

We kicked into high gear. I showed the girls how to do cou'page. My niece and nephew had suffered from asthma for years, and we all knew how to do percussion from them. Cup your hand. Now pat quite firmly along the sides of his chest where his lungs are. Do along his back too. We sat in the steam until Quincy was panting from the heat. Pounding, pounding. After just one treatment he began to cough and phlegm seemed to be loosening. We took turns getting soggy. We pounded him while we watched tv. Mike pounded him when he walked by.

At the same time the letters were coming in. One email. Five email. Fifteen. My Space and Ain't It Cool News, blog readers, they all responded. The power of LOVE is a wonderful thing. With each and every one Quincy began to improve. Throughout the weekend and into the coming week we kept this up. After just one day, Quincy began to lead me to the bathroom. By Tuesday a.m. I had a tail wag. When a pug drops his tail, and can not curl it, something is very wrong. To see that tail lift and curl, if only momentarily was a very big deal. We were on the mend. Still gasping but able to breathe a bit deeper, Quincy began to ask for the steam and chest beating. His attitude improved. He smiled. He barked. And with that the antibiotics finally began to do their job.

Thanksgiving came and I really was thankful. Thankful for friends and family. That people from all over the world would come to the rescue of a little pug they had never met was a testament to the power of love. Imagine what else it could do? I felt as though I was being carried along on a river of benevolence. This doesn't mean life has suddenly been picture perfect and sunny. The opposite would seem to be so. We have had a string of rotten luck and unexpected expenses that has put quite a crimp in life as well as Christmas gift giving. I'm upset, angry even, but this glow I'm feeling makes it all seem very trivial. Each and every day is a precious gift. Why waste it fighting or being angry? The important bit is the living. And the love. And when Quincy looks at me from the depths of his shining eyes I am thankful that dear puggy wug, the last of a trio is with us to celebrate his 10th birthday on December 6th. I think Joe and Maverick are watching from Dog Heaven and smiling. This truly is what Christmas is all about.

So, despite dishonest businessmen, new boyfriends, lost paychecks, broken cameras, out of work daughters, screaming bosses, grumblings about who is or isn't doing their share of work, husbands spending more time in the air then on the ground....

I feel blessed for a chance to know this state of grace.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Scots, wha hae

Elisabeth is in England. My baby girl off on her own in a far away place we have only dreamed of until now. I think I have spent at least an hour a day crying since she left. Crying because I was frightened of her alone and far away. Crying because I so wanted to be there too, and crying because more than anything else I missed her so much my heart ached.

How very silly I kept telling myself. She is all grown up. How will you cope if she ever moves away? I have come to the conclusion that I simply won't be able to. Even Sarah cried because she missed her sister. What? Is this possible? It would seem they really do love each other.

And me, this woman who is so very much a woman of the past and old fashioned pursuits, thanks the gods for the wonders of modern technology. Not only have I been able to speak with Beth every single day via mobile phone, I have been able to chat with her live on the computer, and literally watch as her latest photos appear like magic before me from thousands of miles away. I could hear the tolling of the bells at Saint Paul's Cathedral, live, as Beth stood outside, and hear the soft Scottish brogue of a man complimenting Beth on her American accent. I heard the wind blow across the water of Port Glasgow as if I were there. And when she was homesick and her heart was breaking, I was there to hear her tears too. Imagine if it took weeks for letters to cross back and forth across the continents. Imagine no phones or electricity in the wilds of Scotland. Imagine the cold abruptness of telegrams. I am glad I live in a very modern age and I can incorporate the old and embrace the new, and appreciate the gifts it brings my life.

In fact, this concept of old and new seems to define Britain as well. So very chic, trendy and hip, with little shops that dispense fresh organic salads, sandwiches and sticky buns faster than you can say McDonald's and a Lush shop on every corner, which must be why all Brits have lovely skin and are stick thin. And all this chic appears to blend seamlessly with old tweedy Britain with its towering edifices of Gothic archways, medieval halls and Victorian memorials. The air in these places actually seems to have weight it is so old. If you like the smell of antique stores or old books, you'll know what I mean, but multiply that aroma by centuries. Elisabeth says she wishes she could bottle it. Around every corner there is history. They have so much history and it is so very everyday and common place, that you wonder if they even really appreciate it. Can they grasp what it's like to have so very little, like America?

Scotland is as you imagine it to be. Pipers piping and every shop window filled with a rainbow of plaid to catch a tourists eye. Rolling hills, misty mountains, and real steam engine trains winding their way through the countryside. Little old ladies line up for the bus with their shopping bags and little old men totter about in woolly cardigans eager to chat up the American who is following the trail of William Wallace. Herds of highland cows, hillsides of heather, streets full of kilts. Scots have a wonderful sense of humor, and they know how to market the hell out of their countries best product.

What is it exactly that makes what is essentially a girls skirt so attractive on a man? Is it those firm Scottish legs? Is it the way the plaid clings so nicely to the bum? Or is it that the men who wear it do so with a certain swagger to their walk? And take a look at the television ads promoting Scottish beef featuring a handsome highlander named Glen. All over Britain women know what they want for dinner...

If you want to see more of Glen, copy and paste the above web address into your browser, and go to the bottom of the Quality Scottish Beef page. Now click the tiny red print that says view television advertising. There are 3 commercials in total.

I was with Beth in Scotland, at one very special spot. Port Glasgow. Standing on the rocky beach as the tide was going out, Beth called me on the phone. I could hear the wind and the water. The ferry boats crossing the water were playing Scots wha hae.

"I'm here mom. I'm standing on the exact spot on the beach from Dear Frankie..." And for those moments across all those miles I was there, standing on the barnacle encrusted pillar where Gerry Butler had once sat. Beth got me a great gift there. A rock all green with moss.


If you would like to read more about Elisabeth's Transatlantic Adventure, please visit her blog at:

Sunday, September 09, 2007

She seeks wool and flax, and works with her hands willingly

The woman who works with her her hands is only a laborer The woman who works with her hands and her head is a craftswoman The woman who works with her hands, her head, and her heart is an Artist
~St. Francis of Assisi

After what has turned into a long summer hiatus, my blog like Martha Stewart is back on the air. What I may have lost in words I've more than made up for in activity over the last couple months. I have been a very busy person.

I've canned peaches and applesauce. Also made a small batch of apple butter.

After two summers, the trellis/pergola top for the courtyard fence is done. Now if I could just get to the Kwall store for the paint! (No, I didn't build it, but I had to keep the workman who did supplied with liquids.)

I've framed 3 finished cross stitch pieces. Michaels had their friends and family sale and I got 60% off a frame order. Nice. Never could have afforded them otherwise. I mounted the needlework and Sarah put my backing and hardware on. I love how old the frames look. Unfortunately the frame details don't show up well in the photo.

The sewing projects have been piling up at an alarming rate. Sarah is bringing home fabric faster than I can buy tubs to store it in. She's finished a wine colored Will Turner shirt and a very Twiggy tweed wool jumper. She's neck deep in black fabric for a Snape costume. I've managed to snatch the machine a few hours for myself ...

At long last the new pillows for the family room sofas are finished. They look fantastic. Simple pillow sham construction with iron on velcro closure. Used scotch guard on the fabric so they wipe clean between washings.

A very good thing because...

Elliot thinks the new pillows are great. Here he is defiling them. He has no respect for anything but his own comfort. He is such a pug!

Here is my French flea market apron. I made it using really cute retro Halloween fabrics from Marcus Brothers and

And last but not least...
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I sure hope that's true because I'd hate to be called a copy cat. A friend of mine, whose blog I discovered while hunting up help with the Charlotte's Web shawl, Nancy, is a very talented lady. She and I have so much in common that I have often told her I wished we were neighbors, or at least lived near enough to visit. She knits and scrapbooks, sews and rubber stamps. We often end up choosing the same knitting patterns and similar yarns without even knowing it. I've watched Nancy's quilt making with awe, but never had any desire to do one myself. Until the day I logged on to her blog and saw her red quilt. I kept going back and looking at it again and again. I wanted it. I began to dream of having it. Desperation drives people to do strange things. It drove me to check out every Kaffe Fassett book the library had. It drove me into scouring the internet for the fabrics. I hope Nancy will understand and be flattered. Here is the finished quilt, I call it the Ruby Quilt after my mother. Red was one of her favorite colors and I think she would love it.

I used Fassett's layout for the Tapestry Garden Quilt. However, when it came to which color block goes next to what my head began to spin. I let the fabrics tell me what felt good and went with it. Beth got so excited as I neared the end, she did the whole lower third. We ended up with too many purple plums in the last row, but who cares? It's gloriously beautiful.
We had so much fun that I've ordered fabrics for another. All golden fall rose hips and crab apples.

While it may look like Nancy's in overview, it in no way resembles Nancy's in true beauty or quality of workmanship. I had no end of trouble with it. I made mistakes I never should have made. My impatience got the best of me again, and I paid the price. Forgot to iron the quilt top. Didn't use clear thread for the top, which would have covered so many of my mistakes. I used a spray adhesive for basting the layers together and it worked really well, but the reviewers who said I would not need pins as well were sadly mistaken.

I think my biggest problem was simply dealing with the sheer size. I struggled and struggled with the weight pulling the sewing out of line. Up until now I've kept my time at the machine to short bursts. The weight of the quilt along with the stress and sitting really took its toll on my neck and shoulders. I will never machine quilt another large project. This said, I have fabric for two quilts waiting. What to do? Tie 'em.

I also used Nancy's tutorial for sewing a bag and created this beach bag. It's lined in muslin and even has an inside pocket. Nancy wasn't fooling about it holding six beach towels.
This is the beginning of what I hope will eventually be enough bags for my grocery shopping.

They are incredibly cheap to make. JoAnn's always has bolts of home decor fabric on the clearance, and this bag barely cost me $6 and that's with the lining and the webbing for the handles. That beats the store bought canvas bags by $10.

And speaking of grocery bags, here's a great recycling idea from Martha Stewart. Make your own shopping bags out of t-shirts. Sew across the bottom hem of the shirt. Lay the shirt flat and cut off sleeves following seam lines. Cut an approximately 9 1/2 inch 1/2 circle in neck. A bowl works great to use as a guide. Mark a line around the bowl and cut. There you have it, a shopping bag! Put it in your purse and you'll have a bag ready when ever you shop for clothes, books, etc. Make enough, and you can sack your groceries. To add longer life to the bag, zig zag stitch along the cut lines of neck and arm holes. :o)

While I've had great success on the sewing front, my knitting has not been going so well.
I'm still struggling with the Shoalwater shawl. I certainly thought I'd be done by now, but it is determined to make my life miserable. If I didn't have so much time and money invested I'd burn it. I could rip it out, but the thought of all the wasted hours makes me sick at the very thought. This is all doubly embarrassing after the quilt debacle and only made worse by all the knitters on line who have made this shawl apparently with little or no trouble at all. Lovely things sit waiting to be cast on but I refuse to give it until this beast has been tamed. I do love this fantastic free trade market basket I found at the Sunflower Market.

He who knows what sweets and virtues are in the ground,
the waters, the plants, the heavens,
and how to come at these enchantments
is the rich and royal man.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Victorian Seaside

As I began this blog entry, the girls were in the air over my head, flying off to San Diego and Comic Con 2007. Mike will be flying out to Long Beach to teach on Monday, the same day the girls are scheduled to return. He'll be making another trip to California just two weeks later, this time to San Francisco. What about me? Best to leave me holding down the fort. Besides, I'm worn out from all the hectic pre-flight prep that's been taking place.

The girls have a friend, Josh going with them this year, and friends on the other end waiting for them, so I certainly feel a good deal better about letting them out from under my wing. They also took Lara Croft, Selene and Gorgo with them...

People wear costumes at Comic Con. Not everyone but lots. It began as comic book characters and has grown to include film characters as well. Beth and Sarah decided they might as well join in. Beth gave Lara Croft a bit of a face lift and Sarah put final touches on her Selene from Underworld. Then I had to open my mouth and say what a cool costume Queen Gorgo from 300 would be, and how no one would be able to pull it off. Make a challenge like that in this house and you've just opened a can of worms. Here, for the first time in public, the unveiling of Queen Gorgo.

Our friend Carlos created this master
piece for Beth from the same Romanian hemp linen used in the film. My search for the fabric is a story in itself. Turns out Hemp Basics supplies hemp fabrics to most major motion pictures needing historic fabrics. Patriot, Pirates I, II, & III, 300, etc.

I made the wolves tooth necklace (resin), Beth got the earrings from Africa, and a wonderful artist on hand forged the cuff bracelet from brass. We took the photos at dusk in a field of prairie grass that now in late summer resembles a golden field of wheat.

Even I find it hard to believe that this beautiful woman is mine. Gerry Butler, you are so missing it....

So, what to do while the girls are gone for 4 whole days and I have the house to myself?

First things first, you revel in not having to cook. Second, you relize how blissfully quiet the house is. Then, you sink into oblivion with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It is a strange feeling knowing that as you sit curled in a corner sobbing through the ending of a book that most of the world is doing it with you. I began to cry at the Battle of Hogwarts, and didn't stop until long after I finished. At one point in the middle of the Kings Cross chapter I had to just stop. I simply couldn't see to read anymore.

When it comes to sad endings, this summer has had more than its fair share. The final installment of Harry Potter came right on the heels of the last Pirates of the Caribbean film and I cried my way through that ending as well.

After I spent a whole day reading Harry, I pondered what to do next. Finish my Lopi sweater. I had gauge issues due to a mistake in the pattern. On top of that the instructions were translated from Finnish so there are some mistakes. Despite problems I really did enjoy making it and look forward to making more. Thank goodness the new Lopi books on the market are a good deal easier to understand than this 1970's pattern! Sarah has laid claim to the sweater, so I bought some inexpensive buttons, tidied up all those yarn ends and crocheted the edging and buttonholes.

I have quite a bit of yarn leftover so I'm making a French Market Bag from a Knitty pattern. I was inspired by the beautiful bags Lene at Dances With Wool made. Lene lives in Finland. Here's here blog:

Aren't these gorgeous?

Mine is nothing much more than a blue lump at this point. These types of patterns do require grim determination to get through. You have to keep telling yourself that something beautiful will come out of the washing machine after felting...

And, thanks to all those chiropractic treatments, I can sew again. What a joy. Now that the costume work is out of the way I can have some fun. Aprons have become quite trendy again. Very retro chic. When I was little my mother always wore one to protect her clothes. A carry over from pioneer days that finally went out of vogue in the 60's. I am a slob when I cook and when I eat, and have ruined countless shirts when I got too close to the bleach while cleaning the sink. Hence, I am reviving the apron. The first one was a lovely faded rose print with polka dot ties and pockets from 3 sisters seaside prints. You can see it behind the book and I plan to make two more from these Susan Branch fabrics...

Next will be my first foray into Amy Butler patterns. I'm making the Cafe Apron, but the skirt version. This stack of prints will make up the squares, ties and reverse. Again, all 3 Sisters prints from the Seaside collection.

Last but not least, I have my choice of DVD's to watch. It has rained each evening for the past three, making it ideal for cozying up with some knitting and a movie. Dragged out all my beautiful romantic Victorian favorites. Somewhere In Time, House of Mirth, The Ideal Husband....

Nice. The house is a bit like a tomb though...


Thursday, July 05, 2007


Recently learned that some visitors to the Mermaids Chair only come to look at the pictures. Must admit, was rather hurt, but tried to take a carefree attitude punctuated by a giggle as if it didn't matter at all. Upon further mulling I did realize my blogs do get rather long and wordy. Perhaps blogging more often would keep them shorter? For those who like pictures with their reading material ala Dick and Jane books, I will try to keep you entertained. There will still be plenty of knitting porn as long as I have the strength in my fingers to keep knitting.

And since we're discussing the content of my blog? There is a little place, at the bottom of the page called, "COMMENTS," and it sure would be nice if some of you left some. The only comments I've had in the nearly year and a half I've been at this have been from Captain Jack Sparrow, and that doesn't really count since he was only googling himself...

Speaking of knitting here is a photo of my first finished summer project, the Sea Shell Bag from Book 9, Classic Beach by Rowan. I used Rowan Natural Silk Aran yarn in Barley. I've sewn little mother of pearl fish in sea green to the front and lined it in beige linen. It did turn out a good deal bigger than I had pictured it and I have no idea what I will use it for. It would make a great beach bag but I don't have a beach...

Each of my blogs has a title, and the meaning is always somewhere in the blog. Having just written that I realized too late that if you are not reading the blog you probably aren't reading the title either so why am I bothering to explain? CRIPES!

is defined as: Shallow water usually associated with the presence of sand bars below the surface. Sometimes these sand bars are exposed during low tides.
A sandbank or sandbar that makes the water shallow; specifically : an elevation which is not rocky and on which there is a depth of water of six fathoms (11 meters) or less

I chose the title Shoalwater because it is the name of my newest knitting project, the Shoalwater Shawl by Fiber Trends. This shawl, captures the soft ripple of the quiet water at low tide.

It is hard to see the design this early on, the yarn is so springy I wasn't able to spread it out enough. I chose SeaWool by Fleece Artist, and I love it. This fingering weight sock yarn is made from a combination of merino wool and sea cell, a cellulose-based fiber made from sea weed.

The yarn is incredibly soft, has a nice sheen, and actually retains the scent of the sea, a slightly salty aroma.
I chose the Capri colorway and I think it captures the blues, grays and greens of shallow water really well.
I also purchased several skiens of Sea Silk, a silk and sea cell blend. I'll save that for later...

Then Shoalwater ended up being appropriate for a completely different reason....

Does anyone out there watch Ghost Hunters? We're addicted to it. It is the highlight of our Wednesday evening. We've had countless discussions about what we've seen and heard. Is it real? Ghost hunters is starting a nationwide search for new TAPS members. One of the questions they ask is, "Have you have had a paranormal experience personally? I'd have to answer that with an emphatic yes.

You just have to ask yourself what kind of person are you. Are you the type that sees signs? Sees miracles? Or do you think that people just get lucky? Maybe there are no coincidences. -Mel Gibson, Signs, 2002

I've been having what you could call paranormal experiences since I was a very little girl. I distinctly remember having moments when I could smell my Grandmothers house, a place I only remember visiting once. There have been other things, some my family has experienced and some unique to just me.

Lately, I've been flooding heaven with prayers. Most of them have centered around the same three subjects. After several months, I finally asked God for some kind of sign that my prayers were being heard. I told Him, that I was sorry, that it wasn't a lack of faith, just a lack of patience on my part. To please forgive me ahead of time. I often talk to my parents, especially my mother in my prayers as well. In one very low moment, I wished that she was here to give me a hug, because I needed one so much.

Just a few days later, I received the sign I was asking for. It came in the form of a dream of my mother, and in the dream she didn't say a word, just enveloped me in her arms for the most deeply encompassing hug you could imagine. Yes, He was listening, and she was too.

Its been about two weeks since that event, and in the intervening time, I haven't let up on my prayers. I talk while I work, drive, shower, wherever time allows. And sometimes when life is just really full, I send my thoughts up like little kites to heaven. I imagine them with notes tied to the tail.

And last night, my mother came to me again. Her warm hands enclosed my face, and she called me by a pet name that no one else knows. When I started to talk, "Momma do you know if?..." She shushed me with her fingers on my mouth, "enough." Her voice came into my head, the message clear and strong, "It will all take care of itself in good time." Tears burst from me like a fountain, and I woke with a gasp. I was sure I saw her standing briefly by my bedside. A light from the hall told me that one of the girls was awake. It took all my strength to stay in bed. I wanted to burst through the door yelling, "Did you see her? Is she here? Did you see Grandma?" Instead I lay there in the dark gasping and crying. Elliot snuggled close and licked my face. I'm here my momma, don't cry...

"You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That's where I'll always love you, Peter Pan. That's where I'll be waiting" -- Author:Tinkerbell

Tinkerbell called it that place between sleep and awake, and yes, that is the place. But, I think I'd call it shoalwater. That quiet spit of sand, exposed only for brief moments when the tide is low. A place where heaven and earth meet briefly. That's where they'll remember you, that's where they'll be waiting.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." --From Hamlet (I, v, 166-167)