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)