~sneak peek~

SONY DSC ~last week’s storm blowing out~

This is my latest project, the February Lady sweater from Ravelry, since I am both a February Lady and a “grown-ass woman,” as the pattern specifies. And because I am me, I underestimated the size of my (apparently) Larger-Than-Normal shoulders and had to rip out the whole yoke a couple of weekends ago and start again. Do you recognize the heather gray yarn? The very same exact yarn in which I knit Mr. Crafty’s EZ Seamless Hybrid sweater a few years ago, from Webs.

Who would believe I would return to boring old heather gray?! But I loved how, when I consulted the Ravelry Yarns tab (new favorite crowdsourcing feature!), the February Lady looks when knit up in a cozy gray. It sets off the gull lace pattern so nicely. And I know already that the yarn holds up after wearing it—no pills!

SONY DSCAnd the thing about knitting even a simple lace pattern like this one is that it’s necessary to learn the topography of the pattern, by observing the landmarks and paying careful attention. So that eventually I can look at the knitting in front of me and know what I am seeing, like reading a map, and know what to do. And I can tell when I have made a mistake, so that I can tink it out (TINK is KNIT backwards). Yet again.
SONY DSC Here are a few sneak peeks at our new land in Hope! We were out working on it for a few hours this weekend, clearing out some of the smaller little trees you see above, on the part that will soon have our house, driveway, and yard on it. It was a team effort, we were all out there. Today was very very cold and crisp.

~this little stream runs below and behind where our house will be~

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC~I guess we can take down the snowy realtor’s sign!~

I’m reading Smilla’s Sense of Snow. Stieg Larsson fans (of which I am not), dust off this old book from the 90s! Clearly an inspiration to the current popularity of dark, Scandi-thriller-lit. I mean do you know anything about Greenland? Neither did I, but the it’s the usual story: a country with lots of natural resources gets overtaken by a European country (Denmark) which takes advantage of the native Inuit culture and takes all of their resources too. The writing is so unusual; the protagonist, Greenlandic-Danish Smilla, is totally unusual and unexpected. She wears seal-skin pants (!) and hops around on ice flows and can read the snow. Seriously. She READS the snow. So that’s what I’m reading and am surprised to be enjoying it.

In other Scandinavian news: Norway‘s National Library has figured out how to digitize currently in copyright books, pay the copyright-holders and authors, and you know, make culture available equitably. Sigh. Those darned Scandinavians, at it again, making the rest of us look like complete tools. All this AND gun control, universal healthcare, and access to higher education? The mind boggles.


~ugliest book cover 2014~

PicCollageWell, it’s weeding season in the library. And already I think I have found our finalists of Ugliest Book Covers 2014! What you see above are some of the strong contenders. (see past winners here and here.)
SONY DSC Cold Whisper by Rick Hautala was an early pick, I mean, really: HOLOGRAM COVER! And at lower right, the cover for Altered States was an easy pick for me because I was pretty much traumatized by seeing the terrible 80s film featuring Christopher Walken at the tender age of about 7.
SONY DSCThese covers are what passed for graphic design, once upon a time. A person designed and pitched these covers to their design team…AND THEY WERE PICKED.

{Imagine for a moment the ones that were *not*.}

On to happier things, did you check out that lovely little face, above, peeking sweetly from my teacup? My matryoshka tea bobber, a belated gift from one dear friend. On her underside, there is a little tea strainer and she floats! Also, she coincidentally matches my favorite tea/coffee mug.

And here’s how it looks when your tea has sufficiently steeped and you have a nice spot to rest your drippy tea leaves:

SONY DSCWe have some big, creative news around here: purchasing a really sweet plot of land and building a new home. I didn’t expect to fall in love with a piece of land, but this one just felt right as soon as we saw it. It feels familiar somehow and features a little stream, a spring, and three old oak trees. 
And then the design process: we are building a custom modular home to our own specifications. What I’d like: well-insulated and space efficient. It turns out that I’m really spatially challenged when it comes to house-visioning and drawing in 2D. {I can envision 2D to 3D when it comes to knitting patterns and I excel at finding the exact right leftovers container for the amount of food that needs to find a home.} It’s almost like I have an alarming lack of language to describe how I feel about something on the page. I can’t see it easily, I have to work hard to picture myself in the space, doing the things I would do, and painting the space around me. I can’t solve the problems of space and am easily overwhelmed and defeated.

Thankfully, this is one of Mr. Crafty’s strengths (score on the husband front yet again). He seems to delight in it, the process, the modifications, the challenge. He says it’s helpful because I am really good at articulating what we actually use spaces for in our family. I think he’s just saying that to make me feel better for grunting and drooling, getting frustrated, discouraged, and irritable about not being able to do something. Our adventure is just beginning.

~still life with zombie bud vase and gnome cookie cutter~

People ask me for book recommendations a lot and so I made this graphic  to visually represent some of my favorites; I’ll keep adding to it. In the center of the graphic are the ones that are truly superior, that have left their mark on me as a reader. The ones on the sides are also memorable, worthy of a recommendation, but not on the topmost shelf, so to speak.

And here, to terrify and shock and sear your retinas, dear readers, The Ugliest Book Cover of 2014: