Another Hobby Blog

Friday, September 30, 2005

Dolphin Puzzle

So I realized today, as I slipped the last piece of this puzzle into place, that working on the puzzle has been my method for coping with the loss of my peacock window.

I can't just fit the pieces of my window back together and have it be like new again, so I've been fitting together the pieces of a puzzle instead. Completed today! and my replacement window arrived too!! :)

If only everything were so easily fixed.

Schroedinger's Peacock

In quantum mechanics there is a principle known as Schroedinger's Cat.
I'm not sure I should even try to explain the principle myself!

One element of the principle, however, is that until the observer opens the box, it cannot be determined whether the cat is alive or dead. Actually, it's more complicated than that. The principle says that the cat is in a superposition of states in which it is BOTH alive and dead.

For the span of this past week, I've been experiencing the Schroedinger's paradox with my replacement peacock window. The paradox being that the replacement window simultaneously Does and Does Not exist. It either Is or Is Not in the mail, headed for my house.

It should exist: I placed an order for it and paid for it. I spoke directly to someone who assured me that she had one in stock, and that it would be shipped out the following day.

On the other hand, I had tried to place several orders with other companies before that and each one of those orders had failed because there were no more in stock and they could not be reordered.

The waiting period has been grueling. If it is in the mail, then I shouldn't try to locate yet another one with yet another company because it's bloody well expensive! On the other hand, if it's not in the mail, time and opportunity are quickly running out where finding an alternate is concerned!

Today, I know the answer.

Schroedinger's Peacock exists. :)

Thank you again, Laurie!!! for finding the one company that still had a peacock window in stock!!!


Friday, September 23, 2005

Thank You!

Thank you very much for all of your kind support and your suggestions about my peacock window! I had a very long cry over it, and am doing a lot better today, especially after reading all of your comments and encourangements.

Laurie, especially, thank you! I called the Chicago Museum you sent a link for, and they did believe they had one in stock!! I ordered it at once, and am now waiting hopefully to see if it does, in fact, show up. I will let you all know as soon as it arrives, (or as soon as I find out (oh, I do hope not) that they didn't really have one after all and cancelled my order. (I say this because it is what happened with three other orders I placed before I posted for help.))

I am very hopeful. :)

This weekend is Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival! I'm not packed yet, and we're supposed to be meeting with a friend for dinner in a couple of hours. I hate falling behind schedule!! I'll let you all know what it was like sometime early next week.

and Hi, Secret Pal!! I'm glad you're feeling better, and I'm glad to hear from you!! No worries. :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I am very depressed today.

Yesterday, while I was cleaning, my very beloved Peacock stained glass replica fell and broke. It was a gift from my mother. It was a Glassmasters replica of my very favorite Tiffany glass window. It was originally sold at the Museum Store. Museum Store has gone out of business. So has Glassmasters. The peacock window replica is no longer being made. I searched thoroughly online last night, and thought that I had found a replacement, but there was an email today saying the site had already sold out and my order was cancelled.

I feel miserable and selfish for feeling this badly about it. It was just a Thing. It shouldn't matter this much. Especially since other people have lost so much more to the hurricane, the London bombings, the war... but that just makes it feel much much worse. Then I feel petty as well as miserable and selfish.

I also feel like it's my fault that it broke. I shouldn't have had it there. I should have figured out a better way to keep it safe. ... but it was sitting where the sunlight could come through it and it made me so HAPPY to have it there. And now it's broken. And it's broken because I liked it so much.

Please forgive me for not talking about the new roof (it's finished). Or the fact that Oregon Flock and Fiber is coming up this weekend (we're going. I'm excited). I'm really just trying hard not to fall apart completely over a stupid painted piece of glass.

I know it's asking the impossible, but if any of you know where I could get a replacement, please please please let me know. I really miss it.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Link: Hurricane Katrina Relief


Excerpted from the above link:
"How you can send money to Hurricane Katrina relief without spending a dime

For those of you who read me casually (or less often than that), my name is Tony Hellmann. I'm a non-fiction writer with a day job and a finished novel I'm trying to get published. I'm not rich, but I'm not poor either.

I donated $20 to the American Red Cross the day after the levees broke. I didn't feel like it was enough, and I have coworkers that feel bad because they can't afford to send $10.

I've decided to do something about it, for those that feel bad that money in their wallets is outpaced by the sympathy in their hearts.

I've decided to send a dollar to the American Red Cross for every person that leaves a comment to this entry by next Sunday. I'll also send two dollars for every literary agent or person with a published novel who leaves a comment, because you folks have fans/large readerships, and fans like to participate with the objects of their attention. To the same effect, I'll donate $10 if your last name is Nielsen-Hayden or Scalzi. :)

Mention this on your blogs, drive the comment numbers up, and donate money without spending any. I'll post a PDF of the Red Cross receipt after I donate."

He's had more than 3500 responses so far, and we've still got 3 more days to generate responses!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

This Morning

I have been told that a picture is worth 1000 words, but in this case, I am inclined to doubt it. I am pretty sure that this picture, poignant though it may be, fails to convey even a iceberg's tip of this morning's experience. You be the judge. This post has the picture. The next post has the 1000 (actually only 727) words. Which one does a better job?

I Am Not a Morning Person!!

I am a night-owl. I don't get to sleep until somewhere between 1:30 am and 3:00 am, and I find it very difficult to wake up before 10:30 am. That's a reasonable 7 to 9 hours worth of sleep each night. There are always exceptions, of course. On the mornings I have ice skating, for example, I have to pull my groggy carcass out from under the blankets and pretend to be happy that the sun is shining. It's a performance I'm not particularly good at.
I am also not very good at staying awake in the mornings. I'm great at staying awake at night. Or, rather, I'm not very good at falling asleep to begin with, but once I am asleep, I find it very difficult to re-orient myself to the waking world. (Even though I often have nightmares and would most of the time prefer to just be awake instead.)
So this morning the doorbell rings at 8:00 am. Shonnon answers it, and the Roofers get to work.
It's like being inside a drum. The compressor roars. The saw whines. The fuses blow. The computer's backup battery complains. The Roofers drop huge planks of plywood on the roof surface to walk on, and the reverberations shake the house. I wonder if this is what a herd of rampaging elephants would sound like. I know they would need to be rampaging because they actually have very soft and sensitive feet, and probably wouldn't make all that much noise if they weren't rampaging, even if they were up on my roof. Unless they fell through the roof. I bet that would be noisy. I wonder if the Roofers are going to fall through the roof? It sure sounds that way. I hope none of them fall off the roof. I'd probably fall off the roof. I wouldn't like that. It's a good thing we have 911 to call just in case.
The dog is panicking. He panicks very quietly, but I can tell that he's panicking nonetheless. He whines and nudges my face and trots back and forth, whining, trying to figure out why his humans are letting strange people make away with the roof. I can just imagine him thinking, "Hey, man! There's noise above us. There's people on the roof! Aren't you gonna DO something about it? Hey, man! They took a piece of the roof! Hey, man, do you think they're going to fall through? Oh, man , they took another piece. Aren't you gonna DO something? Where can I hide?!" He tries to crawl into my lap. He tries to crawl under the furniture. He whines, adding to the cacaphony that is this morning's sonata.
So at 8:00 am, I yawn. I groggily collect my blanket and a pillow, and I head for the couch. The couch is further from the roof, and closer to the television. I turn on the television, hoping to provide cover noise so the dog won't be quite so freaked out, but that just adds to the din.
I stretch out on the couch, one arm draped over the side to be sure the dog is lying nearby and not pacing in misery, and I slip in and out of a comfortable nap. It's a comfortable nap interrupted every few minutes by compressors, wandering dogs, and the need to go reset the fuse box, but it's a comfortable nap nonetheless.
10:30 am: I wake up for real. I'm kinda glad that no elephants have fallen through the roof during the two hours that I was napping. It's still loud. The dog is still panicking. The compressor is still shaking the house. But now I'm well and truly Awake, and able to appreciate the disruption. I don't dare run any major appliances for fear of blowing the fuses again. The dog finds an open door and wanders off down the street. I have to go after him.
For the most part, the noise is just a constant thudding background to the day. But every once in a while, one of the Roofers drops something really heavy with no warning and the house shakes, and I try to join my cowering dog under the couch.

It's going to be like this again tomorrow. Worse, probably, because tomorrow is when the skylight gets put in.

The Joys of (Half-)Acrylic

The yarn that did not co-operate is Half-ACRYLIC! Misbegotten son of Technology!! Evil Artificial Yarn Substitute!!! Can you imagine shearing a plastic sheep?

It's not that I'm a complete and unrepentant yarn snob-- while it's true that I prefer natural fibers, I have room in my world-view for a good use of techno-fiber. A pinch of Angelina or Firestar in a handspun wool: Okay. A retro-reflective thread in my inkle warp: just peachy. An oh-so-festive eyelash yarn: tempting.

BUT when an ill-mannered, misbegotten, wayward Half-ACRYLIC yarn masquerades as the yarn that I'm planning my project around and manages to connive its way NOT ONLY into my shopping basket, but manages to make it through the skeining process and also THROUGH THE DYEPOT before confessing its miserable transgressions! (fumeSnortGNASH!) I have been TRICKED!

I hate acrylic.

Does anyone want a lovingly hand-dyed misbegotten evil artificial yarn substitute?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

SET yarn success and failure

So I had in mind to dye the yarn for my Sock Exchange Thingie recipient. I picked up some lovely soft wool from the sale bin of my local yarn store, dyed four of the five balls in a space-dyed pattern of blue, green, and purple, and dyed the last ball a more-or-less solid color to co-ordinate.

Four of the five soft, lovely balls are 100% wool. They are unbelievably dreamy-soft, fabulous, and took the colors just as I'd dreamed.

The remaining ball, by some amazingly unkind demonic practical joke IS NOT!
By some amazing stroke of Celestial Kindness, however, the Half-ACRYLIC!!! (grumblegrumblegrumbleGNASH!) skein ended up in the co-ordinating bath. (I hate Anny Blatt's yarn labels!) This means that if I can somehow find another ball of it, I can dye up an appropriate co-ordinate. (Imagine my horror if the single Half-ACRYLIC ball had ended up in the space-dyed batch!!! OH, the pain!!)

So, later this week I will be attempting to find another ball or two of the proper yarn to make the co-ordinating color. Argh. I can't expect to find it at the yarn store I bought the first balls from because I found them in the inventory reduction sale bin. Fortunately, there are several other yarn stores in my driving range. With luck, at least one of them will have the yarn that I want. If not, then I'll have to come up with a back-up plan.

But enough with the grumbling, already! The space-dyed yarn turned out just lovely!! A little glitchiness in the dye (some undissolved dye left a few dark spots here and there), but overall a resounding success.

Secret Pal Reveal

Well, aside from an angel box or two, Secret Pal 5 is officially over. It's hard to believe three months have passed!

I had a lot of fun spoiling Laura. At first I wasn't sure how to go about being a good secret pal, but I did my best, and Laura responded so enthusiastically that it quickly became fun and easy to choose things for her! She even adores the drop spindle and roving and is taking a spinning class soon! Yay!

My spoiler was Alissa and she chose the most fabulous gifts for me. I have read every single word of Mary Thomas' Book of Knitting Patterns TWICE! I loveLoveLOVE this book! Thank you AGAIN for sending it to me!!!

And now Secret Pal 6 is officially started! I've updated my questionnaire a bit, and I can hardly wait to get started on the new round of gifties!

The other web-based exchange that I'm doing is Rox's . With a due date of November 1, I'm eager to get started!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Evergreen State Fair

My mother and father came up from Los Angeles for a visit. Over the weekend we met up at the Evergreen State Fair. There was plenty to see and do, and I got my favorite once-a-year-at-the-fair foods: apples with caramel dip, and strawberry shortcake.
We spent a lot of time in the handcrafts barn in great admiration of the gorgeous quilts, shawls, needleworks and such that were there.
And we met up with fellow spinners!

One of the items on display was a fabulous chicken hat, and the person who made it let Gipsieee try it on!

When they found out that we were spinners and in the Northwest Regional Spinners Association, they invited us to come join the Spin-In the next day. We did! What fabulous fun!!
There were some absolutely stunning door prizes!

(No, they didn't come home with me.)

Mother tried her hand at spinning, and did quite well. She had a convincing length of yarn at the end of the day. Did I remember to get a picture? Sadly, no! You'll have to take my word for it.

One last picture, because it begs to be posted.
Shonnon with drop spindle (no, he didn't spin the yarn. Gipsieee did.)

"Aw man! Howcome I always get the fuzzy end of the lollipop?!"

You Remember The Sock...

...the sock I started about a week ago. The sock for my Renaissance Faire costume.

Well, I made the foot too big for me. Rather than rip out the toe and shorten it, I had Gipsieee try it on. It fit her quite neatly!

All I had to do next was duplicate it. Really. It should have been that easy. Just count the rows from the first sock and replicate them in the second. Simple. Piece of cake.

Somehow, I veered from The Plan.

There's a good chance that you won't see The Problem. I'll explain.
The Problem is: I made one row too many in the cuff color after the eyelets of the Second Sock.
The Bigger Problem is: I thought the extra row was an improvement.

Now, I was certainly NOT going to rip the entire first sock just to add that missing row to the cuff. I may be prone to a high level of self-criticism, and I may go to great lengths in the pursuit of perfectionism, but ripping out an entire perfectly good sock? Couldn't do it.

Now, one might then expect that I would rip out the deviant row of the Second Sock. After all, I'd caught the problem within an inch of making it. The heartache would be minimal. But I'm not one to easily let go of an Obvious Improvement, either. Neither could I simply ignore The Problem and pretend that no one would see it.

*I* would know it was there, after all. Boy would that chafe.

Y'know, when I was a child my elders always warned me about Deviation From The Norm... They'd say "Little mistakes cause big problems!" and "Just one act of carelessness, uncorrected, can cause the downfall of a great project!" and "If it's worth doing at all, it's worth doing Right!" and a score of other soundbites which were all quite well-intentioned, I'm sure.

I've lived by a great many of them for a great deal of my life. It's very difficult for me to leave a mistake uncorrected.

That said:
What do you think of Gipsieee's Renaissance Faire Socks?

I swear they're a pair.

And the Winner Is--


Laurie successfully identified my strange volunteer plant as Lady's Mantle, or Alchemilla.

Thank you for pointing me to the answer! what do I DO with the Lady's Mantle? .. I've already let it go to seed, so now apparently I will have even MORE of it next year.

Blackberry Dyes

So for this past two weeks my kitchen has been filled with various dyepots, and my bathroom filled with drying skeins that smell like wet sheep. Thank goodness that is over for now!

For those of you who are interested, the results are viewable.

(If you have a slow connection you'll want to know that the page is comprised of quite a few pictures and may take awhile to load.)

Also, (Because you asked!) I have put up an explanation page that describes the process I use for dyeing with blackberries.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Meme: google

I don't often succumb to memes...
Nonetheless, I encountered one at: Fearless Knitter (Thanks, Rox!)
and have adapted it to suit me.

I don't like risking copyright infringement, so instead of images, I have links-- Links that amused or impressed me when I googled on the following topics:

My First Car Was:
Plymoth Reliant in the most horrid shade of green with ripped up upholstery (the upholstery was so bad that the Bambi sheets I covered them with were an improvement!). Half the time it wouldn't start. I needed a screwdriver to open the glovebox. The trunk wouldn't open at all. I couldn't drive it after dark because the headlights only worked for ten to twenty minutes before shorting out. (They'd come back on after thirty minutes of cooling time with the engine off.) And no mechanic that saw the car ever figured out how to fix the problem.

If I'd had the internet then that we have now, maybe I would have known some of this...

My Dream Car (at the time) was:
Mercedes 450SL convertible (black with burgundy leather interior, if you must know...)

My Dream Car (current) is:
Dodge Viper RT-10 Roadster
It's not the handling, it's the curves.
Imagine it in a color-shift paint job!

A place from my childhood:
Lacy Park, San Marino, California.

"In order to preserve the beauty of Lacy Park and to insure [sic] the availability of the Park to residents and their guests, many different kinds of regulations have been imposed.... 1. The park is free to all on weekdays. On Saturdays and Sundays a nominal fee is charged to non-residents...."

What I remember fondly about it: the antiquated fire truck the city embedded in concrete for us kids to play on.

Where I live now:
the outskirts of Seattle, WA

Favorite Dessert:
Creme Brulee
(Good recipe!)

Favorite drink:
Milk (whole milk, raw when I can get it!)

Favorite song:
"I Knew I Loved You" by Savage Garden

Favorite scent:
(other than that of the people I love?) Vanilla

Favorite shoes of all time:
Figure Skates