Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Stained glass in the German Room, Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October's over?? How is that possible?

Two weeks ago, Ron had a random Monday off (before embarking on nearly three weeks of working nights) and I somehow persuaded him to come to Longwood with me.  October had been pretty warm up until that point, so it felt like fall but not really:

The fountains had been turned off, but not drained.

I think I really like them this way.

We love running into one of the many cats who roam around ... even if it's in front of the compost bin.

Color ...

B&W ... I think I like color better.
Molly--that tree "that grows up the side of your house"? It's an espalier ("ess-spah-YAY").  It's a method of growing trees (usually) to produce the most amount of fruit possible.  There were a ton of apples here--two weeks later, all of them had been harvested.

This Monday, I went back to Longwood with my mom.  Autumn comes and goes so fast--so much had already changed:

Love how everything is green up front and orange way in the background.

Mums are easily among my least favorite flower, but architecturally I guess they can be interesting.

Bleh--annoyed that this blurred.

Ugh--this blurred too.  I like colors on the top and bottom of the petals, though.

I look for this olive to return to its spot at the center of the Idea Garden every spring--I'm a little surprised they haven't put it away yet.  I can't imagine how old this is--olives grow so slowly.

I'm hoping all the color sticks around for a shoot I'm doing this weekend--I don't think it's supposed to be very windy between now and Sunday.

I can't decide which goes faster: Seeing everything wake up for summer or fall back asleep for winter?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sequined crochet wristers

A few years ago, I printed out this free pattern for fingerless gloves.  At the end of this summer, I decided to give them a try with some yarn I had bought during one of my first post-op excursions this summer.

The yarn on the left is Paton's Lace Sequin in amber; on the right, Vanna's Glamor by Lion Brand in topaz

The pattern calls for yarn with a weight of "2" which is very fine.  Each of these on its own seemed too fine to make a final product that was remotely warm, so I combined them and pulled from both skeins at the same time while working.

I also made one alteration to the pattern.  The pattern couldn't be easier--you make a rectangle entirely of half-double crochet stitches (you just go back and forth and back and forth until the rectangle is about 6-7 inches depending on your wrist).  I chose to work each row of new stitches in the back of the previous row's stitches.  The final result yielded a striped pattern which the original pattern wouldn't necessarily give you:

See the ridginess of the rows? That's from working in the back of the stitch.

After your rectangle is done, you fold it in half lengthwise (that's a hotdog fold, not a hamburger) and sew it shut with your yarn leaving one inch undone (so you have room for your thumb).  These work up really fast--I think I finished an entire set (crochet, sewing and all) while watching Hitchcock's The Birds on TV one night. (God, I love that movie--one day, I WILL be Tippi Hedren for Halloween ... it's just really hard to find a green boucle suit that I'm willing to ruin for the sake of a costume though ...)

I managed to make two sets with the yarn I had, and I still had some of the sequined yarn leftover.  I bought more of Vanna's glittered yarn and I might be able to squeeze out one more beige set before I move on to the dark turquoise yarn I have upstairs.

I'm keeping one beige set for myself, and I've been wearing them a lot this past week since the weather has really turned.  I didn't think they would be super warm (my finger tips routinely go numb when the temperature drops below 60), but they're surprisingly very warm. Apparently, it makes a big difference to your fingertips if the cold air can't sneak up the sleeves of your coat.

I know people are going to ask about my nail color: It's L'Oreal's Downtown Chic.

I can't keep six sets of these all for myself.  I guess I'll be giving some away in the coming weeks ...

(Let me know if you're interested!)

Friday, October 25, 2013

One year later

Remember this?

Well, it's been a whole year since this photo shoot at Binky Lee near Phoenixville.  Time to head back and try again, sans belly and with two little girls in its place.

But wait--before I show you the "final draft" of the pictures, I present the outtakes (because photographing kids who don't speak English yet is hard).  No need to explain--just look:

Ok, you get the point.  I took 200 pictures that day--maybe more.  Here are some of the (much better) ones:

That's Anna in pink and Ellie in grey leopard print.

Erin wasn't crazy about the sticks, but the girls cried less when holding them so they stayed!

This is one of my favorites because everyone's really relaxed AND because Erin's hair looks so swingy, like a shampoo commercial.
In general the hour we spent together things went pretty well, but Anna was really fussy for some reason--no one could figure her out, and she just wasn't into it.  Anna's fussiness began to stress Erin out (although it's hard to tell in many of the pictures) and finally it was Tom who said, "You know what? We're done. This is no good."  And much to my surprise, Erin sighed and said, "Yeah, I know. ok."  I think we all went home slightly skeptical that there would be anything worth keeping, but I was really happy with quite a few of them.

Wow, things can change really fast in year ...