Friday, July 4, 2014

OJO DE DIOS SHAWL AND COWGIRL COWL PATTERN REVIEWS...

Because I always have to have something in my hands (whether waiting in doctor's offices, or while watching the JAWS Marathon on TV the other night - at least they got to cool off in the water for a FEW moments), I've finished up some things lately that my knitting buddies might like a report on...mainly because I don't want to be the only one with this weird "idle hands thing" of mine.  Idle hands knitting at 112 degrees is quite a silly sport!
(Photo credit:   Interweave Knits/Vanessa Ewing)
I NEVER (well, that seems to be a bit of a lie now, given the content of this post) want to make something the way it is produced in a pattern.  I color outside the lines, and am pretty passionately individualistic. THIS, however, SCREAMED, "make me in JUST this incredible yarn!"  OJO DE DIOS SHAWL by Vanessa Ewing - every yarn shop in the country seems to be out of the colorway, leading me to believe that there will be hundreds of these, but it had to be done just the way it was.  Especially for us Southwest gals.  I have seen some of the other colorways, and believe me, they are just as spectacular...I just couldn't settle for "my way" this time.
A FABULOUSLY well-written, FUN pattern (HANDS-DOWN, my newest favorite!).  You won't get bored with this one (and it's easy to memorize) - "God's Eyes" are joined as you go.  The only thing I did different with this pattern was to work the three-sided Eyes with three 16" circular needles instead of the double points called for.  Pick up, and garter stitch short rows for the body.  Want the pattern for yourself - information can be found at RAVELRY (click either of these highlighted links to be transported), or INTERWEAVE KNITS.
(Photo credit:  Pam Powers Knits)
Winter can't get here soon enough - especially now that we are hitting 110 degrees before noon.  Second great pattern, COWGIRL COWL, by Pam Powers - this one took a little more concentration but was fairly easy to follow...I did pull out a notebook to make hash marks as I would finish a row.  Again, as I am in love with anything in this color right now, I did it as it was...
Baah! La Jolla Yarn was used - I LOVE Baah!'s yarns!  I admit to a little tea dying when I was through, to tone down the color I had purchased.  Pattern is worked back and forth across the rectangle cowl part first, and then changes direction to up and down to form the triangle section at the bottom - all in one/no seaming (I LOVE when that happens) - FABULOUS!  Pattern can be found on RAVELRY, or PAM POWERS KNITS.

Hoping for a travel post in the next few days, before travelling again, needles on a plane this time...
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY - make it a safe one!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

TREASURES FROM ABROAD...

Actually, treasures from abroad, from two "broads"...the BEST "broads" to go abroad (far from "broads", really - two of the nicest people I have met in my life) - sisters sailing the high seas together, and look what treasures they turned up, abroad...
Very out of order, according to my friend Jackie, who is posting her high-sea adventures on ONECREATIVECAT.COM - she's also in the midst of opening an online travel business, so make sure you check her out (she's also one of my favorite creative cronies).  She brought me this special hand painted and lacquered box from St. Petersburg (yes, Russia).  She also told me it is HER on the box.  I knew that.
Then, because both of us are enamoured with the History Channel's VIKINGS, she brought me THOR'S HAMMER, from Denmark.  It's dainty and beautiful bronze, and I will be wearing it and dreaming of Ragnar.  She's gonna' tell me Ragnar is HER'S - I know that, too.
Then, as if THAT wasn't enough, she brought me the softest Tweed yarn from Copenhagen (instead of chew, thankfully).  Now I will have to keep something I make, for myself.
It was starting to be something like opening a Matryoshka doll...gift after gift, from far-away lands.  And then, the "second broad from abroad" (Christy) got into the act, and brought me MORE great yarn - this even softer than the first two skeins.  All from Denmark, where the nights are cold and the Viking boys warm!  Much love and thanks to Jackie and Christy - you girls ROCK...you KNOW you DO!  I couldn't ask for two better friends.
And then...speaking of Matryoshka dolls...there was THIS stunning piece, for my daughter, as a gift from Jackie (they will trade for it - a tattoo for a highly cherished treasure).  This is absolutely jaw-dropping - hand painted ballerinas from the Swan Lake Ballet (my daughter LOVES the ballet), depicted on the fronts of 5 charmingly beautiful nesting dolls.  Straight from a little shop in front of the Palace of Catherine the Great, as she tells the story.  She's going to do well as a travel consultant!
She even snapped this photo of Carl Anderssons Street, in Sweden, remembering that I had evidently told her at some distant time, that was the name of my paternal grandfather.   Yeah, she's gonna' be awesome.
And how hot is it in Vegas these days, you might ask????????????  We haven't even hit the high mark for the day - it usually comes as the sun is going down.  And I don't know WHO the hell is inside of my phone, reporting that it's only PARTLY sunny????!!!!
And, contrary to popular belief, you really CAN'T fry an egg on the sidewalk.  Well, maybe you can, but I wasn't going to wait an hour - 20 minutes produced nothing, and I wish I had checked the Internet sooner - fried nothing but my bare feet, checking on it. Yeah, the heat might be affecting my brain.  And to the "Broads from Abroad", THANKS AGAIN, GIRLY GIRLS!!!!  Ragnar's MINE!  I'm knitting him a scarf!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A PEARL OF AN EVENING - GREGG ALLMAN at The Palms

Day Two of my ever-infamous Three-Day-Migraine couldn't keep me from this last night.  SO glad I "bucked up" and made it - actually wouldn't have missed it unless I had been hospitalized.
66 years young - voice still as strong as "back in the day".  Opening act put one of the founding members of the original Allman Brothers Band back on the same stage - drummer "Jaimoe" Johanson, and his own incredible Jazz band.
The old Allman Brothers tunes TOTALLY made the evening what it was last night, for me at least (I did have "Low Country Blues" in the CD player on the way there - takin' the new with the old) - fresh spins on a few, but "Stormy Monday" (my ALL-time Allman Bros. favorite, and one I had figured I would never see performed by him live, again) and "One Way Out", kinda' kicked the headache in the ass, for a few hours at least.  New travel photos this week, but in the meantime, someone was on top of their video "game" last night, and I thank him for that...gotta' love a rebel in a crowd!

Monday, June 2, 2014

BOWLED OVER - THE COOLEST CONCERT VENUES IN VEGAS...

I live in the so-called Entertainment Capital of the World...you can see it all (and usually do - not just on the stage, either) in Las Vegas.  I am lucky enough to have a best friend that I can call at the drop of a hat (neither her husband nor mine are anything more than home-bodies, really).  She's someone that "gets" good music - whatever, whoever (the banjo/classical group I drug her to was "interesting").  Someone who would never utter untoward things about my Robert Plant.  Someone who gets REAL music!  She's my concert buddy; she's my friend; she's Jackie (ONECREATIVECAT).
Together, we have discovered some of the coolest venues in town.  Jackie is tall enough to get into most of them, thankfully!  THE Beach at Mandalay Bay (they have a THE Hotel at Mandalay Bay, also - those are seriously THE names) is a draw for us no matter who is there, but we've NEVER been to anything bad there.  From Chris Isaak, to THE Go-Go's, to Peter Frampton, to the FABULOUSLY fun 80's concert we hit at the end of summer last year (just to name a few).  It's a place to unwind, sit on THE sandy beach (WHAT?  In Vegas?) of THE gigantic wave pool, soak our feet and listen to tunes (probably some drinking involved).  Even at summer's hottest, the water and evening breezes take care of cooling the crowd.  A few weeks ago it was Phillip Phillips (I have to admit, I misheard her on the phone that day, and questioned why we were going to Wilson Phillips?!).  Awesome evening under the stars - pleasantly surprised that it was a solo male singer, instead of three girls from the 80's...the kid can sing!
For those that can't be away from the gambling for a few hours, they've got a small casino off of THE casino, that opens to THE Beach...yes, they've thought of everything - Vegas would NEVER miss a chance to let someone lose their money!  It's a fabulous venue - for those that live in town and haven't tried it...you won't be sorry.  Travelling through and have the chance - you'll wish you lived here.  And then you could go to THE next hot/cool spot...
THIS is where I, EXCITEDLY, got to go this past week - without my concert buddy (she was on a cruise - even so, I felt like I was "concert cheating" on her!), but happily with my daughter in tow - a rare occasion when she had a night off from work.  BROOKLYN BOWL sets within the happenin' new spot in town - The Linq...shopping, dining, the world's largest ferris wheel (for the time being), and this concert venue! Concert hall, bowling lanes, bars, restaurant, and the largest disco ball you've ever seen, all rolled into THE (they need to take a cue from Mandalay Bay) coolest spot in town!  The atmosphere is unbelievable!
TEDESCHI TRUCKS was on the bill that night - seen them before, and will see them every time they come through town if I get the chance.  The husband/wife team of Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, with their kick-ass band - for those of you in the line of their upcoming tour stops (I've made it easy for you to check - TEDESCHITRUCKSBANDEVENTDATES), GO - you can thank me later!  Sorry you missed a good one, Jackie - thanks for going with me, Jaci (yes, I have a couple of Jackie/Jaci's - pronounced the same way - in my life, as well as two Lou's, and two Arvids...good things seem to come in twos!)
 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I THREW A MONKEY WRENCH INTO THE WORKS...A TALE OF TWO QUILTS

Something creative, for a change.  New guest bedroom plans have left me looking for a covering for the queen-sized bed left behind by my son.  After months of sitting on my hands, I went in search yesterday, and "settled" on this, below...
Yes, "SETTLED".  A bed in a bag - not exactly what I wanted, but the price was certainly right, and there were 7 pieces.  Happy (or seemingly so) with this marked-down treasure, until I was standing at the check-out stand, second-guessing myself because I suddenly remembered THIS, in the upstairs hall closet of my home...
Finished YEARS ago (literally), and packed away with the intentions of hand finishing the binding that was in place already (a small step, you would think).  Tons (OK, lbs., anyway) of my all-time favorite fabrics - most out-of-print long ago.  Custom free-motion quilted by one of the most creative in Vegas.  For those quilters here that are asking, "Tanya, what IS that pattern you used?", it is "Monkey Business" from Buggy Barn's "Certifiably Crazy" book of traditional patterns (not your standard "throw it together with no thought of matching seams" Buggy Barn pattern) - a Monkey Wrench or Snail's Trail quilt block.
I made this to fit a queen sized bed, but not as a comforter.  No, my goal was to have it big enough to fit as a BEDSPREAD, having "people" in my household that hate pillow shams and all the "hard work" that comes with putting pillows in and taking them out each night.  So, this will cover and tuck under pillows - yes, bedspread size - HUGE!
This morning, hating the "quilt in a bag" set, I pulled the quilt from my linen closet and did something that I would typically NEVER do with any quilt (SHUDDER!!!) - I finished the binding on my machine! SHHHHH - it actually turned out beautifully; that binding will NEVER come off and, most importantly, IT'S DONE!!!!  Black bed skirt, and deep moss green and tan walls - that quilt in the plastic bag would have just been pathetic.  Sometimes a good monkey wrench, thrown into the mix, fixes everything!

Monday, May 19, 2014

QUICK, MAKE A WISH...

Today's the day!  A milestone for my dad - my hero - my inspiration.  80 years YOUNG (how can that be?), and still running circles around most of us, me included these days.  Whether it's making me crazy because I've called and he's up on the roof with the air conditioner, or out mowing the "North 40" (his incredible park-rivaling lawn), he amazes me every single day of my life.
Arvid Carl Anderson - born May 19, 1934.  Son of a Swedish immigrant and an Irish American lass (my grandparents, Carl and Kate)...little brother to Robert.
 
Married to Barbara Jean Rhyno in the late 50's, the dapper guy fathered three kids of his own (tho I'm the one pictured here, because it's my blog!) 
Seven grandchildren - two of whom I can vouch for, that love him madly.  Always the fun guy to be around. Four great-grandchildren, that we know of...
30+ years at the defense contractor, Martin Marietta, as a design engineer (yes, a Moon Man); sportsman (that's his hunting buddy, "Sonny" - my brother, Arvid); outdoorsman; singer; dancer; poet; comedian; avid reader (I have never known him to not be learning about something new); and teacher.  He IS a walking encyclopedia!
Contemplating the scenery he loves so much, and knows so well.  We like to say "he knows some shit about some stuff" - my go-to person for history questions, for sure, and anything else I can't find an answer to.  He still loves road trips, much like those we used to take when I was a kid (but with far less puke on his car seats from my motion sickness years).  For those who know me, they know I married someone who hates to travel, but is more than willing to afford me to spend summers travelling with my parents - usually through the beautiful SW, which my dad has always been enamoured with - the scenery and the peoples. 
He's an art lover; a collector; a connoisseur of fine cuisine (yes, Mexican food and Margaritas count).
Husband and best friend to my Mom - I can think of no more perfect match.  I've watched him sit patiently in MANY a Chico's store, and just let her have at it.
One of the most important lessons I've learned from him - ALWAYS keep a sense of humor (the photo on the bottom center has him holding little "cards" that they pass out for free on the Las Vegas Strip - you have to have been here and seen them to know why he is smiling).  He's a card, a cut-up, sharp as a tack, and can bring a smile to any one's face.
Just the two of us over the past few years - we even took in a rock concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater.
It's truly been a Carousel of Happiness being my father's daughter (figuratively AND literally - this was taken at the "Carousel of Happiness") .  Those who know me ALSO know just how much he means to me. Thank you for being my Dad, Dad - you ARE my hero!  You may never realize just HOW much I have loved you all these years.  Hope your day today is fabulous - I'll be home soon, and we're buying that new Cowboy Hat - no arguments!  Go dry your eyes (I need to, too), and have a wonderful day (watching Mom gamble )...I told you he was patient!  Love you more!!!
Happy Birthday, Big Guy - XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO