Saturday, December 30, 2006

More Christmas Gifts

I can finally post photos of my husband's Christmas gifts. I could have on Christmas day, but with my show opening tonight to a preview audience, it has been really, really busy. Needless to say, my husband, John, LOVED the scarf. Made almost entirely out of cotton, he was so happy as he cannot abide wool. It looks great with his black leather jacket. And being an architect, the modular scarf seems to suit his personality as well -- loves that geometric look.

I also made John a pair of fingerless gloves from's Fetching pattern.

As you can see I altered the pattern a bit so that there is no cable at the knuckles (looks more manley that way) and I continued knitting to extend the length of the gloves over his knuckles. He also just loved these. Men are just so hard to knit for.

Now for something totally unrelated to knitting, my two beautiful daughters. First, here is a picture of my oldest daughter, Alex on her 15th birthday, the day after Christmas. I know, I know, but she came early!

Then my second daughter, Natalie, who is now 12. Natalie normally will never let me take a picture of her, and we were only allowed to take this photo because she was working on her Science Fair Project and had to have photos to document the process. Lucky for me!

I'm almost certain that this will be my last post for the year 2006, so please have a wonderful and safe New Year's, and my family and I wish you all a healthy and prosperous 2007.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

End of Year Charity Crafting

Can I just say for the record how immensely proud I am of our two little charity knit/crochet groups? For three months we were able to produce quite a bit and here is the official end-of-year tally of our donations:

Children in Common (orphanages in Russia): Vest, hat, scarf and 2 pairs of mittens
Socks for Soldiers: 49 pairs of slippers
Covenant House (home for runaway teens): 9 hats
Caps For a Cure: 1 hat
Save the Children (Caps for babies in 3rd world countries): 3 hats
Catholic Charities (charity that helps all denominations in Houston area): 2 pair booties, 2 baby hats, 7 preemie hats, 1 child hat, 9 baby blankets, 1 shawl
Blackfeet Indian Youth (Browning, Montana): 9 hats, 6 scarves, 7 coats, 7 sweaters and 1 flannel skirt
Petco: 2 pet blankets
Misc.: Houston Police Department - 1 pair fingerless gloves

You have to admit that for a short period of time that is rather impressive. I'm so moved by the outpouring of help from this group that I have changed the name and have listed it as a yahoo group so that anyone can join -- within or outside of the Houston area. I've also changed the structure some in that I feel it will help us concentrate on certain charities each month rather than just randomly making things. Some members may want to randomly make things or make something for a particular charity despite the charity we as a group are focusing on, and that is certainly okay. While most of the charities we will concentrate on will be centered in and around the Houston area, there are four times a year that we will look outside of Houston, Texas and the U.S. for those who are in need. The link to my charity group if you are interested in joining us is Happy Holidays.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve Gift.....

I can finally post a picture of one of the Christmas gifts I made! I loved making this hat, I have to admit. I think I've really come to love doing Fair Isle. I like working with more than one yarn, but two seems to be what I am most comfortable with right now. I would love to try this hat again, but not with 100% wool. I ordered the yarn called for in the pattern at, but it was very scratchy to work with and boy, 100% wool is definitely not needed here in Houston!

More Christmas made presents to come -- but I'm so excited to be able to share this one. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Happy Kawanza.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Quick Gifts

Need a quick gift? I found several -- and had an opportunity to try one out today. My daughters have many friends that they want to give gifts to during the holidays, but they are not very good about giving us notice. So when my youngest told me she needed a gift to give to a friend today, I just told her to pick out a couple of her friend's favorite colors and made this hat!

Cute, isn't it! Granted, it is crochet, which I haven't fully mastered, but this pattern was so easy I was even able to manage it. Here is where I found the pattern:

Only one more week and I can begin showing pictures of all the Christmas gifts I have made. Actually, it is not that I have made that many, but I just can't show my favorites! I have been spending quite a bit of time knitting and crocheting for various charities. My two charity knitting/crocheting groups have also been very busy, and it has been satisfying being able to drop off bags of hand knit/crocheted items at various charities or in the mail. As the end of the year draws near, I will proudly list all of the charities and items that our little charity groups have donated -- for only being together for about 3 months, I think it is rather impressive.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

First Annual JRA Christmas Swap

About a year ago I started going to my husband's office (architecture) once a week to teach a group of women how to knit. At one point the group because quite large with even a couple of outside people joining us. Depending on various deadlines, the group would range from 3 people to over 10. We could never get any of the guys to come in and learn -- talk about peer pressure. Anyway, I had to stop going to the office for a few months due to rehearsing and performing in children's theater. Oh, JRA stands for Jackson & Ryan Architects, Inc.

The group has shrunk since I have come back -- busy time of year I guess. But, we vowed last year that we would attempt to do a secret gift exchange. I guess we drew names in mid to late October, so we really did not give ourselves enough time -- but we ended up with a rule of a $10 budget. Although some did go over the budget, most were very good about becoming creative with their project.

As you can see, although we were a small group that actually did the exchange, we had so much fun and the gifts were all so varied. I think there will be many more brave souls joining us for the gift exchange next year. I love my little bag with the attached cell phone holder that was designed by Rashmee. I'll have to double check that I'm spelling her name correctly.

I made a pair of Fetching fingerless gloves, a crocheted rose pin and an ice cream cozy for my secret person. I can't wait until next year!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Movie Update

Well, here is the poster/DVD cover of my first movie. Beautiful isn't it. Okay, grant me that I may be a bit prejudice. I'm going to see if I can attempt to upload the trailer at some point, but that may just be beyond my technical capability. And you can click on this link here to purchase the movie -

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Storing Stash!

One topic I read on my various online yarn groups or amongst my knitting friends is the ongoing challenge of how to store a stash. It has taken me quite some time to come up with a solution that works for me. I'm lucky in that my husband has converted our garage into a studio/craft room. I used to be a costumer for the stage and so I needed somewhere to do my costume building, storing, etc. I have really pulled out of that and now use the room as my office, yarn and scrapbooking room.

I just thought I'd share how I store my stash. First of all, unlike many things I've collected in the past, I found it is hard to keep my yarn put away in any type of containers, because I was constantly pulling it out and going through it. I guess planning future projects, etc. In talking with one of my friends, she also told me that she liked to store all her yarn by colors. Although I haven't mixed my high quality yarn in with the bunches, they are still in the plastic containers on the shelf behind the yarn bins you see, I have decided to coordinate them by color.

You will notice the sweater hanger to the left. That is where I store my unfinished objects. I actually just put that up and boy did it give me a visual of all my unfinished projects I need to get back to work on.

Is my room always this clean? Heck no. But we had my husband's office Christmas party at our house and we knew that some people would want to come and see the entire house (particularly the knitters in my husband's office) so it was a great reason to MAKE me clean and organize it. So, although it is rarely this clean and orderly, I thought I'd share other parts of my office with you. Basically, this is my daughters' and my play room!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Charity Knitting

I have started two charity knitting/crocheting groups within the past couple of months. They are both pretty small right now, but the blessings have been abundant. Not only have we received quite a bit of donations worth of yarn, but also other knitters and crocheters who are not particularly signed up with my groups have donated items for us to give. The more I look into needy groups, the more I find there is an overwhelming need of knitted and crocheted items to be donated literally all over the world. What better time to really focus on that that during the Holiday season.

I am just so proud of our ambitious little groups that I have to share what has been donated to date (since September when we formed).

Children in Common (orphaned children in Russian or what was formerly known as the Soviet Union) - a vest, scarf and hat
Socks for Soldiers - 49 pairs of slippers for them to use while in their bunks.
Covenant House (wonderful organization for troubled teens) - 9 hats
Caps For a Cure (Chemo caps) - 1 hat
Houston Police Department - 1 pair of fingerless gloves

We will have more donations before the end of the year which I will post -- but being a new group I feel our little groups have done a wonderful job. I also have baby blankets, premie caps, abandoned pet blankets and a shawl for a chemo patient still yet to find homes for before the end of the year.

Of all the above, you might think the Houston Police Department to be a strange donation. I have been helping out a local theater for the past few weeks for their children productions and there is a wonderful police officer who spends his off duty time working to help the children safely get on and off their buses, into the theater, etc. Although we don't experience snow, it can get quite cold here, especially when a wind kicks up. Sometimes it is just difficult to do anything with gloves like write. Also, our policemen (I believe) our grossly underpaid for what they have to do and the shortage that we are experiencing in policemen right now in our large city. So I decided to give Officer Joseph a pair of fingerless gloves. He LOVED them and was quite touched that I made them for him. I plan to continue making them for our other law enforcement officers. Don't I sound like I am on my soap box. I didn't realize that I felt so strongly about it either, but there you are. Perhaps its the Christmas spirit? Anyway, here are a picture of my gloves for Officer Joseph!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Commercial....

We take time from this regularly scheduled knitting discussion...wait. Sorry. I can't show you any of my knitting right now because they are all presents, and while I'm not sure that many of my family/friends actually frequent my blog, I can't take the chance that they will see their present! What this means is that after Christmas you are going to be bombarded with photos!!!

In the meantime, I ran across this interesting little name survey that I had to share. You can check it to see how many share the same name with you. Apparently I am somewhat unique (as if my family didn't know)!
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Modesty Shrug

I didn't think about this when I sat this blog up, but I think blogging is going to be a type of rite-of-passage in the sense that I'm forcing everyone (who voluntarily comes to my blog at least) to view my family growing up. My oldest daughter Alex, who is a Freshman in high school, went to her school dance tonight. Going to an all-girl school, they tend to stress modesty to the point that even we, as parents, had to sign a contract that we understood they were not allowed to wear strapless or spaghetti strap dresses. I agree with the school that on their casual dress days that they should not be allowed to wear spaghetti straps, halter tops, etc., but I don't know if I totally agree with the same rules when it applies to a formal occasion -- especially when it is impossible to find a dress with sleeves these days. My husband must of taken my daughter to five stores in an attempt to find a flattering dress -- and none of them had sleeves (I had a performance so couldn't take her).

What does any of this have anything to do with knitting you may ask? Well, Mamma to the rescue but I knitted her a shrug to match her dress. I think it came out very nice -- and it was my first time to use such lush ribbon/yarn.
Unfortunately, this beautiful little shrug cost almost as much as the dress! The upside? Where other girls at the dance who did not heed the warning got detention. Also, one size fits all. The shrug is now MINE! Ahahahahahahahahah. Okay, no more dramatics. but it is definitely a quick knit to fix a modesty problem. It is the easiest thing in the world to make, but I'll post a pattern just in case there is anyone who is not sure how to do one. I've made tons of these out of scrap yarn and they make great gifts. Alex's shrug was made with Prism yarn called Flirt in Mink color.