Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A little late but better than never . . .

Just two links I would like to share with you today.

The New Hope Foundation provides care and medical treatment for Chinese toddlers and infants with surgically correctable deformities. They do really wonderful work and since they operate on donations, things are getting a little tight for them. I recommend you take a look!

I first heard about this group when one blogger I knew raised money for renovating one of the New Hope Foundation's Love Without Boundaries Special Care Unit by selling hand-knit red scarves and donating the monies to the New Hope Foundation.

The New Hope Foundation works with the group Show Hope and the Chinese government’s Blue Sky Project to upgrade the Luoyang Children’s Welfare Institute’s facilities. This building is featured in the Show Hope video shown below:

Maria's Big House of Hope from Show Hope on Vimeo.

Here at Chez Daisy, we know that sometimes it's Cool to be Caring.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I solemnly swear I am up to no good!

I may not have a Marauder's Map like Harry Potter but I do have a new bit of knitting mischief.

I cast on for a Multnomah Shawl using my J. Knits super wash sock yarn - the stuff I bought at Miss Chickpea's Funky Fibers in Hudson, Ohio. I am on the back and forth (increasing on either side of five center stitches) right now but I'm really enjoying the soft, soft yarn and I am looking forward to the feather/fan section coming up. And it appears that I'm a follower (again!) - she just published this pattern but there are already 205 projects and it's in 1401 queues. Or is that 206?

The mischief is that I should be working on two other projects:

My brown sweater. I currently have a big problem to mull over. I actually started this project in "combination knitting" right after taking a class in combination knitting. Alas, when I picked it up - I started in regular knitting. Actually, it doesn't look much different but I'm not liking how the the cables look in the sections with the Combination Knitting. I'm just don't know. My fellow MKG board members suggested casting on again and knitting up a section in Regular Knitting and then comparing it to the part I've done already. I may - but it's just such a big number of stitches. Curse that Big Mr. Daisy! How dare he have such big shoulders!

My Gentleman's Socks. I love the pattern but I don't love the way the two-needle set up makes the heel. I may just rip back to the heel and stick the whole project back on double point needles.

(FYI - I am working on my Road Not Taken scarf. It's my Take A Long Project so it goes almost everywhere I go.)

Once again, my teens come to my rescue for Saturday Seven. I cleaned out Oldest Daughter's room last week and weeded out seven sports shirts and sweatshirts. Oddly enough, I now have plenty of room for my spinning wheel in her room . . .

One Final Reminder: Knit Out 2009!

The Minnesota Knitters Guild will be hosting the 6th annual Twin Cities Knit-Out on Sunday, October 4th at Southdale Center.

This celebration of knitting will take place from 12 – 4 p.m. in the Macy's Courtyard. There will be free knitting lessons, door prizes, hourly fashion shows, a fastest knitter contest, community service knitting projects, expert knitters to answer questions and local yarn shops displaying the latest in yarns, patterns and tools.

This is such a fun event! Bring your knitting group, bring your kids. After it's all over - you can go shopping! This is a new venue and we're trying to show them we are worth it!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happy Friday!

A rainy Friday evening with just the four of us at home. Mr. Daisy is making homemade pizza (I make the dough ahead of time!) and since we had a lovely visit to the Saint Paul Cheese Shop, it's time for a snack.

Hard cider, Z Crackers, a little Cabot Clothbound Cheddar cheese from Vermont and some cherry tomatoes from the CSA. I highly recommend the blue cheese cheese cakes as well!

And in honor of our music choices this evening, a little Genesis:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What's the most important word in the phrase "customer service?"

I've just been bowled over by lately by people telling bad customer service stories.

Right over at at Knittymama - a bad experience in a yarn store.

Allison over at A Day Late and a Dollar Short - she's got a bad customer story from the owner's perspective.

Turns out there's a whole forum topic over at Ravelry about "How to annoy/lose customers."

Now, I have had a terrible headache today so perhaps that's making me see the bleak side of things. But I'm having a hard time with all the unpleasantness/rudeness that's been in the news lately.

I can only recommend a book that made the rounds of my friends a few years ago, Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni is a great discussion of the social skills we need to all get along. I haven't read his new book, The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude but I think it will be next on my list.

So my Cool Wednesday link is Dr. Forni's website - The Civility Website.

"People will forget what you said, forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
~Maya Angelou

Monday, September 21, 2009

I should have known

Never, never let me decide to "take a few minutes" to wind up some up some yarn without using the skein winder. Late last night I got a little hankering for shawl knitting and after taking a walk through the Ravelry pattern finder, decided to make the Multnomah Shawl in a skein of J. Knits in the Pennsylvania colorway. This morning, I pulled it out and - carnage ensured.

Taking this skein of J. Knits from skein to ball took almost an hour since I decided to hold the skein in my hands instead of putting it on a winder. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

And then I took a crappy photo as well! Back to my life . . .


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Goodbye old week! Hello new week!

Saturday mornings are pretty relaxed at our house. The boys were working hard but I was wandering around the garden with my camera. I'd had the house windows closed for much of the week because the city was replacing sidewalks around my neighborhood. Very dusty work!

What was this mess out on the sidewalk is now this -


Up close, the words read:

Advice to Gardeners

Accept brevity
celebrate decay
Emancipate failed growth. Hope
it'll just keep living. Mulch
near odd places.
Quit raking.
Tend unlimited variegated words.
Xerox your zucchini.

Ah, words to live by. You do know I am the only gardener who is unable to grow zucchini, don't you?

I also found this little guy. Cute but . . . N.I.M.B.Y.!

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The Saturday Seven is easiest when I can convince someone to clean their room. OR clean it for them! Oldest Daughter is away at college (with 98 % of her stuff!) and I needed to clean out her room for a visitor. Say good bye to four pairs of shorts and three tee shirts. All left over from her hockey days and ready to move over the Saint John the Evangelist Big Sale (which is coming up on Oct. 4!)

I'm off to volunteer at the Textile Center of MN. It's Family Day and I'll be at the Minnesota Knitters' Guild table. See you there!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Biker chicks and roosters

This is the kind of photo you get if you let your very tall spouse take the picture with your phone.

Sunday was the St. Paul Classic Bike Tour. Mr. Daisy and I were the only ones attending from our family this year as Oldest and Middle Daughters are off at college and it was Rally Day at our church - the first day of Sunday School for the Younger Ones. We rousted them out of bed, got them up and dressed for their ride to church with some friends and left for our 30 mile route.

Since Mr. Daisy is working on keeping his exercise heart rate at certain levels, we took it easy and had a lovely time. I did get to pull ahead on the hills - love them! - but we pretty much talked and biked the whole way.

The rest stops are great - coffee and cookies! - and the entertainment is always first rate.

I apologize if you are the burly guy in orange in this photo. I was trying to get a photo of all the different kinds of bike jerseys people wear. My blue top was very boring in comparison.

This was the first time in several years, however, that I really didn't need to wear a jacket. Most years, I wear workout pants over my bike shorts as well as a long sleeve shirt. Sunday was sunny, warm and lovely!

I think that next year, we will bring along Youngest Boy. This route was just his idea of fun. You should give it a try!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Three Rs

I'm not saying he's brilliant or anything but . . . it is time to pass these on. Sometime this week, they will be flying off to GF Melissa's TrainBoy.

Although, there is a funny story about Youngest Boy. One day he was attempting something and I said it was for Older Boys. "But I'm a genius!" he said. When I asked him how he knew that, he told me that his sisters told him.

As in a sarcastic, "You're a genius!" kind of label.

Sarcasm just doesn't work with three year olds.

Now that he's a grown up six, the phrase "But I'm a genius!" is often heard around our house. We all use it. He just doesn't know why we laugh.

Just a reminder - for all you knitting geniuses out there: the new Knitty is up! Go check out the knitting goodness!

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Friday film for 9/11

I don't know about you but it's been a busy week and I just need a little down time. I'm sure you've heard about Father Mychal Judge but this is a very interesting look at 9/11 and the people involved. Time for a cold drink . . .

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Cool Wednesday asks a question about do-it-your-selfing . . .

So, how far are you willing to go to make it work?

Jake von Slatt always has some good ideas for retro-fitting over at The Steampunk Workshop. I could actually imagine Mr. Daisy doing this skylight work (after all, my garage is filled with cars and car parts!) but I can't imagine the recumbent bicycles.

There, I fixed it proves that urban Americans will be able to survive "Come the Revolution." Provided we each have a stash of duct tape and superglue. And, maybe, a shopping cart.

I also love the make-your-own "tawashi" shown over at Craft magazine. GF Melissa was just lamenting the lack of things made from "Plarn" over at the Minnesota State Fair. I see a tawashi in her future!

In the spirit of DIY, Youngest Boy made his own snowboard last winter.

I suppose this could also be a "Minnesota Surfboard" as well.

Happy Wednesday! Make something!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

More State Fair roundup!

A giant room of poultry! My relatives in Pennsylvania just don't understand how BIG the Minnesota State Fair is!

This shawl is on display - backwards. I think it's a Shetland Triangle shawl.

This is just one of many display cases of beautiful knitting. Not all the projects are perfect but they are all lovely and made with love.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

State Fair Saturday

From our Swedish Lutheran cups of coffee to yours! We started our second visit to the Minnesota State Fair with a breakfast visit to the Salem Lutheran Church Breakfast Hall. Yum - that Swedish Coffee can't be beat - and their whole wheat toast is pretty good too.

No trip to the state fair is complete with a fling on the Giant Slide. Oddly enough, no one besides Youngest Child wanted to ride this year.

This hat, glove and scarf set was adorable and truly deserved its award. I don't know who gives out the Daisy Knits award but I agree!

There appeared to be an alarming trend of kids climbing on their mothers over in the Dairy Barn!

I always buy something yarn or fiber related at the fair. This year I bought a jar of hand creme at the Shepherd's Choice booth and this lovely Icelandic Sheep roving over at the Minnesota Lamb and Wool producers booth. Beautiful stuff - I think it's from Misty Meadows Icelandics.

I also love it when Mr. Daisy cleans out his drawers. I'd been trying to get him to wear slightly more attractive socks and he helpfully pulled out seven pairs of gym socks. Perfectly good ones that I would not feel bad about giving away to charity.

No visit to the state fair would also be complete without a recounting of the fair foods eaten:

After a traditional eggs and toast breakfast over at Salem Lutheran, I split a Scotch Egg with Youngest Daughter. That's a hard boiled egg wrapped in spicy sausage, dipped in breading a fried. It was a little dry but otherwise tasty. Definitely what's known as "protein rich" food.

Mr. Daisy and I shared a bag of spicy, sugary roasted almonds from the European Roasted Nuts booth (otherwise known as Kleines Bayern Roasted Nuts) - a yearly treat for us.

I also had a new taste treat - the Texas Tater Twister. This is a spiral cut potato wrapped around ( they claim) a course ground sausage. I'm thinking mine was a hot dog. It was good but very, very hot. The spiral cut Lemon-Pepper flavored potato alone was much better. I drank water but the rest of the family enjoyed Fresh Squeezed Lemonades.

Now, we're at home and it's time to think about dinner. Plain, simple tomato sandwiches!

Remember, there are two whole more days to go and try things out for yourself at the Minnesota State Fair!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Friday highlights from the fair

We had so much fun that we are going back tomorrow! Although, I'm hoping to see more than the Poultry Barn this time . . .

A few quick highlights . . .

this beauty would fit right in at the November Minnesota Knitters' Guild meeting. Our theme that month is "Norwegian Knitting."

This cute child's hat makes me want to start knitting hats again. Darling!

This chicken (a rooster, I believe!) was mesmerized by the shiny chain on my camera. He got closer and closer and seemed determined to stare me down. He finally made a grab for it as I walked away.

The chain did nothing for

the champion gander and goose. They were very blase about the whole thing.

In honor of the Minnesota State Fair, I give you:

Everything on a stick - courtesy of YouTube.

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

So bad it is cool

And I don't mean that in a good way. I do a fair amount of cycling and one of the criticisms I get (Mr. Daisy?) is that I'm too cautious. This video shows that even following the light rules can be a bad thing

Another Cool Wednesday thing that is actually good - no, make that great! - is the Saint Paul Bike Classic on Sunday, September 12 in Saint Paul, MN.

Registration is still open and I'd love to see you out there!