Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy end of 2009!

I'm ending the year with a cold! I've been surprisingly healthy all year - I was definitely due... and it waited until my birthday to strike. Yes yesterday was my birthday! Even with my sniffles and cough I enjoyed my day. John planned a wonderful evening!

He took me out to Marcell's for a pre-theatre 3 course tasting dinner. I had the most amazing proscuitto wrapped monk fish followed by Lamb tenderloins wrapped in Phyllo with carmelized onions and Cumin Madeira sauce. For desert I had a souffle duo with gelati.

Dec09 276

The souffles were amazing! One was chocolate and one was vanilla. Yum.

After dinner Marcell's had a car take us to the Kennedy Center for our show. We saw The Young Frankenstein. Here's the set before the show started.

Young Frankenstein

It was a great night.

Since today is also New Year's Eve - I figured I'd look back at the year and see what all I've accomplished.

Here's a mosaic of the things I've knit this year.

2009 Knitting

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Musings

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! We had several Christmas celebrations with family and friends this year.

Christmas tree

Christmas Eve was spent at our house with both sets of our parents. A few years ago we started a tradition of opening Christmas crackers with our meal - it's always a fun time! Inside each is a paper crown and a small prize. I got a skull and crossbones tattoo - score!

Cracker hats!

We opened gifts that evening and Santa's helpers were there to make sure it went smoothly :)

Santa's helpers

On Christmas morning - we headed over to John's sister's place to open gifts and have breakfast with Simon. He was decked out in his finest Christmas PJ's and had fun tearing the paper off the presents. John gave Simon the sock monkey he made a few weeks ago.

Simon's christmas gifts

I knit Simon an R2D2 hat - I love how it came out!! The pattern is here and more details are on my Ravelry page here. His dad and uncle are huge Star Wars fans - so I thought this was only fitting!

r2d2 mosiac

I also knit Simon these cute mittens. I made up the pattern as I went along and will probably write up the directions if anyone wants to make a pair for the little one in their life.

Simon's mittens

After breakfast - we headed to our friends Tara and Tien's annual Christmas open house. We had fun catching up and eating more good food!

Tien and Tara's party

After the open house - it was off to our third stop that day - Christmas dinner at my sister in law's husband's parents house. We had yet another wonderful meal, opened more presents and were entertained by Simon playing the piano!

Christmas at the Crobys

I gave William the hat I made for him while we were there too. I told him I made this three different ways. I couldn't find any roving to match the colors I wanted so I used Jolene's drum carder and made a batt, then spun it up with little coils and bumps and then knit it. I think it suits him!

William's hat

How was your holiday? I hope you had fun with family and friends.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hamden lights hon!

Some friends and I went to Hamden in north Baltimore to see the famous 34th street lights. If you've never heard of Hamden of the lights - read this.

Thank goodness we went BEFORE the snow!

The entire street takes part in this tradition.


There's a Natty Bo themed house... can't get more B'more than that!


and a hub cap christmas tree!

Inside this house were even more crazy metal creations!


Yes - those are bras!

I had fun trying out some new photo techniques too!

Here's a holiday light bokeh... or two...

Hamden Bokeh

Hamden Bokeh

And some swirly pictures that I just love!

Hamden swirl

Hamden swirl

Hamden swirl

I got the idea for the swirly light effect from this article.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

December is here!

December is here in full force!! We are being snowed in with a vengence today!

Here's the view from my front door...


The back door...


The snow has completely covered the cars!


This is the most snow I've seen since living in PA. I am so surprised.

I'm not quite sure when it's going to stop but it sure is pretty. I'm just glad I'm inside looking out!

Jack Frost was here

To those of you on the east coast - happy snow day!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Monkey Business

When I was a little girl, my grandmother made me a sock monkey. I'm sure many of you also had a sock monkey as a kid! He was my favorite toy - I slept with him every night. I kept him with me through many moves after I left home - he was a constant reminder of my childhood. Of course he moved with me to our latest home. He never made it out of a box unfortunately and as some of you may know - we had a fire in our house after a nearby tree was struck by lightening. This was just about 4 years ago now. Although there wasn't too much damaged by the actual fire - there was a great deal damaged by the water the firemen used to put out the flames. My sock monkey and most of my childhood memories were destroyed by the water. I was crushed!

By far the worste loss was my sock monkey. I swore I'd make myself a new one.

Well - I had the opportunity last weekend. John, our cousin William and I went to the American Visionary Arts Museum to make sock monkeys!

They were offering a free class and all you had to bring was your own pair of socks. We arrived to find a HUGE room of tables and supplies.

Sock Monkey making

Each table had an array of embroidery floss, yarn and buttons to add to your monkey...

Sock Monkey making

There were plenty of "Monkey helpers" around to help us on our way. Here's a step by step look at my monkey creation!

First I split the sock to form the legs and added stuffing to the body.

Sock Monkey making

Next I added the tail...

Sock Monkey making

On went his eyes...

Sock Monkey making

and mouth...

Sock Monkey making

I love his crooked smirk!

Next I added his arms...

Sock Monkey making

At this point - we'd been at it for about 4 hours and sock monkey class was over... It took a surprisingly long time to hand sew these monkeys!!

John and Williams had fun too.

Here's William stitching up his awesome monkey!

Sock Monkey making

And here's John working on his:

Sock Monkey making

We didn't all finish our monkeys - but they still looked pretty cool sitting in a row!

Sock Monkey making

I walked around when I was done and snapped a few pics of the other monkeys around - what a variety of awesomeness!

Sock Monkey Mosiac

After we came out - we put the finishing touches on our monkeys and here they are - ready for snuggling!

Sock Monkeys!

Have a monkey of a good week!

Sock Monkeys!

Sock Monkey!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A Slouchy hat for me!

I needed a quick knit and this hat was just the thing.

Slouchy hat

: Gwen Slouch by Lauren Nell Roy
Yarn: Ella Rae Bamboo Silk in Cyan
Needles: Sizes US 7 and 9
Mods: I cast on 84 stitches and then increased to 126 (14 pattern repeats total instead of 13).

I enjoyed knitting this hat - the pattern was easy to memorize and fun to knit.

The yarn was a bit slippery but SO worth it - the finished hat is soft and luxurious.

Slouchy hat

Slouchy hat

Monday, December 07, 2009

Harpers Ferry WV

We stopped at Harpers Ferry, WV on Sunday after visiting with some friends who live nearby.

Harpers Ferry sits at the intersection of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers and the Appalachian Trail passes right through the center of town. The entire town is built on a steep rock with steps carved right into the side. It's really pretty cool.

We got there right before sunset so the picture taking opportunities were limited - but I still had fun walking around.

Here's a little taste of the town...

This is St Peter's church:

Harpers Ferry church

This house caught my attention - it looks so thin sitting up on this high road.

Harpers Ferry

The front of the building had these amazing doors.

Harpers Ferry doors

You can just see the river in the distance from up on that high street.
Harpers Ferry

Down in the lower part of town - there were lots of beautiful old buildings.
I loved the blue doors and windows on this one.

Harpers Ferry

On many of the buildings - you can see the outline of other buildings that are no longer there.

harpers Ferry Courtyard

If you find yourself in the area - it's definitely worth a peek!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Our nation's capitol

My parents were down for a visit this weekend and I took them on a mini tour of Washington DC. We took the metro into town and got off at Union Station to begin our day.

union station

We walked down 1st street passing the Supreme Court building on our way to the Library of Congress.

Supreme court

I've worked with the Library of Congress for a few years now as a consultant - doing their HR software - and I've been to the main building several times, even though I usually worked in the James Madison building across the street. It was nice to be able to show my parents some of the places I've worked.

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

The interior of the library is just gorgeous. There is color everywhere!

From the stained glass ceilings:

Library of Congress ceiling

To the murals on the walls and ceilings...

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

We were able to peek into the "reading room" but alas no pictures were allowed. Here's a picture from the LOC website:

The next stop was the US Capitol building.

US Capitol

We walked through a tunnel to get to the Capitol building directly under 1st street from the Library of Congress. I hadn't been to the Capitol since I was in the Girls Scouts many many moons ago. Since that time - a new underground visitors center has been built. When you start your tour - you are shown a movie about the history of the building and the people who created this masterpiece. After the movie - a tour guide takes you to the famous Capitol Rotunda.

US Capitol dome

The painting in the dome is The Apotheosis of Washington by Brumidi.

capitol dome2

Those of you who are Dan Brown fans may remember this as the location of the opening scene of The Lost Symbol where Langdon finds the severed hand on the floor pointing up at the painting. It was actually kind of funny how many people were pointing out that spot rather than looking at the art around them!

As we were leaving the capitol the sun was just starting to set behind the dome.

US Capitol Dome

The Capitol building was backlit with a beautiful warm light.

US Capitol at sunset

I took advantage of a recent HDR class and snapped some shots using "bracketing" and then processed the pics using Photomatix software.

As we turned to leave we saw that the lovely warm light looked amazing on the Library of Congress too!

Library of Congress

After a lovely dinner at McCormick and Schmicks we headed home exhausted after a busy day!