28 December 2005

Field Trip to Ur

Coolest moment: Walking in and seeing the headdress that we had made way back during Story of the World 1 (although I think the actual project was in the Usborne history book instead of SOTW). Can you even believe we're seeing the actual headdress? Just like the one VKid1 made and wore around the house!

Other cool things: Cuneiform. Remember when we took the wet clay and wrote on it with a stylus? Look! Here it is! And remember the cylinder seals? They're all over the place here!

VDad also liked the long gold drinking tube believed to be used so the people of Ur could drink their beer and avoid the sediment floating on top. He was overtaken with the idea of the ancient frat parties of Ur, guzzling beer through those long straws. Educational moment -- things floating on top mean it was more of an ale, at least according to VDad.

Bad moment: I was the only one who could tell where Ur was without looking at the map at the beginning of the tour. Yoohoo, how many dozen maps of this region did we color during SOTW1? And now we can't even remember which continent it's on? Dang.

After we felt we had done enough Ur-ing, we wandered around the rest of the museum for a while. Downstairs we found a giant wardrobe from Germany -- VKid2 has been asking what, exactly, a wardrobe is, and we got rid of our chiffarobe years ago (we haven't seen the movie yet; VKid1 just finished reading The Magician's Nephew to VKid2).

And, there on the main floor, like a sign from God, was Monet's Waterlilies. Unfortunately, I had left my yarn in the car, so I was unable to compare colors. Now I really MUST finish this shawl so I can wear it into the museum and compare (of course, "you need to either keep your wrap on or check it at the coatcheck; you may not carry it around the museum"). I had decided to finish it anyway, since my main motive in making it was that our church sanctuary is so freakishly cold and drafty that I'm investing in new long underwear to make it through the services (ironic to move south and THEN need to buy long underwear, but I think the locals don't know how to insulate and/or heat). Also, it's an absolutely mindless pattern to knit, so I can read while I knit. I couldn't do that with the Flared Smoke Ring, and it was tough. On the downside, I still think the color looks more like Pond Scum or maybe Moldy Basement Carpet instead of Waterlilies.

26 December 2005

Online Christmas shopping

I spent much of Christmas day engaging in online shopping.

First, VDad and I decided we needed to give more to missions. I spent awhile at the awesome UMCOR site. Reasons I like this way of giving to charity: 100 percent of the donation goes exactly where I want it (United Methodist Church pays all overhead); incredibly easy to give (mail a check, drop off check at local United Methodist Church, use credit card online). I chose 2 or 3 projects there.

Then I spent most of the rest of the day reading online reviews of sewing machines. Every time I think I've narrowed it down something new pops up. Sigh. I think I'm just going to go to the Viking dealer and see what they talk me into. I like Viking because it's made in Sweden. I'm having a tough time finding out where exactly the other machines are made.

I did finish the heel of a sock. And I started a shawl. I had ordered some Morehouse Merino yarn last week, and it arrived at my door by Saturday. Wow! So I pulled out my swift (cleverly disguised as the back of a kitchen chair) and my ball winder (a Nostepinne that sometimes poses as a toilet paper tube) and wound that quad-skein. I then cast on the required 200-plus stitches, knit awhile, decided I don't like the cast-on I used (I always stew about which cast-on method to use; I wish I'd never learned more than one) and decided the color (Waterlilies) really looks much better on my monitor than in my hands. So I threw it next to the bed, and decided to concentrate on sewing machines. Yep, from now on I'm all about sewing, not knitting.

24 December 2005

23 December 2005

Christmas List

1. Vacuum cleaner that keeps the dust IN rather than spewing it OUT.

2. Sewing machine less than 20 years old and NOT made by a company that's since stopped manufacturing sewing machines, so when the task light burns out and I lose most of the bobbins I am able to buy replacements.

3. Ummm, that was pretty much it.

Oh! A home improvement project that doesn't end up with water in the basement or someone's foot stuck through the ceiling would be nice. I don't even care what project it is, just so it goes smoothly.

22 December 2005

Busy hands Are Happy Hands

At least, that's what Greg Pierceal always said.

So, this bleached out picture is intended to show A) another completed present, in this case a nightie for an 18inch doll, and B) that, yes indeed, we have a jumprope strung through our living room serving as a clothesline. Quite festive in red, eh?

The picture cannot be retaken because the future owner of the nightie is now awake. The kids saw me working on 2 of these, yet never figured out what exactly I was knitting. Heck, they even picked out the yarn.

The yarn is Lion Brand Jiffy, which will never rate as one of my favorite yarns. The pattern was a freebie printed off the Internet long ago.

21 December 2005

Let There Be Light!

In honor of the longest night, an electrician has installed an overhead light/ceiling fan combo in the master bedroom. He'll be back tomorrow to install more lights in the other bedrooms.

Now we can walk into the room, flip a switch, and have 300 watts of light. Wow! So different from the rinky-dink little table lamps we've been relying on. I can't wait until the sun sets....

Also, I decided to try a new template to lighten up the blog somewhat. That picture of the Flared Smoke Ring depressed me set against the other background. The carpet underneath looked so grungy.

15 December 2005

Another present done...

A flared smoke ring knit in Knit Picks Baby Alpaca. I wish I had picked a yarn with more oomph, but the color is perfect.

I hated the needles I used for this. At 15 inches, they were too short to do all of the "knit 2 together through back loops" that went on in this pattern.

Overall, I'm really glad this project is over.

Now, what to knit next? The cold temperatures last week had me longing for wool socks and felted house slippers. Now, though, the temps have gone practically balmy, so I picked up some yarn for nightgowns for 18" dolls yesterday...perhaps to whip up by Christmas.

At last, a practical history project

Story of the World III, chapter 31 A Different Kind of Rebellion...the activity book suggests doing "factory work" by creating an assembly line.

We made our Christmas cards in assembly line fashion. I cut out the fabric triangles; VKid1 glued them to the cards; VKid2 colored trunks for each tree. I then made itsy bitsy little red ribbon bows; VKid1 glued bows to the top of trees; Vkid2 added stars in the background. I finished up by writing "Merry Christmas" in each one.

Now to address and stamp them all. There was much arguement over choice of Christmas stamp. The only one they could agree on was the Eid stamp, so that's what we got. I wonder how many people will even notice.

14 December 2005

Tecumseh! Prophetstown!

We just reached chapter 32 of Story of the World 3. It was somewhat exciting to read about Lewis and Clark in the first part of the chapter, since we now live in an area heavy with Lewis and Clark tourist spots.

But what REALLY set of squeals of excitement was hearing about Prophetstown. The kids have been there several times! They've visited the Indian village at the park! They've seen the Tippecanoe River! History is ALIVE at our house today.

We'll be visiting the area between now and Christmas, but we won't be going out to the museum. For one thing, the purpose of the visit will be Christmas, and for another, it's going to be wickedly cold. I don't care to be quite so immersed in history that I experience 20F in a recreated Indian village. I do wish we could find some good children's books on the subject, though.

13 December 2005

Behold, the Purdue scarf.

MrV thought I was nuts to give a 20-something guy a handknit scarf for Christmas. Then he heard it was a moebius...a moebius in Purdue colors. A scarf capable of inspiring geeky discussions about the number of stripes it actually has (2 yellow, 3 black). Knit of Encore worsted.

08 December 2005

Homeschool Field Day

Topics include:

Physics: Sleds and Vectors
Physiology: Why do my cheeks feel so weird? Why does adding a layer on my torso help my hands stay warm?
Economics: Reasons why a house 2 blocks from a wicked cool sledding hill is worth more
Fire Safety: Appropriate use of space heaters

06 December 2005

Winter Phys Ed

We had a load of wood delivered yesterday. I suggested to the girls that they carry some to the wood cradle next to the back door. They bundled up in coats and boots, and went right out. All day long they discussed how many logs they'd carried, how many they would carry next time, how often they planned to do this. Steph said she planned to carry wood every day to build up her arm muscles.

We had our first fire in this house last night. More excitement!

02 December 2005

Do other people do this?

I have already memorized the ID number off my new library card. That way I can place holds or check my record without finding my card. And THAT way I don't leave my library card here at the computer while I zip off to the library.

Really, I'm not too sure of the actual numbers, but I know the pattern they make on the number pad of the keyboard.

Part of the reason this skill developed so quickly is that you can have about 50 holds/requests at a time at this library. Woohoo! I immediately placed about 10.

01 December 2005

Emeril Imperfect

First person singular imperfect tense in Latin is more fun if you shout out the BAM and simultaneously slam your hand on the table. Heck, you can even do this with first person plural. It's even more fun if two people do it together, and will possibly give the resident 6yo a case of the giggles.

Last night VKid1 made Some Real Good Chili from Emeril's There's a Chef in My Soup. For the record, it's very salty when prepared as written (not that we prepared it as written -- when we made the Baby Bam we left out the celery salt because we didn't have any and I had no interest in buying it just for this use, since I'll probably never use it again). VKid2 was impressed by the lack of vegetables, since I add green pepper to my chili and Grandma adds celery to hers. This was basically meat, tomato, onion, garlic and spices. Oh, and cheese -- we alway top with shredded cheese. And I usually throw avocado on mine.

Must close -- we have a Santa Cow Island emergency brewing. I MUST read this book aloud NOW.