May 28, 2006

Amazing Lace Challenge #1


Over here.

Greetings. My name is Kata (sometimes lovingly known as the Blessing Scarf). I overheard my knitter, mamamarce, talking about a knitting challenge she read about on the Knitting Help forum recently…something called The Amazing Lace. I immediately thought “oooo – A summer knitting challenge?! I just KNOW she can’t resist ANYthing with the words knitting and challenge, and we’ve been making such great progress together that I would…err…I mean WE would be a shoe in for this.” I mean, since we met on the pages of Mindful Knitting a few weeks ago, we’ve been like stitch mates ever since. Sure the first few reads through my chart were tough, and there were even a few moments of miscounted rows that I thought would bring about a panicked total frogging for sure. But we stuck through all that. Loops pulled through loops and we pressed on. Why just last week we spent some time out on the porch together, enjoying an evening breeze, and I thrilled at how wide she grinned when she realized she didn’t even have to look at the pattern any more. My stitches just flowed from one needle to the other, and the warm humid air was a dream blowing through my lovely eyelets. With each soothing YO and every calming SK2P, the promise of meditation through lace became a reality. A team like this was made for a summer knitting challenge, right?

Not so apparently. Hmph. Just when you think you know your knitter. Wham! Blindsided.

I waited so patiently, believing that she would enter us in the challenge any day now. But as the deadline neared, and no such entry was made, I grew more and more confused. I’m lace, she’s a knitter who loves a challenge and we both agree that lace is, indeed, amazing. What could be the hold up? I got my answer when I heard her telling another knit buddy in a distressed tone that she would love to join the Amazing Lace (with a Branching Out scarf no less!!), but she was really starting to feel the pressure of all the different projects she already had on the needles, and just couldn’t justify taking on yet another knitting deadline. The outrage! I had a good mind to slide right off my size 8 needles and bury myself in the bottom of her knitting bag right on top of that melting breath mint. Branching Out indeed. Bah!

But I was not to be so easily deterred. There comes a time in every project’s life when it must stand up, tuck in its unwoven ends, and push itself to the front of the knitting triage and be heard! So it is with this keen determination (and just a wee smidge of sassy-tude) that I would like to humbly submit myself and my (reluctant) knitter for the Amazing Lace Challenge. True, I am but a simple knit, with no pattern complexities to boast, but my meditative qualities and my freedom from any restriction of gauge or exclusive yarn is a knitter’s dream. My yarn is Jo Sharps’ Silkroad Aran Tweed in Brindle; nothing pricey, just a scrumptious wool blend with a sprinkle of cashmere and silk.

As the challenge goes on, I will continue to use some subtle (subliminal) techniques to encourage my faithful knitter in this quest. Most recently I’ve found that our conversations during her nap time are working quite effectively. In fact, two more balls of my yarn are on their way in the mail as we speak. Heh heh heh.

It is our pleasure to greet you knitters and non-knitters alike. We are a strong team that is (soon to be) united in this adventure. We look forward to the coming challenges, and to marveling at the bravery and creativity of our fellow competitors.

Oh. Um…If mamamarce happens to find out about this and pitches a hissy fit, my plan is to deny everything and say that the Homespun forced me into it at needle point. Namaste.

May 19, 2006

Status Report

Fasting Day 2
Feeling pretty good today. Down 2lbs already. Now that I have several hours under my belt and hub has joined in the madness, my outlook is pretty good.

I likely won't overload the blog with fasting talk (no promises), but rather I'll just share snippets from a separate daily journal I'm keeping.

Here's a short entry from yesterday:
6:29pm- Not hungry right now, but really mellow. We sat out on the front stoop with the girls, they picked flowers and played in some rain water, then we all watched a rabbit take care of some weeds beneath the fire bush plants for us – nature at it’s best. Imagine having to eat like a rabbit…wouldn’t be much to clog up your system. I thought aloud that he must be so glad that we don’t spray any kind of horrible herbicide in our Florida native shrubbery. No hunger pains, but not much energy right now either.

In knit land, I've started and made some good progress on a "Kata " Felicity scarf:

Yarn stats - Jo Sharp Aran Tweed wool/silk/cashmere blend in Brindle #121)

This pattern is a very simple lace repeat pattern from the book Mindful Knitting by Tara Jon Manning (see sidebar link). Per the book "In Buddhist culture, the [Kata scarf] is given as an expression of gratitude, a blessing or greeting presented as a sign of deep respect. The literal meaning of Kata is 'cloth that binds'." How could I NOT knit that? It says this symbolizes a bond between the giver and the recipient, so I'm going to have fun choosing from my multitude of friends and family for a giftee. I think I'll have to knit several.

My clever chicks are at it again, crafting and spoiling mommy with flowers from our garden. I am SO blessed to be able to work from home when I'm not traveling so that I can see their darling faces most of the day (when I'm not shooing them becaues mommy has another conference call of course). And what good is excess cuteness if you can't share it? Enjoy.

May 18, 2006

Master Cleanser...Take 2 (Day 1 Log)

Ahem...The information in this post is not intended as medical advice. Its intention is solely informational and educational. And also a shameless plug for fasting and cleansing in general.

So it's Q2 already, can you believe it? Companies are releasing their earnings, the trees are releasing their buds and new leaves, and here at the estate, well, we've got our own release planned. It's spring cleaning people, lemonade diet style. For those of you who want to take a look back at our Q1 foray into this practice, you can read this and maybe also this (and all the stuff in between really).

Nothing like some visual stimulation to sum up:

That's a shot of my diet for the next 10 days. Water, organic lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper (not pictured), and some Yogi Tea. And - I must quality something here, this is not in fact a "diet"'s acually a very thorough cleansing program and healing fast. But you can clearly see that with a liquid only list of ingredients that include "Get Regular" tea, weight loss is inevitable.

The Master Cleanser book was written by Dr. Stanley Burroughs in 1976 and has become pretty popular in the last decade or so. This will be my 4th time doing the fast over the last few years, and hub is joining me once again (what a trooper! he darn near wasted away last time :P). We made a committment to do this 4 times this year, at the beginning of each quarter. This time, I'm much more optimistic about what awaits us - better sleep, less back pain, a feeling of lightness, and an incredible amount of "free" time not spent, buying, preparing and consuming meals.

Join us if you like! And if you do - please track your feelings and progress in'll be amazed at what you discover about yourself, your eating habits, and the amazing things are bodies can do naturally. I"m happy to get out my pom-poms and cheer you on, even if you just want to try it for 1 day.

You can purchase the book here or at your friendly neighborhood health food store. A really good read even if you don't do the cleanse. And you can read more about the cleanse online here and also here.

May 17, 2006

Project Spectrum - May is GREEN

Yes indeed. The color of the month for Project Spectrum is green, and boy is it ever showing all around here. Green is one of those colors full of balance...and it does run it's own spectrum.

Green can show life and vibrance, or it can be mold, and decay. It's hopeful and it can represent envy. It's the color of commerce, and uniforms of war. Yin and Yang.

My preference for greens tend to the milder and deeper tones, more sage than lime; more forest than neon, but that's just the great thing about color! It has no true definition, but so many possibilities.

Here's some more green from the corners of my home - I hope you enjoy the view as much as I do.

Check out Project Spectrum, and if you're already signed up, be good to your pal, share some of your favorite color feelings with them and enjoy your share of theirs too.

I'd love to hear what green is to you. What shades and what mood? Share away...

May 15, 2006

Mmmm Mmmm Good

So I finally finished hub's second sock upon my return from Boston (/bwoss'tin/) and let me tell you...I was proud enough to pop my collar, ok? Not only did they actually fit him, but I had also escaped the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome and knit an acutal pair of socks. Now granted, 1/2 way through the foot on sock #2 I realized that I was knitting with a completely different dye lot of yarn (READ YOUR LABELS will save many tears). I thought for a few seconds that I would go into coniption mode...but I didn't. *Yoga breathing*. One must remember, sometimes DONE is better than perfect...and so I knit on. Here's a glance...

The best compliment I've received so far today has to be this one...

Kelli: and they look like SOCKS!

That is music to a crafter's ears!! Trust me, when you're new to a craft like this one, you could be completley crushed in this kind of situation if someone said something like "Ooooo - golf club cozies!! Neat!!" I definitely see more socks in the future too; I can already feel the itch to start the next pair and naked feet are plentiful around here.

I had such a FANTASTIC Mother's Day weekend that I can't even begin to write it all down. Here's the short of it: slumber party, BBQ, babies, small brush fire, 5 foot water moccasin, lobster tails, 20+ family members and in-laws, and dishes (yes - I was even happy about doing the dishes...that's how good it was).

Here's a photo toast to my darling mom, without whom this cooky little brown girl would be nothing (literally).

Love you Ma.

What was your weekend like? Tell me about your mom, or your Mom's day adventures -- I'd love to hear about it! And if you've tried or finished anything lately that makes you want to prance around like a peacock - share!! Until next time, SMOOCHES!

May 9, 2006

Technical Difficulties

Please excuse the current nekkid-ness of my sidebar.
I don't have the energy to explain at the moment, but just know that all my links and rings and little extras will be restored within a few days.

Thanks for your patience.

As you were.

This is a test

Had this been a real post - we would have had a melt down moment and moved off of blogger immediately

May 6, 2006

Clever Chicks (or "How Not to Waste a Saturday")

I just had to share a few photos of our last 24 hours. Days like yesterday and today remind me how great it is to just get down to the business of mommying (and being mommy-ed for that matter). Last night I went to a scrapbooking night at a church my mom attends. WEEEEEEEE!! Too much fun! I've got the cropping itch back, look out. In the mean time, Grandma Winsome entertained the girls at her house, and I went back there afterward to spend the night. To give you an idea of the saintliness of my mother, she and Pops insisted on sleeping on the blow up bed that I had brought, and had the girls and I sleep in their bed. *sigh* I'm not worthy.

My little ones and I were up early this morning because I had a plan to take them to story time at the Main Library, then maybe the park. Um...Public Service Announcemnt: SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY. Thank you.

As luck (and early bird-itude) would have it - we got to library right when it opened, then we browsed for an hour and played subtraction games with the librarian at the Reference Desk, which then put us first in line for story time. Turns out we weren't just the first ones in line - we were the ONLY. For one whole hour Ms. Maribella read the girls 5 stories about roosters, hens, and chicks. They did a bean bag dance, a craft, AND watched a movie about Rosie the Hen. Whew!!! I don't think I could have grinned any bigger to see the girls having such fun.

FOR FREE. Just had to point that out.

Afterward, we lugged our 3 heavy bags of books to the car high on life, and floating our way to one of our favorite parks. Since you know I love a photo recap just as much as the next girl, so have at it (and you can click the flickr badge on the right sidebar if you just can't get enough - I'll meet you over there, we can ogle together):

May 4, 2006

Show & Tell (but no knitting)

Like all parents, I'm pretty well convinced that my children are the smartest, most beautiful, most loving and brilliant little people who are absolutely destined for some inevitable greatness. And this notion is only further supported by the fact that it is completely true. And the best thing about being a parent is that you can feel this way about your own little (and big) ones, and it would STILL be true.

I thought I should do some show and tell about my girls, who's faces appear here every now and then (all the time) and some of things that they do, and don't do anymore.

My youngest, Mizan used to suck her index and middle ALL the time. In the ever present irony of parenting, we thought we were doing ourselves a favor by not introducing her to a pacifier as an infant. Naturally, she used her innate resourcefulness and found something else to pacify her - her own fingers. Those of you with thumb-suckers out there or who were one in your youth know the perils of this habit as well as the severe withdrawal that results when trying to break it. When Hubby and I discussed trying to make Meezee forgo the fingers, we feared a repeat of the 2 weeks of bawling from a desperate wild-eyed toddler that we went through when Adachi had to throw her binky in the trash.

Not so for our Meezee. After a visit to the pediatrician and confirmation that she could in fact damage her super gorgeous smile, daddy had a "talk" with her about sucking her fingers (I'm not ashamed to say it involved threats of basting the fingers in vinegar)...she quit. Cold Turkey. No weeping, no pleading or bargaining. She just stopped. So typical of this child of strength (whose name is Nigerian for "balance" - I'll say.)

So she went from using her fingers to do this

To using them for things like this

Now Adachi has taken to using her fingers for something quite astounding as well. We're already thrilled that at 4 she is reading books by herself (including words like "shoulder" and "subtraction"), but she's also taken to writing stories and love notes. Here are a couple samples, which are spelled out phonetically as one would expect:

Translation: "We missed you Daddy. Adachi Mizan Mommy Hugs & Kisses"

Translation: "Mommy we love you . Hugs & Kisses Adachi Mizan (From) "

And when they put their hands and heads together - they come up with things like this:

*Sigh*. I know. I feel the same way.

If you have some show and tell - be sure to comment about it and point me to some pictures.

May 2, 2006

We're Baaaaaaack

The Smith-Selas contingent are back from our 5-day road trip to Augusta, Ga. We drove up to Jacksonville Thursday and stayed overnight with my dearest friend Kiesha (what a sweetheart!). Friday we continued the drive up to Augusta to attend Kamau and Felicia's wedding.

Come...join me in this brief road trip photo recap.

While my hubby did this...

I did quite a bit of this..

Until it finally looked like THIS!

And in the mean time, the girls did GREAT riding in the back seat. Mizan had plenty of these to offer....

And Adachi entertained us with a little of this...

(Apparently this is called "The crazy car seat dance")

We had So.Much.Fun. I thnk I might turn family road trips into my newest hobby. (that's hobby #456b-01 for those of you keeping track) I'll share some wedding photos just as soon as I get them developed and loaded to CD. And if you want more of a photo fix, check out the picture link on the sidebar. Missed Ya!! Wished you were there :-)