Tuesday, February 26, 2008

B...Really Irks Me!

Blogspot really irks me! I can't stand the extra font changes, terrible spacing, and more than occasional misalignment of my pictures. That includes pictures that are formatted for centering not enlarging on a click as opposed to those that are set for either right or left alignment. Us creative people need to see the details. No you all, I haven't been tipping into Margueritaville before blogging. It's Blogger getting all willy nilly in my prose. I know I could just go in and change ALL of the HTML but I shouldn't have to got on a hunt. Blogging takes long enough as it is.

SO! If you happen to notice any wayward formatting just ignore it. It's Blogger not submitting to my authority on this here blog. Or maybe it's me that has it twisted.

I mentioned yesterday that I had gotten the gumption to make some stitch markers. I'd like to share the first few sets with you. Like I really needed another accoutrement. When I do something I like to have all the gear.

Amber lampwork beads with alternating amber and gold spacers with gold rings.

Amber lampwork and wood beads with alternating amber and silver spacers on silver rings.

Gold cross charms attached to Lilac Agate and real Lemon yellow Fresh Water Pearls, gold beads on gold toggle clasps.

Green and jade lampwork beads with silver coils and screw tops on silver rings.

I already need to make some more. Two sets are gone to appreciative giftees. I have lots of other beads and gems in my arsenal so I plan to make them soon.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Trying To Be Prolific

This weekend was full of knitting and creating. I had summoned all of my crafting power into my hands in order to finish off as many projects as I could. I was knitting like yarn was endangered. Alas, I didn't finish everything but a lot and I even found time to make some great stitch markers. Check tomorrow's post for pics of the stitch markers individually. Otherwise this would have been a very picture heavy post.

You already know I finished Buttony, and the Brother In Law Hat. I finished the Cycling Aran, zipper and all. I also swatched the Deep V Argyle Vest. I just about finished a scarf I was making to go along with His sweater and hat (I'm trying to use up the remaining 1/2 skein of Malabrigo and 1/2 skein of Blue Sky Alpaca's that I used on the last two projects, otherwise this is entirely to much coordination for me). I started the Oatmeal Jacket from Monkey Suits and I had to keep myself from starting a scarf for my secret swap partner.

Check it out! Here are some progress pics on the Cycling Aran and the finished project:

The zipper took me about an hour to put in. I didn't want to do it by machine and risk puckering or tearing the stitches ragged.

On my previous attempt I had stitched a simple stockinette lining. When I tried the jacket on a male friend, I noticed that the lining didn't stretch like the collar and wouldn't allow the collar to close. I ripped it out and decided to make the lining ribbed like the color to get the same amount of stretch.

Me modeling the finished product with hat.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Something To Keep His Head Warm

Time: February 21st - February 22nd, 2008
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton, 1/2 skein (150yds each)
Needles/Hook: US 8 16" circ.
Notions: None
Notes: Found pattern on Kody May Knits. It's called the Brother In Law Basked Weave Hat. Very well written pattern that can be knit in about 6 hours or less. For an adult male's head I would recommend doing, at minimum, 3 repeats of the pattern before starting to decrease. My hat is for someone who is bald so it will fit fine on him but as you can see with my hair in the above pic, it might not be long enough for someone who has a larger head with hair. For larger heads just add more repeats. Kody gives the option to decrease in or out of pattern. I decreased in pattern which, IMHO, gave it a nicer finish at the top.

I plan to make more of these.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

V-Day and Buttony Done

I've been so behind in posting pics of my current projects! Forgive me! I am trying a new thing in the morning. I'm still getting up at the crack of dawn but I'm getting dressed earlier so I can start incorporating blogging and eating a complete breakfast here at home before I trek off to work. Both of which seem to be some serious feats. It's hard when you have other vagabounds living in the same house with you. LOL

^^^Look what DM and TG got me for Vday! Threatening works everytime.

I want to first thank my swap partner Sandra for the great swap gift. She and I participated in the Ebony Elite Ravelry group swap this past winter. I was pleasantly surprised when I got my package in time for Valentine's Day and it was all red with great stuff.

I got a skein of Malabrigo, a skein of Misti Alpaca Lace, a really nice oversized button (I may have to find something to make around it, hmmh), some beauty products, some much needed hair bands, Hazelnut chocolate (how did she know I love most everything hazlenut?), and some stylish tissues. I love it and thanks again!

I've also completed a knit project. Almost! I need to stitch the detailing on the sleeves but other than that it's wearable and DONE!


Time: January 28th - February 20th, 2008
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted Wool in Sunset, 4.5 skeins (209yds each)
Needles/Hook: US 10
Notions: 13 silver Angel Buttons

Notes: Katie Marcus' pattern is really more of an outline on how do do a top down raglan sweater. I would strongly recommend measuring your arm circumference before knitting this. If you don't, you will overestimate the size of your arms in comparison to your bust measurement and end up with baggy arms. I did by about 9 increases, hence the detailing I am now doing on the sleeves to kind of cinch the arms up. I didn't feel like ripping back to the arms to make it right. I added in waist shaping, starting about 2 inches below the armscye join. I decreased 1 stitch on each side every 6 rows 5 times, knit 12 rows, and then increased in the same manner for my hips.

I made my sleeves 3/4 instead of full arm. I think it gives it a nice sweater girl look. I would do this pattern again to make the perfect sweater!


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Eventhough I hate being late and I'm rarely tardy (unless intentional which happens when I'm in a slump), I seem to be on CPT time with announcing the winner of the Sisters of The Yarn GiveAway! So with no further ado. The winner is:

NikkiJ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lookout for my email for your addy. Thanks to all who entered!


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Beautiful Tresses Not Winter Stresses

Winter temps in these parts can be hard on one's hair. Natural or relaxed the cold harsh weather can wreak havoc on your style and on the condition of your strands, leaving it dry and brittle. Styling one's hair in the dead of winter's dry air can cause "Winter Static" -static buildup from products and dry air that leads to tangles, knots, and fly-aways. Good looking healthy hair requires moisture and protection from the harsh winter elements. But in a season that's known to be wet and with your mom's old saying "going out in the cold with wet hair will make you sick" in the back of your mind, how do you get the moisture that you need? By the way, that's not true.

Dry hair and by extension a dry scalp doesn't need much to be re-invigorated. As long as you have water and quality natural products (used in moderation) your hair can sing in the rain, sleet or snow. Here's a few things you should know about keeping your hair gorgeous in every season:

  • Drink lots of water! I can't stress this enough. Beauty starts from the inside and so do your strands. If your body is not properly hydrated your hair will grow brittle from the root leading to quick breakage and less retainage. Water transports vitamins, nutrients, and hormones throughout your body including to your scalp. It also carries away any toxins. Try to drink as much as half your body weight (in ounces (oz)) in water each day.

  • Eat your fruits & vegetables. Try a salad a day of dark leafy greens for Copper and Iron, which prevent hair loss, and colorful toppings like Avocado - counteracts slow hair growth, Broccoli - promotes supple and elastic (breathable) scalp, Garlic and Red Onions - rich in MSM Sulfur for strong hair strand structure, and a whole host of others. Not only will you have gorgeous hair but a FABU body and skin to go along with it!

  • Pre-Condition, Condition, & Deep Condition. Depending on where you live, and the wind chill factor of your locale, will determine how often you can put water in your hair. In really cold areas such as the the east coast and the pacific northwest the weather may make daily washes/rinses prohibitive. Only you can determine what works best for your hair in your area.

    Because I'm in Southern California with our temperate climate, I can get away with rinsing my hair more often than others. I say rinsing because unless you've found a good non-drying shampoo (more on that in the future) the sulfates can be extra drying in the winter. To combat this many women create a conditioning regimen for their hair that includes:

    >>Pre-conditioning - dry bathing their hair in moisture retaining products such as castor oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, honey, essential oils, and even apple cider vinegar and baking soda. By doing this, you will limit the amount of natural oils made by your scalp, lost during washing.

    >>Conditioning - use a moisture rich conditioner either after shampoo or as your shampoo to retain the water from your wash. I'm a big fan of conditioner washing also called no-poo or low-poo. Shampoo is made to cleanse the scalp but can be too harsh for your hair strands, conditioner is made to clean, smooth, and coat your hair strands and retain the moisture. If you don't use a lot of pruducts or if you don't have a problem with build-up no or low-pooing may be the way to go for you. I do this about 2 to 3 times per week and wash with shampoo every 2 weeks (more frequently if I've used a lot of products).

    >>Deep Conditioning - combines pre-conditioning and conditioning (low/no pooing) together in one step to be done either after shampooing or after clear rinsing your hair. Mix both of the earlier treatments together, apply to your hair, and for best results apply low heat using a heat cap or warm towel over a shower cap, for at least 15 minutes to open the hair follicles for deeper penetration. Sometimes I even go into the steam room at the gym for an extra conditioning bang. Rinse after and style as usual.

  • Keep products to a minimum. Too many products and/or too much of a product creates product build-up. Product build-up is like a smothering sludge that sits on your scalp closing your hair follicles preventing them from breathing properly. If your hair is closed and not porose then moisture will not get in. Remember our hair needs as much moisture as possible.

    Did you know that too much product can aid in the growth of dandruff, prematurely thin your hair strands, give your hair shade a mousy tinge, and cause acne? Did you also know that mixing to many different products from different manufacturers together can be toxic and cause an allergic reaction? Yes, cut back on the product! Less is better.

    Another reason I advocate less product is so that you know which products actually work on your hair and which don't saving you time, heartache, and money!

  • Treat your scalp. Gently massage your scalp between washes/rinses. Use a light carrier oil such as olive oil mixed with an essential oil like rosemary or tea tree oil. With a dollop on your finger tips work in circular motions on your scalp. Try not to get it on the hair. If oils are not your thing try a nice cream moisturizer.

  • Reduce Heat. We all know that heat is drying. No matter how it's used, it usually ends up dehydrating, evaporating, and leaving dry something or another. Prolonged heat causes damage and reduces elasticity. Hair with body and movement, soft coils and fat curls require elasticity to be bouncy and spring back into shape. Too much heat hinders this and leaves strands permanently straight and limp.

  • Get regular trims. Yes, make sure the already dead dry ends are gone. They sap moisture from the rest of your hair.

  • Protect it from the elements. In the winter months I tend to put my hair up in protective styles to keep handling to a minimum and to retain those ends. I often wear braid extensions, yarn braids or corn rows to achieve an instant style update all the while keeping my tresses up and protected. Many women wear wigs, weaves, buns or chignons (be careful with your hair line) to achieve the same results. Becareful that whatever style you choose it's not so tight that it pulls excessively at the scalp. The pullng alone can cause stress bumps and dry scalp that looks like dandruff.

Contrary to the the urban legend that your hair grows better dirty- clean hair and a healthy scalp is the way to go. Nothing is more unattractive than a women patting, scratchy, and rubbing her (more than likely dirty) head in an effort to get at the itchies while trying to maintain her hairstyle for 2 weeks or more. Stop the insanity. Healthy hair, be it short or long, no matter how you rock it needs to be clean in order to be shiny and resilient.

I hope the tips above help you to take control of your hair and triumph over your dry scalp. These are tried and true tips that I've learned over the years and have helped me greatly. Questions? Leave me a comment. For a list of some of the products I use, check my hair album here! Great links on the sidebar ~~~~>


Friday, February 8, 2008

Sherlock Kinky Coils Is On the Case

Ooh Chile, have I got a bug to put in your ear. Girl, you gotta promise not to tell NOBODY! I mean not a soul cause I got a reputation to keep but this bug is itching me to death! I gotsta tell somebody, you know I get the one person rule. You gotta promise me. I'm serious! You say my name and I will deny it and give you the evil eye.

Anyways, I was over at Cozy's Place and chile Mojo done left her. Walked right out the house. She can't find him nowhere. Been calling and hunting and wondering where he be and ain't been able to talk him up to save her life. You know the new IK is out, which means the bills are due and she better get to making something but she can't. Forget about a pot to piss in! Honeeey! He ain't left her with a sock with a toe in it to stick her foot in! Winter is cold but it ain't got nuthin on Mojo when he step out on you.

I wanted to tell her that Mojo was ho! But you know you can't tell nobody about their man inspiration. Quiet as kept. I swear I saw him over at Crimson's spot last week. Umm Hmm. He gave her that Cashmere Neckwarmer. Heck he gave her a few in different colors. And she calls herself Virtuous! Hmph! Just today I saw him over at Urb's crib. She tried to play if off by saying her Mojo was at the club with Cozy's but we all know they the same person. **wink** **wink**

And then let me tell you this! I had planned to take this to the grave with me but I couldn't help it. I'll have a little talk with God after I tell you this. Have you noticed that NikkiJ's daughter Teddy Bear looks a lot like Mojo? I know, I know, it's uncanny. She be strutting with her little bad self in those minaturized sweaters. You know Mojo gave her those. Who her momma kidding! Her socks got toes in em.

But even that ain't the half of it! I hear SuperstarRAH is Flo-ing. Only Mojo can put you in that type of mood. I know this for a fact. But you didn't hear that from me.

Okay so you got me! Mojo done been dipping in the yarn stash over here too! How else could I have gotten Buttony in Malabrigo, Trio Shawl in Pagewood Farms, and a dang near finished Cycling Aran in Blue Skys Alpaca? I know I'm wrong, but if lovin him is wrong...you know the rest. I sure hope he come back by here before he head home to Cozy's. The Cycling Aran needs a zipper fixin!

________________________________________ Just doing a little blog dipping today. Enjoy the progress pics and tune in tomorrow for hair and the winner of the Sisters of the Yarn GiveAway.


Monday, February 4, 2008

Sisters of the Yarn GiveAway

I'm tired of not doing the things I want to do! I'm tired of being bound to reality by practicality and at the same time depressed by my grand fantasies that never seem to come to fruition. I put the kabosh on all of that last night! Michelle Obama's speech on yesterday at UCLA seemed to light a fire under me. I'm still not sure who I'll be voting for on tomorrow, but I am leaning heavily towards the Obama crew. Eventhough I don't agree with all of the Obama alignments, nor am I a Demo or Repub but Indie, I was too done when one of Hillary's campaign heads (by my perception and my perception is what counts on this blog) made a wickedly subversive egalitarian comment about how the Clinton campaign only cares about the people in the states that matter to them. What the?!! But I'm digressing and need to get back on track.

Remember when I said I'll Try? Well I'm going to keep making myself accountable to you all by keeping you up on my progress.

1. I signed up for my Belly Dancing class and have since taken 2 - 3 hour lessons. I've bought a short hip scarf with lots of coins and even a bronze belt and I'm still not done. I'm having so much fun in this class I can't stand it! (Not my tail in the pic)

2. I'm enrolled in a couple of classes this semester and feeling great about it!

3. I made the Eunny Jang Deep V Arglye Vest my Ebony Elite KCAL project. Got the yarn, the sticks, and the pattern. Woo Hoo!

4. I plan to make Saturdays Hair Day here. I'm lining up stuff as we speak and even speaking to some mixtresses about future giveaways, so stay posted.

5. I got some great stuff for the Sisters of the Yarn Giveaway just as I had promised. Check below for the detes. I didn't make it last week but look, now you have, well now!

So the above items are no longer "I'll Trys" but I'm Doings which means I need some more I'll Trys. Check back on Wednesday for those and help to keep me on track.

So on to the Give Away!

The Prize:

A book and yarn package

From Iris Schreiber her latest book Lacy Little Knits...

...and from Lorna's Laces, 1 skein of Shepherd Worsted Wool in the awesomely named Aslan colorway. Aslan is one of my heros straight from one my most favorite books, The Chronicles of Narnia. This skein is a full 225 yards, wonderfully dyed and super soft.

Both items are brand spanking new and not from my stash!


This one's a little easier. Just leave me a comment telling me what you might make with the Lornas Laces.

I'll leave this open through the Friday, February 8th and randomly select 1 winner on that evening. You must live in the continental US to participate. Be sure to provide me with your email addy otherwise I will not be able to reach you. The first to respond to my email will get first choice and so on.

Good luck!

Your Girl Kamika