Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


What a lovely wedding - beautiful setting, beautiful couple, my hard, cynical heart is a bit melted around the edges at all that sweetness. Don't worry, I get to go to work tomorrow, it'll be cold and flinty again in no time. ;-)

By Blogger Catherine, at 9:12 PM  

Looks like you had a wonderful weekend. You and your niece are both lucky to have each other. And weddings are such fun. :)

Like you, I love this part of the country. Wherever I travel, I'm always happy to come back.

By Blogger cathy, at 9:12 PM  

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008  

I was never blessed with a daughter, but I have been blessed with many nieces and cousins who have spent summers at Bess' Girls Camp, as BD likes to call it. Of all the girls who've enriched my summers, my niece R spent the most time with me. From the time she was 10 till she finished high school, fat chunks of her summers were spent at TheCastle. College took her to the mid-west where a certain handsome prince swept her off to Chicago year after year till he convinced her to stay there with him. They invited us all to share in that celebration and last weekend we drove to the shores of Lake Michigan to cheer them on.

We drove, because we like to poke about the countryside in the autumn, exploring new places. Once we get through the Appalachian Mts. I suddenly realized why I have spent so many vacations up and down the east coast, but so few out west. There's no going anywhere from here unless you can make it through the mountains of West Va. And I never go there without wanting to just stop and set a spell. There's another little surprise around each bend in the mountains, each twist of a gap or river or creek bed, but you never feel like you've gotten anywhere - till you do, and then you're surprised. We made it to just past Parkersburg into southern Ohio by nightfall on Thursday and plowed our way across Indiana and southern Michigan on Friday, getting here by about 4 o'clock.

We stayed at the Gintaras resort – very 1920's lake front cabin rustic - though with a gorgeous lawn

and chamber of commerce scenery for a ceremonial backdrop.

Most of the guests were staying there or at other nearby inns so we had a chance to play, to socialize, and to help with last minute chores. TheQueen and her prince were the only members of the geezer generation to actually swim in the lake, but we were also the first ones to dive in at all.

Was it cold you ask? Yes. The first 15 seconds were a fiery torture that swiftly blossomed into a feeling I can only imagine is something close to how it feels to be a seal. A sort of oneness with cold and wet. Exhilarating. Besides, no river rat like me is going to get that close to that much clear water and not dive in.
The rest of the Haile family, the part that wasn't pressed into decorating duty, was content to feed the gulls,

after a certain someone wise in the ways of outdoor play showed them how.

Everything about the wedding was just wonderful. Beautiful bride and handsome groom
loving family
interesting friends.

The event was made all the more delightful by having your room within walking distance from the reception so that, say, one could deal with the spill on the front of one's blouse –
or not. (glad it wasn't wine I spilled all over myself)
I wanted, very much, to be able to say I got in a second swim the day after the wedding, but it had gotten chillier over the weekend and we wanted to be on our way. We had those West Virginia mountains to deal with again. Threading our way through little towns sprinkled along highways and byways of what used to be the western part of Virginia, I felt I could live in any one of them in Ohio or western Maryland (we went home a more northerly route). I would need a broader vista than real mountains offer to be able to settle in PA or WVA. But truly, all of the states I visited have their charms and make me proud to be American.

Nonetheless, east or west, home is best. That's where I am now and I plan to stay here the rest of the day. Tomorrow – well. I'll think about that, tomorrow. At Tara.

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posted by Bess | 2:20 PM


Glorious colours, Dear Bess! I must try this sort of thing...given the size of my stash (speaking from having to pack and move it this week!)

Looking forward to photos as you go along.


By Anonymous Marg (nearly in Mirror), at 9:13 AM  

are you working on Montpelier yet?... inquiring minds want to know! I am looking forward to it!

By Blogger Cat =^,^=, at 11:29 AM  

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008  

Proof of knitting.

Proof of camera love too.

This is going to be an EZ Adult Surprise Jacket, knit from stash yarn. I thought I had mountains of stash yarn in these golden colors. Alas, garter stitch's rapcious consumption of yarn means I will need to do one of two things – dig out more stash yarns in some other warmish colors. What?!? Did you think that was all the stash yarn I had? Silly you.

Or better yet – Buy More Yarn in these golden colors.

Of course, I've spent like a drunken sailor all month. Something tells me I ought to get into the bins and pull out Other Colors of Stash Yarn I could use. I have a pile in greens and another in deeper reds. Both would be nice with all these autumnal golds.

Here is the interesting double decrease shaping up close.

As for the new camera – well. Well, this time I am reading the manual and practicing all the different settings so that I'll be able to enjoy the whole thing, not just the snapshot function. When I am really good at still shots I'll tackle the video options. Gonna have to learn about youtube too. Just think! One of these days you'll hear the dulcet tones of my southern drawl. (no. it is not a twang and Born-Here Southerners will tell you it's not even southern, thanks to my Yankee mom and ethnic Catholic dad but they forget – all southerners descend from Come-Heres.)

Today I'm off to indulge in that other Southern custom – the Fashion Show. The Ginter Park Woman's Club Autumn Fashion Show to be precise. Dear elderly ladies we've loved forever host it and BH and I have begun buying tickets, putting on our church dresses and driving over to Richmond for a morning of elegance. It's by way of a bit of birthday celebration too, since I was out of town on the real day. We'll slip on over to the big mall so I can get a bit of girly stuff I can't get down here. Altogether it will be a sweet girlfriend day. A brief indulgence before October stomps on my schedule with more things than an alphabet!

So. I leave you with this. Whatever else - be fashionable!

posted by Bess | 7:35 AM


How observant to spot those dresses! Sounds like a perfect day. Although it's after the fact, please accept one more johnny-come-lately happy birthday!

By Blogger cathy, at 11:27 PM  

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008  

Thank you everyone for being so sweet as to comment and to wish me a happy birthday. Your wishes all went straight to my heart and made me feel that special birthday glow. It was a very happy one and a different sort as well. We took a trip up to DC to my all time favorite place up there, the only thing I miss from the city – the National Gallery. Oh la I love that place. I could move in. It has my favorite portrait – an un-known woman by Bronzino. The first time I saw this painting I just stopped dead in my tracks. I looked at that woman and I knew her! Only, of course, I didn't. But I felt like I was seeing someone I'd already met. I couldn't leave the building. I was just transfixed. There was another portrait by someone else, a young man, painted maybe 20 years before this painting, and I made up a whole novel about how at night they get down out of the portraits and live their real lives, and then get back into the paintings in the morning before the place opens up.
Here is my favorite

and here is the same dress with different hands and face,

a portrait of Lucrezia Panciatichi that hangs in the Uffizi. Evidently he had a stock of dresses painted ahead of time - pretty efficient I'd say, and hey, fancy dress is fancy dress, no? Anyway, this is my favorite painting in Washington and it's only available in a postcard booklet of Renaissance paintings – even though they used her portrait down in the cafeteria – hmmm what is wrong with this?

We drove up to Springfield and took the metro in. Just in case you try it too – they don't charge for parking on Sundays. They don't tell you this, mind you, so you might make the mistake of buying the parking ticket, but if you are forewarned you'll know that you need only pay the $4.70 round trip ticket in and back. Get off at L'Enfant Plaza if you don't want to stroll across the mall. If it's a beautiful birthday, get off at Smithsonian and do take stale bread with you to toss to the pigeons.

We spent 5 glorious hours wandering in art, but this time, we didn't get completely sucked into 16th century Italy. While having a late lunch we realized that this always happens and there were other rooms, centuries and artists we wanted to see. I'm so glad we did. The last hour in the rooms filled with 19th century American and European masterpieces was a first for me!! I don't know if the Sargent portraits, the monumental David portrait of Napoleon – the famous one with his hand in his vest, at least twice life size – or the Gilbert Stuart skater brought me up short first, but I will tell you – those John Constable skies in the paintings are accurate. I know. I've been there. I've seen them!

At some point our brains filled up and we began making bad puns about art – a sure sign it was time to go home. We were stuffed with our late lunch and decided we didn't need dinner – just ice cream – from Carl's Frozen Custard – where I got both a hot fudge sundae and a chocolate malt. After all – it was a birthday. Home by 9 o'clock we listened to my birthday present from BD, Joan Sutherland and Pavarotti in Lucia di Lammermoor. Singing you would not believe, music that is mostly unfamiliar to me – a new adventure. (We listened to the last disk last night because I am definitely not a night person. Thank goodness I didn't try to make music a career!)

And now it is a new season, the moon has rolled around to Libra, my sister's birthday is next and if I don't get cracking I will be late for work.

Happy Fall to you all.

posted by Bess | 7:42 AM



By Blogger Jane, at 9:31 AM  

Many happy returns to you, dear girl.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:26 PM  

Happy happy birthday!

By Anonymous diann, at 5:53 PM  

Wishing you a very happy birthday, Bess!

By Blogger KathyR, at 7:24 PM  

Belated Birthday Hugs, dear Bess!

Have a great year -- powerful, creative, compassionate...I like that!

More hugs,

By Anonymous Marg (almost in Mirror), at 8:13 AM  

Happy birthday, and may the year to come be the best yet!

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 9:14 AM  

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Sunday, September 21, 2008  

Yes. It's that time of year again. That BIRTHDAY time for me and I wish a happy one for all my other Virgo sisters .... and brothers, though I don't believe any read this blog. Most of all, of course, it's Happy Birthday Me! I love a birthday.

Of course, since it's my birthday I had to check out what Mr&MsHoroscope had to say.

Hmmm. Both are carping on about Mercury's retrograde – coming up this week. Back up your hard drive, check the oil and filters, don't start new projects, review the facts.

More interesting is this bit of astrology put together for me by the folks here.

Pluto aspects to the Sun (which usually last for a number of consecutive years) indicate an increased awareness of power.... Ambition and self-control are the more positive manifestations. Learning to deal with life on a deeper level is the hallmark of the Plutonian consciousness.
Neptune in aspect to Mercury in the solar return chart suggests working with the less clearly defined psychological drives such as compassion, creativity, and spirituality. Your sensitivity to subtle emotional connections among all people increases your concern for certain individuals in particular and humanity as a whole... It is also difficult to find practical applications for idealistic concepts and inspirations which are represented by this combination. Therefore, stress can sometimes be associated with the more spiritual manifestations of Neptune-Mercury aspects.
Mars-Mercury aspects suggest an energetic thought process. This can be a time of great mental energy and an active search for knowledge. Your mind should be quick and alert, though not necessarily highly retentive. Learning can be very exciting and self-perpetuating even if you study
When Mercury is conjunct Venus in the solar return chart, you are more apt to have confidence in your decisions and intellectual capabilities.

Much better – Increased power tempered by compassion, though also accompanied by some stress – more energy, more confidence and learning opportunities. Sounds good to me.

What I have been learning this weekend is how to use the new camera. Here's what's blooming down on the farm.

I haven't gotten out the mushroom book so I don't know what this is, but it's all over the woods.

One of my favorite autumn flowers - the Blue Dayflower

This is sneezeweed - and it looks for all the world like coreopsis, only it's growing in the marsh. Note the busy bee on the bottom right central flower.

And here is another Fimo bowl. I am still having the dickens of a time mastering what looks so easy in the books. But it's always an adventure in color when I play with polymer clay.

We're having some monumental high tides these days. Always do in spring and fall, but I was not prepared for this - was wearing shoes when I went out to photograph the sailor coming home from the sea. I only got this far down the pier. Jack, otoh, was prepared. He's a dog. He's always prepared to get wet.

And here is The Prince at Play.

Waiting for Daddy.

So. If it is your birthday - Happy Birthay! If you know someone who's birthday is today, be sure to wish her a happy one.

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posted by Bess | 5:38 AM


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Friday, September 19, 2008  

The Secret Night Life of Librarians

So here it is, 3 a.m. And I've been awake for 3 hours. One of tossing and turning due to anxiety over unfinished work, and two of finishing up the work. Thank goodness for the Internets.

I am giving a presentation tomorrow at lunch to the local Womans Club on how to use our Find It
VA databases. All the federal $ that comes to local VA libraries goes into these databases and they really are a valuable resource. But like everything else in this business of librarianship, its use is governed by the Parents of Toddlers Theory of (Your) Life or Potty-L. That theory states that, like caring for toddlers, who don't need you all the time, but need you immediately when they do need you – and you better be ready when it happens, meeting the informational needs of the public involves the same long stretches of nothingness and sudden flurries of activity and responsibility. When it comes to information, we may not need a bit, a book or a database for ages, but by golly when the person walks in who Wants it Now, and believe me, she always Wants it Now, we had better be ready to hand it over. So we go to school to learn where to put the information, remember where we put it, and how to get it fast. We buy the books, we subscribe to the magazines and databases, and we readreadreadread all the time.

Not, mind you, the fun way you read, for pleasure, to while away a summer afternoon. We read the instruction manual on the digital projector. We read the book reviews of the books we buy but don't get time to read ourselves. We read the fine print on the latest legislation impacting library funding. That kind of reading.

If we work in a big enough system, we get to focus our tasks and concentrate our reading on our particular area: children, teens, general reference – and we don't also have to get the network up and running again after someone runs into a power pole down by the 7-11. We don't have to negotiate with the local post master to get a mailbox installed outside the building. We don't have to check books out or put them away. But if we work in little libraries, we have to and get to do it all. So some things get a lick and a promise and then get pushed aside till someone comes in and asks That Question and we scramble to track down That Answer.

And that's how it's been with our Find It VA databases. I took the initial training, I use it when I'm asked, but I haven't promoted it. And it's such a durn good tool and its available to anyone in VA with a library card and access to the Internet. So I decided to take this show on the road. Of course, knowing that when demonstrating technology, its rate of failure to perform is in direct relation to how many people are watching you, I wanted a nice little power point presentation that would take new users swiftly through the high points. Just enough to cover the bases and whet their appetites enough to tempt them to look on their own. Surely someone had made such a thing. Surely I could copy it. Surely, right? Yeah. Right.

Wrong. Like the little red hen I have had to do it myself. Only, I need more than one presentation, since it has to be tailored to the audience. It was fairly easy to create one for teachers and students. They're the ones most likely to have to “look something up”. For the general adult population, though, it's a little harder. Members of our local woman's club are probably not going to need a list of agricultural products from Brazil any time soon. It's taken me a lot longer to develop the search strategies and locate interesting types of information for them. Of course, other things also delayed my work. Someone did run into the power pole on Monday, knocking out power for the whole town and our Internet access was down all day Tuesday and the post office does insist I put up a mail box and I did have a meeting with the Friends to strategize (ooops. Not a word) about our spring Weekend with a Writer.

So. That is why I am up at (now) 3:50 in the morning, meandering through Find It VA. I don't have PP on my home computer, but I know exactly which screen shots I'll be saving tomorrow, sometime before noon.

Thank goodness it's Friday!

posted by Bess | 3:40 AM


Just think...we shared the same slightly waning moon last night, and we're thousands of miles apart!

Beautiful photos!


By Anonymous Marg in Calgary (but not for long), at 11:41 AM  

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008  

Morning Stroll

I'm learning how to use the new camera. It's not a lot different from the old, but I'm actually reading the whole manual and trying all the settings, options, and features. So far, I'm just using still shot mode but I'll get the video mode mastered as well. I've spent the $ on this thing, I'm going to get my $ worth of use.

September's full moon is just past, but it's lingering in the morning sky, just outside my front door.

Yup. It's poison ivy but aren't the colors gorgeous. A Virginia colorway for a fair isle sweater?

My favorite colorway in September - the lemony yellow Crown Beard, the deep purple of the Poke Berries and their pinker stems, the tan of old leaves and all the greens of autumn.

My buddies, captured using a high iso but still on auto focus. How about this fog!

Captain Jack, aka White-O, or, as he is here, Wet-O.

The lowering sky of yesterday has fractured into this heavenly blue.

Double Spiderwebs!

Knitting has languished for days now. I don't know why - except that I have been terribly busy and I'm also a little anxious about a coming road trip. Perhaps there will be some shawl knitting tonight.

Happy Hump Day to you all.

posted by Bess | 6:45 AM


That colorful clay looks like fun to play with. :)

Your orange shawl with the green beads is *beautiful!* I really like the pale green beads. There's just enough color to make them sparkle. Nice!

By Blogger cathy, at 10:07 PM  

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Monday, September 15, 2008  

Polymer Clay Play - knitting talk at the end

What the birds think.

Once I made the canes I couldn't think of what to do with them. Hence, a bowl, with fluttery wing-like edges. There's a little bit of the small bird cane left that I think wants to become earings.

My first bowl - a little dark and wonky of course. That's my most serious problem still with polymer canes - how abstractly they flatten out on the clay body. But Practice makes Perfect. You ought to see my first attempts at spinning!

The undersides - and a better look at the button though it's way off color. The bird was supposed to look like lapis lazuli - it looks like shiny plastic. And it's way too big for an earing, but it will make a cute pendant and there are two of them and I know two little girls who would like bird neclaces. Always a use for this stuff.

Bright blue and red buttons in three sizes. The holes are close together on the front but wide in the back - this makes the bar between the holes stronger, able to hold up to repeated use.

Pea-sized beads made from the leftover bits of the buttons. If you enlarge the photos you can see my fingerprints on the beads. You can use wet/dry sandpaper in extremely fine grits to smooth them off. You can get it at auto body supply shops like Advance Auto or NAPA.

As for the shawl - thank you for the kind comments. It is all knitted, that flower pattern is the laciest in the book, very crochet-like. Its slight nylon content keeps it a little bunchy - blocking only helps so much. I wouldn't use a sock yarn with nylon in it again, but it helped me see the stitches so clearly while I was knitting it I gained a lot of confidence.

The other shawl isn't really black, though in the photos it certainly creates a Haloweeney color scheme. It's actually a deep burgundy purple, so dark it's almost black. It's gorgeous in daylight and the beads I bought for it lean much more towards the red than the black. They really glint nestled within the yarn.

Aren't we lucky there are so many good toys to play with these days?

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posted by Bess | 8:44 AM


I forget ... is this crocheted or knitted. The flowers look almost like crochet and the leaves look knitted. Beautiful job however you did it.

By Anonymous Charlotte, at 1:21 PM  

Luscious, as promised.
So worth the wait for you to get your
camera issues resolved!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:10 PM  

Love the lace pattern, and the beads add sparkle, even if they are a bit more subtle that you might have liked.

But...okay. First shawl is orange. Second is black, right? A little 'All Hallow's Eve' prep??


By Anonymous Marg in Calgary (soon Mirror), at 7:23 PM  

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Sunday, September 14, 2008  

Orange Lace with Green Beads

The Flower Pattern

The Leaf Pattern

I'll admit it - those green beads aren't very green. But I bought them in the springtime, when, as Robert Frost says, "Nature's first green is gold."

The Mohair/Silk version in process.

posted by Bess | 12:08 PM


I'm glad you told me to check your blog. I had already been there earlier today and would surely have missed the newspaper article if it had been pulled before Monday.

Meanwhile, I'm working away on some socks and a vest, neither of which seem to be any nearer the finish line than they've been for a long time.

By Blogger Larry, at 12:05 PM  

great article about Ed's new book - I had no idea...!

By Blogger Cat =^,^=, at 8:27 AM  

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Saturday, September 13, 2008  

Two pieces of good news.

First this piece about Mr.Jamestown. It's today's paper and maybe you won't be able to see it if you try to look tomorrow. I don't know how easy it is to check back issues.

Second - the camera is here at last. I'm learning how to use it today. There will be Orange Lace with Green Beads in tomorrow's post.

posted by Bess | 11:00 AM


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Wednesday, September 10, 2008  

Will there ever be an end to all this carry on? Will you ever be able to dot all the Ts, cross all the Is and just relax? Yes, and perhaps sooner than you think. However, at the moment, your cosmic challenge, should you chose to accept it, is to work like a dog until you just can't work any more. Like a benevolent owners, the Universe/God/Goddess/Call it what you will, will make sure you get all the food and pats and runs you need to keep going, as long as you do your part and slave on.

This is so exactly how I feel this week I would think MsHoroscope wrote this specifically for me. I have one day, this week, left, to dot all those T's and cross all those I's. And it's Wednesday and Wednesday means Story Hour day. Whew.

And I found out why there is no camera. Canon has decided to discontinue that model. After the world's biggest ditherer finally came to a decision! After I placed the order, tied up $ in the on-line world of PayPal, who will send me my money back for a fee, or I can spend it somewhere else. Rats. But Mr.Horoscope warns me:

You are now being dragged ever-further into a potentially pointless discussion. You are carrying out a plan that probably does not need to be implemented. Try doing nothing for a while. Try watching, waiting, thinking and reflecting. While Mars and Mercury are so closely in alignment, you could find that one moment of inspired understanding could be worth an entire day of racing around. Don't succumb to pressure. Despite appearances to the contrary, time is on your side.

So I'll just put the old nose to the sharp grindstone and Virgo-toil away. But Ratsratsrats about the camera.

And dream about attending this!

posted by Bess | 8:05 AM


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Tuesday, September 09, 2008  

Still No Camera

Hey Cindy – love your website! And I wish I were going to France with Tory Hughes. As for my attempts at lapis lazuli – they're more just bright blue objects with gold flecks in them. Still rather pretty but not gem like yet. Of course, I don't have a buffer – though I did find the wet or dry sandpaper I wanted at Advance Auto – NAPA has it too, but Advance was closer. Now all I need is clear shoe polish and maybe things will look a little more gem-like. What I was happy about was how silkily smooth I could make my Fimo projects – and how quickly I could do so – with that sandpaper. It was actually fun!

I'm not yet truly confident I can make wonderful faux gems with Fimo, but I have done some beautiful clay work in the past and my goodness, my first attempts at spinning – my Ugly Babies as I like to call them – well. They really are awful.

Of course nobody can see anything yet because my New Camera is not here. I don't know where it is – but I do know I will be on the phone to the seller today and there will be complaints. I don't care if I did order it on a holiday weekend. They are only in NY. This is not an ocean voyage away. Grumblegrumblegrumble.

This is a short week at work for me. I'll be in the city for a 2 day session of library directors catching up on What's New, so everything important has to be crammed into three short days. The good news is: it looks like I might have found a new network admin guy. He does small business networks in the area and he also handles a small private school's network, so he has experience with the grubby fingered public and filtering. We shall see. When talking to him I almost let slip that both of the previous network admin guys we had dropped dead. Then I thought better of it. He might not be interested in taking such a risky job.

What I liked about him most was that he had some money saving ideas right off the bat that might help us both offset his higher hourly rate and provide us with a beefier network. Things to think about. But it feels good to know that we aren't completely helpless and there is something particularly nice about having someone so close by. Not that Montross is actually any closer than Mechanicsville, but his territory doesn't really go beyond our Northern Neck/Middle Peninsula area. He's not likely to be so far away if we needed him right away. Funnily, when he stopped by the library yesterday, our board president, a former school teacher, was at the desk. She looked up and said “Didn't I teach you in 5th grade?” Oh la, I love a small town!!

Knitting Blog? Knitting, you ask? Well. I am poking along on a garter stitch EZ adult surprise jacket and the mohair lace shawl. What is to say. No camera, no photos, not particularly thrilling to hear I knit another inch on each. But I did. Tonight my monthly knitting group gathers at the library and I'll show off the Orange Lace with Green Beads, but I'm also taking the polymer clay supplies for show and tell. And the amateur projects, because they're still interesting to look at – and the buttons are down right cute.

For me it's hump day – so I wish you all a happy one.

posted by Bess | 6:13 AM


Okay, I really did not need to see that book, or get the idea of creating faux lapis from polymer clay. Are you not surprised that lapis lazuli is one of my favorite things ever?

Hope my email got through. Hotmail is having Issues.

By Blogger Catherine, at 5:54 PM  

I agree with you about how wonderful Tory Hughes is for polymer clay! That is great you didn't lose your power and you got the opportunity to play with your clay! Show us your beads when you get them made!

By Anonymous Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor, at 8:31 PM  

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Sunday, September 07, 2008  

The storm is over. Here in VA there wasn't too much to it. I hear the heaviest rains went west of us but we got a sweet 2 inches; just what the soybeans needed, and we never lost power. I'd filled the bathtub for washing and the spaghetti pot for drinking, so I am sure that's why electricity continued to flow into the house. Good for me, because I wanted to play with polymer clay yesterday and I got to. I'm still way down at the bottom of the learning curve with this stuff, but I am having so much fun it hardly matters. I will be chopping up gold leaf with deep blue Fimo to try to make something that looks like lapis lazuli today. Because my house is sparky clean. Because we didn't lose power. Because I filled the bathtub with water and got laughed at by ThePrinceConsort, who was demoted for laughing at TheQueen.

Here is my guide and mentor in all things polymer clay:

And pretty much all things creative. You can find out more about this magical creative force on her web page.

One thing I haven't been able to do is read my email. Hotmail is Notmail this weekend. I wonder if they are having server trouble. Also, there are no photographs because a certain recently ordered camera has not come. I am working hard at being patient. I did request UPS ground, it was a holiday weekend when I ordered the thing. But if it doesn't come this week, EARLY this week, I am going to be one very cranky customer.

In knitting news, there are beautiful sparkly beads to put on my mohair lace shawl. I picked them up on Thursday when I visited my parents. There is a wonderful little shopping strip just on the south side of Huguenot Bridge in Richmond that has, in a row, a store that sells only wide shoes, a yarn shop and a bead shop. I tend to use the bead shop on Cary Street, just because it's so spookily magical, and of course there is also a yarn shop at the other end of Carytown that does sell Addi Turbos. Hey. And there is also an organic/health food store in both shopping areas, and a metaphysical bookshop. Is this some sort of pattern? But Carytown is on my side of the James River and besides, it's funkier.

But the man at the bead shop, now let me see if I can remember his name? Rats. I can't. But he was soooo fun and helpful and had made the most fabulous necklace with soldered silver and silver PMC and these carved orange beads. I will go back again. This guy is worth the visit. And they are right by the wide shoe shop. Where I did a little birthday shopping for a certain queen we all know and love.

I have also cast on an Adult Surprise Jacket using the all the loose balls of gold/yellow/amber/orange/green yarns in my stash. I want something easy to knit on for a trip I'm taking later in the month and an all garter stitch sweater knit in one big piece should fit the bill.
So. May your Sunday be delicious and may your time fill up with joyful activities.

posted by Bess | 7:09 AM


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Wednesday, September 03, 2008  

Having gotten completely used to being at home with long stretches of dooty free hours, yesterday's return to the reality of income earning was a stretch. Not an onerous one. I have a sweet job. But my brain kept getting Full every hour or so and I'd have to walk around the building to give it time to air out. That's when I noticed the little tree sprouts in the gutter beneath the hackberry tree, so it was a profitable exercise. But straight lengths of productive hours I did not have.

I'm working on a canned demonstration of an Internet product libraries in VA provide the public so I can take it out as part of a dog and pony show.

Once I have all the power point slides I'll have to go into the meeting room and rehearse my spiel using the digital projector. So in my perusal for the perfect sample reference questions for elementary, middle and high school students, I stumbled upon this fun thing, deep in the database bowels:

God I loved word problems when I was a kid. It was the whole purpose for memorizing those tedious multiplication tables. Somehow my little girl soul knew instinctively that the whole reason for arithmatic was to become a better knitter. Elizabeth Zimmermann's EPS is nothing but one grand word problem. Too bad more knitters don't teach math, hmmm? Better knitters, better fiber dyers, better quilters, oh thank heaven for math word problems.

Let us hope I can convey this in my demo. What I shan't be doing is trusting to someone else's network, running on rural high speed access to not let me down. I have sat bored silly through so many live demos of internet searching while the info packets crashed into each other somewhere out on a phone line and shut down the computers, waiting and waiting for something to happen on the screen. I'm going to be sucking up valuable after school time belonging to hard working teachers. I want them to like this product, and use it! Once I've shown them how the databases work I'll turn them loose on their own computers to have a look around. My purpose is to whet their appetites, not to hold their hands through the research labyrinth.

This is a serious important reference tool that all VA libraries provide to the public and it's been around for a goodly long time – 6, 7 years? - I'm not sure, but long enough that smarter, wiser, more energetic folk have probably put together their own canned presentation. It's just that I haven't found one yet to steal. So, like the little red hen, I'm doing it myself.

It's a good project to play with while I wait for what I'm really wanting – my polymer clay order and my new camera. Mmmm. Hope there will be good pictures soon – of mohair lace and orange lace with beads and cute little clay bowls made out of spiral canes and faux jade carved by TheQueen. Not wishing my life away, but mmm mmm, anxious for treats to arrive.

Happy hump day to you all.

posted by Bess | 5:36 AM


I remember how important BirthdayMonth is to you so, Happy Birthday for the whole month!

Isn't it strange how knitting seems to cycle throughout the whole world. Even I have been getting interested in lace knitting recently - with beads, no less!
If you can't find a small enough crochet hook (mind you, I did, right in our own tiny town!) you can use Oral B Super Floss (which I can't find!). It has a fuzzy bit in the middle which can safely hold several beads at a time. See this link ( for a pictorial on how to use it.
Happy lacy, beady knitting!

By Blogger KathyR, at 6:50 PM  

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Monday, September 01, 2008  


Horray! It's Happy Birthday Month. For all my Virgo Sisters I wish you a month of celebration! May the days dawn bright and sunny and may it rain after sundown, just like in Camelot. May your birthday gift be, not something practical, but a luxury item that proves your loved ones understand that just because you like to put your canned goods in alphabetical order doesn't mean you want a vacuum cleaner for your birthday.

If you are a familiar guest at TheCastle, you'll remember that birthdays are Important to TheQueen and know that I celebrate the whole month. It feels strange to be starting this Happy Birthday Month on a holiday – usually Labor Day doesn't conflict with it being All About Me, but I can share. Birthdays are generous things that can spill over to any number of Other Things, like First Day of School or even a Monday Holiday.

Here in God's Country it's even perfect weather. Perfect for staying at home, perfect for taking walks with visiting son, perfect for sitting in the living room and knitting on another lace shawl – this time Deep Burgundy Mohair Lace Shawl. I'm making lots more mistakes on this one than on the smooth, springy, easy to read sock yarn. I'm glad I used an easy yarn first because otherwise I might have become frustrated with lace. As it is, I know I just need to pay attention. I am also using several of the lace patterns in the book and the biggest opportunity for error comes during the transitions.

On a crisp fresh day like today, though, with low humidity and nothing much to do, on a day when my Virgo Beforehandedness has left me with a pretty clean house, a house tidy enough to ignore any slight imperfections, on a day when there is a stack of favorite operas beside the CD player, a birthday month celebrant could knit a lot of rows of silky mohair lace. I'd like to get down to the border by Saturday, when I go to the city, because I plan to bead this shawl and I want to use better beads this time. Real bead shop beads selected because the color match is perfect. On the Orange Lace with Green Beads I used what I could find at WalMart and the holes in those beads were so tiny that most of them wouldn't take a number 10 crochet hook. That's the smallest hook WalMart sells so even if I were going to use cheap beads I'd have to get a smaller hook at one of the city craft shops and I'm not altogether sure such a tiny hook would pick up the yarn. I had to use a needle and thread to string the final beads along the shawl border and, well, ahem. That degree of tedium is beyond even this Virgo soul.

I have, in my burgeoning stash, several skeins of cashmere sport weight yarn, intended to be knit into Afghan squares. It's part of Hunt Valley Cashmere's GAAA square of the month club. I knew when I joined that the liklihood of me knitting that whole afghan was only about 4 on a scale of 1-10. But I also knew I'd like to have a regular little shipment of a luxury yarn coming into the house. I have 4 skeins now – about 400 yards. A cozy, squishy, plush heavy-ish cashmere shawl with shimmery freshwater pearl beads in the deep leaf lace hem – now, doesn't that sound delicious? Doesn't that tempt. Doesn't that feel like a nap on a chilly Saturday afternoon when the house is sparkling clean, soup is in the crock pot and you are ready for a break? Doesn't that sound simply wonderful?

There is also some mauve lace weight alpaca yarn somewhere in the stash – I'd like to knit that up as well – and just pack away the result to use as a gift for some unknown recipient. After that – well – I am thinking it will be time to do something else. Maybe Christmas Socks. Maybe a sweater. I am thinking of an EZ surprise sweater knit up in all those coordinating golden yarns I have been hoarding for so long. In fact, that might get slotted in between one lace shawl and another. Especially if that turns out to be an easy pattern to follow, since I will be riding in a car for many hours towards the end of the month. In fact – on a beautiful crisp First day of September I might paw through my stash and pull out that bag-0-yarn and have a look-see. I might even go through the old Knitters magazines to find the Adult version of that pattern. I know I own it – I just have to find it.

That's they way of a First Day of Your Birthday Month Holiday. Pretty much any good thing can happen. And just so's you know what the Starz have in mind for us September Babies here is what MsHoroscope has to say:

Venus has now moved into your second house of cash, property and possessions, where she'll stay for around four weeks. On the one hand, you do need to watch yourself, if you know you have a tendency to spend more than you should. You could find yourself feeling very flush now - but be sure you can cover your basic expenses before you go lashing out cash on something which has taken your fancy but which you maybe should be hesitating over. Your tastes might be more expensive than usual but before you give into your desires, double check with your accountant or whoever else is likely to go "Tsk tsk" if and when you spend up big on things you don't really need! The up side of this Venus cycle is that you can expect more financial opportunities to come your way. Keep your eyes peeled and you could find the period lucrative. Also use this four-week period as a chance to work on your self-esteem. Don't just think about that - do it. Start by making a list of what you know is Uniquely Wonderful about you. Seriously. Then ask your best friend what he/she thinks is Uniquely Wonderful about you. Try it.

Good thing I ordered that camera yesterday, with $ saved for exactly that purpose!

posted by Bess | 7:51 AM