Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blue Rocks Fireworks

or, more fun with the new camera. Tara asked me what kind of camera it is. Nothing terribly fancy - it's an Olympus FE-360 and it is a few steps up from my Nikon Coolpix. I know I could read through the manual (yawn...) but I much prefer, as with many other aspects of my life, to learn by just playing around with something.

Last night we went to the Wilmington Blue Rocks game versus the Myrtle Beach Pelicans with my father-in-law and brother-in-law. We joked that it was a good thing we brought the babysitter along - Willow absolutely adores her Uncle Stewart and she didn't want anything to do with us - she only wanted to play with Stewart. It was a pretty exciting game, too - the first inning lasted over 40 minutes and eleven runs were scored. In the end our home team won 8-6. It was a beautiful night for a game, too - it wasn't hot or humid, the sun set behind us so we didn't have the sun in our eyes, and best of all - I didn't get hit with a ball! (Trust me, as a person who was hit by a foul ball at at MLB game, any time you get out unscathed is a victory!)

We chose to go to this particular game because it was Fireworks Night! We don't live close to the stadium, but the fireworks are usually so loud and powerful that we can hear and feel them at our house (sometimes even see them as well in the distance). My camera has a fireworks setting and I was eager to use it. I have to say, though - in the end it was a lot more difficult than I was expecting. The camera told me it uses a slower shutter speed for this so I knew it wasn't going to be as easy as point and shoot and I would have to time these carefully.

You don't even want to know how many pictures I took to get a handful of half-decent ones...

Blue Rocks Fireworks I

Blue Rocks Fireworks H

Blue Rocks Fireworks G

Blue Rocks Fireworks A

Blue Rocks Fireworks B

Blue Rocks Fireworks E

Blue Rocks Fireworks D

And just to prove that all this playing and using special settings on the camera can mean absolutely nothing if the shot is right - with the same settings I turned to my left and snapped a shot of Willow:

Willow at the Blue Rocks

Okay... keep playing.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Blame It On Memorial Day

It seems like I have been mixed up all week.

I started a new pair of socks! Hopefully these ones will be for me - they haven't told me otherwise yet. It's a variation on my stand by Ann Budd sock pattern done in 2 X 2 rib. The yarn is the Barefoot Spinner (who doesn't have a website) superwash sock yarn I bought at MDSW.

A weird thought about superwash - more than once while I was at MDSW I overheard people say they were apprehensive about buying superwash wool because they were worried it might felt. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't that precisely what superwash wool is *not* supposed to do?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

More "I Love My New Camera" Shots











And perhaps my favourite of the bunch:


Unfortunately, I missed most of the bloom time in my father-in-law's garden this year. The recent hot spell hasn't helped much, either - but I did manage to snap these pretties while during our cook-out yesterday.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Why, yes -

I am alive - thank you for asking.

Sorry - I have been incredibly busy at work. My lucky bum co-worker was whisked off on a surprise Caribbean cruise for her 50th birthday and I had to cover for her while she was away. Hint, hint - husbands...

I did manage to finish both pairs of socks I had been working on by Saturday night. Here are the Mandy socks:

Mandy Socks finished

They are too big for me, so I will be gifting them to someone, as soon as I make sure I have her mailing address (Ahem, Amy B. Cats).

Here are the Ampersand socks:

Ampersand Socks finished

I love these socks, but I will be giving these to someone as well. They are beautiful, they fit - but I know someone who will really appreciate them. More on that later.

In the meantime, I discovered a cool feature on my new camera - super macro! Look what it does for the Ampersand socks:

Ampersand Sock Macro

Everyone, now - "Oooh..."

And my basil (which I started from seed, thank you very much) that desperately needs transplanting outside:

Basil Macro

And my Christmas cactus, which not only have I managed to not kill, is sprouting new leaves:

Christmas Cactus

I have a bad track record with houseplants...

Yay me!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

24 Hours of Baseball and some WiPs

Whew! It's been a whirlwind of baseball around here!

Yesterday, Andrew, Willow, and I headed out to Frawley Stadium to see the Wilmington Blue Rocks play baseball.

Frawley Stadium

This was Willow's first trip to a baseball game of any kind, and she thoroughly enjoyed herself. She saw a homerun, bases being stolen, and foul balls coming perilously close to us in the general admission seats. She got to eat a hot dog, have roasted peanuts and cracker jacks. I think it is safe to say that a baseball fan has been born.

A baseball fan is born

I think she especially liked the theatricality (is that a word? If not, it is now!) of it all. The celery that came out and danced whenever a run was scored, the games between innings, people singing, the scoreboard lighting up and shooting water from the Mountain Dew bottle. Now I will just have to teach her how to play!

There was a fire up on the hill in Wilmington around the second inning mark:

Fire on the hill

For a while, people were more interested in watching the fire than the game in front of us. I can't say I blame them - I've never seen so many attempts to bunt in my life!

The baseball calvacade continued today when my work group had our yearly outing to a Phillies game. I *love* watching baseball in person - I played softball and fastball for so many years it just doesn't make sense to me when I watch it on TV - the perspective is all wrong.

From Section 418

Is Citizens Bank Park a lovely stadium? Our seats were in section 418 - I've never been up that high before. It wasn't bad - I mean, we were looking down the entire time, but we had a great view. Last year we were about 15 feet past third base and my view was obscured by the yellow foul line pole - I couldn't see the scoreboard at all. Personally, I much prefer being somewhere along the first base line.

There was an interesting starting act. I was really off in Lala-land. I had eaten my lunch, was wondering if it was going to rain or not when I looked down at the field and saw dogs... lots of dogs:

Dog Act

And a very chesty assistant. Ahem. The dogs did all sorts of cute an acrobatic tricks - it's too bad Willow wasn't there - she would have really enjoyed it.

The game was fun - it went into a tenth inning, but the Phillies ended up losing to the Dodgers 5-3. It was amusing to listen to my guy work friends - apparently they have an extensive fantasy league, so nearly every move on the field was mirroring something in their fantasy league. And they think knitting is time-consuming!

I did bring my knitting with me, and neither the security guard nor the cashier where I bought my food were surprised by it. The cashier asked me if I was working on a hat and I had to pull out my project to show her the sock in progress. I didn't knit at the park - my sole reason (ha-ha! pun intended!) for bringing it was the ride home. We have done this businessperson special a few times and I know we always get stuck in traffic on the way home.

So, without further ado, here are my two socks in progress. Both are second socks, and both will hopefully be finished by the weekend:

WiP 5.14.09

The pink sock on the left is the matching Mandy sock, and I need to find someone with feet larger than mine to give it to. I have 6.5/7 wide feet and they were just too long for me. And I am too lazy to rip them back and make them shorter. The pair on the right I am still up in the air on - I really like them and the pattern, but I think I may have a recipient in mind for those ones as well.

Last shot:

Lucky's new friend

Lucky and his new friend - can you spot her?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lucky Shot

A few weeks ago, Bezzie wrote something about how there is a correlation between how far a cat stretches out and how hot it is. Well, it was hot yesterday. No - not mid-August humid hot, but after 11 straight days of cool rain, a day that hit the low 80s was a shock to the system.

Late in the afternoon I was folding clothes and watching episodes of No Reservations when Lucky jumped up at the other end of the sofa and sat like this:

Stretched Out Lucky

I couldn't help myself - I started snickering and lucky (ha!) for me, my camera was right beside me.

Beautiful Lucky

"Why do you stare? I know I am beautiful."

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

WiP It Wednesday

There you go... a sock and a fifth? This Ampersand pattern knits up exceptionally fast (I think the sport weight yarn helps as well), so I hope to finish this pair soon so I can dig into something from my MDSW stash.

Ampersand socks

I forgot to include this yarn in my Rehoboth Beach post a few days back. There is a new yarn store in Rehoboth called Kitschy Stitch, in a very cute Cape Code house off of Rehoboth Avenue. If you are walking away from the beach on the right side of the street, Lake Avenue is the street where Starbucks is - turn left just before the Starbucks and it is the second or third house on your left. Allison was very nice and she chatted with Andrew (and while Willow pulled out *all* of her son's toys) while I searched for yarn. I will definitely stop here again on our next trip down to the beach.


And some non-knitting WiPs: the plants I haven't been able to transplant because the weather has been so wet and dreary lately:


While I was taking these pictures I was surprised to hear a lawnmower outside - it isn't raining at the moment, but this afternoon has been the only break in about 4 days of constant drizzle. The guy behind us was mowing his lawn - and can you see the massive machine he is straddling?!!? Someone has issues. That side of the street has long front yards and short backyards (ours is the opposite) - so his backyard can't be more than 20' X 40'.


Sunday, May 03, 2009

MDSW: The Most Boring Recap in the World

I'm going to apologize up front. I was so tired by the time MDSW finally rolled around, I forgot to take pictures. I have one picture from the fair, and the only reason for that is because Pam took Cristi's photo of us first and that reminded me my new camera was in my wallet.

So, without further ado, here is the only proof I was at MDSW:

Jo and Cristi

I suppose you could argue the following wool means something, but really - practically anything can be bought online now. I also got to meet Jesh, and I was a bit taken aback when she said she knew who I was. I meant to tell her I love Oolong's nose, but that isn't what came out of my mouth. And Pam, you look terrific - I think I need to check out that Lazyman regime of yours. Karen, you are so much taller than I thought you would be! I don't know why I expect people to be closer to my height - I'm only 5 feet tall on a good day with thick socks, so most people tower over me. I'm so sorry that I didn't ask to have a picture taken with all of you, and I hope next time there is a meet up I will be able to spend more time with all of you.

So, what did I buy? Honestly, not a lot. I had budgeted a certain amount and I didn't even spend half that. That isn't to say that there wasn't nice stuff there because there certainly was, but not much screamed to me that I had to buy it. I wonder if there was a colour trend going on - I love bright vibrant stuff, and it seemed like much of what I saw was more muted or was in colourways I already owned. Ha! Maybe that is it - my stash has hit a saturation point (Jeez, don't tell my husband that!)

Ellen's Half Pint Farm 50% silk/50% merino dk in 'Rose Garden.' This is the same colourway I knit my misbegotten Jaywalker socks out of (but different yarn base):

Ellen's 1/2 Pint Farm in Rose Garden

My friend Kathy bought this sock yarn for me to thank me for the Kermit the Frog socks. It is also Pucker Brush Farm superwash sock yarn, and coincedently, also in colours Kathy likes:

Pucker Brush Farms Superwash sock yarn

This might be my favourite yarn from yesterday's haul. It is from The Barefoot Spinner and I wish I had picked up more (I had been trying to pace myself). There is an lighter swath on one end that didn't get as much dye and I am absurdly excited to knit it up and see what it looks like:

Sock Yarn from The Barefoot Spinner

And the last bit of yarn I bought was from the Creatively Dyed stall - Calypso yarn in the 'Barbuda' colourway. My photo above isn't the best because of the fading sun, but it reminds me of a rose garden:

Creatively Dyed Calypso in Barbuda

And, of course, you know I can't leave without getting something for Willow - so here is her new sheepdog stuffed animal, who she named Meatballs. I'm running out of toys to get her at these events - I think from now on I am just going to buy her yarn and get her a hope chest to put it in. Just think what vintage STR will be worth in twenty years!

Meet My New Friend

As I mentioned above, I have a new camera - my five-year anniversary gift from my company. I'm still trying to learn how to use it - the above shots were taken with the 'cuisine' selection - I kid you not! The description says it is intended for still life, and yarn certainly qualifies for that. It also has a self-portait selection, for when you are taking a picture of yourself while holding the camera:

New camera self-portrait

Do yourself a favour and don't go to Flickr and see the original of that picture. No one needs to see my skin close up like that.