Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fussy, Provocative Dogs with Attitude

This week must be going by fast... its now Doggy Thursday again! As the time is flying by, don't forget you have until July 4th for my blogiversary "contest" (with an automatic "prize")!

I caught baby girl {links = more damn cute pics} doing her best "Count Lola" impersonation, which Teutul thought was pretty amusing...

CountLola_61308b

CountLola_Tut_61308


Maybe he was laughing at the fact that she really is not very lady-like...

CountLola_61308

Big brother Zeus {I think he's giving me the look in that pic!} one-upped her on the provocative pose...

PornoZeus_62308 CountZeus_62308


Teutul {even as a baby, he played the King Tut role well} trying hard to give the look... and just look at how cute, tiny & clumsy looking he was as a baby (I just got some "new" old pics from the man who had rescued him in TN)

Tut_62308 Teutul_baby2004b

Sophie was either pretty tired when I was snapping pics, or else she's mastered the "I'm not looking..." pose?

SleepySophie_62308 Sophie_62308b

Sign ups are now open for the Dog Days of Summer secret swap over at Dogs on Thursday. If you haven't joined our growing pack yet, what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

REVIEW: When Bad Things Happen to Good Knitters

When Bad Things Happen to Good Knitters
An Emergency Survival Guide
by Marion Edmonds & Ahza Moore

Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: The Taunton Press (Feb. 6, 2007)

BadThingsHappen

The title and cover illustrations of this knitter's survival guide certainly lead to a quick chuckle and peaked my interest... but is this just yet another so-called "must have book for all knitters" or is this one really a good investment?

I turned the first few pages and read "Work is over. The dog is walked. The dishes are done. Finally, it's your knitting time." I'm liking this book already!

If you've bought other survival guides, you'll know what comes next... the sections on putting together a knitter's tool kit, the speech about always swatching (the authors are described as "knitting nanas or knitting fairy godmothers"... my Nana never lectured me on swatching!), talk of gauge, yarn labels, choosing the right needles and casting on. This is all pretty standard to survival guides of our times, but these ladies throw in some fun, useful tips (purling in to your swatch to indicate needle size; saving swatches to create a memory filled lap blanket; the answer to that age old question of why gauge measurements are given over 4 inches...) and cute humor.

The Secret Language of Knitting Patterns section is informative and inclusive. The list of standard abbreviations is longer than most I've seen. The "who says it's general knitting knowledge" is well said - you all know what happens when we assume in life... and I'm sure I'm not the only one who's learned the hard way what happens when you assume in knitting!

The book goes on with more whit and humor than I can shake a size 7 bamboo straight at. The tips and short stories highlighted in green blocks throughout will keep you in stitches ... or help to keep your stitches safely on the needles! I got a good chuckle from reading the tidbit on page 72 about the child (from the authors' after-school knitting program for ages 5 - 11) who was so pleased to show off the lovely scarf she started at home. The only problem? The kids were not allowed to take the knitting needles home... so this future Zimmerman fashioned her own from ball point pens! This leads us to a handy "emergency tool substitution" chart. First thing on it? This Book... there is no substitute. However, you can, of course, substitute the cork from last night's bottle of wine for point protectors. Drink up ladies... you have a lot of needle points that need protecting!

The book ends with a wonderful section on finishing... complete with perfect illustrations (the illustrations all throughout the book are clear and helpful).

My final verdict? Yes, this is one to add to your knitting bag. Bonus... its small in size, but not too small that we need coke bottle glasses to read it, and its small in price!

About the Authors: Between them, Marion Edmonds and Ahza Moore have 119 years of knitting experience. As partners in KnittingTogetherNYC, they have made knitting their livelihood, giving private knitting lessons and teaching at SoHo's Purl yarn store. They contributed patterns to Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson and develop patterns for magazines. This is their first book.

The winner of the Get Your Crochet On! Fly Tops & Funky Flavas book from my last review was drawn this morning via random number generator...

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers: 7
Timestamp: 2008-06-25 13:56:53 UTC


Congratulations to #7... Joanne! Your book will be arriving very shortly.

I have just received a wonderful shipment from Namaste of items to review. I will begin my review/testing this week (i.e. using the bags in real life), so look for the official review in another week or two. In the meantime, I can say that the new Peacock blue color is beautious!!!!!!! I heart it. I also heart this company... a family owned business where bringing your dog to work is the norm and their products are made from animal-friendly faux leather!


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Otters and Bears and Big Cats... OH MY!

On Saturday afternoon, I headed off to The Stone Zoo (hey that's my honey to the right, with sunglasses on, standing in line for our Cheesecake Factory slices... guess I was too short to show up in the pic because I was right in front of him and my friend Dani is behind him...) for their annual Wild Affair "tasting" event. This was the first time we went and it was a blast... the food was delicious!! I think we're all definitely going again next year!

I stupidly left my camera at home, but did use my cell phone to snap a few cute pics. They had a lot of the animals out and about for people to see up close and personal, including this BIG guy.

Turtle

I totally love cute, furry things and am especially fond of both otters and meerkats...

Otter

Meerkat

Lookie here at Mr. Big Kittie Kat! This photo was actually taken from behind the glass and I can't believe how well it came out...

Jaguar

They had various fundraising things going on during the evening, one of which was $25 for a stuffed bear (who roars... Sophie has already stolen it twice, she's quite infatuated with him). You pick which bear you want, all are numbered, and you are guaranteed a prize worth at least the $25 you spent (prizes ranged from gift cards to restaurants, hair salons, car washes, even a vet's office... to autographed sports memorabilia... to behind the scenes tours at the zoo). Later during the event you bring your numbered bear to the prize table to see what you've won.

StoneZoo

I got my bear on the way in (they were selling out fast) and picked #98... then as we were walking around, I was looking over the prize list and said "oh cool... a rose quartz bear pendant... oh and a behind the scenes tour of the new black bear exhibit... some autographed Red Socks stuff..." Then as we were looking for the prize table, I started thinking "oh great, watch me win the free car washes and I'd have to waste half a tank of gas just to get there to wash my car..." Then the nice lady starts looking for #98... nope, its not here on the prize table... its not any of those baskets, not even that big Red Sox one.... okay, she goes and looks in the flat envelope box and pulls one out a big envelope and hands it to me... its this...

StoneZoob



The Rose Quartz Bear pendant, valued at $200 from a local jewelry designer (attached card says rose quartz bear, rose quartz & garnet beads, sterling silver, faceted fresh water pearls and swarovski crystals). How funny is that... I ended up with the first prize I mentioned out loud(damn... if I had only read "behind the scenes black bear exhibit tour" first... note to self for next year...)! Needless to say, I was quite happy with my $25 investment (I'd never spend $200 on this!)... now to keep the little growling bear away from The Princess who wishes to de-stuff him......

Friday, June 20, 2008

Leaning to The Left

OK, I'm almost embarrassed to admit it, but yes... my hometown is Gloucester, MA. The Cape Ann town (an island really, connected to "mainland" by only 2 bridges) that is famous for this (these too) and this and even some Whoppi. Gloucester is where I was born, raised and lived until moving to NH 7 years ago. This Gloucester... the one that's all over the news today... the butt of late night jokes... even in Time. Now, just what the hell are these kids thinking? I know there's not always a lot to do on "the island," but come on now... and um... parents, where are you??? I digress...

Yesterday I learned that my Dad's cancer is squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer. I'm still awaiting some clarification from Mom on this, since she was previously told "Head & Neck Cancer" until I forced her to push for an actual name. He had the infected tonsil removed last week and will begin radiation treatments on his neck July 6. UPDATED 7/9/08 - leave it to me googling to get the information wrong. While this is the 2nd most common form of skin cancer, it is also the name used for the most common form of head & neck cancer, which is what my Dad has.

Later yesterday, I learned that my very dear friend Chan lost Pop. She and I have made a pact... Chan will keep leaning to the right and I'll lean left, that way we can continue to help keep each other afloat....

On another note, remember the nesting Mama from this post? I'm happy to report that I spyed some hungy little babies last week in the nest...

BabyBirds_61208

BabyBirds_61208c

It's been a long week and I don't think I've been happier to say this... TGIF! I need a break!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Got BARk?

During a very busy week, I am happy to report that another Doggy Thursday is upon us! And you know what that means... its ALMOST Friday and that means almost the weekend... yeah!

For those of you who only visit for DOT posts, please scroll back a couple for my Blogiversary contest/giveaway.

We have some family doggy news this week! The kids have a new cousin... a little fuzz ball... err, I mean Bouvier, named Zorro [as always, click linked names for more cuteness]!

Zorro

Zorro is the new little brother to Miss Sammi, who's been an only child since loosing her big brother Jasper shortly after Christmas. No more time to be lazy dog for her... she's got a new runt to chase around (well, at least for another month or two... until said runt becomes new giant).

Here's Sammi overseeing baby brother...

ZorroSammi

And my absolute favorite shot of Baby Z...

ZorroNap

Awww... I miss tiny puppy-ness... but alas, our house is a bit full these days! And on that note...

Tut [hogging the rope from GeorgeAnne] & Lola [yeah, I posted that pic yesterday but I still love it] were all smiles when Mommy told them about the nice lady emailing us to announce that they are going to be in the July issue of The BARk Magazine!

TutLola_61208

Its already gone to the Queen's head. She started doing her best Vogue poses for the camera, only to be interrupted with a kiss from her brother...

Lola_61208 TutKISSLola_61208

Zeus couldn't be bothered to share

in his sibling's good news... "what-eva!"

Zeus61208

The Princess was too busy bug hunting...

Sophie_bughunting_60108b

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Spoiled by a Sneaky Multi-Tasker!

So if you haven't hopped on over and joined our little online party at the Multitasking 9-5 group on Ravelry, what are you waiting for? We are in the midst of sending & receiving packages in our first swap and I was spoiled by the ever-so-sneaky GeorgeAnne. Sneaky girl told me she was sending out some Cirque du Soleil swag (long story short, she has one of the coolest jobs), which really turned out to be my swap box! Lookie at all the amazing things she sent...

Multitask_Package

One of the swap requirements was a handmade item from the spoiler. It did not need to be large.. did not need to be knit or crocheted... just something simple, made by her own 2 hands. Well, I got extra spoiling with this beautious, vibrant purple crocheted shawl (which I had earlier eyed in her Ravelry projects!)!

MultitaskShawl

MultitaskShawl_Tut

Isn't it gorgeous? It will do wonders for me come this fall when my office gets a tad chilly from those who seem to think that AC is required to be on high even in October!

Another requirement of the swap was a skein of yarn... and I got 3! She sent her very own Zona Blue Design (be sure to check out her Etsy store - and OMG, I MUST. HAVE. VERMONT FOLIAGE. COLORWAY... oh sneaky girl, are you listening???) hand dyed 100% Merino worsted in the awesome Island Jewels colorway and 2 skeins of Berroco Comfort worsted in an awesome green colorway (this stuff is sooooooo squishy and soft... what to make, what to make???)...

ZonaBlue_islandJewels

BerrocoComfort_9808

The rest of the swap requirements were for treats, things to help us get through our multitasking days at work, etc. I got the Harlot's "Things I Learned from Knitting...whether I wanted to or not" book, a super cute doggy bookmark, a funky spiral M&Ms notepad, some cool geometrical design magnets, Mary Engelbreit post it notes, a music theme set of wine glass charms (hmmm... am I supposed to use these at work??), Il Circo promotional DVD (so, she wasn't totally fibbing about Cirque swag), a packet of Soak wash, a jar of Port Wine Jelly from Bernardo Winery near her home, and the coolest tin of mints ever!

Multitask_Mints

COOL? The tin has "Knitting Girl" on the front and the mints inside are sugar-free green apple. I need to find these at one of my LYS...

GeorgeAnne also sent a rope toy for my kids, which as you can see they pretty much claimed right away from the pile as I was photoing...

SophieTutLola_rope61208

Zeus: "Hey, there's a toy here and no one's hogging it..."

Zeus_rope61208

Lola: "Yes Mommy, may I puhhhleeeeeezzzzzzzze have it???"

Lola_rope61208

Thanks Sneaky Girl... uh, I mean Georgie! You are one super multitasking spoiler!!!!!!!

Luck O' The Irish

Its great to be a Boston girl!!!!!!

CelticsBackOnTop


Very Nice Beantown... how cool is it to be holding the current World Series Championship and the NBA Championship? Of course, I firmly believe that had it not been for Spygate 2007, we would be holding the current Superbowl title as well... but that's another NFL political story for another day.... Even my beloved Bruins ended the past season on quite a high note... can't wait for hockey this year!

Way to go Green!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

REVIEW: Get Your Crochet On!

As previously promised, welcome to the very first Product Review by Lapdog Creations! In the coming weeks you will be finding various reviews on books (both craft & pet related), yarns, notions, knitting/crochet accessories, etc. I hope you will enjoy this new content as much as I enjoy reviewing products!

Get Your Crochet On! Fly Tops & Funky Flavas
by Afya Ibomu

Paperback: 140 pages
Publisher: The Taunton Press (Nov. 20, 2007)



070952_lg

I will start off by saying that I am not a crocheter, however find this well illustrated book fun - especially for the younger, hip generation of crafters out there! The photos are very colorful and show the patterns well.

Fly Tops & Funky Flavas provides 30 hip, stylish, urban patterns for the young and young at heart - from tanks and tunics; to socks and menswear; to belts, bangles and earrings. You'll find alot of "out there" patterns that are truly made for the younger crowd - a Biker Chain, barely there bikini top (Lil' Ma) and Fat Gold Chain necklace for your boy in the hood! However, you'll also find several cute and more every-day wearable patterns, including a very cute belt (Chica) that even I would dare to wear, a funky men's tie (Boss Up) and a pair of tunic tops; a mesh style (Tune In) which would make a great beach cover up and a twist on the traditional Afrikan top (Dashiki) which would look super cute paired with a tank & jeans.

The book provides lots of basic, well illustrated crochet instruction for beginners (including How to Read a Crochet Pattern), as well as a Color Inspirations & Theory section.

Although the patterns aren't all leaning towards my personal style, I could see my younger niece asking for some of the pieces. This is an excellent book to help motivate some young fashionistas in to picking up a hook and creating their own pieces!

About the Author: Afya Ibomu is an innovative crochet designer and entrepreneur. Her crocheted creations have adorned such Hip Hop/Soul artists as Erykah Badu, Common, Talib Kweli, dead prez, Eric Benet, Dwayne Wiggins (of Tony! Toni! Tone!), and Musiq.

CONTEST! In honor of the first officially published Lapdog Creations review, I am giving away a copy of this book! To enter, simply leave a comment here telling me what your favorite item is to crochet (make sure to leave a means of contact if your email does not automatically attach to your comment). Deadline to enter is Tuesday, June 24th at midnight. Winner will be selected by random number generator. Thank you to The Taunton Press for providing the book for review and giveaway.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Day of Knitting & Friends

June 7 (yes, I'm still playing blogging catch up) was the annual Granite State Knit In at Loon Mountain... a wonderful hot and long day of knitting, classes, shopping and friends. This was my second time attending and I did enjoy it even more than last year! Joanne was presented with the opportunity to vend this year, so she, blogless Cheryl and I hoped on the road at the crack of dawn and headed North!

With some very creative help of my honey, we rigged a great display board for Stitch Markers by Lapdog Creations...


KnitIn_6708_Markers

The day started off with classes. I took Duplicate Stitch, Celtic Cables and Gauge, which were all interesting but Duplicate Stitch was by far the best! Both Cheryl (who also took the class) & I had read about duplicate stitch several times, and we both agreed that it is one of those things that you just don't get until you are shown it first hand.

We had some great items in our goody bags this year....

GoodyBag

I was thrilled to find out that the main gift this year was the Beanie Baggie from Mind Your Knitting! These were big at last year's Knit & Crochet show and I ended up not leaving with one, only to wish I had a few months later! Not only did we all have one of the very cool weighted baggies, but they gave us the matching Knitting Knotebook & Accessory Pouch too! I was extra thrilled that I even got the colorway that I would most want!

GoodyBagB

Following the classes, we had our shopping hour, a super yummy lunch (the baked fish was delicious!), and then we were treated to this year's keynote speaker, Miss Virgina McGlynn of the Abbot Yarn Shop in Beverly, MA. Miss Virginia was both enlightening & entertaining and she brought lots of great knitting memorabilia to show us.

KnitIn_6708_Virginia KnitIn_6708_Virginia_showtell

Miss Virginia gave everyone some great free patterns, including this lovely shawl that both Cheryl & I are planning to make... and she graciously signed her books (I got my Finishing book signed).

KnitIn_6708_Virginia_shawl abbottYarn

I was very reserved in my shopping and only brought home a few things...


3 skeins of Cherry Tree Hill Cotton Boucle Mini (which was double discounted... I ended up spending a whopping $12.50 for all 3 skeins!)

CherryTreeHillyarn

The yarn & pattern for my Dream in Color shrug...

DIC_shrug

My final purchase was this gorgeous lace weight alpaca/silk and shawl pattern from Tree of Life Designs...

treeoflife_kit

The day ended with the contest winners (none of us), the annual State Trooper visit to collect the dressed teddy bears/stuffed animals and the raffle (again, nothing).

A shot of some of the stuffed animals collected this year...

KnitIn_6708_TeddyBears

While none of us won any of the raffles, Cheryl's blogless super lucky ducky friend Beth managed to walk away with the uber grand prize (drawn from all non-winning tickets)... this beautiful, bottomless basket of goodies!

KnitIn_6708_BethGrandPrize

Did I mention what a hot day it was? And since Loon Mountain is known for being a ski lodge, well... there's no a/c (can you scream UGH with me?)! So what else to do, but end the day right with a stop for ice cream on the way home! The place we stopped at had a make your own sundae bar (yum-o!) and this cute guy parked out front...

Moo