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Monday, December 31, 2012

Dec.31 Shopping - Not Vicariously

Today - on New Year's Eve Day - I am not quite offering a Shopping Vicariously option as proposed for each day in  December.
It's not Shopping Vicariously through others when I actually did some "shopping" in December.

As previously blogged, I became unemployed in October.
I have considered pursuing a job in my previous work-industry. I have considered getting a basic, pay-the-bills job. I have also wondered if I'd be able to find a job when so many are unemployed (and some for a very long time).

However, I considered yet another path.
I have decided to pursue another Degree.
Specifically, a degree in Fiber Arts.
It's a core Arts degree with a focus on Weaving.
{wry grin}
Your reaction to the above probably resembles one of these three:
  1. "Fiber Arts?" (said with varying levels of polite disbelief)
  2. "Fiber Arts." (said with mild curiosity or even a bit of ignorance)
  3. "Fiber Arts!!!" (said with enthusiasm and perhaps a little envy).
The response depends on the audience. {grin}

Thusly, in December, I shopped for classes to support my chosen degree and visited the bookstore to collect my required "reading".
My Weaving Educational adventure begins in the New Year. We'll see what happens next.

Be safe and kind tonight.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dec. Shopping Vicariously Theme - Sunday Alms Week 5

And here we find the last of our December Shopping Vicariously Sunday Alms entries.

Got pets?
Got or getting them from where?

The Humane Society?
PAWSitively Cats, A No Kill Cat Shelter
Best Friends?

Even if you already have pets the folks that shelter the pending-adoption critter-kins could always use your support. Donations of food, litter, supplies, and funds support their efforts and allow them to do what they do.
I know I can only care well for so many pets. But supporting these types of organizations means that more animals can be housed and fed and cared for until they find their forever home.

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dec.29th Shopping Vicariously - Yarn! On Etsy!

E'yup - more Etsy yarn.
The tragic bit is I am actually pretty ignorant of much of the yarn on Etsy....kinda gives me a shiver to think there is soooo much more to see!

Again, I can't say that I have personally experienced the yarn from all these vendors, but it does look quite spiffy and you can almost see the yarn fumes!

The new year approaches - I hope you're planing a fun and safe New Year's Celebration!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Shopping Vicariously on Dec.28th - Wood and Clay

So, are you reading further because you wanted to see what I meant in the Post Title by "Wood and Clay"? Perhaps you've already guessed.

Today's Vicarious Shopping options are two of my favorites.

Wood - refers to the amazing wooden treasures created by Ken Ledbetter of KCL Woods.
One of the most-visited posts in this blog is the one documenting my first "Tucson Handweaver's and Spinner's Guild Fashion Show". And I'm pretty sure a great many folks go to that blog post specifically to see the pictures of the lovely Yarn Bowl I got from Mr. Ledbetter at the Fashion Show Market.
I also have to say - even though I don't spin - his Modular drop spindles were particularly intriguing. They came with extra shafts so when you filled up one, you didn't have to stop spinning and wind the yarn elsewhere - you just switch out the shaft and continue. Pretty nifty, I thought!
Ohhh - he has Weaving Shuttles. {sigh} Another item for my wish-list.

Clay - Well, of course it's Jennie the Potter!
I specifically visited her booth during the 2009 Sock Summit to purchase one of her lovely mugs (and I was successful). I was less successful at the 2011 Sock Summit - the word was out and the commemorative SS11 mugs had sold out quickly. I have recently seen her donate a lovely bowl to the help "Rebuild Judith's Studio" auction and she created special mug and yarn bowl designs for the Knitty 10th Anniversary.

Jennie the Potter on Etsy. (Don't be taken aback by the current available stock - I understand she will create items "made to order". Peruse the already sold items to get a better scope of what she creates.)

Hope your week is going well!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Vicarious Shopping for Dec.27th - Clever books/web-fun

Today's Vicarious Shopping options were first introduced to me on the Internet. Then came the books!

Please enjoy exploring:

A lovely Thursday to you!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dec. 26th Vicarious Shopping - My version of Boxing Day

Well, Christmas Day has passed and we're approaching the New Year.

Since I don't live in a British Commonwealth country, "Boxing Day" is not an expected holiday.

However, I view "Boxing Day" as....an opportunity for Proactive Holiday Preparation.

The opportunity to purchase Christmas-related items at half price.
Yep, Greeting Cards, wrapping paper, package labels, Christmas Ornaments and the like.

Consider the sales at all the lovely shops and vendors that have been presented thus far as Vicarious Shopping options!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Dec. 25th - No shopping today. Just some Holiday Purrs and Fleurs

{I know, I know. I could resist using that title}  ;-)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you.

No Shopping Vicariously today. Today we enjoy family and friends and perhaps some respite from the pressures of the Holiday Season.

I noticed my Christmas Cactus began to bloom this week.
So here's some pictures of those few blossoms as well as some pictures of our cats enjoying the Winter sunshine.

I hope you get to enjoy some sunshine-bliss today too.
E-Hug - and Purrs:
The "usual" sunshine positions (except Nikoli is asleep elsewhere).
Gryphon (Not disturbed by camera-in-face).
CooPurr (Mildly disturbed by camera-in-face).
Handsome Mikale. (Um, kinda disturbed by camera, but purring loudly). 
Nikoli's back and giving Mikale a bath. (Nikoli bathes everyone - including me). 
These two sleep "Yin-Yang" allll the time. Endlessly charming.
This Christmas Cactus has a few blooms and quite a few buds. 

There are also a couple of African Violet blooms just now:

 Oh, and this is a "creep". Well, technically it's a "double creep" that lives in an African Violet pot. One of the vendors at the 4th Ave. Street Fair used to sell these, but I haven't seen them offer "creeps" in many years.
So you don't get the wrong idea that I have a green thumb, here's the other Double Creep I have in a pot with a struggling-to-survive (cat gnawed) Spider plant:

And here's the other Christmas Cactus with it's single bloom:

Dec.24th Shopping Vicariously - Last Minute

My humble apologies. I forgot to setup a post for the 24th. {tsk}

Confession...I was knitting furiously the last few days.
(Yes, I thought of the Yarn Harlot and her Christmas Knitting.)
I had nearly finished 2 more sets of fingerless mitts to gift away on Christmas Eve, but that would leave a 3rd person at our dinner left out and mitt-less. {sigh}(And it turned out there was a "surprise" 4th person that would have also been knit-less.)

Since other gifts had already been purchased, wrapped and planned for these lovely folks and the mitts were "bonus" gifts...the plot was abandoned late yesterday afternoon and the completed mitts are now a head-start on next years gifting.

So - Vicariously Shopping options for the 24th of December.
Something that is relatively quick to setup at the last minute if you're running late but that could also be the perfect gift.
{Ha - as this blog post is ironically and demonstratively late.}

My husband calls this "Giving someone an errand". {wry grin}
Gifting someone with an "errand" is giving them a Gift Certificate. ;-)

The obvious clues are to consider the person's interests, needs, or hobbies, which stores are favored or located nearby, and from where you would shop for them if you felt a bit more comfortable about exactly what to purchase for them. (We also like to support our local shop owners.)

For Tucson some interesting "local" options might be:

And yes, I received a very spiffy Christmas errand - the DH gifted me with an nifty excursion to Kiwi Knitting!
Please excuse me...I'm off to work on the mildly late Christmas Day Blog Post now.

I hope your Christmas Eve was full of happy anticipation, satisfaction (at being more prepared than I), and some quiet joy and wonder.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dec. Shopping Vicariously Theme - Sunday Alms Week 4

"Shopping Vicariously" Alms options for your consideration:

Unfortunately, these organizations have had to address a lot more emergencies and recovery support the last few years.

  • The American Red Cross. Southern Arizona Red Cross Chapter.
    "Give Life, Give Love, Give Blood" - a faded Red Cross bumper sticker on my little well-loved pickup. The Red Cross is still hip-deep in Hurricane and earthquake recovery.
    Please donate blood or funds if you can.
  • World Care - Civilian Emergency Relief Fund.
    I Love what this organization does and how they do it! They are located here in Tucson and they help people all around the world. Their mission is to "provide humanitarian relief by recycling surplus materials and supply to create usable resources for health, education and sustainable communities worldwide". I've seen them pull together pallets of donated items to take to Haiti, New York... they go where they're needed. 
Lastly - the Bloggess featured this organization in late November:

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Dec.22nd Vicarious Shopping - More By Design

When I started pulling together the Vicarious Shopping Favored Designers for the 18th's post, I came up with a lot more favored designers than I had expected.

So...More Favored Designers for Vicarious Shopping options:

    Have fun exploring all these lovely designs.

    Oh - and if you're reading this, all that End of Mayan Calendar = end-of-world Hooey is just another bit of "The Sky is Falling" foolishness.

    Friday, December 21, 2012

    Bag Lady Part2 - Dec 21st Vicarious Shopping!

    But of course there are more bags to include in the blog!!
    {Love Bags!}

    Continued from the Vicarious Shopping Bag Lady blog from the 20th....

    Please enjoy the first day of Winter in the Northern Hemisphere. ;-)

    Thursday, December 20, 2012

    Dec. 20th Vicarious Shopping - Bag Lady!!

    I ... am a Bag Lady.
    I Love bags. Big 'uns, little 'uns, backpacks, messenger bags, zippered bags, drawstring bags...
    {Happy Sigh}.

    Ok, I'm not too fond of velcro closures (velcro doesn't mix well with yarn {shudder}).
    And...my project bags do have to close - I have yarn-chomping cats. {sigh}

    I have plenty of bags. (I keep telling myself.)
    Researching this round of Vicarious Shopping options might have been a bit harder {more tempting} than the Vicarious shopping YARN options.

    But here's a few project bag options for your consideration:

    Please enjoy the last day of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. ;-)

    Wednesday, December 19, 2012

    The 19th's Dec. Shopping vicariously - YARN! More Etsy Options

    A few more ETSY Yarn vicarious Shipping Options:
    (Whups. And I strayed a little bit away from Etsy...but you know the effect Yarn Fumes can have on me...)

    More favored yarn in a day or so! My thanks for everyone's suggestions!!

    Tuesday, December 18, 2012

    Dec.18th Vicarious Shopping - By Design

    Today's Vicarious Shopping suggestions feature a few of my favored designers:

    Pace yourself...there's a lot of lovely designs to review!
    Note - there were too many favored designers to list here - more on the 22nd!
    Happy Holidays to you!

    Monday, December 17, 2012

    And now for a real blog post...

    Even in war, the majority of the participants are usually "sane".
    A holiday is approaching that has been known to inspire warring nations to lay down their arms and come together in peace.

    And yet in this holiday season, our country is mourning the casualties of another kind of war.

    Please find below a post I wrote on Raverly and a link to an article that I feel is Extremely important.
    Please consider reading further.  E-Hug.

    While I do agree our fascination with personal weapons of mass destruction has surpassed ridiculous proportions, I feel I need to bring up a deeper concern.
    What kind of person - even beyond the core wrong of killing anyone, (much less his mother) - what kind of person goes to a Grade school to kill 6-year olds? To kill people at a Grocery Store? To shoot people in a Movie Theatre and setup a deadly trap in their apartment?
    Tears, heart-felt sympathy, and healing thoughts are offered to all the people affected by mental illness and these truly senseless tragedies.
    It is my sincere hope that we can find a way to address the challenges of the dangerous tools and the dangerous users.

    Dec. 17th - Shopping Vicariously - Wyland

    I have followed the career of Wyland for...well, a while.
    Longer than some adults have been alive. {wry grin}

    I have seen a few Wyland Walls and hope to see more.
    I am saddened and a bit annoyed that the Wyland Whaling Wall near Tucson is now "extinct" but pleased that I got the opportunity to meet Wyland there at the wall's opening/book signing. He was gracious, charming and had a great smile (still does, as a matter of fact).

    I am impressed with this gent's art and heart but most impressed that he uses his art and fame to do good and to try to inspire better handling of our earth and waters.
    Well done, Sir!

    So - some Wyland Vicarious Shopping and Purposeful-gift options:

    Please be kind to one another.

    Sunday, December 16, 2012

    Dec. Shopping Vicariously Theme - Sunday Alms Week 3

    A lovely suggestion echoing Last Sunday's post and a minor way to offer support regarding the Newtown tragedy.

    I received an e-mail from Grandma's Spinning Wheel earlier this week offering assist folks in contributing to
    "the goal of knitting 600 monsters for the survivors of the Newtown tragedy, Ravelry has a group set up. Grandma's will be happy to collect and ship these to the distribution point. We have a stash of donated yarns for charity knitting so if you'd like to come by and dig through it to make a Monster, feel free. We don't have a deadline yet, but will let you know as soon as plans solidify!
    Please check our blog for links to the Ravelry group and a couple of free patterns".
    My thanks to Michael and Vicki at Grandma's for the mailing!

    Today's "Alms" gifting options are the core Holiday drives that we hear tell of every Holiday Season. They can become filler-noise on the radio or between-ads to skip on the TV.
    Yep, please take a moment to consider what they truly mean.

    • How many times a day does a baby need to be changed? What about the cost of elder-care diaper needs? That's what a Diaper Drive supports.
    • Yes, there are a lot of food drives for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona this time of year. And it helps to cover the food needs NOW....please don't forget them the rest of the year or consider donating funds to support them in the less generous gifting seasons. Our local food bank does an excellent job of creating interesting and useful fund raising events. Have you looked at the events in your local area?
    • Toys for Tots - Our Marine Corp does a great deal more than protect our country. As a child, did you experience a Christmas with no gifts? Yeah, it sounds like a commercial you fast forward through on TIVO, but seriously....there are people that are NOT overextending their credit to buy a game cube. They're concerned about affording food and toys will have to wait.
    • Salvation Army Blanket and Coat drive. Yes, it does get cold enough in Arizona...
    • Salvation Army Adopt-a-family programs. Ok, this one has history with me. It's a bit late to bring this up and do I apologize for the late timing.
      I was able to organize these for a few years for my co-workers at the old job. I cannot begin to describe the generosity of the Stores and my co-workers when we pursued sales and discounts on bicycles, clothing, heaters (a big box store gifted us with two for the price of one!), and some toys for the multiple families our office "adopted". Our IT/Ops guys got amazing deals and put together bicycles in our mini-kitchen area.
      I cannot describe how it felt to deliver those gifts without dissolving into tears.
      The look on the little girl's and her brother's face when we brought them each the bicycle, clothing and a few toys from their wish-list.
      The Grandfather couldn't speak to us but gave us a teary smile as we brought he and his family clothing, toys, and space heaters.
      The woman who hugged us and let us hold her few-week old preemie baby that had had to stay in the hospital until just a couple of days before. We carried in clothing and toys into her sparse but clean house. 

    If you can - Give.  Funds, items, time - well wishes. It's a gift that gives back.

    Saturday, December 15, 2012

    The 15th of Dec. Vicarious Shopping - Spiffy With-cause shopping

    A quick one today....do you have shops in your area that exist to benefit a charity? We have a few...and they carry some pretty spiffy stock!

    • The UNICEF Store at 6242 E. Speedway Blvd (SW corner of Speedway & Wilmot)
    • The West - 5615 E. River Road Suite 101 (NE corner of River and Craycroft)
      Amazing Needlework supplies, toys, puzzles, decorations - lovely stuff . Run by volunteers, the sales support grants to local charities!
    • The Gift Shops at The Tucson Botanical Gardens and Tohono Chul Park

    Multi-task shopping! Check things off the gift list and assist a good cause!

    Friday, December 14, 2012

    Dec. 14th Vicarious Shopping - Soothing Hands

    My hands are a bit dry and unhappy just now so as I was thinking about how to relieve that minor discomfort I thought - "This would be a Vicarious Shopping opportunity".

    So quick links to a couple of Hand-relief options:

    I need to go balm-up my hands now.
    Hope your hands are already soothed... ;-)

    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    Dec. 13th Vicarious Shopping - Knitterly Listening

    Do you listen to Podcasts?
    I do. Generally they are pretty wonderful things. All sorts of topics - from Knitting to Rome to Poetry to Weaving. There are sooooo many to listen to and so little time.

    But when I consider the time, preparation and effort it takes to create a podcast to share...it's quite a gift and I appreciate the podcasts that much more.

    Some Podcasters have "swag" that we can purchase to show our support.
    Some sell patterns and classes. Some have published patterns or books available. Some offer classes or allow donations to support the podcast.
    Gift options? For yourself or a podcast buddy? Could be.

    Here's a few of my favorites and their Vicarious Shopping options.

    I'd also like to offer my thanks and appreciation to these creative folks and wish them Happy Holidays and a terrific New Year.
    • Cast On! Brenda Dayne may have been our first major knitterly podcaster. Thanks for setting the bar so high, Brenda.  (Oh - here's her Shop link!)
    • CogKNITive! Dr. Gemma. I always learn something, generally laugh out loud, am knit-inspired and she and her podcast support my desire to improve myself. It's all good.  CogKNITive Cafe Press Shop link.
    • CraftLit! CraftLit is like spending time with your favorite Lit Professor, who happens to knit (among other things), is wicked-smart, fun and charming. Heather is that Lit Prof.
      CraftLit is also a multi-media opportunity. Books, classes, Cooperative Press... woof. 
    • The Knitmore Girls! - "A Multi-generational Podcast". An ongoing favorite. I always smile when I hear Gigi say "Excellent Lovey. How are you?" and I chime in on "telling you to Knit More." Especial thanks and a hug to Cindy/BlackmoonDog who introduced me to the Knitmore Girls. Literally - introduced me to Jasmine & Gigi at SS09 and thusly to the Podcast. CafePress Link.
    • Knitting Pipeline! Something about Paula's voice...relaxing, charming, interesting podcast and person. Longaberger Store Link. She designs knitting patterns too. 
    • Single Handed Knits - My first video Podcast. Beyond Inspiring. Fun, charming, kind. Mel is the best kind of instigator! Yep, we're back to inspiring. Very. Hugs to you, Mel. 
    • Sticks and String - Mr. Reidy ("An Australian bloke who knits.") is no longer podcasting but his podcast is still a favorite and - seriously - The Sticks and String "Carpe Lanam" shirt is the MOST fun to wear out and about. I wish you health and joy in the New Year, Sir. 
    Actually, I would like to wish everyone Health and Joy in the New Year!
    "Carpe Lanam!"

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

    The 12th of Dec. Vicarious Shopping - YARN! BMF & JM

    More Yarn!
    {There's a lot of Yarn on the Vicarious Shopping List. {grin} You're not surprised, are you?}

    A well-known favorite would have to be Blue Moon Fiber Arts

    I think my first purchase of Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarn was, um, "retail therapy". The colorways and the fiber options were irresistible. I hadn't been able to get any classes at the 2009 Sock Summit and so I figured I could have some nifty yarn to compensate.

    Yep, I bought the pattern for the Seamingly Simple Vest and some yummy BMF Raven Clan Haida Twisted Yarn. Oddly enough I ended up knitting on the Seamingly Simple Vest AT the 2009 Sock Summit (successful) attempt to break the World Record for most people knitting simultaneously.

    The BMF yarn in my stash is fun, colorful, and a'wait'n for me to do some knitting.

    Now Juniper Moon Fiber is not something I've knit with just yet, but Kiwi Knitting recently started stocking it. I had to restrain myself from extravagant public yarn hugging. The colors I saw at Kiwi are warm and natural and the yarn so lovely and tactile...yeah, I'm smitten.
    Ohhh - spiffy mug!

    And {sigh} she has a variety of "Shares". As I understand it, when you purchase a share, you will receive a portion of the yarn  (about 6 skeins) or spinning fibre from the next shearing along with farm updates, discounts on farm stays and invitations to the Shearing Day Celebration. {SIGH}
    Here is a nifty JMF Blog, "Yarn Love", that covers this topic much mo'better than I have.
    (Did you notice that Juniper Moon Farms is also one of my favored blogs featured on the right side of your screen?)

    Ah - and there's the "By Hand" magazine. I love the way these look!
    Since I can't find a great deal of yarn skeins available on the web-site tonight for me to link into - I'll take that as confirmation that folks are shopping there and I'll live vicariously through them!

    I hope several unexpected smiles come to you today.

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

    Vicarious Dec. Shopping on the 11th - Art! (Not just paint)

    I'd like to feature two of my favored artists in today's Shopping Vicariously post.
    One is very new to me.
    One I've admired for years.

    The One that is very new to me I found via a Dr. Who related Tweet that took me to this spiffy fan-site:
    CAUTION - you might want to finish skimming over the blog {just to be, you know, polite} 'cause as soon as you travel to any of the links below, you probably won't be coming back here for a while. 
    I just thought it would be fair to warn you that the stuff I'm linking to is Wicked-Cool and you're about to be seriously distracted. 
    Right. Thanks for reading this far. ;-)

    This Dr. Who site happened to feature some spiffy art by, well, a lot of people, but this artist's work made me stop and stare and go look for more!

    This one I've admired for years! The husband of a dear friend introduced me to this gent's art. I had some brief correspondence with himself (he was Very gracious and kind) when I won some of his books in a charity auction last year.
    (Yep, humble apologies for that drastically pending blog.)

    Stu Jenks does amazing photographs...ok, that sounds a bit lame. He photographs fire in spirals and circles and...crimony it's hard for me to describe but it's wonderful.
    {Hey, he does music too?!?}
    And it appears I am rather ignorant of alllll of his talents.

    Heck I can't do it justice.
    Go.    Look.    {grin} Come back tomorrow to see the next "Shopping Vicariously" blog and please take a moment to enjoy the wonder of the season.
    Here's the Stu Jenks Links:

    I have to stop now. It's taken me forever to pull this post together 'cause I wander off into the art and kinda forget to come back. Enjoy!

    Monday, December 10, 2012

    Dec. 10th Vicarious Shopping - YARN! On Etsy. (& the STV KAL)

    This Vicarious Shopping suggestion might have to span a couple of days simply because of the plethora of nifty options! {wry grin}

    I have shopped from some of these talented souls and some I've only "window" shopped. {sigh}
    But there are a wide variety of colorways, techniques, and yarn-y temptations available on Etsy.
    Here's just a few: 

    The Knitted Wit: I have not personally hugged or knit with this yarn, but I know it's on the wish list.
    I heard tell of this talented dyer via Twitter and I ooh-ahh over the items she posts in her shop.

    The next two options come with a KAL story:

    Over the month leading up to Election day, I participated in a truly spiffy Knit-a-long (KAL) inspired and guided by Mel of the Single Handed Knits Podcast. {Thanks for taking such good care of us, Mel!}
    I was part of the "Undecided" party (undecided regarding which method is preferred: knitting socks top-down or toe-up). Those of us that were lucky-enough to purchase one of the limited "Sock The Vote" Party kits received yarn especially dyed for the KAL.

    These two independent dyers provided our spiffy STV yarn: 
    Yarn vs Zombies - Kiki dyed some of the lovely yarns used in the "Sock the Vote" KAL adventure.  My STV Party Kit yarn was not created by Kiki, but other STV knitters had good things to say about the yarn and the colors were grand!
    Perusing the Yarn vs Zombies Etsy shop, I'm rather glad I don't spin (which means I'm "safe" from the temptation of purchasing the spinning fiber/tops. {sigh}).  The "Timey Wimey" colorways are fascinating - But I am sorely tempted by her self-striping yarn:

    Space Cadet Creations, the 2nd STV dyer, does have an Etsy Shop, however, her home page covers shop, blog, and more.
    I keep going back to look at the "Feather" Colorway and to see what is available in the Experimental/One-of-a-kind colorways in the "Department of Rocket Science".

    I DID get to knit on Space Cadet Creations' Aurora yarn for my Sock the Vote Sock knitting. Yummy soft cashmere and merino.
    This is the link to my Raverly Project page for the STV Socks. It was an adventure.
    There was a great deal of self discovery, tinking and re-knitting (The pictorial journey appears below). HOWEVER, the Yarn was the best part of the project and was extremely patient with me.

    Thus ends today's Etsy Yarn December Shopping Vicariously options.
    Hope your day is lovely. 

    SO - my Sock the Vote Knit-a-Long Adventure went lika dis: 
    (Partial reprint of my 11/6 post in the "Election Day!" discussion thread on Ravelry (in which we were also to identity to what position our sock would be elected). Please note - the links below (marked as (RL)will only be successful if you're a member of Ravelry.)

    From a modest beginning as a skein of soft, colorful yarn shipped for the Undecided Party, this fibre has transformed itself multiple times - all the while maintaining it's core sock-iness and yet literally representing the Undecided Party throughout it's Electoral journey.

    The initial bid for sock-iness was plotted for the knitter (RL)! (i.e. me)
    Alas, poor planning and lack of swatching inspired a change in needles and a new beginning for this intrepid Space Cadet Creations Spiffy Iffy Aurora Yarn. (Sock Restart #1)

    During this time, the knitter was so focused on retracing the campaign path, that the STV Week 2 campaign expectations were missed entirely. This may have been fortuitous because about this time, the knitter realized the fibre was destined for greater feet than her own!

    Yet another new beginning was envisioned (Sock Restart #2) and the STV socks were entered in the "Knock on Wood(RL) campaign (knitting on wooden needles) as a Christmas gift for a dear friend.

    There was a notable setback on that campaign trail when a toe-increase stitch on one sock (RL) was nearly lost and the knitter retreated back down the trail to re-knit the sock and keep her campaign promise of a wearable pair of socks for her friend! (Sock Restart #3)

    Nearing the heel turn, the knitter polled her friend regarding the position of the candidate socks on the intended feet.

    It must be confessed that the knitter was briefly tempted to rely on negative ease to resolve the excess sock at the base of the toes. However, sock-integrity was vital and the socks were, again, frogged back to the toes. (Sock Restart #4)

    The knitter fully disclosed her "Two Steps Back" (RL) to the "Party Together" discussion group but was also able to display a "One Step Forward" (RL) as the heels were finally rounded on these valiant but clearly undecided socks!
    (Confession - puns were totally intended!)

    A brief side-junket was taken to knit from the other end of the yarn-cakes as these wee socks were created to donate to the Academy for Cancer Wellness for a fund-raiser. (Bonus Sock start)

    On the Election Day Eve, our undecided socks were on the cusp of achieving the knitter's (current) greatest dream - completion of the STV socks (and the freedom to focus on other Christmas Knitting - as well as the intent to cast on a Piper's Journey shawl for herself!!)

    Alas, I did not complete the STV socks before Election Day as suggested by the KAL.

    But late Election Day Eve, I accepted that these socks would accompany me to the polls and would be knit upon as I awaited my turn to participate in this Historic Election. All pun-ing and melodrama aside, I feel voting is a blessed responsibility.

    My thanks to All STV participants, dyers Stephanie and Kiki, and most especially Mel  and her family -  for the inspiration, imagination, color-joy and encouragement. I feel I am in great company and I have truly enjoyed this journey with you.

    Oh - for what position would these sock run/be elected? I feel this project has clearly demonstrated it's undeniable qualifications for the STV Commissioner of Ongoing WIP!

    Edited later 11/6 to add
    The ""I knit a Sock and I VOTE"(d)" ;-)" tweet picture and
    this "They're done" picture:

    Sunday, December 9, 2012

    Dec. Shopping Vicariously Theme - Sunday Alms Week 2

    With the 2nd Sunday of the December "Shopping Vicariously" series, here's another option for Alms-gifting.

    I know of many kind souls that do this all year 'round: Create for charities.
    People knit/crochet hats, blankets, gloves, scarves...and give them to a variety of charities so that people in need might have some added warmth - from the created article and from knowing that someone cared enough to spend time and yarn creating something for them.

    Off the top of my head, here are some options to gift warmth to folks that might be without:
    (Yes, I did support the top-o'-my-head subjects with some Internet linking!)

    This might be the truest instance where the making and giving of a gift has the most impact on both the maker and the recipient.

    Bonus Blog Content - For those of you who have asked or are just curious, the Little Brother is doing rather well. He's gained a little more weight (nearly ranks as "slim", I'd say {huge improvement over the previous "scrawny"), he's got more energy, and his Insulin doses have been radically decreased! {We're not sure why. Either it's the last "hurrah" of his pancreas or maybe his pancreas wasn't actually failing. We'll see what happens next.}

    Saturday, December 8, 2012

    Dec. 8th Vicarious Shopping - YARN! On eBay (if you're quick)

    Yeah, I know...eBay. But this one is not just bidding on stash or store yarn or a swift.
    This eBay shop is special.

    A few years ago, I happily stumbled over a blog which I read with delight and continue to read to this day. The "Blogs to Explore" post for Celtic Memory Yarn is here.
    {Please pardon the gushing. Then and Now.} ;-)
    I love how she tells of her adventures, stunning knitting, and the stories of Ireland that are accented with lovely pictures by her husband.
    And there's a book of their Ireland with pictures, stories, charm and whimsy.

    And I'll stop gushing there...
    The point of this blog series is to Shop Vicariously through you-all. {grin}

    Now, I've seen her blog about the wondrous yarn she dyes and the kits she puts together to sell.
    But I've never been quick enough to purchase one. {sigh}

    So - if you're quick, you can purchase yarn-y spiffiness from Ireland.
    CelticMemory. On eBay.

    Treasures can be found in many places. Have a lovely day!

    Friday, December 7, 2012

    Dec. 7th Vicarious Shopping - Marking the Stitch

    Where would a knitter be without Stitch Markers?

    Ok, where would this knitter be without Stitch Markers?

    I can tell you from personal experience (sad experience)...I was counting (again and again and again....), tinking, grumbling, ripping back rows, semi-swearing, frogging the whole project and almost  lamenting my very poor swear word vocabulary.  {sigh}

    HOWEVER - there are leetle rings that mark places in knitting that can prevent all of the above teeth-gnashing (on a reasonable day).

    A friend taught me how to make my own stitch markers (mine are a bit rustic). I made dozens to take to the 2011 Sock Summit to trade.
    (You're right, that's part of the blogs pending creation. {Humble apologies for the delay}).

    But these ladies on Etsy make my favorite stitch markers: 

    Jeanette of Jeds Joy makes my favorite stitch markers (snagless). Lovely glass, great colors and some are numbered or have letters (to go with some of Cat Bordhi's designs!). I have several sets and have gifted sets to friends. (I've been thinking about getting a set of her removable stitch markers - spiffy.)  OH - she also does row counters and row counter bracelets and the customer service is excellent!

    Weeones makes polymer clay-enhanced stitch markers. Charming, irresistible, fun.
    Alllll different types of animals and food-themed stitch markers.
    I'm partial to the Looks-like-Gryphon Black Cat stitch markers.
    And the "Festive Feline" set looks pretty much like my four cats!

    Did you go look? Spiffy, huh?

    Thursday, December 6, 2012

    Dec 6th Vicarious Shopping - YARN! Locally.

    Yep, there's almost no point to shopping vicariously through you-all if I don't mention our lovely Local Yarn shops.
    In Tucson, we are blessed with Four!!
    (That I know of - if there are more PLEASE educate me!!)

    All four have their own flavor, personality and brands of favored yarns.

    Our local Tucson Fiber Finds have a permanent place in the right side-bar of the blog, but here they are for ready clicking in this mini-blog devoted to our Tucson LYSsss:

    Put aside some time to go enjoy and explore the yarn-y goodness!

    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

    Shopping vicariously Dec.5th - Street Smart!

    It's the time of year (especially in Tucson) where outdoor events abound. ('Cause folks are less likely to have heat stroke issues...)

    Another favored shopping option in December is Tucson's 4th Avenue Street fair! And the Winter 4th Ave Street Fair is this coming weekend: December 7, 8th & 9th, 10 AM to 6 PM.

    4th Ave is closed down for several blocks and vendors from all around the country come to enjoy our weather and give us some amazing gifting and food sampling opportunities.
    A couple of my absolute favorite vendors (you can shop with them on-line too!) are these:

    If nothing else, it's a good walk and a grand look-see! 

    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    JS Perry - Clever Cat Art - Dec. 4 Shopping Vicariously

    I love this gent's art.
    I have a very little bit of it and I always love to see what else he comes up with.

    Jamie S. Perry. "A Gallery of Distinctive Cat Art Guaranteed to Make You Smile!"

    Some of his prints are now available on T-shirts and Tote bags.

    I'm not sure what the rules are of copying an image to paste here for show-n-tell (I suspect it's inappropriate) so follow the links and find whimsical cat art to smile over.

    Home for the Holidays - Cats in winter hats.
    One of my favorites: Generations - Cat Family

    Blessings Be and a Lovely Holiday Season to you!

    Monday, December 3, 2012

    Dec. Shopping Vicariously - "Noisy Dog"

    Here is the 3rd Blog post of the "December Shopping Vicariously Through You" series!

    This person's art was introduced to me via Twitter recently, although it sounds like her art was previously recommended in "Real Simple" and "Martha Stewart's Living" magazines

    Leigh Jackson's Noisy Dog Studio

    She does Commission Portraits, Continuous Line Drawings {fascinating!}, the Original Art  is on sale, and there is a 2013 Calendar available to support your dog-lover Holiday Shopping. 

    Now, this artist particularly caught my heart because the artist has put most of her art on sale to raise funds to help pay for the Vet bills relating to her cat's recent terminal illness diagnosis. 
    As returning blog readers know, I have been there (a few times) and the emotional side is hard enough. The financial side can also be devastating. 

    If this suggestion doesn't match a person on your shopping list, please consider sharing out the Noisy Dog Studio link in case it tickles someone else's dog fancy! 

    Blessings Be and a lovely Holiday Season to you!

    Sunday, December 2, 2012

    Dec. Shopping Vicariously Theme - Sunday Alms Week 1

    As with the November "Thankful" theme, I spent a bit of time jotting down ideas to support the December "Shopping Vicariously Through You" theme.

    Several charities appeared within the jottings so I decided to do a theme within a theme.

    December "Shopping Vicariously" blog posts on Sunday will feature options for "Alms-gifting". 

    It is great fun and sometimes a true gesture of love and appreciation to give a thoughtful gift to a friend or loved one. And it could be exactly what they have been wishing for all year.  But if you're not quite sure what they've been wishing for all year, the thoughtful gift doesn't have to be a physical item. It could be a gift to help improve the world in a tangible way that doesn't mean collecting more "stuff".

    Here's a very nifty gift option:
    As you can see by the left side-bar of the blog and from previous blog posts, I support Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)/Knitters Without Borders as often as possible.

    Doctors Without Borders work in nearly "70 countries providing medical aid to those most in need regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation". I admire these people more than I can say. A wide variety of experts apply their energy and knowledge to help others. They can work in very dangerous situations where the need can be nearly overwhelming - but they make a huge difference. Donating to support such an effort is a gift on many levels.

    Minor note regarding the offer I made in my July 6th 4-year Blogiversary post to donate funds to Doctors Without Borders for the first 4 comments left on that blog post. Two comments were left (thank you again Janel and Olgalyn!!) but TWO comments are still available to help me complete my Blogiversary pledge to MSF. Any chance you feel a comment coming on? 

    Another Alms-gifting option:
    The past few years I had adopted the habit of gifting my family and co-workers with Heifer International shares in Sheep, Honeybees, Trees, Rabbits, Pigs, Ducks .... you get the idea.
    (They have a lot more share-options this year - "Gift of Clean Water", "Send a Girl to School", oh - "Knitter's Gift Basket"...cool!
    More cool - Alton Brown recorded a message that neatly explains the Heifer Intl. premise.)

    Heifer International assists families by giving them education and starter animal stock to help improve their "nutrition and general income in sustainable ways". This improves their lives and the lives of the people in their community because the "families agree to give one of its animal's offspring to another family in need".

    Heifer calls that "Passing on the Gift" - so when I gifted my friends and family with a Heifer Share, I felt as though I was also "Passing on the Gift". I hoped that the donation and card that explained the premise of Heifer would help my friends and family understand the depth and effect of the gift I had given them.
    A few of my co-workers were particularly tickled with the gift and adopted Heifer as a gifting option themselves.

    So, there's a couple of Alms-gifting options. Yes, I must confirm that there are some types of "stuff" (i.e. YARN) that I find nearly irresistible (and giddy-hug-worthy) but how often do we wish we could do something on a much larger scale to improve our world?

    Blessings Be and a lovely Holiday Season to you!

    Saturday, December 1, 2012

    December blog theme - Shopping vicariously through you

    Because my little brother and I have birthdays and a major gifty holiday in the same month, when we were kids we would abstain from buying ourselves any gift-worthy items in the months of November and December.
    This tradition fueled Wish-List creation and enabled my brother and I (and other interested parties) non-duplicate gift giving opportunities.

    Since becoming unemployed, I have been pleasantly surprised to find it's been relatively easy to step back into the more frugal shopping habits of earlier years of my life (when making the rent was relatively easy, but having funds to buy food could sometimes be a challenge).
    Thusly, I have been abstaining from gratuitous yarny or "Ohh-shiny" shopping. (Abstaining from all the nifty new yarn colorways may be the biggest challenge. I was sorely tempted with some rainbow/black lace-weight at Kiwi today. {sigh})

    Since I'm abstaining from shopping, I thought I might shop vicariously through you-all!

    I plan to continue with the mini-blogging in December to present favored vendors or with-purpose shopping opportunities. (A la PomPom's "Big Plug" blog posts from earlier this year.)
    Such attention as might be gained from my (so-not-famous) blog, might help my favored vendors, charities, or folks in need.
    (Hey, it could happen).

    So - to kick off the December Shop options, let's revisit this blog post:
    "November 11th Thanks/Auction-Knitterati Support!"

    I was thankful for the generous knitting/crafting community that was stepping up to help "Rebuild Judith's Studio" after a fire in late October.  I donated some yarn to the Rebuild Judith's Studio Auction.
    I am pleased to report the Prism Yarn I put up for auction raised $75.00 to help Judith MacKenzie! {Woot!}

    Here's your 1st vicarious December shopping option:

    There will be multiple auction rounds because the auction site being used limits the number of items that can be posted at one time.
    The third round of auction items went live today.  
    You could do some Holiday shopping (for others or even yourself!!) and also help Rebuild Judith's Studio.

    There is also an excellent de-clutter opportunity to find a good home for that extra Spinning Wheel, microwave, loom reed, or unused coat rack in your home.
    Perhaps you could fulfill an item on the "Wish List" on the Rebuild web-site.

    I hope you find some of the December Shopping Options I'll be posting fun, useful and worth sharing. If you'd like to suggest an idea/charity/web-site/store to include in the December blog posts, please feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me.

    Thanks for reading. Blessings be.

    Friday, November 30, 2012

    Final Nov. Thanks - the 30th

    So...it's the last day of the "November Thanks" blogs.

    What to write? Seems like it should be clever, funny, momentous, interesting, charming....

    Yeah, I got noth'n that fits that blog-bill. {wry grin} 

    I jotted down a whole slew of stuff-I-was-thankful-for when I decided to do the November Thanks series. Not much left in the jotted pile. Certainly nothing that would close out the month with an interesting flair. So...what to write?

    Then I had the "uh-oh" pause. 
    That moment where you watch an award show and a gent is leaving the stage after thanking everybody and his brother for a prestigious award and the camera is on the smiling face of the lovely wife of the awardee and you're thinking "He thanked the food-service guy but forgot to thank his wife!?!". 
    But, {whew} I had remembered to be thankful for the DH

    The DH thanks started as a little moment of appreciation (Gotta love a guy that does dishes) but easily bloomed into two of the things I love best about sharing my life with this guy: we laugh and he shows he cares about me. 

    Some of the November thanks were silly but have a far-reaching effect in my life (Thankful for Chocolate) and some were important but have a far-reaching effect on the world (Election). 
    I'm sure there are many things I take for granted but considering my current employment status, this is an excellent time to be aware of the good things in the world and in my life. 

    Actually, I think it is always a good time to be aware of the good things in the world and your life. 
    Thanks for reading. Blessings Be. 

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

    Thankful these gents are wicked-clever! Nov. 29th.

    I am thankful for  Chuck Lorre, Aaron Sorkin and Joss Whedon.
    Cleverness abounds!

    On several occasions, I have truly enjoyed a movie or show and have been delighted to find that banter I so enjoyed was written by one of these fellows (Aaron Sorkin in particular).

    Thanks for sharing, gents. 'Tis appreciated!

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

    Much as I love the paper-printed word - Nov 28th Thanks

    I have to confess, much as I love the paper-printed word, I am thankful that I am able to investigate job options, unemployment rules and possible school considerations via the Internet.

    {wry grin}
    However, my unemployment counselor has jokingly considered transferring me to a new counselor because of the plethora of questions inspired by my Internet explorations.

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

    Nov. 27th - Thankful for fine programming!

    I am thankful for PBS, NPR, and BBC America.

    If you watch/listen to PBS and NPR, consider donating to support their fine programming!

    And a smiling thanks for this clever BBC perspective:
    "BBC has given me unrealistic expectations in men."

    Monday, November 26, 2012

    Bonus Thanks on the 26th - I think there is good

    Although the news presents the worst of our world and my country, I am thankful that the majority of the world is truly filled with good people who generally try to do the right thing.
    I think this aspect of our world rarely graces the news but we might be more in need of the reminder.

    Sunday, November 25, 2012

    Snuggly Bonus thanks from me and the cats - Nov. 25th

    I was laying in bed this AM* with Mikale draped over my right knee and Nikoli leaning against my pillow purring - and I purred a little myself thinking about the quilt we were all enjoying.

    Yep, it's winter (such as it is) in Arizona and we've pulled out the Obnoxious Furry Quilt for the season.

    Thanks, Mom. Love/Miss you.

    *Disclaimer - this bonus thanks blog was generated based on the warm snuggly feelings from the cooler weather of about a week ago - when it was actually semi-cool in AZ. {sigh}

    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    The timing was frighteningly perfect. November Thanks - the 24th

    Continuing the Bonus November thanks mini-blogs:

    As noted several times before, I am thankful that my peculiar employment status of the last year made it possible for me to be very available to my Little Brother during his illness and recovery earlier this year.
    The timing was ironically perfect.