Thursday, June 26, 2008

Time Traveler

Huh! So that's where he was staying that year! Sheesh! I have been playing "phone" tag with him for over two centuries, the rat bastard!

Speaking of time travelers, earlier this week I went aboard the Nina, a replica of Christopher Columbus's favorite caravel. I was amazed at how steeply she sloped from one end of the deck to the other and how tiny the captain's compartment was. The hold below was used back then for cargo, but nowadays, it serves as bunks for the modern day crew. This replica is exquisite; she measures a little over 60 feet long - that's only 18.288 meters. And the original made three voyages to the New World five hundred years ago! She also survived a hurricane in 1495.

As some of you may know, a portion of my novel-in-progress takes place aboard a caravel and I was very excited to be able to actually feel what it was like to be aboard such a beeeeauuutiful replica of a medieval/renaissance ship.

Caravels were in use from the 13th to 16th centuries.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Knitting Ideas

Recently I've come back to knitting after a long hiatus (several years) and started digging around in my archives for old knitting magazines. I found this delightful hybrid of styles in a Vogue Knitting magazine from 1994:
I love that it combines Fair Isle with Aran - what a hoot! It's as if the person who knitted it said
"You said you wanted something Scottish, but you wanted Cables???? I thought you wanted Fair Isle!!! Oh, whot the hell...I'll just do both."
If I ever chose to knit this piece, the Fair Isle part would be easy for me but the cabling might prove problematic.

I definitely want to make one of these Fair Isle vests though. I've wanted one for at least 20 years. It reminds me of John Lennon. Time to start on one, then.

I was rummaging through another box and came up with a stack of old knitting pamphlets from the late 50's - early 60's. This beauty stood out:
I love the satin binding at the edges, but can do without the tiny bows.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Elizabethan Tatting

While I was in Los Angeles last March at the Pattern Review West Coast Weekend, I took a tour of the FIDM's Costume Design Exhibition. Up close I noticed that the purple gown from Elizabeth - the Golden Age had the loveliest dark blue tatting on the cuffs. Tatting! Whoo Hoo! Long lacey loopy tatting! I knew that tatting was a fashionable craft in the Georgian era, but don't have much info on its use prior to that time. Even if it is anachronistic (I'm not saying that it is, just that I don't know if it is) I thought it was a brilliant use of it. Love the combination of purple and deep cobalty blue ...mmmm...
Also fell in mad mad love with this costume:

Actually all of the costumes were magnificent. Umm, on the blurb for the red jacket I think they meant 2008 not 1998...

Monday, June 16, 2008

On Vetiver, Rhubarb Fools and Spontaneous Human Combustion

Have you ever wondered what just might happen if you, say, used the absolutely wrong hair condition after shampooing? Might your hair begin pulsing with phosphorescent luminosity? Could it combust spontaneously and burn in a manner that cannot be extinguished with plain old tap water? Will it begin to corkscrew curl and frizzle so fast that it shatters into thousands of teeny drain clogging fragments?

It's kind of like mixing rhubarb with kiwi or pineapple - I've never tried those combinations - how do they taste? Will they fizz up on contact? Hmmm. I do know from experience that peanut butter sandwich + tomato soup = metallic listerine-like flavor. It tastes nasty but on the other hand, it just might cure gingivitis once and for all.

I bought three gorgeous stalks of raw rhubarb at the Maltby Farmers Market the other day and boiled them down with ginger and sugar so I now have some delicious rhubarb sauce. Might as well make a fool out of it. But I'm not sure there's quite enough of it to go around. Dare I add some fresh pineapple to the mixture? Or is that just inviting trouble?

Now for something completely non-sequitur: When Tini and Heiko were here last month they bought me a giant bar of my favorite vetiver soap (maybe they were trying to tell me something...?) I love the stark woodsy/tall grass smell of vetiver! It is an old old smell like patchouli or oakmoss, not as cloying as sweet grass, but not bitter, either. It speaks to me of the long ago, of somber places where silent, watchful elves once held court. A few years ago in a fiction writing class, I mentioned vetiver as an ingredient in a concoction and my fellow classmates didn't know what it was so they told me to take it out of the writing. I replied "go find some and smell it. It stays." Harrumph!

Another weird note: I had a dream last night that Deepika and I were ghostbusting at the local Goodwill and we kept pointing to a lit candle and telling this one poltergeist to go to the light and he kept blowing the candle flame out! How rude! We tried all the Christian exorcisms we knew to no avail. Finally I started chanting "Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram Om..." and he took off. Honestly, you never know what is lurking around at second-hand stores. It's best to be prepared.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Mary Russell's Boots

I found these charmers the other week and had to have them, even though I know it will be a good 6 months before I can actually wear them. They so reminded me of something Mary Russell from the Beekeeper's Apprentice might have found delightful.
My poor tootsies are doing well; apparently there was an abundance of scar tissue under the ball of my big left toe joint which was causing me great pain and hindering my ability to lay my foot flat to walk on it properly. Additionally, the metatarsal had shifted downward which felt wonky. The nurses presented me wih a packet of two screws - I was so out of it I don't know if they were the ones Dr. Lallas took out of my foot during this last bout of surgery, but I think they are. Mementos.Not that you want to hear all these tidbits of pedestrian knowledge...So I leave you with a soothing image of Gato playing guardian to newborn Rhiannon.