Little purple houses for you and me

Bethe’s cat Pugsley was fine with wearing bibs – maybe because of the catnip bribe?!

SRP update: Wreck the Halls by Sarah Graves, 320 pages. Another Home Repair Is Homicide mystery – these are light light light, but I’m enjoying them anyway.

Ok, as promised and to finish off Project Spectrum purples right, I present two more purple houses. First, the less purple house – I’m particularly fond of how bowling balls are used along the sidewalk. (Click on the pictures see them larger.)

Next, the purple stucco two doors down, which is the most unapologeticaly purple house I’ve ever seen!

I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this utterly un-purple house on the next block, which I could have used during PS April!

Once upon a time, I owned a purple Escort station wagon. I loved that car. Alas, it rewarded my love by throwing a rod through critical engine bits (probably an important life lesson there, eh?). Here’s a very bad picture of me with the dead and dusty Escort, as I prepared to remove my stuff from it.

Speaking of cars, this auto repair place a few blocks from where I live has great purple signs. Sorry about the photo quality! I took this 6 am Saturday, as I headed out of town to the cabin. I wasn’t up to playing around with camera settings until after the caffeine took hold many miles later!

Chaos survived my being gone just fine.

“I demand popcorn to compensate me for the emotional trauma of worrying about you!”

It’s too hot hot

Yowza – temps here in the Twin Cities are supposed to hover in the upper 90s to 100F all weekend, with a max heat index of 109F. Fortunately, at the cabin, it should “only” be in the upper 80s/lower 90s, so I’m heading north tomorrow morning.

Peeve surprised me with some fun mail from Australia yesterday!

I love that card. The small purple box contained this:

A tiny cute mouse just for me! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks, Peeve! (Tough luck, Chaos kitty – it’s too small for you to play with , anyway.)

Here’s another in my series of Project Spectrum purple buildings:

Even though we have air conditioning, Chaos has been hanging out on my bed (on my Project Spectrumesque duvet) underneath the ceiling fan.

I check periodically to make sure he’s still alive.

“Whaaaaaa?”

Have a great weekend, everyone, and stay cool, wherever you are.

Thursday things

Jeanne’s yarn from Saturday turned out great, although it seems as if Bugsy now thinks I’m a bad influence, keeping Jeanne out late. How come he doesn’t think Deb is a bad influence?!

Christine is having a contest to name her new dachsund boy with a “B” name. The contest ends Sunday, July 30, 2006, at midnight, CST. Bonne Marie is having a contest in honor of fictional Chicago private eye V.I. Warshawski’s 50th birthday.

Chaos won a contest at Trek’s. Too funny! I wonder if it will be catnip or tuna? ๐Ÿ˜‰

This purple house is only a few short blocks away from me. I still have to get pictures of a few other purple Minneapolis houses before the end of the Project Spectrum purple month – houses that are far more luridly purple than this one!

In the spirit of Project Spectrum, here’s my first completed Trekking sock. I’m just finishing the toe increases on the second sock, so I doubt I’ll be done with it before the end of the month. I’m also back to working on my moderne log cabin baby blanket – no bibs on the needles! *twitch twitch* Bibs bibs bibs bibs bibs! Whoops – sorry about that lapse..

Chaos spends a fair amount of time on top of the fridge or dangling over the edge – hopefully he doesn’t fall off onto his head… (That black kitten card on the front of the fridge? Not Chaos, but how could I resist it??)

“A cat falls off the fridge once! Only once! And gets grief about it forever. Sheesh.”

KisS KisS

Although I’ve been rather quiet about it, I’m participating in the Knit Sock Kit Swap (KSKS). I had to be sort of sneaky about the whole thing because my swap target was Mrs Pao and I didn’t want her to figure that out. But now that she’s received her swap package, I can talk about it – especially since it was such a Project Spectrum kit! ๐Ÿ™‚

I asked Scout to dye a special skein of yarn for Mrs Pao, incorporating her favorite colors of black and purple (yes, yes, I know, those are my favorite colors, too, but I was ever so good and didn’t keep the lovely skein of yarn). The absolutely perfect Stormy Chaos colorway reminds me of Lorna’s Laces Black Purl and Koigu #305.

The bag was knitted from black Tahki Capri, a sadly discontinued Egyptian cotton tape yarn, using the Two Old Bags’ Pamela bag pattern. I can’t sew worth anything, but I dug out some swirly purple silk jersey and sewed a bag lining by hand. I have my very own Pamela bag from the same yarn (although not lined… yet) and think it’s perfect for carrying around a sock, since the bag handle loops so handily around the wrist. As soon as Mrs Pao’s router is playing nice again, I’m sure she’ll share details of what else was in the kit!

Last night I met another local knitter, blogless Kathryn K, at Bar Abilene for chips, salsa, margaritas, conversation, and, of course, knitting. We had a lot of fun and I bound off the first purple Trekking sock! One down, one to go…

And yet another SRP update…
The Art of Detection by Laurie R. King, 358 pages. The first Kate Martinelli mystery in a long time! This book sort of bridges King’s two mystery series, the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series and the Kate Martinelli series, as much as can be done when they take place many decades apart.
Wicked Fix by Sarah Graves, 290 pages. This is the first “Home Repair Is Homicide” mystery that I’ve read, but I enjoyed it and will be reading more. The series is set in Eastport, Maine, and features former Wall Streeter Jacobia Tiptree.

If you’re ever curious about the order of books in a mystery series, curious about mysteries set in a certain location, can remember the character but not the author, or want to find new books to read based on authors you like, check out Stop, You’re Killing Me! It’s easily the best resource an avid mystery reader can have (besides a public library…).

Chaos is enjoying the sun and the air conditioning…

“Why are all of you upside down?”

Driving to dye

Check out Janna’s cat Simon in his brand new bib!

On Saturday, Deb of Wound Too Tight invited Jeanne and I out to the far western suburbs to dye a lot of yarn, drink wine, chat, and eat yummy food. Jeanne has created the official photographic record, since I only remembered to pull my camera out once… Yes, she even got a few pictures of me – in one of which, I swear you can see down my shirt to my belly button (I’m an innie, thanks for asking). ๐Ÿ™‚ Neither of us managed to get a picture of Deb’s daughter, Kathryn, who kept us on track by alerting us when the yarn in the microwave was done.

Here are the Country Classics dyes, ready to go and with color card at the ready. (Please note that the fountain was not part of the dyeing process.)

The load of stuff that Jeanne and I brought to fill up Deb’s sunporch.

Jeanne hangs out with Holly, who at the time had not displayed her fondness for licking hot dyed wool.

Deb niddy noddies up a storm, getting her yarn ready to dye.

Here’s the yarn I dyed, drying on my drying rack. From left, Ashford Tekapo dyed with Lialc and diluted Raven, KnitPicks Dye Your Own sock yarn dyed with Very Hot Pink and Raven, some ancient Lion Brand worsted wool dyed with Cornflower, a ball of ancient Bear Brand worsted wool dyed with Spring Violet and Cornflower (dyed by sticking the ball into a cup of leftover dye, then flipping it over and sticking it into another cup of leftover dye), and another ball of the Bear Brand dyed the same way but with leftover Very Hot Pink.

Here are the same yarns (excluding the skein of Tekapo Lilac and Raven, which is still drying) in roughly the opposite order as above after they’ve been reskeined. Much nicer!

Deb surprised us with gift bags!

“I’m not sure I’ve had this color of tissue paper before. I will have to do a taste comparison.”

She gifted me with two stunning skeins of Alchemy Haiku (silk and mohair), two skeins of yummy Regia Silk, and a kit for making felted catnip mice! Thank you so much, Deb!

*sniff sniff* “This is very, very interesting indeed. You’d better get knitting, Mom!”

Return of the Phantom Paw and Monday miscellania

Insomnia Girl here. What the heck, I’m not going to fall asleep anytime soon, so I might as well post my Monday morning post a wee bit early.

I’m not done organizing my pictures from a big dyeing adventure Saturday evening, but you can read about it at Wound Too Tight. All I’ll say right now is that Deb is an incredibly gracious, generous, and all around damn fun hostess! ๐Ÿ™‚

Janna’s knitting a bib for no reason other than to see her cat Simon in it. Go, Janna!!

Craftlilly Jennifer is having another contest! It runs through midnight, PST, Wednesday, July 26. Anne is having a blogiversary contest – what would your superpower be if you had one?

SRP update:
Quicksilver and Shadow by Charles de Lint, 357 pages. This is another book of de Lint’s early short stories. You might remember I wasn’t that keen on its predecessor, A Handful of Coppers, when I read it recently. Fortunately, in Quicksilver and Shadows, de Lint is much more accomplished. I would still limit my recommendation of this book to diehard de Lint fans, but you will find it to be much more pleasant going.
A Circle of Cats by Charles de Lint, 44 pages. This delightful children’s book about a girl who is always searching for fairies in the woods but never finding them is a prequel to Seven Wild Sisters.

Congratulations to American cyclist Floyd Landis, for winning the Tour de France against amazing physical odds!

This sign in the 50th and France neighborhood amused me no end:

Why was I as far from home as 50th and France? I met movie maven Renee of A Good Yarn Friday afternoon to catch a matinee of Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man. Leonard Cohen is a remarkable singer, songwriter, and poet who has been making music for a long time – he’s in his 70s – and has influenced an awful lot of artists. The 1991 tribute cd I’m Your Fan contained covers by R.E.M., the Pixies, John Cale, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The 1995 tribute cd Tower of Song contained covers by Bono (U-2), Sting and the Chieftans, Tori Amos, Willie Nelson, Peter Gabriel, and more. Even if you haven’t heard of Leonard, you might have heard his songs “Bird on the Wire” or “Hallelujah” (perhaps as covered by Rufus Wainright on the Shrek soundtrack, by Jeff Buckley, by Allison Crowe…). Probably the best concert I’ve ever been to was Leonard at the State Theater in Minneapolis on June 22, 1993.

You might have guess that I was pretty excited to see this movie. And I was disappointed overall. Most of the movie focused on the Leonard Cohen Tribute Concert in Sydney, Australia, in 2003. The concert footage was intercut with interviews with Leonard Cohen and with artists talking about how Leonard had influenced their lives and work – most notable were the interviews with Bono and Edge of U-2 and with Nick Cave. The concert footage was the weak point in the film, and since it was most of the film… However, I would suffer through that part of the film again to see the glorious few minutes of Leonard singing his song “Tower of Song” with U-2 backing him!

I have a few more pictures from my early morning purple mouse photo shoot (I wasn’t kidding about chopping off ears, was I?!). Check out the phantom paw in the first picture, and please forgive the blurry second picture…

“Mousie, mousie, roly poly mousie. Mousie, mousie, crunch him up, yum!”

“Doesn’t he look scrumptious, my SPM?!”

Frivolous Friday

Everybody wants to be a cat
Because the cat’s the only cat who knows where it’s at
Everybody’s picking up on that feline beat
Because everything else is obsolete

– Psapp, “Everybody Wants To Be a Cat”

When I got home from work yesterday, Chaos was completely back to his usual Chaotic self. Yay!!

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m a badass kitty – what would I possible be afraid of?! Wait, did you hear something???”

Some contests to tell you about. First, Aija of Sock Pr0n is having a very interesting contest that’s open until July 23rd. Second, Wendy (yes, that Wendy) is having a needle identification contest that’s open until noon ET July 23rd. Third, Susan’s clever and amusing contest is “dress Ken” and is open until July 29th. Fourth, Frarochvia says “Leave a deafie-type question you’ve been wondering about, and hmmm, there will be a random drawing for a prize!”

It suddenly occurred to me this morning during breakfast that I haven’t taken very many Project Spectrum pictures this month. Considering that purple is my second favorite color (black being the first), this was quite a shock (especially since it was 5:45 am). So I immediately pulled out the camera and took a few pictures. Let’s just say that my photographic skills are not the greatest at that time of morning! Oh well, I got most of the cat in the pictures. What’s an ear here or there?!

Some purple fabric from Crafty Planet that I was powerless to resist. This is very amusing, since I don’t sew.


“I’m sure I heard something. You don’t hear it?!”

Two purple mice – one old, one new. Can you tell which is which?!


“Oh, SPM, if you would but share the secret of where SRM is!”


“I’m sure I can convince you to give up your secrets!”

The jangling nerves of the Cat Chaotic

A few miscellaneous things…

To humor me, Kat took a picture of her dog Java wearing a bib. Talk about a hangdog expression! Thanks, Kat! Sorry, Java – does it help to know that you look awfully cute in that bib?

MeanGirl Jen is having a contest – you have until Friday to leave her a comment with the posted and forecasted high temps where you live. The winner will be selected by random number and receive a skein of Mama-E’s sock yarn! Susan’s going to have a contest starting on Friday (she’s being very mysterious), so drop by tomorrow and see what she has in store for us.

Send me an email if you’re having a contest (chris at my domain) and I’ll let people know – I love contests! (And I’m so far behind in bloglines that your contest will probably be over before I find out about it otherwise.) In fact, I’m thinking about what to do for my next contest…

Another SRP book completed – Micah by Laurell K. Hamilton, 245 pages. The latest but one in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. I enjoy this series, but it is not for everyone. It is sexually graphic and often violent. If that isn’t a problem, Laurell K. Hamilton always writes an intense, page-turning read that you won’t soon forget. The series should definitely be read in order (Guilty Pleasures is the first book in the series). This book reveals a bit of wereleopard Micah’s past as he travels with Anita to Philadelphia for a zombie raising.

Chaos has been a nervous wreck since Tuesday. While I was at work, the guys who are doing the window installation in my building used a hydraulic lift to reach my third floor windows, ripped out the rotting wooden trim around the windows, put in new trim, and wrapped it with aluminum. In addition to the noisy hydraulic life and strangers looking in the windows (not so common in our third floor condo), they were using a nail gun to secure the wood and trim. All new experiences for Chaos, who tends to be jumpy anyway, and all very loud.

“It was terrible. Terrible, I tell you! I’m sure that I will have nightmares for years,
and probably will require lots of tuna to soothe my jangling nerves.”

I work at home most Wednesdays, so Chaos did get some tuna yesterday, along with lots of petting, brushing, and soothing talk… Until the big thunderstorm, although he’s never been afraid of thunder before. And then the guys came back on their lift to use the nail gun to finish one of my window ledges! And then a jet flew very, very low above us!! Argh. Back to seeing my noisy, saucy, bossy kitty with his tail down and puffed out, quivering and cowering behind the toilet. I’m back in the office today, so when they start that lift and begin driving it around, I’m not going to be there to calm my poor kitty. Hopefully the guys will finish the windows soon and things will be quiet and calm and sunny again for the dusty Cat Chaotic…

N is for…

Nashwauk, Minnesota. Can you see me in the first picture?! (Clicking on a picture will open a new window with a larger version of the pictures.)

Nashwauk is located about four hours north of the Twin Cities between Hibbing (boyhood home of Bob Dylan) and Grand Rapids (birthplace of Judy Garland). It’s deep in the heart of “Da Range” (aka Minnesota’s Iron Range), which you can tell by the “From Timber to Taconite” bit on the sign below:

The Hawkins mine, which abuts the eastern edge of the town, was the first mine in Itasca County.

The old mine is surprisingly beautiful. They didn’t fill in the huge open pit when they closed the mine; instead, they turned off the pumps that were keeping it dry.

Some of the hills of taconite tailings are not quite so lovely, alas.

Just outside of town, this structure always mystifies me – some sort of radar installation?

Isn’t it amazing how different the sky looks in those two pictures? Yet they were taken within a few hundred feet of each other.

Edit: I was just informed that I somehow missed the wonderful sign “Nashwauk, Gateway to North of Nashwauk.” (The Boundary Waters? Canada? The North Pole? The mind boggles.) Drat!