Thursday, December 24, 2009

Snowy Dogs on Thursday

Happy Dogs on Thursday everyone! Today's DOT is all about the dogs enjoying the massive amounts of snow we got last weekend. How much snow did we get? The National Weather Service recorded 23.5 inches here. That's 3 inches more than our average annual snowfall. Yikes.

I hate the stuff, but the dogs love it. I took several (dozen) pictures and quite a few videos of them enjoying the dreaded white stuff. I'll only bore you with two videos.

The babes say "Thanks for watching, and Merry Christmas, or whatever you happen to celebrate."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Making a list...checking things off.

It is now you know where your day went? Ever notice how quickly a day goes by when you're off, and how sloooooowly it goes by when you're at work? Why is that? I had big plans for getting lots of stuff done today, but haven't even made it through half of my list.

One thing on my list was to upload snow pictures from the camera. Here is a shot of the back deck last Sunday morning.
This is my sister using the snow thrower. See that big lump of snow in the left of the picture? That's my car. Completely covered with snow. It's a Big Ol' Snowman of a Prius!

There hasn't been much melting, since the temps have been quite chilly all week. It is supposed to be in the 40s this weekend, so here's hoping for lots of melting!

Another thing on my to-do list was to finish up the Brown Bag Sock Yarn choices. I never did November or December, so I tried to talk Emma into choosing which yarn should go with which month.
Emma says "Who cares? There are only two to choose from, and you're going to knit both of them, so what does it matter?" I have to admit there is a certain amount of logic in her argument, but it would still have been nice of her to play along. I finally gave up and unwrapped both skeins, and look at the colors!!!

Red and green, I kid you not! How funny that the last two skeins of sock yarn are Christmas colors! I'll have to think of something special to knit with them, seeing as I am so full of Christmas spirit this year, thanks to Sue. Notice the tree? Yes, I did put up a tree this year. No ornaments, yet, but I think the sock yarn looks pretty good on it. Maybe I'll just decorate it with sock yarn!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow? What Snow?

Everyone who knows me knows how much I hate snow. Hate it. With a white-hot-hatred. When the white stuff is falling, I tell myself it's not's volcanic ash. Oddly enough, the thought that a modern day Mount Vesuvius is about to turn my world into Pompeii, The Sequel is more comforting to me than snow.

So, when calls for "crippling snow from Mid-Atlantic to Northeast" and "rates of 1 to 3 inches an hour" and "snowfall is expected to be 18 to 24 inches" and "the highest amounts are expected in parts of southern New Jersey" I would normally be curled up in the fetal position, sucking my thumb, praying for a comet to hit the Earth and put me out of my misery.

Not today! In between taking the dogs out to pee...

...and telling them not to eat the snow and then coaxing them back in the house...
...and then letting them out again because they ate so much show that, you guessed it, they have to pee...
...I've been knitting, eating cream cheese and olive sandwiches on little tiny slices of pumpernickel bread, and watching The Holiday. Do you see all that snow? Totally unheard of here in southern New Jersey. But, at least the worst is over. Oh no...that's right. The heaviest part of the storm is going to hit between 3:00 and 9:00pm. What time is it now? 2:45pm.

Who cares, though, because the dogs are happy and healthy, I still have a job (which might change any day now but I can't think about that today...I'll think about that tomorrow) and I have wonderful friends. Friends who are kind and thoughtful and can brighten your day even though you have never met them in person. Yesterday, one of those friends totally blew me away. Sue, dear, sweet Sue sent me this:
It is unbelievable! Sue made me a counted-cross-stitch pillow...of a BRITTANY! It is absolutely beautiful! So thoughtful! She even included some treats for the babes. Emma, Tara and Cooper say "We Love Auntie Sue!"

So today, even with the snow, not only am I NOT in a catatonic state, but I think that my shriveled up, Christmas-hating Grinch heart is beginning to grow, and I might, just might be getting into the Christmas spirit!

Sue, you are a miracle worker!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dogs on Thursday

Funny thing happened this week... The sun, moon and stars must have all been aligned "just so". I "met" another Brittany mom on Ravelry, and she just so happened to have rescued a brit from American Brittany Rescue, and her brit just so happened to have come from Arkansas, and her brit just so happened to have been fostered by the same person who fostered my sweet little Tara! Tara and I call her Momma Judy. What are the chances??? It must be a Christmas Miracle!
Tara the week we brought her home.

I've tried over the years to contact Momma Judy and send her photos of little Tara, but the emails have always been returned, so I asked the brittany mom I met online if she had any contact information for Judy. The next day I got an email with Judy's phone number!

Tara modeling knitwear.

As soon as I got home from work, I dialed Judy's number, not really knowing what I was going to say. I started babbling about "my name is Dianne" and "I have a Brittany" and "Is this Judy? I hope this is Judy?" Fortunately Judy gave this crazy woman on the phone a chance and didn't hang up on me, and I explained how I got her number from another brittany mom and that I have one of her fosters and have been trying to contact her. Turns out, Judy's computer died and she hasn't replaced it, which is why my emails have been returned!
Tara modeling more knitwear.

After a nice long chat, and I thanked her repeatedly for saving my sweet Tara's life by taking her out of a shelter five years ago. Most of all, though, I thanked her for selflessly giving up Tara and allowing her to come and live with me. I can't think of any greater act of love than that.

Tara saying "Give me Judy's number...maybe she will take me back..."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hijacked Dogs on Thursday

For this week's Dogs on Thursday post, Cooper decided to strike an artistic pose.

Speaking of artistic, New Jersey's arts organizations need your help. (How do you like that segue? Pretty smooth, eh?)

I don't talk much about work, but I work for an arts organization in southern New Jersey, and we depend on state grants for a large portion of our operating budget. Since New Jersey's state budget is in the red, today they announced a freeze on payments to the state's arts organizations. Back in July, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts announced grants of $14.4 million for more than 160 groups (something like less than 10% of those groups are in the southern portion of the state...I'm just saying...) but only $2 million has been dispersed so far. Basically, we have been operating on the hope of the promised money being distributed for 5 months now.

For more information, you can go to this article from the today's Courier Post newspaper. If you are a New Jersey resident, I would really appreciate it if you could please go to this link and tell your legislators that the arts in New Jersey are important to you. That is, if they are important to you.

Emma, Tara and Cooper say "Please support the arts. That's what buys our dog food and treats and cookies and snacks and pays our Vee-Eee-Tee bills, though we could certainly sacrifice and cut back on the visits to the vet."
Nice try, babes! As long as I have breath in my body, you three are getting regular check-ups!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I have come to a realization that I will never find the perfect handbag. After years of looking, and many months of unsuccessful handbag shopping, it's just not going to happen. Or at least, I will never find the perfect handbag, again. I already found the perfect, and I mean PERFECT handbag. When I say it was perfect, it really, really was. Is. Would be, if only I had bought it. No leather, not too big, not too small, not too old-lady-ish. It was simple, tapestry-ish fabric, top kind of flopped over, and there were these clippy type things on the inside on each side to kind of keep it all neat and tidy, but you could unclip it to search for those darn keys that always dive the the bottom of your bag when you need them. In the words of Goldilocks, it was juuuuust right. Except for the price.

My solution? Make it myself! I know my way around a sewing machine. I'll just buy some fabric, slap it together, add some clippy things, and Bob's Yer Uncle! Handbag!

Part 1, fabric. It took some looking, but I found the perfect fabric. Maybe not exactly perfect...not as nice as "The Perfect Handbag" but not too bad. Kind of pricey, but I'm making it myself, so that's a savings, right?

Pattern? Who needs a pattern? I know what I want so just point me towards the clippy things and I'll be on my way. Only I can't quite remember what the clippy things looked like, or how they worked. Never mind. I'll figure that out later.

Three weeks later: I'm tired of staring at the pile of fabric, scissors in hand, too chicken to actually cut into it without a pattern. Back to the fabric store. Purchase pattern, thread, 16 skeins of cord to braid Kumihimo-style into the strap, rectangle things to attach the strap to the bag, bias tape, fusible web stuff, and a zipper. Look around for the elusive clippy things, but nothing looks like it will do the trick. No problem. I'll figure that out later, right? I leave the store with the realization that I have now spent very close to what "The Perfect Handbag" costs, and still have no clippy things, and still have to make the freakin' thing.

Obvious solution? Give up. Return what I can to the store (they don't take back fabric, especially pricey fabric) and go and buy "The Perfect Handbag". Great, except that I found it at the Festival of Fine Craft we have at work every October. There are something like 200 vendors there, and I have no idea what the name of the artist who made "The Perfect Handbag" is, or how to contact her.

So, this morning, I sat down to make my own handbag, and it's going to kick "The Perfect Handbag's" butt. Except for the fact that I screwed up the cutting and won't be able to add a zipper. And I ran out of bias tape. Oh, and in Step 2, can anybody tell me what the hell is an Epinglez?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dogs on Thursday

For this week's Dogs On Thursday, I'm bringing back this photo of Tara from a few months ago:
She is modeling some knitting-in-progress. Anyone remember what it is? Here is some more knitting-in-progress:
Any ideas what it might be? Here's a hint, it's not a skanky bikini for a doll! It's light bulbs!

My friend Pat and I made a string of knitted Christmas bulbs for one of the trees at work. The theme for the museum's display this year is "A Handmade Christmas" so we've been working on all kinds of handmade ornaments, and of course we did a tree of knitted ornaments! Thanks to Ravelry, we had no shortage of patterns. Take a look at these teeny tiny sweaters.
Here is the completed knitted star that Tara was modeling.

And here is the tree of knitted ornaments in all its glory:
Working on this tree is the most fun I've had at work in a long, long time!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Knitting Report

Since the name of this blog is Brit Knitter, and there have been way more Brits than Knits lately, I figured I should share some recent projects. First is a project I started a while back for my new niece Sophia. The fact that she came three weeks early, and then had to be re-admitted to the hospital on Thanksgiving Day and spend 2 nights in the NICU had everyone in a tizzy, but thankfully all is well with Sophie and her mommy. Sophie's daddy and two brothers and one sister (yep, that's four kids, FOUR! Plus three Brittanys. Yikes!) are all happy to have Sophie home and everyone is being a big help with the new baby.

Anyway, what does every new baby need? A baby blanket! A while ago I found the Woolly Thoughts' Basketweave pattern on Ravelry, and knew I had to make it. Here is it in all it's finished glory:
It turned out to be a skooch larger than I had planned. Truth be told, I didn't really plan all that much. I just bought the yarn, cast on, and kept knitting and knitting and knitting. And knitting. Before it knew it, the "baby" blanket was big enough to cover Rhode Island. Well, maybe not quite that big, but here is a picture of it with a recent copy of Spin Off magazine for perspective.

Yes, indeed, that is one big baby blanket!

While the sun was shining, I also took some pictures of Sophie's big sister's Christmas present. I bought the book "Itty Bitty Toys" by Susan B. Anderson for an adorable puppy pattern, but when I saw this little Baby Doll, I knew I had to make one right away.

She was so much fun to make! Braids attached to her hat, ruffled panties, even a belly button! You know you want to see her in her birthday suit, so here she is in all her nekkid glory:

Fortunately, I had some helpers for this photo shoot. Daughter of Ducky was wandering around...
...while Joseph supervised from the back of my car.
Yes, the hatch was up so he helped himself to a comfy spot. No sense in walking on those driveway stones, plus being higher up, he had a better vantage point.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

So much to be thankful for...

I have so much to be thankful for, but I have sweet potatoes to make so will make this short and sweet. I am so very thankful for...
  • My new niece! Meet Sophia (being held by my mom). Sophia was born on Tuesday, a couple of weeks early, but mama and baby are doing fine. Sophia is a little bit jaundiced, but they are checking her bilirubin level twice a day and hopefully it will resolve itself without having to go under lights.
Sophia was a little bit fussy, but mom worked her magic and calmed her right down.
  • I'm also thankful for three mischievous, out of control, badly behaved, but happy and healthy dogs! (Especially the "healthy" part)
  • And last but not least, I am so very thankful that 54 years ago today, these two "kids" said "I do."
Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! I love you more than words can say!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

In which we are failures...

Look at this sweet face. Who would believe that this innocent little creature who can't weigh more than a couple of pounds could turn the whole household upside down.

Little Olive is really a sweetie, and I'm sure that Cooper and Tara would accept her, eventually, but Emma is another story. Emma decided that Olive would be HER baby, and that no one else could go near the cage. Emma turned on Tara and Cooper, and at various points was snarling warnings and raising her hackles at them. When Emma attacked Cooper's haunches and had Tara by the neck, we decided this was not going to work. Olive went back to my niece.

Touching good-bye scene? I think not. While the humans were fighting back tears, the dogs just had their eyes on the prize...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Arrivals

Lookie what arrived in the mail today!
I won this cute zipper bag from Chan's Big Blessed Bash. Isn't it adorable? It was made by Piddleloop and it's the perfect size to hold some knitting notions to keep them from getting tangled up in my project bags. Much classier than my usual ziploc bag, too. Thanks Chan!

Speaking of knitting, I finished a couple of projects this week, but can't post them here yet. Soon, so keep watching...

Now for the newest resident of Britknitterville. It's not a Brittany. It's not even a dog. It's a cat, but not just any cat. Remember little Olive who wandered into our garage a few months ago? My niece Jen took her as a temporary measure. She has been socializing Olive, took her to the vet for shots & spaying, and has been trying to find her a loving home. No luck yet. Since Jen already has something like a bazillion cats, and has lots of company coming this week for Thanksgiving, she can't keep Olive any longer. So, Jen lent us a huge cat cage, and Olive is settling in nicely.
The plan is for Olive to patiently wait in the cage while the dogs get used to her. Eventually the dogs will grow to love their new little sister, and Olive will be able to leave the cage and everyone will enjoy a long and happy life together.

It's only been three hours, but I think it's going well. Cooper is barking incessantly, Tara is howling like a beagle, and Emma just stands "on point", trembling and licking her lips while staring at Olive. How much longer can this go on? I've got to go and look for any Percoset left over from my back surgery.

Anybody want a kitty?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dogs on Thursday

I read my first book by Dean Koontz this week. I know, I know, everyone but me has read something by him. What can I say.... I'm late to the party. A friend lent me her copy of Koontz's "The Darkest Evening of the Year." I laughed, I cried... well mostly I cried. I would recommend it to any dog lover, especially Golden Retrievers, or anyone involved in rescue.

I won't give away the story line (because that's one of my top 10 pet peeves) but one paragraph practically jumped off the page and said to me, "Hey, you there...are you paying attention to this? Read this again and again, and share it with everyone you know," so here it is:
"Dogs' lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know that pain is coming, you're going to lose a dog, and there's going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can't support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There's such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware it comes with an unbearable price. Maybe loving dogs is a way we do penance for all the other illusions we allow ourselves and for the mistakes we make because of those illusions."
I am so very thankful that my babes are all so healthy, but every day --every single day-- I look at Emma and Tara and Cooper, and know that the unbearable pain of losing them is coming. I can't help it. I also know that I will welcome another soul into my life when the unbearable pain becomes a little less unbearable, and the cycle will start again.

Scarlett c.1994
my first Brittany
May 13, 1991 - April 4, 2003

Monday, November 16, 2009

Nor'Easter Debris

Over the past couple of days, we had quite a storm in this part of the world--one of the worst in New Jersey history as far as flooding and beach erosion goes, so you know what that means... Sea Glass!I'm not immune to the suffering of those who have sustained extensive property damage, but then again, look at this loot! Gorgeous greens and a couple of aquas, some really big pieces, plus a strange looking lead sinker/dipsy there in the bottom right corner of the photo.
It looks like a alien fishing gear!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Socks Experiment

People have often asked me how long a pair of hand knit socks will last. I've always said I have no idea. Now I know! Back in March of 2007 (while we were all going through a rough time during sweet Melanie's final weeks of life), I made this pair of Jaywalkers as a little experiment.

Back then, there was some discussion at the online sock knitting forum regarding using reinforcing thread in the heels and toes of your socks. I mentioned that I use sewing thread to kind of beef up the heels and toes. One of the knitters mentioned that she heard that sewing thread can actually increase the wear and tear on the socks because of the rubbing of the thread against the yarn.

In the interest of scientific experimentation, I knit up this pair of socks using Grumperina's Jaywalker pattern and Knit Picks' Simple Stripes yarn and included plain old cotton-wrapped polyester sewing thread reinforcing the heel and toe of one sock, and one sock without. I've been wearing these socks, summer and winter (my feet are always cold!) for 33 months now, waiting and waiting and waiting for a hole to develop. While I was folding laundry this weekend, guess what I found? A hole! Jackpot!!!
On closer examination, you can see that this hole developed non-reinforced sock, so I guess the thread helped! For this pair, anyway. In the interest of full disclosure, though, I should add that the reinforced sock shows wear, also.
Maybe I should darn the hole and continue to wear the socks so I could keep track of how many additional wearings it takes until a hole develops in the reinforced sock!

Maybe I should continue to knit every pair of socks with reinforcing thread in one sock only and track the wear of socks made with different yarn content or types of reinforcing thread.

Maybe I should have my findings published in the Journal of Sock Knitting and earn a Nobel Peace Prize in Sock Knitting! If either existed, that is.

Maybe I should get a life...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dogs on Thursday Mystery

This post has it all... mystery, scandal, intrigue, but no dogs, so I guess this isn't technically a Dogs on Thursday post, but frankly I don't have anything dog related for today, so chickens it is!

Longtime readers will surely remember Ducky, my Ducky McDuck, my sweet innocent Duck-a-Doo who was shamelessly seduced in the twilight of her life (she was just 2 weeks shy of her 12th birthday!) by that rogue neighbor chicken Napoleon. I'm thinking there was Ecstasy involved. This is one of the last pictures I have of sweet Duck-duck-duck. Look how close that nasty little black chicken is sticking to her.

He filled her head with sweet talk and lies, and led her astray, never to be seen by her loving momma ever again. Oh, the heartache...

But the story doesn't end there. Last week, a bunch of chickens started showing up, wandering in to the yard through a patch of woods that separates us from the neighbors. They're shy chickens, though, so I've had a hard time getting pictures. This picture of them hanging around the driveway was taken from inside the back door.

I went out and followed them to get some better shots, and got this picture of one rooster (the black & white one) and 5 hens. You can just see the top of the head of hen #5 in the bottom right hand corner of the photo.Just for the fun of it, I started cooing to #5 and calling her Ducky Junior. The rest of the chicks ran off, but she came right up to me, and let me snap a bunch of pictures!

Could it be that this is Ducky Junior? Daughter of Ducky? I think it is!

To some people, perhaps all Rhode Island Red chickens look alike, but I just know there is a family resemblance here... Look at the coloring, the eyes, the nose, the comb!

Yes, indeed! Ducky sent her daughter back to me to tell me that she is happy in that great chicken coop in the sky. That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it!