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Brown-thumb alert

I want it said of me by those who knew me best,
that I always plucked a thistle and
planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.
[Abraham Lincoln, birthday February 12, 1809]

Orchid

A friend who knows me well enough to know that my gardening thumbs are not green gave me this orchid for my birthday last November. I’ve always wanted an orchid but figured it would only last a week if consigned to my care. I’ve posted this to prove my lovely orchid is just as pretty after two and a half months!

Valentine gift advice: Buy her an orchid. It lasts longer than cut flowers and is so elegant (like her, I’m sure).

Side effect warning: I’ve developed an urge to read all of the Nero Wolfe books I can find (Rex Stout wrote over seventy). Both Nero W. and Rex S. were orchid lovers.

Dacapo Jacket Complete

The whole difference between construction and
creation is exactly this:
that a thing constructed can only be loved
after it is constructed;
but a thing created is loved before it exists.
[Charles Dickens]

Dacapo_JacketHanne Falkenberg’s Dacapo jacket

Hanne Falkenberg’s designs are sold as kits (yarn and pattern). A friend gave me this kit last spring and I finished it this week. What a delightful project. I rarely knit other people’s patterns but I’m glad I had a chance to knit this one. The construction of the jacket was finely engineered and fascinating.

Rebuilding my Website

I put my heart and my soul into my work,
and have lost my mind in the process.
[Vincent Van Gogh]

site map

Over fifteen years ago, a client handed me a book (Teach Yourself HTML in 24 Hours) and said, “I would like for you to build a website for my business.”

I was only vaguely aware of what a website was, and had never seen the internet. I bought a piece of software called BB Edit, studied the book from cover to cover testing my code in Netscape (I wasn’t connected to the internet), and developed a detailed organizational chart for my client’s site. He approved the chart and gave me sketches of his vision for the look and feel of the site. As I set to work, I had no clue about how other sites looked. The one I developed was very visual since I am a graphic designer instead of a technically oriented person. We put the finished site files on floppy disks and hand carried them to our web-server provider. He showed the site to me on his computer—my first glimpse of the internet. I was so excited that I was jumping up and down inside.

Since then, I’ve ridden the roller coaster of web development through all of its iterations. After publishing a number of client websites, I still use principles I learned on that first site:

  • Plan, plan, plan—work out the details and gather the resources before assembling the first page.
  • Keep the perception of the site guest in the forefront. Make it “user-friendly.”
  • Keep it simple and compatible with older browsers.
  • Document the site structure for future maintenance and expansion.
  • Test each phase during the process so, at the end, everything works and nothing needs to be retrofitted.

I am in the process of redesigning my original site. I usually start with a detailed site map (organizational chart) that I draw in Adobe Illustrator, but this time I am assembling it in Microsoft Excel (shown in the image above). This is proving to be so much quicker and easier. It allows me to focus on content instead of construction. I’m looking forward to this project. Meanwhile, I’m studying another refresher course on Lynda.com.

I do not at all understand the mystery of grace—
only that it meets us where we are
but does not leave us where it found us.
[Anne Lamott]
TOBY

As I sat in the pet emergency room during the wee hours of last Wednesday morning, the thought struck me that Toby was the best example of God’s grace I’ve encountered in my earth-bound life. His love was freely given and required nothing in return. His quiet, gentle presence enriched my life.

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,800 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Argyle Christmas Stocking

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
[C. C. Moore]

Argyle Christmas Stocking

If I could put a subtitle on this post, it would be, The Last of the Argyle. Thirty years ago, I knit an argyle vest for my husband. I found the technique so tedious and frustrating that, when I finished it, I swore I’d never knit another. I’ve known knitters, including my mother, who enjoy the technique immensely and who would be frustrated with the techniques I enjoy most. Such is the way with human beings.

Less than a decade ago, a group asked me to teach the intarsia knitting technique (as used in making argyle) so I designed another argyle vest. The request keeps cropping up so I keep knitting more argyle. I tell myself, it builds character.

Then came the ultimate request, a sock pattern that is argyle without a sewn seam. Here it is. Since I knew that I didn’t have the self discipline to knit a second sock, I made it into a Christmas stocking so I could say I was finished after only one. The accent lines are worked in duplicate stitch using metallic gold yarn. Although the pattern is worked to and fro, a wrap and turn avoids the need for a sewn seam.

Here is a Christmas gift for those of you who knit —  a free printable PDF pattern for knitting the sock. NOTE: This version of the pattern is a revision of the original. The heel instructions are altered. 

One must be an inventor to read well.
There is then creative reading
as well as creative writing.
[Ralph Waldo Emerson]

iPad-apps

Since I live in relative solitude, my blog gives me a place to share things that one would normally share with a person in the same room. This is a, “You’ve just gotta see this…” post. The thought has crossed my mind that I’m likely the last to learn all of this, but I’ll share it anyhow. I’ll make bullet points of my disjointed thoughts.

  • The image is a screen shot of one of my iPad folders.
    • I’ve never seen non-Apple devices, but am confident that they have reasonable counterparts to this.
    • It is worth the effort to learn how to organize apps in folders so you can find your stuff easily on one screen.
    • The desktop image is either (a) my backyard or (b) a tourist stop near Cardiff, Wales (UK). HINT: I have no backyard.
  • About the first row of apps in the image—these are primarily text readers. iBooks reads books from the Apple store, Nook reads Barnes & Noble books, and Kindle reads Amazon books. The apps are free and many books can be obtained without cost as well. There are also sale priced books available from such sources as BookBub.
  • The second row of apps in the image—these are specialized readers. Audible (an Amazon company) is an audio book reader and not only reads books from Audible.com, but also reads non-Amazon books from iTunes. Overdrive accesses the local public library. Using my library card, I check out both text and audio books using Overdrive. GoodReader could also be called Knitter’sHelper. I use this for my PDF knitting patterns because it allows me to easily mark my place and make notes.
  • The third row shows apps from Blackstone. These audio books are well produced and are now available with a built-in player as apps—one book per app. I bought these in the App Store for reasonable prices. There are many choices. One of my favorite mystery writers is Louise Penny. Her books, set in Quebec, present characters in such depth and with such sensitivity, that they make me want to jump into my little roadster and drive to Canada in search of imaginary friends.
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