Tuesday, October 31, 2006


It's a bird!

It's a plane!

It's a chick with an eyeball cape!


Um, yeah...

You know, it was surprisingly easy for me to get ready for work today...Slipping on my red pants and boots (both of which are Linoleum wardrobe staples oh by the way), pinning my eyeball emblem (which doubles as a coaster when not on super hero duty) to my SuperShirt and pulling my newly crocheted SuperLinoleum mask over my eyes. Ahhh, I love Halloween!

I also love Red Heart Super Saver!
Mon dieu!
Now, now, I'm just as yarn snobby as the next person. But hey, a SuperLinoleum on the go doesn't have time to wait for her cape to be dry cleaned. Nope, it has got to be wash and wear. And hel-lo? Nobody but Red Heart does red quite like this...

Even the eyeball emblem on back is brought to you by that crunchy queen of acrylic fiber...Oh, and don't forget the one on the front of my shirt!

I seriously made a dent in my RHSS stash this Halloween by working up this ensemble.

Is stashbusting a super power?

It is now...

Happy Halloween everyone!

Copyright 2006 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Swamp Crone Shawl

What does a girl do with piles of crocheted severed fingers and eyeballs? Give 'em out to trick-or-treaters? Perhaps. Strewn them about the mantel as holiday decor? Well, sure. I know! How 'bout attaching them to a netted shawl for a bit of Halloween costume-age? Sound uh, interesting?

Introducing the Swamp Crone Shawl!

Here it is draped about this blog's spokesmodel...

Crocheted using this acrylic-y stuff and honeycomb stitch, Swamp Crone worked up quickly. I even fringed the edges and I'm not normally a fringer, at least, not in the yarn sense. But hey, one does what one must for one's craft.

Up close and personal with the ghoulish accoutrements...

An eyeball...

Detached digit...

And a good ole brown spidey!

Oh, and all self-respecting Swamp Crones never leave their respective shacks upon stilts without a trusty Eyeball of Infinite Wisdom...

Ahhh, I love Halloween!

Copyright 2006 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 23, 2006

More Middle Earth

First and foremost, I wanted to thank everyone for the wealth of comments I received on my Jolly Roger shawl. I’m overwhelmed. Really and truly, I find you all to be an unceasing source of inspiration. There’s nothing better than visiting my peeps in bloglandia reveling in all of the new and brilliant items you put forth. The internet rocks my world.

Second, I received a TON, literally gazillions of entries (this advertising didn’t hurt either) for embellishing Boring and Blank O’Lantern. I will be going through all of your amazing stories and ideas this week. You’ll soon pay witness to which of the ideas submitted provokes hook to yarn.

Third, I want to apologize for the delay in release of the Dem Bones scarf pattern. It’s really complex to write out (the construction is rather obtuse) and in addition I’ve had very little free time since August. So, eventually it will get done and though I’ve missed this Halloween season, there’s always next season. I know, famous last words. Anyway, I’m trying people! I’m finding it very difficult to balance my work life with my “real life” as of late. If I just didn’t have to sleep, I’d be so much more productive!

Okay, now let’s talk New Zealand! I’ve only covered a smidgen of my trip thus far. So much more to tell!

So as you do not think me thoroughly pickled 24/7, let’s cover the ambrosia-free portion of the program consisting of kiwis and hobbits and caves, oh my! Yes, though it pained us all to leave our Waiheke island retreat AND the vineyards, I needed to see some hobbits (a LOTR junkie such as myself cannot fly all that way southward and NOT partake in some hairy-footed touristy homage…I’m telling you, this is next for me…). Therefore, accompanied by my cadre of traveling companions, we hopped the ferry to Auckland to meet up with our tour guide who was to whisk us south to the site of the Hobbiton movie set (among other locations), which I affectionately refer to as Bilbo’s ‘hood, seen at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring and also seen at the end of The Return of the King. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!

Okay, I’m a dork and that is well established so let’s keep going shall we?

Upon arrival at the Auckland ferry depot I skipped (yes, I, did) over to the shuttle, while my travel companions skillfully attempted to act as if they’d no idea who I was. Yeah, whatever, I was going to Hobbiton. Nothing or no one was going to rain on my parade. Nosiree. However, there are those who would try. Enter, my own personal Sauron for the day, my husband. Oh yes, immediately upon plummeting my rear into the seat of our transport, Sauron Gonzalez embarked upon an oh so familiar litany. Such one-liners as, “Gee Regina, have you ever seen Lord of the Rings? We may have to ask someone to explain the story to you.” Another that goes a little like this, “Tell the man how many times you’ve seen each movie Regina. Go on, tell him.” Or my favorite by far, directed to our poor unsuspecting tour guide, Robert, “I’m a catholic and the Vatican is my Mecca. My wife, she’s going to visit hers today.” Duct tape anyone? Anyone? Anyone???

Anyway, our freewheeling transport traveled southward from Auckland, approximately two hours through some a-mazing countryside before arriving at the Shire’s Rest, located at the front of the Alexander farm, otherwise known as Hobbiton, outside of the small rural hamlet of Matamata. From there, our little group of travelers boarded a larger bus appropriately named, yes you guessed it, Gandalf, with a gaggle of young German LOTR devotees for transport inside the working sheep farm and down to the site of my personal Mecca!

Disembarking Gandalf, we were introduced to a delightful young woman conversant in all things short, curly-haired, donning fur-bearing feet. She would accompany us as we dodged profuse piles of sheep poo poo and explored the remains of the Shire in search of Bilbo’s Bag End, The Green Dragon and of course, the party tree.

I listened with unbidden joy to her stories of Peter Jackson and crew times past, which included terms from the common Hobbiton vernacular such as “stunt sheep”…

"Party tree detritus" (pink stuff up in the branches)…

And of course, "Bag End" (big hobbit spotted!)...

We spent close to two hours on the set and it was just amazing, right down the ritual party tree hug (the hubs and his sister demonstrating)…

It was with heavy heart that we boarded Gandalf to head out of the Shire for transport to our next tour destination. Yes, even those traveling with me not so very infatuated with LOTR felt a little blue upon exit. Needless to say, to commemorate our visit the travelers four purchased all manner of tourist crapola emblazoned with Hobbiton logos, of which we were assured you could not obtain anywhere else, not even on the internet. Ah, yeah...Loaded for bear, our sorrows assuaged through purchase power, we hopped on our little blue bus to begin the next leg of our journey, The Kiwi House!

What’s as big as a chicken, has wings the size of ficus leaves, is nocturnal and sucks worms and other entomological wonders out of the dirt with an anteater-esque beak? Yep, the national bird of New Zealand, the kiwi! As some of you may know, I love birds (I have nine of ‘em) so the chance to see an actual kiwi was truly a treat. But wait, there’s more than just mere kiwi view-age to see at The Kiwi House! There is also an amazing aviary to walk through, which housed all manner of feathered New Zealanders.

And yes, we purchased more souveniers just in case you were wondering.

The Kiwi House was neato!

You know what else was neato? Our third and final destination of the day’s journey, the Waitomo Caves. Nothing can prepare you for what you’ll experience in the “deep places of the world”, i.e., the glow worm caves located at Waitomo. Yes, I said glow worm. And yes, you get to see a bazillion of the bluish glowing beauties while in the caves. And did I mention that it’s dark down there too? And there’s an underground river system? And you have to view the glow worms (truly amazing) via boat? And no photography is allowed??? Bummer. Check out the website though. You can find plenty of pictures there. Eight enthusiastic thumbs up from my travelin’ par-tay! Yes, more stuff was purchased...Are you sensing a theme?

The hubs and I are definitely going to visit the caves again in the future. Yes, it’s that cool. Only next time, we are doing 'em by tube.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Git yer Jolly Roger on!

There comes a time when a wench just needs to git in touch with her inner pirate. That bein' the case, I made meself this here shawl...

Fortunately my spokesmodel wasn't booked.

The body of the shawl is knitted. Very easy, build it from the bottom up, triangular type of deal using plain ole stockinette, worsted weight yarn (I used Cascade 220) and a size 9 40" circ.

CO 2, k first row
Row 2, pf&b of every st
Row 3, kf&b of first 2 sts, pm, kf&b of last 2 sts
Row 4, p
Row 5, kf&b of first st, in the sts before and after marker and last st of row (4 sts increased)
Repeat rows 4 & 5 until you have 300 sts

Easy, peasy!

This guy...

...not so easy.

First I attempted my friend Rog using intarsia and incorporating him onto the shawl itself. Looked like junkola on the backside of the shawl and can you all say bobbin p0rn? No good.

Next I opted for my applique method, knitting the appliques (there are four there) fair isle, thus avoiding bobbin p0rn. The pieces were just too stretchy. Me no likey.

So, I picked up my H hook and my charts and bingo! Me likey!

Four crocheted intarsia, non-stretchy appliques that adhered to the piece like a dream!

Funny, and cool, story...my offspring walked up behind me as I was sitting on the floor sewing the appliques to the shawl and stated, "THAT...is mine." Then she turned on her heels and walked away. BEST. REVIEW. EVER.

Copyright 2006 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Bedazzle Blank & Boring O'Lantern!

First there was Seamus. Shortly thereafter Seamus' sister, Leah, made her way onto the Monster Crochet Cucurbitae Runway with a splash of um, err, seeds. And who could forget The Brothers Gourd?

In keeping with the short-lived tradition of creating and recruiting new Squash-rades for the VLA's Holiday Meal Recovery Unit during the fall and winter months, I have two new Cucurbitae to present...

Yep, meet Blank & Boring O'Lantern!

I know, I KNOW, these two are real duds, eh?

So VLA fans, the staff here at LabLinoleum needs your help. Yes, again. And yes, I am aware that these Veggies are super high maintenance. Anyway, these O'Lanterns are definitely lacking a little sumthin, sumthin, betraying their backgrounds as crafty cable teevee supa stars! Uh-huh, both have starring roles in an upcoming episode of Uncommon Threads...

Anyway, here's the challenge:

Tell me, how to improve these diamonds in the rough, these orange beings waiting for their close-ups, these pivotal People of the Seed!

How does one play a staring role in the Pumpkin Nip/Tuck experience you inquire?

Via email, send me a drawing, bio, poem, play, obit, diagram, character sketch, whatever medium your comfortable working in, that gives me an inkling as to who these two (or just one if you prefer) Squashies really are! Dream big! I will choose the idea(s) that provoke me to pick up my hook and perform Pumpkin magic. Winning looks will be unveiled right around All Hallows Eve! Idea originator will receive full credit and of course membership in the Monster Crochet Hall of Fame (guess I better get going on that idea too).

But that's not all!

Should you choose to participate in Project Squash Rehab, I will email you a copy of the not-yet-released O'Lantern Crochet Pattern (pdf format) so that you can make your own People of the Seed! All entrants will receive a copy of the pattern regardless of whether I use your idea or not!

Get cracking folks! Ideas/concepts should be emailed to me by no later than Sunday, October 22!

Make sure you write "O'Lantern Contest" in the header of your email.

Have Fun!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Twice Tagged

I have been tagged not once, but twice! First tagged by Bronwen. Sorry it took me so long to respond!

Anyway, here's the first meme:

List 5 weird things about yourself or your pets (I will be sharing my weird pet tales for I share my own weirdness each and every day on this here bloggy).

  1. My African Senegal parrot, affectionately named Drumstick, loves to steal my aluminum crochet hooks. I believe she likes the shiny aspect of said hooks. Anyway, when she finds one, instead of flying away with it thereby effectively thwarting my efforts to extricate it from her beak, she runs away. I always catch her mid-sprint. Not brilliant, but very entertaining.

  2. My cat will not eat any food that smells or tastes of fish. How weird is that?

  3. I've given my pets some interesting names: Drumstick (shown above), Hot Wings (budgie/parakeet), Shellshock (budgie/parakeet), Lox (rosy bourke/Australian grasskeet) and of course the infamous, Poo Poo Kitty (who my husband has determined is my fuzzy alter ego).

  4. Poo Poo Kitty arranges all the stuffed animals on my daughter's bed so that they surround her like a faux fur barrier before retiring upon offspring's bed for the day.

  5. All of my birds (nine of them) sing the same song in unison at the same time every, single, day.

Next meme, five things feminism has done for me, is brought to me and therefore to you by my sister, Stephanie! Here goes...

  1. Having been exposed to the feminist art movement as an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in art, I learned to enjoy and embrace my particularly feminine way of working and making art which both acknowledges and pays homage to the historical precedence of "women's work".

  2. Feminism has taught me to be visible in the world. My voice, my opinion and my viewpoint are important not only in the workplace but in the world at large. I am woman, hear me roar type o' thing.

  3. Don't get me wrong I love men (hi guys!), but when it comes to developing enriching and lasting friendships, women tend to be my first choice. My relationships with my gaggle of girlfriends are some of the most important relationships I've ever had aside from family that 'tis.

  4. Through feminism I have discovered so many talented female writers, artists, journalists, historians, politicians, etc., that may have remained anonymous to me otherwise.

  5. Finally, feminism has taught me to be proud of who I am regardless of how I'm packaged.

I always feel bad about tagging peeps, but here's what I'm gonna do...I'll leave the first meme open to those who feel like sharing their weirdness (or their pet's weirdness) with the world. For the ode to feminism fandango I'd love to hear from Bri, Heather, Faith, Miss Kendra, TK, Uccellina! Give it a go gals! Or not. I'll still luv ya anyway...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Travels With Bacchus

When planning your vacation do you choose the location based solely upon the cuisine of said locale?

Do you plan your daily meals with an attention to detail that only an athirst epicurean can muster?

Do you have a link to Woochi on your favorites menu?

Does the wine portion of your weekly grocery bill provoke the checker at your local supermarket to recitation of passages from The Big Book when at the register?

If you answered yes to any or all of these, well, then New Zealand and more specifically, Waiheke (affectionately referred to as the Island of Wine), is the vacation destination for you.

Upon arrival at our island retreat we immediately scoped out the vineyard geography and jumped right into the sauce with a lovely degustation menu and wine pairing supper par excellence at Mudbrick Vineyard Restaurant. Can you say 10 courses of gastronomic bliss combined with wines good enough to sate the Bacchanalia??? Nothing like a three hour meal to kick start a vacation in paradise I tell ya. Needless to say, a return taxi to our home away from home was unnecessary for at meal's end our sommelier needed only to turn each of us on our respective sides, give our newly acquired spherical forms a gentle nudge, stimulating our party of four into a wobbly roll straight out the vineyard gate and back to our point of origin. Um, yeah.

Day two began early for there was much more wine to be had and therefore stomachs needed to be lined before the next round of imbibing could commence. Carbohydrates consumed signaled the arrival of our designated driver ("DD") at 10:00 am to whisk us off to our first watering hole, Peninsula Estate Vineyard.

Situated atop a picturesque bluff overlooking Hauraki Gulf, this little vintner bestowed upon us quite a surprise...a rose that didn't suck! In fact, the Oneroa Bay 2005 Rose was outstanding and I have been kicking myself since leaving the Peninsula grounds for not having purchased a case of their deep pink ambrosia. Taps be gone!

Anyway, four substantial glasses of vino under our belts meant that we needed to board the shuttle for transport to our next island wine-o stop, Kennedy Point Vineyard.

There we toured the vineyard, olive groves and danced about the barrels of bliss in the back.

We also sampled a wonderful sauvignon blanc and cabernet franc (at least that's what my wine sodden cerebrum seems to conjure of our time there) at which point the mistress of the cellar door began to pour some of their award-winning olive oil into little tasting wells. I don't know, maybe it was the six glasses of wine each of us had previously consumed or maybe it was the outstanding flavor of the oil, but we didn't leave Kennedy Point Vineyard until we'd cumulatively purchased seven bottles of olive oil. Yes, seven. Moving right along.

Next our designated driver spirited us off via winding bush flanked trespass to Passage Rock Vineyard.

While there we sampled their lovely and light '06 Voignier, scintillating '04 Sisters and topped off the duo with a sampling of their '05 Syrah, reveling in all of it's peppery goodness. Always remember this...nine fully loaded glasses of wine portends flagrant credit card usage. Lucky for the folks at Passage Rock. Mom and I left with a case of their nectars.

Three vineyards visited meant sustenance in the form of food was in order. So, our medium-like DD, divining our desire to stuff our faces or risk having to drag us all home by our bootstraps, dropped us at yet another vineyard, Stonyridge, for a welcome respite from the distillery expedition to obtain some much needed grub.

I took pictures of the delightful dishes for fear that I would forget the mouthwatering muckamuck set before us amidst our wine-induced haze. Methinks I inhaled the seared tuna and olives...

Needless to say, the travelers four didn't move about much upon our return to our cliff top beach bungalow. Nope, pretty much we were all at one with the sofa. Not a painful place to be when you're nursing hangovers amidst this panorama...

Stay tuned! Definitely more Middle Earth to come...there be Hobbits in the future.

Wine tour provided by Ananda Tours, Waiheke - Auckland, New Zealand.

By the way peeps, the picture in the previous post was photoshopped at a booth providing said silly tourist pics at the Sky Tower in Auckland. We weren't really hanging off the side of the spindle-like monument!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Back in La La Land

It is with heavy heart that I boarded the plane on Wednesday to return home...Seriously, I cannot believe I'd not traveled to New Zealand before now. In a word, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Anyhow, now that I'm back in good ole sunny So Cal I've lots to share! Not just the whole vacation fandango, but lots of FO's. Very Halloween appropriate FO's I might add.

Give me a day to recover and I will blog away. For now, I leave you with the best vacation photo ev-ver. This is moi with the hubs hamming it up Kiwi style at the Sky Tower in downtown Auckland...

Yeah, we're both a bit twisted...Big surprise there.