Friday, December 28, 2007

December's Blurry Flurry

December was a blur to be sure. In fact the last few weeks were so filled with activity that I didn't even have time to breath, let alone blog.

So, how about we play a bit of catch up, eh? Oh, and let's set our little catch-up session to a bit of music.

Sound good?

Okay, here's my, travels, gifties, eating, drinking, making merriment...dancing around...

Sing it with me peeps!

...A partridge in a pear tree!

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

An Ashford Knitters Loom!

Yep, about three weeks before the sparkling 25th day of the month, I encountered the hubs splayed out on the living room floor watching some sporting event on the tube and inquired as to his plans for my Christmas pressie. He looked at me with an expression that can only be categorized as blanc de blanc and answered, "I dunno." So as is my way, ever the organized visionary, I explained to him that I knew of the perfect pressie for moi and would be happy to facilitate his acquisition of said holiday magic. Needless to say he agreed and handed me his credit card. A week and a half later my lovely Ashford Knitters Loom arrived at our mailbox!

Hey, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Two wonderfully woolly scarves!

The first example of scarfdom was created for me by my yarn-lovin' buddy, Ellen. Ellen's got a thang for Noro, which she used to crochet this beauty. Stunning eh?

The second example of scarfdom was created for me by my beautiful daughter. She even needle felted a little flower to adorn this lovely turquoise wonder. Stunning times two.

I love both of these scarves so much. Thanks girls!

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

A ginormous Christmas tree!

We encountered this tree in San Francisco's Palace Hotel while simultaneously consuming copious amounts of breakfast buffet fare a few weeks ago.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Handfuls of homemade cookies!

Sugar cookies ready for the oven.

Oatmeal infused rancher cookies.

Always a crowd-pleaser, a plethora of ginger snaps.

German sour cream twists, my favorite cookies since girlhood.

The first weekend of December was spent with my sister, Stephanie, and our mother baking cookies from recipes found in my maternal grandmother's recipe box. Plentiful bounty resulted from this drawing of the three.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

An all expenses paid cruise to Alcatraz!

A view from the ship.

I took this shot at the beginning of out tour. We took the night tour by the way. So cool!

My daughter's cell. LOL

I am a native Californian and unbelievable as it may seem this was my first trip to The Rock. I definitely recommend taking this excursion should you ever find yourself in the Bay Area.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Time to design two new patterns for Crochet Today magazine!

Barely enough time, but I tackled the challenge of designing two projects during December anyway.

Yes, this would be further confirmation that I'm nuts.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Lots and lots of ballerina crotch!

Note to self...never ever sit in the front row of theater while attending a performance of the Nutcracker.

Um, yeah.

Did you know that ballerinas wear ruffled panties?

Sorry, I got nuthin' on the toe shoe front.

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

The San Francisco skyline at night!

How beautiful is that?

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Perfect pecan and pumpkin pies!

Yes, I baked a lot this month.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

A smile on my surly daughter's face!

Them smiles are hard to come by when one is inhabiting the teen years.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

The Raiders losing to the Colts!

I know. So what else is new?

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

The blessing of being able to share this holiday season with family and friends!

It just doesn't get much better than that!!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

No More Martinis For You!

Office Holiday Party Pic
Originally uploaded by ladylinoleum
This is an example of what happens when I've had more than a few martinis at the office holiday party.


I make a pretty good Bones though eh???

Sunday, December 16, 2007

San Francisco

I'm in SF for the next couple of days folks. Saw the Raiders lose today. Though they played a good game. I've got to give them that. Tomorrow there will be shopping and a trip to Alcatraz. Hopefully a little yarn exploration too!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Singular Tee

Singular Tee
Originally uploaded by ladylinoleum
My newest sweater design for Knitscene mag! It's crocheted in a supremely soft cotton, Halycon Casco Bay Sport. I hadn't worked with this yarn before, but it was a good fit for the design, which happens to be my take on a "my first sweater" type of pattern.

I'm definitely making one of these for my daughter. Oh hell, and one for myself too!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Digit Puppets!

Finger Puppets
Originally uploaded by ladylinoleum
Got a hankering to crochet up a few finger puppets (my latest patterns in print)? Then you need to pick up the January/February '08 issue of Crochet Today mag.

I expect to see everyone sporting these around town...

Monday, December 03, 2007


December is such a nutty time of year. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for me to accomplish all that I’d like. Be that as it may, I still give it the ole college try each and every 12th month of the year!

Saturday began early with a blast of animated crafty reorganization. I’ve acquired a few new tools in recent months (okay, more than a few) and, well, such acquisitions have required me to do a little spatial rehab of my living room (read: too much crap, too little square footage). Currently my communal living space is home to a couple of large looms, myriad small looms, knitting, crochet and embroidery implements, needle-felting weaponry and yes, a brand new spinning wheel (and all of the stuff that comes with it)! This is in addition to the usual type of living room fare: home electronics; comfy arse-supporting furnishings; computer; all the impedimenta a couch jockey could want or need…you know the drill. Fortunately hubs and kid don’t hassle me about my stuff taking up residence in there. They’re both very tolerant and I am very thankful for their sensitivity to my fiber dominion.

Here’s the new Fiber Shui, which currently radiates outward from my favorite chair…

The small bookshelf, a legacy item which sits adjacent to my chair, is just perfect for my spinning tools, ball winder, swift and stitch dictionaries.

Freshly wound balls of newly spun yarn sit atop the shelf…

Around the backside of my chair and below an antique school desk is a smattering of knitting, crocheting and weaving supplies…

Adjacent the opposite arm of my chair is my little sewing cabinet and my brand new spinning wheel! Love my Lendrum!

After the organization spree I was ready to get down to some serious fiber play where I found myself mid-shawl on my tri-loom…

Using a very nice hand-dyed boucle that I purchased at a yarn show last year…

Completed a little hand-dying of my own. More fingering weight burgundy to pink goodness…

Also did a little spinnin’. Definitely just cutting my teeth on the wheel. Still haven’t learned to control the spin factor yet, but I do have moments of spinning clarity where I do see improvement in my technique. Here’s a batch of gently washed hanks…

And a bobbin loaded with newly spun wool…

Really, what an improvement from my first batches! Plying is still a bit of a painful process, but I am making strides on that front too, however small.

Sunday I found myself equally busy. Hit the PCC Flea Market in the a.m., followed by my art group in the afternoon. We are, thankfully, almost finished with our current project, which we’ve been working on for almost two years. Most of the group is anxious to begin something new. The evening consisted of more personal crafty exploration while indulging in a little Tin Man on the Sci Fi Channel. All in all, not a bad way to blow a few days!

This week will see the beginning of two new patterns for Crochet Today mag as well as completion of a few holiday gifts for family and friends. December just keeps moving along! That’s okay, I’ll rest in January.

Have a wonderfully productive week everyone!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

If I Only Had A Brain...

...A second brain that is.

Crocheted from cotton thread. About 3000 yards of bedspread weight cotton thread to be exact.

And teensy weensy little hook. A size 6 steel hook cradled in a hand carved wooden handle courtesy of the hook carver extraordinaire, Jimbo!

Jimbo, your hook enabled me to crochet for many, many hours virtually free of pain. Thank you so much!

And it took numerous hours to work through the filet mesh of this brainy beast of a shawl. A month and a half of evenings dedicated to the mesh, open and closed.

A lot of mesh...

Yeah, it's that big.

And it is done!

My brainical thready opus is finis!

Copyright 2007 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

As we launch into the holiday season I'd like to take a moment to thank you all for visiting me and your willingness to share your thoughts, anecdotes and life's melange with me. You're all amazingly creative and a source of endless inspiration for me.

Love you guys!

As for T-Day, I'm on stuffing and pie duty. This year I am churning out a large batch of my tried and true Pumpkin and Wild Mushroom stuffing, a new-to-me twist on traditional pumpkin pie, Pumpkin Mascarpone Pie (from November's issue of Bon Appetit), as well as a Linoleum family favorite, Cranberry Orange Pie...

Pretty and tasty!

Do yourself a favor and give this pie a try. It's tart and sweet and super easy!

Cranberry Orange Pie

Pie crust for two crust pie
3 1/2 c. fresh cranberries (about 1 pkg.)
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 tbs. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tbs. orange juice (depending upon what's available at the grocery store, try substituting blood orange or tangerine juice)
2 tbs. minced or grated orange zest
2 tbs. melted butter

1 egg, lightly beaten
1 egg, lightly beaten with 2 tbs. heavy cream for glazing
granulated sugar of sprinkling

Prepare pastry, roll out half to line a 9" pie pan. Partially bake crust in 400 degree oven 10 - 15 minutes until almost done, but not completely browned. Keep pricking crust with fork as it puffs up. (I used pie weights to avert any pre-bake pietastrophes.) Cool pie shell about 15 minutes before filling.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine cranberries, sugar, flour, salt, orange juice, zest and melted butter. Toss to combine. Pour into cooled pie shell.

Use beaten egg if making lattice design for top crust. Roll out dough 1/16" thick, cut into 1/2" strips, moisten crust with egg and make lattice pattern over cranberries. (I love to weave dough peeps!)

Brush top of pastry with egg glaze and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbly, about 45 minutes longer.


Have a wonderful long weekend everyone!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Spinnin' the Weekend Away

Well, they've finally done it. The internet firewall guards here at the Cube Farm are preventing employee access to the blogosphere. Oh yeah. They have shut the door, locked it up tightly and tossed the key over the nearest cliff.

No Blogger. No Typepad. No Wordpress. No nothing.

A fellow Farm Inmate has been sending me third party server addresses for the past couple of days, but those get sucked into the abyss that is our firewall within hours of first contact. To say that I am frustrated is an understatement. Really, I could go on and on, but I'll spare you all.

Let's move on, shall we? I'd rather talk about the uber-crafty weekend I just had after all. There was spinning, dying, crocheting, weaving, embroidery as well as a smattering of knitting! Actually, I feel that I have embarked upon a crafty renaissance of sorts. So much stuff to do with yarn (and thread) and so little time!

Anyway, my weekend began early as I took Friday off. So nice. I just sat around weaving and dying hanks of yarn all day. I needed the respite from the now evil and dreaded blog-blocking Cube Farm. I know. I just cannot let it go. Whatever.

Lookie how purty my yarn is though...

I do have a few weaving FOs, but I'm saving those for a post all their own.

Saturday I spent the day immersed in a 6 hour spinning workshop with John Pitblado at the Urban Craft Center. Oh my God, it was life changing. No really, it was!

First and foremost, I heart the Urban Craft Center. Angharad and Carolyn are awesome. The space is awesome. It's just blocks from my home, which...hel-lo? Is awesome. Love the UCC.

And I love John too! He's really a wonderful teacher, very patient and encouraging. Truly, the man is a gifted educator and coming from me, that's saying something because I used to teach teachers how to be teachers!

Anyhow, we began the workshop learning how to spin with a drop spindle. In the past, I tried to teach myself the art of the drop spindle using this book for reference. Each and every time I failed. In fact, I was beginning to believe I that I was suffering from a heinous ailment known as spindle-block, a very serious disease for a yarn devotee such as myself. However, it appears that I suffer no more for within a few hours I had accomplished this...

And it felt good.

Drop spindle conquered, it was time to move to THE WHEEL. I'd like to say I took to spinning on a wheel like a duck to water, but as is my way, I hit the curve, the learning curve that is, which for moi can be a bit steep. Fortunately, the curve flattened a bit within hours. So, by the time we reached the end of our session I had accomplished...

I made ya-arn.

I made ya-arn!

There is a spinning wheel in my future, of this you can be sure. There are also more UCC and John Pitblado workshops in my future too. Did I mention that I love them?

Sunday, though not as eventful as Saturday or as restful as Friday, was just as craft positive as the days preceding. I practiced a little sewing and embroidery in order to embellish this very special jacket, which belonged to my late father...

The man wasn't exactly an avid carnivore, but I think he would get a kick out of the felted meat appliques...

And utensil embroidery.

Dad was my biggest fan after all, cheering me on creation after creation.

Ahhh, fond memories of my father and my crafty weekend exploits almost quelled the blog-blocker frustration seizing my being. Almost.

Methinks I need to investigate mobile blogging...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tales from the Windy City

I’m back from Chicago!

I arrived last night after a very, very busy four days of work and play in the Windy City. Basically, I was exhausted from the trip and hit the sack immediately. I’m old now peeps! Two business trips in a month have wiped me out. So sad…

Anyway, my itinerary moved along as follows. I arrived at approximately 3:00 pm on Saturday. Waited around in baggage for what seemed an eternity. Yes, I am one of the few people who still checks her bag(s) as opposed to the rest of humanity, who attempt to bring as much cargo as possible on board the plane in order that they may shove said bags into as many overhead bins as possible. Really, it’s ridiculous how much crap people bring with them into the cabin of the aircraft.


Sure, there is a risk that my bag may get lost in transit if I check it, but hey, I fly A LOT and I ALWAYS check a bag. Knock on my keyboard, but I’ve not lost a bag yet. Anyway, yeah, I do have to wait for my suitcase in baggage claim upon arrival, but I’ve grown used to it. No biggie. At least I can proudly embrace my status as a light user of the overhead bins.

Rant concluded.

After claiming my luggage I hit the cool, crisp Chicago late afternoon air to wait for my car, which would transport me to the Peninsula Hotel. Not a bad place to spend a few days, that’s for sure. Hey, if my company is making me travel then they need to make sure that my arse is comfy.

All made up…

Note: This mugshot is purely to satisfy a friendly criticism that I (i) rarely show my mug on my blog and (ii) if I do happen to display a pic of self it is cropped just below my eyes. Satisfied Jenna?

I was set to meet up with my girlfriends Shannon and Megan at a faboo restaurant called Custom House, where there was much eating, drinking and making of merriment. Our satisfying meal was followed by more, um, drinking, AND making of merriment at The Green Door Tavern until the wee hours of the morning...

Having awakened myself before noon on Sunday I pulled myself together for a bit of shopping on Michigan Avenue. I spent the afternoon alone, strolling around the shops, taking in the sites and enjoying the day. I rather savor spending time by myself and what better way to explore my new surroundings than alone and unhampered?

That evening I recovered my social self while joining Shannon for a Blackhawks game. What fun! And check out our seats...

Blackhawks won, to Shannon's dismay. The girl's a Red Wings fan.

Next two days were all about work, work, work and more food, food, food! Really, it's a wonder I didn't gain a bazillion pounds. On Monday I had lunch with a few co-workers at N9NE Steak House. Dinner that night at Mike Ditka's where they serve steaks the size of my head. And my head? Yeah, not so small. There is a reason I usually only photograph myself from the eyeballs up. Third and final food fest, I mean lunch, took place at 312 before I had to board another plane. I really hated to leave so soon. Definitely planning to return...ah, for a vacation next time 'round. Chicago is a town I need to revisit.

In addition to stuffing my face, I did manage to do a bit of embroidery while away. Check these babies out...

Not bad for a beginner eh?

No yarn store visits though. Next time for sure!

Friday, November 09, 2007

FANtastic Kings Hat

On Monday, fellow cube farmer, Sunny, asked me if I'd be willing to crochet her a FANtastic hat that she could don at this Saturday's Kings game. She wanted to sport something that resembled our Los Angeles Kings' logo. Loving a challenge, I of course accepted.

Here's the logo (in case you're not familiar with it):

And here's my interpretation using some stash acrylic and wire:

Um, yeah. Sunny will definitely be sporting a conversation piece...

Not too bad for an evening's work eh?

Copyright 2007 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.