April 26, 2004


Last night I took out some of my old sketchbooks from the 70s and early 80s... I'd like to devote some space on my website to share some of the things I wrote (and maybe some of the drawings/designs I did)...

When I was looking through the designs, I thought that some of them might be good for rug hooking designs and maybe even paintings... gotta get the scanner cleaned up and put back together again so that I can post some of them here... as well as some of my prints...

on 9/27/1979 I wrote:

Creativity creates confusion.
I'm doing a painting and I don't like what's coming out. So many questions come to mind: 1) why do I have to paint abstract, not so much why do I have to, but why do I want to? 2) what do I want to paint and how do I want to paint and also why paint? Why not draw or print?

Trying to get ideas CAN be so trying at times. I guess (professor) Sanders got me a little mad yesterday asking me what i have in mind -- Why do I have to have anything in mind? (I get so mixed up and confused sometimes).

Why not just paint until I do come up with something?!?

on 9/24/1979 on the bottom of the same page (written upside down from the above) I wrote:

Things sometimes seem so futile and worthless and without purpose.

Back to 2004...

It's interesting to see the difference in quality of the different drawings I've done over the last few weeks: Yesterday I did some drawings of the flowers on the table, of Harrison and of Loveslug... they're not as good as what I did 20 years ago, I still need practice... in a way it even seems like what I've done yesterday was worse than the self portraits I did back in January or February... part of the re-learning curve, I guess!

In a wonderful drawing book by Robert Beverly Hale, he wrote: "So get your pad of paper and start drawing simple lines. You will find it very hard to make a really straight line, and harder to make a verticle line than a horizontal. try drawing a perfect circle. draw a few thousand and they will get perceptively better. Above all, don't get discouraged. It is said that only the divne Raphael reache circular perfection." SO I shall go practice, then shower & do some errands in town... maybe even some drawings... not to mention the laundry, thanks to a non-working washing machine...

Posted by Jessica at 01:43 PM

April 22, 2004

picture day

Here are the photos I wanted to show you the other day:

click here for a larger view

I've been working on these socks on and off for quite some time now and now am working on the heel. I'm using the heel described in the Twisted Sisters sock book...and doing "knit 1 slip 1" across the knit rows for more cushy-ness...

These are a photo of all our cats taken last summer... clockwise from the tortieshell cat on the left with the orange splash over her eye: Nikki, Yoda (also a tortie), Littleface (the back marmalade), Loveslug (marmalade in front), Liberty (siamese lookalike), Dumbledore (black & white cat)..

This is a photo of a swatch I did last summer of a section of the Annabel Fox "Tattoo" sweater. I probably won't be using the background yarn for the Tattoo sweater (which I hope to start after I make Rogue)... I'll be using the background yarn for Rogue and a different green for Tattoo...

Not much else new, I'm almost finished with Marian Tabler's square from the American Aran Afghan, should be ready to wash it tonite... also have been looking through the Crafters Choice books trying to pick out 2 to fulfill my membership obligation. The books really aren't that good a deal except for the first 4 for $1 each... it's cheaper to buy from Amazon or Barnes & Noble... even when CC has shipping specials, like they do now. I'm trying to decide if I should get a book on water color painting or something like that... if anyone has any suggestions for good books on painting techniques, let me know... something fun and informative!

Posted by Jessica at 05:50 PM

April 21, 2004


Sorry for not posting sooner... life happens, plus I had an annoying cold... everyone else in the family got one as well, Gary's having the worst time with his...plus there's really not a lot new. Also, the twins have been using the computer to make webpages and I don't get quite as much computer time... that could change if the twins have another fight over the computer: last night Gary said he would delete their webpages if they ha another fight over the computer. He even wrote up a contract for them to sign to that effect...

I've been plugging away at the American Aran afghan squares... one of them (designed by Marian Tabler) is almost done... the other one is about half one or 1/3 done, I have not worked on that square in a few days, have been mostly working on the other one... I took a few pictures of the Tanton-Hewitt square square but they didn't come out, so I'm not posting photo updates of the squares today.

I'm up to the heel on my Fortissima Cityline pink socks, working from the toe up. I'm doing the short row heel as described in the Twisted Sisters Sock book. I'm doing the body of the socks with a long circular needle "2 on 1 circ" aka magic loop... but am knitting the heel section with DPNs...

I have since ripped one heel, knit a little tiny bit more on both socks and am now back to working the heel and this time I'm using the heel stitch (k1, slip 1 across, turn, purl the next row) along with the short row heel for this sock. Will have further updates in time.

I hope to do some painting today, but will try to get closer to finishing up the Aran square first. I have less than 20 pattern rows to go, they should go quickly.

Yoda has been extremely affectionate with me the last few days... almost to the exclusion of everyone else... it's weird, she's over 3 years old and she's usually affectionate/friendly, but now she is being VERY affectionate... last night she slept on my pillow... maybe it's because Liberty and Dumbledore and her sisters have been spending a lot of time outside now that the weather is nice: we try to keep Yoda inside because there's something not quite right about her...

No photos today: I had a couple I wanted to show you, but I think I need to defrag the hard drive first...everything's coming out messed up when I save the pictures after adjusting the color, cropping and resizing...

Posted by Jessica at 10:46 AM

April 09, 2004

Much Ado About Holidays

Yesterday was the school spring party (okay I'M calling it a spring party, They call it an easter party, but we're celebrating Passover in our house)... this year I decided to let Harrison participate in the school's easter egg "hunt"...
(in quotes because the eggs were just scattered all over the lawn and the kids would just pick up as many as they could... they weren't hidden, so in my mind, it's not a hunt) and I scattered some matzos wrapped in aluminum foil and the kids picked up pieces of it...Harrison picked up several of the matzo pieces!

In the past I was never quite sure what to do about the holidays where the kids are concerned...I don't want to be a scrooge, but don't want to give the kids mixed messages either... when I was growing up, my parents wouldn't let us have a Christmas tree, but they didn't make a big deal over Chanukah either... we almost always went to visit friends for Christmas day and then my parents would go out for New Year's Day... my parents didn't make a fuss over Passover, they'd get a couple of boxes of matzo and we would get together with family for Passover...sometimes my parents & I would go out for supper for one of the other holidays like Valentine's day or Mother or Father's day... and we'd have birthday parties and anniversary parties... and my family always got together for various weddings, bar mitzvahs (and alas) funerals...

I grew up as an only child...that's another story for another time!

The boys had a half day yesterday and have a 5 day weekend coming up... with "chance of rain" in the forecast for tomorrow through Sunday. I don't know what we'll do this weekend, we do have a birthday party on Saturday, but I really hope that I won't be spending most of the weekend refereeing fights/playing prison marshall or something like that! I don't know if my kids fight more or less than others, but some days it's unbearable... "he did this he did that"..... maybe we can plant some of the garden this weekend.
I'd like to do some painting. I may have to wait on the painting until school starts up again, we'll see! it would be nice if we could all paint, except for the distraction..maybe they can paint outside & I'll paint inside...

Painting & Drawing

I now have a cool set of paintbrushes, 18 bristle brushes in different sizes in a canvas carrier for $6. I got them from Michaels. I don't know how good they'll be, but I figure it's something to start with and if I continue with painting, I'll learn which brushes are good, which are okay, etc. I do know that I like handling wood as well as plastic for knitting needles...
I also got a smaller set of small camel hair brushes, which are included in the picture with the bristle brushes:

I originally thought that I ought to brush up on my drawing so that I could come up with some designs for rug hooking and now it seems to be metmorphosing into painting and drawing for itself and it's just a plus to be able to design rug patterns...

Yesterday I transferred one of my drawings onto wire screen and used the screen to transfer some lines onto monk's cloth:

I need to experiment with the lighting to get the pictures right... will try again and see if I can get a photo without a yellowed look! The monk's cloth is much whiter than it shows in the photo. I also plan to do a painting based on this picture... Micah said he wants to punch hook this one. I'll have to ask Gary to fix up a frame for it as I don't think we have one that is the right size. it'll come out backwards since he'll be using the punch needle...

Gotta think how we could do the coloring for Yoda's fur! She's a tortieshell, probably would have to thread the punch needle with 2 or 3 colors at the same time: some black, some brown and finding a good match for the orange-y-gold-y-beige would be a challenge... hmmm...sometimes even getting a good photo of her coat is a challenge:

Have a good weekend, everyone! I may even post over the weekend, we'll see! I took a bunch of other pictures, but will show them another time...

Posted by Jessica at 12:30 PM

April 08, 2004

Catching Up

Passover matzo: I bought three 5-box packages of matzos... that's 15 boxes total, or 15 pounds... with my Tom Thumb reward card, it was $3.99 for each 5 box pack! It would have been $13.99 otherwise.

We opened the first box on Monday: I needed some matzo meal to make potato kugel & I just grind up the matzos rather than buy matzo meal... then we had some matzos for the seder on Monday night, and now we're down to our 6th box. So far, at least 1 box went into making matzo meal and a good part of another went into making matzo meal granola.. it was good! I got the recipe from http://www.cyber-kitchen.com/ubbs/archive/JEWISHandKOSHER/Passover_Granola.html

Other matzo-specific recipes included a pot of matzo ball soup and potato kugel... and we had matzo brie on Tuesday morning and the boys like to snack on it throughout the day... it'll be interesting to see if the last 9 boxes make it through to the end of Passover. Maybe we'll need 4 for next year, especially since the twins can be eating machines!

Sometime this weekend, I plan to make Dee Dee's Passover meat pie from the RugRats recipe page... it CALLS for a whole box of matzos, but I'll see if we can make do with less than that!

Metamorphosis of a passover roast:

Monday I made a pot roast.. can't even remember the name of the meat, it was on sale...chuck or rump something or other... i cut it into about 4 pieces and put it in a dutch oven and threw in some onion, celery, garlic, salt and a few other spices and just let it simmer for a few hours... although I have a crockpot, I don't like using it because it's a pain to clean up. Maybe someday I'll get the type where the inside is removable... the roast simmered while we did our seder: the blessings for passover, 4 questions, passover story, etc... for wine, I mixed 2 liters of Ginger Ale with about 1/2 a can of frozen grape juice concentrate and a dash of grapefruit juice concentrate.. we had a decent amount of roast left over, so into a jar it went after supper... last night, I took that roast and chopped it up in my mom's wood chopping bowl and hand chopper, cut up a half onion, threw in a few more spices some salt and let it heat up in a cast iron pan... then I took the leftover potato kugel & chopped it up finer & put it on top of the meat and then warmed that mess up in the oven... since the boys had been snacking on sardines before supper, they weren't super hungry and we have some leftovers...(though Evan did have 2 helpings!)

More next time! Wish us a peaceful weekend... though I doubt my guys can keep from fighting too much...

Posted by Jessica at 08:39 PM | Comments (2)

April 01, 2004

Oh well...

we found out that the dog belongs to one of Evan & Micah's classmates (she's in Micah's homeroom)... she sometimes rides their bus and lives about 1 mile from us, maybe 1-1/2 miles...they found him when they were at the neighbor's place less than 1/4 mile from here...

Anyway, that mystery is solved, and we know where to take him if he shows up again.

American Aran Afghan Square progress

Today I worked on my Aran Afghan square for Hunt Valley cashmere... I got one repeat done, 2 or 3 more repeats to go... it's one of the more stitch-y squares, so is taking a while to work through... i might go ahead and cast on the other square, the 12 ply and see if that one goes quicker, so I can alternate between it and this square for a little bit of instant gratification. The square I'm working on now has bobbles in the pattern: you purl into the front and back of a stitch, then turn and knit 5 stitches, then turn & purl 5 (actually I don't turn, I knit backwards at this point), then knit 5 and then pull the 2nd through 5th stitches over the 1st stitch and then knit it and that's the bobble... maybe I'll take a photo of this square's progress in the next day or two.

Passover's coming!

I made a few phone calls yesterday and today to see if I could get matzo and other Passover products locally... no dice... next year I'll try about 3 or 4 weeks in advance... I'll go into the city tomorrow or Sunday to pick it up... also will pick up the Rug Rats passover story (Let My Babies Go) and MAYBE also A Pickles Passover... I'll see what it's like. It might be something interesting to use for our passover Haggadah instead of the one we've used the last few years by Judyth Groner... maybe someday we'll either make up our own or use one of John Kador's

While there are advantages to living away from the city, not having easy access to Passover products each year is not one of them, as well as living so far from the synagogue... (I know I could mail order them, but that's pricey...)

Posted by Jessica at 07:14 PM | Comments (2)