Archive for December, 2005

Posted by Stitchy McYarnpants 37 COMMENTS

Santa just stopped by for a brewskie after his shift and he seems to think you’ve all been very good this year. He was a little tipsy, so it could just be that you were very sneaky. Regardless, he left some treats for everyone who requested something in the comments Friday, plus a few more goodies!

For jenifleur, it’s her heart’s desire. A Super Star Barbie, complete with stage set! She can control Barbie’s Super Diva hissy fits by remote control – now with vase-throwing action! Articulated wrist lets Barbie toss back cocktails, pop pills and gesticulate wildly at Ken’s ridiculous assertions that maybe she has a problem.

And once she gets out of rehab, Barbie can get a nice, normal, regular job selling airline tickets. How sad for Barbie. One minute, she’s on top of the world, and the next thing you know, the producers of the Surreal Life won’t even return her calls.

For Melissa (who’s blogname I don’t know because Blogger won’t tell me) and Dani, we’ve got some Barbie Fashion Plates. It’s like a year’s worth of Museum of Kitschy Stitches entries in one box! Fantastic! I always wanted these, too, but never got them. I spent a lot of time that year making impressions of coins and stuff with the tin-foil wrapping of my Ring Dings. ~sigh~

Could it be possible that Imbrium’s mother read the Sears catalog to her in utero? That’s where she was in 1978, and yet she yearned for a little robot friend named Alphie in the 80’s. It’s not entirely impossible that Alphie has been transmitting messages to her since before she was even born. Imbrium, do you feel unnatural urges to do simple math and sing the same five songs over and over for no reason?

Stephanie, please accept out apologies, you’re going to have to go commando. Sears had no Underoos to offer, but I agree, they did look “Fun to Wear!” Being naked under your clothes is fun, too. But now you can stretch to your heart’s content with Stretch Armstrong and his new “companion”, the Stretch Serpent. He appears to be a product of the unholy union between a Sleestack and a bookworm who’s been reading too much in the dark, but he and Stretch are in love and that’s all that matters.

Eerrrrm, here Marlena, it’s the Barbie Dream House you wanted! And look, there’s a car and a boat and some cool disco clothes! Enjoy, I gotta go! What’s that? It says her name is Tuesday Taylor? No, I think that’s just a typo, it’s Barbie. Huh? No, really, I think they just spelled it in French or something. She’s the same doll. Stop crying, Marlena, she’s just as good. Look, she’s even two-timing with Ken! Don’t pout, your face will freeze that way and then you’ll be sorry.

Here you go, Dani. Mousetrap. I think it’s great that you never actually had this game. You still have fond memories of its potential to actually be fun. If you had gotten it, you’d be just as disillusioned as the rest of us. By the time you unpack the whole thing and figure out how to play, you’ll have already lost at least two of the pieces, the marble will have rolled away and the cat will have taken off with the rubber band. But it’s ok, you would have never figured out just what the hell that rubber band was for anyway. I recommend just keeping your fantasies intact and never open the box.

Amy! Here is your very own set of twin Babies Alive! Can you believe that wacky mix-up at the fertility clinic?! Batteries still aren’t included, but just pillage them from every remote control and flashlight in the house, it’ll be fine. Word to the wise, hide Baby Alive’s food from your brother. If he’s anything like mine, he will eat it all before realizing that it doesn’t actually taste good and in fact, isn’t even really edible. He’ll get sick and it’ll be sort of funny for a while, but then you’ll have to find something else for Baby Alive to eat and you’ll resort to real food, which will eventually go bad and Baby Alive will then start to rot from the inside. Trust me, it ends badly for everyone involved. Boys ruin everything.

DebR, is there any possibility you could get some kind of body reduction surgery to get you to 1/8 scale? Because this is the best that Sears could do . . .

Your future is here, Beth. Quit your job and get started on your new career with this set of make-up heads, just for you! The first one has bendable hair that really holds a curl! The second one is the beautiful and talented Farrah Faucet! I mean, it’s actually Farrah Faucet. She really needed the work and agreed to sit still for as long as she could. Just be careful when you’re doing her lipstick, she gets a little twitchy and has a tendency to bite.

Hey itgirl, next time someone tells you to sit and spin, tell them you’ll be glad too! Just make sure you have a bucket or something.

Easy Bake Oven anyone? Oh, EVERYone wants one! Well, tough luck. You’re all getting the knock-off version. Sure, you’re still cooking with a light bulb, but what fun is a toy called the “Fun Time Oven”? Sounds a little suspicious to me. I mean, if it was so fun, they wouldn’t have to put it in the name, am I right? But we’ll throw in a snow cone machine (sorry, not the Snoopy Snow Cone machine, just the plain boring snowman one) and a Micky Mouse gumball bank. Find your own damned pennies, kid.

Ooh, look what we have here! Matchbox cars for Elisa! It’s time for you to be spoiled rotten, just like your cousins. And if it makes you feel better, I hear those Star Wars PJs are really itchy.

Melanie, like I said, word on the street is that those pajamas will put ants in your pants. Santa wanted you to have one of these instead. He said something about wanting to see you try to get up and out of it once you’d been sitting there for a while.

And for everyone else who missed out on the toys from 1978, here are some of my personal favorites:

This is a puppet that you can disguise. I always wanted one. My cousin had one and it scared the crap out of me. I still wanted one. Any toy that comes with a prosthetic nose and a kid-sized cigar is mighty fine by me.

The Fisher Price Farmhouse is a classic. It was everywhere and everyone had one. I am still convinced to this day that the noise at the beginning of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” is the noise this toy makes when you open the barn door.

Best. Toy. Ever. There was a time in this country when you could get a die-cast metal truck with intricate moving parts capable of cutting, scraping, and pinching tiny fingers at every turn. Tonka trucks were indestructible. They could withstand every last bit of punishment a kid could dish out. No amount of stomping, dropping, or bleeding on them could do any harm. This was the workhorse of the toy world. Dear, sweet Tonka. How we miss your sharp metal corners and your amazing moving parts, you made us stronger as long as you didn’t kill us.

You want a handheld video game? Take yer pick. Some blipped, some bleeped, but rest assured, they all blinked.

I have no recollection of these things. I don’t know Thing One about them. But the look on my husband’s face when he saw this page in the catalog was too cute for words. Go ahead. Find a guy in his mid-thirties and show this to him. He’ll know what they are and most likely, he’ll make a great face.

Ok, Santa’s bag is empty, there’s wrapping paper everywhere and I’m covered in bows. Another successful Christmas! Hope you had fun because now I’ve got the shakes. I can feel an eBay bender coming on and it ain’t gonna be pretty. Someone, somewhere must have a set of original Fashion Plates, right? Right?

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Posted by Stitchy McYarnpants 27 COMMENTS

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. . . or opening old Christmas wounds. Either way.

Inspired by jenifleur in yesterday’s comments (she demands a Super Star Barbie). Did you have a favorite toy around 1978? Or did you beg and beg and beg for something, but never actually get it because your parents were mean and didn’t love you? Tell me what it was (or describe it as best you can) and I’ll see if Santa can find it in the Wish Book for you!

Now, girls, go put on your pretty dresses.

Boys, get your nice new slacks and tops on.

Mommy is going to wear her polyester caftan because once the holiday eating starts, it’s not going to stop until she’s asked to leave for making the rest of the family uncomfortable.

And Daddy is going to wear his new Mix-n-Match suit by Garanimals. I hope he wears the hippo jacket with the marmoset vest and hyena tie. Daddy’s such a stud.

Later on, we’ll change into our new family sleepwear set! The force is with us this year, kids.

Ready? It’s off to grandma and grandpa’s. We all know what grandpa is going to be wearing, right? That crazy, comfort-seeking, leisure-living old coot.

I wonder what grandma got everyone this year.
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Posted by Stitchy McYarnpants 29 COMMENTS

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Well, it’s that time of year again and the staff members at the Museum of Kitschy Stitches are all abuzz with excitement! Christmas is almost over and they couldn’t be more excited. The 26th of December will mark the end to one of the most heart-wrenching, carnage-filled seasons yet. The casualties have been immeasurable, spirits have been broken, and citizens have been faced with one of the most life-altering decisions ever put forth. Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays? This War on Christmas has been brutal for everyone caught in its sparkly crosshairs. Numerous reports of digital injuries have been reported throughout the month of December due to the vigorous finger-pointing. Studies have shown that those actively involved with the WoC are also suffering from chronic Rectal-Cranial Inversions, a situation that will hopefully remedy itself once “Jingle Bells” is no longer being piped into everyone’s heads 24 stupid hours a day, starting in October. Free Botox will be made readily available at local clinics to remove the continual look of perplexed bewilderment on the faces of bystanders of the War who just don’t see the point of the whole thing. It is expected that that as soon as the last wreath has been removed, a collective groan will thunder through the land as the Christmas soldiers suddenly realize that they’ve been duped by a sleazy, smirking talk show host and a slithering snake in evangelist’s clothing who invented the whole thing. And then we can go back to everyone getting along and being pleased as punch with one another.

Until then, let’s do some Christmas* shopping!

*The use of the words “Christmas” and “Holiday” in no way endorses or denies any specific religion or spiritual belief. Or non-belief. They are merely terms used to designate the unabashed orgy of consumerism that happens every year at this time.


And here is the standard by which all other shopping must be compared. The 1978 Sears Wish Book. It is the Holy Grail of holiday gift-giving. If it’s not in here, you don’t want it. If it is in here, you probably had it. It also proves that it’s just fine to wear dresses so short that your underwear show. If the kids can do it, so can we! Go on, ladies, deck the hoo-ha with boughs of holly!

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One must never show up to a holiday celebration empty handed. But how much expensive wine does a party need? Nothing says Christmas like a pile of sticky ribbon candy that has melded together into an impenetrable block of sugary badness. As an added benefit, the ribbons become shards of razor sharp gum-severing joy, spreading bloody smiles to all the boys and girls who didn’t know any better. Shiny, waxy chocolates are also a classic that no table should be without. Someone’s bound to get drunk and make inappropriate scatological jokes about these, so don’t miss out. Also, place your orders early for the official Sears ice cream sundae! Free wrapping with every double scoop!

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So your wife spent much of the 60’s in a drug-induced haze, eh? And now she’s given up her old partying ways to do the housewife thing. Bummer. It’s her own fault for falling in love with an intern from Nixon’s campaign office. How about helping her relive her gloriously misspent youth with these magical mushroom kitchen accessories! She’ll flash back to the days when she was naked and free and high as a kite, just don’t be surprised if you come home to find her licking the unused plates and mumbling about spoons and spatulas and spice racks.

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Frank N Bun It’s ALIVE!!

Welp, you might as well face it. Its time for the company party again. For the past three years you’ve avoided it by reporting the same grandmother’s death over and over again. They’re on to you and you will be participating in the Yankee Swap this time around. Forget thoughtful. Forget practical. This year, prove your disdain with inexplicable uselessness. The Coney Island Steamer is guaranteed to bring a frown to everyone it gets unloaded on. This thing will get passed around the office faster than Tammy in accounting. While the name brings to mind something you might find in a porta-potty under the docks, the Coney Island Steamer itself proves just about as useful. Hot dogs. One at a time. Perfect for that family of five who don’t mind waiting eons for their clammy portion of soggy bread and pig lips lovingly encased in animal intestine.

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Wow, finally we can use futuristic technology in our own homes! I’m so glad we captured those aliens back in Roswell and forced them to cough up their revolutionary cooking techniques! Just look at all those things mom will be able to make all lickety-split like. No more raw apples for us, only apples that have been covered in playground sand and bombarded with high powered rays. She’ll have loads more time to twirl around the kitchen with her cakes and pies now that she can actually bake them in a matter of seconds! Entire cuts of meat will come out juicy and delicious after a good zapping with this new fangled microthingy! Just imagine all the moist and healthy meals that will come pouring out of this wondrous machine! At just under 400 dollars, you can’t beat that with a stick. I wonder if they’ll ever invent something we can use to reheat the leftovers.

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Fire hazard, schmire hazard, I’ve got a warehouse full of these damned stuffed animals and I can’t unload ¢â‚¬Ëœem since the carnival got shut down. Now are you gonna help me rip the stuffing out of these things and wire ¢â‚¬Ëœem up or am I going to have to call your parole officer? ¢â‚¬ËœSides, kids are gonna love these things! Little freaks. Once we donate these to the orphanage for Christmas, I can write it off and make all my money back and then some. It’s win-win. Hey, don’t waste that electrical tape, those wires ain’t exposed if they’re under the fur!

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You’ll be the King of the Castle this holiday season when you gather the family and let them gape in wonder at their glorious new 19” screen. It’s like having a drive-in movie theater right in your living room! It features an easy-to-use remote control that practically fits in your hand how’s that for state of the art? It’s as easy to use as one of those push-button telephones you’ve heard so much about. Features real LED readout and electronic random-access channel selection. That’s right, you can change to any other channel with the handy cannel changer and you can actually see what channel you’ve changed to. This is the best, most feature-packed TV you can get for under $600, so don’t delay!

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Need a gift for your nephew, the music lover? As any self-respecting Styx fan will tell you, look no further than this amazing Dual-Record Compact Stereo System. Word on the street is that vinyl is on its way out and the future is all about the compact 8-track tape and the even tinier cassette tape! With this amazing system, you can transfer all your record albums onto long lasting 8-track or cassette tapes so the music can play on forever. You’ll never have to worry about whether you’ll be able to listen to REO Speedwagon’s greatest hits again. The faux walnut grain will add class to any room and the stylish rotary controls for volume, balance, bass, and treble let you tailor the sound to the your taste. What more could any bachelor pad need?

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How many times have the kids begged and pleaded for a dulcimer, only to be told that you couldn’t afford one. The look of heartbreak on their tiny faces is unbearable and you were willing to do what you had to do this season to make their dulcimer dreams come true. Well, don’t sell the family car yet and stop wondering how much you could get for a perfectly good kidney. At long last, there’s a dulcimer that just about everyone can afford. It truly is a Christmas miracle!

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And finally, Pedro the Christmas Burro can rest easy this year. It’s Frosty’s turn to take one for the team and martyr himself in the name of Christmas. Fill him up, arm the kids, and teach them the true meaning of the season. Blindly beat the crap out of stuff until you get what you want. In this case, piles of candy falling from the torn and battered corpse of a snowman.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Joyous WhateverTheFrigYouWant! I hope everyone has a good weekend full of love and warmth!

Wait.

What’s that, my tiny reindarlings? The toys? What about the toys? Oh, you think the toys are best thing in the whole Sears Wish Book (besides the underwear pages)? Oh, well, maybe if you’re good, Santa will write something funny especially for you on Christmas morning. But only if you’re goooood . . . ;)

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Posted by Stitchy McYarnpants 27 COMMENTS

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It. Is. Adorable!

This is Madison. She just turned 10 and she’s a knitter. Her mom taught her when she was 8 and she’s made a number of scarves for friends and grandparents. Her current WIP is a light green wool scarf. When it’s finished, she’s going to put pink pom-poms at the ends to jazz it up.

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Now, when I say she’s a knitter, I don’t just mean that she happens to know how to knit. Heck, you can teach a monkey how to knit, but you can’t convince it that starting a knitted sweater for it’s cage mate two weeks before Christmas is anything but a bad idea. Nope, Maddy is one of us (one of us, one of us!). I was showing her parents something in the kitchen and as she waited patiently for the boring grown-ups to finish their boring grown-up conversation, she stood there with her little knitting bag hanging on her wrist and was KNITTING! She’s a standing knitter, people!

She also confided to me that it’s totally annoying that when you give handknits to people, they don’t understand that they have to hand wash it and never put it in the dryer. They need to take special care of this stuff. It’s exasperating for us all, to be sure.

And so what else could I do but drag her up to my apartment and help her on her way to SABLE status. Seeing as how she’s only 10, she’s going to need a HUGE stash, and I did what I could. I let her pick some stuff out and I also gave her some special things I had tucked away. I’ll admit there’s some candy-colored Berroco Plush in there, but there’s also some undyed alpaca.

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When it was time for them to go, I’ll give you one guess what she said. All together now . . . “One more row!!”

Maddy’s dad is Scott, my brother’s college roommate. Because I’m in such a ridiculous state of denial about being 36, I still remember hanging out with Scotty and my brother at the dorms like it was yesterday. It’s like no time has passed and the only difference is that people just don’t think Howard Jones is da bomb any more. Sometimes I’m still taken aback by the fact that he has three little girls (and a female cat, and he’s just assuming that the guinea pig and the parakeet are girls. He also works in an office of 16 people and he’s the only guy. Scott is the very definition of a ladies’ man.)

Maddy’s mom is Shanna, a fellow knitter and real peach! I don’t know her nearly as well as I do Scott and I don’t get a chance to see their family as much as I’d like to. But as soon as I saw Shanna the other night, I forewent the traditional “Hello, nice to see you.” and went with a finger pointing exclamation of “Clapotis!” It’s the customary greeting of knitters in the wild, is it not? It just so happened that Shanna was wearing a gorgeous Clapotis made with this incredible silk/merino that I failed to photograph. It had the perfect texture for that scarf with just enough unevenness in its single ply. You’ll recognize one of her other daughters, Emma, from this photo from Jon’s and my wedding. She’s the short one. Perhaps Camryn (I’m pretty sure it’s “Camryn” and not “Cameron”, but I’ll need a judgment on that. Shanna??) will model something for us someday so you can see her. They really are the sweetest little girls ever, always with the pleases and thanks yous.

Here’s the thing, Shanna is an avid blog reader and yet I can’t link you to hers. Know why? Ain’t got one. That’s right. Can you stand it? All in favor of Shanna and Maddy starting a blog together, say Aye! (and maybe give them at least one good reason as to why they should join us (join us, join uussssss))

Aye! One of the best reasons I can think of to start a blog are all the amazing people you’ll meet. It really is a wonderland of delightful people out here.

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Posted by Stitchy McYarnpants 21 COMMENTS

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For every action, there is a reaction. And for every vacation, there are ramifications (and, according to the rhyming dictionary, you also need to deal with abdication, adjudication, altercation, complication, confiscation, demarcation, desiccation, dislocation, invocation, gasification, medication, obfuscation, relocation, suffocation, and vindication) It seems like every time I go away, it takes at least as long as the vacation to get myself back in gear. This time was no different.

But you know what? I’m not going to bother rehashing the past couple of weeks of tiredness and workload and yadda yadda. I was going to go on about it, but what’s the point? It’s pretty boring, nothing earth-shattering. Just me feeling kind of blah and out of it. But I did finally manage to get my vacation pictures uploaded and labeled, so check ¢â‚¬Ëœem out! Hopefully this link works, someone be a dear and let me know if it doesn’t.

I feel like I waited too long to blog about Spain. It seems like it was months ago. But what I do remember was that it was a-freaking-mazing! I highly recommend it. This is the actual trip we took and it was just what I hoped it would be. I’d actually go again on the same trip with Jon because I really think he would love it. He’s not big on traveling and I was sort of checking this trip out to see if it would be his kind of thing. It totally would. The Cortijo (the inn) was amazing with a great staff, fantastic food every night, and a plethora of cats and dogs for the cuddling. The tour guide was a really good guy with a pleasant, laid back personality, even if he did cheat at Speed Scrabble (seriously, just because it’s on the Sound of Music soundtrack does not mean that “fa” is a word. Neither are “re” and “la”). And the 10 or so other people that were on the tour with us were delightful. Charlene and I were the only Americans and I have to say, it was really refreshing to be the one with the accent. There were people from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Germany. Three people were traveling alone, which always seemed a little scary to me. But once you witness the dynamic of the tour group, it makes perfect sense. Forging new relationships in strange lands seems the way to go!

As for the region itself, it’s hard for me to describe southern Spain. Sweeping vistas, rolling countryside, and a herd of sheep led past the Cortijo twice a day! (I checked and they looked like meat sheep, not wool sheep.) And we just don’t have the same kind of architecture here, so walking into a palace where every room is covered in hand-painted tiles and incredibly detailed carvings of intricate design, it’s a little hard to process. That’s another reason I’d like to go back. Now that I’ve looked at it, I think I’d have an easier time actually seeing it the second time around.

I think the place that had the most effect one me was the Mezquita in Cordoba. It was the site of many a conquering, but during it’s last conquering in 1236, it was switched over to a Christian establishment. Later, in the 16th century, they tarted it all up with the notion that God really digs the bling. It was like an arms race between rich people to prove who loved God more. Jesus would have hated the whole thing. The artistry and craftsmanship were astounding, but it was so over the top that it kind of left a bad taste in your mouth. It was sad and beautiful and disturbing and hilarious and sickening and awe-inspiring, all at the same time.

And of course, the food was to die for! Between all the walking and the fresh, unprocessed food, I definitely came back in better shape than when I left. (But fret not. I’ve undone all that good and am back to my couch-potatoey goodness.) Tapas is a great way to eat, they just keep bringing plates of this and that to the table. Since the tour guide ordered it for us all the time, we never knew what was coming next or when it would end. There were plates of cheese, thinly sliced ham special to the region, roasted peppers in olive oil, chicken croquettes, meatballs, chorizo, seafood, fresh asparagus, tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, and lots of other delicious nibbly things. And they always served lunch with pitchers of sangria, beer, and orange juice. Imagine that. Entire pitchers of fresh orange juice. Not those little tiny glasses that are metered out here in the US.

We also went to London for five days and had a blast. There is SO much to do there, I definitely need to go back. We did mostly touristy stuff and all your hints, tips, and suggestions really helped. We took a double-decker tour to get the layout of the land, went to the V&A, the London Eye, Tower of London, Harrods, Marks and Spenser’s food stores, and walked around a lot. We also saw Ewan in Guys and Dolls. The seats were spitting distance, you could actually see them spitting! He was adorable, as we all knew he would be. We even waited at the exit for a while to get his autograph, but he never came out. Well, he probably did eventually, but we didn’t hang around for it. We also saw Rob Lowe in a production of A Few Good Men. We got half price tickets in the morning. It was ok, but I’m partial to showy musicals myself. It was fun to see Sodapop in person. We didn’t wait out back, so I don’t know if he graced the public with his presence.

But there was one highlight of my trip that I cannot overlook. I knit the manager of the Cortijo her first scarf. Ever. She saw me knitting the basket weave scarf and asked if I could make her something. “Of course!” I exclaimed. But I needed yarn. The next day, she had two skeins of Katia Sherpa. It’s pretty thick and I did my best with the size 7’s I had with me, but it was no go. I needed bigger needles. The next day, she brought me size 10’s! And every day, she and the other girls who work there would check on my progress. It was so sweet and funny, they totally need to be knitbloggers. I ended up knitting an entire skein and ripping it out because I stupidly thought the stockinette stitch would lay flat for this special occasion. But I managed to finish it just in the nick of time. I even made a little matching scarf for her sister’s dog, Tina, with a few yards of leftover yarn. I don’t have a good picture of the finished object, but Charlene might, I need to ask her. But here is me in the process of knitting it. Just look at that luscious tan! And you can see that I’m knitting directly off the first scarf as I rip it. It turned out well and Nieve looked really pretty in it. The colors were perfect for her. It has a garter stich edging and was mostly stockinette except for a single cable way off to one side. It still curled a bit, but I didn’t ahve time to block it. She didn;t seem to mind.

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Since I’ve been back, I haven’t had a whole lot of time to knit. I’ve made some headway on Clapotis and I’m really liking it! I was further inspired by Caryn’s Clap-in-progress, so I’m hoping to finish it in the next few weeks. I was in a knitting-induced trance during the increasing and lost track of the number of pattern repeats I had done. I went a little too far, so it’s wider than it should be. I’m hoping I won’t run out of yarn and plan on making it a little shorter to make up for the extra width. I could get more yarn, but since it’s hand-dyed, who knows what the next skein will look like. We shall see.

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My darling sister-in-law also gave me 4 balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, so I’m looking forward to making a soft winter scarf for myself. I know, how many scarves do I need? A LOT! That’s how many.

OOOOOOOOOOHHHHH!!!! I almost forgot! I can’t believe I almost forgot! Right before I left, I won! I won! I won Wendy’s Peacock Shawl in the Give a Little contest. Can you stand it? Look at this beauty! And trust me, I’m guarding it with my life. I’m also sending a bunch of patterns to Kim from SanityKnits. She won them in the Give a Little contest!

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Whew! That was long! Thanks for hanging in there!

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