Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fake it til you make it

This is a long, convoluted prelude to yet another scintillating “Pink Ribbon Product Review”. I don’t want to get ahead of myself though.

You’ve seen the Knifty Knitters at your local craft store right? They are usually round but they can also be rectangular. They could also be oval – but they aren’t.

That’s the one I bought. Why? Because I’ve always wanted to knit but was never able to follow the directions in a book well enough to actually produce anything more than a big tangle of knotted yarn.

But I thought that with this thing – I could fake knit until I sort of understood what was going on and then I could maybe move on to real knitting.

I know one of y’all is going to ask why I want to knit rather than crochet. I would like to say it’s because I don’t approve of the silent T.

Actually it is a sound thing – I love the little clickity clickity knitting needle noise. I also want to make sweaters; which seems to be more of a knitting thing than a crochet thing.

So I bought the loom and two balls of yarn. No – not balls; I bought two skeins of yarn. And did I buy the deep hunter green that looked so soft and luxurious? Did I buy the peacock teal that would match my couch? Did I buy the rust color my mom plans to paint her car? No, as you’ve probably guessed I bought pink yarn. It’s not even hot, neon, sexy, Pink Lady pink. It is soft , one might say ribbon colored, pink.

So I’ve got my yarn, I’ve got my fake knitting ring thing (technically it is called a loom – but I thought a loom was for weaving) and I am ready to rock and roll! The directions in the loom are for making a baby hat – but it said you could use the same technique and make a scarf – you just make it longer and then get on the internet to find out how to finish it. So I knitted. I knitted in the morning. I knitted in the evening.

I knitted in the morning. I knitted in the evening. All over this land.
I knitted out danger. I knitted out a warning.
I knitted out love between my brothers and my sisters.
All over this land

Okay – so I only knitted in the morning and the evening and every now and then in the afternoon. I knitted my little heart out. Until one day I was untwisting my project and discovered it was long enough to be a scarf! Yea!

So I go online and get to the Knifty Knitting site and look for the directions. Oh man! I finally find what seems to be the directions and I can not make sense out of them. I am not entirely surprised – I’ve been trying for four years now to learn the basic scout knots. Not pretty. I tried to learn the lanyard lacing enough to be able to teach the scouts. It is so completely beyond me why I have such difficulty with knots.

I found a website that has animated knot tying that you can slow down to ‘super stupid’ (which I am not) and I still manage to make big tangled messes. Or a knot that when tugged does not support weight but rather returns to being a piece of rope.

So I call my friend Charli. Charli is a knitting goddess. Wait til you see what she knitted for Team H.O.P.E. for our Christmas in July Tea. It will knock your socks off! (Obviously that is just a figure of speech – but if you did loose your socks Charli could knit you a new pair.)

So Charli agreed that the directions I read were too difficult to follow (She’s not only talented – she is kind as well) and she referred me to another website that had crystal clear directions.
The directions were clear – my needing to go back and undo part of it was due to my own inattentiveness.

As I was trying to pull the yarn free without breaking it I was muttering rude things under my breath and began to have doubts. First of all, I’ve seen a lot of knitting (albeit from a distance) and I don’t remember other knitters using needle nosed pliers! I also don’t recall hearing them curse and swear.

(There is an outstanding folk group called The Knitters – and I heard a rumor that some of their members used to be in punk bands – so maybe those knitters swear on occasion?)

Anyway – I took a deep breath, worked the difficult part loose, and recommenced finishing my scarf. The last sentence said:

The last sequence will be UP through the 1st peg, then DOWN through the last. You will make the equivalent of little cursive E’s all around the loom. Now pop everything off your loom, and voila - stretchy bind-off.

So I come up through the first, down through the last – the loops look much more like cursive e’s than my cursive writing does. I am about to do my happy dance when it occurs to me – I have a tail of yarn that I don’t know what to do with. Plus the tail at the beginning of the project.

I assume I need to tie a knot but I don’t know what kind or exactly where to tie it. So I email Charli but so far no response. (I’m thinking maybe when you ask someone for help you shouldn’t start your email with “Okay Mrs. SmartyPants,”)

Yes, I’ve looked online and I can not find the answer. So assuming Charli gets back to me – (or one of you lovely people knows what to do and will take pity on me) I will finish this scarf and move on to the next thing – which will lead us to our next Pink Ribbon Product Review.

And if you want to buy this scarf it will be on sale at the Christmas in July Tea. Who knows – it may even come with a free loom if I don’t get an answer by then!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Remembered Things

We love all our supporters equally. We don't have favorites. As such we are sometimes reluctant to write about one of the companies that have donated to our events for fear of hurting the feelings of the others.

And yet. . . .

Sometimes we meet people who not only give us stuff but who give us encouragement and special treatment and just make us all warm and fuzzy. In a good way - not a wool sweater in the summer way.

Miss Jeannie and I requested a donation for our
golf tournament from Things Remembered at the Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe. They said yes, and also said they would donate a gift for our Christmas in July tea. (Which is July 26th from 2 to 5 at the Baptist church on Arizona Avenue just south of Queen Creek!) The district manager told us to go to the store to finalize the donation, so we did.

Everyone at that location is incredibly friendly and helpful. In particular is Jeana the manager. She asked us what we wanted. We really liked this cute frame.

Jeana agreed that that would be nice, and said we should also include the matching lipstick case.

We thanked her and she asked if we wanted a tote to put the items in. It was pink and cute so what do you think we said?

Than Jeana suggested one of the bracelets or key chains to attach to the strap to make it just that much more appealing.

Then she added that a snow globe music box would be a nice addition since this is a Christmas event. She had the perfect snow globe - it celebrates HOPE!

Needless to say Jeannie and I were floored by such generosity. So we moved onto the golf items which are gorgeous! While Jeana was filling out the paper work Jeannie and I started looking around the store just for fun. Something caught Jeannie's eye and we both had to oooh and ahh over the pink crystal adorned ipod ear buds. Before you knew it Jeana was adding them to our order!

And if that wasn't enough - Jeana also included engraving for the person who wins this package in the silent auction.

Obviously we are grateful for the generousness of the donation - but what really overwhelmed us was how genuinely supportive of the cause and of our efforts Jeana and her staff are.

So if, after attending our Christmas in July event, you are still a few gifts short of having all your Holiday shopping done may we recommend a quick trip to Arizona Mills to finish your shopping at Things Remembered?

Have a warm and fuzzy day!

PS - as you can probably guess from the number of pics I've uploaded in the last few days - I did find my media card plug in thing. Remember how I promised pictures of the
ceramic knife? What was I thinking? Obviously a big company like Kyocera is going to hire PR folks who can take a decent picture - why I thought I could do better is a mystery. It's just that the knife is so lustrous and gorgeous in person and so plastic looking in the photos. In the pictures I took the knife looked plastic, as did my paper thin tomato slices! (And again I have to ask why a person would want tomato slices paper thin) So I guess you'll just have to come to our events to see the knife for yourself. I warn you though - you will be smitten!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

That 70's Team - the series continues

Okay - Yesterday we told you about our tie dye passion!

Funny how teaching kids an important life skill looks a little bit like exploiting child labor.

I promised you that today I would show y'all the finished shirts. Well if you look at our young friend in the picture above you will see he is wearing one of the original batch. That is one of the cool things about tie dye, especially our trademark pink and black tie dye - it transcends masculinity and femininity, it simply is.

Remember the little boy in yesterday's post who simply wanted more dye? And more dye? And more dye? Well Tina N. in the above picture is wearing a shirt he dyed last time. I think the kid might be on to something. Forget that nonsense about less being more. Less is less and more is more. And more is usually better!

Although I guess some shirts still look good with a more subtle application of color:

That is the next batch, already washed and dried and simply awaiting ironing. If you come buy one of our shirts on the Nineteenth of July from 6:00 Pm to 10:00 PM you should feel most honored - we don't iron for just anyone!

A sleeveless shirt for those that noticed it is 106 degrees out there!

Obviously the kids have done a fantastic job and worked well together. No one squirted dye on anyone else or on the dogs!

But I know you are wondering if the Ladies of Team H.O.P.E. work well together? Do we squabble or do we sing a harmonious song together as we toil? Well, they won't let me sing but other than that we get along.

I did have an ever so slight difference of opinion with Miss Jeannie. She wanted to make some shirts with colors other than black, hot pink, soft pink, and bubblegum pink. I believe we shouldn't 'dilute our brand' by bringing in other colors.

You ever try to tell Jeannie anything? It's no coincidence that she is the Team Leader! So she made a shirt with extra colors and I have to admit

it looks fantastic! You can't really see the blue in this pic but the blue and green and black look so wonderful together and the lone swirl of pink is almost what you might call subtle. So I guess maybe Jeannie was sort of almost kind of mostly perhaps right.

Then she went too far and did one just blue and green:

It's awful pretty but where's the pink??? This looks suspiciously like the earth! I told Kristine when we were rinsing that we are trying to cure cancer, not save the planet!! I know Jeannie is an ambitious woman but I'm scared!

Some people have declined to purchase our shirts and have asked, "where do you get the stuff to make them" and, "is it difficult?" Yes, it's difficult. I'm pretty sure that by law you need a chemical engineering degree to do it. And the stuff has to be purchased on the black market by Russian Mobsters who are also ex-KGB.

Or you could just go to
the Dharma website and look at their directions and order their products. And if you have any questions you can call their 800 542 5227 number and ask them anything and they will help.

Just don't tell Jeannie I told you!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

That 70's team

The other day one of our friends who shall remain nameless (such a GRACEfull woman she is) asked us, "Is there anything you wont do to raise money?"

To which Jeannie replied, "Why? Is there something we're missing?"

Y'all know about our two big events coming up,
the Christmas in July Tea and The Golf Tournament, right? Well we also decided to get in touch with our more creative sides. We had such fun making tie dye shirts for our 411 party, and we've had many requests for more, so we are hitting the streets selling t-shirts.

Not actually the streets.
We will be on the sidewalk by the door to Wal-Mart:

NE corner of Country Club and Baseline in Mesa

Saturday, July 19th 2008

6:00 PM till 10:00 PM

Or until the Shirts are gone!

Not that we only have shirts, of course. We also have Jewelry. And Soap. And probably other stuff but right now I have tie dye on the brain. And on my hands. And in my hair. And if I ever wore shoes I would have dye on them. I love tie dying and I'm good at it but I do tend to get messy. When I teach classes of little kids or scout groups I always get real serious as I reiterate what 'permanent' means. The kids do great - they take it seriously and listen and act accordingly. And I've got the pictures to prove it!

Tomorrow I'll show you the pictures of the completed shirts so stay tuned!

Much of tie dye is soo simple - but staying in the lines with liquid dye on fabric is no easy task. This kid has talent and patience!

So very careful. Wouldn't want to have to explain pink skin and clothes to the guys!

One down, forty-seven to go!

More dye! That's the ticket, more dye!

Even the adults are taking it serious. (Maybe cuz it's her table and her floor and her walls!)

Yes, of course you can add more dye. What can it hurt? I'll go get the wet/dry vac!