Monday, April 23, 2007

Royal Preparations. . .

So, the Queen is multi-talented. In addition to her knitting she also quilts. Upon arrival in Yarnnation,as is tradition when royal family members visit one another, she presented the Duke with a gift for the royal little alien.

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My heavens, is it legal for things to be this cute? For those of you who know our royal pup, Maggie, yes that fabric holds a very good likeness of her. Any little alien, boy or girl, will be pleased as punch to be cuddled up in such cuteness. This is the quilt that I have snuggled up with for naps a few times in the last couple of weeks.

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We also did a little fabric shopping at our favorite fabric store, Ester's.
(And I heard for a little bird there that they might be launching an e-commerce site soon!)

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Here is the other fabric I picked out for the alien. A little bit vintage and fun. (This went home with the queen to make it's transformation into a quilt. I am NOT picking up another hobby- at least not right now.)

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The print is a depiction of Jack and the Beanstalk. Supper cute!

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Here is what the queen picked up. No baby in mind, but whoever he or she is will be lucky! Isn't that print so cute!

I have been working on this,

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which will be come this. It's Jamison, which I never thought I would like to knit with, but I do. Out of Jamieson's Simply Sheltland 3, which I never would have guessed I liked so well, and I do.

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I tried it on at Churchmouse, and it is going to make a supper cute maternity top, that will easily convert to a non-maternity top.

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I've also been working on these (as if knitting were not addictive enough.) The yarn is Lamb's Pride's Cotton Fleece. I like this yarn, but it blocks in a strange way, which may just be that I am not used to blocking cotton. The baby blanket (the only one I plan on knitting for ANY of my kids, they will have to share) will be made of a total of 16 miters, making up four blocks, each 14" by 14" (35cm by 35cm) with a border. It will be a "car seat" blanket. It's good to keep knit blankies small.

OK, that's all for now. . . more to come!

Friday, April 20, 2007


Some long overdue pictures of the damage the Queen and I did to our budgets while she was here in Seattle. This is mostly a healthy fix at Churchmouse on Bainbridge.

Princess P.

While we are on the topic of blogs, you may have noticed in my sidebar that my "baby" sister Princess P. has joined the blogging world. In addition to being an excellent knitter (this woman has cranked out more baby sweaters than all the rest of us combined,) she is also a very talented florist and could give Martha a run for her money in the craftiness department.

Welcome her to our world:

Fit for Royalty

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thinking Blogger

So both Bells and Melissa were gracious enough to include me in their lists of blogs that make them think. I am honored. Both of them have very interesting and fun to read blogs as well, and if you aren't familiar with them, I suggest you click on over (after you are finished reading this as-of-late-very-rare post.)

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The rules of the award are as follows:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (silver version, gold version).

Like Bells, I read (or have read until my energy level dropped to next to nothing) a lot of blogs, 69 of them specifically, per my bloglines list. Most, but not all of them can be found on my sidebar, which updates as my bloglines list updates. Bloglines has this handy dandy widget that updates you blogroll in real time as you update it. My blogs are all nicely organized into folders, and you can select the folders that you want included on your blogroll. Much easier than manually updating your blog roll.

I purge and add blogs regularly. My time is precious and I will not spend it reading something that I don't enjoy or care about, so getting down to 5 that make me think will be a chore, but I am up to the challenge. Some of the blogs I most enjoy have been found through recommendations.

1. Magically Mama- Heather is one of my "real people." I have known her for nearly 15 years (we aren't getting old, are we?) Her blog is not a knitting blog, although may be converted soon, if we can just get some needles in her hands. (They work great as magic wands, Heather.)
She is mother extraordinaire to 4. She is doula, poet, and women's advocate. In a post she entitled "I'm giving June Cleaver the Bird" (you know you have to go read it!) She said:
(I) introduced my children to real music -- jazz, emo/punk, rock, country, classical, celtic, show-tunes. And I refused to insert the “Down on Grandpa’s Farm” tape into the car radio EVER AGAIN.
Reading Heather's blog gives me hope that I can be a mother without giving up my own person.

2. What Life Is: K-Good-Row is a knitter and Deputy Public Defender in California. Even if she didn't knit a single stitch I would love her blog. Her job leads to the most interesting posts and dilemmas. I could never do what she does (and in fact, as some of you may know, I was very much considering law school- thus the history degree and logic minor- but luckily took a law culture class and realized that I would never make it in that world.) I admire her greatly, and her posts are always though provoking. Here she is discussing a particularly poor specimen of womankind that she happened across:

She then managed to stick her foot in her mouth talking about how she
thinks it's so great we represent all those "guilty" people and best of all, she asked if we had to go to college or was an AA enough to be a PD. Ummm Law School. She was stunned to hear that PDs are lawyers! As the conversation went on, we soon learned that this young woman didn't know who the president was and had never voted in her life. It's not her fault that she's ignorant and stupid,
I guess.

In addition, you should check out this girl's stash, seriously impressive.

3. Kelly at Seattle Yogini is a knitter and yoga instructor. She is also a small business owner (she owns her own yoga studio.) While I don't know Kelly well, I have had a couple of opportunities to meet her, and she is as delightful in person as she is in print. I hope that when I stop wishing I were dead I will be able to become one of her lucky students. She often posts on topics most interesting in nature about things that I would have otherwise never thought about or even known to think about.

Check out her post here about Samskaras. Don't know what a samskara is? Oh, you know you must find out.

4. Lucy at The Doctor is In is a another non-knitter (but she is a quilter so you know we embrace her anyway) as well as another of my "real people." She and hubby Daddy Shark are two of my very favorite people. Lucy always has something thought provoking to write about and many of her posts end with a question. I'll let you explore some of her more deep questions, and instead leave you with one that just made me laugh.

Seriously, what do you think a sugar-free Peep could possibly be coated with? I don't think I even want to know.

5. Last, I want to add a well read and well known blog that doesn't need any acknowledgment from me, but it certainly makes me think more than probably any other blog. It isn't nice or neat or PC or even clean, but it reveals a part of human nature that we might otherwise never see. If you aren't familiar with Post Secret, you will be shocked and horrified, you will likely laugh and you might cry, but you WILL think.

Have fun clicking about, and be you might want to check out a few others in my sidebar, there is additional excellent thinking potential over there.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Babies and Business

A few things before I fall into my bed

1. Our business plan made it to the final four. I can hardly believe it. I'm still too exhausted from the last round to process it. The final presentation is May 2nd. Wish me luck.

2. My sweet little nephew (my brother's son) asks Princess P. (also his aunt) if he can get on our blogs to see our babies. Isn't that the stinkin' cutest thing you've ever heard of. Princess says he thinks that the widgets are real video of our babies. I must admit that nearly every day I pull up my blog and watch that little widget. It helps me realize that all this suffering really is because of a little alien growing inside of me. The Duke watches the widget too. The other day he called me in to show me that s/he was sucking his or her thumb. Who'da thunk that a little creative programing could have such a big impact on us?

3. There are a lot of babies in this town. Every time I see a little one I want to cry for how bad I wish mine were on the outside all ready. Six months has never seems like such a long time to me.

4. One of Lincoln's old co-workers had us come over to her house yesterday. She sent us home with all sorts of baby things we will need (that she doesn't need anymore.) We were so overwhelmed and also so grateful. We really didn't know that babies were so technical, or at least all the gear was so technical. It's always nice to have a "guide" when entering such new and unfamiliar territory. I know, I know, millions of people go there every day. OK, so then WHY is it so new and strange to us?

5. OK, goodnight. The alien is demanding that I sleep now.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

No energy to blog

Dear friends and knitters,

Please excuse the Duchess from her usual blogging activities for a few more days and please accept her apologies for the long stretch of blogging silence. She is very sick and very tired and all of the very little energy that she does has is being used up by the current business plan competition. When she returns to her normal (well as normal as can be expected) self, you can look forward to the following posts:

  • a finished sweater
  • she's caught the mitered madness
  • the Yarn Queen came to visit and we (between bouts of sickness) significantly added to the health of the yarn economy in Seattle.
  • an ultrasound??? what did we see?
  • cute baby things
  • probably a little more whining about how much she hates being pregnant (that being at the top of her brain right now)
  • A "thinking bloggers" post, as the lovely Bells was so gracious to nominate this humble little blog as such.

OK, tata 'till then dear friends.

The Duchess' non-pregnant alter identity

Note from the Duchess:

Thank you all so much for the emails and comments. I have read them and been very touched (you have no idea what will reduce me to tears now a-days!) You are all very sweet. Thank you so much.


Thursday, April 05, 2007


Proof that Heaven is guiding my life? Perhaps.

Exciting? Most certainly.

I just got an email informing me that my business plan has been accepted into the trade show round of the competition I have entered it in.


Major Life Change #2

So sorry I haven't posted in a week or so, I am still feeling icky and I have started back to school, so much of my energy is going toward that. I have to take advantage of the few times that I feel decent to get my school work done.
I am feeling a little better, and thank you to all of you who have emailed me to wish me a speedy first trimester (it's over in 2 and half weeks!) I am still very tired and nauseated most of the time, but I have stopped throwing up everything I eat, and I am able to sleep through the night again.
In the near future you can look forward to a finished sweater, finished socks, our new P-Patch in our community garden, my (perhaps misguided) trip to the Whidbey Island Weaver's Guild Spin-In (very disappointing, but I acquired much lovely fiber!)

Now, I have alluded to a second (and perhaps a third) major life change. I have been struggling for weeks to figure out how to announce this is a diplomatic way. I have written two other complete posts, both of which were, obviously, never published. I have determined that I will just tell you all, as best I can, and hope that no feelings are hurt.

So here is my major life change (that some of the astute among you have all ready guessed.)

I am no longer working at Hillltop.

I worked there for 2 and a half years. It was the most enjoyable job I have ever had. I respect and cherish as friends many of the women that I worked with there. I am sad that I am no longer a part of that community on a daily basis.

I could leave it at that, and some might argue that I should, but my injured ego, or my consciences, or something inside of me will not allow that.

I will forgo many of the details, but I will add that I was sorely disappointed when push came to shove due to additional demands in my own life, to discover that a relationship that I thought was strong and equally yolked, in fact was not.

I went to work at Hilltop after a 6 month stint at a pharmacy in Ballard. I worked at the pharmacy, full time 9-6 M-F, for very good pay, with full benefits 100% paid for both the Duke and I, and a true pension that I didn't pay into at all. I left that job, against all reason, to seek out an opportunity to be happy, to have the flexibility I longed for to spend time with my husband, to have the energy to be creative, and to return to school.
That is just what I found at Hilltop. I gave my all to the business and to my job (as many of you know I could be a little on the annoying side at times) however, family and school were my first priorities. I was always clear about this, and for a long time there was no problem. Any reasonable employer must understand that a part time job, that offers no benefits and pays at the bottom of the pay scale, can not demand much from their employees.
However, when the industry dips, when the economy tightens, adjustments must be made, and I accepted those adjustments, as my hours continually were reduced and reduced again. However, with a further decrease in the all ready scant benefits the job offered, one would expect a proportional increase in flexibility. One (one Duchess) was wrong to expect such a thing.

When finals and a new and very difficult pregnancy (school and family) collided at once on the same day, that push came to shove, and flexibility very suddenly became rigidity. Harsh words were spoken, respect was lost.

Again, I will forgo details. Stress is a strange and powerful thing, with strange and sometimes unfortunate consequences.

As it turns out, as is nearly always the case in my life, it appears that providence had it's hand in this event. I could probably not have worked at all through the last month of my pregnancy. I am blessed that I didn't have that additional stress to deal with. Also, (foreshadowing the third major life change) the Duke has finished school once and for all. I no longer need to work (and he, being the good man that he is, has assured me that my yarn budget will not suffer. I, in turn, will be exploring new yarn frontiers, with all loyalty strings now cut.) I am also free now to focus on my own business plans, something that has previously been strictly kept to school time. Progress is being made, and I must admit that I am very happy. As the Duke often claims "It will all work out, it always does."

Smart man, that one.