Saturday, January 7, 2012

kings wax

Today I spoke to Rick at King's Wax. I called to order some sealing wax. I explained that I hadn't come across him online before this week and I wanted to try his wax - both original (breakable) and mailable (flexible) varieties.  He claims to be the largest sealing wax manufacturer in the world, and I have no reason to doubt him.   I believe there are only 3 manufacturers of "real" sealing wax, as opposed to the ones that are mostly paraffin.  If the quality of his wax as I expect, his prices are reasonable for what he is offering. Heretofore, I have favored J. Herbin but I am open to trying another brand. (Hey, I'm mature. I even changed the brand guitar strings I have been using for 40 years, last year.)

I like to have some breakable wax in my stash, for certain events, but I use far more flexible wax because I put it through the tortures of the mail system.  Before the flexible formulations were available, my sealed correspondence frequently arrived chipped or completely broken. The flexible wax goes through the mail well, but one compromises  the recipient's thrill of cracking the seal when opening the  correspondence. In fact, I ceased using the company from whom I originally purchased wax - in my youth, they were the only source of which I was aware in the US.  I ceased purchasing from them because they only sold the fragile wax. 

Recently, I viewed their long over due, newly updated web site.  It surprised me to see they were now offering flexible, mailable wax.  I have a feeling that what they offer is King's. I didn't ask Rick, when we spoke.   

I'll post a review of the new wax when I receive it -- probably the end of next week or the very beginning of the following.  It will be shipped today (1/7) and is coming from Canada.

recently acquired seals

My seal collection has grown a bit. The last time I updated my seal collection page was in the summer when I purchased the Manuscript interchangeable seal coins and holder just before Borders closed its doors.

Over Christmas I received some wax seals that I didn't already have, which is a nice surprise.  One interesting one is I Love You in  American (or maybe international) sign language. Since I have a friend who instructs the deaf to whom I send correspondence throughout the year, it will be a very useful seal. I also received a vintage Merry Christmas with a bell seal with an ornate cross handle, and a vintage, German seal with holly leaves and berries. I also received a new snowflake seal and an initial D seal (not that I don't have any of those) that is a fob! What a treat! I haven't decided whether I'll suspend it from a brooch or from a chain, but either way, I will enjoy having, using and wearing the seal.

I currently have a bid on a vintage bicentennial seal in an Ebay auction that was from 1976.  The seal for auction has a sterling handle and is different from the bicentennial seal I already have.  I didn't bid much. I think the auction ends this weekend.

I put a couple of seals I never use, up for auction. They are seals that were in a set that I received as a gift some time ago. There is already a bid on them. I hope the recipient will enjoy them, whether they will be for correspondence, scrap booking or some other endeavor.

in progress

Although I haven't posted anything, the least of which, finished projects, I do have several things in progress.

When Ed was taken to the hospital, I was in the midst of what I thought was going to be Christmas sewing. I had a couple more fleece cloches in progress.

I will be getting to them soon.  I hope, this weekend.  It won't take long to finish them, and I can't even express what it will do for my sense of accomplishment.  I know they're no great shakes, but just that they will be finished will be wonderful for me.

I was also making 2 bags, the outside fabric of which, a student brought me from Israel, last year.  As soon as I looked at it, it screamed, "bag," and whispered, "pillow".  Our new sofa bed is small and has sufficient (over abundant) pillows for now.  I have only cut out the outer fabric, the lining and have attached the inner pocket fabric, and I have cut the outer pocket and its lining fabric.  I purchased handles for the bags. I will finish them, but it will most likely be after the cloches are completed.

The advantage knitting and crochet have over machine sewing, is that they are portable, providing the project isn't too large. I'm still working on my second Spanish Dancer shawl in Claudia Hand Painted fingering yarn in the Chocolate Cherry colorway. I would love it done, but I can't seem to remain project monogamous at the moment. I will complete it. I love the colors and I get a lot of use out of its older sister in Mountain Sky.

I swatched over the past month or so and have 2 projects I have jonesed to make in their very early stages:

The Tyra Top has been calling me for over a year. I'm making it from  yarn that has been in my stash, literally, for 25 years. I remember purchasing tons of it at Flatlands Yarncraft, when it was in Paramus, in the mall across Rte 4 from the Bergen Outlets. Is this when I should note that the Tyra Top's yarn is not the only yarn I have from 25 years ago from Flatlands?  Since I confessed it, I have to add that the skeins in my stash are the left overs from previously made projects (that were made and/or given away in the 80's and 90's.)

This is a very unusual garment that will serve the purpose of a light vest or shawl, but I just love the asymmetry of it.  The 2/2 rib shown is the back band. The yarn is called  Carnivale by Neta Yarns that is no longer in business by that name. It's a blend of acrylic, rayon, mohair and  nylon. I can't wait to wear this garment.

The other garment that has had my attention for quite a while is a Lion Brand pattern called the Cable Luxe Tunic. Because of my salt and pepper hair, I am actually making it out of the same heather gray colorway specified in the pattern.  I think that's a first.

What you see above is just the beginning of the cabled yoke, below the garter stitch upper yoke. This is a flattering style and I know the plethora of cables will be a visual feast. This one is going to take longer but I would like to strive to get it done before it's too warm to wear it.  Wool-Ease is fairly warm because it's mainly acrylic with only 20% wool.  

In addition to the second Spanish Dancer I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I also have a pair of socks on needles. I think I began them a year ago. My feet want them to be finished, but I think Tyra is going to be the first WIP that will move to the Done! category.

Friday, January 6, 2012

where do I start?

I can't believe I haven't blogged since late October, but I'm not without excuse. Ed's health crisis was the night of November 10th and he wasn't released from the hospital until the 18th.  He was helpless for the first week he was home.  Then, we had a very quite, thankful Thanksgiving.  The following week, he still needed some assistance.  To say our lives went on hold would be an understatement.  All my Christmas crafting came to a stand still.

Just when I thought I would be able to post a few things here, about a month after Ed's hospitalization, I came home from teaching, Thursday, December 15th.  Just like the previous month, I found him uncharacteristically in bed, again with a fever, and again, nauseated. I won't elaborate any further than to say that it was a set back that neither of us thought we would have. Just as he began to improve,  I thought I felt queasy because I was suggestible. Not so.  I must have picked up a stomach bug.  It debilitated me for about 4 days.  It was at least a week before I was taking anything close to "normal" nutrition. (The only good thing was that I lost 3.5 pounds right before Christmas, which was good because too many nice people gave us good chocolate!)

Then, Christmas was upon us. Dottie's toxicity from her chemo caused her to be too sick to get together with us for Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve.  This year was the first Christmas Eve we didn't spend with her and Gerry in 28 years.  We had a quiet evening with a Christmas Eve service at church and simple dinner.  Christmas Day we dined at the home of our good friends, the Fosters, after church.  It was a delightful day. In attendance were Grove and Susan (the Fosters who were our hosts) and Michael (their son), Denise (their daughter-in-law) and their grand children Cole and Katelyn.  Grover and Ed are good friends and spend a lot of time together.  Susan and I have several parallel interests about which we're always comparing notes. What are the chances that at a dinner table of 8 there would be 2 Denises?  It was weird.  Michael is an animator and is also a guitar player.  Cole and Katelyn are always my star students in Children's Church classes. It was great to share a meal, fellowship and celebrate that Jesus condescended to enter our dimension of space and time so we could be saved from the penalty of sin.

We gave up our Fondue New Year's Eves last year. Had we not, Ed would not have gotten it this year, now that he is missing a gall bladder and the organ that processes fat. We had a more modest meal, and as usual, toasted the  2012 with a glass of de-alcoholized Asti at midnight. 

Tuesday, I resumed a regular schedule.  I'd like to aspire to blogging at the very least weekly. We'll see. This year, in addition for trying to build time into my life schedule for the things I love to do, I'm also going to try to get on a better sleep schedule.  That's a hard one, but I have maintained the discipline to renew the way I look at food and how I eat.  Now, I have to discipline my use of time and cipher how I am going to use it more wisely/not waste it.  The domino effect should be me getting enough rest and having quality time for my avocational passions.

Here's to 2012.
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