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Knitting: Owls Cardigan Sweater

Owls cardigan sweater

Finally finished this lovely pattern from Kate Davies. I converted it to a cardigan and decided to only provide ‘eyes’ to only one owl. Buttons came from the stash.

Really nice knit. Went relatively fast since it is Bulky yarn that I got from Knitpicks. Which also made it an affordable project. Hopefully it will wear well. I have to say the fit is fabulous. I didn’t do the back shaping which was a good decision. Shaping is all on the sides. I also didn’t do the short rows for the back neck because I just didn’t like the way they looked but that choice  doesn’t seem to have marred the finished project. I highly recommend the pattern.

I am transitioning all my makeup products to cruelty-free. Sorely disappointed with Estee Lauder and Bobbi Brown (same company) for allowing animal testing so they can sell in China. They couch it on their websites in some shifty language but the bottom line is they have resumed animal testing.

I have been using Estee Lauder Double Wear in shade 2W1 Sand. It really is a perfect match with my yellow skintone. Plus the coverage is medium to full and gives me an airbrushed look. Meeting that standard is a pretty heavy lift and the Wet n Wild Coverall doesn’t quite make it.

I tired the Coverall in shade Light. They don’t offer enough shade variations in light and yellow undertones. I chose Light but as you can see in the photo it has pink undertones. The next shade up was more yellow but it was too dark. Fortunately it is passable with a dusting of Coverall powder in Light/Medium which has the yellow tones I need.

Makeup

The Coverall is buildable. I use an E.l.f. brush which I love. But I really can’t get the coverage I want without building it up too much. It certainly is in the ‘good’ category and I will use it but I hope they will come out with a better shade selection which could help my coverage issues. The other minus is that there is no SPF in the foundation.

Estee Lauder’s foundation is now somewhere in the $35.oo zone which is pretty scary for my pocketbook but I would pay it if they had maintained their cruelty-free stance. They have also dropped the SPF in their foundation which is a shame and shifted around some of the color shades. Clearly this is a case of  ”Hey! It’s not broke but let’s fix it!”.

The Verdict

7Good

The Good: Cruelty free. Very low cost ($3.00 to $4.00). Readily available at CVS. Buildable coverage.

The Bad: Poor shade selection. Not as much coverage as I would like without piling it on.

Scrabble night

We play board games. Tonite was Scrabble night.

Scrabble Christmas

The Old Man is wicked good at Scrabble.

Scrabble Christmas

and the winning board ….

Scrabble Christmas

It was a nice way to pass the time. Quiet and removed from the outside world that is currently in the final throes of Christmas frenzy. It’s like the real world is in some kind of stasis until the insanity passes. It’s an uncomfortable feeling. December becomes a lost month. There is nowhere to hide from the bombardment of commericals, songs, entreaties to BUY MY STUFF. The traffic is terrible. Supermarkets are mobbed. People get pretty shitty with one another because of the pressure to BUY THAT STUFF and do all the things that the Christmas script demands or …. else? I just want the world to get back on track. Only 2 more days of madness.

 

Winter Solstice 2013

Ave! Solstice!

As if signaling that the Sun is indeed on his return run, the weather for Solstice was warm and sunny in a region where at this time of year there should be cold and snow. I BATHED in the sunshine. I frequently wonder why I live in this region at all because I love warmth. Probably from all those happy years living in southern Nevada.

A view of my Solstice:

Bayberry Candles from Mole Hollow Candles in Sturbridge, MA. Hand dipped. Not overly fragrant. They burn beautifully, evenly, and do not drip all over the place.

Bayberry Candles for Solstice

The silver candlesticks have been in my husband’s family for some time. They have seen much service for all sorts of holiday and family gatherings. Now they serve our household.

Silver candlesticks for Solstice

The Solstice altar. My personal tastes run to restraint. Decorative stags handmade by the woodworking husband, holly of various varieties, fir and twigs. I also add some rosemary and a golden pear.

Winter Solstice altar

Winter Solstice altar

I always love decorating the tree. So many symbols that we love.

Winter Solstice ornament

Winter Solstice ornamentWinter Solstice ornamentWinter Solstice ornamentWinter Solstice ornament

A lovely night. Vale!

Winter Solstice

 

 

Witch at Yule

I have so many thoughts on this and I just want to try and write them down.

First. I am not a Christian. There is no one in my household who is a Christian. I am a pagan. A witch, thanks very much. This is no secret in my workplace. It’s not like I walked in and said, “HEY I’M A PAGAN”. But one day in conversation that fact was made plain. (Which should not have been a surprise considering I have worn jewelry with pagan symbols for 6 years. Just sayin’.) Although I do believe it is easier for folks who are uncomfortable with that fact to ignore the obvious until it is plainly stated.

More background. I work in an environment that is  ….. difficult. There are issues with race, gender, educational level, and socio-economic class in an unnaturally forced blue collar-white collar environment. Add in the very potent brew of religious difference, overlay it with the seemingly outsized importance of the Christmas holiday and it is a formula for great unease. To be fair, on both parts. Mine and theirs. The situation is not helped by the holiday parties, holiday cards, and holiday wishes from the institution where we all labor. I do understand that large institutions must appear to be ecumenical whether there is a genuine interest or not. It’s just good business. It costs nothing and avoids problems. And I do believe at my place of employment on the macro level that the sentiment is genuine. On the micro level it is just a mess.

Here are my thoughts on this. I really do not want to be lumped in as an afterthought on the ‘holidays’. I actually find it offensive. On this I share common ground with the Christmas crowd. Conflating Yule/Solstice, Hanukkah, or any other Winter holiday with Christmas is not cool. Our traditions and beliefs are not some diminutive form of Christmas that must be grudgingly included in the seasonal festivities. They are rich and special in their own right. And they pre-date the Christmas holiday by millenium. There is a grand irony that the last folk to join in the Winter festivities are the ones viewing all those who came before as the usurpers. BTW, I’ll just mention that I have no hard feelings that you are using pagan traditions and symbols when you celebrate. Okay?

hannukah menorah

To the war on Christmas office contingent wishing anyone “Happy Holidays” is offensive. Every year I hear about the war on Christmas, the faux meaning of other religious and cultural experiences, and how it’s Christmas, dammit. Without fail at some point when the holiday ‘spirit’ is in high dudgeon I am asked if I am ready for Christmas. And each year I answer, no, I’m not ready for Christmas because I don’t celebrate Christmas. I’m not sure how to interpret that. At best I could say that it is well meaning but indecipherably ignorant. At worst it is intentional baiting.

I actually find it sad for the war on Christmas crowd at my workplace. To be nursing such a grievance and feeling so under seige when you are in the majority doesn’t make any sense to me especially when you celebrate a season that has as one of its basic tenets ‘good will towards men’.

photo credit for Hannukah menorah: dirtydog2003 via photopin cc

Holy crap the greatness that is this movie! I was lukewarm about the original Thor movie. I felt that one really dragged when the action was set on Earth (Midgard) and that the strength of that movie was anything and everything to do with Asgard. Apparently the producers of The Dark World pretty much agreed with me because this flick is Asgard heavy and that is a total win.

I am bone tired of comic book movies but this flick works because it does not play as a comic book hero in a comic book plotline. This plays more as mythology on a very grand scale. The visuals are incredible. The soundtrack is incredible. The performances are outstanding. (Idris Elba I love you as Heimdall.) The only wee negative is the character of Darcy. Wow. Annoying. Please fix that in the upcoming sequels.

The absolute scene stealer is Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Oh my goodness. He was a big bright spot in the first Thor movie and  in The Avengers. He shines even more brilliantly in Dark World. I think this was the best movie I’ve seen all year.

The Verdict

10Perfect

The Good: The cast, the visuals, the soundtrack.

The Bad: The character of Darcy. Please get rid of her. Stat.