Saturday, February 6, 2010

Lots of Little Things and Snow

Snowpocalypse. SnowMG. Snowmageddon. We've heard them all this winter. The latest "significant snow event" wasn't quite as significant as it could have been, but it was still a doozy. The University of Virginia canceled classes yesterday; the last time they did that was in 2003. What was different this time was that they made the announcement the day before, telling all non-essential employees just to stay home the next day. I've been here 31 years, and I can't remember their ever doing that before. It was a good decision. We didn't get the three feet of snow that some of the forecasts said was possible, but we got enough. It started snowing in the 6:00 to 7:00 range yesterday morning, and it's still coming down, though barely, 34 hours later. Here's the view up our driveway this morning. And here's a shot I took of our deck railing through the window on the back door. We've been luckier than some folks in that our power has stayed on despite blinking off and on several times. As you can see here, the trees have a lot of snow on them, and that snow is wet and heavy. We've heard numerous cracks from the woods around the house, and we actually cut back a tree that had fallen across our road while we were walking. We'll be cleaning up quite a few branches from the yard when the snow finally melts, but so far no trees are down in the area around the house.

I've been taking advantage of the snow days (it's not clear if tomorrow will be a third one, since if the gym is open, we'll be there to do kendo and/or karate) to play with something from a great new book I got. I refuse to buy a knitting or other craft book just for one pattern or the instructions to make one item. Skimming through a book called AwareKnits at the local Barnes & Noble, I found eight things I wanted to try, the first of which is crocheting a lunch bag out of plarn. Plarn = Plastic + Yarn, or "yarn" made by cutting up plastic shopping bags. On the left is the strip made by cutting up a plastic grocery bag. After cutting the handles off, I cut the bottom of the bag off then cut the body of the bag into a spiral. On the right is a ball of plarn. In the center, in front of the book, is the bottom of the lunch bag. You can see some of the different color bags in there; you may recognize the green ones as being from Barnes & Noble. I don't think I have enough plarn to finish the bag, but at least won't feel guilty for a while if I stop into a store without one of the canvas bags I carry in the car for my weekly grocery shopping.

From crocheting to knitting, I finished a felted mohair bag to donate to an auction being held to help send a group of high school students to the Galapagos. Felted things are so much fun! For example, here's the bag before it was felted. Here's the bag after I felted it. It's a bit frightening to put something I made out there and up for sale. I once gave two small quilts to a school's silent auction and was downright depressed by how little they went for, well under the cost of the materials in them. I tried not to take the low prices as a comment on the workmanship, but it was kind of hard. This bag actually cost me nothing but the time it took to make it; I used yarn that I accepted in payment for working at a fiber festival. So we'll see how much it goes for; at least I know that whatever amount it generates will go to a good cause.

Continuing with the theme of lots of little things I haven't written about, I bought myself a new little toy back before Christmas, a lomographic fisheye camera. Lomography is not about high-end photographs; it's more about point-and-shoot snapshots. And yes, it's film, which means you can't correct on the spot but have to wait to see the results. The fisheye just adds to the fun, as in this shot of the husband or this one of older son's feet. And sometimes you can even end up with some nice photographs.

Finally, two weeks from today the husband and I will be in Reykjavik, Iceland, and possibly have seen whales and puffins. At least we're scheduled to go on a whale watching cruise our first afternoon there. I've been reading various resources on photographing the Northern Lights as well as a series of mysteries set in Reykjavik. I've been breaking in the hiking boots I bought for the trip, and I tried out a friend's snow pants on today's walk. It's becoming very real that we're actually going. I can't promise to put up long posts daily, but I'll try to get the highlights up while we're still there as opposed to several weeks after we get back. That's the plan at least.


Debi said...

So how much snow did you get this time? It's hard to tell from the pics. Anyway, it sure is purdy! :D

And speaking of purdy--I LOVE that knit/felted bag! I hope it brings in a pile of dough.

And I have to admit I laughed out loud at your crocheting project...I haven't crocheted plastic bags in many a year. I never heard it called plarn before. :)

Jean said...


We got 14 or 15 inches of new snow, on top of the six or so we had left from Tuesday's snowfall. Lots of stuff will still be canceled or closed tomorrow, but we should be back to normal Monday in time for Tuesday's snow or "wintry mix."

"Plarn" is what the book calls it. They also have a picture frame knitted out of newspaper; unfortunately, they don't give instructions for making the newspaper "yarn" but rather tell you where to buy it. I wanna make my own!!!!!


Debi said...

Newspaper never heard of that. Sounds like it would look really cool! But I'm with would be a heck of a lot more fun to make it oneself. Wonder if you can find directions somewhere else.

LOL...what a difference one's "norm" can make. Nothing would ever be closed here over 15" of snow...and once winter's started all snow is on top of inches of snow already on the ground. But then, I'll bet Charlottesville doesn't put up freeze warning signs all over town when the temps are forecasted to drop below freezing...yes, they seriously did that in Memphis!

Jean said...


Google "newspaper yarn" and you'll find them. Just what I need! Something else to play with! As for snow, since we get this much only rarely, our public works people don't have the same level of equipment that yours do; hence, it takes longer to get ready and, then, recover.

Debi said...

LOL...why do I have this sneaking suspicion that we'll be seeing some newspaper yarn projects here one of these days. ;) It really does look cool though. I wonder how hard it is to work know, it seems like it would be sort of stiff. But people are doing it so I guess it's not impossible.

And sure. Of course, it wouldn't make sense to spend a lot of money on snow removal equipment in places that don't have to deal with it all the time. Just like the rare week here where temps stay in the 90s and kids/teachers about die in the schools because they aren't air-conditioned. Gotta use that money where it makes the most sense, right?

Rich said...

You are going to Iceland! How awesome. It's good that you got some cold and wintry weather to get you ready. Can't wait to see some pictures. Thanks for the Vietnam/American War reading recommendation!