Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Lazy Weekend?

Filed under: Blog Admin,Knitting,Rats!,Reviews,Video Clips — folkcat at 4:54 pm on Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Yes, and no. Gryphon spent a lot of time getting much needed sleep.

My time was spent about 50/50 between so lazy I didn’t even craft (much), and working very hard.

When I was working, it was on the new blog, Shopping Jen. There is now a proper About page, and even the raw beginnings of a F.A.Q. (If you have any questions about Shopping Jen that you’d like to see answered in the FAQ, just leave a comment on the FAQ page.)

The largest part of the job, though, involved this blog, Crafting Jen. Over the two and almost-a-half years that I’ve been writing, I’ve created over 860 posts – 46 of which contain reviews of one type or another. It’s my plan to extract those reviews and re-post them to the new blog as a means of seeding it with content.

It took time to locate them all, though, many hours scrolling through my archives and looking at every single post I’ve ever written. As part of another future project, I also identified every recipe I’ve ever posted – it’s my plan to someday list them under that mysterious “Link 3” at the top of this blog.

So far, the only reviews that have been copied over to Shopping Jen are the three I did a couple of weeks ago. One of the edits I made was to include a list of related links at the bottom of each post. So now, for example, the review for Romantic Hand Knits includes not only the publisher’s link, and one to buy the book at Amazon, but links to both Annie Modesitt’s blog and website.

The weekend was not completely craftless, however, even though long stretches when I wasn’t working on the blogs were spent doing nothing but watching TV. And I mean, really nothing.

I did, eventually, do some work on the entre-lac bag, mostly on Monday night. I’m currently on Tier 5 (of, I think, 14 or so). The more I do these, the faster they get.

WIP - Bags and Books

I love the colors in this one – quiet blues, purples, and greens. It might be hard to give it away come Christmas time!

You may have noticed that the bag is posing with a stack of books. That’s a teaser for upcoming reviews! All five of these titles will be evaluated over the next week or two, and I’ll tell you what I think of them over at Shopping Jen. And here, too – craft book reviews will always be cross-posted to Crafting Jen.

Other reviews are coming up which will only be posted to Shopping Jen. Gryphon and I went to Panera this weekend, and tried a few of their new menu items. Shopping Jen readers can look forward to hearing about the new Chipotle Chicken Sandwich, the Orchard Harvest Salad, and the Pecan Braid. And I’ve got some newly released snack items from the grocery store to check out.

Rattie at Work

It was not a lazy weekend for Lola, who went into Fiber Inspector mode again. She has to make sure that entre-lac bag is top quality, after all!

Sadly, she still doesn’t quite grasp that the knitting, while available to her for inspection and to cuddle with, is not hers to take home.

I’m sure we’ll get the hang of the concept eventually. Meanwhile, I’ll just stay vigilant while both knitting and Lola are around!

Hard At Work…

Filed under: Blog Admin,Folkcat's Fotos — folkcat at 3:00 pm on Tuesday, August 28, 2007

…but little I can show you yet. I’ve been busy working on the new review blog, Shopping Jen. It takes a long time sifting through blog templates! There are hundreds to choose from, but not all have good “bones” – meaning I like the layout and functionality and can easily change the graphics and colors to suit me.

Then, once you’ve got some candidates, you have to figure out banner graphics. I seem to have settled on this:

Shopping Jen Banner

That’s cropped from a photo I took in a shopping mall in the Syracuse area. You can’t really see the stores, but it evokes the ambience of a mall, the ultimate mecca of shopping. And it doesn’t hurt that the colors in the photo are really pleasant, and will make a good color scheme for the blog.

So, yes, I’ve been hard at work, but enough of it’s been for the new blog that I really don’t have noteworthy crafting progress to share. Tonight is craft circle, though, so keep your fingers crossed! I might just make it to the heel of my current sock!

Giveaway Update!

Filed under: Announcements,Blog Admin — folkcat at 8:46 pm on Friday, August 24, 2007

LOL…okay, count me as new and clueless at this review and giveaway thing. Did I really just, basically, pan the book, then ask if any of you wanted it?

Even though I did try to find nice things to say about it, that was pretty lame. So how about this – the winner of the drawing will get a choice of either

  • The Yarn Girls’ Guide to Knits for All Seasons, or
  • A bundle of my own handmade beaded stitch markers, valued at up to $30.

All other parameters of the giveaway will remain the same, i.e.:

  • Enter by commenting on either this post, or the previous one, before noon Eastern time on Monday, August 27th, 2007. Only one entry will be granted for commenting.
  • An additional entry can be earned by mentioning this giveaway on your blog and linking to it. Be sure to tell me in e-mail or comments that you’ve done so.

Does that make for a better prize offering? And I promise, next time, unless I gave a glowing rave review, I’ll save the book for some future occasion!

Finally, a Good Start; and, New Toy!

Filed under: Blog Admin,Knitting,Rats!,Video Clips — folkcat at 3:43 pm on Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Last night I made a fresh attempt at my latest socks – Socks for Folkcat, Pair Three, Sock One (SF:P3S1), and actually got somewhere!

SF:P3S1; Toe Done

The yarn is Fortissima Socka Mexiko Country Colors, #14 (Serengeti). I’m loving how this knits up! The background colors run long enough that even on my extra-wide foot, the stripes are wide enough to count. And I adore how the other blotches of color come into play, creating splashes and dashes here and there. I think there may be more yarn from this product line in my future.

New Toy!

We love the gadgets here, both me and Gryphon. Our cellphone carrier is Verizon Wireless, and every two years, they let you get a new phone (from a specified list) for free! Our two years were up recently, and here’s what I got:
Jen's enV
LG enV

From what I can gather, this is one of the cool phones from last year. (The iPhone, of course, has blown all other cool phones out of the water. Ask my brother!) It’s not just a phone with a qwerty keyboard, it’s also a 2-megapixel camera.

That’s as much power as the Olympus camera I bought myself about 9 years ago, for over $900. (It was a bargain at the time!) Okay, the Olympus still takes higher quality pictures, and will still be the go-to camera for most blog purposes. The phone, on the other hand, is more likely to be with me almost all the time, and it will let me do something the Olympus won’t – e-mail or message the pictures to flickr, direct to the blog, or to friends.

One of the coolest features about this phone – I can take videos with it, up to an hour long! The image quality isn’t the best, but it’s a chance to at least occasionally show you cute Ratties in motion! (I promise, I won’t abuse the opportunity by inundating the blog with rat videos!)

Here, then, is your first chance to see the new girl, Lola, in all her hyperactive glory:

Notice, at about the 1-minute to go mark, how I say “Go see Daddy!”, and Lola takes off like a shot to get back to Gryphon! Our girlies are smart!

As you can imagine, I’m having fun learning all the features of this new toy. Like browsing the web while we’re out doing errands, checking the weather, etc. I’ve only just scratched the surface of what the enV will be able to do for me, I’m sure.

Review Blog In The Works!

Yup – I finally had an “a-ha!” moment earlier today, and came up with a name for a review blog: Shopping Jen.

I know, I know – fairly obvious, isn’t it? Also, per my checks with multiple search engines, not already being used, and the .com domain was available. We snapped that up this afternoon.

Gryphon and I will be working together the next couple of weeks to get Shopping Jen up and running. Once that happens, any non-crafty product reviews will have a home – and they won’t be clogging up this blog. Don’t worry – reviews of knitting or other craft-related books and items will be cross-posted here. After all, they do fit the Crafting Jen theme!

In fact, be watching Thursday and/or Friday for my review of the two knitting books I mentioned yesterday, Romantic Hand Knits and The Yarn Girls Guide to Knits for All Seasons. And I think there will be a giveaway involved, too, so be sure to check in!

Holiday Postings

Filed under: Blog Admin,Gryphon,Holidays — folkcat at 12:51 pm on Tuesday, July 3, 2007

…will be sporadic this week. Gryphon is actually only working one of his two jobs for the Fourth of July week, so we have more time to get things done together. Meaning less time for posting.

Have a great Fourth (those of you who celebrate it), and I’ll see you for certain next week!

And the Winner Is…!

Filed under: Announcements,Blog Admin — folkcat at 3:46 pm on Monday, June 18, 2007

We had a huge flurry of entries!

Okay, maybe not. But we did have a few good entries from several of you, and both Gryphon and I had a good laugh every time another comment came in.

In the end, there were three jokes to choose from, which means no random drawing – only one prize will go out to my favorite. It wasn’t easy to pick – all your jokes were funny. But in the end, one did stand out as inducing the most spastic giggling.

Which means that the winner is – Sarah, with her knock-knock joke!

Knock, knock!

Who’s there?

Impatient Cow.


Moooooo !

It may not come across quite as well merely reading it. Do me a favor, make sure to tell it to someone, then you can get the true feeling of the silliness it brings. It was when I told it to Gryphon that it really came alive for me.

Sarah, I’m e-mailing you a few questions so I can pick out your prize – watch your inbox!

The other two entries were fun as well. You can read them in the comments here. Both Carol and Claudia made me laugh with their jokes.

Thank you so much to everyone who entered, or even just commented. You helped to lighten our worries over the weekend.

Claudia gets an honorable mention for something outside of her contest entry – she sent an extra list of jokes that a friend had just e-mailed to her. They had Gryphon and I curling up in our chairs, laughing hysterically. So I feel like I have to share them with you, they’re just that good! Or that bad, depending on how you like your humor. 🙂

1. How Do You Catch a Unique Rabbit?
Unique Up On It.

2. How Do You Catch a Tame Rabbit?
Tame Way.

3. How Do Crazy People Go Through The Forest?
They Take The Psycho Path

4. How Do You Get Holy Water?
You Boil the Hell Out Of It

6. What Do Eskimos Get From sitting on the Ice too Long?

7. What Do You Call a Boomerang That doesn’t work?
A Stick

8. What Do You Call Cheese That Isn’t Yours?
Nacho Cheese.

9. What Do You Call Santa’s Helpers?
Subordinate Clauses.

10. What Do You Call Four Bullfighters In Quicksand?
Quattro Sinko.

11. What Do You Get From a Pampered Cow?
Spoiled Milk.

12. What Do You Get When You Cross a Snowman With a Vampire?

13. What Lies At The Bottom Of The Ocean And Twitches?
A Nervous Wreck.

14. What’s The Difference Between Roast Beef And Pea Soup?
Anyone Can Roast Beef.

15. Where Do You Find a Dog With No Legs?
Right Where You Left Him.

16. Why Do Gorillas Have Big Nostrils?
Because They Have Big Fingers .

17. Why Don’t Blind People Like To Sky Dive?
Because It Scares The Dog.

18. What Kind Of Coffee Was Served On The Titanic?

19. What Is The Difference Between a Harley And a Hoover?!
The Location Of The Dirt Bag.

20. Why Did Pilgrims’ Pants Always Fall Down?
Because They Wore Their Belt Buckle On Their Hat.

21. What’s The Difference Between a Bad Golfer And a Bad Skydiver?
A Bad Golfer Goes, Whack, Dang!
A Bad Skydiver Goes Dang! Whack .

22. How are a Texas Tornado and a Tennessee Divorce The Same?
Somebody’s gonna Lose A Trailer

Thanks again to everyone who played! Maybe we’ll do this again one day!

Coming Tomorrow

Knitting. Really, I mean it. Maybe some quilting, too. At least, quilting talk, if not actual quilting. See? We haven’t forgotten about crafting here! Oh, and a Rattie Sisters update, too!


Filed under: Announcements,Blog Admin — folkcat at 12:00 pm on Tuesday, May 1, 2007

I’ve decided I need a short break from the blog. I’m clearly going through a bit of a dark mood episode, and while I’m still keeping on with a lot of things that traditionally slide when people are depressed (like exercising), I’m having trouble maintaining a focus for crafting, and then having to write about it. Or to write about what I’m not doing, because sometimes the crafting is just not happening.

No need to worry about me – I’ll be fine. I just need some time to coddle myself a bit, and do some things to try to feel like our situation is turning around.

I’ll be back, probably next week. Meanwhile, y’all take care of yourselves, you hear?

Hugs, and happy crafting!

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today…

Filed under: Announcements,Blog Admin — folkcat at 12:11 pm on Monday, April 23, 2007

Okay, I lie. Well, maybe not lie. More like exaggerate by a factor of ten.

Truth is, it was two years ago today. That was the day I started blogging. In a way, that itself is a lie. I actually started blogging the December before that, writing a blog for my bead store. But after the store closed for good that Easter, I deleted the original blog (which only had brief announcements relating to store business, anyhow), and I started my first personal blog on April 23, 2005. I’ve decided not to count the long-vanished, purely utilitarian store blog in the chronology.

And that’s why today, April 23rd, is my two year blogiversary. Mind you, I’m a relative newcomer as bloggers go. There are some out there who have been doing this for four to six years. I tip my hat to them – they saw the potential early, and set the standards we all strive to achieve.

My first blog post was a mere, boring explanation of what happened to the previous blog. Since then, I’ve managed to be, I hope, more interesting. It took a while, but I’ve settled into a comfortable routine of blogging five days a week, with occasional bonus posts about special things.

Why do I do it? The first answer that comes to mind is, “Because I can.” The tools are there, and they’re easy to use.

More seriously, blogging about my crafts gives me an ability to focus that was I severely lacking before. Even if I never go back to read my posts, I force myself to take the time to think about them sufficiently to write about them, and I usually take pictures that make me look at my progress and technique in detail.

I am a much better crafter today, both because I read blogs and become inspired by what I see people doing, and because I write my own blog and examine my own crafting carefully.

As much as I want to give everyone who reads me regularly a gift, there’s just no room in the budget, not to make the presents as grand as I’d wish. I don’t think I’ll be going the route of a blogprize, either – I can’t imagine what I have that would be special enough to count.

All I can do is offer you my heartfelt thanks for being in my life, for your supportive, kind comments, for your laughter and tears, for your virtual hugs and well wishes.


Advance Notice for Tuesday, and Sidebar Notes

Filed under: Announcements,Blog Admin,Daily Life — folkcat at 10:28 pm on Monday, March 26, 2007

I may choose to skip posting tomorrow (Tuesday). I had a trip-and-fall today – caught my foot on a network cable in Gryphon’s office, and after some struggle trying not to lose my balance, I went crashing onto my left knee and hand.

The knee is a bit sore to the touch, and not happy when I try to tuck my feet under me in the armchair as I’m accustomed to doing. I’ll almost certainly have a bruise there tomorrow, but no worse than that. I’m walking fine, and I only notice an issue when I actually touch the area.

The hand, though, is a little more troublesome. I wasn’t aware of injuring it at first, but a little while later, when I pushed myself up out of my chair, I felt a snap in the side of the hand below the pinky finger. It felt a little like a rubberband sliding over a bumpy knob. My hand is objecting to a firm pinching motion, and if I try to grasp tightly or close my fist, the knuckles of the pinky and ring fingers (right at the base of the fingers) complain vigorously.

Since nearly every type of craft I do involves pinching and/or grasping motions, that puts me on the sideline for a day or two. Poo!

And now, I’m noticing that typing is tending to make the whole hand tingle a little. So I should probably cut this short as well.

Sidebar Notes

I’ve decided to remove the Calendar of Southern NH Knit Meetings from my sidebar. The truth is, I am still only attending one of those groups – the weekly Thursday night Knitting Around at Panera.

This left me out of touch enough about the other meetings listed that I couldn’t be sure anymore whether the information was accurate. So, rather than provide uncertain data, I thought it best not to post it at all.

In its place, I’ve put up a 105 Things About Folkcat page. This was something I posted back in March 3, 2006, in preparation for the one and only Swap I’ve been involved in – the Pirate Booty Swap. I hope you find it interesting!

Sick Day

Filed under: Announcements,Blog Admin,Daily Life — folkcat at 11:28 am on Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Yup. The cold I caught from Gryphon is still with me. Feel lucky this isn’t a podcast – I sound pretty horrendous!

I’ll be taking a day or two off from blogging so I can rest and recover. See you again soon!

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