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Welcome to my World


PLEASE TAKE NOTE:
I have decided to go from livejournal to blogger as of today. You can find me at http://smiley-netta.blogspot.com/ Please add that blog instead of this one if you wish to follow me!



Hello, fellow Blizzard Boghoppers! Welcome to my world! What all is a part of my world, you ask? My husband (of whom I am proud to be called his wife) that serves in the US Air Force, and the reason we are living in Europe. My boys, that even though neither of them were planned, are of the utmost importance to me. My friends, to whom I am completely loyal and committed to. Books, books, and more books. I have never, in my life, made it a secret of how much of a bookworm I am and how much I love to learn. My crafting, which is the only way I keep my sanity most days. Knitting, crocheting, beading, and playing with clay are my current obsessions, though that's always open to expand and/or grow. I love to make things with my hands for nothing other than the sake of watching it take form under my fingers. Music, while no longer in the form of band and choir (of which I took part of both in high school), will remain a vital part of my life until the day I die.

I have always had an explorer's spirit, and am ecstatic to have the opportunities abroad that I do (with an emphasis on all things France and French!). I love to discover new little tidbits about the most random and seemingly insignificant details that I can, and am a hard core Harry Potter fan. There is so much more to me than I could fit into a few sentences, but that's the gist of it all. Oh, and I smile. A lot. In fact, because of my tendency towards optimism and all things cheery, my user name around the web tends to have the words "netta" and some form of "smile" in it. :) (Yes, my excessive smiling extends to emoticons, too...) I hope to meet some amazing people through this bloghop! Feel free to hop on board or not. :)



Newsie Baby


So I have a lot of friends lately that are getting married and having babies. Yay! I'm so happy for them all! Sadly, though, I cannot keep up with making them all handmade gifts. :( That makes me sad. :( However, one of the expecting said friends showed me a picture of a super cute hat and bootie set, and asked if there was any way I could make something similar. What I found on Ravelry wasn't quite what I was looking for, so I improvised and decontructed it as best I could from a photo, and ended up with this adorable hat!:




Cute, huh?! Want in on my secret? ;) It's really quite simple. Here you go!


Baby Newsie Hat


Size I/5.50mm hook
Worsted/Aran weight yarn (around 28 grams/1 ounce
3/4" button

Round 1: In magic loop, ch2, 12hdc; sl st to join (12 sts)
R 2: ch 2, 2hdc in each hdc around, sl st to join (24 sts)
R 3: ch 2, *hdc in hdc, 2 hdc in next hdc,* repeat from * to * around, sl st to join (36 sts)
R 4-11: ch 2, hdc in each hdc around, sl st to join (36 sts)

Brim:
Row 12: ch2, hdc in same stitch, hdc in next 6 sts, 2hdc in next hdc, hdc in next 7 sts (16 sts), turn
Row 13: ch2, hdc2tog twice (taking the first 4 sts), hdc in next 4 sts, 2hdc in next hdc, hdc in next 3 sts, hdc2tog twice (taking the last 4 sts) (13 sts), turn
Row 14: ch2, hdc2tog, hdc in next 9 hdc, hdc2tog, (11 sts) finish off

Re-attach yarn on any stitch of the hat's body, Sc in each hdc around. When you get to brim, do a sc decrease over last stitch before brim, corner where brim meets hat body, and the first hdc of the brim to form a corner, sc up the side of the brim, 3 sc in first st of on the last row of the brim to form a corner, sc across to the other side of the brim, forming a 3sc corner at the other side, sc down the other side side, dec over the same 3 stitches to form the final corner, and sc in each hdc around to where you attached the yarn. sl st to join and fasten off. Weave in ends.

Button flap:
ch 22, dc in 5th from hook and dc across (18 dcs & ch 4), attach and finish off. The "hole" made by the chain stitches at the end is the buttonhole. Attach the flap at one side of the brim, sew the button on the opposing side, and button down.

Ta-da! Baby Newsie Hat is complete! :D

Unraveling Divinity...


I absolutely love Rheatheylia's designs. I adore her crocheted Cable Hat, am a fan of her Mesh Hat, and I have made the Divine Hat sooooooo many times! I have noticed, though, that on Ravelry not everyone finds them as easy as I do, and often have similar issues in getting the transition of reading the pattern to come out properly through their fingers. Because of this (and because I think everyone should love making the Divine Hat as much as I do! LOL), I am going to try and make some clarifications through photographs in this post. :) (Note: This is all written in US crochet terminology. For a UK translation, there is a nifty little "translator" here.)  In the following photographs, I am using sport weight yarn cotton yarn and a size G/4.00mm hook to make a baby version of the hat.

Ok, so here we go...first off, I'll address the "how-to" of front post double crochet (fpdc). After you chain 2 to begin the next round, you insert the hook to the right of the post you want to work around:


 
Bring the hook behind the post, and back out on the other side of said post:
 

 
You will then yarn over, pulling the loop up behind the post, and proceed to finish out the double crochet as normal.

For the rounds of the pattern that read: "dc in the space between fpdcs", the placement of the double crochets is here:
 

 
 

 
When the single double crochet is sandwiched between two fpdc, it looks like this:
 

 


The placement for the instructions "dc in the first space between fpdc and dc" (italics mine) looks like this:
 

 
Notice that the fpdc is immediately to the right of the stitch, and that there is another space in between the previous row's dc and next fpdc. You skip over that second space and go immediately into the following fpdc, leaving a small "hole" (which looks less "hole-y" and more "lacy" when the hat is completed), like this:
 

 
Here's a better shot of described "hole":
 

 
The "hole" makes it look a little uneven and unbalanced, but it's okay, because that's how it's supposed to look, and what will, in the end, create the spiral effect of the finished object. : ) 

In the line of directions that reads: "2 dc in the first space between fpdc and dc" (again, italics mine), you are using the exact same technique as the previous row, you're just giving your lonesome, solitary double crochet a friend. : )
 

 
The same goes for the "3 dc in the first space between fpdc and dc" and the "4 dc in the first space between fpdc and dc":
 

 
As you can see, you simply skip over all the double crochets in the previous row. The only place you put the stitches (aside from the fpdc's) is immediately after said fpdc and before the previous row's grouping of normal dc's. The "hole" that this leaves is what pulls the next fpdc to the side, creating the spiral effect.
 






I had noticed that one or two people actually made their hats spiral in the opposite direction, and tried something out to see if it produced the same effect, and sure enough, it did! If you group your double crochets on the other side of the section, so that it goes "fpdc, hole, dcs, fpdc," then the spiral will go in the other direction.
 



 
I hope that these pictures were helpful! If you have any other questions about it, let me know and I'll try my best to explain it! : )
 

Advanced Potion Making



Looking back at the kit I made for Miss Clovenhoof, my favorite item of the entire thing is, hands down, the book. In fact, that book may just be the coolest thing I've ever made. In the history of ever!





 
A friend asked me which tutorial I used (since she was so impressed with the final result...as was I!), and I started with using a tutorial, but ended up kind of doing my own thing. LOL I promised her I'd post it here on my blog, but I've realized I should have more pictures for it. (Well, mostly for my sake, as I'm a picture fiend...LOL) So I think I'll be tea-aging some more paper within this next week and then I can take pics as I go and share them here! :D

Ribbed Crochet Preemie Hat


So in browsing the crochet preemie hats on Ravelry, I decided to have a go with this "10 minute" pattern. But for some reason, my hats came out much smaller than hers, and didn't really have and give or stretch to them, so I decided to do one of my own. :) So, without further ado, I give you my Ribbed Crochet Preemie Hat (the pattern is given in US terms, but there is also a UK termed version below it):

(I used Rheatheylia's Divine Hat join method...I love that join!)
To join each round: join with slip stitch around the first front post double crochet of previous round (or beginning ch 2 of the first round), ch 2, then fpdc down into the same front post double crochet you just did the slip stitch to (again, this will be a ch 2 for the beginning round). This pushes the ch 2 behind the fpdc you just made (ignore the ch 2, it doesn’t exist). This isn’t necessary, but it looks better than a standard ch2 and makes the join less obvious.

Sport/baby weight yarn
Size G/4.25mm hook

fpdc = front post double crochet
bpdc = back post double crochet

R1: 11 dc in magic loop, join

R2: ch2, (fpdc in dc, dc in same st) around, join (22 sts)

R3: ch2, (2fpdc in fpdc, bpdc in dc) around, join (33 sts)

R4: ch2, (fpdc in fpdc, dc, fpdc in fpdc, bpdc in bpdc) around, join (44 sts)

R5: ch2, (fpdc in fpdc, bpdc in dc, fpdc in fpdc, bpdc in bpdc) around, join

R6-14: ch2, (fpdc in fpdc, bpdc in bpdc) around, join

R15: reverse sc around, join

Fasten off and weave in ends.




UK termed version:

To join each round
: join with slip stitch around the first front post treble crochet of previous round (or beginning ch 2 of the first round), ch 2, then fptr down into the same front post treble crochet you just did the slip stitch to (again, this will be a ch 2 for the beginning round). This pushes the ch 2 behind the fptr you just made (ignore the ch 2, it doesn’t exist). This isn’t necessary, but it looks better than a standard ch2 and makes the join less obvious. The site I found this method at is linked above the US termed version.

Sport/baby weight yarn
Size G/4.25mm hook

fptr = front post treble crochet
bptr = back post treble crochet

R1: 11 tr in magic loop, join

R2: ch2, (fptr in tr, tr in same st) around, join (22 sts)

R3: ch2, (2fptr in fptr, bptr in tr) around, join (33 sts)

R4: ch2, (fptr in fptr, tr, fptr in fptr, bptr in bptr) around, join (44 sts)

R5: ch2, (fptr in fptr, bptr in tr, fptr in fptr, bptr in bptr) around, join

R6-14: ch2, (fptr in fptr, bptr in bptr) around, join

R15: reverse dc around, join

Fasten off and weave in ends.

  

(The green is done in Caron's Simply Soft and the pink is done in Red Heart's Baby Soft yarn.)

I don't mind if you sell projects resulting in use of this pattern, but please don't sell the pattern itself, and always provide the link/URL to the pattern where you sell it so others can enjoy crafting as well!

Liking the Lace....



So I got to go to England to watch Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince a week ago (I can't believe a week has already gone by!), and it was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am in love with the UK! Seriously! I could live there, happily!!! It is stunningly beautiful!!! I miss the moors something dreadful, and miss hearing English spoken around me even more, I think. But in this week of "recovering" of the fun of the weekend get-away, I have been working hard on the kit for my spoilee for the swap, and got two more scarves for Scarf Travels. The first one I got is to be done in laceweight, which I've never done before...I was super excited, had a blast picking out a pattern, and have enjoyed watching the pattern form under my fingers...I have noticed, however, that it takes an insanely longer amount of time to knit 5" of scarf in laceweight than in worsted. Definitely a lot longer than I expected. But the pattern I chose is beautiful (as is the story behind the designing of it!), and it will be well worth it in the end...I just have to get to that end...and quickly! I wanted my husband to send it out tomorrow when he goes to work, and I'm lucky if I'm halfway through it! LOL On the plus side: we got a working printer yesterday, so that means I can now print out patterns for when I take the boys to the park...I'd have taken the scarf with me to work on, but couldn't access the pattern (wireless Internet isn't all over the place, yet...LOL)...which means that about 5 hours were spent out of doors without the scarf. Le sigh. But it won't happen again! In fact, I'm getting off the computer right now to feed the kiddos dinner and then plug away at it some more! It's certainly taking me a lot longer than I thought, but at least it's going faster as I go! :)

SALZBURG!!!


WOW!!! Salzburg was AMAZING!!! We had to be on base at 4:15 in the morning, and since I knew that if I went to bed, I wouldn't be able to wake up well, I just stayed up all night! I figured I'd just sleep on the bus on the trip. After we got there, I began to second guess that decision. I got to doze a little bit, but couldn't figure out how to lean my seat back and hadn't known we could leave stuff on the bus while we were sightseeing, so I hadn't brought a pillow or blanket or anything. My sleep was very limited. LOL Besides, I was too excited to sleep at first! And then we were in the mountains, which were just beautiful, and I got to watch the sun rise over the Alps!




It was interesting to try and take pictures on a moving vehicle, and I didn't get nearly as many as I wanted. I really was wanting to share the beauty of all I got to see even on the way to Salzburg, but you can't have it all, right? We were on the bus for 2 hours before stopping for breakfast at a very picturesque little place.



They had the best fresh squeezed orange juice! If I had access to that juice, I would drink it every day! And I got to have my very first European croissant! Ooooooooooh, it was soooooooooooooooo goooooooooooood!!! So much better than the American version! It was after breakfast, when we were back on the road that I started to finally doze. When I opened my eyes, all I could see out of the window was white!!! It was snowing! I grew up in Colorado. I've had far more than my fair share of snow. And I think it's beautiful, but only from a distance. Like capping the mountains in a distant range. To actually be in the snow...I have to admit, I don't like it. By the time we got to Salzburg, though, it wasn't too bad. There weren't blizzard conditions or anything, and it was very cold, but I was too excited to see everything to care much! Besides, we were inside for stretches, too, and that made it easier to admire the snow from a warm place indoors. :) 

Kristin and I were very happy to find that we got there at about 10:30, which meant that since the Glockenspiel played every day at 11am and 6 pm (we were scheduled to leave at 5:45pm), we would get to hear it! We hung out at the Christmas Market for a little bit to catch it playing, before heading off to the tourism info center. I was able to get some of it on video, but not all of it. I wasn't sure it was working at first and stopped the recording before starting it up again, which makes the video pretty short. :( But it was so awesome!



While we were hanging around the Christmas Market (which was really the whole reason behind the trip, and they had some incredibly beautiful merchandise there!), we grabbed some potato wedges which were phenomenal, and I got a picture of Kristin being silly. :)



(Don't worry, you'll see a picture of me being silly later on, I promise.) :) First we went to the Salzburg Museum, which was so incredibly amazing...there aren't even words enough for the special exhibit they had there this year. This is the 190th anniversary of the carol "Silent Night, Holy Night," and they had the original manuscript on display!!!!!!!!!!!!! I seriously had tears in my eyes. If not for the fact of how crunched for time we were (you can't see as much of Salzburg as you'd like in only 5 hours!!!), I'd have lingered there longer.



I seriously was moved to tears at the sight of it. Oh, and for those of you that don't know, I suppose this would be an appropriate time to share the fact that I am a complete and total music freak/geek. Concert and Marching Bands all four years of high school, Band Council and Jazz Band assistant my senior year and Pep Band for my sophomore through senior years. Music is something that is very important and dear to me, and I'm not just talking about the pop and hip-hop stuff made today that people always claim as their lives. I mean real music. Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, and on and on. So to see something in person that was composed nearly 200 years ago...it totally blew me away. I was able to buy a replica of my own from the gift shop. :) 

After looking around the Salzburg Museum, we went over to the Panorama Museum for their "cribs" exhibit. It wasn't at all what I was expecting, but once I saw it, it made sense! LOL There were soooooooo many nativity scenes! This one here was my favorite:



It's made of porcelain!

Oh yeah, and my silly picture (which was taken in the Salzburg Museum):



I'm holding (and pointing to) Mozart Balls. Evidently, if you go to Salzburg, you have to try them...Kristin and I weren't too impressed, actually. I wonder if there are other flavors, and maybe that would change my mind. But these ones had chocolate on the outside, and on the inside, was filled with hazelnut praline, pistachio marzipan and marzipan. I'm thinking it was the whole pistachio part I didn't really like. But I tried it! :)

After the museums, we wandered around the Market a little more, did a little buying, and headed towards Festung Hohensalzburg, or "High Salzburg Fortress." The history of that place is absolutely astounding. We didn't get to really see much of it. We were both pretty worn out by that point, and were hauling Collin's big ol' stroller up and down the steps there. Plus, it was super windy and cold up there! It sits up above the rest of Salzburg.



We were able to get some amazing pictures of Salzburg from up there, though.











After we took our pictures and fed Collin, we headed back down the funicular (such a fun word to say! Seriously! Try to say it!) to find Mozart's birthplace.



I was seriously disappointed that they wouldn't allow any pictures inside. There were some amazing exhibits that I would have loved to share! I even had a moment where I wanted to take some anyway, but Kristin convinced me to behave. ;) I wonder how much more is at the museum of Mozart's residence. We didn't make it over there. Or to the Mirabell Gardens. And, of course, we didn't have the time to do any of the Sound of Music tours. :( But Kristin and I figure we can just go back during warmer weather. hopefully on our own, without the ITT people, so that we can stay however long we want, and maybe go see a concert!

I absolutely loved visiting Salzburg! The people there were so warm, and friendly. It was a very hospitable culture! I guess Italians are too, in their own way. I can't quite pinpoint the difference, but there is a very noticeable one. But I think my husband would like the computer back, so I think I'll sign off for now!

What a happy birthday!!! :D


WOW!!! If I could sum up my birthday trip to Venice in one word, that would be it. WOW!!! I couldn't stop saying that over and over when we got to St. Marco's (St. Mark's) Square. I literally got tears in my eyes when I walked into that piazza! And if I teared up over that, I imagine I'll be in hysterics when I actually get to go to Paris...lol

We didn't actually get to spend literally all day in Venice, since we had to make a necessary run to base in the morning first, but we caught the 1pm train out. I got to actually ride on a train. Since I don't count the time I took Aidyn on the "A Day out with Thomas" train ride (it was a very short ride), nor do I count the little amusement park trains, this was my first train ride!!!

Me with my adorable traveling companion, Collin

Everything on the trip went amazingly well! After we got our train tickets and a were waiting for our train, another one going to Venice came in that was half an hour late, so we went on that one instead. It was awesome because we didn't have to worry about being stuck with standing room only space, like we probably would have on the train we were going for.

When we got into Venice a little more than an hour later, which included being on train tracks over a body of water that's larger than Lake Erie (which, until yesterday was the largest body of water I've ever seen), we stopped to use the bathroom at the train station so we didn't have to deal with the "squatter" toilets. (And wouldn't you know I forgot to take a picture of one...) Just outside the train station, there were pigeons everywhere! It made me think of Bert from Sesame Street and his "Walk Like a Pigeon" song I grew up listening to. LOL And those birds have no fear of humans! Well, okay, there's some fear, since they fly away if you charge at them screaming, but they are the boldest birds I have ever seen! It actually reminded me of the movie Just Married with Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy in the scene where he's going nuts over the pigeons while she ooo's and ahh's over the art and architecture. Brave, brave birds.

One of the brave pigeons

We walked around and saw all kinds of things on our way to St. Marco's (St. Mark's) Square. I took over 200 pictures yesterday!!! A lot of them, though, are of the same or similar things....pictures taken of buildings from different angles. pictures of waterways and bridges, pictures of the different colored building faces...The waterways are basically their roads there. You can't drive on those roads, so there's a lot of walking involved! And the bridges aren't sloped. They've got stairs. So Kristin and I got a great work out! LOL

One of the water roadways

It was just so amazing to see all that I did! To be in those streets that have been there longer than America has been a country...it blows my mind! And when I walked into St. Marco's Square.....WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was almost overwhelming! To see in real life what I've only before seen in pictures and movies....I can't even put it into words! It was all so beautiful! The Basilica, Doge's Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, the gondolas...all of it! It was just one of those moments where it really hit home that I am living in Europe!!! So many people look at places like Venice and just see an old, dirty city that has little to offer, but I just don't understand how they can think that way! There's such a trove of history and art and culture and just...beauty!!!

Me taking one of many pictures

We didn't get to actually go into the museums or anything because I was just too wrapped up in seeing everything and taking pictures and drinking it in. So that just means we'll have to take another trip when we can see even more! ;) Kristin thinks (and I agree!) that she and I should go near Carnevale. Oh, that would be an experience!!! And we're planning to go see an opera in Venice sometime, probably next summer. I mentioned that to Arick and he said we couldn't go to the opera without him...LOL

Sorry if my thoughts seem a bit random and choppy today. Yesterday's trip put me in the mindset of watching Casanova with Heath Ledger, and I keep seeing places pop up on the screen that I saw in person just yesterday!!!

I got some gelato yesterday, and I felt so proud of myself, or as I said to Kristin yesterday, I felt like "such a big girl" to order my own gelato in Italian! Kristin had had to tell me what to say, and I'm fairly certain the person in the gelaterie knew English enough that I could have ordered it in my native tongue, especially as she was smiling at me as means of encouraging my attempts at Italian, but it was just so cool to do it in Italian! :D I got two scoops so I could have my strawberry and try a new flavor. I went for vanilla. It was sooooooooooooo good!

Trash can outside one of the gelateries

I also spent my birthday money from my in-laws on something I have wanted for years....I bought a quill! :) It looks so awesome! And I was blown away by the shop owner that I bought it from! There were two other couples in the shop when I went in. The first of them was Italian, and they were, of course, chatting away in their own language. The next couple was French. I recognized a few words here and there. The shop owner went from Italian to fluent French without seemingly a second thought, and then turned around and spoke English to me!!! I was floored! I wonder how many languages he does know! He was an older gentlemen...not quite as old as my grandparents, but definitely older than my parents.

My quill!!!

The detail on my quill. Isn't it gorgeous?!

Then, of course, I only took a bunch of pictures in St. Marco's Piazza. How could I not?! I wish I had room to post all of the pictures I took, but I don't want to overwhelm everyone! LOL Facebook has a limit of 60 pictures per album, so I did a pick and choose of the best pictures. Here's the link to the album so that you can all see it at your leisure. :)

On the way back to the train station, a little while after my "big girl" moment, Kristin and I stopped in at McDonald's and ordered Happy Meals! LOL

McDonald's in Venice! :)

It was a long afternoon full of walking and window shopping. I also did some actual shopping, but I don't want to post all the pictures of what I bought yet, since some of the things I bought are gifts for others! :) We got back to the train station about 10 minutes before the next train we needed departed, and we got seats on that train, too!

As soon as I got home (after 11 pm!), I went to go have some of my birthday pumpkin pie that Arick bought for me...unfortunately, it was not a pie that, like Arick thought it was when he bought it, a frozen pie that just needed to be thawed and eaten. It was a pie that was supposed to remain frozen until you bake it. I tried to make sure it was thawed for my eating it, so it had been sitting in the fridge. I was more than a bit surprised when I opened the box and gooey stuff went everywhere! LOL I did bake it, though, and while the crust is burnt and the filling isn't 100% cooked, it's still got that pumpkin taste that I love so much. ;) I may just have to buy another one. ;) LOL All in all, it was one of my best birthdays ever. :) A day without my boys to see Venice and have some adult time and end it with some pumpkin pie! On top of that, Arick's had nearly a full week off from work and he's taking me out to dinner tomorrow night! :)

Daily Prophet Special Rush Edition


Hogwarts Student Found Near Death After Owl Assault
 
Oct. 3, 2008, 5:10 p.m.
 
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (DP) - A Hogwarts student has been transferred to St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries today after an absurd raining of owls. Hermione Bagnold of Ravenclaw House was eating a late dinner in the Great Hall with her roommates, Rowena Bladvak and Arriana Stylos, when a group of owls appeared to attack her. It turns out that they were all merely overzealous in delivering their packages, all being new owls from various owleries around the globe. The Ministry of Magic is looking into the situation to determine if this was truly by mere chance.
 
"It was pretty scary," says Rowena of the attack. "Out of nowhere, owls came all at once for her. One from a yarn dyer, one from the U.S. with potions supplies, one from a member of her own family, and another with a contest prize." Hermione seemed to obtain nothing but surface scratches and bruises from the initial group, but the last owl that came in is the one that kept her from being held at Hogwarts' hospital wing. A package from a certain Elladora Madley contained a hat that all but finished her off.
 
Elladora's representative maintains that it was an act of following dueling club procedures, and nothing more. Elladora herself has not yet been reached for comment, though she appeared to be overjoyed at the news her package found it's mark.
 
"Hermione was pretty stressed out about the duel's outcome," confides fellow Ravenclaw Minerva Wood. "She sent her owl out for delivery first and was anticipating going far in the tournament. I guess Elladora just had a better owl."
 
An anonymous Slytherin scoffed at the idea that it came down to the owls. "I suspect dark magic involvement," he states mysteriously. "I mean, Hermione finished her hat first and then helped out the others struggling with the pattern on top of it all! I think that Elladora should have surrendered on those terms alone."
 
A member of Gryffindor House, Prendolyn Wilcox, disagrees. "Hermione was all about fair. She helped out a lot of us that were struggling with figuring the hat out. She said it was an unfair advantage if others were seriously struggling with it. There are some things that are just beyond control, like international owls."
 
A second Slytherin, Ophelia Crookshanks, a friend of Hermione's long before the entered at Hogwarts, was only slightly shocked. "She did it to herself, you know. She helped her opponent out. Encouraged her to keep trying. I've seen Hermy do it before. When we were in Muggle school together, there was one spot open for Drum Major, and there was only one person that was an actual threat to her obtaining her goal, and he was going to give up! She told him he was better than he thought and convinced him to try out anyway, and he beat her out by half of a point!"
 
That story does not surprise her soft-spoken roommate Arriana. "She is a very encouraging person. I hope she pulls through!"
 
Hermione remains under close watch at St. Mungo's, with little hope of recovering, but many hope that she will beat the odds and come back to the duels, thirsty for more.

Duel Club worries and woes...



::sigh:: I needed this weekend. I've had a pretty busy week! My duel hat went off to Elladora of Hufflepuff after a minor snag with the owl post. It went out on Tuesday, but I have yet to hear whether or not she's received it. The cause for the worry is that she sent hers to me on Thursday or Friday, and it's already all the way to New York!!! Ahhhhh!!! I reeeeeeeeeeally hope I win the duel! I would be lying if I said I wouldn't be upset to lose. I finished the hat in 2 hours and would have had it in the mail right after I was done, had it not been a Sunday night. I would have had it going out first thing Monday morning, had it been in my power. But no. If I do lose, though, I will be a good sport about it and laugh good-naturedly at my obituary and wish Elladora luck in the continuation of the duels. At least to the public eye. My roomies may have to comfort me in the privacy of our dorm, though, with butterbeer and chocolate frogs.

In the other aspects of my Hogwarts life, though, things are going well. I love all my classes and am throwing myself into my studies. I even read a Muggle-penned book called Twilight in order to add a Muggle perspective to my DADA essay on vampires. It was certainly an interesting read. A good book, overall, but I'm not yet entirely convinced that it lives up to all the hype in the Muggle world. Maybe I just have to read the other books in the series to get it.

Arriana has already gotten into trouble with Professor Snape. Rowena and I tried to help her out when she was targeted in class, but she refused our help and had to spiral into trouble on her own...Personally, I think Professor Snape is intimidated by her potions brilliance and doesn't want to lose his school renown of potions master. So what if she didn't have her full set of scales! If she'd have just taken the ones we tried to slip her under the table, she'd have been fine...But she wouldn't do it. Honest girl, I tell ya'. But aside from those slight moments of forgetfulness when it comes to supplies she needs to have on hand, she's a brilliant mind at potions! I think he should cut her some slack, but, like I said, I think she scares him.

I'm not sure whether or not Rowena or Arriana have had any problems with this, but I've got all kinds of bites all over my feet and ankles! I suspect that someone set some doxies or something loose in our room. I think it might be Elanor, in Slytherin...she asked where her cheerleading uniform was for the Quidditch match that took place earlier today and I asked her if that was what was tied to the topmost branch of the Whomping Willow. I think she mistook that for meaning I put it there (which I most certainly did not!) Maybe I can find Knitsy and see if she can help me get rid of the annoying things....

Speaking of Quidditch, the first match was today. We were brainstorming like mad in the Ravenclaw Common Room, and doing quite well. Unfortunately, Enid Black found it mere moments before we did. :( (See, Elanor? You didn't even need your uniform! Your team won anyway!) I felt somewhat like a dunce, though, trying to figure out the clues. I couldn't seem to focus and would never have come to the same conclusions that my house-mates did! Of course, it didn't help that about halfway through the match, a certain poltergeist dumped milk all over the table that had my homework on it. I was momentarily distracted by that incident.

But I think that I'm going to try and put all of this from my mind for now. All of my homework for the weekend is completed, and I'd like to finish some more hats for my personal branch of S.P.E.W. before working on the ones to send off to the "real" S.P.E.W. A relaxing weekend of hooking and needling does sound nice, doesn't it? Oh yeah, after taking care of the doxies...where on earth is that house elf?...

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