Nov 27, 2009
Nov 26, 2009
Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends near and far.
Here are Bruce and the girls in line to get cider and apple pie from the best cider place on Long Island. We are very thankful that we got there before they ran out. My M-I-L would've had a cow if we hadn't.
Seriously though, there is a lot to be very thankful for today.
- The relative good health of my friends and family. With a few exceptions we are all well enough to gather in various places for the celebratory feast and that's definitely something to be very thankful for.
- That the effect of the financial downturn upon my family has been limited. Yes, Bruce is still out of work and I don't see that changing anythime soon but we're still ok and I hope that I can still say that a week, a month, a year from now. I think so.
- My family. Today I'll see my grandparents and many other members of our family. That in and of itself is something that makes me very, very, thankful.
I hope that the day brings good food, god company, and lot' of laughter to you all.
Nov 25, 2009
I remember now why we don't spend Thanksgiving in NY most years. The traffic is HELLACIOUS! Thankfully I was able to knit on the sleeve of DQ's sweater in the dark without problem.
Now that we're finally here after our normal 4 hour drive stretched to 8 !!! I need to make the most if it and that doesn't include a whole lot of computer time. Gotta run!
Posted by hillary at 11:51 AM
Nov 23, 2009
November has been a month of Thankful Thursdays and it seems a little redundant to do a thankful Tuesday as well so this week Carole suggested an alternative - 10 People (Living or Dead) I’d Like To Invite To Thanksgiving Dinner.
- My Dad - He's been absent from our Thanksgiving table for 2 long years and we still miss him. He could carve a mean turkey.
- Michelle Obama - Now here's a First Lady to admire. I can only imagine what she'd add to the discussion around the table.
- Bob Edwards - I listen to him on the radio every day and he's amazing. He does the most interesting and well-researched interviews. I bet he's a brilliant conversationalist.
- George Clooney - He just fasciates me and he's easy on the eyes as well.
- Johnny Depp - Sexiest Man Alive and then some.
- Oprah - Who woudn't want Oprah at the table? No doubt one of the most admired women in the world.
- Bill Clinton - That man is endlessly interesting.
- Bono - Ok, if I'm setting my dream table then why not. He could chat up Michelle and Bill and I really could be a fly on the wall.
- Alton Brown - He's amusing and he knows his way around a kitchen.
- My Siblings - We live far apart and I can't recall the last time we were all together for Thanksgiving but it would be very cool if we could.
Who would you invite?
I was away this weekend at a family event. We had so much fun that, although I had 3cameras with me, I only took one good picture. One! There were 3 or 4 lousy shots but that was it. Now it's Monday and I have nothing to show for myself. Nada!
Today I'm focused on finishing stuff before the holiday and that includes knitty stuff. It's getting cold out there!
Here are a pair of socks that I finished recently. They are Creatively Dyed Yarn on size 0 needles. I knit these toe-up and the only special thing is the heel which is certainly my new favorite. I got it from Wendy's book, Socks From The Toe Up and I love it. It feels nice and sturdy and it's dead simple. The only problem is that I haven't committed the details to memory yet so I copied out the relevant page from the book (the copy I bought) and I carry it with me for reference.
Stinkette liked these socks so much that she wore the first one to sleep one night while I was still working on the second sock. She just couldn't wait to get her hands on them. Since I finished them a few week ago she's worn them over and over again. As soon as I wash them she's got them on her feet again.
The joy my girl is getting from these socks makes up for the irritation I felt while making them. It was my first time using size 0 needles and I didn't like them at all. They just feel too small to me and make my hands cramp. On the other hand, the fabric is lovely and feels like it'll hold up well so maybe I'll try them again with another yarn and see if I like them better then.
Nov 20, 2009
What do you do with old emergency call boxes to prevent them from becoming an eyesore?
How about this:
I'm pretty ure that's what this is. As any rate it's a nice surprise when you're walking down the street.
Have a great weekend.
Nov 19, 2009
One week from today is Thanksgiving and for a change I will not be cooking for the holiday. We will be part of the great masses traveling the highways and byways for the holiday. The excitement of the upcoming holiday and another family event this weekend have me feeling very silly and happy and... thankful, today.
- I am so thankful that I am NOT going to see the midninght showing of New Moon tonight. I had told DQ that I would take her if she didn't get a better offer but thankfully she did. She will be going, decked out in her Twilight t-shirt and her Eclipse socks, with a bunch of her giggly friends. I will be home knitting, packing and waiting for her to return. I will be very appreciative of the relative quiet and not having to pretend that the movie is high art.
- On a related and more positive note, I am even more thankful that DQ was selected to be part of the cast on the Middle School Musical. They're doing Annie, a show she could sing in her sleep... in fact, she fell asleep to it every single night until about 4 years ago. We took no trip without the Annie CD. It would've been horrible trying to comfort her if she haddn't gotten in to any show but this one especially. I will be there with bells on and my new video recorder. Oh yes, I will definitely be That Parent and she didn't even get a lead.
- Most of all I am thankful that this coming week will be filled with friends and family. We'll be on the road for most of it. I am so happy that we are all healthy and excited for our trips.
What are you thankful for?
Nov 18, 2009
Look - it's a finished pair of socks! These were actually the Through The Loops Mystery Socks for this year and I was so proud that I managed to keep up with the clues, finishing each one before the next one was posted. It wasn't hard because this was one of the most enjoyable pairs of socks I've knit in a long time. They were just so nifty and fun.
The yarn was from Ball & Skein and it was a gift from Carole quite a while ago. By a weird coincidence, I was working on these at our hotel in Rhinebeck when Carole introduced me to Ball & Skein Judy.
I'm not a huge orange person usually but I love the colors in this yarn. They have so much depth and richness and they photographed well without much tinkering. The yarn itself was fine. In a weird quirk of fate there was a knot in it that I snipped when I was preparing to wind it up, thinking it was the end. As I wound it up I realized that it wasn't the end - it was the middle. This turned out to be serendipitous because it created 2 balls of yarn that were perfect for knitting these socks 2 at a time.
So back to the pattern. I've never done a mystery sock before. It's really a huge leap of faith to commit yourself to all the time and effort for a project not knowing if it'll be any good. If it was a pattern from Kirsten then I'd gladly do it again. The details that she adds are so much fun. I love the way the cuff zig-zags, the way the swirly bits split at the ankle and the way they end so sweetly at my toes.
I am so happy that the weather finally cooperated and I was able to get pictures of these socks and 2 other finished projects. now I'd like another sunny day please because I'm about to complete another pair of socks and my NaKniSweMo project. Let's hope that I can get everything posted on a more timely basis.
Nov 17, 2009
Is this a great topic or what? I'm sure we all have a list of wishes. Things we wish we posessed. Things we wish we had done. Things we wish we had NOT done. Things we wish we could find. You could go on and on but things we wish we knew how to do is so broad and potentially full of promise because we could turn the wishes into reality.... Maybe.
- Sew - kind of. What I'd really like to do is find a way to skip all the boring pinning and cutting and math-like stuff and make the clothes I want spring forth from my sewing machine like magic.
- Time travel - wouldn't it be great if we could go back and fix all the stuff we screwed up the first time around?
- Play tennis - or just about anything else requiring coordination. I can't catch, or hit or any of that stuff but I wish I could.
- Sing - The world is a much better place because I confine my singing to my car with the windows up.
- Make sugar flowers - it's a baking thing. I would love to be able to make gorgeous cakes with the type of decorations that make peoples jaws drop.
- Knit while doing stuff - I could be so much more productive if I could knit while walking, and cooking, and driving, and sleeping... you get the picture.
- Find a few more hours in a day
- Get Anne Coulter, Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney, etc to shut up.
- Fix the economy - nuff said!
- Use a drop spindle - I've tried and failed, and tried and failed repeatedly. It's just not a skill I posess.
While we're on the subject of wishes, here' a good one. I wish I could be more decisive. I went button shopping for DQ's 28Thirty this weekend. I was set on getting coppery buttons. I thought they would pop against the deep turquoise. Ideally they'd have a bit of greenish patina but I couldn't find any like that. I did find a nice selection though and, with Stinkerbelle's assistance we narrowed it down to 2 selections.
I like the idea of using the ones with the numbers on them because they tie in with the pattern name and they are kind of young and fun. Perfect for a 14-year-old. On the other hand, I really adore the other ones because I’m drawn to the organic shapes and think they go well with the garter bands.
I showed them to DQ and she made a firm decision immediately. Oh to be so decisive. The problem is that I'm also ornery and now I think I need to convince her that the other one is better for this sweater.
What do you think?
Nov 16, 2009
Faced with the evidence I have to admit - I'm a bit of a shoe person. Saturday night I brought all 3 of these pairs home. Before you think I'm nuts I should say that I only paid for one pair. That would be the shiny new Danskos that I have coveted for-freakin'-evah and finally bought with a gift card I won. I love my shiny shoes quite a lot and I danced around the house in them all weekend. Danced might not be quite the right way to describe it. It's more accurate to say that I clomped around like a giddy elephant.
The other shoes are replacements and since we bloggers complain loudly when we are wronged it's only fair that we broadcast good customer service just as well. I have many pairs of Clarks and I wear then all the time but recently, in the middle of DMV, my blue pair broke. They just split along one of the seams where the leather upper is attached to the sole. Unrepairable and unwearable. I'd never seen anything likeit before and then, days later, the same thing started to happen to my black ones. I was ready to chuck them and chalk it up to fat feet or something else when a friend suggested that I take them back to Clarks.
Saturday night I walked into the Clarks store with the shoes and the guy there instantly offered to give me 2 replacement pairs. No fuss at all! Apparently there was an issue with the material they used for the older soles. It was so good to have it taken care of so easily.
And now I have 3 new pairs of shoes. Including shiny ones! Woot!
Aside from shoes I did a boatload of gift shopping. There are 4 family birthday's between now and the end of the year and of course there are Hanukah gifts to be bought. I got a lot of it done this weekend. It's nice to be a little bit ahead of the curve for once.
I also finished a pair of socks, took pictures of a bunch of F'd O's, turned the heel on another, got buttons for my NaKniSweMo project and, oh yeah, started another pair of socks. Whew!
Nov 13, 2009
A vendor came to see me at work yesterday and brought a little suprise - 2 boxes of very fancy cupcakes. Yum! Ironically, the one that looks so pretty in this picture, with the sweet yellow flower on top, is banana. I hate all things banana.
Have a great weekend!
Nov 12, 2009
A funny thing happened last weekend. I was driving Stinkette and her friends somewhere and idly listening to their conversation when suddenly it turned to my grandfather. Stink was proudly telling her buddies that her great grandfather should compete in driving competitions. In all fairness, he's as good a good driver as any in Queens, NY which is to say that he is impatient, knows all the sidestreets, and makes use of them to avoid traffic at all costs. What he isn't is a slowpoke and apparently my daughter has picked up on this.
Apparently she really wanted to press her point, or maybe her friends weren't geting it because the next thing I knew she was telling them about how young her Zaydie acts saying that he seems about 20 but really he's 90. Can you even imagine describing a 90 year old man as seeming like he's 20? It's had me smiling all week and it brings me to the first thing on my list for this Thankful Thursday:
- I am thankful that my girls are getting to experience my grandparents the way I did - as vibrant, fun and interesting. It is truly a rare gift. Sure my grandfather doesn't climb trees or chase after the ice cream truck anymore but he sings and dances, tells silly stories, plays games, and keeps up with my girls just fine. It's nice to know they appreciate it.
- I am also thankful for the internet. Go ahead and laugh but it's true. My evening knitting has slowed lately because I'm busy playing online Scrabble with my sister who lives hundreds of miles away. No matter where my siblings may find themselves, NY, Connecticut, Italy, Korea, or Indiana - the internet has kept us close. I see videos of my year old niece learning to climb and I hear my nephew wishing me happy birthday on the Monkey Mail.
- My friends also make me feel thankful. Near and far they make me laugh and give me comfort. These days it seems like they're there wherever I go. The supermarket or on the street. Now they're there when I open my laptop at home too. Friends from High School and College and all kinds of places I've been.
So there it is, my list of 3 things I'm thankful for today. It all boils down to friends and family.
Nov 11, 2009
I've finished a bunch of stuff lately but, now that everyone is so busy and it gets dark so much earlier, it's really hard to find the time for photo shoots. Thankfully Stnkiette and I squeezed one in for this little hat a week ago. Most of the stuff I'm knitting has self-imposed deadlines but this was different. This was a chemo cap for my friend Deb and I really wanted to get it to her before her hair fell out. Mission accomplished.
Although there are lots of great patterns for chemo caps out there, I didn't want to use any of them. They just didn't feel right to me. Deb isn't a fancy person so I wanted something simple and classic that could be worn by anyone. It couldn't be too lacey because the goal is to protect her sensitive head. On the same note I wanted something super soft and light. something that looked and felt really good.
I settled on the yarn first. Malabrigo Silky Merino is gorgeous stuff. Soft, soft, soft with lots of shine. Then, after trolling Ravelry excessively I saw Beret de Printemps which was perfect. I think that you can see hints of Stinkette's red hair through the yarnovers but it's just peeks. No big holes.
The pattern was not hard at all. The only problems i had were due to my inability to pay attention to the instructions. Happily the frogging didn't hurt the yarn at all.
We gave the hat to Deb on Sunday and by the following Saturday her hair was gone and she was wearing the hat as a soothing alternative to her wig. My plan exactly! I'm happy to help but I really hope I don't have to make any more chemo caps for anyone I know.
Nov 10, 2009
Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is '10 Favorite Movie/Song Remakes'. While there are plenty of remakes that I like I'm not sure I can think of 10. Here goes nothing:
- Boys of Summer by The Ataris - The original by Don Henley was good but I really like this cover too.
- Brown Eyed Girl by Everclear - Another song where the original by Van Morrison was perfectly fine but I really love this cover.
- I Believe I Can Fly by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes - The original by R Kelly bears little relation to this one which is speeded up and punked out. We heard Me First and The Gimme Gimmes for the first time in chattanooga, TN at a funky little place called Lupi's Pizza and it just fit. It was a great place with great food and the music went with it perfectly.
- Where Do Broken Hearts Go by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes - Originally by Whitney Houston but given a similar twist to #3.
- Bold As Love by the Pretenders - This appears on "Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix" and happily it came out during a time when I was hanging out at a local used record store in LI that hooked me up with some ridiculous deals. That's where I heard it and that's where I got it.
- Ocean's Eleven - I'm sure that the original was good but Clooney, Damon and Pitt speak to me more and they are super fun to watch.
- The Birdcage - Robin Williams, Nathan Lane and hank Azaria cracked me up.
- Father of The Bride - Spencer Tracy was great but so is Steve Martin
- Sabrina - I happened to like the original too but my girls aren't as into old black & white movies as I am.
- The Talented Mr. Ripley - I didn't even know this was a remake when I first saw it. I just liked it.
Nov 9, 2009
It has taken me an eternity to get around to posting today. Mostly it's because I feel terribly random. Unfocused. Ready for a nap.
- Maybe it's because I was deprived of my relaxing Sunday morning by having to rush Stinkerbelle to the doctor (who was in the office!) after her Sunday school called us to pick her up because she was "unwell". Since she had her H1N1 shot the day before we were worried. It turned out that it was just an asthma attack. We had a long discussion about how important it is to bring her inhaler with her EVERYWHERE.
- Perhaps I wasted all my focus on 28Thirty. This was my constant companion all through the weekend. So far I really love it but I didn't enjoy the endless raglan increases at all. By the time I divided for the sleeves I was well over 300 stitches. That is not a happy thing at all but it makes me feel a bit better about using this as my NaKniSweMo project. I think that those Increases of Doom should certainly qualify as something.
- The yarn I'm using has turned out to be a surprisingly good thing. It's Peace Fleece, a yarn I've avoided for quite a long time. I was afraid it'd be scratchy or unfun to knit with. While it isn't as soft as some other yarns and the dye is getting on me a little bit (not very noticeable at all) I am really enjoying knitting with this. Not only does it behave well - it also creates a really nice fabric which feels super sturdy. I feel confident that it will hold up well. It doesn't hurt that the color is fab. The girls at the LYS saw it peeking out of my bag on Saturday and all commented on it.
- Then again, it could be that all the online scrabble has addled my brain. OMG! That is wicked addictive. I finally felt like my skills were ok and challenged some random scrabble addict to a game late last week. Since then all I'm getting is vowels. What do you do when all you've got to work with is "AAOUIIIR"? SRSLY!
- It could also be that a card I received last weekend just knocked me over. I don't know if it was the 40 thing or what but this year my birthday was marked by members of DH's family who never have in the past. The last one was his grandmother. Granted it was a little bit late but she's 96. And it's worth noting that I always thought she hated me. Perhaps at her advanced age she forgot that I'm the evil one. Maybe she was posessed by aliens. Does it matter?
This brings me to the belated choosing of winners of my birthday contest. I had hoped to have my girls do the choosing but corraling them for more than a minute is easier said than done. So I resorted to the Random Number Generator and it chose Kathy as the winner of the STR and the book.
And then, because I was having fun giving stuff away I hit the Random Number Generator again. This time Jan's name came up. I'm guessing that she'll want the Mini Mochi.
Nov 6, 2009
Nov 5, 2009
Thank goodness for friends with great ideas. Earlier this week Carole suggested that we post 3 things that we're thankful for each Thursday in November. Here are mine:
- My girls - I love my daughters deeply and it makes me so happy to see the people they are becoming. They're developing their own interests and direction and, even though it means I see them less and less as they get busier and busier, it's all good. Really, really, good.
- My husband - Bruce is a good guy. It's rough being unemployed but he's tring to keep his head up and stay positive.
- Being employed - naturally it's great that one of us is enployed but it's even better that there have been positive changes and developments around my office lately. No details for obvious reasons but it's enough to say that I feel more positive about work-related things lately. These days that is absolutely something to be thankful for.
What are you thankful for today?
Nov 4, 2009
Old Business - Today is it, the last day for my birthday contest. If you haven't already done so then leave a comment here by the end of the day for a chance to win a bit of yarn. Spread the word.
New Business - NaKniSwemo. Yup, I'm going to try this again. Of course no project ever goes off without a hitch and this one is no different. First - I didn't remember NaKniSweMo until the very last minute - actually a day late. Nothing quite as much fun as starting a project behind the 8-ball.
Thankfully once I saw a NaKniSweMo button on someone else's blog I knew immediately what I wanted to cast on AND I had the yarn, pattern, and needles ready to go at home. As soon as I got home on Monday I cast on for 28Thirty from Zephyr style using Peace Fleece Worsted in Baltic Blue. So far it's moving along without any problems. I finished the neck last night and now I'm into the raglan increases. At this rate I'm pretty sure I'll finish on time.
Unfortunately the second problem is that I don't think that this is a true NaKniSweMo project because it's a cropped sweater and I doubt that it's got 50,000 stitches. I do plan to lengthen it a little but it's still likely to fall short. I suppose if I was a stickler for this type of detail it would be a big problem but I'm not. I think of this as more of a personal challenge and since this is far from the only thing I'm knitting right now I totally think it counts.
Nov 3, 2009
Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is '10 Ways to Waste Time on the Internet'. I'd love to be able to put a positive spin on it but really, most of the time I'm on the internet is time that I really ought to be doing something else. The internet just sucks me in and the next thing I know I'm wondering where the last hour - 2 hours went. And how am I going to get whatever I was supposed to be doing done.
Here's a happy sheepy picture for today.
And here's the list:
- CNN - I am a news junkie. I have this open at work and at home ALL DAY LONG. Just in case something happens. Heaven forbid I should be the last to know.
- Washington Post - Still on the news junkie theme. This would be the source for all things local. A girls gotta know what the weather is like before she heads out for lunch or makes weekend plans.
- People - My news junkie tendencies wouldn't be complete without adding a little gossip to the mix. They wore what?
- Blogs - These are just the ultimate in escapism for me. Feeling stressed - read a blog. feeling bored - read a blog. Feeling uninspired - read a blog. Now that the line between blog friends and real life friends is blurring a little it's even more fun.
- iTunes - Whatever did we do before iTunes? The apps, the music, podcasts of This American Life, the episodes of shows we missed.
- Email - reading what I want to and deleting what I do not takes up way too much time. The person who can build a fool-prook spam filter will be my hero.
- Wikipedia - I am an info junkie (see 1,2, & 3) and I cannot tell you how often I wiki stuff. Not for serious citation purposes of course but when I need to know who played Heath's love interest in A Knight's Tale, or who got voted off of Dancing with the Stars first last season there is nothing better.
- Facebook - I was trying really hard not to get sucked into this. I was doing pretty well with it tooo but then my sister introduced me to Scrabble on Facebook. I am sunk.
- Amazon.com - I really just love shopping on the internet period. Especially if there's yarn involved on sites like Elann.com, KP, Loopy, DBNY and way too many more to count.
- Ravelry - This goes hand in hand with #9. I see a great sale on a yarn and need to find a pattern to buy it for or vice versa.
What are your favorites? Am I missing good stuff somewhere?
Nov 2, 2009
If you're looking for the contest post, it's (here). It doesn't end until about 8pm on Wednesday, November 4th so there's still time to enter. Please do. In fact I hope that you'll spread the word because, although I love all the yarns I bought, I really want to give them away. You know, share the love a bit. Thanks!
This weekend I resolved to be a slug. I was not going to go anywhere or do much beyond knitting and reading a book. Clearly that was never really likely to happen but I gave it my best shot. Saturday I didn't get out of my pj's until after 1pm and only then because I couldn't go to my mani/pedi appointment that way. It was glorious!
My quest to relax was also interrupted by jack-o-lantern carving. This year was special because we grew the pumpkin ourselves. We harvested this 12.5 pounder last week.
Stinkerbelle sketched out what the face should look like and I drew it on the pumpkin. Then the two of us carved it out. We were very careful.
Here's the result. Isn't it spooky?
Of course there's a bit of a side effect to having a homegrown jack-o-lantern. You tend to feel very protective of it so someone has to stay home and watch over it and make sure that no harm befalls it. That is why I did not go out walking through the neighborhood with my daughter and her friends, collecting candy in the rain. Yup, it had nothing at all to do with my dedication to a lazy weekend. Nothing at all.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Posted by hillary at 9:11 AM