Saturday, December 15, 2012

Our hearts are broken

There are no words for what happened yesterday. We are blessed in that it was not our town, our school, or our children, but this is an incredible blow to the state. I've not stopped crying over it, and keep scooping up my children to hug them tight. I cannot soapbox right now about guns and mental health care. Now is the time to grieve and show our support to the families who were ripped apart.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

One big part of Christmas in my family is the baking, especially the cookies. We have some that are an absolute requirement and others that are made if there is time. Here's my top ten list:

10 Favorite Christmas Cookies
1. Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls- these are the most requested cookies in the house. Crunchy peanut butter and rice krispie insides drenched with chocolate. The year I entered these in the company bake-off (and won) I had a to make a second batch for the contest because my husband refused to let them leave the house.

2. Gingerbread cookies- a seasonal must. With or without the frosting.

3. Pizzelles- I have the iron and have inherited the task of making these since my grandmother passed away. In our family we don't add the anise flavoring, though occasionally we will dust them with confectioners sugar.

4. Butterballs-rich, tiny and delightful.

5. Chocolate balls/Whiskey balls- I can do these with or without the raisins but they are a must have part of the season. I remember that when I was little Mom would make a batch without the whiskey for the kids. Making these is how I learned about shot glasses and what 'a stiff shot' means.

6. Spritz Cookies- simple and wonderful....and addictive.

7.  The Peanut Butter Ones with the Hershey's Kisses- not really Christmas cookies but I like them anyway.

8. Thumbprints- Oh yeah...with raspberry jam, though equally good other jellies. And the crushed nuts are a must.

9. Plain old frosted sugar cookies- classic and fun. I have quite the collection of cookie cutters and I'm looking forward to using them with the kids as they grow up.

10. Peppermint bark- not a cookie, per se, but a must have part of the season. I'm addicted to mint/chocolate combination.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

10 Things On Your Mind Right Now

  1. The election- one of the two races causing me agida is all but over with fantastic results. The other I think we won't know until morning. 
  2. My laptop- or how to replace the damn thing. It seems that it is included in a class action lawsuit for faulty product, so there is hope to have some money to help with replacement. 
  3. This damn cough- I wish I could get rid of it. It starts in the fall as lasts most of the winter. I hate it. 
  4. The quilt-My love didn't get the template cut for me today so I can't move forward on it. I had hoped to make some progress this evening while watching the election results. 
  5. The next show- designs are in and I've got a bunch of creative problem solving before me, most pressing being how to achieve the wall paper pattern without going insane.
  6. I hate iTunes- I'm trying to get some podcasts on to my stupid iPod and the whole thing is just a pain in the ass. Why won't it let me sort them so I can listen to them in order? Why??
  7. It's too damn cold!
  8. The Alan Dart patterns I just downloaded and all the holiday knitting I have planned. I've nearly all of my patterns. Need to get some yarn and some Eucalan.  (now what flavor to get)
  9. What I should be working on right maybe the above mentioned projects...or my sock project or spinning the lovely new fiber that just jumped into my hands this weekend. 
  10. What will this next storm bring and do I dare to buy more food and freeze it? I've already have a bunch to go out on trash day tomorrow that falls into the 'questionable' category from last week.

I've been rather productive of late. After sewing the kids costumes I've got the sewing bug again. With Christmas coming I pulled out the quilt I started about two years ago. It is a T-shirt quilt for my FIL made from the shirts he and my husband acquired from years of Boy Scout camp.  Knit fabric is very finicky even with stabilizer on the back. I've had to rip all all the piecing I had done before. I'll have to cut some new sashing, if I have the yardage and start over. Once I have the template.

So I kindof fell down this weekend on the whole 'not buying anything' thing. I may have dipped a little more into the 'fund for shoes that won't trip or tire me' provided by my mother. I'm bad, I know. The first lapse was during Rhinebeck and the Skinny Bugga debacle at Cephalopod Yarns.This time it was Spunky Eclectic and Ball and Skein. I have a thing for Judy's colors at Ball and Skein. My daughter's room is based on one of her colorways, as in I actually pulled out paint chips and compared them to the yarn. This time it was a combination of the Medusa shawl pattern pared with the Glissade yarn in Elderberry. I fell and I fell hard. The yarn is to die for (I'm planning on this yarn in another colorway for a pattern I am designing.) the color, the luster, the feel. And I was smitten with the pattern. Not your typical lace, less flowery and more geometric. And being a fan of the old Clash of the Titans, who could resist Medusa. And then there's Spunky. I don't often leave her booth without something either from her or from JessaLu. I love JessaLu's bags. I only have two, but if I had endless funds I'd have at least 12. Everyone I know that has one of her bags, has more than one of her bags. I've not found any that are constructed half so well as her's are. Plus they are stitched on an old 1930's Singer. Those machines are awesome. I nearly fell for a bag out of Marvel fabric since my current sock project is called Hulk Smash, but I was wooed away by some fiber. I've been hunting for fiber to spin on my Moosie since I bought it at Rhinebeck last year. Such a fabulous spindle begged for some equally fabulous fiber. And this weekend it showed up in the form of some handpainted oatmeal BFL in a colorway called 'Hit with a Hockey Puck'. There was no saving me from that one.

That is all for now. It's cold in the basement where this computer is and I'm tired.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Well fuck!

If my last post seems like it ended rather abruptly, it would be because my laptop all but died on me. I am able to resurrect it for brief moments then the screen goes into and eerie graduated glow. And then not long after that the power went out. We were some of the lucky ones and it was only out for about 30 hours, (long enough to render everything in my big freezer questionable). It was a tad frustrating that everyone around us had power. We are in a section of about 40 houses that seemed doomed to power failures. Work shut down for two days and then the next two we were at 1/3 power, which meant a few lights, no heat, no compressor or saws, and no powered garage door. We ran a ton of extension cords and quad boxes all over the place to get the wifi working and power a few other things. The coffee pot was the first thing to find a functioning plug.

I did finish the Halloween costumes though. Granted it was in the wee hours of the night before and by lantern light, but they were done. And trick-or-treating did happen on the 31st in the evening as normal, unlike last year. The kids had a blast. I do have's just getting them from the camera onto the server that's the tricky part. (Man I miss that damn laptop).

Got my MRI results but don't wanna talk about that right now. I'm cold and I'm tired. I just wanted to jump on and say that we made it through the storm safely and due to technical difficulties the full scale return of this blog is delayed. Again. (I kinda wonder if I even should bother.)

2012 is just not my year.

Monday, October 29, 2012


Ah, remember when the biggest concerns at this time of year were buying the right amount of candy and what costume to wear? Last year we had Snowmageddon. This year it's Frankenstorm. Hurricane Sandy is rolling into town and ruining our holidays. We packed up everything in the yard that could fly away. We cleaned up as much of the basement as we could, especially in the known water paths. Buckets are on standby near the sump hole. Candles and flashlights are at the ready. Grocery shopping was very light on the perishables. I've got my medication all filled and at hand. The tub is full of water. And now we wait.

In the meantime I am continuing to work on Halloween costumes, though the likelihood of it being cancelled again this year looks rather high. The dinosaur is all but done. I just need to add closures on the hood, tighten the wrist elastics, stitch close a few areas and clean up the thread ends. Little Dude loves it. I have pieces cut out for the mittens, but he's unlikely to wear them. I said we'd paint his nails purple so it matches the toe claws. He liked that. He's been practicing his roar for a while.

Little Miss's costume is a far greater challenge. Being trapped in the house (the roads are now closed) I'm having to punt in regards of pattern, material...basically everything. I do have some black material to work with, but no yellow. I'm wanting some yellow duct tape for the utility belt as well. She has pants that will work and I know where to get her some boots. It's really just the top and the cape. I'm even searching through our stuff to see what I can deconstruct. Why not just buy one, you say? Well, I looked into that. She's in that weird size between sizes. I ran into this with Little Dude a few years ago. The infant stuff is just too small and the 2T stuff is just too big. Don't worry. I'm sure inspiration will hit just as the power goes out.

I have been knitting a fair amount lately. I'm knitting Anouk for Little Miss in black and yellow Tahki Cotton Classic I had in my stash. Yes, she's getting a Batman jumper. It was her third word and probably the one she says the most after "No". The knitting is going well. There is some unpublished errata in regards to the 18month size. After doing a bunch of math and double checking the Knitty pattern (I had printed this up ages ago) I took to Ravelry. Apparently in the comments of the pattern there is a lot of errata that other knitters have found and corrected. It just hasn't been applied to the directions on Knitty yet. I don't know if the designer has just abandoned the pattern or what, but I find it more than a little frustrating. Other than that, it is going rather well. I'm nearly finished with the back.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

update and Rhinebeck

Well. It's been interesting. I've had a few more laptop issues as well as work going from whirlwind to absolute cluster-fuck. There are big things going down at work, and that would be bad enough if we weren't trying to open a three shows a week apart. I've been dealing with more medical issues as well. This just isn't my year and the last month or so really highlights that.

But there are some good things going on. Good crafty things.

First of all, on Sunday I went to Rhinebeck with my girls. As per our usual routine, we were up well before the ass-crack of dawn and meeting at my house at 5 am. It's amazing I can get up and be somewhat together at that hour for a fiber festival, but still can't seem to be up and functional by 6am on work days. Go figure. About halfway into our road trip we stop at a Dunkin Donuts for bathroom and refreshments. I have issue with this particular DnD, in that they brazenly advertise hot apple cider on their door, yet never have any.

On the way up I finished my Tilted Duster. Well, it is nearly finished. The knitting is done and I wove in the ends in the car. All that is missing is the buttons. My fabulous, perfect buttons. I have no clue where they are. I tore apart the house looking for them. I half expected walk in the door and see them sitting there after the festival but no such luck.

First stop when we reach our destination is Pete's Famous Restaurant for breakfast. The food is great. The staff is wonderful. It is the perfect way to start our day. This year I went for the French Toast deluxe which include French toast, eggs, bacon, sausage, and ham. It's enough to keep you satiated and energized well into the afternoon.

Then it is off the the fairgrounds. This year they changed some things regarding the parking and the entrances. They switched the entrance and the exit, and I'm not sure it helped the situation. The parking volunteers this year were horrible. They didn't direct us at all. I think we ended up in vendor parking, but it worked out well for us. Apparently the day before everything was still a mudpit and lots of cars were getting stuck. I have to commend the fairgrounds for having a tow truck available to pull the festival goers out at no cost to them. Having been very close to being stuck last year, I think it was a good thing on their part. One hitch in the plans this year is that we went on Sunday. And while this meant we didn't have to fight the crowds and the grounds were a bit dryer, it also meant that the fairgrounds weren't open to us until 10am. A fact that we had over looked. We are still unsure if this is a change or we just spaced on this face. We have gone on Sunday in the past and from what we can remember we got in at 9 then. So we sat in the car and knit for an hour and in we went.

First stop was the Journey Wheel booth. These are the only spindles I own. I have three of them (maybe four?) I have a purple heart Midi, a cocobolo Mini and I picked up my Moosie last year. I love these spindles. I've not spun on the Moosie yet because I insist on picking up some beautiful fiber for it. I just haven't found what I'm looking for yet. I wasn't in the market for a spindle this year, but some of the girls were considering. From there we went to Little Barn. I was highly disappointed this year. I'm not sure if they were just depleted from the crowds the day before or they just didn't have much. I left without buying. From there we did our circuit of all the barns. There were a lot of lovely things to see, and touch, and smell. I had a list of several things that I was on the lookout for...many of which I didn't find. I had hoped to pick up some silk hankies to try my hand at spinning silk. Nothing really grabbed me. I was on the look out for yarn to knit up a Citron. I don't have a specific color in mind for this one, which is odd for me. I found one potential yarn at Cephalopod Yarns; I fell in love with the colorway but it was 70 yards short of what I needed. And it just wasn't worth buying two balls. However, I did not leave the Cephalopod booth unscathed. I trapsed away with two balls of Skinny Bugga, in Nebraska Conehead and Purple Soldier Fly, for my redo of the Double Heelix socks. (I have a fun plan for these. But that's a future post). Other than that, I didn't see anything that made my heart sing. I'm trying to only buy for specific projects. And I'm not really drawn to fiber since I still don't have a place to set up my spinning wheel yet. Being on severe budget doesn't help either.

There is one issue I do have to mention. Why. Why are there dyers who can't seem to get the vinegar smell out of their wares. There is one company in particular while I love their colorways, I can smell the vinegar before I even get into the booth. This year, it was like a punch in the face. It makes me hesitate a little to purchase from them. If they are skimping on the rinsing, what else are they skimping on? Does that make sense? And besides, if I'm going to be smelling that much vinegar it should be in the form of pickles.

The big difference for me this year is that I brought my cane. The MS has broken my internal gyroscope and the uneven ground really throws me off balance. I use the cane less to facilitate in walking and more to keep me from tipping over.  I managed not to fall, but my cane warranted me some odd looks. Most of them were questioning looks but some were outright hostile. Some of the joys of having an 'invisible' disability. Yeah I'm young and I look fine, but you have no idea what is going on with me. (enough rant. I could really get worked up on this one. another time.)

 In other crafty news I've been sewing. Halloween is nearly upon us and I am in full costume production. What has really helped is that I rearranged some furniture and set up my sewing machine in my bedroom. It's not ideal, but I can leave it out and set up without anyone 'helping' with things. This makes all the difference when it comes to finding time to sew. Little Dude had said all summer that he was going to be Darth Vader. Then about a month ago he decided he wanted to be a T-rex. My mom came to visit for a MS Symposium and we used the opportunity to get going on his costume. Little Dude picked out the main fabric, a lovely orange with a black batik effect. The rest we've been supplementing from stash. The spots, stripes and claws are from a purple satin I had on hand. Mom started the project and cut the pattern and fabric, and began sewing. Thankfully she did the zipper. I hate zippers. After she returned home the rest of the project fell to me. More details and pics to follow.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

10 Favorite Candies in Your Trick or Treat Bag

Oh, how I love Halloween!! I find that I can't buy our handing out candy until just before because someone *cough*myhusband*cough* starts eating it almost right away. I may or may not be guilty of removing our favorites from the candy cauldron for distribution.
I'm also starting to discover that Little Dude doesn't like a lot of candy. He's starting to like chocolate more, but wants nothing to do with anything mint.  Oh well, more for us.
  1. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups- What's not to love. Bonus points for the dark chocolate ones. Really any form of peanut butter and chocolate are acceptable. Last year someone gave out these round ones with eyeball wrappers. They were amazing.
  2. Hershey's Special Dark- or any dark chocolate. Love the dark chocolate.
  3. Sweet Tarts- I prefer sour over sweet and these are the perfect blend. 
  4. 1000 Grand bars- I only seem to remember these at Halloween. They are one of the first to disappear from our stash to distribute.
  5. Skor Bars- Yeah these get pilfered and hidden right away, in a location known only by me.
  6. Twix- either the caramel or peanut butter ones.Those seem to disappear from the cauldron too. Hrmmmm
  7. Milkyway Dark
  8. Snickers
  9. Starburst- I am addicted to these. I actually have to ration these to myself.
  10. York Peppermint Patties- Another that instantly disappears. I love mint and chocolate and I love it done well. These are done well.

When we were kids returning from trick-or-treating, we would dump out our pillowcases on the table and the trading would start. Here is a list of my top trade aways
  1. Mallow cups - ugh
  2. Whoppers- I don't like malted anything
  3. The fruity tootsie rolls- there is just something wrong about those
  4. Almond joy/Mounds- I only eat coconut right from the coconut
  5. Any black licorice
  6. Dots
  7. Anything white chocolate- its not chocolate and is just nasty.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Sorry about that. I didn't expect to be that out of it on Friday. Infusion mixed with allergy season apparently isn't a good combination for me. Anywho....what I was planning to write about on Friday is my thoughts on Knitter's Pride dreamz needles.

   I love these needles....and by love I mean these are my first choice if I could only have one set of needles for the rest of time. First of all, wood is my preferred material for knitting needles. I'm partial to wood anyway...I prefer hardwood floors to all others and with a husband into woodworking I've really developed an appreciation of beautiful wood. I have been lusting after a wooden interchangeable set for quite a while.
   Years ago I purchased the Boye Needlemaster set. As interchangeable sets go, this one isn't the greatest. The cables are stiff, the joins aren't smooth and no matter how much I tighten them they always loosen up as I knit. There is one aspect of them I did appreciate. The set comes with connectors allowing you to join cables together for greater length. This was in the early days of interchangeables and it was what I could afford. So I suffered through and dreamed of a wooden set.
   I never bought a set of the Knit Picks Harmony for two reasons. One, I knew of a lot of people who had issues with the joins popping out. Too many for it to be random happenstance. It was a down right design flaw and for the price I found it unacceptable. Two, I think they are ugly...with a capital UGH! I just couldn't bring myself to buy a set, or even ask for one as a gift.
  Then at Stitches East last year I came across the Knitter's Pride needles. I love these for many, many reasons. First of all, they have several options in the needle tips:
  • the Symfonie come in three styles: dreamz, Rose, and Cubics lines. All are laminated birch. The dreamz are color coded by size. The Rose line is rosewood colored with copper joins. The Cubics are square needles.
  •  Nova: their metal line
  • Trendz acrylic
  • and Basix: another line of birch in larger sizes. 
All of their tips are interchangeable between sets. I think it is fantastic that Knitter's Pride has a sampler set that includes different needle types: metal, wood and the square needles. What a great idea if you don't quite know what you would like.
   I have the Deluxe set of the dreamz needles. The set includes tips from size 4US to 11US, 24" cord, 2 32" cords, 40" cord, 8 end caps, 4 cord keys, and a set of size markers all in a zippered pouch.  I've been nothing but happy with them. My only complaint is that the interchangeables only go down to a size 4US. So I've had to supplement with fixed circulars in the smaller sizes. (Oh dear, I have to buy more of these needles. Whatever shall I do?) I also like the size markers. I always think that I'm going to remebmer what size I was using when borrowing tips from a project. These prevent mishaps of that type.
   The cables are soft and plyable. The joins are smooth. The needles are nice and pointed. I'm a sharp pointed needle kind of girl. As I always say, I want my needles sharp enough that if I throw them from across the room they will stick into the wall (or the person I'm throwing them at). Nearly all of my projects in the last 9 months have been knit on these. As I can afford to I plan on expanding my collection. As for price, they are comparable with the Knit Picks without the issues. I will have to test the DPNs though. I can be a little tough on my DPN's and I'm not sure how the wood will hold up.
   When I first saw these there wasn't a set available for the Cubics. They sold the individual tips but not in a set. I asked if one was forthcoming and was told no. So, I put the dreamz set on my wishlist and my Mum got it for my birthday. And then they came out with the Cubics set. Go figure. I'm debating on getting the set or just getting the tips. I'll have to do the math, but one could never have too many cables.  If you haven't tried knitting on square needles, beg/borrow/or steal a set. They are amazing to work with. They feel far more natural in your hands and seem to create less fatigue. That is why I was interested in the set, as I was having some major hand issues at the time.

In conclusion. Knitter's Pride needles. Get some. They are so worth it.

Friday, September 28, 2012

(not so) Favorite Things Friday

Today was infusion day and I'm just not feeling myself. I promise some posts with pictures this weekend.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

10 Favorite Pizza Toppings

Ah, a topic after my own heart. I love pizza and I love to get creative with pizza. So here goes:

  1. Anchovies- I know what you are going to say, but you're wrong. Anchovies are amazing. If the flavor and saltiness of individual anchovies on a pizza are too much, mash them up and mix them in the sauce for a more subtle approach. My best advice for people going off to college...learn to like anchovies. A pizza with anchovies on it will be all yours. All sorts of people show up at your door when the smell of a freshly delivered pizza drifts down the dorm halls. Nothing stops them faster than telling them it has anchovies on it. Just sayin'. 
  2. A simple Margherita- fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, olive oil and can you go wrong? This is my test pizza for a new pizza place. If you screw this up then I'm not coming back.
  3. Caramelized onions, Portobello mushrooms, and Gorgonzola- now I'm not an onion girl by any means but this just works. Usually do this as a white pizza. Sometimes we'll add prosciutto or bacon, but this is still a winner without them.
  4. Buffalo chicken- as long as you do the sauce right. I'm from Upstate NY where this was invented. You can't give me subpar Buffalo sauce. With lots of blue cheese dressing on the side.
  5. Pear and prosciutto with arugula- the cheese on this can vary from goat to Gorgonzola. A divine treat. Bonus points...add fresh figs.
  6. Clams- white sauce or red, it doesn't matter. 
  7. Chicken pesto- what else is there to say?
  8. Spinach, garlic and feta- so good.
  9. Seafood- shrimp, scallops, clams, crushed tomatoes and lots of garlic.
  10. Bacon- the candy of meats.
One of the most important things to me regarding pizza is fresh ingredients. Always go fresh if there is the option. There are times that if you can't do fresh, then skip that ingredient. Canned mushrooms are not mushrooms. They are an affront to nature.  Olive oil is always preferred as is garlic. We will often make our own, but we still have a few favorite pizza places around. Next summer we plan on trying pizza on the grill.

So happy Tuesday.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Six months

Yesterday was six months since my MS diagnosis. Had this come days ago I think I'd be far more optimistic in what I would say. But that was before Friday's appointment. We've discovered some issues that are a little TMI in nature. Personally I don't really have issue putting it all out there, but I have a feeling there are things most of you don't want to read about. Nonetheless, there are issues we are addressing, and some self administered treatment that is less than pleasant. And all of this has thrown me for a loop. This is the first low I've really hit since my diagnosis. I freely admit I've been in a fair amount of denial, but this has made it all too real on a daily basis. I expect to shake this off and keep going but it might take a little while.
Other than Friday's hiccup, I've been rolling along with things pretty well. My monthly infusions are going well. The one coming up this week will be my last on the Benadryl. I need to work harder on making my PT/OT exercises part of my daily routine, and just working in exercise all together. I did a session with the fitness trainer and I now know what I need to do, it is just finding the time. The gym at the MS center has horrible hours despite being in a perfect location. I talked to one of the Doctors about this and he's going to do some polling about need and hours. I've acquired a cane this last week. It's not something I need all the time, but there are times when I need just that little extra help with balance...especially in the evening. When I am home, I'm fine to bounce off the walls, but out in public lack of balance can lead to issues like this. My husband was surprised that I got a cane. I don't see it as a sign of weakness, but merely as a tool. My only requirement is that it looks kick-ass.
I can tell, sometimes, when I am due for my infusion. Words are harder to come by. Nouns like to run and hide from me, much like Little Miss does. I'd love to get my hands on my MRI and see where my brain lesions are and compare that to a map of brain function.

I'd write more but I am exhausted at the moment.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Favorite Things Friday

I'm starting a new segment. I've decided to make Friday the day that I talk about my favorite things...movies, products, food. Anything. If it's something I like, this is the day you'll hear about it.

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the premiere of Firefly. And by premiere I mean FOX showed the second episode for the first time instead of airing the pilot. We watched Firefly during it's initial run and the reruns. I was heartbroken and thoroughly enraged when FOX cancelled it. Then Joss Whedon made the movie Serenity and further broke my heart. (Guns don't kill people. Joss Whedon kills people)

Firefly is in competition with Babylon 5 for my favorite Sci-fi series.  A delightful mix of space and Old West, full of wit and humor. This show has some of my favorite female characters in sci-fi. You've got 4 great women in the crew of the ship. The second in command is a woman of color, which is a rare thing in sci-fi. And Zoe is no throw away token character. The women are real people and sexual beings at that, without being stuck in the usual tropes.

Every time I watch it, I mourn for the stories we are never told. In a flashback we see when Zoe and Wash and her response is "I don't like him." I want to see how they went from that to being a married couple that are just so into each other. There's so much more to Shepherd Book. And I'd never say no to more Jayne. I love Jayne.

I could go on for hours but I must depart for the doctor's. Therefore I will leave you with the opening credits. Find the show, watch it, and see if you don't fall in love.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

Guess where I'm posting this from??  I have my laptop. *happy dance* And I love my geek-boy who reassembled it last night. There were several blue streaks being uttered from that side of the room so I think I owe him a cheese cake. It make take me a few days to get up and running with this presentation on my plate but just having the laptop is a start.

Anywho...on with the show:

10 Things You Love To Do on the Weekend

  1. Sleep in- though I've not been able to do this in about 4 years. 
  2. Big Breakfast- either out at the diner or cooked up at home. A full breakfast with the works bacon/sausage/hash, home fries, eggs, pancakes/waffles/french toast, fruit, juice and coffee. I miss the days of going to the diner every weekend.
  3. Dress in non-paint clothes- while many others like to dress down on the weekends, I take the opportunity to wear something a bit nicer than my daily uniform of paint spattered jeans and my workhorse t-shirts.
  4. Reading the paper- which is getting harder of late. And it doesn't help that the paper guys don't seem to understand that I want my Sunday paper by the time I get up. I always organize it first, then read it, for the most part, in the same order. 
  5. Knitting- duh!
  6. Getting out of the house- during the week I usually go right from work to picking up the kids to home and that's it. I like to get out every now and then.
  7. Time Machine to see the trains- the hobby store has a train club and they open the train room for the public to see two Sundays a month. I love taking the minions there. We could lose a paycheck or two in that store.
  8. Play in the backyard- We've got a big back yard and we try to make use of it. We constantly talk about all the plans we have for the landscaping that just never quite get done but I still love the yard. And the minions love it too.
  9. Movies- Staying up later to watch a movie or two once the minions go to bed.
  10. Library- this is a Saturday tradition with the minions. They love the play things the library has and Little Dude has started using the computers there to play some games. We always leave with stacks of books and movies. I'm looking forward to the weekend and it's only Tuesday. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Good news

Motherboard is out for delivery.

Bad news: its going to the husband's workplace...which is not open today.


We're hoping for Monday. Which is good, since I found out two days ago I'm giving a presentation to our Board for work on Thursday. This coming Thursday.   O. M. G.!!!

So I might not be back to full speed this week until I get a presentation together, calm the butterflies in my stomach, and find something without paint on it to wear.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

I know what you all are thinking...Holy crap, a post!

 No, this doesn't mean I have my laptop back. It just means I can't sleep and I beat my husband to the desktop tonight. The motherboard on my laptop is currently out for repair and the lack of news is making me nervous. I'm so frustrated by the whole situation. I was just getting into the swing of blogging again and in the planning stage of several projects when it all was torn away from me. Surfing from a Kindle Fire just isn't the same...especially when you share the Kindle with someone else. Plus it wouldn't let me post from there. And there has been so much to write about this summer. I hope to be back into the swing of things soon.
Besides, I'm not sure how much more I can take having to used the shared Mac at work.

But to the topic at hand...Ten on Tuesday. And today's ten...(or rather tomorrow since I'm writing this the night before) 10 Favorite Sunday Dinners.

I grew up with the tradition of Sunday dinner at my Italian Grandmother's house. We ate in the basement because the upstairs was saved for special occasions...because you never know when the Pope might stop by. But those dinners hold some of my fondest memories of childhood. Now all of these meals weren't from those days but they still remind me of them

  1. Pasta- With homemade sauce and meatballs. Jarred sauce is unheard of in my family. My Grandmother would always quiz me on who made the best meatballs and I always told her that she did. Oh and garlic bread. Don't forget the garlic bread with lots of butter...I think this is when my love affair with garlic started. 
  2.  Pot roast- I love me some pot roast. Made with the McCormick cooking bag, though I do use the crock pot one now. With carrots and potatoes and onions (but I wouldn't eat those) and the au jus. Mmmmm....just thinking of it makes my mouth water. 
  3. Meatloaf- with gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, and more gravy. Whether you use ground beef, ground turkey, or a meatloaf mix of various meats, it doesn't matter. Just good warm comfort food. 
  4. Traditional Turkey dinner- You know the one. My Grandmother made the best turkey gravy (notice a trend here?) ever. After dinner and dessert were done, and everyone was sitting around with their coffee and chatting, I would grab a bowl of gravy and some fresh bread from the bakery across the street and dip and eat. 
  5. Shrimp scampi- my Dad's. Hands down, best ever. 
  6. Lemon Pepper Chicken- this was my Mom's specialty when we were growing up. The best part was the seasoned skin. I remember once swiping all the skin off the left over pieces before they were put away. That good.
  7.  Braciola- my Grandmother's. Divine and what I wouldn't do to know how she did it.
  8. Lasagne- a pain in the butt to make but so worth it. As a child I wouldn't eat it because I had an issue with ricotta cheese. (a bad jug of milk turned me off of any lumpy cheese product for years). 
  9. Soups/Stews- all kinds. Soup and bread is probably my favorite meal. I could eat soup every day.
  10. A meal that we often do, it was a staple pre-kids on grocery shopping days, consisting of fresh bread, fruit, cheese, dried meat, olive oil and spices with some other additions depending on what we had on hand, including, but not limited to steamed musselss or clams, tomatoes, peppers, soups and such.
Well there you go. Now I'm gonna go raid the fridge. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

technical difficulties

I'm sorry about the sudden lack in posts. My laptop suddenly started having severe issues. Like, motherboard type issues. I'm hoping it will let me retrieve a bit more info, but it seems like I will either be buying a new motherboard or a new laptop.

And I have so much to tell you about. I'll see what I can do.

Computers: they are wonderful when they work, and completely suck when they don't.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

OMG! Progress!!!!

Sadly not with my knitting. Well...that's not totally true. I'm making some progress on my Elementary Socks. Just not as much as I would like. I've started the gusset on the first sock.


That light colored line you see on the bottom of the foot is the lifeline I put in before I started the gusset section. Gaia is slowly plodding along. She's my take everywhere, multi-task knitting, therefore she's going very slowly. I'll be taking her to tomorrow's infusion. Until I'm off the Benadryl, it's vanilla knitting while in the chair.

What has really been hindering my knitting is the upstairs. And that is where the progress is really starting to happen.
Remember this:


It now looks like this:



If you are looking at those pictures and saying, "But..but...those are only half done walls!?!" you would be correct. There is a reason for that. To be able to read the upper levels there was a piece of plywood that spanned the opening of the stairwell. It rested on blocking that was attached to the unfinished areas of wall. It allowed for us to walk around and work instead of dangling from scaffolding and ladders. The plywood door/floor was not of our creation. It was how we found the upstairs when we bought it. There were no stairs there when we acquired the house. Now I've got to tie in the lower part of the walls and finish painting. I need to stain the wood around the skylight because the trim molding that will go in there won't cover all of what is there. I know I should have done that before painting but these things happen.
As for the color of the walls....I LOVE it! We were stuck between two colors that were very close. One was a little more brown and the other a little more grey. We tapped up color chips of the two and I kept moving them from wall to wall and changing our minds every time we walked by them. My love and the Little Dude picked the greyer of the two. Little Miss, after going back and forth went with the browner one. I'm the artist and the one who paints it, so final color decision is made by me. I picked the greyer of the two: Sherwin Williams Mega Greige SW7031 painted in their new no-VOC line Emerald. I'll be reviewing the paint once I've used it a little more. My color choice was inspired by the many old black and white photos we have of our families. This color will be used in the first floor hallway that this stairway merges into. And I plan on displaying many of these photos on the long wall in that hall.
We did hit a small snag in that the ceiling fan we had bought years ago (it says 2003 on the box, though I think it was more like 2005 when we bought it) is too wide for the space. It will, however, fit in the studio and coordinate with the fixtures for up there. So now we are hunting for a small ceiling fan with light that fits our aesthetic. As you can guess that last part is the hardest. The one I really like is no longer available. And now the hunt is on.

So that's what I've been up to. There has been more progress on the studio side of the upstairs but that only looks like this at the moment.
A lot done, but not visibly so. I hope to be able to prime that side within the next day or two.

Well, I'm off to sand and mud and listens to podcasts.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Finished, Frogged and Started

I've a few finished objects for you.

First is the Tardis shawl for my SIL.

Pattern: Bigger on the Inside by Kate Atherley
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Soulmate  2 skeins
         55% Superwash Merino, 15% Nylon, 30% Outlast
Colorway: Bigger on the Inside
Needle size: US 2 circular
Thoughts: While I love the outcome, I would make a few changes when I knit one for myself. First and foremost I think I will knit the two sections separately and graft them together. Picking up 311 stitches is daunting enough without it being done over a piece that is 400 rows. It is a pet peeve of mine when you are picking up dissimilar numbers of stitches over a piece. I might toy with the lace section as well. It's a nice lace but it didn't knock my socks off.
DSC_0406The yarn knitted up very nicely. It's my first foray into Lorna's Laces since I've been warned by others of their tendency to pool. I wasn't too impressed with the colorway. I'll probably dye my own. I guess I was hoping for a little more variation in the blue. It did take several rinses before it stopped bleeding color when preparing to block it. I'm not surprised with such a dark tends to be the nature of such a color. I through a little white vinegar into the final rinse.
I'm also not sure I really needed two skeins. I knit the lace out of one skein and then the Tardis section out of the other to avoid the need to splice. I've not measured what is left to see if I could have done it with one. I do believe I have enough for a small pair of socks. 

Verdict: I'd knit it again with a few modifications and in different colorway.


Next was my Little Red Hooded Cape

Pattern: Fair Isle Hooded Capelet by Teva Durham
Yarn: Rowan Big Wool  3 skeins
Colorway- Bohemian
Needle: US 35 Circular
Thoughts: I loved knitting this. It was a fast project and an interesting knit. I did make a change...I came nearly to the end before I realized I didn't like the hood seam. Here it is unseamed...I just knew it would look ugly and who wants a big seam at the top of their head?

Hood seam

I restarted it, this time using Judy's Magic Cast On and knit it back and forth instead of in the round. It came out beautiful. Much better, isn't it?
I made the body a little bit longer, but not long enough that it impeded the use of my arms. I didn't quite use all of the last ball. I really enjoyed the Rowan Big Wool as well. I could see myself buying more in the future.

DSC_0449 (2)

Verdict: Love it. I'd knit another one in a heartbeat. It's a fun, fast knit and the end product is lovely.

I also frogged a few projects in the last week. The Double Heelix socks went to the pond. Unlike my friend Kris, who will never touch this pattern again, I have plans to knit these in the future. I just have different yarn plans. I had started striping the whole thing and liked how it was coming out, but then I had a bit of inspiration and I need to go buy some yarn before I divulge.
The other victim was my long languishing Kyoto. I like the pattern, though I was having some difficulty with the neckline. I just wasn't in love with the colors anymore. I hope to make this in the future but not from this yarn.

I'm really taking a hard look at my stash of late. I've got a huge queue of things I'd like to knit. I'm on a severe budget restriction that means I'll be working out out stash almost exclusively. It's about time I start pairing up projects with stash yarn. I've also started organizing things on Ravelry. My friend Amy has a clever system. She favorites patterns she likes but only queues project she plans on knitting in the next two years. I had been queuing everything I wanted to knit indiscriminately.  I'm slowly shifting to a system more like hers. I've moved many things out of my queue and into favorites, many being shawls I queued when searching for a pattern to make out of my Ball & Skein stash. I've left the shawls that I have definite plans for in the queue. From here on out patterns that strike my fancy get put into favorites. Ones that are paired with something in the stash or I know I'll be getting the yarn for go in the queue. I'm also working out a system of tagging items to make it easier to pair them with stash.

In my quest to work through some stash and start prepping for the Ravellenic Games, I cast on a pair of socks for my husband. This is my first pair of socks in a sock weight yarn. The pattern is Elementary Waston Socks inspired by Watson's sweater in the BBC's Sherlock series. If you haven't seen it yet, you are truly missing out.  I'm knitting two at at time on DPN's and though it's going well, I'm thinking it's time I learned to Magic Loop.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Ten on Tuesday*

*For some reason this didn't post on Tuesday, even though I did finish and post it. Oh well, here it is. 

10 Ways to Feel Like a Kid Again

  1. Hang around some kids. Really. Like Maurice Chevalier says in Gigi "Youth! Stay close to the young...and a little rubs off." That is excellent advice.
  2. Play-doh. There's just something in the smell that takes you back. And if you can squish it through the 'Fun Factory' thingy.
  3. Eat Popsicles in the summer- It's very difficult to be a serious adult when eating a Popsicle.
  4. Swing. Again something so simple that will take you back. 
  5. Blow bubbles in your drink. Bonus points if it is milk. Double bonus if it is chocolate milk.
  6. Just lay in the grass and look at the sky...without worrying what your clothes or hair will look like when you get up. 
  7. Run down a hill....or better yet roll down one. 
  8. Two words: Cotton. Candy.
  9. Another two words: Carnival. Rides.
  10. Don't take yourself so damn seriously. Really, that's the trick to it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Heat wave

Hello, I am reporting from what feels like the bowels of hell. Yesterday reached a high of 97F with a heat index of 105F. And today is predicted to hit the triple digits. That's too hot for anyone, but for someone with MS it can be debilitating. Any rise in body temperature, even 1 degree, can cause psuedo-flare ups and exacerbate existing symptoms. This has put quite the hitch in my plans for the week. I'm holding my own so far, though I notice that this afternoon I'm more woozy and unsteady than usual.

This week has been a whirlwind of doctor's appointments. Monday I got a lot done before my appointment. I was able to mow the front lawn, do some landscaping, and get some joint compound on the walls all before 10:30.

The landscaping involved digging up the sod along the back fence line and mulching. I don't have edgers for the area yet but I plan on laying in stone edgers and planting along the fence line. The fence isn't ours and I find it very ugly. I want to plant something that will grow fairly tall and block most of it. We get a fair amount of shade back there, which limits my options.


My main project for the week (and weeks ahead) is the upstairs. My husband and I did a walk-through and made some decisions so that we can move the project forward. There is an area for a bathroom upstairs with the plumbing for a toilet roughed in. We had been toying with the idea of putting a shower up there as well, but it ends up not being a feasible option. There really isn't the room for a decent size shower stall and more importantly, no way to get the plumbing in.
Right now this is how it all looks:

The hallway: I have a good sanding left and then to touch up a few spots.

This is the closet area in the room. I'm going to finish the room in two sections starting with this area. The bathroom area is on the other side of the plastic. The closet on the right will have a hanging bar and the wall on the left will have built-in cabinets.

This is the other end of the room. For now it will be the holding cell. Once the above area is done we can move a junction box, finish putting up the drywall, and get it all paint ready.


I've also been playing around with my stash. I've uploaded more of it into Ravelry, and deciding what to keep and what to destash. I'm also picking projects for the keepers. I've got quite the case of startitis. I've also frogged a few projects, but more on that in tomorrow's report. After yet another doctor's appointment.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

No official 10 for today so I'll do my own. I'm on my summer unemployment and I have a mile long to-do list, but several of those are projects to make my daughter. I've included both knitting and sewing projects.

10 Things I'd like to make for Little Miss
  1. Pinwheel Sweater by Shelley Mackie -This is the perfect little sweater for those in between days when it's chilly in the morning and evening. What I like about the pattern is that it can be warn for a long time by rolling down the sleeves and flipping the body over.
  2. Ridinghood Sweater Pattern by Tina Good- what is there not to love about this one?
  3. Anouk by Kate Gilbert -I have several design plans for this pattern.
  4. Fionas Top by Sanne Bjerregaard -This is just beautiful. I'd think she'd look lovely in it.
  5. Smock Coat by Debbie Bliss - We all know how I feel about Debbie Bliss patterns. I love the look of this. It reminds me of coats I had when I was a wee one. Even my husband looked at the pattern and was impressed, and rarely does the knitting impress him. 
  6. Simplicity 4203- I think the top in this pattern is a good solution to the issue of Little Miss preferring dresses and her tendency to climb and crawl over and through everything.
  7. Simplicity 2171- This is just too cute and the potential combinations of fabrics and colors are endless. 
  8. Simplicity 2391- I've inherited a bunch of lovely vintage pillowcases from my great-aunts and grandmother. I really can't think of anything better to do with them.
  9. Simplicity 5391- This pattern is now out of print, but luckily I bought it years ago when it was available. I love the Asian flair to it and again see great potential for creativity in the design. 
  10. Folkwear 213- I grew up reading (and watching) The Little House on the Prairie series. Laura Ingalls Wilder has long been one of my idols. I hope to pass that love onto my little girl. 

 Today's physical therapy knocked me on my arse, so very little is getting accomplished outside of some finishing, knit puttering, Ravelry browsing, and watching of Babylon 5.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ten on Tuesday (plus update)

10 Favorite Ways to Eat Strawberries.

  1. Plain- what is better than a perfectly fresh strawberry. Even better if eaten while picking. 
  2.  Dipped in chocolate- the caveat being it must be dark chocolate.
  3. Sugared- chopped up, sprinkle with sugar and let sit to make their own juice. Easy-peasy and wonderful for the next few. 
  4. With cream- whipped or otherwise. Strawberries and cream are an absolute delight. 
  5.  Shortcake- either pound cake or homemade shortcake. Those spongy little cake bowls they have at the grocery store are sacrilege.
  6. Blended with lemonade- this was my drink of choice while pregnant in the summer and I crave it still. Throw a bunch of frozen strawberries in a blender with some lemonade and maybe some additional ice, hit the button, and you are good to go. Warning: very addictive.
  7. In pie- with rhubarb. 
  8. Jam- I will be making jam this summer and strawberry is on the top of the to-do list. I use water bath methods for my jam, and I'm currently looking for a sweetened with fruit juice recipe. But that's a story for another post. (hrm...I almost said podcast. Now what does that tell you?)
  9. As Popsicles- puree and freeze. I never use juice for homemade Popsicles. It's too thin and watery. Pureed fruit works so much better. 
  10. in boozy punch- I once spent an entire day of my college's Springfest buzzed off of the fruit that had been soaking in people's alcoholic punch. The strawberries were by far the best. I have a fabulous rum punch recipe and strawberries are a wonderful touch to it. 

And the update.
I had every intention of posting this weekend but my laptop never came out of my work bag. Friday was my second infusion of my MS treatment. This is a once a month treatment that requires me to spend several hours at the MS center. For the first six treatments I also get an IV dose of Benadryl, incase I have an allergic reaction to the medicine. My first treatment, the Benadryl knocked me on my ass. I slept through the treatement, and then the rest of the day and a full night as well. This time I did better. I was able to knit on my Gaia during the infusion, but I did take a long nap later in the afternoon. My treatments are going to lead to two new projects. It's rather cold in the infusion room (I'm always cold anyway) and getting two IV bags full of a chilled liquid doesn't help. I bring the quilt my Mom made me for my 20th birthday, but come winter I'll need more. The issue lies in the fact that I need to leave my one arm uncovered for the IV. So, I see a pair of fingerless gauntlets in my future. The other project is some sort of wrap or long jacket that I can wear but leave my arms free. I've not searched Ravelry yet so expect a future post on the search.
I did, however, finish knitting Bigger on the Inside. My goal is to block it tonight, then I'll post the pictures and write my thoughts on the pattern. The weather this weekend was lovely and on Sunday I spent a good portion of the day outside. Little Miss was in taking her nap and Little Dude wanted to play in his pool. So, once I set up the pool, I settled into a patio chair and knit away. I knit some more while watching Game of Thrones after the kids were in bed. (FYI- I'm still catching up on the first season).

In other news this is my last contract week at work before my summer hiatus. I'll have seven weeks off (unpaid), two of which the kids will be sans daycare. Therefore that leaves me five weeks with a to-do list that is a mile long. And I plan on blogging like crazy in that time. I've a lot of thoughts in my head to share. Meanwhile at work, I'm doing a semi-major reset of my shop. Nothing is sacred this time around and I should have some pictures by the end of the week. Right now it looks like a complete disaster....which means I should get of the computer and back to it.

Till the next time.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

New Obsessions

I've acquired a few new obsessions over the last year. One of these is cake pops.

For the uninitiated, cake pops are when you bake a cake, crumble it, mix with frosting, put it on a stick and coat it with candy coating.  These are the brainchild of Bakerella. Seriously, check out her site, if only for the beautiful pictures. These became so popular that she came out with a book.

I stumbled across this at the library and fell in love. And because I am just that insane, I decided to make some. Actually, I decided that I would be making some for Little Miss's first birthday party. But who wants to do something like that for an event that big without a trial run? Well, normally that would be me, but not this time.

Little Dude was having a Valentines party at daycare (or as we call it 'school'). I figured a bunch of three year olds would be a good test audience. And so the experiment began. I let Little Dude pick out the cake and the candy colors. We ended up with Strawberry cake and candy melts in pale blue, pink and yellow.

Here are the balls rolled and being shaped into the hearts. And there is the book. 

Here are the hearts. I probably picked the most difficult shape to start with. I had a few that jumped off of their sticks; I think my cookie cutter was a little too large and the hears became too thin. The hearts really don't lend themselves to dipping and covering very easily. I won't say how late into the night this went. 

Sadly I don't like strawberry cake, or the vanilla flavored candy coating, so I didn't like them. I actually made my neighbor try one and tell me if it was any good. Well, I shouldn't have worried because they were a huge hit at daycare. All of the teachers were raving about them the next day and asking how I did them.

So the experiment was a success and it was a go for the party. Little Miss's party didn't exactly have a theme. Well, it kind of did but not one that translated to cake pops. Little Dude decided that his sister needed to have a Tinkerbell party and so I bought plates and napkins, but that was about it. I couldn't figure out how to do Tinkerbell cake pops, so I went with what I thought was the cutest thing in the book: the owls. Her invitations had owls on them so it worked.

This time I worked the project over several days; baking one day, rolling and shaping the next and then dipping them the night before the party. I was still doing it in the wee hours because I really can't start until the minions go to bed. And both of them wake several times in an evening.

The owls were more intense. I had to improvise for the beaks since I couldn't find the candy chips suggested and I did away with the wings completely. Here is what I ended up with. I don't seem to have gotten any close up pictures. My favorite one is is the one we dubbed 'Sleep Owl', seen towards the middle back. I had gotten some of the coating on the candy for the eye and decided to touch up the eyes and make him a sleepy owl. They were yellow cake with vanilla frosting and dark chocolate candy coating.

I'll be making more in the future. Little Dude is requesting a pirate party for his birthday and I think the pirate pops and some skulls are in order. I'm also trying to figure out how to make little TARDIS and Dalek ones without making myself insane. The possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Ten on Tuesday and an update

10 Favorite Work Out Songs: This topic is rather timely. Part of my MS treatment includes working with a physical therapist and an occupational therapist. I'm working on hand strength and coordination at the moment and next week we will start on my walking and an exercise routine. So here we go...
  1. Dragula  by Rob Zombie
  2. O Fortuna by Apotheosis
  3. Only by Nine Inch Nails
  4. Du Hast by Rammstein
  5. Breathe by The Prodigy
  6. Machinehead by Bush
  7. Blue Monday by Orgy
  8. I'm Shipping Up to Boston by Dropkick Murphys
  9. Bodies by Drowning Pool
  10. Whatever by Godsmack

I think you can get a sense of what I like from that list. Someday I'll have to do a list about my painting music. I like to pair my music with the project. I try to do the same with my books. When I was painting Time After Time, I listened to the stories of H.G.Wells.  When I was doing these really beautiful blood red walls, Dexter is Delicious was the book of choice. For Pippin and all of it's medieval glory, it was the original Shannara trilogy.

I've been trying to write my update post for days. It has been that kind of week.
Last Tuesday I had to pick up Little Miss early from daycare because she wasn't feeling well, which we attributed to teething. Wednesday she stayed home with her Daddy. When I picked Little Dude up that afternoon there was a notice announcing that several of the other kids had hand, foot, and mouth disease. Sure enough that's what she had, in addition to the teething. Then in the wee hours of Friday morning Little Dude came down with a fever too. Normally that isn't such a big deal, but Friday was our 10th wedding anniversary. 10 years was celebrated by caring for two sick kids. (I'm trying not to read anything into it.)

I should have known it was going to be a weird week when I went on our annual pilgrimage to Mass Sheep and Wool and Webs and bought nothing! Well, I did buy some lunch, but nothing fiber related. Partly because I'm facing a summer without a paycheck (again!). And partly because nothing really spoke to me. I had been hoping to get another Stitched by Jessalu bag but I just couldn't decide on what one to get. By the way, if you don't have one (or more) of her bags...get one. They are wonderful and beautifully made. Plus she has tons of sci-fi/geek ones. You can't go wrong. But nothing was really grabbing me. The same with Spunky Eclectic's fiber. And this is the first time I've ever left and not bought something for Ball and Skein. Though, she's got just what I've been hunting for to make my Mina scarf. But it's something I know I can order later. Webs didn't have any of the books I was thinking of, though I was able to peruse Vampire Knits. There wasn't enough in there that I would make to warrant buying it.

Despite my lack of stash acquisition, I've made significant of progress in my knitting of late. Actually, knitting is sanctioned by my occupational therapist to help with hand coordination. So, it's not just a hobby (addiction), it's good for my health (and that of those around me if they don't want to die).

It took me a week but I finally picked up the stitches on Bigger on the Inside. I finished the lace section and blocked it to make the picking up the stitches easier.
As I feared, it is one of those patterns where the number of stitches to pick up and the place they are being picked up from differ. In this case it was 311 over 400 rows. I won't go into what I went through to figure out how to do it evenly. I'll just say, this is a gift and my OCD was running rampant...and thankfully my husband is much better at math than myself. Honestly, that is the hardest part of this pattern. I'm nearly halfway through the TARDIS chart and it looks good. I'll be making a few changes when I make this one for myself.

Gaia is making progress too. She's a great project for when I don't want to think or I'm needing to set it down a lot (read keeping the kids from killing each other).
And the other fiber related news I've started spinning again. We can thank Little Dude for this one. My wheel was around and he had been playing with the treadle for a few days. Finally I said I'd show him how it is used, grabbed some fiber, and then proceeded to spin for about the next 5 hours, with breaks for dinner and getting said minions to bed. I finished a bobbin that night. I just did the second one a few nights ago and I hope to ply them sometime in the next few days. This fiber is some BFL dyed by my lovely friend The Painted Sheep. The colorway is called Pine Meadow. I was an idiot when I split the fiber and didn't bother weighing it so one of the bobbin has more than the other so it won't ply exactly the way I was hoping but I think it will be nice nonetheless. I'm happy to say that now that I am using better fiber, my spinning is much more even. The inherited wool that I had been using was partially felted and not that great. I'm glad I abandoned it. I'm not sure what this yarn is going to become yet.

Next on the project list is the caplet from Teva Durham's Loop-d-loop. I'm able to do this now because my lovely friend Peggy had the gigantic needles needed for this project and so graciously lent them to me. I've had the yarn for this in stash for years.

And a little bit of trivia. The background on the above photos is the floor I'm currently painting at work.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ten on...what day is it??

I'll be damned it's Wednesday, isn't it. Well, here's my 10. I'm a day off...

10 Goals For This Summer 
A lot of these will seem similar to the spring to-do-list

  1. Finish the hallways: I've a little more mudding and sanding to do. There are some tricky issues with the upper hall that may hold things up, but I want them at least primed, even if I haven't picked finished colors yet. 
  2. Sew Little Miss a wardrobe. She's at an age where it will be easier to sew for her. She likes dresses, but she's also a climber and the two don't mesh well. I'm planning on making her some dress-like tops that won't catch on her knees when she's exploring. 
  3. Finish rearranging my work space. My boss built me a new storage unit and I've brought over my flat file. It is really starting to come together now into something that is far more efficient and even somewhat aesthetically pleasing.
  4. Not to get a wicked sunburn this year. 
  5. Participate in the Tour de Fleece....more on spinning later. 
  6. Overhaul my wardrobe...I'm done having minions and I'm through nursing. Now it's time to see what fits, what gets tossed and where I need to fill in the gaps. 
  7. Make jam...preferrably from fruit we've picked ourselves. My son lives on PB&J. I'll save a lot on the jelly if I can make my own. In my quest to keep the sugar tamed in our lives, I buy jelly that is sweetened with fruit juice...better for you, not your wallet. I'm hoping to make enough to last the year. 
  8. Grow a successful garden...a battleground between me and the rodents in my neighborhood. 
  9. Knit or spin everyday. I'm learning the importance of keeping my hands active, and why not get something pretty for my efforts. 
  10. Exercise. I'm starting physical therapy for my hands and legs because of the MS. The exhaustion is going to be my enemy in this area, but this is perhaps the most important thing on this list. 

And tomorrow I'll have an update with pretty, pretty pictures.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

Today's Ten on Tuesday is a timely one. I'm on the verge of taking a bunch of time off to get a handle on some of the house projects. So, today's ten: 10 Items On Your Spring To-Do List.

  1. Power wash the house- It needs it. Bad. Lots of green stuff growing on our siding. It just needs to be done. 
  2. Wash the windows- after power washing, this is the next step. Luckily I have the type of windows that fold in for cleaning. 
  3. Sand and finish mudding the upstairs hallway- I just want to get this done. I'm tired of half finished drywall.
  4. Paint said hallway- then hubby can put up the fan.
  5. Finish the drywall in the main hall- this is where there use to be two doors and now it's a wall. I've got to make it look good and then paint it. It's going to be my main picture wall for all the old family pictures. 
  6. Finish power hook up in the upstairs- this is on my geek-boy's list since I don't play with electricity. But it's at the top of my list because then I can start finishing up there. 
  7. Work on the flower beds- I've started this. We're using the mulch created by grinding out our stump for the beds. We're creating a new one along the back fence line, and when we replace the other window well, I'll tie together the front bed and the back one. (how's that for a run-on sentence?)
  8. Replace the last window well- hubby has done the other two, so this might be more on his list than mine, but it needs to just get done.
  9. Raised vegetable beds- I need to figure out placement, build and then get it ready for planting. 
  10. Wash and put out all the out door paraphernalia- chairs, table, fire pit etc... basically set it up for a summer of fun. 
Lots to do. And lots more after that. I better get going. Especially on the projects leading me to having my own studio space. I have some big plans for the future, but I need my evil lair before I can implement them.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

And best wishes to my best friend who is off to give birth to her son! Good luck!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Update Monday

Let me just start off saying that the package of yarn arrived safely, but not after it had left the state to figure out where it needed to go. I really don't know what the mix-up was since the address on the package was correct. Watching the package tracking was sort of like watching the downloading bar progress and then jump back when you are really waiting on that information. But it came and here is what was in it:

DSC_0343 The yarn is more of a blue than the photo shows. It is Lorna's Laces Solemate and it is destined to be come Bigger on the Inside. Unfortunately, or not, this particular shawl isn't for me. I'm making it for my sister-in-law, who surprised me with an amazing Dr. Who inspired present for my birthday.

Yes. That is a stained glass Tardis candle holder. Which she made. So I think she deserves the first of these shawls that I knit. I'm about to the halfway point of the lace panel on the shawl. The pattern is a very interesting construction. You knit the lace section from one end to the other, increasing then decreasing as you go. Then you pick up stitches along one edge and knit the Tardis design down from there. I can't say that I'm really enjoying the lace section. It's an easy enough pattern but I just can't seem to get into the groove of it. Perhaps because I'm trying to do it while watching TV. I'll try listening to podcasts instead and see if that helps.

I'm liking the yarn so far. It's quite lovely to knit with and not turning my fingers blue while I knit, as often I find the deeper blues do. My only complaint is the condition of the skein. One of them wound perfectly. The other....

DSC_0349 as you can see, not so much. I don't know why this keeps happening to me. I'm not sure if I blogged about the Rios debacle a few years back. Two of my three skeins did this. It is as if when winding the skein they went the wrong way for a few rounds and then back again. My husband has spent several hours this weekend working on this. He's like a vampire with a knot obsession, a real vampire, not the sparkly kind.

DSC_0344I'm making headway on Gaia.
 I really like this pattern. I'm further along than the picture here shows, but this gives you the idea of how the yarn split up when I separated the knots. Oh Noro, why? But the nice thing is that I can follow this pattern when I'm completely drugged up, so that's good.

And why was I drugged up, might you ask? I had my first infusion to treat my MS on Friday. I finally got my test back and found it was safe for me to begin treatment. I was armed with my two shawl projects, a book and my DVD player with some Babylon 5 and Pride and Prejudice (wasn't sure what my viewing mood would be). I took the day off, not knowing how it was going to effect me. And it's good I did. The first six doses of the once a month treatment include an IV dose of Benadryl, in case of allergic reaction. Now I regularly take Benadryl, and it doesn't have much effect on me. Well, Friday was a whole different story. That stuff hit me fast and hit me hard. I had been reading the pattern for Bigger on the Inside, and suddenly it was just a blur of letters to me. I spent much of the infusion napping...well I spent most of the rest of the day (and night) asleep. To be fair I had been hit with a small stomach bug that struck down my husband earlier in the week. It took him a day or so to sleep that off, so I think it was the one-two punch that knocked me out. Either way I was next to useless. I guess we will see with next month's infusion.

Mother's day was low key, but rather lovely. From Little Miss I received a version of the handprints poem and her prints on some nice watercolor paper. From Little Dude it was a box painted and decorated (handprint on top) and the poem inside with a bracelet that he strung. My husband gave me some flowers and a package of smoked salmon all to myself.

We had our trees worked on finally. The damage from Snowpocalypse left them in need of major attention. We had a lot of hangers that would drop whenever the wind picked up. I was terrified to let the kids play outside. We joined forces with our neighbor so that the tree company could come out once with the heavy equipment. In the end, we each had a tree removed. I'm sad to see the lovely old red oak go, but it needed it. Our tree guy is one who prefers to keep trees, if it is safe to. So when he says it should go, I trust him. It ended up that this particular tree was rotting down the center from the top down and and bottom up. The hadn't quite met in the middle yet. But now we have somewhere to put the big pirate ship playscape in our yard.
Here's a few pics of the felling of our tree:

Monday, May 07, 2012

That horrible moment...

when you are tracking a package of yarn, yarn you are desperately waiting for and it says this:
Your item was forwarded to a different address at 8:11 am on May 07, 2012 in Another town, CT zip code two digits off. This was because of forwarding instructions or because the address or ZIP Code on the label was incorrect. Information, if available, is updated periodically throughout the day. Please check again later.

I think I'm going to explode. 

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Tickled Pink

I'm sorry about the lack of posting. Blogger has changed again and I'm totally lost...and apparently so is a post or two. I'm very confused.

So I want to thank those who donated to team Pirate Robots. I was deeply touched by and it means so much to me. By the post title you might guess that we reached our goal. Not quite but we came close enough that I went pink anyway. We raised $1,734 out of our $2000 goal. (You can still donate until May 25th.)

I'm loving the pink. I'm not quite loving my hair's reaction to the bleaching. The ends took a beating and now my hair is very easily tangled. I'll be getting a cut soon...and we may work some purple into the color. Little Dude loves it and has requested that it goes purple next. He also wants it blue for his birthday party.

Life has been a little bit of a whirlwind lately. I've continued to have numerous doctor's appointments and tests. I'll be receiving treatment at phenomenal MS center very near to where I work. This place is truly amazing. They have state of the art equipment for just about any issue you could have with this disease. The staff is very warm and welcoming. I keep saying how lucky I am. It sucks having the disease but when we caught it and the fact that I am located near such a wonderful treatment facility, I really am lucky.

Now I've just got to fight the exhaustion that comes with the disease. At least now I know why I'm so damn tired all the time. Of course chasing down two minions doesn't help in that area either. Little Miss is really taking off on the whole walking thing. She's now shifted to more walking than crawling, and a lot more walking without hanging on to things. And she's really perfecting her climbing. She climbs EVERYTHING. I had to pull her off the front of the stove the other day. And when you tell her 'No' she just turns her head and smiles. Luckily I'm immune to such wiles. I keep telling her that I invented that look. She's also not afraid to express her opinions (not my daughter?!?!). Yesterday I tried to put her back into her pj's after changing her diaper first thing in the morning. She immediately started to complain and point to her closet. So I stripped her down and then held her up to her clothes. Little Miss pushed aside clothing until she found the dress she wanted and then grabbed onto that. Mind you, she's barely a year old!!!! I'm in trouble with this one.

With Little Dude we are still having Adventures in Potty Training. Last night/this morning what had a major set back. He sneaked into our bed a some point in wee hours without my husband noticing. Normally that's not so much a problem but he slept so deeply that he peed in our bed. The bed I had just changed the sheets on (for the first time in longer than I'd ever admit). Not how one likes to start their day.

On the knitting front, I've been knitting, but don't have much to show for it. I started a Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman. In usual form I didn't bother with a gauge swatch and that came back to bite me, only because it is bigger than I wanted for the intended giftee. So I put it off to the side a day or so ago. I may continue on it or I may frog it.
What I did do, however was a little sit down with my Noro Kueyron Sock. I have a love hate relationship with Noro yarns. I think they are beautiful, but my god are they full of knots. I've not had a skein of Noro that has had less than two knots in it, which can really suck when working with their colorways. A friend of mine was knitting the Gaia Should Hug and came across a knot. She continued on and then realized that the next run of yarn had the color changes going in the other direction. This is the shawl that this yarn is destined for and when I initially wound the skein I ended up with 3 separate runs of yarn. It was very Goldilocks....I had the big ball, the medium ball and the itty bitty ball. So being the freak that I am, I sat down, rewound each ball and wrote down the colors as they would so that I could line up the color changes. Ok, a little OCD, but when it is the look that you want, go for it. I found that what I have isn't too far off and I should be able to make it work without too much variation from the intended gradation of color. The colorway is a lovely mix of maroon, orange, green gold, green brown and a deep and light purple.

I'm hoping to cast that on tonight.

The red vest is sitting alone until I have some coherent alone time to work the shaping on the top. My double heelix socks are...somewhere. I ripped back the cuff on the first sock and are staring to continue the striping pattern and teaching myself jog-less stripes as I go. I'm planning on a ton of projects because I've been listening to knitting podcasts and they are adding things to my knitting queue as well as my reading and watching queue. But another post about podcasts later. I must be off to liberate the minions from daycare.