Saturday, December 26, 2009

Meet Hawkeye

Kevin made one of our nephew's a rocking horse for Christmas. Isn't it cute!

Friday, December 25, 2009

What did you get for Christmas?

This is me warping my Ashford Rigid Heddle loom- given to me by my Mom and Dad. (Who hit a homerun with gifts this year. Kevin got a Kitchen Aid stand mixer).
And it wasn't the only fantastic gift. My in-laws gave me a goodie box from knitpicks. A kit to make a multi-color knitted clock, 2 sets of DPNs (1.5s and 2s) for socks, some tubes to store DPNs in that have been orphaned from their original cases, and the book "Knitted Flowers". They gave Kevin a dremel, and like always we both got calendars for next year.
My drawn name secret Santa was Kelly, who was also who I drew (actually EVERYONE drew the person who drew them, weird) and he got me two pairs of fantastically soft fleece pants. Haven't heard if the hat fits him, but will ask for pictures if it does.
Kevin and I don't officially exchange gifts, so I didn't get anything from him, as requested, however, I like to shop, so I got him a set of Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVDs, now he has all 5, and he got Legend of Zelda for the DS to have me give him - haha; I guess that means the yarn I ordered from Webs the other day is going to be a present from him to me :)
My sister is scheduled for a C-section on the 28th, so the babies will be here very soon, and then on the 31st is Kevin and my 5th Anniversary. (We won't do presents for that either. The 7th - wool anniversary- is the only one I plan to request a gift for!) I'll have to get him something though because this is the "wood" anniversary, and all dirty jokes aside (yeah, there have been plenty) I'll need to get him something for his workshop.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Keychain Sock

I've wanted a sock blocker keychain ever since I first heard they existed. I bought one like six months ago, and finally knit a sock for it.

(I tried to take artful pictures in the snow.. I failed- just too much white! The color is like the darker one, you can't see the stripes)

Anyhow, it took just about an hour (2?) to knit, and was super fast. It only takes about 2 grams of yarn. I bought the blocker at Crazy Girl (my LYS) but The Loopy Ewe sells them too. Only complaint- the pattern lists no gauge, and thankfully I went with my normal sized sock needles, because if I had used size 0s as written, it would have never fit on the blocker, as is, I'll make the next one longer in the leg.

Also- did I ever show the washcloth I made to match the swiffer? I LOVE it, it scrubs so well.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Knitty Winter 2009 Review

Knitty Review

Ah- Winter Knitty has come out, meaning another review post. Sadly, there is no mind blowing technique like the bind off from the last issue, but there are some beautiful knits.

Let us begin:

Home use patterns:

Mr. Popper: This pattern makes me want to get a hot water bottle. Actually, a few patterns have. If it was just a penguin, it would be cute, but since it references one of my all time favorite books, I love it!


Spoke: This is my favorite pattern on the issue (and the cover pattern), but on further inspection, I wouldn’t make it. First, the yarn MAKES the pattern. There might be other semi-solids that would work, but it would be a gamble. And the yarn chosen is EXPENSIVE. Second- the sleeves would not work for me. Do people really wear that sort of sleeve? Do they drag it through their food anytime they try to eat? Maybe that’s how they stay skinny, trying to protect the sweater.

Quadrat: My second favorite pattern of the issue, but with similar problems to the first. First of all- the model looks gorgeous. I however would laugh myself silly at me wearing a belt like that, and without the belt it’s way too boxy. And the sleeves. Seriously? I do not get them. I just love the cable detail though.

Soria: Pretty enough, but I don’t wear vests. I also think it needs to be a bit longer to be flattering.

Four corners in Tokyo: An interesting way to highlight the color changes of the yarn, but the rectangular pattern looks much better on the back than the front. I’d like the sleeves to be a bit longer, but points for not being huge bell sleeves.

Zora Cardigan: Nice versatile cardigan, but not something I’d knit. I like that it’s shown with a button or a belt. Not sure it looks good with no form of closure at all. (It’s one thing not to close it, but having no way to close it: odd)

King of Confidence: Cute, seems nicely fitted.

Mr. Darcy: I like the sweater fine, but I have never seen anyone wearing that neckline. Kevin never would, that’s for sure. Actually, I take that back- I’ve seen pictures on blogs of kids in handknits in that neckline. But outside of handknits, does it exist?

Vroom Vest: Is the kid in the picture really 4? At first I thought this was shown on like an 8-10 year old, in which case it was a bit childish, but for a young kid, sure it’s cute.


Pyroclastic Socks: Nice pattern, nothing outstanding, but certainly nothing to complain about here.

Saviano Socks: Seems to be run of the mill cabled socks.

Diversion socks: Cute, very bright, I like that. Reminded me of Lizard Ridge socks, but on second look, very different.

Synergy Shield and Socks: Sorry to speak ill of a “goddess” but I do not get this at all. Why do you need a shield for your socks? Does anyone wear such a thing? Seriously, what is the point? Knitty has published weird patterns (like the nose warmer) but at least those seem to have some novelty aspect. What is the novelty to a sock shield? Does it warm up the front of your ankles a bit more? Then there is the issue that the sock highlighted in all the pictures IS NOT the sock that there is a pattern for. That sock is available only in Cat’s new book. The sock pattern given is a cuff down, plain sock. (You can fancy it up by tying a shield around it, I guess). BOO KNITTY. Don’t highlight a pattern for the sole purpose of advertising.

Hats and Neckwear (I had to combine these for a reason):

Incognito Cowl: Clever, funny, not my thing.

Burning Embers: First, the woman’s shirt makes me think she isn’t wearing anything under the jacket. Second, the pattern is pretty. I like how it unbuttons when you don’t wan the turtleneck feel.

Tentacular scarf: AHH! Scary, yuck. This is one of those novelty patterns I was referring to in the synergy shield part. I really don’t like it, but it’s a scarf and it serves a purpose, and it’s novelty is because it’s based on an actual thing. (A sock shield is not a thing).

Knotty but nice hat: Nice cabled hat pattern

Shroom Slouchy Toque: it’s like a combination of a beret and a beanie. It looks cute in the photos, but I don’t think it would on my head.

Duet: A hat and a cowl. Hmm, I’m not sure I understand how it works, but it’s really pretty. Maybe I’ll give this one a try. Maybe.


Ailbe: Very pretty cabled mittens. Looks tough!

Mrs. Roosevelt: Simple knitting pattern for mittens, interesting bit of history. Very cool- like the Hoover Blanket featured early by knitty.

Queen City: The cable doesn’t pop enough. I guess even if it did, it’s not something I personally would wear.


Frost Diamonds: Very pretty, interesting construction. Thumbs up.

Bitterroot: Very pretty, I like that there are two sizes, since the mini-shawl seems very popular right now.

Citron Shawl: It’s cute on the model and would look silly on me.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My new household helper

Only took a few hours to knit, picks up dust as well as a swiffer cloth, and I think it wet mops even better.

Love it, and plan to make quite a few more.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Okay, I lied.

We did get a snow day today (a RARE occurrence for where I work). I started the morning shoveling, mid-day: more shoveling, and soon I'll have to go out and do it again. It just keeps on snowing. You'd think it would make sense to wait for it to stop, but really, it's just harder that way.

I don't have any pictures, so the post isn't going to be interesting.

I've started Noro Kureyon striped socks, and they aren't working as planned. The idea is that the 2 colors stripe and fade into new colors independently creating a really cool effect. Instead my colors have faded from say blue to red, while the other went red to blue, so the stripes don't ever really change. And twice, they've approached the same color, so I get a non-striped blob. The foot of the socks a bit tight (the yarn is so thick/thin it was tough to pick a needle size) but I worried doing it any looser and they wouldn't be tough enough to wear. I think they will loosen up in water. I do think I want to work with this yarn again.

I'm in the border section of the Daffodil Design now. WOW! I cannot wait to finish this thing, but I have like 33,000+ stitches to go still.

Last week I took a crochet class, and it FINALLY makes sense. It is still way harder than knitting though: it's impossible to keep track of stitches, I can't tell what I've already done, and I have no idea how to hold the yarn (since I don't hold my knitting yarn). The class project is Lion Brand's Circles to Squares afghan, but I'm actually not making anything. I just wanted to learn to crochet. (The afghan is actually kind of ugly, maybe in a different yarn it would be better...)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Yeah, I still exist. But the computer is downstairs and it's too cold down there to use it much.

If we get a snow day tomorrow, I promise a knitting progress post.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

This is me watching the turkey frying. Apparently it CAN be done inside (it's an electric one) but then the whole house smells like oil. Tried to get some knitting in, but at 33 degrees (F), it was just too cold for my hands. In the 45 minutes I was out there I did 3 rows (another "Pretty Thing" cowl)

And the not a snuggy is the warmest thing ever. Unlike the snuggy it goes around the back too. MMM- warm, and microfleece lining.

Did a bit of pre-black friday shopping. The Loopy Ewe has some sales going on and I got some sKnitches Bebop and some Noro Kureyon sock. I'm very excited. (And think this will be my Loopy Groupie order)

Watching the Texas A&M/Texas game and am glad Texas A&M is holding their own. My MIL is not. She'd be much happier with a Texas blow-out I think. And she's a big yeller while watching games. FIL is more even headd. He's a ref, so even calls against Texas he can generally see as "good" calls (when they are). I think rivalry games are better close. That way no one in the house is super sad. Although I generally prefer A&M to get the win, I just want them to do that, not ruin Texas's season, so instead I'm just hoping A&M is very close- I'd like to see Texas get the national championship. Yeah, I'm a bad Aggie. But it just made me so homesick to hear Noble Men of Kyle in the background of the TV. I miss A&M.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Making Progress

So far, I have knit 50,166 stitches. I have 42,648 left to go. That's right. I'm over halfway there.

It's 54% done. (I cried a little when I figured that out. I'm on row 122, it seems like I should be almost done.) Plus the crocheted edge. That's going to be hard.

I switched to a 40" needle, so I took a picture. This is about 18" across and is on a 32" and 40" needle- and the stitches are still a bit bunched. How big is this going to be when I block it?

A close up:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My first (and second) soaps!

So yesterday I was feeling a little bit better later in the afternoon- just a bit of a fever left (still... someone make it go away!) So I decided to do a bit of soap. Then today, soap was definetly part of the plan.

I thought the Graduated Layers sounded like a good, easy, one to start with. I started with clear melt and pour base and mixed in purple liquid dye and some Yuzu fragrance oil, then poured half of it into the 2 molds. Then I added white goats milk soap, a bit more fragrance, stirred and poured. Then more goats milk soap, fragrance, stirred and poured. Then I topped it off with white goats milk soap and fragrance. I used the 0.4 oz fragrance to 1 lb soap, and weighed each step of the way to keep it in that ratio. I had been doing a good job of measuring the layers to keep them even, but then I got impatient and topped off with white too soon I think. Still, I think it's pretty impressive first soap. It's already wrapped in the picture. I forgot to spray one layer with alchohol, but it stayed together out of the mold, hopefully it will continue to stay together.
The finished soaps:
Today I made soap with the Sleigh Ride fragrance. But after I added it to the clear I remembered that it discolors!! So I didn't add it to the white. I used the idea of Silhoutte Soap- making soapy imbeds.

Finished soaps:

I started by using a plastic egg carton to make a 1/4" thick layer of clear melt and pour base that I had colored red. It took a lot of red to make it even a little dark. Maybe I should have used half clear half white- but I didn't want pink... Then I used a cookie cutter to make hearts.

I poured fragranced clear melt and pour base, let it set for a few minutes then added my hearts. Then I topped off with unfragranced white goats milk. I thought it would be fun to imbed hearts in another layer too- that way as you use it you uncover a second, secret layer of hearts. So I did a different pattern on that layer (if the top had 2 the middle has 1, if the middle has 2, the top has 1). I'm not sure if soap will really work that way.

But then I poured my final white layer too hot. Oops. So I have really sloppy layers, and the imbeds melted into the back. Oh well- the front turned out pretty, and it's only my second soap making ever.
This is what pouring the last layer too hot did:
And it made the layers really sloppy! (The other layers may have been too early too...)

I can't wait to use the pineapple cilantro fragrance, but I'm going to wait until next weekend, or I'll need more soap base. This used about 1.5 lbs. It goes fast! (the soap weighs just about 1 lb, and I saved all the scraps- so I can make some mashup stuff too. I am keeping all the fragrance seperate, but not worrying about the bases, since they are all the same brand)

Friday, November 13, 2009

My new hobby has arrived!

I've been home sick for 2 days now (got sick Wed. night) it's really sucked, because I've had a fever, so I've just felt miserable, but as I'm getting better, I'm really just feeling bored. I keep wanting to get up and do stuff, but as soon as I get up, I remember I'm at home because I'm too worn out TO get up. So back to the couch I go.

Anyhow, today the FedEx guy came with a present for me. A highlight of the day!

After felting soap, I got an urge to MAKE soap. I found a class at the community college that would teach soap making, but then I found out it was just melt and pour. That's not "real" soap. So I researched the cold-pour process, and while it seems like something I could do, it seemed a little dangerous, and what will I do with all the soap? Then I found out there is WAY more to melt and pour than just a boring colored bar of soap. It can be an art form.

What made me change my mind?
I found Bramble Berry. This website links to the Soap Queen blog and Soap Queen TV videos. Reading and watching made me confident that not only is melt and pour incredibly cool, but that it's something I know I can do! The website is well organized and has SO much stuff. I could spend thousands there. Luckily, I didn't.

Although I really want to make loaf soaps, that brings up the "what will I do with all that soap" question- you end up with 5-10 of the SAME soap. So I settled on two molds I want. One with 4 basic shapes, and one with checkered hearts. I also got some tools- little scoops for dyes (I bet I use those more with my yarn dyes though... but they'll work for the mica I got) and droppers that are great for measuring fragrance oils. They're even graduated- which is a bonus I didn't expect.
Then I looked at soap base. Bramble Berry carries a fantastic sampler pack, but I didn't want quite that much. I wasn't sure how big a pound of soap is (smaller than I thought, actually) and decided I should get 2 lbs clear- figuring I'd use that the most to color. Then I wanted white, but since it was out of stock I decided on shea butter and goats milk- 1 lb each as my white. And I threw in a honey too, well, because shipping was a bit expensive*, and adding more didn't raise it. Also in this picture is some citric acid. It was CHEAP, and like I said the shipping stayed still. I'm not sure if I'll use this to make bath bombs (seems really cool, but I don't do baths much) or to dye yarn without vinegar.
Next, I needed some fragrance and colors for my soaps. I was nervous about fragrance, because I like for bath stuff to smell great, but I'm pretty picky. It was hard to decide on something that would be a "safe bet" for me. Then I found the perfect solution: pineapple cilantro. And I was right- I love it. My next pick was Yuzu. Something I've never heard of, but was featured in the Soap TV spots as something most everyone likes. And, well, I do! Then the best part: Bramble Berry sends a useable sample, not just a sniffer, with every order. I got Sleigh Ride fragrance oil. It looks about half the size of the purchased samples, but plenty to actually try out. This isn't one I would have picked for myself, and i'm not too sure about it. It doesn't have any pine smell though (a common winter fragrance) so I like that. I'll definetly use it- it didn't make my nose itch up when I smelled it!

I also got some colors. I was careful to pick non-bleeding colors since I'm very interested in doing layers. Some colors will bleed into each other and are only good for marble effects, where you want that, or for solids. I picked violet, red, black, and a blue mica. The mica has a neat sparkle effect (as one would think mica would!) It reminds me a lot of some of my stamping supplies... too bad those aren't skin safe.
So what do I make first? Well, nothing today :( Remember that no energy thing :(
Bummer because I want to create!

I really want to try monogram soaps and this neat graduated colors soap. I think I'll start with the second one. The first looks too advanced just yet.

*Shipping costs at Bramble Berry were high. But I was also ordering things by the pound- so they were fair. I ordered last Friday and the stuff got here this Friday. They pulled the order the first business day after I placed it- really quick! It had to get here from Washington, so I was pretty pleased with quick shipping. It also seems if you place bulk orders the shipping gets more affordable per pound. I added a bit more stuff than I originally planned on ordering to get the costs a little lower per item.

There is a soap/candle store not far from me (about 45 minutes). I'm not sure if I saved money going to Bramble Berry, but I am happy with my decision to buy from them for 2 reasons: 1) the information they have made available about soap making through the blog and videos were an invaluable resource I wanted to support and 2) I don't do well in candle stores filled with fragrances, I feel I'd be completely unable to shop in a store filled with that sort of stuff. I'll give them a try when I need more soap base, but ease of shopping and customer service make me very glad I found Bramble Berry.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The flu has hit our house...

Question for you: I have cable. What should I watch? Not a scary show person or a drama person. Thank you for your suggestions.

Weather outside: nice and warm
What hurts: hamstring
What I want to eat: nothing. quite full, and very fat
What I'm wearing: my first toe up socks (lorna's laces in bittersweet. 1 is 1 inch shorter than the other, that's the smallest problem), black old navy pants, melon polo style shirt
What I'm crafting: Mystery sock finished yesterday, Daffodil design on hiatus, Endpaper mitts on hiatus, mockery socks on hiatus. No good project
What I'm watching: lots of HGTV :)
Best thing that happened this weekend: Finished socks
Worst thing that happened this weekend: Kevin got really really sick yesterday. He's pretty blah, but doiung a bit better today
What I'm most looking forward to this week: Getting packages from and
What I'm least looking forward to this week: Nothing really...
Last thing I bought: A TON of grocery stuff
Something I want to buy: Stuff for soap. Except I want to make sure I like making soap before I buy TOO much more.
A link to share: this has to be the coolest body products supplier in the world. Especially check out the Soap TV - SO helpful.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Shampoo Review

In August, I became obsessed with Shampoo Bars. I want to reduce plastic consumption and this seemed like a good way to start. (A teeny amount. I'm not a huge shampoo consumer, but it was an easily identifiable place to reduce. It still counts.) Additionally, this shampoo gets rid of most of the chemicals (SLS, for example) that are in commercial shampoos. Sadly, they still have palm oil, so I'm doing the orangatans no favors.

You can read my original post here

So my review, after 3 months of use. Two thumbs up! I love them.
I haven't had a chance to use the Aloe Vera one yet (these last a long time) but I've tried slivers of both Peppermint/Tea Tree and the Rosemary one.

The other thing to note is that I kept using my regular conditioner. Now that my hair is short, maybe I don't need it. When it was long, I think I definetly did.

So first, I started with the Peppermint. I cut off a sliver about 1/3 to 1/4 of the bar, and it lasted about 2 months. So a full bar is going to last a LONG time. I love the smell of it, and I love the way it feels on my scalp/hair. First off- I don't know how to describe my hair. I would say it used to be dry and frizzy, and my scalp would itch a lot, so I wouldn't wash it more than every 5 days or so to give it some time to get oily again before washing. That is not the case anymore. The itching is COMPLETELY gone, so while I don't believe SLS will kill you NOW! (see google for more information about instant death through shampoo- j/k) I think it was definetly why my head was itchy. After using this shampoo for awhile my hair felt very different. It didn't feel OILY- my hair wasn't sticky, but it almost felt glossy. So I washed it more often in case it was dirty, but I don't think it was. With this shampoo, when my hair was longer, I was washing it every 2-3 days, instead of every 5-7. The peppermint also lathered nicely. I would swipe it down my hair 4 times and then lather quickly in my hands, and that was a good amount of lather.

Then I switched to the Rosemary Nettle. My first impression was that there wasn't as much lather. I haven't noticed any difference from it and the Peppermint other than that and the scent (I smell like italian cooking). I really like this too. However, my initial impression has changed after I cut my hair. The lather is HUGE. I think before maybe I just didn't use enough for the amount of hair I have? But now I feel like my head is full of bubbles. With the short hair I wash it everyday, just because I need it wet to style, but I still think I could do every other day and be fine.

My big warning is this: keep these dry! Kevin is going to build me a draining soap dish, but right now I just set them on a dry wash cloth near the back of my shower away from the shower spray. I also step out of the shower spray to put it on my hair. They will melt away otherwise. Since i started using the felted soap, the washcloth has been more wet and I noticed that my shampoo was a little soggy. OOPS, that will cut into the lifespan a bit...

Head over to Praire Land Herbs and get some for yourself! I feel good about supporting an indepedent business, a soap crafter, reducing my plastic waste, and my head doesn't itch anymore. Win-win-win-win, I think. And hey- they are on sale right now.

(Newest obsession: melt and pour soap. The supplies are on the way. Posts to be coming soon.)

I've been knitting!

The green mystery socks just need a toe. And I have a finished project to share. Since I skipped my Monday update, this one is a surprise, I never mentioned I was knitting it. To be honest, it's not perfect. It flops over when I wear it, unless I bunch it or pin it in the back. But it does look really pretty with a jacket. Without a jacket Kevin says it looks like I'm wearing a doily on my neck. I don't really like scarves so I'm going to experiment with more cowls. I think maybe this one flops because it's too loose since i added an extra stitch repeat due to "big headedness". Next time I will not do that, and just go up a needle size.

This was a good learning project. I learned sewn cast off (super easy) and adding beads with a crochet hook (harder to find the size 12 hook than to actually do, but it is a bit fiddly) Expect more beaded objects!

I'd like to make this for my sister. But she's very stylish, so I'm not sure she'd wear a cowl... Would you?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Last Sunday...

Remember I told you I went to the zoo? Well here are the pictures I've been meaning to post all week. It was a pretty good zoo. No red panda :( but bonus points for white tigers (though I think one was dead. Seriously, look at the cat's neck. The breathing was just to throw us off).
When we got to the zoo we sent the in-laws a picture of the dome to see if they knew where we were. It's always shown during the college world series. They said it looked familiar, but they couldn't place it. So at the end of the day we took a picture of Kevin on the famous dog pile statue, and they got it right away. They were also at a longhorn game when they received that message- hopefully the longhorns will be in Omaha at the end of the season. (The Aggies are sadly missing from all the championship plaques). But then last night we noticed in the picture you can see "mutual of Om" - so we looked at the dome picture we actually sent. The word "Omaha" is clearly visible.. LOL

Favorite animals- the otters or the orangutans. They were lively and being adorable. And there was a cute gorilla baby. And goats at the petting zoo who just could not care less how much you touched them. Kevin tried to steal one, but it didn't work. I asked the llama if I could make it into a sweater, but it said no.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


So anyhow, this was our anniversary trip. Our actual anniversary we won't be able to have a nice celebration, so we decided this should be it. It will be 5 years, my goodness time flies.

We dropped Elsa off at Brianna's house (thanks!) and headed out to Omaha. Man western Iowa has a TON of wind turbines.

Because of the 3 nights I stayed in a hotel for Motown Tango we earned a free night. With no other time to use it, we decided this would be a great idea. We got a room at the Holiday Inn in Omaha, and it was gorgeous. The lobby was beautiful for this class of hotel, and the room great. It had 2 "areas" divided by a full and half wall, so the bedroom was essentially seperate from the living room. And both areas had HDTVs in them. Too bad it was only one night :(

We went for dinner at Le Voltaire and it was just fantastic.
We started with an appetizer sampler: escargot, smoked salmon, baked brie, duck pate, and artichoke and spinach gratin. So yummy!!!! Well except the duck pate. I was not a fan. But Kevin liked that. The brie was so good (I had actually forgotten about it...) and the escargot was lovely. Kevin and I joke that if you prepared a tennis shoe with that much garlic and butter it would taste good. But the gratin, on the bread they served, was definetly my favorite.

For my main course I had a filet mignon which was served with a brandy peppercorn sauce. I was worried about the taste of brandy (yuck!) but there was none at all. The sauce was incredible! And just the right amount of pepper, though occasionally biting into a peppercorn was a bit of a shock :) It was served with incredible mashed potatoes, and sadly over salted carrots and too crunchy for me green beans. Oh well, I can have vegetables anywhere.

For dessert I went with the creme brulee. (Seriously, how could you get anything else?) It was very good, though I think the sugar was more burnt that i prefer. The creme was very thick and very sweet. It was one of the best ones I had, but it was so sweet I could not eat it all- I get sugar headaches...

Then we went back to the hotel and watched the rest of the Texas football games (great football weekened for Iowa, A&M, and Texas) and I worked on the knitting project I started in the car- and am almost finished with now :)


I didn't do my Monday post, and as Kevin put it "How will I ever know what the best thing you did this weekend was". Sorry folks, guess you won't know the BEST.

But I do plan to tell you about my weekend. I need to get the pictures uploaded. This weekend was our Omaha trip. (WOO HOO- another state crossed off the map.)

Before we went there though we had friends over for dinner and games on Friday. We had excellent hamburgers, with homemade toasted buns courtesy of Kevin, and brownies and ice cream from Brianna and Doug.

Then we played Carcassone, which was excellent fun and highly recommended. I came close to winning, but Doug was laying around in the field and took it at the end.

After that we moved onto Pass the Pigs, which I DID win, twice. An excellent "in between" game, as it's silly and quick.

Then we played Fluxx a few times- still one of my favorite card games.

Monday, October 26, 2009

yawn.... and I still have to go to yoga

Question for you: What's the weird thing you have in the shower?
I have to say the felted soap was awesome. Like a loofah, but super soft, and the soap came through nicely.

Weather outside: drizzly and cool, but fall is so pretty
What hurts: my back
What I want to eat: freebirds.
What I'm wearing: black lands end shoes, black old navy pants, green long sleeve shirt, red lands end fleece, Angee socks
What I'm crafting: Mystery sock, Daffodil design, Endpaper mitts, mockery socks on hiatus.
What I'm watching: not much this week. Stupid baseball.
Best thing that happened this weekend: Craft day!
Worst thing that happened this weekend: The yarn I dyed (not pictured) doesn't look good. Time to come up with a plan B.
What I'm most looking forward to this week: Trip this weekend!
What I'm least looking forward to this week: an adobe illustrator class at kirkwood. I'm nervous
Last thing I bought: A size 12 crochet hook- talk about small.
Something I want to buy: I want my BFL and cashmere yarn to come from pre-order, but really, I want beads!
A link to share: Gorgeous beads, great prices

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I'm not good at the things I'm not good at.

Suzy taught me how to make stitch markers today! It is HARD. The twisting at the end is really really difficult. We went to Michaels and I almost bought beads, but in the end I only got some for knitting onto a cowl. I love my stitch markers. (The one on the own is the one suzy made.)

Here's me holding the first one I made. (Note the short hair.)

The first craft of the day we took on was felted soap. I can't wait to use this. I'm trying to not use plastic bottles anymore, so I'm going to start using bar soap for the first time since I discovered body gel. I'm excited about the wool covering. Mine is the green one- I accidentally put the seam on the top. The felt should get tighter and more even with use.

We also dyed yarn. This is Suzy's first time dyeing, handpainting with Kool-Aid. I dyed some laceweight yarn for Christmas knitting, using a mixture of Jacquard and Wilton's. (AKA the wilton's didn't work and I threw different dye in).

Then we went on an unproductive hunt for DPNs for suzy- Michael's, Walmart, and then the yarn store- which was closed :( It did produce ice cream at Walmart though. And beads for my lace knitting (yet to be decided pattern)- though I still need a smaller crochet hook if I'm not going to thread them)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

...a poodle massacre

What does it look like when you get curly hair cut very short? See above!

I got my hair cut very short today. It was a three or so inches past my shoulders. It is not anymore.

Hmmm... no pictures for you. Blogger won't let me load them.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm not even trying

Weather outside: Feels warmer than it has been- maybe in the high 40s.
What hurts: my hip/butt/calf still- maybe some sciatica, though it's getting much better.
What I want to eat: TONS, but I'm actively trying to lose weight again.
What I'm wearing: black lands end shoes, black old navy pants, purple long sleeve shirt, red lands end fleece, knee high black and white striped socks
What I'm crafting: Mystery sock, Daffodil design, Endpaper mitts, mockery socks on hiatus.
What I'm watching: Loving TAR
Best thing that happened this weekend: Finished a sock, washed my car
Worst thing that happened this weekend: Accidentally (really) sprayed Kevin with the hose, and I think he was really pissed off at me.
What I'm most looking forward to this week: Hoping to score some cashmere sock yarn for christmas presents
What I'm least looking forward to this week: sitting at work. Even with a pillow it's super painful.
Last thing I bought: Can't remember
Something I want to buy: yarn to dye
A link to share: My yarn supplier

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I finished this!

This is the "mystery sock" i've been talking about. It was designed for the solid sock group on ravelry and released in a series of 3 "clues"- hence the mystery. But it wasn't a mystery to me.

It's a little too big for me because I wanted to finish the design on the foot panel. It will still fit, but not as well as I'd like. The heel flap (which is shorter than normal) also seems a bit big. It's just an odd fit, i guess. I love the sock and the color is just brilliant. This sock weighs more than any sock I've knit - 51 grams. Thank goodness Wollmeise has super sized skein. I've never gone over 100 grams for a pair before. (I'm not sure I've gone over 80, actually).

I'm also back and working on the daffodil design. My goodness what was I thinking starting that? The rounds are never ending now. I did 1.5 last night. I hope to do at least 2 today.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Didn't get to skate tonight (leg still hurts) so here I am.

Finished my Wanida socks yesterday, and took (bad) photos today.
And the "Mary Poppins" pose

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's hard to think of Monday titles

Question for you: Where will you/did you/do you hope to go eat for your 5th anniversary dinner?
Kevin and I are going to have ours early (the actual one will be in an airport) and our going for French food- mmm escargot!

Weather outside: Inside it's 59 degrees, outside it's grey, dreary, and cold
What hurts: left calf, quad, and hip
What I want to eat: patacones- but I have to wait for tomorrow
What I'm wearing: Cotton hiking socks, black work pants, yellow mock turtle neck, white fleece.
What I'm crafting: Finished Wanida, cast on "Mystery Sock" except it's not a mystery, that's just it's name, Mockery socks on hiatus, Daffodil Design on hiatus
What I'm watching: Looking forward to big bang tonight
Best thing that happened this weekend: Papercrafting was fun
Worst thing that happened this weekend: Felt pretty sick all week
What I'm most looking forward to this week: Some good knitting time.
What I'm least looking forward to this week: skating, it hasn't been going well.
Last thing I bought: Groceries- including green plantains
Something I want to buy: yarn to dye
A link to share: A good food blog

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sneak Peak

Oh, I miss papercrafting so much. This was so much fun!

A little sneak peak, this is my favorite of 5 panels:

Because I'm not doing this anymore, I didn't feel the need to "save" the good stuff. So I broke out my favorite patterned papers, flowers, stickles (glitter glue), crystal effects (the clear epoxy), buttons, and rhinestones.

Another panel:

I still haven't put the finished product together (stuff is still drying), and then I need to reglitter and area I messed up, but I think this is going to look pretty cool!

Craft #2 is going to have to wait, I have more knitting to do.

What to do?

I am being crafty today- making my "chain letter" gifts. (I'm sad, only 2 people commented... but that's okay, because that way I don't have to make 5 things.)

Anyhow. I am being papercrafty, something I haven't done in a very long time (since knitting reclaimed it's rightful place) and I've pulled out tons of stuff. But I can't find my crop-a-dile. (I don't know anything about that store- just needed a picture). The crop-a-dile is one of the only ways to punch holes into chip board. (It also sets eyelets).

So what's a girl to do? Ask her husband for help.

The edges aren't quite as pretty as if I had punched them, but it works, and he drilled through all 5 layers of chipboard in one go.

I'll post a finished project a) after I finish it and b) after mystery recipient tells me she recieved it.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I think my dog is the cutest thing in the world. It is rare that she doesn't look adorable. (She's not so adorable when she is super hyper jumping on company- that kind of bothers me. But once she calms down, so cute.)

Elsa likes to burrow under covers. She also likes to ignore me completely. We sometimes think she might be a cat. We live to serve her, she is not required to provide companionship in return.

So all summer long, it's as if we have no pet. We feed her, let her in and out, sometimes get to play rope, but she keeps to herself, generally looking adorable while doing it. But once it gets cold, I have a best friend.

Here she is cuddleing with me while I knit. At night, she sleeps under our covers (until she gets too warm, then she goes to the couch, until she gets cold, then she comes back in. Thankfully I go back to sleep easily, otherwise this would be not cool.)

She's curled up under the blanket, head on my lap, just barely peaking out.

Also- that's my "not snuggie" it is the greatest blanket in the world. It has zippers so it zips up likes a sleeping bag, except it zips in 2 parts and then the top and bottom snap together to give you arm holes, but unlike the stupidity of the "wearing a robe backwards"-ness that the snuggy has, this gives you a back. And it's microfiber on one side so it is so so so warm.

The Wanida socks (in picture) aren't done yet. I meant to knit more today but I ran tons of errands- got skates sharpened (YAY ~ YAY jumps for joy), stopped by to chat with Linda and get some fresh herbs before the winter took them away (yeah, it snowed today), and went to Hyvee to mail some packages and buy some bread for dinner (caprese salad)

Also- it is so cold in here: 61 degrees inside most of the day. But I refuse to turn the heater on before Oct 15, even if it is snowing. We'll see if I make it that far. It's really cold.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sick Day

I came home sick from work today. My stomach has been bothering me all week, and I pulled a muscle on Wednesday at Synchro in my leg that hurts to much, whether I'm sitting still or standing/walking that it's making me nauseated. The nice thing about going into work at 7:30 is you can leave at 11:30 and have done a half day :)

I'm mostly sleeping, but I figured I'd post this picture of my endpaper mitts. I tried to take a picture of the Wanida sock, but I couldn't get a good one. I should be done with those by Sunday.

So here's the latest Work-in-Progress. I need motivation to go back to the Daffodil Design!

It took me a long time to decide if I should do it this way or reverse the colors. Now I wish I had done them reversed :( I'm trying to decide if I want to mismatch them, because that could be fun. Also- stranded knitting on DPNs is hard.

Monday, October 5, 2009

It's monday :)

Question for you: If you had to vacation in the midwest, where would you go?
We booked a hotel room for our mini-vacation (one night). We are no longer going to Madison (home football game) and instead going to a secret destination. (It's not really secret, but for a silly reason I'm not publishing it. I'll tell you when you ask me via private communication or we get back)

Weather outside: getting cold
What hurts: my butt from 3 hours in an unpadded canoe seat
What I want to eat: ice cream
What I'm wearing: Wool hiking socks, black land's end shoes, old navy black pants, green long sleeve shirt (first long sleeves to work this year), white land's end fleece
What I'm crafting: Finished a Wanida sock, about to do another, Mockery socks on hiatus, Daffodil Design on hiatus
What I'm watching: TAR- missed last night because we were out
Best thing that happened this weekend: Canoe trip!
Worst thing that happened this weekend: Found out american girl is retiring kirsten
What I'm most looking forward to this week: nothing in particular
What I'm least looking forward to this week: nothing here either- my camp skills training (i'm the trainer) got canceled so I have a free weekend.
Last thing I bought: Groceries- lots of them
Something I want to buy: Kirsten's Nightgown to complete my collection
A link to share: I linked to something yesterday, so I feel I'm off the hook.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fall Paddle

We went on a 10.2 mile paddle of the Iowa River today. We started in Wapello and ended in Oakville. Then we had a nice cook out with hot dogs and s'mores. Thanks River Basin Canoe and Kayak for an excellent event.

There were 3 of us, 3 other people and 2 from the shop. It was supposed to be yesterday, but the weather was miserable, so it was put off one day. A gorgeous day with a cooperative river that cut the paddling time in half about!

Some pictures (be sure to scroll to the end!)

Kevin and I before the day started.
Kevin and I out on the river.

Amanda and I in our rental canoe.

Kevin and Amanda caught mid-laugh.
Possibly the best road sign in the history of the highway system:

In other news, the toe of my first Wanida sock is almost done.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

October: National Candy Corn Month!

The best part of October, Candy Corns!

I picked up a Brach's mixed bag today. Ahh, so yummy. I really like the pumpkins, and while I don't love them enough to need a whole bag, I love to have the Indian corn mixed in. Also very good- mix candy corns with peanuts.

So, as a candy corn lover, you'll imagine my excitement when I saw this:

Yes, candy corn Hershey kisses. I really enjoy many of the Hershey kiss flavors. They have really branched out in the past few years. (Oh Peppermint, I shall write how I love thee nearer to Christmas). And the kiss, well it looks like a candy corn should:

Alas, it tastes not like colored chocolate, but like a wilton's candy melt. That is, not good. Too sweet, but without flavor. I am sad. I need to stop trying new products; Tofu Shirataki style disapppointment here.

However, Hyvee has a huge sale this morning and we got some more Newman's Own salsa: the Pineapple salsa and the Black Bean salsa are highly recommended, and I shall go console myself with a bowl of that, and my actual candy corns :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Is it October Yet?

I participate in two knit along groups on Ravelry. I am actually a member of quite a few more, but I generally do Cookie A socks and "Sock Knitters Anon".

Cookie A this month is Wanida. I'm very excited and have picked out a Lorna's Laces yarn to use (it's blue.)

SKA this month has 3 challenges: holiday stocking (not happening), men's socks (no way), and a Jeannie lastnamehere design. (I know the last name, but I'm not sure she uses it publicly This is her blog- amazing socks. She is a fantastic designer. I will be knitting a sock she did as a Mystery sock* for another group, out of green Wollmeise.

This will be a great sock month.

*Mystery sock- A knit along group is given 4 clues spread out 1 week apart. You start knitting with no idea what you will end up with. I'm not a fan. But I love using the final products.

In other news: as a skater, it is very weird that on Glee sectionals is before regionals

Monday, September 28, 2009

The week begins again...

Question for you: Candy Apple or Caramel Apple? (Kevin made caramel apples, but I have yet to dig in)

Weather outside: SO WINDY
What hurts: tongue from super hot salsa
What I want to eat: more jasmin rice
What I'm wearing: Zombie socks, black land's end shoes, old navy black pants, light blue land's end polo, white land's end fleece
What I'm crafting: Mockery socks at work, Daffodil Design on hiatus
What I'm watching: TAR was on last night. I love it!
Best thing that happened this weekend: TAR WAS ON LAST NIGHT PEOPLE
Worst thing that happened this weekend: Nothing really. It was a fun weekend. Got a bit of skating in, helped a friend move, went to a birthday party. No worst about that.
What I'm most looking forward to this week: Does this week start October? That's cool.
What I'm least looking forward to this week: A meeting I have to go to.
Last thing I bought: no idea, probably fries on Wednesday
Something I want to buy: Alphabet Cake pans, though I have no idea why I want them. But doesn't that seem cool.
A link to share: Surely you know about Television Without Pity- but if you don't, it has fantastic recaps of all kinds of shows and the most comprehensive television forums (ruled with an iron fist though!) I've ever seen.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Super Secret Knitting done!

WOW this project was fast. I thought it would take me about a month. It took me 6 days, including 2 days of not knitting, and 1 day where all I did was bind off, so really 3 days, and only one of those was a weekend where I knit all day, so this is something I could totally knock out in a weekend.

Things I learned
-size 4 needles are big (the pattern actually calls for 3s, but I knit tight), but not big enough. I was still 1 stitch/inch tight. (Non knitters- that may not sound like a lot but over 128 stitches it means a loss of 3 inches. Yeah, my project is 3 inches too small- for the project I made, that is a lot of inches. But it fits me. And it fits my husband. So hopefully it will fit the recpient. But if it doesn't, hey it's quick, i'll make another.

-knitted hems suck. I still haven't sewn it down, so I guess I'm not technically finished. But it's a much cleaner look than ribbing, or rolled stockinette.

-using your own head to block wool makes for one really really hot evening. I just gave away what I made. Where you paying attention? (But really- what else would fit both me and Kevin?)

If you are a ravelry member you can see the project in my notebook I'm not giving you a direct link because then the name will come up and ruin the surprise. If not, the teaser pic is all you get right now. I'll post a full one after the holidays.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Are you watching Glee? It's quickly becoming one of my favorite shows ever. Singing, dancing, mostly witty. It's a good show.

Best part (well most entertaining, the best scene was a more touching one) of last night's episode (Kanye approved, probably)
Start at 2:34 if you want to shorten the video.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Off to skating, but saw this on facebook and it was really cool (check out their other videos too)

Monday, September 21, 2009


Question for you: Do you try to talk yourself out of your favorite color?
I love pink and want everything to be pink, but I try to convince myself I need diversity and then I actively don't get pink stuff, and now I feel like I don't have enough.

Weather outside: About to rain, chilly
What hurts: hip, maybe
What I want t
o eat: salsa
What I'm wearing: Angee socks, black land's end shoes, old navy black pants, red land's end polo, red land's end fleece
What I'm crafting: Mockery socks at work, Daffodil Design on hiatus, super secret christmas project
What I'm watching: Does Big Bang Start tonight?
Best thing that happened this weekend: Finished my rainbow socks
Worst thing that happened this weekend: It seemed very short
What I'm most looking forward to this week: Maybe finishing super secret knitting
What I'm least looking forward to this week: Yoga tonight. It was a bad day and I just want it to be over
Last thing I bought: I think it was 4 skeins of sock yarn
Something I want to buy: nothing in particular
A link to share: Literally, the best word blog

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Smoke Detectors, Secret Knitting and Sushi

We started the day getting new smoke detectors. Even though the light was still blinking the fact that we managed to have a teeny (immediately put out) kitchen fire while making patacones, and then a house full of smoke making burgers and they didn't go off was a good clue they were broken. (We test them when the clocks change like your supposed to...)

So we went to lowes and got new smoke detectors. They are nice and pretty white and match our ceilings instead of the awful old yellow look. Grungy, and gross, and probably original to the house, so it was time to replace them anyway.

Then I took out the dye pot and made two shades of pink- super bright bold, and super bright but light- that makes no sense at all- you'll have to wait for pictures later in the week. I'm pretty impressed these colors both came from the same fushcia dye. They are nothing alike.

Then I started my super secret knitting project. It's Christmas knitting for my secret santa pick. No way s/he reads this blog (you couldn't pick your spouse) but I'm gonna hide it for awhile. I'll let you know when I post it on Ravelry, so knitters can check it out. S/he is definitely not on ravelry, and that's not searchable by the public.

So anyhow, on this particular type of knitting I knit with even more of a death grip then usual and have to give myself a break every 2-3 rows or my hand will break off. I have no idea how to loosen up. It's not a skill I posses.

Kevin is making sushi (California rolls and shrimp "tempura" rolls. Sadly no tamago this time.) I'm hoping it will be ready soon. I'm hunry!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Skate Bag

I originally intended for this blog to take over for my skating blog, but I've decided to keep my practice posts over at Skittles Skates on livejournal. But here's a skating related post for those who don't keep up with that one.

I subbed LTS today (grr... the adult for the first class didn't show up, so I got to twiddle my thumbs for an hour) and then I helped two tot classes, including one HUGE class, that was just fantastic.
When I came home, I brought my skates in, rather than leaving them in the car. (I know, you shouldn't do that.)

So I decided I should clean out my skating bag. This is everything that was in my skating bag. (My bag is a backpack).

I’m not even sure how all that fit in there. This is what actually belongs in my skating bag:

It’s still a lot: 2 skates, 2 ankle pads, stinkeez, a microfiber cloth, mismatched gloves, a fleece, hard guards I never use, a screwdriver, oder eaters that are about ready to be thrown out, tissues, chapstick, a pen, a notebook, the LTS guide, 2 patella tendon straps, my MITF and dance diagrams on a keyring, dance CDs, my checkbook, and a baggie with my membership cards, a hair tie, nail clippers, safety pins, shoelaces, blister pads, and band aids.

This is the stuff that shouldn’t be in there:

3 pairs of socks, including 2 handknit, a sock in progress (I was working on that today), 5 baby sitter club books (I lend them to a girl at the rink), leggings from Wednesday, a shirt I brought as a back up for Detroit, sharpie’s from Detroit, assorted pens and pencils, food packets from Detroit, random money, misc pieces of trash, including an ice cream tester spoon, a sticker from skating in Arizona, a synchro receipt from a year ago, and mail from a few weeks ago.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday, Monday

Question for you: I've just added a ton of blogs to my blog roll, but I'm looking for more. What's your favorite blog.

Weather outside: Fall is in the air.
What hurts: At this second, I'm doing okay.
What I want to eat: Nothing in particular, because I ate so much this weekend. Amanda came over and we hadpatacones (fried plantains) with shredded chicken/salsa; tortilla soup, and fried tortillas (sopapilla style for me!), and then on Saturday we went to Formossa.
What I'm wearing: Black pants, blue shirt, Nutkin socks
What I'm crafting: Mockery socks at work are on haitus, Daffodil Design is on burn out mode, Dead Simple Lace Socks
What I'm watching: will miss Big Band Theory and How I Met Your Mother tonight
Best thing that happened this weekend: Awesome food and got to visit with Kevin's uncle.
Worst thing that happened this weekend: Barely slept at all
What I'm most looking forward to this week: Yoga starts tonight
What I'm least looking forward to this week: A bit nervous about the yoga class, actually
Last thing I bought: Groceries
Something I want to buy: nothing in particular
A link to share: Ice Network

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Oh, gross.

If you read food blogs, especially diet ones, you've likely read Hungry Girl. Hungry Girl has some good ideas but uses TONS of processed foods, LOTS of Splenda, and mystery products I've never seen in grocery stores, so I rarely actually use her recipies. (NOT a fan of splenda)

Today, at Hy-vee, I found one of the mystery products: Tofu Shirataki noodles made by House Foods Every pasta-swap HG raves about these noodles, and they feature her logo on the back. I was excited to see them, because I am a noodle-aholic. They cost $2.19 for a 2 serving bag, but it looks like 1 serving to me, and I got the "spaghetti" size. I could not wait to try them, so I decided to prepare them tonight. The full bag: only 20 calories.

I decided to make them for dinner, and even though she recommends cream sauces most of the time (not all the time, she has some red sauce recipes) I prepared them the way I eat 90% of my noodles "Shanna Style": cook noodles, add tomato sauce. (Like Hunt's tomato sauce, not a spaghetti sauce). For more flavor I added pepper and paremesan cheese.

Let's back up a step; before I could "cook" these (they are pre-cooked and microwaving takes 1 minute) I had to prepare them. First cut open the package, drain and rinse. Okay, no problem. OMG- disgusting. These noodles REEK of fish. It is disgusting smelling. Like a bait shop. I am not exagerating. GROSS. They are tofu noodles with yam flour. I'm not sure how either of these ingredients gets a fish smell. So I rinse them in a colander and then pat them dry. Everything I read said to get them REALLY dry. (One site recommended a blow dryer). I used about 10 paper towels. (Between the rinsing, the paper towels and the plastic packaging, these aren't really going down well with tree hugger me.) Then I stuck them in the microwave for 30 seconds, and then another 30 with sauce.

The taste test: 1 took 1 bite, and even though the fish smell was gone, they tasted like eating fish. Disgusting. I actually spit it out. I tried another, and I also could not choke it down. They are also very chewy and difficult to break with your teeth. I will not buy these again.

(Kevin tried them and said "they don't taste like fish to me")

Having read more reviews it seems they do well in Asian dishes like Miso soup or shrimp stir-frys, things with a fishy background to begin with, and things I don't eat anyway.

Two thumbs DOWN, and $2.19 into the trash.

(Okay- Kevin made a shrimp stir-fry with the rest of them and I asked him what they thought. His response "They're...not...great... they don't taste like anything but chewyness")