Monday, August 31, 2009

You probably thought I would miss today...

But I am home now :) We spent last night in Fort Worth, so today's drive was only 13 hours. Poor dog was SO ready to not be in the car anymore.

Question for you:
Do you prefer to drive or fly when you travel?

Weather outside: Way colder than I expected, but I think the Texans are lying to me. It was under 100 and rained while we were there.
What hurts: Knee from the car trip.
What I want to eat: Something- I am starving from the trip, but ate a ton all weekend: Taco Cabana tortillas and queso, Freebirds burrito, a fantastic meal at the uber-fancy Steiner Ranch Steakhouse
What I'm wearing: I look like crap. Tennis shoes and ankle socks, brown shorts, elephant walk t-shirt.
What I'm crafting: Daffodil Design blanket and Mockery Socks - I finished one sock, and am on row 50 of the next.
What I'm watching: Got to watch "Trinny and Susannah Make Over America" and miss cable.
What I'm thankful for: My wonderful family
Best thing that happened this weekend: Seeing everyone, though for such a sad reason. My nephews are two joys: Conor is always smiling, and Cole is smart and articulate.
[Strike]Worst[/Strike] Hardest thing that happened this weekend: Watching Kevin try to hold steady while saluting Pop's casket while Taps was playing. It was the most difficult thing I've ever watched. I cry like crazy anyway, and was crying most anytime I'd look at Nan, or think about how rare our trips home are, but seeing Kevin's cheeks quivering while he stood at attention was just heartbreaking. (Also hearing the Seargent present the flag to Nan was good enough to start the waterworks. But I also cried when Kevin got his haircut- so I'm a pretty easy target for tears.)
What I'm most looking forward to this week: Knitting this weekend with friends- wanna come?
What I'm least looking forward to this week: Handling the lack of sleep
Last thing I bought: Cinnamon bears at a gas station.
Something I want to buy: Knitting needles to start a christmas present.
A link to share: Sorry I'm too lazy to find a particularly good post My favorite Blog

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

No blog from me...

I had planned to find something witty and inciteful to post by the end of the week, but there won't be any interesting post. We got sad news yesterday that Kevin's grandfather has passed away. This was not unexpected, I think I mentioned he went home a few weeks ago to visit him. So tomorrow we are driving (all the way) to Austin; with the dog.

Tonight was spent packing and I've found that since leaving college I have no clothes at all suitable for dressy occasions. Also, the mall has no clothes that are suitable for dressy occasions and fit me. So I'm wearing 2 outfits that are practically identical (seriously, exact same outfit, different color) and hoping no one will mock me. Due to the occasion, I don't think anyone will.

Kevin will wear his uniform, and it will be the first time he wears Captain's ranks. What a sad reason to need to put them on. He got promoted after being discharged from active duty (he is "individual ready reserve" now- not quite the same thing as "the reserves") and got promoted via letter, so he had no pinning on. His grandfather was a good part of the reason why he joined the Air Force, so wearing his uniform will be special to him and his grandmother.

I'm really sad, but don't know how to express it, because Pop was in a lot of pain, the cancer was definetly winning. I just feel so sad for Nan. I think it will be the hardest once we get there, and the family is together, and he is not. I've never really had occasions with all my grandparents, because my Dad's mother died very young, and my mother's parents were rarely together; but Nan and Pop have always been together for everything.

I miss Texas, and have wanted to go back for some time now, but not for this. I wish it were easier to get families together without having to wait for funerals.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Question for you: My friends are trying to talk me into going to a chiropractor for my hip. Your opinion? Chiropractor: thumbs up or down?

Weather outside: It's been chilly for the summer
What hurts: Arm near tricep, hip a little bit
What I want to eat: Less. I reall want to loose the "stress eating weight"
What I'm wearing: Work clothes- black pants, cute green top, one sock; still working on getting dressed
What I'm crafting: Daffodil Design blanket and Mockery Socks
What I'm watching: Last night I watched Homeland Security, which is always suprisingly interesting, and Shark Tank, which was also better than I expected.
What I'm thankful for: Having a job I like
Best thing that happened this weekend: Spent time hanging out with friends
Worst thing that happened this weekend: Could barely sleep. Spent most of the nights awake
What I'm most looking forward to this week: Probably skating, nothing real excited planned
What I'm least looking forward to this week: I have TWO computer trainings this week.
Last thing I bought: A drying rack, so we don't have to hang things everywhere in the laundry room
Something I want to buy: A car wash type bucket; I'm insane and am using shower water to flush the toilet, but realized if I get a second bucket I can do the same thing with dehumidifier water.
A link to share: An excellent "beach read" type book The Second Date

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Shampoo Bars!

My Shampoo Bars arrived today! I ordered them from PrairieLand Herbs but they are made by Heart of Iowa Soapworks (They are slightly less expensive at PLH.)

I ordered 3 because there was a price break at 3. I had wanted to order some peppermint essential oil, but decided I'd rather have 3 shampoos to play with!

Each bar is 4 ounces, and the one I weighed was slightly more than 4 ounces, which is nice. They smaller than I expected about 2.5 x 3.5" each. Looking back at the website, I don't know why I would have thought they were bigger. I guess just because "artisan soap" tends to be. I've been told these will last at least as long as a bottle of shampoo and possibly 3 times as long.

I bought Aloe Fresh, Rosemary Nettle, and Peppermint & Tea Tree. My main motivation for buying these is to reduce plastic waste- rather than coming in the traditional shampoo bottle (obviously, since they are a bar...) they come in a recyclable cardboard box. I was a bit worried they'd come in a plastic wrapper, thus mooting the point, but they came in just a priority postal mailer- which is now in the recycling bin. Treehugger points to Jessi.

Here is what the website says about the types I picked:
Aloe Fresh: A lovely customer suggestion! Aloe enhances Karla's basic shampoo bar to make a wonderful soap with extra moisturizing and detangling properties. As the name suggests, this shampoo bar has lovely fresh, clean citrus-ey scent, brought to us by the magic combination of sweet orange, bergamot, lavendin, and ylang-ylang. Delicious! Scented only with essential oils.

Peppermint and Tea Tree:
This is a delightfully tingly, fresh-smelling bar loaded with pure essential oils of tea tree and peppermint. Great for your scalp circulation, this one is also recommended for anyone with oily hair and especially for anyone with dandruff and scalp problems - the tea tree should whip it into shape in no time. Scented only with essential oils.

Rosemary Nettle:
A real delight! Contains vegetable oils infused with nettle, rosemary & nettle herbal tea, and essential oils of rosemary, clary sage and ylang-ylang, this shampoo bar literally smells good enough to eat. It's fabulous for dark hair (rosemary is beloved by brunettes!) but great for any hair. Nettle is nature's conditioner. Donna has a serious addiction to this shampoo bar. Scented only with essential oils.

Each bar of soap is clearly marked with it's ingredients, which seem to be "all natural". They do not seem to have any colorant added. The only mystery ingredient is "essential oils" because it doesn't tell which ones they are. I'm not on the "SLS will kill you now" variety, but I have heard it causes frizz, so I'm happy to hear these are SLS free. Kevin tells me that Sodium Hydroxide is Lye. Palm oil production is currently responsible for the destruction of the orangutagn habitat, so if that's the same as palm kernel oil I loose treehugger points. Kevin also tells me it is almost all saturated fat, and will cause my hair to have a heart attack.

If you are interested, the ingredients are:
Aloe Fresh: Castor oil, Olive oil, Aloe Vera juice, Palm kernel oil, Rice bran oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Jojoba, Essential oils

Peppermint and Tea Tree:
Castor oil, Peppermint Tea, Coconut oil, Palm kernel oil, Olive oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Rice Bran oil, Essential oils, Jojoba

Rosemary Nettle:
Castor oil, Water, Coconut oil, Palm kernel oil, Olive oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Rice bran oil, essential oils, jojoba, Rosemary, nettle, horsetail herbs.

I would describe the smells, but I have a very unsensitive nose, because I can tell one smells like peppermint, and the others kind of smell like soap. The aloe vera kind of has a lemony smell, and the rosemary nettle has an afternote that smells like soap with ground pepper. These analysis don't make sense, however Kevin didn't do much better. Kevin thinks the rosemary nettle smells like lavendar (that's probably wrong), the aloe vera like pledge (so lemon?), and he agrees on the peppermint :)

I will report back on what I think about them eventually. I still have some shampoo left (that I don't like and wanted to replace even before I found these) and I only wash my hair once a week, so it might take a while. Maybe I'll wash twice a week just to speed it up! But apparently your hair has to "adjust" a bit, so I think switching back and forth might not be a good idea. I've heard that some people need vinegar rinses, but my plan is to just use the shampoo and see how it works, than use shampoo/vinegar if necessary, and last use shampoo/conditioner. It would be idea if the bar was all I needed!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Whatcha knitting that for?

Daffodil Design is coming along faster than I imagined- I just finished Part D which means I have knit 17,718 total stitches and 8,148 of those in Part D. (Though the stitch counts at the end are killer- over 1,000 per round!). I'm very happy with the way it is looking, and feeling optimistic enough that I may may another of the Kinzel designs immediate following. (We'll see how I feel about that on those last rounds.)

This was mostly knit over the weekend, because I had a good amount of time to sit down. Yesterday I did 20 stitches before I realized I was way too tired to do lace, and today I'm feeling about the same way, though I did 3 rows.

The pictures will be a bit blob like from now on. My circular needle is only 24" and the blanket is bigger than that now. I also tried to take a bit of a close up so you can see the new progress on the design. I need to decide when to buy larger needles. The blanket will definitely need them, but I'm hoping I can skip a size and just get real long ones that will finish it off. I have to order them from knitpicks (my local yarn store doesn't even carry the size) and that is always a temptation of tons of other stuff.

So why the break from socks? Well 1) I love lace and 2) I found out my sister is pregnant. Isn't it a knitters reaction to make something? For her son Cole and my SIL's son Conor I quilted blankets.

So why is this kiddo getting an heirloom lace blanket? Well, my sister is pregnant with twins!

Our family has an heirloom baptismal gown that the majority of the family has worn. (We even had to cut the neck opening a bit wider for Cole since he wasn't baptised as a newborn, and at 9 months had a bigger head than the gown allowed for.) With twins, they will likely get baptised at the same time, so only one can wear it. I wanted something just as special for the other baby. So I decided I would make something that can be passed down in the family, and will hopefully be just as special generations from now. So this blanket (which is actually meant to be a tea cloth...) is meant to be a christening gown, not just for this baby, but hopefully for all the babies yet to come through the generations.

Now, I'm not sure my knitting is quite good enough for that (there is already a minor mistake), but I'm certainly putting forth my best effort. If it's not heirloom quality, well the baby can use it, and then I can have a tea cloth :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday Routine

I like the blogs that have one day a week where they post the same questions. This will be my Monday post. It will start with a question for you, and then I will answer all mine.

Question for you: Before I finalize the question set up, do you think there is anything else I should add?

Weather outside: humid and rainy
What hurts: Arm near tricep, hip when I get up after sitting cross legged
What I want to buy: A larger size 2 circular needle, pink Jacquard Acid dye
What I want to eat: More of Kevin's homemade tortillas with homemade guacamole
What I'm wearing: Clothes from work: black pants, red polo, hand knit Kai-Mei socks
What I'm crafting: Daffodil Design blanket and Mockery Socks
What I'm watching: DVDs- Friends and Tiny Toons, waiting for fall TV to start!
What I'm thankful for: Healthy nephews
Best thing that happened this weekend: I dyed really pretty yarn.
Worst thing that happened this weekend: Kevin spent a ton of money
What I'm most looking forward to this week: Learning new ice dances
What I'm least looking forward to this week: Computer training at work
Last thing I bought: Bar shampoo- I hope to reduce my plastic consumption.
Something I want to buy: Roadrunner showerhead: a low flow shower head with a special "ladybug" attachment which stops the flow of the water once it is heated up until you actually hop into the shower!
A link to share: A classic tiny toons clip

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Remember the rainbow realization

Yes, I realize I'm an idiot. I know how primary colors make secondary colors and so forth, but I never connected it to the order of the rainbow before. So anyhow, I just got new yarn in (from and decided to make some rainbow yarn to celebrate.

I used red, blue, and yellow, and put large patches of it, then smooshed it together so they would blend in the middle. And this is what I got.
There is one section that isn't in the right order. I was so focused on getting the right number of color repeats, I messed up the order. DOH And one more, a close up!

And now, I'm off for a sushi dinner and a DVD night- I think we are going to get a season of Tiny Toons :) (This is what passes as date night. I wanted to go see Julie and Julia, but do you know how expensive movies are? CRAZY)

The other news for the day- Kevin now owns a kayak. He spent a full paycheck, but he got a free t-shirt! (I'm secretly jealous I don't have one...)

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I thought I should show a picture of Daffodil Design before it gets larger than the gap in the needles (these are 24" circs, I'm hoping I can use them for most of the project, but by the end it will be a very very tight squeeze, so I will probably have to buy another set of needles. That will cost a ton of money, because you know I'm gonna end up getting other stuff too...)

Anyhow this is Daffodil Design. I've made a huge step forward in my knitting with this. Each round has the same pattern repeated 6 times, but I wouldn't call it a simple pattern (you know k3, yo, k3, yo sort of thing)- however- I have found that once I do one repeat I am able to do the other 5 without refering to the pattern. I was actually doing well not refering to the pattern with the next repeat, but then it turned out the motif changed and I had to unknit quite a bit, so I am no longer trying to be psychic. However, the ability to memorize a complicated pattern has eluded me until now, and I am very proud of myself.

This is the "yarn" I am using for the project. It is crochet cotton, so I think it might actually be considered thread.

This is yarn I dyed for Marlene socks. I am really excited to knit Marlene, and now I have sport weight yarn so they should go over my heel! This yarn is a semi-solid blue, the first yarn I've done using Jacquard dyes instead of food dye like Wiltons and Kool-Aid. I'm not sure I love it. It took a few trys to get all the white spots out, and the subtle color differences I put in don't seem to show. However, I never know until I knit it up...

I had previously shown you Marlene in the yarn that I am now using for the Mockery socks, which by the way were not ripped out after all. They are my work socks, which means they get 30 minutes of kniting at lunch. They are ready for heel #1 and I am trying to decide between short row and heel flap, guess it will be whichever the wind guides me to tomorrow at lunch, likely a short row, as those take way less time. I am completly loving them, the subtle pattern, the shine of the silk in the yarn, the GORGEOUS accidental color. It's perhaps the best yarn I've ever dyed, and I'm happy about the pattern I chose. Sorry, no pictures of those yet.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ripping out again...

Has anyone noticed that I rip out WAY more than I ever manage to knit? I have been working on "Mockery Socks" - which are knit at 10 stitches per inch (this is very tight gauge- most socks are 8 stitches per inch, although most of mine are 8.5-9). I adjusted the pattern by removing a 6-stitch repeat, but still my gauge was too big. I decided to call that the "upper calf" and after 50 rows, switched to a smaller needle so I am where I need to be. Well, it looks most fine, but the top still feels a bit loose. I've decided that (after Kevin gets home with the camera) I am going to rip this out and start again. I am making these socks with my favorite dyed-by-me yarn, and I want them to be as close to perfect as my knitting can be. The pattern is quick and easy, so this is mostly painless, but I have 70 rows of a 90 row cuff done... sigh.

(Lace is going well. This is surprisingly easy. I worry I am doing it wrong.)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Daffodil Design

On the 5th I cast on for what is probably my most ambitious project ever- Marianne Kinzel's Daffodil Design. I haven't done lace knitting for awhile, but not matter how complicated the final product gets it's all just combinations of knit and purl stitches. (Of course, occasionally there are things like purl a huge number together, or "Knit forward/back to MAKE EIGHT" in one stitch, which does up the difficulty factor- I've never seen M8 before this one, but still, its all knit/purl/yarnover)

This is what the finished lace will look like. I am pretty sure this is unblocked.You can see (if you are on ravelry) the blocked version and a few other pictures on Emmybess's Ravelry profile or her project page. She was nice enough to let me use her photo to show you all what this will look like when I am done. There is no project photo online, since it is from an old book, the only completed pictures are other people's projects. The blocked photo is even more lovely, but the edges are curled over a clothesline, so it's tough to see the "whole picture" of it.

So far I have gotten section A and B done. There are 7 sections, but since this is a circle that starts in the middle, 2/7 means I actually haven't gotten much done at all. I am currently at the part of the middle flower right before the petals start curving off. Barely ANY of it is done!

I'm still not sure if I can tell you WHY i'm making this, but it is for someone very special in my family. I'm super excited and hope to make a gorgeous piece of lace. I don't have my camera right now, but will post progress pictures soon.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

So where does Indigo come from?

This morning I woke up before 4:30 to drive Kevin to the airport.

On the way back I had a realization about the order of the colors in the rainbow that I had never noticed before (don't laugh at me):

Red is first and then Yellow is third; Yellow and Red combine to make Orange, the color between them. After Yellow, the next primary color is Blue. Blue and Yellow combine to make Green, the color between them. After Blue is the mystery Indigo, I'll skip that, but then comes Violet- the color that Blue and Red combine to make- and looping back around, Red comes after Blue.


Now how have I never ever noticed that before?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Happy August!

WOW- How is it August already? This year has just flown by. I don't feel like we ever had a summer- there were a few miserably hot days, and the rest have been like fall. Pretty soon there will be snow again. Sigh, I don't mind the snow, but I hate driving in it.

My first week back at work went well and I think this new job will be a great fit for me.

This weekend has been spent cleaning the house- something I did well the first part of my unemployment but very poorly after I picked up insane amounts of low paying freelance work. The laundry is done, the carpets are vacuumed, the tables dusted. Most everything is put away.

On "Wiiware" the downloadable games for the Wii, Kevin bought Bubble Bobble Plus. Bubble Bobble holds many fond memories for me- mostly of road trips up the Eastern United States, heading to New Jersey, but stopping everywhere in between. I think it was the best game to play with Courtney because it was cooperative, not competitive (I also loved super mario 3).

Kevin and I have played Bubble Bobble on an emulator a few times- I used a plug in controller, but he would have to use the keyboard controls (we always hooked the computer up to the TV) now we can actually play together, both with regular controllers and on the TV in good quality. Bubble Bobble Plus is updated graphics, and it's fun to see what everything was "supposed" to look like. I especially like that some of the treats are sushi- including my favorite, Tamago.

There is only one downside- the bubble function has changed making "bubble jumping" much more difficult. There are 3 levels (72, 99, and another) that are near impossible due to this... once you get stuck in a column it is unlikely you will get out, because the bubbles pop to quickly against the wall, where they used to build up. There are MANY complaints around the internet for this. Kevin figured out level 72, but is still stuck on level 99 (the current strategy to do as much as possible before getting stuck, then letting the Hurry Up whale kill him to reset...)

Well, off to play :)

(Edit: He beat the game- those 3 levels were frustrating, but otherwise quite quick. I played the last level, but only offered a bit of help... After the first round of getting stuck on level 72 I gave up, and he started over by himself.)