Wednesday, December 3, 2008

At the Summit

My family and I rented a cabin just outside of Helen Georgia for Thanksgiving. We were there four days. We were literally at the summit of a mountaintop, which made for a spectacular view. Here's a panoramic shot from Saturday morning when the fog from the rain was rolling in:

The cabin was lovely (but full of stuffed animals mounted on the walls). The kicker was this one as we walked in the cabin:

I won't say here what I was thinking when I saw it. ;-)

Here's the cabin itself. Notice the apparently non-existent driveway? It's there, but very very very VERY steep. Kind of like driving off a cliff when you go down it. We only did it a couple of times, and then spent the rest of the trip parked up top in the cul-de-sac. We even loaded the car back up by hauling everything up the driveway to the car. :-)

I bought a little souvenir while in Helen. I saw this doll in the music box store and had to have her:

Isn't she sweet? She plays "Over the Rainbow" of course! And her head moves back and forth while she plays. She's only about 4 inches high while sitting - so cute!

I got some knitting done while we were gone too! I couldn't work on my Christmas knitting (which is coming along nicely - only two more things to knit!! I won't post any pics of them here in case it spoils the surprise for the intended recipients!), so I worked on the sweater I'm making for DS#1. It was so lovely sitting and knitting by the fireplace.

This was almost entirely knit over the 4 days in the cabin (I had done the first inch prior to our vacation). I'm almost done with the back! Now it's being set aside to finish my Christmas knitting.

Well, that's it for now. I promise to post more knitting content after all Christmas presents have been given! :-) Believe me, I have one in particular that's not to be missed!! ;-)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Shoes!

I snagged a great deal on some shoes the other day:

These are Re-Mixed shoes in the Deco style. Olive and Brown colors. It's a 1920's inspired vintage recreation. These are normally $200 and I got them for $65 at Amazon. Great deal, huh? I normally wouldn't spend even that much on shoes (I'm a bargain buyer), but I fell in love with these and had to have them, and the price break was too good to pass up! They are very comfortable, and the heels make a very satisfying click when I walk in them. :-)

With all the vintage style clothing in fashion this winter, I think they will fit in quite nicely. And I think vintage is really a timeless style, so I should get lots of wear out of them, at least that's my story!

I've found a couple other pairs of shoes that I'm dying to get, but they are all a little bit pricier, (and not on sale!) and I can't bring myself to buy them (yet!). I never really was a shoe hog, but I can totally see how people can become one!

On the spinning front, I finished a batch of laceweight the other day:

This is Gale's Art BFL Roving in the Stormy Sea colorway. I ended up with a little over 600 yards. I'm planning on using it to make a Swallowtail shawl.

As soon as I finish up some Christmas gifts, I'll cast on for it. I'm chomping at the bit to do a Swallowtail!

And, on the knitting front, I've gotten a bit done since last post:


And some longies and a smoke ring/wimple:

The smoke ring was knit in some Blue Sky Alpaca Silk - and it only took a few days to knit - it was quite surprisingly a fast knit! I love wearing it instead of a scarf - it's very soft and warm, yet lightweight.

I'm in the middle of knitting more socks, and several Christmas gifts. If only I had more time!!!

Oh well, both boys are sick with colds, so I'd best go tend to them. :-)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Beautiful Smoky Mountains

We went camping in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park this last weekend. The trees were all starting to turn colors already - just beautiful! We had never stayed directly in the park before, so we were a little nervous about bears. All food had to be kept locked in the car. And, there are no hook-ups or showers available, so we had to make sure we had a fully charged battery (plus a back-up!) to run our water pump, furnace, and lights.

We ended up not seeing any bears (but when we checked in they said that one was spotted in the campground two days before!), or elk either. Bummer. I would have liked to have seen a bear (from a safe distance that is!!). We camped with some of DH's family. The boys liked spending time with their Aunt and Uncle and Grandma.

The boys did the Junior Ranger program and earned their badges while we were there - they thought that was really cool! We celebrated DS#1's 5th birthday too. I can't believe he's 5!!!! He's been asking for a Darth Vader cake for almost a year now! And he loved it :-).

I got some goodies while I was there! :-) I had to stop at the Smoky Mtn Spinnery, since she was who sold me my drop spindle last year, which introduced me to another fiber obsession- spinning! I picked up some soft merino roving and some Melody yarn (I've been coveting some of the pretty Melody yarn for a while now!) And I had to get some yummy Blackberry wine too. ;-)

On the knitting front, I have about 6 WIPs on the needles right now! I may have an anxiety attack with so many things going at once! Three pairs of socks that I want to get done by the end of October for the SKA Sockdown, and one more pair that needs to be done by the end of November. Plus a pair of longies for the shop that a customer wants, so those have to get done asap. Plus, the Purls knit-a-long Baby Surprise Sweater that I just started for DS#1. The photo shoot for the KAL will be mid-November, so it has to be done by then. :-O I almost don't know what to pick up and work on at any one time!! When these are all done, please - remind me not to start so many projects at once!!!!

That's it for now!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wonderful Trip!

We had a great time on our Anniversary trip! It was lovely spending time with each other without the boys (even though I missed them!!). Our room was on the 50th floor, and our view was spectacular! Here's the sunset from our room Thursday night:
We went up to the S.un D.ial Bar Thursday night for drinks and desserts. It's at the top of the W.estin and rotates about one full turn an hour (we think!) so you get to see the whole skyline of Atlanta. A wonderful jazz band was playing. And while we were up there the B.raves game must have ended because they shot off a great fireworks show - and we got to see the whole thing from 70 stories high!!
Friday, after the great breakfast buffet (do hotels get first dibs on fresh produce? Because the strawberries were to die for!!!), we rode M.ARTA to the CNN center and did the tour there. Very cool! Then we walked through C.entennial O.lympic Park and stopped by the World of C.oca-C.ola and wandered through the gift shop (we decided not to spend the $15/person fee for the tour - outrageous!!).

Friday night we had our anniversary dinner at D.ailey's (wonderful food and service!), and DH had had beautiful roses delivered to our table at the restaurant!

The waiter gave us a free dessert to take back to our room too! Then off to the play at the Fox. OMG, it was the best production of Les Miserables that I've ever seen, EVAH! (Our seats were fantastic too!! Smack dab in the center of the Lower Loge - first row! Best seats I've ever had at the Fox!)) DH loved it - he had never seen it before - he says he thinks it was his favorite play ever (and he's actually seen quite a few, so that means something!). The actor who played Valjean is actually from Georgia and decided to get into musical theatre (he was a business major at the time) after seeing Les Mis at the Fox in the mid-90's. And now he's back at the Fox, and in the lead role that inspired him! It's a really neat story, and we thought he looked quite emotional at his reception from the audience while taking his bows.

Then on Saturday, off to 6 Flags! We rode M.ARTA to avoid wasting gas, since gas was quite scarce in the area!!! Let me just tell you this: if you are at all susceptible to motion sickness, even minutely, then DO NOT ride the Batman ride! We got two roller coasters in (the Goliath was fantastic!) and then rode the Batman ride. I immediately felt faint. We had to go sit down asap. I didn't regain my equilibrium even after about 45 minutes of sitting and resting, so we ended up leaving 6 Flags. I was so upset. :-( What a waste of money. I didn't feel better until I took an hour long nap after getting back to our room, and even then I was still a little woozy. Oh well, what are you gonna do?

Overall it was a great vacation, though! And the boys were great for their grandma and grandpa, which was a weight off my mind!

Here's the panoramic view from our room:

I'll post next time with some knitting content, I promise! :-)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

10 years (and counting!)

My 10 yr. wedding anniversary is coming up in the next couple of weeks. To celebrate we're taking a (much needed!) vacation without the DS's. DS#1 and #2 are getting left with my parents while we stay at an upscale hotel in downtown Atlanta, catch a show at the Fabulous Fox (Les Miserables - my favorite show at my favorite theatre!!!!) have a nice dinner, and get to ride some rides at Six Flags without the kids in tow. We are soooooo looking forward to this!!! You have no idea. (I wonder if we'll have time to squeeze in a trip to a LYS? Hmmmm, maybe I can convince hubby that it will add to the romance of the getaway?) Maybe we'll have time to stop by my Alma Mater's gift shop so I can get a few new Ga Tech t-shirts, too. We may stop by the new W.orld of C.oke (haven't been to the new one yet) and get all gassy from the cola samples. :-) Oh, and sleep in - I haven't been acquainted with sleep since 2003, so it'll be nice to rediscover what that is. :-)

On the knitting front - I'm done with German Stocking #1:

And, I've cast on one more pair of socks for the SKA Sockdown challenge. A pair of C.ookie A.'s Pomatomus's in Dream in Color Smooshy (good luck jade colorway, very mermaid-y green). They are going well, although I don't have a pic yet. And the orange pair for DS#2 are coming along nicely too. He's anxious to have a pair of socks that fit him- the pair that I originally made for DS#1 that he's wearing now do not fit him! My boys are growing so fast! :-(

Well, that's it for me now - I'm off to give myself a pedicure for the sexy heels I'm wearing to the play and to finish packing! Catch you on the flip side!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fair Ribbons, Knee Highs and Weight Loss

I entered my Pavo Socks and my Hemlock Ring Blanket in the Cabarrus County Fair.

Lookie what they won - a second place ribbon and a third place ribbon!
There were so many beautiful knitted and crocheted items there. And there are always lots of wonderful photos entered in the photo judging.

I've started a couple pairs of socks for the September SKA Sockdown - this month it's orange socks or a Cookie A. pattern. I'm doing a pair of generic orange socks for DS#2, and a pair of Cookie A.'s German Stockings:

These are my first knee-highs! I'm doing these with Knit Picks Palette yarn in a cream color - and size 1 harmony circs.

My cast on number was very difficult to nail down. I initially cast on the 122 sts for a 15 inch calf size (which is what my calves measure), but that was way too large (and I'm getting an even tighter gauge than called for as well.) Then I tried 114, the next size down, and that was still too big. Let me tell you, frogging 100+ stitches, twice, is not fun! I then tried the 106, and that one fits like a charm - that's the 13 inch calf size. So if you go to make these, keep that in mind!

I also made a modification and worked two sets of increase rows at 2.5 inches and at 3 inches - to widen the sock after the ribbing to make room for the wide part of my calves, and to account for the pulling in at the cable section.

The motif cable chart section was a bear to get through, but once that's done, it's a breeze! I'm already almost to the start of the heel on the first sock. I'm hopeful that I can finish these by the end of October to qualify for the Sockdown prizes.

DH and I have been changing our eating habits (not a diet, but a lifestyle change), and we have both lost about 10 pounds each over the course of the last month or two. We've both stalled a little and leveled off, but we also haven't added in exercise yet, so I'm hoping that adding in some exercise will speed the weight loss up again. My goal is to lose another 10-15 pounds or so - and get back into a size 8 jeans (that was my pre-DS#2 jean size). Keep your fingers crossed for us!

My FIL is in New York this week, having a biopsy done (on his liver spot) and another CT Scan. Everything looks good - the CT Scan showed that his tumors are getting smaller, so the chemo seems to be working, which is fantastic news. We don't know the biopsy results yet, but hope to in the next few days. Thank you for all your good thoughts and prayers, they are much appreciated. :-)

Well, that's it for now! Talk at ya later!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I can't believe my baby's 3!

My youngest turns 3 this Saturday. Where did the time fly to? I still remember being in the hospital having him - in the middle of the night, with his brother in his jammies since we had to wake him up to drive to the hospital. He ended up falling asleep in the delivery room and all the doctors and nurses whispered throughout his brother's delivery! They joked that it was the quietest delivery they had ever had! lol! Until he showed up and started screaming his head off! But big brother still slept through it all :-).

And I'm in denial that my oldest would have started kindergarten this last Monday (if we weren't homeschooling that is!). I'm very glad that I don't have to go through the emotions of putting him on a bus and sending him to school, but I'm experiencing all the other emotions - like disbelief that he can possibly be old enough to be in school! :-(

On the knitting front, the Ravelympics are over! And I did pretty good with 4 projects crossing the finish line! 3 gift knits and one wip. I won't post the gift photos here, but here's the wip scarf that had been hibernating since 2006!It's a very cushy cashmere/wool blend yarn. It knitted up into a very warm and soft scarf - I can't wait to wear it this winter! The pattern is a reversible cable - very cool. Essentially you work groups of K2, P2, K2, P2 rib, and then cable the groups of K2, P2 across each other. The purls end up hiding to the back with the knits popping up in front, and it looks totally reversible! This one is 6 sets of K2, P2 - working 3 cables offset from each other (the outer two cables are worked on the same rows, and the inner cable is worked in the middle of those outer cables.) Did I make sense there? I hope so. It's a great way to do a scarf, since it makes the cable section even denser than normal cables, which gives you a nice thick fabric to keep out the cold!

There's a local natural baby products shop opening up, and the owner wants to sell wool diaper soakers/covers - and she's asked me to supply her! (If you don't know what soakers are, they are knitted pants for babies to wear over cloth diapers. They help to soak up any extra moisture and wick it away from baby's skin.) So I'm busy knitting up a shop sample (and coming up with the pattern at the same time!), and then I'll chug away at knitting up some soakers to sell. Hopefully I'll make a little extra yarn money! :-) Wish me luck!

We're off to King's Mountain for a camping weekend! Let's hope the rain stays away!

Catch you on the flip side! Have a great Labor Day!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

When will we know?

So my DH and I have been sitting on the edge of our seats here for the last few days, waiting to find our who Obama will pick for his VP running mate. I am hoping it's Wes Clark. I know he's not listed as being on the 'short list' but he seems to make the most sense to me. He would counteract (and then some!) any percieved benefit that McCain has because of military experience. He's a 4 star general, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander - I think that trumps McCains time as a POW. I don't think that any of the other choices for VP would benefit Obama as well as Clark would.

From what I hear, the theme for VP day at the convention is a Veteran's theme, and the speech to be given is entitled something like "Securing America's Future". Wes Clark is a veteran, and his webite is called "Securing America" - coincidence? I don't think so.

Anyway, I hope we find out soon!! We're bouncing off the walls here!

Wes Clark's website:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ravelympics Progress, among other things.

So the Ravelympics is well under way (and those other Olympics too). I've crossed the finish line with one of my projects, but I won't put a pic here because they are a Christmas gift (even though I'm pretty sure the intended recipient doesn't read my blog, but you never know!) And I'm about 3/4 of the way done with my second project (another gift!). Then I'll just have three more gifts to knit, and then 4 wips to finish before the Olympics end! I'll maybe finish one of my wips, but it's pretty much a forgone conclusion that I won't finish all 4. I'll do my best, though!

I don't enjoy the Summer Olympics as much as I do the Winter Olympics, but man, they are addicting! We've been staying up past midnight the last several nights watching the swimming and the gymnastics competitions. Man, am I tired!

We got an electronic drum set the other day. Rock Band did it. It gave me the drumming bug. I'm having a blast learning to play, though. Hubby has a new electric guitar (an early birthday present), so we've been learning a couple of songs that we could play together. Granted, he already knows how to play the guitar - but I'm a total newbie at the drums! I love the drum set - it has a ton of options for the drum sounds, and it even has a hand drum option that is perfect for the boys. You can never have too many instruments in the house, in my opinion! We even dug out my old trumpet, and William is learning how to make noise on that too. :-) Now we just need a violin, a xylophone, maybe a flute and a clarinet, and we'll have all the instrument types represented! Overkill? Us? No way! It's all homeschooling material - that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

I've really stalled on the Master Knitter program. All these things keep popping up that I "need" to knit instead! I'm determined to do more swatches once the Ravelympics is over, though. I was wanting to be finished by my birthday, but that's come and gone now! Now my goal is to be done before the end of the year. That should be possible, if I have some resolve and don't let the siren call of other pretty things to knit draw me in. It doesn't help that I have this pretty sock yarn in a basket on my desk.....

On the Homeschooling front, William is almost done with his Kindergarten level Math and Phonics programs (I'm using Saxon Math and Saxon Phonics). He'll be 5 in October, and he'll be done with Kindergarten before all the public school kids even start school! I'm so proud of him - he's reading 5 letter words now, and on the brink of reading independently. We started a Word Caterpillar on the wall several weeks ago, (with all the words he can read on circles to make a long caterpillar) and I'm running out of room on the wall!! There's a good 80+ words up there now, and I have a stack of about 30 more that need to go up. I ordered a blank lined dictionary book/journal from Starfall (love that website!) and I think I'm going to have him write the words he knows in there instead of putting them on the wall from now on. (Maybe I'll just put the bigger words that he's reading on the Caterpillar). Right now he's also learning about the Oceans, and Dinosaurs, and Ancient Greece/Olympics/Greek Myths. He loves school - and bugs me to get started every morning - which I'm very happy about.

Speaking of school - I have to get to it, so that's it for now!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

New member of the family

Well, we got the boys a hamster the other day. (I'll be doing the pet-parenting, though, since they're 4 and 2!)

She's a sweet little hammy - very sociable. She's only nipped me once, and to be fair I think my fingers smelled like food. She handles being picked up and petted very well. I'm not sure what exact type she is - she has slightly longer fur than a shorthair, but her fur isn't really as long as a longhair though either. She's very fuzzy and has a cute white-ish chin and belly. The boys named her Raven from Teen Titans (Azarath Metrion Zinthos!). I don't think she has supernatural powers though. :-)

So our family has grown by one, albeit a very little one!

On the knitting front - I'm almost done with the second sock of my own design that I was working on. I'm hoping to work on it non-stop tonight so I can enter it in the SKA June Sockdown, we'll see if I can get it done by midnight! Here's the way I ended up doing the gusset:

I like the way it ended up much better. The cable actually hugs the instep a little as it moves up to resume the twisted cable on the foot. I'm definitely going to at least knit part of a sock in a solid color to show off the leaf pattern, since you can't see it so well in the multi-color yarn.

And I've joined the craziness that is Ravelympics! Basically you knit as much as you can from the time the Olympic torch is lit until the closing ceremonies. Some people are trying to do a sweater, or a lace shawl, or more than one. I am going to try to do the Gift Knits Pentathlon (knitting 5 gifts!) and the WIP Wrestling (try to finish wips - in my case 4 of them!). I highly doubt I'll finish all 9 things, but that's OK- it's all about the effort. :-) I'll keep you posted.

Update on FIL - He's doing well with the chemo. He finished his first 6 week round, and the cat scan shows no real improvement, but it hasn't gotten any worse either, so it's not bad news in my book. He's starting his second 6 week treatment this week, so hopefully after this next round we'll start to see some good things. Fingers crossed.

That's it for now.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tragedy in Tennessee

I'm sure you've heard about the church shooting in Tennessee earlier this week. You may not know that it occurred at a Unitarian Universalist Church. And that it was essentially a hate crime against the church because they were seen as part of the "liberal movement" and were welcoming gays.

I am a Unitarian Universalist. I can honestly tell you that I never felt so loved and safe and accepted for who I am in a church until I found the UU church 5 years ago. My life changed so drastically once I found my church - I was amazed that there was a church in existence that I could feel that at home in. I rediscovered my spirituality - which was an amazing reawakening for me. I think of my church as a safe and loving place to explore our spirituality, where everyone is welcome and loved no matter what they believe or who they are.

To think that someone would come into a sanctuary during a children's service and do such a horrible thing simply boggles my mind and my soul. Because we welcome and love everyone, we should be punished? The hate in this world saddens me to no end.

I am having a hard time putting these feelings into words. I am simply stunned that such a thing would happen, and that it would happen at a sister church of mine is even more upsetting. And that the children were subject to such a horrible event - I cannot even imagine.

My church is having a Candlelight Vigil for the Tennessee Congregation. I really would like to go, but I don't think I can make it - so I may have my own Candlelight Vigil at home.

The world would be such a better place if we would just practice love and not hate.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Pavo Socks

Here it is! My first major Pattern. squee!

Introducing Pavo Socks:

$3.50 download

Socks knit with fingering weight yarn (approx. 400 yards) on 2 circular needles (size 1.5).

Toe-Up construction with a traditional heel flap.

Peacock Plumes lace pattern on leg and instep.
(Pavo is the scientific genus of Peacocks, so I thought the name fit!)

Techniques used: toe up cast on, left and right leaning increases, and a stretchy 1x1 rib bind off, like Kitchener Rib Bind Off.

The lace is slightly off center, so the pattern includes charts to mirror image your second sock, if desired.

Charts and fully written out lace pattern included.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

New Zune, Socks, and Jello!

So I'm a bit of a gadget nerd. I love neat electronic gadgets. I wish I had more money to spend on little electronic gadgets. I had an mp3 player that was a few years old (I wouldn't be caught dead with an iPod, but that's just me) - and it died on me the other day. (It was an iRiver - a model they haven't made anymore for some time now - it lasted me a good two/three years - it lived a good life.) So I looked at a new mp3 player. I fell in love with the Zune. I got myself a nice 80GB Zune with a pretty color screen. OMG the stuff this mp3 player does! I never knew what I was missing while I had the piddly 20GB iRiver that only played music and showed still pictures. This thing plays videos, video and audio podcasts, and stores the album pictures with the audio files so you see the album cover while the song is playing. It's a thing of wonder! The Squircle pad is touch responsive - it's a breeze to scroll through my 20+ gig worth of mp3 files. And the picture quality! We got the home a/v kit so we could watch videos on our tv from it - and promptly downloaded the whole season 4 of Battlestar Gallactica to watch (since we're cable deprived). Zune to tv video is not too bad a quality either - a little fuzzy in spots, but not bad at all. Anyway - I'm really happy with my new Zune! I'm in gadget heaven. :-)

I'm in the process of writing up 3 new sock patterns.

My Pavo socks are coming along nicely - I'm done with Sock#1 and working on sock#2 - hopefully I'll have the pattern tweaked and ready to publish in a week or two. I started these the beginning of June for the SKA Sockdown (June's challenge was to design your own socks). I'm really happy with how these are turning out.

I'm writing up the pattern for William's Socks that I did a while back, too. I'm hoping to have that pattern done in a week or two as well.

And, I'm knitting another pair for SKA June Sockdown, too. I haven't come up with a name for these yet. They have a leaf lace motif in the center instep and mini-cables on each side. The yarn is obscuring the pattern a little - I may knit a second pair in a solid color yarn before I finish the pattern up, I'm not sure.

I felt patriotic and made Red, White and Blue Jigglers for the boys for the 4th. They turned out well:

Here's how you make them:

Prepare a red flavor of Jello as per the Jiggler instructions. Pour into pan and let set for about an hour. Then prepare lemon flavored (or unflavored) jello as per jiggler instructions - and then mix in a half a tub of cool-whip to that jello. Pour on top of the red jello, and let it set for another hour. Mix a blue flavor of Jello as per jiggler instructions, and pour on top of the white layer, then let set in the fridge until firm. Then cut into cubes and enjoy!

Anyways, I'll drop in again soon! (Hopefully with a couple of patterns done!!)

Friday, June 6, 2008

'Tackling' Circular Needles

I thought I'd share my circular needle storage/organization solution with you all. I don't remember exactly where I got the idea (on the net somewhere!), but it seemed like a unique solution - and I love, love, love it!

Here's my needlecase:

Do you know what it is IRL? A soft-sided Tackle-bag. That's right, for worms! (Well, the plastic variety, anyway). Guess how much it cost. Go ahead, guess..... $5. At Wal-Mart. Came with 10 zipper pouches. I bought 10 more pouches at Outdoor World for $2, plus 10 smaller pouches (they fit as well) for another $2.

It has a zipper pocket in the front that holds my end caps, tightening screws, stitch markers, etc. Cramming the 20 extra pouches in was a little tricky, but now I have plenty of pouches for all of my circular needle components. (I splurged and got a ton of the Harmony interchangeable ones, btw!)

Anyway, I think it's a nifty (and cheap!) way to conveniently store the circular needles. It even has a handle and it zips completely closed.

On another knitting note, I wanted something to measure my new (size unmarked!) Harmony needles, so I wouldn't be lost as to what size they were. Of course, I could just get a little needle size thingamabob, but I don't like those - some of them don't have the half-sizes. The Engineer in me wanted a tool. A Caliper. I could have just spent 5 or 10 bucks on a plain old brass caliper. But no, I wanted the cool dial caliper. $30. To measure my knitting needles. Overkill? At least I'll know to the hundredth of a millimeter the size of my needles. Need to know your needle size? Come to me. The Chemical Engineer will measure for you. ;-P

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Tuesday was my birthday - I won't say how old I am - other than to say that I'm now one year closer to the big 4-0. :-( I certainly don't feel like I'm in my (late!) 30's! But, man, I'm really happy with my birthday present - finally a Democratic Nominee!!!!!! Yipee!!! I'm so fired up and ready to go, ya'll!

Hubby got me a lovely tea brewer and some loose leaf tea. I had never heard of Teavana - they originated in Atlanta, so you'd think I would have heard of them. The brewer is the coolest thing - you put your loose leaf tea in and pour you hot/boiling water in and let it steep. Then for the cool part - you place it on top of your mug, and the tea filters out down into your mug - hard to explain, but the coolest thing I've seen in a while. Did I mention that I think it's really cool? Here's a linky to the brewer so you can see for yourself. :-)

So, let's see, it's been I while since I blogged - I've started and finished a Hemlock Ring Blanket - here it is blocking:
I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in the Lake Ice Heather color. I ended up using 7 skeins plus a little bit from an 8th skein. The finishing row took about 4 hours to do - and I ended up with over 500 stitches on the needles! Once it was blocked it was about 48 inches wide.

I am ever amazed with lace blocking. You start with an ugly clump of knitted material that looks like this:
And then you end up with a beautiful lace blanket:

And I started a pair of Pirate Socks (pattern is Jack Sparrow's Favorite Socks):

I'm using Chameleon Colorworks Bambino in the Midnight colorway, and Knit Picks Gloss for the heels, toes and fair isle bit. I am loving the Bambino (wool/bamboo blend) - it has a lovely sheen to it and feels so silky - goes well with the gloss yarn, since that's a wool/silk blend.

And here's some spinning I've done - a fingering weight yarn with a long color change (I was actually going for laceweight to do a Swallowtail Shawl with it, but it ended up a little too thick, at 330 yards):

It's Gale's Art BBFL Roving in Ocean Blues colorway.

I'm in the process of spinning up another batch much more thinly - Gale's Art BBFL Roving in "Stormy Seas" colorway:

This batch is going well - I think it'll end up a nice lace weight once I ply it.

Well, I'll stop there for now! Ta-Ta!

(Edited to add: Update on my FIL - they've determined the stage of cancer - it's Stage 3a. He's starting Chemo within the week. His doctor is very optimistic, and says that it's curable. Please continue to keep him in you thoughts!)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Swing Set! and New Shoes!

We got the DS's a new swing set a couple of weekends ago. Took us a good two weeks to get it put together (OMG - totally pay the money to have someone else put one of these together for you - I don't care how much they charge - trust me on this one!)

They absolutely love it! Here's some progress pics and the finished product (minus some yard tweaking, that is):

I finished my socks last week:

And snagged a new pair of shoes earlier in the week to show off my hand-knitted socks:

These are the Journey's exclusive clear Converse sneakers. I've been wanting a pair for almost 6 months now - but they are impossible to get your hands on! I just happened to hit the mall on the very day they got a new shipment, can you believe it?! (It actually looks like they have some in stock online now, too, so snag them while you can!) I'm hoping they don't rub too badly on the heel area, they feel a little snug there - I'm thinking I'll wear cheap-o socks to break the sneakers in before I risk my precious hand-knits.

My Mother's Day gift (a little early):

A Kodak EasyShare Z1285. I love it! It's small enough to carry around in my purse, and takes great photos! Plus HD video and photos too. I was wanting a carry-around-everywhere camera that took good photos and videos to replace my current way-outdated-slow-as-heck-crappy-camera that I did have (an old model Olympus D-560). This new one is fast as lightning and has 12mp. I'm happy. :-)

Some of you are already aware of this - my FIL was diagnosed with stomach cancer a few weeks ago. Thank you for keeping him in your thoughts and prayers. According to the CT scan and other tests that were done, it looks like it was caught early and hasn't spread to his other organs. He had an appointment with an oncologist earlier in the week, and they are doing more diagnostic tests this week and early next week. By Friday of next week we should have a better idea of what exactly we're up against, and know what the game plan is for beating it into remission. Please continue to keep him and our family in your thoughts and prayers.