Friday, November 30, 2007

No longer Secret Pal 11 Revealed!

I got my final package from SP11 yesterday and, in addition to being AWESOME, I got the reveal. The fabulous knitter who has been spoiling me these past 3 months is Tuulia! Go visit her and say hello ;) And admire her incredible skill! I so want to make the Pohjan Neito - it's so beautiful (I'll wait while you go look at it on Ravelry).
Welcome back! Pretty, isn't it??!?!?
OK, now for the goods.

Two skeins of KnitPicks Merino that she dyed herself. (seriously, she knits, crochets, cross-stitches, makes markers (and the cute little knitting granny on her Ravelry profile) and now DYEs too?!?!?) The green I want to make up into a baby sweater and the rose I think will become socks for me.

A set of *GREEN* stitch markers that, again, she made! A yarn guide (which I'm excited to try out when I work on the Endpapers again!) and a sample of Eucalan wool wash, which she highly recommends and I'll be using to soak the Endpapers to block them.

A fun book with dishcloth patterns and box of chocolates (caramels are already gone).
And I saved the best for last. . .

Knitting Workshop by Elizabeth Zimmerman. I was excited when I opened and saw it, because so many people rave about EZ and I've never ventured into her world, so I'm looking forward to it. Then I got even more excited when I saw that the Baby Surprise Jacket pattern is in here! I think I am going to nix the MD Baby Kimono I've stalled on re-sizing for Addi and make the BSJ instead. Yay!!

Thank you so much Tuulia :) You've been an awesome pal and made my first SP great! I'm bummed by all the bad experiences folks have had (self included with my original downstream pal, but Tracey made up for that!). Probably a good thing there will be a break before SP12. In the meantime, you all can join my swap that I'm opening in January :) OK not all of you, because I'm capping it at 30 (and my daily average for visits is 32 - thank you Google Analytics!) or so, but you know what I mean!

I'm still waiting for Knitpicks to deliver my replacement yarn. It just occurred to me yesterday that the dark blue may be the error. I really hope not. I just assumed the darker was the 'correct' one, but I have no basis for that. So if I get two new skeins with the 'lighter' version of the dark blue, that means I still have 2 socks to knit! Boo! I did finish up Anna's Endpapers. (finished knitting, not finished finishing as evidenced by the dangling yarn!) They are shorter on the pattern repeats both on the cuff and for the hand length, because she has freakishly tiny hands for an adult. I'm making good progress on the burgundy/grey endpapers, too. Then I'll be taking an endpaper break for a while :) The slip stitch bag is much more aggravating than I expected, because I really have to pay attention to how the slips repeat thru the row and from row to row. I like how it's looking now that I'm into the 2nd pattern repeat, though. I think mum will like it, too. Finishing Anna's endpapers freed up my Sz 2s, so I can also get back to my Jeezney Cricket socks, which I'll work on until the new Felici comes. And somewhere in here, now I'm going to work in the BSJ (in pink & orange cotton). Strangely enough, I don't feel overwhelmed, despite this list!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog

to bring you the latest in political ridiculousness. If you wish to avoid politics, skip down to the pretty picture, I promise knitting content and a contest follow.

I was blog browsing last night and caught wind of this on Kelly's blog. In Virginia, primaries are open. This is the same way it was in both Michigan and Virginia. Though I'd normally consider myself a Democrat, in 2000 I did vote in the Republican primary in Michigan to vote for John McCain, who I would have voted for in the general election. Well Virginia Republicans are apparently so scared a motley bunch of Democrats will mess with their nominee (umm, did anyone tell them the primary here is too late to actually affect the national nominee?), that they have been given the green light by the State Board of Elections to require voters requesting a Republican ballot to sign an oath of allegiance to promise to vote for the Republican nominee in November. Yes, you read that right. Anyone else floored by this? I cannot understand the legality of this. Everyone seems to agree it's not enforceable, as it would violate your constitutional right to voter privacy to essentially require a voting official to have a list of names and accompany them to a voting booth and make sure they pull the Republican lever. But regardless of enforceability in November, what about February? Honestly, because of the timing of the primary, I hadn't planned on voting because it is irrelevant after 'Super Tuesday'. If it was earlier, though, I actually would vote in the Republican primary again and vote for Giuliani. But now I feel compelled to go, ask for a Republican ballot and refuse to sign the oath. I want to see the election official try to deny me my right to vote based on Republican paranoia. This has served as major fodder on the state political blogs, and I'm sure will continue to develop as people are certain to challenge the legality. But so much for 'free and open' elections, huh?

OK, off my soap box.

So YAY! for 100 posts :) As promised, I am having a contest. The prize is this skein of Cherry Tree Hill Orenburg Lace.
The color is 'Candy Apple' but it is much pinikier than red. It's beautiful yarn, but I know I won't use it and still don't know what possessed me to buy it. So hopefully it will go to a good home and turn into a lovely shawl. How do you enter the contest? Just leave me a comment here with the following: 1) a link to your favorite blog (s) and 2) a link to (or just the name if it's not free) your favorite knitting pattern. Your favorite pattern can be something you knit, or just something you admire! The contest will stay open until next Friday, December 7 at 11:59pm EST. I will use a random number generator to choose the winner over the following weekend! Good Luck!

Last night I went to Yarn for Supper. The group was fun and chatty, as usual. I knew I'd talk to much to pay attention to knitting on the Endpapers, so I cast on for a bag for my mom. I'm using Patons Mercerized Cotton. It's not nearly as nice as the Thaki mercerized Cotton I made Laura's Dream Swatch out of. I love the red/taupe color combo though. I'm only on round 8, so you can't really see much of a pattern yet. I did my share of tinking only because you actually have to pay attention to this pattern, too! I really can't chit chat and knit anything other than plain stockinette or garter stitch, I guess!

Happy almost end of the week! And get to deciding on your favorites for me!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. . .

99 posts to my blog, Take one down pass it around. .. . Whoa! Triple digits coming! And in the spirit of 'passing it around', I am going to have a contest in my 100th post. I must say, the timing is fortuitous, as the prize is going to be an item I recently received that I purchased and I can't for the life of me figure out WHY I ordered it! It's lovely, just not something I will EVER use. . . well at least not in the near future! So check back for details, I haven't figured out what it will be yet :)

In the headlight department, I am functioning again. Jake expected it was going to be a big ordeal, but lo and behold - both my headlights were actually burnt out. Seriously, what are the odds?!?! I think I should pay the lottery. I might believe the odds weren't that low if they were both still the original headlamps, but the passenger side lamp had to be replaced in 2004 after an accident, while the driver side is the original one that came in the car. Jake thinks there is a 'bigger problem' that cause a short and blew both the lamps at the same time. He thinks diagnosing that is beyond him, though, so if they go out again, off to the repair shop I will have to go! Fingers crossed they don't, but my car IS getting to that point. She is just about to turn 100K miles and she will turn 7 in January. She's served me well, and she was the first brand new car I bought all by myself (and she still looks pretty good in a photo)! I want her to stick around mostly because I love not having a car payment!! I'm so not a 'car' person, it's just not that important to me, so I mostly plan to drive it into the ground.

Christmas knitting continues. . .Anna's 2nd endpaper is almost complete. One item got removed from the list, though. The 'number' socks for Jake's dad will be no more. Instead he's getting a block of wood. No, seriously, a block of wood. It's a big 'ol block of Zebra wood. Last year he got a lathe, and hasn't done much with it yet. This year, Jake is giving him a set of lathe tools, so I'm giving him the wood to try to turn a bowl with. Fancy, huh? :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

State Trooper = Electrician?

Last night I had to work at W-S. It was a VERY long & slow night. Not without an array of idiot customers (slow night = no real need for gift wrap, so I was working on the floor.) Seriously, a woman came in and said 'I'm looking for a cookbook I saw here this summer. When I saw it, it was here' (gestures to the big wall full of cookbooks). Umm. . . . . do you remember anything about the cookbook? 'No, it was just here'. Lo and behold, by some crazy retail magic, another associate actually FOUND the cookbook. . . .. then the woman left without buying it. I really don't understand people.
I got off work, paid for my parking and headed home. No tunnel traffic, which was a bonus. Half way through the tunnel, I noticed a State Trooper. So did the guy driving next to me, who was driving about 70mph (tunnel is a 35mph). I was also speeding, but much more reasonably at 45mph. The 70mph guy SLAMS on the brakes. I'm so not one of those people. Once you notice a cop, they've seen you, so I just pretty much continue at whatever speed I was. I always figure the cop DOESN'T want you slamming on brakes and causing an accident, you know. Nevertheless, the cop gets over, I pass him, he gets back behind me and flips on the lights. I'm positively floored that he's pulling me over. So I get out of the tunnel and pull over.
"Evening ma'am, is there a reason you're driving with headlights on tonight*"
*this is what Carly thinks she hears and looks very confused at the Trooper
"Excuse me? Why do I have my lights on? Because it's night?"
"No, ma'am, I asked why you DO NOT have your lights on."
(I look at my console, which is all lit up, and also at my headlight control, which is in the 'on' position.)
"My lights ARE on. . . .see (points to headlight control in 'on' position)"
Then I turn them 'off' and notice my console lights go off but no illumination changes in front of my car. Hmmm. "Well that's weird, I just turned them off and nothing happened".
"Yes, ma'am, because your headlights were not on."
"Well, I can't imagine both lights could burn out at the same time. . . so I have absolutely no idea why they aren't lit. Maybe it's a fuse. . . . do you know how to check fuses?"
Boy. . . . bet the trooper had no idea he wasn't just pulling over a doofus who forgot to turn on their lights. He's under the hood playing with wires and the fuse box. He's in the passenger compartment playing with the fuse box in there. He's perplexed. . nothing appears to be wrong.
"Well, ma'am, you can't drive with no headlights."
"Uhhhhhhhhh, how am I supposed to get home?"
"Well, how far do you have to go?"
I am not liking how this conversation is going, given that where I pulled over is not where I'd like to leave a car.
Rest of the story short, after a good 30 minutes of him fiddling, turns out both my high beams and my fog lamps would come on, just not my regular lights, so he let me drive home with high beams. Now Jake gets to try to figure this out after work so I can actually leave the house past 5PM. I really hope he can fix it so I don't end up with a ridiculous car repair bill!
I did have knitting in the car, but somehow thought he may frown on my knitting away while he was fiddling around with my vehicle, so I restrained myself. :)
Hope you had a less eventful evening!

Monday, November 26, 2007

KnitPicks is Redeemed

So in the light of day, the poor 2nd sock looked much much worse. ... unfortunately the camera doesn't capture it in today's light, so I won't share. So I rang Customer Service. . . their solution. . . not send me ONE but TWO replacement skeins! She said she'd send the 2nd 'to be sure' I got another without a problem. The extra nice side of this generosity is that, since I'm not nearly as picky as Deb and I can live with mis-matched color stripes, I can make myself a pair of socks, too :)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

KnitPicks be Damned!

I am very annoyed. . . .but I can't determine if I'm annoyed enough to call KnitPicks in the morning, tell them I want new yarn, wait for it to arrive and THEN start my 2nd sock over again. I cast on for Deb's sock #2. . after being very careful to start with the right color block to get matching stripes (she is much to particular to be OK with non-matching stripes!). When I got to the first dark blue section, it's like the yarn missed a second dunk in the dye or something. (I'll add a photo in the AM if there is sun). It is absolutely not matching the first sock, even though it's the same dye lot. What to do, what to do. . . . the light blue, green and lavender all match, it's only the dark blue that's off. Maybe in the light of day it will look better. . . or maybe I can chalk it up to the 'uniqueness' of hand knit socks. . .this was definitely not in my holiday knitting plans!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Bellyache

So this year was my first 'official', traditional Thanksgiving dinner. All in all, it turned out quite well. I didn't burn the pie crust for once. . . my pumpkin creme brulee is a new favorite. This good showing is despite Reynolds Cooking Bags TOTALLY lying to me. They told me for my turkey size, with stuffing, the bird should take 3.5-4 hours. WRONG! Thank goodness for my fabulous electronic meat thermometer. . . because less than 3 hours in, my meat registered done. I was quite confused, and debated if the thermometer was lying. Hoping it was lying, actually, as I hadn't started the potatoes to boil yet. Luckily, I have a 15,000BTU power burner on my cooktop, so I was able to rush cook the potatoes. We have an insane amount of leftovers, though. . . I hope I have the motivation to make turkey soup tomorrow. I also hope I can brave the K-Mart crowd. . . they have a 6-foot folding table on sale. . . just what I've been looking for to put in my sewing room, and I can't pass up the price. Wish me luck!

Hope you had a fabulous day, and that your belly aches less than mine!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Getting ready for Thanksgiving

Aaah . . . a 4 - day weekend :)

This is the 2nd year I'm not spending Thanksgiving with my mom. Last year, Jake and I moved over Thanksgiving weekend. Dinner was very low key because we were EXHAUSTED. I did cook, but just a turkey breast and some stovetop! This year will be more traditional and I'm prepping tonight. The cranberry relish is in the fridge. The potatoes are cut up and in water. The pumpkin pie is cooling. Last thing on the agenda is a quick trip to Kroger for heavy cream to make pumpkin creme brulee. . . . . . YUM. . . I LOVE LOVE LOVE creme brulee!!!

I'm also looking forward to a whole day of not feeling guilty about knitting in every spare moment!

Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy time with your family or whoever you are spending it with!

ps - Good luck Black Friday if you are going out shopping, too. . . . I know some of you are the crazy people who will be up before dawn! Especially since this year it's getting crazier. . . Kohls is opening at 4AM. . . really? Good Lord!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Meet my new friend :)

So SP11 was my first secret pal. I've had a great time, despite the poor start with a first pal who was just trying to get gifts without passing on the goodness. Unfortunately, it seems from Ravelry that a lot of people had poor experiences. Bummer. However, my 'replacement' spoilee was great! Meet Tracey, and go check out her blog ;) She got my reveal package today. She has been very gracious and I've enjoyed picking gifts for her immensely! She lives very near my mom's home, so I'm hoping when I go home in January we can meet in person. I've had a great time with my spoiler, too. She is currently gallivanting around Colorado & Utah and I don't have my final package yet, so I will introduce her when it arrives (even though I kind of know who she is, just haven't visited her blog!).
Knitting is moving along. Both endpapers are done up the the top ribbing, which is just waiting for the 1st sock to be done so I can use the Sz 1 DPNs. Once I wrap up sock one (hopefully tonite) I'll finish both those then cast on for the mates. I feel very calm about Christmas knitting now, but I know it will be here way earlier than I'm prepared for!!
Hope your holiday preparations are going well and Happy Thanksgiving Early!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

An Innocuous WIP

Aaaah, a Christmas Endpaper Mitt. Nothing special about it. . . . unless you are photographing it at halftime of the UM-OSU game. Then, it becomes a strange omen. . . while this is technically burgundy (KnitPicks Essential), it looks oddly like Scarlet. . . . hmmm . . .
It was nice and sunny, so here are a few more project pictures. I definitely have an endpaper problem!
And I think I'm done with dishcloths for a while, too :) The last thing OTN is the first of Deb's socks. I'm REALLY enjoying the yarn. . it's KnitPicks Felici. I have to say it's one of the nicest yarns I've knit with in a while. I expected it to be self striping essential, but it is not splitty like I'm noticing with the Essential. I just hope the socks fit her. I couldn't remember her shoe size, just that it's near my size. The sock so far is a smidgen tight on me, so fingers crossed.
I'm also starting to tackle stash organization. Currently, all my yarn lives in bags shoved in a closet. Or on top of my sewing machine. Or on top of the cabinet in my sewing room. I need something more manageable. I bought two pieces to start and unfortunately it's only holding a small amount of stash, but at least it's a start! I'll show pictures when it's organized. But for now.. . . off to painting!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Waste of Calories

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRrrrrr......................... We have lived in Virginia for nearly 18 months. Apparently, there is not a single palatable pizza parlor in a 50 mile radius. We tried a new place, again, tonight. It was total garbage, like every other place we have tried. I refuse to believe pizza is a northern thing (and I say that NOT as one of those obnoxious New York types who think anything outside of New York City doesn't count as pizza). So why is it so hard to find a place that makes it WORTH all the fat and calories that comes with ordering pizza for dinner? I only splurge every month or less, but I really want it to be GOOD. . otherwise, what's the point?!

Alright, sorry for the completely unrelated rant, but it couldn't be helped.

I've been steadily knitting on the Christmas socks for Deb. . . and my order from JoAnn arrive today so I can block the DreamSwatch with my awesome new blocking wires :) And swatch for the bag for my mom. That means the only other Christmas project yet to get underway is the 'number' socks for Bob. Bob (Jake's dad) teaches 6th grade. One day a week, all the 6th grade teachers 'hide' numbers somewhere and the kids get something for noticing them. So, I'll be making socks with a few numbers on them so he can put his feet up on his desk to let the numbers show and see if the kids pick up on it. These will be my first attempt at toe-ups (well, OK, 2nd, but I gave up on Anastasia, so I'm discounting it!).

Tomorrow is supposed to somewhat sunny, so I can finally take some WIP photos and make my posts more interesting! Tomorrow is also the UM-OSU game. . . Big Ten Title is on the line! So you know where I'll be for the afternoon!

Finally, I realized I never introduced my spoilee from the PRGE. Please go visit Cheryl :) I had a great time with this swap and putting together packages. (I'm still waiting for my final package, but trying to work on my patience!). I hope Sunne hosts another soon! And speaking of swaps. . .. I'm actually considering starting one. . . totally stealing the idea from a sewing swap I saw online. The theme is 'scavenger hunt'. . . where I would post categories, and you have to send your partner a knitting related item representing each category. Any thoughts/interest? I wouldn't do it until after the holidays. . . . let me know. . . and GO BLUE!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Confessions in a Quick Post

OK, I am blogging now to avoid procrastinating later. Novel idea, I know. The weather today is going to be nearly 75 degrees. Seeing as how I still have two rooms with unpainted (or half painted) windows, I can't pass up the opportunity to get painting done without freezing with the windows open. I'm also trying to be industrious and get the 'real' paint in the foyer below the chair rail. I've had the primer on since, oh, APRIL! Good thing it's colored primer, so most people think it's just a crappy paint job! We'll see how far I get.

Yesterday was Jake and my's 1 year anniversary of buying our house. Yay for mortgage payments! LOL! We looked at our mortgage statement, quite depressing that we've been paying a BIG chunk of money every month and have payed off like $2000 total on our mortgage. Hey, at least we have a lot of interest to write off on taxes. . . looking at the bright side, you know.

KnitPicks didn't fail me and my big box 'o yarn arrived yesterday. The mailman brought it up to the door, as it won't fit in the box. He finally asked me what I order so much of, as the last months have seriously increased the days he needs to leave the truck and bring boxes to the door. I told him yarn, but he didn't seem to believe me. I cast on for Anna's Endpapers while watching Biggest Loser and am ready to start the colorwork portion.. . .when the paint is drying, of course :)

Finally, I have a confession to make. Remember how a very few days ago, I vowed not to buy more yarn? Yeah. . . . . I fell off the wagon. It's ravelry's fault. I've wanted some blocking wires for a while. I was going to order from KnitPicks, but there was a thread on Ravelry saying they had been backordered for eons. . . then someone suggested getting them from Joann with the current 50% off deal. So I went to Joann and found the wires. . . but I had to pay for shipping regardless. . .. and I could spend another $7 for the same shipping amount or another $32 and only pay $1more for shipping. Now I hate paying shipping, so I need to get the most 'bang for my buck' as it were, so I bought enough Paton's Grace to make this bag. . .I want it for myself, but I think I'll make the first for mom for Christmas. Then I bought 3 random balls of Sugar 'n Cream because they were $1.60 and I needed to get as close as possible to the max I could spend (what the heck kind of logic is that, I know!). But now, REALLY, I'm buying nothing else until January 29 when I use my coupon at Knitting Corner!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Patience is a Virtue

I really wish I was more patient. . . in lots of areas of my life, really, but particularly right now waiting for my KnitPicks order. I am trying hard NOT to start a project from the stash, or to restart Lelah, because my KnitPicks delivery will bring me 4 Christmas present yarns. . . and the clock is ticking! In the meantime, I've been knitting very boring dishcloths to pass the time (see how boring, they're all the same color!). And yes, in case you can't count from the photo that is SIX of them! I also finished Dream Swatch and the second Malabrigo scarf. They both need to be blocked, but knitting is done. I don't have the motivation to do the math to work on the baby kimono, so I cast on for another garterlac dishcloth today. I REALLY hope the yarn comes today. . . .my hands can't take much more cotton! (btw, sorry for the crummy color quality. . . no sun today for picture taking!)

Speaking of hands, check out my awesome new ring! I acquired it at the art auction on Saturday night. It was an interesting event. I wish we had friends that could have come with us. It turned out everyone had other plans. But no one there talked to us :( There was definitely some 'art snobs' and then some people who totally looked like they didn't belong! We found 3 pieces of art we really liked - all for sale, none of the pieces up for auction. They were all out of our price range (like $2000 over my budget!). There was a silent auction and jewelry sale, too, which is where I picked up the ring. I love it. It's a freshwater pearl and a pearlized sea shell. The jewelry was made by Jen of Jenstones. Pretty cool stuff.

And in 2nd job news, I officially have my Williams-Sonoma discount card! I had my 'Holiday Employee' orientation. I've never worked in retail, so this will be interesting. I've only ever worked in bar/restaurants. . . this seems like a whole different ball game. BUT, it's worth it for the pots, so I shall suck it up! I actually think I'm going to buy the pots on my first day working! Yay!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Move Along. . . only mindless knitting here!

Since I frogged Lelah, I have no interesting projects on the needles. I am resisting the urge to start anything new, because my KnitPicks order shipped and yarn for 4 Christmas gifts will be immediately cast on when it arrives. In the meantime, I have Addi's Kimono (garter stitch), Imagiknit scarf (slightly more interesting garter w/ dropped stitches), Dream Swatch (slightly more interesting still, stockinette w/ crossed stitches) and a slew of plain old dishcloths (again, garter stitch!). Can you say BOR-ING?! It's not so bad, because it goes quick and I can do it while doing just about anything else. I have finished 3 dishcloths and am half way thru a 4th - I plan on throwing them in with all my Christmas presents, everyone loves them so much! Plus, I have a large amount of random Sugar 'n Cream with no specific use, so seems as good as anything else.

My Amazon order came yesterday. Can I tell you how beautiful the Vogue Stitch Dictionary is? I spent a good hour just ogling the pages. Very inspiring, but again, have to wait until AFTER Christmas knitting to work in that creativity (well. . . maybe a few patterned dishcloths!). I am not nearly as impressed with the sewing book, which is disappointing. It had a lot of positive reviews on Amazon. I'm considering returning it, because there's nothing I really see myself sewing out of it. I'm gonna give it a few more days of skimming before I do that, though.

Tomorrow I am very excited for! We are going to a charity art auction! Fancy, huh?! It's a dress-up affair, and I am debating which dress to wear (and resisting the urge to wear the dress I ALWAYS wear!). I have some money saved that was supposed to be for a fun purchase, so maybe I'll find something there both Jake & I like AND can afford!
Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Will Work for Kitchen Ware

I don't write about it often, but I love to cook. I love food, in general. I love going out for a great meal, but I love making it at home more. Jake likes to cook, too (don't tell him I admit it, but he's better than me at a lot of things!), so we have fun in the kitchen. As much as I love to cook, I love to shop and as such, I own a LOT of gadgets from Williams-Sonoma. I know it's overpriced and a bit pretentious, but I don't care. I adore the store. I also adore this cookware. I have coveted it for quite some time, but am too practical (and a little bit cheap) to spend that much on some pots and pans. My plan was always to register for it, but then I realized no one in their right mind would buy it for us, so it would just serve as fodder to certain family members to complain. So my solution? I am now a temporary Christmas employee at Williams-Sonoma! I have the official green apron and everything. I had thought about doing it earlier this year, I figured 6 weeks of retail hell was worth a 40% (YES! It's a 40% employee discount!) discount on my pans. However, since I rarely go to the mall the store is in, I never really followed up. Yesterday, I had to go there to return a shirt I bought Jake, so I stopped in. . . wearing no make up, ratty jeans and a fleece. I asked if they were still hiring for Christmas and could I have an application. The response was 'can you stay for 15 minutes so we can interview you?'. I looked down and said 'Well, I'm not really dressed for it, I just expected to get an application.' 'That's not a problem'. Umm, OK. So I fill out my application and wait.

Cindy, the manager, comes out, looks at the 'education' section of my application and says 'Well, you have a Master's. . . you realize you are overqualified?'. My response 'I really want the copper pots and so I want the discount to buy them.' Cindy's response 'Well, at least you're honest!'. Another 5 minutes of chatting about if I am good at gift wrapping and the job was mine. The best part (aside from the discount, of course) is that I'll be mostly gift wrapping, with some register work. No Sales!! So I get the perk of retail without really having to work with the annoying customers! Seriously, gift wrap is in the BACKROOM of the store, me and 3-4 other people, just wrapping away, no customers to be seen! I understand this means I will likely HATE the sight of gift wrap after this, but it's a small price to pay.

Really, it couldn't be more perfect. They only want me to work 15 hours or less each week, so I don't have to give up much in the way of personal (knitting) time. . . one-two weeknight shifts and one shift on Saturday or Sunday. And the rough math says the money I make working there (it will be sad little paychecks at $8/hr), combined with my discount, will pay for the pans with no out of pocket! I realize this equates to whoring myself out for 6 weeks for some French cookware. .. .but I'm OK with that :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Visiting the Frog Pond (and belated birthday gifts!)

Well, first the fun stuff. The mailman brought me three boxes Monday. One was a crappy eBay purchase. . . so not picture worthy, so let's forget it. One was my destash from Carrie. LOVE the yarn, just like I expected! The pink/brown sock yarn will make me socks for my cowboy boots. This yarn
is the wool that I want to make a felted project out of, I think the colors will felt into each other so nicely (sorry for the poor pictures, it's rainy and dreary today!). The last box was a birthday present from my best friend Tricia. Tricia and I have been friends since 3rd grade, which makes her my oldest friend. This is no small feat, considering the many late night calls or home visits she dealt with from me (she was much more responsible than me, except for that whole taking her parents' car out before she had her license!) Anyway, she sent me a very thoughtful gift. . . a pattern of the day calendar for 2008 (which I am resisting the urge to open and read every one of right now) and a journal. The journal is to take with me when I'm travelling and can't readily blog, so I can keep track of what I want to tell everyone. THANK YOU, Tricia!! (btw, Tricia, knowing me for so long, is amazed that I have developed the patience to actually FINISH anything I try to knit. . he he he!! Apparently I've mellowed with age!)

I cast on for a Dream Swatch last night with some random mercerized cotton I had. I think I'll be giving it to Laura. The cotton is actually really soft, nicer than I expected. Thank you, random eBay purchase :)

Unfortunately, I frogged Lelah. Here she is now (on my lovely swift, of course!). I accidentally put a yarn over in the wrong place that I didn't catch until two rows later. I thought it would be an easy fix, so I dropped the three stitches down two rows. . . . and suddenly I only had 7 stitches in total when I should have had 9. One was the yarn over, but I couldn't figure out what the heck happened to the other one. So then I decided to frog just to the row BEFORE the error, to get back to the right stitch count. And, well, let's just say that didn't go so well, and the only thing left was to tear it out completely. It's not the end of the world, I really should work on knitting Christmas gifts, anyway. I also didn't like how my tension was working out on some of the purl stitches, so I can fix that when I start over.

I need to sit down and make the official Christmas list. . . . that is part of the plan at SnB tonight. I am slightly worried it may be an overwhelming list, but I need to see it to be able to plan it. We shall see. . ..

One final note, today is election day. I will be off to vote shortly (waiting for all the working folk to get to work so it's empty when I go vote). Who am I voting for? NO IDEA! I DO know that my state Senate seat is uncontested (Republicans gave up in my district a while ago, apparently) but I'm relatively certain there are House seats up for grabs. Since I have no idea from all the negative ads on TV who is actually running to represent me, I will likely go in the booth and vote for a Green Party candidate or some other person with no chance of winning. Or maybe I'll write myself in :) I think it's important to vote, but also important to not be an uninformed voter. In races where I know nothing, I find random 3rd party votes amount to abstaining rather than simply not voting at all. On the upside, this means all the campaign ads will stop tomorrow on TV. HALLELUJAH! There have been commercial breaks where EVERY AD. . . all six or seven of them, were political ads, negative ones, of course. I do believe only Dr. Somebody So&so (obviously not a good enough ad to make me remember his name) is the only candidate who even bothered to air a 'this is why I'm good' message. I'd vote for him based on that, except I think he's running out in Virginia Beach. Too bad. I never thought I'd WANT to see a beer commercial, but anything will help me not want to shoot myself from watching another ridiculous attack ad. I'm bracing for the presidential campaign, I think I shall have to give up TV!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Birthday Spending Hangover

So the week around my birthday, I tend to give myself a 'blank check' of sorts. I'm typically pretty good at not buying a lot of random stuff I don't 'need'. I allow myself to buy stuff guilt free this time of year, though, because for the most part, it's gift money. So this weekend, I did some shopping :)

I had lots of coupons, so it was even better :) I got a fun to top from Express for only $5 (after $15 coupon). I got a slew of new panties to replace the ones eaten earlier this month by my dogs (with a $10 coupon!). I bought these new shoes. . . LOVE THEM! They'll look cute with some hand knitted socks peeking out, I think :) These were from DSW with a $5 coupon AND a gift certificate, so I didn't actually spend money! While at the mall, of course, I couldn't resist Auntie Anne's. . . . seriously, this place is my weakness!!! Lemonade and a pretzel with the fake cheese stuff. . . .. SOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!!!!!!

My shopping wasn't limited to the mall... . . I used some Amazon gift certificates to buy myself both a stitch dictionary and a sewing book. I also bought this, to satisfy the sociologist in me (it was my minor in college. . . would have majored if I thought I could have made money doing it!). The big splurge, however, was KnitPicks. This SHOULD have been a $6 purchase. .. . I needed black & blue Essential to make Endpaper's for Anna for Christmas. I ended up with a $82 shopping cart which included this book, enough Andean silk to make Sizzle (which I've been lusting after!), some extra Essential for fingerless mitts to come (I'm getting addicted!), some CotLin, just to try it, and both Felici & Risata for some Christmas socks. Phew! So now, this shopping combined with some stash inspection, has made me vow NO MORE YARN until 2008. Really, I could/should go longer, but I have a full frequent shopper card at one of my LYS' that gives me $15 off my next purchase, no minimum. It expires 1/31/08, so I can go in late January and spend that to break the fast. Really, this shouldn't be painful, we'll see how I do! I almost wanted to delay this diet until tomorrow, when I saw Carrie had some sea silk in her destash now, but I resisted.

The weekend was not just for shopping, however! I did some finishing and some starting. I stuffed and sewed this catnip pal for my SP11 reveal package. I also found ribbon to use as a tie for these pashmina ring bags. . . a late wedding gift for Michael & Laura. They are tiny, but really just meant for the rare occasion you'd have to take off your wedding ring. . . so you have a soft place to keep it. I wove all the ends in on my own Endpapers, and now just have to soak & block. Finally, I cast on for a plain old dishcloth, since I plan to give several away for Christmas. I knit a few more inches of Lelah, as well. The Cotton-ease has stopped squeaking, so my sanity is restored :) I am quickly building stress for the Holiday knitting season. I really can't believe it is less than 2 months. . . YIKES!

Finally, to round out the weekend plans, I FINALLY painted our bedroom windows. First coat, at least. I'm embarrassed to admit the rest of the room has been painted since the end of November of 2006. The problem now is that I've removed the blinds, and I don't want blinds now that it's painted. I plan to make some window treatments myself. . . so I better get to sewing practice! We also raked about 22 more bags of pine straw. . . . and all of them were gone before trash pick up this morning. In the future, I will not be putting them at the curb so early. . .. it totally works me up that I spend all that time and effort raking it and people come and take it! I know it's silly, but I can't help it!

Wow, writing it all down makes it seem much busier than it felt! Here's to continuing productivity into the week!

Sunday, November 4, 2007


Have you played balderdash before? I only recently learned of this game, and it is mighty fun. More fun the more you drink, but lots of fun even sober :)

Last night, we were playing and this was the question in 'Laughable Laws':
In Tennessee, a now outdated law said that a man
is forbidden to divorce unless he.....
There were several interesting 'fake' answers come up with by players, but you will appreciate the real answer:
A man is forbidden to divorce unless he left his wife ten pounds
of dried beans, a side of meat and enough
yarn to knit herself stockings for a year.
Now, depending on how you interpret this, it could be not that bad of a deal. . . Is it enough yarn to knit 365 pair of stockings. . . or one for every week? Is it enough yarn to keep occupied by knitting for a year? That's really not so bad either. Beans and meat aside, an old school Tennessee divorcee didn't get off too bad, IMHO. I guess the state wanted to make sure she was well equipped for spinster-hood, you know, since it's only old unmarried women that knit, right? And she can eat all the beans she wants and not worry about gas. . . being alone :)
Anyhow, this made me chuckle, though you might enjoy it too!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Birthday Present Overload!

As I've mentioned before, I LOVE presents! However, the older I get, the less I feel like I HAVE to have presents. It's not like when you're younger (read: poorer) and you can't just buy stuff you want when you want it and you really build up a list of stuff you're dying for. It gets harder for me to come up with ideas to give my family because if I want something bad enough, I buy it for myself, and my family is against money/gift cards for the most part. This year, the only thing I REALLY told my mom & dad is "Please don't buy me random yarn or knitting needles'. This stems from my mother, trying to be sweet, being totally suckered in by a LYS she went to and bought me Lantern Moon Size 8 straight needles. While they are lovely, I don't use straight needles. . . and I can imagine the other expensive things a store owner could easily talk an unknowing person into!

So, what did I get?

First, from mom. . . new seatbelt bag!

LOVE IT! I love my current bag, which I've had for 5 or so years now, but it's pretty big and thus I fill it with a lot of crap and it gets really heavy. This one is smaller and should help me avoid overload. And now I have a little purse family :)
Then, from Jake's parents, in humor you can only truly appreciate if you know them and Jake, I got a check. (They are not against cash gifts like my family). The humor of a check? The amount of the check was $.01 LESS than the check they sent Jake for his birthday. I thought it was $1.00 less, and I laughed so hard I started crying and gave the check to Jake. He pointed out it was $.01 less and I was laughing even harder.

What will these checks buy? Well, they conveniently pay for my cowboy boots :) And they will also cover the gifts I bought myself yesterday. . . One skein of Noro Silk Garden (bought yesterday on eBay. . . I finally broke down, I need to see what all the fuss is about), some awesome pink & brown sock yarn and some beautiful colored wool that I acquired from Carrie's destash. I'm going to find the perfect felted project, because I think the colors will blend so beautifully! (I'll post a pic when I get it!)

My dad called to tell me he didn't send me a gift, because I didn't give him any ideas, so he's combining at Christmas.

Then I opened my presents from Jake. . .didn't he do a nice job wrapping? All these presents I 'knew', as I went with him to point them out :) They are a 2'x3' cutting mat, straight edge and rotary cutter. I have no excuses to not work on my sewing now. There is also a pressing/blocking pad! Yay! And he did surprise me with a needle gauge :) Zosia enjoys gifts as much as I do, because she LOVEs to destroy the paper! And it NEVER gets boring to watch her open gifts for you :)

The next thing wasn't wrapped, but it was scribbled on a piece of notebook paper. . . . Mama Llama sock & shawl club memberships! VERY exciting! Both fall and spring :) I believe the fall yarn already went out, but Jake asked her to hold it, so now I have to contain myself until Catherine comes back from Brazil! I mentioned this in passing MONTHS ago, I'm impressed he remembered. So then Jake brought out my pie, and I thought that was it. After all, the yarn club was a pretty good surprise, not what I was guessing, but awesome nonetheless. See, I had guessed he had finally made me a yarn swift. . .as when I got home from Nashville I found lots of sawdust in the garage that was very poorly cleaned up. I asked Jake what he was building and he didn't give me a very convincing answer.

Our friend David was over for dessert, after a day of fishing. He told Jake he got a new pole and so they went outside to look at it. When they came back in, Jake asked me to go find a candle to light up his pumpkin for David to see it. I thought that was a bit odd, but obliged, and when I went outside to light the pumpkin, what did I find?

MY SWIFT! (picture obviously not outside!)

It's AWESOME. Quite an accomplishment given it was designed by two mechanical engineers with no real knowledge of yarn and why you use a swift! The design really is awesome, they definitely over-engineered it! It is made out of cedar, so it smells SOOOOOOOO lovely! Two of the legs slide and two have pegs, so it's infinitely adjustable to fit pretty much any skein (may be too big for some really small skeins, but those aren't a pain to wind off someone's hands, anyway). They were very proud of themselves, but a little disappointed when they watched me wind. They said it was 'built for speed' and that the bearing that allows it to spin really moves fast. Unfortunately, I don't need that speed for handwinding :) Maybe when I have a ball winder the speed aspect can be fully appreciated! I like hand winding, though, to feel the yarn while I wind it. (btw, that is me winding a skein of Malabrigo. .. . the green for Jake's hat that I feel compelled to cast on for right away out of appreciation!) The swift breaks down to be flat so it'll be easy to store.

They asked me if they did good, and I said VERY :) Their design is a lot nicer than most of the swifts I see. With a few minor tweaks, I told them they could consider selling them on etsy.

All in all, an AWESOME birthday! Thanks for all the wishes here and on Ravelry :) And if you're interested in a swift, let me know :)

Ooh, and I almost forgot. Dinner was AMAZING! Jake's beef stroganoff was better than mom's, even though it was mom's recipe (sorry mom!). The pie. . . even better! This is the recipe if anyone is interested!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

28 is the new 18

So today is my 28th Birthday. Yay me! Technically, I'm not 28 until 6:47pm, so I've got a few hours of youth left. Not that 28 is old, but I was just thinking back to when I graduated from college. 30 seemed ages away and yes, it's still 2 years away, but I'm knocking on the door!

Jacob won the 'first to wish me Happy Birthday' contest. He clocked in at 6:10am when we woke up. I used to be MUCH more into my birthday and my good friends would call me as close to midnight as possible to be the first. See. . . . that's a sign you're getting old, you are sleeping at 5 past 12 and prefer not to be interrupted!! LOL!!

No big plans for today. Jake made my pie last night. . . . it's hard to resist sampling it in the fridge. Beef stroganoff and salad are on the menu for dinner, and I plan on FINALLY opening the bottle of Veuve that was supposed to be housewarming champagne but we never opened it. Jake doesn't like champagne, which is why it hasn't been opened. But it's my birthday, so I can drink the whole bottle if I darn well please!

I know I got some sewing needs and am very curious about what the FEDEX man is trying to deliver to me from my mom. Jake also has a surprise up his sleeve (I think I know what it is, but I won't say it here to jinx it! - - no, not rings, it is yarn related! - - wow, I must be sick that I'm more excited about this than an engagement ring. .. . .OK, I'd be excited about a ring, too, but I digress).

I'll report on the haul tomorrow. Have a great day!