Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hot Cocoa Swap Topic #3

Well, I haven't been doing the weekly topics, because I've had other things to blog about, but when I read topic 3, it sort of stuck around in my brain, making me think.

What is the most 'random' memory you have from your childhood?

I have lots of memories that are seemingly random. As I get older, it seems for some reason I get more of them, particularly memories with those family members who are no longer here. I guess the most 'random' of my memories is a toss up between two.

The first one is with my mom and dad. It was before they divorced, but I don't recall if it was before or after dad moved to Texas (he lost his job in Michigan and Ford moved him to work at a plant in Texas rather than lay him off - he would come home semi-frequently to visit). This means I was somewhere between 3-5 years old. We were having dinner at Vito's, which was my absolute favorite pizza place. Until the age of 15, the only pizza I at was with mushroom and hamburger on it. We were at our table, near the jukebox, and Chariots of Fire was playing (why do I know that. . . because I played it. . . oh yeah, I was an odd child!). When the pizza came, my dad took a piece and tried to cut it on his plate. I guess the fork wasn't really holding the pizza, because when he put the knife to the slice, it shot across the table and ended up upside down in the ashtray. It's not so funny in retelling, but it was hilarious at the time. To this day, if I drive by and mom is in the car, she says 'remember that time your dad lost the pizza?'.

The second is with my grandparents. My mom's parents stayed with us a lot, or I at their house after my parents divorced. Since my mom worked full time, grandma and grandpa watched me a lot, and took care of transporting me to after school activities when it was necessary. I was probably about 6 years old and I was obsessed with learning to snap my fingers. I couldn't do it to save my life. I practiced all the time, including in the bath/shower. One evening in the bath (or shower, I don't recall) I discovered that if my hands were wet, I could snap my fingers. I was so excited by this, I promptly ran from the bathroom - soaking wet and naked as a jaybird - directly into the living room to show off this newly acquired skill to my grandpa. I stood and snapped until my hands dried off enough that they didn't snap anymore. Then, I turned around, shook my nekkid behind at grandpa and ran off with my mom trying to catch me with a towel!

Like I said, I was an interesting child :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

B is for Beagle

As you know from prior posts, I have two doggies. Zosia is part beagle, and Jimmy Ray is pure beagle. So, because I love them, my B for A-B-C-Along is for Beagles!

In this photo, in particular, Beagles Basking in Sunlight! This pic does double duty as my week 5 project 365 photo this week. Can you believe I got Jimmy in a photo? It was no small feat! Excuse the light quality, but taking a photo directly into the light doesn't yield the best result, but this is where I wanted to show the pooches. They spend oodles of time here. When the sun isn't warming the carpet, they spend the rest of their time on our bed.

I have a big 'ol soft spot in my heart for beagles, or any hunting dog. I don't really know why, I grew up in the city, not out in the country in a family of hunters or anything. Don't get me wrong, I love any dog, but something about beagles and walkers and blood hounds and blue tick hounds. . . .the just get me!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I'm sorry, but there ARE stupid questions!!!

I will be the first to admit that I am not a patient person. In some settings I have more patience than others, but this is never an adjective one would choose to describe me. I am also a very fast learner. In 95% of cases (let's not talk about Physics 240: Electricity & Magnetism), I hear/see it once, and I've got it . . . . thank you. . . . let's move along. These two things combined can be trouble for me. At work, if I have to explain something to you for the 101st time, I'm just not going to be chipper about it - and you will know it. I am trying my hardest to work on this. . . understand that not everyone is as 'quick' as me and take a deep breath before having attitude about it. Why am I talking about this? Because my Community College experience is testing me. . . . . to the extreme.

I had my class last night. Keep in mind, this is Interior Design, folks, not a particularly technical subject - in my opinion, of course. I'm really not sure I can 'suck it up' enough to be in this program. I certainly know I have things to learn. I'm quite excited about learning a lot of it - particularly drafting. I just don't know if I can learn with the group of students I am in with. There is only one other person in the class (mainly adults) who holds a degree already. Having a degree doesn't make me any smarter in the particular subject matter, but it does mean I know 'how' to learn: how to take notes, pick up on key words from the instructor, filter out the nonsense, etc. Unfortunately this is not a skill all the others in class possess, which leads to the instructor repeating things umpteen times (not important things, mind you, just things someone missed while writing down every word being said). . . . which leads to the class running over and the instructor not finishing the full agenda. Others in the class also appear to lack the basic skill of staying on task and paying attention to what we are actually trying to learn. Example: We are reviewing slides of completed rooms and are supposed to be commenting on which Design Principles & color schemes are being applied (did you know monotone is a color scheme and not just voice without inflection?). The slide that comes up is a den, with an awful orange & blue striped sofa. We're not looking at the aesthetic, though, just the principles. One student raises her hand and says "That sofa is atrocious. I have a really bad sofa at home, too. Do you know anyone who upholsters? And that would teach me a class as a favor? I've looked everywhere locally and can't find a place to take a class and I really want to learn how to do it." WHAT?!?! Later in class, this same student asks again about "Where does discarded furniture go when you take it from a client?" Ummm. . . have you ever heard of a dump. . . or a consignment store. . . . or charity. . . .? And how is that relevant to class? Oh, it's not, she was asking "because I think there must be some place I can go to get a good deal on old furniture from other people." AGGHHHHH!!! Lest you think I'm picking on one person, we also did our mock interview with the client IN THE CLIENTS HOME (we're pretending of course, but this is the setting we were given). The client just told us she has two daughters, currently in two rooms, but she wants us to move both girls into one room and turn the other room into a guest room. The next question asked? "So is this project for new construction or your current home?" I know everyone has been told the only stupid question is the one not asked, but there really are some things better left unsaid! I had no idea THIS is what would be 'hard' about taking a class! I'm really not sure I've got it in me to tough it out without either blowing up in class, or giving myself a migraine!

Alright, now that you all think I'm a pompous witch, I'll switch to knitting :) Sheldon is coming along. He's taking a lot more yarn than I thought. . .. I originally thought I could make two Sheldon's in contrasting colors, but I'm almost out of light green, so I guess I'll have just one for now. I guess that is OK, given February is for finishing is coming. I'm going to try really hard not to start anything new even as I finish projects up, until March. List of items to finish are: Jeezny Cricket socks (one sock done, 2nd sock not yet cast on). Cowboy Boot socks (one sock done, 2nd sock not yet cast on). Felted clutch (been knit & felted for ages, but I need to buy a lining to sew in). Golf towel (this is with the icky eBay yarn I bought in the hopes of using for Mr Greenjeans). Bob's hat (unfortunately, I've barely worked on this because the cabling seems like the hat is too small. . . I know it will be stretchy, but it's stumped my motivation). Jake's socks (just finished the ribbing on sock #1. . . . may be a stretch to finish both socks in February!). Sizzle (this may wait until March, as technically I've only swatched and not officially cast on. I'm also still debating knitting it in the round and finalizing the mods I want to make to shorten the torso). OK, it's a lot more daunting to list them all like that! Wish me luck in finishing (and please don't hold my lack of patience against me!)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Carly as movie reviewer?

OK, I honestly can't remember the last movie I saw in the theater. I saw the re-release of Dirty Dancing last fall but I'm not counting that. (oh yeah, I'm that big a dork! totally worth it to see it on the big screen, as prior my love was resigned to the television viewing!) I'm talking movie I saw previews for and actually made the effort to go to the theater for. I know I saw Marie Antoinette but I can't remember when that was or what else I've been to the theater for in Virginia. Anyway, the point is I never go to the movies. So not only did Jake & I go Friday, I went AGAIN, today! My friend Susan and I went to see Atonement. Talk about depressing! It was absolutely nothing like I thought it would be. Good movie, just not a feel good romance type.

Knitting wise, I made progress on Sheldon. Too dark for pics tonight, but his body is done and stuffed, all the limbs are knit and the shell is in progress. I've decided I need to narrow my knitting scope. I allow myself entirely too may WIPs at once then some stuff just falls by the wayside. To help remedy this, I've decided to join the February is for Finishing knit along and my goal is to get everything in progress cleared out and decide to continue or frog the halter I started to design myself over the summer before I start a new project. Lofty goal. . . we'll see how it goes :)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Lack of Control Strikes Again

I went to a LYS today. It wasn't supposed to be for me. I had a $15 certificate to use that expires 1/31. Of course, I can't turn away free yarn! And, I need yarn for my Scavenger Hunt partner, so I thought for certain I'd find something. Unfortunately, nothing struck me as something she'd like. I was going to leave with just the Felted Clog pattern from Fiber Trends (Jake wants slippers), and then I spotted it. Araucania Nature Wool. It was hidden, under the Cascade 220 I was debating getting for the slippers (which I quickly decided would be cheaper and just as good using Patons Classic Merino). So, I came home with two skeins in an amazing deep blue. Now my dilemma. . . . two skeins is either not enough or too much yarn for any of the projects I've thought about doing. I really want to resist going back for a 3rd skein and casting on for a Clapoits. I just used some Amazon giftcards to buy Lace Style, so I'm going to scan through it when it arrives to see if maybe a cute shrug or something will pop at me, but if not, I may have to cave on the 3rd skein. Anyone else have suggestions what to do with 2 skeins?

And, just under the wire for week 4 of Project 365, another Zosia shot :)

It's amazing how much space a 20 pound dog can take up. . . she tends to sleep this sprawled out such that Jake and I are relegated to sharing half the bed. (And Jake will tell you he is relegated to the edge, as I hog as much space as I can - along with all the blankets!)

And, finally, I forgot to mention yesterday that Mr Puffy and his lovely owner gave me a You Make My Day award. I'm so flattered! I know I'm not the most prolific blogger, but I try to be mildly interesting and am so grateful for the fun people I've met because of my blog. As a result, I get to name my favorites. In no particular order, I bestow this award to:

Friday, January 25, 2008

Can you say Jinx?

Yeah.. . . that bit I wrote about being over the hump of hostessing. . .. not so much. Drama already! Nothing too crazy, and I'd rather hash it out now rather than after when someone gets a bad package, but I'd really prefer none of it at all!

So Jake & I went to the movies tonight. Holy Crap have they gotten expensive! (See, that tells you how often we actually go to the movies.) On the plus side, I'm legitimately a student now, so instead of $9 we only had to pay $7.25 for each ticket ;) We saw "No Country for Old Men". Very, very odd movie, but really, really good. Jake loved it, I actually didn't see it all. I am AWFUL in any mildly scary movie. I bury my head and can't watch. So I missed a few things, but I got the main idea! The killer guy was played by a super creepy actor - Javier Bardem. If I met this guy in real life, I'd think he was a psychopath solely based on looks. He fit the part well!

I started knitting a gift for my Scavenger Hunt partner, too, but I won't be able to post pics :) Hint: It's my something green.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Knitting Night without a Pattern

So last night was one of the knitting groups I go to. It starts at 6. I went to the gym at 4:30 (see, I'm trying to be good!). This, however, made getting ready very tight. At 5:45 I was showered and dressed (no make up, mind you) and grabbed up my knitting (Sheldon was coming with me.) I got to the door and realized I forgot my row counter. Considering the chatting that happens, I knew I'd screw up without it, so I grabbed it and ran out the door. As I was parking at the coffee house, I looked over. Purse - check. Project bag - check. Pattern - OOPS! Yes, when I set it down to open my project bag to put in the row counter, I didn't pick the pattern back up. So, I sat and knit night with no knitting. Of course, I chat enough to not necessarily notice :)

And I dare say I'm over the hump of my swap. Hostessing is more work than I would have imagined. Not that it's hard, just time consuming. I got all the matches sent out yesterday, so now it's the fun part of spoiling and being spoiled!

Monday, January 21, 2008

To be back up North

OK, We're still in Virginia, but for a while on Saturday it seemed like we were back in Vermont. It snowed!! We were all dressed up Saturday night because we were going to dinner and a show (Ring of Fire . .. . save your money if you are considering going. . .so not worth it!) We got to dinner early so we wandered around some of the shops in Oyster Point before our reservation. The snow was falling in big wet flakes and it was super quiet (all the natives were bundled in their homes because the news made it seem like it was going to be a blizzard. and let's be honest, even 2 inches of snow here does bring most things to a halt). It was awesome. Reminded me of going out on Church Street in Burlington when there really WAS a big storm coming. The quiet is so striking to me in those situations, for some reason. Normally quiet bugs me (which is why I talk so much!) but this kind of quiet is very peaceful. I was glad to be out in it. While we were browsing, I found a beautiful oil painting. It's more than I'm willing to pay, and the girl working told me she couldn't negotiate, so I need to find out when the owner is there so I can go back. This is all my effort to be a better negotiator. Everything is negotiable they say, right??!

This was all that was left of the snow on Sunday morning.
Not the most exciting, but it was nice to wake up to it.

I finished my 'mood buster' for my Cocoa Swap pal. He's so funny, it makes me smile! I hope it makes my pal smile, too! I was going to make him hold knitting in his hands like the pattern one, but the only thing I could think to use was toothpicks and then I'd have to hot glue them to the yarn and that didn't seem like the best idea, so he's just wearing a scarf. Why Carly, that scarf does not look like it's knit! Well if you noticed, good for you! I CROCHETED it! Believe that?!?! Nothing fancy, of course, just a single crochet, but I'm going to try to improve my crochet skills. I was proud of myself because I didn't mess it up at all. I also forgot how fast it is as compared to knitting! I think more crochet may be in my future :) Don't worry, I won't forsake knitting, it's just kind of sentimental that my grandma taught me so I don't want to forget it.

Whoa! That was a lot of sappiness in one post, so I'll leave it here for today!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I need some self control

I seriously lack this vital personal trait. I am supposed to be spending no money on yarn/fabric/any craft stuff that is not for a swap partner. So what do I do? I sign up for the WoolGirl Sock Club. I couldn't resist, I'd heard so many good things. AND, of course, the justification? You don't have to pay until March. Which happens to be the month I get my annual bonus. Serendipity? I think so :)

I also need to get myself back into going to the gym mode. I seriously lack any motivation these days. It took me an hour to get out of bed this morning to drag myself there. I guess the good news is I went. They say it takes two weeks to re-establish your habits. . . that seems like an EON! I must say it doesn't help that, despite the fact that I haven't been to the gym regularly since, oh, NOVEMBER, I've LOST weight. I realize it is probably lost muscle tone, but, really, give me SOMETHING here! AGH! Anyone else not feeling the New Year Fitness routine?

Friday, January 18, 2008

'A' is for Apple

Well, Apple-picking, really, except it is January and not really feasible to capture a current photo of that. Instead, I got odd looks at Kroger to take this photo :)

Apple picking is my favorite autumnal activity. Nothing is better than fresh cider and cider donuts!! Every year I look forward to going to an Orchard, buying way too many apples with grandiose plans to make pie, taking a hayride and petting farm animals. I suppose it just stuck with me after always taking Field Trips to Domino Farms in grade school. Moving down south has challenged this, though. We did visit an Orchard in Charlottesville this past September, but it was nearly 80 degrees, and so totally not the same!

It's also week 3 of Project 365. I'm working on getting Zosia to do something more interesting for these photos. . .maybe by week 52 we'll have something exciting. Meanwhile, "How Much is that Doggy in the Window?" This is Zosia's favorite spot when someone is coming or going from the house, because she can see the driveway and the path up to the front door. This peeking is accompanied by large amounts of barking, that are not as cute as just peeking. We're working on breaking that!

Is that a bandwagon?

So after seeing it on several blogs I've decided to join the 2008 ABC-Along. But it is dreary right now, so I can't take my 'A' picture :) Hopefully later today!

I've also had a major starting fit! I finished my first cowboy boot sock (well, I still have to bind off, but I can't find my darning needle for doing the tubular cast off right now). Rather than cast on for the mate, I started Jake's socks (Gentleman's Shooting Stockings from Knitting Vintage Socks). I also started Sheldon (baby gift) and the mood buster for my Cocoa Swap pal (really, how cute is this guy?!?!) Nothing has enough progress to be picture-worthy, though :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Michigan Recap

So I am back in Virginia! I never to really know if I went 'home' to Michigan, or came 'home' to Virginia. Can you have two homes? Is your home where you live, or where your family is or where you grew up? Neither here nor there, I suppose. My trip was absolutely fantastic. Normally my visits to Michigan are fully packed and somewhat stressful, trying to schedule in time with everyone I want to visit with. For some reason, I was able to see more people, for more time this visit and I totally loved it.

Firstly, the bag was a big hit with mom. On some level, she is still just a proud momma showing off her kids art project, but she really did like the bag and started using it right away. Proof: Her only request for improvement was if it had a pocket inside. I totally could have done that, it just never occurred to me. And thanks to you all for such nice compliments on the bag on my last post. You really know how to make a girl feel special :)

Secondly, I got to meet my downstream SP11 pal Tracey!! She lives close to my mom's, so we met Saturday morning. We had such a nice time knitting and chatting. She even got me a thank you present, which was so nice. Check it out! Handknit washcloths, a lush bath bomb, tea, cookies for Zosia & Jimmy Ray (those are from Sami!) AND a skein of Dream in Color Classy! How gorgeous is that color?!?!?

In other visiting news, I got to see Tricia and baby Addi (who I still owe a knit sweater to, but have not yet finished - - ok started, since I gave up on the Kimono). She's HUGE (24 lbs!) but so freakin' adorable!! Laura Beth and I also had a great lunch with lots of catching up. I visited with my Godfather and cousins and their super cute beagle Bella, and my Auntie Penny who has FOUR beagles!! Finally, my Grandpa and Aunt Marge came over for dinner on Sunday - I made Chicken White Bean Chili. It was a big hit!

I visited my grandma, too, but it was kind of sad. She has severe dementia and had lived with my mom for 4 years and finally had to go to a nursing home. It wasn't so sad just seeing how she's regressed, but the nursing home was awful. She's in a lock down unit with others who are at risk of wandering away. They all sit in wheelchairs and sit by windows and stare outside. It was hard to see. Grandma seems happy - she has a host of stuffed toys and dolls that occupy her, so that is good.

And the Christmas presents!! There was my much coveted Harmony DPN set under the tree, and they were immediately used to cast on for my cowboy socks.
My first toe-ups. That part was not so bad, but the short row heel leaves a little to be desired. My mom also got me the magnetic chart keeper from KnitPicks and some pattern books and a random ball of CotLin (purchased to meet the free shipping minimum, he he - I guess I get it from my mom!). The rest of the gifts are non-knitting related, but my favorite was a picture my mom framed of my grandpa and I from my kindergarten graduation. He passed away when I was 11 so I don't have a lot of mementos of him, so it was special.

Finally, I got to spend lots of time with my doggie. Sadie is a VERY old gal. . . she'll be 14 in April. She's deaf now, and her hips give her trouble every now and again going up the stairs, but overall she's pretty good for that age. She pepped up for the first day I was home I guess out of excitement to see me and wanted to play with toys and run around. I think she regretted it the next day, though, her hips seemed more sore than usual, so she got a lot of extra loving!

The only bad parts of my trip were 1) there was no snow and 2) where snow was lacking, political ads were not! I really love snow and miss it living here in VA (don't get me wrong, I don't miss it in April, but I miss waking up to fresh snow). I thought for sure there would be snow but it rained a few days before I came home and washed it all away, so all I got to see was brown frozen ugly ground :( In politics, luckily, no one cares about the Virginia primary. It's after 'Super Tuesday' and so it probably won't matter (though the way things are going, maybe that will change). Michigan, however, does matter and so the airwaves were FILLED with ad after ad for all the Republicans. Got old. . . . QUICK. No Democrats, though, because they were 'punishing' Michigan for moving the primary. Umm, so much for freedom of choice, I guess!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ta Da (take two)!

As promised, pictures of mom's bag.

(Please ignore the slightly offset handles. . . .though I measured no less than 10 times, they still didn't come out matched up! ARGH!)

Also, for week 2 of Project 365, here is Zosia, pretending to be regal while enjoying the 70+ temps we are having this week!

OK, now, off to finish packing my suitcase for Michigan. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Ta Da!!!

Mom's bag is complete! (imagine a FO pic here. . .. it's too dark to take one now, but I'll take one in the AM!) Finishing was S-L-O-W! I really like it, I only wish I could figure out how to stabilize the sides. I *thought* the pattern told you to cut out a heavy material for the sides (it suggest cardboard, I bought fusible web), but when I read it again, it only tells you support the bottom (which makes sense, you do need a firm bottom so the bag doesn't stretch out of shape from weight in it.) I couldn't figure out how to attach any of the web to the sides in any manner that made sense, though. So, after all the hours of making it, we'll see how practical it is and if mom uses it! I hope she doesn't just think it's pretty then let it sit in a closet forever :( Sewing the lining did try my patience on the machine while attaching the zipper, but all in all. . . I'm happy! (And an aside. . . fusible web is my new favorite thing!! It's FUN!)

So now a short break from knitting. . . I leave tomorrow for Michigan. Yay! I'll be taking Bob's hat on the plane, but I have HOMEWORK to do. Boo! The teacher in my Interior Design class is a hoot. She's from the Soviet Union and so fits the stereotype. My only complaint is that the class is run a little like High School and not so much like college, as in homework every week and lots of small tasks to keep you 'on track', as opposed to 3 or 4 big tests/projects that make up your grade and letting you manage however you want to. But I'm sucking it up, because it was actually pretty fun! It's a small class, just 10 people, one person other than me in a 'career change', 5 stay at home mom's now trying to work outside the home and 3 'kids' who are pretty fresh out of high school (one just graduated. . .. am I the only one who didn't know high schools had a mid-year graduation??)

Finally, Megan posted a few pictures of the baby, so the cuteness factor can be confirmed :)


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Because you can't have enough swaps!

No only am I participating, I'm hostessing :) I saw a sewing swap with a Scavenger Hunt Theme and I thought it was such a creative idea, I had to try it ;) Come join if you're interested here!

1) Do you knit, crochet or both? How long have you been doing it?
I mostly knit. I can crochet, but only use it for finishing knits, not so much with making whole objects anymore (though I did make an afghan and a few scarfs when I was younger and only knew crochet). I've been seriously knitting since 2002.

2) What is on your needles/hook right now?
Sizzle and a Caramel Cable Hat are the two currently actively being knit. Several more in various stages of hibernation or about to be cast on.

3) What is the most frequently used tool in your knitting bag?
Probably a tie between a tape measure (when I can find one!) and post-it notes!

4) What are your 3 favorite yarns (fiber type or brand)? What are your 3 least favorite?
I just discovered my love of Berroco Ultra Alpaca. That said, I've yet to knit with an alpaca I didn't like. I like merino (malabrigo? yes please!) and silk/merino blends, too. And I have a strange obsession with dishcloth knitting, so Sugar 'n Cream or Peaches & Cream make several appearances in my stash :)

I don't really like eyelash/funfur/any other novelty yarns. The only novelty I've ever liked was using some Plymouth Eros mixed with coordinating Le Gran Mohair for a lovely dressy scarf for my mom.

5) What is your favorite color?
Deep reds (blue/purple undertones) and deep greens. I don't particularly like pastels or overly bright shades.

6) If you had a 5 minute shopping spree in your LYS, how would you plan your attack?
I would clean out the needles/notions!! So I never again want to start a project and don't have the right size/length/type of needle!! If I had time after that, I would stuff Ultra Alpaca and sock yarn wherever I could hold it :)

7) What is your favorite FO and why? (post a pic if you have it!)
I have to say I ADORE the endpapers I made for Anna. The colors are great and they turned out so beautiful, I wanted to keep them for myself! Picture here.

8) What are your favorite things to knit/crochet?
I get a strange enjoyment out of dishcloths and the instant gratification of hats. I also like knit-in-one-piece sweaters. I haven't worked anything yet where I've had to seam front/back/sleeves all together.

9) Do you collect anything?
I used to be big into tchotchkes, but now I'm really into only having 'necessary' stuff (yes, stash is necessary!) so I don't really collect anymore. . . . but I do still have a lot of shot glasses from places I've visited!

10) What are your five favorite things (not necessarily knitting related)?
A good Tanqueray gimlet, playing with the dogs or taking them for a walk, eating stove popped pop-corn while watching a movie, tap dancing (though sadly I haven't found a place to do it since I've moved to Virginia) and cooking something fabulous with Jake!

11) Are you on Ravelry? What is your ID?
Yep: kasiaiscarly

12) Do you drink tea/coffee/cocoa?
I drink Iced-T. I only drink coffee with Bailey's or at a restaurant. I love Cocoa!

13) Favorite Sweets?
Any, really, though I am trying to cut down on the high fat stuff. Haribo Gummi Bears and Twizzlers are my favorite sugar-y treats!

14) Any allergies?
nothing relevant, unless you plan to send me antibiotics!

15) Do you have pets? kids?
2 doggies :) Zosia (beagle crossed with an american eskimo) & Jimmy Ray (pure beagle).

Cocoa Scavenger Hunt!

Getting to know the Cocoa addicts :) (work in progress)

1. Who's favorite animal is an Otter?
2. Name someone who prefers whipped cream with their hot cocoa
3. Find 3 people who live outside of the United States. Alex E,
4. Name a fan of Harry Potter
5. Name someone who crochets
6. Name someone who DOES NOT have a healthy supply of notions. Charity R
7. Name someone who has NOT put up their questionnaire yet (just put a date with your answer in case they put it up after seeing their name listed somewhere ;-) ) Angela A-H (1/8)
8. Who likes to have Kahlua, Baileys, or Peppermint Schnapps in their cocoa? me! And Annemarie
9. Name someone who knits fingerless gloves as a 'quick knit'
10.Name someone who's looking forward to gardening this spring.
11.Who's favorite way to drink cocoa is with a gorgeous Frenchman, while overlooking the eiffel tower from a French Cafe? (I'm right there with you... well at the table next to yours!)
12.Name someone who's favorite animal is NOT a dog or house cat
13. Name someone who's favorite treat is NOT chocolate.
14. Who plays Candyland?
15. Name someone who DOESN'T get the winter blahs

Monday, January 7, 2008

I'm in love!

First off, I have to admit I must have been tired or just dull on Saturday when first working the applied I-cord. I don't know how it took me that long to do so little. Not that it was fast moving by any measure, but I was able to get it all on the bag in about 3 hours (watching Steel Magnolia's and then Joe Dirt!). So, 2paw, don't despair and try it!
All that's left now is machine sewing the zipper to the lining and then hand sewing in the lining and attaching the handles. (All that's left, I say. . . you know I'll be up late Wednesday trying to finish!) I love the fabric for the liner, though, and I bought WAAAY too much, so maybe I'll make a project bag with the rest.

As far as my new love. . . . .it's Berroco Ultra Alpaca! I have bought this yarn for swap partners before and had a hard time parting with it. Petting the skein was so lovely and soft!! So when I decided to make this hat for Jake's dad (and one for him, too), I chose the Ultra Alpaca for the warmth. I swatched (got gauge on first try!) and started knitting the hat last night and I didn't want to stop! I can't say enough about how soft and lovely this yarn is! It's so nice gliding along in your tension hand, so soft hanging off your needles . . . . . I want to knit EVERYTHING with this yarn!!! And besides being soft and lovely, the stitches look gorgeous. The yarn is very plump. . . I can't wait to start cabling because I think they will really pop with this yarn (well, that and the fact that they'll be a different color! LOL!) I dare say I love this more than I love Malabrigo. Sacrilege? Maybe, but Malabrigo will continue to win in the color category. And I am getting a snazzy new skein of Malabrigo (color Charrua - it's chocolate and powder blue TOGETHER! Does it get better?!). I am not supposed to be spending more on yarn, but this costs me nothing :) Jess was trying to buy a blue skein for a hat for her hubby and it was out of stock, so I offered up to swap the one in my stash for one of the new color. Good plan, right? :)

I'm also trying to resist casting on for my next attempt at toe-up socks. I have some Lazy Perry Ranch BFL that I bought from Carrie's destash in November that is dying to be socks for me. Thanks to my fun new scale, I made two balls because I want the socks to be as long as they can to go with my cowboy boots.
I think I'm going to do an easy toe rather than mess with a provisional cast on this time (which is where I lost it on the Anastasia socks). I'm planning on using a waffle stitch rib from my new sock book. . . I'm trying to wait until I go to Michigan, though, because I'm 90% certain I have the Harmony DPN set waiting under mom's tree and I want to use them! I haven't forgotten about Jake's socks, he picked out some yarn from KnitPicks that I'm waiting for, so they will be cast on when it arrives. (And if you're wondering, like Jake was, these balls ARE the same weight, but one is bigger because I wound the whole skein into a ball, then pulled from the center to make the 2nd ball while the big ball sat on the scale so I'd know when I had half. I'm too lazy to re-wind the 'bigger' one with the hollow center).

Finally, go visit Megan and say hi! She just started blogging and she has a baby to rival Little Guy in cuteness, without the vast amount of hand knit sweaters! (sorry, Carrie!). Megan is married to Jake's brother and she actually introduced Jake and I (which is a story in and of itself, remind me to tell you some day!).

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Applied I-cord cannot be used as a noose

Though I really wish it could. I finished the knitting on mom's Via Diagonale. I found fabric for the lining. I've sewn the gussets to the bottom of the bag. I've bought the interfacing to make the bag stronger. Last thing to do before applying the handles (which are already knit) is to do the applied i-cord edging. It SUCKS!!!!!!!!!! I have about 2.5 inches done and it took well over an hour. At this rate, it will take me 12+ hours to finish. I considered tearing it out and just crocheting a border, but I have to say I do like the look, so I'll probably finish it up. Very slowly. . . .while trying not to kill myself. Good thing the it's not a loose I-cord that I could hang myself with. . . .. and that I have dull plastic needles.

This is causing me to have a terrible case of the wants. Like 4 projects I want to cast on for to avoid this, but I must finish. . .. I'm going back to Michigan Thursday, so I have to be done Wednesday night, and I have class starting Monday night (yay!). So little time, so much finishing to do. . . .I should stop procrastinating and get to it!

Hope you're knitting something more interesting!!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Hot Cocoa Swap

So (surprise) I signed up for another swap :) The Hot Cocoa Swap. I felt the need to participate because everyone is always doing the cute tea and coffee swaps, but since I don't drink really drink tea or coffee, I don't do those swaps. I would actually drink cocoa, so seemed like a good idea! Plus it's cold, and I need something to keep me busy!

1. What is your favorite way to drink cocoa? Prepared with milk? Water? from home made recipe or store bought?, In a tea cup, or big mug? I like shaved chocolate in milk. The water ones are never that rich, and to drink it out of a coffee drink fancy glass, as opposed to a mug or tea cup.

2. Marshmallows or whipped cream? Equally love them, tons of mini marshmallows or else a big heap of whipped cream (and maybe some Kahlua!)

1. What is your favorite type of yarn? In what colors?
I don't think I could pick ONE favorite yarn. I really like knitting with Malabrigo and Ultra Alpaca. I'd really like to try one of the BMFA Raven Series or some Smooshy sock yarn. I really like reds and greens and natural browns/earth tones. Whatever the color, I tend to prefer saturated more than pastel.

2. Do you knit or crochet (or both)?
I mostly knit, but I do know the basics of crochet

3. What are your favorite type of needles, would you like to try something new?
I really enjoy the BrySpun Circs. I use Addi's too. I use Clover DPNs and also have a gift of the Harmony DPNs waiting for me in Michigan! Yay!

4. Do you have a healthy supply of notions?
Mostly. I could use some of the locking stitch markers, though.

5. What one thing do you keep thinking you need to buy for your knitting habit (outside of yarn)?
Nothing off the top of my head, I got a scale which I had been wanting for a while for Christmas.

6. What is your favorite 'quick knit/crochet' pattern (quick gratification)
I tend to knit dishcloths when I have a need to finish something quick. . . or a hat. . . but there are only so many heads needing hats!

1. What is your favorite thing to do in the Winter?
Nothing outside! I hate being cold. .. winters were VERY long when I lived in Vermont! I do like watching Zosia run around in fresh snow, though (not that it snows in Virginia. . . .)

2. What is your favorite animal?

3. Do you get the 'winter blahs'?
Doesn't everybody?

4. What is your favorite way to beat the blahs?
Having a party! We have established an annual February party at our house :) I also like hanging out by a fireplace. The smell makes me happy.

5. What is the thing you are most looking forward to this spring?
picking back up with golf lessons

6. What are your favorite treat?
I am an equal opportunity candy lover. Haribo Gummi Bears and Twizzlers last the shortest around me, though. I also love brownies!

7. What is your favorite board game?
I really like Trivial Pursuit, but am a sore loser about it. I also like Balderdash and Clue, and I am OK when I lose at those :)

8. Do you have any children (furry or human)?
two doggies, Zosia & Jimmy Ray :)

9. Do you have any allergies or special considerations you partner should know about?
If I have a UK partner, I would be eternally grateful for the inclusion of lemon curd! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it, and my friend Nicola spoiled me with hers from Britain that none of the ones I can buy in Virginia match!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Project 365/52

So I joined this Blog ring from Ravelry. The idea is to take a photo every day (365) or week (52) and post to your blog. I can't commit to daily, so weekly seems good :) And besides, everyone LOVES puppy pictures, right? In the interest of keeping a theme to the pictures, I will ATTEMPT that they all be doggie related. So, without further adieu, picture #1:
"You woke me up for this?"
(note that Jimmy Ray WAS cutely nestled next to her, but promptly ran when he saw the camera!)

Keeping in the photo theme, I saw this on Tami's blog, and thought it was neat, and I'm currently in a meeting that I already pitched my charts, so this is a good distraction!

Photo Survey!!
- go to Google Images
- search for your answer
- pick one image from the first page
- post

Age at your next birthday

A place I'd like to travel

Favorite object

Favorite food
mmmmmm. .. . brownies

Favorite animal

Favorite color
Red has always been my favorite, but green is a VERY CLOSE second!

Town you are from

Wyandotte, MI
I still don't know if I grew up on the right or wrong side of the tracks :) But every time we saw a train, we played a game about what color the caboose would be, so this picture is appropriate to my memories of my town :)

Town you live in now
Portsmouth, VA.
We are living in a big Navy town :)

Name of a past pet
My first puppy is a basset hound/german shepard mix named Sadie

Name of a past love
My first REAL love was a boy named Dayne. (but he was not a football playing type!)
(for those of you who don't know, this picture is Ron Dayne!)

Your first name
I was named after Carly Simon

A bad habit

Your first job
My first non-babysitting job was hostessing at Big Boy!

Grandmother's name
My maternal grandmother is Anna, but she's nothing like Anna Nicole Smith :)

College Major
My BS is in Chemical Engineering (and yes, this diagram still makes sense to me!)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

He's officially a convert

Jake just came home from New York. He had a confession. "I took my hat from the Army with me. I didn't know if the hat you made me would be warm. But I didn't need to wear it at all, the hat you made me was great and I wore it everyday outside with Dad. Thanks." Then he kissed me on the cheek and said "Now can I have a pair of socks?"

A good sign for the New Year!

I hope everyone had a safe and fun evening yesterday. Me? I'm sick, with Jake in New York, so my evening consisted of popcorn and a movie :) Not the most exciting of New Year Eve celebrations, but it was quiet and relaxing and apparently I'm just old because I enjoyed it :)

There was knitting yesterday, too. I swatched for Sizzle and re-knit up the Noro hat on bigger needles. I still don't have enough yarn. . . so I'm stumped. I even weighed it and I have 50g! I know Karen will love the yarn, so I need to come up with something else for her!

So what, may you ask, is the good sign for 2008? Well, I'll tell you. My Sizzle dilemma is partially solved. Well, the yarn needed, at least ;) Thanks to the magic of Ravelry, nearly EVERYONE who knit it said the fit was not as tight as they hoped and wished they had gone down a size, so I am going to make the XS and that means 6 balls of yarn is sufficient. In addition, I emailed Wendy and she actually emailed me back to tell me how to best shorten up the shirt AND how to calculate how much yarn it takes!

Wow, that's pretty good, you might be thinking, but that's not all! The mail man brought me not one, NOT two, but THREE yarn goodies!! (alright, you got me, it was only two boxes, but three skeins, OK?!)
The first is some chunky Malabrigo to make (another) hat for me. This is for the Clara hat from Hip Knit Hats and was the hat I've wanted for quite some time (the Dizzy was just a distraction since I had leftover yarn!). I'm not sure I love the bright green in the colorway, but I am going to trust the Malbrigo and give it a go.
The second box contained my Mama Llama first shipment!
Remember, Jake bought me her yarn club for my Birthday. The picture really doesn't do the yarn justice. The lace weight is Tussah silk. I absolutely adore all the muted earth hues. I don't know what it will become yet, but you can be sure it's going to be for me and not a gift! The sock yarn is gorgeous, too and just so happens to match my cowboy boots :)
I'm not sure if it will become the pattern she supplied, but it will definitely be going on the needles ASAP! Even the project bag is adorable and matches the feel of the 'Permafrost' colorways! (I know, I know, that's the idea, but it's so perfect, it still deserves mention!)

I think you can't start the New Year off any better, brand new yarn on your doorstep?! (and my now clean house doesn't hurt, either!)

All the best to all of you for an outstanding 2008!!