Wednesday, April 30, 2008

H is for Home Improvement

OK, I've had this post written for a week, and kept delaying posting because it's been too gloomy to take pictures. For a WEEK. . . like ZERO sun. It's finally supposed to be sunny tomorrow, but you'll have to just make do with less than stellar photos. (Who am I kidding, not like I'm a master photographer, anyway!)

So for the ABC-Along, H is for Home Improvement. . This is what my den/family room currently looks like. The ceiling is half scraped, the wall is still waiting for the contractor to come take it down, one window is still waiting to be installed . . . I still haven't chosen floor tile, so I'm beginning to think my 'complete by the end of June' goal may not be so realistic.

As of Monday, school is OVER :) Well, the class is, at least. I'm very glad to be done. . . I was incredibly bored with the SAME room every week! My presentation went well (makes me wonder why I can do a school presentation so well, and choke every time I do a big presentation at work!) Some other students were simply painful to listen to. Two people spent well over 30 minutes speaking for what was to be a 10-15 minute presentation. I've decided not to take a class this summer just to be able to try and do wedding stuff and work on the house. I may attempt two classes in the fall, though.

I've made just about zero knitting progress recently, except about an inch of Picovoli progress. I still don't love it, but I probably will finish it rather than try for a THRID time to find a pattern that this yarn likes! After all, it is just a T-shirt, right? Everything else OTN needs some attention while knitting and I've just not had the time to dedicate :( I'm trying out my first attempt at a gusset on toe up socks on my Baltimore socks. I'm using Becca's method, I hope they fit so I don't have to rip back :) I've done 5 repeats and I hardly see much of an increase, so I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong. (the suggestion is 4-5 before turning the heel). I'm just gonna keep going until it looks like a gusset on a cuff down and see if that works!

If you heard about the tornadoes around here on Monday, they didn't affect us, though they hit the apartments that we used to live in (Hillpoint Woods)! Very weird. Growing up in the midwest, I've been in tornadoes before and we had lots of drills in school. The thing here is tornadoes are totally rare, and there is no warning system i.e. sirens, so I was out driving to school in the middle of a tornado warning, having no clue anything was going on (no crazy green sky here like we'd get in Michigan!).

I know there are other things I've meant to blog about in the last week, but they currently escape me, so that's all for now!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What to do with S. . . .

So, for my final song selection for PRGE Contest 2, Kat gave me "Rockin' the Suburbs", which leaves me with an immensely popular letter. What to choose, what to choose! I've kind of run Social D in the ground, but there is certainly "Story of my Life." Not so punk, but in my short list of favorite songs is "Sex Type Thing" by Stone Temple Pilots. There is "Swagger" by Flogging Molly and "St Jimmy" by Green Day (while not my favorite song on the album, definitely one of my top 5 albums EVER! Love American Idiot!) Old favorites "Superunknown" by Soundgarden and "Suite Judy Blue Eyes" by Crosby, Stills & Nash popped in my mind. BUT, since this IS the PUNK ROCK gift exchange, I'm going to close out the contest with some classic punk by none other than the Ramones.

Speaking of "S", I have sock progress. This is the Boyfriend Sock in Trekking. I really, REALLY like both the yarn and how the sock is coming out (apologies for the light quality but it's been raining since Saturday evening)!! I did NOT like the magic-8 cast on. I couldn't figure out how to 'tighten' the stitches after knitting a few rows (and they REALLY needed to be tightened!). I should rephrase that to say I couldn't figure out to do with the extra slack after I tightened the stitches. There was a LOT! Maybe I waited too long and you should be able to work it through into the working yarn, but I couldn't, so I just wove in a loop that was probably close to two inches! I think for sock 2 I'm going to do the magic 8 on smaller needles so that some of the slack will get taken up knitting onto the right size needles.

In other sock news, I got my first WoolGirl sock club shipment last week. It is AWESOME! The yarn is from Mama Llama and is inspired by a Georgia O'Keefe painting. The extras included notecards with photos of the yarn and the knitted sock, pattern for the yarn, project bag, copper wire and purple bead stitch marker and a woolgirl pen! I'm SO glad I joined the club! This yarn isn't something I'd ordinarly choose for myself (Purple will always lose to reds or browns or greens) but I'm excited to get it OTN. . . as soon as I get some other stuff OFF the needles!

Finally, I sort of dropped out of Project 365. . . I was taking pictures of the pups, but they really just weren't all that interesting after a few, and I didn't want to switch to random subjects. While I was blogging this, though, I noticed Zosia lounging and couldn't resist.
(It's been a rough couple days for puppies. ..lots of rain = no outside play!)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

PRGE - Back at You!

OK, Round 2 of the PRGE Contest.

First, for Tianne. She countered my "Swept Away" with "You're All I Need". I had a bit of trouble with the "D", but I came up with Social Distortion "Down Here With the Rest of Us".

Second, for Kat, she started me off with "Living Room" by Tegan & Sara. I'd never heard of them before, but now at least one of their CDs is on my Amazon wishlist! They are really awesome. Anyhow, in keeping with the Social D theme (blame Jake for my mini-obsession), I'm coming back with "Mommy's Little Monster".

Knitting wise, I'm totally not enamored with Picovoli. I mean, I knew it was just a plain stockinette top, and it looks cute in the pics with the pattern, but it just looks kinda boring. I'm going to keep going to at least cover my boobs before I decide if I'm going to frog. That's really all I've made progress on, as I've really tried to work on my final project for class. I have a good chunk of my renderings done, and I'm kinda impressed with myself :) I know they won't really compare to some of the super artistic people in the class, but for non-artistically inclined me, they're pretty good, if I do say so myself :) Jen is being a good friend and stoking my ego asking about my drawings, so when they're done I'll post pics!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

And now we wait . . . . (and PRGE contest)

So, the aforementioned 'big day' for Jake was today. He came home in good spirits, so that is good, but we don't actually find out the outcome for another 60 days. SUCK! I was totally stressed all day though. I tried to work, but just got frustrated with my co-workers. I tried to knit, but couldn't concentrate (and subsequently lost a needle). So, I've web browsed for the better part of the day and finished all the laundry (one household task I can do without having to really pay attention!). At least it wasn't a totally wasted day.

We are having our second contest in the PRGE, which is a bit of a 'round robin' type. My spoilee is Metal and Knit. Since these songs don't have to be punk, I start off with 'Swept Away' by The Avett Brothers. Even though our wedding isn't going to be traditional, we will most certainly be dancing to this song! (The sentimental version, the duet is so much nicer than the male only one!)

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Quickie

So, I'm pressed for time since I avoided doing my design work all weekend by keeping up to date with the MCY thread on Ravelry. Seriously, even though I'm sort of avoiding the forums overall right now, this thread is THE MOST entertaining thing. EVER. PERIOD! It's sad, but even more addictive than General Hospital. Anyway, this means I need to do my real job and get this 3-D drawing done and my 4 sections rendered before class today. . . at 5:30. UGH!

Aside from the MCY thread, I actually did a fair bit of knitting this weekend. Picovoli is flying along, but I need to ball another skein of yarn and so it is stalled mid-bust. It seems my gauge is a bit tighter than the swatch, but since it is a silk/cotton bled, I'm expecting it to stretch a fair bit, so hopefully it's OK! Maude is knit to the point that I will actually split the arm holes next round. I swatched with the Trekking I got from kemtee on Saturday to start Jake's next pair of socks (these) and I LOVE THAT YARN! I can't wait to get going on the sock. Kemtee also pointed me to a FAB-U-LOUS jeweler out in Suffolk that seems he can do my engagement ring for WAAAAAAY less than everyone else I've heard from, so that made me happy.

Finally, everyone, please send good karma/vibes/thoughts/prayers or whatever it is that floats your boat our way for tomorrow. Jake has had the most ridiculous crappy situation going on with work since September. I don't want to go into details, but it's so ridiculous because the situation arose because HE TOLD THE TRUTH! Anyway, he has a really big day tomorrow that sort of will determine whether or not we get a positive resolution to it, so we can use all the positivity you can spare!

Now, to work on drawings. . . .

Friday, April 11, 2008

Opinions, Please

OK, So I know I promised I won't turn this blog into an all out wedding thing, but I do want some opinions. I had a (possibly crazy) idea that I think might be fun instead of a 'traditional' wedding reception. The wedding is going to be small, so the whole DJ & dancing thing really wouldn't be that fun, anyway. So, I thought about renting a 'Party Bus' or other suitable transportation for the amount of people attending and, after the ceremony, hitting several wineries to have a glass of wine (or do a tasting there) before going to a restaurant or wherever we go for dinner. I really don't even know if it's feasible, if the wineries would appreciate a 30+ person party dropping in, but it sounds kinda fun to me (and it's a Monday, so maybe they'd welcome it). If you were attending, would you enjoy this or think it's lame? I just want to do something different, so I'm trying to do the proverbial 'thinking outside the box' :)

Knitting wise, Picovoli is moving along quite quickly, I'm nearly ready to split off the arms! Tomorrow is knitting morning with YfB and then I'm meeting kemtee for sushi for lunch! I only 'know' her through blogs & Ravelry, so it will be nice to meet in person! She had some Trekking she needed to rid the house of, and I graciously offered to take it off her hands :) It will become socks for Jake. . .most likely these. I also got some Regia from a Swap-Bot swap that I'm planning on using to make him a pair of Jaywalkers.

OK, I am off to wrap up my work since I'm leaving early today to get to a jewelry store before they close! They have samples of some other rings for me to look at!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dreary days, go away!

Anyone else totally sick of the rain and dreary days and now FOG?! Seriously, it's 10am, how is there still so much fog I cannot see my neighbor's house? I'm sure I'll have no sympathy from those of you who can still see snow, but I want some SUNSHINE!

I cast on for Picovoli last night. It's currently on two circs, which I really hope doesn't mess up my gauge (because. .. gasp. . .. I did a swatch). For the size I'm making, the cast on stitches didn't really make it all the way around the 24" circ. I tried to make it work, and knit about 70 stitches, but figured I was doing more harm than good, so two circs it is for a few inches. Once I knit all the raglan increases it should quite easily fit onto the single circ I swatched with. (try saying that 5 times fast!)

The more exciting part of last night was putting my needles in some semblance of order. I have had a plan for ages to sew a DPN holder, but since me and the sewing machine are still not the best of friends, well, I haven't followed through. I was doing some web searching and saw on several forums the genius idea of using some fishing gear to organize needles. So, I trekked on over to Bass Pro and got this beauty. I mean, really, could this thing be more ugly? Well, I take that back, it could be more ugly, but it's pretty bad as it is. But, it does an awesome job, I must say. These pockets in the front are big enough for crochet hooks.
These smaller pockets in the back fit the cable ends and tightening keys and will be good for stitch markers, too. The front pocket will probably hold measuring tapes and scissors. It's seriously an awesome all around notion bag and it's not overwhelmingly large or expensive (cost me ~20 bucks for the bag + extra inside zipper bags). I haven't decided the best way to organize the needles yet. Right now, they are all in zippers by needle size . . .. but all circ lengths and DPNs are in the pocket. We'll see if that sticks or if I rearrange 100 times before settling on something.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

And some knitting

Believe it or not, I have knitting progress :)

I'm very happy to report that, thus far, Maude fits! Granted, 'thus far' is a few rows short of splitting for the sleeves, but still, it didn't totally fall off my shoulders or anything, which I was worried about. I've finally managed to complete a whole row without a mistake, either, which is good! No picture, as it's not really that interesting or much different than the last photo yet. I adore the color, though, and I'm hoping maybe I can finish this before my school project deadline so I can wear it with my black pinstripe pants for my presentation. It will match perfect with the turquoise pinstripe :)

My Baltimore socks are stalled because I don't know how to do a heel flap on a toe up sock. Well, I know how to knit it, I'm not sure where I stop knitting the foot and start the heel work!
Last toe ups I did a short row heel, but since there is no nylon in this yarn, I want to do a heel flap. I know this probably isn't that tricky, and I just need to take 5 minutes and think about it and flip through my sock book, but I haven't done it yet. If anyone wants to enlighten me, feel free :) The foot is currently knit up to where, if this were top down, the gusset would have ended. I totally adore this sock, and it fits totally perfect to boot!

Jake wore his socks the other day. It's pretty hard to capture the pattern at all while they are on his feet, so just imagine :) He liked them, except they didn't stay up any better than his regular socks. I can't believe 35 rows (~3 inches) of ribbing didn't help them stay up! For the next go 'round I may try knitting in some elastic thread at the top to help. (And please ignore my really REALLY dirty floors and remember that we are in the middle of a remodel!)

I'm planning on casting on Picovoli now, so that I have something easy to carry with me. I need mild concentration to not mess up the lace on Maude, and my socks are stalled. I had to sit at the chiropractor for 20 minutes yesterday with no knitting. Sucked. And, speaking of MagKnits (the pattern source for Picovoli), good LORD! Have you been on the Ravelry boards recently? There is some serious negativity over there these days. It's a pretty big turn off, IMHO. Even the site owners have posted some serious snark, which I'm pretty sure is not in the spirit of the Community Guidelines they themselves point snarkers too. I guess they are on a 'do as I say and not as I do' path. Leaving a bad taste in my mouth for now, though, so I think I shall be limiting my time there. . . at least on the 'main' boards. (besides, I'll probably need plenty of time to sort through the barrage of hate mail disagreeing with the gods of Ravelry will elicit!) The groups are still nice, particularly the newest group for folks planning a wedding :)

In wedding news, there is not really news. I've started to get info from some venues in Sonoma and I'm still hunting for a ring. I went to Long Jewelers Monday and saw a few things I like. They are ordering in some samples for me to look at. If I don't like any of them, I think I'll just order the Sholdt ring. I started calling some stores that do carry the ring to price it. If I can't buy it local, you can be sure I will call every store and find the cheapest place to buy it. I'm totally shocked by the range in prices so far! $550 difference from lowest to highest price. Ironically, the lowest price right now is the store in Vermont where I originally saw it, but there it is 150% more than it was 2 years ago! Gold isn't up that much, so I really can't figure out why it got so expensive! Perhaps the designer is getting more well known or something, but I'm keeping in perspective that I'll be wearing this every day for the rest of my life, so if it costs a little more than we planned, well, it's not that much spread out over 50+ years :)

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Who knew trying to find a darn ring would be such an ordeal?! It probably wouldn't be that hard if I didn't have an idea in my head already as to what I want. We have been to countless jewelry stores. No one has anything similar, but everyone says they can make it for me. The prices to 'custom make' this ring that already exists but I can't get from the artist, has ranged from 'well, that seems a little high' to 'are you freakin' kidding me?!?!' I know that the price of gold is high right now, but ummm, let's not be ridiculous. And EVERY jeweler wants to talk your ear off. I think that their tacit is they will just wear you out and you will purchase from them out of sheer exhaustion! We even tell them we've already got the diamond, so it's not like they're going to make all that much money off of us, anyway. The only good thing to come out of the many hours of shopping we've had is that the LAST jeweler we visited yesterday introduced us to a designer who has some styles very similar to what I want. Of course, he can't give me a price, he has to call and check on it, but it gives me some hope. As a last resort, we can go to Vermont and buy the darn ring I saw, but they don't set it there, they send it to the artist in Oregon, and all that will take time and I WANT TO WEAR IT NOW!! It kills me to have this gorgeous diamond sitting in a box on my nightstand! If you're interested, the ring I saw ages ago that I want is here (this is not a direct link, you have to select the 'Vashon' line and it is the 4th ring). The ring I just learned about yesterday that is close and I like ALMOST as much is here (again, no direct link, you have to select the 'Tension' collection, 'Women's rings' and then it is style TR-015). I have no idea why they make it so hard to link to the rings! Sheesh!

Jake is horribly cute and is totally more excited and engaged by the process than I imagined he'd be. We have a general idea of how we want things to go and now, I just have to start gathering information to plan it :) He asked his first best man to stand up on Friday and it was cute :) He's having 2, as I'm having 2 maids of honor (one has been asked and is now planning on ACTUALLY going to the gym, she says, LOL!). We're not going to have the party ahead of the ceremony, but we are going to have a Sunday brunch for everyone (a-la rehearsal dinner type style) and then the wedding and dinner will be on Monday. The wedding will be mostly friends, not a lot of family, and we hope that everyone will make a vacation out of wine country (but not too much wine to be hungover at the wedding!) Jake is going to wear a 3 piece suit rather than a tux so I think we'll end up with a little bit of a Vintage look, which means I can end up with a super cool dress :) We have a 'preliminary' list of people most likely to actually travel to the wedding and it's not as 'small' as small may imply . . .probably 50-ish people! That is nothing compared to what my mother is planning. She's having a 2nd reception in Michigan for us so that all the people that aren't invited to the California event can come (and mostly, this is her friends, more than family!) In a matter of 4 days, she has determined that it will be ~200 people. Way bigger than I'd ever want, but she's planning it and all I have to do is show up, so I can't complain. And, it's totally low key at an American Legion hall, so it will probably be lots of fun and it will give me a reason to wear my dress again (oh yeah, totally wearing the wedding dress twice!).

I have not knit a single stitch in nearly a week, nor have I worked on any homework and my presentation is in 3 weeks so maybe I should focus on that, since I do have a whole year until the wedding :) April 6, 2009 :) Today is T-365 days :)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

G is for "Goin' to the Chapel. . . .

and we're gonna get ma-a-a-rried"

That's right, we're FINALLY engaged :) (When we talked to Jake's grandma she said 'What took him so long?') Officially, with the ring (as we've known for quite some time we were going to get married. . . eventually). Well, not quite the actual ring yet, just the diamond. I have to figure out how to get the setting I want that because it's not sold at any jewelry stores near us. We went out yesterday to look at some settings to see if I could find something similar, but no luck yet.

And I guess technically it won't be in a chapel, either :) We're probably going to head to Sonoma Valley and get married in a vineyard. No church wedding for me. It's not that I don't believe in God, I do, but I don't align myself with a particular religion anymore. Growing up Catholic and 13 years of Catholic school, I think, sometimes do that to a person. So, I really don't want to be a hypocrite and get married in the Chruch where I agree to raise my kids as Catholic and whatnot, when I honestly don't know what we'll do with kids! (Never mind the fact that we're in violation of the Catholic rules anyway by living together before we're married!)

Jake wants to get married on his parents anniversary (April 6), but that happens to be a Monday, so we might mix it up a little and have the party before the actual ceremony :)

I'm very, very happy. I couldn't really sleep last night, partially excitement, partially a little nerves. Nerves at the slightly overwhelming task of planning (thankfully we have a friend in San Francisco who will help!) and bigger nerves about talking to my Dad. Without going into the gory details, my parents are divorced and I don't really get along with my step mother and, needless to say, she and my mum do not get along either. Dad has told me in the past he will (at least partially) pay for the wedding, so when I call to tell him we're engaged I also plan to tell him that my step mother isn't invited to the wedding, in case he wants to change his mind about paying. I know that probably sounds horribly selfish, but it's going to be a very small wedding, and my step mother is not a nice person (she made a scene at my grandmothers funeral for goodness sake!) and I don't want the potential drama. I also don't want my own mum to be at all uncomfortable, since I'm her one and only child and I only plan on getting married once! I'm just anticipating a very uncomfortable conversation, but better now than 2 weeks before the wedding, right?!

So, if anyone has tips to share about long distance wedding planning, I'm all ears! I'm hoping it's as easy as my brain says it could be. . . . we just want something small and simple. I have a crazy notion of possibly knitting myself a wedding shawl, and knitting shawls for my attendant(s), too. I'm not sure if I'll have just one maid of honor or two. I have two very good friends, and I'm not sure I could choose (and I wasn't maid of honor in either of their weddings, so I can't use reciprocity to decide!) I think Jake may have a tough time deciding between his brother and one of his good friends, too (he was Best Man to both) so maybe we'll break that rule too and have two best men & maids of honor! :)

Alright, now I'm just rambling, so I'll stop and try not to turn the blog into an all consuming wedding center!

And, PS, just for those of you who may be unaware, when I say finally, I do mean FINALLY. . . Jake and I have been together since July 2001 :) Jake said he expected that I'd be the one doing the asking soon if he didn't get off his butt and do it! (After all, I did kiss him first!) Remind me sometime and I'll tell you the story of how we got together. It's all Megan's fault :) See, Meg, I told you the 'P' in FSIL could go away :)

PPS - It's really hard to take a good photo of a diamond, so I apologize to Jake if he's reading this that it doesn't look nearly as breathtaking as it is!


1) Link to the person who tagged you.--> Kat!
2) Post the rules.
3) Share six non-important things / habits / quirks about yourself.
4) Tag at least three people.
5) Be sure the people you tagged KNOW you tagged them by commenting what you did.

Quirks, huh? Many people would probably laugh and wonder where I would start with THAT list, but here goes!

1) I always count stairs. ALWAYS. I don't really have any other OCD tendencies, but for some reason on ANY stair case I always count the steps. Even if it's the staircase in my own house that I've walked umpteen million times.

2) When I count stairs, I don't count '1-2-3', I count '1-and-2-and-3-and. . . ' so if I want to know how many ACTUAL stairs there were, I have to multiply by 2 (and possibly subtract 1). I blame dance for this!

3) I love washing laundry (seriously, when I was a kid I BEGGED my mom to let me do it every week). I HATE folding laundry, particularly socks, so I leave them in a big heap on top of the dryer. I do succumb and fold the rest of the clothes. If I'm lucky, Jake folds the socks :)

4) I sniff my dogs paws on occasion because it makes me smile that they smell like Fritos! (I try to ignore what things those paws step in while outside!)

5) I NEVER listen to voice mail. EVER. I don't know why I have it on my phone. I call back numbers I see on caller ID, but never check my messages. . . they just auto delete after 30 days. This started ~2 years ago, I have no idea what caused me to eschew voice mail, but whatever it was really stuck!

6) I sleep naked, unless I am in a hotel, then I am too skeeved out by the possible un-cleanliness of the sheets and wear PJs :) (And yes, that means if I've spent the night in your house, I have slept naked on your sheets!)

OK, I tag - 1) Jen 2) Tracey and 3) Megan :)