Friday, August 22, 2008

Adventures in Dishcloths

I've been knitting dishcloths lately. The first three I made were for a washcloth & handmade soap swap on Ravelry. My partner is in Australia. So I opted to make her three washcloths instead of one. These have been finished for awhile. I'm just really slow on posting anything about it. The only bad thing about swaps is when people flake out which seemed to happen to a few people and kind of put a damper on the whole swap thing for the group.

I don't believe that my swap partner has received these yet or the other goodies that I included in her package. I just hope she likes everything and enjoys it.

This blue variegated dishcloth is part of Dish Rag Tag organized by Emily Ivey aka Yarn Miracle. I'm on a team of 12 knitters that are racing 20 something other teams of 12 knitters each. The team captain for our team received the box earlier this week and then it arrived yesterday at my house. I knit, knit knit and then rushed to the post office to get it out the same day. I hope it makes it out to CA quickly so we can keeping moving! Go team Rag-Taggers!

This pink beauty of a washcloth was knit for me by a very nice lady in CA. She bought the soap on her vacation to Washington. I haven't had a chance to use the soap yet but it is a lovely scent of vanilla. My favorite. My nose is so sensitive it's hard to find scents that agree with it. I love the Altoids too. What a nice gift to receive!

This dishcloth is what I received from the Dish Rag Tag. The deal is, you receive a box. Inside the box is a ball of cotton yarn, a finished dishcloth, the rules of the game, the pattern for the dishcloth you are required to knit and goodies put in the box from your team member that sent the box. Anyway, I received this dishcloth and I like it very much. Knit very well.

Today in the mail, my team captain who sent me the above dishcloth had sent the goodies for me separate since the box we had was so tiny. The book was immediately snatched up by my little one. We read it a couple of times outside.

The team captain also sent me these beautiful cards that she handmade! How awesome is that?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Can you help a psycho out?

a knitting psycho that is.

Manda is walking in the San Francisco walk coming up very soon! Currently, she is at $1310 she is still needing $890 to reach her minimum so that she can walk. She has a bunch of knitting goodness that she will be giving away in a contest. $10 per entry So go over and check out her blog with all the goodies and be sure to donate big. Be sure to read over her blog about the contest to make sure that you are entered.

We train very hard for this walk and fundraising is an added stress we have to deal with. It's not fun and it's not easy but we do it. We do it so that we can put an end to Breast Cancer. If you have $10 to spare can you help a psycho out and get her to her goal?

Knitting Psychos need love too.

Last day of summer

Well for the most part today is officially the last day of summer for my oldest daughter. She starts back to school tomorrow. She'll be in second grade. It's quite unbelievable that she is old enough to be a second grader. I hope that she'll have a wonderful year full of challenges, learning and new friends.

Life around here will be quieter but only as much as a one year old and two year old will allow it to be. I'm anxious for the cooler weather of fall to arrive. I know I'll probably have to wait till late October to feel it. Luckily this past week the weather has been cooler and only in the high eighties to mid-nineties. It's been more bearable than the 106F temperatures we've had this entire month.

I've been working on some of my knitting for the Ravelympics. I have been working on the Endpaper mitts designed by Eunny Jang. I was making good progress until miss v decided to get a hold of them and rip out all the needles and pull some of the yarn. I was really upset to find this discovery and I haven't sat down yet to try to correct it. Here is what it looked like in the early stages:

I had made it through the 3 repeats and had moved on to the second chart. I was finally working out a rhythm and then a 2 year old happened. Oh well. It will be fixed. Hopefully before the Olympics is over so I can say that I at the very least finished.

Fundraising and training has been going well for the Breast Cancer 3 Day walk. I have met my first personal goal of $3,000 which would not have been possible without the help of my family and friends. I'm going to try for $5,000 but if I don't make it, I'll be happy with what we've done. Tuesday through Saturday last week I walked 31 miles. It felt good and I only wish that my body would take a notice of all the working it's done and drop the extra pounds I'm carrying around.

Chris and I will be doing a fundraiser this weekend at the grocery store near my house to try to get her to the $2,200 mark. This is the minimum amount that you have to raise in order to walk. She only has $550 more to go. I think we'll easily be able to reach that by October. I've been training with her since March and I can't imagine going through the walk without her. Failure is not an option. She will walk. We will raise $550 so that she can walk.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Girl's Night Out

It was another girl's night out last night. It had been a long time since I've gone out with friends. I actually got to out at night and not be on a training walk. Rob of course took care of our girls while I was out. My cousin Miranda and I went to the Kimbell Museum to see The Impressionists Exhibit. All I can say is RUN don't walk, get yourself there before it closes. I don't know if it's because it's been since 2005 or 2006 that I last viewed an exhibit (which was at the Amon Carter featuring the work of Richard Avedon) but it was incredible.

I had the opportunity to view works of art that I had longed to see in person. It really moved me and filled my eyes with tears. There were absolutely stunning works of art by Renoir, Degas, Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Seurat and the list goes on. I finally saw Renoir's Two Sisters in person.

I've seen various reproductions of this image on things like calendars, mousepads and other crazy crap. I always thought, "Eh, it's ok." I think I've had to change my tune on it because to view it in person was extraordinary. The vibrant colors, the softness of the faces, the gorgeous eyes, the paint strokes, and I could go on. The photo above doesn't tell you anything about what this work of art truly is. I found that true for a lot of the pieces I experienced yesterday. There is no way any type of reproduction can come anywhere close to matching the beauty of this image and many others out there.

I think I came out of the exhibit more of a Renoir fan than I ever considered myself. I enjoyed viewing many of his works they had there. Another work of art that took me by surprise was Paris Street, Rainy Day 1877 by Gustave Caillebotte. Like the Two Sisters painting I've seen various reproductions of this print. I had no freaking idea how large the painting was until I saw it yesterday. It was incredible. I felt like I was about to pass the couple walking towards me. The woman has a nice veil over face that you can't see anywhere in any reproduction made but it's amazing to see in the painting. I got lost in the painting looking at all the details. There is a painter? in the background of the painting crossing the street carrying a ladder.

Having two young children it's been difficult to make time and go view art. I wish I could say my youngest daughter was well behaved enough to go to the museum but no I can't. She is two years old and her own little independent self. I can visualize us there with her throwing a tantrum or tearing something up or trying to violate the works of art. My trip to the museum last night makes me realize how important it is for me to continue to make time to go to the various museums we have locally. I'm so lucky to live in an area where we have some fantastic museums available 5-6 days a week.

I almost wanted to start taking an oil painting class. I've never been very accomplished in the painting area of art. I had a difficult time in my watercolor painting classes in college. I felt my colors were more mud than bright, vibrant. watery, loose, flowing color that I love with so many watercolor paintings and art that I see. I guess it comes down to PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. :)

So if you want to know what I've been doing knitting wise, I would say very little. I haven't had time to myself to be able to dedicate to much of anything. When I get started knitting someone either needs something to eat, a diaper needs to be changed or they just hop in my lap and make it completely difficult to do anything knitting related. I have really missed having my own time to myself. I wake up a mom and go to bed a mom with no time for me except when I'm able to go out on my training walks. Our youngest has decided that she can't sleep on her own in her own bed so she is up with me from the time I get up until I go to bed. Sometimes she'll stay up later with Rob. We need to figure something out with her sleep schedule soon.

Sorry to drift off on that subject, I was going to discuss my knitting, wasn't I? I've been working on the Everlasting Bagstopper. I started it last year and for whatever reason stopped working on it. Then I finished the bag part at the end of June. I went to JoAnn's to buy parts for the handle and the drawstring. I decided that I really didn't like the look of a different type of handle that wasn't knit so I went through Ravelry and located a knitted handle that I liked. It is a Linen stitch handle and I found it on KittLttl's bag. I've been working on it for awhile now without a lot of progress. What I do have I like. When the project is finished, I'll be sure to take a finished picture shot.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Nice weekend with family!

Yesterday, we spent some time at Grandma & Grandpa's house. Rob finished packing up for the World Show and got home at a decent hour. It was so nice to be able to spend longer than 30minutes with him. The girls definitely missed him. He spent most of the time reaquainting himself to life in the real world. My mom cooked some baby back ribs and brisket for Rob in celebration for his birthday and the fact that he missed out on the 4th of July with our family. My mom tried to get something for me to eat which turned out to be chicken meat cut in the shape of "fajitas". It was nice of her just not what I was expecting when she told me. Oh well some day I'll learn.

Grandpa took the girls out for a swim in the backyard while I went to take some pictures to Walgreens to be developed. Rob decided to go with me. We dropped off the waterproof disposable camera and then headed to WalMart to get Rob some lunch stuff for work for this week. (I know exciting, right?)

Here are a few of the photos that I picked up from Walgreens. I took the girls down to Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glenrose on Saturday. Our goal was just to have a good time and play in the river. We ended up staying for four hours. We left at 8pm. It was a gorgeous day to play. The water was a little too warm to be refreshing but it was still a fun time. Miss F enjoyed playing in the river, swimming, exploring, etc. We saw a snake swimming across the river. It was pretty cool. There were of course a couple of turtles, frogs and many minnows.

Miss V's favorite thing to do was throw rocks. 1,2,5 go! or Ready! Set! GO! and then she'd throw a rock or two. The most difficult thing about going to this particular part of the river is getting down and up from it especially when you are the pack mule and also responsible for the safety of your children. :) We managed and all came back in one piece.

See? I told you we made it back up! Now we are walking back to the car. See that little white dot in the background. That's our car. It was definitely a fun little trip and would be even more fun to camp out there sometime.
Next post I'll try and post something knitting related as I haven't posted pictures of any of my socks or recent projects.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!


I hope everyone has a wonderful day planned for today! It's one of my favorite holidays. I wish our family could celebrate together but hubby's job requires him to work EVERY fourth of July. I'm glad that he enjoys what he does but it would be nice to get this holiday together again. anyway.

We had a nice 3rd of July around here. I took the girls to the Lake Arlington Fireworks. It was a nice free event that provided bounce houses for the kids and music entertainment. They had various vendors. OH man was it crowded but not uncomfortable! We found a great place in the grass to sit and watch fireworks. I guess we can thank Chesapeake for sponsoring the fireworks. They are making sure that everyone knows who they are and that they are a part of our "community". They really want that Barnett Shale gas.

I would love to report how very organized leaving the event was as far as shuttles were concerned but no. That was probably the worst part was catching a shuttle back to the parking lots with two exhausted kiddos in a sea of other exhausted people that didn't know which way to go. We made it home at 11:15pm about an hour after the fireworks had ended. Not too bad. We had a nice time. I don't think the girls will be up for any more fireworks tomorrow or Saturday. Bummer for me. I hope when they are older it will be easier and more enjoyable for them.

My hubby has been working at the APHA World Show for the past 2.5 weeks and it was another late night for him. He wasn't home when we arrived back from fireworks. In all the craziness of the day, I forgot that he had asked me to make banana pudding for his department's 4th of July cookout. When he got home, he checked the fridge to locate the banana pudding and it wasn't there. He came into the bedroom and said "what about the banana pudding?" Oops! It totally slipped my mind. So off with the pajamas and on with the clothes appropriate for the grocery store.

My favorite banana pudding recipe is one that I've been using a long time now from It's called Banana Pudding IV and it's da bomb. It's very similar to the one hubby's Oma used to make. Although I think she actually did the full on cooking version of the pudding. Me, I'm not so much interested in baking/cooking pudding especially when instant is available. Mine is just as homemade as the next person in my opinion. I don't believe everything has to be made from scratch to be "homemade". If I make it in my kitchen, it's homemade.

Anyway, the only alterations I make on this recipe is I fold in the entire tub of Cool Whip instead of half. You are supposed to use the whole tub anyway so go ahead and fold it in. I also LOVE the mini Nilla Wafers.

The top photo is the one I made for hubby to take. It has a single layer of mini nilla wafers, and then I added a single layer of bananas and a single layer of pudding. The second photo has double layers. The double layer pudding will go to my parent's house for lunch tomorrow. I thought I'd go ahead and make a double batch so I wouldn't come empty-handed for lunch.

Ok, I'm off to write a note to hubby to make sure he doesn't take both the puddings tomorrow. He has another long day ahead of him. He'll leave between 5:30-6am and won't be home until late 11pm-12am-1am. I'm hoping it's closer to 11pm. Thankfully the show will come to an end on Sunday. It will be nice to have him back home again. I know that we miss him a lot when he is gone.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Starting a new week!

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day or celebrated with your mom. I had a nice morning yesterday. We had a breakfast for my mom, grandmother and sister. We had about 13 family members over. It was a nice time. The weather was gorgeous. I wish I had some beautiful pictures to show but there never is time to take pictures of the food, family, etc. I was too busy in the kitchen to even think about it. I did however take a few pictures of the table and flowers the night before because I know it never works out for the photo thing the next day. Too too much going on.

I probably should've ironed the table cloth but I don't think anyone else noticed or cared but me. I didn't lay out the flatware or napkins until the next morning because I knew it would be difficult enough to keep the 2-year old away from the table. Even in the morning she decided to run off with a few of the utensils. They were quickly recovered though.

Saturday was a busy day at our house for my hubby. He spent most of the day working with our neighbor putting up 11 sections of fence. It looks really great. I was informed by hubby this would be my mother's day gift. Well yay! Now our dog won't wander into our neighbor's backyard and I don't have to worry about the two little ones escaping through the fence or finding rusted nails with their bare feet attached to a fence pickets.

In the mail on Saturday I received a package from The Magnolia Society Yarn Club by Madeline Tosh. It's quite a lovely skein of yarn and I look forward to receiving more in the future!

I have a feeling that these will be another pair of socks. :) Hmmm. Guess I better start looking at more socks patterns and figure out who's stinking feet will be wearing them.

Friday, February 08, 2008

A couple of posts behind.

I wanted to post to my blog every two weeks but I have already failed. :) It's been a busy couple of months but really no excuse for not posting here. All I can do is try to do better.

I've been busy knitting on my sock. Yes it is still a sock not a pair quite yet. Here's a photo of the progress.


I'm doing a diagonal type thing for the cuff. I still have a ways to go on it but eventually it will be completed.

I've been busy doing some sewing. My niece's birthday is coming soon and my sister wants her to have a pettiskirt. So I've been busy working on it. The first one I made was for my eldest daughter. I wanted to make sure I didn't have any problems with it. This is what it looks like.


I'll be making two or three more of these (maybe more). I've got a silver, turquoise, purple and pink ones ready to be made. I just have to do the tedious task of cutting all the tulle and satin. OH FUN! :)

Today, I spent the day making 60 something cupcakes for the Father/Daughter Dance that hubby and Frey went to tonight. They have another dance they will be attending on Sunday as well. I was in too big of a rush trying to get all their stuff together to take to the dance that I forgot to take their photo. Hopefully some pictures of cupcakes will do.


Miss V checking out the cupcakes. They were moved just in time.


Ahhh, I love cupcakes. I'm glad I don't have any left at the house.

Last but not least, I would love to recommend the purchase of a Magic Bullet. It is a blender type contraption. It works great! SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooo much better than any blender I have ever owned. I bought it last night to grind my coffee beans. But I've made margaritas two nights in a row. Last night I made regular margaritas. Tonight I made strawberry margaritas (fresh strawberries of course). They were delicious. This morning after I ground my coffee beans. I made my cup of coffee. Then frothed milk in the Magic Bullet. I put the milk in the microwave for 45 seconds. I poured the milk in the coffee with some french vanilla and sugar. OMG! It was the best Latte that I've made in my home. Anyway, the user's manual had a ton of other crazy recipes like muffin batters, drinks, etc. So I'll be busy experimenting with it. Come on over and I'll make you a delicious beverage either alcoholic or non-alcoholic. ;)

After I do some quick swatching, I'll be off to bed to prepare myself for Hat Attack! Wish me luck. I think I'm toast.

Friday, January 11, 2008

It's hard to be patient

At least it is for me. :) I'm the type that can't wait to give someone the perfect gift and give it to them early if my patience wears thin. I have to open boxes when they arrive from UPS/FEDex/USPS. They can't wait. It doesn't matter what it is, it doesn't have to be for me. So it should come as no surprise that I couldn't wait to use some yarn I received at Christmas from my sister. It's a hand-painted yarn from Noelle's Noodles. I really wasn't expecting to receive any yarn for Christmas. Therefore I wasn't prepared with needles and a proper pattern ready to go for the yarn.

One of the wonderful women from the knitting group was placing an order with knitpicks so I placed an ordered for a set of needles to use to make my first pair of socks. So I've been waiting and waiting. I think it's been a whole week or so now. LOL! It's been a little longer than that, I'm not that bad.
Knitpicks isn't really known for their speedy shipping but they do have excellent yarn, needles and other accessories. Anyway, it should come as no surprise that I had to find something to do with the yarn just sitting there waiting for needles. So this is what I decided to do with it last night. It doesn't require a lot of yarn and keeps my hands busy.


Tee Tiny Raglan Sweater Ornament
You can get the free pattern here
Noelle's Noodles Superwash Merino
Size US1 dpns

I have also started making my oldest daughter a pair of Fetching fingerless gloves. She had requested some shortly after I made the ones for our mail lady. I let my daughter pick out the yarn at Joann's I tried to steer her towards some wool yarns but she wanted the darn acrylics. Yes I said acrylic. So that's what I started knitting. Then a couple of days ago, I was reading the Yarn Harlot. She had a big ol' lengthy post about the benefits of wool over acrylic. It seriously made me feel like a bad parent for letting my daughter buy acrylic yarn. Not only that but had me freaking about all the afghans and baby blankets my grandmother had crocheted over the years with acrylic yarn of course. ;)


Fetching by Cheryl Niamath
Pattern can be found
I don't remember the name of the acrylic yarn. It knit up fine not my fav.
US4 dpns

I really wish we had a decent yarn store close by with hours for (not) normal people. I know the vast majority are independently owned but the hours of 10am-5pm don't work for me. Then Saturday comes and we have about 20 million things to do and the very last thing on the list is to visit a yarn store. Unfortunately for me if you read my previous post, I don't have a decent LYS near me that I'm willing to give money to. Most are 15-50 miles away and with gas prices they way they are it's not feasible to drive in an SUV to visit these stores. So if I do get yarn from someplace it's usually online and that's not very often. If someone would only buy the lys so I can have a great place to shop that would be wonderful and would solve my lack of patience and give me some instant gratification. It would also save me from buying acrylic yarn.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Talk around town

The talk in my local knitting community is about the unexpected announcement of the LYS (local yarn store) being put up for sale. If you listened carefully you could hear the roar of hallelujahs and applause. We are all anxiously waiting to see who will be the lucky buyer and if it will be someone that we want to spend hard-earned money with.

So I thought, HEY! I don't have anything else better to do than post my thoughts about it. Please understand these are my thoughts and they aren't entirely nice or polite but they are truthful. So if you are seriously considering purchasing this store listen up because I have some tips for you. It won't be hard for you to get knitters to come back to shop there unless you are just like the previous owner or you are the previous owner.

1. Have her clear out the inventory of all the old crap prior to buying. More is only more it's not necessarily good or better. Buy a variety of colors of beautiful yarns and not only colors or brands you consider good.

2. Please no animals in the store. The first time I visited there it stank and I attribute that stink to the dog that was running around. I understand that there is a lot of animal based material but please we don't need a petting zoo associated with the materials. I love my dog but she stays at home.

3. Please no rules posted prior to entering the store unless the only rule is to smile. If you are afraid of people stealing yarn or other materials from you, invest in a security camera system or a security guard. Most knitters do not like to be hassled while they are trying to shop and spend money in YOUR store. And no they don't want to hear about the latest tricks your animals do or the names of your new rabbits.

4. Offer classes people want to take. I'm sure her classes were great and all BUT the baby surprise sweater has been around for awhile. She told me about it like WOW have you seen this? Uh, yeah duh! How about finding a new pattern designer or other knitting teacher to come and talk about a book and teach a class? You can actually make some money doing that. NOT a ton but you'll probably have repeat business if you follow all the suggestions given here.

5. I know it's number 5 but it's really important. BE NICE and have great customer service. Don't bad talk other customers in front of customers in your store or on the phone. Don't belittle your employees. Empower your employees to give your customers great service and help them at any opportunity.

6. Get rid of all the skanky furniture that came from a garage sale including the sad looking sectional and the old worn out "toy" section. If you want to have a child friendly area, invest in a great area for kids to sit and spend their time. Also not placing the child section at the front of the store near the door would be great too. Parents tend to like to make sure their children are safe. Keep the toys clean and safe.

7. Invest in some great shelving. I know someone got a kick ass awesome deal at the dollar store on those stacking bins. If your plans include charging full price for skeins of yarn, don't throw them in a bargain bin. It was sad to see beautiful beautiful cashmere skeins tossed in a sad circus colored bin with a full price to go along with them.

8. Look into moving to a better location. I love going to Tuesday Morning as much as the next person. I have gone to that shopping center for MANY MANY years but that doesn't mean that it's convenient or a nice shopping strip. Make it a little more upscale and move to a better area. Customize the area to fit your needs as a new Yarn Store owner with style. (this doesn't necessarily need to be done right away but it does need to be done!)

9. Did I mention be nice? I can't believe how many knitters I've spoken to with just as bad experiences as me in the LYS. Bad word of mouth = bad business.

10. Have fun and be happy because life is way too short not to. That's why hardly anyone shops at the lys because it sucks the life out of you when you walk through the door. Knitting is supposed to be fun and enjoyable.

I think that's all for now. :)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

I thought I'd freak out my hubby by making another post! WoW! Awesome. What do you think Rob? Are you impressed?

We had a great time last night. We had friends and family over for New Year's Eve. I think everyone had a nice time. We played some Guitar Hero, had dinner, had drinks and great company.

It's so much easier for me to read blogs than it is for me to express anything interesting in mine. LOL! The blogs I have been reading are discussing plans for the new year. A topic that has been at the very front of my mind. I look forward to the new year and all it's newness. I hope that it will be a great year for all and hopefully one of peace in the world. I can dream anyway.

My life plans are to get healthier by exercising and eating right. I think the eating right part will be the more difficult of those two. I need to start meal planning and having things done before everyone is starving to death waiting for a meal to be ready.

I would also like to simplify things in my life and get organized. My dream would be to have an art studio for all my various pursuits. Maybe we'll clear the garage or maybe I'll start renting a warehouse space. I dunno just more dreaming I guess. My mom bought a kiln for us (my mother and I) to start glass fusing and I plan on taking a class in a couple of weeks on the subject. We've got to figure out a location for the kiln and all the other supplies associated with it.

One of my knitting goals this year is to start knitting socks. An order has been placed for some appropriately sized needles. The very lovely ladies in the knitting group I attend will be assisting in this pursuit. I have a couple of skeins of sock yarn to begin on. I just need to figure out a good beginner pattern. Any suggestions?

I would also like to start knitting a Christmas gift each month and store it away till December. It's amazing how fast December sneaks up even when you are anticipating it. I felt very rushed to get things done and as crazy as the holidays are, it was just difficult. I heard someone talking about a group (I believe on Ravelry) that is doing this. I think it's brilliant and probably the only way I'll get everything that I have in my head that I want to do done.

My mom's birthday is coming up in March and I'm determined to finish a shawl for her. I started the Swallowtail Shawl for her but keep running into issues (drop stitches, or forgetting a YO and I have a hard time reading my work) and end up ripping it all out only to start it again. So I should probably get started on it AGAIN!

Well those are only a few of the many life and knitting plans for this year. I would write more but I think I've covered the important stuff. :) I wish you all a very Happy New Year of knitting!

I just finished my New Year's cards (they were supposed to be Christmas). I pick up photos for them tomorrow and hopefully they will be in the mail by Thursday at the latest! WOO-hoo!