Wednesday, December 22, 2010

6 Months of Optimism

I am so happy now that winter has finally started! Not because of the unending cold, and not because I can again wear some of my knittables, but because the days are now getting longer!

One painful minute at a time.

Is it funny that a knitter loves the summer so much?

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the reverse

The Party:
We had a family party to go to and my friend is one of those people who prefers that people remove their shoes when inside the house. I don't mind doing that but her floors are all tile or hardwood and my feet are always freezing there. I started thinking about making slippers. If you've been with me for a while, you might remember that last year I made two pairs of French Press Slippers for Christmas presents. I thought about making another pair for a few days, but by the time I was ready to knit them I knew I wouldn't have enough time to knit all the pieces, sew them together, felt them, wait for them to dry, sew them again...ugh. I think Freud may have been working in the back of my mind.

Do you get where I'm going with this?

Then I stumbled upon the pattern for Duffers (non-Ravelry link here). Can I tell you how much I love this pattern? It is so easy. The fit is fantastic and there is only one seam to sew up. Can you say 5 minutes? Seriously! And it's free, too. While I still like the French Press pattern, now that I have tried this new pattern I will not turn back.

The Bad:
I had the strange notion that making them with some of the half-boatload of Lopi I have in my stash would be a good idea. Um, no. I feel like I need to drag my vacuum around behind me when I wear them.
The Good:
Luckily I still had one more day before the party. I made these in three hours. That's like instant knitting for some of you high speed knitters out there (and you know who you are)!
The pattern is so addictive I want to make these for everyone!
So about the Lopi, you ask? Before you get all defensive on me, I know that every knitter has their own feelings about certain kinds of yarns. I get that. I have discovered that I dislike Lopi. Very much.
But if you like it and you want my Lopi slippers, or my Lopi stash, just let me know. Merry Christmas, it's yours. Seriously.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A busy Fall

I have been a little quiet lately but I do have a few projects going on, all at the same time! Here's a rundown:

My boys are very lucky to have a cousin about 5 years older. We get his a lot of his things when he outgrows them. Being a private school kid there aren't a ton of clothes since he wears a uniform, but what we do get lucky with are coats! So when the weather cooled off a few weeks ago I headed to the coat box for Kidster #1. Of course a new coat means new mittens. He designed the colors and pattern. I tried convincing him to have lots of small stripes but he didn't want to hear it. He's my biggest fan so instead of arguing I got my needle ready for all those ends! They are just waiting for thumbs.

I also started some yoga-type socks for my mother. Ever since she broke her ankle, she's been saying how it gets so stiff on her in the mornings and when she's outside when it's cold. With all the screws and pins in there I thought this was the least I could do. I plan on making at least two and will have to dye them to her preferred work colors (navy or black). If there's time I will also make a thicker version for sleeping. Mom doesn't read the blog so I can show you how the first one looks, pre-dyed. And Mom, if you are reading, please let me know so I don't spoil the surprises in the future!

As for sewing, I am in the middle of a toy sack. The kidsters have a new found appreciation for Legos. And as you can imagine (or already know) they get all over the floor! A few years back we discovered some Legos in a vacation home we were staying in and they were in a great drawstring "bag" that opened all the way up to a flat mat. You can find actual vintage Lego bags on eBay, but buy one? Who me? I am ready to put in the grommets, string it up and it's done. I printed out an outline of a lego guy and I think I will try to embroider it on the side of the bag. I'll keep you posted.

Then last night I got another item added to my to-do list. My FIL brought over a chair seat. My MIL had been asking about how to get it recovered and generally hinting around so I offered to recover it for them a while back. I guess now is the time. Maybe I can drag it out a little and make it their holiday gift?

On a good note (fantastic, actually) I already have my holiday cards and have picked out a pretty good picture of the kidsters taken at my niece's wedding in September. It's not exactly "snowy winter wonderland" but it's better than the torture of spending a whole weekend trying for "the shot". Hubster isn't sold on the idea yet but he will be once I show him a nice stack of cards all done and stamped and ready for mailing before Thanksgiving. Usually we squeak them out on the 22nd of December!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Done, and in time too!

Picture courtesy of 6 year old kidster #1. Enough said.

Details here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Project update

I've been plugging away on my latest project, the Easy Top Down Raglan that I am knitting as part of a KAL in the Spud & Chloe Ravelry Group. It's from Wendy Bernard's Book, Custom Knits. It has been going much quicker than I expected, which is good, because it is in this very fall like color and it would be a shame if I didn't finish it until April!Whew, enough links for you?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Crafty or Thrifty?

Either way, I'm going to tell you how I saved myself $105 in about two hours.

Last night I was working on my latest knitting project and I hit a wall. Not a knitting wall, but a tolerance-for-my-cheap-plastic-ring-markers kind of wall. I had just sent one of them flying, again. This time right down through the cushions and all the way to the floor. While I was rummaging around for another I decided right then and there I was going to get myself some of those fancy beaded blingy type markers that have a little weight to them. I went on Etsy and looked around. Saw quite a few that I almost bought, too. Instead, when I was out getting some essentials, I got myself the materials to make my own. So here are my new $3.00 stitch markers that took me all of 30 minutes to make, and I couldn't be happier with them. (And there are tons more beads, so if I make more then they would become even cheaper!) Money saved? I'm figuring about $10.00.

Yesterday I was at the thrift store. I'd been keeping an eye open for winter boots for Kidster #1 since the summer. Because you know, it's October up here in New England, which means the snow is imminent. This trip I found a pair of L.L. Bean kids boots that look like they have never been worn. Normal retail $49.50, I paid $5. Add another $44.50 to the tally.

During the same trip my eye was drawn to this green handbag. I was not in the hunting for a new bag, but you know when you see something you like...? Ya, you do. As you may remember I am a fan of green. And I like the idea of a green handbag that can go with tan, brown, black, or just about any other color of shoe! See, I have this problem that I inherited from my mother. It is the black shoes must have a black purse, brown shoes must have a brown purse, and heaven forbid, never ever wear white shoes after Labor Day syndrome!
But I "new" bag $6. Estimated savings? Hard to tell, but I'll say $34 only because I wouldn't spend more than $40 on a purse. Which I don't because I can get them for $6. Ha!

While I love this new purse, it does have one problem that needed addressing. The interior is one large compartment with only a tiny zipper on the side for keys. I had to figure out how to adjust from my current bag that has a nice big zipper divider in the middle that makes a nice compartment on either side. I remembered seeing those purse inserts online and dug a little deeper. Found a great tutorial here on how to make your own. I made mine a little smaller, at 20" instead of 26" because I only want to fold mine in half instead of rolling it all up. I also added a loop to attach my keys. Start to finish, including waiting for the iron to heat up it took an hour. Cost $3.50, online (Etsy) it would cost about $20. Savings of $16.50.

Isn't she so cute?

There it is. I managed to save myself $105 in less than two hours. If only that money would appear in my wallet like magic.

Oh well. The kidsters are finally quiet and I'm headed downstairs to fill my new organizer! Yeah, with a beer. Happy Saturday!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A math riddle

In honor of back to school I present you with a math riddle!

I bet you are thinking the riddle goes like this:
1 Hubster back to work + 1 kidster in 1st grade + 1 kidster in Preschool = mother with more time. Unfortunately I haven't been able to get that math to work out right. But I'm working on it...

No, here's our riddle for today:

2 boys + 1 old metal stool + new bathroom = n

So what does n equal?

A nervous (and somewhat poorer) knitter who knows how to make a cozy! Details on Ravelry, in case you haven't seen it already!

Friday, September 3, 2010

I do nothing but eat bon-bons all day.

And if you believe that I have a bridge to sell you. Yeah, nice and cheap!

I realize I've been a little quiet this summer, but that's how it goes. I thought it best to let the blog get a little rest rather than slipping away to write posts and let world war 3 erupt in my living room. Besides, I only really had two projects for the whole summer. Snoopy, which you saw last post. And my bathroom. No, I didn't knit a bathroom (although that gives me an idea...). But I did manage to rip our old one apart and put in a new one!

I took advantage of some of the days the kidsters were at Grandma & Papa's and proceeded to bang, smash, rip, and tear the old ugly beige tile off the walls.

Next I ripped out the nasty floor followed by a little more demolition of the built-when-the-house-was-built vanity and medicine cabinet. Then I put in a new floor. A nice fresh new-fangled fiberglass backed sheet of vinyl. My bathroom is only about six feet by 12 feet, so it couldn't be that hard, right? And I've ceramic tiled my 20' x 10' kitchen, which wasn't too bad.

Yeah right.

I have to say it was the hardest thing I have ever done IN MY LIFE. It took me 8 straight hours of hard sweaty labor (the kind without an epidural). And with all that bending, squatting, and kneeling I could barely move the next day and was sore for a week! Now I know why floor installers get $350.00 to put one in.
Come on, scroll back up and compare the before and after again, will ya?

There was a little more work putting the other new stuff back in, but that was a piece of cake (other than the not being able to move part). There is one more thing left to do-a new shower door. But I will save that one for a rainy day when the kids are in school. Soon. Can't be too hard, right?
So when someone asks me what I did all summer with a raised eyebrow (expecting me to say "oh, just swam in the pool with the kids") they better watch out that they don't get a smack. :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A cozy, of the most lovable kind

As the only girl around here, I try to temper the sports, truck crashes, sword fights, and wrestling matches with the softer, kinder, and gentler things whenever I can. One of the things my boys like is having their "friends" close by. Kidster #1 's friends all stay on his bed, and he will choose one to sleep with depending on the day.
Kidster #2 has a few friends on his bed too, but Baby Bear is his love and will sometimes come along with him for the first hour of the day, or make an appearance before bed during our book time.
And then there's Snoopy.

As the youngest of seven children, Hubster was very attached to his Snoopy and treated him very much like how Baby Bear is treated today. He has been through his fair share of tug of wars and even had his arm torn off. Once we had kids, Snoopy reappeared from Grandma's basement and has been enjoying a (slightly) less stressful life here with the boys. However, being 40 years old he is not without some medical conditions.Every time I would try to patch a hole to keep the stuffing from falling out, a new hole would be created. The fabric just wasn't holding anymore. Faced with the possibility of putting Snoops out of reach on a shelf, Hubster asked me to save him. And since Hubster never asks for anything, I knew I had to at least try.

For details on how I did it, see Snoopy's Ravelry page!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's quiet, mostly

I am sitting here reading blogs. The kids are in bed. Hubster popped over to his brother's house for a few minutes. Through the monitor I can hear Kidster #2 softly snoring. Then I realized that he's probably peeling paint in there since I have the monitor turned most of the way down! Ahh, the great thing about having a pool in your backyard on a hot summer day is that you never have to worry about your kids having trouble getting to sleep!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summertime is the best time for...

new cool haircuts...

vacation... (yes, that is my MIL and no, there's not a Freudian message here. The kids? Well that depends on the day.)

trying something new...(tons of fun, btw)
A 4th of July parade that was just too hot to be any fun...

well, for the grownups...

a birthday complete with a trash truck cake and lots of garbage bags...
plenty of pool time...

And I'm right in the middle of a very serious project, more to come on that.
So can you see why I haven't been able to keep up lately?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Pattern preview!

I'd like to be able to say that the reason I have been quiet is because I have been squirreled away busy working on my new bag pattern. Unfortunately that's not entirely the truth.

Summertime activities have taken over. Kidster #2 is already out of school for the summer, our pool is open, and the days have been so nice that I find it hard to stay inside.

The good news is that playing outside means more knitting time than usual. And there is a new bag pattern coming!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I love quickies!

Well who doesn't?

My last few projects have been nice, quick knits! But not just mindless either, I learned a new technique. Bobbles. They were surprisingly easy, but I was glad to practice them on a not so important project, if you know what I mean.
I have a boatload of this cotton that my neighbor gave me last summer. I was going to dye it, but that is another one of those someday projects. So when my mother in law started complaining about the price of Swiffer cloths, I did what every knitter does. I thought for about half a second and said, "I can knit those!". In her somewhat skeptical, non-knitter voice she said, "and they will work as good as the Swiffer ones?" I gave them to her this week, so we will have to wait a bit to see what the verdict is.

The first pattern is available here on Ravelry or from Birdysknits directly. I modified it only slightly by purling the first and last three rows to ease the curling edge.
The other one I made was just 65 stitches knit in garter until it fit. Even though there was only minor sewing involved, I think if I make more I would knit the other one just to avoid it :).

Ok, who isn't getting the biggest kick out of the fact that this yarn is the EXACT same color as the Swiffer???

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins

1. This picture never fails to make me smile.
2. I'm looking forward to Saturday (it's my birthday!).

3. Kidster #2 playing with Hot Wheels is what I'm listening to right now.

4. Potato salad must have no celery in it!

5. Pumpkin cheesecake muffins was the best thing I ate today.

6. Today is the most beautiful weather day we have had!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a Little League baseball game, tomorrow my plans include going out to dinner for my birthday and Sunday, I want to plant in the garden some of the things hanging around in pots, but it might rain!

Get yours:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Underwater on a rainy day

The Under the Sea birthday party was a success. Well, as much of a success as having 14 kids between the ages of 4-6 stuck inside on a rainy day can be!

Luckily I had spent some time decorating our family room. I just didn't trust the weather folk who kept telling us it would clear (which it did, 20 minutes after everyone left). The bottom half of the walls were covered in craft paper so the kids could draw fishy things and sign their names.With kids everywhere, getting a good picture was hard. And since I didn't get parental permissions to plaster their kids' faces all over the internet, you'll have to make do with backside shots and the occasional mug from kidster #1, the birthday boy.

We made fishing poles out of shovels, went fishing, and used the fish we caught to "stick the fish in the ocean".

I made flippers for each of them (how do you like the fish on my head? Ha!)and then goggles and snorkels rounded out the attire. It was supposed to be a scavenger hunt, but I didn't want kids all over the house so I sort of just handed everything out. (Bummer.) We swam like our favorite fish and had a few other swimmingly fun games before cake and presents.
The birthday boy was happy and that made me happy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I've been avoiding the subject.

Here is my spring hoodie. It is an Ugh.

The pattern has a few errors. The hood does not make a hood, it makes a flap. You know, like a big sailor collar. Yeah, not attractive. And the yardage requirement is way off. I should have known that 750 yards for a hoodie sweater was not going to cut it, but I was wearing my rose colored glasses. So I now have a pointy hooded vest. And if you would like to have a pointy hooded vest, just let me know!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Another cat in the house

This little guy is the latest off my needles. I needed something small and portable to take with me on my trip to Ohio. It had just so happened that my friend Anita, of The Pattern Box, was asking for test knitters for her two new designs in our Ravelry group. I knew the cat would be perfect since I did owe kidster #2 a knitted toy. Back when his brother got the ninja turtle I had asked him what he would like and he said a cat. I searched around but never settled on a pattern that I liked. In fact, the only pattern that I even considered was another of Anita's, the Scaredy Cat.

I made this one black to resemble our big black cat Zoey. I didn't do a face...and I probably wont. I like that our Mini Zoey can feel however Kidster wants him to (that, and I'm not good at embroidering)!

I'll let you all know when Anita releases the pattern! In the meantime, here's my Ravelry project page.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Top 5 reasons

...why I haven't posted in two weeks.

1. School vacation week. Everyone home. Enough said.

2. My mother broke her ankle in two places and had to have surgery to put in pins and screws and the whole nine yards. So I took a rather unexpected trip to OH to help her figure out new ways to get around. She lives alone in a split level house, and of course it's her right foot (no driving!). But don't feel too bad for her, she broke it rollerblading!

3. My sweater has turned out to be an UGH and I haven't moved forward since. Pattern errors (of which the company who sent out the pattern still hasn't responded to my inquiries-bad, bad, bad customer service!) and just general ughedness have me at a stalemate. I'll have to make another post about it because I could keep going on...

4. Kidster #1 just turned 6. I am in party planning mode for an Under the Sea theme. Suggestions gladly accepted!

5. Construction in the house kept me away from the computer on the one day a month when the planets aligned and both kidsters were gone for a significant amount of time. Major bummer.

During my mini blogcation, a few new friends hopped in the sandbox. Welcome, and say hi!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New neighbors!

OK, another non-knitting post I know, but at least it is a backyard post!!
A couple of years back, Hubster had some bluebird boxes made by the woodshop class. We hung them up hoping to attract the bluebirds we kept seeing pass through. They would always stop and check out our boxes but we hadn't been able to get them to stay. This is a pic from November when five males (one is going in the box) were fluttering around checking out the neighborhood. We learned that the males pick out the spot and start bringing in the twigs to build the nest in order to attract a female. Once she approves, she takes over the interior decorating. Hey, can't blame a girl for knowing what she wants!
It has been a few years, but finally we have permanent residents.

The female (in the forefront) comes and goes quite a bit. The male (in the background) flies around outside keeping close watch for them. And we have noticed that when she is out, he will sit on the perch and look in, sometimes until she comes back. Why?

There are two eggs that we can see. And once they hatch and leave the nest, the mother may lay another bunch! And the other box in the yard? She builds a nest in that one too, to keep out any rivals. Amazing.