Friday, November 28, 2008

Another finished project...

...I finally finished the kitty.

Siamese Kitty, complete

and a view of the back:

Siamese Kitty, back view

Started 11/10/08
Finished 11/27/208
Pattern: Siamese Kitty by Barbara Prime
Yarn: Bernat Alpaca Natural Blends
Needles: 6US

If I make another toy in this yarn, I'm going down a needle size—there are a lot of gaps in the stitches once the toy is stuffed. It's still very cute, though!

Our Thanksgiving dinner turned out very well—the turkey was perfect and everything tasted good. It was great to spend time with family. The only bummer of the whole day was that our land line was out all day...we didn't know it was out until mid-day, so people who tried to call us couldn't get through. Thank goodness for cell phones!

By the time everyone left, we were exhausted. Sewing the Kitty together was a perfect thing to work on when I crashed in my chair.

I finally got a chance to take pictures of my last Rockin' Sock Club installment. It's very pretty and Autumn-y. Click the spoiler alert picture to see what it looks like.

I'm going to take it easy today.I have a little bit of a food hangover...I'm not used to eating bread and potatoes any more, so I feel out of sorts. I'll do a little spinning, but mostly just rest and enjoy a quiet day.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

...our table is set, the bird's in the oven. Things are under control, so I can take a minute to wish you

Happy Turkey Day!

Gobble, Gobble!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey's in the brine...

...and I have a ton of things to do.

I have two tasks that I must finish for work today. I can't leave until they're done, so I'm clearly motivated to get them out of the way!

I haven't done any knitting or crafting in several days, so nothing to show you for WIP-it Wednesday. Since I haven't had any time to take pictures of my new Rockin' Sock Club yarn (or anything else, for that matter), here's a picture that I took on one of my walks. This persimmon tree is growing along the wall in a neighbor's back yard.

Persimmons in the morning

This was taken about 3 weeks ago. When I saw the tree this morning, all of the persimmons are gone. (and they didn't share!)

Anyway, back to work for me!

Monday, November 24, 2008

last Monday of the month...

...the weekend just zipped on by. We spent part of the weekend finishing up the various house projects like hanging the new track light in the dining area and replacing the old white board with a new one.

Cleaning took up the rest of our time. It took quite a bit of scrubbing to get rid of the remaining red paint dust in the kitchen. Ugh! What a pain that was! But the kitchen looks nice now (as nice as a late sixties kitchen can look).

We did all the dusting and vacuuming, polished the furniture, and got things back into their places. In the course of dusting I earmarked several cookbooks for resale or charity donations. (Really don't want to have all those Frugal Gourmet cookbooks in my house anymore.)

When I wasn't cleaning, I prepped for Thursday. I did my main grocery run for Thanksgiving (I know I'll do at least one more). I bought the bird and it is defrosting in the refrigerator. I made my cranberry sauce, boiled the brine for the turkey, and toasted and cubed the whole wheat bread for the stuffing. Oh yeah, and I made an artichoke frittata that we took to a friend's house for dinner on Saturday.

By yesterday evening, I was pooped! I sat down to watch True Blood at 6pm and worked on the bike helmet earwarmers. I finished them up watching Dexter. I wore them this morning and they were wonderfully warm!!

Bike Helmet Earmuffs

Started: 11/19/08
Finished: 11/23/08
Pattern: Briney Deep Designs [Ravelry]
Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Waterlily, color 1960
Needles: US7

This was a fun project, just what I needed!

While it's a short work week, it's a long one at home. I still have a bunch of prep work to do, so my evenings will be full. I will really miss the Daughter's help this year, but I'm hoping to corral my niece and nephew as helpers.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Early morning eye candy...

...getting up early to go to the gym has its advantages. I get to see some wonderful sunrises. Flowers and plants always look so much more vibrant in the morning sun.

This morning I noticed paper white narcissus growing wild in the front yard.

Paper White Narcissus

They are in all stages of growth: some blooming, some wilting, and some just starting.

About a week ago, the husband moved some planters to the front of the house. They contain an assortment of snapdragons and pansies. They really add some much-needed color to the front of the house.

These pansies caught my eye this morning:


Since it's getting colder and colder in the mornings, I decided I really needed to get serious about finding something to cover my ears. A quick search on Ravelry yielded three patterns for bike helmet ear muffs. After reading all of the patterns, I decided that the pattern by Briney Deep Designs [Ravelry] was very close to what I envisioned. It's basically two covers for the straps connected by a head's hard to describe, so just go look at the picture!

I started the project on Wednesday and I'm about at the halfway point. I've tried it on my helmet and it fits really well. I wish I had them this morning!

Up this weekend: finish putting the kitchen back together, clean the house, and unearth the dining room table. I also need to make my cranberry sauce and do most of my Thanksgiving shopping. Gotta get that turkey so it has time to defrost and I can get it into the brine! In between times, I'll work on the earmuffs and sew the Siamese kitty together.

It's going to be a busy weekend...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

WIP-it Wednesday, feline-style...

...the Siamese cat is almost done! I've finished all the knitting and done most of the seaming. I just need to stuff it, embroider the face, and add ribbons and a button to the apron.

All it needs is stuffing...

Love this pattern! All of the Fuzzy Mitten patterns are adorable and the instructions are well written. I'll probably make a couple more of these because they're fast and fun.

I haven't done much more than that...we're still trying to get the kitchen put back together. All the cabinet doors are back up and the Husband has caulked half of the counter. I need to get in there with some bleach and clean the grout so it's white instead of red. (Sanding all that old red paint really spread a nice layer of red dust on everything!)

The kitchen has to get done soon so I can start my Thanksgiving prep. ACK!! That's next week...gotta get serious here really soon!

Monday, November 17, 2008

the kitchen that ate our weekend...

...sort of. The Husband spent most of his weekend dealing with cabinet doors and painting. I went through the stuff in the cabinets and flagged some things for Goodwill and others for trash or recycle.

After The Husband finished painting the cabinet doors and the walls, cabinet fronts looked really bad. We haven't ever repainted them (again, waiting for that remodel that's not happening) and the red paint was started to chip away. Yes, I said "red." Until this weekend, my kitchen was red, white, and black—red cabinet fronts with the rest white, and a black-and-white tiled floor. It was great for a while, but we were ready for a change.

One option was to go completely white, but as I've mentioned, it gets really bright in the kitchen in the morning. All white would be blinding. We decided that a new color was in order and we went for a color more on the cool end of the spectrum:

new kitchen color

Note our fabulous particle board cabinet doors...they used only the best materials when they built our house. LOL! (Note: this picture is taken at an angle; the doors are not crooked.)

Everything is painted now, but not quite put back together. The hinges were in really bad shape and many of the screws were stripped. The Husband is replacing all of the hinges (all 36 of them), quite a time-consuming task!

So my refrigerator is still in the middle of the kitchen and I have boxes and bags of stuff everywhere. Needless to say I couldn't cook anything, much less make any soap!

My new mixer arrived, way before I expected it. It is so pretty!

new KitchenAid mixer

The good news was that it came with a meat grinder, which was unexpected. The bad news was that my extra bowl for my old KitchenAid mixer does not fit on the new one. Rats! Since I really need two for baking, I went ahead and bought a second bowl. Now I'm set for Christmas baking...

I did get a little knitting done. I finished all of the Siamese cat pieces and did quite a bit of the seaming. I am nearly done knitting the little pink apron that it wears. But that was pretty much all I had time for.

Tonight, I'm hoping we can get more of the stuff put away so I can actually use the stove. I'm getting tired of take-out!

Friday, November 14, 2008

little cat feet...

...and ears and other parts. Just missing the arms!

more little cat pieces

Sorry for the flash...not enough light in my office to go without. So happy with this project! I may just make another toy because they're fun!

This morning was clear and mild. It was easy to see the moon as it moved across the sky.

Moon in the morning

We don't have a lot of trees in our area that change colors. Those that do change are doing so at a fast pace. I saw these in my neighbor's yard:

leaf in the morning sun

It looks like it will be a beautiful day! Wish I wasn't working so I could enjoy it!

Up this weekend: dinner tonight at the Husband's parents. His aunt is visiting from out of town and this is our chance to see her.

I need to continue the cleaning campaign in the kitchen, specifically inside the cabinets. The Husband is not quite finished with the painting, so I might have to rethink that and work on the living room. I'm in a major get-rid-of-the-extra-stuff mood right now. (The Husband's favorite mood for me...he loves it when I get rid of stuff!) This is the time to attack things.

When I'm not cleaning, I want to finish the Siamese kitty and work on my secret project. I also feel the need to make some soap, so we'll see what grabs my attention first!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

a WIP and a random bit...

...since my existing knitting projects are either long-term (the February Lady sweater and the Sea Foam wrap), frustrating (mystery socks and dog sweater), or just boring (black leg warmers)., I started something new! I saw the cutest stuffed toy patterns online [Ravelry] and immediately fell in love with the Siamese cat pattern. I'm thinking that one of my nieces would love a stuffed toy.

The thing I love about stuffed toys is that they are instant gratification: I made its head at Knit Night on Monday and I made one leg last night after I got home from Pilates. I need to seam them, so it's hard to visualize what the final will look like:

Little pieces

SOOO CUTE!! I'm making this one in an Alpaca blend that's very soft and squishy. Anyway, it has me excited to knit again...

The Husband is making progress on painting the kitchen. He removed our whiteboard in preparation to paint a wall. This wall was the one we used to measure the Daughter when she was growing up. We started marking her height on this wall when she was 6; the last mark was made sometime in high school. The lower marks have been exposed all this time, but the upper marks were under the whiteboard. The Husband is going to try to figure out a way to preserve this, but it may not be possible. We've both taken pictures so we at least have that.

Here's a peek:

Behind the whiteboard

The lower frame shows the first marks that we made. The upper frame has her goal mark of 69 inches and her last measured mark of 67-inches with her "Yeh!" comment. LOL! She may not have made her goal height, but she has at least 4 inches on me!

Monday, November 10, 2008

nearly craft-less weekend...

...not quite what I planned, but satisfying nevertheless.

We've had long-term plans to remodel the kitchen. because of timing issues and little things that came up, we've never really gotten past the planning stages. Now with the economy the way it is, we've pretty much decided to hold off on the remodel. However, we both really hate the kitchen, so we've got to do something.

The Husband is in the process of doing some "freshening"—repainting the walls and cabinets. He's not quite done, but it's looking much better already. I decided to tackle the drawer contents Saturday morning. Not a visible change, but it needed to be done. I culled out a bunch of things that we no longer use, wiped down the insides of the drawer and replaced things in a more organized fashion. As a result, I freed up a drawer for the Husband to use for his gardening paraphernalia (plant tags, pens, small tools) that were always cluttering up the counter.

We both agreed that the kitchen blinds had to go. They were inexpensive pleated blinds that I installed as a temporary measure when we first thought about remodeling. Well, they were pretty icky and impossible to clean. Off we went to Home Depot, where we bought two sets of faux wood blinds for the 10-foot slider (2 @ 5-feet) and two sets of vinyl mini blinds for the 8-foot window over the sink (2 @ 4-feet).

We finished installing them yesterday afternoon...boy, what a difference! I know some people might think that blinds are tough to keep clean in the kitchen, but we really need the darkening effect that they provide. When the morning sun comes blasting through that 10-foot slider it is way bright!

Anyway, here's a glimpse of the new blinds:

View from the kitchen

You can see the backyard through the uncovered window. I took the picture this morning, so all the blinds are down. If you look carefully at the top of the picture, you can see where the new paint ends. The Husband plans on finishing the painting this week.

Since it was all about the kitchen this weekend, I didn't spend much time knitting...just a few rows here and there, I didn't work on my secret project either. Next weekend, though, I'll get serious with my holiday projects!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Eye Candy

...yeah. Had a little trouble coming up with a picture today. The garden is looking a little bedraggled and my projects seem to be stagnating.

The only thing worth taking a picture of this morning was this:

Cabbage in the morning

...a cabbage. The Husband wasn't home, so I couldn't ask him whether this was an ornamental or if it will produce an actual cabbage. I do like the different colors, though (and apparently so to the bugs!). I also like that it still has some dew on its leaves.

But that's all I have. My sweater is coming along slowly and I haven't worked on any other craft project this week.

The only thing I have done is go through my recipes and start listing the things I want to bake for Christmas. I also ordered a new mixer because my KitchenAid that is 20+ years old is starting to complain when I mix double and triple batches of stuff. This mixer has been a real workhorse, especially when you consider how much dough it's handled over the years.

Normally, I'd wait until my mixer gave out, but I didn't want to be in the middle of Christmas baking when that happened. Also, I had just received my rewards points report from American Expresss and wouldn't you know...I have enough for a new mixer! Yay...and even kind of free! I ordered a KitchenAid Professional in Pearl Metallic (see it on
Amazon here.) Looking forward to using it!

One thing I'm considering is how much longer I'll continue the marathon Christmas baking. Don't get me wrong I enjoy doing it, but many people are more health conscious now and ingredients are starting to get expensive. At some point, I may back off to just biscotti and my signature snowflake cookies....but not this year!

Up this weekend, do some housework to start getting the house ready for Thanksgiving. I'll be making the dinner again this year and we may pick up a stray or two. On the crafty end, we'll have to see what grabs my interest...

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

there's a new day dawning... I have hope and it feels great! (and that's as political as I'll get here!)

As promised,. I have the specs and a picture of the completed hat. Here's Teddy doing the modeling chore:

Simple Multicolor hat
Started 10/15/08
Finished 11/1/08
Pattern: based on Cold Weather Hat #5 by Sharen Stennett (Head Huggers site) [Ravelry]
Modifications: I did it in stockinette instead of garter stitch
Yarn: Bernat Softee Chunky Twist in pink and brown &
Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in almond; 1 strand of each

Needles: 10 1/2 US

It fits well and it's warm. However, I wanted the hat to wear under my bike helmet and it's too thick. Now that I've tried a hat, I think I need some thing more like Calorimetry in a thinner yarn. I really just want my ears's cold in the morning!

I have nothing else to report. I could take another picture of my sweater, but it pretty much looks the same as the last one except it has one more buttonhole and it's longer. I haven't touched the Mystery socks as I'm still irritated with myself.

Actually, I've been having a lot of trouble getting motivated to do any projects. I think it has to do with the weather and the time change. All I seem to want to do is hibernate! Anyway, I hope to get past this soon as a have a secret project to do! (I think it would be nice if Jane got it in time for Christmas instead of after, don't you?)

Monday, November 03, 2008

November already...

....this year is zipping right along! Wish my projects were!

The knitting is going slowly. The Mystery socks are sitting at the bottom of my knitting bag, while I decide whether to frog them and turn them into a different pair of socks, or soldier on and finish them. I'm not feeling the love for these socks right now.

As for the dog sweater, well, let's just say I have some work to do. I got a chance to try it on the dog—the back fits perfectly; the front, way too narrow. I'm about ready to chuck this pattern across the room! I may just give up and add button bands to the front so it will close. It's at the bottom of the knitting bag, too.

It wasn't all frustrating. I did finish a simple hat for myself...I haven't taken a picture yet, but believe me, the operative word is simple. I'll post the specs when I get the picture uploaded.

I also made some progress on the February Lady Sweater. I'm working down the yoke, trying to get to the spot when I can start the lace portion of the sweater. But each round takes so long to do that I feel like I'm going nowhere fast.

On Sunday, I decided I needed to get outside and walk off some of my frustration. I took the new camera with me and decided to take picture of whatever caught my fancy.

Of course, I took pictures of me some clouds!


November sky 2

I tried out the macro setting on different plants.

Autumn leaves

Red Bougainvillea

And I discovered that the elementary school just around the corner has rose bushes.

Nimitz Roses collage

(There are a few more pictures on my Flickr photostream.)

So far, I'm very happy with this camera (Canon A1000 IS). It takes good macro pictures when the operator doesn't mess up (lol!). I need to try it on people next!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

October 2008 recap

...I didn't finish much this month....too much work!

The Recap

  • 10/28/08 Deep Blue sea yarn [Ravelry]
    Started: 10/12/08
    Seawool top from Creatively Dyed in Deep Blue Sea
    Spun and plied on Lendrum DT folding wheel
    Yield: 391 yards traditional 3-ply at 14 WPI;
    14 yards Navajo-plied at 13 WPI
  • 10/6/08 Little Monkey Foo Foo socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
Worked on:
  • Dogosaurus Rex sweater (knitting) [Ravelry}
  • 10/4/08 February Lady Sweater (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • 10/11/08 TTL Mystery Sock for Socktoberfest knitting [Ravelry]
  • 10/12/08 Deep Blue sea yarn (spinning)
  • 10/15/08 Cotton hat (knitting)
Frogged/On Hiatus:
  • Black leg warmers in Caron Simply Soft yarn (knitting): Waiting for cold weather
  • Morning Surf Scarf (knitting) [Ravelry]
Works In Progress (did not work on):

  1. Spinning 4 oz of Angora Cottage 70% Merino and 30% Silk roving in purple [Ravelry]
  2. Montego Bay wrap in Walking on the Wild Tide yarn, using Montego Bay scarf pattern from Interweave Knits Summer issue (knitting)
  3. Spinning 2 Chasing Rainbows rovings together in the Heather colorway: one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz)
  4. Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)

  1. Cascade Fixation anklets (knitting)
  2. Central Air socks (knitting)
  3. Hopi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  4. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  5. Paint it Black quilt
  6. Flower Power quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  7. Jungle Songs quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  8. Queen Mermaid by Mirabilia (cross stitch; still languishing in its stretcher bars)
  9. Sangria shawl (knitting)
  10. Twinkletoes slippers; just need to make one (knitting)

Not-quite Eye Candy Friday...

...we've experienced a week of poor air quality due to the fires north of us. So many people (and animals) have lost their homes, some...