October 31, 2008

Because I'm Too Lazy to Find Old Holiday Photos

The meme : 4 Things I Did Today: ::Stopped at 2 cups of coffee, even though I really wanted more ::Kissed JB ::Remembered to eat before my workout ::Worked out 4 Things on My To-Do List: ::Laundry - there's not much this week ::Fix this for dinner
::Sort old photographs and organize
::Send an email to the Neighborhood ASG 4 of My Guiltiest Pleasures:
::Adding Baileys to my coffee
::JB's homemade cheesecake
::Sneaking Dudley onto the couch for a cuddle
::Taking only one dog for a solo walk
4 Random Facts About Me:
::I once hit myself in the mouth with a baseball bat
::Because I was very overweight in my life, I see myself that way when I look in the mirror
::I swore I wouldn't blog without photos during 2008 - so far I've lived up to it.
::I went to school to be a paralegal and I'm currently working as a bookkeeper in a law office and I don't enjoy it at all

October 30, 2008

Wrestling!

Sunday night, JB jumped off the couch. All the dogs jumped up. (With the exception of Abby - she has to make sure there really is something worth jumping up for.) He fooled them all though - instead of heading to the kitchen, he jumped right into the middle of the beds and the wrestling started.
They actually rolled around on the floor for awhile. Lucy got tired of the game and left early for ice cream. But since she doesn't have opposible thumbs, she had to wait.
Dudley finally decided he had enough and asked me to make him stop! He didn't stop barking at me until JB got off the floor and headed to the kitchen. Bossy Man!
For more cute dogs, some in costume even, don't forget to check out Dogs on Thursday.

October 29, 2008

Reclaimed Yarn

This morning while I was getting ready to leave the house. I noticed there were 2 hand knit sweaters in my closet that I didn't love. They were scratchy or too short or something - but they just didn't get worn. They were bulky too, so they were taking up more than their fair share of closet space. So, instead of knitting - I threw both sweaters into my bag to take to knit night. And that's what I did - reclaimed yarn. It wasn't being worn. The first is a beautiful bulky wool. It has been given to The Musical One and she is now knitting a new scarf playing with yarn overs and knit 2 togethers. She still hasn't taken a class to learn to purl. Frankly - there's not much you can do with just knitting.
The second reclaimed yarn was Noro Silk Garden. This had been a sleeveless turtleneck shell knit in a mock cable pattern. Even sleeveless this top used 6 balls of Noro - it wasn't inexpensive. It was lovely, the colors were rich and vibrant - but I did.not.like.it. So more yarn for The Musical One. I will be searching Ravelry for knit only patterns.
Won't these make fabulous holiday gifts? I hope she enjoys knitting with them.

October 28, 2008

Great Pumpkin

It's time for another Amazing Autumn Coffee Swap topic. This week's question: With Halloween coming up this Friday, tell us what you think of when you think Halloween! Do you love it? Hate it? See it as a sign of Fall? Are you a total sucker for candy and little kids in cute costumes? I love It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. It's one of my favorite holiday cartoons. Tonight I was very happy when my trainer called and asked if we could move my workout ahead an hour. That meant I would be done in time to watch it. Yea! As for the little kids in costume - you betcha, I'm a huge sucker. We live on a dark dead-end street so we don't get many trick or treaters. My favorite was the year the neighbors dressed up as us. Their oldest daughter A was Beau, the young one E was Lucy, Mom was me - walked Beau & Dad was JB walking Lucy. It was super cute and nobody took a photo! I'm just curious, are there any other parents out there who think that Halloween is totally contradictory? As parents we spend years telling our kids not to talk to stranger and never ever take candy from strangers. Then one day a year we dress our kids up, take them to stranger's house and they beg for candy! Wrong? Also - how did everyone know it was Charlie Brown with all the holes and how rude that everyone gave him rocks! Happy Halloween everyone. Don't eat all your candy at once.

October 27, 2008

Weekend Recap

One fabric - 2 skirts finished. The first one is an OOP Simplicity. It was introduced here. This skirt went together easily and it's a cute flirty shape. The tights I ordered have come in already so, as soon as I get the tops sewn it will be good to go.
The second skirt is from one of my all time favorite Kwik Sew patterns - it's 3337. I have never made this skirt from anything but a cotton or heavier fabric. While I was at retreat, some one challenged me to make it in fabric with more drape - so here you have it. This photo is unhemmed and you can see how uneven it was. That was in attempt to keep the plaid matched at the seams.
I also hemmed a top that came home from retreat without a hem. Not to shabby since I really one had 1 day to sew for me.

October 25, 2008

Seven!

from the time JB was 34 he has told everyone that he was 4. You know because dogs age 7 years for every calendar year, so he was going to count in dog years and then he doesn't have to act like an adult. So, this year he turned 7 - finally! On Friday night we had dinner with friends. Her favorite holiday is Halloween so she decided showing up in costume would be big fun. The only costume JB has is an elephant - so that's what he went as. He even took their dogs for an after dinner walk wearing his costume! As an aside - if you're a lover of all things pumpkin - you have to try this. Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage. It was served for dinner on Friday and it was fabulous. I'll be making it again this week for Halloween. Since Saturday was his birthday. Last week (nothing like a little procrastination) I ordered 5 yards of Eagles logo cotton and 3 yards of Eagles logo fleece. The package was delivered on Friday and contained the fleece, but the cotton that was sent was Raiders! So, no cotton pj pants, but I did manage to whip up McCalls 5538, I made view A, shortening it by 3" in the body and omitting the zipper and pockets. It's meant to be a cozy around the house shirt. I could have shortened the sleeves by 3" too! Oh well, I have enough of the logo fleece left to use it as contrast on another. This time I will use black fleece for the main body, putting the pocket on the sleeve in contrast, appliqueing part of the logo on the other sleeve and putting the pockets on the outside, again in the contrast.

October 24, 2008

This is What 45 Looks Like

I met JB in 1983, once we decided to join our families and move in together I have packed his lunch everyday that he has gone to work. With the exception of attending a seminar one year, I haven't missed a day.
Wednesday morning started like all the others. I picked up the dog bowls, took them into the garage and grabbed the V8 for his lunch. When I opened his lunchbox - this is what I saw. Yes, that is a birthday card and a jewelry box behind it.
Inside that little burgundy box was a lovely pair of pearl studs. Perfect! Along with a beautiful, sappy card. How cute that it was in his lunch box so I wouldn't miss it. Then I made my way into work. The landlord came over with a funny birthday card and the candy jar full of Lindt truffles. The good news I don't like truffles - so these will be finding a new home somewhere. But doesn't the jar look pretty?
After that, my co-worker came in with a bag full of goodies. Lotion, note pads, and treats - pumpkin coffee creamer, Cheerios mix. All my favorite goodies. Then I had to sit in on a long boring meeting. When I got back to my desk JD2 had left the beautiful blooming cactus on my desk.
After work, I came home and JB and I walked the big dogs then we went out to dinner. We went to our favorite Mexican restaurant. I had the same thing I always have - Enchiladas Suiza (green sauce). Then we went to the mall and I got the bracelet that matches the rest of the pearls. Thursday, was back at work. I had a long to-do list and got busy. We had our weekly office meeting scheduled for 1:00. Everyone was there. I was gifted a barking birthday card as well as fabulous goodies. My Boss stopped at Great Yarns and emptied my hold bin, there was a gift certificate for Great Yarns and another for Hancocks. After all that The Musical One took JB and I to Olive Garden for a joint birthday celebration. So, for a birthday that was hitting hard, it's been remarkably easy. However, I will be glad for JB's birthday tomorrow so life can get back to normal, regularly schedule cooking, crafting time, normal.

October 23, 2008

Da Beau Man

This is what Beau looks like on a walk
head down, tail up, both going side to side
It's hard to get a non-blurry picture of a dog taking a walk.
I made him sit, while we were at an intersection.
He doesn't like it, but he will do it
Every time I said his name, trying to get him to look at me
he would stand up and step toward me.
For more cute dogs and their adventures, don't forget to check out DOT

October 22, 2008

Weekly Topics

I did it again, I joined another swap - this time it's the Amazing Autumn Coffee Swap This week's topic:
What makes a "Fall day" for you? How do you know it's here, and what do you love about the weather, the scenery, or something else that makes Autumn lovely?

Yesterday, I took Beau out for a walk all by himself. Just me, Beau & the camera. A few of the things I love about Fall days - clear, sunny weather. The kind where you can drive around with the top down and the radio cranked - thanks to heat and heated seats. I also love the colors of the trees. Everyone thinks of New England for fall color and I've visited and everyone is right - breathtaking. However, we have fall color in the Pacific Northwest, it is just in much smaller quantities because I do live in the Evergreen State, after all.

Another Fall reminder - the Birthday/Holiday season starts in October. Today is my birthday, apparently I've crossed an invisible line into "old" today (according to JB), then his birthday is Saturday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, our Anniversary/New Year's Eve, ending with The Princess' birthday in January. It's gonna get busy. Thanks so much for all the well wishes - I appreciate them all.

October 21, 2008

Current Projects

So this is what I'm working on currently. The pattern in an OOP Simplicity. 4787 is a straight skirt with several hem variations. Straight out of the pattern, the skirt fit, but cupped under my rear end. Not an attractive look. So, I added .25" to each seam (this skirt has 6 panels) by the hip, straightening it back out to the hem. Well that added enough fabric that I would be able to sit in this skirt and it not longer cupped my rear. But now I had "jodhpur" hips. Never a good look. So, when I cut the skirt out of fashion fabric - I used the modified pieces, but on the two side panels that get sewn together, I went back to it's original seam lines. There is still enough room and now I don't look like I'm wearing jodhpurs. Trust me, I don't need any help emphasising my hips! The green is for a twin set to wear with the skirt. Yesterday I found a website that over 45 different colors of tights. For $9 a pair! I ordered brown, black and grey/gray (which is right?). And then I thought about ordering a deep green. Here's my question - at what age are you too old to match your tights to your top? And then what color shoes do you wear? I didn't do it - but I did think about it - briefly.

October 20, 2008

Laziness is Really the Mother of Invention

Sometime over this past Spring/Summer I started what will become the ultimate cardigan in my closet. It's a nice rich brown which will match with so much that I wear. It's my first adventure with knitting a top down garment and let me say - I love it! Not just because it doesn't have any seams (which is fabulous). Mostly because when I change the shaping up on the back by adding my increases or decreases - since I'm working both fronts at the same time, the shaping is all done at the same time. No writing it down, no forgetting. It matches. I may never knit a sweater in pieces again. I have enjoyed knitting this so much that yesterday when I went to the big box fabric store for black thread (how do you run out of black thread?) - I bought myself Knitting Sweaters from the Top Down by Cathy Carron and while I have to say that some of the sweaters in the book are not my style - she does give the recipe for creating your own, as well as different collars, necklines, etc. Anyway - I got the body of Big Brown finished the last time I had a dentist appointment. I have been weaving ends in as they appear. Then I came to the sleeves. I really wanted to knit both of them at the same time and I knew it could be done - I just had to figure out how. Well it took some thinking and I picked up one sleeve and picked up the underarm stitches more than once before I figured it out. But I'm doing it! The sleeves look tiny but they are 11" around and almost to the elbow now. So, this is what I did - I started at the center of the stitches already live, knit one stitch and then placed a stitch marker. Then I knit the live stitches and picked up half of the required stitches, placing a marker 1 stitch before the end. In this case, the instructions said to pick up 22 stitches across the underarm seam so I picked up 10, placed a marker, then picked up the last one. I then moved to the second sleeve, finding the center of the picked up stitches, picked up 1, placed marker, then picked up 10 and knit halfway across the live stitches. Did the same on the second side of both sleeves. Now - it's essentially the same as working 2 socks with a magic loop. I just have to remember that the shaping has to happen by the 4 matching markers which are all in the center of the 2 sleeves. With a couple of good television shows this week, I should be able to cast these suckers off and finish the neckline this week. That's the goal.

October 19, 2008

Not Very Exciting

That was my weekend in a nutshell - not very exciting. The picture? Hand knit socks bathing in the kitchen sink. Yep - that was the excitement of my weekend Well - I did muslin the same skirt pattern twice. Cut it out of fashion fabric. Somehow the side panels ended up a good 2" shorter than the front and back. With a pair of heavy tights it will still be wearable. I need to add the waistband and then it's finished. I also figured out how to work both sleeves of Big Brown at the same time (photos to follow) and am almost finished with the decreases, but then there is even knitting and increases. Needs to be finishing by the 29th.

October 18, 2008

Proof That I Collect Cookie Jars

I suppose technically anything you have more than 2 off qualifies as a collection. Here are the stoves in their natural habitat. 3 of them live on top of the fridge and one is hidden away.
This is the first stove I ever got. My mom gave it to me and her sister gave it to her as a wedding present. That makes this cookie jar 47 years old. Most of the original gold trim is worn away - because mom used it when we were kids. However, I do not use it. It has a hairline crack down the back and I'd like to keep it in one piece long enough to give my grandkids.
This was the second stove cookie jar I got. This was a gift from my sister. I don't know where she got it, but it is the one that gets used the most. That probably why the lid got dropped and the little tea pot that is the nob for lifting the lid for access to the cookies is chipped.
The next year, I got this one for Christmas. Again from my sister (this is because her and I decided I would collect stove shaped cookie jars - so she had the inside scoop). If any are an Aga - this would my guess.
The last one I have is one that my sister found at an antiques store. Unfortunately it arrived broken. JB started repairing it, but it hasn't been finished. It's sad, because it's a really pretty stove.

October 17, 2008

People Enjoy This?

Today I made 4 dozen cranberry walnut oatmeal cookies. But see, you all have to understand - I am not now nor have I ever been the baker in our house. That is JB's job. But last week I was emailing VDKnitter and she happened to mention that Mr. VDKnitter was sick. You might all remember that we went to visit them in April, prior to Mr. being deployed. Well JB promised that he would send Mr. homemade cookies and that hasn't been done yet. Then I found out that Mr. was sick - so I had to bake cookies. The problem is - I don't have a mixer. Reality is - while I can cook, sew my own clothes and knit socks for others, I do.not.bake. For whatever reason my baking generally turns out hard - JB generally compares my efforts to charcoal briquettes. I'm just not good at it, in fact, while making oatmeal cookies today, I almost forgot to add the oatmeal. Yes, you did read that right. Anyway - I got all the ingredients in the bowl. Mixed together and then dropped by spoonfuls onto the cookies sheets. Tonight they will be going into the freezer and early next week - they will be packaged and mailed for a nice little treat. VDKnitter - can you email me the address again?

Yarnny Birthdays

I have a birthday coming up. It's not a "Big 0" birthday like one a certain bloggy friend, it's a half. But for some reason it's been really hard. Well my knitting friends knew that. So this week when I showed up at knitting - I was tired and just sitting there for awhile before getting out my knitting. When along came Miss D with a pie (homemade pumpkin cheesecake) with one sparkling candle. I was shocked and surprised. Everyone helped celebrate my birthday early and big fun was had. Miss D - however, always comes through with the snarky, perfectly appropriate, fabulous gifts. This time, there was a lovely little tea set - which had a great tea bag holder, a heart shaped infuser and some huckleberry tea. Also in the package was a new doggy notepad.
There were some fabulous cocktail napkins. I haven't unwrapped them -so there is glare off the plastic. But they say, "Seize the moment! Remember all those women on the 'Titanic' who waved off the dessert cart." Erma Bombeck We have now decided that's how we are going to live our lives.
The final blurry picture is of the fabulous embroidered runner and doilies. They will be gracing the floating shelves in the studio. They will help beautify my sanctuary - and give me something to stop and stare at while enjoying a great cup of tea and contemplate the next step in a project.
Thanks Miss D - for making what's been so hard much easier :)

October 16, 2008

This is how I'm feeling lately - I'm fighting a cold. Mega dosing on Vitamin C, I'm sure I'll the same color as Lucy soon. Just let curl up with my favorite toy and sleep - please. Be sure to check out Dogs on Thursday for more cute dogs.

October 15, 2008

Amazing Autumn Coffee Swap

Questionnaire About Your Yarn Passion 1. Do you knit, crochet, or do both? When did you first learn? Knit, my grandmother taught me when I was 8 and I "learned again" when I was in England in the 80s. 2. Do you like using a particular type of needle or hook? (wood, metal, straight, circular) Is there something you've been wanting to try, or a particular size you always seem to be short on? Currently I'm loving the Hiya Hiya circulars, but I'll use just about anything. 3. What kind of projects do you enjoy making? Any types you just haven't ever gotten into as much as others? Socks, I really enjoy the process of knitting so there isn't too much I don't/won't knit. I recently participated in a secret knit-along which was fun and guilt-ridden at the same time. 4. What's on your needles\hook right now? What's your oldest UFO (unfinished object)? 3 pairs of socks (yes, I knit them in pairs, both at the same time magic looping), a top down cardigan, and my longest UFO is a twin set that the neckline on the shell needs to be reworked (it was started in May 2007) 5. If you were going on vacation tomorrow, what project(s) would travel with you? socks 6. What are your favorite types of yarns? Any you're allergic too, or just hate working with? Anything in particular you've been dying to try? soft and squishy. Not allergic to anything. 7. What sort of colors do you love in yarns? Brights? Pastels? More muted colors? Variegated? Are there any you can't stand? hmm, gonna have to go with anything works here. I haven't found a yarn a don't love - well I'm not all about the crow yarns - you know tons of glitz and novelty yarns don't do it for me, but the rest all good. Your Coffee Passion 1. Do you prefer caffeinated or not? caffeinated - or what's the point? 2. Whole bean or ground? For what type of pot or press? whole beans, drip pot 3. What types of roasts do you enjoy? Are you more the light and lively or dark and robust type? I prefer a lighter roast. 4. How do you 'take' your coffee? Creamers? Sweetener? Other add ins? depends on the coffee a light roast goes it alone, if it's a little bit richer, then I add flavored creamer - pumpkin being my favorite of all time. 5. That first morning cup - is it about the taste, or the caffeine? taste 6. Do you enjoy going out to coffee shops like Starbucks? What are some of your favorites? I love the whole coffee shop experience, but not the price these days. My favorite is taking a weekend walk with JB, Beau & Lucy to our local latte stand. Visiting with the barista and getting a hot coffee for the mile home. 7. You've just made the perfect cup of coffee - is it in a thick mug, or a thinner cup? Where would you sit to drink it? hmmm, am I home alone? If so, then in my big comfy chair in the sitting room. It would be quiet and I would either be reading or knitting. If JB is home and up, then in the living room with the tv on. I like a thinner mug. 8. You're enjoying that perfect cup, and have a magic cabinet in your kitchen - when you open it, magically, your favorite treats will appear to enjoy alongside the coffee - what are they? Are they sweet? Crunchy? Soft and flaky? pumpkin scones, snickerdoodles - freshly made. All about YOU! 1. Do you have other hobbies like spinning or scrapbooking? I make clothing - sewing 2. Do you collect anything? stove shaped cookie jars 3. What is your favorite part of Autumn? brisk walks with the dogs and JB 4. What sort of scents do you enjoy? Any difference in what you like for your house versus what you like for your body? Nope, I'm a pure vanilla girl. 5. Are you allergic to anything? No - well nothing that a thoughtful swap partner would send - I'm allergic to dish soap. Seriously. 6. Are you on Ravelry? What's your ID? Yes, GMarie 7. How would you spend an ideal fall afternoon/day? Taking the dogs for a walk to get a coffee and then crafting - either sewing or knitting.

October 13, 2008

Skirt #2

So, this is the second skirt that I made during the retreat. It's the same ol' same ol' Simplicity Skirt that I make all the time. This thing just fits and I like the gentle "A" line. The pattern is Simplicity 5914, which got dubbed as the Carolyn skirt many, many years ago. And that's how I still think about it. The fabric is a cotton with a slight stretch. It was purchased at Stitches in Seattle. This little piece of fabric was purchased to make a fun skirt for The Musical One - but she didn't love it. I however do and it was it's time. Start to finish - this skirt takes about an hour to sew. I made 3 versions of it at the Spring Retreat, the brown corduroy skirt is a variation on the theme and now this one.
I did however want to add heavy white top stitching down the seam lines - but I grabbed pearl cotton which is really for making heavy rolled hems with a serger. I couldn't get it to play nice with the sewing machine - even with a huge top stitching needle. So, it got stitched with the construction thread. The skirt was comfortable to wear and I just paired it with a white tee.
Of course the big dogs had to be in the photo shoot - that's Beau sitting and Lucy standing in the top photo. Beau got bored and left before the second photo and Lucy sat down.

October 12, 2008

Recap

3 skirts, 3 pairs of flannel pants, 1 dress, and 2 tops. That's what was sewn in 2.5 days. Part of the reason is that one of the skirts was last weeks brown corduroy that was mostly finished last weekend. It fits now and is flirty and fun, but not what I was looking for. I will attempt it again. The other 2 skirts were cut out ahead of time and put into ziplock baggies along with their thread and zippers. Same with the flannel pants. I actually had the skirts and 2 pairs of the pants finished when I finally said good night on Friday. Saturday morning, I finished the 3 pair of flannel pants before breakfast. Then I asked what I should do. I really wanted to work on a muslin of Vogue 2864 (which is now OOP) - because I think the sheath dress would be perfect for the stretch poplin border print from New York. The consensus of the group was to make the cute brown print dress. So, I worked on that the rest of Saturday and finished it before bed. This morning, I made 2 tops from the leftovers from this dress. Then I cut a new skirt pattern out of muslin. JB got home while I was unpacking the car. Everything is now unpacked and put away. I'm thinking that since I have 3 days off every week, I should just spend the evenings prepping and the weekends sewing. I'll be giving up all cooking and housework shortly. I'll let you know how that works out for me :)

October 11, 2008

Is It True

that sock yarn doesn't count as stash? And if so, why not? That, over there <------ that's the hanked sock yarn that I have. Just the stuff in hanks. I love looking at it. It's like a bouquet of sock yarn. I didn't count as I was tucking the hanks into the basket. I just tucked them around in there and remembered where I got them. Some were gifts. There's some beautiful Koigu that came from Jess, Cami's hand-dyed, New York vacation yarn, some gifted yarn, some traded yarn, two hanks of Socks that Rock, and yarn from the yarn tour this year.
This beautiful bouquet of sock yarn sits on the shelf in my studio. Everyone once in awhile I'm inspired by a hank in the basket. Truth be known - when I want to knit a new pair of socks, I almost always go shopping. I'm gonna have to get serious about using up some of this sock yarn.

October 10, 2008

In Case You're Wondering

this is what JB will be doing while I'm gone all weekend. He has the railings up. Next he will be building in benches and a table. The table will be going into the corner shown in the first photo. The purpose will be for big potluck parties and BBQs - then there is a table for serving. The BBQ will be next to the table, with a proper patio table on the other end of the "top" deck. The deck will make more sense when the benches and decking are in and you can see photos of the entire thing. The next time my brother (the contractor) comes to visit we will be taking a window out of what is now our dining room and adding french doors to the deck. Then the dining room will get moved to the sitting room off the kitchen and the sitting room will get moved to the current dining room. clear as mud? JB was getting really frustrated with how long it's taking him to get the deck finished until I reminded him that he didn't start it until the official "end of summer" weekend, otherwise known as Labor Day. I'm pretty impressed at how much he's got done so far. Can't wait to see what it looks like when I get home on Sunday.
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