Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking back

So, last January, I made a few resolutions... along with the standard "eat better and exercise more" (neither of which I've done overwhelmingly well with this year), I vowed to keep a handle on my stash and contain it to what would fit into my unused (large) suitcase. Well, that didn't go so well either. heh I moved on from the suitcase to more use-friendly shallow bins that would slide under my bed. Here are the contents of one bin:The bins are great since they are only about two skeins deep (or one sock skein on end), thereby eliminating the need to dig to see what I have - I hate digging. So... I bought a few of these bins... then a couple more. Darn DBNY deals! BTW - they're having a good January sale on Cherry Tree Hill yarn. Supposed to start at midnight EST for New Year's but they apparently jumped the gun and it's on now. An no, before you ask... I did NOT buy anything. heh I wanted to but the one yarn that tempted me got sniped by an early shopper catching DBNY's goof of starting the sale hours ahead of schedule meaning I'm sure to not be the only disappointed potential customer. Maybe it's the universe's way of telling me I didn't need that yarn... would have made a gorgeous sweater-jacket though! Ah, well, maybe next year when the stash has been depleted a bit...

I did do well with some of my other resolutions however. I wanted to knit my 2nd pair of socks this year... and I did. My second, third and fourth! All of which I love. =) I also wanted to knit a sweater for myself (my first). That almost made it to completion. It was all finished other than the button bands when I finally admitted that it just wasn't right and decided to frog it. I learned a lot in the process though! Throw in a couple hats, a couple scarves, a couple pairs of fingerless gloves, a few bags and a few small gift items and you have my year of knitting. Not a huge number of FOs, but I'm happy with most of them so it's all good. =) I also did well with my savings goal and even purchased a newer car (yeah, I got a loan, but I put down a good down payment, but dang, haven't had to make a car pmnt in YEARS!) and have enough in the bank to easily move on. That brings me to this coming year...

So, what are my plans for 2010?

  1. Same as last year, I plan to knit only things I want to knit and not what people expect (unless they're the same of course, heh). Makes my knitting time so much more enjoyable!

  2. I've been knitting the past several years now and thoroughly enjoy it, but lately I've been getting an urge to learn to crochet... so this year, I want to learn to crochet, or at least try enough to decide if I like it or not. heh I haven't really crocheted (much more than a chain anyway) since I was maybe 7 or 8. I vaguely remember it being sort of flat and oval-ish. So many knitting patterns have lovely crochet edgings and I've always steered clear of those... until now. =) Plus, it's rumored to be quicker and use more yarn than knitting. haha Good way to make my way through some of my stash???

  3. Stash. Yeah, I need to get a handle on this. I used the excel spreadsheet download on Ravelry and added a couple columns to figure total weight in my stash as well as total yardage. Wow. That's an eye-opener! I knew it was a lot, but dang. I have a several skeins that I have no weight or yardage entered since they were grab bag deals with no info, but most of the stash has info entered into Ravelry so the insane totals are close, just a bit lower than reality. I currently have 104.2 pounds of yarn!! Geez, that's almost as embarrassing as posting MY weight! Adding up the yardage, that's 57.5 miles of yarn!! Yeah, I have issues. Hard to pass up a good deal! Okay, I know I can't/won't go cold-turkey... at least not for long, so my plan is to be sure the yardage/weight IN is no more than half the yardage/weight OUT so my stash will have to shrink. I better get knitting/crocheting!

  4. *sigh* Still trying to clean up my diet and get back on track with regular exercise. I've decided I need to start working out at least 3 days a week (to begin with). I'm also going to really try out a vegan diet finally. I've been wanting to do this for awhile and just haven't made the leap. It's time. And just in time for my birthday!
  5. I'll also be making another big move this year! Back across the country, back where I love to be, back to having my own space. =)

Happy New Year! May yours be filled with fun times andbe better than the last. =)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Some things never change...

Mugsy yesterday...and 12 years ago. =)
Definitely a snow dog!
It started snowing here in Indiana late Christmas night and it's been coming down off an on ever since. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday filled with fun, family and friends! =)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Super Saturdays

And Sundays too, of course. The Portland Saturday Market is a definite must see if you're in the area early March through late December. I'd suggest going with fun friends! =)We met this chick-magnet at the Market too. Austin is probably the biggest Great Dane I've ever seen. And such a sweetie! Just one more thing to love about Portland - such a dog-friendly city. We also checked out the Christmas Ship Parade this past weekend. Very cool.

Heading home tomorrow for the holidays, but I'll be back in January! =)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's all about the water

In Portland, that is. =) I've been here 3 1/2 weeks (almost) and loved (nearly) every minute of it! Our first weekend, we took a dinner cruise on the river and had a ton of fun. I'm sure it's absolutely gorgeous in the Spring/Summer/Fall, but is still very pretty even in the middle of Winter. =) There are some amazing homes along the river, including this teensy one we passed:There are also some great floating homes to see: There's plenty of wildlife as well as people enjoying the great outdoors. But I think this was my favorite shot of the trip:The day started out incredibly foggy, but cleared up nicely for our outting. Definitely something I wouldn't mind doing again someday...

Monday, December 21, 2009

I may finally cave

to technology. I've been looking at e-readers for awhile now and just couldn't justify the cost since Amazon's Kindle meant you buy the book, read it and that's it. $10 for a book that I can't pass on? And no expansion slot to increase the memory? I'm thinking "no" even though it would be awesome as a space-saver both on the road and on the bookshelves at home. I got to play with a Kindle not long ago and the owner (another business traveler) loves it, but still, too many limitations to justify it for me. Now, Barnes & Noble comes out with Nook and you can actually share books?! Hmm, might be worth it - esp since I have points sitting on a ccard (one I haven't even used in a year since I got my mileage card) that I could trade for $225 in BN gift cards. $260 is still a bit high for my comfort, but $35? That sounds more reasonable. =) Sure, the Kindle has text-to-voice and Nook doesn't, but after hearing the irritating computer voice of the Kindle, I know I'd never use that feature anyway. I saw a comment about being able borrow free e-books from the library as well. I'll have to check into that...

Have I ever said how much I love earning points??? =D

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Gifts - Done!

Finally finished the never-ending scarf! Scarf + sock yarn = way too much knitting the same pattern over and over! I pretty much knit this exclusively on planes/in airports so it took awhile to finish, but it's done! And it's been getting lots of compliments from flight attendants along the way too. =) I love it... but I'm SO glad it's done! Really felt like the miles (okay, 6 feet) of scarf would never end. haha Fingering weight yarn (and boredom with the pattern) makes for sloooooow going. Not the pattern's fault. It's super easy and there was no pattern I had to keep handy to refer to... just reminded myself why I rarely knit scarves! =) Scarves remind me of being a kid, riding in a car with my parents asking, "Are we there yet?!" Tomorrow, the scarf and matching fingerless mitts will be heading a bit north to Everett, WA, to keep their new owner warm and toasty.Should be a good fit for the mild Pacific NW winter. =)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Baby Stuff!

SO far behind! I have pics, I have knitting. You get knitting first. =)
I knit these up awhile ago actually, but since they were a gift, I couldn't post pics of course. heh Finally got them sent off a couple weeks ago, so... here ya go! I used the Modern Cabled Baby Bib (Ravelry link) pattern and made right- and left-handed bibs. The yarn is Bernat Cottontots. Love the colorway (doll house) - reminds me of neopolitan ice cream! Should hide any dribbles nicely and it's SO soft! And washable, of course! Had enough for two bibs... and a matching basketweave washcloth.It took a few trips to a few different stores, but I finally found buttons I liked. I wanted something cute but easy for mom/dad to use. Found these cute round ones with embossed flowers that matched perfectly! I tried a couple of knit shops and finally found these at Jo Ann's. heh Shoulda gone there first, I suppose.

Not bad for just one skein of yarn! Even had enough left over for my mini media bag!

These are all already very well-traveled so maybe it means baby Elizabeth is destined to see the world! I started these in AZ and they made the trek to upstate NY and Oregon before finally hopping into a mailbox in Indiana and heading off to California...

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Ahhhhh.... this is it.

Not the greatest shot, but you get the idea. This is the view from my current hotel:Never mind that I have to lean against the window and look as far left as possible to see this view... heh The rest of my view's pretty decent if I ignore the rooftops of the buildings near my hotel. =) I landed at PDX, got my bags and my rental car and was checked into my hotel all by noon PST on Sunday. Yes, that means I was up and had bags in my car and was on the road by 4:30a EST. I don't recommend that, btw. Not fun. But I'm here now and it's all worth it! We've had gorgeous weather - chilly but clear - the past couple days and are expecting good weather the next week or so at least. Everyone I've met here so far has been really nice and they all seem to love living here. Such a change from Albany where I only got pity when they asked how long we'd be there! And getting to see eagles on my drive in to the office, well... it doesn't suck. =)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Feels like home...

I was home just over a week this time when I got a call on Monday informing me I'd be booked on a flight on Tuesday to... Oregon! Finally! Since Seattle last winter, I've been waiting and hoping to be put on a project back in the Pacific Northwest. I wish I'd had more warning, but wow, how could I be too annoyed when I get to come to such a beautiful place?Gorgeous. My friend Kim and I took a little road trip today and stumbled across this great old school house. Then, further down the road, we came across Emigrant Spring State Park. I fell in love with this great little cabin. Nice park with some great camping spots and of course, the cabins for rent by the night.
As always, the rest of the pics can be found here.
We also checked out the Wildhorse Casino on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. I've never had the urge to go to a casino and now... I still don't get the attraction. I can think of much better ways to blow my money than that. heh I'd love to head back to the reservation to check out the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute. No more casino though...

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Headed to the frog pond...

*sigh* Sometimes you just have to take a step back, take a good look with less-biased eyes and realize... this just isn't working!and isn't going to get finished. =( I want to love it! I really, really do! It's my first sweater ever and I love the yarn but... this isn't working. heh Not sure what I was thinking when I chose this pattern other than I knew it would be simple for my first sweater. I'm not a huge fan of crew necks in general (great choice of patterns, huh?) and I'm not so sure the raglan style was a good choice for my body type either. The second being a bad sign for my capelet I began a couple weeks ago, also in a raglan style though it does have a different collar style. Anyhoo, I tried this on again tonight after I've been dragging it around for months, never getting the motivation to knit the button bands (all that's left to finish this other than weaving in ends). Standing in front of a mirror tonight, it is completely obvious... the sleeves are too big and an odd length, the back too wide, the fronts, well, not wide enough to contain the girls... It's also an odd length... not cropped, but too short to be normal length. What the heck was I thinking?! I think with some tweaking (involving completely ripping this out and starting over), it might be okay but really?! Is it worth it??? I say, nope! I've been wishing for awhile I'd picked a more involved pattern for my first sweater. This was just so... basic. Not that basic's bad, but, well, if I'm going to put all this time and effort into a sweater, shouldn't I LOVE it in the end and be proud to say I made it? This, I do not love. At all. Sadly. So, I'm giving up and it's being banished to the frog pond. Might leave it as is until I decide what to knit it up into later and then knit straight from this sweater, frogging as I go, save a few steps. Or maybe I'll just frog and wind it so I don't have to look at this disappointment anymore... heh I did learn a few things in the process at least. Maybe I should stick with hats, gloves and socks for now...

On a happier note, I made an awesome vegetarian lasagna today! Just look at all those veggies...YUM!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Back home again... in Indiana.

And Autumn is firmly upon us...

It was a beautiful, frosty morning today. Chilly enough to pull out Reilly's cold weather wear.

Perfect weather for knitting! I finished the fingerless gloves for my friend last weekand started the matching scarf at the airport while waiting for my flight home from NY Friday evening.Wasn't so sure about this pattern after the first couple of repeats, but now that I have 8" or so, I'm quite pleased with the results. Switching between US4 and US7 makes this scarf progress rather quickly, esp for one made of fingering weight yarn! This set should be nicely cozy yet lightweight, perfect for a cool Seattle day without being overkill. =) One Christmas present (almost) down!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

And let the shopping commence...

Yeah, yeah, it's nearly November and I'm just starting to Christmas shop. Okay, in all honesty, I did start last month... a little. I've picked up a couple of small items but today was my first non-stocking-stuffer-like purchase. My mom mentioned wanting a set of interchangeable circular needles so I offered to get them for her for Christmas (no surprise for her - didn't want her to go buy them!). Whew! I'd much rather buy someone something they want and might actually use (yes, I like things to be used not just collect dust on a shelf if I can help it) than try to figure out something they'd like (and don't already have). I looked at costlier sets, but my mother doesn't knit much so this should work well for her limited needs as well as take up very little storage space (if you'd ever seen the house, you'd understand that concern!).And I'll be able to afford a few other small items to go in the package too with the deal I got. Jo Ann's doesn't have these sets on sale right now, so I was able to use one of their online coupons (woo! 50% off!) and get these at a great deal. I do love finding good deals. =) Early this year, I found awesome deals on a ball winder and swift and saved my mom a ton since she got them for me for my birthday. I love everyone to get good deals. =) So... this officially begins my Christmas shopping ventures... and it was even knitting-related!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Undercover in Indiana

Last weekend (hey, we're almost current!), I was home... missing the New York Sheep and Wool Festival at Rhinebeck (*sigh*). I got so excited when I saw the signs up for the festival... until I realized it would coincide with my weekend home. Darn it. At least my weekend home also coincided with the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival in Indiana. I had a late flight back on Sunday so I took my mother down with me to the Mansfield festival. It was mostly just a big flea market with a ton of horrible (brick of fries, anyone?) food booths, but there's an old roller mill there that was a ton of fun to shoot. The light was perfect and warm, nicely showing off the antique machinery and wood. Here are just a few of the shots I got: Even caught one of the DNR guys grinding corn into meal. There really is more than corn in Indiana... but I bought a bag for a buck. =)As always, more pics in my flickr stream. It always cheers me up to get a great opportunity to play with my camera. =)
One of the booths did have some great leatherwork. I'm not a big fan of leather, but some of this stuff was pretty impressive.So, that was my morning. Then, back to New York for another two weeks...

A whole lotta water...

Yep, that's Niagara Falls! Two weeks ago (told ya I was behind), I headed out on a 5-hr trip across the state (in the rain the whole way, of course), ending up in Buffalo where a friend is working right now. We'd been planning this since we found out we were both headed to NY. =) We hit Niagara Falls on Saturday. Neither of us had ever been and I'd never really had a huge urge to go... but I gotta tell ya, it's incredible! Completely worth 10-hr car ride there and back It's like the Grand Canyon. You see pictures and think, yeah, that's pretty (and pretty huge), but you just don't realize how incredible it is... until you see it in person.That one (above) will take you to a video I shot of the Falls. I'm betting felting would be really quick there... if the water was warmer. =)
If you haven't been, go! Put it on the list. Amazing.
If you do go... get the Discovery Pass. You buy a booklet for $33 (for adults, not sure on the kid's price) and it covers admission to the observation deck, Maid of the Mist (boat), Cave of the Winds (the decks below the American Falls), the discovery center, the adventure theatre and the Aquarium of Niagara. Oh, and a one-day pass for the trolley that takes you to each spot. FYI - Park at the aquarium (free!) and take the trolley from there to avoid the $10 parking fee. They were letting people on without trolley passes and letting them purchase the passes at the stops next to the stands. Wish we'd known that! heh Also wish I had a passport (yeah, yeah, I know, I should have one by now... but I don't... yet).
We did the Cave of the Winds (awesome)
and the Maid of the Mist (awesome!) and went back on Sunday to see the aquarium (meh, the animals look bored out of their minds and are in too-small enclosures, I think). They do seem to take in some special needs animals though. All of the seals and some of the sea lions are vision-impaired either due to injury or cataracts so that's good. A lot of the fish were pets that outgrew either their tanks or their ownerss interest. I'm hoping the penguins are being rehabilitated too since so many of them looked pretty peaked. They just stood around staring at the rocks. =(
There were a few interesting characters in the mix. The camo crabs:Yeah, there is a crab under there!
I'm a turtle fan and this guy did not disappoint:Don't you just love that face? And he posed nicely for me too. =)
And always a favorite, the sea anemones:
Gotta love that!