Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Yarnica Has Come Again...

A little box from Knit Picks arrived today. Honestly it only has 4 skeins of yarn. A brown cotton to make a partner to my lone original shorty hand-warmer. A blue cotton which matches another single skein I had purchased with no use in, mind for which I now have a use in mind but know I'll probably need a second skein. And 2 skeins of a wool yarn called mocha twist (brown and black twisted yarn). Love the name and I thought a nice choice for a certain friend in Texas waiting for her warmers. I also got a couple new sets of needles as a girl need more than one size right?

However the most exciting contents are the books I ordered. (Have I talked yet about my slight obsession with books? If not, let it be know, I LOVE BOOKS!) One on socks, one on luxury one-skein knits, and this lovely little book:

It has amazing, yet simple projects in it and I can hardly wait to finish up the hand-warmers I have on "order" so I can tackle a striped felted tote, or some knitted cupcakes, or the felted bowls. I don't know where I'm going to start, but I think with this book in hand it's going to be a while before I am finished! What's even more dangerous is that the designer, Leigh Radford, has two other books out, that from the pictures available on her website, I'm pretty sure will need to become part of my library soon! I love the idea of felting and apparently so does she. Check out her super cute stuff.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A New Iowa Crop...

(Photo borrowed from here.)

Driving across Iowa on I-80 these day one can't help but become aware of a new type of farm popping up on our countrysides...the wind farm. Specifically there are two significant locals between here and the Nebraska border where new crops have been planted since last spring. And when I say significant I mean if you stop at the top of hill in these two locals and count all the turbines for as far as your eyes can see, you might very well get close to reaching 100.

At each spot.

They are amazing and beautiful and I am thankful that people (and realistically utility companies) in the state I call home are progressively moving forward on establishing clean, renewable energy options.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Needle Caddy...

Yesterday I took a break from knitting to do a little sewing. I've been thinking my lovely new needles need a safe home when they are not in use. So down to creation central I went to make this little quilted needle caddy.

The fabric is some I had once picked up to make some bags that never came to be. (I also have it in blue which which I plan to make into this bag here in the next few weeks.) These pictures by far don't do the fabric justice. It's delicious! My caddy is a little stiff as I used both interfacing and batting, but overall I'm pretty pleased.

On the knitting front, I finished what I thought was going to be one of a pair of hand-warmers for my friend Laura. It has lovely cables. However I discovered just how much difference there is between worsted and DK weight yarns and how gauge changes even though I used the same needles. I now have a pair of mismatched "samples" (the other being the brown one I made and am waiting for more yarn before I can give it a mate) and will be starting over with the green yarn (thankfully there is plenty) again making a few pattern adjustments.

Knit and learn...


Sunday, February 22, 2009


Brea had her first sushi experience on Friday. What was even more exciting for her was that the restaurant provided special chopsticks for kids. She and Lexi have seen me use chopsticks numerous times and always want to try them, but their little hands just aren't quite ready for that amount of coordination and control. Brea did much better with the special kids chopsticks, though once her veggie rolls came we decided fingers would still work best.

I was so proud of her for trying some new flavors. She liked her cucumber and avocado rolls, but had filled up on gold fish crackers on the drive so only picked at a couple of them before deciding she was full. She was a big fan of the veggie tempera though...butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Yummy!

The chopsticks are now at our house...we just couldn't resist bring them home to show Lexi.


Road Trip...

Friday Brea and I drove to Omaha to have lunch with my friend Jen. Sushi, a little shopping, lot of conversation. Yes, that means we spent 6+ hours traveling for about 4 hours of conversation. Some things in life are worth a little extra effort.

Last night I attended my first knitting circle gathering. It was fun and I'm looking forward to making it a monthly event. I started working on some lovely green cabled hand warmers for a certain friend who is currently sunning it up on a tropical cruise. I figure she'll need the wool warmth when she gets back home to the not tropical, still winter Iowa weather next weekend. An important thing to remember for the next time I go to knitting circle: cast on and start a round BEFORE going because it's too hard to chat and count at the same time! (Luckily I only had to start over once.)

The weather is cold but sunny and Scott has to head into work for a bit this afternoon. I think the girls and I will spend a quiet day snuggled up inside.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Double Duty...

Ever wondered what to do with that Boppy pillow after you're finished using it for breastfeeding?

On a completely unrelated note, check out these funky leg warmers. (They are now on my list of future projects!)


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Stepping Up a Level...

Having successfully completed the girls hand-warmers, I felt it was time to take the next step in glove knitting and learn how to add a thumb gusset. So I grabbed this lovely dark chocolate yarn that came in my first Yarnica box (one of those unassigned skeins I ordered just because the color was so yummy), read through a few patterns to get an idea of what to do, and started knitting. I'm so happy with the finished result.

I purposefully made this one shorter cuffed because I've found my first pair doesn't play nice with sweatshirts. I'm also SOOOO excited about the close fit of this hand-warmer, much more like a glove, which feels wonderful. I really like the simplicity of this design and I think it will lend itself easily to the addition of details such as cables or color work. I've decided since I have yet to follow a pattern created by someone else, maybe I should write down my own so I can work from something more than my memory! (Though when I am ready to take a crack at following a pattern, Dashing will be it. I am so in love with these hand-warmers!) I have just a few tweaks to make to this pattern for the next pair and I think it will be the perfect base pattern for me to work from.

With completion of this little guy I'm ready to start working on the pairs of hand-warmers that have been requested from my dear and lovely non-knitting friends. Unfortunately I can't knit this little guy's partner until I order more yarn. Important yarn ordering lesson: even if you don't have a plan, always order at least 2 skeins of any color...especially when it's eventual use will probably be for hands or heads! Fortunately I do have 2 skeins of moss green waiting for some attention.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

I Love Him Because...

  • for 17 years his arms have always proved to be a warm and safe place.
  • he's a fabulous Daddy.
  • of those little creases at the corner of his eyes that appear when he smiles. (And those eyelashes...enough to melt this girls heart forever.)
  • his love is simple even when life isn't.
  • he appreciates who I am, our similarities and differences, and reminds me of that often.
  • he isn't afraid to cry.
  • he wears the cap I knit him even though it doesn't quite fit right.
  • his face lights up when he laughs. (I'm thankful that after almost 14 years of marriage, we haven't stopped laughing together and hope we never will.)
  • he would turn the world upside down to make sure his girls (all three of us) are healthy, happy and safe.
  • he thinks that the first step to solving any problem is a hug, a kiss, and three precious little words.
  • he never shoots down my dreams, no matter how crazy.
  • when something is bothering me I usually don't have to explain why, he just knows.
  • he doesn't care when I spend my time knitting/quilting/writing/playing instead of tackling the pile of dishes in the kitchen.
  • he knows flowers will always make me smile, even on days they are expected.
  • his bedtime routine includes hot chocolate, a good book, and NPR.
  • sometimes just the thought of his kiss is still all that's needed to bring butterflies to my tummy.
  • he's NEVER doubted from our very first dates that our hearts were meant to be connected forever.
I hope you too can celebrate your shared loved with someone today. Romantic. Platonic. Family. Friends. Commercialism aside...our world is in desperate need of a little more celebration of LOVE.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Little Hands...

The girls' little hand-warmers have been done for awhile now, I've just been lax about taking a picture of them. They were so fun to knit, so fast and easy, and the girls both love wearing them. Lexi so much we have a hard time getting them off her to wash them! (And Brea thinks they make perfect snot rags for her runny nose. Ewwww!)


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Paper Lanterns...

What a beautiful ceremony. I'm amazed at the size of the lanterns!


Monday, February 9, 2009

Spending the day with my heart in Texas...

This picture was taken 14 years ago this coming June. Half my brother's life ago. He's now taller than me and I have a few wrinkles starting to crease at the corners of my eyes, but there is no mistaking we are those same two least in appearance. So much has gone on in the 14 years since he walked me down the isle that day. I cherish this photo for many reasons. Of course first because it was such a special day. I am always thankful for that day when I look at my loving husband and our beautiful girls and feel the warmth in my heart which burns for each of them. Secondly, in many ways, this picture signifies a change in my brother and I's relationship. This is about the time he went from being my annoying little brother to my friend. While our contact was sporadic for a few years after our parent's divorce while we were both adjusting to new and different lives, our sibling connection grounded us when were were together, allowing our relationship to move forward. Today I'm so happy to say my brother is one of my dearest and most beloved friends. My life is richer and has more depth because of our connection.

Today Jason is in Houston for a routine cancer check-up. Today's visit will mark 9 months since his surgery and follow-up which proclaimed him a cancer free man. A cancer free man who will for the next 10 years of his life have regular check-ups to make sure he remains as such. His chance of re-occurrence is VERY small, but still I get so anxious on check-up days. I try as best I can to go through life as normal, but my mind, my heart, just isn't all here today. Part of it is in Texas looking over my little brother, trying as best it can to keep him safe. I wait patiently to get a call or a text to let us know things are clear and that for the next 3 months we can go on without a second thought. I wonder if these days will ever get easier? If time will help to lessen the worry?

I'm hopefully that we'll have much time, and many, many healthy check-ups, to find out.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Short Essays by Lexi

Lexi has a spiral notebook, one with puppies on the front of course, in which she has taken up with writing short essays. She often reads them to us and I couldn't help but share a few here. They have been retyped exactly as she has written them. I think they are an amazing glimpse into what's going on in her 7 year old mind. Enjoy!

I have a sistter. Her name is Brea. We have allot of fun together. It is wintter ritnow so we went sleding last week! And we had fun! I gess you are wondering wate my name is. Arnte you? I am Lexi. My real name is Alexandra. At school the other kids cole me Lexi M. Today I have school but it is delaed 2 hours. And today I have a sleepover. Allison and I are going to have fun together. Allison is going to let her sister be in the puppy club. The puppy club is only for girls. And it is the funest thing I have ever dune. ~THE END~

Family is the most importend thing in the whole wid world. I have a mom, dad, & a sister. I have two pet dogs to Tilde, & Jasper. I love them. ~THE END~

I'm in first grade! My teacher's name is Mrs. Harms. I have cold lunch. Cold lunch is bring my lunch to school. Ensted of haveing it from school. I love school. ~THE END~

My mom's favorite t.v. show is Biggest Loser! I wach it too! We love that show. ~THE END~

I'm just pritty. I know that. I think you now that. Don't you? I love being pritty. Some pepole think I'm not pritty. But I know that I am. ~THE END~

I think she's pritty...and pritty amazing!


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Seriously Kelly?

Is anyone else bothered by Kelly Clarkson's newest single playing on the radio these days?

My Life Would Suck Without You.

I like Kelly. We cheered for her when she was on American Idol. I'm glad she's seen a longer stint of success than some of the Idols winners. I own one of her albums. And for the most part she's seemed to not let her fame go to her head. (I wouldn't really know though since I live in a bubble that doesn't contain the latest celebrity news.) Heck, the song is even pretty catchy and the rest of the lyrics are OK...not brillant by any means, but manageable. But every time that emphasis hits on suck, I cringe.

I listen to a wide spectrum of music. And for the most part there's only three things I can't handle in terms of lyrics:
  • Excessive use of foul language and derogetory references to women...hence I don't listen to much rap.
  • References to death and violence...hence you won't find much heavy rock in my collection either.
  • Lyrics that immediately turn the singer into "a dumb blonde with the big boobs" in my head. (I'll let you decide who might fall into that category.)
I'm thinking Kelly might wanna start shopping around for a new lyricist before she finds herself releasing songs like You Make Me Want to LMAO or I'm Not Your BFF Anymore. Songs I might expect from Jermaine and Bret, but not necessarily what I want to hear blasting from the car radio with my 7 and 2 year-old girls in tow.

Please, PLEASE, tell me I'm not alone on this one.


Monday, February 2, 2009

I'm declaring a new holiday...


I mean seriously, how can you look into that fabulous gift box and not get holiday excited? And the best part about Yarnica, it can happen as many times throughout the year as you want. (OK, within reason and budgetary constraints.) My Knit Picks order arrived last Wednesday so I've been a busy little knitting bee ever since. In that box is yarn for a hat, several pair of hand-warmers, and a couple skeins of yet unassigned yarn I just ordered because well, it looked nice and I was already paying shipping. Plus my new Harmony wood needles. I can't even explain how in love with these needles I am. I don't like metal, they're too cold and slick. Bamboo is OK but at times it was a little too grabby and I felt like my points got duller the longer I knit because I'm kinda firm with them. But these wood needles are to die for in my very amateur knitting opinion. Not to mention they are GORGEOUS. And as we all know pretty needles make all the difference in the quality of your finished product. (No?) I even took my needles to show off to some veteran knitters who attend my Gentle Yoga class. After feeling their warm smooth texture they were soon asking "What's the name of that website again?"

First I decided to tackle knitting in the round with circular needles and started Scott's beanie.

That was on Thursday morning. I tied it off on Friday night about 8:30. Yes, you can say it...obsessed. However you're not going to get a picture of the finished project until I re-knit it. While it turned out nice it's just a bit larger than it should be and since I won't let it go until it's perfect I've just decided to rip it all out and start over. (Sorry hun.)

Currently (and that's literal as the yarn is sitting in my lap as I type...I've found I can sneak in a few stitches here and there when I'm working at my 'puter waiting for things to download. Shush. I know, interventions are being planned even as I type this.) I'm working on Lexi's hand-warmers. They are my first project in the round on double points and after a bit of a messy start, I've kinda got my technique figured out and they are coming together quite nicely. The Super Bowl was very useful as one can get a lot of knitting done in between commercial breaks. (Though all progress came to a total halt for the 3D preview of Monsters vs Aliens and The Boss's half time show. Duh!)

I decided to go with a two color small stripe look. I personally think they are adorable and can't wait to get one finished for Lexi to model. Right now when I look at the amount that's done it says "a sweater for Piglet" to me. I'm not sure why except we watch a lot of animation around this house and Piglet's Big Movie is a quiet time favorite. I'm glad I started with Lexi's and will follow with Brea's because do you know how small a tube to fit around a 2-year-old's hand/arm is? Let's just say TINY!

The clock is tickin'. If I want to get a few more stripes in before heading back to class, I best get busy!