Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Simple minds, simple pleasures!

Okay, I'm bad! I haven't really blogged in well over a week. I will attempt to catch you up on what's been going on! Simple pleasures!
Feb. 13. A little snow. Not much, but at least a little!

Feb. 14. I received these flowers from DH at work. Everyone was jealous!

Feb. 15. On the way home from work I stopped at the grocery store and saw this when I got out of the car . . .

Nothing like a rainbow to brighten an afternoon!

Feb. 16. Visited my niece's new home and left with a big old sucker fish! Her husband didn't want it so we put it in the tank with Elvis. As a result, Elvis has turned into a big bully. He keeps chasing this fish which is twice his size!

Sunday Feb. 17. Went to G-Street to get some ribbon for Giselle. I'm not thrilled with it so I also ordered some Hana Silk ribbon from Japan that is hand dyed. Hopefully it will match.

Last week was fairly uneventful except that we had an ice storm on Friday and school was closed! That was fabulous!

I finished the main part of Giselle. I just have to knit the flounces for the sleeves then do the crochet trim around everything and join the flounces to the sleeves. I love the colors!

Sunday Feb. 24 we went to Pittsburgh for Bird's concert. We stopped at Bird's house to bring him some food then went to our favorite eatery . . .

They make a mean margarita! The waiters' t-shirts say "Practice safe mex!"

Check out Bird's beard! This has been growing since before Thanksgiving. He and a buddy made a bet and the beard has to grow until graduation on May 6. The only trimming can be around the mouth. The prize for the winner? A case of beer not to exceed $40 in value. DH keeps trying to bribe him by saying he'd pay the $40 to his buddy and buy Bird a case of beer--but Bird isn't biting! Hey, if you can't do this stuff in college, when can you?

Once again, the concert was in the beautiful Carnegie Music Hall.

Today it was back to the old grind. Grind is a good word as we begin to plan for testing. It is staggering how everything in an elementary school grinds to a halt during the two weeks of testing. It's all that matters. It is mind boggling and a total waste of time. That's another post.

So now we are all caught up! I'll try not to stay away so long next time!

Bushism of the day:
"Security is the essential roadblock to achieving the road map to peace." —George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., July 25, 2003

Kitty Cam: Mikey always keeps me company while I'm blogging. Sometimes I just can't resist his cuteness and stop to rub his belly!

Self Portrait Challenge: Blue, week 4


It's been a hard day at work, so what better way to unwind then with my little blue ipod and a kitty!

I was feeling a little blue after school and nothing helps me work through those feelings then music. Music is a major part of my life and it is how I make my living. My little blue friend stores enough music to see me through any mood I can possibly be in.

What will help me get through this case of the blues?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Best Friends

This video is quite remarkable--particularly if you are an animal lover. It's about 6 minutes long, but worth the watch!


Monday, February 18, 2008

Self Portrait Challenge: Blue, week 3

The "L" Word. Liberal.

Hello. My name is Vicki and I am a liberal. My conservative friends tell me that there is a 12- step program for me, but I won't be participating as it seems that the rest of the country is starting to see things my way. It's been interesting around these parts over the last 8 years. I live in the Washington DC metropolitan area. DC is blue, Maryland is blue, and Northern Virginia is blue. For us, national politics are local politics. So the poor folks in DC, a jurisdiction with no congressional voting rights, are being told what to do by outsiders whose politics run contrary to their own. Go figure.

MD/VA/DC had our primary elections last Tuesday so I put on my patriotic shirt and went out in an ice storm to cast my vote. My candidate dropped out weeks ago and the one I voted for didn't win, but that's okay. For the first time that I can remember, I've liked all the candidates in my party and I would be pleased with any of them in the White House. The two remaining ones are both extremely intelligent, have a firm grasp of the issues, understand the concerns of the middle and working classes, are against the war and speak with a command of the English language--qualities that have been missing in our current administration.

Come Tuesday November 4, I will be watching the National News hoping that the big map will show that the majority of states are also thinking blue.

For more blue photos, visit the Self Portrait Challenge.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Catching up

So I've been trying to knit a lot lately. I am having hand surgery the end of March and I don't know how long I will be out of commission where knitting is concerned. I won't have trouble sewing as it is my left hand that will be useless. If I cut out the stuff ahead of time, I can easily sit at the sewing machine and put it together. So I really want to finish Giselle and 28Thirty. Giselle is turning out to be an easy knit. Of course I may change my mind when I have to do the crochet trim and put the sleeve flounces on that way. We will see! The color is truly gorgeous! It is called Periwinkle and it has shades of blue and purple in it as well.

I scored some nice knitting stuff on ebay this week. First, I got some books:

I've been interested in Elizabeth Zimmerman as she and Barbara Walker really go into great detail regarding designing top down sweaters. I'm also dying to make Cat Bordhi's moebius cowl that she demonstrated on Knitty Gritty. Her book is fascinating. In the past, people made moebius scarves by making a long piece then twisting it and grafting. Cat Bordhi knits them as a moebius by doing a special cast on. The pieces are knit from the center out and I find myself to be quite intrigued by the process. I studied the moebius cast on and I think I have a grasp of it. Once I finish Giselle, I will make myself one of these. Which leads me to the yarn I scored on Ebay:

The two green skeins on the right are Jade Sapphire 6 ply cashmere silk which I will make the moebius cowl out of. The skein on the left is ArtYarns Silk Rhapsody which will be used to make this scarf.
I also got 10 skeins of Cascade Creme which is 50/50 wool/silk in a dk weight.

I hope to use this for the Sylph Cardigan which is in the Spring IK.

I have to get crackin' on my sewing projects. I picked up some KwikSew patterns my last trip to G Street:

I have had trouble finding yoga clothes that fit. All the pants are just too long, so I pick up these patterns. I like KwikSew patterns for knit stuff. They are designed particularly well and go together really fast. I hope to get back to G-Street this weekend as they are having a President's Day sale with everything being 25% off. I saw some heavyweight 90/10 Cotton/Lycra knit that I want to pick up for these.

We are going to Pittsburgh on the 24th for Bird's concert. I hope the weather isn't too wintery that day. Bird told me that it was snowing like a bear last night and they were expected to get ice. I'm jealous. We have been cheated here when it comes to winter weather. Today we got little spurts of freezing rain which is nasty but it is expected to turn to regular rain. Bummer. This past weekend in was insanely windy. Our shed actually blew away! We got a knock on the door only to find out that our shed blew onto the neighbor's driveway. So DH and the kid next door spent a while knocking it down. Now we have a shed floor with a riding mower sitting on it, but no shed!

I pretty much stayed in today as there was no school. I went out to vote and that was it! I'm still battling what's left of my respiratory infection. I skipped yoga and just didn't go anywhere. It seems I have pleurisy which is probably a result of my cold. It just hurts to breathe deeply so I couldn't face an hour and a half of doing just that!

I must get back to Giselle!

Bushism of the day:
"You're free. And freedom is beautiful. And, you know, it'll take time to restore chaos and order — order out of chaos. But we will." —George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., April 13, 2003

Kitty Cam:
Even though it is cloudy today, Samantha can be found in her basking place--the dining room table! Notice how she performs when she sees the camera! She's such a little diva!

Self Portrait Challenge: Blue, week 2

Singin' the blues

I find that the color of my surroundings affects my mood. Blue has always been a calming color for me. I've never understood why the color has been associated with sadness as in "I'm feeling blue." That has never made sense to me. I always drive blue cars because being surrounded by blue helps balance out the stress that comes with the crazy traffic in the DC area. Several years ago, my school was completely renovated--basically being torn down and rebuilt. Imagine my delight when my avacado green and gray classroom from 1960 was transformed into a room with blue as the dominant color! White walls, blue cabinets, blue carpet and red trim are now what I see. I find it to be a much more relaxing environment. During my planning periods, you will often find me sitting on my blue carpet, in my blue jeans, tuning fork in hand, sight reading through choral music. Thus the title of my photo isn't entirely accurate, because I am usually quite joyful when singing. I rarely sing the blues!

For more BLUE photos, visit the SPC!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The groundhog was wrong!

Saturday was Groundhog's Day and Puxatawny Phil said that we would have 6 more weeks of winter. Never mind that the calendar says that anyway. Phil was wrong. Today the mercury rose to over 70 degrees and yesterday it was pretty close. Don't get me wrong, I like spring weather--I just prefer it to happen in the spring--not in February. I would much prefer a blizzard sometime this month. This warmth makes the kids at school go nuts!

Talk about a crazy day yesterday--I ran out of gas! Yup--at my age. I know better than to drive on an empty gas tank. Trouble was that I had Bird's Chrysler because DH was working on my car. There was about a third of a tank when I left for school in the morning and what looked like about a quarter of a tank when I left school in the afternoon. I went to yoga and got myself in a state of total chill only to have the car start losing power as I was going down Route 108 to Trader Joes. Fortunately I was able to drift right into the parking lot and do my shopping. Unfortunately there was no gas station near by. Turns out that DH was on his way home when I called him so he stopped off and picked up the gas can and got me fueled up. I took a nap for about 45 minutes while waiting for him. We ended up eating at 8:00 which put a damper on my evening. So much for my yoga induced chill!

I have started two new projects. The first is one that I can knit on autopilot. It is a scarf with a very simple lace pattern. I'm using the Artyarns Silk Rhapsody that I got from a Secret Pal.

I love the yarn but I have to be careful since it is really 2 strands side by side. It's easy to drop one of the strands. It is incredibly soft. It does require some special handling and it took me about an hour to wind the skein into a ball.

I also started Giselle. Now this yarn is the stuff dreams are made of. It is Handmaiden Double Sea Silk. It doesn't split, the stitch definition is wonderful, the skein wound easily and the colors are gorgeous. What's not to love!

This pattern uses an lifted increase stitch I've never done. I rather like the way it looks, but I think it would be easier on pointier needles than my Addis. I can't wait to finish this one. It is a gorgeous design!

I have knitting group tonight. It will be good to get together with the ladies!

Bushism of the day:
"I glance at the headlines just to kind of get a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves." —George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Sept. 21, 2003

Kitty Cam:
Mikey gets in his "rub my belly" position. He parks himself next to me every night on the couch and does this!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Self Portrait Challenge: Blue, week 1

This month's Self Portrait Challenge is the color Blue.

This is about my blue eyes which don't look so blue in this photo. As a child I was always intrigued by the fact that I had blue eyes even though neither of my parents did. It turns out that 2 of my grandparents did, so that's where mine came from! I'm wrapped in my favorite blue cuddly sweater in this photo too. Perhaps I'll have more inspiration next week, but at least I've shown something blue!

For more blue photos, visit the Self Portrait Challenge.

Another one bites the dust!

Another FO!

Peapod Baby Set

Pattern: Peapod Baby Set by Kate Gilbert (free download from Interweave Press)
Size: 6 months
Yarn: Reynolds Cottontail 50/50 cotton/microfiber 5 skeins
Needles: Knit Picks Options Size 5

Started and finished Jan. 2008.

I really liked this pattern. The yarn made a nice finished product but it was very splitty to use so I probably won't be using it again. The color is actually darker--a nice grassy green!

Now I have this:

Yarn cakes! The periwinkle one is the first skein of Handmaiden double sea silk for my Giselle. The others are the skein of ArtYarns Silk Rhapsody. That stuff was an experience to wind and I ended up having to split it to two balls.

Eye candy:

These are the roses I bought last Sunday! They still look gorgeous!

That's it for today!

Bushism for the day:
"See, without the tax relief package, there would have been a deficit, but there wouldn't have been the commiserate — not 'commiserate' — the kick to our economy that occurred as a result of the tax relief." —George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Dec. 15, 2003

Kitty Cam: The lugs are impatiently waiting for dinner!

ABC along

B--Black Cat Basking

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Super bowl weekend!

We know what that means! It means all the yarn stores are having sales! Pheelya and I went to our favorite LYS for the annual Superbowl Sale. Much to our delight, they made the sale 2 days instead of just one. 25% off everything. It wasn't enough that I had just gotten this Malabrigo in the mail yesterday:

I ordered this for 28Thirty. I still have a couple of other things to knit first, but this is on my winter/spring queue. I went to find 4 skeins of Lion & Lamb for a Clapotis. I've been on an eternal quest to find the perfect yarn for it and I bought some silk/merino blend off of ebay which I just didn't love. They seemed to be out of Lion & Lamb, but I was thrilled to find that they had just gotten in some of the new Manos del Uruguay silk blend. It is simply stunning and the variegated colors are drop dead gorgeous. 6 skeins ended up being significantly less than the Lion & Lamb even before the discount! The photo isn't great, but you can see the colors:

I also got 2 skeins each of two other colorways for a scarf and a mobius cowl:

But wait, there's more! 7 Skeins of Lang Silk Dream for Briar Rose.

After yarn shopping, I did the usual Saturday utilitarian errands.

It's in the jeans!

I was really tickled to be able to use my gift card to True Jeans. I had been wanting to get some black jeans and after the fabulous experience I had last summer in MA while being a fit tester for True Jeans, I decided it was time to put their website to the test. I have always had trouble finding jeans that fit perfectly (not including the length). So I set up my profile which involved taking a lot of measurements and giving more information about the shape of my hips, thighs, belly etc. After the profile is set up, you get a list of jeans which are ranked by fit with 5 stars being the best. You can click on fit details to find out how the jeans will fit on the waist, hips, thighs and length. I decided to live dangerously and order a pair in a brand that I've never tried. They were ranked at 4 and a half stars --the length being the only reason they weren't 5 stars. You get free shipping and free return shipping at True Jeans so I figured that I couldn't lose. These were the ones I got. I tried them on and they were literally perfect! I've never been able to get jeans that fit perfectly and True Jeans has it down to a science! For those of you who love denim, this is where you go! I just have to do an Original Hem shortening, and they'll be ready to wear to school this week!

Tonight, I will seam the baby sweater and take photos so it can go to its new owner tomorrow!

Bushism of the day:
"I think it's very important for the American President to mean what he says. That's why I understand that the enemy could misread what I say. That's why I try to be as clearly I can." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Sept. 23, 2004

Kitty cam: Bar tries to get comfortable on DH's lap!