Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Aftermath . . .

Looks like about 2 feet of snow! If we don't get at least 2 snow days out of this, I'll be most disappointed!

Kitty Cam: Bar has taken to the new Christmas Sweater Tree Skirt!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Be careful what you wish for!

So I've been wishing for a nice snow since Thanksgiving. However this is not quite what I had in mind. I woke up to this:
About 10 inches or so. By 6 pm we had about 20 inches or more: The snow covers the first rail on the split rail fence and the cars are completely covered. I hope we can get it pretty well shoveled tomorrow. Unfortunately it is too deep for the snow blower.

I'm hoping that our school system has the courtesy to tell us Sunday night whether or not we will be closed on Monday. I suspect we may be closed all three days next week. Montgomery County is the worst about clearing local roads and the school system is the worst about being considerate of their employees. That's the way it goes! I planned ahead however and I packed my book bag with everything I would need to plan for Monday Jan. 4 just in case. I hate going in to school not being prepared it makes for bad lessons and bad student behavior. So I am always over prepared! I bugged out in a hurry on Friday because I needed to go to BJ's before my 5 pm massage appointment. We were out of kitty litter! I got the litter and some over the counter meds and I stumbled across this on one of the aisles:This will come in handy now! I had been looking at full length down coats last year when a friend of mine got a Michael Kors one at Filenes. Hers is a little more stylish but this one is by Anne Klein and it was only $59! I like that it has a 2 way zipper and has side zippers so I can loosen it up at the bottom. I typically don't wear down coats unless I 'm going to be outside for an extended time because I get too hot in them. I have outside bus duty and it gets pretty cold so this will come in really handy!

I've been a lazy slob today--staying in my pj's until dinner time. We had our traditional snow day dinner of Pasta e Fagiole with Parmesan Pepper Baguettes. Good stuff! Nothing like homemade soup on the stove on a cold day. I finally watched the 4 hours of "Sing Off." I'm typically not into the talent shows on TV but I couldn't resist one with a cappella groups! They've all been really impressive!

Gonna watch the Caps game and do a little Christmas knitting. Tomorrow we hope to decorate the tree!

Kitty Cam: Greg finally cooperated for his Christmas portrait!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Where did November go?

I can't believe that I missed the entire month of November! I'll have to do better. It is hockey season and it's really hard to watch a decent hockey game while blogging! I loves me my Washington Capitals!

On the knitting front--I am working on some Christmas gifts and Wicked for myself. Wicked it going fast! I'm almost done with the body and I will save the sleeves to do when I finish my gifts. I finished the Vine Yoke Cardigan. It went faster than any sweater I've ever done! It has a rather unique construction and it is done in one piece.

Pattern: Vine Yoke Cardigan by Ysolda (Twist Collective)
Size: 32
Yarn: Lorna's Laces' Green Line Worsted in Echo (4 skeins)
Needles: Size 9 Knit Picks Options
Modifications: None. If I were to make this again, I would go down a size and I would lengthen the sleeves. I don't like that the sleeve edging hits right at the crook of my elbow as It causes the edging to curl. I would prefer more of a 3/4 sleeve. Over all though, I really like this sweater!

On the sewing front--I need to also make a couple swap gifts today and I need to start my skirt for the SAR Patriot's Ball this coming Saturday. The gown I had wanted to make--the one I showed in the houndstooth check --didn't happen because I could not find any suitable fabric. I had this pattern which is now out of print:

I am making the lace skirt on the right. I bought some nice black lace with subtle gold accents and some light gold-beige lining at Joann's at 50% off and the skirt will go together quickly. The one problem is that the pattern calls for lace with a scalloped edge on both sides. You cut off the eding and sew it on the bottom of the flounce to finish it. My fabric only has a scalloped edge on one side so I don't think there will be enough edging. My machine does a nice satin stitch scallop so I got some black Sulky thread and figured that I would do that on the fabric then stitch a single line of metallic gold along the satin stitch scallop. I decided on this pattern because I already have two black silk bustiers. One is very simple--similar to the one on the pattern and the other is a Nanette Lepore piece that is ruched in front with the bottom forming a ruffle. I'll see which one I like best with the skirt. Then I have to decide whether to wear my black beaded lace open toe pumps or my black satin or gold satin sling backs! Oh the decisions!

Other news--I finally joined the world of smart phones! I feel a bit like a traitor however. Those who know me know that I am an Apple aficionado and I so wanted an iphone! I cannot switch from Verizon however. Just won't do it. The appearance of the Motorola Droid in Verizon's line up has me convinced that they have no interest in ever picking up the iphone. So I took the plunge. I canceled my laptop broadband account and upgraded my phone plan for the data and it is actually cheaper. I have also found out that one can tether their laptop through the phone to get online! Hmmmm! I'll have to play with that. I'm convinced that there isn't anything this phone can't do! The turn-by-turn voice navigation is incredible and you can add layers that show atm's, parking, gas stations etc. I have an app that lets me scan a barcode and it finds the item both locally and online by price! I've already used that one several times! I just love it! I'm still getting used to the phone however as there are some quirks that are different from my old LG flip phone. One thing that bugs me is that I cannot set the phone on speaker phone and have it stay that way. I have to push speaker for each call. That makes it a bit more difficult when driving.

I decorated the house the weekend after Thanksgiving! That's the first time I've done it before Dec. 1! I have not put on any Christmas music yet though which is not like me. I think I'll crank it up today. It was a sad putting up the stockings and realizing that I couldn't hang Mikey's! I still miss that little bugger. I saw a kitty at Petco yesterday that is up for adoption that I would love to take. He is a peach tabby about 9 mos. old and he was clearly someone's loved pet. He was extremely affectionate and I think he would fit right in with our 3 . Greg needs a playmate. Needless to say DH says I can't have him. I'm trying to convince him that it would be like replacing Mikey, but he's looking to lower the number of kitties we have. If it were up to me--I'd have a houseful of animals!

That's it for now! I'll try to be better at staying current.

Kitty Cam: This one is from the archives. The peach kitty made me think of Peanut who we lost in 2007. I love this photo. Peanut looks less than happy about being dressed up for the holidays, but he was a good sport none the less!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The power of music!

Is anyone really surprised? They say music has charms to soothe the savage beast!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rainy weekends are nice!

I'm not one who typically likes rain, but staying in on a rainy weekend can be very relaxing! Friday, there was no school and I was a lazy slob. I loved every minute of it! Other than running a couple of short errands, I just stayed home, did some knitting and vegged out! Yesterday, I did get out to knitting group and there was a total of 5 of us! Typically there are over a dozen. It was just nasty out. So my friend Cat and I did lunch at the Ram's Head then came to my house for lattes and more knitting. We hung out and watched Sicko, (which should be required watching for both the House of Representatives and the Senate) then Cat left.

Friday I did hit the Vogue patterns sale at Joanns and I got the following:

Turns out that I have about 5 yards of cream colored wool melton coating that a friend gave me a few years ago and it will be perfect for that coat!

I also got this pattern for my gown for the Patriot's Ball this winter:
I've seen this pattern dozens of times but it never really did much for me until I saw this:
I love the use of the menswear fabric for this! I'm thinking that a small red tartan plaid would look great. If I can't find one then I will do the houndstooth like in the photo. I am planning on knitting the black beaded Gaia shrug to wear with this. I posted that photo in my last post.

Meanwhile, I am still feverishly knitting the Vine Yoke and I am almost halfway done. I took it to Joann's with me to look for buttons but found nothing that appealed to me. Next will be the LYS to see if they have the Lantern Moon wood buttons which may do. I suspect that I will end up at G Street as I usually do. That is really the only place to find buttons when you need to see them in person. The yarn is such an odd color of brown--sort of grayish, pinkish brown--so most wood buttons just don't match. Antiqued pewter would work okay if I can find the right ones. The sweater is somewhat rustic looking so I feel that the buttons need to be a natural material like clay, wood, bone or shell. So that will be my next quest!

The rain is leaving us which is nice since rainy rush hour mornings always blow!

Kitty Cam: Samantha knows how to spend a chilly autumn day!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Goings on!

I've been busy at school and trying to get some things made. That's pretty much what's been going on around here. I did decide to go back to decorating for Halloween. In fact I did this the last weekend in September!

That's a sample from the dining room!

I knocked off some little projects. I love knitting hats, so I knit 2 baby hats--both exactly the same. Here's a photo of one of them:
I love this little pattern. It's a free pattern from Spud & Chloe yarns and fortunately I had some stash yarn which fit the bill! I also made a beret for myself. I had seen it in the Knit One magazine and I had the yarn the pattern called for, courtesy of my secret pal! I'm not thrilled with the result, however. I looked at the projects on Ravelry and many of the people said that the hat was really large. I knit a swatch and got gauge but I decided to knit the ribbing on size 2 needles instead of the size 3 called for in the pattern. I switched to the 3 for the body of the hat. I probably should not have done that. The hat turned out much larger and drapier than the photo. It's a little loose so I am going to weave some clear elastic thread through the ribbing to give it some support.

Once I fit the ribbing, I'll model the hat!

I'm putting aside my summer knitting and starting on my winter projects. I'm about one third of the way through the Vine Yoke Cardigan. I'm really enjoying this pattern. It has a rather unusual construction. It was one of the selections of the Sexy Knitters' Club KAL. I would like to do two more of their selections:

The sweater is called Vivian and I love it. I've decided to pass on knitting it for now because I know that I wouldn't get it finished. I'm looking for faster projects. I did buy the pattern and I will make it at some point. The shrug is a real quick knit and I ordered some Tilli Tomas black beaded kid mohair/silk and a black wool/alpaca blend from KnitPicks. I want to make this to wear with my gown to the SAR ball in Dec.

I haven't done much sewing lately and I have to finish a sun dress I was working on. I'm going to finish the dress except for the zipper. I'm losing a little weight and the dress is fitted so I figure that I can take it in before putting in the zipper next spring if I need to. I did participate in a Christmas apron swap so I made an apron from a vintage pattern reissue:
I love the fabric! It's got kitties and yarn balls! My swap partner has 5 cats and she loves to knit so this was perfect! I may have to make one of these for myself!

I moved into a new purse a few weeks ago! I'm not one of those people who changes purses with outfits. I get a really good bag and I use it for literally years until it is worn out. My old icon bag with the Klimt painting of Adele on it was looking a little worn and I found a great Icon bag on clearance on their website: The trick for me is to not load it up and make it heavy. I'm able to stick a water bottle and a small knitting project in it which is nice.

So that's about it for me! Ems was in her first public scrimmage Tuesday night. Here she is as Crushin' Dior with the Steel City Derby Demons:

Kitty Cam: It's Super Harley!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Touching story

I saw this piece this morning on CBS Sunday Morning. Being an animal lover, it moved me to tears. It's heartwarming so enjoy it!

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Not one. . . not two . . . not three . . .

But four! Four gifts from my Secret Pal! I've been bad about posting my photos but I did thank her personally. She's been really spoiling me! First of all, the second week of school, I got two gifts two days apart:
This one has two skeins of Classic Elite Cotton Bamboo and some Corn Fiber yarn from Kollage. There are also some magnets and a cute guitar charm stitch marker.
This one has some body lotions, scotty dog notes and pad, and Starbucks truffles.

I was particularly excited to see that Classic Elite yarn! I had been looking at the Leaf Lace beret in the Knit 1 magazine which called for that exact yarn in this amount so I cast on!Fortunately I checked Ravelry about this pattern. Everyone said that it was large so I used a size smaller needles for the ribbing. Unfortunately I did not have them in the 16 inch so I had to do Magic Loop. I was quickly reminded why I don't do this technique. I really don't like it and had I remembered that, I would have just used double points. It was only a few rows then I changed to the size indicated in the pattern which I had in 16 inch. I'm almost done with the hat and hope to finish it within the next couple of days.

A couple weeks later I got this:

The stocking my pal knit is actually more blue than in the photo. I thought the wreath kit was really neat. It will make a great portable project since each piece is knit separately.

Finally, last Monday I received the final gift:

She attached little hints to each part of the package. She made the 4 washcloths, included postcards from Nashville which is where she grew up, added a bumper sticker from GA where she now lives and included 2 gorgeous skeins of fingering weight yarn--one from Aurucania and one Fleece Artist.

I've loved everything, Secret Pal--who I now know as Kim! Thank you so much for all your kindness!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Enough already!

The wingnuts in this country need to stop the nonsense! Since when is it ever inappropriate for the President of the United States to address school children to tell them to work hard? Too many people have lost all respect for the office. As much as I detested GWB, I made an effort to watch every address he made. Why? Because he was my president and I wanted to be informed. I'm sorry, but I have to agree with Bill Maher in that we are seeing an increase in stupidity in America. Too many people spout vitriol without making the slightest attempt at finding out the facts!

Sorry for the political post on a holiday weekend. I now return you to your regularly scheduled activity!

Oh--Happy Labor Day weekend!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's that time of year!

Back to school! I will be a total wreck for the next two weeks. Don't get me wrong--I like my job for the most part. It's just that I am a total night owl! Typically over the summer I get into the habit of staying up until 3 and sleeping until 10. I was better this year. I was usually in bed by 1 and I got up between 8:30 and 9. That felt great. Now I have to get up at 6 am. The problem is that I will still end up going to bed around midnight. I just can't seem to break myself of that habit. It's worse in the winter when it's dark in the morning. My body rebels against getting up when it's dark! I'm thinking that I will alter my morning routine a bit this year. I tend to be a little leisurely in the morning, taking the time to check my email before I leave the house. I think I will just go to school and get there a half hour earlier which will allow me to leave a half hour earlier in the afternoon. The next trick will be actually leaving school on time. I think if I make myself leave on time, I won't waste a single minute at school. I'm getting too old to continue to work hours and hours of unpaid overtime. We gave up our cost of living raise this year and our workload increased so I'm thinking that I'm not feeling very compelled to donate more of my hours. People have come to expect us to do that and my profession has gotten in the habit of apologizing when they can't work additional hours for free. No more! I'll do the best job I can do, but when my day is over, I'm going home! That is my plan!

In the meantime, I've been trying to catch up on my summer wardrobe--now that summer's almost over! I made a silly little 50's style circular skirt with a Day of the Dead skulls print!

It's fun! I was going to line it, but there was just so much fabric that I didn't need to!

Last night I finished a dress. This is the same vintage pattern that I used for my red silk dress. I love this pattern so much that I decided to use a cotton for a dress I could wear to school. I did end up fully lining it with Bemberg Rayon.

I actually have 2 pairs of shoes that match this--the green ones in the photo and a pair of blue sandals with kitten heels.

I've already moved on to my next dress. I have 3 more to make. This one will be out of some vintage fabric that I found in my Mom's house. I believe my aunt brought it to her from some of her travels. It has hula girls, ukeleles etc. It took some planning to cut it out properly because the motifs are so large that I had to make sure they were placed appropriately. Who wants a large hot pink flower right on certain parts of one's body? If you know what I mean!

Other news--My secret pal sent me a package which was waiting for me when I returned from Boston. I thanked her privately but I wanted to thank her publicly. She sent me one of the books on my Amazon wish list. There are some really cute projects that I can use all my cotton scraps for! She also sent me a notions bag with a funny VanGogh keychain, some very nice stitch markers (can't have too many of those!), some note cards and--best of all--some fingerless mitts that she made!

Check out the mitts! I absolutely love them! They will go with so many of my clothes! I wear a lot of 3/4 length sleeves in the winter and these will be perfect with all those greens and browns that I wear!

I don't know what yarn she used, but it is incredibly soft and I simply love these mitts!
Thank you again, Secret Pal! You're the best!

Ems got a new tat! Check this out:

Is she her mother's daughter or what!!!

That's it for now! Sorry to be so brief! I have to attempt to get myself mentally prepared for the next 10 months!

Kitty Cam: Greg has been very clingy now that Mikey is gone. He inches up onto my lap whenever he gets the chance!