Friday, January 15, 2016

Finally FO Friday

After taking a couple of weeks off for the holidays, the last two weeks of work have seemed inordinately long.  So I'm glad it's finally Friday, and it's a 3-day weekend to boot!

I was feeling the need to work on some quick projects this week and get the sense of accomplishment that comes with actually finishing something, so I made up these three hats.  Aren't they adorable?! The blue & green monkey is for my 6-month old grandson, the pink & purple unicorn is for my 3-year old granddaughter, and the blue & white bear is for my 17-month old nephew.
The yarn is Top This! by DMC and it comes with the cute little animal heads to make these.  Each one knits up in just an hour or two, so I made these in three consecutive nights this week.  One caution if you want to make these, the pattern runs very small.  I actually knit the monkey one twice.  I had heard that the pattern ran small, so I knit the toddler size for my 6-month old grandson, but even that looked too small to me.  So I ripped it out and made the small child size for him, and I made the full child size for my granddaughter and nephew.  If they're a little big, that's always better than too small.

I'm hoping for a relaxing weekend.  I've got some yarn to ply off the bobbin so that I can get started on my Spin the Bin goals for 2016.  I finished spinning the singles last weekend, but didn't want to start spinning something else until this last thing left from last year is completely done.  I also need to sort and organize some clothes this weekend and see what can be donated. Finally, I want to get Scrivener reinstalled on my laptop because so far I have made no progress on my goal to actually write for 30 minutes 3 times per week.  I reloaded my laptop early in 2015 and I've never reloaded Scrivener, which tells you how little writing I've actually done in the past year.  Hoping to change that.

So that's it for today.  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

WIP It Into Shape Wednesday

Knitting WIP
This week's knitting WIP is the pair of socks I cast on New Year's Day.  As I mentioned, one of my goals for 2016 is to knit at least 12 pairs of socks.  I don't know that I will do exactly 1 pair per month, but I know that if I finish at least 1 pair each month, I'll hit my goal, so these are January's pair in progress.
I'm just doing a plain "vanilla" sock, toe up.  The yarn is Knit Picks Felici in Rainbow. I will do the Fish Lips Kiss Heel when I get to that point.  I prefer to knit my socks two at a time on two circulars if possible.  There are occasions when doing certain types of patterned socks where that's not possible, but if I can, I do.

These are being housed in my Dr. Who Tardis bag from Erin Lane Bags.  This is a small sock bag that has a divider inside to keep two skeins of yarn separate.  I love the fabric and I like the interior design.  I'm not a big fan of the way she does her drawstring on this bag.  The bag is very well constructed, it's just a personal preference thing.  I prefer one drawstring coming out one side with a tension clip or something.  This one has two ribbons running through and you pull from both sides. This is the first of her bags I've bought, so it may just be this particular style of bag.  I bought this one at SAFF, so I'll have to look at her others next time.

I'm using a Poke Me Not from JanBSmiley to not only keep my stitches from sliding off the needles, but to keep the small pointy needles from poking through the bag.  I have about 7 of these things because I use them on just about every project.  Highly recommend!

WIP Me Into Shape
I've decided to add weightloss progress to Wednesday's as well.  After all, I'm a WIP too.  I don't really want this to become a weightloss blog, but I don't want to ignore that part of my daily life either, so I will attempt to strike a balance between sharing some of my efforts to be healthier with you without going overboard.

I may do a longer post at some point with a little more of my lifetime battle with my weight, but suffice it to say it's not the first time I've made an effort to lose weight.  I've tried tons of times, and even been successful a couple of those.  I can lose weight when I set my mind to it.  I just need to make it stick at some point.  But for now, I need to focus on losing.  Hopefully by the time I get to where I want to be this time, I'll figure out how to maintain it too.

I'm a lifetime Weight Watchers member, but I'm way over goal.  I've tried to get back into WW the past few months, but it just wasn't clicking and with the changes to the new program, it's not going to work for me.  So I'm doing this without an official program of any kind.  I need to make lifestyle changes that are just that, my lifestyle, and not work this program or that, or this eating plan or that.  So my current tools are my Fitbit Surge and the Fitbit App to track my food intake.  I'm trying a couple of different online groups to find the right fit for support, but mainly I'm trying to eat healthier and move more.

I "officially" started last Tuesday, January 5th and I will record my weight every Tuesday morning.  Doesn't mean I won't weigh myself other days, but the weight I will record for tracking purposes will be whatever I weigh Tuesday morning before I get into the shower.  So yesterday was my first weigh-in day and I did really well this week.  Of course, the first week, when you go from eating a bunch of junk to actually eating somewhat healthy is always good, but it's always a nice boost as well.

I have a lot of weight to lose, and I haven't decided yet whether I want to share actual numbers here or not.  I have a feeling that if I'm actually successful in making some progress this time I will get more comfortable with sharing the details, but until then, I'm sorry if I keep that part vague.  I will say that my first goal is to lose 5# by February 2, and in one week I'm well on my way to that goal.

Happy Hump Day!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Fee Fi FO Friday

Sometimes I actually finish projects.  That's not accurate, I actually finish a lot of projects, but I go through spurts. I'm not a monogamous knitter, so I usually have many different WIPs at any given time, so unless I'm really focusing on one particular project I may go weeks without actually finishing anything and then suddenly I'll finish several things one right after the other.

In knitter-speak a finished project is an FO, i.e. finished object.  I'm designating Friday as the day to generally share FOs, so here's something I've finished recently.

I went to Southern Pines a couple of days before Christmas to do a little last minute Christmas shopping and after I got what I needed for everyone else, I treated myself to a little Christmas at the yarn shop there, Bella Filati.  It's a nice, friendly, yarn shop and I go there occasionally on Saturday afternoons for social knitting.  If you're in the area you should stop and check it out.

But the reason I mention it is that at that visit I bought a skein of Knitted Wit Victory DK yarn  in the Autumn Rainbow colorway.  I just couldn't resist these jewel tones jumbled all together.  Isn't it gorgeous?
I had the store wind it for me so as soon as I got home I could cast on.  I knit a pair of gloves for me, but because I have small hands they only took about half of the skein, so I made a short cowl to create a matching set.
Cowl pattern is Diamond Cowl, gloves I made up as I went.
I love them!  They're so fun and colorful.  I just bought a new charcoal grey dress coat, so they give me a fun pop of color with that.  I loved this colorway so much that I've ordered a skein of sock yarn in the same color from the dyer.  She has more in her shop if you want it, go on, you know you do!

I get many hours of enjoyment from knitting and other crafts, but wearing something you made at the end is also very satisfying.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2016 Reading List

Books I've Read in 2016

I include audio books I listen to on my daily commute. (A) indicates it was an audio book, (K) indicates it was read on the Kindle app, and no designation means it was a traditional paper book.

January (9)
A New Hope - Robyn Carr
The Naming of the Dead - Ian Rankin (A)
Last One Home - Debbie Macomber
Whose Body? - Dorothy L. Sayers
Exit Music - Ian Rankin (A)
Louise's Chance - Sarah R. Shaber
Three Truths and A Lie - Lisa Gardner (A)
Wound up in Murder - Betty Hechtman
Standing in Another Man's Grave - Ian Rankin (A)

February (7)
Saints of the Shadow Bible - Ian Rankin (A)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon (A)
Even Dogs in the Wild - Ian Rankin (A)
Anything for You - Kristan Higgins
Maisie Dobbs - Jacqueline Winspear (A)
Knitlandia - Clara Parkes
Birds of a Feather - Jacqueline Winspear (A)

March (10)
Pardonable Lies - Jacqueline Winspear (A)
Starlight on Willow Lake - Susan Wiggs
Evening Stars - Susan Mallery
Messenger of Truth - Jacqueline Winspear (A)
An Incomplete Revenge - Jacqueline Winspear (A)
The Summer Wind - Mary Alice Monroe
The Ladies Man/Some Kind of Wonderful - Susan Mallery/Sarah Morgan
The Summer's End - Mary Alice Monroe
Among the Mad - Jacqueline Winspear (A)

The Mapping of Love and Death - Jacqueline Winspear (A)
Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in its Darkest, Finest Hour - Lynne Olson
A Lesson in Secrets - Jacqueline Winspear (A)
Isn't it Rich? - Sherryl Woods
Priceless - Sherryl Woods
The War that Saved My Life - Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Elegy for Eddie - Jacqueline Winspear (A)
The Lions of Little Rock - Krisin Levine
Leaving Everything Most Loved - Jacqueline Winspear (A)

Watch Me WIP Wednesday

I've realized that in order to post here more regularly, I need to have some recurring segments to fall back on when the brain is not cooperating.  So welcome to the first WIP Wednesday.

For you nonknitters, WIP stands for Work in Progress, so this segment will be related to projects I'm in the process of making using some form of crafting, most often knitting.

This week's WIP is my Jamestown Sweater, which I'm making out of Alisha Goes Around Bevy of Swans DK in a beautiful teal color.  I bought this yarn at SAFF in October and it is sooo luscious!

 I spent most of November knitting this sweater.  I had finished all the pieces and seamed it together, only to discover that I had made it too short.  I knew I needed to make the front and back pieces shorter than what the pattern called for because of my height.  Unfortunately, I wasn't thinking clearly and kept holding the piece up to my side to determine when to start the armhole, which means I didn't account for the amount of length going over my boobs and belly and hips would take up.  End result, I put it on & it's at least 2 inches shorter than I need it to be, and I don't think I'll be able to block it out those extra inches.

Since this is knit from the bottom up, I can't just take out the bottom and knit it longer, so as you can see above, I've ripped the back piece back down below the armholes and I'm in the process of getting the stitches back on the needles correctly so I can knit some more straight before doing the armholes.  Hopefully I'll get it right this time.

I love this pattern and the yarn though, so I really want to finish this sweater.  I'm just trying to stay motivated to get it done now so i can wear it a little this winter.

This sweater is being housed in my library card bag made by Amy Beth aka The Fat Squirrel.  I love this bag because the reading geek in me is thrilled by all the old library cards for books I mostly read as a kid.  Jane Eyre, The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew), Where the Wild Things Are, and so many more!

I've really become a bit of a knitting bag addict, so I'll try to make a point of showing my knitting bags with my WIPS as well.

Until next time....

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2016 Goals

Unlike 2015, which was the year of no goals, I've set some goals for 2016, and one of them is to blog here at least three times per week, so I probably should get on that by actually writing a post huh?

I've done some serious thinking and planning about goals this year.  Who knows if I'll be able to achieve all of them, but I'm going to try.  I'm also trying a technique I've read a lot about of having a word and a mission statement for the year. 

While I will probably talk more about most of these in future posts, for the purpose of this one, I'm just going to give you the list, or as Joe Friday says..."just the facts."

My word for the year is....  

My mission statement for the year is....
 Determination and action lead to achievement.

Writing Goals
  • Blog 3x/week
  • Write 30 minutes 3x/week
  • Journal regularly
Health Goals
  • Make exercise a habit
  • Lose weight (I've set a more specific number, but I'm going to keep it general here for now) 
Crafting Goals
  • More yarn out (knit) than in (purchased)
  • Knit 12 pairs of socks
  • Spin the bin challenge
  • 2 laceweight projects
  • 2 handspun projects
  • Finish Marigold Moroccan
  • Steeked & Zippered Cardigan
  • Learn to sew 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Office Decoration Day

In my little corner of office-land, we went a little overboard with the decorating this year.  As I mentioned in my last post, we decided to decorate our doors a la elementary school, so I'll just go straight to the pictures o.k.?

We started off the morning with a visit from Santa and Rudolph....

 A homemade hot chocolate bar kept us warm....

And let me tell you how seriously inadequate some of my coworkers make me feel sometimes.  Trina made all the hot chocolate mixes from scratch, and by "from scratch" I mean that for the salted caramel mix she made actual salted caramel, let it cool, and then ground it up with some cocoa and other ingredients.  And there were 5 or 6 different flavors to choose from. The woman's a marvel, I have no idea where she finds the time.

So here was my door...

 I thought it was funny because half of our suite is always complaining they're freezing and the other half is always hot, but I was amazed at how many of my coworkers, of all ages, had no idea who Snow Miser and Heat Miser were.  Just in case that applies to you too, they're from The Year Without a Santa Claus, and here's an appropriate snippet.

Wendy did one of my other favorites...

And Trina is rockin' Buddy the Elf, a movie I've never seen but have now been convinced I need to watch at least once despite my dislike of Will Farrell.

Kelly is pregnant, which made her door rather appropriate....
In case you can't tell, that's a bib on his chest and he has a pacifier in his mouth.

Heather got creative with old copies of the General Statutes that were due to be recycled....

Can you tell Jan is a horse lover?.....

And Jennifer just went for pretty and creative....

Giles added some ambiance to the end of the hall with his fireplace....
And we all did little stockings with our names.  Can you stand the cuteness?

Tawanda is still working on her door, but has her priorities straight and put up her UNC tree first....

And Wendy either had her kids working like slaves or bribed them with something, because they made us a bunch of snowflakes to string from the ceiling...
And I forgot to even take pictures of the tree after we decorated it, and the wall murals that Wendy and Trina lined the hall with.

Suffice it to say, we may have to work in December, but at least we'll have something cheerful to look at while we do!  Hope you're finding a way to get into the holiday spirit too.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Case of the Missing Christmas Lights

It's been a nice Thanksgiving weekend, even though I didn't get quite everything done that I had planned. 
Long holiday weekends always feel like tons of time at the beginning, but never seem to be quite long enough to fit everything in.

We had a fun Thanksgiving feast at the home of some friends.  Less stressful all around when I'm only responsible for a small part of the menu and I didn't have to prep my house for guests either!  I've been bad about taking pictures lately, so the only one I really got was of our friend's young son enjoying this turkey leg bone. He has no teeth, so he was really just rubbing the gristle end against his gums, but boy did he love it.

The rest of the weekend has been equal parts starting the Christmas prep and just hanging out.  We're decorating the office for the holidays on Wednesday, including decorating our doors a la elementary school.  I had to do some prep work for my design plan so I've taken over the dining room table, which is just about the size of my office door, so that things could be done to approximate scale. 
That's before I got started obviously.  I'll share the actual design and those of my office mates later this week.

I got a little of the Christmas baking done and in the freezer.  Cheese biscuits are made because I need to take some to work Wednesday and also to my knitting group Christmas party next week.  I also made sausage balls and froze them raw.  I'll be cooking some of them Tuesday night for work Wednesday and probably the rest closer to the holiday.

I also got all the Christmas decorations hauled in from the shed today.  Everything that is except the lights for the tree, which have gone missing.  I had a bunch of lights and I can't find a single strand.  I didn't put up a live tree last year, so the only thing I can figure is that I decided 2 years ago it was time for new lights and threw them all out, planning to buy new ones.  I'm not planning on putting up the tree until next weekend, so I guess I'll be shopping for tree lights sometime this week.

The usual Sunday afternoon grocery shopping has been done, and the laundry is in progress.  Other than cooking dinner and maybe a little more work on my door decorations (which aren't quite finished) I think I'm done with productivity for the weekend.  I had hoped to at least get a start on updating the Christmas card list, but I'll work on that soon.