Monday, December 31, 2007
1) Read 50 books in 2008. I read 36 books in 2007, and now that I am no longer in school, I'm really enjoying having the freedom to read what I want. I'd like to work on 1001 Books to Read Before You Die (with the acceptance that I will never finish this list. I've read 49 - only 952 to go.) There is a really cool spreadsheet you can download here, that will keep track of everything for you.
2) Learn some new knitting skills. Namely, colorwork. I can't say that I'm going to like it, or be good at it, but you can't knock it till you try it. I really want to make these Endpaper Mitts.
3) Write more letters. I've joined the Modern Letter Project, so I'll at least be writing 2 letters a month. The internet is great and all, but I think we all agree that getting mail is awesome.
4) Take more pictures. I always see things and think to myself, "Man, I wish I had my camera!" I'll start bringing it with me more.
Ok, that's all. Not too hard, huh? I'm sure that during the course of the year, I'll find new and exciting things to do and places to see, and I'll just go for it. Why wait when you can do it NOW? Happy New Year everyone!
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Also, someone needs to fess up. I received this book in the mail, with no indication of who it was from, and no one has mentioned that they sent it to me! Was it you? (Also, this book does not mess around. It says its "naughty" and it is.
I continue to plug away on my green cardigan. I have the back and most of a front left. Now that I have the options needles, I'm hoping it will go faster. I did need some instant gratification though, so I made this quick scarf. Its a little sparkly, and I like how the colors blend together. And, it also matches one of my backyard bushes!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Although it doesn't have it's tiny hanger yet, this is destined to be a Christmas ornament. It's just so CUTE, I can hardly stand it. It's hard to tell scale in these pictures, but its about 2 inches high. It's made from leftover sock yarn, and the patten can be found here. (You have to subscribe to this mailing list to get the pattern for free . . . but that's why I have a fake email account.)
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
This Thanksgiving I made my first pumpkin pie, to bring to our friends' house. Everyone really liked it, and wanted to know the recipe. "Is this your mom's recipe?" I was asked. "Um, actually its the recipe that's on the can of pumpkin," I was forced to reply. Busted! (Good thing they didn't ask about the crust . . . that was Pillsbury.)
Saturday, November 10, 2007
I started a sweater too! Right now it looks like a blob, though. It will be this sweater. I was sort of torn about the plain edges, since as you can already see, stockinette stitch curls like nobody's business. I really like the aesthetic of it though, so I could be setting myself up for years of frustration. The yarn is a cotton/linen/vicose blend that is very soft, and lighter than straight-up cotton. It's weird to knit a sweater bottom-up, it just doesn't make too much sense logically. Probably after this I'll stick to top-down, since they don't require seaming and you can try them on as you go along.
I just got a copy of Fitted Knits - I was super excited for it, although I was a little disappointed when I finally got it. I thought there would be more info about modifying the patterns - like how to sub yarns, etc. I like a lot of the patterns in the book, but almost all of them are knit with bulky yarn! I think the smallest needle size is an 8. Bulky knitting looks good on no one, in my opinion, so I'm going to get a math exercise when I make something out of this book.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
I loved my short dress! Besides the fact that it was a "bridesmaid's dress" and only cost $140, it made me not look like a stumpy ghost, which is what a long dress would have looked like. Just for fun I tried on a huge dress with lots of gathers and rhinestones, and I kid you not, I could not walk in it. I felt like I was standing inside of a giant cupcake.
Our reception was also in Williamsburg, at a conference center that had a waterfall! Above are our wedding party - including my brother, sister, my friend of 20 years, and the groom's dad. Guess who's who! (Also, I totally have a delt muscle in that picture. Awesome.)
The whole thing went by incredibly fast, and so I apologize if you were there and I hardly talked to you. Taking 200+ pictures apparently eats up a lot of time. I missed out on an awesome cheese & fruit display, so I'm hoping everyone else took advantage of it. As I try to see the humor in everything, I thought the funniest thing about the wedding was that our musicians thought that we were Irish. The singer stood up and said "It wouldn't be an Irish wedding without an Irish toast!" and proceeding to give some Irish toasts. Except that we're not Irish. At all.
Next: back to regularly scheduled knitting programming.
Friday, November 02, 2007
For our honeymoon we spent 7 days in the Caribbean. It was an interesting experience, not at all what I had expected. For instance, I never saw any of those pristine white beaches you see on the travel channel. I did see beaches where you were harassed constantly by people wanted to braid your hair (I think my longest piece of hair is about 4 inches), sell you jewelry, and take you on jet skis. I even saw a guy selling maps that I saw for free at the tourist office, and another guy offering foot massages, who ran away as soon as the police approached him.
I'm not really a beach person anyway, so I was more in awe of the rainforests. We went on a hike in St. Lucia (in my opinion, one of the most beautiful islands), and the amount of produce growing freely is amazing: mangoes, starfruit, avocados, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa, coffee, bananas, etc. I would like to issue a public service announcement that hiking in a bathing suit, towel, and watershoes through a wet, steep rainforest is not a good idea. (Hear that, girl in front of me the whole time?)
Our cruise ship was ridiculously huge. (It was bigger than the Titanic - I looked it up.) Despite my discontentment with the constant stream of black smoke and generally wastefulness going on on the ship, it was a fun experience. Good food whenever you want it, plentiful hot tubs, gym/sauna/steam room, ice rink!, and many, many deck chairs. (Our ship is the giant one, next to a "normal" sized cruise ship.)
And best of all, a new towel animal every night in your room.
I had a good time, and not to be down on cruising, but I'm not sure I'd do it again. You have to be around a large group of people wherever you go, and as I mentioned before, the whole thing seemed sort of wasteful. There was food left on everyone's plate, and we had to use paper cups for most beverages - I probably threw away 15 cups during the week, so multiply that by 3,000 or so. It's also difficult to get around on shore, and as a walking/explorer type of person, it was hard to deal with $20-one-way cab rides. If I had to do it again, I'd probably spend more time in one place, since its hard to see anything during short times at port. St. Lucia was probably the most visually stunning, and also one of the poorest countries. Barbados seemed to just be developing its tourist industry. Antigua was one of my favorites - once we passed the usual tourist shops, it seemed like a relaxed kind of place. St.Maarten is overrun with jewelry stores, and seemed the most international of all the islands we visited. We didn't see much of St.Thomas, but it seemed quite Americanized.
All in all, I like seeing as many places as possible, even if they don't end up being my favorite. So for my next vacation, maybe a lake? Rest of the pictures are here.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
25. The Merlot Murders - Ellen Crosby Murders at a winery in Virginia - surprisingly well written.
26. Tears of the Giraffe - Alexander McCall Smith Second in the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series. Mma Ramotswe is endearing and the setting is enchanting. Smith also has an incredible sense of humor.
26. Strawberry Shortcake Murder - Joanne Fluke Second Hannah Swenson mystery - These books make me want to open up my own bakery. I love the setting of a cookie shop in Minnesota in winter - so cozy! I also love the heroine of these books, Hannah. She's smart, real, sassy, and funny.
27. Shakespeare's Landlord - Charlaine Harris First in the Lilly Bard series. This one was a little more graphic than most cozy mysteries. But Lilly is a weightlifter, and even bitchy at times. It's great.
28. Gunpowder Green - Laura Childs Second in the Tea Shop mystery series. After reading this second book in the series, the setting started to annoy me. Most of the characters are wealthy, and most events take place at expensive parties, boutiques, and yacht clubs. It's hard to feel a connection.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
I looked up the designer, Papaya! I really want to buy a bunch of their stationary - except that shipping is like $9! I hate it when the shipping is outrageous - this is for paper, after all.
I'm almost done with my second striped sock. I was hoping to post pictures before I left, but that is not in the cards. Yes, I'm leaving - I'm getting married in 5 days! Then its off to the blissfully calm Caribbean. See everyone in November!
I have big knitting plans when I get back. I'm feeling the urge to knit a sweater, and I'm looking at this:Cropped Cardigan with Leaf Ties from Knitty and Fitted Knits. I bought a bunch of linen/cotton yarn to make the Eyelet Chemise from Interweave, but I realized that I would probably never finish or wear it. I've never finished anything lace, and short-sleeved sweaters are sort of useless (for me at least). I'm planning to alter this somewhat, making it more fitted, longer, and possibly with ribbing. We'll see what happens.
Signing off for now . . .
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Sunday, September 30, 2007
That, my friends, is a desert centipede. I hate these things even more than spiders, snakes, or possibly even scorpions. Centipedes are vicious, and instead of hiding like normal bugs, will chase you. I once witnessed one eating a bat. (For another example of their destructive power, click here - not for those with the insect hebe-jeebees.) After throwing the cat across the room, I proceeded to capture the creature under a baking pan. This turned out to be a bad idea, since I didn't have anything to slide under it to enclose the beast. So, I had to let it go and capture it again under a pot lid, the whole time going, "ah! ah!" and trying not to put my hand near its scary, scary pinchers.
Living in the desert is not for the faint of heart (this is the 3rd centipede I've had to remove from a building - as well as 2 scorpions and a bat.) In my park ranger days, I had a roommate who only lasted 2 days before quitting because she was so scared of the spider population in our house.
Does anyone know how to knit a centipede trap?
Sunday, September 23, 2007
I also sewed a totebag to cart all of my stuff back and forth to work. (Purse, lunch, water bottles, book, sweater, etc.) I used some upholstery fabric, backed with interfacing. It was my first time using interfacing, and I'm pretty sure that its coming off of the fabric. But I'll just blame that on it being from Wal-Mart.
Speaking of Wal-Mart, the other night I drove into the parking lot, parked, and noticed a goat. There was a pickup truck parked in the lot, unattended, with a GOAT standing in the bed. (Presumably tied up - I can only hope.) So, was the guy like, "Sure, I'll bring you the goat, but I just need to pick up some Bud Light at Wal-Mart first"? What was he doing with a goat anyway? What do you do with goats? Milk them? Does he drive around with a goat in his truck in case he just really needs some cheese? Sometimes I don't understand this town.
Speaking of goats, I drive by a corral of goats every day on my way to work (and sometimes sheep, cows, and horses. I know.) Well, suddenly, one day, all of the goats were gone, replaced by a horse. What happened to them? Again, what does one do with goats? I really hope it doesn't involve massive goat slaughter.
Ok, enough of that. Apparently I'm in a goat mood.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Anyway. Besides being haunted by images of homicial clothing models, I may have started another sock. Accidentally. I'm digging the stripe pattern - its Regia yarn I got at Maryland Sheep & Wool back in May. The yarn was deeply discounted, and even though I didn't really like the other colors, I should have bought more. Sock yarn is like that - and you sock knitters know this - you can never have too much, even if you have more socks than you can wear, and even if you "don't really like the color." And even if you live in New Mexico and wear flip-flops 8 months of the year.
Have you seen the new CROCS? I love you, Crocs.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
I went to visit a college friend, who was my host as I attempted to do everything that is not possible where I live. This included:
- Eating shrimp etouffe at Copeland's (a Cajun restaurant)
- Consignment shopping (Calvin Klein jeans for $17.50, hello!)
- Sushi eating at a really cool sushi bar with floating boats that brought you your food!
- Coffee ice cream with white chocolate chips at Coldstone
- A visit to not one, but TWO Jackalopes (my new favorite store that sells international folk art type things - I got a couple bowls from India.)
- A leisurely breakfast bagel at Einstein's
- A trip around old town
- Food shopping at Trader Joe's (Apparently its illegal to sell alcohol before noon on a Sunday in New Mexico. The wine section was roped off, and people were just hovering around waiting for it to open. Must. Get. Wine. I totally was the first one in.)
One of the things I enjoyed most about Albuquerque was that twice I directly encountered progressive thinking. I hate, hate, hate plastic shopping bags. I try to bring my own bags whenever I can, but on many occasions I have been sighed at by cashiers who are just so annoyed that I am slowing them up with my canvas bags. (Sometimes I'll re-bag right in front of them, I bet they hate me for that too.) At the consignment shop I visited, Buffalo Exchange, you have the option of getting a token instead of bag. You drop your token in a little box, and 5 cents is donated to the charity of your choice. Wow! At Trader Joe's I was entered into a drawing to win free groceries because I brought my own bags. Imagine, actually being REWARDED for trying to help the environment! It's quite a change from my "secret recycling program" at work. (Yeah, I almost got in trouble for recycling.)
I can't wait to go back to Albuquerque!
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Not too much new to report in the knitting department. I finished one of my Jaywalkers - and I have a conundrum. The sock "fits," but only after much grumbling and swearing as I pull it over my heel. I'm afraid I'll pull so hard the yarn breaks. I'm not in the mental state to completely re-do this one, so what if I just knit the second one on size larger needles? Would it be weird to have two socks that are slightly different sizes? Or will I be glad that at least one fits correctly?
I've finished around 6 or 7 inches of Orangina. I have to knit 14 inches in pattern, and then - oh yeah, the back. Dammit. So I still have 21 inches to go. Don't expect this one any time soon.
Since I'm not too motivated with these 2 projects, I probably should start something else. I have this white yarn that's been laying around for a couple years.
It's not too much - about 550 yards. I'm thinking some sort of shrug/very small cardigan. Can it be done?? Anyone have any ideas? (And I already thought of the One Skein Wonder. I like the concept of this pattern, but the finished products look like they're eating their wearers. Ahhh! My shoulders!!)
And finally, I did a little bit of sewing. I made this strapless top - my favorite part is the zipper, which of course you can't see because its in the back. I used an invisible zipper, and it really is invisible! Wow I have a lot of freckles.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Feasting on Asphalt: In my opinion, one of the best television shows every made. It's like watching a painting, plus I have a crush on Alton Brown. The combination of filming, photography, music, location, and crew are brilliant. When I saw that there was a second season coming out this summer, I was SO excited. Watch it! On Food Network Saturday nights.
Tea: I love tea, especially loose-leaf black teas. The best online sites are Adagio, Dragonwater, and Stash. Look at them and drool. Know anymore? Hook me up.
iShopIndian: When I lived in Delaware, there was a great South Asian grocery store - pounds and pounds of Basmati, instant Indian dinners, breads, produce, and really good Samosas. There isn't an Indian restaurant within at least 150 miles of me now, let alone any non-Mexican grocery. I haven't actually ordered from this site yet, but they seem to have a really good selection, and free shipping over $69.
Not Martha and Design Sponge: Daily reading for inspiration.
Ladislao Loera: One of my new favorite artists. One day my entire house will be filled with Mexican Folk Art.
Monday, July 30, 2007
I saw these on etsy a few weeks ago, and thought to myself, "I could do that!" I do feel a little guilty stealing someone else's idea, but since I'm not planning on selling these, just using them myself, I don't think its unethical. I mean, if you see a sweater in a store, then knit your own version, that's not really stealing, right? It's inspiration.
Also, I have succumbed to the awesomeness that is Ravelry. Every knitting pattern and everyone's version of it laid out for you to see?? It's genius, I tell you, genius. I finally got around to starting something I've been wanting to for a while: Orangina. I've had some bad starts with lace in the past, but this seems to be going OK. I've memorized the pattern, but for some reason I can't knit more than 4 rows a day. I'll finish it, I'm sure . . . eventually.
Since my office doesn't have a break room, I have to find creative places to eat my lunch (going home just seems like a waste of gas.) Frequently I visit the library, and now that I actually have time to read more than one book a month, I tend to go a little crazy. I always check out more books than I can read before they're due, but I need to have options. You know how sometimes you just feel like reading a certain book?
Maybe I should slow down. I've even forgot to feed the cat once. Oh, she'll never let me live that one down.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
In other crafty news, I've started quilting again. I've been quilting even longer than I've been knitting, and every once in a while I just get a hankering to start a new one. Now that I have the time and space, I'll probably be sewing a lot more often.
Speaking of space, I now have my very own craft/anything else I want room. This room was such a horrible shade of hideous green, that no one even wanted to deal with it. The door was kept shut in order to keep out the horrible soul-sucking color attack. (And what was up with putting up a RED gingham board above the window?) After FOUR (that's FOUR) coats of paint, the green is gone. I now love to go in here, and its so great to have my sewing machine always out, instead of taking up the kitchen table.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Who knew that moving was such a big deal? I drove about 2,300 miles, moved into a house, unpacked, painted, moved stuff around, got a job, joined the gym, bought furniture, read, and . . . lots of other stuff too. My biggest project has been re-organizing and painting my new craft room. The hideous, hideous green paint that was in there took FOUR coats to completely disappear. Ugh.
I also got a job, quite suddenly and with perfect timing. I was all set to become Ranger Sarah once more, when I found a position as a graphic artist at the local paper. It's very exciting to have the word "artist" in my job title - I've been dabbling in graphic design for years, and I'm lovin' it so far.
Knitting pictures are coming - not much excitement in that area. When its 100 degrees outside, the only thing I want in my hand is a glass of iced tea.
My latest website obsession has been "This Day in Type." I submitted an image for July 10th - vote for me! (Click on Calendar - then July 10th - then click the image - ratings are at the bottom.)
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Currently, I'm in Cookeville, TN (I posted from here two years ago as well.) Tomorrow its on to North Little Rock, AR, where I'll stay for a few days.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
But now I'm free!! Exciting times are ahead - in a couple of weeks I'll be moving 2,000 miles away to New Mexico, where I will finally get to live in the same zip code as my fiance. There's a lot of unknowns out there, but it just makes life more of an adventure, right?
In addition to finally getting to "read for pleasure" and settling into my new home, there is always more knitting on the horizon. I'll have to content myself with a pair of socks for now, though, since my yarn has been packed away in preparation for its long journey.
I finished Green Gable a few weeks ago, in time for Maryland Sheep & Wool. I was originally concerned about the fit - so I made a Frankenstein version. The top half is a size larger than the bottom half - to accommodate my bulging biceps, of course. I'm quite happy with how it turned out, and I will definitely be getting a lot of use out of this sweater in the future.
One of my little experiments over the past few months (mainly done while "working") was starting a blog of all the books I read. I'm not sure if I'll stick with it, but for now I thought I'd give it a shot. You can see it here: Read It Like You Mean It.
Also, one of my former roommates has started a blog. She's originally from Pakistan, and has recently moved back home to start a new job. Her writings are really interesting comments on a country that most of us Americans know little about. Check her out at: Thoughts.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Check over on the sidebar to read the accounts of my fellow knitters: ReluctantMango, Yarn Mama, and the SmileSpot.