Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mini Shelf

I was born with a desire to organize. Things that do not have a specified container annoy me; I have an incoming mail basket, a magazine basket, bookshelves, and many plastic storage containers. Where there's not a container, then a pile will do, as long as it's neat and stacked by size. So, this scenario has been annoying me for a while:

This is the "hot drink" area of the countertop, which is highly respected in our house due to Jason's love of coffee and mine of tea. Everything was just stacked up, and so if I wanted something from the bottom, a lot of unstacking and re-stacking had to occur.

I came up with the idea for a little shelf, which of course did not exist in reality. So, I decided it would be easier just to build something than to scour the earth looking for the perfect mini-shelf. I got some pieces of what might have been hardwood flooring at the hardware store, and using my ghetto carpentry skills, constructed this little shelf. (Ghetto in that sawing was done with a handsaw, and construction was accomplished with a staple gun that shoots nails.) As a result, the shelf isn't all that straight or level, but I took this picture from an angle so that you wouldn't notice.

Of course I had to paint it yellow, orange, and blue, because I paint everything yellow, orange, and/or blue. (Also notice the colors of the stacked cups next to the shelf. Apparently I'm in a color scheme rut -- but at least everything matches.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Yesterday was my and Jason's first wedding anniversary! (I agonized for hours on how to write that sentence grammatically correctly. I still don't know if I'm right.) I'm not a huge holiday celebration person, and I knew that I didn't want to exchange presents, so I was originally at a loss on how to mark the occasion. Dinner out wouldn't be anything special... here we have the choice of Mexican restaurants or Chili's, many of which are not open on Mondays. (In fact, it seems like the restaurants here are never open. Not a very good business model if you ask me.)

I love baking, so my wedding cake was one of the aspects of wedding planning that I was really interested in. Unfortunately, the wedding cake that I got was not what I had described to the baker. I told her, "I would like a very simple cake with a beaded icing border around the edges, where the layers meet each other." The florist was going to provide flowers and artfully arrange them on the cake. Well, the florist forgot the cake flowers, and the baker ignored me and put these hideous icing swags all over my cake.

I realize that its not the ugliest cake in the world, but I had a vision that was not fulfilled. So, each year on our anniversary, I'm going to bake a cake. A really good, tasty one. Hopefully a lifetime of cakes will make up for that one ugly one.

This year I decided to go for taste rather than decoration. (After all, two people eating a multi-layer wedding cake by themselves would not be attractive.) I made a carrot cake out of the King Arthur's Baking Companion, which is the best carrot cake I have ever tasted. With cream cheese frosting, this cake is almost evilly good.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Many of my readers are knit-bloggers, and in fact most of the blogs I read are knitting blogs. But there is a huge, friendly community of book bloggers out there, and today they are banding together to read for 24 hours straight. It seems like such a fun event, so because I couldn't devote a whole 24 hours to reading, I signed up to be a cheerleader. I've been visiting different reader's blogs throughout the day and leaving comments to encourage them (and keep them awake.)
If you have time, stop by Gargantuan Books and leave some friendly comments for some of the super-readers.

For being a cheerleader, I won a prize! I was randomly picked to receive a box of 10 brand-new "spooky books"! Free books? A very good day indeed.(Cartoon from Savage Chickens)

I'm a Little Teapot... I mean, not really

I've never thought of myself as the type of person who would knit a tea cozy; and yet, I did. (Although I prefer to think of this as a "teapot jacket.") My mother-in-law gave me this little teapot for my birthday this year, and I thought a little more insulation might make the tea stay warm longer.

It's basically a garter stitch rectangle, with crocheted loops and wood beads for a closure. I made sort of a huge button hole for the spout to go through. I know, not too exciting, but all of my other knitting looks like blobs right now.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Stupid Wind

Well, the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta was just not to be. The weather did not cooperate, and so the balloons were unable to launch. It also seems that death followed me from the Grand Canyon, because another sad death was reported at this year's Fiesta. (Coincidentally this same accident also happened last year, killing a California woman.) Pretty much all that went up into the sky were kites.

But, Jason got a Navajo taco, and was quite happy about it.

We did get some shopping done; its always fun to be in the big city. Albuquerque has two stores you must check out if you are ever there: Jackalope and Talin Market. Jackalope is sort of a world-trading type of store, with cool things from India, China, Mexico, and many other countries. It's fun to step inside and be assualted by all sorts of colors. I just discovered Talin Market on this trip: it's an international grocery store, and every isle contains food from a different country. (Insert angelic songs.) So tasty - there was even an entire room devoted to tea! If you live in a city this might not be all that exciting to you, but considering I live in a town that contains nothing but Mexican restaurants and a Walmart, this was heart-palpitations-inducing stuff.

Back to the Grand Canyon - I ended up walking more of the Rim Trail, which proved to be pleasantly deserted (between Pipe Springs and Mather Point.) There must have been a fire at some point, because the trees were bare. It was a pretty neat atmosphere. Here are some more pictures:

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Grand Canyon

It's hard to take pictures of the Grand Canyon. You get the sense that it's big... just not how big it really is. A photo only captures a portion, when in reality it goes on and on in panorama.

On Monday I took one of the convenient shuttle buses out to the Visitor's Center (which is located by Mather Point, if you've been here before and remember enough geography) and then walked along the rim trail to Canyon Village (less than 4 miles, probably.) The rim trail I would recommend for everyone, since it is both flat and paved. There are multiple viewpoints to stop at and take pictures, although really every point along the trail is photogenic.

Because all of the park's employees live on site, the park has a lot of conveniences that other park's don't, including a bank, full-service post office, full-size grocery store, and even a library. There are also shuttle buses, as I mentioned, which will take you to various points around the park for free. This is a system Yellowstone has failed to utilize, but really should! It greatly cuts down on traffic congestion and tourist confusion.

There is also a network of paved bike paths that snake through the woods. I have always thought every city should have "bike roads" which would only allow bikes, to encourage more people to ride without having to battle traffic. At the place where I'm staying, I can rent bikes, and so this morning took a tour through some raven-infested woods. It was like a scene from The Birds, except the birds were huge ravens.

Unfortunately on Monday, while I was enjoying views of the canyon, a man committed suicide by jumping off the edge. I didn't see it happen, thank God, but through a sequence of events I came in close proximity to his body (after it had been retrieved from where he had fallen.) Although I didn't actually see the body, the experience was enough to make me now terrified of going near the edge. I may go out to some additional viewpoints, but I don't think I'll be hiking into the canyon. I've hiked on an earlier visit, so I don't feel like I'm completely missing out. I would rather return home alive!

That all said, if you haven't, go see the Grand Canyon. Seeing it for the first time is breathtaking - you cannot imagine how big it is until you see it.

This weekend: the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta! I will not be riding in a balloon however, since that is both (a) expensive and (b) deadly.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Le Slouch - Round 2

I knitted Le Slouch this past January, but I never wore it because it just looked weird on me. It was too slouchy, and had too much drape. It sort of took over my head and made me look like I didn't have any hair. So, I decided to just re-knit the thing rather than let it waste away.

I went down 3 needle sizes for the ribbing, and 1 for the rest of the hat. The fabric turned out much firmer, and now better holds its shape. I also didn't knit as much before I started the top decreases, so it has more of a beret shape. And, this just might be my favorite hat yet!

I don't usually knit a pattern more than once, but I will definitely make more of these. Coincidentally, I finally found the best lighting in my yard - I didn't have to edit these pictures at all.
I'd like to thank all of you who have faithfully commented over the past few months, particularly Heather, Joanne, Kristin, Lolly, Mick, Veronica, and Hassna; of course, I appreciate each and every comment, and will always visit your blog if you leave the link. Thank you to the lurkers as well!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Happy Socktoberfest!

This year, Lolly is hosting the 4th Annual Socktoberfest! This is a month-long celebration of socks, and I fully intended to follow all of the festivities this month. Every time I finish a pair of socks, they are put into circulation and squished into the sock drawer. I have never counted up how many socks I've knitted, nor have brought them all out to revel in all the colors and stripes. Until today, of course!

As it turns out, I have completed 10 pairs of socks (that's 20 socks, for those of you who are really, really bad at math). But, I did make one jaywalker that was subsequently ripped out, so technically, I've made 21 socks. My first ever pair is the solid blue ones you see below, made in Lion Brand Wool-Ease that I got from a thrift store. My, have times changed!

Unfortunately, at least three of the pairs I knitted early on have become unwearable due to repeated machine washing and me being an inexperienced knitter. I have since learned to make my socks slightly bigger, and am working on putting forth the effort to hand wash them, so they will last for-ev-er. The sock drawer is now full, but I seriously doubt that will stop me from knitting socks.

How many socks have you knitted? Do I have a lot of catching up to do?
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