Saturday, March 31, 2007

How the Vacuum Almost Killed Me

This is a very pic heavy and long post. Sorry to all you dial up folks. Go make a sandwich or something while this loads!

There was a little more excitement than normal around here this morning.

I wanted to start the day by giving the kitties a good brushing. It's Spring and they are shedding like crazy. The only downside is that a good vacuuming is necessary once that's done because enough hair comes off each of them to make another kitten or two!

The apartment needed vacuuming anyway. So today was as good a day as any to brush the kitties. I should also tell you the kitties like to sleep on the lazy boy when I'm not around. Meaning the chair needed vacuuming as well.

When I put the vacuum upright to use the hose on the chair, I inadvertently set it on the cord. The cord got sucked up into the brush where the protective insulation was quickly stripped away. Unfortunately, I didn't notice the severity of the issue quickly enough. I turned off the vacuum but I didn't unplug it. And when I tried to pull the cord out from the head of the vacuum, I was greeted with a substantial spark!

Now anyone who knows me knows that I injure myself almost daily. I am, what you would call, klutzy. I'm constantly covered with bruises. And I usually can't remember the cause. With this in mind, my husband's response of "a little 120 won't kill you" seems a little less callous.

Here's what the cannibal vacuum decided to do to itself.

Vacuum Problem

Yikes. Looks like I'll be hauling it in for repairs. Hopefully it's really expensive to fix and I can just get the Dyson I want anyway!

OK- with my safety ensured- on to what I got in the mail this week...

ATH- Blues

Heather asked for donations to buy books for a school in South Africa. In return, she was willing to give out skeins of her awesome yarn! This is a merino/tencel blend in great blues and greys. So pretty and for a great cause. She raised around $3,000. That's a lot of books. Gotta love the knitter community!

Piddleloop DPN Case

The clever girls at Piddleloop opened an Etsy shop with these great dpn cases.

DPN Case- inside

Finally, I won't be searching for the missing DPN anymore! And that little ribbon has Velcro on one end so you can keep your stitch markers on it too. Very clever!

Piddleloop extras

And they always send lots of adorable extras with your purchase. They've even teamed up with Aija at Zero markers to add a pretty little stitch marker to the extras.


I took Ashley's advice and ordered some labels from National Weaving Company. They are a UK company, so shipping takes a while. But look how cute these labels are. Love 'em!

Big Footed Bunny Pattern

Hillary over at Wee Wonderfuls just got her new pattern up on her site. It's so cute. I have visions of a bunny army taking over the studio! I also have her first pattern book. These little books are so adorable and well written. Go grab one while you can!

Finally, I did make soap last night and this morning. I make cold process soap which involves mixing fat and lye. DISCLAIMER: Lye is really dangerous. It's a caustic substance. It can give you chemical burns and run your counter. So if you want to learn more about this method soap making, email me, take a class, or get a good book. Don't just give it a go.

That being said, once the chemical change occurs between the fat and the lye, glycerin and a really lovely soap is produced. There's no detergent and the emollient properties of the fats remain. You skin will love homemade soap. Plus, it's fun to pick your own scents and colors.

The process starts my measuring the fat you're using into the pot.

Soap- Fat in the pot

For this batch, I used cocoa butter, avocado butter, palm kernel oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. You melt the fats then cool them to around 110 degrees.

Soap- Trace

Once you add the lye solution, you stir like crazy (or buy an immersion blender) until it looks like a runny pudding. I added a little pink clay and some Somali Rose scent to this batch.

Soap- Into the Mold

Dump that whole pot into a mold. My molds are from a great lady in Texas. Her husband makes these by hand.

Soap- Mold

I especially like them because of the dividers. This way you get nice even bars.

Soap- Insulate

I wrap the whole thing up in a blanket to incubate overnight. The chemical process of making soap is slow. And it takes time and heat to complete. Around 12 hours insulation usually does the trick.

Soap- Out of the Mold

This morning, I took the dividers out. Now the soap has to cure for 4-6 weeks to complete chemical changes and let the soap dry out. Cured soap lasts longer than wet soap.

Phew! You still with me????

I made the Somali Rose Soap last night. This morning I have a sage scent with green clay and a beeswax and honey scent incubating. Tomorrow, I'll have a forest of soap curing over my refrigerator.

Still awake??? If so, go watch CBS. There's a good game on.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

The Call of the Bubble

Making soap and other body products was my big passion before knitting. When my sister was here last weekend, she asked me if I've made soap lately. I have been so inspired by yarn and knitting that I haven't heard the call of the soap pot in a while. In fact, it's been a year and a half. Pretty much since I made lemon verbena soap favors for my sister's wedding.

But I've been thinking about getting back to it. And tomorrow's the day. Soap supplies were my stash before I had a yarn stash. So, I have the supplies. Tonight, I dug out my molds and created some new recipes on The Sage.

I feel a very crafty day coming on. Stay tuned.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I just scored a set of KP Options on Destash!!!!

They weren't at a huge discount but I'm psyched. I've been coveting these for awhile.

Big post and contest announcement this weekend. Promise!


Monday, March 26, 2007

That's More Like It

I'm recovering today from a great weekend with my family. I'll tell you all about it in the next couple of days. It's too much to download from my brain tonight.

I did, however, restart the Chevron Scarf project. I think you lovely commentors were right, I just needed a little more contrast. So I went stash diving and found these.

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock- Devon

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Devon

Lorna's Laces Shephard Sock- Vera

The same yarn in Vera

Chevron Scarf- Close up

Much better I think!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Here's a Question...

Cute separately....

Artyarns Supermerino- 130

Artyarns Supermerino- 130

Artyarns Supermerino- 127

Artyarns Supermerino- 127

Cute together...

Artyarns Supermerino- Cute together

So why does it look like cat vomit when knitted into a Chevron Scarf?

Cat Yak

Oh well... I'll try again...


Thursday, March 22, 2007


My family is in town starting tonight. So I'll be away from my computer for most of the weekend.

But don't you worry.... I'm still cooking up that contest idea!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Holy Schmoley!!!

I just got home to discover a package from on my doorstep.

SP- Package 3

It's 14 balls of Peruvian Highland Wool from my SP- The Masked Chicken! It even came with a cool pattern.

Peruvian Highland Wool

The color is better in this picture. It's a lovely chocolaty brown with lighter flecks. So pretty.

This package is getting to me at the perfect time. I need to put down the socks for a while and knit something else. Don't get me wrong, I love socks. LOVE THEM!!! But once in a while, a girl's got to have a little variety.

Thank you so much, Masked Chicken!!!

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Goals Update- Week 11

Here's the rundown for the week.

1. Thin for Thirty- Not good. Not bad. Frankly, I'm not working on this at the moment. Especially when I'm baking bread.

No Knead Wheat Bread

The wheat didn't rise as much as the white did. Maybe it was the beer I put in the batter. Maybe it was the whole wheat flour. Hmm.... It still tastes pretty good.

Did you like how I changed the subject off of my weight???? Pretty sneaky, huh? Runagogo is going to extend another 3 months. I need to recommit to that. I just need to move more... 200 miles total by July 4. I can do it. I'm at 49 miles. I'll definitely have to kick it up. But I need a challenging goal.

2. Knit from the stash- Oooooffff! I'm having a bad week here. I put my name in the hat for 6 months of Scout's Swag Club. I never thought I would get picked. Well, I did!!! I'm really excited. But once again, I've bought yarn. I can tell you, this week isn't going to be better. My little sister is coming to town and she wants to learn to knit. Specifically, she wants a red scarf. I guess I'm going to HAVE to make a trip to the yarn store to get her set up. I mean, what kind of sister would I be if I wasn't an enabler???

3 and 4. Save money for grad school- Well, the Scout thing didn't help. But I'm OK. Just think good scholarship thoughts.

So that's it for the week. I turned the heel on my first Baudelaire. I love this pattern. Well, we all know I love Cookie. This pattern is just so clever. It's a toe up heel flap sock! I never knit such a thing. And it flows perfectly from foot to leg. I love it. And the sunshine yarn I'm using is a dream.

Baudelaire's- So far

Peaknits mentioned that since I disclosed the grad school thing, I don't have a contest idea. And she's right! Plus, I'm probably the only blogger who hasn't had a contest. So I'll think of something this week and let you know.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Bread and Breaths

First things first... HAPPY BIRTHDAY ABRA!!!!! It's my little sister's 25th birthday!!! She's back from Ireland. Living in Chicago. And I get to see her next weekend. And I'm going to teach her to knit. YAY!

Inspired by this post, I made bread today. It sounds really tough and tedious. But nope! It was super easy and really tasty.

No Knead Bread

Look! It looks like the fancy bakery bread. It even thumps when you tap it.


No Knead Bread- Oops

It got a little stuck to the pan. Luckily, that doesn't effect the taste!

I have another loaf rising now. This one has whole wheat flour and a little beer substituted for the water. Maybe you can see the theme of the weekend.

I checked around at work and no one knows I have a blog. So I guess it's safe to tell you the grad school news. Although, you guys are so on the ball, you don't even need me to tell you that I'm going to be a nurse! I was accepted into an accelerated program which means a little more than a year from now, I'll be working as an RN. The other program I'm interviewing for is a 3 year program that will take me all the way to a Nurse Practitioner. It's very exciting. And the CPR class today was a great first step toward this new path. (Although, my hand is a little sore from doing chest compressions all day!)

It'll be quite a switch from my current job as a buyer of men's pants. But I've always wanted to be in the medical field. My mom was a nurse and I'll be proud to follow in her footsteps.

I went through my quarter-life-crisis at 25 when my mom died. I really sat down and tried to evaluate how my life effected other people. And I couldn't come up with one thing I did to make the world a better place. The idea of going back to school and being a nurse came to the forefront of what would be best for me and my family. I'll have more flexible hours and I'll be able to work anywhere.

Thanks for all your support! It's hard to take the risk of leaving a job that pays well to go back to school and depend on your family for help. I know it'll only be a year. But I've been supporting myself for the last 8 years. And to go back on that is tough. However, I think it'll be worth it in the end. There's lots to think about and lots to consider. But for now, it's full speed ahead!


Friday, March 16, 2007

Beer and Ball

March Madness makes me so happy! I even had a clandestine meeting with my boss's boss and another co-worker in the company gym to watch the last 2 minutes of the UNLV/ Georgia Tech game.

Not that I have any money on this... Because... that would be wrong.

But it would make me really happy of Kansas continued to win... I'm just saying....

So I'm drinking beer and watching Southern Illinois beat Holy Cross. It's a good night.

Especially since tomorrow I have to get up early for CPR for health care providers class. (Have you figured out that grad school thing yet? Maybe there's a contest here...)

As for knitting, I'm turning the heel on my first Baudelaire. I hate to say it... but I might be getting burned out on socks. Although, the real issue is that I have too many complicated socks on the needles at the moment. I'm longing for a basic rib. But I have to gut out a sock or two before casting on anything too easy.

So tonight there are lots of beer and ellipses.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Another exciting announcement!

Check this out!

I went a little wild yesterday and bought 6 of the 8 patterns. Oops!

In my defense, I have a LOT of sock yarn. And it needs to be used up somehow...

Monday, March 12, 2007

How exciting is this???

Did you see Eunny's Big News? Very, very exciting!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Goals Update- Week 10

This weekend has been a lazy one. But I have a couple of busy weeks coming up. So that's my excuse.

1. Thin for Thirty- Not so good. I'm having a hard time committing. I took a walk this week one day when I got home from work early. But other than that, I'm practically a lump.

2. No buying yarn- I've only bought skeins for gifts. But I did sign up for the Yarntini sock club. And I'm going to throw my hat in the ring for Scout's swag this week. That's a drawing so chances are slim I'll get it. On the upside, I cast on 2 new socks. I'm trying to whittle it down. But these sock clubs are just too tempting.

3. Save money- I'm trying to do that too. A little at a time.

Once I finished the monkey socks yesterday, I cast on for some green baudelaire's and some Denmark socks in Sundara Lenten rose. Now I have 3 socks on the needles. YIKES!!!

OK- Off to do the laundry and maybe bake some cookies.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Story of the Monkey

There's lots of pictures in this one. Hopefully, it doesn't bog down your connection too much.

Let's start with the news of the Monkey.

What once looked like this... 1 repeat short...

Monkey Sock- Bad Toes

Has been fixed to look like this...

Monkey Socks- Done

Here's a close up of the toe...

Monkey Socks- Toe Detail

Pattern: Monkey from
Yarn: Yarntini Cherry Cordial
Needles: Bryspun flex dpn's size 2.5
Mods: None really- I went up a needle size to fit my big old feet. I had plenty of yarn to do more repeats on the cuff. But I'll use the leftovers for footies maybe. The next time I do these socks, I'll use a more solid yarn. I love the yarn. I love the pattern. I'm just not sure they are the perfect match. I'm happy with the results but I think it could have been better.

These were my February socks for Socktopia. The theme I used was "Life is Like a Box of Chocolates." So I'm 10 days late. Oops! Hopefully I can do better in March. In fact, I already cast on some Baudelaire's in Sunshine Yarn Avocado for the "It's Not Easy Being Green" theme. I hope I make it on time.

Finally, my Petals Collection package was rescued from the grip of the postal service. The package was lovely of course. Sundara pays great attention to detail.

Petals Collection- February

The package includes a beautiful picture of the flower represented and a wonderful pattern.

Petals Collection- Feb

To be honest with you, I had seen pictures of this online and I didn't really love the color. But when I opened the package, I totally changed my mind. It's vibrant and bright without being obnoxious. Well worth the wait!

Sundara Bird of Paradise

She's opening up the Petals Collection to new members next week. I highly recommend it. And I'll be extending my membership. Sock clubs are my vice!!!

Also, did you see the special Cherry Blossom yarn she's dying for her 1 year anniversary??? DIVINE!! Get some while you can. Can you tell I'm into pink and brown lately?

Finally, I want to show you another great etsy "found" through Georgia. I didn't know much about needle felting but I saw a felted penguin on her site and I had to get one of my own. Well, actually, I got a bumble bee.

Needle Felted Bee

Isn't he cute???? He's from Wool Pets. She sells kits and her own needle felted animals. It took me about an hour to make this little guy. The button next to him was included with my recent purchase from Piddleloop. I just loved the sheep with a moustache. I had to show you.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Well... Crap

I "finished" my second monkey sock tonight. Unfortunately, the second one is 1 pattern repeat shorter than the first one.


Good thing I can count, right?

I guess I'll fix it tomorrow. I can't deal tonight.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Best News of the Day

There's a Yarntini Sock Club available from Pure Knits!!!!!

WHY????? Don't they know I'm weak in the face of this temptation?????

And yes, I've already taken the plunge. I'm so ashamed.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Dear Mr. Postman,

When I asked you to redeliver the package you inexplicably couldn't leave me last week, I meant to redeliver it to my home. I'm not sure what you did with it. But maybe you don't understand the importance of this particular package to me.

You see, it's probably the February installment of the Petals Collection. And you should know as well as anyone that you shouldn't get between me and my sock yarn. You know all those other squishy packages that arrive at my doorstep? Well, those are yarn too.

Unfortunately, I read too many blogs and I already know what's in my beloved box. Fortunately, I now have zero patience because I know the contents are so lovely!

Please feel free to leave my box of yarn at my doorstep. Or in the apartment complex office if that makes you feel better.

Just GIVE ME MY BOX!!!!!


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Goals Update- Week 9

Not too much to tell today. I got a bug in my bum about cooking. So I made my Pad Thai which Brian promptly gobbled up.

Now I'm doing laundry and watching a movie. Not too thrilling.

1. Thin for Thirty- Down a net 5 pounds. Gotta work harder this month. Only 6 months left to my birthday.

2. Grad school- Check! Just waiting on the details.

3. Save money- Workin' on it. But with school on the horizon, I'm feeling the need to stock up on things. I know that's lame but it's true. I'm trying to stay away from my favorite yarn sites though. That's too dangerous!

4. Don't buy yarn- I don't have to. With the clubs it keeps coming to me. I think the postal service is holding my February Petals Collection hostage. Sigh.... My mail carrier hates me!

Not much to say today. I slept until noon and went to the grocery store. And now the movie and laundry.

If you haven't seen Stranger Than Fiction with Will Ferrel, go rent it. It's very good and very original. I also saw A Good Year this weekend. It made me want to move to France or Italy or Spain. Immediately.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Getting My Craft On

Whew! I've been a busy bee today.

I cast on for my second monkey sock and the second Moorish lattice sock. No second sock syndrome here!

I finished the quilt for my faux nephew.

Baby Neviaser Quilt Corner

It's not square or perfect or anything remotely resembling a professional effort. But it is darn cute!

Baby Neviaser Quilt Done

I love it! Now, it's out of a quick wash and ready to pack up to my friends Jen and Andy who are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their little one.

By the way, the brown floral shoes in the upper right hand corner of the picture are newly acquired from Payless of all places. Super comfortable and perfect for casual Friday.

On Friday, I received my February installation of the Sunshine Yarn Sock Club.

Sunshine Yarn- Fresh

Isn't it pretty! Great Spring color. This skein also came with peanut butter kisses and a row counter. I totally forgot that this was coming. So imagine how thrilled I was when I opened the mailbox on Friday. Wonderful!

My other Friday package was the initial shipment of the Rockin' Sock Club.

Rockin Sock Club- February

Check it out! I love the binder. Now I can organize my growing pattern collection. And the "emergency" sock yarn key chain is adorable. I might have to come up with a cool way to display the unused key chains....

STR- Monsoon

Here's a better picture of the actual yarn. It's STR medium weight in Monsoon! Green, brown and gray. So pretty! And very reminiscent of the weather around here this week.

The last package to talk about this week is one from Maritza at knotty bits.

Zee Little Martian

I saw this on her blog and I had to have it. I'm telling everyone that it's for faux nephew. But I'm having a hard time packing him up. Sorry this picture looks like an alien autopsy. He's very much alive and adorable!

Pocket Squirrels

I've long been a fan of knotty bits. She makes these adorable pocket squirrels. I've passed a couple along to other people. I have 6 for myself in various Japanese fabrics. I plan on making Christmas tree ornaments out of them. Maybe I can come up with some kind of garland for them in my studio.... Hmmm.....

Milo and her fish

Finally, here's a shot of Milo appreciating her new catnip fish made by knotty bits. These little fish haven't been more than 5 feet from my kitties since I brought them home. It's pretty funny. And why is Milo sleeping on my shoe? So silly!

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

I Didn't Make It

I only got 1 Socktopia and 1 Project Spectrum sock done this month. Oh well. It's been a little crazy around here. You know? Hopefully this weekend will be exceedingly productive. I think I'll be able to finish the Baby Boy Quilt this weekend. YAY! It's looking cute. The sewing is a little wonky. But that's OK.

I got more good news from graduate school today. They want to interview me for my #1 choice program! Things just seems to be lining up. (The one I was accepted to was my #2 program.) And I sent them money to save my spot. A bird in the hand and all that. Now I just have to juggle commitments until I get definitive word on #1. That'll be at the end of March. Coincidentally, program 1 and 2 are at the same school. I'm the kind of girl who likes to have things wrapped up and finished. Unfortunately, I won't get that for a while. But that's OK. Completely changing my life shouldn't happen overnight. It's still exciting and fun. And the scariness is starting to fade. Now, if I just knew how to pay for all this. I supposed that's what banks are for.

Did you feel it? There was a pretty good earthquake tonight. I haven't been afraid of them until tonight. In fact, I used to think they were fun. Not anymore. This one shook pretty good. And, as it turns out, it was only a 4.3 but located close to my house. If there's ever another 8, I hope I'm not here.