Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I finished these two items up last month but just finally got around to getting some quick pics taken today. The first picture is the modified helmet liner I made to fit my son. He *loves* it. He calls it his "Soldier Hat" and is thrilled that it keeps his ears warm. Poor little guy's ears even get cold in the refrigerated area of the grocery store so this hat is great for when he's out playing on the playground where it's really cold.

Of course he needed some mittens to go with it so I made a quick and easy pair to match. As luck would have it I ran out of yarn when I was 3/4 of the way through the second mitten. That required a quick trip to Twist to pick up another skein. Since they didn't require much at all I'm going to use the remainder of the skein to make another helmet liner to donate. Here are the mittens:

I better get back to cooking. I'm busy preparing some appetizers to take to our annual New Year's Eve party. The Tortilla Roll-ups are chilling in the refrigerator waiting to be sliced. The onions are almost done caramelizing for the onion dip. After I finish that it's time to make the famous No-Bake Cookies. Yum, yum, yum.

Happy New Year Everyone!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Came across this today on Ravelry. Love it...

“Les peaux de lièvres” by Tricot Machine

Sunday, November 02, 2008

My little guy was sick last week so I dropped by the store to pick up our necessary supplies: chicken soup, crackers, ginger ale, kleenex. As I came to the end of the soup aisle I spotted a display of mini saltine crackers.

I threw them in the cart and brought them home. These mini saltine crackers are great, especially for little kids. We could never seem to finish up an entire box of the regular size saltines and I would inevitably end up throwing some away after they went stale. These are great for kids--smaller size and WAY less messy. The crackers are about the same size as a Cheez-It cracker so they're much more manageable for them. We'll definitely be keeping these around, even when not sick. They'd be great with chili...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Here are finally some pictures of the finished Hibiscus for Hope socks. Now I just need to wrap them up and give them to my friend.

Here's the completed Helmet Liner. My son likes it so much I think I'll work on re-sizing the pattern to fit his four year old head and make him one.

Yesterday I went to Twist and purchased all the yarn to make another pumpkin basket. The pattern is 12:01 by Nathania Apple. Last year I made one for my best friend as a birthday gift but I still want one of my own. Cast on last night and am quickly making progress. Of course it helps that it's knit up on size 13s.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dear Programming Geniuses,

Please, please, please develop a grocery shopping app like SplashShopper or Handyshopper for Android. I love my G1 but I desperately need a grocery list program for it.

Things are super busy with the business right now. This is the time of year when everyone wants to have outdoor portraits for the fall color. Unfortunately it always seems to be that there is a two week window of time when everyone wants in. The same thing happens in the spring too, usually the third week of May or so.

I'm trying to catch up with everything. I have managed to fall behind in absolutely everything. Scrambling to get work finished and delivered and keep the family clean and fed. Exhausting.

I'm about 1/3-1/2 way done with Christmas shopping which is a plus. I'm hoping to finish all of that before Christmas and just have a nice relaxing holiday season. We'll see, that's always the plan but somehow it never quite works out that well.

In knitting news I don't have anything on the needles at all right now. I finished up the Hibiscus for Hope socks but have been so busy I haven't even managed to get any pictures of them let alone deliver them to the person I made them for. After the socks I knit up a helmet liner to donate to the troops. I am very pleased with how it turned out and am thinking of re-sizing the pattern to fit my little guy. He's quite taken with the project and I think he would enjoy having one of his very own. It would also keep him very warm this winter while he's playing outside at preschool.

That's all for now. I'll be posting pictures from our family trip to an apple orchard soon.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Ugh. I think I'm getting arthritis in my hands.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Random things bumping around my brain this morning...

Kelly Ripa is now so thin her breasts have disappeared.

There are no groceries left in my house. Also, no time to do any grocery shopping.

There is a two hour special tonight to watch an idiot magician hang upside down. Ooohhh! Wonder how it will end? I'm guessing by standing back up. Two hours? Really?

Realized I had forgot to put Lipstick Jungle on season pass and then tried to remember the name of the other similar show I tivo-ed last year. Still have no idea what it's called and have decided it must have been cancelled as I haven't heard anything about it. Also must figure out the correct past tense verb form of Tivo. Shut up, it's totally a word.

Finally was able to watch Heroes last night. Wow. Loved it, so glad it's back on. Also glad they ran an hour show to catch us back up as I'd forgotten the smaller subplot issues.

I keep dangling the promise of a day at home doing whatever I want (baking, knitting, etc.) in front of myself if I just get my urgent to-do list done. Then I cruelly add more items to the list. I'm mean to myself.

I would mention how well the second Hibiscus for Hope sock is going but that would only invite trouble and some tragic knitting mistake so I won't mention that at all.

Love going to Twist on Sundays! Yay!

Had a very nice birthday last week. Lunch with girlfriends and then a date night with hubby. Perfect.

Google phone is coming!!!!!!! I ordered mine last night and can't wait to get it in. My business and family calendars are all on Google and it's always a battle to find a phone that I can sync all the information into. Am hoping this phone lives up to the hype and can't wait to get it.

As an aside, I can't recommend Google calendar enough. Makes keeping track of appointments and life in general very easy. We have a calendar for the business and then other calendars for the family, etc. You can share the calendars with others, e-mail events to people. All very cool.

Now back to the cruel to-do list...

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Had to laugh when I saw this. It looks more like they're mocking anyone who doesn't have a cell phone rather than any sincere apology for lack of phone service. I immedately pictured someone standing there telling me that the phone didn't work and then making air-quotes with their hand while they said "Sorry."

Monday, September 15, 2008

You know it's really rained a lot when the umbrella display at Wal-Mart has been pushed back for a new display of life jackets and inflatable boats. We came across this Friday late afternoon when the area was deluged with rain. Thankfully our home and businesses didn't suffer any flooding or water damage.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fall Knitty is up!
Saturday morning we sat behind our friend at his mother's funeral. Saturday afternoon/evening I had a wedding shoot. It was a stressful, draining day of mourning, working and celebrating. Such contrasts. Both events were out of town so in addition to the emotional aspect of the day there was also the practical scheduling of traveling to and from events, child care, etc. Throw all of that together and throw in a birthday party one of the children had to attend and it was a hectic day to say the least.

I took some knitting with me for the car ride to/from the funeral but spent the time visiting with my husband instead. It was so nice to have a conversation without a child interupting. Of course there is also that minor issue of having made a mistake a few rows back in the sock to deal with but we won't mention that.

This is the first time anyone our age has had a parent pass away. Even today as I was putting dishes away I teared up thinking how incredibly heart breaking it must be to lose your mom, someone who loves you unconditionally like no one else can. The person who has always put herself second and cared for you physically, emotionally and spiritually. Takes the breath right out of me and makes me cry even now. This is definitely a stage of adulthood I'd rather leave out of reach.

Anyway, Sunday we did a bit of church/house hunting. We attended a new church to try out. So far we are very pleased with it and will keep attending and feeling things out to see if it's the one for us. House hunting wasn't as promising but we will keep trudging on. Eventually we're bound to find one that will work for us. Right?

Better get back to work, I'm still trying to catch back up from when we went on vacation. ::sigh::

Friday, September 05, 2008

The cornbread experiment was remarkably bland. And dry. But, the kids loved it and we did have cornbread with the meal so I guess it was o.k. I'll keep looking for a better cornbread recipe and after I find a regular one I like I might try the ranch experiment again.

We've had a bit of a crazy week around here. One of my husband's best-friend's mother died last weekend so we've been spending time with the family at various gatherings. We've also had the obligatory school and work events so it's made for a lot of running around and serious calendar planning/scrutinizing to orchestrate who is where when with which kids.

In knitting news the end is in sight on my first Hibiscus for Hope sock but I made a mistake a couple rows back in the lace work and am having to rip back to find/fix it. There are literally just a handful of rows until the end so it's highly irritating. The mistake was discovered over Labor Day weekend but I was too tired to deal with it so I threw it back in the knitting basket and cast on a dishcloth. Or two. I've decided that kitchen cotton like the yarn equivalent of a candy bar display at checkout. They cheap, quick and easy. Every time I walk past the display I seem to throw one or two in the cart. I now have a little pile of all the remnants that I'm going to have to whip into something one of these days.

Well I better get back to work. The kids are all in school and I have a precious few hours to try to get the house back to some semblance of clean. Item one on agenda is to dig through the paperwork on my desk and see if there is still a wood surface somewhere below...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Brilliant new recipe or tragic substitution mistake? It's in the oven baking so time will tell. I've had Ham & Beans simmering in the crockpot all day and had planned on having cornbread on the side with it. Sadly I discovered we were out of milk so I made an emergency substitution of ranch dressing and a little thinned mayo. Definitely not heart healthy but we'll see how it turns out...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"What have you been eating?"

The weekend stretches out before me with nothing but possibilities. For the first time all summer I have a weekend that is completely mine and I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it. My problem right now is narrowing down my list of possibilities into something a little more realistic.

I desperately need to paint my bedroom and a long weekend is a perfect time for this but I'm leaning towards putting this on the back burner as it it's a little more work than I'd like to do. I'm thinking more along the lines of relaxing and fun, not tired and messy. Not to mention I need to pick out paint colors which stresses me out just to think about.

Our pool will be closed for the season after Monday so I'm sure we'll go up there for the kids to fit in one (or two or three) last swims. Then we'll be helping with all the details that go along with closing for the season such as putting things in storage, taking things down, cleaning etc.

We've talked of going to the farmer's market and maybe even hitting the drive-in too. I'm sure there will be a barbecue thrown in somewhere as well.

Knitting will definitely be on the agenda as the Hibiscus for Hope socks are coming along rather nicely. The end is in sight for the first sock and then I'll be back to square one on the second.

I think I'll start on a little quilt too. My youngest daughter has a beloved quilt that she can't part with. I made it (as well as a matching dust ruffle, diaper stacker and bumper pads) for her before she was born. She slept under it every night and quickly become positively attached to it. It even has a name, Night-Night. Sadly, Night-Night resembles little of what it originally looked like. After six years of love it is practically in shreds. The binding has torn off, one of the borders has come off and it is rapidly deteriorating. We've had many discussions of needing to put Night-Night in a special box to keep since it's reached such a poor state. I was really worried about taking it with us on our recent vacation for fear that it would either become lost or accidentally thrown in with the laundry at the hotel. Thankfully neither happened.

Compromise has been reached and we will not put Night-Night away until I have made a replacement. My sweet girl and I went to several quilt stores until we settled on the perfect new fabrics.

She chose the pink fabric and then we added the stripes to bring in more color. From there we accessorized with fabrics until we had the perfect combination.

I now need to pre-wash and start cutting to make sure I don't need to go purchase more. Then I'll be on to the piecing and quilting. I used to do much more sewing and quilting when the kids were younger so it will be fun to dust off the old sewing machine.

Her Night-Night was a rather simple quilt, just blocks with a couple of borders and I'm sure she'll want something as similar to that as possible which should make for some quick and easy work. We'll see how much I can get done this weekend.

And as an update the two-at-a-time socks are fini! Done, over, finished, the end. Tried them on and they feel wonderful. Wish I would have done something a little more fun with them but they were a good learning project and will look great for the fall with jeans.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Back in February or March when I was suffering through the illness that would not end my glasses were accidentally stepped on by my husband. I had taken them off to lay/sleep on the couch and had put them under the couch several inches back. You may wonder why on earth I would put my glasses there. I chose the under the couch location after years of experience with my loving children. I cannot tell you how many times I've taken my glasses off while not feeling well or napping only to reach for them when I'm ready to get up and they're gone. Seeing (ha ha!) as I need the glasses to see, it makes it especially difficult to look for them. The children (each and every one of them but especially the darling boy) seem to be fascinated with my glasses and love to try them on, wear them around the house and then take them off when they're bored. And by taking them off I mean removing them from their face and putting them anywhere--their room, the floor, the kitchen, in a toy, etc.

During one bout of morning sickness with one of my pregnancies I realized I could put the glasses under the couch directly below my head. They didn't think to look there and I would hear them if they tried to get them and could stop them. Unfortunately my husband wasn't aware of this plan and has bigger feet than I had taken into account. He walked over to check on me and squished the old glasses. One lens popped out and one eye piece fell off. He managed to fix the lens but they eye piece was a goner. I was sick but I didn't care, they still kind of worked and I could see.

Months went by and I didn't get new glasses because they seemed like a low priority compared to other financial demands. The husband and kids teased me about my goofy glasses but I only wore them at home after/before contacts were taken out/put in so it wasn't a big deal. OK, I did wear them a few times to Sam's really early in the morning but I walked fast and didn't talk to anyone. I'm sure no one noticed. Yeah right.

Anyway, the other night I knocked them off of my nightstand while reaching for my glass of water. I carefully felt around under the night stand trying to find them (all the while convinced I would instead grab an enormous spider since it was the middle of the night and the lights weren't on). Thankfully I didn't grab any creepy-crawlies but did find a lonely eye-piece instead. The glasses were officially D.O.A. and necessitated a trip to the eye doctor yesterday to order new ones.

Thankfully the final tab was about half of what I expected so although it was still a chunk of change it could have been much worse.

Despite the glasses fiasco I have managed to continue working on the Hibiscus for Hope socks. The heel has been turned and I'm working my way up the ankle. I somehow managed to mess up a row which required ripping/re-knitting about three times but I finally located the error and am again making forward progress.

The actual color is a bit more subdued than the photograph above but I was too lazy to try to fix it in Photoshop.

You can see that my son didn't let my knitting picture taking to interfere with his important race car driving.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

School has started at our house and returned us to our much needed normal routine. During the summer break we go through the busiest, craziest time of the year at our house. Between all of the kids summer activities (swim team, synchronized swimming, gymnastics, t-ball, annoying each other and destroying the house) and the increased business load we go from being a well-oiled machine to a sputtering mess. We manage to keep up the basics of clean clothes and dishes but regular meal planning always seems to slip through the cracks. Now that summer is over I'm thrilled to be getting back into the old routine.

We actually did start to work on our meal planning before school started as we noticed just how much we were relying on fast food (sadly way too much). Not only is it obviously not good for you it adds up really quickly. In our never-ending quest to save money we decided to get back to eating at home.

Planning ahead is the key to the entire operation. I plan a "Menu" for 8-10 dinner meals. I have tried and true recipes that I incorporate as well as a few new ones for each Menu. I utilize my crock-pot on days when I'm working so I won't come home exhausted and bail on dinner for convenient drive-thru junk.

The other appliance I love that saves time is my steamer. I buy lots of frozen veggies and can put those in the steamer and 20 minutes later have perfect, healthy side dishes. Surprisingly the kids love it too so we're all happy about it (I suspect this is because I've done it their whole little lives). It also does a great job steaming rice as well. I'm on my second steamer as I used my first one so much it eventually died. Although not identical this is very similar and the same brand as my steamer.

Lunches are either leftovers or regular standbys like sandwiches. Sadly the kiddos are doing nothing but increasing their dinner consumption rate which radically depletes any leftover reserves (I'm sure this part of the algebraic equation which ultimately equals the fact that they are outgrowing all of their clothes. ::sigh::). When we're out of leftovers we fall back on good old standbys like sandwiches, salads and pantry raids. We've invented some interesting meals out of the pantry in the past. And there's always a feeling of triumph when we buck up and eat lunch at home instead of forking over $5-$20 on lunch at McDriveThru. During the school year the kids take a packed lunch to school most days.

Breakfasts need to be quick because I'm NOT a morning person. Frozen waffles, cereal, fruit, oatmeal, banana bread, muffins, scrambled eggs are all morning options. I will bake the banana bread and muffins the night before so they'll be ready to go the next morning (again, NOT a morning person. Did I mention I pack their lunches before bed too?).

I rarely buy convenience foods and make every attempt to cook as much as possible from scratch. Not only does it tastes better it is also way cheaper. That being said I confess there are certain items that I do fall back on regularly like pie crust, pre-trimmed chicken breasts and frozen waffles. Some of these things are either cheaper to buy pre-made like the waffles. Others don't cost much more than making them from scratch and save me time so that's a no-brainer. And finally some of them I buy purely to make my life easier and because I'm prone to bouts of self-indulgence.

I'm happy to say that this weekend we ate every single meal at home. Don't get me wrong, I love going out to restaurants as much as the next person but it's a small victory to stay ahead of the game financially by not having to spend a dime all weekend. Friday night I made one of my husbands favorite dinners, Garlic Beef Enchiladas (go ahead, click it it's a link. Make it with some Spanish rice on the side and make your house smell yummy with garlicky goodness). Yesterday morning we had a brunch of scrambled eggs, toast & bacon. Last night we had barbecued burgers, dogs, potato salad. We've munched on leftovers for breakfast and lunch today and will be grilling chicken for dinner tonight.

All of the planning and prep is worth it though. We routinely feed a family of five for $75-$100 a week (and that usually even includes cleaning supplies and toiletries as I do the shopping for everything all at once). It also helps that I have several meals that are very inexpensive to prepare that I rotate through the menu in addition to the more expensive meals.

So there you have it. I challenge everyone to eat at home more. It makes your home smell yummy, saves you money, let's you flex some creative muscle in the kitchen, let's you bond with the kiddos while nourishing their little bodies and also thumb your nose at Big McDriveThru. What's not to like?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ugh, I'm dragging today. Started feeling a tad icky yesterday and woke up this morning with a lovely sore throat and head cold. Am so tired but have a lot of work I need to finish up. Thankfully it's the home stretch on two orders so I'm hoping I can finish them up today and get them out of my life. Love putting a completely finished file into the file cabinet. It's like permanently crossing it off of a to do list.

Last night I ventured out to Stitch & Bitch at the knit store. I've wanted to go all summer long but have had something come up every single Thursday. Finally had a free night last night so I jumped on it. I was really surprised there were so many people there. I incorrectly assumed that the KIP group was a pretty fair representation of how many knitters would be there. Way off on my part. But it was a really nice night. It was nice to actually meet people in person (Hi Becca!) that I've followed on the net. Important lesson learned, arrive early to get a good seat, they nearly ran out of chairs.

It was nice to take everything all in and listen to all the different discussions. I like to hang back and gauge the personalities and crowds and figure out where I fit in (also, am a bit shy and worried I'll blurt our something completely idiotic). It was interesting to see/hear the wide variety of knitting skill, personalities and opinions. Lots of fun, hope I'll be able to make it back for more.

Last night after getting home I did a little browsing on the 'net and came across a blog that really opened my eyes. I couldn't believe how solitary and alone the writer is. She certainly isn't trying to communicate that in her brief posts but from the outside looking in it was painfully obvious to me. It really made me appreciate my little family. I may get completely overwhelmed by all the people in my life that need things from me (family, friends, customers, etc.) but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I am truly rich in love and completely grateful for my crazy little life.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Hee hee! Came across this and it made me laugh. I'll be singing it in my head every time I make pancakes...

I felt bad for the poor two-at-a-time socks which have been a bit neglected over my excitement for the Hibiscus for Hope socks. I haven't posted any photos of their current state so I thought I should. I need to get out my tape measure and check because I'm awfully close to the decreases for the toes. The end is in sight! It drives me crazy to have more than one project at a time going on so I might have to finish these up real quick and then get back to the Hibiscus. We'll see...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

There is a commercial that we quote more than any other movie line in our house (and let me tell you, we quote movies A LOT). My husband and I ask this when we see the other one surfing the web/goofing off online:

"A zillion dollars worth of technology and what are you doing?"

To which the other always replies:


Love Dennis Leary, here's the original commercial here.

In my defense I can't do any other major computer work as I'm burning several DVDs so I thought I'd do a quick update (with pictures!) of my Hibiscus for Hope socks.

Getting ready to start working on the heel, the pattern is going great!
Am obsessed with this, want to knit it soooo bad....

::sigh:: beautiful.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I took some pictures of the yarn I chose for my Hibiscus for Hope socks before I left for vacation but didn't have time to upload the images to the blog. Here they are...

This is Panda Silk yarn which is great to work with, very soft! I picked it up at Twist. Not sure of the exact colorway but it is obviously in lovely shades of pinks. I'm planning on giving these socks to a breast cancer survivor and felt that pink was perhaps the obvious choice but I'm going with it anyway.

Here is the beginning of the first sock. I took these photos on Friday, August 8th and am happy to say that I made quite a bit of progress over vacation. I'll have to take more photos to update the current stage of the sock.

Here are some photos of my first "design." I took copious notes but need to make another one up to make sure that everything is correct. I'm still toying with names for the hat. I made it out of a cheap acrylic to try out but will buy some pretty yarn to make a proper hat after I make sure the pattern has all the kinks out of it.

As you can see it has a ruffled brim which leads into a vine lace pattern and then finishes in stockinette decreases.

And finally some pictures of my little boy. He went to the barber with his dad and walked in rockin' a new 'do while I was finishing up my little knitting photo shoot. The barber sprayed in some color streaks which the little man thought was awesome. Of course I had to get a few pics since I already had the camera in hand.

He "took mom's picture" with his toy while I was taking his.

I'm sure he'd love it if I'd fix his hair this way every day...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Friday, August 08, 2008

I have decided that making knitting decisions while drinking a rum and coke may not always be the best decision. I am such a weenie that even a small rum and coke (seriously, just one and it was small) relaxes my brain to such a state that the thoughts just don't run all the way down their respective paths.

[edited to clarify the adult beverage was consumed in the evening while choosing the pattern not before/while driving around town the next day to purchase knitting needles and yarn. Evidently I really am an honorary blond as the following failure to think played out over the next day as well...]

I decided to make the lovely Hibiscus socks and noticed that the pattern is written so that they are knit on two circular needles. Which I've never done. Never fear! March on! I saw the sock on Yarn Harlot's site and thought they would be great vacation knitting. Cute, not too bulky and a perfect little gift for a friend who is battling breast cancer. If I start them now I may even finish them to give to her in October. Perfect. I worry a bit that I've never knitted on two circulars but troop on. I sigh over the fact that I seem to constantly be buying new needles but buck up and buy them. I go home and diligently watch the magic cast on (and succeed! Love the magic!!) and the special increases (God bless Cat Bordhi and her YouTube videos). Everything goes well and I get all the way through the cast-on and increases to the regular stockinette. I wanted to be at that point while I still had computer access to hold my hand through everything.

Then I glance back at Yarn Harlot's site. And notice. Hers are on DPNs. I sigh and think, "Wish I were smart enough to convert the pattern to DPNs." Then this morning after I wake up in bed I realize just how easy this would have been to make on DPNs. It's not advanced trigonometry, just a little division of the number of stitches on Needle 1 & 2 to spread out of three or four DPNs. D'oh.

Anyway! The first sock is on it's way and I'm enjoying working with the two circulars, which are just as easy to deal with as the DPNs and a little more preferable to the magic loop for me I think.

Back to vacation preparations....

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I saw the new issue of Interweave Knits at Twist this afternoon and was bummed I hadn't received mine yet. Was thrilled it was waiting in the mail when I got home after errands. Yay!

I picked up some yarn for the Hibiscus socks as well as the necessary needles. (As an aside, how is it that out of my enormous collection of knitting needles I never have the right size/length? I mean really, I have a complete set of interchangeable needles as well as a huge assortment of straights and DPNs and still end up always buying needles...)

Pictures to come eventually, now I'm off to my fresh Interweave Knits...

Just saw a Macy's commercial with at least two different things I would have gone straight to the store to buy except for that pesky little detail--we don't have a Macy's here anymore.

I still remember going to the Macy's store downtown with my mother. I was just a little, little girl but I remember how exciting it was to go down the short little escalators and park in the winding parking garage.

If only it was still there I'd have a new stock pot and luggage today....

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Whew! What a weekend. Multiple weddings and a trip out of state for a training seminar. Feels like there really wasn't a weekend at all. I have another couple of weddings this weekend and then we fly out of town bright and early Sunday morning for a much, much needed family vacation. Truth be told I think I've already slowly begun to check out of things and mentally go on vacation. Instead of doing more drudgery work at the studio today I instead found new fonts, designed some business cards and played around with our logo. I'm really not behind at work but I had hoped to get even farther ahead of things before we left.

I'm going to run by Twist tomorrow to look for some yarn for vacation knitting. I'm hoping I receive my Hibiscus pattern in time to take with me on the trip. If it doesn't arrive in time I'm sure I can find something else. I was a little apprehensive when I read that it was a toe up sock until I realized that I've done a toe up item with the Mary Jane slippers I made earlier this year.

I tried looking around a little bit online to see if I could find any fun yarn stores to hit on our trip but didn't find much of anything. I'm now wishing I had bookmarked the website that had all of the yarn shops nationwide on it. Oh well, think I'll pop over to Ravelry and see what I can find there.

Also wondering about the entire Twitter thing. I love reading the little blurbs from people but I don't know if it's for me. Might have to try it out though as it seems whenever I have a thought for a blog entry I'm not near my computer. Might be the best way to actually get a little fresh content on this blog. What's holding me back now is trying to figure out what the heck my Twitter name should be. Most other clever blog writers have short cute blog names, not so with me. Obviously should have rethought that one...

Should be fun running a bajillion errands to prepare for the trip tomorrow.

Am now trying to convince husband to run someplace for a late night snack. Must have chocolate.

Squee!! My Hibiscus pattern just popped up on my e-mail!! Off for sock yarn tomorrow!!!!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Lately I've noticed that this blog has become a bit of an emotional dumping ground for me. That's not what I set out when I started the blog so I've come to the realization that I need to make some changes. Perhaps I need to invest in a nice little paper journal or start another "anonymous" blog to write things down in. I don't like the tone I've set lately so I'm going to work on that.

One of the best pieces of advice I've ever been given was from my pastor when my husband and I were going through our pre-marital counseling. He told us when we were having trouble in our relationship it would often be from a critical standpoint of what the other person was doing wrong. You can stand there and tick off item after item of exactly what they're doing wrong and exactly what they need to do to change. His advice was that if you ever found yourself in that mindset it usually was best to stop and look inward and try to work on yourself. Now short of the obviously exclusions (drinking/abuse/etc.) I think he pretty much hit the nail on the head.

To that end I'm going to make a conscious effort to work on myself. I often find myself frustrated with others (and who doesn't?) but I need to stop and quit worrying about everyone else and worry about myself. I need to focus on the areas I want to change/improve/grow in and get to work. I certainly can't change anyone else but I absolutely can strive to live the best life possible. I know from previous experience when I do this it absolutely works for me.

Time after time God has shown me that my plans are certainly not always His plans (thank heavens!). I guess I'm still not very comfortable with change and uncertainty but I'm going to quit worrying and start working. (My new mantra: Your will not mine, Your will not mine, Your will not mine)

So, will we have sugar-coated, cheery posts every day? I *don't* think so. So not me. I definitely have a darker sense of humor that may not always convey itself properly in the written word, but I'll never be bubble-gum.

Although this is a knitting blog I don't foresee much in the way of knitting anytime soon. I'm working on existing projects (the baby hat I'm "designing" and the never-ending two at a time socks) as I can and trying to stay on top of everything else in life. I have no idea how all the other knitters in the world can manage to work full-time and still crank out the phenomenal amount of knitting that they do. (Do they not do laundry, cook or clean? I'm trying cover the basics and I still don't have time to knit like they do. Seriously? I'm not judging, just a little jealous.)

And now looking back over yet another wordy post I realize that I should have entitled this blog "Verbose Knitter on the Prairie". Much more appropriate.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I think the only person who knows this blog exists that I know personally is my husband. And that's fine by me. I enjoy having a place where I can write out some of my feelings and not feel completely raw and exposed to friends and family.

I've noticed over the last six months or so some shifts and changes in some of my relationships with friends. One could surmise that the tides of life are just naturally pulling us apart but I feel like I'm standing on the beach in the same place I've always been and everyone is swimming away from me as fast as they can. It's a hard place to be in when you feel like people are changing and don't have the time to fit you into their life anymore. Worse when they don't seem to notice. Sad when even the kids notice.

I'm not one to really open myself up to others, I like keeping things close to the vest but I'm realizing that I need to open up a bit more and broaden my circle of friends. We've been looking for a new church as well so this just adds to the feeling of isolation. Part of the problem with opening up to others is that I find myself to be such a mish-mash and don't really feel like I belong with any one group of people. I'm politically conservative but artistic and love the arts. I'm a born-again Christian who struggles not to swear in front of the kids. I'm a business-owner but have kids who have never been in day-care and are always cared for by parents who juggle their schedules to make it happen. I'm middle-class with friends above and below me socio-economically. I don't feel like I wholly belong to any one particular group as I violate part of what makes them them.

Perhaps a person more mature than myself would rip the band-aid off and address the situation face-on. I wish that I could but honestly am so hurt I just don't want to even deal with it for fear of more hurt.

For the last year I've felt a bit like a butterfly looking around to find someone else with similar colors and spots because the ones who matched me have all flown away.

It's time to fly a little farther and step outside my comfort zone. Who knows, perhaps I'll find some amazing flowers and butterflies I never knew existed before...

One can hope.

Friday, June 27, 2008

So busy! Words just can't convey it. I'm treading water with everything going on but the important thing is I haven't sunk below the water. yet. There is just so much to do with the business and family activities that it is hard not to feel completely overwhelmed all of the time.

For my own sanity I have been doing a little bit of knitting. On Tuesdays I can sneak in a little while I'm waiting on children in gymnastics or swimming. There is no knitting at t-ball as it is a full time job just to keep my little boy in the correct location on the field and tell him what to do.

I've been plugging away on the two-at-a-time socks and they're coming along very nicely. Since I've become completely compulsive about counting the stitches each time I finish a row on each sock and I double check that my yarn isn't twisted things are going well. I've been tempted to stop by Twist several times and pick up more yarn but I want to get these finished and then finish/work on other projects I already have ready to go. I'm such a downer, huh?

>>cue Debbie Downer music, "Wah, Wah, Wahhhhh"<<

In addition to the socks I've also been designing a baby hat. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would "design" a pattern. And by design a pattern I mean that I had a picture in my head and went and found similar elements and cut/pasted/adjusted math and made my own pattern.

I wanted a ruffled brim so I found a pattern with a cute ruffle and noted how they decreased to make that happen and did the same thing in my pattern with different weight yarn and a different number of stitches. I then looked and looked for a lace pattern that I liked and finally settled on one that I liked. I'm working my way up the hat and will soon be decreasing. I'm anxious to see it finished and hope that it will actually fit on a real baby's head. Time shall tell.

In completely unrelated news I'm sitting on a secret that is killing me! It's a surprise for tonight and I can't hardly contain my excitement. Wheee!!!

Now I better get back to actual work so that my next post isn't all about how I started sobbing in the middle of the grocery store because I'm too overwhelmed by everything...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Can't. move. my. neck.

My pillows are conspiring against me. For many, many months now I've slept with two pillows at night very comfortably. Until Monday morning. I woke up very sore and figured I must have slept funny that night. Yesterday morning I woke up and was even more uncomfortable. I decided it was my pillows so I swapped mine for my husband's (he didn't know. it was a scientific analysis. totally was.) This morning I can't turn my head from side to side and am oh so sore. Of course this is also the day I have several photo shoots and will have my heavy camera around my neck as well. ::sigh:: We're going to flip the mattress and try new pillows. Hopefully that will work.

Until then I'm popping ibuprofen and counting down the hours until I'm home tonight and can have a martini...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hee Hee

The other day my oldest daughter was putting some fish fillets in the oven for lunch for her, her brother and sister. My little four year old boy ran over and asked her what she was cooking. "Fish Fillets," she said. He then ran to the living room and said, "Daddy! We're having Fish Legs for lunch!"

The new name has caught on and we now only refer to them as Fish Legs...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

This morning I was working on my computer and decided to play some music. I scrolled through all the cds in the cd player and decided to listen to one I hadn't played in years. I was happily working away and humming along when I was completely caught off guard. One of the last songs to play was a song we had at our wedding 13 years ago.

Hearing the lyrics today brought tears to my eyes as I look back over all we've been through since that day in May when we stood before our friends, family and God and promised to love each other for better or worse. We've held each other while we've grieved over the death of dear grandparents. We've cried with joy over the birth of our three children. We've slammed doors and yelled at each other and we've laughed until we've cried. I couldn't have predicted all we've been through or where we have yet to go but I'm so glad to have that wonderful man hold my hand as we walk through life.

The song isn't well known but I loved the lyrics then and I still do now...

There's No Remedy for Love
Susan Ashton

There's no remedy for love
Nothing can change the way I feel
I'm hopelessly head over heels
For worse or for better
There's no remedy for love
But I'd have it no other way
The symptoms are clear, I'm yours
For now and forever
There's no remedy for love

Caught up in the concept of your kisses
Of the Mr. and the Mrs.
Of the steps our love is taking here

I'm lost in the magic and the mystery
In our own small part of history
Our hearts have started making here

And I know there'll be no cure for me
But what sweet malady

There's no remedy for love
Nothing can change the way I feel
I'm hopelessly head over heels
For worse or for better
There's no remedy for love
But I'd have it no other way
The symptoms are clear, I'm yours
For now and forever
There's no remedy for love
There's no remedy for love

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wow. It is BUSY around here!

Can't remember the last time I posted and right now I only have 12 minutes to get this post done before I have to leave the house to pick up a kid at the pool. Summer is keeping us really busy. Due to various swimming activities the kids are involved with I have to leave my house SIX times each morning going to and from to drop off/pick up kids. Then each kid is involved in a summer sport. Couple that with regular summer busy days (Father's day, Memorial Day, family birthdays, etc.) and my busiest time of the business year and it's verging on completely over scheduled and overwhelmed.

I am surviving and things aren't going too badly. I was ahead of my work and I'm just starting to slip and fall a tad behind so I see some late nights in my future to get caught back up.

Knitting hasn't been getting much attention so far I'm managing to have one brief knitting session each Tuesday while I'm at kid's sporting events. Usually about the time that I'm in a knitting rhythm family members arrive and I spend the time visiting with them. I'm not ashamed of my knitting, if it were a different knitting project I'd definitely keep it going while I visited. However, these are the socks of doom that I seem to screw up when I'm concentrating on them. I can't imagine how badly I'd mess them up if I tried to work on them and carry on a conversation. I think the reason I keep messing up is that I get going too fast on them. I'm finally making good forward progress on them and ::crossing fingers:: hope to have them finished up by the end of the summer. Normally this wouldn't take so long but with my limited knitting time it's really stretching out how long it will take.

Other cool things I've come across lately:

Birthdays Without Pressure
Several years ago we decided the birthday parties were really much more of a pain than they were enjoyable. We changed our plans and now have family only birthday parties with immediate family and grandparents. Before the family party we always go out to eat at Red Robin (per the kids request) which has become a tradition. Then we go back home for the family party. The focus is family oriented and we have presents, cake & ice-cream and much more relaxed and enjoyable. Each child also gets a little "mini-party". They choose 1 or 2 friends and I take them out for a meal at a restaurant and one fun activity. It's much more enjoyable for everyone involved. I spend slightly less than a regular birthday party but that's not the goal. The kids can actually enjoy the parties because they aren't overwhelmed with too many kids, too many presents, too much noise, etc. This has been a great change for our family and I was surprised to see an entire website devoted to the same subject.

I LOVE Smugmug! I've been wanting a way to share pictures with friends and family that would allow them to easily see the photos (not having to wade through my business website by using passwords to keep my family pics private from my customers), order photos if they wanted but one that also looked beautiful. Smugmug does it all. They have a great set up which is free and you can go in and with some extra work and coding make a beautiful site. I spent a few days making it just like I wanted and I love it now. Unlimited storage, complete customization, it's the best! Check it out.

I better run, time to go back to the pool to pick up a kid!

Happy Summer!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I've been writing posts in my head for quite some time but I never seem to be able to find the time to actually tap the keys and get them up here in the blog. Business is getting super busy again with wedding season so I'm doing my best to stay on top of things and hopefully even get a little head of the game (a girl can always hope!).

Anyway, a new (probably excessively long) post will be coming soon. Possible subject matter:

-my kids' birthdays
-storm chasers
-ridiculously extravagant kids birthday parties
-personal finance
-the bleeding of my finances from taxes (just kidding government!! :-) <--- see the smiley face?! It's a joke already!)
-knitting (hello, this is a knitting blog, right?)

I'm sure there's more but I'm now in the midst of a hair crisis with my daughter. What to do with her hair for gymnastics? Ponytail, braid or a free-flowing ratty mess? Decisions, decisions...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Phrase #8,643 I never thought I'd say as a parent:

Your Hot Wheels cars do NOT go in the peanut butter jar!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Peeking In...

April ended up being an up and down month on the stress roller coaster. I don't have time to post much but wanted to peek back in. I'll be posting some pictures of my little man's big fourth birthday celebration soon. Things have been busy with a little bit of painting around the house, tax junk, book keeping, photo shoots, hungry growing kids and ample time of stewing and fretting over stress and life in general. Thankfully things seem to be slowly improving.

There's no new knitting to show as I had reached a new level of stress that precluded even knitting. I'm trying to play catch-up with everything else and get back into at least a teeny bit of knitting soon. The two-at-a-time socks are still on the needles making sloth-like progress.

Much more to post soon...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fiesta Chili Beef Update

I received an e-mail from Campbell's in response to my inquiry on what had happened to the Fiesta Chili Beef.

"Enough! We get it! We made a mistake, OK? Sometimes we just have this inexplicable need to mess with our product line up. We need to be busy so we won't lose our jobs and sometimes that means we have to find things to do. As you can imagine we can only come up with so many combinations of Chicken and Noodle soup and we've exhausted everything with that d@m! soup. We clearly can't redesign our packaging so that's out. A couple of months ago our bosses had a meeting pointing out that we weren't "doing" anything and we had to justify our employment here. We immediately began research studies on the most innocuous thing we could come up with, Fiesta Chili Beef. We spent months doing "research" and then a few more months preparing an elaborate report on why Fiesta Chili Beef was actually costing our company too much to make and how we could save millions of dollars by discontinuing this product from our line. We all got bonuses and went out for beers and high fives over our brilliant strategy to not only stay employed but also receive accolades and bonuses.

Imagine our surprise when we began to be inundated with e-mails from people like you wondering where their precious little Fiesta Chili Beef went. At first we thought we could hide it from our supervisors and no one would know. But the e-mails kept coming--more and more. Server traffic was up and we were finally found out. The outcry from the public was too great and we've had to confess our ill-fated scheme to our supervisors.

I've managed to save my job by personally over seeing the re-introduction of the Fiesta Chili Beef back into our product line and personally apologizing to each and every e-mail that comes in. Bob wasn't so lucky. Shortly after the Fiesta Chili Beef scandal came to light he was over taken by a mob in the Campbell's parking lot. Frank survived but is still undergoing therapy and hopes to be walking with crutches soon. Mark, Neil and Joe were all fired and I'm left to clean up this mess. I've had to take a cut in pay and my car's been repossessed. Christy kicked me out but Mom and Dad said I could stay in their basement until I'm back on my feet again. But only if I bring a case of Fiesta Chili Beef with me.

Happy?! You have your stinking soup back!!!!!!!!!!"


OK, that's not really the e-mail I received but a girl can wish. I received the same tired e-mail that everyone else has received when they write to find out what happened:

Ms, we received your message and appreciate your taking the
time to contact Campbell Soup Company to inquire about our Campbell's
Condensed Fiesta Chili Beef Soup. Unfortunately, this product is not
currently available.

Tastes and preferences constantly change and there is only so much space
on a supermarket shelf. Periodically, we look at the sales for our
various products and are forced to make the difficult decision as to which
products stay and which must be replaced.

Inquiries such as yours remind us that sales figures aren't the only
measure of a product's value. Perhaps one day Campbell's Condensed Fiesta
Chili Beef Soup will make its way back to your grocer's shelf.

Please accept the coupon we have sent to you via the mail with my
apologies for any inconvenience you may have experienced. The coupon can
be redeemed for any product in the Campbell family of brands including V8,
Prego, Pace, and Pepperidge Farm.

Thank you for visiting the Campbell Soup website.

Campbell Soup Web Team

So that's that. Funny, I don't recall my taste and preference changing. I did come across a recipe that someone claimed tasted just like the Fiesta Chili Beef so I'll give it a try and report back.

Until then, good-bye Fiesta Chili Beef....

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Misery loves company

I've discovered that I'm not the only vendor having problems with these clients. At current count there are at least four other vendors in the same predicament. At least I have someone to commiserate with.

Last night I drowned my sorrows in a chocolate martini and watched the Desperate Housewives of New York. I love that show, what a train wreck. It's fascinating how out of touch some of the people are. I especially love the blond rich-wannabe who made it clear that she would *never* move back to Kansas. Let me make this clear, we *never* want to invite you back. I love how the coasts love to run down the "fly-over" part of this country never noticing that if it wasn't for the hard-working folks here their lives wouldn't be the same. We're the farmers who feed them, the people who build the planes that carry them and the ones who watch them make complete asses of themselves on t.v. If it weren't for us, the viewing audience, you wouldn't be on t.v.

Anyway, didn't mean to turn that into a mini-rant. I do like the show as entertainment. They've done a pretty good job of showing the difference in personality from coast to coast which is interesting. I love how the New York women will just throw down the gauntlet and talk about what's bothering them, confront who has offended them, etc.

The other show I haven't been able to find for a while that I love is "Flip This House." I know they currently have some bastardized version with some non-personality random people but I want to watch the Trademark Properties people. They had another show we found for a while that had a different title since they were in a court battle with A&E tv but that seems to have disappeared too. They were some interesting people and I loved when they'd talk to the owner Richard. He's a very savvy business man and it was always insightful to hear what he was talking about. I love being around business men like him. You can learn more from them and their business experience in a dinner than you could in a semester of a college class. And how can you not like a guy who loves the phrase, "Winner, winner, chicken dinner!"

I better get back to work, I'm turning procrastination into an Olympic sport here. Even the poor knitting is suffering. I worked briefly on the two-at-a-time socks yesterday waiting for kids after school but that's been about it. There was no way I was going to even look at them last night. Given my record of monumental mistakes I've made with them when I'm sober the last thing I was going to do was tempt fate with a chocolate martini. That sounds like the title of an awesome book, "Tempting fate with a Chocolate Martini." Perhaps that will be my autobiography someday. I probably should have named my blog that (I think I secretly want to have the longest blog name ever, hee hee).

Speaking of chocolate I made my husband record this snippet from Saturday Night Live the other day and I now watch it over and over again. Makes me laugh every, single time. Tell me Ashton Kutcher shouldn't have his own show once a week...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Stress. Stress. Stress. No other word for it.

This past month hasn't been fun. I keep getting bad news here and there and every time I think it can't get much worse and things should start looking up I get new bad news that drags me down a little more.

I remind myself daily that none of this is health related and thank heavens everyone is healthy and doing fine.

Unfortunately though I am beginning to wonder about just how rotten the economy really is. I've known it has been taking a down turn for quite some time but it has now jumped up and slapped me in the face. In the last two weeks I've had customers simply not pay and violate their contracts with me. I don't want to get into specifics but let me tell you this is intensely frustrating. It would be the equivalent of your boss one day telling you on a whim he decided he wasn't going to pay you for the month. Yes, the whole month. Imagine the financial impact...

I am really frustrated and angry that people have so little regard for others that they are leaving me in a terrible situation. I've had people who have approached me as soon as there is a problem, early on, and I've let them out of their contracts. I'm not heartless and I understand that sometimes life throws you a curve ball. If given enough time I can re-book the event. When folks only give me less than a week notice it is impossible to re-book a date that I have already turned down other business for because I have a contract with them.

Frustration and anger are high, stomach is in knots and I've developed a permanent headache.

Here's to hoping this is the bottom of the bad luck and things can only go up from here. There's some light at the end of the tunnel so I'm going to focus on that until all this passes.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Just when my pear tree thought it was safe to unfurl her buds for spring we have a freeze warning for tonight. ::sigh::