Sunday, May 20, 2007

Plaid Baby Afghan & Knit Newborn Caps

When starting this project, I knew that the final steps of weaving the various color yarns through the body of the afghan would be a fairly tedious job - I just didnt realize HOW tedious it would be. It was tedious. As tedious as organizing an entire library according to the dewey decimal system from scratch. I started weaving the pieces through, and half an hour later I only had a few rows completed. I honestly thought that this part would go much much quicker than this - it is just weaving yarn through a mesh blanket after all. YAWN, this project got really boring very quickly. I made it more interesting by taking it down to the pub with me. A couple pints of ale + conversation with some friends made it much more pleasant.
However, I do like the overall effect and the end results:

I'm sure that if I were to actually make the afghan again I'd think of a couple ways to modify it to make it simpler. I'm half tempted to write out my pattern, but I know that its inspired by a pattern that I saw in a book somewhere almost 10 years ago and not knowing how much like the original pattern it is, I dont want to risk infringing upon anyones copyright.

Also, I made a knit cap for my little niece.

It looks SO SMALL. I didnt follow a written pattern, just swatched the yarn, then Googled the average head circumference of a newborn (14" by the way) and went from there. I'm hoping it fits. In the past, I've been notorious for making hats that were too "short" for most adults - mainly myself, I have a HUGE head - but fit on kids. I'm worried about this one because I wasn't following a written pattern, I was just eyeballing it. I had a gnawing feeling that the hat was not going to fit the kids head. So, I've started to make a back up just a little bit bigger.

The Sideways Shell Afghan turned out well. I just love love love this pattern.

The Winnie the Pooh quilt is still in progress, and will be for a while. Really, with everything else that I'm working on, my goal is to have it done by the kids first birthday. If its done anytime before then, then I'm ahead of the game.

I have a feeling that baby/child patterns are going to be my focus for a while.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Happy Saturday!

Earlier this week I was looking forward to the weekend, thinking that I would have both days to myself. I was so happy at the thought of sleeping in and just lounging around the house doing NOTHING. Yesterday I realized that I would actually have a pretty full Saturday.
I did get out last night, went down to the pub and hung out with some friends. Perused the newest issue of Interweave Knits with a fellow knitter and had a few beers.
This morning I got up, went to visit my perfect little niece - she and my sister came home yesterday - and got to hold her and examine her mop of hair, perfect little lips, adorable little finger nails, and most of all.... the cheeks! I just love those round chubby pudgy little cheeks!
Afterwards I took my car in for an oil change and tire rotation. I suppose I could have sat in the waiting room for the hour and a half and worked on the crochet plaid afghan during that time - I had the feeling that the cashier was a knitter or crocheter (just got that vibe) so she would have appreciated it. Instead, I saw the Big Lots across the street and thought I'd just browse for that hour and half. Can you ever "just browse" in a Big Lots?? I think not. $50 later I walk out with 3 bags of stuff I really don't need. Sure, I got a couple of cute stuffed animals and onesies for Kylee, something for an upcoming birthday gift, a steering wheel cover, and some shampoo and conditioner.
Then, it was a fmaily dinner at Outback to celebrate my baby brothers 18th birthday. My sister and niece joined us, and Kylee was perfect the entire time - slept most of the time and only woke up twice, took a look around, then went back to sleep. She could sense when it was time to eat though. As soon as her mothers food was served, Kylee wanted her dinner as well. I offered to feed her so that my sister could eat her dinner while it was still hot, but she had it covered.

Other than that one feeding, Kylee slept through all of the noise of an Outback restaurant on a Saturday night.

By the way - that cute lavendar afghan? Thats the Sideways Shell afghan I crocheted for her. I gave it to her before I photographed it, so this photo will have to suffice.

Tomorrow, I am knitting. Thats it. Well, and most likely having a pint or two down at the pub.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Vital Stats

I forgot to include Kylees stats in last nights post.. I was out of it from lack of sleep.

Kylee Rose
May 15, 2007 5:31 am
7 lbs 4 oz
18.5 inches long
cheek diameter - Pi (theres no end, they just keep going and going)

Astrological stats:
Sun - Taurus
Moon - Taurus
Ascendant - Taurus
Venus in Cancer
I'm not sure what all of this means, my moms into astrology and immediately ran Kylee's chart the first chance she had.


Kylee Rose
Have you ever seen a more perfect pair of cheeks? I think the cheeks alone make up half of her total body mass.

I am a very proud auntie.

Monday, May 14, 2007

My week in review

Last weeks baby shower went over fantastically. The food was very well received. I intended to take photos of the food and all of the festivities, but I was in the kitchen cooking for almost the entire time. Everything was going so quickly that I missed out on most of the party. I think the favorite dish by far was this Pesto Turkey Baguette. The original recipe called for prosciutto, but with how many people were going to be there I substituted turkey because that much prosciutto would get very pricey very quickly.
It is a great sandwich, very very tasty. I didn't get one at the shower last week, so I made another batch today for our Mothers Day family dinner. This time I used both turkey and a small amount of prosciutto.

Other than that, my week was rather uneventful. Nothing exciting or exceptional. I'm itching to get out of town for something, I'm just not sure what. I'm thinking a day trip to the coast will be coming up soon.

Friday, May 04, 2007

A Little Q & A Session....

Shananigans asks five questions...

1. You are quite crafty. What was your first craft obsession, and what was the best item you created ever?

Hmmm... this one is tougher than I'd thought it would be.
I think I was about 6, maybe 7, when my great-grandmother first taught me how to crochet. I wasn't that great at it and it didn't really offer much in the ways of instant gratification so it didn't hold my interest for too terribly long. Around the same age I had a brief obsession with beads and would make these friendship pin things with small seed beads and safety pins - my dad kept his on his corduroy blazer for a LONG time (hey, it was the 80's - give him a break about the corduroy blazer already. Geesh!)
I don't recall the little safety pin friendship beads obsession lasting too terribly long though.
After that it was cross stitch. It started with me wanting to make something for my grandmother in Oregon when I was about 10 or 11 and my mom got me to cross stitch some tea towels for her new kitchen. I THINK I made a set of 7, one for each day of the week. Last year, after my grandmother passed away, my family was going through some of mer memento boxes looking for photos to have up at the services and reception afterwards and I found this piece of one of the tea towels I'd made her nearly 20 years earlier

My grandpa said that she'd been wanting to have the piece matted and framed to hang in the house.
It was so touching to see that she'd kept this faded, tattered and worn piece of cross stitch that I'd made as a child. We found a lot of things that I'd made her over the years - hats, scarves, afghans, photographs, drawings, lots of things, but this piece touched me the most.

2. What are looking forward to most about becoming an auntie?

SO MUCH! Theyre mainly all selfish reasons though, like the benefits of essentially having a child vicariously through someone else. Watching her little personality develop, from the first time she coos to her learning to say my name, subverting her mothers authority (hehe!). When she's old enough I look forward to taking her for the day and going to the zoo or the park, her thinking I'm the coolest auntie ever, feeding her a huge sundae untile she's wired on the sugar and then handing her back over to her mother. All of this without having to push a human being out of my va-jay-jay.
Also, I have 2 aunts myself - Gloria was incredibly cool, more like an older sister. I could talk to her about ANYTHING while I was growing up - like boys, kissing, stuff like that. She was only 14 years older than me, so I grew up thinking that she was incredibly cool and hip. While she was in high school and immediately afterwards, she used me as a litmus test for the guys she was dating. If they thought nothing of taking me to the park as their afternoon date, they were okay as far as she was concerned. If they found it annoying to be hauling around a 3 year old on their date, they failed and she dumped them.
My other aunt, my cousin Erins mother, Marla, is more cultured and would take me to the symphony, ballet and opera. She is a high school french teacher and would take students on European tours every other summer, bring me back little souvenirs from everywhere she went and teaching me about the various cultures. When I was 6, and they'd returned from the first tour that Erin was allowed to go on (she was 7) she helped Erin teach me about the french cafe culture, setting up coffee service on their patio table and allowed me to have a teeny tiny glass of redn wine with a french dinner that she'd cooked. I thought it was amazing that she allowed me to participate in such adult activities and that it made me so elegant. She taught me french phrases and I would have to use those during the french dinner or cafe time.
Neither or my aunts ever treated me like a child, never spoke down to me, and always expected me to treat them with respect and they gave me the same in return.
Basically I want to do the same for my little niece that my aunts did for me. Share the cultures that I encounter, and introduce her to the whole world.

3. You’ve got the travel bug. I know you’ve traveled in Europe and have another trip to Italy coming up. Are there any off the beaten path trips you really want to take, like Antarctica or something?

One of my goals in life is to visit 6 of the 7 continents - all except Antartica. There is some controversy on the issue of Antartica though. My father says that I should visit Antartica, that he's heard how beautiful it is and that I should go just for the ability to say that I've seen all 7 continents. That is tempting but I'm not too sure. First of all, COLD COLD COLD! I don't care for the cold. Two - I read something lately where a person had done a cruise down to the Antartic and how beautiful it was and that in a sense they were tempted to tell all of their friends to go, but at the same time hesitant because it is the one continent that has had very little human influence and the more people see it the more you see evidence of that human influence. I feel as though I shouldn't contribute to the degradation of that environment.
There are some other trips I want to take though - after Italy, I'm hoping to make my way to a continent other than Europe. I would LOVE to go to South America, I just have a hard time deciding where. Argentina? Chile? Brazil? I would like to learn to tango in Buenos Aires. Climb to Macchu Picchu (sp?) to see the ruins. Stand at the foot of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil and feel small, even though I'm not overtly religious.
I would also like to go to Asia, but again can't decide where. Japan? China? Hong Kong? Laos? I would like to see the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Walk along the Great Wall of China. See the Cantonese Opera perform, then do a little shopping, and finish the day by watching the sunset over Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong. Go to Laos and feel at peace in a Buddhist Temple.
There are so many places I want to experience.

4. If you could quit your job and make up your own career (threat of financial instability notwithstanding) what would it be?

This one is easy - travel writer and photographer. If I could market myself as the female version of Rick Steves I would do it in a heartbeat. Offering travel guides and tips for the independent woman would make my soul sing.

5. You, like me, are a pub dweller on occasion. What’s your favorite from the tap?

That depends upon where I am.
Here in Sacramento my favorite is Newcastle Brown Ale. When I can find it I do prefer Amber Bock, but thats not easy to come by on tap.
In Ireland - Guinness, hands down. The flavor of Guinness over there is completely different than here, it has a sweeter, almost chocolate, taste to it.
In Germany, it would be Kolsch. I'd never heard of it before going there, and it is much much lighter than what I normally prefer but it was great. I've heard that Curve Ball by Pyramid Brewing Company is highly comparable to the Kolsch of Cologne Germany, where I had it, and we have a Pyramid Brewery here in Sacramento so I may be going there to try it soon.
In France, I only drank wine so I'm not really in the position to suggest anything from there.

If anyone else wants to answer 5 questions, let me know - the first 10 to respond will get 5 customized questions from ME!

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Saturday is my sisters baby shower and I have a lot of prep work to do. A lot. Theres going to be up to 40 people there and my sister wants the menu theme to be "miniatures". So, I'll be making finger sandwiches, hors d'ouerves, cupcakes, and petit-fours.

To start with, I have about 65 recipes to go through and narrow down the menu for the occaision. Today, Friday, after work I have to do all of the grocery shopping and at least make the cupcakes and petit-fours so that I dont have to do EVERYTHING Saturday morning.

Tonight, I start with narrowing down the menu...