30 August 2009

Revenge of the Kitteh

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Favorite Baby Knitting Pattern

Have you seen this little dress from Phyllis Campbell? It's called the Bella Basic Yoke Dress. Although the sample is knit from Berocco Pure Pima Cotton, I'm thinking of knitting it from some King Tut cotton in my stash. I have a deep magenta and a medium pink, so I was thinking of knitting in a hearts pattern at the bottom of it.

OK, like I don't already have a zillion projects going?

Anyway, the pattern is available at String of Purls and it's just $5.95 (USD) Phyllis is a local designer. I don't think her patterns are available yet on Ravelry.
Hmmm.... I wonder if I can get this done before my grand-niece Katie would grow out of it?????

28 August 2009

I don't want to do anything

Dear Mandella,

I'm just past the heel turn on the pair of socks for my university-bound nephew. I'm about an inch away from starting the heel flap on a pair of socks for some man -- probably one of my brothers -- on a new pattern I've started. I have an entire chest full of UFOs and another one full of yarn that I'm dying to get started on. But I don't want to do anything.

This is the first weekend in I-don't-remember-how-long that I do not have to strip wallpaper, prep walls, paint, or move furniture. I don't quite know how to handle myself.

Oh, don't worry: There's plenty of work yet to do. It's just not as urgent as that last bit.

My DH has started his classes for this last year of work. His new study is nearly complete (we're still waiting for the repairs on his dad's old desk to be completed before we can move it into that room) and he loves it. I love that he loves it.

The guest room (finally liberated from being the guest room/DH's study) is a shambles. DH has the get the rest of his stuff out of there but can't until his dad's old desk is moved into the new study. Then we can clean it up properly, move a few things around, and relax.

I get a four-day weekend on the first weekend in September. Labor Day is the first Monday of September, and I'll get the preceeding Friday off from my full-time job. So, that will be the time to tackle some of those other things.

This weekend is for rest. Sort of.



22 August 2009

Real Swingers

This is me (left) with my walking/workout pal Richard. We're on the swings at a park that was the site of a graduation party for our trainer, Teresa (now Dr. T). This was taken a week ago.
Today I'm packing up stuff and moving it either downstairs or out to the garage (where it will be transferred to a pickup truck and then taken to a storage unit). I've been at it for the past 3 hours. Oh, and the pictures are hung in Ed's new study. It's nice to have that room retasked for something useful.

17 August 2009

Secret Pal 14 Package -- It's Here!

(click to make larger)
It's is here! My first Secret Pal 14 package has arrived and it is so wonderful! There are two skeins of Shi Bui sock yarn in Mulberry color (I love the twist on this yarn), a chocolate bar (my SP was at Sock Summit and brought it back) as well as some cool stickers, a funky pen (I love pens!) and some very pretty note cards for writing. Oooooh, thank you! thank you! I love it so much! Oh, and it all came in this lovely silk bag that has a bit of embroidery on it. I love bags. This one will hold my lovely new sock yarn. Hmmmmm..... I think I have a lace pattern that I want to try out with it. Oh, so many wonderful new things and so little time!

Oh, I ache!

Dear Mandella,

On Friday night (four days ago) we went to the hardware store after I got home from work. We got the paint and few other odd little things. We filled in holes in the wall. Later that evening I sanded some of the patched stuff and then rolled on some primer to cover up some old crayon marks on the wall from the previous owner's children. (It's been 15 years since we moved in here, so that little tot who scribbled on the walls should be heading off to university this fall!)

On Saturday I wiped down the walls, vacuumed up the remaining bits of wallpaper on the floor, used masking tape to cover everything that shouldn't get paint on it. My DH didn't help much because he wasn't feeling well. I was dead tired.

On Sunday morning I laid out the drop cloths and laid on a coat of white paint. Then I showered and rested for about an hour before going over to my mum's. But, I was so tired that I couldn't do more than play cards. In fact, I broke down and cried because I was so tired and overwhelmed. My DH was still not feeling well. It was all falling to me to do once again. I came home and just vegged out for the evening. Well, after I sorted out the mess in the kitchen (just the preliminaries of getting things stacked and soaking -- my DH promised to clean it up).

This morning, my sister M called and suggested she come over to help. It was just the ticket. It got my DH out of bed and on to doing a thorough clean up in the kitchen. M and I sorted laundry, changed sheets on the beds, and then I put a 2nd coat of white paint on three of the walls while she folded up and put away clean clothes. We then tackled four laundry baskets full of odd things that were clean but not folded or put away. These were mainly kitchen towels and napkins, items that really needed ironing, and several things that needed mending. We also found a lot of bed linens in there; these are now folded and put away. Afterward we went to lunch and then I slept for four hours this afternoon. The backs of my legs are aching and my shoulders rather hate me at the moment.

My DH is supposed to paint one of the walls yellow this week. It might require a second coat. We'll see. The plan, however, is to be ready to move furniture by this coming Sunday, the day before my DH starts in with school again.

Oh, Chance is doing very well. He's back to his old self again. DH took him to the dog park for a while this morning, which was helpful for getting him out from under foot.

Hope you're well!


14 August 2009

Still Slogging Along

Dear Mandella,

We bought the paint tonight. The white paint. We bought 2 more samples of yellow hues to see which we like.

Also, Chance the dog has conjunctivitis. Do you know what a pain it is to put drops in a dog's eyes when that dog is 90 lbs and wriggly? I had to sort of sit on him, then have Ed pet him while I sneaked in a few drops from the back of his head.

Sounds like the contract modifications (the ones that would have given me a chance at moving up in the company and getting more pay) aren't going to come through. What a sucky end to all of this. I got to sit through a 1 hour department meeting today in which nothing applied to me. Oh, well, at least I still have a job. That's always good news.

Knitting has been a fickle friend this week. I was trying out a new pattern this week on some sock yarn and had to give it up last night when I'd screwed up the tiny cables for the third time and swore at the top of my lungs for the third time. Some cable patterns are just too tiny to do on US 1 needles. Well, too tiny for me to handle. Too many cross-2-over-1-to-the-left-K 2 tbl, P1-from-cable-needle. My eyes were going bloodshot even though I'd enlarged my pattern. So, I put it aside. I'll use it on something larger, like a scarf.

Thus, I started in on a different pattern and got through the ribbing plus 3 rows while in the aforementioned meeting. Then on to the stationery shop for three more hours of work, and finally came home to cleaning up the wallpaper scrapings (still on the floor) and patching holes before making the trip for paint. I think we'll be sanding and masking everything tomorrow morning, probably paint tomorrow night. The whole room needs to be painted in white, then we'll add whatever shade of yellow we decide on. Presuming we can decide on one.

I'm miserably sad that the rest of the house is such a pig sty. One of these days all of this will be done and we'll celebrate. One of these days.

Love & hugs to you!


09 August 2009

A Weird Few Weeks

Dear Mandella,

The past few weeks have been a roller coaster ride, and not exactly the fun kind. There were a few upsets at my job -- nothing earth-shattering (I'm mindful that I'm lucky to have one in this economy) but my DH and I have had to make a few more cut-backs, and I've not been terribly happy about that. There might be an opportunity on the horizon for me to improve my position, but it would be risky because the position might be funded for only 1 year if that and then there's no guarantee I'd be able to go back to my old job. *sigh* This has been tough.

In other news, I finally got all of the wallpaper scraped off in the small bedroom. I'd done quite a bit of it last weekend but had to take a break in order to preserve my arms and shoulders. I had about 3 - 4 hours left of work and I finished it last night. Here's my tips on wallpaper removal: Don't rent a steamer; use a regular iron and a wet cloth. With a steamer you have to constantly make sure that there is water in the reservoir and you have to unplug it and let it cool down before you move it. With a regular iron (not on the steam setting) and a wet cloth, the iron stays plugged in wherever you need it (I rested my on a wooden board which absorbed the heat) and you just take your cloth and a pail of water around the room. The cloth was soaked in water and the excess wrung out, then the cloth was applied to the wall with the hot iron: steam!!! Plus, when I'd steamed a section of the wall I there was still heat and steam in the cloth so I held it against small and/or sensitive places (such as the tiny space beside the window frame or near an electrical outlet) while I scraped the stuff I'd just steamed. The commercial solvents available are pretty much useless. Steam and a scraper are the most effective. Oh, and I used heavy-duty rubber gloves so that I didn't burn my hands.

In knitting news, I'm making steady progress with the color-on-color scarf. The garter intarsia sections are coming along much better than I had anticipated. I notice that the sections become larger and longer as I go along, so it's slower now. I've been making some lovely I-cord on one of the ends. I do love making the I-cord.

Also in knitting news, I've been working on a pair of socks for a university-bound nephew. I'm knitting them on US 2 or US 3 (I can't remember which, obviously, and they're not at hand to measure) with Lisa Souza's superwash sport merino in the Mars Quake colorway. On my computer screen that one looks like it's deep violet and gold and such. It's more like rust and brown and gold, so it's more ... manly, I guess. The trouble is that I had ordered this same colorway in the same weight of yarn at two different times, and each time when I wound the skein I ended up doing it in two balls. Thus, one sock was all finished and then about Thursday this week I discovered that the second sock (about 3" along) was from a different dye lot because over all it was darker. Well, I'm happy to be able to report that I found the second ball of yarn from the original colorway and I'm about 2" along. I've cast on 64 sts, but the larger needles (and slightly thicker yarn) mean that it will fit this boy's larger leg and foot. I'm using a garter rib along with a regular 2 x 2 rib. I'll post the pattern as soon as I can nail down the particulars of needle size and gauge.

I'm hoping my DH will arise soon from his bed. Today we'll purchase some Spackle to fill in the few holes in the wall as well as a few odd places where I managed to scrape off some paint as well as the wallpaper. We're going to hang the pictures in there first, then take a digital image of them so that we know the placements, and then fill all of the holes in preparation for painting next weekend. I think we'll also get some test samples of paint. This small bedroom will be my DH's study/den. We'll paint the walls white because he has a lot of Central & South American art to go in there that is very colorful, but my DH wants some bright yellow accents. I'll post photos when it's all done.

Hoping you're well. You haven't posted on your blog for a while, so I'm wondering what's going on.



05 August 2009

Knitting Survey

Find the Knitting Survey here. It's by an honest-to-goodness researcher.