31 July 2011

Sunday Snaps

Time is passing too quickly - Hobbit had to have heels for school.

I'm making progress on the front of my sweater... but it feels really slow.

I've not taken a lot of shots this week - and that is totally odd for me.

Difficult decisions are being made about this one.  It's a "shape up or ship out" kind of situation.

30 July 2011

Lessons to learn

Current version - soon to morph into
a Hobbit height sticker chart
Hobbit has no concept of money... and why should she really - she's only 6-years-old.  Hobbit is also accidentally destructive because she has no concept of money.  Sure, Pokey can fix just about anything and between her grandmother and myself, we can make just about anything... so "things" are always fine.  At least, that is her mindset and that is what we need to alter.

Today, I created a chore list for Hobbit.  You would think that creating a chore list for a little child would be easy as pie, right?  Wrong!  There are so many factors that need to be considered ~ What was too much?  What was too little?  What was setting her up for success?  What was doomed to failure?

I had to come up with something that would be a "meets in the middle" result for me and Pokey.  You see, Pokey has a more stern approach about chores than I do because he grew up in a very stern household with punishments and such that I honestly find to be overboard.  He knows this and on most of the areas of his childhood, we totally agree that they were over the top.  I, on the other hand, grew up in a house where I had no chores really.  My mother took care of it all because no matter how hard we worked to our own abilities, it was never just as my mother wanted it - a trait that I seem to have picked up and don't really care for in myself.  It's not a bad thing to have high standards, it's just a bad thing to expect everyone else to be able to do it just as you wish - sometimes "perfection" just isn't necessary.  Seriously, who cares if the items on the mantel are a quarter of an inch too far on the right after dusting - isn't it the dusting that was important?

But back to Hobbit - we needed to have a list of items that she was fully capable of doing, wasn't overwhelming and would teach her useful things as she grew up.  So the end result is one chore a day and two chores that occur every day.  They aren't difficult but they are important.  Just today, Hobbit has learned how to properly sort laundry and how to fold things like towels and shorts.  Currently, this is all exciting for her but I am sure by next week she will be fussing and groaning like other children.

We just all need to keep in the mind the lesson being learned - that things cost money and earning money requires hard work.. and I will learn that perfection isn't always necessary in order to be perfect.

Don't forget to cast your vote in the great header debate.  Poll is found on the right, post is found here.

29 July 2011

Something we'll have to rememdy

Two distinct trains of thought regarding the new header.  Two distinct ideas as to what it should be.  So, since there seems to be a lot of love for both, I'm leaving it up to a vote.  The poll will be open until the morning of August 21st, at which time I will announce the winning header and set the blog accordingly.

Without further ado - the poll is located over on the right side there, just under Peanut's smiling face for my online photography portfolio.  Just click which version you like and we'll see how it all turns out.  Here are your choices:

  1. Make It You - your photograph, your hobbies, your coffee cup!
  2. Trendy and Modern - love the stripes, love the tag, love the toile!

Okay - there are your two options so be sure to look up on the right and vote!

Knitting-based travel envy

It all started the weekend before last.  Just a little tug from the green eyed monster to say "Oh hello there, I've just made it in... flight was good, little jet lagged but should be fine soon".  Then today, my cute little fictitious friend became something more like a knitted version of the Incredible Hulk.

It's all happening simply because I have not had the luxury to go the recent knitting events this season.  I had 'secretly' pined for Knit Nation but honestly knew it wasn't possible.  I quietly wished for Sock Summit but knew our schedule and budget wouldn't permit it.  I'm even holding out a small strand of hope for Stitches East in October but the reality of it is that I won't be in attendance because of Hobbit's school schedule and Pokey's work schedule doesn't allow any type of wiggle room during the school year.

All of my friends who live in my computer are currently gathered in Portland, OR and having a grand adventure.  I am enjoying their posts and photographs of their time during the weekend but it's getting harder and harder to keep the cupboard locked where I've shoved the aforementioned monster.  On the upside, apparently there is a small fiber festival in September called "Florida Fiber-In".

It is going to be located in Orlando, a 'doable' distance, but the schedule has yet to be announced.  Should I be concerned that there is no outlined plan - just a location?  I know it says that it's the 8th annual (and 8 is my lucky number) and their theme this year is England (the UK is my favorite country) - all 'signs' point to this as being the place to be... but it is really squishing my OCD planning mojo with the lack of information.

I guess I'll just throw my planner up in the air and make sure that I have Hobbit, pocket money, my camera and knitting (like I ever leave the house without any of those anyway) ready to go on Saturday, September 17th because who knows what's going to happen!  Anyone want to go with me?

On the mend

Thanks to all who sent well wishes the other day - they really seem to have worked.  This morning I appear to be on the mend.  As you can see, while I was not much for posting yesterday, I did work up a new header for the blog.  I wanted something pretty but understated.  Keeping in my color scheme was a must - although I am still working on the sides.  I think that is my next undertaking so don't worry if it changes periodically when you visit - and remember, any suggestions you may have are always welcome.

All in all though, I think I like it... what about you?

27 July 2011

Too hard to tell

Hobbit's Summer Adventure (click to enlarge).
*She didn't take the one of her fishing though all the others
are by her - straight off her camera (my old pink Kodak)
I went to bed last night feeling a bit nauseous and didn't wake up feeling any better.  It's that annoying queasy feeling.  You aren't totally ill but just all over icky and blah.  I really dislike this feeling.

I know it wasn't the honey mustard chicken from last night because no one else is feeling ill.  I always worry when I feel icky and we've had chicken the night before... I saw my mama once after a birthday dinner where she got food poisoning from a chicken dish.  It wasn't pretty.  I'm nowhere near that neighborhood of ill, thank goodness.  I just feel puny... yeah, that's a good way to describe it.  I feel puny.

Only two more days left to Pokey's vacation and today looks like it is going to be lazy.  The weather is gross which doesn't help in my attempts to lie to myself that I feel fine.  I'll have to find other ways of duping myself I guess.  On the upside - I can nap all day if I feel moved to do so because he is here... and he's sweet enough to not mind.  Currently though, I can't figure out if I'm hungry or not and I'm honestly a tad scared to figure it out.  If it turns out that I'm ill, that first bite could be the one to turn all things upside down... and I would much rather be rightside up!

26 July 2011

Ten on Tuesday ~ Bumper Sticker Edition

Carole has deemed today as Bumper Sticker Day for her Ten on Tuesday gig.  This was fun because, while I don't participate in ruining my car with them, I do enjoy a good bumper sticker.  I generally put them on binders or use them as some other type of decoration.  Here are a few of my favorites...

24 July 2011

L is for...


Nothing cheers me up faster than the sound of my kids laughing.  Today, we spent five whole dollars on a simple contraption that had everyone giggling for hours.  It is nothing fancy but it is definitely priceless... as are the memories we made with it tonight.

The magic of a bubble machine.
Want to join in the fun - click here.

Sunday Snaps

The Hobbit came home!

She loved on the toys she missed while she was on  holiday.

We had some fun crafting time and will definitely take Peanut when she's back on break.

An honest to goodness "Hobbit Hole" was found in my living room during Saturday morning cartoon time.
Hmmm... I see a shift in photography subjects...  No kids means a lot of yarn photography.  Kids means a lot of kid photography.  Viewing life through a lens - it's always focused on the right subject.
And this.. well... because it's just good common sense!

23 July 2011

Definitely my favorite part

"You know you've had too much coffee when
instant coffee takes too long"
I woke up early.  The house was quiet and still.  I decided to tiptoe around so as to not disturb the peacefulness of the day.  Coffee was made and still, the house lay still.  I sat down to get caught up with the world while I was sleeping and enjoy my coffee.  This is definitely my favorite part of the day.

Once the rest of the house gets up, the magic of the moment is lost.  There is now noise beyond my control.  Life jumps up and down on the soft cushion of my peacefulness.  I like to wake up before the rest of my family simply so I can enjoy that moment of the day. 

Sometimes it lasts for hours, sometimes for only a few minutes... but no matter how long it lasts, I savor every second.  What is your favorite part of the day?

22 July 2011

Shift in the universe

Someone painting her little cut-out cat
Someone in our little house thinks that the universe has somehow shifted to revolve around her... someone is wrong.  It's very odd too because one minute, someone is sweet and kind and loving but then BLAMO - little Miss Snotty Princess rears her ugly head.  Curious, very curious.

We discovered a paint your own ceramics place yesterday.  The prices were insane (by my standards anyway - $15 for the little thing she painted) but it was a nice vacation day treat.  During the process, someone was having a grand time.  Choosing her object and her colors, sitting still for an hour to make sure it was just as she had envisioned.  Then, BLAMO - little Miss Snotty Princess came out and had a fit over the fact that she could only paint one.  No "thank you" or "maybe we could come back again when Sissy is in town" - just "gimme more" train of thought.

Not really sure where or when someone became possessed by little Miss Snotty Princess but I am most definitely sure that it should be exercised away rather quickly... or someone is going to learn the taste of soap and become very familiar with the lighting nuances of a corner.

21 July 2011

It's been forever

Our dear friends, playing Pooh Sticks
Pokey and I don't go to the theatre much.  To be honest, we rarely go at all.  It has to be an extra special movie for us to validate the expense - because when we go, we want the whole experience.  We had toyed with the last Harry Potter movie but talked ourselves out of it due to chattering teeny boppers and such.  We kicked around the idea of going to the new Tom Hanks and Julie Roberts romantic comedy but we realized that we are going to love it anyway so might as well wait until we buy it this Christmas when it comes out.  Today though, today we are definitely going and we are going all out.

Sure, we're going to purchase it when it comes out on DVD.  Sure, we've seen it a million times before in a million different ways.  This movie though - this one is a no-brainer.  There is no talking yourself out of a classic.  There are no excuses to give as to why you shouldn't be sitting in a disgustingly sticky floored theatre, in chintzy crushed velvet seats with built in cup holders.  It's a must for the full experience - because my childhood friend, whom I still adore, deserves the royal treatment and to be enjoyed in all his glory - meaning nothing but the big screen will do.

Today, we are all anxious 6-year-olds in this house and we're off to the 100 Acre Woods!

20 July 2011

Free spirits can be frustrating

Yep, she's sound asleep.  Yep, those are her "Jesse" boots.  That's my girl
It is true.  Hobbit is what some people would call "a free spirit".  She has no fear and dances to the beat of her own drum.  She's wildly imaginative, creative and an excellent problem solver.  She's highly intelligent and sometimes doesn't understand that simply because she 'can', it doesn't always mean that she 'should'.

This past summer it feels as though she has grown.  Sure, she's gotten bigger physically but I mean as a person.  I feel as though I have missed something major in her life.  She isn't the goofy little baby girl that I watched leave to go her grandparents back in June.  Nope, she has returned much older than her mere six years.  Its as though I have missed about ten years of her life but in order to help me catch up, she returned to me in her 6-year-old form but left her 16-year-old mind intact.

Thank goodness some of her old goofiness still shines through every now and again.

19 July 2011

Tuesday Tunes ~ Peanut Edition

She's already left... again. I got to see her from 6:30 p.m. on Sunday until 6:30 a.m. today... 129,600 seconds... 2160 minutes... 36 hours. That's all I got to spend with her and I wasted at least 12 hours total of that sleeping! Now, I've got 150 days to wait until she will be home for Christmas break. This one is for my Peanut.

I love you buckets and miss tons.  Have fun at university - study hard, make friends, live life to the fullest.  I'll be here... waiting for you to come home again.

18 July 2011

K is for...


My kids finally came home from their holiday with their grandparents.  Also, I took these photos last night so they are technically "Sunday Snaps" but I wasn't able to (or willing to leave them in order to) upload them to the computer until today.  So here is what I have been waiting for all summer ~ Peanut and Hobbit finally home!!

Peanut and Hobbit modeling their skating hats - super huge hit with them.

Hobbit showing some love.

Peanut this morning with her bear from her box.  Yeah, I let her open it way early and yeah, she did cry.

Want to join in the fun - click here.

17 July 2011

Quick little detour, honest

Peekaboo, I-cord see you!

I took a little detour yesterday.  Instead of working on my sweater, I decided that I was going to make an old fashioned skating hat for Peanut.  There has been the cutest pattern in my Ravelry queue since December - today was the day I needed to make it.

No, I meant "need" instead of "want", trust me.  Recent events have not played out as I had wished which has led me to be less than sunshine and roses in my demeanor.  I know that my mood effects those around me and I needed to make sure that Peanut knew that I was not upset with her.  She is a very emotional child and will carry the guilt from a stranger so just imagine what a disappointed and upset mama would do to her!  Yes, I needed to make this last night and I'm so glad that I did.  I'm even thinking of making another one for Hobbit but in pink and with an eyelet stitch pattern... but I digress.

There were a lot of firsts in this projects - my first I-cord, "knit one below" and actual wet blocking.  The I-cord was a million times easier than I had feared and the "knit one below" would have probably been more visually prominent if I had used a different yarn because as it stands now, I honestly don't see it.  The wet blocking was interesting considering that I don't have any of the necessary tools and always end up "making do" with the promise of acquiring proper instruments for the next time.  The reality of it is always that I forget because I don't need and simply move on with my knitting.  It is a vicious cycle really now that I think about it.
I love how it turned out

I hope she likes it.  Now that it's done, it feels very 'me'.  It's cute, vintage and girlie... she's more gorgeous, unique and feminine.  Oh well, either way - it was a quick little detour simply to tell her that I love her and I am going to miss her while she's away at school.  I hope she knows, even without the cute little skating hat.

16 July 2011

Nope, I'm not going to 'play' that way

Sometimes, you have to let the sun set.
Whoever said "Life isn't fair" sure wasn't lying.  That person should have quickly followed up with something along the lines of how much it stinks to be a grown up.  Currently, I want to throw myself on the ground and have a full blown temper fit but I can't - I've surpassed the age limit apparently.  Internally though, oh yeah I've gone there.

Guilt is a horrible weapon and one I don't use.  There are those who would say that I am insusceptible to guilt's power... those few would be wrong.  I work hard to not allow that type of passive aggressive manipulation to have it's hold on me but to say that I am immune to it is not true in the least.  It works on me and manages to make me feel horrible, the end result being that those people who attempt to manipulate me with it usually get their way.  It's a false victory but a victory for them all the same.

As of today, I am refusing to give in to guilt.  If someone wants to play that card, they can count me out.  Verbal, non verbal, aggressive or passive aggressive - I want none of it.  I don't care if you a dear friend or a loving relative.  I will not play your game.  I don't guilt anyone because if that is the only means to an end, I would rather go without.  I would prefer that someone would like to do something, instead of feeling obligated to do something.  I hold nothing over anyone's head - or give the impression of such goings on. 

Do or do not... it's that simple.  Guilt has no place here.

14 July 2011

Testing, testing... 1, 2, 3...

Test knits are the best win-win that I know.
During the course of this test knit sweater project, I've been approached on more than one occasion about what it is to be a test knitter.  These fellow crafty folk have asked all sorts of questions but always in the same vein - is it hard, a lot of responsibility or time consuming.  So I said to myself, "Self, we should do a post about this so everyone would know what it is like to be a test knitter" and I agreed.

I'll start by simply saying this ~ being a test knitter isn't hard at all.  It's actually a lot of fun.  There are designers out there who need a hand in making sure that all of their sizing work is correct - that is where test knitters come in handy.  We also check for errors in the patterns, ease of understanding, etc.  It's basically a sneak preview of some wonderful items and helping to put the final touches on them before the rest of the world gets a shot at them.

The only real responsibility that a test knitter has is that you are honest with your time.  The designers put in a time frame for when they need it done and they list how many testers for each size.  They outline roughly how many hours they think a person will need in order to finish their project so you can see if the time required meshes with your time available.  For example, the sweater that I am working on has a time allocation of 30 - 40 hours and a deadline of 8/30.  I have spoken to the designer and let her know that I am not the fastest knitter but I really wanted to participate.  She said she isn't the fastest either and had no issue with me testing the size that I requested.  So basically, if you can't dedicate the time then don't make the offer because it isn't fair to the designers and it will earn you a bad reputation around the testing pool area.

I became a test knitter through the groups on Ravelry.  I participate in two groups and usually only offer my services for one project at a time.  I have a friend who can knit like the wind and handles multiple projects - there are limits set forth by the groups but they are generous.  The end reward for the tester is a pretty new item and free pattern - for the designers, it is help with the final details and validation that their pattern is perfect and ready for the world.

So there is a brief overview of my life as a test knitter.  It is fun and I highly recommend it to anyone who knits.  As a tester and designer, the value of test knitting is priceless.

1/4 Completed!

Doesn't it look smart!
It's almost 2 a.m. but I was too excited to not share - I finished the back of Pokey's sweater just now.  I took a couple of pictures and shared with the designer on Ravelry.  This is a test knit so even though I get a fabulous pattern before the rest of the world (and possibly for free if she decides to charge for it), I still have a bit of a deadline.

The designer is aware of my apparently slow speed and we had a good giggle over it.  I might not be rushing through like some of these other testers but I have to say, I am having a good time with it.  I dedicate at least one hour a night to knitting and that will usually translate into three hours.  It sounds like a lot but those three hours consist rotations of about twenty minutes of knitting and five minutes of rest.  This keeps my arms/shoulders/neck/wrists/hands from getting tired/stiff/sore/worn out.  I also will get up and walk because all that sitting makes my poor pathetic 'boo-boo foot' from last year swell up like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day balloon. 

I swear, my mind thinks I'm about 18 but my body thinks I'm about 60 - the reality lies somewhere in the middle... either way, I'm a quarter of the way done!

13 July 2011

See, this is when a TARDIS would come in handy.

I put this as my laptop wallpaper one night - subtle, no?
Today starts a lot of travel to an event that I have wanted to go to for years.  I even jokingly hinted around to Pokey that we should go - knowing full well and good that there wasn't snowball's chance in Miami that we would make it... at least not this year.  One year though, one year we will make it.

Knit Nation is one of the largest fiber events in the UK.  Classes are being taught by some of the heavy-weights in the industry.  I mean wouldn't you want to spend time learning how to be as fabulous as Franklin or as creative as Cookie A.?  I know, for me, that I would probably be too excited to knit and my stitches would be all wonky because of my hands shaking - funny but oh so true!

Safe travels to all who are lucky enough to actually head to Knit Nation today.  I can't wait to see the photos and hear the stories.  This year, I will live vicariously through you... and one year, I will most definitely return the favor.  I promise.

For those who don't understand the TARDIS reference in the title, click here.

12 July 2011

What have you got?

Knitting, movie and soda ~ my afternoon is set
I may be fluffier than most.  I may be nerdier than most.  I may have a love for an era that was long past before I was even a twinkle in my daddy's eye or a thought in my mama's mind.  I may be passionate about a craft that is stereotyped as "old fashioned".  I may be the least cool person you know.

But I have a sparkly pink soda koozie... what have you got?

Tuesday Tunes & 10 on Tuesday Mash Up ~ Harry Potter Edition

Yep, you read that correctly.  Today I am able to mash the two together because Carole sent out a message regarding this week's Ten on Tuesday was to be about the awesomeness that is Harry Potter... and one of the most awesome things about the HP movie series is the music ~ so here we go!
  1. The relationships.  I'm not just talking about the top 3 players here.  I mean factoring in the entire Weasley clan, Dumbledore and the rest of the Hogwarts staff.  Even Kreacher and Dobby get woven in with such detail that the story would be lacking without them.
  2. "Hedwig's Theme" is so well know that most people can guess it within the first few notes.  Many don't know the name or that musical genius John Williams is responsible but that's okay... you're now humming it so it's all good.  Click the link and be amazed at what all he has contributed to the cinematic world.
  3. Hope.  That is a great message from every story.  One of my most favorite lines, uttered by Dumbledore himself, says to "Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory."  Make a choice between what is right and what is easy... wow.
  4. "Potter Waltz" because you can't help but smile when you hear it.  You're envisioning yourself dancing in the great hall, aren't you... yeah, me too.
  5. I love this book!
  6. Knitting.  I know if you only watched the movies then you must think I'm off my trolley but I promise, I'm not.  Hermione started leaving hats and socks that she has knit for the house elves all over the Gryffindor common room, a kindhearted attempt to 'free' the them in The Order of the Phoenix.  That led me to wonder if the wonderful knits she wears in the film are from her own hand as well.  I know that I have a book full of patterns created by Hermione and my most adored character of them all, Molly Weasley.
  7. "When Ginny Kisses Harry" is a beautiful piece played at exactly the right moment.  It is soft, sweet and tender.  It isn't overly dramatic but has just enough to pull you in and get a touch misty.
  8. Devotion.  The way that Snape is devoted to Dumbledore is perhaps one of the most moving storylines to me.  To respect someone so much that they would do that which would tear them up simply for the betterment of all amazes me.  He didn't want to do what he did but he did it simply because Dumbledore asked him to do it - to save a lost child from a lifetime of anguish.
  9. "Farewell to Dobby" is the most poignant piece of music.  It is solemn, regal and yet there is the swelling of hope.  That same hope and good fortune that embodied the most precious of house elves.  He was a true friend that understood the power of love.
  10. Imagery.  Either from J.K. Rowling's written word or by the beautiful cinematography.  Take whichever one you like because they are both equally breathtaking.
  11. Be Strong.  This is my most favorite song.  The beauty of it always amazes me.  It's not flashy or well known but it is beautiful.  Enjoy.

Drumroll please...

Congratulations girls!  I'll be emailing each of you shortly.

11 July 2011

I can hardly stand it!

Just 3 hours left to get your name in the hat!  Click HERE for details.

Enter now! Last chance! Closes at 11:59 p.m. EST!!

All of this plus a pdf pattern from Sandra Singh is up for grabs!  Click HERE to enter - hurry, before it's too late!!

Additional Js are for...

Can't you just hear her - neener, neener, neener!
Joyous.  Jubilant.  Jaunty.

My husband is a smart guy, let me tell you.  While I was sitting here fuming and having a pity party about the file I received, he made the simplest of comments about pdfs.  Yep, why not pull it up and do a little bippity, boppety, boo on it and then voila... a regular sized pdf that you can actually read and print out for proper use.

Yeah, it's amazing how the brain works when it's had more than one cup of coffee.  Thank you, Pokey!
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