Friday, April 29, 2005

I Love Boxes

I don't know what it is about boxes in the mail, or boxes at the door, but I love boxes...or rather, I love opening boxes :) It doesn't matter if it's a box that I already know what's inside - as is usually the case, or if it is a surprise box (a much better event!). I'm so enamored of opening boxes that my husband even leaves his boxes for me to open. How sweet is that? :D

Speaking of boxes...look what arrived:

Its a last minute gift from my Secret Pal! Included was a skein of Cascade Eco+, a pair of skeins of Cascade 220 and a skein of Fizz - all in lovely colors that I love :D Also included was the latest edition of Cooks Illustrated, a cute card decorated in cat stickers, a pair of handmade lip balms and pair of grow kits - one for forget me nots and one for black eyed susans. Thanks so much Secret Pal!

Aren't these lipbalms cute? Looks like they'll soon be up for sale at the Crafty Scientists site where it appears they also have handmade soaps and bath products as well. Both of the lip balms smell wonderful - and my husband even gave the Cupcake one a try :)

Secret Pals 4 comes to an end at the end of this month (as in Tomorrow!) and I want to thank my Secret Pal (yet to be unveiled), Jacqueline and the Angels that have stepped in as pinch hitters.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Sing...Sing Along...

And just what does yarn have anything to do with singing? Quite a bit when it looks like that and with a name like Karaoke :)

Fear not, I have not jumped off the yarn diet - tho quite frankly, the sales going on at PurlSoho are mighty tempting - Blue Sky Alpaca at 30% off?? and Noro at 40% off?! Already weak from resisting the strong lure of the sale, I brought my Mariposa in to SouthWest Trading Company for inspection and possible reward, and resolved to not accept any new test knitting...but the lure of Karaoke proved to be too much to resist.

Jonelle proved to be more than generous, rewarding me with a bag of Bamboo (in a glorious Red) for my work on Mariposa (who will become famous, traveling as a display piece on roadshows, I hear). Apparently, that fantastic cone in the photo was newly arrived and is of a yarn that is scheduled for debut in June at the The National NeedleArts Association Summer show (in 10 variegated and 10 solid color schemes!). Trapped by its lovely hues and silky softness (50% soysilk, 50% wool), I accepted the cone to turn some of it into an airy quick-to-knit scarf (yes, I accepted another test knit - but it's a quick one this time!). The reward? I get to play with the remainder of the cone...If there is enough of it, I am thinking of turning it into a Sophie Bag. Looking for a closeup? Lookie lookie:

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Viola! C'est Fini!

And there is the extent of my French. Well, except for perhaps a few more phrases...

What have we here? Why a finished Mariposa!

Knit up in a lavender-hued yarn from Southwest Trading Company called Bamboo.

Click on over to my Finished Objects Blog to read more details or ogle more photos of the lovely lace. Just what is it with lace that is so fascinating, anyway?

With Mariposa done, I find myself trying to decide what to cast on for next...then again, Cozy has been languishing all this time...perhaps I should finish her up!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Patisserie Wannabe

I continue to delude myself into thinking I want to be a pastry chef. Granted, bar cookies and drop cookies do not qualify as fancy high-brow pastries, but they sure taste good. And equally important, they satisfy my need to play in the kitchen.

Not to mention my sweet tooth :)

Just what are the goodies? Well, I had to figure out another way to use my Dulce De Leche, so the first item pictured are Dulce de Leche Brownies. The next are a crisp butter cookie with a mystery ingredient. And finally, we have Double Deckers, tweaked to include coffee and kahula in the brownie layer. It was a sugar high weekend filled with the scents of butter, sugar and vanilla.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Two Fisted Knitting

In an attempt to entertain myself while knitting on Mariposa (left side done, btw), I decided to teach myself how to knit Continental style as I currently knit English style, and well - continental seems more efficient. Chris pointed out that it would make for much faster Fair Isle if I can knit with both hands...can you see it?? Ah well, I figure I'm an ambidextrous Mouser (thanks to tendonitis and working too much on computers) and it only took a week to get used to how hard could it be? Not too bad, actually - I'm comin' along quickly - tension is a little tight but at least it seems to be even...I'm sure I'll have the hang of it soon :D

Re-tooled and Ready to Go!

Look familiar, don't they? Well, that would be because they used to have flowers on them...but then I discovered that the intended recipient was to be a boy, and not a little girl...and figured that flowers on little mini-man tootsies might not be so good. So along came Amy to the rescue...with super adorable California roll buttons :D Aren't they fantastic?? Just like with the stitch markers she makes, these have fantastic detail and look good enough to eat!

Thanks Amy!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Proceed with Caution!

I, of course, read the label and carried on, throwing caution to the wind. Just what was I up to this weekend? See what had me playing in the kitchen with this as a result. Fear not, it's not some dreadful mess of exploded goo all over my workspace :D thank goodness!

Monday, April 18, 2005

mmmm...Ice Cream.

April is a true spring month, and down here in the Desert Southwest, is often heralded with the beginning of 90 degree weather. Perfect for Ice Cream!

There are two free Ice Cream events this month, so mark your calendars and plan accordingly :D

The first, on Tuesday the 19th, from Noon to 8pm is Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's so find your local scoop shop and get your free cone on Tuesday :) - oh and eat one for me, since there is no convenient scoop shop to my location.

The second Ice Cream Event is on Monday the 25th from 5 to 8pm at Cold Stone Creamery. It's their Ice Cream Cake Social - get a free slice of Make-a-Wish Cake - customers are encouraged to make a donation to the Make-a-Wish Foundation as April is Make-a-Wish month at Cold Stone, with proceeds from Ice Cream Cake Sales benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

a Redeeming Weekend

After a week of franticness ending with my waterbed fiasco (now patched, thanks to vinyl repair goo, and yes, that's the technical term) the weekend offered a very nice respite.

It started out wonderfully with a stop at the local massage school, where miracle of miracles, I managed to hit it on one of the weekend's they weren't running a promo! Why so pleased, you ask? The weeks they don't run promos are nice and slow, meaning the wait isn't long, and there is a high probability of getting a bonus massage out of the visit - and indeed, that's just what happened. Less than 20 minutes wait time combined, and I got two fifty-minute massages for the price of one!

Nice and relaxed, I headed off to Coffee Talk for a brief meetup with some Arizona Craftsters - nothing like seeing what others are working on to get the creative juices flowing! After the Craftster get together, Chris and I had to go check out Penzey's! That's right - the local Penzey's is now open for business! Having never actually visited a Penzey's in person before, this is quite the place to experience - it's in a small, unassuming location - but don't let that fool you. As soon as you open the door, you can smell the lovely scent of spices...speaking of which, all the stuff in the catalog is available in the store - but with the bonus of actually being able to sniff them to your heart's content (a small volume of the various spices are kept in an easy to open jar with the product for sale just for this purpose!) to aid in your decision making process!

The weekend was wrapped up with my kitchen smelling of warm chocolate as I baked up a batch of coffee & kaluha spiked brownies (all the better to bribe co-workers with ;) )

Oh...and I finished the center panel of Mariposa while I was at it!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Yeek! I've Sprung a Leak!

*sigh* much to my horror and dismay, I had a rude awakening early this morning....I stretched out, and my toe landed in a cold moist spot at the foot of the bed. My first thought was "ew. why is the foot of the bed wet?!" The second thought was "crap. WHY is the foot of the bed WET?!" So, in my groggy state, I got up, turned on the lights, put on my eyeballs (glasses - all the better to see with, my dear) and stripped the bed. My poor husband thought I was possessed. Until he saw how the linens were damp. Turns out the corner of my waterbed has sprung a leak. Of course it would have to be the corner...the most difficult place to patch. And of course, I don't have a patch kit in the house for the waterbed...I was thinking of installing a Therm-a-Rest patch in its place, but all those patch kits require a hot bond glue, which I was not willing to apply to the water bed. Now I'm in search of a Vinyl Repair kit for waterbeds. Any suggestions?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Weaving Weaving Weaving....

So...I'm nearly done with the center portion of SWTC's test knit, dilemma? I've got several ends to weave into the lace, and I I'm not sure if there is an easier way to hide those loose's kinda hard with all the open areas in the work...Anyone have any suggestions out there?

Monday, April 11, 2005

C is for Cookie, darn-it!

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am just plain appalled. Cookie Monster, my favorite Sesame Street character, is no longer singing that C is for Cookie. Apparently, according to the various news articles making the rounds, Cookie Monster is now spreading the word that "cookies are a sometimes food." As someone who has more than an abundance of fondness for all things pastry, I think this is positively ridiculous - have people no shame? Tweaking well loved characters like Cookie Monster in an attempt to curb the growing obesity rate, to me anyway, seems like people once again are failing to react to the true contributing factors. Apparently I'm not the only outraged one out there...there's even an online Petition to get Cookie Monster back to his Cookies. He'll definitely be a monster no longer if he's forced to eat his cookies in moderation.


One thing's for certain...when I'm busy wafflin' and trying to figure out how to while away my weekend, I don't seem to have any difficulty figuring out what to eat :D

Golden and fluffy, topped with fresh berries and some warm maple syrup, a fresh-from-the-iron Belgian waffle always brings a smile - and it makes the house smell quite lovely too!

For details and the recipe, go here.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Knitting Progress

No, I'm not dead...just running around like a crazy woman with no time to update my pooor neglected blog. Hopefully all my readers haven't gone away (you've not gone away, have you??) lol! I still can't believe there are perfect strangers reading along my various mindless ramblings, but I still find it kinda neat too, if you know what I mean....

Anyway, this little bag was knit a while back - you can go read all the details about it here.

My yarn diet was blown this weekend - I am slowly joining the sock craze, and I have such a hard time resisting when I get to meet yarn up close and personal in a yarn shop. I seem to have the same problem with books, because I walked out with yarn for 2 pairs of socks, needles (because I didn't have the right size, of course - addi-naturas, if anyone's wondering), and I picked up the 2nd edition of the Zilboorg book: Socks for Sandals and Clogs! Whoopee!!

On the Mariposa front, I'm well into the 2nd ball of yarn, soon to start the third - I sure hope I don't run out of yarn....and I'm knitting on her exclusively until I get her done. I feel compelled to get her back to SWTC as soon as possible since she's a test knit.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Why is it...

...that every time I go out of town on Business Travel, my car has a fit?

The last time, it was the battery - plus tires that didn't last as long as they were supposed to - and a bad high pressure hose. This time? Just before I get ready to head out, the Check Engine light comes on. Oh goody. That means I get to go to the Dealer to have it checked out and put up with the condescending Service "Advisors". Can someone please explain to me whey it seems that the majority (definitely not all, but a very large portion of them in any case) of these so called Service "Advisors" seem to not comprehend that a woman is capable of understanding how semi-complex machinery works?!

Anyway, I'm hating the fact that I live in a city where it is nearly impossible to get anything done without a car. Its times like this that I miss living in a place like Boston :P I'm doomed to canceling my weekend plans because I don't have any wheels! *sigh* I guess I'll have to work on Mariposa lol!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Spring has Sprung!

Keep the Frogs at bay and install a Lifeline today!

...a tip, to keep your knitting out from your list of spring "cleaning"...

:D One thing that I do occasionally, especially after my various trials and tribulations with Lace Knitting, is to install a Lifeline at regular intervals in my work. It's basically a piece of scrap yarn or string that is threaded into a know, just in case I have to rip my lace back. The funny thing is, since I started doing this, it seems it's working to keep the frog pond from forming....and anything that keeps the frog pond from forming is a good thing in my book :D Anyhow, the way it works is if you *do* have to frog back, it prevents all your stitches on the row with the lifeline from getting all wacky and makes it easy to pick the stitches back up and start anew - how great is that! Especially fantastic for lace that has pattern knitting on both right and wrong sides (as opposed to lace knitting that alternates pattern knitting on the right side with purling all stitches on the wrong side). While I use brightly colored contrasting yarn, I hear dental flosses - especially the plastic ribbon kind - glide effortlessly through knitting, making removal a piece of cake with a smooth quick tug.