31 August 2018

Now, the Reveal

If you recall, when I sent out the last package for my Christmas in July giveaway, all I showed was this:

Which, frankly, would be a good enough giveaway in my world, as it has Rudolph on it and you all know my obsession love of Rudolph, right?

But since it was the grand finale of the month of giveaways, I wanted it to be extra special, so I promised surprises inside of the bag.  This past week, Cheryl let me know that the package arrived in Canada, so now I can share what was tucked inside.

I wanted it to be full of goodies, but also not weigh too much, especially since it was headed across the northern border (wall-free, as of this writing!).  So I pulled out my bag o' yarn from my Cozy Squares of Memory blanket, and, including yarn from my Christmas in July socks, made up some minis - 24 of them, in fact!

Along with a ball of soft, pretty mohair yarn, and a mini-candy cane, I thought it was a happy surprise - or at least it would be for me!  I arranged it so that it would look more like an Advent wreath

and then I squoojed it into the project bag, so that [theoretically] it would have some semblance of that when opened.

The Debbie Bliss Gigi yarn and the candy cane were always going to be part of the package, but I had several ideas about what the other contents would be.  I don't have a scale, or any way to really be sure that the minis were of significant yardage, but I tried to make them all the same size, or as close as possible to that.  Cheryl reports that all was received safe and sound, and that her daughter claimed the minis for a scrappy project she was making.  Cheryl sounded really happy with the package, and that made me especially happy.

I have heard from a couple of the other winners that their packages arrived safely, and that they were pleased with the contents, so I feel that my Christmas in July was as successful as I'd wanted it to be, which is very exciting, since it was so much fun on my end!  Thanks again to all who participated.  I'm hoping I'll be able to make it an annual event, since I think I enjoyed it more than anyone else.

Have a lovely Labor Day weekend for all of those in the U.S., and have a lovely regular weekend to everyone else!  If you still have things you wanted to accomplish during August, I'd suggest you get moving ... ;-)

30 August 2018

Three Good Things

Yes, I'm here and have not melted away into a puddle of ick.  I have tried all summer to not grouse about it, as summer is not a fave of mine, but this week has had me give up all pretense and just be Done.With.It.

But today is Three on Thursday, so let me tell you about three good things that are coming up.

Good Thing #1 - I took tomorrow off, so the whole day is mine!  The Tim will be at work, so it will be me, the kitties, and Hamlet.  I have some ideas of what I might do, but will see what I feel like doing or not doing and proceed accordingly.

Good Thing #2 - The Tim and I are planning to go to the New Jersey Sheep and Fiber Festival next Saturday (September 8)!  We went a couple of years ago, and enjoyed it.  Plus, a friend is a vendor there, so we will get to see her and her yarns.  She lives in southern Virginia, so we don't see her much at all, though we all keep up with each other on Facebook.

Good  Thing #3 - It's a long weekend in the U.S. for Labor Day!  No specific plans, but who cares - it's a day off that I don't have to use vacation time to enjoy.  It also means that with my Friday, I will be able to have a longer long weekend.  And September will be starting, which is the start of many things I enjoy. 

Feel free to stop over a Carole's blog and see what others had to say today.  :-)

26 August 2018

Sunday Smorgasbord

Here we are, the very last Sunday of August for this year.  The last few days have been so nice, so enjoyable, and the nights so pleasant.  I was foolishly thinking that maybe it would just stay like this, but no, starting today the humidity returns, and starting tomorrow the 90s join it.  I should learn.  But apparently I never do.

When I worked at the Senate, John McCain was known for being nice to his staff.  That of course should be the norm, but it was not by a long shot.  So you knew the nice ones, the kind ones, the good ones, even if they may have beliefs and views that you did not share.  It helped you to remember that at the end of the day, they were all just people.  I also admire anyone who lives through torture and comes out of it with a desire to do good for everyone.  I didn't agree with most of his politics, but I also feel he understood what being a public servant meant, which is a rare commodity these days.  I will also never forgive him for giving Sarah Palin national recognition.  But in the end, I hope Senator McCain had a quiet and peaceful passing into paradise.  

My oldest great-niece is now moved into her dorm at Arizona State University, ready for the adventure that is college.  I know she will do well, but I am surprised every day that I have a great-niece old enough for college, because how can I be that old?

This Tuesday night is Stitch 'n Pitch here, with our Phillies playing the Washington Nationals.  A group of us are going, and I'm sure it will be fun and ridiculous.  I hope Aaron Nola is pitching, since he is one of my most fave Phillies.  Of course, it's also going to be a bazillion degrees hot with a bazillion percent humidity, which makes me wonder why this can't happen in June or something ...

One of the things that we were told about Hamlet is that he is particularly fond of tissues, paper towels, etc.  This morning he proudly came upstairs holding an empty toilet paper roll that we had set at the door to the basement for recycling.  If a dog can be beaming, he was.  It's definitely one of the funniest things he has done since he's come here to live.  

Hamlet continues to get comfortable with the cats, after not being sure what to do about them at first.  They of course cannot understand why he doesn't go out of his way to cuddle with them, etc. like Dug used to do.  The Koodle of course continues to take advantage of this, particularly by enjoying the dog pad while Hamlet is too polite to unseat him.

I have been knitting, though I have not been taking a lot of pictures of my knitting, mostly because I only think to do it when there is no chance of getting any decent shots, or I don't really have the time (i.e., I'm getting ready to leave for work).  But I did recently add another row of squares to my blanket.

The top row is the newest.  I am having fun making this, and though it only is worked on in fits and spurts, I'm not in a big hurry with it.  Plus, I can't work on it too much at any given time or I become obsessed and then my hands hurt.  

It's looking more and more like I won't be finishing my Edie top in time to wear it this year, though it's still a possibility, just not a definite possibility.  The person who was going to help me fix the messed up sleeve is not available anytime soon, so I have to wait for her schedule to open up.  I am certain it will be finished though, so I'm not worried.  I am trying to decide what my next "big" project should be - I have several in mind, all of which I already have yarn to make, and all of which I have the desire to make.  Maybe I'll put the names in a hat and draw a random winner ...

This past Friday, I got my hair cut for what very well may be the last time at the place I've been going.  It makes me sad, because it was really close to home and the person who cut my hair understood what I wanted, and I like her so much.  But they recently raised their prices significantly, and even if The Tim had a full-time job, the price is a bridge too far for me to spend on my hair.  It's funny, I'll pay more than I should, up to a certain point and then I just can't go beyond that.  Anyway, there is a woman who works at my dentist's office who has a great short haircut, and she gave me the name of where she goes.  So I'm gonna give them a try at my next appt.  The cost for a haircut there plus a tip would be pretty close to just the cost of the haircut where I'm currently going.  It's not as close to home and they apparently book up pretty quickly, but it's worth a try.  If you have been reading this blog for more than a little while, you know I'm really picky about my hair.

I guess that's about everything currently rattling around in my brain.  Today's plans include cleaning up some things, heading out to see if I can find a couple of new shirts that I could wear to work (there are a couple of sales to check), and some knitting.  The pair of socks I'm making for my brother-in-law's birthday are moving along quite well, thanks to self-striping yarn being so much fun.  

What are you thinking about or working on these days?  Is anything exciting going on in your life?

22 August 2018

FO Post: A Pumpkin and an Eggplant Walk Into a Bar, and ...

OK, well actually that's all - no punch line, I'm afraid.  But the concept amused me.

I mentioned that over the weekend I had knit a couple of baby hats.  This gave me a feeling of accomplishment, because TWO things!  Small things, yes, but still, there are two.

 Said eggplant

Said pumpkin

Project:  Hats for October Twins Who Ended Up Being Born in July
Pattern(s):  Patrick's Pumpkin, by Lee Ann Bonson; and, Kid's Fruit Cap, by Ann Norling
Yarn:  Encore Colorspun Worsted, in green, purple, and orange colorways (I used stash leftovers, and don't have the ball bands)
Needles:  Size 6 and 8US
Modifications:  For the pumpkin hat, you make the crown of leaves separately and then join it to the brim of the hat - I left the crown as a strip, because I find it easier to attach that way.
Notes:  I made the smallest size of each pattern - they will likely swim in them this year, since they are so tiny, but maybe by next year they can wear them.  Both of these are go-to patterns for me for baby gifts, as they are quick and I almost always have some Encore in the stash. 

I'm going to mail them once I know the babies are out of the hospital.  I feel pretty certain they will be well-received.  And since they are machine washable and dryable, they don't create unnecessary work for new parents who already have their hands full.

19 August 2018

Wouldn't It Be Nice If ...

Sunday evening didn't lead to Monday morning?  Ugh.  Yes, I do try really hard to live in the moment, but Sunday nights are hard.  Oh well.

It's been a quiet but nice weekend.  I finished both baby hats I was knitting (FO post soon), and wound the yarn for my next two pairs of socks, which will also be gifts.  Today I managed to get some cleaning done, and also put away some things and organized, which gave me a feeling of accomplishment.  Still more to be done, but I got a good chunk taken care of this afternoon.

I met my friend Andrea for brunch today, and it was so much fun to catch up with her - it's been months, which is way too long, especially considering we used to get to catch up every Sunday when we worked together, and I miss that.  After brunch she came over to meet Hamlet, who did not disappoint.  He wanted her to cuddle, and shake hands, and play with his duck toy, and she was willing to go along with it.  Of course, the Koodle had to come in the room and pretend to be all cute and sweet like he was made of spun sugar.  Andrea knows better.  She took this sweet picture of Hamlet (and I hope she won't mind I'm sharing it here).

I think he turned a corner, so to speak, this week.  He's been happy and content since he's been here, and happy with us, but this week I think he finally decided he was now in our family.  When we would get home from work or just being out for a while, he would be so excited, and just could barely contain himself.  It's nice to see.  He wasn't moping around or anything, but I was just worried he wasn't as comfortable as he could be.  Now he seems to be especially happy, which makes us extra happy.

Though Pip feels strongly that I should tell you that this morning, I was washing my face in the bathroom, and Hamlet was lying right across the doorway out in the hall.  Pip wanted to come in and snooper-vise what I was doing, and Hamlet just stayed put!  Pip had to LEAP OVER THE DOG to come into the bathroom, and his decision-making process alone meant I was nearly finished by the time he got inside.  Even worse?  THE DOG still just stayed there, if you can believe it!  This entire event caused a great deal of commentary ... ;-)

Here's hoping that all of us have a good week, with time to relax and no one blocking our way. 

15 August 2018

Moving Right Along ...

Well, the good news is that with all of the local knitting experts that I am lucky enough to know, I have had more than one person offer to help fix my problem with the sleeves on my Edie top!  (There really is an embarrassment of riches in this area with "knitterati" so to speak.)  So I have full confidence that the problem will be resolved and I can finish it soon.

Meaning, I'm ready to move on with projects.  I still have not wound the yarn for my brother-in-law's socks, but I did start on one of two projects I'm knitting for some friends' grandchildren, a set of twins who were due in October but arrived on July 22.  So far, they are doing well, so I decided I'd go ahead with my plan and not mail the gifts until the babies were actually home.  That shouldn't jinx things, right?  

Anyway, I'm knitting a pumpkin hat and an eggplant hat for them.  It's a boy (Camden) and a girl (Teagan) and I figure neither of these patterns are particularly gender-specific, so their parents can decide who gets what.  First up, the leaves for the crown of the pumpkin hat:

Apologies for the poor photo - I was getting ready to leave the house this morning, and realized I'd forgotten to take a photo to add to this post!  Having made this hat several times over the years, I know that once it gets going, it doesn't take long to finish.

Reading-wise, I am planning to read this today at my lunch hour:

It's short, as it was a TED talk that she gave, but I have been wanting to read it for a while.  I have read a couple of interviews with her, and she sounds pretty awesome.  Plus, ever since I read that she "suddenly" announced she'd had a baby, when no one knew she was even pregnant, I have liked her approach - she said that she considered pregnancy a private thing, and felt no need to talk about it or display herself on social media to a group of people not in her close circle of friends and family.  Being inundated with photos of "baby bumps" (term that makes me stabby, you don't want to get me started!) on social media, I am on board with her idea.  I'm sure others disagree, but as my mother would say, that's what makes horse racing.  In any event, I'm looking forward to reading this.

I'm joining Kat and others today for Unraveled Wednesday, so go over and see what everyone else is knitting and reading!

13 August 2018

Monday Report

Hello all - sorry for the radio silence here.  I really hadn't intended to be absent last week, but I had no energy left for just about anything after I'd get home from work.  Our Wise Overlords decided that a) we needed a new computer system to do our work, b) we didn't need formal training, we could just "Google things," and c) we still had to keep up with our regular level of production. 

It was a) stressful, b) aggravating, and c) pretty much impossible. 

But this is a new week with new stresses, but in theory since last week is over, it will just be the usual type of thing.  Last week though, I'd come home nearly every night after work and just collapse.  I was lucky to stay up past 8 p.m.! 

Anyhoo, the weekend was a nice change.  Nothing too noteworthy, just relaxing and doing some small things around the house.  Yesterday, Hamlet and I walked down to an Open House sponsored by Hidden River Yarns at Fairmount Fibers' new warehouse.   I had been invited by Lisa (of Hidden River Yarns) and Hamlet had been particularly invited by another Lisa (of Fairmount Fibers).  I was not really planning on buying yarn, but had also not said I definitely could not.  When Rosie's was open, I could buy any Manos yarn I liked, since Lisa the owner was also Lisa of Fairmount Fibers.  But once that was closed, the closest Manos place is Hidden River, which I love, but is out of the way for me, so I don't get there very often.  Anyway - we got there, and had hardly walked in the door, when this young woman came up to me and said, "You'll have to leave - we don't allow dogs in the warehouse."  I said that Lisa had particularly asked me to bring the dog, and she went to find her.  I talked to a couple of other people briefly, and got to say hello to both Lisas, but the young woman reminded me at least two more times that Hamlet shouldn't be there.  Since it was so busy, and both Lisas were occupied, we just headed home.  Which was too bad, because I had wanted to see some people and say hello, as well as look at the yarn.  But the advantage was that I spent zero dollars, so maybe it worked out in the end after all.  :-)

I am currently between projects.  I want to start another pair of socks, but need to wind the yarn. I though I'd get to it over the weekend, but I did not.  As for my Edie top, I am at a standstill.  The yarn that had been holding sleeve stitches somehow came out (I truly do not know how or when), and I cannot figure out how to fix it.  I'm trying to see if I can find someone who will fix it so I can finish it because I tried and made it worse.  I'm willing to pay (within reason of course) but so far I haven't found anyone nearby.  So I hesitate to start another "big" project until that is truly finished.  I do have two baby hats to make, so I may pull out the yarn for those and get them going.

And that is all of the excitement in my life at the moment.  Nothing earth-shattering, just trying to get through without getting sent to jail for murder ... ;-)

Have a good week, everyone!

05 August 2018

Well Hello, Land of the Living!

Yes, I finally feel like I might live and rejoin the world where people can function - phew!  I started getting a headache shortly after waking up on Friday.  I took some of my migraine medicine because though it wasn't really underway, I just felt like it wasn't a regular short-lived headache, and wanted to see if I could get it under control before it really took off.  Alas, I was too late, as by the middle of the morning I was in agony.  I ended up missing most of Friday and all of yesterday.  And I hate that, especially when it happens on a weekend.  I mean, who wants to be sick on their own time??

Anyway, today will be extremely low-key to say the least, but I didn't have any specific plans so it's just as well.  My main activity will be putting a couple of our quilts in the washer and the dryer.  I would hang them on the clothesline to dry, but the last time I did that on a really humid day, the stuff ended up in the dryer after all.  I'm just gonna skip the middle part, so to speak.

Unfortunately, one of the things that suffered from me being out of commission yesterday was that I didn't make it to the post office to mail the Christmas in July packages.  So for those who won a giveaway, please be patient a bit longer - I may not have another chance to get there until next Saturday, but you'll be the first to know when I have mailed them. 

And that's it for today.  I don't want to spend too much time on the computer until I am 100% certain that the headache is in the past.  Enjoy the rest of your day, and I'll check in again soon.

To give you a smile, here is a picture of Hamlet as a tiny puppy, sent to me by the woman who raised him for the Seeing Eye Foundation.  That face!!!

Some things can ALWAYS make you feel better. :-)

02 August 2018

What August Should Be - What August Probably Will Be

Hi there everyone!  I thought I'd join everyone participating in Three on Thursday today, since I was in the mood for it.  I'm doing it with kind of a twist though, and since as far as I know, there are no Three on Thursday Police, it should be OK.

So I'm sharing three things that fall into the category of what *I* think August should be, and three things that August probably will be, at least for me.

August SHOULD be:

Vacation time.  When I was growing up, we usually took our summer vacation - such as it was - in August.  It was a quiet time for my dad at work, and he would always proclaim that everyone else had already taken their vacations by August so we wouldn't run into crowds. 

August Probably WILL be:

Looking forward to a three-day weekend when August ends and Labor Day weekend comes, since this summer our vacation was the three days we spent in Rehoboth Beach in early July.  It was fun, but that's it for vacation for us, both for financial reasons, and because I can't take any time off this month.

August SHOULD be:

Non-stop fresh tomatoes. 

August  Probably WILL be:

Some fresh tomatoes, still quite expensive at the Farmer's Market (but I buy a few anyway, because a summer without fresh tomatoes is not worth having).  The Tim planted some tomato plants this year, and they started out well, but after yielding ~4 tomatoes, they seem to have been fried by the sun. 

August SHOULD be:

Leisurely.  Which is not the same as being on vacation.  August should be a time when you can take long walks or bicycle around.  There should be day trips planned to the beach on weekends.

August  Probably WILL be:

Not leisurely.  When it's blazing hot with humidity that makes it hard to breathe, or it seems to be raining every weekend, it's just not conducive (at least not for me) to long walks, bicycle rides, or a trip to the beach.

Nevertheless, during August there are still some family birthdays and anniversaries to note, as well as the knowledge that summer is winding down.  Which means that fall and cooler weather is on the way.  School starts - sometimes even in mid-August - and though I have been out of school for eleventy-plus years, I still feel the "fresh start" aspect of a new school year, which I always think is good.

Most importantly, whether it's August or November or April, as long as I still wake up, it's a good day.  :-)

01 August 2018

Close - After Some Unravelling

You may remember that in my last post, I said I had to unravel 16 rows of a project I had nearly finished - well, the good news is that, as of last night, I am all "caught up" with what had been unravelled, and ready to finish the body!  If all goes well, it will be finished in the next few days, which would be so exciting, at least to me.

Sadly, I do not have a photo to share.  I realized this a.m. that I hadn't taken any photos to add to this post.  Oh well, you'll just have to live in suspense ...

I just started a new book yesterday, and have so far read the first two chapters.

So far, so good.  And quite entertaining to boot.  I'm guessing this one won't take long to finish.

Check out what Kat and the others are up to today as well!