Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year in Review

First of all, how in the world is it the last day of the year?!?!?! I'm watching The Today Show this AM and they are showing different segments of what's gone on during the past year. How is it that so much can happen in one year and yet feel like it flew by? Yes time does go faster the older you get. My grandmother used to say that all the time. She also used to say "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it". I HATED when she said that because it just prolonged telling me whether or not I could do something. Well Baby Girl was asking me abt Middle School (remember she is only 6). Will I get to go on field trips? Will I get to my locker before I'm late to class? Will it be too hard for me? Will it be scary? I told her not to worry and that we would cross that bridge when we get to it.


My defense is that I was REALLY tired when I said it. And I guess the fact that I had kids for 10 years before I said it counts for something. Right? RIGHT?!?!!?

Ok so I went thru my crafting journal and counted how much I've done over the past year. I really enjoy doing that because it reminds me that I actually do get things done thruout the year.

So for the year of 2008 this is what I've accomplished.

13 books read. I consider this a major accomplishment!! This means I avg'd over a book a month. Definitely more than I thought.

Sewing projects: 12
5 receiving blankets
2 quilt blocks
1 valance
1 pillowcase
1 quilt
2 sleep pants

Again, not bad. I wish I had done more with the quilt blocks. They were my BOMs that I started in Jan of last year and had hoped I would be close to a quilt top at the end of 2008. Well there's always 2009.

Cross stitch: 2
This is sad, but considering I don't stitch as much as I used to PLUS most of my projects are huge, I guess I should be happy I finished anything at all.

Knitting: 41
Now that's more like it! I knit 18 projects for family and friends and 23 projects for charity. Broken down it looks like this.

1 vest
1 sweater
6 prs socks
1 headband
1 dress
1 wrap
3 juggling balls
2 hats
2 scarves

charity list:
1 sweater
3 cat blankets
7 vests
3 socks
5 hats
1 blanket square
3 odd ball blankets panels

They were mostly kid sized projects, but I'm helping keep somebody warm which is all I care abt. I'm really happy with the amount I knit for charity, but I think I'm going to knit more for some of my northern friends. I'll still be doing some charity projects, but charity begins at home and there are a few people I know who could use the warmth.

What am I bringing into the new year?

Knitting: 4 projects
I still have my sweater that was started back in 10/07. I have the back done and started one front panel in 9/08. Maybe I'll have it done by 2010. I have my pair of socks that I started also in Sept. I've got one done, but the 2nd one is taking me forever to finish. Maybe because I've been knitting on so many other things. The other 2 projects are scarves in various stages of completion. One is abt half way done and the other is only 2" long. Once those two are finished, I'm finishing off my socks! The sweater, well I'm not sure when I'll get back to that.....

Cross Stitch: 8 projects
Queen Ann's Lace, Bag Ladies, Maggie, Too Pooped, Seasonal Fall & Spring, my Snowman and Ariel. I can't find Ariel's pattern, but the rest I'm hoping to stitch a bit on each during 2009.

Sewing: 2 quilts
I have the BOM quilt that I want to continue working on and I'd LOVE to finish off the quilt for #1 Son before he gets too old to enjoy an I Spy quilt. I've already had to switch out fabrics because he's too old for them.

As far as resolutions for the new year, I make the same one every year; I don't make them. I make goals for myself thruout the year and I'm more likely to stick to a decision in the middle of July than I am at the beginning of the year. Then again I'm also more likely to start a diet in the middle of the week than on a Monday. That's just how I roll.

And since I refuse to have a post w/o a picture, I'll leave you all with warm memories, even if they are only mine! (I know, I get evil when it's cold!;-)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I'm Dreaming of a White

sandy beach!!!! While 50% of the country was covered in snow last week, we headed south to visit some friends vacationing in Islamorada. Here's the view from the condo we stayed in.

Our friends were also our hosts and since we were there at the end of their trip, it was our responsibility to help them eat the rest of the food in the fridge. Let's just say we ate very well for the next couple of days!

As you can imagine, the weather was beautiful, warm with a breeze. Since it was 5 o'clock somewhere, we needed to start the vacation off right!

The beach on the property was more rocky than I'd like, but that didn't stop everybody.

However the next day we went to a beach that was your typical sandy goodness.

Normally it cost $10 for the day, but it was one of the perks of staying at the condo they were in. It was a nice beach where you could snorkel since there was sea life around you, but it wasn't very deep. The deepest part came up to Baby Girl's waist.

This crab was biting the IO while I snapped this picture so it's not as clear as I'd like.

I've seen lots of these shells, but never with the animal still in it!

This jelly fish just stung Baby Girl not five minutes before. After she finished crying she went out and used the sand sifter to lift it up.

They also had a rope where it let boaters know when to start watching out for people.

On the other side of the rope was a 2' barracuda eating some of the schools of fish that would swim back and forth. Unfortunately my friend who was snorkeling didn't have his camera with him so I have no pictures to share, and as soon as one of the other people swam toward it, it swam away.

I took so



of the area, just so I could bring home a bit of the Keys with us. This was a nice place, and since it was on mile marker 90, it didn't take too long to get to (Key West is where you can find mile marker 0). I have a feeling this will become a family vacation more often.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Love/Hate relationship with computers

I've gotten so used to having a computer that when it goes down, I feel a bit lost. If I'm on vacation, I'm ok, but when I'm at home, the computer is my diversion from laundry, cleaning, and kids at home. So when my computer crashed Saturday night, I wasn't sure when I'd get back on. Thanks to the magic that is my husband (the insanity works BOTH ways), he was not only able to fix the computer BUT also retain the hard drive so that I didn't lose anything. Shoutout to the IO!!!!

So let's get caught up. I finished off the scarf for my sil so I'm now getting a box together to send out to her. I'm sending her 2 hats for my niece and a scarf for her. I have another scarf finished and another in the works for my other sil and niece that will probably be sent out by the new year. These care packages aren't for the holidays so there is no stress to get to the post office today. I'll probably send them when we visit our friends down in the Keys.

The first hat I did for D is this one.

I used some sport weight Lorna's Laces in Mother Lode, c/o 112 stitches and worked a k2p2 rib for 5.75" on size 5 needles before I started to decrease the crown. I started on 11/15 and finished it on 11/22. It felt like a really long sock cuff!

Hat #2

This is a rolled brim hat on size 8 needles. I cast on 76 sts and knit for 5.5" before decreasing. This was knit with Knit Picks Andrean Silk. NICE yarn!!! It's 55% alpacka, 23% silk, 22% merino wool worsted weight yarn. The color is Imperial, a very rich purple. The computer doesn't do it justice. It was wonderful to work with, I ordered enough for a scarf, but ended up using part of it for this hat. I'd definitely use it again. I cast on for this hat after casting off the other one and finished it in one day, 11/22/08.

The last knit for the box is the scarf.

I used The Yarn Harlot's One Row Scarf pattern using Lion Cashmere Blend yarn in Camel. Another nice yarn I got on clearance at JoAnn's. It's 72% wool, 14% cashmere and 14% nylon. Other than a few flubby areas every once in awhile (probably one every skein), this was really nice to knit with as well. I think it's the first LionBrand yarn I've actually enjoyed knitting with! I used 3 skeins and it was 4.5x51.5 before I blocked it out. I didn't even pin it, I just laid it on the bed to dry and I could tell it had grown longer. I'm happy with it. I started it on 11/24 and finished it off on 12/15. Scarves really take a long time to work on! With them being so skinny, it doesn't feel like the length would take that long to get thru. I have one more scarf on the needles and then I'm going to get back to my poor lone sock.

Last, here is a picture of my Saturday sky.

We've dropped in temps since then, but we're warming back up again. I'm including the temp pic to send some warmth thru the 'nets, NOT to entice you to move down here. Remember we have gators and sharks and rip currents and hurricanes (even though I'd rather deal with that than having no electricity when it's 100 below).

Friday, December 19, 2008

If the Price is Right

Remember my post from my last trip to Michael's where I lamented the sock yarn?? The price is normally $5.99 a skein and when I was there it was on sale for $4/skein. At that time I thought it wasn't all that nice looking and wouldn't bother buying any of the striping ones. Well apparently that changes when they drop the price to $2.99/skein. Yep, at that price I will give those colors another chance!!! While I was debating what to get, the rugrats decided which ones THEY wanted!

For #1 Son:

For Baby Girl:

I also picked up a couple of beige and black, colors that can be added to any left over sock yarn to get another pair of socks out of, even if I only have enough for heels and toes. Gotta be thrify in these times!

And while we WERE being thrifty, I still helped out the economy today and spent more than expected. I always do when I have the rugrats with me. Plus we have started our winter break and I will need the extra projects to keep them busy for the next couple of weeks. Oh and guess what I saw while looking thru the yarn section? On an end cap attached to those plastic strip thingies one row away from the rest of the needles were some Clover dpns! They had some size 2s (2.75mm) so it would be possible to knit up some socks with the Kroy yarn. I still prefer my 2.50mm, but these are definitely usable!

Not only did we hit Michael's today, but we also went to the library, went to the mall AND went to the movies (do you think we peaked too soon?!!?) We saw Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. If you liked the first one, you'll like this one as well. I like the references and music from other movies (like Airplane! and West Side Story). It was entertaining and worth the matinee price I paid.

I've already warned the kids I need to work around the house tomorrow. I haven't been home much this week. Wednesday I worked in the afternoon, but in the morning I got to help out in Baby Girl's classroom. They were making gingerbread houses and I'm SO glad I showed up! Imagine a room full of 6 y/os using royal icing to glue candy onto a vertical graham cracker house with only 3 adults to help! They actually did a great job, much better than I expected, but we were definitely needed with set up and especially clean up! Royal icing ground into commercial carpet ain't a pretty site! But this is what makes it all worthwhile.

On Thursday (after much debating) I met up with my stitching group. I wasn't sure I was going to make it, I have SO much that needs to be done around here, but then I realized I always have that stuff to do, and I only get to meet up with the girls once a month. I ended up knitting on my scarf (even though I brought Too Pooped) and have abt 5 inches done. I really want to get a lot done this wknd because while it's been warm here, it's NOT warm where it's going, which is pretty much the rest of the country.

Hope you are staying warm where ever you might be. Come back tomorrow when I'll be sharing some of my warm Florida sunshine.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Visit to the Frog Pond

I'm not one to rip things back. If I make a mistake, I will look at it and think abt how bad it really is. Will the average person notice it? If not, then I usually leave it alone. I did that with one of the scarves I'm working on. I didn't realize that I was off a couple of stitches so some of my twisted stitches look like Moss stitches. I finished that scarf and unless I really look for it, you can't see it, which means nobody will ever notice it. However when I'm working on a project that I'm just not enjoying, I'll try to slog my way thru it for a bit, but if I'm really not enjoying it, out it comes.

Case in point

This is one of the scarves I'm working on. I'm using a pattern that is supposed to give you a wavy feel. Do you see one? I don't. Even when I do a close up picture of it

I still need to outline the wavy pattern. This scarf is too much work for something I have to point out. So I did what Dee is famous for, I ripped it out.

one skein to go

And here is the newly cast on scarf using the Yarn Harlot's One Row Scarf Pattern.

I have to say I really like this pattern. It makes an interesting scarf and is EASY to remember.

And if you noticed the book, that is the latest by Maggie Sefton. It was an easy read, less nail biting than her past books and I sort of figured out who the culprit was abt half way thru, but entertaining just the same. I enjoy the characters so it was a good read. And while the title does put it around Christmas time, it's not real Christmasy so it wouldn't feel off if you're reading it in March.

Monday, December 15, 2008

How to stay warm

The feline way:

In a cozy drawer

Curled up in a warm blanket

Sunggle with a friend

The human way:

Sit in front of a warm fire

OR just move to Florida. These pictures were taken in the beginning of Dec when it was in the 40s. Today we expect a high of 78. This is what the rest of the country expects to feel......(click to actually SEE the wind chill numbers)

I HONESTLY don't know how y'all do it.

Y'all. I must truly be a southerner now. I never said y'all when I lived in Miami. I used to say oy vey.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Slow it down!

It can't POSSIBLY be the end of the year already. Where did the time go? Didn't I just post abt going to the Tropicana on New Year's Eve to dance the night away? And yet in a little over 2 weeks we'll be doing it again. Hmmmm. Where did the year go? I think I'm still stuck in October.

This coming week is the last week before Winter break here at Happy Acres. We have some friends visiting the Keys soon and I need to sit down and plan a trip down to meet them. If we make the drive down, do we stop along the way to see sights? Should I be a tourist in my own state? Part of me says yes, but when you've grown up in the area and been to a lot of places during field trips, where do we go? Then again I may just find a good deal on a hotel and veg out by the pool.

Still no pictures of knitted items. I'm going to work some more on the scarf and then post pictures with a warning ahead of it. I'm getting really close to finishing it, one skein left and it's done!

And here is the latest addition to our neighborhood watch

No stray kitties will come in our yard on MY watch!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I'm starting to slip........

So I go to the post office yesterday to mail out my box to Warm Woolies and another box to the next person on the list for the Snowflakes Odd Ball blanket. I wait in line behind 10 people and its finally my turn. I hand the first box to the guy and he starts to process it, stops and looks at me. He then holds it up to ask me what was wrong with this picture. I look at the box and it takes me a second before I realize that I'm missing the main address. I have my return address and the name of the swap on the bottom, but I'm missing who I'm sending it to. What makes this worse is that I'd been looking at this package the whole time I'm in line. I forgot to add my new cat stamp on it and I'm mad at myself for forgetting it. I notice the missing cat stamp, but NOT THE SENDER'S ADDRESS!

I'm not sure if I should be worried.

The one thing I didn't forget is my sky.

It's 64 degrees outside and really a beautiful day. I plan on getting outside to enjoy it, but after the busyness of the past week, I just want to stay inside and veg. However last night I did get out to enjoy the beautiful night sky. I tried getting pictures of both the gorgeous full moon (that was huge!) and Venus and Jupiter in the sky, but I can't seem to get good night shots of the sky. I did get a good shot of the local gas station.

Wonder if we'll make it below a dollar......

Knitwise I'm getting closer to finishing up a package for my sil in CA, and as soon as that's done and in the mail, I'll be posting pictures. While some people say socks take a long time, all I can say is I'm working on a never ending scarf.......

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I got my mother's eyes

When I was a little girl, all my mother had to do was just look at me if I was doing something wrong and I would stop. People used to tease my mom that she must beat me in order for me to be so obedient. She didn't. All I needed was that disapproving look from Mom and I knew I needed to straighten up. Apparently I have inherited that quality. We've been having all kinds of company and on Saturday #1 Son was just SO wired with excitement with his friends. My sister was trying to calm him down, but he just couldnt contain himself. I leaned back and gave him a look. He saw me and instantly stopped. This only lasted for abt 5 minutes before he was jumping around the house again, but I got five minutes and it reminded me of my mom. Gotta love that *look*!

I also got all of her needles after she passed away and she is the reason I knit today. I haven't been posting much progress because a lot of what I'm doing will be a surprise and I don't want to ruin it. However I did finish up the latest Warm Woolies Odd Ball blanket. This one is called Snowflakes.

I used up some Red Heart Blue and TLC Grey. I love the way these guys are so quick to do; we each do abt 6 inches worth of knitting and pass it along to the next person in line. No muss, no fuss.

I'm trying to finish up one more scarf so that I can send that along with some hats to complete one box, and I have another scarf that is trying to get done as well to add to another box. Add fringe to an already completed scarf and I'll be good to go.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Title free zone

In anticipation of having company out tomorrow, I've been trying to finish up some projects around the house. Sure enough, this is also the week that I end up getting sick. Not sure what it is, head cold most likely, but it's enough to zap my energy. So today as I'm working from one room to another, I'm also making out a Honey Do list for tomorrow. This way the IO won't be bored while I make the turkey!

Since I have nothing to show and tell you, I will answer a meme that StitcherW tagged me with last week.

The rules are as follows:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know your entry is up.

Now the 6 random things about myself:

1. I think I'm addicted to all things with a monitor. If I'm not watching TV, then I'm on the computer.

2. This is why I'm afraid to get a Blackberry.

3. I love the DVR feature on my Dish Network. It will tape shows I watch even if they switch the days around.

4. Plus it will pause live TV which is a MUST with my crew around. It's really the only way I can watch TV.

5. I love having my blog and reading other blogs. I also love reading my newsgroups on Yahoo. However I do not like MySpace, Facebook or any other *social websites*.

6. Ravelry is a BIG time waster, but I still enjoy going there.

Ok so there you have it. Six random items abt me, some of which I think you may have already known, depending on how well or often you read this blog. And since I like to bend the rules, if you'd like to participate in this meme, consider yourself tagged!

Now I'm off to schedule my day for tomorrow so that I have a cooked bird around the same time I have hungry people looking for food.

Did somebody say turkey?!?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Sock Yarn at the Big Box Stores

If you read my post from yesterday, I bought very little yarn. If you've read this blog for any length of time, you will know I love to knit socks and collect sock yarn. With that in mind let me step up on my soap box......

When I was in Michael's, I noticed they had some Kroy sock yarn on sale. Can I tell you they had some of the ugliest colors?!!? I think they had abt 9 different colorways, 6 of which were self striping. I wish I had my camera because these were some really sad looking colors. They did have plain cream, grey and black which is good if you wanted to make some plain socks or if you like to change up the heels and toes, but I had NO desire to buy any of it. That being said, I'm happy to see that at least some sock yarn is being sold in the store. However, this yarn needs to be knit with either a size 1 or *maybe* a size 2 needle. What was the smallest needle size they sold in the store? A size 3. Why sell the books and yarn if you don't carry all the supplies to make the item?

Joann's carries the smaller needles, but their supply of sock yarn was even smaller. This is why so many people still go to their LYSs or on line to purchase their supplies. With such a small attempt at sock yarn, its no wonder why it doesn't fly off the shelves.

Thank you for your time (stepping off soap box now).

Felines never have issues with such trivial things. WE grow our own.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Just Doin' My Part

It has been busy here at Happy Acres. We tend to buck the system and NOT do turkey on Thanksgiving so in reality, my Thursday was rather low key. However we had friends visiting on Friday and we didn't get home until late. The guys grilled by the pool (remember this IS Florida) and us girls cooked the rest of the food while drinking wine and catching up. The young kids played Wii and the teens watched a movie. A fun time was had by all.

After being so busy on Friday, I planned on just taking it easy Saturday. I don't usually go shopping the wknd after Thanksgiving because it's a zoo at the stores. The only time I consider it is when Joann's has their good flannel on sale for a buck a yard or when I want to get one of their craft tables. Between the great price plus the 20% off the total amt, it's worth it. I just go prepared to wait in line for a LONG time. However this year I didn't feel the urge to go. That all changed when my friend Karen called to see if I wanted to go to Michael's. We always have fun at the craft stores and while I knew we'd be home late, I also knew we'd have a great time.

At 5pm the IO called me to see how we were doing. What?!?! FIVE O'CLOCK?!?! Karen and I looked at each other and gasped. We had been in Michael's for FOUR HOURS! It's a personal best, I have to say. No wonder we were feeling a bit weak, we were lacking food!!! What killed us was the dollar section. They must have just filled it because we were there a LONG time.

After a quick bite to eat at Steak and Shake, we hit JoAnn's. We didn't think we'd be as long there after our time in Michael's, and we weren't, but that was because they closed the store. A quick trip to Target left us closing that store down as well.

Needless to say we were exhausted and plan on playing with some of our stash the next time we want on get away. What did I get?

Some scrapbooking stuff:

Here is a closer look at the stamp. I LOVE it!

Some cross stitch stuff:

Did you know they make fabric that is part linen part aida now? I got some to try out. Plus #1 Son loves Dolphins and he LOVED this kit. There are lots of 1/2 stitches so I'm hoping it doesn't take too long.

The lamest item? A kit to grow crystals. This is what the outside box looks like.

and what I'm actually *growing*.

Yes it really is that bad. It's from NSI and if I would have seen that before I bought it, I would have put it back. I had a problem with something else by them and when I contacted customer service, I was basically told *I* was the problem (I knew I wasn't since we'd done something similar with another company's product). I kept pushing and finally got some replacement supplies sent to me, but for what I got and what I had to go thru to get it, it was SO not worth it. With this kit, I can see their quality has not improved either.

I rounded out my purchases with some t-shirts to paint on, a bunch of stuff from the dollar bins, a picture frame for a cross stitch project completed last year, two skeins of Red Heart for an upcoming Odd Ball blanket, a couple of books for the kids, some fabric for an ongoing snowman quilt and some microsuede for a skirt for Baby Girl, plus almost 1/2 yard of blue/black/white plaid homespun for only 35 cents. Yes 35 CENTS! Gotta love remnant fabric that is not only on sale, but being additionally discounted 75%. Not a bad haul for $80!

Now to find the time to play with it all. I've got family coming over on Saturday for turkey and Sunday we are going over to my sister's for pizza and to watch football. I'm trying to really schedule my days so that I'm not killing myself on Friday night to get everything ready. Let's hope I can do it.

Oh and did I mention I offered to sew up an apron kit for my friend? Yes, I'm that nuts.