Friday, June 29, 2007

Let the (Long) Weekend Begin!

It's Friday morning and I'm here in front of my computer in my PJs with a nice hot cup of coffee. Aaaah...heaven! The kids are spending the next 2 weeks with my MIL, so I thought that I'd take a day to hang out with them around the house, not to mention doing all of the laundry that needs to be done so that I can pack for their trip. How can two kids create so much laundry??? Considering where they are going, I really need to overpack for them... My MIL, although she drives me crazy some of the time, always means well, but she is a worrier, which is why Mr. Me and BIL nicknamed her "Telly"... Actually, the very first present that I ever bought for her was a small stuffed "Telly". Fortunately, she does have enough of a sense of humour to have understood why I had bought it for her and she took to taking the monster with her whenever she travelled on business. For those of you who don't know "Telly", the eternally worrying fuschia monster, you can find out more here. Now why does this matter? Well, from a packing perspective, it means that every single time that the kids go to visit her, I need to pack for all situations. What if there's a blizzard? What if there's a flood? What if we're invited for an audience with the Pope? Yes - they're all unlikely, but we still need to be prepared. No matter what or how much I pack for them, they are pretty well guaranteed to come home with new jackets, bathing suits, pajamas and socks...
So the kids are going on a real vacation, which means that Mr. Me and I get two weeks of being just a couple - a very different sort of vacation. On the Virtual Vacation front, I've heard from my spoiler and contacted my spoilee. I'm going to really enjoy this! I love having the opportunity to showcase the Atlantic region.
I finally managed to get my 2nd and final package for the SPFE into the mail. I haven't checked the delivery date that Canada Post has quoted me, but it should be at its destination by the end of next week. I hope that she likes everything. I still need to get knitting on my Sockapalooza 4 socks, although I do have the yarn and have chosen a pattern... And I signed up for Sock It To Me. That keeps me going with my once a month swap packages.
Time to go hang out some more laundry - my little part of being green!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

"Days Go By" Turns 1! Happy Bloggerversary, Nancy!

It's a fairly closely guarded secret, but I'm a kind of competitve person... Okay - so I haven't done a good job of hiding it. Anyone having any sort of a contest at work counts on me to enter. But they do know that I have criteria: "Is there a prize???" If the answer is "Yes!", then I'm playing!
And that's part of what enticed me in to Nancy's 1st Bloggerversary Contest. (I also like reading her blog - love her cat Reggae, his name seems to suit him!) I've sent in my answer, but I'm really nowhere even close to being sure that I'm right. Pop on over and have a look - someone out there who's smarter than me will know the answer!

Friday, June 22, 2007

And the Cleaning Continues...

I've realized that tidying up my sewing room is going to take a while... In the meantime, I'm going to have to try and sneak in a few projects that need to be finished. I will say that I have made some progress.
I have frogged one UFO. I think that it was going to be a wrap of some sort from Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting. Don't ask me which one. I didn't have anything marked... It is once again stash. RIP old UFO. (Note to self - DO NOT LEAVE THIS BOOK AT THE BOTTOM OF A BASKET AGAIN - JUST LOOK AT THE PRICE!!!)
I have found a number of UFOs that are much closer to FOs than I had remembered... I have found:
- 2 baby sweaters (one for son the older who is now 11 and the other - who the heck knows!), both of these sweater only need buttons / closures;
- 1 red cotton cardigan for a little girl that just needs button bands, a collar and the sleeves stitched in (I think it was started for my eldest neice when she was 8 - she is now 18); and,
- a ladies sweater that I knit while pregnant with son the younger (he's 7). It is HIDEOUS. It has an apple tree on it. I only needs a collar. The only explanation that I have for it is pregnancy hormones made me temporarily insane.
Those are just knitting UFOs... There is a whole list of sewing UFOs, too. The baby sweaters I will keep, the fate of the others is yet to be determined.
Now, I've also found some things that don't really belong in my sewing room. I've started to try and put some of them away unnoticed, but I haven't been completely successful...
In the kitchen the other evening:
Mr. Me: When did you get the new paring knives?
Miss Me: Pardon?
Mr. Me: There are 3 new paring knives in the drawer. When did you get them?
Miss Me: New paring knives?
Mr. Me: Yeah - there are 3 of them. When did you get them?
Miss Me: Oh - uh... I don't know for sure...
Mr. Me: Were they in your sewing room???
Miss Me: Yeah...
Mr. Me: You have no idea how long they've been there, do you?

Yes - I was busted. This is what happens when you go to a Pampered Chef party and try to sneak things in. Considering how inexpensive their paring knives are, I don't even know why I was sneaking them in anymore! Now I just need to get the apple corer into the drawer...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

"5 S" - Miss Me's Sewing Room Tries to Go Lean

I'll be the first to admit that I am not a tidy person. I like my clutter. However, the clutter in my sewing room has reached unprecedented and uncontrolled chaos. Enter "5 S". I work with businesses, and one thing that we encourage of manufacturers is that they have lean, or efficient, organizations. And that's where "5 S" comes from.
What are they, you ask?
They are:
Set in Order
But the first step is to clear everything out of the work area first... This should be interesting. I'm going to bare it all by taking a before picture. Wish me luck! I'm off to clean. I wonder how many completely forgotten UFOs I'll find...!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Shiver Me Timbers (But Not Me Toes)

Part of the fun of having little boys is the fun of making little boy things. Like Pirate things. These are the most recent socks for son the older. These are his second pair of Skull Socks of Fury. The last pair were kind of "plain"...

Black with cream skulls. This time I decided to use a variegated yarn for the skulls. I'm quite pleased with the effect, although the socks are definitely fraternal twins!

After tomorrow, there is only one week of school left before summer vacation. Now I'm a little bit envious that the kids and the teachers get two whole months off while I have to work but I am looking forward very much to no homework and easier packed lunches. Part of summer vacation for the boys means two weeks in Halifax with Nana (my MIL). They take swimming lessons in the mornings and then do "activities" in the afternoons. One of their activities this year will be going to see Pirates: Myth & Reality. I think that these socks would be the perfect thing to wear! Now I've got to get moving on a new pair for his brother... Last time I adapted the chart from this and dropped it into a plain sock pattern.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sometimes It's All About Me...

I've just realized that it is only 3 weeks until my birthday! Yippee!!! I love my birthday. I don't really understand people who find birthdays traumatic. July 4th - and even though those American fireworks aren't for me I can always pretend.
On another note, the Crafty Canadian is much faster than I am. We had a very nice lunch together last Friday during which I received my felted bag for the Spring Felted Bag Exchange. Click here to see a picture of it (since I haven't uploaded my photos yet). Isn't it pretty? The girls in the office love it, too!
My downstream bag is knit but yet to be felted. Although I did make it out yesterday at lunch to get it's grommets (my natural inclination is to type "Gromit" but a bag with "Gromits" would be completely different), a magnetic snap and some nailhead studs to serve as bag feet.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Manners - Part 2

The neighbourhood dogs must be reading my blog! One of the other dogs, a sweet little Jack Russell no less, came over and left her calling card in our summer kitchen in the form of a steaming pile of dog sh*t. I smell something - no, not that, it's been cleaned up - and I think that it's trouble...
Now here's a question - what do you do in this situation? Do you call the owners and politely explain what happened? It's not like they can do anything about it now.

Manners - by Miss Me (Rant Warning)

I'll well aware that all of us make some gaffes from time to time. Some of them much more glaring than others. One of the things that seems to be causing a great deal of turmoil chez-moi these days is the lack of consideration some people have for the impact of their actions on others. Of particular and spectacular note these days is our neighbour...
Now we live in the country. We do not live in a city, a town, nor a village. We are part of a "local service district". What does this mean? Unfortunately, it means that we don't have much in the way of services, nor much in the way of laws or bylaws that can be enforced. Having 10.5 acres of land on a river, one would think that all that you would hear most of the time would be the sounds of nature. Not so.
The culmination of a series of bad decisions was the sale of part of our land about 3.5 years ago. We sold it to a nice school teacher who was going to build her "dream home". And it is a lovely home. The hitch with that was that she thought (apparently) that the contractor was going to become more than just a friend and move in with her... Everyone knew this - except for him that is. Upon discovering that she was going to be living there alone, she decided to sell. Enter our current neighbour...
He has owned the property for 2 years. During that time, it has been a non-stop stream of traffic. He has brought in fill, topsoil, had it hydro-seeded, built a burm, moved the driveway, built a fish pond, decided he didn't like it, removed the fish pond, built a new one... Are you getting the picture? Now this is just about driving Mr. Me crazy. I had considered suggesting that we too had dragons next door, but I have begun to fear that he would go dragon slaying, and no matter how much of a sense of humour the cops might (or might not have), I don't think that they'd buy that as a reasonable defense.
Having purchased a new tent after the tent disaster of 2005, we set it up yesterday. The instructions suggested that you should do this before you took it camping. We got it up with few problems, but it was good advice. We should be able to do this seamlessly when we go camping now. Having two little boys and a tent on the front lawn meant that they just had to sleep in it last night. Who can blame them? They got settled, but came in around 10pm because of the noise from the heavy equipment. It stopped about 10:15pm, and I went back out with them to sleep. We did all get to sleep, but there was a range of other noises and shouting of instructions that lasted until close to 11pm.
So I ask you - am I being unreasonable or is it too late to be running heavy equipment after say 9pm? And he mows his lawn until midnight, and his lawn tractor is BIG. I curse the person that thought that headlights on a lawn tractor were a good idea. When the dog (a cute little Scotch terrior named "Baxter" - a.k.a. "Barkster") is barking inside in the middle of the night, clearly the only sensible thing is to put him outside...not! And then he sounds mildly surprised when I call at 3am asking him to bring the dog in - not that he is sleeping like the rest of the world, just surprised that we can hear the dog. And these are only a few "examples"...
I am trying to rise above this, and keep Mr. Me from killing the neighbour, but I may have to resort to bubbles in the fish pond!
Rant over.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

World Wide Knit in Public Day

Happy World Wide Knit in Public Day everyone! Unfortunately there isn't anything organized going on in my area, so I'll be doing this on my own, not that anyone much will notice that it's a special day because I always knit during the sons' swimming lessons anyways.
Go forth and knit. If anyone gives you a hard time, just wield your pointy sticks at them menacingly!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Going on a "Virtual Vacation"!

I'm going on a Virtual Vacation! I can't wait to find out what I need to virtually pack. Hopefully it is somewhere warm so that there is lots of room in the suitcase (smaller clothes after all) for my virtual souvenirs. Yes, I am touring with the Knitters Virtual Vacation Swap. It should be fun. I'm trying to time my swap packages at around one per month. So far so good and I am having so much fun!

And without further rambling and delaying, here is my Virtual Vacation questionnaire -

1. If you could visit any state in the US, which would it be and why?
This is a tough question for a Canadian! I think that I would have to go with Louisiana. Why? The link that exists between the Acadians of Atlantic Canada and the Cajuns of Louisiana intrigues me. While I’m not Acadian (heck I’m not even from Atlantic Canada), it is a very interesting culture that really adds very much to the richness of our multicultural fabric. But – there isn’t a single state that I’d say that I wouldn’t be interested in visiting… Like Canada, the US is so large that each and every state would be different with its own assets and beauty.

2. If you could visit any country in the world, other than your own, which would it be and why? Australia. I’ve had an ongoing interest in Australia. It’s unique and remote, and much like Canada, it is very large with very few people (relatively). Besides, they have great wool! (Also a strong contender: Scotland. Why? Their knitting heritage. And I wonder why my husband won’t let me choose our vacation destinations…!)

3. Have you ever driven across several states/providence/countries?
Yes, on many occasions. For sheer coverage, the best that I’ve managed is 3 provinces, 4 states and 2 countries in one trip. I suppose that really it wasn’t “across” all of them, but I’m counting “through” parts of them as “across”.

4. Have you ever visited someplace you consider exotic? Where was it?
Have you ever seen an iceberg, live and in person? I did on numerous occasions in Newfoundland, so I’m going to say “Yes” to exotic locales. I lived in Newfoundland for a year and I must say that it is an amazing and beautiful place. You can stand at Cape Spear and look at the Atlantic Ocean knowing that the next landfall is Ireland. It is awe inspiring.

5. What was your favorite "travel" vacation? Why?
Two years ago we went tenting in Maine - a nice little family road trip. We had fun doing "educational" things with the kids, doing a little bit of shopping and the obligatory coast of Maine beach combing. The only drawback was tenting in the tail end of Katrina. We eventually upgraded to a cabin. The tent didn't survive that trip, but it wasn't because of the wind or the rain (directly). Mr. Me decided that it was better to put the tent in the dryer than to wait a bit to let it dry naturally. It melted. We left it in Maine.

6. Have you ever played tourist in your own home city/state (if international, country)? Explain.
Yes - on many occasions. Most recently, in February I went to Quebec City for the first time. It was a class "field trip" during a French course, but we went to Old Quebec, the Citadel, museums, etc. It was GREAT!

7. Are you a museum visitor, beach comer or an amusement seeker?
All of the aforementioned… What can I say – I need balance! And I have kids so the amusements is a “must”.

8. What's your favorite type of yarn?
I prefer finer weights – usually nothing heavier than a worsted weight – and definitely natural fibres, although synthetic are allowed as strengtheners.

9. What's your least favorite type of yarn?
Bulky weight acrylic or Phentex “Elite”. Those slippers wear like IRON!!!

10. What items do you like to knit/crochet?
Pretty well anything, although I don't usually knit dishcloths. The only exception is when my 95 year old grandmother asks for new ones. I'm just starting in on the crochet thing, so I'm not quite so certain about that.

11. What do you pack, knit/crochet wise when you go on vacation?
Usually smaller projects, often socks.

12. What other crafts do you do/would like to do other than Knit/Crochet?
I cross stitch, sew and have tried my hand a jewelry making. I’m sure that there are others, but since I’ll try most things once, I may have forgotten some long ago projects.

13. Are you allergic to anything? (Yarn wise or treat wise)
No food or fibre allergies.

14. What is your favorite color? Least Favorite?
I like pinks, purples and greens. I’m not such a big fan of yellows or browns, although I do have an odd affinity for orange

15. Sweet or Savory (Treat not personality)? Savory!

16. Anything else we are forgetting to ask that you think your partner desperately needs to know?
I'm left handed, which might explain why I always seem to be looking at the world from a slightly different angle...

Monday, June 4, 2007

Spring Felted Bag Exchange - Package #1

On the Sending End: I finally managed to get my package off to me spoilee on Friday. Yes, as usual, I am a little bit late, but I did let her know beforehand and I am tracking the package via the marvels of the Canada Post website. Since it is supposed to be an anonymous swap, I'm not sure that she realizes the distance that the poor box has to travel... I say supposed to be because I had a moment of blondeness when I was setting up my anonymous e-mail account and unintentionally revealed my identity... I have promised to make it up to her with extra special treats. I hope that she's not disappointed!
On the Receiving End: Now the technical issues with the anonymous e-mails is something that my spoiler and I have in common, although she didn't mess up nearly as badly as I did! I knew that it was one of two people, but didn't know for sure which one - until last week that is. You see, one of the other things that we have in common is that we are the only two New Brunswickers involved in the swap, so she knew that her cover would be blown as soon as I saw the postal code. Since she's a very smart lady, she knew that and she got creative! Since we also have none other than Canknitian in common, she was able to find out where I worked and had my package hand delivered. Yes - my spoiler is none other than the Crafty Canadian herself! And I think that I was more surprised than she thought that I would be. And here is what was in the package:

Isn't the bag sweet? I'm almost positive that Crafty Canadian made it herself, and it is so simply adorable! You can't see it in the photos, but it ties closed with rick rack - very pretty. And inside were "The Guide to Laughing - Family " book, some bubble bath, a spa facial mask, freezable swizzle sticks (which match my summer outside on the patio glasses), a votive candle holder, a very pretty dishcloth which will never see sink action (it is doing doily duty under a lamp), and two things not shown - some very yummy chocolate that didn't even make it back out the office door and 2 adorable little felt pigs which are now living in my office, on the bulletin board.

Oh - and not to be forgotten, a very nice handwritten note (I tend to type my things because my writing is tiny and of very poor quality, so I really appreciate it when I get something handwritten).
The first package was a lovely surprise, but now I can hardly wait for part 2 - the felted bag. I'm excited about the bag part, but since Crafty Canadian is in the same city as I am, I'm going to get to me her! Yippee!!!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Meet Fred

I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce you to my scarecrow, Fred. As you can see, Fred is both handsome and cooperative. He very readily agreed to model the red mohair shawl for me. The shawl is from Rowan Knitting Magazine No. 34 and is called "Birch". After a few battles with the cat over the ownership of the shawl, I do believe that he has finally conceded that it is mine. Aside from the incident while I was knitting it, he also decided to "play" with it during the blocking process, but then I can't blame him for opening a door that is beyond the reach of his furry little paws...

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Sunbathing (*Warning* - Gratuitous Yarn Porn)

Nantucket Red: "Did you put on any sunscreen?"
Turquoise: "No - did you?"
Hot Pink: "I know that I didn't. Pandas - did you?"
Pandas: "Sunscreen? No, but have you seen the waitress? We could really use a couple of blueberry dacquiris!"
Burgundy: "We'd better not stay out here too long - I don't want to fade prematurely!"
Pandas: "Yeah - sure hun - after a couple of drinks - okay?"

Purple: "I knew we shouldn't have travelled with those Bamboo brains..."
Yes, the Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Solid and the Panda Wool arrived late last week. With everything else going on around here, coupled with the fact that I had to sneak the box into the house, the yarn did not escape its carboard prison promptly... By the time it did, it was feeling a little bit claustrophobic and needed to basque in the sunshine for a few moments. Isn't it pretty?

Now this made me laugh - like I need an incentive to buy more yarn and/or try new ones??? Who are they kidding?