Saturday, December 31, 2011

welcoming in the new year

I've never been a big fan of New Year's Eve. It's such a strange holiday and I feel like there is so much expectation yet I never really know what to do with myself or how to ignore it. Come to think of it, I don't really even know what a perfect NYE would even look like. It's a darn good thing that I've stopped caring and thankfully, I've got a party to go to this year, so I think it will be a fun night.

Here's Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt with a little rendition of, What are you doing New Years?

But as cute as this little ditty is, and all due respect to lovely Ms. Deschanel and the charming Mr. Gordon-Levitt, maybe the jackpot question really could be,

what are you doing in the new year?

Me, I've got loads of great plans for 2012.

Friday, December 30, 2011

far away from the cold night air

I came home to an empty house last night. As I unlocked the front door, I the sound of the latch echoed through the living room. Two of my housemates moved out this week and with them went all the furniture. It was eerie to see my home so empty but never fear, my new housemate is moving in furniture today and when I get home I'll come home to all new (read: new to me) furnishings.

And I'm on the hunt for a new armchair for my bedroom as the one that I was using belonged to those who just moved out. I love the looking, but wish I a bit more flush so that I could afford this:

Until then, Eliza Doolittle and I will keep on dreaming, "oh, wouldn't it be loverly."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

five golden rings!

It was a lovely holiday and now on the fifth day of Christmas, I'm back at back work, easing back into my routine while my internal clock and inner ears are still stuck mountain time and elevation respectively. 

This is the family photo that we took back in November that is going out with our New Year's card. I hate my hair in this picture, but what you gonna do. Luckily I was able to get a much needed hair cut while I was in SLC - Thanks Claire, I love my new bangs!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukka!

I made it to Utah, my shopping is done and all that is left is to do some finishing work on a couple of my knitted gifts. It's beautiful and sunny here in Utah. We got a bit of snow the night I arrived - just enough to make the roads really slick and clear out the air which reportedly has gotten quite gross.

Which leaves plenty of time for consuming inordinate amounts of sugar, and watching classic Christmas movies. Per tradition, we'll be watching All I want for Christmas.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

there's no place like home

Well, my bags are packed and in a few hours I'll be leaving cubicle behind, hopping onto the metro and be on my way to the airport. That's right I'm heading home for Christmas.

And when I come back, I'm bringing my lil' sister with me. Technically, she'll be following a day behind me but she's coming to DC for a semester and I'm so excited for all the fun she'll have here and all the fun we'll have together.

Once again, it has become abundantly clear that I am blessed.

Merry Christmas! And if you don't hear from me much over the next week, no worries, I'll be back before the New Year.

Another of my favorite Christmas Songs, Hard Candy Christmas. This one always makes me smile. Growing up we used to watch Dolly Parton's Christmas specials and well, I've loved her ever since.

Monday, December 19, 2011

let your hope make you glad*

Look at Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally here. What is it about this picture? I mean I can't stop looking at it. I think I'm getting emotional - must be hormonal. But seriously, isn't there something really sweet about this real life couple. Look how happy they are together, look at that love.

Here they are together in an episode of Parks and Recreation - the first of many episodes in which Megan guest stars as Nick's character, Ron Swanson's ex-wife, Tammy 2.

The picture above is actually from an episode of Mortified which I haven't seen yet, but looks pretty funny from the brief clips on the Sundance Channel's website.

Anyway, I just love seeing real-life people happy in real relationships. It makes me happy and hopeful, so I thought I'd share.

* Romans 12:12

don't we all work better on a deadline?

Before I left work on Friday, I announced to my coworker through the walls of my cube,

"I'm done with this!"

"With what? this job?"

"No, this cold. I'm giving it the weekend, but by Monday, it better be gone."

And I did. I confess that there are some lingering symptoms. I'm still a little stuffy and my voice is only at 50% (but that has more to do with my karaoke marathon Saturday night and my total disregard for proper singing techniques - it's all about the performance, you know). But I'm on the mend, no longer strung out on decongestants, no longer worrying about whether or not I can get another box of pseudoephedrine without being suspected of running a meth lab. No more sneezing, no more watery eyes, no more sudden chills. I feel good!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

my lil' cascade

A month or so ago, I posted a picture of this in my pile of unfinished projects. Well, I got on the ball and finished up my lil' cascade cardi on my trip home for Thanksgiving. And it looks like I finished it just in time because if fits my niece just about perfect (thank the heavens this girl grows so slow).

I really love the leaf detail that doubles as button holes. It was a bear to get straight and after frogging and reknitting it a couple times, I made a chart, checked off each row as I went and finally got it right. And I chose to just place the one button because, I'm kind of lazy and I think that she'd probably wear it open most of the time anyway.

Here she is reluctantly modeling her new sweater.

Now, that's better. Look how cute she looks!

Raveled here - you see that? I'm finally getting on board and posting my projects on Ravelry.

I dreamed a dream

I think that I can officially call it a head cold. Mostly just an annoyance at this point and I'm doing my best to contain my germs and prevent it from getting worse. And I don't know if it was my cold, the Advil PM or all the knitting I've been doing lately but I had the weirdest dream last night. I dreamt that I was finger croqueting this long chain which I somehow turning into a scarf and as it got longer and longer it wrapped all around me. When I woke up I almost expected to find yarn in my bed. But no, just my duvet. I haven't started sleep knitting. That would be pretty weird, right?

Maybe something like this - for which I can't find a source.

So I've been playing with finger knitting lately. It's something I saw a while ago and the other day as I was decorating my 8inch Christmas tree with yarn from my stash, I thought hey, I should try that. After playing with it for a few minutes I had a chord a yard long with which I tied a cute bow around the pot. It's got potential for decorating, gift wrapping and head bands. Here's a tutorial that spells it out nicely. The picture above looks to be a finger knitted cord that is being finger crocheted into a chain.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

unto you a child is born

I'm feeling a bit under the weather and trying not to get overwhelmed by all that I need to get done this next week. So I'll keep this brief and share the sweetest little Christmas video that my sister shared with me.

Somehow, the Christmas story always sounds best from the mouths of children - compound that with sweet little Australian accents and you get a real tear-jerker. And props to the costumer, best sheep costume ever!

Monday, December 12, 2011

you're welcome

I don't know where this all started but there are people putting words in Ryan Gosling's mouth, all over the internet. Yesterday, I happened to stumble upon this tumblr site devoted to "handmadery". And honestly, I went a little weak in the knees. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect anyone (especially a guy) to understand my passion for the fiber arts. And personally, I'm rather fond of the idea putting these words Joshua Jackson's mouth, but that's just about personal preference. Imagine with me.

Hey girl, it's killing me that you have to frog all those rows.

Yep, even better. I should probably be ashamed of myself.

Christmas is upon us*

Confession, this weekend I bought solar powered Christmas lights for my porch only to discover that this time of year, the sun rarely graces my front steps. Yep, not my finest moment. But seriously, this is the northern hemisphere! Maybe I'll put them away and bring them out in June or send them to my friend in Australia.

So, I hope you have all enjoyed my Knitters Gift Guide series. To recap, here are the links:

And if you're not a knitter, but would like to become one I can't think of a better new years resolution. Miss Nem over at Voice of Reason just put together a lovely and comprehensive guide on how to get started. I couldn't say it better myself, so I won't. Check it out here.

In other news, I've been channeling my sugar high* busily knitting and shopping for Christmas gifts and succeed in marking a few things off my list this weekend. Also, made said lists. It'll be here before we know it, better keep on moving.

* I'm inclined to believe that this is a song that has only ever been sung at my elementary school, a real shame. But to anyone else that went to Bonneville Elementary, I was an elf.

* What is it with sugar this time of year? I can't remember the last time I ate a real meal. Fortunately, I just received a crate of grapefruit (which I remember vaguely ordering from a neighbor kid who was raising money for a band trip or something) and I am hell bent on consuming before Christmas, in hopes that it will in someway counteract the sugar or at least prevent scurvy. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

knitters gift guide - scarves edition

Far be it from me to diswade anyone from jumping into any number of monumental projects with more or less ridiculous expectations of finishing them as gifts by the 25th. Be my guest and join me in the crazy. But if you're a tich more realistic than myself, I thought I'd suggest a couple of projects that are totally doable.

May I present my series of 3-strand scarves. The idea is to knit 3 strands together using a relatively simple stitch that really lets the combination of yarns shine. They knit up really fast because holding 3 strands together makes for a pretty chunky yarn and you can knit them on big needles. These are the sort of project that you could complete in an evening while watching your favorite Christmas movie. Selecting your yarns may be the hardest part - but if you like yarn shopping like I like yarn shopping, it's more fun than I'd like to admit.

Sample #1 - garter stitch

Here's the simplest of the lot (confession, I didn't make this one - it was purchased but I'm showing it for it's demonstrative value not to showcase my own workmanship)

Pick 2 colors - an accent color and a complimentary/neutral color, in this case red and white. Could be fun to use school/team colors to personalize it. To duplicate this look, your 3 yarns would be:

1) red
2) white
3) white - either use 2 strands of the same white or find 2 different yarns of differing textures to make it more interesting

The stitch: Garter (knit every row) on extra large needles - keep it loose.

Sample #2 - ribbed scarf

This one is almost as easy as the first and only requires that you know how to purl. And so as not to loose all credibility, I did make this one.

Find a yarn that is really interesting in color and texture and showcase it with two neutrals. I found a ball of recycled silk yarn at a quirky little store in Alaska and couldn't figure out what to do with it. I ended up pairing it with a white single ply wool and a silk bamboo blend in an oatmeal/taupe color.  So to duplicate this scarf your 3 yarns would be:

1) Recycled silk (find something showy - I like that this is verigated)
2) fluffy white wool
3) silk-bamboo blend (oatmeal)

The stitch: basic 1x1 rib. K1, P1 (repeat). On the next row, knit the knits and purl the purls and repeat to the end.

#3 - the stitch that shall not be named* scarf

This scarf is a little bit trickier. I wouldn't say that it's difficult but it requires a bit more attention than the previous two - which you could probably do with your eyes closed once you get a few rows in. Watch what you're doing and you'll be fine. It's really quite simple and looks awesome.


Here, I found a yarn I really liked and I chose 3 colors that looked good together. In this case, a worsted weight single ply wool, in 3 shades of purple.

The stitch: (co an even number of stitches) slip the 1st stitch; * yo, k2tog; repeat from * to last stitch, k1. The pattern is the same every row, front and back. 

Have fun with it and be creative. The possibilities are endless and you're sure to come out with a one-of-a-kind gift that will keep you're loved one warm this winter. A couple of final notes. 1) As I've noted on the #3, I like to slip the first stitch of a row, it makes a nice edge but really consistency is key. 2) Keep 'em narrow. Because with 3 strands these scarves will knit up quite thick, they can be quite narrow. I think that that #2 is only 12 stitches wide. 3) Also, as you can see, some of these have tassels which can be fun, or seam the ends together and make an infinity scarf.

Happy knitting!

*This stitch has a name, which though in a historical context is probably not only understandable but also descriptive, it's nowadays a derogatory slur that I don't like to use even in this context.

let saints and angels sing

Just spotted this on PoppyTalk and the mere idea of these make me wish that I were the type of person who sends out Christmas cards.

Mind you, not so much that I'd actually do it, just opine about it. Anyway, if you're more ambitious than I, they can be purchased at One Lantern's etsy shop. The shop is worth checking out even if you're not in the market for Christmas cards - they've made some really lovely stuff. 

And I'm working on my next Knitter's Gift Guide: Scarves. Because, hello, how could I have over looked such a staple in handknits and Christmas gifts. See hat and mitten guides.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

if the fates allow

In honor of this lovely season, I share with you one of my favorite Christmas songs from one of my favorite movies. But I'll warn you, it's a tear jerker.

queue Judy

The holiday season isn't always joyful for everyone all the time. And so many of my favorite Christmas songs are bitter-sweet.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

it must be requited

Last weekend I went to see Much Ado About Nothing at the Shakespeare Company. And I was struck by one line, or word rather. Requite. It is used twice, once by Benedict and again by Beatrice. It's a word that is so often used in the passive tense with a negative prefix. As such, it is something I am all too familiar with. Unrequited, as it is applied to love is a concept that I have spent far two many hours dwelling on. But as sad as the word unrequited is, to requite is possibly the most glorious verb in the english language. Sure, Christ told us that to love those who love us is no great feat and we are to strive to love all. Well, I'm working on the loving all bit, but I'm ready for some requition.

If you haven't seen this movie, consider it homework but I'll set this up a bit. Benedict and Beatrice can't stand each other. But their friends decide that with a little manipulation, they might actually stop their bickering and fall deeply in love. So, they set a trap. They set it up Benedict to overhear his friends describe Beatrice's undying love for him. And this is his reply.

Oh that my love could inspire such enthusiasm. Isn't Kenneth Branagh absolutely dreamy here? I can't get enough of that beard. I was going to make some sort of joke about "l[ying] in the woolen" here but they all came out overly dirty and totally obscure (harnessing my inner Shakespeare nerd). 

Back to my point, Beatrice's response is precious. 
And, Benedick, love on; I will requite thee, 
Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand.
It is such a great love story, and one of Shakespeare's best. And it's currently getting a modern revision by Joss Wedon of all people (think Firefly and Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog). I can't wait to see Nathan Fillion (Captains Reynolds and Hammer) as Dogberry - sure to be brilliant!

Monday, December 5, 2011

thrumming along

I stayed up way too late last night knitting. It's a sick obsession but I liken it to what video games must be, though I've never played them. I'm driven to get to the next part, to finish  this section, to reknit this section, to get it right and to make it better.

So I ventured into the soft and cozy world of thrumming. And because I don't expect anyone to know what that is I'll remind you of my knitter's gift guide: mittens edition. I included a pattern which actually turned out to be quite confusing. It seems the the author drinks a lot of wine while she knits, and I'm thinking it might have a two drink minimum.

As a sober knitter, I sought out another pattern, which I like much better but chose not to follow it either. I went rogue and made it up as I went, which is always risky (especially when you're attempting a matched pair of something). But so far so good. And maybe if we're all lucky I'll write it up.

Here's a picture from Yellow Dog Knitting - I think their patten is pretty good and isn't this the sweetest little mitten? I love how the thrums make lines of puffy little v's.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Today I am grateful for unpublished posts. Honestly, some of my favorite posts just aren't publishable. Some I are ideas that I never flesh out, some are personal, and some are just better kept to myself.

Since high school I have always kept a journal, not the sort of journal in which I chronical the details of my day but rather bouts of confusion, frustration, gratitude and love.

I've be terrible about writing in my journal since I started this blog. But I still love taking pen to paper. I love the process of filling a page - my entries usually fill page, generally quite precisely. There is something magical about filling a single unlined page with all that I'm thinking, all that I'm feeling, to dedicate a page to one moment in time. I love to look back and see the emotion in my script, the drama, the angst and the passion. I am transported back into those moments when I couldn't keep it in and I let it spill out onto the page, uncensored and unedited.

Sometimes I worry that in blogging I sensor myself too much, that I loose too much in the process. So, I am happy when I look at my long list of posts and see a few that are unpublished.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

it's gonna be a good day

I'm going to try not to sound smug* as I describe the total joy that filled me when I woke up this morning on the first of December to sunlight streaming through my window. Such a sublime moment and a true blessing for this seasonally affected girl. Nothing like sunshine to coax me out bed on a chilly morning. I contemplated digging out my sunglasses as I walked to the metro but risked the eye damage to take it all in. There is simply nothing better than a crisp sunny morning. The newly hung Christmas decorations looked out of place in the bright morning light but by the time I walk home, they'll twinkle like stars in the dark winter's night.

And when a handsome gentlemen gave me his seat on the metro, I thought to myself, "yep, today is going to be a good day."

*Sorry Alaskans and others who are not as meteorologically blessed - you're in my prayers.