Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Christmas reinforced for me how very blessed we are in so many ways.

Here was our tree:

Look at all that insanity. We only had 7 people there! It took us 4 hours to get through everything...granted, our tradition dictates opening gifts quite slowly, but I think this is still a record.

I took photos of everything I got that was for me specifically, but I was too lazy to take photos of stuff shared by me and C.

The quintessential Italian cookbook. I can't wait to make everything in it. (Well, OK, not everything. I noticed a recipe that involved boiled calves' feet. Not happening.)

Yes, this is a peanut butter and jelly spreader. Awesome. No one needs this, but it is fabulous.

Quite possibly the most exciting gift...this means that today's post will be the last one containing cell phone photos (unless I randomly need to take a photo somewhere and only have the phone with me). The new camera is charging now and then it will be in business!

I love silly kitchen implements. This one is particularly apt because the only slotted spoon I have is HUGE, so this makes a good mid-sized one.

Switchplate for our kitchen light. Now people will know this light switch is for our kitchen (people get confused because the switch is not actually IN the kitchen).

Yum. I probably WILL make almost everything in this one, at least once. There are some amazing looking recipes here...and it looks like some good reading, too (how chocolate is made, etc).

Dorky, yes, but I needed one. I am horrible about checking my tire pressure, mainly because I did not have a tire gauge. This will ease my mind as my car's low-tire-pressure warning light is constantly on because my snow tires don't have the special super-expensive valves that communicate with the system.

I hope this one is good. I'm looking for more decent sock patterns.

And while I search for a good pattern to make socks for ME, I have these awesome down booties to keep my feet warm (did I mention I am constantly cold all winter?).

Pasta that my Mother-In-Law picked up in Rome (she got there the day before we left). I can't believe she traipsed around Rome and Florence for 2 weeks and didn't break a single one of these (they are about 2 feet long). That short one is just short, not broken.

Really looking forward to getting through reading this, and making some stuff, after all the praise this book has gotten from fellow bloggers.

Don't tell me what happened. I have not yet seen Season 7 as we have no TV here.

This looks kind of fun...though I have to admit I am getting annoyed with Debbie Stoller lately. Maybe this will change my mind.

This is a duplicate, but I have no complaints. Who can possibly have too much coconut body butter and scrub from the Body Shop? Not me!

I have wanted this for ages but never been able to justify it. The elephants' trunks are hooks, for hanging small items like keys..the giraffe is just for decoration. Now to decide where this will go...

And I just realized I did forget to photograph a couple gifts. Let's leave it at this - I am spoiled.

Happy holidays to all. :)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

It's finally done!!!

Yes, I have finished my Christmas knitting as of today. Here are the photos (not counting the finished pair I posted a couple weeks ago):

For mom (left wrapped at her house on Sunday after my visit):

For C:

For C's mom:

For C's aunt:

Now maybe I can think about making MYSELF some socks!

Meanwhile, here is a blocked sweater that I finished in April but will wear on Monday for the first time.

It's not especially flattering (so you will get no photos of me in it) but it is warm and comfy.

Finally, I promised a pic of what I made at the glassblowing event (I still don't have ownership of the photos of me making this though).

Merry Christmas everyone! I will post again after the holiday, and more often now that all these socks are done!!! :)

Friday, December 08, 2006

If only every workday could be like this...

So for Christmas, my boss today took us to a glassblowing studio where we got an hourlong (very cool) demo and then we each got to make something. I made a paperweight, but I don't get to bring it home for another couple days (it has to cool down very slowly or it will shatter). Anyway, I don't have photos yet, as someone else was taking them, but I know for sure they were taking photos of me as I was working on my piece, so I'll be sure to post them (um, depending on how awful I look). Then we went out to a fun Japanese restaurant for lunch, and then after that (around 2:15) we got to go home. What a great way to end the week :)

Anyway, here is the necklace photo I promised:

Finally, here is my progress on the sock I started Sunday.

Not as fast as the last one, but I have been crazed this week and haven't had much time. I'll be working on it for a minimum of 3 hours tonight though, so I plan to at least get the heel turned and the gusset stitches picked up...ideally I would manage to get the gusset decreases done, but we'll see where that goes. Knitting does get a bit slower when chatting. :)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Quick Update

Yesterday morning my friend Bobbi and I went to Caribou Coffee for a little caffeine and knitting. We hung out for a couple hours and met lots of nice people who wanted to talk to us about what we were knitting (of course I was working on a sock which intrigued a lot of people). Anyway we had so much fun that we are planning to do it again on Friday night (I always sit around the house knitting on Friday nights anyway).

I am about halfway down the leg on the current sock. It's moving slowly, partly because I had no time to work on it today (maybe I'll have 20 or 30 minutes just before bed, so that means one pattern repeat). I was hunting down my dress for the work Christmas party this weekend. I bought one on Saturday, only to find out when I got home that one of the straps was damaged. I went to one mall at lunch today - no luck, but I went to another one after work and was successful. I also picked up a necklace to go with it - with this low neckline I think it needs one, even though I almost never wear jewelry. I'm posting a photo of the dress, haven't taken one of the necklace yet, but it is a gold chain with big loops, threaded with a red velvet ribbon that matches the dress. I'll try to post a photo tomorrow. The dress looks more purple than it really is - I think it's because the walls in the room are purple. Anyway it's more like the color of a nice cabernet. :)

Friday, December 01, 2006


Right now I am stuck home due to a foot of snow - they just now came thru with the plow, so I'm going to go into work for a half day, as soon as I get off this conference call (at least that I could do from home).

Here is what I have been working on, to the exclusion of blogging, cleaning the house, keeping in touch with people, etc.

Retro ribbed sock #1 for M-I_L...

Pair of "fake Fair Isle" socks for S-I-L...

Retro Ribbed Sock #1 for mom (just completed an hour ago)...

All of these have been started and completed in the past month (if you follow my blog you know it normally takes me a month to do ONE sock). I have 2 more Retro Rib socks to do, and then I need to finish the red and white patch socks (I posted sock #1 from it awhile back and am only about halfway through #2), all before Christmas. The craziness is not quite over yet.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Why haven't I been posting lately?

I promise, I will show you very soon... I am working on the photos. ;)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

OK - you wanted to see!

Sorry for the delay - the photo delay has been due to C taking forever to put his digital signature on them (and he refused to let me post them without it). The posting delay has been due to me furiously knitting socks in a panic-stricken state. I am hoping to finish one tonight and cast on for another either tonight or tomorrow. I have to, at a minimum, complete 3 1/3 more socks before Christmas. To add to the excitement, 2 of the pairs I am still working on need to be shipped. My blood pressure was up at the doctor yesterday. Luckily, the nurse understood when I explained :)

OK, on to the photos!

Random street in Venice - I just loved Venice in general. There weren't as many big famous things to look at, but I loved the city. One of my favorite places I have ever been.

View of the Grand Canal in Venice off the Accademia bridge, which was right near our hotel. You can see what gorgeous weather we were having out there.

Maybe THIS was why I loved Venice so much - this was the only yarn shop I saw on our travels. I didn't buy anything, but had to have a photo. (Note the edge of the bridge right next to it, there are over 400 bridges in Venice going over the various canals.)

C and me at our stop in Umbria. Isn't that gorgeous behind us? Unfortunately this one doesn't seem to be looking so good at this size...I think it's a little better if you click on it.

Wonderful pasta in Umbria. And vino! I think I drank about a whole bottle of wine at this lunch. By the time we got to Rome I was feeling hung over!

One of my favorite things about Italy - gelato! I think the flavors here were tiramisu and peanut butter. It's probably a good thing we can't get gelato here (we even had it for dinner one night) or I would be the size of a house. But I miss it.

Me in front of the Trevi fountain, just minutes after two Italian guys got into a fight and ended up IN the fountain, and then were carted off by the cops.

Fun pastry I picked up while wandering Rome. I have no idea what it was called or what was in it, but it was yummy!

I'll do more photos another time, but at least I finally got some up!

Back to the sock frenzy!!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Clearly we are in demand.

So I went to the post office this morning to pick up the mail that was held while we were gone, and this is what they gave me:

Wow. It took me 20 minutes just to sort that into piles for me, C, and the recycle bin! I'm actually keeping a fair amount of catalogs because I prefer to do my holiday shopping that way (and everyone gets the hint and I get an increasing number of catalogs every year).

Anyway, I am quite jet lagged...it hits in the evenings. Last night I was asleep by 8 pm, and I'm thinking it may not be much later than that tonight.

But! I will mention some of the good meals I had on my vacation (this was one of the big reasons I even went)!
- Gnocchi with scallops and mushrooms, roast duck, and chocolate souffle (Venice)
- Farro and white bean soup, beef with peas, and vanilla bean panna cotta (Florence)
- Fresh spaghetti with tomatoes and lamb, organic pork sausage and chicken (farm in Umbria)
- Big slabs of pizza ordered from a takeout counter, piping hot and wrapped to eat while walking (Rome)

And the gelato! It's nothing, nothing like ice cream here. After my first taste, I ate as much gelato as I could get my hands on, even though it was quite cold in Italy, especially at night. My favorite flavors were tiramisu and coconut, but also had some good dark chocolate, peanut butter, nutella, and chocolate chip. Yum!

Oh, I even had good food in London - though it's not what most people think of as a culinary destination. I had a fabulous lunch of mussels steamed in broth and wine with onions and celery, and fries with vinegar. Mmmm.

C is still working on the vacation photos. I am off to work on a heel flap before going to sleep.

Quick Note

I'm back! (Actually, I'm going into work today too.)

I have lots of stories and tons of pics that will make their way here eventually.

And - because I know you were all wondering, I got one sock completely done while I was gone, and two more are close to halfway. On to the home stretch of Christmas knitting!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Here we go!

We leave in about an hour. Very nervous and excited.

See you all in 2 weeks!

Thursday, October 26, 2006


I just checked some weather forecasts for Italy. Venice is in the upper 50's during the day, which is about what I expected....but Florence and Rome are at about 80 degree highs! This is going to change my packing plans a bit - which originally involved only long sleeve shirts including some fleece! London has been in the 60's, which sounds ideal. I don't care if it rains, I'm ready for that.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Only a few more days until vacation!

In preparation, I got me some Euros:


We also participated in Early Voting on Saturday, as Illinois now allows it.

Better than absentee, I think.

On Saturday we went to the Milwaukee Symphony, which was amazing. We had a wonderful time. There were even encores (which rarely happens at the symphony)! Tons of fun.

Yesterday, I went to an Alpaca show a couple miles from my house. I got to pet an alpaca, which was even softer than alpaca yarn, amazingly enough. Of course I forgot to take pictures of any alpacas, but I did buy yarn!

The first is an off-white laceweight, and the other two are charcoal gray (they almost look black in the photo) that I would categorize as sport-weight. They are SO soft. I think I got good deals too, based on what I have paid for alpaca yarn elsewhere. I may or may not have purchased something for my SP as well, but I won't spill the beans because I know she is trying hard to figure out who I am :)

I finished the retro rib socks (and just now realized I forgot to take photos - duh. that will be tomorrow). Here is my next Socktoberfest sock:

This is only about 1.5 hours' work - it knits up pretty fast. It's an Opal DK weight on size 3 needles, and me likey. Anyway, this is all I'm doing for now. I just wanted to have it started before I put it in the luggage, to prove I really am knitting, in case my bags get checked. I'm also going to start another retro rib before I pack it as well.

Now I must do more laundry and get packing as I believe the packing will take me all week!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

My SP is going to love me.

I don't normally post my gifts for my SP here, but I have to for this one.

Today I went to a LYS I'd never been to before, that is right by my work. Aside from the fact that I spent 30 minutes walking around looking for it (I needed the extra exercise anyway after eating those damn brownies this week), it's really very close to work and I will go there more often now that I know where it is.

I was planning to do just a small Halloween-y package for her, but then I saw this:

Gorgeous purple Koigu. Now mind you, I've never bought Koigu for MYSELF even, and this is the most beautiful colorway ever. It looks even better in person (what looks like black in the photo is actually darker plum, and there are about 6 different shades in there). Oh, and these were the only 2 skeins.

Anyway, so there are things both good and bad about having a spoilee with similar tastes. Good - easy to find stuff they'll like. Bad - it's really hard to give it away once you have it.

Now that this is now a not-so-small first package, it's painfully obvious to me that I'm going to go over the recommended spending amount. But I don't really care, as long as she appreciates it, and I think she will. I hope she has fun with it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More chocolate :)

For my boss' birthday, I baked brownies to take to work tomorrow.

They are my usual drool-worthy brownie recipe, but with peanut butter chips instead of chocolate chips, and sprinkled with Reese's Pieces on top. I warned everyone they better work out tomorrow! :)

And here's my progress on Retro Rib Sock #2...

If I work hard, maybe I can finish by this weekend.

Edit: I just ate 3/4 of a brownie. I couldn't finish it. Too rich. I feel sick :P Co-workers are in for it tomorrow. Boss will love it.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

My hair is foofy. :)

I just got it cut and they always tease it up 'n stuff. Normally it is pretty flat (I prefer to think of it as "sleek").

And here is me being silly... (who, me? silly?)

And, per the other day's Socktoberfest posting, here is my sock yarn stash (I was waiting for a few skeins I ordered to show up from Knitpicks, and now they are here).

  • Do you have certain patterns planned for some of the yarns? Do you buy yarn and then choose a pattern?

    All the Knitpicks yarn is probably going to turn into Retro Rib Socks, like the pink ones I'm currently working on. The pattern is fun and it works really well with the yarn. Sock yarn is the only kind of yarn I'm generally comfortable just buying without a pattern in mind...because if I buy enough yarn for a pair, it's generally enough no matter what pattern - unless, I suppose, I decided to do knee socks...then I would have to know before I bought the yarn.

  • Does a certain sock yarn you have in your stash take you back to a certain event? (where you were when you bought/received it? what was going on in your life at the time!)

    Not really, but the Socks that Rock (middle row, far left 2 hanks) is from when I went to Stitches this summer. I didn't realize how hard it is to get your hands on...otherwise I might have bought more of it! I can't wait to use it. But by the time I use it up, it might be time for next year's show and I can buy more!

So the big trip is 2 weeks from today...pretty much at this exact time in 2 weeks I will be leaving for the airport. Yikes! I went to the bank today and ordered some Euros so we'll have them ahead of time...and C has a coworker with leftover British Pounds, so we'll buy those too, just to make things a little easier.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Tips on weaving in ends.

When you are finishing up with your weaving in, and you go to tie a knot to secure everything before breaking the yarn...but a knot forms before you have pulled the yarn all the way through, DO NOT, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, pull out the scissors and cut it. You are probably cutting through actual knitting, which will proceed to unravel. Then you will have to do a frantic surgery on your mother's birthday gift, leaving a horrid scar behind.

Sigh. This needs to go in the mail tomorrow. But it was the best patch-up job I could do.

Here is the full thing, with scar not visible:

And, for good measure, this is the sock I am knitting at work (during lunch). It's plain stockinette, which means I can keep knitting even if someone comes to bother me during lunch, which happens all the time. I don't have to worry about staying in pattern.

Still, I am distraught about my mother's birthday socks. They were pretty well perfect until I went and did that. I suppose it could be worse, but it looks truly awful.