Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Yesterday's chilling wind reminded me that I didn't have a hat; some bargain chunky yarn at Jo-Ann's and about two hours of my time; problem solved! This hat was made using the Foliage pattern by Emilee Mooney, which was published in Knitty. If you've never been to knitty.com, it's a great online magazine with tons of free patterns!
I loved that there were instructions for both bulky and medium weight yarns for this hat. I wore it out during our errands this morning, and my head was oh-so-greatful! Knit in a top-down construction, I wasn't sure how it would all come together, but I really like it. I'll definitely use this pattern again.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Lace caps have become a new fun project because if you use a worsted weight yarn they're as functional (in keeping your head warm) as they are nice to look at. I used a purl decrease on this one just for a little something different visually, but I don't know that I'd do it again. Hats are great because they are easily completed in one sitting...I watched The Hangover and part of Inglorious Basterds (found in my stocking), did all of our laundry and made this hat last night. Hats are great stash busters, and a great way to try new stitches or skills. Have fun!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Although the prep was a little bit tedious and took about two hours, the actual construction of the stocking, including the cuff, was about 45 minutes. Constructed by stitching three-inch strips of fabric in an intentionally haphazard way to a backing fabric that already has batting fused to it, each stocking is comprised of two panels that are then sewn together and turned inside out after adding a cuff. At 1:30 am after I successfully turned out my first stocking, I decided to call it a night and put things back in their place until Charlie's nap today.
Sometime between cupcake and macaroon-making, store runs, gift-wrapping and, oh yeah, showering, I'll have three more lovely stockings so that we actually have something to stuff tonight! I'm pretty pleased with the final product. The fact that it actually looks like the picture just shows that it's a pretty idiot proof method...try it for yourself!
Monday, December 21, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Have a great time, Erin!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I knew there was a reason we moved to NewEngland! This month, Disney on Ice will be coming to TD Garden in Boston to celebrate 100 Years of Magic!
From Mickey Mouse to Woody and Mr. Increcible you'll be dazzled by the characters that fill your home. In light of the current economic situation, MomCentral has asked that we spread the word about an awesome opportunity to get a Four-pack of tickets for only $44 when you go to a Monday-Friday matinee show. (You can even get more tickets for $11 each!) The code MOM will not only get you the four-pack at a great price, but you can also choose to save $4 off Friday night and weekend shows.
If you're still trying to think of a great stocking stuffer for your kids, this may be it! Go to www.ticketmaster.com and use the code MOM to get your great discount. Show Dates in Boston are as follows: Saturday, December 26: 11:00 AM, 3:00PM, 7:00PM. Sunday, December 27: 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM Monday, December 28: 11:00AM, 3:00PM Tuesday, December 29:12:00 PM and 4:00PM.
Last, but certainly not least, I've been given the chance to offer a four-pack of tickets for FREE to one lucky commenter for opening night; December 26th at 7pm in Boston. Your tickets will be available at will-call with valid photo ID. Comment today and win! Drawing will be held Friday at noon EST and the winner notified via email, so please include that information!
Friday, December 11, 2009
I do, however, have to say that whoever is behind CBS' new PSA campaign maybe needs to re-think the delivery. If you haven't yet seen the commercials in which Mr. Suave actor tells you the something special you can do for 'your woman' this year is to schedule her pap smear, then I've included it in the post for you. I can only imagine men across America as they innocently look at their wives and say..."Baby, I gave you the gift of life. Not even Santa can bring that." There's even a version for Hannakuh...does that mean you have to get eight pap smears?
I'm pretty sure most men wouldn't be too jazzed if their woman slipped an appointment card for a colonoscopy or prostate exam into their stockings instead of Guitar Hero. But that's just my humble opinion. How about I'll schedule my annual exam all by myself...I'm a big girl.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Yesterday, I finally started to feel like this whole residency thing would eventually come to a close. While J spent some time with the big wigs at his first hospital tour, I got to look at homes with a realtor and start to envision H and Charlie playing in the large, fenced back yards with our potential dog, sleeping in bunk-beds in a bedroom overlooking said yard and slurping cereal in the breakfast nook.
We were treated to a fantastic dinner at a beautiful winery filled with laughter and ease, then drove to a gorgeous restored historic hotel; where I’m currently sitting on a plush King-sized bed in the hotel’s cushy robe while J sweats away another morning of interviews. And if that wasn’t enough, there was a huge wine and cheese basket filled with local decadence and a personal touch.
I think this is something to which I’d like to become accustomed…
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I've been knitting up a storm*, taking long drives around the valley, making full dinners for the parentals and myself, watching the kids have a ball in the great outdoors and just enjoying being back in small-town USA.
Did you know that people routinely smile and chat you up in grocery stores, on the street and just in general? I know! I'd almost forgotten as well.
I love driving my dad's big ole pick-up truck, and love that when you're driving 60 miles an hour on the highway between my old stomping grounds and the big city, otherwise knows as L.A. Grande, that people will wave because they recognize your car.
I love putting the boys in the double stroller every afternoon and getting out for a nice long walk down through the town. I love having a yard that they can run, and run, and run in every day. Seeing H's 'Californy Quail', for whom he tosses out cracked corn every day, and the deer that boldly jump the fence into the yard to clean up the extras after the quail have settled in for the night.
I love that Charlie has started making all the barnyard noises because we're actually seeing barnyard animals everywhere we go.
I love going out for beers with my friends and only spending $20 for a roaring good time.
I love that this time is helping me make the mental transition back to rural America. Most likely J's job will not land us back in Portland as we'd hoped, which was really disappointing at first. What will I do without sushi restaurants, major movie theatres and an endless stream of entertainment possibilities right at my fingertips?!
But the more I'm home and see the kids of my friends, and my friends themselves with the comfortable lives they're able to afford and enjoy, it's getting more and more palatable. Maybe even, gasp, something I'm looking forward to? Wherever we land, it will be an adjustment. After three years I feel like I'm settled. We have a routine, we have friends and we have our home.
The next six months are going to go so quickly, and I'm realizing that what this time in Oregon has really given me is an appreciation for how much I've loved living in New England. Yes, there are many things about it that this Pac Northwesterner finds 'wicked retahded', but it is a great place to be, and it will be hard to leave. There. I said it.
*So far, I've knit two of the Georgian Lace Cap, a baby lace cap, most of a pair of socks, part of a scarf, and I started on the Scandanavian stranded colorwork stockings from KnitPicks. Pictures to come when I can figure out how to make my camera work with my parents' computer, or when I get home...whichever comes first.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
I had ordered some Swish (superwash merino) from KnitPicks awhile ago, intending to make a hat and mittens set for H at the same time I was making the Playground Mittens for Alex's kids. Then one project led to another and the wool sat in it's lonely bin. Each time I made a new pair of socks, H asked if they were for him...I figured it was finally time to make good on my promise to him so he didn't end up like the shoemaker whose children went barefoot. Last night, while watching Grey's Anatomy I knocked out the first sock in his pair. Who knew a preschooler's sock worked in worsted weight yarn would go so quickly?! The second sock, as any good sock-maker knows to do, is cast on and started already so that it gets done as quickly as the first. You, too, can make these socks! I based it on this pattern in Ravelry (find me under SallyHP79)
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
I knew the next way to challenge myself in knitting was to try a lace project. I found the free pattern for this Georgian Lace Cap on KnitPicks, and used some Cotton-Ease yarn that I already had in my stash. One skein is enough to do two hats.
My first attempt, I was feeling pretty cocky as I worked the first couple rounds, but it was my first time using a chart and let's just say that about three rounds into the pattern, things didn't look so hot. So, I ripped it out.
Second attempt gave me three repeats of the 8 row pattern, so when I ripped out those 28 rows (including the four stockinette rows) it was a little more painful. I put the needles and yarn on my bookcase and glowered at them in the corner for the rest of the evening.
My third attempt, I successfully completed my first repeat and realized what my error had been before...after that, I took the hat to bookclub with me and was able to discuss the book and complete most of the hat, which I finished at home. Fairly instant gratification and a more complex looking pattern; makes my little knitty heart warm.
I think I have a new appreciation for charts. It allowed me to see what was supposed to be emerging as I knit so that after a couple of repeats (when they're done correctly, unlike my first two tries) you start to automatically sense when yarn-overs and decreases are going to happen so that you can knit a lace pattern and do something else at the same time.
Speaking of double-duty, or double fisting, I just bought the book Pints and Purls: Portable Projects for the Social Knitter and really like a lot of the patterns. Along with great full-color photos, there are ideas for fun knitting nights and drink suggestions that will result in less tears when spilled (aka Gin and Tonic vs. Red Wine when knitting with a lovely creamy silk yarn).
Next on the needles is the Ruff Neck Warmer from the book, which I'm knitting in an alpaca/silk blend that is the most beautiful shade of blue I've seen in a long time (kenai). A fun and simple gift that will be going to someone who the color may "matcher" their eyes.
For a more whimsical project, I recently knit this tooth-fairy pillow for a customer and received responses from friends and H that it looked like everything from a bunny to a fat person in long-john's with the flap on the butt. You be the judge of little Mervin the Molar.
I also finally mastered the magic loop for socks, and I don't think there's any turning back. I'm not a huge fan of using two circulars because I felt like I spent all my time sliding yard across the cables, but it's much less so with just the one in magic loop.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
When we were at Baby Loves Disco in Boston, they (along with Stonyfield Farms and some others) provided snacks and samples. Following my visit there, I'd offered to post about them because Charlie loved the food. In addition to great microwave-able meals like Mac and Cheese with veggies snuck in, they had puffs that were in the same size package as the Gerber puffs, but their container held about 40% more and had a LOT less sugar. Plus, from the couple I snuck, they're pretty tasty! They come in Banana, Apple and Greens. Julie at HappyFamily was happy to send me a couple of containers to try, as they're not yet widely available in our area. I wasn't able to try a lot of the other entrees because the stores right around me weren't carrying them yet.
One of the reasons I'm asking that people vote for HappyBaby in the Shine a Light is that the money and support will enable them to place their product in a lot more venues, letting babies across the nation in on the secret: baby food doesn't have to taste bland and nasty...it can be really good and good for you.
It only takes a moment to vote, and you have to register your information but I'm thinking that's because they don't want one person coming back to vote multiple times. Please take the time to support a company that is working hard to support and feed families in a positive and socially responsible way. You have until October 16th, but if you're anything like me...you'd be better to click over right now before you put it off until 'tomorrow' which will end up being October 17th before you know it!
Here's what they have to say for themselves:
HAPPYBABY organic baby foods launched on Mother’s Day 2006 with 5 products in 5 small NYC stores. The business is the brainchild of a social entrepreneur who wanted to make a difference using business, support sustainable agriculture, provide our children with the best start to instill eating habits for a healthy happy life, and simultaneously provid basic nutritional needs for less fortunate children simply trying to survive. Today, the innovative business has 26 products, always organic, formulated with leading pediatricians and nutritionists for optimal nutrition using the best ingredients nature offers, and can be found in over 5,000 stores nationwide with a loyal following.
The company’s ability to innovate is responsible for its great success. They care. HAPPYBABY pioneered a new movement in baby food with a line of sustainable organic home-style meals as an alternative to the processed jarred foods that had not been improved since the 1930’s. They were the first organic baby food to incorporate DHA, the essential fatty acid needed for brain development and used a sustainable vegetarian source. HAPPYBELLIES cereal was the first baby food to use probiotics which defend against the development of food allergies, asthma, and eczema while supporting digestive wellness. Their HAPPYPUFFS were the first organic puffed snack for baby as a low sugar alternative to the artificial products on the market. HAPPYMELTS are the first product to combine pre and probiotics in a truly healthy yogurt snack for tots. Their HAPPYBITES line encourages kids to eat their veggies by sneaking them into familiar flavors. Most recently, the company is the first to use the supergrain, Salba, the planet’s most nutritious grain.
HAPPYBABY has created a tight-knit community of its own with its Community Marketing Specialist Program whose actions positively impact local communities nationwide. These 50 moms support the mission to give babies the very best and work to educate parents about why organic is important for their baby’s delicate immune system, demonstrate how to make fresh foods, and simply get the word out. The global community is impacted in a truly unique way by the company’s very special partnership with the heroic nonprofit, Project Peanut Butter, that works to feed a starving child in Africa for an entire day based on each unit sold by HAPPYBABY!
Customer relationships are paramount to a company that exists to make babies and parents happy. The founding team personally responds to all questions, directs medically related questions to its experts, and really listens to the feedback and suggestions from parents in order to continuously improve. They further believe that being a resource for education and wellness is their duty.
HAPPYBABY ‘s philosophy is highlighted in their new book, HAPPYBABY co-authored by revered pediatrician Dr Sears, provides parents with affordable green parenting options to raise their own healthy happy babies in an environmentally friendly way.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
"Frequently Bought Together: Customers buy this item with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Widescreen Edition) DVD ~ Daniel Radcliffe
Price For Both: $18.48 "
Thursday, September 10, 2009
I hope that if you didn't get to see the speech, you'll take the time to watch it; either here, on youTube, or the multitude of other places it's bound to wind up. The only thing I cut out was the applause at the beginning.
In an age when information is at our fingertips, it's always a little alarming to see how many people choose to comment on, and get riled up about, something that they've not yet seen or heard from the horse's mouth so to speak. As a student of history I remember my lessons well; I value primary sources as the go-to, then I move on to secondary sources to get perspective (i.e. the political pundits and newcasters, bloggers like myself and the guys you blab with at the coffee shop who saw it for themselves).
An informed public is what, as J reminded me, makes a democracy successful. Arm yourselves with knowledge and then, if you still feel the same way you did, argue to your heart's delight.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The first was last night with my friend Alex, who narrowly escaped arrest on the way to my house. I am not exaggerating. Aparrently she and her husband made the minor oversight of neglecting to renew the registration on their car...for three months...which, in the Commonwealth, generally comes with an automatic trip to the pokey and an impounded car. Seeing as how she has an impeccable record and her big night out was to make jam; a fact which the officer duly noted, she was let go with the understanding that he would be alerting every officer in our town that if she were seen driving again prior to renewal...To the Moom, Alice!
So following a detour back home to get her husband's car, she arrived in one piece and we got smashed. Or the berries did anyhow. So crisis, and several hundred dollars in fines, averted, we commenced.
Here's all you need to make some really good berries into even better jam:
A large saucepan, two bowls/platters; one to measure your sugar into and one to smash the berries in, potato masher or blender (on CHOP not puree...I far prefer the potato masher), Jelly Jars with lids and rings, Wide mouth funnel, jar lifter, large pot with rack to keep jars from the bottom (I got mine from a hardware store...it's a boiling water bath canner), wooden spoons or spatulas, berries, SureJell (I used low-sugar for two batches and regular for one; the bowl o' sugar is the full-force one...and it also uses less fruit, sadly) tiny amount of butter or margerine (to help reduce foam) and a s*&$load of sugar. For the full sugar version, I actually had to switch over to my big soup pot or it would have boiled over.
If it's handy, you can also use your child's muscles to smash the berries...I employed this method on the second batch this morning.
Lined up like Pretty Maids All In a Row