May 31, 2007


or better known in the knitting world as finished objects.

Monkey socks
Pattern: Free at
Level: MUCH easier than it looks
Yarn: Socks that Rock Lightweight Superwash Merino in Lemongrass colorway

Notes: When you have enormous feet like me, think about shortening the leg length a little. What should have been plenty o'yarn turned up a few feet (ha ha, it's a pun) short at the end of the second sock, so I ripped it back and made it one pattern repeat shorter, then disassembled the toe of the first sock so that I could shorten it to the same length...not a big deal, but still a pain in the arse.

Baby Kimono Sweater #2
Pattern: Mason Dixon Knitting Book (from Amber :) )
Level: So easy and only a couple seams for finishing
Yarn: Two balls of Ella rae Madison (wool/acrylic/nylon) in color #101 (in my Easter basket from Patty!)

Notes: This was the first time I knit with nubby yarn and it turned out very cute! Only a baby could get away with this look, though. This sweater will actually go in a hope chest for my future children. And if I only have boys, I guess some boy will have to wear a very girly sweater! I had a little knitting mishap along the way - I wasn't paying attention to the pattern and realized I was only increasing for the sleeve on one side. I thought - no way is a baby going to have an arm this long....then I looked down to the pattern diagram and realized it was the length of both sleeves combined. I sure hope I never have a baby that disproportionate - but who knows with my genes?!

Here is the yarn for my next project. But this one has to stay secret for a while.

May 29, 2007

Jitter Bug

First I have to say a special thank you to Amber! She fed my yarn diet with a belated birthday present of sock yarn.

I have heard the infamous Brenda Dayne mention Colinette yarn many a time, but have never seen it in person. This is JitterBug 100% merino sock yarn in the Duck colorway. It's beautiful Amber! I will find a great use for it, and until I do, I will just fondle it.

I am also proud to give the first peek at our vegetable garden. Brian and I came home yesterday and shrieked when we saw how so many seedlings had popped out in our absence! All of the lettuces, beans, broccoli, squash, and cucumber are sprouting. The peas still remain to be seen. The tomatoes and peppers are still thriving. The manuer compost seems to be doing it's job! So far, the chicken wire has been efficient at keeping the squirrels away. At some point we'll have to remove it from the tomatoes to give them room to grow, but we'll wait as long as possible.

I'm dreaming of fresh tomatoes and basil with sliced mozarella and olive oil drizzled over top. What could be more delicious on a hot summer day?

Memorial Day Extravaganza

This weekend was full of festivities - a beautiful Chicago wedding, brunches/BBQ's with friends, and a rousing game of kickball.

I won't provide you with ALL of the details, but for those who want to know, here are a few highlights.

Carrie and Matt went all out for their wedding day. The weather didn't fully cooperate, but they made the best of it. The wedding was in downtown Chicago, with the ceremony at Old St. Pat's and reception at the Chicago City Centre hotel. Carrie put a special touch in to each detail. The girls wore Ann Taylor's strapless celadon dresses with champagne colored sashes. The groom's sisters stood as groomswoman and wore black with celadon sashes. Carrie's dress was very elegant in it's simplicity - a tiered strapless gown with thick white horizontal bands of satin. The ceremony was filled with beautiful music. They surprised everyone with a gospel choir at the end to sing "Oh Happy Day" and "This Little Light of Mine" as they exited the church. The reception was beautiful with towering flower arrangements and taper candles. The flowers reminded me of the classic bouqets that are featured on Martha Stewarts Wedding magazines. The kids (and adults) couldn't wait to get their hands on the wedding favors - a candy bar featuring a jar of each of the bridal party member's favorite type of candy.

Carrie and Matt are now in Costa Rica for their honeymoon. I hope they're having a great adventure.

Here is the flickr group for all photos.

We spend Sunday afternoon with Brian's old Chicago friends. We haven't seen their son Spencer for over a year now. He has gotten so big! Of course, he doesn't remember us at all. That makes Brian sad, but what can we really expect? He's a great kid, though...So cute and polite. If you ask him for something that he doesn't want to give you, instead of saying "no" he says "not quite."

Jeff and Mark built a cornhole/beanbag game for the night. It was more definitely more fun than horseshoes. Brian and I are ready to build our own now. And yes, of course their were many derogatory remarks about the cornhole.

We closed the weekend by joining the 5th Annual Memorial Day Kickball game put on by the Action-Squad. We kicked, we ran, we failed to score any runs...We were the Lazer Beam Team. The Matzoh Ball team was triumphant with wins in large and small kickball. I served more as moral support to my team than anything else, but I still had fun.

May 22, 2007

New is Fun

Brian and I bought a new camera for our birthdays. It's a beautiful 7 MP Panasonic Lumix. I let him do the picking. My only requirements were that it was within budget, Consumer Reports liked it, and good for close-ups. No, not for self portraits, but for my knitting showcase!

So, here are a few shots I just snapped. I still have some kinks to work out.

I'm proud of this herb garden that I planted this weekend. Amazingly, Lowe's has a great vegetable/herb collection. Now we have cilantro, sage, basil, peppermint and rosemary sitting right at our patio table for your dining delight. I just realized what I'll make with the mint - mojitos!

Our irises are in full bloom, but their blooms are a bit heavy as most of them have already fallen to the ground. Here's one with a mighty stem. The petal that hangs down reminds me of a dog's tongue.

I made some more jewelry today. This set will be worn to Carrie's wedding this Saturday. That's right, only three days away! It's going to be an awesome wedding and we're thrilled to be a part of it.

Now this pic didn't quite turn out. I tried a bunch of different modes and found too much of a glare or else too dark. I'm sure I'll figure it out with more practice.

Now I'm off to finish that glass of wine while watching Dancing with the Stars and American Idol. Go Blake!

In my opinion...

(photo courtesy of Patty Ann)

Many of my t.v. shows are coming to the season's end, which is definitely a good thing. I have to say, I'm disappointed with most of the season finales. Anyone feel free to add your likes or dislikes:

1) Grey's Anatomy - Yes it was a nice twist for Christina to be sobbing, only to find out she's thrilled she's not getting married. But, why does it always have to be minutes before the ceremony? I'm quite sure in real life there are not as many weddings called off last minute as on t.v. I can think of three instantly, The Wedding Singer, Sweet Home Alabama, and Grey's. Who else?

2) Desperate Housewives - Okay, so at least Gabrielle went through with her wedding. If Bree were my friend, I'd definitely call her out on this fake pregnancy. I mean, how long was she gone on this honeymoon? She's so big, that baby would have to be way back from her AA sponsor days. I'm sure it was all meant for dramatic effect. Besides that, what would she do when I reach to feel the baby kick? I hope things go well for Mike and Susan. There needs to be another functional relationship now that Tom and Lynnette are in the dumps.

3) How I Met Your Mother - Too funny. "Tell me what? Tell me what?" If you guys aren't watching this show, you really ought to be. Linda introduced us to it, saying Neil Patrick Harris' character reminded her of Brian. I can't tell you how many one-liners Brian has now stolen from this show.

4) The Office - I really loved it. They could probably make the cliff hanger about Pam and Jim every season and I'd always be on the end of my seat. The highlights included Creed's blog, Andy's interview with Dwight, and Jim's new nickname - "Big Haircut," and Pam being named "Secret Assistant to the Regional Manager." "Jim taught me that when Dwight asks you to do anything in secret, you always respond - Absolutely, I will."
Dwight's blog currently has a funny post about ninjas. BTW, I was doing some research and found out that Oscar, Angela, Phyllis and Creed all go by their real names.

5) I know Dancing with the Stars is not over yet, but just about. I thought the dances were very good for the finale, with the exception of Laila's freestyle. Joey is spot on with all of his gymnastics. I'd like to be flipped and thrown about like that, but I'm sure both partners have to be extremely strong to pull off those stunts. Who votes that Apollo and Juliann are a couple? Patty Ann, I know your vote. At the beginning line-up, he gave her a very loving look. I think they'd be an adorable couple, really.

May 16, 2007


My new top is done! I have to admit I let this sit on my desk for quite a while. There is always procrastination when it comes to finishing, not starting. I think deep down I was also frightened to finish it because I was afraid of a poor fit. Sunday evening, I decided it was time to go for it. We popped in "Pursuit of Happyness" and I got down to business. (BTW, a very good movie.) In a short three evenings I sewed the pieces together and put on the neck and sleeve edging. Here's the finished product.

This was made from four balls of Reynold's Saucey in color #308. This is the same yarn I used for my mother's short sleeved sweater. It's a pleasure to work with. I have referenced the pattern before, one of the sassy designs of Knit and Tonic. The pattern was flawless and simple.

A few close-ups:

The only pattern stitching was seed stitching on the edges. For those who haven't seed stitched, it's a pattern of knit one, purl one. Then on the next row, you purl one, knit one.

Spaced increases and decreases were used on the waistline to give the appearance of darts.

Now I just need to come up with some jewelry...

May 15, 2007

I win!

I listen to many knitting podcasts, as many of you know. One of the many is CraftBorg. This podcast consists of two moms who have a mutual love of crafting and sci-fi. "This is the craft borg, lower your shields." Anyway, Rosemary and Julie are pleasant to listen to and inspire me to do crafting other than knitting.

This morning I awoke to find an e-mail from Rosemary. Because I commented on their blog during a specified period, I won a book, "Knitting Loves Crochet".

Uh oh. Looks like this knitter is about to cross over to the dark side of crochet! Look out granny squares, here I come.

May 13, 2007

Project Unveiled

My secret knitting project has now been gifted - so I can give the grand reveal. Some of you all may remember my Christmas gift from Amber, lace weight yarn and a pattern for a triangular diamond shawl. I started this project while on our Mexico trip and finished it after a few late nights this past week. When I started this project, I didn't realize it would be a gift. But you knitters out there know that sometimes a project is meant for someone else. This shawl was meant to be a Mother's Day gift for my mother-in-law, Patty.

She loved the one I gifted my mother and being that I wasn't an avid knitter when she turned 50, we can call this a very belated gift. I'm sure it will get a lot of love and use. And I fully disagree with Chuck (my father-in-law), it does not make her look like an "old lady." If he only knew how popular lace knitting is right now!

Patty was so gracious to let me do an impromptu photo shoot.

It's not flawless, I can definitely look it over and find some areas where I managed to get a stitch out of line. It's only my second lace project, so I expected imperfection. But, looking at "the big picture"'s pretty cool. Most importantly, it's a proper size to drape over your arms and keep the chill away.

And for the "before" pictures:

On the blocking wires.

I have to say, although deadline knitting is stressful, it was probably a blessing in disguise. By the end of this shawl, it literally took 15 minutes to complete one row. Realizing how much time I had left until completion was a little overwhelming. So, the bottom line is that I enjoyed the pattern and would like to make another, but no time soon! It's time to work on something a little less detailed, like my Sizzle top.


I did it. And unashamedly, I will tell you I am so proud of myself because I made a personal best by about 12 minutes. The 5/3rd River Bank Run was such a great experience. There were around 15,000 runners for all three races combined and the weather was beautiful. I am not an emotional person, but I felt tearful twice. At the beginning of the race, I just felt so happy to be finally be running the race and to be a part of such a big event. Everyone was so joyful. At the end of the race I had tears on my cheeks, which may have partially been from exhaustion, but also knowing that I had the willpower to push through. So, thanks to you all for your support and for listening to my boast.

Brian, Meagan (my sister), and Jill (Meagan's college friend) were also completely awesome. Meagan ran the race (her first also) in just over 25 minutes. Way to go!

After the race, we enjoyed some free Michelob Ultra and music before heading back for Tulip Time. We visited Veldheer Farms, and payed our entrance fee before we discovered that most of the tulips were past their prime. We still found some nice "late bloomers" to admire.

Before the girls departed, we wanted to drive down to Fenn Valley to stock back up on wine.

Luckily, we arrived just in time for a tour by the owner/winemaker. He taught us so much about the process of winemaking. We've been on tours before, but definitely picked up a lot of new information. For example, did you know that some of the French wine casks cost more than $700? If they're using the barrel to flavor the wine, it will only do that for one season. Now they have discovered a way to add oak "beans", small cubes of wood to the wine, it ages in the large stainless steel tanks. The barrels also impart an oxygenation process, so they supplement this by hooking an oxygenation tank up with a bubbler going in to the wine.

We tasted some fantastic wine out of bottles, out of the tanks, and straight out of the barrel. He had to use a "wine thief," which looked much like a turkey baster, to serve us.

We purchased a case (got to get that case discount!) and headed home. I have to get back to work on our Mother's Day feast...more on that later (and the knitting).

May 10, 2007

Sneak Peek

Until the gift is presented, this is the only peek you get....
Ah, a yarn landscape is the most beautiful thing.

And since inquiring minds want to know - Mom you're right. The dress was JcPenney's. I have actually seen in it in one of their new commercials. Here's a pic of me dancing with my (soon to be) sister-in-law and David's new girlfriend. I didn't really pose for any standing pics with Brian. I think next time I use this dress I'll try wearing my hair down.

Otherwise, I'd love to share some Tulip Time pictures. It is a tradition for my office to take a long lunch for carnie food and bonding. This corn dog was completely worth the wait.

Here's most of my office gang along with my boss' son. He's a cutie (his son, not my boss)!

I finally got a satisfying dose of some Klompen dancin'. I kept waiting for them to break out and dance to some JT, but no such luck.

And now my decision is final. I can't wait to have children and put them in a Dutch costume. I know we're of Polish and Irish heritage, but until the Polaks come up with something as cute as these dresses, I am a Dutch wannabe.


I'll post again soon. I do have some Tulip Time photos to share. But for now, I'm consumed by a knitting project that has a rapidly approaching deadline. More soon.

May 8, 2007

It's a beautiful day!

My blogging has been slim this weekend, but I have to blame it on the beautiful weather! It's been so great to spend time outside cleaning up the garden. I was introduced to a great nursery in town and picked up plenty of dahlias and African daisies. I'll post pics once I get them planted. I also have an upcoming edition of "Weed or Not a Weed" because I can't find this one purple plant anywhere in my gardening book...

This weekend we missed my sister's college graduation....Congrats Meagan! Now go out there and chase some storms!

Instead, Brian and I were at his cousin's wedding. We had a good time with the family. His brother, David, brought his girlfriend. The reason I find the need to post about this, is we feared David would always be a bachelor. You see, he had a list of criteria which his girlfriend had to fit in to - and it was a tall list. I won't provide you with the gorey details. He lucked out, though. He found her and we all agree, she's great.

I can't resist sharing this picture with you. Like father like son.

I can finally post about the finished Claudia Hand Painted socks. They turned out great and I can't wait to knit with this yarn again. They're the standard K3P1 rib with a 3" cuff. These were gifted to my nurse, Mary, for her birthday. One of her sons went to U of M, so I think the colors were appropriate. Her other son went to State. No way will I knit those colors. I think they'd look better with some blue jeans then scrubs, but she wasn't exactly prepared to model.

Today I have to focus on finishing my triangle shawl....after I get a chance to play in the garden and (for the last time) train for the race. The race is this weekend. If I don't catch Brian's cold, I should be able to finish.

P.S. Did all of the podcasters out there hear about the new Knit Picks podcast. I just finished episode 1 and really enjoyed it.

May 3, 2007


Every girl knows that feeling....the feeling of having three summer weddings and feeling like none of the dresses in her closet are sufficient. She knows well enough that the other dresses may have only been worn once or twice, but she still feels like everyone will have seen her in it. So she goes shopping and tries on dress, after dress, after dress. Some are too casual, some look like a teenage wannabe, while some look like the mother of the bride. Some have fabric that will obviously turn in to a wrinkled mess 5 minutes before she walks in to the ceremony. Some are so trendy that they'll be out of fashion before the end of the summer. She finds one that's perfect print and style, but not in her size. Finally she finds the treasure, a fun sun dress hidden on a sale rack. Alas, there is no one to offer her an opinion on the dress other than the senior citizen waiting for his wife to try on her elastic banded slacks. Lady, they fit. They have to...they're made of elastic!

At any rate, I bought that dress and brought it home to try on for Brian. He gave the seal of approval. The dress inspired me to pull out my jewelry tools and get to work on some matching jewelry. I'm so pleased with how the jewelry turned out!

May 1, 2007

It's adorable...and so is he.

I can't wait to make this hat. Thanks for all of the free patterns MagKnits!

Also - let's give it up for my boy Blake! He was so terrific last night. It was Bon Jovi night on American Idol.

I love this online review, written by Michael Slezak.

"if I had to put money down at this very moment on which singer is most likely to stick around, I'd place my wager on Blake Lewis, whose electrifying retooling of ''You Give Love a Bad Name'' has likely surpassed Mindy Doo's ''My Funny Valentine'' as the season's watercooler performance. Bon Jovi was right that ''16 measures of him not singing on a show that's supposed to highlight singers'' was a risky move (though not as risky as sharing Jordin's black-and-red hair dye), and Blake's whooshing opening sound effects (which sounded to me like the Diet Coke I crack open every morning around 7 a.m.) were a wee bit indulgent, but the rest of the performance was exhilarating — breathing life into what I'd written off as a tired '80s anthem. The ''you give love-lllll-love-love-lll-love a bad, bad name'' breakdown had me clapping like baby-seal Paula..."