Apr 30, 2008

Finished Project

One of my put-me-in-the-mood-for-Spring projects was the Shetland Triangle. I've made a triangle shawl for both my mother and mother-in-law before. I had a hard time giving those away, so decided it was time to make my own. And no, in no way do I think shawls are for grandmothers. A handmade lace shawl is a thing of elegance and can be worn with something as simple as a tank top and jeans if you feel like it!



The yarn is Malabrigo laceweight. Up close, there is a mixture of different shades of pink, some bubble gum and some more peachy. Very beautiful. The pattern is from Interweave Knits. This is a fairly easy lace pattern. The repeats are easy to memorize since they are so short, so your face isn't glued to the chart the entire time.

My only complaint is that I feel it fits small around the shoulders. I added about three more 10 row repeats than it calls for, but it still feels a bit smallish. I do like the length down the back, however. The next time I make a shawl, I will have to try a rectangular one so there is ample length to wrap around my cold, spindly arms.

Apr 28, 2008

What a great weekend!

I had such an eventful weekend - every moment very rewarding.

Saturday we drove out to Detroit for a wedding. The groom went to high school with Brian. Driving down I-96 gave me a perfect excuse to stop by the Spinning Loft in Howell, MI. I got just a little bit lost after Google maps directed me to their old location. But a nice lady down that private country road directed me to the new location. I had the chance to sit down and treadle as well as spin at several different wheels. I already had a favorite in mind, the Kromski Sonata. It travels well (even with it's own backpack) and can spin several different weights of yarn.

There really is nothing bad about this wheel, other than the price, which is still reasonable relative to other wheels. I can't wait!

After that, we met up with my good friends Kim and Gary. They were gracious enough to host us for the night, as well as our wild puppy. Maggie got along splendidly with their two dogs, Frodo and Pippin. So splendidly, in fact, that Frodo attempted to make love to her face, her bum, and even missionary style! I didn't get any pics of that, but word has it Kim took video.

Aren't they cute??

Sunday Brian departed for a work conference in Chicago. I headed up north a bit more to meet the newest addition to my family, my little nephew Amos. At 5 days old, he doesn't do much more than breastfeed, poop and cry, but he's sure cute when he's doing it. Of course, I got plenty of pictures.

He's a beautiful baby...and so teeny! I hope to see him again before he triples in size. Uncle Brian still needs to meet him too. I'm convinced Brian will be the "fun" uncle. Or maybe just funny looking.
Now I'm home - watching the romance and drama on DWTS. Christian, what did you do to your elbow?!

Apr 23, 2008

My 2nd Blogiversary

Today marks my second blogiversary! A lot has happened in two years, but I don't feel that much has changed. I still enjoy all of the same things - knitting, cooking, dancing and travel. Of course, I've added a few new things, including spinning, my love for a hyper beagle, and my very first nephew! (Boy can I see my sister in his face in this pic, so surreal.)

Everyday I am amazed that people want to hear about me doing these things. In the end, even if you didn't, the writing is still a nice release. I wish I could use it as my own personal diary, but unfortunately, the things I used to write in my diary embarrass me and those around me. So, I'll stick to my comfort zone. Let me know if there is anything you wish I would post more about. I wish I could post everyday, but that stupid thing called a "job" is always getting in the way of everything fun in life.

Apr 22, 2008

My free pass

and I don't mean free tickets! (Any Friends fans should get the reference)

The in-laws, Brian and I, made it to our second annual Michael Buble concert at VanAndel Arena this past Sunday. Michael's voice was apologetically hoarse, but he still rocked my world. He was charming, witty, and melted every women's (and perhaps many men's) heart. My favorite song of the night would probably be Lost. I usually love Everything, but he semi-damaged it for me when he made fun of his own written lyrics, "And I can't believe that I'm your man, and I get to kiss you baby just because I can". He called them "Backstreet Boy lyrics." That was my favorite line to sing along too!

Oh Michael - you're so charming! Thanks so much for the tickets, Patty and Chuck. It's an unforgettable birthday gift.

I have a nephew!

My little nephew was born at 12:53 pm today. They've named him Amos. He's a healthy 7# boy, and as I understand it, Chris was a real trooper. Despite Pitocin, she refused the epidural! I plan on visiting them all this weekend. The week can't go by fast enough!!!

How exciting!

My dad called about 15 minutes ago to tell me my sister's water broke in the night and her contractions are now 3-4 minutes apart. I'm so excited! I'll have my first niece/nephew soon. How am I supposed to get back to sleep now? I wish they lived closer so I could drive out for the day. More news soon.....

Apr 20, 2008

Avenue Q

Brian and I treated ourselves to show tickets for Avenue Q last night. We originally thought we would not get the chance to see this show, as it was primarily showing in Las Vegas and New York upon opening. However, as most good shows do, it's been on national tour since July 2007. We went to the Wharton Center in Lansing for our show.

The show is inspired by Sesame Street, with puppets and adults living together. However, unlike Sesame Street, these puppets are very naughty. There songs are primarily "adult content", with titles like "The Internet is for Porn," "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist," and "It Sucks to Be Me." Lyrics from the racist song that had me roaring "Ethnic jokes may be uncouth, but you laugh because they're based on truth."

The puppeteers are visible on stage, which I only found distracting for about five minutes. Soon I found that they blended right in with their puppets. There is an art to it in that they position their bodies just as the puppet would be, seeming to give them a bottom half. They also use spot on facial expressions, making you imagine that the puppet's face is doing more than just opening and closing their mouth.

The cast is small, which allowed you to bond with each of the characters. I especially loved the "Bad Idea Bears," who spoke in adorable high pitched voices. The bears tried to convince the other puppets to spend all their money on beer and play drinking games with Long Island Iced Tea. My least favorite character was the superintendent, Gary Coleman. The whole has-been-child-actor thing has been overdone.

If you get the opportunity, see this show!! It will be in Chicago next month.

Apr 19, 2008

Wild and crazy

I doubt many of you had a Friday night as wild as mine. I mean, think back to our young and rebellious college days, keg stands at fraternity parties and all that.

I went to a late night yarn party with three fellow Lakeshore Knitters from Ravelry, Hyjinx, BammerKT and CoggieTM. City Knitting in East GR was the host. There were about 40 knitters there, most people in their 30s. (So, no Jill, the average age was not 70!) In fact, there were even children there finger knitting, taking polls on our favorite ice cream flavors, and showing off their own hand made Remy (chef's hat included).

We had wine, coffee and chocolate to share. I met some spinners and dyers as well. I picked up a couple of bags of roving, because what would I do if I ran out of stuff to spin?!

There is another LNYP on June 20th - I'd love to go back.

Apr 18, 2008

If the bed's a rockin'

Earthquake! We felt it this morning at 5:37 am when we were just about to get up for the day. Brian thought it was me shaking the bed with my feet, so he sharply elbowed me to get me to stop. How mean. Did you feel it?

Apr 15, 2008

It's a family affair

Saturday, May 10th, is the annual River Bank Run. Last year was my very first race and 5K. I love love loved it. But I kind of hated the training. This year, Brian and my sister, Meagan, are going on to bigger and better things. They are running the 25K together. I'm very proud of them.

Rather than wait on the sidelines, my mother and I will be doing the 5K walk. I encourage others to join us. Registration is $18 and can be done on-line. Strollers are allowed....and I'm still trying to figure out about dogs (although Maggie would be way over-excited in this crowd). My mother and I will probably enjoy knitting, complementary shoulder massages, and beer at the post-race party while Meagan and Brian are still huffing and puffing through yonder.

Birthday treat

Meredith sent me some yarny goodness for my birthday that I would love to share with you all -
When I talked to Meredith later about the gift, she told me how brave she was to enter a yarn shop near her house, "Ewe to You Yarns." She didn't know what she was looking for or how much to buy, but she used her stylish intuition and did an excellent job!

Now I haven't run into this yarn at my LYS, but I'm loving it! The pattern book and yarn reminds me very much of some more yarn I love, Debbie Bliss. This is Sublime, an organic cotton. It comes from England and contains 120 yds to 50 grams.

Then pattern book is full of timeless understated projects for all ages. I had no problem picking out a child's pattern to make with my three balls of grey yarn. I am making "Quaker." I've already finished the back and am zipping up the left front. I hope to finish it this week as I have several knit nights planned, including a Late Night Yarn Party at City Knitting.

Thank you very much Meredith!

Apr 13, 2008

Hunka Burnin' Love

and I'm not talking about Brian.....

Saturday night was Brian's 30th birthday party. We started the night with a family dinner at Bonefish Grill (delicious) to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday. For Brian's party, I reserved the lounge area at Naya Bistro and Wine Bar. We purchased the hors d'eouvres, which included lettuce wraps, sushi, fruit/cheese platter and spinach-artichoke dip. There was a full service cash bar, with great cocktails and wine. About 35 of Brian's friends, relatives and co-workers showed up to celebrate with us.

I really had a nice time catching up with everyone and really appreciated everyone for coming. One person came, however, that I did not invite. It was a surprise to us all when we saw Elvis Presley coming up the stairs, dragging his karaoke speaker behind him. All of the guests looked to me as I though I planned the surprise. I wish I could take credit for it! Elvis called Brian to the front to wish him a 'Happy Birthday' and handed him a certificate, showing that the real tricksters were Dave and Mark (Brian's old roomies from Chicago).

They couldn't make it out for the party - but if we can't have them, Elvis is a close second. He sang "Teddy Bear," "In the Ghetto," and "Viva Las Vegas." Priceless!

Apr 9, 2008


I'm so f(reak)in excited!!

Apr 8, 2008

Happy Birthday Brian!

My dear husband turns 30 today.

I have celebrated 8 "Brianakkuhs" to this date. I find it hard to believe that Brian and I have been together that long, but it is true. I have learned so much about him and continue to find new things to love and adore. Some of the new things I've seen in this past year include his down-hill skiing skills, his beautiful voice as he leads the church in song, his excellence in running, his deep love for our puppy....and most importantly, the strength and support that I need from the man who's committed to me. You're awe...(wait for it)...some!
Happy Birthday Brian!

I want I want I want

I found these beagle stitch markers on Etsy this morning. What a smart crafter - she's going to sell a lot of these.

Don't worry, Rachael, she has some for you too.

Apr 6, 2008

What I learned on Oprah II

Oprah's episode on Friday, April 4th, touched my heart deeply. Of course, it was another one of my favorite "Lisa Ling investigative reports". This time, Lisa exposed the cruelty of puppy mills for all to see. The director of Main Line Animal Rescue took her along with him as he rescued puppies and near-death breeding dogs from the puppy mills in Lancaster, PA. It seems the Amish look at dogs more as livestock and, therefore, there is a large concentration of mills in PA. Oprah showed clips of crowded dogs in cages, tumbling over each other. Their coats were matted with urine and chains were embedded in their necks. If they received any exercise at all, it was those dogs "lucky enough" to have a makeshift hamster wheel attached to their cage.

I really knew nothing about puppy mills until we adopted Maggie. She, as many of you know, was rescued from a mill. Perhaps the owner of the mill gave her up because she had kennel cough and would be hard to sell to a pet store. If she had been healthy, I imagine the mill could have kept her to breed for years to come. I can't stand to think about it.

Beyond that, the episode also featured a shelter in Ft. Worth. This shelter receives 50 dogs a day, but only adopts out a few. Hence, over 30 dogs/day are euthanized. They film followed a dog through the entire euthanasia process. The targeted dog appeared sweet, young and healthy. I watched her grow limp from the lethal injection. The taping then went on to show the dumpster filled with body bags. By this time I was sobbing. If they were trying to use gore or the scare tactic - it worked.

I took several messages from this show:
1) Spay or neuter your dog. It sounds cliche - but it's very important.
2) Never ever buy a dog from a pet store
3) Strongly consider a rescue dog. Even if you want a specific breed, you would be surprised at the number of breed specific rescues. I already found labradors, golden retrievers, and german shepherds. Many of them have puppies, too. Although after dealing with Maggie's puppy energy, it might be nice to get an older dog next time.

Weekend in review

What a gorgeous weekend!! I've been dreaming of weather like this for so long. Brian and I took advantage of the weather by raking the yard, planting seeds, trimming the trees, cleaning windows, and installing Maggie's new dog run. She now has full range of the back yard and loves it. We love it too because she enjoys staying outside for longer periods of time. Of course, more time outside = a very dirty pup, but bath time goes smoother now that we line the tub with peanut butter.

I loved sitting in the warmth of the sun and spinning some bright orange/yellow wool. I'm getting better at spinning a finer gauge. This fiber feels pretty scratchy right now, so I hope it softens after a good soak. I also finished my pink shawl. I still have to block it and am crossing my fingers it comes out to the perfect size.

Someone else seemed to enjoy sun sitting in the warmth of the sun, too. Yes, she's still breathing. The dog park just sucked the life from her.

And lastly - thanks to Brian for cooking a delicious dinner Saturday. He made chicken-fajita tostadas from this month's issue of Everyday Food. Yum.

Now he's off on a business trip - so I'm having a wild and crazy Sunday night of my own. By wild and crazy, I mean knitting, clipping coupons, and watching Desperate Housewives. Perhaps I'm stretching the meaning of the phrase.

Apr 3, 2008

Bad Days

Today I woke up with a chip on my shoulder and couldn't quite shake it. Work was long and hard....also full of people needing an antibiotic after sore throat for 2 days because they're leaving for Aruba, no make it Cancun, or a cruise...tomorrow. At the end of the day I received a thank you card, unlike anything I have ever been given before. This was a card from a mother, thanking me for saving their daughter's life. Their daughter is an adult, but as her mother said, her life "just as precious" as a child. I don't know if I'll ever get anything so magnificent again, but I hope I do, because that is what this job is all about. The rewards are few and far between, but really mean a lot.

Then I come home to this face that I love so much, exhausted after a day at "camp." I can't wait til the day I can come home to my own child's face.

Apr 1, 2008

Anyone skip breakfast?

If so, I have about 10 boxes of cereal in my basement I can share with you. I have been so inspired by Amber and Money Saving Mom that I decided to put my coupon skills to the test. It seems that the best deals can be had at CVS. The nearest CVS is at least 20 miles away, so I'm doing the best I can with Walgreen's.

Today I purchased all of this for $28.73, original price would be $83.88.

The savings included $19.69 in-store savings, $8 coupons, $23.46 in monthly rebates, and $4 in register rewards. This isn't as great as some seasoned coupon veterans - but I'm getting the hang of it.

I'm new to a few of these deals, so maybe you are too. I'll do my best to explain. The monthly rebates can be found in a booklet you pick up right at their door. They lay it out nicely in a checklist, letting you know what items are included and how many you can purchase. At the end of the month, you send in your receipts with the checklist, and either receive a refund check or choose a Walgreen's gift card and get an extra 10%. Several of the rebate items are a full rebate, meaning free! You can also use coupons on these items, so I ended up -$1 on toothpaste, -$2 on a make-up brush, and -$1 on a toothbrush. As Brian would say, "Open up and say awesome."

As for register rewards, these are savings that print out as you check out that day. The savings can be used for your next visit to Walgreen's. For example, I bought the Tide for $10. (I unfortunately, did not have a coupon). I received register rewards for $4, so in the end, only spent $6.

Amber is a mastermind at finding great deals on items she wouldn't ordinarily need, using coupons, and then getting so much overage that the items she really needed were free. See this story about KY Jelly. Too funny.

So in the end, Brian and I are only two people and can use just so much toothpaste, hand soap, and lotion in one year. I'll have to limit my addiction somewhat. But it sure is fun trying to work out some smart deals.