Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chillin' w/ the girls

Although it was a really short trip to DC so I could get my hair cut, I had a great time playing w/ my nieces. I spent most of my time with Alex, but managed to get in some quality time w/ Leah too.

I took Alex to see Harold & the Purple Crayon at Glen Echo Park and then rode the carousel with her. This time, probably b/c I was riding an animal myself (Alex insisted I ride next to her), I didn't get so queasy. All she wanted to do was play house w/ me and all sorts of other things. After I read her a story for her nap, I gave her a hug and kiss to say goodbye and she latched onto me, not wanting me to go. She then told me that she loved me so much and that she wanted me to stay with her and that she didn't want me to go. Such mush! I should go looking for a job in DC just for that!

Leah is just a burst of giggly energy. Every time you look at her she gets a huge smile. The best is to hear her "talk" and giggle. Here's a cute little video of her I took w/ my camera:

Also, they both looked great in their new knitted items:

On another note, the cute shrug I was hoping to finish and wear to services on Tuesday will not be ready in time. I was right on schedule until it became apparent that I cannot read directions! I thought the directions were wrong and did six rows of garter stitch, knowing that I needed that from the picture on the pattern. Yeah, if I had turned the page, I would have seen that the garter stitch was another step after finishing the back and front sections. Duh! Stacy over at Rosie's tried to help me fix it w/o having to rip it out, but I then screwed it up even more and eventually ripped out the entire backside. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Finished projects and works in progress

I've been pretty busy lately, whipping out a bunch of little projects for my nieces (modelling pictures to come later). Figured I'd post a bunch of them while I'm thinking of it.

Finished Projects

This is a cute upside-down daisy hat from Itty Bitty Hats. It was really easy except for hand-sewing each petal to the top.

I also made a cute pacifier clip for Leah since my sister is always wondering where she put the pacifier. This also came from one of Susan Anderson's books, Itty Bitty Knits.

I have come to really like the patterns in Louisa Harding's Miss Bea collection. This jumper is from the same book as the the purple sweater I made earlier. I tweaked the colors, opting for a darker base w/ lighter stripes. I don't know if you can tell in this picture, but the stripes are silver, lavender, and white. I think if I did it over, I might substitute the white for another color so it's not so bright.

I have a whole list of things I want to make from these books but I have to hold off for a bit and make something for myself and some other adults.

Works in Progress

On to the many works in progress I have on the needles. First up is the Manos Canyon Throw. I started this back in April and only just finished the 1st of 3 strips. The colors go really well w/ my couch and my throw pillows. It's great to work on at home b/c my apartment can get cold at times w/ the a/c or the windows open at night.

I started this sock on the train down to DC for that interview back in July. I don't think I've done anything since. This yarn and pattern are part of the Socks that Rock, Rockin' Sock Club. Not sure why I even bothered joining it since I don't knit many socks and the colors are a bit of a stretch for me.

Ah, the Apres Surf Hoodie. I started this on LBI and was on a roll. I split for the armholes and started the decreases for the back side. Then I panicked, thinking my sides and decreases were off and haven't been bold enough to go back and look. I need to go back and finish this.

I started this beauty last week. It's Alisa's birthday present -- Noro Striped Scarf -- knit in Noro Silk Garden. I love the way the colors change in this yarn. I'm using 2 different colorways and alternately every 2 rows. Eventually, I'll cast on for a matching hat. Since Alisa is now in Toronto, she'll need some added warmth and quick! I'm halfway done w/ the scarf as we speak.

But, the chances of me finishing the scarf this weekend are slim. Rosie's started a knit-along tonight in honor of all the Rowan goodies they recently got in the store. I stopped by tonight w/ the intention of casting on for a cute cardigan and just working on it during the KAL get-togethers. But then I realized it's Rosh Hashana next week and I could use a cute, sophisticated shrug to wear over my black dress. The new Rowan magazine had just the pattern, so I bought even more yarn tonight and cast on for the following top in Berocco's Ultra Alpaca Light.

I think it will look great, but I just need to make sure I can finish it in time so I can wear it!

Finally, I am still working on my dad's scarf for Hanukkah. I wound up yarn to start Martha w/ the Manos Silk, but will wait to swatch that until after the shrug is done. I also need to cast on my sister's Hanukkah present, but if the pattern is easy enough, I might just take it w/ me to China. I also have this awful shirt on the needles that I thought would look good but it doesn't. That needs to be frogged and the yarn given away. It looked so much better in the ball than it did knitted up.

So, for those of you interested in my knitting obsession, here's where I stand. No clue where I'm going to find enough time in the day to get thru everything I want to, but oh well.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A great way to officially end summer

Sunday was officially the last day of summer. Makes sense b/c the days are getting cooler, but not really. It was in the 80s on Sunday.

So, to finish off the season, I met up with a friend from my trip to South America and headed to the Jersey Shore. Well, that is, we headed down after I had woken up at 5am to man the water stop for the Philadelphia Distance Run (PDR). I've done PDR the past few years, but w/ "training" for this century in less than 2 weeks, PDR was out of the question this year. Too bad, b/c it was a gorgeous day.
We headed down to Island Beach State Park, which is just south of Seaside (aka Sleez-side) Heights. It was a gorgeous day and there were tons of people out. If you've never been, I highly recommend this beach. It costs $5 to get in (off season) and has big beautiful beaches, and clean facilities for changing and bathrooms.

There was one umbrella that kept catching my eye. It was neon pink and just stood out from the pack. I'd love to tweak this picture to remove the people and change it to black and white, but leave only the pink in it.

By 4 or so, it was getting a little cool so we packed it up and drove up to the boardwalk to see if there was a place to sit and grab a drink in the sun. Nope. The boardwalk was just as cheesy as I remembered it. Fried food and arcade games. No decent places to sit and eat.

My friend was a huge softball player back in the day, so she had to play one of the throwing games before we left. She kept hitting her target, but couldn't get all 3 blocks off the table. It's ok. The prize was this HUGE bear that her 300+ square foot studio couldn't accommodate anyway.

All in all a fun day.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

In another lifetime

I was talking w/ a coworker of mine the other day about jean jackets and how hers has faded nicely as she washes it. That made me think of a jean jacket I had back in high school that to this day, 20+ years later, has never been washed. It's funny, so I thought I'd repeat the story and post pics.

To start off, I was a rebellious kid. There's no getting around that.

Ok, so back in freshman or sophomore year (I can't remember), around 1986, I was really into drawing, not just on paper, but on my clothes and on my bedroom furniture too. One such item was this faded jean jacket. To top it off, I was also too cheap to buy a lighter so I had several packs of matches in one of the top front pockets. One day, the pocket just started smoking on its own, about to catch fire b/c of all the matches.

By this time, I had already painted on much of the jacket in watercolors, so it could not be washed. Eventually, an ex-boyfriend of mine painted a Grateful Dead skull on the back side of it in oils. This jacket had been hibernating in my house for years and I finally saved it from imminent donation in one of my mom's frenzied decluttering stages.

So, here's the jacket.

Somehow we also talked about how I took the doors off my sliding door closet and painted a brick wall, like Pink Floyd's The Wall, that became my graffiti wall. I then put my drafting table in the closet and it was my creative space.

Eventually, I removed the drafting table and instead had my bed sticking out of the closet. I thought I had a picture of it, but I can't find it. Anyway, around my sophomore year of college, I was kind enough to give up my room to my brother (9 years younger) who had a really teeny room. The logic was that I was gone so there was no need to keep the room. I reluctantly agreed on one condition -- the closet stays. You can guess where this is headed. The guy who painted the room did not understand English very well and proceeded to paint over the wall.

Now, all that is left is one picture that I could find.

I leave you with a few pictures of me from the fall of 1986 in that infamous jean jacket. These pictures were taken as part of a photography class, so the exposure is a little off. Here you have me in a parking lot w/ my Led Zeppelin t-shirt looking like a bad-ass.

Here's a picture of a friend and me hanging out up at the cliffs in Alpine, NJ. That's about as far out on the cliffs as I could go. My friends would hope from rock outcropping to rock outcropping. No way for me. I stayed by the trees.

Here's a close up of me and that jacket. Who would have thought back then I'd turn out the way I did. Seriously.

Oops there goes . . .

. . . another rubber tree plant like the song says?

Nope. Think of that tune and sing: Oops there goes another . . . iPod.

Yep. I think I just ruined my 3rd iPod, not to mention the mp3 player I had before my mini that I left in the seat back on a flight back from Florida. But I digress.

Let's see, the 1st iPod (2nd generation mini) just lost all ability to recharge the battery. No biggie. I upgraded to the 2nd generation nano. Not 3 months later, my nano is in my purse along w/ one of those new sport water bottles from Deer Park or Poland Springs that have the flip top and easily pop open on their own, yet require 2 hands to open when you are out exercising. Anyway, that's what it did. It opened on its own all over my purse, soaking and shorting out my nano. **I refuse to buy those water bottles now and only use Trader Joe's or Wawa bottles b/c they still have the sport tops.**

Again, I digress.

So now I have the 3rd generation. I wear it whenever I exercise, including my butt-ass long bike rides in preparation for my century ride in 2 weeks (yikes!). I usually clip the nano to the front of my camelbak so I can easily change songs if I want. Well, as I sweat, it drips off my chin and onto my iPod (didn't realize this until last week). The computer connection part is covered, but the plug isn't. So, as the sweat evaporates (sorry for the graphics description) the salt has built up around the headset plug making it impossible to get it out. As you can see, pulling it only resulted in ripping the plastic coating, and the wires.

I then tried using pliers to pull the remainder out of the plug, but that only resulted in ripping the headset from the plug entirely!

Here's a closeup of what remains in my iPod.

I am so mad! Not only that, I was supposed to ride 70 miles today. Yeah, that's not going to happen w/o music. I can't do that. I would go batty. My mom was just asking me yesterday how I can handle riding all those miles by myself instead of w/ the team. I told her it was the music that got me through. Yeah, I'm not doing 70 miles today! I'm headed to the Apple Store, hoping they can fix this or that it's still under warranty. Otherwise, I'm stuck buying yet another iPod.

Seriously. What is wrong w/ me and these damn iPods?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Modeling Aunt Robin's Treats

My sister sent me pictures over the weekend of my nieces modeling the items I sent them recently.

Here's a picture of Leah modeling the cupcake hat/mitten set I made. It looks like she's ready to eat them up!

As for Alex, it looks like she is all set for playing at the playground w/ her striped sweater in her favorite color. :-)

I can't get over how tall she looks in this photo!

I also just finished a cute jumper for Alex, also in a purple. I'll wait to post pictures of it after she's had a chance to try it on.

I have a bunch of other projects on the needles, including a scarf/hat set for a friend, scarf for my dad, and a wool throw. Now that I've indulged my baby/toddler knitting fix, it's time to move onto something for me again.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Attack of the killer swans!

So yesterday, while I'm out on my ride, I stopped at a picnic bench on West River Drive to stretch and eat a clementine. Before I have a chance to lift up my leg and stretch my hamstrings, these 2 swans practically ran over to me, begging for food.

The above picture was taken after they had given up and realized I wasn't going to give them any food. They were literally in my face going waaaaah, waaaaah. It really was sad how they have become so used to us feeding them. Hence the signs --- Don't feed the animals!

While I was eating my clementine, they were so determined to find food that one began pecking at my bike, trying to find any hints of food on the chain, the spokes, the seat post, the clips, etc. Unbelievable.

Before I left, I got this one last parting shot on my cell phone. I really wish I had it out quick enough to capture the begging on video. It really was unbelievable.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tree of Happiness Meme

Andrea and Meg tagged me a while ago for the Tree of Happiness meme and I finally have a chance to sit down and do it. Basically, I must list 6 things that make me happy. Here we go:

1. My 2 adorable nieces. Although I don't get to see them everyday, they are just the most precious things ever. There's nothing better than walking into my sister's house and getting the biggest, unconditional hug from my oldest niece. And the little one, she is just a pudge of giggling love. Ok, I admit it, I'm in baby withdrawal at the moment and only 2 more weeks before I get to see them again.

2. My family. I am fortunate to have a functional family that gets along and enjoys each others company. My sister is my best friend. Not everyone can say that. I am also fortunate to be 36 (yes, I am still 36 and holding onto that number as long as I can) and not only is my grandmother still alive, but she kicks everyone's butt on the golf course when she goes out and plays with the ladies.

3. My friends. Although not all here in Philly, I have made amazing friends over the years. (I'm not including pictures b/c, well, there's just too many too add)

4. Marathons. I may have taken a break from them for a bit b/c, well, 6 half marathons in 1 year can take a toll on you, but I still love them. So far I've done 2 fulls and countless halves. My marathon buddy may have moved to Toronto, but it looks like she is twisting my arm to do another, possibly in Palm Beach in Dec.

5. My new bike. Yay! Since I've been riding a lot lately, this has been a huge source of bliss lately. Not only does my bike fit me, but I can go so much faster.

6. Knitting. I've always loved creating things. In high school, my parents realized that and used that as a way to get me motivated and into college. Although I drifted away from my art management major into environmental issues, I have still always loved art. Over the years, I've done pottery, stained glass, needlepoint, beadwork, etc. I have now moved onto knitting and have enjoyed making some great things for my nieces, friends, and myself. Who knows how long this will last, since I would love to get back into stained glass when I have a bigger space, but for now, this makes me happy. Also, this ties into #4 b/c I've met a great bunch of ladies thru my new craft.

So, there you have it!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

So Friggin' Cute!

I don't care that my sister might see this before she gets it in the mail. It's just too friggin' cute to keep to myself!

It's a hat and mitten set called, Cupcake Set. It's a pattern from Itty Bitty Nursery, by Susan Anderson.

It was really easy, except for figuring out how to do the crocheted cherry and picot edging. I went to Rosie's at lunch and Courtney gave me a mini-tutorial. The edging definitely makes the project. Leah will so darn cute in it!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Perfect end to the summer

I can't believe that it is September and summer is over. Yes, I know we technically have 3 more weeks of summer, but the days are getting short, school starts this week, and the pool is now closed. All signs are pointing to the coming of fall. I usually love fall -- the crisp cool days, the beautiful foliage, and my birthday. :-)

To close out the summer, instead of going to Virginia Beach, I spent the weekend here in Philly. I got in some nice rides (although still short in miles) and spent most of my time soaking up the rays by the pool. Need to get in as much Vitamin D as I can . . .

As you can, just about everyone else in the complex had the same idea. I haven't seen the place this packed since they limited admission to residents only.

Lisa joined me by the pool both yesterday and today, and Andrea joined us today. It was nice to have some folks to hang w/ by the pool and kibitz with.

Here's to another a great summer!

Better picture

As promised, here is a better picture of Leah modeling the sweater and hat set I made her. Yes, it's a little big, but since she's a growing baby, big is always better! What a cutie!
I'm in a quick projects mood, so I'm now working on a few more little things for Leah (hats, mittens, etc.) that she can use this fall/winter.