52 Things

Ah, the end of 2013. It’s been an interesting year, with many happenings & changes. Rather than review the year this New Year’s Eve, I’m looking forward to 2014 & what I would like to accomplish. My idea for this upcoming year? A focus on decluttering, cleaning & fixing all those annoying things about the house.

You know what I’m talking about – the door that sticks, the room that needs painting, the ceiling fan blades that need cleaning, the bathroom tiles that need chalking. All those little joys of home ownership! So what I’ve done is take my “happy” jar from 2013 & turned it into a “52 Things” jar for 2014.

I took 52 slips of paper, jotting down 52 different things to be done over the year & folded them up & tossed them into the jar. Each week, I plan to draw another slip to get the to do item for the week.  :)

The problem I had with the “happy” jar was that I found myself examining every little event to see if it was “happy” enough for an entry into the jar. Over time, nothing really compared to the slips of paper containing “Hired on as full time” and “Amazing Autumn vacation with the Geek”. LOL

Running

I have been very good & stuck to my running the past month! YAY! I finished the Holiday Halfathon – no PR yet, but I’m still pleased with the outcome. I’m now training up for the Clearwater Halfathon, which is in 20 days. Yowza!  :)  I received this incredibly AWESOME finisher’s medal for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Virtual Half Marathon as well. I totally love it!

wpid-CAM00213.jpgKnitting

I’ve been knitting my fingers to the bone on gifts this past month (or 3). I managed to get everything done in time except a pair of socks for the youngest manlet. I finished his 2nd sock last night.  :D In total: 4 pairs of socks, 4 hats, 2 cowls, one scarf, a pair of slippers, an afghan and yet another Smitten.  Wow!  :)

holiday projectsToday’s Ravelry Search

Starting off the new year with some fun!  :)

* I love these big poufs!

Pizza bunting!?! How awesome is that?

I do love knit & crochet bowls!

What a delightfully smooshy looking rug! Love it!

* Sock monkeys! I haz evil thoughts churning…

Hedgehog.Tea.Cozy.

What does the fox say? Ring-ding-ding!

* What does the fox say? Hatee-hatee-ho!

* Bright, cheery & smooshy – plus an excellent way to do some stashbusting – win!

* Pacman cozys! Love them.

* Transform your NYE leftover corks into something fun!

* Or perhaps a cork ninja instead?!

* Free pattern

Have a wonderful & safe New Year! We’re going to be sipping sparkling cider & champagne (and likely hot chocolate) around the firepit in the backyard again this year. How is everyone else ringing in the New Year?

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Happy Holidays 2013

Yes, yes, I’ve done a runner again, I know. LOL In my defense, I really do have an excellent reason for it. I’ve gone back to school to finish up that degree I set aside when I first became a mom of manlets. I’m really loving being back in school, but it does tend to take a big chunk out of my time. :)

Running

I’ve not been as consistent as I would like with my running – but I *have* been running! I got the Halloween Halfathon complete – missed a new PR by 6 minutes! Given the inconsistency with the running, I was actually pleasantly surprised that I did that well. Now I’m working towards the next half, which is in 2 weeks. YAY!

Reading

Sadly, the reading for pleasure also got put aside for the most part,  but I have gotten in a book here & there…

The Reason I Jump – Naoki Higashida
What a wonderful little book! The introduction alone puts life with autism into a clear perspective & in such a way that you really get a good feel for what it might be like for some.

Steelheart - Brandon Sanderson
Super fun little YA story – and one that doesn’t read like most YA novels. Fun for adults as well – go get a copy!

The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
I loved this novel. J.K. Rowling has an uncanny skill at world-building & she does not fail in this book either. Do not, however, expect anything at all like Harry Potter. This novel is an excellent mystery.

Knitting

ROFL – It’s December! Guess what that means? Yep, for the 4th year in a row, I’m madly knitting on yet another Smitten.  ;)  Managed to get a better headstart on this one, I’m already over halfway done. The yarn is awesome – Fishknits Yarn is amazing when it comes to the custom colorways & I love, LOVE this yarn!

DSC_0036Happy Holidays 2013

I’m running a promotion on Ravelry for my patterns to help you with a) your holiday knitting projects and/or b) patterns you might want to gift to someone on Rav. From now until the end of December, get 25% off as many patterns as you want, it’s unlimited! Coupon code: HappyHolidays2013

Today’s Ravelry Search

In case Smitten isn’t your thing, you could always work up one of these other options!  :)

* Really cute idea for holding bigger gifts as the days go by!

Pockets – cute!

* Super cute – the link takes you to the first pattern.

* Daily posting to add the next piece!

* For those looking for a bit more challenge with their advent mittens!

LOVE these – there are 55 patterns in the book & could easily be turned into an advent.

* Crochet stockings!

SUPER cute!

I might have mentioned it before, but I adore Kate & her patterns. :)

* I love these little colorful socks!

* OMG. Woodland Wreath – hedgehogs, owls, toadstools, flowers, acorns – how can you not adore this wreath?!

* Design your own! Cool idea.

* Totally adorable & what a cool idea for using up scraps & leftover corks! ♥

Happy Holiday Knitting!  :)

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Vacation Recovery

You know, a good portion of the rest of the world has it right – one week is just not enough vacation to truly relax – just when you finally begin to, it is time to go back to work!  LOL I’m looking forward to the next one, which is going to be in October, where the geek & I are going to seek out some autumn colors!

Awesome Florida sunset over Ocala National Forest.

Awesome Florida sunset over Ocala National Forest.

The family camping trip was a HUGE success in spite of having forgotten the poles for one tent (emergency WalMart run for a $50 tent – which turned out to be a very decent tent for the money) & multiple daily thunderstorms. The manlets & I are old hands at camping during Florida’s rainy season, so we were pretty well set. It did rain much more this time than any other camping trip we’ve had, so cooking dinner became a challenge, but also became a team event of supporting the camp chef! For the first time ever, that wasn’t me, but my oldest – and he did one HELL of a job!

Meatball Monday - the camp chef with his support team!

Meatball Monday – the camp chef with his support team! You’ll note my youngest has his photobomb face on. He’s become quite the expert at it. LOL

Running

Well, I haven’t started running yet, but fully plan to begin this week.  :)  I have been kicking butt on the yardwork, though, which is gearing me up for getting back into shape again. LOL

Reading

Ah, vacation reading! The best!!  :) I’ve read 14 books since my last post (WOW), but I’m only going to list 3 here.  LOL

  • The Round House by Louise Erdich – this story is sad & disturbing all at once. It pulls the reader in, though. Could not put it down!
  • When the Stars Fell to Earth by Rebecca Tinsley – holy cow. I encourage everyone to read this book! Hearing about the mass genocide in Darfur on the news just doesn’t give the same impact as this book, which outlines the lives of 5 people in their struggle for survival in Darfur. You get to know these people to a small degree & you wish from the bottom of your heart for a happy ending for all even though deep down in your gut, you know that is futile given the conditions in Sudan.
  • 14 by Peter Clines – I’d also read his Ex-Heroes during vacation, but this book? SO much better!! Granted, I’m not a zombie story fan, which is what Ex-Heroes is. 14 is one of those tales that is impossible to tie down to one genre – a bit mystery, horror, scifi all rolled up into one really awesome story. Cultural references win in this book as well – from Walter Bishop (wink if you know who he is!) to Nicholas Tesla.

Knitting

I didn’t get much knitting done this vacation – with all that rain, it was just too challenging to knit! I did bring along a couple projects, but didn’t work on them. When we got back, though, I did finish up a couple things…

The oldest is trying his best to hold back the grin – he was over the moon happy with this Scotty hat!! I linked the Ravelry pattern page to the picture, so click it to go to the pattern used.

Our sweet Lily girl turned 1 on July 5th. This is part of her birthday gift – the hat is a new free pattern by Melinda Miller. It’s a bit big for her, but it was just too cute to pass up making! :)

This is my FAVORITE finished project from the past few weeks! It’s the Garden State afghan by Julie Yeager – just GORGEOUS! If you crochet, you should totally go get this pattern!!

Today’s Ravelry Search

It actually hasn’t stopped raining here in Florida either – every day we’ve had thunderstorms! I had to run out this morning to quickly get the lawn mowed & trimmed before they came along again! Crazy.

Such a pretty crochet shawl!

* Fun looking cowl!

Super cute baby galoshes! :D

Simple, clean lines – love it!

* Wish there were some projects done on this one, wondering what other color combos people would come up with!

Super cute hats!

Oooh, crochet cables! ♥

* Pretty shawl on Knitty!

Crocheted water lily! How pretty.

I love the edging on this one, especially with the Zauberball! The pattern is only $2.50 – well worth it!

* Another awesome pattern from Julie Yeager – I love, LOVE her afghan blocks!!

* I love these mittens! Wish I had a need for them… :)

*Free Pattern

So what’s on schedule for your vacation?

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Gearing up on Amazon

So the fam is getting ready for our annual camping trip in a couple of weeks – YES! I haven’t had a vacation in almost 2 years, so I’m really looking forward to it. The manlets & I have gone camping for years, so we have all the necessary gear for us…  except the problem this time is that there will be 8 of us instead of 3! So, I’ve been shopping like mad with Amazon to get ready. First, we needed another tent – we have 2 that both sleep 6-8, but that means comfy for 3 or 4 – plus, some of us want a bit more privacy.  LOL

Next up, waterproofing for the new tent, a new, bigger coffee pot (coffee is the elixir of life, after all!) and most importantly, a portable charger for all the electronics!  ;)

The best purchase of all, though, isn’t for the camping trip. It’s for home & should arrive any minute now. The geek found this absolute jewel of a coffee maker & bought it for his place. I’ve totally fallen in love with it & just had to have one for home as well. Seriously, this thing is AWESOME. I cannot recommend it enough!  ♥

Reading

(Yes, I skipped running, stupid toe!)…

Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen – I am a bad, bad Floridian in that I had not yet read any of his novels. LOL! I thoroughly enjoyed this hilarious mystery that takes you from South Florida to the Bahamas in its telling. The monkey? Yes, quite bad & totally needs to be featured in more stories.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer – Cinderella retold with Cinderella as a cyborg?!  ZOMG, you know I’m all over that!! It is a YA novel, but honestly – it is not written overwhelmingly as one & easily kept me hooked & enjoying the story. Cinder is not your typical teenage girl in that she’s mature, brilliant, a mechanic & a cyborg with no googly-eyes-making at the boys. I loved this story so much that I immediately began the follow up story, Scarlet.

Knitting

I’ve mostly been working on my stashbusting projects, but I also have this sweater OTN – I’m down to the sleeves now.  Some time ago, I’d knit a Weasley sweater for the Pixie. weasleyHer sister recently saw a picture of it & asked if she could get one too. She’s Ravenclaw too, w00t!  Ooops, I accidentally bought enough yarn for TWO sweaters.

I’m very happy to knit for her, as she’s agreed to Dane-sit for us while we are camping.  That’s a pretty big job, but she’s the perfect person for it, as Leonardo already adores her. As a few of my other kids already know, he’s pretty picky about people & can be a downright crotchety old man.

P.S. I came across this post on creating a chart for your own letter – it’s awesome & works PERFECTLY.

Today’s Ravelry Search

I had fun trying some other search methods today & found some patterns I’ve not seen before. :)

* I love the flower squares, so cute! Go check out the different projects, there are a couple bags that are also awesome!

Amazing colorwork on these socks!!

WOW!

I really love the colorful garter stitch shawls. I should make myself one some day. LOL!

* SO damn cute! I can think of a person or two that might like one of these.

* I am always so amazed when someone puts up such fantastic colorwork patterns for free!

We were just talking about this pattern at knit night last week! It’s SO gorgeous.

A perfect example of a pattern in which the right yarn simply MUST be used to fully show off the pattern. :)

*Free pattern

Happy Wednesday all! I’m heading to knit night tonight.  :)

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What a Crazy Month!

Work has been crazy busy this past month, plus we had birthday celebrations, prom and  graduation!prom2013

As you can see, he chose not to walk, just like his brother. We still went to graduation because his girlfriend & all but one of his group of friends did walk. Thought I was going to get out of going, LOL!

Next up on the agenda: family camping trip! It’s going to be so much fun, it’s the first time with my geek & all my kids (mine as well as my unofficially adopted ones, LOL).

Running

Well, no running, if course, still have that stupid broken toe I’m dealing with. Tried a mile walk a week ago, but suffered the following day. Sigh.

Reading

Yes, I have been reading more, yay! The advantage of not running, I suppose.  :D

Under the Dome by Stephen King – my book club decided to read this one before the series starts up on TV. From what I’ve read, the show is going to really expand upon King’s original idea – not eliminating the dome at the end of this season, as it ends in the book. As my friend Wendy said, it’s one really long case of rubbernecking. It’s driving along a 60 car pileup where you find yourself asking “when is this tragedy going to ever end?!”…  but it is a story that sucks you in at the same time.

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier – ooh, a novel about people that spontaneously travel back in time? You know I’m all over that! This book is a fun YA read that leaves you kind of in the middle of the story – it’s short & I suspect that the trilogy put together would have made a just right lengthy novel. At the same time, I loved it.

The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch – a bit slow to start with a bit more detail about life in 1600s Germany than one would like, it’s another story that sucks you in & leaves you satisfied in the end. A murder mystery with a good portion of witch hunting tossed in for good measure (it IS the 1600s!), it actually features the Hangman, not so much his daughter. If anything, that would be my biggest disappointment, that she wasn’t more of a central character to the story.

Knitting

I decided to start working on clearing out the closet a week ago & came upon a ridiculous amount of acrylic yarns that have grown over the years. So, time for some heavy duty stashbusting again! LOL I thought I’d gotten rid of most of it with the manlet’s blanket, but no, not even close. Here is #1 of the ‘clearing the closet stash’ projects:

Today’s Ravelry Search

Time for some summer fun!

*Beach blanket!

* Such a cute top, I don’t know why there aren’t more projects for it!

Super cute top, thanks to Wendy for pointing it out! :)

Really great beachy type shawl!

* Beach bag! I love the book pocket, awesome. :)

* ZOMG, so cute!!

Daisies! Plus the pattern is a very reasonable price. ♥

Awwww, so cute!!

* Free pattern

What fun do you have planned this summer?

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Fun Times

Posting early today because we are having a team building day at work – we’re heading to a baseball game. I haven’t been to one in years, as it’s really not one of my favorite sports to watch. I’m just going for the team building aspect – if it weren’t for that, I would have chosen work over the game. One nice thing about loving what I do!

Reading

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway – I read this one for our book club, which has had a difficult time getting together of late to discuss the books we’re reading. :) I love Hemingway’s writing, so naturally, I loved this book. I love his thoughts on writing (“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.”) and the reflections on life as well as life in Paris.

Knitting

I’ve been knitting on a project that I’m afraid won’t be done in time. Been trying to keep it hidden, but with all the other projects I’ve been rushing to get done, haven’t had time to get this one done properly. I also pulled out my sock yarn blanket & started working on it again – when I went to check my project page, I realized that I had started it FOUR years ago!  O.o  Yikes, I had no clue it’s been sitting around that long. ::hides head in shame::

Today’s Ravelry Search

Enjoy!  :)

* Gotta love those Knitty patterns!

Really cute!

* Baseball socks!

Oh, what a cool idea!

* Hmmm, baby baseball tee? Might know of someone that would like that… :D

Cute sweater for grownups!

* I’ve loved this hat for the longest time! Sweet one, Rosi G! ;)

Love these socks!

I really couldn’t resist including this one – aren’t they cute?? :)

*Free pattern

Happy Wednesday & play ball!  :)

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Happy-Making

Keeping this post short & sweet today. I was in need of some happy-making tonight, as I’ve made the mistake of catching up on the news around the world.

Running

Well…  no running whatsoever for the past week, nor will there be any for a few more weeks in my future. A week ago, clumsy me managed to stub my baby toe on a concrete edger – and the snap was so loud, I heard it clearly. Another broken toe for she-who-shall-never-be-called-Grace.

Reading

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells – yes, I know – how did I go so long without reading this one before now? Too many books, not enough time! LOL I really loved this story, it was much darker than I had imagined, but not with too much drama/details like a modern day version would likely have. Succinct & gripping.

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad – another classic, yes! This one was free last month via Amazon – whispersync with a special Audible version read by Kenneth Branagh. His narration was so fantastic that I didn’t even bother pulling out my Kindle to read it – I just kept listening to it instead! I cannot recommend this version enough.

Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton – OMG. So good. I loved this retelling of Beowulf. After reading this one, naturally I had to watch the movie (The 13th Warrior), which I also liked – though not as much as the book.  :)

Knitting

I’ve also been busy in this area, yay! I finished the crocheted baby blanket as well as some birthday gifts – 2 knit & felted bags & a special geeky pillow. I also have another bag crocheted that I need to sew up yet.  Oh yeah – and I knit/felted an oven mitt for the manlet!

projects

Today’s Ravelry Search

Happy-making.  :)

* Hedgehogs always make me smile.

* ADORABLE elephants!!

I wish I drank tea just so I could knit this one!

You all know how much I love owls – this wee family is uber adorable!

Squeee!! It’s a penguin! In a hat & scarf! Ded from teh cute.

* If this penguin in her bunny hat doesn’t make you smile, you haz your serious grouchy pants on!

* I’ve linked this one before, but really, how could I not? It’s freaking adorable!!

* Really cute bracelet!

* It’s a puppeh. IN A JET PACK. Definitely happy-making.

* I need some of these in my house.

Sometimes it’s the simple patterns with awesome colors that just do it for us.

* Happy making also means geeky in my book!

Gnome home!! SO cute – the pattern includes instructions for knitting & felting a tiny gnome to fit inside! ♥

* Free pattern

What is happy-making for you?

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