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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Gardens, porches & tragedies

The manlet has been working like a madman lately, mostly on his garden. He built a fantastic raised bed & has been experimenting with a couple water bottle gardens. We’ve got peppers, eggplant, okra, artichoke, spinach, long beans, bok choy, thai basil, lime basil, oregano, spearmint, strawberries, blueberries & watermelon all growing already.

He also has been working on getting our front porch stripped down. Someone actually painted over the porch with a really ugly blue/gray paint years before I bought this house. I had spent hours & hours on my hands & knees trying to get the paint off, with little success. Turn the manlet loose on it for one day with biodegradable paint remover and a pressure washer & magic happens!  ♥

Not quite done - here you can see the awful paint that covered the entire porch.

Not quite done – here you can see the awful paint that covered the entire porch.  O.o

Still a bit more work needed, but you see? STUNNING! Why on Earth would anyone paint over it?!

Still a bit more work needed, but you see? STUNNING! Why on Earth would anyone paint over it?!

On a hilarious side note… we recently changed the locks on the front door. I keep forgetting this & I’ve locked myself out of the house about 4 times now. Usually I have my phone with me & I’m good to go – call a manlet & get rescued.

Today? Not so lucky. It was just me & my trusty camera. I decided to see if the gate on the fence was unlocked & thank heavens, it actually was. I was able to get back into my own house through the garage door. When I turned to lock it, I discovered this sight – yet another thing they don’t tell you when you get a Great Dane – you need to clean things you normally don’t think to clean.

These spots would be from Leonardo jumping up & tapping his nose/mouth on the window. It's amazing he hasn't broken this window (he's broken 4 windows thus far).

These spots would be from Leonardo jumping up & tapping his nose/mouth on the window. It’s amazing he hasn’t broken this window (he’s broken 4 windows thus far).

Running

I’ve not been for a run this week yet. I’m still reeling from Boston. My heart goes out to the wonderful people there & all those that ran towards the explosions to help. What a senseless tragedy -horrific. Almost as bad have been the inhumane comments that people have been making online. It never fails to amaze me how such terrible events bring out the best – and worst – in human beings.

Reading

Long Time Dead by Sarah Pinborough – yes, I am also a Torchwood fan (shocking, I know). Not as much as Doctor Who, but I do really enjoy the show. Sure wish it would come back for more series, but that could be a whole post by itself.  LOL

This novel is about Suzie – OMG, does she never properly die – Costello. It takes place before Miracle Day, but after Children of Earth. Now, mind you, I’m not a Suzie fan – but I’m even less of a Gwen fan…  there is no Gwen in this story, so that alone makes it palatable for me. If you are looking for a happy ending finally for Suzie, then move right along, this isn’t it – but if you don’t mind a tragic ending, pick this one up – the story is actually quite good & enjoyable. Even without Captain Jack. :D

Knitting

Well, I’ve actually been crocheting instead of knitting! :)  A friend of mine is about to become a grandma for the first time – a fact that I just found out about. So I decided to crochet up a baby blanket for her. An online Ravelry friend turned me on to this pattern – and I LOVE IT!!

Today’s Ravelry Search

Today’s patterns are all free or available in books/magazines, in keeping with the rest of the theme. :)

Garden apron!

Cushy pad to kneel on!

I think I might know someone that would like this one in yellow & green… :)

SO cute!

Drawstring bag for laundry or clothespins!

How CUTE is this??

Recycle old CD with some acrylic & beads for a really cute & handy basket!

Seriously, it doesn’t get much cuter than this for your clothespins!!

Garden bag!

Ok, I seriously have to make one of these. Use short pieces of yarn (3-8″ long) in preferably natural materials (wool, cotton, alpaca, etc). You can add bits of straw, raffia, leftover fabric strips as well!

Lego doorstop in crochet…

…Or one in knit!

Beer cap hotpad! How cool!

Recycle those awesome Target bags into a bag you can use over & over again!

This pattern reuses mesh onion/garlic bags to make super scrubby cleaning cloths!

Ever have one of those lovely mesh bath poofs for scrubbing your back? Eventually, they all do start to come apart… when that happens, turn it into a super scrubbing cleaning pad!

Happy Thursday, all!

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Sometimes It’s the Simple Things

So I have this fun new cube neighbor sitting directly across from me. He’s a fellow Who fan, though I don’t count him as a full fan yet because he’s only ever watched reboot Who. He did win bonus points for laughter though, the day he saw my “David Tennant is my Doctor” t-shirt he had a thunderstruck expression on his face as he realized that I have the same last name.

He came in to work a few weeks ago, waving about an empty Amazon shipping box. He asked “how do you like my fancy new riser for my MacBook?”  My answer? “Oooh, that’s awesome! You can have so much fun with that, it’s all customizable & everything – all you need are some new skins for it!”  Yeah, we’re geeks, d’uh.  :D

I may have used an image similar to this to create a new skin that I plan to “install” for him when I arrive in the office tomorrow morning. *whistling innocently*  A-hem…  if you look closely at this post, you might see a glimpse.  LOL

Running

Ugh, I’ve been struck with a days-long migraine, so no progress on that front. As soon as this bad boy is gone, though, look out!  LOL

Reading

Love You More by Lisa Gardner – as a page turner, this story mostly satisfies. I really enjoyed the character of Tessa – state trooper, tough woman who loves her child Sophie more than anything. You know that her husband was shot from the beginning – but why? By whom? That’s the mystery in this story, along with what happened to the now missing Sophie. The downside of the book? The lead detective – D.D. Warren – one of the more unlikeable characters I’ve come across. She has a serious chip on her shoulder & decides from the very beginning that Tessa killed her husband & child – so every shred of evidence uncovered, she works at speculating how it points the blame squarely at Tessa.

Knitting

DSC_0100I finished up the manlet’s fuzzy mitts this weekend. He seems to be happy with them, outside of the fingers being just a bit tight (though he would have complained even more if they had been loose instead, LOL).

I also knit a wee heart to leave at my geek’s place as a surprise, as he had to go to work for the day. Boo for our weekend getting cut short, but yay for an awesomely cute pattern!

Today’s Ravelry Search

In keeping with the theme, sometimes, a simple garter stitch pattern is just what the doctor ordered for some “comfort knitting” – a bit of mindless TV watching, book reading knitting that results in a smooshy & comforting fabric! ;) These are all free patterns via Ravelry…

So many cute projects!

I love this picture, with the colorful blanket in the background…

I’m not a big cowl fan, but this pattern is awesome! Plus, hello? Packers colors on this project!! :D

The baby blanket from Once Upon a Time – sweet!!

OMG, so cute!!

And, hey – super cute one for adults!

Not quite as smooshy as Checkerboard, but still very comfy looking slippers!

The bias makes this bag look quite cool!

I love these!

I adore this pattern as well!

I’ve posted this one before, but seriously – who can resist this picture?!

Of course, a post about garter stitch patterns would not be complete without the Doctor Who scarf! This one is mine & is only 8″ wide instead of the more accurate 10-12″.

Did you spot the Angels?  :D

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Happy Making

YES. Filming has begun.

Running

Hmmph. I was planning to get in a good 4 mile run today, but the weather does not look to be cooperating with me at all! Guess I’ll have to drag my geek out for a run tomorrow instead. :)

Knitting

Well…  I’ve cast on for the manlet’s mitts, anyway. LOL I’ve been reading a book that completely sucked me in, though, so I haven’t been knitting. It happens. :D

Today’s Ravelry Search

With all my talk about how much I love brightly colored afghans/blankets, I realized that I haven’t done a post with a focus on just those. So, here you go, some truly fun & gorgeous patterns to go fave!

No post about gorgeous afghans could leave out Woolly Thoughts. Their patterns are AMAZING. :)

This pattern is brand new this month on Ravelry – isn’t it awesome?

* Falling leaf blanket – lovely!

* Seriously stunning – and would take a tremendous amount of patience!

I have this kit & will absolutely be knitting it! ♥

Very pretty!!

I really love the Great North American Afghan patterns, SO awesome!

* LOVE the colors!

It’s a simple pattern, but only $2.00 – and the funds get donated to a food bank! ♥

Just, wow, just gorgeous.

* This pattern is amazing – check out all the different variations you can create with it!

I love this one.

* The classic Sock Yarn Blanket. I really need to get back to mine!

* WOW! I love this designer’s patterns. This one is amazing!

* Cute stitch pattern! Love it.

* Could not resist this pattern for the list!

* Free pattern

Do you have a favorite colorful afghan project/pattern?

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