Monday, August 21, 2006

My Newest Endeavor

Lately I have been trying to spend more time reading. In an effort to challenge myself, and encourage others to read more also, I have started a reading/book review blog. :)

The name of the blog comes from a quote by Arnold Lobel:
Books to the Ceiling,
Books to the Sky,
My pile of books is a mile high
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them
That is the first blog button that I have created all by myself too! :) Here's a smaller version if anyone would like to snag it to put a link on their blog. :)
As I read books, I'm posting a picture of the front cover and doing a review. 3 so far!
Anyone else have reading blogs?? Email me and let me know....I'd be happy to put a link on my site!
And since we're talking about books and reading.....I found an awesome website last week! PaperBackSwap (PBS). Membership at the website is free. You type in the ISBN #s from books in your library that you would be willing to trade, and you search for books you would like to have and put them on a wishlist. The books you list to trade are compared with the wishlists of everyone on the website....when you get a match, you print off a mailing label and send your book to that person. In return, you receive a "credit'' good for requesting one book from another PBS member.
I've sent out 6 books already.....and I have 4 coming in the mail to me. :) Using media mail, mailing a book averages about $1.59 to $2. So, it's a cheap and fun way to trade out books you're done with, and receive some that you've been wanting to read!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I received a wonderful SP8 reveal box from Tahlia!!

She was preparing to have knee surgery, but still found the time to mail a box to me. :) She's been a really chatty and fun SP! :)

In the box was: dragon stickers, a personal fan (which the baby took and loves), a cute tin with a little box of baked beans inside, book tags, a tin of mints, a wonderful clove scented candle (it smells divine!), a coffee mug from a Washington State Ren-Fest (LOVE IT!!), a pretty pink glass candy dish (it's in my front room with potpourri in it already!), two anthology books from Daw publishing (one sci-fi, one fantasy), a free book with six chapters of the first Wheel of Time book in it and an advanced publishing copy of some short stories (very cool!), a pretty glass heart pendant, Bryspun circular knitting needles, 3 packages of Animal Crackers (and you were mutants!), a journal (I'm using it as my exercise/diet journal now) and a ball of Zephyr lace weight yarn in a pretty purple. But the best thing in the box was a glass trivet with a peacock feather in it -- it's absolutely gorgeous! It's on my mantelpiece in the livingroom. I thought about propping it up so that it would show in the photo better, but I was afraid it might slip and break.

Thank you Tahlia You made SP8 fun!

I also received my August Colorswap box from Dana!!

I love everything she sent! I received a teapot shaped candle holder and 3 wonderful autumn scented candles; 2 skeins of a pretty ivory Paton's Lacette, wooden letters spelling out "cafe'' and "bistro'', assorted victorian buttons and embellishments, some stitch markers made with brown beads (very pretty!), mints, assorted candy (which the kids gobbled up pretty fast!), a small jar of peach preserves, a bottle of Mape syrup in a maple leaf bottle, some pretty brown ribbon, knitting notecards (love them!), cat ink stamps, scrapbooking stickers, and a booklet about businesses in Williamsville, NY. Thank you Dana! It was fun to be your partner!


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Cometh the Postman!

Both of the overseas packages I was worried about came in the mail today! And the SP8 box I thought might be lost was actually delivered....the post office on the other side didn't scan the delivery confirmation tag on the box. Whew. I was SO worried it had gotten lost in the mail!

So, today I do feel a little bit better about the postal service. Still wondering why it's been such a problem lately. It's a bit more than coincidence that I've had 2 packages go astray in the last month, plus 2 delivered very late....and 2 pieces of our mail in the last 10 days have come totally mangled. Seems there's a problem somewhere. Hope they get it sorted out soon. I do have to give the USPS credit for making an effort to still deliver damaged mail. Both letters were still delivered to me, so I can't complain too much.

One box I got today was a Gimme Your Stuff swap from India in Scotland.

She sent me LOTS of wonderful tea! I received two big boxes of Twinnings English Breakfast Tea, and a big box of Scotish blend tea (smells SO good!). She also included two bags of Wine Gums for my son, and a ball of angora yarn, a pretty variegated Opal Sock yarn, and a hank of bulky wool in shades of blue.

Thank you!!!! I love what you sent!! My tea stash is all ready for autumn!! :)

And I also received my bookmark exchange from Diane in Australia! She sent me some AWESOME books!

She sent The Sanctuary Sparrow by Ellis Peters and Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. I'm not familiar with the 2 authors at all -- and I really look forward to reading both! I read a couple reviews on line for both books, and I think they will both be fabulous reads! Diane also sent some flavored coffee (mmmmm!), a pretty purple lace bookmark (which already has a home in the book I'm reading), kitty cat magnet (which I absolutely LOVE!), and a cute purse shaped notecard. :) Thank you so much Diane!! I hope you like the 2 books I sent you as well!

Had some slight Toddler Mayhem today.....

Joshua found a pen. And pulled my library book off the bookshelf.

Toddler + ink pen + library book = OH NO!

I will have to finish it and take it back to the library to ask if I need to pay to replace the book. Sigh. The library books are up on a high shelf now where little monkey boy can't climb up and get them. Plus, all the pens are (**I hope**) out of reach now. He's gotten to the age where he pushes chairs, laundry baskets, anything available up to things and stands on them to be able to reach what he wants. I'm glad to see him developing.....but I want his artwork on PAPER...not on the walls, the floor, books, the cats, etc. :) A home with a 2-year old can't have enough of these:


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Wool and the Postal Blues

I had a lucky thriftshop find this week! Two boxes of wool yarn!

It's mostly fingering weight, and so soft! I will definitely find good uses for it! I also found a bat Halloween costume for Joshua and several Isaac Asimov Robot books....gotta love 'em!

Speaking of books, I have started a reading/book review blog at I am challenging myself to read more, and watch television LESS! I went to the library this week and checked out some "cozy'' mystery books to fuel my efforts. :)

Joshie wanted me to take his picture tonight. Usually he hides his face, but today he brought me the camera and posed for me. lol.'s his picture:

That's his innocent look that he usually gets right before he gets into something, spills his drink or breaks something. :) Gotta love toddlers. :)

I have a big case of the Postal Blues this week. Today I got my 2nd shredded piece of mail in a week. Came in a nice envelope with an "ooops'' message on it. Last time, the letter came in a plastic baggie with just a little sticker that said "Damaged in processing.'' This time, I got a big white envelope with a long drawn out apology.

Sigh. And I have two boxes floating around no-where land in the post. One package to the UK is now a month overdue. And a priority package is floating around between here and Kentucky confirmation # just says I mailed it from here. It was never scanned again once I shipped the box. GRRRR. I knew I should have sent it UPS....from now on, I'm going to do just that with big swap packages. I'm praying the box hasn't been lost. *Crossing fingers* The postal clerks here are great, and they are trying to trace the boxes for me. Makes me really nervous, as I have a package on its way to Australia and a letter heading to New Zealand, not to mention 5 foreign postcards in the mail right now, plus packages I'm waiting on from Australia and the UK.

Anyone else having difficulties with the post right now besides me??

And, I have been tagged!

1. Your Movie Star name: (gfather/gmother on father's side/your favorite candy... i.e. Alfred Ann Skittles) Joe-Rose Butterscotch

2. Flygirl/guy name (first letter of first name followed by "izzle'' plus first2 or 3 letters of last name followed by "dizzle" - Jizzle WyDizzle

3. Detective name (favorite color, favorite animal) Teal Cat

4. Your Star Wars name: (First 3 letters of your first name, last 3 letters of your mother's maiden name, first 3 letters of your pet's name repeated twice). Julman FooFoo

5. Superhero Name (Your favorite color and the car that you drive) Blue Saturn

I tag Hydee and Lucy! :)


Friday, August 11, 2006

Not a surprise....

I am nerdier than 88% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!


Thursday, August 10, 2006

You Are Dr. Bunsen Honeydew
You take the title "mad scientist" to the extreme -with very scary things coming out of your lab.And you've invented some pretty cool things, from a banana sharpener to a robot politician.But while you're busy turning gold into cottage cheese, you need to watch out for poor little Beaker!"Oh, that's very naughty, Beaker! Now you eat these paper clips this minute."

You Are Ernie
Playful and childlike, you are everyone's favorite friend - even if your goofy antics get annoying at times.
You are usually feeling: Amused - you are very easily entertained
You are famous for: Always making people smile. From your silly songs to your wild pranks, you keep things fun.
How you life your life: With ease. Life is only difficult when your friends won't play with you!
The Sesame Street Personality Quiz

Your Brain's Pattern
You have a dreamy mind, full of fancy and fantasy.You have the ability to stay forever entertained with your thoughts.People may say you're hard to read, but that's because you're so internally focused.But when you do share what you're thinking, people are impressed with your imagination.
What Pattern Is Your Brain?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Lookie what I made today :)

He's supposed to be a sheep, but with the long floppy ears he looks a bit like a puppy too. So maybe I should compromise and call it a sheepdog? :)

Tonight once the baby goes to bed, I am going to work on the cable sweater vest until I have the back DONE. I want to get the project finished up! I'm itching to start working on Christmas gifts! :)


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

UFO decision and Christmas lists

I've made my list and I've checked it twice.....ahead of time. Yes, I am proud to say I have already made my gift list for Christmas. And I'm starting on it ASAP.

Since June, I have not been starting any new projects and I've been whittling away at all my unfinished crafting. I've made great progress......but there are still a few things that need to be finished. I could spend 2 more months on these long-term stragglers, and have them all done. But then I would rush into the holiday knitting season, and be swamped.

Last Christmas I didn't even start a list until October, and I just felt so rushed and hurried. I didn't enjoy it, and frankly, it pretty much zapped my holiday fun. So, I'm going to start early this year.

That means I'm re-vamping my UFO Challenge to fit with my need to get busy.

I am going to start Christmas presents when I am finished with my MIL's cabled sweater vest and the sock I am working on. That should take just a few more days. I'm making great progress on the sweater this week, and the sock is easy. :)

I ripped out the yarn bee scarf that was in progress. It had been on the needles for months, and I hadn't been doing anything with it. So now I have a free set of needles and a nice big ball of yarn to start over with later.

I'm going to do the same thing with the Branching Out scarf I've been working on. I really don't like the Soft as Silk version either. Wrong yarn again. So I will buy the right sort of yarn that shows better stitch definition and doesn't try to split all the time, and maybe make the scarf for a Christmas present.

The two big UFO projects that I really need to finish -- the kitten latchhook and the Scraps of Beauty crocheted afghan I will use as filler projects. When I need a break from knitting, I will work on those projects....and at least once a week, when I have extra time in the evening, I will work on them as well. That way they will be headed towards getting finished.

The Christmas tree skirt sequin and bead applique has several finished motifs on it....I'm going to cut them out and make tree decorations out of them, instead of finishing the entire tree skirt.

And, Joshua's baby scrapbook will just have to be on the back burner until I get my craft room stuff moved to the front room, and Joshua's bedroom set up for him. I don't want to drag all that stuff out right now when there's no place to put it away while it's in progress. Saves me a big headache and a big mess.

So, all I have to do is finish the sweater and the socks....and I'm off my yarn diet! BUT....only one project at a time!

And as for the gift list.....we have a rather large family to buy for, so I don't purchase anything huge. For the gals, I'm going to make everyone a lace scarf in their favorite color(s). For my little nieces, they are all going to get a handknit doll this year. All different so that they know which doll is theirs. For my nephews, I will give them some toy cars, and a couple neat books to read. The guys in the family are more difficult. For the younger guys (older teens), I'm going to get them gift cards so that they can pick out something for themselves. That way I don't buy them something they aren't going to use or want. Not sure yet what to do for my FIL and my two BILs.....but I will figure out something in the next week or so.

This year I am going to be way ahead of the game, so that when the holidays roll around, I can just relax, enjoy my decorations, have some holiday parties, and not be stressing about anything! :)

Now.....back to knitting on that sweater!! :)


Monday, August 07, 2006

Ribbit Ribbit!

Here's a little guy I crocheted for Joshua this week. Originally, I was making it for a swap, but I decided when he was done that she'd probably rather have a different animal. So the baby inheirited the froggie by default.

He has met with approval. Josh takes a bath with Mr. Froggie every night now. :) I love the pattern book that I got him from -- it has a frog, hippo, lion, pig, bunny, sheep, duckie, etc that you can crochet using a bath puff. :)

I'm still knitting away on my MIL's sweater. Making good progress! :) When I get the back piece completed, I'll post an updated photo.

We had a birthday party at the house yesterday for our friend Butch. The guys played games, ate a lot of food and had a great time!

Mikey and Butch got their geek on and squared off at Warmachine.

Protectorate (Butch) was victorious against the evil Cryx (Mikey).

But Mikey wins his share of games too! He played Michael at Federation Commander, and won.

He not only beat Michael, but beat him while talking on the phone to his girlfriend. LOL. Salt in the wounds! Salt in the wounds! :) See my husband's massive game collection in the background? We definitely have a lot to choose from on family game nights!

While the guys were playing games, Josh and I were watching Veggietales and relaxing. :) Josh was camera shy though....

Noooooooooo Mama! Not another picture! :)

I had my knitting bag out in the livingroom, and of course, within seconds it had a cat in it.

What is it ab0ut cats and yarn??? Whenever I sit down to knit or crochet, Kato is right there either wanting to sleep in my knitting bag, or demanding to sit on my lap while I knit. If it's not Kato, it's one of the others demanding lap time. I always tell Kato that he's a menace and he reminds me of the contract I signed when he deemed me worthy to reside near his catitude. Sigh. I'm a slave to my cats. :)


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thank you, toda, gracias danke, merci, xie xie, efharisto!!

The postman has been kind to me this week. :)

Melanie sent me a wonderful Knit the Classics Summer swap package.

She sent me two great books -- I can't wait to read both! -- Cinnamon stick and Orange Pekoe tea, Scarves of Hope (5 lace scarf patterns) plus the yarn and blocking pins, and a pretty blue dishcloth. :) What a great package -- thank you, Melanie!

And I received a Gimme Your Stuff box from Esta. It made it up from Australia in pretty good time, despite being opened and inspected by customs. :)

She sent lots of yarn and beads, some tea, a cool Harley of Australia t-shirt for my son, a hat with corks, an Aussie barbeque apron, and some Cheezels. Thank you Esta!! Goodies headed your way soon!

I also received my media mail exchange from Swap-bot. I got a copy of Oliver Twist, a DVD of "Apocalypse Now'' and some music. The music wasn't my taste, so I gave it to the teenagers, but I didn't have a copy of Oliver Twist in my library and I haven't seen the movie. :) A big thank you to my partner!

And today the mailman brought the yarn order I've been waiting on for several days. I ordered goodies to send out to my SP8 and Favorite Color Swap partners. Nothing like a box of new yarn! So, despite my yarn diet, I can still enjoy that new yarn smell!! It's motivating me to keep plugging along on the sweater I'm trying to finish up. :)


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

It's August -- the UFO Challenge continues

Well, Shoot! I feel like I accomplished nothing in July on my WIP list. Sigh. I think I will be on this yarn diet forever! Since it's the beginning of the month, I'll re-cap my list.

I got a couple things done this month.....but found a couple more projects hiding back in my craft room. Grrrr. I'm going to work hard this month to cross some projects off this list so that I can get started on some socks I want to knit!! The projects listed in orange are the ones I'm working on right now.

Here's the updated UFO list:

Cable sweater vest - started months ago. Two fronts done. Back and finishing left to complete. I am now finishing up the back section, and have the last bit of shaping to do, plus assembly. But I'm making great progress! :) Wahoo! :)

Ankle Socks - one orphan sock has been waiting for his mate for awhile. Most of the cuff is now done, so about 1/3 of the way done with the 2nd sock. The pattern is a simple cuff sock from the Bernat website, so it won't take long to finish up.

Branching Out scarf from Knitty -- this is my first lace project. I started over again using different yarn. I was knitting it using a pretty mohair, but the yarn was just too fuzzy and I didn't like how it looked. So using DK Soft as Silk now. Much better! It's on the needles and I have worked on it, but it's on hold right now while I work on the cabled sweater.

Sequin applique/embroidered Christmas tree skirt -- about half done. Started in 1999 and packed up for a move. Never unpacked. lol. No work on this yet.

Kitten latchhook kit - started 1999. About 1/2 done. Packed up for a move -- never got unpacked. I've done about six rows on this since's hard to work on when the baby is awake. He wants to make off with my rug yarn. :)

Scraps of Beauty crocheted afghan -- started 3 years ago. No patience to work on this yet. I have to drag out a huge plastic container of scrap yarn to get started. This will probably be the last UFO project I work on. With color changes every two rows, it takes a lot of end weaving! But very pretty pattern. About 1/3 finished. Will look great on the couch when it's done!

Kitchen, Bookmark, SP, Accessories swap for C'ville- Sent and received.

12" square swap - all of my squares are sent. Just waiting to receive mine.

SP8, ColorSwap, Favorite Color Swap, fall purse swap - Ongoing. SP8 nearly finished up. Others just starting. :)

Baby scrapbook - scrapbook stuff bought, and pictures/baby stuff in box marked "scrapbook''. That's as far as I got. LOL. Gotta get this done before joshua is 27. No work on this yet.

Knitted scarf - in LB wool from Scarf Style pattern book. No work on this yet.

Scarf using Yarn Bee yarn -- I love this yarn! I had forgotten that I started this scarf. Found it lurking back in the craft room. So I've added it to my UFO list. Very easy knit project....just garter stitch. Easily finished, but I want to finish the cable sweater first.