Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November Totals

I am attempting to loose some weight before my sister's wedding this June.  For the past two years, I was taking some medication that caused me to gain 15-20 pounds over my preferred weight.  I changed prescriptions about two months ago.  In October, I lost 5 pounds.  I was pretty excited.  I didn't do anything different.  I just continued to workout 5 days a week like I have been doing and eat normally.  This is why my weight was so frustrating, I trained for a half-marathon all spring and summer and didn't loose a pound.  I change my meds and continue to run less than in the summer and I loose 5. At least I am on the right track now.

I knew November would be tough because of Thanksgiving.  Also colder weather just makes me want to eat.  I lost one pound in November, which I think is pretty amazing considering the food I have been eating.  I was really hoping to just maintain through the holidays.  Maybe I can prove myself wrong and actually loose 2-3 pounds in December.  I don't know though, I love Christmas cookies.

I am now 14 pounds away from my goal weight for June 2012.  I think I can.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wintergirls: A Review

I have never read anything by Laurie Halse Anderson.  I really couldn't believe it when I thought about that.  She is definitely one of the premiere YA authors writing today.  Anderson tends to write intense characters.  In Speak the protagonist is the class outcast.   In Catalyst, she looked into the world of the type-A adolescent.  For Wintergirls, the issue is eating disorders.

Lia and Cassie are wintergirls.  They made a pact to be the skinniest girls in school.  Cassie dies trying and is now haunting Lia as she continues in her "bad habits." In Wintergirls, you get a close look in to the mind of a girl suffering with anorexia who doesn't want to change.  She wants to weight nothing. She won't tell anyone anything she is thinking.

As I was reading I was struck at how true the character sounded; this book is masterfully written.  I know Anderson did her research.  As you read, you like Lia, but you want her to stop punishing herself and just eat.  She is just so tortured.  I loved reading the crossed -out lines of what she was really thinking.  We all lie to ourselves and this was a great way of getting that message across.

I look forward to reading more books by this author.

5/5 Stars

Monday, November 28, 2011

Vacation Projects

I had a four day weekend thanks to Thanksgiving.  It was pretty wonderful.  I got to eat two really great meals with two great families.  I had amazing luck with black Friday shopping (only three more gifts to buy!).  And I got to knit a bit.

I made 4 dishcloths.  I only have photos of two since I already gave one away to my mother and I made two of the blue.

 This one I gave to my co-worker and office mate, Amy.

I made two of these for my daughter's day care teachers.  I'll make them some more stuff soon.

That is a snowflake pattern in the dishcloth.  It is difficult to tell from the photo.  I haven't blocked it yet.  I really need to work on photographing knitted items.  I realize I am an amateur at this, so I just keep trying.

I also got to work on my hitchhiker.

It is really coming along.  I have 21 of the 42 teeth completed, however I am not really half way.  The project grows every row, so I have a lot more knitting to do.  Maybe I am a third of the way through knitting and half way through the "teeth".  I am trying to do 1-2 teeth every day.  Last night I had to rip out several teeth to fix some wonky stitches, so I did do 2 teeth, but I really ended up where I started.

I also got some yummy yarn at The Yarn Shoppe in Davenport, IA on small business Saturday.  I had to do my part, right?

It is Cascade 220. I have a lovely book that is going to help me figure out how to use it:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Give Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving.

I am so thankful for so many things.  These things are often fogotten about and I focus on teh things I am not thankful for so I like to pause in November and remember that I have a lot to be thankful about.

I am thankful for:
My husband
my daughter
our two dogs (most days)
our house
our families
our jobs
our friends
knitting and crocheting implements/supplies (well, all crafting supplies)
internet access
spider plants (I have three and many babies)

I am sure there are many other things that I am thankful for but these are the things I am especially thankful right now.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Happy TARDIS Day, one and all.

Yes, it is TARDIS Day and to celebrate here is my TARDIS Dishcloth finished project.  I made it earlier this fall and gave it to our neighbor for watching our daughter.  They (and others) encouraged me to start watching the Doctor and I am grateful.
Now go and celebrate by watching Doctor Who and knitting Doctor Who items.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Second Mittens

On Sunday, I finished my second pair of mittens.  My daughter loves them but they are a bit too big.  I guess she can use them for more than one winter.

second pair of mittens

I used a differnt pattern; this one is called Basic Cuff-Up Mittens.  It is nice because it makes varied sized childrens mittens and not just one-size-fits-not-my-three-year-old mittens.  This time I made a swatch and everything.  I made the 4/5 year-old sized mittens.   They fit her much better, but are a bit long.

I really love making mittens, I just wish they would turn out to be the right size.  I guess I need to try to make adult ones next.  Maybe I will try another yarn as well.

Leaving round things behind, I have started on my new and exciting project: Hitchhiker.   This scarf/shawlette is called Hitchhiker after Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.  In that book, we learn that the ultimate answer to life is 42.  This scarf has 42 "teeth".  Here are my first few teeth.

I took this picture before working on it last night.  It now has seven or so teeth.

This is the finished product from the designer:


I hope my turns out just as beautiful. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

I Love Sarah Dessen: a Review of Along for the Ride

I was so happy that I got in a few hours of reading time last week.  I had to take my daughter in for her flu shot and had to take a half day at work to accommodate it.  That means I got an afternoon to read while my daughter rested.
I love Sarah Dessen.  Her books are always lovely.  They do follow a steady plot pattern, but it is an enjoyable pattern.  She just writes young adult with a bit of romance. Even though romance is a major theme, (as it is in most YA books) the biggest and best theme is about learning to love yourself.  I know it sound cheesey, but I love it.  All the female protagonists are good role models.  They have made mistakes in life or have had bad/unfortunate things happen to them and they wrestle with them, but learn from them and become a better person.  Her writing style is wonderful too.  She know just how to tell a story at the right pace. 

In Along for the Ride, Auden decides to live with her father and late-twenties-year-old step-mother (and newborn half-sister) for the summer before college.  All of her high school career and even earlier has all be about academics for Auden.  Her father and mother are both academics and raised Auden in an adult world.  Auden missed all the normal aspects of childhood and teenage life, like going to prom, having a boyfriend or having any social life.  Now in the summer, she is making friends and learning to be a young adult and have fun.  She also meets a nice boy.  I can't say much more without spoiling all of it.

I have had this book on my to-read list for a while, all of Sarah Dessen's books are.  I have also read: What Happened to Goodbye, The Truth About Forever (my fave!!!), and This Lullaby.  So I have read 4 of the 10 books she has published.  I recommend them all.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Made the Leap

Last night I made the leap, I went to open knitting night at The Fiber Universe.  Why is this so exciting?  Well I have never gone to knit with a group since I moved to Peoria two years ago. I joined a Meet-up knitting group (Knitorious) a long time ago and have never attend an actual meet-up session even through I could walk to the meeting spot from my house and I'll admit, I never went because I was scared to try something new in a new place with new people.  In Nashville, I had a steady lunch date to knit with some pretty wonderful ladies, and I even attended a Knit in Public event.  Since moving to Peoria, my knitting has been home bound with a few trips to knit in vehicles (obviously while I did not drive) or a bit on my lunch break at work.  I have had difficulty making friends and joining in on new situations in Peoria, so this really was a  leap for me, I was so nervous.

Knitting night was great because I got to talk to other people who love yarncrafting as much as me, or more.  There were definitely a few who loved it more, a level I aspire to.  I even recognized two ladies from my visit to the grand opening of the LYS. I remember helping them pick out the colors for a hat.  I did not remember their faces, but I remembered the hat pattern and the yarn selection.  I loved the comradely of different people, all at different levels of skill and knowledge of knitting or crocheting, sharing and working together, but all at their own pace and own project.  I hope I can go again in two weeks (I figure they will be closed for Turkey Day).

I worked merrily on another one of these:

first mitten

I finished my first mitten on Wednesday night, so I started my second mitten on Thursday for knit night.  This first mitten is a bit wonky.  It does not fit my daughter and the stitches are uneven, but it was my first try at a mitten and I am happy with it. 

I am starting to rely on my pattern reading ability and not watching online videos. I am trying to build confidence and hey, it worked: I made a mitten.  It is totally recognizable as a mitten too, not something someone would have to say "It's wonderful...what is it?"  Definitely a mitten.

Now that I have this first one out of the way, I am making my first mitten again (the one I started a knit night).  I hope that is fits my daughter this time around.  She is just happy that it is her favorite color, but I'm striving for a bit more. I am watching the mitten length closely this time and maybe adding a bit more length to the finger tips.  She is a 95 percentile (or higher) sort of toddler, so her hands are not normal toddler hand sized.

Maybe I can finish the new pair up by the end of the weekend?  We'll see.  My husband says we have a lot to do around the house this weekend.  He is right, I just didn't know we were going to do anything about it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


So in my previous post about knitting, I said I was ready for something different.  I did cast on mittens for my daughter, but then after knitting the cuff, discovered that I did not have the correct size needle for the next section.  Boo.  I even went to two craft stores to find the right size to no avail.

It is not that this is an unusual size needle it is the length of the circular needle that seems to be unusual.  I prefer to magic loop knit over using double pointed needles.  In fact, I really hate knitting with DPNs and avoid them at all costs. So I am at a stand still with finishing the mittens unless I use the DPNs or find a nice online retailer of long circular needles.  Maybe the new LYS, The Fiber Universe will have a pair.  Anyway, I did not work on mittens, I did something new.

first cables!!!


I decided to try cabling out.  It looks so cool that, I thought it would be hard, but I found them quite enjoyable and easy to complete.  This is an easier cabling project, I am sure, but it is rated at average difficulty by Ravelry and "intermediate" by Knit Simple. Here is my Ravelry link to see the details.

My first cabling project is the cover cowl from the current Knit Simple. 

This is their's:

This is mine:

#15 Cover Cowl

It only took a few Doctor Who episodes to complete (I am a new fan and watched the end of season one and beginning of season two on Netflix).  I really love knitting and Doctor Who together.  I also love hockey and knitting.  Some things just go together, mainly sitting and knitting or sitting, watching TV and knitting or sitting, watching daughter and knitting.  I haven't quite worked up to standing or walking and knitting.  (I once saw a news story on a lady who walked her dog and knit simultaneously; I'm not there, yet.)

I can't wait for the scarf weather to arrive.  I want it to get cold simply so I can wear my hand-knits.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Shut Out: A Review

Last year I read a pretty good book,  The Duff by Kody Keplinger.  I thought that story was funny and entertaining.  So, I eagerly awaited for her to publish her sophomore novel, Shut Out.

Lissa goes to a school where there is a rivalry between the boys soccer team and the football team. Lissa hates the rivalry because her boyfriend, Randy (quarterback), puts the rivalry ahead of her and their relationship.  She decides to put an end to the rivalry by enlisting the help of the girlfriends of all the soccer and football players to begin a sex strike. 

I had high hopes for Shut Out, but as the novel went on, I lost them.   Lissa is a control freak.  She is such a control freak that she can't communicate with others properly and it causes problems in her relationships.  I really did not like this girl and yet she got to date the quarterback (although that ends badly), has amazing friends, becomes a leader of a group and has a hot guy lusting after her.  I'm sorry.

Keplinger does not disappoint with the make-out scenes.  She is a very talented writer for expressing desire.  I just wish her characters were not total idiots.  Well the hottie, Cash (soccer player), seems like an okay guy, but Lissa, she just jumps to every wrong conclusion.

On point of my profession.  Being a librarian is very misunderstood.  Even people who use libraries often don't understand what librarians do.  In this story, Lissa is a page in a public library, that means she shelves books and does some other small tasks.  In no way should they (pages) be in-charge of locking up the library when they leave.  The whole time she is working at the library only once is a librarian's name mentioned.  I am happy she worked in a library, but the setting just wasn't correct.

On GoodReads I gave this book 2/5 stars.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Christmas Cloths (Set 2)

One of my favorite things to knit are dishcloths.  As projects go, they are: small, easy, portable, cheap and very very useful.  I use a dishcloth every day, doesn't matter the weather (like so many warm wonderful hand-made yarn items.)  Dishcloths are practical and made of natural fiber (for natural fiber snobs, I not one).  Cotton yarn is cheap; each project costs under $1.I can start and finish a project in one sitting, if given that much time.  If I don't finish in one sitting, the pattern is easy enough to pick up and start without much thought.

Some may say dishcloths are boring.  And I guess that they are right on some level.  They are mostly all knits all the time, back and forth.  I still like to make dishcloths like that because the rhythmic, repetitive pattern is soothing to me.  I can watch TV without having to thing about remembering a pattern.  A dishcloth can be just a square with nothing special going on, but that is not how I make my dishcloths.  I make my most of my dishcloths with something extra.

This is my most recent endeavor.

present dishcloth
candy cane dishcloth
Joy dishcloth

These are Christmas Cloths Set 2 from KrisKnits.  Kris is a very talented designer and makes the most wonderful little dishcloth patterns.  The patterns are easy to follow with written-out instructions and a chart.  I tend to make a lot of KrisKnits dishcloths.  Maybe someday I will make them all.

That being said, I am really craving a new knitting experience and I seem stuck on my socks project.  I really don't feel them calling to me to work on them and I have not worked on them in weeks.  I probably shouldn't say "them" because it is only one sock.  I still have to make another one to make "it" a "them".

I think I will try my hand at making mittens.  A new yarn shop just opened up The Fiber Universe (today is the grand opening 11/11/11). This is very exciting because it is the only local yarn shop in Peoria. I am sure I can get some great yarn for my next project and the next and the next.  Plus, I hope to learn a lot in classes and open knit nights.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Crossed: A Review

I love dystopian young adult novels.   Dysopia is the new hot theme in YA and so is writing trilogies.  Which brings us to Crossed by Allie Condie, the second book in the Matched Trilogy.

Have you read Matched?  You should.  It is terrific.  Here is a link to the Goodreads summary.

At the end of Matched, we are left with Ky being taken away and Cassia promising to go after him.  In Crossed, the story alternated between Ky and Cassia's narration.  They are on the Outer Providences, trying to survive and trying to find each other.  Once they meet up again [spoiler! but come on, of course they would see each other again], their next mission is to find the rebel camp called The Rising. 

This novel is filled with back story of Ky's life, as very little is learned about him in Matched.  Not only is this a story of survival on very little while the Society attempts to shoot you down and poison all fresh water, it is a love story.  Cassia is in love with Ky, but has been matched with Xander, who she also loves but differently.  So not only is it a trilogy and dystopia, there is a the love triangle -- everything that makes a book good. 

Read it.  I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.  It is not a 5 star book because I am not a mid-trilogy type girl (i.e.Empire Strikes Back is my least favorite Star Wars (original trilogy)).  If you haven't read Matched, read that and then read Crossed.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Swapping with Whoopdwhoop

I am a crafter and I love to make things, but I am adverse to selling them.   I have a lot of friends and family that take my items for free, but mostly, I don't think I make things in selling quality.  It just seems like an unattainable level of quality.  I am a pretty good knitter and crocheter, but something about selling my items puts me beyond my comfort zone.  So, instead I swap. 

I follow a lot of crafting blogs for inspiration and free patterns/tutorials.  I am a firm believer that my crafting shouldn't cost too much, but I do spend quite a bit on yarn in a year.  Anyway, one blog pointed me to Whoopdwhoop the "currency free marketplace."  Basically you make stuff then add your creations to the market.  You earn "whoops" as currency for adding items and for "selling:" items to other whoopers for their whoops.  Get it?

I joined a several months ago in May and got regular requests for items.  Then I haven't received a single swap request in three months until last week.  Last week I got one full request and two future requests if I can make my creations just a bit bigger.  Then today, I got another swap request for a pair of earrings.  I wonder if people are starting to think about Christmas gifts. 

So I set out to make my swap from last week.  It is a cute crocheted butterfly hat.  Seen here modeled by my niece just after her first round of chemo this past spring.

For some reason it was super easy to make this first hat for my niece, but I had to make four hats this weekend just to get the hat to be about the right size for a toddler for my swapper.  I tried different yarns and hooks.  I kept playing with my gauge, but the pattern doesn't have a gauge; I was just hoping it would turn out.  Something was always wrong so, for my final attempt I used the exact yarn as I made this hat out of  (had to go shopping, I was trying to make it from yarn I already owned) and the exact same hook.  Well, the small shopping trip paid off and the hat finally turned out right and I sent it out to California.

My next trick with this pattern is to make it adult sized so I can fulfill another possible request.  I just like that people like what I have made.  I love making things.

Now I have a pretty good bank of whoops and I can go shopping and get something I want.

If you are on Whoopdwhoop, check me out:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


It was our first Halloween in our new house.  I was not sure what to expect.  I just wanted to have lots of candy to hand out and I wanted my daughter to have fun.  I had to figure out how to do both simultaneously because my husband was on a business trip. 

My daughter dressed as a beautiful princess.
She might be a bit obcessed with Disney princesses.  I convinced her to be her own princess.  This costume was so cheap.  The dress my mom found and bought at a re-sale shop.  We already had the crown, scepter, shoes, cardigan and tights.  It was so perfect as purple is her favorite color.

The trick-or-treating was a total bust.  It was great weather, but only three houses on our street were handing out candy.  I had less than 10 trick-or-treaters all night.  Next year, I think we'll do what apparently everyone else was doing- go somewhere else to trick-or-treat.

I will say my daughter had fun and that is what matters.  Even when she turned from pretty princess to vampire princess.