Friday, March 30, 2012

Proud Mama

My daughter loves the library!  Which makes this librarian pretty proud.

She is getting very good at puzzles.  Her spatial reasoning is improving every day.  She loves to do the puzzles at preschool and the library.  We might need to get her some new ones at her new level for her birthday next week. (She will be 4 , oh my goodness.)

I love that she just picks up a book and sits down to read it. Another great skill developed at preschool.  they have a quiet corner where kinds can go to have quiet time and read.  Genius idea.  I might have to institute this at home.

Have a happy Friday everyone!  Any plans for the weekend?  I am running my half marathon tomorrow so if you are in the Peoria Heights area and want to see me and a bunch of other people run for a few hours go to Running Central from 8-10 or so tomorrow morning.  I hope to finish around 10 am.  Wish me luck.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Just for Her

We have a special tulip.
So you see it?

Here it is up close. (Disregard the dandelion.  The Weed-B-Gone is going on this coming weekend, I hope.)

We have one purple tulip among the red and yellows.  Purple is D's favorite color and I told her it is a special tulip just for her.

Have you ever seen a purple tulip?  They seem to be a big hit around Peoria.  I don't recall seeing a purple tulips until moving here.  I am not sure where this one came from because we did not have a purple tulip last year.  Hmmmm.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Summer Cowl

The secret has been delivered and received so I can blog about it!

My Aunt Cheryl send me a link of a cowl pattern on Pinterest that she liked.  She asked me if I could maybe teach her how to make it.  Well, since she lives in South Dakota and I in Illinois, I thought it would just be easier to order the yarn and make it for her as a surprise.  She is my Godmother after all.

The pattern is from NobleKnits, a new favorite shop and blog of mine.

The yarn Berroco Lago is made of 81% Viscose, 19% Linen.  That is very different from all other fibers I have worked with so, it took a bit of getting used to, but I caught on to the feel and whipped this puppy out in a week.  

I also ordered yarn for myself. In citrus.

I am just about finished with it now and in just a few days.  In all maybe 4-5 hours of knitting here and there.  It is a nice summery cowl.  I hope I wear it.  I love making things but rarely wear them.  They just sit in a bag waiting to be used.

I love this pattern and yarn and I think I may make more, but first I have other things to knit.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I am loving this Spring weather, but with that comes early yard work.

I have never been one for yard work, mostly because I am allergic to grass and most outside things.  But I like the way a nice yard looks with well-kept flower beds with pretty flowers and plants.  I want that, so I have to work for it. I have never been one to work on pulling weeds, collecting leaves or putting down mulch, but that is exactly what I did all weekend.  It was hard work and I filled several refuse bags with leaves and weeds. I love the results.

I should have taken before photos but that would have been too embarrassing.

I was under the impression that much cost a lot of money.  And it doesn't really.  I got 10 bags of much which did 3 of my flower beds for around $30.  I probably need 8-10 more bags to finish the one large bed left.  So really all the mulching for $60, not bad.  I thought it would cost hundreds the way my husband talks about the expense of mulch.  We never mulched our house in Tennessee because I thought it would cost a butt load (due to my husband's talking) and we finally did mulch to sell the house but my husband did all that, so I did not know how much it cost.  We did not mulch last year at this house because I though cost prevented it.  Long story short...I am mulching for life!!!!!  It is affordable and easy (after pulling all the weeds, which is not easy, but will be easier now with mulch).  I can't believe I am 28 years old and finally learning this.

This is our new garden friend in the newly mulched front bed.  D picked her out. I am not sure what type of bird she is supposed to resemble.  I will have to see if d has come up with a good name for her.  I assume she is a "her" because she is brown and less flashy than the other bird ornaments available.

We also hung up Easter eggs on our front tree.  Do you do this?  It is something my mom always did when I was little (and she still does) and it is something I feel compelled to do for my daughter.  I like that they look cheery and I love to look out an see my front tree in bloom with plastic Easter eggs dangling in the wind.  It is always a bit of a pick-me-up and reminiscent of my childhood.

What have you been working on around the house?

Monday, March 26, 2012


I have a problem. 

I like to blog about what I am making and I also like to make surprises.  I can't go around blogging about surprises, especially since I have such a low readership, the reader will definitely know it is for them.  I should probably start making things for my husband since he doesn't read this, but then he would see me making it and it would be hard to lie and say it is for someone else so no surprises for him either.

So I am left with the option of waiting until after the surprise has been delivered to blog about the item.  So no pictures or details...yet. 

My latest surprise is good. I mailed it last week. I made this person a special goodie and they have no idea.  This fills me with glee.  Now I am making myself a repeat of the special goodie in a different color.  But I can't post a picture of that and ruin the surprise.  Instead, you will all have to imagine something pretty and wonderful in all knitterly goodness...what item would that be for you?

Friday, March 23, 2012


I have been a bit lax this week with the blog posting.  Why?  Because I am playing single mom this week and the next two weeks while my husband is away at work...95 miles away.  It is not like he is a million miles away, just far enough to not come home every night.  He will be home for weekends, but during the week D and I are mono e mono.

That means little to no crafting time for me.  I did finish a project before he left, but it is a surprise, so I can't post about it yet.

Instead, I have been filling my time cleaning our new rug, which the dogs decided to pee on in multiple places.

I texted my husband and asked what to do.  He said to use mommy spit because that cleans everything.
I worked for over an hour last night and let the rug dry overnight.

This morning it is all better, which is a huge relief.  The dogs will now be kenneled at night. The whole reason we had to get this rug is because we had to tear up the carpet and refinish the wood because the dogs were peeing on it.  I am just tried of it.

I do have some good news on the home front.  I am no longer coveting my neighbor's flowers because I have my own.

I can't wait for the weekend to go do some yard work.  My husband will probably have to mow.  I will probably have to pick up a winter's worth of dog droppings.

What do you have planned this weekend?  Going to see The Hunger Games movie?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Running Pace

This past Saturday I ran my longest training distance for the half-marathon.  I was lucky enough to be back at my mom's house so I got to run in Scott Country Park.

Scott County Park is my old training ground for cross country.  I know those roads so well.  I know exactly how far I have gone at any point and I know the next point and the next.  At least I thought I did.  In cross country we almost never ran over 4 miles.  Not sure why.  That 4 miles block was a mental block for years, I never thought I could run further than just that.  A few times a season our coach would have us run a longer loop.  I recall him saying it was 5 miles, so for my 10 run I decided to run the loop twice.  Well the loop is not 5 miles because I ended up running 11.5 miles upon the completion of the two loops about an hour and forty-five minutes later.  That is a great time and I felt great.  I started early enough in the morning that it was warm but not too hot.  It just was a bit longer than anticipated, but come the race I only have to go 1.65 miles more.

My half-marathon race is March 31- about a week and a half away.  I only have 4 more runs before the race, but I feel ready.  Come cheer for me if you are in the area.  I hear I am going to need it.  My chiropractor (a runner) said that his friend ran the course and it was way hilly.

Friday, March 16, 2012

New Rug

We finally got a rug for our living room.  Last September, we began the process of ripping out the carpet in our living room due to a funky stain (complete with smell) that I could no longer stand.  My husband painstakingly refinished the original wood floor below. We knew we needed a rug to keep the room warm and keep our feet (and dogs) from freezing.  But all winter we did not get a rug. This week the weather is near 80*F so logically, this is the week we got a rug.

That is our little dog Kelly. She is loving the rug. I couldn't get her to move for the photo.  Oh and, pay no attention to that crap in the corner.  My hubs says he is going to fix and install that closet door so our crap is not viewable.  I just don't think his and mine timeline for soon are the same. 

So now we have a rug to match our new curtains. And we have seasonal flowers on the coffee table (purple hyacinths).  I feel all home decorator-y.  Little improvements here and there.

What are you up to in your house?  Does the Spring weather have you thinking about changing things up?

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I walked the dogs yesterday and discovered this.

My neighbor's  


See any differences? 

No one even lives in the house next door (not abandoned, just empty and not for sale) and they get the pretty blooms first.  I guess I should be thankful for the amazing weather (near 80* in March in Central Illinois) but I want pretty flowers too. (Whine, Whine, Whine.  I know they are coming for me too)  Everything is starting to awaken from the mild winter and starting to bloom and that makes me think, I should be knitting Springy things, but not sure what.  Any suggestions?

Are your flowers up? How are you enjoying the weather, by coveting your neighbor's flowers like me?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mindful Steps

Cast on new socks several days ago. The pattern is Mindful Steps from Knit Picks and the yarn is Cascade Heritage Sock Yarn. 

My daughter felt compelled to pose with them.  Sometimes she hates having her picture taken and sometimes she loves it. This is probably one of her best pictures.  She tends to smile too hard and it makes her look like she is in pain, but this is the perfect smile.

I have jury duty this week so I have been away from the internets. I am back at work today, but have to leave work early tomorrow for my jury- the coroner's jury.  So I am only working 2.5 days this week as a librarian and the rest of the time I am doing my civic duty.  I took my socks along to work on while waiting around to do my civic duty, but I barely worked on them at all.  I mostly read.

These socks are not meant to be my main project, but a side project that I can always come to when needed.  It might take me a long time to complete these or not.  It is nice to be knitting without a deadline. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

For the twins, Part 2

My daughter was sick so we stayed home from work and school.  It seems to be just a cold, but she sounds miserable.

It gave me some unexpected crafting time and I whipped out a pair hats for my cousin's in utero twins.

Coming to you soon, Betsey!  Happy breastfeeding!

Still probably the unusual/unique thing I will ever make.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

For the twins

I am making baby hats that resemble boobs for my cousin's twins due this spring. Yay for baby hats and breastfeeding.

Get it?, "For the Twins".  The boobs are twins, the babies are twins...crickets?

Anyway, here is what the finished product will look like:

Do you know how hard it is to find yarns that are flesh and nipple colored?  The pattern calls for a peach color, but I couldn't find one.  My husband joked that if i needed to match my skin color I would have to choose white.  So I settled for in-between color, I did the best I could and got off-white/cream and pinkish colored yarns.

I'll be working on these this weekend. They shouldn't take too long.  Crochet baby hats come together quickly.  This may be the strangest, most unique and unusual thing I have ever made for anyone, and she requested it.

What is the strangest thing you have ever made?  Have you seen something like this before?  What weird baby items have you seen recently?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Review: Is Everyboday Hanging Our Without Me?

Mindy Kaling is funny.  I didn't know this because I had never heard of her until my book club decided to read this book for our March meeting.
Apparently Mindy is a writer and actor in this show called The Office.  I have never watched, but I've heard good things.  I am really surprised that I have never watched The Office because I love comedy shows, I guess I have been busy or watching something else when it is on.

Her book is funny, which is good because she is a comedy writer.  I listened to it on audio (read by her) while knitting, my new favorite multi-tasking activity.  This book is a collection of lists and stories about her life.  She hasn't done anything super amazing (except, you know, The Office and some cool play I've never heard of) but has had a good life and she tells it well.

I am glad that my book club selected to read this book because I never would have picked it on my own.  I enjoyed listening to Mindy's rantings and it is a fast read.  The audio book is only 4 hours.

If you want a quick read that is funny check this one out.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Trick

I learned a new trick over the weekend. It is enterlac (pronunciations vary). 

My favorite yarn store had a class on learning entrelac over the weekend.  I could not go because I had to work.  So I decided to teach myself.  I am not one to be left behind.   I got a good pattern and cast on.  I suggest The Entrelac Scarf Tutorial by KnittyOtter.   It has very good pictures and great instructions.

I first did a sample to figure this whole thing out. 

There is a lot of short rows, picking up stitches, slip stitches and purling or knitting two stitches together, but if you just follow the instructions it comes out right.

I cast on for a scarf.  I know, I make a lot of scarves, but everyone needs a warm neck (just not this winter.)  And I swore I would not make another scarf out of sock year after the Hitchhiker, but here I go again.

The yarn is Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock in Bryn.  I love it so much.  I am knitting on size US 4 needles.

I have done the repeats a few more times since I took this picture  and I basically have the entire pattern memorized.  I just have to do a bit of quick checking here and there to make sure my memory is correct.

I love the technique and I will probably be doing more enterlac in the future.  I am thinking pillows for the couch.

What did you learn this weekend?  Have you ever tried entrelac?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Finished stack


Not just 10, but 11 fabulous hand-knitted dishcloths for door prizes at my sister's wedding shower next month.  I found the missing one and I had enough yarn from one "super sized" skein to make 3 dishcloths (well 2.85  I had to add some from another skein to really finish it off.)

With this project out of the way, I had time this weekend to start a few new things.  So stay tuned.

What nice thing have you done for your sister or mother lately?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Adult Decisions

In nearly seven years of marriage, my husband and I have never picked out curtains.  Mostly because it is hard for us to agree on anything. But we made the leap last weekend.

 I am very happy with the living room.
I spent a lot of time ironing curtains on Sunday night.  We even decided on a run but, will purchase it later.

Not so happy with the dining room but I can live with them a while, I guess.  My husband picked them out and he likes them.  I can make some concessions, for a bit.

This is what I really want.

Here is a better look:

They are Cindy Crawford Style Trivoli Window Panels and one panel costs more that the set we have in the dining room.  But I love these!!!!  I think the blues would look so good together.

Thank you to Alexis, my neighbor,  for having awesome curtains and inspiring me to decorate.  Also thanks to Alexis' mom who helped her pick out Alexis' curtains and gave me some advise to get the process moving.

What are you decorating issues? What do you think of my curtains?  Sorry the pictures are at weird angles, I didn't want you to see the mess.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Audio Books

Can I knit and read at the same time? Yes I can. (Now only if I could run at the same time too.)  Right now I am working on making a million (okay 10) dishcloths.  I also need to read this book for my book club meeting next week.

Enter audio books.  I haven't listened to an audio book in years.  I used to read books on audio all the time when I was a library assistant processing books.  I didn't have to talk to anyone or be aware of anyone else, just do my job so, I could just listen away.  I read a ton of books over the few years I worked there.  But since moving to Peoria, I have not read a single audio book, until now.

I am not done with Is Everyone Hanging Out With Me? by Mindy Kaling, but I am enjoying it immensely.  It is read by her so, there is good delivery.  I don't even know who she is really because I don't watch The Office, but I love her humor and stories in this book.  Thanks to Kathleen for suggesting this one for book club.  It is just what I needed; a great, hilarious pick me up. 

I think I am going to attempt to get all my book club books on audio so I can listen and knit.  I love multi-tasking!  Makes me feel accomplished even if I am just doing two hobbies at once.  The only drawback is how I am listening.  If I am listening at home through the computer, I can listen through the speakers and still hear what my daughter is up to, but I have to sit near the computer.  If I listen through my iPod with my headphones, I have mobility, but I can't hear what she is up to.  I guess I will have to find a happy medium and hope that my husband travels less (not going to happen) so I can have more selfish reading time.

What are you reading?  Do you love audio books?  Do you multi-task while listening like me?