Week in Review: 22-28 July 2018

Yes, I’m back. I’ve taken an assessment of all that I have going on in my life and decided that blogging can fit in. A few things got taken off my plate to accommodate it (regular letter-writing, most notably) and I’m pretty confident I’ll be sticking with this for awhile. So, let’s get going, shall we?

Life of Lizzie

This week, she picked up a habit of saying, “Get it?” Except she’s not using the typical application of saying it after a joke that didn’t land well, but for just about any declarative statement. “I had a Popsicle today. Get it?” “I want to wear this dress today. Get it?” Once I figured out it didn’t mean she had tried to make a joke, it made everything make much more sense.

The non-allowance allowance experiment continues. This last week, we owed her two week’s worth, $8, and she decided to spend it on the fish-catching came that I remember from when I was a kid. Turns out, it’s pretty hard for her so she quickly forbid Matt and I from playing and chose to play it by herself for quite awhile the day she got it. I need to encourage her to try again so she doesn’t forget about it entirely. Maybe we’ll even be allowed to play with her again.

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On Thursday night, I took her out for a special “date” so she could have extra time with me before I was gone for the weekend. (More on that later.) The original plan was to wander around the toy section at Target then go to Chick-fil-a. We did wander Target very, very slowly. After she got her game, she insisted we get 1) Cheerios – “they’re for the weekend” and 2) crazy-shaped Annie’s boxed mac and cheese. I will admit I pushed her to the mac and cheese rather than going out as I’d had Chick-fil-a for lunch and it was going to start pouring soon.

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(Yeah, that’s her feet under a toilet stall door. She does this anytime I need to do my thing, to make sure she stays close. Very literal interpretation of “I need to be able to see your feet.” I try not to think about the fact she’s got her face pressed up against the door.)

On the Needles

Most of my week was spent knitting – then pulling out and re-knitting the Campside shawl from Alicia Plummer in Berroco Ultra Wool DK in the Heather colorway. More about what happened with the first attempt in a bit. The second attempt is going really well and I’ve only got the final pattern of eyelets then the ribbed border to go. This will be given to a coworker who enjoys a muted color palette – and is opening her house to our team to watch Spaceballs next Friday.

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I’ve also made a tiny bit of progress on the Vestigial socks in Neighborhood Fiber Company Studio Sock in the Parkland colorway. I like the pattern plenty but haven’t been in much of a sock mood. These will be my on-the-go project next week so I can make some real progress towards completion. The recipient lives here so obvious doesn’t need them for quite awhile but I hate having something hanging over me like this. (I’ll post a pic next week.)

Adventures and Discoveries

Yesterday, we went to DC for the first time in months to see a special exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. Lizzie was very impatient on the walk from Archives to the museum but happily walked through the exhibit with Matt on Dutch paintings of watercraft. (I stayed in the courtyard and knit on the socks in peace.) We were all very hungry at that point, so we went to b DC, a burger place. Lizzie didn’t eat almost any of her mac and cheese, but Matt and I really enjoyed our burgers and sides (tater tots for me, truffle fries for him). She really wanted to see the butterfly exhibit at the National History Museum but the line to get in was, no kidding, two blocks long. Guess everyone else was happy to finally be out of the house, too. Amd, you know, tourists. We promised her we’d get back to see them in the fall. I, of course, was too busy sweating and avoiding people to take any photos.

 

Oye. Ugh. Sigh.

Several things didn’t go so great this week.

My trip to Cleveland for a friend’s baby shower got cancelled due to a traffic control issue and no available flights that would get me there in time. I got a refund and immediately spent the money on a new watch and sock yarn from Miss Babs. Thankfully, I found out hours before I went to the airport and the United folks were great in trying to help me fix things.

It rained almost all week. Lots and lots and lots of rain. The immediate issues of cabin fever, getting soaked, and needing to carry an umbrella everywhere were easily dealt with. Harder was the water that came into our basement and wet our carpet when the outside drain was clogged with dirt. Thankfully, our cleaning lady discovered it after a few hours so we were able to unclog the drain, get the water up with a shop vac, and finish drying it out with a fan pretty quickly.

And I pulled a very Angela move at one point and left my badge inside my work area when I went out of it to use the restroom. Thankfully, someone was coming out very soon after who went and got my badge from my desk for me. I almost never take the thing off, too.

 

A Better Me

This was week two of my combination Weight Watchers restart and gluten, dairy, and soy elimination diet. Almost no headaches, at last! No real signs of improvement, health-wise but it’s only two weeks in. Lost 3.6 pounds since last Sunday. Had some issues actually eating enough points; turns out most of my points before were eating all the cheese and bread. This whole thing resulted in a few great culinary discoveries: almond-milk lattes, spicy eggplant dip, rediscovery of yumminess of Mojo chicken on the grill, Wegmans chicken tortilla soup.

 

On Tap

  • Kid’s birthday party at the community pool
  • DC Pen Show,
  • Likely shawl FO and Vestigial socks FO

 

Have a great week!

Week in Review: 22-28 July 2018

Blogpoloy

I have all sorts of excuses why I haven’t blogged in awhile. Use of Instagram for sharing photos and stories. Trying to connect with people more in person. Lack of desire to get anywhere near a computer after a work day spent on one.

But, really, I just haven’t felt like blogging. And that’s okay, right? Ya’ll haven’t come at me with pitchforks, demanding I post more often. I do this blog for fun and self-expression and, okay, sometimes it’s for the likes and new followers.

2017 Wrap-Up

I would say that 2017 was a year of ups and downs, for me and my work and my family and, well, the nation. (Don’t worry, I won’t elaborate very much on that last one. Let’s just say I see it as more of a downward motion with occasional bright spots.)

January

I started the year with a giant plate of cinnamon rolls at a favorite brunch spot and spent the rest of the day clearing out and organizing our closets. We also went to Rose’s Luxury for the first time in a little bit. (Yes, Lizzie spent the first few days of the year at her grandparents’.) Lizzie got really into painting, taking advantage of her new easel. I took another ballet class – the only session I actually completed for the year, though I did start too others. We all went to the Women’s March on Washington – even Lizzie was a happy camper, despite the crazy crowds. I made a lot of envelopes and pom-poms. Maybe hundreds of each. We helped with robotics again, though I mostly stayed home to watch Lizzie.

February

We went to the National Zoo with the family of one of Matt’s high school friends on a drizzly day. Spent a long weekend in Florida with my parents, including lots of playground time and a trip to the Everglades (my first, can you believe it??). I visited the new MGM resort for a friend’s birthday. We started a fun activity of hallway bowling.

March

Lizzie started her second round of swim lessons, still with us on the pool with her. She did really well, though didn’t end the class being unwilling to be in the pool without us. Her second haircut was just as easy as her first. We got a good amount of snow. Well, enough snow for Lizzie to “help” make a snowman.

April

Matt went to South Africa for work – the cards were brought back for me. Lizzie attempted a soccer class – this accurately shows her feelings towards it. We went with some friends to a DC United game. We spent a lot of time our new hammock. Lizzie participated in an Easter egg hunt with church. Matt celebrated his favorite time of year -strawberry season! My parents came for a weekend and we spent a day in Annapolis.

May

I had a major sinus infection but it was over by the time we had our annual Cinco de Mayo party. Neighbor Sara joined me at Maryland Sheep and Wool. We spent an evening at Great Falls and a weekend in Shenandoah. We had dinner and played board games with old friends. Lizzie ate the first of many, many popsicles for the summer.

June

Lizzie spent lots of time outside or in our porch with E from next door. I made some fun creatures. We spent 10 days in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. We re-did our basement (finally!).

July

We spent as much time outside as possible, including fireworks with neighbors, trip to Shenandoah with friends, and a visit to Florida (where Uncle Rob took us all the zoo).

August

Lots of time with the neighborhood families. Matt and I spent the last half of the month in England and Wales. (For more info on the trip, see my Instagram from August.)

September

Going through my photos, it’s all about Lizzie’s friends’ birthday parties and a random Saturday afternoon spent painting in the porch. I’m sure other stuff happened, too, but that’s certainly what kept weekends super busy.

October

Birthday party next door and TWO Shenandoah trips – one for our usual fall weekend and another, as a day trip, when my parents came to visit.

November

Another birthday party, Lizzie’s first college football game (Maryland vs Michigan). We had Thanksgiving with Matt’s parents and aunt and one of his coworkers. Everyone who had Thanksgiving next door came over for dessert. Of course, zero pictures of that but here’s our leftover turkey ramen from the next day.

December

Lizzie had a great Prince and Princess birthday party, where she and her buddies decorated foam crowns. We took her on her first Santa Train. She’s still scared of Santa but loved being on a real (non-Metro) train for the first time. We got a little bit of snow.  The girls – Lizzie and neighbor’s – attempted to make gingerbread houses with non-structural components. Celebrated Christmas with my in-laws and without my parents (long story). Lizzie fell in love with Legos.

Looking Forward to 2018

Let’s just leave this for another post, okay?

Blogpoloy

Rainbow Days

Do you craft projects tend to grab onto a particular color palate and not let go? For me, lately, my colors have gone to rainbows.

It started when Neighborhood Fiber Company started offering their Marriage Equality colorway (for the third? fourth? time). I bought two kits of the gradient (DK and Sock), happy to both support the benefiting LGBTQA orgnization and have some of the wonderful, vibrant colors. I’ve now used them for a handful of projects – and still have a good 1/3 of the DK left!

(These photos are all of me wearing the items versus my usual slightly nicer shots but I’ve been feeling lazy.)

Everyday Shawl

(Rav project)

This was a really meditative knit. I worked on it during conference calls at work and occasionally at home in July. The recipient was complaining that she’s always cold – hopefully this has kept her warm!

Lizzie’s Rainbow Scarf

I really just sort of made this up as I went along, roughly following the Tale as Old as Time pattern. My project page for it (here) has all the details. Made using the NFC DK weight.

Rainbow Hat

I think I may be almost over my inability to do colorwork. This was made in DK and I just sort of made up the pattern (and the crown shaping, hence the wonkiness of it!).

Rainbow Days

Other Craftyness with Needles

I turned back to an old love this summer, after many years away: cross stitch.

I started back with when a friend was posting her embroidery in Instagram. My first pattern back was one I’d bought two years ago and never made. I manged to finish a bit over half of it before we were heading off to Grand Teton and Yellowstone. I guessed that I would probably finish it while there so it wasn’t worth bringing with me. Of course, I forgot about it entirely until I was going through my pile (yeah, a pile) of cross stitch stuff in my office.

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(Pattern is Crafty Manifesto by Satsuma Street)

On the Teton/Yellowstone trip, I manged to finish another Satsuma Street pattern, Blue Village. I’d started it just before we left so it was maybe 90% complete on the trip.

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(Blue Village, when it was almost done being stitched)

When I finished with Blue Village, I was on my trip and still needed something to work on. I had managed to find two great kits at park gift shops – one of Grand Teton and another of Old Faithful. I decided to start on the later, as it was smaller in size and not completely filled in.

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(Yellowstone National Park kit finish)

I was loving the big projects, so I immediately (this was early July) started on the Lovely Little Washington, DC pattern from Satsuma Street. This is still a WIP but I haven’t touched it in a few weeks.


(Lovely Little Washington, DC)

My current big project is a surprise for my brother and sister-in-law so I’ll just post a link to it. (Click here.) It’s about 80% complete, I’d say.

Lastly, I do work on smaller things, mostly projects that take an evening or two to make. These are mostly combinations of patterns I find online and fonts from Sublime Stitchery or another book I have or got from the library. I have a another one I’ve made but it’s not family friendly (picture is here).

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(Made for a friend who is LGBTQ and, well, pretty awesome.)

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(Made for my husband’s coworker who is obsessed with squirrels as they don’t have them in his native Australia.)


(WIP: Will eventually have a bunch of different sized hearts on it. The unicorn thing is a needle minder and not part of the design.)


(This was my cross stitch project I threw together in England/Wales. I love the look of the pattern but not at all sure about my color choices. This will probably languish for awhile.)

DO you cross stitch? Any favorite patterns?

Other Craftyness with Needles

Harvest-a-Long: Lessons Learned

There’s a concept used in my industry, probably from a business book no one can remember the name of anymore, known as Lessons Learned. When you finish up a project, the team gets together and thinks about how things could go better the next time. Sure, some whining happens, but the focus is on how you can do things differently to make it all go better next time. 

Lessons learned apply to crafts, too. 

I learn something with every project. Sometimes it’s something little, like that a particular yarn likes to split so the lesson learned is to use a needle with rounded, rather than sharp, tips. Sometimes it’s something you can’t believe you never thought to do differently. 

My Harvest sweater left me some major lessons learned.  Lessons I thought I had learned before. 

*sigh*

Thing is, my sweater doesn’t fit me. I chose the wrong size to make. Got gauge, followed the directions. Doesn’t fit. 

Yep, I wrote a whole post about measuring yourself and choosing a size. Yet, I made the wrong one for me. 

I chose the size exactly the same as my chest measurement, measuring around my widest point in my chest. This means that there was zero ease. 

Lesson One: Cotton does not stretch

Next time I work with this yarn or another cotton, I should add at least and extra inch to account for the fact cotton does not stretch. (And maybe add a bit more if I intend to throw it in the dryer when I’m too impatient to let it dry flat.)

Lesson Two: Remember your body type

Unlike the standard person sweaters are designed for, I have broad shoulders and, well, a small chest. In the future, I need to account for this. 

Amy Herzog has an amazing blog series called Fit to Flatter which is also available in book form. In the post on choosing your sweater size, she describes how to take a better measurement than the tradition chest one. I won’t rehash what she says, but the lesson from Amy for me is that I often need to knit a size or two larger than the pattern calls for. 

The Sweater

I tried on the sweater and even wore it a few times before blocking it. From the start, it felt tight across my shoulders and I couldn’t quite close it. After blocking it via washer and dryer, it is not at all flattering. And, worse, it’s just not comfortable. Here’s a photo I took of me trying it on, about the only photo I have of me wearing it. Notice how it won’t close, yet bunches at my armpits. Signs of a poor fit. 


Don’t worry, though, the sweater will not be relegated to the back of my closet. I’m lucky to have a friend for whom the sweater is a perfect fit. It’s actually winging its way across town (so more like fighting I-66 traffic) to my friend KO to keep her warm on chilly days at work. 

I will knit myself another sweater one of these days. And I will remember my lessons learned.  (Either way, I’ll blog about it, you can be sure.)

Harvest-a-Long: Lessons Learned

Yellowstone, Part IV

Our final days were spent in the area everyone goes to – by Old Faithful. I won’t lie, this was my absolute least favorite part of our trip. It was crowded and you had to really work to get away from people. That said, it was really neat to be able to see the world’s most famous geological feature.

One tip – if you climb to the second floor of the Old Faithful Inn and walk to the newer area, you’ll eventually get to a covered porch. From there, you have an excellent, likely totally private, view of Old Faithful. We discovered it by staying just on the other side of that porch and went back multiple times to watch eruptions.

Prismatic Spring

The Prismatic Springs are a series of, well, springs located just down the road from Old Faithful. They’re famous for the large, multi-colored springs. Yes, it’s crowded and unless you go after the new overlook opens, you can’t get very close. I’d say this is skippable if you’re able to walk the entire 4 mile round-trip to the Morning Glory spring in the Back Basin. Think carefully before visiting.

Prismatic Spring

Prismatic Spring

Back Basin

No more words from me, just lots and lots of photos of gysers from the back-basin, home of Old Faithful.

Back Basin

Back Basin

Mammouth Spring

Just before you exit the park into the town of West Yellowstone is Mammouth Spring. I don’t even know how to describe it, other than out-of-this-world strange.

Mammoth Hot Springs

Well, that’s it. Hope you enjoyed this little view into this most famous of US National Parks!

Yellowstone, Part IV