Tuesday, August 31, 2010

{Actual Knitting!}

First off, thank you so much to everyone who responded to my post yesterday and I encourage everyone who hasn't to read the comments and leave one yourself.  It's so inspiring to hear positive messages about our self-image, isn't it?  Right after I was finished the post I went to the gym. I am SUPER sore today but am ever more super proud of myself for finally going.  A month off reeeaallllyy makes a difference. lol

Anyway! I promised you actual knitting!! I was trying to remember why it had been so long since I had an FO to show you and I think it's because I've been waiting on yarn to finish a couple of projects that I started recently.

This project is for my 7 year old Nephew and I am very pleased with how it came out!

I used the pattern Vroom From Knitty Winter '09 issue, but modified to look a little bit more grown up.  I used Encore Worsted for the main colour and just some scrap blue in my stash for a small one row stripe in the 1x1 ribbing to add a touch of interest.   I'm not concerned about the size anymore thanks to everyone who helped!!  I hope he likes it!

Next up? a Quick knit for me!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

{Public Service Topics}

I've had a couple of kind of serious posts swimming around in my head since I've been back from vacation.
School starts in three days though, so the big huge mind-blowing posts that I wanted aren't going to happen. These two issues are just so huge that I wanted to do them justice, promote discussion and sharing and all that good stuff.  So instead of big sophisticated planned posts, I'm just going to dive right in.

The first kind of serious post I've EVER written I want to be about the topic of Women and our weight issues.  Do we all have them?  I worked really hard this summer to lost the 15 pounds that had accumulated over the last year. I was in the gym constantly and moving constantly with the goal of feeling good for my vacation home.  When school let out in May I only had one pair of jeans I felt comfortable in and they were a size 14.  I have a ton of pants in a size 10, which is where I feel my best and just wanted to be able to wear them this summer.  I feel wonderful about myself and I feel strong when I'm regularly active!  I feel like I can take over the world and I swear I just walk different.

Side Note: Isn't it true that we always have more of our "skinny" clothes because that's when we love to shop?  I only own one pair of the size 14 jeans though because I don't really want to have to wear those jeans for very long. End Size Note.

So I got home from Vacation and all the motivation was just GONE.  I have a list of my reasons, including a full 3-credit summer class that I finished in 3 weeks, but I wasn't doing it 12 hours a day.  I totally could have made it to the gym too.  It's like the habit of going to the gym was broken and there was no way to put it all back together again.  It's been 4 weeks and I have yet to step foot back in to the YMCA. 

And when that happens, I notice the changes in my psyche.  I start feeling like I'm getting bigger again and all the guilt from each bowl of honey-nut cheerios (instead of oatmeal) or piece of apple pie (instead of a baked cinnamon apple) start to add up.  I notice an extra lump here and maybe these are tighter than the last time I put them on until one day I look in the mirror and start to cry.  I'm still wearing my size 10 jeans, but I just feel differently about myself.

Mr. Pie encouraged me to get on the scale again for the first time since I've been back from vacation.  In actuality I'm still the same weight I was when we left.  According to the scale that day I am exactly the same weight.  How is it my brain can distort my self images so completely? How is it I can not move, eat pretty much all the junk I want and not gain a single pound in a month?  I know the scale is a cruel master and it's not to be relied upon but wow.  I was so wrong when I thought I'd gained a bunch of weight. 

And that's the beginning of the cycle, isn't it? When I think I've gained weight, plus I've already been low on the motivation, then I just start eating crap because it's there.    Fall is the perfect combination of lots of circumstances for this attitude to hit me too!  The cooler weather calling on me to start baking, combined with the stresses and time constraints of school starting again and BAM!  I just stop caring about how I look.  At least then I'm not crying at the mirror, right?  Before long, I've gained the 15 pounds back on and just can't stand it anymore, so I renew my long-gone gym membership and it starts all over again.  Sigh.

I've heard comments about weight from friends all around me my whole life.  It doesn't matter what size they are, either! I used to think that if I could just be naturally thin like THAT friend, I wouldn't have worries like this, until one day I realized she stresses over 5 pounds like I stress over my 15.

Ladies.  We need to find a way to stop these cycles together.  I've gotten better, I suppose.  At one time it was more like 30 pounds to complete the cycle, not 15, but still.   It's a form of self-abuse, isn't it?  It's not mentally or physically healthy.

Let's talk about this!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

{A Question}

I'm working on my Christmas knitting.  This project is for my 7 (going on 17) year old nephew, so I wanted something that would grow with him.  I've taken this vest pattern called Vroom in the Winter '09 issue of Knitty and used it for the stitch count and for the cable.  I've taken out some of the little boy details like the contrast colours and the funny ribbing. 

Here's what I have so far:

I'm knitting it in Encore Worsted for maximum washability.  I really enjoy working with this yarn too, which is a plus.

Now for the part I need your help on.  Did you happen to notice the ruler in that photo? Did you happen to notice that this vest stretches from the 3" to the 17" marks on that ruler? That's a 28" chest measurement for a 7 year old boy.  Is this a problem? lol It looks HUGE on the needles and Mr. P is advocating that I rip it back and start again with a smaller needle size.  I loathe the idea of wasted time when I'm trying to knock out a bunch of projects. *le sigh*

What do you guys think?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Every week on my blog roll  without fail I always find Tuesday Tutorials from Hope Studios.  I always enjoy doing a quick run through to see what people have posted and usually there will be a post or two that catches my eye.

This week my jaw frickin' HIT THE GROUND when I saw Waterstone Jewelry's tutorial on how to make a recycled leather handbag!

Oh my god, I about died of a heart attack! I LOVE this bag!  It combines so many of the elements I love! Reusing/recycling quality materials has become kind of an obsession for me when I'm looking for great stuff to buy.  I love the simple, elegant, crafty whimsy of the applied flowers, ALSO in leather, are BRILLIANT! I love the handle, the fabric lining. Just everything.  So of course, I clicked over to her Etsy store.

I found so much recycled hand crafted goodness!  Num num num.

In Lori, I have found an etsy seller who's style is EXACTLY the same as mine.  This has never happened before where I would literally buy anything she makes!  AND the prices are super reasonable. You should totally go check her out! The store is called Waterstone and it's at http://www.etsy.com/shop/WaterstoneJewelry

I just HAD to share! I know you understand. ;)  Is it too early to start making my Christmas List?

ps - thank you for your help with my blog buttons, Lori! :)

{Blog Updates}

Yesterday I finally got around to playing with the new Blogger feature that allows stand alone pages.  The buttons that are now under my title image are automatic.  I  don't really care for their size, shape, or colour, but I can't figure out how to change any of those things. lol Maybe they're part of the blogger template I'm using?  No clue.  But they're functional, so I suppose they'll stay.

I've added the "About Me" button with my contact info, so that information was removed from my side bar.  I've also put my Christmas knitting on a separate page so that MY FAMILY won't accidentally see their gifts on my main page. (NO PEEKING :P )

I also put up a button for my buttons (hehe) and for awards that the blog has received, but I'm not done with those ones yet.

Check 'em out, tell me what you think!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

{I Heart School Supplies}

I loves me some brand new school supplies, don't you?  I love them.  Fresh packages of pencils, pens and erasers ready to be torn open and placed in to zippered bags are all filled with so much promise.  So many new beginnings! Out with the old, in with the new kind of stuff.  Sometimes though these necessities can seem sterile and without life.   This year I was on a mission to put together some organizational tools that were also pretty to look at.

The first mission was my Planner.  I had a list of requirements as long as my arm! In order of importance:  8 1/2" x 11" (for more writing room), one week over two pages for easy "at a glance" summaries,  each month at a glance too with tabs for quick access, from July - June (academic months), soft cover, and oh yeah, it HAD to be cute!

So at first I tried to make this myself using some printables pages I found online and really loved.  I liked the idea of being able to totally customize what was in my planner, and even update it for each successive month, but alas, my printer ran out of ink and I really managed to screw up the replacement ink somehow and I had a mental breakdown. kinda.  I don't do well when my technology doesn't cooperate (and no, it hasn't been fixed yet. Oy.)

I gave up and went searching for the perfect planner in the marketplace somewhere.  I hit Target, Staples and Barnes and Noble but everything either was too small, not laid out right, or too juvenile looking.  I'm a college student, and I wanted cute not froo froo!

Then, with final desperation I stepped in to Office Max and it's like the heavens parted and light shone down on me!  I found a BUNCH of planners that fit all my requirements from the At-A-Glance brand and all I had to do was pick my favorite.  Here she is!!

A lovely shade of green, lots of writing space and the fun foliage design on the inside. SIGH!  I love the fun with the hint of sophistication. :)

Then on to my binder! I'm a little particular there too.  My binders need to have the locking rings (so they don't pull apart and all my paper fall) that are located on back of the binder, not attached to the spine, so that the front folds over the pages.  Is this making sense? Anyway, they're usually pretty expensive and pretty utilitarian looking.

So I dressed mine up with some scrap booking paper.

I trimmed some cute paper to fit in to the spine and the front as well as to work as dividers.  I went to one binder for all my notes last year and it worked out really really well.  No more forgetting the correct binder at home! I also prefer binders to notebooks because I loath loose papers everywhere.  I also carry a little plastic hole punch for all those handouts we get.

Can you read the titles of the classes I'll be taking?  International Relations, Matrices and Linear Algebra, Special Topics Geometry and Micro Computers for the Business World.  Wish me luck! At least if I go down, I'll go down in style! ;)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

{You Guys Are Awesome}

Thank you so so so much to everyone who answered my questions in the last post.  Overwhelmingly the advice you gave me was to let them be, add the buttons, and call it a day.  So that's what I'll do.   I've ordered some dark wood buttons to put on the back and I think I'll crochet a little hook on the end of the flip tops.  Done!

On to the next project, right?  I couldn't resist baby clothes any longer.  Have I mentioned how much in LOVE I am with my niece?    I've got a great outfit in mind for her Christmas present.  These are the cutest little pants of all time:
Pattern: Cargo Pants on Knitty.com
photograph from HoleyFiber's projects on Ravelry

These are so dang cute!!  I found an acrylic in dark blue that has flecks of other colours in it randomly that I'll use, and I'm definitely planning on embroidering the jeans style details!

Then, for on top, I'm thinking this sweater from Berroco:

pattern: baby picchu

I'm thinking cream like this one, but with a cute little yellow crochet trim to match the pants.  I'm super excited about starting this one!  It should fly off the needles!  

As soon as I have finished pics to show, you guys will see them first. :)  I wish I could share ALL the knitting I'm thinking about but right now there are many gifts in the pre-process stage and I don't want to ruin any surprises!

13 days and counting until classes start!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

{I'm In Need of Your Opinion}

The last couple of days of knitting time have seen me concentrating on these flip top mittens meant for my brother-in-law for Christmas.  They are sized for a woman's hand (Hence the name Lady's Work Mittens) but I'm knitting them in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, which is worsted, instead of DK weight that the pattern calls for.  I've also slightly altered the size of the needles to make what I have on hand, so I used size 3's for the ribbing and size 5's for the rest. 

And here we have an almost complete pair of mittens.

And here's where your opinion comes in.  They seem.... boring to me.  They will eventually have a button on them to help hold back the flip top, and maybe I could find a pattern to embroider on the back?  For a guy, maybe an argyle pattern of diamonds in blue and white?  Mr. Pies thinks it would instead be better felt them and give them to one of my sister's girls.  Maybe embroidery a snow flake or something on the back that's a little girly. 

I dunno.  I've never really felted before and I worry about the unpredictability of how FAR they will shrink.  Not to mention if I make one pair for Older Girl I'll definitely need to make a second , slightly different pair for for Younger Girl, her sister.  I'm not sure I'm ready to dive right in to a second pair, but that's pretty much the only way to guarantee it'll get done. lol 

Alrighty, so opinion.  Do you think these would be good for a grown man? They are definitely the right size for that right now, and very practical.  If yes, do I find a pattern to embroider or just find some manly buttons? (I do have some antler buttons that would work... or dark wood ones...)  Or do I roll the dice and give felting a try, then embroider them for pre-teen and make a second pair for her younger sister?

Thanks in advance!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

{On The Needles}

Have you been wondering if I've really been knitting lately? hehe  Thought I'd give you a quick update!

Here's the very beginning of the first panel of my Nympheas in Baby Cashmerino. YUM.  I lerve knitting with this stuff.  It did great on the plane and in the car because it's super easy to memorize the pattern. This is one whole ball completed and I have yet to ball up the next one so I can keep going. 

Of course, the instant I got home from vacation I had to revise my Christmas Knitting list, so the cute sweater for me will have to wait.  Today I cast on for some flip top mittens in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes for my brother in law.   More on those once I have something substantial to show you.

And I've also cast on and completed a Ribbed Lace Bolero as a thank you gift to my next door neighbor for taking care of Popeye while we were gone.  She didn't want money but when I asked her if there was something I could knit her instead she didn't hesitate before she said "SHRUG!" hehe  I brought it to her tonight and she loves it, but she was in no condition to take a picture, she said. I'll snap a shot tomorrow for you guys of the fo.

I'm kind of scared of my Christmas knitting list at the moment and I really want to make more headway on it before School starts in TWO WEEKS.  Two weeks!  I have my textbooks ordered and tonight I'm going to place an order for my organizer.  Can't live without one of those.  So overall, I'm about ready to head back to school.  I can't believe it's right around the corner.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

{Photos From Vacation}

It's a kind of tradition in my family that when we're all together that we sit for professional portraits.  Always from Sears.  And I have nothing against Sears Portrait Studio, you understand, except the predictability combined with the outrageous cost of prints.  This time I nudged not too gentry to try out an independent photographer who could do outside photos for us in a more natural setting.

Enter Tiffany - the answer to all my prayers!  She's at ChilliwackPhotographer.com and I loved her photos right from the get go!  I also LOVED that we got all the reproduction rights ALL the photographs!  She even got us some previews within the week!!

Dad has a great park right accross the street from his condo that we opted to do the photos at.  The weather was really overcast, and even a little drippy, but it worked out great!  In the main photograph above (bottom left) is all of us.  From the top: Kerry (with Alora in his arms), Melissa my Sister, James my brother, Me, and Mr. Pie. across the bottom: Ashley, Gina, Jim my dad (in the middle), Marni-Lynne my half-sister and her boy James.

I just love all these shots!!  The one of all the boys cracks me up, and I ADORE the one of dad with the Grandkids!!

some more preview shots.  I love the black and white!

And then, low and behold a few days later... I got THIS in my email!

Mr. Pie and I smooching!!

Tiffany truly was AMAZING to work with and she was a natural with Alora and the other kids.  She felt immediately like someone I want to be friends with when I move back to town.  A totally cool chick, but also super professional and super talented.  We got SO much more then we expected, and we haven't even seen all the final photos yet!  I can't WAIT to get my disk in the mail!

If you're in the lower mainland and want some photos... or geez, in the Pacific Northwest at all (Or not!!) I would totally recommend Tiffany for any kinds of photos you need taken!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

{There's Nothing Like Home}

I just realized in writing that title that it has a double meaning for me.  First, there's nothing like going home to visit family.  No matter how long I've been away or how detached I feel way out here in Virginia, I can always just slip back in to the family as if all of us eating dinner around the table happens regularly.  Mr. Pie fit in effortlessly as well and that made my heart sing.  And then second, there's nothing like getting back to your house, sleeping in your own bed, and getting back to your routine again.  Reality came crashing in on me today when it was time to pay bills and refill the refrigerator with groceries, but still.  It's good to be home again, too.

I'm still processing all the experiences from my week away and feeling a little overwhelmed emotionally.  I know partially because it's my first day back and the long day of travel yesterday plus the jet lag has me sorta discombobulated.  It's easier instead to talk about the great stuff I brought home. :)

First, the fibery goodness.  I managed to find the local yarn store in my home town called Chilliwack Wool and Craft Shop. ( As a side note, is there anywhere else in the world where all yarn is generically referred to as "wool"?)  It was there, on my first full day in town, where I really splurged on some beautiful yarn just for me.  Some Malabrigo Chunky in an AMAZING colourway called Stonechat with deep burgundy, greens and oranges.  I'm thinking a cowl for myself is in order.

I was kind of bummed that the local store didn't actually have any locally made or dyed yarns, though, which is why I ended up with the Malabrigo.   But, Mum came through big time when this popped up for my late birthday gift:

This is a positively lovely skein from a local dyer in Victoria, B.C. called Gaia's Colours (note the U!).  It's a beautiful colourway that has a bit of pink, a bit of rose, a bit of orange.  So yummy!  It's 70% Superwash merino, 20% bamboo and 10% Nylon.  PERFECT for a pair of socks for ME!  It's MY birthday yarn, right?  While mom and I were discussing which sock pattern she would like her replacement socks knit from she made sure a couple of times that I wouldn't be using this good yarn.  This is just for me.  I LOVE my Mum. Fo Sho.

I was so excited about the yarn I almost missed this other little treat in the bag!  Some local stitch markers! Love!  I checked out her blog at Beadcomber.ca too and she's quite an accomplished artist with polymer clay. WAY cool. :)

We didn't just bring home fibery things.  Mr. Pie and I also picked out some great coffee mugs from a First Nations gallery on Granville Island to commemorate this summer's visit. They are a very traditional design from the tribes in the Lower Mainland of BC done in only red white and black.

Even though I have no familial ties to the First Nations people, I do have regional ties so I grew up seeing representations of the Fraser Valley tribes all around me.  Since I can't find that kind of art anywhere else, it just reminds me of home.  I love it.

And finally, I brought home some of my maternal grandmother's antique linens that my Aunt had stored in her basement.  She was gracious enough to lug the box over the ferry for the three of us kids to go through and divvy out.  After my brother checked out with only a few high ball glasses, my sister and I were left to split the rest of the crystal and the linens.  The crystal I chose is waiting in my sister's garage for me to move back since I don't trust the airport luggage handlers, but these linens weren't breakable so they got to come home with me.

Two vintage aprons.  They need a little tlc with some hand stitching, or maybe a double hemming, but the patterns are just so darling.  How could I turn these down?

Awesome, right?  I also snagged up a few lacey pieces and some stitch work.

I'm not sure what I'll do with these last guys.  Maybe a pillow? Or work them in to a quilt?  We'll see where inspiration hits. :)

I have so many posts planned about the trip.  We ate so much good food and had so many good visits with family, I'm not sure I'll manage to get it all down.  I'm just a tad exhausted today after traveling all day yesterday.  (left mom's house at 4am and arrived home at 10pm.  Yeah, ALL day. lol)  Pretty soon I need to start buying my textbooks for fall and for my last summer class.  Start back at the gym and eating right again.  I'm not sure I'm really for real life yet. :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

{An FO From Vancouver}

Hi Folks!  Today is the second to last day of our Vacation and we're expecting family from all corners of the lower mainland and the island to show up at my sister's house today.  My Grandpa and his friend Connie, my aunt, my cousin, my mom, dad, brother, sister, and neices will all be here today and I could not be more excited! We always have such a great time together!

Mom, Mr. Pie and I spent a great afternoon on Granville Island yesterday and my Zen socks were finally finished in traffic on the way home. (no, I was not the one driving! hehe)  They were originally planned to be for me, but I tried the first one on and it was a bit big.  Of course they fit Mr. Pie perfectly so then they were his.  After I finished the second sock in the car on the way home to Chilliwack we let Mum try on the pair.  She fell in love, of course, and Mr. Pie gratiously passed them along.

.... but Grandpa was sitting there admiring them as Mum was modeling, so of course HE had to try them on.  And he was absolutely smitten, so then they belonged to him.

Grandpa was gracious enough to let Alora try them on after that, but she's got a ways to go before they'll fit, so I think they are safe with Grandpa for now. :)