Tuesday, September 28, 2010

ToT - Things in My Fridge

1) Hazelnut Coffee Creamer - Jim uses it in his coffee everyday and I put a tiny bit in my hot chocolate in the winter
2) Heinz Ketchup - there was much drama when I was in college and the cafeterias tried to save money by using an off-brand catsup instead of Heinz Ketchup. The cafeteria return to Heinz within weeks
3) Pickles - Jim has made countless batches, the spears are my favorite
4) Eggs - Until I can have chickens in my backyard we will have to get our eggs from the grocery store
5) Milk - possibly expired, we buy the smallest container, but we just don't use milk that often
6) Pop - I drink Coke, Jim drinks Diet Coke and Sprite Zero
7) Cheese - Colby Jack for me, Sharp (or extra sharp) Cheddar for Jim, Mozzarrella and a shredded mix
8) Butter, unsalted - which we go through faster than any two people really should
9) Sour Cream - I try to avoid eating this straight up, but it is my goto condiment. Mix it with salsa for a mild/creamy sauce. I refuse to buy Hood brand, we only buy the off brand (it could be the same stuff, but it tastes tangier than Hood to me)
10) Lettuce - supplementing the boys' grass diet

Head over to Carole's to enjoy more ToT posts

Monday, September 20, 2010

ToT - How to Have a Happy Birthday

A great topic, my birthday isn't for a few months but here is my list of what I think makes a good birthday

1) Take the day off work - working on your birthday is lame even if you like your job
2) Do dinner - When I was little my mom let us pick what we wanted for dinner, when I was a bit older we got to choose a restaurant for the family to go to. I think I will get back to choosing something delicious to enjoy at home, that way I know it is made with love, plus I save a couple dollars (which I can use for dessert)
3) Sleep in - if you are taking the day off, you might as well sleep in
4) Dessert - Birthdays are one of the few days when I think dessert is required. Just don't give me cake
5) Pamper - a massage, manicure, pedicure, haircut/color are all fun things to try for your birthday
6) Friends - Celebrating with friends is so much more fun than celebrating alone
7) Drinks - the more sparkles the better! I like sparkling cider with a touch of pomegranate juice or OJ with 7-up
8) Family - If you can't spend it with friends, spend it with family, especially if you are friends with your family.
9) Fun - maybe pampering isn't your thing, do what you like! Go for a hike, play a game, ride a roller coaster, whatever it is that makes you smile!
10) Gifts - I don't think gifts need to be big or elaborate. A flower, a note of appreciation, or a small gesture can make a birthday extra special

What do you think makes a good birthday?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Caterpillar Update!

It's been over a month since I added some circles to my caterpillar. My reading has slowed I think this can be attributed to the change in my morning commute. I used to read or knit every morning, but lately I haven't been sleeping well so I grab an extra twenty minutes of sleep on the way into work. I also read a relatively long book so that prevented me from finishing an extra two or three normal length novels

16. The Help, Kathryn Stockett - Read this for book club. A good story, in some ways I thought the author tried too hard, but it was still nice to read
17. Outlander, Diana Gabaldon - first in a series of historical/time travel/romance/sci-fi/adventure novels. I think I could have cut out roughly 1/3 of the book, but it was still fun to read, just not a quick book
18. The Mermaid Chair, Sue Monk Kidd - Kind of fun, I thought some of the reasoning was contrived, but the book ended exactly how I wanted it to
19. Chocolat, Joanne Harris - My favorite of hers so far. I really enjoyed the mysticism influencing normal life in a small town in France

What have you read in the last month? Any recommendations?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Free Fall Finale of the Cursed

Tradition: Lace, Curses
Story:

This starts at the 2009  New Hampshire Sheep and Wool festival. I went alone, but met about with a bunch of friends. I spent the day walking around bouncing between groups, it was a fantastic time. Jim had just lost his job so I didn’t want to spend much money and set a very strict budget. My friend Amy came a bit later in the day and found some awesome 100% Tencel yarn. I love it. I even debated going a couple dollars over my budget to purchase a skein of the amazing yarn, but in the end thought I better stick to my budget and leave the yarn for someone else.

I had plenty of other yarn to use and while I continued to use my stash I lamented every time I saw Amy’s yarn. I loved it. So in November Amy knew exactly what to get me for my birthday (random fact, we share a birthday, it's great times). I opened a small box with a large (1000 yds) skein of 100% Tencel yarn. I was so excited!

The pattern was easy to choose. The Percy shawl attracted me with its three level design, but mostly because of the awesome second level full of these almost w shaped sections. It seemed a perfect fit with the mottled green colorway.

So now I had a perfect shawl, all I had to do was knit it. Nothing to it! The first slip from perfection was the needle choice. I didn’t have lace needles in the right size and therefore didn’t have a lovely sharp tip for working nupps or the flexible cable that seems almost non-existent while I knit. I could have worked around either of these problems, but not both.
Second mistake was the cast-on. I always have trouble with the garter tab method, too few stitches, too thin of yarn, it just never goes well. I improvised something else. It looks less than graceful.

Best color representation and look at those NUPPS!

Third mistakewas to add repeats to try and use all of the yarn, Stupid Idea. By the time I finished I was beyond sick of the shawl and I was ready to add nupps to my growing list of things that I consider cruel and unusual
If you asked, and you wouldn't dare, I could point out that there were at least 2 mistakes in my knitting and my gauge varied greatly on the right and wrong side rows. All around, not an item to be proud of..


There was one redeeming quality and that was the yarn. It knits up like silk, but doesn’t have the same stickiness in the final product, it is still quite slippery. After binding off I thought,"Well it’s bad, but not a complete disaster I could still give it to someone I love."

Right there I think the fates had a good laugh.
I pulled out the two lifelines that I had kept in the shawl (one right before the edge and one right before the last repeat of chart B). There it was the horror, the curse, the free fall finale. Suddenly, a huge hole appeared in the middle of my shawl. WHAT IN HEAVEN AND EARTH?!?! Apparently I didn’t catch a stitch when knitting 2 together on the row after the lifeline so it had been held nicely in place while I knit along having no knowledge o f a problem.

Blowing in the wind, Lacey and light
 A normal person, one who took pride in their work, someone who maybe wanted this to be an heirloom of sorts would have ripped back to the mistake, fixed the problem and re-knit the last half of the shawl. I am not that person or this is not that shawl or both. I happened to have a bobbin of green thread sitting on my couch  table. I quickly picked up the stitch from 3 rows below the decrease and wove it around a couple of stitches all the way to where it was supposed to be included in a knit 2 together. I took the green thread and tied it securely around the decrease and the picked up stitch. A double knot and a quick snip of the excess and now the mistake is invisible.

Still need some help to evenly block lace, maybe I should take a class

At this point we all realize that this shawl is cursed. So what do I do with it? I blocked it. I even wore it once. I can’t stop thinking of how it is cursed. I could frog it. I could give it away, but I don’t have anyone in mind that could really appreciate it, plus I am now convinced that it is cursed and the only people I would like to curse aren't worthy of a lace shawl. Maybe I can procure some holy water from a nearby Catholic church?

I just like this shot

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

ToT - Reasons to watch football

1) Philip Rivers - I watch football for the game, I really do, but Philip is a nice bonus of yummyness
2) Boise State Broncos - It is always nice to see them crush an opponent who thinks they aren't worth playing (Oregon Ducks?)
3) Touchdowns - Back in the day Jerry Rice would do a little dance. Since he has a long neck he looked like a bobble head as his helmet wobbled all over the place
4) Impossible passes - there is the Flutie Hail Mary pass (before I was born), but there are also those perfectly executed passes that land in the arms of the receiver after slipping between two defenders with outstretched arms
5)Interceptions - There are also those passes that do not slip between the defenders but end up in the hands of the defender. If my team intercepts the ball and you are near my house you will hear an automatic, enthusiastic INTERCEEEEEPPPPPPPTION! ringing through the neighborhood.
6) Wes Welker - he should really take up weaving, he already zig zags around defensive lines
7) Snowy weather - the Patriots stadium is open to all the elements and is bound to have at least one game in horribly cold weather one more element to complicate the game. I'm glad I can watch from home, but love to see how weather impacts the game
8) Brett Favre - I want to hate him when he plays the "will I retire or will play?" game. Then I watch him play and he has more fun than anyone else on the field and I can't help but love a man who just wants the game for the game and the fun
9) Last second excitement - When the game is tied or the team that's losing is making a last second drive. The excitement is pretty much more than I can handle, but I love it
10) Knitting - football starts at the perfect time to knit some warm mittens, scarves and hats for winter

Read more reasons to love football by visiting Carole's post for today and clicking the links to other ToT posts

Monday, September 13, 2010

Busy

Tradition: What do you do with all that time?
Story:
Outside of work (and the associated commute) I have very little time that is filled for me. This does not mean I am not busy, it just means that most of the time my busy is defined by the stuff I need to get done, not the stuff that needs to get done for others. This freedom comes with a cost, but that is not my focus today.
What kind of busy am I? Well this week it was running, cooking real food and finishing knitting projects. Last week it was running and cleaning and more cleaning.

Since I hate running and the weather is still relatively pleasant Jim and I have been trying to do a Saturday workout somewhere other than our neighborhood. A couple of weekends ago we went to Horn Pond in Woburn. There is a paved path (basically a road) that goes all the way around the pond, and there are tons of trails that stem off into some pretty terrain. Jim can usually get me to do an actual run there and somehow manages to take me up every hill in the park. Once my butt and thighs hurt too much the run turns into a nature walk. That is where our gadgets come into the picture.

Can you find the two swans?

We use a running app on our phones that allows us to take a picture and it will link the picture to the place we took it. When viewing our run online later we can see the pictures along our map

Example map from Halibut Point State Park

We didn’t take that many pictures at Horn Pond, but Saturday found us in Rockport at Halibut Point State Park. The park is a nice walk around an old quarry that is just a few hundred yards from the ocean. The weather was absolutely perfect and we did a relatively short hike with no running (imagine me doing a happy dance)

Jim by the ocean
I found an awesome rock that reminded me of the little mermaid, but I spared any and all eyes from witnessing me imitating a scene from the movie (you’re welcome). The view from the point overlook was amazing. So much blue


From the point

All of the pictures in the post thus far have been taken by Jim's phone and are linked to our hiking route on runkeeper. I took pictures with our regular camera, here are some fun ones


Quarry
Jim doing his signature "yoga" move called The Sherman Sunning

I have no idea what he is doing here, but obviously goofing around

My favorite: 
Signature Britt shot of just our feet

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The big C

Tradition: Breast Cancer
Story:
I married an amazing man. Just as many other amazing individuals he got his amazing-ness from a strong foundation. This foundation was built by his mom. A mother who was encouraging and supportive of him along with his friends. A mother that he loves and adores and a mother he watched suffer through and die from breast cancer when he was in his twenties. This has had an obvious and huge affect on the rest of his life in both tragic and amazing ways.

A couple of years ago I ran the race for the cure with my sister and I ran it in memory of an amazing woman that I never got to meet. This year Jim is running the race for the cure with me. He set a goal not only to run the race in a certain amount of time, but also to raise a good amount of money in memory of his mom. I encourage you to visit our donation page and look at the adorable picture of Jim and Pat. If you can contribute any amount it would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

ToT - Things to do before summer is over

This one is quick, and very personal I doubt anyone else will have these same things on their list

1) Pull weeds in the garden
2) Plant a bit more lettuce
3) Bish Bash Falls (short hike in western MA)
4) Finish mittens
5) Start matching Scarf
6) De-junk the house (some people do a big clean at the start of Spring, I like to do one at the start of fall as well)
7) Watch a sunset - this is on my list of things to do all the time. I LOVE sunsets
8) Wash Windows - hate this chore and almost never waste my time
9) Pull out the wool coats and accessories and air them out, wash if necessary
10) Start Christmas shopping - my family has a very specific set of gift-giving rules this year which makes it rather difficult to do any of the shopping at the last minute.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My own mitten pattern

Instead of just finding a usable pattern to start my new tradition I decided to write my own.

Big mistake.
The basic process thus far:

1) Start with an idea
2) Chart in excel instead of some nifty chart software because I get excel and want the chart NOW
3) Write chart
4) Email to Kinna tell her to fix
5) Make suggested changes, argue with Kinna about her lack of knitting knowledge which makes her some of her ideas impossible
6) Start knitting
7) Rip back because I don’t like the cuff
8) Rewrite pattern again
9) Knit cuff, move to hand, forget to start thumb
10) Rip back
11) Knit hand with thumb, get to last repeat and realize the mitten is too big for my itty-bitty-baby hands
12) Rip back
13) Go down a needle size, get through cuff, start thumb
14) Post a sneak peek using horrendous cellphone pictures




If they don’t fit this time I’m just going to make them and give them away