Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - Ten Favorite iPhone Apps

1) We Rule - My favorite iPhone game of all time.  It is very much like Farmtown in a lot of ways, but cooler.  You can take a look at it here.

2) Facebook - I don't think I need to explain this one.

3) Evernote - I can type a note on my phone and it syncs with my online profile, or I can type a note on my desktop and my phone is sent the info.  Genius!

4) WoW Armory - A must have for the World of Warcraft enthusiast who just needs to know what gear they are wears, their stats and what achievements they have completed.... right NOW!  You can check it out here.

5) Auditorium - A very fun music and physics (kinda) game.  Probably the first game I truly enjoyed on the phone.  You can check it out and even play it online here.

6) Gmail - It's simple and at works.  Enough said.

7) Tweetdeck - An excellent twitter interface.  It also is a great desktop application.

8) GroceryIQ - A grocery store app that lets you make lists and even scan bar codes.  You can check it out here.

9) Angry Birds - Fun new game I found thanks to @NathanFillion on Twitter.  It involves hurling birds at pigs using a sling shot.  Hilarious!  Take a look at it here.

10) Bank of America App - A must have for my mobile banking needs :-)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mystery Bag Knit Along Clue #1

Apparently this week is a week of firsts for me.  Tonight I started my first knit along and I am very excited about it because it is actually a mystery knit along.  So other than the colors of the yarn I picked, I don't really know anything about the project other than it will be a bag when it is finished.  Pretty neat huh?  I thought this would be a cool way to challenge myself and try making something new as well.  How it works is that we will receive three hints (well, really directions) at the rate of one per week.  We then have that week to make the sections of the project that we have received directions for and then we will receive another hint.

This knit along (KAL) wasn't supposed to start until tomorrow however, the group of people who are participating are very persuasive and have been waiting for over two weeks to get their projects rolling.  To make matters worse, the person running the KAL admitted that the first hint had been burning a hole in her pocket and so she set us loose with an early hint this afternoon.  YEAY!!!!  I was at work at the time, so I couldn't get started before heading home and gathering up all my supplies. 

In the picture above you can see my evening's progress of about 6.5 inches of the braided cable pattern.  I haven't done too badly especially since I decided I was going to learn how to cable without a cable needle.  This involves (very) temporarily dropping stitches off the needles and then picking them up on the other side of the work to make twists in the knitted fabric.  You can kind of see how certain stitches in my project kind of weave in and around each other and cabling (with or without a cable needle) is how you do that.

Well kids, I'm pooped.  After a busy weekend and some challenging knitting this evening, I think it is time to call it a night!  Have a good one :-)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Card a Week - Cupcake Birthday

For my week three card, I have yet another birthday card.  I certainly do seem to have a lot of friends and family who were born at this time of year.  I've actually been holding off on posting this because I wasn't sure just how long the card would take this card to get to it's destination.  However, I am happy to report, it made it to the birthday girl on time, so now I can share it with everyone!

  • Swirl Frosting stamp, Cupcake Base stamp, and Cherry stamp from Cupcake Builder clear stamp set by A Muse
  • Hey Cupcake stamp by A Muse
  •  Large Dotted Circle from Circle frames mini set clear stamp set by A Muse (many of this mini clear stamps sets are on sale right now for $4)
  • Happy Birthday stamp of your choice (by A Muse) for the inside sentiment.  I think the one I chose was discontinued.
Markers & Pens:
Ribbon & Bling:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spring CAL - Daffodils and Tiny Whales

So, I'm doing my first ever crochet along (CAL) and I'm so very excited!  The two projects included in the Spring CAL are Tiny Whale and Daffodils by June Gilbank of PlanetJune.com.  She designs absolutely amazing amigurumi animals and sells those patterns along with the accessories to make them (such as eyes, noses and a stuffing tool for filling up tiny body parts).  I also read her blog and follow her on twitter and believe me, she does a lot!

The CAL started on April 19th and will run until the end of May.  So if you want to try one or both of these lovely crochet patterns out there is plenty of time left.  To join the CAL you need to have a Ravelry.com account (which is free) and then you can introduce yourself and post on the Spring CAL Message Board to chat and share photos with the rest of us. 

June was even nice enough to make us a CAL button for those of us with a bit of a blog addiction.  Isn't it cute?

I decided to start with the daffodils because... well, we don't have any and the concept of pretty spring flowers appealed to me.  I was very fortunate in that I had most of the colors for this project already.  Back in December I had picked up a couple skeins of yellow and cream Cascade 220 Wool and my mom had gotten me a heathery orange of the same yarn the previous summer.  All I had to do was head out and pick up some green for the stems.  Easy peasy! 

After winding up the cream and orange yarns, I didn't really get started on the crochet tonight until around 11pm and it took me a few tries to learn and recreate the magic circle method of starting the project.  After a few bumps in the road things started going a bit more smoothly. So, here is the first part of my first daffodil.  One petal.  It's not much, but I already know I'm going to loooooove making these.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

10 on Tuesday - 10 Ways to Be Green

In honor of Earth Day coming up on Thursday and since I didn't have any of my own ideas, I stole the idea to list ten ways you can be more green from my fellow blogger over at Carole Knits

1) Bring your own bags to the grocery store instead of always getting paper or plastic.  Most stores sell them for a buck a pop, so if you forget one at home, just pick up another (this is why we have about 10 or them floating around our apartment these days).

2) Buy Produce Locally.  This summer, once the farm stands get up and running for the season, shop there instead of the grocery store.  Of course make sure that said farm stand does their own farming.  My favorite place to go is Ferjulians.  They have great selection and if you time it just right, you can get corn that has just been harvested!

3) Stop using paper towels.  You can knit, crochet or weave nice dishcloths out of cotton that you can throw in the washer to clean them for use on another day.  If you aren't a crafty type, you can buy some as well (people suggest microfiber because they attract dirt).

4) Wash only full loads of laundry or dishes.  Why waste all that water on only a little bit of clothing or dishes.  Just wait until you can fill those machines all the way.

5) Use rechargeable batteries.  This is something I have to get better at.  We do have some rechargeables for things around the house, but my camera takes AA's and I am always buying them rather than getting a charger and a couple sets to rotate through.

6) Freecycle your unwanted items instead of throwing them away.  Freecycle.org is a non-profit movement of people that are giving and getting stuff for free in their neighborhood.

7) Now that the weather is getting nicer, hang your clothes up to dry.  Now, I know I can't do this 90% of the time, but I almost never dry any of my jeans or cotton t-shirts.  The shirts always seem to shrink no matter how low the heat is and my jeans, well, they just never seem to get dry in the dryer.  So, very often I do two loads of washing and only one of drying. 

8) Purify your water instead of buying bottles.  We are very lucky that we have good and tasty water where I live, but if you don't, you can buy a Brita pitcher one of the filters that screw onto the faucet.  By filtering instead of buying all those bottles, you are saving all the plastic that would normally get thrown out.

9) Donate old clothing that doesn't fit or you have fallen out of love with.  As long as your items are in good repair, there is someone out there in need who could use them.

10) Use Pyrex glass dishes or Tupperware for leftovers instead of plastic zip lock bags or disposable containers.  Ok, I don't do this all the time or even most of the time, but I do try.  Often I try to bring my lunch in a reusable container, though sometimes it just isn't in the cards.

Springy Crochet Slouchy Hat

Recently I have been trying my hand at crochet hats, since I have discovered that I like them, they are quick to make and I seem to look pretty good in them.  One of the members of my fiber group, LadySpendcer on Ravelry, recently made some chemo hats for a charity I like to support through knitting.  The hats she crocheted were so beautiful, I just had to try to make one for myself.  

I'm still pretty much a newbie at crochet, so there are lots of mistakes that occur when I'm working on my crochet projects.  While this is annoying, at least a round of crochet is easy to pull out without accidentally destroying your project in the process.  So, with that intro, I'm sure you are not surprised when I say that I actually made this hat twice.  The first time I used a larger crochet hook then the pattern called for since I thought I might be a tight crocheter.  So, apparently I am not because my hat was GINORMOUS!  So, version 1.0 of this baby was reclaimed and made into version 2.0, which is the final product. 

It took me much longer to do this project than I thought it would, at around a week.  This is mostly because I was on vacation and did a whole heck of a lot of sleeping and doing other things I don't generally the time for like playing WoW and organizing my crafty things.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

One of those little things that make you go SQUEE!

Hi folks!  I just wanted to share something really nice that happened to me recently.  A handful of days ago I received a personal message on Ravelry, which is my online knitting and crochet community, from someone I hadn't met before.  She introduced herself as Mary from the America's Knitting website and said she had been looking around at projects on the site and saw my Bountiful Bohus Cardigan.  She then asked me if I would be willing to share it on her website's project page and gave me the site address to check her site out. 

Me?  Share a project?   
I have never had anyone ask me to do that before... 
So of course, I said yes! 

Mary said she would let me know when it was posted on the site and low and behold, today I got the message that it was all set.  I was sooo excited to see a picture of my baby up on a website other than my own.  Mary wrote up a nice little summary of the project and said very nice things about it.  You know, it makes you feel really good when a complete stranger compliments your work.... because they don't have to. It's an especially nice to hear when it is a project you really work hard on and struggled through, which I did. 

That leads me to a bit of advice I would like to share with anyone who is even remotely interested in trying out something creative and new like spinning, paper crafting, photography or crochet.  Be fearless.  Don't worry about failing, just try whatever it is you want to do.  Whether you succeed or fail, you most likely have learned a valuable lesson and you will only get better with practice.  Being fearless is what got me through making this cardigan and honestly I really learned a whole lot in the process.

You can see the nice writeup that Mary did by going to the AmericasKnitting.com project page by clicking here.  There are lots of other great projects on the site as well as a listing of all LYSs (local yarn stores) in the country and spotlights on designers, stores and yarn companies, so check the site out.  Thanks very much Mary for taking time out to notice my project; It really means a lot! 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Request for my blog readers

Hi Folks!  I have a little favor to ask.  I'm really curious just how many people are reading my blog these days.  I think the best way for me to find that out is if you would be willing to "follow" my blog.  It's really easy to do and really helps me know who I'm talking to when I post.  Also, with some more followers on board, I'm hoping to do some fun giveaways of all the crafty things I do. 

All you have to do to follow this blog is click on the Google Follow button on the right side of the page next to the most recent post.  It looks like this:

Once you do that, you can sign in using your preexisting google, yahoo or twitter account.  If you don't have any of those you can sign up for a google account for free and use that if you are willing.  Having a google account offers you a lot of neat features including free blog and photos hosting, email, reader for those of you who read many blogs to name a few.  Anyway, I will stop waxing poetic about google now.  But I really hope that if you read my blog often you will really think about officially "following" it. 


Friday, April 16, 2010

A Card a Week - Belated Birthdays

Week 2 of card making was successful!!  So what if I cheated and actually made this card last Saturday?  I was on a paper crafting roll and knew I would see my friend Bob that day so I could give him his birthday card, albeit belated.  Whatever!! What matters is that a card was made :P

To further aid my Card a Week posting goal, I bought a whole bunch of 8.5 x 11 A Muse papers when I was up at Ink About It on Wednesday night for my class with Jenn.  We made really cool things that night, but I will share that lovely creation with you in another post.  I think I might have come close to buying one of every different color and style paper they have, but as they are only 45 cents a sheet, the bill wasn't too destructive :-)

  •  1 A Muse Orange Square Card (these are unfortunately discontinued, I just happened to have some)
  • 1 sheet 8.5 x 11 A Muse Vintage paper in Orange
  • 1 sheet 8.5 x11 Neenah Classic Crest paper in Solar White 80 lb (or any other good white card stock you like)
Ribbon & Bling:
 *Edited to add Bling info

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Favorite TV Shows

1) Bones - (FOX) David Boreanaz plays an FBI agent working with Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) who is a forensic anthropologist and her team at the Jeffersonian.  The two team up to solve murders.  Hilarious and science geeky.  Oh, and.... Phalanges!!!!!!

2) Castle - (ABC) Nathan Fillian is a mystery writer teamed up with a homicide cop who is reluctantly saddled with him.  Excellent chemistry between these two and Fillian, as usual is hilarious!

3) Caprica - (SyFy) Set 58 years prior to the recent Battlestar Galactica series, Caprica tells the story of the creation of the Cylons.  An excellent drama with lots of storylines that make you think.

4) Warehouse 13 - (SyFy) A funny cop buddy series set in a secret service warehouse a la Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Has some very steampunk elements if you are into that genre.

5) Sanctuary - (SyFy) Starring Amanda Tapping from the original Stargate series, Dr. Helen Magnus runs one of many sanctuaries for abnormals (people/creatures with special powers) in order to help protect them from people who can and will exploit them.

6) Flash Forward - (ABC) A mysterious event causes almost everyone on the planet to black out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds.  During the blackout people see a flash forward of April 29, 2010.  Two FBI agents investigate the blackout and try to figure out how it happened and if it will happen again.  This show has tons of suspense similar to LOST.

7) Food Network Challenge - (Food Network) This show is basically a series of competitions between different chefs and covers every topic from burgers to cakes.  Really fun and tends to have some entertaining disasters.

8) Ninja Warrior (Sasuke) - (G4) A Japanese obstacle course game show that is a cult classic.  A handful of contestants are serious athletes who put their skills to the test when attempting this incredible 4 stage course.  However, many contestants normal folks just for comic relief and end up falling into the cold waters of Mt. Midoriyama full of failure.

9) Glee - (FOX) A show centered around a teacher and group of unlikely high school kids who belong to the glee club.  There is lots of high school drama both between the kids and the teachers, not to mention some damn amazing music which can then be downloaded from iTunes.

10) Adventures with Ruth - (PBS) I have only seen one episode of this show, but I absolutely adored it.  Ruth is the editor in chief for Gourmet Magazine and she travels to different countries to learn about local cuisine and culture.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Whew! That was a good workout...

So, I decided it was high time to start exercising again.  I have such a love/hate relationship with working out... I know I need to, but it just sucks.   I hate the gym and I don't want to take a class let alone pay for either of the two. 

A year or so ago, I bought a couple of workout dvds of Amazon to try to get myself to exercise at home.  I tried them out and they were both pretty darn good, but as usual, I ended up deciding I was far too busy to exercise, so they have been collecting dust since.  Recently my inner health specialist (yes, I have one of those, and she is quite annoying cause she is usually right about everything) started yelling at me to pull out the dvds again and give them a try.  After a week of putting it off due to clutter in the living room, I finally broke out of them one this evening and remembered just how cool it was. 

The dvd I shoved in the player happened to be The Goddess Workout, which is belly dancing.  Now belly dancing has always fascinated me a bit because traditional dancers are not tiny, but normal sized women and their movements are incredibly graceful.  Plus, belly dance is a great workout for just about anyone since it is non-impact (which is almost a must for me).  Below is an interview with Dolphina, who is the instructor.  You can see some of the footage from the workout itself during interview.    

I have one other dvd to re-introduce myself to, so if it's as good as I remember, I post about that one as well.  Hopefully (this time) the workouts will actually stick and I will continue to do them every day.  I must say, though I am now tired and a bit sweaty, it was a good workout and my arms and legs have that lovely feeling you get after you finish a workout.  I think it's really funny how I always feel great after the work out, but I can't seem to remember that when convincing myself to workout the next time.  Oh well, my phalanges are crossed that I can keep this up.... and blame watching to many Bones episodes for the phalanges reference.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Card a Week - Crabby Creations

To keep myself blogging regularly and increase my paper crafty skills, I recently decided to make a card a week and put it up on the blog.  I really enjoy stamping and doing paper crafts, but I generally have a very hard time creating things on my own.  It's like I get overwhelmed.  I came to this conclusion when I took the Creativity Bootcamp Class at Ink About It a few months ago.  

So, I figure, the best way to get myself to be less uptight about making cards is to just jump in and do it, even though it might be uncomfortable for awhile.  So, I did and this was the first card I came up with.  It's a little busy, but that is ok.  Making my cards too busy is another one of my usual downfalls.  I just don't seem to know when to stop. Anyway, back to the point.... so if any of you are crafty and want to make the cards I do for my card a week, I will include in the post a list of materials needed to recreate them.

  • 1 A Muse Blue Square Card (these are unfortunately discontinued, I just happened to have some)
  • 1 sheet 8.5 x 11 A Muse Juliette paper in Sky Blue
  • 1 sheet 8.5 x11 Neenah Classic Crest paper in Solar White 80 lb (or any other good white card stock you like)
Ribbon & Bling:
*Edited to add Bling info

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Dr. Horrible Gets an 8-bit Makeover (Act1)

    My friend Amy posted a link to this video on Facebook for all Dr. Horrible and gamer geeks to enjoy.  I can't wait for the rest of it to come out!

    Ten on Tuesday - 10 ways you know your ready for summer (if you're me anyway)

    1) You remember you have a patio and actually decide to use it (see picture of our dinner last night).

    2) You sit outside at a picnic bench for 3 hours on the first sunny weekend day and get a (slight) sunburn.

    3) You staked out said picnic table in the morning and got mad when you noticed someone who looked like they might hoard it for the entire day.  You have plans for that table already!!!!

    4) You arrange for your favorite hardwood lump charcoal to be mysteriously purchased for your husband as an "Easter present."

    5) Your large office window is a curse for the sunny world outside begins to mock your inability to enjoy it.

    6) The windows of your apartment have been open since the temperature regularly went above 40 degrees.

    7) You're already thinking about the beach and sailing and getting sea spray all over you.

    8) You've ordered more contacts so that you don't run out when you want to wear your "not a blind person" sunglasses on those nice sunny days.

    9) You are thinking of all the cool outdoor only crafting/fiber projects you can do.  Background paper making and yarn dying here I come!

    10) You start dreaming of all the combinations of boxed cake mix and jello flavors you can combine to make the perfect summer party jello cake.

    Sunday, April 4, 2010

    Easter, Meet Ink and Paper

    Yeay, I was creative!  I decided that the Easter Bunny needed to see my family members, so I came up for this card for my folks and used the same cute bunny lineup for making gift tags for mini Easter Candy Takeout Boxes.  Not too shabby if I say so myself.  All the cardstock, stamps and ribbon are by A Muse and the ink pads I used are Memento Dew Drops.  I just adore how everything coordinates so well.  These literally only took me a few moments to make and they look adorable!

    Thursday, April 1, 2010

    A pairless mitt

    I'm bummed.  I was making such nice progress this week on this lovely pair of mitts to match my thrice forsaken very much loved headcoat.  I had completed one this weekend and had even made a tiny pair for my first adopted nephew so that we could match, but alas, due to illness, I have only been able to cast on and complete 3-4 rows of the second in my pair.  That's ok, every knitter needs a break and my body basically told me to sit down and shut up, so I complied.  Many naps, lots of Tylenol and a few pudding pie pieces later, I am on the mend and plan to finish the second of my pair this weekend between all the Easter plans with family. I have a few other things waiting in the wings and am very excited that I have chosen my next large project (think sweater, but for spring).  I won't share it now.  There are still a lot of details to work out, but I should have some other work in progress to show soon!