Thursday, January 20, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

A very sweet and considerate fellow blogger recently awarded me the Stylish Blogger Award as one of the 15 bloggers that she likes.  Thank you very much Julie, for passing the award my way.  It was so sweet and thoughtful!  Please make sure to check out her blog, Twisted Strands, and see what she has been up to.  Like her, I always wonder if anyone reads my blog, so it was such a treat to hear from her and have her share her blog with me.

There are two things I have to do to accept this award.  I have to tell you 7 things about myself, so here goes!
  1. I am an third generation only child on my mom's side of the family.
  2. I have been known to blast my favorite movie scores at full volume in the car.  Music geek :P
  3. I tweet, but honestly, I really don't get the point of the whole hashtag thing.  It's fun reading people's updates, but it pretty much ends there for me.
  4. I don't like reality tv, but for some reason I adore Food Network's Worst Cooks in America show.
  5. I was a major tomboy growing up and pink was definitely a four letter word in more ways than the obvious.  Today its presence in my life and wardrobe no longer incites mental rioting requiring containment.
  6. I have a very hard time being stuck in traffic and would almost rather drive 40 miles out of my way just to keep moving.  This winter has not been kind to my commuter nerves.
  7. I love taking photographs in natural light.  It lends so much warmth and life to my photos. 

Also, I am supposed to pass the Stylish Blogger Award on to other fellow bloggers.  I decided to pass the award along to a few that I particularly enjoy.  While I do read quite a few blogs, I think these seven are really the ones that I look forward to reading the most when I see a new post pop up on google reader: 

bag 'n' trash - Maryse has gorgeous photography on her blog and she is so stinking talented too!

{creative chick} - Jenn is very crafty lady and in real life I take card making classes with her.  Check out her blog to get inspired!

Knitting to Stay Sane - Glenna is a knitter and knitting pattern designer.  She has beautiful patterns for sale and even lets us get some of them free.  One of my favorites is her Podster Gloves which are a set of fingerless mitts that have a mitten flap and a special flap section on the thumb so you can still use your iPod touch or iPhone.  Very cool!

Planet June - June is another favorite designer of mine, but she designs for crochet.  Her blogs post feature her new designs and other neat products and projects she is working on.  Her patterns are very easy to follow and she also has great crochet tutorials.  She also offers quite a few free patterns for us crocheters on a tight budget, however her for sale patterns are very reasonable and worth every penny.

Knitting a Baby - Melissa is blogging about her first pregnancy and about all the things she is doing in her life to prepare for baby.  I love the way she writes and she shares all sorts of neat projects she is working on.
Jane Deere - Jennifer shares great recipes along with beautiful photographs of the cooking process.  Yum!

she shoots sheep shots - Gale shares her life as a knitter and professional photographer on her blog.  Her photography and projects are amazing.  I actually only started reading her blog after I took a really cool Photography for Knitters day class she taught.  You can see my blog post about the class by clicking here.

So, congratulations ladies on a job well done.  And keep on sharing!  I hope you enjoy reading these blogs as much as I do!  I think it's time for me to turn in, or maybe knit some more, lol.  Good night all!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

This Hat is DONE!!!!

After about three months of neglect, I have finally finished the hat I said I would make for my husband for his birthday.  Does it count that I started it in October at least?  You know, when he actually had his birthday?  Hehe... oh well!  He seems pretty happy with it tonight when I handed it over anyway.  

The pattern I used is titled "Eat - A Hat" and was designed by Naomi Drew.  It is a free download and can be found on Ravelry if you have an account (which is also free, I might add).  You can download the pattern by clicking here.  

The hat is a fairly simple pattern without being too boring.  I've managed to actually make two hats like this, which is almost unheard of for me.  I tend to be a process knitter and enjoy learning knew things and don't usually repeat the same project over and over.  This time I used a DK weight Baby Alpaca yarn by Misty Mountain Farm that I got when I went to Rhinebeck this past year.  

Rhinebeck, or the New York Sheep & Wool Festival, is the first fiber festival I have ever gone to and I had a blast.  I think I went to Rhinebeck sometime during my Anti-blogsmas period of the year, so I apologize for not having spoken of it before.  I hope to go to more local festivals this year such as MA Sheep & Wool.  I might even venture up to NH or VT to check those out as well.

Well, I'm all tuckered out from all this finished projecty excitement.  Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ten on Tuesday: Ten Favorite Games from my Childhood

1) Candyland - I played this game with my maternal Grandmother constantly.  Such a fun game :)

2) Loom - this is a bit of a stretch as it is a computer game, but Loom was a really awesome adventure game which involved casting spells using musical notes.  Very very fun!  I believe my dad and I were competing as to who would finish first.  May have even been me!  See the intro to the game below.

3) CLUE -Board game based on the Tim Curry movie.  Classic and loads of fun.

4) Trouble! -I remember playing this with my friends after elementary school.

5) The Game of LIFE -I still really like this game, but I don't have a copy of it.  It was really cool having your little car and filling it up with family members.

6) Chutes & Ladders -An absolute classic game that I remember playing at a very young age.

7) Hungry, Hungry Hippos -The name says it all.  But in case you aren't familiar... check out the video below.

8) Battle Chess - Another game that I played on the computer.  Not that I was good at chess or anything, but seeing medieval knights crush any pawn in their path was really neat.  Like Wizard Chess in Harry Potter.  Oh, and it had a good soundtrack too.  

9) Guess Who? - A fun guessing game that I played.  I don't think I actually owned it, but I believe a friend did and getting a chance to play was much coveted by at least me.  Commercial below.

Aaaaaannnnd, last but not least, my favorite game I played while growing up....

10) Monkey Island - BEST. GAME. EVER. You can see a little video on the game and it's history below.  The game was remastered this past year to be appealing to a whole new audience, so you can download and play it now.  DO IT!!!!  (You can download it on Steam here for only $10).  I can even play it on my iPhone... weird.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day!!!

So, as of last night at around 10:00 pm I knew that I had a snow day today.  We don't get them very often, so I was pretty excited to have a day to relax and truly do what I wanted.  I even got to take some photos which I haven't really been able to do in a while, so that made me happy.

I woke up around 7:30, which actually is sleeping late for me.  I rolled outside to capture the blizzard in full force.  It really looks like most people got to stay home today, which I think is a really good thing.  I didn't even think about going out until much later on in the day. 

After I retreated to the warmth of the apartment again and snuggled back into bed, Brian attempted to go to work rather unsuccessfully.  When he went to go out the door of the building he couldn't open the door enough to get out!  So, needless to say, he decided to try to work from home.  At that point I decided it was time for breakfast and whipped up a bunch of cinnamon french toast and bacon for us. YUMMY!!!

After a large helping of knitting while watching food network, I dragged my camera outside again to see the progress the storm had made.  At this point, I think around noonish, the snow had slowed down.

See what I mean about the snow blocking the door?  I could get out, but this was the back doorway, not the front.

After a viewing of the BBC Pride & Prejudice miniseries and a bit of a nap, I decided I should probably try to move my car so that the plows stood a chance of plowing out the parking lot.  As you can see, they hadn't done much when I first got outside.  There was still about a half a foot of snow in the little circle around our complex that hadn't even been touched by a plow when I went outside at around 6pm.  The poor guy was just driving circles around the lots slowly taking swipes off the piles.

Brian had very sweetly already cleaned off my car about an hour before, so there wasn't much to do other than clear the windshields and floor it out of the 12+ inches of snow surrounding my car.  Shovel? Why?  I have all wheel drive :D

The lone plow truck for our complex.  I think this guy deserves an award.  Although, I'm still a little peeved that I moved my, car out of my spot, left for 15 minutes of so and he still hadn't plowed it out. Grrr....

As annoying as the digging out was, I met some of my neighbors for the first time and saw more activity around the complex than I ever do...  well, besides when the fire trucks come because of a cooking smoke out anyway.  It was nice to see so many people being helpful and friendly.  One nice gentleman offered me a pair of gloves when he saw me slowly chipping at the ice on my car.  I had some, just didn't have them on yet due to laziness.  So, it was a nice day, full of rest and relaxation.  Now it's time to have some dinner and prepare for work tomorrow.  Have a good night all!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ten On Tuesday: Ten Ways to be More Organized

  1. Have a To Do List - Actually, I have two lists.  One for work and one for home.  For home I have an app on my iPhone called Tasks that is with me wherever I go so I can keep track of what I need to do.

  2. File Your Bills - Get a hanging file box or an accordion file and keep all unpaid bills in an "unpaid" folder until you take care of them.  Then all you have to do is make another folder for each of your bills to hold everything that has already been paid.  You can start over with a new folder every year and just keep the previous year's folder in some kind of an archive.

  3. Keep Your Coupons/Reusable Bags With You - If you don't have them, then you can't use them!  I haven't started doing this yet, but having a little zippered pouch with your coupons in it is a great idea.  Keep it in your purse/wallet or car so you don't get to the store without the things you need.  We are forever leaving our reusable grocery bags at home when we go shopping.  If you just pop them into the car after emptying them out, then you will have them for next time.

  4. Keep a Calendar - Pick your poison... I use one on my iPhone that reminds me of appointments, birthdays and play dates.  Want one you can access anywhere?  Use Google's free online calendar.  You can even sync it to Outlook. 

  5. Manage Your Emails -I have a rule.  Emails stay in my inbox until I deal with whatever they are about completely.  And I HATE having a large inbox.  So, when the email and it's contents have been dealt with I can happily file it away in it's own appropriately named little folder.  I'm telling you, if I didn't do this at work, I would forget to do so many things!!!

  6. Plan on Leftovers - Make enough dinner so you have enough leftovers for lunch the next day.  If you are like me and aren't a big fan of the plain old homemade sandwich for lunch, having leftovers for the next day will cut down on ordering out which is beneficial to your health and wallet.

  7. Don't Put Things Off - When it comes to home, I am the queen of I-can-do-it-later.  Dishes?... tomorrow.  Laundry?... I've got a shirt and pants to wear.  If I just did these things when I had a spare moment, I wouldn't end up staying up until 2am waiting for the drying to finish or having a huge pile of dirty dishes in the kitchen I have to do before I can make dinner.  As you can probably tell, I'm not so good at this one even though I know better.

  8. Don't Make a Trip Empty Handed - Getting up to get a snack?  Grab a nearby soda can or two and drop them into the recycling.  Going to get a book?  Drag that laundry basket into the bedroom on your way.  The more you just do little things to clean up as you are doing the things you DO want to do, the more you will get done of the stuff you HAVE to get done.

  9. Save, Save, Save -  No matter how small, but some money away every time you get a paycheck.  That way when you want to do something fun that is out of your normal budget, you might just be able to.

  10. Always Have Something Productive To Do with You - Women have it easy.  It is socially acceptable and even trendy to carry around ginormous handbags that we can pack full of neat things to do when we have to wait for anything.  While I am not a big fan of monstrous purses, and tend to carry either medium or small sized ones, even I can stuff a book, small knitting project or Kindle (if I had one) into it.  I know this doesn't sound like a way to be more organized... but more of  a way to not be bored, but by having these kinds of things on your person, you can accomplish quite a lot. 

    Saturday, January 8, 2011

    The Vegitarian Adventures of a Carnivore, Part 1

    One of my very good friends (DarthCoco) who I hang out with often is a vegetarian.  We both really enjoy cooking, but there is a problem.  I am a definite carnivore.  Recently we decided to try to get together and cook every once and awhile to exercise our culinary chops and yes, to eat new and fun things.   

    We had our first culinary adventure this past Saturday.  For our two recipes we chose Corn Fritters (because who doesn't like fried things in balls and on sticks?) and Crispy Smashed Potatoes (which required 3 ingredients and generally describes out attention span).    The recipes came from a cooking magazine that DarthCoco brought with her that day.  I can't remember the name of the magazine, but I was really surprised how many really good recipes were in it.  First...  the fritters....

    Mini scoops are great for all kinds of things like making cookies and portioning out the fritters into the hot oil.
    Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble....  this was the first time either one of us had fried anything, so I think we were both waiting for some kind of disaster to occur.

    Done!  Don't they look so yummy? We salted them the second they came out to the oil so they would be really flavorful.
    We were really happy with how the fritters came out.  Between the two of us, we came up with two good dips to serve them with: maple syrup if you like them sweet and sour cream mixed with chives, salt and pepper if you are in a more savory mood.
    Actually, we started the Crispy Smashed Potatoes first, but the cooking time on them was so long because you have to first boil the potatoes, smash them with the palm of your hand, let them cool completely (argh!!!!) and then bake them after pouring olive oil on them and giving them a nice seasoning with salt and pepper. Whew!  The recipe was so simple but it took forever...  This is what they looked like right out of the over. 

    Edit: Found an online recipe that seems the same as the one we made.  You can find the recipe here.

    Now that is what I call crispy, crunchy, potatoey goodness!  We had these with the rest of the chive sour cream I made for the fritters and they were heavenly.  Needless to say, we were both very happy with how the recipes came out and would definitely make them again.  Not much of what we made survived past the day we made it, although I did have my leftover fritters for breakfast the next morning.  Talk about a nice way to start your day :)

    Thursday, January 6, 2011

    2010: A Summary of Projects

    2010 was a good year for me craft wise.  I completed over 35 knitted and crocheted items throughout the year.  Not too shabby if I say so myself! 

    As you can probably see from the collage above I do tend towards making small items, which allows me to make so many in just a year.  While the bulk of my work in 2010 was of the small variety like hats or coasters, I did manage a few really big projects that I wanted to specifically share since they are real accomplishments.
    1. Bountiful Bohus Cardigan - I have lots of posts about this on my blog if you want to go back and read about it.  This was my first sweater and I made it my challenge for the Ravelympics. 
    2. Cedar Leaf Shawlette - This was a pattern that I was drooling over for quite awhile before I started.  The pattern is written by one of my favorite knitting podcasters, Alana Dakos of Never Not Knitting.  This project was the first time I can remember that I was part of a KAL or knit along.  It was lots of fun to make and the community of knitters in the kal was just great!
    3. Murray the Reindeer - Murray was my first full sized amigurumi and quite a challenge.  I have really only dabbled in crochet until recently, so making him was a real learning process.  But, I now know that I really enjoy making amigurumi and hopefully I'll get to make some more in 2011.  
    So, now that 2010 is over, I just have to say that I actually started many more projects in 2010 than I finished.  I have quite a backlog of UFO (unfinished objects)... 13 to be exact (not including the projects that are destined to be unraveled which number 2).  Perhaps an urge to complete those projects will seize me and they will all get done before 2012.  A girl can dream can't she?