Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Christmas Sweater

I had originally decided not to make my Mom a sweater this year for Christmas because school was kicking my butt. I figured I didn't have time since it would need to be started at the same time that I was dealing with finals, and I said no way.

I changed my mind when I saw the mag that my Cooling Eye Mask pattern was in (Crochet! January '11 - in stores now!!) I saw a beautiful red sweater that would be perfect for my Mom. It called for sport weight yarn, so I went to Joann's and got 3 skeins of soft brown Sensations Cuddle - baby yarn - and it was perfect for the project. I swatched with the called-for hook. Nope! I went up a hook size, no go. I had to try a bigger yarn. I went to Simply soft - my old standby - in a pretty khaki color called Bone. I sweatched, went up a hook, swatched some more and still not even close, so I went up a size size. My mom is really small, which is why it is so awesome to make her sweaters! Usually I need to go down a yarn/needle/hook size on the small sweater size to make it fit her. In this case, I went to the Medium (from extra small) and it was still so skinny in the center that there was no way it was gonna fit. I decided it was just a funkily written pattern made for funkily built people. Time to move on. It was December 21.

I searched my memory for something that I could make quick that I had the yarn already in hand. I thought about the 2 yarns that I had already bought for the sweater - the brown baby yarn and the khaki simply soft and wondered what I could make with them together. I remembered making the Subway Cable sweater for Stacy from the Yarn Girls - Beyond the Basics book a couple years ago and her comment on why she doesn't wear it more is "It's a REALLY warm sweater!". Perfect!! To get gauge, I had to add another worsted weight yarn, I picked some cream colored Red Heart that I had plenty of, and it blended perfectly.

I cast on the sweater the morning of 12/21 and finished it on Christmas eve at my in-laws, about 8pm. That gave me enough time to bring it home and wrap it, minus it's normal washing, and bring it to her at 10 the next morning. Can someone say skin of my teeth? Yeah.

She opened it up and put it on and it fits pretty perfectly. A tiny tad short, but maybe it will grow a little bit in the wash? As long as she wears an undershirt if she plans to bend over, she will be fine. She likes it, and that is all that
matters, right?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Tis the season

I've been diligently working on Mom's Christmas sweater. Well, perhaps diligently isn't quite the word...

Look what I made! A toque for my tree branch!!!

I hope your holiday crafting is going better than mine!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Today's the day!

Crochet! comes out today with my Cooling Eye Mask pattern in it. I'm so excited! I hope everyone likes it. It really helped me when some medications I was on were giving me the worst headaches right behind my eyes! It's so funny how sometimes a flash of brilliance turns into a pattern. I only wish they happened more often!

How are you doing? I know it's been a while, but I'm almost done with my first semester of college. I've got a 4.0 so far (of course, that's only my math grade, the rest won't be there for a couple more weeks), and I'm so proud of myself. Did you have a nice Thanksgiving? I did. Busy, but nice.

As far as yarny things go, I finished up a Bacon hat for Jake, I'm working on a train hat for Sean (great chart that I created on that one, I can't wait to get it written into a pattern), and now I'm working on a sweater for my Mom for Christmas. Just today I had to get new yarn, even though I was 3/4 done with back in a different yarn, it just wasn't a fat enough yarn. So now I've moved on to Simply Soft, in bone. It's pretty and I'm sure will match a lot of her law office wardrobe!

That's it for me for now. Have a great week!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

So, what's new with you?

I've been a baaaaaad blogger, I know! School has kept me busy, as have the 2 baby blankets that I just finished! I only have photos of the first one, though. This is my baby niece Kenzie's blanket. I love how it turned out, and so did my brother. I am waiting on a pic of her actually on it though!

In other news, on November 30, the January issue of Crochet! will be available with my Cooling Eye Mask in it. Yay!
I'll try to not go another 2 months before I post again, I promise!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


It's been almost 2 months since my last post. You've been sadly ignore and you have my apologies! It's been a crazy summer here at Chez Whines-A-Lot. Ear infection and swimmer's ear, getting ready for school, 27 lbs of books, Disney trip, visiting friends and family (locally), couponing, (they really need to make that a word), reading, , staying up late and waking up early. I have been knitting on a sock, after an epic fail of a really cute one (too small to fit any human because of the stranding). I do need to frog that one but it is so cute, even if it is not able to be cute on a foot!

I have officially survived my first week and a half of school and have managed only to get lost going to each campus once. Tomorrow the glass guy is coming to fix Travis and I's mysterious windshield cracks, and the tv guy is coming to (hopefully) fix or replace the tv where I think Sean hit it and killed a pixel. Horray for insurance and warranty!

Money saving strategies are going well (go now to walmart with the Gain Dish soap coupon from this past Sunday's paper to get a free little bottle and make $.03) and I am planning to do my own coupon class to some friends that are interested in saving money on their own grocery bill. To get people excited, I brought a bag full of goodies (deodorant, tooth paste and razors) to life group and let everyone pick something out. Only thing I paid for was the $.24 Crest Pro Health, everything else was free. Needless to say I have a lot of people excited about the class. Me... not so much since I am NOT good at talking in front of people, but I think it will be ok since they are all friends.

I promise not to wait so long to post again, but they will be short and sweet since I have lots of school work to do with 4 classes and a lab! Wish me luck.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Nothing to see here

No really, nothing to see! I am not one with the 2nd sock of the blue and white pair, but I'm close. I probably have less than an hour to go on it. However I have been working on sewing a purse! I'll put up some pics in a few days when it's done. Well, assuming I get some decent naptime to work on it! It's really cute though! Perhaps a little bit past my comfort zone.. but it's coming along.

Nothing back from the place I sent After Hours, I am fiddling with the idea of either self publishing it (and praying they say yes for yarn support) or offering it to a different magazine. I'm still giving it some thought.

I am really REALLY looking forward to school starting, only a month and a half left. I am such a dork, I am anxiously stalking the school's website to see when they book lists become available. I want to get mine ASAP so I can start reading and hopefully get ahead of the game. See... dork. But I guess its better to be excited about school than dreading it, right?

Sean is moving backwards on the potty training, he's managed to go #2 one time in the potty, and that was about 2 or 3 weeks ago. He starts school same time as I do, so I am seriously running out of time! Suggestions?

Friday, July 02, 2010

Learning Curve

I know that sometimes it is more important than others to do the second sock immediatly. Mainly when you do something different than the pattern and make no notes that are worth anything.

My blue socks, started in October '07 (!) and finished in January of '08. Well, that was one sock. I followed the pattern for the Arrow Lace Socks but decided to try out a short row heel. And instead of noting ANYWHERE how I did that or where I got the tutorial, I just wrote "I've decided to try out a short row heel." Yeah, helpful.

So last week when I decided to finish up some WIPs, I kind of dreaded this one because I'd have to fake the heel. Luckily for me it's not really hard and I'm at the halfway point on the heel. I think these are going to be mine, but I'm not sure. It could just be a REALLY early Christmas present. I think that will depend on how it turns out! :)

Only a month and a half until school starts and I'm really excited about it. I hope that I do well. I just got a copy of my HS transcripts, boy was I a crappy student. I have higher hopes for college.

That's it for now, have a great 4th weekend. Stay safe.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A finished project. Really!

The other day I let Mom try on her birthday sweater (her birthday is tomorrow, but I wanted to make sure it fit before I finished the 2nd sleeve and the 2 fronts). It didn't fit so I stopped working on it. That led to 2 things. First, what do I give my Mom for her birthday, and second, what do I start working on next?

The answer to #1: the Zoom Zoom socks that I made earlier in the year and will be a second pair of "warm socks" for her. She will be appreciative. Yay.

The answer to #2: well, that's a little harder. It started with me looking at my stash of sock yarn and petting, vigorously the alpaca that I got in January. That led me to scouring my sock patterns in print, print-out and Ravelry for the perfect pattern to go with my perfect, creamy white yarn. No luck. I found some great patterns that would look great with the yarn but either the yarn was too thin for the pattern or I didn't have enough of it. Pity, but I will try again with that yarn in the future. That made me have a look at the WIPs I had and found 2 pairs of socks in that category. The closest to done was the Ladybug socks that I started in August and got through all but the toe plus 2 rounds. So I decided to finish it.

I haven't touched it in MONTHS! I finished it in less than 3 hours. Now I have adorable new socks! Yay.

Next up, I will do the 2nd sock to this "Pair". I did this sock in August of '08 on a trip to New York and it has since languished in the WIP pile. Today I brought it back out and cast on. I've done a few rounds but that's it. I am a little worried about the heel though since I think I did a different heel than the pattern called for. Guess I'll have to fake it and hope for the best! More soon.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ribbons and Summer

I have been sadly slacking in the blog department. I've been a stay at home mom for what - 4 months? And it is seriously kicking my butt. And NOW I get to add the big one to the mix! Trying to keep them both occupied and not in front of the tv all day WITHOUT getting 2nd degree burns from being outside for 17 seconds is difficult. Very. Difficult.

Tomorrow is $1 movie day at AMC and we're heading to watch Shrek the 3rd. Yay for organized events! I hope that we'll find plenty more as the summer goes on.

I know that it's technically not summer for like 2 more weeks but already we're hitting 99 degrees daily. It has led to a distinct lack of yarn play. This is bad news considering that my Mom's birthday is on the 25th (11 days away) and her sweater has only almost 1 sleeve. And the fronts are LONG since it's a wrap around sweater. tick tock.

In other news, I have put the Ribbons hat with the testers so that I can release the pattern on here through Ravelry. Very soon, for the low low price of $3 (proceeds go to my Making Strides walk for Breast Cancer research), you too can have the pattern to the lovely Ribbons to make for yourself! But Wait... there's more!! It comes with a "cottage license" so that you can sell the hats you make to raise money for your own cause. I am hoping to have it available in the next week.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Not related to yarn but still cool

Since I got laid off in March I have been trying to figure out ways to strech a buck and for the most part I think I've been doing a pretty good job. A friend of mine introduced me to the wonderful world of Couponing. Please understand, I have always used coupons but there is a big difference between "using coupons" and "Couponing" - much like the difference between knitting and Knitting!
I borrowed a book from the library called "Coupon Mom's Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half" by Stephanie Nelson. This has really opened my eyes to the things you can do and the stuff that stores GIVE you when you are smart about combing sales and coupons together! The highlights of what I have learned:

~ a BOGO sale from the store means you can use 2 manufacturer coupons for the 2 items you are getting.
~ usually you can use BOTH a manufacturer coupon AND a store coupon for the SAME item!
~ Free stuff is COOL and a great way to give to those less fortunate than ourselves.
~ Get a baseball card binder to organize your coupons either alphabetically by brand (which I had originally had) or by aisle of the supermarket (which I just switched to). It is much easier to see what you have to work with than with the old accordian type I used to use.
~ if you have a UPromise account (or other stores not in my area like Kroger) you can do "electronic coupons" where you go to their website and add coupons to your Rewards Cards. For Upromise, the amount doesnt come off my bill but goes directly into the boys' college accounts.

Today before Church I went through my favorite ads - CVS and Walgreens - and wrote down all the cool things I found that would be cheap/free when I combined them with coupons that I already have. Then after Church we went to Walgreens to pick up a few of the deals - for me and to give.

As an aside, my lifegroup is working on a project next week that will have us stuffing 60 (the goal) gallon size zipper bags with travel size essentials for the folks that eat at a local place called "I Am Hope Cafe". It provides hot meals 4 nights a week to whoever needs them, and it is "manned" by volunteers from a different local Church each night. We have Tuesdays. So... I am trying to stock up on essentials that I can donate to this cause but because I am unemployed, it has to be REALLY cheap or Free! Onward.

I purchased 2 Reach toothbrushes, 2 packages of Reach floss, a 10 pk of OxiClean Max Force Stain Releaser and a 60 ct Walgreens brand A-Z vitamins. The total before savings was $18.13 for those 6 items. Advertised sales saved me $8.69 (Reach items for $.99 each, OxiClean for $2.99 and vitamins for $2), I had coupons worth $7 ($3 off 3 Reach items, $1 off 1 reach item, $2 off Oxi Clean Max Force, and $1 off my order from last week's certificate), so I paid $2.44. I got a $2 certificate for my next purchase which made it like paying $.44. For $18.13 of items.

This. Rocks.

Melodie (the gal that checked me out) said "You guys always amaze me with that!"

Yes Melodie, sometimes I amaze even myself.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


So I've been pretty riddled with family emergencies and being sick and cranky and stuff and all, and I've been ignoring you. I'm sorry. Unfortunatly there's not really anything to update yarn-wise. Lets see...

I mailed off my eye mask to the mag today (with 5 days to spare thankyouverymuch)(procrastinate much?)(See above.) and I am glad it's out of my house. I hope that it gets some good project numbers, it really is cute and quick and easy and cheap to make since it takes so little yarn.

I have not heard anything about the little black dress, but I hope I do. I really want to get the yarn support in so I can finish making it. I have gotten thisfar in knitting it (the proposal was crocheted) because I just haven't had any desire to work on it with everything else going on.

On the upside, I am all signed up for school and I am SO looking forward to it. I am excited about my classes, but nervous since I've never been... and not been inside a classroom in 17 years! I'm watching lectures online and reading library books on things like algebra and anatomy!

Also, I've been working on my Mom's birthday sweater. It's a lacy tie around cardi that is coming out pretty cute, and I'm making it from on-sale sock yarn so that's always a plus.

And I have been learning the ropes of "couponing" from a friend's wife. It's SO cool when stores pay you to take stuff! Of course, I'm not exactly sure what I'm gonna do with 3 men's razor systems but they were free or less than free (if it's on sale for $4.50 plus I have a coupon for $3 and they give you $4.50 in register rewards to use next time I made $3 on the deal!)

And finally I am (in theory if I can get my arse off the couch!) going to get the house into shape before I start school so that maintaining is easy instead of a pain and can be done by the whole family. That way when I'm studying and unavailable then everyone can pitch in and it won't be embarassing when my 8 yr old has a little friend come over to play a video game.

That's it for me for now, I promise to not let it go so long next time.

Saturday, May 08, 2010


It's been a heck of a couple weeks, and I think that it's starting to get back to pseudo-normal. We're still getting ready for the memorial service next weekend and I am looking forward to seeing family that I haven't seen in a while, but it's been very trying. While we are all grateful that it's over, like I said it's been a LONG battle and agonizing to watch, it's still hard and the oddest things tear me up. I remember when I was little and I had a sleight addiction to Cabbage Patch Kids (I had 5!) and Grandma crocheted me little dresses for them. I thought they were so cool because they were frilly and old-fashioned and I loved them!

In other news, I finally got all signed up for Fall Semester at our local Community College. I'll be taking 3 classes - Math, English and Anatomy & Physiology (that one has a lab too!). That is 10 credit hours out of the 75 in total that I'll take to get my RN. I am so nervous about not doing well that I've checked out a book from the library called Anatomy DeMystified.... just so I can get a head start! If I do ok with this one I'll get Physiology DeMystified and go through that one too. They are setup like text books with chapter quizes, section tests and a final exam. I just finished the first section of 3 chapters and my quizzes got either 90 or 100% (each have 10 questions) and my test I missed 4 out of 25 which is better than passing so I'm happy. In a couple weeks I go meet with the financial aid folks to see how much money I qualify for.

Last night we had crochet group and I worked on another new design based roughly on my little black dress. I figured out what I don't like on it so that is a small step in the right direction. Also on the lbd, I started swatching out the knit version and I really like it. I have not heard back yet from the mag I sent the original to but maybe soon!

That's really it from me. To all the Mom's out there, have a great tomorrow!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Family stuff

I have been out of commission - my grandmother passed away this past week after a long LONG battle with MS and COPD. I've been emmersed with family stuff and the memorial service which will be on 5/15.
I finished up the submission for After Hours (the little black dress) and sent it off. I love how it looks in my head and how the swatches look. Now I am going to do something similar in knit, and I am looking forward to browsing through the stitch dictionary to find some good options!
In other news, I have decided to go to school to be a nurse. I am really excited about this prospect since I have never been to college before. Of course I am worried, and I'm sure that it will interfere with my yarn-play time but I do believe it will be worth it.
That's it from me for right now. I hope you are all doing well!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New website...

As an assignment in my designers class ( - designers 101) we had to re-vamp our blog/websites. Since I created my new website - and my new blog - they were not cohesive at all, and I still post to this blog about everything (knitty and not) I really need to shape them up.

So, I'm stopping (I'll try to move the posts over) and keep all the design stuff on the site. I'll still update here, of course, but go there and let me know what you think!

My socklet pattern is done and sent, my eye mask pattern is done and emailed with the snail mail package to follow soon and I have to finish up my proposal for the lbd REALLY quick so I can get it started.

Jake's doing ok, today was day 2 at school and his first legal ditch of PE. Doc follow up says he's doing fine.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Home and stuff and all

We escaped the hospital on Monday morning, and no surgery. Yay!! He's doing much better, walking upright and not really in pain so that's a good thing. Lacerated spleen. Crazy stuff. His limitations per doctor's orders: no school for a week, no PE for 6 weeks, no bike/skateboard for 12 weeks. Not a happy boy! Especially since for his birthday on 6/19 he wanted to go to the Skate Park.

This week has been Spring Break (handy since he couldn't go anyway) and we haven't really done much - stayed home and let him go outside with his friends but stay off wheels. It has been a pretty crazy week though, my Grandmother is still pretty bad but hanging on at the nursing home, a friend of mine's Mom died today, another friend's little girl has been in the hospital for some unknown tummy issue (think she's getting out tomorrow so yay!) and I have not finished the pattern for the socklets that are due in a couple days.

I also need to get a sketch and proposal for the lbd that I'm working on so I can submit it and get working on it. I really like the concept and I am excited about it.

And finally... I'm a dot com (sorry for swipping Christine!). My new website is It's not very fancy schmancy but it will get there.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Guest of the hospital

Thursday afternoon around 5:30 Jake tried to do a bike trick and fell - bit through his lip and scraped up his chin, shoulder and knee. He was wearing a helmet thank goodness but the lip through and through we KNEW needed stitches. We headed to the after hours pediatrics place and they said Yep, stitches. While they laid him down to clean out the chin for stitches he complained that his shoulder hurt when he breathed laying down. Okay??

They sat him up, and manually manipulated his shoulder - swung his arm around, up, down, pressed and nothing. So it's not the shoulder, clavicle or arm. Off to xray. Xray showed nothing but the doc thought You know, it might be a spleen issue.

Huh? How'd shoulder pain = spleen issue. And c'mon, does a spleen REALLY exist? I always thought it was like Kansas - something they made up because no one I knew had actually seen it.

So after they gave him 2 lip stitches and 2 chin stitches, they sent us to the er for a ct scan. That showed, you guessed, a spleen laceration. Who knew? Well they don't have a pediatric surgeon at our hospital so we had to go to a different one about 30 minutes away. We went to their er to wait for a room (luckily their er spots are rooms with actual doors and everything). We got up to his room around 5 in the morning. 12 hours from fall to room.

Luckily the laceration isn't bad enough to require surgery. Why they couldn't give us this lovely bit of info BEFORE we went to the other hospital, I'll never know. But, apparently the spleen takes a lot of time to heal. He's really not eating much and can't walk upright but hopefully soon. We're still here, and it's Sunday afternoon, and we'll be able to go home at some point tomorrow. I hope.

You'd think that I'd get more crocheting done, really. I having been working on a little black dress design and I really like how it's coming out. I NEED to get a request in for yarn support, because it's gonna take quite a bit of yarn and this will be submitted for publication. I have discovered Hulu though, which is really cool, and I've been thinking about getting to work on changing up all my current patterns to the new template. I've just been incredibly lazy it seems.

Well, keep us in your thoughts and prayers!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Sometimes being me is cool!

I just had my Cooling Eye Mask design accepted for publication. !. It will be in the January 2011 Crochet! Magazine and I am so excited. I also have a ton of other ideas floating around in my brain (and in my notebooks) that would be really cool as a book. Just sayin!

I wanted to give you an update on freezer cooking. Here are the one's we've tried and notes about them:

Chicken curry - this was good but the flavor was really mild. I found another freezer curry recipe in Fix Freeze and Feast and I'll try that one next. There was more than plenty.

Shephard's pie - my whiners didn't like the onions and peppers in the meat mix. So next time I won't do that. Also, there wasn't enough food so I'll have to make it bigger. (funny that the other meals had the SAME meat mix and they were fine.)

Chili - this was a BIG hit! Everyone loved it, even my father-in-law who I sent a single serving to. The problem, not enough food (wonder if that's related to Dad's portion? hmm.) so next time I'll make more.

Hamburger Macaroni - we had this one last night and it was really good. It made what I thought was plenty, and I sent one of these to Dad too, but it just wasn't enough. Next time I'll make more. Everyone loved it, so score!

Sloppy Jakes - which is basically sloppy joes with the leftover shephards pie meat/corn mix instead of just meat mix. They loved it and there was more than plenty.

I think that's all the ones I've tried. So far so good I think. Also, I really like that new book I borrowed from the library - Fix, Freeze and Feast. So many more recipes that I cant wait to try - especially one for ribs that looks awesome!

Well that's it for me. Have a great day!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Freezer Cooking Part 2.

My first session went pretty good. I ended up having to go to the store once I realized that I'm a math-tard and was gonna get WAY more meals than I thought. I spent a total of $85.66 and used $70.36 of it (percentage wise by item) and could have saved more if I went to Aldi for all of it and/or looked for sales!

I did some more cooking today, so in total I had meat (16.5 lb ground beef + 3 lb ground turkey) and a whole chicken + 3 breasts I had thawed which made:

15 lb of meat mix that goes into almost everything (next time I will omit the onion, celery and peppers because my family are weenies), 4 lb Meatloaf mix, 6 cups of cubed chicken and 5-(20 oz) and 4-(1 cup) frozen blocks of chicken broth which now live in 3 Ziplocs in the freezer plus about 2 quarts in the fridge that I'm undecided about and 1.5 lb extra ground beef that I froze by itself.

That turned into:
3 chilis
1 ziti
3 macaroni hamburger
2 sloppy joes (with extra meat in each cause it just didn't look like enough)
2 regular shepherds pies plus a mini for Travis' dad
2 chicken curry
1 batch of bbq chicken that we ate last night
1 sloppy jakes (the regular sloppy joe plus corn mixed in, leftover from the shepherds pies)
2 meatloaves
12 mini meatloaves (more like meatballs and will be 1 meal instead of 2 like I thought)
and I have a meat mix bag of 6 cups in my fridge waiting for inspiration.

That's 18 meals plus unmade soup and 6 cups (2-3 meals worth) of meat mix. That's $3.50ish per meal. !!!. I am so excited about that. It was a LOT of work but worth it I think.

I'm sure that if I had not been sidetracked by 2 hospital visits to my MIL that I would have been able to finish instead it took a day and a half.

I will plan another session in a few weeks. I used a fancy schmancy spreadsheet to come up with my totals and percentages and savings had I gone to Aldi. Next time I will only get 10 lb of meat plus a chicken or 2, pork chops and some corn tortillas to make an enchilada pie.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Freezer Cooking Part 1.

So, I got laid off 2 weeks ago yesterday and I have been trying to find some creative ways to save money while attempting to eat healthier. I went to the library and got 2 books by Deborah Taylor-Hough called "Frozen Assets" and "Frozen Assets Lite & Easy" both with the tag line "Cook for a day, eat for a month". The theory - just like it sounds. 1 day of cooking for 30 meals, and by creating menus around big sale items (like ground beef and chicken) you can save lots of money. In her example, a $200 shopping trip equaled 41 meals for her family of 6. !. !!. So... I am giving it a go.

Today, I made a list of a few items that I want to try in a mostly ground beef mini-session. I am following her recipes for the most part because they look good and they have been freezer-tested.

My menu choices = 12 meals, some with leftovers:
Sloppy joes - 2 batches of 6 servings = 3 meals of 4 servings.
Texas chili - 1 batch of 12 servings = 3 meals of 4 servings.
Poor mans casserole - 2 batches of 6 servings = 2 casserole meals w/leftovers
Chicken curry - 1 batch of 10 servings = 2 meals of 5 servings
Chicken noodle/rice soup - 2 batches from stock, leftover chicken & veggies.

I spent $70 on:
15 lb ground beef
3 lb ground turkey
1 whole turkey
3 onions
2 green peppers
bunch of celery
32 oz diced tomatoes
32 oz kidney beans
1 can of sloppy joe sauce
1 gallon of milk
(on hand I had 1 can sloppy joe sauce, taco seasoning, can corn, frozen veg, potatoes, cheese, can mushrooms and an apple plus other normal pantry stuff)

Right now I have the chicken boiling in a stockpot over it's body with water, plus 1/2 an onion and 3 stalks of celery. This will make the chicken curry meals plus leave about 2 quarts of chicken stock to make soup from.

Tomorrow after I get the kids to school/daycare I'll chop my veggies and brown my ground beef/turkey. Ugh... how the heck does one brown 18 lbs of meat? lol. Very Carefully!!

Ok, so I just did my math and the meat mixture is 5 lb = 12 cups of mix. My 18 lbs will be about 42 lbs. I only need 12 to make what I listed. Whoopsy! Let me add some more meals!!

I'll update tomorrow with my final menus. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Ribbons Hat

I had this idea for a Ribbons hat that is ribbed and each rib has a ribbon and vice versa. I've decided on a flip up brim thing, so the chart is done upside down and backwards (knit purl wise) than the rest of the hat. I did it this way so that the ribbing would match nicely and I like the decreases I chose when they're done on the knit side.

I've swatched it out and put together the proposal to send to Knit Picks for their Independent Designer Program. It's with some friends for input now, and hopefully in the next day or so I can send it to them. They put the patterns up for sale on their website and preview them in the Knit Picks catalog, for $1.99 each, and that gets paid out to the designer. All of it - which is rare.

I've decided that money received this design (or if it's more than $500, then half) will fund my Making Strides walk. It was such a blast to do last year and I look forward doing it again.

If my design gets chosen I'll let you know!!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Well that was interesting.

Yesterday morning I got laid off from my job. Yes, it sucks but mainly because I really loved doing what I did. I was a meeting planner for an association and it was SO much fun! I also have one of the best friends that I've ever had there. It is a sad thing but I am confident that something better is coming. I will take this opportunity to work on my designing - you never know what'll happen!

SO, please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. Not so much to find a job (although if something awesome comes I'll be thrilled) but more for clarity and direction.

The past month or so I have had so many design ideas and I've been really trying to make the time to swatch and sketch what's been in my head (and in my notebooks). I've begun to see design elements everywhere and I believe that this is why.

Oh, I finished Kaitlyn the other night and wore her yesterday to work. I haven't had a pic taken of her completed but I am going to give her a wash first to see if I want to do anything with the collar or if it will relax enough as it is to not be wonky.

So that's it for me for now.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Kaitlyn is DONEish

I finished binding off Kaitlyn during lunch. She is giving me ulcers. No, Simply Soft is giving me ulcers, Kaitlyn was good.

When you think of "No Dye Lot" What does that mean to you? Well, to me that means that when my stash skeins run out, I can go to Joann's and buy another skein and it will match.

Apparently I am not correct.

This is the right sleeve. I changed yarn about 5 inches from the end. You can CLEARLY see that they are not the same color. You can Really clearly see it in person in a dark room. The flash helps, as does sunlight, but it's there. When I noticed the difference I had 2 choices. A) hunt down a skein of the Berry Blue from everyone I know and see if theirs matches any better or B) keep knitting. I kept knitting. UGH! However, If I ever see another skein that matches I will not hesitate to rip that sucker back out and fix it.

So tonight I will weave in all her ends and hopefully wear it tomorrow. Yes, I should give her a bath first to see if she relaxes a bit in the neck and sleeves but I am the queen of impatience. We'll see how the evening goes. :)

Next I will be a swatching fool because I have SO many ideas floating in my head that need to get out. I'm just glad that I decided to start writing them down and sketching the out. And by sketching I use the term VERY loosely.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Stress and all

Today I'm kinda anxious, for a few different reasons.

Number 1 - I sent off my application to the Associate Professional program to the CGOA. I had to write a letter talking about what I've done and what I expect to do in the next couple years. It was like a self-proclaimed ego trip. It was odd. SO, that is in the mail and hopefully I'll hear back from them soon.

In doing that little exercise I've come to some conclusions about what I'd actually like to do in my designing. I would like to offer projects with both crochet and knit patterns to go along with it. Take for example the twins' quilts. I have almost finished crocheting one in pink and cream, in which only 1 seam has to be, uh, seamed. 12 measly inches of whipstitch. For a kinda-quilt. That makes me happy because I HATE seaming. A lot. I have been playing with this for a while, and since Kaitlyn's overtaken my life I haven't worked on it but I will soon. It is the closest thing to a finished design I have right now. I also think it would would look awesome knitted up, where you could offer different textures for corners instead of just different colors. So that will be next up. It will take a while to actually DO the knitting but I think the design/pattern will come out easily.

I have 2 sweaters, a hat, purse and little eyemask thing that I want to do the same thing with. Yeah, the design muse has been beating me over the head lately. I am just itching to finish with Kait so I can swatch. I have vowed not to do anything else until she's done so I'm trying to boogie. (I am trying to put together some squares for a comfortghan but that isn't being counted right now since my total is 1.5 squares. Not enough to think about being a ghan.)

Number 2 - today is my review day for my real job. I hate review day.

Number 3 - Travis' Grandma has surgery on Thursday - she's who the ghan is for. It's kinda freaking me out.

And finally, I have decided on a new name for my Design Business - Hook 'N Stick Designs. I've created a blog for it - - it's just starting out but thats where I'll put design stuff as it comes out, and keep this one for regular life and crochet stuff. That's it for now, have a great day!

Monday, March 01, 2010

No Gold for Me

I didn't finish Kaitlyn yet. I've almost run out of yarn and at 12:07 I called it. 2 blisters, tennis elbow and twitchy eye later... I gave up. I shoved her unceremoniously into my knitting bag and went to bed. I slept like the dead!

I am still proud of my accomplishment. I did knit a lot. It was a challenge for me, a BIG challenge. And yes, if I had spent less time playing around online holding knitting in my lap and actually knitting then I probably would have made it. No, I still would have run out of yarn. Ugh!!!

Here she is right now in all her glory:

There's always 2012. I'll give it a better go then.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Kaitlyn Update

I just wanted to post a quick update on Kaitlyn. I have gotten about 3.5-4" into her, and she's coming along swimmingly. Tonight I need to finish up Ivy's baby blanket but that shouldn't take more than half hour or 45 minutes, then the rest of the night will be Kaitlyn all the way! I WILL FINISH ON TIME!!!

I have also sketched out some ideas for a few designs that I will work on once Kait's off the needles and on my body.

I haven't heard anything back from CGOA yet and I'm getting antsy. I don't know why, maybe because I like instant gratification? Also, I'm really anxious to get into the Associate Professional program and I can't read jack on it until I'm a member.

Patience is a virtue apparently.

Monday, February 15, 2010

CGOA and Kaitlyn

I finally broke down and joined CGOA (The Crochet Guild of America) again. I have tossed this around in my head for a couple weeks, weighing pros and cons and here are my thoughts.

I did not join for the camaraderie since that is what my Ravelry groups and Crochet Group are for. I did not join to take the Crochet Masters Program (yes, it exists) because a)It is not available right now and b)I'm happy being a "Professional Crocheter" and do not need "Master Certified" in front of that. I did not join to get a nifty new CGOA Member pin since I still have my old one.

I did join because they offer an Associate Professional designation, which is free, where they pair you with a mentor (and usually someone REALLY COOL!) and that mentor gives advice for aspiring designers and is available for me to ask questions of. I also joined because I would love to go to some of the Conferences (even though reality says that I'm too po!).

So... $65 of my designing money went to a 2 year membership. As soon as I get my login stuff I'll get moving on the AP thing and see where it goes from there.

Ahh, Kaitlyn.
As you know, I am doing a sweater for the Knitting Olympics and the Ravelympics (2 groups doing the same thing in different places). My sweater is called Kaitlyn and I'm testing it.

Kaitlyn had some directional issues with the size I'm knitting which have since been ironed out and now I'm working my way through her again, and right now I'm at about the 2" mark of the neck. It's a Top Down sweater, with raglan sleeves and a lacy bit down the center front. It. Is. Beautiful. Kudos to Christine who designed it.

She said I could post progress pics, so here you go... Kaitlyn #1:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Let the Knitting Begin...

Tonight at 9pm, along with MANY of my fellow knitters and crocheters will begin the Ravelympics and the Knitting Olympics. A Challenge to each person that starts at opening ceremonies and ends when the torch is extinguished.

My Olympic run may be hampered by a non-knitting related injury to my purling finger (hang nail that hurts like heck), but I am hoping that a Performance Enhancing Apparatus (band-aid) will be allowed in these circumstances!

I had originally planned to make my Grandfather and Travis a pair of socks. However.... I have decided to test knit a sweater called Kaitlyn by Christine Buhagiar and it is BEAUTIFUL! I can't wait to have it done and on. I am waiting on confirmation if I can show you a pic or not (sometimes designers aren't allowed to show before it's published), but if I can I will post one soon.

I am making Kait out of Simply Soft Brites Blue, a really pretty color that will look fantabulous on me! I can't wait to see how it comes out. I swatched last night to make sure my gauge was correct (Yes... I... Swatched!) and good thing because I had to go down a needle size.

That's really it for now. I hope you all have a fantastic Valentines Day!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Busy Bee

I have had a great week with lots to do and good times with old friends. I've had a meds scare, 1.8 lb weight loss and a pretty darn good report card from the 8 yr old. Life group and Crochet group - great conversation and some awesome design ideas that have been well received by those that I've mentioned them to. I heard from 2 old friends that I haven't talked to in 18 and 15 years respectivly. I had a day off work on Thursday with the intention of going to Disney with my hubby and/or doing some housework and ended up sleeping until noon... but it was great none-the-less.

That is a VAST improvement from last week with all the mourning.

How about a project update? Here ya go:
~boring boy socks - 80% done but has sizing issues and is being punished and will soon be forgotten.
~ladybug socks - 80% done, but I'm ignoring because of other things that I am working on.
~Submission Quilty babyghan - the center is done and now I need to do the 1 seam and crochet on the border.
~Submission Girls skirt - still in the planning phase, and I am so happy that my friend Margarita (aka Thread Queen) is willing to work on this with me!
~Ivy's baby blanket - I just got this commission decided on Wednesday and I've bought the yarn but have not started working on it. I will though... once the submission babyghan is done. It's a baby granny ghan so it will hopefully go quick.
~Commission purses - I have 1 started but these are on standby because the buyers have not told me what they want yet.

See... busy! I hope that your week has gone well. For those of you having troubles, I've got my LONG list of folks that I'm praying for, seems like my friends and family are all being attacked lately. I hope this passes, and the sun shines for them again soon.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Updates... minus pics.

First off, Stephanie has raised $1,000,110 for Doctors Without Borders. !. !!. That is the magic power of the yarn community. That rocks, and I am so excited to have been able to be a part of it.

Secondly, I am still ignoring the boring boy sock, I have vanquished it from my knitting bag and it is in time out in my sock yarn drawer.

Third, with the publication of Purse-Onality Plus! and my showing off of said magazine, I have been commissioned to make 3 purses. And 2 baby blankets because they are so related. ?. I have no clue what the covers are gonna look like, waiting on input from the buyers. But at least this is giving me another chance to get some project pics of the purse... and yet another chance to show off the fact that I CANNOT COUNT TO 50. Nope. Chain 50, sc a bunch of rows and about 6 inches into it I start to think you know, this looks a little bit big. Hmm, that's odd. Let's count my stitches. 52 (plus the turning chain) so I actually chained 53. Sometimes I amaze even myself.

Fourth, related to third I am going to try to persuade baby blanket gal to let me do my quilty design so that I can write out the pattern as I go and have 2 examples of it - one of each gender. I will find out Wednesday night. If not, that's ok but it would be really nice to kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

Fifth, I cannot spell fifth (I did fith... ugh) but also I am doing some knit lace research for a little girl pattern floating in my head. I know I could do it in crochet and have it look like my vision but there's a Call For Submission for a book coming out for warm weather knits for kids. We'll try it and see what happens.

Can you tell that I'm gonna be too busy for any sock knitting in the near future? Yeah, me too. I'm ok with that. On a side note I cleaned out the "hidden" yarn corner. My "hidden" yarn corner was a pile-o-crap behind my stereo speaker 3 ft high. I rescued 5 project bags, 1 scarf-in-progress that I don't like, 4 un-used balls of yarn, 10 skeins of acrylic yarn in various stages of use including 1 connected to the Cliffyghan (which is also being ignored), my design notebook (which I really had been looking ALL OVER for), my 2 Pee-Wee Parka samples and the quilty babyghan sample that I had been ignoring but pulled back out so I could work on it more. Yeah. I took pictures but I'm too lazy to pull them off the camera. But... yay me for cleaning out the corner! Anyone need some acrylic?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's one of those days..

I am having one of those days where I am in mourning for a recent passing, and one long ago but I am so excited about the magazine coming out with my pattern in it. It's been a rollercoaster day. So, I will share what the mag looks like so you can be excited with me. I sent a letter to the editor of this mag to see if it is ok for me to create a knit version to propose to one of the knitting magazines at their company. You could do so much with this purse in either craft and I hope that she'll allow it.

This past week also marked my triumphant return to Crochet Group. It's been almost 3 years since I've gone and they welcomed me back with open arms. And a cake!

In other yarn-related news, I think I'm done with the boring boy socks. Not because I have 2 completed socks but because sock 2, although closely resembling sock 1, is not its twin and apparently my shapping took a tragic turn for the worse around the heel area. So, I can either frog back 6 inches of sock or toss it in the corner and ignore it soundly.

Also, I have finished the proof of concept swatch for my quilty baby blanket that I've been avoiding and it works, sort of. I was trying for no seaming but I think that adding a couple seams (not a lot) will look much better than how I've done it now. So, I'll swatch that up and write up the pattern. I like how it's looking and I can't wait to finish up the full size model.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Not done yet...

But here long enough to get pics off my camera and post some. Today is day 12 of my 14 day work week... that means it's almost over and after 1 day's rest it'll be back to "normal". Yay normal.

First, let me start off my saying that I donated to Doctors Without Borders and if you are able, you should too. Nothing big and huge, but together we can save lives.

Stephanie issued a challenge to the knitters. She did this because of the awesome nature of the collective for the power of good and the fact that so far in the last few years, we've raised over $600,000 (!) for this worthy cause. On her website she shares how to donate, who gets the funds and why doing so is a wonderful thing. She says it way better than I ever could. Go read it, you'll be a better person for it. Her goal is 1 million. Easy peasy~!

Have some pics. Before and after of mine and my Mom's French Press Slippers. No, apparently I can't sew and mine are more like fraternal twins than identical:

Christmas. Sean and his guitar, Jake with an awesome shirt and me with 2 of my faves - yarn and Laurie's new book:

Sean's 3rd Birthday and real, genuine ice (or snow, ahem) on my car window):

I'm sure you've had enough pics to last a while. I hope that you have had an awesome year so far. Next time I'll talk about my New Years Resolutions. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Radio silence

I've been working away from the office since just after Christmas and will be there until 1/17 so no real posting. I have a 2nd sock of a boring boy pair, plus the lady bug socks that are languishing away in my bag. I've finished 2 pairs of the super adorable French Press Slippers and have bought the wool to make 3 more pair. I really like them a lot!

Sorry, no pics right now, that would require them to come off my camera... but I promise when things get back to normal here I'll update. I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year!