December 31, 2010

Since it's the last day of the year, I figure it's time to talk about my goals (accomplished or unaccomplished for 2010. I had 10 goals for 2010 and to be honest, I didn't really put a lot into getting them completed. I did what I did and the ones that I didn't finish (or start) I feel no remorse about.

So here's the round up...

1. Read all 10 books on the List of Top 10 Banned Books - This one was an easy one since I love to read. I got all 10 read and it got me back on the road to reading more. All and all I read over 70 books in 2010 and I feel well read and well rounded because of it.

2. Knit 1 pair of toe up socks - I tackled this project pretty early on in the year. I did knit one pair and one pair only. Knitting socks was not really a goal for me like it was last year. In 2009 I knit 19 pairs of socks and in 2010 I knit only 6 pairs with the 7th pair started but not finished before the end of the year.

3. Knit something with Alpaca - I finished this goal right before Christmas by knitting a neck warmer for my step-mom. I enjoyed working with the alpaca but I'm not sure I'd want to knit any huge sweater projects from it. I kept hearing about how much alpaca stretches and that's what kept me from really using it. But I figured for a really soft, luxurious gift for my step-mom it was a good choice.

4. Quilt the 3 quilt tops that I have finished - I didn't even get started on this one. I got really distracted by making clothing this year and my quilting got left in the dust. Hoping to get some of this done in the new year.

5. Finish piecing and quilt the Christmas wall hanging - Got started on this but didn't finish it before the end of the year. Got too distracted with making clothing.

6. Sew up the two clothing patterns that I bought - Done and then some. Making my own clothing was a pretty short lived passion but I did it.

7. Start and complete at least one quilt out of the several that I have all the parts for all ready - Again, not even started. Same excuse, got distracted with making clothing.

8. Use up all the stashed sock yarn I have before buying anything new -Originally, I felt like I failed this goal because I bought one skein of sock yarn when I went to Fig Tree Alley in Midtown Sacramento. But really, one skein in the scheme of things is really nothing, so I feel victorious in this goal.

9. Knit up the Heather Hoodie by Debbie O'Neill - Done and worn about a billion times. I love this vest. So comfy.

10. Finish the 4 sweaters that I have as WIP's in my Raverly queue. (Celeste, February Lady, Tuxedo Vest, Central Park Hoodie) - 3 out of 4 ain't bad in the case of goal number 10. Well 2 are finished and one was frogged. I frogged Celeste and it became Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig. I love this little lightweight sweater. It was great for nights at the ball park when all I needed was just a little something. February Lady and Tuxedo Vest are done. I've worn February Lady a number of times but I haven't worn Tuxedo Vest at all. As a matter of fact it's currently living in the bottom of a pile of clothes that either need alteration or repair in my sewing room. Central Park Hoodie is still on the needles. I did frog the sleeve and cast on again in a bigger needle but I never finished them. Maybe 2011 will be better for Central Park Hoodie.

As far as goals go, I'd say that I did pretty well. I totally completed 6 out of 10 goals. Number 10 and number 5 with both partially completed. That only leaves 2 goals that I didn't do anything with at all. 2010 goals was a success!

December 30, 2010

I finished The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau this week.

Good kids book. Easy read, lots of action. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series, The People of Sparks.

December 29, 2010

Girl Friday is coming along nicely. The back, both fronts and one of the sleeves is completely done and I'm working on the second sleeve now. This pattern is really easy to memorize which is nice since I can work on it while watching TV or chatting with Hubbs. It also makes for really nice early morning knitting when I'm the first one up. I can be half asleep, chugging coffee and still knitting up a storm. Now if only I could spend every morning that way.

Knit Picks Shadow in Vineyard Heather
Since I got my awesome chart keeper for Christmas, I wanted to start a project with a chart that I hadn't already memorized (which I have with Girl Friday). So I cast on For Vintage Knee Socks by Hannah Fettig. When I bought my yarn for Moorish Lattice Cardigan that turning into Girl Friday, I also bought 4 skeins of Knit Picks Shadow (lace weight) in Vineyard expressly for these socks. The picture of the color for this yarn on the Knit Picks website is dead on to what I actually received and let me tell you, it's beautiful.
I cast on on Christmas day after the family cleared out and was ready to start the heel flap on Monday evening. The pattern is pretty easy to memorize, but I've found it a bit hard to work with this yarn because it's held double. I keep knitting into only part of the stitch, picking up 1 strand of yarn and leaving the second. I makes it so I have to pick out the stitch and try again. Thank goodness that I have the Knit Picks Harmony Sock needles. They have nice sharp points on them that make it a lot easier to pick up both strands.

December 28, 2010

Two more books finished...

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

I liked The Happiness Project. It was a more realistic, more attainable Eat, Pray, Love. Good book, thought provoking.
How I Live stars out of five. The store was full of holes, the main character couldn't seem to hold her train of thought...there was sex between cousins...just a strange book. This book is considered young adult fiction by the library but it was a bit out there. Not sure I would want my "young adult" reading this if I had one.

December 27, 2010

It's true, I am a spoiled girl.
I have been coveting this Kitchen Aide pasta maker since some time last year. It makes tubed pasta like macaroni and rigatoni. My mom spent way too much money and got it for me this year. She was so excited about it that we made fresh rigatoni for Christmas dinner with it. She practically grabbed it out of my hands when I was opening it and ran to the kitchen with it. It was so much fun and so easy to use.

Hubbs got me the Knitting Chart Keeper from Knit I have been dying for one of these for some time ever since I heard Chrissy from Manic Purl podcast talking about them on her podcast. Naturally, I got out a pattern that had a chart and cast on for a new pair of socks right away. Love this. Now I don't have to mess with sticky notes to keep my place on the chart and when I'm done I can close it up and the cat doesn't lose my place on the chart. So awesome!

My older sister, Molly, got me Around the World in Knitted Socks by Stephanie Van Der Linden. Tons of fabulous sock patterns in this book. There were a couple of patterns my Gram expressed interest in, so I'm trying to think ahead about Christmas or her Birthday next year. I've been wanting to learn to do some color work but wasn't really sure where to start and this book has lots of great patterns in it for two stranded color work. I think this might be a good place to start since I feel like after as many socks as I've done, I've pretty much got socks mastered. PS, I love the socks on the cover! Yum!

Hubbs parents got me the Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast cookbook. So many great recipes! I've already my first recipe picked out. Going to get a pot roast at the grocery store tonight, and make it in the slow cooker. The picture looked so tasty! Can't wait to try!

December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2010

One fantastic thing about reading children's books is how fast you can read them. Yesterday I knew I was going to finish The Handmaids Tale by Margret Atwood, so I grabbed Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. The traffic was so light that my commute that normally takes about 45 min's, only took about 25. Since I had extra time, I started reading Mrs. Frisby while I sat in the parking lot at work. This book is about 230 pages of large print with a few illustrations.

I've never read this book before but I did see the movie when I was a little kid. The movie was pretty scary and I remember Jenner the rat being mean and scary but the book wasn't really like the movie at all, it was better. The whole time I was reading it, I felt very apprehensive because of the movie. But it was a very sweet, well told tale of a mouse who needs help to save her child and the unlikely assistance that she receives from an unexpected source. The tale is heartwarming but for me it left me wanting to know more about the rats and what happened after they left the farm. For this reason, I gave it 4 out of 5 stars on my review.

Since I have to work today, even though it's Christmas Eve, I grabbed a new book to read on my lunch break. I chose The City Of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. It's also a children's book. Again I got to work early this morning because traffic is so light so I started reading it in the parking lot (no point in going to my desk early). I got through about 30 pages or so in about 15 min's so I'm looking forward to my breaks to see what is going to happen.
I also expect to finish The Happiness Project tonight too. I've really been enjoying reading this and it's lead me to thinking about my own happiness so I expect to really get something out of this book. Personal growth is always a good thing.
So that's it for now. Merry Christmas Eve!

December 23, 2010

One of the cool things about is that you can make a list of books under a specific heading and other people can vote for the all time best book according to the title of the list. One of my favorite lists made by other members is "Best Post-Apocalyptic Fiction." I love post-apocalyptic fiction. If you've looked at my side bar of the books I've read this year, it's pretty apparent how much I love post-apocalyptic fiction (PAF). Actually for the most part, once I finished reading the top 10 banned classics, PAF is pretty much the majority of what I've read this year.

After my post yesterday I got to thinking about what I want my goals to be for 2011. One of the things I want to do is to try and read all the books that I haven't read yet. The list has 135 books on it and I've read about 25% of them. Some of the books are classics like Lord of the Flies and some are new books like World War Z, which I just read. I know that unless I buy a few of these books I won't be able to get them from my library. One of the books that I had wanted to read a while back, which is on this list, my library doesn't carry. So in those cases I guess I'll be looking to Amazon or used book stores.

Using the library has really spoiled me. I hate to spend money on books anymore. Other then Stephen King books, most books I won't read more then once. And now that I'm trying to read every book that the library has...apparently, I don't want to spend money on books. I'm frugal, what can I say? Fine, I'm cheap but why pay for something that I can get for free?! I guess this is part of that whole, "Why buy the cow," argument.

December 22, 2010

Another gift that won't be mailed in time for Christmas...

Project Details:
Pattern: Promenade Scarf by Mimi Hill
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky
Needles: US 9 Knitpicks Harmony Interchangeable
Started: 12/05/2010
Finished: 12/07/2010

Mods: I added one additional repeat to make the scarf longer.

This was a very easy pattern to memorize and a very quick knit thanks to the chunky yarn and the large needles. I wouldn't mind making one of these for myself. The Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky is very soft and enjoyable to work with.

This project also made it possible to mark off one of my goals that I had for this year. Number 3 was on my list as "Make something with Alpaca." Up to this point I hadn't found anything I wanted to make or a reason to make something special enough that would justify the cost but with a project this small that only requires one skein of yarn, it was a pretty inexpensive gift for my Step-mom.
I didn't get nearly enough of my goals for 2010 done. I thought by this point in the year, I would have had them all done but nope, not even close. Less then two weeks from the new year and this year I haven't even thought once about what I want to make my goals be for next year. I'm not even sure that I will set goals for next year.

December 21, 2010

The dad scarf is done, wrapped and boxed to go to my dad. Obviously it's not going to make it there before Christmas...but it's done.

Project details:
Pattern: Aran Cashmere Scarf by Beth Walker-O'Brien
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease in Grey Heather (2 skeins)
Needles: US size 6 Harmony interchangeables
Started: 11/22/2010
Finished: 11/28/2010
Mods: None
This was a very easy pattern to memorize. Not sure I would want to knit it again because all the cabling hurt my hands after a while. And I didn't really love the way the scarf turned out but that was because of the yarn I used. If it had been 100% wool, it would have blocked out better. Because it didn't block out the way that I wanted, the purl stitches were lost and there wasn't enough definition between the cable sections.

December 20, 2010

Well I guess there is one good thing about being sick for a have plenty of time to read because you can't do anything else.

I finished Z for Zachariah. This book is pretty quick to read, doesn't take much in depth thought to get through this book. The end was different then I remember when I read this book for the first time way back in middle school. But over all, this was a good book.

Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse by Victor Gischler...not what I expected at all. My first thought based on the name alone was that this book was going to be stupid. But instead I found interesting characters, a good story line and believable reactions to a world gone crazy. But I do have to say that this is a book aimed a teenage readers and I was very surprised that it would contain such a graphic sex scene. My little sister is almost 15 and I would not have been comfortable with her reading this book...well, at least the sex scene part, the rest she would have been fine but still. I'm not sure I would recommend it for younger teen readers.

World War Z by Max Brooks...I waited and waited and itched to get my hands on this book. And when I finally got my chance I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed. It's a collection of "first hand accounts" of the Zombie war from various people from all over the world. I didn't mind the style but just when I'd start to be interested in the story, it would be over. I wanted something more in depth then what the author provided.
I was home sick starting last Wednesday and the only reason I left the house on Saturday was because I ran out of library books. I picked up two more library books, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nihm by the same author as Z for Zachariah and The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I think I'm about 50% of the way through The Happiness Project and am really enjoying. The back cover compares this book to books like Eat, Pray, Love which I've also ready but I think this book is way more relate able then Eat, Pray, Love. This book is about how to change your life without running away to another country. Most people honestly can't afford to move to Italy, Bali and India. So far I've really like the parts about how to make your marriage happier. No matter how happy your marriage is, it can always be happier.

December 16, 2010

Z for Zachariah...
I'm re-reading Z for Zachariah. It's a teen sci-fi book and it's the first book I can remember reading when I was a kid that was a post apocalyptic book. Whenever I think about this book I get an image in my head of a clear, clean pond with an outlet and where the stream coming out of the pond merges with the river the grass dies and there is nothing living in the water. That image has been one that I couldn't get out of my head since I first read this book way back in junior high school.
For a long time I couldn't remember what the name of the the book was but when I finally figured it out, I quickly requested it from the library. The author, Robert C. O'Brien also wrote Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nihm. I never read Mrs. Frisby but I do remember the movie when I was a kid and how much it scared me. The images from the animated movie have stuck with me through out my life and have also remained images that just wouldn't leave and struck a cord with me. I'm going to have to see if the library has Mrs. Frisby and read the book.
There is just not enough hours in the day to be able to read all the books I want to read, knit all the patterns I want to knit, sew up all the quilts that I want to sew or do all the outdoor activities that I want to do. Sometimes it's really hard to choose!

December 15, 2010

I finished two books last week, Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren and The Jasmin Moon Murder by Laura Childs.

Some Girls: My Life in a Harem was very intresting. I really enjoyed this one. It was an intresting look into the sex trade. It didn't have any gory details but it was really good.

The Jasmine Moon Murders was a good Tea House Mystery and follows the tried and true story line that all all of Laura Childs books follow. As usual, Theodosia Browning is upbeat and alwaays in trouble. But with the help of her friends, she always comes out on top. Would I recommend it? You bet'cha. It's a great mystery with tons of twists and turns.
Now I'm off to find something new to read!

December 14, 2010

For the last two years, this quilt top has looked like this, hanging in the exact same place on my design wall in my sewing room.

Well I finally took some time over the weekend to work on it. I pieced 16 star blocks and put on a boarder. All I have left is the two outer boarders and I'm done piecing it. This quilt is one of my goals for this year to finish. I feel like I haven't completed many of my goals for 2010 but I'm trying to make a last ditch effort to get some of them done.

December 13, 2010

Hubbs and I spent Sunday snow shoeing in the Sierras. It was a fantastic day. On top of the mountain the sun was shining and in the 70's. At home it was cold, cloudy and generally just yucky.

Hubbs, Rex and Dixie
Me, Rex and Dixie

Hubbs and Rex

Hubbs giving Rex some encouragement

Me and Hubbs
It was a great way to spend a Sunday and I can't wait to get out and do some more snow shoeing this year.

December 9, 2010

The Moorish Lattice Cardigan is no more. I frogged it and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Ok, maybe a little but I did it and I'm glad that I did. I knitted and knitted and then realized that I didn't have enough stitches. So I frogged it and started over and then I couldn't get the pattern to work out the way it should so I frogged it again and then decided that I was done with it. It just wasn't progressing in a manner that was making me enjoy knitting it and once the joy is am I.

So The Morrish Lattice Cardigan has been replaced by Girl Friday by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark. I'm still working on the back for this and haven't gotten very far because I keep getting way laid by Christmas Knitting.

The pattern is really easy to work with and it makes for great TV knitting when I'm trying to watch Criminal Minds. I was hoping to finish this before Christmas but I don't think that it's going to happen. Either way, I'm looking forward to finishing this so I can wear it. It looks so comfy!

December 8, 2010

I finished The Witch of Hebron by James Howard Knustler last weekend.

Not as good as World Made by Hand by the same author but a decent book. Not sure that I recommend this one. World Made by Hand I would totally recommend but this one was bit on the blah side. It just never left me wanting to know more.
There has been knitting but I haven't had a chance to take any pictures to update with. Work has been extremely crazy and over whelming for the last couple of weeks. I've been working a lot of over time and haven't had much time for anything else. There will be updates soon! (I hope.)