Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Theme of 2009

At the start of 2008, I determined a theme for the year - an idea borrowed from a friend of mine. The theme I adopted was "Confidently Forward." It signified what I needed after a rough 2007, where I found out that everything I thought about a boyfriend was a mis-truth (let's just say Lifetime TV movie proportions) and where my growth as a person wasn't as great as I felt it should be.

Over the past couple of days, I've been debating what theme I should use for 2009. I wrote out some goals beforehand as I believe they should offer some guidance to the overall theme. Some of the 2009 goals are:
  • Make another quilt.
  • Eat more veggies.
  • Save about $250/month to put towards a new computer as my little Mac is getting older.
  • Refinish a piece of furniture.
  • Continue dating and don't get discouraged.
  • Volunteer more locally.
Now, an overall theme is so much more difficult than determining goals. I brainstormed a bit and threw out the overly cheesy ones. Vote on what you think the theme should be.... or suggest something else for me under the comments!

What do you think should be my 2009 theme?
Embracing My Possibilities
Joy is Everywhere
Surround Yourself with Love
Savor Every Possibility
Chase What You Love free polls

Monday, December 29, 2008

Marveling in the Afterglow of the Holiday

The things I liked most about the Christmas holiday were:
  • Time with my mom.
  • Giving her the gifts I made - a necklace, the quilt and the socks - as well as the GPS we named Greta.
  • Receiving the basket my mom made and lined for my knitting stuff.
  • Drawing the fireplace for Santa.
  • Decorating cut out cookies. Oh, so delish!
  • Visiting Va La Winery and Longwood Gardens.
  • The walk in the woods with Rosy...and coming home and giving her a bath since the entire lower half of her body went from white to black on said walk.
  • Visiting Ikea, getting a new bookcase for my living room and having my mom help me put it together.
  • Receiving the beautiful Tanglewood bag and embroidered towel my friend Laura made me for Christmas.
  • A short trip to JoAnn's to get the skirt pattern I've been craving... now I can make use of the rest of that green wool crepe.
  • Just relaxing....
What a lovely time! I feel so blessed.

Things I've Accomplished in 2008

This has been a heck of a year I think. I feel I've accomplished and learned so much... grown as a person and as a crafter. Among the things I've learned/done this year, my highlights are:
  • Knit my first sweater (and second and third).
  • Learned wire working for jewelry. And thus made a plethora of necklaces.
  • Bought a new sewing machine to make sewing an actual possibility in my life.
  • Completed my first quilt ever.
  • Re-assessed my personal priorities and adjusted my life to fit them better.
  • Learned metal working to make hammered bracelet.
  • Started dating again.
  • Knit socks for the first time.
  • Made almost all of my Christmas gifts.
  • Wrote some good curriculum.
  • Re-connected with some old friends!
  • Completed first dress with lining and blind hem.
  • Visited Italy over the summer... will definitely going back to that beautiful country.
  • Signed up for a stained glass class in 2009!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

FO post

I made this clutch for my friend Laura for Christmas. It's Cascade 220 and a combination of a couple of different patterns, made into my own concoction.
Laura is a big cat person, so I lined it with this super cute fabric I found at JoAnn's one time. The lining went in like butter actually - I was quite pleased. And, here is the ruffled scarf I made for myself. I made a pink one just like it for my friend Katy for Christmas and loved the pattern so much I had to make another for me! It came out wonderfully and is probably my new favorite scarf.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sunshine, Fresh Area and Outdoor Beauty

A little Longwood Gardens Boxing Day trip for my mom and me.... Just pure loveliness with a winery stop added in for good measure.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Just a few facts about me

Things you've already done: bold
Things you want to do: italize
Things you haven't done and don't want to - leave in plain font

1. started your own blog
2. slept under the stars
3. played in a band
4. visited hawaii
5. watched a meteor shower
6. given more than you can afford to charity
7. been to Disneyland/world
8. climbed a mountain
9. held a praying mantis
10. sang a solo (ha ha ha.... I do this only in my car so as not to torture others)
11. bungee jumped
12. visited paris (and I'd like to go back)
13. watched a lightning storm at sea
14. taught yourself an art from scratch
15. adopted a child (I'd like to within the next three years)
16. had food poisoning
17. walked to the top of the statue of liberty
18. grown your own vegetables
19. seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. slept on an overnight train
21. had a pillow fight
22. hitch hiked
23. taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. built a snow fort (after all, I grew up in Buffalo, NY)
25. held a lamb
26. gone skinny dipping
27. run a marathon
28. ridden a gondola in Venice (Now that I've been to Venice, I don't know that I'd go back)
29. seen a total eclipse (amazing!)
30. watched a sunrise or sunset
31. hit a home run
32. been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person (only about a gazillion times.... from many different angles. Beautiful!)
34. visited the birthplace of your ancestors (some of them yes, some no)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. taught yourself a new language
37. had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David in person (Absolutely amazing!! I think I could have sat there all day long.)
41. sung karaoke
42. seen old faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal is a restaurant
44. visited africa (so so much, I'd like to visit there)
45. walked on a beach by moonlight
46. been transported in an ambulance
47. had your portrait painted
48. gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. kissed in the rain
53. played in the mud
54. gone to a drive-in theater
55. been in a movie
56. visited the great wall of china
57. started a business
58. taken a martial arts class
59. visited Russia
60. served at a soup kitchen
61. sold girl scout cookies
62. gone whale watching
63. gotten flowers for no reason
64. donated blood (I'm a fainter...)
65. gone sky diving
66. visited a nazi concentration camp
67. bounced a cheque
68. flown in a helicopter
69. saved a favorite childhood toy
70. visited the Lincoln Memorial (gosh, it is so amazing to stand in the same place as MLK when he delivered his speech)
71. eaten caviar
72. pieced a quilt
73. stood in Times Square
74. toured the everglades
75. been fired from a job
76. seen the changing of the guard in London
77. broken a bone
78. been on a speeding motorcycle
79. seen the grand canyon in person
80. published a book
81. visited the vatican
82. bought a brand new car
83. walked in Jerusalem
84. had your picture in the newspaper
85. read the entire bible
86. visited the White House
87. killed and prepared an animal for eating (do lobsters count? The boiling water did the killing... and it was horrific to hear.)
88. had chickenpox
89. saved someone's life (some of us have done this without even knowing)
90. sat on a jury
91. met someone famous
92. joined a book club
93. lost a loved one
94. had a baby
95. seen the Alamo in person
96. swum in the great salt lake.
97. been involved in a law suit
98. owned a cell phone
99. been stung by a bee

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Stockings Were Hung by the Chimney with Care

Last night, my mom and I built a fireplace in my apartment with our own two hands (well, four all together). We laid each brick carefully, picked out festive and decorative trim and built a nice warm fire to keep us toasty. As you will see Santa was poking his head down, ready to bring all sorts of goodness to us for Christmas Day.
And goodness he did deliver! I hope you are having a wonderful and merry Christmas too!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Yum Cookies!

Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate! It's hard for me to believe it is already Christmas Eve. This month and indeed this year have passed by so quickly!

My mom arrived yesterday to celebrate with Rosy and me. Last night, we were able to make and bake all of the cut out cookies. Cut out cookies always remind me of times when I was young.... and it was wonderful to be able to do them yet again with my mom. Now, we have peanut butter blossoms, pumpkin chocolate chip and cut out cookies! (Much too much for just us.... guess we'll have to waddle... umm, muddle...through!)
Yesterday, I also ran to the bead store to see about getting a bead to match the earring my mother lost. Of course, I got distracted by all of the shiny things and decided to make a quick little necklace for myself too. I made this this morning as something different from the typical wishbone charm I wear.
I hope your holiday, whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or something else is spent surrounded by loved ones, warm and well fed. So many people are facing hardships this year; I am grateful for the love I experience through family and friends, the ability to pay my bills and put a good roof over my head, and the kindness of others. May those blessings see their way into other people's lives in 2009!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dee inspired me to share the birds on my Christmas tree...
This dove that I've had for a long time. I think it was a gift from my Uncle Bob some years ago. He was a special man - an actor, a former priest, and a kind heart.
Another done, on plastic canvas. I'm not sure why this one is from.
This was one of those old cloth cut-outs that my mom made in the 80's... love him.
Sequins and sparkly tail. He's part of my clip on bird collection. (Sorry the picture is kind of blurry.)
And lastly, a bird from my grandmother's tree. I never knew my father's mother but am lucky enough to have this ornament, her rocking chair and her Bible. I love getting this out every year and thinking about the type of woman she was. The wear of the paint reminds me how precious family is and how successive generations sometimes lose a little of our history but the underneath remains true to the family spirit and values.

A Good Reason to Stay Up Late

My last finished Christmas gift! The Silver Bells Socks are done, wrapped and under the tree. Tomorrow, knitting for Stacy.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Beautiful, Icy Little Sunday

Today, I woke up to a nice sheet of frozen rain - ie. ice - all around. Luckily, it was fairly light and did not take down power lines and whatnot. The trees looks decorated by nature, ready for the upcoming Christmas holiday. My little walk with the dog, on the other hand, resorted in a lot of "Rosy, stop" so that I did not end up sliding along!

About 11 AM, I headed out to clean off the car and head over to Cherry Hill, NJ to meet my friend Alissa for a little Starbucks knitting. We both have holidays gifts we needed to make serious progress on. I'm pleased to report I turned the heel (um, Freudian slip, I almost typed heel with one e and two l's) last night and started on the foot today. I have about another inch before I start the toe decreases. Hopefully I'll finish that up tonight and complete the sock tomorrow! And then, a quick wrap and under the tree they go....

I ended my day out by shopping for all of the ingredients for the chili recipe I've been craving. I just finished a bowl and now have deliciousness for the next couple of days. Tomorrow, I will make some tomato basil beer bread (from a mix, just add beer) to compliment it.

How have you spent your Sunday?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Learning Something New in 2009...

Woot woot... I actually signed up for a stained glass class yesterday. I'm pretty excited to learn something new. (Yeah, I need another craft like I need a hole in the head...) I have to think about what design I want to make....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Do a Little Dance.... Spring Fabrics are Emerging!

I kind of think I need a spring dress out of this fabric.... -->

Or this one.

Oh fabric shopping, how I love thee. (My wallet, not so much!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

And, then there was a sock....

Success! I finished the first of the Silver Bells socks last night. After I post this, I will go cast on the second one and get my booty moving on the last bit of Christmas knitting!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Rush of Things Going through my Head...

- Aren't those the sweetest little eyes? I'm so glad this little love and I aren't traveling this holiday season. It's nice to be home!
- Wondering what day my mom and I are going to go to Longwood Gardens when she is here. Perhaps the 24th for some pre-Christmas lights... oh, and a swing past a winery maybe!
- I am loving the blowing snow... wish there was no rain mixed in right now.
- I put my sewing machine away for a bit to clean off the kitchen table for holiday baking. I miss it. Oh, and I want to make holiday napkins.
- I need to buy a skirt pattern for the extra hunter green wool crepe I have. Maybe a holiday break project?
- I need to figure out NYE plans. Preferably somewhere fancy....
- Must.knit.sock.
- I so love clementines at this time of year. I eat two per day... delish!
- I hope the contractors still deliver the chocolate covered yumminess that our office typically gets each Christmas. That said, I'd rather they spend the money on keeping people employed.
- What have I done today? And why have I been so busy doing it?

ETA: The chocolate covered yumminess came today! Oreos, marshmellows, potato chips and more. Yum!

What's keeping your brain in motion today?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Do I get a Membership Card?

Hi, my name is Stacy and I'm behind in my holiday knitting. It has been about two weeks since my last Christmas FO cast off.

(Pause of like minded friends to officially greet me to the "club.")

I have been working on the Silver Bell sock for my mom. I'm still on the first one, although I have managed to turn the heel last night. I seriously need to pick up the pace if the socks are going to be finished before my mother arrives in Philly on the 23rd. The pressure..... must.not.crack. :-)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Red and Green Type of Day...with a Dash of Pink for Good Measure

Today has just been the Christmas-ist of days. I bought a small tree last night since my mom is coming here. I did not want to spend a lot and popped into the Christmas Tree Shop to see if I could find something on the cheap. I found this lovely little pinkie for $16! Yes, I bought a pink tree. I got it mostly to hear my mom's reaction , although I do truly love pink. Today, after a side trip to the groomer's for Rosy and Target for me, I decorated it up and gathered the Christmas gifts around it. The tree really is pure cheesiness but it will do for this year.

I also made another one of these birds with some catnip inside for my friend Katie's cat's Christmas gift. The pattern is from Spool and I made a bunch of the catnip toys for friend's cats. Right now, he's sitting in the tree high up. For some reason, Rosy likes catnip (confusion perhaps?) so I figured it should be out of her immediate reach.

To top off the day, I have been doing all of these fun things to Love Actually and The Holiday. Ahh, wonderful holiday movies! Oh, and a bit of Silver Bells sock knitting occurred during the film watching. Absolutely perfect....

Yesterday, I also managed to get my Christmas packages out in the mail. Aside from the sock knitting, I'm ahead of the game.... guess I should knit more, huh?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Hat That Won't Let Go

So, that hat that caused the startitis? Yeah, it is further diverting me from my socks for Mom. I spent last night playing with the cashmere yumminess, while simultaneously feeling guilty for not making progress on the socks. Ahh, knitting guilt is not fun!
Anywho, is it a style that is somewhat beret-ish. I like that the cables aren't overly cable-y, although I'm not entirely sure why. I'm hoping to finish it over the next two days and get myself back on the sock bus.

Off to knit with little little glass of wine....this stuff is a hint of chocolate-ness among the wine. It's a NYS wine from Hammondsport, NY. Simply delish and needed after today! And really what is better than knitting and chocolate?

Eight Things About Christmas

Linda from Life in the Dome tagged me for 8 things (eons ago and I'm just catching up now!). Here are the rules:

1. Each player starts with eight random fact/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their name.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and to read your blog.

My things about Christmas are:
  1. I like to decorate with snowmen and then leave them out after the holiday. Right now, the window sill in my living room is covered with happy little snowmen, greeting me each time I look outside.
  2. I think the stockings might be my favorite part of Christmas morning. I love the odd little trinkets and creativity that goes into my stocking.
  3. I do sometimes tend to get Seasonal Affective Disorder during the holidays.
  4. My favorite Christmas cartoon is How The Grinch Stole Christmas, in part because there is a bit of my sorority ritual in it.
  5. My favorite Christmas movie is Love, Actually. It makes me giggle like a school girl. I just adore it.
  6. In 4th grade, we made wreaths out of shredded wheat with our pictures in the center. My mom had that ornament for the longest time, until some mice found it and thought decade old dyed green shredded wheat was a great treat. Every year at this time, that thought gives me a chuckle.
  7. I like to eat omelets on Christmas morning. It seems like a special treat to make them stuffed full with tomato, cheese, mushrooms and ham. I'm salivating at the thought already.
  8. I like to snoop for my gifts. I hate surprises. I have gotten better about snooping - you know, since I'm not 10 anymore. But, I still like to know....
I'm not tagging anyone, only because it's that time of year where people don't have time to be tagged. (It does take away from quality knitting time... speaking of which, I do really need to work on those socks!) Participate if you'd like.... just leave me a comment for I can link to your post.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thin Air = Thin Knitting Time (I Guess)

I'm back from Denver. It was a great conference and a wonderful trip. I was lucky enough to have a room on the 37th floor of the hotel - wonderful views!! After I got over a bit of altitude sickness, I got to spend a lot of good time catching up with friends.... I'm so grateful for Wendi, Kara, Eve and others for spending some good time gabbing about life, love and work.

When I got back to Philly yesterday, it was considerably colder than Denver. Thankfully, it will be warmer by Wednesday - 21 degree highs are just a bit chilly! (And, that cold without an inch or two of snow seems wrong.)

I didn't have a lick of knitting time while I was there. I took two projects and didn't even do anything on the plane (the ride back involved lots of sleep since my alarm went off at 3:45 AM). I worked a bit on this Silver Bell Sock for my mom last night.... hopefully I'll make enough progress this week so I can start the second one this weekend. That is, if I can keep that darn Startitis bug from encouraging me to pick up that hat again.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Startitis Bug Got Me

On Wednesday, in the morning before my trip out of town, the startitis bug came skipping into my apartment, bite my left hand and instructed me to cast on. I tried to quench him with the fumes from a different project but that bug is one mean creature. I cast on a hat I've been thinking about making. (For me, I'm doing knitting for myself when I really should be working on my mom's Silver Bells socks!!) I worked on it for about 45 minutes before the bug was satisfied and allowed me to resume packing. So, now I have about four projects on the needles. Make my little demanding friend not return for a while - at least until something is cast off.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving Totally Rocked....or Why it is Nice to Get Away

Wonderful things were accomplished or done over the Thanksgiving holiday trip to Buffalo.
  • Visited with my aunt, uncle, stepsister, three friends (two college and one elementary/middle/high school friend), and some other family friends.
  • I was able to eat some delicious, authentic chicken wings during one of those visits.
  • Got this knitting done on my scarf. The colors here don't look quite as wonderful as they do in person. It's Malabrigo yarn and the colors are a combination of brown, maroon, and dark purple. It's about half done and will probably travel to CO with me so I can finish it there.
  • Finished a book and worked on another. Read all of In Style magazine.
  • Slept in every day.
  • Bought holiday gifts for my office staff at two Buffalo area staples.
  • Ate some sponge candy.
  • Dyed two pairs of jeans, a denim skirt and a shirt. The denim is now a darker, more flattering wash and the shirt is a nice green color (looks good with my eyes!).

On the way to Buffalo, little dog and I stopped at a rest area and there was snow. Gosh, she thinks it is among the best stuff ever! She stuck her face in and shook it back and forth. Sadly, that was the only snow she got the whole trip.

I came home yesterday and promptly pulled out a bunch of my Christmas decorations. My front door now warmly greets people with a "Jingle All the Way" sign and my living room is infused with snowmen and a couple of Santas. I'm debating a tree, since my mom is coming here.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A little side trip to the zoo...

Just a quick drive-by post... more to come soon. We went to the zoo while I was in Buffalo in order to visit the new Rain Forest Center that opened in July. It was quite nice (warm in that winter coat though!)
I love polar bears and the mere idea of them being instinct sometime in the future makes me so sad. What wonderful creatures!
And, this guy just seemed to be protecting that tire something fierce.

I have a love/hate relationship with the zoo. I hate having animals cooped up because I fear their life pales to what it could be (although I fully know they get excellent treatment from the zoo keepers) in the wild. But, I love learning about them and knowing that kids, who might not travel anywhere to see them in person, can learn about these wonderful creatures.