Wednesday, 1 October 2008

23rd Week, with sniffles to boot

So, I am now 23 weeks along!

According to the online pregnancy calendar I've been checking out, here are this week's stats for our baby's development:

Baby's crown to rump length is 21 cm or 8.3 inches.
Baby weighs about 500-600 grams or 1.1-1.3 pounds
Baby's lungs will be developing.
Alveoli are forming.
Baby develops a hand grip reflex and startle reflex.

Apparently last week the baby has grown it's eyebrows and eyelashes! My husband thought that was cute, although baby won't be opening his/her eyes to bat those lashes at us for a few more weeks; I think it's about 26 weeks when baby's eyes are developed enough to open them.

We go see our family doctor Friday morning to find out the results of the ultrasound that I went to on Saturday. My husband finally got to see the baby, but for less than one minute. The technician was in such a fowl mood - we went to a different ultrasound clinic this time, but we were running a few minutes late so I can't say it was all her fault. I called to say we'd be about 8 or 9 minutes late as we were unfamiliar with the area, and started by going the wrong direction. The receptionist was very nice on the phone and said it would be fine. When we got there, the technician rushed through our entire appointment. I can understand, as my being late may delay the rest of the appointments, making her late for her breaks, lunch, etc. I'll do my best to make certain for next time we arrive super early, but this was supposed to be my last obstetrical ultrasound. Any other ones I get will be for the kidney only, so I'll have to bring along some chocolates to treat them if I want to sneak a peek at the baby.

When she was done all of the routine checking, she called for my husband to come in the room, gave him a very quick glance at the baby's head, back, tummy, and arms, and printed off some rushed pictures of these shots. She was pressing so hard on the little wand device that we ended up getting what looked like a skeletal head shot rather than a baby with facial features, but my husband isn't complaining. He's just happy that he finally got to see the baby. I was just hoping he would get enough time to see the baby kick, or waive, or something. The baby did at least open and close his/her mouth, so he was thrilled to see that. You know, I get to feel all these cute little movements, which are still barely felt from the outside; I got to see the baby do summersaults, turns, and kicks for my previous ultrasounds when he was not able to be in the room with me. So I just wanted more for him to be involved in or excited about.

But as the baby grows stronger, he'll be able to feel the kicking more from the outside. Well, more punching or elbowing than kicking, unless the baby changes position. One thing we did find out at the ultrasound was that our baby is in a breech position at the moment, which can change any time. So we aren't worrying about that, but being aware of it. With our first boy, he moved all the time, all over the place, and was always kicking in different spots. That was a lot of fun trying to guess what part was kicking or poking. With our second, he was always in the same place - quite content with where he was, but we could never figure out till he was born wether the poke was coming from a foot, knee, elbow, or fist.

I first thought the baby might be in breech when I noticed there would be pressure on my bladder, even after it was emptied. I could feel what I thought were little kicks, but they would be always kicking very low - never anywhere else, just right down low. The kicking may change spots, but it's almost always below the belt. This week I started getting pokes above the belly button, which seems to be an elbow based on the head being at the top. Just in case the baby decides not to turn, I've bookmarked a website on how to turn breech babies, as I really don't like the idea of a C section. Did you know there are about 17 ways to turn a breech baby? I had no idea! But none of these really apply till thirty-something weeks along. There'd be no point turning baby now, as he/she can just turn right back. My mother delivered my older sister breech, so I can't wait to ask her to tell me all about it.

News on the kidney stone: it was measured and I was told it is "about 9 mm" in size, but have to wait to hear from the doctor officially. I'm happy to hear that, because even one millemeter smaller is good. If I can get it smaller than 7 mm, I can possibly pass it, with much pain. But the smaller, the better. Keep drinking that lemon juice!

I'll try later to upload some of the ultrasound photos for everyone to see.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Conversations with 4 year olds

My adorable 4 year old son comes up to me and says out of the blue, "Step Mothers are evil."

I respond, "No they're not. I have a step mother."

His eyes are now wide open in surprise, "You DO?"

After taking some time to consider this fact, he then asks, "Does she give you hugs?"




...thinking some more, then I see that look on his face and know another question is coming...

"Does she try to kill you?"

I did not see that one coming. Trying to keep a serious look on my face, I let him know that she never tried to kill me. He looked so stunned by this. He mulled it over, and decided that maybe not all step mothers were evil.

I'm glad we took care of that... now off to find out what big brother let him watch while I was out today!

Friday, 26 September 2008

Getting excited!

Less than 24 hours till I go for my ultrasound! My husband is finally going to see the baby! He's missed the last ones, not all his fault. For the first one, he had to work and I went with a friend. For the next one, he came with me. We were arriving a few minutes late, so he dropped me off in front of the building and went to park the car. When he came in, he went to the office on his left instead of down the hall and to the right; he ended up in a lab waiting room and waited patiently. When he asked when he can come in to see the baby, they told him he was in the wrong office! He quickly went down the hall, and found the ultrasound lab. The receptionist told him to sit down, and they'd call him. She didn't realize that they'd already just called his name twice! Poor thing! So when I came out, he looked so let down.

The next ultrasound was really just for my kidney, and not for the baby at all, but I asked the technician if we could sneak a peek since we have all that goopy gel on me, anyways. I was not far enough along to feel kicking yet, so it would make me feel releived to know that the baby is doing alright. She was not in the best of moods, but allowed me to see the baby. When I told her that my husband was in the hall and had not yet seen the baby, she said, "That's ok. He'll catch the next one when you do your routine 20 week ultrasound" and wouldn't budge on that. So I got to see what looked like the baby sucking it's thumb, which made me very happy. When I came back out in the waiting room after it was done, my husband looked at me and said, "You've got to be kidding!" He missed it again! He was not pleased with this at all.

So at our next prenatal, I told the doctor about this, and he said I didn't really need a 20 week ultrasound as I've had plenty! But... since he knew Rob missed them all, he was nice enough to schedule me for one last baby ultrasound (we had to go for another kidney one, anyway, so why not?). So I told Rob this was his last chance to see the baby before it's birth day. He scheduled around it so he can be there with me.

I'm getting really excited! I can't wait to see all the wiggling and kicking!
I feel kicking every night, around 9:30 pm, but you know how cool it is to actually see your baby squirming around inside.
I'm also curious to see what position the baby is in. I think by the way it's kicking into my bladder, it must be feet down. Now and then I get a nudge in my lower left side, but usually all the kicking is straight down!

Today I also opened up my knitting trunk, and found a dishcloth that had been started. I'm thinking it must be the Optomist Prime one my son asked me to make for him, so I'm going to find the pattern and see how rusty I am at it.

I also baked 3 batches of muffins this morning... baking, blogging, knitting... anything but cleaning up the house today! I don't know how it got this messy last night, but I'm procrastinating. I'll bet it will only take about 10 minutes to pick up, but I'm just in a doddling mood today. Perhaps I will see if my 12 year old wants to make some extra chore money today?

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

That little something extra

Wondering what that little something extra is?
Nope, it's not twins - though my husband was routing for that. My uterus was a little large at first, so they sent me for an ultrasound to double check the date and number of babies in there... just one baby, due January 27th, 2009.

I noticed toward the end of my first trimester that I was having some back pain, and it would come and go. One weekend it was getting pretty intolerable, and I took some Tylenol. By the evening, it came on suddenly and felt like I was getting stabbed in the back! The pain was spreading right around my side, and was really starting to frighten me, as it wasn't just my back. I didn't think it was premature labour, had never felt anything like this before! My 4 year old son said, "Is the baby coming out?" which I was surprised to hear, because I don't recall telling him what labour was supposed to be like. I told him the baby wasn't ready to be born yet, and my husband got on the phone with the on-call service. They quickly called an ambulance after putting me on the phone briefly. They said that they didn't want to risk something happening to the baby on the way if my husband were to take me to the hospital in his car (he of course made it there before the ambulance).
I was not allowed to take any more Tylenol in the waiting room, nor given anything else for the pain, nor was I or my unborn baby checked on again (aside from the initial triage nurse on arrival) until it was my turn - the next morning at 7:00 am. Thankfully, I prayed through the pain most of the night and was able to pass out at around 3:00am when the pain went away.

As the pain was not there when the doctor finally came to check me out, all he could say was, "It's probably kidney stones." And had me go for a kidney ultrasound to confirm... It was in fact, a kidney stone, measuring over 1 centimeter in size. For my American friends, that's almost half an inch.

I was told this is too large to pass - your average painful kidney stone can pass at 2 or 3 mm in size. I've read about one pregnant woman who actually delivered her baby,and at the same time also delivered/passed a 7 mm stone! Aside from that, I haven't heard about any pregnant women with stones this large. It was suggested I go for a procedure called Lithotripsy to have it removed. The urologist said there was only a 1-10% chance that I would go into labour. At my stage of gestation, this would mean a miscarriage, which is not something I'm willing to risk. So we have opted to wait until at least 37 weeks to have this procedure, if the doctor insists I go through with it. If I am able to drink lots and lots of water and keep the stone inactive until after labour, that would be best. I've had to cancel my midwife service, as the doctors feel I should be cared for by an obstetrician as I'll have to be monitored more closely and am no longer 'low-risk', although I'm not 'high-risk' either. So I've been interviewing doulas, so I can have someone else with me for the birth at the hospital to help ease some of this tension and let me relax a little. I don't want to worry about 'what if' scenarios, or any other complications that this kidney stone might arise, so a doula will help me to concentrate on the most important thing - the baby.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

I've missed you all!

I can't believe my blog has actually passed 1000 hits, and I missed it!
I wanted to make a big deal of it, have a contest... you know. I guess I'll have to do it at 2000.

Finally the morning sickness has gone! I'm now in my second trimester, and I feel great! I have my energy back, and lots to tell you about!

First, I want to give a shout out to all my blogger friends and say how much I've missed reading all your posts! I have a lot to catch up on! I had felt soo drained during my first trimester, that I didn't actually do any blogging or reading up on anyone. In fact, that queasy feeling I had was so strong that every time I picked up a pair of needles to start knitting, I would feel dizzy. Just the thought of those needles click, click, clicking made me feel oozy. So I haven't knitted a single thing all this tme!

I am wanting to get back to it, so I'm trying to think of what's the first thing I should knit? Will I remember how to read patterns? Will I have forgotten any of the new techniques I was learning???

Obviously, I'll have to keep it to something simple like a dishcloth.

I'm also going to try and scan my baby ultrasound photo to show you all! This pregnancy has a little something extra thrown into to it, so stay tuned for the next post (I'll be working on that tonight) and you can find out what it is!

Saturday, 7 June 2008

The irony of it all

This is the weirdest thing. You know how we just had that amazing Spring Fling Coffee Swap? Remember that fantastic package I got in the mail from Lizet, with all those delicious flavours of coffee? If you don't, scroll down a couple posts and check out the photos - she totally spoiled me. Well, when it arrived, I noticed our coffee maker was missing. I think I had donated it for one of those donation programs that comes around asking for your things so they can sell them and donate the funds to charities. So I went shopping for a new coffee maker. I was determined to buy one that was made in America, or from somewhere with fair trade practices. At all the deparment stores I've been to, as well as houseware stores, not one of them was made anywhere but China. As I have been learning about BPA's leeching through plastic, especially when heated, I felt it was important to get one where that would not be the case. As it turns out, most coffee makers have plastic coated baskets or water compartments, and do not label them as per the type of plastic. So the only place I could find a coffee maker that labeled it's parts was actually made in Canada sold at.... Tim Horton's! I think that's kinda funny. I brought it home and couldn't believe how great it worked. My coffee tastes so good! Now for the weird part...

After a few days of enjoying coffee in the morning in my new coffee maker, I brewed up a pot and as I was pouring it into my new Spring mug, I couldn't do it. I couldn't drink the coffee. Something about the smell, which I usually love, was really bothering me. Next day, same thing. I couldn't bring myself to drink a single sip of it. I still make coffee for guests and watch them enjoy their cup, but I can't have any. What a shame, to get such nice coffee, and to now have a sudden aversion for coffee. This has been going on for over a week now, and I've had to force myself to get to bed at a decent hour every night because I know the next morning I can't rely on coffee. Same thing with tea - I can only bring myself to drink cold water. In fact, this aversion to good smelling foods and beverages seems to be aflicting me with many of my normally favourite dinners. I'm having quite a hard time cooking dinner and figuring out what I'll be able to eat. I'm getting so bored of crackers!!! You know what else I find strange? I can't have the same thing twice. If I enjoy a particular meal and have no aversions to it, then try to duplicate that dish later (hours or days) then I just can't stomach it. What the heck? I find this to be so annoying! This of course does not apply to cold sandwiches or subs. I seem to be able to eat them fine, in small proportions.

Other news in swaps: I still haven't registered for the summer dishcloth exchange. I feel so guilty about sending out my package late to Helen, by partner for the Coffee Swap. I was sick and ended up sending it out late, but it was still sent out by mid-May. I can't beleive it hasn't arrived there yet! I can't figure out why the mail is going so slowly, but I emailed her and offered to send out a new package by RUSH mail if she'd like. So even though I'd like to do another dishcloth exchange, I'm a little hesitant at signing up right now. I want to make sure my partner gets her package and that she's happy with it.

Knitting news: I haven't picked up my needles for about 2 weeks. I'm not sure if anyone goes through a knitting lull? I just need to find the right pattern or something. I have a few WIP's and I'm just not motivated to finish them right now. I also just realized that my nephews are reaching the ages of 6 months and 9 months, and I have yet to knit them some baby clothes! I have to fix that before they quickly grow out of baby clothes. I'll check ravelry this weekend for some cute baby patterns.

No photos today: I have lost my camera's memory card, and the 'spare' one. Hope to find it soon, as I really want to take photos of the baby rabbit that is hiding under my front porch where the garden gives it shelter. It's sooo cute! A little Peter Cottontail!

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Chunky Monkey Hand pampering swap

I got my package!
It was such a warm sunny day, we were outdoors almost the whole day.  The perfect ending to a perfect day was to find a package for me in the mail box.  It was from Dianna in B.C. who is my partner in the Chunky Monkey hand pampering swap on Ravelry.  Chunky Monkey is a group we are both in for those of us who love to knit with chunky yarn.  I have discovered that almost every member in that group is both younger than me, and is a far superior knitter (from what I can tell).  But they are a lively bunch, and seem to have a lot of fun there.  I like a fun bunch of people.

So, I couldn't wait to get home to open my package.  This time, I was able to open it all by myself - without anyone trying to steal my new treasures.  Why is that?  The boys were both outside in the sand box, pretending to be Sandman from the movie Spiderman 3.  This means burying themselves as much as possible, including sand in the hair, then quickly standing up and proclaiming, "I AM SANDMAN!!!" and watching all the sand and dust fly off.  They stayed out there for an hour doing this!  :)  
You should have seen all the sand in my carpet, not to mention all the sand on the bathroom floor during bath time.

So while my boys were occupied in the sand, I happily opened my package, wondering if my partner had gotten hers yet and if she'd like everything. When I'm in a swap,  I always wonder if my partner will like what I've sent.  So far, my packages have been well received.  I guess it's good that there are questionaires so you can't go too wrong in getting what people ask for, right?  But I'm sure there are people out there who don't like what they've gotten, and I'd hate to be the sender of a bad swap package.  I wasn't too thrilled when I got a 4 out of 5 rating on a recent Swap-bot event.  But of course, there was no real questionaire to go by, so I'll let it go.  Can't please everyone.  As it turns out, my partner did get her package, and blogged all about it before I had logged in to Ravelry to see if she had gotten it.  I'm so glad she liked it!  She even took photos for her blog!

I love being spoiled.  I have been spoiled in every swap I've been in so far, and this was no exception - completely spoiled!  First, there's the gorgeous spring fetchings that I'm wearing right now.  Such a beautiful pattern on them!  I have no idea how to describe them, or what the pattern might be called, but I love them!  If that were the only thing in the package, I'd be happy enough.  But there was more;  Clover bamboo circular knitting needles, in size 15/10mm.  How awesome is that?  And as I was thinking to myself, "I wonder what I will knit with these?  I can't wait to find out"... out comes a ball of yarn.  Not just any yarn, but Alpaca wool by Sirdar Peru.  I've never even touched Alpaca wool before, so this was wonderful!  I kept squishing it in my hands, feeling it next to my cheek, looking at the gorgeous dark blue shade.  Welcome to my stash!  2 skeins of it, whatever shall I do?  :)
Then there's the hand lotions - Dove night cream, Time & Again lavender therapy cream (perfect size for my purse, and smells lovely!), and 3 bottles of luxurious lotions by Got2b in2spa:  silk works, smoothie, and hand shake. Each one is different from the next, so I will have lots to choose from!  I was given cute little souvenirs from Prince Rupert, like a moose key chain and a crab key chain (that was hand made with beads - so cute).  The funniest thing of all was the moose droppings that came in a brown paper bag.  I looked at it and laughed.  Then I opened up the bag (it said they were chocolate rosebuds) and took out the plastic wrapper containing warm, squishy, melted brown stuff.  I had to laugh!  The parcel was in the end compartment of the super box all day, with the sun beating down on the metal to warm it up.  So it very much resembled what I imagine fresh hot moose droppings would look like, not like rosebuds.  This was hilarious!  It has now cooled down to a solid brick of chocolate.  Every one in my family thought it was a priceless moment.  Too funny!

So that's all for now!  I'm going to Ravelry later today to see what patterns I can find for my new bamboo circs! 

Monday, 12 May 2008

Spring Fling Coffee Swap Package

Firstly, let me say sorry to Lizet and everyone else for delaying this post for a whole week.  I expected to post it first thing when arriving home, only to become terribly sick on our return.  My clients were so nice in giving me time off work to recover, and I'm so happy to be myself again!  

Thank you Lizet for such a great package!  I've never seen so many wonderful flavours of coffee all at once!  They all look so nicely displayed together!  My 4 year old likes to help me pick out which one I shall try next, though I haven't tried any yet.  I thought I would make sure this was properly posted before indulging in them, and I can't wait!  We are going to go shopping for a new coffee maker for me tonight (a Mother's day gift) so I can set a timer for the coffee machine to start in the morning.  

On to the photos...
Here is the group photo, with the mug missing in action.
My partner for this swap is from England, and must know how much I love souvenirs, especially from England.  I'm always delighted to get trinkets from where my swap pal may live. She was so kind to send me these seeds, playing cards, and clicking pen.  The pen is now in my little knitting bag with a WIP, the playing cards have been played with, and the seeds are safely hiding from my children.  We are going to plant some this week in our little garden in the front, and perhaps make some more room in the backyard for a some more flowers.
I couldn't wait to tell my mother about this one!  It's a Tea for Two set, complete with a bonus honey dipper!  When I was a little girl, I often played with my mother's tea balls not knowing what they were used for.  Now I have my very own, and I know how to use them!
Here is the fine selection of coffee that Lizet sent me.  I really have no idea how she was able to fit all these things into that little box - she's very good a packing!  They were buried inside those little peanut shaped packing pieces, so you put your hand in the box not knowing just how many delicious surprises were to be found!  Right when I would expect there to be no more, I was wrong!  My little boy had a blast helping me to unpack them;  he was certain it was Christmas!  He is going through a phase right now when every time he may get something or ask for something, it must be due to Christmas.  He knows his days of the week, but a month or several months is just too inconceivable to him right now.  It sure is fun to observe his enthusiasm for Christmas, though!
Here is my little boy trying to sort the coffee packages in various orders.  If you line them up, they almost look like little houses in a village.  Use your imagination!
Here is the yarn she sent me.  Isn't it so Spring!  I keep holding it and pondering about what I might do with it!  So many possibilities!  Something for me.  Call me selfish, but when I get yarn from a swap I just can't seem to part with it by making things for other people.  I simply have to make something for myself to enjoy!  Also, there is a great guage/needle size tool that was with the yarn, and for some reason I didn't get an extra photo of it, but it's in the group shot above, just behind the hand cream.

See the adorable lady bugs on my new mug?  Every angle has a little something different going on with the lady bugs of this adorable mug.  Definitely Spring!

Here is the little project bag, or sock bag as some people call them.  The picture just doesn't do it justice.  It looks like shiny glass marbles all adorned in spring colours!  And I can bring it anywhere to do my knitting!  It will fit inside my purse nicely, and even has a belt loop so you can walk while you knit or to keep it securely by your side.

Wow!  This was my first time trying organic Hispanola chocolate.  It says "plain chocolate" but I'm convinced it tastes like dark chocolate.  Organic food always seems to have more flavour in it.  I have hidden it away and sneak little nibbles of it when I am craving chocolate.
Aren't these so fun?  I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but those are googly eyes on the ladybug socks.  My friend says she can't believe how much fun I'm having with them.  They are a huge hit here.  You can't wear them and not feel cheery.
My son was convinced that this was sent specifically for him.  By this point, it was impossible to convince him that this was NOT Christmas.  You can't get all these toys without it being Christmas, don't cha know?  This tape measure is so cute!  The ladybug is knitted on, though I can't imagine just how difficult it must be to make one of these!  I finally have a retractable tape measure - whoo hoo!  Now that I have one, I can also see why knitters with kids keep several of them, as they are quite the comodity.  I'm always being asked by the children if they may borrow it, or if I can make them one.  I don't think my skills are anywhere ready for that yet, but it would be something fun to do when I have learned a few more techniques.
Lastly, here is the soothing hand cream Lizet sent me.  This Helping Hands cream is from the Lush company in England, where they make fresh handmade cosmetics with natural ingredients.  I can't tell you how impressed I am with this product.  I had no idea there was such a thing as handmade cosmetics, so I especially want to thank Lizet for sending me this.  I love it!

I love everything in my swap package!  I hope you had fun shopping for me, and thanks for everything!

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Weekend Retreat

This is my 4 year old and the chef in residence statue.  He likes it, but tells me that they are not buddies.

Next is a photo of my mother and I.  There was too much light behind us for you to see the nice landscape out the window.

These photos are taken at the Avalon Clearview Bed & Breakfast near Collingwood, Ontario. My mother, my sisters and their families all joined us here for the weekend. We have the whole place to ourselves! This is a great place to go, with a gorgeous view! I can't believe I left my camera at home, but I took a few shots with my computer's camera. My sisters took shots with their cameras, and will send me a link to them after they get home and download. I might edit some better photos in later. But for today, I've been chasing around everyone with my laptop and taking photos. "Here, look at my computer and say cheese!"

My 11 year old, and my husband, liked to block their pictures being taken just for fun.  They will remain anonymous.

This is me and my husband.

This is my sister, her husband, and their darling baby playing the piano.

We had a lot of fun playing duets that I haven't played since elementary school.  I finally found that key I had missing in the Waltz.  

The view overlooks Devil's Glenn, which is a well known ski hill over here. There is also a pond in the back yard. Funny how I was just blogging about a day outdoors with trees and grass, and all that. And here I am! I didn't spend too much time outside, as there has been so much rain here today, but I did get to take a nice walk and explore the grounds. You can't tell from the photos, but down by the edge of trees, there is a little tiny stream that you can hear rippling by. So serene. In the afternoon, we enjoyed watching the fog roll up the hills nearby; making everything but the closest edge of grass disappear.  

Keep in mind, my camera for some reason flipped the photos like a mirror image.  The pond is actually supposed to be way over on the right side.  And that's glare from the window you are seeing over the grass.

I did the smallest bit of knitting today (so far). I have only about an inch to go on my coffee mug cozy. Then I will try to make one in wool, to see how it feels as this one was in cotton. I'm so happy that I can now knit in the round; it's not as hard as I thought it would be.

If it weren't for the deck being wet from all the rain going off and on, I would take a chair and sit outside and knit for awhile.  Maybe tomorrow.

I took this picture of the coo-coo clock because I think they are cool.  I used to love seeing these go coo-coo when I was little.  I love all the little cottage nick-nacks that were all around.  The french doors were made of stained glass, the kitchen had barn animal tiles, and there were ceramic chickens here and there.  

Oh!  And did you know that wild turkeys roam this property?  I'm not sure where they went off to when I took my walk, but I couldn't find them once I went outside.  But now and then you see them through the window strutting their stuff straight across the yard.  There was a telescope set up in the living room for us to get a better view of the turkeys.  Once was enough for me though, they aren't too pleasant to look at compared to other wild life.

just a quick note...

I'm going to a beautiful Bed and Breakfast up north in Collingwood this weekend. I wonder if there is a yarn store up there?

They have wifi there, so I'll be bringing my notebook to post an update. I got a marvelous swap package in the mail, and can't wait to tell you all about it!!! I tried to blog about it last night, and the photos weren't going the way I wanted them to so I saved the draft till I get to our destination spot and then sort it out properly.

Stay tuned for more..

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Spring Fling: Topic # 4

"Let's pretend for a minute we all live in the home of our dreams, have land, and don't have to work so time is unlimited! It's Spring planting season! What would you grow? A little veggie garden? A bed of bright spring blooms? Or is your thumb so far from green that the only thing you'd be planting is your tushy into a nice chair on the porch to get some knitting or crocheting done in the nice breeze?"

The home of my dreams has a lot of land! Definitely enough to run around in, perhaps enough to play a game of soccer on. That'll do for me. We would have a small forest at the edge of our land, to go exploring in. In the forest would be all sorts of ferns, bushes, mosses, and plenty of Trilliums (Ontario's flower). So many different shades of green to please the eyes. There would be lots of evergreens, and one giant one in the front that we could decorate every winter.

Somewhere in the back yard we would have a few apple trees; they would grow the most delicious fruit.

There would be wild tiger lilies growing just about anywhere; I remember the first time I discovered a tiger lily. It has been my favourite flower growing up. Some of our land would have gentle rolling hills, and there would be a meadow with tall grasses to run through. By the house there would be a few lilac trees, and the beautiful light scent would just reach the windows. Just in front of the house would be a flower bed spanning the whole width of the house. I would plant flowers that I don't yet have the names for, and would add new plants to it every year. I'd plant flowers to attract birds and butterflies, and sit outside on a warm sunny day with binoculars for bird-watching and I'd listen to the whispering breeze touching the tree tops.

I would also have a huge vegetable garden! It would have it's own little picket fence going all around it, or maybe even a miniature hedge. We would grow it like a walk-through maze, just for fun. In the middle would be a tee-pee grown from bean poles. The boys could have a secret hide-out in here.

Since I'm given the luxury of all the time in the world here, I would also make it a sheep farm, and get another sheltie for our dog Levi to play with. He would be so happy to do some sheep herding, and I would learn how to spin wool from the sheep. I'd take some spinning classes, and I'd even learn how to hand-dye my own yarn.

Did I mention the raspberry bushes? I would plant a whole bunch of those, and some strawberry patches without telling my children. Then I'd watch in delight as they discover them. Maybe I'd make them a secret treasure map for them to find, and lead them on an adventure. After we find our treasure (it would be a treasure chest filled with a picnic basket inside, ready to go) we would fill it up with a new treasure and decide where to bury it for someone else to find.

I would want to have a giant weeping willow tree, with a tire swing.

This is my dream house. Now, if this happens to be your house I would be most happy for you. I'd also be delighted if you'd like to invite me over for tea/coffee for an afternoon. I intend to find a place like this for my vacation, be it P.E.I. or Ireland, I'm sure I'll get there.

Frog with a silver lining

Firstly, I'm giving myself a pat on the back for learning something new - I figured out how to replace that boring title banner of mine with a real photo that I took myself. Those are the geese that live in the pond by my house.

Next: weekend update. We ended up going to London to our parents. The boys were so excited to see their Grandma, and she was saving something for them - Christmas presents! A whole load of them! My 4 year old had been asking me all week, "Is it Christmas yet?" And I said, "not for awhile", yet when we arrived at Grandma's house she had tons of gifts wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper! She got a good laugh out of that. We had such a nice visit, and relaxed. I got to finish my "heart in hearts' dishcloth, but gave it away to my dad before I took a photo. He said, "not bad, only one flaw" and pointed out the flaw I hadn't noticed. I I had slipped a stitch, picked it up, but ended up increasing in the middle of the row. Oh well.

On to the title of the blog for today: Frog with a silver lining...
I've been working on a Mug for my partner in the Spring Fling Coffee Swap. I thought I would try it with cotton yarn in spring colors, although the pattern calls for wool like Cascade. I figured it would be ok to use cotton. This was also my first time knitting in the round; I got to use double pointed needles as well as a 'magic loop' for knitting in the round. The sides are worked flat with circular needles. I thought I was doing fairly well until I noticed that it looks like it's getting wider as I go. I have to admit; I didn't do a swatch. And my circ needles are one size larger than my dpns, which explains why the side stitches are larger than the ones on the bottom that were done in the round. That completely sucks. So I may have to frog the whole thing. A friend of mine says I should just get a larger mug for it. I'm thinking I may finish it just to get some more practise on this smocking technique, but I will make a new one for my swap pal with Cascade yarn. So that's the 'frog' part; to frog or not to frog? The silver lining part is that I got to learn something new on my knitting: I noticed one ribbing looked very stretchy, as if there was something missing. Then I turned it around and almost screamed! I dropped a stitch! I was about 3 or 4 rows back! Eeeek! What to do, what to do! This was my first time dropping a stitch like this, although I hoped I would be the one it never happened to, but now I can join the club. It was a purl stitch on the ribbing and I couldn't help but notice it looked like a crochet loop hanging there... so I grabbed the smallest crochet hook in my bag and found I could gently pull it through the other stitches loop by loop until it was all caught up. I am so pleased with myself for having solved this one all on my own! What an accomplishment. Are you laughing at me? I had to share this with you all. I picked up a stitch! Yay!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

A Weekend Getaway!

My family and I have the whole weekend, including Friday, off work.  We've been talking all week about ideas for what we might do... go to Niagara Falls?  Montreal?  Visit relatives?  We've been checking out to see if there are any last minute deals.  I think we just want to go somewhere to relax, but we also would like to bring our dog with us.  So we haven't figured it out yet.  We don't have a passport, so I'm pretty sure that leaves out U.S. (unless it's by car, so just the northern area we could do).

Any ideas?

Any pet-friendly Bed & Breakfasts you've been to that you'd like to recommend?

I told my husband that I will be bringing my needles with me, and he laughed.  Does he think I'm joking?  I have to say, he's really come around to accepting this new hobby of mine;  he asks me what I'm knitting, and doesn't ever ask me to put the needles away.  I've learned to use my beautiful bamboo needles when he is watching a movie.  They are so much quieter than my metal ones.  Thanks, again Brenda!  I love bamboo!

So for knitting progress this week:
I finished most of my boggle purse/bag while in the waiting room of the local hospital.  I'm on to; the last handle, and then just sewing up the seams.  I brought a friend there who wasn't feeling well, and while I waited for the doctor to have her seen, I was knitting away!  She laughed and said she couldn't believe how much enjoyment one person can get in a hospital waiting room.  I actually struck up a conversation with the person sitting next to me.  She looked a little bored, so I said to her, "I have some extra needles if you're interested."  Then realized that was probably the wrong thing to say in a hospital.  Needles?  Oh, boy.  That got the triage nurse looking at me quite funny.  Thankfully, the lady I said it to was a knitter and smiled, but declined my generous offer.  I even had extra yarn!  But we did get to talking about my next project, which will be a (can't say yet) for my Spring Fling Coffee Swap pal.  I'm not sure if this item really counts as a "spring" project, but it's coffee related so I hope that will do.  I'm actually torn between 2 projects, and one is crocheted so I may have time to do both and that should guarantee a happy acceptance, eh? 

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Boggle Bag

Almost done!!!

I have 2 lines to go till I get to put in the gorgeous Clover Bamboo needles for the top edges of my bag!  On one hand, these size 15b bamboo needles that I just bought are so nice it would be a shame to have to glue them into place... never to be used for another project.  But they do tell the world, "Look at me!  I knit!" According the the Yarn Harlot in the book Knitting Rules, I do not yet qualify to be in the 'addicted to knitting' category.  Or was it 'obsessed'?  I'm just starting my stash, see, so I have a long way to go before it's bursting at the seams.  There's still time.

I just wanted to share how excited I am that I'm almost done my first bag project, and I can't wait to see how it looks with these beautiful needles in them!  I would have bought dollar store needles in that size if I found any, as it's just for looks.  But oh well...  I can still admire them in my purse.  I messed up with a few stitches about 2 rows ago, but I don't think it looks too noticeable, and I will use that side as the back of the purse.  I think I somehow dropped a stitch, and when I picked it up the best I could it ended up backwards or something, because about 3 boggles ended up being offside.  The rest of the row turn out fine, somehow.  Maybe I'll post a photo of it later and see if anyone knows what I did wrong? 

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Spring Fling Coffee Swap Topic #3

Tell us how you started drinking coffee. Were you in high school or college and making it through all nighters? Did you get it from a family member? What drives your love of the bean?

It was always a special trip when my mom would bring us to Timmy's with a friend for coffee. We didn't get to drink any, but we'd get a muffin and it was a treat. She'd tell us that when we turned 12, we'd be allowed to try some. I don't actually remember what my first sip tasted like, just how I was making sure I sipped it slowly. I remember being taught to stir my cup so that the spoon wouldn't clank on the sides and upset the people at the next table. Truth be told, I like the little clanking sound when I stir the sugar in my coffee. My high school friends would put so much sugar in their coffee... no wait. That was me. I still love the smell of Timmy's coffee. I can tell a Timmy's coffee blindfolded, without tasting it. I wish they would put their scent in a candle. My husband admits that while he doesn't care at all for the taste of coffee, he does like the smell of Tim Horton's coffee.

Spring Fling Coffee Swap Topic # 2

Since some of us are beginning to see glimpses of Spring, while others are still getting snow have you changed what projects you are working on? Have you put away the hats, scarfs and mittens, and brought out the cute tank top sweater projects and lacy wraps? Have you changed yarn to something more lighter and cooler, not so heavy and bulky?

The very last little bit of snow that I can see in my entire neighbourhood is just about melted in my own back yard. It was from that snow pile I shoveled snow onto in order to make my dog and children some cool trenches (or snow maze) to play in. The remaining snow hill is now only a few inches high. Good-bye Winter, hello Spring! I still have a few sweaters promised to children, that I must finish. I am trying to convince them they want short sleeved sweaters, so they can still wear them or I fear they will be too warm. And I don't plan to make any more hats for awhile. But as I am wanting to do some cabling, I have an irish scarf on my queue list from the book I received from my Scavenger Hunt partner. I love that book! One skien projects; what a brilliant idea for someone to make into a book! I also intend on making some fingerless gloves. Then it will be on to felting and socks. Were you wondering if I'd gotten round to that yet? Well, I am still just a beginner knitter, so I am likely slower than you are. Also, in my defense, I do not have one of those fancy little "Round Tuit"s that people send one another. I wonder if they really work? :)

My bobble purse is 3/4 done now, I'm so thrilled! A few more rows, then I just have to sew it up, make handles, and put in a lining. Oh, and I keep forgetting to get that pair of size 15 wooden needles to use for the purse edges. This is my first bag/purse project and I'm quite happy so far with it. I won't tell you how many times I've had to frog it when I forgot what row I was on and completely messed up the pattern... but I've done so much better now that I'm using the abacus bracelet I got on Etsy. (sorry for not using links in this post, I'm trying to finish up before hubby gets home from work or he will think I'm hogging the computer)

Coffee Swap Topic # 1

First off, I'd like to apologize to my fellow coffee swappers and my secret pal, whoever you are, for having been so far behind in my blogging. Better late than never! I've put on "Alvin and the Chipmunks" for my boys to watch, and am taking some time aside to catch up on my blog and then I can't wait to see what everyone else has been up to!  So on to topic #1...

Browse around some of the other blogs of participants, and find one person who enjoys a similar roast coffee to you - share something interesting about them that you find on THEIR blog, and tell us what you've been working on knitting or crochet-wise this week!

This was an interesting blog from one of the participants. What a great knitter!
I really like the color changes she uses in her knitting.

I found that Sarah and I have something in common: we both love Mocha flavoured coffee! She also likes tulips, as do I. It's so sad that they don't last long enough.

I discovered that Penny likes Tim Horton's coffee, like me. I'm still not sure if Tim Horton's coffee is considered a 'bold roast' or what? I guess they must be 'regular', but I think they use fine grind.

I'm going to take my secret pal's advice this week and try buying a little bit of coffee beans to grind in my blender. It has a button labeled "grind" so I'm going to see if it works for coffee beans.

What's new for knitting? This week I finished 2 dishcloths for my partner in a Swap-bot dishcloth exchange. I thought I would try signing up and see what it was like. I have to say, I enjoyed making 2 dishcloths to send away for someone, but it's not as fun as participating in a blog swap! The requirements was to just do 2 dishcloths and send them away. That's it. No special notes to your pal, no extra goodies inside, no extra requirements to ponder about, no extra shopping to do. It's still more fun to get a surprise dishcloth from someone else as opposed to making your own, so I'm not knocking it at all. Just that now I've tried both, I know that I really enjoy the full-out blogging swaps better. Hope I'm not offending anyone. I haven't received my 2 dishcloths in the mail yet, and am really looking forward to it. Guess what I made for my partner? For my first one, I was looking through Ravelry for a pattern and I spotted an Optimus Prime transformer truck. My kids were so excited about it! I just had to make one! Of course, when they found out I was mailing away the coolest dishcloth ever, you can imagine their disappointment. I'll have to knit a new one for them. For the second dishcloth, I decided to crochet a crosses & losses pattern. I really like the texture change in it, and after my pal Alaina liked hers I thought I would try it again. This time I tried it with a variegated cream color and light brown. I thought it came out pretty funky, almost like it was a cream color cloth that someone has spilt coffee blotches on. Hopefully the recipient will like it, too. Sorry, I completely forgot to take photos of the cloths! Oops!

Monday, 7 April 2008

Spring Distractions

I've barely touched my computer this week! I have to catch up on all my online friends' blogs and see what everyone has been up to. I've been spending a lot of time outdoors this week. It's the first time we've had a whole week of sunshine, whoo hoo! The snow has been melting away, and I could actually see the dirt in my garden. All 6x2 feet of it! The kids have been helping me check for signs of spring on our walks to the pond. We've been taking pictures of the Canada Geese that are flying home. There's more and more of them every day, taking over the sidewalks. The children are amazed at how close the geese will let us get to them when we walk by ever so slowly; we are careful not to invade their personal space. Yesterday we bought some soil and seeds, and today the children and I are starting the seeds off using empty containers we have been saving, like apple sauce jars and small yogurt cups.

I noticed that a few of my tiger lillies are starting to pop out of the ground, as well as my tulips and irises. Just enough to break ground, but it makes me smile every time I look at them. The children like to 'pet' the scottish moss in the garden whenever we come home from our walks.

On to knitting content: On Thursday night I decided to take my knitting with me to the community meeting. I've never taken knitting to a meeting before (I took a dishcloth once, but didn't take it the needles out of the bag). I was determined to knit during a meeting. Just another right of passage into the knitting world, eh? So I packed up my giant ball of Red Heart yarn into a huge canvas bag, along with the second half of my boggle purse that I'm knitting. I also brought my abbacus bracelet that I got on Etsy, to keep track of what row I'm on. So picture me at this meeting, listening to the speaker as I'm contently knitting away, and as I get to the end of the row I realized I had one too many stitches left! What the ???!
My face all scrunched up as I realized I must have forgotten to k2 at the start of the row, before continuing with the pattern (*kpk in same stitch, p3tog,* repeat). Of course, I knew I couldn't frog the row and start over, while actaully paying attention to the speaker, so I huffed as I put the needles back in my bag and commenced to give the speaker my undivided attention. As I was sitting in the front row, she was most pleased to see me put the knitting away. She must be a non-knitter.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Spring Coffee Swap Questionnaire


1. What is your preference? Whole beans or ground? Ground, please. I've never tried whole beans, as I don't have a coffee bean grinder. Unless my blender would do the trick? There is a button that says "Grind". Maybe I should try it?

2. What kind of coffees do you enjoy? A rich, bold roast; a light, fresh one, or something in between? Leaded or non?
Is there really such thing as "leaded" coffee? I hadn't heard of leaded, so I will say no thank you to that one.
Otherwise, I enjoy a light or regular boldness. I would take any kind if it comes in mocha, LOL.

3. If you were headed out right now to buy some coffee for the house, what would you be picking up?
Nescafe instant Mocha Cappuccino (as I'm currently out of filters). Othewise I would be getting a Tim Hortons fine ground coffee.

4. Do you drink for caffeine, pleasure, or both?
That depends. Mostly just for pleasure, but if I'm having a rough day or anticipating stress, I enjoy a cup for the caffeine. Then there's those nights when I stay up late to watch a movie on TV when I really should get to bed... and I'm so tired the next morning! I usually have tea in the morning, but on days like this, tea doesn't always cut it.

5. Do you enjoy flavored coffees? How about add-ins or flavored creamers?
Yep! "That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh, I like it..." (I've got songs in my head today) Mocha, irish cream, french vanilla, hazelnut, etc.

6. A large, lovely mug or a small, dainty cup? both, as long as they can go in the dishwasher! :)

7. Describe your perfect cup - not JUST the coffee, but how you'd enjoy it!
I have a special mug my sister gave me with teddy bears on it, and it makes me smile whenever I use it. So a 'warm-hug-mug' with a cup of coffee makes it a treat. I also have a lovely "Thank you" mug from a client, that makes me feel appreciated. I used to have a cute cartoon moose, but not sure where it disappeared to? Anyways, I would start some coffee in the afternoon just after I come in from the cold outdoors. I'd put the toddlers down for their afternoon nap, and enjoy some coffee while I take a short break. This is when (if all is quiet) I like to catch up on my blog reading to see what everyone else is up to.

8. You're sitting down to enjoy a nice cup in the local coffee shop, knitting bag in hand, iPod all tuned up - or maybe you're there with a few friends for knit night! What treat do you pick up to enjoy with your coffee? A sweet, rich brownie, or something more healthy? How about a salty treat? What goes best with that great cup and company? I would have a chocolate chunk cookie, or a chocolate chip macadamia nut cookie. MMMM!


1. Do you knit or crochet?
Both - I've just gotten into knitting recently and I'm really enjoying it!

2. What are your favorite types of yarns to work with? Soft, smooth, cozy, cottons, and bulky yarns. There are so many types of yarn I haven't tried yet... but I like yarns that feel nice while you work with them.

3. What do you have on the needles (or hook!) right now?
Needles:Red Sugar 'n Cream cotton to make a heart-shaped dishcloth, blue-grey yarn for a bobble purse I'm halfway done
Hook: a camouflage vest that I have to put the buttons on.

4. What are your favorite colors in yarns? What about those that you'd never find in your stash?
I like most jewel tone colors, and most earthy tone colors. A color you wouldn't find in my stash is orange, unless I'm using it on a project for someone else. It just doesn't look good on me.

5. What sort of needles or hooks do you enjoy using? Any you just detest?
A pal sent me a pair of Clover bamboo needles that I adore! I like hooks and needles that are easy/smooth to work with.

6. Are there any particular notions you absolute do NOT need? Some of us swap a lot - are you sure that you have enough tape measures to last your lifetime? Enough stitch markers to mark every stitch of a 10 foot wide afghan?

Ha Ha. The only tape measure I have is the kind I have to keep together with an elastic band. I've just gotten my first set of Etsy stitch markers, too, so I'm just in the beginnings stage of my notions collection.

7. You walk into the yarn shop and have exactly and only enough money to purchase 2 skeins of yarn in their 2 for 20 special they have going..The choices are a soft, thick cotton/viscose blend in your favorite colors, slightly variegated..a beautiful sock yarn that's just squishy and sproingy in your hands.. a soft, worsted weight wool like malabrigo.. and a lovely bamboo blend with colors to just die for. Which do you walk out the door with?

I haven't seen Malabrigo at my LYS yet, so I would have no choice but to pick that one. Otherwise, it would be a hard choice.


1. We're starting sign-ups on the first day of Spring - is it already truly Spring-like where you are?
*Chuckle* Not here! The sun is shining a bit brighter, so that's nice. But with 5 foot high snow banks, we have a ways to go still before we see signs of spring. Occasionally we see a bit of grass on the edge of sidewalks where someone has shoveled.

2. What's your favorite spring flower? Do you have one?
I love to see the tulips pop up! That's one of the first beautiful things we see here in spring. My other favourite is the Tiger Lilly and the Iris, but they come up near the end of May.

3. What do you most look forward to about springtime?
Taking slow walks through the neighbourhood to find the first hints of gardens blooming.

4. They've predicted a gorgeous day tomorrow - Sunny and about 65 with a nice breeze - how do you spend your day?
Part of it outside taking a long walk. I'd bring my dog along, so he can greet all the other doggies out with their owners.

5. The day after, it's going to be cooler and pouring down rain - does that impact your mood? How do you spend that day? what helps cheer you up?
We'd play some indoor games with the kids, like magnet fishing in the living room. Later I would have a hot chocolate while knitting something warm.

Odds n Ends

1. Do you collect anything BESIDES yarn and needles?
interesting pens from different places, stickers (for my kids' artwork), and chocolate (that always goes missing)

2. Are you allergic to anything? no

3. Do you have pets?
one dog; he's a sheltie named Levi

4. Is this your first swap, or are you an old pro? What are the last 2 swaps you participated in?
This will be my 3rd swap. The names of the last 2 swaps I've been in are:
Defeat the Winter Doldrums dishcloth exchange, and the knitter's Scavenger Hunt swap.

5. List 3 of your favorite blogs - craft related or not - and tell us why you love them.
I'm still trying to figure that out. I have a few on my google reader that I like to get updates on, like the secret pals from my last 2 swaps. It's fun to stay in the loop. I also like to discover new blogs to read, by clicking on the various links on other's blogs. Hope that's ok for an answer.

Friday, 21 March 2008

New Swap... Dare me?

I just found a link to another swap, posted on Miss Me's blog.

It's a spring coffee swap, and here's the link.

Should I do it? Do you dare me to join another swap? We only have till the 25th to sign up!

It's not really spring, here in Canada. We might not see the beginnings of green grass for yet another month!

And if I do, should I keep my present "secret email", or get a new one incase I'm lucky enough to spoil the same people I got to spoil in the last 2 swaps I participated in? What are the odds of that? Have you ever gotten the same partner in a subsequent swap?

Letter from Al Gore

I got this email today from Al Gore.  It's something I strongly believe in.  I'm curious how many of you (bloggers) out there have joined in the fight against climate change?  Has Al Gore's efforts made an impact on you?  Have you learned anything new, or adapted new strategies in your everyday lives to help slow down climate change or fight pollution?  I would love some feedback on this one!

"Dear Friend,
Global warming is a problem of unprecedented magnitude and that's why we've launched the largest mobilization campaign ever. Actions by individuals like you will be the driving force behind this campaign and our ultimate victory. We're going to succeed, but I need your help today.

More than 850,000 people have already joined us, but if leaders in business and government are going to make stopping climate change a priority, we need you to urge your friends to get involved today:

We need to grow to 1,000,000 members by April so we can send a loud message that we want action now. That is why I need you to forward the email below to all of your friends and family right now and ask them to add their voice.

Thank you,

Al Gore"

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Scavenger Hunt Package is here!

I checked the mail, and guess what?  My package has arrived from Krystal in Ohio!  Thanks, Krystal!  Unfortunately, my blog is not allowing me to post more than 5 photos, so it may take 2 posts to show you all the goodies I got!

First, here is the 'something hard' category.  I think it's a soduko cube, and will be fun to try out.  My husand claims he is very good at it, but won't be allowed to try it until I'm done!
This is so awesome!  Krystal knitted me a pair of fingerless gloves!  This was part of the category 'Spoiler's Choice:  Somthing Warm'.  I've been longing for a pair of these, but haven't gotten around to making a pair yet.  Now I get to enjoy my very own!  I absolutely adore them!  Isn't she a great spoiler?
Second half of 'Something Warm' was this yummy Hot Cocoa from Starbucks!  Winter's not done here, yet, so I'm saving this for the next blizzard.  We are supposed to expect more snow this weekend.
This is my other favourite item from the swap;  a pattern book called "One Skein Wonders" that will let you do projects using one ball of yarn.  Each pattern shows just how much yardage is needed, and what kind of yarn they used for their sample.  I think this book is great, because I do have a few balls of yarn from purchasing too much, etc. and I would love to use them up when it's time to destash.  I've already decided which project I will start first!  Oh, I almost forgot to tell you what category this was from:  Something related to the letter T:  Try something new!  I like how creative Krystal is!

This was part of 'Something Green'.  It's a skein of Patons SWS, which stands for Soy Wool Stripes.  Natural wool, and feels so nice!  I don't have any of this in my stash, and I'll be picking out a pattern for it from my new book that Krystal gave me.  The other item from this category  will be in the next post, as well as a few other goodies!  To be continued...

I've been spoiled!

... continued from the last post.  Here are the rest of my goodies... from Krystal in the knitter's Scavenger Hunt Swap.

This is the rest of my something green category;  it's all natural Tazo Duet, Herbal infusions of black and green teas.  The inscription on the back of the tea pack reads, "Like tea itself, good fortune is best when shared with others."  And the packaging was made of recycled material, so definitely a good 'green'.  
I had to get a photo of both hands in my new fingerless gloves, so here's me in the mirror!
Something funny/whimsical, this bling bling emory board (I know I won't loose this one around the house! LOL)

This beautiful lilac colored yarn is the Something Round. It's called Catania, made by Schachenmayr nomotta and is 100% cotton.  I do not have any yarn this small, so I'm curious as to what I will make with it?  Once I've entered it into my Ravelry stash, I intend to see what others have made with the same weight yarn.  For those of you curious of the gauge, it says 10 x 10 cm is with 36R and 26M (I assume 36R means rows, not sure what the 26M stands for, other than perhaps stitches across).  

Next is Something Local:  It's a cool bragging rights pen for the local sports team from Ohio State.  We like to collect pens around here, especially pens we don't see everyday.  My husband got a good kick out of it, too, as he was invited to play for them back in high school.

This has been such a great swap to be involved in!  I had a great time spoiling my pal, and I have to say that Krystal did a fantastic job spoiling me!  I love my stuff!

And thanks to Carly, for putting on such a great swap for all of us!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Finished Scarf

This is the scarf I finished crocheting for my sister.  I really enjoyed working with such bright colors!  It really made the whole house seem warm, even though we have so much snow outside!

We got another snowfall over the weekend.  Notice that you can barely see the tree anymore, it's actually stuck in the snowbank!  Now it just looks like a few twigs sticking out of the snow. Boy, my shoulder is sore!  But we had sooo much fun playing in it today!

LYS shopping spree!

What a great weekend!  It started out like this...
     The doorbell rang.  This brings an automatic response in our household of children running around screaming out, "Who is it?  Who is it?" which in turn, gets the dog all excited and follows suit.  So our mail lady is greeted by barking, screaming, giggling, and jumping all in the background.  I shoo them all away for a minute, "Go read a book together on the couch while I'm at the door".  This seems to work, for a brief minute.  
     The mail lady says, "Wow, this is a pretty big package, I wonder what it is this time?" to which I reply, "it must be my package from the knitter's scavenger hunt I was telling you about.  That's the only thing I'm expecting in the mail right now."  We cross paths regularly, so I got to tell her all about the cool swaps I've discovered while getting back into blogging, like the Defeat the Winter Doldrums and the Scavenger Hunt Swap.  She loved hearing all about the great dishcloths I made for Alaina, the fun I had while searching for my items to send JoAnn in the Scavenger Hunt, and the wonderful dream package I got in the mail last week from Brenda W. in the dishcloth exchange.  
     The package that the mail lady had was oddly shaped;  a rectangular cardboard box that was long enough for an umbrella to comfortably fit inside.  The label was on the other side, so I couldn't see who it was from. 
    "You'll need to sign here, for the package.  It cleared customs, and there are no fees or duty to pay."
     I put the package inside the front hallway, just behind me as I signed the form to accept delivery.  She could tell I was pretty curious myself... what might be in there?  I gave her the pen and clip board back, and smiled.
    "I look forward to hearing all about next time I do my rounds.  Have a nice day!", then she was on her way.  We have the friendliest mail lady!  I waved good-bye and closed the door.
     I turned around to bring the package to the dining table to open - it was gone!!!  Who did this?  The evidence was so obvious;  the pitter-pattering of little elephants upstairs!  My children do not tip-toe lightly.  This was now a rescue mission!  Operation Find-My-Package!
Before I even got to the top of the stairs, I could hear the box being opened;  I can tell that my oldest 11 year old son is in cahoots with the younger ones, or they never could have opened it that fast!  Then I hear packing material being scattered about, and loud laughter.  I arrive at the crime scene, only to find the little yarn thieves are taking evasive action!  I am being bombarded by those little foam packaging peanuts.  They're coming from everywhere!  Quickly, the suspects (I can't call them criminals, just yet) fall back and retreat to various hidden locations within the house.  
     All I am left with is an empty box, and a note.  At least I can enjoy reading it and find out who my secret pal is, while I wait for the surrender of those sneaky little yarn theives.  I still have the upper hand - I'm in charge of snacks in this house!  No package?  No banana muffins for them!  I open the envelope carefully....

Then I woke up.
There was no package in mail for me yet, but I was glad to have an amusing dream to laugh about in the meantime.  It was one of those dreams that seem so real, you don't realize till you wake up that you were dreaming.  Not too often do I get those anymore, I can usually tell that I'm still asleep.

On to other news (no more fiction, I promise):
A friend emailed me to say there was a sale on at our local yarn store.  Apparently, Cloth & Clay is closing and has everything 50% off!  I was saddened to hear that just after I discover a LYS it has to close!  ARRRG!  But on the bright side, it's a great sale!  I did find out that they have another store not too far out of town that will be staying open.  I convinced my husband to let me spend some money there due to the sale.  We had already agreed I would not purchase any more yarn this month, so don't even ask what I had to do to convince him.... 
I got a few hanks of wool to felt with, some organic cotton for my baby nephew's bath mitt that I'll be knitting, and a few balls of sock yarn to try out.  I tried to get some Malabrigo, but it was sold out.  So the brands I did manage to get (you can tell me if these were wise purchases or not, I'm unfamiliar with any of them being a beginner knitter) were:  

Regia - sock yarn made in Brasil
Lana Grossa's Mega Boots Stretch Softcolor - 3 different balls/colors
ARAN by Briggs & Little (made in New Brunswick, Canada) 2 hanks of Natural White
Regal by Briggs & Little - 2 hanks of Horizon Blue, and 2 hanks of Midnight blue
Cash Iroha by Noro (made in Japan, and feels so heavenly!) 2 hanks each of brown, and red
Cl0ud Cotton, (made in Peru for Estelle) 1 hank, very soft, gentle green color 
I also let the kids pick out this cute little frog sitting on the cotton hank, shown in the photo above.  My  4 year old son has a fetish for frogs, and green creatures like lizards, grasshoppers, and dragons.

So as you can see, I've kept myself busy this past weekend.  I'm so happy with all the yarn I've picked up.  I usually purchase yarn when I have a project in mind, but I couldn't resist.  You should have seen the quirky smile on my face all day.  Now to figure out what to do with it...

Saturday, 8 March 2008

No signs of spring here!

This is me outside shoveling our sidewalk.  My DH took the shot from our upstairs window.

Can you see the snow on the shovel?  That poor little tree beside me is almost up to its branches in snow!  I'm wearing the hat and scarf that I crocheted myself.  If it weren't for snow, I'd have no excuse to wear them!  The reason you can't see me very well, the wind is blowing snow everywhere!

Our dog Levi loves to play in the snow!  This is him after he came inside.  He's not good at getting all of the snow off him.  

A beautiful evening shot of our front yard.  Still snowing, and all the shoveling I had done is now covered up again.  See that tree again?

Here's my little one making snow angels.  Can you believe that my two children wanted to walk to the store in this for some treats?  My 11 year old was given some spending money today, and can't wait!  

We are watching movies tonight, and sharing the goodies they got from the store (jube-jubes and chocolate bars) and I'll be finishing the rainbow scarf I am making for my twin sister.  The colors are so warm and cheerful, there's no way you can wear it and get the winter blahs!

Oh, we are also turning on the fireplace tonight!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Look what I got!!!

I was just going out to pick up the kids from school, and the mail
lady knocked on my door. Look what she brought...

I was so excited! I told her it must be from my secret pal, so she told me to open it upside down if I don't want to read the label and find out what's inside (customs form has to declare contents).
Then my husband looks at the box and says, "It's from..."
"DON"T tell me!", I shouted back. "I have to go pick up the kids still, and I want it to be a surprise! I'll open it when I get back!"
When I came back, I got out the camera, and wouldn't you know it? Murphy's law kicked into play - my batteries were fully drained. OH NO! I wanted to take photos, so I had to recharge my batteries.
Talk about a build up of suspense!!! Finally, the batteries were charged, and the kids and I could hardly wait to see what was inside the largest box I have ever gotten in the mail!

The gift bag inside was so cute! Little fuzzy animals everywhere! I wondered what was inside, and by now my little 4 year old was exploding with excitement.
What's in it?

Look at this! A lovely gift basket! Full of goodies! Who was it from???
Not the yarn fairy... (though if there was one, this would be her)
My secret pal for Defeat the Winter Doldrums is....

Brenda W.!!!!
Mamere knits too much

I finally know her identity!
The funny thing is, I've been checking out various blogs from the Winter Doldrums swap and I had no idea it was her!
I read her blog a few times and she never gave herself away!
What a great secret pal!
Ok, I know you all want to see what's inside that huge goodie bag, so I'll show you:

Look at this beautiful dress!  I think it could also double as an angel. So pretty!

What an adorable Lady bug!  This one scores extra points with my kids, too!

Wow! Look at this! Isn't it amazing? I'm so spoiled! I'm not going to wash dishes with this one! It's going to have a place of honor on the counter, just underneath my coffee mug!
What a wonderful way to start my mornings, with a hot cup of coffee/tea so beautifully displayed!   The detailing is so lovely!  Brenda has a really nice photo of it on her blog (I just checked it out, and you can see more of the details on her blog).

This Cucumber & Aloe soap is handcrafted by Arcadia Aromatics, and the scent just tickles my nose!  So charming and fresh, it reminds me that spring is coming!

Then there was this; a pair of Clover Bamboo knitting needles just for me!!!  I know Brenda was reading my blog!
I can't tell you how much I've been wanting to try knitting with a pair of these!  Now to pick out which yarn to use with them first...
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

So by now, I'm jumping up and down and giggling with glee, and my kids are wondering if it's my birthday. It might as well be!
Underneath is the cute card she got me, letting me know her true identity! When I found out it was "mamere knits too much" I had to go and tell my husband!
I have a wonderful friend, who is also an honorable "mamere" to my youngest, as she was so kind to step in and be my birthing coach when my husband fell ill with food poisoning (That is a whole other story by itself, LOL).
So to my child, she has earned the endearing title of "mamere". It was an intriguing coincidence that my secret pal should have the same nickname.

Talk about having your cake and eating it, too! What a dream!
My secret pal really went to town!
I have not been able to find this cotton anywhere yet, and keep reading in everyone else's blogs about how fabulous this cotton is.
Now I see why! It's so delectable!
Not only was I overly spoiled with many skeins of Sugar 'n Cream cotton, in all these yummy colors, but Brenda was so sweet to send them in this pleasant basket to store my new stash in!
I am so spoiled! I'm going to so enjoy dipping into my new stash... now for that hard part; deciding what one to use first!  My new yarn basket is all settled in the living room, for everyone to see!  

Here's a closer shot, so you can see all the different flavors of Sugar 'n Cream that I was spoiled with!

I don't know why, but I am quite taken with this one in particular:
I'm sorry the picture just doesn't do it justice. It makes me feel calm and serene just holding it... something I likely need.
I'm going to love knitting with it! On the label it says it's called "Soft Ecru", and it's slightly lighter than the cream color.

So, altogether for a group shot of all my new goodies? Here it is!

What a great experience this has been! I've had such a great time spoiling my secret pal, Alaina,
and being spoiled myself by Brenda W. She's left me a few clues here and there in my emails, but I never did figure it was her.
I will keep an eye out for the next round!
Now I'm off to write a thank you note to Brenda, who has outdone herself!