Thursday, December 31, 2009

Can you smell that?

The new year is coming, only hours away now.  Like the smell just before a cleansing rain, only it is snowing here.  You will not read of any new year's resolutions here though. I am a strong believer that if a goal is worth having it is worth starting now, not to be saved for beginning of a new year.

Of course that does not mean that I am not full of hope for the coming year.  Namely, I am full of hope for another glorious year with these two men in my life...

...Grandpa's backyard sunset...

As we ring in the new year with family and friends I wish you all a happy and healthy new year filled with the love of your own family and friends.  Cheers!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Casted Off

Now that the presents have found their lovely recipients, I can share a few finished knits.

Mittens for my nephew, Ryan...

Mittens for my niece, Sadie...

Slippers for my beautiful sister, Summer...

And a cozy hat for the Raska family gift exchange, which Lori ended up with...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Photo Update

Wow! Where have I been?  Sorry for so long in between posts.  Here is a little narrated photo update of the last 2 weeks (2? really?).

....tree is decked and dandy.

...five hour power outage in below freezing weather with no alternate source of heat = great excuse for every candle to be lit and to snuggle with the honey under piles of blankets.

...finished these twisted mitts for my Winter Solstice Swap partner. (Trilsea'n by Kalurah)

...took another knitting class from the beautiful Laura Col at Paradise Fibers.

...witnessed one of the cutest results of a nap I have ever seen.

...the results of visiting with a naturopath MD.

...knitting up Christmas presents like crazy. 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Feeling Sassy!

I spent my entire Saturday with fellow fiber lovers, including Mary Scott Huff.  She is the author of The New Stranded Colorwork and was also our instructor for the day.  The first class was the Sassy Selbvotter class where we learned how to do Norwegian stranded colorwork (similar to Fair Isle, but a bit different) by knitting her gorgeous Queen of Hearts Mittens.  Here is a WIP picture of what I have completed so far.

I am using Brown Sheep wool and am loving my color choices.  I was nervous about learning to do stranded colorwork, but I was pleasantly surprised that it is far easier than it looks!

After our 4 hour session with mittens (seriously, it flew by!) and an hour break it was time for Mary's Mad Hatters class.  In this class we learned how to design our own stranded colorwork hat.  I have cast on my hat with some DK weight Misti Alpaca 100% baby alpaca and will be using a warm brown, rich purple, and bright green for the hat. The chart I designed includes some darling dragonflies.  I will share a picture when I get to that part of the hat. 

I must say that Mary is an amazing instructor!  She is herself quite a sassy lady and therefore a joy to learn from and with.  We spent as much time laughing and sharing as we did learning and knitting, and for me that equates to a perfect class.  Thanks Mary for an amazing day and thank you Paradise Fibers for making the classes possible!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Handspun Love

I finished my fingerless gloves using the handspun I purchased from theurchiness I love how these turned out!  The colors are beautiful and the pattern was so quick and easy with a nice detail.  Unfortunately the lace detail does not show up great in this photo, but it does in person.  I used the Cafe au Lait Mitts (rav link) pattern by Paula McKeever. 

Can I say I am also loving the HiyaHiya 9" circulars (my newest investement in my knitting haven)?!? I started by just buying sizes 1, 2, and 3 to test them out, but I have fallen in love with these little circulars and have since bought nearly every size. The best price I have found on these babies is at Y2Knit and there shipping is so VERY reasonable. 

Friday, November 27, 2009

November Celebrations

It had been a busy week, but busy in all the ways that I love.  Saturday we celebrated Mark's birthday with his family by going to sushi and sharing a few (okay, maybe more than a few) libations.  Then on Sunday I got the supreme joy of watching Mark open his birthday presents.  I always love watching people open presents I have gotten them.  I love that look of joy that crosses their faces when I have got it just right and given them something they have been craving or given them something they never knew they wanted until I gave it to them.  The second is what I got from Mark's main present I made him.

I took a couple days off work to drive around and take photos of signs on various buildings around town and use the letters to spell out his last name.  I think it looks great against the red walls in our kitchen too!

Of course there was Thanksgiving day itself.  I love celebrating any holiday with Mark's family.  For one thing, Mark's family has become my own.  Second though, you have to love a family that potlucks the big meals and celebrates with jello shots...

and truly know how to demolish mexi-layer...

Mark and I also took on the insanity that is Black Friday.  We gathered some great buys, but my favorite stop was my favorite LYS where I snagged some Lantern Moon bags I have been eyeing and some lovely yarn that just need to come home with me.  Some of my goodies from Paradise Fibers will find their way to my swap partner for the Winter Solstice swap on Ravelry soon.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Puppy Sitting

Today I got to puppy-sit Porter for a few hours.  He is Kerri and Justin's newest baby.  The afternoon started with some extensive playing...

Then it lead to some heavy napping...

Charlie tried to help me knit Sadie's second mitten for Christmas, but he just could not keep his poor sleepy eyes open...

Don't fret though little Charlie Bear.  I was able to finish it with your cozy little body keeping my lap warm.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Swap Love

I love swaps, especially those I do on Ravelry.  My most recent one was with the Outlander Fans group.  I am definitely one of those people that love to spoil as much as be spoiled, and my swap partner has successfully received her package so I can now share the two goodies I made her that joined lots of bought goodies.

This is the mini messenger bag I made her from 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders.  I wish the picture showed the cables better.  Even with the wonders of felting, they really pop out in person.

I also made her these stitch markers. I like to make them on earring loops that flip closed so they can be moved if necessary or be attached to the yarn instead of the hang on the needle so they do not distort stitches, especially if they need to be placed where there is YO stitch.

My next swap is with the Winter Solstice Swap group and I have already been messaging my partner and spying little goodies to make and buy.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Tonight's perfectly chilly evening called for a perfectly toasty meal.

Mark started things off by making us hot buttered rums...

and I finished them with some homemade pumpkin soup and grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Inland Crafts

I went to the Inland Crafts sale today downtown and came home with a few goodies. 

This gorgeous hat by Lillie & Cohoe. I fell in love with nearly all of their hats, but settled on this one.

I also met a fellow knitter (Carolina Cristina Manzoni of Between the Threads) who had some beautiful and reasonably priced scarf/shawl pins so I scooped up these three. Unfortunately she does not have a website, but if you think you would like to snag a few of these yourself, let me know and I will give you her email address.

This was my first time visiting their annual sale.  I am sure it will not be the last!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I'm going...

... to Stitches West in February.  I have never been to Stitches or to the Bay area (it is in Santa Clara, CA) and I am practically vibrating with excitement.  I am going with the wonderful crew of Paradise Fibers to help them run their booth.  I am so unbelievably flattered that they thought of me as a good addition to their team and I think they will be fun to work with.  I am also ecstatic to be surrounded by fellow fiber lovers for nearly a week.  If you are planning on attending Stitches be sure to come say hi!  Did I mention I am excited?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Loving it!

I love coming home to packages, but I had an extra special treat today because I came home to this gorgeous handspun by theurchiness. Check out her blog while you are at it!  You will actually see a  much better photo of this gorgeousness there as well.

I cannot wait to knit it up into something spectacular.  I am thinking fingerless gloves/mitts, but I am open to suggestions.  Recieving this is also inspiring me to get practicing my spinning.  I learned how to spin with a drop spindle this summer, but I have been so focused on my knitting projects I have not played with it as much as I would like.

While visitig etsy to give Brie the glowing feedback she deserves I also came across this gorgeous locket.  Paging Handi-man...oh Mr. Handi-man.  Can you say "Christmas present" with me?

I can see I am easily going to become an Etsy addict.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


First of all, I am blessed to be surrounded by fellow Halloween lovers at work.  Every year we come up with a  spooky theme for the office and try to surprise everyone at work with what our costumes will be that year.  Word has gotten out about how we love to decorate and as soon as people flip the pages of their calendars to October they start coming around to see what we are up to. This year we decided to go with a vampire theme.  See this post for a picture of the decorations.

We usually have a party as an office after hours to further celebrate Halloween with another theme entirely. This year it was going to be an 80's theme, but unfortunately our lovely hostess became ill the day before.  We are all hanging on to our costumes though in hopes that we can organize a bash in November that has an 80's theme just for the heck of it.

So instead of rockin' our bad 80's selves on Saturday night, Mark and I found ourselves at home handing out candy to the neighborhood ghouls.  In between answering the door I made homemade guacamole (hey the adults need treats too)...

and listened to my brand new Sting CD. 

Both were equally delicious!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Prepping for Trick of Treat

Tomorrow is my work's Halloween Open House and I decided to make some ghostly strawberries. They are dipped in white chocolate and then the eyes and mouths are made with black gel icing. Boo!!!

While I was bringing the strawberries' inner ghosts, these delicious Jalapeno-Cheddar Scones were baking in the over to go with our chicken taco soup that had worked all day in the crockpot.  Thank you Smitten Kitchen! They were so flaky and yummy!

I promised a picture of these awhile ago, but my swap buddy has received her package so now I can share the stitch markers I made her.  I think I like the pumpkins a little more than the witch hats, but both are fun and were fun to make out of polymer clay.

Pictures coming soon of vampires and 80's chic....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bead Still My Heart

Today was the second (and final) part of my knitting with beads class. Can I say Laura Col is an amazing teacher and her and her husband are incredibly generous people?! At both class sessions we were treated to wonderful treats including a nummy food, a wooden bead spinner and other beading paraphernalia to get those rascally beads in line (and on the yarn), and today a needle holder hand made by Laura's husband. It is gorgeous and will hold a crochet hook or shorter dpns.  Check it out!

Here are the beaded fingerless gloves that I started in the class.  I am using Hand Jive Knits Nature's Palette Fingering in Hydrangea (it is a light purple gray) and I am using and iridescent gray bead.  Here is my beginning:

While I was at it, I thought I would give an update on a couple other WIPs.  First is my new winter hat. The pattern is called Rose Red (rav link), but I am calling it my Blue Pine Rose.  It is a pretty quick knit and I have only worked on it here and there over the past week and I am already about half way done.

I also have almost 3 hanks of 10 finished on the Lace Cable Shawl I am making for a sample at Paradise Fibers. This is a close-up so you can see the lace and cables.

I also have another project in the works for an upcoming swap that I will not share because I do not want to spoil the surprise.  We will also ignore more currently hibernating projects because I don't want to talk about it and my inability to find the incentive to complete them.

I also want to share this picture I snapped from our backdoor this morning. Every morning I let Charlie outside when I wake up and get on with my morning rituals.  Typically, Charlie lets me know when he is ready to come back it by getting a little scratch on the back door.  This morning it was seeming to take longer than normal for him to let me know it was time for him to come back in so I checked on him and caught him sunbathing with no intention of coming in any time soon.

I love this picture with the carpet of leaves that dropped during our rain storm yesterday and the glow of the sun on everything.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Discovering Dahlia

Technically I discovered Dahlia this past summer when I visited Amy Sanchez's (the jewelry artist behind Dahlia) booth at one of the local art festivals in Spokane.  She is vintage with an edge.  She says she designs "nostalgic adornments for the modern girl." However you want to say it, I love it.  I bought a pair of earrings and this necklace at the festival.

I was digging through my purse today and came across her business card and a 10% off coupon that I might just have to use on these earrings.

Even though I fell in love with just about everything in her booth I had never gotten around to looking at her website.  Good thing I did too because it looks like she will be having a display at one of the local boutiques downtown in December for their open house.  Can someone let Mark know that any of her jewelry would make excellent Christmas presents?  Please.....

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Treats For All

Mark's favorite treat is apple pie to the point that he would much rather I bake him an apple pie for his birthday than a cake.  Well, it is not his birthday for another month, but I decided to give him a little treat anyway.  I used my Grandma's crust recipe and my sister's canned pie filling.  It turned out delish!

As long as Mark was getting a treat, I thought maybe I should too.  I am taking a class at Paradise Fibers to learn how to knit with beads.  We are learning by making these lovelies (rav link).  On the day of classes you get 10% off just about anything in the store.  So I splurged and got this beautiful Lantern Moon basket for a new project "bag." 

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Burning Ring of Fire

We inaugurated our fire pit last night.  It was a perfect night, with a touch of crispness that made the fire welcoming.  I love a nice fire. It is my favorite part of camping, to the point if there is a burn ban there is a part of me that doesn't even want to bother with the camping bit and just go for a pleasant hike somewhere to get my nature time.  We have only used it the once so far, but I know I am going to be thankful for every penny I spent to add it to our home.  Here are a few pictures of us enjoying the first fire of the season.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Halloween Sneak Peek

I thought I would share a little sneak peek into Halloween at my work.  We all LOVE Halloween and really get into the spirit of things.  Notice the Handi-man's coffin front and center with its new occupant.  Can you guess what we are all dressing up as?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fitted Knits

I just have to share.  I have discovered a fabulous new (to me) knitting book. Fitted Knits: 25 Projects for the Fashionable Knitter.  I use the term new loosely as I realize that I am a little behind in the game and this puppy has been out since 2007, but I seriously want to cast on nearly every single item.  That never happens.  All of patterns are modern with a little vintage whimsy. I LOVE them!  While you are at it, check out the designer's website: and prepare to be inspired.