Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Nail Art

Dear Blog,

I hope everybody is enjoying their Memorial Day weekend. By the time this posts, I will be working. Sadly, my first job does not let me have many days off for anything. So if any of you go to any sort of fast food place, remember to be nice to the people working there. We work really hard to make ends meet and you never know who you may find working there.

Since I will be busy working instead of hanging out with my family, I decided to do a little holiday nail art. My mom thinks that the blue and red stripes looks more like a race car than the patriotic colors of the US flag. Oh well.

This was one of my first times doing nail art and I am really proud of it. I started off with three coats of Essie Marshmallow (my favorite white) and then carefully applied China Glaze Dorothy Who and Ruby Slippers as the middle stripes. I ended up doing two coats of Dorothy Who and really should have put two coats of Ruby Slippers on to get the stand out sparkle that the blue has.

I don't have any nail art brushes so I ended up using a drink stick since I couldn't find any toothpicks. If anything, all you need is a small point so anything can work for that!

Happy Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Demolition Madness!

When I was still in high school, my family moved into the current house we live in. I was so excited to finally get a really big room in the basement and because it was some of my last years in high school I decided to customize my room. I painted trees all over the walls and got some help from my friends to paint jaguars and black panthers lounging on the trees. I painted the sky blue and put clouds on it while my friend painted a flying pig. It was a really fun room.

But now I'm older and I have a completely different style than I had in high school. It is more elegant and less wild. Since my parents needed to re-do my room anyway because my one wall had mold on it and was missing insulation. So we decided to just tear down two walls, put new walls up, and repaint to a more neutral and classy style. I'm not going to be in my house forever, but for now it will help me feel more like I have done some things with my life after college instead of being stuck in a post-high school limbo.

My dad and fiance have successfully taken down the two walls and put up all of the drywall. There are only two more holes in the ceiling to patch and then all of the heavy construction will be done.

Today, my fiance is finishing up screwing the bottom half of the drywall to the wall base and I will be attempting to mud all of the seams to get it ready for priming and painting. Granted, it will take a few coats of spackling to do so, but it is better to do things right than to not do them at all.

It turns out that the spackle my dad got is pink! It dries to white so it makes it really easy to tell if it is dry or not. That is a good thing and none of us gets to poke at it to see if it is still wet. My fiance was thrilled when I figured out that it wasn't that hard to do and when I was better at it than he was. The very best thing about the spackle is that it comes off fingernail polish easily and doesn't rip the polish off with it.

I'm already daydreaming about how to decorate my newly finished room even though it still has a week's worth of stuff to do.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Travels and Wedding

When you live in the cold north, you expect the weather to be nice and warm in the south. You expect sunshine and heat and humidity in spades. What did we get? Comfortably warm for the wedding and cool breezes everywhere else. The entire family left our emergency jackets at home safe and sound in our respective coat closets. We had to go out to the store and buy new jackets just for the trip.

Speaking of the wedding, it was a lovely ceremony. They had it out in the middle of a field that you would have never guessed was there. It was right beside a high school, but by the time you got to the site of the ceremony, it looked like you were in the middle of nowhere. It was a country themed wedding so we were sitting on hay bales and the arch was made out of logs.

Unfortunately, I didn't have much time to catch up with my friend Rebecca since she was busy with wedding stuff, but she made a lovely bride. And it is going to be so strange to think of her with a different last name now. She wasn't used to it yet either which caused some hilarity during the reception when her new husband tried to get her attention by calling her wife.

I did get to catch up with another member of my old Girl Scout Troop. Her name is Pooja and the reason why she has been so hard to contact is because she just finished up her first year of medical school. Her mom came too and it was quite a reunion! I didn't realize how much I had missed them until we met up at our favorite authentic Mexican restaurant La Hacienda. Boy, I didn't know what I was missing with that guacamole. I have been thoroughly spoiled by that and will not be satisfied by that mushy green stuff you can find at Moe's Southwest Bar & Grill or Subway.

While we were out traveling, we got to see mom's friend Sue and her husband Earl as well as my Grandma Peg and Grandpa Emerson. Those were nice visits and each included plenty of food. Sue gave us some of her homemade jam and I got to see a blanket that her mom made. I thought that was cool because none of my relatives that are in the grandmother age knits. My own grandma never knit and she is constantly amazed that I knit socks.

As far as the wedding shawl is concerned, it is going to be a wedding gift still, but Rebecca knows that it is going to end up coming to her in the mail. I have it about half done, but it is going to take two balls of yarn instead of one and a quarter. That's fine though. It means that when mine gets there she will have more time to appreciate it as a gift from a friend instead as something in a bundle of wedding gifts.

I did get in a bit of travel knitting. I discovered that I had to be drugged with anti-motion sickness pills to even think about knitting in the back seat of a car. But when I was visiting relatives, I could knit all I wanted to and still be social.

Obviously, my choice of travel knitting was a good plain sock. I decided to go into the more recent sock yarn stash I have accumulated and picked out KnitPicks Stroll Handpainted in Juice Box. It is a wild yarn and I was expecting it to pool and flash like mad! Unfortunately, I could not get that yarn to misbehave. It came out in nice neat little one row stripes and it does look really cool. There is a tiny bit of flashing on the cuff and on the gusset, but not much.

And with that I'm going to leave you with my favorite picture of the wedding: right after the cake feeding. I just think they look adorable together and we are going to keep more of an effort to stay in touch. Best Wishes to my friend and her new husband!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Wanted: Emergency Yarn

When I first decided that I wanted to knit a shawl for Rebecca's wedding gift, I thought I was going to do a completely different shawl. It was going to be a lovely little Mermaid's Song found in the Unnoffical Harry Potter Knits.  It was going to be lovely and beaded and a challenging knit.

Then things turned ugly as the shawl decided not to cooperate. I messed up the stitch count somehow and I was having trouble knitting the faux nupps found in the pattern. So, I decided to rip it out and start something completely different.

One of the things that people have said that the shawl was lovely, but would I have enough yarn to finish the thing? I assured them that everything would be fine. I would totally have enough yarn to finish it. After all, I was knitting it on big needles to make the pattern light and airy. I kept knitting on it and watching the ball stay the same size. Then parinoia sat in.

What if I did run out of yarn and I didn't have any left? What would happen if I kept knitting and got it the size I wanted to be, but ran out of yarn in the last few rows? Or even worse, run out of yarn during the bind off? Or what if I had to knit the last few rows in the car on the seven hour trip down from Pennsylvania to North Carolina and ran out of yarn in the car and have no ability to even get yarn to finish it?

So I bought another ball and kept it stashed away when it came in.

I just ran out of yarn.

Good thing everyone around me had good instincts. Now I have to go and wind the new skein so I can keep knitting on because I have less than a week left if I want to get it blocked in my house and not in a hotel room.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Color Match: Purples

I have been searching for a few weeks now to try to match my nail polish to my awesome purple Nintendo 3DS and I think I finally found a match.

It's not a very good day to take pictures and my nails aren't in the best condition since they have been attacked my work, but this is too awesome not to share.

The nail polish is Coconut Kiss by China Glaze. I only put down one coat of color even though my standard is two because I just wanted a quick change to my poor little nail nubs. As you can see, even at one coat it is a pretty close match to my 3DS which makes my little girly gamer heart flutter a bit. I love it when things match.

So imagine my delight when I happened to look down at my knitting. Not only do my nails match my game tech, but they also match my friend's wedding shawl. The shawl is officially out of time out since I had to rip back three whole repeats without a lifeline. (I think I just heard shudders and gasps of horror of the thought of ripping out lace without one.) I could have spent the time to tink back stitch-by-stitch, but by the time I realized where I made the mistake it was just easier to take the whole thing off the needles and do a hard rip.

I think I have knit about half the ball which means the shawl is about halfway done. It is fairly long already and I do plan to block it pretty severely so it should be a generous size when I am done. I have about one more week from today to finish it, so I will be knitting on it pretty obsessively this weekend. And go to the store and pick out a dress for the wedding. I will keep you guys posted on the progress.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Down the Hexipuff Hole

About two years ago there was a viral project explosion over on Ravelry. It was a knitted blanket made up of tiny little hexagon puffs that looked like a quilt and it used up sock yarn scraps. The pattern was the Beekeeper's Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits.

Two years ago, I was still in college and just starting to get serious about knitting socks. I kept all of my sock yarn scraps since I couldn't get my hands on that weight very easily and I didn't just want to waste good yarn. It was by total coincidence that I was just starting to look into quilting and fell in love with the little hexagons that were made by the  English Paper Piecing method. So when I saw knitted hexagons I decided that one day I would buy the pattern and knit my own blanket made out of my sock yarn scraps. It would be wonderful and I wouldn't waste any sock yarn.

A little more than two months ago I remembered the quilt after carefully avoiding the hexipuff craze. I broke down and bought the pattern and some US 3 DPNs, but I didn't start. I didn't have enough socks and I didn't have enough time. So it was put on the back burner until today.

The shawl and I weren't getting along very well during the past week so I grabbed the leftover ball of sock yarn from my fiance's Library Lunch Socks and decided that I would knit a hexipuff.

Why oh why did it take me so long to do this? They are so cute and they don't take that long to do! My hexipuffs are going to be a little smaller since I'm knitting them on US 3 needles instead of US 4 needles, but I don't mind. As it stands right now, each flat hexipuff (or hexiflat) will be about as big as my palm. I'm also using Jenny's Magic Cast On and kitchenering the tops of the hexiflats to close instead of using the three needle bind off.

I don't care that this project will take me a long time to do. I have a lot of sock yarn which means I will have a lot of leftovers. That will also mean that in order for me to make more hexiflats I will have to make more socks. It will be a win/win situation all around!

The only thing I have to do is decide how big I want to make the blanket, but that can wait until later. Until then I will have the joy of going through my sock yarn leftovers and knitting little hexiflats.