Thursday, January 23, 2014

Happy Favorite Song Thursday

(Disclaimer, I don't know anything about these videos, I just picked them in kind of a hurry to share the songs. So enjoy the songs! And maybe the videos?)

Happy Thursday, one and all! While I can't pick a favorite song for all time, I always have one or two favorites at any given time. 

Recently I came across this on Pandora. I had forgotten how much I love it!

So naturally I ordered the CD from MelCat so I could hear more from this band. That's when I discovered they also sang this song:

That song was on a CD one of Erica's friends sent her when we were roommates on Locust Street. We listened to the CD, oh, a thousand times? A week? It was our fav! It was the soundtrack to the winter of 2007 along with (for me) Against Me


Fiona Apple

And the Hold Steady

So now my old favorite songs are new again! It's like being an angsty 23 year old again, except I'm not actually. Which is preferable. Now songs like this are my real favorites:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pinterest Wednesday- Messy Microwave
Living alone means pockets of grossness can happen in a relatively normal looking house. I'm the only one who sees certain things so I'm not always super picky about how they are cleaned. Especially if, like a microwave, the pocket comes with it's own door that you can shut and forget that you said "YUCK" out loud when you opened it.

It was gross, ok? And I'm not going to post pictures of it here because I didn't take any because I was in a hurry to clean. But I tried this technique (click on the image to see the pin and subsequently the webpage for a full description) and it worked really nicely! You still (if you have let things get as bad as I did) have to scrub a little, but a wet dishcloth was all it took. I highly recommend this!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Phoning in the weekend (only not really)

Here are the three pictures I took this weekend. That is it. It was a super busy and fun weekend, I just didn't document a lot of it. What these three pictures do document is getting ready for a fancy dinner, getting a surprise picture of Roman, and a difficult pattern I was working on which I sent a picture of to Erica to get her to join in on my self pity.

Not pictured activities include: getting coffee and going to the coolest specialty bookstore, the 1939 copy of Jane Eyre I bought there, finding SO MANY RECORDS I've been searching for at the record store (including two Mel Tormes, Jethro Tull Stand Up, Little Orphan Annie for  a dollar, and a Dolly Parton/Kenny Rogers Christmas album!), walking around a super cool fish store, knitting, eating dinner with my family, and playing cards with good friends.

Sometimes your just too busy to take pictures, I guess! What did you do this weekend?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday FO's Procrastination Buster

Remember my super awesome cast-on? Well, it turned into this hat:

Nate, in all his sassy glory.
Poor Nate has waiting four years for a hat. It was one of those things, I just never got around to it. But finally, it's done! I loved that pattern, it's my favorite basic hat pattern thus far.

I also finally got around to finishing this blanket for my lovely Heather:

I highly recommend this pattern if you are trying to knit a blanket in a hurry. You can see that at one point in time I was in such a hurry that I started my i-cord border before I cast off! And then I let it languish for a long time, for reasons. But it's finished now and keeping Heather warm and cozy!

Another project I finished was this cute Generations Bag for my cousin's Natalie's wedding!

And finally, this scarf which is the first thing I can ever remember knitting solely for myself and not as a gift or for a craft show! I made up the pattern as I went using beautiful yarn I bought at a LYS in Lansing called Sticks and Strings. I used the yarn as inspiration and knit long stretches of garter stitch and seed stitch (which I am currently obsessed with). The interplay between the textures and colors are exactly what I was hoping for!

I foresee more FO's in my future now that classes are done for the semester. I'm going through a major knitting phase so if you have any TV or movie recommendations for while I'm knitting, I would appreciate it. I just started season one of Moone Boy and oh my lord I love it! I'm trying to ration it out, but I'm not being terribly successful.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Happy Thursday Texts from my sister

Happy Thursday, everyone! I present you with this text exchange between one of my sisters and me. It took place earlier this week when I had a weird, wonky eye and a headache. All you have to know to enjoy it is that the dresses for my sisters wedding are a lovely blush pink color, I am something of a hypochondriac, and stroke is the most common medical issue I think I'm having. I have learned to live with it and joke about it. Which, of course, will stop being funny the minute I die of a stroke. KNOW THE SIGNS!

Me: Hey, when you get migraines do they ever affect your vision?

Sister: Yeah, sometimes. Why do you ask?

Me: Because my left all got all weird. Then I got a headache.

Me: Just ordered my Maid of Honor dress! You wanted it in blaze orange, right?

Sister: Hahahahahaahaha, you are so funny! I'm sorry! Do you feel better now?

Me: I do, but you know me, I thought I was having a stroke. Sister. I am the Maid of Honor. If I want to wear blaze orange WHO CAN STOP ME?!

Sister: Lol! You know I think you might be having a stroke if you think blaze orange is a good idea.

Me: I know all the signs of stroke because it's my favorite disease to think I have and I am here to tell you: having amazing color sense is not a sign of stroke.

Sister: If you say so.

Me: A stroke of genius yes. A brain stroke no.

Sister: Potato Patato.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pinterest Wednesday: Winter Minestrone
This minestrone was a success on many levels. First, and most obvious: soup is great for winter, especially a hearty soup like this one. Second, I made it ahead of time and it reheated really well. Third, it was cheap and fourth, it is healthy. Oh and fifth, it is really delicious.
It does take a lot of chopping and a lot of veg. And it was too big for my soup pot which meant a mid-cooking transfer to the big soup pot, but live and learn. I recommend chopping the vegetables up the day before if you're going to make this on a weeknight because by the time you're done chopping you're going to be too hungry to combine your ingredients. And use your big soup pot from the beginning because this recipe makes a lot of soup!


Monday, January 13, 2014

Phoning in the weekend 1/13/2014 edition

 The weekend started out on an interesting note when one Ms. Erica, partner in craft and coworker decided I didn't have enough Nick Cage in my life and stuck this to my office door. He lives inside my coat closet now so I can have a heart attack each morning when I come to work.
Then came Friday night and a soothing symphony orchestra concert and soothing dirty martinis to help calm my Cage-frayed nerves.
On Saturday I did the most perfect long-tail cast-on I've ever done! I got all my stitches cast on with just enough yarn left over to weave in the ends! Woo hoo!
It helped that I was closely monitored by this handsome guy.
Sunday was my niece's third birthday party. I had to look my best.
What do you buy for the coolest three year old around? Binoculars, a toy story etch-a-sketch, and glitter bracelets. Obviously.
To top off a great weekend, it was so warm out and so much of the ice and snow melted that I got to run outside TWICE! Woo hoo!

I hope you had a lovely weekend too! What did you do?

Friday, January 10, 2014

FO Friday! Christmas and the Devil's Winter edition

Hello everybody! At long last, here are the things I knitted for Christmas!
I knit this French press cozy for my boyfriend. It keeps your coffee nice and cozy (haha) til you're ready to drink it! This is the pattern I used (and am using for my own French Press cozies (SP?!)). It worked really well! The buttons are because his other French Press has a handle that connects at the bottom. For this one you can just slide it on and off.

My boyfriend is not a weird mannequin head, obviously. He just owns one.
I also knit him this hat using alpaca from a farm we visited this summer. If you're in the Frankfort area, go visit the alpaca. They are TOTALLY adorable, the shop is super cute, and the owners are very nice. I ordered this yarn online and the owner included a personal note letting me know the name of the alpacas that provided the yarn! Such a sweet touch. I sort of used the pattern from this book but with a 1x1 rib. I tried to make the large size first in a stockinette and it came out HUGE:

No good. The hat I mean, my modeling is SUPERB.
So I frogged it and I'm really glad I did. I actually had nightmares about whether or not the finished product would fit (because that's normal) but it did! I love that book as a starting point, but sometimes things come out goofy. I am willing to take the blame, maybe (probably) I'm bad at measuring gauge? Who can say.

I also knit neck-gators for my brother-in-law and my brother-in-law to be. They're like super small infinity scarves with flaps to tuck into your coat or in the case of my dad and bros-in-law, your hunting gear. In the words of my friend Mike, they're basically a knitted dicky. I made one for my dad last year or the year before and he likes it a lot. After I made these my friend Nate asked for one and so did my mom for walking the dog. Probably because we are having The Devil's Winter up here in Michigan and are always cold and covered in snow. Which is great for knitting, but not always so great for other things like driving and not getting frost bite. So it's neck-gators all around! Except for these two, wearing their respective partner's gators:

They have clearly lost their neck-gator privileges.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Happy Linky Thursday

Just some links that made me happy or thoughtful this week. Happy Thursday!

Mighty Girl is a great blog and her lifelist an inspiration. I cracked up at her New Years Resolutions! Such good ones, but also written so well! Snacks! Making out! Etc.!

Oh these super cute doggies and kitties enjoying the winter!

Downton Abbey pickup lines in case you need to woo a fan of the show.

Meditation and mindfulness (particularly in the context of yoga) has helped me with my anxiety immensely and here's a little science to back that up! I like that the article points out that even if meditation doesn't serve a medical purpose it's free, harmless, and can be done at home.

These pictures are stunning, but I have tea at home thank you very much. The most dangerous part of that journey is tripping over cats and that's the way I like it.

More New Years Resolutions, this time from Letters to a Young Librarian. This is one of my favorite library blogs I read on my quest to read more of what librarians are writing, both professionally and in more casual contexts. I also really love her recent post about social media as a graduate student. It was reassuring to see her espouse guidelines I already try to follow about being yourself but being professional. I think they are good habits for anyone engaging in social media, regardless of your profession.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Pinterest Wednesday: Flaunt your flautas

In an effort to make my weeks less hectic, I'm trying to do more meal planning and cooking ahead. Now, that might seem unrelated to this post because I definitely did not cook any part of these ahead BUT I COULD HAVE and might in the future. I mention it because even though I was a bit lax on my prep work, these were quick and easy and done in about 25 minutes baking time included. That is not bad. And the 15 minutes it took them to cook was just enough time to clean the kitchen, which was rad. So the theme of this post is: I was starving, I didn't plan ahead super well, and these still turned out great.

 The first example of my not planning well was that the tortillas were frozen. Oops! But, pro tip here, if your tortillas are frozen and you are preheating the oven, spread those babies on top of the stove and they will be thawed in time for you to fill them with flauta goodness!

Thank you, iphone for these terrible pictures.
 So then I mixed up my business. I used frozen corn from this summer's CSA which was still frozen when I mixed this up and was just fine. I left out the peppers because I didn't have any and I didn't do any sort of "mexicorn" like the recipe calls for (click on the first picture to get to the pin which you can then click through to the complete recipe). It's called winging it, people. I also completely forgot cheese which explains why these were pretty low calorie when I did that calculation. They were good without it but I will add it next time if I remember.

So, you're pretty clearly supposed to use smaller tortillas, because the ends got kind of burny after 15 minutes and there was a lot of extra tortilla but other than that these were totally delicious, pretty filling, quick to make, and there are lots of opportunities to make parts of this ahead of time if you are so inclined. They were also relatively inexpensive, so I'm calling it a win all around!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Phoning in the weekend 1/6

 I started out the weekend by keeping one of my New Years Resolutions and going to yoga. It was a fantastic practice; I'm out of shape and felt my abs all weekend, but that's why I do it!

 Then I was inspired to do a little New Years decluttering. I gave this stack of magazines to my sister for projects with my niece and now it looks like this:

That's where that book went!

 There was a lot of knitting this weekend. A lot. Since I'm working on destashing projects, that counts as decluttering right? Right. My poor old coffee pot finally bit the dust so I'm French Pressing it from now on. I started one of the two French Press cozies I'll need (one for work and one for at home). I also worked on this destashing project:

 which I highly recommend. It's a really fun pattern, great for using up randoms in the stash and won't take your attention away from the exploits of these fine gentlemen:

 (Thanks to Anne for the recommendation!) Netflix it, you guys. If you like British murder mysteries, you'll love this.

I did get off my butt long enough to do a major grocery shopping adventure, complete with meal planning, stocking up on staples, and some apples bossing me around in the fitness department.

Overall it was a lovely weekend! What did you do?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Years! 2014 for the win! (a sort of Pinterest Wednesday)

Happy New Year! In writing this post, I looked back over past blog posts because I was sure SURE that I must have written before about how much I love New Years but NO! Not one single New Years post to link to! Whaaaaaaat?

I'm a huge believer in new beginnings of all kinds. Remember how every first day of school you thought THIS WAS THE YEAR you were going to stay organized and have a clean desk and never lose a pencil? Or was that just me? Regardless, I know calendars are arbitrary and everyday is it's own new beginning and blah blah but on January 1rst a lot of people agree all at once that it's a new year and resolve to do things differently and that's good enough for me. I'm pretty much the same as everyone in that I make resolutions and stop/break them by the end of January. And I'm ok with that too. There are some that I've kept: I make my bed everyday and I'm pretty sure that was a New Years resolution. I put on makeup, perfume, and jewelry every morning before work because it makes me feel like less of a slob and I think that was a resolution too. I'm careful not to make too many resolutions including the words "always," or "never," and when I use the word "everyday" I mean it the same way I meant it when I said it about making the bed and getting ready for work which is to say "most days" and probably never on a Saturday or Sunday.

Because this is a Pinterest Wednesday, the pictures link to my Resolution board on Pinterest. Oh, tricky tricky!

I resolve:
-to knit instead of play with my phone after dinner (it's better for my focus, my eyes, my happiness).
 -to make time for yoga weekly.
-to work a little toward various goals and big projects calmly everyday instead of freaking out and fear-watching too much Netflix.
-to remember that I am enough, I do enough, and I'm right where I should be and to listen to my breath when I needed to be reminded of it.
-to do the dishes everyday. And to remember that it makes me feel good to wake up to a clean kitchen counter.
-to be quiet and listen more often.

-to journal everyday.
-to blog three times a week.

And that's it! In short, I want to knit, write, and be more mindful. I want to stop freaking myself out and indulging in counter-productive behavior because of it. If I move in that direction this year, I'll be pleased. It's not about the number of times I do something, really, or doing something daily without fail. It's about gently guiding yourself in the direction you'd like your life to go. And that is why I love New Years.

What are your resolutions? Do you make them? What are you hoping for out of the new year? Regardless, Happy New Year everyone!