Monday, April 26, 2010

Snips & Snails

and thermonuclear weapons of mass destruction, that's what Destructo-boy is made of!

I am learning that boys are very different than girls, not just that a second child is different than the first, but he is a BOY and that makes a huge difference.  Destructo-boy is nicknamed that for a reason, wherever he goes it looks like a tornado has ripped through the area.  Don't get me wrong, Lil' Miss has had her own trail of devastation over the years, the eaten and shorted out phones top my mental list (yes, that is phoneS, as in more than one!) but she has been nowhere near as bad on a daily basis as the boy.

His favorite thing to do is to empty every toy he owns and any of his sister's he can reach and dump them all out of their storage areas and onto the floor.  He starts in the family room with Lil Miss' toy box, pulling out everything and literally tossing it behind him.  Then for variety he heads off to their room and if the closet door is open, he pulls out all his toys in there and tosses them all over the room.  Then it's back to the family room to work on the play kitchen, he loves to dump the play food everywhere!  and if he thinks of it he'll empty out his toy box too.  I know this may not seem like much but each toy box is 35x18x18, they are pretty big.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Boxes of happiness!

My mailman brought me two boxes of happiness this week, both came from Knit Picks.  They were the results of my shopping with gift money from Christmas and my birthday as I mentioned in a recent post (thanks Pops-in-law!).  Inside were the makings for a Hey Teach! cardigan, a fall cardigan (probably Central Park hoodie), a very warm and bulky Josephine jacket, also were four skeins of the new Stroll Tonals (I must have more, one in each colorway preferably!) two for a Isabella shell, and one each of two other colors for Haruni shawls, some Palette (I have no clue what for I just wanted to try it out!) and a few more skeins of Swish dk weight.  I wanted to spread it all out on the floor and roll in it all, throwing the skeins up in the air with my hands and feet like a cat hopped up on catnip.  What?!  Haven't you even had that urge when you get a whole lot of something that makes you feel good?

Lil' Miss was fascinated by the fact that I was photographing everything as I removed it from the boxes (I have to add photos to my stash list on ravelry!)  she thought it was such a great idea she even went and got her camera to take pictures too.  She was most disappointed when I was finished and hid all the yarn away in storage boxes.

So now I have to finish one of my several projects in progress so I can break out some of the new goodies.  I currently have a half finished Clapotis scarf/shawl, an Elenka dress for Lil' Miss, and a Capitan hat for Destructo-boy on my needles.  I have decided three knitting/crochet projects at a time is a reasonable number if I want to have any hope of getting anything done.  And no, not all of the yarn I got is for me, just most of it.  There are the making for at least two Christmas presents in there, but I'm not disclosing what as the people who get them may be reading this!

I think I need to join a Yarnaholics Anonymous group or something because I have already been perusing more yarn to order, sigh, I think I might have a problem!  Darn you Knit Picks and your lovely budget-friendly yarn!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Desert wildflowers: a photographers road trip

Anza Borrego Desert State Park

Here in lovely Southern California we have the amazing miracle of wildflowers blooming in the middle of the desert every year for a  few short weeks.  Due to our recent rains this year is even better than usual (or worse if you have allergies!).  Up until now I have never had the opportunity to go see them, but my brother Grumpy invited me to go along with he and his wife, Chatty-Cathy, on a visit to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to take some pictures of them.

So after getting up early (for me) on a Saturday morning and driving for a couple hours to get out there I was suddenly confronted with a hike, uh, hike?  No one said anything about a stinking hike!  Oh well, here we go anyway!  Good thing I was smart enough to wear jeans and sneakers.  None of us got exactly what we expected.  We all were assuming we would observe flowers as far as the eye could see, not so, this is the desert after all.  What we did get was the normally brown and dry desert plants awash with color.  Mostly yellows and greens with some reds and purples, it really was quite lovely.  The sounds of the bees was amazing, I don't know where they all came from but the buzzing was non-stop around the plants.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cost Cutting Shenanigans

A few weeks ago I went to Target to pick up my weekly needs of basic household stuff, you know the really fun things like shampoo, trash bags and toilet paper.  Now, I have never really thought too much about what companies do to cut costs and raise their profit margin, I know they do some crazy silly things, but again, I never gave it too much thought.  Until I put my rolls of toilet paper away in my cabinet and noticed this:

In case you were thinking what's the big deal, they reduced the width of the toilet paper roll by 1/2 an inch and did not reduce the price.  Not that I'll switch to a different brand, the Target brand is still less expensive than any of the others, but it just irks that they seem to think we as consumers are stupid (though unfortunately many are!).  Mister Vonkymeed thinks they maybe saved a whole roll of toilet paper per package by reducing the width of the roll, oh well I guess it's just that much less toilet paper for Destructo-boy to unroll onto the floor.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The gift of shopping

My birthday came around again just recently and I received the thoughtful presents of gift cards and cash from a few people.  Some consider it impersonal, but I love these kinds of gifts.  Not only do I get something for nothing (yea!) but I also get the gift of choice, of searching around to find what I want the most.  I know some people hate to shop and being given a gift card would be tortuous, but I am just not one of those people, at least not when shopping for toys for myself!  Sometimes this takes awhile, I still have a Christmas gift from Pops-in-law that I haven't spent yet, but it will happen just as soon as knitpicks emails out those darn 10% off codes! 

Birthday money is good I reflect while gleefully perusing the knitpicks website trying to decide what I will spend my ill gotten gains on.  Do I want to make the scarf, or the shawl, or the sweater, or the shell, oh the choices!  I think maybe I will finally get the $80 worth of yarn to knit myself the lovely Josephine sweater coat I have been eyeballing for over a year.  Pops-in-law was a bit aghast that I would spend that much on yarn, but you do get what you pay for (100% merino wool and machine washable to boot) and I want something NICE.  I also got a lovely Amazon gift card from some friends and am also looking over my wishlist there and at new items to see what to spend there, maybe a book of knitting patterns?  Hello, my name is Missus Vonkysmeed and I am a yarnaholic.  So thank you my thoughtful friends and family, I do love the gift of shopping best of all!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Victory is mine!

Success!!  The scary scabbard sweater has been completed, and with minimal errors towards the end.  Once I got past the armholes for the last time it went much more quickly.  I adjusted the quantity of pattern repeats to have the hem hit me at my hipbones, a much more flattering length on my post-babies body.  So, for the body of the sweater I worked about 3 fewer repeats then were called for before increasing for the morphing of the side cable from a braided cable into a horseshoe cable.  Then I was only able to do 3 repeats of the pattern for the horseshoe cabling rather than 5, but it still looks pretty good to me.

For the hem I followed the pattern and did a tubular cast off on the bottom hem which I have used successfully before.  Not this time though!  I seem to be forever casting off as though I am attempting to restrain a would be assailant.  I COULD NOT get the thing over my hips, it was a struggle just to get it back off over my shoulders.  Need I say just how frustrated I was at this point?  Yeah, just a bit.  So with Mister Vonkysmeed's urging I decided to work on the sleeves before fighting with the hem again. 

I made the unusually wise decision that as I had only 1 skein left, dividing it in half might be the best plan for ending up with sleeves of identical length.  But do I have a kitchen scale with which to scientifically make 2 out of 1?  Nope, so I had the great joy of unwinding that last ball of yarn all over my family room.  And guess who wanted to join in the fun?  If you guessed Destructo-Boy, than by George, you are a winner!  So I had Mister Vonkysmeed hold onto him in the back half of the house until I managed to tame the yarn beast into submission.  Trying to madly wind balls of yarn with an 18 month old screaming at the other end of the house is not exactly relaxing let me tell you!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Huntin' Easter eggs

It never changes, every Easter that dang rabbit comes hopping around leaving eggs everywhere.  Why couldn't he just leave the basket of goodies next to my bed but no, he had to leave an egg with a hint leading to another egg, which would lead to another and so on.  Oh, I guess it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun without the hunting part would it?  Oh all right, it would have been kind of boring to not have to hunt around for it.

The Momster (yes, I now know it was her and not some demented furry creature) would spend hours working out clues for me and older brother Grumpy to track down Easter morning.  After our 5 minutes of racing around the house from egg to egg she would complain about how quickly we went through the egg-clues and got to our baskets.  Granted, we worked it out pretty quickly, but do you think maybe there are more hiding places for an Easter basket than the dishwasher, the clothes dryer, or the tv cabinet?  We cottoned onto that ploy pretty quickly so there were several times we actually discovered the basket before we were supposed to by 'mis-interpreting' a clue.

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