Monday, July 30, 2012

30 before 30: July '12 Update

This month has had a lot of exciting changes going happening and for some reasons I haven't been accomplishing a lot on my list.  I really shouldn't say that I just haven't completed anything on my list lately.  However I am still working on my duck diving and am having fun playing with my camera's settings.  I also blogged recently about de-clutetring the apartment which is part of a long term plan to get the apartment in order.  We have gusts visiting in the next few weekends, so I will be de-clutter and cleaning like crazy.


My most recent surf pic.  Simon is starting to get the hang of taking action shots, but I still haven't figured out how to really duck dive.  I've been faux duck diving where I stand in the water and push my board under the water, so far it's better than just diving under the wave and letting my board do what ever it wants. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ch-ch-changes!

I am now officially the Technical Director for Plays and Players!  Along with that I am also the Production Intern at Theatre Exile for their Fringe show.  I posted about having these two offers a little over a week ago in the post titles Life and Growing Up.  These are both amazing opportunity for me and that means there are going to be some changes in my life, changes that I am super psyched about.

Because of this I will have less free time.  I'm am looking forward to this because sitting on my butt for half the day everyday gets old really fast.  My life is going to get busy and this is awesome.  These changes may affect the amount of time I have to blog and I am going to back off on blog just a wee bit.  What does that mean?  I will be blogging 3 days a week for the rest of the summer to see how blogging will fit into my new schedule.  Unfortunately I will have to back off on dying yarn, and while I'll still continue to knit and design I'm sure it will be slow going till I settle into my new schedule.  

I do plan that this blog will stay the same a place where I will be sharing my knitting adventures and knowledge, my sewing escapades and fun things happening in my life.  This is a new super exciting adventure that I am grateful to be able to share with everyone.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pickles!

Saturday was a lazy day so I made things to put in cans!  First was another batch of dill pickles.  I already ate my first jar and realized that I will want more of these for later so I made about two and a half cans worth of dill pickles.

Then I because I had a ton of cucumbers left over I made bread and butter pickles for my dad.  I'm not a huge fan of sweet pickles, but my dad loves them so I tried my hand at making them.  They take a lot of sugar.  It was about a cup and a quart of sugar for two and a half cans worth of brine for bread and butter pickles.

Then just because I was on a roll I also made blueberry jam.  It is so yummy, i love making jam.  I only made a half batch, but it still felt like it made a lot.  There is something very satisfying about canning and preserving food items.  Maybe it's a call back to my roots.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gift Knitting: The Plan


I have been making great head way on my holiday knitting and have five gifts completed and have started a 6th.  I don't remember if I ever laid out my gift knitting strategie, so here it is.

Hats: knit 4, all for boys. Complete!
Scarves/Shawls/Cowls: Knit 5 all for ladies, 1 complete 4 more to go.  These are the next items to get knocked over.  I hope to have them all finished by the end of the summer.
Sweaters: Knit 1 for a very special recipient, still have to purchase yarn.  This project is slated for September, it's a simple cardi that I've made before, so it shouldn't take me too long.
Toys: Knit 2 sheep for the babies, This will be late in the fall probably around October/November.

My plan for the summer was to knit two gifts each month.  So far I've been able to complete this with no problem.  I may actually finish a third this month which would put me ahead of schedule.  Next on the list of gift knits, two items from the scarves/shawls/cowls category.  (The above pic is one of those items, but I'm not going to say who it's for.) Oh, and ordering that yarn for that special sweater.

I may add a few extra bits, in the way of dish cloths and tea towels, to the list just in case I forgot someone or need an extra gift.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Operation De-Clutter!

Since my life is taken a much needed change in direction and having started to read the amazing blog Reading My Tea Leaves I've been looking around our small apartment and noticing we have a lot of crap.  Crap we don't even need or use for that matter.  While our apartment is twice the size of Erin's from Tea Leaves, I feel we have no excuse for the clutter.  I can't take the crap any longer.

So far so good.

In the past I have attempted to deal with the clutter and it only seems that having guests over is the only way to get me off my behind and get rid of the crap.  Or at least hide it till the guests leave.  This is not how I want my apartment to look or feel.

The other day my friend Nicole told me this quote by William Morris "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."  This is my new apartment motto.  We have too much stuff and a lot of it, isn't useful and the few things that are truly beautiful are being hidden by all the crap.  Armed with Mr. Morris's quote I am taking a stand against the clutter.

I have already tackled the bathroom cupboard and my kitchen.  Both of these attacks on the clutter and crap have been successful.  My goal is one pocket o clutter a day and so far that has been easy to manage, but I'll be honest I've been doing the easy stuff first.  There is one such pocket of clutter I am dreading.  The rocking chair corner is all my clutter.  I don't even think Simon has anything over there.  I am dreading this and may leave it for last.

The dreaded rocking chair corner, the catch all for sewing projects and fabric .
I already feel better about the few bits I've completed and it is motivating me to do more.  In my mind I have a picture of what our apartment should look like and it is well on its way to being that.


Monday, July 23, 2012

New Pattern: Fishermen's Net Shawl

My first shawl pattern is ready and released!  You can check it out in my Etsy Shop or over on Ravelry.  This shawl has been a long time in the making.  I knit a version of this last summer, but wasn't quite pleased with how it cam out.  After a few tweaks and a lot of charting I am excited and pleased with how this pattern has turned out.


This pattern uses about 400 yards of DK weight yarn and a US 8 needle.  While this is an easy lace pattern it is charted and the knitter should be familiar with basic increases and decreases as well as an applied I-cord bind off. 


Friday, July 20, 2012

Sewing: The Sorbetto

I made this Sorbetto back in April for Me Made May 2012.  It could possiably be the best top that I have ever sewn.  (Its really a toss up between the Sorbetto and Merrick's Dolman Sleeve Top.)  What I love about the Sorbetto is that you only need about a yard of fabric, at least for the size 6.  It's simplicity and speediness make it a great quick project for when you just want to make something fast.  The pattern is also simple to construct and is a great project for any skill level.  I think that the hardest part about this top may be finishing the neckline and arm holes with the bias tape.  If it's not difficult it is at least the most time consuming aspect of this garments construction.  So needless to say I LOVE this pattern.


This one is my Fourth of July Sorbetto.  I made it specially for the Fourth.  I left out the from pleat, thinking that the print was bold enough and its own and that it didn't need the extra embellishment.  Now All I want to sew is more Sorbettos.  I want to make ones with sleeves, ones out of filmy fabric, ones with interesting hemlines.  The Sorbetto may become my new wardrobe staple. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Stitch Guide: Little Shell

The little shell stitch is a super cute stitch that is simple to execute and adds some visual interest to any project. Like most lace stitches this one has a right side and a wrong side so keep that in mind when deciding to use this stitch.  What is also nice about this stitch is that there is only one pattern row and three "easy" rows making this pattern easy to memorize.

Little Shell (Worked Flat)
Multi of 7 plus 2
R1: Knit all Sts
R2: Purl all Sts
R3: K2 * YO, P1, P3tog, P1, YO, K2*
R4: Purl all Sts

Little Shell (Worked in the Round)
Multi of 7

R1&2: Knit all Sts
R3: K2 * YO, P1, P3tog, P1, YO, K2*
R4: Knit all Sts

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Life and Growing Up

Recently I made a big decision and it freaked me out for about a week.  I just didn't feel like myself, well, that whole concept has gotten a bit muddied in the past few years.  Life just got in the way of what I had planed to do after undergrad.  Now there aren't any excuses and it freaked me out.  I had to own up to what I said I was going to do.  This has been the best wake up call I could ever ask for and it lit a fire under my ass and got me thinking about what I love to do.

I've decided to get back into theatre.  I never really left, but I wasn't really present either.  I had written that part of my life off and thought that I was done with all that "theatre" stuff.  I had even looked into going back to school for riddiculous things like becoming a paralegal.  (Not that being a paralegal is riddiculous, it just is for me.) I was really just kidding myself and lulling myself into accepting what things were, which was a cop out.  I was becoming what I never wanted to be, relying on someone to save me and take care of me.

Not going back to camp has been the best decision I have made in years.  For about a week I thought it was the worst thing I had done.   After a week of feeling lost, and freaking out everyday, and a few days of frantically searching for myself I have come to the conclusion that it is time to grow up.

What does that even mean?  For me it is finally accepting that no one is going to come along and hand me  my dream job.  Which I'll admit was what I was expecting for awhile and it is what made me feel so jaded when it came to the theatre world.  It means that I have to take charge, put myself out there, get my hands dirty.  I'm done screwing around and bemoaning the fact that doing what I love was difficult.  It's my own damn fault. Accepting that was hard, but once I did everything made sense and became easier.

In the past few weeks I've applied for countless positions, and freelance spots and overhire lists.  I've had a bunch of interviews that all went well.  The result of all of this is that I was offered three great opportunities.  One is a TD position at a great theatre company in center city and the other is a production internship with a small and kick ass company located in South Philly.  I have to admit that I was floored that I had two offers, especially the TD position.  Now the questions are which do I take, could I possably do all three, and why in the world did I ever under value myself so much?

Am I scared about this new adventure?  Hell yes.  Should I not take the positions because of that?  Hell no.  I'm done thinking I can't and I'm ready to say I can.  I know that sounds cheesy, but I've finally realized I was holding myself back and now it's time to put myself out there and finally do what I said I was going to do.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pattern Sneak Peak: Fishermen's Net Shawl

I am excited to announce that I have designed my first shawl pattern.  Waiting to post these pictures has been hard, I just wanted to share with everyone this design that I am so jazzed about.  So, finally I get to show some sneaky pictures of my Fishermen's Net and let everyone know that the pattern will be available on Monday the 23rd of July, just a week away!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer Adventures: Boston

I recently spent a long weekend in Boston with this lovely lady, my good friend Jules.  The hubs had to work and Jules boyfriend Norwood is currently going to grad school so we had a yummy food, good company, boozy girls weekend.

Jules was making margaritas.  When you make margaritas in Boston you use a large knife.  Our Ice had melted together into one solid brick. 

We even chased down the ice cream truck.  This was a first for me.  My town didn't have an ice cream man and if we did he wouldn't have driven down my creepy dead end road in the woods.  

There was s'mores making.  Although we had a lot of trouble getting the fire going.  

But once we did I made this beauty of a s'more.  

The hydrangeas were blossoming.  I couldn't help myself I started taking artsy shots of them.   

I also got to hang out with the coolest kitty around, Linus.  

It was a great four days and I always wish I had taken more pictures.  

Giveaway Winner!


And the giveaway winner is...Mandie!  
Congrats, let me know the best way to get in touch with you and I will make sure you super awesome swag gets to you as fast as possible.  

Friday, July 13, 2012

UFOs

I'm talking about UFOs today.  What is a UFO?  Well it's not what you maybe thinking it is.  When you hear this term it often conjures up odd lights in the sky or episodes of the X-Files where Mulder is searching for the truth.  But in the knitting and crochet world (and also in other crafting spheres) UFO stands for 
Un-Finished Object.  

Here are some of my UFOs: 
This project I actually really like, but the yarn is alpaca and silk and isn't conducive to knitting in the heat wave that has been this summer so far.  

Hey, you know that ruffle scarf with the short rows everyone keeps knitting?  I'm not stranger to that pattern. This is my second ruffle scarf and well I'm just done.  I guess I will finish it at some point, but it is so mind numbing and never ending that I just can't bring myself to keep working on it.  See I've even taken the needles from it to use else where and stuck this project on a stitch holder, 

I have also stolen the needles out of this one as well.  There is no excuse for not finishing this garment as it is a pima cotton yarn, more than half done and a project that I truly love.  But something's gotta give and this project has been put on the back burner for now.  

There are only a few days to enter the Alchemy Hour Giveaway!  Quick, go enter to win some super awesome knitting/crocheting swag.  The winner will be announced on Monday and all entries must be in by Sunday night.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer Adventures: 4th of July

This Independence Day was my first in 6 years that wasn't spent at camp, and I must say I had a great time.  We spent the whole afternoon at FDR park, cooking and eating and drinking beers.  Then it was off to North Philly to watch the fire works.  Here's a sampling of photos from the day.  

We cooked some traditional and non traditional bbq meats.  (Traditional hot dogs and burgers, Non traditional gator ribs and caribou.)


This dude was just strolling through the park dresses as an American Flag.


Even our Jello shots were patriotic.


video


(P.S. There are only a few more days to enter the Alchemy Hour Giveaway!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

10 Things You Might Not Know About Me




Me in Gettysburg Rubbing Col. O'Rorke's nose for good luck.  He was from Rochester NY , and he fought and died at Gettysburg.   
1. I LOVE civil war history.  I really love any history, but the Civil War is my all time favorite.   




2. The burbs creep me out.  For real why do your houses all look the same?


3. My all time favorite song is the Gambler by Kenny Rogers

4. My middle name is Ray, after my dad's uncle.

5. One of my favorite hobbies is eating.



6. I know how to play the violin (and should play it more).



7. Teeth eek me out.  If you lose a tooth, or have one knocked out or broken don't come to me for help I will shriek like a small child and turn and run.

8. I read voraciously.  I go through about a book a week.  Right now I'm reading The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley, and while on my bus ride to Boston I read Summers at Blue Lake by Jill Althouse-Wood.  That's only a sample of what I've read so far this summer.


9. Salt and Vinegar Chips are my favorite junk food.



10. When I was younger I use to go deer hunting with my dad.  Yup that's right deer hunting although we never actually shot any deer.  My favorite part was dad waking me up at 4am and going over to his Aunt's house for breakfast with all the other hunters.  We would sit in the basement around the pool table.  Dad would let me drink coffee and eat sugar cookies for breakfast.

(There are only a few more days to enter the Alchemy Hour Giveaway.  Quick go leave a comment!)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 2012 Knitting Update


I have been banging out Christmas gifts.  Ok, I've finished three, but that's pretty awesome with it being only July.  I am going to be a gift knitting ninja by the end of 2012!  The above balls of yarn are for two more gifts.  


My fall projects are also moving along faster than I had thought.  Even with the heat being unbearable some days I have some how figured out a way to knit with wool and not want to stab myself with my knitting needle.  It's mostly a combination of air conditioning, fans and hanging out a Nangellini when the apartment gets too hot.  


Even though I have tons of projects, (more on this later), I have been completing projects.  Above is my first shawl design.  I am in love with it, now all I have to do is weave in the ends.  


Did I mention I knit a Wingspan, you know that short row shawl pattern that everyone seems to be knitting.  This pattern is so simple that it's pure genius.  My was knit from my loop bulls eye bat that I spun up into a three ply yarn.  I still need to block it and yes, weave in the ends, but this might be the gift pattern of the year. 

You can still add some awesome Alchemy Hour Yarn to your stash by entering the Alchemy Hour Giveaway!    

Monday, July 9, 2012

Recipe: Peach Biscuits

Peaches are in season here in PA and what better way to make use of abundant stone fruit than to bake yummy things like Peach Biscuits.  These are essentially like scones, but I took a page from one of my favorite brunch spots, Morning Glory, and baked my biscuits in a pan.  That way there was no need to roll them out and get flour everywhere.


Ingredients
2 Cups Flour
4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/3 Cup Sugar
6 Tablespoons Butter (I used vegan butter)
1 Cup Mike (I used Soy Milk)
1 Egg
1 Cup Fresh Chopped Peaches

Preheat oven to 375 degrees


Combine flour, baking soda, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix well. 


In another bowl beat egg and milk together, set aside. 


Using a pastry mixer or a fork cut butter into the dry ingredients.  Much like pie crust you will want to keep your butter chilled until you are ready to use it.  Using cold butter will keep your biscuits flaky. 


One the butter is well combined at the milk and egg mixture and the peaches.  


Mix till the dry and wet ingredients are well combined.  Your dough will be a bit lumpy.  


Spread your dough into a greased baking pan and place in oven at 375 for about 15-20 minuets.  The edges and top of your biscuits should be a golden color.  

Let biscuits cool for a few minuets.  Cut into squares and enjoy.

(P.S. Have you entered to win awesome swag from Alchemy Hour.  If not you should.)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Operation Summer Awesome: Off to Boston


To make my summer awesome I have a plan of things to do.  One of those things is visiting one of my very best friends in Boston.  I am super stoked and can't wait to see what is in store for this trip.  I'm hoping for at least sushi and beers and lots of catching up.  I haven't seen Jules since January and this will be a great trip.  Both of our guys couldn't join us, Simon has work and Norwood is attending grad school so we get to be single ladies for the weekend.  I intend to take many photos.  


(There is still plenty of time to enter the Alchemy Hour Giveaway!)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Stitch Guide: Razor Shell

I have a love for lace, but I find squinting over charts and 10+ row repeats a bit much.  My dad taught me a long time ago to KISS, or Keep It Simple, Stupid.  I have to say that this is some for the best advice my dad has given me along with check the oil in your car and how to write a good resume.  That being said what I love about this lace pattern is that it is simple, but has a huge visual impact.  There are only two rows to this stitch.  How easy is that to remember, especially when one of those rows is a resting row.  Even better.  Razor shell stitch has a right side and a wrong side and makes a great edging or detail for a cardigan or shawl.  I could even see this as a great stitch for a cowl in some yummy mohair.

Razor Shell Stitch (Worked Flat)
Multi of 8 stitches plus 1
R1: K1 *YO, K2, Sl 2 Kwise, K1, P2sso, K2, YO, K1*
R2: Purl all Sts

Razor Shell Stitch (Worked in the Round)
Multi of 8 stitches
R1:*YO, K2, Sl 2 Kwise, K1, P2sso, K2, YO, K1*
R2: Knit all Sts