Monday, December 31, 2007

Knitting In the Round

I learned how to finally knit with double pointed needles! I was getting a little bored with scarf making so I went out bought a few sizes of double pointed needles, sat down with my borrowed copy of Stitch N Bitch and started learning how to knit the Umbilical Cord Baby Hat pattern. So adorable and quick to do! I have done two hats in two days!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My New Knitting Basket

A tisket a tasket I got a new knitting basket! And all my yarn and new needles fit so lovely inside. Much better than the tupperware tub I have been storing it all in - this basket looks much more coordinated with our livingroom decor - it is made of woven banana leaves and is a great large open bowl of a basket. It was 50% off at Hobby Lobby and came to a whopping $5! The hubby and I have been all around town the last couple of days perusing the after Christmas sales - but nothing has really caught our eye (besides some baskets, yarn, knitting needles, and a grill tool set) - usually we stock up on Christmas cards and decor but this year we just aren't in the mood. I think we are both fending off the beginnings of a cold and we are still recovering from the physical exhaustion of the holidays - 6 Christmases in 3 days!! Whew! I will have to start posting about all the marvelous gifts we have received.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holiday Knitting

I managed to knock out 3 of the six dishclothes I wanted to knit up and give as Christmas presents - next year I will be on top of things and start a little sooner!

Starting Off the Holidays Right

Hubby and I started off our holiday weekend by going to a wedding - very romantic and holiday-esc. We followed up the evening by letting the animals open their stockings - oh the crazy fun that ensued! Tomorrow we will travel north and spend the next three days going from Christmas to Christmas to Christmas! Thankfully the weather looks like it is going to be decent for traveling and of course we are hiking it home with the mutts in tow so there are sure to be some charades.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bringing Home the Holiday Cheer

Matthew and I visited the Mallow Run Winery today after work (I managed to escape around 3PM somehow) - we sampled around 8 different wines and came home with two bottles of their holiday wines - Winter White and Reindeer Red. I like the white best for it's crisp sweetness and Matt liked the red so we got both and will be donating them both to our different holiday gatherings. It will be nice to share something that we enjoy with our families AND to ease the tension ;). I love Mallow Run Winery - it is so close to our house, is nicely set back into the country outskirts of Bargersville - the people who work there are always so nice and they have the best setting for wine tasting - a restored barn complete with fireplace and a marble high top bar to taste their many wines - I also love the crackers and chocolate morsels to go with the wine. In the summer they have the best Friday line-up - pizza from Bazbeaux's, wine, a farmers market with bread, meat, fruit and cheeses, music and plenty of outdoor seating. Marvelous!

Holiday Blues

This holiday is a little different from any other holiday my husband and I have ever celebrated together - this year it lacks a little luster. Normally my hubby and I are running around like starstruck children with sugar plums dancing around our heads - in anticipation of all the great events we get to go to during the holiday season - Christmas at the Zoo, Winter Solstice at the IMA, getting to spend time with our family and getting to buy everyone gifts and watching them open them! What fun! We spend our holiday season buzzing off of mugs and mugs of hot cocoa and our home, office and car are filled with blasts of Christmas music for hours on end. We love the holidays - but like I said, this year is different - we are mourning the loss of a dear grandmother, dealing with the destruction that divorce had brought upon my immediate family, and most recently dealing with career struggles - nothing is the same any more. I feel a little jaded - I miss being happy-go-lucky at Christmas. But I am not the only one who feels this way - that I can take comfort in.

Here are some helpful resources for those battling the holiday blues:
Holiday Depression and Stress
Stress, depression and the holidays: 12 tips for coping
Tip # 7. The Reason for the Season
Excerpt from
...finally (and of most importance), remember the spirit of the holidays. Our three major holidays involve some very special messages that we need to remember. Thanksgiving celebrates the bounty that surrounds us. It is people coming together to feast and reflect upon a year's harvest of labors. However great or small, there are things to be celebrated. Christmas is the season of profound love. The importance of giving to others and sharing and bringing joy to the world are central to our spiritual meanings in life. New Year's is a time of new beginnings. A time to let go of the old, forget the past, and to rededicate our energies, our talents, and our love to another year. New Year's is a reminder that, with every ending, there is a new beginning.

Cheerful Links That Make Me Smile
Reading Amazing Stories at Rolling Dog Ranch
Holiday Blues Posts

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Design Solution: YouSendIt

When working on different freelance projects outside the office I sometimes come across the problem of client email versus large file transfer - ah, the epic battle. I had a client whose email would not cooperate with the way I was sending them their final design files - we tried everything - from zipping to attaching - nothing would work they would never receive my email (an error email would come back to me informing me that the client's email inbox was full - however, this was not the case according to the client). I swore there was something wrong with their email account but rather than argue with the hand that feeds me (or gives me extra money in the case of this freelance client) I found a solution - it is great! It is called YouSendIt - a free internet service that allows you to upload large files and then sends a link to the files to the recipients of your choice - the link is valid for so many days - perfect for my freelance projects with difficult client email accounts. I have found myself using it quite a bit - a very helpful resource to keep in your back pocket when email file transfer becomes rough.

Personalized Onesies

I originally over 10 white onesies for a baby shower craft- but we ran out of time to decorate them so I kept them to decorate myself before my friend's baby came - good lord did the time fly. I ended up finishing up the project a day after he was born! But they still were pretty darn cute! Here's a pic!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

More Yarn!

Bought more yarn today - as if I don't already have enough projects I want to do before Christmas. Still have a scarf and a fourth and six dish clothes to finish - not to mention three other scarfs that I promised people after Christmas and now I just bought yarn in cute blue and green baby colors for a hat or something for little Landen. I got these two great balls of the softest yarn at Clementine's Dry Goods in downtown Franklin - they were buy one get one free. This new yarn and fabric store looks like it could be found off the streets of some happening city let alone be found in the quiet suburbs of Franklin, Indiana. The bolts of marvelous fabric in this stores makes me want to learn how to sew. This is not your grandma's yarn and fabric store!

Santa Delivered Christmas Early At Our House

My hubby and I managed to get the rest of our Christmas shopping and almost all of our wrapping done as well. It looks like Santa arrived early at our house with all the presents under our tree. It's starting to feel a little more like Christmas - finally!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Men Who Knit - And Boast About It

Since taking up knitting around Thanksgiving - my husband has been very supportive of my new hobby. He has even picked up one of my projects while it was sitting around the house - of course he turns down every offer I give about showing him how. Knitting has a stigma about it - you hear the work knit and you see little old lady knitting socks or something - which is not true at all - lots of people of all ages knit - INCLUDING MEN. I happened to stumble upon the subject of men and knitting in Lion Brand's YarnCraft Blog Post - Men Who Knit & Crochet - I will have to show this to my husband now - maybe he will take a second look at my knitting - hey, it is great stress relief! I even found an online community devoted to men who knit!

YouTube Video to See!

Real Men Knit Trailer on YouTube

Links to Men Who Knit & Blog About it

It's a Purl, Man

The Crochet Dude

Scarf #2 Finished!

I am at least catching up a little on my scarf "orders." Never EVER mention that you can knit in public - people will all of a sudden start mentioning how they need a scarf or something and you say yes to one and then you are sucked in! No, but really, I enjoy doing it so of course I am not going to say no. Here is a scarf I knitted up for a coworker. I love how thick it is and how the white yarn looks with the stitch I used - knit two purl two!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

We Block the Wee

As a little new parent gift, my husband and I bought our friends with the new baby the "Wee Blocker." A little soft foam sports cup of sorts to shield off a baby boy's squirt as you change his diaper. Now my friends are new to the baby thing and we are too - not having any ourselves - so we thought this would be a great gift for newbie parents. Upon further review - however - some people seem to think it is a ridiculous product and that parents should be able to figure out some sort of double diaper method and be quick handed at the process to ward off any incoming stream. But you know what? My friends are new to this - I highly doubt they are going to be quick handed right off the bat - as I know I nor my husband would be either with our first little one(who is still a few years off in the future for us) so I still think it was a good gift - at least for new parents - maybe not for old pros.

We bought the Wee Blocker for $10 at Babys'R'Us.

Links to Wee Block Enthusiasts
The World According to Marc - The Mighty Wee Block
Swim Mom - Wee Block
Our Super Hero, Wee Wee Man
Wee Block, My New Best Friend

And Baby Makes Three

Some great friends of ours were blessed this weekend with the birth of their first baby boy! They went in Saturday, December 8, 2007 at 8AM to be induced and a whooping 8.4lb 21in baby boy entered the world at 8:16AM Sunday morning, December 9th via C-section. And they gave him the most adorable name - Landen Hunt. Boy, is he handsome too! This picture doesn't do him justice.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hard Drives are Like Tires

So, our hard drive went out on our Powerbook G4. Not fun. In fact, I thought I had caused it - because I was browsing through my Google Reader watching funny videos and the system starting running slow so I got up and walking away - watched some tv yadda yadda. Then the hubby wanted on so he logged onto his account and Firefox froze - all you could do was move the mouse around - you could not get to Finder to restart or anything. So after some waiting around we hit the power button for a restart. Except it never came back...just restarted to a white screen with a sad folder and a question mark. Not good. Thank goodness for Apple Care (the 3 year warranty is DEFINITELY worth it) and thank goodness for the Apple Store in Indianapolis! Only two days later and we have a perfectly working computer again - EXCEPT we lost everything that we did not back up on our external hard drive. :( Bummer.

Anyways, I asked the tech over the phone what we could do or not do in the future to prevent such failures from happening again and the guy said this, "Hard drives are like tires - they wear out over time and with use - there was nothing you do or not do to prevent it." Which made me feel SO much better but also a little jaded to think that every two years we may have to buy a new computer or shell out $400 for a hard drive fix (once our warranty runs out).

So now begins the work of installing all the software we had in addition to what already came on the computer - iLife, Office:Mac, our ipod software, etc etc. Yay, fun!

Some helpful links:
5 Things You Can Do to Prevent a Hard Drive Failure
Hard Drive Failures
Common Causes of Hard Drive Failure
Causes of Hard Drive Failures in Mac

Our Indoor Greenhouse

Each year my husband and I accumulate a plethora of plants that we adorn our yard or porch with (now we actually have a yard - and no longer have a porch or balcony like we did when we lived in apartments for 4 years). These plants come from a various amount of sources - the garage bins (I hate seeing a perfectly good plant thrown away) and this is how we now own a spider plant and a little tropical palm, we also find lonely plants in the bargain bins at our local Home Depot and Lowes - that is how we have become the proud owners of a rubber plant that had outgrown its pot and was sold 75% off. We also get plants from family. My brother-in-law gave us a starter off of his spider plant which has since grown into a monstrous plant that we have to physically chop back to keep a check on its growth. My grandmother has a nursery and so we have received many green leafed housewarming plants - in fact she loads our car up to brim every time we come to visit. Now granted, only about 75% of those plants actually live due to my neglect or ill placement in our yard. Well the point I was getting to was that, each year we collect this crazy amount of plants to create a backyard oasis but then winter comes to Indiana and there comes the need to bring almost all the plants back in so they can survive which makes our house into some sort of greenhouse. Right now we have 14 potted plants in our dining room, two in our living room and two in our bedroom. In years past, bringing the plants in has always been an issue. We have cats and cats are downright ridiculous about plants in the house. Well, at least mine are. They eat the poisonous leaves and end up hacking up the remains somewhere on my floor or they try to use the pots as extra litter boxes. The very worst is when they actually knock one over in the attempt to do any of the things I just listed. A knock-over usually happens after I have water the plant - so that whatever mess is made is 50 times worse because not only is there dirt on the floor but it is WET dirt. This year we have a house instead of an apartment. We have double the square footage to place our potted plants and one top of that we have a great little dining nook that is equipped with linoleum floors and plenty of light from our sliding glass door and a window. This is where the 14 of my 18 plants will be spending the winter. And the cats have been leaving them alone - not sure why but they are.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My New Favorite Gum!

Ah, secret weakness. You see, I am not supposed to even chew the stuff due to my jaw locking and what not. And if I chew too much or too long it makes my jaw sore and even makes it click! Not good. But I LOVE gum - especially after meals - gets that icky whatever-I-just-ate taste out of my mouth. I know there is a gum alternative - mints. But they are just not as satisfying for some reason.

Anyways my latest gum indulgence has been Altoids Sugar Free Chewing Gum in Spearmint. They come in this cute little tin that fits all nifty into my purse. These little green disks of gum are jam packed with eye-tearing Altoid-minty flavor. Mmmm!

My other favorite gums include IceBreakers new gum "Center" which is full of vitamin C and ginseng and Bazooka Original, of course!

Countdown to Christmas

I cannot believe it, but we have only 20 days till Christmas. Here I thought I was getting ahead of the game by getting my Christmas cards out of the box I stored them a few days after Thanksgiving - now I realize I am behind on getting them done at all! Arg! (I figured I would work on them sooner if I had them out in plain sight ealier - especially since we had them bought since last year - yay for after Christmas clearance cards!) And I just now put out my little bit of Christmas decor out on my desk - 5 days late!(pictured to the left). Usually my husband and I manage to get all our shopping done early - but this year has been a little crazy with the new house and other more pressing issues filling our minds. We are probably a little over halfway done with everyone on our list - but this time last year we had everything bought and wrapped!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Winter Has Finally Decided to Grace Us With It's Presence

I believe it is safe to say that winter has finally arrived in Indiana. After experiencing unseasonably high temperatures for Fall and the early part of the Winter season - the tables are finally beginning to turn - reminding us once again how extreme Indiana weather can get. Just two days ago we had temperatures in the mid-50's and today I receive a weather alert on my Forecast Toolbar heeding me about a winter weather advisory with a possible 2-4 inches of snow to hit us through tonight until Wednesday. Lovely.

It just doesn't seem like it should be December already. It should have hit me when I crunched through the inch deep salt that the city puts on the sidewalks permanently until about March. And it should have hit me when my two block walk to our building seems to take longer and longer (I hate the cold - which makes the usually pleasant walk just about unbearable). I am the person you see on the street who is bundled up like I have never experienced an Indiana winter - but I have lived here all my life -I just dislike the cold. You can find me smack dab in front of the direct blast of hot air from the wall mounted heaters at the parking garage with my eyes closed and goofy smile on my face- those things are great! I want one of those in my bathroom to help me shake off the morning chills.

But alas, winter is here. The cold has officially seeped in.

Monday, December 3, 2007

It Pays to Have an Opinion - Quite Literally

For quite awhile now I have been getting involved with many online survey programs, opinion based websites, etc. Being the Marketing Department for where I work, I understand how important it is to have feedback and how very hard it is to get anyone to actually give it you sometimes - even if you ask - several times. Usually no one is going to comment unless they are really perturbed about something or really blown away about how awesome it was. But those are skewed results, you are ALWAYS going to have those people at both ends of the spectrum. After having sent out a few surveys of my own at work and realizing how hard it is to get anyone to respond I try to be sure to participate in any of the surveys that are sent my way - surveys for events I attend, services I use, etc - because now I know how hard it is to get feedback and I know how valuable it is. Valuable not only to those collecting it but also to me. In fact, I signed up for an e-rewards program that actually takes your profile and finds different surveys that are relevant to you - and they pay you for each one you fill out - I am up to $60 in e-rewards so far! Now granted, I can only redeem this money as "points." For example, I can cash in $15 of my points for $15 in rewards bucks at Borders - BUT you can only do that once in a year - kind of a little snag there since I could easily use all $60 of my points at Border and there isn't really anywhere else I want to use my points. The other programs are kinda "eh" - for example, I can cash in $50 of my rewards bucks for 10% off a purchase of $200 or more at some jewelry place - not really something I am even remotely interested in doing there folks - but they are adding more ways to redeem your points all the time so I guess I will just keep adding up my moolah and pray for the day they add Starbucks Points or Target Points or something.

What brought this whole post on was something I got in the mail today at work. It was $5 Starbucks Card sent to me from a company whose survey I just recently filled out. I honestly cannot remember what survey it was or if I actually even filled it out but I am overjoyed at my shiny new card and a my free hot drink awaiting me at the closest Starbucks - Tazo Chi Tea here I come!

So next time someone asks for your opinion - give it to them - it is worth more than you think - literally.

Another survey site I enjoy and you should too!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Google Reader is MARVELOUS

I enjoy reading blogs. I have friends who write blogs and blogs that cover my favorite interests - but I was never very good at checking them regularly. Often I would forget the url or just forget about them. I had known about RSS feeds and what they are and had heard of RSS Feed readers that allow you to subscribe to all sorts of RSS feeds and allows you the read them all in one place. But until I signed up my for Gmail account I had never really found a format I liked or wanted to take the time to set up. Then I found Gmail, iGoogle, Blogger, Google Documents and Google Calendar and was impressed - everything I ever wanted to do on the web accessible from one place. I can log into my Gmail from that page I can go to my Google Documents containing word and excel documents editable from any internet browser, and my Google Calendar where I can keep track of everything from one page online instead of trying to fight with syncing my iCalendar from my Mac to my online account. Well, one day I was exploring the many capabilities that a Google account has and found Google Reader. And now I am addicted. I have 223 subscriptions, and over the last 30 days I have read 12,286 items, starred 390 items, shared 6 items, and emailed 15 items. It is crazy. I have subscriptions to knitting blogs, friends blogs, rss feeds streamed in from newspapers, Facebook, and MSNBC. I am an avid subscriber to blogs about design, shopping, living green, fonts, fitness and health, Martha Stewart, gadgets, and more. And everyday, it seems I find something else I want to subscribe to. One really nice thing about Google Reader is that it frees up my email. If I can subscribe to an RSS feed from an enewsletter and read it from Google Reader instead of having it delivered to my inbox - I can save my email for communication to friends, family and work instead and rely on Google Reader for all my random newsletter subscriptions and news updates (well, at this the ones that have that capability). It saves time by allowing me to view all my favorite blogs from one webpage instead of having to visit 223 different urls I can see them all on one page. And I can star posts I like for future reference, email them with one click, or share them. While it saves time on one hand it also has created and ENORMOUS distraction for me. Instead of checking maybe 10 blogs every now and then, I now check 223 and I spend about an hour a day doing so. It is almost a game now, I see that I have 539 unread posts and I keep scrolling and scrolling through them all until there are none unread. It is an addiction I tell you! But I love it! It has brought the world of blogs and rss feeds to my finger tips and I find myself learning something new everyday and keeping more up-to-date on what is going on in the world.

Lazy Weekends

Lazy weekends seems far and few anymore. My husband and I always seem to have some family function to attend to, or some friendly get-together to attend so it is really nice to be able to laze around the house for once with utterly nothing to do - except clean, laundry, go through my hundreds of subscriptions on my Googler Reader and knitting of course! Not to mention the weather outside, the day is practically screaming for us to stay inside. It is a lovely dreary, drizzly day out there - my little weather icon on my Firefox browser says it is supposed to be a high of 54 today - but it seems cold - my tootsies are about numb right now. So I guess I will go back to surfing the web for more things to add to my account (gotta keep the family updated on our Christmas List....yes...I am 23 and have a Christmas List) and hopefully finish up my second scarf (pictured to the right).

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I Am The Office Grandma - Apparently

I started thinking about it after a coworker called me "grandma" for the 90th time in the two years I have worked there and it got me thinking....why? Ok, ok - I do knit during lunch, and I do enjoy a good game of Scrabble if I can get anyone to play during our lunch our, I wear sweaters all the time and insist the office temperature is too cold, I wear a blanket over my lap if I get the chills and if it is really bad I switch on my office space heater. I drink hot tea, I always wear a heavy coat, scarf, hat AND gloves if it is even a smidgen cold outside. But come on! In truth I am literally the youngest in the office. And yet they call ME grandma. Sigh.