4th of July wrap-up

I really love the 4th of July. I don’t really remember being that into it until we moved back to America from England, and I really appreciated what America was all about and the opportunities it provides.

It became even a little more special after Mr Snips became a citizen. And my heart did a little skippy beat when we started out for a bike ride yesterday and he stuck an American flag into BK’s little trailer, and we whizzed off through the cornfields to the park.

20140705-230323-83003339.jpgAnd I was never really that into cornfields until we moved back either. But considering I grew up in one (really), I don’t think it’s surprising that it feels like home. And nothing fills me up quite like green cornfields, bright blue sky and a red barn, like this one we passed on our bike ride.
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Growing up, Indiana often felt too repressive, small, not quite interesting enough. But going away and coming back, I’ve realized it’s a really nice place to live. Of course, the number one thing Indiana has going for it is that my family lives here – but there are other things. It’s got a nice capital city, but it’s not too big or overpowering. It’s affordable. It’s safe. It has open spaces. It has views like this:
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Sure, we’re a little backwards about a lot of things, and certainly no one would accuse us of being progressive, but we’re generally a kind, friendly people just doing our best.

And we’re just one of 50 states doing the best we can, still trying to hold on to the American dream, and figure out how we can contribute in this land of opportunity.

This 4th of July, I thought a lot about how lucky my little family is. That we’ve been able to make our home in the USA, and we have a wonderful place to live and grow.

 

Monday Musing: In Threes

My friends, I decided there were too many fingering weight projects in my WIP pile, so I decided to start knitting something worsted. What better project than the In Threes I’ve had planned since Christmas?

You see, when my Friday Night Knitting group gave me baby shower for BK last year, one wonderful lady made her a little In Threes in Liberty Wool, and I was just taken by it. I loved that it was a nice warm layer without the bulk of sleeves. I loved that she could wear it in the evenings as a layer before it got really chilly out. She even wore it as a layer to play in when it got so frigid this winter that no one’s heater could keep up and it was cold inside. In short, she got lot of wear out of it and I loved the look of it.

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So I purchased a different color of Liberty Wool (7829) right after Christmas with the intention of knitting her a bigger one for this year. Last week, I got itchy fingers to start the project. I purchased the pattern on Ravelry, pulled out my yarn….and realized I was at least a skein short on yardage!! I remember looking at the yarn requirements on my phone via Ravelry in the store while buying the yarn, and I even remember telling my mom that I would never need more than 2. Not sure how that happened…

Anyway, I went to the store again last week to see if they had more. I figured I would have to buy a different dye lot and do some alternating. But, to my amazement, I found two of my dye lot! I bought them quickly, thought I should buy a lotto ticket if my luck was that good (and then didn’t), and ran home to start. I LOVE it so far – the pattern isn’t too taxing on my stressed mind, and the color changes of the wool keep me guessing. Never mind that I will probably never need the 4th skein (which, in honesty, I bought because in my mind I needed that much, but when I got home and consulted the pattern I realized I did not – fool me twice!), it would make a lovely coordinated hat!

I’m zooming along on the yoke now, but will be spending the work week wishing I was finishing up this lovely!

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In fact, my plan is to have it done in the next two weeks. All of my current projects have been lingering for so long (like since October – yeek!!), I feel I need a quick win. I’ll have to try to carpool as much as I can this week to get in my knitting time!

What are you working on this week?

Ten things I’ve done since the last blog

  1. I got a really bad cold, and was completely and totally miserable for a couple of days – barely moving off of the couch. I got well just in time to…
  2. Go to England to visit the Mr Snips side of the family. We got to visit Dublin for the first time (bought some green Irish yarn there! – Coolree Merino/Silk in Eye-Balm Green!), saw family in England, attended my lovely friend Sarah’s wedding, celebrated BK’s birthday and explored London with my parents.
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    And then…
  3. Lost almost all of the pictures of those things when our camera memory card corrupted unexpectedly, and no one in the universe can recover them.
  4. Our flight home was cancelled, which resulted in an extra three days away. That meant we got to make a side trip to Wales, which was fun. But I was getting so tired and then we spent so long on planes that I got home…
  5. Just in time to get sick again! Only to start recovering…
  6. To go to England again just 6 short days after coming home! This time for a work conference. I left on a Monday, came home on a Friday, to find…
  7. That my mom, dad and BK had all developed various levels of cold/virus/nasty lurgy of some kind.
  8. Which meant that Mr Snips and I had to do some creative childcare to give my parents recovery time (my mom especially was very ill).
  9. Once I finally got back to my regular schedule, I have come down with Cold #3 in just 7 short weeks!
  10. BK has decided since my return home that it is awesome to get up at 4:30 every morning.

So, in short, I am tired, sick, and feel totally drained. There is a little knitting going on here and there, and I’m finding my sporadic work on it relaxing and a little return to sanity. I’m working very hard on my Bigger on the Inside shawl, because my knit-a-long partner has finished hers, I’ve been working on it since October, and I’m starting to feel guilty it isn’t done.  What are you working on??

Ten on Tuesday: Things my mom taught me

I was so excited when I found out that Carole had picked 10 Things My Mom Taught Me as today’s Ten on Tuesday topic. Since we’re coming up to Mother’s Day, it’s perfect timing and since my mom has taught me approximately 10 million great things, this should be an easy one.

  1. What unconditional love is. No one loves as hard as my mom, and she is always an amazing support for me.
  2. That although I am the center of her world, I am not the center of the whole world. She told me that while she would drop everything and do anything for me, that I should not expect that from anyone else. This is something I think a lot of people could benefit from learning. The world doesn’t owe me or you or anyone anything – it’s our responsibility to put good stuff out there. Which leads to…
  3. Do the best that you can, and be the best person you can be. My mom has always told me that it is my responsibility to do the best I can in everything. That at the end of the day, you can only be judged on the fact that you gave everything your best shot – from work, to school, to helping others, to being kind.
  4. That we have so much, and it is our responsibility to give to others with less. My mom is a powerhouse when it comes to this. I grew up in a very nice small town that preferred to ignore that there were many in the community in need. My mom worked at the school, and knew that wasn’t true. She single-handedly pulled together a food and gift drive of a proportion that would blow your mind, and was a one-woman show for 10 years. And she did hundreds of little things, like buying shoes for kids who came to school in shoes that were barely in one piece, and providing other necessities as she saw the need, all through the year. This made an incredible impression on me at a very young age. I have never forgotten the relief on people’s faces as they realized that they could have a real Christmas with a turkey and gifts. It made me want to be a better person. I am doing my own little contributions here or there, but I hope to one day find a way to make an impact like my mom.
  5. That you can completely fill something you make with love. I have so many things that my mom made me that I completely cherish. There are traditional things like blankets and holiday decorations, and also things like holiday dinners for the family (totally filled with love) and even down to a little lunch sandwich and a thermos of coffee.
  6. How to knit. Since I grew up to start a knitting blog, this was obviously influential. My mom taught me all kinds of crafts (and I still dabble in many of them), but knitting is what really stuck with me. I still remember the Christmas after she taught me that she bought me a full complement of tools – needles, stitch markers, row counters – and it was truly my gateway to never stopping. Here we are, somewhere in the ballpark of 12 years later, and I can’t imagine my life without knitting and the joy and friends it has brought me.
  7. One quality piece is worth more than a 100 cheap things. You generally get what  you pay for, and it’ll be worth your time and money to own that one pair of really great, comfortable, well-fitting shoes, than to buy 10 pairs of cheap ones that hurt your feet and fall apart after two wears. And this applies to pretty much everything (even yarn!). Sure, it means I spend more on fewer things, but I can tell you I hardly ever replace anything. I’m still wearing clothes and shoes from college, and you can’t tell. Because I’m buying nice stuff, she also taught me…
  8. To be meticulous. I am nearly religious in my pursuit to keep my possessions in just-bought quality – from clothes to furniture to books to my baby dolls. You should always take care of your things. You’re lucky to have them, and if you take care of them, they’ll last a lot longer. And this also includes a general attention to detail, because that’s important in life.
  9. And let go of some of the other things. While it’s important to be meticulous about some things, it’s OK to let go of others. Just because you can make something, doesn’t mean you should do that instead of buying it (sometimes your time and hassle and are not worth it! really!). And though you do your best to keep your things nice, sometimes there are accidents, and it’s important to keep perspective. We’re all healthy and happy, and we’re OK, even if I did ruin my favorite chair within an hour of bringing home my newborn (may still be having some trouble letting that one go). But I’m learning, really.
  10. How to be a mom. Most importantly, my mom has been an amazing example for me of how to be a mom to BK. While I don’t think I will ever be able to live up to her incredible example, I am certainly trying. I try every day to be to BK what my mom is to me.

Love you, mom. x

Ten on Tuesday: Good Things About Coming Home From Vacation

Hi all – I’ve been reading the Carole Knits blog for more than two years now, and I’ve really enjoyed reading her Ten on Tuesday posts. They’re about a variety of things, and I’ve been mentally following her with my own inputs to these lists for a while. Today, I’m going to start participating for realz on the blog.

This week’s topic is 10 Good Things About Coming Home From Vacation. Here are mine:

  1. My own bed. I miss it terribly in hotels. Even ones with nice beds are never quite as comfortable as my own.
  2. My own shower. My hair and skin never feel as nice after a few days of a hotel shower.
  3. Coming home to a clean house. We make it a point to clean before we leave on vacation so that it is actually pleasant to come home.
  4. Returning to my DVR. I always miss a couple of my favorite shows, and I’m excited to come home and watch them! Mostly, I get excited about the episodes of Castle that I miss.
  5. Returning to my stash. No longer am I limited to knitting on the one or two projects that I packed in my bag – the world is my knitting oyster!
  6. Brining my souvenir yarn home. And perusing Ravelry to figure out what to do with it. But you know, I cannot resist the siren song of beautiful yarn at a far-flung knit shop.
  7. Catching up on reading my knitting blogs. Because I miss reading about what my favorites are doing! And I usually make it a point to be totally unplugged while I’m away.
  8. My coffee machine. As I’ve mentioned before, my Tassimo and I are in a committed relationship.
  9. Enjoying my other souvenirs (i.e. – not yarn). I always try to buy something nice while I’m away. It’s often jewelry, because it’s something that I will use and will make me smile when I wear it. It’s a great way to extend the happy feeling of a vacation.
  10. Sleeping in. Travelling almost always exhausts me beyond words. Not on the way there, but certainly on the way back. This requires an extra long sleep.

Wow – this was way way harder than I thought! Because, let’s face it, coming home from vacation is often a let down. I’ll have to revisit this list next time I return from vacation to cheer myself up!

I hope to make the Ten on Tuesday a fairly regular thing, so stay tuned for some more fun lists!

Spring knitting fever

Just last week, I was thinking how I had hardly any desire to knit. Readjusting to a full-time job outside of the home has been draining, and I find myself staring mindlessly at the TV as soon as BK is asleep. I hardly ever watch TV without multitasking – usually it’s knitting, but sometimes it’s looking up cute things to buy BK online or talking to Mr Snips or reading a book and occasionally looking up. This staring like a zombie thing is new to me. But it’s literally all I have the mind power for after the day is done.

But on Saturday, something snapped in me. And I caught spring knitting fever badly. I blame it on the soccer.

Indy Eleven Inaugural Game

Indy Eleven’s Inaugural Game

You see, Mr Snips and I are passionately supporting our new pro team in Indianapolis, the Indy Eleven. Since we are a half-British household, it is required that we follow football/soccer. And while we watch EPL at home, there is something great about having access to live games close by. Back in pre-baby days, we’d travel to Columbus, Ohio once a year to catch a Columbus Crew and make a weekend of it. Now with BK, it’s lovely to have the grandparents watch her and go to a local game more frequently. So far, we’ve been to the first two home games. And while the team appeared to be in a bit of a slump during part of the game, I started browsing the crowd (as I tend to do). Checking out handbags to see if I like them, making mental notes of styles I like and want to look out for in the store – those kinds of things. Since it’s gotten pretty warm, I wasn’t really looking to scout a knitted project, but the evening chill had brought out a few light jackets. And then I saw it two rows in front of me, a perfect lightweight effortless cardigan. And I wanted it. And wanted to knit it. Badly.

I can’t decide what is most like it. After a quick Ravelry search, I think it’s like the Effortless Cardigan, but without the ribbing, in that the primary characteristic is that it’s longer in front. If you know of any other patterns in this vein, let me know! I’m dying to get one made in some kind of cotton-y something for a spring/summer/fall evening thing to throw on for these evening football games.

And then. Then I received a baby shower invitation. And it’s for a boy. So I mentally went through the boy patterns I considered for BK before I knew she was a girl. After some thought, I’m pretty sure it’s going to have to be a Gramps cardigan. But which one (cables or sweet elbow patches?) But then I wonder if I should go for a classic hooded cardigan, because I found those so nice to put on BK in lieu of a coat? My mom has a great little unisex pattern that only has one seam on the hood that would be beautiful – but I can’t seem to locate it on Ravelry.

Then… I was thinking that I bought a short-sleeved quantity of Ultra Pima in a lovely bright blue in 2012 for a Gemini. It was going to be my traveling project for our visit to England, but I was having such a great time at the Olympics and Harry Potter and such that very little got done. I also found a weird spot at the very beginning of the project and decided to unravel everything. So it may be time to resurrect that project!

And of course, I’m still working on my happy, bright pink socks to work on. I’m blaming the knitting fever on spring and looking at these beauties in my yard!Yellow tulip Pink tulip

Spring is here!

Well, my friends, I think spring has finally sprung here in Indiana. At least, that’s what the daffodils in my back yard are telling me!DaffodilsThis happy turn in the weather has been wonderful. Even though there’s a tiny bit of chill in the wind, Mr Snips, BK and I have been putting on light jackets and venturing out every chance we get. We’ve had a nice time catching up with our neighbors who are also outside enjoying the sunshine. The winter was so hard and long that our next-door neighbor had a baby and I never even knew she was pregnant! That’s how little I’ve seen people in the past few months. And this weekend, Mr Snips fully uncovered and cleaned our patio furniture, and we had our first guests (my parents) over to enjoy food from the new grill Mr Snips purchased. It was lovely.

To match the beautiful sunshine outside, I have finally put my autumn-colored socks to rest (blocking now – pictures soon!) and cast on with this very happy spring-y beautiful Orchid yarn from the TFA Year in Colour Club. I haven’t managed to get past the ribbing yet (nearly!), but can’t wait to dig into this cool lace pattern. Maybe a day or two of commuter knitting will get me there!Cavalcade Socks in progressHope the weather is nice where you are. I’m dreaming of the temperatures in the 70s that we’re supposed to have this weekend!