Sunday, April 24, 2011

Of Crafting & Reading

I don't even know where we are day wise in the Playoffs.  One thing I know is that this weekend has been hugely disappointing and my first round bracket is toast.  That being said, let's stray away from hockey and talk other things.

I have been keeping my hands busy with a surprise project.  I have done a lot of work on it and there is still a lot to be done.  I can tell you that Yarn Pig is starting to resemble a Pittsburgh Penguin!  There is a load of black/gold/white in him right now.  With the other colors already in there from earlier in the year, he kind of looks like the NHL!  So many colors.

First up in January I started working on the Antique Alice in Wonderland Spats.  I worked up the wrist cuffs first and then kind of took my time doing the anklets.  When I first saw the pattern I knew I had to knit these up.  The problem was, for whom?  I didn't think I could really pull the look off, but when I looked at the pattern again and saw those high heel peep toes, I knew the person who had the shoes and the personality to rock this friend Angie.  So they went on my queue list for the year.  Her birthday was this past Thursday and I did the Red Queen version...

It took me forever to find the right buttons.  I just could not find any Alice themed buttons and so I ended up making them myself.  I happened to still have a fat quarter of some fabric that I had used to line a crocheted bag I gave her last year (in red too!) and so I sat down one afternoon and covered 14 buttons.  It was quite fun actually.

This was just the starting point for the gift, I had to find something else to go in the package and so in my travels trying to find buttons I found this Japanese Alice fabric that I picked up and decided that she needed a Skip To My Lou Pleated Pouch with the coordinating fabric from the buttons!

To bring it all together, I got her the Annotated Alice book.  I then just had to hope that she enjoyed Alice In Wonderland.  I kind of figured she might because she had purchased the Johnny Depp version.  I packaged it in some sensible and usable storage...a square scrapping tote.  I love to give people stuff in usable wrapping and I didn't have time to make a bag.  I really hope that she enjoys it and I can't wait to see here rocking some leggings and her super high shoes!

I worked up another pleated pouch for a different recipient and some coordinating (sort of) coasters.  That package goes out in a few weeks (yikes!).

As of late I haven't been getting many projects done.  I spent some time flitting between hexagons and my original Playoff Project (fail!).  Finally thought I have settled on two fiber projects and have these projects waiting at my craft station

I also spent some time making myself some Penguins themed stitch markers

And this is a glimpse of what else has been taking up my time

It seems that every year right around this time, I become completely engrossed in reading and can knock out a book a week (sometimes letting things like cleaning and sleep slide a little).  I have finished two books in the past two weeks and am nearly 1/2 way through a third.  I am reading John Sandford's Prey series with lead character Lucas Davenport.  I am loving his style of writing.  Loving the realism, pace and cleverness.  I am secretly hoping that I can finish the entire series (21 books) by the end of summer!  I am sort of crazy because I HAVE to finish my school work as well.

Also coming up in May, not only is the 21st Prey book to be released but also James Patterson's 10th Anniversary, the 10th Women's Murder Club book.  That is a MUST read as well.

I also have a few other books that have been waiting for this reading fever to kick in waiting for me on the Nook as well.

I will leave you with one final photo.  The Easter Bunny made a quick stop at my house and brought me some of my most favorite snacks and some scratch lottery tickets (not pictured)

Happy Easter!  Happy Spring!  Happy Stanley Cup Playoffs

Monday, April 18, 2011

Stanley Cup Playoffs - Days 2-6

I am going to tell you straight up that the reason I did not post on Days 2-5 is not because I was bitter about my beloved Penguins losing game two on day 3, but because I have been watching the late games and by the time they end, I need to get my butt in bed.  Okay, so it's more like I just have not felt like writing.  But I am going to make up for it.

Day 2 was great with Buffalo's win over Philadelphia, Montreal's win over Boston and San Jose's overtime win over Los Angeles.  It was also on Day 2, that my Clapotis ended up looking like this...

The edges were just looking awful and I wasn't really enjoying making it.  Thankfully I didn't spend long working on it, just to frog the whole thing.  Perhaps I will try it again someday.  I have two balls of pink that I have no idea what to do with (not a huge fan of pink by itself).

The yarn is taking on a new form and I think I am really liking it.  It is a relatively easy pattern that maybe looks a little more involved or maybe not.  I am not posting photos until I am a little further along because I would hate to have to post another failure photo a few days later.

In the time between frogging and searching endlessly for a new project, I casted on a swatch and decided that with the garter nature and the striping yarn that the color changes were ugly and I could not live with them.  I actually have another project on the needles with the same yarn (you have that luxury when you buy three skeins), but I am not sure that it is going to be all that worthy of the yarn.  I am not frogging until I decide on attempt #2.  Maybe I will do both, who knows.  I also managed to work up another couple of hexagons (have been letting those slide a little) and then Saturday I was out shopping and a free pattern caught my eye so I started working on it this evening.  It is ridiculously simple and FAST!  Here is a preview

Oh Yeah!  That is what you think it is, it is Pittsburgh Gold!  Nothing like Texas Gold.  Pure beauty. 

And you can get a glimpse of my smallish cutting mat on my new work table.  It is not a new table, but it is new to my "studio".  It actually replaces a coffee table.  I am so glad that I listened to my wizardly mother about switching them out. 

I spent some time this weekend doing a little sewing and some beading.  I am not a beader so do not think that I am adding another craft to my repertoire.  I simply wanted something sparkly and since I could not find it, I had to make it.  I will post photos of those in the near future (I haven't taken photos yet).  I plan on doing some more sewing tomorrow evening and can post those photos as well.

So, Day 3 was doom's day in the 'Burgh as Tampa handles the Penguins quite handily.  Washington also rode another shutout over New York, Anaheim solved Pekka Rinne and Nashville.  In the "good" news, Vancouver rolled over Chicago.

Day 4 is the day I did my sewing and while doing so, was treated to a goal scoring show by Philly and Buffalo, that unfortunately, Philly won.  Montreal continued to treat me nice by handling Boston again.  Earlier in the day, Phoenix dropped its second to Detroit and in the late show, LA took the wind out of San Jose's sails.

On the day of rest, Day 5, New York's Dubinksy put the Rangers past Washington in the final minute of regulation.  I took a nap and woke up to Nashville beating Anaheim, thankfully they held on and were able to beat them after two quick comeback goals by the Ducks.  And the treat of the night, Vancouver beat Chicago for their 3rd straight W.  I am perfectly happy for Vancouver to win tomorrow night and end Chicago's run (the 2010-11 Blackhawks - a lesson on salary cap management) and then they can lose. Unless they play the Ducks and then I want them to win.

Now we are to Day 6 and as you probably have guessed the game of the night for me was Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay.  Pittsburgh played a little more disciplined (if you look past Kunitz's elbow) and was able to pull out a 3-2 victory.  Flower stood strong once again.  The will meet up again on Wednesday before heading back to Pittsburgh.  Buffalo was not able to win at home and Philly takes a series 2-1 lead.  Boston, afraid of possibly losing their coach (my thoughts are that if they lose, Claude Julien is out...I am not aware of his contract status so I could be way off, but I like to fantasize) found a way to get more pucks past Carey Price than Montreal did past Tim Thomas.  The late game, currently in the first intermission has Detroit in Phoenix and up 2-0.  Tippet needs to play Bissonette more (inside joke with myself and some of twitter land).

And now we are all caught up.  And I think pretty much caught up on my life as well.  I did finally receive my key chain from The Hockey News today.  I thought for sure those Canadians had stiffed me, but it showed up, quite a while after I paid for my subscription too.  Eh...I like it though.  A little nervous to put it on my key chain because I seem to lose all my cool key chains.  I think I will just loop it onto my knitting bag as I change my purse often and throw that thing around like it's a pillow.

Well off to watch the late game and do some reading.  Perhaps I will post again tomorrow and update you on my reading (I have started again with fervor).

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stanley Cup Playoffs - Day 1

I can't believe I could miss hockey so much over just two days.  I agonized and lamented on what I would do once mid June hits and I have to wait until October.  Perhaps it was knowing that it wasn't over that had me anxious and unsure what to do with myself.  Perhaps it is the sheer excitement of seeing your team hoist the Cup high above their heads.  It's Playoff hockey and there really is nothing like it.  I started preparing for tonight days ago.  I read through my Playoff pattern numerous times, made up a quick reference for it and in my ultimate geekiness, comb bound it last night.
Here is my project: The Clapotis pattern using my Draygone Yarn in the Pittsburgh Penguins colorway (of course) and my NHL Penguins jersey purse that I got for Christmas a couple of years ago.  Perfect
 I set up my viewing area.  You can see my small jersey bag that hangs there to hold things like my phone, lip stuff, goodies.  My sweatshirt blanket (which I had to use as a cover tonight because it is cold and like the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, a whiteout! Yes it is snowing as I type (Spring in Montana)).  Also, Iceburgh made a brief appearance.  We had some issues earlier in the year (January/February) and he was placed into some sort of semi-permanent penalty box for his bad vibes.  He was able to come out just a few weeks ago and last night ventured to prime viewing area.  When the second period ended in a 0-0 tie and it looked like the next goal would win, he exiled himself back to his upper perch.  It all ended well so we have agreed that for now he will stay there on Penguin game days.

I thought I would knock this project out of the park during games.  I might, but probably not during Penguin games because once I put it away during the third and focused all my attention on the team, they scored...twice in 18 seconds and then added a third nail-in-coffin goal at the end.  So, it seems as though this will be knit during all games but Pittsburgh!  I can't be the reason they lose because I am so into knitting through the back loop and wondering when the striping will end and the weird pooling will begin.  Must concentrate fully.  This is what I was able to get done in two periods (no knitting during intermission - situps and twitter).

It is almost big enough for Barbie.  I am interested to see how this starts taking shape into its rectangular form.  I am not even through the first increase section repeat (long way to go).

And this photo is a craptacular shot I took in the fading daylight off of my television.  It is blurry, but when I look at it, I think it is here is Aaron Asham after he scored 18 seconds after Alex Kovalev to put the Pens up 2-0.

Next up tonight is the remainder of the Rangers/Capitals game and the Vancouver/Chicago game.  Go Rangers, Go Canucks (I am still upset that Chicago is in the playoffs and not Dallas).

In other hockey news, I was nearly knocked over by a feather when I read that Marc Crawford was canned.  I didn't even remember that Dallas didn't make the post-season last year.  At least for him, there are currently four other teams looking for a coach (and I wouldn't be surprised to see a few more coming down the line).  I have never much cared for Crawford, even when he was with Colorado.  I don't much care for Quenville or Sacco either.  I think the only Colorado coach I liked was Hartley.  Eh...doesn't much matter. 

I figure all the haters will be out in full force tomorrow bitching about a couple of non/missed calls in tonights Pens/Lightning game.  I am not going to lie, there are a few that were missed, but I lay that solely on the referees.  Playoff hockey is a crazy atmosphere and early in the game, they called every little thing, then a few things were missed and the refs loosened up a bit.  I thought there was some good pressure on the PP for the Pens tonight, they just could not convert.  PK was strong, but then it has been all year.  For me, the goal of the night was Aaron Asham's.  I kind of thought that Mike Rupp would get one, the way he has blown up the last week of the regular season, but never Asham.  It was some good hard work and just not giving up.  Great win, they need to keep their focus and the momentum, stay away from stupid penalties (because they are going to be more aware on Friday. And by they I mean the refs, they will take some shit for tonight) and just go out there and play their game!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Procrastinator's Update

I feel like this month is vanishing right before me. It started out great, no April Fools. My sister and her family arrived on the 1st and were here until the evening of the 7th. I was able to take those days off and spend some quality time with them. It was a lovely visit and as always, was hard to say goodbye. I returned to work on the 8th and astonished myself with getting almost completely caught up! I have a small final batch to enter but should be ready to run some checks on Monday afternoon. It goes to show that with proper planning and good strong busy days, you can get a lot done and not come back to a complete disaster. Looking forward to getting things done and getting my office back on track (there is a lot of filing that did not get done before I left). But, with Sirius/XM tuned to Home Ice, I should be able to push through things at a good pace.

It feels as though I haven’t been crafting, but I have…sort of. It seems to happen a few times a year where I have a problem settling down to start a project because I have a project planned, but am waiting for an official start date. This year I have a Playoff project. I finally received the yarn for it and just printed out the pattern and got my project bag ready. Start date is Wednesday, the first night of the Stanley Cup Playoff’s first round. I am super excited to get started and considered starting early, like tomorrow night during the preview show, but that would be cheating. At least that is what Bob Errey said during today’s game versus Atlanta, when talking about the playoff beards. So, I pushed that thought aside and started to clean. But, I have been crafting. I have been making hexagons again! I put them off for so long that a few months ago when I picked it up, I made one that came out incredibly small and did not work. But, refreshing myself with the pattern, I have been cranking them out. I have over sixty now, just under a hundred or so to go. I sat down on Thursday night and weaved in the ends on the ones that have been completed. I was going to save it until the end, but decided that it is easier to spread them out and figure out a pattern and how many I really need, if they are all tidied up. It was an enjoyable two hours. I am that one person who enjoys weaving in ends. If I could master the mattress stitch, I would officially love finishing work. I am a strange bird that is for sure.

I haven’t done any sewing since the end of March. I have to cut out another pleated pouch once I pull out the iron and iron the fabric. I am thinking that I can get to that tomorrow night and get that done. Then I will be nearly finished with my May swap that is coming up. I just can’t believe how time has flown by. Today is the last day of regular season hockey, some teams are already finishing up things and heading into the off season (like Carolina and with any luck Chicago!). Three teams that I wanted to make it did, Pittsburgh, NY Rangers and Phoenix. OMG yes! I said Phoenix. It is all thanks to twitter and Paul Bissonnette. And who doesn’t love that Jovo is still playing?!?

I have photos of some knit items that I finished and a sewing project, but…I have to wait to share because they are for a friend’s birthday and I would hate to ruin the surprise. Also, I don’t have the whole present pieces yet. Soon though, hopefully this week. Then to come up with some fabulous wrapping for it all…or something easy.

Well that is about all I have. I could write more, but it is just enabling my procrastination of cleaning up my dreaded messy desk and in box. I am going to have so much paperwork to do over the weekend with payday and bills! Ugh! Need more hockey therapy.