Thursday, January 31, 2013

Friday Favorites: Volume 1 Issue 4

Today is the first in a small series of my knitting favorites. I thought I would start with my go to needles.

These are my Clover US 2 set of five double point needles. I really like magic loop and two circulars for knitting in the round, but every time I pick up dpns, I realize how much I like knitting on them.

This is my US 2 Knit Picks Nickle fixed 32" circular. I don't use the Nickle needles often because sometimes they are too fast and my stitches slip off.

I should note that when I knit in the round, I often am knitting with sock weight yarn, but never knitting socks!

This is one of my most prized needles. US 4 Knit Picks Harmony fixed 16" circular. I have two for knitting on two circulars. US 4 is one of my go to needle sizes for DK/Sport and sometimes fingering weight yarns. I am a tight knitter, so it works for me.

I have a full set of the Nickle interchangeables and the new Sunstruck. I would have shown my Sunstruck, but the US 4 (as shown here in Harmony) are in use. 

This seems a little crazy considering all of my Knit Picks needle options, but this is my go to cotton yarn needle. A Clover US 8 bamboo 24" circular. I love the larger cable for knitting "straight" on a circular needle and this one is perfect for cotton yarn. I knit most all of my cloths and even a baby blanket on this needle.

In case you were wondering about that fabulous case that my needles are in/on... is NOT available for purchase. My sister, my crafty hero, made this for me (probably her own pattern because that is how she rolls) for Christmas and I love it! It stays in my knitting bag (upcoming in a favorites that she made for me as well). She is also an ace knitter, crocheter, quilter and sister!

What are your favorite needles? Do you like metal, wood, straights, circulars? Hit the comments and let me know!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WiP Wednesday: Volume 3 Issue 5

I can't believe this is the fifth WiP Wednesday this year! How did five weeks go by that fast?!? I am still trying to get all organized for 2013!

I have two projects that I worked on this past week. It was another week where I didn't do much crafting, but did some cleaning and organizing and spent a little bit lot of time on twitter!

First up, I picked up the Brrr Bear again.

It has been pretty mindless knitting. I am just building the chunky body and am getting close to starting some shaping! I am looking forward to that because knitting round after round of stockinette in white is a bit of a brain number. It was the most exciting thing going last night as the Penguins game was awful!

I also put some new yarn and pattern (a swap package) to use and knit up a few rows of what will eventually be a kerchief type scarf, I believe.

The yarn is Cascade something or other. I put the ball band somewhere safe...I just don't know where that is! It's a fun pattern so far. I didn't do much because I was preoccupied with a naggy feeling of must do some cleaning. I hope to get back to this soon, well in February I guess.

How are your projects going? Have you been progressing or stuck in a rut like me watching hockey (or other things) and attached to twitter or other social media? Hit the comments and let me know and link me up so I can see what you are working on!

P.S. I will link up the patterns and yarn next week. I don't have my stuff with me at the moment.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Favorites: Volume 1 Issue 3

I am getting this in just under the wire. I still have three hours to go here in Montana, but am closing in on the new day on the East Coast!

This week I thought I would share my favorite warm drink of choice.

First I start with my trusty blue Keurig...

Then I pop in a Gloria Jean's Hazelnut K-Cup (non-decaf)

Put it on the largest mug setting and load in my wonderful Wonder Woman traveling mug

And top it off with some Nestle Coffee-mate Peppermint Mocha creamer (so happy they sell it year round now!)

I made one tonight and it was totally what I wanted. It was so creamy and it just hit the spot. It warms me up and comforts me when I need it. It is a year-round favorite to boot.

Coming Next Week: The first of the knitting faves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

WiP Wednesday: Volume 3 Issue 4

I wracked my brain last night trying to figure out what I have been working on the past week. And I was coming up with a total blank. I figured I would sleep on it and it would come to me. All that came to me was a random dream that involved work people and a written exam. While doing my makeup I thought some more and then finally told myself, "it will come when you least expect it". Yeah, it never did come. I am beginning to think that I have done nothing in the past week.

Well that is not entirely true. I spent money I don't really have. I got into a spirited exchange with a billing agency. Oh and I took a test. I missed one question and while I still got a 95%, it irritates me to no end that I missed the question.

Oh and I have been working on catching up on something...

The NHL finally returned on January 19, 2013. Since then I estimate I have logged nearly 40 hours of hockey! So I guess I did do something.

Like watching the Pens win their first two games, both on the road against heated rivals Philadelphia & New York Rangers. 

And I have been committed to keeping my area a ...

So, my friends please...

...and I will see you next week with some sort of progress of something.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Favorites: Volume 1 Issue 2

Welcome to Friday Favorites!  Today I present...

My top three Prey novels by John Sandford.

First let me tell you how I happened upon the series. As usual I was reading the latest t.v. blogs/columns and it was reported that Mark Harmon was going to star as Lucas Davenport in a USA movie, Certain Prey, based on the book by John Sandford. Now, I am a girl that has to read the book before I see the movie (usually) and since the book was something like tenth in the series, I had to read nine books before and probably a few after before I could watch the movie. Luckily at the time of the report they were in pre-production and I had some time.

I settled in and powered through a lot of books over the summer of 2011. If you are interested, the book was great, the movie, not on any top lists that you will see here.

And now on to the countdown (of sorts)

Winter Prey is one of my favorites because it introduced Weather Karkinen. The story is compelling and you get to see Lucas Davenport in a familiar, yet different element. 

Naked Prey finds Lucas in a new position, rife with politics. As usual, Lucas is up to the task. This book marked a new beginning in Lucas' life and is a great place to start the series, if you don't want to start at the very beginning, which is Rules of Prey.

Wicked Prey tackled a criminal from Lucas' path, hell bent on destroying his life and the inner-workings of security during the Republican National Convention. Oh and a little crime plot as well.

It is really hard to target three of my favorite books as they flow so nicely that the series feels like one giant book. I am fully invested in the characters and their lives and I can't wait for the 23rd book to be released in May.

Do you like series reads or are you more of a stand alone type reader? Hit the comments and let me know.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WiP Wednesday: Volume 3 Issue 3

I have been working on a project since January 1st that still isn't done, but it is what I spent most of the last week working on. It is not yarny by any means, but it is still a Work in Progress!

I present, my planning system(s)...

 The binder that is "standing" is what I had hoped to use for my every day planner. Unfortunately, the rings are too small to hold what I really want in my planner. I am testing it for my project binder, but I am thinking that I am going to make it more of a "me" planner/journal. It has some really fun inserts that I want to take advantage of.

Here are a few shots in its current testing phase...

You can see that I wasn't quite willing to commit to it being my project binder, so I used stickies to write down my January goals & ideas.

This is a quick form I created (very basic & really quick) to keep notes on my crafting projects.

I am about 99% sure this is going to be more journal oriented than a project binder. No fear about losing my project binder, as I have a few of these "half" size binders laying around.

Next up is my daily planner. I have been trying to settle on a "real"/"regular"/"legit" planner and I have pretty much narrowed it down to a Franklin Covey (after endlessly researching Filofax). I am now waiting to see if they go on sale and also paying a few bills before I splurge on something that isn't necessarily needed right now.

I am using a Martha Stewart by Avery collection binder in the cherry red or just red. I believe the rings are the one inch size, which is good, not perfect, but works right now. I am using the Franklin Covey Blooms page on two days planner refill this year. I like the page on two days because I can have my to dos and appointments/schedule on one and have the other to journal the day's activities. It is working wonderfully.

I also picked up some of the Martha Stewart tabs/labels/stickies.

Here is a closer look at my month on two days view...

I wasted no time jotting down the Penguins schedule. You can do what I do and ignore the green letters. That was supposed to be my exercise routine and that has gone completely out the door while I figure some stuff out.

 Daily I keep my daily to dos (in blue), my "extra" to dos (in pink) and my work to dos (burgundy). On the scheduler I have been keeping my activities listed. It helps me see where I need to make improvements and also serves as a reminder when I journal my day.

I am using the Martha Stewart removable tear drop labels to note things like t.v. shows, games, etc. I also use the debt tracker to make notes about orders and purchases that are "out of the ordinary"

 I cut down some clear report covers to use as dashboards/flyleafs and punched them to fit. Here I keep sticky notes like this Weekly To Do. On the reverse is my Daily To Do and there is an itty bitty tab that says "today". This page sort of acts as my ruler and reminds me what I want to do each day and what is on tap for my weekly tasks.

In the back, I have my bonus section. Tentatively I have a place for Goals, Health, Motivation, Contacts & Finance.

I prepared a quick form of sorts to track some health information relative to food intake, exercise and symptoms. All forms in this post are "working" forms where I can take notes on what I like, don't like, need, don't need. After I have a better understanding of what will work for me, the plan is to put my graphic design studies to use and create some slamming printables.

This shows my finance worksheet. I plan to put my existing bills, plus purchases made throughout the month that are "extra" (re: online spontaneous purchases). It doesn't show, but there is a Notes space at the bottom.

So that is what I have been hard at work on. I have spent a couple of weeks figuring out the "calendar" part and now I am ready to pull it all together and get the rest of it working for me.

What do you use to organize yourself and plan your life? Are you a paper person or a digital person? Hit the comments and let me know.

You can always request a specific type of post you would like to see. I am always looking for new things to show and give my readers what they want.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bookmarks: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I am not entirely sure how one goes about reviewing a book without giving everything away. But, gosh darn-it, I am going to try.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

Ms. Flynn’s third book (all stand alone) is the story of Nick & Amy. On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy goes missing and Nick becomes the prime suspect. Did someone take her? Did Nick kill her? Are her parents involved? What about the townspeople, could one of them had had a hand in this? Is she dead? Is she alive? Where is Amazing Amy?

The first half of the book is heavy, HEAVY, on description. Lengthy chapters with immense detail have turned many people off of this book. I forged ahead because I was promised a payoff. A big, huge, humangous* big payoff. It was not easy. It was downright painful and felt as though my life was being sucked out through my eyes and I was sure that cherished brain cells were being depleted with each word.

I made it to the half way point. Well 54% to be exact before it started to get real. Interesting. Faster paced. Dare say rewarding.

I read the digital version on Overdrive & epub. So I sort of had an inkling of what was going to happen because I had to “flip” through the table of contents and the chapter listing/act listing. I knew before I read it that things were going to happen. If that makes any sense. If not, read the table of contents and you will get it.

With that foreknowledge, I started to piece things together, to work up theories and suspects. And I am happy to report that I was right on a few things.

There were some sort of big twists. Definitely some mind-bombing moments. It is a book that, once you finish, you will seek out someone else who has read it so that you can discuss it, because when something and someone is as twisted as this book comes along, you must discuss.

I don’t want to ruin anything, but let me just say that one character can be described as brilliantly psychotic.

Would I read this book again? As a re-read, no, I would not. Am I happy to have plowed through and read it? Yes, yes I am. Would I recommend it to friends and family? I would, and not just the ones I don’t like, I would recommend it like it was recommended to me. I know the author is busy with a screen adaptation of Gone Girl and I would definitely read the book before seeing the movie. I think the book is perfect for a film and would definitely put it on my must-see list.

I am giving this book 3.5 bookmarks out of 5. The story was slow to start, heavy on the detail, which while in the end paid off, is a real turnoff for most readers.  Also, the ending was a little to wide open for me. I don’t really see a sequel or series coming from this, so I would have liked a little bit more of a concrete ending.  I am going to give Gillian Flynn another go with one of her other two novels (or perhaps both).

Did you read Gone Girl? Was it a hit for you? Hit the comments and let me know your thoughts.

*Humangous Big was coined by Ilya Bryzgalov during 24/7 on HBO leading up to the 2012 Winter Classic. I still find it fun to use.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Favorites: Volume 1 Issue 1

I am introducing a new weekly "meme" of sorts...Friday Favorites. Each week I will pick five of my favorite things from the week (products, food, music, t.v., etc). Just another little glimpse into the life of Lady Penguin.

First favorite beauty products of the last week

First up is Sally Hansen's lustre shine nail polish in 007 Scarab. I totally fell in love with this when I put it on my finger. It held up great and I am a little rough with my hands and nails. The color is so vibrant a real teal. I tried to show off my hands as much as possible waiting for someone to comment on the color. Alas they didn't so I texted a photo to Angie because I know she appreciates nail polish! I definitely want to add more of this line to my growing collection.

Next up is my Mirabella Prime primer for face and eyes. I got this in my December ipsy bag and decided I should try it. It feels so silky and really does a nice job holding my foundation. I don't use a Mirabella foundation, but it works great with my Clinique. It is a clear primer and a little goes a long way.  I have not tried it on my eyes...yet.

I have decided that I have to be a bit more proactive in my beauty regimen and so I have been using these Clinique products at night (all about eyes) and in the morning (even better). It is still early to see dramatic results and I'm not sure that I will because, thanks to being chunky, my skin isn't starting to wrinkle...yet.

This next product I decided to try after loads of reviews by youtube beauty gurus. It is the Maybelline The Falsies mascara in blackest black (non waterproof). The jury is still out as there is another brand that I LOVE, but this is what I have been going to this week to get a feel for it.

And finally, I don't know where my lips would be without Maybelline Baby Lips! I had seen the tubes of this floating around and decided I had to try it. I had put it on my stocking stuffer idea list and thought I would get some, so I resisted buying them myself. Alas I did not receive any for Christmas, so the day after I was on the hunt. I go to the Peppermint (green tube) when I need some balm and I use the Cherry (orange tube) when I need some relief and a generous hint of color.

The great thing about Maybelline and Sally Hansen is that they are "drug store" brands and you can almost always get a deal through CVS & Walgreens (buy one get one deals or reward bucks). When it comes to Clinique, I try to wait until our local Herbergers has Goodwill days because I can use the coupons at the makeup counters! I am trying another primer, but if I keep going back to the Mirabella, I might have to break down and order online. Hopefully I could find it at a retailer that offers deals (shipping, percentage off, bogo).

I must say that since I started putting forth the effort in my makeup and have started something that resembles a beauty routine I feel better about myself. I feel like I am gaining some confidence and that is never a bad thing!

Zoya nail color is offering a super duper deal through Sunday. You can get 3, yes THREE nail polishes* for FREE (just pay a small shipping and handling charge ($10)). Read about it here. I could not resist and can't wait to get my polishes! (Polishes are $8 each and you get three for only $10!)

What are some of your favorite beauty products? Hit the comments and let me know.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

WiP Wednesday: Volume 3 Issue 2

I'm back again and I have something other than the hitchhiker to show you! Not to worry, I added a few more teeth over the last week, just not much change to show.

So let's start shall well?

First I have been working on one of Susan B Anderson's Brrr Bears.  Here is a little body work

I wish I had more of it done, but darn life is getting in the way. And by life I mean procrastination, which is my way of life.

Next up I started a spa cloth for a KAL/CAL. I worked on this last night during the BCS Championship game. Yes, it is true, with the absence of hockey I have turned to football. Thankfully in the next couple of weeks that will resolve itself.

I am using some Cotton Ease to really make it spa-like.

And I am also working on this book...

I am only about 14% in and the jury is still out. First impressions, I am not liking the writing style and she seems to stray a bit...okay quite a bit. I was told though that you really have to push through the beginning to get to the grit of the story, so I am pushing through.

I am starting to do some work on digital scrapbooking and project life and I hope to have some of that material in the next few weeks. It is a slow process trying to learn Adobe. 

So what are you working on this week? Let me know in the comments or leave a link, I am always looking for new blogs to read.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

WiP Wednesday: Volume 3 Issue 1

I am going to give this a try...again. I actually worked on some knitting yesterday just so I would have something to show today.

You've seen it before and since I am not quite to the half way mark, you will see it again...

...the Hitchhiker that I I added two more teeth or sixteen rows. I am hoping to finish it before June 2013. It is good to have a goal.

So what are you working on this year? Knitting? Crocheting? Paper Crafting? Digi Crafting? ProcrasiCrafting?

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

The One with the New Year

I waited a whole month (December) for today to arrive and now all I can think about is when will the week end?

I am a quick results sort of girl so I really want to see how the first week of the new year and new me goes. I want to see accomplishment. Perhaps enjoying the now and learning patience should be on my New Year Goal list.

I can say that if I feel the way I do now at the end of the week then I will be much accomplished and will feel like I can do anything. I want that feeling to last all year and I plan on making that happen.

I wish nothing but love and joy for all of you out there. As we reflect on the last year and the sad happenings of the last month of 2012, I think that the most crucial thing we can do is to love and slow down. I am guilty of being a hurried person, as I demonstrated at the beginning of this blog. But  now I want to be a person who enjoys the moments that matter.

I have a lot of exciting projects planned for the year to really make the most of it and make the most out of being me and learning to like myself. I am hoping you will enjoy the journey with me and let me know what you think in the comments section. I LOVE getting comments, it makes me feel special. Not the spam comments that tend to show up on posts from three years ago, but real people comments.

To you and yours, Happy New Year. Let's enjoy the highs and lows together!