Goodbye 2009, I Want A Goat (dot com)

This is copied in its entirety from Craftivism.com - I love mash-ups (even before Glee brought them to the front) and I really want to give a goat.

Goodbye 2009, I Want A Goat (dot com): "

Here we are at another closing of a decade. Thankfully, unlike last decade, we aren’t worrying about technology crumbling or the world ending. Regrettably, however, there are more of us living with our countries in wars and recessions and other problems than in 1999, making us wish Y2K was our biggest problem.

And here at the end of 2009, even though I don’t know half the songs involved, I’m loving the message from this mashup of Top 25 Billboard Hits from DJ Earworm, United State of Pop 2009 (Blame It on the Pop). A song I discovered thanks to a Tweet from @jackgraycnn, reminding us to ultimately “Don’t worry/ Just get back up/ When you’re tumbling down,” something I’d like to think as more of a gentle pop culture directive than merely wishful thinking.

And speaking of Twitter, it seems to have been the buzzword for 2009. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to cast the gruff and tumble year of 2009 good riddance, with its long job searches, skimpy bank accounts, tears of frustration, quickly escalating death tolls, heartbreaks, warring politicians and never-ending worried nights about bills and bills and bills. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to dance.

And ready to welcome a more altruistic buzzword onto our cultural radars in 2010. A buzzword that speaks of love and hope and hugs and helping hands instead of short-and-sweet technological blips of our daily musings. Need a starting place to get ready for that new word? Or a way to jump-start that new feeling? Check out the video below* (be careful, though, as there is some “bad language”) for the awesome project I Want a Goat.

And remember that the $20 it costs you to buy a goat for a needy family in eastern India will go a hell of a lot farther than the $20 it costs you to buy imported organic pomegranate juice. And that doing good means looking a lot further than the nearest mirror.

Asking yourself, “Why goats?” Look no further than the I Want A Goat website:

For tribal people who are landless, raising goats is a great alternative source of income. Families who breed goats can earn a good profit selling the kids in the local market. The extra income provides a safety net for families that can be used for things like medicine, food during lean periods and farm equipment.

Whatever situation you might find yourself in this December 31, 2009, you could do worse than throwing up your hands in a tiny wee celebration, dancing to much needed goodbyes and fully embracing the new decade just waiting for us to greet it.

*This project was brought to my attention by the always illuminating Elephant Journal. It’s based on a Saturday Night Live skit called “I’m On A Boat,” which is linked and further explained here.




I really love the end of each year. I love when looking back or being reminded of events that happened in the year. December's end always feels so far away from January's beginning, or even June's middle. And now, it's the end of a decade - so there's even more to look back on.

Let's take a look at what I knit in 2009 shall we?
Knit in 2009 Part 1 Knit in 2009 Part 2
~ 66 objects! There is one that is still under wraps for now and a few objects didn't get photographed. We're talking 16 hats (I was going to do 52, hah!), 7 cowls / scarves, 2 soap pockets, a set of reuseable cotton rounds, 12 socks (at least 3 are singles), 1 pair of baby pants, 2 dogs, 2 mice, 4 pairs of mittens / flittens, 1 kidney, 16 sweaters / tops, 2 shawls, 1 bird nest, 1 tiger, 1 bat, 3 blanket squares, 1 crocheted flower clip, 1 crocheted headband, 1 puppet and a teacup handle cozy. Huh. I'm quite pleased by all that. Of course that only fuels my knitting / crochet needles / hooks for what I want to accomplish in 2010 (watch for that post. Ambitious, yes.)

There are some great links on f.pea's blog - top 100 lists and whatnot. Lolly has a good one too!

I'm also going to take a look back at the decade, in short form. It's been a wild one. With multiple fantastic moments and unfortunately many sad ones as well.
2000 I graduated college and started grad school.
2001 I was getting coffee before class when I heard about the planes and the towers. I saw the towers fall on a tv in the administrative hall. 2 months later I went to London with my family to visit my brother who was studying abroad. Love London - can't wait to go back.
2002 I finished graduate school, but it really took a toll on me. Decided to swtich gears and I worked retail for a year.
2003 Started teacher training, got a job as a science teacher for a middle school. Bought my own car. Got engaged in Central Park (on a freezing windy night).
2004 Really started blogging. Got married! Went to San Francisco and Hawaii - beautiful!
2005 My grandfather died unexpectedly. We moved from the apartment to the house. We adopted Jackson!
2006 Traveled to Washington D.C., was a bridesmaid for a good friend's wedding in Bar Harbor. Teaching became increasingly more stressful.
2007 My Nana passed away. We traveled to Ireland (sponsored in part by Nana!) - it was so beautiful there and I would go back in a heartbeat! I stopped working as a teacher. Upgraded to a safer car. Lorelai arrived!
2008 My other grandfather passed away. We took a trip to Virgin Gorda for a friend's wedding. (so beautiful there - go if you can!) I continued to stay at home with Lorelai (best decision ever). I worked for Google for a bit. I started doing sample knitting. Went to NY Sheep & Wool (awesome!!)
2009 I'm still at home with Lorelai, though I would like to find a paying job (ideally one I could do from home, but not sure that will work out). I started tutoring. Went to CT Sheep & Wool and NY Sheep & Wool (super!) I was a "team member" (aka bridesmaid) in my brother's wedding. I was paid for several knitting projects as I expanded my knitting resume.

For me, it was mostly a pretty good year - there were several rough parts, but we made it through and it's okay. I know for others it was very difficult. Ida words it better than I could - love the Etch-a-Sketch analogy.

As for 2010 - I feel like it's still really fuzzy at this point. January should be good, but beyond that... certainly looking forward to it!

Dachshund Noses

Jackson hasn't gotten much play in the blog lately - yesterday he tolerated my playing around with the camera. Macro / SuperMacro + Dachshund Noses = fun photos!


Made with BigHugeLabs.com Mosaic Maker.

He's been a good dog lately - barky, as always, but it's what he does. He's very good with Lorelai - loves when she shares her food, tolerates it when she brushes his back, usually has a kiss ready for her.


What's in your cupboard?

I spotted this idea on the web - Pantry Challenge - so from January 1-31, 2010, the challenge is to attempt to avoid grocery shopping as much as possible and will be blogging what we're feeding our families, creative recipes we're concocting, and how we're pulling this whole thing off. The "We" being MoneySavingMom and FishMama.

I am so curious about this idea. I think I could do it, I really do - Crystal's goals are simple: (straight from her blog)
"Now, let me say right upfront that I am not going to completely avoid buying any groceries for a month. We like to have fresh eggs, milk, and produce, so I plan to buy those at least three times during the month." And then she goes on to post the goals for her family.

I think this would be so interesting to try. Maybe I could do it as a lurker? If I were to do it, and really commit to it, I would love to give myself / this home the following goals:
1) Stop at the store a maximum of three times in January.
2) Spend a total of $150 or less on groceries during the month of January.
3) Make more (so, buy less) bread / treats that could be for breakfast or snacks.

Off the top of my head I made a list and I've got 10 go-to-meals, ingredients are already in my pantry / fridge. I've tried menu planning for the month of December:
You can see there are many rearrangements (lucky for me hubby doesn't mind Annies Mac & Cheese in the middle of the week). Due to life, toddler tantrums, my own personal whims. Thursday's are crossed out because I go off knitting then. On the weekends usually hubby cooks.

I've got the tools:
How To Cook Everything (AKA Bittman Bible - I love this book - had it out on near permanent renewal from the library and now have my own copy!), 6 o'clock Scramble, Make It Fast, Cook it Slow (another Christmas Gift - I haven't given up on my slow cooker!), 30 minute meals from Better Homes and Gardens, and a cookbook that was a hospital fundraiser but has been used in my family forever!

We've got a decent stockpile of food, and I try to shop the deals and use coupons, but it's tricky with a little one. Sometimes she's great in the store - will take her time eating the treat, will walk next to the cart. This week - she finished the donut before we were even out of the produce aisle. She was walking away from me. Oy.

May any trip you make to the grocery store this week be productive!

Casting On

I'm still playing catch up from Christmas - there's a lot to be done and somehow, with the approach of 2010 just days away it feels like time is running out even faster! I know that's just a feeling, but funny enough it also doesn't stop me from casting on new projects.

Casting on brings a special sort of peace, doesn't it? Like there's all this potential that everything will be all right. Have you seen that Quotable Card that says -

Today there is a new project that needs attention to help make things okay, not to end them (though I wish it could) but to bring a little bit of help.

Last month, Lisa, yenforyarn on Plurk and elsewhere, was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer. She has had surgery and will begin chemotherapy on December 29. Coby of CJ Creations is lucky to be able to call Lisa “friend.” Coby wanted to find a way we can show our support for Lisa as she goes through treatment. So, Coby–and many others–are asking knitters to do what they do best. Knit. Coby came up with the idea that we should cast on a special project on that day to show Lisa our support. She and Lisa discussed it, and Lisa selected two of her favorite sock designs: Sedona and Manhattan. (Oh, did I forget to tell you that Lisa is a wonderful designer? Check out her Ravelry designer page. I've knit her Playtime Socks - many of you have seen them at SnB!) Incidentally, Manhattan is a great design for men’s or women’s socks - I was going to knit Dan a pair of plain vanilla socks, but I think this will work great for the Intention Yarns - Simplicity for him instead.

Ovarian Cancer is on my mind quite a bit as this is what my Nana battled and ultimately lost. Please educate yourself! Put Teal on your Toes!.
Together we're better - Ovarian Cancer National Alliance Support Community


Christmas Chaos

Really, it would not be Christmas for me if it weren't full of traveling to and from the Islands (Rhode and Long), houses full of relatives, lots of food, and luckily everyone gets along so it's all good. I hope everyone had a Christmas like this:
Wide eyed, eating, looking cute. This is what Lorelai's Christmas was full of. Oh, and those sunglasses. They have been off her face for 5 minutes? Maybe?

I can show two more gifts that I made for this Christmas - I knit up Braided for a cousin-in-law. It worked up quickly enough and was fun to knit, but oh those ends!! I stopped several times to weave in ends.
IMG_9231 IMG_9230

Virginia emailed me a few weeks back looking for a pattern to knit up re-useable makeup removers (like what you can find on etsy and the like, but she does knit, so why not make your own?). Totally ran with that idea and I practiced my crochet again -
Sugar'N Cream stash busting (so, 100% cotton, washable). Very cute, I may have to make some for me!

Lorelai was gifted several handmade items - a fantastic "Lorelai Goes to a Wedding" photo-story book from Uncle Dan & Aunt VA, handmade animal magnets from Sara, and a handmade rocking horse! Stunning.

Today, we are being very lazy. We put things together, organized thank you note lists, photos are uploading.... We are so very lucky and it has been a great Christmas!

Set to trek!
Happy in the car!


Christmas Earworms

If you happen to come across a lull in your conversations at whatever you do today, a good topic is "What's the WORST Christmas Song?" - At SnB "Snowfall" has come up a few times (we own that Tony Bennett Christmas Album - it's on there and it snuck up on me and I have to agree, not his best work.) Dan's not a huge fan of "Jingle Bell Rock" - I would love it if I never had to hear again "Dominic the Donkey" or "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer".
Shudder. And I apologize for the earworms.
As a peace offering my favorite Christmas Song is "The Chrismtas Song", you know... "Chestnuts Roasting on an open fire..." but only the version done by Nat King Cole. Best. Version. Ever.

When you run through all the Christmas songs, start in on Christmas movies. I can't stand "A Christmas Story" - and I always cause a stir when I mention that one. And yes, I gave it a good try - I sat down to watch it, with an open mind, and it was still terrible. "A Christmas Carol" is probably top of the list - Patrick Stewart version of course, "Love, Actually" is up there along with "Miracle on 34th Street" (the original one).

May you have a classy Christmas and I hope you all get what you hope for (especially PeacefulKnitter! I'm thinking of you!)

Seasonal Style

Originally uploaded by nutmegknitter
Since the beginning of December, the Lorax has spoken up frequently about the sun being in her eyes. She has learned to look the other way and that makes it mostly all better. During a quick errand trip today I spotted kids sunglasses on sale - and while she said no to them in the store, I bought them anyway. One pair that looks like mine / Dan's, and this pair, with The Little Mermaid (I am more open to Ariel than the Disney Princesses - after all Lorelai is a mermaid of Germanic legend). Anyway, at home I cut off the tags and left them sititing out. She put them on (upside down at first, then she figured it out) and kept them on for 20 minutes. Score!


On Tuesday I whipped up another gift for another cousin - a Darkside Cowl that is not very dark at all.
The yarn I used came from a bag of yarn that my mom came across at their house - it was mostly acrylic but there were a few finds in there, including a Berroco "Watercolor" yarn -
It's not in Ravelry. It's not listed on the Berroco Discontinued Yarn list. I emailed Berroco and they told me that they don't have info on it (!!?!) so it's from before 1995 or so. It's quite pretty - it's a silver-ish with an additional ply of pink / yellow / green in there. I originally wanted to knit incognito but decided to keep it simple.

The pattern works well for this yarn - I did 3 repeats of the pattern, for a length of about 6 inches - this is for a 12 year old so that seemed big enough.
Hand for reference again - apparently I'm getting lazy and not bothering to get a ruler.

It is a stretchy but snug item - I figure my cousin can wear it as a headband / ear cover / or cowl as she wishes. I like how it fit and will make myself one in the future (I've got some Malabrigo Silky in Rupestre and Cloud Sky - either would be gorgeous!)


Crossing off that List (still checking it twice)

Yesterday was my mom's birthday, so we had my parents over for dinner. Works out well for us - the Lorax is in her own space, I've got some go-to / reliable recipes, and my mom gets treated :) I had made a pair of Holiday Mice, a Fuzzy Mitten pattern.
Mice! Mice!

They were relatively quick, great for stashbusting (I used an assortment of wool/acrylic scraps) and the end result "Ooooooh. (Smile smile.) Bec you made these?" was entirely worth it. They stand up with some propping, though I noticed a Mousie project on Rav where the knitter used nuts for the bottom to help weigh him down, great idea!

I also made "Rolo Turtles" after seeing the recipe online at the Eat At Home blog. They are quick, easy and delicious! I will certainly make them again - and I will probably need to, because I know they will not last long! Rolos is not a candy I pick up often or notice out in the store, but I did find a bag of them at Stop and Shop!
Rolo "Turtles"

I finished another knit gift yesterday too. Yesterday was really busy. So, I present (hah!) Koolhaas hat, another BrooklynTweed design, and total win. This is for one of my cousins (I don't think this particular cousin reads the blog), yarn is Ella Rae Amity - a wool / acrylic blend - sproingy and warm. I actually want to knit this again - and plan to - at least one for Dan, me and the lorax as well! I made the large size and it is big - I had to fold up the brim on me, and it is as big as my hand.
Something clicked for me while knitting this pattern - maybe it was the use of the LC / LPC / RPC abbreviations with the cables in the chart, but this chart made complete sense to me (even as a lefty) and it obviously worked, so I'm looking forward to more cable work, as soon as possible!

Today is a lay low day - we need to do a quick grocery errand, but otherwise I've got a full day ahead for a bit more knitting!


Snowflakes & Teardrops

We woke up to 10 to 12 inches of snow around here - it's quite pretty. A good day to stay inside, knit, have hot chocolate (with Marshmallow Fluff!) and snuggle with the pup. After talking up the many many layers Lorelai needed to wear before going outside today, we made progress in actually getting her dressed. Sort of. She let me get her dressed, but when it came to the hat / mittens, oh the tears. It was the sort of scene that I wish we had a video camera for to put it on YouTube, then we could re-do it each year (along the lines of the Raisin Experiment, which I also want to do)

Year 2 for the purple hat!
I did win on the hat though - it's the Toasty-Topper hat I made back in January. - So glad it still fits. Love the tie portion, she can't pull it off! Didn't win on the mittens (need to find a pattern for mittens that a 2 year old will keep on!) but she was good about putting her hands in her pocket, until she fell in the snow and then the waterworks were back in full force.
One of my new favorite photos:
Winter Walk


How to wear a hat.

Finished object alert! This was going to be a Christmas gift, but as I was knitting it, the yarn really called to me. It does fit me nicely I think. The color is me. The intended recipient may not be a hat person (I'm really not sure). Plus, there is an error in it (on every row. I held the yarn wrong, but I think in the end it looks fine.) So, win for me in that I get a new hat, but that still leaves another gift to knit. Oh well.

my new hat
(heh, I wish my hair was really that red in color!)

my new hat

Just in time for a snow "event" this weekend - no signs of snow here in CT yet though.

my new hat

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Merino Chunky that has been sitting in the stash for a while. 3 balls used, though I have maybe a half or a third of the ball leftover.
Pattern: Quincy from the Made In Brooklyn collection by Jared Flood. I would make this again - chunky yarn, mostly garter stitch, several hours and you've got a hat. Good stuff. I think each time I put it on I put it on a different way - backwards, forwards, not sure exactly which way is front. Hm. Doesn't matter much though, even the brooklyntweed blog says there are different ways to wear it!


Squeezing In.

I've got a handful of knitting projects that are on a holiday deadline, who doesn't? I'm still changing my mind on a project or two that are not yet cast on (hat? fingerless mitts? cowl? hat? scarf? cowl? cozy?). Silly knitter. I took a break this week though to work on a crafty challenge - The Things We Make and Modge Podge Rocks Handmade Holiday Ornament Contest (Entries are due today, 12/17!). I had a few ideas floating around for a while, but after a visit with my folks this week, inspiration struck when I went through a bag my mom sent home with me.
Not this bag:
that's full of yarn, lots of acrylic, but that's ok.

Nope, there was a different bag with random Christmas stuff - ornaments I made when I was in 4th grade, books for the Lorax, lights and a box (marked "Becca's Music, Please Save") full of cassette tapes! Tapes? I don't have a tape player in my house or in my car. What am I supposed to do with that. Huh, wonder if I could knit the tape? It's sort of like a ribbon or tape yarn.

Yes, yes you can. I knit i-cord with it - tried to stay loose, and it worked! Although I'm not sure what else I might do with it - it's shiny and brown. Not very festive - but I made the most of it - turned it into a nest - and a few other found items around the house, pipecleaners and some chicks.
Handmade Ornament 2009

Handmade Ornament 2009
Close up - one chick is has a santa-ish hat, and the other has a reindeer headpiece.
The silver trees and garland were the centerpieces at my wedding!

Handmade Ornament 2009
It's now hanging in the tree!

This was a nice little crafty diversion - back to the knitting!


Scowls, Cowls, and Sniffs

Like most people, my little nutshell is experiencing a bit of frenzy as the Christmas season is in full swing. The knitting is progressing nicely for the most part - I'm taking a few days off from a current sample / test knit because a deadline was lifted (thank goodness) and other projects took priority for a bit.

Like this:
IMG_9134 IMG_9139
Scowl by Samantha Roshak. Second time I've test knit for Sam - this was a great use of my sock yarn (Connecticut colorway, j.knits yarn) - I used up 80% of the skein I think, and I became really good at Judy's Magic Cast On (if you haven't tried it, it's really neat, and not hard once you get the hang of it). This really is a great pattern - a bit different than most scarves / cowls I've knit. I liked the construction, in the end it's reversible and is great for guys or gals, wrapped around your neck and secured or just tucked into a coat, warm but not too warm, superwashable. In the end, I have sent on this scowl to Alabama to my downstream pal in a "Plurk Cowl Swap"!

I received a cowl from my upstream pal in yesterday's mail:
Lisa made this for me - the pattern is Tuesday Evening with Rowan Felted Tweed - it's lovely!

Then there's this:
TotTopper Sample Hat
Little Miss Muffet hat - I've signed on to be part of the sample / testing pool for Tot Toppers - this little hat is made with Frog Tree Alpaca Sport, in a periwinkle blue with a chocolate brown ribbon. Who can resist that? As a fellow knitter would say, Stinkin' Cute! The whole line is adorable - I would suggest the Tot Toppers line to any knitter looking for a new hat - the patterns are well written and the end result is so nice! Ignore the fact that I'm modeling a baby hat on top of wine bottles. This is the 3-6 month size and Lorelai's head is way too big now.

And this:
Baby pants
Malabrigo Twisty Trousers - knit on commission :) I'm currently working on a hat to complete the set, should be done in the next day or so. The Mom is ready to pop and is in mad nesting mose (her words, not mine) so I am very happy that this is done before her baby arrives - this was so much fun to knit. Plus, Malabrigo. 'nuff said.

Perfect gift for a two year old? PlayDoh. I had been wondering about this for Lorelai for ages now and for her birthday she received multiple PlayDoh packs and two different accessory sets - a barnyard pals and a burger maker. I had found several "homemade" play dough recipes I kept meaning to try, but we just didn't get around to it. Well, no need now! We had a snowy-slushy-cold-crappy day this week and we pulled it out and she had at it. And has asked to play with it multiple times a day. And she will play with it for 20 minutes or more at a time! Excellent. Of course, it's on her terms - we do a little bit with the molds but she has more fun squooshing the playdoh in to one part and moving it back into the yellow container with a chopstick. Whatever, it's all good for her development. And good for my cleaning knitting time.
Thank you Uncle Dan, Aunt Virginia, and Uncle Matt! And her buddy, A, who also got her a playdoh set!
Give Life, Donate Blood