January 2019 – round up

January is my selfish month – I’ve usually been knitting and making for others during the traditional holiday months, so on January 1 I usually cast on something for myself, and take the month to indulge in casting on various items on my list.

The first item I cast on was the Cabled Leaf Pullover by Alana Dakos. I meant to cast this on last year but I never got around to it, and I’ve had the yarn for it for a while.

The pattern is lovely and the yarn is in my color crush for the year – burgundy. I have finished the front and am halfway done with the back, but as usual, I cannot have just one project of my needles, which brings me to my second cast-on of the year, and my first finished object.

The Exploration Station shawl by Stephen West is one of the most well known shawl patterns on Ravelry. I named it Parisian Exploration – I lived in Paris for a while after Uni, and have visited several times since, and the colors were my interpretation of a delicious chocolat chaud from Angelina enjoyed during a Parisian morning.

This is another indulgence I am enjoying this year – I am naming my projects after whatever inspired me to make them, not just after the pattern name itself.

My LYS is hosting designer Marie Greene in March, and I decided to make one of her pieces to wear to the event. I had been eyeing the color Eel from Hedgehog Fibres for a long time and it was perfect for the accent color of Marie’s Brunswick Tee.

As I type this, I have just begun the bottom colorwork section using the Eel color, and I absolutely love it. I will have a lot of leftover from this color and I am thinking of how I can best use it. Maybe a cowl to wear with the Tee?

I discovered a very talented dyer, Onyx Fiber Arts, and I saw a sock weight skein she had in the most stunning shade of burgundy. I was looking to make a DK weight top, though, and she was kind enough to make a custom sweater-quantity in that same burgundy color, in the DK weight.

With January almost over, I am hoping to finish these projects in the next few weeks, and I will also begin working on a blanket that a friend asked me to finish for her.

I am sure I will be casting on a bunch more projects in February. I can’t help it, it makes me happy to start new pieces and it makes me just as happy to work on them and finish them. I wear what I make all the time, I love wearing my sweaters and my hats and mittens, and I am so lucky to work in a yarn shop with amazing coworkers who are so incredibly talented and generous in sharing their knowledge.

See you at the end of February!

The best laid plans . . .

It was about a year ago that I began thinking of what I would make the following year.

Yeah, I’m like that.

This is what I came up with:

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Let me sit back and laugh, heartily, at my attempt to control the fact that I have the attention span of a gnat, because I have finished a grand total of TWO of these projects.

TWO.

The bottom left and the bottom right.  That’s it.  C’est tout.  In my defense I did mean to make all these; in my defense I did start two others, the mittens in middle row right, and the sweater in top row left.  And in my defense, I did make two of the bottom right cardigans, one for me, and one for a friend.

That said, I can confirm my complete and utter failure to follow a plan.

However!  Check this out!

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I set a challenge on Ravelry to complete 30 items this year.  Technically, I have made more than 30 because I’ve made random hats here and there, but per the tally on Ravelry I have one more item to finish before I fulfill my self-set challenge.

Not bad, I would say.

The 29 items I have made include the most difficult knit I’ve completed, the Liguria brioche hat Alex requested when he visited me at work (I work part time at a . . . wait for it . . . yarn store) because the child just had to choose the hardest thing for mom to make.  Had it not been by my awesome coworker, there is no way I would have finished the hat, and I’ve discovered brioche knitting is not for me, I even attempted an easier style and failed at that as well, and as I prefer my knitting to be fun, I decided this is a technique I will not attempt again, at least not in the near future.

But look at him:

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He was so happy and that makes the frustration worth it.  That’s parenting in a nutshell.

So I will probably not make a plan for 2019 because let’s face it, mama ain’t gonna follow the plan so why fricking bother.  But for the rest of this year I do have a few must-makes, which include a cabled sweater for Steve, a super secret something also for Steve made out of the yummiest yarn EVER, a v-neck red sweater for me that is actually looking more and more like a project to cast on next year because OH YEAH my tradition, after months of knitting for others during the holidays, is to cast on something for me on January 1.

That alone tells you how much I party on December 31st.

So, despite my less than 50% success rate in making what I thought I would make last year, this has been a great year knitting wise.  I made a cowl as a sample for the store, tried a new and difficult technique, and have met lots of amazing knitty friends.

I’m on Ravelry as claudiaberry and on Instagram as casadeberry – I ‘gram almost daily and love seeing other people’s knits.  I hope to post again before the end of the year but who am I kidding?

Things I have made

My knitting and crocheting has been a constant this year, often with miss Cherry Bo by my side while I count rows and track patterns.  With autumn a week away (at least on the calendar, since we are gong to hit 80+ degrees this week) I started working on my family’s cold-weather accessories.

Despite my constant feeling that I need more hours in the day to work on my projects, I am pretty happy with the items I have been able to make so far this year.

What was supposed to be a Christmas 2016 present ended up being a January 2017 gift instead when the original was ruined due to being much too over sized and my own frustration – in the end, however, both Steve and I were happy with the results:

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This is a very comfortable sweater, in the squishiest yarn ever (Knit Picks City Tweed) and he’s worn it proudly several times.

For myself, I made a sweater by one of my favorite designers – I had bought the yarn at Michaels and the sweater is just lovely to wear, very cozy.

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However, I will say that two of my favorite pieces are the sweaters I’ve made for my boys in their beloved green.

I love the fact that living in Wisconsin as we do now, I can make them these sweaters that will actually get worn.

I’ve also made some lighter tops as layering pieces for myself:

as well as various hats, scarves, and mittens.

I’m currently working on a cardigan for myself and have made a couple of winter hats but I’d like to make a few more scarves and hats for the boys and Steve. I usually have three or four projects that I work on at any time, and wish for more hours in the day to finish them!

If you’d like to see all my projects and works in progress, I track them all on Ravelry.

 

Meet Cherry!

It took me a few months after we lost Foxy to even consider getting a new dog.  Oh, I was always torturing myself by looking at the Humane Society pages, but to actually get to the point where I would go in and look at the dogs . . . nope, that didn’t happen for a while.

Finally, at the end of this past winter, Aidan and I headed over – we’d seen a dog named Cherry (for her cherry eyes) on the website, and we wanted to meet her.  She was a Southern lady, one of the many dogs that have little chance for adoption in some Southern states and get sent up here in hopes of finding a forever family.

Cherry was very sweet from the first moment, we don’t know what her background was, but she has been a loving girl and constant companion.  She does have separation anxiety and when I got a part-time job during the summer, she made her feelings known every time I would leave, even though Steve and the boys were home.  Having made the commitment of being with her, I felt that I needed to honor that and I quit my job (where I spent more than I made, so probably not a bad thing) and she is much happier now.

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She puts up with modeling the dog sweater I made for her and keeps me company while I knit, do laundry, clean house, etc.  She just wants to be with her mama.

If you come visit us she will greet you with lots of barking until she sniffs you – she just wants to make sure you’re not a meanie and once she gets to know you, she’ll bring you her toy to play.

She was described as a puggle – a mix of beagle and pug – but some people with more dog knowledge believe she also has some Mountain Cur or Boxer in her makeup.

We are happy to have welcomed Cherry – her official name is Cherry Cherry Bo Berry – into our family and hope she knows how much she is loved.  She recently went through some surgery to remove some teeth and fix a little bump on her eyelid that kept irritating her eye – our local vet staff is amazing and our girl is more comfortable than ever, we hope.  We just want her to have a good life with us.

A New Milestone

Last night our youngest accomplished something for the first time in his ten years of life.  He went to the movie theater.

Because of his sensitivity to noise, he was never able to tolerate the loud sound of a movie theater and has had to wait until movies he wanted were out on DVD or available online to see them.

Only one giant, terrifying creature, the King of the Monsters himself, could get Alexander to try this new challenge:

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Alexander has been waiting for this new movie, a Japanese release called Godzilla Resurgence, or Shin Godzilla; has learned to write the title in Japanese, and has made his own video trailers in anticipation of the movie.  Needless to say, this was a big deal for him.

The four of us booked our tickets and got ready to support Alex through his first movie theater experience.  He was thrilled to see the poster inside the theater and had his picture taken, he kept looking at me and smiling, thrilled to be watching his favorite movie character, and he was polite and quiet during the whole movie.

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This morning, he was still raving about the experience, calling it “the best thing I’ve ever done.”

We’re proud of Alex, and of Aidan for being such a supportive brother, encouraging Alex and reassuring him so his little brother would have a good experience.

And yes, we will be getting the DVD when it comes out.

 

 

A year later . . .

It’s been a while since I last updated the blog.  In fact, it’s been just over a year.  The main reason is, a year ago (October 7) we lost our sweet Foxy girl.  She was killed in a car accident and I could not write anything without writing about it, and writing about it sent me into a bad, bad place emotionally for a long time.

It is now October 2016 and within the last year we have lost a parent (my mom), lost two jobs (Steve, now happily employed again), thrown two birthday parties (one TARDIS, one Lego/Dino), and adopted a new member of the family – Miss Cherry Cherry Bo Berry.

It has been a tough year but we are looking forward to the future, are getting ready to enjoy the holidays in beautiful Wisconsin, where the trees are changing color every day and there is a chill in the air that I love.

See you soon!

Fall dining room decor

The leaves are already turning color here, and we’re enjoying the views from our living room and dining room windows.  I recently changed up our dining room table to reflect the changing seasons.

I purchased the runner on clearance last December (I think) at Target, and it’s been sitting in my Fall storage bin until last week.  The fleur-de-lis candlesticks are from Goodwill, they are really heavy and I spray painted them black.  I saw the tapers at World Market, they have lots of them in fall colors and I thought they would be a nice accent.

Our friends M & J gifted us the vintage MOET poster, we brought it all the way from California and it goes perfectly with the warm feel we want for the dining room.

The faux-croc stamped chargers are from Michaels, I saw them and thought they made such a statement, and I like mixing different tones of golds and browns.  The centerpiece is a grapevine wreath (also from Michaels) layered with a garland with a gorgeous scented candle in the middle.  We first got a similar candle from our cousin and now it’s a must once summer ends, it lasted forever in California but I have a feeling it will be lit a lot more often here 😀

Fall wish list

I’m really trying NOT to rush the whole fall thing because two years ago my BFF and I decorated our houses for fall on the first week of August and it was November and we were still sweating in ninety-degree weather. But, I figure I’m not actually buying anything, just, ya know, talking about it, so hopefully I won’t jinx things too much.

The key for me is to know what suits me and what does not, because as much as I love this dress, that salmon color looks like ass with my coloring. And this shirt looks super cute on the model, but I have D-cups, and button downs are the bugbears of my wardrobe.

After all that ado, here are a few pieces in a coveting:

2015 august

Parka Snow BootsBlazer Tee Tote Top Necklace

Our first Easter egg hunt in Wisconsin

The Easter Bunny found us! The boys were thrilled to see how much he left out for them, two dozen eggs filled with sweet goodness, which is now being rationed so that they’re not bouncing off the walls for the rest of the day.

Alex was very anti-Easter egg hunt at first, he said he was “too busy” but eventually he came around. Aidan had no such doubts and was only concerned that the Easter Bunny found us at the new house.



I think Alex is glad he changed his mind.

Aidan examines his loot.

We had fun watching our boys scouting around the backyard. Foxy chose to stay inside the house, nice and cozy.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter!

We are homeowners (again) !!!

Finally, on Friday, papers were signed and the house is officially ours. Well, officially the bank’s, for us to repay on a monthly basis, but in any case, we are happy to be homeowners in the fine state of Wisconsin.

My favorite feature of our new house is how bright it is. Our California house has always felt so dark to me, but this new house is full of huge windows and, added to the open concept floor plan, makes for a very bright home. This is the living room:

I have been debating two-story curtains, but I think I am going to live in the house for a bit before I make a final decision. If I do decide on them, they would be something very neutral, maybe a silk dupioni. I like the idea of neutrals with mixed metals for the living room, I came up with something like this:

I have the two peacock prints, which have warm teals, golds, and touches of rust, good starting points for a nice, cohesive palette.

We are in California for a few more days, packing up our home, and then we will be making a road trip to our new home. Stay tuned for more of our adventures!