Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The scarf is finally finished. Hope you like it, Brother. Yarn used, Knit Picks Merino Style in Moss and Leaf. Knitted on size 6 needles for a tighter weave, but this left me without enough yarn for my plan. I worked out a fix that will provide a more acceptable length (the required 61"). I hope the color blocking pattern is acceptable to you. If you find that you aren't wearing this very soft, warm scarf in L.A., please send it back cause it's freezing up here. Love, Nicole.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Out of all the things I do around this house, I'm glad that something very important has finally gotten done (with the help of a professional). In one day, my front door went from this, YUCK! The results of a bothced paint job from someone who claimed they knew what they were doing, NOT!

To this. Aaaah. Me and the kids made up a little song. Like to hear, it? Here it go... Who has the best door in the neigh-bor-hooooood? We, do, weeeee dooooo!

And, all though I've learned how to hold back the tears when I feel overwhelmed with all the responsibilities I have around here, I still appreciate any help that I can get. For example, HP, just 3, without complaining, folded these dish towels up for me. Yes, I put them in the linen closet just like that.

You go, girl!!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Well, I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. We went up to Sparks, Nevada with my parents. They don't celebrate the holiday, so we didn't do anything special. That doesn't really matter since we ate the food I brought up there and we just really wanted to be together anyway. They live in the Bay Area and picked us up on the way. Great! I didn't have to drive and I got a lot of knitting done. From my house, the drive was lovely. We were traveling on 80 East. Snow on one side of the car, and beatiful greenery on the other, all with clear blue skies. I'm almost finished with the back of DJ's Down Under sweater. The pattern works up pretty quickly

on size 10 needles, and I've only got 2 1/2 more balls to go with the Forbes Forrest scarf. Did you notice the major error I made with it in it's last post? I'd never knitted a chart before and instead of going from right to left from left to right I was only going from left to right. So, although I was doing the stiches correctly, they weren't looking right. I know now and I'm pleased with the outcome. I can't wait to block it so that I can get rid of that nasty curl. For DJs sweater I used Bernat Softee in Grey Heather. I'll have to go get more yarn since, while knitting, I decided to make it about 4 1/2 inches longer than the pattern called for. The instructions stated to start shaping the armhole after 12 1/2 inches and I knew that this just would not do. We prefer longer tops. I knitted a lot of the sweater on the long ride home. What should have taken 1 1/2 hours took about 6 becuse of the snow. We even had to get chains. This is the main reason I rarely go up there even though I live so close.

Today, we'll be making a pine cone candle holder. You can see HP doing what she did all weekend long, look for pine cones. To my knowledge, she'd never seen one before Thursday, and was quite facinated that someone would leave something so cool lying around. The kids seem happy when we're on our way home, but things get a little testy from being in the car for so long. We're going to South Lake Tahoe next month, and I think we'll catch the bus.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sometimes you just have to step back.

I had to take a break from my on-the-side sweater. I took too long of a break the last time and when I came back, I made the sleeves too big. I've been having a problem with the sleeves since day one since they never have really worked up according to the pattern. The pattern says increase on each side of each row 10 times and then on each side of every other row 8 times. To me, this says that I should be finished increasing after 26 rows. The end result should leave you with 86 stiches. Problem is, I get to 86 stiches after about 15 rows. So, I decided to try to work this issue into the pattern. It might have worked if I'd tried to make the size small sleeve and not the large. For now, I just have sweater body that fits great and two sleeves that leave room for about 3 times as much floddle as I actually have. I'll get you a pic later.

But for now, in order to cool myself off from this small disaster, I started on a gift for my brother that I've been meaning to do for a long time. I finally found a pattern that was suitable for him in the book Scarf Style. It's the pattern Forbes Forrest. Since I'm trying to bust some of my stash too, I have to make it in two different colors. My brother chose moss green and leaf green (I spoke to my mom and she said green is all he can think of nowadays, so it makes sence that he would choose these colors), with the darker green on each end of the 61" scarf. It's coming out good so far, but my knitting inexperience left out the fact that it's not so cool to mix colors for any project who's right side is the purl side. Oh well, this error should only be noticed slightly to the very nosy individual who examines the piece close enought to notice these two rows. Hope you like it so far big bro!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

I didn't have any pictures with my last entry, but there are lots today. First, let me assure you that I have been doing what my kids call "yarning." First, I want to start off by showing you the toddler sweater that I adapted from an adult pattern. It wasn't such a smart thing to do since it was one of my first knitting projects, however, I'm very adventurous. What went wrong? The head hole is too small, I think. HP's head is in the 75th percentile, so I am going to make sure to try the sweater on a narrow headed kid before throwing it in the reject pile. I've also kept up with the On-The-Side Cardigan from the Hip To Crochet book. I think it will be cool for kicking around the house or running errands. It looks so cozy to me. I've slipped stich the side seams together and am pinning in the sleeves now. I even saw the shell buttons at Wal-mart, and the acrylic yarn I've used worked well. The stiches are a little more plump, but I think it's working out. Outside of yarn world, like I told you last post, I baked HP a teddy bear cake. She loved it, and that makes me happy. The indentations came out a little better than they did for the car cake because the pan instructions required a one hour baking time. Unfortunately, this doesn't make decorating the darn thing any easier. You need pure skill for that. Also, the extra 15-20 minutes baking time made for a dry cake. Once again, I was supposed to blot stars on, but that didn't work out so I just spread the icing on there. At least you could tell what kind of bear it was supposed to be. Poor thing. It doesn't know what's coming to him. When I asked her what piece she wanted, she request that I cut off his head and later bit off his toes, elbow, and left paw. I also made some cheesecake cupcakes for the daycare. For her gift I got her a trunk full of dress up clothes, which she also loved, and they came with these "bling-bling" plastic pumps which she can't get enough of. I got the trunk from Costco for $29.99. The clothes seem like good quality, but unfortunately her favorite outfit has enough glitter in it to make our house look like a disco. Her birthday was a week and a half ago and we still have glitter in our hair. Ta-ta! Decorations complete! Cheesecake cupcakes.
Your wish is granted!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Well, my youngest child is 3 today. Happy Birthday, HP! I made her some cheesecake cupcakes and a teddy bear cake. I used marble fudge icing since against the cake pan manufacturer's suggestion. It called for a mixture of regular consistency cake with pound cake. I guess I could have done that, but decorating this cake was too much effort and I didn't want to have to worry about making a toping to go with that pound cake too. And with the icing, that would have been too much. So, I just used white and chocolate for this panda bear (my 9-yr old tells me pandas are not really bears). Baking the cake is the easy part. Decorating them is a whole other thing. I gotta start hooking up with my cuz in Oakland again, whos made wedding cakes.

Friday, September 22, 2006

It's been a very long time, I know. But thanks for sticking with me. Yeah, right. I know hardly anyone looks at this blog. Although I've been away, I have been crafting. I need to, especially since I've been going through some crazy times, not having a permanent full-time job and all. I made a travel bag, which I think is pretty cool, cause if you stretch it out, just through it in the wash and it will shrink back up. I'm gonna have to since I chose to make mine white. I still haven't finished HP's sweater. Her head is too big for the head hole, I'm going to just make it in the stockinette stitch. I started a sweater for myself. One I've been wanting to make for a long time. Of course, I used a less expensive yarn as usual. The acrylic seems to be working out fine so far. Now, I'm trying to learn how to make socks on two sticks. I'm improvising as I go along because I didn't want to make them for myself. HP has this orange corduroy dress she needs some to go with. I know this is probably not the greatest idea since I've never knitted socks before, but oh well, I'm going for it. I know, I know, I've really got to commit to one project and finish it. My abandonment rate has increased for some reason. I think it's time for a nice safe blanket or scarf. I mean after all, this is supposed to be relaxing, isn't it. I've also been taking an online class. Business with an entrepreneur's emphasis.

I like it so far, the book is really insightful. It's my first online class though, and I hope I'm doing everything right. We're required to
take quizzes and post to the discussion board, but the only thing that I can see my grades for are the quizzes. Of course there are some offline assignments due closer toward the end of the term that weigh pretty heavily on our grades. I also read this good book about black folks and their skin tone. It's set in a time period a few decades back, but I think it's still relevant for us today. Ya'll ought to check it out. It's called Something Deep In My Bones by Eboni Snoe. Man, I wanted to kill that granny myself!

My son turned the big 9.0. Whew! This sure is hard for me to deal with. But, for the first time I baked him a cake instead of buying it at the store. It was supposed to look like a NASCAR. It didn't, but he totally loved it, and that's good. I'll do it for HP next month too. I'm planning on making a butterfly, but we'll see. I was sooo stressed out and nervous about the car. I used super moist boxed cake and so any indentations that were supposed to be baked on for me to follow were too moist to see. I even put whipped cream filling with strawberries, bananas and peaches. It was a success. All of the day care kids had seconds. I'll have to pat my own self on the back. The kids are doing great, but Lord, I'll be glad when HP grows out of those terrible twos. The tantrums get really fierce sometimes. Sometimes, I'm so tired I just let her go in her room to rant and rave till she passes out. Exibit A... Can you find the quiet in this storm? I wouldn't call this one a diva in training. I trully do think that she has already arrived. I'd like to begin referring to myself as the diva tamer. I know what you're thinking, but I sware she came out like this. Since it was just me and her during those first months, I don't have any witnesses. We were watching the movie "Take the Lead," and the kids started dressing up in the evening attire. When the that actress "Ya-ya" began to put her dress on, HP walks up to the television and shouts, "You're not the princess!" We just had to shake our heads on that one because we really weren't that surprised.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Well, I'm almost done with the cable sweater for HP. I just have to assemble the pieces and do the neck edging. I'm on pins and needles because the pattern is originally for an adult. I made it a toddler size by using fingering/DK weight yarn and smaller needles. I'm trying to wet block, but I feel as if I'm doing something wrong. I've completely submerged the pieces, but the edges are still kinda curly. Thank God they're at least the same size. It took so long for me to get this far because I was working on a tank for a friend. I hope she likes it, but I'm glad to be getting back to my own projects. While waiting for the blocked pieces to dry, I've started on a pair of great fingerless gloves that I got from the knitty.com website. These are perfect for someone like me with ice cold hands in whatever kind of weather. Since I'm new at knitting, I'm being challenged in several different ways. 1. Knitting in the round, 2. Knitting with double pointed needles, and 3. Knitting cable after cable after cable. I think I've overcome all of them nicely, but I'm a little worried about adding the thumb. I've read ahead and I don't understand the instructions . Oh well, wish me luck! Next I'm going to start a cute shrug made from ribbon yarn. The project looks like it will work up quickly. It seems perfect for the office AC. I swear, I have to coordinate every outfit with a jacket, and I get tired of wearing the same ones over and over again. After that, I'm finally going to get started on my Green Gable Sweater. I had to learn how to knit first. And low and behold, by 2:00, Monday 7/31/06, the left hand. Great stash buster. It was the last ball of yarn left over from the Zig Zag skirt.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The organization project is coming along. And, I'm sure ya'll can even picture the vision that I described in the previous post about my plans for this area of my room. This shelf has been lying on the floor in the hallway since February. Oooh, that's probably something that I should have kept secret. Oh well, time to move forward now. I am still going to put a curtain behind it so that the division of the two areas can be very distinct. I know that the positioning of the shelf seems questionable, but I have thought of safety, due in part to the insistence of my paranoid dad. No, I am not in denial. I know that my toddler is bad as h-e-double hockey sticks. But, we love her and don't want a giant shelf to fall on top of her when she tries to climb it. She's already made it about half way up. I swear, mine is going to be the first black family on Nanny 911. Daddy, the following images will prove to you that this shelf ain't going no where. First, I countersunk two heavy duty dry wall anchors; Second, I procured myself an L bracket and attached it to the wall; Third, I bolted the L bracket to the shelf at the joint. Ta-da! Instant safety. In the world of crochet.... I've been trying to work on this tank for the friend of my aunt. She loved HP's so much, she asked me to design one for her. I've been trying, but I haven't been able to focus and I keep messing up. The stitches are very tiny, which is ok for a tiny tank, by not one for a plus size, like us. So, I for now I have to give up. She'll still have a tank, but It's going to have to be her second choice, which already has a pattern. She became so impressed when HP and I wore our tanks on the same day. Her second choice comes from the same book that I got this one from. In the mean time, I've been knitting away at the Crystal Palace cable sweater which I've converted to toddler size by using sock yarn and size 3 circulars. It's coming out great so far, and I can't wait to finish. After these projects, I'm going to try to knit the Green Gable. Most of it looks easy, but the new stitch does offer a challenge for me. Come back to see the results. Also, DJ has been gone to his dad's since the first week of June. I've missed him sometimes, but I really think I needed the break. I've been slacking off majorly when it comes to things like cooking and laundry. Interesting how having one less child in the house makes this possible. However, my dinners have been healthy, although not conventional. Breakfast for dinner was not my invention, but it works well often.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I'm knittin' ya'll!
And I am so proud of myself. My tutor at work kept going on about how difficult doing a cable sweater is. Well, it may be but when it comes to yarn, I am up for the challenge. And I must say so myself that I've been doing pretty well. I learned to knit so that I could make a project for my son who feels excluded when he always sees me working on things for me or his sister. The boy had the nerve enough to complain about the color of yarn that I'd been reserving just for him. Huh! But ya know, when I started working the project I kinda felt the same way. This variegated color scheme wasn't what I thought it would be. That's cool, I'm converting this adult pattern into a toddler size by using smaller needles and yarn, and the toddler is exited about getting yet another sweater. I'll find some other color for the boy, cause I have a feeling I'm gonna be making this sweater over and over again until I get a little more adventurous, or more money to buy more yarn. Ta ta.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

One thing this weekend was not is a bust. I met my parents up in Windsor. I'd never heard of that place before this weekend, but it's near the wineries in Sanoma. We got there Saturday evening, which was cool. Even the kids vowed to kick back in front of the TV once we got to the time share. Which was quite cozy I might add. My step-mom said she'd been to better ones, but this one was like a little apartment. The next morning they had to do the traditional meet-and-greet with the time share people. But then that afternoon we took a lovely drive to California's Old Faithful (pretty cool), and a winery with free tastings who's name I can't remember (Suitui, I think). I definately want to do it again. The winery thing that is (with not kids). I started this cute little tank that I think I'll be done with in a few days. Maybe I'll wear it next weekend if I can get a sitter. Pleeeease, Daddy! I'm so grateful my dad still allows me to be a mooch at my age. With two, kids, I prolly would never get to do anything if he didnt. My brother does too, and I feel guilty. But if it wasn't for those two and others who help me with the kids, I would never get treated to anything. Well, enough of feeling sorry for myself, I know I don't deserve any of your charity guys, but I'm sure happy to accept it. Oh yeah, I'm promise to update these blogs with pics, but with my dial up (yes, I said dial up) it's taking too long to update them lately. I'll try again tonight if I can get a moment of peace. Ta ta.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I don't even know where to start. I try not to get too personal in this blog that's dedicated to crochet, but it's just starting to take too much effort not to disclose my personal struggles. Last week, I found out that the company that I work for, who already doesn't pay me enough to make ends meet is closing our location in August. I thought to myself, what's next?! The only reason that I've been with this company so long is so that I could find an ideal job (which this was supposed to transition into but never did). No ideal job yet. So, now I have to just get any ole job. I must say, that one thing that I've learned how to do well since becoming a mother is crying with no tears. I refuse to let my children grow up with harsh memories about the struggles I go through to keep them at peace. Don't get me wrong, I want them to understand the value of a dollar, but as I bite into this delicious pear which I can't afford, I can't help thinking "damn!, I can't even enjoy my pear." I don't want them to have these types of mental struggles. I think that more than anything I am angry. Very angry of my current existence. I know what I'm experiencing is nothing new under the sun. I've been doing this solo thing for sooo long now that it is getting really old. I kept hoping to see God's miracle of grace before now (like I normally do). But nothing yet. He hasn't let me down yet, but then again, I haven't been in his presence as much as I used to. No where near. I'm so conflicted!

Monday, May 15, 2006

I haven't been crocheting as much as I'd like to. I don't know where my motivation has gone. However, HP got a chance to wear the tank. She was very pleased with her outfit that day. Telling everyone to look at her top and skirt. Hmmmm, I guess humility is not something that already comes embroidered in the fabric of our DNA. She did look cute that day, and we had a nice time hopping about town running errands. Many who know me, after meeting my daughter frequently comment on how much character I had as a child (they don't put it this nicely). But, I don't ever remember doing the types of things she does. Sure, I gave my fare share of back-talk. But this child, oh my God! She was upset that I put her in timeout, and decided to protest by pulling out her hair. Why would she do something like that? At age 2, can she already know me well enough to know on just how deep a level this type of behavior disturbs me? Pray for us, please. To try to manage some of the many stresses in my life, I've decided to plant a garden. Granted, I'm not doing it whole heartedly. I've cleared out some weeds in the yard, and am going to see what the sandy soil will do. I fertilized too. In a few days, we should start to see something. I can already see the tiny lettuce sprouts. It's hard getting out there in the sun, even though we're covered with sunscreen and insect repellent. The kids seemed down with helping at first, but HP just wanted to through dirt everywhere and DJ spent most of the time running away from nature. I have to admit, there is a bit much of it out there sometimes. I get tired of having to constantly look over my shoulder. Seeing a snake cross your path ain't no big thing. And there are plenty of these fence lizards around to feed them, not to mention the mice. Well, hopefully we can enjoy the fruits of our labor. I'm kinda scared though, because there are still so many signs of construction work out there. I could barely dig in spot where there weren't some rusty nails or staples or something. Didn't they keep track of this stuff? Well, one of the real reasons crochet has been on hold for now is because I'm trying to learn how to knit. Sure am. I'm learning the hard way that fixing a mistake is not as easy as ripping out a row. I want to learn so that I can make some cute sweaters for DJ. There just aren't that many crochet patterns out there. I tried when he was like 5 (my own design), but after trying it on, I decided that it looked too much like it was for a girl. So, I gave it to Dom. I wonder if she still has it. I"ll talk to you again soon, and I promise sooner than a month from now. Ta ta.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Well, even though I haven't been blogging a lot I have been crocheting. The kids were taking portraits and I also wanted to use this as a moment to display one of my creations. I thought I would use ribbons for the shoulder straps, but H.P. kept pulling at them and unraveling the ends. So, after that failure, I constructed these straps. I still need to find some workable fasteners though. The detail on the front is very beautiful, but it doesn't really offer a secure posting place for buttons. I also need to take some time to edit the pattern. Hmmmm, I'll figure something out. This week has not been a great one. Among other things, not only does H.P. have a mysterious fever that the daycare folks forgot to inform me of when I picked her up, but D.J. fell face first on the pavement at school. I got a call at work today with the scary news. His two brand new front teeth were bleeding, but not loose. In any case he has to wear two fat lips around for a while. On top of all of these issues and not being able to keep up with the laundry (I have to look for a pair of draws for that boy tonight), it's been raining so much that you have to rush home to mow the lawn whenever the sun comes out. I recently terminated the gardeners who were were hardly doing any work and trying to take advantage of me. Therefore, I have to tackle the problem of the back yard lawn that's basically completely overtaken by weeds. The weed and feed won't work if you apply it one day and then it rains the next. This week's forecast has been good, but I've been lazy. Or let's say, I haven't had enough to give to every area in my life that needs attention lately. Pray with me. I've also started another project. This WIP is a serious adaptation of what the designer calls a christening shawl. I plan to use it as that duvet cover for the toddler bed that I never got around to designing myself. I'm working it in cotton thread because the pattern calls for three cones of this beautiful silk that costs $30-40 each. If this works out the way I hope, I'll make the investment, but for now it's the cheap stuff.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Rearview. I think I'll call it "Granny's Baby" Posted by Picasa

WIP Posted by Picasa Well, my model is not being perfectly still, but you can probably tell what this is intended to be. A cute 3/4 length sweater made from variegated yarn, which to me is just awesome. In my opinion, you can't really capture the true beauty of this yarn by tainting it with complicated stitch patterns. So, I've decided to stick with the SC, and it's working out just fine. I'm half way done, but I don't think that I have enough yarn, and my next knitpicks order is pending until April. Hmmmm, what to do...

Try To Visualize... Posted by Picasa I know it's a mess now, put I have big plans for this area. When I first moved into this house, this was supposed to be my retreat. But, since I had to make room for another child, I lost my office/storage space and this became it. I'm determined to reclaim this space and make it beautiful. I just have to get organized. I've purchased a huge cube shelf at Ikea, which I also plan to use as a divider. This way, I'll get to have an office, a little workshop, and even a retreat. I'm sure I can fit it all in here. I just have to use some extra creativity. Believe it or not, this area looks about 30% better than it did before I shot this picture. It's so hard to find the time to clean up a totally trashed area. My goal is to get it done before the end of Spring. Pray for me.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

What's For Dinner?

My kids loooooove Tuna Helper. They thinks it's a delicacy. Who knew? Maybe it's because I started them out on Salmon Fetuccini. We all love this. This is a recipe that I got from my Uncle Arthur a while ago. I fell in love with it and we never get tired of it. It's fast to prepare and make. Want the recipe?

1 Small salmon filet
Equal parts chopped basil and garlic (I like about two tablespoons at least, I love garlic)
1 Pat of butter OR 1 1/2 tblsp of olive oil
1 tsp of Lawry's Season Salt
1/4 tsp of garlic powder, onion powder
6 ounces of heavy whipping cream
1/2 teason of dried rosemary
1/8 tspn of black or white pepper
1 lb of fresh fetuccini

Season the Salmon Filet lightly with Seasoned Salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and rosemary. Broil under oven's broiler for about 10-12 minutes or until filet is cooked through.

In a medium to large wok, saute garlic and basil in the butter or oil and set aside. When the Salmon is done, shred the flesh only into the pan with the garlic and basil, then add the whipping cream. Bring to a light boil, cover and simmer for about 5-8 minutes. Season with Lawry's to taste.

Boil your pasta, rinse, drain, and pour directly into the salmon sauce you've just made. Toss well. You can use the extra basil by mixing it with a nice green salad.

See, I told you that was easy. And so, so, good.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ok, so the zig-zag skirt's been finished for a while now... but I haven't worn it, and I probably won't till next year cause it's too tight. Grrrrrr! I checked my gauge over and over. I guess I just got tired of ripping out and tried to just visualize it going on effortlessly and hanging just right. It didn't work. Oh well, something to look forward to.