I had a really nice weekend! I spent the whole weekend shopping, crafting and cooking – what better, right?

Friday, after we’d ran errands ( you know, paying bills, all that pain in the butt stuff) we went to GameStop and I picked up Leisure Suit Larry (Magna Cum Laude). It’s a smarmy, mature rated game and it’s funny as hell. I rented it some time ago and really liked it. They had a used copy at GameStop and with the credit we had on our card I got it for free! After that I hit the Dollar Tree that was conveniently next door and found a few bento supplies.

bento boxes

I got the Hello Kitty bento there. I also picked up some little plastic picks there.

We hit Safeway after that just to pick up some soda for Paul, but wound up leaving there about $50 poorer because of the great deals we found! They had grapes for .75 a pound and I started buying up some supplies for my bento lunches.

bento stuff

Even though Paul was tired I made him take me to another dollar store before we went home. I don’t think it has a name…now that I think about it. I picked up the other two bento boxes shown above, as well as some tiny cookie cutters and a HUGE bag of chopsticks for a buck. There were probably 200 packages of chopsticks in the bag!

I wandered around there and was thrilled when I came across these:

mini furniture

They’re obviously not top quality, but I think they’re nice starters. I plan on making some mods to them. The little hutch’s doors don’t open, but if I can find some super tiny hinges I’ll be changing that. I think the second piece will become an entertainment center and I might put the desk in my crafty room. I read on the package that there are six different furniture pieces in the series so I think I’ll be popping back over there periodically to see if I can find the other three.

I finished some knitting this weekend as well! I’ve noticed a growing trend in the grocery stores of racks upon racks of reusable shopping bags. At .99 apiece they’re a good deal, but why buy them when I can make my own that are not only bigger, but cuter and more unique?

knit shopping bag

I used this pattern on size 15 needles. The body of the bag went super quick and I modified the pattern to in the round so I wouldn’t have to seam the bag. I also picked up only 60 stitches for the top on size 10 needles. The handle felt like it took forever, but I think it was just because I was impatient to finish it. I hope to make several more of these. It holds an unbelievable amount, probably more than I can comfortably carry at once!

I also promised pictures of the miniature foods I’ve been making, so prepare for several more pictures!

mini purple cake

This is my favorite so I’ll post it first! Chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, covered in purple fondant with a teensy white flower on top. I cut a piece out of it so you could see the frosting inside 😀 It’s just barely an inch across.

mini potatoes and carrots

Tiny potatoes and carrots!

mini french loaf

A perfectly toasted loaf of french bread.

mini donuts

A dozen various donuts – two maple bars, two glazed, two apple fritters, two jelly filled, two frosted, and two cinnamon twists!

mini cupcakes

Three super tiny hostess cupcakes. These little suckers were so fun to make but hard! Those squiggles on the tops were so hard to make! The cupcakes are only about 1/4″.

mini apples

A whole bunch of crisp red apples! I need to make a little basket to put them all in.

Finally, a set of eight plates.

mini plates unfinished

They’re currently unfinished. I need to sand them smooth, paint them and glaze them. I’m looking forward to making matching bowls and a little scared of the challenge of making cups to go with them.

Hope I didn’t kill your connection with all these pictures! I plan on posting a picture of my bento lunch this afternoon. I know y’all can’t wait!

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Thursday was mine and Paul’s 11th anniversary.  We were lacking in funds until Friday and so it went by kind of quietly.  He wrote me the sweetest note EVER and we spent the evening cuddling and reflecting.  He surprised me by letting me know he’d planned a vacation day for Friday and so we got a little more time this weekend than I expected.

Friday we went to our favorite Chinese food place, where we ate (and ate, and ate) and it was wonderful because we hadn’t been there in months.  They’d rearranged their buffet and added an entirely new section with more dishes.  Their shrimp and broccoli is my new favorite!

We’d originally planned on going to Laughlin so we could have seafood and play the slots, but we decided we’d just stay in town and treat ourselves since chances are we’d walk out of the casinos with nothing.  I bought myself some new pajamas, Paul treated himself to Star Trek action figures (Geordi La Forge and  Lore) and then we both got new video games.  I loved the first Cooking Mama for the ds, so I bought the new one that just came out.  Things were normal, kind of boring, but we got some new toys and spent most of Friday and Saturday fawning over one another.

I took a break on virtual cooking last night to make some ds swag.  I’ll post some pictures tomorrow or Tuesday.

I’ve got to go grocery shopping today and get some housecleaning done.  I did laundry yesterday so luckily that’s one thing that I don’t have to worry about.

Wow…is this like the most boring entry ever or what?!

I’m still trying to decide what to work on now that I’m finished with the afghan.  There’s several things I have planned and a few things already in the works.  I’m about halfway through Orno Abaci, I need to finish my dad’s hat (which I’ve run out of steam on and DO NOT want to finish!), a pair of gloves for the guy that my mother in law takes care of, Bombshell for myself (which I’m not sure if I want to finish).  I don’t want to work on any of them though.  I have a house dress pattern I wanted to try out for my mother in law but I just keep dragging my feet.  Ugh.

I managed to get my kitchen cleaned this morning and a steak marinating for dinner.  Paul went to rent Cars since we’ve never seen it and we’ve been on a kids’ movie kick.  We watched Ratatouille the other night and it was so cute!

I’m still working on unravelling the sweaters from week before last.  I’ve given up on the body of the light blue one because it’s just too felted to pull apart.  I got good yarn out of the sleeves though and it was a decent amount.  I’ll felt the body more and cut it up to make a purse or something.  The light pink sweater has a nylon thread running with the yarn and it’s stretching at a different rate than the yarn and breaking and ugh!  I’ll use that for something else as well.  It just goes to show that even after recycling tons of sweaters that I can run in to a not so great one every once in awhile.

I’m off to find something to work on, start dinner and let the dog in.

This weekend was a whirlwind of crafting.  Toss in a little grocery shopping, some cleaning and I’m ready to go back to bed lol!

I was going to write a post about how I had to wait to take pictures because my husband stole my camera batteries for his remote control car and decided that in the time it would take me to write and complain I could get pictures.  Turns out though that I didn’t even have to do that, because my batteries were a little more juiced than I thought!

Picture 196

I made these last week, but never posted them.  Our dishcloth weekly knitalong on ravelry was the Feather & Fan dishcloth.  I decided to take it one step further and make a dishtowel to go with it.  I’d never done a dishtowel before with the little hanger on top so I just sort of winged it.  I cast on 60 stitches for the towel (54 pattern stitches and 3 border stitches on each side) and just worked the pattern until it was about 12 inches.  For the towel topper:

Row 1: K2tog across.

Row 2: Knit.

Row 3: K2tog across.

Row 4: Knit.

Row 5: K2tog three times, K 3, K2tog three times.

Row 6 – 36: Knit.

Row 37: K 3, BO 3, K 2

Row 38: K 3, CO 3, K 3

Knit five rows, BO.

Ugh.  Sorry if those simple instructions take up so much room.  I hate the way wordpress does that.

Anyway.  I was supposed to meet up with my bestest friend on Thursday afternoon, but the cold that Paul’s had was once again trying to thwart me.  I called Shan and bailed and slept most of the day.  That night, around midnight or so I caught her on messenger and we decided to go to our old haunt and have some coffee and crochet.  I’m a smoker, and when our town implemented the smoking ban on restaurants I stopped going to our local truck stop.  We used to be found there at least once a week (like clockwork!) to visit and drink copious amounts of coffee.  It was sucky not being able to smoke there, but it was worth getting some visiting time in with my best friend and starting the afghan we’re working on together!

We picked an absolutely gorgeous project if I say so myself!  It’s called Prairie Star and you can get the pattern here.  You crochet the motifs together as you go and it’s a fairly quick afghan so far!  I suspect that it’ll take longer to see progress as I go lol.

Picture 197

Shan’s doing hers in blues and purples and I’m going a little earthier on mine.  I’m starting to re-think the dark burgundy in the center, but I think it’ll turn out okay.  It needs a little “pop” anyway.  It’s really easy to memorize the motifs after a few, you just need to keep track of where the different colors go.  It’s starting to get big enough now that I need a lot more room to work on it and I’m not even halfway finished!  I can’t wait to see the end result though.

Here’s the Orno Abaci scarf I’ve been working on:

Picture 199

I don’t think it looks like much right now, but it’s quite impressive looking in person.  It’s knit on the bias and I really like the way it’s a straight scarf but it’s stitches are diagonal.  I’m just starting to get in to the color changes that are closer together so I’m feeling good about it now that I’m seeing some progress.  It’s SO soft and squooshy.  I think it’s a scarf I’ll actually keep and wear!

This weeks dishcloth knitalong is the Tribble

Picture 198

It’s a fairly quick little scrubby and it’s fun to see it come together.  It’s exactly like the Tawashi, (which I think I posted a picture of previously) except it’s knit instead of crocheted.  Someone on ravelry posted that she’d put nylon scrubby fabric in the center of hers to keep it puffed out and I think I may do the same with some of the ones I’m making.  It’s a great little pattern for using up extra scraps of cotton, which I have a lot of laying around!

I also did some sewing this weekend!

Picture 200

My mother in law and I keep missing each other for various reasons, so I decided to just start working on my sewing.  Yes, it’s really that pink (which brings to mind Princess Peach, Barbie and bubble gum) but I’m planning on doing some stencilling on it when it’s all finished.  I’m not really using a pattern, but a tutorial I got off of Craftster.  It’s dead easy and coming out very nicely.  It’s the first project I’ve ever put a zipper in (eek!  It was kinda scary).  The t-shirt I used to cut out my pattern was the largest I had and so it’s big even on me.  It’ll be nice and comfy though and I’m looking forward to wearing it when I can’t get warm in this damned house.  I’m taking my time on it and sewing it together slowly.  The body is completely together and now I’ve just got one pocket, the hemming and the actual hood to put on.  I should be finished with it in the next couple of days.

I even took time to mess with my altered book this weekend.  Nope, I didn’t sleep much.

Picture 201

I started working on this page awhile ago, intending it to be for journalling, but I didn’t get very far.  I pulled out my ephemera and rifled through it to find this classic beauty.  The little tag is from Home Depot, I stole obtained a bunch few of the countertop samples awhile ago and they’re great for all sorts of crafts.

I didn’t work on my sweater this weekend at all.  Or my dad’s hat.  I’ve been trying to give all my crafts equal opportunity, but some win out over others.  They’ll all get done eventually though!  I’ve been thinking a lot about tags for my wearables and I’m still stuck.  I don’t really plan on selling my finished objects (most of which I couldn’t even if I wanted to because they’re other peoples patterns) but I’d like a more finished look when I’m giving gifts.  I need a name and Chaotic Crafts just doesn’t seem to ring to me.  Still pondering, I’ll figure it out eventually.

I’m hoping to get the motivation to go through my dining room and kitchen cabinets today and clean them out.  We’ve got so much crap that we don’t use that I want to get rid of.  Maybe then I’d have room for the stuff I want to keep! 

This new year seems to be coming in quietly.  Pssst…let’s wake up!

I’m not a resolution making type of person.  It was a slow process learning that.  I’d make resolutions and break them year after year.  A couple of years ago I finally decided that I was done making them.  So why on Earth do I keep wanting to?!

I’m sure it’s the hope of a new year, starting fresh and all that.  I’d LIKE to make resolutions, but I really feel as if I’m setting myself up for failure when I do.  I just can’t win!  So with that in mind, I’m prepared to just try and make some changes.  Maybe if I don’t label them as resolutions I won’t feel so pressured?

This year I’m going to try and craft more for myself.  Whether it’s useful or just fun, I want to stop feeling obligated to give to everyone else when I’m doing all the work.  I’m going to stop feeling like I’m being selfish for doing so!  I’m not going to stop doing for others, but just take a little more time for myself.  That’s the plan.

I’m also going to start trying to do some more home improvements.  This includes but is not limited to

  • Keeping the house clean.  I’m home, there’s absolutely no reason NOT to except that I’m lazy and like to craft too much.
  • Get the yard in decent shape.  I can’t really grow anything because of the weather and the dogs, but that doesn’t mean there has to be piles of branches and junk out there either.
  • Find that damned leak in the roof and fix it!
  • Get a new door this year, if I have to build the frakken thing myself.

I’m also taking on a bit of a personal challenge.  I’m getting desperate to get my stash culled and cleaned.  I’ve got partial balls of yarn and scraps as far as the eye can see and I’m tired of looking at them!  I love yarn.  LOVE it.  But I’m having a hard time enjoying what I have because of all the little stuff that I continually pass over.  It’s my goal to get my stash cut in half.  That’s approximately one tote of yarn gone.  I’m making the stash-ghan I mentioned a couple of days ago but I’m also trying to use bits here and there in other projects.  I got a little pissy yesterday because I don’t have enough of any one yarn to make myself a sweater.  Then I decided that that type of attitude isn’t going to take me far with destashing.  So; I’ll work on getting some of this yarn out of here and when I feel satisfied with my progress I’ll splurge and get myself enough of one yarn to make myself a sweater!  Simple.  Now, if I can stick with that I’ll be accomplishing something!

Along with the better housekeeping, I want to start cooking more.  We very very rarely go out to eat during the week, but when the weekend comes we eat almost every meal from a restaurant or fast food place.  THIS needs to stop!  Not only is it making us fatter than we already are, but it’s a huge drain monetarily.  Do you know how much YARN I could buy with all that money….wait….that’s probably not a good comparison lol.  But still, you get my point.  Neither of us are willing to give up our Friday take out, it’s just not going to happen.  It’s our special end-of-the-week treat and I think that’s fine.  However, waking up to an empty kitchen on Saturday and getting take out, and then Saturday night, and so on until we get to the grocery store has got to stop.

I’m thinking about working out a menu because that seems to work well and doing some freezer stocking cooking.  Neither of us are huge on breakfast, but we eat it on the weekends.  I figure I could make a few batches of pancakes and toss them in the freezer and keep breakfast burrito ingredients stocked.  Also, Paul isn’t a veggie eater (unless they’re raw) but I am.  I’m going to start stocking up on frozen veggies or fresh and freeze them myself.  There’s no reason I can’t eat them during the week while he’s at work and make single servings to add to my dinners.  The only reason I’m not getting my veggies is because I’m lazy.

I’m not ready to add weight loss to my non-resolutions yet.  I’ll get there.

In the meantime, I should be getting a bite to eat and getting the dishes done.  I have NO clean silverware and that’s just proof that I need to get my butt moving.

I don’t have much time, but wanted to come post really quick since it’s been almost a week.

Happy belated Thanksgiving to all!  Last week was a blur of Snickerdoodles and preparation.  On Tuesday I made about 300 or so cookies.  Yeah..insane.  I can’t GIVE them away quick enough.  There’s currently a gallon jar and a container that holds 15 pounds of flour left.  Crazy.

On Thanksgiving we went to my parents house.  We deviated from the norm and had baby back ribs and barbeque chicken.  Not really my thing because I really love traditional, but I was out-voted.  Even though it wasn’t turkey though it was really good.  My mom makes this barbeque sauce that is really great…I’ll have to get the recipe!

This whole weekend has gone by in a blur.  Paul and I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning on Friday and Saturday to play video games.  We rented Super Mario Galaxy (which is really really fun and a total trip to play!) and we bought Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles on Wednesday.  It’s a lot of fun but not quite what we expected.  I still foresee many nights of zombie killings though.  I’ve also been doing a TON of knitting.  I’ve got Paul’s Transformers toque about done and I’m almost done with two sweater fronts for a friends’ girls.  I had a duh moment and left one of them at my mom’s house on Thanksgiving but Paul should be about there to pick it up for me.

Anyway, I’m on a mad dash to clean the kitchen and living room.  I promised myself that I would start decorating for Christmas tomorrow.  I’ll be the only one to enjoy it since it’s not really Paul’s thing, but I figure I’m worth it.

One other thing.  Year before last I lost a lot of my Christmas stuff.  Ornaments, my tree skirt, lights, paper, etc.  Without getting to much in to it I’ll just say that my storage system did NOT work as planned and everything sustained water damage.  I’m going to make it a point this year, no matter how busy I am, to make at least one decoration per day.  Whether it be clay, knit, crochet, paper, I’m taking on a personal challenge to attain at least 24 Christmas decorations.  I think it’ll be pretty hard but I’m looking forward to the challenge and it will help me recoup some of my loss.  I spent too much time last year agonizing over all my heirlooms so this year I’m going to make new ones.

Okay, I really need to get going.  Books and movies and games are not going to organize themselves.

I’ve been feeling really listless the past few days.  I had a stomach ache from hell yesterday and didn’t realize it was from the highly acidic oranges I’ve been eating until my husband mentioned it.  Won’t be having any more of those!

I’m not working on any specific projects right now.  I started Oblique from Knitty but I need full concentration for it.  There’s five panels of different stitches on the back so I have to really pay attention.  Not really happening right now.  I started a scrappy afghan, just long strips of stockinette in random colors from my stash, broken up by a few rows of black in between.  It’s a good project for watching tv or surfing the net.  The Corazon mittens for my mother in law are still at the halfway mark.  I’ve heard of second-sock-syndrome, but mittens?  I guess it still applies.  The Transformers Toque for Paul has been languishing for a couple of days.  Oh, which reminds me…

Paul and I went to the Salvation Army on Friday.  We like to go in there to browse from time to time because it’s one of the biggest thrift stores in our area and there’s always neat little kitschy things there.  I found two 16 inch circulars for $1.25.  Why am I so thrilled?  Because around here you don’t find circulars that small unless you pay a pretty price at The Spinster.  I found them in size 2 and 3, which are what I like using the most for hats so that made me very happy.  I also found a Gap wool sweater in white/cream for $2.00 and there’s now about a pound or so of yarn sitting in cakes, waiting to be dyed.  I also found a copy of the Nanny Diaries, which I’ve been wanting to read but not pay full price for.  I’m about halfway through it and it’s pretty good!

Since I’m just jumping from topic to topic, I’ll keep going.  Well, sort of… I learned about recycling (or reclaiming) sweaters a couple of years ago.  There’s a lot of amazing fibers out there, but unless you’ve got a large budget it’s not always practical or affordable to spend $200 on enough yarn for a sweater.  I’d heard about recycling sweater yarn on a forum and decided to use my google-foo to find out more.  This is a good site to explain how to do it.  I like to stick to mainly worsted weight sweaters, single color, the larger the better.  The Gap sweater I found was the perfect recycling project because of a few things. 

1.  100% Lambswool

2.  No serged seams.

3.  Worsted weight

4.  A color I liked/was dyeable

5.  Single color

It was a raglan, so I got four large balls with no breaks.  Good seams make unravelling SO easy.  Just start on the end where the seam would have been finished in the factory, snip the crochet-looking chain and if you’re lucky you can “unzip” it all the way down with no breaks.  Once you have your pieces seperated, unravel the bind-off edge and just start pulling.  I use my ball winder and once the entire piece is wound, I pull the end out and re-ball it.  I do this because when I first ball it straight from the sweater piece it can be pretty tight.  You don’t want to leave your yarn in such a stressed state because it can pull it out of shape and cause gauge problems later on.

One of these days I’d like to make my own tutorial with lots of pictures.  I kind of want to do it now, but I know I’d get halfway through all the pictures and give up.  I’m that discombobulated.  Yucky.

I’m just going to go play around on Ravelry, drink my nut toffee coffee and hope that I’ve waved this fog away enough to get some housecleaning done later this morning.