Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mmmm, delicious!

No polish so far this week, as jet lag seems to be where I'm at. I did however decide that I should try to make marshmallows. Of course, I needed more invert syrup in order to make marshmallows, since I don't like to use corn syrup. You only need a small amount for marshmallows. The amount I make is more than a bit larger than the container I have for it, so I had to make something else too (or use a second container). I made orange lollipops. They were really good, until I popped them off the counter and put them all in the same pile. Then I ended up with one giant lollipop with bamboo skewers sticking out of it at odd angles. Stupid Kanazawa humidity.

I did make the marshmallows too, using toasted coconut flavoring instead of peppermint and rolling some in coconut flakes and the rest in a powdered sugar/cornstarch mix. Funny story about that flavor, I bought almond extract, but when I used it, it did not taste like almond extract. It tastes like toasted coconut. Not sure why exactly, but I went with it and now have it for any occasion where I might want such a flavor. Like when I want to try to make marshmallows but don't know if they'll come out right. They did by the way, and I definitely see myself making more of these and lollipops for things like winter parties - peppermint, raspberry, or orange flavored marshmallows for hot chocolate? Homemade Peeps? Yes, please!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I crack me up

I realized I have a lot of things I should do, such that I really should write a to-do list. I used to write lists all the time but then I stopped and haven't gotten in the habit again. I also forget to do things and/or get things done later than they should be done much more often now. I really should start making lists again. Really really.

Anyway, in e-mailing myself the list of things that need to be done and things that should be done, I found it to be pretty hilarious. Dinner is leftover pasta with zucchini and squash, just needs cucumbers for a side cucumber salad (heavy splash of vinegar and sprinkle of sesame seeds over very thin cucumber medallions is delicious as a side dish!). Won't need to do much there, but there are quite a few other things that should get my attention. I think I need to start focusing on realism when it comes to my time and capabilities:


Grocery shopping (cucumbers, Pepsi, powdered sugar, eggs)
Stretch calves!!!
Check hiking book
E-mail E
E-mail C
Ride for Saturday?
Choose clasps (1 - 3 sets, check Mom's e-mail) ( order (
Chocolate frosting (
Frost cake
Cake balls with trimmed edges?
Call TrueCredit if can't sleep
E-mail S
Blog Post
Block Stuff (5 projects)
Photograph all 12 in 2011 finishes (necklace, Lee's mask, striped socks)
Photograph other wintery finishes while you're at it
Also the flowers
Do Ikebana
Photograph those too
Water the flowers so they don't die
Maybe decide if the other things are weeds and pull them while you're out there
Since we're already in the realm of pretty much impossible, hem the purple shirt and mark the buttonholes for both
If I get that far, may as well do the buttonholes
Decide which shirt is nicer, short sleeves on that one, no sleeves for the other
Hopefully haven't run out of thread, put shirts and buttons onto growing pile of things to handsew
Iron in sock patches since I'll be using the ironing board already
Personal blog post (x a billionty)
Resist the urge to play with Blogger templates
Finish $ report

Of course, posting this list means I've got one of the last few things on the list done already before even starting most of the first bunch. Or doing the grading and lesson preparations for Friday that I should be doing now. Priorities! Mine are not healthy!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Conference

It was nice. We had more hands-on workshops than anticipated, and Aham's Scarf was easier than I thought, so I worked on that instead of getting all those socks done. I played with Legos:

And attended a LOT of talks that looked like this:

Also, I accidentally went to Sweden while trying to see Hamlet's Castle. On this train line, one direction is Helsingor, and the other one is Helsinborg, but we didn't realize that at the time. We were going over a lot of water and got somewhat concerned that we were not in fact going where we thought we were going, and it turns out, we were on our way to Sweden. Apparently this happens fairly often.

After getting back to the correct country, we saw Hamlet's Castle and had a good time.

I never did end up using the nail polish I brought. I got back yesterday and slept for 14 hours - apparently I needed it!

I finished only one of the four books I brought, and an e-book, as well as a pair of socks, a single sock from another pair, and I would have finished Aham's Scarf but I managed to drop the bag it was in. That bag also contained a glass bottle of chocolate milk, and a paper bag of candies for my travels. It was a very sad experience! I managed to get all the glass out of the yarn (I hope) and I rinsed out all the yarn and the scarf, but it remained wet for most of the rest of the trip. I'll probably finish it today or tomorrow though, because it is just about finished.

All in all, a good conference, a nice break from the daily grind, but now I have to unpack and get back to it. Sigh.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 2: Copenhagen

Well, the flight was long, but I made it! I also made the black Thujas, the necklace, and nearly finished the Moonrise Illusion. They had some good movies, and I had a couple of good books too.

The Moonrise Illusion is done now, and took less than half of the yarn I purchased for it. Good, because it allowed me to finish it in a timely manner, and bad, because it isn't taking all that much from the yarn tally and adding to the project-less stash, which I don't like. Stash with a purpose is not a problem, stash sans ideas, not so good.

It's a bit rainy here, but the bed is AMAZING! and I have a fridge in the room, so as soon as I can get to a grocery store (they have bad hours here) I'll be buying some pickles and turkey, and other things I can't easily get in Japan.
At the convenience store last night, I had my first Kinder Egg, a large chocolate egg surrounding a large plastic container that holds a surprise toy inside. Illegal in the US because of the no not-food inside food regulations, though I seriously doubt anyone could eat the surprise. It's huge and not exactly food-like:

I also got a pint of Ben and Jerry's, another awesome thing you cannot get in Japan, but didn't get a spoon at the convenience store. Luckily the hotel has a small kitchen with silverware. Strangely, the available spoons are reminiscent of Goldilocks - one was waaaaaaaaay too big and the other one probably wouldn't hold the coconut chunks inside the ice cream:

I chose to use the shovel. For now, I'm going to finish up the last couple rows on the Moonrise Illusion and cast on Aham's Scarf. The bus for today's conference activities leaves in 1.5 hours, so I have enough time to go over my presentation one more time, finish the Illusion knit, and start the other one to bring for the opening remarks before heading out.

Day 1: The 33 Hour Day

11.5 hours of flight and we arrive in less than 5 hours, local times. Friday night we went from Kanazawa to stay in Tokyo, because the school doesn't want any delays causing us to miss our 11:40 AM international flight. I would have rather had the night at home and gotten up early to get to Tokyo, but if they want to reimburse me for another day, who am I to complain? My Tokyo hotel room:

That bed is a LOT less comfortable than it looks.

In the last-minute rush that always happens, I forgot my bus card (no big deal, cash also works!) and brought the black Thujas, that I was going to put onto waste yarn and leave, but never did. I had less time than anticipated to work on them, so I was just into the gusset, and the foot needs to be 11" long. As of Saturday morning, it is 9" long, so I'll be doing the toe, then switching over to the necklace, and probably finishing the knitting on both before leaving the ground. For this flight, I'll be working on the Moonrise Illusion. There's six skeins of yarn available for this one, but I have no idea how many I'll use. It's simple knit and purl, knit all the RS rows, knit/purl on the WS, so will be fast and easy, but probably not fast and easy enough to finish on the plane. We'll see. I have 10 total projects for this trip, more than one per day, though one was a stowaway and I'm not planning to spend any time on the cross stitch. That is a rather lot of craft supplies, even if they are mostly one or two skein projects.

And I still packed the lightest out of the group I'm traveling with. Go figure!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Thursday got no polish, and Friday morning was just a removal and base coat. I brought the last two polishes, a clear topcoat, and a shimmery OPI gold for my trip. Hopefully I won't chip anything because I'm not bringing any remover, just planning to go over the colors for the 8 days to keep it all nice and fresh. We'll see if I end up blogging. Of course I'm taking my camera (this will be my first time in Copenhagen), but I'm not sure how much free and lucid time I'll have, or what kind of internet connection. As long as the jet lag doesn't kill me, the plan is to blog.
My rule of thumb for travel is to always bring one more project than you believe you'll work on, just in case one doesn't work out, you knit faster than anticipated, you have extra time or get delayed or other unforeseen circumstances leave you with more free time than anticipated. I have over 30 hours of airport/airplane/bus travel. I'm sure some will involve sleeping, but I'm bringing two larger illusion knit patterns with me for the 11 hour flights and the hotel room. I'll probably be knitting through most of the sessions at the conference - I'm the kind of person whose mind will wander unless I corral it, and a mostly mindless knit does the trick. For that, I have three pairs of socks (two Thujas, and I've already got that pattern 100% memorized) and two scarves, one of which is simple stripes for roughly two skeins of yarn (1/3 of the scarf). I've listed all that I'm bringing on the sidebar, everything between Mom's Ski Sweater and Rhiannon. Overkill? Maybe. However, I can probably get one Thuja done per day at the conference (4 days, all the Thujas), and I'll want a smaller project to pull out for bus rides, waiting at the airport, and the shorter in-Japan flight, which will probably be nearly all of Aham's Scarf. I'm also going to bring a small bit of yarn for a Cable Braided Necklace because it seems fast and easy and I would totally wear it with some of the shirts I'm bringing. Also a last minute packing impulse. I am impulsive sometimes.

My desktop background, for want of a better picture. This one is from our trip last summer to Denali National Park.

This almost certainly meets my one more project requirement, possibly two or three more, but I'm also going to toss in the Christmas ornaments cross stitch I'm working on, just in case I don't sleep on the plane rides, or at all during the conference, and knit the entire time. Luckily, I've finished the black Thujas so only have blank needles to bring with me. I may be bringing more yarn by volume than clothes to this conference. All my patterns are printed, I think I've got everything I need tool- and notions-wise, I've got reading materials, my laptop is packed along with an outlet adapter, my PowerPoint is pretty gosh darn spiffy and saved to multiple devices, the classes I'll be missing are completely ready to go - as long as I don't miss the first bus and set off a chain reaction of problems, I'm off to Denmark!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday Blahs

Love today's color:

So much so that I'm going to bring it to the conference as well. It's Vernis Absolu Nude 3, a nice light color that gives just a shimmer to bare nails and a lovely sheen to the darker polish below.

While I did get the extra yarn for the Penguin Scarf, I'm not going back to it this week. I know I won't finish it before leaving on Friday, so I'd much rather continue on the Thujas I'm working on for Lee. They're getting pretty close to done, one down, and as of this morning, a good start on the leg of the second:

I was hoping to finish the scarf before the conference so I could take the needles for another project, but it looks like I'll be bringing the scarf. I had planned to bring the black Malabrigo Rios, but now I'm trying to finish that before I go so I can just bring the needles for another pair of Thujas and not an additional mostly-finished project to add to the already too-large pile of yarn I'm taking. Looks like I will in fact finish this by the time I go on Friday! Well, probably not finished finished, but off the needles at the very least, with only ends to weave in and a wash/block to go.

Tuesday's Backwards Motion

Another repeat:

Hue Thrill Me, because this hue does in fact thrill me. I like it a lot. In fact, if I decide to bring just one nailpolish for the conference I'm going to later this week, this will be it.

Hey! Look over there! Behind you!

What do you mean, new yarn? I have no idea what you're talking about. Nope. None.

I went to the fabric store to try to find gray fleece for the blanket backing (of course they didn't have it - not the correct season) and had to pick up some pink and black yarn to finish the penguin scarf. There was also blue, the blue I wanted last time, so I got that to go with the white that accidentally stayed in my basket. I also needed yarn for another scarf, and wanted some Noro to make a Lanesplitter, but of course, the Japanese yarn shop had no Kureyon. Go figure. The other two skeins are for Camp Loopy. They are the only ones that are really a "No! Bad!" purchase, but I'll be making an Aham's Scarf with them and hopefully finishing on my trip, before the next tally.

If you watch my Ravelry feed, you probably noticed a few more yarns going in. Those were all the yarns in WIPs since before Japan, so they never made it into the tally. Since they are old yarns, I added them to every data point in the tally, bringing the overall numbers up instead of just having a jump this month. A jump to nearly 42 miles of yarn, with roughly 5, maybe 6 knit up in various projects, some of which I should be finishing soon. I think that is now 100% of my yarn. Oh boy, is it a lot of yarn!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Monday, Monday

To cover up the blue, we have (again):

Lancome's Spirited Plum. I don't really like the purple tint it has because of the blue. I should try to make a better lit area for nail pictures, so the hues come across better. This one is decidedly a sickly purple under the reddish main color, not very nice, and I love purple!

Last week's ikebana, for want of better pictures:

Interesting arrangement. I love the two sided and two vase arrangements. I must get a bigger suiban (vase) and maybe a set or two of coordinating small ones for really cool arrangements. I typically love leaves and wild grasses/long stemmed things like the anise-scented...something, but I'm not loving them this week. It feels too sparse to me.

Weekend Blues and Blanket Progress

I didn't polish my nails on Friday, since I was still loving the old color. However, it started chipping and I peeled it all off by the time I got home (and started biting the nails), so I colored my nails blue this weekend:

Avon's Color Trends Best Friend. Lee says this one is very ice queen. I'm not a major fan of this one, but it is fun.

I've also knit up to 63% of the huge blanket I'm trying to finish by mid-July, and did a quick wet block to see what size backing fleece I need to buy. Not quite the dimensions I was going for, but growing awesomely and I think, though I'm not yet 100% sure, that I'll be getting it done on time:

It's big. Nearly 70" wide, will be roughly 90" tall, so I may try to block it more square or I may just let it be the way it wants to be. It is technically supposed to be square, roughly 80" square, but the colorwork is pulling the width in a bit. Not a big deal, not at all!  I'll just be happy to see it done, though sad that it's going elsewhere. I just need to get some backing fleece and decide what to do for the border I want, and it'll be good to go. Soon, very soon!

And the back, because I love looking at the back of colorwork knits and cross stitches. Really cool, but should be covered by a softer piece of something to hide the millions of ends I've cleverly knit in as I went. I think it would drive me insane and take nearly as long as the knitting if I had to weave in all the ends when I finished!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

New Project!


This one is a clear topcoat, Wet'n'Wild's 401, Clear Nail Protector. I like the current color, and it's not yet chipping, so I decided to keep and protect it for another day. Fingers crossed that the topcoat dries quickly and doesn't cause major smudging instead!

I started the next scarf last week, and have been working on it while walking to and from work as well as while reading e-mails and scholarly papers at work:

I got four skeins for each of the four scarves I'm making this year, thinking that for this one the thinner yarn would compensate for the wider pattern. Apparently, it does not compensate enough! I am nearly out of the first two skeins, and I'm not even done with the first pattern yet. Of course, I got this yarn at the further, more awesome craft store, so I can't just pop in after work to grab more. I was planning to go sometime soon to see if they have a good backing fleece fabric for the blanket, or if I have to order some online, so it's not a major problem. I just won't finish the scarf before leaving for my conference next Friday like I was hoping.

Since I'm putting the scarf on hold until I have the new yarn, I decided to cast on one of the smaller projects I had set aside for the conference. Yes, my conference yarn is already set aside. Don't judge me! Maybe I can finish this pair of Thujas before I go and take the scarf as a replacement small project instead of taking both.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Pretty (?) fingers:

This one is Lancome Creme Mocha Rose #24. This color tends to be too orange alone, but over a darker color, is a nice brick red. RIT brick, of course.

While my flowers are great, the other plants are not doing so hot. I have one and two halves dead. Two halves because two others seem to be half dead. I'm not sure if they were just not that good (I did get them from the dollar store) or if the big, thriving two are actually destroying the other ones. Either way, this is more what I'd expect from plants I own, and I've been pleasantly surprised by my lovely flower box garden. The weeds do seem to be doing well though, and the little half-dead one in front does seem to be bouncing back. Fingers crossed!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Box Bag

No Monday polish. It was one of those days where you're moving in slow motion, but the clock is not. I hate it when that happens. Tuesday's polish, however has not yet been seen on this blog:

It's Revlon's Creme #263, Maroon. Not a good picture, but also not a good polish job. It's a nice, thick polish that will cover up the purple so I can be lazy and not remove it first. As usual.

I got those last two seams squared away last night:

Materials: Recycled kimono fabric (both lining and outer fabric), medium-ish interfacing, invisible zipper. As in, the teeth are invisible. It's kind of obvious where the zipper itself is.
Mods/Problems: Only stupidity. My own, not the pattern's. See below.

Is it perfect? Heck no! Since the seams were not lining up, no matter what I did (I hate when that happens) I took some advice and cut squares from the corners, giving me straight seams to sew across when I folded the edges. Stupidly, I cut along the sewing line, instead of giving it a seam allowance. Whoops. You can't really tell, unless you're scrutinizing it; I gave it a 1/4" seam so it's not too different from the other side. Is it cute? Yup, I think so! Is it done? You bet'cha!

Weekend Extra

I put on some grape-scented, sparkly purple polish when I found out the other stuff peeled off easily. See:

This one is also nearly gone. It was an Avon, I believe, and there's no markings on the bottles anymore so I have no real idea.

Apparently, I had purple on my mind, and mandarin collars as well:

That's two in-progress button-down linen shirts, one sleeveless, one short-sleeved (though both sans sleeve finishing thus far), a shirt that just needs the button sewn on and is slightly more see-through than I realized. I will have to consider what to do about that - mostly, facing is highly visible, but underclothes aren't unless you're looking for them. I may need to trim down the facing. Also, the pink blob is a box bag, whose last two seams are giving me problems and not lining up nicely. It's in time-out until I feel like picking them out and re-doing them.

Thursday, June 2, 2011



Friday sparkles again! Yes, my lovely flowers are in full bloom!

I'm still not sure what's sprouting in all of the pots, but I'm assuming it's weeds of some sort. They all look the same; it would surprise me greatly if I had the correct mint, lavender, and oregano coming in. I love the colors on all of these! The one little bloom on the climbing plant to the left is totally awesome:

As are my giraffe print pajama pants, you can see them in the window. I hope this one has many, many more blooms! The pink and red ones are probably at their peak. The next question is, do I replace them with new flowers or just let the weeds/herbs take over when they're done?

Snowflake Scarf


Today it's Lancome's Vernis Absolu in Mica, a rather translucent polish I was hoping would be enhanced by some of the shiny gold. No such luck, probably due to the dulling from the earlier dark polish. Ah well, I'll try again in the future!

Eff-Oh pictures of the Snowflake Scarf:

Yarn: Diakeito Diaepoca, two skeins of white and one each of three blues.
Needles: US5/3.75mm
Timeframe: May 14 - 31
Mods: Some.  Cast on/Bind off to match sides, used instructions from the two-row Noro scarf slipping the first and last stitch of every second row to make a nice edge.  Since it's just a chart, not a full scarf pattern, I suppose making it a scarf is a mod also.
Problems: None, though I should have reversed the pattern at the center so it was more visible from both ends rather than best from one direction. Not a big deal, it's still snowflakes, just crisper from one end.

It's done, blocked, and now it'll be sitting in the closet (in the done-basket) until it's time to ship it home for Christmas. Woo!