Monday, September 29, 2008

An Interesting Guest

Today the boys had an interesting guest. I had no idea that Preying Mantis’ lived in New Hampshire. I had a heck of a time stopping them from swatting at it while I found out if they were poisonous. No I guess not, not deadly unless you’re a male Preying Mantis. Crisis resolved I went blissfully back to planning.

What’s this, what could she be planning? October Challenge, next knitting project, dinner, what could it be? Ah Ha! You will never guess it, so I will tell you. I’m going to do some painting. I spent an hour at Home Depot picking out contrasting and complementary colors. When we bought our house I fell in love with the terra-cotta entry, the slate blue living room, wine kitchen, light yellow and teal bedrooms. I have unsuccessfully tired to paint both bathrooms and instead of keeping with the color flow I’ve done a miserable job. There I said it, I own it. I am not the most adept at choosing colors. I’d be ok if it were just matching two colors but from where I’m sitting right now, I can see the Wine, Slate blue, Terra-cotta, and peach of the downstairs bathroom. The peach clearly doesn’t go. So I’ll consult The Boyfriend first thing tomorrow morning (he’s at class tonight) and then it’s back to Home Depot to buy the supplies. I know I can do this on my own, I’ve got the time so why not do something productive? Besides knit, I mean. I might even paint the molding white, but hold on I don’t want to get ahead of myself. And the toilets and vanities are almond colored so I’m thinking cream might be a better molding color. But do people do that? I always thought it was white or wood.

On the knitting front…I continue to be the most insane knitter you know. I’m now on a Cisco hat kick. This is my third on in just as many days. I’ve figured out that each color needs to look good next to every other color in the hat to ensure a pretty result. Hey that’s a lot like houses.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

When we last saw the Knitting Samurai...

she was battling her way through 2 Rndom Miles of stash yarn selected at random by you. While some yarns were quickly subdued and converted to FOs (finished objects)
216 was Cascade Lana Grande, in Purple
3 was a variegated acrylic yarn
243 was Berroco Nostalgia, in Magenta
195 was Lion brand Microspun in Yellow
9 was Berroco Zen, in a lime-green

Other yarns proved more resistant to the knitting transformation that awaited them.

177 is Shepherd Baby Wool, in an Orange Sherbet was just like the yellow microspun. It took forever to use up this yarn.

First I knit the Cat Bordhi Heart Seed Stitch booties.
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Then it was a Meathead hat for charity.
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Next it was Cat Bordhi’s Charlie’s Wiggle Room Booties (with two-tone heels and toes) and lastly it was the AMAZING Cisco hat!
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That hat was so much fun to knit. I used double strands of sock yarn. The photos don’t do it justice. I’m knitting one for myself next.
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312 is Plymouth Indicita Alpaca, in Black shouted dressy, formal, male to me. So I designed the Distinguished Gentleman’s Neck Warmer with a certain Boyfriend in mind. I love the texture of the knitting and the feel of the yarn itself. Ok so maybe a certain Girlfreind will steal said Neck Warmer.
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13 is Cascade Pastaza, in Navy was destined to be hats. First I designed the waving hat, which fell somewhat short of expectations. Then I moved onto the Lilhammer hat which I adore and can not wait for a cold day to wear it.
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245 is Berroco Sowftwist in Aliziarin/Red was a bit splitty but I did enjoy knitting the BU wrist warmers and the skein was finished off with this stylin’ camera case. Ok so it’s another type of cozy. In fact they both are cozies. I’m a cozy queen!!!


So yes I did successfully use up all nine yarns in the 2 Mile Random Challenge. You can see details on the other yarns here. Mileage wise, 3.69 miles were knit in September! I guess that’s what happens when a woman of leisure sets her mind to do some knitting.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Distinguished Gentleman’s Neck Warmer

By Mychawd

Materials:
o US size 7 16” circular needles
o 1 skein Plymouth Indiecita Alpaca 4-ply worsted –shown in black
· 1 skein Classic Elite Inca Alpaca is a good substitution.
o Tapestry Needle to weave in end.

Finished Measurements:
17” circumference, 6” in length

Gauge:
18 sts x 24 rows for 4”

Body:
Using Long Tail Cast on
Cast on 84 stitches
Purl 1 round
K2, *YO, K2tog, K2* repeat across remaining stitches.
Repeat patterned round, always knitting the first two stitches in the round.
When piece measures 5”
K2, *K2tog, K2* repeat across remaining stitches.
Purl 1 round
Bind off .
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Lightly block and enjoy a toasty neck.
© 2008, Mychawd

Friday, September 26, 2008

Trade/Sell Swap!

This months challenge has proven to be a fitting one. It’s not too difficult but it does force me to think outside the box and use these lonely single skeins to make projects I might otherwise not have made. The list of “all used up” yarns continues to grow as the miles stack up behind me. Alas I have continued to buy yarn this month and at an alarming pace. But you know, how can a girl say no to Fiber Company yarns at $6 a skein instead of the usual $15? I’m only human! And I refuse to feel guilty.

The Enforcer made an astute comment recently, she noted that I had been on my own purchasing synthetics and acrylics for far longer than she had. I had spent as much on novelty yarns as I do now on wools and alpacas, meaning that with a cheaper price tag I’d amassed a far greater amount of the novelty than anyone could ever need. At first I was indignant. While I do have an alarming large stash I’ve never been ashamed of the contents. Often thinking that the novelty was far outweighed by the luscious alpaca and sock yarns, how dare she imply that I had too much novelty yarn. But on second thought, I realized that she’s right. I have a great deal of yarn I do not plan to knit anytime soon. So Fun fur and acrylics to the “Trade/Sell” tab in Ravelry. If you’re a knitter who enjoys working with Bernat, Berroco, Lion Brand, Madil, Moda Dea, NoBo, Patons, Plymouth, Red Heart, and Reynolds yarns please check out my listings and feel free to make an offer.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Color Trends towards Zucchini

I seem to have a real color scheme going on today.
I’ve been busily working on the Twisty Turn wrap from Wrap Style. I cast on at 10pm the other night using the Lime-Navy Malabrigo I got at one of the trips to Webs. I love how the colors transition from one to the other. Front of the photo
I’m also working on the Lillehammer Hat by Cider Moon. Back of the photo and chart Using the Navy Pastaza and the amazing green Pastaza I got at Mind’s Eye Yarn Shop last week. I’m flying through it although my right hand is protesting such dense knitting. Why does it do that? Doubled yarns or two colors on medium sized needles and my knuckles start to cry. Which means I can only do about an hour at a time and then rest.
I've also turned the heel on one of the Space Needle socks that have been shoved down to the bottom of my knitting bag these past three weeks. I've picked up some momentum and hopefully will finish them in the next week or so.

But I’m sure you’ll find this the most interesting part of my day…I made a “Fake Apple Pie Crumble”. It is amazing! And what’s Fake about you may say…well…it doesn’t have any apples, in their place it calls for zucchini! We had a giant one from a friend’s garden and I didn’t feel like making a normal zucchini dish. So skeptical as I was, I dug in and peeled, seeded, and chunked the zucchini. I found the recipie here, and if you’re sick of eating zucchini that tastes like zucchini I encourage you to give it a shot. Oh and The Boyfriend didn’t notice anything different about it. I told him that it wasn’t just apples that it was zucchini and his jaw dropped. He finished his serving and I said “maybe next time I’ll actually use apples” to which he looked shocked and amazed, “it was just zucchini?!?!?!” You betcha!

You've Been Tagged

Amy over at What Did She Do Today tagged me. So you'll have to suffer through some strange and random factoids about me.

1. I watch at least 10 minutes of the cartoon Futurama every day. Usually it’s while I’m in bed doing Sudoku before I fall asleep. The Boyfriend started this tradition in college when Adult Swim was around. Now we have the box sets and recite most episodes. At first I blamed him for watching it so much, but now even if he’s not home, I still watch my Futurama.

2. Sometimes I drink directly out of the large juice or soda bottles in the fridge. Strange, this is a habit I picked up in college when I had to hand wash dishes. I no longer have to hand wash and I find the thought of other people doing this disgusting. Really I should stop.

3. I am empathic. I can usually pick up on the emotional vibes of other people, strangers even. This is both a blessing and a curse. Its wonderful when I’m with a group of happy people, it makes me light up and feel euphoric, but if I’m with someone who’s feeling down, it can pull me down with them.

4. Pizza is my favorite food. I don’t just like pizza, I could eat nothing but pizza for days and be content as long as it had different toppings. The Boyfriend is also a major pizza fan and once we considered holding a competition to see who could go longer eating only pizza. We could not agree on the rules, if it had to be just one brand of pizza, or one toping. To this day it is still debated who is the bigger pizza fan. On our honeymoon the cruise ship had 24 hour pizza…can you see our smiling faces?

5. In college I had a different roommate every semester for three semesters, then I had a single. My first roommate my freshman year was awesome but she ate my food and rather than telling her to stop I moved out. The second and third roommates were the ultra-nerdy kind and I didn’t have anything in common with them. The next year I informed The Boyfriend that he was the only roommate I could stand. We’ve lived together ever since (7½ years).


6. I despise talking on the phone. See strange fact number three. On the phone I can only rely on the vocal cues which isn’t something I do very well since I rely heavily on the emotional ones. I feel awkward and off balance and typically try to get off the phone as quickly as possible unless it’s my Mum. I know her so well I don’t need any cues.

7. When I was little, like 3, I was in a dance recital and my little pointed hat fell off. I blame this for my fear of public speaking.
(I don't have the photo of the stage preformance, but I do have this one of Mum and I from a year earlier).
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Monday, September 22, 2008

Sophie's Vigor -the beagle puppy


I've been hard at work designing a felted cat pattern for my mother. It's not been an easy task. I think I'm too caught up in making an anatomically correct Devon as opposed to a cute cat. So imagine my surprise as I was knitting this to discover that it really looked more like a beagle than a cat. So here is Sophie's Vigor –the beagle puppy, named after the neighbors dog who is a energetic barker.
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The pattern is now available for purchase in my Etsy shop.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Give me the Chemicals

Being at camp is exhausting! Actually it’s relaxing but the sun and fresh air seem to have tired me out. It certainly couldn’t have been the knitting marathon or the relaxing atmosphere.
The girls and I had a great time.

The Common Ground Fair was and was not what I expected. After hearing so much about it in high school and then college but never going, the fair had attained mythical status in my mind. This did not bode well for the Fair as I think anything would’ve fallen short. I knew it would be a crunchy-alternative type fair with hippies, organic and vegetarian food. I did not realize that the entire state of Maine would turn out to see it at the same time I did. Rather than the low-key non-commercial event I expected, I found long lines, throngs of people, and over priced food. Admission was $10 just to be on the grounds, an eggplant wrap was $7, Fried whole wheat dough was another $6 and water, $2. You see where I’m going? This seriously cut into my yarn allowance.

As we walked through the fair squeezing all the yarn in beautifully sun and natural dyed colors, we concluded that we like chemicals in our yarns. While merino is merino, it’s not the same from the organic farmer as it is with a nice wash and softener. My brain glitches at this thought, aware that those chemicals may not be healthy for me or the people who applied them. Like recycling, it feels like I should take care of the planet and buy the local less processed item, but you know what? Knitting is my passion, it’s something I love to do in large part because of the tactile sensations. If I were to use that scratchy wool I wouldn’t knit, I’d become a fidgety basket case with an explosive temper, not exactly the ideal environment for my nervous Chihuahua. So I’m going to be irresponsible and continue to buy my yarns, from Peru, India, China, etc. I’ll recycle, support my local businesses, drive a fuel efficient vehicle, conserve electricity, and refrain from eating meat but I draw the line at my knitting. I couldn’t help but think that that scratchy wool was what gives non-knitters such a poor impression of wool. I wouldn’t want that stuff anywhere near my skin but give me a nice wool-alpaca blend, merino, or Malabrigo from the LYS and I’ll gladly wear it all day without a thought of itching.

That being said, I did by some “glamour bunny blend” 30% angora bunny yarn that is amazingly soft. I wanted to take all the bunnies home with me. I also found people selling the balsam pillows like my AP has. She’s had the same one for 15 years and every time I go to her house I touch it and enjoy the scent. Those pillows will always make me think of her home. And I couldn’t resist the transformation print of yarn to cats. I’ve definitely done my fair share of knitting cats and knitting for cats.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sky and Sophie

I had some interesting company while I was knitting, I’m cat sitting for Sky and Sophie. They are just 4 weeks old and starting to be brave and run around.
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Later on today I’m heading to the Common Ground Fair with the girls. It should be a good time. Since it is a fair, it’ll only be cash transactions. So I’m bringing $100 and hoping to have enough self control not to spend it all on yarn. I will need to eat too.
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There are now 11 days to go in the 2 random mile challenge. Last night I finished off 9 Berroco Zen, in a lime-green. This was definitely one of the five oldest yarns in my stash. It’s scratchier than I would like but it’s 55% cotton, 45% nylon so a good washing should soften it up. It’s very loose so I may throw it in the dryer as well and hope it’ll shrink up a bit.

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Mileage report: I can’t believe it.

I guess all the charity knitting really blew through a lot of yarn. I’m at 3.5 miles for this month alone!!! So the 2 mile part of the challenge is complete. In terms of the 9 random yarns, I’ve worked with 1 (and I don’t plan to use it all up, it’s a sweater!), I’ve finished off 4 others, I have projects going with 3, and that leaves 1 that I’ve yet to touch! We shall see if I can come up with something for the black sport weight alpaca.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

BU now with added knitting!

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Wednesday night I finished the adult wavy hat. I used the navy pastaza but not all of it. I’m not in love with the hat design. It’s not how I envisioned it. There will need to be a third version.
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Today we visited a couple Boston graduate schools including Boston University. And by we, I mean that The Boyfriend talked with people while I sat with my Ipod and my knitting. I used some of the Berroco Softwist to make a great wrist warmer. It’s mate is coming along.
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After that I headed off to Mind’s Eye Yarn Shop where I got some lovely hand dyed sock yarn in shades of blue.
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We rushed back for class and knitting group. It was a good as always. While we were talking The Librarian showed surprising insight into what I should be doing. Here is a photo. I’ll leave it for you to guess what it is. I will tell you that it’s less than 5” high and it will be felted. Can you say super cute?

Monday, September 15, 2008

When did I learn to knit?

When did I learn to knit? This is a frequently asked question that I haven’t the foggiest idea how to answer. It seems I’ve always known how to knit. I can remember when I was 8 or 9 my grandparents were visiting and Memere taught me how to crochet a chain. I made chains like you wouldn’t believe, marveling how the kitchen cotton colors varied as I worked the yarn. I don’t remember either my mother or grandmother teaching me. Perhaps I absorbed it from watching them. But then again neither one of them knit very much.
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Mum did machine knitting for a couple years around when I was 9 or 10. I can hear the whirl of the carriage traveling across the bed of needles and I remember there always seemed to pieces of sweaters with long threads hanging off them laying about the house. I has a brand name child and adamant that I would not be caught wearing something handmade. So sadly, she made nearly everyone in the family sweaters, everyone but me.
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The next point in my life where knitting played a part was when we moved my sophomore year in high school to a new town. I think Mum wanted to find something to occupy my time since I didn’t make friends very quickly. I recall shopping for the Lopi to make felted clogs, and those giant wooden needles but I still have no recollection of being taught to knit. I do remember Mum always had to cast on for me since my 14 year old self thought it was a useless skill. It wasn’t like you needed to cast-on again while knitting that one item. Silly! After felting it was a cream-yellow cotton shopping bag with a long handle and lace pattern in the body of the bag. With my limited skills and lack of experience I remember the frustration of loosing my place and upon finishing realizing that the garter stitch base square didn’t line up with the handles, it was more of a diamond. I didn’t knit for a while.
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My junior year I picked up the needles again and began to knit two garter stitch striped double bed sized blankets with acrylic bouclé yarn from Walmart. I thought they were the most amazing thing. I would knit on those while freezing I mean working at the museum. Lots of eldery women commented on my work and I recall the hassle of flipping the giant project over for each row. I believe this was the first time I used circular needles.
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My senior year I recall sitting in my parents bedroom/sitting room (more like a second living room) with a certain young man feeding my knitting addiction. I convinced him that it would be fun to read my homework to me while I knit (this was back before audiobooks were as prevalent as they are today). The Boyfriend and I completed several books that way, Huck Fin, Giovanni’s Gift, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, to name a few. I definitely knit those books into my stitches because I remember little else I read that year. I think my mother still has one of these super heavy blankets I knit during that time, but the bag has long since disappeared. I have a pair of the slippers in my garage, teal and blue with thread bear soles. I could never bring myself to throw them away.

Through college there was no knitting. I attempted some quilting but aside from a half finished blanket at my parent’s house there isn’t anything to show for that. After graduation I ended up working in a design department for a men’s clothing company. Even though I was a temp I felt like a major contributor and made major decisions about fabrics, fits, and design details for the clothing line. After working on the first season of sweaters I had an overwhelming desire to create something one of a kind, rather than the mass produced items I was developing. One Friday after work I got yarn at the LYS to make a sweater and a basic knitting book. I rushed home and began a knitting career. We quickly started a knitting group at work and I taught lots of the girls how to knit. I made a tweed top-down raglan sweater with grey tweed yarn. The entire garment is bias (I knit in the back of each stitch in the round) and the sleeves are entirely too short. But I still make a point of wearing that sweater at least once every year.

So there you have it. That’s when I learned to knit. Usually I say I’ve been knitting for five years, since the start of the career with the grey sweater, but really knitting was a part of my life long before that. Have I been knitting since I was 14, when I first followed a pattern? I don’t feel like that’s accurate either since I know I knew how to knit before that.
The Boyfriend laughed when I informed him a couple years ago that knitting was part of my soul and I was certain I had been a knitter in a previous life. I think I blew all my credit with the previous life arguments the day I told him I had obviously been a cat before. That was the only way to explain my affinity for warm sunny rooms and love for all cats, I could do without dogs but never without cats. The Puckish side of me whats to answer the “how long have you been knitting” question by simply saying LIFETIMES, because that is how it feels to me.

Mac’s Sunday Morning Shenanigans!

Mac’s Sunday Morning Shenanigans!
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Both boys were in fact running around crazy. Linus kept jumping into bags and Mac spent some time hanging on the door.
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While Mac and The Boyfriend was playing around I finished what he is calling a “Teletubbie hat”. I absolutely love this pattern. It's called Meathead and it's so simple. I might just knit a million of them. But seriously how cool would it be to see one of my hats walking down the steet? It's not likely since the charity is a hospital but I can always hope.

Then I moved on to finishing the baby socks and matching hat for the first baby in the next generation. So cute! I hope the family understands that they are handmade and should be treated with love and passed along to future babies when he’s finished with them.

Lastly we were off to friends house (OK I know that's not gramatically correct, but I can't say a friend since they are both friends and then where does the ' go when it's multiple friends house? How is the ownership expressed? I hate spelling!) for some beer making. I don't have any idea what we'll call this one. While they did all the heavy work I of course knit. Yes that is a dish of Texas Caviar in the front. So yummy! Thank you SSK Podcast for that wonderful recipe.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Falling Leaves

I spent Thursday reorganizing the stash. Took everything out and sorted it by content and weight. Repacked and unpacked some purchases so that it all fits in the bins again. Well it sort of fits in the bins again but at least the closet is nice and organized. I was surprised to see how much progress I’ve made with knitting the older yarns. Really I’d say I’m at about 40% of that stuff. Which is good considering two years ago it was 100%. Yeah, sure I’ve bought yarn since then but I’ve knit a lot of the older stuff as well.

Yesterday I knit hats for charity. AND I finished off the yellow microspun that’s been plaguing me for the past two weeks. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to finish off a yarn.
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I used quite a bit of the 177 Shepherd Baby Wool, to make one of the hats (4 strands at once, that stuff really flies off the needles). Then I realized I would have just enough left to knit another pair of baby socks. I’ve had the pregnant cousin on my mind a lot this week. She must be getting close. Would orange socks be ok for a boy? Probably not, but I can always put them aside.
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Last night we went to see the movie The Women. It was pretty good for a chick flick. I worked on the Rose Ribbing Sweater while I watched. This is in 243 is Berroco Nostalgia and I’m making good progress on that, now at the arm increases. I definitely won’t finish this by the end of the month but right now I’ve used 2.5 skeins and will be happy to get as much done as possible without pushing too hard.

So here is my progress report in terms of fall leaves…
Turned reds and golds and fallen from the tree…
216 is Cascade Lana Grande, in Purple
195 is Lion brand Microspun in Yellow
3 is a variegated acrylic yarn

Just starting to change colors, part of the leaves are orange
13 is Cascade Pastaza, in Navy.
177 is Shepherd Baby Wool, in an orange sherbet
243 is Berroco Nostalgia, in Magenta.

Clinging to their vivid green color, no signs of changing
312 is Plymouth Indicita Alpaca, in Black.
245 is Berroco Sowftwist in Aliziarin
9 is Berroco Zen, in a lime-green.

And mileage wise I’m at 1.34 miles so far (knitting at least 5 hours a day) with a total stash amount of 51.96 miles of yarn.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

You know you want some too

What is it about fall that make me turning into a felting queen? The same thing happened last year at this time. Except then it was cosmetic bags and this year it’s toys and pot holders. I attempted to design a Devon Rex toy for Mum. It turned out to be a super cute dog. Like a beagle. I over exaggerated the muzzle and didn’t get enough of a break between the nose and forehead. I’ll try again only this time use short rows and start at the mouth instead of the top of the head, worry about assembly later. Other than being a dog, I am very pleased with how the project came out, pre-felting of course.

I haven’t done much by way of the 9 yarns in the challenge. Felting takes a lot of yarn so I’m definitely moving forward on the challenge but I’m at a bit of a standstill with the specific yarns. I was designing a waving hat with the navy Pastaza and need to get back to that.

At knitting group last night I was whining about using the yellow microspun. In response we decided that The Communicator would look excellent in a pair of yellow stirrup pants. Like they had in the 80s. Yellow with some fun fur ruffles in bright blue. Yellow with a hot pink bull’s-eye on the butt. Yellow with a bathroom flap on the butt. Yellow with stirrups and bellbottoms. Yellow with a bright blue adult soaker. Yellow with a matching low cut yellow tank top.
I’ve done a rendition of what I think the ideal pants would look like. The Communicator laughed as we decided that we could take turns working on them and pass them around the group. It's ok, you can admit it, I know you want a pair too!

You know what else I need? Creamer. We’ve been without for the past two days and it’s driving me insane not to have coffee in the morning. Those little routines get so ingrained. Off to go buy some creamer.