Saturday, March 31, 2012

Camo Corona

cupcake saturday

These are another winner from Monkey's birthday. He turned 21, so I decided to be thematically appropriate. Thus the slew of boozey cakes. This one is a Corona and lime cupcake, which gave me pause when I first came across the recipe.

I'm not a fan of beer- I associate the smell with urine and from what I've tasted, that isn't great either. I was a little apprehensive about these cupcakes consequentially. The fact that there was no alcohol in the icing helped alleviate my fears a bit. I told myself that the alcohol wouldn't provide much flavor- it would just be a moisture vessel.

I was wrong.


You could taste the beer, but it wasn't bad at all. The taste was subtle enough, and the lime frosting was strong enough to make it an absolutely delicious cupcake. I had mine a few days later after it had been chilling in the fridge, so it wasn't at its prime moisture level, but it was still really, really good. Like, so good I wanted to gobble every single one of them. Since Monkey is all

The real winner for me was the frosting, which I just wanted to gobble up. I'm going to substitute in lemon next time and pair it with a nice creamy lemon cake for a treat. I'm sure it will be more than delicious.

I tried something new with my frosting (again!). I'm not sure how well it turned out, as I have difficulty achieving dark enough colors with the food coloring I use (either stuff from the bottle or Wiltons); it's a trial and error deal I think. I'm always afraid I'm going to wind up with the taste affected if I use too much! I tried to make the frosting match the camo colored wrappers, and I think I did a pretty good job. I was rather disappointed that I couldn't find "proper" army camo liners, but I think these did the job perfectly fine. After all, cupcakes are for stuffing your face with, not for staring at!

Friday, March 30, 2012


finished object friday

Gimpy went through some serious changes before she was finally finished. A coworker of mine is supposed to go in for surgery soon, and I thought a monster might cheer her up. I immediately though of Hugo, as he's big and cuddly. Unfortunately, I didn't realize just how big he was. After the ennui of stockinette stitch (and the frustration over attempting duplicate stitch and intarsia in the round), I finally gave in and opted for a pocket sized version instead.


I cast on for the CoCo pattern next, and she was an absolute breeze to finish. The hardest part was duplicate stitching, which I'm still not fabulous at. I tried to keep my stitches and loose as possible, but there was still a fair bit of white that showed through. It probably would have helped if I had gone up to a heavier weight of yarn, but that was just what I had on hand. In any case, she's finished and hopefully will help my coworker feel better soon!


Gimpy is a thoroughly helpful monster. She loves to feel needed, and will go out of her way to cheer you up when you're feeling down. Gimpy lives to make sick people get better, and her dream is to be a nurse. Her favorite movie is Patch Adams, and she'll watch it over and over again when no one needs her help. She adores balloons and daytime TV, and is the perfect size to hide in your pocket for a happy suprise.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dead to the World

book review thursday

book review thursday I've got to start reading something other than fluff. Midway through reading Dead to the World, Monkey peered over my shoulder and realized what I was reading essentially equated to porn- and then teased me mercilessly.

That being said, this was considerably better written than the previous books in the series. I don't think I quite liked it as much as the last book, but it was pretty darn good. I think Harris has really gotten into her stride as an author. She has a great concept of the personalities of her characters and is doing a much better job at showing them. Sookie's inner monologue is quite a bit more believable (though I still hate the Word of the Day Calendar thing), and Harris is really showing the dynamic between the characters a lot more. I loved Jason's incorporation, and that for once, his personality wasn't just mentioned by Sookie- it was actually demonstrated by Jason himself. I loved that Sookie got to be a strong, protective character, without having to be dragged into a physical beat-down. She's finally losing her naivety. I also love that Harris neglected to the overused plot device of two unrelated events turning out to be related- she managed to pull of two different story-lines reasonably well. It was quite refreshing to not have them converge.

I loved, loved, LOVED Eric in this book. I could just picture him and his childlike confusion. He really made this book hard to put down, and I really liked the difference in the mystery for this book. Rather than figuring out who the bad guy was, it was more about actually figuring out where the bad guy was- quite a difference from the earlier books, and not something I see a lot in the cozy mystery genre.

My only criticism? What the hell was point was Claudine? She wasn't involved enough for her importance. While I understand that she'll be more of a plot point in later books, her inclusion in this one was just plain unnecessary. If Sookie had merely mentioned her existence and dropped the matter, rather than dwell on her for pages and pages, it would have been handled a great deal better. She served absolutely no purpose for plot development, and just made the entire situation considerably more confusing.

Also, the cover art is absolutely hideous, but that's hardly the author's fault.

Besides that minor detail, I did enjoy this book, and I'm really glad Harris is choosing to continue all of the various "Supes" in the later novels. All too often I'm finding that authors like to talk about a new, interesting supernatural being in one book, only to drop it like a hot potato in the next. Harris does an excellent job of continuing to involve each of the new creatures in the next book, which does wonders for her world building. I think that if anyone wants to try this series, they should wait until this book before deciding whether or not they like it- it's a great representation of what her books should be. Fluffy, ridiculous guilty pleasures with great plots.

(4/5 stars)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Challenges and Decisions

I discovered the group 12 in 2012 on Ravelry quite some time ago. Rather than immediately jump in during 2011, I decided to wait until the start of this year to challenge myself.

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I love challenges. While I hate competing against other people, I love pushing myself towards a goal. Finish 52 books in a year? Game on. Get to level bajillion of Text Twist? I'll do it. Knit twelve projects from my stash in a year? Booyah.

In December, I narrowed down my list to the twelve projects. I left one blank because I figured I would purchase something before the end of the year, or I'd figure out something from my stash sometime during the year. The former actually happened- one of my LYSes had a sale and I picked up yarn for a certain sweater. When the new year dawned, I was *ready*. I was going to do it! I hurriedly cast on my Bella Mittens.

...And promptly lost interest. After (almost) finishing the first one, I had to admit to myself that I hated working on it. The small needles combined with red heart held doubled made me avoid knitting on it. The resulting fabric wasn't pretty, and it was a terrible use for the yarn. I frogged it and set aside the yarn for another project (a crochet blanket- I still have to decide on a pattern. And you know, actually learn more than two crochet stitches). To avoid falling behind on my knitting goals, and because I didn't really have much else on the needles, I cast on the second project on my list while I pondered. I tried to stagger the projects to be seasonally appropriate- e.g. shawls in the summer because I have more time to stare at charts, short projects after the sweaters, etc. That flew out the window when the very first project I had selected was a dud. So... Here's the list after some serious alterations.

  1. Three knitted monster made of two hideous skeins of Manos Del Uruguay Maxima in the colorway Chrysanthemum Check and Mate!

  2. Beatnik in hand dyed Fisherman's Wool. I cast on and cannot seem to get anywhere with it!It's one step forward, twenty steps back at all times.

  3. Belugah Slouch Hat in lime Manos Del Uruguay. Zipped through it- great mindless knitting!

  4. Prismatic Scarf in a B-E-A-U-TIFUL variegated skein of Manos Del Uruguay. This is currently my go to autopilot knitting

  5. Cable Braided Necklace in Mini Mochi. This was in my queue/stash for an embarrassing amount of time. It took all of five seconds to make, which made matters even worse.

  6. Summer Flies in Natrually Caron Spa. I actually need to pick up a skein or two to be able to finish this, but shhh. It should finish off my remnants. Or I might change my mind entirely and use it for a hat to avoid buying more yarn. Who knows.

  7. Haruni in a beautiful silver/gold/white yarn I paid entirely too much for. This will be my first project with beads and I'm SO excited.

  8. Saroyan in pretty brown yarn I bought on vacation.

  9. Inspira Cowl in Lionbrand Amazing. EEK. I'm so excited for this project. I'm going to have to pick up some needles for it, however.
  10. Brompton in Louisa Harding Aimee. This is the yarn I scored on sale. Super excited!
  11. Diagonal Lace Scarf in Naturally Caron Spa. Once upon a time, I knit a vest out of this yarn. I was so incredibly excited for it, and then it turned out hideous. The scarf was knit out of the frogged remains of the vest. This was a great autopilot project and I absolutely breezed through it.

  12. Shifting Sands in CSS. I might have to pick up another skein of yarn, but I'm not 100% certain of that...

I've been working on other stashy projects, so some of the "official" list may be bumped off as I finish the "unofficial" projects. There's always room for more than 12! You know, if I ever finish that darn sweater...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Maggie's Mitts

start something sunday


Quite a while ago, I had picked up this yarn at a new LYS. I had bought it with the aim of knitting a pair of fingerless mitts for my sister for Christmas, but after consideration, I decided that the color really wasn't quite her speed and opted for a pair for myself instead, as they match my envy neckwarmer rather well. This was my first crack at this particular line of Malabrigo (Rios), and I was super excited to knit it up. Unfortunately, it didn't fly on my radar again until I realized that this month is Malabrigo March and for once, I could participate.

Yesterday, I happily cast on for a pair of Maggie's Armwarmers and knit away while attending a hockey game with Monkey's sister and brother-in-law (Allen Americans vs the Brahmas). I practiced cabling without a cable needle in between the fights.

I've formed some very strong opinions about this yarn in the meantime, but I'm going to hold off talking about it until I get a chance to finish and wash them.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Everything sounds better in Spanish...

cupcake saturday

Are you prepared to salivate? If not, get ready. I've got a Pavlovian trigger for you.

Chocolate cupcakes with a Kahlua buttercream frosting baby.


I know this isn't the greatest photo in the world. After the absolutely exhausting previous few days I had, I was just too tired to put much effort into taking photos. It doesn't matter anyway- I don't think any photo could do these cupcakes justice.

Amazing is an understatement when it came to the recipe. Ignoring the frosting (since I don't drink, I don't have a frame of reference when it comes to how accurate the taste is), the cake itself was perfect. As I've mentioned numerous times before, I'm just not a chocolate person. I like brownie edges every once in a while, but if you give me a choice, I'll choose almost any other sweet over chocolate any day of the week (and any time of the month). So for me to say this cake was good means it's was pretty darn good. The most shocking part?

It's just a doctored up cake mix. Seriously. The frosting was delicious- but like I said I have no idea how much it tasted Kahlua. Almost every buttercream is amazing in my opinion.

Monkey certainly appreciated these. In a few weeks, I'll be home in time for one of my parents' volleyball parties, and I think the cake recipe is going to make a reappearance. I have a metric ton of leftover frosting in their freezer, so it'll be an interesting array of tastes!

Friday, March 23, 2012

San Carlos

finished object friday

San Carlos, or just Carlos for short was my last Manos Del Uruguay monster. He was a breeze to knit up, as he's only got a teeny tiny body and long skinny legs. He's an energetic little fireball, so the fact that I overdyed him with two packages of Black Cherry brought out his larger than life personality.


Carlos loves jumping and goes estatic whenever Monkey uses him as a football. The more active the activity, the happier Carlos is. Unlike Glasgow, who is pretty sedentary, Carlos can't stay in one place for very long- blame those long restless legs!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Summer Knight

book review thursday

book review thursday I honestly don't know what to say about this book. After finishing Grave Peril, I was really disappointed by the Dresden Files. As I've mentioned when I started reading the series, I loved the television show. I've liked all of the creativity and ideas behind each of the books so far. What I haven't been enjoying is the bare bones characterization, the predictability that Harry will be at the end of his rope when he suddenly saves the day, and most of all, the rampant misogynist views shoved down the reader's throats. Summer Knight was suprisingly better on that front. Apart from an awkward and poorly written sex scene (AKA Jim Butcher's apparent fantasy regarding women throwing themselves at him), it really toned down the disgusting aspect of chauvenism. The plot was intriguing, and there were aspects that I didn't see coming.

Why I didn't see them coming was another matter. Honestly, I was kind of bored with this book. It wasn't good. It wasn't bad. It just was very bland. I couldn't really get into the plot, I couldn't really get interested in the Giant Mystery of Doom, and most of of all, I couldn't give a damn about Harry's emotional predicament. Possibly because the scene in which his emotional/relationship drama is introduced was so incredibly unrealistic. 'Oh hai ex-girlfriend I thought I killed. I TOTES believe your vague excuses and lack of explanations. I still luv you!". Seriously. So much for deeply wounded with severe trust issues. Could you at least have had Harry have some doubts for longer than five seconds? I'm at least glad that Butcher did delve more into the White Council and Fairy worlds- his world creation is definitely his strongest suit, and he does a great job of it in this book.

At any rate, this book was mediocre. Not good, not bad. What is really bothering me is that this is going to be the last book I read for a while. This is the last book my library has on Overdrive (until book 12 or so), so I'll have to wait until either I can check out the book in person, or I can find it for super cheap and buy it (unlikely). I can't really recommend this book. While it was nowhere near as bad as the last one, the fact that I was so bored with it really disappointed me. I keep hoping to see this giant turn around with the Dresden Files, but it just hasn't happened yet. I guess I'm just a hopeless optimist...

(3/5 stars)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

On a completely pointless and arbitrary note

a few of my favorite things

I have this song stuck in my head.

You can thank the Completely Pointless and Arbitrary Group on Ravelry for that one.

I've always loved the Muppets though, and this has been one of my favorite scenes since I was a wee one. Seepag just reminded me of it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fantastic Flying Books

a few of my favorite things

Just a quick post. This is just beautiful and makes me want to start hoarding all the books. I'm absolutely in love.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bangles galore

make something monday


I'm so excited about this project. I know a lot of people have been making friendship bracelets since they were little, but it was just nothing I had ever tried before. For a while when I was in middle school, my best friend at the time and I made knotted versions with embroidery thread, but it was nowhere near as "complicated" as this. My mom received all together too many of those kind, as they took about five seconds to finish. When I first started spotting the chevron bracelets on pinterest, I was instantly hooked. I adore the look of tons of bracelets all jumbled together- and I'm not a bracelet kind of girl! However, after suffering through the first set of instructions, I was left with a gnarled mess of embroidery floss. Let's just say, I wasn't pleased.

After a bit of googling, I finally found Zakka Life's tutorial and it became instantly clear where I was messing up. Somehow, I had gotten it into my head that you were supposed to tie each strand together, rather than carrying the outside strand to the inside. When I switched to yarn, it was immediately obvious where I was going wrong. Plus, it went a lot faster.


I absolutely love my bracelet. I made it out of Sugar & Cream/Peaches and Creme yarn, so it's going to stretch out over time (it's already a bit loose). I think when it gets to the point where it's difficult to wear, I'll probably throw it on as an anklet. I switched the knot at the end because unfortunately, I didn't cut enough yarn. Instead of braiding two braids, I braided one, and then triple knotted it so that it's held loosely in the loop (wow, that's a fun one to say). That way, it stays secure while I'm wearing it, but if need be, I can unhook it easily.

I seriously love this. I can tell that soon enough, I'm going to arms absolutely covered in bracelets. I'm resisting the urge right now to run out buy ALL THE YARN. Okay, that may be my normal inclination, but I don't normally rush out for yarn best suited for dishcloths!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I need to lay down for about a century

No Start Something Sunday post today because after working the closing shift then the opening shift, driving for three hours, baking cupcakes for seven hours (SEVEN HOURS), driving for another hour and celebrating Monkey's birthday, I'm pooped. I did start something, but taking and editing a photo is just not going to happen.


The cupcakes were delicious, FYI. All one hundred and four of them.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Belated Birthday

cupcake saturday

I am a bad roommate. A very, very bad roommate. I missed by roommate's birthday by a week. Oops. After begging for forgiveness and blaming Monkey, I asked her what kind of cupcakes she wanted. Being the wonderfully agreeable person she was, she told me she didn't care. After the brilliant success of my last caramel frosting, and the impending doom of several chocolate cupcakes for Monkey's birthday, I decided to make some caramel cupcakes. Unfortunately, I didn't have any satisfactory recipes bookmarked already, so after a quick google search, I came up with a recipe for brown sugar cupcakes with salted caramel filling and frosting.


Hellloooo delicious.

Unlike the last recipe, this one didn't go the lazy way out and use caramel straight from the squeezey bottle. This one used real caramel. And made a horrible mess in my pot, but it was definitely worth it. The frosting was amazing. The filling was amazing. I had a great deal of fun using the leftover caramel filling in my coffee.

Unfortunately, I didn't have my skinny tips, so I had to scoop out the top and fill it that way... which meant I ate the tops of approximately 20 cupcakes. Yummm.


I think the most exciting part about these cupcakes is that I got to use some of my thousand cupcake liners that I went overboard with. A few weeks ago, somebody let me loose in Michael's and I went a bit overboard. I now have a giant bag of cupcake liners- a good thing too, since I devoted an entire day of the week to them! Though, I think when I run out of cupcake mojo, I may change the title to "Sweet Sunday" or something similar.


Anyways, this recipe was delicious. A lot of work for sure, but the result was worth it. I think I prefer the lazy caramel frosting to this one, even though this was extremely delicious. The cake was heavenly- just interesting enough to not be boring, and not overwhelming with the frosting and filling. Yummy all around!

Friday, March 16, 2012


finished object friday

This is the second in my series of monsters. She's the first one I stuffed and seamed however, as Glasglow unfortunately had to have a second dyeing experience.


This is Alberta. She's made from the Lurleen pattern by Rebecca Danger, and is so darn cuddly. She got to chill in a jaccuzzi with two packets of grape kool aid, which turned her this really interesting color. I think I like it best by far out of the three overdyeing attempts.


In terms of her personality, Lurleen is quite cuddly. She'll sit and hug you for hours, it doesn't matter who you are! She's not shy at all either, even if she's just met you, she'll lean over and give you a squeeze. Alberta loves people, and is always willing to make new friends. Her favorite thing to do is hang out with all of her friends on cold wintery days, sipping hot chocolate and watching the snow fall.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Study in Scarlet

book review thursday

book review thursday A Study in Scarlet was the first Sherlock Holmes novel that I ever remember reading. It certainly wasn't my first experience with Holmes- that might have been an episode of Wishbone featuring the Hounds of Baskervilles- but at any rate, it was my first literary foray into that universe. I've mentioned before that I've always loved mysteries, and when I saw the first Sherlock Holmes novel, I was determined to read the original stories. I put a somewhat comprehensive book on my wishlist on Paperback Swap, and waited with glee for the book to arrive.

Unfortunately, by the time it actually did arrive, I had lost steam for the topic, and the book was pushed to the back of my to-read shelf. Nevertheless, last summer, I packed away the rather large book to take with me while basically isolated in my apartment during summer classes. My thought process was that it was large, and therefor should occupy quite a bit of my time. I managed to breeze through the first story in the book- this one- during nightly bubble baths. After that, I was sucked into the world of Doctor Who and spent essentially all of my free time watching that instead.

Flash forward six months later, and I kept hearing about the BBC program Sherlock. I was immediately drawn into the world of Holmes again. Unfortunately, I didn't have my anthology with me, so I resigned myself to waiting until Spring Break to start reading.

Yesterday, Monkey kicked me off my own computer, and out of my own bedroom so he could finish homework. After exhausting all of the TV possibilities, I finally stole his iPad and downloaded this book for free. It was every bit as gripping as the first time I read it. The ending was a complete surprise for me, which was both a good and a bad thing. Good, as it wasn't predictable or stupid, but bad in the fact that it came extremely out of the left field, and when the explanatory narrative started, I wondered if there was some sort of error in the book- I had assumed it was an entirely different story. Nevertheless, I really loved the introduction to Holmes' character. I love the bits and hints of his vices that are only suggested in this book, and I can't wait to continue on Holmes and Watson's exploits.

(4/5 stars)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Announcing Blog Week!

This is just a quick and dirty post today, as I've got tons to do.


I really enjoyed participating in Blog Week last year, even though I didn't finish. I can't wait to see what the prompts are for this year! Even more than that, I can't wait to read all of the responses. I think that may be my new form of procrastination- going through the answers from last year... Uh oh! So much for getting things done!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sad, Sad Trombone

a few of my favorite things

As I mentioned in the last post of this theme, a big mood booster for me has been writing lists of things that make me happy. Along the same line, Gala Darling wrote a list of things to do when you're unhappy, aka the Sad Trombone List. I don't remember when exactly I stumbled across this list, or who exactly turned me onto it (I believe it may have been San Smith), but I'm infinitely glad they did.

Lately, I've been having a tough time focusing on the good things in my life. A lot of it is because I'm completely burned out of school- I want to be done and I want to be done now. The thought of going through another year is absolutely unbearable at this point- especially because I need to fill out applications to even go through that last year. Even trying to enjoy my favorite things has become really difficult. All I've been doing lately has been stressing myself out and being an emotional wreck (poor Monkey, he's had absolutely no fun with that). After a tearful night of declaring that "I give up, I'm going to be a cashier at Kroger for the rest of my life", I realized that I (and Monkey) had had enough and that I need to finally start tackling this anxiety I've been feeling. I finally remembered this list, and even just reading it made me feel better.

If that doesn't cheer you up, I'm sure Monkey pretending to be Wolverine with DPNS will!


Monday, March 12, 2012

Healthy Eating

make something monday

I had plans- grand plans- for this blog post. Instead, I wound up not having enough time to get anything done, so the photos are pretty horrendous.

I really need to buy grown up dishes.

The first time I tried home-made macaroni and cheese, it was straight from Pioneer Woman's cookbook.

I nearly retched after one bite.

The mustard was disgustingly overpowering, and it was generally an incredibly unapetizing experience. It scared me off macaroni and cheese for quite some time, until I stumbled across this thoughtful little recipe from, oh, year 1870.

With a past like that, how could it be bad?


It wasn't. It was a-maz-ing. Seriously. I nearly gobbled the entire batch up. It had just the perfect amount of mustard powder, and while it was quite saucy, it was absolutely delicious. I've since adapted the recipe to use almost double the cheese (I have a bit of a problem with self restraint), and one and a half time the amount of noodles. It makes delicious leftovers, and I have to fight Monkey over who gets to eat the rest. Since I usually buy my pasta by the bulk, I usually cook it with penne, but tonight I stumbled across a box of good old fashion elbows buried in my cupboard.

Yum, yum! This is totally my new go-to meal when I'm just too tired to cook real food. Seriously. Two bowls of this was my dinner (along with a cupcake and a metric ton of jellybeans). I'm nothing if not the model of healthy living.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


start something sunday


This is kind of a cop out, as I started this a while ago and have been frantically working on it since then. One of my co-workers is going in for surgery soon, and I thought I'd make her a cuddly monster to make her feel better while she's recuperating. This is Hugo, otherwise known as Gimpy (because I am a horrible person). He'll have a duplicate stitched red cross on his chest, and a sling for his arm when this is all said in done.

You know, if I can ever manage to finish him. I'm hoping that the practice with duplicate stitches will help me when it ocmes time to make my special hexipuffs. Practice makes perfect you know!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dr Pepper... Or not

cupcake saturday

I made this cupcake for Monkey for Valentine's day. Since he wouldn't specify what kind of cupcake he wanted, I decided to make him something I would like. I've been intrigued by the idea of a Dr Pepper cupcake for ages now, but I greatly dislike chocolate. I searched for a recipe for a while before finally settling on one that required a cake mix.


These were delicious and buttery and yummy- but tasted nothing like Dr Pepper. I was incredibly disappointed. They tasted like a plain yellow cake. Nothing really outstanding about them. I know that most of the time, when a dark soda is added to a cake, it's more for moisture than taste, but this recipe purported to give me that Dr Pepper taste as well!

So didn't happen. I mean, it wasn't a bad cake, it just wasn't what I was looking for. The icing tasted like a normal buttercream. Overall, it was just very meh. I've eaten better vanilla cupcakes- heck I've made better vanilla cupcakes!


I did try a new technique for the frosting! I pinned this video on pinterest not long before it was cupcake making time, and foolishly ran out to buy the frosting tip, not realize that I already owned that size.

Not only did I own that size, I own four sets of that size.

What can I say, I like big tips and I cannot lie. (Or something).

Source: via Lizz on Pinterest

Frosting was super easy, though I was less impressed with my own technique, I definitely need practice on that one. What I really want is a huuuuge round tip to make some fat swirls, but I have yet to come across a wide enough tip, and I don't like how it turns out without one.

I know, this is a lot of rambling for a rather unsatisfactory cupcake. The next one, I'm sure will be better.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A brief trip to Scotland...

finished object friday

This is my long awaited monster! I tried dyeing him with lime, but he would up quite obnoxious. Then I over-dyed him (again) with with teeniest bit of black cherry and he wound up a much more manageable color.


His name is Glasgow. He's a gentle and quiet monster, but can be very territorial. Don't mess with his area! He loves to cuddle and watch the rain from under a fortress of blankets. I knit him up out of the Baldwin pattern from Rebecca Danger, and after a bit of initial trouble, whipped him up in no time. He's just the perfect size for a little kiddo to cuddle with.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

What Happened To Goodbye

book review thursday

book review thursday I still rememeber my first introduction to Sarah Dessen. I was in seventh grade, and saw the Quinticential Cool Artsy Girl (TM) reading her book in our art class. This was pre-emo and hipster days, so the fact that she was actually reading a book was pretty significant. The book she was reading happened to be Dreamland. As I happened to be a preteen nerd desperate to be liked, I immediately rushed out and bought the book- and promptly fell in love. I don't remember what that girl's name happened to be, but I'm infinately thankful she introduced to Dessen. Back when I used to journal on Livejournal, I followed Dessen's blog religiously. I was estatic whenever a new book would come out, and reread my favorites over and over again.

I hadn't read any of the Dessen books in quite some time when I happened to see her new book on the front page of my library's overdrive site. It happened to be availablem so I immediately swished my way to checkout and on my way I went.

Around 5AM that morning, I finally finished the book. What Happened to Goodbye encompassed some of the really great things about Sarah Dessen's work. The main character was relatable (man, can I remember going through changing myself and trying new "personalities" during my teen years), the characters were unique, and the overwhelming crisis was cathartic. It was a super quick read, and great for when you just want to cry for a while.

What I didn't like was that it felt a bit forced. While McLean's character was fleshed out and realistic, her romance wasn't. I just didn't feel as though we got to encounter Dave enough to really invest in him. While he was intriguing, he just didn't get enough face time. The secondary characters were similarly interesting, but not played with enough. I was really interested in seeing how Riley would play into their developing relationship, but she vanished off the face of the earth after a few pages.

While this was a really good YA book, it didn't measure up to the best of Dessen's work. Definitely something I'd recommend to any teenage girl, but with the qualifier to read more of Dessen before making any judgements.
(4/5 stars)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Coffee Shops and Poetry Readings

wip wednesday

I'm rather ashamed that this is still a WIP! I fell in love with the beatnik sweater the first tiem i saw it. I was super excited to knit it, as not only would it be my first pullover, but it would also be my first seamed item. I also wanted to try my hand at dying the wool. I started out with a pretty off-white, and tried to get a nice dark orange. I wound up with a retina searing coral. I'm not totally sold on the color, as much as I enjoy the brightness. I do have some fabulous lipstick that matches, but I'm afraid it might make me resemble a tomato. If all else fails, I'm sure I can overdye it (since I'm such an expert now). I'll decide if I want to keep it that color after I wear it a few times.

In any case, Beatnik was at the top of my list for my 12 in 2012 projects. I was going to start and finish the whole thing in February. It was going to be fabulous and cable-y and beautiful. I was going to practice my seaming techniques by finishing a laptop cover I started over the summer. It was going to be marvelous.

What actually happened was quite a bit less exciting. After frogging my Bella Mittens, I decided to cheer myself up with casting on the project early. I zipped through the ribbing only to get stuck at the cables. I don't know why I never learn that I greatly dislike looking at charts. It's not that I find them particularly hard to read or follow, and it's not tha t I prefer lengthy descriptions instead. It's that I like autopilot knitting. When I get a chart, it's a signal that "oh hey, you can't bring this everywhere and pick it up on a drop of a hat". It winds up being my "at home knitting". That basically means I barely ever work on it. Which means I wind up at the same stupid point for months on end.


I mean, the sweater is absolutely gorgeous. I love the cables and the subtle variations between the two balls of yarn. I love the texture and the brightness. I just don't love working on it. It doesn't help that I keep catching a mistake quite a few rows down and having to frog and inch or two. (Like, forgetting the decreases. And then miss-turning and entire row of cables a repeat down. And then losing my place- a few times).

Nevertheless, in the spirit of WIP Wednesday, I'm devoting my entire morning to this project. I fully intend to settle down, listen to some podcasts (the Knitmores are back!), maybe start an audiobook, and chug along. Lets just hope this time I won't have to frog all of my progress.

Who knows, maybe if I park myself in a coffee shop and listen to some poetry readings, it'll get done faster. I could even plays some Bob Dylan to prompt my knitting.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I'm introducing a new segment to my blog! Whoo hoo! Rather than 'limit' it to a single day of the week, I've left that blank (I put limit in quotes, as I think it's fairly obvious that I write a lot of posts- particularly the book reviews- in advance, without regard to the actual day of the week). I figure that the more time I can think about my favorite things, the better. I'm assuming for the majority, these are going to be rather short posts, but still a good collection of fee-good links and topics.

When I started college, one of the ways I tried to combat my loneliness and homesickness was to come up with a list of 1000 things that made me happy. I'd doodle and sketch and make the list as pretty as I wanted, and it was a great way to keep my mind happy. I'm hoping to do much of the same here- only even better. For one thing, I don't intend to limit myself to 1000 topics. I want as many as possible. For another, with blogs I can actually link (and embed) to the things! Hopefully these posts will not perk me up when I'm feeling down, but also give an opportunity to anyone who reads this to see something that makes them smile.

So, without further ado!

a few of my favorite things

First up on my list is a short video from a few years back. I'm not entirely certain how I stumbled across it, but after seeing TJ Thyne, I was instantly intrigued. I used to be a huge fan of Bones, and Hodgins was my favorite character. Every time I stumble across one his works, I always check it out to see if it's equally good.

This video? This video is so much better. Talk about your quintessential feel-good mood lifter! I absolutely adore it. It reminds you of just how great and good and kind people can be. I loved the music, I loved the black and white film, I loved everything about it. Whenever I'm feeling down, I like to listen to it. It hearkens back to when I was in grade-school and Random Acts of Kindness (AKA RAOK) were encouraged. This wasn't just a random act of kindness, it was kindness to anyone and everyone.

It's just a great, great video.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Too Kool

make something monday

After entirely too long of a struggle with my Hideous Yarn of Doom (tm), I finally decided to knit up some Rebecca Danger monsters. I figured that at least they were supposed to be scary.

Then I actually saw the result. I still couldn't take it. I promptly consulted Ravelry and rushed out to buy some Kool Aid. The result was a colorful jacuzzi for my little knitted friends.


I dyed one monster in Black Cherry, one in Grape, and one in Lime. I used the microwave this time, and it was a great deal more frustrating than the stove top. I'm not sure if it was because I was over-dyeing something, or if it was the microwave, but it took quite a bit of zapping to get the dye to absorb. Even then, there was still color remaining the bowl when I had finished.

You'll have to tune in Friday to see how my lime monster turned out!