Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Out with the Old and In with the New

I can't believe another year is over.  It just seems like yesterday when I was laying out my goals and plans for 2013 and it is the very last day of the year.

To recap, I started and finished quite a bit of crafts and acquired some crafty equipment.  I have the classic "eyes are bigger than my stomach" mentality when dealing with the fibery goodness.

I did go through my cabinets, cupboards, shelves as well as most of the garage and had quite a big pile to send to AmVets.  It is very freeing to see stuff that I never use go some place else.  I am going to try very hard not to fill up that space just yet.

I think I am at some kind of saturation point on the fiber and the yarn, however, I am still tempted when I see a new pattern from my favored designers as well as the welcoming feel of my LYS.

I am going to pledge to go through my closets next and get rid of all the clothes that never in a million years will fit on my body again and will make a concentrated effort to finish things - either already in progress and languishing or in the queue all ready to go.  I think I need to move some stuff out to clear the mental clutter before starting anew.

I have disengaged from all clubs dealing with tools, yarn, fiber, and patterns so it is a step in the right direction.  I also closed my art fire shop since my heart was not really into production and sales.

I have also been working up my endurance on my treadmill and have been doing quite well with 4 - 5 workouts per week on it for 30 minutes or so.  I will also make a concentrated effort to keep this up as well.

I know that in a blink of an eye, I will be at the last day of the year 2014 and I hope that I was consistent at least in my actions.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Catching Up

It has been quite a while since I last posted and it has been a super busy fall.  When I was last here I had posted a few times from Southeast Asia but it was pretty difficult to post from the iPad.

I am now just going through all the photos from the trip and will be posting highlights in the coming days and weeks interspersed with crafty news as I go forward.

I did not take any crafting with me on the trip since I was limited on space in the suitcase and wanted to save some space for those cool souvenirs for the voyage back.  I have to say that it felt kind of strange to not have needles and yarn in hand for over a month, but I was able to take in some local crafts which was super awesome.

There were some interesting things that I saw on the trip that is so different from home.  For one, there was a watering station at the Taipei airport where you could fill cold or hot water for I am assuming the steeping and consumption of tea.
You can also see the regular water fountain but while I was waiting for my plane to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, no one used the regular fountain.

The other shock for me was to look across the way and only really see Asian faces.  At home, I live in a pretty good mixing pot and although I do see Asian faces, they are among many other ethnic groups - even at the Asian markets.

The other interesting thing I noticed at the airport were relaxation areas with zen gardens and big screen monitors with soothing scenes.  But the most shocking of all was the level of service on the airlines which harkens back to the days when you got full meals on the airplanes with real silverware.  I really miss that!  Even on the short hop, we all got blankets and pillows and a full meal.  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Da Nang Spa and Resort

Took a plane ride from Ho Chi Min City to Da Nang and after having a great seafood lunch, we hit our hotel for an afternoon siesta.

The hotel is a Hyatt Regency and the room is ultra modern with a great ocean view overlooking the pool deck.
The weather is a bit humid but nothing like Saigon.

From the airport, we took this dragon bridge.
Only one night here and I am kind of sad about it.  I would have liked some time to spend here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Relaxing in Spa Like Comfort

A few days of lounging before the next tour to Vietnam at the Sofitel Hotel.  The amenities are outstanding and the room lovely.

The view from the balcony is lush.
The weather is totally tropical and it rains everyday.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Angkor Wat

The highlight of the trip to Cambodia is a visit to Angkor Wat.  The ruins were large and imposing with intricate carvings through out.  So much strife in this place that most if not all of the temples were in ruins.

Here is the view from the eastern gate.
We walked all through the temple grounds and it was very hot and humid.  I had to take a break from climbing to the top level and sat with my dad at the bottom waiting for everyone else.

Here is the most picturesque views of all 5 steeples and their reflection in the pond that does not dry out during the dry season.  There is another pond on the other side that does only have water during the wet season.
There is quite a bit of renovation being undertaken by foreign money which is good for the people here as well as preserving such historical landmarks.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Spider Market

After hanging in Phnom Penh for a day or so, we headed by car to Siem Reap.  Along the way, we made a few stops and one was the spider market.  I was not sure what I was expecting to see, but giant cooked spiders was not it.
They had other types of these delicacies, but I thought it was pretty scary.
There were a few types of beetles and some other kinds of bugs.
Needless to say, no one in our group was brave enough to try any of them.

Leaving on a Jet Plane.....

So I started my transpacific journey leaving home and a short jump to San Francisco airport.  It has been a really long time since I have flown into the airport and it is really nice.  My quest for finding the sale u-shaped donut pillows was a disappointment.

I met up Jude for a late breakfast/pie fill up and I was on my 747 in the middle of the night.
I boarded first since I was seated at the back of the plane - middle seat on the right side of the plane.  A quick meal of chicken and rice and off to sleep.  I was able to find a pillow at SFO and the sales guy was super friendly.  I also bought an eye mask.

Lots of turbulence but I was able to sleep through most of it.  After breakfast of sausage and eggs, I caught the latest Star Trek movie right before landing in Taipei.

Next leg of the trip will be the final plane right to Cambodia.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Being Lucky

I usually don't talk about topics that are controversial, but I have to touch upon that with this post.  I am fortunate that I work for the Federal Government.  I have been a civil servant for a very long time.  I am lucky that I have a great job that I enjoy with freedom to call my own schedule.  Like every job, there are challenges and sometime, I feel discouraged.

I am currently feeling very discouraged about the government shutdown.  I feel that quite a lot of people believe that the government is either a savior or evil incarnate.  I have to say that government is made up of people like me who get up every morning and put in more than a day's work doing what I can to protect the taxes that people pay into funding the government.

I understand and live with the bureaucratic hell about where money is spent and how it is spent.  People that deserve financial help are not getting it and people that can game the system are getting funds that they don't deserve.  There is a lot wrong in the world, I feel good that I do my very small part to make things better.

I have been working without pay since October 1 because elected officials can't seem to get past their differences and make things better.  I am "lucky" in that the government feels that I am so essential that I must continue to report to work.

I get that everyone has a view they like to advance, but when people are suffering either with no health care or inequality, we all need to take a breath and advance the conversation instead of acting like it is "my way or the highway."

Something that I learned when I was a kid is that you are never going to be perfectly happy because someone else can't also be perfectly happy at the same time.  This is called compromise.  It is not throwing a tantrum and hurting people.

I had planned a vacation with my family and it took some convincing for my office to let me go.  I will be tied to my office because I still have to take phone calls and answer e-mails while I am gone.  Now because of the shutdown, I can't use my saved vacation time to go on vacation.  So now I have to figure that I will not be paid for my vacation.

I am also lucky in that my parents taught me to plan for a rainy day and not live beyond my means.  I have savings to cover me while I am not receiving a paycheck.  I am also extremely lucky in that my parents are in a good financial place and if I get into the weeds, I can always go to the bank of mom and dad for a loan.

I can admit that I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal.  I hope that there are more people like me than not and I hope that we can advanced the conversation and fix what we don't like as time goes by instead of stamping our feet and saying "no" to everything we don't like.

I have just checked in on my flight and am super lucky that I am in the "A" group.  I just love that!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

iPad Posting Test

I decided to try to blog on my portable device so I could continue to blog when I am on the road instead of waiting until I get home.  That way, I am not limited so I could post anytime and anywhere.

My first step was to download the mobile app and once that was finished, I signed into my blog and here it goes.

I decided to perform my test from a photo I took on my iPad.  It is of a quilt piece I have been working on called flying geese from the paper piecing sewing.  This piece is one of many from the extension sections of my glacier star quilt.
I have many of these pieces and it has been a challenge to make sure all those geese are different colors and the sections don't overlap with the same geese.  I think I finally got into the groove.

So I am now going to hit post and keep my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Polworth or Merino?

Kim at Lucky Cat Crafts had offered some of us at the Texas retreat some fleeces and I succumbed to some Polworth.

The fleece was lost in the mail and I secretly suspect someone absconded with it because it was so great.

Kim rectify the loss by sending me another fleece which I assumed was polworth.  She crammed it in an box and wrapped it tight.

I am not a big fan of dirty fleece as my spin peeps will attest so the box went with my friend Jeri who washed it for me.  Here is a video she took while opening the box and we expected it to explode.

The box states that it is a merino so I'm not sure what breed I ended up with.  Jeri stated it could also be a cormo.

Needless to say after Jeri washed it and brought it over - it fills up a large pillow case, the locks are soft and springy and are a wonderful color.  The tips are a bit bleached, but Jeri recommended I comb and spin a sample before deciding to clip the ends.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Completed Gabbro

Since I am juggling so many sweaters, I decided to systematically tackle them in order of progress.  This sweater was first on the list and once I was able to pick up the sleeve stitches, it was pretty straightforward to complete.
The fabric is super soft and I can't wait for winter to wear this sweater.

I think the Old Man and the Sea is next in the queue.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Adrift Sweater

I was excited to start my adrift sweater from the yarn dyeing experiment.

The fabric is looking very cool and the Malabrigo lace is super soft.  I can't wait to wear this sweater.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Gabbro Sweater Progress

I have been juggling multiple sweaters and one of these is the Gabbro by Carol Feller.

I was able to finish the body of the sweater and am now picking up for the sleeves.  Maybe another week or so of committed knitting and this sweater may be finished.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Week 3 Progress on the Mudblood Cardigan

I was able to knit up to the shoulders and bound off for the shoulders.

The sweater is ready to pick up the sleeves.  I have used almost three skeins of yarn and have two more balled up ready to go.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Last Day of the Yarn Crawl

So I went back to the Needlecraft Cottage on the last day of the yarn crawl to pick up some yarn for another sweater by Carol Feller.

Autumn Whispers is appropriate I think since we are heading into the fall.  Instead of the browns Carol chose, I decided to go with this blue.
I did a little swatch and found gauge with US 5 needles.  I can't wait to get started.  It is the first time I am using Baah La Jolla yarn.

I also picked up another two skeins of the La Jolla for a shawl project I saw at Yarning for You.
And I could not resist a couple of skeins of sock yarn from Malabrigo.  Love these colors.
I was also excited to hear from Liz that she will start carrying Madeline Tosh yarn later this year.  I already made a request for some more yarn.

There is not enough time for knitting all the projects in my queue.

Monday, September 30, 2013

San Diego Yarn Crawl

So you can obviously tell that this is not my month end report.  I have to admit that I totally fell off the wagon since (hey) yarn crawl.....

I hooked up with my friends Janet and Letty and we hit the road....

First was my local yarn store, the Needlecraft Cottage at the beach and they were also hosting the Yarnover Truck.
Only 5 people can be in the truck at the same time so we had to wait our turn.

Next up was a nice drive up the coast to Encinitas so I was able to finally visit The Black Sheep.
This store was overwhelming in stash and they had demonstrations, free tassel making and yarn tastings.  What store has a whole wall of Noro?
A quick stop for lunch at the D Street Grill for a pepper jack cheese burger and off we went to Common Threads.
Our next stop was Yarning for You in San Marcos and they were super fun.  We posed for some photos and then did some shopping.
I purchased some Zen Yarn Garden sock yarn and a couple of needles holders.
With a stopover at Starbucks to load up on refreshments, we hit the final stop on the tour - The Grove.

At every stop along the way, we got our passport stamped and the girls turned theirs in at the end of the day.  
My plan is to go back to the Needlecraft Cottage and pick up some yarn for my new sweater and hopefully win one of the cool baskets.

All in all a pretty good day but tiring.  Who knew that yarn shopping would be exhausting?

Saturday, September 28, 2013


I spend most of my time visiting Val working on my Judy Niemeyer quilt.  I am working on the Glacier Star.

Sandy was able to spend a day with me helping me set up my sections and provide me with a refresher course on paper piecing.

I was able to work up the middle sections which consists of 8 pieces.  I brought home the extension fabric so I can spend my time at home cutting up the fabric so when I head back to Colorado, I can just sew.
I also was able to go to a quilt store and check out a quilt that I will be making for Tyler called I Spy.
Val bought a box of squares to choose from so all I need to do is find some framing fabric.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Birthday Meals

I was lucky to have two meals for my birthday.  One was lunch with the Miller clan and we had cold cuts, salad, and cake.   It was great to see everyone and catchup.
Nancy brought this great flower bouquet from her garden and gave some cards with her photography.
Val and I had dinner at Bonefish Grill for my actual birthday and dinner was great.
We shared the bang bang shrimp.
I had lobster for dinner and Val had fish and raviolis.
We were treated with chocolate dipped strawberries with real whipped cream.