Saturday, August 25, 2012

Reading the Label

I had an amazingly relaxing day.  It was glorious.  We didn't get any rain at all today, even though Hurricane Isaac is moving up towards us.  Ugh.  I just read the news reports and they are predicting tornadoes for us Sunday and Monday.  How am I supposed to go to work when my kitties are at home by themselves?  I will be so stressed.  It's a good thing I'm getting my relaxation in now.

I bought a dishcloth pattern book at Michaels (I'm not sure why I did that - I think it was the pretty pictures).  My first dishcloth from that pattern book is finished:

I really need to finish the hat I'm knitting for my brother; I've been procrastinating with it because I'm not sure I understand the decrease for the crown.  It doesn't help that the pattern is written in Finnish.  I've been searching the internet to see if someone can further expound on the decreases, which are confusingly written (possibly because of the translation from Finnish to English).

Oh no!  The pattern is gone.  Seriously, it was linked on the Ravelry web page and now the author has marked her blog as "private".  Shit.  That's what I get for procrastinating.  I'm searching the internet to see if someone has it saved.

I think I found the meat of the pattern in someone's project notes.  It's just enough to allow me to finish the hat (I think).  I'd better finish this thing up soon.

I just had the weirdest case of vertigo.  Sitting here at the kitchen table, scouring the internet for a piece of that hat pattern.  Yuck.  That didn't feel good.

I've switched food for my cats again!  I was feeling guilty about feeding them crappy food.  I haven't noticed any health problems, but they are all older cats and there are simply no positive things to be said about Friskies dry cat food.  I bought two small bags of Purina's Pro Plan (one is hairball control, the other is for urinary tract health).  However, after reading the labels on those, their ingredients aren't much better (wheat gluten, corn meal, no real meat).

So we are on our third brand of cat food, called Indigo, which is all natural ingredients (no wheat, no by-products).  The cats all love it, which is amazing considering the amount of change I've put them through.  In addition to the dry food that I set out daily, every morning and evening, I give each cat 1/6 of a can of wet food.  This means I go through a can a day.

Again, I was feeding them Friskies.  I mean, I am feeding them Friskies, but I switched to the pate version (which is so much stinkier than the meaty chunks, if you can believe it).  The pate version has no wheat gluten, so it's a tiny bit better for them.

At the wholesale club, I can get 48 cans of the wet food for $0.46 per can.  Compared to $1.59 to $1.99 per can of the higher brand cat food.  And I read those ingredients, and didn't find them that much better than Friskies.  Obviously, there was a big discrepancy between the dry foods, so I switched.  But I am satisfied with the wet food and the nutrition it provides my cats.

Surprisingly, not one cat turned up his or her nose at the new wet food, even picky Delilah.  She did take some cajoling to get her to look at the new food, but she quickly ate it up and by this evening, she was enjoying her share.

The most beautiful cat in the world
Also, shopping at the wholesale club allowed us to pick up another box for Miss Macy.  Mr. Grumpbump and I spent at least 10 minutes going through the free-box selections in order to come up with something that would suit Miss Macy's needs.

Say Cheese!
I can always count on Mr. Tigger to be hanging around, so it's easy to take his picture.  Except when I try to catch him in a pose, he decides he needs to make a beeline directly to me.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My First Cake

Please don't tell Mr. Grumpbump.

I went to a yarn store today at lunch.  Not a big-box craft store, but a locally-owned yarn store with fancy yarns I've only read about (on Ravelry).  Don't even bother asking if I purchased something. Of course I did!

The front of the store contained a lot of needlepoint yarns and notions, but the two back rooms were dedicated to knitting and crocheting.  The employees at The Black Sheep were so nice to me and helped me find the perfect yarn for my next project.  I also bought some locking stitch markers (I've been using a safety pin and I'm sure that I'm going to stick myself one day) and some cable needles that match my interchangeable needles.  But the best purchase was the fabulous Malabrigo yarn, which was spun into a "cake":

This is a cake
It's hard to tell in the photograph but the yarn has varying shades and tones of red and should knit up very nicely.  I'm planning to knit a zigzag shawl (I love those chevrons/ripples).  The yarn was a ridiculously expensive purchase ($22 per cake - and I have two).  But I don't regret it for a second (as long as you promise not to tell Mr. Grumpbump).

I finished the second of my crocheted chemo hats (this color scheme is a mirror image of the prior one).  I like the pattern but will need use a smaller hook (size F) for my next attempt.  With this hat, I tried another flower pattern, but I don't like the way it turned out (my sewing skills suck).

Chemo Hat
The crochet hats can be done in one weekend - crochet is fast but it uses almost twice the yarn that similar knitting projects would use.  I am currently working on a chemo cap now (tight to the skull and without a floppy brim).  I picture it with a gigantic crochet flower so I'll have to track down a good pattern for one.

Finally, a picture of Ms. Delilah to make your day.....

The Lady Delilah

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Crazy Old Man

Mr. Grumpbump has a new soccer team.  He's in an over-40 league and previously belonged to a team that practiced/played about 30 miles from our house.  That's a lot of driving; not only to play in games but to practice/scrimmage every week.  This season, he joined a new team, one that is much closer to our home - probably 10 miles away.   He's very happy when he's playing - even if he gets injured, which is all the time given that he is an old man (he's 45).

And, to honor his time on the previous soccer team, Mr. Grumpbump is making me go outside with him and take pictures of him in his old uniform.  Right now, he's running around the house, collecting his old uniform, looking for comb so he can style his hair, and grabbing his soccer ball (presumably to pose with it).  Yep, this is who I am married to.

I finally finished a crochet project that doesn't look like a hot mess.

Chemo Hat
A co-worker (who crochets hats for chemo patients) gave me this pattern because it's so simple, in that it only uses one type of crochet stitch (single).   I got the flower pattern from this website.   I'm going to crochet the reverse of this (all pink with grey stripe and flower) but with a size-smaller hook.

I also finished my slouchy hat, which is to be sent to my sis-in-law.

I need a mannequin head for pictures - candles don't work

Hoping it looks better on her head

I think I might try to take the bus to work three days a week.  Yes, it would take me more than a hour to get to work, but I could knit/read while traveling.  If all goes well, I could relax before I get to work!  We'll see because Central Florida's mass transit system is not exactly top-quality.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Modifying and Tailoring

I'm knitting a hat with some cute pink bamboo/wool yarn.  It's for my sister-in-law (who, according to my brother, has a very small head).  I went down one needle size on the ribbing and two needle sizes on the psso stitch.   I've knitted this twice before.  The first time was with a cotton yarn and that was a mistake!  Cotton has no give in it at all.  The second attempt was with a wool yarn from my stash and the results were 180 degrees different.  That was perfect yarn for this project.  The pattern is a free one (of course!).  It's called Slouchy Copy Cat Hat.  The passed stitch over two knit stitches makes the hat look more intricate than it really is.

Problem is that I'm not sure my sister-in-law is a "pink" person.  And this dyelot is really pink (the label says "Snapdragon" and I'm not sure how that translates to this really pink color).  I'm sending it to her regardless and whatever feedback I get will determine how I tailor the next hat.

Pink Lady
I was supposed to start a new knitting project (a beginner sweater) but I didn't buy enough yarn for the project.  I need 9 balls of yarn but misread the pattern in the store and only got five.  I can buy more yarn, but, mostly likely, the dyelots will not match.  It should not be fatal to the project but that fact, and because I was swamped with work at the end of the month, meant that I missed the cast on date.  I think I'm going to move it to the end of my project list.  That project list being solely composed in my head so it's very easy to move anything to anywhere since I problems focusing when it comes to knitting.  I don't stay on one pattern very long before I see something else I want to try or when I just want to knit for knitting's sake and that results in me just knitting a washcloth with my stash of cotton yarn.   I'm so close to finishing my third ripple afghan but it's been relegated to the bedroom (the issue with that is that yarn is so tangled that I spend most time just detangling in order to knit a few rows).

I always keeping the current project on the end table next to the loveseat.  Right now, it's the pink slouchy hat.  But that can be problematic because Macy, who loves to lie on top of the pool table, uses the end table as a bridge between the pool table and loveseat.  I have to make sure the end table is fairly clutter-free and stable for her to walk across.   She makes me so happy when she wants to be near me so I encourage her if I can.

Macy's other favorite hangout is her box.  Just a plain cardboard box.  I recently increased her habitat by one by setting out a wicker basket.  Although she just accepts the cardboard box without modification, this is not true of the wicker basket.  She will pick at the reeds and actually pull them up and out.  I haven't heard her do this recently and she's been spotted sleeping in it so I think she's    taken care of all the pieces that were bothering her.

Unfortunately, Macy threw up in her favorite cardboard box and I had to discard it.  We had nothing else to replace it with until Mr. Grumpbump came back from BJ's wholesale yesterday.  Mr. G thought the box was too small for Macy, but I set it down to see if she would like it.

The cat trap is working!
It's definitely not as roomy as her former beloved box.  But she makes it work.   She's utilizing her wicker basket much more for sleeping.  However, for Macy, her box is her hassle-free zone with a special shield around it so she is immune from attacks or other stresses.  I'm not sure that this one will ever be comfortable enough for her to sleep in but she will sit in it and watch us while we sit in the living room.

One of the things that Macy likes to watch is when we can convince Delilah to actually be in the same room as us and we play with her.  Delilah can be so kitten-like when we use the cat dancer toys.  You can get her to put all four paws into the game, where she grabs the ribbon or cloth or boa with her front paws and pushes against it with her back paws.  Delilah doesn't bite the ribbon, instead when she gets a good grip with her paws and nails, she will lick it.  That's what she does when she makes a catch.  She licks her prey to death.


 Our pool pump is broken!  And, of course, it is not covered under the home warranty.  The pool is now five days without the moving water and it is a lovely shade of green.  Pool guy is supposed to come out on Tuesday, but Mr. Grumpbump is going to purchase the pool pump separately at Home Depot to cut down on on costs.  The old pump was so loud!  I'm hoping that the new one will be a bit less annoying.   I hope this is the last thing we have to replace for a while.  Since our one-year anniversary in this house will be on August 16, we are trying to determine if we should renew the home warranty.  I don't think it will be worth it since we have all new appliances with their own warranties.  The only variables are the a/c and the roof, but I'm not sure that the coverage would help us with either.   I'm asking Mr. Grumpbump to investigate and figure out if it is worth the expense.

Finding My Treasure

Now that my shawl is complete (yarn purchased during the Orange Blossom Yarn Crawl in March), it is just hanging out in my foyer until I de...