A little whiny

February 26, 2010

Can I complain?

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What’s that you ask?  That’s my mailbox.  Well, that was my mailbox – before the plow hit it.   And I think that just tells you what kind of week this has been.   I looked out of my front door today and said to Larry – hey, where is the mailbox?    It was about 3 feet from where it normally is – full of yesterday’s mail (we didn’t get mail today because…well, I guess because we don’t have a mailbox).    And see that white stuff?  See how high it is on my mailbox post?  Its been snowing here since yesterday morning – and I’ve been in my house since Wednesday when I worked from home.    And Tuesday?  Hit a deer on the way to work (the deer, my car and I are all fine) and it was snowing/icing on the way home Tuesday night so it was just a long commute kind of day.    Did I mention that its been snowing since yesterday morning – and it’s still freaking snowing?  We had a bit of sun this afternoon – I have never been so happy to see the sun!  But it’s snowing again, and I just think its going to snow forever.  And you know how people go crazy when they call for snow and rush to the store and buy milk/bread/eggs because they will be snowed in forever? You know how you always make fun of that?   I always laugh about it – and now I’m out of milk/bread/eggs and I think we are going to have to eat Penny for dinner (but I do have vodka for my martini so I guess its ok ).    Sorry to be whiny – but if this snow doesn’t stop, and if I don’t get out of this house soon, I think I just may lose my mind (although I’m very grateful that I’m able to work from home and don’t have to worry about commuting in this snow!)

I do, however, have a little something to make me feel better.

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I wish you could feel how nice this is.  This is Wandering Cat alpaca laceweight.    I bought this a while ago – I tried to find the perfect project for this last summer but just couldn’t find it.  I sadly put the yarn back in my stash.  But the other day I saw a pattern on Cosmicpluto Knits and the yarn immediately popped into my head and I knew I had finally found the right pattern for it.    I’m using it doubled and I love how the colors are coming together – and its so soft and silky – and apparently it is going to be winter forever, so a nice warm hat is just what I need from both a knitting and a wearing perspective. 

The only thing I’m not sure about is the size…the pattern called for a US 2.5 needle, but I’m using a US 2 – simply because I don’t have a 2.5.   I didn’t think it would matter that much (this is the reason I don’t knit sweaters – I always think needle size doesn’t matter) – but this seems sort of small

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And the wine bottle is for scale (I’m having a martini, remember?) – it was the first thing I had at hand.  I think it will be ok once its off the needles (it’s very stretchy) but I’m loving knitting this too much to stop so if it’s too small then I’m just going to have to find someone with a small head to give it to.     I know I’m being a little delusional – but isn’t that part of being a knitter?

I’ve been thinking about my blog lately, and whether or not I wanted to continue to do it.   I’ve been doing it for a while, and I wondered if it was time to stop – sometimes it is  hard to find things to post when sleeping on the train takes precedence over knitting on the train.  But then I thought about all of the people I’ve “met” through it – I love Ravelry but I think blogging lets me be myself more – and get to know others more.  It also it helps me document my life (knitting and otherwise) and I enjoy going back sometimes to see what has happened.  And blogging inspires me (knitting and otherwise)  – I love reading other people’s blogs and love the input I get from mine.  So I think I’ll keep on going – but I probably need to finish a little more projects to blog!    When I was thinking about quitting I went back to my first post – and I realized my blogiversary is coming up!  Four years – wow!  So I think I’m going to have a contest-  I’m not sure what or how I’m going to ask you to enter but there just may be some special yarn that might be up for grabs!  And maybe something else.  So check back!

Well, its Friday night, and I have my knitting and my martini – and a fire in the fireplace and some buffalo wings on the way (Penny is safe for now).  I hope you have a wonderful weekend – and that its sunny where you are!   And thanks for listening to the whine!

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Winding yarn

February 6, 2010

Sometimes it’s so easy to wind yarn into one nice ball and sometimes….

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you end up with three small balls.  Is there anything more annoying?    I’m not very patient about this kind of thing, and usually Larry will wind my yarn for me (yes, he really is a great guy) because at the first hint of a problem, I am ready to throw the yarn out (I will admit to being a little dramatic sometimes).   But Larry has a cold today, so I thought that I’d do it for myself   – but I had to go get him to help me finally because the minute I cut the tie, the skein exploded and I had a mess on my hands.  At least it wasn’t laceweight.   So we ended up cutting the yarn to get the tangle (and the second and third tangles) out.  But I got through it, and now I’m ready to start a new project – Citron.  The yarn is Madelinetosh Prairie.  It is gorgeous – black with the occasional hint of blue.  Perfect for this shawl – and its one of the 12 projects I put aside for this year, so I’m pretty happy with it.

I finished the Springtime Bandit shawl last night, and I’ll block it this weekend so pictures next week.  I am going to see my mother next weekend and will give it to her then – I love it, and really hope she does too!

I buy a lot of my online yarn at the Loopy Ewe, and I belong to the Loopy Groupie on Ravelry.  There have been some posts recently about the Valentine’s Day kit the store puts out, and I was lucky enough to be working from home on Wednesday when the kits were posted – I was working but had the browser open on Larry’s computer to check it occasionally.   I saw the kit get posted, I ordered it as quickly as I could – and it was mine!  And it got here on Friday (really – I can’t recommend this store enough – amazing yarn, and the fastest shipping that I’ve ever seen).  

I love this kit!  It came with yarn, a project bag from 3AM Enhancements, and a little post it note holder (with post it notes) for my knitting notion bag.

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The yarn is Fiesta Baby Boom and the colorway is Chocolate Strawberry Ganache.  

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Doesn’t that look just like what you’d think that colorway would be?  It is so soft, and so pretty – and I love it.  I’m not sure what to do with it  – socks would be nice, but I’m wondering if a scarf wouldn’t take show off the amazing colorway.  So pretty!

And look at this cute little bag….

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It really is so pretty, and very well made.  Fully lined, and seems really sturdy.  And cute – its tiny – just enough for a sock project.  Perfect for commuting!

I’m pretty pleased with it, and I’m very glad that this happened on a day that I was able to get to it before it sold out.  It made my day, and getting it on a Friday was just the perfect way to end the week.

We got a little snow here today – not as much as they were hyping up all week (why do people get so hysterical about snow?) but enough that I decided to stay in, and just take a snow day.  So I’m going to knit, watch movies, and relax.   Aren’t snow days fun?

Have a good weekend!


Love the one you are with…errr..or the one that’s new

January 31, 2010

I have a terrible tendancy to love the very last thing I’ve seen or bought.  I intend to make things, buy yarn for the project, and yet that yarn hasn’t seen the light of day in years.  Why?  Becasue before I can start that pattern with that amazing yarn – I’ve seen another pattern or yarn that I had have – and so I push the first one aside, get everything I need to  for the new project….and then my wandering attention sees something else…and then I start the whole process over.  Case in point:

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Sure, I have a pair of socks on the needles.  And yes, I also have a shawl that I have to get done.  And the other shawl that I’d like to finish.  Or the fair isle vest.   I have 53 sock patterns in my Ravelry queue.  I have 112 different types of fingering weight yarn in my stash. But the blue yarn – so pretty!  New!  Had to see how it knit up!  And there I go, starting a new project (just a basic toe up) , with a new yarn….while all the beautiful yarn in the stash sits and waits in the dark.    And you know, I think its time I started to do something a little different.

Today, I’m going to be going through my stash.  All of it (sigh).  I am going to look at every skein I have and make sure I have it posted in Ravelry.  I’m going  to ask myself if I ever will use this yarn (there are some I know I won’t – for example, I have a KnitPicks Fair Isle cardi kit that I know I’ll never make).  That yarn will be posted on Ravelry for destash.   For the yarns I’m going to keep, I’m going to pull out those yarns or patterns that I want to make this year.  Sort of like the Personal Sock club – but not limited to socks.  I’m going to put the pattern and yarn in a freezer bag (so I can see what it is – I hated not knowing what I got last year and I think its why I stopped doing it – you have to be in the mood to make certain things!) and put it on my shelf.  And I will commit to making them this year.  I’ll still going to make the impulsive, spur of the moment projects with the yarn I just bought, but this way I’ll finally use that yarn to make that shawl that I planned to do 3 years ago.    So I’m not going to have 100 bags – I was thinking 12 projects – shawls, mittens, hats, sweaters, scarves and of course socks.  The top 12 patterns that I’ll be very happy to finally do.  I can’t even tell you what they are at this point (well, Citron with Madelinetosh Prairie is one), but I know they are all amazing projects.  Since I’m a little late starting this, I’ll have  to get two done in one month along the way but that should be ok, and I’m not worried.  I know I had a lot of fingerless gloves and hats I wanted to make and those don’t take long. 

So there you go – that’s my plan to manage some of my stash, and to stop the feeling that I don’t really accomplish a lot in my knitting.  I can’t wait to dig in and see what I’m going to put in my bags.   I’ve been sort of blah about knitting lately – which is why things are taking so long to finish – and I’m hoping this helps me jump start it.  I do know that I need to spend a little less time on Ravelry, and a little more time knitting. 

I had the experience of participating in someone else’s crafting obsession yesterday.  My sister started quilting a year or so ago, and she’s obsessed by it – she makes the most beautiful quilts, and she is so passionate about it.   She’s made me a couple of table runners in the past but nothing big.  I was telling her a few months ago that Larry and I are going to redo our room, she offered to make me a quilt.  So yesterday we went to her quilting store and picked out materials and a pattern.  What an amazing place!  It  was really crowded, and had so many beautiful quilt samples and all that fabric!  Overwhelming!  I had the paint chips of the paints we are going to use – and someone from the store helped us put it all together.  She had me start with one bolt of fabric that I loved, and then she helped build the quilt – we ended up picking 15 fabrics.  It was so much fun – and so hard!  I think picking yarn is so much easier.  I wish I had taken a picture of the fabrics – but I just didn’t think of it.   We are planning on getting the room all done by May/June so she has some time, but I’m so excited about it and hope she starts soon so I can see how the fabrics come together – I think its going to beautiful and I’m thrilled she’s making this for me.    It was funny, though, to be in another crafting store and listen to the people be just as excited and passionate about their craft as knitters are. 

OK, I better go – I have to go grocery shopping and Larry is sitting here staring at me.  Guess that’s a sign he’s ready to leave.    Have a great Sunday, keep warm, and check out my Destash page later today – you never know what I’m going to let go!


Happy New Year (just a little late)!

January 10, 2010

My last post was on December 30  – I don’t think I’ve ever taken such a long break!  So I’ll start off with a little belated Happy New Year!  We had a busy New Year’s Eve, a very quiet New Year’s Day.  This holiday season went so fast this year – seemed like it just flew by – and yet, I was ready to get back to normal by last Monday.  I love the holidays, and enjoyed this year’s  – but I am pretty happy living in my scheduled, routine world and miss it when I’m out of it! 

So although this is a little late, and you are probably tired of reading resolution posts, I want to share my knitting goals for 2010.  I always do, and its something that I refer back to at the end of the year.   I had one undone goal from 2009 – to knit a fair isle sweater.  I am going to carry this one over for 2010.  I have the vest started and need to just get back to it and do it.  

I was going to have a stash goal for 2010 – not crazy enough to say that I won’t buy yarn, but I was thinking of doing the “for every skein I buy, I have to use two out of the stash” thing.  I do want to use my stash – I have a lot of great yarn, and I tend to use the last yarn I bought rather than looking through stash.  But really – who am I kidding?  I wouldn’t do this – I’m not even sure I’d make it out of January without blowing this one.  And then I read Denise’s blog  post on resolutions  –  and I agree –  I like buying yarn, it makes me happy – so no resolution to stop doing that!

My mother visited us over the holidays.  She’s going to be 90 next week, and has been knitting since she was a very little girl.  She was taught by her grandmother, who always had knitting in her hand.   My mother taught me to knit a few years ago – she was so excited that she was sharing something she loved with me.   She is a passionate knitter  – I knew she loved knitting but I didn’t realize how much until this visit.  We were sitting and knitting and she told me about a technique she had seen at her LYS.  It was double knitting  – and she was so excited about it that she bought the book and swatched a little square to see how it was done.   Listening to her, and hearing how excited she was to find a new technique I realized that my 90 year old mother is more adventurous than I am when it comes to knitting.    She has macular degeneration, and her eye sight is starting to get in the way of her knitting.  She can’t knit with fine yarn anymore, and it really makes her sad – she doesn’t knit as much as she used to and she really misses it.  But still  – she was watching me do socks and wants to learn to do them toe up.    So my only other goal for knitting this year is to be a little more fearless and step out of my knitting comfort zone more.  In knitting, just as in my life, I really get stuck on routines, and doing things the way I always do them.  I use one cast on, two cast off, one heel.  And yet – sometimes when I’m forced out of my narrow little knitting world, it really is wonderful!  I was stuck on doing socks cuff down for years – and yet when I started doing toe up this year, I found that I love doing them this way – and now don’t like to do them any other way (new rut!).  So I need to push myself to pick projects and patterns that are different, use techniques that I don’t know, and that challenge me.  In short, be a little bit more like my mother!

Speaking of my mother, and turning 90 – I started the Springtime Bandit shawl for her birthday – I’m using Malabrigo Sock (Velvet Grapes colorway).  I love this pattern!  I really think its nice – very hard to photograph in this colorway.  I know you are sitting there thinking “I need to stop reading this blog – her projects are really ugly!  I swear it is so much nicer in person.  (Look at this version done in the same colorway if you’d like to see why I chose it!)

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I wasn’t able to knit on it while she was visiting us, so I am not going to make the birthday deadline  – I finished the body on Friday, and just need to do the edging.  But I am not taking the train next week and have to drive in to work, so I won’t have my normal knitting time.  I finally accepted that I won’t have it done for her birthday – so she’ll get flowers and a promise and I’ll get it to her within a week or two.  Anyway, great pattern and I think I’ll make one for me this year. 

I needed a project to knit while she was here since she wouldn’t believe I didn’t have anything on the needles.    I wanted something that didn’t require a lot of attention.    So of course – socks.

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This is Lacey Rib from Socks from the Toe Up, and the yarn is Lorna’s Laces.  I think I should have done a smaller cast on to make it stripe and not pool – but was too lazy to rib them back.  And they are for my sister and she didn’t seem to mind the pooling, so I just kept going.  Love this yarn, though. 

I took a complete break over the holidays while my mother was visiting and wasn’t online.  It was really sort of nice – no email, Facebook, Ravelry or blogs.  I spent the time knitting, spending time with my family, eating, watching movies, playing games.  It was a nice break and a nice way to start the year.  But that means I’m completely behind on blogs – I’m catching up now, and its so much fun to read everyone’s holiday posts and see what you are all up to! 

I have a really busy week ahead of me, but then I have a long weekend – Monday is a holiday here in the US, and I took Friday off.   I know – what does that say that I’m taking days off already so early in the year?  But I have a good reason – and that reason, in part, may be a trip to Webs!  See why I didn’t want to set any limits on stash buying?  Have you been there?  Any advice?  I’m very excited about it – I have wanted to go for a long time and it just came together for next weekend.

OK, well, I suppose that I should wrap this up and get going.  Have a great week!


Delusional

December 16, 2009

Or just very optimistic?  I’m not sure yet  – its too early to tell.  I finished Cieara’s second sock last night on the train home  (ok, I still have to cast off but that’s just a couple of minutes, right?).  I was so pleased that I finished my Christmas knitting a week in advance – actually, almost a week and a half (I round up!) in advance.  I started my knitting all the way back in October with Dan’s endless socks, and here I am now – 3 pairs of socks, a cowl, scarf and hat (not to mention a shawl for me!).  No last minute freak outs, no stress – just enjoyable knitting and happy thoughts.  And as I sat there, I started feeling bad that I made something for everyone but Larry.  I told him that I wouldn’t be – and he was ok with it since he gets things more than anyone else all year round (see previous comments about his being a sock pig).   But I just felt sort of bad – no hand knits for Christmas?    I sat there on the train, thinking about what I could make for him that was fast – fingerless mitts (made him some, he never wears them), hat (made him one, never wears it), scarf (never have seen him wear one)….the only things he likes are socks – and I didn’t want to deal with trying to get a pair done in a week.  But then I thought about a pair of socks I saw recently on Cookie’s blog  – worsted weight – perfect!

So this morning, while I was on a boring conference call, I cast on for a pair of Christmas socks for Larry – and I mean Christmas socks! (Sorry – terrible picture – its dark here and I’m rushing to take this before Larry gets home).

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I decided to use some stash yarn – I had some Knit Picks Swish worsted leftover from a couple of years ago when I made a bunch of  hats and fingerless gloves.   Perfect for socks – very soft and squishy but washable.  I had two skeins of the green, one red – and I decided to play it safe (he likes longer cuffs) and use the red for heels and toes.  Plus it just looks like Christmas!  This is a standard toe-up – 48 stitches and I’m doing a 3×1 ribbing.  Boring but fast.

I think he’s going to be surprised and happy to be getting something – as long as I can finish them.  What do you think?  I’m thinking good thoughts on finishing them at this point – but I can only knit them when he’s not around, or when I’m on the train.  Or I’ll have to lock myself upstairs and tell him I’m wrapping gifts! Worst case, he’ll get one sock for Christmas with an IOU! 

So much for no stress Christmas knitting!  Why didn’t I start in June?


Happy News

December 5, 2009

I wanted to start off this post by thanking everyone who has reached out to me, in whatever manner, to offer encouragement and support during our recent time of troubles with Cieara.  I can’t tell you how much its helped, and how much it meant to me.   It is really nice to know that other parents have gone through similar things – and that things worked out in the end.  And it was really nice to just hear from everyone with your messages  – it was really touching.  Thank you again!

My happy news is that she’s decided against moving out.  She told us the other night, and I can’t tell you what a huge weight was lifted from our shoulders.   We had some good conversations with her about the whole thing, and hopefully we’ll be able to move forward (together!) on a more positive track.   We are working on healing and repairing some of the emotional damage all the way around – I think everyone in the family was completely stressed, anxious, and sad (and a little angry) so I think it will take a little bit to get everyone in a better place.  But we’ll get there – and I’m so happy knowing that she will be here a little while longer.  Whew!

 How about seeing another Christmas gift?  I’m just about done this sock – this is for Cieara, and she doesn’t like her cuffs  to be too long – which is sort of nice, right?  I think I’ll close this with 1×1 ribbing.  I love the sock – its basic toe up with a baby cable.  Easy, fast – and I think nice looking!  I shoud have the other one done by next weekend, and then I’m officially done with my holiday knitting – but I’m kicking around the idea of making Larry some fast socks as a surprise.  We’ll see – I may be able to stay focus on holiday knitting much longer – so many new projects are calling.

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The other happy news is that I bought some yarn.  I know – really – what happened to the use up the stash thing?  I just couldn’t help myself earlier this week – it was an emotional/stress yarn buy – better than eating chocolate!

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That’s Madelinetosh tosh worsted – colorway is Jade.  Probably a better picture at the Loopy Ewe which is where I bought it.  I must say – I love this store – so fast, so friendly.  Such great yarn.  Anyway – I just couldn’t resist buying this – I’m going to make myself a cowl with it – its so soft, and I just needed the pick up earlier this week. 

Since I was paying for shipping anyway….I decided to get myself another little treat…

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Malabrigo Lace – Ravelry Red colorway.  This is so beautiful in person – I can’t wait to use it – I’m thinking of a nice lace scarf – it will be beautiful with my black winter coats (yes, all of my coats are black – and I just bought a new one – same color – I don’t know how this happens!). 

I have something else that made me happy, but that’s for another post. 

This is going to be a busy weekend – knitting group this afternoon, and tomorrow we are putting up lights, decorating the house, and starting our shopping (online of course!).  It has been so hectic and busy and stressful at work  – usually end of year is slow, but this year has been the opposite.  I keep on staring at the calendar – I have time off at the end of the year, and I’m really looking forward to it!  I’m so glad its Christmas time, and I love seeing the decorations, lights and thinking about all the fun things we’ll do.

In the last few months, I’ve been trying hard to work on being grateful for the things and people in my life – rather than focusing on the negative, I’m constantly reminding myself of what I have to be grateful and positive about.  This week it was very easy for me to focus that way – I’m so lucky that things worked out with Cieara, that I have wonderful virtual and real life friends, and that our family will withstand this battering and be stronger together (and of course a little new yarn never hurts!).    Happy!

Have a great weekend!


Nice gift!

November 8, 2009

Valerie of  Wandering Cat Studio and her Mom of KnitObsession, started to dye yarns a few months ago and opened an Etsy shop – Wandering Cat Yarns.  I read both their blogs and was excited for them about the shop – and then when I went to check it out – sigh…so nice.  I love their yarn and have bought a couple of skeins (and I’ve sent Larry a list of a couple of other skeins that would be nice for Christmas!).    

The other day I got an email from Valerie – she sent me her pattern for Berry Hill socks as a gift.  How nice is that?  I was really touched  – and happy since I knew I was starting a pair of socks this week.   So I found the yarn, started them up and….

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These socks are flying!  This is a great pattern, and its one of those patterns that just seems to go fast.  I started these Friday morning, and I’m halfway down the foot – not bad for me since the last socks took me weeks and weeks to make.  I think I’ll have the pair down by next weekend.  The pattern is a cuff down – I haven’t done that in a while so it was sort of an adjustment (pick up the stitches?  what?) but I suppose its good to have balance – some toe up, some cuff down.  I actually think I could do these toe up, but wanted to knit them as written the first time.    The pattern is available on Ravelry – I know its going to be one of those that I make over and over.

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I love the pointy cuff – so pretty!  The yarn is Claudia Hand Paint Fingering weight – I bought it a few years ago to make a chevron scarf, but frogged it when I just couldn’t stand the project anymore.  I think this is a better use of the yarn – very pretty socks! 

I have been using a small project bag for my commute knitting.  I love the bag – its so tiny and fits well into my briefcase.  The only problem is that its so tiny.  If I have a large ball of yarn, or am almost finished a sock, there isn’t a lot of room.  And I have to really angle and fight to get the needles in – which always results in stitches off the needles.  So I decided to look for something a little bigger.  I found it on Wednesday, and ordered it – and it was here by Friday – amazing! 

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This is from Piddleloop – isn’t it nice?  Its a little larger than I expected, but I think it will still be fine for my briefcase.   Its 9″ long, 7″wide and is very roomy.  I used it yesterday, and had plenty of spare room after I put my sock in.  I think this could hold a large ball of yarn, a sock, or a scarf or cowl.  Its really nice, and I’m glad I decided to get a new one.  I have my eye on a couple of their other bags – very nice shop!

Life with Penny is starting to get a little less crazy – we are starting to train her and define some boundaries.  We really need to figure out a way to have her stop hassling the cats, but she’s learning that biting us is “no” and that going to the bathroom outside is “very good!”.  She is so much fun, and such a cutie.  And her ears are standing up now!

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Don’t let that sweet face fool you!  What happened right after this was Larry put her down and she raced around like a maniac for 5 minutes, harrasing Ruby and the cats.  She’s learned to not harass Duncan – he is the alpha dog, and he has no problem telling her that.  He’s also the grumpy old dog that is still recovering from knee surgery so we don’t let her harass him often.

We went to Westfield (NJ) yesterday – I wanted to go to one of my favorite places yesterday – Trader Joe’s.  Have you ever been to one?  Such a great store – and we bought an amazing bottle of wine for $6!  After we filled our bags with some really good food and wine, we went over to Crumbs and got some cupcakes (so bad for me, but soooo good!).    I even popped into Knit-a-bit to see what it was like (I was there less than 5 minutes – its small, but they were really friendly).  I love Westfield.  Larry and I are starting to think about what we want to do once all the kids move out – this is a big house for two of us with a lot of upkeep.   We have been talking about moving closer to NY so my commute isn’t as long – and I think we are going to put Westfield on the list of places we are going to look a little closer at.  Its such a cute town, with a great downtown, beautiful houses, and it would cut my commute from 2.5 hours to 45 minutes.  We have a little while to wait on this – but always good to start thinking about things!

Its going to be a nice day here – warm and sunny.  We are planning on taking the dogs for a nice long walk so we can get some Penny energy out.  Then its just relaxing and knitting.    I’m halfway through a Christmas present, but it will be hard to put down the socks and work on that.  I love projects that I can’t put down, don’t you?

Have a great Sunday!