Thursday, April 12, 2012

FO: Selbu Modern

If you've seen any of my weekly photo mosaics (which I'm terribly behind on, I know) you may have glimpsed my first FO of the year: a Selbu Modern beret.  A fantastic pattern! It's knit in a skein of Lang Jawoll sock yarn (white) and Elann Baby Cashmere (purple), both of which I've had in stash for years now. My stranding skills leave much to be desired, but blocking really helped even things out.

I finally took a couple moments after work to take some snapshots, which proved more difficult than I'd anticipated.  Here are the best couple of the lot.  They don't show off the hat exceptionally well, but well enough I suppose.

The pattern is simple enough to knit, because it's so well written and the chart is so clear.  The pattern adds just enough a pop of texture and contrast to my usual attire of mostly solids, yet doesn't overwhelm some of the prints I occasionally wear. This, along with an Urchin hat I knit up about three (!) years ago, has been keeping me warm and toasty all winter. A beret is the best hat for this head.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring cleaning

I was looking forward to Daylight Savings time so much, but got sick the weekend of and had to take most of the following week off. One day, when I finally mustered enough strength to get out of bed, I managed to squeeze in a spot of spring cleaning:


Ah, those old days of paper statements and returning cashed checks! I used to be quite fastidious with my bookkeeping: stapling receipts, in chronological order, to their corresponding statements. Boy am I thankful for paperless everything these days ! I finally let go of old, no longer applicable paperwork, too -- like AP and SAT scores, college acceptance letters, check stubs from part time college jobs (when I thought $11/hour was a killing!), etc.

I feel so much lighter and freer.  Next steps: my inbox and closet!

What's on your spring cleaning list?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Old School birthday bash

I love organizing and throwing parties for people. I love the planning, the sending, the organizing, the gathering of loved ones onto the birthday gal or guy. But when it comes to myself, I typically shy away and am content with a small dinner with my closest circle.

A few years ago I said to myself that by a certain age, I will love myself enough to throw my own birthday party.

"That certain age" was this year.  And amid doubt whether I'd actually follow through, I called my city and secured the gazebo area.  Once the credit card got charged, things got real.  So I downloaded the fonts (Marcelle and Colleged) and got out my contact list.

The theme: Old School.  Feelin' like a kid again. 

It couldn't have happened with all the help from friends far and near. My game masters filled up water balloons for the tossing.  Laid out sacks for racing.  And brought jute string for the three-legged race.  

My BFF laid out an entire spread to fulfill my "candy apple bar" request.  She even peeled the caramels, one by one, and melted them together. Another friend supplied the most delicious furikake Chex mix ever.  Yet another plucked and washed three whole bagfulls of lemons from his tree for me to have a lemonade stand. And cakes?  Three: the other BFF brought both the cake I wanted (a fruit tart) as well as "a proper birthday cake" (old school, complete with roses in our high school colors); and there was an awesome birthday brownie (which I may have taken home without sharing) with a secret message. 

My only real material contribution was the pinata, which was inspired by my inordinate love of polyhedra and high school Geometry Honors.  I'd wanted to cover it in tissue paper or fringed crepe, but ran out of time... but looks okay with seams done up in painter's tape.  I filled it with old school candies: Smarties, Tootsie Rolls, and Dum Dums. Everyone insisted that I take a turn at bat, and I need to tell you how desperately difficult it is to willfully destroy something you so lovingly created -- even if you made it to be destroyed.  I wasn't strong enough, but my brother (pictured) gave it a good go, and another karate-practicing friend gave it the death blow: a drop kick.  Beautiful yet painful to watch.

bay brownie


And the gifts.  A table full.  I haven't had so much to unwrap since I was a kid.  Which goes along with the old school theme, I suppose.  It was SO nice to be SO loved by SO many people -- from family to friends from so many periods and parts of life.


Funny: when everyone started gathering for the birthday song and cake, it was all I could do not to sing along; I'm usually the one holding the cake, or taking pictures, or recording. It took some a moment to remind myself that everyone was singing for me!  I had to force myself to stay in the center of the circle, and smile.  And once I accepted and allowed that in my heart, I could truly and fully appreciate and receive the well wishing. In the end, I'm glad that I gave myself this opportunity for people to shower me with love. Not so much with their presents, but their presence.  Both on this day and in my life all these years. 

Best! Birthday! Ever!