Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog post to bring you music and awesomeness.

I am privileged enough to have met Thomas Barsoe and his beautiful wife Anna while urban mushing. They are the sweetest, friendliest people, and their enthusiasm and lust for life is truly infectious. I remember sitting on a stump and chatting with Thomas when he told me he was a musician. Little did I know that was a huge understatement. "Me too!" I said. He talked about being a songwriter, but I didn't grasp at the time how truly talented he is.

Thomas taking a break with two members of his team, Misty and Cam (puppies at the time)
On that note (ha! Music joke!), I wanted to share a link to his latest release on iTunes, which is quickly climbing up the charts. "If We Stand Together" was written as his way of helping and giving back, and all of the proceeds go toward victims of the recent Japan earthquake.  It's a great song by itself, but to know it's helping people whose lives have been so affected makes it a no-brainer to download. So go! Download! Spread the word! Fair warning though, you'll be a fan of his work in no time flat. ;) And he's a musher and a dog lover! What's not to like?
DOWNLOAD HERE!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A little harbor break from knitting

I have been so wrapped up in speed knitting lately, trying to get as much possible done on time-sensitive projects that I've been neglecting exercising my poor dogs. So today, I didn't even LOOK at my knitting, packed up the pooches and headed on down to the Dana Point Harbor.  This has always been my favorite place for walking, dogs or no, contemplating, brooding, or just reveling in a bright, sunny day.  Today was definitely a bright sunny day, and we all had a fabulous time.

Mini story: When we started our walk, I had a whole roll of doggy-poop bags in my pocket. Of course, one of the first things Loki does when we reach a grassy patch is poop. Reach into my pocket, no bags. Great. I looked around to see if there were any of those bag dispensers nearby, but no joy.  I left the poop where it was and turned around to backtrack to my car, in case the roll had fallen out of my pocket along the way.  Nope, didn't see it. Dammit! Then, right there on the sidewalk, Rowan decides to poop too. Faaaantastic. If I leave it there to go back to my car, people are going to yell at me. I'm a VERY conscientious pet owner, and I will go out of my way to clean up after my dogs. So I'm looking and looking, AHA! A sword-leafed plant. I can grab it with one of the long, wide leaves! It wouldn't tear. Awwesome. I was right next to the ship the Pilgrim, and finally came up with the idea of taking one of the pamphlets they have and making a makeshift poop scoop. Yay. Moral of the story: Always keep your poop bags where they won't fall out and disappear.

So I plugged in my earphones and cued up an episode of This American Life and had a grand old time walking, smiling at people who smiled at me or the dogs (but no chatting! Look, earphones!)

It's always such a treat when I have the time to sit and have a breakfast bagel and smoothie from Blaz'n Blenders, and I love adding bee pollen to my smoothies.  It's a FABULOUS energy boost. Almost as good as a Monster. Almost.
Please, mom? Pleeeeaaaassse can I have some ham?
It was such a beautiful day. But now, I have to run to work, so I'll leave you with a few more pictures.

What are they staring so intently at?
This interesting bird. Anyone know what this is? Rowan and Loki wanted it SO BADLY.

The Spirit of Dana Point


My favorite place on a beautiful day


Don't forget to vote for my boogie earbuds! Diaper Cake is cheating way ahead, so go vote for #33!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

One little click is all it takes...please? Be your best friend!

Craft Critique is having a contest on the best tutorial over at their website. I entered my boogie earbuds to win, and I need your help. Follow the link, scroll down until you see this picture: (you can click the pic to go to the voting site)
and click VOTE! 

Even if you're not a crafter, I could really use your help on this. Vote for #33, that's me!  There's a wine bottle gift tag thingee that's kicking my ass right now, and I intend to blast it off the charts. Mwahahahaha! Spread the word, post on your facebook, or twitter, or link on your blog, whathaveyou. Let's obliterate the competition!

So please vote, spread the word, and make me feel awesome. My ego needs it. You wouldn't want to hurt my ego, would you? Poor little ego....*sniffle*



Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, my Bubbas

Exactly three year ago, a squiggly little puppy was born that would change my life forever.  My (now ex) boyfriend had recently come back from Iraq, and I was bound and determined to get a friend for my sheltie, Fionn. (Fionn MacCool, for those of you who know your irish legends) My family has always had dogs in the house, and they've always been shelties. Always. Aside from Lady the escape artist, and Maia the barker (rest their fuzzy souls), they were perfect. They could be off leash anywhere, totally obedient, never destroyed anything, perfect dogs. Fionn tends to be a little......ball obsessed, shall we say, but that's really his only quirk.  He basically trained himself. He moved across the country with me when I lived with Brandon in Harrisburg, PA, and was a perfect traveler when my Mom and I drove back to California when Brandon re-enlisted in the Marine Corp.  Fionn was always a bit aloof, and kept to himself a lot. I always thought he needed a friend.  So, we went to "just look" at puppies. Translation: When you have a determined girlfriend, "just looking" means picking out and coming home with. Just FYI. I saw a beautiful black, tan, and white sheltie boy, but Brandon was fixated on a black and white husky puppy.
    "Look at the husky!!" He said.
    "Yes, he's very cute. Look! Sheltie!"
    "We already have a sheltie." He countered.
    "So? They're great dogs!"
    "Look at the husky!" He said again. And again.
...................sigh.
     "Do you want to take him out and play with him?" I asked.  Big, big mistake. Sort of.  Brandon quickly said yes, and in a minute or two this little black and white butterball waddled over to Brandon's lap (not mine), plopped down and licked his face. Crap. We were going home with a husky.  Well, not exactly.  On the drive home, we talked. I told him he had no idea what he was getting into with a husky puppy, shelties are great, obedient dogs, a husky was basically like diving into the deep end of the pool with piranha hanging out there too. Energetic, challenging, basically everything a first-time dog owner should NOT get into. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that.  Brandon had never owned a dog in his life, let alone raised a puppy.  Fionn was already 6 months old when we met, and like I said, Fionn was a perfect dog.  He promised he would exercise the dog, that it would be great motivation for him to get out there and run every day. Ah, silly naive Bonnie. I believed him.  What's got two thumbs and wound up doing all the exercise and training? THIS girl. Right here. But I had faith in myself, I'd taken lots of animal care classes, worked at shelters and vets offices, I felt confident I could handle a more challenging dog.  For goodness sake, my goal after high school was to go to Moorpark to study exotic animal training and management.  AAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Besides that, this is what I was up against:
Shmawww......could you resist this evil little face?
So we called, told them we were coming back for the male husky (there was a female too, which I would have preferred, but this was mostly Brandon's choice), and went and picked him up.  Here's the kicker. Fionn wanted nothing to do with him.  Oh, he tolerated him well enough, for the most part. But most of the time, the happy, friendly, wiggly puppy would receive a growl and a raised lip while Loki went and found a corner to hide in. So much for a friend for Fionn.  There were rare moments when they would play, but Loki was a bit too exuberant for mellow Fionn.  

Anyway, I could write an entire novel about new husky owner trials and tribulations, but I think I would lose my few dear readers.  I'll sum it up by saying there was a lot of destruction, frustration, tears, and snuggling. 

He was always a snuggly sweetie-pie, but not always the brightest bulb in the pack. That's how he got his nickname: Bubbas. He's a loveable, doofy mama's boy who loves me more than anything in this whole world. The feeling is mutual.  I love all the dogs in the house, and Rowan is my special brilliant baby girlie, but Loki is really something special. He makes me laugh, cuddles with me every night, and makes me feel like I'm the greatest person ever.  He turned three years old today, and has taught me more about the challenges of dog ownership, patience, and brought out the strongest maternal instincts I never knew I had. I love this damn dog so much, it kills me. Happy birthday, my bubbas. 
Loki is blowing out the candles on his birthday cake from Three Dog Bakery


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Some of my etsy favorites. Shoutout, y'all!

I've been meaning to do some etsy shoutouts here for quite a while. I tend to be a pretty tough customer when it comes to products, and I never gush unless it truly, truly deserves it. Here's a few things that I really can't say enough about:

Weeones : Jillian is an amazing polymer clay artist who continuously blows me away with the quality and detail of her work. She primarily makes knitting (or crochet) stitch markers. I'm embarrassed to say how many I've bought or had commissioned from her, and I keep going back to see whats new. I've challenged her with making my dogs, sugar gliders, and ring-tailed lemurs. I have bees, gnomes, cupcakes, dog toys, Christmas, hedgehogs, and monkeys. All of them are tiny and perfect, and they're really the only stitch markers I ever use. It makes my projects feel so special, and its like a treat to use them. Once, one of the ears broke off on my custom Loki stitch marker, and Jillian made another one and included it in my bee stitch marker order as a bonus. She rocks, and rocks hard. Since I'm at work right now, I don't have my entire collection with me, but here's a picture of a few that are in my knit kit I always have with me.

The Rustic Cottage



As a massage therapist and someone who washes their hands a lot, I need a good hand cream. My skin tends to be dry anyway, but everything I do and all the washings take their toll. I love Burts Bees products, but I never found the right combination of *just* the right texture with *just* the right scent. At the new year, I made a decision to try and buy more handmade....everything. Especially lip balms, lotions, etc., you can find some amazing stuff out there for great prices. And you're supporting handmade! After doing a LOT of research on what I was looking for in a hand cream, I decided it needed to have beeswax. I like barrier creams because they tend to give longer lasting moisture without being greasy or disappearing too quickly. I stumbled across the "quilters hand lotion bar" from the Rustic Cottage, and the scent caught my eye. Lavender mint? Sign me up! Plus, her ingredients are all natural, and made in an ADORABLE mold. I'm all about bees. You open the tin, and it appears to be a round bar of soap. Nope, it's a solid lotion bar that you rub between your hands to warm up and melt it a bit. Then you rub your hands together and make sure it gets to rough fingertips, knuckles, etc. I. Love. This. Stuff. The texture is amazing, and the smell is indescribable. It's a lovely natural smelling lavender with a touch of mint, and I never get tired of smelling it. (I do tend to get burned out on smells sometimes) It makes me say "mmmmmm...." every time I use it. That reminds me, I need to order some more.

Polarity


This clever monkey took recycled car parts (I really don't know which parts), soldered a ring onto it, added a magnet and a picture button (the kind that usually has a pin on the back) and made jewelry. Not just jewelry, INTERCHANGEABLE jewelry. I go crazy for things that are interchangeable and customizable. I even collect charms from Brighton and change them out on a chain to get a different necklace every day. I'm wearing one of polarity's items today, as a matter of fact! Before I'd even received the initial necklace and set of changeable tops, I had ordered her $5 pack of 4 custom choice. Interchangeable jewelry makes me want to do backflips.



Alright, that's about it for now, I need to get back to work! Break's over.

Support handmade everybody!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Run for your lives! It's the SHOULD monster!!

Well, I'm being a bit overdramatic.  It's mostly the acceptance that some things aren't going to get done, and the acceptance that sometimes I need to be nice to myself and let go of all the things I "should" be doing.  Here's the "should" list:


  • Sewing. I have a dog bed half finished, I should finish that. I should sew yarn houses for my knitting group and my etsy site. I should be making more neck pillows for my clients at work. I should be making myself (and a couple of craftsters) interchangeable knitting needle cases. 
  • Knitting. I should be knitting more. I'm so far behind on my Iknitarod project, I'm definitely not going to finish before the end of the race. I guess Guido will be coming to bust my kneecaps. 

That's as far as I've gotten on my Salem hooded jacket. Both sleeves, and the bottom body band. *sigh* I could say "I've been busy with work! Or, "I was working on getting the Iknitarod website up!" All this would be true, but it's also a LOT of the typical ol' "I don't WANNA work on what I SHOULD be working on, I wanna do this other thing that seems like far more fun, or much more productive than doing what I actually SHOULD be doing. This is my eternal ADD curse. Yes, I am clinically diagnosed with ADD. 
  • Writing. All day, every day, I'm thinking about things I want to write about. Projects I want to post. Yet I procrastinate. I procrastinate because it takes time, procrastinate because I'm unsure of what kinds of things I should share, and what should be kept private. That's no excuse for not writing about projects though. Again, bad bad Bonnie. Bad. I always seem to find a reason why I can't write. I'm wiped after work, the dogs need my attention, there's always something else that seems more pressing. I even tell myself "it doesn't matter, nobody's going to be mad at you for NOT writing". Life moves too fast though, and I should be writing more to capture a mental snapshot (and sometimes actual snapshots!) of what life is like right now. Details and events get forgotten, they should be written about.  Nobody will ever read what doesn't get written. Does that make sense? Maybe it's the wine talking.
  • I should be exercising my dogs every single day. This is a major major major guilt factor. And it should be! (there's that SHOULD again...argh!) My dogs deserve more exercise attention, and I've been terrible about it lately.
  • I should be spending time with my friends. Keeping in contact with them. Okay, here's the big giant confession on that. This is going to be a HUGE digression. I recently ended my relationship of six years. I can't air all my dirty laundry here, as much as I'd like to (Honest people, I"m all about it). But the fact of the matter is, it's complicated and there's no bad guy. Just different people with different goals who still love each other very much, but want different things. I was simply finally being honest with myself and admitting that I want to get married someday. On that note, I guess I was avoiding talking with my friends because I didn't want to deconstruct the whole thing. I didn't want to explain and go over and over and over it, and I didn't want to hear anything anyone else had to say. It's something I had to sort through myself and resolve feelings without any influence.  That said, I love my friends more than life itself, but I tend to implode and disappear when I'm not in a very good place. 
  • I should call and spend time with my grandmother. Oooh boy. That's another ginormous guilt elephant in the room. My grandfather recently passed away, and I loved him very very much. He was the nicest, kindest man I've ever known, and I miss him a lot.  Alzheimers is an ugly disease, and you feel like you lose the person way before they're actually gone.  Hiding is a selfish, ugly act that I'm completely ashamed of. I'm owning it right here. I'm terrible with bad emotions, and I tend to hide from them. Especially when it comes to death, I don't know what to do or say. I adore my grandmother, and I need to get off my repressed, lazy ass and spend some time with her. Bad Bonnie. Bad bad bad. 
These "shoulds" are killing me and I know I'll feel much better if I confront them head on.  Except for the one about my grandmother, there is a flipside. The flipside is this: Being nice to yourself and letting go of a lot of those "shoulds" can be very therapeutic.  The world won't collapse, Guildo won't come bust my kneecaps if these other projects don't get done right away.  People might be disappointed in me, but that's something I'm willing to accept the consequences of.  Sometimes allowing yourself to let go of  expectations and sitting around knitting and watching Desperate Housewives all weekend is exactly what you need.  The guilt might nag at you, but sometimes it's just okay.  My neck and head have been super painful lately, and leaning over a cutting board of fabric, or sitting at a sewing machine is not helpful. Even talking adds muscular stress, especially given the situations that have happened lately that friends and family might want to talk about and deconstruct. Being quiet, trying to relax the strained muscles seems like a lot smarter thing to do. So yes, I'm being nice to myself. 

Here's some things I AM proud of though:
  • I got the Iknitarod website put up, even if I'm not updating right now. That's another huge should, but at least the website is up. Yay me!
  • The dogs are getting brushed every couple of days, the floor is getting vaccumed of dog hair, and my bedding is getting washed once or twice a week to keep husky fur at a minimum. They're still blowing their coats, and even for all my effort I'm still breathing and wearing husky fur. 
  • My room is staying pretty darn nice. The laundry is staying under control, my comfy chair isn't covered with junk, and my craft supplies are staying pretty organized. I still have work to do on my sewing desk, and I have to continue organizing my fat quarters, but overall I'm pretty damn proud of how beautiful, inspiring, and wonderful my room is. Pictures coming soon. 
  • My plants are well cared for. I love my plants. They're all doing very well right now, and they bring me joy every day. Again, pictures coming soon. 

Whew! Thanks for listening to my rambling. I guess I get kind of contemplative and maudlin when there's a glass of wine involved. Tomorrow, I want to do a post on all the cool projects I've been working on lately, and I hope you'll stay tuned and see what they are! Trust me, I have been a very busy crafter lately. Crafting has been my therapy and my lifeline lately. I totally want a picture of Dori (from Finding Nemo) that says "just keep knitting, just keep knitting, just keep knitting knitting knitting...." Crafting makes me feel productive and proud, and I'm so thrilled to have that in my life.  Craft on, everyone!


Oh!! By the way, I'm giving the twitter thing another shot, and actually having fun with it! Follow my tweets!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Official Iknitarod website

It's up! It's up! I want to write a big 'ol post later, but after a LOT of work, the official Iknitarod website is up. You can find it here. Let me know what you think, and for goodness sake, subscribe! I love feedback and constructive criticism, so let loose and tell me what you think.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tutorial for I-cord earphone cover (otherwise known as "I wanna put on mah mah mah mah mah boogie earbuds!")



If you frequent craftster, you may have seen these:


They were a featured project of the month on craftster, both for knitting AND overall. Proud? Me? Okay, a little. I promised and promised a tutorial, but I FINALLY got around to filming it this morning. I'm also going to do a write-up in case you don't want to listen to my droning and goofiness. I asked my Dad to film my hands for me, and he decided to film ME as an introduction. Me. In my sweats, a ponytail, and no makeup. A scary sight indeed, but hopefully people can get past that and gain some clarity if the write-up is confusing. So here goes! 

Boogie earbuds: 

Supplies:

Earbuds (duh)
Fingering weight yarn   
Two size 1 dpns 
1 safety pin (or stitch holder)
tapestry needle

First and foremost, MAKE SURE YOU WRAP UP EXCESS EARBUD CORDAGE (using a rubber band or something)
Trust me. You want to do this. 

Using favorite cast on method (I used long tail), cast on 3(4) sts. (I say 4, because some cords are thicker than others, use your own judgement, pattern is VERY adjustable. Common sense, people.)

Okay, so cast on 3 or 4 sts. Do not turn work. Slide stitches to opposite end of needle, making sure the FIRST stitch you cast on is now your first stitch you'll be working with. (is that confusing? Let me know, or watch the video) With earbud
connector facing DOWN, make sure working yarn wraps BEHIND the earbuds. Basically, throw your earbud bundle over the yarn so the working yarn is behind the cord. Knit all stitches. Throw earbud bundle behind working yarn.
Repeat until you reach the "y" split.
Increase using your favorite method (if you cast on 3 stitches, increase 1 stitch so you have 4 stitches. If you cast on 4 stitches, increase 2 so you have 6 stitches)

Knit 2 rounds

Transfer the 2 or 3 stitches farthest from the working yarn onto safety pin.
Continue working I-cord method on right or left earbud (whichever one you're closest to) with remaining 2 or 3 stitches. When you reach the top (or the microphone thingeemabobber) cut yarn leaving a tail and run through all stitches, drawing it tight. Weave in tail. If you have a microphone thingeemabobber, just do what you did at the beginning, only cast on the smaller amount of stitches. Duh; ;) Knit I-cord to end, run yarn through stitches, blah blah blah. You get the idea. 

Okay! Other ear! Go back and transfer those 2 or 3 stitches back onto your needle and knit that I-cord! 
Run yarn through, draw closed, blah blah blahf You're done! Woot woot!

If this doesn't make any sense (sorry, I've never written a pattern before), you can always e-mail me at damsel@me.com, or watch the video and see if it clarifies anything. And please PLEASE don't mind the Bonnie-monster.  Better with actual sleep and makeup.  I hope this helps, and please let me know if you make one and send me a picture!

By the way, I survive solely on comments. it's my sustenance. Please let me know if you like this, if you hate it, if anytthing needs clarifying, etc. And if you "follow" me, I will love you forever. Just sayin'. Also, this song is mandatory listening.