Baby Bootie Fiasco

One of the many things that brings joy and excitement to the heart of every knitter is finding out that a good friend is pregnant.  Baby knitting is some of the best knitting out there.  The patterns are adorable and fast.  You walk away from the project feeling good about yourself and good about the world.

In the late spring, I was excited to find out that another friend of mine was pregnant.  I immediately turned to ravelry (it’s like facebook for the knitting community) to search for patterns.  Since I knew we would be moving soon, I decided on a hat and bootie pair.  Finding and completing the hat was no problem.  I chose this really cute pattern called the Bobble-Texture Knitting hat and used some really beautiful sock yarn I had leftover from another baby knitting project.  While it took me a couple tries to get the size right, all in all it was a really smooth process.

our new toy ed, modeling the hat

The booties have been a whole other story.  I’ll admit this is my first attempt at baby booties.  I normally prefer sweaters and vests, but I thought, “I like socks, it’s just like knitting a small sock.”  Right…wrong.  After today I will be attempting my third pattern.  Theoretically these should have taken one, maybe two chick flicks to knit.  Instead they have taken two and a half months.  Mostly because I keep procrastinating.

Here’s attempt #1: Saarjte’s Booties

the straps crossover, sort of like a criss-cross mary jane

These are the number one most knit booties on ravelry.  For some reason, I decided to knit them slightly differently from the pattern.  Bad idea, but out of pride I am unwilling to try again.  Maybe someday, because they really do have a lot of potential.

Attempt #2: Seed Stitch Shoes

my poor attempt at sewing shut the bootie

This time I followed the pattern.  I had learned my lesson.  Still no go.  I’m pretty sure the pattern is messed up.  See the picture below.  How is a rounded toe top supposed to fit over a triangular foot?  How?

chart from the book

Attempt #3 is happening tonight.  Hopefully, I will have awesomely cute pictures to show in the morning, but I’m not holding my breath.


It’s Official…Almost

the nmh farm in full bloom

It only took six weeks, but we are finally citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  For some reason they refused to be called the State of Massachusetts, right Brent?  After so many weeks of being home and away then home and away again, we are finally home for a while.  I could no longer put off finishing my moving to do list.  Sadly the one thing I most want to cross off, actually finishing the move, won’t happen for another week and a half.

So after David and I returned from the bed and breakfast we kicked into high gear.  So long beautiful Connecticut driver’s licenses, oh how I loved the blue and the lighthouse, hello Massachusetts licenses.   Let me just pause here to say that during this whole moving process I have had to deal with a lot of websites, a lot of phone numbers (which inevitably lead to more phone numbers, many of which disconnect you midway through), and offices.  And I must say, without a hint of sarcasm, that getting my Massachusetts license and registering our car was awesome.  Most of the paperwork you can fill out through their automated online system, then you just go in, take a number.  In many places, this is where everything would come to a screeching halt.  Oh the joys of living in a rural part of the country.  I was second in line.  It took like 15 minutes.  On top of that, the woman was incredibly friendly and joked around with David and I.  AWESOME!  Since the DMV (called the RMV here) took such a short time, David and I walked two doors down and got ice cream.  Then we went to have the Neon inspected.  This also took only fifteen minutes and they changed my plates for me and scraped off all the old parking and registration stickers at no extra cost.  Toto, we are not in Connecticut anymore, that’s for sure.

Today’s to-do list was not as simple or as easy.  The highlight was having to call three numbers to transfer my AAA membership and then three numbers to correct the address on my bank statement.  Each of the six numbers included some sort of automated system.  Oh me oh my, why it is so hard to talk to real people these days.

While the moving is and continues to wear on my nerves, it doesn’t take much to remind me that I’m excited about where we are.  Today, the school’s farm sent out an e-mail that there were flowers available to be picked for only 25¢.  After David got off work, we biked over and picked some beautiful Ziennas.  I’m pretty sure we’ll be back next week because the farm also had sunflowers, cosmos, poppies, and many other flowers I don’t know the names of (see the picture above).  We also picked up some freshly made blueberry ice cream.

bike basket at its best...carrying freshly cut flowers

Here Begins Year 4

Three years ago today I married my best friend.

a walk down memory lane courtesy of my dad's awesome picture

Sadly this is the third year in a row that a job or internship has attempted to keep us from celebrating our anniversary on the actual day, but we were not deterred.  We said who cares if David has a conference it’s in New Hampshire.  What are New Hampshire and Vermont known for…bed and breakfasts.  WHAT UP conference, take that.  So we found a cute bed and breakfast in Woodstock, VT and then went to this really fun restaurant/glass blowing worship shop/waterfall/Simon Pearce store.  Here’s a window into our brief, but really enjoyable anniversary celebration.

three years later and still smiling

the handblown glass with waterfall in the background

not quite niagara but still awesome

The Bold and the Beautiful

they are bold...will they be beautiful together?

You may or may not remember the photos of the beautiful quilts my mom and I saw at the Wichita quilt festival.  They were sew inspiring.  They even convinced me to give quilting another try, despite the fact that my last project took like a year and a half.  After visiting like five quilt stores in less than two hours, my mom and I finally found a pattern I both liked and she thought would be easy enough so I wouldn’t get discouraged.  The colors may be a little loud, but I think they are really exciting.

precut fabrics

I’m thinking it would be fun to turn the quilt into a shower curtain.  David’s not so keen on the idea.  He hasn’t said no yet.  Instead he said, “Do you want to put that much time into a project only to hang it outside the bathtub?”  I’m like,  “You see it and use it everyday as a shower curtain.  We already have 5 throw blankets and there are only two of us and currently we only have like 6 friends up here.  What are the odds that all of them will come over at once and each want an individual blanket?”  This conversation is not over, but for now we will have to wait and see what the quilt/blanket/shower curtain to be looks like once all the pieces are sewn together.  And I obviously have a long way to go.  I’m hoping to finish this before school starts too.  I’m starting to wonder if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew…

Floating Ninjas in Canada

I bet you all are thinking, did Sarah and David see a floating ninja in Canada?  How did that not make the top ten list?  Well, we didn’t exactly see a floating ninja.  Those are the names of the two yarn projects I finished while driving across country and back: the Float Stole (which is really more of a scarf) and the Ninja Socks (is there a cooler name for a pair of socks?). I have been toiling away on both projects since at least March, but they kept taking the back burner to more exciting baby knitting projects.  With upwards of 30 hours in the car, only like 8 of which I drove, there was much knitting to be had.

The Ninja Socks

the ninja socks up close and personal


These socks are really awesome.  Mostly because the Japanese sock knitting book gave them such a cool name, but also because they fit my feet perfectly.  They are made from a variegated red, black and white bamboo yarn, given to me for Christmas by my mother in law, Cindy.  I cast on a little tight so they’re snug when pulling them onto my feet, but once they are on they feel great. I love how hand knit socks are neither too snug nor too loose. They felt so nice I forgot I was wearing them even though it was like 80 degrees in our house.   As you can see they bring out the ninja inside of me.

The Float Stole

the float stole as a scarf

as a stole

the floating float stole

I began this project at the beginning of March when my job search was just swinging into gear.  I knew the process would be really stressful and wanted a creative outlet to help get through the process.  Then I remembered how some congregations have a prayer shawl ministry where they knit shawls to give to people who are going through a tough time.  Normally, the practice of knitting is approached meditatively and prayerfully, so I thought why not knit myself prayer shawl to help get through this stressful time.  I used the most amazing yarn, cashmere given to me a birthday present, top of the line needles, and choose a lovely, but simple pattern.  Thankfully my job search ended midway through April, but this meant my stole was put to the side.  Once we moved up here I decided to get back to knitting and finally finished up the stole on our drive home from Montreal.

O Canada

After just under 2,000 miles and 10 days of travel, David and I have returned to home, or at least to the summer home…It was a great trip, filled with much exciting sight-seeing, great food, incredible travel knitting and much, much more.  Since it’s hard to encapsulate the trip in words, without boring you for days, David and I put together two lists, which nicely sum up our experience, The Top 10 List of Joy and the Bottom 5 List of Frustration.  *As a side note, I got the idea of making a list of our favorite experiences from an article in Real Simple once and I’ve been trying to get David to participate for almost seven years with little or no success.  Thanks to the blog, David was blindsided and participated without even realizing my tricks.  Since it’s always better to end on a positive we’ll begin with…

The Bottom 5 List of Frustration

#1: At rock bottom was our hotel stay in Syracuse, NY (this will be the only non-Canadian part of the list, I promise).  It started out awesome, the shower looked like a rainfall, the bed felt like a cloud.  I thought, we will finally have air conditioning and I can sleep.  And we did have air conditioning…as long as we kept moving.  That’s right the air conditioner was/is set on a motion detector.  So if you stop moving, i.e. go to sleep, the air conditioner will turn off, regardless of whether or not it has hit the right temperature.  This ranks at the bottom of the list mostly because I cannot fathom who thought this was a good idea, and on top of that, how they convinced this hotel to pay extra to install these motion detectors.  CRAZY…but it did get us a free breakfast.

#2: I got a cold.  I first felt it coming on in Toronto, but it hit full force on our first night in Montreal.  That first night was terrible, I’m pretty sure I went to the bathroom to refill my cup of water every hour.  Thankfully, you can get Codine-cough syrup over the counter in Canada without a prescription so the next two nights were okay.  Also thankfully, David had stowed some cough drops in our car from earlier in the year when he had a cold.

#3: Our hotel experience at the Hilton in Niagara Falls was equally ridiculous.  After a lovely evening enjoying our view of the NY falls, we woke to discover not only were we out of hot water (I got a cold shower in), we were actually out of water entirely.  We couldn’t flush the toliet.  We had to brush our teeth using water leftover in our water bottles.  David didn’t shower at all.  Once again free breakfast and this time an angry e-mail to the Hilton people when we returned home.  I mean seriously, the point of a hotel is to sleep and shower, I’m pretty sure we deserve some sort of refund.

#4: Quebec province, and more specifically Montreal rush hour, traffic.  A six hour trip turned into an eight hour trip after hitting 4 spots of construction, rush hour, an accident during rush hour, and another bought of construction during rush hour.

#5: I feel really snobby saying this, but rounding out the list was the food we had on the road.  We knew we were picky about fast food before the trip, but we now need to scratch off Arby’s, Quizno’s, and Diary Queen (the food, not the ice cream, the ice cream is always a winner).  I just don’t understand why rest stops cannot include a Chipotle, Chick-fil-a or Sonic.

Now for the fun list, the Top 10 List of Joy.  For this list, rather than describing everything, I’ve picked a few choice pictures from the over 2,000 pictures David took over the course of our trip.

Top Ten List of Joy

#10 The View from the Top of Mont Royal: It was an excruciating climb in the heat and David and I were sure we would come home sunburned and sore (neither of which actually happened), but once we got to the top it was all worth it.

the view from the chalet on mont-royal

#9 Free Stuff: As I mentioned above we managed to get two free breakfasts for our trials, but this was only the beginning.  After bemoaning our bad hotel luck to the woman who checked us in, she sent up a free welcome snack and card.  We also encountered a very nice bus driver in Montreal who not only gave us a free bus ride, but went out of his way to point us in the right direction when we got off the bus.  Finally, when leaving Massachusetts we were given a free toll, I believe it was because the toll girl didn’t want to break our $20 bill.

the note accompanying our free westin goodies

#8 Notre Dame Cathedral: While it’s been a long time since I’ve visited the cathedral of the same name in Paris and I may have forgotten its true grandeur, the alter piece and nave of this cathedral may be just as magnificent.  I just love the blue.

the inside of notre dame

#7 CN Tower: Who knew that Canada had the second tallest (I think) building in the world.  The view was spectacular.  It even has this crazy glass floor, which is both cool and disorienting.

david's feet 1,122 feet in the air looking through the cn tower glass floor

#7b Seeing Mike Birbigilia in concert: I don’t know if it was the wine over dinner or what, but I accidently had two things on our list numbered at 7 and didn’t realize it until right now, whoops.  So here’s 7b, Montreal has this festival each July called the Just For Laughs festival.  Since we have crappy internet access we somehow got the impression that we missed the week, but when we arrived to the hotel we learned it was in full swing.  So we snagged tickets to see Mike B.  It was a lot of fun, especially because we had second row seats.  My making David arrive 45 minutes early paid off!

#6 Royal Ontario Museum: David was like a little kid in a candy shop checking out all the different dinosaur bones and reproductions.  There was also this really thought-provoking traveling exhibit on political cartoons on the top floor that gave me an idea for a possible class project in the future…

david vs. dinosaur bones

#5 The Food: Our guidebooks and the various people we asked for tips did not lead us astray.  Almost every meal was incredible.  The pictures speak for themselves.

cakes from the red tea box

incredible salads at olive and gourmando, just to the right of us sat snl comedian Nasim Pedrad

#4 Biking through Montreal: Montreal has these awesome things call Bixi bikes.  For only 5$ you can rent one for the whole day and as long as you never have a bike out for more than 30 minutes there’s no additional charge.  It was a much more exciting and healthy way to see the city rather than taking the subway.

that's me from the perspective of david's bike

#3 Queen’s West: Designer toy store, yarn store, tea shop with AWESOME cakes, and crazy condom and weed stores all over the place…need I say more.

our toy, ed, from the magic pony toy store

i know none of you are going to believe me, but we really didn't go in the condom store

#2 St. Joseph’s Oratory: Built in the 20th century, this place was just incredible.  There were two chapels, a candle room, and a spectacular view of the city of Montreal.  What can I say, I loved every minute.

us in front of st. joseph's oratory

#1 The Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls: Niagara Falls felt like the Branson of Canada, but I loved it.  The natural sights of the NY Falls and Canadian Falls were awesome.  We took a great trip outside the city for a lovely meal at a winery. Opening our whole experience was the Maid of the Mist boat ride and it was breath-taking.  It put us right in the middle of the action (really it was just on the edge of the action, but while you are on the boat it feels like you about to go into the falls).

in the action

trying to hide on the boat so we can go a second time

Sorry for such a long post, but it’s hard to sum up a ten day adventure.  I hope you enjoyed seeing Canada through our eyes, or at least our pictures.  Here are three of David’s favorite pictures, one from each city, at to end off the post.

the US falls at night all lit up

toronto's cn tower at night

montreal's notre dame at night, spooky eh?

Away We Go

Today David and I embark on a journey to the great north, more commonly known as Canada.  According to Google maps we will travel 1,698 miles totaling one day and six hours of drive time.  This is the longest road trip I have ever been on.  I think that’s also true of David too.  We have guide books, a gps, food, travel scrabble, audio-books, and my favorite, travel knitting. To start the journey, we head all the way over to Ohio for a wedding we have been looking forward to for almost three years.  Then we will go up to Niagara Falls, on the Canada side, then Toronto, and finally Montreal.  Below you can see an approximation of our journey:

the modern day road-map

The map should also help clarify to my mid-western friends where exactly it is David and I have moved.  We are the A and F, where the journey both begins and ends.

As you can probably guess, this means another short break from my blogging.  Hopefully, we will have internet up there.  Do they have the internet in Canada?  Yes, yes they do and according to the websites of the hotels we are staying at, it will cost roughly $12 a day to use said internet.  So until then, pray for good weather, clear roads, and safe travels.

*I also have to pause to give credit to the title of this blog.  Last night David and I watched the movie of the same name and I again loved it.  If you haven’t seen it, you should.  The seen of  ‘Madison’ where Maggie Gyllenhaal works at a University is actually the campus of the boarding school I interned at this past year, Taft School.  Pretty neat.

The Fleeting Joy of a Cold Shower

Many days the ritual shower is no big deal.  You get up, you shower, you go about your day.  Sometimes, when you’ve feeling a little crazy, you may take two showers, be a bit of a rebel.  While most showers are but a blip on the radar, some showers really stick with you.  Up until today, there were two:

  1. It was easily 100 degrees outside on a hot August day.  Some would call it the dog days of summer.  I was at Westminster Woods summer camp and had just finished playing a 3-on-3 basketball tournament.  Red, hot, and sweaty, my greatest joy was stepping into an ice cold shower.
  2. Ten days, six boats, one groover, and no shower.  It was Outward Bound in the Florida Everglades.  The blessed shower happened at a camp site washroom.  Dirty floors, cold water…it was a little like heaven on earth.

This week’s worth of showers may soon join the list.  After two days where the low at night is 80 degrees and there is no air conditioning, not even a window unit, in sight, my only solace is stepping into that ice cold shower for a few minutes of relief.  I’m telling you even drying off with a towel after wards feels hot.  I cannot wait for this heat wave to pass or for our trip to Canada with our over-priced rooms with air-conditioning to arrive, which ever comes first.

In other news, the Maltese Shawl and I have finally made amends.  After an excruciating hour of ripping back two rows and mending my work, I’m off and running, perhaps mall-walking is a better image of my pace…Since my goal is to finish the shawl before school starts at the beginning of September, I’ve added a new feature to the blog.  On the right, you will notice a countdown on the number of lace sections to go before I’m finished.  There are 88 sections of 6 rows a sections and then the boarder to go.  To finish on time, I’ll have to knit 3 sections a day, which is a lot to ask given my current pace, but I’m optimistic that as I get more comfortable with the pattern things will move more quickly.  Here’s to hoping.

bloom where you are planted

bright and beautiful coleus

As many of you know, for the summer David and I are living in temporary housing.  While this has proved frustrating on some fronts (i.e. no internet, no cable, no AC), it also has a couple real perks that I will miss when we move back into an apartment.  The first is an awesome screened in porch.  I really love spending my mornings reading for class in a bug-free zone.  The second major perk to staying in a house is having a yard.  We finally have a place for our plants to grow.  And they are thriving.  Check out my Coleus that I planted as a little seed in a grow kits that David found on kid’s woot.

honeysuckle flutes

We also have been blessed by the remnants of a previous tenant’s garden.  It feels like our own little secret garden.  At first glance the house appears slightly overgrown with weeds as tall as the porch.  Then out of this tangle of weeds pops a yellow or red or orange flower and it makes my day just a little brighter.  There were hardly any flowers when I left to visit Kansas, but when I returned there were flowers aplenty.  It felt a little like the house was welcoming me home.

the bold and the beautiful

the lemon drop of flowers

create your own fireworks

Back in Gill just in time for the celebration of Fourth of July.

the start of the finale

The weekend started off with a bang.  On a tip from one of David’s coworkers, we headed out Friday night to the local fireworks show at Greenfield, the ‘big city’ of Franklin county, boasting a whooping 18,000 people.  Incidentally, this was the budget of the fireworks show.  We learned this from overhearing the man behind us continuously repeat the refrain, “Pretty good show, but think of how many people could have been fed on $18,000?” and “There’s a $100 one” when the big ones would go off.  While I will agree that spending upwards of $20,000 on colorful explosives does seem excessive, it was probably one of the better fireworks shows I’ve ever attended.  The show started slow, with a good ten to fifteen second between fireworks, but once it got started it was really impressive.  We also heartily enjoyed people-watching prior to the show.  The highlights were the father, daughter, and friend trifecta in front of us.  It began with a heated argument about who could use which blankets, with the daughter informing her father, “My blanket my rules.” Then her friend broke her glow necklace all over herself and her friend comforted her by saying, “Whatever you do, don’t lick it” and “It won’t burn through your clothing.”

before baking

After all that excitement, however does one celebrate on the actual Fourth of July?  Thanks to a little inspiration from the airport’s Cinnabon, David and I decide to create some explosively good cinnamon rolls.  After four hours of mixing, rising, baking, and frosting, we shared an incredible brunch of cinnamon rolls, bacon and eggs.  I think our forefathers would be proud.

after baking

On the way to the grocery we decided that no Fourth of July is complete without at sparklers.  After searching the grocery we decided ask where to find sparklers. David: “Do you sell sparklers?” Girl: “This is Massachusetts.” She was looking at us as though we just asked her to sell us pot and answered as though, “This is Massachusetts” was an appropriate answer to our question.  Eventually she told us that it is illegal to sell fireworks in Massachusetts so we would need to go to New Hampshire to buy fireworks.  I’m pretty sure she felt a little devious divulging this top-secret information.