On Wednesday, our oldest begins private school. They start them at Pre-K, but they evaluate the kids in the spring for the incoming year. When our son was 4, they decided he wasn’t mature enough to focus well and handle the class. Plus he would have been the youngest in the class more than likely, so it was fine with us that we waited another year. Now that he’s 5 and has grown up so much and matured, he’s completely ready to begin Pre-K at Daddy’s school. That’s right, my husband teaches there as well.

We’re pretty well known for doing what we can to be “green” and keep costs down, so when we bought our son his lunch box, we also found some reusable sandwich and snack bags at Target.

BuiltNY_Skulls I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought at the time, even though I was shocked to be paying $9.99 for these two bags. It cost us more than the lunch box my son had just picked out.

Fast-forward to today. We’re out fishing and I’m thinking about how we’re going to pack his lunch and snacks, and then it hits me that I can now buy PUL (waterproof fabric) at JoAnn’s Fabrics. I asked my husband how much he thought a yard cost. I started thinking about the dimensions of the bags I’d need to make and decided that a quarter yard would probably be enough, or half a yard at the most. Besides, I had a coupon for 50% off (and another for 40% off for my second transaction), so I could get half a yard for $4.

After we got home, I left the kids with the hubby and made my way to JoAnn’s with coupons in hand. There are so many cute patterns to choose from that it took me a little bit to decide which ones to buy. When I got up to the register for my first purchase, I found out JoAnn also has an app to get my coupons and I could use my paper one and the one from my app, so I went back and got my second cut of the other pattern I wanted.

After returning home, I did a little bit of research on designs. The design hubby wanted me to use seemed like it took more planning and was more complicated. I was in the mood for simple, so that just wasn’t going to cut it. I settled on dimensions close to a Zip-Loc bag. Cut two pieces (make one 2 inches taller than the other). Sew on the velcro, sew the side and bottom seam, and you’re done! Easy-peasy!

first one done

I was pretty pleased with how the first one turned out. I took it outside to show my son and got a very enthusiastic “Cool!” I went back to work and completed some more. These are all I got done tonight and I’ll finish some more this week while I’m on vacation.



all done

He’s going to have a very cool lunchbox indeed!


{August 30, 2011}   Posts?

Hi Folks. Sorry I seem to be slacking. This past weekend I was single parenting it while the hubby was away on a fun trip and this week I’m frantically studying/reviewing my Quantitative Analysis chemistry notes and practice problems to prepare for a job interview I have on Thursday. I haven’t forgotten about ya’ll, just spending my time on trying to get this job. I’ve been unemployed since May 2010, trying to make a career change (hence studying for my interview), and buying a house. Gotta study study study. If anyone wants to bring me a Grande Java Chip Frap Light from Starbucks, you’d be my favorite person ever!

{August 26, 2011}   Fiber Friday – Knitting Socks

I have a love/hate relationship with yarn. I love the meditative state I can get into while knitting or crocheting, but I can also get bored easily and leave projects unfinished for a very long time. In the craft world we refer to those as UFOs, or unfinished objects. I usually like to work on socks because they are small and therefore, in theory, don’t take very long to complete. My first pair took me a year to complete.

First socks I ever made.

What’s the first thing you notice about this pair? The top sock is indeed smaller than the bottom sock. I made the top sock first and got around to the second sock later. This is often referred to as Second Sock Syndrome and is often the reason many people don’t tackle sock patterns. Then I made a much simpler pattern that I didn’t have to think about for me and the hubster.

Anne's sock detailOur new house socksHubster's sock detail

These were done with a worsted weight wool that I picked up at JoAnn Fabrics. I wish I could remember which yarn this is because it was nice to work with, but I did these socks a couple years ago. I really like the spiral design on hubby’s pair. If I recall correctly, my design was made by pulling the yarn to the purl side, slipping two stitches and pulling the yarn back to the knit side.

Right now I’m working on a beautiful pair called Leaves of Whimsy. This pattern was designed in 2006 by Rebecca Mercier of Whimsical Knitting Designs. Here’s what the pattern is supposed to look like.

Fabulous, right? But here’s where you’ll ask, “Is this girl crazy?” I’ve been working on this pattern for almost two years. I started it in October 2009 when my mom and I spent some time in Calistoga for our almost annual B&B trip to Lavender Spa for our hot baths and massages. I had been wanting to find a pattern to use this fabulous fall color varigated yarn I had picked up a couple years earlier. Don’t ask me what it is or what it’s content is because I have long since lost the tag for it. I’m sure if I visited the yarn shop I bought it at I could find it again and get all the details, but for now, I got nothin’.

Sock yarn!

One of *the* most perfect yarns for fall, IMO. Having learned that doing one sock at a time creates problems actually creating matching socks, I decided that I’d do this sock via the Two Socks on Two Circs technique. You use two circular needles, with half of each sock’s stitches on each needle, and two balls of yarn. It looks really complicated is and quite the conversation starter with people who don’t knit, but it’s actually fairly easy once you get the hang of working with all that stuff. You can see my work in progress and it looks pretty messy.

Work in progressPattern

I assure you it is a fabulous technique that has the most important advantage that when you are finished, *BOTH* socks are finished *AND* both socks are the same gauge which means you have two socks that are the same size. Winning! You can visit Sheron Goldin’s web site to view her lesson on how to knit with this technique; it’s where I learned how to do it.  It is also useful if you are knitting sleeves or pant legs in the round so that everything comes out the same size. You might not be able to tell by this picture that I knit inside out, and by that I mean the purl side is the outside of the sock and the knit side is inside. My friend, Barb, thinks I knit weird, but that’s just how everything came out when I started knitting socks and no one had ever shown me otherwise.

Work in progress

I still have a few more inches to knit before I can start the toe decreases. I will be glad to ditch the pattern stitch as that is why I haven’t been motivated to finish this piece, but now that I’m back in school, I take my bag with me to work on my socks during any downtime, so hopefully I’ll be done soon. I have to say this yarn is so small that I don’t get very far for each round I complete, and based on that, I probably won’t use yarn like this again any time soon. Now do you understand why I have a love/hate relationship with yarn?

Have any projects you think I might like to try knitting or crocheting? Leave a link in the comments.

et cetera