Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Back to school, on the other side of the desk :)

Well, I have an hour before my next group comes in... a week and a half down, the rest of the semester to go :)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Has it really been over a month?

Wow... so much for all my good intentions about posting... :(

I don't know how I can possibly say it's been insane, but it has. Between unpacking, purging extra things, visiting my family, keeping N. busy... it's been nuts. But, we've survived the summer, and are heading into September with a great deal of optimism (and crossed fingers).

N. starts school this week, and luckily for us, it's a block away from Hubby's building. Hubby spent last winter semester watching kids play out his window during lunch hour, and now N. will be on that same playground. It's convenient, to say the least, and everyone we've spoken to says the school is a good one.

The other nice thing is that it's a block away from my building ;)

I've managed to secure a lab instructor position, albeit just for one semester right now, teaching undergrad biology labs. 125 students, in five lab sections. I'm SO EXCITED, it's a little crazy :) I taught core bio courses during grad school, as well as serving as senior course admin and instructor when the usual senior instructor was on sabbatical. I love teaching labs, and I can't wait to get back at it.

So, it's been busy, it's going to be busy, but so far, so good!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Breathe.

I am now halfway across the country, surrounded by boxes. No, wait; that's not true. My kitchen is 90% unpacked, so I'm not completely surrounded.

What an interesting experience, putting your things on a truck and hoping for the best. If I'm being honest, I can't say that everything made it - the manifest turned up two missing numbers (the items were all coded as they were put on the truck), but six extra boxes with no labels showed up, so either everything is here and four boxes didn't end up getting labelled before being loaded on the truck, or something has gone the way of the dodo.

Either way, I can sleep on my bed, shower in my clean and bright bathroom, cook in my kitchen, and watch TV when I have a little bit of time.

I'm finding myself needing to purge a lot of stuff, and it's not something I'm used to. In the past I had an unreasonable attachment to objects, and it turns out that I have more objects than can fit in our little two bedroom, main-floor-of-a-bungalow. I've already thrown out things that were broken or at the end of their useful lifespan, old ratty blankets that had no hope of rescue, dish towels that I loved but were turning into rags, plasticware from Ikea that looked to be about a million years old... and I've two large bins of things that are destined for either Kijiji or Salvation Army. I'm still not done, though; the crafting supplies are going to require a week of sorting and organizing on their own.

But this too shall pass... we're all happy and healthy (with the exception of some pretty nasty pterodactyl-sized-mosquito bites that are pretty angry), and we're TOGETHER.

The rest will fall into place.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Three hours!

It took four men just three hours to load my entire (material) life into a moving van. Never before have I seen such a game of real-life tetris ;) I can't believe this is finally happening.

I thought I was going to have a huge problem with sending everything away.... but as the van rode down the street, I was surprisingly peaceful.  As I was going through all the boxes again, relabeling and resealing and putting destination rooms on them, I had an epiphany (which I hope won't come back to bite me in the ass) - if any of those boxes went missing (which I hope they won't *knock wood*), I wouldn't be crushed... if any of the breakables got broken, I would be a little sad, but not devastated.  After living apart from Hubby, and doing this thing called life, I realized that things are just things. They make up the solid, inanimate part of life that surrounds me, but if I lost any single one of them I would survive. If I lost them all, it would suck, but I could recover.

Unless it was the yarn.........

;)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Moving van comes tomorrow

I have way too much stuff. A solid conclusion.

It's all heading out on the moving van, and we'll follow it in about a week, and still make it there before the truck does.

SO ready for this to get going!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Daddy's here!

Flight delays and thunderstorms and turbulence... none of it matters in the end :)




Saturday, June 14, 2014

165/3

165 days since I saw Hubby.

3 more days til he comes home.

Then the rest of the packing, the end of the school year, the moving van, and off we go.

Longest three days of my life, I'm thinking.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Saw this somewhere this morning


And because I hate packing, and I feel like a flashback type post, here is my master knitting list so far... If only I could remember what it's like to actually knit... ;)

Master knitting list (completed in BOLD):
Afghan/Blanket
I-cord
Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Shawl
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Hat
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Sweater (baby)
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Cardigan
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Slippers
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental Knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Scarf
American/English knitting
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else's handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Bobbles
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Steeks
Knitting art
Fulling/felting
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Purses/bags
Knitting with beads
Swatching
Long Tail CO
Entrelac
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Darning
Jewelry
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Gloves
Intarsia
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Pillows
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Rug
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Shrug/bolero/poncho
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

And now, because numbers freak me out

My posts sit at 666, including drafts, and that greets me when I bring up the screen... so here's post 667.

Ode to Cardboard Boxes

Boxes in my house,
Some are empty, some half full,
Mean I'm leaving soon.

Gah.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nearly one year later...

A year ago we made the difficult decision to move N. and me back up to the Great White North. For health reasons, for safety reasons, for financial reasons, for sanity reasons, I wanted to be in a place where health care is secure, schools are safe, and family support was close by.

I spent four months apart from Hubby, including the majority of N.'s first month at school.  The end of the year meant he was home, applying for positions and working on papers, and then this contract for a sabbatical replacement came. I embraced wholeheartedly my role as stay at home mother while he went out west on a very short term contract, keeping N. happy and reassured that Daddy will be coming home. Nightly Skype, cards and letters, and sending his very special stuffed animals to keep Daddy company helped, but some days are more than tough.

N. would often ask when Daddy was coming, wanting a countdown... in an effort to distract, we came up with countless things to do together - we even worked together on his first sewing project, choosing fabric of his own to make a big stuffed pig that he called the "Daddy-Pig".  When he missed Daddy he could hug Daddy-Pig, and many bedtime snuggles ended with a sad-faced boy squeezing that toy for all it was worth.  Things got even harder for me as time went on, when N. stopped pestering every day for an answer to "When's Daddy coming home?", and seemed to accept our lot for the time being. Hubby also missed a host of family birthdays, including mine and N.'s, but we've done our best to keep our heads up and spirits high.

And, a reprieve of sorts has come through.

The person Hubby replaced this semester decided fairly last-minute that he wouldn't be returning.  Which means for the time being, Hubby has a 14-month extension; proper job posting requires procedure and time, neither of which they had to nail things down for the 2014/15 year.  It means more courses to teach, more committees to sit on, and more responsibilities.  And hopefully a chance to prove beyond a doubt that he's a huge asset to the department and that he should stay permanently.

What does this mean for us?

Operation Bug-Out 2014.

So many good things. So many bad things. So. Many. Feels. GAH.

My goal in coming here was to keep N. in *one* school for the year, which we did. He's happy and thriving, but the play-date ethos around here is different. Aside from the occasional birthday party or school function, there's not much to do evenings and weekends; the boys in the neighborhood are older, and clique-ish, and N. doesn't seem to have any interest in breaking through. But, N.'s happy and well adjusted, loves visiting my brother and SIL, loves when his cousins come for the weekend, and doesn't seem to be wanting for anything, except Daddy.

This new contract means a full school year in a GREAT city, with Daddy to have breakfast waffles with, and to read bedtime stories with and help with homework. My aunt is two hours away, which is amazing - she moved out west 40 years ago, and we see her so seldom.  My cousins are both in the area, and one has two little ones, a boy very close to N.'s age and a little girl two years younger. It's a chance to spend some time with them and get to know them better (my aunt is a kindred crafting spirit, but that's for another post).

I'm ready, I think; in terms of the move, it's just details at this point. Most of our things from last year are in storage, and 80% of the prep is just re-sealing boxes that we fished through for our base needs. A little bit of new clothing, books, and toys need to be organized, along with some fabric and yarn that found its way to me (of course), but the rest is there. We're not crossing the border, health coverage transfers seamlessly between provinces, and the move comes at the end of the school year rather than the middle. Easy-peasy.

It also means leaving behind the people we love for the next adventure.  I don't think I'll ever be ready for that.  The amazing blessing of having N. live with and truly get to know his family here for an extended time means it'll be orders of magnitude more difficult to leave. But, I'd much rather have the kind of family and friends that it hurts to leave behind. The year has been hard for me, leaving behind so many people in the US, and now I leave another chunk behind here.

I said to some friends that I had gained a great deal of sympathy for Voldemort in the past few years, with my soul split into pieces and scattered across miles. I also know that it's nearly impossible to gather every piece into one place and stick them back together again.... I'm looking forward to at least getting the nucleus back in the same space, and I'll figure the rest out...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Gah. Winter.

Anyone who's paying attention knows that this winter has an attitude.  Up here in Eastern Canada, it's obnoxious.

Snowstorm followed by ice pellets and freezing rain, followed by another blizzard. We'd been getting better, after a total of fifteen snow days... and this morning I took N. to the bus stop in freezing rain and spiky daggery ice pellet-y nastiness.

Don't get me wrong, I do love winter. I can't imagine living in a place without seasons. This year has been an extreme example of winter, though, and it's getting me down.

I think part of it comes from being car-free and so far away from hubby while going through it. Past winters like this meant curling up together after N. is in bed, with tea and knitting, working on papers. Long walks in the snow in pedestrian-friendly cities are replaced with days housebound here on the top of the hill, unable to explain to N. why the weather is too awful to go outside.

Our March break trip helped break up the monotony, but had its own issues... and life goes on long after the vacation ends.

But, no matter what George R. R. Martin might think, winter can't last forever, and April can't help but be cheerful. Easter is coming, along with my niece's first birthday. Then a week later, N. & I share a birthday weekend, and my SIL's is a few days after that. I also have reason to think things are looking up, because there's talk of Hubs being extended... the uncertainty still gives me anxiety, but it looks like things are going in the right direction.

Now if I can trade my snow shovel long term for needles (of any sort), I'll be fine.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Still alive...

It seems like I can't keep a posting run going for very long, best intentions notwithstanding....

All is moving along in the nutter household.  I finished a second knitted bunny for my younger niece's birthday next month, and will have an extra dress for each of them.  Productivity comes in fits and starts, though; we've been battling sickness for a while and it's been an energy suck.  Bad colds, flu like symptoms, and one bout of rotavirus for the kiddo resulting in a day off school have all made me just want to sleep for days.

As we head into March Break, I'm trying to decide whether to take kiddo on a small road trip.  Our finances won't allow us to fly to see Hubby, but a morning's worth of a bus ride will bring us to my bestie from high school... and at about 15% of the cost, it's completely affordable right now.  I'm still on the fence, but being without a car limits our options, and my friend has museum passes burning holes in her pockets, so it's very tempting.  Not sure how I feel about a bus ride for hours without an iPad or a place to plug in the miniDVD player, but still... very tempting...


Monday, February 3, 2014

A home needs a cat ;-)

Vims. Aka Minou. Aka Minounou. Aka Nunu. Aka Nuuners. Aka Noodle. ;-) Sweetest cat ever <3

Bunny goodness and paying for patterns...

To go along with the high level of productivity this weekend, I finished everything on this project save the back seam on the dress by 4pm on Sunday. She's my first completed project with fair isle, and I'm in love.  I finished her right after dinner, seamed and pressed and ready to go; more photos soon!


These patterns from Little Cotton Rabbits (the bunny girl, who comes with her own dress, and the extra dresses in the supplemental) cost $7 and $8.80, respectively (approx CDN exchange when I purchased them) and were worth every penny.  I have limited resources at the moment, but my output was less than $16, I've knit entirely from stash and will be able to do so for a long time.  This week I'm hoping to make another one so my nieces will each have their own bunny, and it's a pattern I can see myself making again and again.  Cascade 220 works perfectly for the bunny body, and I just pulled some Socks that Rock for her clothes and shoes.  With so many sock yarn leftovers (in my case, hanging around because of Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jackets), the options for bunny clothes are endless...

Now, I consider myself to be a fairly competent knitter, and I rarely have trouble following pattern instructions, but sometimes construction is so fiddly on things like this that I just give up.  This time, I found myself back in that space where you just want to knit one more row, complete one more part, just sew up the back before dinner, etc. This project had mojo to spare, and I think it was the quality of the pattern writing.  There are progress photos for every step that's even remotely unusual, and the written directions are detailed enough that you can get past the "trust the pattern and just go forward" to "I can see what's happening before it happens!"  It was so enjoyable that I didn't notice my hands protesting at the tight gauge, or that I had dozens of ends to weave in ;)

I had an epiphany a few years ago when I became good friends with Stacey at FreshStitches.  Until that point, I don't think I'd purchased a pattern pdf for anything, knit or crochet.  I had a couple of books, but in my mind, they were worth purchasing because of the solid, substantial *thing* you get to hold in your hand, the extensive photography, and how pretty they looked on my bookshelf.  I thought, why would I pay for a pattern downloaded off the internet? Isn't the internet free? (I know, I know, nothing's free ;) )  There's no additional effort on the designers' parts if I click download one more time.  And oh, how wrong I was...

I was able to watch her process (I was fortunate enough to spend some time as a pattern tester for her, which I am so thankful for in my financial situation), and I learned what goes into producing a well-written, clearly laid out, and esthetically pleasing pattern.  The hours that go into designs are real, and designers' time is worth fair compensation.  Stacey's patterns allowed a novice crocheter like me to make gifts for friends and family that look polished and professional, and didn't take hours and hours.  I could apply my time efficiently because she'd put in the time and energy to produce a great pattern.  The same thing happened with Abby Glassenberg's sewing patterns - several of which I've tried in the last year... my limited budget goes to pattern purchasing, and I sew from stash and end up with lovely things like owls for my younger niece, or the most perfect soft fleece bunnies that are just begging to be given to newborns.  And this week I've found same thing applies to these wonderful knitted bunnies.  If I'm being honest, knitting is my first love, and it's so rewarding to be able to use my knitting skills to make something so precious.

I believe it's so important to support designers who give us products and patterns we love...  I also know that when you find a pattern, free or otherwise, you often get what you pay for (the only exception to this is when some of my beloved designers release free patterns as part of yarn collections or promotions - a good designer won't sacrifice quality when releasing a freebie).  So support your favourite designers if you can.  It's an investment in the quality of your own creations, and in future patterns for things you'll love.


And since this already sounds so much like a paid advertisement, which it isn't... here gathered in a list are my favourite designers and the patterns that I love :)

FreshStitches has my favourite dinosaur for little boys, and owl for little girls (although you could make either for either ;)) and her new book Modern Baby Crochet is brilliant - the funky argyle afghan is to die for...

Abby Glassenberg at While She Naps has two patterns (1 and 2) for a total of eight soft fleece loveys, and the adorable owl and baby

Little Cotton Rabbits has the bunny girl, her extra dress wardrobe, and my next purchase may be the fox boy (assuming my little boy doesn't grow up too fast and would still appreciate one of these!)


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Colorwork adventure! (?)

First real colorwork project... fair isle, not intarsia... on US2's... knit flat.

Good idea? or the road to madness?

;)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Finished bunnies

I just realized I hadn't posted photos of the bunnies!! Here are the first three... I made a fourth one morning before visiting a new baby that afternoon and didn't take a photo... Pattern at Abby Glassenberg's While She Naps Etsy shop ;)





A snow day sewing project

Using a great pattern from Abby Glassenberg at While She Naps, I put together this little owl and baby for my niece :-)

This is the second pattern I've made of hers (the first has been used for at least four bunny loveys), and they are fantastic.  I've been sewing for nearly thirty years, mostly self taught, and Abby's tips are great. Using a shorter stitch length to navigate curves? So logical, but I never thought of it :-) Her patterns are so well laid out that they're a joy to sew.

And just so I can sound like a total infomercial...

If I haven't said it before, Abby's patterns will give you great mileage. Makes me want to pressure friends and family to have babies so I can make gifts for everyone.

Can't wait til next month to visit my nieces!


ETA: fixed link to Lovey Dovey Pattern and Stella the Owl :) and changed spacing... silly mobile app...

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Popping up with an FO

Time to get back on the horse... with a doily that was started an obscene amount of time ago... finished as a centerpiece for my mom's table.  Hopefully enough of a kickstart to keep me going.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Growing up

Sometimes it shocks me... how something as simple as a haircut can remind me how big my boy is getting.


Monday, January 6, 2014

And on Sunday they rested...

I missed yesterday, and I have a whole host of excuses ;)  I was on the phone with Hubby quite a bit, as he was getting ready for his first day of teaching today.  We also skyped several times during the day - he doesn't have internet at home yet (hopefully tonight), so we've had to content ourselves with seeing him while at the office working on lectures.

I've also finally decided to try out Netflix, and set myself a list of a handful of TV series to watch that I've missed out on the past few years... turns out I was watching the wrong stuff ;)  I had every intention of sampling 5 or 6 pilot episodes over the next while, but I'm ashamed to say that I stopped at the first one... and I'm three episodes into Downton Abbey with no signs of stopping.  I'm not going to throw my list completely out the window, but for now I'm obsessed with Maggie Smith...


N. is back in school this morning, and I'm feeling a bit lost... I still haven't narrowed down my projects yet, and I'm afraid if I don't I'll just end up knitting dishcloths to send to Hubby in care packages... but knitting is knitting, I suppose.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sparkly sunshine

Early morning sun through our very frosty window...