Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Finally Some Real Knitting!

The weather here is finally turning to a somewhat fall-like feel and my knitting mojo is making a real appearance at last! K. was here for the holiday weekend and I took the opportunity to measure him in the hopes of turning this old project into a reasonably well-fitting sweater:

Its a basic top-down raglan in Rowanspun dk that I've had sitting around forever. I think I started this project several months ago and it has been hiding in my drawer ever since. I'm sort of winging it so hopefully all will be well in the end, lol. I am almost finished the body portion and then its on to the sleeves. So far it is very lightweight and tweedy..just the sort of thing that K. likes.

Another big change that happened since K. left to start his new job is that we  dumped cable. After much hemming and debating I realized that we don't actually watch much regular tv, barring a few favorite shows. By far the most watching we do is mindless crap/reality shows that we only turn on because we are bored. So I learned how to download shows and movies and also how to view my computer on the big tv. A quick trip to the cable office and voila...$80 a month saved! We have to work a little harder in the evenings to entertain ourselves but the benefits are already being felt. No more commercials! No more Hoarders and Honey Boo Boo! More knitting! More games/fun with the girls! I actually wish we had done this sooner but change is hard when you get into a comfortable rut, ha ha.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Halloween Shop Update

I've added some new Halloween dresses to my shop today:

More goodies coming soon!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Middies R Us

For a while now I have been curious about the new Blythe in town: Middies. Middies are sort of like Blythe's little sister. Takara has been producing them for just over a year and so far 6 different styles have come out. They have yet to really gain popularity due, in part I believe, to the relatively high price tag...almost as much as a full sized Blythe without the neat eye-changing feature. When I first saw one I didn't like her at all. I was sure I would never spend good Blythe money on (to my mind) an inferior doll that was severely lacking in charm. 

And then it happened. I kept seeing them on the various forums and people's websites and my curiousity kept growing. And growing. Until finally I couldn't stand it any more. I carefully looked at the different ones produced and decided which was my favorite..Milk and Honey. Then I checked all over for prices. And promptly died a little bit inside. Of course the one I liked the best was hard to find and priced accordingly. No matter how great my curiousity, I couldn't justify paying over $200 for a doll that I wasn't even sure I would like. So, back to the drawing board, I checked out my 2nd and 3rd choices..unfortunately also priced beyond my comfort zone. I almost gave up at this point of ever owning a middie.

Then I had a brilliant idea. I posted on various forums asking if anyone would consider rehoming an unloved girl for some $$ and a partial trade of goods from my Etsy store. And...success! Not only did I get one for a good price (fantastic, actually) but the owner is local to me so I picked her up yesterday! Presenting the newest dolly in the house, Katie:

Yes...not only is she my #1 pick, she also came complete with all her stock and her box! She had only been taking out for display and that's it. To give you an idea of scale, here she is posed next to Pepper:

Awe..isn't she the cutest?!? I can't wait to start making clothes for her! Here's a closeup of her face:

I have to say that I am most definitely converted now, lol. I will be keeping my eye out for more middies. The girls, of course, are completely nuts for her and are plotting saving up their Xmas and birthday money for middies of their own, ha ha.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Blythecon Australia!

A while back I was contacted through my Etsy account by an organizer for Blythecon Australia. She was looking for sponsors and wanted to know if I was interested. OMG! Was I ever! I have never been to a Blythecon but I have been following the various different ones on line ever since I first became interested in Blythe dolls. I couldn't and still can't believe that someone likes my stuff enough to want some for an actual event! I swear the little thrill I get whenever someone shows interest something that I've made never gets old, lol.

So I have spent the last couple of months debating and testing out ideas until I came up with a shorter version of the party cardi sweater that I really liked. I set to work making them up out of forest colours to go with Blythecon's theme: Woodland Faerytale. Here's Aimee modelling the finished version:

I made up 16 of these all together. No two are alike due to the colour-shifting nature of the yarn I used.

I'm not sure exactly what they are going to do with them..either give them away or raffle them and I don't really care. I'm just so happy to be able to contribute to such an awesome event and to the Blythe community in general. Its so great that they are giving a relatively new to the Blythe scene aficionado like me the chance to get involved and get my name out there.

I just wish I could send more. Maybe I'll get a chance at another Blythecon....

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Big News and A Small FO

Its been a little crazy around here lately, to say the least. The biggest thing going on is that we are moving to Nelson, BC! K. finally got a job in the small BC town of our dreams. We have been trying to move out of the city forever it seems and now it is finally happening. There is only one real problem we are having..the local real estate market has slowed down so we can't sell our townhouse here unless we take a significant loss. After much debate (and wishes for a lottery win) we came up with an interim plan that hopefully won't kill us, lol. We moved K. to Nelson and set him up with his own, swingin' bachelor pad (a rental) so that he could start his new job right away. Basically we pillaged the house for spare furniture and bedding and then went to Target and Walmart to fill in the gaps.  He now gets all the fun of learning how to fend for, cleaning, the works! The girls and I are going to sit tight here until the market improves hopefully by next spring...Nelson is in the mountains so moving in winter is completely out of the question. Fortunately K's new job pays more than he was making in the city so we are able to afford supporting two households for the next while. A major bummer in this whole thing is that I am now effectively a single parent with no car trapped in suburbia. Fortunately I have some support once a week for running bigger errands and shopping. Fingers crossed that when we do list the place we get at least our initial buy-in price but hopefully also some of our improvement costs.

In the meantime, K. has been gone for just over a week now and I'm trying to channel all my nervous energy into productive pastimes. I finally finished up a pair of socks that has been on my needles for quite a while:

These are made from Zauberball in shades of bright pink and purple. They actually came out very similar looking which is rare for zauberball socks! I really like them so hopefully the weather will become more fall-like soon so that I can actually wear them...

My knitting mojo seems to be returning, finally. I actually feel like making something more substantial than socks and dolly outfits. I don't think I've ever gone this long without making a large project before. But now I'm trying to keep busy and save money so no time like the present to dig deep into my stash!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dollies Go Goth!

The kids are back in school and Halloween is just around the corner so I decided to start making up some wickedly festive Blythe gear for my etsy shop. Here's the first installment:

Goth girls for life! I loved knitting up these dresses so I'll be making a few more for my girls to keep all to themselves. Coming soon..some creepy party dresses, Halloween skate punk hats and maybe a few surprises....

Friday, September 7, 2012

Golden Afternoon

Just a quick post on friday afternoon to show off a project I just finished!

It is a Lintilla scarf knit out of Crystal Palace Sausalito. Details on Ravelry here. I whipped this up as a bithday gift for a friend of my girls who is turning 14 at the end of this month. She is pale blond with blue eyes and her favorite colour is yellow. When I saw this yarn I knew it would fit the bill perfectly! I love making up this pattern..I did a couple of them last year. Self-striping sock yarn gives a really nice effect, I think.

Another golden thing to show you:

I only managed to get a couple of pictures of this guy before he flew off...thankfully they turned out!

Friday, August 24, 2012

New Dolly Design!

Sorry for the silence..we've had a very busy last week or so with lots of exciting news that I will be blogging about in the next little while.

But for today I wanted to introduce a new Blythe doll design that I just finished:

I'm calling it "Pretty Party Cardi" and it is sized to fit perfectly over a Blythe party dress with a minimum of fuss. It also looks pretty good over the Mod A-line dress too. I'm hoping to get some of these knitted up in pretty colours and listed on my Etsy shop in the next week or so. I think its really cute so hopefully other people will too :)

Its amazing what a little insomnia can get you, lol.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

FO: Bella Botanica Shawl

Here she is, all blocked out and ready to play!

We decided to go to Fort Langley this morning and came across the bronze statue of Sir James Douglas, first governor of British Columbia and founder of Fort Langley. We pressed him into service and I think he secretly enjoyed it, lol.

Doesn't he look so stately and sophisticated?!? This project was a lot of fun. The beading was not nearly so hard as I expected and I only ended up using one tube of beads so that means I still have two more for future shawls! I was a bit concerned about the brightness of the greens as it did not go with my usual colour choices so I ended up putting a couple of black tea bags in the soaking water before pinning it out for blocking. Not only did it tone down the brighter shades but it made the shawl smell!

While we were walking around we discovered that the local quilt shop is closing down due to the owner's retirement and that they were having a 50% off sale. So we picked up this neat bundle of themed fat quarters:

I can definitely see some new Blythe dresses in my future!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Look Who Arrived Today!

I picked up a parcel at the post office today and look who was inside:

She's a customized fake Blythe doll that I bought on Blythe Kingdom from the talented Moofers. She's very pretty but I'm not quite sure how I feel about her yet. While I appreciate the work done (Moofers is very good at what she does) I don't know that customized girls are for me. Maybe its just that she's a Taobao "factory" fake (TBL) and not a "real" Blythe that's the problem. I'm sure that the girls will love her though so I'm going to reserve final judgement until they come home on Sunday.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Green Shawl Finished!

I finished all the knitting and beading on my Olympic shawl last night!

Now to block it out properly today and have the photo shoot tomorrow. I can't wait to see how big it actually stretches out to be. I'll talk more about the project when I post the finished photos.

Other news this week...JAA is a complete bust. No weight lost, no magical fountain of energy, nothing. Other than the cravings finally diminishing I have had absolutely no progress at all. I actually manned up and went to see the doctor this week for blood tests to check for thyroid, hormone, vitamin deficiencies, etc. and they found nothing. I'm healthy as a horse, apparently. So I guess my problems with weight, mood swings, hair loss, etc. are all in my head..big surprise. Now its off to the drawing board to think about my next plan of action. I'll keep you posted.

The girls are still away until Sunday so it has been very quiet here. K. and I did have a mini road trip to another city, Kelowna, for a job interview for him. If he got the job it would have meant uprooting everything here and moving to another city but, alas, it didn't work out so our excitement was short lived. He's still applying for jobs outside of the greater Vancouver area so perhaps something else will turn up. Not that there's anything wrong with his existing job..its just that we've been trying to escape the city and our current suburban lifestyle for a while now in favor of raising the girls in a more small town environment. But with property values at an all time low perhaps it is better that we don't try to move right now anyways.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Etsy Sale

Summer is long and boring so I'm having a sale at my Etsy shop! Enter the code SUMMER2012 at the checkout to receive 20% off all items.

Come and get it!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Shawl Progress

Thanks to no kids being around I got to spend a lot of time this weekend on my Olympic shawl project. I motored through the first chart repeats and was quite pleased with myself until I hit chart #2. Ugh..beads and nupps make for verrrry slow knitting. I did all the usual rookie things like spilling the beads all over the place (twice) and dropping stitches but I think I'm getting the hang of it finally.

It may look like a rumply green blob now but hopefully it will turn into a pretty shawl in a week or so.

Meanwhile, Chubs says "I see you pretty birdies...won't you come play with me?"

Friday, July 27, 2012

Summer Games Challenge

The Summer Olympics officially starts today in London. Most people in the knitting community know that this also means the start of the unofficial Ravelry games. I don't usually pay much attention to the olympics or sports in general but this year I decided that I need a little distraction and challenge in my life so I joined up with a group hosted by my local yarn store, 88 Stitches. The main idea is that you pick a project that will be personally challenging for you and try to complete it by the time that the closing ceremonies air in 17 days. There are even some prizes but for me it is more about pushing myself and getting my knitting back on track.

I chose the Bella Botanica Shawl to be knit out of Sweet Fiber Merino Silk Lace which has been dyed a beautiful mix of rich greens. I have never made a full sized shawl out of lace weight nor have I ever added beads to my knitting so this should be interesting.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

JAA - Week 3

Its harder to imagine feeling any worse than I do right now. I have been trying to do all the right things but I seem to be accomplishing nothing except banging my head against a wall. I am seriously questioning why I am even doing this to myself and am becoming afraid that there is something more wrong with me than just bad diet.

Physically I am a wreck. We had dinner out at a couple of restaurants this week..nothing out of the ordinary..and both times I felt really sick the next day. I developed some sort of food allergy earlier this week (I suspect seafood) that has resulted in my mouth becoming excrutiatingly painful and full of nasty sores. I have lost no weight in spite of sticking with the plan and taking big walks every day. My hair is still falling out/breaking off in large amounts every the point where I am considering shaving my head so that I don't have to keep cleaning it up. My sleep has been sporadic to the point of practically non-existant and, to top it off, Mother Nature has decided to drop in for a monthly visit.

Mentally I am at an all time low. Besides feeling incredibly sorry for myself I had to say goodbye to the girls for two weeks this morning. Every year they travel to visit distant relatives with my ex. for a couple of weeks. They always have a great time and really look forward to it. Usually I am eager for them to go and happy for the peace and quiet. This year its different. All I want to do is keep them close to me because it seems like they are the only bright spot right when everything else seems to be going to hell. But, like a good mom, I swallowed my tears, packed up their things and kissed them goodbye. I know that they are going to have way more fun there than staying home and being bored but I still selfishly wish they were here.

Thats all there is to show for this week. Hopefully there is some truth to the saying "its always darkest before the dawn".

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

For the Birds

We recently installed a couple of bird feeders in our yard, much to the amusement of the cats. It wasn't long until we had our first customers! The chickadees were the first ones to discover the farther away one:

Then the sparrows arrived. I call this little guy Captain Jack, lol.

But the real excitement started when the gold finches discovered the feeder right outside the window:

Mr. Gold Finch was having such a good time that he called his girlfriend over to join in the fun!

While we were taking pictures we noticed a different kind of "bird" had arrived on the scene:

It looks like another sunny day today so hopefully we should get even more customers!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Adventures in Birch Bay

We had a mini adventure in Birch Bay, WA today for their annual Birch Bay Days festival.

There was lots of fun (and crabs) on the shore:

Oddly enough, there was even a little green man!

We watched the parade:

The girls got to make wax casts of their hands at the fair:

There were lots of pretty flowers on display:

All in all it was a successful but tiring day!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Dolly Fever

The doldrums of summer have truly set in. It is way too hot and sticky to do anything serious or productive. Even though it is raining lightly today the humidity is staggering and is killing any desire I have to catch up on my various projects around the house. So what's a girl to do? Apparently spend all her waking hours on the internet! Since I got into the Blythe hobby I have been spending a lot of time cruising various sites and learning all about my favorite girls. There are so many beautiful dolls to obsess over! And so many customisers and so many shoes and dresses....and the list goes on. I have managed to collect quite a few of my "must-have" dolls so I am kind of in a quandary right now...I want to add to my little plastic family but there is no one girl that is rocking my world enough for me to haul out the credit card. To add to the blahs there have been noticeably fewer new release dolls this year and, out of them, only a couple have really attracted my eye. There also seems to be a new trend of desirable dolls being virtually unattainable for collectors outside of Asia..but thats another story.

Fortunately it appears a new light is on the horizon! Junie Moon has announced two new girls coming in regular release and on special...that appear to be right up my alley!

First up in Pickle Winkle:


She looks really promising with her cute outfit and I'm really intrigued by the two-tone hair. I got Eldest a Disco Boogie for xmas last year and I just love her glorious blond streaks. Pickle looks like she is going to be a regular release so she shouldn't be too hard to get.

On the other hand we have the newly announced Red Delicious:

 new doll_image [?? X?? V?? Ï?? Ý]

Simply stunning! I love everything about her. Unfortunately for me she is this year's anniversary doll so not only will she be extremely limited quantity but she will also be fairly expensive. But we wants the precious!

So now I am left waiting and slobbering until September when both these girls come out. I can't wait to see the real life dolls..hopefully they are even better than the drawings! Now I just have to come up with the funds to pay for them....:)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

JAA - Week 2

Week 2 of Junk-aholics Anonymous has dragged by with a wimper. I am still feeling tired and the sugar/fried food cravings have still been a major part of my life. I think I spent three solid days feeling super irritable and resentful of other members of my household who are still enjoying their treats and goodies. K. has been supportive of the idea of what I'm doing but he is not really participating himself. The girls are just being typical kids in the summer and indulging in things like ice cream treats without any guilt whatsoever. But I have been faithful much to my internal ire. At times I have wanted to scream and throw things just to let off a little steam. But I haven't. That would be bad mom behaviour. Instead I keep up the internal dialogue of why I am doing this (but I don't wanna) and how good it will be for me (no one cares so why bother). I have found out that the biggest problem of playing mind games with yourself is that you have no one else to blame when you feel miserable, lol.

On the physical front I am starting to feel a teensy bit better. Interestingly enough my skin and teeth feel a lot cleaner...I haven't had any breakouts or mouth sores. I am feeling a tiny bit firmer too..less "jiggle in the wiggle" so to speak. I have been managing cravings by eating breath mints of all things. I think it tricks my body into thinking that I have had something delicious and sugary when really all I have had is two practically zero cal mints after a meal. Eventually I am going to bring back a tiny dessert treat after dinners but not yet..I'm still too weak to limit myself properly.

I have not weighed myself during the week, nor have I measured anything. I see a lot of people embarking on new diet/fitness programs and weighing themselves daily. I think this practise is highly self-destructive because our weight naturally fluctuates on a daily basis due to things like humidity, headaches, time of the month, etc. Instead I am only weighing myself once a week so that I have something (hopefully) to look forward to. That being said, this week's tally was not very pound lost. That's measly pound. That's all I get to show for being good and ignoring all the cravings and putting up with the horrid mood swings and generally crappy feeling. Bleh. I'm not ready to give up yet but I must admit my faith is truly being tested.

In the next week I am going to try and do more things like go for a good walk every day and continue to take my vitamins regularly. I am working hard at distinguishing between real hunger and psychological hunger so that I can manage the cravings more effectively. I expect it will be difficult, though, because I am rapidly approaching that time of the month when I tend to do the most emotional binge eating. Hopefully my results will be more tangible and positive.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My Newest Princess

Presenting the latest addition to my dolly Sugar:

She is a stock Snowflake Sonata and easily the girliest of all my dolls. What a sweet addition to my little group!