Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Painting Contest

Well, it's finally here - the dreaded deadline for the boy-o's painting contest. He had 3 months to come up with a diarama scene utilizing miniatures. He waited until the last minute (as usual) and ended up doing something completely different from what he had originally planned (and bought all the minis for) in the first place. Through many tears, panic attacks and much knashing of teeth, this is what he is submitting tonight...

I won't even begin to tell you all how many minis he bought or traded for, started painting, only to declare when they were half-finished..."I can't paint this - I don't know what to do!" If I had a dollar for every time I heard that this summer, I would be on a vacation somewhere with bottomless margaritas and muscular, half-naked men catering to my every whim...but I digress...

For the last week he has been such a crabby pants kid about this contest. Things have been tense between us. But THANK GOD it's over and he has something to turn in now. Life can get back to as normal as it gets around our place. Yeah, right.

Tonight he gets to clean up the mess he has left all over the apartment because of this damn contest. But first, he will give some much needed TLC to his hamster and his fish. I will sit on the couch and knit some more on this (told you it still looked the same as last week)...

...while I listen to more whining, knashing of teeth, and all out kvetching while he takes all night to do his cleaning up and animal TLC. For torturing me for the last few weeks with this damn contest, he gets to do it all himself.

Last night at about 10pm, I couldn't take any more of him and the damn project and decided to start on presents. I can't post any details or the person (if they ever managed to read this) would know immediately what it was and that it was for them. All I can tell you is that it is a project from Stitch n Bitch Nation. There are lots of projects in the book that I will be making for Xmas presents this year as well. I made a list of everyone who is going to get something knit. It's a long one. I'm going to have to keep the gifts uber simple and prioritize if anyone is going to get anything on time. Ugh.

Speaking of...the boy-o and I have made a time he has a project and/or contest with a definite deadline, we will sit down and schedule it out. We will make a list of things needed for the project and a budget. He WILL NOT DEVIATE from the budget or the schedule PERIOD. I WILL NOT go through what I just went through with him and this painting contest. He will learn how to manage his projects be they for school or anything else if it kills me. Or I kill him. Whichever comes first - just kidding Grandma!

AND most importantly, since he's learned/inherited all this procrastinating/artist block shit from me, I will also schedule and budget out my current and future projects. This chaos has got to get a bit more in control if I intend to survive the boy-o's teen years with my sanity intact. Time to finish what we begin and etc etc etc.

I am exhausted. I am stressed. I am back at work. For more stress. Calgon take me away - PLEASE!

I need to knit...NOW...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ugh - must sleep...

Home sick from work today.

The boy-o stayed home with me. He is busy finishing up his latest painting contest project. A diarama box. I will post a picture when he's done.

I knit a lot last night on the RYS - a good 3 inches at least. I have not knit yet today, but I am getting to the point where I feel good enough to do it, so I will most likely get a few more inches in tonight before I hit the sack again. I started another ball too. So far, I've got 300 yds of yarn knitted into the RYS. This new ball has 100 yards in it. It just might be big enough to bind off when I'm done with it. Only time will tell.

It has been good for me to stay home today and do nothing. My body needed rest and that's exactly what it got.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What? I'm not a Lumberjack?!?

What Monty Python Sketch Character are you?

You are the Hungarian! You just HAD to buy that CHEAPO Hungarian-to-English phrasebook...
Take this quiz!


Make A Quiz More Quizzes Grab Code I touch your bottom then? hahahahahahahaha
I love Monty Python...

The Last Crazy Week of Summer...

...or Why I Hate Summer...

Over the last 6 1/2 years, I have hated summer. Next summer will be no different. I used to love summer. Not only was my son born in summer, but so was I, and so was my Mom. Three b-day celebrations, vacations, fun in the outdoors. Then the boy-o started school. School ended in mid-June. Then came the summer camps. Something different every week. Driving all over kingdom come to get him where he needed to be. Getting in late to work and leaving early to pick him up. Ack. Vacations started to fall by the wayside - mine anyway. The boy-o and his Dad (da Ex) always manage to go somewhere in the summer. But noooo, not me. Work always manages to schedule a major friggin' release in the middle of summer. Usually around my b-day. Since I'm the Release Engineer, guess I should be around for it, huh? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

This last week of summer before school starts is no different. The boy-o is with a friend all week. They went out of town for an overnighter. The apartment is still a bit of a mess from the whole costume thing and is in desperate need of some cleaning. The boy-o's painting supplies are all over the place (he's got a 8/31 deadline for the latest contest), the animals need some TLC. But what did I do?

I cut up this bag...

To make this bag from leftover corduroy (fringe came on the fabric already)...

The old book bag gave it some nice structure.

I wanted a new knitting bag. This is my prototype. I've got some changes to make to the overall design to make it better, but it's a pretty cool bag.

I've been knitting regularly on the RYS II every day, but it looks the same as it did the last time I took a picture. That's just one of the drawbacks of making a shawl from the point up. After the triangle gets to a certain size, it's looks the same - as in it doesn't look like you've made any progress on the damn thing - until it's pretty much done. Sigh.

I've discovered would like to sell there. Time to get busy making stuff...

Friday, August 25, 2006

My babies are off to Burning Man...

Well, the costumes are done. Delivered. Wahoo! I have a small part of my life back and I've done some pretty damn good work thank you very much. "My babies" are being packed up and will be off soon for a week of God only knows what at Burning Man. I told my friends I needed some family friendly costume photos to add to my portfolio. They said it might be hard to do it, but they'll try. Ha ha hahahaha This ought to be interesting.

Now that the costumes are all done, I can get back to knitting, organizing, cleaning, and what not. I think I'll rest up a bit first.

Take it easy folks, I know I will this weekend....

Monday, August 21, 2006

Proof of a busy weekend...


Deep breath....The weekend started off on Friday afternoon with a few beers with co-worker friends. Then made my way to the MUNI underground with my huge bag o' costumes only to end up on my ass in the aisle on top of my bag and 3 other passengers. Damn driver started up really fast only to slam on the brakes. Ouch.

Once I made it to my friends' house I found....cold shrimp appetizer, Amaretto Sours (yum yum), Romaine salad with pine nuts, grilled salmon with a wasabe crust, hand made garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus with tofu - more Amaretto Sours - and lemon meringue pie for dessert. In between dinner and dessert, we did the fittings and brain stormed about more costumes. I left that night with another bag of stuff to sew and these fabulous vintage purses (I have a collection and actually do use them) ...

Will make costumes for yummy food, drink, and vintage purses - hahahahaha - I'm so easy.

On Saturday, my very good friend and co-worker A and I went to Ross to buy some stuff for the two baby girls. Thanks to the generousity of the rest of our co-workers, we collected just under $200 and bought a TON of stuff...

...and this is just for one of the baby girls.

I made these...

...but wimped out on the rest of the planned baby things. I had a bad case of biting off more than I could chew I guess you could say...better to be realistic than stressed out. I wanted to have something done by today (to give with the rest of the gifts) so opted for booties only.

...I took apart RYS I with the help of my baby girl Sammie...

...which resulted in these...2 balls worth 600 yards of faux mohair.

TAA DAA!!! What a great weekend! I accomplished so much and so little... Laundry? Bah! The cleaning and the rest of the chores can wait. hee hee

I didn't work on the RYS II a whole lot since I've been busy with the latest batch of costumosity. I managed to get a row or two done on the train, but that's about it.

Take that blogger - I finished this one! hahahahaha


Busy busy busy. I got a lot accomplished this weekend. I'll expand on that and post pix later.

I hear the whip cracking...better get back to work...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Progress? We don't need no stinkin' progress...

Well, no news on the RYS part I or II. I've done a few rows here and there with II, but have not starting ripping out I yet. Guess I'll save that for the weekend.

I've been swamped at work, so find myself mostly brain-dead at the end of the day. Not too much time on public transit either - this week's summer camp for the boy-o was not convenient to it, so I spent most of the week driving. Ugh. I've also been working on another project - the costumes for Burning Man. I make delivery on a few of them tonight and am doing a fitting for the rest. I will finish them up tomorrow.

This weekend looks to be one of costume finishing, knitting, ripping (maybe) and shopping for baby gifts and baby yarn. My co-workers have been very generous, so we will get some really good stuff for the two baby girls. Baby girl clothes are so adorable! All together now... AAAWWWW!!!!

I'll post knitting, costume, and maybe even gift pictures on Monday. Until then, happy weekend!!!!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Dare to Compare

Well, here it is, progress on the newest incarnation of the RYS. Not bad for just a few hours of work - I am a slow knitter...

Here is a side by side comparison of the old and the new.

Here is a closeup side by side comparison.

I'm thinking I'll be frogging the old RYS and continuing on with the new. Change is good. Embrace the change.

Here's my frogging helper - mixed in the appropriate proportions of course... although I think my friends need this more than I do. They seem to have a big problem with me frogging the old RYS. Hey, if it isn't gonna work, it isn't gonna work.

Did I mention I make a killer margarita? Yum Yum

Saturday, August 12, 2006

My work here is done...or is it?

Kilt alert!
For those of you who haven't noticed yet...David has put up a new kilt picture. Nuf said. Glad to do my part in promoting the apprecitiation of Kilts and the men who wear them.

And now on to the knitting. I can't believe I'm doing this...well, yes I can 'cause this is the kind of freakish crap I do. I've started the Recycled Yarn Shawl yet again. I haven't quite frogged the one I've been working on for 6 months - yes 6 months - 2-3 rows a day - for 6 months. I haven't frogged it yet just in case. I've started a 'new' shawl on much larger needles. Why? I don't know. There wasn't any alcohol involved either, darn it. Right now I could use a 'rita with what I am about to do.

I'm using one of the last two balls of recycled yarn for this experiment - the 76 yarder. Once that's gone, if I like what I'm seeing, this will be the 'new' Recycled Yarn Shawl'.

Why I didn't notice that I didn't like this before, I don't know. Guess I was so distracted with work that when I knit to relax myself, it didn't matter what I was knitting or how it looked. Seeing the pictures of it up on this blog really opened my eyes. While some may say I'm throwing away so much work, why not just finish it up and be done with it? I can't. I didn't waste knitting time. It helped me get through a very tough few months at work. Frogging this will be more than just taking apart a shawl. It will be purging myself of all the bad feelings I had going on about my job - a cleansing if you will. Better to get rid of the bad mojo contained in the old shawl and start the new one now that I'm feeling much better about things and starting a new chapter in my life.

I must say now that the more that I look at it, the more I'm liking the new shawl. With the larger needles, it's working up faster and I'm getting more shawl square footage for my knitting time. The yarn looks great - it's fuzzy again, not matted down and stiff. You can actually see the pattern. The first shawl is too dense, which makes it too hot. I'd never wear it. This is something I'm making for me, so I need to like it. If I like it, I'll wear it.

Now where did I put that tequila?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Future projects

Unlike most knitters whose blogs I usually read (Someday I'll get a list up here somewhere), I don't do well with the multiple projects at once thing. I used to, but over the last few months, I hven't been able to handle it. The only knitting multi-tasking I can manage is small projects every now and then when I'm working on a big one.

That said, I have a few UFOs still waiting to be finished up. How many, I'm not sure as I haven't found any yet - they seem to be scattered about the apartment in hiding. All I know is that they exist. I will find them, I will finish them. They can't hide from me forever! Until I do find them, I'll stick with making my scarves every so often and now - the baby gifts - to keep my sanity.

I am getting closer to figuring out what to make for my pro-creating co-workers. I ordered the Baby Surprise pattern from Schoolhouse Press yesterday - along with a few other patterns that I just couldn't resist. If, after I read through it, it seems doable enough, that is what I will make for them. Along with a pair of booties and a little hat for each. Hats and booties I know I can do. It's the sweater that worries me. But, I will try to reserve judgement and not panic until I actually take a look at the pattern. I will do this - or it's blanket hell. Ack!

Can't wait to go shopping for yarn for it all. Artfibers Yarn, I'll be stopping by really soon to pet, I mean buy some yarn.

As I was working on the RYS (recycled yarn shawl) this morning - I did 3 rows this morning on the way in to work - I was thinking about all the yarn I have just waiting around for me to do something with it. There is quite a bit. I have some more Artfibers Yarn "Nanook", some fuzzy yarn that I got from Target last year, a shitload of silk yarn that I got from frogging a lot of $2 thrift store sweaters, some yarn my sister bought for me a while back to make myself a sweater, some yarn I bought in Spain about 21 yrs ago, some yarn my sister bought 25 yrs ago for me to make her 2's pathetic. Do I win some kind of award for having the oldest stash? In my defense of having such old stash, it was pretty much 'lost' for quite a while in boxes in storage. It traveled about from place to place never knowing when it would be used. I did finally use some of my sister's sweater yarn to make her a rectangular shawl for last Xmas. She loved it and didn't even remember about the yarn until I told her she bought it way back when. We both had a good laugh. I still have the 2nd sweater yarn left and have absolutely no clue what I'll make with that. She has been wanting a kimono sweater though, and I think there's a pattern on for one....

Oh well, I've babbled enough for one day. Bottom line, lots of yarn to use, no clue what to do with it yet. It fills an entire dresser and then stash overfloweth...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

No joy in the air either...

Well, with all the hullabaloo of foiled terror plots on flights from the UK to the US, looks like the infamous banned objects list has been updated. I haven't checked yet, but I'm sure knitting needles will make it back to being banned again. Bummer.

I have a few friends trying to make their way to NYC from San Francisco. Their layover in Chicago probably ended up being longer than planned. When last I talked with them, they had just gotten to Chi Town and were told they had to get rid of all liquids in their carry on luggage.

I am glad I'm not traveling any time soon. I feel for all the folks trying to get around out there now. Better safe than sorry I guess. I wish all a safe journey and lots of patience.

No joy this morning...

Why? Because there was no KIP on the way to work that's why. Standing all the way today both to drop off the boy-o and then on to work. Yes, I can knit while standing, but not with such a big project and not when I'm packed in sardine style. I've got to get at least a row in this morning, or I won't make it through the day. I'm doing a build today, so there will be a few times this morning when all I can do is wait and watch the screen - perfect time for knitting! Snicker.

I am about to commit myself to making more baby objects (two co-workers). There will definitely be baby booties involved. I made my first pair at the beginning of the year and can't get enough of those adorable little things! Maybe a hat and if I can handle it a baby sweater or two. I'm going to try to avoid baby blankets at all cost. I love them, but they are a torture to make. I'm going to go online at lunch and see what I can find for easy to make baby sweaters. This will be another first for me. I have been sticking to large flat objects, and last year, ventured to knit-in-the-round hats (I despise seams since I have yet to be able to do a decent one dammit).

OK, now on to the original subject matter. No work done on organizing for the past few days. There just hasn't been enough time to start anything worthwhile after work. I'd rather spend the time with my boy-o or if he's not around, I've been working on some costumes. I'm making some interesting things for a few friends to take to Burning Man at the end of this month. I'll post photos when I'm done. In the meantime, the ironing board, the sewing machines, and the fabric and notions have taken over the dining area. All that will be either finished or put aside this weekend though, as the boy-o and I are going to dive into his room and have at it on Saturday.

As a reward for all our hard work (and only if we work hard, will we do it), we are going to go to the Japanese Culture Center's Summer Festival on Sunday. Can't wait until we finish all this organizing work. Right now, Saturdays are for work and Sundays are for play. Once we're done, Saturdays will be for play too! If that's not an incentive, I don't know what is.....

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Party Time Baby!

Why am I so happy?

This is why...

I just tied on another ball of yarn to the Recycled Yarn Shawl! Booyah! This ball has 267 yards in it. That leaves just two more loose balls.

That's 99 yards of recycled yarn on the left, and 76 yards of recycled yarn on the right.

Time to celebrate - the end is just so much closer now and I actually look forward to working on the shawl. The weather is going hot again though, so this burst of work may be short-lived. I just can't handle knitting when the temp gets over 85 F.

If I'm ready to party now, what am I gonna do when I finally finish this sucker? Margaritaville, here I come!!!

Sanity Keepers

What do I do when I can't take a project any longer? I make scarves or hats. With the Recycled Yarn Shawl, my diversions of choice have been scarves. I've made several - unfortunately, they are already given away and I didn't take photos. Sigh. This is my latest. I knit this over a weekend a few weeks back for myself. Artfibers Yarn "Nanook" on the smallest knitting hoop from my set. Yes folks you read right, knitting hoop. I like to mix things up a bit.

Here's the scarf tube - I just LOVE this yarn! Soft, fuzzy and all non-natural as I have skin issues when natural fibers are involved...

Here's a close-up of the small hoop - there are several sizes in the set, so you'll be seeing more of these later:

Who am I and why am I here?

Since this is a new blogger blog, but not necessarily my first ever blog, I'll fill in a few blanks some people might have...

My name is Donna. I'm a clutter bug and a procrastinator. Which is how I got my apartment into such a chaotic mess. A little over a year ago, I decided to change that. I took a bunch of pictures of my apartment with my new digital camera and posted them on MSN Spaces for all the world to see. I was hoping that having it so 'out there' for everyone to see would help me stay motivated to purge and organize my home. And, I could also keep track of what I was doing and see some good results from a different perspective. And it worked.

Well, as always, life happened. Things slowed down, picked back up again, etc. Here I am a year later and still not completely finished. I have made lots of progress and that which I have purged has stayed purged and that which I have organized has stayed organized. But - and there's always a but isn't there - there is much more to do. The organized stuff can use some tweaking to function better, and now that the purging is almost all done, I have to figure out what to do with the stuff that's left.

Even though I'm not done, I find I already have more free time to do more fun things. Even more time with my son S, family, pets, and friends. More down time to knit, sew, read, dance, veggitate, paint, craft, think, design, write, live. It's amazing the little bit of extra life I have gotten out of this ongoing life project...the exciting part is, there is more to come!

My online writing also expanded to include what's going on with life in general, being a single Mom, general venting, various and sundry crafty projects - mostly knitting. Knitting, dancing and reading are my most precious sanity saviours...more about all as this blog develops.

Thanks for stopping by...

Let's explain about the Chaos and Arts n Crap bit, shall we?

I just copied this over from something I wrote last year on the Space when I started it. After reading some of those old entries I have to chuckle. I was complaining about gas prices being too high @ $2.75 a gallon. Here we are @ $3.14 just one year later - and yes - I'm still bitching about it!!!!!


Donna's Arts n Crap is taken from something my friend C started. S and I were visiting C, her hubby and son one weekend (they live about 2 hours East of here). I consider myself a crafty, imaginative person and usually come up with some great stuff - other people think so too, so no, it's just not me. Whether it's storage ideas, costume ideas, making something from junk, reworking clothes or furniture, whatever. I was telling C about my latest ideas and she said I should start a store called "Donna's Arts and Crafts". Well I don't know who it was, but one of us did a Freudian slip thing and it came out as "Donna's Arts and Crap Store" later on that day. We had a lot of fun with that (and still do) and while I was thinking about a starting a blog and what the hell will I call it, C sent me an email, and that triggered a thought about her store name idea. Being that my apartment is filled with crap, art supplies, and various projects and art in all stages of life, it seemed appropriate.

What happens once I organize my apt - will this title of Chaos still be relevant you ask? I don't think it matters, but yes, it will. I will always have some sort of crap stash (as in junk) and/or art, and/or sewing, and/or knitting, and/or costume project going on BUT it will be organized and not taking over the apartment - so the Arts N Crap will still ring true as well. I'm pretty sure that there will be some aspect of my life that is disorganized and cluttered with crap either literally or metaphorically throughout my life, so don't worry. I seem to thrive on chaos, so there has to be some in my life at all times, hopefully the amount of it will continue to decrease. I have a good start at reducing it, so I have no doubts about that!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Decision

I'm gonna stay here. With all that's happened with work and my personal life over the last few months, I feel like I'm starting a new chapter in my life. Might as well start with a new blog. What the hell, why not? The old stuff will still be accessible for as long as I choose over at MSN.

I'll get back to chronicling my organizing efforts eventually. Probably this weekend. I'll take new photos and then we'll get started. After a year of working on it, we've made lots of progress, but we're not done yet. We're down to the nitty gritty right now. What to do with all the stuff we've decided to keep. This should be interesting...but only if you're an organizing geek - like me!

The Recycled Yarn Shawl

Otherwise known as the shawl from hell that I will never ever ever finish...

I hate to admit it, but it's getting easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I've been working on it during commute time on the train/bus. It's getting so wide now that I can only manage one row - two if there are delays - each ride. That is a good thing. It's getting so big, it's like a lap blanket, so sometimes I have to stop working on it 'cause I get too hot. This makes me happy. Now if I can just get past the fact that I still have 500 yds of yarn left, I'll be even happier....

Here's a closeup of the shawl showing my first attempt at creating my own 'lacy' pattern, aka 'a bunch of freakin' holes'.

Works for me, so I'm not complaining. It's an easy pattern so I don't need to use too much brain power. That is good. There are plenty of mistakes in the shawl, but life isn't perfect, and neither am I. The fuzziness of the faux mohair covers lots of sins. Gotta love it.

Here it is in all it's glory along with the remaining balls of yarn - all 500 yds of it...those little balls look so innocent, don't they?

I'm still going back and forth about how to finish it off. Do I fringe or not? If I fringe, do I add a few beads to said fringe for some sparkle? Hells yeah! Since I like things that sparkle and clink (I'll get into that later), I'm leaning toward the fringe with a few beads thrown in just because.

Guess I should stop calling this baby the shawl from hell. At least for now anyway. I'm starting to like it again. Sometimes I get bored with it - it's almost as bad as doing a baby blanket - but life usually steps in and breaks up the monotony.

Monday, August 07, 2006

OK so I can't make up my mind...

I can't decide whether or not I'm going to keep on going with MSN Spaces or stay here on blogger... In the meantime I am big it's just cut and paste people...

I'll probably end up sticking with Spaces since that's where all my stuff is... anyway, here's the link to my Spaces blog:

The Adventures of Sock Monkey

OK, so this falls under the category of silly stuff I do on occasion...

Hi, my name is Sock Monkey...

One day, I got tired of hanging around Donna's cubicle and decided to go to ChinaTown in San Francisco. It's a short walk from the office, so a few friends and I decided to head there after a quick outdoor lunch.

First though, we had to eat...

I gorged myself on a hot dog and Pepsi - there was no Coke (my apologies to SNL, Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi).

After said gorging, food coma set in...

I decided to partake of the free sample of Coolah "Energy Drink from Down Under" that we picked up on the way to Union Square.

Then we hit the road again and found some relatives along the way. I sat a spell and talked a of 'em just wouldn't talk dammit - must have been shy.

Finally the ChinaTown Gates! But the Guardians mistook me for an afternoon snack...

After a quick escape, we found someone a lot of Donna's relatives! (I would just like to add here that Donna calls herself the Frog Queen - something to do with knitting that I just don't get...)

We finally made it back to office and I'm beat! Time for a power nap on the comfy couch... I have the energy to show off my souvenirs for the day. My very own Lucky Cat and Chopsticks! My fav color is green, can you tell?

That brings us to THE END of my Adventure - get it? The End? hahahahaha

Sunday, August 06, 2006

An experiment in blogging

Well, here I am @ blogger. I have a Space @ MSN, but have been having problems getting in let alone posting, so I will try this here and see how it goes...

This blog is about my efforts to organize my apartment. Other topics that sneak in are: my family and friends, crazy stories I come up with, knitting, costume making, other stuff I make, weight loss/exercising efforts, etc. In other words, my life in general. I don't get into politics, religion, or current events. I think about them and act on them just like everyone else, but this is my escape from reality and snapshots of my life that I care to share with others.

That said, welcome to my world of chaos, come in and stay awhile - if you can find a place to sit that is...hahahahahaha