Sunday, February 24, 2013

Year of Using Up the Stash: Christmas in...February?

Afternoon, Readers!

Still haven't gone into violent yarn withdrawal symptoms. Yet. It was the WORST yesterday, I went out for a walk and my favorite yarn shop was having a clearance sale.


I've finished quite a few projects with my yarn stash, though! There is still a long way to go before the stash is all used up; I think that I've used up, MAYBE, a tenth of the stash up, TOPS.

First, I've finished a few more Warm Up America segments!

Three done with a simple cable, one with the rice stitch.

Next, I came across this fabulous pattern and simply HAD to try it:

It turned out awesome!

I only have two half-skeins of worsted weight cotton left! Whoo hoo!

Finally, I bring you, Readers, the long-overdue second Christmas stocking!

The picture was taken next to the closest thing we have to a fireplace :-) 

I'ma keep you guys posted, Readers, with more of my projects! 

Orb Weaver out! 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Post-Valentine's day Haiku Friday

Flowers will never
Compare to a valentine
Carved from a skirt steak.

Ah, Valentine's day. I know that I may be in the minority among my peers in regards to this holiday, but I frickin LOVE Valentine's day.

Chocolate? Yes please. Wearing pink? Awesome! Being surrounded with flowers and hearts and sparkles? HOORAY!

My husband has always been the World's Very Best Valentine. On our first Valentine's day together as a couple, he invited me to his apartment for a romantic dinner.

This is what was waiting for me when I arrived.

Best. Valentine. EVER. 

When I got home from work yesterday, he greeted me with a beautiful pink tea rose plant. 

Second. Best. Valentine. EVER. 

You can expect another Cinderella Ate My Daughter review next week, Readers, along with a few more projects! 

Until next time! <3

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Reflections on Ash Wednesday.

Good evening, Readers.

It's Ash Wednesday. I did the Holy Day of Obligation thang and heard mass at St. James Cathedral early this morning.

While it's true that I've always preferred the fellowship and community that a small parish brings, St. James' always leaves me feeling breathless when I worship there. Every. Single. Time. The atmosphere, the artwork, the music oh sweet Christ the MUSIC! I sometimes go to the Cathedral just to listen to the organ if nothing else. I effing love organ music. One of my Absolute Favorite Things Ever is not only listening to the organ, but physically FEELING the delicious vibrations in my chest as the music is played and the notes go lower and lower.

As I sat waiting for the 8 am mass to begin, I couldn't help but be a pleasantly surprised at the number of young(ish) people in attendance this morning. I shared a pew with a tired looking young lady wearing scrubs, behind me were three young men in jeans and hooded sweatshirts. Students sleepily yawned as they knelt to pray, and young professionals double checked their phones to make sure that the sound was turned off.  I caught the eye of Scrubs and we shared a smile.

It's nice to know that there are at least a few pew-fulls of "twenty-somethings" living in Seattle who will go to mass without being dragged there by their mom.

This year for Lent, I've decided that I'm not going to focus so much on "giving up" a worldly indulgence (although the hubs and I ARE doing that; we're giving up sugary soft drinks). Lent is a season of reflection, and as I reflect on my life so far, I find that I have a lot to learn in the way of following Christ.

The bible readings this week really struck a chord with me, especially the Gospel (Matthew 6, 1-6, 16-18):

"Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. "Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 16 "And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

My relationship with God is a deeply personal one. And like many of my deeply personal relationships, my bond with the Lord has grown and matured in the same way that my friendships and romantic relationship has worship of Him now is very different than when I was confirmed eight years ago; heck, it's much different now than it was just three years ago!

The similarities between my growth as a Catholic and my growth as a girlfriend/fiancee/wife are uncanny. In my youth, I showed my love for the Lord by loudly proclaiming it! I sang on the Life-Teen worship squad, I was a card-carrying member of the "Grace Girls"'s quite clear that I was wearing my faith like Flavor Flav wears his clocks.

It seems that I was (and often still am) quite fond of sounding my trumpet.

When John and I were first dating, we were insufferable lovebirds. If we were to meet in public before going out on a date, I would run into John's arms and he would pick me up and swing me around at least TWO times before we continued. We would always be holding hands, exchanging wistful glances, stealing kisses, the like. (not long after, when we figured out that our outward displays of affection made my sister REALLY uncomfortable, we turned it up a notch since her reactions to our constant spit-swapping was HILARIOUS! Love you, Susie!) We always made sure that the world knew that John + Jackie = <3.

It's taken about three and a half years, but John and I seem to have finally come down from the clouds. We don't go out of our way to act like lovesick puppies as much (in public). I find that I'm just as happy sitting with him quietly at home as I was when he would pick me up and swing me around. No words need to be said, no grandiose action needs to be taken...I am perfectly content to be sitting in the presence of the man I love most.

I love my Lord and Savior above all else. As I sat there, contemplating on the ashes, the readings, my peers, my marriage, my life...I felt a very real and comforting peace surround every fiber of my being.

I don't need to make a huge spectacle of myself in order to nurture my relationship with God. John and I feel just as affectionate and romantic when we quietly read on the couch together as we once did running through the woods giggling like a couple of idiots. In the same way, I feel God's beautiful presence in the peaceful silence of the Cathedral just as much as I once did when I was leading worship music.

Just sitting in His presence is enough to open my heart.

This year during Lent, I'm going to focus less on the outward displays of affection...and I will silently and humbly ask that God guide my heart with his peaceful silence.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Year of Using Up the Stash: In which I lose my Netflix Documentary privileges

Good Evening, Readers!

41 days. It has been 41 days since I last bought any yarn.

The good news:  I haven't gone into cashmere withdrawal.

The bad news: Inspiration's cruel hand has been smacking me in the face. A LOT. Because of this, I've been  coming up with several projects I want to make but do not have the resources for.

I'm going to make a note of these ideas, but I don't want to dwell on them too much. If I do, I'll be grotesquely clawing my way to my yarn shop Gollum-style before long.

There must be something about limiting my resources that really gets my creative juices flowing. For the past week, I've been mulling over the idea of knitting anigurumis of people I like or find interesting; making knit versions of Hilary Clinton, Pope John Paul II, Niecy Nash, and Carl Sagan.

If I WERE to begin making these dolls, (and I will NOT begin these projects until my yarn stash is completely EMPTY), I'd probably start with Carl Sagan since he would be the easiest. No long doll hair, no complicated clothing...the whole knitting and construction process would be relatively simple. BUT, I am nowhere near finished with my goal of using up my yarn stash. A knit-version of Carl Sagan will have to wait.

I have made a bit of a dent in my yarn stash, though!

My husband and I decided to be homebodies this past Saturday; he was diligently working on some graphic design work for a client of his, and I parked my rump on our couch, knitting furiously away as I watched a marathon of depressing documentaries on Netflix.

Here is my first "Using up the Stash" project: a lovely lace dishcloth, which I finished while watching "American Meth":

The pattern for this dishcloth can be found here:
I proudly showed the finished project to my husband when the documentary was about halfway over. John looked up from his laptop computer, nodded in approval, and after glancing at what was playing on the television screen, visibly grimaced.

"Isn't the lace pattern on this pretty? It reminds me of the orange one I did a while back, but you don't need a cable needle!"

"Hon, WHY are you watching this?"

"I messed up a bit with the p2tog tbls, but you can't really see the mistakes. The designer of this pattern did a beautiful job!"


"Hmm? Oh, that's a side effect of long-term methamphetamine use. The drug makes it so you can't produce any saliva."


"I dunno, it was next on our instant queue. I'm almost nervous to use this cloth; I don't want the white to get stained."

He wrinkled his brow playfully to show his disapproval, kissed me on the cheek, and got back to work.

I decided to turn my attention away from detailed lace-work for a while. For my next few projects, I wanted to focus on PRODUCTION. "American Meth" had finished, so I flipped through the "Because you watched 'American Meth'" Netflix menu to choose my next dose of entertainment. I settled on "Cropsey", and knit these four dishcloths:

Pattern found here:
This pattern is awesome. This was the very first knitting pattern I ever learned, and is one of the very few patterns that I can knit entirely from memory.

The solid purple cloth and the purple/white striped cloths turned out peachily. The tri-color striped cloth, though, not so much.

I thought I could get away with carrying the contrasting color yarns up the side of my work with the tri-color, in the same way that I did the purple/white. It was just a bit too much, and the cloth ended up folding in on itself. The picture doesn't show it, but the tri-color cloth will not lay flat; one corner of it folds in, making an almost-cone shape.

I was about three quarters of the way through "Cropsey" when I held up the nearly-finished tri-colored cloth to my husband and voiced my frustration.

"Ugh. This isn't working."

"What's not working, Sweethear-WHAT THE F---?!?"

"I know, right? I'm not carrying the color that much at all, and the cloth is buckling like crazy!"


"Well, yes, dear, Willowbrook was disgusting. Can you believe that they didn't shut the place down until the 1980's? It's no wonder people don't trust the mental health care community."


"The dishcloth or Willowbrook?"


I playfully stuck my tongue out at him as his eyes widened with shock and disgust. He shook his head, put his headphones back on, and got back to work.

In spite of the tri-color washcloth not turning out as well as I'd like, I was beaming at my achievement of using up all of my purple and white dishcloth cotton! Hooray! I was feeling the knitting groove, so I set my sights on making a couple of Warm Up America squares. I got out some graphing paper, quickly sketched out an adorable pear, and made a quick color-work chart (which I will post if any of you, Readers, are interested in two-dimensional knit pears).

All stockinette. I'll post the chart for the pear once I figure out how :-) 
Cropsey was finished. By now, John was satisfied with his work and shut his laptop down for the day. He sat down next to me so we could enjoy the next docky together.


"Oh, come on! You still owe me like five picks after we watched  all of  the "Cosmos" episodes last weekend!"

"I thought you liked "Cosmos!"

"I love "Cosmos", but it's still MY TURN!"

I playfully smacked him with a pillow.

"Fine, fine, sweetheart, you pick. But please, NOTHING TOO DEPRESSING."

He got up from the couch to pour us a couple of glasses of wine. I commandeered the remote and flipped through the line of documentaries, looking for something that wasn't so dark. I came across "Dear Zachary"; and thought it looked promising.

*For those of you who haven't seen "Dear Zachary" yet, major spoiler alert*.

John sat back down on the couch, and began to sip his wine.

"What's this?"

"It's about this guy's friend who was murdered."


"It's not! It's a celebration of his life, a compilation of interviews about the guy for the benefit of his son!"

"*sigh*. Fine."


I was happily knitting my Warm Up America squares, half-listening to the drama on the TV. I proudly held up the finished pear square to my husband:

"This is so ADORABLE! I'm almost tempted to keep it!"

"I knew it. I knew from the second the film started that she was going to kill that baby."

"You MUST give me a run-down on Photoshop. I'd like to post the color chart on my blog!"

"This is probably the most depressing thing I have ever seen. Oh my God."

"Well, yes, it was horrible, but think of the amazing things that the grandparents accomplished!"


So, Readers, there you have it. Those are the first of many projects that will deplete my yarn stash, and why we've been watching nothing but Futurama and the Colbert Report as of late.

Until next time <3

Friday, February 1, 2013

Haiku Friday: In which I receive muffin mixes in exchange for poetry

Image found here:
Apparently, Readers, it is possible for one to get muffin mixes in exchange for poetry. Who knew?

Two Saturday mornings ago, I was making pancakes for my husband. We were both nursing pounding headaches after a night of over-indulgence, so my usual Better Homes and Gardens recipe for pancakes wasn't going to work. So, I opened my cupboard, grabbed a box of Jiffy blueberry muffin mix, and made the world's easiest blueberry pancakes.

They were quite yummeh.

We sat there, two hungover people, chewing on our breakfast, when I decided that I was so very grateful for these ridiculously easy pancakes that I simply HAD to share my gratitude with Jiffy.



"These are f---ing good pancakes".

"Yes. Yes these are f---ing good pancakes."

"Not bad for only five minutes of work."


"I'ma write these people a haiku".


I went onto Jiffy's website, and sent them a haiku via their customer service message thingamabopper.

About an hour later, I received this email reply:

Hello Jacqueline,
Thank you for visiting our website and for your kind remarks about our JIFFYmixes.  It was thoughtful of you to take the time to contact us.  We are delighted to know that you think so highly of our products.
In appreciation of your contact, we are sending you a copy of our Hospitality in a“JIFFY” recipe book.  Under separate cover, we are sending you a gift package containing an assortment of our JIFFY mixes, which we hope you will use and enjoy with our compliments.  Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.

Didja hear that, Readers? THEY WERE DELIGHTED! 

Sure enough, about a week and half later, we got a package of mixes and a cookbook in the mail. 

Oh yes. 

I seem to have good luck when it comes to contacting customer service. Is this some kind of innate gift? 

Or a superpower? 

I dunno, Readers, but below is the infamous haiku that got me four boxes muffin mix: 

Jiffy Muffin Mix
Makes the Universe's Best
Hangover Pancakes 

Until next time, Readers!