Friday, January 27, 2012

That reminds me of my first time...

Knitting, that is. ;)

Recently, one of my co-workers asked me for a favor. Her daughter had received a blarf for Christmas. "What's a blarf???" you may be asking yourself. I was informed that her daughter's friend took up knitting and, for her first project, began making a scarf which turned into a blanket. Blarf. :) Well, after one wash in the washing machine, the blarf partially unraveled. Panicked, my co-worker hid the blarf from her daughter and brought it into work to me. I took it home and began the task of taking it apart before rebuilding it. Taking it apart was actually really cool. It reminded me a lot of my first knitting attempt.

I always loved scarves but I was not a fan of their prices. I would go into a store, find a scarf I liked, and study it. Finally, I decided, "I can do that." So I googled "How to Knit" and gave it a go with two pencils and a pink ribbon I had laying around. I didn't want to invest money into the tools if I wouldn't be able to do it. Once I figured out how to cast on and do the knit stitch, I was ready for the real deal. I went to Michaels the next day and bought a Lion Brand Yarn beginner's knitting kit which included a set of 11 US size needles, a skein of denim colored yarn, and an instruction booklet on how to knit a scarf and a matching hat. First up, the scarf. Boy was that a disaster. There were yo's and k2tog's and dropped stitches everywhere. I don't remember how long it took me to get it together, but that first scarf included garter stitch, purl, and ribbing. I had the basics down (and accidentally a few extras) and I was hooked.

This blarf reminds me of that scarf. Lots of character, lots of memories. I'm not sure where that scarf is. I'm pretty sure I took it apart and used the yarn in my first crochet project, now that I think about it. But I'll never forget the hours, the frustration, and the sense of accomplishment when I knitted 4 rows consecutively without any slip ups. I've often said that knitting is my therapy. And it is. I can spend my time doing something, making something, creating something and at the end I have a tangible item to show for it. Sometimes I love it, sometimes I don't. But every time I feel good about myself.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

We Are Young

So let's set the world on fire! We can burn brighter than the sun!!!

I'm on the plane now on my way back home after spending a few days with my sister in NYC. She just finished her Master's degree in teaching so of course there was lots of celebrating to do! I stayed with her in her apartment. It didn't seem that small, but thinking about it, her entire apartment (2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, kitchen and living room area) could probably fit into my kitchen and dining room. Btw, Gisela's apartment is above a nail salon and a wine shop. If you know her, you know how fitting that is. Haha.

This was my third trip to the Big Apple, so I wasn't terribly concerned with doing a ton of touristy things. I really wanted to get a feel for what her life is like there- why she loves it there so much. Of course there were a few tourist excursions! :)

I love snow. I love watching it, playing in it, walking through it to hear the crunching sound, etc. It's probably due to my having lived in very warm climates all my life so it's definitely still a novelty to me. On my first night there it snowed, so off to Central Park we went the next day! We did something we've both wanted to do for many many years: made snow angels in Central Park!

Our parents came up a day after I did. We spent another day playing in the snow, did some shopping, and watched a show with them. We watched Chicago... It was great! There was a good handful of Latin performers in the show, which was pretty cool for us. There were even quite a few moments where Spalnglish was incorporated into the dialogue.

Other highlights of the trip include having sushi delivered to the apartment, amazing cannolis around the corner from her apartment, brunch at the Washington Square Diner, walking around NYU, and being with my sister the moment all her grades were cleared and she officially became Master Sela. We had so much fun, but I am glad to be back home!

This last pic is of my mom pegging me with a snowball. She fights dirty. ;)

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Our First Married Christmas

We truly enjoyed out first Christmas season as a married couple. It was so fun to pick out our tree and other decorations, as well as to start our own traditions. We are lucky enough to live near both our families, which is wonderful; however, it did make it a bit difficult to try and figure out how to still do everything we normally do while starting our own traditions and making time for ourselves as our own family. We decided we would do a big breakfast on Christmas morning. Both our families celebrate later in the day, but I've always been up and early Christmas morning! Our meal included oven baked French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, Belgian waffles, and pumpkin bread. We were happy to have our first house guests to share it with - Colleen and Drew stayed with us the weekend!

Honestly, the best part of the whole season was getting to celebrate it together... Waking up together, opening presents together, driving around together instead of meeting up at different places, and going to bed together just made everything that much more special. Voltron loved all the fuss and having visitors there... He's a big fan of more people to play with!

We spent a quiet New Year's Eve together. We got dressed up, went out to dinner, watched a movie on the couch, and rang in 2012 sipping sparkling cranberry juice from our champagne flutes from the wedding. It was kinda perfect!

Very much looking forward to what 2012 has in store for us!

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Baby Booties

I made my first pair of baby booties! I found the pattern on It's a free pattern called Lavish Booties and really easy to work! I made one bootie in a few hours after work and the other the next night after work. It was really fun and a good project to do in between larger ones. I really liked how easy it was, how cute it turned out, and how different they were from the traditional baby booties. I definitely look forward to trying out more patterns! I really wanted to find one for a loom knitter, but couldn't find a free one that I liked. Maybe I'll get creative and see if I can make one myself..? :)

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Catching up

I haven't blogged in a while. I've been busy just getting life situated. Tim and I moved into a house and have truly enjoyed every minute of it. Decorating, organizing, making the rooms "ours", even vacuuming has been fun! Christmas was wonderful. We went and chose our first tree (and my first live tree). I've been known to have a black thumb, so Tim teased me about whether or not I could keep it alive until Epiphany. And I did. :) My dad even got me a couple of plants for my birthday in November, which are also still alive and growing. :) again.

I finally got the craft room up and running! I love having a space for all my yarn and papers and ribbon and seeing machine and more yarn. I really had forgotten how much yarn I had!

I feel like my blogging may turn into more of a crafting blog. We'll see. Ha. Next up, a few crafty posts! Hoping to do better with the blogging than I did the latter part of last year!

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Slouchy Hat

I used the Martha Stewart loom knitting kit to make this hat. I had been eyeing the kit for months (I LOVE Martha) and received it as a Christmas present! Do my in-laws know me or what?! :) The instructions in the booklet say to use both curved pieces and all four medium length pieces, but I found that to make a hat too big for my head. I used the curved pieces, two medium length pieces, and two small pieces.

I've had this yarn for many years. I originally used it for a throw blanket but with only a little ways to finish the yarn was discontinued. Over the years I've used parts of it for a couple of scarves and now I made 2 slouchy hats: one for me and the other for my sis!

In wearing the hat, I found that because all the weight is in the back it would slowly slide of my head. I tried using a couple of hair pins to secure it to the top of my head, but that didn't work very well. Then I took a thin headband and slid it in between the layers of the brim to conceal it. I put on the hat with the headband in place as it would normally be and that has seemed to really work! I still have to realign it occasionally, but not nearly as often as before. I even ran through the airport with it on today and only minimal movement! Now for the real test: sight seeing in New York City! :)

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Saying Goodbye

I know I haven't written in a long time (not entirely true - i've written, just haven't posted) but something happened today that made me think for a while.

My grandmother passed away this morning. She was my last remaining grandparent, my paternal grandmother. I was never really close to her. I grew up in Georgia, 97% of my family is in Puerto Rico. She and my mother didn't have a great relationship for many years, and that kind of reflected in how we interacted with each other. I've actually been thinking a lot about her lately...

When I was about 8 years old, she came for a visit when my youngest brother was born. She took me to Michaels (one of my first trips I can clearly remember) and bought me a latch hook kit of a bunny in some flowers. I remember her teaching me how to do it and the tricks to holding the yarn just so. After she left back to PR, I continued to work on it but lost interest. I put it away for many years. When I was in college, I found the box and finished all the latch hook part but never did anything with it... I just put it back in the box until I decided what to do. A couple of days ago, I pulled it out and made it into a small pillow. As I finished it, I thought a lot about my relationship with my grandmother and how many times I was secretly jealous of my cousins who grew up with her (and my other grandparents). I tell people often how lucky they are to be able to just hop in the car and visit with family, how lucky they are to have to go to their grandparents' house on holidays. I thought about once in high school when I was in PR for my cousin's quineaƱera (on my mom's side), I had my aunt drop me at my grandmother's house. That was probably the last time I spent real quality time with her. She commented on the white eyeliner I was wearing (no judging... I was 15!) saying how she remembered the last time it was in fashion. haha. She also taught me how to make bobbin lace that day (which I came home and taught my mom, then I forgot how to do it myself!).

Anyway, today I was left in a bit of a daze. Although it wasn't unexpected, it was still unexpected. I found myself filled with regret that I had never spent more time, that I didn't try to call her more, that I didn't send her pictures of the wedding (I gave all the pictures to my parents who said they would print out a few but never got around to it.) It was just weird. It makes that pillow mean more. That pillow that took me almost 20 years to make. It was my introduction to yarn crafts.

Although I never had a close relationship with my grandmother, she was my grandmother. She taught me things I'll never forget, whether she meant to or not. Rest in peace, Mama Clara. Que Dios te bendiga.