05 May 2013

Adventures in frugality: the hair edition

Let me preface this by saying that being a grad student requires finding creative solutions for almost everything in life that is fun and costs money so that one can save up enough to actually pay rent every month. Sometimes I pretend that I have the dad from Calvin and Hobbes in the back of my head chanting his refrain about "building character," and it makes me feel better about getting by on an amount that isn't really enough.  I haven't been to the hair salon in about 9 months, and the lovely haircut I got last summer is growing out very nicely, but sometimes I really wish I could afford to go get a fancy haircut again. Since that's not in the budget right now, last night I resorted to another solution.

First, I saw this picture of Emma Stone's hair style on Pinterest:

Then, I thought, "Man! I miss having bangs!"
So I grabbed the scissors at 11pm, and this morning I look like this:

You know, not really like Emma Stone, but since I cut those bangs myself in 3 minutes, I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out, especially since I did not accidentally make myself look like Alfalfa or something!

That's the end of my Saturday adventure story. The brown and orange striped socks have been revived for want of another portable project, so you should see the complete pair shortly...

28 April 2013

On my bookshelf lately

Aside from Gus perched up on top, there have also been some really enjoyable books stacked on my bookshelves. Now that my semester-long course is nearly over (just a final exam to administer and grade), there will be so much more free time in my life for reading, a sure sign that spring is here and summer is just around the corner. One of my favorite parts of these two seasons is a weekly walk to the local public library to pick up stacks and stacks of fiction to devour. I thought I'd share some of my recent reads here and ask for your suggestions! Please leave a note in the comments about something you've loved - I'm always on the lookout for something to add to my ever-growing reading list.

Mary Russell, The Beekeeper's Apprentice
A little Sherlock Holmes mysterious thriller, a little academic girl-power story
Alexander McCall Smith, the Professor Dr von Igelfeld series
Poking gentle fun at the ridiculous (mis)adventures of a snooty linguistics professor
Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches & Shadow of Night
The first one was better than the second, but overall an entertaining series... in which the main character is a mystery-solving academic and witch (clearly I am on some kind of kick here)
Nancy Atherton, Aunt Dimity and the Village Witch
More mystery and a hint of the supernatural, this time in an English village full of endearing busybody types
Madeleine L'Engle, Camilla
Flashback to my 15 year old self, totally obsessed with this book

I'm looking forward to your comments!

13 April 2013



Meet my teeny tiny beekeeper's quilt in progress. Those are 34 hexapuffs, and I think I'm supposed to have about 10 times as many in order to get a full-sized blanket. With this enormous project, my philosophy has been "slow and steady wins the race." Or, in more concrete terms, "watch a lot of tv and make sure you keep the bag of polyfil next to the couch." I started out knitting just a few puffs in each color and changing it up so I wouldn't get bored, but I've been on a roll with the skein of white lately, and since I have lots of white and two shades of gray to serve as the majority/background of the blanket, I think I'll try to get through my neutrals first and then knit some more pops of color.

This project is frustrating and satisfying in the same way as academic work, I think. Each piece (article or book read, short analysis written, chapter mapped out) is small and it doesn't seem to make a dent in the overall task.  But taking a minute to lay everything out together and see how far I've come is actually pretty great, and the prospect of arranging everything in the final form is exciting (daunting, but exciting).

Back to the knitting: my current favorite color combination is periwinkle, purple, and the gold shade against a white background. I'm also pretty excited about pairing pink and green with some gray.

09 April 2013

Cat on a bookshelf

Just because my life for the rest of the week is going to involve allschoolallthetime doesn't mean we can't enjoy this lovely photo of Gus the old man cat perched atop my 6 foot high office bookshelf.

For a cat who usually hangs out flat on the floor, this is pretty impressive. Also, you can see Knitted Totoro's belly on the right side of the shot, but he always lives on the bookshelf, so that's not big news.

08 April 2013

Socks, about to be put on hold


For some reason, I'm having trouble feeling motivated to work on these socks. The first one is finished, I love to work on corrugated ribbing, and the prospect of 2 row stockinette stripes is usually really compelling. You would think I'd be chomping at the bit to get going on sock number 2. I don't know what's wrong with me!

That last sentence is a lie. What's wrong with me is that I don't like either orange or brown, but I made the choice to put the two colors together in an attempt to use up sock yarn scraps. My thrifty "don't buy new sock yarn when you've got a storage tub full of the stuff" attitude has officially backfired in the form of these socks. Someone is certain to love them, but it isn't me, and that means I'm going to start working on a different project instead of finishing up the second sock of this pair.

Do you ever get halfway through a project and realize it's just not your jam? What's your strategy? For me, for now, it's goodbye, little fall-themed socks, and hello to my Beekeeper's Quilt!

30 March 2013

Knitting the basics

You guys! I've been knitting! And I have finally finished the Labor of Love project, my little brother's giant scarf. 1x1 ribbing forever and ever in black yarn.

Official FO photos will have to wait until I send it to my brother and he can model it and take some fancy pictures of himself to show you the full effect.

For now, it's back to knitting my handspun shawl. I'm almost finished with the second ball of yarn, and moving on to the third, which I'll use for a ribbed border. 

24 March 2013

Spring Goals

It's officially spring, you guys! It is about 30 degrees out and SNOWING (WHAT?!), but it is spring nevertheless, and I am in the mood to set some new goals and enjoy this season.

So I've got three goals for the next couple of months. I think they're challenging but reasonable:

1. Train for my first triathlon! 
At the end of March, as soon as registration opens, I'll be signing up for my very first triathlon. It's a sprint-distance tri, so nothing to extreme, but I'm really excited about mixing more swimming and finally some biking into my workout circuit every week. As soon as I'm done with my current running training plan (a 5k to 8k plan that is really awesome, let me tell you) and I run my next 8k (April 7th!), it's time for triathlon training. Yessssss.

2. Significantly cut back on processed foods! 
With the exception of certain dairy products (because I am not giving up cheese, you must be CRAZY), I am going to make a concerted effort to eat whole foods instead of processed foods. I've got a CSA membership that, lucky for me, has continued to run through the colder months, so I'm already on track with fresh veggies. The main thing that leads me to eat processed foods and pre-made snacks is absolutely the convenience factor, but feeling healthy is definitely worth a bit of extra effort for meal planning and making sure I have healthy snacks in the house at all times. We'll see how this goes for a few months and what it does to my budget.

3. Up the craftiness around this joint!
More specifically, spin up my fiber stash and work on the colorwork design that I've been tossing around in my head lately. And by lately, I mean "for the past year at least." I've just finished up the world's most boring project/greatest labor of knitting love, so I'll have pictures of that as soon as there's enough sun for a decent photo shoot, but I still have nothing really exciting on the needles, and that needs to change. 

Any goals you're working on right now? Anything you're looking forward to accomplishing this season? I'd love to hear what's up in the comments.

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