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Monday, August 28, 2006

The great thing about having two bathrooms.

So the cute powder room, the one I painted a color that I'll now call "Tiffany box blue" instead of "old pickup blue"? I've found another use for it -- the blocking room.

My Verdant Root -- a greener version of Rusted Root -- is currently blocking on the floor. The long-suffering boyfriend is being very understanding about all this, especially since heaven only knows when it will dry in this dreary weather.

In the interim, I finally cast on for ye olde razor cami. I'm not even going to apologize for jumping on the bandwagon with this one -- it's adorable and the stitch pattern is slightly addictive. (And have you seen Katie's new sweater pattern? Makes me long for fall.)

I'm using Yarn Pirate yarn from Pure Knits in the colorway sweetheart. Ok, you're right, it's Yaaaaarn Pirate. Arr.

And here's about where I am so far. It reminds me of a Valentine or candy cane or Fruit Stripe gum.

I also got these little lovelies in the mail today from Charm Woven Labels. These seemed nice and old-fashioned, like something my grandmother would have used, if she could have afforded them. Maybe now I'll be a less selfish knitter?

And just to make you all really jealous, here's an autograph that I won on ebay of Hal Linden and Abe Vigoda from "Barney Miller". Can you believe no one else bid on it?

Monday, August 21, 2006

A belated birthday gift

My mother, who is wonderful, just left after spending a weekend here helping me paint, redecorate and generally spruce things up. I could write a novel about what makes my mother so great, but I'll keep it simple. We have fun just drinking coffee and watching the Today Show and can make a day out of a trip to Target. She's supportive of my decisions, even if they are slightly hair-brained, because she has faith that things will work out for the best. (Like when I up and quit my job in Connecticut and moved into a hovel in Manhattan with a woman who owned ferrets, just so I could go to grad school, without any clear career path. She simply smiled and said, "Ok, sounds great!")

Well, enough of that mushiness. The main reason that mom's great is that she forgave me for finishing her French Bistro Top from Interweave Crochet nearly two months late. She's shy, so here's a neck down shot. (Please click for a better view -- I'm having serious photo issues today.)

French Bistro Top for mom

I used seven balls of Coats Opera 5 in ecru and a size D crochet hook, which is teeny teeny tiny. So that's why this took so darn long. It wasn't a complicated pattern once you memorized the stitches, and seaming was actually a breeze.

French Bistro top for mom

The only modifications I made were crocheting the sleeves in the round (why wouldn't you?) and only putting the picot edging around the neck. It seemed too precious to put it on the sleeves and bottom hem.

French Bistro top for mom

And here was our other big project -- we painted my downstairs half bathroom. (Yeah, I just like pointing out that I have a downstairs half bathroom.) When we looked at this place, the bathroom was painted a baby blue to match the tile, but when we moved in, it was all painted white -- including the tile! It was madness and looked so nasty and barren. So we stripped the white off of the tile using something called "CitruStrip" stripping gel, which is allegedly less toxic than turpentine. Then we painted the walls a color called "old pickup blue." We were up until 12:30 a.m. Sunday, but isn't it cozy?

My bathroom

Yes, another shot of my bathroom is probably excessive. But here it is anyway.

My bathroom

But in typical Carrie fashion, something did go wrong this weekend -- some lunatic broke into my car and stole my radio. Not something I wanted my mom to see, you know? But, mercifully, the jerk somehow jimmied the lock and didn't break a window, and he didn't think to steal all of my insurance and registration documents. I plan to address this more in a later post, but I had an identity theft issue in July, so my main concern was someone else getting my personal information. I just don't understand what would possess someone to break into this crappy car. Honestly, it's a bucket of bolts. I had been snitty with my insurance agent when she pleaded with me not to move to Brooklyn, the car theft capital of the globe, but looks like I owe Esther an apology!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Night Shift

Excuse me while I quote the Commodores:

Gonna miss your sweet voice, that soulful noise
On the nightshift
We all remember you
Ooh, your songs are coming through
At the end of a long day it's gonna be okay
On the nightshift
You found another home, I know you're not alone
On the nightshift

This is my last week on the night shift. No more heading to work when everyone else is winding down, no more getting home after midnight, no more posting to this blog during the wee hours of the morning. And I'm also switching beats, from crime to education. So no more tragic concrete mixer accidents, no more freak lightning strikes, no more kooky dogs-eating-meat-with-pins-stuck-in-it stories. (If you didn't already read about it, don't ask.)

You might think I'd be doing cartwheels about this, but I'm pretty lousy at change. So I'm feeling excited yet uneasy and intimidated. (My boyfriend said my tombstone should read, "Here lies Carrie. Sweet, if nervous." Or maybe it was "Short and cranky." Whichever.) I'll miss my coworkers and the cops and Conan O'Brien, and I'll certainly despise using an alarm clock. But I think going out to dinner with friends just once will erase all that. Or one Friday with the Spiders.

It's also sort of melancholy since I started this here blog when I began the night shift. I found myself scrolling through blogs when I got home at night, and I was desperate to write about something besides the misfortune of others. A year and change later, here we are. So cross your fingers for me.

And please cross your fingers that I finish the French Bistro Top by Friday, when my mom heads into town. I only have a sleeve cap left!

I already seamed the first sleeve and, unlike the unfinished project that shall not be named, it looks excellent. I'm dying to block this into shape.

And on the apartment front, slowly but surely it's coming together. Here is the beginning of my little office/craft area. It might not seem like much, but it was mainly boxes just three days ago.

Here's a close up of the poster. Isn't it sweet?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A girl's best friend

Diamonique, c'est fini! (And yes, I am forcing you to look at new views of my apartment, even if it's the fire escape.)

I knit this in Baby Ull yarn by Dale of Norway, and I probably should have just spritzed it for blocking because when I immersed it in the tub, the sucker GREW like you wouldn't believe. Like, so large that it would fit my dad. Like, so large that I instant messaged Yahaira for advice.

At first, it seemed kinda long and oversized and, as I told the Spiders last week, a little like something Mallory Keaton might have worn. (By the way, is "Family Ties" still on anywhere? Remember the "Self contained, underwater, breathing apparatus" episode? Or the one when Tom Hanks drank the vanilla extract?)

But I think I was over-reacting and it's pretty cute, right? Who knew I was so preppy?

Anyway, I think this is a great pattern and I'm a much better lace knitter for having finished it. This might seem like old hat to some of you folks, but I now truly appreciate the importance of stitch markers, life lines, row counters and note taking. I just wasn't experienced enough to memorize the pattern. And I'm happy to report that although I frogged the back multiple times -- because I was reading the chart wrong -- I didn't frog the front section once. Hurrah!

Now, since I showed you the fire escape, I had to tell you about its newest addition. Remember this little guy?


Truth is, he doesn't scare the pigeons away. Today, in fact, I found a trio of those nasty birds encircling him, like they were old college chums. And when I was packing up my Queens studio, I nearly left him because, well, he was worthless and simply didn't deter pigeons. But how could I leave him there with those noisy neighbors and leaky ceilings? So he made the trip to Brooklyn, and we are all so happy here.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

We've got the heat

Ok, my title is lame. But I think all of New York City is running out of weather-related cliches. The heat is on? It's getting hot in here? Drop it like it's hot? They just don't seem to convey how miserable it is outside. Or, in my case, inside, as we unpack box after box after box. It is the best apartment ever, but it's still positively stifling. And though I love my staircase, I don't love feeling like a worn-down weakling when I cart boxes up and down it.

How hot is it? Too hot to take pictures of my finished Diamonique. Maybe after the thunderstorms roll through?

But not too hot to start a new project. I know, I need to finish my mom's French Bistro Top. And I shall. Very soon. I'm onto the sleeves, but they are a little dull so I decided to start Rusted Root in dusty sage. Maybe I'll call it Verdant Root?

rusted root

This progress shot is basically worthless, so I'll just tell you about it. The lace panel breaks up the boring stockinette stitch, and I'm very excited about the puff sleeves. Who doesn't love puff sleeves? (By the way, whatever happened to the band Rusted Root? They were the pride of Pittsburgh when I went to college, then they seemed to fall off the planet.)

Now, I promise this won't turn into an apartment blog, but you'll have to indulge me in a few shots. Here's the view out of the window of my little craft/desk area. Can you see the little flowers below?

And this will be my craft area. It needs some serious work, but that will be the fun part:

And, finally, our view of downtown Brooklyn. At night, if you peer left, you can see the tippy-top of the Empire State Building. Except during a power crisis, when it's not lit in an effort to conserve energy:

Is anyone out there in a cool part of the world? Can you remind me what it's like?