Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 FO Roundup Part 5, The Letter Z, and Adios 2006!

Last installment of my FO roundup! (Thank god!) Keep in mind this isn't really an inclusive list. I've found a few other things around the house that I've knit that were too boring or I forgot to take pictures of, the Saturday Market Bag from Magknits, a bad juju doll from The Anticraft, oh and mom's mitties that she asked me to make.

But today is dedicated to my own crazy-ass designs!

2006 Own Designs

Today I'm going counter-clockwise starting at the top left.

1. My Rattlesnake Scarf. Oh, how I poured my heart into that scarf. I worked up the sketches for it while I was proctoring a bunch of wannabe nursing students taking their entrance exams in October and in the following weeks I knit and dutifully wrote down the pattern notes. Then that damn Morehouse Merino came out with their rattlesnake scarf. Bah. Ah well.

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Snickerdoodle, Coal, and Mist.

2. The Texas Forgotten Frost Toque (compliments to Ladylungdoc and Morgsarah for coming up with that name!). The leftover remnant of my brief fling with spinning were sent to Karen who took to spinning like a starving sheep to pasture. It was the perfect project for a small amount of yarn and I get many compliments on it when I wear it to work. Sadly I can't keep it on all day--I'm addicted to ponytails and buns. I hate wearing my hair down.

Yarn: Handspun (by Karen!) corriedale wool

3. What happens when you invite Bezzie, the girl you've never met, to your baby shower? You get a Black Widow Baby Hat! A faculty member thought they were doing the honorable thing in inviting everyone to her babyshower--whether or not she knew them or not. Because I wasn't about to spend my hard earned money on some baby I'd probably never see (and still haven't seen--I'm never around when she stops by our corner of the office with him) I designed this lovely hat. The father of said baby in question really enjoyed it and kept trying to stretch it out and put it on during the shower!

Yarn: Red Heart acrylic in black; and the orange is some of that yarn I used on my Bitchin' Mittens submission

4. My crown jewel of 2006!! The knitted plastic bag raincoat!!! With donations of bags from my CASP Sherry, and Turtlegirl (who also provided the wine cork toggle closures), I completed this thing on ironically enough, Earth Day. How many bags did it take? I'm not sure but I can say hundreds. There are bags from all over the world in that coat.

And yes, I have worn it in public. The first time I met any cyberknitters in real life I wore this thing as it was a drizzly day. It doesn't keep the pouring rain at bay, but it does a good job repelling a slight spit of rain.

Yarn: Plastic bags!

Ok, now to finish my 2006 ABC Along with my Z submission:

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ZOO! This is one of our final pictures of Chunky at Lansing's Potter Park Zoo. We took him to that zoo every year from basically the year he was born. We've got a picture of him virtually growing up in that lion cut out! I'll miss that little zoo. It was small but it was very nice--and it holds the record for being the smallest zoo in the U.S. to house a black rhino.

Finally, what would New Year's Eve be without a few resolutions? Yeah I've never really made any resolutions before but these are pretty easy!

1. Help find Dr. Mad Scientist a job outside of this place well call hell.

2. In reference to #1--do World's Biggest Happy Dance when we are finally able to tell Texas to kiss our respective asses.

3. Knit a sweater with sleeves. (Does the Corded Yoke Pullover count?)

4. Spread the kootchie awareness love with yarny incentives!

Hope y'all have a safe Eve and a great 2007. I can't wait to usher in 2007. It should be a big year--hopefully a new job for Dr. Mad Scientist, Chunky will be starting kindergarden, and once Dr. Mad Scientist gets a solid job we want to start on a different FO--a Chunko or Chunkette. We'll see.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

2006 FO Roundup Part 4

Part 4--hold on, we're almost to the end! The boredom is almost over!

Today is the proof that I'm a spastic kniter who can't commit to a large project:

2006 Odds n' Ends

Odds n' Ends! I'll keep this short since there's so many.

(Left to right starting with top row)

1. A sweater for Rosie--Every stuffed monkey needs a koolaid dyed, cable sweater right?

2. Gold Card--My felted, beaded experiment with knitting with those plastic cards credit card companies feel obliged to mail you every day. The felting didn't turn out too hot though.

3. Felted box with bead trim--My own halfhazzard pattern (but seriously, it's a box, how hard is it to knit a box?). Living proof that I hate sewing when I had to sew the lining in this puppy. However I did dig the cool reflective beads.

4. Eco-Friendly Yellow Ribbon--I support the troops, however I do NOT support choking trees in the name of supporting the troops. Stapling or tying plastic ribbons around a living thing is not cool (remember corsets? similar concept there). I designed a knit ribbon that buttoned on a tree and gave a little ease as to not cut off the tree's circulation. If you're ever in Lansing, drive past Post Oak Elementary. That's where I "tagged" a tree with this puppy.

5. Sweat Sock--Another design of my own. Just a simple water bottle cozy that looks like an old fashioned sweat sock to keep my water cold when I freeze it. It works like a dream and I love it. I get many double takes with it from people who think I actually put a nasty sweat sock on my water.

6. Trio of Felted Christmas Trees--From "Knit Christmas Stockings!" A fast, cheap and easy answer to gifting my coworkers.

7. Face Cloth--Yet another cheap and easy gift for my old college roommate. But alas, I can't remember the name of the pattern I used.

8. Dia De Los Muertos Doll--Based on Dr. Mad Scientist's recently deceased grandfather and knit using the AntiCraft's Bad Juju pattern. I don't join many knit-alongs, but I really enjoyed the Day of the Dead one!

9. Cat Poo Booga Bag--A delightful answer to the $20 minimum in purchasing a White Elephant gift for the office Christmas party.

10. Bronty--One of my first attempts to knit a toy. Very cute pattern. I would have gone down in needle size though to eliminate the little holes that showed up when I stuffed him.

11. Apple Face Cloth--See #7

12. Log Cabin Afghan--Ok, so technically this isn't finished--but I DID finish knitting all the blocks for it (hooray for running out of yarn early!).

13. Four Baby Booties--Just four pairs of charity knit baby booties.

14. I Left My Heart in Lansing Mittens--I joined a KAL (hm, maybe I do join more than I admit) where the goal was to make a pair of "bitchin' mittens." Since I was missing Dr. Mad Scientist at the time, I made these. They're based on the hand "map" Michiganders always use when you ask them where some city is located. These now hang on my wall in our bedroom. True "artsy fartsy" knitting.

15. Dream Swatch--Made with some beautiful Cotton Twist yarn I picked up in San Antonio while down here interviewing. It didn't turn out to be big enough for a scarf and too fat for a headband, so it sits as a quasi table runner on top of my entertainment center. It's classier than it sounds. Trust me.

Finally, I promised I would give props to my CASP2 who sent her final box this past week revealing herself to be the ultra-talented Knitting Mamma. Yeah it was a little late, but eerily enough she just moved too (I almost didn't participate in CASP2 because I figured we'd be moving).

Here's what she sent!

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A happy elephant project bag to match the needle roll she previously sent. I've currently got my Corded Yoke Pullover housed in it!

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A row-counter I'm assuming she made. (Now I must cast on something complicated with some actual repeats so I can use it!)

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The rest of the box! There's some notecards, scrub, a cool little box, a magnetic notepad (absolutely love those things and was almost running out of paper on my old one), a crayon thermos for Chunky, a flashing tiara (oh I've got plans for that baby!), and four skeins of Sinfonia (I love that yarn!)

She was a great CASP2 and I'm glad she finally revealed herself! Maybe if Dr. Mad Scientist gets a job and if they have it, I'll participate in CASP4.

Friday, December 29, 2006

2006 FO Roundup Part 3

*YAWN*

Part three!

Today we highlight my first forays into knitting actual large garments of clothing. Of course I still haven't tackled sleeves!

2006 Tanks

The mighty tank top: exposer of the pasty white flabby upper arms!

Today I'm shaking it up a bit--I'll start in the middle of the column on the right.

1. The Nip Strip Tank. This is the piece where I really learned about gauge. The pattern called for that Lion Brand ribbon yarn. So I substituted Carons Simply Soft. Because the dropped stitches were more revealing with the Simply Soft, I had to modify the nipple region of the tank to a thick band of garter stitch. Worked out pretty well. Until I tried it on. I swam in it. I should have swatched. Ah well, if I ever get knocked up again, this will make a great maternity top.

2. (Bottom of column on right): Remember my Thrifty Trio of Texas Tank Tops? After learning we would be moving to Texas, I set forth knitting myself three tank tops. All out of cheap-o cotton yarn, and all out of progressively more difficult patterns. The first one was made from Sugar n'Cream cotton yarn and was a simple squarish tank top pattern consisting of garter and stockinette stitch from the book "Hip Knits." I actually swatched this one. And washed the swatch! I thought I accounted for all of the shrinkage when I knitted this puppy up.

Alas the final product was a bit too short and I look like some kind of white trash Britney Spears that couldn't afford the plastic surgery to remove the stretchmarks and surgically induced C-section pooch when I wear it.

3. Which brings us to the top of the column on the right. The Shapely Tank from White Lies Designs in Bernat Cotton Tots. Or as I like to call my masterpiece: "The Dumply Tank." I was so excited to knit this. The day I cast on, I was in our bedroom, sitting on the bed, letting the May 8th sun shine in, listening to the birds and waiting for the tow truck to come and give my husband's car a jump start because he left the lights on. It was also my first full weekday not working for The Man. (Dr. Mad Scientist has a tendency to leave his lights on when we don't have any money. Pisses me the hell off. He left his lights on last night too after picking Chunky up from school--luckily I came home shortly after they did and made him turn them off.) I swear I swatched this one for gauge and shrinkage too. But as you can see from the results it came out as one big YUCK. However, I learned how to do short rows and this was the first big indicator that my stitches were twisted.

4. FINALLY! A pattern that turned out well! Soleil from knitty.com in Sinfonia mercerized cotton. I loved this pattern and I loved this yarn. I started this tank up in Lansing and finished it in Texas--knitting on the way down. I also finally accepted that I was twisting my stitches by purling wrong. (Even though I didn't fix my purling in this project!) I also modified the pattern to give it a scooped neck as opposed to a V-neck. It fits pretty darn well (there's a little looseness in the top) but it's the first piece of knitwear (that's not a winter piece--scarf, hat, etc.) that I've worn in public. I've had many compliments on it by the professors at work.

This is one of my favorite mosaics of FO because it really shows my growth as a knitter moving from a "Who gives a shit, I don't need to swatch!" attitude to one where I am able to substitute the right yarn and even modify the pattern to suit my needs.

Finally, I can't not post today without giving a shout-out to my number one Dr. Mad Scientist. Today's the day we sealed the deal as naive little 21 year olds to spend the rest of our lives together.

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Seven years down, a lifetime left to go. It hasn't been a total bed of flowers the whole time, but I didn't sign on for hearts and flowers 100% of the time. That gets boring!!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

2006 FO Roundup Part 2

Boy, it’s only day two of my FO round-up and I’m already bored with it. Ha ha! That’s probably a bad sign when you find the subject so yawn-worthy that you can’t bring yourself to blog about it! Oh well, I said I was going to do it and I’m a knitter of my word.

Today I’m featuring the mosaic of stuff that goes on heads, necks and hands.



2006 Heads, Necks & Hands



Left to Right (Starting at the top row and working down)

1. B to the E to the double Z to the I to the E! Very quick and very cute. If I had to knit these again, I would have cast off a little looser. They’re a little hard to get on my hands.

Yarn: American Alpaca
Pattern: Knucks from knitty.com

2. The sister-in-law scarf. Oh the horribly boring, and probably prematurely short and too scratchy for the sister-in-law, scarf. I love cables but I don’t think I like cables on scarves. Too boring.

Yarn: White superwash wool from a recycled sweater (from my CASP Sherry!) koolaid dyed by me
Pattern: Braided Cable Scarf from mimknits.com

3. The scarf that popped my cable cherry. This scarf is like the slut of the cable world. I know there’s a bunch of people that lost their cable virginity to this pattern. I enjoyed knitting this cabled scarf and didn’t get bored with it. Probably because I didn’t know any better.

Yarn: Cascade 220 in color 8339 (I think)
Pattern: Irish Hiking Scarf from helloyarn.com

4. The answer to my “Son-of-a-nutcracker-!-I-don’t-have-enough-yarn-to-make-my-brother-a-Christmas-present” dilemma. It turned out OK. It was a quick knit. I picked up the stitches a little sloppily, but prevented the sloppy stitches from showing on the brim by sewing it down loosely to the rest of the hat.

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in “Coal” and “Mist”
Pattern: Coronet from knitty.com

5. What do you do when your son’s gargantuan noggin has outgrown his hat from last winter? You knit him a new one! It’s a good thing this picture doesn’t show the top of the hat, because it got ugly near the top. I was still a DPN newbie and well, look at the target audience. Chunky’s never made a comment about how the stitches mess up near the top of his hat.

Yarn: Cascade 220 (in some color number I don’t recall)
Pattern: My own simple-rib-eff-it-up-at-the-end concoction

6. I didn’t have an FO picture of this, but trust me, it’s done. That’s Lupe and Shawnee (my twin yarn porn starlets) giving a Knitting Olympic lace performance. This was my first foray into lace, and like the Irish Hiking Scarf is to cables, I think a lot of people cut their teeth on lace with this pattern.

Yarn: Recycled 100% cashmere Goodwill sweater (held double stranded)
Pattern: Branching Out from knitty.com

7. Normally spiders give me the heebie jeebies, but these little mini-mites were fun to make. A sad story accompanied the blue mini-mite, but he was donated away to some sweet little bare-spiderheadless baby.

Yarn: See the yellow one? That was made from some of the acrylic I got in exchange for the last two balls of my German flag sock yarn. The blue is Red Heart I believe and the green is Caron Simply Soft in “sage.”
Pattern: A modification of my own Black Widow Baby Hat pattern.

8. Ugh. Another sad story behind these baby hats, but again with a positive twist. These are just two of I believe four (maybe more?) hats I knit for Trillian’s Hats for Alex baby hat drive. She’s turned it into a year round deal and honestly now that my Christmas knitting is over, I should crank out a couple more of these to send to her. Ahhhh, mindless baby hat knitting how I love thee!

Yarn: Again some random acrylic and froofy stuff from the stash. Although I know the hat on the right is a wool/acrylic blend. Hee hee.
Pattern: Just simple stockinette baby hats

Oh but hey, check out the picture my sister in law put on her website in her Christmas picture collection:


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Woo! He’s wearing it! Yeah even if he never wears it again, that’s all I needed! Ha ha!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

2006 FO Round Up

When I moved down here and set up my new computer I started a separate folder of all my knitted 2006 finished objects (hereinafter "FO").

I thought it would be cool to see them all together at the end of the year. As there are five days left of the year (including today), I've compiled five mosaics of my FO.

Yes, it will be kind of boring to read, but this is a knitting blog after all. I won't cry myself to sleep if you just look at the pretty pictures and click on your merry way!

Off we go!

2006 Socks

Socks!!!

From Left to Right:
1. My Swedish Clown Cotton Socks--These are the socks where I became a 3 needle bind off toe convert. I brought them on me on my interviews in San Antonio in June. I forgot my yarn needle and it dawned on me I didn't need it--I merely turned them inside out, bound them off, and never looked back!

Yarn: Marks & Kattens Clown
Pattern: Just a simple broken rib

2. Another pair of cotton socks. I love cotton socks. The yarn for these was part of my first yarn purchase in San Antonio at the infamous Yarn Barn.

Yarn: Plymouth Sockotta
Pattern: Stockinette baby!

3. I jumped on the Jaywalker bandwagon about a year after the first wagon took off. I gifted these to my Yankee Candle pushing Aunt after we spent a weekend with her in Dallas when she was in town for a trade show and she couldn't get over how cool these socks were. I nearly finished the first one that weekend with her.

Yarn: Opal Petticoat
Pattern: Jaywalkers (duh)

4. My VERY first pair of socks! Oh man they suck. The heels blow, the cuffs are too short (I was afraid of running out of yarn) and the toe grafting sucks monkey butts. The toe graft is giving way and there are holes forming in the toes. Easily fixable, but it adds to their newbie charm.

Yarn: Reggio Exclusive
Pattern: Simple 2X2 rib cuff

5. Die German Socken! My brother (the hunky one y'all seem to drool over) married a German girl in January 2006. Shortly after they set the date for their wedding Herrschners had a kick ass sale on Regia Nation yarn in the German flag colorway. I bought six balls. Yeah, I went a little crazy. I made this pair, a pair for my mother in a pattern called "Toe The Line" (I never took a picture of those ones completed), and I swapped the final two balls for some yellow acrylic yarn. I really wanted to go to their wedding and even went so far as to secure me and Chunky passports. Alas, my indentured servitude to The Man prohibited me from going.

Yarn: Regia Nation
Pattern: Another simple 2X2 rib

Monday, December 25, 2006

Cheapass Christmass Part 6--Presents & Finale

Woo! The End! El Fin!

Boy I really enjoyed this and I do believe it did succeed in putting me in the Christmas spirit. Before I get into the final breakdown of how much I spent and whatnot, I'll give you some hardcore Cheapass Christmass food porn:

turkey
Mmm, what's a turkey without that plastic popper thingy?

stuff it baby!
Cornbread stuffing with wild rice courtesy of Amy of "Knit Think"

Mmmm...
Cinnamon rolls. Very pretty on the outside.


crescent rolls
Crescent rolls. Kind of obese aren't they?

green beans
The veggie we went with was green beans. I drenched them in olive oil, salted and peppered them, minced a couple of cloves of garlic and popped 'em in the oven for about 10 minutes. When they came out I sprinked parmesan cheese we had in the fridge from something else on top of them.

cranberry upside down
Ok, no Mormon Salad for dessert. The Mad Scientist wanted Cranberry Upside Down Cake. Which only cost $2.65 for the bag of cranberries. I'll call it a wash since the Mormon salad makings were about that much and we'll still eat the Mormon Salad at a later time. (Or use the ingredients bought for something else).

But what about the presents???

Well for Chunky I of course visited my Mecca (Wally's World) for cheap-o gifts and a stocking stuffer.

At Wally's I bought him a couple of monster trucks (this is what he asked Santa for), Connect Four (he used to play that at my office all the time when The Man would have me working so hard I couldn't take a day off when he had a school day off/was sick), and in true motherly style--Santa brought him two new packs of underwear and I wrapped up a 10 pack of white socks from "Mom." For his stocking from Wally's he got an educational card game.

That was all cheap because well, it's Wally's World. It doesn't get much white trash/cheaper than that!

I also couldn't resist going to Half Price Books and buying him a couple of Calvin and Hobbes books. Yes, I realize that he's only five, but honestly a lot of the stuff in there isn't very offensive and Calvin himself is six years old. Right now Chunky's in his bedroom "reading" one (when he's supposed to be going to sleep) and laughing his ass off!

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For Dr. Mad Scientist I splurged a little. He always carries a pocket knife with him. He lost his first one in Chicago when we went to a friend's wedding and so he ordered an exact replacement which he just recently lost in the last five months at work. So I bought him a new one--this time a different model.

The round up for the rest of my family is as follows:

Oldest Younger Brother and Family--I baked them some toffee squares and mailed them on over to NC (it was great payback for the buttload of chocolate that they sent us!)

Middle Younger Brother and Wife--For him: Coronet hat and For Her: Kool Aid Cable Scarf

Oldest Younger Sister--Keychain I bought for her on our way down here to Texas when we stopped at Graceland. It's always been her dream to go to Graceland and I beat her there. Why not say "Neener neener!" with a nice cheap keychain? (And I've already accounted for this in my grand total as well!)

Youngest Younger Sister and Youngest Younger Brother--Ho boy, I hope this one worked. I went super cheapass on them! I went onto itunes and bought them a gift certificate. Because the lowest form of gift certificate on there is $10.00 I had to break it up like so:

supercheapass

Ha ha, they each got half a CD with the same gift certificate code. Those two monkeys are pretty tight so I think they can rig it so they download $5 each of songs they dig.

Both Sets of Parental Units (mine and Dr. Mad Scientist's)--As you might remember, they each got a CD case calendar featuring Chunky.

And I think that was everybody.

What was the final damage on all of this? Well I spent $49.25 on Chunky; $30.08 on Dr. Mad Scientist; $10 on Youngest Younger Sister and Brother; and $14.53 to mail everything to everyone.

He didn't save any receipts but claims to have spent just a hair under $75 on the both of us. (He has no idea, to my knowledge, that this blog even exists--to him the words "Cheapass Christmass" just mean me being my usual tight self!)

Breakdown:Total Remaining Of $250.00 Budget Goal: ($15.91)**This total was arrived at by using the final total of budget money left after Cheapass Christmass Week 5

SUCKAGE! Nearly $16 overbudget! But you know what? If I subtracted the underwear and socks that me and "Santa" bought for Chunky (stuff he needed regardless of what holiday it was), I would have had $0.73 to spare. Ok, I feel better now!

Now, when I wrote the last installment I promised to highlight some of the Cheapass Christmass stuff I've seen on the web lately (or that you've sent me).

First up, check out this Mother-In-Law gift that Elizabeth scored!

cheapAgifts

She writes:

I just wanted to show you the Cheap Ass gift I bought for my MIL this year.
Found three matching silver-plate candle holders, which don't looks so great
in this photo because of the hammered surface texture. They were tarnished,
but Mr. Sable polished them up nicely. These were $2.50 each at St. Vincent's. I
found three cylindrical candles at Hobby Lobby, 50% off all Christmas
candles, so they were $1.50 each. So, for $12 plus tax, we got something
pretty impressive looking for MIL and her husband
.

Elizabeth is my thrift store idol. I can never score stuff this freakin' cool when I go!

Alisha baked some delish looking banana bread for her neighbors. Spread the neighborlycheapass love!

Domestic Overlord rescued a velvet painting from the curbside and created a really kick ass purse from it. Wouldn't that look great made from a velvet Jesus or Elvis too?

Oh and hey, how could I forget my own mother who made this cute little t-shirt for me?

Mom and Dad's Present

Just a cheap-o plain t-shirt you find at a craft store with an design she ironed on. I'm just kind of bummed I have to wait a year to wear it again.

And of course (and I think this is my favorite gift this year) my sister T.'s present. She had a school assignment to create a glossary. So while all the other squares in her class were making glossaries of the latest urban-speak or techno-computo-terms she compiled a list of family words.

These are words our family made up that only we really knew the meaning to or were normal words/phrases we had assigned new meanings to. She sent us all a list of words a few months ago and asked us to write the words in our handwriting and mail them back to her. She compiled the glossary and while I guess the numbnuts she pays thousands of dollars to each quarter to teach her design and copywriting didn't "get" it when she turned it in as an assignment--she printed us all off copies for our own cheapass Christmas presents.

Here's the cover of "Budnikspeak" (I love that picture of my parents doing the American Gothic mock):
Budnictionary

This is a page with a word she had me do in my handwriting:

Arnold

And finally this one has one of my favorite definitions maybe because I can still picture my brother sitting cross-legged in his sled in the middle of the iced-over road on that windy day:

MRFS

There, now you get a small glimpse into my bizzare childhood. Dr. Mad Scientist totally didn't understand why I was laughing over each and every entry. To me this handmade book she did is an heirloom in the making. I hope to instill the same weirdness in Chunky and pass this book down to him someday.

So there you go folks! Cheapass Christmass has come to an end! Even though I didn't keep it under $250 like I originally wanted I had a hell of a fun time trying!

Stay tuned for my next big exercise in craziness--Kootchie Awareness Yarn Extravaganza!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

For Your Reading Pleasure

One of the bonuses of not having to travel anywhere or entertain any incoming relatives I get to keep on knitting and blogging. Woo!

I hope the snow is showing up on here. It's not snowing in real life sadly. Instead it's raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock here in San Antonio which is GREAT! Hey, if I can't have a white Christmas I will settle for a cold, gray, soggy one!

I was tagged by Lisa and Erin. It's the six weird things about me. Hey, I know you hate reading memes but it's the holiday season and the blogging is sparse right now. (All these people with real lives!)

So here goes:

1. I don't like picking up pennies on the ground that are face down. I will flip a face down penny and if it face up when I pass it again, I'll pick it up. Chunky won't pick up face downers either now. Hee hee!

2. I've gone by my middle name my entire life. My first name is Rebecca. People always shorten it to Becky without asking. There's only one person I don't mind calling me that, because she's older and sweet. Everyone else is a jackass for calling me Becky without asking.

3. By the time I hit 12th grade all the attendance sheets ever listed was "R. Kaye." As a result, I had the Palmer High Class of 1996 seniors on the football team convinced my first name was "Ralphina." When they called my name at graduation as "Rebecca" they thought I provided that name to spare myself the shame of the weirdness of Ralphina.

4. I have never used more than a simple cast on for knitted projects. Even when it asks for a cable cast on, long tail, etc. Why fix what isn't broken?

5. I keep my childhood blankie ("Fidget") in my pillowcase and fidget with it at night. Fidget is nearly 30 years old now.

6. I secretly hope that someday I go blind. If I go blind I'll pick out the UGLIEST (at least I can hope because I won't be able to see them) sunglasses and when people stare at the weird chick wearing the ugly sunglasses indoors they'll feel bad about staring at a blind girl. Same goes for if I ever go completely bald--I'm getting a bitchin' tattoo all over my skull. People won't be able to not stare!

I won't tag six other people, but since she's my sister, and I'm the older sister, I'll tag T. to put six weird things on her blog. Ha ha, like that will be hard!

Ok, so if you made it through that stimulating reading you get a picture reward!

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That's a fingerless mitt my mother requested for Christmas. Guess what? She's not getting it for Christmas. Therefore, it's not a surprise.

I'm fondling some yarn that Amy sent me along with some wild rice for my stuffing on Christmas (I'll probably take a picture of that too--weird thing #7: I like to take pictures of food I've made). It's STR in "Mustang Sally." Wasn't that sweet of her?

Mom's mitts there are made of a Lorna's Laces worsted weight in "Lakeview" that I won in the cyber baby shower thrown for Kris.

I hope anyone still around reading this has a happy holiday! I'll be busy tomorrow doing all the cheapass pre-baking and Monday doing the real cooking. I'll be posting my Cheapass Christmass finale on Tuesday since I have that day off too.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Listen! Do you..

...wanna know a secret?

I love Christmas!

I don’t mind that people go to the mall and fight tooth and nail for the latest animatronic Muppet that giggles, dances, and shits itself.

I don’t buy that crap for my son and he doesn’t ever want it. I don’t have to go near the toy store or mall to fight the crowds.

If people want to wait in the cold in a line at Oh-Dark-Hundred to get their hands on the latest plasma screen HD automatic crescent wrench shaving cream warmer--I don't mind. Whatever flips their cookies.

I'd rather get four pinecones that make me smile in the mail from an old coworker back in Lansing for Christmas.

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I love Santa and Mrs. Claus.

I love that my son came home from school a couple of weeks ago after Santa and Mrs. Claus visited them and informed me that Santa was very nice and Mrs. Claus was looking “quite fashionable.”

I love that he believes in Santa.

I don’t mind that I have to “lie” to him about Santa. I remember being “lied to” about Santa as a kid and guess what? I don’t hate my parents and sob into the couch pillow of a therapist about how they ruined my adult life with the myth of Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.

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I love that my son refused to tell me what he wanted for Christmas because if he spoke what he wanted aloud it “wouldn’t come true.”

I love that when I finally did get out of him what he wanted for Christmas it was two things. Two simple things.

I love that I know even though I didn’t get him one of those two things, he will be totally enamored with everything else under the tree that it won’t matter.

I love that my family doesn’t mind getting homemade presents. Or if they do mind, they don’t bitch about it to my face.

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I love the stress of getting the decorations up and the cards sent and the cookies baked and the Christmas dinner served. I thrive on that stress.

I love the way the last two weeks of the year the world slows down, people take time off of work and school to stay at home and the mood in the air is one of a palpable laid-back nature.

I love that nothing is expected of me the last two weeks of the year at work. And if something is expected, if it’s a little late they’re willing to use “the holidays” as an excuse for its tardiness.

I love that some people try to be PC around this time of year and wish others a “Happy Holiday” or a “Season’s Greetings” in case they don't celebrate Christmas.

I think it rocks that so many different trains of thought all seem to converge at the same station this time of year for the same purpose of peace, love and understanding.

I love that on Christmas we will spend half of the day on the phone calling the two sets of parental units in Alaska and a certain sister of mine who will probably be bitching about how "cold" it is in Atlanta.

So many people have meltdowns or go ranting and raving about everything from the excess consumerist gluttony we experience or feel pressured to experience this time of year; the sham of a fat guy in a red suit; how crappy it is that some people call it a "holiday tree" and not a "Christmas tree" as not to offend anyone; how frazzled and stressed they feel to keep up with the Marthas and make sure their napkin rings match the toilet seat cover; or how they hate having to juggle Christmas dinner between spending it at drunken Uncle Louie’s house and their sister Chatty Cathy's house.

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I’m just thankful that:

I have a kid to lie to about Santa Claus to and buy presents for;
I have a home to worry about decorating;
I have friends and family to send Christmas cards to;
I have friends who don’t celebrate Christmas (but a different holiday instead);
I have a family to spend Christmas with (Even if it is just my immediate family. Enjoy your Drunken Uncle Louie and sister Chatty Cathy's Christmas dinners! We haven't seen many of our siblings and some parental units for nearly 7 years!)

But finally, I'm thankful that y'all are here to listen to my own little Christmas rant!

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

QRSTUVWXY!

I've noticed everyone trying to cram their ABC-along pictures in before the end of the year so since I stalled out at P I present you with my catchup:

My creation

Top Left to Right:

Q is for Quarters--When you've never owned a washer or dryer in your 28 years on earth, quarters are your best friend.

R is for Rose--Dr. Mad Scientist rarely gets me flowers. I got some for our first anniversary, popping out Chunky, and this past Valentines day because his mom sent him some savings bonds that he won for being Paperboy of the Month-July 1987 and he just had to cash them in. (If he hadn't had that minor windfall I would have had no flowers on Valentines!) Needless to say, I've saved one flower from every bouquet he's ever bought me.

S is for Snowman--I love this snowman. He's all painted wire. My Secret Santa from my first year working at Scheister, Shafter, Conniver & Dodge, P.C. gave him to me.

Middle Left to Right:

T is for Toys--Just a snipped of a tub of Chunky's Fisher Price Little People Toys.

U is for Underwear Drawer--Ha ha! Check out my disorganized underwear, socks and bras!!!

V is for Veggies--Canned veggies that I managed to scrape together to cover "V" with!

Bottom Left to Right:

W is for Wreath--I made this wreath with the fake poinsettas leftover from my wedding flowers. Silver and green were my "colors." I think the silver bow is leftover ribbon from the wedding decorations as well.

X is for X-Rated--It doesn't get much more x-rated than fuzzy handcuffs!!! These were a gag bachelor gift from Dr. Mad Scientist's best man when we got married. I will neither admit nor deny we've used them and leave y'all to your proofs.

Y is for Yankee--My Aunt Jaywalker, when we went to visit her in Dallas this past September, hooked me up with FIVE large Yankee Candles. Four of them were their "test scents" like you see here in this picture. She (if you haven't guessed by now) works for Yankee Candle Company. Her sales region is the deep south. She likes to tell her southern customers that it's "fun to burn them Yankees!" in order to get them to buy more candles. Ha ha!

So there you have it! I'll try to come up with a suitable Z next week!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tuesday Randomness

I took today off to basically Christmas shop. How easy is it to Christmas shop with a little boy at your side 24/7? Not very. So I ditched the boys and hit the pavement. Of course I'll detail all of my expenditures on Christmas (or the day after) as my final installment of Cheapass Christmass.

Believe it or not, between the hugs and x-rated goings on, I have had time to knit (especially seeing as I have to share the computer now!).

I started on my knitted action hero:

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Ha ha, behold me in my naked knitted effigy glory! I didn't use any pattern, I just made it up as I went along. Don't worry, I didn't forget the kung-fu grip.

I've also made a few inches progress on the Corded Yoke Pullover. I'll spare you a boring picture of 2X2 ribbing.

I never gave a proper blog-o-thank you to Ali for sending me a cute little care package filled with what I can only describe as chocolate and what would spill out of a papier maché piñata of Martha Stuart's head if you were to whack it repeatedly--stickers and crafty goods galore!

She also included these:
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Baby Alpaca Grande (Mmm...harvested from chubby baby alpacas!)

And:
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Blue Sky Cotton (I love me some cotton yarn!)

What a sweetie!

And speaking of sweeties, Rachele sent me some green and gold sock yarn as she caught wind of my frustration that it is impossible to find sock yarns in these colors (Colorado State U's colors!)

I also want to thank y'all for your kind words about the homecoming. Chunky always had first dibs on the first hug and Dr. Mad Scientist and I thought it would be fun to surprise him when he got back.

Also a big thanks for not thinking I'm a total psycho for unveiling my Kootchie Awareness Yarn Extravaganza. I can't wait for the new year to unveil the details! Hee hee!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

He's Back!!

Since y'all have already seen my Christmass tree as part of Cheapass Christmass (click on the link in the sidebar if you haven't!), I'll give you the highlight of my weekend instead of the blogstalking assignment.

I'll set the scene for you.

5:15 p.m. CST

Chunky and I are outside. I'm knitting a sweater (shut up, I know it's Texas) and Chunky's digging for snail shells just past the back porch. It's 80 degrees. (See the above note about it being Texas).

The phone rings.

I tell Chunky to stay outside.

Dr. Mad Scientist is on the phone. He's in our parking lot.

We hatch the plan.

We hang up. I unlock the front door and go back outside to Chunky. I take him to the tennis courts to do a couple of sprint races with me (he's a competitive little bugger and likes to beat me by weaving in front of me at the last minute to slow me down to seal the win).

While we're outside--Dr. Mad Scientist sneaks inside the apartment and hides in Chunky's closet.

After five races, I tell Chunky we should go in since it's almost dinnertime.

Once we get in, I grab the camera and tell him to go grab Rosie (his beloved stuffed monkey--who is in the bedroom) so I can take a picture of Rosie with her new stocking that my mom made her for Christmas.

I follow him into the bedroom. His closet (and Dr. Mad Scientist!) are to your left when you walk into his bedroom. His bed is a straight line from the door. He grabs Rosie and starts to head out. At first we thought he wouldn't even see Dr. Mad Scientist in the closet--but luckily as he heads out, he turns to his left--sees who's in his closet and yells "DADDY!"

And the rest my dears, is history!

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The coveted "first hug"!!!

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Broken up by a kiss!

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Back to the hugging!

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Awwww....!!!!! I've got both my boys now!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

My To-Do List

1. Go to Goodwill and pick up another dining room table chair.

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Confession: We used to be an "eat in front of the TV" family. But I have to cut those Texas ants some slack, the thought of those disgusting things infesting my couch forced us to eat at the table every night. But we only have two chairs.

2. Shave my sexy legs.

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Confession: I haven't shaved my legs much in the last five months. Why bother? Dr. Mad Scientist really doesn't care, but I don't want him to think there's a giant hairy legged spider sleeping in the bed with him. (That's a bar of Pyewacket's delectable soap there too!)

3. Clean off the other side of the bed.

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Confession: I'll miss reading in bed and not worrying about keeping him up with the lamp on. (Kudos to Cpurl for getting me hooked on the author of "Arranged Marriage" there!)

4. Ready Squeaky for Daddy's return.

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Confession: She used to be exclusively Dr. Mad Scientist's cat and never paid attention to me at all. Since he left, she became a regular cuddler and lap whore with me. Shhh!!! We won't mention that she's been cheating on him with me!

5. Practice my pucker.

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Confession: You'll know if #5 turned out well if you don't hear from me for a few days.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Going Public

Alright people.

I’ve decided to go public with my crazy ass idea.

After reading the Yarn Harlot’s entry on her blog today about Doctors Without Borders and following Wendy Knits’ blogging to raise money for Heifer.org (which, by the way, I contributed to (albeit forcibly) before it was cool to do so—remember the yak I bought those Tibetans?) I’ve decided to just do it!

Now I don’t want to take any value away from what these highly esteemed knitters are doing. I love it when people use their power for good! But lately two different things have been kicking around in my head.

Thing One
There are so many different charities that we knitters get involved in! There’s Knit Unto Others, The Dulaan Project, the Red Scarf Project, Hats for Alex--the list goes on and on and on! All those knitters knitting for people who need a warm hat, squishy teddy bear, blanket to shield them against the harsh Mongolian winter wind. And even if they don’t knit for charity a knitter is always quick to whip up a a hat/gloves/scarf/sweater/afghan/felted undies/socks for someone they love or to send a random act of kindness care package to a mouthy chick armed with a keyboard, curlers, and a pack of bubble gum.

Thing Two
Some of you may or may not know 2006 was a shitty year for my sister-in-law. She was diagnosed early in the year with Stage 3 cervical cancer. She underwent successful surgery in May, but had a good portion of herself along with the cancer, scooped out. I am happy to report that her six-month post surgery exam found her cancer free.

But then, last month, a certain coworker of mine (one of the nice ones who showed me the ropes of my new job) was also diagnosed with cervical cancer. She doesn’t know how bad it is yet, and we’re all crossing our fingers hoping for Stage 1.

It’s such an easy cancer to detect and cure early. Both my sister in law and my coworker let their annual exams slide until it was too late.

So take Thing One plus Thing Two, add a hot shower or two (that’s where I get my best thinking done) and I’ve come to the following conclusions.

Conclusions
We knitters are very good about taking care of others--be it knitting a hat for a preemie or buying a yak for a village in Tibet so they’ll have yak milk to give to the Doctors Without Borders stopping by their village to provide healthcare.

But who’s going to do these things if we don’t take care of ourselves? Think of the poor sweaterless Tibetan villagers who will catch pneumonia and won’t be able to have the Doctors Without Borders come visit them and even if they could have the DWB visit, how would they keep the doctors fed and full of warm yak milk so they have the energy to do their jobs?

It all boils down to what a very smart grasshopper once said: "It’s one of those circle of life things."

Therefore—hold on to your knitted hats peeps—I have decided to go forward with my crazy-ass awareness campaign for knitters that I have dubbed:

The Kootchie Awareness Yarn Extravaganza

(or KAYE for short…hee hee!)

Hey, if in China they can have the year of the Cock every 12 years, why can’t we have a whole year centered around the kootchie?

Seriously, all rooster jokes aside, I hope this works!

Stay tuned crazy peeps! Once Cheapass Christmass wraps up, I promise an easy way for you to help me spread the word about cervical cancer through the Kootchie Awareness Yarn Extravaganza.

The best part? There’s no money to donate and there’s not a ton of knitting involved!

What do you think, am I nuts? Wait, don't answer that. Seriously, I hope this flies or I'll feel like the biggest doof in a cabled hat to ever roam the earth. More details to come.

Hey! Speaking of cabled hats! (what a kick-ass segue there huh?) I finished my Christmas knitting! Behold, the finished Coronet!

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Here it is on my noggin. It comes down pretty far on my head and is quite stretchy on the band, so it think it will fit my brother:

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I'm just afraid he'll think the cables are too girly. But at this point, I just don't give a rat's booty. If he doesn't like it he can donate it to some bald kid in Tibet who wants a yak.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cheapass Christmass Part 5: Food!

When turkey day came rolling around some of the blogosphere challenged themselves to prepare Thanksgiving dinner where the food came no more than 100 miles away.

I love this idea, but as many lower-income Americans will attest, the siren's song of Walmart is one that is hard to avoid. One of the downfalls of being "enlightened" is that it's hard to spare the extra bucks in gas to buy a fresh butchered turkey from Farmer Joe-Bob's turkey farm 20 miles out of town; or to take time off from work to drive downtown to attend a farmer's market that is open from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. every other Wednesday that Mercury is in on the cusp of Jupiter to buy the vegetables to serve on the side. And like a lot of lower income Americans I'm addicted to cheap and convenient.

So I give you the next best thing--homemade Christmas dinner. My hope is that by buying the core ingredients to our Christmas feast that I can save some money by not using pre-packaged dinner items. It may seem odd highlighting this so many days before Christmas, but with many from-scratch items on the menu, planning is the name of the game.

Here's the run down of our Christmas day menu:

Breakfast: Cinnamon rolls

Now this is a tradition my mother started when we became older. Halfway through the gift unwrapping melee my father would unvariably need a bathroom break. (Ah, fond Christmas memories!) and this would be when my mom would pop into the oven a pan of those cinnamon rolls you can buy in those exploding tubes.

This year to save the $2.59 it costs to purchase an exploding tube of cinnamon rolls I'll be making my own from scratch. Since I always have flour, sugar, yeast, cinnamon, baking soda, and powdered sugar on hand I'm not to going to deduct any money from my budget here. I know some of you guys are sticklers for nailing down every cent (*cough*Cristi*cough!*).

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(yes, that's a dead ant on the stove--don't get me started...)

Lunch: Fend for yourself

Dr. Mad Scientist and I prefer to eat our Christmas (and Thanksgiving for that matter) dinner at a regular dinner time. This means lunch will commence as usual. Again we'll be using "staple" lunch items such as a PB&J sandwich, microwave burrito, grilled cheese sandwich, you get the picture.

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My apologies, frozen chimichangas.

Dinner: Turkey and all the fixin's!

Turkey
$13.09

Sausage cornbread stuffing
Cornmeal-$0.92
Sausage-$1.24
Wild Rice*-$0.82
Onion-$0.32
Garlic-$0.23

*I tried to find a bag of plain unseasoned wild rice, but alas, I had to settle for one of those boxes of generic Auntie Ben's.

Crescent rolls
Again, since these are merely flour, water, yeast, sugar, and butter, all things I have on hand at all times, I won't be deducting money from my budget for these.

Mashed potatoes
5 lb bag-$1.94

Vegetable
Okay, I haven't bought the veggie yet to cut down on the possiblity of spoilage before Christmas. But I'll estimate the broccoli/greenbeans/asparagus to cost say $3.00.

Sparkling apple cider
$2.08 (A total splurge I know! But if I could make it I would!)

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Mmm...is that a frozen turkey in your freezer or are you just happy to see me?


Dessert: Mormon salad
2 cans of crushed pinapple-$1.98
2 packages of instant pistachio pudding-$1.00
Mini marshmallows-$0.99
Pecans--$1.89
Cool whip--$1.29

Mixing all of that up sounds quite disgusting, I know, but oh-so-delicious! We call it Mormon salad because Dr. Mad Scientist was raised Mormon and they come up with these great ideas of how to feed a bunch of kids for real cheap. My recipe for this salad makes up enough to serve 20 easy and it keeps for weeks in the fridge.

So all told my Christmas day fixin's ended up costing me $40.79 total. All I really saved was money on the stuffing, mashed potatoes, crescent rolls and cinnamon rolls. It might seem inherently cheaper to buy the frozen crescent rolls or boxed stuffing, but pound for pound I think my stuff comes out cheaper. Not to mention we'll have a good week of leftovers from all of this food as well!

And of course as any thrifty shopper will tell you, it's easy to save money with coupons, buying store brands and/or buying the brand of item you're looking for that's on sale when the normal brand you buy is not on sale. But that's all common cheapass sense! I used a couple of coupons and bought a lot of store-brand and sale items when I went shopping for our Christmas meals.

Breakdown:

Total Remaining Of $250.00 Budget Goal: $162.45*

*This total was arrived at by using the final total of budget money left after Cheapass Christmass Week 4

Aw geeze, THIS is going to get interesting! I have yet to do ANY Christmas shopping for Chunky. And the hardest part of all? Getting Dr. Mad Scientist to rein in the spending to keep us under $250. Let's just say if I spent money like he likes to--we'd have matching fridge boxes a block down from the Alamo. We'd be saving our pennies to buy Chunky is own washing machine box. Ha ha!

Next Thursday I'm taking a day off from Cheapass Christmass.

Instead on Christmas (or the day after) I'll be posting the final installation where I unveil some of the cheapass presents I made that I can't post on here because of certain readers. I'll detail my purchases for Chunky's Christmas presents and I'll be unveiling whether or not I made my $250 budget or not.

However, I'm asking for your help in the final installation of Cheapass Christmass. Do you have a cheapass present or decoration that you made/found that you are particularly fond of? Or maybe you have a cheapass tip to share that I haven't covered that would be helpful. Email me a picture, tip, the link to your blog entry or whatever, and I'll feature it here. You can email me at: rkbezzie @ gmail . com. (Obviously delete the spaces in the email address).

I've seen some great cheapass examples of gifts, etc. on the web so don't be surprised if you see a link to your own blog on here on Christmas!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

White Elephants and Cat Poo--Oh My!

Today was the big day of the office Christmas White Elephant (think Yankee Swap) luncheon.

We ordered lunch from Marie Callenders. I ended up splitting a ham sandwich with a coworker because, no offense Grandma Marie, my grandma can cook just as good as you but she ain't charging no $10.00 for a lousy appetizer! I ended up only having to drop $5 on 1/2 a ham sandwich and 1/2 a side of fries. To Marie's credit her portions are large.

After lunch, the elephanting began. We drew numbers (there were 13 of us) and I pulled 12. The presents were pretty, hm, how do I put this? Vanilla?

First was the chip and salsa dish.
Then the snowman candy dish.
Then the bottle of Texas wine.
Then the casserole dishes.
Then the vibrating massage cushion.

You get the idea.

The one gift I wish I had gotten was from the coworker who had thrown out her back and didn't feel like battling the shopping crowds in pain: half a bottle of Febreeze air freshner and a $20 bill. Hee! She used the half-used bottle of Febreeze to weight the gift bag down.

As the gifts got pulled one by one (no one was stealing anything!) my Cat Poo Booga Bag sat there all lonely. I was about to nail it for myself but then Number 11 grabbed it. Number 11, as it so happened, was Papa Bear Boss. They all gushed about it trying to figure out if it was handmade or not. I get the feeling they could have been faking it. Ah well no skin off this nose.

So what did I get you ask?

How's this for irony? I bring a purse and I leave with a purse:

Oh my

Check it out! It's even "knitted":

Oh dear

If you knew me, you'd know I'm not a purse person. Correction: I'm not a girly purse person. All of my purses have never been true "purses." They're always like those small nylon outdoorsy packs with webbed shoulder straps. Currently I carry this bag (in Absint--not the pink shown) because it holds my knitting and all that other purse-y shit like credit cards, checkbook, etc. And I never change it to match my shoes.

But here's the absolute best part about this purse--the description on the tag!!

The style of your handbag doesn't build character, it reveals it. After all, your style is a reflection of who you are and how you feel. Lina (that's the "designer" I believe) brings you quality and affordability in a variety of unique handbags, but most of all, style that's relaxed, comfortable and natural--so you can be you. Enjoy.

Oh-my-god! Oh it get's better, there's a smaller tag with this on it as well:

Isabelle loved roses and freshly arranged flowers. She always sent thank-you cards.

Hee! Hee! I can't be the only one laughing right now! This is genuine humor people! Can you believe there are people out there coming UP with this?!?! (I believe this is the kind of stuff my sister T. is shelling out thousands of dollars at school learning how to do. T., take note, I hope you come up with something a little less cheesemarific when your time to do handbag labels comes!)

So going by the rules of this bag, I believe it wouldn't be named after a posey fondling goody-two shoes named Isabelle at all. No, the small tag would definately read:

Estelle loved polyester and a fresh pack of smokes. She always offered you stale animal crackers when you came to visit.

I think the character revealed by that bag is a reflection of a chain smoking, sun worshipping, leathery old woman that irons the razor sharp creases in her polyester pants while letting her Virginia Slim cigarette dangle from between her coral lipstick painted lips being careful not to let the ash fall on her fluffy white persian cat named Mr. Floofy, lest she burn another patch of fur off his ass like that again.

Y'all probably think I sound like an ungrateful twit. It is a nice bag and even though it doesn't fit me at all. I will definately be finding a use for it--be it cutting the zipper out for a different project, knitting a new cover for it, or something entirely different and offbeat.

But can't you just see a pack of half-smoked Virginia Slims peeking out of the top of this thing?