7 Down, 5 to Go

Once again, I am copping out on today’s post by bringing you an update on my goals for 2015. As you probably don’t recall, I started the year with a list of six goals. And then I shortened it to five after a month. To refresh your memory, the revised list is:

  • Film/post 10 videos
  • Complete 52 projects (large or small)
  • Place 5 pattern on Ravelry for sale
  • Write 12 songs
  • Post 2 posts per week

The most obvious update I can give first is the posting. I have tried, mostly, to get two up each week. Sometimes it is easier than others. I have missed a total of ten, but I may try to get a few extra posted to bring the total to 104 by the end of the year. We’ll see.

Three of the remaining four goals are easy to report on: I’ve made no videos, written no finished songs, and posted no patterns on Ravelry this year. Since I am mostly off this next week, I’m working on remedying at least one of those things.

Now to the counting of the projects:

Project Category Completed Projects
Household sewing (patches, buttons, hems, etc.) 4
Cross-stitch 2
Needlepoint 2
Knitting 6
Rainbow Looms 2
Baking 3
Papercrafts 1
Crochet 1
Painting 2
Building 1
Total 24

A total of 24 projects so far is a bit behind for the 31st week of the year, but Christmas is coming up (I’m planning to write that list this weekend to give me some time to get stuff done) so that will help me add more to that number.

As I’ve expected, I am way behind at this halfway point to the year. But, perhaps I can catch up if I really work at it. Perhaps.

I Made Up My Mind…

to make the Make Up Your Mind tank by Julie of Knitted Bliss. I fell in love with the Mr. McGregor’s Garden comfy sampler from Knit Picks (unfortunately not available anymore) and decided I would find a pattern for it once I got it. I tried to make my own first, but that didn’t work out quickly enough because I wanted this to be my project on vacation.

After a little searching and swatching, I decided Make Up Your Mind was what I wanted. I cast on provisionally for the 40 in size since my gauge was a bit smaller and I wanted it to be a little more flowy since it would be going over another shirt. I did mostly stick with length measurements from the 34 in size, except when it came to how many times to repeat decreases. Actually, I fudged a lot of the numbers because I kept getting off with the stitch patterns and would just decrease until I had an ok amount for the pattern. I was on vacation; I didn’t want to have to actually count my stitches.

This pattern was fairly easy to work, and very easy to follow. I’d say it’s a good bridge between beginner and intermediate skill sets.If you can knit, purl, yarnover, increase and decrease, you can make this pattern, too. Best of all, no sewing seams! You just graft the shoulders together and weave in the ends and you have a ready-to-wear shirt.

Vacation Isn’t All Bad

Yes, you read that right. I took an actual, leaving town vacation. If you read last week’s post (I’m trying to get back to two a week, I really am), you already heard about the nightmare our trip out was. But it got better, trust me.

After we found out American Airlines was going to be no help, a large group of us who were fed up got on the bus to the car rental terminal determined to drive the six hours from Dallas to Memphis. Until we learned they wanted almost $400 for said rental car. Next option.

I had already checked Southwest earlier in the night, and they had tickets on a flight out the next morning for under $150 each. Much better when you consider the car would have also included a motel stay and gas, plus mileage.

So we took the shuttle back to the terminal and caught the DART to near the other airport. Unfortunately, we arrived about ten minutes too late for the last shuttle back to the airport, but Uber runs around the clock.All-in-all, the trip from DFW to Love Field across town cost us about $20, better than we could’ve done with an airport to airport shuttle.

We decided to wait it out until the airport reopened at 4:30, since it was already about 1 am. A nice security guard saw us sitting on a bench by the ticket counters and showed us up the stairs to the lounge where a lot of other people were already waiting, asleep on various chairs and under tables. We were too exhausted to sleep, so we read, stretched, and played games until the TSA Agents arrived and opened the lines for screening. We found a table within sight of the Chik-fil-a and waited until they finally opened at five for some breakfast chicken and biscuits. Then we began waiting for our 9 am flight.

Our departure time began getting pushed back, and we all (there were a few people from the previous flight who had booked this one instead) began having flashbacks of the previous night. Fortunately, our fears were assuaged by the helpful gate attendants who assured us that, if our flight was cancelled, they would actually get us onto the next flight. or at least one of the many flights leaving that day. Luckily, our plane showed up. We departed for Houston only slightly late, and made our connecting flight with no problems.

The rest of our week went just as well as the second day of travel. We ate, we shopped (for a new suitcase because the shampoo exploded in our old one and there was no point in trying to clean it), we watched TV. And I made a thing, which I will tell you about Tuesday. I promise.

How To Lose Business, Guaranteed!

My mom and I recently took a trip to Memphis to visit family. It had been a couple years since we had flown and had our last terrible experience with American Airlines. So we didn’t really look too much into the semi-cheap tickets we found via Expedia. Supposedly, we were booked on US Airways. That’s where things went downhill.

Our friend dropped us off at the US Airways terminal about two hours before our flight was scheduled to board. Good thing, because we couldn’t get the self-check kiosk to scan our tickets or find our reservation at all. Same sort of deal that had happened previously on American. So we headed to the counter where we were informed that, despite our tickets saying, “Sold by US Airways,” we were actually holding American Airlines tickets. We had to trek back down to the American terminal, three terminals back.

We made our way through the crowds, both inside and outside the building. We were finally able to check in and everything was going smoothly. Or so we thought.

The first flight went ok. We left LAX on time (pretty amazing, really) and made it to DFW with plenty of time to make it to our other flight and stop for dinner in between (also an astonishing feat for that airport). Turns out, we had all the time in the world.

The flight was scheduled to leave at 9:30, so we settled into the gate around 8-ish and prepared to wait. Soon after, a gate attendant made the announcement that our plane was still in Memphis on maintenance. No big deal, though. It would be arriving in Dallas at the time we were originally supposed to land. We would just be a little late getting there.

I got us donuts/ice cream and coffee/hot chocolate (Mom had the coffee/donut combination, I had ice cream and hot chocolate. I’m just barely insane.) from the Dunkin Donuts we were luckily seated across from while my mom heard the horror story of what the airline had been doing to the kid sitting across from us. He was supposed to fly out for Michigan at 4 in the afternoon, but they had changed his gate at least four times. They called for one more gate change while we were sitting there, and then we didn’t see him again. We hoped he really had gotten on a flight this time, and that it was a hopeful sign for us as well.

A little later, the gate attendant announced that our plane was in the air and should be arriving soon. A few minutes later, as I headed off in search of water, I decided to check the flight board to see what our updated departure time was. CANCELLED.

I texted this info to my mom, who told me someone else had just relayed this information to the group sitting at the gate. We got in the miles long “rebooking” line (they had cancelled a total of seven flights that day, I think), until they finally re-opened our gate as well.

No one had any information on why our flight was cancelled. The airline employees even asked us if we knew. The only thing we knew was that the attendant had made the announcement that the plane was in the air, threw on her little backpack, and practically ran down the corridor away from the gate.

This should be the part where I tell you we all got booked onto a new flight in the morning with hotel vouchers for the inconvenience. Instead, they told us there were no flights out until Tuesday, we would have to purchase those tickets, and they don’t do hotel vouchers.

American Airlines, this is not how you treat customers. At least, not if you want repeat customers. And we definitely won’t be ever again. My mom never even got her money back for that flight, because the process was so ridiculous. She was on hold for over an hour before she finally gave up. Guess we know how they manage to stay in business, though.

The Dark Side Has Cake

TO round out these posts abour June that have dragged on into mid-July, I brought cake. Well, pictures of cake. The actual cake has been gone for weeks.

It’s Lord Vader, and he was delicious. I used this pan by Wilton to bake a chocolate cake, then covered it with black frosting according to the instructions included along with the pan. By the way, it took a whole canister of black frosting coloring to make it even this dark.

And, of course, I forgot to get a cake box. Because I never write a list for the store. But I learned that it is actually quite easy to fashion one from a turkey roasting pan and a cookie rack. Just remember to tape the cake plate in place first.

These Cookies Are Popping

Pops are the “treat of the moment” lately. Cake, brownies, krispie treats, basically anything you can shove a stick into and cover in chocolate is being turned into cute treats. Including Oreos:

When this Nerdy Nummies episode came across my instagram feed, I immediately forwarded it to one of the birthday boys’ mamas. If you can remember, he’s obsessed with Baymax. So I thought those would be perfect for treats for his party.

He’s also obsessed with Pokémon, so I thought I’d try to make a few of those. I figured out how to turn Baymax into Pikachu and made a Pokémon ball to make four different characters.

One thing I changed from the tutorial was using popsicle sticks (well, all I could find was tongue depressors, but same concept) instead of the lollipop sticks. That’s because I was using regular not-Oreos that don’t come in the triple-stuffed variety. I think they might even work better in the triple-stuffed version.

I also forgot to get styrofoam for drying, so I taped two cake boards together with plastic dixie cups between them for height. I cut slots for the sticks with a steak knife, then made it the right size by shoving a popsicle stick into each.

These were super easy to make, and they taste really good. They were a hit at the party (and with my mom, who ate all of the test ones I made at her house).

Lego My Table

One of the boys with a June Birthday is completely obsessed with Legos. So I knew I wanted to do something Lego-themed for his present. I didn’t just want to get him another set to build, though. The perfect gift came across my feed one day when I saw this on IKEAHackers. Considering my entire room is furnished from IKEA, I figured it wouldn’t be too difficult to make a simpler version.

Truthfully, the most difficult part was probably deciding how I wanted to glue everything down. We used Legos to hold the plates together (I found these plates on Amazon) before gluing them in place with rubber cement.

Altogether, the whole project cost around $30. Much better than the alternatives I found at Toys ‘R’ Us for about $100 more. Not counting drying time (or searching for the table in IKEA), it took around thirty minutes to finish this. Best to have at least two sets of hands, though. Even with the Legos holding them together, the four plates can get a little unruly.