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.

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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.

Welcome Home Gifts

After two weeks away, the little ones and their parents came home. While they were away, I was tasked with clearing off the chalk wall in the oldest’s room. I went a step further and added a nice little “Welcome Home” mural above the window.

The boys brought me a few things back from Martha’s Vineyard, as well. Not a week goes by without having to take the oldest to the Lego store, therefore this was one of the things they brought back:

It now resides on the shelf below my winter-themed Simpsons figures from last Christmas, plus a shadowbox diorama from their trip to Mexico and among other little gifts.

I also got a “Black Dog” t-shirt, just like the ones they get every year. They definitely get my color scheme, eh?

Now we have mostly settled back into our daily routine, except for this being the last week of summer. Next week there is Kindergarten orientation and the first day of school. Yes, this early in August we are headed back to school. Seems kinda ridiculously early, but it is happening. And so will the traffic.

Let’s Get Cultured

Don’t worry, no mold here. I’m talking about going to the museum. The J. Paul Getty Museum, to be exact. That is where we spent our Saturday afternoon.

After getting to the bus stop way early, having lunch at Starbucks, and waiting ten minutes after the bus was supposed to come, we decided to spend the extra $5 over bus pass price to just park at the museum. Way better decision, no way would it have been enjoyable to take an hour and a half bus ride back after all the walking.

We waited a while to take the tram to the top of the hill to get to the museum. It’s a really cool place, lots of great architecture. This is the front entrance hall:

We visited some of the 16th or 17th century paintings (I can’t remember exactly which era they were) with their special iPod tour guide thing, then traded those back in to go explore a few other exhibits on our own. We saw a special dance exhibit in the research center, then went to see the photographs in the photography center.

After that we were very tired and hungry and ready to head home. Unfortunately, the line for the tram was at least twice as long to go down as it had been to go up. We were told it was only a fifteen minute walk down. I think someone had been given the wrong info, but we did at least get to see a few good views on the way down:

Vacation At Home

For when you have dogs to look after. Seriously, though, if there is anywhere I would prefer having to stay, it would be LA. Generally why I moved here.

So after my less-than-productive first week of vacation, we set off on actual vacation-ish type activities. I say vacation-ish because the first day we had hot dogs at Carney’s:

and went bowling:

So, more like Saturday afternoon stuff.

But, it got me out of the house to do more than chase small children. Plus it was a lot of fun:

and air conditioned. Which was a good idea for a week full of over 100° days. There’s a lot of activities packed into the week chosen for their proximity to air conditioning or cooler spaces.

Two Weeks Vacation

I thought I would’ve gotten more done. Truly, I did, because I am completely insane, apparently. I went a lot of places, but didn’t make much progress on any projects I had hoped to complete.

That complaint out of the way, I did at least finish one project, which was technically three projects. The final three scarves are officially finished as of the first two days of my “vacation”. Took until the end of the week to get pictures, but I am finally finished with everything.

They are all from the Starry Stole pattern from Knit Picks with a few modifications: one extra full repeat and the beads are added by crochet hook instead of being pre-strung.

More specific information about each scarf on their Ravelry pages:

The yarn for the pink I dyed myself and it came out with a nice mottled/stripey effect. It doesn’t show up well in the photos, unfortunately, so you just have to trust me when I say it looks really cool.

You’ll get to see more of my vacation “adventures” all this week, while I desperately try to finish my 400 stitches project I started over a year ago. I’m totally in a finishing mood lately, even though I want to start some new things. I just feel like I want to get these super-long-term projects out of my list.

A Vacation on Vacation

(This was originally two separate pictures, but apparently Google+ now has a features that automatically takes two photos which obviously overlap or go next to each other and create a panorama view. It is awesome.)

After our week in Paris, we moved down south to the region called the Dordogne. The town was named Montignac. It’s a small town, although much more upscale than most of the small towns here in America. It is also the location of Lascaux, the oldest found cave paintings in the world.

We took a tour through Lascaux II, a reproduction of the original cave which is now closed to all people. Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures inside the cave, but it was impressive to learn how the prehistoric people used scaffolding and oil lamps to paint on the top parts of the cave walls.

Another place we visited but I didn’t take pictures of was this prehistoric cave that had been inhabited well into the 14th or later centuries. It started as a cave that was steadily built around to create a fortress. They also built up about five stories, working with the natural cave behind to create rooms. Being an ancient fortress, there were also some pretty disturbing parts, dungeons and torture devices and such, but the way they built the fortress and how they lived in it was interesting to learn.

The second week was much more relaxing and vacation-like. Less running around trying to “see everything.” After the over-full week in Paris, we all needed it.

This whole trip was my first time out of the country. Did I mention I speak zero French beyond “merci,” “bonjour,” and “au revior.” Which makes me wonder: Have you ever been out of your home country? Did you speak the language, or were you as lost as I felt trying to navigate transactions without speaking? Where is your favorite place you’ve ever been?