January 31, 2005

PEZ quarterly wrapup

I've been pretty busy, and having written a whole lot lately. Holidays have come and gone. The PEZ piles up, and yet I still do not post...until now.

Come on in for a peek at the latest additions

I'm going to move pretty quick here, and just give the pertinent information. Try to keep up, keep your seat belt fastened, and keep your arms inside the car at all times.

Ready? Here we go...

cancer is bad.
on duty
Oedipus PEZ?
frog whistle

First up is a breast cancer PEZ that was made to help raise money. This PEZ has feet so that it can 'race for the cure' ... awww. I just got this one today, and I'm pretty happy with it. Even better, a large percentage of the money that I paid is being donated. You feel good, and you get a PEZ.

Next up is a crystal fireman and policeman. These were released in a limited edition from pez.com, and sold out in a day. I wasn't lucky enough to get them then, but I picked them up when I was at home for the holidays, from Dave Hall at Small Town Coins, conveniently located near my sister's house. If ever find yourself in Michigan (you know, the state shaped like a mitten) stop in and buy some PEZ.

The next picture is a PEZ I found this weekend at a 99 cents only store here in Dallas. Someone forgot to include eyes for this PEZ, and we are left with a gruesome factory error. This will definitely keep kids from eating your candy. Aaarrggh...

Another purchase from Dave Hall is the Frog whistle, a great addition to my growing PEZ whistle category.

I also picked up the US release of the Incredibles. It's a great looking set. I think that they probably came from a ToysRUs. Probably one of the nicest uses of stem decoration yet.

PEZ has also redone the Valentine's Day hearts again. There are a gazillion different sayings, and several new colors. They also have one of the worst uses of stem decorations.

Next up are some more PEZ from Dave at Small Town. These include a cool soccer pez, and then two fab PEZ from my Mom. She got me a silver donkey from Shrek and a crystal Hamm elephant. These all look quite nice in my collection.

That's it for now. See, I told you I'd make it quick.

I heart U
on the card

Posted by Matty at 09:51 PM | Comments (3)

iPod Cozy

I tried to figure out a way that I could have tied this one to the gadgets category, but I guess I will instead write my first knitting entry. Bear with me.


For Christmas I received an iPod from Nanc. Perhaps I am a clutz, or perhaps she really likes knitting cozies (or maybe I begged and pestered her). Okay, it was probably my jealousy over iPuss.

the back

At any rate, I did receive an iPod cozy that is modeled on the left by Pee-Wee. I asked him what he thought about it, and he said "I know you are, but what am I?", a typical response.

The cozy has a skull on the front to scare away bad music, and has a small pocket in the back. The whole case closes shut with a button.

I am pretty sure that the skull makes me look tuff. -- well, I mean, tuff-er than I already look... grrrr.

Now let me tell you a little about its construction. The cozy is made of yarn... um... gray primarily, with a little bit of white and maroon. Also important is the button. The entire case was knitted on needles. They had points. I saw it all happen.

Okay, I didn't really see it *all* happen. I saw Nanc work on it, then take it apart, and suddenly it was done. If you want to know how to make one of your very own... well you may want to ask her.

Nancy interjects:
Hey folks. I'll just chime in here with some knitting details that Matty, er... 'missed'. I used Da Vamir Merino's Dodici in gray, kitchen cotton in um.. bright red, and some basic white acrylic for the skull; all stash yarn. This was knit in the round and I played with some knitting tricks to see if I could get it to do what I wanted. As Bonez stated, I had to "take it apart" a few times. I tried to do the skull as intarsia, but the size of the project and that it was knit in the round put a stop to that right away. So the skull is duplicate stitch and looks mah-valous, dah-ling. I plan to work up another one and write up/clarify the pattern a bit more before I post it for y'all. But I will. One day. Promise.

Posted by Matty at 09:27 PM | Comments (5)


More hats, 'cause that's all I seem to be knitting. No, I'm not complaining. Just stating that all I seem to be knitting are hats. Hats are fine. Hats are okay. Hats are... well, hats. Not too complicated or technical; no great new stitches to learn. But they're good and steady knitting. Hats.

click for a close-up

I couldn't possibly send off the Big Red hat and mittens to Rachel and the Ugg hat and booties to Benny without including a topper for the Dad of the family. I couldn't imagine Jason in anything flashy or "cutesy", so I went with the basic, solid hat. It's quality, tho, folks. It's knit with Debbie Bliss merino aran (yum) in dark navy (almost black). I combined the patterns for the Seaman's Cap (sorry 'bout the creepiness there) and the Silk Garden Beanie, making a nice, snug hat with some roll up brim to cover the ears. I'm hoping that this'll be a great hat for under a motorcycle helmet.

It IS kind of plain and boring, tho. Any thoughts? I've thought about duplicate stitching some flames or a motorcycle image, even tire tracks but nothing really seems good. (Perhaps the lady of the house has a thought?)

I also knit a similar hat using Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Pine Print. It was knit for a friend, but given to another. Timing was the issue, besides... I can always knit more. No pic of it, sorry.

click to see who's hiding underneath

Another 'Big Red' hat is done and completed for my SIL Lisa. This one, obviously, isn't red. Nope, it's pistachio and gray (shiver) to match her winter coat. I used Rowan Big Wool and Big Wool Tuft again, because really these yarns are perfect for this hat.

Finally, alas and alac, I am still trying to get a good pic of Matty's Silk Garden Beanie. But he nearly wears it every moment of every day. What's a girl to do?

I snuck around while Matty was in the shower this morning and snagged some pix of his hat. And since he didn't throw a fit when C3PO modeled for me I thought it was R2D2's turn. The first pic is just for silliness. As soon as I put R2 up on the bay window, Dil wanted to see what was going on. Mouse over the image to see Dil's reaction.

This second pic is a better look at the wonderful colors of Noro Silk Garden. In all those manly browns, there's a loverly stripe of lavender to give it some style.

Thanks R2. Thanks Dil. And thank you Noro.

Posted by Nanc at 11:56 AM | Comments (2)

January 27, 2005

Hmmm... it's quick and speedy. Whatever shall we call it?


Why it's a swift!

Yeah, all that for one silly little joke. Some days it just can't be helped.

My swift I purchased from J*ann.com arrived today via the friendly USPS. (Hey, has anyone seen the previews for the next Project Runway episode? Mmmm, uniforms. Anywho.) So now I'm all set up with the swift and ball winder. Of course, if I could only get someone else to KNIT, I'd be set.

I am v. excited about my swift, which shall be named Speedy (unless he proves otherwise). But it's a gloomy-gus day outside, so my image for you was procured from the J's website. Perhaps I'll have action pix for you later. If you're good.

Posted by Nanc at 03:59 PM | Comments (1)

January 24, 2005

Oh, and one more thing...

Sorry I was remiss in that last post. I forgot to tell you about the two new knit books I picked up. These are technically Xmas gifts, since they were purchased with a gift card from my SIL Lisa. (Who's Big Red hat was not shown in that last article.)

The first book, All Stitched Up, looks to have some pretty good basics to help me out when I need them. Finishing stitches and tips for basic construction are toted in this book and what I hope to reap from it. Like a friendly bit of advise now and then.

Knit Socks! is the second book and is to get my butt in gear about knitting socks. I currently have two different socks on needles, but they haven't been worked on since their inception. I have a basic pattern Chris gave to me (and has been happy with), but I feel like I need a little more hand-holding. Hence the book. (And typically I run from these cheezy-packaged books, but this time I think the cheeze may help.)

So thanks, Lisa, and I promise to get the hat out to ya' before the cold is gone.

Posted by Nanc at 12:51 PM | Comments (3)

Sunny and freezing

What's up with the weather? One minute its warm and 70's, and the next it's below freezing at night. I don't know which to wear: warm cozy hat & mittens or flip-flops.

Okay, so the hat and mittens aren't for me. And no, they're not for C3PO either. (I apologize for appropriating C3PO as my model, but really - he doesn't mind a bit.) The Big Red hat is a Skittermagoo pattern and knit from Rowan Big Wool and Big Wool Tuft. The Big Red mittens are modified from a Rowan pattern (I'm writing the notes up on these, and still want to make a few additional modifications). And yes, that's an idiot cord connecting them!

This set (including a possible quickie scarf) is for my SIL, Rachel. They're part of her Xmas pressies. Oh sure, could she ever use them now! But she'll have to satisfy herself with looking at them on our blog until the rest of the stuff is done. (Sorry sissy.) There's a similar/different Big Red hat version for my other SIL, Lisa, which should be shipped soon.

The fancy, frou-frou flip-flops? Oh, they're mine. I picked up some plain ol' boring flip-flops from the store for the girls, and everyone brought some of their novelty yarn stash to share. A quick print of the pattern in a crocheted version and a knit version, and we're in business. What a fun project for my gal-pals, although only Angi got hers done AT the Slumber Party.

Dil, however, did not seem to care much for them. In fact, it put her off the catnip egg roll a bit. Nothing but nothing is moving her from those sun rays tho!

Posted by Nanc at 12:00 PM | Comments (3)

January 21, 2005

When did this all change?

Um, this is really for the girls. So boys, you'll want to move on. Really. Just go. You won't even want to know what it's about because it's THAT kind of topic.

Okay, now that it's just us girls I've got a confession to make. I'm not very good at being a girl. I mean, I've got the right parts and such, but I'm not frilly or fro-fro-y or girly. I wouldn't even let my Mom put me in dresses as a child without great protest. (As the youngest and only girl of five kids, this was surely a cruel joke someone played on my Mom. And yes, I do expect to pay for this when we eventually have children.)

But it's more than the tom-boy stuff. I can't keep track of... you know, um... THAT time of the month. I know approximately when it'll happen, but I don't have the date, place, and time down to an exact science like most chicks. And I don't get much warning either. (Yes, I know that I should be grateful for this and I am, but I pay in other ways I promise.)

And one more thing: I don't have brand loyalty or a favorite product. Heck, I can' t seem to remember which variation I used an hour ago, let alone a whole 28-ish days. So when "Aunt Flo" (does anyone really use this term?) snuck up on me yesterday, I was a bit amiss. Sure I had a couple of things here and there to get me by for a bit, but none of was going to last me long. (It's always like this for the first day or two. Why I only buy enough supplies to get me through a little more than one cycle I'll never know. Even Bonez wonders why I don't buy in bulk, since it's not likely to spoil and I will need them again.)

But that's not the point. The point is that I happened to luck out because a friend left a partial package here from the Slumber Party. I'm sure she won't mind if I use 'em. (At that point, wouldn't you rather be reimbursed monetarily instead of a return?) This product, although not new to me, had exciting new features. What could be new or exciting about a product women have been using for untold number of years? Quite a few things, thank you. Some are pretty nifty; others not so much. The following is my list of pros and cons:

BTW - This is about pads if it's not obvious from the content below.

  • Pro - 'Quiet, cloth like pouch for discretion.' Yes, indeed these were quiet and cloth like. Now no one will know what I'm up to when I go to the restroom - except for other indicators like me carrying a purse five days out of the month, or the metal clank of those wall-mounted feminine product cans. Or because of this next item...
  • Con - Paper adhesive strip cover. The loud noise created when this wax paper-like piece is ripped from the pad will make you cringe after the quiet comfort of the pouch. Oh well for time-of-the-month secrecy. But wait, what's that on the paper slip...
  • Undecided - Tips for Life Great little tidbits of knowledge, like 'Avoiding caffeine may help reduce cramps and headaches', printed in three languages right on that noisy paper. Sure these 'Tips for Life' (as they're grandly toted) are fairly commonplace, but it's the idea of learning sage advice in a foreign language that tickles my fancy. Think of the possibilities - they could market a while new language learning method. "Learn ten new phrases every month while you're angry and bloated! You're not going out anyways, are you?" Perhaps the complexity of the phrases would be parallel to the size/strength of the pad? Although honestly I'd rather like a fun and flirty comic strip, a lá Bazooka Joe.
  • Con - Velcro USA Inc. strips. Although these seem to be a better concept than the plain adhesive tape that may wear out your panties before you do, they were a bit on the complex side. The Velcro pieces are a lot smaller than the tape and you have to be more exact on their placement. ('Cause that's how velcro works, ya' see.) And who wants to be fiddling with velcro and your undies at a time like this? (Or any time, really. Unless you're into that kind of thing. Which is okay for you. Not me.) And why, oh why, do they need to be re-adjustable?

So overall it's a toss up. Sure - great new innovation, but really still the same ol' thing. Besides, I won't remember the brand or product by the time I run out and have to buy my own.

Posted by Nanc at 02:00 PM | Comments (7)

January 19, 2005


click for a peek

What's this? Did we pick up another kitten? Has a witch turned our cats to knit toys? (I wish. Heck, Dil would be a bowling ball bag!) Nope, this is my new, hand-made by my rockin' secret pal Kathy, awesome iPuss. (Yeah, I was going to go with iPussy, but.... )


Can you believe that the talented miss Kathy made him special for me?! Ain't she the greatest. And what a super-duper secret pal she's been. She's the one that got me these other goodies. And she didn't stop there - she made certain that iPuss's contents were stylin', too.

iPuss contains my sanity and joy, Timmi - my iPod. And what a rebel Timmi is. He's just gotten his first tattoo. Okay, so it's no 'I [heart] Mom' or fanged serpent gnawing through electronic flesh. Does it look a little familiar? It should if you remember ponchoagogo.

What a cute lil' kitten. I think I'll keep him. Besides, that might explain the mewing that La hears!

Posted by Nanc at 11:46 AM | Comments (4)

January 18, 2005

home + friends = fun, Fun, FUN

I like my house. I like my friends. So why not bring these two great tastes together?!

Well, that's exactly what we did. Matty and I labored away getting our casa in some sort of order. Clocks were hung, beds were made (um, and purchased), and dirty things were cleaned. We found places for *most* of our tchotchkes. (Yes, most but not all. There are so many things still in boxes and closets.)

Sure, it takes the threat of guests to get us motivated, but the house is now 'up to snuff'. Best thing though, we're finding real comfort in rooms that were previously ignored and were lacking style/personality.

Next item? Invite the girls over!

I have the best, warmest little community of knittin' gals that are like family. We are all part of the larger knit community in town, but us nine chicas are "sistas", ya' know. My heart/spirit aches when I don't get some face time with them all. But I'm not trying to get sloppy on you. It wasn't a menses-fest, it was a night of grrl rockin' greatness with a slumber party ta' boot.

You heard me right. Slumber Party. As in we stayed up late, ate all sorts of wonderful & tasty treats, danced a bit, played with each other's.. um, yarn, and had an all-around great time!

To give you a better idea of what this past weekend was like, I offer up these two pictures. The first being a bit of pride for our 'bar area' ready for the girls to arrive. We'll call it 'Before'. The second pic, 'After', was taken (obviously) the morning after the slumber party while we were all in the kitchen gobbling up tasty cinnamon scones. (Thanks, Petra!)

I believe that a good time was had by all, even Mr. Matt, our bartender extraordinaire. Frivolity and gaiety abounded. In a good way.

Until next time, ladies...

Posted by Nanc at 01:56 PM | Comments (5)

January 03, 2005

Yarn Samples, part II

What was waiting for me when I got home, but sweet lil' samples of yarn to play with. Yep - another batch of Elann's swatchable samples. This time, my pack consists of one creamy "parchment" and three olive colors.

I haven't knit with them yet, but I'll be sure to update this article once I do.

Posted by Nanc at 01:57 PM | Comments (1)

yarn update

Isn't that the most swell mini-sweater ornament you've seen? A bit of knitting-holiday spirit from my Seasonal Stealthy Secret Pal. But that wasn't all! Continue reading for all of my holiday knit-bounty.

My SSSP got me some great goodies: a fun & funky flower ring, an "n" pin, some lip gloss, festive tissues, and a yummy candle. She got me some shelled pistachios (and you know how I feel about those!) in a cute lil' holiday mug. Plus my secret pal gave me that cute sweater ornament, two skeins of Debbie Bliss SoHo yarn in blues (color 05) and Crystal Palace Daisy size US#11 needles. So you see how much my pal rocks! And bonus... we have another gift exchange plus reveal in January!

I received two wonderful, gorgeous, fabulous, can't-say-enough-nice-things-about-them, wooden knitting needles from my MIL. One set of ebony needles, size 10 1/2 (US) and one set of coconut palm with rosewood top needles, size 19 (US)! (Yep, size 19s - eek!) But they're loverly and she went to a lot of trouble to find these, despite MI LYSs claiming no knowledge of ebony needles. (In this picture, they're posing with new yarn... which I'll get to in just a moment.)

My own mother got me the 'Everything You Need to Know About Knitting' book. And that's pretty kewl.

My sweet, kind (and possibly mental) husband got me the best: the ultimate gift certificate currency (cold hard cash) specifically set aside to be spent only at the Woolie Ewe - and their end-of-the-year sale. Ain't he a sweetie. I even bought some yarn up in Frankenmuth, but he didn't care - that is separate from my Ewe dollars. I *heart* Matty Bonez.

I wasn't certain what I would find in touristy Frankenmuth, but boy was I surprised. Not only did they have a nice yarn shop, Rapunzel's, but there was a wool factory close by, too.

I picked up two skeins of wool sock yarn at Zeilinger's and admired all their roving and the carding machines. (Maybe next year I'll try for a factory tour.) The gray yarn is 227 yards of sport weight wool & kid mohair fibers. The yellow is fingerling wool/kid mohair mix, approx. 335 yards, and a loverly color called sunshine. At Rapunzel's I bought some loverly Hand-Dyed yarn from Ami-Knit. It's 100% wool (Wool Once) and the color is Peach Tree. (Okay, so typically that name would have me turning the other way, but I just couldn't resist these colors. I think I'll call mine Nectarine Tree instead!) I also picked up two more skeins of Regia sock yarn. A nice bright 'Surf Color' cotton, and another hubby wool sock yarn.

And finally, my MIL asked me to knit her a hat. Now I ask you, how could I say no after her wonderfulness and those needles? Please let me insert a comment here that these colors are by no means my choice. She specified the colors and I only selected the yarns (from those available). What does the combination of that bright, bold red and A.F.K.A.P* royal purple mean? Yep, she's gone and joined The Red Hat Society! (No, this has nothing to do with open source. Geek.) The bold red yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted and the purple is Berroco Zoom. Now I just need to find the perfect pattern...

* Artist Formerly Known As Prince!

Posted by Nanc at 12:12 PM | Comments (5)

January 02, 2005


A few projects were completed before the end of 2004 that I didn't get a change to post about. Prepare for a montage!

Regifted Hallowig and Lacy Poncho

Okay, so neither of these are technically new knits, and heck - I didn't even make this poncho. But let me share in my delight. My pal Angi made up this crocheted wrap from some yarn of mine. It was loverly, but I can't image this kid needing a shawl much so I asked her for a second one and *bam* it was a poncho. My niece seems to enjoy it and hopefully she'll get some wear out of it in Spring/Summer.

The story of the wig is a bit more convoluted, but here goes: I made this Hallowig for the Race for the Cure this year and it was a big hit. But what to do with it now? Well, my mum was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. (It's removed, and radiation therapy should take care of any reoccurrences.) As a "spoof", I gifted her with this wig... just in case. (Please - there is no concern of her losing her hair. We're an odd family with a messed up sense of humor.) She got the joke and enjoyed it.

Bow-Knot Scarf and Beanie Hat

Another gift for my Mom, this one in all seriousness. I don't have a pic of the hat (I finished it on the train), but it's the beanie pattern used for my Silk Garden hat (and Matt's too, but we'll get there). The scarf is the Bow-Knot pattern here. One of the ribbed, slender ends is a slit and the other end tucks down into it, and the whole scarf is then cozy around your neck without fear of flying off. The camera doesn't do the colors justice; there are light blues and sea greens mixed into a v. nice hue. The yarn is... um, I forgot and have since misplaced the label... and one skein made both the hat and scarf perfectly, with a bit left over.

Dog Sweater

Don't be fooled by this lil' pup. Vaquero is a fierce fighter and any comments you may make about the validity of his machismo while wearing this sweater would be a big mistake, possibly your last. Vaquero is my folks' adopted grand-dog from my brother. He's so tiny, that he shakes almost all the time and bundles under every available cover. So my Mom asked me to knit him a sweater to keep him warm.

The last time I met with Vaquero I came away injured, so I wasn't too eager for this project. But now, while living with my 'rents and their two dogs, he's become a cuter, my cuddly puppy. (Although he's still got that fierce temper if provoked.) I used the pattern from Stitch 'n' Bitch Nation and Plymouth Encore yarn. (This is the yarn I am using for a nephew's sweater and happened to have it with me to work on.) It went fairly quickly and I had the dog in his own personal sweater before the night was up. He seems to like it, too, which is a relief. Now, he and my brother can cat-nap together. (But don't let them know.)

Tricot Debut

Alas and alack, Tricot is done! All the pieces of this sweater were completed way back in summer, but I didn't have the guts to seam it up. It seemed a shame to let is sit their, and the guilt (plus the idea of wearing it during the holidays) finally pushed me to get it done. The seaming was fairly easy (mattress stitch) and putting in the zipper was pretty painless, too. (Thanks, Chris and KF9.)

And how do I like it? Love it! This sweater fits wonderfully! There's some shaping in the waist area that is v. complimentary. Thank you Magknits and Alison. And it is only a coincidence that I used Michigan colors (although it did put me in good with Matt's family).

Bonez' Beanie

I had so much fun making my Silk Garden Beanie, that I wanted to make one for Matty Bonez too. Buying more Noro was no problem (pant, pant) and I soon was quickly working this cap. My love for the Silk Garden was being tested, though. Not only did I have a knot in the skein (easy enough to deal with), but the yarn broke five (5!) times while I was working with it. I got tired of this pretty quickly. But before too long, the hat was done and all's well that ends well, I guess.

And yes, I still *heart* Silk Garden.

pic to come later

Jackson's Hat

So technically, this was knitted way back in summer prior to Jackson's arrival, but then there's no model. So I've recently been sent a great photo of Sir Jackson in his hat (since it's only recently been cool enough for him to wear it). It's made with Lion Brand Cotton Ease in Popsicle (the first color I looked at to make my Tricot). The pattern is the Umbilical Cord Hat from Stitch 'n' Bitch (the first book).

Posted by Nanc at 11:00 PM | Comments (3)

Home New Home

So. Um,... we moved.

Yeah, well, Matty and I are bad people. You see, we moved mid-November and haven't really passed the news on to many people. Oh, sure. We told our folks and siblings... well, most of them I think. And the USPS is forwarding our mail, so we got all those loverly cards. Thanks.

It's just that we've been so darn busy. Yeah, yeah - I know that you've heard this excuse up and down the block, but really. We learned an important lesson this year. If at all possible, don't move from Oct through Jan. It's just too much.

So without further ado, I give you a pic of our new abode. This was taken on Dec. 22, just before we took a cab to Union Station to catch our train. (Yes, it was snowing in Dallas.) House living is so different from apartment living, in really small yet pleasing ways.

The new Casa de Collins is a three bedroom home, so that means y'all can visit. We'll have a guest bedroom which may offer a bit more privacy than, say, at our old loft. And a second bathroom, which will come in handy. When not occupied with friends and family, the two "spare" bedrooms are used as the computer/PEZ/music room and sewing/knitting/crafting/guest room.

There's a bit of lawn (both in front and in back) and I've honestly have enjoyed mowing. (This may change in the heat of summer, but for now - giddy up!) Perhaps a garden this summer, heh?

The cats seem to enjoy the space. If Marie wants alone time, which she always does, easy - she can go and hide out in a quiet place. Mrs. Slocomb can chase Dil all about the house, and Dil can happily thwack her into submission. Ah, the joy of three cats that all despise the others.

Even the fish have moved to a bigger place... Matt and I decided that instead of emptying, moving, and setting up our 29 gallon tank all in a few hours, that we'd get a larger/better 50 gallon tank and set that up prior to our move. The fish cam is up and operational, the new hours being noon - 10pm (ish). So check them out. And I have to admit pride in how well the aquarium landscaping project went. Giant head and all!

And the fish tank seems to be the only thing unpacked and set. Yes, we are still living out of boxes, and trying to find places for it all. So we're not out of the "busy woods" yet. Get used to it.

Posted by Nanc at 10:17 PM | Comments (2)