Geektastic Thursday: Bubble and Geek

With our return to Geektastic Thursday, I thought I would bring you a review of something I really really like.  Like is such a mild word, let's go with love.  A review of something I love -- meet Bubble and Geek.

I first heard about Bubble and Geek on the Knit 1 Geek 2 podcast.  The gals who host the podcast had stumbled across the etsy shop but had not actually purchased anything.  But at the mention of lip balm, I knew I had to check it out.  My lip balm addiction is one of my strongest vices.  I am more likely to break down and buy a tube than I am to buy yarn (probably a price thing) and I often have up to three tubes in my work bag.

So how could I possibly resist geek themed lip balm?  The two I bought are Vanilla Custard (fish fingers not included) and Winter is Coming.  Both have a distinct but mild scent, with a sharper edge on the Winter is Coming (it is a vanilla mint scent).  The thing I really like about these, aside from the awesome names, is the texture of the lip balm.  A lot of hand made mixes are rather thin.  They go on well, but feel a little more oily than a commercially made tube may be.  Bubble and Geek tubes are not that way at all.  They are not rough, but the smooth nature has a little more heft to it.  I feel I only need to cover my lip once rather than multiple times.  And I can speak from experience when I say these little babies can hold up in a pocket.  I've taken to keeping Winter is Coming in my pocket at work for a little decadent boost when customers start to drive me crazy.

Because winter is indeed coming and I was already putting in an order, I decided to give one of the lotions a try.  I am not big on smells, preferring a more subtle earthy tone to a more bold floral or fruity scent, so I decided to go with Don't Blink, described as English Ivy.  Once again, there is nothing about this that I do not love.  The scent is strong at first but mellows as you apply the lotion, leaving a nice perfumed smell to the skin.  And best of all?  It sinks in fast.  I keep my bottle next to my bed, so I often use it when I'm getting ready to settle in for the night.  Within a minute I can go from lotion to knitting without any slimy or sticky problems.  My only gripe is that it does not come in a travel size, so I cannot carry it with me all the time.

I have only tried a few of the items Bubble and Geek has to offer.  She also makes candles, soap, body spray, etc, and has a lot more scents.  I think my next order will include Sonic Screwdriver and Butterbeer, both of which sound delightful.  If you or someone you know deserves a little geek-themed pampering, give this shop a look.  Her prices are reasonable and what could be more fun than a Princess Peach candle?

(Like all my reviews, this is simply a product I have tried and thought you might like to know about.  No one provided me with anything that would influence my opinion, so you can trust that I fully believe what I write.)


And Then There Was Crazy

There has been a lot of talk in the knitting podcast community about the concept of "crazy."  The question, "What's your crazy?" has been popping up a lot thanks to The Fat Squirrel Speaks and The Stockinette Zombies.  It was a question I had not really considered until I was faced with the reality of what November has done -- I cast on all the things.  And I mean all the things.  I currently have on the needles one shawl, one pair of mitts, one hat, three pairs of socks, and three, yes three, sweaters.  Clearly I have lost my mind.  Add to the insanity that I have to talk myself out of casting on a new hat pretty much every time I sit down to knit and you have a pretty good idea of the state of my knitting mojo.  I am not knitting holiday gifts this year, and I think as a reaction to this my brain has decided that this means I get to knit everything that pops into my brain.

To try to stem the crazy (see?  I can define my crazy after all), I am trying to focus on knitting through individual projects.  Not knitting monogamously, but focusing specific time around specific knitting.  For example, keeping the same pair of socks in my purse and spending all my at-home knitting time focused on this sweater.

This is Slope, by Cookie A, from her ebook Shapes + Form, knit in Dragonfly Fibers Selkie (Look familiar?  It is the compensation yarn for when I knit the epic Lonicera in the spring) I am in love with this sweater, and the yarn, but with only a few body chart repeats left, I am about to lose it.  The good news is that it is definitely not going to be too tight.  I was really worried about halfway up the front, but then I read the pattern all the way through for the five millionth time and on the five million and first read through the schematic suddenly made sense.  It meant I had more than double the amount of knitting left, but I am excited to see how it turns out.

I will reserve final judgement for when I get to actually wear the sweater, but I feel it is safe to say that I love it and will probably recommend that you knit everything in this ebook.  The construction is that good.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have another chart repeat to knock out.  Why don't you go check out the gang at Tami's Amis while I do so?


The Merits of Quitting

The past few weeks have passed in a blur.  We have been prepping for the insanity of the holiday season at work, life stuff has been crazy, and up until a few days ago I was buried in NaNoWriMo.  My knitting has been slow at best and I have hardly been baking at all let alone running enough, so there was nothing to there was nothing to blog about.  And reading?  Forget it.

So last week I made a decision.  I quit.  My novel had taken a distressing turn and I was not happy with the story at all.  I began this entire venture as a creative exercise with the caveat that if I did not enjoy it then I did not have to continue.  I tried to push through, despite being sick, despite finding my story mired in lethargy and hating all of my characters.  But at a certain point I found that it was not causing me to be more creative, but rather stifling the creativity I generally express.  I decided to spend a few days apart from my writing to see how it made me feel.  I went for a run and found that the world had changed.

The trails are now completely covered in these leaves.  It is insane, and beautiful, and challenging, and just in time for Thanksgiving.  And you know what? I was happy.  Happier than I had been in weeks.  I came home and read the latest two Dresden Files novels.  And cast on my Thanksgiving socks.

And I started baking again.  We went to visit Chris' parents for Thanksgiving and I came back with a serious pumpkin craving.  Yesterday I dug these out of the cabinet.

We don't have butter because we have not been to the grocery store, but I did some searching and found this recipe for cookies that use greek yogurt rather than butter.

They are, to say the least, a smashing success.

I will return to my novel.  Probably soon.  But I have discovered through this process that I am already creative in my daily life.  I cook, I make wearable art with bits of string, and I have you guys.  Writing for this blog brings me more joy than creating fiction and I am so thankful to have you, my readers, who I really do consider to be partners in this creative community we call the Internet.

Happy Thanksgiving.  Whatever part of the world you are in.


Massive Cabled Progress

Hello my lovelies, I am sorry for neglecting you for so long.  I don't know what you have been up to, but I have been buried in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month -- if you are interested you can track my progress with the little button in the sidebar to your right).  Chris and I have been writing like crazy in an attempt to maintain a two thousand word per day average, which we maintained until last night.

Look how much I knitted on a sleeve you have never seen before!  Thanks to an unusual obsession with the election coverage, I only wrote 350 words.  But again, look at the sleeve!

This is Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Pumpkin, picked up in their black and orange sale last month.  Did you notice something strange about this sleeve?  Yep, you spotted it -- it is knitted flat!  This is my first completely seamed garment.  I am finally knitting the Central Park Hoodie, which is included in The Best of Knitscene, published last year.

As excited as I am to have this sweater on the needles, it is probably a WIP you will see around for quite a while.  At least for the duration of the month of November, because I have a lot of writing left to do.  So if you'll excuse me . . .

PS: Check out more WIPs over at Tami's Amis!


FO: Quilted Mitts of Crazy

As I have mentioned on this blog before, I have a strict policy when it comes to Halloween costumes.  I don't make anything.  I can put together a collection of random clothing items from Goodwill, but I don't actively make anything.  But all of that changed last week when I walked out of the bedroom and asked my husband if he thought my Little Red Riding Hood costume needed more red.

He is still not quite sure what happened after he said yes.  There was a flurry of activity and suddenly the table was piled high with pattern books and leftover yarn and I was on Ravelry muttering things about "mitts" and how they needed to be "easy but not too easy".  In the days following he kept trying to reassure me he did not mean to cause the insanity, he just momentarily forgot that he lives with a crafter.  In the end, though, he has decided that he totally believed in me the entire time and has been sure to give everything I knit an extra amount of appreciation.

The pattern I chose was the Quilted Lattice Mitts by Jennifer Elaine.  She writes in the pattern that these only took her four hours, to which I responded at times that there is no way and she must have super powers and shouldn't she be using it for world peace rather than the cutest mitts in the world?  They were a fast knit.  Just not that fast.

I used leftovers from my Roisin and my Thistle Tea Legwarmers to knit a pair of contrasting mitts.  I don't know what made me decide to do them contrasting, but I am glad that I did.  I was pretty charmed by the little tucks that occur every pattern repeat and by the fact that Jennifer Elaine must have small hands like mine because the pattern fit perfectly.

It turns out that I am not the only one who loved this pattern.  I had many compliments on them and a mother dressed as a disco dancer told me that she hated me for them and I should sell them at a craft show.  If only it was that easy.

For more FOs, check out the links over at Tami's Amis


Geektastic Thursday: More Insanity

If you read posts on the blog you may have noticed a new button on the side. I have, in a fit of insanity, decided to participate in NaNoWriMo.  During the month of November I and a lot of more inspired individuals will attempt to write a 50,000 word work of fiction, a minimal amount required to constitute a novel.

While NaNoWriMo has been around for a while, I did not learn of it until high school.  I knew some kids who attempted, but I never did.  Not because I did not have any ideas, but because I had school and November is prime exam season.  There was just no way I could meet my extracurricular obligations, keep my academic focus, read the million books I had stacked by my bed, and write a novel.  In college I had the same excuse.  And then grad school.  I just could not justify the time when I was supposed to be grading 80+ student essays about the fall of the Roman Empire.

But now I have decided that I am out of excuses.  I've finished school, my job does not follow me home, and I claim that I want to start writing seriously again.  While fiction is well outside the scope of my published work, I think it will be a welcome challenge.  If nothing else it will help me clear out my head so that I can start putting ideas on paper once again.  My goal is, of course, to finish, and then maybe edit what I have down to a decent short story.  That is if I manage to write anything at all.  Currently I have a starting point and a very vague concept for the overall story.  I know most people outline, but if I am going to jump outside my comfort zone, I might as well go all the way.  If I get stuck I can always pull out my white board and pretend I'm outlining thesis chapters once again.

All of this means that the amount of knitting I have been doing may decline as I'll be spending more time writing and less time watching television or podcasts.  Because I don't believe in procrastinating.  Which is why I swatched the pumpkin yarn last night.

Just in case I get a yen for that cabled hoodie after all.