Monday, December 31, 2007

On with the sewing (and a knitting plea)

First things first...I am seriously trying to find a copy of Interweave Knits Fall 2007 magazine. It is sold out according to the IK website and it is not a magazine carried at the only bookstore here on island. If anyone has a copy that they no longer want, please email me at mhighfill at I recently subscribed to this magazine (picking up the winter and holiday issues while in Guam), but media mail and magazines take 18 years to arrive. Okay, not 18 years, but I just got my November Martha Stewart Living magazine...yeah sucks.

Okay, on with the sewing goodness...

So, remember when I lamented on and on about my sewing machine and the havoc it was causing me? Good, then I don't need to rehash it. Well (Leah this is for you), as it turns out, I somehow managed to crack and subsequently chip a big hunk of metal off of the thingamajig that the shuttle race fits into. The non-movable, cast metal looking part that holds the shuttle race (but on the top). According to the repair guy, "No fix". English is not his first language. So, I boxed it up and am hoping that there is a Sears around Juneau or another repair person that can fix it for me.

Then, do you remember my obsession with the cutest of the cute Singer sewing machines? Well, when I was at home with Mom in August and September, I scoured eBay, thinking that I would win a little cutie and just load the 80 pound thing into my luggage and bring it home...weight restriction be damned! I have a Silver Elite card for Continental, get out of my way! Anyway, so I won a little cutie. I was over the moon. I could hardly wait. I had visions of setting it up in BFF's basement and sewing my way through insomnia and heartache. It was not meant to be.

I should have known when I saw this as I unwrapped it:

Then I saw this and I was seriously almost in tears:

The machine is not functional and now resides in a closet at my Dad's house. I hope someday to find a good Singer repair person and have them fix it, along with buying a new original green jadeite case. But until then....

Christmas came early! (I got this the week before Christmas)

A Viking Husqvarna Emma!!!

My Aunt in Dallas upgraded to a Viking Husqvarna Designer II SE (the evil one) and sent me her Emma. I am thrilled to bits!

I already love this machine and I haven't even plugged it in yet. I would be lying though if I told you that I wasn't a teensy bit intimidated by it. I have never owned such a nice machine. I am trying to locate a manual for it so I can learn to thread the bobbin. Right now it is threaded with yellow thread (forget something, Aunt Tamie?), so I might just figure out something small to sew up using yellow thread and give her a go. So many projects on the brain...aprons, needle rolls, birthday buntings, quilts...*sigh*

Well, it is New Year's Eve here on Saipan. Baby Tree Hugger is in bed (we are working on weaning and it is going well). DH just brought in a bottle of champagne (maybe to make up for putting in idiotic Nacho Libre in the dvd player?), so I am calling it a night. I will be asleep in prolly 30 minutes. Real exciting around these parts.

I have a few resolutions and reflections, but I will save them for my next post.

Wishing everyone a peaceful, prosperous and happy 2008.



Saturday, December 29, 2007

First Christmas and knitting goodness

Baby Tree Hugger's First Christmas

"You mean we open these now?"

"And I have to wear this thing?"

"Blocks. Mmm, I love blocks."
"Mom! You aren't going to blog this are you?!"
"I love presents from The Land of Nod."

"And I really love my new scoot around."

So, remember that post earlier in the month about the socks of doom? The ones that I didn't really have a pattern for, let alone have any experience in sock knitting? Yeah, they got frogged. Instead, I knit some slippers for said hard to buy for lady. I used this free pattern. 2 skeins of Knit Picks Main Line yarn, a couple of buttons and voila! Slippers. I dare not show you a side view...they really look elvish (as in elf-like, not Elvis-like), but I am hoping that they fit the lady's smaller feet. I can get them on my size 9 clod-hoppers, so we should be good. Lesson learned: How to M1 increase and I suck at making pom-poms. Hence the buttons.

Another present was this crocheted granny square throw. Made from 4 cones of Peaches N Cream cotton yarn. 2 in Ecru, 2 in Peppercorn ombre. I am embarrassed to admit it, but I started the granny squares 2 years ago, then started seaming them together and got thoroughly fed up with the seaming and put it aside. I decided that this would be the year that it got finished.
Simple granny squares, with a single crochet border (twice around). Easy peasy. Anyone want some left over granny squares? I have a handful of them and nothing planned for them. Let me know.
Another day, another Ball Band Dishcloth. This is for the knit along on Ravelry. I need to make a pile of these things by April.

As if that weren't enough, I started a sweater for Baby Tree Hugger. It is from the Not So Baby Yoda free pattern. I am using Berocco Touche in a green apple color. I actually did a gauge swatch on this and am crossing my fingers that it fits him for a few months since we will need in for our trip to Japan in a few months.

The back is complete in one day. I started on the left front side now and a bit nervous when it comes to the right just says to reverse for shaping. Keep your fingers crossed that I do it right!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Vacation

The blog has been on vacay for a while...due to my MIL being here. She is now safely home in Illinois and the blogging will resume. Hopefully.

We took her to Guam for a few days and saw the sights there. Then we did lots of sightseeing and beach-going around Saipan.

Baby Tree Hugger at the museum at American Memorial Park. He is so cute, he picks up phones and says, "Ello?"

Baby Tree Hugger toddling around at Suicide Cliff.
We went to the Zoo. It was much better than I anticipated. And they give a local discount.

And a free bag of popcorn to give to the animals. They have a pig there that is so catches the popcorn that you throw to it. Well, you kind of have to aim for it's mouth.

We also went on a dinner cruise.
Baby Tree Hugger got to drive.
And then was serenaded by the entertainer. Seriously, he sang the ABC song to him. Okay, the other kid listened as well. We went on the Stars and Stripes Dinner Cruise. Honestly, it totally blows the other dinner cruise that we have been on out of the water. I highly recommend checking out the Stars and Stripes. The food is catered by the Fiesta Hotel and the boat itself is very lovely.

We hauled our cookies down (and then back up) the 100+ stairs at The Grotto.

Baby Tree Hugger got a helmet to wear when he is on the back of Papa's bike. He likes it. Really.Wing Beach was enjoyed by everyone

We ate like Kings the whole time that MIL was here. A sampling:
Chamorro Village (Guam)
Rotary Sushi (Guam)
Cold Stone Ice Cream (Guam)
Jamaican Grill (Guam)
Spicy Thai Noodle (Saipan)
Wild Bills (Saipan)
Aqua Resort Christmas Eve Buffet (Saipan)
BBQ at the Ranch (Saipan)
Garapan Street Market (Saipan)
Taste of India (Saipan)
Aqua Resort Happy Hour by the pool (Saipan)

I will post about Baby Tree Hugger's first Christmas in the next post. Along with lots of knitty goodness.

I have eleventy hundred emails to catch up on...gotta go.


Friday, December 07, 2007

Happy Hanukkah

Hanukkah started a couple of days ago, and I am tardy in wishing everyone a Happy Hanukkah. Today, baby tree hugger was playing around with a coconut dish and sparked my memory. I wonder if he wants a yarmulke?


He has started taking off on his own lately. He will be holding on to something and just let go and fly across the room. (Please don't mind the case of beer in the living room, that is DH's idea of a baby gym.)

He is also climbing on the furniture. I about had a heart attack when I found him doing this:

Christmas packages are being sent. I finally finished the "tween shawl". It is super soft and hopefully good size for her.

The package being sent to the family (minus some edible delights):

I received a package from Granny the other day that broke me down. Mom gave her a stack of dishcloths a couple of months before she died (That's where I get the dishcloth obsession from, thanks Mom!), and told Granny to give them out at Christmas. Granny sent me two of them with a touching note. I don't think that I will ever use these cloths for dishes.

Mom always called the jewel toned yarn "Grateful Dead Bear" yarn, knowing my affinity for the Dead Bears. I am thrilled that I got one in my favorite yarn colorway.

Granny also sent a hanging towel that she (Granny) made. She didn't make the towel, she crocheted the top . Amazing thing is that she crochets these tops without a pattern. She does them for every holiday.Peace.

Makes Sense

I really enjoy reading everything about the wives of Henry VIII. So, when I saw this quiz on another blog, I had to do it.

Which of Henry VIII's wives are you?
this quiz was made by Lori Fury

Anne of Cleves got the shaft for sure. But at least she got to keep her head.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

About to pee my pants!

I love Ravelry. Did I ever tell you that? Oh, I did. And you are tired of hearing about it? Sorry. I just can't get over how awesome the site is. It is knitter's & crocheter's dream come true. If you knit or crochet, I highly recommend signing up for it. It is free, currently in beta testing, but will be soon open for everyone without signing up.

Anyway, about 20 days ago, I signed up to get the progress bar thingies that you see over to the left (scroll down). I couldn't figure out how in the eff to get the html code to work and after getting more frustrated than a one legged pirate in an ass kicking contest, I gave up. My online time is precious and quite limited. The topic was opened again today, so I looked at the thread to see if there were new tips. There were!

And there the are (the progress bars). Yippee, I am so freaking excited, I can't hardly stand it. If you are on Ravelry (be my friend, I am mhighfill), you can click the name of the project and whoosh, be transported to the Ravelry page.



Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Losing my mind...(or) Only 21 days until Christmas!

I love Christmas. I love the whole plan-like-there-is-no-tomorrow-thinking-you-can-turn-into-SuperWoman-and-get-everything-done-deal.
That is what I do every year (except last year). The other day I was making out the Christmas card list...I know, I know, "real" tree huggers don't send out Christmas cards. I married a tree hugger, I never claimed to be the tree hugger of the family. Anyway, I came to the monumental decision that I am going to whittle the Christmas card list down next year. Those that haven't sent us a card in two years are off of the list. Does anyone else do this? Why continue to send a card to someone that isn't going to reciprocate? Our cards are done, stamped and ready to go out. Have you seen the new Christmas stamps "Holiday Knits"? Love them! I bought 3 books today.

This year's Christmas cards are a mish-mosh of the past 5 years worth of cards. I usually end up with 10 or so leftover cards every year, and when Mom died, I found 5 or 6 boxes of cards that she had bought on sale. So, the ones going out this year are being cleared out so we don't have to schlep them around anymore.

I went through the received cards from the past couple of years. I had a purpose. I was looking for Mom's last Christmas card that she sent to us. I found it and it is now on my nightstand where I can see it everyday.

As I was having my Christmas card list epiphany, I also decided that my gift list was too ambitious. I adore the idea of a hand-made Christmas, but I should have started long ago. Like February. We have a few people on our list that are near impossible to buy for and I always feel like the present that we select isn't quite *it*. This year, I wanted to make something for everyone and that is just crazy at this point not going to work.

So, what would any sane woman do? Why, she would start knitting a pair of socks for a gift. Mind you, said mentally sound woman has never knit a pair of socks before, but that didn't intimidate her. No siree. And is she following a specific pattern? Nah, she is winging it...borrowing from here and there. This is a recipe for disaster, y'all. Plus, she looks like she is wrestling a porcupine with all of those needles ready to fly out at any moment. The cable scarf is sitting in the bag, neglected *sob*. I love the cable scarf, but it isn't intended for a Christmas present. These socks are going to someone that is very hard to buy for. I say "socks"...plural. If nothing else, I am optimistic.

This is what it looks like when set down while knitting...

But at least she is still knitting dishcloths! This is another ball band cloth, only I modified it to be a bit smaller in width. I hate big cloths. It is about 6x6, which is perfect in my opinion. Only 2 more to go, then the rest will just be bonuses!

MIL arrives in 5 days from now!!!! Yay!


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Dave Matthews Band - Christmas Song

NaBloPMo is over and I still have blogging on the mind. This is my favorite Christmas song. Did I ever tell you that I adore Dave Matthews? I do.
Listen to the lyrics, wonderful story.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The End!!

And it is none too soon. NaBloPoMo ends tonight. Thank you, Jeebus! I am butt-assed tired of posting every single day. Once I hit "Publish Post", I can sit back and relax for the weekend. And check the prize list to see if I won for sticking it out the whole month.

Today is Family Friday. I don't have any fun pictures to show. I don't have anything especially witty to comment about. Why, you ask? Because the monster formerly known as Connor is teething. *cue fingernails on blackboard sound* Oh yeah. My day started before 5 am today. My personal favorite part of the day has to be watching him sit on the floor wailing. We are talking inconsolable, people. Until I pick him up. Then the world is right. But my arms and back are revolting. I give him homeopathic teething tablets before bed and say eleventy billion prayers that he sleeps for 9 hours straight. I have Tylenol in the back up supply, but I am leery of giving it to him...I don't take any medication and don't want him to take any either if it isn't absolutely necessary.

So, that is that. Fun times, fun times.

I have been tagged by the duo over at Secret Leaves. I secretly love doing meme's. Shh, don't tell everyone though, okay? I wish I were witty like Cass to come up with a twist on the meme, but alas, I am not. It is all I can do to think of 7 Things that I haven't previously told you. But, I will give it a shot.
  1. I can wiggle my ears.
  2. My second toe is longer than my big toe.
  3. I can bend my fingers back really far. Really far.
  4. I can bend my thumb joint back(the one below your nail) so that my thumb makes an upside down "L" shape.
  5. I can't bring myself to eat anything that has fallen on the floor in my house. But I will stand by and watch as my son drops a piece of something, picks it up and puts it in his mouth.
  6. I still have a scar on my tongue from when I was a super genius and had it pierced. Twice. I am smart like that.
  7. I can't sneak up on anyone. My ankles crack and pop when I walk and it is really loud.
So, what does this prove? That I am a genetic mutant and a bad mother.

I tag the fellow NaBloPoMo-er's that I can think of off of the top of my head. Kendra and


I finished the dropped yarn over scarf today. It is way scratchy though. I don't know if I can gift it in good conscience.

I am dying to start either socks or a bag. Or both. I am thinking of doing the Squatty Sidekick or the French Market Bag. I will be using Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Red shades. I am totally leaning towards the FMB. It will be a gift, so I had better cast on soon!


Thursday, November 29, 2007

WIP's and a FO

Since I totally flaked out on posting my Works In Progress yesterday, so I will bore you with them show them to you today. Cause NaBloPoMo is sucking the creative energy out of my head, thank God there is only one more dayI am nice like that.

First- the shawl...I have made a few more progress rows...I anticipate having it finished next week. It looks pretty much the same as before, so I didn't picture it again.

Second - The dropped yarn over scarf. I anticipate having this one done by next Thursday as well. I have made it to the second ball of yarn.

Third - The Irish Hiking Scarf. I love this pattern, this yarn, and this scarf. At first I was a bit intimidated, but now I have the pattern memorized and it is easy peasy. If anyone wants to try cables, but is unsure, do it! Try the Irish Hiking Scarf.

On to the Finished Object. Singular tense here. One lonesome dishcloth. Using the Grandmother's Favorite pattern, Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn in the Mistletoe colorway.

I recently found Phoe. Go check out her page. I will wait. You won't be sorry.

Okay, back? See her amazing knitting? Yeah, she is very prolific and often offers her knitted items for free to her readers. A couple of weeks ago, she had some yarn available for adoption and I jumped on the chance to try Opal sock yarn. It is the Owl colorway and she sent this coordinating pattern with it. And the cutest bracelet. I can't get a decent picture of the bracelet at night, but trust me, it is cute. And it is on my wrist as I type this. Thank you, Phoe! Your Saipan package should be arriving soon.

I am almost counting the rows on the simple scarf and the shawl so that I can be done with them and finally cast on a pair of socks. Eeep! And a felted bag. Double eeep! I have start-itis bad.

If you are searching for the world's biggest yarn stash, look no further. No, I am not showing pictures of my deep freezer again. Are you sitting down? Okay, look here. That could qualify as a shop, not a residence.

Did I mention that tomorrow is the last day of NaBloPoMo? Not a moment too soon, either. I plan on taking the weekend off. Then I plan on posting every other day.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007


So, I was just searching youtube, tooking for a video to send to an Aunt. The video I was searching for is one from Mom's memorial service. The strange thing about it is that I heard it on the radio the other day, and I have never heard this song outside of Mom's memorial. I was telling my Aunt about hearing it on the radio and how it really struck me as odd.

Okay, so evidently I am YouTube inept...Click here to see the video and hear the song.

(I adore Sarah Brightman. Loved her since her Phantom of the Opera days)

Now, if that weren't I was listening to different versions on YouTube, I could vaguely hear the radio playing in the kitchen. What was playing you ask? Fire and Rain by James Taylor. Remember me posting about that here?

I have goosebumps now.

I will post a WIP Wednesday post later.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Our house

Well, it could be if they lowered the price by $30k and held it till mid-May 2008.

Click here.


Reading Tuesday

It is Tuesday morning here and I am tired (literally) of staying up late to blog every night. So, while Connor is enjoying a snack, I am posting.

On Saturday morning, while at the farmer's market, I saw a lady off to the side with stuff spread out on bleachers. There was a mad crush of people around her, so I ambled over to see what she was offering. I picked up this book:
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

For a quarter!!! I could hardly believe my luck. I am like #248 on the wait list at Paperbackswap for this one. Yay! I started reading it already, even though I have others from the library sitting here. Waiting patiently. Boni was correct in suggesting this one to me, it is right up my alley so far.

We have an appointment today for "counseling" in regards to our new overseas transfer. Yippee. We went through this 3 years ago when we went to Guam. Basically they just want to make sure that we are financially responsible to handle living in a remote area, that we are aware of harsh climate changes, distance from family, etc. Yes, yes, yes. Move us already! It is nice to know where we are going (so we don't keep wondering), but the crummy part is now we get to wait. And wait.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Mondays are boring

Not much to report here today. I am in a "state" mentally. I have a lot going on upstairs. Thinking, thinking, thinking. Much re-evaluation happening around these parts. All dealing with personal relationships and my response to them. Because I can't change the way others think, I have to figure out how to change myself and accept things / people for what /whom they are. And learn to let go of the things that I couldn't / can't change.


If you knit or crochet and would like to support the troops, I recommend you check out this site:

Knitted (or crocheted) Helmet liners

From my understanding, the helmets are issued without liners and metal helmets are kinda chilly. They ask that you use wool yarn to make the liner, and you can't get much cheaper (without sacrificing quality) than Knit Picks Wool of the Andes yarn. They recommend using Cascade 220, which I have heard just as many good things about, I just have never had any in my hot little hands to try out. *someday*

We watched "A Christmas Story" tonight. My favorite Christmas movie of all time. I was so born in the wrong generation.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Clean Up Sunday

Did I ever mention how much I adore Christmas movies? I enjoy watching them year round, but once late November hits, I watch one every day. We are watching The Family Stone right now. At first I hated this movie, but now it is one of my top 5 Christmas movies.

In the spirit of Christmas, and trying to elude extreme Grinchy-ness here at the House of Grinch (watched that on on Friday), DH brought me a book from the bookshelf yesterday. I am wondering if this is a hint or if he was just being nice and thought I looked bored? I think it was a hint. It is a favorite of mine....

(A quick peek at shows this book for 1 cent (3.99 shipping)! Click on the title under the picture to be taken to

My movie is playing and I have a cabled scarf calling my name. Ciao!


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Saipan Saturday

As per our routine, we were boring and did the usual today. Farmer's Market, post office, Ace hardware, Joeten for groceries. We also went to the Brilliant Star Montessori School's Holiday Bazaar. It was nicely planned and put together.

The Christmas trees are in at Joeten (the "Department" store that is also the grocery store). And if you were to believe the radio advertisements, "Christmas just isn't the same without a fresh tree from Joeten." Here's a closer look at the prices (click on picture to enlarge).....

No $50 Christmas tree lots here on the island.

I think that our Christmas will be just fine with our free artificial tree that is almost as old as I am. We spent some time yesterday putting up said free tree and getting the lights on it. It is sans ornaments for a while, we want Connor to get used to it without breaking all of the ornaments immediately.
(Psssst, those are fake presents under our tree. We use them every year that way it doesn't look so lonely under there until we actually get a couple of real presents under there.)

I also did something today that I am hoping becomes a least for the next 6 months. I met up with Deece again for a Mom's knitting & coffee time. Yay! Her little girl is just as cute as can be and is exactly how I imagined her.


P.S. Gayle, it isn't a typo that you read. We plan on trying again in April-ish 2008 : )

Friday, November 23, 2007

Knitting, Baby and Houses.

Since I missed WIP Wednesday, FO Thursday and today is Family Friday, I am combining them into today's post.

WIP Wednesday would have been:

The shawl. It is endless garter stitch right now. I do a few rows and feel like I am making zero progress. I put it around my shoulders one day and it is too small, so I put it around Connor and it was ginormous, so I think that I have about a dozen or so more rows to go before it is "tween" sized.

I started a new scarf. Mom gave this yarn to me in March when we were home to have Connor baptized. I have 3 cakes of it. I have no idea what it is made of, how much there is, I only have a vague idea that the 3 strands together make it a light-ish worsted weight. Just a simple pattern, really. And it is free! I have an idea of the recipient, but I am not 100% set on her. We will see when it is all done, then I will know for sure.

Did I say that I started a new scarf? Well, I lied, I actually started two new scarves. This one is one that I have been obsessing about (it is free too!). I have been so anxious to cast on for it. Truthfully, I casted on for it when I met Deece last Saturday for coffee. But with all of the yakking and coffee drinking, I didn't get but two rows done. And I figured that somehow messed them up, so I ripped them out and restarted.

I am so proud of myself, I am cable-ing!!! I never thought that I would be able to do it, they always looked so intimidating, but with the awesome cable video tutorials at, I got it down! I am cable-ing, y'all! This one is using Knit Picks Andean Silk (Wool, Alpaca and Silk) in Navy. I adore this yarn. I would love to have more eventually.


FO Thursday would have been...

I finished two more dishcloths this week. I did another Palm Tree cloth. I need to make more of these, but green cotton is hard to find here. I guess that some people will be getting different colors of palm trees.

I also did a Grid Pattern dishcloth. It was easy for the most part. Kind of boring. I have decided that I really enjoy doing the picture dishcloths the most. I found a free pattern for a Coast Guard cloth (other military branches available as well) on this site.


Family Friday

Connor is taking a few hesitant steps on his own!!! I can't hardly believe it. He has been walking while holding on to one of our hands for quite a few weeks now, but in the last couple of days, he will be holding on to the furniture and take a couple of steps on his own without holding anything. It is so cute. And so nerve racking! I am watching him like a hawk because I don't want him to face plant on the tile floor.

This is from Thanksgiving, when we were down at the Ranch.

Back to the housing in Juneau. It all boils down to a few things that are scaring me shitless about buying such an expensive house. It isn't that we can't afford it, because we can. But what if DH makes Chief and we have to move in 2 years? I don't want to be stuck with two house payments and end up having to go back to work and put the kids in daycare. The second thing is that I hate debt. Hate hate hate it. I enjoy not having credit card debt, car loan debt, etc. We do have our timeshare debt and my paltry student loan (why don't I just pay it off already?), but that is it. And a giant mortgage is a huge step. House prices are crazy. Where we are from, you can get a pretty nice house for 100-150k. So, to me 250k for 2 or 3 bedrooms on a subdivision lot is a stretch.