Friday, May 29, 2015

FO: Police Box Handwarmers (and other WIP)

I've been getting back in to the groove this week after my time in Florida, and I'm sad (and excited) as we head in to our final week of dance for the year.
This means that I have to have the dancer gifts prepped and ready for classes next week.
With two graduating seniors this year, that means I have two knitted senior gifts, one of which is a pair of Police Box Handwarmers (yes, the fated pair that Maeby sunk her little teeth into).  I cut them and tore them back, and finally fixed the top part of the handwarmer.

Pattern: Police Box Mittens by the brilliant SpillyJane Knits
Yarn: Regia Angora Merino in Cream and Dark Blue- LOVE this yarn for colorwork!
Needles: Bamboo DPNs size 2
Timeframe: February 17th-May28th, 2015

Worst Part: The monstersaurus eating a chunk out and having to spend time redoing it.  Yet another knit destroyed... :(
Best Part: It's going to be her reaction when she opens up the package. :)
I'm furiously trying to finish the U of M socks before next week- that's my major weekend project.
Florida also proved to be a great place- I got the first of my Venga Las Chicas hats finished, and through the brim and beginning of the knot section on the second!

Guys- I LOVE THIS HAT.  I cannot say that enough.  I LOVE THIS HAT!!!  The cable pattern is fantastic, it looks great in the yarn, and it's fast and engaging to knit.
Which is probably a good thing when I have to make four of them.  ::ahem::  This is officially one of my "travel knits" for long car rides or movie nights.
I also finished one of two Camping socks, which I'm hoping to wear on my Boundary Waters trip this summer (because, you know, it's not that warm up in the BWCAW).  :)

It feels really good to finally finish some projects.  I haven't been able to actually finish a project in awhile, and it's a nice feeling of completion to get them done.  I think the trick is to not have six projects going at once.  Things generally get done faster when I only have 1 or 2 "traveling" projects and only 1 "at home" project.
Hmmm... things to think about for the future. :)
For now, I have to finish up the U of M socks, make a couple of ballerina keychains, and plot my end-of-year little gifts for all of my dancers.  :)
Tomorrow- diving adventure!  Stay tuned, folks. :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Florida Trip!

The competition showing went amazing on Saturday night.  I helped my student with her hair for pictures on Sunday, and packed up the few pairs of shorts that I owned.
Monday morning, my taxi picked me up at 3:45 am to be at the airport by 4 am.
By noon, I was here:
on the beach in Florida, hanging out with my parents!
It was an incredible week, and a break that I really needed to recharge my batteries.  Not only did I get to hang out with my parents, but we did a ton of fantastic things together!
I won't go in to a long winded post about everything we did, so here's pictures of some of the highlights:
Key West was our first stop, where we started with a gorgeous fancy meal on a private resort island!  As you can see, my Mom and I found some fancy hats to keep the sun out of our eyes.
After, we visited Ernest Hemingway's house!  I'm don't like him, persay, but he's a great American author and I respect his books.  Plus, he has 6-toed cats.  You can't not like a guy that has 6-toed cats. :)
We got to spend time listening to live music and drinking margaritas, enjoying (and slightly warm) in the 90 degree heat. :)
We continued to move up the keys, stopping at the most gorgeous beach I've ever been at- Bahia Honda State Park!
We got to go snorkling that day at Looe Key, where I saw a giant shark, tons of groupers, half of the fish you see in the movie Finding Nemo, and my favorite- a Spotted Eagle Ray!  The ray was HUGE, and watching it glide underwater was incredible!
Sunsets in the keys were gorgeous, and the nights were filled with great talks, hanging with my folks, knitting, and relaxing.
We stopped in Key Largo for a day as well, and went to the Islamorada Dive Center where my MN friend Tony works!
Tony was the one that went on my fated night dive to the Madeira last September before he moved to FL in mid-February.  It worked out well that I got to go diving at the Hens and Chickens Reef while I was there!
Diving in Florida waters was amazing compared to Lake Superior- I didn't have to wear a wetsuit at all, and the wildlife was incredible!  I saw my favorite underwater creature of the trip- a Hawksbill Sea Turtle!! :)
After the keys, we went back to my parent's place in Viera (on the East coast side of FL), where I enjoyed a weekend of relaxing in the comfort of my parents' home.  
We did a long bike ride next to super expensive houses (and let me tell you, 7 miles in 90 degree heat is not an easy feat)...
I learned how to play my parents' favorite new sport, Pickleball (notice how awkward I look- games with paddles are a little difficult for me)...
And I even got to go on a sweet airboat ride through swampy areas that had 1000 gators per square mile!  We did see a gator, but luckily no attacks... ;)
I even got a little knitting done on the trip, which I'll detail in the next post.  :)
I ended my trip the same way I started it- at the beach.
All in all, an amazing week away with two of the most generous and great parents ever. :)  

Saturday, May 16, 2015

May Madness & Dance Gifts

It always blows my mind how fast the end of the school year goes.  I had two weekends in a row of competitions (one of which down in the cities), then right into the week before finals and then finals week, meaning an avalanche of grading for me on top of dance practices and teaching.
I'm going to just give you some photos of the highlights, since it's tough to cover 2 weeks without getting dull.

Pink Panther ladies ready to head on and earn a High Gold in Minneapolis!

Hard-Knock Life ladies just before going onstage to earn their first Platinum, which is amaaazing!

My Tonight girls had a blast onstage, were completely together, and had one of their best performances to date!

Scott snuck a little snack in my bag for me during my long weekend... he's kind of my favorite person ever. :)

My duet girls taking home more high score hardwear and another Platinum for their musical theater duet!

Right after I got back from the competition, I switched into hardcore English Teacher mode.  These were the first round of papers I had to grade in a week.

One of my best college friends (and old roommate) Juliet stopped by for coffee at school with me during finals week!!  Great to catch up with her before she heads back to California!

If you haven't guessed yet, I didn't finish my Ivy League Vest before school finished.  I'm a little bummed out, but honestly I just didn't have the time to devote to a large-scale project like that with everything I had going on. Instead, I wore my stylish apple teacher dress to the final, and worked on the U of M socks while my students typed and fretted away!
I also finished some special dancer gifts for a few of my solo/duet ladies!  I'm giving them out this afternoon, so I think it's officially okay to post them on here now.

I used the Tiny Ballerina pattern to make keychains for my Friendship girls of their characters!
It was finicky and a little bit of a pain, but they turned out beautifully, and I think the girls will love them (I certainly do)!  I had to get a little creative to make the hair look correct, and I embroidered suspenders on the "boy" character and tied a tiny tiny bow tie (which I dotted a little Elmer's glue on so it would hold) to make it look as close as possible.  I think they'll be pleased. :)

I also made one for my solo student Taylor, who is a conductor for her dance!  And yes, that is a conductor's baton glued to her hand.  Bam.  No detail left behind.
I plan on using this pattern to make the head of my studio a ballerina keychain for one of her end-of-year gifts, and it's getting easier the more times that I do it.  The tiny nature means I have to really pay attention, but it's a very satisfying project when done.
I also finished the Police Box Handwarmers for one of my senior solo students, and left them in Kim's room to block on the heater so the cats wouldn't get to them.
Well, Kim came home and left her door slightly cracked when she was out in the living room.
You can guess what happened next.

The monster never sleeps.
I'm going to tear them back this afternoon and redo a little bit on them.  So much for giving out all of my gifts today...