About Me

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Illinois, United States
I am a band director at five private schools in Kankakee. Music is a big part of my life, but knitting and crafting are right up there too. I own a ridiculous stash of yarn, which I am slowly using... and replacing with better yarn... I tend to knit and crochet a lot, in class, out of class, while watching tv, while driving, pretty much constantly. I have been involved with crochet romantically for 15 years, and involved with knitting for 11 years. They sometimes get jealous of each other. I think its funny. Along with knitting and crocheting, I quilt, spin (drop spindle) and design patterns!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Garden post!

One great thing about having my own apartment is being able to fill it to the brim with plants. Well at least the balcony.

First up is my cherry tomato plant. These popped up so fast that I thought someone came in and planted them while I was asleep. Amazing. THough still no tomatos to be seen, but as soon as they do show up, I know I am making a pesto gnocchi salad with cherry tomatos. OMG sounds so good.... Hello. My name is Vanessa. I am a foodaholic. I plan what I am going to make with food I do not currently have. I only buy the best supplies to make meals because I would rather eat than have air conditioning on a day when it reaches 101 degrees outside. I could eat a pound of cherries in one sitting. And I have. Yesterday. (hey at least its better than chocolate!)

Next up is the Big Boy tomatos. Steve planted these for me and gave them as a housewarming present. The last post I put has a picture of the first fruit it produced. AND THERES ANOTHER ONE COMING!!!

This is another plant Steve grew for me. Cucumbers! Everytime I get a cucumber I want to make Lithuanian beet soup. So good during the summer!

Then my absolute favorite plant set that I literally just put together today. Its my first collection of succulent plants! Sadly I cannot eat these. But the aloe will be great for... all those burns that I get....? Right in the center, the short stubby looking ones are called Baby Toes. hahahahaha. The big ones in the front are the elephant bushes, and the ones in the back are mini jade. I have always wanted a succulent garden. I am the type of girl who loves the bamboo plants, the bonzai trees, and anything that is ornate like that. I can't stand growing flowers. They just... are boring.

Lastly, my newly planted mint plants. yes yes, its too late in the summer, but I thought I would give it a try. So far, they are tiny. I can wait. But they are for sure going in my tea when I head into work in the morning!

There are still other plants but some of them are newly planted seeds and have not sprouted yet. And its boring to look at dirt. So....

Plant on.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Huuuuge Update!

Well, it is summer, so I think I have every right to craft! Considering my job did not technically start until today (Band camp), and after this week I have three ish weeks left of summer technically. There are a couple meetings, and gatherings I would like to go to for all the schools, and of course I will always be working in the classroom and music library. Though since it is usually miserably hot in the school, I will hold off on most of the music for cooler days, since it is not essential to have completely organized.

The first day of band camp was today. I did not have my hopes up for big numbers, just because the flyers were not sent out at the end of the year, rather they were sent out mid June, beginning of July. We have plenty of beginners from one of the four grade schools, so in the first couple weeks of school I will reach out to the rest of the schools in hopes that there will be more kids interested in band. It will be... interesting. We will have to see, but I am not going to give up. That is not me!

Well, since I have had a bunch of free time recently, I have gotten a whole bunch of crafting done.
THis first shawl that I worked on was with Knitpicks gloss. I must admit, I hate this yarn. It feels so plasticky and really knits up... ugh... I don't know, I am picky, I just don't like how it feels or knits up. But I have a whole bunch of it, and I am attempting to stash bust. So there you go!
This is the Summer Flies Shawl by Holly and Ella Knits. I would highly recommended this pattern if you are looking for an easy shawl to work on while watching tv. It knits up so fast, and I think I would love it even more if it were in a different yarn.
But look at the little butterflies! :)

Remember how I said I am stash busting? Well this is an example of how I am stash busting. I am taking all the leftover balls of yarn, and I am crocheting up all these scrap scarves which I plan to sell in my shop once the weather starts getting cooler. (Hopefully soon, it is horrible out there!)
It is pretty long, and soft. If I wore scarves I might actually wear it!
The next shawl I knitted up was The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief. I loved the yarn I used, though... I have no idea what it is. I seem to have lost the yarn label in the move... Too bad because I would have bought more of it.
This shawl was also very easy, and it's something that I have had in my lineup for a really long time. It knits up fast, and I think it would be great in the winter. I plan on keeping this for myself! I promise to wear my shawls during the cold season!

Random picture of KITTY!

I wanted to post these, because my gramma made them for me when I was born. I never thought about posting them, until that is, I was moving out of my rents place and I grabbed them. I love them so much! Just thought they were cute!

Alright, now for spinning. I had some leftover fiber after I spun my 2 ounces in single ply. So I spun the next 2 ounces, and went back and plyed it.
So now I have 68 yards of really pretty yellow/brown/autumn colored yarn. There is a good chance I will sell this yarn, so if you are interested let me know! It will probably be 15-20 with shipping.

I will be spinning this next batch of fiber as soon as I possibly can. (probably tonight) I saw this fiber online, and just had to buy it. I love the colors soooo much. Go to www.greenwoodfiberworks.etsy.com There is some amazing roving! I have been shopping around recently to try and find fiber and stores I love, and this was one of the stores! Check it out!
Socks. Sock sock sock sock socks. I hate them. But I am getting better at them, meaning I am enjoying it just a little more. I just can't get over the fact that they will be living on peoples feet. ugh. But this was the next installment of Liz's socks. They fit better than the first pair I gave her, and they are not as "holy" as the first few pairs of socks I have knitted.
I think smaller needles will benefit still. I worked on these with 3's and they came out pretty good. I love this yarn, but once again... the move has killed all of my labels... boo
Oh well I am pretty proud of these socks. Took me two days. Next pair will have an easy pattern now that I get the basics behind sock knitting for sure.

Lastly. Steve brought me a whole bunch of plants, including a tomato plant with my first tomato of the season! I ate it in a salad, and it was delicious! I am also growing grape tomatos, mint (for my tea), cucumbers, parsley and cilantro. All in my tiny balcony!

Ok well. I think that is it for now! I have gotten a bunch done and I believe in the next few weeks I will have much more. Stash busting- the thing to do when you cannot afford more yarn. :)

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Happy 4th!

So, our 4th of July plans did not go completely according to plans. We had planned to get sushi up in Schaumburg for our anniversary, then head over to the Schaumburg Flyers game where Steve had asked me out last year after months and months of dating. Well... turns out the Flyers went bankrupt. Oops...

So instead we headed back to Kankakee early, and got sushi from the local Krogers. We were quite wary, I mean... you have to be when its sushi. But it was actually pretty darn good! I even heated up a couple bowls of miso soup (my favorite!)

Look at how cute the goodies are! I felt much better buying the sushi because there was a sushi chef making each package individually, so I knew that the stuff was not sitting out there for days like it could in my university union.
We got eel rolls, california rolls, and boston rolls. All were amazing. So worth it, and cheaper than a restaurant too!

Next up, I want to reintroduce you to an old friend (as of two days ago) (whose name has officially been changed) and a new friend as of yesterday!
Meet Sushi and Tofu! My brand new bearded dragons. They are little babies, but absolutely adorable. I was worried they would not get along being from different stores, but it turns out, they kinda like each other! :)
And as of now they just fit perfectly in the palm of my hand!

Steve bought me everything, the log, the tank, the lizards, and the lights. So I officially have a zoo going in my apartment. Three lizards (Terrence my Leopard Gecko, Sushi and Tofu my bearded dragons) My fish tank with the four beautiful fish, a beta named King George the second, and mine and Steves cat Kitty. Combine that with the Scorpion named Fluffy, and the Snapping Turtle named Sassy that Steve has at his place... well we are going to have a full family. I just feel bad because I did not really get him anything much for our anniversary. (technically the Christmas gift overlaps because it was such a rariety of rocks and stones that I got him) But I was not expecting him to pay so much for these lizards and everything.

So I ended up making him dinner! I made a shrimp bruschetta, which was actually pretty darn good. And for the main course I made shrimp pasta, going along with our shrimp theme. We then sat on my front porch and sipped Champaign, while Kitty plopped down next to us.

It is going to literally hurt when I don't get to see Steve for weeks on end. I will be 2 ish hours away from him, working my butt off to help these kids love music and playing an instrument, and he will still be going to school to get his degree.

I know I will be doing plenty of blogging, crafting, and reaching out for kind words!

Well, off to spend the last few hours hanging out with him before he leaves for Charleston.

Sunday, July 03, 2011


I want to introduce my newest family member! Steve bought me a baby bearded dragon for our anniversary! I wanted to call it Tofu... buuuut Steve decided on Marley. It is a good fit.

I do not know if it is a girl or boy yet, but once it gets older we will find out! Right now its basking in its light on its corkboard log. Kitty is laying with her head on the spare piece of cork board while napping. She spent the past two hours just sitting there staring at the lizard.

I could not be a happier person right now!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

All moved in.... ish

Hey everyone,
So, I am technically moved into my new apartment. I have all the esseentials, bed, couch, tv, kitchen table, chairs, bookshelf, yadda yadda yadda.

Moving a dresser from the rents place on Tuesday, so I can finally stop living out of garbage bags full of clothes. Not fun... THe wrinkles are nuts to deal with when you have no iron, and have to pay a dollar to use the dryer...

I have been keeping busy though, I have stopped by the high school a few times, organized the band room to look like a band room. I collected all the music laying around and brought it to the music storage room (its a mess in there, but thankfully not too bad). I did realize that the band is going to need to purchase more mallets for the percussion section. I found one matching set, and also found out that one of the sticks was broken in half... Unless of course, the students provide their own, which is something I should ask about soon!

It's hot in the school, like sweltering. I will be bringing a couple of my home fans to hopefully cool off the music storage room so I can get some work done in there come Wednesday. But for now I am home at my parents place celebrating the 4th of July with a block party and a few cold drinks.

Oh yeah, and I get to celebrate mine and Steve's anniversary with sushi and Schaumburg Flyers baseball game! He asked me out on the fourth of July, which I thought was sweet until he let it slip that if its on a holiday then its less easy to forget about. I was upset for a millisecond until I realized... he is absolutely correct...

So. What have I been doing craft wise? Well no cable and internet means that I have a bunch of free time to watch my three series of Two and a Half Men, and craft. So here is what I have been up to!

I finally finished my mother's scarf. Which I had promised her back in January... Oops. Well it has some nice autumn colors so hopefully she will be able to use it once it starts getting cooler. (if that EVER happens....)

Next up is a quick hat I crocheted when I realized I had to start stash busting because I have boxes of yarn that needs to be used up. Too bad I barely used any of that skein of yarn. I love it though. I cannot remember for the life of me what the yarn is, but it is soooo soft.

I finished up the baby blanket with a cute flower that matches the edging. I actually really enjoyed doing this blanket, mostly because I knew that I wanted to make it cute, as I am not really a cutesy type of a girl. But I think I did good!

I was going through my yarn stash and came across yarn that I had spun up last year, but it was not skeined up or even wrapped correctly (I did not have a yarn swift until earlier this year) So I swifted it up, and skeined it up, and I just live this yarn. It is in fact for sale in my store, but I have yet to change the photos over.
It is handspun with a drop spindle, so for all you spinners out there you know it took.... forever. I have got to invest in a spinning wheel when I start getting money. (hahaha that was a joke- I won't have any money until my loans are paid off!)

Last but not least, I have some yarn that I just finished spinning, wool, one ply, not sure of yardage as I was too lazy to count out the number of times I wrapped it around the swift. I am not fond of the colors, as they are not really my type of colors, buuuut I do like how it turned out. I still have another 2 ounces of this fiber left, and then sadly... I am out of fiber! I have gone through my stash! Sad day.... I will have to buy some more soon....

Well, I'm off for now, I have to get over to the block party to do a balloon toss with the folks!