Friday, August 31, 2007

Holiday Update Post – the rest!

(The last of a chain of long holiday posts!)

Day 12 – 13
On the Friday, the day after we went to Universal, Leon was not very well. this day had been allotted as the water park day. I didn’t want to leave Leon on his own, so I stayed at the villa with him. I have to admit I was pretty grumpy about it at first. However, I soon realised that Leon really was sick, so I left him in bed and took my knitting and a puzzle book and sat by the pool. It was actually a pleasant way to spend a day, just lounging around, bottle of water by my side, knitting in hand. Of course there are no pictures to prove this because I took most of the photos for the holiday and I didn’t think of putting the timer on! The cold I’d been fending off since Clearwater was making my eyes runny too, which didn’t help. However, I got quite a bit of my socks done – in fact almost all of the progress I made is where I still am – I’ve only knitted a couple more rows since my holiday. [I confess, I have been neglecting the sock]
The rest of the family had been to Blizzard Beach, which my dad assured me wasn’t as good as Wet’n’Wild. I felt less disappointed then. That evening the plan was to go to old town. This was, unfortunately, largely for Leon to go see the pimped cars. I got Leon up and took him outside with a drink to see how he coped with being up. He didn’t cope, so I asked if someone would collect me a takeaway from somewhere and then Leon and I stayed at the Villa watching terrible American TV. They were also showing the film Bedazzled (the recent version) which was an interesting concept, but pretty pants viewing – especially with commercials every ten minutes!

On the Saturday Leon was feeling a little better, and we managed to convince him to go shopping. I had been looking forward to this shopping trip, though Leon might have felt better had we left him at home! However, I went to the Converse store and bought two pairs of converse trainers. I couldn’t justify more, and it’s a good job because the big case was heavy!
That done, and a couple more shops perused, we headed back via Dunkin’ Donuts for donuts (or in my case a bagel) which was nice. We had an hour back at the villa before more shopping wandering aimlessly around a mall.
That evening we were down for the Pirates dinner adventure
It was an interesting show of acrobatics and a little drama, with audience participation and general noisiness. Our pirate was the Red Pirate (Aar!) or Cutthroat Jack. Sadlly, I think that the story was geared against him being a winner.
Anyway, as well as cheering Jack (Yey! Woo!) and jeering the other pirates (boo!) I actually got to join in. Jack picked me to be one of the “treasure hunters” (oddly we were all girls; I am pleased I put on my pretty frock and combed my hair) where I had to grab a flag and run it up a flag pole. I was very quick, but one of the girls on my team dropped the flag off the pole and had to begin again. Boo. It was fun though!
 Pirates Dinner Adventure - Red Pirate Cutthroat Jack Leon and Hayley Holiday Update Post – Day 14 – Kennedy Space Centre
On the Sunday we decided that we really needed to go to the Kennedy Space Centre, so we all hopped into the van. I had a bit of a ‘mare and had to let Dad drive.
Anyway, we did get there in one piece. We started the day in the Rocket Garden, where I got ridiculously sunburnt (we lost our sun screen on the Mummy ride, I think) but I really liked looking at all the rockets and stuff. I think that my favourite was the Saturn rocket because that is the one they used to take people to the moon.
 Kennedy Space Center Rocket Garden - Saturn I We spent a few moments in the memorial garden too; there are quite a lot of people who have died as part of the space program. The plaque for the Challenger incident was touching, but it is usually the Apollo 1 mission that makes me both sad and proud of these brave men and women.
We watched some more imax and a film narrated by Sisko from DS9 before we went on the tour. We got to get much closer to the launch pads, and I learnt that they don’t call it “blast off” because that sounds a bit violent! We also spent some time in the Apollo museum, which has lots of left-overs which should have gone to the moon in the last few missions which never happened.
The tour took ages but still left us with a half hour to look around the astronaut hall of fame. There we learnt about the astronauts themselves. Some of the astronauts have seven mission badges. That’s pretty cool.

Holiday Update Post – Day 15
We decided to make the most of our last day in Florida, the flight being quite late, so we opted for an early check in for the bags and went to the Wonderworks after breakfast. Wonderworks are more about interesting things rather than the unbelievable things at Ripley’s. I liked the pretty wall that you could dance to make the patterns. That was way too much fun. I didn’t like putting my hand in the water that was as cold as the water where the Titanic sank. Leon got to land the space shuttle (in a simulator) and we all did a quiz to see how old we are. I lost three years, which is nice.
 Wonderworks - Crazy Dancing Screen We wandered around another mall and then headed down to Old Street Station. It’s pretty much closed down now, but the old buildings were cool. I felt a little bit like someone was going to rob me though. Eek.

Post Holiday Blues
We flew back overnight. Leon managed to sleep on the plane, I tried to but didn’t really settle. However, the train was pretty much waiting for us after the nightmare that is baggage collection, and mum and dad just made theirs with seconds to spare! We got back to York, and back to our house and I couldn’t help but sit down and have a little cry. I was tired and cold (very cold, it was 15 degrees – that’s colder than the night time lows had been) and just wanted to be somewhere else. Happily, my love of York has returned. Being back at work sucks too, but I have to earn the money to pay for our fun holidays somehow!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Another Knitting Update

So I went and cast on another project this week, the fingerless mittens I’ve been contemplating. They’re a pretty quick knit (I’ve made one already) as they’re just ribbed rectangles which get sewn up with a hole for the thumb. I might make another pair in different stuff if these go well, but I think I also might make a scarf out of whatever is left of the two. I think that a skinny-long scarf might be just the thing! I hope that I can get enough length out of the yarn I have left. I suspect that I’ll run out of the green first as it’s going down faster. It’s more of a suedette while the purple is kind of furry. It’s hard to describe!
I almost, but then didn’t, bought some cotton yarn in town at lunch. I was actually on a shopping expedition for non-yarn things for my secret pal. One of them I might have to keep for myself because it might be too heavy to sensibly post I really like it. We will see. I’m chuffed with the other bits though. I’m not going to run the risk of posting what I bought here!
I’ve been looking online at some nice ethical yarns, such as recycled sari silk, as well as some environmentally friendly ones, such as banana fibre – this uses the bits of the banana plant that would normally be thrown away. It fits the mantra that I would like to follow better:
Re-use, reduce, recycle.
Re-use is the safari silk, reduce is the banana – you’re reducing the waste product from bananas (which I eat), recycle is… I don’t have one of those yet, though I guess sari silk is that too. I think maybe re-use would be buying a second hand knitted garment. Ah, it’s confusing. The concept of nettle yarn intrigues me too
So, now I just have to think about some gift knitting I want to do, and more importantly: how much time I need to set aside for gift knitting rather than knitting for me. I hope that it is not as disastrous as the failed lace attempt I was doing before our holiday. Ho hum.

Holiday Update Post – day 10 - 11

Daytona Leon and I dropped off our car at Hertz and then jumped in the van for a trip to Daytona. Once we arrived we stopped off in a little café which had a map similar to the one that Leon and I had used to navigate around Clearwater. From the map we spotted that there were a couple of things of interest in the area. However, these things only took a short time (a chocolate shop and a very small museum) so we decided to head back to the Daytona Raceway for Paul to take some pictures before moving on.

When we got to the raceway we spotted that there was a pretty big museum there, and that it wasn’t very expensive and the price included a tour of the track. Leon and Paul both wanted to see that and to be honest I was quite intrigued. I was glad of it, when we got in, for there was the bluebird – the record breaking car! There were lots of really interesting exhibits though my favourite was the “pit stop challenge” where members of the audience get a chance to be a pit crew for a few seconds. I shoved Leon to the front of the crowd and he was picked. He got to use some kind of power tool for taking the nuts off a wheel and putting a new one on. He, and the other people picked, did really well! They didn’t get the best time of the day, but they did pretty well. I hope to put the video online some time, but don’t know how at the moment.

There was also an imax and the tour was really interesting, actually. I bet if you were a fan it would be even more fun. My favourite bit was getting up onto the winners dais at victory lane for a photo!
 Daytona Raceway Victory Lane - Hayley Mum and Gayle
We had hoped to go to the Kennedy Space Centre that day too, but as you can imagine it was a bit too long a day to also do that.

Universal Studios
Thursday of the second week had always been earmarked as the day that we would go to Universal Studios. Mum and dad decided to stay at the villa for the day, so the rest of us took the van and headed off to the theme park.
I had been looking forwards to taking Leon on the Back to the Future ride, as BttF is one of his favourite movie trilogies. However, to both our disappointment, the ride has closed, making way for a Simpsons ride of all things. Really, I was gutted. Still, there was lots left to do, we loved the Terminator experience (which was different from when I last visited Universal) and Jaws was interesting (though it is showing its age – I wonder if it will be next to bite the bullet) I really liked the Shrek one, and the Mummy one was funny and cool, though it was a roller coaster so Leon was unimpressed.
We also enjoyed a cheeseburger and fries in Mel’s diner, which will mean something to people who’ve seen American Graffiti.
 Universal Studio - Hayley in Mels Diner There were lots of cool cars around and about, and some look-alikes too. I was disappointed that none of the Scooby Doo look-alikes said “jinkeys” or “zoiks” and I hung around for a good few minutes as they had Dr Emmet Brown with them!
It was a thoroughly enjoyable day, even when it rained on us in the late afternoon while we were waiting for Gayle and Paul who had also been to Islands of Adventure.

I think that Universal was my favourite theme-park day, though Busch Gardens was good, I would have enjoyed socialising with my family some more. And I’m still slightly annoyed about missing out on the water rides. I don’t do water rides in the UK, it’s too cold. However, as I said to Jaxon at the time – it just means I have to go back to Florida some time!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Holiday Update Post - Day 7, 8 and 9

Warning: Image Heavy Post!
Early on Sunday morning Leon and I were dropped off at Hertz to pick up our shiny rental car for the next few days. We had booked a “Ford Focus or similar” and I was hoping for an American car. However we ended up with a Honda Civic (Sadly no pics). I joked, on the way out, that I’d come a long way to end up in a Japanese car, to which the clerk responded, “but it’s good on fuel!” – and she wasn’t kidding!
Anyway, Leon drove us back to the villa to give him chance to have a go in the car before we got to Clearwater – our next destination. We picked up the case for our mini-holiday and headed off, alone.

Clearwater was about an hour and a half drive from the villa in Kissimmee, and despite the roadworks on the way, our Google maps directions got us to the hotel. We pulled up outside the “Quality Inn on the Beach” just as it began to rain. When it rains in Florida, it really goes for it. The man in the parking lot was very helpful and sorted us out with what we needed to do.
Anyway, once the rain was stopped and the car was legally parked, we went for a walk down to the main beach. We didn’t get that far, for two reasons: it was further than we thought and very hot, and there were more road works. Poo.
We did pick up some very useful maps of the area which had all sorts of useful bit on them, like where was nice to eat and who did dolphin cruises.
So, we ate in a small sea-food restaurant on the bay called Shells. It turned out that margaritas were 2-for-1, but they don’t say so, they just bring you two!  Clearwater Shells bar - Leon The food was nice, though I find I can’t eat as much when I’m hot. The view was nice too, but we decided that the view from the hotel tiki bar would be better for the sunset. In fact, our hotel room faced west too!
The beach had been busy that day (it was the last day of the summer holidays for the students we encountered on the beach, I think) and the bar just down the beach had some kind of live DJ thing going on, which we could enjoy for free where we were.
 Clearwater Tiki bar - Sunset There was a storm brewing that night, but it didn’t hit until quite late, by which time we were tucked up in bed! The next morning, and our only whole day in Clearwater, we had decided that we were going to go on a dolphin watching cruise. I had been on one of these tours about nine years ago, with my family, and they are fantastic. We booked in on the 11am cruise with “Dolphin Encounters” and then wandered around the shops for a little while, including buying stamps for our postcards. It got to “ten before” as the lady had said, and we went to see about the cruise. It looked like we weren’t going to go as they needed at least four they said, and we were just two. Fortunately a mad American lady, her friend and two children arrived. So off we went.
From the boat we could see our hotel,
The main beach,
And then, dolphins! Woo-hoo! Just as before, it was fantastic. I really enjoyed it. There were several dolphins feeding – one even came up to show us his fish!
 Clearwater Dolphins There was a mother and baby (calf) too, who were diving together. So much fun! Once we’d been out for our hour, they took us back to feed the birds. This sounds quite mundane, but isn’t! you can hold up bread for the seagulls and they’ll pick it right from your fingers. Cool, if a little nerve-wracking!
I enjoyed myself so much that we bought the souvenir photo too.

happy with our dolphin experience (if a little hot) we headed back to the hotel to collect the car ready for our next trip. We had decided to visit Tarpon Springs (home of the Greek community and the sponge divers) and also the Corvettes and Collectables museum there.
We had a bit of fun finding the museum because I thought we were on the 19 (a main road) but we were on the Alt19 (the coast road) – once I had figured that out we managed to find the place. Leon was driving so it was all my map-reading skill! It wasn’t expensive and the cars were all very pretty. Leon saw some of his favourite American Muscle Cars, and I liked the Batmobile.

We had dinner in a Greek restaurant in Tarpon Springs, which was very nice indeed. It almost felt like home, with the non-American food! (there’s only so many fries one can eat)
After this nice steady day we were ready to head back to watch another Clearwater sunset, so I drove us home. We headed down to the tiki bar again, and took some amazing photos – there was a storm coming in too, and it made for some dramatic pictures!  Clearwater Tiki bar - Sunset and Storm, Hayley and Leon After the sun went down we took a walk on the beach (very romantic, despite the sharp shells!)

The following morning, we got up and had breakfast in a small Italian restaurant. I got to have what I think of as an American breakfast (I guess it’s actually an Italian-American breakfast, now I think about it!) – I had eggs benedict Florentine. That’s poached egg on an English muffin with spinach and hollandaise sauce. It was sooooo good!

We had two more destinations before we headed back to the villa. The first of these was Treasure Island. Really. It’s south of Clearwater, but north of St Pete. The beach was so vast, so white and so empty! I had considered staying in Treasure Island rather than Clearwater, but given how quiet we had found Clearwater to be, I think Treasure Island would have been too sleepy.
 Treasure Island Beach It was very nice, mind, but not much to do.
Then we set off to see the Sunshine Skyway, which is a big old suspension bridge. It’s a pretty bridge too. I was concerned that the toll would be dear as we didn’t have much cash left. It was $1 (about 50p) so that was fine, except that we got stuck in traffic on the bridge. It should have taken us an extra 20 minutes to get back, a total of two hours. Instead it took us about three and a half hours to get back to the villa, where everyone else had got back only a short while before.

Leon and I had a fantastic mini-break during our holiday. The vast amount of improvements going on in Clearwater made it a bit difficult as pedestrians (and they have a roundabout, just to confuse you in the car!) but I’d recommend it to anyone. I haven’t seen anywhere on the planet with beaches quite like those on the Gulf of Mexico. (Though I have only been to northern Spain, northern France, Corfu, the Canaries [which come close] and places in the UK – there are so many other places I want to go to…)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Knitting lists

Now that I'm on Ravelry as Tsuki, I have finally compiled a list of the projects that I want to make. These range from simple things (like a crochet scarf, since I'm new at crochet) and small things like bags, to more complicated lacy patterns and big things (like the sudoku blanket I'm making!). It has also given me the chance to put some items from my stash into the queue too. That means two things: I know what I have left in my stash for using up, and I also know what yarn I now need to make the projects I have in my queue.

As my Secret Pal pointed out, that could be useful to them - though they might not be on ravelry, so, here's the list:
Simply Knitting's Fingerless Mittens – using two balls from my stash in purple and green.
Simply Knitting's Crochet Carrier Various Aran/DK - again, a stash buster
Simply Knitting (July) Cushion Covers Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (4 balls per cover) – I think I could do this with some other yarn, possibly something better for washing as cushions in this house are treated pretty rough. I also might want to alter the pattern for the small (10”) cushions with my sofa bed.
Furry Friend Elle Pure Gold 4-Ply x 2 and Elle Furry Friends x 1
Green Goddess Artesano Alpaca Inca Mist Baby Alpaca x12
Beautiful Berry (Simply Knitting Spring 07) Emu Superwash DK (grape) x11 Wendy shimmer x 2 (berries)
Punk Rock Backpack (SnB Handbook) Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted x 5 – four colours for the monkey one, again, I might not want to do this in the colours (or maybe not even the yarn recommended) from the book. I’m thinking of doing more than one in several colours to send as a gift.
Fluffy Cuff Mittens (SnB Handbook) I thought I had appropriate yarn for these, but I;m not sure as I don’t think my fluffy pink goes with the pinks I have. I’m going to ask Leon what he thinks!
Cabled Newsboy Cap - Headline News (SnB Nation Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Hand Dyes x2 – I bet I can do these in an alternative yarn too.
Razor's Edge (SnB Nation) Gift? Brown Sheep Lambs Pride Bulky x5 – or similar, I might try out some other bulky (chunky) yarns here too.
Spiderweb Capelet Greek Wool 1 – I have already tried to knit this without referring to the online corrections. I will try again.
Accidentally on Purpose Drop Stitch Vest Patons Grace 7
SK Issue 31 - Pink Sunshine Debbie Bliss Rialto x 10
SK Issue 32 - Summer Classic Sirdar Ocean x 6
SK Issue 32 - Beautiful in Blue Bergère de France Bergereine x 14 [I love the shade Serpolet {though I'm not usually a green person} and might go for that, though it's not cheap!]
SK Issue 32 - Coastal Shades Lane Borgosesia Cashwool x 2 - SK used Blue Heather and Latte, but other combinations might be nice. Looks like one skein goes a long way too! I don’t see those colours at Angel Yarns, so I might have to hunt for them or alternatives at some point.
Anyway, I intend to finish at least two of my four WIPs before I begin any of these projects. I love that I can have a “to do” list on ravelry though!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

In other news…

Today the race for life finally happened!
I didn’t run all the way round this time, but when I ran I was going a bit quicker! I think I beat my previous time by a couple of minutes, though I didn’t wear a watch, so it’s hard to tell.
I’m plumping for 38 minutes. I started at half-past (9:30 on our camera – it’s still on Florida time!) and finished about 8 minutes past three, or so. It took me about 5 minutes to find someone I knew, with a watch.
Hopefully that’s good enough for my time related sponsors!

So anyway, thank you to everyone who sponsored me I will now be collecting the monies to send off.

Also, Gayle (my sister) competed too, she ran some of the race, but not all. I did the last 1km with her (again).

Well done to anyone who took part.

Holiday Update Post – Day 6

Lake Placid.
Lake Placid is a small town not far from Sebring (where my Aunt lives). My parents had visited once before and said that the murals were well worth seeing, so we decided to go there before heading off back to the villa.
I drove us down there, and we parked at the bottom of the road – near where it crosses main street, beside a nice park and opposite the bank. We got out of the van, and while mum and dad were looking around I was applying some sun-screen to Leon’s neck.
So, imagine the scene if you will:
There is a main road which intersects the one which we are parked on, and as I stand at the back of the van, with the van on my right, I can see the intersection and the lights. The bank is over the other side of the road on the left. Mum and dad are standing about two-to-three feet forward (as I am looking) from the bonnet/hood of the van, Leon is to my left, bending over to put sun-screen on.
Suddenly, we can hear screeching of brakes!
A white car (later seen to be an old Pontiac) screams around the corner from the lights and drives into the side of the bank. It veers away from the bank… It’s heading for me!
However, the trajectory was changing and as I ran towards the curb and away from the road, I could see that the car was actually heading directly for my mum and dad
I heard a sickening crunching sound and the whirr of an engine with no resistance as the car hit the curb where my parents had been and flew through into a tree in the park. The car wiped out the tree and hurtled on into the park. With an almighty bang the car was brought to a halt by a much bigger tree.
I looked over to Leon, who was fine, I looked over to see… my parents were both fine, though mum was shaken. I dashed into the park, mobile phone in hand having dialled 911. There was already a first responder on the scene, and the police, fire and ambulances were soon there too.
My dad had seen the car and had dragged my mum out of the way, as the tracks on the pavement were right where mum had been moments before. The local people were so nice, some of them came over to see mum and make sure that she was okay. Lots of them said that my parents must have a guardian angel watching over them!
The policeman was very kind and said that he had enough eyewitnesses; that it would be best not to take a statement as we’d have to come back in a year! The lady driving the car was okay, I gather, though it looked as though she may have broken her nose.
Mum wasn’t looking like she was holding up well, so I suggested that we find a café for a sit down and a drink, before going on to see the murals.

Anyway, we did get on to seeing the murals, and they were every bit as beautiful as we’d heard. It was nice and relaxing to wander around and see them. There were some with people, animals and beautiful scenes.
Lake Placid - Mural Garden
My favourite (as pictured) was a garden which had been built there. It had murals on all the walls, and fish in a pond and a small stream and a bridge. It was beautiful.
I can’t write down how tranquil and still it was, despite being only a block away from the main road.
So, then we headed back up to say farewell to my Aunt and head off to the villa for a relax.
I was a bit jumpy about car-related noises for several days!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Holiday Update Post – Day 4-5

Day 4 – Busch Gardens and meet the Heaths, Day 5 – shopping and BBQ
So, day 4 was scheduled from way before we went to the US, it was Busch Gardens day. The entire family was to be there, which is:
  • Coldrons:
    • Kevin (dad)
    • Susan (mum)
    • Hayley
    • Leon (honorary Coldron)
    • Gayle
    • Paul (honorary Coldron)
  • Heaths
    • Libby (my aunt)
    • Joe
    • Shea
    • Jaeson (honorary Heath)
    • Chris
    • Dani
    • Jaxon
Busch Gardens Primate House - Silverback again So yes, en-masse! It was a really cool day. Leon and I did the whole zoo thing, while everyone else went on the scary rollercoasters. I don’t do rollercoasters, but I did go on Gwazi which was a boneshaker!
For me, though, the best bit of the day was seeing my cousins again, especially Jaxon who I didn’t know at all – he was a baby when I last saw him (well, not more than a year or so – but he was adorable).
Shea was as pretty (and crazy) as ever, she doesn’t do anything by halves.
Chris is basically a man now, if he were in the UK he’d probably already have moved out and have a job somewhere cool. I know he can do good things with himself, and he knows it too.
Dani is so grown up. She was only Jaxon’s age when I saw her last. She’s so pretty and so confident.
Then there’s Jaxon. The young man is such a sweetheart I wanted to bring him home and show everyone. He’s got a heart of gold but he’s also the strongest (physically) nine year old I’ve ever met – he almost managed to put me in the pool!
Libby and Joe were much the same as before. I get the feeling that they didn’t realise I’d grown up (I was only 17 when we last met, and boy am I different now!) but I am still me! I kept forgetting that Joe can’t tell when I’m winding him up, and I think he thought I was genuinely upset with him one night. there’s a big hug for ya Joe! I have loads of family history stuff to share with Libby – I think I may have some stuff that she doesn’t, so I’ll send it over. Also I don’t mind paying for certificates and she can have copies of those when we only get a scanner.
I should mention Jaeson. He’s Shea’s on/off (as far as I can tell) he seemed nice. He’s one of those people that you can’t imagine disliking, even if he says something controversial.
So, my family. I was so happy to see everyone again, I could have just sat and talked to them all and done nothing else. First night I was the designated driver, and we all know how much fun that is. The second night, the “kids” (16, 18 and 22!) were going out, so we didn’t see much of them.
I must mention my gift from my cousins, which is a beautiful mug – they didn’t know I collect mugs, but still managed to pick a perfect gift! Also, it’s a funky square mug (like the ones I chose for our dinner service) and is brown and blue – two colours I love together. (NB I love the “H” mug Gayle bought me the other Christmas too)

On the Saturday we did some shopping, played pool-volleyball (I was rubbish because I didn’t have my specs on [one day I’ll go ahead and accept that I need them all the time] and also because, as Dani put it, I’m lazy – harsh but fair.) and had a barbeque. We also met the “Guy across the road” – those who know us in real life should ask Leon about that.

Quick Knitting Update!

Okay, I'm meant to be catching up on the holiday posts...

Truth is, I didn't do much crafting of any sort on holiday, I was way too busy having fun! I didn't want to take my knitting to a theme park for obvious reasons, so it tended to stay by the bed. I did a couple of rows on the cuff of the sock each night, but not much more.

On the Friday (you'll see why when the holiday post goes up) of the second week, I did get quite a bit of sock knitted (considering how slowly I knit if it's a lace pattern) - about 20 rows or more!

So, not much knitting to report, and not a bit of crochet at all. Boo.

However, I'm back in the saddle now, I've done another 10 rows of the sock since being back, and I'm already making eyes at a tank-top I saw in last month's simply knitting (I got this month's in the post already too, with a bunch more I want to knit!)

I need to get myself a nice folder to put all of the patterns I cut out of simply knitting in, then I could order them by which ones I want to make and which ones I might make one day. Those I want to make could go in order of weather, how much I like them, how hard they are (I might even try to go back to the *secret* lacy one I failed at) or something.

Then all I have to do is find the money for the yarn! No, I'm not too concerned about that.

I am also quite excited that I have bought the first part of my SP gift. I can't post anything about it though - I don't think my SP reads my blog, but they might!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Holiday Update Post – Day 3

In the morning of day 3, before we did fun holiday things, we had to go to breakfast to save some money. It turned out (unsurprisingly) to be a timeshare selling scheme. We looked round, it was nice. But not for us, it took 2.5 hours to get to “no” but we got there and saved our money (based on our hourly rates, we’re not sure we were better off…)

 Ripleys - Vampire Killing Kit Anyway, then we headed off to “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not”. The first thing of note is the building, which looks like it’s falling into a hole in the ground – fantastic! Anyway, they have loads of curiosities in there, from the world's smallest violin (seriously) to shrunken heads, to a giant chair! It was really fun and interesting! I’d recommend it to anyone who goes to Orlando – it’s not more than a few hours but it is fabulous.

Cocoa Beach - Shuttle Endeavour After Ripleys, I got to drive us all to the beach. We were heading to Cocoa Beach to see Endeavour launching. we had been told it was a good place to see the launch from. We could have been closer, but not for free! We ate at the beach but the waitress was very rude and the food was late. It was busy, fair enough, but I still expect a certain level of service and we didn’t get it. That minor annoyance aside, the beach was nice enough. There were less facilities than at New Smyrna but it was nice. And we took some nice pictures of the vapour trails!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Holiday Update Post – D-1 to 2

Leon and I took my parents’ lead and booked into the Manchester Airport Hilton for dinner, bed and breakfast the night before the flight. This was mainly to avoid the rush-hour train we would have had to take on Monday morning otherwise.
The room was fine, although the view from the window was of a roof, and it was noisy with the window open – then it is under the flight-path! The windows were soundproof anyway. Leon and I arrived at about noon, so we had a pricey lunch in the hotel and then whiled away some time in the beer garden. Mum and Dad arrived a bit later and we had a lovely dinner in the hotel restaurant.
We finished breakfast pretty early, and so headed off to the airport to meet Gayle and her boyfriend, Paul. Airport - 747 300 Waiting for the flight was its usual mind-numbing boredom (and no knitting!) I had provisions though – two chocolate flapjacks!
We were flying on a 747 300, which has an upstairs. However we didn’t get individual TVs – I didn’t mind though as the movies weren’t to my taste.

We arrived in Florida at around 5pm local time (about 10pm UK time). There was a minor panic (not me) when Paul had to explain why he had a new passport (coz the old one ran out – duh) but the security man who checked Leon’s and my passport was really nice. Bag collection was smooth, Sanford airport is so much of an improvement compared to Orlando International!
We picked up the rental car (sorry, no pic yet) which was a Dodge Grand Caravan. It was pretty pants, really. It didn’t handle well, the ride wasn’t especially comfortable – the Caravan (not Grand) that we had the time before was much nicer.
Then off we went to the Villa…
Some road works and a missed turning later, the villa is fabulous. It was a four bedroom three bathroom villa, it could sleep up to ten! My sister graciously let Leon and I have the double room, mum and dad took the king room and Gayle and Paul took both twin rooms! Our bathroom was en-suite, and the towels were folded into an elephant (nice touch!). Kissimmee Villa - Hayley There was even a loo-roll available! Leon unpacked a bit – I didn’t. I don’t like to have my stuff in other people’s drawers, it feels odd. Anyway, other than not being able to turn on the lamp (try plugging it in, dummo) the room was smashing, so we stripped to our swimwear and tested the pool. Some of the group (not me and Leon) went to Publix (an American supermarket, a bit like Waitrose) to buy some bits.

Kissimmee Villa Pool - Hayley The next morning we were all up early (still on UK time, you see) so we had plenty of time for a swim, breakfast, showering and getting sorted before going to see the Travel City reps down the road in Kissimmee itself. The rep was nice and gave us some useful information. Then she passed us on to another lady who said she could save us big money on some tickets to a show, and entry into a museum. (If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is) the catch was that we had to go have breakfast at some resort called Orange Lake. More about that on the bit about Day 3.

We all had a bit of a drive in the rental car, did a bit more shopping and played in the pool. Fairly uneventful. We also discovered that we had left the itinerary at home but as we could remember it, and our plans had changed due to the rescheduled shuttle launch, that was okay. It was hot, there was no rain and it was not humid.

That’s all for now, I’ll do the next few days tomorrow or something.
Oh - there's some pics on Flickr (see link nr top - I'm tired) but only up to this day, and only if you're listed as a friend or family. If you want to be listed as a friend or family you need a Flickr account, then you can do so. Provided that I have the foggiest idea who you are, I'll add you (probably). This is so that pics of my family aren't all over the web, as requested by them at various times!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Jenn's SP11 Contest!

My host for SP11 is Jenn, and she's sent us a contest - if we post answers to the below questions we can be in with a chance to win some lush sock yarn! Woo!

So, here's mine:

1. What is the one knitting accessory you could not live without?
My stitch and row counters - otherwise I have to draw tally charts on my patterns! I can't count rows myself yet, though I am working on it!

2. If you're heading on vacation, do you take knitting with you? If so, how much and what type of project?
I did take some knitting to Florida with me this last time - I took some socks and also my crochet squares. I didn't get much done though!

3. Where have you travelled to that you'd consider your favorite spot?
Hmm, that's a tough one. As I've been to Florida 5 times now, that's one, but I like historical places too. I like visiting warm places!

4. What is your favorite knitting book at the moment? Do you own it?
Well, I love the Debbie Stoller books which I've used to teach myself to knit. I don't really have any others.

5. Do you listen to podcasts? Which is your favorite(s)?
I only really listen to Cast On, usually in the bath as it's the only time I get chance. Don't worry though - I use speakers not headphones for the bath!

Well, there we go, I've sorted that out. Wish me luck!
Holiday update posts coming soon!

Friday, August 10, 2007

SP11 Questionnaire [updated]

Here's the SP11 Questionnaire!

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I love knitting with wool/wool blends. I've also tried cotton, but really I'll knit with anything!

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
At the moment they're in a compartment in my knitting chest.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
Beginner, I just started in January 2007.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

5. What's your favorite scent?
I'm into fruity ones.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I do like reece's peanut butter cups! haha. I prefer candy with fruit or nuts in it.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I knit and have just started to crochet, I don't spin. I do make dresses for myself.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I can play mp3s, I like cheesy UK pop.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I'm a pink and red girl. My least favourite colour is purple, though it can be nice.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I live with my other half, Leon; we have a dwarf russian hamster.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
yes, all of them (maybe even all at once sometimes!

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I dunno, I've not been knitting long enough to have a favourite. I am on my second pair of socks!

13. What are you knitting right now?
Socks, a throw, crocheting a baby blanket.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
of course!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I'm not a fan of the plastic ones, I don't own any circulars yet.
It is worth mentioning that I prefer longer needles that I can tuck under my arms, except for socks, of course!

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Nope, In fact I'm not sure what a swift is!

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
Less than 6 months, as I haven't been knitting long!

18. What is your favorite holiday?
I love the summer, hallowe'en is fun.

19. Is there anything that you collect?
I collect mugs (you know, like coffee/tea cups)

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I have a subscription to Simply Knitting and have all the Debbie Stoller books

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Anything! I love learning new stuff.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes, I'm a UK 6-7 (Euro 40, US 7-8) The average sock pattern you get with opal fit me fine.

23. When is your birthday?
December 31st

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?
Yes! Yes I am!!! I'm Tsuki

Saturday, August 04, 2007

See Ya Later, Alligator!

This is likely to be my last post until we get back from Florida, at which time I will show you lots of interesting photos bore you to death with stuff from my holiday.

First things first, I have been blogging about SP11 and not really said what it is. SP11 is a secret pal swap for knitters and crocheters. Sadly signups have closed now, so if you wanted to join in you’ll have to wait until SP12. Well, the premise is that you have two Secret Pals.
One secret pal knows who you are, but you don’t know who they are – until the end. They send you a parcel (or parcels) of lovely knitting related things, and some unrelated. They find out what you like by looking at your blog.
The other secret pal doesn’t know who you are, but you know who they are. You send them a parcel (or parcels) of lovely knitting related things, and some unrelated. You find out about them from their blog.
As far as I’ve seen (from Knit and purl mama and Brit Knitter’s blogs) these are great fun and rewarding. There are always going to be people who drop out for whatever reason, and there’s even a plan in place for that.

I am a little worried that my pal-who-doesn’t-know-who-I-am might feel a bit forgotten while I’m away, but I’m also hoping that my hostess will let them know about it! I have told the hostesses, hopefully they’ll get back to me tonight before I go.

So, anyway. I’m off on my holiday tomorrow morning and in the absence of internet cafés and the like, I’ll probably put nothing else on here until I’m back. I hope that you are all well, I’ll see those of you who I know in real life when I get back.

PS. To Lint, who said bye-bye on Friday: sorry I was weird, I was having one stressful last day at work!

Well, I’d better get off, we’re expecting our friends any time to collect Aston for his holiday too.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


I'm On the List for SP11! I am so excited! If my pal surfs in here while I'm on holiday - Hi Pal! If there are questionnaires and stuff I'll be doing them the minute I arrive home (or maybe even from an internet cafe in Florida!) Wow! Excited!

Zig-zag drive doobrey.

I managed to get some knitting done last night! I got home from work later than intended, and in a grumpy mood. However, I played around with my iPod and the new drive doobrey (I’ll explain in a moment) until dinner. Then we went to Body Pump (though it was only a 45 minute one).

So, yes, knitting.
I’m now on my second “zag” of the Zig-zag-bag. I’m also on the fourth colour. I’m not doing quite the same colour sequence as in the pattern, it’s similar though. It goes a bit like this:
1 1 1 1/2 2 2 2/1 1 1 1
1 1 1/2 2 2 2/1 1 1 1/2
1 1/2 2 2 2/1 1 1 1/2 2
1|2 2 2 2|1 1 1 1|2 2 2
3 3\2 2 2 2\3 3 3 3\2 2
3 3 3\2 2 2 2\3 3 3 3\2
3 3 3 3|2 2 2 2|3 3 3 3
3 3 3/4 4 4 4/3 3 3 3/4
3 3/4 4 4 4/3 3 3 3/4 4
3/4 4 4 4/3 3 3 3/4 4 4

I’ll change back to colour 1 once I get to the end of this zag. it basically means I’m going to have a pink-and-orange zig-zag and also a purple-and-green zig-zag, unless I can think of a way to put the pink in at a different point. I’ll try to remember to post a progress picture sometime before my holiday. It is more than two stripes wide, and could probably be done in more than two-colour sets. If I like the finished item I might make more. I intend to line the bag too, so that it is useable. If I also line the strap then it doesn’t stretch so much, though lining a knitted strap might be difficult. We will see.

The new drive doobrey is pretty cool, actually. We ordered this thing where you can plug an old drive into a box, and then connect this box via USB to our new PC, thereby getting at all of the old iTunes that I thought were stuck on the old and incompatible drive. This is probably the coolest bit of kit I’ve seen in a while. It also means that I now have the various new songs I bought on my new PC and can therefore put them onto my iPod before I go on holiday!

Holiday preparation is underway now. My waxing appointment is tonight, my haircut and tan are on Saturday. I also need to try to get my phone unlocked and buy an adapter for US-to-UK plugs so that we can charge phones, cameras and use my travel hairdryer!
My travel hairdryer is really doody actually (considering that it was bought as an emergency replacement when Leon knew that my parents were scheming to get my swanky posh one for my birthday) because there’s a switch thing you can twist round to make it work on different current (like in the US) which will be useful. Gayle’s apparently bought some American GHDs, so if I need to straighten my hair I may borrow those – though not while I’m in Clearwater because she’ll be elsewhere at that time.

So, the packing is done, we even weighed the big case, which is less than the small one! It was about 11kgs I think. (I’ve forgotten already!) I still need to find my baseball cap. We have to sort out and charge our iPods on Saturday and do the last-minute panics. The other thing we’ll be doing on Saturday is taking Aston to his holiday-home with some friends of ours. I will have to warn him to behave himself, he’s been a bit bitey recently. On Sunday we’ll have to un-plug everything we don’t need to leave on (so only the digi-recorder will be on, pretty much) and then we’ll be off. I am still considering taking a cab to the station (it’s only a 15 minute walk, but that’s a long way with heavy cases!).

Hopefully the Hilton will provide us with a cab to the hotel, though we’re arriving pretty early. They have gym and pool facilities there, which we might make use of, depending on the tan-care (we’re having spray tans) and on whether we want to go into Manchester for a potter around. I don’t know what we’re doing about lunch that day either, as we’ll arrive just before lunch. We’ll see.
I’m soooooo excited! It’s really starting to sink in that I'm jetting off to Florida in 4 days time, that I'm off to stay in the Hilton for a night before I go, that we’re going to see my aunt, uncle and cousins after almost 10 years! I’m looking forward to all of it, everything. Even the enormous portions! Hopefully if there’s a pool at the villa I can make use of that and get some exercise! We don’t know what there will be on the complex, maybe golf (!) or a gym, could be anything.

I hope that I can get my phone unlocked, and that it will work over in the USA. I do need to call Orange and get them to enable international calling, just to be on the safe side. I still need to call the bank(s) and let them know that I'm going abroad so that they don’t cancel/stop my card (how embarrassing would that be?)

Okay, I’ve gone on too long. Happy knitting, happy holidays, happy Hayley!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Pack it in...

That’s what I’ve been doing! last night was officially “packing night”. I even recorded CSI:Miami so that I could concentrate on packing.
First, I weighed the two empty cases. The smaller one was just under 5kg, the larger one was a little bit over. That leaves me with 15kg per case (ish) to put my crap in neatly pack my beautiful clothes.
So, I got the pile of clothes, and underwear, and then began working through my list. I needed to sort out:
  • first aid kit, to include plasters, after-bite remedy, anti-histamines and indigestion tablets.
  • wash bag, to be accessible from the hotel, to include: decanted shampoo and conditioner (400ml is really heavy!) cleanser, cotton wool, shower gel, suncream, soap.
  • wash bag for Leon, same basics, plus toothpaste and out new toothbrushes. (his bag is bigger)
  • makeup bag, basics only
And then things like phone, camera and iPod chargers. (which reminds me…)

So, I got pretty grumpy with it all, but got there in the end after taking off a million tags! I’m going to go back to it tonight (maybe) and see what I can leave behind. I reckon I could get down to a bit lighter, but not much.
Anyway, the smaller case now weighs just shy of 15kg. I haven’t weighed the big one yet, but as it’s only half-full I would expect it to be less than that. We’ll see.
I might see about a taxi to the station though! There are too many stairs otherwise, though we’ll probably be on platform 11 and have to go up the stairs anyway! (the lifts in the station are scary.)

Also, the gas meter man is meant to have come today before 1pm (12 minutes ago) and Leon was going to call to let me know he had been. Either the man hasn’t been (grr) or Leon’s forgotten to call (grrr)

No knitting update, I’ve been packing.