Thursday, April 29, 2010

Adorable Initial Note Cards

I just wanted to give a shout out to Michelle at Oodles of Color.  I bought these note cards for my best friend to thank her for putting up with my death cough while we were in Memphis this weekend.  I had some pretty specific requests:  My friend is something of a jock, so they couldn't be too fussy or too girly.  But she knows how much I like pink, so she often wears a lovely pink sweater when we hang out (how's THAT for a good friend!?).  This weekend, she had paired the pink sweater with a pair of grey walking shorts and looked very chic--I teased her mercilessly about it!!  So I needed cards that were pink and gray . . . but still pretty simple.  Michelle's cards fit the bill perfectly.

The cards arrived last night (making their way from St. Paul to D.C. in only three days!), sweetly packaged with a matching ribbon and paper band.  They were as adorable as they looked in the picture, and the paper was very high quality.  I was thrilled with them--and my friend was too.  Thanks Michelle!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Shrinky Dink Art

As a kid, I LOVED my Shrinky Dinks.  I thought it was so cool to pop my little artistic masterpieces in the microwave and see them dance on the cookie sheet until they emerged a fraction of their original size.  Of course, back then, I thought the sole utility of Shrinky Dinks was creating miniatures of Smurfette and Strawberry Shortcake (back when she wore the pinafore--before they sexed her up). 

Anyway, I was browsing Kalleen's lovely blog At Second Street, and I discovered that she is quite the Shrinky Dink artist.  Check out the straight pins and push pins she's given as gifts.  They're absolutely adorable.  If she and I were friends, I would be dropping some not-so-subtle hints. 

Kalleen's genius got my own artistic juices flowing, and I poked around a bit online to discover that Shrinky Dink crafts are a real art form.  Some of my favorites are below: 

I think some Shrinky Dink trinkets will be making an appearance at an upcoming event hosted by me--I'm thinking they would be great place cards or buffet labels or gift bag tags.  The possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Drug of Choice

NyQuil. God, I love that stuff.  For the past 48 hours, I have had a death cough, sore throat, and labored breathing.  My neck and shoulder muscles ache to the point where it hurts to hold up my head.  I've been alternately shivery and sweating.  I've been--in a word--miserable.

I've worked my way through a couple of bags of cough drops and a whole lot of cough suppressants.  I've tried hot tea and juice for Vitamin C.  I've taken hot showers and curled up on the couch with a box of tissues.

The only thing that has provided any relief is NyQuil.  I realize that it's only because NyQuil has about 25% alcohol, which knocks you right out (which is why DayQuil doesn't do much at all), but wow is it the best sleep ever.   It really is the night-time, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head fever so you can rest medicine.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mid-South Vacation Recap

Well the trip to Memphis was as good as I hoped!  What a nice weekend--we had such a great time!

We left D.C. on Friday morning and got to our hotel by about 2pm.  We went straight to Rendezvous--one of Memphis's premier BBQ joints--for a late lunch, which was delicious as usual.  We bummed around town for a while and then went to a Redbirds game in the evening.  (I'm not a big sports fan, but I think Minor League baseball is really fun, and AutoZone Park is just so charming.)  The game was rained out, but it was fun while it lasted. 

Saturday morning started out pretty ominously, with thunder, lightning, rain, and fog.  We made our way to the federal courthouse, where we had a reunion party with the people we used to work with.   We talked and laughed and ate more BBQ.  By the time we wrapped up, the sun had come out and there was a light, pleasant breeze.  My best friend and I (that's her in the purple sweater in the lower right picture, and I'm in the green dress) got in the car and headed for Oxford, Mississippi.  

If it's possible, the weather got even more gorgeous as we drove further South.  By the time we got to Oxford, it was absolutely beautiful.  It was the Double Decker Festival, and everyone in Oxford was out, feeling festive. We walked around the Square, listened to music, and people-watched, until it was time for dinner at City Grocery, another of our favorites (the homemade whoopie pies for dessert were--in a word--amazing).  We spent a good hour at Square Books, one of the best bookstores in the world, browsing (and buying) before heading back to Memphis.  

On Sunday morning, we had brunch in downtown Memphis and then got ready to leave.  All in all, it was a perfect weekend. 

Unfortunately, all good things must end, and I came back from Memphis with a high fever, cough, and sore throat,  but I'm so grateful that my sickness didn't set in until the plane ride home.  So I'm at home today catching up on my daytime TV (and blogging!).

Friday, April 23, 2010

Last Sale Weekend

Just a reminder that the Semi-Annual Sale ends on Sunday.  So this is your last weekend to save 40% on all in-stock sweaters or place a customer order and receive free shipping.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Memphis is Tomorrow!

You may remember a few weeks ago when I posted about having made plans to go to Memphis.  Well, Memphis is finally this weekend!  We leave tomorrow morning.  I can't remember the last time I've been this excited about a weekend out of town.  (Maybe it's because work has really been dragging lately, and I'm really just looking for a day off work!)

But notwithstanding the day off, I am genuinely excited about the trip for lots of reasons.  I loved living in Memphis, and I always enjoy getting to go back.  My apartment was on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River.  The picture on the left was the view from my front door--you just can't beat sunsets over the Mississippi as the scenery for an evening walk.  Mr. Bullet loved to play in the river (though he didn't smell so good when he came out.)

But I digress.  I'm also going with one of my best friends, who I travel really well with (and I don't travel well with a lot of people--I'm way too particular about things).  And the best thing is that on Saturday afternoon we're going to go to Oxford, Mississippi, which was one of our frequent destinations when we lived in Memphis.  I remember so fondly walking around the square, running through Ole Miss, and spending hours in Square Books.  The Double Decker Festival is this weekend in Oxford, and we have reservations at City Grocery, one of our favorite restaurants.   I'm so excited.

The only wildcard is the weather.  Right now the forecast shows storms on Saturday, but I'm optimistic that the sun will shine.

Once more:  I'm SO excited!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happy Administrative Professionals' Day!

Administrative Professionals' Day snuck up on me today, but luckily I remembered in time to be able to say a big THANK YOU to everyone I work with.  And if you work in an administrative support position, I hope someone remembered to say "thank you" as well.  If not, I'm thanking you on their behalf.

At my office, we had a fancy lunch today for everyone to celebrate Administrative Professionals' Day.  It was actually surprisingly good!  For dessert, they had a Good Humor ice cream cart, complete with a fun umbrella like the one you see here.  The cart had ice cream sandwiches, King Cones, Chocolate Eclair bars, and all sorts of other cool treats.  Felt just like summer!

Taxation Without Representation

I promise to use this blog platform to air my political grievances only on the rarest of occasions, but this time I feel compelled to point out how disappointed I am that the D.C. Voting Rights Act is dead.  Again. 

It just seems fundamentally wrong to me that I live in a country governed by elected leaders, pay taxes, am an upstanding American citizen, etc., etc.  And I--like everyone else in the District of Columbia--have no representation in Congress.  I've read the arguments for and against D.C. voting rights, and I just don't find the reasons for not granting voting rights for D.C. residents to be compelling.  At all.  I'm not saying I think D.C. should be a state (I don't)--just that I think we should be able to vote for someone in Congress to represent our interests.  Just like everyone else in this country gets to do.  

Stepping off my soap box now.  But still really, really bummed.  


Monday, April 19, 2010

The iPhone Way to Fly

I don't think it would be hyperbole to say that my iPhone has revolutionized my approach to air travel.  In the old days, I would lug a stack of books and magazines along with me and hope that the movie was worth watching.  But flying was still pretty tedious, especially for long cross-country flights.

But then I started downloading TV shows and movies to my iPhone.  And suddenly I had a way to pass long blocks of time in the air.  Occasionally, I rent movies to watch while I'm flying, but more often I download an entire season of a TV show and watch one episode after the next.  I love that because I don't have to wait a week between episodes, I don't have to suffer through cliff-hangers.  It's been a great way for me to indulge my obsession with TV without committing to watching new shows each week.  I've discovered Gossip Girl, Greek, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and Raising The Bar this way.  I'm currently working my way through the Good Wife (which is a great show), and I'm planning to watch Glee next.

I don't mean to suggest that my iPhone has made squeezing into a tiny seat with absolutely no legroom and no peanuts pleasant, but it's at least more pleasant than it used to be.  And the period of unpleasantness seems to go faster.

(The thought has crossed my mind that if travel is good with an iPhone, it would be really good with an iPad . . . )

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Don't Pity Shelter Dogs

From a Pedigree adoption commercial:

"Shelter dogs aren’t broken. They’ve simply experienced more life. If they were human, we would call them wise. They would be the ones with tales to tell and stories to write. The ones dealt a bad hand and responded with courage. Do not pity a shelter dog. Adopt one."

Those Pedigree commercials get me every time.  They're worse than Hallmark, Kodak, or long-distance phone company commercials (at least, back when there were long-distance phone company commercials).  I saw one this morning that really got to me because Mr. Bullet is a two-time shelter dog.  By the time I adopted him, he had been a stray, then in the shelter, then adopted, then returned to the shelter.  All before he was six-months old!

[Cue my tears.]  If you want to see the commercial yourself, you can find it here.  In the meantime, in keeping with my promise to feature dogs looking for forever homes, here are some lost souls with tales to tell, currently living at the Washington Humane Society.  Please consider opening your heart and home to a shelter dog. 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Special Offer for Bloggers Ends Tomorrow

The Yellow House Knits Semi-Annual Sale is just about half over.  So far, it's been very successful.  I've sold a couple of in-stock sweaters, but--even better--I've gotten quite a few custom orders, which I really wasn't expecting.  Custom sweaters are so much fun to work on, both because it's nice to work with customers to design something perfect and because I like the variety inherent in custom work.  I think a lot of customers like to be able to give gifts that are truly one-of-a-kind.

Just a reminder that, even though the sale runs through April 25, tomorrow is the last day for bloggers to take advantage of the special offer.  Post on your blog (including a picture of a sweater) about the sale and receive either (1) free shipping on your in-stock sale order or (2) a coupon for 15% off a future order.  Email me at yellowhouseknits(at) to let me know where to find your blog post and where to send your coupon code.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Buttons for Girls

In a previous post, I featured some new buttons for boys' sweaters.  Not surprisingly, I also got some new ones for girls' sweaters.  Check out these candy hearts and purple stars--sounds like something you'd find in a Lucky Charms box!

I might use the pink hearts on that new Lilly Pulitzer custom sweater I'm working on.  I think the stars are going to go on a purple and gray sweater that I've been thinking about for a while now.  I think it should be a pretty sophisticated color combination, and the buttons will really pull the whole thing together.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Daffodil Line

I witnessed the planting of this art installation back in Fall 2003 when I still lived in Ann Arbor and watched the daffodils bloom for the first time that spring.  It was at the time (and I still think it is) one of the most magnificent things I've seen--more than 20,000 daffodils planted in a line that extends for a half-mile through the University of Michigan's Nichols Arboretum (which is pretty spectacular all by itself).  The topography of the Arb varies considerably--grassy fields, deep valleys, and wooded hills, and it's so cool to see the bright yellow flowers wind their way through the landscape.  And by the time the daffodils bloom in Michigan, everyone is so ready for spring, so the flowers seem particularly joyous.  Apparently, no efforts are made to alter the naturalization of the bulbs, so it will be interesting to see what happens to the line over time. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Am Loved

Since my most recent (and hopefully final!) trip to Indianapolis was a little longer than other trips, Mr. Bullet spent the week with my parents rather than at the Big K (our euphemism for the kennel).  I thought it would be a nice vacation for him because he's stayed with them before and--for as truly neurotic as he is--he travels beautifully.  Plus my parents have a big back yard, and he loves to be outside.

Not so much this time.

It turns out that he hung out under my bed the whole week--they couldn't even lure him out to eat or do his business.  And, he apparently collected all of my shoes from my bedroom, dragged them under the bed with him, and made a little nest for himself.  Doesn't sound terribly comfortable, but I'm glad he was able to find a way to feel close to me.  And I have to admit that it's pretty darn adorable.  When I saw all of those shoes under the bed, my heart melted.

Needless to say, we were both so happy to see each other, but I get the sense that Bullet will be the first one in the car to drive back to D.C. this morning.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Smelly Markers

Do you ever stumble across something--an object, a smell, an image--that instantly transports you back to another time and place?  It's funny how the strangest things can evoke such powerful memories.

This morning I was in a client's conference room rummaging through a cabinet for a notepad and found a box of Mr. Sketch scented markers, which I knew as "smelly markers" in my elementary school days.  I LOVED those markers, and would often come home from school with a rainbow of marker smudges on my nose and upper lip from inhaling those non-toxic aromas. 

It's probably been 10 years since I've seen one of these markers, but one whiff of the baby-aspirin orange marker, and I was back in third grade, and my best friend Julie and I were coloring fruit shapes on our hands and arms with the hope of preserving the wonderful smells.  We would come home with more tatoos than Bombshell McGee.  My mother must have been so thankful they weren't permanent. 

What takes you back?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sailboats and Baseballs

You may recall that I've written before about my commitment to knitting sweaters for little boys.  It's hard to find high-quality, clever buttons that are appropriate for boys' clothes (setting aside solid-colored buttons, which are always a good fallback but are less interesting).

So I'm really loving these new buttons I just got featuring sailboats and baseballs.  I think I'm going to use the baseballs on a blue cardigan, but I'm still trying to decide whether to make it a solid blue or stripe it.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the sailboats yesterday, but I know they'll look great wherever they end up.

In a future post, I'll feature some new buttons I got for girls' sweaters.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Ultimate Blog Party 20105 Minutes for Mom is hosting its Ultimate Blog Party this week! They are giving away what looks to be a zillion prizes, so be sure to stop by and sign up!

For those of you visiting Inside the Yellow House, you've come at the right time.  Yellow House Knits is having its Semi-Annual Sale this week and next, so this is your opportunity to have a beautiful, handknit baby sweater--including the adorable pink flower sweater below--at a huge discount (all in-stock sweaters are 40% off).  There's also a special offer for bloggers (click here for details). 

The Party prizes are pretty fantastic.  I'm particularly interested in the following, but I would love to win any of the prizes (especially those my little niece would love and the gift cards) if these are taken: the Amazon gift cards from Escalate Network (US 73) and A Full Cup (US 74), the Vanilla Visa card from Shoot Me Now (US 104), the Target gift card from Peggy Gorman (USC 3), the Kay Jewelers gift card from An Unpink Life (USC 13), and the Apple Store gift card from Cmomgo (USC 17). 

Thanks for stopping by!

Semi-Annual Sale Starts Today!

The Yellow House Knits Semi-Annual Sale starts today and runs through April 25.  ALL in-stock sweaters are 40% off!  And any custom orders placed during the sale will receive free domestic shipping.

Special offer for bloggers: Blog about the Semi-Annual Sale between now and April 18 and receive either (1) free shipping on your in-stock sale order (in addition to the 40% off) or (2) a coupon for 15% off a future order.  Your blog post must include at least one picture of a Yellow House Knits sweater.  Email me at yellowhouseknits(at) to let me know where to find your blog post and where to send your coupon code.

Have fun!

New Custom Sweater Order

I'm really excited about a new custom sweater order that just came in.  I just love the colors--light and bright pink, orange, and green.  I wonder if the customer is a fan of Lilly Pulitzer?  The colors seem very "Lilly" to me.  I think they're going to look fantastic together. 

The sweater is going to be a mosaic sweater, like this one.   I'm still toying with button ideas--I have some ideas, but I might need to finish the sweater to see what's going to look best.  Stay tuned.  

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Reminder: Semi-Annual Sale Starts Sunday

Just a reminder that the Semi-Annual Sale starts this Sunday, April 11.  All in-stock sweaters are 40% off.  Custom orders placed during the sale receive free shipping.  The sale runs for two weeks.

Also, don't forget about the special offer for bloggers (click here for details).   A number of people have asked me if the free shipping or 15% off is transferable.  The answer is yes!  So someone else can take advantage of the free shipping on a sale sweater or you can use the 15% off as part of a baby-themed giveaway.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Next Blog

Do you ever hit the "Next Blog" button in the Blogger header just to see what comes up?  When I'm stuck on a conference call or wasting time online, I find that I can get sucked into clicking through the "next blogs."  Most of them are blogs that I run right past--blogs that are in foreign languages or blogs that are totally outside my interest areas (comic book characters or ultimate fighting or breeding horses).  But every now and then I find one that catches my interest, and occasionally I'm so interested that I follow the blog. 

Here are a couple of the gems that I've found in the rubble of the blogosphere:
The Twiddletails Blog: Gorgeous quilts--make me wish I had the patience for quilting
Diary of a Pizza Girl: Funny and fascinating stories from the pizza delivery front. 
Ink Obsession Designs: Really beautiful (clean and modern) stationery and invitations
All About Mommies: The joys and trials of being a mom

I also stumbled on Katie's great blog Sunshine and Bubblegum just this morning, but of course I'd already found that one. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"The most exciting National Championship . . ."

One of my friends who knows more about sports than I do proclaimed last night's game "one of the most exciting National Championships we'll see in our lifetime."  I suspect she's probably right.  About midway through the second half, she texted me to see if I was still there (because I had threatened to leave after 15 minutes), and indeed I was. 

The game was really, really fun!  The crowd in Lucas Oil Stadium was very pro-Butler (not surprising because we're in Indianapolis), and we all really wanted Butler to win, so the loss was a real heartbreaker.  But they put up a really good fight, and it was a real nail biter at the end.  Our seats were GREAT--about 30 rows back, so we could see everything, which was awesome.  I was really glad I got to go--what an experience!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Ultimate Irony?

I am not a sports fan.  I am especially not a basketball fan.  I think the last basketball game I went to was in high school, so almost 20 years ago.  The only reason I know the difference between dribbling and traveling is because I have seen Fletch approximately 1.2 million times (I identify with Gail Stanwyck).

What's so ironic, you ask?  Well, it turns out that I'm going to the NCAA championship game tonight.  And we have really good tickets.  I'm in Indianapolis for business, and our client offered us tickets.  I couldn't say no, because I couldn't resist the opportunity to tell people that I'm going to the "Final Two."

I think I'll be cheering for Butler because I like to see the underdog win.  I'm actually kind of excited--I figure I'll stay for a good 15 minutes!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Peeps Show

Easter in D.C. means the Washington Post Peeps Diorama Contest.  Every year, I eagerly wait to see the submissions, which are always amazingly clever.  Here's this year's winner, based on the movie, "Up."  The house is actually floating above the ground.

There are also some semi-finalists that particularly appeal to me--one recreating the famous Dupont Circle snowball fight, which got national attention during the Snowpocalypse.  Another depicts the recently rebuilt Eastern Market, which is truly the centerpiece of my Capitol Hill neighborhood.  There are also literary references ("Goodnight Moon," Jane Austen, and "Madeline"), pop culture (the balloon boy, Super Mario Brothers), and semi-political (Bo Obama and the White House party crashers).

Check out all of the finalists and semi-finalists here.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Rocking Out in the Car

Last night I drove from D.C. to Pittsburgh to visit my parents for Easter.  It was a great night for driving--warm enough to have the windows down and the music turned way, way up.  The time goes so much faster when I sing my heart out while I'm driving, especially at night when I'm feeling sleepy.  My singing voice is absolutely terrible, but I make up for it with my enthusiasm.  Of course, there'e no one but Bullet to hear me make a fool of myself. 

I was thinking, though, that my selection of "driving music" is pretty ecelectic, favoring 80s and country music.  Here's a small selection of what I heard last night:

Cecilia (Simon and Garfunkel)
Wild at Heart (Gloriana)
Summer of '69 (Bryan Adams)
Let the River Run (Carly Simon)
Callin' Baton Rouge (Garth Brooks)
King of Wishful Thinking (Go West)
I Can See Clearly Now (Johnny Nash)
Walking on Sunshine (Katrina and the Waves)
Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skinner)
I Gotta Feeling (Black Eyed Peas)
Closer to Free (Bodeans)
Convoy (C.W. McCall)
King's Highway (Tom Petty)
He Thinks He'll Keep Her (Mary Chapin Carpenter)

What songs make you turn up the radio and sing out?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy 14th Birthday (Observed) Bullet!

Happy Birthday to my favorite April Fool!  Of course, today almost certainly isn't your actual birthday.  I don't know when you were born, but the shelter estimated that it was probably in the beginning of April 1996, so April 1 seems as good a day as any to celebrate.

Unfortunately I missed the first seven months of your life.  I so wish I could have seen you when you were a little puppy.  I imagine your ears were a bit floppy and your paws were too big for your skinny legs.  And you were probably pretty wiggly and likely quite speedy, which may be how you became known as "Bullet." 

But if given the choice between knowing you as a puppy and watching you grow into the wise, distinguished old man you've become, I would always take the latter.  Even though you were the one who was in a shelter, I like to think that we rescued each other.  You have become my best friend, my confidante, my protector.  Now, as your glossy black fur gets grayer and your steps slower, I'm reminded of how precious our time is together.  And I'm so grateful that I have you in my life.  

Happy Birthday Mr. Bullet!  I cherish you.