Friday, February 24, 2012

Packing our life away...

Moving is a lot of work.  This is something we all have experienced.  We collect boxes and bags and containers that serve as portable spaces to transport our belongings from one home to another.  Oftentimes we save things that we don't really like or want because we think that one day they might come in handy.  These things are easy to just throw in a bag and stash in the basement.  Things like 10 second-hand champagne case we host a New Year's Eve party (maybe in 2015?...)! Or extra measuring cups and mixing bowls...for the day we want to bake a cake, some muffins, and a loaf of bread before we do any dishes. Wrist guards? Just in case we want to go rollerblading or snowboarding...yea right! But when you are storing things for 2.5 years, the last thing you want to do is store away needless junk.  So Arie and I have been sorting through EVERYTHING into very selective piles.

Pile 1 - things for my little sister who will be getting her first apartment in Winona in June. Iron and ironing board - check. Hand mixer - check. Crock-pot - check. She is getting some good stuff!
Pile 2 - things that will go to Goodwill.  We have decided that we are not going to spend any time trying to sell things on Craigslist...that's just one more thing to do that we don't have time for.  Goodwill will be happy to get a load from us!
Pile 3 - books, CDs, DVDs that we will take to Half Priced Books. We should be able to get some good cash. Cha-ching! $$$$
Pile 4 - garbage.  Some things are just not even worth giving away.  Like old socks.
Pile 5 - stuff that we need while we are staying with our parents that will not go in our Peace Corps suitcases. Like olive oil and winter boots.
Pile 6 - things that will go in our Peace Corps suitcases.  We are limited to 2 checked bags a-piece.  Each cannot exceed 50 pounds, but their total weight cannot exceed 80 pounds. 
Pile 7 - this is the BIG pile of about 50 plastic bins (of various sizes) and other such containers (no cardboard though) that hold the things we want to keep.  Sadly it is a lot, but we don't want to arrive home in 2.5 years needing to buy another stereo, sewing machine, record player, dishes, sheets and pillows...

Moving is one thing, but packing your life away for 2.5 years is a whole different monster.

Bins and more bins.  
We have been to Target 3 times this week to buy more bins.

Making progress.

This kitchen was the most work and required the most bins.

Thanks to the peer pressure of Arie and Amanda I was able to get rid of most of my CD and DVD collection - Arcade Fire and Belle & Sebastian stay, but Beirut goes (and I love Beirut).  The Royal Tennenbaums and Fargo stay, but Stranger Than Fiction goes (such a cute film!). Oh well. Goodbye! Now all the discs surrounded by plastic fit into 3 small bins. Nice! Who really needs CDs and DVDs anymore - things have really changed, but I still need to hang onto some for nostalgia's sake.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Calamari Knit Valentine

Hi everyone! This is not really a Peace Corps update post, rather it is a crafty post (Pinterest and me are good pals right now).  Not much to update - we are still preparing to leave in March.  Right now we are busy wrapping up our business, packing, and getting ready to move out of our cozy home in Saint Paul.  We are VERY excited! To keep myself busy and distracted I have been knitting.  I decided to knit a heart pillow with old T-shirts.  Below are the steps to make it!

Here is the final product!
First you need to find a few old red and pink shirts.  I had 4 that were nice and worn, stained, and full of holes - perfect for this kind of project!
Second you need to cut the bodies of the shirts into rings (like calamari).  See photo below.  I do not use the neck or sleeves - they are too small for my liking, but you could use them.
Now you will have a nice pile of calamari loops that look like this:
Link the loops together in any combo you like.  I linked one of each color: red, magenta, dark pink, light pink...repeat until they are all linked. Then roll them up into a ball:
Now you are ready to knit with you chunky T-shirt yarn! Instructions are below:

Knitted Valentine Pillow Steps:
I used T-shirt calamari yarn and size 15 needles. Using different yarn weights and needles will produce results in a variety of sizes. The instructions use standard knitting abbreviations; refer to the key for clarification.
Abbreviation Key
St= Stitch
K= Knit
KFB= Knit into front and back of stitch (to make 2 stitches where there was 1)
P= Purl
K2Tog= Knit 2 stitches together
P2Tog= Purl 2 stitches together
BO= Bind off
Instructions to knit 1 heart:
Cast on 2 St.
Row 1: KFB, K to last St, KFB.
Row 2: P.
Repeat these 2 rows until there are 14 St (12 rows total).
Row 13: K2Tog, K5, and turn work; leave remaining 7 St on needle.
Row 14: Working with the 6 St closest to end of needle, P2Tog, P2, P2Tog.
Row 15: BO 4 Sts and cut yarn to start on other side.
Row 16: Working with reserved 7 St, K5, K2Tog.
Row 17: P2Tog, P2, P2Tog.
Row 18: BO 4.
To assemble 2 hearts:
1. Stack hearts with right sides out. Using a mattress stitch and a needle threaded with yarn, sew hearts together along perimeter, leaving a 1 or 2-inch gap on one side of the hearts.
2. As you stich around, tuck in loose ends.
4. Tuck stuffing inside heart. I used leftover shirt material.
5. Sew the gap closed, and weave yarn up inner side of heart. 
How cute! Good luck!

The original instructions and inspiration can be found here at Martha Stewart's site.