Friday, January 29, 2010

Hot Chocolate Festival

City Bakery in NYC is having a Hot Chocolate Festival & Night of Knitting. Apparently it's the 18th annual! How did I ever miss this when I lived up there? I so wish I could go. City Bakery has the best hot chocolate ever with homemade marshmallows!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Button Inheritance

A neighbor of a friend of my family recently passed away. Somehow from this, I inherited a bunch of crafty things, which I was really happy to receive. The stash of stuff included yarns: mostly acrylic but old school, nice, and in really good condition, as well as some great 100% virgin wool which I promptly washed and reskeined to get the musty smell out.

There was also a lot of sewing supplies with tons of elastic, ribbon, and thread... and buttons! So, in the process of sorting through the new buttons I got a chance to sort through and organize my own (which previously amounted to two large mason-size jars and is now an unknown amount... probably a whole third jar, but I can't tell because they are now in all different containers). Here are some of my favorites from my new collection as a whole:


some of my faves - see the bulldog one on the bottom?


some of the metal ones


awesome iridescent leaf buttons


cute little black braided ones


iridescent green buttons


antique pearl buttons


pink clear buttons


large shell-like bead


my very favorites - an alpaca (llama?), a bulldog, and a leaf


a close-up of the alpaca/llama button


New Handspun

I've been spinning a bit more since I got home from Albany after Christmas. First, I finished spinning my Cloverleaf Farms 100% silk that I bought at SAFF in 2008. I had been spinning this basically since sometime last summer or early fall.



I also spun up some Frabjous Fibers Merino Tencel, which is superwash yarn. I also got this at SAFF '08.



And here's a close-up:



I also started weaving with my little Weavette loom lately. I bought this years ago at the NJ Sheep and Wool Festival. I don't know how this is possible, but it seems I may have never posted about this festival on my blog, even though I attended it several years in a row in central NJ. I only figured out how to use this loom a few weeks ago. I started out by just following the basic instructions, and ended up with two "bookmarks", about 2" x 6" in size. The top one is my second try (where I learned to even out the rows and columns a bit) and the bottom is my first (a little more wonky) try. I have already started a new project, but I am not ready to post it yet. One thing about weaving: it takes way less time than knitting.



Miami

This weekend I went to Miami for no other reason than it was going to be warmer, sunnier, and less depressing than another cold, rainy, winter weekend in Atlanta. I love Atlanta, but the winters here are very rainy and this one has been especially cold (often just as cold as upstate NY). Anyway, I stayed in Miami only for about 32 hours, but it was a nice little getaway. When I first got there, I had to stop at a yarn shop, of course. The Knitting Garden in Coral Gables was a cute little shop which was packed when I got there on Saturday afternoon. They have a great selection of yarns, even some yarns I hadn't heard of (I knew the manufacturer's but not those specific yarns). I ended up getting just a couple skeins of one such yarn: Malabrigo hand-dyed and handspun yarn. I don't even see this yarn in the Ravelry database yet.

Next, I went to South Beach where they were holding the Art Deco Festival. There were so many art deco buildings and hotels, including the Park Central Hotel where I ate dinner that night. The Casablanca Restaurant had pretty good (but not great) service but also amazing crab legs and herbed veggies.


flamingo and lights in front of a south beach club


the park central hotel and casablanca restaurant

The next day, I went to Bayside Marketplace, where I took a little boatride to see Millionaire's Row (and basically so I could see Miami from the water). Some of the highlights of the ride were seeing the very exclusive Fisher's Island where many famous people have condos including Tom Cruise, Oprah, Janet Jackson, Shakira, and Jennifer Lopez. We also saw various mansions/summer homes including those owned by Rosie O'Donnell, Will Smith, Gloria Estefan, and Julio Iglesias.

Bayside itself was basically a cross between an outdoor mall (with stores like the Gap) and a souvenir marketplace (similar but far less busy than one I had been to in Cancun several years ago). I ate at a restaurant called Mambo Cafe which had great mahi mahi and boiled yuca.


the scarface mansion


cruise ship alley


house in usher and shakira's videos


fisher island

Later that day, I went over to Coconut Grove, FL which I found completely by accident. It was a cute little area with shops and restaurants.


cocowalk in coconut grove

That was about it. It was a short trip, but very nice to get out of town if even for a weekend...


Sunday, January 03, 2010

Resolutions

I did not actually complete any of my resolutions for 2009. So this year, I am going to make my goals a bit less lofty and see how it works out.

2009 goals:
  • to finally design a sweater - I have also written down some ideas for a new sweater design but have gone no further with them, so hopefully I'll be able to do that.
  • to knit a fair isle sweater with steeking - I did actually buy the yarn for this a few months ago and started swatching, so I think that goal will be a bit more attainable now.
  • to lose at least 20 pounds - I have definitely not done this but I did recently buy a couple new games for the Wii which may help with this, as well as I want to cook at home more often.
  • to be further along financially than I currently am - I am getting a smaller apartment at the end of my lease in May (for various reasons) which should help out with this.
So, my new 2010 goals are:
  • knit a fair isle sweater with steeking
  • start swatching for a design idea
  • cook at home at least once a week with enough for leftovers
  • do something highly active at least 5 hours per week
  • spin and/or sew at least once a week

Saturday, January 02, 2010

November & December

As usual, it's been a while since I've posted. I guess this is becoming a habit, even though I don't mean it to be. So, this is going to be another extended picture-heavy post because if my [very few] readers are anything like me, they skip most of the text when they read blogs anyway.

Early in November, I got a chance to take a trip up to Helen, GA, which I had heard a few things about. I pictured it to be similar to Leavenworth, WA, where I visited during my trip across the country in summer 2001. I was mostly right, except for the sort of Lake George feel to it. Sort of a mixture of Bavarian and tacky.


Helen shops


restaurant on the Chattahoochee River


butterfly

The next night, I went with my friends to a Thrashers game, where we had box seats. They won!


Thrashers


Jennifer & Jim

In mid-November I ventured up to Tallulah Gorge for a hike.


Tallulah Falls


canoeing


suspension bridge

I spent Thanksgiving with my friends Laurie and Jennifer. We spent the day eating, watching movies, and knitting... pretty much the same thing I did last year, which I was ecstatic about.


brunch


brunch with the girls

For Christmas, I made it home to NY where I got together with my family and friends. I saw MaryEllen (a fellow knitter) and her husband, Mike, for breakfast one morning to catch up. She gave me some Fleece Artist fiber, which reminded me that I've been wanting to start spinning again (which I did when I got home - more on that in another post). I also saw Renee and her family. We got to catch up for a few hours which was awesome. She and her son made me homemade soap(!) which I love. I completely neglected to take any pictures of these visits - even of the kids!

I went to Stacey's house for a little get-together with Stacey and her fiance, Matt, Alysia, Jen and her girlfriend, Amber, and a couple of new people. Of course, Stacey's new baby, Landon was there also and was so good considering the amount of noise in the house at all hours.


Matt, Stacey, baby Landon


Jen & Alysia dancing


Jen & Alysia


Jen & Stacey

Can you tell Jen loves to hug???


Jen & Amber


Happy Holidays!