Friday, June 29, 2007

Introduction to the Garden

We're settling into our Berkeley digs nicely. While there's been a lot of work, I've also had some time for exploring!

The exploring started with a haircut at Tique Salon, followed by a visit to Article Pract.

Article Pract is a GREAT yarn shop. If you're anywhere near the Berkeley, San Fran, Oakland area, check it out. I found the shop online, and since it's the closest place to me, I decided to bike over and check them out. My whole visit to the store was a treat! I think they have a perfect mix of yarns, covering a wide variety of labels, fibers, colors, etc. If this were the only yarn store around I'd be completely satisfied (although, I know there are some great ones in San Fran that I have to get to). This is different than my Boston yarn shopping, where I have to go to one store for sock yarn, another for nice cottons, and on and on.

Article Pract is having a HUGE sale. Huge as in about a quarter of their yarns were 25% off and a whole other section of yarn was 45-50% off. I resisted the urge to buy everything and just stuck with a few specific purchases ~~ I needed some Rowan Calmer to make a couple of Shedir hats.

I started Shedir using an alpaca yarn, while it felt nice and soft, it didn't look that great. Shedir is a cabled pattern and with the fuzzy/splitty alpaca, the cables didn't show up. But now, with Calmer, the hat is perfect! This just goes to show that having the right type of yarn can really change the final results (i'll post some alpaca vs calmer pics when I'm done with the hat).

Other Purchases:

Some Malabrigo baby merino wool in the Glazed Carrot colorway. I'm going to use it to make Sarcelle.

Some Araucania Nature Wool in a greenish/yellowish color that I'm going to use to make another Clapotis. I'm really excited about the color, but I'm not as sure about how it will feel and drape as a scarf. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

So, after my stop to the yarn shop, I have plenty of yarn to keep my fingers busy. And, with the cool Berkeley weather, I'm excited to have a few new scarves/wraps and a hat to keep me cozy.

Here are some shots from the gardens around our building:

Check out the intense orange of these guys ~

We have some grapefruit growing!

And these are the sweetest plums ever!!

As always, there's more to share, but I'll save it for later posts!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Road Trip Update #5

We're here!! I'm hanging out in Berkeley, land of free wireless ;-). Seriously, first there's wireless in our co-op, then there's wireless in the pizza place where I had lunch, then there's wireless in the cafe where I'm sitting now. I'm sure there's probably wireless in the gym, yoga studio and yarn shops! haha, I'm kidding, but you never know!

Speaking of yoga and yarn and all things fun. I've begun to explore Berkeley online ~ finding all of the fun places I want to check out and hand out while I'm here. I realized that the perfect way to find all of my destinations is to make a Google Map! Have you tried this yet? Go to, then click on "my maps". You can use this site to make a personalized map. As soon as I have one with all of the fun spots in Berkeley on it, I'll share it with you!

We had a fun time making a "possibilities" map for our road trip and it really helped us with the planning. We plotted all of the possible sites that we wanted to visit and then we picked a route which made the most sense for our time and interests. I'll share that map too when I have a chance!

Speaking of sharing, I have more pictures to share, but they're on my other computer. That is not my NEW fantabulous macbook which arrived in the mail on Friday!

In knitting news, I've started Sarcelle (I'll link to it later). It's a fun, creative shawl, but I'm making a smaller, scarf version!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Oh so crafty!

So, I was going to wait to do another post this afternoon. I have more pictures on my camera, but haven't had a chance to upload them yet. Anyway, I just couldn't wait. There's so much great crafting going on that I just wanted to post. Here it is with other pics from our travels.

First - how amazingly cute are these onesies?

In other baby news - check out this hat pattern. There are a few more babies on the way and I'm sure they can all use a pointy hat. I particularly like Fricknits' version.

Then there's this coffee cozy. I've been meaning to felt one, but I like this even more!

Look at the cool painted fridge that was in the bathroom of the Aztec Cafe in Santa Fe:

If you're in Santa Fe for a day and need some good coffee, breakfast burrito, or free internet, definitely check out Aztec. We spent a couple hours there just relaxing and checking in with world online and it was perfect.

Here are a couple of other pics from the road trip folder~
An old car we found parked at a diner outside of the Ozarks:
A close up of the dwellings at Mesa Verde:
Balancing Rock in Arches (check out the tiny people to the right for scale):

In food news, we went to the farmers' market on Saturday and have been eating like kings ever since. Elk steaks, simple salads, fresh pastas, beets, yum.

I made up this recipe for roasted beets, and we loved it so much that I thought I'd share it. Since it was just an experiment, you should adjust the recipe to your taste!
Roasted Beets::
-Rinse and peel 1lb of beets
-Cut into quarters (if the beets are small), or into eighths (if large). The key is to try to be consistent with the size of the pieces so that you get fairly even roasting.
-Toss into a baking dish with 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar, dash of salt, two cloves of crushed garlic and 2 teaspoons of crushed rosemary.
~Let the beets roast in an over at 350 (could do 375) until soft.
**Beware ~ after eating the beets, your pee will not be yellow. And if you eat a lot of beets, it will look like you poured koolaid in the toilet. I was shocked.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Road Trip Update #4

Me and O'Keeffe ~ in the last post, I spelled Georgia O'Keeffe's last name wrong (with one f instead of two). While at her museum, I picked up a biography by Laurie Lisle, and there on page 36 I found out that Georgia was a bad speller and had to take the high school spelling test 6 times before passing it. According to Lisle, "Spelling was to be (Georgia's) bete noire all her life." Well, hopefully she would have laughed at my misspelling her name.

Since my last post, we spent a fun (but rainy) day in Santa Fe, climbed through some cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde, camped at a beautiful site in Utah, and then hung out in and around Moab. Now the road trip winds down as we spend the next week relaxing and getting back into work mode in Aspen.

Here are some shots from the road:

Our day in Santa Fe was overcast and rainy, but we stayed dry dashing in and out of museums, galleries, and the spa...

The spa ~ 10,000 Waves is a Japanese Spa in the hills right outside of Santa Fe. We relaxed in their communal pools (hot, cold/frigid, and a sauna). It was a great way to spend the afternoon relaxing after a week of sitting in the car!

After Santa Fe, we camped in Colorado near Mesa Verde.

The area around Mesa Verde has been caught in three forest fires since 2000. As a result, most of the pines and juniper are gone, but starting to grow back. All of the fires were the result of lightening strikes.

After Mesa Verde, we drove to Utah to check out Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, both on the outskirts of Moab. We camped in a park on the south side of the city and were surrounded by beautiful views of the rocks and hills. This picture was taken a couple miles from our site as we explored the area:

Here are some other pictures from the area around Moab:

In other news, there's still snow on Aspen Mountain! I'm off for a short run around town.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Road Trip Update #3

Hello from Santa Fe, NM! Home of Ms. Georgia O'Keefe.

The cool thing about Santa Fe is that it is full of artists. This makes for some interesting cafe conversations. For example - sitting next to our table are two guys that have not seen each other in a few years. This is their conversation:

guy1:: where have you been?
guy2:: oh you know, doing the art thing in dallas, san francisco...
guy1:: the usual route.
guy2:: yep
guy1:: so what are you up to?
guy2:: playing a lot of music and showing my art.
guy1:: what's your art?

guy2:: i burn images on toast.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled post:
We had a record couple of days of driving ~ passing through Arkansas, Oklahoma, the top of Texas, and landing in Northwestern New Mexico.

Before leaving Tennessee, we stopped in Memphis for catfish. We had a great dinner at the Flying Fish. I highly recommend it to everyone passing through. I had their grilled catfish platter which included grilled veggies and rice & beans. C had some large basket of fried goodies - shrimp, catfish, oysters, fries, and hush puppies. Needless to say, we crossed the Mississippi with full stomachs and smiles.

We also saw this license plate in Memphis. I wonder how often it's been stolen?

We camped in the Ozarks:

Chased storm clouds across Oklahoma:

Saw a field of wind turbines:

And we woke up to the reds and browns of the Southwest!

In knitting news ~ I realized that a camping stuff sack makes a GREAT project bag. This sack is big enough to fit one to two balls of yarn plus the project I'm working on. It keeps everything free of dust and helps to keep clutter down in the car.

And my current project? Shedir from the Knitty Fall 04 surprise. Just a fun, creative project that's small enough to work on in the car.

~and we're off

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Road Trip Update #2 - Pictures!

Hello from Nashville!

This post is just pictures from the day we left until now. And ~ it starts with crafts! Before we left we decided that we wanted to ~pimp our ride~. It started with a thorough cleaning, some major organization, and some NEW CURTAINS!:

I definitely have a lot to learn in the sewing department. For example ~ this project taught me how to thread the bobbin. Yes it's simple, but not knowing how has stopped me from starting and completing other projects. I love how productive sewing can feel ~~ just half a day and I had curtains for the whole van! I can definitely see more sewing in my future.

In other crafting news, after two-hours of driving with a leaky window, we realized that yarn makes a great seal. A picture of this to come.

We've been lucky to have great weather on our trip, which allowed us to get out on a couple of long hikes!

We spent our first night in northern Virginia camping in the George Washington National Forest. Our first hike was a six-mile jaunt that led us past the Elizabeth Furnace where they used to make pig-iron (i think for the revolutionary war). Here's a picture of the furnace:

After the stay in VA, we drove down I-81 to the Smoky Mountains. Our second hike was a bit more ambitious ~~ a 13 mile loop up Mount LeConte and past a couple of waterfalls!

On top of Mount LeConte is a hike-in lodge. We didn't stay, but it looked like a great place. It had a central dining room and little cabins that were the rooms. If you're heading to LeConte beware - we hear that reservations for the lodge fill up a year in advance!

Now we're off to Memphis and making our way west.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Road Trip Update #1

Hello from the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee! I havn't uploaded pictures yet, but we're having a great time. We going out for a couple nights of camping, hiking, and dipping in chilly swimming holes!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Love Home, but ready to ~~ Hit The Road!!

Ahh, we've had a great few days at home. I can never get enough of the place at this time of year ~~ The garden's in full bloom. The air smells sweet. The days are long. And there's always a seat on the deck. The pictures below are just a snippet of our week enjoying the view as we prepared for our trip. ~A clean ride!~


We hit the road tomorrow evening. There's just a short to-do list to be completed and a graduation ceremony to attend, then we're off! This is going to be a month-long trip that starts in PA and will end in CA. We're torn between being super-planners and taking it a day (or town) at a time, but we have a general itinerary:

-Drive southwest through Virginia to the Smoky Mountains. We might spend a few nights camping in the Smokies.

-Head to Mexico through Laredo and end up on the west coast of Mexico where we can relax in some coastal towns. Eat lots of beans and soak up the sun.

-Point the van north and enter the southwestern US through Arizona or New Mexico. THIS IS WHERE IT GETS TRICKY ~~ how to spend our time in the Southwest? There are so many parks that I would love to visit. Mesa Verde, Monument Valley, Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, and on and on. Any suggestions?

-Finally, some visits to fam in Colorado and on to Berkeley!! woohoo!

With so much time, we know we can take it easy. We have the van packed with a few games, magazines, books, and of course, yarn! I'm hoping to finish my sweaters for Soph and then start a new one for me. Although ~ I've had the craving to make some socks, so the first nice yarn store I hit may get some business.

The blog will be full of pics and stories as we travel. Stay tuned and share any travel suggestions you may have!*

mmmmmmmmm ~ a LOT of strawberries and fresh lettuce was had by all. We were lucky if the strawberries even made it from the garden to the house ;-).

We also took a break from research and packing to hang out at the local amusement park. Most of our time was spent in the pool and on the waterslides.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Spring Babies

Before my story, here's a few fun knitting tid-bits:

June 9th is international knit-out day! I don't know where I'll be, maybe Virginia, Tennessee, or Texas? Wherever we are, I'll be knitting out:-D

Check out what Brooklyn Tweed is up to. I'm excited to see the results.

And, non-knitting, but so great ~~ check out this baby sun dress. love it.

As you know, a great friend had a baby just under a month ago (it's hard to believe a month with Sophia has passed!). Anyway, after I finished Glee, I wanted a short and easy, but creative knitting project before I start another large sweater. Of course, I decided that the only person I could knit something quick and easy for would be Soph. This sweater was going to involve a bit of experimenting...

Since summer has arrived, I decided that a sweater knit out of cotton would be perfect. I've never knit with cotton before and was excited to try it out, especially since some of my favorite store-bought sweaters are cotton. In this case, it would be a great fiber for wearing on cool summer nights or after a splash in water, be in pool, ocean, or bath.

Standing in front of the cotton display at Loop, I decided to do a light green and pink combo. Once I got the cotton home, I went to work on design. I decided to do a top-down cardigan with green being the main color and pink providing the accent. Although, instead of boring stripes, I wanted to try an intarsia design, and I wanted it to be cool. Like tattoo cool. After browsing some stencil sites for ideas, I decided to do a bird on a wire, so I used excel to plot out my design. I got to work and after completing just the head I realized that I had made a mistake. This wasn't tattoo cool. This was Hawaiian shirt, touristy, cheesy. See for yourself. and feel free to laugh:-).

Anyway, after consulting the mom, and getting a belly-laugh from her, we decided not to frog the sweater. We have to make the babies wear silly clothes before they get old enough to say no!

I haven't finished the sleeves yet, and there will be just one button used for a closure at the top of the cardigan.

Because my first experiment was so so blah, I decided to stop back in Loop, pick up some lovely, chocolaty brown cotton and work on just one more baby sweater. This one will be much cooler, with a more creative design.

In other spring baby news, look what's growing on the farm:

Now. research.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Goodbye Philly, Hello Shamokin.

We've made the first stop on our road trip. Just a mere 100 miles from Philly we're staying at my parents' house this week celebrating my sister's graduation. This post just has a few more shots of Philly and an intro to the country living we're experienceing this week!

Next up some knitting news with this lovely, organic cotton: