Friday, November 28, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation by yarnlibrarian

Yes, I know, it is almost December. I'm behind. Here's a wrap-up of some of the cool places we visited this summer and fall!

In July we took a trip to Massachusetts with one of my sisters and her husband. We stayed in Salem and took side trips to Marblehead, Gloucester, and Rockport (Cape Ann). A good time was had by all as they say. It's really a beautiful part of New England, I've been a few times and enjoy it every trip.

Something new and very cool we did on this trip, was a hiking tour of Dogtown. Dogtown was a town in the 1600's & 1700's. Nothing is left now but cellar holes and an occasional pile of rocks. This is cool, but the extra cool part is this -
during the Great Depression Roger Babson, a local industrialist, did a public works project of sorts and paid unemployed stone carvers to carve meaningful mottos into boulders all throughout Dogtown. The hike was very nice and the guides were great, info is here.

When we were in Rockport we visited Rockin' Cupcakes! (no website but contact info is here)

The cupcakes have cute names that I no longer remember, the one on the left was chocolate and cherry and the one on the right was key lime with a mountain of frosting and coconut on top. yuuum!
If you don't have a boat but want to get out on the water without spending a fortune on one of the little cruises, have lunch or dinner at the Rockmore! The Rockmore is a floating dock of a restaurant, in the middle of the harbor! This is part it, the bathroom actually ;-), but it is painted up in a fun way and has a cute seagull perched on top! The menu is very casual - hot dogs, lobster rolls, that kind of thing. I had a cheese quesadilla which was the only vegetarian thing if I remember right.
You don't just get to be on the water at the restaurant though, you have to get out there! They have a little speedboat (note: I know nothing about boats or if this thing was a speedboat. In my head, that's what it seemed like) that is a water taxi to and from the restaurant! You can be picked up from the dock on either the Salem or Marblehead side of the harbor. If you have your own boat you can tie it up the restaurant. So, food and a free (tip the boat guy!) boat ride! Pretty good deal.

random sunset at Marblehead Neck

Another yummy bakery! Coffee Time Bakeshop, home of the real cream bismarck! Located in Salem, right around the corner from our Bed & Breakfast (also recommended).

The drink is a frozen hot chocolate (amazing) and in the box we have a mini eclair and two bismarcks! A Bismarck is like a whipped cream filled donut, the donut part is cut up the center like a hot dog roll instead of the cream being piped in. These are lemon and raspberry. They have full size and mini. These are the mini and no matter how hungry you might be, I don't recommend the large. They are super tasty but I can't imagine any human being wanting that much cream in their stomach at once.

On our way out of town we stopped outside of Gloucester to tour a castle - Hammond Castle!
This is the back so you can't see the drawbridge, unfortunately. I took a ton of photos though. John Hays Hammond built the castle in the 1920s as a gift for his wife. (pretty nice, huh?) He was an inventor and invented all kinds of crazy important things like an important component of the modern stereo system.

Here's a stained glass window from the large cathedral like room. The whole castle has a lot of Catholic icons etc.
The castle is really beautiful and very impressive. I think it was the favorite part of the trip. Everything is medieval (real or in the style) except for the Hammond family's private quarters. Instead, that is set up in early to mid 20th century. Here are a few nifty retro finds from the kitchen!

I love this cat food box! Cop-e-cat! Also, only meat "flavor"? ;-)

This is long so the next trip will wait for the next post...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dishcloth Explosion!

I've been going crazy with the dishcloth knitting lately! I went to two weddings in the past month and a few were for each gift, plus a few swaps, etc. So here we go...

The bright and sunny yellow petal and tan grandma's favorite were for my friends Laura & Rod's wedding last month (more cool photos from that trip coming soon)

the blue skull was for the skull package I sent out for the All Hallows Eve Dishcloth exchange

Blue grandma's favorite, blue & brown grandma's favorite, matching tribble/scrubbie, and tan petal for my friend Elissa's wedding earlier this month

a lime green petal for the reverse Dish Rag Tag swap

and... the cream of the crop - a Transformers Autobot dishcloth for Trevor's birthday last month! :-D

If you make one, please make note of the correction in the comments - I missed it until I finished the cloth so it has a little imperfection. Oh well.

Dish Rag Tag follow up!

The Dishy Dozen finished up with a very respectable 7th place out of 24! This was very fun so I'll definitely try to compete again next year.

After the swap, most of the Dishy Dozen decided to do a reverse swap. Since Dish Rag Tag works down a chain, the reverse swap has you send a box of goodies to the person who send you the box during the tag. I forgot the shipping deadline and was a loser who sent my box off late. :-( But it went out in the mail first thing Saturday morning.

I got my box from Katherine on Thursday. She sent a super colorful dishcloth, three balls of cotton - one lovely blue sugar 'n cream twist, and two SRK CoolSpun which I've never seen before!, yummy sounding cherry tea, chocolate, a tube of needles, and pretty Japanese split markers.
Thanks again, Katherine!

Gift Making Fun!

Yesterday I went to a holiday gift making workshop at the New York State Museum with my mom and sisters. It was very fun and a great deal at only $11.25 for each of us! They had stations set up around the room to make many different little gifts with almost all natural, herb ingredients. They even had a station set up with all the little cellophane bags, raffia, paper, stickers, etc. so you could decorate everything and make tags.

We made soap,

This was a goats milk soap base that I colored a pale yellow, added ground oatmeal, and a honey almond scent. I love almond scents and these smell great.

These cute little soaps use chocolate molds. I didn't make these, I think people stuck their leftover soap bits into it but nobody took it home so I did. ;-)

They had fabric to pick from and a sewing machine set up to make dream pillows. It isn't a "pillow" pillow, it is lightly filled and is meant to go inside a pillow case with your regular pillow to add aroma therapy. It has flax seed, peppermint, and roses inside.

They had candles at the decoration table to decorate with corrugated paper and raffia.

And we made a whole bunch of different kinds of natural bath products.

Bath salts - lemon, and lavendar

This bath soak was made with ground oatmeal, roses, and baking soda.

This lemon bath bundle can be used as a scrubbie in the shower - it has grated castile soap, oatmeal, lemon essential oil, and lemon peel sewn into a little muslin bag.

The body scrub has corn meal, ground oatmeal, rosemary, and castile soap.

The bath tea bags can be tied onto the bath tub to "steep" in the bath water and can be used more than once even. One has lavendar and roses and the other has orange peel and ginger root.

We also got a packet with all of the recipes to be able to make them again, and tags to copy!

This was a really good class so I'll keep my eyes out for future classes at the museum.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Cheese Tour part two...

Picking up where I left off way back when...
(don't be confused, this is from November 10th not October 26th. I started it then and thought I could change the date but it wouldn't let me)

The next cheese farm we went to was Dancing Ewe Farm - the cheesemaker studied in Italy and they make a variety of Italian cheeses from sheep and cow milk. The farm buildings themselves are beautiful as well, with a Tuscan kind of feel.

outside view

Inside the cheese room, this is the giant tank they make cheese in with a lovely skylight overhead

Another view of the cheese room, looking the other way - this shows the beautiful local Granville slate that lines the floor and walls of the cheese room.

and a few of their cute little sheep freshly shorn

Next we went to the Argyle Cheese Farmer, a dairy farm. My mother-in-law also enjoyed this farm because her mother was a teacher in Argyle, and one of the farmers actually had her for a teacher! I didn't get any good photos, but here's a shot of the fresh yogurt we bought.

Trevor said it was very tasty! (he's the vanilla yogurt fan, I like plain)

We had a lunch break at a very yummy little Adirondack decorated diner. Cheap, good, breakfast all day on Sunday. But I can't remember what it was called or which town it was in.
But they also had super cheap maple syrup for sale! And my lovely inlaws bought us a half gallon. This part of New York is very close to Vermont (close like the diner had those travel maps for all Vermont towns instead of New York), so they sell "Vermont" maple syrup. I use the quotes because the waitress told us that the syrup all comes from New York trees, it is just boiled in Vermont. So I guess its six of one, half a dozen of the other with that.

The last cheese farm we made it to was Sweet Spring Farm. It is a nubian goat farm!

big nubian goat

baby nubian goats

They had super yummy chevre (soft goat cheese) for a very reasonable price.

(by the way I come from a weird family with both a sister and mother who don't like goat cheese. Or foot cheese as my sister calls it. freaks.) ;-)

On the way home we met up with this guy, who is taking this horse drawn "house" across the country (annoying cars behind him all along the way) ;-). He started in New Hampshire and he's in Ohio right now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


It's that time again! This past weekend was Rhinebeck! I went both days again, this time I got a hotel with my mom instead of freezing in a campground... I didn't get many photos, but it was fun as usual. Here are some of the highlights...

my sister cuddling an adorable, sweet little border collie puppy

part of the llama & alpaca parade

On Saturday I kinneared the Yarn Harlot (yellow sweater in the middle)

and on Sunday Stephanie signed two more of my books (the woman in line in front of me asked if I'd take her photo and took mine in return)! Usually I can't think of a thing to say when I meet an author, and just stand there like a dope basically. This time, right before I got to the front of the line, brilliance struck! Toronto! We just went to Toronto! So I told her that and how much we loved the city and we had a little conversation about how great Toronto is and how walkable it is. phew. Disaster averted. ;-)

Sunday is when they always have authors for signings and presentations. I also met the lovely Kay and Ann, of Mason-Dixon fame!

They were both very nice and friendly. They both signed my first Mason-Dixon book (I don't have the new one yet) and put in their super cute rubber stamps of themselves.
They also did a panel discussion in the afternoon on Sunday. They brought a bunch of gorgeous finished knits from the new book and talked about how the different designs came about and the like.

We tasted a bunch of amazing cheeses, bought wonderful aged gouda for half price, and went to a sheep cheese tasting in the demo kitchen.

I bought a sticker for my car

two cute pottery wall hangings
bad angle on the photo, that's a hand not some freaky thing

and, wicked expensive but amazing sock yarn!
this looks like wool right? But I can't use wool. :-( But no! This is alpaca/bamboo sock yarn! It comes from Maple Creek Farm and is beautiful. It was out of my price range when I first saw it, but after my brother-in-law treated me to dinner (thanks, Justin!) I went back to spend my dinner money on the yarn. I should be able to cast-on with this around January, after I finish Christmas and baby gift making. ;-)

Speaking of wool, something that was very popular around the festival this year - rug hooking. I saw a few vendors last year but it must be taking off in popularity because there were a ton this year. I love the traditional rug hooking and would love to make something but again, with the wool. I even talked to one of the vendors to see if she had a non-wool suggestion. Her only suggestion was the type that uses yarn instead so I could use cotton. That has a different look and isn't exactly what I'm interested in. I did some looking around online and discovered people doing it with jersey/strips of t-shirt! The t-shirt won't really unravel, the same way the wool doesn't. Sometime soon I'm going to give this a try, and I'm thinking about doing some dyeing of the fabric so it would be possible to get some of the more muted historic looking colors that you really wouldn't find in a shirt. I'll keep you posted on this! (I also want to try miniature punchneedle! My sister bought a kit but these were also wool. But this can be done with cotton embroidery floss so I'll be able to try it eventually.)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

All Hallow's Eve Package!

Yay, I got my All Hallow's Eve Dishcloth Swap package in the mail today! I box of pumpkiny Halloween goodness. Thanks, Carrie! (Also, Carrie has a gorgeous weimaraner so that's another reason to take a look at her blog if you are a fan of those lovely dogs like I am.)

Here's a look at all the goodies:

peeking into the box...

a pretty wrapped up dishcloth

It's a jack o'lantern!

a nice old fashioned Halloween card
(I'll probably pass this on to my mom for her nifty altering art!)

wonderful pumpkin pie bodywash/shampoo/bubble bath, good enough to eat!

Nifty writing utensils! The crazy pumpkin hand is a pen, the pencil has candy corn all over it, and the skull is an eraser

Ooh, the knitty type goodness. Two skeins of 2nd Time Cotton from Knit One Crochet Too. This beautiful yarn (pink!) is also environmental! It is made from recycled cotton taken from the garment industry (75%) along with a little acrylic (25%). I'm not sure what I'll make with it, but I'm thinking maybe a cowl. I think I'd like one for chilly days at work when a scarf would get in my way. Now to pick the pattern!
And, a package of bent tip needles with the cute little plastic holder. I am always misplacing my (too small and not meant for weaving ends at all) needles so this will be a big help. As long as I put them back in the cute container ;-) but I'm sure I will.

Oh look, a pumpkin! What could be inside?

scrumptious caramels which I *might* be nice and share with my husband. Also a pumpkin pez dispenser!

Thanks again for all the fun stuff, Carrie! Oh, Carrie also has an etsy shop with quilting, stamping, knitting, and clay jewelry and stitch markers! So check it out when you are shopping, the holidays will be here before you know it!

While I'm pimping etsy shops, I can't remember if I showed off my mom and sister's new shop? They are both great artists and crafters and are selling beeswax collage, the cutest clay figures (I am in love with the bunny reading to the baby bunnies), paintings, and much more! Please take a look and consider them for your holiday and other shopping needs as well!

Made by Lena