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.

Made by Lena