Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Projects in action!

I bring to you: two of last year's projects, this time on my nephew Zach.

He's wearing the Placket-Neck Pullover and the Rainbow Marley hat.

Cute, eh?

Bad Cupcake Baker...

no biscuit! I came up with two cupcakes for the IronCupcake challenge and... missed the submission deadline. Sigh. So, on to next month. I'll post the berry cupcakes eventually though.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bunny Nuggets

Bunny Nugget Faces, originally uploaded by Alissao.

Here are a few of the Bunny Nuggets I made for Easter presents. These two went to my newest nephew and his older brother.

And here are their little bunny butts. Thanks to my friend Amy for the heads up on this cute pattern!


I gave away too much of my knitting this year! I can only think of one thing to enter in the fair this year. Maybe I'll finish something before the submission deadline. But since I'm working on all epic projects right now, probably not.

Also, 'knitted handkerchief' is one of the categories. Do people knit handkerchiefs??? ew.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Red Army

100_6620, originally uploaded by Alissao.

I'm not really a modern art fan, but this was one of the pieces I did like at Kentuck Knob. The Red Army by Ray Smith is made up of hundreds and hundreds of silhouettes of people all lined up in a field, their arms raised in celebration? or terror?

A Trio of Phone Booths

100_6629, originally uploaded by Alissao.

Kentuck Knob is currently owned by Lord Palumbo of the British House of Lords. He has added bits of Britain to the property, as well as a modern art sculpture garden throughout the meadows of the property.

He has a British phone booth near the visitor center, but then on the sculpture walk you suddenly come upon these three booths perched in a field. I loved it, as well as the thought of not one but three people walking through a meadow and suddenly needing to make a call at the same time! :-)

Kentuck Knob two...

100_6580, originally uploaded by Alissao.

A view of the side of the house off into the trees. Look at the moulding and carvings under the eaves, it goes all around the house along with the beautiful carvings over the windows.

Kentuck Knob was completed in 1956 when Frank Lloyd Wright was 86, it was one of his last completed homes.

Kentuck Knob

100_6605, originally uploaded by Alissao.

From Fallingwater, we went to another nearby Frank Lloyd Wright house - Kentuck Knob. This photo shows the back of the house, as it goes into the side of the landscape, and a little terrace water garden.

One more from Fallingwater...

100_6544, originally uploaded by Alissao.

Along the lines of the house being part of its surroundings again - that curve in the beam? Just to save that tree and make it part of the house.

Fallingwater - from the front walk

100_6547, originally uploaded by Alissao.

Here's another view of Fallingwater... that staircase going down into the water actually goes all the way up into the living room! It has this whole cantilever design thing going on, where it seems not to even be supported. As he frequently did, he wanted the house to be part of the surroundings. "Frank Lloyd Wright told them that he wanted them to live with the waterfalls, to make them part of their everyday life, and not just to look at them now and then."


100_6553, originally uploaded by Alissao.

I spent Memorial Day Weekend with friends in Pittsburgh, the next few posts will be some of my favorite shots of the weekend. I love Frank Lloyd Wright, along with most of the Arts & Crafts and similar design movements. Over the weekend we toured two Frank Lloyd Wright houses, bringing my total so far up to three.

Fallingwater is located in Mill Run, PA and was built for the Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh (department stores) between 1936 & 1939. It stretches out over a 30 foot waterfall! Photography isn't allowed inside, so I only have a few outside shots.

Oops, and, IronCupcake!

Wow, no May posts at all? Oops. It was a very busy month and nothing made it from the pre-writing stage to the published stage, I guess. I solemnly swear to do better! (as soon as I'm done cleaning house for my upcoming house guest) Also, I am joining a cupcake competition! I don't have high hopes given the caliber of the competition (um, Bakerella won the first month), but I think it will be fun to have the monthly challenge of coming up with a flavor to fit their ingredient or topic. So coming soon, more cupcakes! and also a bunch of knitting, and some travel pics. I told you I've been busy.

updated to add: A note on how the challenge works - it's part "popularity" and part random chance, each vote for your cupcake earns you a spot in the drawing and then a random number is chosen to decide the winner!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cherry Blossom Spring

Last weekend my mom and I went to a Cherry Blossom Festival/craft fair. The trees were absolutely beautiful, this was the first year I made it to see them and I never even realized how close they are to my house!

Knit Night!

In an attempt to meet new people in the area, I have been attending and hosting some events through Meetup. This is a lot of work and kinda scary but seems to be working. Tonight I hosted the first knit night at my house. A girl I'd already met came, and a couple of new people. It was loads of fun! We knit, I taught one new knitter how to start her first dishcloth, we ate cakey things and lemonade, and the two ravelry users proselytized it to the other two. Definitely worth cleaning house for. ;-)

Also, if you are reading this, and I know you, and you live near me - wanna come to knit night? The next one is May 14th and if you email me I'll tell you where I live...

More actual content coming soon... I have knitting and baking to share, I've just been mobbed with life and the above mentioned things.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hey, Teach...

is done! I wore it today, and I love it. I didn't block it yet, so the button band is a bit ripply but I just couldn't wait. So picture it post straightening up. ;-) I followed the Yarn Harlot's lead and only put in three buttons on the top since I would only want to wear it buttoned that far.

The lace pattern took some getting used to, but once I "practiced" a bit (ripping out and reknitting...) I got it down without issue.

Hey, Teach

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Another poem...

Hey, maybe this is BEO(ther)DA instead. We'll try for that. :-) I have another poetry post for you today because my photos are not handy at the moment.

This is one of my all time favorite poems. Note that I am not a religious person, this is just life advice, how to be happy and true to yourself, for me.

God Says Yes To Me
-Kaylin Haught

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don't paragraph
my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I'm telling you is
Yes Yes Yes

And, a few places where you can find poetry by delivery: (The Academy of American Poets) provides a poem a day in April by email, sign up here These are all newly published poems.

The Writer's Almanac (heard on NPR every morning) is available daily by email - sign up

And, my favorite, the American Life in Poetry I mentioned last time. This one is weekly (less overwhelming) and sign up is here.

(quick knitting update: I will hopefully have a completed Hey Teach to show tomorrow or Monday. I'm about halfway with the seaming but I also need to find buttons.)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

BEDA and Poetry Month...

A few of my friends are attempting to Blog Every Day in April, something that the YA author Maureen Johnson is spearheading. I know I won't make every day (I already skipped yesterday!) but I'm going to take it as an attempt to get some of my posts-in-progress actually, well, posted.

Also, April is National Poetry Month! And I am of the opinion that if you think you don't like poetry, well, you haven't read the right poem yet. There's something for everybody in the world of poetry, my friends. I don't like a lot of poetry, but then there's the stuff that just does it for me. So, I'll be sharing some poems this month, and some links to places where you can find your own cool poems.

Isn't this year's Poetry Month poster great? The line is from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot. Not really my style of poetry, but a very nice poem.

I have one and plan on framing it to hang somewhere in the house.

O.k., today's poem is brought to you by the American Life in Poetry project. This is a project of the poet Ted Kooser who was the US Poet Laureate from 2004 - 2006. ALP provides a poem every week with a little column written by Ted that can be reprinted in a newspaper, magazine, blog, etc. as long as you register on their site. Registering also gets the poem emailed to you each week. He has been picking some interesting poems, I have a handful saved from the last year. This is one of those - a very simple but haunting poem by William Kloefkorn that puts me in mind of William Carlos Williams with its simplicity.


American Life in Poetry: Column 147


Our earliest recollections are often imprinted in our memories because they were associated with some kind of stress. Here, in an untitled poem, the Nebraska State Poet, William Kloefkorn, brings back a difficult moment from many years before, and makes a late confession:

I stand alone at the foot
Of my father's grave,
Trembling to tell:
The door to the granary is open,
And someone lost the bucket
To the well.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c) 2004 by William Kloefkorn, whose most recent book of poetry is "Still Life Moving", WSC Press, 2007, illustrated with pastel paintings by Carlos Frey. Reprinted from "Alvin Turner As Farmer," Logan House, 2004, by permission of the author and publisher. Introduction copyright (c) 2007 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Vintage Easter Basket!

I signed up for the Very Vintage Easter Basket Swap and my lovely partner, Yvonne, sent me my package already. She told me she'll be away all week so I'll be sending her's out at the end of the week so it isn't sitting waiting for her. This was a fun swap! I don't think I've done one before where you are teamed up with someone and you each send to each other. Usually you send to one person and get from another.

Here is a shot of the full basket, and the cute wooden box that didn't fit in the basket.

This is the wooden box, opened up to show the decorated egg cup inside...

here's the pretty bird egg cup with sparkly egg inside... I love this! It needs to be decorating a high cabinet though, because Butterkitty thinks it is food or something. She immediately started licking the sparkly egg like an ice cream cone. ;-) It looks good on the china cabinet, so it all works out.

Super cute wooden row of three little chickies...

beautiful little vintage vase with hanky tucked inside!

Also in the basket: reese's egg, easter tissues, pretty little note pad, ribbon, vintage buttons... Oh, and my very first Fannie May chocolate! And probably something else I'm forgetting at the moment... Thanks, Yvonne!

Oh! And this cute little felt cupcake with easter chicks on top. :-)

A quick update on the knitting front - I finally finished the latest/last pair of Fetching. Yes, they were a Christmas present. But the celebration got pushed until March so I kept putting it off since I was so tired of making these things. It's a great pattern but after *seven* pairs, I'm done. If I ever make it again, it won't be for a very long time. I'm happy with these though, the Comfort Ease shows the pattern very nicely and apparently my Uncle's fiancee had been saying how much she liked my grandmother's and would like a pair, which I hadn't known. I'm almost halfway done with Hey Teach!, or in my case, Hey Librarian! ;-) and need to get it photographed for here and Ravelry both...

Monday, March 9, 2009

"What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be" Ellen Burstyn

If you too are a knitting-eclectic music loving-librarian, then divorce calls for three things:

1) a playlist
sorry, no way I'm linking to all of these. If you want more info on a song, hit google or youtube. ;-)

Disc 1:
I Will Survive Gloria Gaynor
These Boots Are Made for Walkin' Nancy Sinatra
My Give a Damn's Busted Jo Dee Messina
Before He Cheats Carrie Underwood
Picture To Burn Taylor Swift
The Chain Fleetwood Mac
You're So Vain Carly Simon
Go Your Own Way Fleetwood Mac
Piece of My Heart Janis Joplin
Goodbye Dusty Springfield
Little Lies Fleetwood Mac
I Will Survive The Puppini Sisters
Get Out Of This House Shawn Colvin
Jilted The Puppini Sisters
Breakin' Dishes Rihanna (she should listen to her own song and kick that guy to the curb!)
Not Big Lily Allen

Disk 2:
You Had Me Joss Stone
Shame For You Lily Allen
Metal Firecracker Lucinda Williams
You Oughta Know Alanis Morissette
Smile Lily Allen
Not The Doctor Alanis Morissette
I Will Survive Cake
Tainted Love Soft Cell
Don't Come Around Here No More Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
I Don't Care Anymore Phil Collins
Song For The Dumped Ben Folds Five
You Give Love A Bad Name Bon Jovi
I Love Myself Today Bif Naked
You Let Me Down Catholic Girls
Kiss You Off Scissor Sisters
Don't Stay Linkin Park

2) an epic knitting project
The lovely state of New York deems a one year separation a necessary part of the process. I find this less than productive, but am choosing to make it productive with the "epic knitting project." I will be making a Mason-Dixon Joseph's Blankie of Many Colors (ravelry link) log cabin blanket over the next year. The blanket will be finished when this is all over, and that, my friend, is positive productivity. Here's the little baby beginning of it:

It will take some care and planning to pace it throughout the year, but if I get to the end of the pattern too soon, I can just keep going. It is a combination of Lion Cotton-Ease, Knit Picks Shine Worsted, and Knit Picks Comfy (for the most part, there's a smidge of Webs yarn too). Here's a bag of Knit Picks goodness that just arrived, I think I have enough colors for the whole blanket now.
The pattern calls for DK and I'm using worsted so it should be a bit bigger than the pattern (good!) and I'm using size 7 needles instead of 6. This is the perfect project for an interchangeable needle set (more on that later!) so that you can keep increasing the length of the needle cord as the blanket grows. In the beginning you need much less of each color then the pattern calls for, so I'll have quite a bit of yarn left as well. So I decided to make a mitered square blanket in the same colors, however, I think mitered squares might just be too annoying for me. ;-) So I might do a different one instead, that's to be determined as that isn't the EPIC PROJECT.

3) lots of books
I probably read at least twenty books on divorce and separation. Some are religious, which I'm not interested in. Many focus on kids and custody which doesn't apply to me. These are the ones I personally recommend:

Crazy Aunt Purl's Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair: The true-life misadventures of a 30-something who learned to knit after he split by Laurie Perry
You might read her blog (you should! It's great. It's usually classed a knitting blog but the knitting is in a minority really, she's hilarious, she has goofy cats... my mom reads it and she's not a knitter. So, go add her to your blog list) but have you seen her book? Not just for divorcees any more than the blog is just for knitters... it's funny, it's sad, it's a good read. As I joked to my SIL when she bought me the book for Christmas off of my wishlist: I really don't drink so I will only be two out of three... :-P (damn cat hair!!)

Make Any Divorce Better!: specific steps to make things moother, faster, less painful, and save you a lot of money by Ed Sherman
Written by an attorney with 35 years of experience with divorce...

Congratulations on Your Divorce: the road to finding your happily ever after by Amy Botwinick
"Optimistic, chatty and accessible, Congratulations on Your Divorce guides you through the treacherous paths of divorce and into a life of renewed joy. It describes the world of divorce—warts and all—with some much-needed comic relief and heart. You’ll realize you’re not alone as you read about how the author and other women have coped with the emotional craziness of un-coupling, jettisoned their emotional baggage and gotten back on the road to defining and finding their happily ever after."

A Judge's Guide to Divorce: uncommon advice from the bench by Roderic Duncan
"Whatever you do, try to keep your case out of divorce court." Maybe strange words coming from a judge, but he's seen it all and he believes that the court system is not the best way to deal with a divorce. As he says, no one should let a judge make the decisions in their case unless there is no other choice. So this book covers the ways to avoid court, and then, if court is unavoidable, the best ways to deal with the process. From a guy who has been there! Very good book.

Not Your Mother's Divorce: a practical, girlfriend-to-girlfriend guide to surviving the end of a young marriage by Kay Moffett and Sarah Touborg
This one I'm reading right now, so I haven't finished it yet but I am loving it. Written by two former college roommates, it includes stories and quotes from a bunch of different women they interviewed, from all different situations and backgrounds. And it is specifically for women without children! A few review quotes: "...understand what it's like to deal with sudden "singledom" and the feelings that accompany it. In their down-to-earth guide, they help young divorcees tackle both legal and emotional problems in a tone that is by turns chatty and straightforward. Overwhelming issues are discussed with authority and sensitivity." "They offer compassionate and no-nonsense advice on everything from sharing the news about the breakup, and what to do with the wedding album, to re-entering the dating world and getting re-married."

I hope these can help somebody else at some point, although I wish nobody else would need them. :-)

edited to fix a link snafu

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Baby Birds and Baby Socks

Yesterday was my sister Jennet's baby shower. She collects nests with eggs (and has done a few related art series) so I used a "nesting" to get ready for the baby/baby bird theme.

These were the cupcakes
design found here, I split them up doing some with eggs in the nests and some with the baby birds. These eggs are easter egg shaped m&ms. Here's a close up of the baby birds:

These are nest cookies from an m&m cookbook, but these eggs are Cadbury Mini Eggs. I glued the eggs on with a dot of frosting.

These are delicious chow mein noodle cookies with m&ms:

Here we have some of the other refreshments (deviled eggs, heh.)

The centerpiece of pussy willows with different bird ornaments...

The favors were mama blue bird sugar cookies with Cadbury Mini Eggs

And these are the socks I knit her for the future bambino...

They are both a mix of Cascade Fixation and Elan Esprit and the pattern is from Cute Knits for Baby Feet

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Bit of Knitting

Super Mario Mushrooms made for my brother for christmas. Cute, eh?

Winged Tattoo Heart paperweight/stuffy/doohickey - this was a baby shower gift for a former coworker/friend. She loves tattoos and hopes to become a tattoo artist someday so this seemed the perfect gift for her and her first bambino. I love this one and will probably make myself one with a different inscription at some point. The wings in the pattern are to be knit and felted, since that isn't easy wool-free, I cut them out of regular white felt.

This is a variation on the Monteagle bag from the newest Mason-Dixon book. I love this bag but I did have trouble getting one of the stitch patterns into my head, so at one point I just started doing a simplified stitch version instead. I also used the seamless cast-on Kay suggested on the blog. It was a little tricky because I didn't have the appropriate needle length... next time I'll get the right size and it will be much easier.

The strap does stretch more than you think it will when you stretch out the bag to open the stitches... so stop before you think it is long enough. This was a christmas present for my mom. I want one of these too. ;-)

A Cal stuffed kitty to match the Butterkitty... this one went to my nephew for christmas. (cute photos with the baby coming soon!)
is that a cute kitten I've got or what?

This started out as a Lichen Cowl but the yarn lacked the proper stretch/give so it came out an awkward size (too big singled but not big enough to double). So I did some cutting, stitching, and added buttons.

This Tudora was for my sister for christmas. I love this Edwardian looking pattern, the cables add just that right touch.

Another Marley hat, my third. This one I call Muted Marley, with its sophisticated colors. This was for the same coworker/friend as the tattoo heart. I love it, and she said her husband does too. :-)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cooking the Tree of Life

Long time no see! Miss me? Sorry for the extended absence, December was a rough month Chez Yarnlibrarian and I'm just getting back into the swing of things. So I've got a lot of upcoming posts. First, an amazing program at the New York State Museum for Darwin's 200th birthday.

They call it Cooking the Tree of Life - four cooking demonstrations that highlight the evolutionary history of the meals' main ingredients, teaming up a local chef with a biologist. Each week covers a different branch of the Tree of Life: vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, and fungi.

Last week was vertebrates. Chef Tony Destratis of the Lake George Club cooked while Dr. Roland Kays, curator of mammals at the museum, handled the science end of things.

I forgot my camera, so I just have one from my phone

It's a birthday cake for Darwin with an illustration from his notebook in his hand with a sketch of the Tree of Life. And it was yummy as well.

The vertebrate menu included: Braised Oxtail; Swamp Gumbo (alligator and frogs legs); Atlantic Salmon as gravlox, poached with white wine and leeks, and as fried nuggets; and a special request from the biologist - an "Evolution Omelet" combining the three "major advances in vertebrate reproductive adaptations". Um, yeah. I'm not a science person but those are apparantly: amniotic eggs (caviar); cleidoic eggs (chicken eggs); and lactation (milk). That's an omelet, alright. So no sampling for me last week.

Tonight was Plants! I had high hopes of being able to try all the samples but these chefs do like to throw meat stock into otherwise vegetarian things. sigh. Tonight's chef was Timothy Warnock, corporate chef for U.S. Foodservice, and the biologist was Dr. George Robinson, a professor at UAlbany. George also entertained us with his guitar. :-)

Chef Tim made a lot of amazing things tonight. First, we had a smoothie - Jungle Juice

Looks gross, but it was tasty! It smelled like kiwi to me, but it didn't have any in it. It was pear, mango, grapefruit juice, and spinach. While it was passed around George serenaded us with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." ;-) (I don't care what they say about scientists, both biologists have been funny! After singing George said "I'm a botanist actually, which is a good thing for the music world."

Next they made a Hunter-Gatherer Salad. This was wonderful, both delicious and gorgeous with all kinds of pretty things in it.

You are looking at:
chopped smoked almonds
spring mix
orchids, pansies, amaranth, baby sunflowers, marigolds, and other flowers
basil flowers
microgreens (baby swiss chard and lavender buds)
chili peppers
organic blueberries, golden raspberries, red raspberries, black raspberries
crumbled goat cheese
and an Herb Balsamic Dressing
I already said amazing too many times, but, it was amazing!

Next was a chili of garlic, chili peppers, kidney beans, tomato, lavender buds, basil flowers, and pork stock.

George said "Darwin was an outlaw" and sang a birthday song to him including lyrics on the big screen with a bouncing Darwin head!

Next on the menu was a polenta with jalapenos and Speck ham (smoked, similar to prosciutto it seems). There was a multibean salad with kidney beans, white kidney beans, three kinds of lentils, onion, and chilis. This was served with grilled elk so I just tried a few uncontaminated beans. It was spicy!

There was a Quinoa Salad with quinoa, bulghur wheat, lemon & orange, and pork stock (grr!). And red couscous with blood orange zest and juice, onion, garlic, white wine, pomegranate... something (it was oil or essence or something like that in a small bottle), and the couscous - a frozen flash cooked kind with peas and red peppers already in it. This was very good! Sometimes I don't even like couscous, but this was good. I would totally buy the flash cooked/frozen couscous but unfortunately it is a restaurant only product.

Then it was on to dessert! Thank goodness chocolate comes from a plant. There were chocolate drizzled strawberries (a really good strawberry even this time of year!),

this looked like some sort of brownie cookie, maybe. Then I bit into it and discovered...
a macaroon inside! It was great.

There was Mayan hot chocolate, but it was waaaay too spicey for me. I took one sip and had to move on to the birthday cake to fix my poor mouth. I don't do smoked chipotle, apparently.

This was this week's birthday cake: You've got to love Darwin in a birthday hat!
I'm so glad I found these great (and free!) programs.

Made by Lena