Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas! I'll be back soon with some updates...sorry for the long silence!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

CraftmeetupbuttonI attended the SE Michigan Crafters Meetup, hosted by Rae of Made-By-Rae last Thursday night. It was so much fun to meet up with other local crafters and work on things with company, rather than in solidtude (I miss my weekly craft nights with Catherine now that she's living in Germany).

Photo by Rae (more photos can be found on her post here)

Every year, around November, I find myself signing up for some sort of holiday ornament/craft swap (200620072009). I always imagine myself having tons of free time to make cute little gifts to swap and it always turns into a time crunch to get everything completed in time. This year, I was determined to have things turn out differently and give myself extra time to prepare.

I brought an ornament project with me to work on for the evening and I spent lots of time with my trusty seam ripper because I could not get sew the ornaments perfectly in line with the template. Trust me...there were lots of very oddly shaped skate boot attempts. Fortunately, I finally got into the groove of things, though, by the end of the night.

Ice Skate Ornaments for Small Fox Ornament Swap
After making a trip to Joann to get Pearl Cotton and pom pom trim, I was able to put the finishing touches on these ornaments (pattern and directions here). These little skates are finished ahead of time (yay!) and I'm hoping they reach their destination of the Second Annual Small Fox Ornament Swap safely.

Ice Skate Ornaments for Small Fox Ornament Swap

Ice Skate Ornaments for Small Fox Ornament Swap

Accessories Roundup & Jon's former hobby

I've been knitting like crazy lately (if you couldn't already tell)! I'm so glad the cool weather has arrived because it's finally the perfect weather for knitting.

Here's what I've been making these past few months.
stash for rav
If I had to pick one favorite yarn, it would definitely be Berocco Pure Alpaca (used previously for my End of May hat and Zig Zag afghan). My favorite yarn store always has tons of beautiful colors in stock and I came up with this color combination during my last visit (mostly chosen to match my rain coat).

scarf & hat set
I finished the hat before the trip and finished the scarf mid way through our trip. I knit the scarf from side to side and, quite honestly, I think this is the only way I'll knit scarves from now on. Knitting lengthwise goes much faster than knitting short rows back and forth (at least in my head it does!)

Sólheimajökull Glacier

Sólheimajökull Glacier
Jon picked out the yarn and pattern for this hat last fall and started knitting the band of this hat. The hat sat around for many months before Jon declared that knitting was no longer for him. I don't really blame him because K2P2 brims are fairly tedious to get started with. He decided that I should be the sole knitter in our house and asked me to finish this hat for him to wear in Iceland. This is a replacement for the Koolhaas hat I made him a few years ago that is too big and "too nice" to wear hiking.

you can sort of see my new scarf peeking through my jacket here.

opus spicatum
I've been lusting after The Fibre Company Terra yarn after seeing their beautiful ads in Interweave Knits and I finally got around to making a colorwork hat with it a few weeks ago. This is supposed to be an oversized beret, but I didn't do a gauge swatch and used the wrong sized needles so it ended up on the smaller it's just a plain old hat.

Rav link: craftr's opus spicatum
Opus Spicatum

Lapis Yoke Pullover

knittin, reading and waiting for our flight
This was my intended to be my official Iceland knitting project. I had lofty dreams of knitting every day in the car, but I was too enamored with the scenery to bother casting on. Because I didn't get started on it until the very end of our trip, it ended up being my airplane/jet lag recovery project instead.

lapis yoke in progress
I was able to finish the yoke, separate for the sleeves and start the body by the time we landed in Detroit. It kept me awake through some very cheesy airplane movies (Chipmunks: The Squeakuel anyone?)

Lapis Yoke
This was such and enjoyable sweater to knit and now I'm totally sold on knitting from the top down. The yarn, Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk Aran, was a dream to use and I was fortunate enough to find a half off sale last winter to acquire it because it's on the pricey side. This sweater is so soft and silky and squishy and I think it will get a lot of use this winter.

Lapis Yoke
Jon says that it's the most normal, store bought looking sweater that I've made so far and I agree. I guess I should make sweaters in this style more often.

Project notes and more info can be seen here: craftr's Lapis Yoke

sewing room update

Friday, October 8, 2010

As soon as we were back from vacation, I started fall cleaning the house. (anything to conquer jet lag, right?)

It feels so good to clean each room from top to bottom and get rid of clutter. And, I finally paid someone to clean our wooden blinds for us (best *investment* ever!).
in progress
I also got around to cleaning out my craft room (see the original post about this room here). It was fun to go through my old treasures and find some long forgotten purchases. It was also a great reminder that I don't need to buy more craft supplies any time soon!

organizing & cleaning my space
I rearranged my bookshelf to fit more fabric and more yarn and hung up the two doll quilts from DQS7 and DQS9.

craft room update
Here is my room again going counterclockwise around from the door.

craft room update
I added these pegs a few years ago and they have been great for organizing my bags of projects. I couldn't find a long board, so I bought two and painted them white (from Michaels). I like having the bins of yarn out in the open now so I have a visible reminder not to buy more yarn! The quilt hanging on the door was made by Jessica for DQS7 - I love the bright, citrusy colors she used! I love having something not made by me hanging in here for inspiration.

craft room update
I painted this dresser green to add some color to the room. If I had to do it over again, I would probably go with teal instead, but it's too late now. I store office supplies, computer supplies and random cables and chargers in here.

craft room update
I rearranged the cubes in my expedit shelf and got rid of the wooden storage boxes on top leftover from my scrapbooking ephemera days. Now I've dedicated a few more cubes in the shelf to yarn and fabric. Above the bookshelf is my new doll quilt from Emma. It matches my room perfectly and I just love it. You can read more about her process here.

craft room update
Here's my sewing/computer desk area. If I had more space in here, I would have added a taller cutting table for rotary cutting, but there's just no room for another table so I will have to make due by hunching over while I rotary cut. The mini bookshelf came from our kitchen after we added the pantry shelf and stores my stationery collection, pen collection and more books.

craft room update
On the final wall I hung a set of pictures from Iceland and an Icelandic sheep poster above my weaving loom. Jon thought I was crazy for wanting to hang a picture of sheep butts on my wall, but the sheep butts crack me up, so they're on the wall to stay!

Iceland: Part 3

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Here's the 3rd and final recap of our trip. Check out part 1 and part 2 if you missed them.

Day 7: Explore the 'Capital of the north'
Our first stop of the morning was at this gorgeous waterfall, Godafoss.

We had to walk over lots of rocks and streams to get close to the top of the waterfall and I was thankful, yet again, for hiking boots with grippy soles.
Harriet & Steve
Harriet's demonstrating how easy it would be to fall into the waterfall. Steve's trying to save her from her imminent death.

 bathroom with a waterfall view
A bathroom with a really nice view of the waterfall and scenery. I wouldn't mind having that view from our bathroom at home at all!

Akureyri - Iceland's capitol of the north
Next, we stopped for lunch in Akureyri, Iceland's "Capital of the North." We found these crazy puppets on the side of the street.

One of the highlights of the day for me was learning what the word "causeway" means (you have to drive over a causeway to get into Akureyri). Go ahead and look it up here if you don't already know what it means. I spent the rest of the trip trying to identify causeways and having Jon and/or Steve vote yay or nay.

Harriet and I would like to open a yarn shop in this little green storefront one day. We can dream, right?

Akureyri - Iceland's capitol of the north

Akureyri - Iceland's capitol of the north
A church in the old part of town.

rainbow seen on the highway
We spotted this rainbow as we were driving through the mountains and got out of the car to take pictures just in time.

Our next stop was at Glaumbaer Folk Museum (an Icelandic version of Greenfield Village or Sturbridge Village). Any place with animals is a big hit with Jon and any place that reenacts life in the olden days is a big hit with me!


Admission to the museum included a map and guide with information about each room in the turf house and we got to see how Icelanders lived in earlier times. The rooms were all dark and musty smelling (probably due to the dirt walls, eh) and I was thankful that I don't have allergies while walking through the place.




My favorite room of the house was the main room in the front portion. It was the sleeping and living quarters for all of the occupants of the house (around 18 or so) and was where all of the spinning, knitting and embroidery was done.



Hvammstangi, Iceland at Gauksm√Ωri Horse Farm
We stayed at a really nice horse farm in the middle of nowhere on night 7. The hotel was filled with lots of neat horse themed art pieces and our room had a beautiful view into the countryside.

Hvammstangi, Iceland at Gauksm√Ωri Horse Farm
The separate comforters are our favorite part about sleeping in Europe. We're thinking about making this switch for the winter to avoid stealing each other's blankets/sheets during the night.

gas station in Hvammstangi
Eating vegetarian in Iceland was a lot easier than I anticipated. Each restaurant had one vegetarian dish on the menu, most soups were vegetarian, and there were salads and vegetables everywhere. Unfortunately, the horse farm where we stayed was known for its 5 meat buffet (horse, seal, whale, lamb, beef) and was the only restaurant in the area. Instead of paying $50/person for a meat meal, we had to eat at the only other restaurant in the area - the local gas station. Needless to say, we were really craving anything that wasn't orange to eat at this moment!

See more pictures from Day 7 on flickr here.

Day 8: The Northwest & Snaefellsjokull National Park

We spent most of the day exploring the Snaefellsness Peninsula on the east coast of Iceland.
  Jon getting accused of trying to steal a cat
Jon, bonding with the local animals. The museum owner was afraid that Jon was steal his kitty and yelled out "Leave the cat here" when Jon started walking toward the car, cat in hand. Jon really can't help it that every animal he meets is magnetically attracted to him!

We stopped at Skardsvik, which (according to a website I just read) is one of only 2 white beaches in Iceland (although we couldn't tell from our visit as it had just rained).

We had fun playing around with different drawings in the sand - I'm more of a tactile person than I thought (but, then again, what knitter/crafter isn't?)


Here's a popular Iceland pastry - the kleina, which is a twisted doughnut spiced with cardamom. Not too sweet, with a hint of spice...very tasty! Steve sweet-talked the lady at the bakery known for the "best Kleina in Iceland" (according to our guidebook) into giving us a giant bag of frozen, day old kleina. Apparently a bus filled with tourists bought out her entire stock of fresh kleina just before we arrived. She felt sorry that we missed out on her pastries so she made sure we were well fed for the afternoon.

Lóndrangar - volcanic plug and the remnants of a fishing community
We hiked up to Londrangar, which is two giant volcanic plugs made up of basalt and saw the remains of a former fishing village. From reading the guidebook, we weren't too sure what "remains of a former fishing village" meant, but as you can see here, it's a bunch of old logs and discarded boat parts.

See more pictures from Day 8 on flickr here.

Day 9: Back to Reykjavik
A view of the fishing town where we stayed on the peninsula.

where the term "going berserk" originated
We ran into a couple earlier in the trip that told us to check out Berserkjahraun while we were on the peninsula. Apparently, this place is the inspiration for the phrase "going berserk."


an Icelandic picnic table
An Icelandic picnic table

tight chain walking
learning to "tightrope" walk

Icelanders really seem to like Snow White & the 7 dwarves
Snow White and the 7 Dwarves seems to be quite popular among the locals. We saw paintings, murals and figurines all over the place.

Borgarnes, Icleand
We passed through the picturesque town of Borgarnes on our way back to Reykjavik.

visiting the Alafoss outlet
Harriet's and my most anticipated shop of the trip was the Alafoss outlet, just outside of Reykjavik. We made sure to rush through the morning sightseeing so that we'd have enough time to shop (priorities, right?).

visiting the Alafoss outlet
posing with the "yarnmobile"

visiting the Alafoss outlet
Most of the outlet was devoted to selling handknit goods but a small corner of the store was filled with lots of different types and colors of yarn.

visiting the Alafoss outlet
Don't let his look of boredom fool you! Jon picked out the yarn for me to knit him a sweater and a hat and is holding "his yarn" and a new pair of mittens while waiting.

visiting the Alafoss outlet
All set to check out. They really should have shopping carts at this place! We were wishing we had brought more luggage at this point!

bridge between two continents
After visiting the yarn store, we made our way back to Reykjavik, had lunch and then drove out to the Reykjanes Peninsula to the site of the "Bridge Between Two Continents", aka the meeting of the European and North American tectonic plates. The bridge is much smaller than it looks and it's a bit of a letdown, but it was fun to jump back and forth between continents because you can't do that every day, right?

bridge between two continents

bridge between two continents
We ended our day with tickets to a lovely Iceland Symphony Orchestra concert. Listening to beautiful piano and symphonic music was a great way to relax and wind down from a busy trip! (BTW, the pianist has the cutest website here)

See more pictures from Day 9 on flickr here.

Day 10: Blue Lagoon
We returned the rental car in the morning and then took a shuttle bus to the Blue Lagoon. We were sharing the bus with a group of retired women on a tour of Iceland. Some funny comments overheard were:

"Did you see what he [tour guide] was talking about?"  "No. I don't see half of what he talks about"
"We can't forget Delores" 

Blue Lagoon
The Lagoon was beautiful! The water was incredibly warm and we had fun wading around and checking out the massaging waterfalls, caves and steam rooms. We were fortunate enough to arrive right as it opened, so it wasn't too crowded at first. After a few hours of bathing (and overheating), the place turned into Cancun during spring break and was overwrought with people (it even had a walk up bar!).

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

knittin, reading and waiting for our flight
After getting overheated in the geothermal pools, we had lunch and sat at the cafe knitting and reading until another bus came and brought us to the airport for our departure.

We fit a ton of things into our 10 days in Iceland and had such a great time checking out the scenery and wildlife in Iceland. The country is absolutely amazing and we are completely enamored with the scenery. We hope to return sometime soon!

See more pictures from Day 10 on flickr here.

Thanks for listening to me give our trip play by play!

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