Thursday, September 27, 2007

Key West -- the isle of cats and chickens

So I have a piece of advice regarding vacations: Don't plan more than 2-3 meetings, appointments, or otherwise un-missable events for the week that you return. You won't breathe, sleep, knit, or talk to friends/spouse. You will end up grumpy and stretched too thin and feel more than moderately insane, which stinks since you were just on vacation to stop feeling insane.

Yes, I did all of the above. Hence, my advice not to do that. LOL

The trip, though, was wonderful. Dan and I were in Key West for 6 days (although about a day or so was taken up with the actual traveling). We flew into Miami Airport, and drove through the keys on Rte 1, all the way to Key West. We got lucky... the rental place upgraded us to a convertible for no extra charge! It was a great way to begin....

We stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast called the Island City House. They own six really cute cats, most of which were very friendly and loved to be petted by the guests. This lil guy was my favorite. His eyes look soo much like Puss n Boots from Shrek II; the pic doesn't show it that well, but they were HUGE green eyes!

The hotels's cats weren't the only ones; Hemmingway had a house on the island, and kept many cats. I guess his cats had many kittens, for there are lots of cats running the island. And chickens, but history says the chickens were brought from Cuba in the earlier days of the island's history. The chickens are hysterical; they just run wild, cock-a-doodle-dooing where ever they please. No one owns them, per se, and it's illegal to hurt them in any way.

Thursday night, we opted for a sunset sail aboard the Liberty Schooner. The sunset was so-so; half obscured by patchy black clouds and not all that vibrant. But the crew was wonderful, the sailboating was neat (I've never been on one before), and ..... I got to "drive"!! Yes, the captain said anyone who wished could "man the wheel" for a bit. Not only did I do it, but I got to yell commands to the crew while doing so, in order that the sails would catch more wind. My next career? No. But it was fun that once!

Friday Dan and I went snorkeling. It was pretty neat; we saw a lobster, and a moray eel (Dan said most scuba divers don't even get to see them the way we did 'cuz they often hide in caves), barracuda, and lots of pretty colorful fishies. Unfortunately, there were quite a few jelly fish, and we opted to get out of the water rather than get stung. And my pictures didn't turn out all that great. Bummer. It's harder than you'd think to take a picture of a fish when you are being moved about by waves, and the fish are moving in currents below you.

Those are the highlights. In between and afterward there was shopping, terrific seafood, some enjoyment of the late-night scene, and a few beaches. It was a great trip!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I'm ba-a-ack!

I'm back in two ways, actually:

One, quite literal, as I've been in Key West for the past 5 days. It was WONDERFUL, and I'll post more about it later this week when my pics are uploaded and can accompany the short narrative.

The second way I'm back is that my work is back in the Curiosity Shoppe for display and sale. This two-month rotation (beginning Friday Sept 29) the South St. Phila store asked me to focus on jewelry items. So I did (duh). All signs point to my items being in the store for the next four months, though, as my knit bears have already been requested at the Nov/Dec cycle. Yay!

So while I go do things like sort laundry from a week of extreme heat and fun in Key West, you should grab your calendar and jot down Curiosity Shoppe's address (529 South 4th St) and plan to stop by next time you're in Philadelphia. :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

It's Monday again...

and thankfully, I can already tell it'll be a better week than last week. I've been up for a few hours, got my yoga practice in before they closed the aerobics room at my gym for a class, and have a definitive list of the stuff that needs to be done in the next few days. And I have energy (which I was sorely and sadly lacking last week!).

Yesterday was the Newark Community Days Festival. I've never been before, but had a booth this year. I was very pleased with the way vendor set-up was handled. There were to be around 1800 vendors (of different sorts --- some public info, some political groups, and several entire sections of hand crafters), so it easily could have turned into a disaster. But there were volunteers posted at designated drop-off points, willing and able to help carry items to your booth. And there was plenty of space for vendor parking (for free -- thanks, Newark!) in any lot along Main St or DE Ave.

There were plenty of people, but not soo many that they couldn't cross a walk to see something that caught their eye. It was a chilly day, but it didn't keep people from shopping! Actually, I think the breeze helped people remember it's the right time of year to buy warm knitted items ... and Christmas gifts! It was a great day.

Now I'm preparing for (and looking forward to) the next show, at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church. It's October 6th ... just two weeks! Off I go, to make more of all the items I sold yesterday! Also, if you're considering a facelift for your doors for this holiday season, this show will be a must-visit, as I'll have a full selection of fall and winter holiday wreaths available.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Getting to all the wrong things

Ever find that some days you're really surprisingly productive, but not with regard to ANY time-sensitive tasks that you may have on your plate?!

That's how yesterday felt to me. I have a booth at a festival, Newark Community Days, on Sunday. I need to get some things organized for it. I'll be selling some of my hat/scarf/fingerless glove sets (but they all need to have my clothing label sewn inside). And since I designed a new way to tag my items for sale, I need to re-tag every item I'm planning to bring to Community Days. But instead, I did other stuff.

It's not as though what I worked on WASN'T important ('cuz some of it was). I mean, I updated my supply inventory, and worked to finish a crochet purse that I've had on the back burner for awhile now. And I made the eyelet shrug grow another 2.5". Althought updating my stash and FOs on Ravelry probably doesn't fit into "important..."

*sigh* Today is a new day; maybe it will bode better for the imperative tasks (I REALLY don't want to spend Saturday doing that stuff! Our pool is still open and I want to use it!).

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Distracted by instant gratification

Or something like that. The eyelet shawl, which is finally about halfway done, is feeling like it's the slowest project this side of the Mississippi.

So I'm taking a break... of sorts... with several quicker projects. I cast on for a novelty scarf the other night. I'm going to alternate bright blue/glitter and black sparkly yarns. They are both Anny Blatt, and were part of the yarn gifted to my knitting group a few months back. The most fun thing about this project (so far) is that the light bulb went out while I was knitting, and during the thirty seconds it took for my eyes to adjust, I looked down at my lap and noticed that the scarf was glowing. Turns out the blue Anny Blatt has glow-in-the-dark specks in it (the glowy parts are the ones that look cream/yellowy in the pic). Cool!

Then last night I cast on for a custom shrug in Rhapsodie. I'm really enjoying this yarn. It doesn't split, it's soft, it makes big stitches, and the color variations are quite pretty. I chose a simple basketweave pattern for the shrug ... to make it interesting without detracting from the yarn itself. Got nearly 6" of the shrug knit last night while watching old Friends episodes. Gosh how I miss that show!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Stitches East Homework ..... DONE!

Yup, that's right. I'm celebrating, cuz all my swatches are DONE!! And (this is a bonus), I was able to use leftover yarn pieces for the swatches. I had some acylic on hand, and no idea what I was going to use it for; these swatches were the perfect solution. Now I can leave the swatches knit so that, paired with my notes from class, it'll be like having the class whenever I have a question.

What did I need to swatch? Not all that much, I guess. I needed four different swatches for my first class (Friday morning) called Rolled Endings. I'm looking forward to this class, and learning some cool new ways to cast off projects.
Then I needed one swatch on DPNs for my third class (Saturday morning) called Build a Better Bag. Can't wait to learn some tricks for making bag-shaped bags, and having them be sturdy without felting. Nothing against felting, mind you, just a) haven't done it yet and b) don't want to do it on every bag, obviously.

Now I'm ready to start on a custom shrug request. The recipient simply requested the color (orange) and left the pattern up to me. Oooh, fun! I found the perfect yarn at the LYS sale recently: Plassard Rhapsodie in orange/brown/pumpkin. I can't wait to start on it. Now to my pattern dictionary to find a nice pattern to show off the pretty colors!