Monday, August 27, 2007

A Perfect Break

My vacation to Elk Rapids, Mich., is several weeks over but I couldn't dig up the enthusiasm to blog about it. It was a wonderful break, almost perfect. If G had come too it would have been perfect. But he has only 3 days of vacation left for the year, where I have something like 3 weeks left. I've been at my company 8 years compared to his not quite 2. But next year he'll get 3 weeks so we'll be a bit more even.
But I wasn't alone ... I was with my extended family.

Anyway ... the area in Michigan where I was (the northern part of southern Mich.)
is so beautiful. Elk Rapids is on Grand Traverse Bay, which is a huge bay off of Lake Michigan.

The weather was perfect. It was exactly the weather I imagine when I think about vacation: sunny, mid-80s with a breeze. Sigh. We stayed in glorious (and huge) old
Victorian with a wrap-around porch where I knitted every day. I am kicking myself now that I didn't take any pictures of it!

We spent our days at the beach, lounging on the porch and golfing for some
(not me!). Every evening, different people were in charge of making
dinner for the 18-20 people in attendance. We had couscous, grilled
fish, an Indian dish, spaghetti, my amazing chicken with my brother's
amazing creamed corn (fresh from the cob of course), great salads,
roadside shack pies and local cherries (oh my god so good!).

One day some of us drove to the Sleeping Bear Dunes on Lake Michigan. Since
we've vacationed in the area for about 20 years, we have a secret spot
that involves a long walk down the beach but you're rewarded by a
mostly private stretch of sand.

That was the only time I really look any pictures. Well, I took tons of my nephews and niece too but I won't post those here.

Sleeping Bear Dunes Mosaic

The top left photo was taken from the car while we drove over the Mackinac
Bridge that connects Michigan to the UP. That black bar is part of the
bridge. In the photo below that you can see the different blues in the
water. My brothers spent much the day talking about and attempting to
swim out to the edge of what the called the abyss. Dorks.

I love this beach. It really is one of my most favorite spots.

I did a ton of knitting on vacation. The day we went to the dunes, I made this Dashing mitt:


I also finally finished my first Monkey sock. But then I couldn't bring myself to cast on for the second while on vacation. I don't know why. I love the sock. I love the pattern. I guess I just wanted to do something else and since it was vacation, I did whatever I wanted.


And there was even a tiny yarn and quilt store in town. It didn't have a good selection at all, but I did find some sugar n cream cotton to make dishclothes. I promptly knit up two as a thank you to my parents for a lovely vacation.


And I finished my mom's shawl, but not in time to give it to her. I didn't have a good spot for blocking it so I brought it back home with me and it is now blocked and ready to give when I am home again in Sept.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Beating the Blahs

Coming home from a vacation means there's a lot of catching up to do. Catching up on work, e-mail, laundry, grocery shopping, blog reading, blog posting. I've been back a week and a half and I am all caught up except for blog posting. I've just felt so blah about posting. But there's tons of posts I could do: I planned a great vaca recap, but it's getting a bit late. I did lots of knitting while gone and have some stuff to show, but I only just took pictures today and don't feel like uploading them. Double blah.

But today in the mail arrived something that beat my blogging blahs. I won the "how much hair did I cut off" contest at KnitPastis. I guessed 7 inches, which was correct, but so did a bunch of other people, so she drew names. And I won!!!


Close up of the gorgeous yarn:

Look at this amazing sock yarn. I REALLY want to cast on a new project with it RIGHT NOW! But I should start my second Monkey first .... I, ahem, bought some new sock yarn on Sunday and told myself I couldn't start it until I at least started the Monkey. So the same should go for this new yarn too, right? But it's a prize yarn, handyed by KnitPastis herself. I feel like it should have different rules. Plus it would be rude of me to not immediatly cast on, or so I tell myself as an excuse.

The prize package also included this Burts Bees grapefruit shampoo that I love. Grapefruit is my bath product/perfume favorite scent. And there was a bag full of goodies to treat my feet and some candy. I feel so spoiled.

And let me tell you how organized KnitPastis is. She emailed me that I won on Monday night and that I should send her my info by Tue. morning b/c she was going out of town. But I didn't see it until mid Tue. morning. So I sent my address and told her I looked forward to getting the package when she got back. But she got my email on her phone while doing errands and had the box, tape and marker ready to go. Amazing. Check out her cute new do.

Thanks, KnitPastis! I love everything.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mother Bear Project

I stopped in Lovelyarns on Sunday to check their malabrigo supply (didn't have what I was looking for, but a few skeins of amazingly soft lace weigh may have come with me), and learned about this wonderful organization called the Mother Bear Project.

According to the site:

The Mother Bear Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children, primarily those affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of love in the form of hand-knit and crocheted bears.

Lovelyarns is selling the pattern and collecting bears. Here's more. They had some adorable bears in the store and I was just so taken by them. I knew I had to make one, or 10. I've thought of doing a charity knit but nothing really grabbed me until I saw the bears. While some might say there are more practical things to knit for these children who have almost nothing, every child needs a toy. Having a beloved toy should be a basic part of any childhood. So I am going to make bears.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Stitch Diva Sale

Saw this on Stephanie's blog: There's a sale at Stitch Diva. All
patterns are 25% off and 75% percent of proceeds go to help two
knitters in need. But the sale ends at 11:59 tonight!

I've had a few of the Stitch Diva patterns on my someday list for awhile, so I decided today was the day to purchase.

Save a few bucks and help some knitters! Perfect.

Flowers and Yarn

Having fun w/ a flickr toy. Here are some recent pix of flowers from my garden and yarn from my stash (to upload into Ravelry. Yeah! Got my invite in June, am still organizing my stash to upload. I am tawitham there.)

I finally made a photo mosaic. So pretty. And some are Project Spectrum worthy, no?

I am thinking of packing the brown Manos cotton stria (second row, middle column) to start a little summer something on my vacation next week. I leave Friday night for two weekends and five weekdays full of swimming, reading, shopping (already scoped out the yarn stores) and of course, knitting, in Elk Rapids, Michigan w/ my family.

flowers and yarn

How many projects to pack? I'll probably bring more than I need just to have some variety.

Be back in mid-August!