Vegas baby!

This past weekend Wes and I jetted off to Las Vegas to attend the wedding of one of my dearest friends. She and her new husband got married in Valley of Fire State Park, about an hour outside of Las Vegas. It was BEAUTIFUL and I’m sorry we didn’t get to do a little more exploring, although it was very hot so maybe that was a blessing!

We gathered a little after 5pm in a few spare patches of shade between the red rocks and watched them get married.

Later that evening we all went to celebrate at Fogo de Chao.

While in Las Vegas we stayed at the Signature at MGM Grand which was a great hotel – it’s 3 towers on the same property as the MGM Grand, but there are no casinos in the hotel. It was quiet, posh and a lovely place to stay. I would totally go back again.

Other things we did: dimsum brunch at the Rio, dinner at Hard Rock, visiting with my cousin and his wife and baby and took in the new Star Trek movie. All in all a great weekend.

And, the icing on the cake is that I finished the present just in time. I knit Jared Flood’s Umaro in just under 2 months. That’s a lot of seed stitch but I’m thrilled with how it turned out. I hope it keeps them warm together forever!

Celebration

For the last several months (pretty much since summer started) Wes has been working CRAZY hours. He goes to work early early in the morning and then comes home and works until late at night, weekends included. So I was elated when he found out a few weeks ago he was getting a promotion. I am so proud of how hard he has worked.

He had an idea of how he wanted to celebrate. He spent a few weeks poking around online and yesterday we went to pick it out.’

We had a BLAST – buying a bike is so much fun! He rode it home (I drove the truck) and then we took it out to dinner.

I love you baby! Enjoy it and ride safe.

PS He got the bike, they threw in the jacket and helmet, I got the t-shirt:

Are you a Maker?

This past weekend Wes and I went to the Maker Faire in Kansas City. This fabulous expo is hosted in Union Station and features makers of everything from robots and electronic gizmos to bakers, crafters, and other artisans.  We managed to miss the Faire last year, but were determined to go this year.

Wes specifically wanted to see the Makerbots:


I was ready to see some crafters. Neither of us were ready for the cross between the Power Rangers and Iron Man and someone who looked like a Transformer:

We also enjoyed getting to see the Delorean (although rental doesn’t mean test drive!):

Although there were plenty of souvenir opportunities, I was a good girl and limited myself to two small things. The Maker magnet joins my growing collection at home.  The felted flower was made by my friend Christine (aka TreasureGoddess) and I’ve been wanting one for a while.

California Dreamin’

This weekend Wes and I hopped a plane and headed for California to celebrate my cousin’s bar mitzvah. It was a really fabulous weekend complete with good food, good company and lots of laughs.

We flew in to John Wayne airport on Friday morning and headed down to San Diego to meet the family. Along the way we ate lunch in San Juan Capistrano, narrowly missing the Return of the Swallows. After living in the Midwest for several years I forgot what it was like to walk around an urban area and see fruit trees everywhere.

We had lunch at Sarducci’s Capistrano Depot and watched the trains go by (we were told they get 88 trains a day!)

Then it was down to Encinitas for Friday night Shabbat services and dinner with the extended family.

Saturday was the big day. We got up early and headed over to temple for the Bar Mitzvah. The day was mild and my cousin did a great job. This photo was taken the next day, but here he is meeting one of his new cousins.

The rest of the weekend was spent wandering Encinitas, eating good food and catching up with family we only get to see every once in a while.

There was a bit of goofing off:

Lots of time for the cousins to catch up:

And a cutie pie to snorgle:

There was even a bit of yarn tourism at The Black Sheep – a cousin and I went off in search of fibery goodness and were not disappointed. The store is beautiful and stocked floor to ceiling!

Unfortunately, after a weekend of fun we had to head back home. We got in late last night and returned to work today, and laundry and sundry chores this evening.

Happy Saturday / Unhappy Saturday

Happy Saturday occurrence: I let a woman in front of me at the drive thru this morning, and she bought my coffee!

Unhappy Saturday occurrence: The TV is deader than a doornail. Off to buy a new one.

Because I’m still 12 years old at heart.

Guess what we did today?

Did you guess yet? Ok… try this one:

I love this one too:

Retreat

The last two weeks have been very stressful and less than pleasant. So it was with a decent amount of anticipation that I headed out this past weekend to Nebraska City, Nebraska for the Sunflower Knitter’s Guild Spring Knitaway at Lied Lodge. A weekend of knitting and spinning was just what the doctor ordered.

Most of the weekend was spent knitting and spinning in this beautiful lobby.

We also managed to take a detour to Omaha and participate in a little retail therapy. We visited both String of Purls and Personal Threads. I might have died a little in the second. Please excuse the blurry camera phone photo of the wall of Koigu. This might be what heaven looks like.

And I even made a dent in my first April sweater:

Now I just need a weekend to recover!

Spinning my wheel(s).

This was a fabulous weekend! On Saturday Wes and I went up to the Weston Irish Fest. Weston is a cute little town outside of Kansas City, known for its antique shops, it’s street market and of course it’s Irish Festival. Every year at O’Malley’s pub, Weston stages a 3 day Irish festival replete with bands on three stages, Irish fare and, of course, beer! It was quite warm during the day (almost 84), but we sat in the shade and enjoyed corned beef sandwiches and beer (just ask Wes about the Guinness) and listened to fabulous music. We arrived about 1pm and left about 10pm and I’ll definitely be going back next year.


On Sunday, a friend and I drove out to Harveyville, Kansas to visit the Harveyville Project and pick up some spinning wheels. I rented an Ashford Joy and will be practicing on that and maybe owning it at Christmas! Nikol, who runs the project with her husband, is super sweet. She spent a few hours with us letting us try out spinning wheels and offering reasonable prices and a fabulous rental program (half your rental fees go towards your purchase price if you buy the wheel you’re renting!) Of course this means I’d rather be spinning than working, but we won’t talk about that too much!

Now I’m sure everyone needs a little Monday pick-me-up. This one tickled my funny bone:

What I did this weekend: Evicting the fowl.

When Wes and I saw this house, we really fell in love with it. We did not, however, fall in love with the kitchen. In fact, we both agreed that the kitchen would be the first area of the house to see a little improvement. You might be wondering why. Well see, the previous owners liked roosters. A lot.

I’m sorry, you probably can’t see it quite well enough. Let me show you a closeup:

The night after we closed, Wes and I drove down to the house to see how easily the wallpaper might be removed. We peeled a bit and low and behold the vinyl portion of the paper just came right off. Starting to look better already.

Saturday, after a BIG trip to Home Depot we got out our DIF blue goo and smeared it all over the walls. A few hours of scraping and we got all the paper removed. What was underneath? Well burgundy walls of course!

Yeah. We don’t get it either.

Sunday we primed and painted. Our walls our now Cancun Sand, which basically means a nice cream color. Tape comes off tomorrow so this shot will have to suffice for now:

Of course the other fun thing about our house is that the previous occupants were serious gardeners. This means we got lucky and get a bit of the end of the season produce. We watered today, and collected an enormous zucchini, a squash, a couple peppers, okra, tons and tons of tomatoes (the cherry ones are SO good – and I don’t even like tomatoes!), blackberries and concord grapes. YUM!

ETA For more pictures of the house visit the whole album here.

Spring Fling!

This year I was lucky enough to get into The Loopy Ewe‘s Spring Fling! The Loopy Ewe is a great online yarn store that is housed in St. Louis. Once a year it hosts “Spring Fling” which is a knitting event for 125 knitters featuring classes taught by knitting authors and designers and yarn dyers. It’s basically a long weekend of immersion into the knitting world. In addition to classes, there’s great food, lots of friendly knitters and a shopping trip to Loopy Central (the yarn store!).

So last Thursday my friend PlazaJen and I piled all of our stuff in the car and headed for St. Louis! We arrived around noon, checked in, and started meeting the knitters. The interesting thing is that, with popularity of Ravelry these days, I knew many of the attendees from online before I ever met them. I even roomed with someone I had met through Ravelry!


Around 3pm we could get our registration materials and our goody bag and of course the cupcakes! Each year Laura and Leslie of the Knit Girllls start the weekend off by picking up cupcakes from the Cupcakery. Ever want to know what almost 15 dozen cupcakes look like?

The goodie bag this year was FABULOUS. It featured a sock pattern by Wendy Johnson, a skein of Wollmeise yarn in the exclusive colorway Femme Fatale, a Loopy Ewe Spring Fling Mug, a Loopy and a few other extras all delivered in a Loopy Ewe Messenger bag!

After registration 67 of us headed over to the mexican restaurant for the newbie dinner. Holy Margaritas Batman! Then we headed to the conference center for the dessert reception and knitting time. Then it was off to bed!

The next morning we got up early, breakfasted and began the day’s activities. My first activity was a Sweater Class with Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed. Jared was friendly, knowledgeable and a great teacher. He spent the class teaching us how to design our own sweaters, getting into the nitty gritty of how to measure yourself and how to do the mathematics and achieve the sweater you want. I can’t say enough good things about this class – I learned a lot and I can’t wait to apply some of his tips and tricks to my next sweater.


After the morning class, we had lunch and then I had a free afternoon of knitting. I got to hang out with my roomie and work on a variety of projects, including an Ishbel for myself! More details on that near the end of this post!

That evening we headed over to the Drunken Fish for sushi and drinks. Then it was back to the conference center for an evening talk on how to better photograph your yarns and knits led by Mr. Loopy himself! The talk was really interesting and gave me some tips that I applied when I got home taking pictures of my new stash. Also notable for the evening is that my roomie’s husband brought us Ted Drewes, which we had all been craving. (For those who don’t know Ted Drewes is a St. Louis tradition – frozen custard!) We were trying to fly below the radar so we didn’t set off a riot, so imagine my surprise when a picture of us ended up on The Loopy Ewe blog!

I could barely wait for the next day because I got to go shopping at Loopy Central! Sadly I didn’t take any pictures in the shop so you’ll have to be content with pictures of what I got! While there I managed to pick up an extra sock club kit including a skein of Wollmeise in the Guide to the Galaxy Colorway! I also picked up enough Madelinetosh Tosh DK in the Cherry colorway to do a delicious cabled sweater in the fall. My last two splurges were a skein of A Swell Yarn Shop‘s Duets DK in Merlot Spritz and a skein of The Sanguine Gryphon‘s Skinny Bugga in Tarantula Hawk that I had been lusting after for a while.





After shopping I returned to the hotel for lunch and another free knit period. Then we had a full group picture. After that, those of us who had knit stripey Vesper socks go together for a photo op. Remember my melons? Can you spot them?

For dinner we went back to the Mexican restaurant for more margaritas (that might be where I was “hanging around”). Then it was on to the final evening party. There were door prizes and fabulous cake balls!

All in all it was an amazing weekend. I met so many people and took so few pictures I can’t believe it’s already over. One last souvenir, however, is the shawl I completed while there. (Yes – I knit a shawl in just over 4 days!) I’m calling it my Spring Fling Ishbel!


The Pattern: Ysolda Teague’s Ishbel

The Needles: US 6’s

The Yarn: Wollmeise 100% in Rhabarber

The Verdict: LOVE LOVE LOVE this shawl. It’s the third one I’ve made of this pattern, but the first for me! I had enough yardage to add some extra lace repeats and make it a bit bigger and I think it will be the perfect summer shawl to throw over my shoulders when the office gets a bit chilly or I’m out in the evening. And every time I look at the shawl I will remember how much fun I had with my friends while knitting it!

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