Teacap: Vacation steeps, week 1

This week Wes and I took off across the U.S., determined to see as many National Parks and Monuments as we could. I packed up a tin of tea samples that I have received in swaps and with orders to sip my way across the USA. I’ve noted a few below that I sampled this week:

Salada, White Tea Asian Plum – This one was delightfully plummy. Someone sent me a few bags of this in a swap package and I’ve enjoyed each one.  I would definitely recommend if you want something light and fruity.

Harney & Sons, Paris – This one was a black tea with hints of caramel, currant and citrus.  I’m solidly middle of the road here. It wasn’t a bad tea and I did get a little caramel flavor, but I also have to say I’m not a fan of caramel flavor in tea (despite loving caramel).  This isn’t one I would add to my collection.

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js“>Phoenix Herb Company, Summer Breeze – The Phoenix Herb Company is a local Kansas City store and I picked up this sample at the tea festival I attended this summer.  Unfortunately they don’t have this tea listed on the site so I can only guess at the ingredients. It was lightly fruity and I did see a rosebud in the loose leaf.  I used my favorite Tea Duckie infuser for this cup.

Lana’s Little Big House, Apple Almond – I’m a fan of this black tea blend, accented with cinnamon, apples and almonds.  It’s warm and cozy and a little like apple pie in a cup. I just ordered a sample, but I’m a fan!

Newby, Masala Chai – This one was sent to me by a very generous viewer of the podcast. It is absolutely delicious and I may have to order some more. Aside from the lovely packaging (I adore the elephant), the tea is a strong black with spices.  I have mine with a bit of sugar, but I bet it would be delicious brewed with honey and milk.

Now I just have to decide what to drink tonight!



You may have noticed a distinct drop off in the rate of postings over here.  It’s because I’ve started a new venture.  I haven’t decided what to do with this blog just yet – I’m going to keep it around for a while until I decide.  Until then you can find me more regularly over at:

The Corner of Knit and Tea

The time I unintentionally knit myself giant labia.

I consider myself a pretty good knitter at this point. Maybe not expert but certainly knowledgeable and ready to try anything.

This post is about how even great knitters make mistakes sometimes.

I decided a while ago that I wanted to knit something during the Winter 2014 Olympics in Sochi, just as I have during previous Winter Olympics.  I actually selected a few projects, but this particular one involved a skein of gorgeous yarn with cashmere in it, from Cephalopod Yarns, Bugga in the colorway Flamboyant Cuttlefish.

I picked a pattern which was originally written for a thicker yarn, so I wanted to add something to this skein to make the cowl a bit wider and I found a red in the same yarn base. Away I went.   I finished late last night and this morning artfully draped the project on a hanger to shoot photos in the morning light.

Pretty right?

Um wait a minute. Let’s look at this again:

SHIT. Maybe no one will notice?

YEAH YEAH that’s it, better.

Man there’s nothing like warm labia on your neck. Nothing.


2013 Wrap Up

Being sick over the holidays really messed up my end of year/beginning of year rhythm and I’m only now just catching up.

Last year I challenged myself to knit 13 pairs of socks in 2013, and I did! Of those 8 pairs were for myself, 2 pairs were for my husband and the remaining 3 pairs were gifts.  I even made a wee dent in my sock yarn stash.

Many of these socks you  have seen throughout the year, but a few were gifts and I didn’t post them until now.

This year I’ve joined the Stitch Addiction sock club. It’s meant to be like the Yarn Harlot’s sock club. Basically you select 12 skeins, pair them with patterns, put them in bags and then just select one pair per month and knit them up. Stash busting, warm feet, and patterns you meant to knit with yarn you meant to use. What could be better? I’m winging it a bit, selecting something from the stash each month. And I have a few special skeins that probably won’t be socks, but will end up as hats, cowls, shawls or some other.  But I’m looking forward to cranking out a skein of sock yarn a month in 2014!

More on my other crafty resolutions soon!

2013: Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

I spun the yarn, designed and knit my own sweater.  I took a Zumba class.  I went to Yarn School.  We took my niece and nephew to Florida and went on a gator boat ride.  We rode the Amtrak to Chicago.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

These were my resolutions for 2013:

* Enjoy my time with my husband.

* Get moving. I seriously lacked in the fitness and self care department this year.

* Be more deliberate with my money and my time. Make time for the important things, clear away the junk that isn’t worth the effort.

I definitely enjoyed time with Wes this year even if we didn’t get in a vacation for the two of us.  The second I did in fits in and starts. I took some Zumba classes at the beginning of the year and then towards the end of the year I started jogging on the treadmill. I could certainly improve my efforts there.

As to the third, I think I did a fair to middling job. I did do some cleaning, I did get rid of things that are just taking up space. I haven’t been as deliberate with my money as I would like to be.

As for resolutions for the coming year, I’m just not sure yet. I may have to take it as it comes.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My sister had a beautiful baby girl, my niece Roxy. I got to meet her just a few weeks ago and I’m smitten.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Luckily not this year.

5. What countries did you visit?


6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

I’ve said it two years running, but a vacation would be nice. Somewhere just the two of us.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Sadly this year it’s mostly the tragic days that hold sway. April 15 – the Boston marathon bombing.  May 20 – the Moore, Oklahoma tornado.  On the other hand, October 31st is now not only Halloween, but my niece’s birthday!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

This year I think surviving the year was key. Nothing terrible happened, but at times it was a hard slog. I’ll be happy to greet 2014!

9. What was your biggest failure?

Definitely the no exercising thing. I actually got into a good little groove in October/November, but the holidays came and I lost it. Will be trying to find it in the new year!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Other than the house of plagues over Christmas week, we were pretty healthy this year.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My favorite thing this year was actually something I bought for Wes. For our anniversary I bought him a pair of Bose Noise Canceling Headphones. I thought they’d come in handy for him at work in the cubicle farm. He has loved them and I have loved watching him enjoy them.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Have you seen my yarn and fiber room?

13. What did you get really excited about?

Knitting all sorts of baby things for baby Roxy!

14. What song will always remind you of 2013?

Brave by Sara Bareilles and Royals by Lourde (and the amazing Pentatonix cover),

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Happier.
– thinner or fatter? About the same.
– richer or poorer? About the same.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I’d spent more time outdoors, taking photos and enjoying it.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

As always, I wish I spent less time worrying and anxious. It doesn’t change the outcome of things so I want to be a little more go with the flow.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

Sadly, Christmas was kind of a mess this year. Wes got the flu, I got a cold and we basically skipped the whole thing in favor of napping feverishly on the couch. We did get each other a few movies, which provided good entertainment.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

As a couple, we’re still diehard fans of the Big Bang Theory. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited about the next season Downton Abbey.  I was absolutely hooked on Orange is the New Black. I discovered Parenthood on Netflix this year and am tearing through it.  And just when I’d almost given up on The Good Wife it became electric this season.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

I discovered a new series this year – Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock books and read them like candy. I was fascinated by The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro. Other notables include Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, Andrea Kane’s The Girl Who Disappeared Twice and Cheryl Strayed’s Wild.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

This year I concentrated on collecting songs with a good beat for exercising. So far my list includes: Linkin Park (Numb, What I’ve Done), Avicii (Wake me Up), Rihanna (We Found Love), Maroon 5 (Payphone) and Puddle of Mudd (American Psycho).

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

We saw very few movies in the theatre this year. I watch Hugo on Netflix and loved it.  I’m hoping to catch up on the Oscar nominees in the next few months.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

We went for our annual dinner at Piropos.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I can’t think of any one thing. I suppose I’m just ready for the new year.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

About the same as always. Towards the end of the year I did gravitate towards tunics, leggings, boots and legwarmers. So comfortable!

26. What kept you sane?

My wonderful husband. My knitting and spinning, and my Wednesday night knitting group. It’s cliched, but I’ve seen these women every week for the better part of the last five years. We go through life together, exchange recipes and book reviews, knitting patterns and yarn. And there’s always laughter.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

This year wasn’t terribly fair or enjoyable, but we survived it. Now it’s time to focus on getting healthier and enjoying the new year.

The holidays.

Every year Christmas seems to be coming earlier and earlier. This year the stores put the Christmas candy out practically side by side with the Halloween candy. I feel like a grumpy old man, but I like my Christmas season to start AFTER Thanksgiving, like it is supposed to.

Even though we’re already well into December, I just haven’t really felt in the mood this year. I’ve cut back on presents, I elected to skip decorating the house this year, and for weeks now I’ve been changing the radio station every time they dare play a Christmas carol.

Last night, driving home after knit night, this started playing on the local radio station:

Suddenly I turned the volume up. I could imagine myself in a concert hall with a full orchestra, a conductor gesturing wildly.  I’m not much of a fan of classic instrumental music, but in this piece I could FEEL the movements and I actually got a little choked up. Something about this song – it’s movement, it’s purity – it just felt magic. I can’t explain it. And suddenly I was in the mood. To be with my family, to turn on the lights and eat the traditional foods and celebrate the holidays.

So from me to you – Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy and Healthy 2014!

November Knits

I guess November was a bit of a “me” month. I did knit a few other things which I can’t share because they are holiday gifts, but I did have a banner month in new couture for me.

First up, my NaKniSweMo sweater. I bound off on November 28 and took advantage of the beautiful unseasonable 50 degree weather over Thanksgiving weekend (and my new tripod and remote) to shoot a few pictures of my sweater. I’m calling it Sweet as (Cherry) Pie:

I love it. It’s everything I wanted it to be: a tunic to wear with leggings, cozy, fall-ish, a big cowl neck, dressy enough for work, but casual enough for knocking around if I want to. In the future, however, I’m probably going to stick to patterns rather than riffing my own. Although I love this one, I didn’t love the decision making process, or the ripping.

I also knit a few new accessories this month. My friend Kate has recently launched a podcast and has declared her undying love for hats, specifically a couple of Jared Flood hats. I had a pattern from a magazine I bought a while ago, and some stash yarn and I became obsessed with a hat. A few hours worth of work and I had a cheery, cozy, tweedy new hat:

The pattern is Relm by Jared Flood and the yarn is Classic Elite Portland Tweed in Ruby Red.

Finally, in homage to the 80’s and my cold knees, I knit some legwarmers. I wanted something a little classy, that I might even get away with wearing at work. Last year I fell in love with the Nozky pattern and I had some yarn in the stash (imagine that!).  A few weeks of lunchtime knitting and I had my legwarmers:

Now it’s on to December. Bring on the knits and spins!

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