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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Vacation: EPCOT

On the day I toured EPCOT, my sister and her boyfriend had to take off and my parents wanted to take it easy. I, however, got to the park for the rope drop. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling too great... I was hoping it would wear off as the day went on...

My main goal was to ride the newly refurbished Test Track... however it was broken down right away.  What to do when you feel terrible but don't want to leave the park?  Ellen's Energy Adventure! Clocking in at a whopping 45 minutes, this slow moving ride was exactly what I needed.

The dinosaurs remind of me of what I have seen of the Magic Skyway, one of Walt's creations in the 1964 World's Fair

Still feeling under the weather, I took the early morning hours to just lazily stroll around World Showcase.... get this.... COUNTERCLOCKWISE!  I can't believe how strange it was to start my journey in Canada instead of Mexico.

I was one of the first people to ride Maelstrom... I lagged behind in the little Norwegian fishing village where you disembark.  Eventually a cast member asked me to move along, haha!

By this time, I was starting to get a little hungry.  Skool bread and coffee from Kringla bakery in Norway.
Here is my view from the bench where I enjoyed my mid-morning snack.

Mariachi band near Mexico
Eventually my parents made it to the park and we met up for lunch in the Mexico pavilion, arguably my favorite!

It was so magical to see Christmas decorations around the pavilion!

View of the Mayan pyramid from the Grande Fiesta Tour boat ride.

More Christmas decor
Well... after lunch I really felt terrible.... I really, REALLY didn't want to leave.  It was drizzling and slightly cold which also didn't help.  I stumbled around with my parents for a few hours, sipping a yummy tea from Japan.....  I snapped a few random photos.

The Christmas store in Germany... always a favorite of mine.

The tree was so lovely, it had swans and feathers everywhere.

Scene from a shop in Germany

Cockoo, cockoo!
Ok, so I finally dropped my parents off at the new wine cellar in Italy and knew that I had to make an executive decision.  I still had two and a half more days of park hopping and I was NOT going to miss all of it.  Additionally, Hubby was driving to Orlanda from Tampa (after an interview) and didn't have a ticket for the day. After much internal struggle, I said goodbye to my parents and made my way back to the hotel.  I took my time on the walk out... stopping whenever I could to soak in the atmosphere but I really felt as if I might fall over or be sick at any moment.

After a painfully long trip back to the hotel, I plopped onto the bed and napped until I heard a knock on the door... HUBBY!!!  I still felt awful but it was so incredible to have him there with me.  My parents had reservations at The Rose and Crown for dinner.... it was hard to pass up but Hubby didn't have a ticket and I wouldn't be able to eat anything. 

I took Hubby to the River Roost Lounge at our resort and he asked me... "Where should we eat dinner, we can do anywhere you want".  UGHHHH.... anywhere on Disney property (non-park) and I had absolutely no appetite... even the thought of food made me feel sick.  What torture!  I refused to waste the evening so I suggested the Boardwalk.....
I was slightly delirious during our Boardwalk venture but we had a little bite to eat and shopped around a bit. 

Finally we made our way home and I went to bed.... the next day we had plans to visit Magic Kingdom so I wanted to be well rested :) 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Palm Island

This weekend I am spending some time with the gals for a very special bachelorette party. We are down in gorgeous Palm Island in Florida with a fantastic beach house.

Today I woke up early and sipped on some almond milk while I listened to the waves crashing onto the shore. I brought along my newest project, the silver bells and cockle shells shawl for some travel knitting. Well.... Off to the beach!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Lace Crazy

For the past several weeks I have been obsessing about knitting lace… I can’t get it off my mind!  Usually, I seek out a pattern to knit out of necessity.  I search them out based on what I need to do, generally because I am always knitting presents for others.  Don’t get me wrong, I truly enjoy doing this but currently my mind and hands are aching for a project that is more about the process than the finished project.  In other words, FUN knitting! 
What sounds wonderful to me right now is a large, one piece project that will keep me occupied during all of my upcoming trips.  So what makes good “travel knitting”?  Here is what I’ve discovered throughout my years of constantly having needles in my hands during every expedition:
  • The less ‘fuss’, the better: it’s a bit annoying to constantly be pulling out my ruler or comparing sweater pieces when you are in a small space.  This also goes for color work… I don’t feel like dealing with several balls of yarn and the unavoidable tangles that always seem to take place for me.
  • Not too complicated but must keep me interested: I don’t want to be pulling my hair out in frustration or fumbling over dropped stitches during my travels.  However, I also want to be somewhat entertained by what I’m doing as to not lose interest. 
  • Yarnage: if you’re like me, you always over-pack.  The less yarn and supplies that I need to bring along, the better!
Ok so…. the winner is…. A large lacey shawl!  Think about it, the shawl will be only one piece, the lace weight yarn means I that I won’t need very much.  A fairly interesting pattern means that I should stick to one solid color.  An added bonus is that the gauge doesn’t matter too much so I can just knit and knit without obsessing over the measurements.  I can already imagine how comforting it will be to pull out this project during any free moment and start working away. 
So now to picking the perfect project.  Of course I found about 20,000 shawls from Ravelry… sigh.  I’ve managed to narrowed it down to these two:

The Silver Bells and Cockle Shells Shawl is, quite frankly, the most gorgeous shawl I have ever seen.  I love the soft, scalloped edges, and the beautiful drape. The knitting looks right up my alley.  I think those repeats could really let me get into the zone and whirl along. That incredible edging is crochet and I am excited to delve into a project that combines both knitting and crochet.... double the fun! 

For yarn, I found a gloss lace that is 70% merino and 30% silk.  The sheen of the silk will really show off this decadent pattern.  Generally I am a neutral color kind of gal… always leaning towards white, cream, light gray, and tan for these types of projects.  The photo from the pattern really surprised me with how lovely the dark yarn shows off the stitches, I chose this dramatic Port color.  The shade is really a bit darker than what it looks in the photo.

The Shetland Shell Scarf: Can you tell I have a thing for shells?!  This pattern would look lovely if you doubled, or even tripled the width and turned it into a large rectangular shawl.  The pattern would be pretty easy to memorize after a few repeats which would lend itself to perfect travel knitting.  Another added bonus, it's knitted on both sides which means there is no "back side" 

For this beauty, I bought two skeins of Shimmer Hand Dyed Lace Yarn (70% baby alpaca, 30% silk) in Polar.  The color was supposed to envelope all of those mystical arctic colors of the snow and ice... they actually remind me of the inside of a seashell with it's powder pinks, pale blues, and silvery whites.
So in all honesty, the shell scarf would probably be a nice “warm-up” to the Cockle Shells Shawl but… can I really resist that scallop-filled lacey temptation?!  Maybe the Cockle Shell shawl can be my ongoing U.F.O. (unfinished object).  Unlike most knitters, I generally start and finish all of my projects rather quickly with no more than two or maybe three (usually in December haha!) going at a time.  It would be nice to have a larger challenge there for me to go back to and work on when I felt the urge.  

In my lace-craze, I also picked up a 2 single skeins of these yarns:

Shimmer Hand Dyed Lace in Spice (70% baby alpaca, 30% silk): I can just imagine an autumn scarf in these rich shades of rusty browns, cinnamon tones, and caramel.

The Iris Heather Alpaca Cloud (100% baby alpaca) was a bargain at $3.83!  To me it looks like a soft lilac color with grey undertones and some deeper purples.  I really have no idea what this will become but isn't it dreamy?!  Alpaca fibers have a hollow core which insulates, making it amazingly cozy despite it's light lace weight.  

All of the yarns are from KnitPicks

What are your summer knitting plans?


Saturday, April 6, 2013

audiobooks + knitting = heaven

Things have been very busy around here lately but full of excitement!  Hubby (soon to be Dr. Hubby in May) matched to an internal medicine Residency in Colorado and we will be moving shortly. Though we are sad to be leaving our friends in Cincinnati, we are ready to start this new chapter in our lives.
I still have more photos from the January Disney trip but for now I wanted to chat about something else.... perhaps I'm just savoring the vacation and want to draw out the memories for as long as possible....
To say that I have been obsessed recently with all things fiber related would be an understatement.  I have found a new love and that is listening to audio books while knitting.  My local library gives me access to free and instant downloadable audio and ebooks and I have been taking full advantage.  The selection isn't too fantastic, but I'll take what I can get!   As I’ve been clacking away at knitting projects the past month or two, I have been spending a lot of time snuggled up in my favorite chair with a cup of tea, completely entranced by these books.
  •  The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: An explorer’s tale around the turn of the century, very “Adventurer’s Club” if you will.  A classic and an exciting read (err… ‘listen’).  I have been wanting to get into the Sherlock Holmes series by this author but I'm waiting for the first book to become available.
  • The Discovery of Witches books 1 and 2 by Deborah Harkness: these are the first two books in a trilogy, the third has not been finished yet.  It’s very well written and historically accurate where appropriate.  Witches, vampires, demons, excitement, danger, and romance.  I could do with a lot less romance but I did enjoy these and look forward to the third installment.
  • The Friday Night Knitting Club books 2 and 3  by Kate Jacobs: complete guilty pleasure… this series is about a group of ladies that love to knit.  All of the women are very different which assures me that anyone could relate to at least one of these colorful characters.  The fun references to yarn, patterns, baking, and general knitting are just wonderful.  There are even simple knitting patterns and baking recipes at the end.  
  • Fer de Lance by Rex Stout: The first of the Nero Wolfe mystery series of the mid 1930’s, I am only about halfway through.  It’s not quite as suspenseful as I had hoped but it is enjoyable.
  •  We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Lee: The narrator is fantastic; the book is charming, funny, and smart.  There are some sad parts but mostly it’s very uplifting and filled with animal stories.
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett: This book is just incredible... the narration, the writing, the story.  I may have shed a few tears....
Next on the list are two more books that I just checked out today and can't wait to delve into:
  • Sleeping with the Enemy by Hal Vaughn: described as an "explosive narrative, part suspense thriller, part wartime portrait", it's about Coco Chanel's life and her mysterious years during WWII when she may have been connected with the Nazis.
  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie:  I think this is the first Poirot book, I've been wanting to read these for years!
  • The Hounds of Baskerville by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: one of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. 

Of course, there are about one hundred books on my wishlist that I can only hope will someday make their way to the library!  Anyone have good suggestions?