Autumn Coffee Swap Bonanza

My Autumn Coffee Swap package arrived yesterday.  I knew ahead of time that my pal was Nichole, because honestly, we’d asked to spoil each other.  (I’m not a big coffee drinker, so it helps that the two coffee swaps I’ve done, dear friends have spoiled me.)

That’s the group shot.  There’s some of everything in there!  Thank you Nic, for being a most awesome spoiler.   There are also treats for the fur-girls (pupcorn and mints, which for the record, BOTH girlies crave now), and the Knight is sure the hot cocoa Kisses are his…

While the whole package is spectacular, a few things require a closer look.  This is the darling tea tray is something she’d wanted to find for me for a while, and I love that its coloring is similar to that of my fur-girls.  It’s already been put to use in the kitchen.  Clearly, it’s the cutest tea tray I have now.

The tea she sent is also a favorite.  It’s great iced.  I toss four bags into the Iced Tea Maker (by Mr Coffee, I think?) and have a nice pitcher of tea in no time, no sweetner needed.  It’s nice hot too, but I do need a packet of Splenda with it hot.

There was a handmade item required in the swap, and Nic sent along three items, a felted cup cozy and two coasters, just in case a fur-girl has a close encounter with one coaster.  I’m dropping the cozy in my purse this evening, and hoping the Knight stops by Starbucks!

Since this is a knitting blog, that’s the yarn.  I’ve wanted some Sereknitty yarn for a while.   The colorway is Black Pearl, in a superwash and bamboo blend.  Soft, so very soft, so I’m thinking it might become a cowl for me…

Technically, there was another handmade item in the box, although not made by Nic’s hands.  It’s a cool little project bag in a coffee print!  I like it a lot, and with my startitis, it will be put to use almost immediately.   A knitter can’t have too many bags, can she?  (Hey!  I could cast on my cowl with the Sereknitty and drop it in this bag, right?  No, I don’t want to talk about all the other projects I want/need to finish in the next few days, but thanks for asking.)

Last, but hardly least is the massive mug (that is a regular-sized bag of coffee, and I do have small hands) and the holiday blend coffee I can’t wait to brew!  And yes, you do see the fur-girls peering out from their crates.  They were eating while I was opening.  It was a great plan, because for a change I got to open a package without help.

Thanks again, Nic.  It was an awesome package with more goodies than I can do justice in a post.  Thanks too to Anne for hosting, and if y’all don’t mind, pop over and tell her you’re thinking of her, her mom and the whole family.  Sweet Ingrid is still in the hospital, and that’s really hard on everyone.

So, what do your weekend plans offer?  I’m going to head out and hopefully wrap up my holiday shopping efforts tomorrow morning.  I have a few online purchases to make, but since MJ is steady ordering stuff for the Knight that I was going to, I’ll wait.  Other than that, I’ll be hoping the clipper drops more than just a dusting of snow, knitting, baking and serving as the primary attendant for the fur-girls.

Please also pray, cross fingers or otherwise send good vibes to Chief Pissy.  Genetics are catching up with him and he is scheduled for what should be a rather routine (but scary just the same) procedure early next week.  It’s just a rotten time of the year to be in the hospital for any reason. 

Some of you have checked on the Knight’s Uncle.  Uncle is having some complications from being IN surgery so long.  The weight of his body put his arm to sleep, and it’s just not returning to normal as quickly as he’d like.  (The doctors aren’t alarmed, but then their arms/hands are working fine.) 

I missed a couple of birthdays yesterday in blogland.  Nic’s SO celebrated (and I’m glad he liked the coffee and chocolates I sent), and Barb did too!  Better late than never, right?

Have a great weekend.   I’ll try to blog (if for no other reason than to humor dear Pissy), but Gretchen seems to be a little confused about HOW to surf with a computer…

Surfer Girl!

Surfer Girl!

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Coffee Swap Topic #2

With Halloween coming up this Friday, tell us what you think of when you think Halloween! Do you love it? Hate it? See it as a sign of Fall? Are you a total sucker for candy and little kids in cute costumes?

Oh, here you get some insight into fickle me.  My knee-jerk reaction is that I hate Halloween.  I live far enough off a country road that with no lights on, even the kiddos we do know don’t stop in.  I didn’t enjoy trick-or-treating as a kid either, but I didn’t mind a party, and I loved bobbing for apples.

However, I simply cannot resist shoving my dogs into costumes. 

Literally.  That’s MJ and Pop shoving Mugsy into his devil costume last year.  Fred never would tolerate my nonsense, but Mugsy was a reluctant but tolerant participant.  (Don’t be surprised to see Gretchen in that costume next year!)  I’m hoping to get some photos tonight so I can share what my girls will be wearing this year…

And who needs a special excuse to always have candy on hand?

AACS Topic #1

So this week’s topic – what makes a “Fall day” for you? How do you know it’s here, and what do you love about the weather, the scenery, or something else that makes Autumn lovely?

That sums it up nicely.  It’s not a great photo, but I love it just the same.  The boys loved to sun in the driveway, and the falling leaves tempered the sharp edges on the gravel.  We live in the woods, so I enjoy watching the leaves change, taking the dog(s) for a walk…

Everything about fall delights me.  I love the cool, crisp air in the mornings and evenings.  It makes me happy to pull out my sweaters and socks, and I love knitting with a shawl across my shoulders.  I love apple cider, pumpkin ANYTHING…  Knitting with wool without sweating…

In other news, Fredfoot is coming along nicely.  I still hope to finish up this week, ahead of schedule for a change.  I love the yarn, and it too speaks autmn to me, but more importantly it, it says FRED, and will soon be keeping my shoulders warm.

I found that while looking for Fredfoot photos.  That was taken 11 months ago.  I’ll get you a photo of my pretty shawl in the special colorway sooner or later.

Dianne presented me with an I Love Your Blog Award.  Thank you, Dianne!  I try, I really do.  I use my blog to track knitting projects, but I also whine and moan here and share other things I think you might care to read.  Along with the award, there are some rules:

1. Please put the award on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
3. You must nominate 4 fellow bloggers for this award.
4. Add links to the recipients.
5. Leave a comment so the recipients know they have received an award.

And, that’s where the train derails, because I hate nominating some of you and not others.  So, help yourself to the pretty blue ribbon if you’re so inclined and let ME know if you do…

You also need to know about some special birthdays coming up this week.  Gaylen‘s birthday is tomorrow, so please stop in and wish her well.  Anne‘s birthday is Friday, and she has the honor of celebrating with Missy Sissy!  Since this has been a month of highs and lows, we’re going to have some sort of contest to celebrate Sissy’s birthday, but you’ll have to check back later to see what Sissy and I decide to do about that.

Amazing Autumn Coffee Swap Questionnaire

About Your Yarn Passion

1. Do you knit, crochet, or do both? When did you first learn?

Both.  I learned to knit as a youngster, but just reconnected with my inner knitter a couple of years ago.  I just started crocheting a few months ago.

2. Do you like using a particular type of needle or hook? (wood, metal, straight, circular) Is there something you’ve been wanting to try, or a particular size you always seem to be short on?

Knitting?  No.  I use something different on every project it seems.  Crochet?  Yes.  I like Boye hooks, but I think I have one of just about every size now.

3. What kind of projects do you enjoy making? Any types you just haven’t ever gotten into as much as others?

I love lace, socks and right now, raglan sweaters.  Knitting a blanket or anything with too much garter or stockinette is painful.

4. What’s on your needles\hook right now? What’s your oldest UFO (unfinished object)?

Several lace projects, a pair of socks (two at a time, magic loop), a chevron scarf, a crochet hat…

My oldest UFO is Fredfoot, a very special lace wrap that I plan to finish next.

5. If you were going on vacation tomorrow, what project(s) would travel with you?

Socks, definitely a pair of socks or two.  Fredfoot, and my guild’s mystery KAL.

6. What are your favorite types of yarns? Any you’re allergic too, or just hate working with? Anything in particular you’ve been dying to try?

I like different yarns, but I seem to have a thing for soy.  I also love alpaca-silk yarns.  I’m not allergic to anything, but 100% cotton and 100% acrylic hurt my hands.  I’m looking forward to finding some of the new Classic Elite Fresco.

7. What sort of colors do you love in yarns? Brights? Pastels? More muted colors? Variegated? Are there any you can’t stand?

Brights, brights and more brights.  I don’t know that there’s anything I really dislike; every color has its place!  

Your Coffee Passion

1. Do you prefer caffeinated or not?

Caffeinated, thanks much!

2. Whole bean or ground? For what type of pot or press?

Either.  I have a great little french press and the rather standard electric coffee maker.

3. What types of roasts do you enjoy? Are you more the light and lively or dark and robust type?

Nothing too dark.  I really don’t know much about what I prefer, I’m afraid.  (See, I’m a tea girl at heart, but I’ve been won over for that cool weather coffee in the morning or with dessert at night.)

4. How do you ‘take’ your coffee? Creamers? Sweetener? Other add ins?

Cream or creamer, some sweetner (yellow, if it’s available), and if there’s a mint chocolate flavoring of some sort around, I’m all in.

5. That first morning cup – is it about the taste, or the caffeine?

Um, yes??  I need both, thanks. 

6. Do you enjoy going out to coffee shops like Starbucks? What are some of your favorites?

Mint chocolate mocha.   Do they sell anything else?

7. You’ve just made the perfect cup of coffee – is it in a thick mug, or a thinner cup? Where would you sit to drink it?

It’s in a honkin’ big, thick mug.  I’d sit on the sofa and just hold the mug and inhale the aroma between sips…

8. You’re enjoying that perfect cup, and have a magic cabinet in your kitchen – when you open it, magically, your favorite treats will appear to enjoy alongside the coffee – what are they? Are they sweet? Crunchy? Soft and flaky?

Since I only drink ONE cup of coffee (in a giant mug) first thing in the morning, or one PLAIN cup with dessert, I’ll take a crumbly coffee cake in the morning and the perfect tiramisu or cheesecake at night.

All about YOU!

1. Do you have other hobbies like spinning or scrapbooking?

Spinning, stamping, scrapbooking

2. Do you collect anything?

I have in the past, but I’m really trying to de-clutter…

3. What is your favorite part of Autumn?

Being able to wear sweaters and socks again.  Going on walks down our tree-lined road with Sissy.  Pumpkin flavored anything and everything.

4. What sort of scents do you enjoy? Any difference in what you like for your house versus what you like for your body?

Oh yes.  For the house, we enjoy apple scents this time of year.  For me, I like a soft floral that isn’t too sweet or strong.

5. Are you allergic to anything?

Not that matters in a swap.

6. Are you on Ravelry? What’s your ID?

Sure am!  Chanknits

7. How would you spend an ideal fall afternoon/day?

On a long walk with Sissy somewhere with a great display of changing leaves…  We’d stop off and buy some apples (because really, picking apples with a wild hound wouldn’t be fun), and then we’d hit a pumpkin patch and come home and have all kinds of pumpkin baked goods.  There’d have to be a great bowl of a hearty soup or chili in there somewhere too.

Coffee, Tea and Holly

It’s great when two of your dearest friends co-host a swap.  I simply announced before sign-ups that I did want to do the coffee swap, but then pre-arranged that Holly and I would spoil each other – knowingly – because both of us really are more into tea right now than coffee. 

You’d best grab a cuppa’ (or if you’re in the already hot and humid Southeast, a tumbler with ice and…) and a snack, because this is going to take a while.  There’s just too much here that I don’t want you to miss!  This box was packed FULL of goodies, just for me, the Knight and the world’s two most rotten pooches.  Good thing Holly treated the pups, because I must confess that I got carried away with opening my package, and I left them outside and their supper was more than 30 minutes late, because it took me that long to open everything! 

Firstly, there was the ubber lovely card.  It’s from New Civilitea, and I’m sorry to report that the design is copyright protected.  Since my photo is a bit shaky, you’ll have to trust me that everything tea is written in the design. 

For instance, the tiptop of the lid says scones, and the bottom base says cream and sugar.  See??

That’s the everything shot.  There’s so much there that I just can’t share EVERYTHING with you, but we will hit the high points, and boy, there are plenty of ’em.  But first, a quick roll call, from leftish to rightish.  There’s an assortment of bee-themed notepads and such, a darling bee hotpad that is sure to become the Knight’s favorite (and he’s hotpad picky, as Holly recalled!), a copy of Tea Time magazine, my favorite Lindt bar, my all-time favorite snack – candy coated sunflower seeds (think M&Ms meets sunflower seeds!), THREE scone mixes, my very special treasure of a tape measure, the adorable bee stitch markers, Icarus pattern AND yarn, the Knight’s dye kit and yarn, my first braid of roving, my own pink needles with pink custom tops and point protectors, doggy treats (which closely resemble human sticky buns and could trick the Knight, very easily…), the prettiest little tea for one ever, two lovely mugs, four teas, and last but not least, perched upon the very top, the coffee, because it is, after all, a coffee swap. 

A word about said coffee.  It’s from my most favorite grocer in the world, Fresh Market.  I have it on GREAT authority that they’ve secured a site here in my city, but I’ve yet to see the store.  I’m getting impatient.  Anyhoo, dear Holly sent me some of their limited edition, Honduran Yaruchel coffee.  From the package:  …coffee with notes of brown sugar and subtle fruit tones.  Need I say that tomorrow morning, I shall press a cup in my adorable coffee press?  SIGH.

The teas are stellar too.  There’s Stash Chai sampler and Jasmine Blossom Green Tea, which are two of Holly’s favorites.  She also sent me my favorite tea to brew for iced tea and a new to me green tea, along with a tin of Snowflakes by Teaspot, which is ironic, because I sent her a Teaspot loose tea too!

Then, there’s that refined, but generously cupped tea for one. 

Isn’t it lovely?  I think I’m going to have to have a cup of chai in it, just as soon as the humidity and the temperature drop a bit more. 

There’s also a pair of these lovelies.  I love embossed, bone china, another tidbit Holly couldn’t have possibly known. 

The pupster sticky buns.  Don’t they look good enough to plate up and serve with tea?  Tsk, tsk…  No, I’m not going to let the Knight bite into one before I tell him they’re for the dogs.  Besides, the dogs have already earned them by waiting patiently for their kibbles.  (We’re going to ration them out though.  One, per dog, per night.  Mugsy’s watching his figure, and we’re trying to teach Sissy the concept of moderation.)

There’s so much fibery goodness.  I didn’t do a close-up of the Knitpicks Bare laceweight with the Knight’s dyeing kit, but you can see it in the “group photo.”  Holly caught on one blog post, quite a while back, that the Knight seemed curious about dyeing yarn in the microwave, so now, he can.  (Right after he makes me the PVC niddy noddy I’ve asked for!)

Then, there’s this incredible roving from SakinaNeedles.  I do believe my lovely Bluefaced Leicester in “Concord” is the same yarn on their banner.  I want a wheel NOW!!!  This stuff just BEGS to be spun.  (Yes, my roving stash is growing too, but I’m proud to point out that I only bought about 7 oz. for myself.  The rest has been gifted to me, thank you very much!)  Maybe this weekend, I’ll go wheel shopping again.

 

Then, there’s the Icaruskit Holly assembled for me.  I swear this woman has figured out how to get into my cart at a couple of different online shops!  I’ve admired that pattern for a while, and interestingly enough, the very yarn she included, Knitpick Shadows in Oregon Coast Heather, has been in my cart more than once, but I just never checked out!  (See the link for a true representation of this soft, yummy colorway.) 

 

 

 

Holly had some help with several items in this package.  The fink My good friend Anita worked her fingers to the bone so Holly could give me some truly unique, precious gifts!  The sneak even asked me one day while we were chatting how she might make a tulip tape measure.  Me, the not so-visual lover of tulips…  I tried to help, and now, I know why she asked.  I never thought for a moment that it was for me!  I’ve pulled the petals open here, so you can see the full effect.  The tape comes out there at the green stem.  You can also see closed version in the “group photo” at the top of the post.  You can look, but you can’t touch.  Long before this came to live with me, Anita told me she’d never do another of these beasts.  I’m sorry I was so much trouble girl, but I promise it was worth it! 

 

Then, there was a pair of Anita’s special needle toppers.  She’d also told me that she wasn’t doing these anymore, except for swap pals or personal gifts.  I’d hoped that I might one day get a pair just the same, again, never sensing that the pair she just struggled through was indeed for me!  I had difficulty photographing these beauties, but you get the idea. 

 

 

There was even a pair of tip protectors too, which conveniently enough match a lone stitch marker Anita sent me with the last order I placed.  Ha!  The joke’s on me, evidently. 

 

 

 

Anita was a busy bee, filling Holly’s special order for me.  Aren’t these guys cute?!  In case you’re wondering, there was a bee theme to this package.  Holly had sent me the Lantern Moon bee tape measure in a Valentine package too.  I don’t remember when I shared with Holly that I like bumblebees.  It’s kind of weird to like a creature that my father was deathly allergic to, and Mugsy has his own allergies, which thankfully, he hasn’t tested in many years.  However, there’s story about the bees that inspires me.  I heard it not long after coming to grips with my own, new and permanent physical limitations, about ten years ago.  Evidently, some engineers decided that bumblebees shouldn’t be able to fly.  There are several variations on story, but the point is that the bee doesn’t know it shouldn’t be able to fly, so it just beats its wings as fast as necessary to fly.  It does what it must to do what it wants to/needs to do…

Well, I’ve run on long enough.  While I pandered here, the Knight took Sissy out for her first run within the confines of the invisible fence.  He and Mugsy played fetch, and she ran and ran.  They’re all sacked out around my living room, so it’s time to go make dinner.

Thanks again, Holly dear.  I look forward to having tea and/or coffee with you in person one day soon!

 

Lookie!

Not to be confused with the don’t peek post… 

I’ve found all kinds of goodies today.  The first three are from the Yarn Market e-newsletter. 

Socks for a cause.  (No great photo exists, or I’d have shared.  Honest.)  Yarn Market has a great kit with a limited edition yarn to support breast cancer.  Since this is also Pampered Chef’s Help Whip Cancer month and they’re pink, they caught my eye.  I’ll be ordering the kit, just because…

Next comes the Molly Messenger Bag by Della Q.  I’m in search of a bag that will allow me to slide a regular, unfolded pattern into a pocket without any real damage, and I’ve been thinking a messenger style would work best.   Anyone know anything about this bag, this company, or messenger-styled knitting bags?  Keep in mind that I don’t really do huge projects, but I do like lace wraps, so would I have to cram them in (as I do now with my large, sock project bags) or would they rest happily?  Would my needles be protected, because when I can, I like to do lace on straights.  Would it be easy enough to drop my project (including all yarn and needles) within, and drop the flap to discourage a certain, beautiful, bad dog from sampling said project/needles?

Now, I’m generally not a pre-order kind of girl, but given my new-found love of non-Kureyon Noro yarns, I’m beside myself.  Silk Garden Sock Yarn!  Gasp!  Swoon!  Does Tofutsies  have competition as my favorite sock yarn?  We’ll have to wait until AUGUST to find out.  The Panda Soy  comes out about the same time, so I might have to take a day or two off from work and just sit at home and whip out socks!  (I’m not joking.)

Then, there’s the  media hype over BPA and “plastic” bottles.  Nichole and I had been chatting about a zillion things (bentonite is both a grouting substance in water wells AND an anti-diaherral), and she introduced me to another must-have.  Camelbak always has great products, and I can’t wait to get mine!  For all of its bells and whistles, Lexie has crapola cup holders, so I need spillproof bottles, aside from toting my own green tea to work.  In Sissy’s honor, I’ll be ordering the purple and probably the bright blue, or maybe the pink (or all three).

Also, this can count as my Spring Fling Coffee and Yarn Swap week #5 free-form post.  As usual, my poor pal will likely get her package right on time or a day or two late.  I’ve had a blast shopping for her, and I have all the confidence in the world that I’ve made some great selections.  It’s been torture, remembering not to post here as the goodies arrive, so I’ll be sure to share a link to her blog when she receives her package.

Coffee Swap Week #5

Be glad you don’t work with/for me.  I can’t get motivated to do payroll today.  Didn’t do statements yesterday either, but I’m sure the customers don’t mind. 

You know with Spring the famous saying goes “April Showers, bring May flowers”, please tell us what you like to do when those April Showers are pouring down on you. Do you like to curl up with your knitting, take in a movie or crawl back in bed?

So, we’ve had the April Showers.  Now come the May flowers, but I can tell you what I did while it was pouring down rain; I knitted and tried to entertain Sissy inside.  Mugsy is old enough that he enjoys some down time once in a while, but not the curious, wild child.  (We had to interupt this post to let her pretend she’s a lap dog.)   I’m not fond of rainy days.  I like the idea of it only raining at night.  (From the musical Camelot)