Archive for September, 2008

Kaffe Fassett is a color genius!

9780307451507 Now, I know that most of you knew that already, but I sat down this afternoon with his new book, Glorious Patchwork, and I have to tell you I was enthralled. Enthralled. I had heard the name in knitting context often enough, and read what others had to say about his work, but this was my first experience with Kaffe, and as I turned the pages, I kept thinking, ooh, wow, ahh, wow wow wow wow wow wow.

Did you know that in addition to quilting, which is the subject of this book, and knitting which is all I thought he did until today, he also designs for crochet and needlepoint AND he paints? The man is seriously intimidating. Not that the book had that effect on me *ahem*.

The photographs in this book just explode. The are riotously colorful. So many times, I looked at a picture of a room, and if you had just described it to me, I would have said, “oh that would just be too much”, but then as I studied the picture, it wasn’t too much at all. One example is a room decorated in that blue and white Delft china. The slipcovers on te couch and chair were in that pattern, the fireplace mantle was a mosaic of it and there was a huge column of flat Delft pieces on the wall above the fireplace, and a plate border at the top of the wall. The accent color was a bright yellow and it was just a wonderful. Here let me show you:

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Isn’t that fabulous? I would love to be that colorfully courageous! I know that I will look at this book again and again for inspiration. There are chapters, each dealing with a different color family: Soft Pastels, Circus, Leafy Gardens, Antique Stone and Renaissance. Each chapter has exquisite quilt patterns, plus great photos of those quilts in totally amazing (and coordinating) rooms. This is not a book to keep hidden on the shelf. This one needs to be on the coffee table, maybe under glass, but definitely on display.

In which I post random pictures to avoid ranting at Google

Here are some recent pictures for which there is no real blog post coming, at least not on this blog, but which intrigued me enough to share on this day when I discovered my PR is once again a cosmetic ZERO in spite of the fact that I am blogging better than I ever have before. And no, I am not full of myself. I know when I am writing crap, and I am not writing crap here. Sigh. Whatever. PR belongs to Google and always has. Let’s talk about pretty stuff.

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Playing dominoes with the kids when the lights went out last week.

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A butterfly the kids found the other day. They said it tore it’s wing on a blade of grass, so I think it must have been very new.

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Diva playing Ariel. Love this shot.

Not much crafty has happened here the past few days. You know it’s football on Saturday, and then Sunday I was at church for most of the day getting Kid’s Ministry stuff taken care of.

Maybe soon I will pick up the sticks again. I do have a sock that I am working the toe on, and a Wallaby that I am making the pocket for. And scouts, and football practice, and feeds to read, and 353 emails to answer. And 5 more weeks to go until life approaches a reasonably sane level of activity, and by reasonably sane, I only mean that I am not double booked, and have only one place to be at any given time.

Online Craft Club #44

Well, I finally have a finished something to show you that isn’t jewelry. Isn’t it exciting? A real and true knitted FO! I also have a beaded thing, but that will wait until next Wednesday, right? Right! Here is the finished Baby Surprise Jacket. I tell you, I marvel at this feat of knit-gineering every time I make one! Batman helped me pick the buttons, and I think he did a great job!

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So what have you made lately?

Take a picture of your current project, whatever that happens to be. Or maybe one you recently finished. Or the materials for the one you are about to start. Let’s say materials for a project in whatever state it happens to be in at the time you snap it. On Friday, post the picture and tell us about your project. What you did, or what you are going to do. How much you are enjoying it, or hating it. You know–show and tell.

Just copy & paste the code below the graphic and get crafty with me!

Be sure to come back and leave a comment so we know where to find you!

[tags]Online Craft Club[/tags]

Of Postcards and T-shirts and other branded things

livepreview.aspx 1 2Not too long ago, I said that I was going to order myself a logo’d t-shirt that I could wear out and about. I’m hoping people will stop me and ask me about it, so I can tell them about the blog, and knitting and beading and all that stuff. And also where I got my t-shirt, LOL! I got it at VistaPrint, of course, the same place where I get my business cards and pens and car magnets. That’s a no brainer for me! In fact, along with my t-shirt, I also ordered another car magnet, and when my mom asked me about business cards, I told her about VistaPrint and helped her with her own order.

And now, we may be ordering again! We were talking last night about doing a booth at the town Christmas festival, and even doing some jewelry parties with a friend of hers. If we do that, I want to order some postcards to use as invitations. We can get 50 of them free with the coupon PC50, and I think they would be a classy way of letting potential customers know where we will be. I’ve been satisfied with everything I have ever purchased from VistaPrint, and so I have no doubt their postcards are high quality. The biggest problem will be deciding between my logo and the design she used for her cards.

HA! Maybe we better both use that coupon code, eh?

Cass in the Kitchen: The Let There Be Cake Edition

:kitchen: Today, I am not going to give you a recipe and I am not going to review a cookbook. Instead I am going to tell you about two cakes I have eaten lately. Yes, [tag]cakes[/tag] from the store, not from my kitchen. First up is the new [tag]Golden Sponge Cake from Weight Watchers[/tag].

fauxtwinkiesAs you know, I have been trying to diet lately, with more or less success depending on the day and my motivation, so I jumped at the opportunity to test these. Now, if you are a twinkie fan, this is your cake. It is the epitome of the twinkie, and that was my first thought when I bit into it. My second that was “ewwww’ because I am one of the 14 Americans who detests twinkies. Sorry. Please don’t judge me, and I won’t judge you. I will admit that I did eat a second one a couple of days later because I needed something quick and easy, and I didn’t shudder, so maybe twinkies grow on you or something. At only 80 calories, it’s a nice treat, though, and it’s small enough that I would even let the kids have one for snack. The regular twinkies are just way more junk food than I want them to have an hour before dinner.

IMG 1030The next batch of cakes, I would have been way calorie-smarter to not even taste. [tag]Downey’s cakes[/tag] pack about 400 calories per serving, but they are so good. My friend brought them over to taste test, and be assured, there is nothing twinkie-esque about them. No, no, no. There are six varieties and we tried the three you see above. (Click to embiggen.) We both preferred the Lemon Vodka cake over the others. It was so moist and so lemony, and I plan to try to re-create that one here at home. After I lose a bit more weight. The very best thing about these cakes is the cost: at around $4 for a single serving, they are way spendier than I deem appropriate for every day consumption.

So, now that you have read about my cakes, tell me about yours. What is you favorite store bought cake?

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Wednesday Bead Report 9/24/2008

So, here we are with another Wednesday Bead report. I really had not intended to create a regular weekly segment the first time I typed that title, but I had great feedback on it, and it does keep me from talking about beading every day, so I guess it’s here to stay, at least for awhile.

First up, I need to show you some recent acquisitions:
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I have plans for all of these, and I won’t go into them any further beyond saying that the blue set is mine.

I don’t have any finished things to show you, because that’s just the kind of week it’s been, so we can skip that, but I do have a book to tell you about. You know I love a good book, right? My mom recently joined a craft book club, and so she’s ordered a few things that I thought we might all enjoy. This week, I want to talk about The Beader’s Handbook by Juju Vail.

31VNfU1CXjL. SL500 AA180 The Beader’s Handbook is a very thick book, with a plethora of detailed pictures. There are all kinds of techniques in here, from different stitches to to beaded pillows. The descriptions of the tools alone make the book invaluable, but she also tells you how to use them to make your own findings. And then there is a 60+ page photographic bead dictionary in the back!

It would truly take a year at my current crafting pace to work through this book and master each of the concepts in it, but I am surely tempted to try. I think I want to start with the memory wire bracelet on the credits page.

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They Love me! They really, really love me!

Okay, from a business perspective, they love my voice and my experience and my audience. But personally, they love me because of what a wonderful person I am. But they aren’t monogamous, by any stretch, no way. IZEA is all about spreading the love, and they are looking for other mommy bloggers to join the fold. Don’t you click away, listen a minute. Because I know, you maybe signed up for Social Spark the last time I talked about, and maybe you were a little disappointed, as I admit I have been. But I am excited about the new features that were rolled out during the Friday’s final session at IZEAfest.

Here’s a biggie:

Do you see the name of that tab is “Just For You”? SocialSpark now has a feature where advertisers can create an offer for just one blogger. Or a preselected group of bloggers. Crafters, are you listening to me? Because one of those groups is hobby blogs. Another new feature is the ability to do some blogging to spotlight charities and causes, and then donate to them.

Image of IZEA from Twitter
Image of IZEA

To me, this roll-out is the beginning of the fulfillment of the promise of SocialSpark. That’s a mouthful, I know. But last year when SocialSpark was explained, the team had a vision. They were very successful in presenting that vision to us as bloggers, and we left the conference expecting to see a finished product. The truth is SocialSpark wasn’t finished then. It was useable, but clunky. A lot of work has gone into the platform this year, and IZEA has listened to the user feedback about what works and what doesn’t, and how the system can be made more accessible and user-friendly, and what features we want and don’t want. With every rollout, there have been incremental improvements, but you know what? I still don’t think it’s finished, but I am still so excited, because I’m getting to have input into a system that allows bloggers to come together with advertisers, whether non-profit or for pay, and talk about stuff that’s important to them, whether that’s the Alzheimer’s Memory Walk or breathtaking EggArt. Or maybe even both.

And here’s something else. SocialSpark has been accepted into WOMMA. They are the only paid blogging company that has met those stringent requirements. All required links are “nofollow” and we are required to give our honest opinions on the things we blog about for pay. There’s even a new badge to indicate that, and it has to go on every post we write for them. It looks like this:


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Warning! and The Prayer Shawl Companion by Janet Bristow & Victoria A. Cole-Galo

There may be actual knitting content coming up here pretty quick. I thought it only fair to tell you in advance, so yu can prepare yourself for the shock of it all. Today while Batman was doing his handwriting I finally seamed the BSJ that’s been under my desk for a while. He wants to help me pick put the buttons, so I guess that is now on my agenda.

In the meantime, I’ve been doing some book-looking, and today I want to tell you about The Prayer Shawl Companion by Janet Bristow & Victoria A. Cole-Galo. I know most of you are familiar with the prayer shawl idea, which was started 10 years ago by these generous ladies. I’m sure many of you have participated in such a ministry as well. I was in one briefly, but, well, there was this dog-in-the-house issue of mine, and it just didn’t work out, so I made a couple on my own and gave them out, and then I got out of the habit, and maybe I should get back into the habit, and maybe this book is just the kick in the pants I need to begin such a ministry. But let’s get back to the book, okay?

Prayer Shawl CompanionThere are 38 designs in this book, and 38 stories to grab your heart and squeeze it. This is not a book to read when you are having a bad day, because you will surely cry. Or maybe it is just the book to read when you are having a bad day, because reading about people who are watching family members die will certainly remind you that your lot in life is probably not quite as bad as you think it is right this minute. Not that I have pity parties, mind you.

There are several patterns I’d like to try here, including the Ad Lib, a triangular shawl with short row shaping, the Mystery of the Trinity, and the Heart Warmer ( I already know who’s getting this one!) and the Wedding Capelet (not in white, and not for giving away). Yeah, prayer shawls can be for happy occasions, too, you know! And my next scrap blanket? It’s going to be a Striped Stole.

The book came out today, and it retails for $19.95. Not a bad price for a book that will warm both soul and body! Now, if you will excuse me, I am off to Ravelry to update my queue.

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