Saturday, May 27, 2006

Quick project

To celebrate my newly acquired freedom, I did what most people do: I brought out the sewing machine. I've been thinking about this design, from the new Denyse Schmidt Quilts book, for a while, so I sliced up some fabric scraps. I do have one piece of advice for anyone that makes these: it doesn't work so well if you fold the card in half and then sew the fabric on. Not that I would know that from experience or anything.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Of endings, birthdays, and dinosaurs

One word cannot possibly illustrate the relief I feel now that my first year of grad school is over, but I'll try: whew! The French exam has been successfully failed (I think), papers have been turned in, final parties have been attended. And for those of you who may have thought to yourself, "Geez, Sarah sure complains a lot about all that reading she has to do," I present to you this:

That would be my photocopied reading for 4 classes (it doesn't include many, many books.) Let this be a lesson to all of you, particularly those who think grad school would be "a good idea" or especially "fun."

In other news, I celebrated my "golden" birthday recently (25 on 25!) and received not one but TWO handmade gifts! The first one came all the way from Mongolia.

This was knitted by the world's most unlikely knitter, and it is what I believe to be her first finished project ever! How special am I? I think its something like camel hair, which makes it just about the coolest thing ever. My second handmade present came from my boyfriend's mom, who cross-stitched me this:

("Welcome friends" for non-Spanish speakers.) Also, one of the coolest things ever. When your boyfriend's mom starts cross-stitching for you, you have to feel special.

And finally, I did some handmade gift-giving of my own. This dinosaur went to live with someone who has the exact same birthday as me! Rwrrrrr...

(For the knitters, the pattern is from, link above. Size 6 Susan Bates really short circulars, on the squeekiest of all yarns, Red Heart.)

Friday, May 19, 2006

How to Feel Rich Without Actually Being So

If you follow celebrity gossip as religiously as I do (and you SHOULD), you may have heard that billionaire Brandon Davis was taped telling Paris Hilton regarding Lindsay Lohan, "I think she's worth about seven million, which means she's really poor. It's disgusting. She lives in a motel." (I just realized, "Paris Hilton" is totally the name of a hotel too!) If $7,000,000=poor, then I really should be dead, having succummed to scurvy because I could not feed myself on my meager pennies.

And what does this have to do with anything? Well, it has to do with a class trip I took to Longwood Gardens last week. Longwood was previously owned by the Duponts, who pretty much owned everything in eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware at one point in time. Although Dupont probably didn't make fun of people who had $7 million, he did built a 175-room mansion on his 2500 acre estate, which is basically the same thing. Luckily for us, however, Longwood gardens (not the same thing as his house) is now open to the public, so everyone who has $16 can feel rich too.

I began my exploration by walking out of my huge conservatory to observe my multiple fountains. (Although they suck because they don't shoot 240 feet into the air and dance to music like the ones in Las Vegas. The Duponts have no taste, really.)

I then strolled through many well-groomed trees (some with Christmas lights still on them!), and toured the inside of one of the many homes on the property. I saw the Italian Water Garden, and a large pond that had actual fish in it. I was a little disappointed. For a place with a $10 million budget, I at least expected baby sharks and clown fish. I wandered on back to my massive conservatory and saw THE COOLEST BONSAI TREES EVER. Mr. Miagi has nothing on this:

My favorite room overall was the "silver garden," featuring mostly cacti and the biggest agave I've ever seen. I find it ironic that after living in New Mexico for two years, I had to come to Pennsylvania to see a giant agave. I guess rich people think its a fun challenge to raise non-native plant species to giant proportions. (Come to think of it, I DO have a 50-foot saguaro on the porch. . .)

And finally, I was forced to engage in some predicable tourist behavior: taking close-up flower pictures. They make you sign a form when you go in saying that you will do this. True story.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Warm Hands

Now that its mid-May, I thought I should knit myself some fingerless gloves to keep my hands warm while I type all winter. Oh whoops, that's what I thought 3 months ago. What I thought in mid-May was "Those stupid gloves on the floor are really annoying. Maybe I should finish them so I can put them away in a drawer and forget I have them." Anyway, they're an alpaca-merino-silk blend, which in all truthfulness, should make you drool. And if it doesn't, well, you were obviously born without your yarn gene, and I feel sorry for you. (Edited to add: Click here for the pattern)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Maryland Sheep and Wool

Sheep are cool. This Saturday I headed to Maryland Sheep and Wool, for some serious sheep gazing and yarn grazing with my knitting buddy, reluctantMANGO. I saw lots of sheep, of course:

I also witnessed my first livestock auction, which was AWESOME, by the way. See that guy with the camo hat? He bought a lot of sheep.

And yarn? Oh yes, yarn. Knitters are crazy about yarn. There's a very popular sock yarn out right now, "Socks that Rock," which runs about $20 for an amount to make one pair of socks. $20 for a pair of socks, you say? That's crazy! Well, 800 skeins of yarn sold out in one hour. AHH!

Monday, May 01, 2006

We have socks!

Oooh, one step closer to my dream of only wearing hand-knit socks. Check out that short-row heel, baby! I know you're jealous. And no, I won't knit you socks. These are comprised of somewhere around 8,460 stitches apiece. And I have child-sized feet. And I'm a big dork for actually calculating how many stitches are in my socks. (Knitpicks Simple Stripes, size 2 needles.)
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