Amy Artisan

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Month: June 2007

InterKNIT Connected

When I was in college, one of my classes was on the emerging technology of “the internet” – it was more than just a technology class, I remember many philosophical discussions about the pros and cons of technology in those Wednesday evening classtimes. This was back in the mid 90s when the internet was more of an unknown and seemed so full of promise. As email became part of my routine I found that I was keeping in touch with friends and family on a regular basis. Now days, if my day gets away from me & I haven’t emailed ‘home’ for a day or two I can count on an email from my Dad with the subject line of “ransom??” asking where to send the money for the kidnappers that have taken me away. Through assorted networking sites I’ve also been able to reconnect with old friends from school and work days. Just this week I had a ‘blast from the past’ email from a dear pal from my elementary school days who I haven’t talked with in more than 22 years.

When I had my grandma teach me to knit (almost 10 years ago), one of the reasons I wanted to learn was to keep a connection with the past – the memories of her knitting throughout my childhood have now transferred to the needles and yarn as I craft new projects.

Since joining the world of bloggers I have enjoyed the community that is built through this medium. During some of the periods when my blogging has been pretty quiet it has been nice to receive emails from blog-friends just checking in to see if I’m ok. Another fun part of blogging has been participating in assorted swap fun. This summer has been no exception – I’ve had fun co-hosting Knitters Tea Swap 3 and participating in Craftylilly’s Knitflix Summer Blockbuster Swap.

Summer Swap Fun!

Thanks to Kate for the tea swap treats! And thanks to Felicia for the Knitflix treats! For the past week I have been battling a summer cold and my assorted tea selections from both boxes have been soothing treats. (In the realm of ‘it’s a small world,’ Felicia lives in Macon, GA where I went to college.) Your swap goodies will arrive soon.

An emerging connection in the knit world is indeed Ravelry. I received my invite a couple of weeks ago & have had fun cataloging my projects & stash. For everyone waiting for a beta invitation or general release of Ravelry, it is indeed worth the wait!

Last month I mailed in my squares for the Hokie Healing project. Being InterKnit Connected has allowed me several opportunities to participate in “comfort knit” projects. It has been fun to follow the progress of the blankets on the blog. The blankets have now been assembled & will be on display for a few hours this Sunday. Mosaic Yarn Shop has t-shirts available to commemerate this incredible activity. When I saw the blog posting I immediately called the shop – my t-shirt arrived this week.

Knitting for Healing

My latest comfort knit project – squares for the Rebuilding Greensburg – has been a great relaxation for me this week in the midst of nonstop work.

I enjoy writing posts for the blog – it is fun to see the connections that are made through topics discussed, comments made, etc. Thanks to everyone who connected with Summer Sleuthing and sharing your summer book memories – it was fun to see many new authors and series in with many of my other “books of summer.” Congratulations to Kara & Sandy – your names were drawn from my floppy beach hat as the winners of Cast On, Bets Off.

How are you InterKNIT connected? (even if you aren’t a knitter) 🙂

Just a few miles…

…down the road…but so far away…

One of my favorite things about going to Harbor Country, MI is that is really is a quick escape from the City (under 100 miles from my house) and yet as you travel those miles East from Chicago, over the Skyway bridge, through Indiana and on towards Michigan you really feel as though you are “far away” from the hustle and bustle of city life. Last weekend’s “Sister’s Weekend” was no different.

This is the 2nd summer weekend that my sister has flown up to join us for the fun and the fourth year that Jen, Kristy & I have gone over there. We booked the weekend several months ago and had been looking forward to it ever since – on several occasions, one of the four of us would comment about “can’t wait till the beach weekend…”

We left downtown Chicago at noon on Friday – a large Dunkin Donuts Iced Hazelnut coffee for each of us and a car picnic of lunch items and the fun began.

Among the highlights:

Friday Fun!

Friday afternoon was filled with shopping – including some antiques, and the charming Pomegranate Home shop…Friday evening was dinner at Cafe Gulistan – yummy Turkish treats. We sat right by the windows out on to parts of the beautiful garden…The evening was capped off by ice cream at Oink’s…And a quick glimpse of the sunset over Lake Michigan.

Saturday was a beautiful day…

Saturday Fun!

…for shopping among the Sidewalk Sales in downtown New Buffalo……a quick salad lunch at Rosie’s, a local institution…part of the afternoon was spent at Sit & Knit. Jack & Kim were away at the Estes Wool Market; however, we had a delightful time sitting & knitting with Angie, one of their teachers who was minding the store. I don’t know what the Cotton Blossom yarn will become (St. Croix for me & Tangerine for Rebecca).

Winery Fun!

…the rest of the afternoon was spent on the Michigan Wine Trail…first to our favorite, Round Barn Winery…and then we checked out a “new to us” winery, Free Run Cellars, which is operated by the sons of the Round Barn family. It is a new favorite winery and will be included in any outings that include a Round Barn visit.

Italian Cafe Fun!

…for dinner we went to Brewster’s Italian Cafe…earlier in the day, Kristy & Rebecca had checked it out & proclaimed that we needed to go there for dinner. It didn’t disappoint. Their “Dinner for Two” option, twice, was the way to go. Their gazpacho was so fresh it was as if we were eating vegetables straight from the garden. The brick oven Pizza Margharitas were so yummy, flash backs to Italy. And both pasta options the table selected were excellent choices as well…After a bit of outlet shopping over in Michigan City, IN we were back at Oink’s for ice cream.

Beach Fun!

Sunday morning brought a few hours on the beach – we love staying at Gordon Beach Inn because of the private beach access. Because of the heat it was a hazy morning & you didn’t see much of the lake. We enjoyed our breakfast of iced cappuccinos and scones/pastries, did a bit of reading & then walked the shoreline for a bit.

Before we knew it, it was time to pack up the car and return to the city. After some careful packing, everything and everyone fit in the car. On the way out of town we stopped at a produce stand to pick up Michigan cherries to bring home. The weekend was capped off by a quick lunch at Culver’s and then we picked up custard treats for the drive home. We all agreed that the weekend was filled with just the right combination of relaxation and fun and we are glad to have a summer escape like this.

We are already looking forward to next summer’s weekend – what annual summer trips do you have?

p.s. Stay tuned – contest winners & more blog fun in the next post…

Summer Sleuthing

“When confused, sit back and try to arrange the facts into some kind of order.” – The Ghost of Blackwood Hall

When I was younger, the summer break from school always meant plenty of time for reading. When we lived in California and in Overland Park, KS we were just down the road from the local library. At least once a week I was checking out more books to read. At some point I became hooked on the Nancy Drew mysteries and remember going through the entire collection at the library. Many a summer day was spent in Nancy’s blue roadster zipping around the city and countryside to solve the latest mystery.

“Moxie and a good sense of balance are essential when crawling on a roof.” – The Hidden Staircase

Earlier this year I finished a excellent history of Nancy Drew – Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak. This was a fascinating peek behind the pages at the syndicate that created Nancy Drew (among others) and all the authors that penned stories as Carolyn Keane. Throughout the decades since Nancy first debuted in the 1930s she has always been a gal ahead of her time. Nancy embodied a fiesty spirit of independence that many of us can relate to. It was interesting to read about the evolution of Nancy and how readers responded to the changes in her character – she has withstood the test of time and the original books are still the most popular ones.

“Don’t pass up a great deal on a used sailboat because of a sorry paint job. It could be a real gem.” – The Clue in the Old Album

Even though the books were fun fiction, they were filled with all sorts of “tips” that seem as applicable in the real world today as they were when Nancy first spoke them. A quick search around the web finds lots of Nancy Drew sites – and of course a new movie is set to open with an updated Nancy story. (And that has sparked lots of new articles.)

“Don’t let you troubles get in the way of enjoying a leisurely and delightful lunch.” – The Secret of the Old Clock

In April I had the opportunity to hear Jack Olseker read from his new knit mystery, Cast On, Bets Off at My Sisters Knits. This is the first in a series of knit mysteries that Jack is writing – it is set in the fictious town of Indigan right along Lake Michigan – Harbor Country that is a favorite weekend getaway for me. This was a breezy read – full of the local sights and sounds that make Harbor Country a fun place to visit. While the knit shop sleuths, Max and Lisa, may not encounter all of the “bumps in the road” that a Nancy mystery includes, they do indeed sleuth in a sporty car. The references to the current knit culture were fun to read – when I saw The Yarn Harlot in April, Jack had me pass along a copy of the book to Stephanie because she indeed makes a fun appearance in the book. Jack has quite a writing history – both for the page & for the screen; with this series he is putting the books in yarn shops instead of selling them through traditional bookstores. (P.S. Jack & Kim will be at the Estes Park Wook Market for a book signing on Saturday.)

“It’s good to toast space exploration and fancy gadgets, but it’s more important to raise a glass to the beauty of soft candlelight.” – The Sign of the Twisted Candles

This weekend I will be heading over to Harbor Country for the annual “Kansas Sisters Weekend” with my sister and our friends, Jen & Kristy. While we won’t be in a blue roadster, my blue car will carry us on our adventure. Our summer sleuthing goals for the weekend: finding some fun yarns at Sit & Knit, “investigating” some of the local wineries, searching for “great finds” in the antique shops and who knows what else.

“Don’t let fear mean more to you than your friends.” – The Clue of the Velvet Mask

Jack has given me two copies of his book for a blog contest. How to enter? Between now and Wednesday (June 20) leave a comment about your favorite summer reading memories: Nancy Drew…other mysteries…any other book/series that defined summer reading for you.

“Learning a new craft will make you chatter on incessantly about the art form. Be careful not to bore your less artsy friends. – The Clue of the Leaning Chimney

Artisan Guesthouse

The time has just flown by in the last couple of weeks since my last posting. The last 2 weekends have seen Artisan Home function as a guesthouse with friends & family visiting for a couple of days each.

Butterflies & Lions & Bears – Oh My! – The Memorial Day reservations at the “guesthouse” were for Miss Butterfly & her mom. Their first night in town they stayed with me – Miss Butterfly made a little nest to sleep on the floor since she didn’t bring her sleeping bag with her. On Friday morning when I asked what she wanted for breakfast, the immediate response was “French Toast!” So, with her standing on the helping stool in the kitchen we made a quick breakfast of French Toast with strawberries and bananas.

Our first adventure was to the Peggy Notaebart Nature Museum. They have a great butterfly haven, so of course we had to take Miss Butterfly to visit.

Butterfly Fun

After the museum we went to the Lincoln Park Zoo. We arrived right at lunch time as the myriad of “end of the year” field trips were starting to leave. After a quick lunch we walked around the zoo and saw all sorts of fun animals: lions, bears, camels, giraffes, rhinos, flamingos, polar bears, the great apes…

The zoo adventure ended with a ride on the carousel – since Miss Butterfly declared the zebras her favorite animal of the day we had to ride the zebra.

Riding on the Carousel

Other fun times of the weekend included hanging out in Miss Butterfly’s old neighborhood & seeing lots of old friends, including a Memorial Day cookout. On Sunday evening, Miss Butterfly had a sleepover with her best girlfriend in the old neighborhood – so her mom & I were able to enjoy sushi at our favorite, Sai Cafe. What a great way to start the summer!

(more pictures here)

This past weekend my parents were in town for a couple of days as part of a summer road trip that also includes a trip over to Ohio to see family. It was a quick trip but our itinerary was a good mix: a bit of shopping, meals from some favorite Chicago restaurants, just hanging out and a few home improvement activities (a new grill for the deck and curtains hung in my bedroom).

Since last Memorial Day weekend I have spent over 130 nights in hotels while traveling for work. What a nice change of pace to welcome family & friends into my home instead.

In the midst of guesthouse fun, work has been nonstop; however, other fun in recent weeks has included hosting a great book club discussion and seeing a fun flick with a friend – stay tuned for more…

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