Monday, May 31, 2010

Uruguay Wonders - Window Blinds

My first impressions of this country have been many, and I'll get into that later. I plan to update the blog fully tonight, after I have had a chance to see the factory and get to know a little more. So far, though, I have been impressed by all the different ways things are done here -- down to the very insignifigant window blinds.

Also, I think it sounds like I have a lisp in this video -- does anyone know if I have a lisp in real life? Or is this because I have been trying to speak spanish? Does this mean I speak spanish with a lisp? SO MANY QUESTIONS.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Flying Trapeze

Whenever I think of flying, a little song goes through my head. I'm not sure exactly why I remember it, but it's one that I think a few of you probably know, and it's not about airplane flying at all. It's the one about the trapeze artist: She flies through the air with the greatest of ease, the daring young girl on the flying trapeze....

I dont know the rest of it really, just the first line or so, and that's okay. It's the song that I have thought about most right before this trip begins, the great trip that will take me halfway across the world (though lengthwise) and transport me into a different culture, experience -- a different chance, something new.

I fully intend to keep you all with me on that journey. I'm supposed to have internet access, and a bit of time to myself, and I will have a camera and notebook and, of course, my always-thinking, never-pausing thoughts. I'll be knitting and traveling and loving every minute of it. But it is my first time in another country, my first time truly on my own, and I am grateful to have people following along with me during it. People who helped me set it up and set it in motion in the first place. I owe you, knitting world, this internship. I owe you the love of my present passion. It is in the community of this lovely, crafty, internet fellowship that I managed to find my true self, and gain the courage to pursue it. I might be the daring young girl, but you are my trapeze.

I thank you all.

I also wanted to thank everyone who entered the giveaway! The winner this time was someone local - Danielle, or soimpossible, on Ravelry! It was such a surprise to draw your name, and will be fun to deliver your winnings to you in person. I didn't want this entry to go without a picture, so I decided to show off a bit of my recent spinning - Hello Yarn's Parritch Targhee, which will become a sweater!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Plane Knitting

I am, obviously, getting very excited about my upcoming trip to Uruguay. In addition to having my first truly long flight (9+ hours, in some places 12, if you can believe it), this will be my first flight out of the country, my first in-flight meal and movie, and my first time flying over an ocean. After carefully looking over the American Airlines requirements and the TSA's requirements for in-and-out of the country carry on baggage, I determined that I could take knitting needles on the plane if they have knitting on them, the circulars aren't over 31", and they don't look threatening.

I figure that makes my Hiya-Hiya circulars pretty safe, since they unscrew and I can just have the knitting on the cords, and leave the little tips in my bag until the plane has taken off. Which means that I can take some good plane knitting!

So, what am I planning on taking to Uruguay? As a few of you know, I am participating in 10 in 2010 -- a year-long knitting group where you set goals for projects you'd like to complete during the year, using either yarn or pattern from your stash. So obviously, these projects had to be chosen off that list. I decided to focus on two lace projects -- The Honeybee Cardigan by Laura Chau (Ravelry link here) and an Ishbel, by Ysolda Teague, I have been working on out of handspun yarn. I have a lot of trouble with lace knitting in general - it requires a lot of concentration for me - so I figure an airplane, with nothing else to concentrate on, is the perfect atmosphere for me to get some lace knitting underway!

I'll be knitting the Honeybee out of this gorgeous Noro Kureyon Sock that I purchased awhile back at my LYS, Knitted Together. It has lovely variations from lime green to hot pink, with plenty of semi-neutrals and turquoise browns and subtle loveliness in the middle. I haven't knit with Noro in a very long time, but it was the first yarn I ever received as a gift, so Kureyon in particular holds a very special place in my heart.

The Ishbel will be knit with some Pigeonroof Studios handspun you've seen before. The colorway is called Morocco and it is utterly gorgeous - deep, rich browns, dark purples, and vibrant, ruddy oranges. I adore it and I think this Ishbel is going to be one of my favorite wardrobe items ever, should I somehow manage to get past the first lace repeat, which has been my sticking point with any variation of this lace shawl I've attempted in the past.

Wish me luck -- I'm going to need it! I leave on the 28th of May and I have quite a few layovers, making my trip an overnight one.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Go-Green Tuesday - Pucker Up

Okay, it's the last of the Go-Green Tuesday posts before I head out of the country, but I didn't want to leave you all hanging too long for the last in the three-part series on cosmetics. Lips have so many options -- chapstick, lip gloss, lip stick -- choosing what to tell you about wasn't easy! So I've picked a few of my favorites, with the hopes that you enjoy them as much as I do, and maybe submit some of your personal favorites in the comments.

Not to mention the fact that finding healthy lip product isn't hard, either -- just remember to read ingredients, and watch out for things like petroleum products (made from oil), and avoid petrolatum, which is another oil-product that has been linked to cancer.

I wear a lot of chapstick. Not because I don't like being dressed up, or because I go for the natural look (well, I do, but that's beside the point). My lips have always had a pretty nice natural tone to them, so it's just more flattering to wear chapstick than it is to put on some kind of color, more often than not.

My current favorite chapstick is Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm. Even though it isn't really vegan-friendly (after all, beeswax is a product made by bees for their own use), it is fairly environmentally conscious otherwise, like most Burt's Bees products. It has a nice minty flavor to it, too, and does a good job of keeping your lips protected, if not moisturized. I would certainly recommend it if you're just trying to upkeep a healthy lip. Maybe not to heal chapped ones up, though.

As far as chapped lips go, I have long been obsessed with rose balms. If you haven't checked out Love Lula, a website for organic cosmetics (they call themselves an organic apothecary), I can't think of a better reason than to try their Figs & Rouge Rambling Rose balm. I have been meaning to replace my current (non-organic) rose balm with this stuff, and the cute tin certainly makes it easier. They do ship from England, which means you have to weigh out the whole cost-of-moving-things issue with yourself, but if you're adding it to another order, I think you can justify it. Especially since you'll be using these things for awhile, right? And there's no petroleum in them, after all....

I think that lip gloss is perhaps one of the most popular items to buy, cosmetic wise. You can buy it with or without tint, and it always looks good. It feels good too, if it's not gooey or overly sticky or the kind that ends up sliding slowly off your lips all day and making you look kind of like you're drooling. Gross.

Luckily, none of the products I'm about to list have any of those disgusting qualities, so you're safe.

My favorite lip gloss right now is one that my friend Carrie, from Funky Carolina, turned me on to - Burt's Bees Super Shiny Lip Gloss. My favorite color happens to be Carrie's favorite, too -- Juicy Peach. It's just the right shade between rose and beige to add color without being too obvious. Plus, it's never, ever sticky. Ever. I have even applied it (gasp) before blow drying my hair. Anyone with long hair knows what kind of mistake that can be. Seriously.

I don't wear lip stick, really, but I am totally addicted to those lip-tint crayons, which are kind of like applying a felt-tip marker to your lips. I used to use one by one of those major drugstore brands, but, like my rose balm, will eventually be replacing it with one of the following from Sephora:

Josie Maran Magic Marker Lip Stain, which I will probably buy in either Waltz or Jitterbug, though I am really tempted to try it in Maraschino, though I know perfectly well how precious little red lipstick I wear. This product is formulated without parabens or petroleum products, and comes with Sephora's Natural Seal (follow the link to read what that entails). Based on the comments, I'll be buying this in-store, since many folks felt like the color description online didn't match up with what they received.

Now, if you're a cosmetics buff, you'll know that nobody has been doing the lip stain better, or longer, than Tarte. I bought one of their lip stains that comes in a little bottle, and had a horrible time applying it, so I've avoided them for awhile. Until now, since they are now offering a lip stain marker-style! I'm pretty sure I want one in every color, since the packaging is adorable, too. This also comes with Sephora's Natural Seal.

I don't wear lip sticks, but I was really tempted to buy Korres Mango Butter Lipstick, also from Sephora. It has SPF 10, too, which is nice for summer -- and is supposedly extremely moisturizing. It comes in a ton of colors, as well, and is covered by Sephora's Natural Seal. I have also really wanted to try any of Nvey's products, after reading about them in several eco-cosmetic books, and figure that if I ever get into buying lipstick, I might try the Nvey Eco Organic Lipstick, which, while it doesn't come in many colors, is still certified USDA organic and with the Sephora Natural Seal.

If you've got stuff you love, please share it! I'm going to try to keep the blog busy this week before my packing and preparation consume me entirely, so stay tuned!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Green Quilt

Well, despite having an increasingly short window in which to get all my other projects complete, my love affair with quilting continued far enough for me to plan and cut out pieces for a new quilt. I received Jane Brocket's most recent book -- The Domestic Art of Quilt Making -- in the mail a few weeks ago, and couldn't put it down. In the same way that Elizabeth Zimmerman has a steady, lovely way with words, Jane Brocket brings new life to quilting for a generation of those who perhaps, while not as interested in making the exquisitely detailed and minutely-patient quilts of our grandmothers, still have ideas about making lovely, functional blankets for home and family. This is always the way I have felt about quilting -- about any sort of crafting, really. It should be lovely. It should be useful, and functional, but it should always bring joy into your life, and the lives of anyone else who has a chance to touch, view, or use it.

I started the Happy Green Quilt as a combination of two quilts in the book - the "Beach Hut" quilt, which is a four-bar to a block pattern, and the "Green Grass of Home" quilt, which mimics the green criss-cross checkerboard pattern of a freshly cut lawn. For my quilt, I selected a huge variety of greens, from yellow-green to blue-green, and I hope that the quilt turns out quite lovely. It was fun enough just to cut out the rectangles, really.

If you have been thinking of foraying into the world of quilting, you really must check out this book! Unfortunately for me, my quilt will be on delay until I return from Uruguay. I have decided that after this year, I will be starting a seasonal crafting pattern. Knitting will be confined strictly to winter and fall, and quilting and sewing to the springtime. They just seem to fit better that way.