Friday, May 16, 2008

All the stationary I could want, and more

Once again, it's been a while, but with all of the beautiful weather we've been enjoying lately, I'm guessing you haven't been at your computer too much either.

First off, before I forget again, here is the link for the best maple products you will ever have in your life. (Someone is going to argue with me. Go ahead. I'll still hold my opinion.) =) Anyway, click on the "maple spreads", and you'll find the best thing that's ever happened to bread...well, I also dip pretzels in it, put it on crackers, smear it on a thick slice of get the idea. My husband actually just eats it with a spoon. (There is actually no dairy in it at all -- it's just maple sap cooked until it's a creamy consistancy, all deliciously thick and spreadable.)

There's also maple jelly in this category, which is probably good (although not as rich and concentrated as the cream), and maple mustard which, while it seems to sell well, is not my favorite (I go for a more full-bodied, grainy mustard, and the base of this one is a simple yellow one). Anyway, get the cream. It's so worth it.

Their syrup is the best we've ever tasted as well (and we've tried it against several other brands, so I'm not just throwing out an untested statement here) -- my favorite is the Medium, which is sweet with floral notes, yet still has the dark flavor of maple around the edges.

In my last post, I mentioned going to a Gartenschau with Rachel, her children and Jillian. There were so many pictures...I don't know, I just didn't want to take the time to post them all individually. Here is a collage of all, and you can click through to the Flickr set if you want to experience the pictures at full size:

I was especially happy with this shot. I stood in one spot on a bridge and took about 4 pictures, then photo-stitched them together in Photoshop. I love Photoshop, 'cause it makes me look smart.

I mean really, it's not like it's the most awesome shot in the world. It's just that it used to be 4, and that just feels like a tiny bit of magic to me.

Moving on -- when I was younger, I wrote "real" letters to all of my friends, all of the time. My stationary was my prized collection, and I only used it sparingly, preferring note-paper most of the time, since I never had much money and couldn't afford to splurge.

I splurged a tiny bit just recently:

(The adorable cupcake set is from DogboneArt, and the hand-screened stationary is from BeansRiceRevolt)

Then I got this package. I am such a sucker for presentation, and seriously, any seller who can make me feel like it's been gift-wrapped just especially for me has my undying faithfulness. (I realized that it probably makes their overhead more expensive, and that not every seller will do this, and that not doing this does not diminish their seller-ness in anyway, but still, I appreciate the effort wholeheartedly.)

Included was a bonus notecard (the yellow with circles), and then I opened the little wrapped box to reveal my set of personalized note-cards.

I've never had any personalized stationary before, and this is just so heart-meltingly sweet! My total favorite. It was a good price too -- $25 for 25 note-cards. SilhouetteBlue, I will shop with you forever!

I also ordered a set from Snew, but I'm afraid that you're just going to have to go there yourself and see what she has up for sale. I prefer not to share every single little bit of my new purchases, and if you visit the shop, you may see what I mean. Not that I feel bad about what I bought -- on the contrary I think that my husband will think it's hilarious, but...well, nevermind, just visit the shop at your own risk, if you feel so inclined.

On the knitting front...well, there really hasn't been that much knitting recently. I've continued in the strange mood I've been in, and even read a few novels that I checked out from the library last week (that shocked even me, because I haven't done any serious reading in about 3 years!).

Just for the heck of it, I gathered together my currently "in rotation" knits (actually, "hanging out on my dining room table" knits), and took a shot of the neglected group:

(Central Park Hoodie needs both pieces ripped back below the armholes because I knit every part of it about an inch two long for my size, the Loksins needs it's toe kitchnered and the second sock cast on, and the Cozy V-Neck Ribbed Sweater needs it's arm ripped out entirely because it feels like it's going to cut my circulation off.)

After all of my library reading was through though, I felt re-inspired by the half-finished project on my wheel, and finished the neglected laceweight Aspen singles:

I managed to squeeze 1,050 yards of laceweight singles out of 4 oz of merino-tencel blend (Spunky Club September 2007)

I pre-drafted the roving at full-strength, meaning that I did not split it lengthwise at all, because I wanted to have super-long color runs in the finished product. I intend to knit a shawl out of this, and, while I was spinning it finely, I wanted to maintain the beauty and strength of the individual colors in my final knitted item (which also led me to my singles decision, rather than plying it at all).

Shown here with a quarter for scale (a quarter is the tiniest bit bigger than a euro coin)

I'll probably cast on for this right before my trip back home in a few weeks. So now I need ideas! What shawl pattern should this be knitted into?

Freshly drafted and ready to hit the wheel:

Strawberries and Champaign Merino/bamboo from HaveYouAnyWool.
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