Sweet Dreams are made of Cheese

Lately I’ve been stamp stamp stamping away on vintage silverware, knitting this poncho, making shepherds pie (you betcha), redesigning my husband’s website artisanconcrete.com and trying to steal away some time to light a fire on our new brick patio. I’m striving to finish my poncho for our trip to Maryland & DC next weekend… only like 8 9,  okay 10 more inches to go. I predict a lot of Gilmore Girls (don’t judge me) or A Chef’s Life knitting time this weekend. If you’re not watching this PBS show….you should. Love.

fire

blankie

I said I would “NEVER” again knit something for money again. I had a moment of weakness late this summer and said “YES” to knitting this baby blanket for a coworker to give as a shower gift. I always say “NEVER”, but rarely mean it. Please don’t ask.

dolce

About the silverware, does it make me a C-R-A-Z-Y person that I love stamping just one letter at a time with a hammer on a spoon? Be honest. I love this like I loved learning to set type on a letterpress. It’s hands on print production on a shiny loud scale. And don’t think for a minute that I don’t see the irony in the fact that I am writing this having just finished creating the Ipad version of the magazine.

The title of this post is lifted from the words stamped on sets of cheese spreaders… all with bad cheese puns.

“Let it Brie”, “Sweet Dreams are made of Cheese”, and “Gouda Vibrations” I know, it’s painful, right?

And for you Eddie Izzard fans (I’m looking at you @JDewps)… keep your eyes peeled for “Cake or Death?” cake servers to hit The Owl Wine Bar & Home Goods Store or G&M Drygoods soon. Oh, and look for holiday cards too.

Tonight I’m taking the early commuter home for Sip, Shop & Stroll. This event will happen the second Thursday each month. In-store specials and live music. Downtown Elgin from 5-8. Future dates 12/11, 1/8. Elgin Local Goods just posted that they will have tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches! If you haven’t visited downtown Elgin lately… you really should. It’s truly becoming the heart of the city that it once was.

Ink on paper (and cow poop on the street)

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The other day at lunch with one of our print sales people, we were all talking about how while we all may embrace digital content online, on a tablet or our phones, we are still drawn to holding a piece of actual printed material. That we're still attracted to the tactile experience of flipping through pages. I think most of us are. One of us mentioned being on a flight and watching a teenage boy wrapped up in his ipad tuck it away eventually and pull out a magazine to flip through.

Most of you know that I work in publishing, so of course am keenly aware of the impact digital content has on the printed word. I know that those of us who work in production and are involved on a day to day basis with printers have had some worries over this, but when it comes down to it… someone has to produce the content, whether it's for print, web, tablet or phone. 

The reason I even bother to bring this up is that while we were having this conversation over lunch, I was thinking about how I was still waiting to savor this book I'd received earlier in the week. I'm seriously one of those people that will not crack open a book or magazine until I have a proper moment to do so. This usually means a weekend morning with a strong cup of coffee and, if not outside, in my favorite red chair in the living room, in the corner with the perfect light. You see, it's still all about the whole tactile experience for me.

Oh, and by the way, if you have not ever seen Tif Fussell's blog Dottie Angel, you need to PDQ, or your day will be pants. 

Today is Elgin's Hogeye Festival, and I will be hawking tickets for Cow Patty Bingo. Don't know what that is? Google it. I know you're jealous.

I always knew one was looming in my future…

Last week, I finally got this 20" loom and had my first lesson at Yarnorama.

Loom

Behold… my first warp. My left hand selvage took a bit of work to get right, but it will get better. Lord knows my first knitted items were not my finest. Just ask my husband about the first pair of socks I knit for him. They had that perfect 80's slouchiness that I used to wear with my pink Reeboks to aerobics class. He did not fancy them.

Warp

This yarn has such an amazing sheen to it. It's amazing to me that the same yarn I used for these socks creates such a remarkably different fabric when woven. For the time being it's leaning against a bench in the studio, think I'll pick up the stand this week.

Burying the lead….

Sunday we drove with friends a few miles down the highway to Carmine for a little treasure hunting. Treasures were indeed found, some tin types, counter cards and a green McCoy planter. DH really wanted to go in a shop that was closed, so he called the owner to come open up. Sure, it was a great shop but I was happy enough with my finds, and quite frankly ready to head home. I was headed for the front porch and about tripped over this…

Kelsey

A Kelsey Excelsior Mercury model 3 x 5 Table Top Letterpress. I am sure I stammered a bit as I walked with the shop owner as he hauled it up to the counter so I could take a better look. It was pretty hard to contain myself… and yep, I know how incredibly geeky that sounds. After a bit of WD-40, she was fully operational. Her rollers need to be redone, but the chase, quoins and ink plate are still intact and seem in good condition. Anyone who knows me well, knows I have wanted one of these forlikeever. Ever since I first walked through the doors of Hatch Show Print about 13 years ago, on a cross country road trip with my sister Jessica, I knew I wanted to print.

Chase

and then there's the Baby Elton…

Elton

My friend Susanne and I took this workshop this past Saturday, with Stephanie Rubiano. So many ideas have been rolling through my mind since. I will show you the finished house when it's all stitched up.

Seriously, I had vacation time to use up and I manged to spend my time doing just what I wanted. I took a weaving lesson, finally painted the front posts and under the fur-downs in the kitchen, took an amazing workshop with my BFF, planted strawberries, blackberries, and more. I also managed to squeeze in some freelance work. I've been busy indeed, but busy is great when it's doing what you love.

Preparing to leave the land of Blatz & Brats

I've been in Wisconsin this week at a press check. The weather has been 20-30º cooler everyday…. seriously. It's been a nice break, and while I'm happy to be returning home, I'd be lying if I said I was looking forward to the blast of heat that will be hitting my face about 4:45 central time.

This week I have slept, knit and drank a lot of coffee waiting for presses that were rife with mechanical issues. I did however have the most amzing piece of pie at this place… peach/blueberry/chery/strawberry, thay calle dit fruit lovers pie.  Press okays are always hurry up and wait…. lots of going with the flow and late, sometimes overnight hours. I cannot tell you how glad I am to be a knitter in those times. i think I would go bat shit crazy if I had to actually LOOK FOR ways to occupy my time.

Thursday I was on my way to another plant a ways out in Hartford. I was looking for somewhere to sit, drink coffee and knit while I waited to get called to the presses. I about wrecked the car when I saw Main Street Yarn Shop. The owner, Ronda was great and she carries so beautiful yarns. I picked up a couple patterns, some lovely hand painted yarn and this book… such beautiful patterns in this book. Ronda's friend wrote and illustrated this book with Ronda as a knitting spider. I sat on knit at the shop for a while then scooted off for my press okay. I brought my Clapotis along since it's such an easy travel knit. I'm knitting with Malabrigo Sock Yarn in Velvet Grapes, the color is so yummy rich.

Well, I need to push off and catch my ride to the airport…. I'm packed, laptop and knitting at the ready, and a book…though I may raise a few eyebrows reading Assassination Vacation on the plane.

Need to remember to pick up brats and cheese curds at the airport… dinner tonight.

Fire Ants & Pie

Red shoes
Yep, every summer My feet and legs are smothered in bug bites… I'm just one of those unfortunate souls whom bugs love to sting, bite and zap. So, at the ripe age of 43 my legs look like a 12-year-olds at summer camp. I do however love my new red shoes… the thought here is they're so cute who'll notice my itchy red bumps. I seriously have to keep Benadryl or Arnica gel in my makeup bag at all times from Memorial day until Thanksgiving. This morning I was cursing as I was fighting stink bugs and fire ants for my tomatoes. If you don't have fire ants where you live, consider yourself lucky. They are the wolverines of the insect world… je déteste, really. My husband kindly pointed out the pink wellies sitting right at the back door and suggested I wear them when I'm gardening…. harumphhh. I did however manage to pick a whole mess of toms and some basil. I brought them to work and prepared a lovely Insalata Caprice.

Have I mentioned lately that I love my job? Well I do. I got back from an appointment this afternoon to not just one but at least 8 pies from my favorite pie guy, Bud Royer of the Famous Royers Round Top Cafe 

The list of pies:

Strawberry Rhubarb w/ granola topping

Cherry

Apple Crumble

Coconut Lemon Chess Pie

Buttermilk

Pecan

Chocolate Chip

Butterscotch chip

On the needles… Twist STILL and a whole mess of dishcloths, it's a new binge. I am seriously thinking of frogging Twist and using the lovely olive yarn for February Lady Sweater Am I crazy? I've knit the back, the left front and am half way finished with the left front. Yep, crazy.

As soon as I find a few quiet hours or a perfect rainy day I will be printing up a storm. I have set up my new etsy shop, only to let it sit empty…tsk, tsk. 

Picture 5


“I Love Playing the Harmonica”

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Definitely my favorite quote of the day… shouted out by a coworker. I work with some interesting people.

Tomorrow DH is heading off for the weekend. Aaaah, just me and the dogs, the cat and a stack of movies. I am so looking forward to unwinding. I picked up Twist again this week, I’d put it down for a while. I was on a brainless meditative dishcloth binge, but I’m back and ready to knit.

I just ordered my gocco replacement part so will not be printing up the storm I’d hoped to this weekend

My List for this weekend

Potluck Friday at friend’s
Pedicure
knit some more of Twist
Visit my LYS for a book signing
Buy yarn
Cut denim skirt to less Branch Davidian length and add patchwork bias binding on bottom
Pick green beans from garden for Salade Niçoise
Lay on hammock and read the pile of magazines I picked up for the weekend… I am a magazine freak
Sew wrap skirt (if I’m not too lazy)

Please note that this weekends list of things to do while DH is away is all about quiet, regeneration and beauty, unlike the home improvement, chore laden ones of the past two years. Finally the pay off for all the hard work.