CW Craft's Knitting Session #2


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Yesterday I attended part 2 of 2 of my knitting class.  I was so excited that my teacher liked my dishcloth and that I actually finished on time (although I didn't get to class on time - got stuck in the post office trying to mail off one of my swap packages.  Custom forms were a bit different.)  Anyways, here's my completed dishcloth.  And although I don't have any more classes unless I call her, I was given the assignment to make an identical cloth then try one of the patterns my teacher gave me that includes purling to create this raised design on the cloth.


After inspecting the dishcloth, since I was the only student, I had a big say in what the second session was about.  So, I learned the correct purling method.  My teacher showed me how to change colors, weave in edges, I brought my circulars and she showed me how to use them like straight needles and how to knit in the round.  Finally I pulled out a set of circular knitting looms I found at a thrift store last year for like $1 and she showed me how to knit hats using the looms.  I can't wait to try more of these techniques on my own, but I must be patient and put myself on a leash!

When I got home I wanted to do EVERYTHING but as I was on the leash, I decided to work more on the AKA bag which has provided quite an interesting combination of skills - crocheting in the round, drawing and using charts, cross stitching (I think I last did that in jr. high!), and eventually some beading.  I worked some on the bag while watching Julie and Julia (such a good movie; makes me want to cook something).  I need to fix and bead the ivy, attach the handles, a closure, and line the bag.  So here's where I am now:


My mom invited me to go thrift/consignment shopping with her on Saturday.  I've never been much of a clothing shopper, but I sure am curious about what is to be seen in the Habitat for Humanity Store.  :-)

I know I skipped Thursday's post which I can't wait to write after-the-fact.  Let's just say the day involved yarn, pottery, photography, scrap bins, and a great Thai Chicken wrap!  Details later.....

My WIPs


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Last night I worked some in the car on my dishcloth.  My job was to reach the halfway point before the sun went down.  Mission accomplished.  Now I have to continue decreasing until I'm done.


This crochet WIP is the project I began in the doctor's office lobby.  It's for the niece of someone who just recently pledged AKA.  This is definitely a custom order.  I've just run out of pink yarn in the most *convenient place*.  (Note my sarcasm here.)  I only needed to crochet a couple of more rows with it.  Then I can begin the adornment process with the ivy and the pearls, line the bag, etc.  It even has feet!

CW Craft's Knitting Session


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At the beginning of June I stumbled upon a new and up-and-coming craft store in the neighboring county.  It was kind of sparse in there, but I could see the potential.  I signed up for a knit class if they ever offered one and since then I haven't been able to get back to that store.  Well, this weekend I got a call saying, "yes there is a class and yes, it starts next week."  I was game! 

So today was my first out of two sessions.  The other is on Friday.  Guess what?  I'm the only student!!!!!  Because I already knew about the yarn weights, terminology charts, a little about knitting, etc. the teacher let me show her what I knew and went from there.  So far we're making a dishcloth that starts at the corner.  It's so cool.  She taught me a different cast on method, an easy way to increase stitches, and that I was knitting and purling incorrectly.  The finished product looked the same but my method would probably explain all the extra hand movements and gestures.  lol  This is why I have been wanting someone face-to-face to help me.  I've got to practice the proper way (or "a" proper way to control the yarn).  (Even though this door says "Scrap Village" it's where my knit class was held.  It's also the scrapbooking classroom.)

My knit teacher working on her dishcloth.  (She knits, cross-stitches, embroiders, sews...but does not crochet.)
My dishcloth project and her finished dishcloth.

Anyways, my teacher said that if I finish up the dishcloth then we can practice some on circular needles since I really want to do that.  Plus she's going to show me how to do loom knitting.  I found a loom knit kit at a thrift store last year for $2.  Brand new.  Remember?

The store has filled up since my early June visit.  Maybe one day I'll have my own little space to call my own too.  But for now, I'm content taking classes.

Each section of crafts belongs to a different crafter.  They rent spaces and sell their finished products.  Behind this space is a place to purchase supplies like fabric, yarn, or notions.
This is the crafter's lounge.  People go up here and craft and chat.  Isn't the woodwork gorgeous?  All of the classes as well as this lounge are in the upstairs loft part of the craft store.

Now I think I'm motivated more than ever to finish up this crochet project I started in the doctor's office.  That way I can knit this dishcloth without guilt.  :-D

Swaps, Swaps, and more Swaps


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Swap #1
If you recall, a few months ago I participated in this magic ball swap through a Ravelry group.  Only a few people participated and the way the swap was set up, you sent your magic ball to one person but someone else sent their magic ball to you.  I had fun finding the requested yarn and stuffing it with lots of goodies.  Then at some point I realized that everyone had received their magic ball except me.  I will admit that it was a tad disappointing, but that's the "risk" you take with swaps and I know the person that received my magic ball enjoyed it, so I was okay with that.  When the moderators realized that I didn't receive my magic ball, one of them volunteered to sent me one (even though she had already sent one out to the person who was supposed to send me mine).  Isn't that so sweet!

My magic ball arrived today.  It's a pretty peachy color and it smells soooo good!  I'm just wondering what's inside that makes it smell so wonderfully.  Even my car smells like it now.  I think it's because of this scorching heat.  I'll be good and crochet my way to the presents.  I've never had "Royal Mail" before.  Thanks, MrsCampion!!!


Swap #2
Some time ago a long-time Flickr/Ravelry friend contacted me about swapping yarn.  Apparently and ironically in India it's difficult to find cotton yarns so we decided to swap cotton for....sari silk yarn!!!  To buy sari silk yarn here would be tres expensive and even though I can't find decent cotton in my small city, ordering it from Knit Picks was a fast option.  My swap partner also requested assorted buttons and I asked for a piece of batik cotton.  Again, batiks are so expensive here.  I saw a quilted batik in Hancocks the other day for $20 bucks a yard.  And it stayed right there in the store.  So as I package this sportweight heathered purple cotton and assorted button package to India, I will await the beautiful sari silk yarn and fabric that's on its way to the U.S.  Can't wait!

  
Swap #3
This month I'm also participating in an Area Swap.  I am paired with someone from the UK.  I am to send her things to represent where I live and she will do the same.  I have a couple of days left in the month to figure it out, but I'll get back with you when I do.  I think I'll get some things to represent my state moreso than my city or a little of both.  We'll see.

Swap #4
Since we're talking about swaps, scoot right on over to Gloria's blog and check out her new swap idea.


In Case You're Wondering...


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Yes, I still crochet!  I'll have to admit that this summer hasn't been as I had thought it would, although I'm enjoying it and the time off.  It's been sort of choppy with various obligations and such, but I finally found a short segment of time to crochet...while waiting for someone at the doctor's office.


The latest tidbits:
  • Met up with one of my favorite high school friends whose husband has whisked her away to the great state of Washington meaning we only see each other perhaps once a year.  This time it was a 1 1/2 year wait.  It was so good to see her.  I look forward to those visits.
  • Just finished teaching a week-long session on elementary science. Lots of studying and preparing.  Had a blast!
  • Had a discussion on tea recently and heard about new teas - Daintree tea (Australian) and Yerba Mate (South American rainforests). So what's in my cup right now?  Mate Chocolatté.  Tastes great.  I can afford it.  Fair trade certified.  And it has a hint of chocolate flavor.  What more could a girl ask for?  
  • Taking a two day knitting class next week.  Maybe I can ask a few questions.
  • Was directed to a new hair product.  It's fabulous.  It smells good.  Again, I can afford it.  I don't have to order it because it's at Target.  It doesn't flake.  And it makes my hair soft and moist.  "The company purchases ingredients directly from women cooperatives and indigenous farmers in Africa, paying above market prices to help improve the standard of living for those suppliers."  It's like a dream come true.  It makes my hair do cool things like in the picture of me above. 
 Great for twisting.  (My hair is so thick!  Can you tell?  lol)  And for twistouts (like the 1st picture of me) - image 1 and image 2. Hair note:  twistouts vary from person to person depending on hair length, texture, and some other variables.
  • And now I'll be preparing to teach 3rd grade.  I've taught 5th grade for 12 years now.  I'm excited about the change.
* Giving credit where credit is due:  All product photographs link to their respective websites. 

Find Me on Etsy


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I decided to open up a new Etsy shop.  This time with my new name.  There were only a specific amount of characters to be used, so here is my new shop URL:  www.ArtisticExpressionsE.etsy.com.  After I get all my info transferred from my other Etsy account, then I'll close that one down.  I'm looking forward to adding to my new shop.  I already started re-favoriting my favorite shop sellers.  And yes, this was yet another of my baby steps...getting consistent names across accounts.  :-)

Enthusiasm Pottery


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This month Cynthia B. Harrell of Enthusiam Pottery held a pottery show/sale event in her studio, and I had the opportunity to photograph the event for her.  Cynthia B. Harrell, painter/potter, is the owner of Transforming Spirit Art Studio and the Enthusiasm Pottery line.

Meet the Artist:
   I am an artist who has great enthusiasm for what I do everyday!
I love the moment when a surge of creative energy and potential is transformed into a work of art.
The moment that results from the light of inspiration pushing against the darkness.
A moment in which I am as molded and changed as is the clay in my hands or the white canvas before me.
A moment of freedom and inspiration and worship. A glorious moment of discovery!
What a joyous moment is mine!
Take a Moment...  
(taken from her website:  Transforming Spirit Art Studio)

The following is just a glimpse of what Enthusiasm Pottery has to offer: 




Upcoming Events:
  • The 2010 State Fair Pottery Display (October 14 – 24, 2010)
  • The Sanford Pottery Festival Christmas Show (New, Dec. 4 & 5)
  • The 2010 North Carolina Pottery Fair (2nd year, Dec. 11 & 12.)
  • The Tenth Annual Sanford Pottery Festival, (April 30, May 1, 2011)

Another Baby Step


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Today I joined a Photography Club and attended my first meeting.  I'll admit that the majority of tonight's session was over my head, but I still took notes and was very attentive.  Then, the lady beside me whispered, "I have no clue what he's talking about."  The lady beside her said, "I was lost when he got started."  Then I knew everything would be alright...so I paid the membership fee.  1/2 price, BTW, because half of the year has passed.  Next month they host a competition.... 

I'm excited to be able to get some real face-to-face help in this thing I love called photography.

Foster's


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This is actually a repost from my other blog which will close down soon.  Salvaging some posts while I can.  I've finally decided to manage all of my "expressions" on this blog.  And still there will be more changes....  :-D

But anyways, I decided to repost this post after reading about the wonderful buckwheat pancakes Shevon made.  Her post reminded me of these very tasty oat bran pancakes I had at Foster's during my spring vacation.  Thanks, Shevon!  Now I'll have to try your pancake recipe.
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Not too long ago I had the pleasure of having breakfast at Foster's Market in Durham, NC.  Truth be told, I hadn't visited that restaurant in over 10 years, but after being reminded of it again in a post written by Heidi Swanson, I thought it high time that I visit this restaurant again.  Was I disappointed?  No.  Could I eat it all.  NO!  Was it worth every penny?  Yes!

So what did I order?  Their pancake special.  Oat bran pancakes topped with fresh fruit and almond slivers, along with a glass of water.  I ate outdoors in the little bistro sets amongst the flower beds and farm equipment.  And loved every minute of it.  :-)

"Vacation" and Friends


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One thing I love about the mountains, is that retreat-like feeling that (for me) seems to be not achieved in any other part of the world.  Just you (and friends or family), in a high altitude amongst all that nature has to offer.  Crisp, fresh air.  Solitude.  I truly love the mountains.  That's the beauty of where I live.  If you drive across my state, you can visit the mountains, the piedmont, and the beach - all in a day if you start out early.

Well, I took a "vacation" today.  Not to the mountains, but to my friends M and A's house.  It was such a refreshing break in the day.  All those feelings I mentioned above are what I felt at their house.  Like I was on top of the world in this place where nothing else mattered.  Like a big *sigh* after a long, hard day.

I went there to surprise M with a few things, but they surprised me instead!

 On the drive up, I met their chickens....in the chicken house M and A built!

We munched on their fresh tomatoes!  Oh, so much better than store-bought!

You remember this hat?  She likes it!!!  :-D

I received a basket of fresh basil, tomatoes, okra, and a dozen eggs!

Again, check out those fresh eggs!

And two prints by Ivey Hayes!!!  I love African-American artwork.  
Mr. Hayes also attended my alma mater.  Eagle Pride!

Thanks, M!

So This Is Me...


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So, I mentioned that I took out those afro twists after wearing them for 3 months.  I loved that style, but in truth, I probably wore it a little too long because the texture was so similar to my own hair that when I began to take it out it was difficult and very time consuming.  Very time consuming.  My ends were not okay in my book so I grabbed the scissors and snipped, snipped, snipped...without using a mirror.  My friend who was riding in the car beside me was livid.  (I wasn't driving, y'all.  I was also a passenger - with scissors.)

After washing and a deep conditioning treatment, I decided to use a curl pudding product that has been the rave for so long.  I waited months to finally try it out only to discover that it flakes!!!  So for me, I'm going back to square one to find the right combination of products.  After I wash my hair this week, I think I'll try another twist out using this leave-in protein mix conditioner and that whipped shea butter I made.  Keep it simple, right?

Ok, so this is me at a pottery show from last week.  (Stay tuned because I will have pottery show pics soon!!!)  The potter used my camera to take a picture of me.  This is me:


I was inspired by SoFull Sista's recent post on having a mid-year length check, that I think I'll do the same.  I should have done that before all the snipping, but it'll grow back.  Plus you'll be surprised when I post just how much of my 4b/4c hair is still there. 

Until then,

Grilled Chicken Barley Salad


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Last night I was browsing the Canadian Living site and I stumbled upon this recipe:  Grilled Chicken Barley Salad.  I just had to make it and I'm so glad I did.  I followed the recipe almost as written, for I did not have wine vinegar so I used rice vinegar instead.  I also scaled the recipe down to two but doubled the vinaigrette sauce because I didn't think what I saw after taking out the part for marinating was sufficient.

After making the dish, I served it on top of a bed of steamed spinach with a slice of garlic focaccia bread.  One word:  "Delicious"!


Blueberry Banana Smoothie


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So today I'm trying a new smoothie.  So far it is berry berry delicious!  (Yes, I'm sipping while I'm typing.)  The original recipe can be found here.  On my blog however, I'll post my modified recipe.

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

Ingredients:
1 banana, peeled
1 cup of frozen blueberries
1 6oz container of Greek Yogurt (strawberry flavored)
3/4 cup of Very Vanilla Soy Milk

Directions:
Blend all ingredients until smooth.

* This recipe makes 1 16oz glass or 2 8oz glasses.  I'm opting for the 8oz version so I can sip on some more later today.

This smoothie thing is so fun.  Who knew?  Again if you try this or have alternatives, please share.  :-)


I'd love to try a green smoothie.  Never had one before.  Anybody have any good recommends?

Crocheting and Dining with Friends


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The summer seems to be flying by so fast.  Can you believe it's already July!?!  Slowly but surely I'm getting a little bit done around the house and tying up other loose ends.  Last night I watched "Little Girl Lost:  The Delimar Vera Story".  Ahh, such a great movie!  While watching that, I managed to finish a hat I wanted to make for a friend.  She's always doing such great things and is such a wonderful person.

 * I even used up some more yarn stash!  In fact, I received this variegated yarn in a Rav yarn swap and used most of it in one of the traveling scarves I received.  The solid green yarn is from a Coastal granny afghan I made.  Isn't it amazing how you remember this tidbits?  :-)

Today, I had a late lunch at the Olive Garden with a group of friends.  I have never eaten so many courses before.  Good thing I only had that smoothie all day. Plus I took some of mine home.  It was fun to hang out with them.

We shared an appetizer:

 
Grilled Chicken Flatbread
Grilled chicken, mozzarella cheese, roasted red peppers and basil on flatbread 
crust with alfredo sauce and garlic spread.

And of course the Olive Garden's Never-Ending Salad Bowl and Breadsticks:

 
Garden-fresh salad and warm garlic breadsticks.
 
One friend and I both ordered this entree:
 
Grilled Shrimp Caprese
Grilled marinated shrimp served over angel hair pasta with melted mozzarella, 
fresh basil and tomatoes in a garlic-butter sauce.

Another person ordered this entree:

Parmesan-Polenta Crusted Chicken
Sautéed chicken breast topped with a toasted parmesan and 
polenta crust, served with stuffed ravioli filled with four
Italian cheeses tossed in a parmesan cream sauce.

I couldn't reach the other entree to photograph it.

Moving on to our drinks:

Strawberry-Mango Limonatas, Bellini Peach-Raspberry Iced Tea, 
and water, water, water!

A closer look at the Strawberry-Mango Limonata.  Doesn't it look delicious?

Then we had the nerve to order desserts:

Dolcini: :"Little Dessert Treats"
Strawberry & White Chocolate Cream Cake and 
Limoncello Mousse with Vanilla Cookie 

Zeppoli
Soft, traditional Italian doughnuts dusted with powdered sugar, 
served with chocolate sauce for dipping.

So now you know what I had for my late lunch with friends.  What will my dinner be?  Freshly squeezed air.  :-)