Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Books

My reading goal for 2013 was 50 books. I met that goal, sort of, if I include novellas and audiobooks. Yep, sure do.

My stats:
50 books (up from 38 in 2012)
12,874 pages (up from 9399 in 2012)
4 books were published in or before 1900, filling another goal to occasionally read some classics.

I can't pick just one favorite, so I will give you 3.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
This was a book club read about a young woman, recently aged out of the foster care system, and how she overcomes her own obstacles and helps others using her knowledge of flowers and their meanings.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Whoomp. Talk about your unlikeable characters. Unlikeable, but compelling. Gah! No spoilers, but no wonder it has topped Best Of lists for the last few years. 

The Circle by Dave Eggers
There is no blood, no gore, no monsters under the bed in this book, but gah! Scary! Scary! Scary! This book starts in near-present day and tells the story of a social media company that went from sharing lolcats to controlling social engineering. This has a similar feel to Ready Player One(also excellent) and Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. I loved the audiobook version.

Molly Harper was my most read author. Despite protests that I don't like vampire, romance, or Southern fiction, I consumed her books like candy. The narrator, Amanda Ronconi, was at least half of that. The Half-Moon Hollow series is more comedy and friendship than vampire or romance. It reminds me a lot of the Maggie Sefton Knitting Mystery books. Sure, there is mystery & mayhem, but mostly the story is about a group of friends hanging out a a local bookshop and their shenanigans. Start with the Jane Jameson series. Don't let the cover art put you off. They are cheeseball coverart of the cheeseballiest variety.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Holiday Gifts

I feel like I've been eating party food for weeks. I am stuffed beyond all reason. Someone take the sausage balls, pies, crackers, chips, and various pork products out of my kitchen, please. I'm done. Uncle! 

Let's talk handmade birthday & holiday gifts while I slowly digest over the next 364 days.

The two wreaths above are the Cable Vision wreath made from Lion Brand Thick & Quick. I used a size 15 for both, but next time I'm going up to a 17 so I have a little more play in the fabric when sewing it to the wire frame. I am so pleased with how these knit up! One was for a knitting friend and the other for my mother-in-law. I love how easy it is to tuck adornments in to the wreaths or wire decorations in to it. Ann tucked a sprig of colorful berries and added a big ribbon.

Hitchhiker shawl knit from Noro Katsura for my mom. Mom loves Noro and I love garter stitch.
Lichen kerchief knit from linen for my kerchief-loving knit friend.


Scott wanted a scarf that tied his black jacket together with his brown leather hat. Side-to-side garter stitch stripes to the rescue! I improvised this pattern and you can, too. Pick 3 colors. Go to the random stripe generator, choose how wide you want your stripes, and go. I choose stripe widths 1-8 and made the repeat 70 rows total. Using even & odd with numbers creates the bi-color garter ridges on both sides, making the scarf truly reversible.

I gave several handmade gifts that I can't take full credit for, but I do get half-credit! I dyed yarn for most of the projects, and did much of the finishing work for the scarves above and on the cute jacket below.

Kara, who writes the monthly Finished Object posts for me, wanted slipper socks. That works for me. I had been dying to try out the Tin Can Knits Rye pattern. 
And finally, the dog nieces needed something warm.  All 4 pictures of these little monsters are blurry because the dog nieces are furry, adorable perpetual motion machines





Monday, December 2, 2013

Cyber Monday

The sale continues on through the end of the day today!


  • $2 off mini-skein grab bags
  • $1 off patterns (through Etsy or Ravelry)
  • $2+ off in-stock yarns
  • $2+ off in-stock fibers
  • $1 off perfumes
  • $2 off rolags
  • sales & seconds marked down even further
Discounts have already been taken. Shop here!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday

Sale!

New markdowns on in-stock yarns, fibers, and digital patterns!

  • Mini-Skein grab bags marked down $2
  • Patterns marked down $1*
  • In-stock yarns marked down $2+
  • In-stock fibers marked down $2+
  • Perfumes marked down $1**
  • Rolags marked down $2+
  • sales & seconds marked down even further
Discounts have already been taken. Shop here!
Sale ends Monday at midnight!

*discount applied at checkout if purchased through Ravelry
**perfumes hand blended to order and may take up to 7 days to ship

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Retail

I work 2 jobs this week, plus host Thanksgiving, so the rest of this week is going to be a difficult one to finish the national blog posting month. Chances are that I will have to do some catch up posts in December when I have more time to write something worthwhile.

I will leave you today with a link that resonated with me today. It is about the value of hand knitting called "On Devaluating Hand-Knitting". I am curious what you think of it?


Monday, November 25, 2013

Cookies

Hear ye! Hear ye! I declare cookie season to be OPEN!

They don't look like the picture, but these chocolate crinkles are tasty nonetheless.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

7 Days to Go, 8 posts to write!

I remembered that I needed to blog yesterday, but I succumbed to a disgusting refrigerator and a pair of socks. I have the most exciting Saturdays.

We are having my family over for a birthday dinner this week and it is inevitable that someone will want to look in our fridge. Ugh, worst chore ever. Our refrigerator is ancient, ill-designed and cramped in to tiny corner. Even if it is just needs a wipe down, everything still has to be taken out just to reach that one spill that has fossilized. Why do we have so much mustard?!? It's an hour and 2 extra strength Excedrins, minimum.

AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by maureenclare
Post-cleaning, I put on the Socks of Calmness, a pair of french terry alpaca socks I bought from a local alpaca farmer. It's like putting a cover on a bird cage. I just settle down and fall asleep. Alpaca is a little stabby against my neck, but they are perfect for warm socks. Lovely.

Thankfulness: 
I have been terrible about sharing all of my 30 Days of Gratitude in any kind of public way, but I have been trying to express gratitude every day to someone or something. This week I contacted my first knitting teacher, my 6th grade teacher, to thank her for planting the seeds. It was so nice to be able to tell her that the few weeks she spent sharing her skill turned in to a lifelong love of fiber arts. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

New Soap Shapes, Colors & Scents

A new soap has joined the lineup of made-to-order soaps --

Man in the Moon
It is a navy mica soap, with a white moon, burnished with silver & gold mica.
(this was originally offered as a soap club soap - see what you're missing? :))


----------------------------------
Yesterday Mom & I worked on a new color card for the luffa, cube & octopus soaps. 

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The scent list has been updated for soaps:

Black Pepper
Brown Sugar & Fig
Cashmere & Cotton
Cedarwood Sage EO/FO blend
Cherry Vanilla
Citronella EO
Citrus Cilantro
Citrus Woodland
Clove
Coconut Lime Verbena
Dirt
Eucalyptus & Spearmint EO/FO blend
Euphoria
Festival Of Lights
Gingerbread Cookie
Grass
Green Apple
Honeysuckle Hollow
Lavandin EO
Lavender
Lavender & Basil
Lemon EO
Lemongrass EO
Lime EO
Lime Mint
Litsea Cubeba EO
Magnolia
Orange Cream
Patchouli
Perfect Pumpkin
Rose Garden
Sandalwood
Sandalwood Vanilla
Sea Salt Caramel
Summer Honey All Natural
Sweet Honeysuckle
Tangerine EO
Vine Ripe Tomato
Violet
White Gardenia
Witches Brew

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SPOILERS BELOW!!! Soap Club signups are ongoing. Gift options are available. Just let me know you are buying it for a gift and I will send a card with the first shipment. Order by the 10th of the month to receive that month's shipment. Here is a review of the soaps from the first 3 months.

Lemon Poppyseed in the Galaxy Swirl style & Sandalwood bar
Perfect Pumpkin in Man in the Moon & Witches Brew in a candy corn inspired sliced loaf

 
Festival of Lights & Salted Caramel "bubbles" design

Thursday, November 21, 2013

November Newsletter


5 Days Left!
Order your dyed-to-order yarns & fibers by November 26 to ensure delivery by December 24.

Time is running out! There are only 5 days left to guarantee U.S. delivery of dyed-to-order yarns & dyed-to-order fibers.

Order made-to-order soaps by December 15 for Christmas delivery.

Missed the deadline? Never fear! I have plenty of
in-stock yarns & in-stock fibers ready to ship, plus a shop update on on December 3 at 3:30 pm CST.
Give the gift of clean!

Gift memberships are available for the
Soap Of the Month Club. Simply add the club to your cart and tell me in the Notes to Seller that this is a gift.

Choose from 1 or 2 hand crafted bars of soap each month for 3 months. The first month will include 1 or 2 bars of gift wrapped soap and a card with your personalized message.
Gift Certificates Now Available
Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter! Use coupon code "NEWSLETTER" for 10% off your next purchase.

Dyeabolical Retailers


Do you know a shop that would like to carry Dyeabolical yarns, spinning fiber, or soap this fall? Have them contact us for more information.

Dyeabolical®
Online


KnitCrate
Online


All About Ewe
Clark, NJ


Ewe Knit Yarns
Webster Groves, MO

Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe
Columbia, MO

Knitorious
St. Louis, MO

Kakao Chocolate
St. Louis, MO

Sifu Design Studio
Chicago, IL



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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day 19 & 20 Secret FOs

Today I am grateful for my blog readers for sticking with me during this 30 days of blog posting and gratitude. This point of this exercise is to jump start a writing habit and to finally break through the blog block that I have had most of this year. I think I have achieved that goal with 10 days to spare.

You may have noticed--and probably didn't care--that I don't post every single day for National Blog Posting Month or that some days I post twice. It just is not unrealistic on days where I am away from computer acces from 8am to 10pm. So today I am giving you 2 for the price of 1, or is it 1 for the price of 2? Either way, a bargain at twice the price! :)


I have finished 4.5 FOs in 5 days. Scott has finished 3 projects in the last few weeks. I can't show you good pictures of any of them because they are gifts, but here are some teaser pictures instead.







Monday, November 18, 2013

Loofahs do not come from the sea

I was browsing a women's magazine a few months ago and found this feature.

The caption reads "...the (brand name) loofah soap is a glycerin-based bar embedded with a natural sea sponge..." I ripped the page out of the magazine because I knew someday I would blog about it.

Sea sponges can be embedded in to soap, but the soap pictured? That probably is not a sea sponge. It looks like a typical piece of luffa, similar to what I use in my soaps. See?
Btw, I just added a ton more colors and scents. That's the subject of a later blog post, but I might as well mention it now.

Sometimes I see both luffa & sea sponges sold as vegan sea sponges, as if sea sponges were a vegetable of the sea. Nope. Luffas are, arguably, a vegan alternative to sea sponges, but to paraphrase one of my least favorite movies*, "Sea sponge, you keep using this word. I don't think it means what you think it means".

This is a sea sponge:
sea sponges by shira_gal. Used under creative commons license


This is a luffa/loofah:

Natural Loofah Sponge by pabadoo. Used under creative commons license.


Sea sponges are animals that have been removed from the sea and dehydrated. Definitely not vegan.
Stovepipe Sponge from Wikipedia
Luffas/Loofahs are gourds that have been dehydrated and had the skin removed.
Luffa gourd from Wikipedia
Sea sponges are, er, spongy, and hold a lot of water. They are soft on your skin.

Loofahs are kind of scratchy when dry, but soften up slightly when wet. They make a great exfoliating tool. When they dry they harden up again.


Sea sponges are irregular. They can some in all sizes or shapes, like the picture above.

 Luffas look basically the same, kind of like how different pumpkins are still recognizable as pumpkins. There is a stronger ring of fibrous material on the outside, and then it comes together in the middle. I admit it does look sea-like, but it is all vegetable.
 
Both can be broken apart and embedded in soap, but only one comes from the sea and only one is vegan.



*Yes, I know. You may proceed with stripping me of my nerd cred.