Wednesday, June 26, 2013

anna's nails - summer purple

I am so excited to head to Block Island next week for a little vacation. In preparation, I decided to paint my nails a fun summer color. I went with Essie's Full Steam Ahead, part of its summer 2013 collection.

It reminds me of this beautiful picture of pastel tulips I saw on the tumblr In the City with Crystalin:

I usually go darker with my nails (see me here in red and green with sparkles), but I'm digging this lighter hue. Now I just need a summer tan to compliment my new nails!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

flowers, etc. - rose garden

On Friday I visited Boston's James P Kelleher Rose Garden during my lunch break. The garden is in full bloom, and there are so many different types of roses to see. While there is a full range of color - purple, yellow, and a really cool pink/yellow/white variety called the Chihuly - I particularly liked all the pink roses. Here are some of my favorites:

Inspired to crochet a rose? It is easier than you think! Learn how here.

Friday, June 21, 2013

knitting, etc. - summer knitting

The temperature has been steadily rising in Boston, which is finally making it fell like summer -- just in time for the official first day of summer, which happens to be today!

Do you knit in the summer? Check out these adorable seashell stitch makers from the shop Lavender Hill Knits on Etsy:

I can find it hard to knit in the summer, but with cotton yarns and perles it shouldn't be! I still have some wool projects I am working on (check out my fair isle cowl here), but I'm hoping to finish them up soon. Happy Friday!  

Monday, June 17, 2013

knitting, etc. - knit cacti

Last week I blogged about spring floral arrangements. While I love decorating with fresh flowers, it can get expensive. I saw these knit cacti on Etsy, and think they are a really cute way for knitters to decorate their home with a little "plant life" that won't deplete your bank account.

You can even crochet your own cacti. I love this pattern by June Gilbank and on Ravelry:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

flowers, etc. - effortless arranging

I love this floral arrangement featured on the blog {frolic!}. It is organic without looking messy, and the colors go great together.

This particular composition is actually from an online floral arranging class taught by Chelsea Fuss. I think floral arranging is a great skill to have, as flowers bring life to any setting. Maybe I'll find the time to take a class on it one of these days!

Monday, June 10, 2013

cooking, etc. - basil

My friend Susan gave me a kit to grow basil a few months ago. I had never really grown a plant from seeds before, so I was amazed when my basil actually sprouted -- and then continued to grow!

It is getting pretty big now, and I am starting to think of dishes to make with the basil. Like this recipe for Ricotta with Lemon, Basil, and Honey Bruschetta from Martha Stewart that I first saw on Pinterest. I will have to try it soon. I've been meaning to buy some Narragansett Creamery ricotta, which I think would be great on for this dish.

I also love this idea for Basil Infused Olive Oil from Two Loves Studio:

What's your favorite basil dish?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

anna knits - fair isle cowl update 1

For my trip to Iceland last week, I brought along a new knitting project: a fair isle cowl. (Read about how I pack for air-travel knitting here.) A few months ago I made fingerless gloves with the baby alpaca yarn from Block Island's North Light Fibers that I got for Christmas. I have been wanting to make the matching cowl for a while now, and since I prefer travelling with projects on circular needles - you can start and stop much easier than with regular knitting - I decided to start the cowl for my trip.

Knitting outside:

The matching gloves I made a few months ago:

The pattern is Adelia Cowl by Tanis Lavallée, and you can download it via Ravelry.

It is going to be harder to finishing knitting the cowl now that I am back in warm Boston, but hopefully I can finish it soon!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

anna travels - icelandic yarn stores

I am back from my visit to Iceland! It was a short but wonderful trip. We ate great food, toured downtown Reykjavik, relaxed at the Blue Lagoon (a geothermal spa), and saw many natural wonders, including an active geyser and a waterfall bigger than Niagara Falls. Fares on Icelandair (from Boston at least) are very affordable, and you can even stop over in Iceland on your way to Europe at no additional cost!

I could talk about Iceland all day - if you have a specific question, please leave me a comment! - but let's get down to knitting. Iceland is full of its own knitting traditions, and even has a unique type of wool called Lopi, which is specifically made from Icelandic sheep. You can read more about Lopi here.

My frist day in Iceland, I visited the knitting store Storkurinn located in the heart of Reykjavik. It was a very cute store that reminded me of knitting stores in the US. There was a nice selection of yarns from all over the world, including Icelandic Lopi.

The next knitting store I visited was Álafoss wool factory; an outlet for Lopi located about 20 minutes outside of Reykjavik.  

Check out this cute yarn-bombing in the town:

At the Álafoss wool factory, I bought this gorgeous yarn from the Icelandic company Kambgarn. The colors are Kambgarn (Rosebloom) and Kambgarn (Glacier Green). I think I will use it to make a pair of mittens...

Iceland has so much to offer knitters. I would love to return and visit yarn stores on the northern side of the country. It would also be cool to take some knitting classes while there, which are offered in most of the yarn shops. I hope to go back and perhaps take a class on traditional Icelandic designs (see some of my favorite here) using Lopi. 
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