Friday, February 27, 2009

How Lucky Am I?

My swap partner Shanda sent me the most amazing package! I've posted all the details on my blog.  Thank you so much Shanda, you made my day!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

Look what Knitnana gifted to me. I am so happy to have met her and am enjoying knitnana and her knitting wisdom. She sent me the most wonderful package! See my blog for all the details. Thank you Knitnana!

Santa Clause Came To Town

So ... I thought I was writing my post for this blog ... but I posted it on my blog instead. Please forgive my laziness for not retyping.

Nicole out did herself. Go take a peek ... Santa really did come to my town!

A package from Adrienne...

I huge thank you to Adrienne for a wonderful package. I couldn't have done better if I went to Virginia and picked the items out myself. I feel like I may have sent my partner on a bit of a scavenger hunt as I often can be pretty specific about what I like. We e-mailed back and forth a few times and I really hoped I wasn't being too picky. I told her that I liked Natural Fibers that are super baby soft like Merino Wool and Alpaca. I like chunkier fibers and skeins with various colors. I also mentioned that I loved the color combinations of coffee, cream, and chocolate. This yarn that she found from a local spinner in Virginia fits that description perfectly. This is one of those really special things as Lara Smoot the spinner does not even have a website. I will have to make something very special with this. I don't know how Adrienne found this, but she did and I am so grateful.
The coffee my partner sent for from a local roaster called Rosetta Coffee Company. The box smelled amazing when I opened it up, so I knew this was going to be good. I could hardly wait to have my first cup this morning and it definitely lived up to its scent.
My tasty goodies included cheese straws which look divine along with apple butter which I love. The fun part was that Adrienne sent me some Crab Salsa. Something I have never seen or heard of. I always love trying something new. I can't wait.
I don't think I actually mentioned it, but whenever I travel or visit somewhere new I always try and pick up a local cookbook. In Good Company is a beautiful cookbook filled with delicious and fairly simple looking recipes along with little tidbits about the local history. This book looks totally practical along with beautiful, which I love.
Thank you Adrienne for all the wonderful goodies. You put together a wonderful package perfectly tailored to my tastes. I really appreciate it. I also mentioned that I like bright colors as well, just look at the happy box that I opened!

Swap Goodies!

Thanks to Perri I got a lovely swap package in the mail!

She sent some Gevalia coffee beans, a packet of cocoa, which I will enjoy later tonight with the biscotti she sent, two nice patterns- one for a neck warmer, and one for a eyeglass/cell pouch, complete with a silk liner, two adorable mini skeins of Punta yarn, and one big, gorgeous blue skein of the same. She also sent a super soft skein of silk yarn; I'm definitely using that for myself! There was also a yummy smelling sheepy soap!

Thanks again, Perri, for a great swap package!

Thanks Liz!

I'm remiss in posting this so late, but I've been using everything that Liz sent me and I've lost track of time with posting.

Here's the loot:

Two skeins of Berocco Ultra Alpaca and some bamboo straight needles (I've fallen in love again with straight needles and the quietness of knitting with bamboo versus my addis) - the yarn is already destined to be a lace scarf. Fat quarters that have already been made into something as posted in my blog. Some Starbucks coffee that is nice and strong! My motto is the blacker and and greasier the bean, the better the cup! Speaking of cups, it's in there too! As well as some chocolate coffee beans that were taken by hubby as soon as the box was opened and two little stuffed bears for my boys. Thanks Liz for everything!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Two days ago, a long Monday at work was brightened up considerably when I arrived home to this intriguing box!

(See the kitten? She was intrigued too!) Carrie decorated the box up one side and down the other; it was very cheerful and spring-y!

Opening it -- Wowzah!

So many treats....I've had to beat my daughters off with a stick. Look at all this!

Raspberry and Orange Creme Sticks (mmm, perfect with dark roast coffee); Nikki's English Toffee Chocolate Confection (English Toffee is one of my all-time favorite flavors); cute little Reese's Whipps (Reese's being the other all-time favorite flavor!! How did Carrie know?!); a Daelman's jumbo caramel wafer, yum; and Lady Walton's Creamy Dark Chocolate-Filled Wafer Cookies. And the coffee to drink it with: Italian Roast, WorldMarket House Blend (I don't have a World Market close, but my sister-in-law loves the one near her), and oh, boy, Vanilla Macadamia Nut Kona!!

Then the non-edible treats: a Creative Knitting I don't have, a little cookbook with ideas for dried fruits, fun stickers, cool reproductions of vintage cigar box labels (the top one says, simply, Hand Made!), and these gorgeous stitch markers:

Aren't they lovely?

Then, the very most lovely part of the box, perhaps: just look at this yarn.

Not only is it gorgeous, and soft, and one of my favorite colors, and a yarn I don't have:
it's a yarn I hadn't even heard of! And as a yarn aficionado, that's not so common. A treasure! (This is Noro Maiko, 35% wool, 30% kid mohair, 35% silk; nicely soft, looks like fingering to sport weight; should make a lovely lacy scarf, I think!)

Thanks so very much, Carrie!!

Carrie's package went out late, as she knows; my trip in the middle of things kind of messed up my mailing schedule (I didn't account for the post-trip work craziness, mostly), but should arrive tomorrow, I think!

From the Land of Sunshine!

Thank you so much, Corinne, for a lovely, thoughtful swap package - what a great partner you have been! All the details on here on my blog.

Gorgeousness from Virginia

Thank you, Julie!!! I really wish you could smell the coffee that Julie sent which I opened this morning. It smells and tastes incredible!! The coffee is named after a favourite teacher in the town.

What a wonderful package: beautiful handpainted Cascade sock yarn which I've never tried before; Junior Mints (there may not be very many left now); Mini Eggs which we're going to taste test with the British ones; beloved wonderful Bugles; a gorgeous mug from Washington and Lee University which I drank my coffee out of this morning.

It all came in this amazing coffee bag which Julie had made herself out of recycled coffee bags - complete with little stitch markers.

Thank you so much Julie! Also, thanks to Eva who is our swap partner in Norway (hopefully she will get hers soon since I mailed it about 10 days ago!) Thanks also to our hostesses for organizing the swap. I'm so lucky!!!!


Look at all the cool stuff I got. My swap partner must really like me. First let's start that Pixie sent me a snack plate with a cup and it is red stripes with a heart.The plate where you put the cup has a solid red heart and the cup has a solid white heart. This came on a day where I really needed to know that someone loves me.There were three individual coffee's from safeway, then there was a 1 Lb bag of coffee from Good Earth (Sedona Blend) and the best being a 1 lb bag of coffe from Siver Canyon. Yeah, I got coffee from the local coffery. I got goodies to eat, and don't forget the yarn. As you can all see there are three types of yarn, one of them Kool-Aid dyed by my own partner. Thanks, for the pin. This was a wonderful swap

Monday, February 23, 2009

Thank you Pheelya!

Today I received my lovely swap package from Dorothy(Pheelya)!

Not only was it filled with chocolate (DH has already kidnapped), coffee (Kona-my favorite), and other knitterly goodies, but it also introduced me to yarn from Wool in the Woods! I loved it!!
Thanks Dorothy!

It will be hard to stay focused on my Clapotis and not knit with my new yarn.
A wonderful parcel from Rachel arrived on my doorstep over the weekend! Not only did she sew this darling coffee-themed project bag for me, she filled it with thoughtful goodies.Two new-to-me organic coffees, yummy Ghirardelli chocolates, cute M&M themed stationary and tin, travel hand lotions (perfect for my knitting bag), little blue stitch markers...
And a skein of my absolute favorite yarn -- Malabrigo in a gorgeous shade of blue. Plus a skein of tweedy red Takhi tweed that's destined to become one of Ysolda's Icing Swirl Hats.

Funny thing... Rachel used to live just a few blocks from where I live now (in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago). Small world! Rachel, your package is winging its way toward you in NY.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

~ Contest #2 Winners ~

And the winners are ~

Carrie Penny & Emicat

Woohoo ~ ladies send me your mailing addresses to asimplifiedlife at hotmail dot com.

Thanks to everyone who played ~ I found some newbies too.


My package arrived on Friday.

I waited and waited all morning and until after lunch thinking a package from someone should be coming today since there are several packages I have been waiting for and packages have been arriving around 11AM - 12PM. BUT, alas, I finally had to get in the shower and get ready to go out since I had a lot of Avon deliveries to do. Of course, when I got out of the shower there in the mailbox was a card saying the mail truck had been by with a package and I would have to go to my local postal outlet to pick it up. Figures right. I got dressed and took the card with me when I went out so I could pick up my package on my way home. I finished in time to get to my doctor's appt before I went home and then didn't even get to see him. BUT on my way home I did get to the postal outlet and take my package home. By the time I finally got home I had to get changed as I was going out with my friend for a ladies night out at her church and there was my package sitting there wanting to be opened. I had to leave it until I returned several hours later. This day was frustrating.

All I can say is WOW WOW WOW. Was I ever spoiled. It certainly was worth the extra wait. My partner Amy did such a wonderful job of gathering goodies just for me. Take a look at the entire haul.
AND so you can see it clearer here are more photos.

I mentioned I like local items. Those treats I can't get here where I live and that is what I received.

There were lots of candies from Texas. The chocolate bar is gone. HMMM smacking my lips in delight.
There was Texan seeds for my garden in my new townhouse this year.
There was Texan cookies (already had one HMMM YUMMY!) and cake (Southern Pecan). Of course, there was coffee, whole beans as I have a grinder. Amy sent me a package of Texan Pecan Roast and Taste of San Antonio. I don't know which to try first. I have a small amount left of what I am using before I open a new bag. So sometime this week I will open one.

I also received some Soak and a bar of soap. The soap came from The Loopy Ewe and it contains lemongrass, lavender, patchouli, and amber. It smell wonderful.
Check out this soap and do you see what I see. A little sweater in the middle of the soap that looks like a ewe? Now tell me do you use this soap or put it out for decoration?
Yes I did get yarns. My heart stopped when I saw what I received. On my list is SRT and Fresh From the Cauldron and I received a skein of each.

Here is my STR in color LOVE.
Here is my Fresh From the Cauldron Twilight Esme Cullen colorway.

There was even a little notebook form the Loopy Ewe to keep track of my socks knitted, sock yarns, sock patterns I like and sizes of friends feet. I think I will have to consider getting some of these to give as gifts also
Even Solara received pressies.
All I can say is Thank-you very much for such a wonderful great smelling swap package. I love swapping. It is so much fun to give someone wonderful treats and receive them also. Thanks again for another great Knitters Coffee Swap.

My Wonderful Package!

After a grueling week at work, I came home on Friday to find my swap package on my front porch! I'm ecstatic to say that my partner spoiled me far too much! Just check out this loot!!

KCS Package

Here's what I got
  • Knitscene Winter 08/Spring 09 (I almost bought this magazine on Monday!)
  • The Sculptress (she apparently found my weakness for mystery novels)
  • A French Press travel mug (now I can make GOOD coffee and work!)
  • two different coffees that just smelled heavenly when I open the box - I tried the Cuzco this morning - YUM!
  • a pouch of kitty treats for Frisco (which he absolutely loves!
  • Avon goodies (hand lotion, hand sanitizer - perfect purse size, bubble bath, nail files)
  • a keychain flashlight
  • a little coffie cup candle holer (so cute)
  • And of course and beautiful skein of Araucania Rance is gorgeous Victorian pink and green.
I couldn't resist, here are a few pictures of Frisco eating her treats! As you can see he was impatient for his treat as I wat trying to take pictures that he tried to pull my hand down to this mouth!


Thank you so much Penny!! Frisco thanks you too!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Swap package arrived!

Yesterday, from my partner Rose!
She went for a tropical theme, after my comment about wanting to be on a beach, sipping something, with a rum boy to attend to my needs! The yarn's a great color, and the tea lights smell great, and yum yum little chocolates, and the mug is good... Haven't gotten into the coffee yet! Hope she doesn't mind waiting for my package (and I hope she likes it), I came home only after mailing her package out.

Got an AWESOME package yesterday!!

I got a fabulous package in the mail yesterday filled with goodies in my favorite colors!!!

You can't see it in the photo, but there is a book with a black spiral binding that is a booklet of recipes from my partners knitting cooking exchange this last Christmas -- I love it!!

I can't wait to try the Circle of Friendship sock pattern. The mug from Poland is stunning and it is filled with green and purple M & M's. :)

My husband picked up the purple merino sock yarn and exclaimed "Tell your Swap Partner that I'll going to LOVE the socks you make me out of this yarn..." (rolls if he's really getting this yarn from me....)

I'm so afraid to wreck the beautiful fiber by knotting it up on my spinning wheel...laugh....

I love that the coffee is from the local coffee shop, getting different local coffees is one of the best parts of these swaps. I didn't have a chance to brew up a cup this morning because I'm going to savor one tonight after a nice dinner with my husband. :)

Each item had a nice note attached giving me a little information either on the item or why it was chosen and that was really a nice touch. Finally, everything was packaged up so nicely in the fabric lined basket -- the sage green lining matches my home decor perfectly!!

Stacey, thank you so much for everything!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thank you Marisol!

I got my package today!!! you can read more about it on my blog.
My partner Marisol really spoiled me and did an awesome job getting the pacakage together. a big Thank You goes out to her!


I got my package and what a great package it was!!!! My swap partner was Petronella. I got some beautiful purply yarns to go with the pattern for "Dog Rose Mittens"- and she wrote the pattern herself!!! I got some great coffee, Norwegian chocolate, coffee candles, stitch markers, DPN's, needle gauge, sewing kit, buttons, lace!!! AND a handcrafted card!!! What an amazing package!!! Thank you Petronella!!
I love these swaps because it is wonderful to see how creative everyone is!!! Thanx to everyone!

Contest No. 2

Coffee Review:
Fortnum & Mason's Kings Blend Coffee
Fortnum & Mason's is a quintessential British shop which used to ship foodstuffs to intrepid explorers. These days you don't need to be an explorer to enjoy their products and one of my favourite coffees is their Kings Blend Coffee. It is a smooth coffee with a tiny bit of a kick, not too strong but not too mild. It is a combination of mild blends from Central America and Kenya with a little Robusta. I find it a gentle way to start the day and enjoy a couple of cups in the morning.

Yarn Review:
Trekking XXL
I think Trekking XXL is a definite backbone of my sock collection. It is a blend of 75% wool and 25% nylon which really makes it a hard-wearing and flexible sock yarn. The slight stretch means that I can knit socks for my husband who has a big navicular bone (bone at the top of the foot nearest the leg). I like the different colour ranges in this series of yarns which can be so much fun to explore!

Coming Soon...

To a mailbox near only one of you, Adrienne! I just wanted to say a big apology to my partner Adrienne because I thought the boxes were not due until the end of the month. Doh! I was thinking by sending today I would be sending early when in fact I am two days late! Anyway...thought I would tease you a bit with a photo of your package all wrapped and ready to go (minus stamps and mailing labels). Enjoy.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Got those packages out??

Today was the 18th! Hopefully by now you've got a great package put together and it is on it's way to your partner! Just a reminder, if for some reason you are running late, be sure to drop your partner a note to let her know when to expect her package.

Be sure to post your package when it arrives!! We love seeing what everyone put together!

Contest #2

1. Coffee review ~
My fave coffee varies with my mood. Luckily, I live in the Seattle area and have lots of choices when it comes to buying from a local coffee shop. Caffe Ladro (which means "coffee thief" in Spanish) is one of my go-to places for great coffee that is organic, fair-trade and shade grown. Their "Diablo" blend is the one I usually go for, as it is their equivalent of a French roast. I love dark, oily coffee beans, because I love bold, strong coffee, especially that first sip you take in the morning.. mmmMMmMmM :)
Here's a photo of another fave coffee cup and saucer that I use on the weekends. I love that it has cute little bees buzzing around the cup. I seem to have an affinity for bees and I don't quite know where it came from :)
2. Yarn review ~ It really is hard to just choose one yarn as my favorite, but one of my many faves is Plymouth Yarn's Suri Merino yarn. It's an alpaca/merino blend and gives your knit items a nice, soft sheen. It's wonderful to knit with if you're looking for something soft with a little sheen and not too heavy. You can almost say it's "feathery" :) I received this yarn in a swap package and that's where I found out about this yarn. This past Christmas, I knit all the men in my family a hat (hat pictured below) using this yarn and let me tell you these babies keep your head WARM! In fact, almost too warm at times :)
Thanks for another fun contest! Love hearing about everyone's fave coffee and yarn!

Package all Packaged...

KCS4 Package
Originally uploaded by BoxerPixie
Just needs the mailing label printed out and dropped at the post office tomorrow!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Coffee Swap Contest #2 (And a BIG Thanks!)

First off, a big Thank You to my swap partner Sunne for the lovely package she sent to me:

Inside were 2 skeins of Lorna's Laces sock yarn, another of Lana Grossa in a beautiful colorway, cookies and fresh coffee beans, a small bag from Lantern Moon, and a set of handmade stitch markers. Love, love, love it all!

I would have to say that my favorite coffee right now is the Sumatra that Sunne included in my Coffee Swap package; it is soooo good, and smells even better. Here's a pic:

I'm not a morning person, but I've definitely been looking forward to waking up each day so that I can grind, brew, and drink up!

As for yarn, I absolutely love Malabrigo. The colorways are to die for, and it's heaven to knit with.

I've also been loving Farmhouse Yarns, as well. Again, superb colorways, which I guess is a quality that really draws me in. For sock yarns I gravitate toward Opal, but thanks to my Coffee Swap partner, I can try out some new-to-me ones!

Contest #2 Coffee and Yarn Review

My favorite coffee these days is Carrabassett Coffee, and my daily grind is the Rooster Roast, though I like many of their coffees. Why? Mostly because it tastes great. But also because it is locally roasted. They sell many coffees that are MOFGA certified and Fair Trade. And they sell tea. And they have fabulous customer service!

For some reason I thought the contest details wanted a pic with the project in progress, so here it is...

I usually order about 8 pounds of coffee at a time for myself! And several pounds for other people!

The mug is from my potter friend Robbie at Maple Lane Farms. This is actually a failure, because the green glaze flashed up on the sheep, but I like it very much!

These butt-ugly swatches became cat toys, a la Monty pattern from Berroco. But they are not made with anything close to my favorite yarn!

While I can speak definitively on the coffee, I cannot on the yarn! I like so much of it, and for various reasons... color, fiber, feel, even smell. One you may not know, that is local and I like very much, is Friends Blendz from Friends Folly Farm in Monmouth, Maine.

Ack, my computer crashed in October, and the pics I have of that yarn are not on this machine...

Contest #2-Coffee & Yarn Reviews

While my favorite coffee is from Mill Mountain our local coffee shop, it wasn't convenient for me to snap a photo of that today, so the second best will have to do for this review!
Starbucks Raspberry Mocha (and yes, I love the whipped cream)! There's nothing better, than the choco/raspberry combination, whether it be in desserts, fruit and chocolate, or the flavored coffee. (I'm very lucky that Mill Mountain has chocolate raspberry beans that I buy to perk my own at home - but the Starbucks is a dessert treat when I'm feeling low).

As for a favorite yarn, if you're a sock knitter, you simply can't beat Blue Moon's Socks That Rock. The very tightly twisted yarn is squishy to knit (it does, occasionally, curl up on you as you knit, but that's okay) and warm and durable on the foot. The colors? Oh my. Tina is a goddess when it comes to dreaming them up and putting them on the yarn. I think I need to win the lottery to have as many as I'd like. This in the photo is a Raven colorway, Korrpi, with a touch of blues and violet in the black (and that's Feather & Fan lace in the cuff). I do find with the dark yarns that there's a bit of bleeding of the color onto my fingers as I knit, but a soak in white vinegar water before wearing helps take care of that. It does wash off your fingers, with soap!

Contest Two - Coffee and Yarn Reviews

My sister moved to Brooklyn, NY a few years ago. While exploring her neighborhood on my run across the Brooklyn Bridge, I stumbled upon Damico's. My motto is the greasier and darker the bean, the better the coffee. To this date, nothing has compared to the taste of Damico's Sumatra blend. Bold, strong, and the smell is divine! The shop is family owned and the coffee has been rated the best coffee in NYC. Sadly, my sister moved away but thanks to the internets, I can still capture that smell and taste!

Yarn? I like a good handpaint and natural fibers. My world today is all about the superwash - thanks to two toddlers. My tried and trues are Cascade Superwash, Dream In Color, and Lorna Laces Shepard- great saturation in the colors, good stitch definition and HELLO WASHABLE!

Contest 2- Coffee and Yarn reviews

Coffee: I really enjoy Starbucks Arabian Mocha Sanani (Arabian Mocha Java is better, but no available in the US anymore). It has fresh notes of dark chocolate, a richness that a lot of coffees miss, including many of Starbucks' coffees. This is my favorite "can be commonly found" coffee.

I also really enjoy Kona coffees. Kona beans depending on how they are roasted have a creamy taste. The favor of it varies greatly too I have notice. Some times it almost has a caramel flavor to it, also it can have a very natural earthy taste. They are really good to try, but a little bit harder to find where I live.

Yarn: Now this one is really a lot harder. I really love too many to count... Number one is Knit Picks Essentials. I am working on a pair of socks with it right now and I swear that it is so soft and the sock feels like there is nothing on your foot. The colors I have seen are also something else. I am using Spruce Kettle Dyed and if you look very closely there is a slightly mottled effect to the yarn, but it is really not at all noticeable in the sock.
I also love Malabrigo... This is one of the squishiest yarns I have ever worked with. Not only is the yarn so soft you just want to curl up in a ball and sleep on top of it, in it and all around it, when you finish your project the texture of the FO is squishy and warm and just all around a pleasure to be around. I made a scarf with it and not only did it keep my neck warm, it is so scooshy it feels amazing around my neck (not normally a huge fan of 100% wool on my upper body).
I think those are my two current favorites, but that is subject to change anytime I CO for a project with something different.

Starbucks Instant Coffee

Starbucks is unveiling a new line of instant coffee. More info on their website.


Coffee and Yarn Review - Contest #2

I'm happy to participate in the Knitters' Coffee Swap four, Contest # 2, and this is my reviewes:

1. Coffee review: My favourite coffee is a blend: Java Mocca, form Stockfleths. Java Mocca has an intense and fruity taste.The flavor is complex and interesting in that way that it s both fruity and rich, with a clear touch of dark chocolate (- Mmmmm). Therefor a well- balanced coffee, I think.

I prefer my Java Mocca just as it is - regular from my french coffee press, or made as a Latte or Capouchino from my Bialetti Mocca express. I drink my favourite coffee every once in a while when I want to treat my self nice or give my self a reward for something I did good.


2. Yarn review: Hifa 3 from Hillesvaag is my favourite yarn which I always return to after trying other qualities. It is a Norwegian 3- threaded, rich and easy carded 100 % wool yarn, in beautiful colors  from the entire color circle - 77 different shades. Hifa 3 is very easy to knit with using needles No US 1 1/2 - 4,5 or 2,5 - 4,0 mm. It is also easy felted. Hifa 3 is soft and quite tender to the skin. I use Hifa 3 to knit almost everything; such as mittens, scarves, hats, shawls, socks and pullovers.