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Monday, July 23, 2012

Another cardigan

I've mentioned before that I've taken a couple of knitting classes from Craftsy, and I've just finished another one. This one is called The Perfect Fit Seamless Crazy Lace Cardigan. LOL! That's a real mouthful, isn't it? But it involved "playing" with different lace knitting motifs and incorporating them into a cardigan or shrug — all according to how we wanted the finished garment to look.

The class was excellent, and I had a great time figuring out which lace patterns I wanted to use; it was very easy to determine how to adjust the stitch count in order to change lace patterns, and the instruction was quite thorough. :) In fact, I had such a good time playing with the lace motifs that I may have gone a trifle overboard in using them. ;) This cardigan is actually a dark burgundy color (the hazards of ordering online — I'd wanted a bright red), but the lace shows better in this photo where the color is lightened and brightened. I didn't like the only buttons I could find, so I've left them off and may end up adding hooks instead.

As soon as I get organized, I'm going to begin yet another class, this one dealing with knitting beads into the patterns. That's really going to be a stretch for me, since I'm not usually much for "embellishing" — the "E" word, as a friend of mine puts it. ;)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Back from vacation!

Does this photo tell you why I haven't posted in a while?

I've been quiet because I've been away with DH — we took a cruise around the Hawaiian Islands for our 40th anniversary, and we enjoyed ourselves just as much as you might imagine. ;) I'll try to make up for my long silence with a longish post! When we arrived in our cabin, we found this (plus a few more of the strawberries) waiting for us! It was the beginning of the Romance Package, a gift from one of our daughters and included so many "perks" that we were still getting them the last day of the cruise. Lovely! 

That night at dinner, the ship provided us a special dessert in honor of our anniversary, which was actually that day. One of the cruise staff also gave us another bottle of wine and more strawberries near the end of the cruise.

We visited Maui for two days, spending one in Lahaina and the other in the area of Paia and surrounding countryside. The first day, we took a ride in a submarine and saw all sorts of coral and fish on the bottom of the ocean! The second day we rented a car and drove along part of the road to Hana, just looking at the gorgeous scenery. We also stopped for lunch at Mama's Fish House, highly recommended by the cruise staff; it certainly lived up to its reputation, too! We ended our meal there with this to-die-for passionfruit crème brûlée — I just wish I had the recipe.

From Maui, we cruised to the big island, spending one day in Hilo and the other in Kona. In Hilo, we had a wonderful tour that included an anthurium plantation, an orchid farm, and a coffee-grinding operation. I had no idea that anthuriums came in such a variety of colors and sizes! This isn't anywhere nearly the range of colors we saw that day.

From there we went to the orchid farm, which made me wish I had a place to have a few orchids here at home, but it's just not possible with the space we have (or don't have!). The orchids we saw ranged from tiny to large, and they were in all colors of the rainbow, some with amazing scents — even chocolate!

Our last stop that day was at the coffee place, where we had an explanation of how coffee is readied for sale and information about different types. This place had lovely landscaping, utilizing a wide variety of the plants that grow so readily in the Hawaiian climate, from bananas to all sorts of flowers and anything else you could think of.

However, one of the things some of the islands have to contend with is an overpopulation of — of all things! — chickens. They're everywhere, thanks to hurricanes freeing them from their coops over the years. They now wander wild almost everywhere, but the owner of the coffee place kept his as pets. LOL!

Our last half-day in Kauai (we had to leave port by about 1:00 PM), DH and I mostly just relaxed. Then there was the trip back to Honolulu, where we docked the next morning and disembarked. Rather than go directly to the airport, we opted for a trip to Pearl Harbor, where we only had time to see the USS Arizona Memorial and unfortunately had to skip the USS Missouri and the USS Bowfin. Still, it was a very moving experience, and the site has been expanded and improved a lot since our first visit there almost 35 years ago.

Of course, we saw and did a lot more than what I have room to tell you about here! I did buy a couple of little souvenirs, though:

This particular batik is sold only in one quilt shop in the world, so I had to pick some up, along with a little pattern for a plumeria. The yarn was in another shop we accidentally ran across, and it's a lovely baby alpaca. The little stitch markers were hand made by the owner of the yarn shop.

Now I'll leave you with a couple of photos of other things we saw during the trip. :)
Waimea Canyon

Blow Hole

Another orchid

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!

Wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday as we celebrate our nation's birthday!