Monday, April 29, 2013

Currently Reading!

So after my "Recently Read" post last week, I wanted to continue with what I'm currently reading. Yes, I'm reading three books at a time (one audio, one Kindle, one serial):

Title: The Alchemyst
Author: Michael Scott
Read Via: Audio Book
So far: Ok, I'm only on the second chapter. And yes, this is mostly just to break things up from my last two audio books (super serious and super dumb). So far - it's magic-y! 

Title: A Storm of Swords
Author: George R.R. Martin
Read Via: Kindle
So far: Best of the Game of Thrones books thus far. 

Title: Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic, the Thirteenth Rib
Author: David J. Schwartz
Read Via: Kindle Serial
So far: So I heard about Kindle Serials from Amanda from Hey Porkchop, and got on board with this book. When I bought it, two episodes had been released, and I tore through them. And then it took THREE WEEKS for the third to be released, which was kind of a bummer. Since then, they've released about one a week, which is much better, but I still don't think I'll buy another of these serials. I loose track of the story too easily, and get impatient waiting. But the story itself is so far, so good. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Honors Geometry on Knit Picks! (and the winner of the Giveaway)

Exciting news! My Honors Geometry pattern just went up on Knit Picks as part of the IDP program.

Honors Geometry on KP

Knit Picks makes it so fun to pick out yarn for their IDP projects - you can just drag and drop your color choices and see which look good together. For this sample, I had fun with some new colors. I knit it in Wool of the Andes in Fedora (brown), Lullaby (dark purple), Fairy Tale (magenta) and Avocado (green). 

Honors Geometry on Knit Picks!
This face says NO NONSENSE

And thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway for my new pattern, Julep Jacket. The winner is...

Congratulations, NanaJen! Look for a message from me today! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Recently Read, Since January

Way back in January, I made a New Years Resolution to read more. I love reading, and that's one of the main reasons I became an actor. What's better than being IN a story!? 

But in the past few years, I hadn't made much room for reading in my life. So this year that changes. Or goes back to normal, I guess, since as a kid I would devour books. 

So how did I make all this reading happen? TECHNOLOGY. I've been reading books on my Kindle and listening to a lot of books on tape. Thanks, Audible. Since a lot of what I do at my day job is filing, I have a lot of time to listen to books, and it's been awesome. 

Here's the run-down of the books I've read since January (not including Blogher Book Club books):

Title: A Homemade Life
Author: Molly Wizenberg
Read Via: Actual, physical, book. 
Stars (out of 5): 3
Comments/Questions/Concerns: My mom gave me this one for my birthday last year. Molly has a fun blog, Orangette, where she posts little stories followed by a recipe. And that's pretty much what this book is, too. No through-line, no overarching theme, no real point. But man, some of the recipes sound delicious! 

Author: Cherie Priest
Read Via: Actual, physical, book. 
Stars (out of 5):
Comments/Questions/Concerns: This is a fun, steam punk, series set in an alternate dimension Seattle, where a gas leak has turned the downtown area into a hotbed of zombies. The characters are pretty classic genre characters, but the action is nail-bitingly intense and all the steam-punk-y tech talk is addictive. The only reason I haven't read the sequels yet is that I am terrified of zombies. Seriously, after reading a chapter with a zombie attack, I couldn't sleep. And yet, I loved this book, and that should speak more than anything. 

Title: The Casual Vacancy
Author: J.K. Rowling
Read Via: Audio Book
Stars (out of 5): 4
Comments/Questions/Concerns: Like every other Harry Potter fan, I was excited to read Rowling's foray into the adult fiction world. After the first reviews poured in, naming this a crass piece of trash, I knew I would love it! No, but seriously: I loved it. She has crafted some intensely dark characters that I still cannot get out of my mind (I read this one back in February), that live within a realistically detailed world. On top of that, the audio book is read by Tom Hollander, and he's an outstanding narrator. 

Author: Diana Gabaldon
Read Via: Audio Book
Stars (out of 5): 3
Comments/Questions/Concerns: I listened to this because my mom recommended it, because she knows I love historial fiction. Although I enjoyed it, it was loooong, and that wasn't helped by the audio book narrator, who liked to draw out her sentences. A lot. I'm talking a 40-hour audio book here. So perhaps my rating relies too heavily on that experience, but in general I wasn't terribly thrilled with Outlander, and probably won't read the sequels. 

TitleA Clash of Kings
Author: George R.R. Martin
Read Via: Kindle
Stars (out of 5): 4
Comments/Questions/Concerns: After struggling through the first Game of Thrones book, I resolved to stop watching the TV series, and just read. Thank goodness, because reading the second book was really enjoyable. I'm totally sucked in, although I find Martin's writing style to be a bit... derivative and overwritten. That said, the man has crafted some very interesting characters, and I have to give him props for having making his 9083018230 story lines work, all at the same time. 

Title: The End of the Affair
Author: Graham Greene
Read Via: Audio Book
Stars (out of 5): 3
Comments/Questions/Concerns: Ok, I admit it: I started listening to this because it was narrated by Colin Firth, and I lurve him. So sue me! I was totally engaged in this classic at the start, but about halfway through, it lost me. I don't want to give it away, but the ending is surprising and strange, and I guess I should have done my research on Greene before starting. I didn't dislike it, but probably won't read it again. 

Title: Seriously... I'm Kidding
Author: Ellen Degeneres
Read Via: Audio Book
Stars (out of 5): 2
Comments/Questions/Concerns: While this book was slightly cute or funny, it mostly felt like a waste of time. Each chapter is a short story (or in many cases, just a list) with no connection to the next, except that Ellen constantly talks about 1. her show; 2. being a celebrity; and 3. that you SHOULD be happy. Thanks for that. 

What have you been reading? I'm on a roll, so recommend away!

Ps. Other book posts here.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Holla Knits Spring Blog Tour (with a Giveaway!)

I showed you my new design, Julep Jacket, on Monday, but there's a lot more of Holla Knits amazingness where that came from...

There's a two-way tie for My Favorite Design in this issue, and it's between Stefanie Pollmeier's Nachtfalter (above) and Emma Welford's Just Beachy (below). Which to knit first? Both are super cute California-appropriate summer tops. 

These designs aren't the only lacy, summery designs in this issue, though.

Tessa Gregorio created the lovely Lady Bat (above), and Courtney Spainhower's Meeting Point combines lace with geometry. 

But if you're not quite ready for light, lacy knits, there's still something for you in the form of Allyson Dykhuizen's El Matador, a bobble-encrusted cape! 

Each pattern is available for $6 on the Holla Knits site

So, who wants to win a copy of my Julep Jacket pattern? 

I'm giving away one copy to a lucky reader - just comment below, and make sure to leave your email address! 

The giveaway will close next Friday, April 26th at midnight. In the mean time, check out the rest of the blog tour:

April 17 - Canary Knits
April 18 - Yarn Hollow

April 24 - Pink Brutus Knits
April 25 - Rewolluzza
April 26 - Knits in Class

May 1 - Masi Knits

Monday, April 15, 2013

Julep Jacket Knitting Pattern launches today!

It's that time again - the Holla Knits Spring issue!

This issue includes my new pattern - Julep Jacket

As temperatures start to warm up, I find myself shirking off my heavy coat as soon as possible. This wool jacket is perfect for that in between time when it’s too cold to go without a jacket but too warm for a winter coat. It’s checkered with tiny bows, with a relaxed blouse-y shape and elbow length sleeves. Perfect for a picnic or a baseball game on a Spring day!

Finished Size 
32 (36, 40, 44)” bust circumference.

Yarn: Knit Picks Swish DK, 100% Superwash Merino Wool; 123yds/50g: 8 (9, 10, 12) skeins in Amethyst Heather.
Yarn: Unplanned Peacock Superwash Merino DK, 100% Superwash Merino Wool; 230yds/100g: 4 (5, 5, 6) skeins in Grass.
Needles: Size 5 (3.75 mm): 30” circular (cir) & DPNs. Adjust needle sizes if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.
Notions: Stitch markers (M), tapestry needle, large snap, sewing thread to match.
22 sts and 30 rows = 4” (10 cm) in Bow Stitch on size 5 needles.

This jacket is worked from the bottom-up, starting with the bow stitch body. After knitting each sleeve separately, you join them to the body and work raglan decreases. After knitting the front bands, you return to the bottom of the piece to add a turned band, and then finish with the neat little collar. Each edge is finished like a pro!

It's $6 as an individual pattern, and available here on the Holla Knits site, and it's on Ravelry here. I hope you guys love it! 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring Break on Captiva Island

Beach Times

The week before last, I spent some time on sunny Captiva Island, near Fort Meyers, in Florida. It was a much-needed week of relaxing on the beach and spending time with my family and family-friends. 

Family Fun

Although the humidity killed me (mostly through frizzy hair), our beach-side house, seafood dinners and fruity drinks more than made up for that. I also got lots of sleep and did some crafting. 

Airport Fun!

Am I the only one who enjoys the flight and spending time in airports? It feels like stolen time - I got so much done, thanks to free airport wi-fi! Let's just forget the hell that was flying during Spring Break and focus on how I enjoyed Dunkin Donuts for the first time in over a year at the Boston Logan airport!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Desert: Palm Springs

Palm Springs 1

Part two of my desert adventures happened in February - I met up in Palm Springs with fellow blogger Danielle, etsy-extraordinare Heather, and her friend Holly. We had the best time eating, shopping and walking around taking pictures. Danielle and I were originally planning to attend lectures and tours as part of Modernism Week, but after the first lecture was a complete waste of time, we skipped the rest of the events. So bad! But Palm Springs had more than enough to offer, without fancy lectures. 

Palm Springs 2

It was so fun to have experienced "tour guides" for this trip - Holly & Heather are Palm Springs experts - and they showed me all the fun places to eat and shop. Danielle and I did have our share of foibles: we walked in to a "tour" of a home, just to be told, quite rudely, that it was a private group showing; and I locked my keys in the car, while it was STILL RUNNING. But all in all, it was a great time with fun, new friends, and I walked away with some great thrift store finds. 

I just posted a few photos here, but Danielle did a huge recap of everything on her blog - her post about Pioneertown is especially awesome. So go look at her photos, too! 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Desert: Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree 3

So a loooong time ago (end of January of this year), my friend, Melissa, and I surprised Chris and Mel's fiance, Joel, with a trip to Joshua Tree. They deserved it, just because they both turned 30 within a week of each other. I took a million awesome pictures, and then never shared them anywhere. Not on Facebook, not on the blog. Wow, Katie, way to let your memories go to waste. 

Joshua Tree 1

We rented an amazing Midcentury Modern homesteaders cabin in Joshua Tree (the city, not the actual park), and had a chill long weekend, driving around, showering outdoors in the desert, grilling meat and attempting to start a fire. The first night, we were really cold and inhaled a lot of smoke. But by the second night, we discovered quick-burn logs, and conquered that fire! 

Joshua Tree 2

One of the things I love best about California is the possibility for quick road trips over a weekend, and we will definitely return to Joshua Tree. The desert is calling!