Monday, February 28, 2011

Mexico Beach Reading Round Up

Thought I'd report back on my beach reading last week in Mexico.  Here's what kept me busy during those long, hot days on the beach:

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson:  The third book in the Lisbeth Salander trilogy.  Like the other two, I really enjoyed this one and was entirely engrossed at the end.  Also like the other two, however, it took me about 200 pages to get into the book and I thought the cast of characters was too big to keep track of.  I know it sounds like a lukewarm review, but I really did enjoy it and was curious to see how all of the various story lines would come together.  

A Soft Place to Land by Susan Rebecca White: The story of two sisters who are torn apart when their parents die suddenly in a plane crash.  I really enjoyed this one but thought the ending was a little abrupt.  Since finishing the book, I've thought a lot about the relationship between the personalities of the two sisters and their living arrangements, and how those two factors affected the course of their lives.  I don't usually analyze books so carefully, so I think that's a testament to how provactive this one was.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick: The tale of a lonely man who places an ad for a reliable wife.  The women he gets is not what he expected, but neither is he what she expected.  I thought it was a good beach read but nothing more.

Look Again by Lisa Scottoline: What would you do if you realized the child you thought you legally adopted actually belongs to someone else?  Another really thought-provoking book.  I thought the ending was clever, though perhaps a bit too neat. 

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese: I'm not quite finished with this one, but I got far enough to call it a beach read.  It's the story of twin brothers born to a nun and a surgeon in Ethiopia and their coming of age.  I can't tell you how many good things I've heard about this book (and how many people stopped me on the beach to tell me how much they loved it), but I confess that I'm not loving it myself.  I think the story is interesting, but I find the pace somewhat slow.  Now that I'm back, we'll see if I actually finish it.  I'm so disappointed, because I want to enjoy it as much as everyone else, but to each her own, I guess!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Water Street Cutie

One more set of pictures from Toki Lee.  This little guy is just the cutest--I can already tell he's going to be  a real flirt in the not-too-distant future!
Thanks again to Toki for sharing her amazing talents with Yellow House Knits!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Worth A Visit?

On the flight down here, I read an interesting article in AirTran's magazine about developing new tourism slogans.  The article was making the point that these slogans are really important but surprisingly tricky to come up with. 

The article got me thinking about city and state slogans that work and those that don't.  Arguably the most successful are: "I [heart] New York," "Virginia is for lovers," and "What Happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."  But what about the others?  It seems like they fall into a couple of basic buckets. 

Some simply describe the locale: "Wild and Wonderful" (West Virginia), "Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places" (South Carolina), "Pure Michigan," "It's Like a Whole Other Country" (Texas).

Others invite viewers to visit: "Your Florida Side is Calling," "Explore Minnestota."

Still others hint at what will happen if you visit: "Life Changing" (Iowa), "Unbridled Spirit" (Kentucky)

Others, frankly, don't make a lot of sense: "Kansas: As Big As You Think," "Live Like You Mean it" (Wisconsin).

I, personally, really like Mississippi's new slogan: "Find Your True South," though I wonder if people will pick up on the play on "true North." 

Which tourism slogans work for you, and which ones not so much?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February Special Offer

For every $25 you purchase in Yellow House Knits gift certificates, add an extra $5.  Use the gift certificates yourself, or give them as gifts. 

Email me directly ( or convo me through Etsy to purchase gift certificates.  Mention coupon code ITHY-FEB11 in your convo or email to take advantage of this offer. Orders/emails must be received by midnight EST February 25. 
Have fun! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tripple the Fun

Oh, goodness, when I got these adorable pictures from Chicago photographer Amy Tripple, I agonized over which ones to post here and on the Etsy site.  They're all so fantastic that I just couldn't decide.  I finally settled on a slightly different set here and there so I could show more of them off! 

You can see more of Amy's shots of the Park Road sweater on the Yellow House Knits Etsy site or just click on the collage above.

Also, be sure to take a stroll past Amy's website.  Not only can you see more of her gorgeous photography, but her blog has tons of great information about photography and what to do with all those pictures you take (particularly for those of you who have taken her Sweet Shots classes, which I would LOVE to take if I were local).  There's also news of a great contest she's running now.  Check it out here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Having a Great Time, Wish You Were Here!

I arrived in Mexico without incident yesterday. These past few weeks have been particularly challenging for me, so I was positively giddy by the time the plane touched down at the prospect of a vacation. The airport was something of an overwhelming experience, but then I saw this outside my window. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Chilly Day in Florida

D.D.'s mom just sent me this picture from Florida, where the weather has just gotten cold enough for him to wear his YHK sweater and hat.  I am in love!  The sweater was a shower present for D.D's mom, when she was expecting his older brother. The gift-giver wanted something for a boy, but she wanted a more sophisticated color palette than baby blues, so we came up with this khaki, with the light blue and khaki buttons. 

Normally, I like wacky patterns and colors, but every now and then it's nice to do a simple solid-colored sweater and let the quality of the sweater and the yarn speak for themselves, especially when they're set off by awesome buttons like these (which matched the yarn perfectly).  The yarn has a nice heathered tone to it, which is hard to see in the picture, but it adds some visual interest to the sweater. 

I don't want to wish more cold weather on Florida, but D.D. does look so great in his little sweater!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fish and Pigtails

I promised more pictures from photographer Toki Lee.  I love, love, LOVE this picture of the Chesapeake Street sweater, whiich features my favorite fish buttons.  Aren't those pigtails something?!  She looks right at home in that sweater!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bullet in Blue?

In the past, people have told me that they think Mr. Bullet looks like the Blue Dog. Made famous in the ads for Absolut Vodka, the Blue Dog has been a favorite of mine since long before Bullet arrived.

You can see the resemblance, right? It's clearly the big satelite dish ears, but I think it's also the earnest face and the soulful eyes.

The Blue Dog paintings are the work of Cajun painter George Rodrigue, who has a studio in New Orleans.  So I was really excited to see some of the blue dogs for myself when I was there this weekend.  They are amazing!
Did you know that when Rodrigue first began to paint the his blue dogs, modeled after his long-time canine studio companion, Tiffany, people didn't much care for the them?  Seems hard to believe given how well known and much beloved they are today.  You can read that story and other interesting ones on Rodrigue's wife's blog.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

Back From NOLA!

Well, the half-marathon didn't get off to the best start.  The hotel "forgot" about my breakfast, and the walk to the start was longer than I thought it would be, and it was colder than I wanted it to be at first.  So I was pretty grouchy at about 7:45 yesterday morning.  But things got better--they could only go up from there!--and the race turned out to be really, really fun.  It was scenic and went through a lot of different neighborhoods in New Orleans, ending up in City Park, which is just lovely.  The weather turned out to be awesome--sunny but cool, with a nice breeze--what they call a "no excuses day." 

New Orleans was also great for a weekend away--what a fun city!  I ate lots of seafood and loved taking in all the charms of the city.  It seemed like a world so far away from Washington, D.C. (which was exactly what I needed).   

I would definitely run this one again.  And check out these awesome medals.  I think the beads are super cool.  Perfect for a Mardi Gras race. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Countdown to New Orleans!

I leave tomorrow evening for New Orleans for my half marathon on Sunday.  I'm super-excited!  I've never been, and I'm generally itching for a reason to get out of D.C. for the weekend.  So this trip comes at a really good time (although it also requires me to run 13.1 miles, which I'm increasingly concerned that I'm ill prepared for!). 

My question for you all is: What shouldn't I miss?  Keep in mind that I won't have a car, but I'm staying in the French Quarter.  I won't have a huge amount of time, so a big day trip probably isn't on the agenda this time around.  Any suggestions for me?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

All Aboard!

I've blogged before about how much I love taking the train.  Every time I'm in Union Station here in D.C., I think how much I like the huge posters on the wall advertising the various Amtrak routes and trains.  The artist behind these cool posters is Michael Schwab, and you've almost certainly seen his work around.  Think of the National Parks Services posters, the Lara Bar wrapper, California avocados.  The posters are for sale on his website, and while I'm not sure I would plan my whole decor around Amtrak, I think they could be really neat (as my dad would say) in the right space.  I love the old-timey look and the way they romanticize travel.  Who wants to go on a trip?


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Glory Days of '80s TV

I've been feeling a little lazy lately, so I've been spending more time than I should watching TV.  On Saturday night, I ordered take out and spent the whole evening watching reruns.  I felt a little bit decadent, but it got me thinking about Saturday nights when I was a kid.

Back then, my parents went out almost every Saturday night, so my brother and I almost always had a baby sitter, which we LOVED.  (Sally, Susan, and Katie, if you're reading, thanks for all the good memories!)  We'd get to eat something *crazy* for dinner like frozen fish sticks and macaroni and cheese (my favorite) or Chef Boyardee and then we'd make popcorn (Jiffy Pop, of course--this was before microwave popcorn took off) and watch NBC's Saturday night line up, beginning with Solid Gold at 7.  We watched the Eastland girls grow up, sat on the front stoop on 227, "pictured it" in Sicily, and giggled at the twin antics of those Double Trouble sisters. 

How many of these friends do you remember? 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Miss L's New Sweater

Just got this darling picture of little Miss L trying on her new sweater!  The sweater was a gift from her Godmother (nice gift!).  It's huge on her, but her mom said that she couldn't wait to try it on.  Looks like she'll be able to get a lot of wear out of it as she grows into it.  Cute, cute, cute!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Today's a big day for the Steel City.  For those of you who, like me, call Pittsburgh home, some of these might sound familiar:

Yunz is from Picksburgh if:

1. You didn't have a spring break in high school.
2. You walk carefully when it is "slippy" outside.
3. You often go down to the "crick."
4. You've told your children to "red up" their rooms.
5. You can remember telling your little brother or sister to stop being so "nebby."
6. You've gotten hurt by falling into a "jaggerbush".
7. Your mother or grandmother has been seen wearing a "babushka" on her head.
8. You've "worshed" the clothes.
9. I ask you to hand me one of those "gum-bands" an' you actually know what I'm talking about.
10. You know you can't drive too fast on the back roads, because of the deer.
11. You've been to Beaver Valley , Turtle Crick, Mars, Slippery Rock, Greentree and New Castle.
12. You hear "hey, yenz guys" or "you guyses" and don't think twice. Example: "you guyses hause is nice."
13. You know the three rivers by name and understand that "The Point" isn't on a writing instrument.
14. Someone refers to "The Mon" or "The Yough" and you know exactly what they're talking about.
15. You remember the blizzard o f 1993 (or 1976, or 1950, or 1939).
16. Someone starts the chant, "Here we go Still-ers!" and you join in the proper cadence, waving the appropriately colored towel.
17. You've either eaten a Farkleberry Tart or know someone who has.
18. You drink pop, eat hoagies, love perogies and one of your favorite sandwiches actually has coleslaw and French fries ON it.
19. You know what a "still mill" is.
20. You expect temps in the winter to be record-breaking cold and temps in the summer to be record-breaking hot.
21. You know what Eat 'N Park is and frequently ate breakfast there at 2:00 AM after the bar closed.
22. You order "dippy eggs" in a restaurant and get exactly what you wanted.
23. You spent your summers, or a school picnic at Luna Park, Kennywood, Westview, Sand Castle , or Idlewild.
24. You've been to the Braun's Bread Plant or Story Book Forest for a school field trip.
25. "Chipped ham" (from Isaly's) was always in your refrigerator when you was growin'up.
26. You refuse to buy any condiments besides Heinz unless a Pittsburgh athlete's picture is on the side of the container.
27. When you call the dog or the kids you shout, "Kum-mere" and they come.
28. Franco, Roberto, and Mario don't need last names and you can recite their exploits by heart.
29. Food at a wedding reception consists of rigatoni, stuffed cabbage, sauerkraut, and polska kielbasa.

Have a Pittsburgh Day!  Go Stillers!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Larger than Life

I was in Philadelphia last week and saw the giant clothespin near City Hall.  (They say it's actually two people kissing.)  It got me wondering about other over-sized everyday objects around the country.  Here are a couple that I think are particularly fun.

Clockwise from top left: a safety pin in New Orleans, a tire in Detroit, a "FREE" stamp in Cleveland, and a fork in Springfield, Missouri.

I would love to see more of these in person.  (I'm that kind of traveler--always ready to pull of the highway to see the world's largest ball of twine.)  What have you seen?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Precious Primrose

I just got these fantastic pictures of little Kailah wearing the Primrose Street sweater.  Isn't she gorgeous?  A stunner already!

The pictures are courtesy of the fabulous Toki Lee of Toki Lee Photography in Southern California.  She photographed a couple of sweaters for me, which I'll share in the coming days.  Toki's enthusiasm for photography and for her darling little subjects is infectious.  She's been an absolute delight to work with.  Thanks Toki!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Two-Thirds Down!

It's a new month, so it's time for another progress update.  Hard to believe the year is two-thirds over.  It's time to kick things into high gear!

35 Before 36 Update

1. Read 12 books.  8/12 complete.  Hope to knock this one off the list while I'm in Mexico later this month!
2. Go to New York City for a Broadway weekend.
3. Start saving regularly—even if modestly—for the addition to my house.  Still on track. 
4. Clean out my closet and give a lot to Goodwill.  I have a big pile of stuff ready to go--just need to get it out the door.
5. Finish my state streets project.
6. Donate to: Washington Humane Society, Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, and my various alma maters: Northwestern University, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Michigan Law School, the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
7. Go to the U.S. Botanic Garden.
8. Get a massage and/or a facial each month.  8/12 complete.
9. Purge and replenish my underwear drawer.
10. See 12 movies in the theater.  11/12 complete.  Saw in January: "The Company Men"
11. Spend a weekend the Omni Bedford Springs (my favorite).
12. Keep an inventory of food in the freezer.  Falling down on this one some.  I need to work harder to get a system in place.
13. Run three half marathons. 1/3 complete. Rock 'n' Roll Mardi Gras is just around the corner!
14. Try yoga again.  I'm started a Sunday yoga class.  So far I'm really liking it!
15. Start to research the history of my house.
16. Reorganize my pantry.
17. Buy a nice piece of jewelry (pearls?).
18. Try 12 new (to me), local restaurants.  9/12 complete. Tried in January: Galileo III
19. Improve my bread-baking skills.
20. Take Bullet on a weekend trip.
21. Get a new camera.
22. Take more pictures. Doing well!
23. Pay off my car.  Looking good!  I'm excited to have this one off my plate!
24. Master real push-ups.
25. Make at least two meals per month to freeze for later.  Still on track.
26. Organize my knitting and needlepoint supplies.
27. Send more postcards when I travel with notes telling people I’m thinking of them.
28. Make a star tree-topper for my Christmas tree.  Canvas is purchased--need to start needlepointing.
29. Have a party.
30. Go to the renovated National Museum of American History. 
31. Go to the beach.
32. Buy fresh flowers more often.  I'm working on this one, but it's getting harder as the weather gets cooler.
33. Paint my old patio furniture (or have it painted).
34. Take a crafting class.
35. Walk home from work at least once a week, weather permitting.