Saturday, April 29, 2006

I is for Iceland - The Money Shot

I know I've made you suffer but believe me it's worth the wait. My cousin knew who she was dealing with and had a number of pushers, um I mean yarn stores in her agenda for us to visit.

This is the Wool Market which is in the City Center:
It has a small but nice supply of Lopi. The color selection was very good as were the prices. The also carried a great selection of wool sweater, shawls and other woolen items. I picked up a couple skeins of Lett- Lopi there.

When I was hunting for buttons for Anouk I went into a fabric store, the woman there recommended Storkurinn:
Thankfully Ingileif knew exactly where this was, in a little mall above a supermarket. This felt like a yarn shop from home. They had Rowan, Noro, Debbie Bliss, and Dale. There was more I'm sure but I decided not to look too closely after I got my buttons. It was all stuff I can get here and the prices were about the same. Seeing all those colors, in all those brands was cool though since I get most of them online when I do buy. I took this shot from outside, since it only occurred to me to take a picture after I left.
I was still intoxicated by the colors:

Neither of these places lived up to my new favorite yarn shop, the Alafoss Factory Outlet:
This was the first place Ingileif took us to the afternoon after we arrived. We bought a few skeins that first day, but we made sure to visit it before we left as well:

In the back of the building there is this cool little waterfall:

I was reading on the web that when the mill was first opened it was powered by this waterfall. Pretty cool huh?

Inside? Heaven:

They sell all kinds of Lopi, Lett- Lopi, Bulky Lopi and other Icelandic yarns plus some non-Icelandic yarns that I had never seen before. We kind of loved it there:
The prices were phenomenal. I was trying the last of my Amex Travel Card on the return trip and I still ended up only spending half, but look at what I came home with: give you an idea the sheep keychain cost more than any skein of wool.

For those of you wondering, of course I have already started a project in my Lopi. Like I could resist it's siren song.

Monday- back to my boring old life. Thanks for all the comments and appreciation on my little travelogue. It's been so much fun to share it with everyone!

Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I is for Iceland - Part III

I didn't go to Iceland for the scenery, beautiful though it is. At the moment, aside from Rinaldo and the boys, Iceland is home to all of my relatives. Now that's actually a slight exaggeration of course. There are cousins out there somewhere here in the states but I have no idea where they are. We have never kept in touch. So when Asthildur was born it suddenly made a trip to Iceland far more important than it had been before.

My Aunt Jolee is my mother's twin sister (fraternal though they have a very strong resemblance). She is the one in the middle with the glasses:
I think that Avery really enjoyed getting to know her. He's met her when she visited before but he misses my mother a lot and I think Jolee really helped with that.

Of course it was a great chance for me and Ingileif to catch up and for me to get to know the country that she loves so much a little better. Inga (as we call her) would visit here every other year when I was a kid, so we know each other pretty well. There are a lot of shared experiences that people have with siblings so it's always cool to reminisce with her:

Avery has a ton of cousins on Rinaldo's side, some of whom he is extremely close to. It was good for Avery to get to know what a cool cousin he has on my side of the family as well:
Then of course the most important part of the trip, meeting the newest members of the family. Linda is Ingileif's wonderful wife. I got to know her a little bit when my mom was sick. As a nurse she would occasionally explain certain procedures (over Instant Messaging!) and it was really great to have a professional in the family for stuff like that. Finally getting to meet her was great. She is sweet, funny and intelligent. If we could just fix her one character flaw, the fact that she's an Arsenal fan. Oh well no one's perfect, we must love our family unconditionally;)

Avery really loved Linda. The fact that she had a Playstation 2 was the first icebreaker for him. She even agreed to play a game with him:

Poor Linda it's all fun and games playing Need For Speed - Hot Pursuit with Avery.

At least until the cops show up...

The next day they got smart and invited Ingileif's goddaughter, Arny over to keep Avery company:
They hit it off really well. Now Avery has a friend in Iceland that he can keep in touch with.

Of course Linda isn't the newest member of the family:
Asthildur Emma, Ingileif and Linda's beautiful daughter. We all fell completely in love with her. She is sweet, loving and oh so happy. She was absolutely a joy to play with.

After this amazing trip the only thing I can say is I plan on making the trip a regular thing. It's wonderful to have a family that you not only love but you actually like a whole lot too. So what do you say guys? Can you put up with me again in 2008? I'll bring the whole family next time!

Next up yarn porn...he he he.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I is for Iceland - Part II

Maribel is way too nice to you people, she gave up the goods right away. Not me, I'm gonna leave you sweating. No seeing what's in the bags until my travelogue is complete. Suffer, suffer...

There are cool things to see in Iceland that are not natural phenomenon. This is Perlan or The Pearl:

It was constructed in 1988. There is a revolving restaurant inside the dome and a more casual cafe type restaurant on the second floor. We had coffee there. There are of course souvenirs to be had there as well but one of the best things about it is the view from the observation deck:

That's Reykjavik. It's amazing how far you can see. Particularly without skyscrapers blocking the view. Don't you just love the mountains looming in the backdrop? Absolutely gorgeous.

There is also a museum inside The Pearl. The Saga Museum. It depicts the history of Iceland in wax and animatronic figures:

We rented the audio tours that accompany each scene. This was the leader of Iceland's clans when he was trying to decide if it should become a Christian nation. He took to his bed, covered himself with furs and thought about it for a few days. Then he came out and said that yes they would take Christianity as the national religion but the old ways could still be practiced in private. Check it out, no bloodshed, nice right?

I loved the tour, I was totally enthralled. I suspect Maribel was not as enthralled since she started after me but finished way before and I know for a fact it was a bit too much history for Avery but he found his own fun:

Go in an American kid, come out Viking warrior!

Just outside they have a manufactured version of Strokkur:

It was hysterical because right after it went off this little old guy who was sitting on the rocks, suddenly stood up and said, "done", locked a small panel and walked away. Well, that was it then, huh? Too funny.

We went into the city to do something special on Tuesday morning:

Jealous much? Not yet? Well check this out then:

Whales baby! Ok, not a phenomenal shot but those suckers are amazingly fast. Of the dozens of times they surfaced at least half if not two thirds of the pictures are just lovely shots of the water, but we saw them and that's what matters.

After the whales we visited the City Center and saw the Parliment Building:

We also visited a lovely little plaza that has a small pond:
I particularly liked the swans even though my cousin said they are very nasty. I told her all the prettiest girls in school usually are, of course Maribel said it was because they are picked on when they are the ugly ducklings...

Next up - Family time.

Monday, April 24, 2006

I had to sneak "H" in yesterday because "I" can only be one thing:

The beauty and the majesty of...


My cousin Ingileif and her wife Linda (yes, Iceland is that civilized) were fantastic tour guides. Since our trip was such a short one they made sure we hit all the big tourist spots. I took over 200 pictures but I'll try to contain myself. Today we'll focus on the natural wonders.

This is Rauðhólar:

It has the coolest red lava rocks. It's amazingly beautiful with lots of cool slopes. That's Maribel freezing there, the wind was quite strong that day. Avery went climbing and came home with a few rocks for souvenirs.

We then went driving into the mountains to take the scenic route to our next destination. Unfortunately the rental car was not quite up to the slippery conditions on the road so we had to turn back and take another route.

This is Þingvellir:

This was the site of Iceland's first Parliment in 930 AD. It is also is a great view of the Mid-Atlantic ridge. It's really an amazing spot, so much history and science in one spot!

This is Kerið:

It is a huge crater that was formed when a volcano exploded about 3000 years ago. It is really deep and dude I could not get too close to the edge. It was beautiful but I was totally freaked out by the height.

We did get some great shots though:

Next up was Geysir. Geysir was dormant for years but after an earthquake in 2000 it started up again. Linda told us that when it was dormant they actually tried throwing soap flakes into it to get it going again but it didn't work. As all true divas Geysir doesn't perform on demand but she has an understudy Strokkur who is more than happy to perform every few minutes:

Cool right?

Finally there was Guillfoss:

I loved Niagara Falls when I went but this blew me away. Maribel and Avery climbed up to the observation deck to get this shot (I wasn't doing the stairs, I'm just as lazy on vacation).

Of course there was the most amazing and beautiful Icelandic wonder...

my baby cousin Asthildur:

Next up - the city.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

H is for Home

Rinaldo took this picture for me on Thursday morning. I loved my trip but there is nothing like coming home either....

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Miss me? I'm back!

We got back from Iceland on late Wednesday but I'm still recovering. Jet lag and a bad cold have me laid up quite a bit. Staying out late last night for the Black Eyed Peas concert didn't help much either.

How was my trip you ask? Easily summed up in two words:

Too short!!!

I had so much fun that it is going to take me at least a week to blog about it all, but I will, don't worry. Since I know when you all clicked on the page this morning you were expecting some vacation shots I will give you a very, very small preview of what's to come.

Here is a sky shot for Sandy:

and of course some mountains for Margene:

Since this is technically a knitting blog I'll show you the finished objects right up front. First up is the doll, called Emma at this point since that's what I kept calling her (go visit Maribel to see the boy).

Next up is Anouk. Anouk had to be modified just a bit, since I wasn't actually bright enough to bring the buttons with me. I did i-cord for the sides (I know I said I was doing the dress version but I decided I really liked the room to grow that the jumper version provides). I did find a yarn shop with an amazing selection of buttons for the shoulder though. I also did a heart on the pocket instead of the flower so it matched the doll just a bit.

Of course there are shots of the most adorable baby ever:

and hmm I wonder what could be in these bags:

So tune in Monday, same Bat time, same Bat channel...

Friday, April 14, 2006

ABC Along just a bit backwards...

G is for going on a trip:

F is for family...

Those waiting at home:

...and the ones I'm visiting in Iceland:

Have a great week. I'll try to post at least once from Iceland...and yes I finished the doll, whoo hoo!!!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Wow look yet another sucky phone shot...

It's time for me to come clean, the reason you keep getting this horrible blurry camera phone shots is because it's just so damn easy. This morning running around trying to get everything together for work and the kids together for school, I just took the shot and sent it to my e-mail. Couldn't be simpler. Real shots will return, I sure as hell won't waste beautiful shots of Iceland on the camera phone, but for the moment bear with the chaos that is my life!

So it's Monday that must mean there's some more naked doll shots, or in this case half naked doll shot:

The skirt is done. Ok, so is 3/4s of the shirt, there was just no way to show it. You may note, no hair or face or shoes for that matter. That means no sleep for me. This is probably the last shot I will show you until we hit Iceland. There should be some level of surprise left.

It's not looking good for Anouk at the moment but honestly if I can finish the doll by Wednesday I can finish Anouk in Iceland. It's not ideal but that's life.

Happy Monday all...

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Well it's been a hell of a week. Ian did get approved for General Ed with Speech twice a week but it was a most unpleasant meeting. I've finally recovered from it so I'll spare you the gory details. I will say it pays to have good friends when your neuroses threaten to get the better of you. As an odd post script to the meeting, when I was waiting in the outer area after the meeting the psychologist came out, I guess she was going on a break. She was the one I was at odds with during the actual meeting. She came over to say the IEP was almost finished (they had to re-write it) but she began to fondle Anouk. Asking what it was, and saying how lovely it was. She asked some obviously knowledgeable questions about the pattern and then asked if she could see it. After looking at it she asked if she could make a copy, I frankly should have told her screw you but I have this thing about appearing to be a better person than I actually am so I told her to take that copy as I had another that actually had all my notations on it. Maybe the meeting would have gone better from the giddy-up if she had known I was a knitter;)

Progress on Anouk has moved along fairly well. Here's another sucky camera shot:
This one was pure laziness as I didn't take the camera to work with me and I haven't taken a better one here at home. I'm maybe a third of the way on the back. It's moving quicker since I made all the dumb mistakes on the first one.

Yesterday I took the day off, to decompress. I should have been starting to pack for my trip but Rinaldo took one of my suitcases on his trip so I used that as an excuse to put it off. I sat on my couch with a really good Bollywood film (they are my secret addiction) and my knitting. Much fun was had by all (or me anyway!). Today I will put Anouk aside and spend the weekend with the doll.

Rinaldo has already landed and is in a cab coming home. Ian is waiting patiently by the window. I'll be ecstatic when this is a two parent household again.

Have a great weekend everyone!