Archive for the 'contest' Category

Marsha

New friend, old friend

p4219869fabric.jpgIn February I won a contest that Lucy held to see who could predict when she’d finish a quilt. Since it was intended to be a Valentine’s Day gift for her husband, I naturally guessed February 13 (’cause you know, these things always take as long to finish as the amount of time you give them)—and I won! The prize was a bundle of fabric pieces (leftovers from another quilt project—she does amazing quilts, as you can see here, here, and here).

Lucy and I happen to live only about ten minutes apart, so rather than get the USPS involved it made sense for us to meet in person. Sylvia and I stopped by her house last week, and while our two toddlers played together Lucy helped me choose (read: I asked her to figure out which things would go together well and just give me those, as I really had no clue) fabric squares to make into a patchwork tote. She showed me her crafting area, too, which was very inspiring—and very tidy, with stacks of folded fabric carefully arranged on shelves and a yarn stash to die organized into a wall of plastic totes.

p4219871magnets.jpgI received gifts from an old friend, too, last week. In the post announcing the contest for the IKEA bags, I mentioned a friend of mine from college, Frank. He lives in southwestern Missouri, far far away from any IKEA, so I sent him some bags and in return asked for the tackiest fridge magnets he could find. A package from him arrived late last week, and he certainly did not disappoint. An enclosed note described his quest to find them. After looking in shops in downtown Springfield and not finding anything cheesy enough, he headed south. And then: “I saw the large rump of a huge bronze deer getting ready to leap over Campbell Avenue. I knew then that I had found the right place: classic Springfield and sure to deliver on tackiness.”

As soon as I read that, I knew exactly what he was talking about: Bass Pro Shops. And not just any Bass Pro. This is the queen mother store—the original one. The magnet on the left is the store’s logo. The one on the right was obviously made by someone who grew up in the Land of Hunchbacked Deer. They’re both just perfect for my collection.

Marsha

And the winner is…

Thanks to everyone who entered my contest to win the giant IKEA bags. Who knew so many people had a hankering to store/stow/schlep stuff (mostly yarn, it seems) in big blue bags? And for those of you who mentioned living far from any IKEA, my heart goes out to you.

The winner of the bags is Olga, who blogs at Uberstrickenfrau (which has a lovely Persian proverb in the banner: “You don’t have to be the garbanzo bean in every soup”—indeed!)!

Stay tuned for the next installment of my ongoing contest series!

Marsha

Let me help you organize your life

Back in January, I wrote about my own little IKEA hack: using IKEA’s giant blue tote bags as laundry baskets. I still have them scattered throughout the house, and I still love them.

One of the people who commented on that post, Frank, is a friend of mine from college who lives at least 300 miles from an IKEA. (Poor guy!) So I mailed a couple of the Big Blue Bags to him. (In lieu of cash repayment, I’ve asked him to send me a fridge magnet for my collection. Don’t forget, Frank: it’s gotta be the tackiest one you can find!)

But I am so bizarrely thrilled with these bags that I’ve decided I really need to spread the IKEA love. So I have three of these bags that I’ll send to someone. (And because these suckers don’t weight much at all, this contest, unlike my last one, is open to readers anywhere.) Just leave a comment to this post. And if you have a makes-life-easier hack of your own (no, it doesn’t have to involve an IKEA product), sharing it will get you a second entry.

I’ll choose one lucky winner at random one week from today (April 16)!

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Happy with your current laundry-management system? No worries—these bags are useful for loads of other things, too. Grocery shopping! Yarn storage at home! Yarn shopping at the LYS! (Just think of how much yarn you could fit into one of these suckers…)

Marsha

Who gets the cookbooks?

I really enjoyed reading the entries for the cookbook contest! And I especially loved the recurring theme of “here’s an awful meal I made for someone I love…who ate it without complaint.” So sweet!

The winner (determined by writing names on pieces of paper and randomly choosing one) is Deb at Chappy’s Mom! Congratulations, Deb! And thanks to everyone who posted their stories!
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I feel I ought to share my own tale of culinary tragedy. Well, I’ve made many mediocre meals, but there are two true disasters that come to mind. The first was when I was in high school or so and was instructed to roast the (then-thawed) whole chicken my mom had pulled out of the freezer that morning. This was in my pre-vegetarian days, but even then I think I knew less about meat preparation than I do now. I seasoned the chicken, put it in the pan, and put it in the over…all without removing the bag of stuff (giblets? guts?) from the interior. (I didn’t even know it was in there, much less that it had to be removed.) Yeah, we did not end up eating chicken that evening…

The other disaster involves literally burning the teflon off a non-stick pan while trying to stir-fry something. I’ve actually done this twice. (And I’ve since learned that teflon does not like being covered with oil that is then heated to a very high temperature.)

Marsha

Free lunch: Bits and bobs

The Thrifty Knitter (and author of Naughty Needles has posted a free pattern for her Spring Forward Fall Back Raglan, perfect for the warm/cool days of spring and autumn.

Do you find yourself saving the “disposable” wooden chopsticks you get a restaurants, not wanting to add them to the local landfill but not sure what else to do with them? Try making your own knitting needles! (Tutorial here.)

The Worsted Witch points us toward a tutorial from Lion Brand Yarn on using edible items to dye yarn. I’ve heard before of using turmeric and onion skins and other things for this purpose, but it’s nice to have the information–with recipes!–in one place.

St. John Ambulance in London (UK) is asking knitters to help with its fundraising by knitting 5,000 (yes, five thousand) tea cozies (which will be sold throughout the UK) by the end of November. There’s a funky free pattern here, and knitters are invited to create their own patterns, too. (Via Crafty Crafty.)

Looking to participate in a knitting competition? Round two of the Walking Stick Cosy Competition is underway; submissions are due 1 May 2008.

Why throw down big bucks for a row counter bracelet when you can make your own?

Marsha

See what I mean?

p4039690dogwood.jpgDogwood buds do indeed look like E.T. heads (and chickpeas). In just a few weeks the ghost trees in my neighborhood will be making their (fleeting) appearance.

Whenever the seasons turn, I love seeing other people’s blog posts—and photos—about these changes. Back in February a guy in Portland was talking about forsythia blooms, last month someone in South Carolina showed off the daffodils in her yard, and right now I’m telling you all about my dogwoods.

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Don’t forget to enter my cookbook contest. (Please! I need to find a good home for these books!)

Real-life/local friends are eligible to enter. And though the thought of rigging the draw so I don’t have to give any money to the USPS is tempting, rest assured that local friends have no more chance to win than far-off ones.

And if your own shelves are groaning under the weight of too many cookbooks and you don’t want to enter the contest, that’s fine. But please do feel free to share your tales of cooking woes and triumphs!

p1099007cookbooks.jpgI have a lot of cookbooks. A lot.

With the exception of the top shelf (which is glass and can’t bear much weight), this bookcase contains only cookbooks. An identical bookcase on the opposite side of the piano contains the overflow (a few more books, back issues of Cooks Illustrated and Vegetarian Times, file boxes of printouts and photocopies), but the bulk of my cooking library is here.

For a long time I worked hard to increase my cookbook collection. But last spring, when we remodeled our living room, I resolved to have no more cookbooks than those that would fit comfortably in the bookcase. No more stacking them higgledy-piggledy, leaving towers of books in the corners of the room because the bookcase was full.

So I went through my collection as honestly as I could. Haven’t opened it in years? Gone. No chance I’ll be using it in the near future? Gone. The result: a nice stack of cookbooks that need a new home.

Here are the vegetarian cookbooks:

And here are the nonvegetarian cookbooks

These are all great cookbooks, and they’re all in like-new condition. But they overlap with many of the ones already on my shelves. (For example, I have a gazillion books on Indian vegetarian cuisine. Well, maybe not quite that many. Let’s call it a half-gazillion.) And because these are the ones I consult very rarely (if ever), they obviously need to find a new home.

If you’re interested in getting a box full o’ cooking inspiration in the mail*, leave a comment to this post and tell me about your greatest culinary triumph—or your most horrific culinary disaster.
(If you’d rather post your tale in your own blog, that’s fine; either include a link there to this post or put a comment here telling me to go read it there.) Each story is an entry, so if you have a triumph story and a disaster story, you get two entries!

I’ll let this marinate for a week. Next Wednesday evening (April 9), I’ll randomly select from the entries one person to get this mini-library of gastronomic goodness!

*I regret to add that, because of exhorbitant postage rates (ah, international media mail, how I miss thee!), this contest is open only to people in the USA. There are a lot of books, and the box will be heavy!

Marsha

Contest series

I’ve always liked the Hobbit custom of giving away gifts on one’s own birthday. It seems a nice way to thank people in one’s life.

My own birthday is coming up in early May, so I figured I’d do a birthday giveaway of my own. More than one, actually. April will be the Month I Give Away a Lot of Stuff. It’s my way of saying thanks to those of you out there who wander over here from time to time.

So keep a lookout for some contests here! In fact, I think I see one on the horizon…

Marsha

Happy mail

p3129442prize.jpgToday’s mail brought a special treat: the prize I’d won by guessing that Blindpurls was moving her blog to WordPress! She sent two skeins of Merino 5 from Crystal Palace Yarns and a copy of Crazy Aunt Purl’s book (which looks like it will be lots of fun to read!).

A day when something that’s not a bill or an advertisement arrives in the mail = a good day.

A day when yarn arrives in the mail = a stellar day. Heh.

Thanks so much!

Marsha

I won something!

Way back in the fall, I told you all about KnitMap, a new website with user-generated content (including reviews) of local yarn shops throughout the country. It’s a terrific site, and I encourage all of you to plug in info about your own favorite (and even not-so-favorite) yarn shops.

p2039163str.jpgKnitMap recently ran a contest to encourage users to submit “what I’d like to see at KnitMap” suggestions, and I was one of the two winners. Golly gee! Stacy at KnitMap contacted me for my address last week, and my prize arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon (that was quick!): a skein of Socks That Rock in the algae colorway. I’ve heard about this stuff (usually in reverential tones) but have never seen it in person. Now that I have a skein of it for my very own, I feel like I’ve joined an exclusive club. I wonder if there’s a secret handshake?

I really love the colors in this yarn. I can hardly wait to start some socks with it!

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