Archive for the 'contest' Category


Lucky again

Back in October I won a contest over on Largehearted Boy’s amazing music and literature blog. (Pop over there and take a quick look at it. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?) The prize package arrived recently and contained a whole bevy of stuff that’s sure to please any little kid (and any parents who seek fun, intelligent, and creative fare for their kids), including the new book (yes, you heard me correctly) by They Might Be Giants, called Kids Go!, along with their latest CD, Here Comes Science. (The timing for this arrival in our couldn’t be better, because Sylvia is currently obsessed with “doing science.”) There’s also For the Kids III, which we somehow managed to miss until now. Considering how much like its two predecessors, I’m sure this one will be a hit with my family, too.

Last week another prize box arrived in the mail, this one from Jen at Fashionably Late to the Party. For about three weeks starting in mid-November she ran a contest in which commenters won entries for a random drawing for what she described as “a box of random stuff.” (Her posts are always interesting, and I usually have something to say there anyway. So entering this contest actually required no extraordinary effort on my part.)

And random it was. The box contained some awesome salt-and-pepper shakers (which are so awesome that I think they deserve an entire blog post all to themselves some time), lots of cookies and snacks from Japan, a giant prescription bottle full of beads, and all sorts of odds and ends. My favorite item, though, was this one:



Seasonally appropriate

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I find myself with more reason than usual to be grateful this year.

Last month I won a contest, and my prize was some amazing artwork done by my friend Bethany. She’d held the contest to launch a new website and business venture: a design collaboration with her friend Melanie.

At the time Bethany mentioned that there was a second part to the prize, which I’d receive later. I filed this info in the back of my mind…where it promptly got lost until earlier this week, when another package arrived in the mail from her. This one contained two sets of their just-printed-so-I’m-amazed-the-ink-wasn’t-still-wet holiday cards. I’ve been on Bethany’s holiday-card list for a couple of years, and it’s always a delight to see each year’s design. Now I have my own to send out! I tried taking photos of them but couldn’t get a decent picture. So go take a look at them on their Etsy page (which is where you should be going anyway, so you can buy some for yourself).

Yesterday I received another contest prize in the mail (I’ve had a rare streak of luck lately). This one contained a VTech S9181 WiFi internet radio. With this, I can listen to over 11,000 Internet radio stations, plus good old FM stations. This item came from Frank Yang, who writes the very excellent blog Chromewaves, which contains more information about the current music scene than you can shake a stick at. Go take a look at it. You’ll probably spend hours poking around and listening to MP3s…and then start trying to figure out how you can move to Toronto so you can go to all the concerts he writes about.

I set up the radio today, and so far it is cooler than sliced bread. Yes, I’d even go so far as to say it’s all that and a bag of chips. The options are paralyzing. You can search by genre, by location, and by a number of other categories. The only station I’ve added to my Favorites list is Radio Suisse Romande*, and I’m looking for more. But I’m not sure where to begin. (I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t have the time or patience to scan through 11,000 radio stations.) Suggestions? Any of you have favorite Internet radio stations that you’d like to recommend?
*I used to listen to this when I lived in Switzerland and always liked the announcement “Et pourtant elle tourne” (the words–likely apocryphal–Galileo muttered under his breath after recanting his astronomical findings before the pope) that marked the start of the noon news hour.


Life update

Wow. It seems just yesterday that we returned from our vacation and I wrote the last big post here. Much has happened since then: a new school year has begun, the leaves are starting to turn (the dogwoods are already red; they get their leaves first in the spring and lose them first in the fall), and life continues its unfolding.

A few highlights:

Reading: Do-Over!: In which a forty-eight-year-old father of three returns to kindergarten, summer camp, the prom, and other embarrassments, by Robin Hemley. The first half of this book (with its tales of interactions with little kids) is much funnier–and just generally better–than the second half (which deals with his adolescence and young adulthood), but the entire book is worth reading. I think we all have our own “I wish I could do this over” moments, and it’s reassuring so know that some of life’s most embarrassing moments have an element of universality. And laughing out loud while reading a book–I can’t remember the last time I did that. This one was a fun read.

Watching: Watchmen, which I loved. Was it as good as the book? No, of course not. The book was written to take advantage of the genre, and it’s impossible to translate it perfectly to a screen. That said, this film was clearly a labor a love on the part of the filmmakers, true fans of the book, and is the best realization possible.

Also watching: Ponyo. We are huge fans of Hayao Miyazaki in this house, as evidenced by Jan’s Halloween costume from last year and Sylvia’s plan to dress as Kiki this year. (She already has a plan for next year’s costumes, too: “Daddy will be the big Totoro, Mommy will be the medium Totoro, and I will be the little Totoro!”) Ponyo isn’t his best work, but we still loved it.

Winning: A contest, run by Barbara Bretton, who’s both an author and a knitter. The prize: two skeins of Elann’s Silken Kydd (their version of Rowan’s Kidsilk Haze) and a lovely totebag with Barbara’s logos. I’m not sure yet what I’ll do with this yarn, but I think I want to cast on soon, since it’s toasty stuff and I’d love to have something ready for this winter. Thanks, Barbara!

Meeting: Deborah! She was my downstream pal in the last Secret Pal swap I did, two years ago. We’ve kept in touch ever since, and a few days ago we actually got to meet in person! She lives in New York and came to Philadelphia last weekend to run the half marathon (which she totally rocked), and Jan, Sylvia, and I met her and her boyfriend for lunch afterward in Chinatown at our favorite restaurant, New Harmony Vegetarian. We had a great time, and I hope we can get together like this again. She’s planning to run in Philly again next fall, so I’m sure I’ll see her then!

Eating: Peaceable Imperatrix has accomplished the impossible: she’s helped me find a way to like kale. Amazing! I have tried many preparations of this vegetable and really wanted to like it (leafy greens! good for you!) but had not succeeded until yesterday. PI posted a couple of weeks ago about making kale chips, and I thought I’d give them a try. So I picked up some kale at the local growers’ market and chipified them yesterday afternoon. They were delicious (though a bit salty–I have to remember to tone that down next time)! The best part: Sylvia loved them, too. It didn’t hurt, I’m sure, that I introduced them to her as “Jenny Greenteeth Chips.” (She is currently obsessed with Jenny Greenteeth. And pirates.)


Stash enhancement

Yes, I have recently acquired more yarn. But I didn’t buy it! (I am continuing last year’s practice of knitting only from my stash and purchasing new yarn only on very rare occasions.) I won it in a contest held last month on It’s a Shantastic Life! (Shannah is a hoot. Stop by her blog sometime and you’ll see what I mean.)

p1285927contest.jpgThe prize package arrived the other day. It contained the sock yarn I was expecting (in very bright colors—this is quite a change from my usual brown/grey/green tones) as well as a little make-a-cat-out-of-pompoms kit and one of the coolest coffee mugs I’ve ever seen. Can you see the texture on the outside of this thing? That’s right: knit stitches and purl stitches—and cables, even. I am totally going to enjoy some good coffee in this when I cast on these spring-colored socks. Thanks, Shannah!


Two totally unrelated bits of news

pa194129markers.jpgLate last month, Knitting Dragonflies ran a contest on her blog, and I was a lucky winner. My prize? These very excellent stitch markers. They arrived in the mail a week and a half ago, so I’m a little late with my thank-you, but they are a welcome—and useful—addition to my knitting notions box! Thank you!

This next news of item is of interest to word nerds and comedians alike. Apparently, there’s a new OED in the works. It’s the OEDILF: the Omnificent English Dictionary in Limerick Form. Its stated goal is “to write at least one limerick for each and every meaning of each and every word in the English language.”

The organizers are looking for contributors to this project. So if you want to participate in a great literary undertaking, are fond of limericks, and don’t feel like slogging through early English literature, well, this may be just the thing for you! (An added bonus: you don’t have to be insane!)


Today was a good mail day

I’ve decided to suspend my outrage at the USPS temporarily. I figure they deserve a one-day reprieve for bringing me some goodies in the mail today.

p9253531booksftf.jpgFirst up, a trio of books from Two Pointy Sticks. She held a poetry-writing contest three weeks ago, and I think she fell and hit her head or something because she actually liked what I wrote and chose me as one of the winners. I got to choose my prize from among a list of books she was getting rid of and opted for two Harmony stitch guides. No sooner had I responded to her e-mail with my choice when she wrote back saying, “Oh, would you like to have another book, too?” So this lovely Jo Sharp book hitched a ride in the padded envelope to my house.

Getting something in the mail that isn’t a bill or junk mail? Wonderful. Getting knitted-related mail? Oh, so very sweet indeed. Thanks so much, Rooie!

p9253532bagftf.jpgSo I’m sitting on our driveway, going through rest of the mail while watching Sylvia scoot along on her scooter, when the mail carrier actually comes back to my house with some stuff he neglected to drop off earlier. (He is not our usual mail carrier. Our usual mail carrier, Catherine, is awesome. And she runs marathons.)

Along with the weekly sales circular (ugh, I hate those things—mine goes straight into the recycling bin) there was a big envelope from…Deborah! She was my downstream secret pal in SP11 last fall, and we’ve kept in touch ever since. She’s a very talented knitter and a great sewer, too. And look what she made for me: this beautiful knitting bag (with a gorgeous solid green lining). And see how the zipper pull matches the stitch markers she also sent? Awesome.

Two gifts in one day: one expected, one unexpected. Okay, USPS, I’ll let you off the hook for now. But tomorrow, you’re going back on my shit list.

Well, maybe not rich, but the prize money could buy a lot of yarn.

The people responsible for Knitter’s magazine, XRX books, and the Stitches events are having a sock-design contest called Think Outside the Sox. The grand prize is $6,000, and the contest runs until 1 January 2009.

I wonder if knitting an oversized washcloth, folding it around my foot, then stapling it into place would qualify as a sock design. That’s pretty much all I could manage in the sock department, I think…


Mail call!

Today’s mail brought not one but two delightful packages.

p6091210magnets.jpgFirst, wrapped in even more packing tape than even I use (and I like to use enough to ensure that any package I send will survive a nuclear winter), was a small envelope from my friend Mary Ann, whom I’ve known since we went to college together. About a month ago, she sent me a birthday card in which she’d written a promise to send me another tacky magnet for my collection. When she and her family went on vacation to Great Smoky Mountain National Park a couple of weeks ago, she made doubly good on that promise by picking up two of the cheesiest magnets she could find. (Note the use of Smokey, a misspelling that ratchets up the tackiness quotient for this duo.) I’m putting these on the fridge right next to the Bass Pro goodies that another college friend, Frank, sent me in April.

The second box contained lots of yarny goodness. About two weeks ago I won a contest at Yarn Is My Metier. Karen asked people to compose haiku poems for her birthday (which was May 29), and the random number generator chose my entry as one of the winners.

Next thing I know, I get an e-mail from Karen asking my for my snail-mail info and all about my yarn preferences. Sending along my address was simple, but answering the other questions was tricker. I had a bad case of option paralysis. It was like standing in front of the counter at a Baskin Robbins. Fortunately, Karen was very patient and, after a few e-mails back and forth, announced that she would send me enough burgundy yarn for a shrug (a project I’m interested in trying) and enough taupe yarn to make something for Sylvia.

p6091211yarn1.jpgThe taupe yarn? Four balls of Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran. I received a Jo Sharp book as a gift from a friend in Australia two years ago, but have never tried any of her yarn before—or even handled it, for that matter. This stuff is so soft. It’s 85% wool, 10% slik, and 5% cashmere. (Interestingly, the care instructions say “Dry flat in shade.” That’s the first time I’ve seen that variation. What happens if you dry it in the sun? Does it get a sunburn?) I’m thinking I might turn this into a little vest for Sylvia, or perhaps some legwarmers for her. Ooooh…maybe cabled legwarmers!

p6091216yarn2.jpgAlso in the box were a panda pencil sharpener (which was of course immediately appropriated by Sylvia) and three balls of Jaegar Shetland Aran in a beautiful burgundy color. This yarn is 80% wool and 20% alpaca and it, too, is very soft and totally new to me. I haven’t quite decided what to do with this yarn, but I’m eager to get it on the needles. Karen suggested I look at her Mia Shrug pattern (available in the sidebar on her blog, and also a popular knit on Ravelry). It’s awfully cute and may be just the sort of dive-in-head-first plunge I need to get over my reluctance fear sheer terror of lace knitting!

So thanks, Mary Ann and Karen, for making my day!

p5070388contest.jpgThe winner of my birthday contest is Amy at Knit Think! She’ll be getting this box o’ knitting mathoms and other goodies.*

Thanks, everyone, who entered this contest. I really enjoyed reading about your favorite knitting!

(*Before I took this picture, I put everything in the box to make sure it would all fit, then spread it out on the table. How much do you want to bet that when I try to put it all back in the box again it won’t fit the second time?)

It’s time for the final installment of my contest series. The first contest prize was a set of cookbooks, won by Chappy’s Mom. The second contest prize was a trio of IKEA big blue bags, won by Uberstrickenfrau.

I mentioned my fondness for the Hobbit tradition of giving gifts on one’s own birthday. Typically, these gifts are mathoms, described by Tolkien as “anything that Hobbits had no immediate use for, but were unwilling to throw away.” (Michael Quinion points out, quite correctly, that there’s plenty of use for such a word in our own society. Take a look in your basements, closets, and plastic storage totes, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.)

The cookbooks were mathoms. The IKEA bags—well, not so much (but maybe they’ll be employed as mathom storage). For my final contest, the prize consists mostly of mathoms of the knitting-related type.

First, there’s Crazy Aunt Purl’s book, Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair. The very excellent Blind Purls gave me this book, and now that I’ve fully digested it, it seems only right to spread the Crazy Aunt Purl love and send it to a new home.

I’ve been sorting through my yarn stash, and I’ve come across quite a bit of yarn that, frankly, I’ll never use. It’s all decent stuff—all sorts of different fibers in a variety of colors and totally unused. Some of these skeins are leftovers from past projects. Some were gifts that just don’t suit my knitting style. (With so little time and so many projects, I’ve resolved to knit only things I really want to knit with yarn I really want to spend a lot of time with.) And some of it is “where the hell did that come from?” yarn that must have snuck into my stash when I wasn’t looking because I honestly don’t remember how I got it. All of these balls and skeins of yarn are true mathoms. I know I will never use them, and I’m confident that they can find a good home with another fiber enthusiast. I won’t list all the yarns here, because I’m still in the process of selecting them from my stash. Suffice it to say there will be a lot.

I’m also including one of those IKEA big blue bags, ’cause I really love ’em and thing everyone should have one. And something yummy—though not, alas, any chocolate or meltable items, now that spring is here and temperatures are rising.

If you’re interested in getting this box o’ stuff, leave a comment to this post and tell me about your favorite thing that you’ve knitted (or crocheted, if you’re more of a hooker than a needler). If you’d rather post about this 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. On May 7, the eve of my birthday, I’ll randomly select one winner from all entries.*

My favorite knitted item? Hands-down, it’s one of my first projects: a baby blanket I made for Sylvia. Yeah, the seaming is really bad. But she loves this blanket, and I love her, so there are happy feelings all over the place.

*Alas, once again I must restrict this contest to residents of the USA. The mere thought of filling out customs forms for this package and dealing with international postage rates makes my brain hurt.

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