Vacation, Disney (last one I promise)

*This is the last part of my vacation series, for now.  I do have a trip planned to Washington, DC in August, and I hope to get to EGLFC (Eastern Great Lakes Fiber Conference) in October since I have already paid for it.  Next week we resume crafty content!*

My sibling went to Disney Tokyo and enjoyed themself immensely.  This was our first trip to a state-side Disney, and my first anywhere.  Since we were staying at Hotel Disney we received a pin for our first visit, a pin since our visit was in celebration of our birthdays, and a Disney Hotel Pin.  These were each about 3″ across, and wonderfully done.  We also received coupons for lanyards to hold our 3-Day passes and room keys.  These are also used in collecting pins, something that I did not believe I would be interested in, however my previous entries detailing the three or four  pins that I purchased along the way prove that I am more interested in pins than I previously thought.

Motion sickness medication was a lifesaver.  We went on the Space Tours ride, which was nauseating but so much fun.  The Haunted Mansion was an absolute blast, we wound up stalled for a few minutes, however it was at just the  perfect time so that we could see more of the ghost blowing out candles, and the others waltzing.  The room where you could watch old cartoons was amazing and brought back so many good memories.  I was a little hesitant to try the Dole Whip, despite its reputation since I do not like pineapple, however it was refreshing and wonderful.  I loved the Tiki Show and the Hawaiian Deities explaining their history was just fascinating.  During our visit there were several places where other cultures were explored.  On the forest walk there were several statues depicting Native American Deities as well as explanations for the beliefs behind their appearances.  There was so much that happened during our visit to Disney and California Adventures I am just going to go with the highlights.  I loved the riverboat cruise, it took us throughout the Disney park explaining different aspects along the way.  There was a backlog for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, but the wait was well worth it.  My sibling purchased a fast-pass for us, this was certainly worth the price (and dirty looks).  The only activities that we partook in more than once were the Dole Whip and the Tiki Room.  California Adventure park was a lot of fun, however I cannot distinctly remember a single thing we did there.  We partook of dinner at the Storyteller’s Cafe in the Hotel California, I cannot recommend them enough.  On our last day we attempted to get back in for another meal and were told by the guard we should go to the park instead.  I’m not sure where the discrepancy is, but that was sincerely disheartening.

Our last day was an absolute blast.  Unbeknownst to my sibling and I at the time of our booking, our final day coincided with the opening of the new Star Wars section of the park.  WE GOT TICKETS!  They were a part of our stay so we were able to be in the first group, on the first day, of the new Star Wars section of Disney California.  My sibling purchased us t-shirts to commemorate our visit and I decided to splurge on the pin set (I let Phoebe choose which two pins they wanted and kept the other two).  Then we walked everywhere and took tons of photographs of absolutely everything.  (We are not in any of the photographs I am going to post).

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The ride was so wickedly fun, especially since it was interactive.  There were three positions, pilot, gunner, and engineer.  My sibling and I were the engineers, and it was such fun.  Surprisingly, because our drivers were not amazing, we did not get motion sick at all.  I believe that this is mostly due to the attention that we had to pay to ensure we were pressing the correct buttons as soon as possible.  It was so much fun.  There were so many things to look at and do.  My sibling could not resist purchasing a Jedi Cloak (they do some cosplay and have a use for it) since I cannot even find a time to wear my velvet cloak I didn’t bother.

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If nothing else you have to give Disney Major props for their attention to detail.  I had so much fun, and I am certainly thinking of trying to save up for the Florida park at some point.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!  (crafting content next week, I promise!)

Vacation, Los Angeles

*More vacation information, sorry to say this will continue next week as well.  In two more weeks I will get back into crafting.  Hang in there!*

For the second part of our vacation, and yes there is a third part, my sibling and I flew into Los Angeles.  We arrived at our hotel and spent a very nice afternoon discovering where we could eat near our hotel and looking around. I had a Bahn Mi at a Vietnamese restaurant, and now I know if I order one I need to ask them to leave off the Cilantro.  I picked up a bottle of a peach green tea was amazing, though boba is not my favorite thing at this point.  The Lychee Ramune had little to no flavor, so it was not really worth the sugars.

Our second day was spent exploring Little Tokyo as well as hitting Gather DTLA which is a yarn store.  I will admit, my sibling and I get along in short bursts.  Since I am an introvert by nature and my sibling tends to need to be ‘in control’ yet dislikes making plans we tend to get on each other’s nerves after a short time.  This was our last day spent constantly in each other company, however one day apart was enough to reset my good humors.  On this second day we went  to a fascinating little mall and hada ton of fun.  They had an amazing bookstore with a selection of journals, paper, pens, and other stationary that easily rivaled jetpens.com.  I had been wanting to try different pens for quite some time, however I could not bring myself to pay the shipping and handling.  All of the pen brands I had been wanting to try, as well as some that I had not heard of, were represented in this little store.  I also splurged and obtained some beautiful notebooks to write and draw in, as well as some watercolor pencils and appropriate paper.  I did insist that we go to Gather DTLA, a yarn store that had been raved about on Ravelry.  This little store, above a bookstore, was certainly tried.  The proprietress was a lovely woman that, when I made a purchase I will describe shortly, gave me a pin from the store’s yarn crawl which I was a couple of weeks too late for, as well as a plastic tapestry needle.  I found the selection to be quite poor, however as I said, they had just been through a yarn crawl and may have been understandably depleted.  I did purchase a skein of pink yarn with purple flecks called Flamingo by Elevate fibers and a cement bowl to hold accessories.  I later found out that my one of my pens wrote on the cement bowl beautifully so I can remember where and when I obtained it.  Other than the disappointment of the bookstore that Gather DTLA was found in, my fraying temper, and the discovery that my sibling’s idea of ‘exploring’ is wandering over the same three blocks five or six times to find something that a little research or a willingness to use google maps would have led us to much faster. I explained that I’m overweight and wanted to see more than a few blocks, so we decided to part ways for the next day.  (Alright, there were more raised voices involved.)

The next day started out lovely.  We had decided to part ways after breakfast.  The only unfortunate aspect was that since it was Memorial Day only one of the two yarn shops I wanted to go to would be open.  We had breakfast at the In-n-Out, where I had an amazing Double-Double burger that tasted like a steak burger.  I then went to Wollhaus yarns which had an amazing variety of yarns from all sorts of dyers. I found several skeins I loved, managed to find one in the colors that my best fiber friend would like, as well as a half-priced skein of Sweet Georgia yarn.  It had obviously been mishandled but a little work put it to rights again.  IN addition to the yarn I also picked up two stitch markers, one for my friend and I, with the Wollhaus design on them, and a slap bracelet with a magnet for holding scissors and stitch markers.  Down the street from Wollhaus was a lovely bookstore where I found a pair of sherlock socks, I read Past my Bedtime pins, Book Wyrm Pins, a garden journal, as well as an amazing book on Knitting Modular Shawls, Stoles, and Wraps.  Every time I get a cappuccino in LA I forget that these are real espresso cappuccino’s without any additions.  However the Sangria Nata De Coco Peach is amazing and tastes just like peach nectar.  I also had an opportunity to go to Torrid in the mall by our hotel, they had a few really good sales that I took advantage of.  Due to the sales I wound up with two dresses, two full length trench coats (one in black/grey, one in blue) as well as several braziers in my size.  Actually, In My Size, is the key phrase of my entire experience in Torrid.  Not only were things in my size but lovely things were in my size.  I have coupons that go into effect early July and while I intend to curb my spending I will be taking advantage of these coupons.  Thus ends the day.  I went back to my room, read, and relaxed.

The next day we went to Hollywood Boulevard, which was an experience unto itself.  The museum of death was our first stop, it is also the first museum we saw on this trip.  It was interesting, though not what I was hoping for.  The serial killers were disturbing and fascinating, the autopsy room was very disturbing.  I loved seeing the different skulls, I was very awed at seeing an elephant skull, a giraffe skull, and a human skull for size comparison.  There were 1900s wicker caskets, infanticide photos (photos of infants that died of SIDs or other maladies, the parents wanted to remember their children and had not had a chance to photograph them alive so this custom came into vogue), and various other ritual were fascinating.  I was hoping for more customs from around the world, but the history of death in the US, serial killers, famous deaths, and more was interesting.  The stars on Hollywood boulevard were fascinating, I swear it took most of the day just to wander up one side and down the other.  They were a wonderful reminder of how many amazing artists have passed through this world making their mark in more ways than one, and makes me wonder who will be the next Jim Henson or Angela Lansbury.  While I recognized more names than I thought I would, I did not take too many photographs of the stars.  I still managed to get a big sunburned, but that is alright.  Along our walk there were plenty of artists trying to get discovered, they hand out CDs to everyone that passes (well they try to), one of the artists did give me a High-Five instead of trying to make me a take a CD and I thought that was a lovely gesture.  The wax museum was expensive, $35/person.  However if you were a pop-culture or movie buff it would be well worth the price of admission.  There were some amazing displays and, to be honest, the idea of taking a photograph with some very famous people without all of the awkward conversation aspects is very appealing.  I liked the horror section, grease, and a few others.  The photographs are goofy, but very lovely anyway.  We then went to the Diaso Japan store, my sibling loves Japanese Culture, and I found some (very scratchy) wool yarn.  The quality is not there, however I had to purchase some for myself and my friend simply for the uniqueness.  Since we had to catch a bus to Disney the next day we decided to rest for the evening.

Again, this is much longer than I thought, so I will make Disney and entry of it’s own next week.  I promise that the next entry will be the end of my vacation entries.

Until then remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Whew, back from vacation

*This entry as well as the next will have no crafting content.  Next week’s entry will have some mention of Yarn Shops, however I did not get as much crafting done as I thought I would.*

I always forget how much I get done when I work nights at the Private Catholic University.  There my main occupation is making sure that the students have what they need to be successful, and keeping an eye on e-mails coming in.  This is where I get some of my blogging, and creative thinking, done.  Because classes are out, I was on vacation to Las Vegas and Los Angeles, and I did not feel well this past week, I have not had much time to craft or blog.  Sorry about the gap, now on to the vacation tales!

My transgender sibling and I started our trip with a  2 day stay in Las Vegas.  I play MyVegas on Facebook and so had earned enough points for a free 2 day stay.  It did cost a total of $80 for the amenities at the hotel, however this was significantly less than a normal stay and so well worth it.  The first night my sibling and I wanted to try the Bellagio buffet since it was supposed to be one of the best out there.  If this is the case then the world sorely disappoints me.  The buffet at the Bellagio was a poor attempt at elegance.  At a cost of around $100, including the tip, for two people to dine the food was mediocre at best.  The service was amazing, however I did not find anything amazing, or unique at this buffet and I looked hard.  This was a good set up for most of the food during our visit, with a few shining exceptions.  I also did some gambling at the Bellagio, they are part of the MGM Suite of casinos and so I wound up with the M Life Card.  I did not do too well gambling at the Bellagio but some of the other casino’s were a bit more successful.  It was certainly a good thing that I was not there to primarily gamble.

The second day, our first full day in Vegas, was mostly spent exploring one half of the strip.  It is almost impossible to see everything in a single day.  My sibling decided that they wanted to see a show that night and so we purchased discounted tickets to see the jousting at the Excalibur that evening.  Until then we meandered our way toward that casino, taking in the sights and sounds along the way.  There was a store titled Stupidology, with fun and funny kitsch of all types. For lunch we decided on the Nine Irishmen, which was exquisite.  With an amazing atmosphere as well as fascinating décor you would really believe that you were in a (non-smoking) pub in Ireland complete with Irish music playing in the background.  Okay, so some of the music was Americanized, I’m not sure there are non-smoking pubs in Ireland, and I have never had an opportunity to go to Ireland, but you get the idea.  The food was amazing as well as very reasonably priced.

Everyone that we interacted with, from staff, tourists, or servers, everyone was without exception almost aggressively friendly.  I have had a few encounters in larger cities where my naturally friendly demeanor was mistaken for flirting or insulting.  I was very pleased that this attitude is not one that I encountered during my entire vacation.  We then wandered around taking more photographs until it was time for our show.  The little arcade in the same area where the show was held was adorable and a bit of fun.  During the actual show we sat next to a lovely couple originally from Germany, then gentleman did not believe that Buffalo existed.  He has been sent to conferences there twice and both times they have been cancelled.  The show itself was very fun, goofy and kitschy with some amazing eye-candy for both men and women.  Our mother was Hungarian so it seemed like fate that we obtained front row tickets in the Hungarian section.  The food was not horrible, however it was certainly not intended to be the focal point either.  Our second day ended with me walking back to our hotel while my sibling spent a little more time playing around.

Our third day, second full day, we had a flight out of Vegas into Los Angeles at 11pm.  Since this was our last day in Vegas my sibling decided that it would be a good idea for us to mail some of our belongings home so that we would not have to pay any luggage fees.  This was a great idea, though the luggage fees would have been less in the long run than the mailing costs.  We had a lovely breakfast in the Bellagio, and I later returned for a treat to take with me.  For the last  day my sibling wanted to see a Magic Show so we obtained tickets for Mac King who performed a magic and comedy routine.  While we were waiting we had tacos, not really worth it, as well as a virtual reality experience.  We were able to have 2 rounds with virtual reality for both of us for a total of $25.  The experience was amazing.  Since my sibling and I both tend toward motion sickness we were fortunate that we had taken medication, however the experience was well worth the discomfort.  I chose a fantasy scenario, it was like stepping into guild wars or another MMORPG.  It did not matter what direction I looked there was something new everywhere.  While in the boat when I looked down I saw the ocean floor through the clear sea, to the right a Titan emerged from the sea while a portal opened up to my left.  The entire experience was immersive and disorienting in the best of ways.  I cannot wait until this technology is available for public consumption.  The second scenario, that my sibling chose, was space exploration.  Right on the heels of our first exquisite experience we found out just how lame virtual reality can be.  Instead of amazing graphics in an immersive environment we were treated to, essentially, a movie with some motion to give us the illusion of immersion.  I do not regret either scenario, and I am thinking of seeing what kind of funding we can get so that the public library I work at can start teaching some of our kids about virtual reality and immersive experiences.

Our good luck held throughout the MacKing special, where my sibling and I partook of the first (and last) alcohol of our trip.  I had a strawberry daiquiri (because I like them, don’t judge me) and my sibling had a rum and coke.  Apparently the coke was off-brand, however, the experience was well worth everything.  The usher decided to allow my sibling and I to sit at a table rather than the regular chairs that were set up in front of the stage, this was due to how small of a crowd there was.  During the show there were about 5 audience participation experiences, two of which were hilarious.  During a magic trick the participant was asked to sign their name on the card, however the participant signed on the back of the card rather than the face.  This baffled the magician and gave everyone a good laugh.  The second amusing event occurred when the female participant was asked to put 3 one dollar bills in her pocket and had to put them under her bra strap since she did not have any pockets.  The magician had fun retrieving them from there.

Our experiences in Vegas ended in a lot of fun, tons of laughter, and a really long plane ride to Los Angeles.  Since this entry is so very long already I will put off talking about Los Angeles until another time.

On Vacation

Leno Lace

3/2 cotton woven using a combination of Leno Lace and Brooks Bouquet lace weaving.  The Leno Lace is with an open shed bringing the two bottom threads over the top threads and then I go around one more time so that the threads are in their starting positions but wrapped around each other.  I think that this gives the lace a cleaner look.  Then I do seven plain picks followed by a set of brooks bouquet, which is wrapping your weft thread around three of your warp threads on the up shed twice so that it forms a little bouquet, all the way across.  I have a different number of threads across so I have five in the final bundle, but I really like how it looks.  You can do the brooks bouquet in any combination you like.  I follow this with seven plain picks and repeat the brooks bouquet twice more before starting over with a Leno Lace.  This is the project pictured above.

I am currently on my first vacation in over ten years that does not involve a family reunion or major family obligation.  I love family reunions, but travel with mom is really difficult at this time.  I did go to Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in the beginning of May which could also be considered a vacation, however I really consider this my first vacation.

So far I have gotten the kitchen scrubbed, the repairman came to look at the oven which has been broken for a while.  He will be back later this week with the right part to finish fixing the oven.  It’s been broken for a few years, so this is a big move!  I also managed to drop the car off at the garage, there was some major body damage because a little bit of the bottom of my driveway washed out so every time I exited the driveway I would bump the bottom of the car and it caused some major damage.  The car should be done by the end of the week and they will pick me up then.

I have been doing more then just getting caught up on major chores, though I am happy that I am getting more crafts hauled down into our new craft room, I have also washed the first back of alpaca seconds one of my spinning students gave to me.  I have learned a lot of great lessons from this.

* Do NOT wash a whole bag of alpaca seconds at once if you only have one sweater rack to lay this out to dry on.

* DO let the alpaca soak in the water for at least 30 minutes, do not run the alpaca through the water and call it washed, it isn’t.

*Do NOT set your fleece out underneath a tree that is shedding a ton of those whirly gig things.

* If you left your hand cards at work, this might not be the right time to wash fleece.

Despite these, hard won, lessons I have been having a ton of fun with this alpaca.  I Have my flick brush and the bee hive decappers that are working as wool combs.

There are two knitting projects I am working on as well as a crochet project but I think that will be separate posts when I am done with them or when I am so sick of them I need inspiration to get back to working on them.

So this is my vacation, I am trying to get some work done around the house and some crafting accomplished so that I can go back to work relaxed and re energized.  I just wanted to post this update, and will try and get back to updating next week.

Happy Crafting!