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Monday, April 30, 2012

A Day for the Books

Perhaps the most exciting news of the month: I received my first international order on Saturday night!  And from Australia, no less!  I'm so beyond excited.  :D  

& this is my current project: an intertwining cable headband that I'm going to put in my shop!  I've never tried intertwining cables before, so I'm doubly excited about this project.  I'm also working on a custom iPhone case for a girl I went to high school with, and have another high school classmate that is looking to order two scarves from me - Facebook can be so valuable in terms of connections!  :)

Anyway, this is just a quick post - not much else going on around here!  Hope you're having a fab Monday night!  xx

P.S.  If you were wondering, these are some of my Instagram photos - add me if you want! My username is megancooper13.  :)

currently listening to.... Makes Me Wonder - Maroon 5

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week: Day 7

Crafting Balance 
Are you a knitter or a crocheter, or are you a bit of both? If you are monogamous in your yarn-based crafting, is it because you do not enjoy the other craft or have you simply never given yourself the push to learn it? Is it because the items that you best enjoy crafting are more suited to the needles or the hook? Do you plan on ever trying to take up and fully learn the other craft? If you are equally comfortable knitting as you are crocheting, how do you balance both crafts? Do you always have projects of each on the go, or do you go through periods of favouring one over the other? How did you come to learn and love your craft(s)?
Hands down, I am a knitter.  Always have been, and always will be.  I learned to crochet not long after I learned to knit, but my skill level has always remained at beginner.  It's handy to know, and handy to have a few hooks in my inventory, but I don't have a passion for it like I do for knitting.  Maybe some day I'll take the time to pick up a few interesting skills, but I'm content to stay a beginner for now and the indefinite future.  There are some pretty cool things you can make by crocheting, but I feel that knitting is infinitely more versatile: only two stitches that produce endless, endless variations when combined.  xx

currently listening to.... Should've Said No - Taylor Swift

Friday, April 27, 2012

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week: Day 5

Here are the links I promised!  Elycia and Kim's vlogs!  Also, I apologize for the video sometimes not matching up with the audio - I don't know why it did that and I'm super bummed about it!  :(

& I'm sorry this post is so late!  I spent the entire day in Santa Cruz: touring UCSC (which has now gone from "Plan B" to "Seriously Considering") and strolling through downtown, which is where I picked up this adorable wallet!  I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that I've been keeping my eye out for one to replace the one I've been using for the last few years, and I finally found it!  It was originally $30 but marked down 40%, and gorgeous to boot!  Even though I blew all my tip money from the last week on it, it was so worth it.  And I don't know if you've noticed from my email that I have right over there on the right, but my last name is Cooper, and so I was so excited to stumble upon a street with that name in SC!

Just on the quick word on the campus:  it's the most beautiful school I've ever seen.  There.  I said it.  But it absolutely is!  Every inch that doesn't have a building on it has some kind of foliage: redwoods, dogwoods, and almost every fern, flower, and other undergrowth imaginable.  Which is saying a lot, because the campus is on 2,000 acres.  So many foot paths and bridges overlooking 100+ foot ravines!  It's like camping at school.  I don't know about you, but that's been a lifelong passion for me that my parents passed down to me, and I was totally thrilled that UCSC had that element.  Also - that picture you see down there of the picnic tables and horizon?  That strip of blue above the green fields: all ocean.  Can you imagine having lunch there and getting to admire that view?  Unbelieveably gorgeous!  Anyway, just wanted to share a few pictures from my day with you!  :)   xx
P.S.  If you really liked my creative new blog post and want to nominate it for the most creative post contest, you can do so here!  :)
currently listening to.... Decoy - Paramore

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week: Day 4 + Giveaway Winner!

A Knitter or Crocheter For All Seasons?
As spring is in the air in the northern hemisphere and those in the southern hemisphere start setting their sights for the arrival of winter, a lot of crocheters and knitters find that their crafting changes along with their wardrobe. Have a look through your finished projects and explain the seasonality of your craft to your readers. Do you make warm woollens the whole year through in preparation for the colder months, or do you live somewhere that never feels the chill and so invest your time in beautiful homewares and delicate lace items. How does your local seasonal weather affect your craft?

Looking through my inventory of finished projects (Ravelry link), the different seasons don't seem to affect the things I knit.  Of course, I tend to knit more thick scarves and such in the winter than in the summer, but I still do sometimes make warm and cozy things during the warmer months.  A perfect example:  last weekend we saw temps upwards of 85º, and I was knitting a chunky wool infinity scarf!  This guy right down there.  ;)

Even throughout the winter time, I make a lot of berets, and light (as opposed to heavy/thick or chunky) fingerless gloves, as well as random accessories - things that I still end up using in the summertime.  

In short, the weather doesn't seem to affect my knitting.  Too  much, at least.  :)  And congratulations to Meg, the winner of my iPhone case giveaway!  I will be contacting you shortly about the details of your case.  :)  Thanks again to everyone who entered!  xx

currently listening to.... You're Not Sorry - Taylor Swift

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week: Day 3

Craft Your Perfect Day
Plan your fantasy day with your craft, It might just take up one hour of your day or be the entire focus of the day, but tell your readers where you'd love to craft, whether you'd craft alone or with friends, knitting or crocheting something simple or spending a day learning new skills.

My perfect day would be to knit in this space.  It would include lots of white mochas from Starbucks, and all of Florence + The Machine's albums, on repeat.  It would be my day off, so I could devote all of my waking hours to working those needles, probably mostly on items for my Etsy shop.  I would sit next to a big window for lots of natural light, because everything looks better in it - don't you think so?  And perhaps put on the most recent episode of The Vampire Diaries.  Maybe some mac n' cheese for dinner, with a Heath Klondike bar for dessert, as I caught up on some blog reading (knitting of course!).

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of what I dream about every day when it comes to my knitting niche!  I'll be back tomorrow with a post on knitting in all four seasons.  :)

&& enter my iPhone case giveaway!  It ends today!!  xx

currently listening to.... Stay Beautiful - Taylor Swift

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week: Day 2

Yesterday I discovered the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week project, and decided to take part in it!  Every day for one week, a topic is posed to knitting and crochet bloggers for them to answer and interpret.  It's meant to challenge you to be more creative, in terms of blogging and your preferred craft, and it sounds like so much fun!  Unfortunately I discovered it a day late, so today is my first post.

Photography Challenge Day!
Today challenges you to be creative with your photography, and get yourself in with the chance to win the photography prize. Taking interesting photographs in this instance isn't about flashy cameras or a great deal of technical know-how, it's about setting up a story or scene in a photograph and capturing something imaginative. Your photograph(s) should feature something related to your craft, so that might be either a knitted or crocheted item, yarn, or one of your craft tools. 

I struggled for a while with this - even though I've been a photographer for almost five years, I found it really difficult to come up with a story that I could tell about my knitting in a picture.  Telling a story in my photos is a huge passion of mine, and try to do it for every one, but the difference with all of those is that I just happened to be documenting someone else's story; I was never the one coming up with a story.  After looking through endless other posts on this topic with creative pictures, I felt like there was no way in hell I could ever come up with something as witty or creative as them.  But as I sat down at my computer earlier to think on it some more, this idea came to me.  I'm not sure if a GIF is technically allowed in the competition, but I felt it was the only way to really express the idea I had.  Oh well!

Made for each other.
I'll be back tomorrow with another post for this series.  If you're interested in seeing the other photography posts that were made today, simply Google the tag "3KCBWDAY2" !  If you really love my photo and want to nominate it for the contest, you can do so here!  And don't forget about my giveaway - there's only one day left!  xx

currently listening to.... More Than a Love Song - Fireflight

Monday, April 23, 2012

spring has sprung;

It seems that spring is finally here.  Overnight, it seems, our roses 'popped' and they are so beautiful now!  I was a bit inspired by them to shoot some of the greenery in my backyard, so here are some of my shots.  {If you haven't been able to tell yet, I am obsessed with shooting macro.}

I also watched the Lyrid's Meteor shower on Saturday night - did anyone else catch it?  The best part of the night was seeing a fireball meteor shoot across the sky: it looked and sounded like a firework had gone off in the middle of the sky.  It was a huge rock that was glowing purple, with a relatively long white tail, that lasted a few seconds; there was a sonic boom that accompanied it as well!  Pretty magnificent.  I included a picture I took from my backyard of the sky during the shower - unfortunately none of the meteors made it into the shot, but it's still pretty cool to look at, since it was a 30 minute exposure.  Also, don't ask what the flares are in the corners - I have no idea!

If you're wondering why the stars form a circle, it's because of the Earth's rotation.  :)  By the way, is anyone else having a super frustrating time formatting your pictures in Blogger's new interface or is it just me?  xx

currently listening to.... Pressure - Paramore

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Summer Daze

Here are some pictures of my day!  And wow, what a day it was - upwards of 85º!  We haven't had that kind of weather since last July or so.  Such a good change of pace.  I went to the pet store this morning to get cat food and a new bed for my kitties, and came home and sat on a chaise lounge in the front yard for a few hours to tan!  I pulled out an old friend (The Truth About Forever) which I've read a million and one times, but that's why it's one of my fave books.  :)  I love books that you can read over and over and you never get tired of them!
Then later on in the afternoon I went with my mom to the reception of the memorial for her friend's husband.  I grew up with their kids, and see Janice (the friend) every few weeks when my mom hosts their book club meeting.  It was lovely, and I heard one of their sons wrote an amazing piece that he read at the memorial about his dad.  You can see my mom and I had sort of matching shoes!  Both adorable wedges.  :)  & today was the first time since September that I actually wore shorts!  I had been waiting until I got some color onto my legs before I ventured into the shorts/skits/dresses part of my wardrobe.  ;)
I also included some fun pictures that I took of my cat, Minx, this morning.  We had the sprinklers on for one of our gardens, and for ten or fifteen minutes she sat underneath the spray, completely soaking her coat, and drinking the water droplets that formed on the underside of the hose.  So adorable!  And absolutely breathtaking when she stepped into the sunlight - her coat shone literally just like Robert Pattinson's skin did in Twilight.  How was your Saturday afternoon?  xx
                                                                                                      currently listening to.... Green Light -  John Legend
PS.  Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

100th Post + Giveaway {CLOSED}

I hope you are as excited as I am that this is my 100th post!  Okay, maybe not totally as excited, but maybe a little..?  :)  I really can't believe it's finally here - it feels like yesterday that I was writing my first post on the fourth of July last summer!  I've learned so much since then - coding and knitting-wise; so much so that looking back, I feel like I was such an amateur!  It's comical to go back and read some of my original posts.  But, that's how we evolve as a person and as a blogger.  :)

Anyway, to celebrate, I am giving away one of my iPhone cases!  You don't have to have an iPhone to win though - if you win, all you need to do is tell me what phone or small camera you have, and I'll make it to fit.

Here's how to enter:
Leave a comment telling me which colors you would pick for your case! Please leave your email address so I can contact you if you win! If there's no way to contact you, your entry will not count.

Additional entries (leave a separate comment for each):
1 //  Follow me on twitter.
2 //  Tweet about this giveaway.  Please mention @astringofpurls in your tweet.  Feel free to copy this one! : "Enter to win an iPhone/camera case by @astringofpurls on her blog!
http://ewe-knitphomaniac.blogspot.com/2012/04/100th-post-giveaway.html" Post the link to it in a comment!
3 //  Share this giveaway on your blog or tumblr. And again, include the link to your post in the comments.  :)

That's four ways to win!  The giveaway will end on April 25th, and I'll announce the winners in the next post I make after that.  Good luck!  May the odds be ever in your favor.  ;) 

currently listening to.... My Love - Sia

{edit:  based on the comments I've received so far, I'm starting to think that people are choosing their colors based on the above pictures - I'd like you to note:  these are only three images I compiled for this post, and have made cases in many different colors, not these three alone.  You don't have to choose between them!  Pick any color(s) you like.  :)  }

Monday, April 16, 2012

Shop Critique?

shop //

As you may or may not know, I run an Etsy shop (you may have noticed I recently added a tab to my blog just for it!  Right up top!).  I opened it a few years ago but didn't put a lot of effort into it until just this year (January-ish) - creating an inventory, modeling for pictures, and making an updated banner, etc.  Sales have started to slow, and I recently got hooked on watching Etsy's online labs and reading their shop makeover series, trying to give my shop a new edge.  In a few of the videos, a host critiques a handful of shops, offering them new ways to spice up what they already have and gain buyers.  Since I have practically no hope of ever being featured on those videos, I was hoping to get feedback from you!  I welcome any and all comments, opinions, and (constructive) criticisms.

Consider these questions if you're not sure about what to say:
What (if anything) should be changed?  E.G., better pictures, different titles, better networking (linking through different social sites)... etc.
What would you like to see more of in my shop?  As a potential buyer, are you happy with the inventory you have to choose from?
Are the items "clickable" to you?  Does looking at one thumbnail make you want to know more about the item?

So please, fire away!  I truly value your feedback more than you know, even if you don't think it may be helpful (it is!).  Thank you in advance for taking the time to look at my shop and tell me what you think of it.  :)   xx

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Saturday Casual

glasses: giorgio armani  sweater: h&m  shirt: forever 21  jeans: gap  flip flops: pac sun

Well today has been fabulous!  Mostly just because the sky has remained utterly cloudless all. day!  It's amazing!  I love this weather.  Since it was so nice, I was able to get away with wearing a sleevless shirt and light sweater.  :)  It was also a bit of a light-makeup day as well, as you can see!  For some reason it just sort of fits lazy days, when all you do is run a few errands and lounge around at home.

My dad changed my oil today (did I mention he changed my rear brakes on Wednesday?  It's so awesome having someone who is as good as a real mechanic do hundreds of dollars worth of services for free!), and while I was there, I opened the bag he gave me for my birthday.  Sort of.  I was pining over this purse last month, so my dad gave it to me as a present.  Well, when it arrived (the shipping was a whole 'nother story), it was totally anti-climactic.  The bag was way smaller than I had thought it would be, and I was really disappointed by it.  So we returned it to Amy with a note about the dimensions I wanted, and she created a custom bag for me.  That version arrived today.  And I'm so happy!  Definitely just what I wanted.

Is it just me, or does anyone else love shooting plants that are barely off the ground?  I am always so in awe of the beauty down there that everyone normally misses, because we don't walk while staring at the ground.  The flowers in the last picture were no bigger than my pinkie nail, but all the more ravashing.  Somehow it seems sacred, almost, discovering such simple beauty that everyone else has ignored.  xx

currently listening to.... Franklin - Paramore

Friday, April 13, 2012

Knitting for Confidence #4

So, here is my latest endeavor.  A dual-color, brioche stitch cowl.  By far one of the most complicated stitches I've ever learned, hence it being a Knitting for Confidence post.  ;)  The first time I did it was a disaster, and after looking at all the completed projects of this pattern on Ravelry, I felt like I was literally the only one who just couldn't seem to get it right. 
But, I am not the kind of person to take no for an answer, so.  I took out my first attempt, and did a test run using only 60 stitches or so.  This time worked out perfect!  Want to know the secret?  Reading the entire pattern.  Yep, that's right - I hadn't read the second half of the pattern the first time around, and kept repeating the first two "prep" rows.  I know.  I still feel so stupid about it.  Anyhow, this time has turned out fabulously, minus the fact that it's taking forever to do.  Countless, countless hours, and less than six inches to show for it.  But, I suppose the upside is that this thing is going to be totally gorgeous when I'm done!  I can't wait.  :)

Also included the pictures of me as a change of pace - now you can see where the magic happens!  Tonight I'll be working on this endless project and watching the latest season of The Vampire Diaries - I'm so totally in love with Paul Wesley!  What's on your Friday night agenda? xx

PS.  Happy Friday the 13th!
currently listening to.... Scar - Missy Higgins

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Wish List - Bright

I always love reading other bloggers' "favorite things" posts - it opens up a door to new inspiration for me, and exposes me to the work other creative people are doing!  I love it.  So I decided to make a series of my own, and am calling it The Wish List.  Enjoy!  :)

Knitting // This beautiful shawl is to die for!  I can't help but admire that it resembles all the colors of a sunset.  So gorgeous!

Food //  These home-made popcicles make me ache for summer and hot afternoons.  Too perfect!

Art //  I've always loved this catchy song ("I can see clearly now, the rain has gone"), and Christy turned it into a cheery and lovely wall hanging!

Style //  Could this outfit be any more perfect?  Somehow all these colors work fabulously together - I wish I had this kind of wardrobe.  Or the guts to wear neon orange pants!
I hope you enjoyed the first Wish List post!  :)  I'm off to make some dinner - I'm thinking mac n' cheese.  For some reason I'm totally craving it right now!  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.... Of course, it doesn't help that the only food I've had today was coffee and a rice krispie treat; anything sounds good right about now!   xx

currently listening to.... Forever and Always - Taylor Swift

PS.  I saw a post on Instagram from Miss Taylor today of her playing the guitar in front of a mic - the caption was, "Recording the next album.  So happy."  A new album?!  Is anyone else waiting on the edge of their seat for it??

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

This & That #7

This // The best mail I get all month!  Ghirardelli White Mocha Mix.  It's heaven in a cup!  :)

That // The project I've been working on since last night.  A post on it to come later in the week!

How's your Tuesday night going?  I'm doing some new coding on here instead of studying for my astronomy test tomorrow...!  xx
currently listening to.... Bitter Taste - Three Days Grace

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Flowers Abound

glasses: giorgio armani  dress: ross  watch: nordstrom  flats: nine west
Hi loves!  Sorry this post is so late, I spent the day with my dad's family down in Los Altos, and spent this evening editing all the pictures I took there, as well as taking part in an easter egg hunt in my front yard!  Yess, I still do egg hunts as a 20 year old..  It's (clearly!) a long held tradition to do with my sister.  :)  Perhaps the most amazing thing about today was my grandmother telling us, "The guide woman in the car gave us a new route to get here," referring to the turn-by-turn navigation system in my aunt and uncle's new car!  I had quite the (inward) laugh.  :)

A word about my outfit... I love this dress!  It was an impulse buy two years ago.  And when I say impulse... I mean that I was literally standing in line to buy something else when I saw it, and grabbed it off the rack without even trying it on.  It fit almost perfectly - The straps were just a little too long, and they're still safety pinned in the back... I can't sew to save my life, so it was my short (turned long) term solution.  ;)  How was your Easter?  Did you do anything fun?  xx

currently listening to.... Snow - Red Hot Chili Peppers