The two swaps I joined this summer are ending! This was my first time doing a swap. I had a lot of fun shopping, and it has been great getting goodies in the mail. Both of my pals were excellent!

The first swap I joined way back in June was the Knitter’s Virtual Vacation Swap. All summer long there were different contests running on the blog. I didn’t get to participate in these as much as I would have liked because I was really busy with various things. I still had a lot of fun. I got to send some San Francisco love to North Carolina. The other day, I received my vacation, all the way from Mississippi!

This picture represents only a fraction of what was in the package. Apparently there is also another box that hasn’t arrived yet! My pal from MS sent me lots of variagated wool, two knitting books and one magazine (not shown), “Strange But True: Mississippi” (I will definitely get a kick out of this), a keychain, a shot glass (not shown), LOTS of postcards, some pretty blue stitch markers (not shown), beverage goodies (not shown), and my absolute favorite thing, this beautiful knitted cozy.

The yarn is gorgeous and my camera fits in it quite well. 🙂

I was so excited to “go” to Mississippi. I have had this strange fascination with the South for years. Witness the map I have on my wall:

I have been to Georgia and the Carolinas briefly on a road trip, but one of these days I was to spend some time in Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, and Lousiana. I don’t know what it is. Maybe the South just seems so different from anything I’ve ever known (California, mainly). This vacation just made it even more enticing! Thank you so much to my pal. I hope you reveal your identity in the other box so I can thank you properly!

Secondly, we have the Caffeine Addicts swap for the Ravelry group of the same name. This one was organized right after the group formed and I’m sure there will be more to come. Partners will officially be revealed on Monday. I need to disclose, however, that I am bad and have not yet mailed my my package. Everything is ready to go, but I kept thinking I would find one more goody to throw in, and all of sudden it’s the middle of September! On Monday when they are revealed I will let my pal know. I’m planning to pack it up tonight and have James take it to the post office tomorrow.

My package arrived today. Jo (that’s all I know right now) sent me some lovely things!

The yarn is 100% linen in a gorgeous brown. I think I will use this for a pretty towel or placemat, or maybe something from my Japanese crochet book. The color is called “espresso” and it definitely lives up to its name. The coffee is Organic Fair Trade Nicaraguan. I don’t think I’ve actually had Nicaraguan coffee, so I’m looking forward to this! There are some very pretty purple stitch markers. Up until now I have been using cheap plastic stitch makers, and sometimes the ones I made, but now I have all kinds of jewelry for my knitting. Lastly, the mug. It is hand-thrown, from Snowy River Pottery. It is the most gorgeous mug I have ever seen. Absolutely perfect in every way!

The colors are SO me and the shape and detailing is wonderful. I like that it has a larger base…much less possibility of knocking it over. I forgot to get a good shot of the handle, but it is thick and easy to grip with lovely ridging running down it. I could not be happier. Thank you, Jo!

Well, time to go pack up my caffeine swap pal’s stuff so it’s all ready to go. I hope both my pals love their packages as much I love mine!


i wish i could post some pictures, but my camera died today before i uploaded anything, and i can’t find the charger!  how frustrating.  i’m pretty sure J moved it, but i have no idea where.  i even tried cleaning for awhile with no luck.  just for fun, though, here’s a picture of my favourite ride at disneyland that i look last month when we were there:


i am currently drinking my fourth roast attempt with my popcorn popper.  i’ve done two roasting sessions.  the first, was a little bit of a disaster.  i unknowingly used a coffee that produces a higher-than-average amount of chaff, and i discovered that my popper goes hot and fast.  both batches got pretty burned, in a short amount of time.  it was definitely confirmed the next day when i took it to starbucks and margie and i tested it out.  no good (but kudos to her for being my guinea pig!).

so last saturday, i tried again, after doing some research on the coffeegeek roasting forums.  i did a few simple things, like reducing the amount of beans from 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup, stirring them more at the beginning, and even turning the machine off for a few seconds if i thought things were moving too fast.  it extended my roast times slightly and resulted in some lighter beans.  i tried the first from that batch last tuesday, which was a lighter looking roast.  it came out ok, but with a very bright acidity.  today i am trying the darker of the two roasts (same bean: guatemala fraijanes – finca aqua tibia), which got a bit oily, which i didn’t intend, and was a bit worried about, but actually, i think this is the best of the batch!  i’m definitely getting some spice and chocolate notes.  still some brightness, but according to tom, that’s to be expected, and it’s not as tangy as before.  the lighter roast was still good (i.e., drinkable), but i’m enjoying this one more.  i have a bit left of the two, but not enough for my mini-press, so tomorrow i might try blending them together.

tonight or tomorrow i’m going to try a third round, this time with a 15-foot extension cord to help cut a little voltage.  eventually i will at least install a thermometer, but until i get access to a drill (and a little bravery), that’s going to have to wait.