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Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Vicarious Trip to London Continued

Here’s Susan 4th Travel Report — D├ęcor8 Blogger Holly Becker’s Book Signing at Liberty, Wednesday April 13

Last year, Katherine, our photography manager, sent me a link to Holly Becker’s blog, www.Decor8blog.com. Holly is an American who lives in Germany with her husband. She shares what is happening in the world of decorating outside of the US (primarily). Some months ago, she announced that she would be publishing a decorating book, and wonders of wonders, the book was being released, and there was a book signing in the iconic Liberty store while I was in London. I applied for one of the limited seats and was one of the lucky ones chosen.

First, Holly spent half an hour talking about the book, the process of selecting the homes to be featured, the actual photo sessions, and answered questions from the group. Many of the 50 or so women in the audience were bloggers as well. Then we moved to the house wares department for the actual book signing where an additional crowd was waiting for her. I took photos, but the photos at Holly’s blog are so much better – take a look!

(And so ends Susan’s London adventures. Now, we can make believe we’ve been to London to take in all the sights ourselves, all the while, of course, practicing our British accents...oh, well, I’m still pretty jealous. How ’bout you?)

A Vicarious Trip to London Continued

Here’s Susan 3rd Travel Report—Book Fair – April 11-13

Leisure Arts has exhibited at BEA (Book Expo America) in New York for the past few years, but this was my first time to attend the London Book Fair. It was held at the Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre.

While it was similar to the New York show, there didn’t seem to be the emphasis on book signings. I might have blinked and missed it as we were all over the show floor meeting with lots of folks. The show was busy all three days.

Here is our booth space – we had a lot of positive response. Even folks from Lithuania!

The Dummy series is celebrating 20 years – here, you’ll see their ambassador.

And this lady was promoting a new book coming out this fall entitled The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I’m ordering early – how about you?

(Check back at the end of the day for another chapter in A Vicarious Trip to London!)

A Vicarious Trip to London Continued

Here’s Susan 2nd Travel Report—Victoria and Albert Museum & Harrods, Sunday April 10

Sunday, I took a ride on the tube up to the Victoria and Albert Museum. It houses an amazing assortment of art – both fine as well as decorative. I especially wanted to visit the ceramics collection. There were cases and cases of fine china from around the globe, but I was especially taken with some of the more thought provoking, contemporary pieces. Here a couple I really enjoyed:

Girl Baptised in Gold, 2008 - Kim Simonsson (Finland) The artist draws heavily on the imagery of Japanese manga cartoons.

And the interesting Headthinker, III, 2003 by Laura Ford. Being the mother of two boys, I think I especially connected with this piece.

Then I walked a few short blocks to Harrods – the luxury department store that is as much a tourist destination as a shopping venue. The areas I found to be the most amazing were the food halls.

Candy perfection...

Cheese World...
Cupcakes everywhere...

The large rooms went on and on and specialty restaurants were dotted throughout the halls. You can even take a 360 degree virtual tour on their web site.

(Check back after lunch for another chapter in A Vicarious Trip to London!)

A Vicarious Trip to London

My boss, Leisure Arts Editor-in-Chief, Susan Sullivan, just returned from the London Book Fair (and she’s already back on the road again!). While she’s gone, I thought I’d share some of her London adventures with you in four separate vignettes (4 blog entries) over the course of today, so we can all travel vicariously together.

Here’s Susan 1st Travel Report—I Knit London Saturday, April 9

Before I left for London, I connected via email with one of the owners of I Knit London, a great yarn shop just south of the Waterloo tube station. Gerard was not familiar with Leisure Arts (how could that be?). I made my way there with a heavy tote bag of knit and crochet books. I found my way to the shop and had a good meeting with Gerard. The next weekend they were having a fundraiser at the shop, so I donated the books. The shop was filled with great yarns and a very healthy library of pattern books. I asked Gerard if he thought his customers picked out a pattern and then their yarn or were inspired by a beautiful yarn and looked for a pattern. He shared that he thought both situations were equally common.

Here is Gerard with Pan.

And a couple of the shop.

What a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon in London!

(Check back before lunch for another chapter in A Vicarious Trip to London!)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Baby Day!

I thought I’d put a spotlight on all the sweet baby pattern books recently released by Leisure Arts. There’s a bunch of them ’cause, you know, ultimately, the world revolves around the babies…

Judy Lamb’s Elegant Ensembles to Knit, Book 2, features more of the beautiful keepsake baby layettes as seen in Book 1—four christening sets, each with gown, cap, and booties:

Too Cute! Dreamy Cocoons features 6 sacks and caps to crochet by Kim Kotary. Look at these precious baby faces—

Circular baby afghans were so popular after Book 1 that Leisure Arts put together a second pattern book—More Circular Baby Afghans, including 5 more designs from some of our favorite designers to be exact. Here’s a sneak peak at a couple so you can see how pretty they are:

And if you’re really all about crocheting afghans especially for baby, you’ll need to add Crochet Baby Afghans by the Pound with 10 projects by industry legend Jean Leinhauser and A Year of Baby Afghans, Book 5, with 12 patterns from multiple Leisure Arts designers like Barbara Shaffer, Jennine Korejko, Tammy Kreimeyer, Anne Halliday, and more, to your pattern library!

Hope you have fun knitting and crocheting for baby!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Looking to the Stars

“My star journey began with kaleidoscope quilts,” says designer Rhoda Bennett. “I have a fascination for cutting up fabric and piecing it back together.”

Do you have a fascination? If it’s for stars or any kind of fabric piecing, you’re going to like Looking to the Stars—a new quilt pattern book by Rhoda Bennett. Rhoda brings the radiance of the heavens down to earth with four magnificent star quilts, and she shares how fabric selection, fussy cutting, and English paper piecing can make your stars shine!

Like Rhoda, when you see these projects, you’ll also be “stuck on stars”. Take a look—

Starry Starry Night Quilt (inspired, of course, by Van Gogh’s painting)

Spun Out Wall Hanging (featuring a spinning star block)

Sevillian Star Quilt (reminiscent of Moorish architecture and tiles in Southern Spain, it features a 10-pointed star)

Opulent Star Quilt (with 12-pointed star)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Unforgettable Crochet

I know I’ve babbled to you about my love of sweaters and vests before, but now I’ve got a book in my hands that’s all about not only great causal or dressy designs that I really like, but they’re also crochet designs, and I think I might be able to actually make them! You’ve got to check out Unforgettable Crochet featuring 6 unique fashion pieces in sizes X-Small to 2X-Large by Lisa Gentry (The Guinness Book of World Records Fastest Crocheter)…

This is my favorite pattern in the whole book—the Scallop-Edge Vest. It’s marked as skill level easy and is made with light weight yarn, so I could wear it year-round.

The next one I’m coveting is the Bracelet Length Cardi. (I like tops that cover up my elbows. Never did like my elbows…)

My skinny oldest daughter is liking this Cutaway Vest.

Take a look at this beautifully feminine Lacy Cardi. Wouldn’t it have been pretty for Easter? Well, maybe by next year...

This lovely Chic Motif Cape would have you ready for a romantic dinner/evening on the town. (It would have to be you ‘cause my husband’s idea of a night out is going to the Friday night auction where he might buy me a hotdog…)

And last but not least, there’s this 3-Way Wrap on the front cover and in the two photos above. It’s a sort of scarf/jacket that can be worn so many ways, it would seem new every time.

I pretty sure I’m going to have to give the Scallop-Edge Vest a try. Probably in green yarn just like the picture. (I like green.) Wish me luck…

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Once upon a time…

Who doesn’t remember a favorite story from childhood that started with just those words, “Once upon a time”? I was a voracious reader as a kid (and my house is overflowing with books now), so I definitely have fond memories of those classic fairytales and nursery rhymes from a young age, but I also remember with pleasure reading them over and over to my kids.

So when I found Storybook Dolls to Knit by Anita M. Wheeless on my desk, I kinda of felt like I’d discovered a treasure trove! This book is absolutely adorable! It features 17 incredibly cute finger puppets right out of my favorite stories—to knit and felt. What a fun way for moms, grandparents, teachers, and other caregivers to share those stories with kids, and, even better, the book comes with an audio CD of the tales, so that youngsters can listen and play along when the grownups just don’t have time.

Inside Storybook Dolls, you’ll find:

Goldilocks & the Three Bears


Big Bad Wolf & Three Little Pigs

The Gingerbread Man

Hansel & Gretel and the Witch

Little Red Riding Hood & the Wolf

Mary & Her Little Lamb

And once again, I’m jealous of all you knitters out there. Who am I going to be able to talk into knitting Humpty-Dumpty for me?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Crochet Dude Winners

We just finalized the winners in the congratulate Drew Emborsky for his Famie Best Pattern Book Award for Crochet It. Love It. Wear It! comment celebration!

Now our congratulations go out to Crystal in Tennessee and Kim in Georgia ’cause they’re both winners of signed copies of Crochet It. Love It. Wear It! The books are in the mail! Enjoy!

All our thanks to everyone for letting Drew know how proud we are of him .

World Penguin Day

Today’s World Penguin Day! This special day coincides with the annual northward migration of penguins which happens each year sometime around April 25th. I like penguins, so in recognition of their day, let’s indulge our creativity while celebrating these elegant, tuxedoed creatures.

Here’s my favorite penguin. He’s ceramic and about 2-1/4" tall with a lovely (smooth and nice to touch) turquoisy glaze. Wish I knew what pottery made him. I think he’s pretty vintage…(Any pottery authorities out there?)

Have you hugged a penguin today? You can, you know…Just crochet one up for yourself or your favorite someone with Vanna’s Choice Easy Crochet Critters or the Ultimate Guide to Thread Crochet.

Along with a cute little amigurumi penguin crocheted with yarn, Vanna’s Choice Easy Crochet Critters includes 9 other absolutely darling animals: elephant, hippo, monkey, giraffe, alligator, lion, seal, walrus, and a snowy owl.

Expand your crochet horizons! If you can crochet with yarn but haven’t tried thread crochet yet, you need the Ultimate Guide to Thread Crochet. Besides having a pattern for a tiny stuffed penguin named Little Birdie (designed by Amy Gaines), this book has everything you need to know to learn to crochet with thread like a pro.

And, of course, we’ve got pics from the Earth Day visit to the Little Rock Zoo’s new penguin exhibit:

Happy World Penguin Day!

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