Thursday, October 14, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I think Pink, especially every October.  In case you don't know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  This year is the 25th year!  Why haven't we found a cure yet?  Though I do know medical advances have certainly given women (and men - yes men can get breast cancer) a fighting chance, and I'm thankful for that, I just wish people were less ignorant about self-exams, and even mammograms (though if the government has their way this will no longer exist).

You can find out more about National Breast Cancer Awareness month here.

This month, I'm supporting the cause by shopping for my garden, (GARDEN FOR THE CAUSE) and thought I would share some of the fun and fabulous garden items I've discovered.  These websites give a percentage to various breast cancer charitable organizations.  (I'm NOT reimbursed in any way for mentioning these products/websites). 

First is this adorable garden Gnome, which can be found here.  I've always wanted a gnome of my own (groan) and she raises money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. 

Everybody needs a garden stake, and this one helps raise money for various organizations in an effort to find a cure for cancer, assist cancer patients, and reduce cancer deaths through education.
And every gardener needs tools.  I did hear that Target even carries some of the BOND tools.  Click here to find out a little more about NBCF and Garden for the Cause

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sotterly Wine Festival

On Sunday, during rain, wind and cold temperatures, I had the wonderful opportunity to volunteeer to work a booth at the annual Sotterly Plantation Wine Festival

First, I want to say that if you have never had the opportunity to visit Sotterly Plantation, I totally suggest you do so if you are in the area.  It is the only remaining Tidewater Plantation in Maryland that us open to the public.  Sotterly Plantation is older than other famous plantation homes such as Mount Vernon and Monticello.  It's worth a tour, even if there isn't an event ongoing. 

You can find out more about Sotterly by visiting this link.  You can see more old photos, find out about upcoming events, learn the history, and even find out how to volunteer.    I find one of the most fascinating things is the evolution of the mansion itself and the plantation site map gives you a great idea for how vast this plantation truly is. 

You can also Facebook friend Sotterly Plantation. 

Back to the Wine Festival, even though the weather was frightful on Sunday, many people braved the weather and came out.  There were vineyards and wineries from all over the Maryland area in attendance, doing tastings, and selling their wares.  The giant and I visited many of the tents set up to house the vendors, and even purchased a couple of bottles of a really fun wine.  Also in attendance were several area food vendors and the most fabulous band to keep us company throughout, along with various other merchants and vendors.  There was even an art show in one of the barns!

For a few hours, the giant and I had the opportunity to man the booth for Running Hare Vineyard.  Owners, Mike and Barb Scarborough were absolutely fabulous to us.  Even though I had worn long sleeves and a jacket, I was freezing, and Barb loaned me a coat to wear.  Running Hare Vineyards had the following wines available for tasting:
Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Jack Rabbit White, Rabbit's Foot, Sangiovese, Malbec, Shiraz, and Chambourcin

We had a fabulous time pouring tastings for visitors and all too soon it was time to help pack up and go.  The giant choose to take home the Shiraz (his favorite) and I choose the Malbec and Sangiovese.  The giant has already cracked open a bootle of the Shiraz. 

Another thing I recommend to visitors is visiting the Running Hare Vineyard.  They hold wine tastings every Wednesday and Sunday from 12:00pm to 6:00pm.  The location is wonderful and the new building they've built feels just like Tuscany.  You can Facebook friend Running Hare Vineyard as well. 

If you see a bottle of their wine for sale, you can't go wrong with picking up a few bottles for yourself.  The Jack Rabbit white is a sweeter wine, but not too sweet.  The Malbec would be a perfect accompaniment for a cigar, and the Chambourcin would be wonderful as dessert.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Dominican Republic

My new screensaver

If you have never been to the Dominican Republic, and even if you have, I highly recommend it.  Sandy white beaches, warm sun, palm trees swaying in the breeze, clear sparkling water and beautiful people...I know you are getting the picture.

In the Palm Tree Shade

We stayed in Punta Cana at the RIU Macao Resort.  An all-inclusive package is the ONLY way to travel.  We ate so much glorious food, and there were many restaurants to choose from.  We had excellent wait staff and cabana boys, bringing us our hearts desire in beverages, a well-kept room, massages, and more.  Words truly cannot do this place justice. 

Swan Towel with Fresh Flowers

BTW, I am so tight with money that I squeak sometimes, but this vacation was extremely affordable, and after comparing with some of my friends who do the "cruises", I had the much better deal and an even better experience.  I made the travel arrangements through a local travel company, and they were able to get me the best deals, best rates, best flights, and best guidance and direction.  I think in this internet age we forget about travel agencies, but it saved me time, frustration, money and got me in the best place. 

Ahhh Vacation

If you are local to the Southern Maryland area...Call Stephanie at Cole Travel and let her know I sent you.  I don't get a bonus or anything, but I think it's wonderful to recommend things to people.  She arranged my travel to and from the airport, updated the American Embassy on our behalf, and arranged for goodies to be left in our hotel room and half a million other things that I wouldn't have thought of on my own.

Yarn Cheat Sheet

I'm  sometimes asked how much yarn is needed for a particular project.  The answer is, "It depends!"  The amount of yarn used depends on how much yardage is on each skein, what size crochet hook or knitting needle is being used, pattern design, and how big the porject is going to be.

Here's a rough estimate of yardage needed for your various projects.

SocksGaugeChild S - M - LAdult S - M - L
  Foot length 5, 6½, 8Foot length 9½, 10½, 11½
Sock - Fingering wt.6 - 8 sts per inch150 - 225 - 275 yds.325 - 425 - 525
Sport wt.5 - 6 sts per inch125 - 175 - 225250 - 325 - 400
Worsted wt.4 - 4½ sts per inch125 - 150 - 200250 - 300 - 350
Bulky wt.3 - 3½ sts per inch100 - 125 - 150175 - 225 - 275
HatGaugeChild - Adult 
  18" - 20" - 22" 
Sport wt.5 - 6 sts per inch175 - 225 - 275 yds. 
Worsted wt.4 - 4½ sts per inch175 - 225 - 250 
Bulky wt.3 - 3½ sts per inch125 - 150 - 175 
MittenGaugeChild  5",  5½"Adult  6",  7",  8"
Fingering Wt. YardsYards
Sport wt.5 - 6 sts per inch75 - 100125 - 150 - 175 
Worsted wt.4 - 4½ sts per inch75 - 100 125 - 150 - 175
Bulky wt.3 - 3½ sts per inch50 - 75100 - 125 - 150
Afghan-ThrowGaugeBaby60" x 60"
Sock - Fingering wt.6 ½ - 7 sts per inch1351 yds.3500 yds.
Sport wt.5 - 6 sts per inch1200 yds.3,150 yds.
DK  Double Knit5 sts per inch1100 yds.2800 yds.
Worsted wt.4 - 4½ sts per inch1000 yds.2,660 yds.
Bulky wt.3 - 3½ sts per inch850 yds.1,875 yds.
ScarfGaugeChild 6" x 40"Adult 8" x 54"
Sock - Fingering wt.6 ½ - 7 sts per inch440 yds.660 yds.
Sport wt.5 - 6 sts per inch350 yds700 yds
DK  Double Knit5 sts per inch250 yds450 yds
Worsted wt.4 - 4½ sts per inch190 yds380 yds
Bulky wt.3 - 3½ sts per inch125 yds250 yds
Vest ChildAdult
  24" - 28 "-  32"36"- 40"- 44" - 48"- 52"
Sock - Fingering wt.6 ½ - 7 sts per inch400 550 750 yds.950 1125 1300 1450 1650 yds.
Sport wt.5 - 6 sts per inch300 400 600 yds.700 850 950 1100 1250 yds.
DK  Double Knit5 sts per inch275 375 550 yds.650 800 900 1000 1100 yds
Worsted wt.4 - 4½ sts per inch250 350 500 yds.600 750 850 950 1050 yds.
Bulky wt.3 - 3½ sts per inch175 250 400 yds.450 550 650 700 800 yds.
Sweater ChildAdult
  24" - 28 "-  32"36  "-  40"  -  44"  -  48"  -  52"
Sock - Fingering wt.6 ½ - 7 sts per inch750 100 1450 yds.1800 2100 2500 2700 3000
Sport wt.5 - 6 sts per inch550 800 11001400 1600 1900 2100 2300
Worsted wt.4 - 4½ sts per inch500 650 10001200 1400 1600 1800 2000
Bulky wt.3 - 3½ sts per inch350 500 700900 1000 1200 1300 1500