Wednesday, June 18, 2008

#27 Knitting with Balls by Michael del Vecchio

Book: Knitting with Balls by Michael del Vecchio
Pages: 150
Entertainment Rating: 3/5
Snooty Rating: 4/5
Total Rating: 7/10
Books Read Total: 27/50
Pages Read Total: 4942/15,000

I got this book from the library in hopes of finding something to knit for my brother for Christmas (how forward thinking of me, right?) This book is wonderfully thorough! Much like the Stitch 'n Bitch books this one has all the information you need from start to finish, but written in "man" language. Occasionally the wording is a little bit cheesy and over-the-top but it's mostly endearing. I especially enjoyed the breakdown of different yarn weights, the tips and tricks (I never thought to use a card or post-it to mark my place in a chart!), the how to knit continental or english, and the bit in the back about altering patterns. The actual projects didn't do much for me, but I did check them out, and they offer a great range from basic onward and cover a variety of techniques. This book would make a great gift to anyone (male or female) who's looking to start knitting more. It's also a good source for quick guy-gifts (unless that guy is my brother!)

Monday, June 16, 2008

#26 Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce

Book: Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce
Pages: Audiobook
Entertainment Rating: 4.5/5
Snooty Rating: 3/5
Total Rating: 7.5/10
Books Read Total: 26/50
Pages Read Total: 4792/15,000

I actually finished this book a couple weeks ago, but somehow never got around to writing about it. A part of a series called The Circle Opens, I found this book as enjoyable as I found the preceding books so many years ago. Interestingly, this book was released in audio before it was printed. The actors did a lovely job, and the story is quite entertaining, if a bit over the top at times. I enjoyed this book, but I think much of my enjoyment was nostalgic. These are great YA books, but do not quite take that step beyond. Fun and quirky!

#24 + 25 The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman and Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

Book: The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
Pages: Audiobook
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 5/5
Total Rating: 10/10
Books Read Total: 24/50
Pages Read Total: 4220/15,000

Book: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Pages: 572
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 2.5/5
Total Rating: 7.5/10
Books Read Total: 25/50
Pages Read Total: 4792/15,000

Pullman is fabulous. Each time I experience his storytelling I think about it for days afterwards. While listening to this audiobook (narrated by Pullman himself) I was also reading Dan Brown's Angels and Demons and couldn't help but draw parallels between the two. While I recognize that Brown and Pullman play in two different arenas I think that in terms of depth of character and thought-provoking plots Pullman definitely has the upper hand. While he does have the advantage of a trilogy's worth of pages to build his story I feel he has been true to those pages and made use of each of them. He's neat. He cleans up after himself, if you know what I mean. While Brown (miserably, albeit with some witty bits) shoves a weak love subplot in to attempt to add some depth to his action packed adventure, Pullman captures the anguish and complexity of what love really is, but without disrupting the story in any way. As I said, he's neat.

I am by no means "hating on" Brown's book. I read all 572 pages in a matter of days (a feat for someone as busy as me) and I hated putting it down each time I forced myself to sleep. Brown can tell a suspenseful story, to be certain. There are no good places to stop, and when it comes to plot twists he has a field day. Still I find that when I'm on the hunt for content the most surefire place to find it is in a Young Adult or even a children's book. Somehow these authors have taken responsibility for the power they have to captivate young and old alike, and they have put it to good, thought-provoking use.

#23 The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

Book: The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
Pages: 345
Entertainment Rating: 4/5
Snooty Rating: 3/5
Total Rating: 7/10
Books Read Total: 23/50
Pages Read Total: 4220/15,000

Funke tells the captivating story of two orphan boys on the run from their evil aunt who make their way to Venice, their mother's fairytale. The characters were quite commanding, and it was very easy to take sides. Almost too easy, I think. Unlike Nancy Farmer, Philip Pullman, or Madeleine L'Engle to name a few, Funke tells a good story, but doesn't present much else. It was a fun, quick read, but did not have the subtly (or not so subtly) challenging subplots that many successful children's authors manage. It is, as one Amazon review puts it, "a solid adventure story". I'd put it with Harry Potter. Some coming of age, some teen angst, some wonderful friendship, and lots of bad guys and adventures.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Nobody, not even Henry Higgins...

could make a lady out of me.

About an hour ago I got home from the fields and jumped in the shower. I washed my hair, bundled it all up in a towel, threw on a comfortable (read: horribly unflattering) house dress and sat down to write a thank you letter to my great uncle (to that extent I am a lady). Upon sealing and stamping this letter I headed out across the street to retrieve the day's mail, and put my letter in the box. As I stood at the side of our busy road chatting on the phone with my mother I spied the vet, my dad, and his employee standing at the barn door talking. I laughed to my mother that I could not possibly look more absurd with my towel, flip flops (now am I talking about shoes or my unharnessed chest, because I swear I'm too young for this?!) and comfortable house dress.

Little did I know...

I crossed the street with no mishap, and as I grabbed the mail and reached up to insert my letter two giant trailer trucks blew by just feet from where I stood. It was the end, I tell you. I dropped the phone, and nearly dropped the mail as the wind from the trucks blew my towel tower over, my skirt flew up, and tried to rip my letter from my hand. My mother called to me from the phone in the grass, asking what happened. I tried to pretend it was nothing and no one had just seen my bare bottom, but as I turned around to cross the street again, towel hanging limply from my shoulders (along with my pride. Oh and speaking of hanging...can we talk about the girls again?), the employee was waving from the barn with a ridiculous grin on his face.

'enry 'iggins, do your worst.

Monday, June 9, 2008

#22: Morality for Beautiful Girls

Book: Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith
Pages: Audiobook
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 4/5
Total Rating: 9/10
Books Read Total: 22/50
Pages Read Total: 3875/15,000

Like all of the No. 1 Detective Agency books, this one is good, clean fun. Like their main character Mma Ramotswe, Lady Detective, there is no BS or fluff here. Smith tells good, interesting and entertaining stories, and Lisette Lecat does a wonderful job reading them. I don't have a whole lot to say about this book except that Smith never fails to entertain. The fact that I've been listening to them all out of order and still enjoy them immensely should tell you something.

For the record, the reason I've been listening to so many audiobooks is because I listen to them at work, and when you spend all morning in a field it's nice to have company. I'm currently listening to The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman, which is much longer than the Smith books, so it will last a bit longer, I hope!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

#21: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Book: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Pages: Audiobook
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 4/5
Total Rating: 9/10
Books Read Total: 21/50
Pages Read Total: 3875/15,000

Sara Gruen has a vivid set of characters, to be sure. Jacob Jankowski recalls the most influential year of his life, one that began his career as a circus veterinarian, from his confines in a nursing home at the age of "90, or 93". He alternates between venting his frustration at being trapped in an old man's body, and vividly remembering his past experiences. I am 100% in love with this old man. Gruen did an exceptional job of wrenching my heart in every direction, aided no doubt by the fabulous voices of David LeDoux and John Randolph Jones. A moving, informative story not only about the circus but also about the Great Depression, growing old, and elephants. This book opened up an entirely unfamiliar topic for me, and I've enjoyed reading about it since I finished the book last week.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Soasa Calendar!

Late Summer & Early Fall 2010

September 19 Van Houten Avenue Street Fair, Clifton, NJ
September 21-23
Fall Northeast Art & Craft Show, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY
September 26
Haverstraw Street Festival, Haverstraw, NY
October 2
Hudson High School Craft and Home Expo, Hudson, NY
October 3
Warwick AppleFest, Warwick, NY
October 9-10
Warren Fall Festival, Warren, CT (one of my favorites!)
October 23-24
Connecticut Renaissance Faire, Hebron, CT

October 26-27
Thanksgiving Northeast Art & Craft Show, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY


Spring and Summer 2010

Edit 6/24/10:

This should be it. For real. See you there!

June 25-27 Oldsongs Festival of Music and Dance, Altamont, NY
July 18 Nyack Street Fair, Nyack, NY
July 23-25 GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance, Trumansburg, NY
August 5-8 WOOL, Lake George, NY
August 28-29 Old Bethpage Village Craft and Gift Show, Old Bethpage, LI, NY
September 4-5 Eisenhower Park Craft and Gift Show, East Meadow, LI, NY
September 11-12 Bayville Waterside Craft and Gift Show, Bayville, LI, NY
September 18 Pawling Art and Craft Fair, Pawling, NY

There will be more events for October - December!


Winter 2009

Nov. 21st Valley Central School, Montgomery, NY
Dec. 4th Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Dec. 5th Hawthorne Valley School, Harlemville, NY

If you decide to stop by don't forget to print out this coupon and save 15% off your entire purchase!


Fall 2009

I'm not quite as busy this fall because it was difficult to organize everything from abroad, but here's the plan! I hope some of you can stop by! There may be additional dates, so check back around the end of the month.

Sep. 19 Pawling Arts & Crafts Fest, Pawling, NY
Oct. 3 Hudson High School Craft Fair, Hudson, NY
Oct. 10-11 Warren Fall Festival, Warren, CT
Oct. 17 Hillsdale Farmer’s Market

As always, if you've got any questions or need directions don't hesitate to ask!
RobinMarie [at] Soasadesigns [dot] com


Summer 2009

I'm currently in Buenos Aires, Argentina on study abroad. I will be back in the states on August 2nd, and hopefully geared up for a good fall season! I have jewelry available on my Etsy site that my mom has kindly agreed to ship out for me!

Have a happy and healthy summer!


The holiday season is here!

Nov. 21-22 Housatonic Valley Waldorf School Holiday Fair, Newtown, CT
Nov. 29 Jewelry Sale at Off The Beaded Path, Great Barrington, MA
Dec. 5 Bard Craft Fair, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Dec. 6 Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School Yultide Fair, Harlemville, NY
Dec. 13 Sheffield Market, Sheffield, MA
Dec. 20 Sheffield Market, Sheffield, MA

If you've got any questions or need directions don't hesitate to ask!
RobinMarie [at] Soasadesigns [dot] com


Come find me this Fall, I'm going to be all over the place!

Sep. 6+20, Oct. 4+18 Hillsdale Farmer’s Market
Sep. 14 Mountain Music Festival, Bethel, NY
Sep. 20 Pawling Arts & Crafts Fest, Pawling, NY
Sep. 21 Earth Day Festival, Bethel, NY
Oct. 4-5 Hudson High School Craft Fair, Hudson, NY
Oct. 11-12 Warren Fall Festival, Warren, CT
Oct. 18 Green Meadow Fall Fair, Chestnut Ridge, NY

As you can see there are a few dates that are doubled. In those cases my Mom will be working the Farmer's Market for me, so you should really go keep her company!


It's going to be a busy one! I'm incredibly excited about how much everything has progressed in the last three years, and this summer is just a whole new level.

Every 1st and 3rd Saturday from June - October I'll be at the Hillsdale Farmer's Market in Hillsdale, NY
June 26-29: Old Songs Festival of Music and Dance in Altamont, NY
July 17-20: Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance in Trumansburg, NY
July 24-27: Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in Hillsdale, NY
August 23: Blueberry Festival in Ellenville, NY

I've also got quite a few events booked for the fall, but I'll let y'all know about those as the dates get closer.

In Which I Attempt to Catch Up - Ep. 3 - Work

Yes I do a lot of it!

This summer is pretty good, as summers go. I'm working at Taft Farms and Off the Beaded Path, both places I love, doing work I enjoy. At Taft Farms I pick asparagus and plant or pick or really any field work they need from me. Once strawberry season starts I'll be picking those (any day now!) I get to spend every morning outside with plants, and I'm getting into a really good sleeping pattern. Sleep by 10:30, up by 7. I dig it. I'm working on getting up at 6.

Of course, on top of that I'm doing a LOT with my jewelry this summer! I'll post the finalized summer schedule soon.


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