October 31, 2008

skirt in the making.

so, this summer i fell in love with african cotton print.

strangely, the patterns remind me some skirts banana republic made when i was in middle school... only mine are in nicer colors, in my opinion.

in any case, i was really pleased with a skirt i made this spring, so i decided to make another one with some cotton i snatched from the remnants section. i am going to head back to vogue fabrics today, as i am spending halloween in evanston, and try to find some nice inspiring ribbon/ric rac/lacey stuff/pretty satiny fabric for the bottom edge. i made a mock up of a ruffle, thinking i might keep everything in the same fabric, but i didn't really like the look of it. so i am going to go find the perfect edge. maybe just some fuschia ribbon?
we'll see.

i just don't like the ruffles. at all.
thank goodness i didn't get hasty and just smack something on there.

the goal is to have it finished by sunday.

i might want to make a slip to wear under it by sunday, too. woo hoo, silk. or some excuse for silk. :) slips are so funny and antiquated, and i don't think i have owned or worn one since approximately fourth grade, when i decided i hated them. now i think they are a pretty great idea. luckily for me, angry chicken just did a post about slips and crazy underwear. mine probably won't be that attractive or colorful, but i'm excited anyway.

off to do some bella research, approach the thought of showering/getting dressed, trot off to evanston, and fabricize, babysit, and eat too much candy.


PS: am i the only person on the planet who wishes it was colder???

October 30, 2008

i'm back!

it was about as much of a relief as a loved one leaving the hospital in good repair...
yes, my laptop is back to me!

if i tried to post about everything at once this would go on forever. i think i will just take it as the mood strikes in the next few days, blogging perhaps more than once a day. i will begin catching up with a few pictures from the class i recently taught at galaxie--'sweet sculpture' again, but this time we went the route of baked goods. the kids were outrageously creative!!! i brought in some 'cupcakes', 'cookies', and an 'ice cream cone' and they took off on those examples with 'donuts', 'gum', 'hershey kisses' and all kinds of modifications on my original ideas. it was great.

on another note, as i mentioned in the last post, i have been going through books with the vigor of a kid eating halloween candy. (unfortunately for my teeth, i have also been going through halloween candy with the vigor of a girl reading books.)

i adore c.s. lewis!

more to come, off to make (or re-warm yesterday's?) dinner!


October 25, 2008

blog inhibiting computer repairs...

oh my macbook. having him gone is like losing a friend. typing on this borrowed computer is some relief but not much.

don't worry too much, though--about me or my mac. it's just a 'clamshell' repair to get my iSight back up and running. luckily i am still within my warranty, so a whole new screen comes for $0.00. nice.

in any case, it's put a dent in my blogging abilities in what was already a slow week. sorry!

as a pictureless update, and a look to posts to come, in the last few days (computerless) i have read a few great books, taught another 'sweet sculpture' class'--this time we did cupcakes and other baked goods-- and made a lot of applesauce. i have been hitting up the green city market lately, to much success.

i also finally got around to making that nice african print skirt i mentioned back when i uploaded pictures of the remnants i purchased a few weeks ago. look what a few days without the internet can spur you on to finally accomplishing! i think i need to send my computer away more often.

plus...i am now watching the last season of little house on the prairie! i can't believe that this past year or so of watching an episode nearly every day is at the close! i will watch the culmination, the strangeness of season 9-- "A NEW BEGINNING".

(and then i will go right back to season one and begin again....)


October 21, 2008

the waiting-for-comcast-guy half hour apron.

pretty, eh?

i love the big pocket, which doesn't show up in the pictures.


my madeline haircut

there are a stock run of people i have been consistently told i resemble. i have never gotten anyone besides the following people--and i get all of these women all the time. my theory is... they are brunettes! Here they are in order of frequency:

1. "Charlotte"--a.k.a. Kristen Davis, from Sex and the City (ugh... i HATE that show)

my theory here: she is a sometimes glasses wearing, rather WASPy looking formerly Catholic-then-Jewish, relatively speaking "good" girl. I think this one is less about the look, more about people insulting me by relating me to her stupid anal retentive character. :)

2. Rachel Leigh Cook

i have chosen this picture because let's be real... she is really pretty, but people tell me i look like her and mean that i look like her nerd portrayal in "she's all that".

3. Audrey Tatou (of Amélie)

two words: I WISH. it's just the messy haircut thing. :)

4. helena bonham carter

yeah. i got nothing. i'm not kidding... i actually get this one a lot! apparently i'm creepy looking?

5. katie holmes

this was a high school thing... when i had epically long hair. this is a clear case of the brunette theory. good thing i don't look like her in reality... that might make me a tom cruise target. yikes.

in any case, the point of this post comes down to this.
after years of only hearing about these five women from people trying to invent some relation between me and other people (isn't it a weird human tendency?) i got a really flattering new one at the coffee shop yesterday. the girl behind the counter said:
"i dig your haircut. you look like that girl. in the jacket"
i paused and smiled. this was not very edifying.
"the jacket and the hat... the girl who stands in line? oh yeah, madeline! you have a madeline haircut. you look like madeline."

haha. merci!

October 20, 2008

a bit on my bedroom walls, as requested by sb

finally a little crafting post.

i was talking to sb last night and she asked that i post about the way i decorated the walls of my bedroom. before i begin, i must credit a post from How About Orange, which inspired the look.

basically, it's a great way to decorate rented walls with no damage, and an endless slew of possibilities. i had been envisioning a leaf pattern for my walls for a long time, but didn't want to go the route of paper cutouts--my college dorm strategy-- because of the fading, tape, and general one-use nature of them. then this blog solved the problem.

all you have to do is make your cutouts and then spray them down with spray starch (i used Niagara). it's a bit messy but it's not complicated. i just sprayed all of my leaves on top of a cardboard box. then, just use your fingers and smooth the cutouts onto your wall/bathroom door/dresser from ikea and use a little towel to mop up any drips. they stay on really well, but when you want to take them off it's just a simple peel!

Noble Tree Coffee

well, i have found the coffee shop of my dreams.

everything about noble tree is perfect. it is NOT fancy, but it does not smell bad. it is NOT noisy, but there is music--hipster fare--tastefully chosen--on the first floor. which gives a person the option of being where the tunes are, or of going upstairs--the place is three floors--where it is basically silent.

the furniture is thought out perfectly. i can't say how impressed i am. usually, I hate places set up in old house environments because the couches and armchairs heights don't match up with the table heights. thus, you can't do any work unless you're one of those types who does everything in bed, and is used to having everything on your lap. (cough. not me.) every armchair is matched up with a table that is exactly at typing height, with sturdy legs (in other words none of the wobbly tables that literally turn me into the rain man) and the best part of all is.. they have a floor lamp next to every table! with a nice lightbulb! in other words, you-choose lighting... no obnoxious overhead flourescents, or really small table lamps in your way. it's amazing.

plus, there are tons of windows. as i said, this is a renovated house... one of those skinny victorian numbers, with lots of windows and a twisting staircase. it's lovely! i like the third floor because it is the brightest, and it's usually me and some forty-somethings, most of the men, and i think most of them screen/play/book writers. i noticed today that there is a rooftop garden out the window!

i am really into this. it's hard to even start getting everything done, because i am imagining that i live here. I would LOVE a little teeny narrow house like this! two (or three, or four) kids could easily live up here. and the kitchen and living area could be the first floor.... my imagination is going nuts.

i would definately put a wardrobe up here. i think it would really take the kids places, if you know what i'm saying.

man, doesn't that look like a painting??? rainy day light is amazing.


October 19, 2008


my roommate is the best.
she brought me a piece of awesome candy from some brunch place she went to today.
it's by some italian confectioner and it was a pastel pink mildly sticky hard candy in the awesome flavor of PLUM!!!
she inspired me to write this poem...it's very original, if i do say so myself.

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the candy

and which
you were probably
from breakfast.

you're awesome!
they were delicious
so sweet
of you, lora.

October 18, 2008


no, not a typo.
yesterday roomie and i got inspired to go above and beyond with our cheerful guest gift at a little dinner gathering. actually, i forcefully dragged her through a wild goose chase for the ingredients for tiramisu, which we managed to make with exactly enough time to refrigerate it for the minimum required 2 hours.
and we made a MESS.

chocolate shavings were everywhere!

i got mascarpone/egg/cream all over the stovetop!

and we hadn't done dishes recently enough to have proper bowls around...
i had to whip the cream in a soup pot!

plus, we were running so short on time that
we had to put the whole bit in the freezer for a while at first.

and there appears to be a lady finger shortage in the chicagoland area. it was pathetic. where i'm from, we seriously have a section of them next to the fruit. go figure.

in any case, we made one layer with madeleines. they are wayyyyy to absorbent, so don't try it... even though the flavor of this business was amazing, and all in all the dessert was a success, it wasn't A+ perfect because there just weren't enough ladyfingers to equally distribute the espresso/orange juice/cider-in-place-of-brandy (yay muslims!)

cute, eh?

more crafting stuff later, i should hope....


October 16, 2008

my dream skinny cords realized.

i keep getting better and better at skinnifying my pants. it's pretty easy, anyway, but for a while i was getting tripped up in the crotch area. but not this time! i did a great job, if i do say so myself. i think it's because i changed my method. the last few times, I had put on the pair of pants inside out and pinned in the inside leg for the right shape. it worked, but it was a bit tricky, and it didn't make the legs as 100% even as i'd hoped.

this time, i took a pair of similarly styled jeans and basically pin-traced them. it worked great!
i took a picture after i'd finished one leg, so you could get a sense of the before and after. these used to be my favorite pants in high school: american eagle bell bottomed cords in cocoa.

in order to do the modifications, i started out by cutting the leg along the inside seam. i hadn't done this in other projects, but i had noticed that it was hard to pin the leg flat with the 'bubble' effect the seam produced. this solved the problem.

next i laid a pair of jeans down on top of the pants (turned inside out) and drew a chalk line to get the outline of the leg.

i also pinned the line. i guess i wanted to be extra careful. you could probably skip the chalk line. or maybe the pins. but i like covering my bases.

and then i just sewed along the line, cut off the leftovers, did a little modifying at the crotch after trying them on... and voila! now i have some nice fallish cords that will fit right in my boots or look cute in flats. (or bare feet, here).


*photo credit to Lora! :)

October 15, 2008


so, after a nice relaxing trip back east, i am back to the grind. not that it's much of a grind, without a job.

in any case, i thought i'd check in and report on a very good coffee shop i am finally camping out in, after months of encouragement from some reputable sources. i took the 146 bus and was immediately glad for the trip. the rain managed to wait for me to get in and settle down with some freshly baked goodies and lots of coffee, so i didn't get soaked on the way and now i get to enjoy the hygglelig coziness of nesting here with my 'work', watching raindrops.

the place is nice, the espresso machine isn't annoyingly loud, and the soundtrack is actually good. not too classical (ahem, peet's), but not too insistently hipster, either. and the volume is good (ahem, unicorn... blaringly loud world music, anyone?)

plus, crazily enough, a friend i thought had moved to alaska popped in for some tea! what nice chance.

so, that's about all i have to say for now. later i will post a picture of some of the poodle-skirt work i did at home with my sister, for halloween, and if i get it done, some evidence of some renovations i'm doing on a pair of corduroys i found among my highschool relics at home. i have been dreaming of skinny brown cords for some time and i'm really psyched!

here' s my little setup, courtesy of my cellphone:


October 10, 2008

all the food in the fridge

so, as i was headed back east for the weekend, i decided it would be financially (and olifactorily?) important for me to turn all the existing food i had into more lasting items of nourishment.

at 10 pm.

so, i spent all of last night making tomato soup and pickling ONE cucumber. i need to learn to 'get over it' and stop doing dumb things like this. but it is sort of satisfying to know that i won't return to a bunch of old, questionable food. (or mold in my coffee maker. that's a story for another day.)

i did a quick job with the tomato soup, just roasting up the roma tomatoes i had with some garlic and dried basil and olive oil, of course (in the oven) and then pureeing them in my food processor. i cheated and added a can of diced tomatoes, too.

as for the cucumber, i can't remember which website i got the recipe from. i ended up culling together a few, really... i wanted to make it a sort of pickled salad... scandinavian style. so it was a sweet, allspice-y brine.

i pretty much just kosher salted the cukes and let them drain, and then squeezed out the extra moisture before putting them in a pyrex full of brine and sticking it all in the fridge.

this picture leaves nothing out... that right there is all the food i left in my apartment!

(yep, that's a bottle of brine)

so all i had left to do...

was do the dishes!

October 8, 2008

ballerina t-shirt sweater.

(next time something's broken, i guess i'll just whine about it online... apparently that gives you the solution in approximately 10 minutes. new USB plug, and my pictures are up!)

so, in my last functional post, i mentioned a t-shirt cardigan i had made previously, which i am debating adding an awesome knit to. the initial craft was a great, quick, transformation, and sooooo easy.
i started with one of these very comfy tees i got at kohl's awhile back.

95% cotton, 5% spandex... very stretchy but flattering. i wore the heck out of them, and had them in every color (thanks to my mom) but i'm just not wearing crew neck t-shirts anymore.
i cut it up the middle, and then, because i knew I wanted to wear it tied (like a ballerina shrug) i folded the top of each side away until i liked the look of how much negative space would be left, and just cut off the resulting triangles.

while i was cutting up the front, i inadvertantly cut a whole in the back. (i should mention i did all of this while stressing out about making a bus. not very organized.) this was actually a fortunate mistake! i put in a really sweet little lace window on the back, right where the hole was (thank goodness it was central) and now whatever color shirt i wear under this shows through, and i love it. i had the lace lying around...it actually came with a mixed bag of buttons.

i added lace to the back collar, too. i cut off most of the front of the neck when i sliced up the front, but i liked the neck in the back.

and here is the finished effect! it's very comfy, and it's actually very cute untied, too. plus, it's done fine in the wash... this kind of t-shirt just kind of rolls instead of fraying. plus... i don't wash my clothes that often, honestly... :)

camera issues!

well... something is going wrong with my camera. or my computer. they are not recognizing eachother, and so i haven't been able to post anything i'd been hoping to. i am still alive!
i am troubleshooting the issue today and i am determined to get things working by tonight, and then post like crazy.

for your enjoyment, while i figure this out, the wonderful feist, teaming up another wonderful thing--sesame street. i especially love this because 4 is my life long favorite number.

October 6, 2008

fabric, pioneers, possibilities.

many thanks for the comment (thanks, lora, i should say) and some of your in person/phonecall opinions on my sweater. i opted to leave off on the crinkly ribbon for a simpler look. it's such a refreshing update on something i would have otherwise had to give away.

when i bought that pretty silk you saw on said sweater, i also scooped up a bunch of other awesome remnants. some of them i bought with specific things in mind... one knit fabric is a perfect match to a t-shirt cardigan i made a few weeks ago, so i am thinking of re-working that project to incorporate it. (thus, a future post!)

another is a really neat african print that i want to turn into a nice tiered skirt.

and then i went in for the guilty pleasure of buying up a bunch of pioneer prints. everyone knows i own every single season of Little House on the Prairie, and when you're as personally invested in the Ingalls as I am, you end up having pioneer clothes envy. i couldn't resist going in for some classic prints.

and this is going to be a table runner, i think.