December 30, 2008

loopy scarf for leigh

a bit of a knitting project, as promised!

i should begin by saying that i am NOT a sophisticated knitter, although i have been at it for years. i knit and i purl...but in no kind of fancy method. my preferred 'cheat' is using multiple skeins at once so that i can get thickness without thick yarn. in general i stick to scarves and variations on the scarf.

i had a few thoughts for my friend leigh this year, but they all fell away when i heard her raving about these cowl necked scarves that are 'the thing' this year. i had been diligently working on a mutli-toned grey scarf since election day, and knew that it was going to someone else (hello, wool allergies!) and her name starting flashing neon in my mind. she looks astounding in grey and it was just the kind of thing she'd pair with her cute coats and sweaters. all i had to do was finish it, and stitch it end to end with a matching thread.
plus, i twisted it once before sewing the ends, so that no matter what, or how she wears it, it has a little interest and movement to it.

looking good! especially paired with these great earrings, made by the sister of her friend--find them here. what a chic homemade chick.

this gift calls to mind a set from last year-- the 'EP216 Roomie Cuff Project'. i decided to gift all of my apartment mates (at the time) with a personalized scarf cuff of sorts. they were all unique, with buttons to match. i did some dorky, fun photoshopping to make it look like each of them were already wearing them, and then made cute cards out of the pictures.

apologies... i didn't have the swellest camera back then. not to say my pictures seem to be any better this year...

in any case, i basically knit a little neck sized scarf and attached buttons. great for high necked coats and for people who get flustered trying to arrange long scarves.


December 29, 2008

christmas, continued

still doing some back track work on showing some of my gift ideas this season, now that it won't spoil surprises.

this year i made my mom a nightgown, since i absolutely lived in mine this fall/winter. hers is prettier, however--i did some fancy lacework and embroidery. (with the help of my fancy husqvarna, of course.)

as i did with my own, i used a tunic pattern... i think it's an "Quick 'n Easy". i can verify when i go back to chicago.

peeking out of the corner of that photo is a second gift for my mom-- a set of reindeer dish towels. i simply ironed on an adorable applique for the deer, and i improvised a little towel from red gingham and more flannel. i went wild with red stitching and voila! cute.

on a non-crafting note... i think one of those mucous gangsters from the mucinex commercials lives in my head, permanently. i just got off of TWENTY days of antibiotics... and i still appear to have a sinus infection.

this is putting a cramp in my style. i am going to see an ENT today to find out if i need to unscrew the back of my skull and tempt the little guy out with some food or money. we'll see. maybe i will find out i have to live on an island or something... i have everlasting hope in unrealistic cures.

next time i will showcase a neat little trick i thought up with a scarf i knit!


December 26, 2008

nearly 4 pm and i am in pajamas.

He is born!

my mom's nativity collections are all exhibiting the infant, now.
and our full size number in the yard has a star and everything!
magical and wonderful.

all the holiness aside, the food selection this christmas was magical, too.

all i have digested today is cookies and coffee.

i spent half the morning watching vintage television shows on dvd (katie got bewitched and maggie got i love lucy) and playing various sports on the wii.

christmas, if you can't tell, was very nice this year.

everyone was surprised and pleased with their gifts in our exchange. james had me, and got me the most darling teapot and some pretty napkins. AND santa brought quite the bundle. (i have the north pole to thank for an awesome collection of ceramic bowls of EVERY size, some lovely boots and purses, and books. and the red butter dish from anthro i have been lusting after for ages.)

i did end up giving paul the laptop cozy. the buttons added enough 'oomph' that i restored my faith in it as a gift.

i had also made him a little 'library' of listing notebooks.

these, along with the candy and blazer, made a nice collection.

maggie and i made sure the doll people living here got a good collection of cookies, too. and pies...and cupcakes...

well... i hear more desi arnaz coming from the family room... if i don't get in there, i am going to have some 'xplainin to do.


December 22, 2008

christmas chaos.

today was chock full! and chocolate-full!

first, i spent the early part of the day talking to my very very dear kathline who i will ALWAYS miss, as fate seems to keep us far away from eachother at all times, but who i will ALWAYS fall seamlessly back in sync with as well. i love her dearly and would like to tell everyone that when her etsy shop opens--and oh it WILL open, if i have anything to say about it--you are going to need to hide your wallet to avoid bankruptcy. truly a creative gem, that one...

next i rolled up some brie in a slice of ham, grabbed a bag of chocolate chips and premium saltines (did you know they make tiny little ones now? delicious) for emergency rations, grabbed the little sister, and hopped into the honda with the older boys to head out to the infamous mall rush. maggie was a trooper...she'd worn some fashionable wedge boots and her feet were killing her the whole time, and she managed to still be the most pleasant kind of companion. i scouted out possibilities with her and we located an excellent gift for the other sister!

it's the dearest little bag, from anthro, in the nicest indigo--she is going to find a million uses for it, and i just know it. it's big enough to be a weekend bag, but small enough to be a great college purse--full of books and such. (i should add that this is not from me, but from maggie--we pick one sibling a year, out of a hat, to avoid dime store presents and a broke family. and so we can buy mom and dad something, too. but we all help each other!)

i have paul this year, and after weeks of deliberation and a crappily executed homemade attempt at a wool laptop cozy (which i may still try to resurrect... maybe) i caved and bought things, at a store, like normal capitalists do at christmas. a lovely blazer that i can't for the life of me describe. but it's sort of suede-like, and dark brown. i also bought him a box of turron, purely because i read about it on cannelle et vanille and immediately knew it was made for him. basically, anything made of pure sugar and natural things, in a pleasing box, is made for paul. turkish delight... meringue... nougat of any kind...halvah... i can't imagine he won't like this, too.

once we returned home from the trip, i decided to get down to business and work on a gift i had planned for my papa, since i knew he'd be out of the house for hours tonight. the thought was homemade twix! sounds great, doesn't it? well... i made delicous homemade dough and lovely little cookie bars... and then i melted chocolate and things seemed to be going well... but OH disaster!!!

they were such a mess. alas. i think the caramel was too watery. :(

oh well.

still, a good day. tomorrow maybe i will reveal the gifts i have been keeping a secret... i am sure no one is checking this thing these days!


December 20, 2008

tiny little books and a great board game

last night we played a great new board game that my father bought at my suggestion, as i saw it a year or so ago in the newberry library's store. it's called "it was a dark and stormy night". the question cards contain the first line of a book, and the object is to guess either the author or the title of the book. we played in teams and it was a nerdy load of fun.

the whole thing is simple and fun-- diverse sections, ample in the supply of "children's books" cards so that you can make your younger friends included, a mix of simple/approachable/hard, and a box for the cards disguised as a drawer from the card catalogue. the librarian in me swooned.

the one drawback of the game was the ugly little tokens you get when you receive a point--they were shaped like books (cute!) but made of all-black wood (boring). my sister and i rejuvenated them with some acrylic paint, however, and now our game is gorgeous.

all this...but none of the things on my to-do list today. *(writing two essays for internships and finishing work on my dad/brother's presents.) ho hum.



December 19, 2008

christmas outfit, christmas break

every kid's dream--my siblings started their break one friday early today with a snow day!

we had a vigorous snow fight, homemade tomato soup and toasty sandwiches (and kraft mac and cheese), and now they are in the other room, watching Home Alone. I have some cookie dough in the fridge.

here's my christmas outfit--my brother james has the same camera as i do, it turns out!

it's a super high-waisted skirt

and a frilly little blouse.

very old school secretary.

not too good at taking my own picture-- but too lazy to try again. :)

and the only thing i want to tweak about it is the buttons-- a bit military for my taste. i think i will replace them with a silk or velvet covered type of deal.

that's all for now--i have been startlingly unproductive today! back to tasks abounding!


December 18, 2008

all my fashion idols

i finally have a christmas outfit together, which i would post a picture of if i could only find my camera battery charger. :( i need to corral those siblings of mine and compare camera makes... what a disaster it will be if i can't document a single moment of christmas!

in any case, having picked out an outfit, i was meditating on my fashion influences. i chuckled when i realized the immature nature of my 'idols'. that, and the fact that almost none of them are real people...

1. Linnea, Linnea in Monet's Garden

2. Amélie, Amélie

3. Fiona, The Secret of Roan Inish

4. Mathilde, A Very Long Engagement

5. Caroline Ingalls (TV version), Little House on the Prairie

6. Mary Lennox, The Secret Garden

well there you have it... i'm nine years old.


December 17, 2008

these are the things that run my life.

the zebra F-301, .7 mm ballpoint pen

and the moleskine notebook planner, size extra large. got my 2009 version in the mail today.

oh, i love paper products. and organization...

December 16, 2008

my plan for jan!

january, that is.

you see, while i have been back here at my parents', there has been something on my mind about my apartment back in chicago. (besides my roomie, of course!) you would think it might be something sensible... worries over the bills, or figuring out a way to solve the problem of my cupboards getting so warm when we use the microwave, or something like that.

but no.

i just can't stop thinking of what to do with all the plastic bags we have collected.

it's not even a 'green' issue. i just keep thinking that there are endless possibilities for crafting, and it's hard to decide what to go with...

should i make a rug? a purse? 'yarn'? a kite? endless numbers of little men with parachutes? a sculpture?

but today, i think i have found an answer, via

this video is awesome. even if i don't go the route of making a messenger bag, i will be using this chick's plastic-making trick asap. and look how awesome those black garbage bags look!!! possibilities fill my brain: rain hats...shoe covers... plastic covered notebooks(!)

i am so pumped.

December 15, 2008

new look in the works

still tweaking, so don't hate it yet. :)

December 13, 2008

hooray for college bound brothers

james is going to georgetown in september!


December 11, 2008

pink day

pink shirt pink scarf pink applesauce

cranberry applesauce: make applesauce, add a handful of cranberries. delicious? yes. pretty? yes.

i made some for my birthday dinner, and it went quite nicely with my legendary white on white cake. my mom made homemade almond frosting and everyone agreed it was the most ridiculously good cake ever made. it may have been her frosting--or my expert sprinkling job with the white non-pareils.

i would post a picture, but it's already been demolished.

what is the world coming to?

well--i've been a very lax blogger. i need to get back to business and post some of the christmasy crafting i have been up to... but then again, i don't want to reveal gifts. dilemma.
in any case, gifts or not, i haven't posted a darn thing in ages! i'll use the excuse that i've had the plague for over a week now...i'm about to start up another round of ten day antibiotics. oh the joy of poorly made sinuses in the winter. but lots has happenened--i'm 23 now! and i'm thoroughly bogged down by my efforts to get some kind of an internship. i've decided since no one is hiring, i might as well be someone's coffee girl.

the link in the title threw me for a loop this morning... i don't even need to comment, i don't think.


December 7, 2008

this is what i do when i'm ill.

i like to make absurd photoshop projects.

today, sb and i had a nice hypothetical conversation about our future children and their summertime get togethers. how cute are my eight crafty kids? and her sweet little city kids coming out for a visit with their faux cousins?

and then there's this one, which i made a while ago for weekend anna... it's her and her prom date, circa 1954.

nice, right?

i'm so cool.


December 2, 2008

my mother is magical.

look at what maggie will come home to in an hour!
a surprise transformation of her room...into an ice palace!
it's really no wonder i felt so much kinship with sara crewe as a child.
with a mother who does this kind of thing on your birthday,
how can you not believe you're probably a princess?


December 1, 2008

a gift unveiled, to great success.

luckily for my blog's interesting levels, my family celebrated maggie's birthday early this year, for the sake of more people being at home (stragglers from thanksgiving weekend). my presents were quite well received, i am glad to reveal!

perhaps attentive readers will recall my recent comments on hand-sewing? i can now say why. i decided to celebrate maggie's turning eleven with two handmade gifts: a cuddly shawl in the colors of her newly painted bedroom, and an American Girl doll sized fleece.
maggie recently took a liking to a two-toned purple shawl that my aunt/uncle/cousins sent me for christmas a year or two ago, mainly because of how lovely and soft it is. i took it back to chicago this winter, and she was so sad to see it go that i decided i might as well tackle a modification. for her shawl, i chose a two-toned light blue cuddle fur at the vogue fabrics. i initially planned to imitate the fringe on my shawl, which follows the purple color scheme of the rest of the piece, but when i got around to the fringe on maggie's, it was looking fuzzier and linty, so i went back and picked up a bit of regular (no fray!) fleece in the light-almost-neon-lime green that serves as an accent color in her bedroom. this cut very nicely into an attractive fringe, and now the shawl matches her room perfectly.
she loves it and will not even take it off long enough for me to take a picture. she even took it to bed! very flattering for the maker!
however successful this shawl was... my real pride and joy of the moment is the second gift. hours and hours of hand sewing followed my very humorous excursion over to the American Girl Place on michigan ave., where i scoured the whole store to find a jacket-like item of doll clothing to take approximate measurements of. i had a lot of gawking nine-year olds worried. while i not-so-stealthily took down notes and wrapped my tape measure around the arms/neck/body of a 'varsity jacket', i wondered what the little shoppers thought of me. was i stealing? doing a performance check on the company? maybe they thought i was cool enough to work for American Girl (um, i WISH!!!).
i used the same cuddle fur, a utility zipper meant for a wallet, some nice shiny crinkling ribbon i had lying around (looked great for the cuffs and 'reflector' on the back), and i my own two hands! although my machine did come in handy for a few minutes on the sides of the body. this was my first experience in drawing a pattern by myself from start to finish. it wasn't hard, but who knows what would happen if i tackled the true human anatomy? :)

in any case--check out my handiwork. it's being modeled by 'emily'--molly's playmate come over from blitzed britain, if you don't recall your american girl stories. the lovely multicolored scarf lying on top of emily's adopted siblings was handmade by maggie herself. she and i have taken up fingerknitting, and her dolls are reaping the benefits.

now maggie wants me to go into the business of boutique doll wear. who thinks she might have more motives than my employment in mind?...