just ordered this print by Clifton Burt from 20x200...

yessir, that pretty much sums it up.


that's entertainment pt 2

well, I hope you all had a lovely thanksgiving weekend, I certainly did!  there was lots good food, lots of wine, and even family at Chez Craftnik, and it all went off without a hitch!  (well, except for the part where I burnt the meringue...but let's forget about that...)  there was even a...tablescape!!  woo hoo!

while it doesn't rival the ones I posted last time, it fit my table nicely and we even had room for food!  here's what I used:  my prized Jonathan Adler bird bowl (thrifted for $20!), which while not technically a turkey, stood in as the turkey's more stylish cousin.  whipped up the white burlap runner out of some fabric I had in my stash....

my thrift store plates and some new napkins I picked up on clearance at CB2...

gold votives from Crate & Barrel and river rocks from CB2...

autumn leaves collected on the streets of Noho...

and spider and china mums (that match my plates!)

all in all it was a beautiful setting for a lovely evening, and I felt like a rock star for going the extra step and putting a little effort into entertaining.  why next year, I might even tie some pine cones to the chairs.  :)


that's entertainment


so, now that we're friends one thing you should know about me is I'm not that into entertaining.  I, personally, am entertaining...of this there is no doubt...but the whole fancy having people over and creating a perfect menu and perfect party decor thing eludes me.

ironically, one of the craft books I've worked on, Handmade Soirees, is about doing precisely that.  I can throw a terrific fake party.  (oh and fyi, when you see people at a party in a photo shoot and they are throwing their heads back in gay laughter while gracefully holding a handmade cocktail napkin angled just so for the camera?  they have been doing that for 8 hours and they are miserable.)

anyway now the holidays are upon us, and the apartment is starting to look pretty good, and I'm feeling like maybe it's time to let some people in the house and maybe serve them some food and alcohol?  I can do that.  but the one thing I really cannot wrap my brain around is "tablescapes".  do you know this thing?  people love them!  this gorgeous person made a whole career out of them!


so even though I've got like negative 2 extra hours between now and when my parents arrive on Thanksgiving day, I feel the need to go out in the woods (of North Hollywood, sure) and collect branches and moss and bird's nests, obviously,  and arrange them (making sure to include varying levels and textures and lighting) on my dining table...while also leaving a little room for oh yeah FOOD and HUMAN ELBOWS.


oh and apparently the chairs also want in on this action.  tie pine cones to them!  clearly these people have no pets.

what happened to the days when Thanksgiving "tablescapes" meant pull out the one nice tablecloth and some cloth napkins and light a couple candles?  maybe, if you're feeling fancy, add a gourd or two?  or someone might bring a poinsettia!  I blame Martha, of course.  stay tuned to see how scape-y my table turns out...

(p.s. I actually think all these scapes are lovely and I'm just mad I don't have the time right now to get crazy crafty with this stuff.  and I still love you Martha, you're just a "scape"-goat.  ha!  see how entertaining I am??)


dead pilgrims

didn't have much time for crafting this week, and the diminishing hours of sunlight + new job + holiday planning equals very few photos being taken around the place.  but I did manage to document a few of the new items I've picked up for the apartment...

There's this thing in socal every year that my friend and I call "Dead Pilgrims"....which is our horrible name for a really lovely little arts and crafts festival in Claremont that is actually called the Pilgrim Place Festval.  it's a retirement community for former missionaries, and they sell vintage items and new art and crafts made by the missionaries at really great prices, and the money helps support the community.  I always find great stuff there.  And, HUGE PLUS...the old people dress like Pilgrims while they work the booths!  so cute.  this year I got some hand spun yarn, a bunch of vintage needlework magazines, and these two fun items:

this is a new piece of pottery, made by a completely charming old gentleman who insisted on telling me all about the piece and that he refers to it as the "He/She Bottle" because it looks more masculine or feminine from different angles.  Unfortunately I didn't get his name, but if you go he's the one everybody calls "the pottery guy".  I love the weird angles and the drippy glaze, and it fits right in with all my West German stuff.

in the "International Booth" I found this great tapestry...

it has birds AND cats on it.  what's not to love??

nobody could tell me where it was from, so who knows....South America?  Pakistan?  no idea.  It's about 2 ft wide and 6 ft long, which makes it a weird rug size, and kinda large for a table runner.  I think I'll sew a dowel to the back and hang it somewhere.

oh and then there's the Bench.

we bought the table a few months ago and I really wanted the matching bench, but couldn't bring myself to spend that much all at once.  buying stuff new is seriously nerve-wracking for me after so many years of thrifting!  I like the pairing of the vintage chrome-y Bruer style chairs and the rustic slab table, but I also wanted more seating and, hey benches are all the rage in dining rooms right now, right?

anyway so this weekend they were 25% off and so I bought it, the end.


heathered cable-y goodness

finished another cowl...why oh why do I keep knitting them??  oh that's right, because they are unintimidating, don't take too much yarn, don't really need to fit...

I guess I should block it...but usually I decide to wear them before they get blocked and then it's like the seal has been broken and I never do the annoying boring part that I'm never sure I'm doing right anyway.

more details on the pattern and yarn and all that good stuff after I've blocked it (ha) and taken better pics...


diy bubble chandelier

we really needed a lighting fixture over the dining table, it was getting ridiculous eating in the dark all the time, but I couldn't decide what to put there...it's already got "a whole lot of look" going on...big slab table, crazy macrame weavings (which I'm sure you're sick of seeing in every photo).  then I remembered this cool project from Readymade magazine (RIP, Readymade...I miss you) and decided now was the time to do it.  because now is the time of year when you can find very cheap glass balls, in the form of christmas ornaments!  I headed to Michaels, Ikea, and Lowes, and came back with the following:

twelve 3" diameter glass ball ornaments - $10
twelve 2.5" diameter glass ball ornaments - $10
Ikea "Hemma" hanging light cord - $8
roll of jute twine - $2
white electrical tape - $2
1.5" silver welded ring - $1

total:  $33

Here's my slightly tweaked version of Jean Pelle's original idea...mine ended up looking a little more...organic?  but that's ok.  While I was making it I decided it was inspired by those cool glass floats that are tied up with twine...and actually that's a great idea which if I'd had more time I might have incorporated.  but anyway...

I decided that I was not up to the task of splicing electrical cords together, as they did in the original project, so I just went with one light socket.  first of all, you should decide how low you are going to have your light hang down from the ceiling.  I can't hang anything low or one of the cats will try to climb it, so I decided I wanted the center of the cluster to be about 20" below the ceiling.

I felt the christmas ornaments were just way too obviously christmas ornaments, so I started by hot gluing the twine around the silver caps to disguise them a bit.  then I tied a knot in the twine at the hanging wire and left about a yard of twine as a tail.

next I created 8 bunches of three balls and then tied one of the pieces of twine around the other two in what my old macrame book tells me is a "half hitch" knot...I did a bunch of those knots in a row and ended up with these twisty ropes.  the ropes varied between 3-6" long.

then I did the same knots of twine around the light socket cord for a few inches.

then (and this is where I stopped taking photos), using white electrical tape, I taped the ends of the 8 bunches to the cord, attempting to make a nice grape-bunchy sort of shape.  this part is hard...the glass balls are all clacking against each other annoyingly, and it gets surprisingly heavy.  I would recommend having a friend hold it while you do the placement, or hanging it from something.  I just kinda winged it!

anyway then I kept doing the half hitches with the twine over the electrical cord, covering the taped sections as I got to them and trimming the ends of the twine tied to the balls as I covered them.

I covered the cord till it measured about 18" from the top of the socket.  then I tied a silver metal ring to the twine and did some knots around that, and threaded the end of the cord through the ring.  (this is just to have something nicer than the cord its self to hang everything from)  threaded the end of the twine onto a big needle, weaved it back through the half hitches till it was secure, and trimmed off the excess.

and that's it!  all in all it only took me a few hours.  I wasn't too sure about it at first, but once I hung it and turned the light on, I was really happy with it.  it's visually very "light", and doesn't compete with all the other stuff in the dining room.  I love that it feels both handmade and modern at the same time, that's a balance I strive for in everything I make.

I need another hanging light in the bedroom, so this has inspired me to brainstorm and think of something original to do in there!


avoiding the curse

have you heard of the "Sweater Curse"?  apparently it's a known phenomenon, wherein you make a sweater for your significant other and then they dump you.  no one really understand why it happens, but it may have something to do with the deep meaning that an object absorbs when you spend many many hours hand-making something for someone you care about.  perhaps if the relationship is already shaky, that emotional weight is just too much for some people to deal with.

or maybe they are just ugly sweaters, who knows.

anyway, I tried to dodge the curse by knitting Josh a scarf instead.  I was inspired by the Noro Striped Scarf project by Brooklyn Tweed.  I priced the fancy Noro Silk Garden yarn, but decided that for a scarf he might never wear, $60+ was a little silly.  So I went with Lion Brand's Amazing, which is another (much cheaper) variegated yarn with long color shifts, which is what you need for this project.

there's just two different colorways used here, Joshua Tree and Olympia, but because of the variegated nature of them it seems like more.  I'm not sure what the length is, I used 4 balls of yarn and pretty much used them all up.

living in LA, I doubt he will get much use out of it, but he claims to like it.  who knows with dudes though...they are a mystery.  I think he looks cute in it though, and if he doesn't wear it, I will!


falling back


it's funny how my attitude towards Daylight Savings has changed as I've gotten older...I used to be happy for an extra hour of sleep, but today I sprang out of bed at my usual hour and was thrilled by the idea of a whole extra hour of being awake!  what to do with it???

do you try to be productive with that extra hour?  maybe work out, since you don't have that "no time" excuse today?  or do something fun and indulgent?  all the online lists I read suggested silly things like "learn to play a song on a ukelele"....I think they vastly overestimate my musical ability.

this year, falling back coincides with me falling into a new job.  for at least the next few months, I'll suddenly have much less time to spend with Josh and my kitties, and less time to do what I love...making things, taking pictures, cooking good food, walking around and looking at the world.  I guess the challenge is to find that extra hour every day, however you can.  Because really the world keeps turning at the same rate, no matter how we decide to divide it up...it's what we do with that time that matters.

this kind of sums it up...

How It Happens 
The sky said I am watching
to see what you
can make out of nothing
I was looking up and I said
I thought you
were supposed to be doing that
the sky said Many
are clinging to that
I am giving you a chance
I was looking up and I said
I am the only chance I have
then the sky did not answer
and here we are
with our names for the days
the vast days that do not listen to us
 — W.S. MERWIN, poet laureate of the United States and author, most recently, of “The Shadow of Sirius,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 2009


Millwater cowl

I wandered around the amazing Japanese garden in Portland draping this cowl I made on rocks and trees and taking photos.  Josh was embarrassed.  yeah, people looked at me funny, but I don't care...knitting looks better in nature.

this is the Millwater Cowl by Beth Kling...pattern available on Ravelry here.  Yarn is madelinetosh vintage, in Maple Leaf.