extreme thrifting

if they can make a show out of people clipping coupons, they could surely do one on thrifting.  wouldn't that be more interesting than watching people get excited about 2 for 1 toothpaste deals?  the best part of thrifting for me is the drama of it...it's never the same twice.  some days you strike out and come home with nothing, other days you can't stop finding great stuff.

but you have to be willing to deal with some crazy situations, which is where the extreme part comes in...my current favorite thrift store (I'm not telling you the name, that's how good it is) is deep in the San Fernando Valley, totally huge (I spent 2 hrs there saturday and didn't see it all), packed at all hours of the day, and only takes cash.  people there are totally intense and will take things out of your cart if you don't watch them.  I even once saw a man there have a seizure and fall down and crack his head open, sprawled out bleeding on the floor, and people did not stop shopping.  now that is good television!

anyway I was so happy to have a few hours on saturday to thrift, I went a little crazy...in addition to a ton of cute clothes, here's what I picked up...

this little guy.  did I need more blue art glass?  no I did not.  but $2!!  so home he came.

I did not find this brass butterfly sculpture saturday, but I've never snapped a photo of him so I thought I'd do that.  found at some thrift store, not sure where.  incidentally, if "Black Coffee and a Sidecar" is taken, "Brass Butterfly" would also be an excellent title for a memoir.

this is pretty certainly not C. Jere, but it's got that vibe so it's all good.

this pink and grey woven, probably South American, sexy throw is also not needed...but I'm on an ethnic-folksy textile kick these days...

let's get a closer look at those colors...so eighties!  I love it.

and lastly...and bestly...these guys.  I don't know, I guess I'm collecting antique shoe forms now?

I just couldn't resist them...that patina!  the one with the red handle kills me, the paint is all cracked and worn, so perfect.  these are so quirky and random, they feel a bit like a prop in a Pottery Barn catalogue, so I'm not sure how to display them, but I still love em.  check out these great stamps:

fantastic.  and come to think of it, "Oil All Moving Parts" isn't a bad title for a memoir either.


sweet finds

I was going through old photos and found these these close-ups of little embroidered jam and honey covers that I designed and stitched for one of the projects in Handmade Soirees with French General...

aren't they adorable?  each one is only about an inch across.  that's a lot of tiny stitches!  I'm sure they got covered in jam and then probably lost in the madness of shooting that book, but I'm glad I took photos before they were used!

(patterns are available in the back of Handmade Soirees!)


goodbyes are never easy (except when they are)

well, it's monday...again.  the weekends are just too short these days!  I spent sunday working on a new knitting chart.  I've just started knitting the sample but it shouldn't take long.

not like the other project...yeesh. I'm still working on my Bosc scarf, but crikey that lace knitting is slow going.  I'm just over half done with it and it's been almost a month!

in other news, we bid a fond farewell this weekend to Josh's red chair.  he had it for 20 years (though it was not new when he got it) and parting with it was hard for him.  but after much consideration, it was decided that the red chair needed to go.  then, a nice man from craigslist came and took it away and promised to give it a good home.  we stood and watched it drive down the street in the back of his truck, so red and velour and proud.  and now there is much more room in our office, and Josh does not need to get me anything for at least the next three Valentine's days.

goodbye, red chair.  I never liked you and I plotted your demise, but Josh loved you and I have to respect that.  there just wasn't room in this relationship for both of us.  


the grey lady


you know how some people have "good hair days"?  I rarely have those, but I try to have "good outfit days".  today was a pretty good one.  I have SO many clothes, it's really inexcusable to not know what to put on, but that's how I feel most mornings.

as I've gotten older I've definitely become a fan of routines...I like to eat the same exact thing for breakfast for months on end, for instance.  maybe this is part of my "paradox of choice" problem...the more decisions I have to make in a day, the more exhausted and cranky I get.  so lately I've really been wishing I was one of those people who only wears one color.  I can't seem to find a name for this habit, so I'll coin one..."monosartorial".

I got obsessed with this idea when I read this article about 5 monosartorial (see how it's catching on already??) New Yorkers who only wear one color, all day every day.  only wearing black doesn't count, obviously.  lots of boring people only wear black, and that's so boring it would probably take years to even notice, and even then you'd be like eh, no biggie.  I'm talking about people who, like the woman below, wear like...nothing but bright blue (she has blue shoes custom made!).  Or Karim Rashid, who only wears white and pink.

there is also a guy in this article who only wears BROWN, which is so depressing it makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry.  he doesn't look chic, he looks like a shut-in.

if I was going to do this (and I'm definitely thinking about it, for real) I would choose grey.  I love grey.  it's so versatile, it's clean and neutral...not as impractical as all white, but more interesting than all black.  plus grey looks good on me.  I mostly love how it would cut down on my decision process...imagine walking into a huge store, and being able to disregard 95% of the options just based on color!  it sounds heavenly.

anyway, if you see me and start to notice that I'm looking very monosartorial, that's what's going on.  I've finally decided to make one less decision every day!  here's a few fine looks I would be rocking...

(p.s. grey clothes + pink hair?  to. die. for. )       


after the "before" but before the "after"

sooooo tired tonight.  out of the blue saturday morning Josh got serious about redecorating the office, and I was not about to let that moment pass me by!  so this was the state of our shared desk space...

yea, pretty terrible.  we were each using half of his old formica dining table as a desk, and it wasn't working for either of us.  Josh wanted more privacy to concentrate on his writing, and I needed a bigger, more flexible workspace that could be used for multiple kinds of projects.  don't even get me started on the printers sitting on uhaul boxes under the table...

then there's the red chair in the right corner....we'll leave that for another post.

anyway so I measured the room and spent most of saturday making plans...moving little paper furniture around and seeing what fits...kinda like junior high home ec!

then this morning it was off to Ikea, right when they opened!  then back home to dismantle the formica table, then off to Goodwill with a truck full of old crap, then back home to put new crap together, then cursing and crying when I realized my careful planning had not gone totally perfectly, then BACK to Ikea, this time at 3pm on a weekend, to stand in the RETURNS line, which is basically voluntarily sentencing yourself to 2 hours of total misery, then back home again to finish putting everything together.

soooo, after all that... the room still looks pretty insane!  but I see potential now, Josh is already happy in his little writing den, and we have forward momentum.  which is the most important thing of all.  here's a sneak peek...

see, still pretty messy!  you'd think after all that there would be some impressive "after" photos, but this is real life people.  after photos don't really happen in the blink of an eye, unless you have some team of underpaid PAs running around doing all the work, while you just look cute on camera.

the list of things to do before the "after" is lengthy...new paint (should have done that before the furniture was built, I know), new window treatment, new desk chairs, cute area rugs, new corkboard... and books and knick knacks and art on the walls.

ugghhhh now I remember why it's been 6 months since we moved in and the office is still a mess.

to be continued...  


black coffee and a sidecar...

"Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!"

did you know I'm an Auntie?  actually I can't be a real auntie, because I don't have any siblings with kids, but as soon as my dear friend Melanie announced she was expecting, we both knew what her daughter Moira would call me:  "Auntie Mame".  I like that it was just assumed that I'm officially the adult in Moira's life who is allowed to be a terrible influence.

I really need to watch the Rosalind Russell version (really, is there any other?) again... aside from her amazing performance, I love the visuals in that movie.  her costumes are fantastic, and I certainly appreciate how her hair color changes from scene to scene.  but her apartment is the living end!

her decor changes multiple times, but the best one is when Patrick brings his snooty fiance and her parents, the Upsons, to visit.  Mame pulls out the stops to make the place as avant garde as possible and I love it all...

the crazy white screens!  the Danish modern furniture and fireplace!

that amazing staircase, all minimal and groovy carpet...and her outfit, I mean sequin harem pant capris with acid green chiffon???  so good.

the goldfish lamp...we should all have one.

that crazy sculpture is sitting in a koi pond!

and of course, the "adjustible" couches...

while I may not have her apartment, and some days I feel more like an Agnes Gooch than an Auntie Mame, I hope to live up to the name.  so I started Moira out slowly, with a little festive headwear for her first Christmas.  I knitted her this Santa hat from the Santa Baby pattern on Ravelry:

the kid can definitely work a hat!  Now that I know this, there will be more hats to come.  and dresses, and capes, and sequined harem pants...oh, yes.

(on a side note, I just read that Tilda Swinton is going to be starring in a re-make of Auntie Mame?!?  now I love Tilda, and Mame is a kook...but she's not an alien.)

(and on an even sidey-er side note, I think "Black Coffee and a Sidecar" is going to be the title of my memoirs.)


my first sweater (for a giant)

well, it's done...my first sweater!  I spent a month knitting this back in August...just endless rows of stockinette, done in a lovely Noro yarn and some others thrown in for interest.  I finally wove in all my ends, blocked it, and finished the side seams.  It's the Espenson sweater, which the pattern description calls an "insouciant caftan style tee".

looks pretty on the hanger doesn't it?

 look at that gorgeous Noro yarn...so many colors and interesting nubby textures...

ok, time to put it on!  (insert needle scratching on record here)

hmmmmm...it's really more caftan, less "tee".  ok, it's a dress now.  put on some tights and sassy boots.  

yea, that's not working....ok, it's "insouciant"...let's try a hand on the hip!  (thus proving there is a waist under there somewhere)

ok that's a little better, but you can't walk around like that all day.  let's try moving!

ok, bad idea, moving actually appears to anger it.  it's getting bigger.  no more moving!

yea, so basically this sweater will be perfect on me if I'm ever pregnant with octuplets.  (the photos above are the most flattering ones I took, if that tells you anything.)  before you blame the first-time sweater knitter, this matches the finished measurements in the pattern pretty much exactly.  my gauge was spot on,  and after blocking, the bust on mine is actually a couple inches smaller (!!), and the length is a few inches longer.  and I made the EXTRA SMALL.

I imagine the large size would make a lovely cozy for a mini-cooper.

what this has really taught me is to choose my patterns more carefully.  I picked the Espenson because it seemed really easy for a beginner (and it was).  it's basically a rectangle with a neck hole.  when I looked at other people's projects on Ravelry, not many ladies were really rocking it.  that should have been the first red flag....and I saw that the finished bust size on the XS was 60 freaking inches, and even that didn't stop me, for some reason.

it's one thing if you take a chance on a sweater that's half off on the Anthro website, and it could either be really funky and unique or really frumpy and bad, but hey you can always return it if it's bad.  when you spend a month knitting something, using yarn you really love and were saving for something special, you should probably choose a little more wisely.

so for now this is going in a drawer and will not be worn, at least until I maybe grow a giant tumor that I need to roll around next to me on a cart.

as long as the tumor is "insouciant", this will be perfect.


rippit, rippit...

FROGGING.  if you're not a knitter, that's what it's called when you have to rip out all your stitches and start over from scratch.  I wondered why they would call it that and apparently it's because that's the sound a frog makes..."rip-it".  yea, knitters are a kinda goofy bunch.

anyway, did you notice my "lace" knitting in the last post didn't look much like lace?  as in, not enough holes?  well, I figured out why about a day later and realized that I was doing things SO wrong, that I needed to frog it and start over.  It was depressing but I'm glad I did, because now...et voila!  Lace!

so yeah nobody told me there were different types of yarn overs?  Up till now, my method of just looking up new stitches on youtube whenever I encountered one I'd never done was working great.  The Knitwitch has taught me so much, but she failed me this time!  But now, thanks to the amazingly generous people on Ravelry, I have learned a ton of lace knitting tricks.  Ravelry is like having thousands of super crafty friends who are willing to help you out at any hour of the day.  I was even contacted by the designer of the scarf I'm working on, with words of encouragement and offers of help getting through the pattern.  So cool!

so it's looking much better now and I'm really enjoying my Bosc scarf project.  I'm also enjoying my new 50mm lens for the camera!  I haven't had much time to play with it yet, mostly I've just been pointing it at stuff in my office and trying to get better at manually focusing.  But here's a few pretty shots...

I can't resist throwing in a cat photo now and again!  Cats and yarn, that's all I need to be happy these days. 

p.s.  I'm feeling like this font is a little hard to read, so I think I'll be playing around with my blog template this week.  let me know what you think!