30 November 2008

a little guy for a little guy


Phew...well, leave it to me to get ridiculously sick this weekend. This weekend, which was my last weekend before the big craft fair weekend! I was hoping to get everything all finished up, and Jared and I had a pretty hefty non-crafty to-do list. Unfortunately, I haven't left the house (and have barely left the couch) since we got home from Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday night. Oh well, sometimes, you just have to surrender to the tea and soup gods.

Anyways, in addition to Thanksgiving, we also celebrated the second birthday of Jared's youngest nephew. I remembered on Wednesday afternoon that we had decided to do this (since his actual birthday isn't until tomorrow), at which point, I also realized that we had no gift. We picked up a copy of Happy Birthday To You!, always a classic, and Thursday morning (after I finished my cooking) I whipped up this little guy. He's a super simple little softie made from two different fleeces that I had in my stash. I had toyed with the idea of making a happy face on one side, and a sad face on the other, but in the end, I honestly just didn't feel like making two faces! He's definitely a little wonky looking, but I know he'll be well loved by one of the sweetest two year olds I know. I'm thinking that I may work on the design a bit and make some for the shop. But that won't be until next year...

For right now, I'm focused on finishing up the last of the zippy pouches and then photographing everything I've worked on these past few weeks! For all you local folks, I'll be back with details on this weekend, and for all you non-local folks, I'll be posting everything that's left over on Monday December 8. I hope you all had lovely Thanksgivings!

27 November 2008

in gratitude

It's Thanksgiving, obviously. There are always so many things to be thankful for...
:: friends and family, both near and far.
:: new friends, many of whom I've found through this blog and through flickr.
:: continued good health, for myself, my mom, and others.
:: the change that I know is coming, and knowing that I can make change too.
:: finding new passions, and learning new things.
:: creativity and beauty in my life.
:: falling asleep and waking up next to someone I love.

...and so many more. I hope you all have beautiful and delicious Thanksgivings.

24 November 2008

whirrr


goes the sewing machine. I've been working working away here. I had hoped to have a bit of a holiday shop update this year, but it looks like that opportunity is slowly slipping away as the days go by here. I'm keeping myself busy getting ready for two awesome craft shows coming up in just under two weeks. The first is the No Coast Craft-o-Rama, on Friday December 5 and Saturday December 6, which I am super excited to be part of this year. I didn't get in last year, and this year I got in off the waiting list, so I'm extremely honored to be part of this awesome show. And the second (the very same weekend!) is another one of the very awesome Handmaidens shows, on Sunday December 7, which I am also very excited about. Sadly, I won't be able to be there for the entire day as I have a work (yes, work) event. But my good friend Milena will be running the show for me over there on Sunday. So if you're in the area, please come by, I'd love to meet you (or see you again)!

I'm doing my best to get all stocked for the big weekend, so I won't be updating my shop before then. If you're still in the market for some last minute gifts, I will be doing an update with everything that's leftover (whatever that may be) on Monday December 8. I know it's last minute, but that's the best I can do this year. Hopefully next year, I'll plan better.

I am pretty excited about some of the goodies that I've been working on recently, and I'll be sure to give you some sneak peeks soon. Probably this weekend. I know gift making is probably in high gear out there in crafty blogland, what have you all been making these days?

21 November 2008

s t i l l: b o d y

I mentioned earlier this week that Martha was hosting a s t i l l: b o d y week and I wanted to share with you a few of my favorites from the week (click on the mosaic for individual photo credits). Check out the flickr group for more. It was a bit of a crazy week for me, lots going on at work, and getting sick in the middle of it all. I contributed a few photos. Most of all, it's good inspiration and I hope I can continue to try to have focus like this when I take photos in the future.

Have a good weekend friends, I'll be sewing away getting ready for a couple of shows that I'll tell you about next week. Hope you're all doing something fun!

20 November 2008

Some cookies for this fine Thursday

I realized that it's been quite a while since I've shared a recipe with you all here. I have a few in the hopper waiting to post, but here's a new one for you. One of Jared's amazing little nephews is now on a gluten-free diet and since I usually bring some cookies or some kind of tasty treat when we go over there, I figured I'd go gluten free for our visit this past weekend. Naturally I turned to the expert. I've read Shauna's blog for quite some time, but have never managed to actually make one of her recipes. This seemed as good a time as any. If you're just on a search for recipes, she has compiled an index of all of her recipes here. I know I'll be back to that index, especially as we prepare for a vegan, gluten free Thanksgiving over at their house next week (I'll be sure to report back on the menu for that one!).

As delicious as the recipe looks, I did make a few modifications so I could accommodate both the gluten free three and a half year old, and the vegan twenty eight year old. The original version of the recipe is here, my vegan version is below. These cookies are seriously delicious, miraculously there are still a few left, but they are still chewy, which I love! The salt (which Shauna specifically talks about in her post about this recipe) add such a delicious bite, and really cuts the sweetness in a nice way. The original recipe calls for a Mexican hot chocolate mix, which has chili powder in it, but I didn't have any on hand. I used my standard cocoa mix, though I think these would be really tasty with a little spice!

LinkVegan, Gluten Free Ooey Gooey Chocolate Cookies
(adapted from The Gluten Free Girl)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups white rice flour (the recipe calls for "sweet rice flour" and I didn't know if that meant white or brown rice flour. I chose white)
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup millet flour
1/4 cup teff flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup non dairy margarine (softened)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup hot cocoa powder
3 tbl ground flax seed mixed with 9 tbl water
1 tbl vanilla
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all flours, add baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, cream margarine, sugars, and cocoa powder. Mix in flax mixture and vanilla. Pour dry mixture into wet mixture all at once and mix until combined. Add in chocolate chips. Bake 12-14 minutes, cool before eating. Enjoy!

18 November 2008

Finally, a hat he likes

Jared has been begging me to make him a hat for, oh, two years. A couple of years ago I made him and his brothers matching hats (same pattern, different yarns) for Christmas. Unfortunately, it didn't really fit him and certainly didn't fit his specifications of being warm enough and long enough (both of which are totally fair specifications when it comes to Minnesota winters). I finally got around to searching for a pattern and found this one, which was approved. Jared insisted on having a plain black hat, so I insisted on having an interesting pattern to knit. And it all worked out.

He also wanted the hat to be fleece lined so I had to knit this one larger than the pattern called for (I actually had to make it twice since it wasn't quite big enough the first time). Lining knitted hats with fleece is always harder then I think it's going to be, especially since the hat stretches and the fleece doesn't really. But I managed and I got the two thumbs up. And just in time too, since it's gotten quite cold here in the last few days!

On an unrelated note, Martha is hosting s t i l l: b o d y week this week and I'm doing my best to participate. I'll share some of my favorites later in the week, there are already some really great ones up. Be sure to check out the flickr group, or just join in yourself, everyone's welcome! I always love having a photo challenge like that, just to give myself a little bit of focus when picking up the camera.

---------------------------------
Pattern: Lucky7 Hat by weezalana
Yarn: Nashua Handknits Creative Focus worsted weight, black
Needles: Size 7 circular and double pointed needles, cable needle
Modifications: I didn't do the brim, but I did make the ribbing at the bottom 15 rows, just to make it a bit longer. I also added two extra cables (casting on 108 sts instead of 84) and added an extra 7 rows in the "noggin" section (so the crown row starts at row 52) to make the hat big enough to accommodate the fleece lining.

14 November 2008

back to...

...reality. After a few posts about warm (well, it was hot) and sunny Arizona, it feels a bit shocking to come back to cold Minnesota. Oh well, this beautiful malabrigo should help a bit. During my last minute trip to New York a couple of weeks ago, I finished the knitting project I had brought with me. Gasp! I couldn't be without a knitting project, especially with a long flight back to Minneapolis.

I had been wanting to make a pair of fingerless gloves, especially after seeing these and these (and I know there were more). I looked a couple different patterns (there are tons online, Leslie has some lovely ones), and eventually settled on this one, from knitty. The cables make them more fun to knit and to look at, and are still pretty simple. I have to admit that juggling the double pointed needles and the cable needle got a little dicey at points, but it was totally worth it.

As I progressed on these, I realized they would be perfect for my cousin, who, coincidentally, was overdue for a birthday present. So off to her they went, and luckily she loves them. I really loved making these, and already have another pair underway! Unfortunately I've run out of yarn for this second pair and am off to a new yarn shop this afternoon to get another skein, I'm crossing my fingers that the different dye lots aren't too different!

I can already tell that these will be prominent on my gift giving list this year, though I do need to take a break from knitting and get back to sewing. You know you have a problem when you're putting off sewing for knitting. I have two major craft shows coming up at the beginning of December and really need to get my butt moving on those! Hence, why I'm posting in the middle of the day on a Friday. That's right, I just took the day off. {Sigh} So happy Friday people! I've got a fun new project up my sleeve which I'm testing out today, so hopefully I'll have something new to show you soon!

---------------------
Pattern: Fetching by Cheryl Niamath
Yarn: Malabrigo worsted weight, in stone blue colorway, less than one skein (probably about half) [the second pair is Nashua Handknits, Julia in espresso colorway- no the name of the yarn did not influence my choice to use it!]
Needles: size 6 double pointed needles + cable needle

13 November 2008

Cosanti

In my last post I talked about the experience of going to a place you've spent so much time at, and seeing it through a new lens (in this case, the camera lens). Cosanti is a place that's always been just a few minutes drive from my grandparent's place, but somehow I've managed to never go there.

Cosanti is where they make the Soleri bells, which are amazing. But it's also sort of an artist's colony, and sustainable community. The buildings sort of made me feel like I was on Tatooine (I know, I'm a bit of a Star Wars nerd, blame my older brother). Each building was in itself a work of art, yet at the same time, they all fit so perfectly into the desert landscape.

Photographs of the bells were not allowed (though photographs of the buildings are), and I definitely felt like I was respecting that request as I was shooting (certainly I was happier to respect that request than the no photos rule at the cupcake place the day before). Clearly, after I got my film back, I saw that the bells made an appearance. Oh well, they weren't the focus.

I could have spent hours wandering around and touching each and every one of the hundreds of bells they had on display all over the grounds. But, it was hot, and people were ready to go. I'll definitely be going back there the next time I'm in town.

Cosanti has a "sister" site further out in the desert, called Arcosanti, that is focused on sustainable architecture and design. Given all the crazy growth and development that's going on in Arizona, it's heartening to know that there are some people who are thinking about ways to continue that growth in a sustainable and harmonious fashion.

Oh yeah, and it was obviously just beautiful there too.

11 November 2008

dreaming of the desert

I mentioned weeks ago that I had gone to Arizona to celebrate my grandpa's 85th birthday. Even before my grandparents moved to Arizona four or five years ago, they'd been spending their winters there for as long as I can remember (probably longer). When I was little, my family used to go visit them there every year, so I've spent a lot of time in Scottsdale over the years. I went to the Grand Canyon with my dad one year, taking a little prop plane (and throwing my breakfast up in said prop plane) and being so amazed that there was snow at the Canyon. Actually, on that little trip, with just the two of us, I remember my dad let me use the camera and take a picture of him. That's actually the first memory I have of using a camera! Funny the memories that come up when you're thinking of something else.

Anyways, I've seen that part of the country grow and grow and develop beyond anything I could have imagined. But going there this time, well, it was the first time I'd been there since I've gotten more interested in photography and really taking photos. It's funny how differently you see a place when you're looking through the viewfinder. I really wanted to get some photos of the desert, but unfortunately, there was a bit of a heat wave while we were there and no one wanted to spend much time outdoors. So during a Saturday afternoon drive, my parents graciously pulled over a couple of times and Jared and I hopped out of the car to snap some photos. He's such a good assistant!

So here are a few of my favorites. I have another set that I'll share tomorrow. Even though this was only three weeks ago, it feels like a lot longer. And of course winter has arrived here, so hot and sunny days feel worlds away from my walk home in the freezing rain this afternoon. I suppose it's good to have photos like these to revisit on days like today...









10 November 2008

new friends


are lots of fun. Especially when they're equally as nerdy about cameras and cupcakes and shelves upon shelves of doorknobs and light fixtures. Saturday afternoon I had the incredible pleasure of meeting up with four very lovely ladies.

We had some cupcakes (after we spent quite a while photographing the cupcakes) and warm beverages, which were much needed on the cold afternoon that it was, and chatted for a while.

Then we headed next door to the architectural salvage store and spent quite a while taking photos of all sorts of things that I always think would be good buys (but seriously, what would I do with a wall full of doorknobs? coat hooks?).

It was super fun, and I was once again reminded of how awesome it is to have found all these people that I have so much in common with through the beauty of flickr, and the internet in general. And how wonderful it is when some of those people just happen to be my neighbors.

I took most of my shots in film, so I'll be sharing some more of these when they come back later this week. I've finally decided to switch my film developing from the obnoxious, but faster place, to the slower, but nicer and WAY more knowledgeable (not to mention locally-owned) place. So some of my film may be coming back a little slower. Not to worry, I still haven't shown you most of my desert photos! Or my first roll of cross processed film! Yes, people, I have lots to share. And I think my blogging mojo is coming back. For real this time.

07 November 2008

Nokomis Urban Craft Fair Tomorrow!


If you're local and available tomorrow (and hopefully not stuck home in freezing/snowing temps) come check out the Nokomis Urban Craft Fair tomorrow (Saturday) from 9am-2pm at the Nokomis Community Center (2401 E. Minnehaha Parkway in Minneapolis). I'll be there along with about 25 other vendors and it should be a great time. I've also hear that there's a few other shows in that neighborhood tomorrow, so you could make the rounds!

06 November 2008

cloud nine

so this is how it feels up here.

It feels like everyone in the world has talked about how happy they are about the election and how hopeful and full of wonder and beauty and optimism they are after Tuesday night's truly historic events. So I'll try not to be too repetitive. I just want to share my sense of awe for America. I truly do believe that I'm a patriotic person. I believe strongly in the ideals of this country; the ideals of equality and justice, of hard work and community building, of freedom and democracy. Unfortunately, those ideals are not always upheld. After Tuesday, I honestly believe that it is possible to get closer to the founding principles of this country. I'm not under any illusions that the United States will turn into some kind of utopia over the next four years, but I am inspired. I'm inspired both by our next president, President Obama (those words still give me goosebumps), and by everyone who waited hours in lines at their polling places and by everyone who voted for the first time ever (or maybe in a while). And that story about 106-year old Ann Nixon Cooper, well, just thinking about it makes me tear up.

On Tuesday afternoon, I volunteered to give rides to the polls. At about 3pm, I picked up two young African American women (one who had just turned 18 and was voting for the first time) and gave them and their three kids a ride to their polling place. I won't go into the nitty gritty details of what happened, but they almost did not get to vote. It was a long, frustrating, and discouraging two hours for them and for me. But in the end, they cast their ballots for the first African American president, and I know that they saw some hope for their own children, and for themselves. Helping someone vote is truly one of the greatest gifts, and I highly recommend it for the next time around.

In the end, I am happy, and I hope you all are too. Even if your candidate was not the winner. I truly believe that we are entering a new era in this country. And I hope it will be one that is filled with peace, justice, cooperation, and inspiration.

03 November 2008

in an effort to distract myself...

...I'm going to blog about knitting.

First of all, sorry to have disappeared on you all last week. I had a bit of a last minute need to go to New York. One of my oldest and bestest friends' father passed away and I just needed to go be with her. So I did. I'm not normally the type of person to pick up and hop on a plane spontaneously, but certain things are just too important for rational thought.

In the meantime, I spent a few days in New York. Spending some quality time with my friends, family, and totally weirdly meeting an awesome blog reader (hi Alice!). And, um, doing a lot of knitting. I should have some goodies to share with you soon. Of course the hat that I finally got around to making for Jared is too s
mall, so I'll be ripping that out and re-doing it this week. Luckily, it was nearing 75 degrees today, so he's in no urgent need of said hat.

LinkSo here's a project that I did manage to finish. I call it the Friday Afternoon Scarf. Why? Well, because I started it on a Friday afternoon and just felt like it's the perfect pattern that's pretty and interesting, but still quite simple to knit. I used two skeins of FrogTree Alpaca that was leftover from a sweater that I'm just now accepting needs to be ripped out (more on that later). It's the perfect length and I think the color will go really nicely with my new winter coat, which is chocolate brown. I found the pattern (via Ravelry) here, it's called the Cream of Spinach Scarf.

That's about all I have to say about knitting at the moment. I've got another sweet project in progress, which I'm now thinking of gifting so I may have to wait to share it here in a lame effort to maintain a surprise for the recipient.

Tomorrow, well, tomorrow, I'll be voting early early, working a bit, and then driving people to the polls all afternoon. I will admit to you all that I'm really nervous. I'm pretty much freaking out. But I'm trying to stay calm, and hopeful. I know I don't need to say it again, but please, vote tomorrow.