Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Finally finished!

I have a small issue with my knitting projects. I seem to have a habit of getting 85-95% done with them, then they disappear into the "almost done" vortex. Usually it's a question of sewing up some seams, sewing on a button, weaving in the ends. Ok, there's theme here. Apparently I don't love the sewing part. I don't know if that's a great excuse for letting a project sit in my closet for 3 months before being "finalized" enough to wear!

Last night, while rummaging through my closet, I came across the minisweater (pattern by Stephanie Japel) that I started making sometime in December or early January. It was literally done except for some ends to weave and a button for the front...which took me about 90 seconds to take care of. I was proudly able to wear it into work today, seeing as the So Cal weather is bright, sunny, but not too hot.

Anyway, here it is. 3 weeks to knit, 3 months to finish, but I love it. I also understand now why everybody loves Malabrigo - it is buttery soft to work with and wonderful to wear. My husband was happy to take these photos (probably because I essentially asked him to photograph my chest) although his opinion on the cardi itself is "I like it, but where's the rest of it?" He cannot for the life of him understand the concept of a shrug/bolero/anything missing the bottom half. Good thing I'm not making him wear it. Personally, I'm really glad this knit piece got a happy ending!

Friday, April 24, 2009

That thing they call adulthood

A week from today I will be turning 30. In the lead up to this "milestone" birthday, it's definitely given me reason to reflect upon the last decade of my life - where I've come from, where I'm going to, and other random musings.

I was really inspired to share my thoughts after going to get my lunch yesterday. I'd been busy moving offices at work and after hauling boxes about for 4 hours I was starving and somewhat grouchy. I apparently picked the exact time that the local high school let out to go get my lunch and when I saw the dozens of teenagers milling about, crowding the space I was in and generally being teenagers, I found myself thinking "why the hell are you not still in school?"

I have been having this kind of thought a lot more recently as I am apparently being launched kicking and screaming into the realization that yes, I am what they call an adult. In my own head, I am still a juvenile in so many ways. I still think it would be funny to take someone's office chair and hide it in one of the elevators in our building. I still think it's funny to play pranks on my co-workers, laugh at fart jokes, whine when I can't have ice cream...and I can't imagine not doing these things. Perhaps that's the true definition of being "youthful" - a brat on the inside but masquerading as an adult?

I don't remember taking the test for this! There's no class or lecture telling you how to handle it and it still surprises me a little bit that I could be considered responsible, mature, ok to ride without training wheels. I am firmly entrenched in the world of FHA, 401K, IRA, HOAs and other things with strange acronyms. I willingly took on a mortgage, discovered that Home Depot is my friend (or perhaps I just spend way too much time there), and actually get excited enough about plumbing products that I blog about them. When I get together with my friends, we sit and talk extensively about things you're not supposed to - like politics and religion. My girlfriends and I share a common state of marital bliss and spend much of our time discussing ovulation and which baby names our former selves would have made fun of. When did I start sounding like a potential parent? How can I even be considering when would be a good time to start having kids when I am a kid myself?

It's only when I look back over my last decade that I realize how far I've come and how much I've learned. Sure, I've made a ton of mistakes along the way but that's how we learn isn't it? I have learned that even if you are technically an adult, your parents will always think of you as their little kid...but no matter how old you get, when you get yourself in trouble, your parents may well still be the first people you call for help. I learned that I really am capable of so much and living on my own taught me that. I've learned that when you've crashed cars and been in car crashes, AAA membership is a wonderful wonderful thing. I've learned that there will always be people that you leave behind or lose track of in each stage of your life. As sad as that may be, treasure those that you carry with you. There are also those that you feel that have wronged you. I've learned that it's possible to move on and forgive. I've learned that when the doctor tells you that your body will "change" after the age of about 28, she's not lying. I've learned there is nothing wrong with acting like a kid - I'd rather have smile wrinkles than frowny ones. I've learned that instinct is an incredibly powerful thing and you should listen to it. I've learned that some jokes are is some music (even if Salt'n Pepa's "Push It" is now 22 years old and you just can't figure out how the hell that happened). I've learned that the stranger that once told me "you're too young to die but never too young to rock" knew exactly what he was talking about.

I've learned.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Vintage Village

A little while after opening my vintage shop on Etsy, I found out about the Vintage Village website. This is a site set up for vintage artists to share their wares and make a group effort to promote vintage goods. It also has a sister site - Vintage Rising - which is designed to promote items created from reclaimed vintage items.

If you're looking for a place to find some really cool vintage pieces, or somewhere to promote your vintage shop, I definitely suggest you take a minute to check it out! Here's my little photo slideshow that I made this morning. You can just click on any picture to take it to the description page. I'm hoping to get some time soon to photograph more of my vintage stash to put up in my store.

Find more photos like this on The Vintage Village

My other plan right now is to upcycle some of the many many notecards, postcards and other paper ephemera that I've been finding. Most of it is vintage but there are some bits and bobs that I can't really date. Either way, there's lot of cute things can be made I'm sure. So, question is - what would you want to buy that's made from upcycled vintage cards (i.e. notepads, collage art etc.)? I would love your opinions.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hat Attack!

Back in December, you may remember I participated in a vendor fair that just didn't go all too well for me. I came back from that with a massive inventory of stuff, all neatly tucked away in a Rubbermaid container...all forgotten and neglected until now.

I was inspired last week to really get a grip on my craft supplies, figure out what I have, what I needed to do with it and so on. I finally unpacked the storage bin and took a look back through the things I made, and decided it's time to start listing. I had to borrow a mannequin head for photos because, as my husband pointed out, most hats look like mushroom caps on me. It's true, I think I look like the mushroom dude from Mario Cart (I don't even know what his name is...but that's me).

Anyway, here's a sampling of what I have just listed in my store, and there is more to come! I also have some collars and scarflets to list as soon as I can. I've been finding fun names for them too, which has probably been spurred by all the recent talk of pregnancy by my close friends, who are frantically deciding names for their offspring. I'm not quite there yet myself with the baby thing, but that's not saying I can't find cool names online to name products right?

This green and white one is named Olwen, after the Welsh patroness of springtime, while the purple beanie is named Sverra, which is Nordic for "swirl"!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

And in other news...a plumbing extravaganza

The beauty of home-ownership is learning new ways to deal with the bizarre "issues" that rear their ugly heads around the home.

Last weekend, it was a visit to Home Depot (where I feel like I am at home these days) to buy some plumbing epoxy. When I think epoxy, I of course go to the craft epoxy for jewelry molds and that type of thing. Turns out there's an awesome epoxy you can get to completely seal the space between two pipes where the original seal has miraculously evaporated and water is leaking into the under-sink cabinet and in a lovely stream across the bathroom floor. It hardens like steel with in 20 minutes and the sink has been functional ever since. (I should also take the opportunity to apologize to my husband for even thinking that he may have awoken in the middle of the night and peed on the floor, which honestly is the first thought I had when I first happened across the leak on the floor that bleary eyed morning...)

This weekend, it was a visit to Home Depot for something to clear the clog in the kitchen sink. What was even more frustrating is that this particular clog happened a few months ago and it cost a $60 plumber visit for him to wiggle around a drain snake for, maybe, 5 minutes. Well, we found our new little plumbing miracle - "Plumb-away" - a fancy aerosol drain opener with a zesty lemon after-scent. It took one rather awesome "puff" of air into the drain and it's been running clear ever since! It was only $16 for the starter kit, which comes with an 8 use canister, and worth ever penny as far as I can tell. You do have to plug the overflow drain well or a bunch of unwanted drain goop could come flying out due to the force of the compressed air. I suggest making it a two person job - one to properly block the overflow drain, one to release the air from the canister. I'm not usually one to blog about fascinating plumbing issues, but I feel like this product would give Billy Mays something to yell about.

And now back to our regularly scheduled crafting...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Nom Nom Nom

Last Friday, as we were eating dinner, I realized that I was having my monthly craving for apple crisp. I'm never quite sure what inspires this craving but it happens about as frequently as my craving for Indian food (which I know is a deep seeded British craving of sorts). The problem with the apple crisp thing is that there just isn't anywhere near our house that serves it and serves it well. So, outside of driving 20 miles round trip to BJs, I usually have to settle for Denny's. So, as the husband and I wandered off on our Friday night Denny's dessert date, we decided it was about time that one of us learned how to cook apple crisp because, even though it makes the cravings subside a little, Denny's apple crisp is a little disappointing to me every time.

Now, I should explain that the husband gets a little nervous when I try to bake sweet items (no problem whatsoever with savory baking I should add). I've had a long history of buggering up my baking - from the square cupcakes I once brought to a pot luck at work, to the cinnamon brick (I mean loaf) that I was supposed to be making for a bake sale, to the time when I made a pie with a ready made pie crust...and forgot to bake the crust. I do have my occasional moment of brilliance with a box of Duncan Hines, but outside of that, I kind of suck. Having chosen between 2 completely idiot proof apple crisp recipes, I confidently went off to the store to buy ingredients with the warning from my husband "If you mess this one up, I swear I will not let you bake ever again!"

I would just like to say that I totally aced it. I might even be able to move on from an easy recipe to an "intermediate" one - if I'm lucky and the wind is blowing in the right direction. What's even better is that we managed to get 3 nights of dessert out of one dish of the stuff and it even tastes really good cold. I already put a note on the fridge to buy some caramel next time I'm at the store because it's definitely the one thing I was missing that's needed for next month's apple crisp adventures.

The success of the apple crisp of course led to the next culinary test - French Onion Soup. Both myself and husband love this soup. If we're at a restaurant where we think they'll make it well, that's what we're ordering. The first time I took him to Paris, that's what he had to get. Again, went on a search for recipes and came up with several that I pulled ideas from, but mostly followed this one.

My primary concern with this whole thing is how much Gruyere cheese costs. $10 for a half lb!! Is this stuff gold crusted or something? It hurt just a little bit to put it in the shopping cart given my crazy budget for grocery shopping. (I would like to give a big shout out to Big Lots for providing me with awesome ramekins on the cheap...helped balance the pain of the cheese).

So, the fact is that this is not a hard soup to make, as long as you are patient. I did start off with the husband finding me in tears in the kitchen, but that's what chopping 6 onions at once will do for you. Once the caramelizing of the onions is done, the rest is simple and the broiling of the cheese is definitely the most satisfying thing I've done in a while. We have enough broth and cheese to have a couple more nights with this particular soupy appetizer and we're going to enjoy the hell out of it!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Panorama stitching - not as hard as it seems

While I was in Miami last week, we had the pleasure of going to an event on a rooftop on Lincoln Road in South Beach. The very first thing that struck me coming out of the elevator was "ooh, great panorama!" Of course, I had to bust out my new camera, turn on the on-screen grid lines and give a panorama shot a go. Thanks of course to some nifty online software, it's actually pretty easy to create a fun panoramic photo slideshow. Here is my view over SoBe Miami!

I think it worked out pretty well and in terms of stitching the 7 shots together, this looks quite seamless, thanks to the help of the free online program offered at The only downside of the site is that it's not Firefox compatible yet so you'd most likely need to use IE. On the upside, if you're like me and hate having to become a member of every site that you use, you can skip the sign-up and just get the code to embed this slideshow. It's also linked in to blogger, myspace, facebook etc so you can upload/embed straight off the MagToo site.

I'm looking for some software to download that will actually let me create a panoramic image that can later be printed. Will have to provide an update on how that goes!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Back from vacation!

I'm finally back from my trip to Miami and getting back into the swing of things - the grocery store trip last night being a good part of this seeing as it's helpful to have food in the fridge! I think the hardest part of being on vacation is trying to figure out what happened while you were gone. The good news is that I got a couple of Etsy orders (one from each store, yay!) and nothing exploded in the house. =)
Well, South Beach was a blast and if you ever have a chance to go out there, check out the Cuban restaurant - Puerto Sagua - on 7th Avenue/Collins. Best Cuban food ever. From the second we booked our flights, I was craving a visit to that restaurant (which we found on our trip to Miami last year), and wasn't disappointed.

While we primarily made the trip for the music side of things - Winter Music Conference - we got to do a lot of fun beachy stuff too, including going on a 5-hour boat cruise around the bay with an open bar and DJ on the boat. I've definitely browned a little (although I was a good girl and used sunscreen), and now I'm back home it's nice to have retained a little of the vacation glow.

One of the funniest things about the trip has to be sitting in the park on our last day out there. We're across from the beach and sitting in the grassy area because our beach towels were already packed. Now, in Los Angeles, I'm used to the crazy squirrels, perhaps the occasional possum at night, but I would never expect to look over and see a 2ft long iguana wandering through the park! The husband pointed him out to me and it totally freaked me out until I realized it was pretty cool and should take some pictures. Meet Vernon, your local park iguana! I'll admit that I spent the rest of the time we were in the park being a little paranoid that some other lizard type thing was going to crawl up my leg or fall out of an overhead branch. I'm just not used to things of that size cruising past without a care in the world!

Anyway, trying to get back into the swing of things and have a million things I need to do for my Etsy shops, plus house cleaning, getting back to the gym etc. I also started planning my 30th birthday (May 1) pub crawl in my head last night. Great vacation, but nice to be home.