Some Decision-Making


I had off today and must admit that it feels good just to be around the apartment drinking coffee and catching up reading some of the books I purchased over the past couple of weeks.  I am still waiting for my yarn order from Knit Picks to get started on the cowl sweater I blogged about earlier in the week.  The order doesn’t arrive until the weekend which means I have to wait until Monday because the order is being delivered at my office.  I am not home during the week to receive the package, so having packages shipped to the office is the best way.

Last night before coming from work, I made a stop at Whole Foods to pick up some groceries and start shopping for Thanksgiving.  I brought some butter, flour, pie crust, and spices as a start.  I still have to plan a menu for turkey day, and thinking about making Brussels Sprouts with bacon and garlic.  My dad wants Collard Greens, but probably will make them next weekend and freeze them.  I have some decision-making to do.

I brought another book yesterday, “Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit – Using the Rub-Off Technique to Re-create and redesign your Favorite Fashions”, I think the title is longer than the actual writing.  I am kidding, but why are titles so long these days?  I am will be reading this book over the weekend because along with knitting the cowl sweater, I would like to make a pair tweed trousers.  I love tweed, and was also thinking about a dress and skirt.

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I found this wool tweed on Trim Fabric’s website, and tweed seems to be the trend for the fall.  I think this tweed will coordinate well with the purple I chose the knit the cowl sweater. I also love knit and it’s probably the reason for me learning how to knit so that I can make something like this Jonny Rotten jacket from “Brave New Knits”.  Blue is my favorite, this is another reason why I like this jacket and buttons are just great.  With my luck, I probably will not find these buttons, but fabric covered buttons could work as well.

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I purchased the Interweave Crochet Accessories issue, and the crochet jewelry pique my interest.  I especially like the crochet belt because it would coordinate great with a tweed or charcoal dress.  The crochet wired bracelet is lovely as well.

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That’s all I have for the moment, ciao for now.

Rainy Day Project


It has been one rainy day on the East Coast, actually it’s been raining on and off since Sunday.  I have been waiting for some jewelry supplies to make necklace and some finally arrived on Monday and Tuesday.  I have a necklace project on the burner for a couple of weeks, but realize that I did not have enough size 6 seed beads to finish the project.   Upon ordering more seed beads I decided to purchase another set of beads and toggle clash as I am going to make another World Traveler necklace from Fusion Beads.  I am going to have dalmatian jasper beads left over, so I am creating an original piece.

I have another order from Fire Mountain Gems on the way with wooden beads to make some bracelets and necklaces.  I purchase some turquoise beads and getting some inspiration as what to make with them.  Also re-order some beads for a project to posted a couple of weeks ago because I think I lost my necklace which took me about two hours to string because they were 15 and 11 size seed beads (teeny tiny ones).  I just may for it after making the second.  If that should happen, then I will give it to my niece.

I really need to work on an inspiration board for color schemes and patterns for making jewelry and crochet and knitting ideas.  I will save that project for the weekend, but at least start cutting out photos from magazines to get my on my way.  Ciao for now.

Some Vintage Inspiration


As I went through my Google Reader list the other day, I read a blog entry from Burda Style and saw a dress that one of the members posted  onto the site.  It was a Butterick pattern 9029 from the 1950s, and it is a classic yet so modern.  The blogger made this dress from linen fabric and it has a long sash that drapes around and ties in the back.   This pattern is not available, but a sewer could make adjustments to an existing pattern with a similar style, and sew a fantastic sash to wrap around the waist.  This dress is also can create a waist and de-emphasized a belly.  In additional, I imagine myself wearing such a dress.  The author choose linen has her fabric, but I can imagine this dress made in a knit, wool gabardine and perhaps silk/linen blend.  I would have to make a necklace and think about more of a scoop neck.  I think the inspiration will can a person many places including making the sleeves three-quarter length.

DSC_3646_largeAnother dress that gives me a couple of ideas came from the online store Mod Cloth.  The dress is no longer on the website, but thought about the interesting cowl neck.  Again, you probably could take a pattern that is similarly close to this dress and create this dress.  The dress could be more tapper at the knees, not add the faux belt, one could add sleeves are leave dress sleeveless, and thinking that perhaps knit is a good fabric choose for the dress.  The buttons can be changed, and could create a brooch.

021809_21_LI just thought I would share these dresses and think out loud how I would make these dresses my own.  Ciao for now as I feel my head nodding.  Time for some slumber.

A Little Set Back and Work Attire


Yesterday, I received my order to make the necklace I wrote about in a post last week.  I was happy and starting stringing when after getting home from work when I realized something.  I was stringing it wrong, and I only brought one 10 gram of Japanese seed beads.  The instructions called for 17.5 grams of seed beads, so that means placing another order.  I am going to order more of rectangle horn and Dalmatian jasper beads.  I want to coordinate some orange color beads with the rectangle horn beads, and some black or silver beads with the Dalmatian jasper beads.  I am going to have some jasper beads from the first string I ordered, I am thinking about a bracelet  I just came up with an idea for the seed beads, I nice knitted wool T with seed beads around the sleeves, an half inch border of the beads.  The creativity comes what to do with the leftover materials.  I also waiting for another order to make an icy necklaceCorrecting a Mistake 001

Seersucker Afghan 011I received the September/October issue of Crochet Today.  Of course it is only July, but details, details.  I love the cover as the theme’s issue is work it chic and polished looks for 9 to 5 in addition to its annual Halloween section.    This tailored blazer is a suit-inspired sweater to add to one’s work-wardrobe, and the positive is that it does not wrinkle.  The blazer is crocheted in Red Heart Eco-Ways bamboo wool with the suggested retail price of $3.99 a skein and comes in ten colors.

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It is my hope that I work on some my crafty projects this week and next.  I have not made a necklace since I went on vacation which is over a month ago.  I am due for a new one, also get my afghan and wrap projects going to finish my the fall.  I am going to end this blog post, and it’s ciao for now.

A Night at the Learning Annex


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We had another day of temperatures over 102 degrees, and the current temperature is 93 degrees at 11:18p.  I got home about 30 minutes ago after attending a learning seminar at the Learning Annex in New York City.  The Learning Annex is an organization that produces classes, lectures, seminars, and workshops for adults.  They are generally two-hour classes or lectures with professionals in his or her field.  I signed up for a class on how to be an event planner with David Tutura of My Fair Wedding on The We Channel.  I have to say that he is just a personable live as on the show.  I have to say that I really liked him.  He did have a Power Point presentation, but the conversation was lively and interesting that he did not get to it.  He answered a lot of questions from people in the audience which consisted of more than 500 hundred.  David also autographed his new book “The Big White Book of Weddings – A How – to Guide for the Savvy, Stylish Bride, and stayed to sign the book until the last person in line.  It also posed for photographs.  This was taken on my camera phone, and my hair is a mess as it was curly this morning but the humidity had other plans.  I can be grateful that my hair did not get to frizzy, but tomorrow I will be carrying my Garnier curl sculpting spray. 

David had great stories about Joan Rivers and the brides from the show and how he is really grateful for the opportunity of helping these women with having their dream weddings because they deserve it.  I could have listen him to talk all night, but we only had two hours.  This is probably the highlight of my week and I am going to ride this wave with new energy and inspiration that I can do anything want want as long as I have passion and doing it for the right reasons.  Ciao for now!

Inspirational Eye Candy and Finding a Good Deal


The other day I purchased the Vogue Knitting early fall issue and think there are some really nice projects to knit.  There is one project in particularly I would like to knit.  The yarn recommended for this project is the new Rowan by Amy Butler/Westminster Fibers Belle Organic Aran (wool/cotton).  The problem is the price of the yarn, it cost $8.95 a skein and 16 skeins of yarn is needed to knit the smallest size.  That is a total cost of $143.20, and of course I need the largest size because I have a 44in bust size which means paying $232.70 for the project.  This means finding a substitute yarn that a lower cost to get the desired outcome.  My one choice is Knit Picks – Wool of the Andes worsted yarn that is 100% Peruvian wool at $1.99 a skein.  The total cost for the Knit Picks wool is $51.74 for the project and a difference of $180.96.  It is recession and finding yarn at a lower cost is a good thing, and the quality of Knit Picks is a good value. 

There is another project I would like to knit for Vogue Knitting.  It’s lace stole and the pattern is reversible.  The pattern recommends using Alpaca with a Twist Fino yarn that’s priced at 875 yards a skein priced at $21.00, and it’s not a bad price, but two skeins of Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud lace yarn for $5.49 a hank with 440 yard in each.  That means purchasing two hanks of the KP yarn at a total cost of $10.98 and that is still a great deal compared to $21,00 for the KP Alpaca.

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I borrowed the pattern book “Comfort Knitting & Crochet Afghans from the designers at Berroco from the library a couple of weeks ago.  The book has more than 50, affordable designs featuring Berroco’s comfort yarn.  You know the word affordable is relative because the project I wanted to knit is a seersucker afghan that requires 21 skeins for the project at a cost of $124.95/$5.95 a skein, but again that is still a little too much for me as I am on a budget.  So, I decided to purchase Red Heart super saver yarn at $4.29 a skein with 364 yards, in addition, the yarn was on sale at 25% and brought 12 skeins of yarn for $38.61 plus $8.95 for a total of 47.56.  I saved myself $86.34 and do not have a problem with using Red Heart because I need a afghan that is easy to clean and machine washable.

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I picked up a copy of Fresh Home magazine, and it gave me some inspiration of designing a space in my bedroom.  I am not into white or beige walls, but need to find the right shade of blue that is relaxing and beautiful.  Also, my room does not look like summer all year long, but that may not be such a bad thing doing through the winter months.  This photo inspires me to have a space that represents my personality.  I could paint my bedroom a nice serene green (I wonder if that is a name for paint?) with colors of blue and yellow for bed linens, curtains, pillows, and accessories.  It is going to be fun to sketch and write down ideas.  I am looking at a scarf I own that has a blue, green, and yellow color scheme. 

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The last photo that gives me inspiration is Prince with this funky hat.  I will just leave it at that and say ciao for now.

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Budget Monday – Fabric Shopping


On the first day of my staycation, and I finally had a chance to visit a fabric store in my neighborhood.  This revelation could be precarious for me with the consequence of having a huge fabric stash before I know it because the store sells fabric wholesale prices.  I purchased five yards this nice cotton black and white fabric for $3.00 a yard.  The store also has blue and white strip fabric for $3.00/per yd as well, and I doing everything in my power from not returning to the store again today because I am thinking PJs with that fabric.  I am thinking about a dress with this black and white print, and probably will have some left over to make something else.  I am not wasting any of this fabric.

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I also purchased three yards of gray fabric for a pair of trousers or a pencil skirt, and the fabric cost $4.00/per yd. 

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I watching the Martha Stewart today, and saw a segment on making your own craft table.  Martha has a partnership with Home Depot where you can buy Martha Stewart Living Alder 35.88 In. High x 24.13 In. Wide x 11.89 In. Deep Laminate Stackable 6 Cube Organizer for $44.97 each.  Martha demonstrated on the show that you can buy a hollow door for $25.00, paint or tack oilcloth and you can have a craft table for under $150.00 compared to the Pottery Barn craft table priced at over a $1,157.  However, I have to note that BP’s table is on sale for $959 (still too much money).  The great thing about the craft table on Martha Stewart is that you can make it portable if you are like me living in a one-bedroom apartment and space is valuable.  Use as storage and a table, great idea.

There is another project on Martha Stewart online for dyeing wooden beads for necklaces, and found a couple of websites where you can purchase beads.  One site is Craft Parts where beads can come in quite a few sizes.  You can also buy wooden craft buttons, and dowels should want to make a bag or your own knitting needles.  Another resource is American Wood Crafters Supply where beads are sold at a good price.  You can purchase the dye from Rit Dye, and instructions for dyeing beads are at Martha Stewart.  It’s time to get crafty, so I am going to end this blog and get ready a craft extravaganza at the library (I will not return to the fabric today).  Ciao for now!

Staycation and Some Creative Ideas


Reader beware!  This is a long post entry with quite a few photos!

It is that time of year for me again, staycation!  Every year in mid-June, I take a two-week vacation where staying at home is the thing to do when money is tight in this rough recession.  I also have a chance to make more blog entries during this time, and catch up some finishing and starting some knitting projects, reading, and visit a museum or two.  I also have the time to listen to some podcast and just relax during the two weeks.  The previous year came with me having the flu and lying in bed for almost two weeks, this year comes with a stiff lower back if sitting for too long.  However, I it will not prevent me from relaxing or going to see the King Tut exhibit (looking forward to seeing that).

Yesterday, while doing some web surfing and listening to a couple of knitting podcasts, I came around this vintage knitted “Blood Red Dress”.  This 1940s vintage dress was knitted by ChopChop of the My Spicy Yarn blog.  She purchased a Corticelli Hand-Knits Fashions no KP 27 that she purchased from E-Bay.  I tried to find this pattern book without success, but did asked if she wouldn’t mind selling me this pattern.  She also mentioned in her blog that this pattern was a quick knitting, but think she is a fast knitter.  I think it would take me a while to knit considering one would have to use lace weight yarn for the project.  However, I think she did a great job with knitting this dress and who would love to add a knitted dress to her wear closet.  The color and style of dress just screams out sexy kitten without having anything hang out.  I am amazed at that even though this dress is vintage, yet feels modern and stylish to wear now.  This dress is eye candy and may give me enough inspiration to create a knitting pattern with this style in mind since I am unable to find the pattern.

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Yesterday, I went to a jewelry-making class at my local library.  I typically go to the class to meet other crafty people than learning anything new.  The class is mostly bead stringing, and I would like to get more into bead weaving and some wire work.  I always to go for the more challenging and pushing my creative side.  I met a woman there who wanted to know if I have sold any of my jewelry.  I told her no, but I could end up with more bracelets and necklaces I could possibly wear.  Who I am kidding, one could never have enough pieces of jewelry, but I can still sell jewelry by making extra pieces.  It is a win/win situation.

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Friday, I could not leave for vacation without making a trip to the yarn store.  I went to the Lion Brand Studio in New York City with a co-worker of mine who needed to purchase yarn for cardigan she is making for a couple who just had little baby girl.  There is nothing like making a little baby pink cardi, well certainly nothing precious.  I decided to knit a shawl for the office while on vacation because my workplace is a like being a side of beef hanging in a meat locker.  It is freezing and you need to wrap yourself in a blanket, but a shawl is more practical.  I love this yarn with the copper highlights and could see making a fabulous shell to wear on a night out.  I was just thinking how great it would be to wear that vintage dress on a first date, I digress.  The yarn is Vanna Glamour and it comes in a few more colors including platinum and topaz.

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I am fortunate to have a magazine store that carries Burda Style Magazine near my job, and managed to get the May and June Issues.  I wear plus size clothing, so finding clothes that are great looking is difficult to find (reason for making your own clothes).  May’s issue had Italian inspired dresses what are very sexy, especially the red dress.  The collection in the magazine is entitled “La Dolce Vita”, and think it is the perfect title for the dresses.  There were only a couple of things that caught my eye in June’s issue like the the tunic and pants.  There is a jumpsuit that I am going back and forth on liking it or not.  I think the problem is that the model is wearing a terrible hat and it makes her look like a cougar.  The jumpsuit has a 70s feel, perhaps too much so.

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My back is beginning to relax, and I am coming to the end of writing this entry.  I am going to start knitting my shawl and watch some TV on a Sunday with Drop Dead Diva, and My Fair Wedding with David Tutera.  I love that show and it is great to see a wedding show other than Bridellizas, and besides he does fabulousity with receptions.  I will able to write quite a few entries during my staycation, but Ciao for now!

Some Book Reviews and Photo Laden


Visiting the book is one of my favorite places.  I love books, a love affair that began from the first my mother brought me a book and a set of World Book Encyclopedias.  Those books are expensive even when my mother purchased a set over 35 years ago.  I also had a subscription to Highlights, Jack & Jill, Ebony Jr., and personal favorite National Geographic that gave me a great curiosity for the world and other cultures, but I digress.

I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday and today, and purchased some magazines and three books that pique my interests.  I went there to buy the book “Tranquilista – Mastering the Art of Enlightened Work and Mindful Play” by Kimberly Wilson.  Wilson is a teacher, writer, do-gooder, entrepreneur, and eco-fashion designer.  She is the creative director and founder of Tranquil Space, yoga studio in Washington DC, and has a website Kimberly Wilson where you can read her blog, listen to her podcast, and shop online with her clothing line TranquiliT.

The book is about starting a business and living the life you want.  I am in the process of reading the book, but find it very informational thus far.  However, I love reading her blog and listening to her podcast, it’s about creativity and inspiration.

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Another little jewel, I picked up at the bookstore is a baking book by Erin McKenna entitled “Babycakes – Vegan, Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from new York’s Most Talked-About Bakery.  I first had a vegan cupcake while celebrating a co-worker’s birthday a few years ago, and thought it was one of the most sumptuous cupcakes I had in my life.  Who would have thought that a baked good without dairy could taste delicious.   One problem, the bakery is hard to get to.  I went the bakery one day after work because I wanted a cupcake, and it was a half-hour walk.  I thought was going to walk into the east river at one point.   It was worth the walk, but not something I would do frequently.  Now, I have the cookbook where I can bake those cupcakes and other baked goods from the book.  Who knew that you could make chocolate and velvet cupcakes, and sandwich cookies gluten and dairy-free.

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My next book is a knitting pattern book called “Knitting 24/7 – 30 Projects to Knit, Wear, and Enjoy, One the Go and Around the Clock by Veronik Avery.  I admit that I have a soft spot for purchasing knitting and crochet books as well, and the photography in this book is great along with some nice patterns to knit.

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I love this mitten pattern, but really the cape she is wearing.  I wonder if the cape can be translated into a knitting pattern?  I think the bookmark is beautiful and practical, who could have thought to knit one. 

It was way pass my bedtime due to an interruption of a telephone call earlier that cause to prolong the writing of this post a lot longer than anticipated.  I have more photos, but time is my enemy.  I hope to get another necklace done within the next two weeks.  Ciao for now!

Saturday Musings and Some Photos


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We are having wonderful today in New Jersey, it is in the upper 40s and a sky blue sunny day.  I decided to take advantage of the sun and take some photos of my first jewelry project outside of my jewelry making class.  The classes are free at the library including the components to make jewelry, but thought I should get my own materials to make it at home.  I purchased the March issue of Bead Style as I wanted to make a necklace that had a spring feel.  The photo above is the project from the magazine.  I went to four bead store and did not get the materials recommended in the magazine because they were not available and needed to improvise while still keeping with the spring theme, so the photo below is what I purchased.

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I could not find the leaf beads or the focal component, so I got the jade tear drop beads, and this crystal leaf from Swarovski-Crystallized.  the pendant cost is equal to the rest of the necklace, but cost about under $25.00 to make.  The jade does cost $17.00, but I only eight out of the 45 beads on the strand.  I see a bracelet with the rest of the jade as a companion piece with the necklace.  The only component I am missing to make this necklace is a bail to attach to the pendant to help it lay flat.

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I purchased this magazines this week, and subscribed to Bead Style.  I like both magazines, but Stringing Magazine is my favorite with more projects and list the name of the company where you can purchase the materials if want to make the project in the magazine.  Bead Style is a great reference guide for the beginner

Saturday Coffee 026 I also have other photos that give me inspiration in what I can create.  I purchased Nick Epstein’s “Crochet Flowers and Knitted Flowers” as reference guides to create embellishments for accessories like bags and necklaces.

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Another Nick Epstein book “Knitting in Tuscany”, where there are some beautiful things to knit like the Tuscan sun shawl gracing the cover, and the Bella bride’s dress which is stunning, modern yet timeless.

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I got the latest issue of Inside Crochet because the project on the cover called a Floating Wrap designed by Robyn Chachula.  I read her Crochet by Faye blog and see her on the show Knit and Crochet Today.  Robyn has a sweepstakes of yarns, you can enter by purchasing one of her patterns from March 1 to 31.

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The last thing I am going to mention is Pampered by Adrienne by Adrienne Nixon.  She sells handcrafted soy candles, soaps, body scrubs, and embroidered hand towels.  She has great stuff, so go to her website and check it out and do not forget to sign up for her newsletter.  Well, that’s it for now.  Ciao!

New Tools for Another Hobby


I have been to a couple of jewelry making classes at my local library, and a new hobby transformed.  The extent of this hobby is mostly stringing, but enjoy creating a piece of jewelry that is mine and enjoy wearing.  I probably will not earrings for myself because my ears are not pierced due keloid scarring as a child, and my mother followed the physician’s advice of allowing the holes to close.  However, it does not stop me from making earrings for other people.

Today during lunch, I went to four different bead stores to pick up some jewelry making supplies and beads.  One bead store specializes in selling pearls and semi-precious stones, and I brought mostly beads from that store.  Store also had a clearance rack where I picked up a strand for fresh water potato shaped pearls for $11.50, and will have some fun figuring out what to do with them.  I went to the store to do a beginner’s project in March’s issue of BeadStyle, but could not find all of the components like the 40mm dyed quartz pendant.  To solve this problem, I purchased a crystal leaf pendant Swarovski Crystallized in NYC.  Swarovski Crystallized is a great place where you can purchased ready to wear pieces, or making your own.  You can even go to the back where there is a cafe and you can make your jewelry there.  I was a first time shopper at the store and received a free gift, a crystal piece that I can attach to a handbag and signed up for a membership.  I think I will be a frequent shopper at Swarovski Crystallized.

It is getting late and I need some sleep before work in the morning.  Ciao for now!

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Snowy Day


 

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Today, the area of the country was hit by a snowstorm that dump over 17 inches of snow between 6am yesterday until 1pm today, but we are still under a weather storm warning until 6p Saturday.  Buses were suspended and that prevented me from getting in New York City to work, so I stayed home.  However, I did not let that time go to waste as I slept until 11 am, and managed to start knitting this scarf.  I am using a bulky weight with size 15 needles, and decided to use a seed stitch. Using bulky weight provides a quick knit and I will have a nice scarf to wear coordinate with my charcoal gray coat using one skein.  While knitting, I came up with some ideas on a felted bag that I need to sketch before it leaves my mind forever.  I am going to say Ciao for now and continue with my knitting project and other creative ideas.

How I Hate My Oven


My weekend has not been a very successful on the cooking and health front.  Co-workers continue to come into the office with colds and flu thereby making others to suffer by passing on it on to others.  I am a victim of a cold.  I have not had a cold since August, which by the way is the longest time for me.  I spent a three-day off weekend with a cold downing NyQuil, and spending a good portion of time in bed.

Now getting to the rant about my oven, it came with the apartment I moved into five months ago.  The problem is that oven needs to be calibrated as everything browns in ten minutes, and the inside reminds uncooked.  Yesterday, I was baking a buttermilk vanilla pound cake from a Cooking Light recipe.  The recipe is enough for five 5 1/2 by 6 1/2-loaf pans, but I managed to make two bread loaf pans.  I put the oven at 350 degree and came back to check on it in 15 minutes with the outside completely burnt and inside uncooked.  I did not even preheat the oven.  I am angry because never burn a cake in my life and consider myself a very baker as a good cook.  I am especially angry at the fact that the most expensive ingredient that is the butter went to waste.  I was planning to bake bread, but am woeful that the oven will burn that as well, I am going to purchase a digital temperature to gauge the true over temperature and will have to calibrate hoping that it is capable.

I suppose all was not lost, having managed to catch up with my blog and book reading.  I need to finish reading a book before returning it to the library on Thursday.  I tried to extend the borrowing date, but it is on hold for another person who wants to borrow it.  Apparently, “The Evolution of God” by Robert Wright is a popular book to borrow and with good reason it is a fascinating read about how religion has evolved throughout human history.

I also had an idea in my head about skirt that is shaped like a tulip at the bottom.  The idea came from reading the Crafty Chica blog, she found an article “Plus-sized Clothing Myths debunked”.  I am trying to imagine how would balance with someone such as myself who is bottom heavy.  I suppose it could the tulip shape is not too wide and has inverted triangle.  Well it will be something to sketch out this afternoon.  Ciao for now.

 

Sketching on the Weekend


It has been a cold weekend, and that meant staying inside as it is not fun being out in 18-degree weather. I did some sketching yesterday while watching the news. I am not a good sketcher, but could not allow my ideas to disappear from my mind forever. I got an idea for a knit felting project while reading Inside Crochet called the snowflake tote. I liked the tote bag, but had another vision for the bag. Almost a week and half ago, I was walking to work in the rain and noticed a broken branch on the ground. I thought broken branch on wet concrete and it would make a nice painting, but the tote bag can make a great canvas for the broken branch on wet concrete.   I have to warn you that my sketches are not the best in the world, but it was fun and satisfying to do them.  Now I have another skills to learn embellishing my knitting and crocheting work.  Hand embroidery and felting (I do not own a machine, so hand felting it is).  This is the process of allowing creativity to flow on a cold day in January.  Ciao for now!

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Thrifty = Creativity


We going into the third year of a recession and it has been a stressful and traumatic experience for many people.  We had to re-access our priorities and if there is any other time to get creative, this is it.  I mentioned in a previous post about a new book by Erin Bried titled How to Sew a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew (I am going to borrow it from the library, remember thrifty) that reminds us what our grandmothers or mothers (if did not have a grandmother) taught us about recycling and recreating.  Hey they were green before it become such trend today.  I know some of you remember our your grandmother or mother saved old grease for later and flavoring it with other foods.  Saving old clothes to use as rags or to do housework (I know I still do that).

My belief is that learning how to things makes you a self-sufficient person.  If I can do it myself, then I take even greater pride in it.  There are many people who do not know how to sew a button, fold a fitted sheet, and unclog a drain with baking soda and vinegar.  I still use newspaper to clean my mirrors and windows with some vinegar and water.  There is nothing else like, in addition you save money on cleaning products and not smell those sometimes toxic vapors.  I remember as a little child when I became interested in crocheting and needle point (I have done needle point since then), the feeling I got to accomplish a goal and doing it without the help of my mother and grandmother (they did not crochet or knit).

One does not think about being thrifty until moments such as this, but I hope it continues after the recession.  There is a sense of value.  There are some clothes that I need to re-fashion and fabric scraps to start a quilt.  Also, as I begin to lose weight, learning how to tailor my clothes is a skill that will come in handy.   Ciao for now.

Inspiration Board


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I had a busy weekend beginning with a visit to the Whitney Museum on Saturday to view the Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction exhibit.  Exhibition ended Sunday, January 17, and I had the opportunity to receive a free pass to see it before leaving  the museum.   The exhibition included more than 125 paintings, drawings, watercolors, and sculptures by O’Keefe as well as selected examples of Alfred Stiefglitz’s famous photographic portrait series of O’Keeffe.   The O’Keefe: Abstraction travels to the Phillips Collection, Washington DC, February 6 – May 9, 2010, and to the Georgia O’Keeffe, Santa Fe, May 28 – September 10, 2010.

A trip to museum evokes inspiration to be creative. The Whitney Museum gives free admission to children under the age of 16, and supplies an art box to children who wish to draw allowing the flow of creativity. There were a few other exhibitions at the museum, but the one left me uninspired is the Roni Horn aka Roni Horn exhibition. I found the exhibit self-absorbed although I did appreciate the sense of light, balance, and subtleness of the work. However, I thought the Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction exhibition something to behold. I have seen her work in prints, but the artwork is amazing. Her brilliant use of intense color abstracted her subject yet allowing the essence of the subject to have presence on canvas.

Now getting to the point of my blog posting, I created an inspiration board of the things I want to achieve during the course of the year. Each piece represents areas to inspire me from eating healthier to knitting. I probably will create a creativity board, but for now, my inspiration board will due.  Ciao for now!

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Creativity and Flow


Last week, I watched a three-part PBS series called This Emotional Life.  I recommend this series for everyone to watch and you can get more information at PBS.  The first part of the series was about relationships with family, friends, and lovers, the second part was about-facing our fears, and the last part was about re-thinking happiness.  The website has topic listed and one of them is creativity and flow.  Creativity and flow appears to have a connection with a person’s happiness, and I would agree with that premise.  When I am in my moments of happiness, I want to engage in those activities I find joy in doing such as cooking, knitting, sewing, writing, etc. than in much sadder moments.  I am have always been the kind of person who did not engage in activities because I was bored, but the activity gives me greater elation.

Anyone can be creative and a myth that creativity is a right-brain activity. Creativity uses both sides of the brain. However, there are times when there are things that interfere and interrupt our creative process. For me, it is life in general, lol. However, there are ways for us to get in and keep in touch with our creativity.

I am a daydreamer and typically engage in this activity while commuting to and from work, walking, or just drinking coffee at my table during the weekend. In other words, I daydream whenever possible, but tend not to write down anything my thoughts. Leonardo Da Vinci recorded all of his ideas down in notebooks the carried with him. Creativity can give way to new streams of thoughts to solve problems or new ideas. Allison Lee of Craftcast interviewed Diana Trout a week ago about her new book Journal Spilling and discusses the creative process with creating an art journal without the purpose of making money or showing to anyone. I think having an art or visualization journal can awaken the creative process bringing one into a different reality or learning about you.

For now, I think my creative process could use some rest and refresh. Ciao for now.

It’s Only Tuesday, but Still Push On


As I suggested in my title, it is only Tuesday and feel completely and utterly tired.  I am yawning while writing this blog entry and my hope is not to fall asleep with my head hitting the notebook.  It could have been the breakfast I had for dinner or sleepiness just fell upon me.  I am also listening to the latest Craft Sanity podcast where Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood is interviewing Rashida Coleman-Hale of the I Heart Linen blog.  She has a new book entitled I Heart Patchwork that I happened to see at Barnes and Noble this evening.  She made a lovely patchwork Christmas tree over the holidays than having a real Christmas tree.

I have another motive for writing a blog entry today is adding some photos using the features on Windows.  The first photo is of the January issue of Martha Stewart and there is a feature on Windows Liver Writer where you can choose to have it look like an instant photo, but choose the photo paper look.  I plan going grocery shopping this week to pick up ingredients to make the braised red cabbage it looks good.

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Believe are not, I choose to view this photo as medium size but it looks huge to me.  I choose to post this photo because since feeling little sluggish, it would be a good idea to look at something colorful and vibrant.  This gives me something to look forward doing this weekend and possibly put in a better mood.  I still have to do my hair as the winter weather can make hair looks so dry despite the fact I just washed and use the flat iron and hair curlers.  To look at my hair, one would think I just went under a wind tunnel while running a 5K.  However, in the summer, humidity will be the culprit and still look like I went under a wind tunnel while running a 5K.  It is no win-win situation when it comes to hair.  Well I must press on (no pun intended) and iron my hair again while watching part two of This Emotional Life on PBS.  I hope all of you have a less tired day, Ciao.

 

Book Reviews and Some New Finds – Part Duex


I am back!  I am having an easy Sunday as my father prepared breakfast for us and had to stop writing momentarily until we have eaten and I washed the dishes.  Hey if someone cooks, the very least another person can do is wash dishes.

In my previous blog were the two book reviews and now I have some new finds that may interest some of you reading.  I discovered that blog stats has more than 22,500 visitors over the past three years and think that is a good thing, but never mind that for the time being.  Last night, I was giving my January’s issue of Martha Stewart a cursory read, happened upon the home keeping section of the magazine, and saw two items that caught my attention and interest.  It is a step-by-step guide to a cleaner and healthier home.  The two products are for the kitchen and find the money-saving potential something to consider.  One product is making your own fizzy water and the other to purify your water.  Prior to the advertising and marketing onslaught, people drink water from their faucet.  People were convince that purchasing bottle water was better for you, but neglected to mention that we are adding more garbage to the landfill.  Essentially, the advertising and marketing gurus convinced us to purchase an item was already free, and brainwashed into paying for water.  We do not have pay for water just purchase a water purifier and we can once drink free water and not add to the landfill at the same time.  The reality is that these bottling companies are selling us tap water that they have purified themselves.  Spring water could be come from the springs a city water system (I am just saying).  The water purifier mentioned in the article is GE’s Full Flow Water Filtration that you can attach to the cold-water line beneath the sink (from $80, GE Appliances has more information).  The cost savings of drinking tap water is about $500 per year and each filter last approximately six months.  I think that is a good cost saving. 

Another product is making your fizzy soda or water at home again saving money and keeping plastic bottles ending up in a landfill.  You can store it on your countertop and turn water into seltzer.  There is a carbon dioxide cartridge that can make up to 110 liters of soda just mail it back to the company to be refilled.  The price varies for machines, but for more information about the product is at Soda Stream USA.

I have some candy eye sewing/fashion goodness to share.  When I signed up for Facebook a few years ago, I joined a club called The Sewing Studio.  It is a company in Toronto, CA that teaches sewing classes at all ages and skills level.  Yes, I live in New Jersey, but in this age of technology, I would at least receive a newsletter and read the blog.  I received a message from The Sewing Studio last night that announced a new online magazine dedicated to sewing and fashion.  Of course, I had to look at the site Love Sewing and the magazine is fabulous.  My advice is to see for yourself and if you become inspired like I did.  There is one featured designer, Michi Calica in the magazine’s “Get Inspired” column.  I think some her designs are wonderful, Michi creates vintage-inspired with a modern twist.  She also does wedding dresses and creates different sizes for her clients.  One dress is the white orchard linen dress.  I love the simplicity yet elegant and feminine look at this dress.  Michi has this dress on Etsy Shop for about $280 or if you are sewing, who is inspired can probably create something along this line.  I think this is a good price for the dress, but that is for you to decide.

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Another dress the designer has on her shop is her wavy hem dress that is another creatively simple but elegant dress that seems fun to wear.

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Michi Calica has other pieces of clothing including evening bags, jewelry and other accessories at her Etsy Shop.  I think some of you may fall in love with her designs.

Those the some new finds for the time being.  I am going to spend this week testing out a couple of recipes I read in Martha Stewart’s January issue such as braised red cabbage and a kale and roasted potato salad.  I think those recipes fall in line with me being healthier and getting down my blood pressure.  I am still thinking about getting shape for a 5k run, that will fill in my exercise goals as well. Ciao for now.

 

Chicken Soup and Vacation


It has been a couple of weeks since I have written a post to my blog.  I intended to write during my time on vacation, but as the saying goes you plan and God smiles.  There is always something.  The Friday before I was to leave for my stayaction, I had the sense that I had a temperature, so I went to the pharmacy to buy a thermometer.  I returned to my desk and discovered that I had a fever of 101.6 and ironically writing radio copy for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hyigene telling people to go their primary care physician and not an ER.  I left work at 4pm to go to the doctor’s office and sat waiting from 4:20 until 7pm before a nurse finally called me into an exam room.  By this time, my temperature went up to 102 and the nurse commented that for a person who has a high fever, I look good, and I said I certainly do not feel well.  A swap was struck up my nose which I cannot stand and discovered it was the flu.  They did not know if it was swain flu, but treated as such.  The doctor gave my a prescription for tamiflu, gave me other instructions such as drink lots of fluids, and get homemade chicken soup (fortunately, there is a Whole Foods a couple of blocks away from the doctor’s office), and I finally left the doctor’s office at 8pm, but needed to fill the prescription (a CVS that has a 24-hour pharmacy is a couple of blocks) and go to Whole Foods to pick up some chicken soup and ingredients for soup for me to make the next day.  Fortunately, the fever broke the next morning and I spent time making some chicken soup, drinking lots of fluids, taking vitamins, and eating soup for almost two weeks.

I spent over half of my vacation being sick, so I did not do much crafting, knitting, crocheting, or sewing, but did end up making some very good chicken soup (it is good for the soul).  In addition to being sick, it rained almost everyday.  At least I did get better to attend my niece’s high school graduation.  I managed to go out a couple of days and picked up the current issues of Inside Crochet and Interweave Crochet, and both issues had some really nice projects to inspire.  I probably will just crochet the hat because it is really nice and stylish.  Well, that is all I have for the moment.  Enjoy your day.

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