taking inventory

One of those nerdy knitting things that we knitters do is take a picture of all our handknit sweaters when we see them all in one place.

IMG_4308This is what happens when you are packing, you don’t want to pack, and you start to realize good lord I have knit a lot of sweaters.  And a lot of other crap too.

Want to know why I was packing?  Because we bought a house!  We moved in this weekend.   And guess what – while I know the location of the box which contains my sewing machine, that’s about as close as I am to sewing right now… I hope it’s not too long…

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Recently Alexis of Spools and Skeins passed on her Liebster to me… so nice!  I feel like a jerk though, because I could not for the life of me come up with 11 blogs to pass it on to.  And the ones I did think to pass it on to (like Closet Case Files, Sewin’ Steady, Pins and Needles, etc.) have already received one or more recently and I’m sure don’t need or want another (since it is more of a chain letter than an award).  And some of those blogs as well as some others I love (tidytipsy, Cirque du Bebe, etc.) have 200+ followers.  I did come up with a few random facts and answered Alexis’ questions…

10 facts about me (because I’m really sick of trying to come up with an 11th one!) …

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1.  My favorite foods are guacamole, cereal, and vegenaise.

2.  I could drink orange juice siphoned by the gallon 24 hours a day. This is making me crave some right now.

3. I have moved 15 times in 4 states and I am not from a military family.  I am just… unable to sit still?  The last 11 were in my adult life and in the last 4 years I’ve lived in 3 different states (MA, RI, and MD).  I have also driven a 16 foot moving truck up and down the east coast by myself.  The longest I’ve lived in one house was my first 10 years of life – I have dreams about that house to this day and I have a drawing of it tattooed on the inside of my upper arm.

4. In 2007 and 2008 I did 4 sprint triathlons (NOT competitively – I came in the bottom third).

5. I have won a yarn basket, an iPod nano, and an all-expense-paid 4-day trip to Jamaica. And a teddy bear when I was 5.

6.  Between the ages of 3 and 21 I had four visits to the emergency room; at age 3 I ran into a wall (genius) and got 8 stitches on my forehead, at age 12 I scratched my eyeball with a pencil and wore an eye patch for a weekend, at age 15 I got hit in the head with a soccerball and had a nosebleed that lasted a week, and at age 21 I was bit by a dog and got 7 stitches on the bridge of my nose.  I’m graceful, no?

7. When I was 12 I decided I wanted to be a therapist (I called it a “shrink” back then) and that’s what I am.

8.  Mr. Nice and I met on my 27th birthday in my favorite bar.  This is funnier to the people that know us, particularly him, because you wouldn’t expect either of us to “pick someone up” in a bar.  Although it wasn’t really like that.  A picture was taken of us talking to each other that first time, but it was lost when my hard drive burned in November 😦

9.  I lived in Italy the second semester of my junior year in college.  I had taken two years of Italian, and took three classes taught in Italian, and became fairly fluent, which of course I’ve almost completely lost now.  While there, I met my grandmother’s brother and his family in Sicily, none of whom speak English.  I never thought a decade would pass and I wouldn’t have gone back.

10.  I used to really, really dislike cats.  I thought they were obnoxious and weird and I didn’t really like to pet them.  Uh, if you’ve read my blog before you can probably tell that has changed drastically.  I am absolutely a cat person now.  I still like dogs, but I’m not really into the dog as a status symbol or an accessory, as sometimes they tend to be.

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So cute you could barf, right?!  Anyways…

  1. One blog you read every day?  A Beautiful Mess, and then I spend 30 minutes wondering why my life isn’t as perfect as theirs.  I’m trying to cut back on that one.
  2. Paper, plastic, or canvas?  Paper because I usually forget the reusable bags.
  3. Ideal date night?  A few beers in a cozy bar (ideally Novare Res in Portland, ME, see below) and a really, really good dinner.   IMG_2704
  4. Are you a winter or summer person?  All of a sudden I’m a winter person (thank you New England).
  5. Are you an early riser or night owl?  Night, hands down.  As much as I try and want to be, the morning just isn’t my time.
  6. Favorite book?  Wuthering Heights.  This one doesn’t really seem to fit my personality, but I friggin’ love that book.  (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and either The Sound and the Fury or As I Lay Dying by Faulkner may be second and third).
  7. Favorite children’s book?  In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak.
  8. Dream vacation spot?  Somewhere fascinating I’ve never been, preferably in another country.
  9. One item of clothing in your wardrobe that you couldn’t live without?
    Leggings.  They make me feel like I can wear pajamas to work.  That sounds very unstylish, doesn’t it?
  10. Favorite board game?  This is going to sound so obnoxious, but I mostly can’t stand board games.  Pictionary is OK and I was thinking about giving Scrabble a try.
  11. Favorite quote?  “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

quilted tablet case

Ooh we just bought a tablet.  I’m kind of a curmudgeon about technology, but recently it dawned on me that packing up the laptop every time we travel just so we can look up restaurants and record shops is kind of silly. It’s kind of like someone packing up a desktop computer and bringing it to work every day.

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I decided we should get “one of those fancy phones” but when I realized how much they cost, it seemed like a tablet made more sense. (We got a Google Nexus 7 if you’re wondering).  I am SO excited to use it on all our day trips, weekend trips, and the bigger ones.

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I ordered a case to keep this expensive little toy safe, but it’s not supposed to come for like, a month (what is up with that).  So here is my temporary tablet…. sleeping bag.  Similar, no?  This is made from leftover gray wool from this dress.

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Afterthoughts:

  • I can’t believe how close to symmetrical the quilting came out.  That was very minimally planned out, and mostly luck.
  • I would have cut the batting about 1/4″ smaller on all sides before sewing to minimize bulk in the seams, as well as not sewn the quilting seams all the way to the edges to make it easier to grade the seams.
  • The edges are sort of a reverse french seam.  If I had thought about it first, what you are seeing on the outside is actually supposed to be the inside.  The other side of the quilting looks better.  Oh well.  Now you only know because I told you.
  • I would like to do the edges of the flap differently, but I’m not sure how.  They look kind of sloppy.
  • I would move the velcro up just a bit – I didn’t want the edges of the flap to curl up, but I would like the velcro to be a little more hidden.
  • I would like the velcro to be gray.

Now we can take “the precious” out of the house.

You know how Cecil likes to help me sew?  Kobo likes to help with photo shoots.  The ones with him are probably the best.IMG_2899

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Bye.

silk screen printing

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Ooh, we had a big mess in here a few weeks ago.  After searching for curtains I didn’t hate and could afford, I finally gave up and tried printing my own….  They were affordable, but I still can’t decide how much I like them.

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Little crazy, huh?  I used my patterns board for ideas and then this dress for the shape.  I was pretty sure I wanted green, but…. what I ended up with was more like if Green Lantern and The Flash got married and made up a new symbol.  Which is why comic book-loving Mr. Nice does, in fact, like them.

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So we’re getting somewhere – I don’t think they’ll be in the “permanent collection,” but I learned a lot, and they are acceptable as curtains in another, less public room.

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To remember for next time:

  • Cat naptime was the perfect time for this project.
  • Load up on the screen filler – I had to use masking tape to cover up a few holes where ink leaked through.  The masking tape was not a great fix however, as it still seeped  through and I had to keep replacing the tape.
  • Masking tape is very useful!  I used it to mark on the screen frame where I want to line up with my fabric (ie., I wanted the image two inches from the edge of the so I taped the frame two inches from the image and used that to line it up.
  • Work fast but not too fast.  I sure did spill some paint on the curtains (don’t move too fast), but the paint also started to dry and congeal towards the end (don’t move too slow, and put a lid on the paint when not in use).
  • Pulling the ink across twice worked best – I think this is because the muslin is not smooth and the first swipe of ink did not fill the gaps and holes.

I have to say that although I may have not chosen the best image, I LOVED the result of screen printing – it’s very sharp and smooth and I will certainly be doing this again.

christmas things

Addendum: OK, this post sucks because I can not figure out how to align text and pictures how I want them (I remember going through this with blogspot too, I have no idea how I eventually got it to work) and my pictures are too small because I’m worried my computer can’t handle any decent photo editing software.  I’m sure someone will comment and tell me how to do all this and I’m sure I won’t understand 😦

Wow, that really makes you want to read this post, huh?

I went a little crazy with the Christmas crafts this year, via my  “christmas things” board… it was my way of coping when I decided not to get a tree because the kittens are so. naughty. lately.

I caved and bought a tree last weekend anyways.  They’ve been pretty good but I had to take the presents out from under it because they kept biting them and trying to eat the wrapping paper (visualize me rolling my eyes here).

Aaaanyways…. what do we have here?  First, an “advent” calendar I made by sewing 24 little muslin bags (a few are vintage plaid from this shirt because I ran out of muslin).

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Inside are a number of vegan treats – I did not want it to be all candy and chocolate, so aside from those treats I used fruit leather, nuts, dried fruits, a little bag of coffee and cinnamon sticks, popcorn and “ranch topping,” spicy hot chocolate, and satsuma tangerines.  I know I got the idea from something on the internet last year, but I’m not entirely sure where.

I made this garland over the course of last Christmas and the Christmas before.  You can find my inspiration here (see, this was pre-Pinterest).

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A little felt tree, inspiration here.

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Some boxwood wreaths, inspiration here.

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An incredibly complex craft of my own creation.

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Some hand-stamped Christmas cards (they may or may not look like they were made by a 5-year-old).

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And some snow globes, again from this post.  (Ohmygod I went to Hobby Lobby for the first time to get the supplies, ohmygodohmygod I was in heaven.  It’s like Michael’s on crack.  I think I was there for an hour and a half).  It’s so hard to see through this glass, but it is a little tree with a little cardinal glued to it with some gifts at the bottom (I cut out little foam cubes and wrapped them in tiny pieces of wrapping paper, then took some thin ribbon, snipped it and ripped it lengthwise to make it thinner, curled it up and taped it on).

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