“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair...”

out with the old

Monday, December 31, 2007

erica weiner earrings

Here I am on blogger once again, sitting down with a bowl of homemade vegetable soup and a glass of milk. Life is good. Today I've taken up the task of cleaning my bedroom. It's a spot that often gets overlooked, as it's not a room I spend much time in. I sleep there, dress and put my face on, but other than that I don't spend more than maybe 15 minutes looking at its surroundings. I've gotten in the habit of just plopping things on the floor that are meant to be dealt with at a later date. The problem is I never get around to actually dealing with them. I know the key to a clean house is to put things where they go right away, so you don't have to run into this problem. Well this is just how my life is. I don't always do everything the "right" way. Perhaps one day I will learn...

My goal is to get rid of anything I don't use right away or that doesn't fit into my small space. I'm not sure if this is possible, but I'm going to try. I'm also clearing a space for my yoga mat so I can do some much needed exercise in the morning. Yeah, that's part of my New Year's resolutions for next year. I don't usually do New Year's resolutions, but I figure it's a good time to reevaluate my life. Although I feel like there shouldn't be just one time in your life when you make goals for yourself. I figure I should be making goals throughout the year. It helps me actually accomplish my goals instead of having a long list of things that might happen, but more than likely won't because they are so overwhelming. So I have written down just a few major goals that I know I've been putting off for a long time. This year I'm going to make an effort.

On to other and more fun things to talk about...

my other car is a sewing machine

I started a new knitting project and decided to make the James Coviello jacket from Vogue magazine (Holiday 2005 issue). I went with the creamy white wool from brown sheep co and it is glorious to work with. I'm glad I chose the cream. I usually tend to go for browns, but I have so many brown in my wardrobe and this will add a little flavor. I'm also making the bobbles slightly smaller than what they directed. I just felt like the ones in the pattern are waaaay too big. I think I'll probably omit the velvet ribbon as well. Oh how I love chunky yarn.

I hope everyone enjoys their New Year's Eve tonight! I'm not exactly sure what my plans are yet. Most likely get together with some friends to drink wine and eat food. Everyone go out and have some fun tonight!

what to knit

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I always seem to get back into knitting around this time of year. I think it has a lot to do with the cold weather and the desire to have more wool knitted items in my wardrobe. I love historical knitting and I'll do that year round, but at the moment I am interested in a lot of modern chunky wool garments. I love the feel of the smooth chunky yarns available right now. The alpaca/wool blend is pretty glorious, but unfortunately slightly out of my price range. That is, if I want to make a sweater or cardigan. So I've been pricing what it would cost to use the Burly Spun wool yarns from Brown Sheep Co. I used it to make my neck warmer and it's really wonderful. Not as soft as alpaca, but I don't mind that.

Alright, here are a few sweaters I've been looking to make. Only I can't decide which one to start with.


I think this is the one I'll probably go with, but I'm still not positive about it. It's from Vogue Knitting 2005. I'd make some changes, like remove the bobbles and possibly even the velvet ribbon. I'm not going for too much "froof." I'd probably make it in something earth tone, like brown, tan, grey or maybe I'll stick with the original creamy white. That way it will go with most of my outfits. If I'm going to spend this much time on a project I had better wear it a lot! :) I think without the ribbon and bobbles it would still have quite a lot of texture and design.

When I was first thinking of knitting something with chunky yarn, I thought of this from the current issue of VK.


It looks simple enough and I think I would actually wear it, probably with a long sleeved top underneath. But I don't know...Perhaps if I made it in some inexpensive yarn that maybe has 50% wool in it instead of 100%. It wouldn't be as nice, but at least it wouldn't break my budget. This sweater requires a lot of yarn.



My friend is knitting up this one right now, only she said she's making it shorter and leaving off the hanging threads (which is what I'd do also if I made it). I wonder if I could make it with chunky yarn? Of course that means more math for me. heh.

I also think this would be cool to make. Only I'm wondering how much work it would be. I still consider myself a beginner after all! Sorry I couldn't find the actual image from VK, but I do love how she made it in red. Only thing is I'm not sure I'd find myself putting this on and snuggling up somewhere. The length of the sleeves are pretty, but not so practical if you get what I mean. :)

Alrighty, I better cut this short. I have to finish a few Christmas presents still! Cheers everyone!

:::inspiration:::

Friday, December 21, 2007

wool tunic - simplicity pattern #3964

Yesterday I started on a wool tunic from one of the Built-by-Wendy patterns (#3964). I have decided my winter wardrobe is lacking (yes, still lacking) and a wool tunic would come in handy. I used some navy wool flannel left over from another project. It's the first time I have used this particular pattern, so I will probably end up changing the style a bit for future projects. I have a couple more tunics in mind once I get the time to sew them up. This one I followed the pattern pretty closely, except I made the opening in the front instead of the back and used the sleeve pattern from pattern #4111 (also made a few changes to that, such as not add elastic to the lower edge and turn the hem up to make a wide cuff and shorter sleeve). I'm debating whether or not I should make a collar like this one by Jenny from Wiksten-Made. It's super cute, so I think I may just go for that style. While I was trying on the tunic, I noticed how dull and drab it was. So a few things got my mind thinking. First, this picture I found on one of the blogs I read daily (it's most inspiring!), port2port. (flickr)



I love love love that shirt. I'm a redhead too and I've heard redheads can't wear red, but she looks fantastic in this shirt! But what really caught my eye was the print. It looks almost as if someone took a marker and drew this design all over the fabric. I think it's marvelous! Of course it was more likely screen printed, but it gave me an idea for my tunic. I decided for the tunic I'm making now, it might take quite awhile to do this design, so...that's when I came upon this:



I found it through Smosch's (yet another fabulous blog) flickr page. Then I thought...what if I made a stencil out of this and put it on the bottom/side of my tunic? I could stencil it in white. That would add a little something. I haven't done it yet, so my mind could always change on that one. But I kinda like it. While we're on the topic of tunics, I love this plaid tunic from Impulse Seattle:




In other fashiony news, yesterday I was on a hunt (like most days...) for a pair of boots. Sometimes I know exactly what I want and other times I have an idea in my head, but I can't pinpoint the style exactly. And then there are times that idea in my head is just that; an idea and not a realistic one! My friend in St. Louis had a pair of red leather boots she was wearing and said she got them years ago at LL Bean. Of course I looked there but couldn't find anything that looked like the ones she had. I didn't want a pair of flashy boots and I wanted them to be fairly comfortable. In other words, no stiletto heels or anything that I would feel too terribly dressy in. I ended up finding a pair on piperlime.com that I liked, but they were $160 and the color I wanted wasn't on sale (black was on sale for $110...still not a very large price cut). So I do what I do with anything I find online for more money than I'm willing to spend; google it. :) I ended up finding the same pair of shoes on endless.com for the grand total of $69 including overnight shipping! Can you believe that? They actually paid me $5 to ship it overnight. Awesome. I haven't gotten them yet, but I hope they show up on my door pretty soon 'cause I'm gettin' anxious over here! In the meantime, here's the picture I swiped off of piperlime.



Now I hope by getting a half size bigger, they will fit. I read that they run small. But if they're too big or too small, it's free to ship back, so there should be no worries in that department. I can't wait to wear these with wool skirts and dresses. Speaking of wool skirts, I love this simple skirt by Pip-Squeak Chapeau.



I adore how simple it is. I think I'm going to whip one up. It's the type of skirt I can see myself wearing all the time. I picked up some cream wool on a very successful thrifting trip the other week that I think I'll use. I just need to wash the wool before I cut it out. Also check out the knitted items Pip-Squeak Chapeau has to offer.

knitting

To give away what I'm making in the knitting department, look for the chunky neck warmer in the shop (in the grown-ups section). I'm pretty sure it's the same one this woman is wearing. (Image swiped from The Sartorialist.) Isn't it glorious? The moment I saw it I knew I HAD to have it for myself. Hopefully my sister isn't reading this, but she's getting one too...whether she likes it or not. :)



Also, take a look at her wonderful coat! It makes me want a big coat like that to wear for sledding trips. Not that I go sledding all that often, but if I should want to, I'd have something to wear. Technically that's just an excuse to make another coat for myself that I don't really *need*. Perhaps this will have to be on my list of projects for next winter.

earrings made by me

I'm still working on finishing Christmas presents! I know I'm going to be crunching a bit, but that's okay. Some of my friends will be getting presents after Christmas. I've decided to make some of my friends earrings. The ones I'm wearing above I swiped for myself. I know, I'm a terrible person. But I couldn't resist. They are pretty simple to make and fun to work on while watching a movie. I got all the necessary tools at my local craft store, except I had to order those large wire earrings from a shop online because I could not for the life of me find them ANYWHERE in town. I've been picking up vintage necklaces and beads at thrift stores and antique shops, taking them apart to use for my little creations. You know it's really not as hard to come up with homemade gift ideas for Christmas presents as I initially thought. My problem is that I should have started months ago in order to make everyone a handmade gift. That will be my goal for next year. Always next year... Have a lovely weekend and a Merry Christmas!

::holiday::

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

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Last weekend I took a happy little jaunt down to visit my lovely St. Louis friends for a Christmas ball and also to relax from my crazy life here at home. The night before I was rushing about trying to finish a dress for a customer and ended staying up until 5a.m. sewing on it before it was completed. I got about three hours of sleep, woke up, loaded the car and drove myself down to a friend's house about two hours south of me. We then were on our way to St. Louis. I filled up on French press coffee and took knitting in hand for the next three hours. I completed one knitting project only to find out after completing it that I did not like the size I made it. Rip rip rip... Kind of a sad site after all that work, but I'm happy I did, because the fit is much better now. Since it's for my sister, I really wanted it to be perfect. I'm making one for myself using thicker yarn and once that is complete, I will reveal what it is I'm making and the instructions I came up with in the process...

Knitty Couture - shop in St. Louis

Knitty Couture

Back to my St. Louis adventure. We arrived Friday afternoon and then headed off to the most wonderful knitting shop called Knitty Couture not far from my friend's house. The lady who owns the shop is incredibly sweet! She was very gracious in allowing me to take a few pictures of her lovely display of yarns. The colors! It truly was breathtaking. I had fun feeling all the different types of yarns and imagining all the garments I could knit up. I felt like a little girl in a candy shop!

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After the knit shop, I went with my friend Silvana to her work Christmas party where I got to meet a lot of professors and grad students and mooch off of their food and wine. hehe. Nothing like tagging along for the food and wine... (just kidding) The party was held in an elegant mansion on SLU campus, which I believe was built in the late 19th century. It was absolutely gorgeous inside and I had fun walking around pretending I was a grad student for the evening. :)

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anna-viv-silvana-oaklandhouse_sleeping

The rest of the weekend consisted of a Christmas ball at the Old Courthouse, Sunday dinner at the historic Oakland House, lots and lots of snow, a visit to Anthropologie and various other adventures. We also went out for dinner at a wonderful little restaurant called Seha after the ball. The people there made us a special menu and each table had a plate of lovely little cookies that are to DIE for. Now I wish I would have picked up a box of them to bring home. We got a little silly that night and decided to put the stickers of our beer bottles on our heads. I truly love my friends.

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my space

All in all, it was the most fantastic relaxing time. Now I'm home and trying to finish up all these Christmas presents! I'm making my grandma some quilted coasters from one of the Japanese Craft books I got awhile back. They're going to go along with the green glass juice cups I got for her. I hope she can use them! I also have a few more items to make and probably will need to go shopping at least once more. A few of my friends will be receiving a cake that I plan to make using an 1840s recipe. It's actually called Washington Pie, but it's more like a pound cake. My favorite part is the currants soaked in brandy. Believe me, this "pie" is Amazing. It's basically filled with lots of butter, heavy cream and sugar. If it all turns out, I'll share the recipe here (only don't blame me if you make it).

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My next post will probably be about knitting, though it could change so who knows. I'm just in a very knitty mood these days. Right now the soft chunky wool variety is my yarn of choice. Stay warm!

More pictures Here. :)

coffee + snow + clean spaces = happy people

Monday, December 10, 2007

::snow::

I just got through cleaning my sewing room and assembling an organizing cube, or whatever you call it, so I can keep my desk tidy. The room could use a little more organization, especially where fabric is concerned, but it's the best I can do for today. At least I don't feel smothered in piles of fabric and tissue paper all around me. It was pretty bad, seeing as the last time I cleaned my room was back before several pretty large projects. And after each project I basically just threw the fabric scraps under the table and tried to ignore the thread and dust bunnies under my sewing machine. There gets to be a point where I go a little crazy and I about had it. SO, that said, I won't bore you with anymore cleaning details. It's just that now I'm in a fantastic mood. Clean = Happy. :)

Saturday morning I got up right in time to go to the "cupping" at Brewed Awakenings downtown. I bumped into Josh and Meg from the coffee shop Friday night at the bar and they told me about it, so I thought it might be fun to try something new. From what Josh says, it sounds like cupping is pretty rare around these parts. These are exactly the things I like to be apart of! And coffee is starting to become a very slight obsession. I never used to drink it, but somehow got addicted a year or so ago. Every day I get up and make myself a cup of French pressed coffee and it helps pick me up even on the worst of mornings. Just the smell of a fresh brew makes me glow. It's amazing what little things like coffee will do to my mood.

At the cupping we learned how to sniff the coffee and how to slurp it. Okay, well maybe those aren't the right words to use, but that's basically what we did! I was amused at all the slurping that went on during our "taste test." We each had a spoon and would take a small amount of coffee and slurp it. Imagine half a dozen people or so slurping coffee at once. I was a little hesitant to slurp, but everyone else did it so I suppose it didn't matter if I looked and sounded ridiculous. After each taste we'd take our spoon and dip it in a glass of water to clear off any excess coffee. Then at the end of the line we would go around once more and they encouraged us to go around even a third time to taste once they had cooled. A good coffee is supposed to taste better as it cools, which does makes sense. The guy who was leading the cupping seemed to know quite a great deal about this intricate process. I found myself getting lost at certain places (because I have very little knowledge to begin with), but it was pretty cool to know that someone is so passionate about coffee. I like to compare other people's passions with my passion for history and art. I have always felt that if you're going to do something, do it right. There's so much that goes into making the perfect cup of coffee, I'm sure I don't even know half of what goes on in that process.

After we completed the cupping, we got to choose which type of coffee we would like to try and they made each of us a cup in a French press. They also gave us a small bag of coffee to take home. I really enjoyed myself! They said they're planning to do it once a month. I think it would be fun to go back. I doubt I'll ever become a coffee snob, but I've always felt that it would be cool to learn more about this drink which I find impossible to do without even for one day. Josh took pictures and said they would go on the Brewed Awakenings' blog, so you might check it out. I don't think he put them up yet, though.

cheeseburger special :)

After the cupping we all headed over to Xavier's down the street for their cheeseburger basket special. It was pretty good for only $3.00. I also met a guy who painted the cool large Indian painting on the wall at the coffee shop. It was funny because he had seen my article in the paper and we both put two-and-two together when we exchanged cards. These are the times I enjoy living in a smaller city.

This Christmas I am trying something a little different. Most of the gifts I'm giving are hand-made by me. Now I can't do this for everyone. I started late so I don't have a lot of time and it's also hard to make hand-made presents for a few people I know... So I'm doing the best I can. Maybe next year I'll try harder to do this for everyone. But I have to admit, it's a lot more fun to make someone a present than to just run out to a store and buy it for them. I put a lot more time in something I make and it means more than something made in a factory. Plus this gives me a chance to give something unique. Hopefully everyone will be happy with their gifts this year. Christmas tends to be a time of year I'm either depressed or really indifferent towards. I don't know if it's just that I'm older now and Christmas is more for kids or why I feel this way. But this year seems different and I am feeling a little more excited than past years. The best part of Christmas to me is making someone happy with the gifts I give. I don't much care about receiving gifts for myself. In fact I'd be happy to do without getting anything. It's hard enough making a Christmas list! Believe it or not, it really is.

Well I hope everyone is staying warm. I'm keeping warm with my knitting, White Christmas soundtrack and Sufjan Stevens Christmas albums. It's about enough to keep me warm all winter long me thinks. :)

sunday mornin'

Sunday, December 2, 2007


IMG_6684, originally uploaded by gracefullady.

It takes me forever to figure out an outfit and by the end of it all, I never ::really:: like what I've put together. Ah, well. This is my feeble attempt for this morning. At least I'm not wearing ALL grey or all black or all brown! Got these tights at Salvation army for $2 and they've never been worn. Can't beat that! Also attempting to grow out the hair so this is how I've been wearing my hair. Kinda trying to make it look like a bun, only it looks more like a doorknob on my head. :)

my attempt at a bun