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Tomorrow is Ladyfest’s Not Your Grandma’s (when will they change that title? I thought we had all agreed that it was dismissive of the lady crafters who set the scene for us younger DIYers) Holiday Craftsale.
This sale is a welcome change to the stodgy church basement craft sales that pop up all over the place but to be honest I’m really hoping they change up their vendors a bit this time. I live less than a block away from the sale location and always stop by but I’m getting antsy for some fresh fare. Not that I don’t love all the rockin’ standbys. I have purchased much that they have to offer, but I’d love to see what some young upstarts have to offer.
In other news, I am weak. No thanks to Michelle who now knows my shoe size and wants me to be roomies with her in the poorhouse, I am a few ebay hours away from owning these:
These match my other Fluevog’s which doesn’t bother me at all. Because they are glorious. They will not fit my calves, of this I am sure, but Fluevog has a stretching contraption, so worse comes to worse, they will be wearable the next time I or Michelle goes to Toronto. Of course I will not be able to wait that long, and will be spending the day I receive these coating my gams with Becel.
My chunky tights search is on the upswing. I have discovered Tights Online. They have XL cotton tights with a very generous size range but I really have my heart set on wool, so I ordered their wool tights in charcoal. According to the size range I should be able to squeeze into them.
Thank Santa for my recent work influx.
Apparently I can’t purchase anything without it turning into a fiasco.
So, last winter I was in desperate need of winter boots. Well, to be honest, the winter before I really needed them to combat the copious amount of snow that was dumped on Northern Japan, but I digress. I hit the malls, every mall, I went to sporting good stores and Mountain Equipment Co-op and generally everywhere in this city. I quickly realized that if I didn’t want crazy clunky North Face boots, or crazy ugly Uggs, I was S.O.L. Downhearted, I found myself at a remote horse riding supply shop on Boxing Day. To my surprise they had a fair selection of non-offensive boots. Short story long, I bought these.
And I was happy. Not too sporty, not too casual, just right. Except that they started to skin my heels. Inexplicably, I waited until last week to go bring them back. Seeing that the boots had a one year warranty, I was somewhat confident that I would be able to return them. No dice. Apparently the manufacturer’s website is a liar and it’s actually a one to three month warranty. Nice. I was told I could either wait forever to hear back from the manufacturer about a refund or I could exchange them for something from their now very minimal stock. Not wanting to trudge out into the snow in my heeless mary janes, I bought these.
To be honest I didn’t even like them that much but they were warm and my feet were cold so it seemed like a good call despite the fact that I would have to chip in a whopping $110 more than the original boots cost. Then they also began to shred my heels. Back to the store I went.
To my delight, not only did the cashier not give me attitude, she was also unaware that my first boots were unreturnable and she gave me a full refund for both boots. I sprinted through the parking lot before she could realize her mistake and try to take back my two hundred plus dollars.
Although I was now flush with mad cash, I was with chilly toes. Back to the mall where the Ugg/space boot dilemma again reared it’s ugly head.
But, being the optimistic sort (stop laughing) I saw an opportunity present itself. I’ve been whining for year that I want to dress less like this:
Especially in the winter. Instead of droopy pants and boring button down shirts, I wanted to wear pencil skirts, with knee boots and wool tights with a cable sweater. Think that chick who jumps on Hugh Grant in Love, Actually.
My problem was I didn’t have the boots and if I didn’t have the boots I couldn’t wear the skirts let alone the tights. But I couldn’t have the boots because according to every boot retailer I have tree trunk legs. Then I caught wind of Duo boots. These Monocos immediately found their way on to my hint list.
I love these boots. Deeply. But they’re not exactly the thing for running through the slush for the bus on my way to teach kindergarten.
So I started to think: if I got a pair of slightly more casual Duo boots, the snow would stay out of my socks but I would look like I actually think about what I wear, and they didn’t have to be lined with Thinsulate, because I can knit socks! I had a tough time deciding between the very practical Malmo
and the slightly sassier Ravenna
but an emergency caucus with shoe expert Michelle determined that Ravenna would look better with a skirt and would still be wearable. And so a pair of shapely, purty boots is on its way.
But what does this have to do with anything crafty?
Well 1) I plan on making this skirt (sidebar: Vogue Patterns is having a $5.99 sale) out of some herringbone suiting fabric ASAP.
And 2) with new sassy skirt at the ready I will need legwear. Again, the chunky legs ruin my life. It is impossible to find knit tights that will go above my knees. I am seriously considering making something like these
Except not fugly.
On Sunday I completed the half-finished Christmas gifts I had lying around and then, before my brain would nag me about other gifts I should make, I cast on for the Ultraviolet V-Neck.
I really don’t think you can appreciate the gorgeous, rich colour here (I really must figure out my camera’s white balance) but it’s such a perfect cranberry colour that I am desperate to finish it by the party on the 15th. What with a more hectic than usual work schedule, an interview to cram for, and one other gift still in progress, it really is a lost cause, but I can continue to deceive myself for a couple weeks.
I can finally reveal some of my secret knitting projects in this here blog. Our friends Michelle and Alex are expecting a baby girl on December 28th. This being their first child, Nat and I co-hosted a shower to try to get them some much needed baby goods. S0, a few weekends ago I started in on the baby knitting.
First, I made something a bit impractical, but one for the keeping, I hope.
Baby Bonnet from Drops. Elann Alpaca Fina in Peridot.
Then I wanted to make something out of leftover Socks that Rock as it would be washable and bright. I fell prey to the cuteness that is Saartje’s Booties.
They were a big hit.
With the rest of my STR I improvised a hat. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough of one colour to make it a good size so I had to do a couple stripes, which I hated at first, but I now only mildly resent.
I can’t wait to get real modelled pictures on the baby herself!
I was also in charge of providing the desserts so I made lemon squares and chocolate peanut butter cookies. They were great! The first sheet of cookies burned and were not brought to the shower. As soon as all my baking and gift wrapping were done I marched to the grocery store and bought a new double insulated sheet that’s supposed to prevent burning. We’ll see if it works.
I took the Buy Handmade pledge although I have given it an expansive definition when it comes to Christmas gifts.
I’ve bought a couple of things from Etsy, of course, including our Christmas cards and these cute little numbers from Island Crafts:
These will adorn my handmade gifts, which will be plentiful this year.
In a much more general sense I’m trying to avoid the malls and big boxes as much as possible. This has been my goal in life in general but especially at this big buying time. Thus Threadless also counts and with them having a ten dollar sale, many t-shirts will be gifted next month.
If you’re having trouble with your handmade ambitions this year, here are a few of my favourite buys:
From Buy Olympia. I have this and I wear it often and I always get comments.
From Frost Fish Cove. My secret pal Michelle sent me these in a different flavour. I love lip balm but I’m a bit finicky. These are very smooth and moist and don’t make your lips all flaky and they’re very reasonably priced!
Craft zine subscription. To be honest I haven’t made any of the projects yet from my four issues of Craft, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome. It’s super inspirational and it’s much cheaper to subscribe than to buy from the newsstands. I love getting gift subscriptions because it combines my two loves: getting mail and people buying me things.
I’m obsessed with Alba. I have their body scrub, Aloe and Green Tea Oil Free Facial Moisturizer, Pineapple Enzyme Cleanser, Aloe Facial Mask and I’ve also used their shave cream. The moisturizer and cleansers are my most cherished and I’ve forced many a friend to buy them. Alba is also extremely green. You an read about their environmental commitment here.
When I’m not using Alba, I’m using Kiss my Face.
We just picked up this hand wash last week and I am completely in love. I love cinnamon (and body products that smell like sweet food in general) and this stuff is potent, but not in a gross, fake, chemical way. Rather, in a way that makes you want to lick your hands all day. I’m also a big fan of their shave creams. Plus it’s all organic!
What are you fave handmade or small eco-footprint buys?
Thanks to everyone for their kind comments on Tangled Yoke yesterday! It’s nice to know that there’s people out there reading and that my über-critical tendencies are as useless as I’ve suspected.
I’ve been slightly unmotivated to post lately since I can’t show you anything that I’m working on. I guess I’ll just have to cast on something for myself. As Tangled Yoke was getting close to finished, I started dreaming of the next sweater that I’d undertake for myself and came up with this exciting equation:
Equals cheese free holiday sweater! We’re hosting our semi-annual Meximas Christmas party on December 15th, so I would love to finish this and all my gifts by then. I’m nothing if not foolishly ambitious.
Tangled Yoke was officially finished last Thursday but I arrived home in the dark Thursday and Friday and Saturday was all about the shopping and birthday partying so there were no decent (meaning daylight, not meaning me looking presentable) pictures until Sunday.
I’m wearing a hat because it is November and cold not because I’m trying to look too cool for school.
This pattern is really obscure so here are all the details:
Patterns: Tangled Yoke Cardigan ~ Interweave Knits Fall 2007
Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed in Bilberry ~ six balls
Size: 38″ (woohoo!)
Time: October 22ndish-November 15th
Thoughts: I wish I hadn’t ignored my instinct and had done fewer rows on the collar. It appeared to be very sturdy and petite on the pattern and every other picture I had seen of it, but when I followed the instructions it ended up poofy and floppy. I might eventually have to reinforce the button band with ribbon as it’s also floppy. Anyone know how? I should have added more length after the rib in the body but you should have seen how cropped it was before a vigorous blocking! In general, though, I’ve worn it a lot and gotten a lot of compliments on it.
I’m almost finished two other projects, one knitting, one sewing, for Christmas gifts but I won’t be posting them here lest the recipients see it. The knit project can be seen on Ravelry soon and the sewing will have to wait until after Christmas. I wish Ravelry had a sewing category.
Tomorrow is the birthday of the lovely Nat.
Yesterday following many hours of fabric and yarn shopping I hosted a little party for her. I had a scheme involving a marzipan knitting decorations cake but then I remembered that I don’t particularly like marzipan and that it’s very expensive. So, I made this fantastic cake, substituting marscapone for half the sour cream as that’s what was available, and some buttercream and broke out the gel decorating pens that I bought for Nat’s cake last year:
and I made a non-marzipan knitting cake:
I was disappointed with how the detail kind of melted away but everyone got the general idea and it was certainly delicious.
Her gift was the third and perfected version of the DPN case I posted about a few weeks ago. I had actually made it then but didn’t want to post about it in case she saw it. I know she’ll put it to good use.
Coming tomorrow (I promise) Tangled Yoke Pictures!
Chris and I are watching the Seinfeld episode with the anti-dentism and Chris told me that he had heard that dentists have one of the highest suicide rates so I had to investigate. Anyway, I stumbled across this here:
“Of 22 occupations examined in Washington state, dentists had a suicide rate second only to that of sheepherders and wool workers.”
How long have I been knitting? So much has happened since I last lifted my head.
Please note: this photo in no way accurately represents the true colour of TY. See previous posts for the real shade.
Thoughts so far:
- Why do I have almost three whole balls of Felted Tweed left over? Anyone?
- When will I remember to add length to every flippin’ thing I knit? I’m not tall. By any stretch of the imagination. Please blocking, work your magic.
- I’m displeased by the four huge holes where the underarm stitches were grafted.
- The collar is much poofier and Mary Maxim circa 1962 than I expected.
- It fits! Stop whining!
I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get a decent modelled photo tomorrow as I’m working all day then going straight to the salon for a much needed hair cut and it now starts getting dark at two (I swear!) but I’m sure I’ll have some dark, tired-faced yet with great-hair photos soon.
Now that this speed freak monkey is off my back I actually completed other tasks today. Like laundry! and grocery shopping! and baking!
These are these. I haven’t tried them yet as they’re for breakfasts but I will give the verdict.
The jury is already in on these guys:
Remember when I made these glorious cookies and raved about them (can you tell I love Allrecipes? It’s Epicurious’s less stuck up little sister)? Same recipe. Same baker. Different day. Way suckier. I think I needed more flour but I ran out. It doesn’t stop us from eating them though.
At least I have an awesome container to store them in.
I got this at Value Village many year ago. On the side it says “nuts and sesame seed moon cakes with one egg yolks.”
I also finally got to use these awesome labels that I got just before I left Japan.
I have two more that say ‘bread’ and ‘rice’ (of course) and many more around the apartment with other labels and cute pictures.