I found a dress :-)

My mom & I went to David's Bridal after work. I literally tried on every BM dress that didn't have beading (because my hair'd catch). Long story short, I showed my mom JS's picks and she was much quicker than I to see that they wouldn't do at all. Even the one I thought *could* work didn't with the jacket on. A jacket is required because we need sleeves and they don't make dresses with sleeves anymore. Anyone else think that's a terrible idea?

We came up with 2 possibles and called JS to run them past her. Her sister, the MOH, had called dibs on my favorite (gr!!) and that the other was "the wrong fabric". It was a good thing I called though because JS mentioned a 4th option. I said I'd try it on and call her back.


Not only is it passable, it looks great. It's what I was looking for and was frustrated that I couldn't find. I like simple lines, and it has the high neck I wanted, and it looks good with the jacket. And everyone's happy - Jill, me, even my mom :-)

Overheard in the office today

I'm teaching MZ to knit during our lunch hour. She's finally mastered the knit stitch :-) Anyways, we knit at her desk which is relatively high traffic.

Some dude walks past us, notices the knitting, and says, "Oh, do people still do that? I thought it was a dying art". Seriously?

MZ used to be in a different group, and one of the guys she used to work with stopped by to see what was up. He asked MZ to make him a scarf, so I offered to teach him to make his own scarf (I've taught some of the guys at work before). He'd been watching us for a while, so he was able to articulate exaclty why he wasn't interested:
"It's like tying your shoes. I don't like tying my shoes. No, it's like tying your shoes 1,000 times. With chopsticks."

PS At least they didn't ask what we were sewing. Honestly people, can you really not tell the difference between sewing and knitting?!? I don't ask you if you think the Giants are going to win the World Series, do I?!?


I had the worst headache last night so I had to get off the computer, but I had 2 things to share.

Yesterday change for HOE arrived from Joanne. Look what I got!

In addition to the most perfect fob, she sent some floss and fabric to match. Thank you!!! I really like it! (Still trying to track down an email address for a private note of thanks)

If you thought the fob was nice, wait til you see it "on":

The design is called Bianca's Bouquet, and it matches my Bianca scissors perfectly! I love the bright colors too (in case you can't tell from reading my blog I'm a big fan of bright colors, and lots of 'em).

(I took this photo at 7 this morning so the light sucked - IRL it's way nicer)

Now, I know she was a little concerned about the fob because the string is off-centered or something, but I'm the worst at centering so I didn't even notice, lol. Joanne, I'll teach you my trick: take all your photos off-centered and lopsided, and then people can't tell if your work is off-centered too or it's an illusion ;-)


In other news, JS picked a designer and color for the BM dresses. I was really happy that she finally picked so we can get dresses and be done with it. Then she says, she also picked 3 styles from which we can chose. Nooooooooooooooooo!

JS and I have different shapes and different styles... so I was worried. Two of the options are strapless with Empire waists. Even though I prefer non-strapless, I can wear it (and have). It's the combination of
a) the straplessness that's not holding the dress up and
b) cleavage pushing down on the empire waist part
that has convinced me that
c) such a dress would be falling off me all night and
d) even if it didn't fall off, there's no way the neckline would start out, let alone remain, high enough to pass the modesty bar for photos and the chupah. Just no way.
That basically leaves me with one option. It's very much JS's style (similar to BM dresses she's worn in the past) but it's not my style of dress. It's growing on me the more I consider it though.

Since I was worried and had some time, I went out to DB after work to try them on. I was right about those first 2 not working. This 3rd dress surprised me. I thought it would be too low cut b/c of the V-neck, but the halter will keep the dress up higher, high enough. It even looks fine with the jacket on.

I'm just annoyed that I couldn't pick my own outfit. I think that there are enough constraints already (designer, color, length, must be modest), and we are all adults that have been dressing ourselves for years now. I would have been much happier picking 3 designs that I like and submitting them to JS for approval, instead of the other way around.

This [waves hands in the air] whole mess of unhappiness shouldn't be surprising. I think that until yesterday, JS has taken a very sensible approach to wedding planning, especially with regards to her BMs. She is very price conscious on our behalves, and even changed the color to Wine b/c she likes it better and it's a more reusable dress. So I think she's been everything *right* - until this dress-chosing idea she had, which to me seems very weird not to let people pick their own.

Now that I've had a day to think about things, it's more in perspective. When we were roomates, we'd always agree on 95% of things and then get into really heated arguements about the last 5%. We're both really stubborn about certain things, the stupidest things come to think of it, but it made us terrible roommates and great friends. I think this is the 5% of bridesmaiding that I think she is COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY wrong about ;-) It's not worth a fight this time.

Oy, does that mean I've grown up? I hope not!

No stitching happened last night, I was on the computer for like 20 minutes and then got nauseous from my headache (a first!) . So I took some Advil (which I hate to do, but had to) and went to sleep ridiculously early. Feeling better today, but worried that the headache will return. :-/



No Megillah

I finished my fob for HOE! It's my first fob finish so I was really OCD about the finishing, glad I waited until the weekend and gave myself plenty of time. I'm happy with how it came out, and hope my mystery recipient is too :-)

Thank you guys soooooo much for all the advice on the Bronze issue. Ruth, your idea most closely matches what I'd been envisioning for Bronze, but everyone I'd asked IRL said 920. Thus the confusion. I ended up going with 920 because it matches my recipient's color tastes more closely.

Not sure if I can post a picture of what I'm actually using the stuff for. HSKS4 is a bit confusing. This is a swap that requires you to create a Hogwarts alter-ego, with the option to blog as your alter ego. If you have time to check out about 50 new blogs it should take you all of 5 minutes to guess my secret identity. But since there's no list of Muggle blogs for the people associated with the swap, I think I would be safe enough posting the entire contents of my swap here. Right? If my partner goes to the trouble of cracking my secret identity and tracking down my blog, she deserves the reward of knowing what's going to be in her kit. But I think that Neila would kick my tuchus if I did (she's in charge of us Ravenclaws for this swap and is doing a GREAT job). So I won't....

Part of the Sock Kit is a set of stitch markers. Of course I am making mine :-) It took forever to chose colors and supplies, but putting them together was a breeze. It's my first time working with wire and I'm definitely doing it again! I also stitched & felted a swatch of the kit bag I'm making. I love love love how it turned out, and it felted so much more quickly than the Bernat Felting yarn that I used for my pink hat! I see many more felted projects knitted with this yarn in my near future. Hehe, my HP powers are carrying over to real life already :-)

Speaking of wizardry... Shaina and I went ice skating again last night, this time at an adult-only session. It was super fun: no kiddies to trip over, only 30 or so people on the ice, and we got to watch some of the really good skaters practicing their jumps in the middle area. This one (really cute but 18 years old) guy was AMAZING, he was doing those twirly (axel?) jumps and getting like 3 feet of air. And they were either double or triple axels, definitely not singles. It was really amazing to watch! I guess it shouldn't be surprising that we have this kind of talent around, the Hughes girls are both from my town and skate at this rink sometimes. I wonder if we'll be seeing Mr Black Sweatshirt (well what else should be call him?) in a competition anytime soon?

Shaina and I both want to go back this weekend :-)


Chicken soup recipe

I don't cook meat often and have never made chicken soup, but this is my mom's recipe and it's pretty good.
  1. Fill up a soup pot with water, put a chicken in, and bring to a boil on the stove.
  2. When the water's boiling, my mom says to "skim the fat off, and any 'chicken crud' that floats to the surface."
  3. Add 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery and 2 parsnips. You can cut them in half but no smaller, because you're going to be fishing them out later.
  4. Tie a whole bunch of Dill together and put it on the top - you're fishing this out later as well.
  5. Add salt & pepper to taste. Not too much!
  6. Leave it on the stove for 2-4 hours. I'd say between 3 and 4.
  7. When you're done cooking it, fish out the chicken and the veggies.
    • The dill goes in the trash.
    • Put some pieces of chicken in the soup when you serve it. Give the rest to the dog. (Sky enjoys chicken soup days :-)
    • The carrots and parsnip are placed in seperate containers, and sliced back into the soup when you serve it. I don't remember if the celery gets served or not, but you might as well.
  8. Matzah balls are made seperately (and usually by Grandma E). They are placed in the soup just before serving, but give them enough time to warm up.
We usually have chicken soup on Rosh Hashanah, Erev (the eve of) Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Pesach. The chicken soup is prepared a day or 2 in advance since there's a lot of cooking going on for those holidays. The soup goes back on the stove to warm before serving. We put the matzah balls in at that time to warm up - frozen matzah balls are not yummy. When the soup is served, everyone gets 1 large or 2 medium matzah balls, some veggie slices from a container on the counter, and sometimes some parsley on top, as a garnish.

Mom says you can put Chicken Consomme powder in for more flavor, but then you're making chicken soup from powdered chicken soup and she (and I) think that's silly.

Thanks for all your help with the Bronze dilemma!



Help a girl out...

What color is Bronze? I'm making a Blue & Bronze exchange package, and I have come to terms with the fact that I have no idea what color it is! It's some kind of brown, with some amount of yellow and red tossed in there, but when faced with a choice of yarns, fabrics or flosses I can't pin it down. I'm so embarrassed, but I really I'm not as ignorant as this sounds. I know all the crazy colors: mauve, aubergine, celadon, sage. I even know what color Coral is (and will argue it to the death with my brothers when necessary)!

Please use the internation color numeration system (aka DMC floss colors) and post a comment below. Put your 2 cents in even if someone else has already, because I've asked 5 people IRL and I've gotten 4 answers, so I am weighting by number of responses.

Thanks guys! Have a good night.

PS Times like this it sucks to be a book purist ;-)


A long post about Knitting and Crocheting

Something's wrong with my computer. It keeps shutting down on its own immediately after Startup. Consulting the brain trust to see what my next step should be, but for now my laptop's MIA, presumed dead.

My HOE fob's almost done! Just a tiny bit of backstitching left, then beading and putting it together.

I recently (like last week) signed up for Ravelry. If you knit or crochet and aren't on Ravelry, what are you waiting for? And if you're a programmer with more free time than I have, could you please create a Ravelry for cross stitchers? The "Stash" feature alone would save me hundreds of dollars at my LNS.

The reason I mention Ravelry is, I've been looking for patterns for the HSKS4 swap. Part of the swap is creating a knitting bag for your partner, to hold all the goodies you're sending and the WIP as she or he makes her or his socks. After waaay too much deliberation, but really there were just too many options, I picked the pattern and hit up Michaels on my way home from work. The exact yarn I wanted to use was on sale, so now I *might* make my budget :-)

It's weird to be blogging about knitting, because my focus has always been cross stitch, but really I've been a knitter longer than a cross stitcher, and I've both knit and crochet more than I've cross stitched. I started knitting when I was 10 years old. I was going to spend the summer with my maternal grandparents at a bungalow colony in the Catskills, and I wanted to sit in the circle with my Grandma and the other ladies and knit with them. Well that January or February (c'mon, I was 10 but I remember it was cold out) they came over to our house and Grandma F taught me how to knit. My first projects were simple rectangles, but they were blankets for my toy horses so I loved making them. Not to be left out, my Grandma E made me a horse-blanket too - seed stitch with a crocheted edging, through which she ran a sparkly silver ribbon. I loved it. Forget the sparkly ribbon (which I also LOVED), I fell in love with seed stitch. I lay so... flat. And even. Moving on...

Grandma F and I knit a sweater vest for each of my 2 brothers that summer. She was a much faster knitter, so we'd work for a bit and then swap projects, so that they'd work up more evenly. That was also the summer I learned about 20 words of Yiddish. Fun times! Grandma and I would later go on to collaborate in stitching Tallis and Tefillin bags for each of my brothers for their Bar Mitzvahs. I'll see if I can snap some photos for you guys, they're pretty.

I knit on and off until high school, when I started knitting all the time. I had an hour long bus ride... plenty of time to knit. Then Grandma E decided I needed to learn to crochet also. I think she was annoyed that Grandma F taught me continental knitting (the one where you hold the yarn the correct way, in your non-dominant hand). All of a sudden I had my best guy friend (who was on the bus with me) trying to help me decipher the incomprehensible abbreviations in crocheting patterns - lol. Btw, I'm now really good at reading and executing crochet patterns, so thanks Ben!

Over the years I've knitted and crocheted lots of different things... afghans, ties, hats, scarves, mittens, shawls, pillows, doilies, a kipah, a bandage (in ecuador when we didn't have an ace bandage handy :), stuffed toys... and other things I can't think of just now. Recently I knit that wine cozy, I'm working on my first pair of socks, I learned how to felt stuff, and a few months ago I knit myself an afghan. And since you were so patient and read all the way through my second uber-long post in 2 days, your reward is some stitchy pics - hooray!

My most recent afghan

The wine cozy

My doily WIP

Ok, off to work on that scissor fob. Ttys!


Long post :-)

Argh, I completely forgot to mention last week that Pokua finally received my Fair & Square exchange! I was still in DC at the time (so my mind was elsewhere), but anyways, without further ado:

I picked up the chart in Paris :-) I forget the desginer, but the chart is called Cinq Couers. I was really torn about what to stitch for Pokua, but I saw that she stitched red (redwork?) charts for her last 2 Fair & Squares. So I figured it meant she liked them :-) They took FOREVER to get there so I was really worried they were lost in the mail or something. And obsessing over that dark possibility. And then I forget to post a pic for you. Go figure.

My parents were away for the weekend, so J & I had the house to ourselves. HD! I drove my parents to the airport Friday morning and got totally turned around driving to work because I tried to avoid the Cross Island. But we don't need to tell them that.

MZ, LN and I went for Raviolis again during lunch, and the obligatory stop at AC Moore. I mean, it is right next door. How could we turn it down? I bought some cheap sock yarn - I don't want my first pair of socks to be on Tofutsies because I know they will suck, and that's good yarn. And by good I mean expensive ;-)

Anyways, after work I returned some books to the library, then basically vegged: read books and avoided cleaning/cooking/contact with the outside world). Saturday was more of the same. Saturday night I was supposed to go to a metro stitchers meeting in NYC, but I goofed on the train schedule and wouldn't have made it there until 30 minutes before the event ended :-( So I called Shaina, and we went to a mall out on the Island instead. I picked up some books for 40% off at a closing Waldenbooks, including a book I'd been looking for: Charmed Knits. Harry Potter Sock Kit Swap anyone? Lol. I did an exchange at Borders because the Veronica Mars Season 3 (a very-much-appreciated birthday present from a dear friend) was damaged when I opened it. Luckily I had a gift receipt! PSA: Always give one, even when the gift is perfect, as this one was. I could've downloaded the messed-up disc's episodes off iTunes for $8, but it's soooo much nicer to just get a replacement. Anyways...

Shaina was hungry so we almost hit up the Ravioli place, but they were packed and apparently you need a reservation on the weekends. Which made perfect sense - that place is awesome. Next time - she's intrigued by my rave reviews :-)

Sunday J baked brownies, and in the afternoon we took them over to my cousin's. He had surgery on his nose to straighten it out so he could breathe through it. The poor guy's nose was extremely misaligned. J knows what he's going through, since he had the same surgery after he came back from his semester abroad in London. J got mugged one night walking home from the gym, and one of the two punks punched him in the nose and broke it. Once he was Stateside again, he decided he liked breathing out of his nose and had it fixed. I just think it's funny that of all the people in my family, the two least vain people have had the cosmetic-est surgeries.

Yesterday I stopped by Michaels to pick up some floss on sale, then headed out to the airport to pick up my parents. And that's pretty much it.

By the way, if you ever want to meet all the Canadians that read your blog post something nice about Canada, it sure seems to pull them out of the woodwork!

I love Canada :-) No really, we used to go all the time and it was a lot of fun! It's about an 8 hour drive to Montreal from my house, and until '06 we used to go skiing up there every winter break. This photo is from 2003, and it's my 3 cousins (the ones that live 2 miles from me), my brothers, my mom, our friend Josh, and me. There's 2 girls in the photo, so you can figure out which is which for yourselves. My dad's taking the photo but you can see his gloves.

On the crafting front... I worked on my HOE fob. There's one little part that I keep having to frog, for different reasons each time. It's getting done this week.

I also finished my wine cozy! I showed J and he seemed impressed with it, but bewildered that I would actually spend time making such a thing.
Me: Look what I made!
J: What is that?
Me: A wine cozy... like a gift bag for wine.
J: Oh.
Me: Like you give people wine, and you put it in this bag thingie. You want one?
J: No, what would I do with it?
Me: Yeah, I guess it's one-use only though. Hmm, that was a bad idea.
Me: I know! When I get you wine, I'll put it in this bag and give it to you. Then you can give me the bag back, and I'll get you more wine.
J: There you go.
Side note: J and my mom like to drink wine. I got him wine from France for Chanukah, but it wasn't wrapped. He liked it anyway.

That's all folks, I'm gonna go work on my fob for a bit.


Thursday update

Work was a lot less fun today. There's a (very important) report I used to run that has so many finicky parts that something breaks every time you run it, so you have to check everything. Big PITA. Well it got passed along to JC about 2 months ago, which was fine with me, except that he's a little... technologically inept. He usually can't diagnose or correct any problems that happen, so I get called in to fix it. Which is fine, my department is very friendly and we all help each other out whenever asked, no glory hounds :-) But I just hate running the report, and I don't love getting dragged back into it.

Today was a really tough problem. It turned out that a field broke due to the new year, but it took us from 10-2 to figure out what exactly since there are so many finicky parts to the process, and we went through a lot of them before finding the error. So no AC Moore during lunch again. It felt really good to fix the thing though :-)

After work I went to my LNS. I picked up some fabric I needed, some blue fabric I didn't need but really liked, and a chart to stitch JF for her birthday. Haha, I now have 2 friends that're JF! I meant my singing friend. I also got a couple of Casey Buonaugurio charts to stitch on some sparkly pink fabric I'd ordered from Silkweaver. They just fit on the fabric I got! Can't wait to stitch them, they look like quick stitches.

Partner assignments for Round 5 of the Fair & Square Exchange came yesterday :-D I got Michele, and aside from being super friendly, we also have the same taste in cross stitch designers! I picked something to stitch for her in record time. And if I find something better in the next week or two it's no problem, because I'm planning to stitch it for myself too :-)

It was snowing and raining when I left my LNS but I had 2 more stops to make. I did a return to Best Buy and then stopped in at Borders. I went to exchange the Veronica Mars DVDs I got for my b-day, because one of the disks came scratched and wouldn't play. Thank goodness for gift receipts :-) I also found a new release by an author I like and picked up a Grey's Anatomy calendar for LN (she's a huge fan).

Off to go play with my new stash. Have a great night!


Behave or I'll knit you

Work was fun today!

So this morning my coworker and I were talking about Old Bethpage, a colonial restoration village on Long Island. His wife works there sometimes, and when I said that I'd like to volunteer there (because I love all the crafts & want to learn them :) he warned me to watch out for the unruly sheep. He has met Sky before, and she's the size of a horse, so I figure I can handle some sheep. Aren't they supposed to be meek?

Then I thought about it some more and said, "I could just knit them." He cracked up.

I was going to run to AC Moore during my lunch hour for some needles, but Karen, my coworker that got me started scrapbooking, *convinced* me to go out with a bunch of people from my department. Someone from the French office is visiting for the week, so we're trying to show him a good time. They take care of us, it's only fair to return the favor, right? We decided to go to a Mexican restaurant nearby and split into 2 cars. I ended up with Karen, MZ, and Christina. Three of us (not MZ) have been to one (or more) of the European offices, and the conversation turned to how they would drink alcohol during lunch. This turned into 7 of us (MZ was driving) splitting a pitcher of Margaritas and a pitcher of Sangria. It was a very fun lunch :-)

We got some work done that afternoon, but I made sure to wait a while before doing anything requiring thinking.
I shoulda known when they asked if I like to ski:

You're Canada!

People make fun of you a lot, but they're stupid because you've
got a much better life than they do. In fact, they're probably just jealous.
You believe in crazy things like human rights and health care and not
dying in the streets, and you end up securing these rights for yourself and
others. If it weren't for your weird affection for ice hockey, you'd be
the perfect person.

Take the Country Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid


Fair & Square, Socks

My Fair Square exchange from Pokua arrived. She stitched me squares that she designed herslef, using elements of Drawn Thread charts. Aren't they gorgeous?!? Those big birds in the middle *must* be emus. Pokua also sent some postcards of Australia and a boomerang keychain. I hope that means when I lose my keys they will come back to me ;-)

In other news, I figured I should get ready for my sock kit swap by knitting some socks. I've been hearing a lot about South West Trading Company so I looked up where their yarn is sold, and found thepointnyc.com. It's a cute store in Greenwich Village, very little in a very Manhattan way. I picked up a pattern book, some Tofutsies yarn, and some tiny DPNs. I am all for supporting the small retailers of the world, but yarn stores make it tough - I could've printed a couple of coupons and got the same for about 1/3 the cost at AC Moore. And maybe it's an NYC thing, but the store is very small so selection's not great. I wasn't keen on the uber-beginner book but it didn't seem like they had any other sock pattern books. Whatever, I found enough to do one pair and Raverly will take care of all future patterns :-)

**** Updated ****
By the way, I ended up on a 6am flight Monday morning... which meant that I had to be up at 3:30. Is rocks, she drove me to the airport and everything! She got to go back to sleep for a couple of hours while some of us went to work. The morning went well but by 4 I was starting to fall asleep at my desk. I was waaaay too tired to post yesterday when I got home!

All in all, the DC trip was a complete sucess & I'm looking forward to going back. Probably in the summer so I can take the bike ;-D


Stuck in DC

I love those old colonial historical sites. I've been to Old Bethpage (on Long Island) a couple of times a year since I moved back to LI, and so when I planned this trip to DC I asked Is to go to Colonial Williamsburg with me. We went Thursday and had a great time.

You know you're in Colonial Williamsburg when you see this sign on the bathroom:

We bought tickets so we could go into the buildings. We stopped into the Saddlemaker's and the Shoemaker's, both things they don't have at OB (since it's way smaller than CW) and learned some cool facts about colonial times.

Then we found this Colonial Garden. I'm used to NY winters, so I was surprised that there even was a colonial garden in January. A man working in the garden told us a whole long list of vegetables that grow in Virginia in winter since they don't have a *hard freeze* like we do.

See the little wooden stick hanging to the right of the door? It's attached to the top left corner of the door, so that when you open the door, the weight of the stick shuts it behind you. They use similar tricks on gates too. How smart were they??? (very)

Friday I had to work, but we still managed to do some shopping.... First Is took me to her LNS, Stitcher's Stash in Fairfax, VA. They have a great variety of fibers, and a lot of really pretty shop models on the walls. I got to see my *next* Mirabillia project (Bliss Fairy) all stitched up, which was so cool! As far as I could tell though, the charts were each about $1 more expensive than at my LNS so I didn't buy much... just 2 SNC threads for a Cedar Hills project and a cute Beer chart that will be perfect for my brother.

Next I dragged Is to In Stitches in Alexandria, based on a great recommendation. We were both astonished at how much they managed to cram into their store. There were soooo many charts, and they had the best fiber selection I've seen. They even had some pretty 18ct fabric for "Cooler Heads" that I've been searching for. I could've stayed for hours, but we had to get back home.

Since Is is my only stitching relative, we did a lot of stitching over the weekend. I did 2 of 3 snowmen heads on my new fabric, plus a ton of work on Ivy's skirt. Check it out!

I'm just getting caught up on emails/blogs/life, and a lot has happened over the weekend. I have a partner for the HSKS4 exchange! I won Daisygirl's blogiversary contest (she's one of my stitching/blogging idols, so major :-)! I'm going to be doing an exchange with Beckysc, one of my other stitching/blogging idols! w00t :-)

Then I got the call: JetBlue canceled my flight home due to impending snow and there were no earlier flights. So I'm stuck in DC tonight, and I'm going home first thing in the morning. Provided they don't cancel another flight or 10. Oh well, looks like Is will have to stitch with me for one more night. She looks soooooo broken up about it, lol. I'm just a little sad missing my wireless, and I need to get back to work but the good thing is that I can work anywhere I have wireless access, so I'm not in too much trouble with my boss. I think.

Anyways, I put my needle down long enough to blog a bit and now I'm getting back to it. Ttyl!


Status: Limited or no connectivity

I'm feeling very disconnected today. I usually spend most of my day with a computer, but today Is and I were out for 12 hours straight. I feel badly not posting about all our fun but the wifi isn't working, and I can't stand sitting here on the floor being plugged into the modem. Well I like sitting on floors, but the wire is killing me. It also would require me to dig out all the cables and wires so I can upload pictures, and it's been a loooooong day. So even though I have a ton of fun things to tell you, it'll have to be tomorrow. We're moving the modem to near a desk :-)

A demain!



In case you haven't heard of it, Kiva is a website that connects people all over the world with microfinance institutions. Basically, a bunch of people who can spare $25 get together and finance small loans for people in developing countries, and then they are paid back (based on a pre-set schedule). It's an interesting project for students, it really shows that what to us seems like a small amount of money is life changing to people in other parts of the world. While browsing through the names of lenders to certain loans, I've noticed plenty of middle school, high school, and college classes that are buying loans. It's all very interesting.

Check it out if you have a chance. My first Kiva loan just closed out, so now I'm off to find another one :-)



Thank you to everyone for the nice comments on Rose Sampling!

I was all proud of myself for finally framing this piece, and doing a decent enough job of it that I'm thinking of framing some other pieces... and then this morning I re-read the packaging for the board I mounted it to. Bad call, I shoulda left well enough alone. Did you know you're supposed to attach the stitching to the sticky side of the board?!? I thought you stretch it over the smooth side, and just tack down the edges on the sticky side - on the back! LOL, I'm still not redoing it.

MZ & I went for a walk during lunch since it was so nice out - I think it reached the 60's today. I wasn't even wearing a jacket, and we were discussing possible sunburn. Not your typical January discussion for a New Yorker!

Tonight I'm getting my stitchy things organized and packing for a trip to DC to visit a cousin. Is's my mom's first cousin, and she used to live in NY until she moved to a suburb of DC about 8 years ago. Since 2004 I've visited her with one of my brothers every June or July, but last summer was busier than expected so I'm going now by myself. Last trip (June '06) I did some googling and found a needlework shop near her house in Fairfax. Of course we had to stop in, this was before my NY LNS opened so the idea of going to an actual needlework shop was mind boggling :-) Even though I didn't recognize a lot of the designers and fibers, I dragged Is all over the store looking at everything and explaining stitching to her somewhat. I ended up buying Trilogy's Spring Lineup, and IS was very amused that I got fuzzy whisper for the clouds. (That reminds me, I need to pack Spring Lineup to show her :-)

A few months later, Is's friend dragged her into a needlework shop when they were out shopping together, so IS decided to give stitching a try. By now she has finished a few pieces and even framed some, but haven't seen any pictures. I can't wait 'til tomorrow when I get to see them! We're going to do *some* sightseeing, but I have a feeling we're spending most of my visit stitching.

Off to pack and watch the return of Jon Stewart & the Colbert Report. Ttys!


Don't be shy

I signed up for Vonna's PIF last week, so now I am looking for 5 people who would like to received handcrafted items from me, and then agree to make something for about 5 people of their own. I say handcrafted because I might cross stitch, knit, or crochet something for you, or I might bead, string, sew or throw something. You never know :-)

To sign up send me an email at max.the.motorcycle at gmail dot com

First finish of 2008 :-)

Most of my family, including the dog, were on vacation this weekend. J & I had to work so we stayed home. I got a lot done with the house so empty - 2 loads of laundry, plenty of cooking, some much-needed cleaning, and I even culled some things to freecycle. Although I might freecycle them to Shaina (of the pre-new years bowling outing), since they were mostly books.

I haven't posted any stitchy pics in a while, so here you are :-)

I was really intimidated by my first Mirabilia piece but I'm flying through Ivy. So much so that I don't want to put it down to work on P+tP or my Bent Creek Snappers! Sweet Pea has postd some excellent shots of her Princess though, so I'd better get cracking on mine tonight if I want to catch up!

My first finish of 2008 is my last start from 2007 - Shepherd's Bush's Wish.

I framed my first LHN piece, Rose Sampling, Sunday night. This was my second attempt at self-framing and it came out much better than the first piece I did. I don't think it's 100% centered but it's mine :-)


Raviolis again

LN & I went out for lunch. Guess where? Yup, the ravioli place :-) We really are obsessed. LN's already planning our next trip.

We were driving behind this guy on the local roads, and once we got on the highway got out from behind him asap.

Have a great weekend!



Question: Am I the only OCD person who notices discrepancies between cross stitch charts and the pictures of the stitched models included with the design?

I know some people out there stitch models for designers, are designers themselves, or are friends with designers, so I was wondering if there are any *reason*s why a model might differ from a chart? Like maybe they changed the chart after the model was stitched, or there were time constraints that made frogging and restitching impossible? Does anyone else notice this stuff or do I just have too much time on my hands?

PS I finished stitching the back of the fob last night, kinda hate how I did it, and fell asleep before I could sew everything together. I'll let you know what happens.

PPS It's 16 degrees (!!!) here on Long Island so my mom talked my brother into letting me out of biking today. Something about how he would need to make the hospital run since she's out of town. LOL. I'll go for a shorter ride tonight instead.


Socks, Slacking and Stitchy Stuff

If you'll recall my deliriously happy post of a week or so ago, I signed up for the sockwars yahoo group. That hasn't turned out so well. The whole group has degenerated into 1 of 4 types of emails:
1) complaints about not receiving socks, prompting people to offer
2) suggestions on how to make the system perfect, usually from newbies, which are then shot down by people
3) telling everyone to chill and just have fun with it.
4) then there are a bunch of new people saying hello (I like those emails)

All in all, I'm thinking I won't be participating in that one. I like smaller groups - this has over 200 and counting. Also, I'm don't really knit socks, so why am I signing up for Sock Wars where I'll have to potentially knit many, many socks under time pressure?

In the meantime I've found another sock group that's much more my speed. Let's see if this link works:

It's a Harry Potter Sock Kit Swap (the 4 signifies the 4th round). Instead of making someone else socks, you send them a sock kit (loaded with yarn, a pattern, needles and all kinds of fun stuff), all with an HP theme. This combines 2 of my 3 loves - books and crafts - so I'm a big fan. I also love the HP books, sci/fi and fantasy in general, British children's books... so yeah this is the perfect swap for me. It's capped at 100 people. And I love how they have a very elaborate system of rules and lots of little pieces of the game, all of which are very well thought out. I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to say about my involvement - there are secret email addresses and codenames involved after all - but it should be fun. They still have spots left, if you want to sign up get over there already! :-)

On to the slacker portion of the blog post:
I didn't start any new projects on 01/01 as I'd hoped to. Something about not reading the fine print on a pattern and getting the wrong gauge fabric for Caron Watercolors - that is some chunky yarn! I did stitch on already started projects. Maybe that means I'll finish a lot of WIPs
and UFOs this year? One can only hope.

My second slack of the new year was on 01/02. I didn't bike to work today. However I'm still in the running with J since I didn't take the car either - I worked from home. Someone needed to be home when a worker came to the house, and my parents (and Sky) are on vacation. It was a wash for the environment but I missed out on the biking. Oh well, that's what tomorrow is for right?

Maybe people are used to telling me to be careful on two-wheeled vehicles but it's surprising how many people tell me to *be safe* on my bicycle. I appreciate the sentiment and that people are concerned for my safety. I also think I will start telling car-drivers to be careful. In my experience, people on 2-wheeled vehicles are more cautious and aware drivers - we are already careful, and we don't have cell phones, radios, and passengers to distract us. Plus motorcyclists and bicyclists aren't in the papers all the time for hitting and killing people. Car drivers kill. And door. So all you car drivers out there, please be careful!

Can I brag about how smart Sky is? Sky likes riding in cars, but not riding in crates in cars. When she goes on a trip to the train station she can have free reign over the backseat, but for long rides that doesn't fly. She took one look at the crate in the car and tried to bolt the other way. So I picked her up (all 65 lbs of her) and carried her back towards the car. I didn't want to bang her head on anything so I stopped short of placing her inside the car, but it was cool. She totally got the message - "Walk in or be carried in, but you're sitting in the crate missy" - and got into the crate on her own. She knows how to make her wishes known - she won't touch her food unless we spoon some plain yogurt on top, period - but she also knows when to fold like with the car. That better than some people I know!

On the stitching front:
I'm a bit late with my new year's start, but today I started a wine cozy from knitty.com. I'm doing it in a teal acrylic/wool blend from Michaels using size 10 DPNs. I cross stitch really slowly but knit like a madwoman, so I should be done tonight or tomorrow. I'll post a pic once it stops looking like a sweater sleeve, lol. The only bug with this project is that since I'm using DPNs instead of knitting a rectangle and sewing later and all the *interesting* rows are WS rows, I'm knitting the cozy inside out. So I'm going to have a LOT of purling to do when I get to the sst part. Oh well.

I've seen a bunch of them on the internet and really like Vonna's work, so I signed up for Vonna's pay it forward. The game works as follows: 5 people who sign up with me will receive a handcrafted item made by me within 1 year. In turn, those people need to pay it forward to 5 more people. I checked with Vonna and any handcrafted item works, so I'll probably do a mixture of cross-stitched, knitted, crocheted and beaded crafts. Sign up by emailing me or leaving a comment. If you sign up you should have a blog, so that you can pif, and I'd prefer if you post at least a few times a month so it's easier for me to figure out what to make you.

Off to finish my first scissor fob. Have a good night!


Another long weekend bites the dust

JS and I went bm dress shopping yesterday morning. We were going so that JS could check out colors and designers, not to buy a dress. JS is going to order everyone's together so that the dye lot's the same - and she's not even a stitcher, I am so impressed with her. Plus she's from Jersey, the land of no-sales-tax-on-clothing, so her mom will place the final order over there.

Bridesmaid dresses, or at least all the ones we've been looking at, are sleeveless about 98% of the time. At Orthodox weddings, which this is, people dress more modestly - sleeveless and low necklines (or low cut backs) are not done. Usually what ends up happening is the bride picks a fabric (and might even give it to the BMs) and the bms have a dress made in any style they like. It's more expensive than off-the-rack (about $200-$300) but they really don't make any bm dresses that are ready-to-wear modestly.

JS is very considerate and so she's trying to find a designer that has jackets or something so that we can buy off the rack. It's hard though, there isn't a large selection of jackets and a) they're often not completely represented on the designer's website and b) it's hard to tell how they will look when paired with a dress. So basically, JS and I went to check out the jacket situation for the designer she likes, Alfred Angelo, and some others.

We met up at Penn Station and walked over to RK Bridal on 39th St. They had probably 20 different designers, but we started with Alfred Angelo. Jill pulled the 2 jackets that she liked (the 3rd was very professional looking) and then we tried on like 30 dresses. We have different body types so JS tried on also so that we could see how different styles looked with the jackets. I had lots of fun trying on dresses, but in the end we were there for 3 hours trying on and a half hour poring through books, so it got a little tiring by the end.

We went out for pizza afterwards to catch up, and we were near enough to Times Square to catch some of the preparations for that night's party. We both went home afterwards, no block party for us.

My dad says we have a family tradition of going out for dinner together at 5pm on the 31st, so that's what we did. Over the course of dinner we started discussing cars, since the lease on my mom's car is up in the summer. My mom makes the final decision but we all drive the car, so my brothers always push something they'd want to drive and I advocate more eco-friendly models. Long story short, my middle brother and I have a deal that if I bicycle to work for 3 months to *prove my commitment to saving energy* or something, he'll switch his vote to an eco-friendly vehicle (that I approve of). It's 5.4 miles to work and the route is very hilly so I don't know if that's going to happen, but I'm going to try it out tomorrow.

I am allowed to take public transportation but must take the bike more often than the transport. So I'll probably bike to PW but take the public transport on days I work in NYC.

Today I biked to Michael's as a test run, since it's about 1/2way through my commute. Round trip (including shopping) was 90 minutes, so if you take out the 45 minutes I spent at Michael's I'll need about an hour to get to work. There are some very steep hills in both directions and the plan is to walk the bike most of the way up at first. I don't like sweating, and the point of this is ecological not exercisical. If after tomorrow's trial I decide to go for the whole 3 months, then I'll make plans to build stamina to tackle the hills.

This is a good segue into my Goals for 2008. Resolutions if you will.
1. Keep blogging every month. Try for multiple posts per week or once weekly at worst
2. Continue tracking all project starts, finishes and progress on my blog so I can keep finally count my yearly finishes. I know I have a bunch of finishes in 2007, but no idea how many, I have the worst memory ever :-(
3. Organize my stitching rotation system. Currently I have none.
4. Make a biscornu
5. An ecological resolution, something along the lines of starting to use Freecycle and riding my bicycle more frequently. We need a Velib in NYC!

I'm not feeling inspired about the resolutions so I'll come back to them later.

Last night I went to a small gathering at DP's house. It was Chavi's last night in NY so I wanted to see her, and that's where she was going. We watched Employee of the Month and since Chavi was crocheting a kipah (and the lights were gonna be on anyways), I brought along SB Wish. I'm hoping to finish it on 1/1 but we'll see.

This morning I woke up super early - 8:00 - to go to the Lazy Daisy sale. 30% off charts before 11am, so I got a bunch of stuff. There were a couple of JBW Country charts, some LHN and CCN, and I even found 2 awesome Mirabilia fairies, in case I should ever finish Ivy.

Next I went to pick up some books from a Freecycler that lives near my LNS. I signed up for my local Freecycle group because I have some books to get rid of myself, and now here I am with a net gain! Oh well, I'm going to read and then freecycle them back again so it will (hopefully) be a wash. And now that I've benefited from the system I have more internal nudging to participate myself :-D

This afternoon I met up with JF's recent ex for lunch. It was really good to see him and it wasn't awkward at all, they're both too nice to put their friends in the middle. I worked on Wish for a bit, then went to Michael's. Dinner was sushi with the family, then Coldstone for dessert. Now it's time to stitch a bit and go to sleep. I have a big ride in the morning.

Good night!