Sunday, February 24, 2008

Another Pincushion

I made a few pincushions/etuis that I really loved a while back. Three went on etsy and I still have the fourth up in the shop. I never really thought of myself as a maker of pincushions, but when I was researching different types just for fun, I came across a lot of uses of old jars and containers for the bases.

So one thing you might not know about me is that I like to hoard jars and containers. It's just really, really hard to throw a wonderfully shaped jar (big and round, or tall and slender, or pressed with designs) or a fantastic tin away. Sometimes I give gifts away in tins and then have this little pang of regret. Will the recipient hold on to it like I have? Will they appreciate it's utilitarian beauty? Will they notice if I distract them with another gift and quietly slip it into back my bag? Maybe it's more of an only child thing, maybe it's some serious pack-rat issues, but I now think that pin cushions may be my salvation.

When we were visiting our dear friends in San Francisco this summer, I picked up a tin of hard jasmine candies at of those fancy-shmancy cheese and cracker and hard candy shoppes. The shops that are always spelled with the extra p-e-s on the end, you know? The shops that are made of rustic wood on the inside, always have a bell announcing a customer's arrival and when you enter, the noises of the modern world disappear. Suddenly you think you hear horses pulling carriages outside but that might be due to the stupor you fall into when you realize that they're charging $40 for a half pound of swiss cheese. Anyway, this was one of those stores and by the checkout, I found a fantastic tin. It had a little pastoral scene of an old fashioned-looking couple playing out some intimate love scene (forbidden, perhaps?). Never mind that they had me sold on "jasmine candy," this tin needed to be mine.

So I've kept the tin by my side of the bed since this summer. Every once in a while, I eat a candy...but I've done so very slowly so that I could justify keeping the tin laying around. Many of my tins turn into boxes for my knitting trinkets, but those get dinged up and need to sturdily close. My jasmine couple had a lid that separated completely from a cheesy plastic bottom so I knew it wasn't going to continue its life as a holder of random things. And then one day it hit me! Pincushion! The idea has been rolling around in my head for a while but it came to fruition yesterday. It's made of wool and I put a good amount of strong magnets in the bottom so that it can be flipped over to collect pins easily.

Also, I finally tried out my kandi kane crystal applicator with it. It's a little tricky to figure out how to pick up the little crystals, but they really set in an instant and are stuck on there. The manufacturer says they can be washed and dry cleaned, so I think they're stuck for good:)
And just look at that little couple hiding beneath the pincushion.

I need to hold on to this one for a little while to determine if I can part with it. If I can, it'll be up in the shop in the next few days! It's in the shop!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Anatomy of a Snow Day

Well, it finally happened. Despite global warming, despite my lack of faith, we finally had a snow day. Being that Andrew and I are lucky enough to work at the same school, snow days are really spectacular. We both get to drop the stress and worry of the millions of little things that we need to do when we're at school and hang out together. Usually this involves cooking good things, watching bad TV, and arguing over who gets to play on the computer. This snow day was particularly grand as it occurred on a Friday and that means that no rehearsals/tutoring sessions/meetings were missed and will have to be made up. Nope, just some crafty retooling of lesson plans, and it's like the whole thing never happened. Beautiful.

For those of you who don't get snow days, or for those of you who are still skeptical about whether or not teachers are actually more excited than kids are about them, here was our day off:

Wake to a 5:30 am phone call saying go back to bed. Turn off alarm clock, giving it a little rough shove (show it who's boss). Spend a little time when you wake up an hour later wondering if you'd dreamt the phone call, check the TV and look for your school name if you are really worried about it (today, we just rolled over and went back to be for three or four more hours).

Wake up late. Nice and late. Make some good coffee.
I mean, really good coffee. Maybe with a little nutmeg grated on top.Don't go outside, but admire the snow from within. Take some pretty photos.
Feel a little bad for the people who you can hear scraping their cars and shoveling the walks, but then remember they probably get paid a lot more than you do and remember that it all evens out in the end.
Convince Andrew to make crepes. Andrew makes really good crepes. I put lavender jelly in mine, or sometimes just lemon juice and sugar. Today we made them up with some really, really good sausage from farm to city where we get all of our meat products from (we only eat meat that came from happy animals and so sausages and fancy meat products are big deal in our house).
This one should be obvious, but stay in PJs and slippers all day.
Watch the first three discs of the second season of Lost (I'm a newcomer to this show...a few weeks ago when I was sick, I watched the entire first season that a student had given to me...when I came back to school, I BEGGED her for the second season and she didn't come through until the day before the snow day....coincidence?....I think not.) Start to like Sawyer a little. Start to dislike Kate.
Roast a chicken and some potatoes for lunch (OK, Andrew did this too...hey, I had some serious Lost-watching to do) and have a glass of wine WITH LUNCH. Lovely.
Next time I plan on photographing a roast chicken, I'll be sure to tie the legs first so that it looks when I photograph it

Watch more Lost.
Knit sleeve of sweater.Start knitting second sleeve of sweater.
Make chicken stock out of roasted chicken remains and have soup for dinner (again, all Andrew....but I was almost done with disc three!)

Blog about it all and then go and watch more Lost.
Snow days are like free days given to you. It's like someone says: hey, I'm going to give you this little bonus extra day in your life, do whatever you want with it. I'm happily full of good food, my hands are a little sore from knitting, I'm still in my PJs, it's about as simple and relaxed as it gets. And the best part? I get to sleep in tomorrow, too!

Monday, February 18, 2008

The New Easter Egg Tradition

Each year we dye Easter eggs with our good friends, the Pickerings. This year they have up and moved to the opposite side of the country. Perhaps they were tired of our egg dyeing tradition?

Well, I decided to be sad no more about the loss of our grand tradition (which involved dyeing eggs then telling the story behind each egg with an interpretive dance, haiku, or whatever you were moved to do). The grand finale involved reading David Sedaris' Jesus Shaves from Me Talk Pretty One Day, laughing most of the way through it. I think I blogged about this before, but that's a recap for people who may have missed it.

Anyway, I found a set of wooden nesting eggs here and will be sending them two sets of three sizes of the nesting eggs. We'll all decorate our two same-sized eggs and then send one of each back across the we'll both have the same, complete sets of nesting eggs...each of the five eggs will be decorated by one of us (if that makes any sense).

Of course, there are many rules and regulations that go along with creating a new tradition. You want it to be taken seriously so it'll last. It needs to have an air of dignity; a grander purpose, if you will. I'll spare you the details but tell you that it involves a chant ("All hail the New Easter Egg Tradition!") and an open bottle of white vinegar (to give the air of dyeing Easter eggs in the traditional fashion.)Here's the kit that I sent along today (holy crap, postage has gotten expensive). It involves nesting eggs, various paints, paintbrushes, and a little basket to keep it all in:)

Nancy's Prize!

For guessing the closest amount in the change jar contest, Nancy wins a lavender bud stem and a quarter, dime, nickel and penny (to start or add to her change jar, of course) wrapped in a bit of one of my favorite fabrics (buddha print!). Congratulations, Nancy:):)

Long Overdue

Well, I haven't been sick with the flu for all of this time...but I have been trying to catch up on all of the work that I let drop since then. Grading, lesson plans, creating choreography for Fiddler (the Middle School show) and catching up on what I missed in Sweeney rehearsals...yup, I've been busy.

Still, I've had my tangled yoke sweater done for ages (wore it three times already!) and haven't put any pictures yet. AND I haven't revealed the winner to the giant change jar competition, so here goes:

Competition first...the correct amount was $2,024.95. We can't remember how long he's been storing his change in that jar, but let this be a reminder to save your change! Andrew and I have a little jar that's maybe coffee-can size and whenever we go on vacation, we cash it and get a hundred or so dollars for our slush fund. My Dad will be using his loot to pay for the trip to China we are taking this summer together:) How cool is that that you can go on vacation with change?? Anyway, the winner is Nancy! I'm happy that I'll be able to hand deliver her giftie since we work together:) She guessed $1,997 and was only $27.95 off (which is way better than my guess). I must say that Floribunda and Laurel all came really close guys are smart cookies.

OK, on to the knitting. Here is my Tangled Yoke Cardigan:
It was a breeze to knit...until the yoke. I will concede that most of this was my fault...I counted wrong or got distracted or whatever. But I had to frog and knit the time and ungodly amount of times. I remembered it as 3 yesterday, but Andrew shook his head and said "no, way more." I guess he is the one who has to live with my cursing and the drama (throwing sweater on the floor to be left there for a few days: I am NOT going to finish the damn thing!!) so he probably remembers it best. Anyway, once the yoke was done, it was simple to knit again. I'm not one of those people who buys the buttons at the beginning - - I like to see the sweater finished before I make any decisions. So once it was done, I couldn't wear it right away, but I at least knew that I wanted lavender buttons. So I popped over to my good friend Etsy and found these. They look great on the sweater (most people who comment on the sweater mention the, I'm sure they like the knitting too...) and I couldn't be happier. I used Swish DK from Knitpicks in Nutmeg, if anyone's wondering.

So all's well that ends well in the knitting world. I'm currently working on the Blouson sweater from Interweave's Summer '07 mag. I'm rushing to finish though, because I'm really excited abou a number of things from their most recent magazine. Oh, if I could knit just a little bit faster.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


OK, I have a killer cold that has me totally beat. But I haven't forgotten about my little blog! I just haven't been able to hang out at the computer as much as I usually do:)

But I did manage to send this off in the mail to Sophie who has a birthday this week: a needle-felted penguin.
And although I ruined Andrew's birthday by being sick all weekend and not baking a cake (and it didn't help any that his beloved Patriots lost, but I can't take the heat for everything), I did manage to finish his knit necktie...but then didn't manage to photograph it yet. It's pretty cool though, you'll have to trust me on this one.

Also soon to be announced, the winner of the Guess the Amount of Money in the Jar Contest. Wish I'd come up with a catchier name, but promise I'll get a giftie out to the TBA winner when I'm less germy!

made. by k.d.