Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I have a crapload of these Loteria cards. I just love them, but I've never done anything with them because I don't know what to do. Do you have any ideas? Once, in Mexico, I bought a box covered in them, which I still use as a jewelry box. So that's been done 'round here.

I've never even played Loteria. If it was one or two I could frame 'em, but I've got like two full sets of the big cards and one set of the cards you draw. Anywho. Maybe someday I'll figure it out.

Right now I am...

-Counting down the hours to the Lost finale.
-Really loving Jeannie Ralston's book The Unlikely Lavender Queen. I've had an advance copy lying around for quite a while now, and just happened to pick it up to read as it was being released. This was mostly prompted by the Lavender Festival being just around the corner. And now I find she's doing book signings and such here in town. I wonder if I should go to one. Hrm.
-Wearing a pimple cream mask. Yay!
-Working on this crochet heart pillow:

Well not at this precise moment obviously, but I was working on it a little while ago. I'm not making it for any particular person or reason. I have a lot of yarn leftover from the baby blanket, and I wanted to tackle something just a wee bit more challenging, but not so challenging that I can't work on it while watching So You Think You Can Dance, ya know? Of course you do.
-Really hankering to bake something. What should I bake? It should probably have fruit in it. I've got a lot of fruit 'round here lately. Watermelon, apples, pears, strawberries, and I've had my eye on the cherries at the store. They're almost perfect. Might have to peruse my Cooks Illustrated online subscription to see if I can get inspired. I don't use that thing enough and really it's the coolest. I can search by ingredient, and there's a high success rate for me with their recipes. Especially their baking recipes. Then again, why I think cranking up the oven when it's 95 degrees outside is a good idea, I'll never know.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Me? Me!

I digged making a Meme on Flickr the other day.

In fact, I just generally dig Flickr all-round. The combination of Flickr and a handful of friends from my old neighborhood Astoria (as well as a couple of non-neighborhood friends) has helped me to become, well.. I don't want to say amateur photographer. But it's created a situation where I've worked really hard to better document my world, and in doing so, improve my photo-taking (and Photoshop!) skillz.

Anywho, the original intent was to discuss my Meme. Someone had this idea where you'd create a mosaic based on doing a simple Flickr search using the answers to 11 questions. Pick one photo from the first page of results (usually a crazy, mixed bag of stuff), put it all together, and post/share it. Mine is above.

The first result was a search for my name. The second, for my favorite food, hummus. This is an obsession that came on while living in New York. The first really amazing hummus I had was at Hummus Place. Before that, I had no idea how good hummus could be. Now I try it everywhere. My own isn't half bad. And of course Sabra is mecca. Thank God I can find it at Central Market.

My third block (going left to right, top to bottom) was my high school. The fourth was my favorite color, blue. I LOVED the photo that came up, because my favorite color combo is blue and white. Fifth was celebrity crush. To be totally honest, this varies depending on what movie I've seen recently or who happens to be doing a lot of press at the moment. So my choice of Robert Downey Jr. makes sense (seen Iron Man? Drool.). But I've had an on-again, off-again celebrity crush on him since college.

Sixth was favorite drink. I went with latte - I usually have one every day, but not from Starbucks. I make them at home. When treating myself, I run over to Little City. Seventh was dream vacation. This used to be Tokyo - and that's still a place I'm desperate to visit - but when a friend showed me her photos from a trip to Greece a few years ago, I fell hard. Santorini sounds like a dream. Loads of blue and white and a town famous for its sunsets? Yes please.

Eighth is favorite desert: ice cream. This would have been favorite food had there not been a category set aside for sweet stuff. Ninth is "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I said magazine editor. This pulled up some odd things on Flickr, but also a photo of Anna Wintour, so I went with that. Although I would not say I want to be Anna Wintour when I group up. Because that's a little scary. Tenth was what do you love most and I said family (awww). And eleventh was one word to describe yourself: loyal.

So this was a fun distraction to discover on Friday afternoon, when I wasn't feeling particularly productive and was doing my usual perusing of Flickr and Google Reader. That's also when I discovered that Shelterrific had linked to my blog in its end-of-week blogs roundup. Wow, that was exciting! Thanks you guys. I've never been linked to for anything by anyone, so my first one coming from a blog that I like so much made my day.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I'm officially 6 months into my crocheting endeavor. It started in mid-November, during a period of extremely high stress. The higher my stress climbed, the more addicted I became. I couldn't go to bed sometimes until I'd done one row (justonerow!), no matter how late or how tired I was. Now that my life has changed rather dramatically, the craving has eased. Luckily, though, I think I love it enough that it'll stick.

I finished my friend's baby blanket just in time for her shower this May. This is the first crochet item I've made for someone else, which made errors even less acceptable than usual (I'm already pretty anal to begin with). Thus, about a week into it, I frogged the whole thing because I was certain I was doing something terrible to cause ragged edges. But then I started over and discovered that's how they were supposed to look. Oh well.

N is having a baby girl, but the nursery is cream with a "dusty teal." I originally wanted to match the blanket to the room, but gave up on trying to figure out what "dusty teal" was and just did gray. I think it turned out nice. And how 'bout these stitches, eh? Many thanks to Ms. Paulson for a lovely pattern.

I desperately want to learn to knit next. But also want to keep doing more crochet. I haven't really gotten into doing stuff in the round yet, or dipped my toe into the wild and wonderful world of amigurumi stuffies. And I have plans for holiday gifts that I'd like to get started on pronto. Time will tell. Right now, family's in town, and the sun is shining.

Oh, and this week's Stuff on Etsy I'd Like to Buy featured item is one of the lovely prints at Berkley Illustration. I'm thinking of getting this one for my dad for father's day (hopefully he hasn't found my new blog yet...)

I want to get one for myself too. Luckily, Lucy and her husband Ryan, the man behind the art, posted on their blog today that they are letting us vote on the next critter he does up in fancy duds. I'm really excited about this because I love so many of his prints but there wasn't one that stood out above all others - which was making the decision-making process really tough for me. So, fingers crossed, maybe Barack Obama-- er, I mean the polar bear, rather, will win. Ahem.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Austin's East Coast Blackout of '03

That's what the May 15 storm is for me. It's Austin's version of my NYC blackout experience. I moved to New York in June of 03. Just a couple of months later was the huge east coast blackout that sent all of New York City into darkness. We all walked home, down avenues, over bridges, crossing streets at our own peril (alas, what is there to stop the traffic?), clinging onto overcrowded buses, queuing at Mister Softee trucks. It was a truly interesting experience, especially for someone as new to the city as I was.

The best part about it, though, was that as time passed and I had come to be in New York for a while, when friends would gather and play that game, "Where were you when...?" Well, I had an answer for the blackout. And it made me seem as if I'd lived there a long time. I remember the first time this conversation came up and a friend hadn't been in New York when it happened. I'd always felt like we'd lived there an equal amount of time. But in this case, the one year difference made all the difference.

Well, that's what the storm of May 15 will be for me in Austin. Sometime down the road we'll all be sitting around and the event will come up. And I'll seem like I've lived here longer because I'll have a story, even though when it happened, I'd only been living here just over two months.

What is the story? Well, I was lying in bed reading, and I could see all the lightning flickering in the difference. It had been a crazy spring, so a storm moving in was no big thing. But for some reason I went and grabbed my camera to try and see if I could video some of the lightning. I attempted that for a few minutes, and then I saw the green lightning. I went back inside and a few minutes later, all holy hell let loose. Wind, hail.. more wind and hail. The power went out. I crouched in the bathroom doorway, away from the windows and ready to slam the door shut should it be necessary. I screamed for my cat, who had stashed under the bed, but I could barely even hear myself over the roar. I made wussy scaredy-cat noises.

When it was over, all that had happened was this window had blown out. There was rain and hail and shattered glass all over my living room. And my neighborhood was littered with felled branches and trees (some on top of houses). The chimney on the roof of our building had been blown flat onto its side. Paint on siding had been literally blasted off. And my tomato plant had snapped in half.

BUT. I had a story.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


I'm really excited about this sweater-into-pillow tutorial I found today. I wish it was even more detailed, but it gave me some great ideas, and more importantly, motivation. I have a wool sweater with a horse on it that I got in Estonia in 2004. I realized pretty quickly after I got home that I'd never wear it, but I have long planned to turn into a pillow. Surprisingly, I've never gotten around to it (please note sarcasm here).

Sometime last year - not long after buying a vintage framed needlepoint of a horse (I've got a thing for horses these days) - I pulled it out, shoved a pillow inside, tied the arms together in the back, and tossed it on the couch. You can kinda see it here, in this photo of CJ taking a catnap.

Using it in this fashion requires a lot of frequent adjusting, but at least I get to see it everyday. It's so cute. But I'll keep that tutorial in mind now, and perhaps make progress at some point soon. I like the button idea a lot. Maybe I can find some cute vintage ones... (and regarding the subject line, at least I'm being honest)

I could also do a whole other entry in "Stuff on Etsy I'd like to buy" here, with regards to the sweater tutorial-writer's etsy shop. I can't decide which of her cross-stitch pieces I love the most. Look how adorable they all look when arranged on a wall together. I've been wanting to do something like this with different fabrics, but I dare say this is even cuter (and a great deal more expensive).

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Stuff on Etsy I'd like to buy

I'm going to make this a regular feature, I think. Because about once a week, I find something on Etsy that I want to buy. Sometimes I buy it. Most times I don't. Here is this week's entry, found via Decor8's writeup on the artist, Robyn.

It's a painting of her rabbit Theo. Probably due to the increased web traffic that the blog generated, this painting sold yesterday! Wow! I'm glad it'll have a home. It's adorable. I also really like the artist's little framed yoyos and fabric-covered buttons.

And now for a quick rant. Many of you already know of the war I have waged against the neighborhood birds. They poop endlessly on my car: several ploppers/day despite the fact that I am only parked there between approx 6:30 pm and 9:30 am. The clear coat on the hood of the car is nearly ruined. Plus I returned home Monday evening from work to discover they had pooped on my tomato plant. This would have involved some extra effort and thought on their part. I often feel like I'm being targeted.

So I walked out to my car this morning - covered with its usual fresh piles of poop - and a bird nearby started squawking at me. I then flipped the bird at the bird. I believe this signals the peak of my maturity level.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Newsflash: I am white.

For about a month now, I've been a regular reader of the fantastic blog Stuff White People Like. As a white person (and therefore an authority on the subject), I enjoy how correct it is. I also enjoy the regular White People In The News feature, wherein they highlight news articles about the lives of white people. Even better - they were finally forced to exempt The New York Times from this feature, because all the news articles were coming from it. Because let's face it, The New York Times is a newspaper about white people (it's my home page).

Sometimes the blog is so spot-on it's eerie. Like the other day, when the entry about scarves was posted, and I read it while sitting at my desk, wearing a scarf. In all fairness, I would say that - outdoor scarf wearing aside - about 80 percent of the time that I'm wearing a scarf, it's because I'm cold. Folks from my last job could tell you in detail about my scarf-wearing exploits, because I sat directly underneath an air conditioning vent that regulated the office temperature, regardless of season, by blasting cold air on my head. In that situation, some people might reach for a sweater. I went for a scarf.

Also, I make scarves. So I should be allowed to wear those without feeling as though I am the whitest hipster alive. Not that that's a bad thing.

By the way, I want to throw this down right now. He's at 97 things so far - Manhattan/Brooklyn is on there, and so is San Fran. Austin has got to be coming. I swear it is. Every white person I've ever met likes Austin. Even white people who have never been here. Also knitting/crocheting is coming. Although that's sorta gender specific. But I feel like a lot of white people are getting into that these days (myself included).

I like so many things on that list of 97 things that white people like. There are some, though, that I really, really like. They include:

#1 Coffee (bonus points for making my own espresso)
#5 Farmer's Markets
#8 Barack Obama
#24 Wine
#25 David Sedaris (and bonus points for liking Amy Sedaris too)
#35 The Daily Show/Colbert Report (please note ownership of a "Stewart/Colbert '08" t-shirt)
#38 Arrested Development (theme song is my new ring tone)
#39 Netflix
#42 Sushi
#44 Public Radio
#54 Kitchen Gadgets (God I have so many)
#63 Expensive Sandwiches (I think this is just a side effect from my time in New York)
#64 Recycling (future blog post will address my obsession at length)
#83 Bad Memories of High School (can't decide if I want to go to my reunion this summer because I hated it so much)
#97 Scarves (see photo above)

Dang, I am white.