Nøgne Ø Winter Ale at Belgian

Attempts to get a drink and sit outside relaxing have been foiled by the strikingly beautiful weather. It seems everyone else in the city has the same plan. There were no tables outside at Belgian, but they did have the winter ale by Nøgne Ø…. one of my absolute favorite breweries. They’re from Norway, and I’ve never had one of their brews on draft before… a great start to the weekend.

My main task this weekend was to grade my student’s finals. Its a task I did not look forward to, I find grading very frustrating. A few clever responses here and there, but overall its a difficult balance to be tough, fair and understanding. I wish everything could be multiple choice. Black and white- no room for misunderstanding or slightly off answers. Right or wrong. Ah, to teach a scantron class.

I meant to get a lot of sewing done this weekend, but it didn’t really happen. Although, I did learn quite a lot about my machine, and ordered some attachments that hopefully will fit, and make my life much easier. From what I can tell, I have a Model 99-13 Singer, but with a foot pedal, not the knee control. From the serial, I think it was made between 1928 and 1930, and would have cost around $77 at the time. She’s a solid machine, but for straight, forward stitches only. Or so I thought. While trying to figure out online how to use an attachment Mom and I decided was a button holer (turned out to be an adjustable hemmer) I found a zig zag attachment! I’ve been dying to sew some nice cotton jersey, or other stretch material, for ages. I always felt so limited by my beautiful old singer- a work horse, but not for any of the materials I wanted to use. If the attachment fits, the possibilities are endless! I think I might be getting my hopes too high, but I’m pretty excited, so I can’t help it. Summer skirts, new dance gear…. oh, my imagination is getting carried away.

seedlings

Though I didn’t get anything substantial done on the crafty end of things, I finally got my garden started. I turned over the soil in the garden box out back, finally pulling out all the old plants. I must have started my garden much later last year, because when I went to Lowes there were none of the plants I was looking for. So I bought seeds instead, and they are now germinating in a nice little box. I’m not sure what to do if they all sprout, since I definitely don’t have room for all of the plants, but perhaps I can find some friends to give them away to. I bought an already started strawberry plant, too, and put it in the garden box. The front plants are now in the pots, too… I can’t wait till they start growing. I got some big crazy Dahlias… I wanted big bold color this year, instead of the boring petunias or whatever they were. I also scattered some “mixed colorful flower” seeds in the larger pot…. I don’t know what they’ll turn out to be, but thats part of the fun. I hope I didn’t jump the gun with the weather. Truth be told, I’m not a very good gardener, I just do what I want to do and hope the plants will play nice. So we’ll see how well it goes.

hand beaded veil

An off-white veil with sparkly beads… yeah, that doesn’t photograph very well. I got one funny shot of it on a monkey toy, but it isn’t really good enough to post. Plus, I think Jen wants me to keep in under wraps, since its part of the whole secret-bridal-outfit thing. So here’s a bit of the edge, not really a good shot, though. I can’t wait to show it to Jen….

Brown yarn… yeah, its great looking in real life, but doesn’t really come across well on camera, either. Just looks like a pile of hair. (ewww…) I spun so much! Its the most of one kind of yarn I’ve ever spun. I’m thinking I might try making it into a super bulky yarn by plying it with some commercial yarn or thread or something….  I don’t have a project in mind yet, but spinning it up brings me one step closer to my use-up-what-I-have crafting goal.

so much yarn!

Also, finished the lettering on Chris’s scarf over the weekend, now to knit away at the main part. I’m dying to finish it…. I really want to get started on some projects from the Alabama Studio Style book I got in the mail last week, but I want to start on a fresh slate, which means no UFOs hanging around.

I’ve again realized the impact a list can have. Keeps me (mostly) on task, which is pretty important lately. I just want to do too much, and I need to pare it down to manageable tasks and priorities. First up- meal planning. I’m tired of going out to eat because we have nothing in the house instead of going out to eat on a lovely date…. so a major grocery store trip was in order, and we have the week planned out. Does that make me an adult now? Oh, I don’t know.

Apple Peach Cobbler

We bought too many apples, so I ended up making a cobbler. Its warming in the oven right now, I hope its good. I tend to be a little heavy on the nutmeg, because it’s so fun to grate. I tried to balance it out, but we’ll see. I didn’t really have a recipe, just threw some cinnamon and sugar and nutmeg in with the apples and peaches, and made buttermilk biscuit dough for the top. If nothing else, it smells good! (Just ate some…It was pretty tasty! Not bad for no real plan)

sewing zone

I finally snapped a shot of the new work area I made downstairs. While I can’t wait to get my sewing machine back, I suppose its good that I don’t have it yet (remember the whole too-many-projects thing? Yeah, sewing machine would up that for sure.) There are more bins with fabric off to the left, and in another drawer. Of course, I still have knitting and spinning and felting supplies spread all over the house…. one thing at a time.

The dress on Crystabel (what I’ve called my Mom’s dressform since I was a kid) is an attempt at the Burda Style Sabrina dress. Not sure why I picked a blue flannel, though… I started about two years ago, but put in the zipper and the whole thing went south. Now that I have Crystabel from my Mom’s house, I can pin and drape on her instead. I have high hopes! But the dress needs to sit behind Jen’s veil (almost done!) and Chris’s scarf (mmm, not so almost done) in the project queue.

working on the veil's edge

originally uploaded by ducksRfriends.

The snow just kept coming and coming….. tomorrow morning will be a subway ride, but the weekend was at least lovely. Being snowed in was a great way to actually get some work done on the presents I have to finish by next weekend…. I’m dying to post photos, but they’ll have to wait till after everything is gifted.
Off to sew……..

close up of the book

close up of the book

My friend Amy has been making awesome projects lately, and I just want to share them. Amy does lots of mini-edition works, and lately has been making really great pieces that are actually affordable for average people like me to buy. I love her combination of sewing and drawing, and how you can see the human touch and craft in everything she does. I bought her folded book a while back (her site post about it here) and have it hanging above my desk. (I know I know, it should be folded…. but I like to have it hanging up, its really pretty).

Two little houses

little houses in a pile

Amy recently opened up an etsy store, and is offering these really great little house storage boxes. And they’ve really taken off! She has a post about it over on her site, so I don’t really have to go into the details, but I highly recommend checking out her site (its called “working”, I have a link over in my link box). She also got picked up by this fundraising site, kickstarter (I’ve got the widget over to the right). She’s already reached the pledge amount, but I think you can pledge more… I’m not too clear about the way the site works, but I like the idea of it.

I really love the whole idea of her work- I get to buy a really cool piece (that I actually want!) while also supporting an artist friend. I know this whole post sort of sounds like an advert for her, and thats not really what I mean… just go check out her work! Its really awesome, and you’ll be glad you did, for sure.

Craftzine.com blog : Winner of Amy Butler Sweet Life Bag Giveaway.

Amy Butler Bag that I won!

Amy Butler Bag that I won!

The winner is me! I haven’t won anything in ages, I’m rather excited about the whole thing. Winning something is always fun, and even better when its something I can really use! I hope the bag I won is the blue one that they show in the photo. I can’t wait to pack it full of knitting (I love all the pockets on the side for needles) and reading and head over to Ultimo on the weekends……

I’m in the process of making a fringe belt to make dance more fun for my sister. I forgot how awkward the movements can feel if you aren’t used to them, and how in the beginning you always feel like you are doing everything all wrong, all knees and elbows with no grace. I am so lucky that i have the amazing girls of Rag Tag here in Philadelphia. Even when I started dance, I had Alison as a dance buddy. My hope is that when the other girls in class see Alexis’ awesome belt they’ll warm up to her and she’ll find a buddy in the class. Its hard to be her dance friend when I’m across the country.