Dusting off my life…

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Ah, finally getting back to working with my hands. I’ve been so busy lately I really haven’t had a chance to a leisurely Saturday of baking, knitting, reading and music listening. In fact, my turntable had a thick approximately 1-inch layer of dust on it that would make any OCD-clean freak or music devotee shiver.

And so, I dusted all of that off and instead dusted by counter-top up…with flour, that is. Some of my closest friends, I feel, are my friends solely for the above photographed–my homemade cinnamon swirl bread, which is neither a quick loaf (this takes about 2 hours of rising time) nor a waistline buster (unless you heap on piles of butter, which I always do, c’mon). No, no, it’s just deliciously cinnamony goodness.

I’ve written about my cinnamon bread in the past, so clearly, I don’t really have to write more about it. But this time around, I will say I’m trying to tweak the recipe and am experimenting with ratios of traditional unbleached white flour and cracked whole wheat flour to make it a slightly heartier “better for you” bread. I’ll let you know what comes of it.

In the meantime, it’s good to take a personal day to foster hobbies. It’s been entirely too long.

Cover up your neck…so Steve Martin will like you with that “head on your shoulders”.

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This is the first project I’ve actually sat down to knit in many weeks. Nary any crafting, bread baking, or heck cooking (I’ve been consuming lots and lots of cereal and fruit) has been going on in my neck of the woods, on account of two things: 1. I’m reading way too much, and 2. I’m working way too much.

But I did have time to pull a late-night Thursday to create this “neck scarf” for my Mum’s birthday this week; my Mum, who loves wearing scarves, can get fussy about “how do I drape this?” and thought the neck scarf would be the perfect fixer for the aforementioned fussy problem when she saw the pattern as she thumbed through the latest issue of Marth Stewart Living magazine.

The pattern, which is really simple and takes a couple of hours to knit up, is available here.

I have since gifted it to my Mum at her birthday party last night; she said she wants one in every color, and a matching one for her dog.

File Under: Success. Maybe I should get back to picking up sticks more often?

Pray it isn’t going to replicate the Blizzard of ’78…do(n’t) vintage me?

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I am currently addicted to this Japanese website which offers users the chance to take any photograph on their computer and “age it”. Instant vintage photos, like the one above, taken just a month back during one of Boston’s biggest storms on the year but looking like it came straight ouf of pre-Storm of ’78 fun.

I thought it would be the perfect photograph to highlight “vintaged up”, since welp, it is snowing once again here in Boston (cry!)–which seems calming from inside my comfy home, but won’t be pleasant come tomorrow when I’m yanking on my boots and trudging downtown. Will winter be over, please?

The Japanese site isn’t available in English, but it doesn’t matter. Any internet user will recognize it’s interface and intuitively known how to upload a photo and get a result in seconds. So go ahead and try it. Age those photos and feel all vintage-y.

Calling for momo…

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As you devoted readers already know, one of my goals this year (resolutions? goals? yes) was to “go green” a bit with my knitting by using up as much of the overload in my stash as possible. And true to form, I have not bought a single skein of yarn thus far this year, and we’re nearly to March.

That being said, I recently plucked these two super bulky varigated bundles of wonder out of my stash–handspun in Nepal, they are deliciously bright in hues of orange, hot pink, and even neon green. But what to do with them? A hat? A crazy scarf? A cowl? Something else? I only have two bundles of it, so it can’t be any large project, but I can’t seem to make up my mind about them.

Any suggestions or pattern options out there? What do you guys think I should use it for?

File Under: Calling all help…from as far as Nepal, really? And you can ply me to agree with you if you serve me up a plate of momo.

Take a number…

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Of course, most crafters tend to have thousands of needles. I’ve used pouches and baskets and old bottles and any old hoo, but have since settled on storing all my needles and hooks and buttons among other assorted notions in those delicious Anthropologie shaving mugs and random glassware I have lying around.

But sometimes it can get cumbersome and my circulars are all housed elsewhere. I need more consistency in my life? Maybe I an justify these yummy Anthropologie Numerical Mugs?

How do you store your needles?

A w-hooping good time?

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This post was a request I made to my closest college mate, Jessica “Mim” George, who is a music devotee (blogging sometimes at my other love Pulp and Circumstance, Juiced! and of course here, about cupcakes whatelse?), lover of all things kitsch, street artist, crafter, and of course, hooper. She has recently taken to the old chidlhood love, the hula hoop, for fun and welp, when you think about it, excerise. Currently living way yonder in New Zeland, Ms. George is hoopin’ her way across the countryside and here’s what she has to say about it… hoop it up, will you? (Pictured: Jessica Hoopin’ across the Coromandel)

Rekindling the child within is easier said than done, especially when you’re faced with a nine to fiver and the ever-present pressure that life is short and you might not be living it up to its full potential. Hmm, just me? Nah I didn’t think so. In your mid-twenties, the good ‘ol quarter life crisis is peaking its evil head and it’s easy to feel like you might drown in the amount of choices you have. This is when you need to seek out the simple pleasures in life to keep you grounded, keep you sane. This is where I found hula hooping.

Now go and find your own hooping happiness!

Hips moving back and forth, arms up in the air and wind flowing through my hair, the hoop was the answer. It’s been only about a month and half now that I’ve been hooping, but in this short time I’ve managed to find that feeling of pure ‘no strings attached’ happiness. In addition to the happiness factor, I’ve also been able to share hooping with some of my friends and nearly every time they leave me saying they’re going out to buy a hoop of their own.

The best part is that because of the multiple online resources and thriving community of hoopers around the world, you can learn hooping on your own and find plenty of support on the net. If you’re keen to try your hand…and hips, and chest and neck at hooping, then the first place to start is www.hooping.org. Here you can find some of the information you’ll need to start hooping. If you don’t want to order a hoop online, then make your own! If you are feeling very DIY, which let’s face it you’re on this wicked crafty blog, so I bet this will be your cuppa tea, then check out this tutorial on hoop making. Once you’ve rustled up a hoop, check out the plethora of tutorials online. I can’t recommend SaFire’s hooping tutorials enough. She’s a lovely hooping maven with easy to follow tutorials for beginner’s through to those more advanced in the hooping ways. You can find her tutorials here.

For another adorable photo of my friend and her hoop, gander here.

Sock one to my heart…take two?

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Certainly.

I mentioned a bit ago how I finally cast on a new pair of socks…intended for myself and myself only. Welp, after a bunch of inches, they were clearly too small (weep, cry, spit), and instead of just straight away yanking it out and restarting, I decided to let the pain of that one marinate a bit longer, quickly picking up different sticks and another skein of yarn. And these pink, red, gray, and navy  colorway socks are a small little Valentine’s giftie to myself…once I actually finish them. I’m doing a real simple stockinette stitch sock for mindless knitting since I’ve been intensely scatter brained of late and all too busy.

I’m contemplating making these a knee high-ish type sock. Thoughts?

This is as close as I get to the whole lover holiday.

Mozzar-ella..ella…ella…the tomato-basil-cheese version of Rihanna’s hit?

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I’ve come up with  little delicious alternative to the standard tomato-fresh mozzarella-basil panini or french baguette. Instead, I made mine avoiding the mealy, flavorless, less than worth the coin vine-ripe tomatoes for the always fresh in winter, juicy grape ones, cut up thin, lengthwise. What’s more, I used this delicious mozzarella made fresh in Bennington, Vt., which made all the difference to the mass-produced brands.

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Instead of the harshness of straight basil leaves in the sandwich, I rubbed the toast (yes, toast! honey toast! so delicious!) with the fresh basil leaves so they were “scented” of basil but didn’t drown out the taste of the salty tomatoes or mozzy. And for crunch, I included Boston lettuce–and I think it’s the lettuce that really changed this sandwich. It was crisp and cold and more filling that way, since lettuce is a nice filler. I finished the entire sandwich up with a balsamic-extra virgin olive oil drizzle, just spitting enough that it would require an umbrella, say. If I do declare myself, twas perfection.

How do you make fresh mozzy sandwiches? Any alternatives out there?

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Who is the brainiac that thought this one up? Oh right, her.

This intensely amazing knitted and crocheted brain is anatomically correct, features a “zip down” middle to unveil the innards of the brain, and includes even the brain stem. Karen Norberg, a psychiatrist who works in Cambridge, Ma., took a year to design, create, and execute this brilliant piece of medical art.

You can read all about it here*.

Enjoy.

*A special thanks to Jenny Miller of The Boston Herald for pointing it out to me, without which I’d be blind to the ways of the knitted brain. Be sure to pick up the Boston Herald’s magazine on President Obama, which Ms. Miller edited.

I will “wrestle” you to the ground if you think you’ll keep me out of this place…

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Some chilly weekend nights, to cure yourself of the ultimate in “blahsies”, you need comfort foods and comfort friends.

And just as I was feeling quite withdrawn and abit doldrumy from the continued freezing weather, ice covered sidwalks, and general “its nearly February in Boston” malaise that comes every year, my brother invited me out for good comfort food, comfort company, and of course, a flick. What could be more therepeutic, I ask?

Nothing.

Especially the delicious three-cheese macaroni I ordered up at Cafe de Paris, a quaint little bar down on Arlington Street last night, which I must say is now a favorite of mine and I will bring every one of my friends to this establishment (thanks for the introduction, Erin). Boasting an excellent beer selection (they even have Chimay and Delerium Nocturnum), and a sandwich list a mile long, the tightly squeezed tables and booths and beautiful bar make this an excellent stop for some quick eats and loads of catching up.

Honestly, if anyone every wants to enjoy some pints and eats with me, we’re going here.

On another note, I saw The Wrestler afterwards, starring a one jacked up faced Micky Rourke, who is oddly similar to his character Randy “The Ram” Robinson, seeing himself a rather pleasurable career rejuvination of sorts. And this film is absolutely brilliant. I reccommend everyone see it, and I’ll be gunning for Mr. Rourke in the Oscar showdown. Marissa Tomei, albeit it odd that I saw so much of her nakie, is superb as well, though I rarely, if ever, have a complaint about her in any role, for any film. And even though it will change that whole childhood image of her in “My Cousin Vinny” I’ve carried around since my youth, it was well worth every shimmy, shake, pierced nipple and the like.

File Under: Go eat this mac n’ cheese. And go see this film. Now.