Thursday, June 28, 2007

I am rushing to complete my last softie before we leave tomorrow - but I'm afraid I won't be done in time for take-off. So, I actually called TSA today to see if I am allowed to bring a "sewing kit" on board (apparently I am) so between the flight and our layover in Germany I hope to wrap this and a few other small things up...
But in the meantime, here is a sneak peak to my last project, a bright yellow elephant - inspired by an extremely talented lady...

a cappella

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Oh mother, these are just too adorable. I need to buy a million of them, to give as gifts and a few to keep all for myself!

time stuffers

Friday, June 22, 2007

There has been plenty of stuff happening over here the past little while, and we've been keeping quite busy.
For starters, there has been some very enjoyable reading. There has been some crafting - mostly attempts at making a scarf, but lack of knowhow have made the whole process quite stressful. So me and this fella aren't really on speaking terms right now...

And then, there's been some reading about crafting, after this book arrived in the mail from the place where all good things come from.
And then there were burgers, and catching up with old friends, and movies, and sushi with one friend who has no online presence for me to link to. Oh, there was some running (finally!) and some cooking and shopping and study circling. And finally, there's been a moderate amount of card playing with a very questionable partner (yes Ramin, I am still fuming) and a new blog - which I will not link to, because it's just embarrassing.
That there is a blog.
About playing Hezari.

But the truth of the matter is that all this flurry of activity is just me trying not to think about that thing that I have spent most of the past two weeks thinking of anyhow. Family.
My family is big - and I mean so big, I couldn't blame you if you thought this photo was a "Where's Waldo" illustration...

This was two years ago. That was eleven of us (Shamim is taking the picture). This year, we're adding five people to the crew. Jeez.
Anyhow, since we all live all over the place, at least once a year we try to gather at a central location and revel in our togetherness. I spend most of the year looking forward to these very two weeks, because to me, there is nothing quite as precious as spending time with these people, the most wonderful people I know.
And now there are only 7 days left before we leave. 7 DAYS I TELL YOU!

Why aren't you jumping up and down with excitement?

watch it and weep


week 4-5: me? run a marathon? PUH-lease!

Monday, June 18, 2007

There is no running happening here. NO RUNNING. So if you are looking for stories about running and marathon training and such things, search elsewhere. Like here. Or here.

Must address the "no running" situation.

lithium sunset

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Mother nature was deciding whether to pour rain down on us, or knock our socks off with sheer beauty. It did both, within the span of thirty minutes.
I tried to capture one of the two while out for a walk at sunset, although these pictures don't do it justice.

More pictures here, as usual.

in the mood

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Friday after work I went for a stroll in the fashion/garment district. I usually feel completely out of place in such an environment, and sure enough, I was not 100% sure what I was doing, or what I was supposedly looking for, or how to act.

But I had a list of places to visit, and I think I did o.k., though I definitely looked like a novice. I cannot tell the difference between the millions of names and types of fabrics, so I simply walked around the aisles, feeling a bit overwhelmed and over-stimulated. It was wonderful just running your hand over the fabric, discovering new textures, colors and possibilities. I especially enjoyed a store called Mood, which was recommended by a friend. Such an amazing variety of material and everyone was terribly helpful...

And this, was the best store by far. I was too afraid to go in, fearing I'd come out clad in stretchy, shiny, colorful material. I just have little self control like that...

NOT a voodoo doll

Project no. 2 is complete...

And no, it is not a voodoo doll as someone suggested, although I understand how the picture above might lead you to believe that. It's a bunny rabbit!

Making this one was a much smoother process than the piggy that looks like an anteater, probably due to the fantastic pattern and directions by Hillary Lang at Wee Wonderfuls. I was not terribly satisfied with the colors I used, I think a creamer felt might have blended in better with the other two fabrics, but I think it works nonetheless. And the ears could have also used being a bit firmer, but this way he gets a nice floppy ears look to him!

I decided I did not want to use buttons as eyes, but embroider them instead. I also opted out of the overalls and stuck a ribbon around his neck (which came in handy when trying to hide some poor hand stitching)

Next up? A yellow elephant for Hennessey...

The Blind Assassin

Thursday, June 7, 2007

I picked up Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin shortly after it first came out, when I was still living in London. It sat by my bedside table for a while, then on the coffee table. It even came on the tube with me a few times and finally spent a couple of years gathering dust on my bookshelf. Needless to say, it was one of the books that I sold at the second hand book store in Notting Hill before shipping myself and my belongings out to my new American life.
Then we moved into our new home and unpacked all our boxes. And there is was. Not my own copy, but Shamim's. This book was haunting me, it just would not go away. And so finally, six years after purchasing it and after about ten attempts at reading it, I managed to pick it up and stick through it.
Don't get me wrong, the book is absolutely fantastic, and once I got into it, I couldn't put it down. It is actually a book within a book, with newspaper articles sprinkled within it. As the narrator recounts the story of her life (Iris Chase Griffen) and that of her sister (Laura Chase), we also are introduced to the novel written by Laura herself, The Blind Assassin. The initial back and forth between the main story, the novel and the newspaper clippings is what made it so hard to get into . I kept stopping at the same point, after the first chapter of The Blind Assassin. The styles are so different, and the stories are not obviously connected at first, so my simple mind just couldn't figure it out!
I won't go into details of the plot, I don't want to completely ruin it for anyone that has an interest in reading it.
But I will say this:
various times throughout the book I felt the urge to grab Iris or Laura by the shoulders and just shake them into some kind of emotion. I felt for them, felt sorry for them, and yet found their submissiveness to others, to life, so utterly infuriating. They are obviously not as mousy as the author would have you believe.
That was Atwood's greatest skill -
even if I had pretty strong hunch about the way the book would turn out about half way through the book, she still managed to keep me on my toes, wondering about the characters, trying to connect the dots and really understand Laura and Iris.
All in all, a fantastic read as far as I am concerned.
Have you read The Blind Assassin? What did you think about it?

please love me, even if I am wonky

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Last weekend I went to Purl and bought some fabric bundles, as I've been planning to make some softies for my 3 little nephews. It was so painful to undo these little parcels, they looked so beautiful and perfect.

But one can pick them up, handle and admire them only so much. So last Friday after work I snipped the cord and set off to make my first ever softy. Before you say anything mean about it, please remember it was made with a lot of love for a very sweet boy (well, one of 3 boys, still not sure which unfortu- err, lucky one gets this one!).

Please forgive the HORRIBLE pictures, I was just too eager to snap'em and I couldn't possibly wait till it's sunny outside again!
In case you were wondering, it is meant to be a pig. Not a boar, or an anteater or some kind of monster. Despite all it's flaws, and there are many, I love it. And have never felt quite so proud about something I made myself.
I based it on this pattern, which is very cute and free but completely void of proper instructions. It is made mostly out of cotton, but its belly and the inside of its ears are white felt.
Various things went wrong while making it. First of all, I didn't leave any sewing margins. Also, I had to make the tail 3 times because I kept sewing it too tight and couldn't flip in inside out. Finally, I cut out two same sides of the pig, as you can see in this picture that I took very smugly before I realized my mistake...

Oh, and I also started sewing the pig outside out (instead of inside out and then flipping it over). Shamim hopes this exercise will improve my attention to detail.
I don't have a sewing machine, so this little one was done all by hand. In case you were wondering how bad my hand stitching is, it's this bad:

I can't take all credit for this creation, Brookie was terribly helpful during the whole process, ensuring that the embroidery floss behaved.

All in all, I am very proud of this little pink piggy.