Monday, January 23, 2006

It's All About the Baby Clothes

So quick, so easy, so much instant gratification. I also find that, because they are so small, I take the time to do all the detaily stuff I should do on all my garments (but I'm too lazy to do). So a baby romper is fully lined, a baby dress bodice is lined, hem tape is sewn over all exposed edges, all raw edges are sewn over. And because Ellen was such a doll and took photos at last Thursday's SnB, I give you actual pictures of my latest obsession:

The wavy lines started to make my eyes cross while I was sewing, but I really like this dress anyway. I think the little black bows on the front really make it. I just picture Baby Maggie wearing this dress over a little white turtleneck or a cute t-shirt with a Peter Pan collar.

I love, love, love this fabric. It was a Michael Levine Loft purchase, and even though there was only about 1 yard give or take, I had originally hoped to pair it with some white cotton to make myself a peasant top. But I never got around to it, and when I was searching for some fabric for baby stuff, I realised how fantastic it would be. I think the pattern is really unexpected for a baby given the large scale and the colors (white, brown & baby blue), but I still think it's delicately feminine.

I love pink as much as the next girl, but I'll bet that as a mother of a baby girl, you probably get sick of pink really quickly. And let's admit it, a baby gift is really a gift for the parents, because that baby is
barely able to grasp the concept that her fingers are a part of herself, much less appreciate the time and effort that goes into a hand-made gift.

We'll see how long I'm obsessed with the baby clothes. For now, I'm enjoying the whole instant gratification thing.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

It's a Sunshine Day!

and I'm feeling crappy!

Actually, I've been feeling crappy since before Thanksgiving. I've had a horrid, wheezing cough and hideous sinus congestion. I'm on various types of drugs, so I hope I'm getting better. We'll see.

But feeling like ass hasn't curbed the craftiness. In an effort to fulfill one of my plans for 2006, I have been sewing up a storm. Let me tell you, baby clothes are great for cleaning out the stash. Because they only take from 1/2 - 1 yard of fabric, they are perfect outlets for those remnants of great cotton prints that I've been hanging on to. And they are so small, I can finish them in 1 night. Baby Maggie will be a little clothes horse if I have my way. So here is what I've done this week (no pictures of my stuff yet because I have no camera -- but maybe I'll bring them to SnB and ask Ellen to
take a photo for me):

I did the first one in a black & white wavy stripe cotton (left over from a bag lining). The second I'm doing in very cute Day at the Zoo print. I also did a romper onesie in a white, brown & blue hippy paisley print. They are fun to do and encourage me to further pare down my fabric stash!

I've also completed the HotPatterns Nairobi bag for myself (same pattern that I used to make the Christmas present purses for Melissa & Carrie). I did Mel & Carrie's in contrasting ultrasuede (Mel's in red & gray and Carrie's in purple & gray), but I decided to try mine in leather & dark denim. I wasn't completely happy with how the zipper turned out on their purses, so I just did a toggle for mine, and I think it turned out better. And I learned my
lesson, and did NOT use charmeuse for the lining again (that stuff slips and slides and never lays straight).

I haven't neglected my knitting, either (although I haven't crocheted much lately). I'm still plugging away on Richard's Baseball sweater. I finished the back and rather than cast on for the front, I decided to break it up by doing one of the sleeves first. And guess what? Cables are totally easy. They look intimidating, but they aren't.

I'm so proud of my mad knitting skills!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

everyday life

I am making a concerted effort to appreciate just how good my life is. Life sure isn't perfect, but it's good. Rich & I have been looking for a new apartment for what seems like an eon, but the relatively low rent gives me more in the pocketbook for yummy yarn and fabric (like the rosy coral silk velvet I found on the remnant rack at Michael Levine's -- 50% off!) My current apartment is a hopeless mess (what's the point of cleaning when we'll be packing & moving soon anyway?), but the time not spent cleaning is free to be spent being crafty.

And even when I'm feeling crappy (stayed home sick on Tuesday), I'm rarely feeling too sick to knit. So, how bad can it be?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Tivolicious, baby

Because I am a big ol' copycat, I'm taking a note from Catherine, and posting my Top Ten TV Shows I TiVo:
1. Daily Show
2. Colbert Report
3. Anything on BBC America's Mystery Monday (right now, it's Waking the Dead)
4. Anything pregnancy/birth related on Discovery Health Channel. Personal favorites are Birth Day and Baby Baby
5. Arrested Development (cry)
6. Battlestar Galactica (new episodes! yes, I am a big geek)
7. House
8. Mythbusters
9. Project Runway
10. MXC - Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (guilty, mindless entertainment)

And now, Top Ten Shows Suggested to Me by TiVo

1. Rocko's Modern Life (reminds me of college)
2. MASH (I do love love love this show)
3. Firefly (and I do love Joss Whedon)
4. Stargate SG-1 (eww, don't love this)
5. Charmed (huh?)
6. Becker (why?)
7. The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (what's with the cartoons?)
8. Cash in the Attic (yay BBC America!)
9. Spin City (?)
10. Amazing Animal Videos (I have idea)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

California, I think I love you

I knew there was a reason I'm proud to live in California (despite our sorry predeliction to vote actors into elected office).

From the Public Policy Institute of California Statewide Survey: Special Survey on Population, December 2005
  • The vast majority of Californians (78%) – including Latinos (74%) and evangelical Christians (66%) – prefer sex education programs that also teach children about obtaining and using contraceptives.
  • A strong majority of Californians (68%) believe that their local school districts should require such programs in both middle and high schools.
  • Seven in 10 Californians (71%) support Roe v. Wade – including majorities of all major racial and ethnic groups – while 22 percent want to overturn it.

K.I.T. -- keep it together, keep it together

Taking a note from Catherine, I must focus on creating a list to distract me from my bitter disappointment in USC's loss to Texas last night. So, here we go.

Top 3 Cookbooks That I Love & Actually Use (listed in no particular order)

The Dean & Deluca Cookbook. This one is a winner. There are no photos, and only a few sketches, so it doesn't qualify as "food porn," but this is a hard-working, solid cookbook. I've made just about every pasta sauce in here and absolutely loved all but one (an unbalanced tomato & onion recipe with WAY too much onion). The book is more than sauces, though. I've made pork chops, steak & chicken recipes, too, from this tome. David Rosengarten, the author & Food Network celeb, offers really informative about food origins, and the differences between types of ingredients. I love this book. It has to be top on my list of books to gift people.

La Belle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About. Who knew Patti LaBelle could cook? Well, to the doubters out there, she can. Beware, this is not a "lite" cookbook (apparently, Patti does have a "lite" cookbook, but I can't vouch for it -- yet). Every recipe is loaded with butter (real butter), and many include cream, cheese, and even alcohol. But everything is divine. This was one of the first cookbooks I bought for myself as an adult. It's not something I would havr bought, except that I went to a dinner party given by my friend, Allison, and she used this cookbook's recipe for rum cake, Scandalously Rich Rum Cake, I think it's called. And it was to die for. And having made several of the recipes in this book, (including the most wonderful homemade macaroni & cheese) this is a keeper.

You're Cookin' It Country by Loretta Lynn. Look beyond the fact that I looove Loretta Lynn. Pay no attention that I bought my (autographed) copy of this book at Hurricane Mills, Loretta Lynn's plantation home in Tennessee. This is a good cookbook. Obviously, I love Southern cooking (see Patti LaBelle), but this is a great cookbook for quality basic recipes and stick to your ribs cuisine. My two favorite recipes from this book are the stuffed baked potatoes (twice baked with blue cheese & bacon) and the fudge pie, which is so rich & creamy, it's like slightly undercooked brownies in a crust. And how can you resist the stories that Loretta writes of her mother's banana bread, her own award-winning canning abilities, and of course, the famous chocolate (salt) pie that brought her & Doolittle together (as shown in the best film ever, Coal Miner's Daughter).

So those are my three favorite cookbooks. I've recently purchased some new ones that have potential:
It's All American Food: The Best Recipes for More Than 400 New American Classics, by David Rosengarten, and The Les Halles Cookbook, by Anthony Bourdain (which, by the way, is the most entertaining cookbook I think I've ever read), but I haven't made enough of the recipes to give a full recommendation.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Hurrah for 2006!

First, let me state for the record just how happy I am for 2005 to be over. Some good things happened, but overall, I'm glad that 2006 brings a bright & shiny new year.

I hate the word "resolutions," so instead, let's talk about plans for 2006. Of course, plans change according to circumstances, so it just sounds better that "plans changed," rather than "resolutions broken."

Sara's Plans for 2006

1. Move to bigger/better apartment. I'm so friggin' sick of our apartment. It's small and so crammed with crap that I don't know where to start purging. But by moving, I will be forced to throw away/donate/sell all our excess stuff.

2. Get back to sewing. I did so much knitting & crocheting in 2005 that I felt I neglected the sewing. Partially, this was because my sewing machine is in the living room, and stuff gets piled on top of the sewing table and chair.
Hopefully, this will be helped by the moving and acquiring a 2nd bedroom for sewing/music/computer.

3. Subscribe to magazines, rather than buy them at newstands. I am a magazine junkie, and it's time I admit it, and just subscribe. I end up spending too much money on them at newstands, and so, this year I will subscribe to the following pubs:
A) Food & Wine (continue current sub.)
B) Interweave Knits (continue current sub.)
C) Budget Living (continue current sub.)
D) Vogue (new)
E) Elle Decor (new)
F) Metropolitan Home (new)
G) Vogue Knitting (maybe)
H) Simply Knitting (Brit. mag -- expensive, but worth it)

4. Be a better pet parent to my turtle, Nigella. I feel like I short-change her, compared with the love & affection I shower on my cats, Deano & Doyle. She really enjoys attention (from behind her tank glass -- she is not a holdy kind of turtle), but because she's in the bedroom instead of the living room, it's kind of "out-of-sight, out-of-mind." When we move to the new place, she'll go in the living room (which will also force me to be more on the ball with cleaning her tank).

5. Entertain more. Actually invite people over for to eat dinner, have drinks, hang out. Again, this is a plan for the new apartment, which will
A) Have better parking for guests
B) Be bigger and have more seating options for guests
C) Be cleaner! I don't want guests to get grossed out. Which brings me to...

6. Hire cleaning service. Ok, it's time to admit that neither Rich, nor I, are naturally clean people. We let the clutter and mess build and build until it's so bad, I can't take it anymore, but it's so overwhelming that I don't know where to start. So now, what with the new place, we'll start out right and just have a service come in once a month to do the big stuff and then we can keep up with the little stuff.

Strange that most of my resolutions involve spending money. Yes, the subscription thing will save me money in the long run, but it's an outlay of cash upfront. Oh well. Baby steps.