Tuesday, January 26, 2010


This is a totally off-topic entry but I'm so excited! Andrew Garcia- an incredible local musician- is on American Idol tonight! A brief clip of his audition was on the preview last week and this week we'll see him hear the 4 magic words: "You're Going To Hollywood!"

It seems he's had to take down all his videos from his youtube account, but you can still find Andrew on a few other youtube videos. One of my favorites is this collaboration with Cathy Nguyen. He's also seen here with JR Aquino and my favorite singer/songwriter AJ Rafael:

Spread the word by tweeting #TeamAndrewGarcia and don't forget to watch Idol tonight! I know he just made it worth it for me again!


Andrew KILLED IT! Amazing audition! Check it out:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

USPS Rocks

Lest you forget- I have a couple other goals this year. One is to send a care package out to my soldier friend once a month while he's in Afghanistan. He won't actually deploy until the summer, but in the meantime I'm getting ready.

One thing that kept me from really trying to get packages out to him during the last deployment was that it seemed like such a hassle. Shop, bake, make stuff. Go to the post office to pick up priority flat rate boxes. Come home & fill them. Go BACK to the post office to mail the box off. We all know what the lines at the post office are like. It's like a miniature version of purgatory in there!

Well. Today I decided to see what postage was going to cost me come summer. I went to usps.com and discovered that A) there's an APO/FPO box that cost $2 less than the regular domestic flat rate, B) you can have a pack of boxes (minimum 10) delivered to your house free of charge and C) you can schedule a pick up from your house- also for free!

Hello? This makes my life SO much easier! I get enough stuff delivered to ME at home that I shouldn't really need to worry about other packaging materials. So now I just have to find stuff to fill those boxes that should be coming some time this week. Yes... I ordered them way crazy early, but I'll SO forget otherwise.

I also ordered a small birthday present for him. We don't generally do gifts, but I found something cheap that was kind of perfect. See- when deployed soldiers can't do things that might offend the "host country". This means, in Muslim countries there's no consuming bacon nor alcohol. The soldier loves him some bacon. So as a joke, I'm sending him these:

Yeah... that's bacon flavored envelopes, people. The glue on the flap tastes like bacon! Is that not the funniest thing you've ever heard? It sounds mildly disgusting to me, but I think he'll appreciate the humor.

Those will go out for his birthday pre-deployment. I've put down the scarf for the past week while I crochet to make myself feel better. The slow progress was really getting me down. In the meantime, I'm also collecting ideas for those future care packages. Any ideas and suggestions would be greeted with much joy and appreciation!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What I've been up to

So my resolution is to do something creative every day. I've been totally living up to it, which is exciting. I had hoped for maybe some variety-- but all month I've just been crocheting & knitting. I do have craft ADD, though, so I currently have three projects going. They are:

1) The soldier scarf (which is becoming a pain my ass)
2) The ripple scarf (which will wind up being a Christmas present, I think)
3) Another cowl- most likely for me

Yes, I finished the cowl for H but I really kind of hate it. It's too big & bulky and just yuck. I still like the IDEA, however, so I started a new one with some very thin, very fancy hand-spun, hand-painted wool I picked up in San Francisco a couple years ago. A couple years ago!! It's probably sock weight- not something I'm used to working with. It's another slow-going project as a result. Tiny little yarn, tiny little hook. But it's working and I think it will be beautiful.

The ripple scarf... I came across Caron's new wool blend & "spa" bamboo blend. Fantastic. The colors are beautiful and it feels amazing. I'm using the array of beautiful colors as an excuse to make a gorgeous striped, rippled scarf. I briefly considered giving it to my cousin for her birthday this week, but realized she's a vegan & not too happy about wearing wool. Oh well.. it was actually meant for Christmas gifting anyway.

I love ripples and chevrons. I'm hoping to get started on a ripple blanket for myself. It's just such a daunting task.

I promise to get pictures up of some projects soon...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Knitting Woes

I've been working my little fingers to the bone on the soldier's scarf. As you know, this is my first real knitting project. I've worked up to the warp-speed of one little knitted row every 10 minutes. This works out to about an inch an hour. An inch an hour! If I were crocheting this thing I estimate I'd be working more like an inch every ten minutes!! And will a knit scarf be appreciated six times as much as a crocheted scarf will? Absolutely not. In all honesty- the soldier isn't super likely to express a ton of gratitude anyway. He's very much the typical male in that way.

On top of this realization, I discovered I screwed up... oh... about 10 hours worth of work ago! Just three little knits that should have been perls. I can FEEL IT when I run my fingers down the beautiful cords. This is highly upsetting. I've heard you can rip down the columns and use a crochet hook to fix such mistakes, but having never done it and faced with putting ten hours worth of work at risk, I think I'm just going to leave it. It will at least be evidence that I am, in fact, a newbie at this knitting thing.

It is beautiful though. Since it's been so difficult, I keep pulling it out to get reassurance under the guise of thinking it's not manly enough. Obviously it's manly enough- it's mostly black and fairly simple. Still- every single time I am with a man I pull it out and ask if they like it. I've had very very high reviews, so that's nice.

All in all I'm about a third of the way thorough. I'll probably put it down sometime after this skine, since I won't actually send it out to him until next fall. I've started a cowl for myself, which I'll share soon. I'd also really like to make myself a blanket. That's a lot of work for a selfish endevor, so we'll see.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

iPod Cozy

Last year I spent more than my fair share of days sitting next to hospital beds. One day I decided I needed to use this time more wisely, so I grabbed some felt, my sewing box and some left over material and made my little sister an iPod cozy.

I saw a coin purse on etsy with a cassette tape design and thought it would make an awesome little case of an iPod. There are a LOT of things wrong with this design, but it was pretty decent for a first try.

It closes with a little velcro. I think if I added another layer of felt to the piece that goes over the iPod face it would hold it's shape better. I dunno... I may play with this again.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Right after yesterday's cowl post I realized I HAVE made H something! Granted, it was only a couple little washclothes I crocheted when I woke up early for our spa appointment & couldn't go back to sleep... but I DID make them and give them to her! I even took a picture of them!

Right. So there.

These are really easy and fun and I love them. Use a 100% cotton yarn, chain a washcloth-width bit, half-double crochet (or, you know, whatever) until it's washcloth-lengthed and you done, homie. Love it. These are fantastic for your face and body, giving some gentle exfoliation action. They are also pretty good dish-washing clothes. I think they'd be an awesome way to add a personal touch to a little bath & body gift. Right? Of course right.

Monday, January 4, 2010


So my bestfriend, H, has been complaining lately that I've never made her anything. This doesn't seem like it could possibly be true, but then I think about it and I can't remember anything I may have made for her after all. We met in 1994 or 5... so 15 years of friendship seems like it deserves a scarf or something.

I'd been eyeing this very simple pattern on Hooks and Needles since I discovered the blog a week ago. After showing H the soldier scarf & hearing, once again, how I've failed her as a crafty friend- I decided to head straight over to Joann's and find some yarn to make her the cowl. She'll be interviewing for interships in several cold places starting next week, so I needed something quick and fun to send her on her way.

I used a "G" needle (since I'm totally disorganised I couldn't find anything smaller), so my pattern is a good deal larger than the example. This isn't great for the very cold Chicago & Denver interviews. Oh well. It's lovely for California weather and that's where I'm hoping she'll stay anyway! Can't have her too warm and cozy far away. She needs to long for home.

It's been a nice little break from the soldier scarf. Crochet and I go back over 20 years... so zipping through this baby has been very relaxing and satisfying after the tedious struggle of knitting. I started it about 9pm last night, worked on it between calls at work and I'm about halfway through. The problem? I thought "oh... a short little scarf with a really open weave CAN'T POSSIBLY take more than a skine". Yeah, I'm a little over halfway done with the cowl, but WAY over halfway through the skine.

Bigger problem: I bought this skine at the Joann's near where we ate dinner-- about 25 minutes away. I'm going to TRY to find it at my local store... but I'm not too optimistic about it. I may have to take a drive. *sigh*

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Knitting 101

I first decided to learn to knit about a year ago after seeing a review on Lunch.com that linked to a pretty good instructional video. Later, my cousin happened to pick up some needles for me at a sale and it seemed like it was really time to learn. After a few practice runs and some spying on experienced knitters from afar, I figured out a kind of corduroy, knit two purl two, super easy pattern.

In my mini-research for Soldier's future care packages I realized Afghanistan is mountainous and pretty darn cold in the winter. This is probably very naive of me, but I thought it was a hot desert- like Palm Springs, not an all seasons desert- like our "high desert" area. Doh. Anyway, I picked up a couple balls of manly looking yarn and started knitting right around Christmas. Here's the progress so far:

a little less than a third of the finished length I think

not the best picture, but it shows the pattern a bit better

I really love the yarn. It's primarily black but naturally strips; alternating between a little silver/grey and a little purple. Manly but not drab. The Soldier is, well, a soldier... so he's pretty darn manly, but he's not adverse to wearing a pastel tie when the occassion calls for it- so I think the little bit of color is good.

It's slow-going since I'm still a newbie. Good thing he won't need it until next winter... that should be about when it's done!

Saturday, January 2, 2010


I like to say I don't believe in resolutions.
"If you want to change- change. You don't have to wait until January first."
Well, in truth I only say that because I don't like the pressure of everyone picking new goals all at once and waiting for each other to fail.

Still, I do have goals for the new year. I generally feel good when I'm doing happy things for others and being creative. Thus, I have made three goals for the year:

1) Organize my craft supplies. This includes getting rid of stuff I'm not using as I tend to be kind of a packrat.

2) Do something creative/crafty every. single. day. This doesn't mean I have to finish something every day.. I just have to work on something. Considering my love for very long scarves and my desire to crochet myself a blanket, this shouldn't be too hard.

3) Send one care package a month during Soldier's deployment. I have a friend being deployed to Afghanistan in the summer. During his tour in Iraq I basically only sent letters because I didn't know what he would need or want. I've decided to just do a little research on "general" things soldiers need, couple it with what I know about him already and go for it. I figure after a couple packages he might start making requests.

So, relatively simply goals. As the year goes on I always add more, but that's the beauty of "not believing in resolutions". The plan is to blog about these things- primarily as a way to get a "portfolio" of my creations, since it'd be nice to know remember what I've made.

Happy 2010 all. I look forward to spending it with you.