Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pardon My Absense

Sister in the hospital yet again. I'll be MIA again. Prayers please.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

James vs. Ryan

I assume we're all familiar with the meme where images of Ryan are paired with pick up lines of an intellectual, feminist and/or sexy ilk. No? Here's a small sampling:

From Feminist Ryan Gosling:

And then there's Fuck Yeah! Ryan Gosling:

And my personal favorite, Handmade Ryan Gosling:

Well, apparently, Mr. James Franco is a little jealous.
“It just doesn’t make sense,” said the befuddled 33-year-old thespian and graduate student. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, Ryan’s a great guy. But he spends his spare time hanging out in Disneyland and eating ice cream. Do you know what I do in my spare time? I collect graduate degrees."
I couldn't help myself. I had to create an image with my favorite of Franco's quotes:

 HA! I hope someone makes James his own tumblr full of him saying awesome, slightly sarcastic things. :) I love him so hard.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Swap: We Love Lucy Christmas

Oh man.

I love swaps.

I love the We Love Lucy Ravelry Group swaps especially. It seems people are REALLY good stalkers in that group. You might remember that in the last Lucy swap I was totally floored by the fact that my partner somehow figured out that I bake cupcakes.

This swap I had the amazing Izzy. It turns out we're VERY similar people, which is pretty awesome when it comes to a swap partner. We both like bright colors, make up, nail polish & Downton Abby.

Issy did an amazing job finding things that I loved so much I literally squealed when I opened them. No joke. Actual squeals of delight. Observe...

This is what the box looked like when I opened it:

And here's all the little packages wrapped up so cheerfully:

Inside all those packages was this amazingness:

Ok... "When Bad Things Happen To Good Knitters"? Best book ever. It's a great, easy to follow, step-by-step guide to all the knitting tricks I need to learn! It's awesome! There are very clear pictures and I can't wait to really read through it!

The yarn is King Cole Galaxy (a wool/acrylic blend with little sequins throughout- so cute) in red and purple and King Cole Baby Alpaca (100% alpaca- my favorite fiber) in a mossy green & a subdued lilac. They all feel beautifully soft and I love all the colors.

I LOVE that she included matching buttons! It made me want to decide on a project right away. At least one ball is going to become a Juliet scarf. The other... I'm think some kind of cowl or maybe a slouchy hat (since I look so awesome in them ;)!) with a little button on the edge? Your recommendations are welcome!

And the nail polishes... so awesome. I know Rimmel London is heavily advertised, but I don't think I've ever actually seen it sold in stores here. I'm going to have to really keep my eye out because the colors she sent (a vibrant blue & a very sunny yellow) are SUPER saturated & dry really quickly. She also sent a crackle top coat which is so cool. Look:

Yeah, that's right. I already have it on! I love it soooo much!

I also gasped when I opened this little beauty:

HA! A posh little Hello Kitty vainly checking herself out in her mirror! I love it!

She also sent this awesome little key chain made by her daughter! How adorable is that? And this totally cute candy tin featuring one of my guilty pleasures!

The handmade gift from Issy also floored me. Check out the longest Queen Anne's Lace scarf ever:
That's it folded in half, people! It has to be 10 feet long! I'm so excited about it, too. I've been crocheting for a million years but for some reason every time I've tried this pattern I just can't get it! The colors are so bright & cheerful too-- made with King Cole's Wicked. In her note Issy said this was to wear to see Wicked this month! This is AWESOME because the dress I'm wearing is what I like to call a little "boob-tastic", so draping this multiple times will help keep me warm & not flashing people! The colors are very "Over The Rainbow"! It's absolutely perfect.

Finally, her very cute and thoughtful card said this tea is for my little sister, who, as you know, is recovering from a coma

How incredibly sweet is that? I'm so touched that she thought of my little Sarah that I could just cry. Of course... that's immediately followed by the thought that English Breakfast is my favorite tea and this looks really delicious. :) We're so close to Christmas that I might not see Sarah until Christmas Eve, so I think I'm going to wrap it up and put a little note saying it's from Issy in England. :) Sarah was really interested in the little gift I made for Issy and asked what she'd be sending me in return, so I think she'll get a kick out of receiving this! 

I'm so happy to receive all these amazing things! Everything is just perfect! Yay swaps!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Pattern: Puffy Flower

A question came up in the Ravelry forum about a particular type of flower that no one could seem to find a pattern for. While what I have below isn't exact, it gives the right feeling so I thought I'd share:

Lia's Puffy Flower

Materials: Small amount of worsted weight in white and another color (MC)
US size J crochet hook
tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Special Stitch:
"Treble Popcorn": ^yo twice, insert into sc, pull up a loop, yo, pull through 2, repeat from ^ 4 more times (11 loops on hook). yo, pull through all loops

In White: 6sc in magic loop. SS into first sc to close circle. Pull tail end tight to tighten up magic loop. Fasten off.

In MC:
ss into any white sc
{chain 2; work "Treble popcorn"; chain 3, ss into same sc, ss in next sc}

Repeat all {to} 5 more times for 6 petals

Some tips:
  • Pull tight after you yarn over & pull through all 11 loops to secure the popcorn stitch. This gives your petal a lot of volume.
  • Run your finger behind the petal to push all the stitches forward before doing your chain 3 to make it nice and puffy.

Let me know if you have any questions! This is the first pattern I'm posting so I'm excited for any feedback. If you make some PLEASE link to a picture so we can all enjoy!

Christmas Plates

Oh dear. It's begun. Today is officially the start of my Christmas Baking Season. I'm a little late. The plan had been to prepare logs of cookie dough a week ago and freeze it, ready to slice & bake closer to Christmas. Was anyone else totally thrown off by Christmas landing on a Sunday?

When my mom was still alive she did most of the Christmas shopping. I bought a few presents- for friends, my closest cousin, whoever I picked in the gift exchange- but for all the million aunts, uncles & cousins I was happy to let mom buy gifts and I'd fill out tags saying they were from the whole family.

Since she passed away (this will be our 3rd Christmas without her), I've taken on a lot of that role. The first year I did everything she would have- bought every gift, cooked every dish- on top of my own baking & gift buying. I even recreated her recipes (most of which she'd never taught me). Last year we divided the work up, with me baking for all the couples & buying for all the singles, my sister buying for the teen/little girls and dad buying for the teen/little boys.

I'm scaling back my baking this year, partly because it's getting close to Christmas and I'm just starting and partly because it got expensive. So this year I'm sticking with very homey, not fancy stuff I know people really liked last year. Only two are dipped in chocolate (which is a time consuming process), so things should go much faster this year.

Are you doing any holiday baking? What are your favorite recipes?

Monday, December 12, 2011

MIA again/Christmas!

I've been MIA again, haven't I?

Sorry! But you know what? It's Christmastime! Ok, not really. But it is Advent & that means getting prepared for Christmas. This past weekend was awesome- filled with holiday parties, friends, good food & lots of great conversation. On Friday we had a surprise birthday dinner for one of my favorite guys. On Saturday I went to the Grove, the LA Farmers Market & tini (which is way cooler than it appears on the website) with two girlfriends & then built a gingerbread house at my BFF's apartment. Sunday I had coffee & watched Kitchen Impossible with some friends and then had an awesome sushi dinner & watched New Year's Eve with some more friends. Really amazing weekend.

I started to freak out a little about how behind I was on my Christmas Shopping. Thanks to Google Docs I am very aware of who I'm buying for, what ideas I have for them, what's already been purchased, what my budget is and how much I've already spent. It's really been a lifesaver in years past. Unfortunately, this weekend it was just reminding me how much I HAVEN'T done yet! But I remedied that today. I used my VIB gift card at Sephora (free 20 bucks!!). I thought about what I already had in my "this might make a good gift for someone" stash & assigned it to people. Now I have only 3 presents left to buy. So exciting!

How is your Christmas shopping going? Are you making anything? Got any great sales to tip me off to?

Friday, December 2, 2011

FO Friday: Hiphop-o-potomus

My friend brought her little 9 month old daughter to my birthday brunch. Baby G is so freaking cute. She was super well behaved & was quite amused with the dozen adults passing her around. Her momma mentioned that they like hippo things for her. I stayed up a few nights and through together a hat & booties for her.

The hat was just off the top of my head as I went along. The hippo applique was fun. I adjusted the sizing by skipping a few rows for the ones on the shoes. 

I followed GoodKnits' pattern for toddler shoes, but again skipped many rows because Baby G has teensy tiny feet that have barely grown since she was born.

For something I threw together in a couple hours, I'm pretty pleased. If I hadn't been making up the hat & trying to figure out how to reduce the hippo pattern on the fly I think it would have taken half the time. I wrote a little card to Baby G thanking her for coming to my party and sent it off in the mail. They were well received and I can't wait to see her in them!

Naturally, the deets have all been Rav'd.

Lia's Big Adventure: Remember the Alamo

I'm spending the week in Texas visiting my dear friend Christina (from my NET team) and hanging out with my cousin, taking advantage of the fancy suite her work put her up in for a training in Dallas.

The first half of the week I hung out in Georgetown with Christina & her family. Christina is one of my favorite people and her mom is awesome, so it was really fun to get to hang out with them. Chris and I went out for bar-b-que and did a wine tasting at Georgetown Winery. I spent time at the local coffee shop doing my Cyber Monday shopping and bought some books at the used bookstore. We sat at her home talking and I taught her to crochet.

On Tuesday we took a mini road trip down to San Antonio to see the Alamo. I don't know what I expected but when I got there I was really surprised by how small it was.

It was beautiful though. I had never thought about how it was both a mission AND a war memorial. It was so interesting to see details like the names of Mary and St. Anthony statues along side tributes to those involved in the battle.

As a Catholic Chicana this was kind of a weird stop on my trip. I celebrate Mexico's defeat of the French Army on May 5th. I'm very aware that some of my family has been in the Southwestern United States since it was Northwestern Mexico. So is this the site of Mexico's last stand in Texas? Or as an American do I "remember the Alamo" as a huge defeat that became the rallying cry that lead to further victories against the Mexican government? Or as a Catholic do I view it mainly as a sacred place where Mass was celebrated? When it came down to it, all those conflicting feelings obscured each other and it felt like a generic tourist destination for most of my time there. Still, in the quiet moments before it closed, I was reminded of the sacraments celebrated, the lives lost and the sacredness of the space. Later, on the Riverwalk we took a tour boat and the operator told us one hotel was built several stories shorter than planned when it was discovered a taller building would have cast a shadow on the Alamo at sunset. That sort of respect is remarkable and something Texas clearly does a lot better than California, and I'd be willing to bet MOST other US states.

God bless Texas.