Saturday, December 26, 2009

Number 14 (now that Santa has come)

Remember when I bought that amazing book? (It was that glorious weekend I took Joe to Portland for his birthday and we stayed at this infamous and totally awesome hotel and saw Rick Huddle's one-man show Spent and stumbled upon a crowd of Santas like one has never seen before.)

And, of course, we went to Powell's, Portland's sprawling yet sultry book store.  And I found the book that gently led me one delicious step further than simple knitting...and into felting.

So I knit. And felted. And then, because I just can't leave well enough alone, some embroidery and beads and stuff too.  A fun little project that kept my fingers busy and will now (I assume) grace the Christmas trees of those I love the most.

Friday, December 25, 2009


The Christmas cards have been packaged and mailed (yes, it's true, I made all the envelopes this year. It's just so easy and free (!) when you have a roll of butcher paper and some other Christmas wrapping paper around and some nifty envelope templates in your stash of useful things); boxes of cheery Moroccan gifts and handmade ornaments (more on that tomorrow!) were mailed and have all arrived at their intended destinations; small bundles of homemade marshmallows were packaged and dropped about; and it's finally here.

Merry Christmas. And since my parents visited for Thanksgiving and Joe's parents visited after that, we're all alone this holiday, except, of course (!) for each other.  And one very-hairy yellow dog, who will be wearing a harness and paniers today. 

And that's because we're off to go alpine skiing near Mount Rainier. Hope your day is happy and holly-filled (but not too holly-filled, because that stuff is pricky!). And warm and hopeful. And Merry. And Bright. And stuff.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Number 26, recession style

Define gourmet. I mean, it's my list, so I get to say what's what. And I think that beautiful French-styled plates and pairings counts as gourmet, even if there's a $12 hamburger on the menu. Even if.

Big thanks to my in-laws, who visited for a late Thanksgiving and an early Christmas (okay, they just visited to visit, but we ate a lot of good food and put up a Christmas tree) and were feeling adventurous enough to take us to the brand-new Toulous Petit on Queen Anne, a New Orleanian-styled bistro extraordinaire.  And the result? YUM.

Beautifully ambianced, this little gem is flanked with candles (much like its sister restaurant, Pesos); the booths feature works of art in and of themselves:  tables decorated with gorgeous multi-toned inlaid wood designs and perched upon all on 40,000 glass tiles.  The floor is covered in an additional 85,000 Italian mosaic tiles that beg you to notice them in their austere monochromatic glory.  Huge windows will open wide to the sidewalk in the summer (I'll be back) and in the mean time, the 5,000 pounds of hand-tinted deliciously tactile pink and green plaster fringing the walls practically hugs you the moment you walk inside.

The menu changes daily and is something like 8 or 13 pages of amazing choices. It would all be too over the top except that it's the kind of place you won't worry about showing up in jeans to. And you wouldn't even mind just popping in for a Sazerac and that $12 burger. But I dare you to try the foie gras. Or the fresh local oysters. Or the fried alligator, assuming it's on today's menu. Just sayin. 

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Number 17 | Last year's list

So. It finally happened. Leave it to world travel to make me actually complete something from last year's list (number 17).  I needed a skirt that was long enough to be modest in a country that really takes modesty seriously.  Really seriously.  And since I'm six feet tall, that's easier said than done.  I do love a tall section on a clothier's website, but sometimes you're just in need of a cute but long skirt, and you're pretty sure that you can make one all on your own.

Cut to a trip to Stitches, an amazing store on Capitol Hill, and I went home with one Amy Butler *swoon* Barcelona Skirt pattern, several yards of orange and brown floral fabric, a few yards of the softest off-white muslin, a bit of coordinating thread, and one zipper.  This skirt is great, but it's not designed to go to one's feet. So then began the process of creating additional panels for the skirt itself and its accompanying lining layer. It was a bit of a guess and fudge and then a bit of a wait and see type situation involving guess-worked butcher paper pattern piece supplements, but it all worked out in the end.

And then I wore it in Madrid, where we had a layover on our way to Morocco, which seemed all too apropos, given the name of the pattern. And, just to show its versatility (and reinforce the fact that we backpacked through Morocco and only brought four outfits each, here's a photo of the skirt in Ourzazate (the film capitol of Morocco--think Babel, Starwars, and Lawrence of Arabia) with my super cute orange babouche.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sweet Anika

I'm an aunt, again, and this time to a sweet little girl who came at 11:44 pm (Alaska Time) last night to my sister, her husband, and their sweet little boy.  Anika Estelle arrived right on time (= two weeks early) and I melted a little bit when I heard her squeaking in the background as I spoke to my sister this morning.

To celebrate her imminent arrival, and because I'm a sucker for interesting projects, I knit up this super awesome bird mobile for her room.  An amazing stash-buster, this project uses eight different colors of yarn, and none of it has to be washable!  I enlisted my husband to trim and sand the dowels for me, and five birds, four twigs, and twenty-four leaves later, the cutest mobile ever is born. Seriously. So great.

Welcome to the world, Anika! You are already loved so much. And just you wait, little girl, because I'll be up there in Alaska soon enough to kiss your tiny toes. In the mean time, try not to wear your momma out too much.  She's worked so hard on your behalf already.