Monday, December 6, 2010

Little Bits for the Holiday Season

 This weekend was the {New New} York Holiday Fair and boy was it spectacular! I have already scratched quite a few people off my Christmas buying list as a result of this gathering of awesome Etsy artists. One of the great things about these artists/crafters is that you don't have to go to one of these fairs to get their amazing stuff, you can also order a lot of it on Etsy. With that in mind I wanted to point you holiday buyers their way so you can share in the joy and share that joy with the ones you love!

The first seller I will mention was by far my favorite of the day (sorry to play that card, but it is too true)! My Zoetrope had some really mind blowingly cute artwork, was super sweet, and was ever so patient with me and my friend (especially me) as we stood in front of her booth trying to decide which of these colorful works we should buy (after all we only had so much money and so many people to buy for). I would seriously recommend perusing her shop and filling that shopping cart with some of her funky-fun art!

Another favorite seller of mine was KnitKnit. I had  seen her stuff at the shop on Governor's Island that the {New New} York had put up over the summer and fell in love. Her felted necklaces were too cute, colorful, and perfectly balanced to be true! Unfortunately at that time I didn't have the cash to splurge on myself...but at the fair this weekend I whipped out my wallet faster than I could say "I'll take it!" and bought a great necklace from her School series. Though this isn't what I got (mine was green with two notebook lines) it is pretty close and just as coolio! What I also really loved about KnitKnit's stuff is that the chains themselves are spectacular and add to the personality of the piece.

Next up was Caja Jewelry. While this jewelry is a little on the expensive side, for an urban - I spend all my money on crafts- lady, it is so beautiful with it's simple designs and perfectly cut shapes. Though I didn't leave with one of my all time favorite necklaces, I did leave wishing I could have. I'd say if you are looking for a quality piece that isn't over-the-top while still being catching I would be sure to stop over to this shop.

Two other sellers I need to mention are Sans Map, who has some amazing bags, and Wish By Felicity, with her vintage glass jewelery. I was able to pick up a couple pairs of earrings from Wish By Felicity for Christmas gifts and found myself jealous of the people I was giving them to. As for Sans Map, I wasn't able to dig that deep into my pockets this weekend, but someday I just think I might be back to buy the Shoulder Zip Bag.

Really, all the vendors were so nice and amazing and I would recommend to anyone to check out the {New New} blog for more great artists and tips on upcoming events!

Happy Holiday buying or crafting or just hugging the ones you love-ing!!

*cap supplied by Jessica Hische at DailyDropCap 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Bit of an Excuse Leads to some Bits and Bobs

 F or most it might not seem like Christmas is fast approaching, but unfortunately for me it might be upon us all too quickly. Since I am making quite a few of my presents, although not as many as I originally wished to, I am in a bit of a frenzy to get them all done. However, since some of the people I am making gifts for read this blog I won't be able to post them until after the holiday season. So, if it looks like I am being super lazy with crafts as of late, it is quite the opposite. I look forward to posting about these various items in January and in the meantime I will try to post (for the few who care) occasionally with bits and bobs.  To show I am serious about this, please see below.

Bit number 1 of the holiday season:

Amy Sedaris has come out with a new book, Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People. While this book doesn't really actually give you much insight on how to make worthwhile crafts, it is fun and the pictures are extremely enjoyable (especially the chapter on safety) for those aware of the little problems crafts throw at you every day. So check it out and take a second to laugh at the ridiculousness of the crafting craze.

*cap supplied by Jessica Hische at DailyDropCap

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Birthday, Kurt Vonnegut

 ear Kurt Vonnegut,

Thank you for writing so many radiant books and stories and commentaries for so many years. You offered your truth and simplicity to the world, along the way inspiring me and many others. In pointing out so many flaws of our civilization, you were also able to illuminate so much of its beauty.

With much appreciation,

"I wanted all things to seem to make some sense, so we could all be happy, yes, instead of tense. And I made up lies, so they all fit nice, and I made this sad world a paradise."

*cap supplied by Jessica Hische at DailyDropCap

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Yarn Crawl Productivity - Well Kind Of!

 L et me first start by stating that after a few months of being personal computer-less, I am happy to now be making this post with my brand new computer! Super yay! Hopefully this will spur my ambition to post on that note let me jump right in!

As I posted a few weeks ago my friend and I were preparing for the Second Annual NYC Yarn Crawl and I was planning my purchases (quite a bit of alliteration in that sentence!). As soon as I made that post though I though to myself, "Watch me not get any of those yarns." Which really proved how well I know my future self because I came home with $100 more worth of yarn than I planned on and not one of the yarns I wrote about! Despite this I have absolutely no buyers remorse and have already started projects with two of the yarns I got. 

My friend and I started the day at Purl, for various unimportant reasons, and we swiftly set to work. While my lady companion had a list of what she needed for a particular project, I was well prepared to wing it and went on the hunt for multicolored yarn. Armed with my trusty t-shirt, I was ready to purchase enough yarn to make 100 scarves (although monetarily that just wasn't possible :)

My T-shirt (a present from my beau and from Threadless)

At Purl I made some really exciting purchases. They were:
One skein of Blue Sky Bulky (50% alpaca and 50% wool) in color grasshopper 1212
One skein of Manos del Uruguay Handspun Pure Wool Kettle Dyed in color Wildflower 113
One skein of Manos del Uruguay Handspun Pure Wool Kettle Dyed in color Fruit Salad 124
Then, on our way out, we got to do a quick raffle drawing and I won a tote with a fat quarter (I began using the tote immediately and it is now my primary means of carrying things) and the lady bee with me won two skeins of cashmere! How much fun!

After we hit up Purl my spectacular friend made it clear that she was here to support me in getting away from green. Now, she has nothing against green, but it is my absolute favorite color and so we decided since I have already bought so many green yarns that perhaps I should branch out. I must thank her for her unwavering encouragement to try new things because I was able to get some neat and different yarns by passing up some great, but similar, green yarns.

After Purl we headed out for lunch, which was super amazing butternut squash soup made by this Chiquita banana friend of mine. After this we went to another store, that since we didn't like I won't mention here, and then off to get some coffee. We headed over to Birch Coffee, both of us for the first time, and were blown away by the awesome yumminess of their cappuccinos (we both got soy)! Best cappuccino of my life!! On top of this they had a very comfy "library" upstairs where we got to sit and chat. 

Once our chatting was done and we had licked the last of the foam off our mugs we departed for uptown and String. I had seen mixed reviews about the service at String on Yelp, but was excited to go there because I had also read that they had some very nice yarns to offer. I was in the market for some cashmere or cashmere mix for a scarf for a family member, so I was happy to go somewhere that prided itself in offering great luxury yarns. Once there I understood why people might think it was a bit cold. The prices weren't marked on anything, which I hate (especially when buying fancy yarns), and while the woman on the floor got us whatever we needed, no one was over-friendly. However, they did have some really nice yarns. I found a blend with cashmere in it that I thought would be perfect for the family member in mind and I even got myself a little treat. I wound up leaving with:
Three balls of Sublime CMS DK (75% extra fine merino, 20% silk, 5% cashmere) in color Carrots 219
One skein of Aslan Trends Royal Alpaca in color Plum 5653
Both of these are soooo soft and spunky fun colors! I had originally intended to try and get a pure cashmere, or at least a blend with more of it, but when I felt the Sublime CMS I knew that it didn't matter because it was as soft as I could hope for.

After String we moved on up the road to Annie and Co. Needlepoint and Knitting. While this was the last stop on our ride it was really where the party began! Annie and Co. is absolutely incredible!! This store was packed full of yarn with deals around every corner for the Yarn Crawl and the staff was A-mazing!! I went a little nutso here, I mean when everywhere you turn there is another fantastic yarn, it isn't hard to do. My craftista friend got a bag of yarn, more than enough to make a sweater, for a steal and I grabbed so many skeins they had to set some aside for me so I could grab more. In the end I bundled up:
Two skeins of Blue Sky Dyed Cotton in color Cumin 605
Two skeins of Blue Sky Multi Cotton in color Gherkin 6802
One skein of Cascade Yarns Eco Duo (70% undyed baby alpaca and 30% undyed merino wool) in color Zebra 1701
One skein of Malabrigo Rasta (kettle dyed merino wool) in color Baya Electrica 865
Two skeins of Malabrigo Silky Merino (50% silk and 50% baby merino) in color Cape Cod Gray 429
I will for sure be going back to Annie and Co. for future purchases of yarn and embroidery supplies...I don't care how out of the way it is for me. Not only did I get great yarn here, but I also got a great experience (yes...I am aware that sounds slightly corny, but I don't care, it is true!). 

So, all in all I would have to say that the day was a definite success!! I got to spend super fun time with a super fun friend and go crazy on some yarn stores! I am already enjoying the incredible yarns I got and feel a tinge of happiness every time I walk past my stash. Also, the day after I felt so excited that I ended up winding all the yarn, minus the two skeins that were wound for me at Purl, and so now all that I need to do to get a project started is pick up the needles!!!

My spending spree results (no flash to show off true texture):

With flash to show off true colors:

 In the sunlight to try and do justice to both:

All wound up:

*cap supplied by Jessica Hische at DailyDropCap   

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Box it Up - In Style!

C heap, crafty, useful things are always so much fun to create because 1. you don't break the bank and 2. you end up with something that serves a purpose. Taking this sentiment I made some bins out of shoe boxes and fabric to store my craft supplies in. I will admit that for one of the boxes I ended up getting an expensive fabric, but by getting so little it wasn't too much of a splurge. The other two boxes I made with some great and wallet friendly fabric that was left over from another project (that I had purchased at FabricWorm).

This project is so simple to do and really helps to transform your space into something a little more personal. All that I needed for this was a shoe box, fabric, scissors, and a glue gun (with glue sticks). As I have already indicated on past posts I am not so great with measurements, so I primarily winged it. If you want the inside and bottom of the box to look perfect you will probably want to measure, but since I had no concerns about those two spots I just went to town. The first thing I did was to cut the fabric down some, so that I didn't have a long yard hanging down. After this I just went about putting glue on one side of the box at a time, and pressing the fabric down. I wrapped the fabric along in this way until the sides of the box were completely covered.

Once that was done I simply glued the edges down to the inside and bottom of the box. The same easy steps were done to the lid of the box (only I just laid one big square down and smooshed the sides down). The results of my day's endeavor were two matching boxes for my various craft supplies and one unique and funky box for my living room odds and ends.

Again, I must point out that if someone so inclined to wing it can pull of these little beauts then it should be no problem for anyone else...and for the price I would say it is totally worth a try! I know I am really satisfied with how nice these came out and how little they look like shoe boxes to the unsuspecting eye.

*cap supplied by Jessica Hische at DailyDropCap    

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

So many yarns, so many stops!

 N ot only is my computer still out of commission, but I have also been super busy lately, thus leading to a slight lag on the blog posting front. I really do have a few posts lined up, but since the only hour when I could make an in-depth post (my lunch break) is taken up for the next few days, I thought I would share a little info about some yarns I am itching to get my hands on.

This weekend in NYC is the 2nd Annual Yarn Crawl! My friend and I are super stoked and have been staging our plan of attack for weeks. On top of this I have also been saving my pennies so I can really go a little crazy (without feeling guilty). In preparation for this little splurge I have been trying to figure out what yarns I want the most. I am pretty new to knitting, but my pattern for buying yarn in the past (pun intended) has been to only buy for projects I know I need the yarn for. There have probably only been two exceptions to that rule, and so I decided that this weekend,  I will only be buying yarn that I have wanted or find dazzling...with no pattern in mind! There will be one exception to that, for a present I intend to make, but other than that I am just going nuts! So, in expectation of that joyous day, I thought I would share some of the yarns I have decided to hunt for.

First on my list is Rowan Big Wool. Almost every time I go to my local yarn shop I catch myself staring at this beautiful yarn. I really love the greys and light purples that they have to offer, so I will be on the look out for Smoky, Mulberry, or Glum. Since I love chunky, fall-all-over-your-neck, cowls I look forward to what I can make with this.

Next on the list is Spud and Chloe Outer! Since my first knitting class I have wanted to get this stuff. I absolutely love the colors and it certainly doesn't hurt that it is superwash! Even though I am not usually a pastels type of gal, I can't get over the subtle and yet eye-popping shades that are offered here. The carbon for sure catches my eye, but the Hedge and Bayou are fun and different for me. On top of this the yarn is so soft and works well with a bigger needle the project I do choose to do will probably be done pretty quickly.

The final yarn, but certainly not the last on my mind, is Habu Steel Wool. This yarn is just plain cool! With steel at the core and wool wrapped around this stuff can be used to make a nice lace item or just to add a little flare to a more standard knit. I plan on using it to add a little sparkle and staying power to a cowl or scarf (I am really starting to perfect the art of cowls :).

I'll be sure to put a post up soon about what I actually did haul away with me, but I hope that it at least includes these three great yarns! With so many awesome stores to visit though, I am sure no matter what I get will be super duper stupendous!

*cap supplied by Jessica Hische at DailyDropCap    

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What a Floozy: The Tale of an Easy and all too Loveable Tablecloth

 As has been stated on this blog in the past I am working to make my kitchen retro-awesome. For the longest time I felt like a key element was missing though. My eye would always wander to our little kitchen table with disappointment. We had gotten the table for free (it was left by a leaving tenant at one of our old apartments) and we were extremely happy to get it. The issue though is that the table, while functional, is just a basic Ikea piece with no flare...and definitely no retro-awesomeness.

Since I am no Rockefeller I can't really just go and replace the table, and let's face it, I would feel kind of bad if I went and got rid of a perfectly functional table just because it wasn't pretty enough for me...I mean it is just a table, not a cocktail dress. So, it came to me that I needed to dress the thing up! It may sound extremely stupid, but a tablecloth didn't immediately enter my head. I had looked for tablecloths in the past and had found them super expensive and not pretty enough for me. All I wanted was a simple cotton number that had a little sparkle and a little color to brighten my kitchen. After perusing some more websites though and thinking of what might be best, it finally struck me that I needed to make my own tablecloth!

The only issue here is that, as I have also stated before, I am no master sewer...I don't even have a sewing machine. With that in mind I thought long and hard how to get a custom tablecloth on my table. I was having a little craft pow-wow with my friend one day and had mentioned my plans and we got to discussing hemming. She kindly offered me the use of her sewing machine, but she also very superbly told me about hem tape (note, I am pretty sure it was cheaper at Michaels). This wonder of the modern world is a strip of tape-like material you put between fabric and iron to make the flaps stick. How awesome is that?!? Amateurs like me can make a simple piece of simpleness with no problems. With that thought racing through my head I hit Fabricworm to find the fabric of my dreams!

It didn't take long to find what I was looking for, and not much more time for the beau to approve it. I had been looking for something that would be subtle, slightly retro, with a blue to add new color to the kitchen, and red to tie it all together. Imagine my joy when I found Cosmo Cricket! This fabric is fun and yet not overpowering. I scooped up a couple of yards and waited for it to arrive.

Once I got the fabric I went ahead and placed it on the table, without hemming, just to see how spectacularly it complimented my kitchen. There it sat for about a month, partially due to my laziness and partially due to the horrible heat wave we have been experiencing and the lack of air conditioner in my kitchen. One cool night though I set to work!

The first thing I did was to obviously gather all my supplies.

Ducks in a row:

With my supplies ready all I had to do next was line up the "tape" where I wanted the hem to be (and fold):

and iron.:

Next I just placed it on my table:

and admired it!:

I really feel like this fabric pulled all the pieces of our kitchen together, and can't say how thrilled I am at how easy it was to do.

Here is another quick shot of the fabric:

I guess all that is left to say is that if someone as horrible with measurements, as inept at sewing, and as impatient as I am can create their own table cloth no one has an excuse not to! So enjoy!

*cap supplied by Jessica Hische at DailyDropCap    

Friday, August 20, 2010

Filling the Void

S ince I can't really post any of my projects due to the fact that my laptop is currently dead and most of my pics are on it, I figured I would try and fill the void with some random information...I mean after all, this is the Random ReposiStory. Wah, wah, wah.

So, onward and upward then! While I am not very familiar with the wonderful world of sewing, I really want to be. I can't wait until sewing becomes a bit more of a priority for me, but currently I am happy to be super focused on knitting and the smaller little projects I do. With that said though, that doesn't mean I don't go searching for fabrics that I could make some adorable blanket or purse or sandwich bag with. In order to make items such as covered buttons and boxes and all that jazz I do need fabric, but not nearly as much as I would like to purchase.

Knowing all of this, and understanding that perhaps I shouldn't waste money on a talent I don't yet possess, I have decided that when I run across something that I could see using in the future I will purchase it (if I have the mula for it). Thus, while trolling the fabric sites of my dreams I ran across Alexander Henry, and I must say that I am in love. While some of the more flowery fabrics don't really float my boat, it can't be denied that the adorable animal, robot, and cowboy ones far override those issues!

Well, that is basically all for this post. I just wanted to give another little tid-bit to anyone who reads this. I hope you enjoy Alexander Henry as much as I do and perhaps can use his fabrics sooner.

*cap supplied by Jessica Hische at DailyDropCap    

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ahh the Wonderful World of Technology...

 W ell, unfortunately for me, and perhaps for the few that enjoy this blog, my computer has broken. According to the tech genius who took a look at it, the problem is a graphics one that can't be fixed easily -the company apparently recalled my laptop because of it. Thus the only possible way to get it fixed is for the company to admit it falls under the warranty of recalled laptops or something like that. Anyway, the point of me telling you this is that I will be unable to post anything for a while, and I actually do have a couple of things to keep checking back, but not too frequently. Thanks!

 *cap supplied by Jessica Hische at DailyDropCap    

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Book Review...Well Sort Of

M y initial idea for this post was to write an in-depth review of This Book is Overdue : How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson. Some people have commented that they had high hopes for this book, I have to admit that I wasn't one of them. All I really wanted from this work was a simple layman's look at librarians and how their jobs are important. Ultimately I thought this would just be a nice skimming of the surface of hugely complex issues, with a nod of the head towards the librarians of the world. Never once did I think This Book is Overdue would be a detailed report on the field of librarianship.

So, I started reading hoping for merely a pleasant read that explained some issues that librarians must face. I kept notes as I went, but the further I got the less and less I wanted to pick up the book to continue reading. I felt myself dreading having to read the next self centered chapter. When Marilyn Johnson plugged her own last written book I nearly gave up completely. It wasn't until I finished the sixth chapter, entitled How to Save the World, though that I realized that this book (wherever it was leading) was a complete waste of my time.

Though there are many issues that led me to this final conclusion, I don't feel that is it fair to voice them all without having read the final result. With that in mind I will simply leave you with the thought that resounded throughout my short experience with this book...Stop telling me what you did to research the book and give me the book!

 *cap supplied by Jessica Hische at DailyDropCap    

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I Never Thought I Could Feel This Way: How an Ironing Board Stole my Heart

 Never in my life had I been excited about an ironing board, never that is until we moved into our latest apartment. On touring the space I was excited by the pre-war details that it offered, one of which was a pull out ironing board in the kitchen! How very "retro"!

The tenants before us had wreaked havoc on the apartment though, and even though the cleaning crews did a pretty great job of getting the place fixed up before we moved in, they left the ironing board untouched. This little gem was in pretty bad shape. The fabric it had been covered in was disgusting and the foam was basically disintegrating all over the cabinet it was stored in. It was nothing a little elbow grease couldn't fix...but it was something I put off fixing from a lack of wanting to apply that elbow grease.

The Before Picture:

The Before Picture (the seedy underbelly):

I finally got to the job though, and I tell you what, I am thrilled with the results!

My beau and I are trying to give our kitchen a retro modern look, something that is both practical and fun to be in (for us and any possible guests). We don't have a ton of counter space though, so I had been pondering a way to make more room for a bar area when we do have company and it hit me like a ton of bricks...the IRONING BOARD! I could spruce up that old ironing board with a fun and funky fabric that would make it functional as an ironing board and awesome as a bar. Once this thought occurred to me I set about trying to find the perfect fabric.

I wanted a fabric that had a pattern on it that wouldn't show too much browning from the ironing, but would also offer us a focal point for the room when it is out. The pattern had to be something super duper awesome, the type of awesome that can only be taken in small measures...not covering an entire room.Therefore I headed on over to the cyberspace store of Fabric Worm and scrolled through their many offerings until I found the ONE. This fabric was absolutely perfect! It had the retro feel I wanted and the BLAMO! personality I craved. I bought it almost immediately and waited impatiently for it to arrive.

While waiting for my beautiful new fabric I tried to figure out what the best material to pad the ironing board with would be. I did a little research and stumbled upon a manufacturers' page where they indicated that felt allowed for a more even ironing experience, whereas foam allowed for better support. I decided to go with the felt for a few reasons:
1. It is cheaper
2. It is easy to replace when it gets dirty
3. It doesn't disintegrate like foam
4. Being that it is a sort of fabric it is easier to wield and stick down

The Felt Ready for Action:

Close Up of Rockets in Action:

With my felt in hand and my fabric now sitting on the kitchen table the last order of pre-planning business was to decide how I wanted to secure the fabric and felt down. The previous tenants at our apartment had used a staple gun and nails and it was obvious how poorly that had worked out, both for the wood of the ironing board and the fabric clinging to the rusted staples. I didn't want to use anything that would make it difficult to take the fabric off the board to clean, but I also needed something that would secure both the felt and fabric down tight. I finally landed on Scotch Mounting Tape. I had used this tape to secure my bulletin boards and therefore knew it was reliable. Using the double sided tape would guarantee that the fabric would stay put, while still allowing for easy enough removal when the time came to either replace the felt, clean the fabric, or move out.

With all the details worked out my guy and I went about cleaning the ironing board area. He pulled out the majority of the staples and then I set about picking up all the tattered pieces of cloth and crumbling foam. After this step I went ahead and scrubbed the ironing board and cabinet down, probably about four times, and then swept up the remaining particles. I dried up the wood with a fan and then went about placing the felt and fabric on the freshly cleaned board.

All I really needed to do for the felt was to fold it over so that it was thick enough (I got a pretty large piece) and then place the tape strategically around the bottom of the ironing board and press the felt over it. Once that was done I just went about taping down the fabric. As I have mentioned before, on this blog, I am horrible at measurements and am just as equally bad (if not worse) at cutting fabric evenly. One day I plan on getting a nice cutting grid and a rotary cutter to help fix this problem, but as for now I am satisfied to just make sure the fabric fits around what it needs to (even if the fabric on the bottom is a little jagged). Therefore I didn't pre-cut the fabric, rather I set about eyeballing the cutting of the fabric as I went.

Laying the Fabric Down:

 End done and Moving Forward:

Once all that was done, and the fabric was secure I was left with a new and improved, amazingly beautiful ironing board / bar!!

My Beau Showing Off the End Product (so soft, yet flat):

Ironing Board Mode:

 The More Jazzy Bar Mode:

A Little Close Up of Bar Mode:

 *cap supplied by Jessica Hische at DailyDropCap      

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Uh-Oh, I Feel Passionate about Something: A Rant and a bit of a Rave on Libraries (heavy concentration to be given to Chicago Public)

 Upon first entering the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago I knew I was in love. This was a deep and forever type of love. It was not merely the services they offered, the rows and rows of book stacks, the rare book room that had Vonnegut books on exhibit, the amazing size, nor the tables full of computers - no the thing that really made my heart skip a beat was the beauty of the architecture, the beauty of being in such an awe inspiring place. I mean this library is gorgeous, I could go on forever about each little detail, but the reason this architecture made me so annoyingly emotional was because of the respect for libraries it conveyed. This city had spent the time and the money to create a library that stood for something - a library that showed respect for its citizens by offering them not just a stack of books and some free internet access, but rather a space for them to gather information that could be processed into knowledge and wisdom. To see a library like this, built in  the supposed "Information age," was something that truly overjoyed me. I mean sure, I had heard of a few of these wonders popping up every now and again, but the truth of the matter was I had never been in one and the possibility of them continuing to be built seems to get less and less each year. So I left this library feeling excited, thrilled, and depressed...I mean the fact that this was my first experience in such a grand library and I was already 22 made me realize even more how much I longed to wander such halls daily.

The Exterior of The Harold Washington Library Center:

One of my Favorite Exterior Details:

The Winter Garden:

On our next visit to Chicago we made a point to visit the Cultural Center. I had heard that the architecture was gorgeous and so we set off, on our last day in the city, to give our eyes a treat. I will admit that I had done little research into the building and so when we got there I was excited to learn that half of it used to be the library for Chicago. I made a mad dash for that part of the building and was soon standing under (what I was told was) the largest Tiffany dome. Around me was marble of the highest quality and quotes all about the importance of the book. In the beginning I was like a kid in a candy store. I took picture after picture and stood, just trying to soak up all the beauty that surrounded me. I couldn't get over how amazing this building was. A volunteer started listing off all the wonderful materials that had been used to create this utopia, and I listened as best as I could while still darting my eyes from one detail to the next.

The Exterior of the Old Library:

The Stairway:





By the time we left though I was almost in tears. I was in the middle of a class on Special Collections and Rare Book Librarianship and was less than thrilled with some of the discussions that had ensued, mainly the ones regarding how much funding kept getting cut from libraries and how little places there were left for specialist librarians. This old library was just another stab to the heart, how many more libraries like this could we expect? How long could we expect these old libraries (or any libraries for that matter)  to be revered? I got a little boost from remembering my first visit to the city and the amazing Library Center I had seen then, but I have to be honest and say that my outlook was still not all rainbows and sunshine.

Lately libraries have been even more in the public eye with so many proposed budget cuts that would see the dwindling budgets of libraries threatened even more. Being in the library/librarian profession most of the people I know are completely against these cuts, but based on the lack of response that I had seen in the public I wasn't too hopeful that enough people cared (or cared enough to fight about it).

The last couple of days have given me a little more strength though. First I was sent an article which, while a little romanticized at times (pot calling the kettle black perhaps), has such a positive message as to why libraries are needed that I couldn't help but feel a little more chipper. Perhaps we stood a chance. Then there was a report on Fox news that, while I can't agree with so many that it was completely horrid, did have some harsh things to say about libraries. The report struck even more of a chord with me though because it focused in on the Chicago Public Library shining beacon of hope!

What happened after this though was so exciting to me, I mean after all it did inspire this entire, completely long-winded blog post. Not only were many people, general public people -  patrons, leaving comment after comment on how awful it would be to cut the budget of the libraries, but also there came a response from the Chicago Public Library Commissioner that was so insightful and intelligent as to why libraries are necessary to the public. So, while it might be a long battle ahead (and an uphill one at that) I have to say that it is responses like this one that make me feel like I have that fight in me. I just hope that others have that fight in them too!

*cap supplied by Jessica Hische at DailyDropCap    

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What you want in a Heat Wave - YARN!

 T ravel followed by a heat wave has led me to put down my crafting ways and instead pick up a book and sit in front of the air conditioning like a lump. I plan to be back in action soon, but to amuse everyone in the New York area in the meantime, I thought I would let everyone know that two money savers are currently happening at Lion Brand Studio.

The first deal that everyone, currently being tortured by this heat, needs to know is that the Studio is having a Studio Heat Wave Savings -  here is the post from Raverly:

As the temperature rises, so do the savings! From June 1st to August 31st, if the predicted high* temperature that day is:
over 90 degrees, you get 10% off all yarn purchases that day;
over 95 degrees, you get 15% off all yarn purchases that day;
over 100 degrees, you get 20% off all yarn purchases that day.
BUT to get these special savings you have to ask the secret question: “What’s my Studio Heat Wave discount?” at the time of purchase. So come in, ask, and start saving!
Predicted high temperature on for the zip code 10011 at the time of the Studio’s opening. Not valid on online orders placed at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio. Cannot be applied to previous purchases. Cannot be combined with any other offers or coupons.

The next awesome happening is a Window Trivia Contest. The idea of possibly winning some cash is fun, but all I really care about is that free tote!

So, as unappealing as a bunch of yarn might sound in this heat, I would recommend heading on over to the air conditioned studio and passing some of your free time, perhaps you could look for some patterns or work on a project - but most important, be sure to take advantage of the summer savings!

*cap supplied by Jessica Hische at DailyDropCap   

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cover that Baby in Moss: How I made and wrapped a Mossy Baby Blanket!

 I have finally finished the baby blanket that I started a little over a month ago! Woo hoo!

After my brother's lady's sister had a baby I knew I had to whip out a blanket for that little tyke! Since I knew I had to get the blanket to the family by June 24th I wanted something that would be fast but still nice. Being so new to knitting, I also knew that it would be kind of slow going for me and so I whipped out the Vogue Stitchionary: Volume 1 and set about finding an awesome stitch. After a few days deliberation I landed on the Moss stitch. It had already been in my head to use green yarn so this stitch was even more perfect because it matched the feel of the color.

Once the stitch had been chosen I set about picking out the yarn. I wanted to use something soft, but completely acrylic. With this in mind I set off for the Lion Brand Studio, hoping not to spend too much money but get a quality product. It wasn't hard for me to find what I was looking for! I fell madly in love with the Nature's Choice Organic Cotton. It was not only a perfect texture for a baby blanket (so, so soft), but it also came in such amazing colors! I chose the Pistachio and when I looked it up later on the Lion Brand page I saw that it was even more spectacular for this blanket because the description of the color is "medium moss green." Thus I set about to make my Mossy Baby Blanket!

I cast on 80 stitches which made the blanket about 22 inches across and I worked until the length was about 31. To make this size took about 3 and 1/2 skeins of the yarn, which only cost around $32. I used size 9 needles that were 14 inches long and while it did start to get heavy towards the end I had no problems wielding the knitting.  I did run into a couple of snags, dropping stitches twice and then further wreaking havoc on the blanket in my botched attempts to fix my mistakes. As a newbie I am not quite equipped to handle these situations and that is where the lovely people at Lion Brand and a very knowledgeable co-worker came in to save the day! In the end I was only set back by a few days and finished in a pretty timely manner for someone so new at this. I didn't finish in time to block though, so the blanket is a bit windy, but I think that I will be forgiven.

Full Blanket:

Folded Over View:

Close Up Fold:

The Stitch Close Up:

Folded Up and Ready to Wrap:

Once the blanket was done it was time to wrap it! I was actually really excited about this because I wanted to make a label with care instructions and detailing what yarn had been used. I went ahead and got my supplies ready and went into action.

Wrapping Supplies:

I cut up some green card-stock to make the tag with. I wanted to decorate each side differently, but keep it simple enough to where they could keep the tag for future washing reference. Therefore I decided to use an orange pen (to match the yarn I used to tie the blanket with) to write out the information with (although I would recommend a fine point marker if you have it, just because it makes a deeper impression). For decoration I chose to use 3-d leaf stickers I had gotten at Hobby Lobby a while before for the front and on the back I glued some simple yellow flower confetti. I then punched a hole on the top of the tag to thread the yarn through.

Tag Side 1:

Tag Side 2:

Once this was done I simply tied the blanket up and attached the tag and I think it came out looking pretty cute (if I do say so myself)!

Finished and Wrapped:

I will be giving the blanket to its rightful owner very soon, with a small sample supply of Soak so that they can wash it before giving it to the baby (I wish I had had time to...but I guess at least this way I can introduce them to Soak). I hope that the baby finds it comfortable and the parents find it aesthetically pleasing, all I can say is that it was great fun to make and I like it (imperfections and all).

*cap supplied by Jessica Hische at DailyDropCap