Monday, April 26, 2010


I have a new favorite yarn shop: Serendipity Yarn Shoppe in Muscatine, IA.

Reason #1 is that I walked in and the owner, Francy, said, " I was on your website this morning!" Yes! I was so excited that someone I'd never met read the blog. Serendipity opened in February, in the place of the former LYS in Muscatine. Which brings me to reason #2: the store's atmosphere is wonderful, with a huge table and comfy chairs that just beg you to sit down and knit for hours. Colleen, my knitting partner in crime, and I did just that. Reason #3 would be all of the events, classes, and knitting groups the store hosts. Their (full) calendar of events can be found here. Reason #4 would be that they loved the sewing organizer that I made on the quilt retreat I attended at the St. Columbkille Convent in Dubuque. So much that they asked me to make a sample in knitting themed fabric and I might sell some organizers there in the future! See the photos below to follow the making of my first official sewing project.

Step 1. Draw out plans, to scale of course, as any self-respecting Michigan Tech engineer would do.

Step 2.  Cut out tiny pieces of fabric and beg mom to place three zipper heads on one zipper. These is an amazing feat, and I'm forever grateful to my mom for sticking to her guns and figuring this one out. Place fabric according to drawn out plans.

Steps 3-25. Try to sew all the little pieces together in a logical way so that it actually looks like the plan. This is harder than it sounds, which is why I'm allotting 23 steps to this task.

Steps 26-35. Ask mom and aunts numerous times how to accomplish things such as sewing in plastic windows and adding bindings, zippers, etc. This is necessary because of course you didn't decide to make something with an actual pattern for your first sewing project.

Steps 36-50. Attempt to use some ridiculous plastic tool thing to make a perfectly sized binding. These are not separate steps so much as opportunities to get one simple step done correctly.

Step 51. Hand stitch binding to front of organizer.

Steps 52 & 53. Fill with sewing/ knitting notions and enjoy!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I Caved...

On Friday, I did something I swore I would never do.  I was really determined not to do it.  I have been known to expound upon the abomination that is this act.

I bought Crocs.                                                                                                                                         

I actually spent my dad's own good money on Crocs.  Crocs: the reason Mario Batali's appearance so disturbs me (that and the fact that the hem of his apron goes past the hem of his shorts).  And I now own a pair (of Crocs, not Mario Batali's shorts).  Well, kind of...

So you see, I didn't buy clog Crocs.  And is it just me, or are these actually kind of cute?  And they were only $10 (at Big never know what you'll find at that place).  I almost put them back after the nice lady at the checkout asked, "Now, honey, do you have a place to wear these?" as if there is no appropriate place to wear Crocs flats. 

But I sucked up the embarrassment, ignored the flush I could feel coming to my cheeks, and paid for my new footwear.  Because there is a perfect place to wear the Malindi Flat Slingback.  And I will be lucky enough to work there this summer.  And get college credit for it (seriously, has there ever been a class as cool as "Fieldwork in Ethnobotany?").

Whew.  I feel like I've just been to confession.  I have to say, this was eating me up inside.  But man, do I feel better.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Flash-in-the-Pan Mob

Oh. My. God.

Seriously, who doesn't love a good flash mob? If you've never heard of one, it's when a bunch of people learn a dance, then go to a public place, disperse themselves amongst unsuspecting standers-by, pump up the music, and proceed to make the day of whoever's lucky enough to be standing around. Usually the dance grows progressively larger, with some of the people who previously acted surprised at the impromptu display turning out to actually be dancers themselves. I possess absolutely no dancing skills, but being part of a flash mob is on my bucket list nonetheless. Maybe you've heard of this one, where a group of dancers performed to a hip-hop remix of Do-Re-Mi from the Sound of Music. Or this one, involving thousands of people and featuring live music from the Black Eyed Peas, organized to kick off Oprah's 24th season.

But now, there is a flash mob involving, yes, choreographed dance, but also...choreographed cooking! As part of his new show, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, the naked chef organized the flash mob along with students at Marshall University, located in Huntington, West Virginia. Huntington, billed as the unhealthiest city in the U.S., is the setting for the entire show. The premise is that Jamie will try to revolutionize the eating habits of America, using similar techniques to those he used in his homeland of Britain, and starting with the school system. So far, Jamie's received a lot of hostility from Huntington residents, and especially from a local radio host who, excuse the expression, has been a pompous ass completely ignorant of both the dangers of our current food system and Jamie's intentions. The flash mob came about as Jamie's attempt to raise awareness of a bet with that selfsame radio host that he could teach 1000 people to cook in 5 days. Check it out!

The premise of this show is already right up my alley. But a flash mob makes anything better. Waaaay better.