Monday, February 07, 2011

Chai Chocolate Buddhas!

I just found out that there's a chocolate shop near my home town that sells Chai Chocolate Buddhas - how awesome is that!?!? Check out the Chocolate Gecko in Albany, NY.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Speaking of Quotes

Helen: What does your therapist say about all of this?
Jessica: Oh, I could never tell my therapist.
Helen: Why not?
Jessica: Because it's private.

- from Kissing Jessica Stein

I've seen this movie many times and I am just realizing how Jessica's neuroses (and speaking-style) reminds me of Woody Allen (in any of his movies)...

Favorite Quotes 1999-2008

January 9, 2008
"People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and ends, but to me it's quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations, with each passing moment. A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors. Waxy yellows, cloud-spat blues. Murky darknesses. In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them."
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

February 18, 2007
"I'm still gonna cry though... my tears don't compromise my strength - they never have."
Kleenex Commercial

November 1, 2006
"Inspiration is unsettling to a degree. If not pinned down immediately by being worked on... it melts away like morning dew and is lost forever."
Knitter's Almanac, Elizabeth Zimmerman

August 19, 2006
"Ah, Mrs. Dalloway... always giving parties to cover the silence..."
The Hours, director Stephen Daldry

May 17, 2006
"We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep- it's as simple and ordinary as that."
Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand

March 2, 2005
"They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God."
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

January 5, 2005
"Oh... guys? Don't stay in here all day. I had to take the batteries out of the carbon monoxide detector; it was beeping all night."
Garden State, director Zach Braff

December 8, 2004
"And so it is just like you said it would be. Life goes easy on me most of the time."
The Blower's Daughter, Damien Rice

November 1, 2004
"I think the easiest way to lose something is to want it too badly."
J.D. on Scrubs

August 1, 2004
"let go... 'cause there's beauty in the breakdown..."
Let Go, Frou Frou

June 8, 2004
"Man is the universe becoming conscious of itself."
Footprints of God, Greg Iles

March 21, 2004
"Constant speech is not communication."
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, director Michel Gondry

February 2, 2004
"It's almost easier being down and alone than when you're up and no one's there to share the view with you."
The House of Sand and Fog, Andre Dubus III

December 20, 2003
"Celebrate we will Because life is short but sweet for certain..."
Dave Matthews Band, Two Step

June 11, 2003
"I guess it made more sense to commit to nothing, keep my options open. And that's suicide. By tiny, tiny increments."
High Fidelity, movie based on book by Nick Hornby

January 13, 2003
"...saw this book and thought of you... saw just about everything and thought of you..."
Good Morning, Miami, NBC Television Series

September 27 , 2002
"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns."
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

June 7, 2002
"Now is not the time for verbal swordplay, for unlikely flights of imagination and wildly shifting perspectives, for metaphysical conceit, for wit. And nothing would be worse than a detailed scholarly analysis. Eruditions. Interpretation. Complication. Now is a time for simplicity. Now is a time for, dare I say it, kindness."
Wit, Margaret Edson

March 23, 2002
" ...our lives can change with every breath we take..."
Where the Heart Is, Billie Letts

March 11, 2002
"Suffering and despair force you to plumb the depths of the human heart in a way normal life can't. It makes us wise beyond our years. Most people just go along."
Cherry, Mary Karr

February 14, 2002
"When two people love each other, totally, truthfully, all the way love each other, the answer to that question is simple... When do you get to that point when enough is enough? Never... Never."
The Mexican, a movie

January 16, 2002
"Accept what people offer. Drink their milkshakes. Take their love."
She's Come Undone, Wally Lamb

December 22, 2001
"hey boy come sleep
i will turn the ocean into sky
how do you keep
when the love is making you high?"
High, Sarah Slean

November 5, 2001
"On cold days a man can see his breath, on a hot day he can't. On both occasions, the man breathes."
White Teeth, Zadie Smith

September 9, 2001
"The big show is inside my head."
Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut

August 23, 2001
"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Charles Mackay

April 15, 2001
"...it did not really matter how late I was at work the next morning because when I thought about it all, I discovered that nothing really matters except not being old and being alive and having potential to dream about, and not being alone."
Gold Coast, James Alan McPherson

March 4, 2001
"'All our work undone- all our work. What are these martians?' 'What are we?' I answered, clearing my throat."
War of the Worlds, H.G Wells

September 11, 2000
"Theory without practice is empty; practice without theory is blind."
-John Dewey ---quoted in Billmeyer and Saltzman's Principles of Color Technology, Roy Berns

August 29, 2000
"...and when I've lived a life where every hour had to have a purpose, and suddenly I discover what it's like to feel things that have no purpose but myself, and I see suddenly how sacred a purpose that can be, so that I can't even argue, I can't doubt, I can't fight it, and I know, then, that a life is possible whose only justification is my own joy- then everything, everything else suddenly seems very different to me."
We the Living, Ayn Rand

June 27, 2000
"I started laughing. And in that moment, I swear we were infinite."
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

May 15, 2000
"The only sexual beauty that an ordinary human being can see today is in the woman who will kill him. Sex is death."
Welcome to the Monkee House, Kurt Vonnegut

May 5, 2000
"It was Sunday- not just a day but rather a gap between two other days."
Crazy Sunday, F. Scott Fitzgerald

March 21, 2000
"One runs the risk of weeping a little, if one lets himself be tamed...."
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint Exupery

March 1, 2000
"Do change your mind about those treatments, ma'am. I just adore your little battery charger."
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Dale Wasserman

February 15, 2000
"Misfortune is like a child in it's mother's womb: nothing can stop it being born. It grows visibly stronger and stronger; its network of veins and arteries develops. Then one day it appears, in a deluge of uncleanliness, water and blood."
Segu, Maryse Conde

January 27, 2000
"Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking together in the same direction."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

December 20, 1999
"Sometimes only the spirit of a tradition survives; sometimes only its form."
The Dark Child, Camara Laye

November 9, 1999
"The women all had big minds because they were big animals, but they did not use them much for this reason: unusual ideas could make enemies, and the women, if they were going to achieve any sort of comfort and safety, needed all the friends they could get. So, in the interests of survival, they trained themselves to be agreeing machines instead of thinking machines. All their minds had to do was to discover what other people were thinking, and then they thought that, too."
Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut

October 25, 1999
"Death through a blunder she might be able to understand; but death as a product of cool reason, a step in logic, she could never accept. Rather than accept it, she would have had them all die."
Welcome to the Monkee House, Kurt Vonnegut

October 15, 1999
"Grownups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them."
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

September 29, 1999
"'Kitchy, kitchy, kitchy koo', John said tapping his finger on the side of an aquarium that had two piranha flesh-eating fish in it."
The Pigman, Paul Zindel

September 21, 1999
"Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs.... already it was impossible to tell which was which."
Animal Farm, George Orwell

September 11, 1999
"The secrets of the earth are not for all men to see, but only for those who will seek them."
Anthem, Ayn Rand

My Web Site

I have had a web site since 1996 when we were asked to hand-code a web page in my freshman year of college. I have had my own domain name for years (I can't even remember for how long - probably since some point during college). Now, I am thinking of deleting the majority of the content of my site and having the main page re-route to my blog (where I pretty much post everything anyway). In preparation for this, I am going to probably re-organize my blog, and also probably add some "pages" that blogger has added functionality for (for my resume, for example). I will also post a couple things from my current web site that don't necessarily warrant their own pages. I might even find a new place to host my pictures and move everything there (and then of course I will fix all the links). Since I lost a lot of my images from my drive a while back, this might be a tedious process. Hmmm... another idea I have is I might post a history of the design of my site. I should note this will not be a very long history given that the design on my site hasn't changed since 2004. Anyway, in my next post, I will start by posting the quotes that I have been collecting on my site for years...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Moist Cake

I don't bake much but if I did, this sounds like a great way to guarantee a moist cake!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day



To my friends in the north, I am sure this doesn't look like much snow, but with few plows and almost no salt, Atlanta was pretty much shut down today...

Saturday, January 08, 2011

English Paper Piecing

I haven't even started making any mug rugs, and I've already found something new to obsess over on flickr... hexagons!

I love this old technique of paper piecing that seems to be coming into fashion again. While looking at pictures, I came across this cute bag that uses paper pieced hexagons.

And this quilt uses this technique for a really creative design using hexagons... love it!

Also, here's a free hexagon PDF generator.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Southern Festivals

I know that my friends up north will appreciate this post. Basically, I just wanted to point out how different festivals in the north and south are. Both have tons of fried foods, but in the north we are mostly restricted to fried dough, french fries, pizza, sausage & pepper sandwiches and the like... The south branches out from there a bit. I've noticed this at all the festivals I've been to down here, but these pictures happen to be from the Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay up in the north GA mountains.












Friends on Thanksgiving

I hosted Thanksgiving at my house in Atlanta this year. I usually stay near home for this holiday but the last couple years, my friend Jennifer hosted. JP stayed in town this year, and Laurie also joined us from Charleston, so we sat around knitted, played games, and ate all day... as usual...

Phoenix

I took a very short trip to Phoenix a few weekends ago. I first went to the Desert Botanical Garden, which was gorgeous. I would have gone to Lumineria that night but it was sold out. Based on what I saw during the day, an evening exhibit with candles everywhere would have been beautiful.





















Next I went to Tempe Yarn & Fiber. It was in the area of ASU - I actually drove by Sun Devil's Stadium to get there. This is a great little shop, filled with younger knitters (probably since the college was right there) and lots of different unique yarns and other items. This shop actually had offered a Groupon a few weeks prior to me being there, which I thought was very cool.

After that I went to Frances Vintage which I had found online and looked like a cute shop. It far exceeded my expectations. Unfortunately, I got there only about a half hour before closing and I could have spent about another hour there. They had tons of vintage ornaments (which I meant to pick up before I left and I completely forgot because I was rushing), both glass and some cool handmade ones. There was also other vintage items, but also new ones. Many of them were sort of on the crafty/indie side, so it was right up my alley. I hope to get back there some day when I have more time.

On the recommendation of the girls at Frances Vintage, I went to Chelsea's Kitchen for dinner. The food there was really good and contrary to the casual nature of the word 'kitchen', it was a pretty upscale place. The atmosphere was great, both inside and outside. It was so warm (in mid-December) that they had the back open to the patio which was filled with white lights.

Finally, since I had just a couple hours before my flight, I went over to the Civic Space Park to see the huge string artwork there.







Right before I went to the airport, I went over to the Zoo because they had a Zoo Lights thing going on there, and being right near the airport, I thought I could just go in long enough to go in the gift shop and leave. When I got there, about 45 minutes before they closed, the place was packed with people still trying to get in! There were all ages and it seemed like a pretty big deal, so I wished I had gone early enough to look at the animals (and will definitely go if I ever get to Phoenix in December again). Anyway, I did get in to the gift shop long enough to find some great Christmas gifts for some of the kids in my life.

That was about it! I had a quick 8 hours or so to myself in Phoenix and had a great time. I hope to go again some day. Winter definitely seems like a great time to be there because even at night, it was like 70 degrees or something.

Favorite 2010 Knits (plus!)

I didn't knit much in the earlier part of the year because of all the things that were going on in my life, but I caught up a bit towards the end of the year and ended up knitting a few nice things. Everything in this post are things I made for Christmas gifts.

The first is the Syncopated Cap from the summer 2007 issue of Interweave. I made a couple of these hats. The first as too small for its intended recipient and went instead to his younger sister. This one was meant to be a replacement but ended up being too large, even for me. I also ran out of yarn on this one, hence the different background colors at the top of the hat, but I think it's pretty cute anyway. It's made of KnitPicks Essential (now discontinued) in the background and Shibui sock in the foreground. It's more puckered than I'd like but better than the first. I am making a third one now in Pam Allen's new yarn line Quince & Co. which will hopefully fit Anthony well. While I didn't have the best of luck with these hats, I really like the pattern (except the corrugated ribbing of course!).



I also made these Gingerbread Hats which I really like because it is a cute pattern but also because I love the yarn I used. I bought one skein of it for a completely different purpose and got these two hats out of it. It is Aslan Trends Royal Alpaca and it is really soft! These hats went to Landon and Tommy.



This hat called Paulette came out so adorable and is made out of some random alpaca yarn that I had. I really hope to get a picture of Mia wearing it. I bought the pattern on a whim because it looked cute and I can't believe how well it came out. I think it's the cutest thing I knit this year.



This cowl is pretty basic looking, especially because of the color, but you wouldn't believe how soft and squishy it is. It's one of Joelle Hoverson's Soft as a Cloud cowls made of Plymouth Earth Ecco Cashmere. I am thinking of starting one for myself out of the yarn that mom gave me a couple birthday's ago with a beret to match.



And finally, a non-knit project... I made some napkins using The Purl Bee's tutorial and their drawstring bag tutorial for my great friends, Amber and Jen.


Gocco

I had every intention of posting an entire Gocco tutorial based on what I learned, but I have a feeling if I tried now, I'll find I have forgotten most things from when I actually used it back in early November (and when I had intended to write this post). However, I do have a few pictures and links to share.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Gocco, it is a discontinued screen printing machine from Japan. They are hard to get in the US unless you buy one from Ebay. The supplies for it (which aren't cheap), usually also come from Japan and can be found on Ebay or Etsy. Gocco printing can be pretty cool looking, even at its simplest but there's definitely been some true artists using Gocco too.

Here's a couple of tutorials on Gocco, which reminded me of how to use it once I got mine (I had only seen it done once before on a different Gocco model to make a friend's wedding invites):
Here's some great artwork done on Gocco printers:
And some more practical uses for Gocco:
Here's a web site dedicated to saving Gocco printers - "picks, tips, tricks and how to keep gocco around for a while":
And here's an etsy shop that has a lot of printed items, including some Gocco ones:
My entire reason for wanting a Gocco was because I had been looking for some cute recipe cards to match (or at least coordinate with) my vintage recipe card holder. The problem is that 3x5 size recipe cards are harder to come by, and when I have found them, they are only one-sided. So, after a few months of looking, I decided to make my own.

Here are the basics of how I made them...

First, I put the disposable lightbulbs in the top of the printer. These are toxic bulbs and are single-use, similar to the flash bulbs that used to be in old camera flashes.



Then, I placed the top part on the printer and put the filter and blank template inside and the carbon copy (it has to be carbon) on the printer bed. I made the design in Photoshop and then printed it on a laser printer.



Pushing down on the printer top to flash the bulbs makes the template. I found that if I don't use the laser (or photo copy) print within a few days (I didn't test the exact amount of time), the quality of the template won't be as good.


I then placed ink on the template and printed my cards. I bought the blank 3x5 cards in a color that coordinated with the recipe card holder at Sam Flax, which is a high-end art store. It's a good place to get paper products for all applications, and they have a lot of wedding-type paper supplies.



I printed about 100 cards, front and back. They have all the essentials on them: name of recipe, pre-heat time, ingredients, directions, number of servings, and even a place for your calories or weight watchers points.



Here's a close-up:



And here's the final result with the matching recipe card holder. I believe this was made by Avon back in the 70's. These are the same cards as above, but the photos above were taken at night with tungsten lights on (although I had the camera try to correct for this) and the photo below was taken in daylight. Of course, the color is lighting dependent, but in my opinion, the actual color is somewhere between these two colors.


Hexagon Needle Book

I love this idea!

Mug Rugs

I am loving this new idea I've been seeing around the internet lately - mug rugs! The idea is that they are a coaster, not only for your mug of coffee, but also with room for a treat on the side.

Here are some of my favorites:

And there's a whole bunch of great ones here...

I have a feeling I'll be making bunches of these this year.

Charging Bull Cozy

Someone crocheted the Charging Bull statue in the financial district of NYC a cozy for the holidays!

Check out the story here...

Great Books I Read in 2010

The best books I read this year in approximate order starting with my favorite:

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
Push by Sapphire

I am almost finished reading another Kazuo Ishiguro book, When We Were Orphans. While this one is not in the league of Never Let Me Go, or even The Remains of the Day, Ishiguro is becoming on of my favorite authors. Never Let Me Go is unforgettable.

See all the books I've read, with my ratings, here.


Also, I just remembered a post from a while ago where I listed my fave books of all time - here...

2011 Resolutions

2010 has been one of the most stressful, sad, and in some small ways, even happy, years of my life. I lost three really important people to me this year. All three were close family members, including my father who passed away unexpectedly. I also attended three weddings this year, traveled quite a bit, and completed none of the resolutions I made last January.

I began the year saying that my goals for 2009 had been too lofty. Well, apparently, and probably due to the amount of stress and travel this year, my 2010 goals were also a bit out of reach.

This year, I really want to continue some of the things I finished last year including:
  • lose weight
  • take yoga
  • sew more
  • cook more
A couple of specific goals I hope to achieve:
So, I think my resolutions are more general and mostly attainable. I am not expecting to completely finish any of the more specific goals, except I'll try my best to at least finish the ornament kit. We'll see how this year goes. Maybe next year my goals can be a bit loftier.

Meanwhile, since I haven't posted much lately, including a post that I started back in the beginning of November, I hope to post a few updates. I still have the next couple days off from work, so hopefully I can achieve at least this much.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Renee's Visit

Renee finally got to visit me here in GA. She was here just for a weekend, but we tried to make the most of our time. First, we went to the botanical garden...



Then we went to the aquarium...







Then, we met Jennifer & JP at Craft for dinner...



On our last day, we all hung out in Little Five Points for a few hours before I had to take Renee to the airport (and head to Austin myself!).

Austin

Recently I had to take a quick business trip to Austin where I got to catch up with some NJ friends, including one that I went to grad school with. I also had the pleasure of being shown around by Jennifer's cousins who I've hung out with before.

I'd never been to Austin before and I really liked it. It has a nice skyline, lots of antique/vintage stores, and some cool areas to hang out in.


Austin from South Congress St.

The owl building really houses a bank, I believe. When looked at from the diagonal, it really looks like an owl! This is definitely the most distinctive building in Austin.


Owl Building

One of the things that Becky taught me about Austin is that people wait for the bats to come out every night from under the Congress Street Bridge.


Mike & Becky

Stacey & Matt's Wedding

Some favorite moments from Stacey & Matt's October 2nd wedding...


Alysia


Jen


bachelorette party


old friends


exchanging rings