4.22.2014

uzo is four!!!

Uzo's 4!!! Little dude is the best! Today we went for a walk, laid in the sun and he got a fancy treat from the pet store down the street when Db got home. Lucky for him it's super warm out so he get's to lay on the deck, tanning, and to people watch at the park. I always try to make sure that his birthday is the best day and he gets to do all his favorite things because he deserves it. He's such a champ! He's definitely more of a lounge in nature dog than a city dog, but he definitely seems to make the best of it here, pooping in piles of leaves whenever possible, barking at everything and endless sniffing on walks. He absolutely loves the small dog park we take him to on weekends too. It's cute to the point of constant giggles, I'm almost embarrassed about how much I like going myself.

He doesn't know it, but his life is about to get a whole lot more awesome. As of yesterday I am now working in my studio full time and he's not going to need to be crated for hours and hours while I'm at work anymore! He finally gets to be a full time studio dog. Four is going to be a good year! Little dude is my absolute favorite, I hope he likes his birthday right down to this silly annual birthday hat photo shoot!

4.08.2014

dirty doz '14: hipster not-sock socks

Untitled Cushy camp socks. Warm ankles and something interesting to look at sticking out the top of your boots. nice right? Only you can't actually wear thick, wonderful socks with leather boots you want to wear with regular thin socks, too. So, legwarmers! I was kinda bummed I couldn't rock the whole cool-socks-sticking-out-of-your-boots look with my favorite boots because I didn't want to stretch them out and relegate them only to thick sock usage. They're booties, I'm not one to stop wearing boots in the summer. This was the perfect solution! Now I can throw down some extra crazy when dressing myself while giggling in the morning. No one takes that shit seriously right? HAVE FUN. Wear fake thick socks with your boots made from the most epic pee and dust colored yarn you can find and then walk outside and laugh about it while enjoying your warm ankles.
 Knowing that this pattern turned out a little big for me on size 0 needles I made these with size 1s so they'd be sufficiently slouchy. I used twisted rib for both top and bottom and a sewn bind-off so the edge would be stretchy. Also buyer beware of this color for larger projects, the color pooling is super obvious and repetitive even on scrunched tiny legwarmers. I don't mind because really, it's not that important, but I'd have been pretty bummed if I had other plans for this yarn. Malabrigo is kinda bad about that I think.

Charade by Sandra Park
Malabrigo Yarn Sock - Turner

And here's how we got Uzo out of that last picture…
Making all the bitches swoon.

4.03.2014

new Food in Jars cookbook!

One day I walked into the produce section of the grocery store and saw "gherkin cucumbers" for sale. Who would have thought that would be the singular event that got me into canning? I was like "I love pickles, I'm going to make some!" and just bought a bunch with near zero plan. At the time I didn't even know refrigerator pickles existed, but thanks to a great recipe in the Food in Jars recipe index I made my very first batch of pickles. It was easy, fun and damnit those pickles were SO good. Marisa did and does a great job of showing you that canning isn't something to be intimidated by and the results can be amazing. I got her first book, Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year Round and I've posted about a few recipes, here is my first pickle experiment, chunky fig jam and dilly beans. I've used that book a lot and like the recipes so much that I actually write notes to myself in it. For me, that's insane. It is with zero question my favorite cookbook.
Untitled Well Marisa has come out with a new book and I was lucky enough to be able to meet her and buy a copy at her Reading Terminal Market book signing this past weekend! It was really cool to meet her and ask her about her favorite local produce markets. This new book seems like it would be the absolute perfect book for anyone who wants to test the waters of home preserving, it's called Preserving by the Pint. It was written for people who have CSAs they have trouble using up each week, people who have tiny garden plots or people who just like getting small amounts of fun things at farmers' markets. The recipes are for small quantities and basically serve to keep you from letting good produce go to waste by preserving them quickly and easily. As a side benefit the recipes aren't too labor intensive, so no blanching 20lbs of tomatoes here. Another thing I really like about this book is that it's organized by seasons, so at a quick glance you can see all your options for what you have on hand.Untitled
With recipes like Salt-Preserved Herbs, Single Quart Sauerkraut, Maple Sweetened Apple Butter and Pickled Hot Pepper Rings how can you lose? This year that head of cabbage as large as a basketball isn't going to waste! I absolutely cannot wait to pickle some hot pepper rings, my Grandpa is going to be so amped to get some homemade snacks. Super excited about this one guys, definitely worth checking out.

3.31.2014

dirty doz '14: cozy socks for my corpse-like feet

Untitled
Finally pics of these! I loved the yarn, loved the pattern and think the finished product turned out really cool. They're a little bit big but that's fine, they're just right for hanging around the house under a blanket… knitting something else. These were the first things I knit with the Charade pattern and I like it so much I've already used it again twice. No mods on these, nothing fancy or exciting, just good old fashioned hand knit socks.

Charade by Sandra Park
Malabrigo Yarn Sock - Archangel Untitled

3.28.2014

dirty doz '14: baby socks!

Untitled So, I have officially reached that point in my life that friends are having babies on purpose and are happy about it. After my experience in high school, which was notorious for having the most knocked up bitches in the state year after year, I was inadvertently convinced no one should ever be happy about being pregnant. "Don't hold the baby! You'll catch BABY FEVER!" The friend these are for missed out on all that fun being from another part of the country altogether, but she got to hear some stories. It also seemed fitting to take pics of her babe's socks with some of the fun things I have around the house that are from our random adventures, vintage puzzles and bachelorette party swag!

Now for the socks! These crazy things work up so, so quick. Three days of non-crazed knitting and they were done. I had some of this most lovely of gender neutral colors, Edison Bulb, leftover from my first ever lace project a few years ago and it seemed like the most perfect and hilarious color to use. The pattern itself was kind of weird though. The heel and toe directions were overly number-y and made for a loose row along either side of the turn so I just frogged it back and used the short row heel and toe I usually use. All in all not a bad entry into the world of baby garments… which surely I'm now bound to be in until the bitter end. As long as I have friends that are cool enough to be excited for bizarre neon knit goods it's fine by me!

Garter Stripe Baby Socks by Jennifer Hoel
Madelinetosh Tosh Sock - Edison Bulb

3.20.2014

running, the final frontier

Untitled Not sure what possessed this to happen, but I recently started running again. I just felt like it. Why not? Nabbed some pretty cool minimalist running shoes by Skora on sale, got a spibelt to carry my phone and a new ipod shuffle for tunes.

Originally I thought that Skora shoes were made in the US, but they're just a US company that manufactures in China :/ The shoes are really nice though, way better than what I used in middle and high school. I have high hopes for them, running shoes are one of the few things you hope you use often enough to get them looking ratty quick. These are the Phase model and this color is currently on sale for $66!

The spibelt, which is a mini fannypack, is to carry my phone discretely. I really wanted to be able to track my runs and had the Strava app on my phone for cycling already, which you can also use for running. Plus I wanted to be able to have my phone with me just in case I need it (let's be real, instagrammm) but not so obviously that the one bad guy I run past decides to punch me in the face to steal it. I've already had two phones stolen, I'd like to keep this one please. I just put my phone in it, spin it so the pouch sits at my lower back and pull my tank top over it. Tada, a small flock birds killed with one tiny fanny pack. It's made in the USA which is awesome, and useful enough that I can almost forgive the stupid name.

So far so good, it's exciting to think about how pretty running around the city will be in a few weeks when things start to bloom. If any of you are runners I'd love to hear your tips and tricks!
Untitled

3.18.2014

a humble dish towel

Untitled A few weeks ago I got a text from my mom asking if I'd checked my mail yet that day (always a good sign!) I jumped off the couch and ran down the alley to find a surprise package waiting. It wasn't a birthday or holiday, and when I opened the box I found a note that said "Just because". There was candy for Db and I, a pig ear for Uzo, AND THIS.

I've said it before, but I come from a family of talented and crafty people. The most recent development in craft is my mom taking up weaving, and as soon as I saw this nicely folded fabric in the box I knew she'd made it. When Db and I opened it up we seriously stood in my studio inspecting it, turning it over, and generally being amazed in total silence for a good minute or two. Weaving is so impressive to me, it's like magic. The concentration and skill required is just insane. So when she told me it was a dishtowel and that she wanted us to actually use it to towel dishes I laughed and was like "Are you serious?!" with a sort of amused horror. Nope. It's been folded neatly in clear view from my spot on the couch since getting it. My mom constructed woven cloth just for me and hand stitched that little love note on it, so so cool. I plan on keeping this forever.Untitled

3.14.2014

for the birds

Untitled I love Philadelphia. It's awesome on most levels, but sure as shit not on the bird level. I really love birds, hearing them is one of my favorite sounds and seeing one from our window here is notable and uncommon enough that I excitedly tell Db about it when he gets home every time. Today I saw a regular old sparrow and realized I may have never seen one in our courtyard before. Usually it's Dark-Eyed Juncos exclusively (which is cool because I never saw those in RI), and maybe something larger in the distance from time to time. We can see two and 1/8 trees, two of which are really small. It's not bird heaven, it's pretty sad.

I remember vaguely when growing up we used to leave scraps of string outside for the birds to use in the spring. I think it was from when my dad and uncle would tie up the grapevine. Not really sure, but for some reason I remembered it happening, probably because it was the only littering that was ok. Since my city birds have got to have a rough time finding warm soft material for their nests I decided to save up my knitting scraps over the winter and put them by the community garden in our park this spring because it seems to be the only place birds like hanging out around here.
Untitled So today was the day I spread the love. The Robins are here, Uzo and I saw iris and daffodil sprouts and there was mud. It was fun looking through all the colors and kinds of yarn and textiles I worked with all winter and I hope the birds keep their little bird babies warm in the ever so luxurious merino wool bits I hung everywhere. My absurd knitting habit may help creatures other than humans and cute dogs keep warm! Spring is wonderful and nature is wonderful. If you look hard enough you can find it anywhere.
Untitled Happy spring! I know it's not really here yet, but the Robins don't lie, it's right around the corner.

3.11.2014

dirty doz '14: more sock-ish knitting

Untitled
I swear I still knit things other than versions of the Charade sock pattern. Really. I'm currently working on two other projects that are secrets so no posting about them until they're done and in their owners' hands. I find that when I'm knitting gifts that I lose a lot of steam if I don't also have something completely frivolous to work on that I just feel like knitting for no good reason, so here these are. I recently got some running shoes, but absolutely abhor (yeah vocab!) cold ankles. Really, I wear only boots from like Sept-May because of how much I dislike cold ankles. Well running shoes don't bode well for that, so legwarmers it is. I had two skeins of this Malabrigo Yarn Sock in Turner that was originally intended to be a reverse stockinette cardigan, but after looking at a bunch of larger garments made with M.Yarn Sock, the color pooling looked too obvious and that's not an aesthetic I'm into. So these two skeins just turned into particularly gorgeous stash yarn, just sitting and waiting for something useful to come of them. One will be these and the other one will probably be man socks someday. This whole "use what you have" thing does seem to get easier with practice, there's hope for my yarn stash not overtaking my life yet!

3.06.2014

bike adventure in the pinelands

Untitled
Two weeks ago we had a freakish and thorough break in the weather. The snow melted, the sun shined, the coats and gloves came off. We opened the windows to get some fresh air in the house and then packed up our bikes and drove to the pinelands! The pinelands are this really weird ecosystem that apparently only exists in southern New Jersey so they're protected and NJ made a fairly large state forest of it. There is a lot of mountain bike single track to ride, but since I don't have a mountain bike (yet) we brought our cross bikes and rode around on the fire roads. It's great because all the sand drains really quickly and the massive amounts of snow didn't make anything muddy.
Untitled
It was great getting out there and seeing trees even if most of them were dead, and also riding without tons of gear on. We heard a tree fall in the woods (yes it made a sound) and heard the most berserk screaming hawk/eagle ever… we decided it must be it's mating call but honestly the thing just sounded insane. And as we rode through the sandy, abandoned and creepy trails Db told me stories he'd heard about people apparently using the pinelands as a place to bury bodies. Good to know, don't go to the pinelands at night ever. Untitled

3.05.2014

snow snow snow still!

Untitled
It's been an exceptionally snowy winter here in Philly, and considering I now live hundreds of miles south of where I gained my gauge on what a "snowy winter" entails, that's pretty impressive. While everyone around me is hating the shit out of this, I'm silently loving it and feeling sort of guilty that I'm taking pleasure from something that is driving everyone else insane. The first snow of the season was a solid three months ago and the whole snow thing is still really fun to me. Like riding around with studded tires in this? Very entertaining.

I guess I'm just a northern person, who knew. I used to actively hate winter.

On the other hand, when I'm not being amused at how shockingly well the Fang camouflages with the snowy streets, I am wearing my jean jackets around the house having little day dreams about walking outside without swaddling myself in 30 different wool garments. Jean jacket weather! I feel like rolling in dirt and drinking a beer in the park. Doesn't that sound like a good time?

2.20.2014

dirty doz '14: yoga socks!

Untitled
These things rule. They're socks, they're leg warmers, they let you use your toes! I tweaked the fit of the pattern so they'd stay snug and I wouldn't have to worry about them moving around when I'm trying to concentrate on not hitting my face on the floor (that's not just me right?). Now I'll have warm feet and ankles while I try to do handstands! I used sewn bind off so they're nice and stretchy and the ribbing ends right before the ball of my foot so the edge is hidden in the arch of my foot and I can never feel it. I also used the heel flap I like instead of the standard slip stitch heel in the pattern.

I have a feeling there will be more variations of these in my future. Now I just need to remember to take them with me when I go to class!

Charade by Sandra Park
Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in Pumpkin
Untitled

2.13.2014

secondhand, better than new

Untitled
My life has been way more interesting ever since deciding to buy only secondhand, small business and USA made products. Obviously it makes things difficult and sometimes isn't actually possible (flattering jeans I'm looking at you), but other times something epic like this happens. On my birthday I've made it a tradition to hit up my favorite local consignment shop Once Worn, and my fave used book store The Book Trader (epic). Imagine, a neutral dress with pockets, an insane dress from the 70s, a silly sweater that fits perfectly and these beauties of the literature type. As if it isn't cool enough that this many treasures presented themselves in the first place, they also cumulatively cost a whopping $44.

The mall has absolutely nothing on this. I'm not a super materialistic person, but when material things are what you need I've got to say the thrill of the hunt and knowing you're supporting something you see as good really can't be beat.

2.11.2014

dirty doz '14: socks are knitting crack

Untitled
Before I was even done knitting my Charade socks I knew I wanted to make another pair because the pattern was so nice to knit. I had this ball of Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock just chillin' and already balled from slightly over a year ago when I was knitting my Grace cardigan, so it seemed perfect for a little "use what you have" knitting. I've been doing more yoga and since I always have very cold feet I decided to make some yoga socks to keep my feet and ankles warm in the winter. So far so good, these work up so fast! I've also been trying to not buy any yarn because I have a self inflicted finite amount of space for my stash. Warm feet, more yoga, yarn stash reduction, more $ for bike parts, this is a win all around so far. Hopefully they turn out!

2.06.2014

evidence

Untitled
This past weekend Db and I went up to NH with my fam to go skiing for a particularly notable parental birthday. It was fun, and my parents are badasses. We got rad and we all blew down some double black diamonds (ha!). I took pics but let's be real, we've all seen a million pics of people skiing and most are taken by actual professionals. Something we haven't all seen? MOUSE PRINTS IN THE SNOW. This is two little mice hopping along next to each other! Ridiculous.

The day we were in NH that wasn't spent skiing we went to my family's summer house to check it out and mess around. As soon as we got out of the car we saw fresh turkey tracks leading into the woods, which we tracked totally seriously right down to our shrill gobbling impressions. We saw so many animal tracks, they were everywhere. It's nuts to think that that many animals are always around, you just can't tell. It had snowed the night before so they were all super fresh, too. We saw raccoon, turkey, deer, bear, squirrel, rabbit, probably skunk and my favorite, mouse prints. Time to get one of those animal tracks nature guides.
Untitled