Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Best Christmas Photo Ever!

Ahhh, the Christmas of '87, also affectionately known in the family as the "Karate Pajama Christmas". This was the Christmas right before I left for the Peace Corps, so the whole family was home--14 of us, with sleeping bags all over the place. Note the awesome shag carpeting and gold velour couch. And yes, if you were to venture into the kitchen, you would find avocado green appliances....

My Mom in all her Grandmotherly wisdom decided to get all 5 nephews karate pajamas that year. This photo was taken at probably the only moment that they actually stood still--I'm still amazed that it isn't blurry...With five guys under the age of 6, there was a whole lot of kicking, chopping and "hiyAA-ing". Good times....

Wishing you all memorable holidays with family and friends!


Friday, December 11, 2009

Last show of the Season!!

This Sunday will be the last show of a busy season for me! Come on out to the Architectural Artifacts Holiday show on Sunday, 11 - 5:00. For those of you who haven't been there, it is an amazing environment and everything in their showroom will be on sale, as well!

Mention this blog and get $5 off your Felt Inspired purchase!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Strange Brew

I'm all for recycling, I really am. I reuse boxes all the time, especially for sending out packages. So do some of my wool suppliers. One supplier in particular has a penchant for liquor boxes.
I have ordered from this wool supplier fairly frequently in the past weeks and have received whiskey boxes, rum boxes and now this one. I hesitate to imagine what my neighbors are thinking....

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fine Art of Fiber Right Now!

Well...I meant to write this post several days ago in anticipation of my biggest show of the year. Instead, I was coughing up a lung due to my seemingly annual bout of bronchitis which struck early and at a verrry bad time this year. So much for trying to replenish inventory from the previous shows. I did to a certain extent, but not nearly as much as I wanted to.

So I'm making up for it now, midway though the show. The show started just last night and I'm already out of all just a few of my shawls and Flamenco scarves. I'm certainly not complaining--it's a good problem to have! Thanks God for coffee and Diet Pepsi....

The weather for this weekend is supposed to be gorgeous, just like the past two days. Even though mostof the leaves are on the ground, the Chicago Botanic Garden is still beautiful at this time of year.

Stop on by!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

They like me, they really like me!

Forgive me for chanelling Sally Field for a moment, but I'm have my own Academy moment. In the past two weeks, I've won two awards for my work: the Juror's Choice award for Best Body of Work at the Uncommon Threads runway show (my first runway show ever!) and First Place at Fall into the Arts in Bloomington!

As a primarily self-taught person, this is so gratifying and makes me feel like I'm gaining "street cred" in the art/fashion world. The funny this is, I have so many other designs in my head that I didn't have have time to make--designs that I thought would be cooler than what I did make. Hopefully, this means that I won't be a one-trick pony.

Back at the studio, I'm plodding along to keep up: filling orders and replenishing my inventory for the Fine Art of Fiber, which takes place next weekend.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sneak Preview

Here are two of my designs that will be on the runway at Uncommon Threads this weekend. The photos are compliments of Mary, who takes amazing shots of her kids and scenes in Chicago. And a very good friend who always makes me laugh.
The top piece was really a challenge and took forever to make. The bottom piece was much more fun to do--it has merino wool that I hand-dyed and silk organza that I got during my trip to the NY garment district.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Store!

My felted geode pincushions are now carried at gift shop of Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature preserve in Niles, MI. I can't quite remember how they found me--I think the executive director might have been to the Hyde Park show and suggested them to the gift shop manager. Or something like that.

Make sure to check out their website--they have gorgeous gardens and lots of educational programs. I definitely need to make a road trip over there. And I noticed that they have an annual road trip to the Fine Art of Fiber at the Chicago Botanic Garden! I love being a part of museums and non-profits like this -- I much prefer it over regular stores. Makes me feel good that a purchase of one of my pieces does a bit of good for an organization.

And speaking of doing good, Uncommon Threads, the annual fundraiser for the Fine Line Creative Arts Center is this weekend. Tickets are still available for the luncheon and fashion show--the boutique will run from 10:30 am until 1:00, then will open again after the luncheon, around 2:30. This will be the first year that my pieces will be in the runway show--I have to say, I'm pretty excited about it!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fall into the Arts in Bloomington

Tomorrow I head off to Bloomington for a new show--Fall into the Arts. It will be on Illinois Wesleyan's campus during their Homecoming festivities. I'm both excited and a bit leery about this show.

Excited because it's a new venue for me and my sister is coming to help me during the show. I am so used to doing it all myself that it will be a treat having someone there with me. And one of my nephews went to Illinois Welseyan, so I know the campus.

Leery because it's a new show--how will be the crowds be? Have the organizers done enough advertising and marketing? The hours of the show are odd: 9 am to 4 pm both days. I forsee several dead morning hours. And 4:00 seems to early to close.

I've been working furiously to replenish my inventory after Art in the Barn. After this show, I have a mere 6 days until Uncommon Threads. I guess I'll sleep after that!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fingers Crossed....

In less than 24 hours, we'll find out about Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics. While our city is not perfect, I would love for Chicago to be the host of the Olympics. I grew up loving the Olympics--Mark Spitz made a BIG impression on me during the '72 games and made me want to swim. Years later, I tumbled around the yard a 'la Nadia. I would love to get involved if we get the bid.
As a former collegiate rower, I love the fact that the rowing facility will be front and center in the city--such a great boost to a little-known sport.
While I do think that it is time that a South American city gets a chance, I really think that Buenos Aires would be a better choice than Rio.
I'm on pins and needles here...good thing I have lots of felting to keep me busy...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Art in the Barn this Weekend!

This weekend is the Art in the Barn show up in Barrington. As the photo will attest, my booth is indeed in a barn (former, and without animals).

The show runs both Saturday and Sunday and is on the campus of Good Shephard Hospital off of Route 22. I'm working furiously to finish everything up--I think my hands are permanently wrinkled from all the felting.

(UPDATE: Just got back from setting up my booth tonight and I have the same space as last year: A-5 in the lower barn.)

I actually have two deadlines this weekend: one for the show and the other is for Uncommon Threads in October--the runway items are due tomorrow!

A BIG thank you to Mary for doing the photo shoot this afternoon of my runway pieces! If only the "model" were better looking....

Monday, September 21, 2009

Montage Monday

I came across this montage of my Flamenco Scarves on an Italian design blog several months ago--I think they did a great job on the photo! And here's the descrition they provided:

"Che dire, infine, delle spettacolari architetture di Felt Inspired? Personalmente, quando cado in crisi mistica alla ricerca della stola perfetta su un abito da sera, d'ora in poi saprò a chi rivolgermi. Le creazioni de Felt Inspired le potete trovare in vendita su Etsy, un bel sito dedicato al mondo dell'handmade!"
"Finally what shall I say about the the spectacular architectures of Felt Inspired? Personally, when I fall in mystical crisis to the search of the perfect stole for an evening dress, now I will know who to address. You can find the creations of Felt Inspired on sale on Etsy, a beautiful site dedicated to the world of handmade!" '
I was tickled to find such an effusive review from the country of fashion! And I'm thilled to know that I can be of assistance in the case of a "mystical crisis"....

Monday, September 14, 2009

Meet What's-his-name

So, I finally adopted a new studio mascot last week. I highly recommend the Anti Cruelty Society here in Chicago--great folks and animals. I ended up adopting a three-year-old tabby (funny how I don't really have a "type" of man, but I do have a "type" for cats--this is my third brown tabby). The photo is from the shelter--I haven't gotten around to taking any shots here at home.

I also haven't gotten around to naming him yet. His shelter name was Snoops, but I'm not really fond of that name, so I'm looking for another. He doesn't really answer to that name anyway, so I don't think it's that big of a deal. I have a bunch of names in contention, with a few front-runners. Thought I would run them by you all for feedback. So here they are in no particular order:
Rufus -- no real reason, except that the "oo" vowel sound matches Snoops, which is apparently what animals recognize in their name (in case he actually does recognize his name)
Leo-my sign, plus it is a feline name
Mocha--I like chocolate, I like coffee.....
Dude --he's a really mellow cat, plus it has that "oo" thing going for it
Motor--he constantly purrs
Murray--I was thinking of something fiber related and ruled out Merino, which led me to Murray. And I always liked that character on the Mary Tyler Moore show.
Monkey--the cat does this weird splaying of his limbs when he's happy and I swear that his front limbs kinda look like monkey arms. You'll just have to trust me on this.
Or, he could just go nameless for a while....

Friday, September 4, 2009

One Week 'til Big Shoulders

Just one week until Big Shoulders, Chicago's only open water race on Lake Michigan. I'm doing the 5k this year and think (hope?) that I'm prepared for it. I've done more long distance swimming than in previous years, plus I swam during the winter with the Evanston Masters.

One of my greatest pleasures during the summer is swimming in Lake Michigan. There is something so peaceful about open water swimming (usually--sometimes the weather adds excitement). But being in Lake Michigan in the city is something else--seeing the skyline every time you take a breath...well, that is just something you have to experience.

And swimming with other open water folks is just the best. I've been swimming with a group called Open Water Chicago--great group of people. It's all about the lake and enjoying your swim-no competition and no posturing that you often see with the triathlon crowd. I'm generalizing here, but it seems that most triathletes are not as comfortable swimming, so there is a lot of nervous energy when they are down at the lake. And don't get me started with the primping and preening over their wetsuits--honestly, I think many spend more time squeezing themselves into their suits and fussing with the zippers than actually swimming.

As for me--I don't have a wetsuit. I am blessed with *ahem, cough, cough* my own natural insulation and padding :)

By the way, this is me in the photo- you'll just have to take my word on it.
Photo taken by Steve Hernan of Open Water Chicago

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Exhausted, but happy

This was the view from my tent the entire weekend at the Bucktown Arts Fest. Non-stop people both days. The weather was gorgeous (the cooler temperatures work well for my stuff!) and the people were great, as always. This show is like a homecoming for me-comfortable and familiar. The organizers really know what they're doing and are great folks, to boot. It's been so fun and gratifying to see many customers coming back from other shows and to hear the kind and effusive comments from people. Sometimes working alone in the studio, you wonder how your new pieces will go over.

I've been so busy felting that I haven't had time to photograph my new styles. Fortunately, my customers were kind enough to let me take their photos with some of my favorite pieces that they purchased:

Between the non-stop felting the past few weeks, the busy days, late nights and schlepping all my stuff for the show, I was beat down tired.

I treated myself to a massage last night (Chicago Touch--I highly recommend it!) and was explaining to the therapist why I was so sore. He had been to the show and asked "Did you see those cool wavy felt scarves?" I smiled and said, "well, yeah...those are mine. " He immediately turned to the receptionist and started telling her how she just had to see my stuff. What a cool surprise!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bucktown Arts Fest this Weekend!!

This is one of my favorite shows of the year and it kicks off my busy Fall/Winter season.

The show runs from 11:00 - 7:00 m both Saturday and Sunday. I'll be at my usual location: Booth #181 on Lyndale Avenue, right by the information tent.

This has been such a wonderful summer for experimenting with felt. I have all sorts of new designs with hand-dyed silk and merino, cool new silks from the NYC garment district and my new addiction, vintage sari silk! The colors and patterns on these sari silks are just amazing and are so much fun to work with.

Thanks to my customers' requests, I also will have more wraps, shawls and capes. But don't worry, I'll also have my classic designs, along with the geode pincushion, bowls and felted flowers.

I may be jinxing myself, but it looks as though the sun may make an appearance this weekend! in case it doesn't, I'm offering a "Rainy Day" coupon: if it rains while you're at the show, take $5 off your purchase!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Complete Sensory Overload

I've been back several days now from my trip to NYC and I don't think I've recovered quite yet--I'm both mentally and physically exhausted. My primary purpose was to visit my cousin and to see the "Fashioning Felt"exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design.

The exhibit was really amazing--wonderful background of the origins of felt in Central Asia, to its contemporary applications in craft and its industrial uses. To top it off, the other exhibit there was on Design for a Living World, sponsored by the Nature Conservancy. The premise was to take 10 internationally known designers from various disciplines and have them explore the use of a sustainable resource in their work. While all of their projects were amazing, the one that sticks in my mind is the evening gown made by Isaac Mizrahi. He uses salmon skins (a waste product from the fishing industry) to make pailottes (a type of sequin) to cover silk chiffon. Elegant and amazing. For more on the exhibit, the projects and their designers, see this link from the Nature Conservancy.

Then there was the garment district. Oh, where to start? I was like a kid in a candy store--a really, really big candy store. Found some wonderful silks for my nuno felt, as well as wool lace and wool gauze (which I didn't even know existed). I can definitely see making a trip back here for fabrics--maybe even a day trip with a cheap fight. NYC style pizza makes for great sustanence during marathon shopping jaunts.

I wish that my hands would work as quickly as my mind--I'm trying my best to create as many pieces as I can in preparation for the Bucktown Arts Fest this weekend. Between the new silks I've purchased, the silk and fibers I've been dyeing and the sari silk I am now using, I have so many ideas and projects to make. But I guess I shouldn't be in such a hurry--I do have 8 shows this fall--plenty of opportunities to debut new items!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hmm...maybe I AM a bit of a Luddite....

So, I just got back from a fantabulous weekend in Cincinnati visiting my big brother, sister-in-law and adorable dog, Andy. It's been a while since I've done a long road trip and I was really looking forward to it.

A few days beforehand I thought--hey, I should get some books on tape from Cracker Barrel (back in the days of frequent road trips, I did this a lot). So, thinking that I was being organized and all, I called a Cracker Barrel just to make sure they still rented them. Sure the person said, we rent audio books. Audio books---so that's what they call them now.

I stopped at the first one outside of Chicago and sauntered up to the kiosk where to my dismay I learned why they now call them audio books: 'cause they aren't on tapes anymore. Damn....

My 10-year-old car only has a tape player. Reminds me when I learned the hard way that Blockbusters didn't carry VHS movies any longer. After my initial disappointment, I realized that I probably wasn't missing anything--the selection appeared to consist of self-help books and Danielle Steel romance novels.

Never fear, I foraged through my car and came up with a rockin, if not eclectic selection of tapes: Madonna, Led Zepplin, David Bowie, Gyspy Kings and others. Oh, I travel in style...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What's Old is New Again

No, this is not a comment about my birthday!

I taught a felt scarf class last month (Lacy Lattice Felt) and realized right before the class that I no longer had any samples. Lattice scarves had been one of the first scarf styles I sold and over the years had grown tired of making them. Plus, it was a fussy technique that didn't always work quite right.

So when I hurriedly made some scarves for the class, I ended up playing around with the layout and realized how much my felting has improved over the years. The result was fuss-less and I really had fun with it.

Here's a view of my original designs:

Well, it's sunny and my birthday, so I'm off to bike along the lake and swim!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Signal-less Summer

It's been waaay too long since my last post--lots of family stuff going on. I do have fiber-related stuff to post, but in the meantime I thought I'd share one of my highlights of this summer so far--life without the TV.

When the digital transition came about, I realized that my 14-year-old tv didn't merit the $40 converter box. A new tv isn't in the budget right now and it's summer--I shouldn't be wasting time inside!

The transition has been great--aside from the initial "It's 10 o'clock I should put the news on" reflex, I haven't missed it at all. Especially during the Michael Jackson non-stop coverage.

After about a week, I got tired of looking at the defunct box gathering dust. So I removed the rabbit ears and covered it with an Indonesian batik that has been languishing in the closet. Much better!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hyde Park Community Art Fair this Weekend and $5 coupon!!

Oof...I didn't mean to be offline for so long, but I had some technical difficulties. A Trojan virus, to be exact. When I heard this verdict, aside from fearing for my files I immediately thought, "Dang, why can't I have an encounter with the other Trojan?"

So this weekend is the Hyde Park Community Art Fair, which is held in conjunction with the 57th Street Art Fair. I'm really, really looking forward to this weekend, as I have shopped this show for years, but this is my first time participating. As usual, lots of my artist friends will be there as well, which is always a lot of fun.

I've made more Nuno felt scarves and many colors of the Trellis scarves-- both are styles and weights that take you from season to season. Stop by this weekend and receive $5 off any Felt Inspired purchase by mentioning this blog.

To appease the weather Gods I waterproofed my tent this afternoon, so plan on stopping by to stay dry in case the clouds open up! I was on the lakefront to spray my tent and when I was struggling to open the tent, a complete stranger came to my assistance. The same thing happened when I was trying to close the tent. Gotta love Chicago people!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

First Show of the Year!

This weekend is the opening event for the Randolph Street Fair and my first show of the season! I'll be in the Indie Designer Market, located inside Plumbers Hall. This will be my second year participating in this show and I'm really looking forward to it. I met many fun customers who I saw all through the show season. And the fellow designers are a fun, eclectic bunch.

The show runs both Saturday and Sunday, from 10 'til 5 (until 4 on Sunday) . I'll have loads of new nuno felt scarves to show--lightweight, sheer and perfect for warmer months. Also lots of felt bowls, pincushions and flower brooches. I'm on the fence as to if I should bring any Flamenco or other warmer scarves--maybe just a few to pique interest for later in the year.

Stop by and say hi!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!!

Hoping that all of you have a wonderful Mother's Day, whether celebrating as a Mom or with your Mom and Grandmas. All of my siblings are home this weekend (4 of us) and I'm looking foward to spending the day with everyone.

Here is my Mom, pre-kids.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

F*cking Golden...

I try to come up with creative names for my scarves when I post them to Etsy-something fun, memorable and descriptive.
I've been using music references like Purple Haze, Moody Blues, Age of Aquarius (can you tell I was born in the '60s?) I thought of Yellow Submarine for this one, but the scarf is really more golden than yellow.

A more recent reference immediately came to mind, from Illinois' own infamous ex-governor. Yep, that reference. I'm pretty sure that Etsy would not let me post that phrase and even if they did, it probably would not top the best marketing ideas of the decade.....

I've gotta think of something else....

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dyeing to Play

It's a wonderfully rainy weekend here in Chicago, which is exactly what the doctor ordered. I came home Friday to my much-awaited package of a bolt of white silk gauze and fun colors of Jacquard acid dyes.

I'm teaching a Nuno Felting class in two weeks and need to prepare silk for the students to choose. Plus, I rediscovered my love for Nuno felting in the past few weeks and have been dying (no pun intended) to play around with silk gauze again. I had forgotten how easily silk gauze felts in comparison to silk chiffon.

So since Friday night, I've been cooking up batches of glorious color and felting scarves. I skipped yoga this morning and am missing swim team practice right now. It's going to be hard to save silk for the class!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spring Cleaning

I think I came across another reason why I'm not really into cleaning--when I do get into it, I really get into it. Take yesterday for example. I simply felt the urge to clean the floor--well, "urge" might be overstating it--the floor was just really gross. Once I got started, I noticed that the windows needed cleaning. And if I'm doing that, I should really wash the curtains. While I'm at it, the windowsills and baseboards need work, too. And I should really straighten up back entryway. Next thing you know, I'm on my hands and knees with a toothbrush scrubbing between the tiles.

On the bright side, I did come across a wall hanging that I made a few years back for the Fine Art of Fiber exhibit. It's mate (the skinny on on top) happily resides in a buyers home. The birds were inspired by scultural art outside of Lakeview High School here in Chicago (see below). I've been wanting to do more home decor work, using this technique (which is a combination of wet and needle felting) for additional wall pieces and maybe pillows.

I envision making some with Arts and Craft and Art Nouveau motifs, as well as Tiffany images.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bloody Fantastic

For those of you fretting over Tax Day, I thought I'd share a video I came across this afternoon. I'm not a fan of Idol or reality TV, but this clip from Britain's Got Talent show will make you smile and lift your spirits.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I know it's not rocket science....

but I'm still pretty proud of myself. I finally taught myself to crochet, despite many, many failed attempts. For years, I was convinced that I was crochet-challenged, except for the basic chain stitch and stitches that I seemed to make up, as I coudn't find them in any books. I am completely and utterly left-handed, which was a challenge with almost all instrutions being for right-handers.
Hours sitting bedside with my Dad was the perfect opportunity to finally concentrate and figure it all out. In addition to the swatches and scarf in this photo is another scarf already given to my brother.
As soon as I finish my Arianne sweater (almost done!) I am crocheting a sweater for this little fashionista. (Mary--already bought the yarn--on sale!)
Down the road, I have visions of granny squares jewelry with delicate wire and pearls.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Yoga for Felters

Felting is not a gentle fiber art. It requires a lot of standing, rolling, agitating and throwing (yes, throwing). I wish I could sit in from the of the tv and felt, but sadly, that is not possible.
Give the hours I spend felting, I have backaches. If I were mellowdramatic, I would say that I suffer for my art, but I'll spare you the drama. Enter Bikram yoga. Known as the "hot yoga", it has become my therapy.
I'm really, really, really lucky that Bikram Yoga Andersonville opened a few months ago, just two blocks from my home. It is wonderful to be able to walk just around the corner to get to one of my favorite workouts. I have NO excuses--if I'm home, I'm there.

Bikram Yoga is an amazine workout of 26 postures in a heated room of 105 degrees. After 90 minutes, I feel like I've worked every inch of my body and have had a massage. My back is so much better and I find that I eat better, too. Sweating and working out for 90 minutes makes you think twice about what you put into your body.

If you're in the neighborhood, stop by and say hi to Jessica--she runs a great studio!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'm Old School....

...I can't help it. Maybe it's stubborness, but when it comes to Chicago, some things should stay the same. Comiskey will always be Comiskey, I don't shop at Macys and the Sears Tower will always be the Sears Tower in my book.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Custom Orders

It's fun getting occasional custom orders--I always learn something new and end up with a new design. Thanks to a recent custom order, there are now two new colorways of the Flamenco Scarflette: pink/black

and Lion's Mane:

I also recently completed a home decor piece requested by a customer. She liked the lattice scarves and wanted something to throw over a chair in her living room. She brought over swatches from her furniture and throw pillows that she wanted to match.

I think the resulting piece can do double-duty as both a decoration for a chair as well as a person.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Four down, one to go....

...afghans, that is. You see, I have five nephews and decided years ago (what was I thinking??) that I would knit each one an afghan for their college graduation. At the time, I was really, really into knitting and didn't think twice of it. It started out well: the first afghan was finished on time; the second was finished in the car on the way to the graduation (thanks to a nine-hour car ride), the third was 6 months late and it has pretty much gone downhill from there.

This one, a cool, but tedious pattern is almost two years late. Of course, I had to pick the most complicated pattern for the tallest nephew.

And the last one? He graduated last year and I haven't even decided on a pattern yet....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

RIP Booger

Sadly, last month I had to put the studio feline, Booger, to sleep. It was an unexpected illness, which made it all the more difficult. Booger was a quirky tabby, acting more like a dog than a cat: very sociable, came when you called him, insisting on drinking out of the toilet and rolling over for belly rubs.

I adopted him from a shelter when he was about 7 years old and had him for 4 years. Shortly after I adopted him, I realized he had a chronic sinus problem, hence the name. The past few weeks, I have really missed the presence of having a pet around. I find myself perusing petfinders.com, checking out all the local shelters. If you haven't been to petfinders.com, I highly recommend it--it's kind of a Match.com for animals. I've even been to a few shelters to look around. It's been heartbreaking to hear of all the stories of people having to give up their pets due to foreclosure or job loss. Felt Inspired will have a new mascot in the near future --I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Felting Class Feb. 7th!

Looking for something to do on a cold February Saturday? Need a new scarf to brighten up your winter wardrobe? More importantly, just want to have fun while learning something for a few hours?

I'll be teaching a felted scarf class next Saturday, February 7th at the Fine Line Creative Art Center in St. Charles. The class runs from 10:00 to 4:oo and you will come out with a finished scarf of your own design. Click here to sign up for the class.

For those of you in Chicago who haven't been to the Fine Line and think it is too far, give it a try. It is a wonderful center with fun people and the feel of a retreat. And.... if you drive via I-90, you will go right past Ikea. I've found that Saturday evenings at Ikea are great for shopping--not crowded at all.

Here are a few samples of the types of the scarves that I'll be teaching:

Come on out and join the fun!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Seriously, WTF?!?!?

I promise, the next post will be fiber-related (I actually have lots to show) But, as a long time Chicagoan and Illinois girl, I can't pass this up. Between his relentless assertions of innocence and his latest press jaunt, this situation is really on my last nerve..

Time for some comic relief. Like Blagojevich, my family hails from the former Yugoslavia (he is Serbian, whereas I'm a Croatian/Slovenian mix). As you might recall from the 1990s, the groups don't generally get along all that well.

Every week, I recieve this Slovenian newspaper with all sorts of news of Slovenian-Americans and news from abroad. Many advertisements for all things Slovenian (polka CDs, recipe books travel groups etc.) And potica. Potica (pronounced po-TEET-sa) is this wonderful nutroll coffee cake known throughout Slovenia and Croatia that is pretty labor intensive to make.

So I was thrilled to find a bakery in Colorado that has mail order potica--Rocky Mountain Potica. Proclaiming that they have the "Best potica this side of Ljubljana", they carry many versions of the coffee cake-- some traditional, some contemporary and some just plain funny.

Take their "Blagojevich Totally Nuts Potica". I love the description:

"For the true nut lover, because IT DOESN'T GET ANY NUTTIER THAN THIS. This Potica is 'BLEEPING GOLDEN'"

I have to order some of this!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My Baloney has a First Name.......

So, I'm back home for a few days trying to catch up on everything and happened to look at the stat counter on this blog. I fully expected there to be no traffic, since I haven't written in over a week and have not been active online at all. To my suprise, there have been a lot of hits so far this month. Any where are they coming from? A blog called Bacon Talk! Hello to all you Bacon Talk readers!

Bacon Talk features all sorts of tidbits regarding bacon and happened to link to this earlier entry of mine. I love the fact that the entry linking my blog is listed under "Bacon Culture". I also love the fact that all of the entries are authored by "His Baconness". Further investigation led me to realize that the blog is sponsored by Oscar Meyer. I have to say, they are being really saavy by being subtle and not making the blog too brand specific, which would ruin the fun of the site.

I love how all sorts of companies are in on social marketing. So who exactly are you, Sir Baconness--out yourself! If anything like my old organization, I'm guessing you are a 20-something with a sly sense of humor. Either a relatively new internal hire or part of an outsourced marketing firm--I'm not sure which.

Am I right?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

"If it's not your ass, it's your elbow"

The quote is complements of my 83-year-old Aunt Helen. She's one of the funniest people I know and the person I want to be when I grow up.

The quote perfectly sums up the past few days that seem like weeks. Or maybe it's weeks that seem like months. I'm kind of losing track.

A series of parental health problems, doctors visits and an unexpected hospital stay. I've been in the same clothes for the past four days. This morning I ended up borrowing a pair of my mom's underwear (that one is just wrong on so may levels--I shoulda gone commando, but I'm running on scant sleep)

There is nothing easy about facing long term care for a parent. At least I'm from a large family to share the burden/emotion/whatever. Fringe benefit of being Catholic (cue "Every Sperm is Sacred" from Monty Python...)

An unrelated fringe benefit is that I'm getting a helluva lot of knitting done.