A Fun Weekend

K on treeThis weekend was pretty fun. And a little epic. On Friday night I made coconut chicken fingers for dinner (yes, those are chicken fingers breaded with coconut. Yum!), played video games with the Artist, then after S got home from her dance performance, we watched Human Planet and learned all about how awesome people live in the jungle.

I must admit that I’m a little bit of a sucker for documentaries, particularly those narrated by David Attenborough. I know that Human Planet is not narrated by him, but let’s be honest, John Hurt sounds like him.

So on Epic Friday last week, I noticed that we live close to a salon school that was offering $15 haircuts. Now, you might call that a risk, but I have maddeningly easy hair to deal with. I mean, seriously, it looks as good messy as it does brushed, so I don’t worry much about my haircuts because it always looks good anyway.

I found some pinspirations and went along to the salon Saturday afternoon to get my hair cut. My stylist was about to graduate, and totally stoked about the cut I wanted because she would get to use her brand new shears for the first time (students are so excitable! It’s awesome!)

After an hour and forty-five minutes, I ended up with an awesome haircut. The stylist was a perfectionist, and wanted to be sure she didn’t miss any hair, so that’s why it took so long. I felt bad because the Artist and I had appointments at the same time, and I figured he must have been waiting forever. But his haircut took an hour and a half, so he didn’t have to wait for me long! Turns out he got a brand new student who didn’t really know much, so he got passed around to 3 different people to get his hair cut. Oh well, I guess that’s the coin you flip with going to a salon school for a haircut. And how do they look?

20140426_183247As you can see by this wonderful image, they both look amazing.

Yes, that is the only picture I have of the Artist’s new haircut.

On Saturday night we went to a dance performance with the beautiful S, which was a wonderful and moving Hamlet story. I cried. It was good. Then afterwards there was a pajama dance party, which exactly 6 people stayed for, making it the best dance party ever since we knew everyone and had tons of space to be ridiculous.

Speaking of ridiculous, Sunday there was a bicycle festival in our neighborhood. So we went, and what did we find there?

Hula hoops.

Yes.

photo (5)

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And then on Sunday night, the Artist and I decided to go on a date. So I looked up movie times, we picked out a movie, and got to the theater where we discovered said movie was not playing. Chagrined, I re-checked the listing online. Whoops. I was looking at the listing for a similar theater name in a different state.

Deciding to make the best of it, we went to the gourmet grocery nearby for some cheese, wine and prosciutto so we could have a fancy cheese plate while we watched a movie at home. And boy was it fancy.

photo (6)

I felt so smart and classy when I realized I could use our chalk markers to write on the wooden cutting board and the glass bowls. It’s hard to see from this angle, but the bowls with the jam and honey in them are labeled too.

That was a tasty date, until I went and spilled an entire glass of red wine on the carpet. Then we had a bit of a freakout, a lot of blotting, and a frantic trip to the store for some Oxi Clean, but after that the carpet was as good as new! Yay!

 

 

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Refashion Friday: Tropical Jungle Sundress

S on SnowdoniaI’ve been performing and keeping busy so much this month! Last night I had my seventh performance of the month, and I still have three more this weekend. Last night’s show went great, and was a different show than the other one I’ll be performing throughout the weekend. It was a blast, and I can’t wait for this weekend’s performances.

So I finally had some energy and time for a refashion this week, and it’s (almost) a no-sew refashion. This jungle dress has been sitting in my refashion pile for a while now, and I just kept putting it off. I’m not really that much a fan of tropical prints, so I knew this one was going to involve some dye. And it did involve some dye, but none of it really took because I’m apparently very bad at dye, so I had to make do with a jungle print in the end. But I actually really like the end result, so there’s that.

Here’s the dress as it was:

tropical sundress before

It was too much color and too much tropical ruffling. And the empire waistline with the ruffles under wasn’t the most flattering shape. So first I wanted to deal with the color. I had a little yellow dye lying around, so I decided to give that a shot. I figured it would make the blue greener and the green yellower, thus evening out all the yellow, green, blue splotchiness going on. Unfortunately, it mostly just made the dress brighter and more jungly looking. So I decided to go to the store and buy some real RIT dye to dye it darker blue to again deepen the whole thing. The light is bad in this picture so you can’t see how bright the print was after the yellow dye, but there’s the box of blue dye on top.

tropical sundress during

I followed the washing machine directions on the box, but alas, my washing machine decided it didn’t want to play. It drained all the dye water out after only about ten minutes, so the dress didn’t get to soak as long as it should have, and the blue ended up just toning down the brightness but doing nothing to make the dress less jungly. The dress is 100% cotton, so I think if it had soaked as long as it should have, the dress would have come out deep blue/turquoise with just some variations noticeable instead of being obviously tropical. Ah, well. I decided to just make it work.

So I got out my seam ripper and picked the ruffle off the bottom of the dress, and then ironed it and tied it around the waist. I took the shoulder straps in a little bit, and that was that. Done!

tropical sundress after

It looks quite cute, if I do say so myself, especially for a tropical dress. I think it will be good to wear to a street fair that’s happening in our neighborhood this weekend.

tropical before and after

Epic Friday, Easter Sunday and a real-life Planet Earth

S on SnowdoniaI mentioned on Friday that we had Epic Friday. Since K and the Architect were off work for Good Friday, we all had the day off and decided to do all kinds of fun things. We were going to go swimming in our apartment swimming pool, but the weather ended up being cool and cloudy, so we skipped that part. We wanted to go on a long bike ride. The only problem, of course, is that only two of the four of us have bikes.

Well, that turned out to be not a problem at all. Our city is one of the many to have recently started up a bike-share system, and there happens to be a rental station just a few blocks from our house, and several others all up and down the greenway where we were going to ride. It was important that we go along the greenway for the stations because the way the bikeshares are set up, you pay a daily fee of $8, and then any time you have the bike checked out for 30 minutes or less doesn’t cost any more. But you have to pay extra if you keep a bike checked out for more than half an hour, so we had to stop and check them out and back in again a few times. Here’s K re-checking out her bike:

bike share check out

It would have been better if we could have kept the bikes out for an hour. Then we could have ridden to our picnic site, left the bikes in the racks, and then re-checked them out to head home without having to make a stop in between. But it was a lot of fun anyway. We had a picnic next to a lake. It was just peanut butter and jelly and some trail mix, but it was delicious after the ride.

picnic

As soon as we pulled the bread out, the geese that live on the lake noticed, and all made a beeline straight for us. But they turned away again pretty quickly when we didn’t feed them.

attack of the geese

 

Then we rode home and had a nice time. We stopped and looked at some public art.

bike share

public art

After we got home, we took a little nap and then went out with a couple of friends for some beer. After the beer, we came home and played some Dynasty Warriors, which is our favorite video game. It has pretty extreme sexual dimorphism. By which I mean the men are mostly these huge hulking masses of muscle and women are all super tiny with high voices.

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And then some more friends came over and we played an awesome board game called Quelf. It’s got a bunch of fun rules if you get the right card. Like every time someone drew a card, the Architect had to clap his hands and wave them around and say “Abracadabra!” I had to mime being stuck in a tree with five lobsters. It was a lot of fun.

Easter came around and we decided to have fancy food day. For brunch, we had mimosas and asparagus mushroom eggs benedict. Yum!

brunch

And then for dinner, we had a salad, some fresh sage and almond Easter pasta shaped like eggs and bunnies, and some yummy toast from a local bakery.

easter dinner

And that was it!

I have another story I’d like to share. I was riding on the Greenway yesterday, and I saw a tiny baby duckling. I stopped to watch it, and as I did I realized there were no adult ducks or other ducklings nearby. This duckling was lonely and had gotten stuck without his family. He couldn’t keep up with the current, and was panicking trying to get away. And then a hawk flew up and dove for the duckling. The duckling ducked under the water and the hawk stopped on a branch, then tried again. It missed again. So it sat on the branch and waited until the duckling was under the shadow of a tree and then then caught him. It was like real life Planet Earth.

Epic Friday!

S on SnowdoniaEveryone in the house had the day off today for Good Friday. We don’t much celebrate Good Friday, so we decided to have Epic Friday instead.

We went on a nice long bike ride and had a picnic by a lake in a park. And then we’re going to go out for drinks with friends and then play board games tonight.

(Refashioning is not a part of Epic Friday, so there will be no refashion this week).

K and the Artist don’t have bikes yet, though they will in a few months, so they rented bikes with the local bikeshare. It was very fun. The bikeshare bikes are big and heavy, and you have to check them in every half hour, which gets annoying, but it was really fun to have the whole family on a ride together. I can’t wait until everyone gets their bikes!

I will write more about Epic Friday and Easter on Tuesday with the week’s regular post, but here’s a teaser of K and the Artist having a great time on the greenway:

K and the Artist

These are a few of my favorite things

K on tree

Lately I’ve been thinking about how things can be tied up in sentimentality. How our possessions are not just things, but are also the stories tied up in them, and the meaning that is associated with them.

I frequently do purges and get rid of large quantities of things, and encourage other people to do the same because having too many things is more stressful than it’s worth. Because of this, I have been accused by my mother more than once of having no sense of sentimentality, particularly when I’m trying to help her purge. The problem there is I don’t always know the story behind her things, so I inadvertently try to get her to get rid of things she really loves on occasion.

Here’s a cute story about purging: Mom was once trying to get my nephew to purge his toys. He has too many, and a lot that he has outgrown. He didn’t understand that she only wanted him to get rid of the ones he didn’t want, and when I was at his house he told me, “Grandma’s crazy. She wants me to get rid of all my toys!” and I told him she didn’t want to make him get rid of the ones he liked, just the ones he didn’t play with anymore. So we went to his room to go through his things, and when he realized he had a lot that he didn’t play with anymore, he was a very big help. He would even think through what he wanted in a very smart, adult way, like “you can get rid of the hot wheels with the plastic bottoms, but keep the ones with the metal bottoms because they’re better.”

So in defense of myself as having a sense of sentimentality, this week I will share with you some of my favorite things. The ones that won’t be going out with the purging because they mean too much to me.

water jarwater jar and cup

This water cup is something awesome I keep on my bedside table. The Artist gave this to me for Christmas last year, after I had seen something similar in a store. This one is handmade and matches our blue-green bedroom decor perfectly.

The best thing about this is that you can keep water on your nightstand, and it is pretty, and when you want water, you just pour it into the lid, which is also a cup. This way I always have water on hand and don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to get it.

decanter

This is a decanter that my sister gave me for Christmas the year before last. We were wandering around an antique shop in the Hudson Valley, and I kept seeing pretty decanters and wanting them. As you may be able to tell, I like pretty glass containers. So she found this for me and gave it to me for Christmas months later. It was one of those gifts that you forgot you wanted, and were so happy that someone else remembered for you.

GOGGLES

This one, I’m not sure I can exactly say is MINE, as it technically belongs to the Architect. Recently, he was wandering around an abandoned warehouse and came home with this. It’s just SO perfect. I love it.

Ixchel

This was a gift from my parents. It is a necklace of the Mayan goddess Ixchel. I have been extremely interested in the Maya since I was in high school, even almost majoring in them in college. I’ve studied at many of the Maya sites and know quite a bit about Maya history. Ixchel is my favorite entity from Maya mythology as I feel she wraps up many of my major interests. 1) she is Maya 2) She’s the goddess of textiles, which I also love and 3) She’s a fertility goddess, and I used to want to be a midwife and am very interested in reproductive rights.

My favorite thing

This is my absolute, hands down favorite possession. The Artist and I met the summer before my senior year of high school and had a summer fling. One of our running jokes at the time was that he wanted me to write him a 10 page essay about why I liked him. So at the end of the summer, I wrote him a letter (not 10 pages, probably 3?) about why I liked him and what he meant for me. Unfortunately for our summer fling plans, but fortunately for our lives, we had fallen in love. So at the end of the summer we broke up, both heartbroken, but believing it was for the best because I was going back to college far away. It didn’t work out, and I came back for him during fall break. A few months later, he gave me this book, which he said was like his 10 page essay to me. It’s a lot longer than 10 pages, but so heartfelt. It follows how he felt as we met and fell in love, then his heartbreak when we were broken up, then how happy he was when we got back together. For some reason, it surprised him that I loved it so much. I still read it whenever I’m feeling sad because there’s nothing like a book about how much your boyfriend loves you to make a girl feel better.

 

What are your favorite things?

 

How to Make a Skirt Guard So You Can Be a Pretty Bike Lady

S on SnowdoniaAs I’ve mentioned before, I am pretty obsessed with my bike right now. I promise, I will eventually return to talking about other subject matter, but for now you guys are all stuck hearing about my bike. As are the other inhabitants of Casa Half Egg. I’ve been spending a lot of time on the internet reading about  bikes and about women wearing skirts on bikes and all manner of ladylike bike information. The Artist started teasing me that I was googling “how to be a pretty bike lady.” I wasn’t actually, but it was funny. But I do want to be a pretty bike lady, so I included that in my title this week.

But in order to be a pretty bike lady who bikes around in skirts (I’m not going to suddenly fill my wardrobe with pants so I can start using my bike as a major mode of transportation), I realized I needed a skirt guard.

Right now, you are probably asking yourself what a skirt guard is. They are very uncommon on American bikes, but are apparently quite common on Dutch bikes, since the Dutch love to ride their bikes around in their everyday clothing. A skirt guard is a piece of metal or fabric that attaches to the fenders on the rear wheel to keep skirts or long coats from getting stuck in the spokes as you ride. Not everyone who rides in skirts uses a skirt guard (case in point- the women of the blog Let’s Go Ride a Bike don’t have skirt guards on all of their bikes). But I was wearing one of my favorite skirts on my bike a couple of weeks ago, and it got stuck in the brakes and the spokes, especially whenever a car passed me and made a cross wind. So I decided that it is important to me to have one. Can’t go getting fabric stuck in our brakes, now, can we?

You can purchase skirt guards on Etsy or other places on the internet. But why would I ever spend $30 or so when I can spend just a couple of dollars and a few hours with my sewing machine? So I headed to the thrift store. They didn’t have anything good, so I went to Buffalo Exchange, where, incidentally, every single employee separately complimented me on my awesome helmet. I purchased this purple and gold sheer shirt for $7.

skirt guard as a shirt

And the usual first step: taking out all the seams. This shirt was very flowy, so it yielded a nice big quantity of fabric.

fabric seam ripped

I used the two sleeve sections for one part of the skirt guard and the front and back for another. I sewed the bottom seams of the front and back together for the seam to lay right over the fender, and put in on the bike to pin things.

general shaping

I put some pins in a line to show myself where the skirt guard should end. Then, once I’d hemmed those edges, I worked on how to attach it. I knew I wanted the guard to be removable so I can wash it if necessary, so I decided to attach it with tabs that snap on. I sewed the tabs to the edges of the fabric, and then pinned where the snaps should go. I did the fitting with trial and error–tugging and pinning until it fit how I wanted it to.

pinning on tabs

I made the tabs out of the edging from the shirt–the neckline and the sleeve ends.

snaps

The skirt guard is made out of two sections. This section was made using the sleeves, and it covers the front portion of the wheel.

skirt guard front section

The other, larger section has three snap tabs on each side–to cover the brakes, middle, and rear of the wheel.

Skirt guard finished

That’s it! Before I show a picture of me riding in a flowy skirt with my new guard, I’d like to share a funny story from the ballet class I teach. My class is out in the suburbs, where nobody bikes for transportation. Bikes in the suburbs are for weekend rides for fun, if even that. So my students have never seen it done. I mentioned that my husband and I had just gotten bikes to ride around, and one of my students said, “You know what I hate? Is when men ride their bikes in suits and business clothes. It’s like, that’s not what you wear to ride bikes!” So I laughed, and said that that’s exactly what my husband does. And then another student said, “Yeah, and in movies how they always have women riding around in flowy skirts. It’s like, that just doesn’t happen!” So I laughed again and told them that I don’t wear pants and I ride my skirt in flowy dresses, so yes, it does happen. They asked about it getting stuck in the spokes, so I explained about skirt guards and I think I blew their minds. I’m definitely their hippie teacher–another time I said I don’t use a hairdryer, so they asked if I dry my hair by rolling my car windows down, and then were very, very confused when I said I don’t drive often enough for that to be a hair drying strategy.

Anyway, after I finished my skirt guard, I put on a pretty flowy dress and went on a ride. I found that the drivers were generally much sweeter when I was all girlified. One woman was grinning ear to ear as she watched me make a left turn in front of her.

riding in a flowy skirtI’m so girly. I love it.

(For instructions on making a skirt guard for a bike that does not have the built-in bungee cord loops, please see How to Make a Skirt Guard So You Can Be a Pretty Bike Lady, Part 2)

Refashion Friday: Teal dress

S on SnowdoniaI went to the thrift store this week looking for a piece of fabric for another bike-related project that I’m going to share on Tuesday. (I promise I’ll eventually stop talking about my bike nonstop. Not yet, though.) While I was there, I found this homemade teal dress. I really liked the color and the print.

It was too big, but of course I bought it anyway. Size doesn’t keep me from buying clothes!

teal dress beforeThere wasn’t all that much I wanted to do to it besides take it in. So I took in the straps and the sides.

teal dress pinned

That was it!

teal dress after

blue dress before and after

 

Finished Knitting, a season too late

K on treeEver since moving to our new home, I haven’t done as much knitting as I used too. It used to be that I would knit every day, and I would finish a knitted project a few times a month.

However, I now live with 4 people, and I drive to work instead of riding public transit, and I don’t have a fun knitting group like I used to, so I now only knit occasionally.

That’s how I’ve gone this long without really finishing much of anything. But I recently finished something that I feel somewhat proud of, even though I won’t be able to wear it again for about three seasons. That’s right, my friends, what I have finished is an extremely thick, warm winter sweater.

This was a top-down raglan, so once I finished the body and tried it on, I realized it would be absurd in this climate to put the sleeves on as I would never be able to wear it. So it’s now an extremely thick, extremely warm, 100% wool cowl-neck t-shirt. That’s right. Fashion-forward, my friends.

I suspect the only way I’ll ever be able to wear it is with long-sleeves underneath in weather that’s about 35-45 degrees, but then I’ll look super stylin!

I give you the Down East Sweater!

Sweater!

This sweater was made after the pattern called DownEast by Alicia Plummer. The Yarn was Malabrigo Chunky in the colorway Verdes, and I used size 10.5 and 11 needles to make it.

Since it’s so thick, it was a pretty quick project, as far as knitting goes. However, with my failure at knitting all the time, I actually started it in January and just finished it recently, so that doesn’t seem so quick.

I alternated skeins as you should always to with a variegated yarn to mitigate pooling, but there is still some pooling in this sweater, which I think is a shame, but the Architect prefers to see the patterns in the yarn, so it’s not a total loss.

And, for those of you who are fans of cabling, here’s a closeup of the front panel. I had to modify the panel slightly since in the small sizes the waist shaping interferes with the cabling panel, so I moved all of the decreases to the outside of the panel so it would stay intact, since I opine that off-centered waist decreases are much less distracting than waist-level pattern disintegration, but that might just be me.

WAIST

Have a good week, everyone! And happy crafting, if you feel so inclined!