I know I seem to be having theme weeks around here. And yes, I'm going to link to another SFist post. This one is all about making softies. That's Jack, the baddest little kitty in the world, with what was supposed to be the frosting for my first softie, but turned into a cat toy. I'm eager to try my hand at more softie making, but of course I have a two day craft fair coming up next Friday and guess how much stock I have made..zero. Good thing I went out to dinner tonight and now I don't feel like doing anything but reading. I guess part of me likes the torture of having to stay up five nights in a row until three in the morning cranking out duct tape wallets. I become my own little sweat shop with blistered hands, no breaks and no contact with the outside world.

Molly and I went to the new Bi-Rite Creamery (I have such a hard time with that word) tonight and I just loved it. I felt like a little kid, with all these adult flavors to try. We both settled on a single scoop of the salted carmel and Ritual coffee toffe. And yes they use coffee from Ritual, down on Valencia street- what a sweet little marriage of local businesses, I can barely stand it. Go there. Even on a cold (shut up New Yorkers) night like tonight, the fresh ice cream was a total treat. I can only imagine how sweet it will be in the summer on hot (shut up New Yorkers) days, when you can buy a cone and then eat it in Dolores Park.


softies and sunday.

After a week of being sick, I had a fantastically full weekend. Saturday night was Richard's birthday and I spent most of that day at home, making my first ever softie. Softies are just soft toys, but people often make softies of inanimate objects and give them faces and cute expressions. Jennifer told me she's seen a toilet paper roll softie, which sounds adorable. Flickr has a great gallery of softies if you want to see more than my very amateur one here. Richard loved how homemade my cupcake (yes, that's supposed to be a cupcake) looked, and I guess I can take that as a compliment. Either way, he loved the thing and when he wasn't pretending to eat it, he walked around with it in his pocket all night. He just turned 27, but he said he was going to put it next to his favorite marble on his shelf at home. It was pretty cute.

Yesterday was probably one of the longest Sunday's I've ever had. You know that Rilo Kiley song, I forget the name, but it's all about a great long day, and there's a line in it that goes now some days, they last longer than others, but this day by the lake went to fast that's the sound track that should have been playing all day yesterday. I was with some great friends, we ate brunch at the lovely Greens (where Koda works and we got to sample every fabulous dessert on the menu that she made), spent some time on a beautiful SF roof top, where the photo above was taken, drank at the very snooty (but kind of fun for the same reason) Bourbon & Branch and later ended up at Amnesia, where we saw The Blue Roots play. Roger had a master plan to get us all there at the end of the night, and I'm so glad I went, I haven't seen a band make everyone get up and dance like that in a while.


my new scarf.

Remember when I lost my scarf? Well I finally got around to making another one. That's it there. It's not as bright and cheery as the first one was and it's a lot thinner than I had intended, but I made it and it sort of reminds me of the scarf I lost and so I like it.

I'm determined to crochet and since I've been sick most of this week I've been spending lots of time not drinking at home, which allows for a lot of crafting. Last night I found this great site called next stitch, which has free videos that walk you through each step. I learn much better watching someone do something than reading about it and it's great because you can play the videos over and over, where as if a real person is teaching you they might get a little frustrated if you kept asking the same question. Cecily Keim tried teaching me how to crochet at TNNA, but I needed a lot of practice just chaining and I kept holding the crochet hook as if I were knitting. She would have been proud to see all the chains I made last night! Her book is one I still want to get though, it teaches you how to crochet with pictures for every step of the way. Maybe one day soon (or years from now) I'll be crocheting like Cecily!

Another exciting thing that happened this week was that our cupcakes made it to one of my very favorite cupcake blogs! It was posted early in the week, so you have to scroll down a bit to see Nekoda's bacon and egg cupcake and the picture of the whole batch we made. It's thrilling to see those babies up there where they belong with all those other beautiful cupcakes.


What happened to you Top Chef?

I try not to post about TV shows I watch, I'm not really sure that it's all that interesting and really, I like some pretty trashy TV I don't want you to know about. But I can't go to bed tonight without venting about part one of the season finale of Top Chef- if you didn't see the show tonight stop reading, spoiler to come. First off I have to say that I fucking hate Kenmore, I hate the words "Kenmore Kitchen" together and I think I will forever recoil at the site of a fucking Kenmore stove. I mean did they have to bring the goddamn Kenmore Kitchen to Hawaii?? Don't they have enough product shots in the intro of the show and every other commercial? I thought the Kraft thing was bad, but nothing compares to how much they are plugging Kenmore. The Amateur Gourmet posted a great blurb on the shameless ad placement in Top Chef, and even though I noticed the product placement last season, there's something about this seasons plugs that seem so over the top. Enough about that. Really I just wanted to bitch about how I can't believe they kicked Sam off. Besides being a fine, fine, specimen to watch, he was composed in the kitchen, modest, professional and kind. And he cooked some great looking food (OK, except for that watermelon blue cheese shit). Didn't Tom Colicchio go on and on last season about how character was important in the kitchen? Being a leader and all that? I blame Colicchio for Sam's departure tonight- he had to pull out the "he didn't cook any of his dishes, this is a cooking competition." You could see the judge’s faces change from 'Sam' to 'No Sam' in a matter of seconds. It was like he pulled some Jedi mind trick on them all, and Padma was ready to fight, I could see it in her, but Colicchio used that gaze of his to shut her up. Damn him. Just for that I'm not stepping foot in his restaurant here (OK, I probably will, I'm just trying to sound extreme). So we're left with two little whiney boys. Honestly I don't care who wins, although it would be really great to see Marcel do another one of his embarrassing raps.

the cupcake post.

While I'm really happy with my cupcake piece on SFist, there just wasn't enough room to include the whole story. So here's more on my cupcake day, with all the pictures I didn't have room for on SFist. First off there's no way these cupcakes would have come out as perfect as they did if it weren't for Koda and her baking expertise. When I told her I was planning on making cupcakes (but didn't even have muffin tins) she let me borrow everything from her Kitchen-Aid to these amazing icing tips.

I planned on just doing some creative stuff with the icing for decorations, but Koda suggested I buy marzipan and make little sculptures of the things I was thinking of decorating the cupcakes with. Suddenly I got more excited, and so did Koda, it was her day off and she offered to come over and bake with me. Lucky me. Here's Koda playing with some marzipan.

Naked cupcakes just out of the oven, aren't they cute?

The first batch of icing, which was a little too thin, but actually ended up drying nicely.

Koda, showing me how to pipe a rose.

And now for the close up shots. The most fun of all of this was making stuff out of marzipan, once you work the food coloring in it really is just like play-doh. As you can see we went a little crazy with the marzipan, but it was just so much fun. Don't think I didn't take a moment to realize how crazy I was in the morning, when I took some of these close up shots to get the right light, and I was almost late to work because of it. I was just so darn proud of our handy work.

Next up, vegan cupcakes for JJ. Don't worry. I won't post about cupcakes again for a while. Well, maybe just a picture of how the vegan ones turn out...



day off.

You're not even going to believe the cupcakes Nekoda and I made today. I'll be writing about them over on SFist tomorrow, and I'll be sure to post tons of pictures of them up here. We were so proud of ourselves we just sat and looked at them for twenty minutes straight. And when someone who bakes for a living (Nekoda, not me) is that exicited about a cupcake you know they're good. More for the eyes than the mouth... you'll see what I mean tomorrow.

In the mean time I have yet another article about TNNA up, this time on Handmade Detroit , which is a great crafty website you should check out, no matter where you live.


cupcake porn.

Since November I've wanted to make cupcakes. This is funny, because I cook maybe once every two months and I bake maybe twice a year. I did get some good cooking genes from my mother's Italian ancestors. I swear, anything my mom makes is amazing, I still remember the days of veal piccata and chicken parmigiana before I become a veggie in high school. I'm eating meat again now, but I'm a little afraid to actually cook it, so on those rare occasions when I do cook I stick with my veggie alternatives, tempeh, tofu, seitan.

I have no shame admitting that I'm influenced by trends (although I stand by the fact that I really did get into birds before they become the hipster icon a few years back) and I won't deny that the current cupcake trend has really gotten to me. They are just so fucking cute. I mean can you really look at a cupcake and not get sort of happy? I can't. When I wanted something light and fluffy on the internets I used to be a frequent visitor of cute overload, there's no way to look at that website and not squeak at the cuteness of it all. But lately I've been more a fan of cupcakes take the cake, which I think I talked about here before. It's pure cupcake porn, and to be honest I get sort of annoyed when they have interviews with cupcake storeowners or when they show uncute cupcake products, like rain boots with cupcakes on them. I want big fluffy frosting, devils food cake, sprinkles and pretty colors. And I want close up shots of them all, at every angle.

Now that I finally have some time (although not for long since I have another craft fair coming up in february) I'm going to buy some muffin tins and actually bake a batch or two of cupcakes. Back in december I had a grand plan to buy this new vegan cupcake book and make Jennifer and my vegan roommate a batch each of vegan cupcakes. Needless to say I never got around to it. And even though I don't doubt that book has some great recipes, I am not vegan, and we are past the season of giving, so I am going to make big fluffy un-vegan cupcakes on my day off on Monday. I can't wait. Those vegan cupcake girls have a blog of their own, which I have just discovered and have already bookmarked and will add to my list of cupcake porn.


Oh Mary Kay.

As I reported from TNNA, there was a Mary Kay convention going on at the same time as the needle arts trade show. I think I've talked enough about Mary Kay, although I'm really sad I didn't get to be made over by one of them at the show. One girl I met at TNNA was lucky enough to get a surprise make over. As she was putting on makeup for a photo shoot a Mary Kay lady popped out of a bathroom stall, with cosmetic case in tow and gave her a make over right there in the bathroom. Why couldn't that happen to me?

Here's a picture of Mary Kay, it was great fun to see pictures of all of the sales reps from around the country, they all looked so... made up. I don't doubt that Mary Kay was a looker in her day (OK, I'm just saying that because I fear I've made fun of the whole thing too much and all those ladies are going to come after me and hit me with their pink luggage), does anyone else think it's a little disturbing that she doesn't really look alive in this photo? Kind of like they propped her up and did a number on her face? Maybe that's just me.

And here is the great mystery of the event, the Mary Kay First Aid room. It was enormous, had wheel chairs at the ready and curtains blocking of sections. Ummm. What exactly did those ladies have to do for their leadership conference? One can only imagine.

TNNA on Sfist.

If you want to read some more about TNNA I've got a post up on Sfist about it. I'll be posting some more pictures from the show up here soon.


Pretty stuff.

I'm back in SF and about to meet a friend for a drink, I can't really believe I'm going out either, but after so many hours in a convention center and screaming babies on the plane, nothing sounds better than catching up with a friend over a drink in my cozy local bar.

That painting is from Cathy Ellis, a good friend of mine who just started her own blog, which is really more of a place for her to post her amazing art. Sure she's a great friend, but that's not why I love her work. Everytime I look at her paintings I get inspired. See for yourself and go to her blog.

TNNA pictures to come. I'll also be writing a wrap up of TNNA for Sfist tomorrow, in case you're just dying to get the knitty details.


live from TNNA....

I'm live blogging at TNNA. I don't think I've ever done this before. It feels a little funny. Or like I'm more important than I am. Like all those bloggers at politcal conventions during elections. OK, cut me some slack, I've been in a convention center for almost 7 hours now without seeing daylight. One more day left. It's been fun, lots of yarn. I'm knitting a scarf. I know, thrilling. But I'm meeting lots of great people and last night we had a really nice time with the ladies from Craft Magazine. And today I finally met Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching fame, who is incredibly sweet and modest. But really, the very best part is that in the same convention center that TNNA is in there's a Mary Kay leadership conference going on. I kid you not. As soon as I get back I'll post lots of pictures. Our first night here we saw about 5 brand new opal colored (with a fine pink sheen) cars, just parked out front- waiting for some lucky Mary Kay ladies to win them. I've been dying to sneak in to their conference, but they know their kind and if we even get too close they shoo us away. Where is my black suit and pink luggage when I need it?

San Diego is lovely, this morning Nancy and I had some time before the convention to walk around a bit and sit in the sun while we drank our coffee. It's cold here though! Sure, no freeze warning like SF right now, but chilly for San Diego. Happy day off tomorrow if you have off, I'll be here, under the flourscent lights. Finishing my scarf.

In case your wondering, that's Mary Kaye herself up there. Stunning isn't she?


TNNA here I come.

No that's not T&A, dirt ball. Bright and early tomorrow I'm heading off to San Diego for The National Needle Arts trade show. After lots of jokes of moth balls and grannies from my co-workers, I'm actually pretty excited to head down there and be amongst so many crafty things. After all I didn't make it to the two craft-y nights I planned on going to this week. So I'm ready for four days of non-stop needle arts talk and sights. I think. I'll report back with loads of pictures and stories. Yeah, that's how I'm spending my long week-end. I know you're jealous.

I stole that picture from flickr (can you steal from flickr? or is it sort of once it's out there, it's out there?) anyway it's from KnittingLizzie's page. She had tons of photos from TNNA.


craft post

I've got another post up on Sfist, where I link to some of my favorite craft sites. But really you should check it out for the great picture that I posted. See what I mean about flickr?

All is well.

I went to the bar I thought my scarf was at, but alas, no dice. Oh well. I'll stop grieving the loss of the thing one day soon. Or I'll do a post of things I lost and then found or didn't like Molly suggested.

One of my new favorite things to do is go to flickr and just type in a word search and see what images come up. Doesn't sound like fun to you? Try it. After spending some time there I think I may just have to open up an account on flickr too. That's where I got that purty photo up there.


i just want my scarf.

I know it's not fair to elude to this week-end and not tell you anything about it. I just feel a lot less annonymous now that my blog is the first thing that comes up when you do a google search of my first and last name. How did that happen? No matter, I should stop pretending this was ever really that annonymous anyway. And now that I'm linking to sfist well, I guess I'll just come out. I just fucking pray that the scary guy I went on those dates with doesn't stumble across this blog. After a week-end of complicated guys, I'm really excited to be getting crafty with some girls this week. Molly is picking me up for a craft night soon, the theme is cozy crafts and I'm bringing along my crocheting that I started in Jersey in the hopes of completing and learning how to start and finish something tonight. Then on wednesday I get to meet Susan Beal of West Coast Crafty! She invited me to have cake for her birthday with her and some other great crafters in the area, including Marie Kare of the Sampler. So it's all girls and all good crafty things for me the rest of this week.

Really, the only thing I'm truly sorry for that happened this week-end (sorry to bring it up again, but trust me, there are some things not worth sharing in such a public space) was that I lost my scarf. My very favorite scarf that my sister-in-law gave me for Christmas. I know it was just a scarf, but it was long and soft and the colors in it matched everything I wore and it completed me for a week. I read somewhere once that you should really mourn the things you lose, so instead of beating myself up over other things, I'm focusing on how sad I am that that great scarf has gone missing. Once I pick my head up I'll knit myself a new one.

That great image I found on flickr and it was posted by norththreads , a blog with a ton of adorable and cozy crafts.

someone elses words....

because my words got me in too much trouble this week-end. here's one of my very favorite poems from Sandra Cisneros. sadly it sort of fits the events of my week-end, which i will not re-tell here. so enjoy the poem.

Night Madness Poem

There’s a poem in my head
like too many cups of coffee.
A pea under twenty eiderdowns.
A sadness in my heart like stone.
A telephone. And always my
night madness that outs like bats
across the Texas sky.

I’m the crazy lady they warned you about.
The she of rumor talked about –
and worse, who talks.

It’s no secret.
I’m here. Under a circle of light.
The light always on, resisting a glass,
an easy cigar. The kind

who reels the twilight sky.
Swoop circling.
I’m witch woman high
on tobacco and holy water.

I’m a woman delighted with her disasters.
They give me something to do.
A profession of sorts.
Keeps me industrious
and of some serviceable use.

In dreams the origami of the brain
opens like a fist, a pomegranate,
an expensive geometry.

Not true.
I haven’t a clue
why I’m rumpled tonight.

Choose your weapon.
Mine – the telephone, my tongue.
Both black as a gun.

I have the magic of words,
The power to charm and kill at will.
To kill myself or to aim haphazardly
And kill you.


Keeping with the Jersey theme.

This small metal (?) object fell from the sky and was embedded in the wall of someones home in New Jersey. I've always wondered why more stuff doesn't fall from the sky. I love how they mention the family would like to remain annonymous and stay out of the spot light, but then casually name the street they live on.


Jersey again.

For the record, I am no longer a Bon Jovi fan. Back in the day, when I was growing up in Jersey I was in love with the Jovi. These days I just sort of appreciate what the man represents, there's just something so New Jersey about him. I'm glad I didn't follow Chips advice and buy this shirt. But I'm happy I had my camera phone on me. Enjoy.


Pictures from back east.

I was in Jersey over the holiday and even though I didn't get to hang out with (or even see) Bon Jovi or Bruce Springsteen (both of whom live pretty close to my Mom), I did have an amazing trip. I spent two blurry days in NYC, stayed with my good friend Derek in Brooklyn, got to meet Julie's new nephew and met up with some friends from highschool I hadn't seen for 12 years. It was pretty great, and even got me thinking of moving back some time in the far off future. Here's a picture of Derek which sort of sums up my time there. People complain about bars closing too early in SF, but I think I wouldn't have a liver anymore if I lived in NY. Really the very best thing (or one of them) is that you can leave a bar at 4am and get a deli sandwich on the way home. Derek did it both nights.

And of course better than anything else during my trip was getting to hang out with my amazing little nephew. I can't express enough how much I love this kid. He's smart and cute and if you ask me his master of language is pretty impressive for a two and a half year old. Seriously, the kid can hold up his own in a conversation better than some adults I know. He's way too cute not to post some pictures of.

That's us at Chuckee Cheese, a scary scary place that he loved.
And here's him on Christmas day. A friend of mine said he looks like Peter Frampton, with all that pretty hair. My little 70's nephew.

Of course it was fantastic seeing all of my family and friends that I never get to see, being so far and all. Makes me wish we could do something about the middle of the country and bring the coasts together. Except of course for Indiana and Chicago.

I'm back!

Just barely. My head still feels foggy and I'm not sure I'm ready to hit the work grind again. I know it's not right giving you a link my first post back after the long break. But I promise I'll give you some good stuff soon.

Here's a link to a piece I wrote for Sfist on the Kim Family Auction that Lisa Congdon is organizing. Ignore the typos please.

Oh and Happy New Year!!