Imagine this plain blank wall with some combination of these fabrics and maybe more...
Inspiration & fabric: Purl Bee's swatch portraits

Will finish this week. And I'll add more about the weekend after I'm done stressing over my exam tonight!

listening to: Balkan Beat Box - Adir Adirim


cool down and round up

It's cooling down - quickly - in these parts. It's time to start thinking about the warm bulky colorful sweaters and scarves of the season. My good friend Courtney is visiting this weekend, and she happens to know my style very well, proof = this design she sent me.

See? Right up my alley. Chunky, neutral, face-framing, cozy. LOVE it. It's from pip-squeak chapeau who designs and knits made-to-order beauties like this. Unfortunately, it's $100+, which is NOT up my alley. But it looks relatively simple once I figure out that back decrease (with Stephanie's help... hi Stephanie!), and a similar yarn can't be more than $25.

In other news, I've renewed my library card(!) and have loaded up on some various books to read. After my exam next week, I'll be free to do some reading on my own, not that air pollution and injustice health disparities and superfund case studies aren't enjoyable reading...

Also, I've been listening to a lot of new music thanks to the looong plane rides last week. The airline had all kinds of ethnic traditional and pop, classical and western music that I don't typically find easily here or just haven't noticed yet. I highly recommend these:
  • Monade - A Few Steps More (French mellow alternative)
  • Scissor Sisters - Ta Dah (awesome American dance pop)
  • Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand (duet of Led Zeppelin and country origins, perfect)
  • Astrud Gilberto - any album (smooth Brazilian bossa nova style)
  • Fairuz - Legend (traditional Lebanese singer)
  • Balkan Beat Box - any album (Balkan and Middle-Eastern themes with hip-hop beats and political undertones that you won't understand anyway)
listening to: Nouvelle Vague - This is Not a Love Song


backing up a bit...

I didn't have a chance to post about Rox's birthday weekend before leaving for the trip, so backing up a bit here...
It was a funfilled weekend (after a delayed arrival), kicked off by everyone's favorite little dessert shop, Cafe Lalo. We LOVE Cafe Lalo, and they hadn't even run out of the chocolate peanut butter cake yet!
Friday we went to Holmdel Park, where both Rox and I ran cross-country meets in high school. It was a lot more enjoyable going for fun instead of for a meet. Lucy led us through the course, and we strolled the park for a bit. Then another stop at Liberty State Park here in JC, my favorite.

Friday night, cuban dinner and then dancing at 1984 (Pyramid). GO on a friday night, and where your dancin' shoes!
The rest was pretty low-key, and despite their incoming plane delay, it was a happy birthday afterall!

listening to: Scissor Sisters - Ooh


es salaam alaykum!

Greetings! I have returned from the depths of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi to be exact. What a wild experience. Where to even begin explaining it all... So the Middle East International Film Festival was, well... kind of weird. It was really meant for directors to pitch their next projects, which is not what New Year Baby is about. It was a complete honor to be there with the film, but all the screenings were empty, which is just unusual for festivals.
They put us up in the Emirates Palace, probably the nicest hotel in the world, at least the nicest I'll ever stay at by far. The service was just over the top! Rose petals placed in specific patterns all over the room, fresh dates and chocolates refreshed daily, amazing food, views of the sea, just spectacular. But it felt like such a show. We talked to many people staying in Abu Dhabi for a year or so, and they say once you get out of the glitz, it's got quite a dirty underbelly. For one thing, it's progressive, but still women are clearly second class citizens. I dressed pretty modestly, and still they either STARE or look straight through me. It was fascinating to experience the Muslim perspective firsthand also. We walked around downtown quite a bit, admired the sari and burqa fabrics, went on a desert safari (think desolate huge sand dunes), saw some great films... I loved much of it, but know that I couldn't spend much more than a week there.
Here's a few pics to give you a taste. Will update the post later once I post all of my pics with my dad's.

listening to: Monade - Becoming


camping + sewing = awesome

This company, Thru-Hiker, is so brilliant. People that like camping and hiking tend to be a little more all-natural and do-it-yourself right? And they might also be quite crafty right? Some might sew, or at least be willing to right? Right! So, voila, they supply you with kits to make your own hiking gear including down vests and coats, sleeping bags!, tent tarps... amazing. You can also by goods from them too.
I'm eyeing this vest kit, 1) because it's easy (no sleeves), 2) i'd learn to work with outdoor fabrics and filling, and 3) it comes in pretty colors. They supply the fabric, filling, pattern and instructions, and you can even call them for help.

And they even have a (free) easy sewing pattern for fleece mittens. Really, just brilliant.

The vest and mittens could be perfect for some autumn hikes in the area (or some cider-donut trips to Hacklebarney...).

listening to: The Greyboy Allstars - How Glad I Am


NOW we're talking!

I think Fall is here, finally! Watch it last like 3 days now. Thanks to some rain last night, the colors have just started really coming out today. We usually peak around Halloween here in these parts, so we still have plenty of time to enjoy the colors and scents. Is that weird? Does anybody else smell the seasons too? My sister is coming into town for the weekend to celebrate her big birthday this weekend. It should be a perfect autumn weekend!

If you really want to get all cozy and autumnal, check out Brooklyntweed. This guy is my knitting hero. He spins his own yarn, knits the most perfect sweaters and patterned work I've ever seen by hand, has an amazing style for color, and takes beautiful pics on top of it all.
See, guys CAN be crafty and masculine!

listening to: Beta Band - Human Being


urge for going...

Travel is always somewhere in my mind. I never pass up the chance to go somewhere new, but the idea of taking a huge trip is always appealing too. I was just catching up on a friend's cross-country and international trip through their blog. They quit their solid jobs in Miami/NY, drove cross country to see friends and family, and then took off for the far east for 3-4 months of travel. 1- I'm terribly jealous. 2- I'm glad SOMEBODY's out there doing what all the rest of us long for. Where would you go? What would you give up to go??
There's just so much world to see. In many other countries, international travel is expected and respected! I wish American culture valued it a bit more so that wanting to take a 3-month trip wasn't so frowned upon. Maybe one day the stars will align and I'll be in a place that allows me to travel when I want.
In the meantime, I certainly won't boohoo the trip to Abu Dhabi! Countdown at 6 days!

listening to: North Mississippi Allstars - Moonshine


i'm useful...

so says Etan. We went to a sample sale this weekend and he got a couple pants. While trying them on, he was so happy to find out that I could indeed hem every pair for him. It's so nice to feel useful...
And to fulfill some of my own needs, I have made myself a pretty totebag!

I'm excited about this for a few reasons. One, I'm trying a couple patterns from a new sewing book called Simple Sewing. I want to do nearly all of the patterns in the book, and this was the first one. It was, indeed, simple. Her instructions and diagrams are easy to follow, and she throws in simple techniques that make the project come together much quicker. Two, I got a bunch of really awesome fabrics from purl patchwork (see some others poking out of the book in the pic below) to make all these different patterns, and I'm really happy with the colors and contrasting patterns. I'm using the two prints from the bag to make a reversible apron too (on the front of the book cover), so I'm glad I can see how they'll look together. Finally, it was my first attempt at details. Normally I just slap the fabric together to make something semi-presentable. On the bag, I actually wanted it to look great upclose to really play up the fabrics. So I added some zigzag on the trims, and even some applique (a first)!

ps - I made the applesauce again, but this time with peaches and apricots added in. SO delicious! If anyone makes it with anything else, let me know. This stuff is GOOD. I'm never buying store-bought applesauce again.

listening to: Stanton Moore - Nalgas


indian summer & grits

It seems that fall just won't come for good. Every time I go to do something autumnal, it goes up to 80-some degrees.
I was starting to crave some pumpkin, despite the heat, so I made these pumpkin oatmeal cookies. I used karo instead of molasses, and I didn't add raisins, nuts, or flaxseed. But otherwise, the recipe is quick and easy. They're delicious, chewy, not too sweet, and vegan (if that's what you're into). Vegan food is always a little different in flavor and consistency, but you can't mess up pumpkin and oatmeal. Even after cooling, they're still soft!

And speaking of food... the winner of the annual Grits-Eating Contest ate 21 pounds of grits in 10 minutes! Whooooooa. Think about that. 21 lbs of ANYTHING is a lot. But that seems like an unfathomable amount of grits! And I loooove my grits. But. God!

listening to: Yo La Tengo - My Little Corner of the World


ny randomness

upcoming things

tonight - my first exam at Columbia!
friday - JC Artists Tour! Etan and I will be working at a friend's gallery opening - esORO - on Brunswick.
saturday - the warehouse sale! sample sale for all kinds of jeans. yay!
saturday oct 13 - kickball - east river park
sunday oct 21 - Musica Bella orchestra concert, featuring me somewhere in the second violins
through oct 27 - Jen Bekman gallery, showing Obsessive Consumption
any weds-sun - bargemusic! small ensemble music. on a barge. beneath the brooklyn bridge. amazing!

listening to: The Redwalls - Build a Bridge


Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Welcome to Breast Cancer Awareness Month! As most of you know, my mom is a survivor. So me and my sister keep abreast (no pun intended) of the latest studies, screenings, etc... It seems like every month, new studies are coming out showing that pretty much everything causes cancer, and everything also can prevent cancer.
Don't drink. But have a glass of wine a day.
Don't eat sweets. But have a piece of dark chocolate for dessert.
Pesticides are dangerous. But eat plenty of fruits and veggies.
No meat because of the hormones. But get lots of protein.
Wearing bras, not wearing bras. Deodorant, lotion, nutrasweet, artificial light, grapefruit...


As an educated consumer, health enthusiast, and cancer lookout, my own tip of the day is awareness and screening. Read the studies for yourself, compare studies, talk about it, and get early detection screenings whenever possible. And don't depend on your doctor to tell you when. Ask for yourself.

American Cancer Society seems to present some non-biased information here. Don't let it all weigh you down too much though. If I find any truly conclusive information, I'll pass it on. In the meantime, enjoy your grapefruit.

listening to: Beta Band - Dog's Got a Bone