11–20 of 157 entries from the year: November 2014

Knitters gonna knit

November 28th

IMG_0996

Current projects:

– Boot cuffs

– Beanies

– Cabled headbands

While I’m working away on these holiday projects, I’ve noticed a good change in this craft. My skills are getting better (tension more even) and my patience has lessened. This too is a good thing because I no longer have any patience for acrylic yarn. Crap needles. Patterns that aren’t working after a good 2 hours. I’d rather spend a bit more for the bamboo needles, soft, cushy yarns and frog it when it just doesn’t look right.

I’m researching packaging designs for the holidays. I like to include a bit of information about the yarn used (in case of wool allergies, and so the recipient has care and washing instructions) and a bit of extra yarn in case the item needs future mending. These ideas are pretty rad for those also giving hand knits this season.

What are you working on?

~K

 

Posted in
Celebrate!, Domestic Art
Comments (6)

Coldish

November 24th

Christmas sewing

Christmas sewing

Christmas sewing

 

I’m making my Christmas list and checking it twice, so to speak. It’s going to be another mostly homemade holiday, with lots of awkwardly sewn and knitted items, along with a side of prickly pear jam that didn’t set up. Syrup, anyone?

It all comes with the best of intentions, and a built in good laugh.

Any fun projects you are working on this year? I’ve been knitting like mad. It’s time to regroup in the sewing room for a few hours of more monogrammed tote bags (using vintage pillow case fabric for lining and pockets) for coworkers, who are painfully listening to me work with Christmas music blaring and making up my own lyrics.

“Baby! It’s kinda Phoenix-coldish outside…”

~K

 

Posted in
Celebrate!
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Side of turkey, hold the resentment

November 22nd

Thanksgiving 2014

A girlfriend sent an email this week detailing the reasons she no longer loves the holidays. And boy, did those reasons resonate. Namely, she feels like no matter how much she does, someone will be disappointed.  Someone will think she hasn’t done enough. She’ll end up having her turkey with a side of guilt and resentment.

And — this may also resonate for many of you — she described how she worries about each gift for their families and children, making sure they are just right and wrapped and ready and her husband is responsible solely for her. The division of labor during the holidays is often completely off kilter.

It makes me crazy to watch women migrate toward the kitchen after a big family meal, while the men* head to the couch. Like these are our normal, engrained transitory patterns.

Women: Kitchen! Men: Football.

I’m calling bullshit.

Ladies, put down that wine glass, wipe the mascara off from beneath your tired, beautiful eyes, raise your right hand and repeat after me:

“I love Thanksgiving. When I was a kid, it was all about the time off, the extra time under the covers to read, sitting in my grandma’s lap, eating pie and running around afterward with a belly so full I thought I was going to perpetually fall forward. This year, I’m taking that innocent, happiness back. I’m going to spend the extra time with friends and family. I’m going to ignore my phone and the dirty dishes and instead play. I’m going to ask for help. I’m going to accept compliments. I’m going to hit the snooze button. I’m going to take long walks and pour another glass of whatever is my fancy and feel zero guilt. I’m going to realize that come January 1, there will still be chores to do and calories to burn and there will likely be someone in my life who isn’t happy no matter what I did or didn’t do. But, I won’t have this holiday season again to spend with those I love.

As such, I will not beat myself up, compare myself to others, try to put on my “skinny pants” or worry about that one damn gray hair that will not go away no matter how many times I try to pluck it. I will pull out my fanciest stretchy pants, hug my family a little more and sit my own butt on the couch when I feel like it. I will not feel compelled to watch football just because it is on. I will not allow cell phones at my dinner table. I will create a line of happy soldiers to help with the dishes and trash and foot rubs.

Amen and Amen.”

~K

*Dear men: this is my family to a Thanksgiving T. This may not be YOU. Please do not send me angry email. I love you.

 

Posted in
Daily Sass, Hostess
Comments (7)

Give Thanks

November 17th

{This series of posts is intended to provide practical, easy ways to help your community — regardless of your location. In celebration of Thanksgiving and the pending holidays, may we want less and love more.}

Downtowner in Flag

 

Last week I met the new executive director of Flagstaff Shelter Services. She’s young, dynamic and, well … pissed. The need for fair, safe, affordable housing this northern Arizona city proves quite the challenge. As Rolling Stone once put it, “Flagstaff is poverty with a view.”

Indeed.

Flagstaff is like many, many cities around the world. There are too few jobs, too many people and a lot of folks living on the street. Flag has a couple big employers, and for everyone, an exhausting combination of white and blue collar jobs to get by. This town could be Golden, Colorado. Kearney, Nebraska. Galway, Ireland. Its poverty and hunger are not unique.

I’m not any more prepared to solve all the factors to this mountain town’s homelessness issue. I can, however, point out a few ways we can all help homeless shelters in any community.

1. Ask. Talk with staff and see what the biggest need is. Flagstaff needs toilet paper. They spend $500 a week now, which is not sustainable for a fragile budget and increasing client lists.

2. Donate without restriction. Sure, we all want our funds to go to program expenses. But someone has to pay for the copy toner too.

3. You’ve got talents your local community shelter needs. Could you mend blankets? Write a grant? Shingle the roof? Don’t be shy. If you can focus your strengths to make the organization better, everyone wins. Be specific when asking to volunteer.

typical Flag

What do we really need this holiday season?

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Community
Comments (3)

Thrifty Pillow Transformation

November 12th

Let’s say you see a pillow in one of your favorite catalogs and you think, “Come on. I could make that. Right? I mean. I think I can make that. Well, let’s ride this train until it crashes and proves us otherwise.”

You have these sorts of conversations, right? Right.

Take a pillow from your favorite thrift store.

Sewing and repurposing

 

Cut that sucker open. Be surprised when it is filled not with an enclosed pillow, but filling. Press on.

Stamped Pillow Tutorial

Stamped Pillow Tutorial

Use that gross, former pillow case as a pattern. Dig through your bin of remnants and find a piece that will work. Cut to size.

Stamped Pillow Tutorial

Stamped Pillow Tutorial

 

Get out a ruler and stamps and some dark ink. Pick your message. And go!

Stamped Pillow Tutorial

Stamped Pillow Tutorial

 

And sew. Leave one end open so you can stuff that sucker again.

Stamped Pillow Tutorial

Voila.

~K

 

Posted in
Domestic Art, Handmade goods, Heirloom Hacienda
Comments (1)

And, done.

November 11th

Once upon a time, I found this pillowtop at a thrift store. I don’t remember when, but I know it was within the last year. And I’m fairly certain it cost less than $5. The author signed the embroidered piece. I tucked it away with my fabric and found it a few weeks ago.

Sewing and repurposing

It deserved finishing.

Since my parents moved and I no longer have the world’s greatest crafter at my leisure, I relied on a coworker — who is also incredibly good at all things sewn, knitted, embroidered, etc. I showed her the pillow top and asked what she would do.

“Well, I’d finish it. And I have the perfect backing for you at home. Let me bring that in.”

Sewing and repurposing

Another trip to a local thrift store produced the perfect sized $2 pillow form.

Sewing and repurposing

 

And voila — the finished peony pillow. I kinda love it.

~k

 

Posted in
Domestic Art, Reuse
Comments (2)

Still the best dog ever

November 8th

Sulking Nelson

In case you needed an adorable reminder.

~K

Posted in
Nelson
Comments (1)

The Great Pumpkin Pan

November 8th

A further celebration of the cooler weather: filling the house with the smell of baking spices. This week I made pumpkin zucchini bread.

Pumpkin zucchini bread

Pumpkin zucchini bread

Pumpkin zucchini bread

 

I hope to enjoy a slice with a large mug of coffee, bundled in sweats at a cabin in the woods this weekend. Nelson will have plenty of squirrels to chase and I have a stack of books and knitting projects.

Yay Fall!

~K

 

Posted in
Domestic Art
Comments (2)

Neighborhood Walk

November 7th

Neighborhood Wandering

Neighborhood Wandering

Neighborhood Wandering

Neighborhood Wandering

Neighborhood Wandering

Neighborhood Wandering

Neighborhood Wandering

Neighborhood Wandering

Neighborhood Wandering

Neighborhood Wandering

 

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Flora and Fauna, Heirloom Hacienda
Comments (2)

Icehouse Canyon Trail

November 3rd

We checked out a new trail this weekend — the closest grove of Aspens to Phoenix can be found just outside of Globe, Arizona along the Icehouse Canyon Trail. The trail is not well marked, but it was a gorgeous day of wandering and exploring.

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

Icehouse Canyon Trail

My adorable guide, who bought me a couple books on Arizona flora and fauna for my birthday. I am now hiking like a botanist — taking notes and photos and putting together a book of all the weird and unusual plants we find on trails.

Also — fall is here. And it is WONDERFUL.

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Flora and Fauna
Comments (4)