Wednesday, January 31, 2018

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Hanging In There

Dress: Woolen Moss
Vest: Ekeby pattern (Noro), knit by yours truly
Tights: Wolford
Boots: Aquaitalia

Monday, January 29, 2018

Busy Weekend

I had one of those optimum weekends where I got to putter around my own stuff. The ladyfriend was at a hockey tournament for quite a bit of the weekend, and I really wanted to try some of the things I'd learned in my natural dyeing class at OCADU. I got the phase 1 kit to go with The Modern Natural Dyer last year (2016!) for Christmas. I decided this would be the best time to do the work-along. This is the result of my first at-home dyeing experiment.
For those of you into this, I used an aluminum potassium sulfate mordant and used madder for the colour. As soon as it is dry, I'll wind it into a cake and start the Northwoods hat, which is the associated project.

I ripped out a couple of failed FOs (finished objects) as well and reclaimed some nice yarn. Note, the shower curtain rail makes a great place to hang yarn to dry.

And since there were organic lemons in the "bloodied but unbowed" produce section (aka discounted produce), I went ahead and started the limoncello I'd planned to make with some Dillon's White Rye that was pawned off on me. I've made it before, with grain alcohol, and it's pretty damn yummy.
In about a month I'll remove the lemon zest and add a little sugar to sweeten the deal.

Last weekend, I built the fermentation station in the basement, per this month's three goals. I haven't been able to take a good picture of it because of the low light in the basement, but I plan to get some things a-bubbling on the shelves soon.

My other goal for this month, the teak lamp, is going to have to be traded out for something else. The original impetus for getting the lamp done this month was to put it where our artificial "holiday" tree is, but we're leaving it up until Easter. Yep, the tree will stay; the decorations will (hopefully) change, so there's no room for the lamp right now. I'm open to amending the goals if they just don't seem to work. I have a couple of days to figure out what I might do instead. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Lean On In

Coat: Comme des Garcons
Pants: J. Morgan Puett
Socks: Little River Mill
Shoes: Brunello Cucinelli

Monday, January 22, 2018

The End of Cable

The ladyfriend and I got rid of cable recently. Our DVR was acting up (making a weird clicking sound, it had dumped everything we'd saved, and it wouldn't record anything new), so we called our provider who told us that the box we have is no longer in use or being serviced and that we'd have to switch our internet service to them if we wanted to continue having cable.

Now, we've talked about getting rid of cable for awhile. We have a number of subscription services (Netflicks, Crave, Amazon Prime, and NHL Centre Ice) and like many, found that we frequently tried to find something on cable to watch only to have something random playing in the background.  The need to switch internet providers sealed the deal (not that our provider is so great but still).

Here's what we've discovered.

We have more frequent and more in-depth conversations. We take the time to talk to each other, and without the white noise of the TV in the background, there's no sense that we need to finish up quickly so we can get back to the TV.

We have to actually think about what we want to watch. Cable makes it easy for you to scroll through the channels and find something, even if it's not what you were looking for. It was easy just to turn on the TV for accompaniment. In order to avoid the "what are we going to watch tonight" time suck (ever scroll through Netflicks looking for nothing in particular?), we've actually scheduled shows to watch on given days. Yes, it's kind of like old school TV. It's Monday night? We're watching Big Little Lies. Tuesday? It's a wildcard day, which is for shows we're interested in but haven't committed to. I'd really like to make a spinning wheel for this. It'd be fun.

There are shows I thought I'd miss, like Top Chef, but when it's not an option, it doesn't really come to mind. Plus there's content that we access through YouTube and online.

It's good to be without cable although I will say that we've bought an antennae to get the broadcast channels. Nonetheless, I don't think we'll be going back to random switching on of the TV. It's a good change.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Is There A Hat That Goes With That?

Hat: Christine Bec
Dress: Marc Jacobs
Shirt: Rivamonti
Cardigan: Dorce for LeRoy Knitwear (vintage; gift from friend)
Tights: Wolford
Boots: Aquaitalia

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Task Attacked

I had a great Sunday. I spent a great part of the day finishing off some knitting WIPs including my Project to Finish for the month.
The top is Hudson, the Project to Finish for the month. After it finishes blocking, I'll take out the yarn along the waist and the bottom of the sleeves, and I'll model it because right now it looks like it's for Gumby.

The bottom is Ysolda Teague's pattern Roisin. Yes, it's a Little Red Riding Hood cap with an attached scarf. The yarn (Julie Asselin) is a super divine combo of silk, cashmere, and merino. Modeling will follow. I finished this in December and just never got around to blocking it.

And this is Sheltered. This was my Squam knitalong project for last year, and I'd actually finished knitting it by the time of the retreat, but I didn't have time to sew the sides or block it, and frankly, it looked overwhelming. However, wrangled into shape, it's actually going to be pretty cool. Sure, I like to pretend I'm some kind of woodland nymph when I have it on, but hopefully that'll pass with wear, and yes, there will be modeling.

Hope you had a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Feelin' Cheeky in the New Year

Dress: Azzedine Alaia
Tights: Hue
Boots: Timberland (thrifted from Mom)

Monday, January 8, 2018

This Month's Three Goals

As noted in my previous post, each month will have three goals. Here are January's -

1. Project to Finish (WIP): Brooklyn Tweed Hudson sweater - requires minor finishing and blocking

2. Fix/Remake/or Let Go: Vintage teak standing lamp - needs a new lampshade and potentially rewiring

3. Get Started On: Fermentation station in the basement. Step one is to build the shelving unit to house my fermentation projects.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A Word About Challenges (or Be Careful What You Wish For)

Believe it or not, this blog post has been rolling around in my head since, oh, say May because that's when it started to become apparent that participating in challenges, as I'm wont to do, can become overwhelming when combined with "success."
The quilt top for our Hand of Craft show in progress
Okay, let me back up and give a quick overview of how this past year has gone for me. This comes without a dissertation on politics and the state of affairs in the world and predominantly focuses on me and what I learned.
Our billboard, Domestic Brew: Craft Beer Garden, on the cover of the Hamilton Spectator
First off, I knew that Shake-n-Make had two major shows in 2017, both of which were labour-intensive (our favourite kind of work). One opened at the end of August and the other at the beginning of November. These shows were not originally scheduled for the same year, but some things you can't control (like the finishing of a courtyard, for example). On top of that, the ladyfriend had a major show that opened in May.
Domestic Brew: 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall at The Hamilton Artists Inc.
So that's three shows in one year. More than once over the course of the past 12 months have I used the expression "victim of our own success."
Managed to ride my bike on a beer run in April
Despite all this (or because I'm a procrastinator), I thought I could participate in a few challenges like the #30daysofbiking in April, #MeMadeMay, and a 30-day yoga challenge at De La Sol (April/May). A lot of this comes from the end of the semester; when the term ends in early April, I suddenly feel like I have loads of time. But this is a micro-view; the macro is often where I get tripped up.
A #MeMadeMay post featuring an Alabama Chanin top I made
Think of it like those transparencies that you find in medical books - you lay one down, and then another on top of it, and then another and another until there's a whole lot going on (not a medical term). So you have our shows, the challenges, and then things like another roof to be done and travel plans made.

Despite all this, I also wanted to participate in Fringe Association's #summerofbasics. I mean, c'mon, couldn't I make three wardrobe staples over the course of three months? I'm sure you can already see where this is headed.

Suffice to say that of the challenges, I was only able to really participate in #MeMadeMay. My biggest challenge for the year was not falling apart constantly.

After all that, all our shows went well (even if I thought they'd kill me), and we're happy with the work. I'm trying to incorporate what I've learned about my ability to juggle multiple projects simultaneously (less is more). There was a frenetic quality to last year that I'm hoping to eliminate from this year.

Nonetheless, I've set up a few goals/guidelines for the coming year:
  1. The ladyfriend and I are not undertaking any new art projects this year (we'll see how that goes). Instead, this year is labeled "Project Life," and we're trying to take care of things in our life that got shunted to the wayside last year. We'll also be working on getting the work we've made shown elsewhere.
  2. Each month will have three goals. Firstly there will be a project to finish (all those WIPs!), something to make or do (e.g. start pickles), and something to fix/remake/let go (e.g. a vintage dress that's not fitting properly). This should help me clear the deck of lingering projects as well as moments of panic about not being prepared/ready (where's the fruitcake?!).
  3. I can only start a new project (knitting or sewing) if I've completed one that was already in progress (see point 2). 
I have some writing projects/goals set as well (one of which is to blog regularly again - just figuring out my schedule now), but integration is what I'm aiming for this year - my interests/inclinations/etc. integrated and peacefully co-existing.

I'll let you know how that goes.