Friday, November 28, 2014

See Me, Eat Me, Watch Me, Read Me

Bikeyface had a hysterical commentary on hipsters and cycling in the winter.

Southern cooking happens to be a favourite of mine, and I think this weekend I'll be making biscuits and gravy with this recipe.

Continuing on the southern food theme, Gravy, the Southern Foodways Alliance's quarterly publication, is about food and social justice.  With the recent events in Ferguson as well as our headlong rush into the holiday season, this should make for compelling reading.  (A membership to SFA might also be a great gift for a foodie in your life.)

Speaking of gifts and the holidays, this list of 10 Essential Cookbooks is great.  I have three or four of them on my bookshelf already, but I'm always open to suggestions.

Black Friday confession - I've been sorely tempted by the emails flooding my inbox promising 15, 20, even 50% off items, but I'm holding fast.  Whatever reasons you might have to not shop today (anticonsumerism, Ferguson, broke, etc.), keep them in mind as retailers continue to tempt you.  If you do shop, support your local shops first.  Stay away from the chain stores if you can (apologies to my mother who has to work today although she's not at a chain store).

Thursday, November 27, 2014

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: The Mod Squad

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends & family.  Wish I could be with you!
Turtleneck:  Neiman Marcus
Skirt:  Carnaby pattern, knit by yours truly
Tights:  Hue
Boots:  La Canadienne

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Staggered

Cardigan:  Made by yours truly using Malabrigo yarn
Dress:  Piazza Sempione
Shirt:  DKNY
Tights:  Hue
Shoes:  La Canadienne

Monday, November 24, 2014

On My Mind Mondays: What It Means To Be An Adult

Not sure what kind of mood I'm in this week, or today, although "introspective" generally is one word frequently used to describe my mindset.  Some of the things that are on my mind this week are -
  1. Friends and feelings:  It seems to me that as adults (whatever that means) we're not supposed to openly air our feelings with our friends.  It's kind of weird because frankly, we can probably speak better about our emotions now then we could when we were, say, eight.  I'm afraid that it's seen as childish and that we're supposed to either keep it to ourselves and suck it up or bitch to our other friends, and that all seems counterproductive.
  2. Gifts: Ah, the holiday season.  Let me be the first to say out loud (this probably follows under point 1) that I love gifts.  Yes, I love presents.  But not impersonal, obligatory, or out-of-character ones, and the holidays often have that underlying sense of both 'never enough' and 'is it right'?  I'm interested in dispensing with some of the anxiety and guilt that the holiday season brings with it.  So the ladyfriend and I are either making all our gifts or buying (predominantly) handmade gifts (and not "handmade" in an iPhone way, okay?).  The boy asked for a gift that I'm so excited about - I'm going to refurbish one of his hoodies with various bits of applique, embroidery, and whatever else I want to.   I love that this was his wish. (The fact that I feel like I have to say something about how that won't be his only gift is so revealing about what this season does to us).
  3. Thanksgiving:  As an American in Canada, this is the holiday that I miss the most.  I haven't quite been converted to Canadian Thanksgiving (which we spent in the States this year), and I always teach on Thanksgiving Thursday (insert here my classic complaint that Canadian Thanksgiving takes place on whatever day over the weekend everyone agrees to, which just doesn't sit right with me).  It's a food holiday, and I want to spend the day in the kitchen (yep!) making turkey and all kinds of other goodies.  The ladyfriend is getting some of that this year as she's going to see her family in Colorado.  I, and a friend, will be having the turkey dinner at Russell Williams after we're done teaching.  Maybe next year I can take the day off.

Friday, November 21, 2014

See Me, Feel Me, Watch Me, Read Me

(Not necessarily in that order...)

I find that there's lots I encounter on the internet that I'd like to share or blog about, but I don't always have the time for an individual blog post for each, and some are just suggested reading anyway.  So I thought a weekly run-down of some of the highlights of my internet trawling would be a good compromise.

First up - my intellectual crush, Michael Pollan, has a few things to say about the Paleo diet as well as the raw food trend.  Food for thought, indeed.

I watched this TED talk where Mikael Colville-Andersen of Copenhagenize (which itself has a TED talk on Cycling Without Age that's great) and Cycle Chic talks about bicycle helmets and why he's not into them.

Rolling into the holiday season means the craftory will soon be open (just my own phrase for the double-shifting crafting that seems to happen this time of year).  Check out this free pattern and tutorial from Britex Fabrics.  Cute hat!

It might've been All About That Bass for Meaghan Trainor, but it's All About That Gaze for some McMaster students.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Foiled by the Weather

Dress:  Karen Klein
Tights:  Not marked
Boots:  La Canadienne...

but these were the shoes I'd intended on wearing
You may not be able to see it, but that's snow outside the window.  It's already hard enough to get around London, and I don't need to break my ankle even if these shoes are pretty spectacular.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Whooo, Indeed!

Sweater:  Owls pattern by Kate Davies, knit by yours truly.
Skirt:  Archie Brown & Son of Bermuda (thrifted)
Tights:  Falke
Boots:  La Canadienne

Monday, November 17, 2014

On My Mind Mondays: Pride and Prejudice

We're having our first solid snowfall.  Winter is here, and with it, I'm thinking about the following:
  1. Lack of corporate pride or responsibility.  I know, that's what everyone thinks about when they think about winter.  I'm relating this to the calendar I have ordered for many years from Letts.  When I got my 2015 calendar, I was disappointed by not only the quality of it, but the fact that production had moved from the UK to Mexico.  After several emails (one was bounced back and another simply elicited a shipping receipt), I've gotten a response. A response that pretty much ignores the issues and simply puts it down to, and I quote: "We are sorry to hear your disappointment concerning the country in which this item was printed."  For some reason I don't believe them.  I'm not going to bother to return it because shipping will cost me more than the calendar and they'd only give me a credit, but I'm also not using it.  I don't know that I even want to give it to anyone.  It will probably go to Goodwill or Value Village.
  2. Bike lane snow removal.  I've come to understand that many Hamiltonians are not into the new network of bike lanes or the idea that the city will take special pains to keep them snow-free (I'd heard something about special bike lane snow plows).  But at least they have real bike lanes and seem to be interested in increasing ridership in the city.  I can't say the same thing is apparent in Burlington, which I cycle through to get to the train station Wednesday mornings.  Their bike lanes, at least along the heavily trafficked street I take, are actually just shoulders now called bike lanes.  I don't think they're even a metre wide.  Is it because Burlington allows cyclists to ride on the sidewalks?  I'm glad my studded tires are coming in on Friday.
  3. Schedule/Framework.  I'm really trying to get back on my schedule.  It's particularly important at this time of year because everything is culminating.  But really, all I want to do right now is knit and maybe have a cup of tea.  I'll have to schedule that in for later.

Friday, November 14, 2014

File Under "Oh, Kentucky"

I follow BikeyFace, and she posted a cartoon about "Sharing the Road," which is pretty funny and on-point.  The ladyfriend and I have discussed designing a new, more attractive as well as more visible Share the Road bumpersticker because...uh, we have time?  No, because we have a pretty strong design aesthetic.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Meanwhile, back in Kentucky (my least favourite state to cycle in so far - search Kentucky on this blog to read more), one of the comments on BikeyFace linked to this article about a woman who was arrested for riding her bike in the centre lane.  Ontario is trying to push 1 Metre Bicycle Safe Passing Law, which would be amazing.  Even Mississippi had a three-foot passing law; Ontario would be ahead of the game because as we know - a metre is a little more than a yard.

Getting geared up for winter commuting.  I'm going to try to extend my cycling even further into the winter and am considering studded tires.  Bike Pretty had a good post about ways to stylishly warm up your commute.  I'm totally going to make the reflective vest (yes, I sound like I'm, like totally, 14, and like, from the, you know, valley).

Shake-n-Make at the Craft Mart

Tonight and tomorrow !  Come by and see what Shake-n-Make (the art collective I'm a member of) has whipped up just for you!  Think pot holders, beer cozies, coasters, exclamation marks, and more!  (No, we're not selling exclamation marks.)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Are Those Snow Flurries?

Turtleneck:  Uniqlo
Skirt:  Made by yours truly
Tights: Hue
Boots: La Canadienne

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Walking the Walk: Ethics/Values in Shopping

I have on numerous occasions mentioned my desire to buy more locally (which extends to the continent) made items, especially when it comes to clothing.  I've spoken to my fashion writing students about the cost of fast fashion - in terms of the value of labour, the carbon footprint, the inevitable waste.

So there I was last night, perusing the clearance section on REI, when I saw this:

 It's a cycling shirt that has reflective threads woven into the plaid (in the men's description they included an image of it illuminated, as it were).  It's a bargain at less than $40, or at least that's what I initially thought.  However, I was bothered by the fact that it was "imported," which if it doesn't mean China or southeast Asia, it usually means Central America.*  Whatever the country of origin, it wasn't the US or Canada.  Could I buy it because it was a bargain, a bike shirt, and cute to boot?  Did cycling gear override country of origin/ethical manufacturing practices?  Did it override my desire to keep employment for the population of my two countries?  What about my wardrobe pruning?!

Monday, November 10, 2014

On My Mind Mondays: What Has Been and What Will Be

So another birthday always brings with it ideas of what I want the next year to be like.  Birthdays are like a personal New Year's Eve, but I don't like to think of it in terms of resolutions.  For me, it's about being more of who I am, a seemingly endless project.
  1. Firstly, however, I'm thinking of our friend Sharon Little who died on Thursday.  She was only  41, and it's sobering to think about how quickly cancer can take someone who was so healthy and fit the last time you saw them.  My uncle Mike died a little over two weeks ago, from cancer, as well.
  2. Ch-ch-ch-changes.  I've started a slow and hopefully lasting project of implementing and integrating little changes in my life.  It's mostly things that I've done (often with vigor) previously that have passed by the wayside.  For example, one of the things I'd like to do is get to bed by midnight.  I've been going to bed at 1am (or later) in the last few weeks, and it's taking a toll on me. 
  3. Me and my bike.  Not surprisingly, I'm continuing to refine my cycling life whether it's through problem-solving carting issues, considering upcoming weather challenges, or thinking about making these super cute skirt bands.  Plus, I got the most recent issue of Momentum Magazine, which will probably add inspiration.
  4. My mom's birthday today!  Happy Birthday, Mom!
  5. The ongoing refinement of my office.  I've got it started, and it's going well.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Food For Thought

I just had a chance to read this article by writer Camilla Gibb.  It's a bit sobering, but for those of us who are trying to write, it's not surprising.

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: What's Red, White, and Black All Over?

The birthday girl!
Hat:  Amy Downs
Sweater:  Valerie Stevens
Skirt:  Ralph Lauren (length modified)
Tights:  Unknown
Shoes:  Christian Louboutin (mom-me-down)

I know - kinda crazy.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Sashiko Workshop with Katrina Rodabaugh

 As I  mentioned, I had the great luck to take a sashiko workshop with Katrina Rodabaugh.  I've been interested in Katrina's work since stumbling upon her Make, Mend, Thrift project, and when I  had the opportunity to take an online two-week sustainable fashion workshop with her, I was pretty psyched.  But to take an in-class workshop was amazing.

Before we got down to work, Katrina went over some of the key points of sashiko like the history of it as a mending technique in addition to placing it within a tradition that includes the quilts of Gee's Bend.

Then we got to work on a practice square.  The stencil will disappear in the wash, and you can pick any pattern you wish.  I'm still fussing with mine.

When we felt pretty good about that, we worked on a pot holder (sorry - no photo), and then our mending.  I brought a well-worn (and already patched) pair of jeans that I mostly use to do yard work and what-not.  While my technique has some room for improvement, I'm really happy with the mending of the knee gash.  There's a patch of jean material as large as the stitched square behind the original tear.  Now the knee is reinforced, and, if I may say so myself, looking much cooler.

Lots of plusses about this - both literal and figurative.

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: She's a Lady (Go Ahead, Sing Along)

Dress: Chaiken
Tights:  Hue
Shoes:  Isaac Mizrahi
Scarf:  Hermes

Monday, November 3, 2014

On My Mind Mondays: Going Home

It's been a pretty packed weekend here in the Bay Area.  I feel like I've been here for longer than the four nights I've stayed - in a good way.  It's been great seeing the boy, and despite the fact that he had to work every day of my stay, we spent a lot of time together.

So in addition to getting ready to fly home, I'm thinking about -
  1. The sashiko mending workshop with Katrina Rodabaugh that I took yesterday at the Handcraft Studio School in Emeryville.  What a fantastic workshop.  I'll be finishing the mending of my pants on the plane ride today.  I hope to post more about this workshop in the next few days.
  2. The yarn I bought at A Verb for Keeping Warm that I initially thought I'd start a shawl with on the plane.  What was I thinking?  Starting a lace shawl on a plane?  I'm saving that for when I get home and when I find the right pattern. 
  3. My boy.  Always.
  4. My birthday, later this week.  You know.  Just thinking about it.
  5. My boy's suggestion to get on Twitter, which, frankly I've thought was stupid.  However, he's quite convinced, and somewhat convincing, about it being a good way to get my work and what-not (I am not a brand) out there.  I'm thinking about it.
  6. Posting about my new tattoos (yes, plural) and the one I gave Ian (yes, I gave him a tattoo).  Here's one of my new ones.
That's my bike!  And it commemorates this summer's bike trip.
 Have a great week!