Saturday, December 19, 2015

Feel Me, Read Me, Eat Me, Drink Me

I'm sure Donald Trump would pop a vein over this!  Love my bank!
Ah, what a busy week it's been and what chores, festivities, and what-not await.  But there's always something to check out online.

I loved this recent post on Radical Farmwives (really love this blog in general).  Let's take back what "radical" and "extreme" mean and understand that it's not inextricably linked to terrorism.

My love of bourbon is pretty well-documented, and I'm always happy to learn more.  This piece about the foundational role Jews played in the history of bourbon is fascinating.  Heaven Hill, which is mentioned in the article, is the only distillery my father and I made it to on our bike trip, and I got one of the best tasting bourbons I've experienced there.

Sharing my love of bourbon is beer, and this list of the best beers of 2015 is like a to-do list for me.  Hah!

Was referred to this link about Karl Lagerfeld coming under fire for copying knitters' designs from a comment in a Fringe Association post; I mean, c'mon!  Isn't that what you're supposed to do?  Design?  Instead, your copying from knitters on Fair Isle (the actual name of the island and not just the style of knitting)?  Blech!

Since I'm talking about Fringe Association, I found her recent post on Wardrobe Planning both timely and helpful since I'm getting ready to eschew shopping for clothing in 2016.  I've also just signed up for the Craftsy class Sewing Bras:  Construction & Fit.  It's a bonus that the woman teaching the class has a shop on Ottawa Street here in Hamilton where I can get all my supplies.

Enjoy the weekend and whatever festivities come your way!

Friday, December 11, 2015

John Oliver & Fashion

A student sent me a link to this John Oliver segment on fast fashion.  It's both informative and hilarious.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Feel Me, Read Me, Eat Me, Make Me

Thursday is the new Friday, at least for this week.  Lots of fun and exciting things to share.

Firstly is the new blog Carefully Worn, a project by Amanda Farquharson, which she envisions as a resource for people who care about making sound decisions around clothing.  As she wrote in her blog post introducing the new site, "By mending what we have, buying things second-hand, making our own clothes and purchasing new items from sustainable and ethical companies, we can be the voice of change and cause governments and companies to listen and adapt. We can also BE the change, by treating our garments as treasures, not as disposable discount items, and reducing our own carbon footprints as well."

I'm so excited about this, and I think I love her!

Secondly, readers of this blog (hi, Dad!) know that I have a thing for Alabama Chanin.  They're starting a Build a Wardrobe subscription/program, which will focus on finessing garment fit and construction as one builds their wardrobe (Can you hear my little heart sing?  Can you feel my panic over not having enough time to make & craft as it is?! No matter.)  Four times a year they'll send you an exclusive pattern, directions, fabric to complete it, and all the notions.

Next up, I'm totally loving this hat and am wondering if I can squeeze making one into the already-packed schedule (see panic note above).   It's a pattern from the Seamen's Church Institute's Christmas at Sea program (is there a Hannukah on Land program somewhere?). I'd love to think my hat was sailing the seas on the head of some lucky mariner, and I'm sure I have the yarn for it.

Onions au gratin are sounding pretty yummy to me, and I think I may be able to fit them into one of my holiday menus.  As well as the Desmond Mince Pies (I used to always make fruitcake, and it's fallen off the radar the past few years - sigh) and Lebkuchen, which I'm totally going to make for my parents and the boy when they come up for New Year's.

Finally, the latest podcast from Woolful is up.  I just listened to the previous episode, which featured the fabulous Pam Allen, and found myself a little teary-eyed because it makes me happy to hear the conversations "fiber folk," as Ashley Yousling, the woman behind Woolful, calls us, have.  Little things mean a lot.

We're getting our tree tomorrow!  Yay!  The ladyfriend really wants to go all out on the decorations this year (as though we haven't before).  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Tidings of Comfort & Joy

It's the last day of classes for the term.  Huzzah!
Hmm, how much can I actually get done over the break?
Dress: J. Morgan Puett
Skirt:  Junya Watanabe
Tights: Hue
Boots:  La Naturalista

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Another New Combination from the Post-Purge Closet

Okay, this features the same sweater that is in the first post, and it features the same designer, Dries Van Noten.  Let me say this - that dress and this skirt are the only two Dries Van Noten pieces I (still) own (there's a DvN sweater from the purge in a bin for a friend).  Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that the sweater goes with both.
I really should have a less cluttered background, but the mirror is in my closet.
The skirt has two layers, which I've illustrated with this image here.  Frankly, I thought this skirt wouldn't make the cut.  It hadn't been in my actual closet for years (yes, years), but I guess it sparked joy when I touched it, and look at it now.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Days 5 & 6: Still Working It!

 So Day 5 was a simple turtleneck over the dress and some black leggings underneath.  I play hockey on Sundays, and while I frequently am wearing skirts or dresses, they're in what I call the "Sporty Spice" category.  No one said anything at hockey; that's probably because any dress is a weird thing to wear, and they're no longer surprised by my outfits.

Two details not seen (or barely glimpsed) above:  I'm wearing teal tights that match my sweater (which I knit), and the sweater itself has an open lacework back (there's an image somewhere on this blog...).  And that's my new Brompton, which is indeed worthy of doting upon.

Yes, I'm finding it challenging to come up with a different outfit everyday (which, frankly, was not a condition of the challenge but is my own issue), and it can be hard to make the outfit work for the various environments I find myself in.  Plus, I don't really like having to take a photo of myself everyday. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Day 4: Two Rather Different Needs

Unfortunately the ladyfriend and I had to go to a funeral Saturday morning.  One of best friend's father had died after a lengthy illness.  For a moment, I thought about wearing something else, but this actually worked.

This worked for later when we went to the Winter Craft Fair and a party later.  I know two outfits in one day!  I better pace myself!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Day 3: Reminiscent of My Punk Rock Days

Yep, this is the dress off-duty but still working hard.  Add a sweater, some striped (barely visible) Falke tights, my Alabama Chanin demo (for class) bandana, Blundstones, and the boy's hand-me-up leather jacket, and I'm good to go, or stay home, which has been my inclination.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Day Two - Black Thursday

Dress: Comme des Garcons
Sweater:  pattern unknown/unremembered, Malabrigo yarn, knit by me
Pants:  Comme des Garcons
Shoes:  Rodarte for Repetto

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Day One - The Fun's Just Begun

I give my fashion writing students the option of either making an article of clothing or wearing a foundational piece (like pants, shirt, dress, or skirt) for seven days in a row (they have to ultimately write about the experience).  So I decided to take the 7-day challenge myself.  I'll be wearing the dress pictured here for the next seven days in a row.
Dress: Comme des Garcons
Shirt:  Les Copains
Tights:  Wolford
Shoes:  Trippen

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Quality of Life Markers, or Baby, Where Has Our Love Gone?

On Sunday I realized my Saturday fit (as I'm now calling my bad mood) went deeper than just the feeling that my desire to be conscientious (about so many things) was a Sisyphean task.  I'd seen some of the signs earlier, but I'd tried to ignore them or explain them away.

Here are some of the signs:
  1. You don't make pickles
  2. In fact, the larder is pretty low on home-canned goods
  3. You haven't gone to yoga since the summer (yikes!)
  4. You cook, but you're not really cooking (if you know what I mean)
  5. You're making a lot of socks because everything feels like it needs to be portable and pretty manageable (low commitment)
  6. You run out of homemade stock
Yes, it all adds up to a more harried and busier fall than usual.  I think I've said before that "busy" for us is pretty much status quo, but this fall has been crazy.  Partly it's because I'm teaching four classes, and partly it's because we kind of just hit the ground running, even harder than usual, in late August/early September.  It's basically all we can do to keep up with things.  Finding pleasure in our handmades or even in an afternoon of stock-making has been challenging.

Frankly, not much is going to change next semester.  While I'm only teaching three classes, I'll only have about seven or eight students less, but the contact hours will be lower.  But I'm a big believer in the adage "Forewarned is forearmed," so I'm working on some scheduling and planning.

For example, I've chosen the projects I'm going to work on in the next couple of months.  After the sweater-for-a-certain-someone is finished, I'm going to knit the Sophia Loren sweater using the LettLopi the ladyfriend brought back for me from Iceland (be still, my beating heart!).  Coincidentally, another woman in Hamilton did this sweater in the LettLopi as well.  It's a sign!

I've also planned out two sewing projects.  For my birthday last year, the ladyfriend's mom bought me this pattern and money for fabric.
Wish they'd just style the models in a contemporary way; why make it seem costumey?
This is the fabric I've ordered for it (see yesterday's comment about fabric made in Italy):

I am also planning on making another Alabama Chanin dress with fabric I got for Christmas a few years ago (red!).  I'm actually going to be modifying their t-shirt pattern into a dress.  I'm really excited to do some serious hand-sewing (for myself).

I think part of being "forewarned" is just understanding what's going on.  I'm looking forward to returning to yoga, and this semester has demonstrated that I can, indeed, keep up with the marking (no more papers "curing" for a week at home before I read them - hah!).  I can cut myself some slack while taking advantage of whatever time becomes available.

And in case you're concerned, there are chicken bones in the fridge ready to be made into stock.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Tale of Woe for the Conscientious Shopper

Tattoo done by the boy
I found myself in a foul mood Saturday, and I think it started Friday night.

The ladyfriend and I had been talking about holiday gifts (she was getting her list together), and I suggested we look at Patagonia because we've always liked (and fetishized, at times) their stuff.  I saw this and paused -
It hit a lot of the notes I like - hood, thumb holes as well as pullover mitts, green funky pattern, etc.  But I'd just purged a lot of clothing, and as I put away my long-sleeve athletic tops, I'd remarked to myself that I clearly didn't need anymore.  But need shmeed, right?

Not so fast.  Patagonia kindly makes its supply chain transparent, but that didn't mean I was excited by it.  Sure, the factory they use "has a strong social program, which includes medical care and on-site, no-cost meals," but it didn't convince me.  Frankly, I'm beginning to feel like this is a way of whitewashing off-shore production (is there an ethical/sustainability version of whitewashing?).  It's made in China, and that's kind of the story for me.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Feel Me, Read Me, Make Me, Eat Me

Oh, it's a crazy world.

First there's the fact that the FDA has approved genetically modified salmon to be sold without any kind of labeling. 

Then there's the fact that the recent attacks in Paris and Beirut have caused people to forget their humanity.

So something like the idea that never seems to die (Hamilton as the new Brooklyn) seems pretty damn mundane.  Okay, and I know I live in Canada and I plan to become a citizen, but you have to admit it's pretty funny that the title of that article is "Is Hamilton Canada's Brooklyn?" because it makes the country of Canada analogous to the city of New York.  It's a question of scale...

But maybe cycling can save the world!

As mentioned elsewhere on this blog, I really miss American Thanksgiving (The ladyfriend and I will be having the roast turkey dinner, a year-round option, at Russell Williams); I don't miss Black Friday.  However, Alabama Chanin posted this about Black Friday, and not only does it give you the genesis of the term, but a little food for thought about how our actions could affect the businesses we want to support.

And then there's my never-ending ambitions (crafty, not really career-wise - hah!).  I'm working on a sweater for a certain special someone (who doesn't read this blog - I know, how special could they be, right?  But they are.  Very), which I'm going to have to restart because it's massively too big; so 10 inches of knitting in the round is being ripped out.  Yay!  And yes, I swatched, but I miscalculated.  Just because you swatch doesn't mean your math skills are always on point.

Anyway, if I'm knitting that sweater for a holiday gift, when can I start this from the new Brooklyn Tweed Lookbook?  And what about this, which I've been wanting to make with all the Lopi Lett the ladyfriend brought back from Iceland for me?!  And then there's socks on my needles... I don't know if I can actually allow myself to go to Handknit tonight to meet Julie Asselin, whose yarn I bought myself for my birthday and is the yarn I'm using for the aforementioned socks.  Let's be honest, going to a yarn store to meet the maker and see her new yarn without buying a skein is akin to walking into a bar to see what they have on tap and not ordering a beer (yes, that's how my world works).  Sigh.

But enough about me - today is the birthday of my dear friend Karen Thiessen, an amazing artist and person.  Happy, happy, Karen!  I hope to celebrate with you soon!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Can't Go Wrong

but sometimes the picture just doesn't go right!
Dress:  Alaia
Tights:  Hue
Shoes (not seen):  Cydwoq

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: It's All There in Black and White

Dress:  Piazza Sempione
Shirt:  Rivamonti
Tights:  Wolford
Shoes:  Aerosoles
Hat:  Christine Bec

Friday, November 13, 2015

Pictures from a Purge

It's been a busy couple of weeks, what with a purge and a major birthday and a job to boot!

The purge went well.  It is only the first step of many, and the state of our lives at the moment (final weeks of semester and more), mean that we have to wait for the next purge (books!).

This is what I'll say about the process - I didn't necessarily have a physical reaction to everything I touched or at least one that I acknowledged.  But I did take the time to consider each item and found it pretty easy to let things go, especially since in addition to bags and bags of donations (10 bags or so) and bins for things for eBay (five bins), I curated a group for a friend and have some other clothing gifts to give out.  It's important to me that my clothing has a happy (or deserving - hah!) home.

Sometimes Joy is quiet.

The purge begins!

Not necessarily my best angle...

Look what the ladyfriend found - Girbaud jeans she'd patched in the '90s!  As Karen says, "Boro jeans!"  Yes, they spark Joy!

The closet after the dust settled (note there are a couple of things hanging that will be going on eBay; I just didn't want them on the floor or in a bin.)

The ladyfriend's fleece drawer, which elicits all kinds of responses.  Many of them along the lines of "You have so many fleeces."  The ladyfriend says a fleece is like a mullet when paired with a dress shirt - all business underneath, all party on top!

My sock drawer -

Still have to do shoes, but coats are done!  Huzzah!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Holding Onto the Bloom

Dress: Lauren (Ralph Lauren)
Turtleneck:  Akris
Tights:  Simply Vera
Boots:  La Canadienne

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Rockin' a '70s Vibe

Turtleneck:  Neiman Marcus
Belt:  Flea market (Berlin)
Skirt:  Casual Connections (thrifted)
Boots:  La Canadienne

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015

Feel Me, Read Me, Make Me, Eat Me

Sometimes it's hard to keep up with all the things that come into view, stick into your consciousness, and become part of your thought patterns during the week.  Oftentimes I simply try to remember and reference internally, and at other times I try to relate them here.

I just read an excellent article from the New York Times on Edna Lewis, a chef and cookbook author who championed black Southern cuisine.  The article is a great example of how one can touch on so many issues - social, political, cultural - in a single forum, while introducing readers to someone who isn't, but should be, a household name.  I've put a hold on her book from the library, but I'm pretty certain I'll buy it.  The combination of her stories and the recipes, and the fact that Southern food is one of my favourite cuisines (along with Japanese), strikes a chord in me.  It's seems like a crime (and racist) that she isn't better known.

Karen Templer of Fringe Association and Slow Fashion October has a great compendium of sites that offer details on ethically & locally produced yarns, fabrics, and more.  The more you know, the more you need to know.  Learning should always beget more learning.

So I made the roasted brussels sprouts with kimchi and ginger last weekend, and they were awesome.  But I also made what turned into, if I may say so myself, the best expression of shepherd's pie our household has seen.  The mashed potato topping was perfect!  The season of comfort food is upon us!  Thankfully, so is hockey season; going to need to work hard to make room for all that comfort!

I think that's it for now.  Stay tuned for the clothing purge!  To give you an idea of scale, the image below shows only our clothing from storage and the studio.  The closet and the drawers have yet to be emptied.  Please don't judge!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

What if Joy is Unfashionable?

(Note:  there are no classes today so there's no What I'm Wearing to Teach Today post.)

"What if joy is unfashionable?" is what I blurted to the ladyfriend as we were walking the other night.  We were discussing our upcoming (Saturday!) clothing purge a la the KonMari method (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up).  Here's what we're supposed to do - take all of our clothing and pile it up (the ladyfriend doesn't want to take some of her shirts off the hangers so I might let this step slide for her), and then "take each item in one's hand and ask:  "Does this spark joy?"  If it does, keep it.  If not, dispose of it" (p.41).

I've been both excited and a little nervous about this.  As you probably know, I have a lot of clothes (no snickering or commentary, please) so on the excitement side, I'm looking forward to figuring out what I really want to have and what I've simply hung onto for far too long.  I'm thinking of my style coming forward like one of those magic eye pictures - you know, the ones where everything looks the same until your eyes relax enough to let the lion doing a cartwheel or whatever image it is be seen.  So that's kind of cool.

I'm also excited about getting rid of some of the visual clutter that comes along with a lot of clothing.  Gearing up for this has also opened some kind of secret creative portal where I'm suddenly finding new ways to combine things (this could also be a result of my nervousness).  Additionally, I'm glad to be continuing to refine my life and make it align more fully with my values.

And while I'm not really worried about being unfashionable, there's a part of me that worries I'll try to justify or feel sad/guilty about not wearing or liking or utilizing something.  It's reminds me of the feeling one might have when you don't like someone you probably should.  There's also a small fear that Joy (yes, personified) isn't always practical.   Thankfully I already know that some of my more practical items like the Alabama Chanin skirts and t-shirt I've made spark great joy in me.

Marie Kondo says that "when you touch a piece of clothing, your body reacts" (p.41).  How much Joy can I handle?  I guess we'll find out on Saturday.  (By the way, the ladyfriend is going to set up a camera to record the entire day; there's always room for Art (Joy's brother - hah!)).

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015

More ViaRail Communication

A carefully word, albeit pretty empty, response from ViaRail.  Does this mean Lisa C. will lose her job?  Please note the use of the word "observations."  Hah!

Dear Ms. Manley,

Your file was forwarded to my attention for further handling.

Thank you for taking the time to inform us of your observations, which have been forwarded to the attention of the responsible manager for internal follow-up.

We are certainly receptive to all comments and suggestions that can help us in our continuing efforts to provide the highest standards of customer service. 

Cindy Laplante
Agente, Relations avec la clientèle
Officer, Customer Relations
VIA Rail Canada Inc.
3 Place Ville Marie, Suite 500 - Montréal - Québec - H3B 2C9
T : 514.871.6703 –F : 514.871.6104

I should be clear here.  I do not think any of my emails will make a difference.  They're serving a more therapeutic, rather than practical, purpose.  Still, it's pretty funny.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What I Wore to Teach Today: Okay, Not the Best Photo of Me

Jacket:  Vivienne Westwood Anglomania (mom-me-down)
Tank top (barely visible): Hanro
Skirt:  Junya Watanabe
Boots:  Aquaitalia
Tights (not visible and wrong colour):  Hue

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

ViaRail - A Canadian Response

So, I'm not the only one livid about the schedule change, which is rumoured to have been done to please TD Bank and their minions who travel to Windsor.  Feel free to check out @themockler on Twitter for more.

Here's ViaRail's response (with my commentary in blue) to the letter I sent them yesterday.  I say it's a Canadian response because one of  the first things the ladyfriend learned about C to my original letteanada, from other Canadians, is that they often say "sooorrry," which actually means "We can't be bothered to care or to change anything on your behalf."

Good afternoon,
Thank you for your email concerning our upcoming schedule change to Train 71.
We regret that the new schedule does not suit your needs.Your response clearly indicates this and also indicates that it's my problem, not yours. Schedules are made with an objective of increasing ridership by responding to the needs of the market clearly not the needs of their riders and better serving the majority of our customers like banks. Our schedules are reviewed periodically in an attempt to match customer demand as perceived by ridership studies, according to the options presented by VIA resources and constraints. Examples of the latter include the time slots allotted to us on CN and CP tracks did CN & CP take away your time slot?, as well as equipment cycling and servicing. We realize that every schedule has some drawbacks, and we must select the most convenient for the majority of our customers like business people. I apologize for the inconvenience that this may you're missing a word here you and also that the notice was not sent in a timely manner lack of punctuation here demonstrates careful attention; also, it's more than an inconvenience.
VIA regularly reviews its operations in order to ensure that they most appropriately and efficiently meet evolving market demand, and as a result may from time to time make adjustments to fares, schedules and products.  Any such adjustments would be communicated in the appropriate manner Oh, like an email less than a week before the change? to customers, employees and the travelling what happened to the rest of this sentence?
Thank you for contacting VIA Rail Canada.
Lisa C. No last name; classy.
Customer support desk
VIA Rail Canada

I've sent them an email about proofreading their communications.  What a fiasco, in so many ways.

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Can You Tell That I'm Not Impressed?

maybe it's the time of year...
Scarf: Hermes
Shirt:  Banana Republic
Skirt:  Comme des Garcons
Boots:  Aquaitalia

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

How ViaRail is Forcing Me to Drive

I just got word today that as of October 26th (less than a week away), ViaRail is changing the departure time of my Wednesday morning train to an hour earlier, meaning I'd have to get on the train at 7:13am.  I already get to school with almost two hours before class time.  I don't need to get there with three.  (Yes, I could work, but I teach until 9pm.  I'd be toast by 5pm if I got up at 5:45am

I'm pretty much spitting mad.  How can you announce such a change with less than a week to go?  I can't imagine that they just decided this.  I cancelled my train trips subsequent to this week and find myself scrambling for a way to get to and from work.  Unfortunately, Greyhound (a distant second choice) doesn't have any buses that arrive in London before the afternoon.  We've become a one-car family, and I intend to stay that way.  It might mean that I have to take the car on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and the ladyfriend will have to carpool to shinny.

At least in the winter, my schedule will allow me to take the later train, but damn you, ViaRail!  So much for the environmentally-friendly option.

Feel Me, Read Me, Watch Me, Eat Me

Think this might be my new profile picture
 My father reads my blog and says to me, "You must be busy; you're only posting what you're wearing to teach right now." (Yes, my father uses semicolons when he speaks.  It's a family thing.)  I hate to contradict him, but I'm not the most consistent blogger on the block even when I'm not busy.  Nonetheless, a little nudging goes a long way (or at least all the way to a blog post).

Two things from the Serious Eats world.  Firstly, how amazing does roasted brussels sprouts with kimchi and ginger sound? (If you're the boy, then I know you're answer, but everyone else, feel free to oooh and ahhh).   It's the season of brussels sprouts - a hardy winter-eating vegetable - and I'm looking forward to all the root vegetable (I know, brussels sprouts are not a root vegetable) recipes that are sure to crop up (hah!).

The other item from Serious Eats was the suggestion of a cookbook club, "The idea behind Cookbook Club is a simple one—a group of friends all make recipes from the same book and gather to share the results."  What a great idea although I may have to wait until 2016 to consider launching such an endeavour.

If I can ride my bike every day and in every way, I'm happy.  So thanks to Raise the Hammer (yes, an awesome name for a website about Hamilton), I have some new trails to explore.  I'm particularly interested in checking out the Red Hill Valley Trail.  Looks great.  Maybe we need to buy the ladyfriend her new bike this weekend.

While I haven't listened to it in its entirety yet, there's a new music sampler out from the Utne Reader.  While I still listen to the radio, it's gotten harder and harder to find new (or new-to-me) music that I like.  This past weekend, a friend introduced me to Smith & Mighty.  Sure, they've been around since the late '80s, but it's a sound I'm liking now.  The ladyfriend read an article in The Atlantic that revealed that most of the pop songs we hear now are written by two or three Scandanavian guys (plus a few friends).  Do I need to go into a whole thing about lack of diversity, the homogenization of culture, and the loss of individual identity?  No?  Good.  I didn't think so.

Enjoy the rest of the week!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Who's the Cheeky One Now?

Jumper:  DKNY Vogue pattern (sewn by yours truly)
Shirt:  Moschino Jeans (thrifted)
Tights:  Wolford
Boots:  Aquaitalia
Glasses:  Eyebobs

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Practicing What I Preach

Dress:  Alabama Chanin (made by me)
Tank top (barely visible):  Hanro
Jacket:  NoBlu
Socks:  Calvin Klein
Shoes:  Footprints (Birkenstocks offshoot) (MichFest barter)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Shake-n-Make at The Artists Newstand

The Shake-n-Make Collective is happy to announce its show What's Cookin'? at the Artists Newstand (Chester TTC stop for those in the T.O.).  The show opens on Tuesday, October 6 (opening is from 5-7pm) and will feature some of the crazy, crafty, cool things we make like reverse applique aprons, an epic macaroni portrait, and more.  The show is up until October 16th.  Stop by if you can!  More details as well as info on the Artists Newstand can be found here.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Slow Fashion October*

Checking in with Instagram (because, no, I don't check it everyday), I found out about Slow Fashion October.  This fills me with both excitement and dread.  Excitement because I'm really trying to up the ante of me-made-clothes in my closet, and dread because the last thing I need right now is another freakin' project.  And I can't resist.

In the meantime, I thought it'd be a good time to share Seamwork magazine from Colette Patterns with you.  Each month Seamwork features two patterns that are designed to take you 3 hours or less to complete, helping you (me) get the handmade wardrobe we fantasize about.  (See how I took "you" and "me" and made it "we"? - That's called crafty, and grammar - hah!)  In all honesty I have yet to make one of the patterns (subscribers get two pattern credits a month for $6), mostly because school has started and Shake-n-Make has a show opening on Tuesday (yes, I'll write a post about that in the next day or so), which requires my attention.  But having a stash of patterns that won't take me a weekend (or more) to make and could result in wardrobe staples is inspiring.

And because I'm a glutton for (self) punishment, I'm considering implementing a "Finish One/Start One" project to spur me to go back to not only sewing or knitting WIPs** but to stories I've started and left hanging.  But rather than make it some kind of goal, which often leads to a sense of failure, I'm working toward satisfaction.  I'm not going to kill myself trying to crank out projects or stories because I said I would; I'm going to work on projects with an eye to satisfying my need to create.  We'll have to see what comes out of that.

Happy October!

*Sometimes I think I need a tattoo that says "Better late than never" because, yes, it's October 2nd
** Work-in-Progress plural, and yes, grammatically it should be WsIP, but it's not.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Maybe a Little Witchy

Jacket:  Eskandar (mom-me-down)
Dress:  J. Morgan Puett (mom-me-down)
Shoes:  Cydwoq
Socks (just glimpsed):  SmartWool

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Kids Say the Darndest Things

True conversation, yesterday, in the ladies room during a break from class.

Young woman (not one of my students):  Are you a professor?

Me:  Yes.

YW:  You look so cool...

Me:  Thank...

YW:  ...I wish my grandma looked like you.

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Waist Not, Want Not

Dress:  Emmelle
Shoes:  Trippen

Thursday, September 17, 2015

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Tis a Gift to Be Simple

I look old and tired, but that's sometimes how it is.
Dress:  Merchant & Mills Trapeze Dress (made by me)
Shoes:  Birkenstocks

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Feel Me, Read Me, Watch Me, Eat Me

Yeah, yeah, yeah, this isn't on a Friday like it used to be, but let's be honest, I wasn't so good about doing it every Friday so now I'm just doing it when it comes to me.  Let's take an organic approach to this blog, shall we?

This summer the ladyfriend and I brought mountain bikes with us to Boulder, CO, and I rekindled my love affair with my mountain bike (a 1998 Gary Fisher Paragon).  My colleague and friend, Melanie Chambers, got into mountain bike racing this summer and has written about it here

Can you ever have enough ways to make comfort food?  ("No," is the short answer.)  I'm excited to try this totally old-school casserole in the crock pot.

And finally, I'm looking forward to listening to the latest Stash and Burn podcast.  Yes, it's true; knitters do like to talk about knitting and yarn and everything related.  It's nice to listen to an easy conversation about it all.  It's especially good when you're knitting!

Have a good week!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Endings and Possibilities

I've been holding onto this post for a while, partly because I wasn't sure what else might end this year.  I guess I was also being a little superstitious despite my general inclinations in that area.

There have been a number of significant things/people/events that have ceased to be this year.  It started when I discovered that our beloved Lakeside Lodge in Gillespie Settlement, New Brunswick had closed without our knowledge (yes, I can be possessive).  We'd been stopping there on our trips to and from Nova Scotia for about eight years and had become close to the owners, Karl and Therese.  While we knew there'd been some problems, most signficantly the rise of food costs that made it difficult to make a profit at the restaurant, we'd figured they'd be figured out (yes, "figured" twice in once sentence).

When I looked up the actual address for a bike trip with my father, I read they'd closed their business.  It felt a little bit like my family had moved and sold the family house without telling me.  I tried to find a way to reach Karl and Therese because we'd never had a chance to say goodbye, but that is one of the things about endings.  Sometimes you don't get that opportunity.

The second significant end was the death of my college boyfriend, Pete.
(Note:  this image is from after we were dating and after I'd graduated)

I'd always felt I'd see Pete again.  He was what many people have - the one I felt there was unfinished business with (and no, I didn't think we were going to get back together or something).  So when an old college friend sent me the news, I was shocked and so full of grief.  Even now, I find it a little hard to understand.

The third significant ending was the end of the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival.  At least I knew that was coming when I went, but it didn't make it any easier, and I'm finding that I pull up images and moments in my mind that I know will never happen again.  Fest had become, in the six years since we first attended, a major part of my life.  It was a place that was yes, full of contradictions, but a place where contradictions could be allowed and examined.   One may think it's a cop-out, but I have no need to discuss the politics and various machinations that led to its end.  What I have to say is that I realized this year, while walking around Fest, that Fest allowed me to rise to my full stature - something that is so hard to do off the Land.  I'm trying to carry that around with me as I move through the world now.

There have been other endings as well.  I feel like this is the year for them, and maybe it's because I'm turning 50 (the ladyfriend turned 50 earlier this month).  I am choosing to see these things as opening up space for new possibilities from something as simple as making the trip to Nova Scotia in two days rather than three and freeing up a little time to reconnecting with one of my best friends from college.
Same New Year's Eve; same awesome sweater
This year has been huge for me in so many ways, and much of it fills me with excitement.  Can I tell you that I've read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and am considering changing my relationship to my stuff?  Opening literal and figurative space in my life could really allow me to take on the next decade being more and more of the person I want and believe myself to be.  This may all sound a bit, I don't know, new agey or something, but there it is.

September always brings a new year for many of us.  It's good to take a moment to recognize the shifts in our lives, and while we grieve them sometimes, it helps to recognize that they've opened space for new things as well.  Just thought I'd share that.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: First Communion

Someone walked in while I was taking this; a little embarrassing
Dress:  Rue du Mail
Shoes:  Robert Clergerie
Sunglasses:  Tom Ford

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

As Patti Smith Has Said

the people have the power.

As the US Presidential campaign gets into full-on looney-bin circus mode, with the Canadian political spectacle not far behind, and I hear stories like the one on As It Happens yesterday about Megan Nobert, it's hard not to believe we're going to hell in a handbasket.  Frankly, my faith that governments or other large "corporations" (sometimes it's hard to tell the difference) to affect change and actually take care of people, animals, and the environment is pretty damn low.  So it was great to read the NYTimes report on the Sea Shepherd's efforts to stop illegal fishing.  I hope you take a minute to read it, and hey, stop ordering Chilean sea bass already.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Coming Into the Home Stretch

Our neighbors, right across the street, at the community pasture
Yesterday the ladyfriend put our time here into perspective.  We always have this sense that time is flying by, but when we stop to think about what we've done while we've been here (and when we did it), we realize that we've pretty much enjoyed each day to its fullest, and that's what we like.  We've puzzled, biked, gone to Halifax to attend an opening, visited friends, read, crafted, swum, and more.  However, it's not so much about what we've done or accomplished since we've been here; it's the way this place constantly renews us.
The ladyfriend at the Halifax Farmers' Market
We have a little over a week left before we head back home.  August is a busy month for us as we are home only for a few, most likely frantic, days before we go to MichFest (more on that in another post), visit the ladyfriend's mother & family in Colorado, and finish getting ready for the school year.  (I think I have let go of any surprise that we hit the ground running in August; it happens every year this way.)  I have the feeling that this coming week will be a busy one.  Not only is it River John Days, but we'll be trying to see our friends here one more time as well as take care of some business and get a few more days of swimming in.  The great thing is that we always have faith we'll be here again next summer so there's no reason to fret about what did or didn't happen this time.

It's been a good creative time for me.  I'm working on a new collection of short stories and am starting to get a sense of the shape of that landscape.  I'm hoping to get one story finished (or as near to that as possible) to use for a residency application, but that might be a bit much to ask.  I am, in the meantime, attempting to cultivate a "work-lust" a la Seamus Heaney.  I thank my friend Karen, at Day In & Day Out for the quote and inspiration!

Things change quickly, last week's puzzle gets taken apart to make way for the next one.