Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Who Doesn't Want to Learn to be a Chef in 4 Hours?

I have read two books written by Tim Feriss, The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Work Week, and learned many useful things from both books.  His writing style is very accessible and engaging.  Now he has a book coming out that I look forward to with great anticipation, because a cook I am not.  However, I'm always looking for new (easy) recipes and working to improve my health by cooking at home.  So join me in checking out his new book, 4-Hour Chef

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Kudos to Starbucks

I was very impressed when I popped into Starbucks on my way out for Thanksgiving to find that they are selling a Create Jobs bracelet.  It's red, white and blue and says "Indivisible".  It's only $5 (or your chosen donation) and the money goes to the Opportunity Finance Network® to create and sustain jobs. It will provide capital grants to select Community Development Financial Institutions to provide financing to underserved community businesses which include small business loans, community center financing, housing project financing and microfinance.  I appreciate that Starbucks really is working to create jobs.  I immediately bought my bracelet and wear it proudly.  The need for job creation really hits home when you are out there looking for a job, like I am.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Season of Thanksgiving, Words About Hope

I finished The Education of Millionaires yesterday, and then happened to catch Charlie Rose's interview with Dov Seidman, whose book is Why How We Do Anything Means Everything.  That will be my next non-fiction read for sure.  Here are two quotes from the book:

. . .inspiring workers with values and missions worthy of their commitment.
Creativity, helpfulness, and hope can't be commanded; they can only be inspired in people.
Another comment on the book that rung true with me is "morality fades with distance."

It seems to me that especially when things aren't going well, i.e., these challenging financial times, our true values become apparent.  When the bottom line is served to the detriment of those who helped an organization achieve success, hope leaves the room.  When a company is running so lean that those who make the whole thing hum are constantly stressed and joyless, any company success is unsustainable.

I am truly thankful for some time between jobs to learn new things and ramp up my creativity.  I'm also thankful that the "occupy" folks have started us off on an important conversation and re-evaluation of what is truly important.  Let's make that conversation fruitful.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Wine Sweaters

This is the time of year when everything is a bit happier with a warm, wooly sweater - so why not our favorite bottles of wine?  I've been crocheting wine sweaters, tweaking the patterns as I go along.  Some of my sweaters so far.
This combines my love of crochet and my penchant for collecting beautiful buttons and beads wherever I find them. 

Here's another design incognito among the hats and glass at last weekend's artists' sale.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Today It's All About The Swag

While the sky is clear I must hop transport north to drop off my contribution to the EtsyRain holiday show swag bags. Here's a sneak peek.

Nicely composed little wooly pins that can be pinned onto a coat, hat, sweater to brighten the winter just a bit. 

I quite appreciate my library of crochet/craft books because now I can comb through them and take ideas from patterns to create new things.

Shop Handmade! Shop Seattle-made! Go etsyRAIN Go!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An Attitude of Giving

"The happier you are in giving, the more people are excited to be around you.  You become 'sticky'."
This is a quote from Russell Simmons in a great book I am reading, The Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg.  I haven't finished the book, so can't give a full review yet, but it has proven to be a wise and very interesting read thus far.  The author interviews many successful individuals who did not complete a formal college education.   His "Success Skill #1" is How to Make your Work Meaningful and your Meaning Work, or How to Make a Difference in the World Without Going Broke.  An excellent beginning.

I feel strongly that living life with an attitude of giving and gratitude lifts your own spirits and the spirits of those around you.  May you all have baskets full of grace and blessings, and let us share them with one another.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mini-Bulldog Cape

I don't know about other crafters out there, but my hands are simply shocked if I am sitting of an evening without a crochet hook or needle in my hands.  During artists' sale weekends my brain is ready to zone out in front of the TV when I arrive home and collapse in a heap in my chair, but my hands don't always comply. 

To keep my hands happy, I took a lesson from Dottie Angel and her lucky bunny cape and crocheted a dashing cape for my handsome little bulldog.  Doesn't he look warmer?  (I was going to say happy, but perhaps it is impossible for a bulldog face to look happy.)
A project which kept my crafting brain ticking along, a little sparkliness to brighten the dark winter days.  It warms the cockles of my crafter's heart.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Artists' Sale - Continued

Only off-and-on rain and wind, which is good for artists' sale weekends.  If it's too sunny, everyone is outdoors and not in a shopping state of mind.  If the weather is quite inclement, nobody wants to leave their house. 

Nice seating tableau, made me want to sit down and have a cup of coffee, but I had missed my bus so needed to keep walking to make opening hour at our artists' sale venue.

I especially love the blue window on the fence.  Lots of style in a small side yard.

This looks like a party!  Three barbecues in two yards and a chandelier hanging in the tree.  I thought they only did that on HGTV, but I've been proven wrong.

One of our signs that has lasted well through wind and rain.  After the doors close tonight, as well-behaved sign posters, we pull them all down and recycle them for the next show.

Some glass and crochet photos from the show thus far.

I'm not sure what happened here, but Nico appears to be pouting and Ana looks quite pleased with herself.

This tophat was too cute to last, it went home on someone's head and she was looking good with its stylish wooliness keeping her ears warm.
Don't they look sweet when they're sleeping in a pile?  Who knew that Karen's glass plates were such a cozy cat snoozing spot?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Artists' Show First Night Shenanigans - Those Crazy Cats

While waiting for customers on a rainy Friday night, Nico and Ana couldn't resist Karen's glass.

Ana went first into a lovely transparent pink vase.

Could Nico be far behind?

Of course not, check out Mr. Casual in blue!

I hope they're not bored today, because further play poses will surely be on the way.  It's a good thing they're so soft and plush, with all that glass around.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Artists' Sale Weekend - Come One, Come All

I'm not surprised that the wind and promised rain have arrived on the day Karen and I will be driving around putting up signs for our artists' sale weekend.  It is November, after all.

We'd love it if you would come visit us.  There will be cookies and cider in the kitchen and we get tired of hearing our own stories at some point over the course of the weekend, so come and share yours!  It's a great chance to buy about as locally as you can get - from the women who created the items; and you'll get a jump on holiday shopping in the most congenial of atmospheres.

Who Will Blink First?

The staredown.  Ana and mouse meet for the first time and try to psych each other out.

Who will win this epic battle? 

Run, little mouse, run!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Tophats Keep Coming

I just love this Tophat design.  It looks great in every size, and you can dress it up with all kinds of motifs.  Admittedly, sometimes I get lost in motif creation mode and don't get much else done.

I could try to get Folded Ear Cat to model my creations, but if you know cats, you know how that would turn out.  There would be blood.  It would be mine. 

Percy and outdoor stone cat are much more amenable.  Totally silent, in fact.  That's very handy in a model.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Top Hat with Cherry Detail

Tophat with Cherry Detail

Nico's Sunday Adventures

Sunny and crisp this morning, so Nico got himself up a tree.

Somebody's feeling quite proud of himself!

Is this a yoga position?  Cats get into the funniest positions.

No more pictures!  Can't a cat get a little peace up his favorite tree?

Okay, one more shot, inside with a comfy friend.

Folded Ear Cat's Best Tunnel Ever

I bought Folded Ear Cat a lovely crinkly round tunnel, which she rubs her face against and has walked through a few times.  Then came her favorite tunnel ever - a nice, sturdy box that brought a new appliance to our home.

It's long and doubly thick so I tap my fingers over it, make it rock back and forth, but she knows she's still safely hidden inside.

Who you lookin' at?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Seen: November 5

This house has just received an entire second story, and I really love the details on the balcony.

I've seen this bush around town and must research further, as it is my favorite color - purple!

Somebody had the great idea to plant a tree with leaves that turn red in the fall right in the middle of this street heading to Greenlake.

Another beautiful Seattle-in-November day, and we were all out walking the neighborhood to enjoy it.  Just like at the beach, where as soon as the clouds parted the doors on every house and trailer opened and people streamed out to walk while the weather was cooperating.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dashing Top Hat

My hands have not been idle!  Here is Percival (Percy to his friends) showcasing the stylish top hat I finished last night.  Who doesn't need one of these?  In the event any of my new items don't go to new homes at our artists' sale next weekend, they will arrive in my Etsy shop.

What Stylish Wine Bottles are Wearing this Season

Isn't it simply appalling that so many people send their gifts of wine out into the world naked?  Well, I've been busy working on a solution.  Really, I think every bottle of wine would feel better wearing its own cozy sweater.  Here's what I've come up with so far.
You may want to put a sweater on your wine bottles as they hang around your house waiting for an event, or to keep the temperature of the wine where you want it as it waits to be poured into glasses.  

Those lucky people you are gifting with a bottle of wine wll be impressed by the stylishness of your presentation. 

Wine sweaters may travel the world as people add the wine sweater that came to them as a gift to a bottle of wine they are gifting to someone else. 
I'm already thinking up new patterns, because I learned from Mom that patterns are just there to be messed with.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Seen: November 3 Edition

I don't need to walk far in my neighborhood before I see something that makes me want to snap it.

Could this stone house be any more move-in ready?  Moss on the roof and surrounded by gardens.  It's even elevated for the best views. 

While it does have charming windows, it doesn't appear to have a door or an elevator, so that might present problems with its habitability.

I do love nice paned windows, so I'm tempted to move right in.

What a lovely tableau with the stones, Asian light and tiny stone animal.  Somebody had an artistic eye when creating this garden. 

I do love a nice porch, and the gray plays nicely against the accents which are almost purple.  It looks like a cottage that could be in a fairy tale, and yet it's just down the street.

The red mailbox that reads Post is a nice finishing detail.

We Have a Winner in the Juice Category

I am committed to using the unearthed juicer on a daily basis and some fruit and vegetable combinations have turned out to be more palatable than others.  So far I've found two combinations that are winners in my book.

Orange, Grapefruit and Beet.  This juice is worth it for the color alone.  Glorious, frothy red.  It's tasty, whether with ruby red or regular grapefruit.  It is also good with oranges and beets alone, if you aren't a fan of grapefruit.

Tomato, Carrot and Red Bell Pepper.  I see that I have a red theme going here, not on purpose, although I am a colorful gal.  I am a tomato appreciator, so have been trying different combinations.  Tomato juice alone is surprisingly bland, but the carrot peps it up and the red pepper adds just enough pizzazz to make it interesting.  This would be a good morning zippy juice.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Neighborhood in Fall

What a lovely day to walk through the neighborhood.  The leaves are starting to show their colors and the air is crisp.  Fall colors and lovely lights:
Here's a cat with all the perks - check out the ramp and pet door!
You gotta love a pumpkin carver with a sense of humor:

Happy, happy November, one and all.

The First Pattern I Have Created and Written Down

I've made up or altered a lot of crochet patterns over the years, but have I written any of them down?  Not until now.  This morning I decided to create a blanket for Ana the cat (somehow related to Nico the cat), who hasn't arrived yet, but will imminently.  You know how you starting crocheting or knitting as soon as you know a baby is on the way?  Well, that was me today.  Luckily I had a lovely sunny spot to sit in while I was doing it - a perfect morning.
The photo doesn't do justice to the variegated yarn which is lovely and glossy.  I added mohair in the middle and around the edges for extra comfy cuddliness.

There it is - Ana's blanket.  I hope she likes it.