Ice and Inspiration

December in Maine

So last night we had a big ice storm: power lines are down, traffic lights are out and the roads are covered in ice and sleet - so I'm taking one of my four snow days  today.

Outline of Ice

For those of you not from places that get lots of snow and ice, you may wonder how an ice storm differs from a snow storm. Well, the ice storm is generally thought to be more dangerous because everything gets covered and encased in a thick coating of ice. This causes problems for trees and powerlines especially, because the added weight often snaps branches, etc. That said, it's also rather pretty.

Frozen Winterberries

Also, I was tagged a little over a week ago by Bitter Betty to list 6 things I'm inspired by right now, so here's goes:

  1. My newest blog find - sew I do. She makes the cutest clothing for herself, her adorable son, and husband. It makes me glad that I saw some unexpected sewing time available today!
  2. The song "Charlie Darwin" by the Low Anthem - it was on the latest Paste sampler cd and I keep playing it over and over again.
  3. Portland's Buy Local movement/business alliance. I'm aiming to make all my Christmas gifts be handmade or locally purchased and since we have so many great shops here, it's not hard to do! Seriously- if you're ever in the area and want some suggestions - just ask!
  4. The smell of pine - we already have our wreath and we're getting the tree tomorrow - hopefully it's still in one piece!
  5. Pushing Daisies - this show has lots of pie, adorable clothing, and a P.I. who stress knits - I am so sad this show is canceled, but at least we have TV on DVD.
  6. Handknitted sweaters and socks- I've been wearing the ones I have and I want to make more and more!
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I was tagged by StinaStuff to list seven random things about myself - I'll be answering the questions from the giveaway at the end of the month, but these may sate your wondering about me appetite for now. 1. Not including family members and Mr. Cleaver, I've had 18 different roommates over the years.

Here are some of them: Roomies

2. I've played the celtic harp since I was 12, though I haven't lived in the same state as my harp for the past five years, so you could say I'm a little rusty.  I could, however, probably still play you "Scarborough Fair."

3. In 6th grade I was literally head and shoulders above my classmates, I'm still fairly tall (5'9"), but it seems as though everyone else caught up.


4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone; The Giving Tree; and Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus are just a few of the books I own in Latin, along with things like the Aenid and Metamorphoses. I also own a cookbook of ancient Roman recipes.

5. I absolutely adore carousels - the older the better. And before I ride one I always watch a couple of go-arounds to pick out the best horse/creature.


6. I am comfortable using a table saw, a jigsaw, band saw, a drill press, and pneumatic nail gun. For my scene shop final in college I made a wooden marionette from scratch. His name is Frank and his feet are disproportionally small to the rest of his body. I am no Geppetto. 

7. I know how to use a semicolon.

I'm going to tag 

Fancy Elastic







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Acting Touristy

Chicago's First Lady


As of today, I have 10 days left in Chicago, so it was excited to have the opportunity to play the tourist this week with my coworkers.  Every year we take a field trip during the summer. My first year we saw the new baby beluga at the Shedd Aquarium; last year, we went to the Taste of Chicago; this year, we decided to take the Chicago Architecture Foundation's river tour. 


Wrigley Building


We went out on the water at noon on Tuesday, and despite the apocalyptic storm the night before (as in over 800 lightening strikes a minute and its peak and there were tornado sirens!), we had beautiful weather. It was almost too sunny and a lot of my pictures were overexposed, but I did like how some of them turned out.  


Bridge House

And true to the docent's promise, I did learn some really neat stuff about the city and its architecture.  It was definitely worth the trip.

Rivet Buster 1

I'll definitely miss Chicago when we go, but I can take comfort in the fact that I have done and seen a lot of the city. From living in Hyde Park to checking out the museums, I've been a pretty good live-in tourist for the past 2.25 years.


On an entirely different note, I've received The Smile Award courtesy of Stina's Stuff. It's my first blog award so I'm super excited!

Characteristics for the Smile Award are as follows: 

  1. Must display a cheerful attitude. (not necessarily at all times–we are all human)
  2. Must love one another
  3. Must make mistakes
  4. Must learn from others
  5. Must be a positive contributor to blog world
  6. Must love life
  7. Must love kids

These are the rules:

  1. The recipient must link back to the award’s creator (
  2.  You must post these rules if you receive the award.
  3. You must chose 5 people to receive the award after receiving it yourself
  4.  You must fit the characteristics of the recipient of the award, as posted by Mere.
  5. You must post the characteristics of a recipient.
  6. You must create a post sharing your win with others.
  7.  You must thank your giver.

I'd like to give the award to the following folks:

  1. Bitter Betty Blogs: mother, crafter, vintage sewing diva extraordinare, and all-around awesome lady.
  2. Blue Yonder : I'm inspired by the adventures she shares with her boys and she is only encouraging my desire to raise a bunch of chickens.
  3. Non-Profit Girl, a friend from college, who takes a look at Portland, OR and the non-profit world.
  4. Cult of Domesticity: My blog-land domestic twin, who is expecting her first child
  5. The Fabled Needle,  someone who takes action to follow her dreams and has a wicked awesome sense of style.
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I Have a Problem


You know how they say that married couples start to look like each other? Well at eight months of marriage, it's a little soon for that, but there are definitely things I've picked up from my husband, like an appreciation for REM and baseball, and now, he's penchant for obsessions.

Summiting Everest

By obsessions I mean that he will get really interested in a particular subject and read and watch everything there is about that subject for about two months. A few months ago it was the Mafia: several seasons of The Sopranos and three or so books on the mob. He's currently into the World Series of Poker and has been reading about poker players, watching WSofP on YouTube, and playing online poker on Facebook.

Summiting Everest

I admit to having often kidded him about this, and of course, now I am doing the same thing about Everest. A few months ago we picked up a second hand copy of Into Thin Air, and last week, being in between books, I decided it would be a quick read - and indeed it was, as I couldn't put it down. Then Mr. Cleaver informed me that the Frontline episode "Storm Over Everest" was available for viewing on their website (until 6/13 at least), so I watched that and read every interview excerpt on the site, and then I went to Wikipedia, which led me to other sites, which lead to me other sites, and you get the picture. And then I went to the library today and ending up with the stack to see here.

The thing that intrigues me about Everest is the 1996 season in particular, because there are so many gaps in each version of the story I've looked at so far. Jon Krakauer admits in his book that things that he was 100% sure about were later proven to be untrue, and the Frontline film makes a very clearly goes out of its way to not mentioning several people on the mountain, to the extent that it makes it seem as though they were'nt even there and from what I've read so far, Anatolli Boukreev's version is clearly written only to bite his thumb at Krakauer and make himself look good. The activities of the numerous sherpas on the mountain and their views on the whole thing are also surprising absent from all accounts.

All of this, coupled with the obvious lapses of memory/coherence from lack of oxygen/hypothermia and possible deliberate omission of events, leave a very swiss-cheese tale. And to me, makes it into an intriguing mystery, I'm not likely to solve, but it's a fun trip, so I'm going to let this obsession run itself out for a while.

Mail from Bitter Betty

In other news, I received a lovely little package from Bitter Betty in the mail today, containing an awesome wood-handled tracing wheel I won in a give-away on her blog. Thanks Betty!

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Busy Bee!

Busy Bee Apron

A few weeks ago somebody asked me if I really liked yellow. 

At the time I was a little confused, "Why do you ask?" I said.

"Every time I see you you're wearing yellow," she said.

At the time I passed it off as a good combo for the green I often consciously wear, but as I though about itI saw she was right  - yellow is creeping more and more into my wardrobe. Nor is it the first time. The first pair of shoes I ever really got excited about was a pair of bright yellow Adidas with blue stripes I had in high school  (the school colors at that!). 

Another case in point this apron:

Busy Bee Closeup

This apron's life started shortly after Christmas when a co-working, hearing I had made an apron for a Christmas gift, asked me to make her one before the summer was out. Being as this co-worker is the #1 best thing about my current job and I was given a long lead time, I happily agreed. Fast-forward several months later and I'm in my favorite fabric store where I discover this fabulous section I'd never looked in before: Ribbon. Spools upon spools of fantastic ribbon!

First, I spotted some lovely cherry ribbon, which I snagged a few yards of, then I saw this bee ribbon and it was all over for me. I practically had to run out of the store to prevent coming home with a car load of ribbon, it was all so wonderful. Of course I knew bees and cherries would make perfect adornments for that apron I had agreed to make and so I picked out the blue and yellow gingham you see above to complete the project. 

I will admit that when I started making this apron I fully intended to give it away, but being as this was my first designed-from-scratch piece, I made allotments for the seams, but not the hemming/edging, so my apron ended up being a little smaller than planned, so this one works as a lesson learned (and a little something pretty for my apron collection.)


Glamour Bee

The good news is that this apron only took me a weekend to complete (including finishing every seam so there are no raw edges - as inspired by Bitter Betty), so I should be able to make a new one fairly soon, though it'll likely be a variation on this one, just to keep things interesting. :)

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