Monday, January 29, 2007

Flannel sheets and eggs

Had a rather low-key weekend. Kurt is up in Boston until Tuesday evening so I hung out with friends and slept in late in my super comfy flannel sheets, which my mom got for me. Aren't those the cutest snowflakes?!

Kurt and I usually have big brunch-type breakfasts on the weekends, but since I was alone and didn't feel like frying up bacon and chopping veggies for a single omelet, I decided to just make some hard boiled eggs. It's simple, yet oh-so-good. The sun was so bright that morning that I had to take a shot of my breakfast!

This weekend I also saw Munich, finally, and Pan's Labyrinth. Both were very good movies. I watched Munich until midnight last night and then proceeded to dream about it the rest of the night! Except this time I was in the movie, which wasn't cool at all. I was glad when the alarm went off.
Pan's Labyrinth was good, albeit gory, but I think it got hyped up too much because I was left with a " wasn't THAT good" feeling, which was disappointing. Guillermo Del Toro's imagination is out of this world, that's for sure! The annoying translator part of me kept checking the subtitles and thinking, "hmm...I wouldn't have said it like that" or "what?! that's NOT what he said" or "ooooh, that's a good translation for that." The mind never stops working, does it?
The next movie I want to watch is Notes on a Scandal. I saw the trailer for it before Pan's Labyrinth and it looks very good!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Seething, huh?

This is Magellan. He's my sister-in-law's adorable little doggie, which she adopted in China. She went to the market one day to buy vegetables and brought him home instead. When she first saw him he was only a tiny puppy, but already the cage he was kept in was too small. She felt soooo bad for him, that she convinced his owner to sell him to her and brought him home. And good thing she did because he's just about the most adorable dog you could meet (except for you Flaco, of course). After seeing Flaco's moment in the spotlight, I was told that Magellan was "seething with jealously." (his exact words!) I felt terrible, so today's post is dedicated to him. :) Isn't that just the cutest face you've ever seen???? (sorry, Flaco!)

This is Kristen, Magellan's mommy. She's modelling the scarf I recently dyed for her, but forgot to take a picture of before mailing it out. It's now a soft teal, which looks great on her! I'm pleased with the way it turned out. Thanks for the picture, Kristen!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A few of my favorite things

Here's a photo I took a while ago. It was all the junk that was strewn all over the kitchen table. As I looked at it trying to motivate myself to clean it up, I realized that it was like I had unconsciously collected some of my favorite things: The new Netflix membership that my friend, Alex, got us for Christmas; Shina Ringo CDs we just ordered from Japan; Anthropologie catalogs with all their beautiful clothes!; My schedule from the Corcoran College of Art and Design telling me that my new surface design class is starting on January 25th (tomorrow!!!); and tucked under all that stuff is a coupon from Godiva for 2 free truffles. YUM YUM!

I decided to take a picture of it instead of cleaning it up. :)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Six weird things

Alicia tagged me (thanks!) to tell six weird things about myself, so here goes nothin'.

Well, I am deathly afraid of windmills. Not necessarily those big, old fashioned ones like this one, but those new white ones with the three white blades. I'm not sure when exactly I developed this fear or why, but on the drive to Wisconsin from DC, there's a whole ROW of these things. And of course, just like the movies, you see them just as you're cresting a hill. Kurt always says, "DON'T LOOK!" but I always do. I say, "Don't look at wh--? AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!" And then I get this weird feeling in my stomach/chest, like I'm seeing the cause of my impending death with mine own eyes!

My husband says I have a "pouring problem." When I pour water or juice into a glass, I tend to pour too quickly and it splashes out of the glass and all over the counter. I can only remember 2 times when that didn't happen...

Lots of people have a problem with seeing blood or gory films. I don't have that problem. I've always loved medicine so I think I developed the ability to separate myself from the situation at an early age. I can't, however, handle anything that has to do with...the ankles. If someone twists an ankle in a movie, I scream. (Remember Misery? I thought I would pass out!) If someone gets shot in the head, however, I remain unfazed. Go figure.

My profession is Translator and Conference Interpreter. I love the work, but this has somehow given almost everyone I know the license to regard me as a walking dictionary. They didn't warn me of this in grad school... On the up side, I can listen to about 4 conversations at once without getting lost!

I actually got so mad once I SAW RED. It happens. Trust me. It's not just a saying. It scared me so bad that I have yet to remember what I was so mad about.

My favorite hobbies are eating and sleeping. No question about it. I loooove eating and usually don't stop when I'm full, but rather when the joy of eating has subsided (to counter that, I have to run 5.5 miles a day). I also love sleeping, especially when there's a waffle blanket to snuggle up with! I love sleeping so much that I get pretty cross when the alarm is set on the weekends. (Kurt can tell you aaaaaaaaaallll about that!) I consider it my time to sleep sleep sleep. Although I'm usually up by 9 at the latest, it's the possibility of sleeping til noon that I love!

What's your weird characteristic? :)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Shop update!!!

Almost forgot to mention that I updated my shop this past weekend. Make sure to take a look! Valentine-y things are yet to come. :)

Shhh, listen....there's no sound

It snowed in DC yesterday. Finally! Just a couple weeks ago it was near 70 degrees! My husband and I were so excited that we bundled up and went out for a walk. It's always wonderful to hear that first crunching of snow under your feet. And then when you stop walking, you notice the overall quiet and calm that only snow can bring. It's great!

Some of the houses in Takoma Park are gorgeous. These are two of our favorites. They looked even more beautiful with the snow falling lightly on them. And Kurt looks so happy! :)

Some memorable scenes from our walk:

AAAAAAHHHHHHHH. It's finally winter...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Cuckoo for cuckoo clocks

For months now, I have been reading online about cuckoo clocks. Whether about one that someone found at a garage sale or in a box up in the attic, or the modern versions available for purchase now, like the Urban Outfitters silhouette cuckoo clocks. All are very cool, but NONE operate with the original metal weights. They were all disappointingly battery operated.
Until now!
I just found this one at the MoMA Store. It's pricey, $375, but MAN IS IT COOL!!! And to top it all off, it has the traditional chains and metal weights. I'll definitely have to save up for this!!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Kurt's Christmas Present Part II

Kurt's second Christmas present was a brush roll for his painting brushes. I used the same materials as for the pencil case but instead of a leather button, I used a leather ring (with I actually found at a bead store) and leather cord to tie it closed with. Unfortunately, the picture here is a bit dark and you can't see the ring that clearly, but you can sort of see it in the next picture. Here's what it looks like on the inside:

I really liked the way it turned out and it fits 20 brushes in total. This is the same pattern I used for the knitting needle case I made the other day. Very handy pattern, come to think of it!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Kurt's Christmas Present Part I

Sometime last year, my husband sketched out a pencil case he wanted for when he went out and sketched outside or traveled. Months later, when I was trying desperately to figure out what to make him for Christmas, I remembered the sketch. I looked through every scrap of paper in his work area (and believe me there are a LOT!) and finally found it! I made a pattern according to his drawings and started looking for fabric. I wanted to make it out of some durable material so he didn't have to be careful with it (that's no fun). I decided on canvas for the outside, which I hand dyed indigo using Shibori techniques.
The inside is oilskin that I purchased by the yard online. It's waterproof and if it gets dirty, you just have to wait until the dirt dries and then brush it right off. It's great stuff and really easy to work with. My friend, Alex, who rides horses and worked on a horse ranch one summer, told me that cowboys swear by oilskin. That just made it extra cool! :)
The pencil case has a flap that comes down to cover the tops of the pencils and a little removable pocket that holds his favorite eraser.

The eraser pocket attaches to the case with a magnetic button and the whole case is secured with a plain leather button that matches perfect with the oilskin. Kurt loved it!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


This is Flaco. He's my friend, Alex's dog. He's an English Pointer and she rescued him from the pound in Spain. He was so emaciated when she found him that she had to carry him home and hand feed him until he was strong enough to do it on his own. That's where he gets his name "Flaco." It means skinny in Spanish. He's had a tough life, there's no doubt, but now, he's very spoiled! My husband and I gave him that squirrel you see in the picture for Christmas. He loves it! He has such a soft mouth that he just nibbles on the paws! It's soooo cute!! :)

We dog-sat Flaco this last weekend so that Alex could attend her dad's graduation in Maine. While I was taking some pictures of new scarves that I'll be posting on my shop soon, I decided to make use of the camera and tripod and zoom in on the beautiful face that was watching me work! Good thing he sat still long enough for me to take it. He's known to flail when the camera is on him.

This weekend I also made myself a roll for my long knitting needles. I have yet to make one for my short ones, but here's a look at the one I made yesterday. All the fabrics are Amy Butler designs.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Good morning

Why is it that some people stare at
you blankly when you say good morning to them? I have lived on the west coast, the midwest, and the east coast and I must say that east coasters are generally not as friendly as the rest of the country. I apologize to the east coasters reading this blog entry. I encourage you to correct me if I'm wrong. Maybe I just live with a bunch of uptight jerks, but it seems that east coasters are more hesitant (afraid?) to say hello to their fellow neighbor. I could understand this hesitation if I was total stranger and we just happened to be walking down some dark alley. But I see these people everyday. I say hello! and they 1. ignore me or 2. look at me and then look away with this self important look on their face or 3. (my favorite) walk faster as if they recently saw me on the 10 most wanted list. I just don't get it.

Anyway, the photo you see above is of the awesome Rosanna loot I got for Christmas. I got the set of 3 mixing bowls with pour spouts (thanks Tom and Janet!) and the Red Velvet mugs (thanks Kyle and Heather!), which we had apple cider in last night. They are very beautiful. The fabric in the background is indigo dyed Shibori that I bought in Japan several years ago. I was cleaning out the kitchen drawer a couple of weeks ago and found it. I gasped at its beauty as I had when I bought it years ago. I really have to do something with that piece. It would be a shame if it just stayed folded up in my fabric basket.

This weekend I'll be posting some goodies on my shop for anyone interested. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

King Charles Brocade

This is a knitting project I'm currently working on (one of several). It's called the King Charles Brocade knit and I'm hoping to double the size of the piece you see here and make a little purse with it. I plan to line it with some left over Amy Butler fabric that I have (below) and put a little zipper on it in some flashy color like red or pink. Super cute!

Tonight my husband and I are going to eat at the Oval Room. It's restaurant week here in DC, which means that all the super expensive restaurants have set menus for lunch and dinner. Lunch is $20 and dinner is $30. The price includes appetizer, dinner, and dessert. A pretty good deal considering you'd end up paying about $50-60 per person at most of these restaurants any other time of the year. Gotta take advantage while we can! Can't wait.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Vintage buttons

I picked up this lovely jar of vintage buttons in Columbus, Wisconsin, during the Christmas holiday. We were actually at the Antique Mall looking for a spritz cookie press (which we found, yeah!).

But I often get distracted.

I just love button jars! There's always a crazy surprise button or a button that's so awesome it was worth buying the whole jar just for that one button! There were some really nice pearly ones in this batch. Can't wait to use them on a tote or bag!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Root Vegetable Soup

MMMMM root vegetable soup! I made it up the other day. It's really good and easy to make, so I thought I'd share the recipe.

Serves 2-3 people

Fill a 3 quart pot, 3/4 of the way full with water and add the following:

3 medium sized potatoes
1 sweet potato
3 turnips
turkey or chicken (I used frozen, already cooked, left over Thanksgiving turkey)
1 chicken boullion cube
rosemary, salt, and pepper to taste

Bring to a boil and then simmer until root vegetables are done.

Later that night I also dyed a pashmina for my sister-in-law, Kristen. She had gotten it as a gift, but it was this horrible pale pink color. I dyed it a gorgeous teal that I'm sure will compliment her beautifully. I didn't even think to take a picture of the pashmina after I dyed it (sorry!) but I did manage to take a picture of the packaging.

I send all my Tomoe goods wrapped in paper and sealed with wax. I'm not sure if you can see it in the photo, but you can sort of make out the brown string under the wax. I love that. To protect the pashmina underneath, I placed a card in between, and stamped and embossed it with my awesome new bird stamp.
Kurt, my husband, helped me a bunch with this stamp. He's an illustrator and can draw basically anything you ask him to. I told him I wanted a stamp of a cute, fat birdie and TA-DAH! He came up with this adorable illustration. He transferred it onto the block and I cut it out with a lino cutter. Very cool! Maybe I'll make an owl stamp next...Kurt, can you draw me a cute owl perched on a branch? :)

Tonight, after much procrastination, we're going to take down our Christmas tree. We LOVE our Christmas tree and hate to see it come down. It's been especially hard because here in DC it's been very very warm. I'm talkin' 76 last Saturday! It makes taking the Christmas tree down extra depressing, somehow.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

A fresh start!

When I was little, maybe 5th grade, I was given an assignment in my art class: I was to draw a self portrait. I was a bit overwhelmed by the task. Drawing had never been my strong suit, but, like all 10 year olds, I was ready to face the challenge! I penciled every line with great care, erasing when I needed to redraw, carefully positioning my hand so as not to smudge the page, until my self portrait was finally coming along. As I was working, my teacher stops by my desk, leans into my portrait, leans back, looks at me, and says, " nose is all wrong." She erased the nose I had so carefully drawn and in its place draws a horrible pig's nose.

I was devastated.

I was crushed.

Not only had she erased the nose that took me hours to get (sort of) right, but was she insinuating that I had a pig's nose?! From that day on, not only did I have a complex about my nose but I was convinced that I was hopeless when it came to drawing and that, therefore, I had not one artistic bone in my body.

It wasn't until I was 26 that I started thinking about giving the art thing another go. Since drawing was out, and given that I had always loved to buy journals and beautifully made books, I decided to buy a book called Cover to Cover by Shereen LaPlantz and learn how to bind my own books. A couple of years later and after much practice and determination, Tomoe Book Arts was born!

Bookbinding is a fascinating process. Most people don't realize how much work goes into making the very thing they use everyday. I have all these great new ideas for journals and albums that I want to make this year. It has really been fun learning all these new techniques and I'm so glad I got into art again! Make sure to check back often for pictures of works in progress!