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Monday, June 4, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

flying around these parts in one of those icky AmAir puddle jumpers is alot like THIS. Trust me.

I totally blame Gail B. for this -- she sent me down the merry path and then I found This & This as well...

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007


-- high as a kite --

That would be me, still in orbit from a very exciting weekend.

Because of the impossible, improbable, nature of my life, making decisions might be a fast and furious affair.

That's how I found myself in Colombus, Ohio on Saturday.

Even though it took me from 6pm to 2am (Thunder Storms! Tornado! Wind!) to fly the regular one-hour AmEagle flight, even though I was dead-as-a-doornail (we won't even talk about jet-lag hair), even though it was hot, humid and rainy, nothing was going to keep me from the Grand Spectacle.

That would be: THE TNNA NeedleArts Market Show for Fall.

I decided I must attend this event at the very last of last minutes.

And Attend I Did! For one day only...

Starting from the line into the Hall, where I met and gushed over Janet Szabo, it was one high point after another the entire day. The Kelly Sisters from Arcadia gave me some really great moves (thanks!) to use on the hugest of floor plans; it was an amazing pace to attempt.

I sampled as much as I could -- like a progressive dinner of the fiberous sort, I ventured from vendor to vendor filling my plate -- meeting along the way many other diners: from Shannon Oakey from KnitGrrl fame; Ivete Tecedor from Chiagu; Stephanie Japel, who had a very luscious, beautiful booth; to Veronik Avery, the charming and incredible Creative Director of JCA.

Alchemy Yarns housed for the show the talented Lauren Lax and Cathy A -- who I was so happy to finally meet in person!

Every once in awhile I had to go pull the plug and reboot the senses. It was saturation overload! Imagine seeing touching taking many new yarns styles companies into one's jet-lagged brain in such rapid succession that even coffee would not work any magic. But a nice crisp cold bottle of water and a sit-down with Sean from Boston would -- a soda from Annie Modesitt, yes!

I have to say it was a genuine pleasure to chat with Nicky Epstein, who is so gorgeous and talented, she should be doing more Television for Us, the Knitting Nation (hint hint). Seeing the new and established glitterati and goodies all in one place was almost too much for me to bear. As I made my way around the entirely too huge hall, I would glimpse someone or something out of the corner of my eye and go, "No, can't be. IS!"

THIS, coupled with every type of yarn and fiber device one could imagine became a cacaphony of the sort that leaving would only enhance because now I can shout if from the rooftops little-by-little for weeks and weeks.

And yes, I did get a little knitting done...

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...self-portrait Thursday

Now bear with me a minute. WHY is this woman smiling?


It's the first weeks of June and we've been peppered with thunderstorms and humidity and wind. In the world of HAIR, for some of us, this could mean some unplanned radical detours in merry olde Coiffdom.

In my case, with my genetics, my hair, ANYTHING could happen. But what normally happens is that my regular shampoo day dance was not working. I don't wash my hair everyday and don't dry it to the bone stage (more like towel dry, blow a little and then SLAP a couple velcro rollers on the top). I have NEVER been able to go the distance with the hair thing.

During this weather, even by the time I was on the #66, it wasn't really dry and riding that steambox I could feel the little tendrils working their way from neckline to headtop and it felt like I had some type of couch critter on my head! I adore curly hair but my wavy locks don't go there. Ever. Instead: (limp)FRIZZ. oui

Yesterday was different.

I Washed.

I Producted.

I Styled.

Indeed. And I'd gone and bought a brush that looks just like the brush my stylist uses and I attempted to do the deed just like he. And VOILA! Not quite as slick as he, but I had dry hair and no frizz.

And that made me smile :)

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Friday, June 8, 2007



Come enjoy the fresh FUN!


CHICAGO Style—picture from 2006 :)

Saturday, June 9, 2007
Noon to 4 p.m.
Millennium Park -
In the Boeing Gallery South
(Just East of the Crown "Faces" Fountains)

Seasonable temps
high 70's -- Sun
some patches of mid/high clouds

There's nothin' like getting together with a crowd of your best friends and raising a needle or two in the Late Spring Air! sure to bring a camp chair
...are you going?

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Weekend Fashion Fling!

Fast Knit! The Ribby Shell is a great solo piece
that flirts with the summertime breeze...

SKILL LEVEL: Advanced Beginner

34 (37, 40, 43, 46) inches

YARDAGE (Light Worsted or DK yarn):
500 (600, 700, 800, 900) yards

20 sts/28 rows over 4 inches
using #6 needles



the complete Collection at
Le Chic Boutique

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Monday, June 12 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

As all who live in the Big "Fill-in-your-City-AKA-Here"
(erm, Apple, Easy, Windy, etc.)
know, SummerTime brings a wealth of people
from all over to visit your friendly confines.

It also marks the beginning of the for real street performer scene. I have my favorites and my not-so's; a Mime-in-the-Face is a nemesis during the rush hour bus wait. A crabby worker being followed for a half-block could happen - heh. It makes Everyone laugh (except you-know-who).

While walking with my friends down the Boul Mich, we passed my favorite:

the PuppetBike! Here he/she is working cat magic in front of the Art Institue. I am just about to ask where my favorite puppet, Monkee, a Buddhist yogi chimp whose personal hero is Uma Thurman, might be hiding. Delight awaits!

In the moment I look down to turn on my flash, up pop the puppets with a $$!! I am startled because I can't figure out how she saw me! And a little embarrassed because I forgot my manners...

Whew! A quick stuff later and a Happy Dance begins!

And I have to heartily agree with what Kvahle said:

Thank you, Puppet Bike!! You are one of my very favorite things in the city. Every time I see the puppets dancing, I must dance with them!"

Indeed! Support Your Local Puppet!

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

knitting patterns

Paxie, the Pink Pig of Peace Finger Puppet by Mary McCain

There is really nothing like knitting in the open air and a whole lot of folks came out on World Wide Knit-in-Public Day to prove it...

All along the Scultpure Garden east of the Crown Fountain, knitters staked out the nooks and crannies of the walk in the shade and sun. Here, in the middle, Rachel and to her left, KarenB! To the Right -- Michelle, wearing the most awesome sun hat -- and to her right Angela, knitting on the some of the most spectacular sock yarn ever! Angela ALWAYS finds the best of the best -- I've begged her to become my personal shopper. Many, many other happy knitters lined the walk, including fellow Thursday KIPPer, Dana and special guest all the way from Wisconsin, the charming and very talented Cathy.

Meg, a spinning goddess, was soaking up the sun in one of the garden's nooks and crannies.

Bare-footin' it. That's livin' Baby...

A special thanks to Natalia Wilson for all her special touch and hard work to bring us all together!

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

the Farmer's in the Dell

This last weekend was our annual condo home improvement extravaganza! We decided in late winter to pull out our unsuccessful lawn and put pavers in, surrounded by, hopefully a beautiful border. All through the Spring, the gardening has danced through my head, I love it so, and we finally got to it.

Myself and M groomed the borders -- we started by salvaging what we could from the naturalizing day lilies that were by the fence and then I marked a curvy space with a spade all around two sides of the yard. We had a huge pile of weeds and rejects. D used a rented Home Depot tiller to break up the grass and then D & T bagged and shoveled it out and tilled once more.

Then, even though it is really late in the season, I transplanted my favorite purple leaf sand cherry from the front yard to the corner. What I found preparing the new spot was just amazing.

Our house was built about a decade ago over what we found out later was the remains of a fire. When the contractor finished the property, they put in, oh maybe, an inch or two of new top soil over backfill. As I dug in the most hard tack of surfaces, objects were revealed: door handles, bits of wood, bricks, fabric, a bone or two, rocks of all ages, iron spikes, nails, the trivia of a century or so that might better have been left alone.

Instead, I salvaged the most likely and dressed that Cherry Bush with what was dubbed the Ring of the Ancestors as a homage to the layers of history revealed by our change.

I think it was a lucky stroke because even though the Bush had a little transplant shock, it is now stretching and maybe wiggling roots below. I gave it a little haircut too.

More chipping and forking later in the east corner and there was a perrenial bed. We all emptied the soil from our multitude of deck containers (minus old stems, roots, etc.) on the surface and I tried to double-dig the lot (sort of like this but I used a tined fork) with some more bagged topsoil. I really got a workout! My DziaDzia taught me about double-digging before planting and if ever an area needed it, this was it. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the Russian Sage, Veronica, Campanula and bronze-leaf Coral Bells will agree and next year we will have a lush oasis instead.

We ran out of day before the lust to plant was done so I did what any normal person would do: I cast on for a new project!

I was running out of steam though, and all I had energy for was the Lazy Grrlz Provisional Cast On:

Using scrap yarn, cast on the number of sts needed. Attach working yarn. Knit 1 row with new yarn to make stitches to be used later, then continue with chosen pattern. No fussy crochet chain. Barely any counting. Snip out scrap yarn later.

See you all when I get Back! I'm leaving on a Jet Plane, details to come...

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Monday, June 16, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

This is one of my most favorite things about the place I went this weekend. If you can name the location of this sign and explain what it means (in the comments below) you might win a prize!

(Random drawing on Friday to determine winner in case of duplicate answers...)

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

round one

In NYC, everything is larger than life, even Bruce Willis, who's head I
thought could not possibly be any larger than it naturally is, here
measuring in at 3+ stories high...

Every once in awhile, it's good to go somewhere and get the stuffing knocked out of ya.

For me, that place is New York City. Manhattan, to be exact.

It's a humbling thing to be told by a cab driver that your home town is a "miniature New York" but when you find yourself agreeing with him with a big smile on your face, you know you might be in for a very good time.

Three of us flew in for a Surprise Birthday Weekend and we stayed at the Times Square Marriott. I was happy to see from our hotel window that the Harry Potter folk got a much bigger poster than Grease. Teen Angst vs. Teen Angst: Muggles Lose!

Adult Angst: we got off to a rather bumpy start when ATA lost my luggage, but it wasn't long before my man Dennis Leary appeared out of nowhere, expressing my dilemma exactly...

click all small pics for
larger pix

CLEAN: Almighty. Since the last time I was in NYC, things in Times Square have been quite sanitized. There's lots of franchise offerings instead of flesh zones (for instance, an Ann Taylor loft where I picked up an emergency outfit for our theatre date with "The Drowsy Chaperone").

The colorful NYPD station in Times Square is still as neon wonderful as ever, though.

We visited Midtown for dinner before the show and caught some decent seafood at Papillon, 22 E. 54th Street, then walked the neighborhood.

Wear-able? Victoria Beckham has been a busy, busy gal it seems.

She has released her own Denim line, and encourages us all to wear Hot Pants with very High Heels. I must admit, I did not see any New Yorkers sporting this look but it was early.

HOLY: Strolling the avenue, 5th Ave, we passed the St. Patrick's Cathedral (between 50th and 51st St). It has the most incredible 3/4 size figures embedded in its bronze doors.

The interior is much like gothic Euro churches with many small chapels lining the main area. I would love to explore this further.

This figure intrigued me the most.

We laughed so hard and long during the DC, we were almost unable to stroll Broadway After Dark, but I was lucky to find the absolutely Perfect Nightshirt at the Perfect Price (although it was $1 cheaper 1 block over)! We celebrated with a slice nightcap from a Famiglia Pizza stand! AH, sweet dreams...

to be continued...

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

round two

Every Party begins with (a)Toast

First you eat it (french, but of course)

then you Drink It!

None better than that we found in the early A.M. at the City Bakery, (3 W 18th St between 5th and 6th St), where the hot chocolate ("the perfect amalgam of rich, multi dimensional dark chocolate, melted into milk and cream and topped with a homemade marshmallow") is like nothing I've ever tasted, so rich and thick we split it three ways, drank our health and slurped up that marshmallow floating on top. I swear, I was INTOXICATED! Party!

A lovely stroll around the neighborhood followed and a few minutes later we were joining, quite by accident, the shoppers at the Union Square Greenmarket, (located at 17th St & Broadway -- Gramercy).

These were the most beautifully colored eggs!

and, AHA! The most beautifully colored yarn!

There was a stall full of Catskill Merino, hand-raised & hand-dyed by Eugene Wyatt (author of the *Baa Newsletter*), of Swan Lake, NY. I sampled and took 2 beautiful Cochineal skeins and met a hat designer who was stocking up as well.

A short ride later, we found ourselves at the Chelsea Market (75 9th Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets). An unbelievable building, it was the "site of the original Nabisco Bakery, where the Oreo Cookie was born." The market fills a whole city block and is a wonderland of food and sundry.

Every nook and cranny of this antique industrial scape was filled with shops of every kind: bakeries (cupcakes were THE food of the day), meats, wine, cheese, coffee, teas, candles, baskets, JAM (Sarabeth's Blood Orange Marmalade!), and more.

The very best? My favorite: a place called 202. Straight from Notting Hill, England, 202 was the land of designer Nicole Farhi -- really inspired clothing and housewares. She was showing a dark chartreuse taffeta trenchcoat that made me drool! Hmm. Someday. Someway.

In the middle of the concourse was a fountain -- actually just a HUGE open pipe from long ago, racing into a stone-lined cylinder in the floor -- breathtaking -- simple -- ancient.

Next up: SoHo

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Friday, June 22, 2007

round three

South of Houston

After we hit the saturation point at the Chelsea Market (a Sarabeth sugar cookie revived me just fine), we jumped in a cab with Joe, an older Irish gentleman who took us over to SoHo. Joe was the man who insinuated the midget size of Chicago -- he told us he'd visited our Toddlin' Town during WWII on a Navy shore leave (Great Lakes?) and I suspect the town looked a little cramped because maybe he never left the Rush Street taverns! But Joe redeemed himself by beautifully singing Happy Birthday to our b-Girl herself, Edie, AND he stopped in the middle of the West Side Hwy. and picked her a mini-bouquet of roses from the boulevard planter. I took a great picture of Edie and Joe but it's on her cammie. Drat!

We immediately went to Purl SoHo (little aqua shop on right), which was closed for a class so instead we headed out for a different kind of crawl.

First up: LING Skincare, on the corner of Sullivan and Prince. I longed for a facial after a night of tossing and turning dreaming of baggage claims (my luggage showed up at 6 am that morning at the hotel) but instead grabbed some SoHo ToGo:

Three bars of Pineapple Scrub Face Bars jumped in me bag.

Then it was off across the way -- we went to Hannah (boutique -- 155 Prince St.) a charming below street level shop filled with wonderful clothes and accessories. The One That Got Away: I was entranced by a fuschia iridescent silk *jean jacket* that had a very fetching peplum. Its fabric subtly turned gold on an angle but it was one size too small! Instead, I took home a wonderful patterned tank and once we hit street level, found a great turquoise-colored stone necklace from a street vendor, reminiscent of Kenneth J. Lane Nugget necklaces from the 60's:

ONWARD! to Kate's Paperie and then to Bruno's Bakery (506 Laguardia Pl) where we met up with a local friend and split a Lobster Tail (puff pastry filled with hazelnut creme) & a little Pizza Margherita. SUCH a beautiful day to watch the world go by -- see the fabulous New Yorkers and enjoy their indomitable style. I have to agree with Joe a little bit at this point -- NYC rocks out on the style frontier! More people have abandoned (or never indulged) the homogenous GapNation look that is prevelant everywhere. At some point, I was getting whiplash cranking my head to get a longer look at the incredible people speeding by.

I had to calm myself in the only way I know how: SOCK YARN! Purl was re-opened and we made a quick stop and there's my Jitterbug! Bonus: here's the Catskill Merino from yesterday which was feeling a little lonely:

We continued our stroll for the rest of the day seeing the sites passing more incredible everything:

No franchise *homedespot* type of place in SoHo --
Metropolitan Lumber & Hardware -- fabulous!

We finished our day with dinner in Spanish Harlem at PAMPA -- an Argentinian palace of beef -- and strolled Amsterdam Avenue in the twilight, exploring the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine (WHA!?) then visited with friends. Drumroll, please...

Congratulations to Elise (from BROOKLYN!) who wins the copy of "Women's Work" via random drawing of her entry in the "don't block the box" contest. That sign is on Broadway in Times Square. THANKS to everyone who wrote some of the most amusing reading ever. Thanks for commenting AND reading this here blog!

-- PLEASE CHICAGO -- represent and get those signs! Gridlock is for miniatures sissies...

-- PLEASE New York -- why are there 3 Broadways?

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Monday, June 25, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

I am not much of a video gamer (M.M.O.'s anyone?), but recently read a most intriguing article in the NYTimes about The Gold Farmers of the World of Warcraft.

This slideshow, which accompanied the article, fascinated me -- remember, these people could create a character that looked like anything they would desire...

Bonus: History of the Avatar

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

lace cardigan pattern

OK. It's hot.

Obviously. It's Summer:

"The hottest, most humid conditions of the coming 7 days. Hazy sun amid building cumulus clouds. SSW winds push heat up to the Lakeshore. Peak heat indexes: 95-100°. Several isolated afternoon/evening t-storms. Partly cloudy, hazy, muggy at night."

Here in the Big Windy, that means fiesta! Taste of Chicago, our incredibly huge Eating Extravaganza is getting underway down by Buckingham Fountain, taking up not only the park, but about 6 city blocks in a cross-shaped grid. The streets and plazas are filled with tents and stages and carny rides.

Corn-on-the Cob is the sceptre of the Common Man; his Lady might be wielding a BBQ Turkey Drumstick!

And the operative word here just might be: Stick(y).

Why we don't have our festival in the Autumn, when people need both a jolt of energy AND a spectacle to celebrate the Harvest -- in the cooler weather -- is beyond me.

Instead, we drag out the minions, and there are millions, m'ladies & gents, who will roam the baking pavement, brave the incredible inevitable thunderstorms (anybody see the Glastonbury Music Fest -- MUD!), and joust for space on July 3rd for the fireworks, when about 2 million will line the waterfront, turkey legs in hand, saluting the fringing, sparkling, dripping, exploding stars!

Hopefully, my hands will be full of needles, in an air-conditioned house, hunkered down away from the glare.

WITNESS the cool, calming color: GREEN.

I have joined the sleeves of my lovely green CeCe to the body section. I am a mere 28 ROWS from a FO!


at the Chicago Country Music Festival
Same Week -- Same Area -- Same Insanity!
Sat. June 30, 2007
Chicago Country Music Festival
Kenny Rogers Look-alike contest
Kenny Rogers HIMSELF will be a Judge! We are hoping the Mayor enters...

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Chic Knits Sock Nation Knittin' Citizen

...the Sock Speaks...
Don't Make Me Go There

easy patterns

OK. We've all been there...

Back-O-the-Line, you know, the one that snakes around the corner, with people-ropes keeping you off the Employees.

Oh no, we're not talking about the next Age of Love(!) casting call, we're talking DMV and their License Division anywhere in the world -- certainly in anyone's Top 5 *Don't Make Me Go There* destination list. But I was there. Last in line.

The little tag on my auto plate with the year on it went missing. I blame myself for this labeljack because I was too scared to use my nails to peel off the previous year, (vanity vanity what is thy name?) and had applied the new over the old. Some friendster (and in the Cittay, they're always watching) must've noticed and decided to liberate it.

So I popped into the DMV to get a quick replacement and ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE!

Turns out I had a mandatory suspension for no insurance from 1997 (on a plate that is extinct because at one point, my car was STOLEN) and they refused my request. Since someone in their system never upgraded an address change I made or linked to my new plate, I never received any notice of *my* bad behavior. But I did get The Look from the State clerk handling the data.

Let me tell you about The Look.

Most of the Chicago natives I've met have the ability to lock their eyes on you in a way that will halt you at ten paces, paralyze you before you can create any more mischief, retard you from asking a stupid question, accuse you of driving like an idiot (The Look delivered as they drive up to you at a traffic stop or even cruising by -- it's powerful enough to penetrate metal and glass).

In short: stop you from doing whatever behaviour you were ignorantly attempting to go forth with, forthwith.

It goes something like this: faster than a speeding bullet, the head tilts slightly back, chin up, eyes narrowed now shooting arrows directly down the slope of the nose ZAP right between your eyes!

The Look, accompanied by frosty chilly Speak, delivered to me by my friendly DMV clerk basically let me know that unless I came back with a boatload of proof, nothing but nothing was going to FIX the mess I, criminally insane citizen that I am, was in.

So I harvested. And reloaded my courage to launch another paper spray.

And it was so powerful, it generated the Top-O-the-Line Treatment: the call to the Supervisor in Another City! In fact, it went via phone all the way to the State Capitol, where the sludge of a million pleading lobbying souls will slow any call to a bureaucratic crawl...

So I did what any right thinking citizen would do.

I pulled out my sock, right there at the counter and started knitting.

And LO! And behold! My clerk de-frosted.

All of a sudden, she was asking to Touch the Yarn! She was entertained and delighted by The Sock.

And I knew I was going to be OK. She was calling me and the Sock: "Honey!"

Not only did I get a new plate (a bonus?), but a nice shiny new silver Tag to go on the plate, delivered with a "have a nice day, honey!" and an plea to watch out while I was driving that day because Paris Hilton had just been released from Jail!

HEE! Sock covers Look! If only I could figure out how to knit while driving ;p

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Friday, June 29, 2007

New Threads FRIDAY!

Chic Knits CeCe

Chic Knits CeCe
Designer: Bonne Marie Burns
Yarn: ggh *BALI*
Color: Kelly Green #95
Gauge: 20 sts /28 rows over 4" St st
Needles: #6 (4mm)



Celebrating the UFO Resurection KAL via Knitorious, hosted by Kat with a K!

The greenest of CeCe's is on the Runway! It only took a YEAR (June 11, 2006, then ripped and re-started April 25, 2007) to get this done -- many other rude Divas elbowed her right out of line but as they say, last just might be best.

Being in deep summer, I was too lazy to take off the lovely aqua necklace from the mannie and WOW! does it say Summertime to me! Paired with That Green and maybe joined by a a little cream & aqua print scoop-neck dress I have, the Catwallk will be smokin!

In the next few days, this year of ours, 2007, will be at the half-way point. That both thrills and awes me. What's to come? Stay tuned...

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