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Some random things I wanted to share, with nothing in common, other than the fact that I enjoyed them:

I think this song and video are just beautiful. Passenger was definitely my favorite album of 2011.

Tumblr_lve7xp1xgN1qk63rvo2_250

This is making me want to bind a book. It's been a long time. So many crafts, so little time.

When you find yourself with fifteen minutes to spare, go watch The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (inspired by The Wizard of Oz, Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton and a love of books. Trust me, it will make sense).

"When you knit something for someone, you're thinking about them. I think it just conveys love" 

We've had some beautiful days lately. Sunday afternoon I went to a winery in Escondido, in support of a friend about to start chemotherapy. The view was lovely.

image from www.flickr.com

vacation report I

Here's what I've done so far. Made some cupcakes for a mini-shower for my sister, with the help from two sisters-in-law:
BluebirdCupcakes

Filmed my brother playing a new song in the bathtub. The flashes are me, taking pictures. I get to be a guest on his podcast later this weekend.

UPDATE: Okay, Cary took his video off YouTube, so I'll have to load it myself, but I'm headed for the mountains this morning. I'll re-post it when I get back! In the meantime, enjoy a cute puppy!

musical

I'm ready for bed, but I had to post this before I drift off. You can listen to Cary's whole album and download a live album for free! Enjoy!

Free Cary Judd Music from trueAnthem!

inspiration

I've been going on and on about me, me, me, but I am also finding so much inspiration out there in the world at the moment. I just thought I'd acknowledge and share some of my favorite things lately. My favorite album at the moment (other than Good Night Human, of course), is Lisa Hannigen's Sea Sew. I'm loving this song so much: 

I also love the cover she hand-stitched herself: 

LH_SeaSew 

And for a little more handmade goodness, be sure to watch the video for Lille, the video director also made the pop-up books, which are so great!

I know this is everywhere in blogland, but if you haven't had a chance to look at Weekend Sewing, I would suggest you head to the bookstore this week and take a peek.

Weekend 

I'm pretty particular about the craft books I bring home, because 1) I only have so much shelf space, and there's not much left, and 2) I already know how to sew, so how-to books not really necessary. I love this one the inspiration and the fact that Heather Ross so creative and such a great writer on top of it all. Her blog is so much fun to read, just for the stories she tells. I am also really hankering for some of her new fabric after seeing this little project (scroll down to see the finished quilted kimono and dress). 

And one last bit of inspiration is this sweater. I'm not sure if it would be flattering on my busty self, but I sure do love it, and may have to make it regardless.

Okay, now I'm off to do some sewing myself. See how inspired I am!

drive by

This just a quick post to tell you to please go here and download a whole lot of very good songs by my brother for FREE! Support a musician! He’s talented and so very hardworking, and I think you will like him. I know I do, and I have very good taste in music.

happiness

A little Spring, which is brightening my day:

Bokahlilacs

I was playing with my aperture settings. I think I’ll try again at a different setting.

I didn’t feel like saying much in my last post, but I do want to sincerely thank you all for the kind words about Reggie. I know that all pet owners know how bad this sucks, and it helps to know that I’m not the only one who has ever had to go through this. It’s been hard, because I realized that I had been grieving for the dog he once was for a long time, and I hated seeing him slowing down like he did. It’s part of life, though, and it makes me appreciate the good times all the more. And this little punk is really helping:

Fauxhawk

I tried to work his fur into a faux-hawk, but it wasn’t cooperating this morning. I never mentioned that I went to a Pet Photography workshop at the San Diego Humane Society a few weeks ago. It was taught by this lady, who takes some great animal photos. I learned a few things about taking pictures of animals, although I wish we had had a little longer, I think there is so much to know! Here is another animal (and people) photographer I’ve been enjoying lately.

This week’s music is brought to you by Vampire Weekend, who received 4 stars from Mimi. We have decided to bring you a weekly (or whenever we feel like it, actually, as how can you expect a  three year old to commit to a rigid schedule?) music post of Mimi’s Picks. I’ve actually been enjoying this one for a little while, but when my brother played it for her, she asked to hear it again, which means a solid four stars.

 

In other news, I had a bit of a cold earlier this week, and stayed home from work. While I did sleep for many hours, I started feeling better in the late afternoon and decided that I needed to knit. I went to work on my Hanami stole, started oh so long ago, but it seems that my snot-addled brain just could not handle the lace and I made yet another mistake. Actually, snot-addled or not, my brain is just having a hard time with it. I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time with this pattern, but it
is seriously the most challenging knitting project I have ever
attempted. I’m not giving up, but I need a few more days to work myself up to un-knit to find out where I went wrong. So I went foraging in my yarn basket, and on Knitty, and decided that a nice Spring scarf was in order. So I cast on the Lace Ribbon Scarf from the latest issue, and I’m really liking it. I’m using Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock yarn in the colorway Glenwood (that’s the most accurate photo I could find). I actually like it better in this multicolor yarn than I thought I would, but I’d still like to have one in a solid color, maybe in a nice, drape-y linen yarn.

Ribbonlace1

Ribbonlace2

Now this lace I can handle, although it is going to need some serious blocking.

music to quilt by

I have entered phase two of my new healthy living plan. That’s right…exercise. It wasn’t easy to find an activity that I enjoyed doing, that I could fit into my day, and that wouldn’t involve spending large quantities of money, but I finally figured it out. I’m going swimming a few times a week, on my lunch hour, at a nearby rec center pool. Before now there were occasional walks, and visits to the tiny gym at work to use the elliptical machine, and I even use the stairs rather than the  elevator a few times a day, but I knew it wasn’t nearly enough. So now I’ve gone to the swimming pool several times, and it feels really good. The only thing is that I am so very tired at the end of the day. I thought exercise was supposed to energize you, when does that start happening?

I’m going to pretend that these are my reward for exercising and eating better, even though I ordered them weeks ago, and they were on back order. They just arrived, and they’re just as cute as I thought they would be:

Shoes

See how big my feet are? Still, with art by Camilla on them, they look pretty cute.

Quilting continues in earnest, and I thought I’d share some of the music I’m enjoying right now, to get me through. I love the new Rogue Wave album, particularly this song (I couldn’t embed this one, so you have to click the link).

I can’t get enough of this song, and the video is so great too:

Here’s a conversation between me and my brother:
"Have you seen the video for (some random song, I don’t remember now)?
"Oh yeah, that was really good, I found it on youtube.
"Wouldn’t it be so cool if there was a TV channel that played nothing but music videos all day?
Melancholy silence as we remember what MTV used to be like.

This song is for all of you peeps who still have snow on the ground. I really, really hope Spring gets to you soon. "Hello blackbird, hello starling, winter’s over, be my darling!"

I think this is now my favorite Bright Eyes song. It was recommended to me by my 3 year old niece, who has the best taste in music. We should start a music column somewhere and call it "Mimi’s Picks". I’ll have to talk to her about that.

My favorite verse:

So the doc came with his black bag
I said you know doc I don’t feel swell
If you had a blue bag I think I’d get well
So he came right back with a blue sack
He said will this do?
I said why not, yeah

The whole thing is so clever, just watch it, please.

done

Sheesh, I finally did it. I sewed the darn pocket on.
Tulippocket
I was hoping it would look like a tulip. It sort of does, right? I’m okay with it, I think.
Tulipapron_2
I’m getting pretty good at sewing binding to things. Here’s my helpful hint for seam binding: if you’re going to be going around curves, make sure you use bias binding. Sure, it’s more of a pain to cut out, but there’s no way I could have used straight binding to do this.

Another project I’ve been working on is up and running. This one is a collaboration with my sister. We both have new cameras and new-(ish) versions of Photoshop that we want to learn how to use, so we decided to share the process with everyone. Each week we’ll exchange pictures and then play with them in Photoshop-she has Elements, and I have CS2, so there should be something for everyone. We’ll also share links and resources and other fun stuff relating to photography and Photoshop. I thought it would be kind of cool to have a site for those of us who don’t really know what we’re doing, but want to learn. We’re posting step-by-step what we do, so you can follow along at home. And of course, participation in the comments section is highly encouraged. So please visit, and spread the word!

And lastly, if you need a song for your Valentine on Thursday, I must admit to being partial to this one. You can buy it on Cary’s Myspace page.

reviews

Extremelyloud_2 Spotofbother Ghostwritten Riversecrets
I don’t remember reading a lot over the past couple weeks, but I guess I did, because when I thought about it I’d read all those books you see pictured above. I tend to do things in  cycles and I guess I’ve been on a reading cycle lately, there hasn’t been much else going on creatively speaking. So here are my one (or two) paragraph reviews:

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer: I quite enjoyed this book, and will probably read his others. This is the story of Oskar, a young boy who lost his father on September 11th, and finds a key amongst his belongings that doesn’t open any locks in his home. He decides to find the lock that belongs to the key. He also invents things, my favorite invention was a duct system flowing from everyone’s pillows in New York to a pond in Central Park that would fill with everyone’s tears. He proposes that there could then be regular reports of the water levels so people would know if there was a particularly sad day ahead. The passage was much more eloquent then that, so you’ll just have to read it for yourself.

There are some interesting illustrations and typographic techniques throughout, which I am not sure I like, such as a passage in which the type becomes progressively tighter and tighter until it overlaps itself completely and becomes illegible. Is it now necessary for authors to throw in little tricks like that to make their books different and therefore better than the competition? Is good writing no longer enough to sell books? I suppose if it’s carefully done, it can enhance the story, but if it’s becoming the trendy thing to do, I don’t like it. For the most part, such typographical tricks were well used here, but if there had been any more it would have become tiresome. The diagrams and such in Mark Haddon’s The Mysterious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime were definitely well done as well, as they illustrated the way the narrator, a boy with profound autism, saw the world with his damaged brain.

Speaking of, I also read Mark Haddon’s latest book, A Spot of Bother. Again he tackles the subject of a damaged brain, although this time it’s a recently retired man who finds himself slowly, quietly going crazy while his family members all deal with their own problems. There were some quite funny bits, which because of the subject matter are sort of bittersweet. I do like his very straightforward narration style, and while the characters are not really lovable at first, I eventually developed a real affection for them individually and for the family as a whole. It was a quick read, and very entertaining.

After finishing Cloud Atlas, I decided to read David Mitchell’s first book, Ghostwritten. He uses the same technique he used in Cloud Atlas, in that the book is actually a series of short stories, each linked to the previous. The structure isn’t as complex in Ghostwritten, but still interesting. It reminded my of a chain the way one story was linked to the next. What I like about his writing, which I mentioned when talking about Cloud Atlas, is his ability to write in many different voices so effectively.

River Secrets is the third Bayern book by Shannon Hale. I guess her books are technically considered Young Adult Literature, but I don’t care, I’ve loved them all. She can tell a story that will keep you completely enthralled and her characters are wonderfully human, flawed and yet still immensely likeable, like your best friend. I would recommend reading The Goose Girl and Enna Burning before reading River Secrets, as everything will make much more sense.

I’ve also been listening to some new music lately. With a brother who’s a musician and another brother who has a talent for finding the newest, coolest indy artists, I’m always finding good stuff to listen to. Cary introduced me to the music of Vienna Teng. I think he opened for her last year some time. Vienna is a piannist, singer, songwriter, musician extraordinnaire, and her music doesn’t fit easily into any particular genre. There’s a little jazz, a little folk, a little pop and a little something different in her sound.  I love her smooth as silk voice, which is high and sweet but never cloyingly so. If you’re looking for something soothing but not sappy, interesting and energizing, then I’d suggest giving her a listen. I’ve got all three of her albums, but I haven’t decided if there’s one I like better than the others, although Harbor on Warm Strangers is one of those songs I just loved the very first minute I heard it.

I’m not a very good reviewer, sometimes I just like what I like because, well, I like it, but maybe someone will find these little reviews interesting :o)