the happy haps (no. 2)

And let me tell you, this may be the happiest of haps I have been in a while. Why? Neurology is over!*

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 6.56.28 PM Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 6.56.14 PM

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 6.55.45 PM Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 6.55.33 PM

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 6.55.12 PM Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 6.53.52 PM

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 6.55.23 PM Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 6.54.49 PM

The shortest of months has also been one of my longest: I am getting exceedingly sick of winter. Alas, alack. On the bright side, I have a really wonderful fiancé and two very snuggly cats to make up for the slush and cold. And some really great pairs of long underpants, which I stole from David. They remind me of my Opa (a big fan of the momo hickeys, as he liked to call them), who passed away last fall, and wearing them reminds me of him and makes me happy. I also feel very cool in them and I am trying to get my cousins to help me start a fashion movement called Opacore. So far we don’t have very much momentum but with the colossal readership of this blog, I’m hoping things start to take off. In crafting news, I have been reaaaaally into making teeny tiny mochimochi lately. It’s a bit of an affliction, but at least I am putting these gnomes to work. On the other end of the crafting usefulness spectrum, I finally finished giving the bedroom a little facelift and I am slightly obsessed with it in a way that I have never been obsessed with a room. I will have real posts on both of these things soon!

*See the second-to-last photo? That’s what I’ve been studying for the past 4 weeks. My tepid enthusiasm for neurology might be better explained after that image. And the last photo? That’s my next eight weeks (internal medicine)! I’m just two months away from being done with the third year of medical school (:

don’t be fancy just get dance-y

Um, yes. That is a Pink lyric. I know, I know. But it’s relevant.

IMG_8975

I got this deep blue stretch velvet at one of my favorite Chicago fabric stores, the Textile Discount Outlet in Pilsen. The thing about this store is that it is enormous and has about a jillion employees. The only way you can identify them is by their facial expressions (they look much less lost/confused than the customers do). If you would allow me to pull out my conclusions mat and hop right onto it, the employee that cut my fabric seemed to have a particular hobby. A very earthy, herbal hobby, one might say. Why did I make this assumption? He stopped in the middle of cutting this fabric to run his hands all over it and exclaim, “ahh, I love how this just dances, you know?” Yes, my friend, yes I do (as evidenced by my little dancing photo).

IMG_8990I turned this textile dance party into another Lady Skater, sewn with three-quarter length sleeves with no pattern modifications. The sleeves are a little wonky and I’m not sure why, but I didn’t bother to fix them. My devil-may-care attitude about the sleeves was largely due to the fact that I sewed this whole dress the day David and I left to spend Christmas in California with his family. Thank goodness for simple patterns. I wore it on New Year’s Eve while David and I hung out with his family. They got a cake to congratulate us on our engagement and his cousin gave a very cute speech and it nearly brought a tear to my normally crabby eyeballs.

IMG_8973

The photos are by David – I think he did a very good job (:  (We took them on a very snowy day at my parents’, and I had only brought home a little pair of ankle booties – hence the velvet dress + shit-kickers outfit combo. I am not nearly that fashion forward otherwise.)

IMG_8997

* Note to curious, novice sewists: I do not have anything that could be defined as mad sewing skills, but this stretch velvet was NOT hard to sew with. I was even able to cautiously press it on the wrong side with a lower temperature and it did okay.  I would definitely recommend trying it! It makes for a very luxe-looking party dress, which is deceptively simple/comfy once you pair it with the Lady Skater pattern.

cowlabunga

IMG_9011 Shady’s back, back again, this time with more knits in a Ren(/Skater)frew overload. I got a buttload of this green knit from Girl Charlee ages ago and it just recently reached its final form: clinic clothes! But clinic clothes that don’t feel too awkward to wear outside of clinic. A true Christmas miracle.  I had actually started on these, and done most of the Renfrew, way back before Thanksgiving but then some weirdo just had to go and propose to me so I got a little sidetracked. I finally finished psychiatry, went home and then came back to Chicago after visiting my parents, and decided that since I had about 24 hours before I had to leave for California, I was going to make myself some clothes. Of course. That totally made sense. By some miracle, these things (and all the chores I had to do) were finished by the time I had to leave. Woohoo!

IMG_8999

This is my first Skaterfrew, but it definitely won’t be my last. The grading process was surprisingly easy, considering that I had never done it before and didn’t even bother to look up anything on the Internet, I just kind of went and did it. Heh heh. I have come to the realization that cowl collars are really 100% my jam and I love to make them/bury my face in them like a little turtle. Overall, I’m really happy with the dress, except for my performance on the skirt hem. It’s pretty gnarly down there. If I were to make an excuse for myself, it would be that I was watching the Balrog scene from The Fellowship of the Ring while I hemmed and things were pretty dicey for both myself and the Fellowship.

IMG_9020

Aaaaaand the Renfrew. Pretty standard, not much to chitchat about here*. Ta-da!

IMG_9037

*The only pattern change I made with both of these items is to omit the bands on the sleeves (and on the waist with the plain top). Overall I’m not a big fan of armbands/waistbands and find them a bit uncomfortable. Since the top will mostly be tucked into work pants, I didn’t want it to a) be so short that it stuck out when I bent over, and b) have extra bulk from the waistband.

I have one more dress I made in this mad rush to outfit myself for hanging out with David’s family but it’s all different and cool (even though it is still a Lady Skater it is special) so I will blog about it later.

no glove, no love

Excuse me while I take a moment to come to grips with the fact that I actually just made that a title to a blog post. Hem. Okay.

Given the overall terribleness of my schedule over the past few months, the Christmas knitting had to be scaled back a bit this year. However, I constantly feel the need to over-tax myself so of course I took on a new knitting challenge: gloves! And fingerless mitts with half-fingers.  As I downloaded my chosen patterns from Ravelry (Juris Mitts and Modified Army Gloves), I couldn’t help but wonder if I was biting off more than I could chew, technique-wise. Fingers seemed very terrible. I am very happy to report that I was wrong: knitting ten fingers is nowhere near as miserable as I (or others) had made it out to seem, and I have pictorial evidence of it also not being exceptionally difficult!

First up: my dad’s pair of regular gloves. These were knitted with the Modified Army Gloves pattern, and the only mod that I made to the pattern was to move up to 3.25 mm needles when I got to the fingers (I was knitting with the 3.0’s and trying them on as I went, and the fingers were like sausage casings on my tiny hands. This problem was immediately solved with the 3.25’s). Here are the gloves, modeled alongside my dad’s other Christmas gift from David and me: the Bug-A-Salt gun.

IMG_8862

IMG_8859

Next is David’s gift, a pair of the Juris Mitts. I knitted them in DK held double (according to the internets, this is a substitution for aran weight yarn – seemed a little too thick to me). The mittens, while appearing comically large, actually fit David’s hands decently well and are crazy warm. warm. I am considering sewing bits of fleece into the mitten tops and the palms of the hands to snug up the fit and also make them even warmer.

IMG_8816

IMG_8821

Next, and the last finished project (for now) was another pair of Juris Mitts, this time in a worsted superwash in the smallest size. I knitted these for a friend but I like them so much that I feel like they will be in my future!

_MG_8950   _MG_8960

the happy haps (no. 1)

Hi there! Now that I have two cats* (double the fun, double the photos, and quadruple the mischief), a smartphone, and I spend a lot of my time doing other non-knitting/sewing things, I thought I’d just do a non-crafty blog post every now and then to keep my loyal readers (aka, David and my mom, who already get excruciatingly detailed breakdowns of my daily activities) up to date. These posts can be broken down into a few categories: things I petted, things I did, things I made.

IMG_0484 IMG_0399 IMG_0642 IMG_0577 IMG_0594 IMG_0635

 

I just wrapped up a month-long elective in pathology (hence the microscope picture). I loved some parts that I thought I would hate and I was kind of traumatized by some parts that I thought I would find interesting (autopsy pathology, I’m looking at you. That was rougher than I anticipated). I was inspired to do the rotation partly because of my first real career ambition (besides that of Barbie house designer) – a county medical examiner. God bless my parents for loving and supporting me even though I was basically a miniatures-loving Wednesday Addams. But anyway, the whole month was really fun even if I couldn’t ever talk about it at the dinner table (not that I’m ever allowed to talk about work at the dinner table). If peds ends up not being the place for me, then I think pathology is where I’ll end up. I missed interacting with patients, which is why it’s not my first choice, but the beauty of the human body and the constant pursuit of knowledge is very appealing to me. Also, pathologists are awesome. I loved absolutely everyone I worked with. Yay!

*Yes, you read that right. We have two cats now. We have had Bess for about a month now. We had actually been talking about getting a second cat for a while, and with a lighter month of work for me in January (coupled with David having some time off in February), it seemed like now was as good a time as any to accrue another cat.  This time our furry little friend came from Tree House Cats, which is a seriously amazing no-kill no-cage shelter on the north side. I forgot that younger cats (she’s 9mo) are cute forces of wanton destruction – Bess is SO mischievous (as in, we come home to the bathroom garbage strewn all over the bathroom, lamps knocked over, etc etc) but is also very adorable! And she and CeeCee are getting along quite well.

 

time for some nesting

Way back when, I wanted to be an interior designer. I spent a lot of time filling up papers with notes and drawings about all my cool ideas for rooms for both people and Barbie dolls. Probably for the better, I eventually left that dream by the wayside and set my overly ambitious heart on medical school.  On a totally unrelated note, if anyone ever wants to have a penguin-themed room in their house, let me know because I know an inner 8-year-old who could hook you up.

Even though interior designer is nowhere near the list of current career aspirations, I’m still sort of enjoying the process of making our apartment homey. We’ve been here for two and a half years and would like to stay here until I graduate school, (moving sucks and our couch is bigger than our door) so we have no excuse for not settling in.

IMG_8930

We may have made a little too much headway, in the form of accumulating lots of stuff. I’ve recently made some headway with this, though, thanks to a really awesome book I discovered through Apartment TherapyThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Mari Kondo. After I read this I immediately got rid of so much stuff. It was AMAZING. I didn’t follow her (kind of extreme) method to the letter, because I’m a student and I don’t have a huge quantity of time to devote to disposal of all the possessions that don’t bring me joy (every pair of work slacks I own, I’m looking at you), but I still do feel lighter and happier.

My proudest achievement in the living room is probably the gallery wall, inspired by the how-to post on A Beautiful Mess. Theirs might be much more chic than mine, but incorporation of my dad’s original “TURDIS” artwork means that my wall is still pretty darn cool.  Something about picture frames makes me feel like an adult in ways that I cannot describe.

IMG_8929

A lot of these things weren’t purchased by me, or were purchased so long ago that I have no idea where I got them. I did include links to some things below in case you are interested.

One of my favorite elements was a DIY collaboration between my mom and me. I recently discovered a large stash of needle threaders in a sewing basket that used to belong to my great grandma, and even though I don’t use them I couldn’t help but keep them (hoarder alert). I wanted to find a way to display them, so I asked my mom (who is very talented at repurposing books) to make me a cool sewing-themed shadow box. This is what she came up with! I just hot glued the needle threaders on.

IMG_8933

Next up? Tackling that ugly, sad lampshade. I’ve had this lamp for four years and it never fails to garner interesting comments from visitors. It started like this:

DSCN0882Then became this:
DSCN0887

I painted it green, partially because those little pinprick eyes scared the shit out of me. But I left the horrid lampshade as is (that is, after I very unsuccessfully tried to rip one of the flowers off the edge of the lampshade). I thought about buying a new one, but then I actually looked to see what lampshades cost. Highway robbery, people. And I couldn’t get one that would go with the lime green cats, which I obviously was unwilling to change. Then I saw a post somewhere about using tights to recover a lampshade: genius! I bought the biggest pair of tights I could find on Amazon, and they of course just happened to be a ridiculously loud color. It has a bit of an ombre effect due to the conelike nature of the lampshade, but whatever, I’m counting that as a design element.

IMG_8931

Oh man. This was a long post, and a long time coming. Let’s not talk about how long I’ve been working on this gallery wall. If you made it through then hooray!

Komova poster. Yarn pyramid. Frames and canvases: Michaels & Unique. Postcards: Fringe Supply Co, Monica Ramos. All photos are my own.

bitter knitter

Ugh. Just UGH, you guys *melodrama*. I am so glad to be putting this project behind me (but also so guilty to be putting this project on my sister). I’ve been working on a Christmas present for my sister over the past few months: Ginny’s Cardigan, found in Interweave’s Unofficial Harry Potter Knits magazine. This endeavour has already been fraught with frustrations and roadblocks, so it wasn’t too surprising when I ran into some more.

IMG_8854

One element of the sweater (about which I initially felt very enthusiastic) was the bust shaping. As I was knitting for my sister, who has a tiny rib cage and a large bust, I was pretty sure this was going to be necessary to achieve a good sweater fit. So I did it. And then I trucked along and finished the rest of the sweater. I had tried it on once or twice, and optimistically assumed that the fit would look less weird when the sweater was on someone whose cups literally runneth over.  Then those cups (and the person attached to them) put on the sweater and…nope. Not at all. The bust shaping landed somewhere south of the xiphoid process (aka not anywhere near the bust).  I wanted to cry. I may have actually cried. It was bad. After hemming and hawing and crying a bit more, I intentionally puckered the bust shaping inward on both sides a bit.  It still is kind of bad, but for lack of having anything else to give my sister on Christmas, this thing is what I handed over. Alas, alack. Okay. 3…2…1…attitude adjustment!! Here are some photos and I’m off to do other knitting projects without weird boobs.

IMG_8855

Pictorial evidence of my shame and anger.

IMG_8856

IMG_8857

Silver lining: I really like the buttons. And the back. Let’s focus on those two elements. And the fact that Annie loves me enough to like it and wear it.