Saturday, August 18, 2007

De colores.

I spent most of the day Friday working on this:

My niece, who is already involved in more extracurricular activities than I ever was in high school, and who hasn't even hit kindergarten yet, will be performing in her baile folklorico recital on Monday. Sadly, I leave tomorrow and won't be able to see her, but at least I managed to finish this skirt for her to wear!

If you've ever seen a Mexican baile folklorico performance, you'll recognize the skirt that the girls wear and that are very much a part of the dance as they twirl the hem edges around with their hands...OK, this is very poorly described, but you can watch a clip here.

My sister asked if I would make the skirt since the one she ordered via Abuelita Express wouldn't get here in time (granny's on a trip to Durango and was supposed to bring one back but has been delayed). Sure! I said. I'd been wanting to sew something for the kid but didn't know her measurements, so this would be the perfect opportunity.

The pattern's Simplicity 3863. Looking at the pattern instructions, which don't run longer than a page, I smugly said, oh, this'll take about two or three hours. Ha! Oh, the hubris. Can you see why that guess was very, very off?

The ruffle. Oh yeah...Satan's invention, that ruffle was. Applying the ribbons was pretty straightforward, albeit time-consuming. Gathering the ruffle and setting it in place? Not so much fun.

But otherwise! The skirt's as "easy" as they buttons, no zippers, just two ties on either side. All in all, it was worth it just so that she can twirl with the others on Monday.

My sister asked me what my must-do things were before leaving L.A. We came up with the following:

  • The Knit Cafe
  • Pedicure (so cheap here!)
  • Bionico

We headed over on Melrose Avenue until we finally found the Knit Cafe. I averted my eyes from the help wanted sign on the door (it said "knitting experience required"! I have that!) and walked in with my nieces, sister, and brother-in-law. They wandered around while I handled, in a very star-struck, googly-eyed fashion, the sample knits from the book (Kat Coyle's pink dress! The pom pom awning! The cashmere shawl!).

I finally settled on two pretty skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn in white and bright pink, which is actually quite fitting because when I visited Purl Soho last year I bought some LL in white and blue, which turned into some very pretty ribbed socks.

I was a little too self conscious to have my sister take a picture of me there, but I snapped one of my niece, who was only too happy to ham it up while my brother-in-law wondered where the coffee was (it's the Knit Cafe, after all! turns out the coffee maker's tucked away and i didn't see it until just before we left):

Afterwards, we went to the Grove shopping mall, which was fun but also scary in that kind of pseudo/simulated small-town aesthetic that seems to be popping up in sprawling cities where no one ever gets out of their car (Austin has the Domain). The Grove has a "town square" that looks like it came straight out of a Gilmore Girls episode. The farmer's market at the end, though, was really fantastic--almost anything you can think of to eat. I had the best glass of lemonade, which I slurped down eagerly in the 95 degree heat.

We stopped in East L.A. for the much-talked-about bionico. My friend V., a native Angeleno, told me to make sure to have one for her. When I found out what it was--apples, bananas, strawberries, melon, raisins, granola, and coconut doused in sweetened condensed milk--I was more than happy to oblige. The shop we went to (whose name my sister can't remember, even though she took me there specifically because they do bionicos best, in her opinion), also had a dizzying array of ice cream flavors:

I guess I'll have to plan another trip to L.A. so that I can try the pineapple flavor! We finally rounded out the day with the pedicures, and my sister got one too, which was a nice treat. We sat side by side as my niece bounced around us, testing the water in the foot spa with her finger and checking out the acrylic nails on the hand mannequins.

I'll be back in Austin for a day and then off to Chicago for a week to check in on my mom, who had to have some minor foot surgery. And then the semester starts! Where did the summer go?

P.S. Thanks to close quarters with a five year old, I am currently obsessed with Charlie and Lola. Please tell me I'm not the only one.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


As in, "an embarrassment of."

That's what happens when you wait to post for so queue up your news and your projects and your tidbits until you have an embarrassment of riches to talk about and well, something's going to be forgotten along the way and then two weeks later, you go, OH heck. I forgot to post about the funny thing so and so said to me as I was knitting in public the other day and about how good the tuna was in my sandwich.

This week, since I'm in L.A., I have extra family-related riches to add to my general feelings of contentment and happiness. I shared some of the special nuggets of wisdom that my niece, Isabel, came up with in my last post. No doubt about it, you will never giggle more than when you're hanging out with a five-year-old.

(In fact, as I'm sitting here blogging, she just came up to me utterly BEDECKED in her Sleeping Beauty costume, complete with stand up collar and velvet headband, a big grin on her face. )

(And in the time it took me to write this down, she went to her room and changed into her Snow White costume.)

Here we are at Bugsy's Cafe the other day (located in the Kidspace museum in Pasadena), wrangling over whether I ordered the Poo Poo platter or not:

This isn't exactly what I ordered, m'am....

And swimming lessons are a must, of course:

Swimming lessons

Knitting lessons? Got some of those, too:

Learning to knit

I confess, I don't know if she's really still too young to pick up this hobby--she learned the steps perfectly well and can knit a few stitches on her own, but jumps up every so often to get a drink of water, or to go look at the baby, or to watch Zack and Cody's The Suite Life (there's something about that show that's like fingernails on a chalkboard for me). Short attention span, a bit?

We started with ten stitches on these Red Heart needles I bought for her, and pretty soon she was asking how long it would be before it would become a Dora skirt for her. Uh, uh, I said. How about a headband? OK. How long before it's a headband? We settled on a wrist warmer. Which turned out pretty freakin' cute, if I do say so myself. At the moment, it's pretty freakin' lost, so pictures of that particular FO will have to wait.

On the blogging front, there's been lots of great stuff, too: I've been super-honored with the Rocking Girl Blogger award--not once, but twice!

Once from Laura, and once from Karen, two of my oldest knitblogger friends. And because my blogiversary slipped past last month, that means we've been corresponding steadily for two years! I've been blessed to have these two amazing women in my my life, and to be continually inspired by their wonderful energy and huge hearts.

I don't know where this blogger award emerged, but I can only guess that it was thought up to address the perceived disparity among male and female bloggers--meaning that the mainstream bloggers that get the most attention are largely dudes. Well, being sheltered in this cozy corner of the blogiverse, I get to see women of all ages and pursuits; I visit their blogs for the crafting content, but stay for their stories and senses of humor.

Having received the Rocking Girl Blogger award, I now get to make five nominations of my own:

Aloha and Oreos: Sock knitter and fashionista extraordinaire, this girl kicks some serious butt.

Things I've Made: I love Flor's blog for the way she incorporates elements of our Mexican art and folk traditions, but also for her sense of whimsy and her lovely photography.

Saunshine: I admire this talented designer for leaving everything comfortable and safe behind and striking out on her own to NYC to start at FIT this fall. New York in the! I'm so jealous.

Grrleigh Knits: For her laugh-out-loud irreverence, her scathing fashion reviews, and her brilliant observation about Twinkle's pattern sizing issues. Holla!

John Wayne's Daughter: This is the only non-knitting blog on my list, but JWD definitely is a Rocking Girl Blogger--her vignettes can make you laugh or they can make you cry, but they always hit close to the heart. And she skates in roller derby! How awesome is that? (Even if she did nothing but chronicle her lunches every day, this fact alone would score her the nomination from me.)

You ready for this? Another round of nominations, this time via Craftylilly for the Schmoozer award!

As it goes, schmoozing is the natural ability “to converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection.” Good schmoozers effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship."

Thank you, Jennifer! I'm incredibly flattered, especially seeing as how I was always the kid on the playground with her nose buried in a not a schmoozer!

Here are my nominations for the Schmoozer award. I can't really say more than what the above paragraph already says, except for saying that these women have a talent for genuineness and warmth:

Karen of Kodachrome
Karen of Mostly Self-Taught Knitter
Elizabeth of A Mingled Yarn
Laura of Affiknitty
Ashley of Dogged Knits

Thank you, ladies! I probably wouldn't still be doing this blogging thing if it weren't for you all.

And see? Now I've got to stop because we're heading out for Universal Studios, and I'm SURE I forgot to blog about something. Oh yes...the baby quilt I made for my sister's new baby! Oh, well...that's more blog fodder for next time.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Morning conversations.

"The Easter Bunny gave me a basket at Easter. It had toys and candy. And Hot Cheetos."


"I have an idea. When you finish school and find a job, you could live with us in L.A. and we could teach you how to drive. But you'll have to leave your car in Texas." I asked why. "Because it won't fit in the plane!"


"I don't like those," my niece says, pointing to the scones. "I like Froot Loops." I wrinkled my nose. I don't like Froot Loops, I say. "Do you like macaroni and cheese?" Yes! "Do you like tuna fish?" Yes! "Do you like cucumber rolls?" I say, what do you mean? "Sushi!" I ask, do you like salmon? "Yes! I eat salmon every time I go to sushi." Do you like unagi? "No. I love octopus!"

Having a great time in L.A.! I'll post about nieces and baby blankets as soon as I can get set up with my own laptop here. Hope you're all enjoying the hot lazy days of August.