Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bring It, 2015!!

Darlings, I'll admit it. I am one of those New Year, New Me people. I'll wait while you roll your eyes. I have always been a firm believer in using benchmark days -- New Year's Day, my birthday -- as the start of a journey to a better me. I'm such a benchmark addict, I remember making a list of changes I was going to make ON MY MOTHER'S FORTIETH BIRTHDAY!! The list was entitled, "Because I Have a Forty-Year-Old Mother". It contained things like organization and weight loss -- all the usual suspects. And lo, these many years later, I'm still a disorganized plus-sized model!!

But this year is going to be DIFFERENT! (Again, I'll wait for the eye-roll.) This year, my resolution is simple: to Just Be Happy. And most of the things that make me Happy are really good for me. Meditation, swimming, yoga, biking, eating relatively healthy foods, journaling, crocheting, making music, making art, hanging out with kids, hanging out with positive and creative people, reading, going to the beach, dancing.... I assume that a heightened level of organization and time management would also make me Happy, and I'm enough of a fan of the scientific method to try that out. I'll report back on my progress in a month or so. Pizza, ice cream, and bourbon also make me Happy, but sometimes a gal needs to fall off the wagon -- and take pride in getting back on said wagon -- in order to be truly Happy!

In the past few years, I've been creeping toward Happy. I guess when I was younger, I never really felt I deserved True Happiness. But I learned something important once I started moving toward Happiness. The Happier I am, the more productive I am. The more productive I am, the bigger impact I'm able to make. And guess what! That impact makes me Happy!

So this year's New Year's Resolution is simply that: to Just Be Happy. If what it takes to make me Happy changes, so be it. I am a work in progress.

That's about all the news for now, darlings! Stitch 'n' Bitch starts at Rogers Park Social on Monday, January 5, at 7:00pm and at R Public House on Wednesday, January 14, at 7:00pm. Toddler Music Jam at The Common Cup starts at 10:00am on Friday, Jaminary 9. Wishing you a Happy and prosperous new year, and as always, until next time, Peace, (Radical) Love, and Yarn!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Greetings

Merry Christmas, darlings!

It's been much too long! I hope this post finds you happy and healthy and surrounded by people you love! I hope your shopping is done, your stockings are hung, and your eggnog is spiked!

Lately I've really been missing writing this blog, and as I've got a couple of weeks off of work for the holidays, I thought Christmastime was the best time to jump back in. So here I am, ready to regale you with stories of my yarn adventures.

December has been a month of simplification for me. I canceled all of my Stitch 'n' Bitches. I said no to social obligations. On Sunday I deleted the games off of my phone and my tablet and left Facebook groups in which I have lagging interest. No more pointless distractions! No more time vortex. I want to focus on music and art. And yarn. Lots of yarn.

2015 will see the return of The Blog, the streamlined stitch 'n' bitch schedule, the continuation and impeovement of the quarterly Craft-Tacular Art Spectacle, and a new, exciting musical endeavor! I've been learning to play the guitar, and I play for the kids in my Mom 'n' Tots art classes, so I thought it would be fun to do a toddler music time at the Common Cup Cafe, 1501 West Morse Avenue in scenic Rogers Park. The owner, my good friend Ruth Hoekwater, liked the idea too. So starting next month, I'll be rockin' with the babies on Friday mornings at 10.

Here are some projects I've been working on in December. I've been trying to up my game on the things I make, putting my own spin on some tried and true patterns.

Jill Silverman rocking her sassy pastel hat

My new fingerless mitts, fortified with thumbs

Grrl Genius Cathryn Michon plugging her new movie, 
Muffin Top: A Love Story, in her bespoke sport-weight 
fingerless gloves, a gift I made for her Chicago premier

Uber-talented tenor Chase Taylor sporting a heavyweight 
skully on closing night of Lyric Opera's "Porgy and Bess"

Darlings, it's great to be back! I'm so excited about what the new year has to offer. I look forward to sharing my adventures with all of you. May your days be merry and bright. And, as always, Peace, (Radical) Love, and Yarn!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Could it be True??

This morning I awoke to a miracle!! The sun was not only holding court in the sky, it was actually warming the atmosphere in a rather aggressive way! My roommate left the house in a T-shirt and jeans. I was a little less optimistic -- I topped my T-shirt with a hoodie. I was outside in Chicago, wearing a mere two layers! I know, I know -- it's going to be fifteen degrees colder tomorrow, and temperatures will live in the forties again for the next week or so, but today -- today was a miracle!!

Spring Cleaning has begun here in Barbie's Dreamhouse. I started in my room Saturday, and Sarah started her room today. I can't wait til the day when we can fling open our freshly-cleaned windows to allow sweet spring air to replace the stale, sad winter air that has taken up temporary residence here. I'm so ready to leave Winter 2013 behind me!!

Here's the photo spread of the Craft-Tacular Art Spectacle that the awesome Kirk Williamson put in Nightspots magazine.

One of my Facebook friends thought that the Minion hat on my head was Brunhilde braids, which inspired me to design and crochet a Brunhilde hat. I'll be done with it before the next blog is posted, so we'll have pictures of that project then.

That's all the news for now. Come and see me at the R Public House Stitch 'n' Bitch on Wednesday. And until next time, Peace, (Radical) Love, and Yarn!!

Friday, March 28, 2014


Darlings, I'm sorry this post is a day late. I've been feeling a little sorry for myself since I woke up Wednesday morning without a voice. If you know me, you know that sotto voce does not suit my lifestyle. I had to text in sick -- couldn't call; no voice -- to my Wednesday morning early childhood arts class. I had to cancel Wednesday night's Stitch ’n' Bitch at R Public House, even though I had promised to teach one of the servers to crochet. I had to back out of my Thursday afternoon session of helping to coach my music teacher friend Andy's after-school rock band. Worst of all, I couldn't call my mommy!! About all I could do was lie in bed with my loyal cat nurses, Roxie and Velma, drinking blueberry smoothies and watching Hulu. And not talking. At all.

On the upside -- because if you know me, you know there's always an upside -- I rekindled my love for Aaron Sorkin's late-90's series, Sports Night. The writing is divine. The ensemble is top-notch. The situations are still relevant sixteen years later. I just wish they hadn't had to employ that damnable laugh track! But it was how they did things back then. It would behoove everyone with Hulu or Netflix to dip into this series. I adore Aaron Sorkin!!

Yesterday afternoon I dragged myself out of bed, clothed myself for the out-of-doors, and slogged down to Belmont and Racine to spend some quality time at my favorite urban hideaway, Thousand Waves Spa. I had to steam away the germies that  imprisoned my voice, as though I were Arielle or Rusalka. And like Arielle and Rusalka, I had to get back to the Water! (At this point, I'm dropping the Rusalka simile -- she dies at the end!!) For a mere $20, Thousand Waves gives you three hours of unlimited hot tub, sauna, and steam room, along with relaxation room and tea! They supply the robes, towels, and slippers. It's always my goal to visit once a month. I usually make it once a fiscal quarter. Well, the waters and the steam did me right! I'm able to talk today! And I'm also able to blog from a happy place!

So that's the news for now. Have a great weekend! Create something -- ANYTHING -- this weekend!! And until next time, Peace, (Radical) Love, and Yarn!!

Monday, March 24, 2014


Saturday morning I crocheted my first daffodil!! I did it out of white crochet thread with an E hook -- the smallest hook with which I've ever completed a project! I wanted to do a mock-up to see if the size would work for jewelry. This size will work for a lapel pin, hair clip, or embellishment for a hat or bag. I'm going to try -- brace yourselves -- a C hook and embroidery floss. I'm growing; I'm changing.

I also made a visit to Tom Thumb in Evanston in search of crochet rings. They're plastic discs that look like washers, and you crochet around them to make things like this.
I didn't find crochet rings at Tom Thumb, so I swung by the hardware store and got various sizes of metal washers, which I will trace on plastic and cut out to crochet around. I'm getting so serious about this crocheted jewelry!!

I'm also getting serious about the future of the Craft-Tacular Art Spectacle. As of last night, I have venues lined up for my June event, my September event, and my holiday extravaganza!! I'll keep you posted! (The June one is on the 14th at R Public House!)

So that's the news for now! Check back Thursday for more tales from the front! Or come and craft with me Wednesday night at 7:00 at R Public House, 1508 West Jarvis. Until then, Peace, (Radical) Love, and Yarn!!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Everything's Coming Up Roses (and Daffodils, and Pansies, and Sunflowers...)!!

Happy Thursday! As I mentioned on Monday, I want to try my hand at more delicate crochet patterns and jewelry. You know how sometimes you mention a desire, and then Divine Providence jumps in and rearranges the universe so that you receive your desire? You know, because God is an artist, and by creating, we become playmates with God? Well, Tuesday I had a really lousy, weather-related headache, so I just lay low and pretty much stuck to my room after I taught my morning Early Childhood Arts class in Evanston. That evening, my roommate Sarah came home with a gift for me from our friend Betsy, who owns Armadillo's Pillow Bookstore. It was a copy of Suzann Thompson's CROCHET BOUQUET, a book with tons of crochet flower patterns!!

These flowers will be great as trim on blankets, shawls, and hats, in addition to making really fun and pretty jewelry! I announced that I wanted to try something new, and a book that I didn't even know existed was hand-delivered. That's a miracle, in my eyes!

My very handsome friend, Robbie Chandler, sent me a great quote from screenwriter, director, composer, actor, Renaissance man, et cetera, et al, Joss Whedon.
This is what we need to do! Whatever creative energy it is that we can put out into the world, we need to get it out there. Paint. Dance. Cook. Garden. Beautify your world! And beautiful things will come back to you. Darling, everything's coming up roses!!

That's the news for now. Mark you calendars for Stitch Night at G & L Tavern on Grace and Leavitt on Mondays at 7 and R Public House, 1508 W. Jarvis, on Wednesdays at 7. Until Monday, Peace, (Radical) Love, and Yarn!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring Awakenings

Wow, it's been a very long time since I've posted a blog!! I've really been missing all of my friends in the blogosphere! I have it on good authority that, despite our wretchedly brutal Midwestern winter, spring IS coming, so I decided it was time to come out of hibernation and write.

This past Saturday I hosted the second installation of the Craft-Tacular Art Spectacle, the neighborhood craft market that I plan to hold quarterly.

It was bigger and better than the first one, and isn't that always the goal? This time we had it in the Glenwood bar. Colm Treacy generously welcomed us to take over his bar, Chad Luellen graciously managed to keep the takeover from being too hostile, and, along with Chad, hot geek Danny Flowers kept the drinks flowing.  In addition to designing yet another great poster, my very talented roommate, Sarah Bell, organized some awesome local musicians to play for us. Sarah and I even got up to sing ourselves!! This event has become an excuse to hang out with my friends under the guise of selling our wares. We've got the next one scheduled for June 14th at R Public House in Jarvis Square.

I've been thinking about going outside my comfort zone for the next craft market. I'm looking at lacy wraps and crocheted jewelry. What's that you say? You didn't know that jewelry could be crocheted?? Here are some pieces I found on Pinterest. I'm intrigued by this stuff!

I'm going to post again on Thursday and let you know my progress on crocheted jewelry. Mark your calendars for June 14th, and until next time, Peace, (Radical) Love, and Yarn!!