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December 20, 2010

Evolving Family

For those of you who follow me on facebook or twitter, this is now day old news but for the rest of you, I'm proud to introduce you to our newest little rescue, Darwin.

darwin_the_cutie

We adopted him yesterday through Pacific Northwest Border Collie Rescue, the same rescue from which we got Thea.

He was fostered by a fantastic family who had two BCs of their own, so he comes to us in great spirits and well cared for.

I will definitely be posting more but for now, we're off to Puppy Preschool!

December 22, 2010

More on the wee beastie

Pack Portrait 2

There's nothing like a new puppy to revive my blog. I promise to have some fibery content soon, but for now, I must indulge my puppy love just a little bit more. Someday I'll be able to look back on this post and smile, like I do with my first post about Thea.

Darwin on a walkies07

Leo's been talking about getting a third dog for about a year now and I've been hesitant. We have only one salary right now, there are only two of us, puppies are exhausting and I always want to have the money to properly care for anyone in our home. But Leo had some solid arguments: Our house is big enough, Panda is starting to slow down and Thea hasn't had a pal who could match her level of energy. We also want to introduce a third before Panda is so old that she'd be overly stressed by a puppy and, with both of us home every day (I work from home and Leo is looking for work) we can share the workload, ensuring a puppy isn't stuck in a crate all day.

I wasn't exactly sold but I wasn't exactly throwing a temper tantrum over it either.

And then Leo asked me a casual question the other day; "Marnie, what rescue is Thea from? Can you send me the link?" And I looked it up and saw Buddy.

I called Leo up to my office and said, "LOOK!" Within minutes I was writing his foster home. Another family was seeing Buddy that day and if they were a great match and wanted him, then we would not even get to see him. As luck would have it, this family felt that 4-5 months was just too old for them and they continued their search.

Darwin on a walkies02

Buddy's foster home was great; a lovely family with two full grown BCs of their own, who clearly loved dogs and wanted the best home possible for the little guy. They had given him the name Buddy, after deciding his original name, Akon, just didn't suit him. Buddy played joyfully with his puppy pals and people alike and was a fierce protector of his foster home.

Panda and Thea got to meet the little guy and we saw no indication that there would be any major personality conflicts so we tentatively asked if we might be viable candidates. I guess there's no real suspense here. The foster family agreed to entrust us with the health, happiness and well being of this teeny tiny little pup who has gone from who knows what beginning, to living in a car with a wayward couple, to being surrendered to a shelter to being taken in by a rescue to being cared for by a foster family and finally to us. Leo and I don't take that responsibility lightly.

Darwin and piggie_12

So who is this dog we brought home? He's maybe 4 or 5 months old, mostly Border Collie, mixed with something, maybe black lab. His ears go wonky in a most charming way and he wears white socks and has a little white spot on his nose, the back of his neck and the tip of his tail. Within 24 hours of adopting the little boy, he learned that he was no longer Buddy, but now we called him Darwin, and if you threw in a cookie, he might even care about that tidbit.

He's learning that to get dinner, or breakfast or to go out to potty, he's going to have to sit and his sit is lovely.

He sleeps in his crate with very little fuss and is starting to let us know exactly when he'd like to potty. But he'll also climb the coffee table and try to drink Leo's mate or steal his lunch if we aren't obsessively diligent and should we miss the pee cue, we'll be busting out the carpet cleaner once again. He is, without doubt, a puppy.

But Darwin has accepted us as sufficient for his needs and I dare say, after 3 short days, he's already gotten a little attached. You wouldn't believe the sob story he told me while Leo was cleaning the yard of puppy land mines.

Watching Leo_02

And the girls? Well, A puppy is a lot to deal with and sometimes they feel a little needy.

Needing some love

We're doing our best to make sure that they don't feel the puppy is getting the bulk of the attention and with the daily walks, they are slowly starting to accept that this little dude isn't going anywhere.

I'm sure (positive) that Darwin will test us and make us wonder what we got ourselves into, but I think he'll be a great addition to the family and a smart, sweet, and gorgeous boy. Thanks to all of you for welcoming him so warmly. Expect to see plenty more of him and the girls.


January 1, 2011

Fixer-uppers

Breakfast02

When we got Panda, almost a decade ago, I wasn't a dog person, in fact, I was really unsure about the whole prospect. Leo and I had been together for less than a year, had quit our jobs to move to another state 3000 miles away with no jobs lined up and very little money. We moved into an apartment sight unseen in a state Leo had never even visited and now we were adding a little being to the mix. If a friend told me they were going to do the same thing, I'd think they were a few clowns short of a circus and I'd be absolutely right.

Snuggly Panda04

But of all the impulsive perhaps ill-advised decisions we made, getting Panda was my favorite of the bunch. She was unrecognizable from the girl I know now. She was a dog who hated, with every fiber of her body, going for walks. She would scramble like a fish at the end of a line, on her leash, panicked and running for cover anywhere she could. She'd jump into bushes, under cars, anywhere she thought might hide her from children, bikes, skateboards, and other dogs. When we would stop and ask Panda to sit, she'd shake and drool in fear, completely incapacitated. There was no way to exercise her enough to quell her fear, she was only at ease when she was home with her humans or somewhere quiet and away from the city.

As odd as it sounds, as a non-dog person, this was the dog I needed at that time. I remember being scared to tears every 4th of July as a child, so overwhelmed by the noise, so desperate to be brave enough to handle it all and so disappointed at myself at failing. Something about Panda's debilitating fear just resonated with me and it was gratifying to be able to begin to slowly help her through her fears. At 10 years old, she is still a soft dog who struggles with loud noises and boisterous children, but she is also loving, brilliant, and so eager to please. She was pretty much potty trained over night, has never destroyed people stuff and is the easiest dog in the world to train. All in all, an awesome pup.

Beautiful Thea07

When we rescued Thea, we wanted a dog for Panda, someone playful and confident and focused on being a friend to the old girl who really can't be bothered with other dogs. We got what we wished for and then some with Thea. While she was food motivated, she couldn't care less about how happy or stern we sounded. She cared nothing about staying near us when there were other dogs or people around. The idea of walking her on a loose leash was (ok, fine, still is) a pipe dream because there is no treat more rewarding than playing with someone or something new. But the payoff has been a dog who has completely brought Panda out of her shell, entertains her during the day and she's a dog who has come to really bond with her people too. I can't fathom a cold winter night without my sweet Thea curled up next to me on the bed.

Darwin05

And now there is Darwin. In two weeks he's managed to win over even his curmudgeonly big sis.

Play Time07

He's a zippy quick learner who'll do almost anything for a cookie.

Darwin Socializing at Puppy Play Time01

He's learning the protocols and manners required to live with the rest of us.

Breakfast05

But (and doesn't everyone have their issues?) Darwin is more like his big sis than many would suspect. He suffers from some fear agression with strange dogs, and to a lesser degree, strange humans. In many ways, this is the same sort of fear that Panda had, all those years back, only manifested in a vastly different way. So our big project, more so than the potty training (thank goodness for rug cleaners) is to work on little D's socializing and we lucked out with our great local dog school. Socializing a dog with fear aggression means making for a safe and positive environment for all parties involved. The only way to convince a dog that other dogs are safe is to have him around other dogs but you can't just let him loose at a dog park and expect things to work out fine.

Darwin Socializing at Puppy Play Time03

So with some expert help, Darwin is learning that great things can happen when strange dogs are around and that strange people sometimes come bearing cookies. It's not going to be an instant change but even after an hour of working with him at school, he was letting loose with dogs he'd been saying unspeakable things to at the start of the night.

One of his classmates, a purebred malamute, had the same issue a few short weeks ago and was a testament to what a little good socializing can do. I'm feeling confident that we can lick this issue so that even strangers get to see him as the same great boy we know him to be.

Play Time05

January 14, 2011

Perspective

Yesterday was one of those days; those days that ensure I won't be a dog horder in the near future. Rainy weather and long working hours have left me making excuses not to walk Darwin as much as I should. When you have a young herding dog and you decide to skimp on walks and training you might as well batten down the hatches and prepare for the storm because you are about to see what 25 lbs of super smart and endlessly energetic has in store for you.

Darwin Socializing_03
Being cute is a survival mechanism

It was a rough day but today is already better, we've left our minor setbacks behind us and braved the downpours for a a nice long and positive walk. A little perspective (and a good nap) is usually all I need to get past a particularly bad day. I mean really, look at this lot.

Darwin's First Trip to Mt. Hood_29
Cute, non? Cute, oui!

In the same way, our other stresses in life can seem overwhelming. With one of us out of work for nearly a year now and the economy showing few signs of life, it's easy to get caught up in the uncertainty and doubt and fear. We could let the setbacks and rejections cripple us but we try to keep perspective. We have our bad days and sleepless nights but we try to remember that we have so much even if it feels like we are teetering on the edge. When I heard a friend and her son had lost their partner and father, respectively, my heart just broke. It's one of those moments where the only thing I can think to do is hug everyone in the house and tell them how important they are to me. The dogs mostly just wag and hope for a cookie. That's good enough for me.

I know that nothing can ever bring back this wonderful man my friend and her son lost and no small gesture can change that pain left behind, but perhaps it was as therapeutic for me as anything, to make them each a small gift with empathy for their terrible situation. I guess, on some level, I feel like the time I spent on each was time I was reminded to value the people I do have in my life; forget my petty concerns and endeavor to be as honest and caring as I can while time still allows me to do so.

Handspun Shrug_10
Handspun Grafton Batt crocheted side to side. Trimmed in knitted handspun optim

And maybe, if you'll indulge me a bit longer, you can find someone you love, human, dog, cat or other, and let them know you love them for no reason at all except that you do, even if they drive you up the walls sometimes or always leave a mess. Chances are, they overlook a few of your shortcomings as well and love you equally.

Lil_Monster07
Monster crocheted with DK weigh merino, with knit socks and scarf worked in sock yarn

January 20, 2011

Comic relief

One of the nice things about dogs (versus, say, children or other humans) is that they don't get indignant when you make jokes at their expense for all the internet to see.

One of the nice things about being easily amused is that one can find herself entertained for hours with an inexpensive piece of software and a few well chosen photos. Click to go to the full sized image.

Balls


Baggage


Puppy_Le_Pew

February 20, 2011

Let's continue the birthday celebration

Friday was my birthday and I put it to good use. I released a pattern:

Dweezil_In_Space

And I went to the beach with the three beasts and one human I like best of all.

My birthday at the coast
1. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_171, 2. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_046, 3. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_053, 4. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_065, 5. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_118, 6. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_126, 7. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_130, 8. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_148, 9. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_150, 10. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_157, 11. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_169, 12. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_176, 13. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_182
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

And as an added bonus, I did an interview a little while ago and now it's live. Check it out here.

Hope you all had a happy my-birthday as well.

March 6, 2011

Do you suffer from CDP?

Do you suffer from Crazy Dog Personitis [CDP]? Symptoms may include:

A compulsion to relegate half your vehicle for the comfort and safety of your dogs.

CarRide_02

An uncontrolled desire to snuggle, which sometimes interferes with other tasks you should be doing.

Man_and_his_dogs_14 Man_and_his_dogs_04

Attraction to sun beams.

Man_and_his_dogs_02

Inability to consider weather reports before deciding to drive 2 hours so your dogs can play.

Susceptibility to furrowed brows.

OregonCoast_March_4_2011_044

And, in the case of extreme CDP, a tendency towards ordering a burger for yourself....

OregonCoast_March_4_2011_073

...And then some mini burgers, minus all the fixin's for your pooches awaiting you in the car.

If you have these symptoms, or any other symptoms of CDP, there's no hope for you, no cure, and no treatment, but you are in good company. I prescribe two belly rubs per dog, and call me in the morning.

Bunches of additional pictures here.

March 19, 2011

New camera, new beach, same old pups

Leo surprised me with a belated birthday present, a few days ago. I'm working on a pattern (to be released soon) and decided it just had to be shot at the coast and since we're going, we might as well bring the pups along.

Our usual spot was a little crowded, and since shooting the pattern required that I completely change, in 45º weather, and don a wee little dress, I figured it might be better if we go somewhere a little less populated. It didn't make it any warmer but at least I wasn't putting on a burlesque show in the process.

We ended up stumbling on the most amazing secluded spot. I don't even know what town we were in, nor what street we turned onto. It's in our GPS, though and we'll be finding our way back.

There were rocky outcroppings that made for impressive tidepools

Tidepools
1. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_036, 2. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_035, 3. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_034, 4. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_049
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

Darwin had plenty of room to bounce

Boingy Boy
1. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_003, 2. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_005, 3. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_029, 4. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_082
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

Panda mostly did her own thing, as she is wont to do.

My Sweet Panda Girl
1. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_014, 2. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_077, 3. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_079, 4. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_058
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

And Thea chased her brother around whenever he wasn't chasing her.

Thea, silly monkey
1. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_091, 2. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_004, 3. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_019, 4. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_041
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

The view wasn't anything to scoff at either.

What a view
1. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_007, 2. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_010, 3. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_016, 4. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_043
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

Once the puppies were tuckered out, the humans decided to stop for a burger and some blues before the long drive home.

Fun for the humans
1. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_113, 2. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_116, 3. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_115, 4. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_118
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

Just another wonderful day at the Oregon coast. See all our pictures here.

March 22, 2011

Tidewater

I am very pleased to present my newest patterns, a set called Tidewater featuring:

A cowl:

Tidewater Cowl modeled by all of us
1. Tidewater_Cowl_19, 2. Tidewater_Cowl_27, 3. Tidewater_Cowl_24, 4. Tidewater_Cowl_08
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

And a shawl

Tidewater_Shawl_25 Tidewater_Shawl_45

The patterns are both charted. The cowl also includes written out instructions for the lace, for those who are not comfortable working from charts. Each pattern is available individually and both are available together, as an ebook, for a reduced price.

Click to see all the details for the cowl and the shawl.

April 4, 2011

Two tired buzzwords in one great week.

I think we can all agree that the words, "staycation" and "funemployment" can be retired at any time with no adverse repercussions for the English language, but regardless, that's what Leo and I had last week when I took some time off from my day job.*

We didn't waste the time, getting a bit done around the house and managing to hit the beach three times. The pups were over the moon, around Jupiter and back around the moon once more.

March 25

Oregon_Coast_March_25_2011_058


A beautiful start to vacation, with perfect mild weather and plenty of fetch.

Then a drizzly follow up on March 28

Oregon Coast -- March 28, 2011_053
Darwin's still a little unsure about this whole fetch thing.

And then a last trip on Saturday, April 2, when we were able to play fetch while the sun set behind us. How's that for a great way to end a vacation?

Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011 - Montage
1. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_111, 2. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_052, 3. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_064, 4. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_075, 5. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_080, 6. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_091, 7. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_093, 8. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_096, 9. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_099, 10. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_106, 11. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_127, 12. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_140, 13. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_148
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

I won't say that I was excited to wake up at 5:30AM on Monday, to get back to work, but I can say I had a really great week off. If I had to guess, I'd say the pups have very few complaints, as well.

Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_027




* Though with the Spring/Summer edition going live, I still had responsibilities for my my alter-ego-super-hero-night-job.

April 17, 2011

I now want pockets on everything

This pattern was so quick, so easy and the results so cute that I kind of want to sew up a dozen more and live in them. Come summer, a mid-length machine washable skirt (or two) is a great alternative to the jeans I normally live in for all occasions outside the house.

McCall's 5431_06 McCall's 5431_15
Modeling assistance courtesy of the pack

It looks a little like an apron when worked in cotton but I think it'd be really versatile in light denim, linen, or chino fabric.

But what I love, love love love, are the pockets.

McCall's 5431_07
The pockets are good at holding the stuff

They are ridiculously roomy. The pattern doesn't indicate a shorter version with the two toned pockets, but it's easy enough to make the modification, just buy an extra quarter yard or so of the main fabric and work version A, but do the pockets for version B.

Despite not having any darts and only a few seams, the fit on this skirt is great, and is so far the best of the three I've sewn since getting my new machine. It was a fun project to slip in while working on more substantial projects with the bulk of my time.

secret_02
You didn't see this, it's a secret

May 1, 2011

Multitasking

What do you do when it's a hot day, you've gone for a long walk with the dogs, your pups need cooling off and your lawn could use a little water?

Yah, that hit the spot

IMG_5434

June 14, 2011

New post

I think we need something other than me, wrapped in duct tape, at the top of this blog, if only for my own sanity.

I'm in LA for work, this week, so most of what I would post about is "I had a nice meeting." and "Oh yah, this is what wearing shoes is like!" Not very interesting stuff.

So instead, here is a picture of Darwin with the first bloom from our little rose garden and a sprig of lilac.

Season's first rose_06

And if that isn't entertaining enough, you can read the poetic missives

of some *ahem* admirers I had on flickr, who are now no longer permitted to opine on my photos. They get pretty colorful near the end. You've been warned.

The moral of this post: The internet is for pervs and pets.

July 4, 2011

More sewing

Yes, I still knit. I do! Yarn will be arriving shortly for another super secret project, and at the start of next month, I'll have a new pattern out that I can't wait to share with you.

For now, though I'll have to entertain you with ridiculous sewing FO shots.

I sewed a pretty little bag.

Ava Bag_10
Panda is not amused
pattern info here

Then I sewed another one.

Ava Bag_take two_23
Thea is not amused

And then I made a nutballs crazy skirt out of double cloth cotton gauze (gingham on one side, plaid on the other). It's a twirly joy to wear and so light and breezy. I might live in this, during the summer.

McCall's 5056_94

If you are a member of Pattern Review, you can see all my detailed pattern reviews here. Kind of crazy that I've sewn 22 projects in 3 months. Actually, there are a couple that didn't make it to the site at all. Sometimes I get a little obsessed with my (re)new(ed) hobbies.

July 15, 2011

Crunch time

It's been Crazypants City, population, Marnie, lately. We rolled out a redesign of our self service site, at work. Wait, is that Thea you see? Why yes it is. Oh and hey, did you just see Panda over here too? I think you might have. We cranked out that new site in an absurdly short period of time, with two trips to the mothership, for me, and a lot of extra hours. We're still cleaning things up, improving, adding, subtracting, but it's good to have the bulk of it live.

And for you knitters, you may know that Twist Collective has a new edition going live in a couple weeks so it's crunch time there as well. Being completely entrenched in the process, I become both incredible attached to the edition and also, oddly numb to it too, so that I am never quite sure how it will be received. It's like saying the same word over and over until it sounds suddenly foreign.

But there are some things in life that don't care about schedules and work and traveling. Things like delicious local strawberries that must (MUST) be made into jams and jellies.

Strawberry Jam and Strawberry Wine Jelly_05

I made a batch of less sugar strawberry jam in big jars and a small batch of strawberry wine jelly (click image for recipe) just because it sounded so interesting. The former has all the sweet and tart flavor of the amazing hood berries that grow here and the latter tastes almost like honey, with just a hint of wine flavor. It's supposed to be great on a cheese plate, but I like it just fine on toast.

I also have managed a little more dog abuse sewing.

SophiaBag_24 SophiaBag_18
SophiaBag_27

This is from an Amy Butler pattern. While I find her fabrics a little over the top for my taste (says she with the new bag that looks like it was made from a Hawaiian shirt) her patterns are worth every penny for their detailed instructions and professional construction. I would happily recommend them.

Next week, one of my oldest and dearest friends comes to visit for the week, and then we launch the new Twist and then, perhaps, I will take a three day nap and eat all the buttered toast with homemade jam I can fit in my mouth.


July 26, 2011

Aloha

My friends, Mel and Steve came to visit from Hawaii for a week and seeing as Leo and I live in a town called Aloha (pronounced "a-low-a" by the locals, here. I guess the "h" went back to Hawaii) and seeing as it seemed like we were saying, goodbye too soon after saying, hello, "Aloha" seemed like the perfect blog title.

It's always fun to see where you live through fresh eyes. We haven't been in Oregon all that long but Mel and Steve wanted to really get to know the place and it meant hitting all our favorite spots in one short week.

We went berry picking at the local farms

Mel and Steve visit Portland_025

And said, aloha, to some alpaca.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_013

We had microbrewed beer at little bars with live bands.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_018

And hiked around the coastline.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_019

We even went salsa dancing.


can't see the video, click here.


Ok, well, I went salsa dancing and everyone else enjoyed the live music and people watching.

Luckily, they are both crazy dog people and spent plenty of time dolling out belly rubs, treats and generally helping to keep the dogs properly spoiled.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_004
What? You don't invite your dogs to sit next to you at your breakfast nook?

I didn't come close to documenting all the places we went and things we did, but suffice it to say, it was great fun hosting them and hopefully just as much fun for them to be here. The dogs are a bit displeased at the precipitous drop in ear scritches, since their departure.

August 13, 2011

The Piddle King Turns 1

Actually, of our three rescues, we know the very least about Darwin. When we got him, the foster home thought he could be anywhere from 4 to 6 months old and they seemed sure he was part Border Collie (since the rescue was for BCs) but they were told he was mixed with Dalmatian. Well, if he's half Dalmatian, I'm half giraffe, I would bet money he's got some black lab in him.

Wait. what were we talking about?

Darwin Turns 1 - 1
The beatings will continue until morale improves

Ooooh, right, Darwin and his birthday. So, after we brought the little beasty home, we took him to the vet who checked his teeth and gave us her best guess on his age and I used that to pick a date for Darwin's birthday. For those of you (aka, none of you) who want to mark your calendars, August 12th is the day.

Darwin's been a handful in the past 8 months. To say we get a lot of use out of the carpet cleaner is an understatement, for sure. We're still working on some of the residual emotional problems he has as a result of his living conditions before we got him, but boy does he make up for it in other ways. Little D is sweet, loving, snuggly, smart, a quick learner and eager to make his people happy. We may have a long way to go, to undo his past, but it won't be because he isn't willing.

I feel like I've gotten off on a tangent, was there something I needed to do?

Darwin Turns 1 - 3

Oooh, right, the birthday dinner, you guys are still waiting for that. Sorry.

So in honor of the little guy being approximately one earth year old (give or take) and because he's my sweet little doodle butt, we grilled up three small steaks, added a dollop of fresh local berries and had ourselves a birthday celebration. So without further ado...

Happy Birth-ish-day, Darwin!

September 10, 2011

Interview at the Designer's Studio

Exactly 3 years ago today I posted an interview I did with Faina Goberstein and Dawn Leeseman about their book Casual Elegant Knits. Their blog tour was my first chance to get to know Faina, but it hasn't been my last. Since then, she and I have both contributed to the book Knitting in the Sun and Twist Collective.

When Faina first asked me if I'd do an interview for her ongoing Designer's Studio series, I agreed and then promptly got overwhelmed with other things and dropped the ball. Luckily, she gave me a second chance. The interview is now live and you can read it here. Don't forget to check out all the other interviews and if you find any interesting, consider leaving Faina a comment to thank her for all her hard work.


Ooof, there aren't any pictures in this post. Time to remedy that with some non sequitors.

Puppies at play.

Battling the water monster_comic
Click through to get to embiggen

And check out quilt numero dos.

My second quilt_23

September 24, 2011

Lesson learned

Yesterday, I roasted a 5.5 pound chicken.

bird

Leo had a drumstick and I had a little piece of the breast. It was too hot to put in the fridge so I tucked it far back on the counter while we ran a quick errand.

In particular, I picked up some tortillas, salsa, avocado and cheese to make some roasted chicken soft tacos for dinner. Sounds nice, huh?

I can only imagine how this all went down. The little guy must have leaped 4 feet off the ground, snapping as far into the counter as he could, until he got ahold of the dish the chicken was on. The dish was on the floor. The garlic cloves that were in the cavity were everywhere. There was a small piece of breast left and the boy had it in his mouth, a couple discarded ribs littered the floor and pretty much nothing else. D-dog looked pregnant and absolutely as happy with life as an overstuffed dog could be. Panda was hiding in another room and Thea was licking the grease off the floor.

To top it all off, the boy piddled all over the living room, later that evening and Leo had to get up 3 times to let him out, during the night.

Dogs are fricken awesome.

He's feeling fine today.

the culprit 03

The moral of the story? Darwin may look small but there is no spot in the kitchen that he can't reach if the smells are good enough. Also, it's impossible for me to stay mad at a cute dog.

September 25, 2011

You are what you eat

You are what you eat

Alternatively title: Karma's a b**ch.

You are what you eat

My guess is he still thinks it was worth it.

October 23, 2011

When the people are away

When we aren't home, we set up motion sensitive cameras around the house that automatically save photos, whenever there is movement, to a server. Leo also gets a message on his phone and can view the photos remotely. On the off chance something horrible happens while we aren't home, we'd have a heads up and loads of pictures to reference. Good stuff.

The Doodle-boy has been getting into a fair bit of trouble lately so we decided to train one of the cameras on the kitchen.

Yah, he's looking for trouble. I guess we've gotten good at securing the provisions in the kitchen. As you can see, he turned up empty handed in his investigation.

Confident that we had thwarted D-dog's attempts at mischief, we returned home to unload our groceries, the smell of hubris wafting about us. We opened the door and the mud room was littered with blue and white confetti, the tattered remains of one of these:


Found here.

It once held 6 pounds of senior formula dog food we'd just bought for Panda. It now held about 1.5 pounds of slightly slobbered upon kibble.

Darwin tried to jump up to say "hi" to us but he was carrying some extra balast and wasn't as spry as he normally is. Thea was groaning, waddling slowly through the house, too uncomfortable to lie down but not much more comfortable standing up. Panda refused to come out of the bedroom, though her bloated belly suggested she hadn't been a mere bystandard, this time.

It's about 4 hours later and if Darwin had a watch, he'd be tapping it and asking us where dinner is. That boy is a handfull.

I'll tell you this, though, there's no risk of my becoming a dog hoarder any time soon.

November 4, 2011

So how do the pups get along?


Fine, just fine.

November 26, 2011

Cathedral Windows Hot Pad

Cathedral Windows Tutorial_099

In the short time that I've been quilting I've learned enough to know that I have a lot to learn. I'm still really bad at it but I've been obsessively scouring the internet to bolster my skills.

While I've stuck with simple quilts so far, there's one slightly more advanced quilt that always catches my eye, the Cathedral Windows pattern. The first one I ever saw was here (youtube video). Amazing, right? But jeeze o pete, that's a lot of handwork.

Then I found this tutorial on the Moda Bakeshop site and a whole bunch of the handwork was taken out without losing a lot of what makes the pattern appealing to me. I tried the technique and ended up making this and while I liked it, there were a couple of things about the pattern I didn't love (and I really needed to work on my top stitching).

So based on the techniques I saw online and a few things I wanted to change slightly, I came up with this variation. The one I'm demoing, (shown above) doesn't cut off the edges of the windows around the edge and can be adapted to any size you like. It also has batting behind it, for a little more dimensionality. This could be easily adapted to a table runner, lap quilt or wall hanging. For bags and pillows, you could leave the backing off, if you wanted to.

Supplies

Cathedral Windows Tutorial_001

Fabric

  • 1 - 14" x 14" backing piece (shown in white)
  • 1 - 14" x 14" piece of batting. If you plan to use this as a hot pad, use 100% cotton
  • 1 - 14" x 14" piece of border fabric (shown in Moda Cotton Blossoms 55005)
  • 4 - 9.5" x 9.5" for windows (shown in white)
  • 1 - 5" x 5" or 4 - 2.5" x 2.5" square(s) for window panes (shown in Moda Terrain by Kate Spain in 27092-13)
  • Binding fabric (Shown in...heck if I know)

Other supplies

  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Rotary cutter/ruler/mat
  • Marking tools
  • Pins
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Point turner
  • Iron and ironing surface
  • Hand sewing needle

Optional

  • Basting glue
  • Water spray bottle
  • Spray starch
  • Scotch Guard

All images may be clicked to view them full size.

Continue reading "Cathedral Windows Hot Pad" »

December 4, 2011

On the horizon

I feel like I'm on a designing kick right now. I just released two patterns for Twist, I have yarn for two deadline projects, due to publish next spring and I just sent a new design, Cercis, to my tech editor to be self published.

cercis_outtake_001

I took some pictures of Cercis this weekend, while we were at the coast. I thought I'd share my favorite outtake. It's useless for actually seeing the sweater but it has everything I love; my pack, haystack rock, a bright sunny day, knitting and the ocean.

I hope to have this pattern ready for release in the next couple of weeks. Until then, I have some designing to do.

December 20, 2011

Celebration

panda_darwin
Guests of honor

Over the last 3 weeks we had three milestones to celebrate:

  • Panda turned 11

  • We celebrated our 1 year anniversary with Darwin

  • And Leo and I hit 11 years together (eesh, how did that happen?)

So we celebrated all three, on Friday, with another trip to the coast. It seemed appropriate.

three happy dogs

Here's to many more birthdays and anniversaries to come.

January 12, 2012

All dressed up and no place to go

I've read a good number of books on sewing, over the years, including an 80s era edition of Vogue Sewing and while doing so has certainly been helpful, when it comes time to actually sew a garment, I'm often at a loss to remember which couture tips should be employed and how. I end up sewing garments just as the instructions tell me to, not that there's anything wrong with that.

To be honest, though, I have tended to pass up patterns that require things like linings or boning or other more advanced construction features because I still feel like a real rookie at the whole process. What I needed was a good class but time and money make that a bit tough.

Lucky me, Craftsy offers some online courses and one of them is all about making a well constructed, perfectly fitted, couture style bombshell dress. Yes please, and may I have some more?

Bombshell Dress_13

The class was a lot of fun. I worked on mine over the holidays so I really didn't get the benefit of the direct interaction with the instructor. On the one hand, I was a little disappointed that I couldn't ask questions and get answers but in truth, even without that feature, I learned so much and the class was so comprehensive that I still think it was well worth the money and since I got the class while it was nearly half price (and as if this moment, it is still only $29) I really don't think I have much room to complain.

I hear she's working on another class and I'll definitely check it out when it is available.

For those of you who might want to try the class out as well, the largest size available for the pattern is only 39" at the bust (100 cm), though the instructor does walk you through a draping technique for fitting a fuller bust, it may not work for you if you are substantially larger, all over, than the largest size. She does make recommendations for other patterns, but you'll have to pay for those separately, which will increase the overall cost of the class.

I went through the details of my project, over on Sewing Pattern Central. I talked about some of the construction details covered in the class and the modifications I had to make to the pattern. I don't really think I'll wear this dress much. My life involves a lot more pajamas and jeans than bustiers and boning. But I think I'll be able to take a lot of what I learned and apply it to other projects I sew.

Of course, I had to have my quality assurance team inspect the work. Thea weighed in on the hem.

Bombshell Dress_10


I think she's not impressed.


February 25, 2012

Yah yah yah, cue the double rainbow guy

Last weekend was my birthday; one of those unremarkable, mid-decade, you're-too-old-to-care-about-your-birthday-still kind of birthdays. We're still eking by on a single salary, and unemployment has dried up so there were no big plans. We figured, being our frugal new selves, that we'd lump my birthday, Thea's 5th birthday, and valentine's day all into one "celebration." I think we managed to pull it off on a shoestring budget. Check out the decorations at our fête!

Febrary 18, 2012 -- Depoe Bay, Oregon52


D-dog provided streamers

Febrary 18, 2012 -- Depoe Bay, Oregon29


There was an air show

Febrary 18, 2012 -- Depoe Bay, Oregon16


Panda entertained us with her acrobatics

Febrary 18, 2012 -- Depoe Bay, Oregon46


And the other birthday girl seemed utterly pleased with the whole day.

Febrary 18, 2012 -- Depoe Bay, Oregon47


I guess it works out that the things the birthday girls want to do most, cost us very little. I believe they call us "cheap dates."

If you average out for dog years, Thea and I are about the same age, this year. As a pup, she was such a handful, unfazed by reprimand, destructive, and mischievous. She's matured into one of the most sweet, loving and playful girls you could ever imagine. I love her so much and am glad to have an excuse to share my birthday celebration with her.

Here's to many more years to come.

March 17, 2012

This and that

I've been sitting here for minutes trying to come up with a blog post title so I could start writing this post. I've decided to give you a crappy post title so I can just get on with it.

Last weekend, Kate and I went to Madison to present a Twist Collective fashion show. Kate blogged about it here. It was a heck of a lot of fun. The folks in Wisconsin are friendly and welcoming and clearly appreciate knitting. Go...um...Badgers, I guess. I think that might be one of them there sports teams out yonder.

Speaking of badgers, you might as well watch this:

We are crazy busy with Twist stuff right now, and I have a few other secret knits in the wings, but I've fit in a bit more sewing. I mentioned with my last post on sewing, that I'd taken the Bombshell Dress course at Craftsy. Well, I signed up for Susan Khalje's Couture Dress class and instead of using the included pattern, I went with something a little more my style, if I had a style, and any occasion to wear such a dress.

McCall's 6350_03

If you are into sewing, you can read more about it over here. I'm also signed up for the Starlet Jacket class, which is good because my sleeve setting in skills are pretty lacking. Also, I'm unreasonably excited to try my first bound buttonhole.

And, of course, we try to put aside a little time and money to hit the coast with the beasts.

Oregon Coast_March 16, 2012_74

Rain or shine, it's always gorgeous there. Also, seriously, look at this face.

Oregon Coast_March 16, 2012_78

Ridiculous.

April 1, 2012

PLAIDitude

I love bad puns. The title of this post reminds me of one of my favorite puns. I'd like to believe I coined this one. Please don't crush my dreams, if it isn't true.

Colleague: How're you doing Marnie?
Me: Just ducky, thank you.
Colleague: Ducky?
Me: That's my duck-billed platitude.

Your eye roll is compliment enough for me.

Anyway, plaid:

Vogue_8701_15

It's Vogue 8701. I talked about the nuts and bolts here.

It's got a wide ballet neck in front and deeper v-neck in back

Vogue_8701_28 Vogue_8701_27

This is my first try matching plaid. It's not for the faint of heart, but I loves me some plaid so it won't be long before I try it again.

I find the best solution to plaid that might not perfectly match, is to show it next to something cute and distracting.

Vogue_8701_35

Admit it, it totally worked. Slip me some skin, Thea.

Vogue_8701_33

Even better, just leave the dress out altogether.

The pooches

TA-DA!

April 13, 2012

Pillows

If you've ever watched videos of people doing free motion quilting, it always looks so easy and fun. It might be the latter but it's most certainly not the former. I am glad I kept to a not-too-ambitious project for my first go at it.

Quilted Pillows_18

These should fit in nicely in our breakfast nook which is currently upholstered in blue and white fabric against yellow walls, though we plan to change all of that, someday.

Quilted Pillows_14

They are stuffed with polyfil, and backed with medium weight muslin.

Quilted Pillows_09

The fabric is Moda Hometown and a single layer cake will make 9 of these 15" pillow tops or 4, 9 square pillows around 23" wide. You can get even more out of the layer cake if you don't insist on making all the accent squares dark red as I did.

Quilted Pillows_04

If you want to try making these blocks yourself, here's a schematic (you can click through to get to the option to embiggen it)

Quilted Pillows_21

The center row, with the two extra seams, will be an inch narrower than the top and bottom row so you'll have to trim down the block after assembly, to make it square.

Quilted Pillows_08

You have been looking at the pillows, right? I mean, there wasn't anything distracting you in those photos, I hope.

Quilted Pillows_12

It's important to focus on what matters.

May 15, 2012

Past the point of no return

For someone who rarely has occasion to wear anything fancier than pajamas and even fewer occasions to wear anything fancier than jean, it might be a little weird to love to sew dresses so much, even if it's a fun polka dot dress with a pink sash.

McCall's 6557_10

But you could always chalk that up to being more into the process than product of one's craft.

There are some peculiarities that are harder to write off, like rushing to your craft room after work, pulling out more pink satin and sewing it up while laughing maniacally, then using your lunch break to take another round of pictures, like this:

Bow Tie07

And possibly this:

Bow Tie08

And of course this:

Bow Tie02

If Leo divorces me and takes Darwin with him, you'll know why. It was worth it, though.

June 29, 2012

Foothills

I have been waiting with bated breath since Quince & Co posted this preview, last Monday. I love designing shawls. When Pam asked me if I would consider designing one for Quince & Co, right as I was swatching up a shawl design, I figured it was serendipity. I put together a quick proposal and the rest is history, except it's the present, not history, but you know what I mean.

The design starts with small textured hills growing larger and then ending in a deep fluted ruffle. It brought to mind the drive to Mt Hood, which we can see from our bedroom window.

The pattern starts at the center-back neck and works out to the bind off at the end of the ruffle, in a single piece. The pattern is primarily charted.


© Carrie Bostick Hoge

I love Quince & Co's dreamy styling and high key photography. It beats the pants off my standing in front of our run down fence near the strawberry patch.

Foothills_15
No strawberries were harmed in the filming of this shawl.

If you like the pattern, you can purchase it here. To see even more pictures, you can check out the Ravelry page for it.


Foothills_38
Darwin helps with the modeling

August 7, 2012

Who's about 2 years old today and is adorable?

This guy

Darwin at the beach

I wish this were a picture of us actually at the beach, celebrating his birthday, but we are "grown ups" with "responsibilities" and a "mortgage to pay." "Lame."

Anyway, that's a picture from a huge batch I haven't gotten around to sorting and posting, and is hopefully foreshadowing of events to come soon. In the mean time, I'll be lavishing an extra serving of belly rubs and blueberries on this little beast.

August 11, 2012

Fall 2012 Twist Collective

The new edition of Twist Collective is live. It has been for a few days. I should know, I was there when it happened.

To me, this edition is all about timeless, wearable items, and I'm at a loss to pick a favorite.

My contribution is Treillage.

treillage_073

It features lots of dense cables and fabric covered buttons made with leftover quilting scraps.

Thea doesn't care for it.

treillage_023

See the magazine page here
The details page is here
And the ravelry page is here

And don't forget to check out the whole edition, including all the great articles.

September 15, 2012

Om nom nom

Darwin says, make sure to get at least three servings of fruits and veggies every day. And if it's possible, try to get your siblings' servings of fruits and veggies too.

Blueberries


Blackberries


Corn

May 6, 2013

Spring

It's here, at least in Oregon and it's lovely so far.

April 25_Depoe Bay_Oregon_07
This rock has a heart on for spring and I have a juvenile sense of humor

Spring means more trips to the beach.


Did you catch that excited whimper out of Darwin?

And more playing in the yard


I think D is aerating the lawn a little too effectively

And renovations.

Repainting room_02
New wiring and an end to that pepto pink closet, in the works

And maybe a little something else getting an overhaul, too.


Coming soon, if I ever finish doing all the things

December 22, 2010

More on the wee beastie

Pack Portrait 2

There's nothing like a new puppy to revive my blog. I promise to have some fibery content soon, but for now, I must indulge my puppy love just a little bit more. Someday I'll be able to look back on this post and smile, like I do with my first post about Thea.

Darwin on a walkies07

Leo's been talking about getting a third dog for about a year now and I've been hesitant. We have only one salary right now, there are only two of us, puppies are exhausting and I always want to have the money to properly care for anyone in our home. But Leo had some solid arguments: Our house is big enough, Panda is starting to slow down and Thea hasn't had a pal who could match her level of energy. We also want to introduce a third before Panda is so old that she'd be overly stressed by a puppy and, with both of us home every day (I work from home and Leo is looking for work) we can share the workload, ensuring a puppy isn't stuck in a crate all day.

I wasn't exactly sold but I wasn't exactly throwing a temper tantrum over it either.

And then Leo asked me a casual question the other day; "Marnie, what rescue is Thea from? Can you send me the link?" And I looked it up and saw Buddy.

I called Leo up to my office and said, "LOOK!" Within minutes I was writing his foster home. Another family was seeing Buddy that day and if they were a great match and wanted him, then we would not even get to see him. As luck would have it, this family felt that 4-5 months was just too old for them and they continued their search.

Darwin on a walkies02

Buddy's foster home was great; a lovely family with two full grown BCs of their own, who clearly loved dogs and wanted the best home possible for the little guy. They had given him the name Buddy, after deciding his original name, Akon, just didn't suit him. Buddy played joyfully with his puppy pals and people alike and was a fierce protector of his foster home.

Panda and Thea got to meet the little guy and we saw no indication that there would be any major personality conflicts so we tentatively asked if we might be viable candidates. I guess there's no real suspense here. The foster family agreed to entrust us with the health, happiness and well being of this teeny tiny little pup who has gone from who knows what beginning, to living in a car with a wayward couple, to being surrendered to a shelter to being taken in by a rescue to being cared for by a foster family and finally to us. Leo and I don't take that responsibility lightly.

Darwin and piggie_12

So who is this dog we brought home? He's maybe 4 or 5 months old, mostly Border Collie, mixed with something, maybe black lab. His ears go wonky in a most charming way and he wears white socks and has a little white spot on his nose, the back of his neck and the tip of his tail. Within 24 hours of adopting the little boy, he learned that he was no longer Buddy, but now we called him Darwin, and if you threw in a cookie, he might even care about that tidbit.

He's learning that to get dinner, or breakfast or to go out to potty, he's going to have to sit and his sit is lovely.

He sleeps in his crate with very little fuss and is starting to let us know exactly when he'd like to potty. But he'll also climb the coffee table and try to drink Leo's mate or steal his lunch if we aren't obsessively diligent and should we miss the pee cue, we'll be busting out the carpet cleaner once again. He is, without doubt, a puppy.

But Darwin has accepted us as sufficient for his needs and I dare say, after 3 short days, he's already gotten a little attached. You wouldn't believe the sob story he told me while Leo was cleaning the yard of puppy land mines.

Watching Leo_02

And the girls? Well, A puppy is a lot to deal with and sometimes they feel a little needy.

Needing some love

We're doing our best to make sure that they don't feel the puppy is getting the bulk of the attention and with the daily walks, they are slowly starting to accept that this little dude isn't going anywhere.

I'm sure (positive) that Darwin will test us and make us wonder what we got ourselves into, but I think he'll be a great addition to the family and a smart, sweet, and gorgeous boy. Thanks to all of you for welcoming him so warmly. Expect to see plenty more of him and the girls.

December 20, 2010

Evolving Family

For those of you who follow me on facebook or twitter, this is now day old news but for the rest of you, I'm proud to introduce you to our newest little rescue, Darwin.

darwin_the_cutie

We adopted him yesterday through Pacific Northwest Border Collie Rescue, the same rescue from which we got Thea.

He was fostered by a fantastic family who had two BCs of their own, so he comes to us in great spirits and well cared for.

I will definitely be posting more but for now, we're off to Puppy Preschool!

January 14, 2011

Perspective

Yesterday was one of those days; those days that ensure I won't be a dog horder in the near future. Rainy weather and long working hours have left me making excuses not to walk Darwin as much as I should. When you have a young herding dog and you decide to skimp on walks and training you might as well batten down the hatches and prepare for the storm because you are about to see what 25 lbs of super smart and endlessly energetic has in store for you.

Darwin Socializing_03
Being cute is a survival mechanism

It was a rough day but today is already better, we've left our minor setbacks behind us and braved the downpours for a a nice long and positive walk. A little perspective (and a good nap) is usually all I need to get past a particularly bad day. I mean really, look at this lot.

Darwin's First Trip to Mt. Hood_29
Cute, non? Cute, oui!

In the same way, our other stresses in life can seem overwhelming. With one of us out of work for nearly a year now and the economy showing few signs of life, it's easy to get caught up in the uncertainty and doubt and fear. We could let the setbacks and rejections cripple us but we try to keep perspective. We have our bad days and sleepless nights but we try to remember that we have so much even if it feels like we are teetering on the edge. When I heard a friend and her son had lost their partner and father, respectively, my heart just broke. It's one of those moments where the only thing I can think to do is hug everyone in the house and tell them how important they are to me. The dogs mostly just wag and hope for a cookie. That's good enough for me.

I know that nothing can ever bring back this wonderful man my friend and her son lost and no small gesture can change that pain left behind, but perhaps it was as therapeutic for me as anything, to make them each a small gift with empathy for their terrible situation. I guess, on some level, I feel like the time I spent on each was time I was reminded to value the people I do have in my life; forget my petty concerns and endeavor to be as honest and caring as I can while time still allows me to do so.

Handspun Shrug_10
Handspun Grafton Batt crocheted side to side. Trimmed in knitted handspun optim

And maybe, if you'll indulge me a bit longer, you can find someone you love, human, dog, cat or other, and let them know you love them for no reason at all except that you do, even if they drive you up the walls sometimes or always leave a mess. Chances are, they overlook a few of your shortcomings as well and love you equally.

Lil_Monster07
Monster crocheted with DK weigh merino, with knit socks and scarf worked in sock yarn

January 1, 2011

Fixer-uppers

Breakfast02

When we got Panda, almost a decade ago, I wasn't a dog person, in fact, I was really unsure about the whole prospect. Leo and I had been together for less than a year, had quit our jobs to move to another state 3000 miles away with no jobs lined up and very little money. We moved into an apartment sight unseen in a state Leo had never even visited and now we were adding a little being to the mix. If a friend told me they were going to do the same thing, I'd think they were a few clowns short of a circus and I'd be absolutely right.

Snuggly Panda04

But of all the impulsive perhaps ill-advised decisions we made, getting Panda was my favorite of the bunch. She was unrecognizable from the girl I know now. She was a dog who hated, with every fiber of her body, going for walks. She would scramble like a fish at the end of a line, on her leash, panicked and running for cover anywhere she could. She'd jump into bushes, under cars, anywhere she thought might hide her from children, bikes, skateboards, and other dogs. When we would stop and ask Panda to sit, she'd shake and drool in fear, completely incapacitated. There was no way to exercise her enough to quell her fear, she was only at ease when she was home with her humans or somewhere quiet and away from the city.

As odd as it sounds, as a non-dog person, this was the dog I needed at that time. I remember being scared to tears every 4th of July as a child, so overwhelmed by the noise, so desperate to be brave enough to handle it all and so disappointed at myself at failing. Something about Panda's debilitating fear just resonated with me and it was gratifying to be able to begin to slowly help her through her fears. At 10 years old, she is still a soft dog who struggles with loud noises and boisterous children, but she is also loving, brilliant, and so eager to please. She was pretty much potty trained over night, has never destroyed people stuff and is the easiest dog in the world to train. All in all, an awesome pup.

Beautiful Thea07

When we rescued Thea, we wanted a dog for Panda, someone playful and confident and focused on being a friend to the old girl who really can't be bothered with other dogs. We got what we wished for and then some with Thea. While she was food motivated, she couldn't care less about how happy or stern we sounded. She cared nothing about staying near us when there were other dogs or people around. The idea of walking her on a loose leash was (ok, fine, still is) a pipe dream because there is no treat more rewarding than playing with someone or something new. But the payoff has been a dog who has completely brought Panda out of her shell, entertains her during the day and she's a dog who has come to really bond with her people too. I can't fathom a cold winter night without my sweet Thea curled up next to me on the bed.

Darwin05

And now there is Darwin. In two weeks he's managed to win over even his curmudgeonly big sis.

Play Time07

He's a zippy quick learner who'll do almost anything for a cookie.

Darwin Socializing at Puppy Play Time01

He's learning the protocols and manners required to live with the rest of us.

Breakfast05

But (and doesn't everyone have their issues?) Darwin is more like his big sis than many would suspect. He suffers from some fear agression with strange dogs, and to a lesser degree, strange humans. In many ways, this is the same sort of fear that Panda had, all those years back, only manifested in a vastly different way. So our big project, more so than the potty training (thank goodness for rug cleaners) is to work on little D's socializing and we lucked out with our great local dog school. Socializing a dog with fear aggression means making for a safe and positive environment for all parties involved. The only way to convince a dog that other dogs are safe is to have him around other dogs but you can't just let him loose at a dog park and expect things to work out fine.

Darwin Socializing at Puppy Play Time03

So with some expert help, Darwin is learning that great things can happen when strange dogs are around and that strange people sometimes come bearing cookies. It's not going to be an instant change but even after an hour of working with him at school, he was letting loose with dogs he'd been saying unspeakable things to at the start of the night.

One of his classmates, a purebred malamute, had the same issue a few short weeks ago and was a testament to what a little good socializing can do. I'm feeling confident that we can lick this issue so that even strangers get to see him as the same great boy we know him to be.

Play Time05

March 22, 2011

Tidewater

I am very pleased to present my newest patterns, a set called Tidewater featuring:

A cowl:

Tidewater Cowl modeled by all of us
1. Tidewater_Cowl_19, 2. Tidewater_Cowl_27, 3. Tidewater_Cowl_24, 4. Tidewater_Cowl_08
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

And a shawl

Tidewater_Shawl_25 Tidewater_Shawl_45

The patterns are both charted. The cowl also includes written out instructions for the lace, for those who are not comfortable working from charts. Each pattern is available individually and both are available together, as an ebook, for a reduced price.

Click to see all the details for the cowl and the shawl.

March 19, 2011

New camera, new beach, same old pups

Leo surprised me with a belated birthday present, a few days ago. I'm working on a pattern (to be released soon) and decided it just had to be shot at the coast and since we're going, we might as well bring the pups along.

Our usual spot was a little crowded, and since shooting the pattern required that I completely change, in 45º weather, and don a wee little dress, I figured it might be better if we go somewhere a little less populated. It didn't make it any warmer but at least I wasn't putting on a burlesque show in the process.

We ended up stumbling on the most amazing secluded spot. I don't even know what town we were in, nor what street we turned onto. It's in our GPS, though and we'll be finding our way back.

There were rocky outcroppings that made for impressive tidepools

Tidepools
1. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_036, 2. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_035, 3. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_034, 4. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_049
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

Darwin had plenty of room to bounce

Boingy Boy
1. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_003, 2. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_005, 3. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_029, 4. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_082
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

Panda mostly did her own thing, as she is wont to do.

My Sweet Panda Girl
1. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_014, 2. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_077, 3. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_079, 4. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_058
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

And Thea chased her brother around whenever he wasn't chasing her.

Thea, silly monkey
1. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_091, 2. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_004, 3. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_019, 4. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_041
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

The view wasn't anything to scoff at either.

What a view
1. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_007, 2. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_010, 3. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_016, 4. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_043
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

Once the puppies were tuckered out, the humans decided to stop for a burger and some blues before the long drive home.

Fun for the humans
1. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_113, 2. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_116, 3. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_115, 4. Oregon Coast_March 18, 2011_118
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

Just another wonderful day at the Oregon coast. See all our pictures here.

March 6, 2011

Do you suffer from CDP?

Do you suffer from Crazy Dog Personitis [CDP]? Symptoms may include:

A compulsion to relegate half your vehicle for the comfort and safety of your dogs.

CarRide_02

An uncontrolled desire to snuggle, which sometimes interferes with other tasks you should be doing.

Man_and_his_dogs_14 Man_and_his_dogs_04

Attraction to sun beams.

Man_and_his_dogs_02

Inability to consider weather reports before deciding to drive 2 hours so your dogs can play.

Susceptibility to furrowed brows.

OregonCoast_March_4_2011_044

And, in the case of extreme CDP, a tendency towards ordering a burger for yourself....

OregonCoast_March_4_2011_073

...And then some mini burgers, minus all the fixin's for your pooches awaiting you in the car.

If you have these symptoms, or any other symptoms of CDP, there's no hope for you, no cure, and no treatment, but you are in good company. I prescribe two belly rubs per dog, and call me in the morning.

Bunches of additional pictures here.

May 1, 2011

Multitasking

What do you do when it's a hot day, you've gone for a long walk with the dogs, your pups need cooling off and your lawn could use a little water?

Yah, that hit the spot

IMG_5434

February 20, 2011

Let's continue the birthday celebration

Friday was my birthday and I put it to good use. I released a pattern:

Dweezil_In_Space

And I went to the beach with the three beasts and one human I like best of all.

My birthday at the coast
1. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_171, 2. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_046, 3. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_053, 4. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_065, 5. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_118, 6. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_126, 7. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_130, 8. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_148, 9. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_150, 10. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_157, 11. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_169, 12. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_176, 13. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_182
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

And as an added bonus, I did an interview a little while ago and now it's live. Check it out here.

Hope you all had a happy my-birthday as well.

January 20, 2011

Comic relief

One of the nice things about dogs (versus, say, children or other humans) is that they don't get indignant when you make jokes at their expense for all the internet to see.

One of the nice things about being easily amused is that one can find herself entertained for hours with an inexpensive piece of software and a few well chosen photos. Click to go to the full sized image.

Balls


Baggage


Puppy_Le_Pew

April 17, 2011

I now want pockets on everything

This pattern was so quick, so easy and the results so cute that I kind of want to sew up a dozen more and live in them. Come summer, a mid-length machine washable skirt (or two) is a great alternative to the jeans I normally live in for all occasions outside the house.

McCall's 5431_06 McCall's 5431_15
Modeling assistance courtesy of the pack

It looks a little like an apron when worked in cotton but I think it'd be really versatile in light denim, linen, or chino fabric.

But what I love, love love love, are the pockets.

McCall's 5431_07
The pockets are good at holding the stuff

They are ridiculously roomy. The pattern doesn't indicate a shorter version with the two toned pockets, but it's easy enough to make the modification, just buy an extra quarter yard or so of the main fabric and work version A, but do the pockets for version B.

Despite not having any darts and only a few seams, the fit on this skirt is great, and is so far the best of the three I've sewn since getting my new machine. It was a fun project to slip in while working on more substantial projects with the bulk of my time.

secret_02
You didn't see this, it's a secret

April 4, 2011

Two tired buzzwords in one great week.

I think we can all agree that the words, "staycation" and "funemployment" can be retired at any time with no adverse repercussions for the English language, but regardless, that's what Leo and I had last week when I took some time off from my day job.*

We didn't waste the time, getting a bit done around the house and managing to hit the beach three times. The pups were over the moon, around Jupiter and back around the moon once more.

March 25

Oregon_Coast_March_25_2011_058


A beautiful start to vacation, with perfect mild weather and plenty of fetch.

Then a drizzly follow up on March 28

Oregon Coast -- March 28, 2011_053
Darwin's still a little unsure about this whole fetch thing.

And then a last trip on Saturday, April 2, when we were able to play fetch while the sun set behind us. How's that for a great way to end a vacation?

Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011 - Montage
1. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_111, 2. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_052, 3. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_064, 4. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_075, 5. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_080, 6. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_091, 7. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_093, 8. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_096, 9. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_099, 10. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_106, 11. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_127, 12. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_140, 13. Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_148
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

I won't say that I was excited to wake up at 5:30AM on Monday, to get back to work, but I can say I had a really great week off. If I had to guess, I'd say the pups have very few complaints, as well.

Oregon Coast — April 2, 2011_027




* Though with the Spring/Summer edition going live, I still had responsibilities for my my alter-ego-super-hero-night-job.

October 23, 2011

When the people are away

When we aren't home, we set up motion sensitive cameras around the house that automatically save photos, whenever there is movement, to a server. Leo also gets a message on his phone and can view the photos remotely. On the off chance something horrible happens while we aren't home, we'd have a heads up and loads of pictures to reference. Good stuff.

The Doodle-boy has been getting into a fair bit of trouble lately so we decided to train one of the cameras on the kitchen.

Yah, he's looking for trouble. I guess we've gotten good at securing the provisions in the kitchen. As you can see, he turned up empty handed in his investigation.

Confident that we had thwarted D-dog's attempts at mischief, we returned home to unload our groceries, the smell of hubris wafting about us. We opened the door and the mud room was littered with blue and white confetti, the tattered remains of one of these:


Found here.

It once held 6 pounds of senior formula dog food we'd just bought for Panda. It now held about 1.5 pounds of slightly slobbered upon kibble.

Darwin tried to jump up to say "hi" to us but he was carrying some extra balast and wasn't as spry as he normally is. Thea was groaning, waddling slowly through the house, too uncomfortable to lie down but not much more comfortable standing up. Panda refused to come out of the bedroom, though her bloated belly suggested she hadn't been a mere bystandard, this time.

It's about 4 hours later and if Darwin had a watch, he'd be tapping it and asking us where dinner is. That boy is a handfull.

I'll tell you this, though, there's no risk of my becoming a dog hoarder any time soon.

September 25, 2011

You are what you eat

You are what you eat

Alternatively title: Karma's a b**ch.

You are what you eat

My guess is he still thinks it was worth it.

September 24, 2011

Lesson learned

Yesterday, I roasted a 5.5 pound chicken.

bird

Leo had a drumstick and I had a little piece of the breast. It was too hot to put in the fridge so I tucked it far back on the counter while we ran a quick errand.

In particular, I picked up some tortillas, salsa, avocado and cheese to make some roasted chicken soft tacos for dinner. Sounds nice, huh?

I can only imagine how this all went down. The little guy must have leaped 4 feet off the ground, snapping as far into the counter as he could, until he got ahold of the dish the chicken was on. The dish was on the floor. The garlic cloves that were in the cavity were everywhere. There was a small piece of breast left and the boy had it in his mouth, a couple discarded ribs littered the floor and pretty much nothing else. D-dog looked pregnant and absolutely as happy with life as an overstuffed dog could be. Panda was hiding in another room and Thea was licking the grease off the floor.

To top it all off, the boy piddled all over the living room, later that evening and Leo had to get up 3 times to let him out, during the night.

Dogs are fricken awesome.

He's feeling fine today.

the culprit 03

The moral of the story? Darwin may look small but there is no spot in the kitchen that he can't reach if the smells are good enough. Also, it's impossible for me to stay mad at a cute dog.

July 26, 2011

Aloha

My friends, Mel and Steve came to visit from Hawaii for a week and seeing as Leo and I live in a town called Aloha (pronounced "a-low-a" by the locals, here. I guess the "h" went back to Hawaii) and seeing as it seemed like we were saying, goodbye too soon after saying, hello, "Aloha" seemed like the perfect blog title.

It's always fun to see where you live through fresh eyes. We haven't been in Oregon all that long but Mel and Steve wanted to really get to know the place and it meant hitting all our favorite spots in one short week.

We went berry picking at the local farms

Mel and Steve visit Portland_025

And said, aloha, to some alpaca.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_013

We had microbrewed beer at little bars with live bands.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_018

And hiked around the coastline.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_019

We even went salsa dancing.


can't see the video, click here.


Ok, well, I went salsa dancing and everyone else enjoyed the live music and people watching.

Luckily, they are both crazy dog people and spent plenty of time dolling out belly rubs, treats and generally helping to keep the dogs properly spoiled.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_004
What? You don't invite your dogs to sit next to you at your breakfast nook?

I didn't come close to documenting all the places we went and things we did, but suffice it to say, it was great fun hosting them and hopefully just as much fun for them to be here. The dogs are a bit displeased at the precipitous drop in ear scritches, since their departure.

July 15, 2011

Crunch time

It's been Crazypants City, population, Marnie, lately. We rolled out a redesign of our self service site, at work. Wait, is that Thea you see? Why yes it is. Oh and hey, did you just see Panda over here too? I think you might have. We cranked out that new site in an absurdly short period of time, with two trips to the mothership, for me, and a lot of extra hours. We're still cleaning things up, improving, adding, subtracting, but it's good to have the bulk of it live.

And for you knitters, you may know that Twist Collective has a new edition going live in a couple weeks so it's crunch time there as well. Being completely entrenched in the process, I become both incredible attached to the edition and also, oddly numb to it too, so that I am never quite sure how it will be received. It's like saying the same word over and over until it sounds suddenly foreign.

But there are some things in life that don't care about schedules and work and traveling. Things like delicious local strawberries that must (MUST) be made into jams and jellies.

Strawberry Jam and Strawberry Wine Jelly_05

I made a batch of less sugar strawberry jam in big jars and a small batch of strawberry wine jelly (click image for recipe) just because it sounded so interesting. The former has all the sweet and tart flavor of the amazing hood berries that grow here and the latter tastes almost like honey, with just a hint of wine flavor. It's supposed to be great on a cheese plate, but I like it just fine on toast.

I also have managed a little more dog abuse sewing.

SophiaBag_24 SophiaBag_18
SophiaBag_27

This is from an Amy Butler pattern. While I find her fabrics a little over the top for my taste (says she with the new bag that looks like it was made from a Hawaiian shirt) her patterns are worth every penny for their detailed instructions and professional construction. I would happily recommend them.

Next week, one of my oldest and dearest friends comes to visit for the week, and then we launch the new Twist and then, perhaps, I will take a three day nap and eat all the buttered toast with homemade jam I can fit in my mouth.

July 4, 2011

More sewing

Yes, I still knit. I do! Yarn will be arriving shortly for another super secret project, and at the start of next month, I'll have a new pattern out that I can't wait to share with you.

For now, though I'll have to entertain you with ridiculous sewing FO shots.

I sewed a pretty little bag.

Ava Bag_10
Panda is not amused
pattern info here

Then I sewed another one.

Ava Bag_take two_23
Thea is not amused

And then I made a nutballs crazy skirt out of double cloth cotton gauze (gingham on one side, plaid on the other). It's a twirly joy to wear and so light and breezy. I might live in this, during the summer.

McCall's 5056_94

If you are a member of Pattern Review, you can see all my detailed pattern reviews here. Kind of crazy that I've sewn 22 projects in 3 months. Actually, there are a couple that didn't make it to the site at all. Sometimes I get a little obsessed with my (re)new(ed) hobbies.

June 14, 2011

New post

I think we need something other than me, wrapped in duct tape, at the top of this blog, if only for my own sanity.

I'm in LA for work, this week, so most of what I would post about is "I had a nice meeting." and "Oh yah, this is what wearing shoes is like!" Not very interesting stuff.

So instead, here is a picture of Darwin with the first bloom from our little rose garden and a sprig of lilac.

Season's first rose_06

And if that isn't entertaining enough, you can read the poetic missives

of some *ahem* admirers I had on flickr, who are now no longer permitted to opine on my photos. They get pretty colorful near the end. You've been warned.

The moral of this post: The internet is for pervs and pets.

April 1, 2012

PLAIDitude

I love bad puns. The title of this post reminds me of one of my favorite puns. I'd like to believe I coined this one. Please don't crush my dreams, if it isn't true.

Colleague: How're you doing Marnie?
Me: Just ducky, thank you.
Colleague: Ducky?
Me: That's my duck-billed platitude.

Your eye roll is compliment enough for me.

Anyway, plaid:

Vogue_8701_15

It's Vogue 8701. I talked about the nuts and bolts here.

It's got a wide ballet neck in front and deeper v-neck in back

Vogue_8701_28 Vogue_8701_27

This is my first try matching plaid. It's not for the faint of heart, but I loves me some plaid so it won't be long before I try it again.

I find the best solution to plaid that might not perfectly match, is to show it next to something cute and distracting.

Vogue_8701_35

Admit it, it totally worked. Slip me some skin, Thea.

Vogue_8701_33

Even better, just leave the dress out altogether.

The pooches

TA-DA!

March 17, 2012

This and that

I've been sitting here for minutes trying to come up with a blog post title so I could start writing this post. I've decided to give you a crappy post title so I can just get on with it.

Last weekend, Kate and I went to Madison to present a Twist Collective fashion show. Kate blogged about it here. It was a heck of a lot of fun. The folks in Wisconsin are friendly and welcoming and clearly appreciate knitting. Go...um...Badgers, I guess. I think that might be one of them there sports teams out yonder.

Speaking of badgers, you might as well watch this:

We are crazy busy with Twist stuff right now, and I have a few other secret knits in the wings, but I've fit in a bit more sewing. I mentioned with my last post on sewing, that I'd taken the Bombshell Dress course at Craftsy. Well, I signed up for Susan Khalje's Couture Dress class and instead of using the included pattern, I went with something a little more my style, if I had a style, and any occasion to wear such a dress.

McCall's 6350_03

If you are into sewing, you can read more about it over here. I'm also signed up for the Starlet Jacket class, which is good because my sleeve setting in skills are pretty lacking. Also, I'm unreasonably excited to try my first bound buttonhole.

And, of course, we try to put aside a little time and money to hit the coast with the beasts.

Oregon Coast_March 16, 2012_74

Rain or shine, it's always gorgeous there. Also, seriously, look at this face.

Oregon Coast_March 16, 2012_78

Ridiculous.

September 10, 2011

Interview at the Designer's Studio

Exactly 3 years ago today I posted an interview I did with Faina Goberstein and Dawn Leeseman about their book Casual Elegant Knits. Their blog tour was my first chance to get to know Faina, but it hasn't been my last. Since then, she and I have both contributed to the book Knitting in the Sun and Twist Collective.

When Faina first asked me if I'd do an interview for her ongoing Designer's Studio series, I agreed and then promptly got overwhelmed with other things and dropped the ball. Luckily, she gave me a second chance. The interview is now live and you can read it here. Don't forget to check out all the other interviews and if you find any interesting, consider leaving Faina a comment to thank her for all her hard work.


Ooof, there aren't any pictures in this post. Time to remedy that with some non sequitors.

Puppies at play.

Battling the water monster_comic
Click through to get to embiggen

And check out quilt numero dos.

My second quilt_23

August 13, 2011

The Piddle King Turns 1

Actually, of our three rescues, we know the very least about Darwin. When we got him, the foster home thought he could be anywhere from 4 to 6 months old and they seemed sure he was part Border Collie (since the rescue was for BCs) but they were told he was mixed with Dalmatian. Well, if he's half Dalmatian, I'm half giraffe, I would bet money he's got some black lab in him.

Wait. what were we talking about?

Darwin Turns 1 - 1
The beatings will continue until morale improves

Ooooh, right, Darwin and his birthday. So, after we brought the little beasty home, we took him to the vet who checked his teeth and gave us her best guess on his age and I used that to pick a date for Darwin's birthday. For those of you (aka, none of you) who want to mark your calendars, August 12th is the day.

Darwin's been a handful in the past 8 months. To say we get a lot of use out of the carpet cleaner is an understatement, for sure. We're still working on some of the residual emotional problems he has as a result of his living conditions before we got him, but boy does he make up for it in other ways. Little D is sweet, loving, snuggly, smart, a quick learner and eager to make his people happy. We may have a long way to go, to undo his past, but it won't be because he isn't willing.

I feel like I've gotten off on a tangent, was there something I needed to do?

Darwin Turns 1 - 3

Oooh, right, the birthday dinner, you guys are still waiting for that. Sorry.

So in honor of the little guy being approximately one earth year old (give or take) and because he's my sweet little doodle butt, we grilled up three small steaks, added a dollop of fresh local berries and had ourselves a birthday celebration. So without further ado...

Happy Birth-ish-day, Darwin!

June 29, 2012

Foothills

I have been waiting with bated breath since Quince & Co posted this preview, last Monday. I love designing shawls. When Pam asked me if I would consider designing one for Quince & Co, right as I was swatching up a shawl design, I figured it was serendipity. I put together a quick proposal and the rest is history, except it's the present, not history, but you know what I mean.

The design starts with small textured hills growing larger and then ending in a deep fluted ruffle. It brought to mind the drive to Mt Hood, which we can see from our bedroom window.

The pattern starts at the center-back neck and works out to the bind off at the end of the ruffle, in a single piece. The pattern is primarily charted.


© Carrie Bostick Hoge

I love Quince & Co's dreamy styling and high key photography. It beats the pants off my standing in front of our run down fence near the strawberry patch.

Foothills_15
No strawberries were harmed in the filming of this shawl.

If you like the pattern, you can purchase it here. To see even more pictures, you can check out the Ravelry page for it.


Foothills_38
Darwin helps with the modeling

February 25, 2012

Yah yah yah, cue the double rainbow guy

Last weekend was my birthday; one of those unremarkable, mid-decade, you're-too-old-to-care-about-your-birthday-still kind of birthdays. We're still eking by on a single salary, and unemployment has dried up so there were no big plans. We figured, being our frugal new selves, that we'd lump my birthday, Thea's 5th birthday, and valentine's day all into one "celebration." I think we managed to pull it off on a shoestring budget. Check out the decorations at our fête!

Febrary 18, 2012 -- Depoe Bay, Oregon52


D-dog provided streamers

Febrary 18, 2012 -- Depoe Bay, Oregon29


There was an air show

Febrary 18, 2012 -- Depoe Bay, Oregon16


Panda entertained us with her acrobatics

Febrary 18, 2012 -- Depoe Bay, Oregon46


And the other birthday girl seemed utterly pleased with the whole day.

Febrary 18, 2012 -- Depoe Bay, Oregon47


I guess it works out that the things the birthday girls want to do most, cost us very little. I believe they call us "cheap dates."

If you average out for dog years, Thea and I are about the same age, this year. As a pup, she was such a handful, unfazed by reprimand, destructive, and mischievous. She's matured into one of the most sweet, loving and playful girls you could ever imagine. I love her so much and am glad to have an excuse to share my birthday celebration with her.

Here's to many more years to come.

January 12, 2012

All dressed up and no place to go

I've read a good number of books on sewing, over the years, including an 80s era edition of Vogue Sewing and while doing so has certainly been helpful, when it comes time to actually sew a garment, I'm often at a loss to remember which couture tips should be employed and how. I end up sewing garments just as the instructions tell me to, not that there's anything wrong with that.

To be honest, though, I have tended to pass up patterns that require things like linings or boning or other more advanced construction features because I still feel like a real rookie at the whole process. What I needed was a good class but time and money make that a bit tough.

Lucky me, Craftsy offers some online courses and one of them is all about making a well constructed, perfectly fitted, couture style bombshell dress. Yes please, and may I have some more?

Bombshell Dress_13

The class was a lot of fun. I worked on mine over the holidays so I really didn't get the benefit of the direct interaction with the instructor. On the one hand, I was a little disappointed that I couldn't ask questions and get answers but in truth, even without that feature, I learned so much and the class was so comprehensive that I still think it was well worth the money and since I got the class while it was nearly half price (and as if this moment, it is still only $29) I really don't think I have much room to complain.

I hear she's working on another class and I'll definitely check it out when it is available.

For those of you who might want to try the class out as well, the largest size available for the pattern is only 39" at the bust (100 cm), though the instructor does walk you through a draping technique for fitting a fuller bust, it may not work for you if you are substantially larger, all over, than the largest size. She does make recommendations for other patterns, but you'll have to pay for those separately, which will increase the overall cost of the class.

I went through the details of my project, over on Sewing Pattern Central. I talked about some of the construction details covered in the class and the modifications I had to make to the pattern. I don't really think I'll wear this dress much. My life involves a lot more pajamas and jeans than bustiers and boning. But I think I'll be able to take a lot of what I learned and apply it to other projects I sew.

Of course, I had to have my quality assurance team inspect the work. Thea weighed in on the hem.

Bombshell Dress_10


I think she's not impressed.

December 20, 2011

Celebration

panda_darwin
Guests of honor

Over the last 3 weeks we had three milestones to celebrate:

  • Panda turned 11

  • We celebrated our 1 year anniversary with Darwin

  • And Leo and I hit 11 years together (eesh, how did that happen?)

So we celebrated all three, on Friday, with another trip to the coast. It seemed appropriate.

three happy dogs

Here's to many more birthdays and anniversaries to come.

December 4, 2011

On the horizon

I feel like I'm on a designing kick right now. I just released two patterns for Twist, I have yarn for two deadline projects, due to publish next spring and I just sent a new design, Cercis, to my tech editor to be self published.

cercis_outtake_001

I took some pictures of Cercis this weekend, while we were at the coast. I thought I'd share my favorite outtake. It's useless for actually seeing the sweater but it has everything I love; my pack, haystack rock, a bright sunny day, knitting and the ocean.

I hope to have this pattern ready for release in the next couple of weeks. Until then, I have some designing to do.

November 26, 2011

Cathedral Windows Hot Pad

Cathedral Windows Tutorial_099

In the short time that I've been quilting I've learned enough to know that I have a lot to learn. I'm still really bad at it but I've been obsessively scouring the internet to bolster my skills.

While I've stuck with simple quilts so far, there's one slightly more advanced quilt that always catches my eye, the Cathedral Windows pattern. The first one I ever saw was here (youtube video). Amazing, right? But jeeze o pete, that's a lot of handwork.

Then I found this tutorial on the Moda Bakeshop site and a whole bunch of the handwork was taken out without losing a lot of what makes the pattern appealing to me. I tried the technique and ended up making this and while I liked it, there were a couple of things about the pattern I didn't love (and I really needed to work on my top stitching).

So based on the techniques I saw online and a few things I wanted to change slightly, I came up with this variation. The one I'm demoing, (shown above) doesn't cut off the edges of the windows around the edge and can be adapted to any size you like. It also has batting behind it, for a little more dimensionality. This could be easily adapted to a table runner, lap quilt or wall hanging. For bags and pillows, you could leave the backing off, if you wanted to.

Supplies

Cathedral Windows Tutorial_001

Fabric

  • 1 - 14" x 14" backing piece (shown in white)
  • 1 - 14" x 14" piece of batting. If you plan to use this as a hot pad, use 100% cotton
  • 1 - 14" x 14" piece of border fabric (shown in Moda Cotton Blossoms 55005)
  • 4 - 9.5" x 9.5" for windows (shown in white)
  • 1 - 5" x 5" or 4 - 2.5" x 2.5" square(s) for window panes (shown in Moda Terrain by Kate Spain in 27092-13)
  • Binding fabric (Shown in...heck if I know)

Other supplies

  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Rotary cutter/ruler/mat
  • Marking tools
  • Pins
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Point turner
  • Iron and ironing surface
  • Hand sewing needle

Optional

  • Basting glue
  • Water spray bottle
  • Spray starch
  • Scotch Guard

All images may be clicked to view them full size.

Continue reading "Cathedral Windows Hot Pad" »

November 4, 2011

So how do the pups get along?


Fine, just fine.

May 15, 2012

Past the point of no return

For someone who rarely has occasion to wear anything fancier than pajamas and even fewer occasions to wear anything fancier than jean, it might be a little weird to love to sew dresses so much, even if it's a fun polka dot dress with a pink sash.

McCall's 6557_10

But you could always chalk that up to being more into the process than product of one's craft.

There are some peculiarities that are harder to write off, like rushing to your craft room after work, pulling out more pink satin and sewing it up while laughing maniacally, then using your lunch break to take another round of pictures, like this:

Bow Tie07

And possibly this:

Bow Tie08

And of course this:

Bow Tie02

If Leo divorces me and takes Darwin with him, you'll know why. It was worth it, though.

April 13, 2012

Pillows

If you've ever watched videos of people doing free motion quilting, it always looks so easy and fun. It might be the latter but it's most certainly not the former. I am glad I kept to a not-too-ambitious project for my first go at it.

Quilted Pillows_18

These should fit in nicely in our breakfast nook which is currently upholstered in blue and white fabric against yellow walls, though we plan to change all of that, someday.

Quilted Pillows_14

They are stuffed with polyfil, and backed with medium weight muslin.

Quilted Pillows_09

The fabric is Moda Hometown and a single layer cake will make 9 of these 15" pillow tops or 4, 9 square pillows around 23" wide. You can get even more out of the layer cake if you don't insist on making all the accent squares dark red as I did.

Quilted Pillows_04

If you want to try making these blocks yourself, here's a schematic (you can click through to get to the option to embiggen it)

Quilted Pillows_21

The center row, with the two extra seams, will be an inch narrower than the top and bottom row so you'll have to trim down the block after assembly, to make it square.

Quilted Pillows_08

You have been looking at the pillows, right? I mean, there wasn't anything distracting you in those photos, I hope.

Quilted Pillows_12

It's important to focus on what matters.

June 13, 2013

Get off my lawn

As you may or may not know, I suffer from a chronic illness called, Early Onset Curmudgeon Syndrome [EOCS]. There's no cure, but most people suffering from EOCS, live long and cranky lives. No need to start up a fund raiser, just send truffles. So, when I saw this "Hi-Falutin'" whiskey, I knew I had to have it, even if it tasted terrible.

Whipper Snapper Whiskey

It neither treats nor alleviates the symptoms of EOCS but it tastes just fine and dandy. Why not enjoy a lovely adult beverage while telling the neighbors' children to pull up their pants and turn their music down?

When I have a flare up of my EOCS, I find the best remedy is a healthy dose of this:

Oregon Coast -- June 7, 2013_23

Because afterwards, I get a few days of this:

Oregon Coast -- June 7, 2013_26

And, if you are so inclined, a splash of whiskey while a few tired mutts curl up next to you on the couch, isn't so bad, either.

May 6, 2013

Spring

It's here, at least in Oregon and it's lovely so far.

April 25_Depoe Bay_Oregon_07

This rock has a heart on for spring and I have a juvenile sense of humor

Spring means more trips to the beach.

Did you catch that excited whimper out of Darwin?

And more playing in the yard

I think D is aerating the lawn a little too effectively

And renovations.

Repainting room_02

New wiring and an end to that pepto pink closet, in the works

And maybe a little something else getting an overhaul, too.

Coming soon, if I ever finish doing all the things

March 7, 2013

Nieve

My newest cowl pattern, Nieve, is a double knit design, with tutorials for casting on, binding off and double knitting. The instructions include modification notes for making the cowl both longer and wider, and includes yarn estimates for each modification.

Nieve_52 Nieve_48

If you don't tend to have a lot of success with colorwork, you might really appreciate the benefits of double knitting. Yes, it's thicker and takes longer to work than a single layer, but there are no long floats to wrap or keep loose for proper tension. The end fabric is so much more elastic and reversible as well.

Nieve_68

Worked in worsted weight yarn, this is a reasonably fast project, and takes only one skein of each yarn.

The pattern is 4 pages long, plus a cover. The motif is charted and the cast on and double knitting instruction include step by step photos.

Want to find out more? Check out my pattern page, or visit the ravelry shop page.

Obligatory tortured dogs shot

Nieve_62

September 15, 2012

Om nom nom

Darwin says, make sure to get at least three servings of fruits and veggies every day. And if it's possible, try to get your siblings' servings of fruits and veggies too.

Blueberries


Blackberries


Corn

August 11, 2012

Fall 2012 Twist Collective

The new edition of Twist Collective is live. It has been for a few days. I should know, I was there when it happened.

To me, this edition is all about timeless, wearable items, and I'm at a loss to pick a favorite.

My contribution is Treillage.

treillage_073

It features lots of dense cables and fabric covered buttons made with leftover quilting scraps.

Thea doesn't care for it.

treillage_023

See the magazine page here
The details page is here
And the ravelry page is here

And don't forget to check out the whole edition, including all the great articles.

August 7, 2012

Who's about 2 years old today and is adorable?

This guy

Darwin at the beach

I wish this were a picture of us actually at the beach, celebrating his birthday, but we are "grown ups" with "responsibilities" and a "mortgage to pay." "Lame."

Anyway, that's a picture from a huge batch I haven't gotten around to sorting and posting, and is hopefully foreshadowing of events to come soon. In the mean time, I'll be lavishing an extra serving of belly rubs and blueberries on this little beast.

February 27, 2014

The birthday gift

This year my parents gave me a generous gift certificate to Amazon, for my birthday. Leo and I don't exchange gifts for holidays and life events. If we want to buy something we do so when money permits, at the time it permits, which works for us, but it is nice to still get a little spoiled by your parents, a few times a year.

Ever since my trip to TNNA with Julia, I've been thinking about photography, the limits of my point and shoot and the value of good photography to a pattern. If you compare the quality of the photos in Atalanta to those for Willowherb, even adjusting for different lighting, I think the quality difference is clear. The Atalanta shots, done with a DSLR, are sharper, and have more detail in the shadows and highlights than the Willowherb point and shoot images do. I'm generally not unhappy with my own shoots but I'm not unaware of the limits of a point and shoot, for all but the most ideal lighting situations.

So when my parent's gift arrived, I spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not I wanted to put the money towards a DSLR, some lenses and other accessories. You can't just buy a camera body and call it a day. Will better quality photos do enough for my patterns to offset the money I'll spend? Will I be able to develop the skills necessary to even make use of the new camera? Is this the best use of what little disposable income we have? I don't know the answer to any of those questions but I have a new toy tool now.


Hello pretty bird

Ok, admittedly, these awesome bird shots were taken by Leo. He's pretty good at this photography stuff.


Raindrops keep falling on its head

I'm trying to get the dogs acclimated to the sound and look of the new camera. They are so accustomed to the point and shoot, which is held away from the face and is pretty quite. By comparison, the DSLR is a big noisy affair that obscures my face and sometimes flashes unexpectedly.


Thea gives some serious side-eye


Darwin is not impressed


Why is your face weird, human?

But they seem to be coming around.


My sweet Panda Bear

Getting the new camera on a tripod and trying to get good shots of myself, will be an all new challenge, but one I'm looking forward to. If you have any tips and tricks for making the most of the DSLR, I'd love to hear them. Book and tutorial recommendations are definitely welcomed.

December 14, 2013

AAaRfP

Panda is thirteen years old, today, which is, I think, "lady of a certain age" in dog years. We probably shouldn't even be talking about it. Panda had her yearly vet appointment this week, where she got a clean bill of health. Darwin worried about her the whole time she was with the doc.

darwin_waiting.jpg
Will she ever come back?

Yesterday, we took her to the ocean because, of course we did. She's definitely slowing down but she doesn't enjoy it any less.

IMG_9595

She's the only one who likes wading into the deep end. Some of that may have to do with the fact that Thea sinks in water and Darwin couldn't care less about fetch. His primary role is to body check his sisters. He's a real stinker.

IMG_9558

Thea also enjoys riding her invisible bicycle.

IMG_9532

Some seals watched us playing

IMG_9576

And we watched some anemones do their anemone thing.

IMG_9569
My anemone's anemone is my friend

Then we ended our evening with some fish and chips. The pups may have gotten a little bit of that too. The birthday celebration continues today. The pups are blissfully mellow, leaving the old lady to relax. Tonight, we'll cook up a little fresh salmon and sneak a little into their food, and of course, there are plenty of belly rubs and snuggles to go around.

Here's to my sweet old lady. If you have a pet, pass along a birthday scritch to him or her, on Panda's behalf.

June 27, 2014

Ten-year blog anniversary


Today, my blog turns ten. I was twenty-nine years old when I started it, a relatively recent transplant to Los Angeles, and just learning to designs knitting patterns. My website was three at the time. If you want to take a trip in the way-back machine, you can even see the first version of my site here, though it's nothing more than a splash-screen. For a couple of years, it functioned primarily as an online resume. Then, in 2004, I gave the whole thing a makeover, started offering free patterns, and my blog followed closely behind.

first_blog.jpg
*sniff* They grow up so fast.


I don't think I'd be designing knitting patterns, today, if I hadn't been testing the waters online, at the time I started my site. Ten years ago, very few people even knew what a PDF was. Online purchases were the exception, not the norm. While I enjoyed knitting, if I hadn't been connecting with knitters online, I'm not sure I would have had the community of enthusiastic knitters to encourage me,while I learned from the many mistakes I made along the way.


I sometimes wonder what it would be like if, 13 years ago, Leo hadn't encouraged me to start a site. I wonder what would have happen if we hadn't stopped at Big Sur, on our way to San Francisco where we picked up a couple of cute knit hats at a gift shop, and how things would have been different if Leo hadn't pretended to love the ill-fitting hat I knit for him a few weeks later. I wonder if I would have started offering patterns if the owners of Artfibers hadn't encouraged me along or if knitters had been more disparaging of my mistakes and incomplete patterns. Knowing me, I could have easily been discouraged along the way, which would have been unfortunate, as my circle of fiber arts friends has been wonderful and they have challenged and encouraged me, made me laugh and made me think, and overall, made knitting one of the more rewarding parts of my life.


I don't blog as much as I used to, not for lack of things to say, but because so many of us have connected on social media platforms, where we can interact more directly and more quickly than through blog comments and emails. But I'm pretty sentimental about my blog. It's like handwritten thank-you notes, not something I do as often as I'd like but something I still do for more special occasions. Looking through my RSS aggregator, I see a lot of links to now-defunct blogs from knitters, spinners, crocheters and just all-around interesting people. Perhaps blogs are the pet-rocks of the early 2000s, but I'll be keeping mine going for at least a while more. And, presuming you are on my redesigned blog, and not reading this in an aggregator, or through my old blog, you can find me on a multitude of social media platforms, up there, to the right, under the "Find Me Here" heading. I interact mostly on Facebook, but you'll see me pop up on Twitter and Flickr with some regularity.


If nothing else, you'll get to see more pictures of the pooches.


thedogs.jpg


And a few hummingbirds, too.


hummingbird.jpg


If you'll grant me just a little bit more sentimentality, I couldn't end this blog post without thanking those of you who come by my blog, read my posts, leave comments, and/or interact with me online, and knit my patterns. I'm a pretty shy person and would never have connected with so many people if I had to do it in person. I cringe at a lot of my old blog posts (and old patterns) but I wouldn't take any of it back. It's the mortified shoe-box of my late twenties and early thirties and I hope I'll always be able to look back, read through the posts and remember all the remarkable people I've met and experiences I've had.

About darwin

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Marnie, speak! Good girl. in the darwin category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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