Sunday, August 31, 2008

two of these things don't belong here

You know how the morning after a great night there's always a reminder? Something you look at that just cracks you up? Well...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

b . d . e .

Best. Day. Ever.
  • Michael Levine's at opening with Natalie
  • making a yoga mat bag with my friend Terry from work
  • laughing at and then devouring a candy bar brought to me from Chile by my friend V
  • everybody showering Miss Mira with love
  • dinner at Buddha's Belly with Terry and V and their wonderful significant others
  • a parting shot of gelato at Al Gelato in Beverly Hills (gelato, or heaven on a spoon, can't say which)
  • coming home to Mira, who'll be with me another week, and kissing her until she pees on me, and then some more afterward

Friday, August 29, 2008

we're sending this cat to harvard

She likes to read.

And she's crafty too.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

everything little thing she does is magic

Mira and I watched Barack Obama's acceptance speech and we give it four paws and two thumbs up. Really, really moving. Watching the people who filled the stadium, everyone jubilant, many moved to tears, I am proud to be an American.

Welp, I don't know how this is happening, seeing as I don't even own a pet, but this blog has gone to the tiny baby mammals. First this guy, and now Mira. I have accomplished nothing, absolutely nothing, since she came yesterday. I forgot to attend an online class for work last night. I forgot "Project Runway" was on. All I've been doing is loving up this cat. The second her eyes peep open after a nap, I scoop her up and smooch her bald. And I'm always there when her eyes peep open, because I'm staring at her the whole time she's asleep. I might have to steal her from Schmin and skip town. Don't tell him I said that.

I heard a noise that woke me up this morning. I looked around and saw Mira sitting in her litter pan. She'd gotten in on her own. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was. Later Natalie came over to check her out. You think she didn't fall under Mira's spell?

We took Mira to the vet today. We had to get tricky to get her in by saying she's Natalie's cat. The vet, who comes highly recommended, isn't taking new clients but Natalie's taken one of her cats there, so we got in.

We learned that Mira is 3.5 weeks old, weighs less than a pound, is free of fleas and pests, and healthy. Her belly was distended, so we also learned how to stimulate her rear end the way a mama cat does, in order to help her make poopsie. I'll spare you the picture I took. It's not pretty. Let's just say it don't come natural, like it do for a mama cat. Heh heh.

I can hardly stand this tiny feisty cat. I don't think there's anything cuter on the planet. Almost as cute, maybe, but not cuter.

Turns out Schmin wasn't wrong about not putting Mira in a litter box. At the vet's they said that kitties don't usually acclimate to them until they're about 4 weeks old. It's fine to start them earlier, like I did with Mira, but age is something to keep in mind. Me and Schmin were sorta kinda both right. Maybe the kid knows something about what he's doing.

Mira goes home this weekend, so thank you for sharing in the kitty love, and fear not, we'll return to my usual ramblings soon. :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

a god of small things

A few weeks ago Schmin moved to Bakersfield. Yeah, yeah. People tend to move from Bakersfield to LA, not the other way around. I voiced dissent once, then told him I wished him well and will always support him, because I love him. I'm learning to shut up about his life choices. What I think might be a clunker might work out in the end. I don't know that it won't. When I was his age, I had a 5-year-old, and I'm turning out alright.

A few days after he arrived in Bakersfield, he called to tell me that he'd found this little thing. This was about two weeks ago, and she was even littler then, if you can believe that.

For two days he heard a sound coming from an area around the house he moved into. He couldn't isolate it, and he wasn't sure what it was. On the second day, he realized it was coming from underneath the Jacuzzi, and he also realized that he didn't really want to know what it was. But he steeled himself and determined to check it out. He peeked under, but couldn't see what was making the sound. Then he noticed skeletons, kitten skeletons, and that's when he knew it was a cat. None of the ones he saw were much more than bones, so he tipped the Jacuzzi over, and could tell that the sound was coming from inside the motor. Keeping the Jacuzzi tipped while preventing the motor from dropping and injuring the cat inside was a delicate balance, but he did it, he freed the tiniest kitten he'd ever seen. He looked her over, and it occurred to him that it was a miracle that she was alive. So that's what he named her, Miracle, Mira for short.

He knew she was too small for solid food, that she was far from weaned -- she didn't even have teeth -- so he went to the pet store and bought a bottle and some kitten formula. She wouldn't eat much the first couple of days, and the first night, she squealed on and on (causing him to teasingly call her Meow Mix). The second night, he decided to cocoon her in one of his sweat jackets. That did the the trick. Another night he wrapped her in a cashmere vest. That one she loves above all.

Schmin has always been like the Pied Piper when it comes to little beings (without the part about leading them to a questionable fate). Kids can't get enough of him, and if ever your tiny animal gets lost, you'd want Schmin to be the one to find it. He's truly a god of small things.

I can already tell that we'd argue over what's best for his children. He thinks Mira is too little for a litter box, but I warned him that he'd best start her now, or she'll be peeing on his sweaters forever. Today he came to town to work with Rob, his friend and sometimes boss, for a few days, and he brought Mira with him. Who got to kittysit? Me. And who immediately marched around to the drugstore and picked up some cat litter and a pan? That would be me. The first few times I put Mira in it, she climbed right on out. I scratched with my fingers, and with her paws, and she responded with a "So what?" About the fifth time I put her in and scratched she did the same, then she peed, and I called Natalie to share the good news. She's gone five more times in the litter, and one time on me.

I said there'd be sewing today. That's the wrap skirt I made last year. Complete with cat pee.

A creature this small making its way in the world really breaks your heart. You look at yourself and you see how big you are and you know it's still hard. You can only imagine the vulnerability of a thing so little. But, as big things it's our job to take care of the tiny ones, and I'm proud of Schmin for taking up the call. Soon, we'll get her to a vet.

With the journey she's had, she mostly needs love, and how could we not love a baby like Mira?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I have typesosis. Been typing all day. I'm going to retire my wrists now. But tomorrow, a sewing project! Good times.

Monday, August 25, 2008

just another day around my way

On Mondays, there's no parking on the east side of the street where I live. If I haven't scored a parking space on the west side, I have to move my car before 8am. I take it to the pay lot around the corner. I leave it there for a couple of hours, until the alternate side parking situation ends. This morning, sleepy though I was, I decided to hang out at the Starbucks across from the lot instead of going home. The result was lemonade from lemons; I had a productive, calming morning. I journaled, enjoyed the sun, people watched, warned some people against parking on the street next to where I sat. (I saw a sweep of five cars get ticketed while their owners were inside getting their mocha choka lala dadas on. I saved a few others from the same fate.) I listened to music that Natalie, who knows what the cool kids are listening to, burned for me. At 10 am, when my block became safe for parking again, I drove back around and parked on the east side of the street, because on Tuesday mornings there's no parking on the west side.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

that's miz bernina to you, mister

A fun Sunday brunch at Natalie's. Knitting and noshing go so well together.

I'm responsible for the knitting. Natalie's behind the divine cream & cake.

Check out this sassy little filly:

The machine! Not Natalie. (We already know she's sassy.) It's Natalie's new vintage Bernina 830. The vintage love is spreading. Ain't she a beaut? People are rabid about these machines, both old and new. For the latter, be prepared to get up off about 12,000 bucks.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

i take that back

The pattern I found is too garter stitch-y. It's knitted on the bias, but it doesn't look like the sample below. So, if you've got any advice on what that pattern might be, do share.

Friday, August 22, 2008

sleuth this

Today Natalie and I took my car to the shop, which was our cloaked excuse to go to Santa Monica to eat and shop the crafty haunts there. We dropped by The Sewing Arts Center, where Natalie bought some beautiful fabric, and I bought yet another pattern for a little girl's dress. We popped into Jo-Ann's, and I exercised restraint and didn't do my usual damage. We checked out Stitching Is an Art, formerly known as Stitches from the Heart, and I kept my cool and only bought two skeins of yarn. I want to knit them into a scarf using this pattern:

Only I don't know what it is. At Stitches, people make and donate store samples, and they usually tag them, but this one wasn't tagged. None of us could figure out what the pattern is. Is it knitted on the bias? I'm counting on someone out there in blogland to sleuth it for me. Please?

The verdict on my car? It's all over but the shoutin', unless I want to pour 1500 bucks into it, and I don't. It's got a gasp or two left in it, so when I drive it, which won't be much, I'll keep my cell phone charged and my AAA number handy.

I'm going to play the pity card and say that if anyone can help me figure out this pattern, it would really help me forget my car trouble. If I could only knit this scarf, I'd be over it in a minute. Won't you help out a soul in need?

ETA: Why do I ever underestimate the power of
Ravelry? I found the pattern in about two clicks.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Just when it looked like nothing much exciting was going on around here, I had lunch with pretty Lilia today! We had a great time.

Lilia was kind enough to drive over to my neck of the woods on her lunch break, and she treated me to lunch at the Farmer's Market.

Sure it's cliche to say someone feels like an old friend the first time you meet her, but it does happen, and that's how it was.

Here's proof of friendship, courtesy of Lilia's iPhone, which she let me play with.

Lilia, thank you again for lunch, girl. You're even more fun in person. (You should have a smug look, 'cause you are the shit, lol.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

a few things before i go

How did all this end up in my current projects basket? It's all stuff I was thinking I could get sewed up before I move. Staring at it all, I'm not so sure.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

for little ones

I went on Amazon to order a meditation CD. It was, like, 14 bucks. You know what usually happens when you spend 14 bucks on Amazon. You look for a way to spend 11 more so you can get free shipping. (You wind up spending more than 11 more, but let's call that a minor detail.)

I put the CD in my cart. (By the way, it's Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness for Beginners. I increasingly believe meditation to be important and helpful, and I'm finding ways to do it and think about it that resonate personally. I'll tell you my opinion of this CD when I start using it.) There was nothing I felt inclined to buy from my wish-list, so I scrolled through Amazon's recommendations for me. Deep into the listings, I found this.

Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones. I hadn't heard or read a thing about it. Usually there's a lot of buzz surrounding anything to do with Amy Butler. Maybe I just missed it. At any rate, it was a pleasant surprise. It'll be a while before I get around to making anything from it, but it's fun to leaf through.

This little top and these booties are my favorites.

And, bonus, the book comes with paper patterns. No going to Kinko's for enlarging.

Monday, August 18, 2008

cute finds a home

Remember this?
My humble first quilt. So far, my only, but there'll be others. I started it for a co-worker who was asked not to return after her maternity leave. She wasn't someone I felt close to, in fact, she was a tad on the mean side. It was just that since she was having a baby, I thought it was a good opportunity to get in some quilt-making practice. I had no idea how much goes into making a quilt. As I pieced it, I reconsidered giving it to her. Then she was fired and it became a non-issue. I made up my mind to give it to Arlene, our receptionist, and one of my favorite work people. Still, I held on to it until today, her last day before maternity leave. I guess I got a little attached.

I gave it to her with these sweet baby shoes I bought at Target long before I'd finished it. I mean, stop it Target. Baby elephant shoes? To accompany my baby elephant blankie? Yes.

I'll miss Arlene. She's debating whether to return after her leave, and I won't be around much myself, so today is possibly the last day we'll ever see each other. Funny how that happens.

Okay. Time for a cute overload.

I know you can't stand it. I can't either. A student brought in some puppies to give away today. This little boo boo is the one Arlene took home. (I know. A newborn and a puppy?! If anyone can handle it, Arlene can.) I held him for a while, and when I put him on my chest, he laid his head on me and I could swear he whispered, Carlita, I love you, into my ear. Man, oh man. The sweetness almost made me choke.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

sunday glory

It's Sunday morning, so I think it's only fitting to offer you a little gospel house music. This is Kenny Bobien, a house music legend and possessor of the most gorgeous falsetto. There's also a song by him on the Basement Boys CD, a copy of which will go to -- golden star. Yay! Golden star, send me your mailing address and I'll post the CD this week. I'll also add this fabulous tune to the mix.

I have to issue a word of warning about exercising to this song. If you do, you have to pace yourself. My gawd. Yesterday it forced me to add leaps, actual leaps, people, to my run. Every time they said "stand still, stay right there" I would leap into the air. Until I almost coughed up a lung.

Anywho. The title of the song is "I Shall Not Be Moved." I found downloadable versions on I bought this version and the original, which is amazing too. There's no video here, so just hit play and enjoy the glorious music.

Happy Sunday, friends.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

great days at the mailbox

I have so been hitting the jackpot lately. Here's the apron I received in the Ravelry swap. Isn't it too too cute? It's so cheerful and fun. And I adore its A-line shape.

This part really gets me. Look at the little twill tape tabs.

Check out my swap buddy's blog. She's very talented. You'll notice she recently went to Hawaii. Along with my apron, she sent me chocolate covered macadamia nuts from her trip. I demolished them before I had the box opened good.

Now wouldn't this great apron be enough? Yep. But it's not all.

Do you have a napkin to wipe your drool? Because this is THE most gorgeous yarn.

It's a birthday gift from Ingrid of Traveller's Yarn. It's superwash sock yarn, hand-dyed by Ingrid herself, and sent to me all the way from China! I refuse to call it a belated gift, because can a birthday present ever come too late? I think not.

I warned Ingrid that I might have to knit this into a scarf, rather than socks, because I don't think I can let it sit long enough to learn how to knit socks. You have to see these colors to believe them. They're sparkly and alive like a flame. I want to work with this yarn NOW. Thank you again, Ingrid. You dye a mean, mean skein.

One more hit.

Sorry. I couldn't help myself.

Friday, August 15, 2008

hunter gatherer

So I caught swap fever this summer. I did the Summer Fun Apron Swap, then the Bend-the-Rules Sewing Swap, and because Ravelry is such a friendly place, I couldn't help but organize a swap over there. One reason the Rav is so fabulous is because of its groups. There's a group for just about everything, including one for sewing. It's aptly called Sew Obsessed, and I'm such a sewing junkie that it's where I spend most of my time on Ravelry, a knitting site, ha.

Everyone voted on what to make, and, to my relief, aprons won. I wanted to swap, but I didn't want to make anything time consuming, or too subject to personal taste. I'd wear a fabric and style of apron that I wouldn't wear as a garment, and I'm guessing a lot of people feel that way. It's not much of a commitment. Besides, those of us who like aprons mostly like to look at them anyway.

I'll post the apron I received tomorrow -- it's really cute. Meanwhile, you're looking at the one I made. Even though this whole thing was my idea, I sent my package to my swapee a little late, having made this apron ... well ... today. This tells me that a) that's enough with the swapping, because b) I'm busy these days.

My intention was to make the apron out of this fabric --

and you can see I started to do just that. I bought it on eBay expressly for this purpose. It's vintage, from the 1950s, and I loved it from the start. So much so that I swooped in on it and won it in the last few seconds. Am I starting to sound like a birth mother having second thoughts about giving up her baby? That's what happened. Once I put the pockets on it I knew I'd never be able to let it go. It just wasn't going down like that. I decided that I could use yet another apron. (Really?) Then this morning I woke up and looked at it and something else came to mind. As soon as I can find the time, it's on.

My change of heart meant last-minute stash raiding. I bought this Denyse Schmidt fabric some time ago. I had a Built by Wendy pattern in mind for it, but I fell out of love with the idea of the two together. The print remains one of my favorites, and I would've kept hoarding it, but I felt it was only fair to give up a favorite in exchange for the vintage print. (Alright, alright. I decided I could buy more.) This pattern calls for almost 3 yards of fabric. I don't typically have more than a couple yards of a given fabric on hand, but I had enough of this. I couldn't fathom why a half apron would require that much fabric. It's because it's gathered to high heaven.

Project Notes
Pattern: Simplicity "Vintage '48 & '52"
#3544, view D
Fabric: Denyse Schmidt
"Katie Jump Rope," courtesy of eBay.
Size: Medium, which yielded a whole lotta apron.
Fun in the sun? Turns out I'm a fool for playing with bias tape, so the pockets were a blast. Hopefully, my swap buddy will enjoy it.