Monday, January 29, 2007

Climbing. Crafting. It's the same.

My favorite climbing pants, let me describe them to you...

They were green. They were Prana. They fit oh so flatteringly even when I had them rolled up my calves and stretched across my thighs while I tried to make overly ambitious moves up the rock. I did my first trad climb in these pants. I went on my first backpacking trip with Bubba in these pants. I ate shit on another backpacking trip when I decided to "ski" down a steep leafy trail instead of carefully descend, in these pants.

I love these pants.

Alas, they are not bulletproof. And during one fateful climbing trip, their last, this fact was proven without a doubt. Proven when I was about 30 feet off the ground, stretching optimistically toward a fleshy looking hold, thinking only about how one more inch on my ape index would be extra nice when, SSSSSSSCCCCCCCRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIPPPPPPPPPP!

*Sad moment* Favorite climbing pants ripped from hip to crotch.

Note: I am not a fan of full-butt undies.

Note 2: I was climbing with a group of four guys.

Note 3: Two of which I'd never met before this day.

Note 4: One of whom was my husband who was laughing hysterically.

My choices were to either:

1. Fling myself back from the rock, wrap whatever is left of my pants around my recently exposed cheeks and hope to hell that Bubba had my belay.


2. Lunge for the hold, hope to hell I make it and then laugh and say, "Yep. That's my ass. Right there."And then finish the climb, descend, wear my fleece around my waist for the rest of the day and NEVER LOOK ANYONE IN THE EYE AGAIN. *Also, ignore creepy climber guy who kept making comments about my ass.

I went with Option 2 since the sudden pants rippage propelled me just enough to make the hold attainable.

Score! And, yikes. is clear that these pants and I have a history. So, it's easy to understand why, when I came across them in my ruthless garage clean out this weekend, I couldn't toss them in the trash.

What to do though? Too thin to sew up (again, for the third time). Too ratty to donate. Too, ahem, breezy to wear to the park.

The answer: Climbing Apron

With a little interpretive sewing (read: using the ass rip as a convenient guide for slicing the pants in two) and some left over black elastic, I managed to salvage myself a ripper of an apron.

We like to call it the Extreme Apron.

And to celebrate, I extremely made some Chinese Barbecued Pork from the latest issue of Cook's Illustrated. Then we extremely ate it so friggen fast because it took an hour longer than I'd planned AND was EXTREMELY fucking good. So, story short, no pictures of dinner.

However, here is the Extreme Apron for your viewing pleasure:

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Cable me this

After my recent bought with the cable needle I nearly vowed not to go back. There was a lot of whining and throwing of things and swearing that I'd never cable anything. EVER. Then I came to the realization that what I hated wasn't, in fact, the cable needle. No. It wasn't even the cable pattern, necessarily.

It was the fact that I couldn't keep track of which friggen row I was on, so I kept fucking up the pattern which caused loud cursing of the new technique, threatening of irreparable bending to the needle and lots of other childish behavior I'm not extra proud of.

But now I've changed my tune since I decided to bite the bullet and get a row counter. Yes, the mighty row counter. That thing that's constantly mentioned in the Notions part of every pattern I seem to pick up. That thing that I blissfully ignore while saying to myself, "Row counter? Bah! I'm an evil genius. What do I need with a row counter? I can count to eight! Only retards need row counters."

I now have two.

Does that make me retarded? Maybe.

The fact that I bought two row counters and neither fit the needles I used for my first "post row counter" project? I don't know - you decide.

All I know is that now I'm a full-fledged fan of the row counter and feel invincible against any scary Row Counter Intensive project. No more trying to count back rows or stitches to see if I need to bring the yarn forward or backward or if I'm even on the right row for cabling or if I'm even looking at the same pattern in the book.

To celebrate, I am finishing up the scarf you see above. This is the single cable scarf from One Skein. Not sure how many of you out there have this book, but this is the first time I'm actually cracking it open and making something from it. Despite the growing girth of the stash and my unquenchable desire to use up everything I have before I buy anew. I thought I was going to run amok with this book, using up every odd skein for every project in the book. Magically transforming my unwieldy stash into a collection of adorable fiber goods. Then I realized that I didn't want knitted cupcakes or any more little bags and cast the book aside. For me, a lot of the patterns are a bit, eh.

But now - oh no - now I'm on a damn rampage. I'm already planning on more cabley scarves - even the double up one. I might even go nuts and try to join up with these folks.

So, with the teensy outlay of cash for the row counters, I've managed to open myself up to a whole new genre of patterns and can dust off a book from the craft pile and put it to work.


Monday, January 22, 2007

[Status] January InStitches Project

Dear Donk,

Your document duvet is HOT! In a sultry voile and red ribbon kind of way. I'm sure it won't surprise you that I have that same voile in my stash at home. Thexy.

And aren't you the overacheiver with your coordinating photo file, too. I'll admit, I didn't go there. As it turns out, I barely print a photo off the digital cam unless I'm immediately wrapping it with photo corners and sticking it to a card, so I'm not sure what I'd do with a file. But now looking at how cute yours is, I'm thinking I could make one and use it to store recipes instead. Am I blaspheming?

Meanwhile, I've looked at the Flickr gallery and there are a couple new entries - kick ass! That's good, too, since January is nearly over (WTF!) and the deadline for this month's project is 1/31. And, since I'm a fucking psycho, I've already started thinking about exactly which projects we should try for February.

You know, February, that month that has had the stores stocked with big red hearts and fatty candy since 12/26. So, for this month of chalky "Wuv you" hearts and ruffled balloons I thought we'd do a little bedroom-type theme and go for either the Sleeping Mask or Bedside Organizer.

Of course, what you choose to store in your Organizer or what activities proceed the donning of the Sleeping Mask are up to you, but I have a few ideas in mind that I won't go into right now.


Ok, doll, back to the wholesome discussion of sewing. You choose the theme. I am already excited to get started.


PS Bubba will get a big hello from you tonight. That's all I'm going to say...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Meme Friday : Weird Finny

Ari tagged me for the 6 Weird Things About You meme. I'm going to not take this personally since I tout my weirdness with quite a bit of gusto on a regular basis. It's only fair that I'm being held to it in a public forum.

THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the 6 weird things about you. People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says you are tagged in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

  1. I floss in the car.
    Bubba finds this disgusting. People driving near me probably think that I'm brushing my teeth (I use one of those Reach flossers). But, it makes my commute all the more efficient, and ultimate efficiency is my dream. Meanwhile, my beloved dentist has had nothing but good things to say about my gum health. Take that.

  2. I will only buy shoes three pairs at a time.
    I'm not sure if this makes me weird, but it certainly does get the eyes rolling at the office when the big Zappos box shows up. Although, it doesn't keep the girls from coming over to see what's in the box. My theory is that I probably won't love every pair, so this gives me good odds of ending up with at least one pair I will covet.

  3. I keep a big box of dog biscuits in my desk. I don't have a dog.
    So, I'm sure you've heard of "Crazy cat ladies". Well, I'm the "Crazy dog girl" in my office. When I hear the jingling of collars and leashes, I put a few dog biscuits in my pocket and roam the halls "for coffee" when I need a break. Then I rendezvous with all the dogs that have come into work that day and bribe their love with cookies.

  4. I love black licorice.
    I have just been told that this is weird. Personally, it seems normal to me.

  5. My secret dream career: Professional Closet Organizer.
    I may have a great job that I love - but I won't lie, when I see the California Closets van on the highway, I have lewd fantasies that involve me, a tape measure, a lot of shelving and a big messy closet.

  6. I listen to Howard Stern every single day.
    The reactions I get from this range from stunned to suspicious to horrified to the blatant crossing of fingers in the manner that one might use to address a vampire. Still - I see nothing wrong with listening to, what I consider, the last honest broadcaster on the planet. There's no BS here. Just a bunch of people sitting around a really nice studio, now on satellite radio saying exactly what they want with absolutely no pretense or hidden agendas. I know that he'll ask all his interviewees questions that no one else has the balls to ask. I know that he'll share the most embarrassing minutia of his life with his audience. I know that he'll call anyone out for any stupid thing they do. And I love it.

Call me weird.

Six future memers:


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I had a brief, but eventful, separation from my sanity today.

When I came back to my senses I had signed myself up to run a 10K.


Granted, this is something I've been threatening (mostly myself) with for a while now, but deep DEEP down, I never thought I'd actually go through with it. Knowing that if I never actually signed up for one, I wouldn't have to hold myself to it.

Sidenote: I hate flakes. And since going back on a registered event definitely qualifies as flakiness, I am morally bound to do anything I sign up for.

So today, during a weak moment in which I was at once feeling strong from a successful morning run, sympathetic to a local tragedy and egged on by my unforgivably upbeat cubemate - I signed up.

Then I realized what I had done and immediately threw myself into an all out breakdown. In fact, it's possible that I'm still aglow with anxious perspiration and clutching a handful of my cubemates hair.

Even after doing the math and realizing that this 10K is *only* 3 miles longer than my usual run, which should be attainable, there is some actual *training* involved in a 10K run and that makes me nauseous with anxiety.

I mean, as it is, three miles is no picnic. I'm not one of those smiley, gleeful, has a dreamy look on my face to the point where passersby want to throw their triple venti mochas on me, kind of runners.


I'm much more the, oh my god someone call 911 because I think that girl is going to collapse on top of herself despite her snazzy North Face hoodie and GPS watch kind of runners.

I admit, I like gear. This condition has only gotten worse since my blissful matrimonials a few years ago when I married The Ultimate Gear Weenie. So, when I started running regularly, I got a lot of stuff to do it, even though it is way less gear intensive than any other sport I do, and is at it's core, a relatively low-tech activity. I'm a little ashamed of myself, since Bubba and I have spent plenty of time making fun of the new climbers we've run into in the park who are hiking up the trail to the rock already wearing their harnesses (with store tags fully intact), slick scratchless helmets and a full rack of shiny new carabiners slung across their chests.

Regardless, I did make a few superfluous gear purchases for the sake of running. And now I have to make good on my purchases and actually use these Pieces of Wonder.

So, the plan is to take this handy dandy training schedule I ripped off of Runners World and my shamefully exotic gear and go trotting off into the sunrise 4 days a week until 4/1 when the race happens and I can finally shed myself of this convulsion inducing commitment.

Oh please cross all your fingers for me. This could very well get ugly. In a snotty, hacking, wobbling, tantrum throwing kind of way.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Quick reminder: I am a dork

Dear Donk,

This is your friendly reminder that your friend Finny is a dork.

Shocker, I know.

Case in point: My Document Duvet for our InStitches-along. It's done.

I KNOW! I'm a total dork!

I couldn't stop myself because there has been a bit of fabric in my stash, courtesy of our friend Caro, that has been calling my friggen name ever since it showed up with my kick ass messenger bag (Caro - what would I do without you!?).

I had to use it. It's wicked cute.

Plus, it's green.

And it's just been sitting all bundled up cute in my organizey craft closet giving me those come hither looks every time I went in there to get something off the printer.

Anyhoo, here it is, done. I know we have until the end of the month, but you know how I am. In a word; Aggro.

It's been coming to work with me for a week now:

I'm having a minor love affair with it. No longer are my "Bills to follow up on" and "overdue thank you's to put in the mail" shoved into a ratty manila folder in there. No, now they travel in style. It makes me less angry when I have to call Real Simple about their negligence (and it is significant) when I can pull my six months worth of correspondence with them from this beeooteeful bag.

Anyways, that's the update. Now I have to call Real Simple. Otherwise now known in our house as Real Stupid, Real Annoying, Real "Simple", Real Complicated and Real Fucked.


P.S. I did post to Flickr despite my mild retardation with using that thing.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I love you, Cable Needle, but only by comparison

My sister made me a kick ass pair of wool fingerless gloves for Hanukkah that are so beautifully cabled and ribbed that I have pretty much taken them off only under threat of death or in the case of bathroom activities.

I loved them so much that I managed to convince myself that the pattern in Holiday Knits, for which I originally purchased the book after seeing them pop up on Lady Lino's blog all perfectly knitted up (duh, obviously), was within my grasp if I would just sack up and use the cable needles languishing in my needlecase (thank you, Caro - I love this thing lots).

So, after fortifying myself with holiday-shaped sugar, I sat down with a handful of #3 DPNs (they say to use #1's, but I only had #3's, so sue me) , green cashmere from the stash, a half dozen needle markers, an NFL game on the tube and the dreaded cable needle.

A few fated days and an entirely new vocabulary of four letter words later, the gloves materialized as though there was no struggle at all:

And now, just a short week or so later (after much blocking) I've almost forgotten how I swore (loudly and while flipping off my cable needle) that I would never make these ever again, and am almost ready to pull out the other cashmere stash balls and make up a pair for a friend of mine in chilly and faraway Arkansas as a thank you for the holiday hospitality.

Have I sustained a head injury? Perhaps. We'll see how those cables come out this time around. Either way, I will never hate the cable needle as much as the Grommet Puncher. No, not ever. That thing is fresh from the threshold of hell.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

I Hate You, Grommet Puncher

Dear Donk,

I remembered today why I haven't used the grommet puncher in over five years - it sucks ass.

Beware - if you're using one like this:

be prepared for bone crushing pain as you squeeze those handles together with all your might trying to get the male grommet to curl neatly around the female grommet.

It sounds romantic, but I assure you it's not. Unless your idea of romantic involves a lot of swearing and a 28 year old woman throwing a tantrum.

I had to ask Bubba for his man strength on this one. Of course, the grommet puncher was no match for the likes of his man-paws, which is just another reason to love him.

Just a little heads up that you might want to offer a margarita to any hot dudes walking by your apt in exchange for a few strong squeezes.



Thursday, January 04, 2007

InStitches A-Long

Dear Donk,

I'm turning over a new, lazy, irresponsible leaf this year. I'm not making resolutions. I've resolved not to resolve. I'm not sure how I landed on this or why, but it's a little unsettling for someone as list oriented and anal retentive as I.

So, in order to quench my not-resolving thirst I thought, what if, for Project #1, we choose either the Document Duvet OR the Fabric Organizer Baskets? That way we can all choose the one that would organize us best - thus satisfying the "Get Organized in the New Year" un-resolution on my non-list.

Oh - and let's give it some extra clean-slate-for-the-new-year flavor by Using What We Have on hand for the theme. Since cleaning out the closets/stash/craft shelves are always on my non-list and the fabric store has a shoot-on-site order for me after my last rampage through the remnant bin, restricting me from procuring any new fabric until they've hired some new teenagers to enforce Remnant Etiquette.

Let me know what you think and we'll open the crafty floodgates to everyone taking part.

Meanwhile, I made up a badge that we can put up on the blogs. Che fancy, no? Be nice.

The power of the A-long is in your hands...execute at will.


In 2007, there will be sewing...

Dear Donk,

You are an evil genius. And, ironically enough, I have also been eyeing my fresh new In Stitches book and thinking inappropriate thoughts about a few of the projects therein.

*Sigh* I, too, wish we could wander our afternoon away at the fabric store and then drink ourselves merry putting together one project after another at your sewing table, but alas, we do live states away and that would require a very long extension cord and a handful of miracles, so maybe it would be better if we made the sewing party virtual (although the drinks can still be real, calm down.)

Plus, then we can bring in all the crafters that, like us, have been drooling obscenely over this new release and we'll all have an excuse for adding yet another book to our crafting libraries. We're all in this denial together, right? Say yes.

I definitely have a few projects in mind and a few themes, too - shall we get this party started?

I can already see my sewing machine throbbing with anticipation.

{Are you interested in joining us in the In Stitches Sew-Along? Leave a comment and let us know! You won’t regret buying this book, even if you’ve never sewn. The projects are signature Butler — creative, simple, pretty and fun. We’ll soon post project #1, along with January’s theme. Photos of the completed projects are due to finnydonksewalong at gmail dot com by the end of the month and we’ll throw them into a Flickr gallery for all the world to see. Of course there will be a sew-along button, and I’m thinking prizes too!}


PS. I like prizes. Let's do that. Virtual planning party over margaritas?