Week-end reading

All right, this one is kind of a big shot and I want your opinion… Some time ago I had this idea of writing a personal style guide for complete dummies, that is, for girls who, like myself, have never been taught how to choose their clothes, or how to paint their nails, or make a messy bun that actually holds… well, you know the kind. Some may say these are mere futilities and it’s the soul that matters (and I will sign up to that) but, damn it,  we are women, or aren’t we?

So, here’s what might become a beginning of a book that I’ve called “Style for aliens”… Tell me if I should continue ))) Continue reading

What’s going on

Not much, actually. I get up in the morning, bring my kid to school, try to squeeze the maximum value per minute out of the 3 hours of hands-free time this gets me, lose time surfing the Web, bring the boy back home at noon, throw together some sort of meal or another, try to do things while entertaining the kid until he falls asleep, see my husband off to or back from work, volunteer at the local library once a week, shop for groceries, do laundry… and knit when the stars align. Pretty uneventful but that’s how life is. Sometimes there’s a surprise: eating out with the extended family or the kid falling ill on a Friday afternoon… And then it’s routine once again. But it’s not the repetitiveness that gets me down: I kind of like my days to be predictable. If I can fit a healthy amount of fun into an ordinary day, I’m totally OK with it.

november-mini

See what I mean? Who needs fancy entertainment if they can have this?

What truly gets on my nerves is that I receive no answer from the knitting magazines, yarn companies and design editors I wrote to what seems like ages ago. Just a word, huh, guys? Something beyond the machine-generated “Thank you for your submission”? Are you that busy? What’s maddening about all this magazine business is that one has to wait for months before an answer comes – and not necessarily a positive one – and that multiple submissions (that is, sending the same pattern to several magazines simultaneously) are strictly discouraged. And in the meantime your patterns and ideas just lie there and you can’t even wear what you’ve knitted – for fear of spoiling the only prototype you have… It’s sooo slow! In a world where one can connect with people instantly and where everyone is on-line 24/7, the knit mag business is somehow managing to stay light years behind – and get away with it.

Which makes me think that it’s maybe time for me to go indie. I believe in my patterns: Liffey has scored 138 projects on Ravelry alone and, as I have discovered, it has been translated into Russian, so you can double, if not triple, the count (the funny part about this unauthorized translation is that I’m myself a Russian speaker, so they could just have asked if had a Russian version of the pattern instead of going the hard way). Anyway, what I’m saying is that my patterns aren’t that bad. In fact, I think they’re getting better all the time (you should see the one I’m working on right now!) and I’m doing my best to make them both knitable and knit-worthy. So… shall I make the leap?

Say it in broken English

Whoa, it’s been nearly a month since my last post! Time passes way too quickly, especially when the weather is warm and there’s so much to do outside (and away from the computer)… So, where do I begin? Shall I tell you about my planting odyssey or about Mr. Toddler’s speech explosion? Or maybe show you some nice pictures? Or would you like to see my current (absolutely, mindbogglingly gorgeous) knitting WIP? Or hear about my recent… er… “moderately productive” attempts at writing a new pattern?

Oh the hard choice! But wait, there’s one thing that beats them all! Last night my little rascal looked at me with sweet eyes and said: “I wove you!” like he really meant it. Now, if there’s anything that can melt a woman’s heart…

dandelion

Baking news

This is by far the funniest thing I’ve ever baked…

First take a good look…

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What are they? Muffins on steroids? Mushrooms? Alien life-forms?

If you’re not familiar with them yet, let me introduce you: these are popovers and they fully deserve their name! Technically speaking, this is liquid batter cooked stiff right in the middle of a supernova-like explosion. The broccoli shape is the fault of the muffin pan and gravity: bake them by zero G – and they’ll probably be round…

Now, how about more pictures?

po1 po2

One just can’t help smiling, right? This is surely going to become my favourite cheer-up recipe (by the way, you can check it here). Make them with kids of any age for an instant mood boost with the bonus of a sugar-free treat. Devour them “as they are” or fill them with cottage cheese, crab salad, jam, dulce de leche or any other mixture that makes your heart go pop for a more substantial, relatively guiltless snack!

The drawback of this recipe? These beauties take a full 40 minutes to bake and they should be eaten hot from the oven, so they’ll probably disappear sooner than you can say “popover” and leave you with nothing but a memory (and a mess in the kitchen). This sort of reminds me of the eternal “housewife’s curse”: you spend your time fighting like crazy against the entropy in your life and all you end up with is more mess… You clean the house – it gets dirty again, you cook the meals – they vanish like they’ve never existed… This is why every housewife needs a camera: to catch those precious moments when the place is clean, the kids happy and the popovers hot, and crisp, and steaming!

That’s all for today, kids! Have a nice week-end and behave yourselves!

Style cure update and self-challenge

Almost half a year has passed since I first wrote about SAHM’s style issues and how I planned to deal with them (see here and here), so I think it’s time for an update.

Has anything changed? – Well, yes. After a series of merciless purges I’ve managed to get rid of almost every item that I don’t wear, like or treasure. Almost – because one doesn’t change a whole wardrobe in a couple of months (unless your last name is Rockefeller) and a girl must wear something on a daily basis, right?

For now, I’ve kept most of my old t-shirts (nobody sees them under the pullover anyway), my warm roll neck sweater in the “wrong” colour (because my Mum custom-made it for me and because in my priority list warmth comes before colour) but I got rid of at least half of my jeans (I got so efficient that now I only have four pairs left: two old and two new), two pairs of nearly new, quite expensive but very uncomfortable shoes (I’m particularly proud of this one) and a few favourite pre-motherhood tops that became too tight for my post-partum body. The only thing I couldn’t (wouldn’t) let go is my stock of dresses. Which brings me to the second part of this post…

I love dresses but I wear jeans all the time. I have a decent shape and size but I still pull on a pair of jeans every single day. Why so? Well, mostly because nobody wears dresses any more and someone who does looks (and feels) like an alien lost in space and time (or, at least, I do). Dresses are for “special occasions”, jeans are for… ever. Which is kind of sad.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my jeans. I like their practical side and how they get better with wear and tear, I love how denim matches just about any colour you can possibly think of and I really enjoy the casual, relaxed “signature” jeans-y look. But too much is too much. Indeed, if an alien ship lands right now in the middle of, say, the Grand Place of Brussels (or Times Square of New York, or the Independence Square of Kyiv) they’ll probably conclude that our planet looks blue from space because a predominant majority of its inhabitants wrap their bottoms in blue cloth…

But let’s return to my dresses. Presently, I own nine (plus four skirts) and I like all of them but, as I said, I rarely put them on. Hence the challenge!

I challenge myself to wear a dress (or a skirt) every week: at first twice a week, then three and maybe even four times! And I challenge you to do the same! My dear girls, let’s bring dresses back into our lives!

To boost your motivation, here is why you should rather be wearing a dress:

  • Dresses are self-sufficient: you put on a single item of clothes and you’re ready to go!
  • Dresses are more flattering for your figure than pants. It might sound incredible but it’s true: pants must repeat the shape of your butt or they’ll fall down. A dress doesn’t care about your butt, it only relies on your shoulders to stay on.
  • Dresses come in an endless number of shapes and varieties while the choice of pants styles is rather limited.
  • With a dress, length is generally not a problem while store-bought pants are often too long or, as in my case, too short.
  • Dresses make girls more girly, both inside and out. When you wear a dress, your back straightens, your eyes shine and your mood sparkles. Don’t take my word for it, check it yourself!

I wore a dress today, and you? I dare you, girls!

P.S. The lovely paper doll at the top of this post can be downloaded for free from the Wee Wonderfuls website.