January 31, 2011

Finally finished.

About a week ago, Cory and I finally bit the bullet and used our iTunes giftcards from Christmas (and my birthday) to purchase Mad Men season 4. As you know, we are both lovers of language and consider Mad Men to be the best written television drama of all time. This show is so beautifully written, I almost wish I could use clips of it to teach voice and syntax to my students. Aside from the incredible writing, I am also a lover all the vintage styling that goes on behind the scenes. I can't wait for a university to introduce a study of the 1960s via Mad Men course.

Without giving much away, my fondness for Peggy grew throughout the duration of this season. I have always appreciated her character, but I really sort of fell in love with her. I felt like she really grew throughout this season into the person Don always saw her to be. Truth be told, I do think some of my infatuation with this season is that Betty Draper plays a smaller role and for that I was very happy. Her character drives me absolutely crazy, but I do appreciate her new husband, Henry Francis, very much. I believe he is level headed, mature, and above all else, a considerate adult. He has class. Hopefully Betty can learn a thing or two from him.

To those who have finished season 4, the last episode made me almost pull my hair out concerning Don's final decision. I'm still not sure if I agree with it, but I have to say, it proved my theory of blondes vs. brunettes! All his mistresses he may have truly loved have been brunette and the women he never took seriously, but "tried" to date, were blondes. I feel as if I could quite honestly write a pyschological analysis of his character and the insight of feminine stereotypes pertaining to hair color per the 1960s because of this show. I mean seriously! We finished watching season 4 late last night (that's right... night-long Mad Men marathon), so I thought I would share with you a few of my favorite season 4 snapshots. These photos are so iconic and beautiful it's hard to believe they're from a film and not from a photo shoot.

Behold the beauty...

Mad Men Season 4 Episode Photos

Mad Men Season 4 Episode Photos

Mad Men Season 4 Episode Photos

Mad Men Season 4 Episode Photos

Mad Men Season 4 Episode Photos

 Mad Men Season 4 Episode Photos

January 30, 2011

Long Live Miss. Blankenship!

Mad Men Season 4 Episode Photos

If you watch Mad Men, you probably have a soft spot in your heart for this woman. She is incredible and I dare to emulate her when I am of the same age!

How do you feel about Miss. Blankenship?

If you're as in love with Mad Men as I am, check back tomorrow for my critique of season 4!

Crochet Inspiration

Good morning!

This week's inspiration is rooted in all things spring. I have been comfortable at home looking at the snow-covered yards and roads, but have decided that if it were a bit warmer, I would be just as happy. Don't get me wrong, I like winter for it's coziness and serenity, but I am a warm weather gal through and through.

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite photos of crocheted flowers. I love how some of the artists have blended vintage patterns in modern colors and vice versa. There are so many possibilities with crocheted flowers, especially when designing for spring, so let your imagination run wild! (P.S. Follow the links; some of them are attached to free patterns!)


Crocheted flower Sachet

What can you imagine affixing yarny flowers to this spring?

One of my favorite flower resources is this awesome how-to book:

(and a bonus... it's less than $14 on amazon! woo!)


January 29, 2011

Let's Talk About Goals


If you don't visit Michelle Clement's Scissor Quirk blog, you should! I love her and her blog to pieces as she is a sassy crafty woman from up north in Canada. I have been sponsoring Michelle's blog for the last few months, and she recently did a cool sponsor feature, where instead of hosting a giveaway, she asked us to discuss our goals for 2011 and offer a little insight as to how we keep motivation to achieve them!

So go check out Donna's over on Scissor Quirk and see what our goals are all about!


January 27, 2011


So, blogger is at it again. I can't upload pictures saved on my computer (sad face). I have loads of pics to share with you. If anyone knows how to disable the "Google Cloud Picker" pop-up that comes up instead of the upload feature, please please let me know!

Anywho, the picture above (from weheartit) looks pretty much like my street did yesterday afternoon. Now, I need you to use your photoshop-like mind and add about 7 more inches of snow and just one lane of road (covered in ice).

These last few snow days have been pretty magical in our little bungalow. I have been a cooking machine (warm breakfast, eggplant parm, chili, cornbread, b.l.t's, etc.), the hub and I have been cleaning every inch of our house, and I have been crocheting a granny square blanket to use up some extra yarn I've had lying around. It's bright and colorful and the perfect blanket to drape across our plain white couch to get in the mood for spring! Things have been so calm, full of glasses of wine, movies on Netflix, and yarn, that I'm secretly hoping for a snow day #3. I know a lot of the side streets and back rounds are still one lane and covered with ice/snow/slush. Believe it or not, our area is expecting another 1-2 inches of snow tomorrow morning. While 1-2 inches of snow is NOTHING to fret about, it may do the trick on our already slick roads to give us a 5 day weekend! If you think about it, turn your pajamas inside out for me and do a little wiggle (= snow dance).

I'm going to go warm up some leftovers and work on my blanket a little more :)


Pretty cool...

It's snow day #2! Hooray!

Lion Brand posted on their blog, the Notebook, a cool post linking to Flavorwire and a highlight on 10 Artists Who Use Yarn as Their Medium. Have you checked out this incredible collection?

This one is my favorite, a gigantic knit bunny that took 5 years to make! CRAZY!

What other incredible fiber artists have you seen lately?

Happy Thursday!

January 26, 2011

It's a SNOW DAY!



If you live in the mid-atlantic area, you probably heard teachers rejoyce as most of the school systems are closed for the first time this school year! YES!

So today, I am working on a crochet project, cooking chili in the crockpot, and ejoying my snowday with lots of yarn and coffee. Perfect.

Wherever you are, I hope you take a moment and have a snowday in your mind. Peaceful and pretty :)


January 25, 2011

(snow falling)


I have been checking the weather ALL DAY. I know I just need to stop, but in all reality, teachers are just as bad as the students when it comes to the possibility of a "free" day off. I know to use the term "free" loosely, but one way or another, I will be paid for my time whether we are in school or not, since I get paid year-round (my pay is stretched over all 26 pay periods instead of just the 10-month 22 pays). So, yes, although I was against it earlier this week, I am hoping or a snowday tomorrow!

I am anticipating the 5-8 inches of snow we're about to receive so much that I even dared to venture to the grocery tonight! It wasn't that bad, I only had a few things to pick up, but then it hit me that we may need food for a few days (since we don't drive much anyway... and downtown doesn't have a grocery). So, I loaded up my cart with yummy supplies for a weeks worth of meals.

Tonight I tossed together a spinach salad with mushrooms and cherry tomatoes and a lovely dish of eggplant parm! mmm mmmmmm! I was really happy. I don't often get the "bug" to cook a full dinner other than on Sundays, so we pick around and throw together meals a lot. Oh well. We make it work. Cory does a decent share of the cooking as well, so all is fair.

Other than dinner, I am planning on enjoying the silence of the house as Cory is diligently reading my favorite book about poetry (it's not a book of poetry, but simply a book ABOUT poetry by Mary Oliver).

Also, today in class we set up our notebooks (that we use to "build" our own textbook within) and you know what I had my students write on the front in big, bold, Sharpie markers?


You know what that means?

Don't Forget To Be Awesome.

It's true. Don't forget it!


January 24, 2011

What I'm Reading This Semester..

I started my 2nd semester on Thursday with a crop of fresh students and a determined student teacher. It's days like these that really inspire me to hit the books and come up with clever ways to have my students fall in love with the characters they meet throughout the next four months.

Before I share my reading list for this semester... did you know that if we don't have a single snow day this school year (and so far, so good), we will be released for summer vacation on May 27th!? That is CRAZY for Maryland! Also, we aren't supposed to report back to school next year until August 20something. AMAZING! So, here's to rid our calendar of snowdays (okay, maybe one...) and hit the road straight through until May!

Now, back to reality. Here are the goodies I'm introducing to my students this semester:

Do you remember reading any of these pieces of literature while you were in school?
Any personal favs?


January 23, 2011

That time I ate pancakes and Mad Men'd myself.

This morning Cory woke up before me and began his day downstairs. I took the opportunity to stretch out and enjoy the entire bed to myself. It's rare that I get to do it, so I try to take advantage :).

Later, when I finally made it downstairs, I started a pot of coffee... and then I heard Cory head into the kitchen and rumble around in the drawers. Wha-la... he came up with these DELICIOUS cherry pancakes. They were the perfect way to start my Sunday :).

Other than eating delicious pancakes, I was able to put together a super cute Valentine's DIY (more info later) for a blog I'm visiting in February, and set up a Twitter account for Donna's Decembers!

I also had time to Mad Men myself. If you haven't done this year, head over here.

Here's my final result:

...and yes... that is me and Don Draper.

What have you been up to today?


Crochet Inspiration

I've got to be honest with you: I don't know much about copyright. Being a teacher, we "get away" with a lot of copyright issues because "using for unplanned education purposes" trumps MANY laws. With that being said, it doesn't mean I'm ignorant toward acknowledging people's property. I always give credit where it's due, but became nervous about Free Crochet Pattern Sunday when I realized I might be getting myself into big problems if I used a pattern without the correct permission.

Anyway--I just wanted to explain why it disappeared last week. I think it's a great idea to share patterns and ideas with each other, for sure, so we're gonna switch it up a little. Instead of Free Crochet Pattern Sunday, what about some feel good Crochet Inspiration? I'll continue to share free patterns--but only the ones that I write. Sound good? I think I'll feel way better about it!

Anywho... today's inspiration is for those of you who are watching football along with your guy today, or those of you who might just want a cheeseburger. I know this dress has been around for a while, but that doesn't make it any less amazing!

Hamburger Dress Front

Hamburger Dress Back

I feel like this could be an amazing Halloween costume this fall! Incredible!

Nicely done, Joy Kampia, nicely done :)

January 22, 2011

It is chilly.


Next weekend Cory and I are inviting a bunch of friends up to go out and see an amazing band from western Maryland, Cotton Jones, play at our favorite bar (Cafe Nola). It should be a really great night (and if you're interested, Blood Red Sentimental Blues is my fav song).

Since we're saving all our energy, monies, and excitement for next weekend, we decided to keep this weekend pretty low key. I spent most of today crocheting a cute item for my spring collection and learning how to tie a bowtie (it's part of the project...) and Cory spent most of his Saturday at the library (where he likes to go and read). Tonight we decided to go to a local Italian spot for a cheapo dinner (about $20 total for both of us) and it was delicious! Lots of fun.

On our walk down to il Porto, we realized that it is really stinking cold here in Maryland! I promptly checked the weather as soon as we returned home: 12 degrees! YIKES! So cold!

So tonight we've already made cups of tea, have loaded our laps with blankets, and have our Bon Iver Pandora station playing. I'm curling up with some yarn and Ralphie. Flip is patiently sitting on the stool waiting for Cory to acknowledge him. It's a nice little night in after a delicious dinner out.

This week we decided that we needed to pay tribute to a tradition we remember our parents having when we were little: watching Saturday Night Live. Now, do not be fooled, we are well aware that SNL may never revert back to it's hay days in the 90s, but we can hope. So, tonight we're going to read, relax, drink our tea, and then cheer on the youngest comics on the tube as they attempt to make us chuckle.

These are my favorite Saturdays!

The Big Picture

How incredible is this photo?


The velvet this woman is wearing is to die for. It's so lush and regal looking.

What if I told you this photo was taken 100 years ago? Would you believe me?

Yeah, you're probably making the same face I did when my husband showed me this collection.

If you have any interest in photography at all, you need to head over to the Boston Globe's website and check out their "The Big Picture" project.

These incredible photos were taken by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) as part of a project where he tried to photograph the Russian empire at the time.

With a mix of color lenses and incredible technology, professionals were able to publish these photographs in near true color quality. First of all, not only are the pictures incredible, but the techniques used are so impressive and feel so modern considering they are 100 years old!

Go here and check out more of this magic. You won't be sorry.

January 21, 2011

Cleaning out the Stash


This weekend is all about two things:
keeping warm and using up most of my yarn stash.

I inherited a gigantic bag of yarn from an estate sale my stepmother was hosting around Christmas. It's not the highest quality yarn, but there is SO MUCH of it. I can use it for small products for the shop and odds and ends, but mostly it's just taking up a ton of room. I think I'll throw together a few afghans with it this weekend, that way I have the shelf space to use for new yarn!

My biggest issue right now: zero mental clarity.

This week has been CRAZY.
FIRST: my student teacher started full time.
SECOND: we started a new semester with ALL new students.
THIRD: the weather has been unpredictable and COLD.

Nothing I can't handle, and honestly, things are a lot easier today, now that Lauren (my ST) and I have established pretty clear roles and routines. She'll start teaching full time near the end of next week (which is nice and fun). So far, and it's only day two, my new students are lovely creatures. They're kind, respectful, and tolerate/appreciate my cheeseiness (& corniness). All is well with the world. Spring semester is always the best semester, anyway (in my mind).

Anyway, I could really use some mental down-time this weekend. I don't know why, but there is this little cloud in my brain that is really jumbling up my motivation. I mean, I know it's there, but I can't find the clarity to start any tasks/projects. It's so frustrating! I want to be productive--I just need the space in my brain to allow it!

So, here's to us!
Here's to being productive and having a CLEAR weekend in our minds!


January 20, 2011

Spring 2011 Collection Inspiration Board

Hey hey! As I make some final ideas for Donna's spring line come to life, I thought I would show you some of my inspiration. Some of the inspiration comes from color combinations and others comes from small details that could/should be included (in my mind). I hope you enjoy and maybe find some of your own inspiration!

From J. Crew's spring Look Book:

Anthropologie's Spring Line:

And these beautiful looks from Isabel Marant's Spring Lookbook:

Lots and lots of texture via patterns and textiles. I love it!

Back to the drawing board :)

January 18, 2011

What I'm Working On...

I'm pretty busy over here working on some new fashions for our spring collection!

Everything will be listed on Etsy by the end of the month!


January 17, 2011

To You



One of my favorite aspects of being an educator is when my discussion leaves the topic commas and subject-verb agreement and into a more meaningful comversation about tolerance and patience. At my school, we have an extremely diverse population and most of my students have seen more horrifying events in their short lives than I ever wish to. One of the aspects pf being an educator I take pride in is making my classroom feel like a safe zone: a place where everyone can be comfortable and speak their mind. The relationships that grow in just a short semester are sort of awesome to watch. I try to mix up their seating arrangement every few weeks so they are forced to sit beside new people and at least have a conversation with someone they don't know.

It's not always easy. I've seen a lot of hate in the 4 years I've been teaching, but I have such high aspirations for the future of my students and my school. I feel as if we, the teachers, have built such a strong sense of community that anyone who does not engage in it postively automatically looks like an outcast (in the best, most respectful meaning).

So, on this day in 2011, I want to dedicate this post to advancing our youth and teaching them the importance of tolerance, social decorum, and above all else, respect.

Flipper & some sweet treats

I thought I would utilize my webcam to show you some impromptu pics of what I have been hookin' over here the last few days. I have quite a bit of shows coming up this spring so I'm trying to play around with some new ideas that will be fun and light hearted. I'll have better pics later today, as I will be uploading most of these items to the shop. Anywho... while I was in mid-photo, Flipper decided to join me. Enjoy :)

What's your favorite?
Sugar cookie brooch or the cupcake pint coozie

Tell me in the comments!


p.s. If you look closely enough at the last picture, you can see how puffy my left side of my face still is... it's not TERRIBLE, but still puffy!

January 16, 2011

What We Did... The King's Speech

After a pretty late night last night, Cory and I sat around most of today and were complete sloths. We ordered pizza in (I chewed in itty bitty bites), watched football, and most of season 1 of Heroes. I'm not a big fan of Heroes, but I am a big fan of my husband, so I figured I would make do by sitting on the couch next to him with some yarn and a crochet hook.

Long story short--I had MAJOR cabin fever by mid-afternoon. We pulled ourselves out of the rut we had made on the couch and made our way to the movie theater and saw The King's Speech.

I highly recommend this movie. It's probably one of the best movies I have seen in YEARS. So good! Plus, the styling is amazing and dialogue is great (quite a few witty lines thrown in that are really charming). It's touching in all the right ways; the perfect movie for winter. So, so good.

Here are some of my favorite shots from the film:

I have always loved Colin Firth, but this role only secured my admiration for him as an actor. It is such a beautiful story and I would love to hear what you think of it... so go see it!