Category Archives: five for friday

Five for Friday 4.24

1. After spending so much time on those unwearable culottes (part of the problem, I realized later, is that I sewed one of the pockets in backwards. Fixing it would mean taking so much apart though that I don’t think I’m going to bother; I don’t think they’d be much better after) it’s been hard to work up a lot of excitement about sewing. This is especially true since I don’t have a lot of time to sew. I use our little office/soap storage room to do it and that only gets sunlight first thing in the morning. I should probably invest in a couple of lamps so I can be in there in the evenings, but until then, I only have what little time I can fit in before work or on the weekends. I decided that the next project I wanted to tackle is this terrific dress, another one from Liesl. This is one of her Lisette patterns that she publishes with Butterick and the terse directions and complicated cutting layout and basically everything about it makes me really miss working with indie patterns, but I love the dress and want to to wear it and will persevere. I had initially wanted to do the sewalong with her (how gorgeous is her hand-dyed silk fabric?), but underestimated how much time it was going to take to cut out the pieces, so I’m behind. It’s helpful to have the write-ups to refer to though.
I’m using double gauze that I bought from Fancy Tiger Crafts. I initially had ordered a blue-gray, but they sold out of it before my order was processed and I substituted this indigo color instead. It’s a really gorgeous shade, a very green-toned light navy that absolutely no thread matches.

2. Speaking of Fancy Tiger, visting their site is dangerous. How gorgeous is this linen gauze?
It reminds me of the work of one of my favorite lettering designers, Eva Black, who’s started selling paintings recently.

3. This site superimposes a map of New York City over maps of other cities. It’s pretty interesting to compare, especially since they also provide population numbers.

4.Emma Thompson interviews Hugh Laurie, wins hearts.

5. Clickhole’s oral history of Mad Men is pretty hilarious. “Elisabeth Moss (Peggy Olson): Even for scenes he wasn’t in, Jon would burst into whatever room we were filming in and shout, ‘No, I’m not Don Draper! Don Draper exploded! I’m Dick Whitman instead! Yowza!'”

Five for Friday 4.17

1. Everything’s coming up culottes. Unfortunately, the culottes I made for myself from Liesl Gibson’s pattern turned out to be insanely unflattering on me, just a complete fiasco, legwear-wise. A couple of people on Instagram suggested running them through a laundry cycle to try to loosen up the fabric before making a final decision, but it’s hard to imagine it’ll make much difference.


unmanned culottes

2. This lipstick collaboration between Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge and a brand I’ve never heard of before looks great. I’ve been playing around with a matte red lip this year, but a rosy pink is more my everyday jam.

3. Madeleine L’Engle’s granddaughter has made public three never-before-seen pages from one of my favorite books from childhood, A Wrinkle in Time.  (tip ‘o the hat to my friend Natalie for bringing it to my attention)

4. This week was the week that Rob and I discovered that our cat, who has a pretty laidback approach to the world in general, reacts very strongly to hearing another cat on TV or a video online. It’s hilarious for the humans in the room. Less so for our furry friend, who seems to think that we’re either being invaded or someone’s having a party he really, really wants to go to.

5. A few days ago, I was talking to audiobook narrator Tavia Gilbert for something related to work and she recommended in the glowingest of glowing terms a book called Galileo’s Middle Finger. I made a note to look it up and promptly forgot about it. Then this morning I was suddenly seeing a lot of links to accounts of a scientist mom live-tweeting her son’s abstinence-only sex-ed class and realized that that woman is the author of the book.

Five for Friday 4.10

1. I made lip balm a few months(!) ago, using Mari Rayma’s peppermint cocoa lip balm recipe. I didn’t have any vitamin E oil on hand, so swapped in jojoba oil for that. My cocoa butter wasn’t as fragrant as hers apparently was, so mine balms are more of a straightforward peppermint, but the consistency is lovely and it made a lot for very little money. I’d like to add a lip balm or two to the Schoon offerings eventually, but I’d like them to be vegan, which this one isn’t (beeswax), not to mention that it’s not my recipe. It’s terrific for my personal use though and a good benchmark for starting to play around on my own.
meltunnamed2. I watched Going Clear, the HBO documentary about Scientology this week. Totally fascinating.

3. I signed up for my NYC Municipal ID today—I made the appointment back in January—but who knows if I’ll ever get the card. I never updated my address on my driver’s license and didn’t have anything with my current address on me, so had to use the old one on the forms unless I wanted to wait another three months for another appointment. The change of address forwarding expired two years ago and that was a goofball sublet situation, so there’s no official record of me ever living there and no one at the building will have a way to reach me. I supposed I could send a postcard to my old address and ask them to email me if the ID shows up there. What a mess.

4. How great is this Alabama Chanin dress made from a Vena Cava pattern? I just want to make everything.
Blue-Dress2-e13547306348425. But I also continue to flirt with minimalism. I’m toying with trying out the Wardrobe Workbook from Into Mind. I’ve been watching on Instagram as Jen from Grainline Studios works her way through, and it looks pretty great.

Five for Friday: Cativersary edition

1. The one-year anniversary of adopting Fuzz Ferdinand (3/30) happened while we were in California. I don’t know much about his life before he came to live with us, except that he was found in someone’s backyard in Queens and spent some time being fostered before we adopted him. Watching this little monkey slowly come to realize that we’re his forever people and make the shift from the nervous, cautious creature we brought home to a confident, affectionate member of our household has been one of the great joys of my last 12 months.

2. Rob used to live in one of the buildings (on the top floor of an illegal seventh-floor walkup, no less) that burned down after the terrible explosion in the East Village last week. I can’t stop reading about it.

3. For some reason, the narrator of this video approves of turning a perfectly cromulent beatnik teenager into her mother.

4. ” If you walked around New York you would think there was a terrible mirror famine.” Two of my favorite things that I read online this week: Fran Lebowitz on style and this incredible account of a young man who became friends with the man who ended up with his stolen iPhone and how they both became celebrities in China.

5. I can’t stop looking at these stunning photos of huskies walking on a frozen lake.

Five for Friday

1. Current projects on the needles: a Cobblestone pullover in some gorgeous Blue Sky Alpaca melange I was lucky enough to get when a friend was cleaning out her stash. I think it’ll make a really great knockaround sweater for this fall. I’m making the smallest size and my gauge is a little tighter, so it won’t be as loose-fitting, but the drape of the alpaca is so fluid and dreamy, I think it’ll still read as a relatively flowy garment. And my Stripe Study is back on track. I tried a few different cream yarns, but preferred my original selection (Swan’s Island merino/silk) in the end. It’s a little lighter weight than the gray, but I don’t have anything in the stash that’s the right color and the exact right grist; the Blackberry Ridge wool/silk I tried was a little heavier and that looked inelegant and clunky, while a couple of other wedding-dress-option yarns whose labels are lost were even lighter than this. I think it’ll even out pretty nicely when it’s blocked, anyway.

20140718-090442.jpg2. I really like Colette’s new pattern, Myrtle, and the face that it can be made in either knit or woven fabric. I’ve been keeping an eye out for a pattern to use with this fabric and I think Myrtle might be it. I’ve been picturing it used in a dress or skirt that was ankle-length and sweeping to show off the gorgeous pattern and take advantage of how well that fabric will move. It’s 58″ wide, so there should be plenty of room to lengthen the skirt and make sure it’s very full at the lower edge

3. I know it’s hot and humid and so very, very July out there, but I have fall knitting on the brain already. Partly, I think it’s because I’ve been dipping my toes into Project 333, which really deserves a post of its own–I think I’ve mentioned it before, but the idea here is that you choose 33 items, excluding underwear, workout clothes, and sleepwear, and that’s what you wear for the next three months–and I’ve been thinking about what sweaters I’d want in a very limited wardrobe. When my friend Rachael did Project 333, she didn’t count handknits at all toward the 33 items, but I already give myself so many outs, I’d like to reign myself in a little if I can. So for fall, I’d really like to have a black Baby Cables and Big Ones Too. It’s patterned enough to be interesting, but not so much so that it would look weird with patterned clothing. And I’d like a fair isle cardigan in a relatively small gauge with small geometric patterns in natural sheep shades of gray, white, and black and raglan sleeves. I haven’t been able to find one that meets my specifications, so I’ll have to come up with one. This is the closest I’ve come across, but the gauge is too big and it has drop shoulders and while I love the cross motifs, I’m not wild about the floral ones. I have the cable pattern and some gorgeous black Italian finewool on cones that’ll be perfect for it, so should start that sooner rather than later.

4. A few things I’ve enjoyed lately: Rosamund Hodge’s debut novel, Cruel Beauty, which mixes Greek mythology and the Beauty and the Beast story in very smart, well-crafted story. Happy hour at Maison Premiere in Williamsburg, where I enjoyed some $1 oysters and a couple of French 75s yesterday while sitting at a marble bar with my husband in one of the prettiest spaces in New York City. And I finally watched Frozen, which is thoroughly charming. I was struck by the fact that Elsa has gotten so much attention when it’s really Anna’s story–she’s the one who meets new people and goes on the quest and makes things happen. Elsa spends most of her time shut away, either in her room or in her fancy ice castle.

5. My office is moving this weekend from west SoHo to the Financial District. I don’t really know that part of town very well and am looking forward to exploring a bit. I know about Les Halles and The Dead Rabbit, but any other leads on good places for lunch/after work/interesting things in the neighborhood would be much appreciated.

Five for Friday

20140523-103341.jpg1. I love Kim’s new rules for email.

2. I’ve joined the sewalong for Colette Patterns’s Mabel. I haven’t worked much with knits and this seems like a pretty easy entry point to that whole thing. I don’t know that I’ll actually make one—it’s not a style I really wear—but the photos and write-ups seem like they’ll be helpful for future knits sewing.

3. This “Hostile Questions” interview series for authors is pretty amusing.

4. Is anyone going to LJ‘s Day of Dialog next week by any chance? I’m moderating a panel with Chelsea Cain, Lisa Scottoline, Rainbow Rowell, Sophie Littlefield, Pamela Nowak, Lauren Oliver, and an editor from Harlequin’s Mira line. We’re going to be talking about all sorts of issues and ideas around writing and marketing to, for, and about women and I’m pretty excited about it.

5. I’ve still finding my feet on Instagram, but I really, really love seeing all the photos from Dutch Flower Line first thing every morning.

Five for Friday

11238715056_e0ac1a01b0_b1. Good news! The Washi Dress Expansion Pack has a variation that’s exactly what I was looking for to replicate the Mociun tie-front dress I’m obsessed with. Better news: it looks relatively straightforward to sew and doesn’t have a zipper, my bête noire.

2. I know, I really should just practice at setting in zippers until I’m not a-feared of them anymore. I know.

3. Bad news for no one but me: I lost my favorite Tiro Tiro necklace at some point last night. I assume it fell off during the walk from the main branch of the Brooklyn library, where I’d been attending an event, and the Jamaican restaurant a few miles away where I had dinner.  I don’t generally mourn lost or broken possessions; things come into our lives and move out again and that’s absolutely fine and as it should be. But I’d scrimped a bit to buy this one, I wore it all the time, and I really loved it. Rob offered to go look for it, but that’s a long stretch of a busy road and it’s going to be raining all day. I hope someone found/finds it who likes it and wears it a lot.

4. I really want to do this dumpling tour of Sunset Park. Dumplings are my favorite food group. If my last name were spelled slightly differently, my very name, if one spoke German, would be Stephanie Dumpling. Dumplings, man. The best.

5. I submitted my wedding dress to be considered for a Crafty Award. There is a panel of judges, but apparently votes matter too, so if you’re inclined to go vote for me, I’d really appreciate it. In fact, if you do vote, let me know (comment here, email me, tweet at me, whatever) and I’ll keep a list and pick someone at random to send some of my homemade soap.

Five for Friday


1. I made Mark Bittman’s recipe for tofu jerky this week (the miso variation, more or less) and it’s really good. It’s basically just semi-dehydrated tofu used as the vehicle for savory flavor. It took a fair amount of work–careful slicing, frequently turning the pieces over in the oven and brushing them with the sauce–for how long they lasted, but as healthful, relatively inexpensive snacks go, they’re a keeper.

2. I can’t stop thinking about a documentary I watched last night, The Elephant in the Living Room. It’s about people who keep exotic animals as pets, yes, but mostly from the point of view of one man, Tim Harrison, who gets called in when they escape or hurt someone or aren’t being cared for properly. Absolutely fascinating.

3. I only have a single sweater project on the needles at the moment, which isn’t like me at all. I’m kind of enjoying the experience of being single-minded in this way though. Maybe knitting the wedding dress last summer broke me or something something monogamy.

4. I actually did win part of the pot at my mother-in-law’s Derby party last weekend, since California Chrome was one of the names I drew out of the pot. I had to split the money five ways, but we got a night’s worth of Tibetan takeout earlier in the week and some tacos last night and still have enough left over to order a pizza or two at some point. Apparently found money = takeout money around here.

5. This week I learned that C.S. Lewis had a fondness for the whip, which came up during a very interesting conversation I had on Twitter yesterday with a former coworker and a few librarians. There’s some about it in this New Yorker profile, in The Magician’s Book by Laura Miller (who also weighed in on Twitter), and in A.N Wilson’s biography of him. As my friend Molly pointed out, it does add some texture to the character of Jadis and how easily Uncle Andrew is in thrall to her.

Five for Friday

20140502-081301.jpg1. My experiment with infusing oil as a way to scent soap didn’t work out especially well. There’s a pretty mild spice scent in this batch, but not enough to justify the time and effort. So that’s good to know! I also added some finely ground coffee to this batch. Again, it doesn’t seem to have been enough to provide much in the way of scent, but it might be nice as a mild exfoliant. I’ll see once it’s cured completely and I can use it.

2. The Kentucky Derby is this weekend! My mother-in-law is having a big party with a blind draw (so we don’t have to choose a winner or top three or anything at all, if I’m understanding it correctly), but if I DID have to pick, I would have to go with Vicar’s in Trouble since I only bet on horses with amusing names. He’s seeded first though, which makes it less fun though. Underdogs forever!

3. One of the librarians who writes about music for me (for me! not for the venerable publication I work for! for meeeee!) has a Kickstarter tied to his 365 Days of New Music project. He’s already met his goal, but I bet he’ll do more fun stuff with more money. Plus, every supporter gets a postcard with puppy stickers on it!

4. I had a lovely dinner with an old friend at Edi & the Wolf last night. I didn’t take any pictures, but the space is beautiful–the sort of warm industrial setting I like–and the food was delicious (I had spaetzle with wild mushrooms, she had wiener schnitzel, we split a side of black kale with sausage and chickpeas). I was a little early and she was running late, so I had half an hour or so to hang out at their gorgeous copper bar with a beer and a book. It was thoroughly delightful.

5. The book I’m reading is a dishy, relatively erudite nonfiction account of the fashion landscape of the early ’90s, focusing on Alexander McQueen, Kate Moss, and Marc Jacobs. It’s not out until September, but it’s worth putting on your fall to-read list if the topic appeals at all.

Five for Friday

fuzz1. My wedding was featured on Rock and Roll Bride earlier this week!

2. I’m still really digging making soap. I upgraded my equipment a bit this week and bought a no-line acrylic slab mold that comes with dividers to make evenly sized bars. Lining the mold has always been just about my least favorite part of the whole process, at least partly because I’m so bad at it, so I’m really happy to have a way around that. I made a batch of bay laurel and vetiver–scented soap last night that’ll be ready to unmold when I get home tonight. I’m pretty excited about this one, I can tell you. My apartment smelled AMAZING while I was working on it. I just want to make soap all the time; my bullet journal is rapidly filling up with ideas for scent combinations and different proportions of oils to use and things to mix in.

3. A few days ago, I got a galley of Kim Werker’s new book, Make It Mighty Ugly, and I’m pretty excited to spend some time with it this weekend.

4. I was down with a nasty, brutish cold for most of this week—I took two days off in a row because I was feeling so lousy, which I can’t remember doing maybe ever before in my working life. The only good thing to come of it is that I’ve remembered how much I love a good bowl of orzo in broth when I’m feeling poorly.

5. I just started watching True Detective. Now I get why the entire internet was obsessed with it a month or so ago. That is what you might call some compelling shit.