From Makers for Makers: 2015 Gift Idea List

We don't (yet) have ice or snow, but doesn't it make you feel more festive to see a picture like this?
We don’t (yet) have ice or snow, but doesn’t it make you feel more festive to see a picture like this?

I’ve gathered together a few of my favorite makers to share our 2015 Holiday Gift Idea lists with you. All week long we’ll post cool indie-made items, can’t-do-without tools, and favorite diy projects.

  1. Whether you make one to give or offer a crafty loved one a kit, Alicia Paulson’s softie kits are darling. Her instructions are clear as can be, and while I can’t spill any beans about what’s happening re: softies at my house, take my advice and order a kit for yourself, too.
  2. For watercolorists, Greenleaf and Blueberry hand makes my favorite paints. She’ll help you customize a kit, or you can order the paints and make your own in an old tin.
  3. If your favorite artist prefers drawing, TSandN’s crow quill pens are beautiful. Christine responded quickly to loads of questions when I ordered mine, and I enjoy drawing with it.
  4. Book lovers, journal keepers, or magpies who need to keep stacks of paper in order will love the monogrammed burlap bookends from Next Door to Heaven. Mine are currently holding most-referenced books of the semester upright.
  5. There are a lot of terrific project bags on the market, but my favorites are Stitched by Jessalu’s box and bucket bags. The quality is excellent, and Jessalu, an avid knitter and spinner, understands a stitcher’s needs. You’re bound to find a bag in a fabric that will suit every friend!
  6. Need a charming bijoux? Sara from Et Voila! Design crafts her jewelry from vintage pieces she finds in French brocantes and American flea markets. I always get compliments whenever I wear one of her pieces!
  7. No time to knit, but you want to give a cushy handmade scarf? My former student and dog lover extraordinaire Chelsea sells scarves and hats to raise funds for no-kill shelters at Scarves for Paws.
  8. Anything from Alabama Chanin makes a welcome gift, but I think this Starter Sewing Kit is a great project for a new #chaninista.
  9. Another make-it-yourself-or-give-it-as-a-kit,-but-make-sure-you-order-one-for-yourself gift idea (phew! What a mouthful), totally stolen from Jani: a limited edition Starcroft Tide Pool, which longs to be a pair of Through the Loops’s Kanagwa Mittens and a Trig hat by Mary Lou Egan.
  10. And if you have Starcroft yarn in hand, you’ll love Gale’s Nash Island postcards, too!
  11. These HodgePodge Farm crochet mug cozies, especially with the Cuppow lid, make an adorable, environmentally-friendly gift for your loved ones who are always on the go with their morning (afternoon, all-day) coffee.
  12. When you want a little something to add to a gift set, Amy sells notebooks–perfectly sized for a handbag, project bag, any bag–that feature her awesome original art.

Be sure to check out these lists all week long:

Wednesday: Mary Lou Egan

Thursday: Cal Patch

Friday: Gale Zucker

And don’t forget to leave a comment with your favorite gifts-for-makers ideas!

PoMoGolightly is Ten!

Ten years ago, I created an account and joined the world of bloggers.

Since that day, I’ve become friends with some amazing folks, had teaching opportunities I couldn’t have imagined, run my own on-line classes, shared my penchant for projects, and enjoyed the give and take digital writing offers.

I’ve seen a lot of trends in blogging in ten years, and a lot of people from those early days have moved on from blogging.

As for me? Well, I can’t think of a more interesting way to connect with so many creative, delightful people all around the globe.

Here’s to another ten years…and thank you, from the bottom of my heart, dear reader, for being here with me.

MWAH!

Bullet Journal

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December found me searching for a new system. For a few years, I’ve mashed a written and digital calendar, but it wasn’t working. Something was missing. I had to-do lists, but they were in both places, and I lacked confidence in my system.

I came across Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journal site. I’d heard about it last year, probably from Penny. This time, it made sense to me. Like most of us, I have a number of different parts of my life that require organization. My head can be a jumble unless I have a secure way of getting the information, deadlines, ideas, etc. down somewhere retrievable.

I followed Ryder’s method, and *swoon*! I fell hard in love. This works for me! It reflects my way of thinking! I hacked my Moleskine using Zoot’s 2014 calendar pages. This more traditional calendar makes sense for planning future appointments in a way a “future dates” page doesn’t for me. If you’re thinking of trying this method, be sure to read all of Zoot’s posts about her bullet journal.

Here are some of my favorite things almost one month in:

  • having a home for all the bibs and bobs of information swirling around my life.
  • using the collections pages to organize projects; I’m working as interim director of our writing center this semester, and it has been invaluable to keep all the opening weeks’ to-dos and key information in one place that I always have with me rather than in folders that I might forget at work.
  • adding notes to my daily calendar. I keep track of what we have for dinner to aid future menu planning, as well as notes about fun / noteworthy events of the day.
  • a use for washi tape! This stuff is new to me, and it’s adorable! I’ve been using it to mark month calendar page edges.
  • finally feeling organized. A lot of chaos remains in the bullet journal, but it is chaos that is out of my head. I don’t have to fret about remembering it. And, I’m pretty dedicated about putting the information on a collections page that makes sense. So less chaos than in my head. That’s good, right?

There you have it: I’m a convert. I’d love to hear about your system, especially if you’ve tried the bullet journal, too.

Lucky 2013

1113

 

I adore this day. Simply adore.

And it’s the year I’ve been anticipating for freaking ever. Thirteen is my lucky number, and here it is, right in front of me for an entire year!

I’ve got aspirations for the year, goals, intentions. I’ll be revisiting the many, many failed intentions of 2012, but I’ll do so with my optimism intact. Forward, onward, inward, ho!

I’m wishing you health, optimism, adventure, joy, comfort, sweetness, risk, luck: whatever it is you need in 2013, I wish for you to receive it.

13 hike

There and Back Again: Rhinebeck 2012

The PoMoGolightly Express left Connecticut at about 8:20. Destination: NY Sheep and Wool Festival. Rhinebeck. Bright colors on the trees, fog lifting to reveal sunshine and puffy clouds, and no traffic made for a pleasant drive. Once there, Rae and I visited Gale’s Rhinebeck Shoot and enjoyed the critters and vendors.

I didn’t purchase much, but I love what I brought home. Nancy from Long Ridge Farm is one of my favorite vendors and a delightful woman, and she now carries awesome leather bags from Maiwa. The prices are affordable, and the craftsmanship is excellent.

Spring Tide Farm Cashmere

I’ve wanted to knit a pair of dressier fingerless mitts, and I found the perfect match up of pattern and yarn at the Springtide Farm
booth. That’s 1 oz. of 2-ply cashmere. I can’t begin to describe how soft it is!

At the Cooperative Press booth, I got to meet M.K. Carroll, the editor for the forthcoming Fresh Design Crochet series (I have two patterns in the series!), pet a fleece (Shannon doesn’t know how it got in her booth), take a peek at Knit Companion (a must-have, iPad knitters!), and acquire a copy of Anna Dalvi’s Ancient Egypt in Lace and Color. My interest in knitting lace has been renewed. Every pattern in the book is one I want to knit and wear!

There were a few other acquisitions for far-flung friends, but I don’t want to spoil any surprises.

Rae and I left a little early to meet up with one of my besties from my New York days. She lives across the river from Rhinebeck and schlepped over to have dinner with us. We had a fabulous meal at Market St, then wended our way home, dodging deer and mice.  Only one thing could have made it a better day: a magic transporter that enabled Sara to take a quick day-trip with us!

The best parts of the day? Visiting with friends old and new…seeing people I only get to see at Rhinebeck, meeting people who feel like old chums because of Twitter chats, remembering yet again what an amazing community we have.  At the risk of sounding sappy, I can’t imagine life without you, my knitblog/Rav/Twitter pals!

 

Happy Birthday, Neal!

He’s nothing short of fabu, this man who builds beautiful spaces for us to enjoy, makes me laugh at his Ron Swanson-Larry David-ishness, helps me achieve my physical goals, donates his special blood regularly, volunteers his service to his union brothers and sisters, fights like a superhero for the environment, dotes on our dogs, challenges my thinking, reads books just to discuss them with me, devours and synthesizes news, encourages rest, and just plain makes me happy.

And it is his birthday! Hope you’ll have a piece of (virtual) (carrot) cake with us to celebrate!

Happy birthday, lovey!

Family Weekend


My brother and his younger daughter came in to town this weekend, and we spent Friday together making salsa. I taught them how to can. Like most things, it’s dead simple: be meticulously clean and follow directions.

Then my oldest sister arrived, and we all went to my favorite pizza joint for a local-ingredients-only pizza.

Saturday morning, I got my hair teased high and put on my prettiest summer dress. Then to church, where I witnessed my eldest nephew and his elegant bride as they promised to cherish each other for ever more.

Aren’t they a lovely couple? They led the fun at their reception, which was replete with a sweets bar (oh, the honeybees in this family loved it!) and a photo booth (I want one in my back yard).

Here I am, yukking it up with the groom’s dad, my oldest brother.

photo by our family photographer, Maureen.

Sunday morning, with the help of my oldest sister, I cooked up a brunch for 21. We had a laid-back time, enjoying the beautiful weather and each other. Family weekends are a rare, fabulous treat.

I’m happy that my nephew has embarked on a new adventure with a partner who seems just perfect for him.

What are you happy about this week?

Little Pleasures

I spent last weekend in New York City. My Reading and Writing Center Peer Tutors presented their community service project at a regional panel, and they were terrific.

Being in New York was terrific, too. I stayed in the Lower East Side and enjoyed every second. I had a bit of time to wander about. When I peeked in the door of Bisous, Ciao, I couldn’t resist picking up some macarons. The jasmine green tea cookie was my favorite. While these macarons were not as good Laduree’s, they were still delightful.

My hotel was a short walk away from MZ Wallace, which allowed me to try on all of the bags that I’ve long admired online. A tiny bag–unusual for me–came home with me.

A bigger pleasure was going to see Seminar, starting Jeff Goldblum. It’s a smart play, one that MFA grads and academics will find humorous and maybe a little too true.

One of my favorite little pleasures over the weekend, though, was an egg and cheese on a roll from Amona Deli. Ever since I posted about NY egg sandwiches, I’ve been craving one. Amona’s was everything I’d wanted.

What little pleasures have you been enjoying?

Sweater Girls!

My ABQ SnB was filled with talented ladies, and I still miss our weekly meetings at The Flying Star in the North Valley.  Ramona is one of the fabu crafters I used to hang out with, and I’ve been admiring her Sweatergirls business since she and her partner Chris opened their doors…or hitched their trailer…two years ago. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Ramona and Chris. Wait until you read about their business!

Sweatergirls, you bring LYS to a whole new level.  Can you explain the premise behind your business?

Ramona: One of the things I like best about our business is that we are not a typical LYS. We are not confined to a building, or rent, or paying utilities or specific working hours or a large shop inventory. We are both full-time moms who have the freedom to work when we want, with relatively low expenses.

Chris:  We are definitely not the normal yarn store.   We are a fusion of yarn store and teaching studio uniquely free of the problems associated with being shackled to a building.  In our mobile store we keep essential knitting supplies and yarn from small, independent vendors to accompany our classes.  We offer what a yarn store has but in a mobile venue. Bring knitting to the people!

How did you hatch the idea?  What came first, the trailer or the idea?

Ramona: The idea definitely came first. The original idea was to rent a small space somewhere, and just teach a variety of knitting classes. We realized pretty quickly that we just couldn’t afford the expenses that came with renting a space. Chris read an article in Mary Jane Farm’s magazine about Sisters On the Fly, a group of women who travel around in vintage trailers, and camp and fish together. So she brought up the idea of making us a mobile business. Then our friend Margo impulsively bid on, and bought a trailer Chris had showed her on Ebay. Margo traveled to Missouri one weekend with her family, and picked up the trailer, and brought it back to Albuquerque. She parked it in her front driveway for a couple of months until we could afford to buy it from her. I’m not sure there would be a SweaterGirls without Margo giving us that “big push”.

Chris: As Ramona described we were worried about brick and mortar cost and hours needed to invest to make a teaching studio work.  I had picked out the trailer but was unsure my business partners (we were three once upon a time) were ready to commit to a “crazy” idea.  Margo believed in it, and she can be described as a patron saint of the arts.  She didn’t want us to lose out of the opportunity and decided she didn’t have anything to lose other than a weekend spent camping in a Walmart parking lot.  She knew if we didn’t go ahead with it she could always sell a very cute trailer.  Don’t ask her about some vintage barber chairs she hasn’t been able to sell.

Tell me about some of your classes and your favorite locations.

Ramona: I love teaching classes outside at Albuquerque’s Downtown Grower’s Market and at the beautiful Los Poblanos Inn, and at our local yarn store. However, my favorite place is a little bakery called Cravin’ Cookies that is owned by a wonderful woman named Barbara. When we were just starting out and trying to find places to hold our classes, most business owners had a hard time understanding that we were a legitimate business. I’m sure we sounded crazy when we told people that we just wanted to park our vintage trailer in front of their place of business, and teach people how to knit. Barb was one of the first business owners that encouraged us and gave us a spot to teach.

I think my favorite class is still Beginning Knitting. I love to watch people get excited about knitting those first few garter stitch rows, and it doesn’t take long to pick out the students who will become the “knitting junkies”.

Chris: I would like to add that we had the opportunity to launch our business during Women in Creativity Month at the National Hispanic Cultural Center two years ago and that was a great place to get our feet wet.  They offered support for starting our business and gave us a radio spot and exposure all for free.  They are very supportive and promote local run women businesses.

What has been the biggest surprise for you?

Ramona: The biggest surprise for me was how much attention the trailer and Chris’ vintage Chevy truck attracts. You think knitters are obsessed, spend the day with people who love to restore these old trailers and trucks. We always joke that we would be rich women if we just started charging a fee to look inside the trailer and take pictures of the truck and trailer. I also love the stories people have about being a kid and traveling around in a trailer that “looked just like ours”. The question we are asked most is not about knitting but, “What year is the truck and what year is the trailer?” Sometimes I think we could be sitting in front of the trailer knitting naked and people would never notice. Well they might notice, but only because we are blocking their view of the trailer.

Chris:  We do get an amazing amount of attention for our whole “knitten rig”.  Sometimes we are not sure we are in a knitting business at all. We are surprised by what a challenge it is to fill our classes and motivate people to get off their couch and sign up for one of our sessions.  Also, our name gets us in trouble because they think we might be sexy and want to hire us for bachelor parties.

Ramona: Yes, sometimes we are known as the ‘SweatyGirls” or “SisterGirls” or the “DancingGirls”. People love to change our name around

What else do you do?

Ramona: I’m a full-time mom to Alexander and Isabella, and this year I started an etsy store called Thimbleful where I sell my embroidered jewelry.

Chris:  I’m also a full-time mom to three kids- Gabriel, Beatrice, and Oliver.  I have a baby headscarf business, BabyDews, that I honestly don’t spend enough time on since SweaterGirls started, and I sew and knit boutique accessories and clothing for the Downtown Grower’s market under the tag line See Apple.

Anything else to share?

We have a great time doing private parties teaching groups of ladies to knit or learn a new knitting technique.  We bring our teaching booklets and get everyone started and usually by the end of the evening everyone is knitting unless they drank too much.  This is something we just couldn’t do if we were a traditional store. SweaterGirls’ also provides individual private lessons, and we have recently started a monthly knitting group at los Poblanos Inn.

Thanks, Sweatergirls, for telling me all about the coolest LYS around!

Want to know more about the Sweatergirls? Visit their website, like their Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter! Remember: if you’re visiting Albuquerque, look for the vintage trailer!