June 30, 2010

Dear The World Is My Oyster,

Hey! How are you? It's been a while!

I'm so sorry that I've been neglecting you!

It's not that I like being on vacation more than I like blogging... except that I sort of do! After six months of long days working with loud children, no one can deny that I needed a little break. And after six months of not seeing Maman, we totally needed some quality mother daughter time.

And in the process I've lost the time (though not the will!) to blog.

But don't fret! I'm back from Granada and The Alhambra, I have eleventy billion photos to share in the mother of all Weekly(ish) Photos Essays, but today I can't. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I'll hunker down and upload all those pretty pictures and share everything I've done in the last three days. Or ten.

But right now I need to shower off the bus smell, get ready for dinner, and then go have adieu drinks with the lovely ladies from work.

See you tomorrow!

June 27, 2010

Six Senses Saturday on Sunday

So I royally failed at getting my Six Senses Saturday up yesterday. My mom and I had a busy day visiting the Royal Palace. And then I had dinner with friends. And went dancing. It was a long Saturday with literally zero time for blogging. I don't think I even checked my email yesterday! Gasp! So I'll just do what some people do anyway and move the Senses to Sunday.

No harm no foul.

Today we have another full day planned - so full in fact that we won't be able to do everything. I've managed to triple-book us between eleven and two, to see the Rastro, the Reina Sofia, and have lunch with some friends. I think we'll have to skip Rastro, see the Reina Sofia in two hours, and rush to a late lunch. Such is the life of a tourist with a timetable!

Today I'm...

An apple turnover that my mom went and got me from the bakery around the corner - yum! - 
and mandarin orange juice

That rainy city in the summer smell.

My mother doing all my ironing. I love my mommy! :)

My roommate and her mother and her aunt chattering like a bunch of birds.

My hair, which desperately needs to be brushed but actually looks kind of good all messy wavy.
Like all the walking around and eating out and drinking and bring out late is starting to catch up with me a bit! 
But I'll have plenty of time to rest by the pool in France. Now is the time to do it up!


Now I have to run along and get dressed otherwise we'll never get to do everything we have planned! Tomorrow and Tuesday I'll be in Granada, and I'm not sure if I'll have internet, but I'll try to find some because I have a little sugar for some of you!

How was your first weekend of Summer?

June 25, 2010

Food In The Blank Friday

It's that time again, folks! We're back to that weird spot in the time-space continuum where it seems like every day is Friday. That's how fast the weeks are flying by!

My mom has already been here for almost four days, and I've been on vacation for 2! Glorious! Today we're off to see a lot more touristy things, and we do have a jam packed schedule, but that doesn't mean I couldn't find the time to fill some blanks today. And with food! Yum!

As usual, remember to link up over at Lauren's!

1.  If I could choose my last meal it would be    cream and mushrooms in vol au vent, steamed lobster and butter sauce, grilled asparagus, and a creamy new york cheesecake with a raspberry coulis.

2.  My favorite person to share a meal with is     my best friend molly      because,       we have such a ridiculously good time preparing it together! 

3.  The best meal I've ever had was       oh, I hate superlatives, but one of the best meals I've ever had was a thanksgiving where we had truffled turkey!

4.  The one food that makes me feel instantly better when I'm having a bad day is  grilled cheese and tomato soup  .

5.  My absolute specialty in the kitchen is       thai green coconut curry.    .

6.  The city that has the best food is      Rome     and my favorite restaurant there is      Tavernella.

7.  My favorite healthy snack is       apples and honey   .

8.  In my opinion the nationality which has the best food is     Japanese     .

9.  If I could learn to cook anything in the world (and be really good at it!) I'd choose       really complicated gourmet French cuisine  .

10.  The most outrageous dessert I've ever had was     probably something that involved flourless chocolate something   .
Well, I'm off to visit El Retiro with my Maman. See you tomorrow for Six Senses Saturday!
Happy Blanking!

June 23, 2010

Do I Look Like An Airport Shuttle? Maybe a Wee Bit...

graffiti in madrid

Between the trips I've taken, the times I've gone to pick up Valerio, and now going to pick up my mom yesterday, I've been to the Madrid airport nine times. In the last five months.

Almost twice a months is too high an average, even for even me, wanderlusty traveler that I am.

But it's all worth it, because my Maman is finally here! And I'm on vacation! Today was my last day of school, and I'm officially done being a full-time employee until probably after I finish my Master's in a couple of years. How exciting! I feel like a little kid on summer break again! Bring it on, drippy Popsicles, greasy sunscreen and sandy beach towels!

And I don't even have to worry about going back to the airport again, since we're probably going to take the train to Barcelona and then to Nice. I can't wait to take the train all along the Cote d'Azure. It's so Hitchcock!

Anyhoo, I hope to not neglect The World is My Oyster too much in the next few days, but I might be too busy hitting the town with my mom to post as often as I usually do. If you don't here from me before, I'll definitely be back for Fill-In the Blank Friday and Six Senses Saturday. In the meantime, have a wonderful first week of Summer!

In other news, Leigh Ashley has a new weekly post, a Wee Bit of Me Wednesday, with some fun questions. And even though I totally don't have time, I'm going to do it and link up anyway, because Leigh Ashley is awesome, and everyone should do as she says! :) And if you do it, don't forget to click over and link up!

{1} if you were given a brand new yacht, what would you name it?
Dear Prudence. First of all, because I'm a Beatles fan. Second of all, because I think prudence is a good attitude to take with you into open water. In the words of Ross, "you have to respect the sea!"

{2} have you broken any bones? if yes, how?
Yes. Both wrists. The first one, in first or second grade, but I don't remember how. The second one, in fifth or sixth grade, falling off a wooden barrel while attempting a Cirque du Soleil-style circus trick.

{3} who would win in a fight: pirates or ninjas?
Um, totally pirates! They have so many awesome jokes to tell to slyly distract their rivals!

{4} what are you most excited about right now?
Finishing work, being on vacation, and getting to hang out with my Maman and take a cross-European railroad trip!

{5} what was your favorite tv show as a child?
Was that not clear with the obscure Friends reference in question 1?

{6} what message would you want to put in a fortune cookie?
The best message I ever got in a fortune cookie was: "Support Literacy: Buy a Box of Fortune Cookies Today." I think I would have to copy that one. It's a wise nugget!

{7} if you could be invited to one person's birthday party, whose would you choose?
I'm going to expand this to include present or past people, and I'd have to say Oscar Wilde. I bet he threw a hell of a party!

{8} do you believe in luck?
Yes. Seeing as I don't believe in fate or destiny, I don't really have an alternative theory!

What are you excited about this summer?

June 21, 2010

Top Fifteen Famous Movies I Have (Shamefully?) Never Seen

I've seen a lot of films. A lot a lot. Growing up, I never really watched TV until middle school, and even then it was only to watch a couple of shows a week (namely, Buffy, Friends, and occasionally Dawson's Creek, before I realized how lame everyone on that show was).

But we probably rented about two or three - sometimes more - movies a week. Yes, there was that period where on days that my brother got to choose he rented Return of the Jedi over and over and over again. And I went through a period when I rented almost exclusively Shirly Temple movies (hey, I was like eight!). But we mostly mixed it up quite a bit, with my mom throwing in her occasional choice of foreign films.

However, there remain a good deal of films that I have never seen, and a lot of these happen to be famous movies that everyone has seen, except me apparently. So here they are. Please feel free to use the comments section to both ridicule me and make suggestions of movies you think I should see, or to tell me which of the following I should commit to seeing first.

Top Fifteen Famous Movies I Have (Shamefully?) Never Seen 

Steel Magnolias
Schindler's List
The Shawshank Redemption
Jerry Maguire
Die Hard (including all of the sequels)
Terminator  (including all of the sequels)
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
It's a Wonderful Life
Risky Business
The Last Samurai
Jaws (including all of the sequels)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

The only thing I can say about this list - aside from how random it is - is that it shows that apparently I don't like Tom Cruise very much, which I don't. I hate him actually. Other than that, I guess I just missed out on a few movies that came out during my life, which I never got around to seeing, and those that came out before my time I never bothered to rent.

What are your favorite movies?

Maybe next time I'll my top ten favorite movies of all time, and give you guys some suggestions :)

p.s. Happy Summer Solstice, Everyone!

June 20, 2010

Reasons My Daddy Is the Best Daddy In the World - The Obligatory Father's Day Post

Like I said, I hate to jump on the bandwagon. But I can't write the obligatory mother's day post and forget about the day for daddies. Unfortunately, I don't think I have a recent photo of him on my computer, so we're going back in time to my dad around age twelve or so.

My Dad, Tommaso, circa 1955
Doesn't he look like such a sassy little rascal?

My Daddy Is The Best Daddy

  • He raised us speaking Italian fluently.
  • He took us to Italy every year to visit our family at the beach house.
  • He taught us that the most important thing is to enrich your mind, and to use it.
  • And that the best thing you can do in life is to find a job where you do what you love, and you love what you do.
  • He introduced us to culinary "delicacies" such as fish-head soup - which I refuse to ever even look at again, but at least I'm not a finnicky eater!
  • Whenever something didn't work, he fixed it.
  • And instead of just fixing it for us, he taught us how to do it, so next time we wouldn't have to ask.
  • Anything you could possibly ever want or need - paper products, computer parts, a/v cables, books, movies, blank CDs, external hard drives, fountain pens, special screw drivers, unusually sized batteries, vintage toys - he not only has, but usually has many of, exactly for when someone needs it.
  • He instilled in us a love for non-fiction books.
  • He taught us the entire histories of greek and roman mythology over dinner.
  • He taught me how to drive stick.
  • And let me practice on his car when I forgot how.
  • He took us on crazy adventures through forests, sulfur pits, abandoned mental hospitals, and many other unusual (to say the least) places.
  • He taught us that knowledge is the most important thing you can have,
  • But that stuff (especially old stuff), is pretty fun to play with too.
  • Whenever we ask a question, he answers ten instead.
  • He took us line fishing on a rowboat.
  • And showed us how to catch an octopus with our bare hands.
  • He taught me how to windsurf.
  • And then pulled all the sea urchin spikes out of my foot when I fell off my windsurf.
  • He taught us how to properly use a computer, and circumvent the stupidity that is the Windows operating system
  • He would teach me to use linux, if I let him.
  • Last summer he spent weeks tutoring me in math, putting up with my dense moments, helping me raise my GRE math score by more than one hundred points.
  • In college he used to proofread my papers and email them back to me even at 2 am the night before they were due.
  • He taught me how to make gunpowder from scratch.
  • He helped me take apart my laptop completely, clean it, and put it back together. Three times. And it worked every time.
  • He has always encouraged me to follow my passions, and given me the support I need to make it happen.
  • He is a helpful father, a crazy uncle, and a mad professor, all rolled into one.
So much of what I know I is thanks to my father. I can't even count the number of times during my childhood when he said, "when you're older you'll thank me for this," and has been right about it. People tell me I have a bizarre ability to retain ridiculous amounts of little bits of unrelated encyclopedic knowledge, and it's all because of my dad. He has spent my entire life teaching me, something I truly appreciate, no matter how annoying it was in the moment to get the complete history of the Trojan war, when all I asked for were the dates.

Thanks, daddy! I love you!

June 19, 2010

Six Senses Saturday & A Sweet Award!

Ah, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday. How glad I am to see you! It finally seems like the schizophrenic maniac that was in charge of Madrid weather took a day off of work today, because it is a beautiful, warm, sunny day! I don't even know what I'm still doing indoors at 5:00 pm. I should be outside enjoying the wonderful summer breeze!

But I'm a loyal blogger and I didn't want to deprive you of Six Senses Saturday! So here I am, at least for now. I'm definitely going to want to go catch some rays before I head to that mojito party with my friend Lauren tonight.

Today I'm...

Leftovers of this delicious cilantro lime chicken salad that I made the other day. I'm defrosting some chicken to make some more, so I'll definitely post the recipe and some photos.

The onion in the salad! Stinky, but delicious!

The monster-sized pile of laundry that I have to put away at some point this weekend. Boo.

My neighbor singing along (badly, and very loudly) to Ooh Baby I Love Your Way
It does not sound good.

My camera, looking at all the ridiculous pictures that we took last night at Bourbon Cafe.
Good times.
Like I want to go outside and read in the park for a bit. 
And I think I'll do just that!


In other news, this morning I opened my inbox and found a lovely award from Laura, over at There She Is...

The Sweet Blog Award

In theory I have to pass on the award to ten other lovely blogs, but I think I'm going to mix it up a bit and do something different. I'm going to go ahead and give this award to everyone! Yes, that means you! If you have a blog and you're reading this, consider yourself awarded! Congratulations! :)

Well, that's my cue to go get dressed and go outside for a bit! Have a great Saturday, everyone! And don't forget to link up below with your Six Senses Saturday!

What are your senses doing today?

June 18, 2010

Last Friday of the School Year... And Some Blanks!

 Today was the last Friday of the school year! Next week I just have to go in until Wednesday for three half-assed days, and then I'm free until I'm back in school! Fancy that, the teacher becomes the student! :)

I haven't really gone out in three weeks (two weekends ago I was in Rome, and last weekend I was at home with pharyngitis round II), so I'm very excited about this weekend. Tonight I'm getting dinner and drinks with my international friends, and tomorrow I'm headed to a mojito party!

So these are going to be blanks in a hurry - I'm still in a bathrobe with my wet hair up in a towel and I need to be ready to go and out of the house in 40 minutes!
1.  The best thing about being in school was/is       recess! running around is just so much fun when you're little! 

2.  The worst thing about being in school was/is     waking up early in the morning...ugh  .

3.  My favorite subject in school was/is       English and Spanish - literature and language for both  .

4.  One subject I wish I could have mastered/would like to master is     math. apparently I'm not even so bad at it (or so my test scores would have me think), but there are concepts I just cannot wrap my mind around!   

5.  I could never get tired of studying      grammar. I know, I'm a nerd.  .

6.  The most memorable teacher I had was      Roz, or Mrs. Grunnman. She was our AP US History teacher and mock trial coach and she was all kinds of awesome .

7.  If I could choose between going to school for the rest of my life or working for the rest of my life, I'd choose       work,  although I am excited to go back to school first. I could stand to learn a few more things before I go off and try to save the third world. 

have a great weekend everyone!
and see you tomorrow for six senses saturday! 

June 17, 2010

Yoga For Dummies. Help Me?

So I've had a gym  membership more or less the whole time I've been in Madrid, and to be be honest, I've been pretty good about going. I average about two or three times a week - which includes two-week periods without going near the gym, and weeks where I somehow have the discipline to go all five weekdays (I've never gone on the weekend).

I haven't been baffled by the results, but I also haven't been disappointed (let's just say that the discipline I occasionally have towards going to the gym doesn't always carry over to my diet. Food is just too delicious!). Yes, I've dropped a couple of pounds, but  mainly I've maintained a healthy weight while getting in better shape (which ultimately is what counts the most, right? ...right?).

But one thing I've realized (maybe a little late in the game) is that a huge part of working out is being in the right "place", physically, to be able to do it. I mean, being stretched and limber (as much as your body can be, seeing as it's a work in progress) and having muscles willing to do the work that it takes to get in shape. You can just start running, but chances are that unless you've done a little prep work you won't make it very far.

My gym routine has usually consisted of thirty minutes of cardio and thirty minutes of weights, with the cardio including a slow warm up period, and the weights a cool down. It worked fine, but it wasn't spectacular. I realize now that I should have been doing a lot more pre-and post-work out stretching and floor exercises.

Obviously, with my lame track record in working out and exercise common sense, it's taken me three months to figure this out, but this week, after a conversation about yoga for runners with a co-worker, I decided to look into at-home yoga and pilates to do as much to support a cardio and weights workout as possible. From when I leave in a couple of weeks until I get to school in the fall, I probably won't have any regular exercise routine, since I'll be moving around so much, so this might not be a huge help at this point.

But, better late than never, right?

So I'm officially dabbling in yoga for beginners (read: ungraceful, non-flexible dummies), and I'm feeling good about it! I found a couple of videos on youtube and elsewhere; a yoga for runners for after regular workouts, and core-strengthening workouts for days I can't make it to the gym, and a few pilates podcasts. But I really don't know anything beyond what my search engine finds for me, so I need a little help.

Does anyone have any tips or suggestions? Know any great (free) online videos? Or even a great DVD that you swear by? Does special gear make a big difference? Or are a mat and comfortable clothes all you really need? What are the best pre- and post-workout poses?

I'm a total newbie, so really, every little bit of advice (even about anything exercise-related, not just yoga) helps!

In the meantime, I've put together the beginning of a yoga wish list of adorable exercise accessories that would help me get motivated to work out!

Thanks in advance for all you suggestions! :)


June 16, 2010

Words I Love - Words I Loathe

My friend Becca hates the word moist.  I've actually met quite a few people who really can't stand that word in particular. I guess to some it has a erotically filthy connotation.

I don't mind it so much. Moist makes me think of a the perfect lemon poppy seed pound cake, or clothes drying on a line that aren't quite yet ready.

But there are certain words that evoke stronger reactions in me. Some I love, either because of the way they sound, or what they mean, or what the remind me of, and some I loathe, usually for the same kinds of reasons. Here are some of those.

 Which words do you love?
Which words do you loathe?

June 15, 2010

Apparently I'm a Better Assembly Line Than Printing Press

Contrary to what I previously thought, I am apparently not capable of copying the same thing over and over without bungling the job. I am, however, a pretty good and efficient at small-scale mass production of goods.

Let me backtrack a bit.

Next Wednesday is the last day of school, and I wanted to do something nice for the teachers I work with in infantil (the pre-school I work in). They have helped me so much with my Spanish in the last few months so I wanted to give them all cards and a little gift, to say thank you.

But you see, there are thirty of them. And those are only the teachers I have actually taught with (plus the director of the school). There are probably another fifteen pre-school teachers I've never taught with (it's a big school). So I couldn't really do anything extravagant. Just the thank you cards, even one euro a pop - I had to have them custom stamped since apparently thank you cards just aren't done in Spain, and are therefore impossible to find - set me back thirty euro (about forty bucks), which isn't a whole lot of money in itself, but the whole thank you card plus gift combo can start to get expensive when the recipients are numerous.

So I decided to make the gifts, something which fortunately comes a lot easier to me now that I've started dabbling in crafting (I'd probably have been screwed if I'd have to undertake this major giving of thanks at this time last year). So instead of buying crappy one or two euro trinkets (which would have still cost an additional thirty to sixty euro, bringing my total expenditure to between sixty and ninety euro, a little on the steep side for a bunch of thank you gifts I'm absolutely neither obligated not expected to give), I bought some black and white felt, fabric glue, and brooch pins, and got to work making dozens of little pins.

This part was surprisingly easy. As long as you cut all the felt ahead of time (which was quite an effort - each pin required six felt circles, and 6 x 32 = 192, so I cut out one hundred and ninety two felt circles by hand!), it's actually quite relaxing to sew and glue them up while enjoying back to back episodes of the West Wing.

Apparently, I make a pretty good assembly line. See for yourself!

Aren't all those little pins so cute all heaped together? Here they are individually,

And the cards and envelopes were adorable too. I went to this cute little stationery boutique in the center, Nest, and since I was ordering custom stamped cards, the girl let me pick out the stamps I wanted (from the limited selection they had) and design the card myself.

I love the little Russian nesting doll stamp. She's so happy!


But my writing on the cards is a different story (and I don't dare show you photos of all my crossed out words and scribbles!) I made grammatical errors, corrected them, found out they weren't actually errors, and corrected them again (this on four cards that I oh-so-smartly decided to write before getting my thank you message proof read by a Spanish speaker), I forgot words, wrote words twice, wrote on a slant. I even wrote in the wrong direction on the back of four of the cards! And I'm only half done! I don't even want to know what a mess I'll make of the fifteen cards I have left to write.

Copying the same message thirty times is not my strength. Especially on un-lined paper.

But I'll have to comfort myself with the fact that at least I can mass produce felt accessories in a limited amount of time.

p.s. Let me know in the comments if you're interested in seeing a tutorial for the pins. They're astoundingly easy to make!

June 13, 2010

Julia's Index

When I was in college my roommate, Kate, had a subscription to Harper's Magazine. I loved to dig into the featured pieces,but I rarely had the time to read twenty page articles about rubber bath toys being used to track ocean movement patterns (does anyone remember that, btw?), and other equally unusual yet newsworthy topics.

I did, however, always make time to take a look at Harper's Index, a page at the beginning of that magazine that was formatted to look like any index, but that was actually a collection of numerical and statistical news tidbits. It taught me many interesting facts, such as,
  • Number of toilet seats at the EU Parliament building in Brussels that a TV station had tested for cocaine: 46
  • Number that tested positive: 41 
  • Average number of extra extra calories children consume for every hour of television they watch: 167
  •  Minimum number of Italian parliamentarians from Silvio Berlusconi’s party who are former TV showgirls: 3.  
And much, much more. (Seach Harper's Index for more interesting numerical facts here. Just type in any key word - television, politics, sex, college, whatever! - and get tons of interesting facts about that topic!).

Obviously, my life isn't as news-full as Harper's Index, but I liked the idea and I thought I'd take a creative spin on the index idea, and list some old, current, irrelevant, interesting, and otherwise random numerical facts about my own life. Mine has a slightly different format from the original Harper's Index, but I liked the idea of a central column of numbers. 

All About Food!

I saw this over Leigh Ashley's and I though, well, this could be fun, especially since there was no Fill-In The Blank Friday this week. But apparently she got it from Kristin, over at Windy Poplars, so if you play along make sure to link up there! Kristen hosts a weekly Q&A called Kindred Connections, and the questions from this week are all about food! Right up my alley :)

{1} what is your favorite ethnicity of food?
Hm, I would have to call a tie between Italian and Japanese. 
Both hit the spot in such different moments of craving.

{2} if you could eat only one meal for two weeks straight, what would it be?
Probably sushi, but only if it included all the different fish and veggie varieties and miso soup. 
Then I'd probably never eat sushi again!

{3} what is the "signature" dish that you cook?
(you know, that always receives rave reviews and/or you get requests for the recipe - feel free to share the recipe!)
I make a pretty spankin' thai green coconut curry!

{4} is there something that you just can't handle eating - like gag reflex?
Entrails and brains or other non-muscle forms of meat. Ew ew ew.
Other than that, I eat pretty much everything - crocodile, frogs legs, rabbit. Yum!

{5} do you think that the kindred connection should continue through the summer, 
or take the summer off?
Well, I just caught on, so I'd be glad if it stuck around through the summer!


This post is making me hungry! Especially speaking of sushi! There's a cute little relatively inexpensive sushi restaurant around the corner from my house and I've been arguing back and forth with myself about getting some since last night. But I'm moving away from Madrid in about two weeks, so I really should start eating down my pantry (I have canned tomatoes, pasta sauce, frozen meats and veggies, etc etc), instead of spending twenty euro on a single meal of take-out sushi. 

But I'm also tired and sick and hungry and my roommate's mother and aunt are here and they've taken over the kitchen with their smelly food and loud, mediocre latin music, and so I have exactly zero desire to go spend time cooking in the kitchen with them, elbowing for space. 

So I'm really at an impasse. I'll probably just wait until their done doing what they do and prepare myself some lunch around four in the afternoon.

On the bright side, the weather in Madrid seems to have come to its senses, because today it's warm and sunny again. I'm hoping it'll only improve throughout the week. Now I just have to think of something that's worth leaving the house for today!

What's your guilty food indulgence?

June 12, 2010

Six Senses Saturday

Good Morning, blog friends and other readers. How are you all on this fine Saturday morning? Here it's not so fine. The weather is being a little bitch. I really wish there were something I could do about it - I was planning a Linner (lunch - dinner) picnic in the park today, and that's clearly not going to happen.

But that's ok. I still have some handiwork to do for the little presents I'm giving to the teachers I work with, and so I'm going to take advantage of this day at home to get it done. Plus, in the imaginary world I've been part of for the last few days, President Bartlett is gearing up for re-election, and I of course have to see how that goes.

Today I'm...

Strawberries with whipped cream. 
Strawberries are the perfect feel-better food - they're full of vitamin C!
(They aren't very filling though. I had two bowls of strawberries and I'm still hungry!
But maybe it's because I'm...)

Shortbread cookies. 
I'm not sure where the smell is coming from, but I want to be there!
(Yup, those are definitely what's making me hungry)

A fake democratic White House being charming and witty and doing glorious things for an imaginary America.

The pitter patter of raindrops falling on my window sill.

Endless circles of black and white felt.
(I'll explain later)
Better than last night, but still not 100%. 
I definitely have a bone to pick with the health gods. 
They clearly don't like me very much.

 Oh, by the way, did anyone notice that Six Senses Saturday is now "Today I'm..." instead of "Right Now I'm..." ? I did it for my lovely friend Leigh Ashley, because she mentioned that she always wanted to say "right now I'm touching my keyboard" and that was getting sort of boring every week! But then I noticed that lots of other people were doing it too! So as of last week, it's "Today I'm..." so you can talk about anything your senses were, are, or will be doing at any point in the day! More room for creativity, don't you think?

What are your senses doing today?

June 11, 2010

This Is Unbelievabe!

So, believe it or not (I'm choosing not to, contrary to all evidence) I'm sick again. But I'm just going to pretend I want to be sitting at home wearing three layers and a scarf in June, sipping a hot beverage.

This time, instead of it being because the kids I work with are badly behaved (so I have to yell at them) or filthy (so they give me gross kid cooties), I'm pretty sure the weather is to blame. On Monday it was hot, sunny, and 34 degrees C (that's 94 degrees F), and then suddenly on Tuesday it was 9 degrees C (or 48 degrees F) and pouring freezing rain. wtf? The temperature dropped by more than two thirds overnight, and as a result (at least I think, in my un-expert non-medical opinion), I'm sick again.

Today was going to be a day full of fun and exciting plans - and at least the afternoon was. I went to get my hair cut (for the first time in a year! I know, I'm so embarrassed about it!), I went to the stationery shop to pick up part of the little gifts I'm putting together for all the teachers I work with at school (there are thirty of them!), and then I had afternoon drinks (totally socially acceptable here. It even has a name! Aperitivo) with two of my coworkers and we ended up having a lovely long chat.

Then I was supposed to rush home, change, get back on the metro and cross town to go to dinner only to come back up to my own neighborhood and go to a foam party. That's probably what changed my mind (that, and the fact that I'm pretty sure I'm bordering on a fever right now). A foam party? The one and only time I went to one of those I was eighteen and my outfit consisted of a XXXL cotton t-shirt tied to look like a dress (don't worry Maman, I wasn't too scantily clad! A XXXL practically came down to my ankles. It was definitely long -sleeved!).

I think that seven years and two rounds of pharyngitis later, I've outgrown those a bit. (Foam parties. Not XXXL t-shirts. Those are still muumuu-sized on me).

So I'm staying home on a Friday, even though I can count the weekends I have left in Madrid on one hand. But I'd rather stay in tonight and have a chance of enjoying tomorrow, instead of forcing myself to go out against everything my body is screaming at telling me, and then being sick all next week.

But it's all good. I have me a cup of warm water with lemon and honey (if I squint and tilt my head a bit, it sort of tastes like a mojito!), and I'm going to snuggle in bed with my friends, the cast of The West Wing, and finish making the handmade part of the little gifts for the teachers. If I had fifteen cats, the picture would be complete.

But don't you worry your little noggin'. I'll be back tomorrow with Six Senses Saturday! But just in case, send out good thoughts into the universe for me to feel better tomorrow, otherwise Six Senses Saturday is going to revolve around tea and throat medicine! :)

p.s. You're welcome for the gratuitous LOLcatz photo!

June 9, 2010

Make It: Easy As Pie Summer Skirt

So remember back in the day when I said I would totally post a tutorial for that grey pleated skirt I made? And how I said I had the perfect pink cotton to make it with?

Well... I may have "accidentally" used that fabric for another skirt. So it might be a while longer before I post a tutorial for the pleated skirt. Oops.

But in my defense, I did make another totally awesome - and I think more wearable - summer skirt, and I took a bunch of pictures so I could show you how to do it yourself!

Do you forgive me? :)

Easy As Pie Summer Skirt

This skirt is so easy you'll want to make ten of them! I have some left over elastic so I'll definitely be making another one! All you need is a long piece of fabric and some extra wide elastic and you're all set! Well, plus pins, thread, and a sewing machine. :)

I started with a piece of fabric that was 60 " long (30" folded over). you could also use two 30" pieces, in which case you'll have to sew two side seams instead of one. I cut mine to be 16" wide, which is the length of the skirt plus a little for seam allowance, but you can make yours as long or as short at you want!

 This is actually the fabric that was left over after I cut mine 
  - since it's clearly more than 16" wide  -
but I forgot to take a picture of the fabric I used 
before I started sewing it, so just use your imagination :)

If you want to make a french seam (with no exposed edges), fold the fabric in half, wrong sides together, pin and sew about a 1/4 inch from the edge . (If you want to just do a regular seam, fold it right sides together, pin and sew).

Now you have what is essentially a very wide and not very tall fabric tube. Turn the tube inside out, and pin down the seam you just sewed, and top stitch over it. 

Make sure that your stitch is a little more than a 1/4 inch from the edge so that the exposed edge on the inside gets sewn in. I hope that makes sense, because I don't know how to explain it any better.

You've just sewn a french seam, which doesn't leave any fraying edge exposed:

Now you have a very wide, not very tall, fabric tube with a lovely french seam! :)

Now we can start with the elastic belt. Measure it around your waist, at the height you want the skirt to sit, making sure to stretch the elastic a bit, but not too much. You want it to not slip down, but you don't want to make it too tight. Cut your elastic to the right length, and then pin the raw edges together, and sew the edges together, making sure to back stitch at the beginning and end to secure them well.

Now set your machine to the longest stitch with a low tension (a "ruffle" stitch) and sew all along one of the open edges of the fabric tube, making sure not to back stitch on either end. Pull one of the threads to evenly gather the fabric until the tube has the same circumference as the elastic loop. 

(I don't have a picture of this step because I suck at life :)

With the fabric turned right side in, pin it to the right side of the elastic loop. In other words, you should have the elastic loop with its seam facing inwards, and then you should pin the right side of the fabric to the top edge of the elastic loop. I'm really sorry this picture sucks so much, the lighting in my room chose this moment to go a little crazy.

Making sure to keep the elastic stretched as you sew, sew the gathered fabric to the edge of the elastic loop.

Now you have an unhemmed skirt. Try it on ans see how long you want to make it. I wanted a 1/2 inch hem, so I marked a line 1 1/2 inches from the edge.

Fold over once and press.

(sorry these pictures came out vertical - blogger kept turning them!)

Then fold over again and pin.

Sew down the hem with a coordinating thread. (Clearly I could learn to sew a straighter line!)

And you're done!

Put on your new Easy As Pie Summer Skirt and go enjoy summer!

And please let me know if you have any questions or uncertainties! 
My explanation made sense in my head, but I can't guarantee it will in yours! :)

p.s. I completely forgot to mention it when it was posted, but last week Lauren featured my Grosgrain Ribbon Belt Tutorial on her How-To Wednesday series. Go check it out and tell me what you think! :)