Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lazy Weekend

This weekend, I ended up laid up in bed for both days, all day long! I'm finally feeling better, and I'm very stiff and feeling those weird jitters of pent up energy from two days of inactivity. Earlier today, I tried a little yoga from the blue-ray player. Our player has several built in video options, and a specific yoga series. I hadn't tried it before, but I figure now is as good a time as any, as I was having trouble just lying in bed.

I cleared a little space on the floor, threw down my yoga towel and hit play. Well, I'm already spoiled with the studio yoga, and let me tell you, I do NOT care for the chick leading this yoga series on my player at home. I'm going to see if I can find some good routines on YouTube, or other sites that I can do at home, because I am determined to practice at home in addition to my 2 days a week at the studio.

Do you practice at home? What do you follow in your practice? Why do you love it?

I've gotten a lot of knitting accomplished this weekend, and a TON of reading! Late last week, I picked up a Cosmopolitan magazine for the first time in years, and camped out in bed with that and two library books. I read straight through the magazine, and while it provided entertainment, I was reminded why I don't typically buy it/read it. Perhaps I've just outgrown that stage of life? I'm not sure what it is, but the appeal is completely gone for me. After that, I finished reading Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, by Patton Oswalt. This book was really an entertaining read of various stories from his life and career. I had started this one a few days ago, and it only took about 2 days total to read it, because I kept wanting to see what his next story would entail.

Finally, I finished reading The Other Wes Moore. I understand this book is being talked about a lot and is on one of the best seller lists, etc. I only found out about it because our library was giving away copies of the book for Everybody Reads 2011. The local library does this every year, and it's always interesting to see what book they choose to feature. Having finished this book, I can see why people are talking about it. It's a well told story of two men's lives, and how minute differences took them down drastically different paths.

This book has lead me to thinking - I love supporting Blood: Water Mission with the Meanbean sales, but I'm also drawn to support local needs as well. In the back of the book, the author has compiled an amazing list of organizations that serve the youth of our nation to provide education and support resources for children who would otherwise be hard pressed for these. In Portland, there is a branch of the I Have a Dream Foundation, which helps children from a young age onto the path toward college. For the children, Dreamers, who graduate high school with the Foundation's help, guaranteed tuition assistance is provided.

With our city having schools with impossibly low graduation rates, this is something I feel would make a difference in our local community. I will begin supporting this foundation part of the year, and Blood:Water Mission the other portion of the year, with the sales of Meanbean bags and products.

Now that I've poured my heart out, I must sign off. My Fair Wedding is on, and I'm such a sucker for wedding shows, especially when most of the time they pull off something incredible :) Hope your weekend was amazing!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

That's so hot

It is! About 105 degrees F hot! A while ago, Groupon had a killer deal out for a local yoga studio that offers Bikram Yoga, also known as "hot yoga".

From what I understand, the theory behind this is that the heat helps you open up, while it also helps loosen the muscles and joints.

So, after work today, I headed to my nearby Target, loaded myself up with clearance items -

Yoga mat? Check.
Towel? Check.
Water bottle? Check.
Shorts? Check
Clingy exercise top? Check.

I was all set, so I set off across the river, and quickly found the little studio hidden away in a partially filled shopping center. It's very easy to get to, and there's plenty of parking. The owner herself often runs the counter and/or teaches, and was the one who greeted me today. I felt very welcome as soon as she did, and the other class participants greeted me with smiles and friendly tips for a first timer.

As I waited in line for the bathroom, a gentleman started talking to me, asking if it was my first time, etc. He was so nice, and again made me feel so welcome, it really put me at ease. I was finally ready to enter the studio and attempt to acclimate to the sauna atmosphere before class began.
One of the easier poses

I unrolled my mat at what I thought was the back of the room, but turned out to be the middle of one end...oh well! At least I wasn't in front. The reason is because I need to be able to watch the other people in order to see what I'm supposed to be doing.

We got started, and I soon realized that a girl just a couple people away from me, in the front row, was an amazing practitioner, and has probably been practicing for years. She was easily able to do these poses:
Camel Pose (I could only lean back)
Toestand (I was dizzy, I sat and watched, didn't even try this one)
Don't know the name, also didn't try this one

At the same time, there were others there for whom it was not the first time, who were unable to go as far into a pose as inflexible me. People of all shapes, sizes and ages were there, and it was very, very nice and non-judgemental from all sides.

I left exhausted, sweaty, still in my shorts as the snow flurried on my way to my car, and thoroughly happy.

I went back the next night for another round!! Day two consisted of my drinking more during class, having shorter resting periods, and the ability to do more of the poses, and hold ones that I couldn't hold that first night.

I can't wait to see what 10 weeks of classes will do for me :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Big Reveal

For a while now, I've hinted at this huge project that was going on for months, that I couldn't talk about. I can finally tell you, and even better, SHOW YOU what it was now!!

This post is mega picture heavy, so be warned!!

After many fun, funny and friendly emails, Jen from Woolgirl and I had a partnership! An Alice in Wonderland partnership, to be exact. For the next few months, my life revolved around Woolgirl bags, and the Belarus trip.

May I present the pictorial story of the Cheshire Cat Bag and how it came to be?

The beginning
All the supplies in hand!
The two above pictures represent the BIGGEST shopping spree I have ever gone on. Woolgirl provided the special Alice fabric, and I went from meeting with her to the fabric store to buy 250 zippers, and enough interfacing to last me months.
250 templates later...
As you might have guessed, I was slated to make 250 of these bags, for the Woolgirl Alice in Wonderland sock club for 2010.
Fused pieces, ready for assembly
I gathered my thread and labels...
Made sure to have plenty of pins...
and made the first tester bag!
The rest of the bags had the text facing the correct way! This is why we make tester bags :)
Isn't this fabric just so cute together?? The lining is simply text of the various names of characters in the story, with small line drawings to accompany some of them.
Onward! 250 zippers attached
The handsome sewing assistant I "hired"
The pile begins to grow...
And finally...
Many months later...
See the crazed look in my eye? The look of a woman high on the adrenaline of being DONE!
DONE! Complete with remaining fabric in the center
More crazy seamstress photos!
Reclining with my bevy of bags
To celebrate?
We kind of devoured them
After the drop off/coffee date with Jen of WoolGirl, that was that for me :)
Then, the postman dropped off a package for me, about a month later. What could it be?
Cheshire Cat Kit
She sent me one of the kits!! Isn't that yarn gorgeous?? It's self striping, and I haven't used it yet, but I am hoping to make myself some rockin' socks out of it. The kit came with a pattern, the yarn, the Meanbean bag, another tiny little adorable pouch, a handmade CLAY stitch marker in the shape of the Cheshire Cat that's less than a 1/2" tall, and more. It was a very impressive, fun kit to receive, and I am so honored that Jen thought to send me one.
I had such fun making all these bags for your WoolGirl fans, Jen, and I look forward to working with you again! What a BLAST!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Big news!


You guys, come here. No really, come closer.

I just talked to my sister in Belarus. You might remember how I kind of freaked out when I found out she was getting married, and during the time leading up to my 12 day trip to Belarus to be with her.

We've talked many times since I've come back from the big trip, and it's always incredible, heartwarming and heartbreaking to talk to her. My heart aches with a physical pain because we're so far away from each other. We are literally as sisters, with an unbreakable bond, and one that pulls me to run away and jump on a plane right now to go see her, irrational as that is.

While I was over there, my dad and I had talked to her about possibly coming to the US again, this time with her new hubby, and my family joining hers to go to Disney World. We all of course thought it was a great idea, but we were all high on the adrenaline of being there.

Today, no such high. Today we talked about it. Today, I called Matt and told him she said, and I quote "we'll do anything to make it happen" for them to come in 2 years. In 2 years, kiddo will be 10, and it will be a perfect time to go.

We are officially starting to budget, plan, arrange things with my dad (he has a timeshare down there), make sure my dad is coming with us, etc. It's just not fathomable to have them stateside, and my dad NOT get to see them.

This is really happening! 2 years later, rather than TEN! In the grand scheme of my life, that's right around the corner. HOLY SMOKES, I'm ready to jump out of my skin. AGAIN.