month in review: november

Happy (late) Thanksgiving!

I’m thrilled to announce a new Nudson! My brother and his wife welcomed Dylan Henly Nudson into the world the day before Thanksgiving and we couldn’t be more thankful both mom and baby are healthy and well. I am so excited to have a niece, and I can’t wait to meet her in a few weeks. The blanket I’ve been knitting is for her, and now that she’s here I hope to finish soon so we can snuggle her up in it.

So between that and spending Thanksgiving with family and friends in beautiful New Hampshire, I have been floating through the end of this month in a happy cloud.

The top posts of the month were:

  • what would death wear. This post was the most fun. I’ve discovered The Sandman comic series this year, and Death is a fantastic character. And Neil Gaiman, the writer of Sandman and many many other stories, saw this post on Twitter and retweeted it. It was so cool to reach out to someone whose work I admire and know they saw it. And the chatter on Twitter about what Death would wear was a blast. This is the reason I love this blog so much: I get the chance to connect with people and nerd out over new things.
  • yarn cross-stitch pillow. I love this pillow. It was a fairly easy (though sometimes tedious) project and looks much more expensive than it really is.
  • moma and what i wore. I went to my favorite museum this month and wore an outfit inspired by the artwork we saw.
  • marathon brunch. This month started with one of my favorite days of the year. The New York City Marathon is a big party for the city and we celebrated with brunch at my house–right on the path of the marathon.
  • project life: october (week 2). Project Life is still going strong for me. This has been one of the most consistent scrapbooking efforts I’ve undertaken and right now I think I’ll continue it into 2014. This week was dedicated to #fatcat.

November was amazing. I am so happy for this month and I can’t wait for December and Christmas! Some snapshots from the month (first one shamelessly stolen from my sister’s Facebook, the rest are mine):

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pre-thanksgiving snapshots

Work is bananas, errands need to be run, and I’m getting ready to leave town for Thanksgiving. It’s a little nuts around here, but I’m excited for what’s to come this week. When I can, I’ve been working on crafts (only a few weeks left to knit the baby blanket!), playing with #fatcat, and indulging in pre-Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.

How’s your week? Everyone ready for Thanksgiving?

craft preparation#fatcatchristmas treepumpkin piebaby blanket knitting

family book club: house of leaves

house of leaves by mark danielewski

A house with a dark secret. A creeping sense of foreboding. A story told through documents, footnotes, and scraps of paper.

House of Leaves is like nothing I’ve read before. How this story is told is as much a part of the experience as the story itself. In a committed storytelling device, we meet our narrator–of a sort–Johnny Truant. Johnny has come across a trunk full of documents and photos after a man he knew, Zampano, died mysteriously at home.

The book wades through these documents as a story unfolds about what Zampano was studying through all this information: a house with a deep, dark, twisty universe inside it and the family who lives there.

Think Poltergeist + Paranormal Activity + the Labyrinth.

The text itself tells a story. How it’s laid out on the page feels like wandering through a maze. The footnotes take you on a different path that can leave you confused, a bit lost. It’s a trip (figuratively of course) to read, but during family book club we felt talking about it was more fun than actually reading it. It was a lot of work to wade through this book, but the payoff is there, if you want to delve in (much the opposite of the house itself). There are secrets on secrets on secrets to learn, if it interests you. Unfortunately, it didn’t interest us too much.

But storytelling always interests me. How we do it, and why. So much of our lives are digital now, this book might look very different if it came out today instead of 2000. So what story does your life tell, only looking at scraps of paper, images collected, messages sent here and there? Here’s some from my life. Nothing unusual.

pictures

notes from iphonetextsnotes4notes3email

As I said, nothing unusual.

Our next family book club book is Devil in the Grove by Gilbert King (Kindle here). We’ll be able to do this book club in person when we are all together for Christmas. Won’t you join in?

(I bought this book on my own and am not being paid to write about it. But I am a part of the Amazon affiliate’s program, so if you buy through my links I’ll make a little bit of money off of it.)

yarn cross-stitch pillow

cross stitch pillow on rae's days

I have really enjoyed sewing pillow cases for the pillows on my couch. I like picking out the fabric, and I like that they are personal to me. Plus, sewing smallish pillow cases is a generally quick project with a large payoff. This particular pillow project, though, I’ve been sitting on since I saw this photo on Apartment Therapy’s instagram.

apartment therapy instagram inspiration

I love these designs. And I love that they use cross stitching, which I’ve been exploring lately with my embroidery. But this cross stitching is on a large, fun scale. It took me a while to figure out how I could do something similar on my own, but over the weekend I finally got it together.

cross stitch pillow tutorial grid

I started by using some felt I had on hand. It was important to me to use felt because you don’t need to finish the edges for felt, so any holes you create in the felt won’t fray. I knew I wanted it for a 12×12 inch pillow, so I cut my fabric 13×13 inches to allow for a half-inch seam allowance. once  had my square, I used a fabric pencil to draw half-inch grid lines. And then I started hole punching.

hole punches

Figuring out how to create (mostly) evenly spaced holes, and how to cut out many, many tiny circles was the biggest challenge. But would you believe my little hand held hole punch cut through felt? It did. To cut each hole, I folded the fabric along each grid line so that my hole punch could reach the marks where the lines crossed. And then I got to punching. This part took a while, but I think it’s definitely worth it. Once I had my hole-punched canvas, I started stitching, using some extra yarn I had on hand and a large yarn needle that I normally use to sew in the dangling ends of my knitting.

cross stitch pillow

I decided on “hi.” It’s welcoming, casual, and fun. (And also very easy to map out for cross stitching.) After that, I measured and cut fabric for the back of the black felt and the back of the pillow. Once I sewed it all together–leaving a hole to stick your pillow in–I was done!

hi cross stitch pillow

I am really excited to see what else I could do with this idea. There’s unlimited colors and words or patterns I could play with, and it’s just too cute.

cross stitch pillow on couch

project life: october (week 2)

project life rae's days october spread

Obviously I have failed at my challenge of doing a project life spread for every week in October. I ran out of photo sleeves. And printer ink. (Whoops.) But here is week two, only a month or so late.

This week was one of those weeks where not much happened. I worked from home. I went to the eye doctor. I saw the movie Gravity.

But even during those kinds of weeks, #fatcat does a lot. A lot of napping. A lot of cuddling. A lot of looking cute.

rae's days project life left page

So this spread is dedicated to him. This is what my days look like when I’m not doing much.

I made the pictures black and white to unify them. And because #fatcat is black, it was pretty easy to do. I thought about adding an accent color, but whatever it would be would jump out a lot as the only color on the page and I didn’t want it to be too distracting.rae's days scrapbook right page

I like how it’s unified and I like that it’s something different for me. And he loved the attention all week long, I’m sure.

I’m glad I have these pages, and I probably wouldn’t have if I didn’t start this challenge. But after a slow start, it seems my regular system of doing project life after a month or a big event is working just fine.

You can see my other project life updates here:

new outfit: sweater weather at work

rae's days outfit of the day for work
Today in New York it is rainy and snowy and blustery. But on another day last week, when it was more like fall and less like winter, I wore this sweater to work. I love the colors on it–it looks so fall to me. I paired it with a black pencil skirt and leopard shoes, and I felt cute and warm.

If I were to wear this outfit today, though, I’d add some tights and boots. For a more casual office, you could do jeans and a puffy vest.

Skirt from Banana Republic, shoes and bag from Target, sweater from JC Penney, chambray from Land’s End.

izabel from saga (embroidery no. 16)

saga embroidery

I feel like I come late to the game to a lot of things. I just discovered Sandman–only 15 years after the first one came out. I am furiously trying to catch up on the Good Wife, which just started season 5. Last year I got really into Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, and the first one came out five years before I was born. I guess I can’t help being late for that one.

But I am into the comic books series Saga. And Saga is coming out right now. (To be fair, I did only read it after the first two volumes were complete.) Issue 15 came out on Oct. 30, and that issue is the inspiration for this embroidery of Izabel.

izabel from Saga

I like so many of the characters in Saga. Alana is a badass. The Will and Lying Cat really love each other. And Izabel is so nice and fun. Izabel may be dead, but she’s still a great babysitter to Alana and Marko’s daughter Hazel. She seems like a spunky teenager who cares for the family she is now working with. I really like Izabel’s fresh voice and positive attitude. Marko’s mom, on the other hand, may never warm up to her.

Saga has kept me on my toes and in love with the characters and stories. The next one comes out Nov. 27. I’ve been reading on my iPad, but if you can, swing by your local comic books store to check out Saga and see what else looks good!

izabel from saga issue 15

I am working on a project to sew some of my favorite quotes and images from books. You can see the other pieces of my embroidery project here:

what would death wear

death neil gaiman's sandman

Death is my favorite of Dream’s siblings.

Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series has me saying nonsensical things like that and meaning every word.

In Gaiman’s universe, our hero Dream has six siblings. I’ve met five of them: Death, Desire, Delirium, Despair, and Destiny.

Destiny is the oldest, and he seems like a little bit of a wet blanket. Delirium sounds like she’d be fun, but she’s gone a little mad since the days she was known as Delight. Desire is a tricky scoundrel who takes the male or female form as he or she feels fit. Desire’s twin is Despair–and she just sounds exhausting.

Which leaves us with Death. She is spunky and kind. And eventually we all belong to Death, no matter how much time we spend tangling with her brothers and sisters. I like Death’s attitude and I like her style. Here she is in formal wear, for a family meeting.

death from the sandman

I’d like to pick up a lot of things from Death: how to be kind to people in a time of need, how to be dependable to your friends and family, and how to rock your own personal style. 

If Death were in real life instead of comic book life, here’s what she might wear:

outfit inspiration polyvore

Death can dress up, when the situation calls for it. But I bet her personality still shines through and you know she has some fun jewelry.

polyvore collage

If she’s heading out for a date night (does Death date??), I could see her throwing on some jeans and a cool blazer.

simple polyvore

And of course, she knows how to keep it simple and true to herself. You can read what I thought about Sandman Vol. 1 here. I’m on volume 6 now and I can’t wait to keep reading.

(I bought this book on my own and am not being paid to write about it. But I am a part of the Amazon affiliate’s program, so if you buy through my links I’ll make a little bit of money off of it.)

marathon brunch

Marathon day in New York feels like a block party the whole city was invited to. Everyone is cheering, dancing, and clapping for strangers and friends. It is my favorite New York day of the year.

And my favorite way to celebrate athletic people running 26 miles is to relax with boozy brunch.

I live almost directly on the path of the marathon, so I invited people over. Everyone brought delicious food and drinks, and it was a really good time. We started with a coffee station that had a Dunkin Donuts box of joe and assorted sugars and creams.

coffee

You can’t have brunch without mimosas, so we whipped up a pitcher and out it next to the coffee station. My friends also brought a great rye ale, so we added that later. The food was great: hashbrowns, frittata, fruit, bacon, muffins, and a homemade funfetti dessert. I used some fabric I had on hand for a table runner and added mini pumpkins I got from the grocery store as an easy fall tablescape.

buffet

You know I love arts and crafts. I picked up some poster board and paint pens earlier that weekend so we could make signs to cheer people on. We had the marathon on the TV so we could watch the professional runners cross the finish line, and then we went outside to see the runners running real life.

group

I had a blast. One of my goals this year was to host a dinner party. I don’t think I’ll get it together (or get enough seating) before the end of the year, but this brunch allowed me to have some friends over for food and fun. And that’s really the whole point.

moma and what i wore

I had SUCH a fun weekend. It was full of date nights and museums and a marathon brunch (more on that later).
My favorite museum is the Museum of Modern Art. It has a lot of paintings that I like–and how fun is the design exhibit? On Saturday we checked it out, and this is what I wore. (Necklace is Dannijo, and purse is from the Brooklyn Flea. I can’t remember where I got the rest, probably department stores.)

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The museum was full of inspiration. I like the cartoonishness of a sculpture we saw because it reminded me of the graphic novels I’m reading. I want to incorporate the mixed patterns and colors I saw into outfits for sure. And obvs I couldn’t resist having fun with reflections in a mirrored artwork.

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