Less Slob, More Style… especially when traveling

This weekend, I read a post on Slate entitled “Stop Dressing Like a Slob When You’re Traveling” and its stuck in my mind. Partly because my husband and I have a similar conversation almost every weekend when we venture out for lunch or a shopping trip. Sadly, the habit of “dressing like a slob” in America is no longer confined to just travel though it is so prevalent in airports as to baffle my mind.

“The weary traveler has little control over these things, but he can control his own outfit—and feeling handsome amid all the inhumanities can be powerfully heartening.” (from Slate)

Men are not the only slobs at the airport. Or, in my world, the grocery store, deli or shopping center. Women are just as likely to wear the most unfortunate, slobby outfits like sweats, plastic flip flops and a baggy worn-out t-shirt. Is this Starbucks or the set for “Orange is the New Black”? You know other people can see you, right? Do you really want people’s first impression of you to be that outfit?

“dressing decently seems to garner superior treatment from transit staff.” (from Slate)

When traveling, I often go straight from a flight to public transportation, then a hotel or even straight to a meeting and I am not going to do that in sweats with “juicy” written on my butt. What if I want to stop for lunch? Or my luggage gets lost? Do I want to get stuck in that outfit indefinitely?

I understand there are all sorts of inconveniences and discomfort involved in modern-day air travel that make me want to:

  • choose shoes that are east to remove for TSA checks
  • not bunch or bind uncomfortably while squashed in economy class
  • are easy to sit on the floor if there are no seats in the waiting area
  • are easy to get in and out of for quick restroom breaks or in the tight confines or an airplane loo

The dress looked a bit like this. And see how cute and pulled together it can look while still being comfortable and casual?

This lead me to think of my friends and our “magic traveling dress”. It was a simple denim chambray shirt dress with a tie at the waist. Jewels wore it on a trans-continental flight and then loaned it to me when I had to make the same trek. Paired with leggings and a sweater (or wrap) and flats or sandals made a nice outfit that I could wear again while on the trip and did not make me look like a complete slob. Plus, it was super comfortable. Later. the dress was then handed off to another friend who also wore it on a long-haul flight, hence making it the official “magic traveling dress”. It should be up to premier status for all the frequent flyer miles its racked up.

“When we dress well for travel (ed. note: or life for that matter), we are not only making ourselves look good; we’re also signaling that we are invested in making this shared experience pleasant for everyone around us.” (from Slate)



Busy Weekend: Part Two

Nightvale graphic

On Sunday night, I went to see a live performance of Welcome to Nightvale with my friend Laura, AKA FluffyKira hostess of the blog, The Corner of Knit and Tea. Nightvale is a podcast done as a fiction radio drama and its fun, nerdy and incredibly well-done. I highly recommend it.

The event was in Lawrence at this cool venue by the river called Abe’s Landing. The show was fabulous and we got to see Cecil and Carlos in person along with their musical guest, Eliza Rickman who did an epic rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” on toy piano. Amazing.

There were people dressed up as Eternal Scouts, the Sheriff’s Secret Police and the faceless woman among others. I had no idea what fervor Nightvale had acquired. There was screaming and cheering and hearty laughs by all who attended. What a great time!

Carlos and Cecil! #nightvale

Carlos is on the left (oh, his hair!) and Cecil is on the right.



Busy Weekend: Part One

I took Friday off from work to work on my costume for Planet Comic Con. I’d been waffling for weeks about putting the costume together but Friday the weather was Ferris Bueller fabulous so I made a last-second call and took the day off. I ran around collecting the pieces I needed to assemble the costume and then designed the graphics with the windows open and the cats lounging on the patio. I started with a blue dress from ModCloth, then I had to remove the details around the waist line, add the patch, sash and pockets. I had a few false steps ironing the graphics on the sash but it worked out in the end. If I wear this costume again, I’m going to redo the sash since, by the end of the day, a corner of the graphics started to peel up.


If you’re not familiar, I dressed up as the TARDIS from Doctor Who. What’s surprised me is how many people outside of the ‘Con do not know anything about Doctor Who. I thought it was ingrained into our collective subconscious by now, at least in so far as we all can recognize Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman whether we ever read comics or not. But no, Doctor Who is still a bit of an esoteric, fringe-culture part of nerd-dom. Who knew?

Saturday, I debuted my outfit at Comicon and no sooner had I walked in the door that people started asking to get a picture of my costume. It was flattering and a bit nerve-wracking but everyone was super nice. I knew my costume wasn’t “cosplay” grade but it was a good first attempt, I think.

I almost got taken out by a Dalek, but that’s to be expected, right? Sadly, the camera we were using accidentally got set to low-rez mode so most of the photos turned out less than crispy.

I even got to meet lots of young Doctors like this little cutie. She was pretty excited to have her picture taken too.



Bob made this awesome Sonic Screwdriver and he went as the 19th Doctor, a concept of his own making.


For more amazing photos from the event, search for #planetcomicon on Instagram.


Teen Angst and Paperback Books


Sometimes there’s a book that comes along that reminds, with a razor-sharp dagger into my soul, why I love books. Eleanor & Park is one of those books. It may have come into my life 25 years too late but it touches all those spots in my heart I thought had hardened over in the intervening years. They remind me of the furious need I had when I fell in love and painted the whole range of high school hell that colored my youth.

I don’t know that other people will be touched by this story in the same way that I was. But, on these pages, my teenage heart lays bare. Complete with a Smiths soundtrack.


Fix It, Finish It or Frog It

Top Down Raglan Cardigan

While chatting with some friends at knit night in December, we challenged each other to Fix It, Finish It or Frog It in 2014. The start of my journey was to re-sew some buttons on my Top-Down Raglan Cardigan which I managed to sew on all hurdy-gurdy. It took only about 10 minutes to make the repair and I’m sure I consciously put it off for hours of time over the past two months.

I pulled out my copy of The Knitting Answer Book to clarify the best method to sew on buttons. Ms. Radcliffe recommends using one long piece of yarn to sew all the buttons, weaving the yarn on the back side of the button band between the buttons so there are fewer ends to weave in. So that is exactly what I did. It was quick and easy and I didn’t have a bunch of ends in the back of my work.

button band

When I finished that up, I went to work on a vintage handknit sweater I acquired at a clothing swap. It was knit in an ivory acrylic and is a little bit big on me but it was knit by an elderly woman prior to her death. She had completed the cardigan but never sewed buttons on it. When I got it, there was a small clump of the yarn in the pocket to use to sew the buttons on. How could I not finish this sweater?

Landlady cardigan

I found four matching, vintage plastic buttons in a grey swirl like tortoise shell and one that is a close match for the bottom button.

buttons on the cardigan

I used the same technique of weaving the button yarn up the back of the button band and the whole process took just 15 minutes, including weaving in the ends.

landlady cardigan

Its a lovely slouchy, weekender cardigan, perfect for pottering around the house. I love the little lace details on the pockets and feel inclined to carry a hankie and some butterscotch candies in them. I hope the dearly departed land lady will be happy to know her cardigan in finished, worn and loved.

When will I learn to stop procrastinating and just do something? It takes way less time in most cases!


I love my job

There’s been a lot of tough moments this year but this video reminds me that I love what I do, the people I work with and the challenges we face in helping people connect, communicate and share their lives.

Waving the Hallmark flag today to all the people who have ever written, designed, painted, printed, shipped, distributed, accounted for or did anything else that keeps the cogs turning here. Thanks!


Stash Enhancements: The Local Edition

local stash enhancements
(Left to right, first row: NGY Bounce & Stomp Face Hugger, NGY Shimma Equestria, NGY Swagger Clever Girl. Second row:  NGY Stellar Exquisite Orchid, NGY Witty DK Grimm, NGY Saucy Dorian Gray. Third row: NGY Dingo Pvt. Jenkins, Th’red Head Designs Superwash Greens and Th’red Head Superwash Cosmos)

Most of the girls in my knitting group discovered Nerd Girl Yarns at the 2012 Knitting in the Heartland event. I missed the event because I was on the other side of the globe, sulking. I didn’t get to discover Nerd Girl until this past summer when I bought a few skeins of her yarn at the Maker Fair at Union Station. To be honest, NGY was one of the key reasons I wanted to go to Maker Faire. Since then, I got a subscription to NGY’s Random Fandom yarn club which I LOVE! I’ve been a member for about five months now and there’s only been one skein I was less than enthusiastic about. Last month, which was a particularly low spot for me, I received a skein of Shimma (her fingering superwash merino, nylon and stellina base) in the Equestria colorway which is inspired by My Little Pony. OMG! Total love. I almost cried with joy. This month, I received a skein of Swagger (a BFL superwash base) in Clever Girl which is jungle yumminess inspired by a quote from Jurassic Park.

Last week, my knitting group decided to drive out to Odessa, MO (about 40 minutes east of Kansas City) to attend the Open Studio event at Nerd Girl Yarns. Needless to say, we were all super excited to trek out to Odessa and have our “pick of the litter”. There was a cake with a giant yarn ball on top of it and lots and lots of people present. We had a good time shopping.

I bought a ridiculous four skeins of yarn. I bought one tweedy skein of fingering weight from her discount bin — it was the Dingo base in the Pvt. Jenkins colorway (named for the HALO video game character) in a semi-solid olive/deep green. I also got a skein of her Saucy base (BFL/silk) in the Dorian Gray colorway. I also found one skein from her Nerdy Octopus Brigade series — a sparkly laceweight which blends Merino, silk and stellina and is a lovely blend of lime green, olive green and deep raspberry and rosy pinks. Its called Exquisite Orchid. The last skein I bought is a DK weight superwash called Witty in the Grimm colorway. Yummy!

Yesterday, I went to the annual Creative Hand Sale hosted by the Kansas City Fiber Guild. Most products sold at the event are completed items but there’s a corner of yarn and fiber which I made a beeline to. I got a couple skeins of Th’Red Head Designs sparkly yarn last year and I really liked them. I used a skein for my Damson mini shawl.  I hoped to buy some of her yarn and maybe a couple skeins of Treasure Goddess. Instead, I found two enormous skeins of Th’red Head worsted weight  superwash, one in semi-solid green and the other in what can only be described as Nebula or Cosmos as its a fabulous strata of colors like you see in the Hubble photos on the NASA web site. I wish she named her colors instead of just assigned them a number, so I’m making up names.

I bought both skeins with the intention of using one of them to make a new Clapotis since I lost mine in January. It was knit up from a jungle green Crafty in a Good Way yarn — another local dyer — but she no longer dyes so I had to find a new solution. The Th’Red Head green is similar in overall hue  but does not have the little hints of brown that the Crafty in a Good Way had. I may knit the new Clapotis from the Supernova colorway instead and save the green colorway for another project.

I can’t wait to cast-on and pick projects for my new yarns!


NaKniSweMo 2013 — Here I come!

Ginny's Owl Cardigan

I finally decide what I’m going to make for NaKniSweMo this year — the Ginny’s Owl Cardigan from The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits book from Interweave. I already have a sweater-quantity worth of Berocco Vintage DK in cracked pepper grey which I think will be perfect. I’ve got time this week to swatch and WASH MY SWATCH before November 1 and still finish my last class project for HPKCHC.

I’m not going to have another unfortunate “incredible growing sweater” incident. Yes, indeed I plan to WASH MY SWATCH.

Ginny Cardigan Detail

I freakin’ love the little patch pockets and the button band looks pretty sturdy. Very excited about this plan!

Ginny Cardigan pocket


Scrap Yarn Phone “Socks”

A friend of mine stores her iPhone in a sock she bought at Target. Everytime I see it I think “I could make her a real iPhone sock.” So I found a bunch of patterns on Ravelry for iPhone socks, basically one for each of the most common yarn weights:

These are all free patterns that would be easy to modify or customize for different sized phones. I plan to use a fingering weight pattern and add a flap to keep the phone from sliding out.