monday luxuries

Crazy month guys! I took a three day weekend for myself and basically sat around and did a whole lot of nothing except go to a birthday party friday night, hang with the BFF for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon, and go to a movie and dinner for my pops' birthday. It was GREAT. So here's today's luxury: TIME. I took time for myself and did what I wanted to and it was awesome. I actually didn't do much of anything at all, except sit on the couch and watch movies. I needed it.

Here's a photo of the current progress on the ripple 'ghan. I am pretty much done with the last afghan I crocheted and was getting overwhelmed by the amount of yarn left over... so why not start a new one? 

Hope you had a great weekend!



p.s. was just browsing Apartment Therapy and this is the top post - I guess I'm right on the money here!

Ripple Afghan: the beginning!

So I started this last night at Alex and Kori's during our weekly Biggest Loser watching party. I got the first row (the most obnoxious part, nobody likes crocheting into the chain) and about 3/4 of the second row done before we left the party. This morning on the bus I finished the burgundy stripe and got halfway through the first row of rust, and finished that row at lunch today while gabbing with the ladies in the breakroom. Total time so far for three rows: approx. 3 hours. I'm keeping a running tally - let's see how long it takes to make a big blanket!

The blanket is double crochet in a ripple pattern : 3 dc, 2 dc into each of next 2 stitches, 3 dc, dc2tog, dc2tog, repeat. Yarn is Vanna's Choice acrylic (comes in great colors, doesn't pill much, is often on sale at fred meyer/jo-ann, and is way softer than the squeaky crap your grandma used) and I'm using a size 10 crochet hook. It's 7' wide (I made my friends hold the chain across the couch to see if it was going to be a good width; I didn't think about it much) and each color stripe is two rows: one out, one back. I have no color plans, but I have about 20 balls of this yarn at home and I think I'll be doing mostly jewel tones. This is my second ripple blanket and I really like the other one too, but it's done! and I need a portable project, so I may as well start a new one right?

Running stats, day 2: total time: 3 hours; current width: 2"

monday luxuries

ok three weeks in a row of monday posts - but hopefully soon I'll be able to tell you about other stuff that's happening!

I had a pretty good weekend, there's been a lot of stuff going on in my life but there has also been a lot of talking about it with lots of people, and that makes it so much easier. Find someone to talk to, folks! And a hug never hurts.

So capping off the weekend was two of my favorite luxuries: lovely dinner at one of my favorite Seattle restaurants, El Camino, and a fancy cocktail at a new (and new to me) restaurant in Ballard.

First up: El C. Located in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, it's a nice little casual eatery with south of the border flair. Their dishes are authentic and really tasty. I am kind of a one trick pony here, I always get exactly the same thing, but I'm always happy with it: a house margarita (best in the city), guac with plantain chips (everything guac should be), mussels in a spicy, tomatoey cream sauce served with grilled bread (and I don't even really like shellfish), and the carne asada tacos, served taco truck style plus rice and beans.  There is a back patio which they walled in a few years ago for year-round enjoyment; there is a fireplace for the winter and in the summer they roll up the garage doors to make it open-air. I. Love. It.

We got done with dinner really early so decided to check out a bar that neither of us had been to before, and settled on staple & fancy. (to get to their website click on the photo above)

Their tiny bar area (seats only 8-10) was full when we walked in but we were allowed to stand at the counter and order a cocktail until some seats opened up, which was fine by us. We only had to wait a few minutes standing. The interior is lovely old-ballard style with the exposed brick wall with old painted advertisements on it still, beautiful wood floors, exposed beams, and an open kitchen. The bar was not hugely diverse but well stocked with fun and fancy liqueurs and the cocktail selection was, as to be expected for Seattle, diverse and interesting. Also bonus: hooks under the bar for your coat/purse. Seriously, any bar without hooks: you suck.

Good company, good food, good drinks, good atmosphere: everyday luxe at its best.



quilting challenge

So it's been MONTHS since I've done any quilting - I'm making a belated wedding quilt for some friends of mine, and that's about halfway done, but you know how it goes. Life got busy. I'm trying to get back in the swing of things on the quilting front, but I have so many beautiful fabrics I have collected over the last 10 (!!!) years that I'd like to give some love to.

So here's my 2011 challenge: make a bunch of quilts but don't buy new fabrics. I am allowing two exceptions to this rule, and they basically only allow for solids: 1) I can buy backings and 2) I can get a solid if I need it for a cohesive background for the quilt.

I am sure I won't be able to not buy ANY new prints, because there are so many gorgeous ones, and I still have a few lingering regrets of fabrics I never bought and still want today - BUT if I don't let myself get, say, all the fabric for an entire quilt top that let's face it I don't have time to make, I can hopefully whittle down my stash. The photos here are from a small quilt that I made with all odds and ends, and I really like it. Even the back is pieced from large extras! Feels good. I'm going to try and do larger quilts this way too (maybe not the back).

wish me luck! and happy crafting.

monday luxuries

Good morning! It's snowing downtown in Seattle today, and my friend Kori suggested some kind of cozy cashmere scarf to feature as today's Monday luxury. Since I'm trying to focus on sharing things I know personally, I'm going to tell you about my new favorite yarn obsession: Malabrigo (especially the Twist line). It's a 100% merino wool and it's seriously the softest wool I have ever felt, and comes in a rainbow of delicious hues.

I found it on a recent trip to the yarn store, when I had a direct objective that was not this. However, I absolutely CANNOT walk into any textile store without going around and touching everything, and it's especially true in yarn shops. I'm a very tactile person. So anyway, while getting fresh with the yarn balls I found this gem in a gorgeous inky blue-black, and promptly knitted up a snuggly cowl for myself. It's so hard to find a yarn that's actually really soft against your neck, but this one is a total winner. When it came time to brainstorm ideas for a gift exchange for some of my besties, I knew immediately that the best present I could give was a scarf - homemade, full of love, and warm. It's like a hug anytime! I went to the yarn store (ok, three yarn stores) and picked out a palette of bright colors, and decided to make each person's scarf with several different colors, so they are kind of themed. Everyone's has at least three colors in it, and all five include a sunny yellow. I tried to get a photo of everyone in their scarves but the lighting wasn't great... but everyone said they liked them so I'm really happy! It's kind of an expensive yarn but it's great for smaller projects like this without too much cash outlay.

Happy Monday! And GO DUCKS!!

monday luxuries

So here's a new thing I'm going to do - a little lovely thing every Monday, because this Monday is a doozy, and heck, a lot of them are. May as well share something pretty, amirite?

I am calming myself down with the following two lovely things. Exhibit A:

One of my BFFs gave me a little one of these in the Wish scent this fall. I keep it at my desk and use it REALLY sparingly, it's so special that I feel like I need to dole it out in tiny bits. It's more heavily scented than what I use every day, and I'm usually pretty averse to super girly smells, but this is the perfect luxe floral. I got tiny ones in Calm for two girlfriends at Christmas, it's a little more on the sea/water/spa end of the spectrum. Plus the packaging is just divine.

Exhibit B: the coffee break. No image I can find effectively espresses this luxury, but there are three starbucks in my office building as well as starbucks machines in the breakroom. A girlfriend and I walked down to the farthest one and looped around the lobby while we chatted about little things and big things. It was only 20 minutes but it was a great mental break from the monotony of data entry and shuffling cardboard boxes around. (I got a short nonfat peppermint hot chocolate. It was over $3 but totally worth it.)

Hope your Monday is a little less crazy than mine!



2010 recap / 2011 resolutions

happy 2011!

Oh man! 2010, on the whole, sucked balls. Can I get an AMEN? I thought in 2009 that surely nothing could suck worse than 2009, but I stand corrected. In 2010 I got laid off a SECOND time, had to temp for four whole months once I finally got anyone to actually call me back, got my heart broken, gained 15 pounds, and was so busy I couldn't see straight. Or sleep.

With all that bitching out of the way (and trust me, I could do more, but I'll spare you), I'd like to highlight the good things about 2010!

The job I was in at the beginning of the year was an incredible opportunity, and I'm extremely thankful for having had a job that expanded my horizons (and resume) through a fair portion of the downturn, and I liked the folks there, but it just wasn't a good fit. Perhaps the unexpected layoff was a blessing in disguise.

It was also definitely a big year for the Hot Buns Bakery. I made desserts for six weddings (three in September!), fully catered two events (formally), provided cakes for countless birthdays and holidays, and a whole heck of a lot of goodies for special treats and people I just plain like. Looking back through my bakery calendar, which is incomplete at best, I counted over 90 cakes, a dozen pies, 160 mini cheesecakes, 80 lemon tartlets, half a dozen full size cheesecakes, and hundreds of cookies, brownies, biscotti, and chocolate truffles. That averages out to over two cakes/pies and half a gross of assorted small goodies every week. Holy crap.

The employment situation was sketchy for a couple of years, but I got called back to the Big C in May for a temp gig. Though we couldn't work out a position that was similar to what I did there before, I did get a permanent position in the Archives department in September. It's really great to be back at Callison and I am very thankful to be fully employed again!

I feel really great about what I accomplished this year. I am continuing to work on being more on time - I have cut it down to being 15 minutes late for the most part rather than my previous 30. (tick off last year's resolution of "be more realistic about time") On the time front, I said yes more than I should have this year, but I think it was a great lesson on when I should say no! I am getting better at that too. And it sounds vain, but I've been paying more attention to the way I dress, and I lost 15 pounds this fall - and let's admit that looking good means feeling good.

I also feel that the second half of this year I have been more thankful for myriad fortunes in my life - and mostly for my amazing and supportive friends and family. I have strengthened friendships and gotten a few new ones, and I find it hard to express just how much these friends mean to me. If you're reading this, I probably mean you.

I am closing out 2010 with joy and love in my heart, and gratitude for the rather arbitrary change of the calendar where we can all wipe the slate clean and start fresh. As Anne of Green Gables says, "tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it yet." 2011 promises to bring a vast amount of fun and adventures, not least of which include the weddings of two of my very best girls AND my 30th birthday! I resolve to look for the silver lining in every disappointment, rise up to meet every challenge, and bring as much love as I can to every happy occasion! And fill up my spa pedicure punch card.

I wish you all the beauty and gratitude that this year could possibly bring. May 2011 be the best yet, for all of us.

Cake of the Month Club!

Hey guys!

So I'm really excited about my new project: the Hot Buns Bakery Cake of the Month! If you buy subscriptions you can save some bucks - or just decide on a monthly basis if you want one. It'll be a great way to hone my volume-baking skills, and a great opportunity for you to not have to make decisions but still get a delicious cake! I'll still happily take orders for other cakes during this time, so if the flavor of the month isn't your bag, you can still get your favorite thing. Just email me at hotbunsbakery [at] !



Cake of the Month!

Announcing the Hot Buns Bakery Cake of the Month club!

This is something I've been thinking about for a while, but wasn't sure how to implement it. I was thinking people could buy three, four, or six months (or a whole year!) of cake for a monthly delivery. Some folks were concerned that one a month was a little too much, and I can see that. So I will just announce on the first of the month what that month's cake flavor will be, and folks can decide if they want to get it on a monthly basis.

Cakes will be a standard 8" at the going rate of $40 and can be picked up on the third Saturday of the month. Delivery may be arranged at my discretion for about $5.

I think this will be a fun project! I'll commit to 6 months of it and see how it goes.


it's quilt season!

Quick update on the shoes: after going ten rounds I finally got these bad boys. Two days before the wedding. Moving on!

I am starting to get really excited about quilting season! (there are two seasons: playing outside season and quilting season. sometimes they overlap) The summer has been so crazy busy but now it's slowed down - just this one last wedding this weekend - and I have time to nest again. I'm working on a couple of wedding/baby quilts for very special friends, and then I have a few almost-finished projects for myself that I'd like to get on the bed. After that I just have a whole bunch of beautiful ideas that I'd like to turn into reality!

No current progress shots but until I do, hop on over to our quilting collective's Etsy shop, and help us make room for new ideas!

xoxo, abby