Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Oh dear me

I can't believe I will have to go back to school in under three weeks already. Oh dear me. Upon my word. Etc. !F*#&$*@#. You would think that for my senior year of high school, I would, for once, actually do my summer reading on time, and not two days before the start of school. And yet here I am, and I hardly cracked the books.

I am planning on auditioning for PYO in September. That means I need to choose an audition piece, and learn two respectable orchestral excerpts. I know nothing of respectable orchestral excerpts. Sometimes I think that I know nothing of music in general. But, either way, for an audition all you really need to do is knock the pants off the audition pieces. And that, godwilling, I may be able to do. It would be so amazing to be a part of PYO. It's mad expensive, which I will have to pay, but it's in center city Philidelphia every week! With the best musicians my age. It would be just like All-State Wind Ensemble every single week! Wow. That would be incredible.

I knit a beautiful Ribbed Lace Bolero from 10 feet high and I am in LOVE. I knit it in Caron Simply soft, which is cheap yarn, but is...well, simply soft. And it really is! It is light and comfortably warm, and the whole bolero cost me under 2 dollars to make. I love it, and will post pictures soon. I am, actually, knitting another one with a different lace pattern and chunkier yarn. I have also finished knitting a booga bag, which, although being extremely cliche, is a great pattern. The bag is sturdy and beautiful with Noro Kureyon's great colorways. I actually used Lamb's Pride Bulky for the bottom and the straps to make it sturdier, with modified stitches. I will post pictures of that, as well.

Today I added a few cute things to my Etsy shop. Like an Edmund the Owl Cozy!

And there he is, in all his owly glory, chilling with my other knitted owls. I love knitted owls.

I also am selling this adorable piccolo case/clutch, for the stylish piccolo player.

It's so bold-colored, but I'm really getting into that sort of thing. Bright, crazy. Whatever. I like when things look like they match by accident. And yet, I hate when things don't match. I'm ridiculous.

I hope to post my shrugs and the booga bag soon! Until then, I will be knitting and practicing.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Szeretem Magyar

I officially want to move to Hungary once I am done "growing up" or "finishing school" or whatever. I have never immediately loved a place so much in my life.

Each lovely leaf, each greenery

Was not enough for us to see

I knew our hearbeats would not last

Fleeting time, our heartbeats fast

We took the language from our lips

And let it flow through fingertips

the trees, each fa, proclaimed the truth

perhaps I was in love with you

the 'ternal smile upon your lips

our souls aligned, a true eclipse

I fell in and out of a foolish sort of love about 7 or 8 times in under 17 days. European (Christian!)young men can do that to you. In all seriousness, I have never felt so close to God as when I was in that beautiful country. Nothing is as satisfying as God's work. The Christians there were genuine servants of God. I miss it so much.

Now that I am home, and I realize that God has a perfect plan for every day, I am going to try to please him in everything I do, even the little things. Like practicing 2 hours a day. And I want to lose 10 pounds before school starts. And especially I need to have a quiet time every morning. Life is nothing without God's purpose.

I have been trying to look for some Hungarian praise music online but I can't find any. In Hungary, our host family played Hungarian praise music in the car, and it was beautiful as we passed Hungary's rolling hills and green mountains. I need more praise music on my ipod, so why not in Hungarian? The language is fantastic, and I am still trying to learn.

As far as knitting goes, I worked on a circular shrug on the plane. I will be done within the week I hope. I will be reading Harry Potter too, though. I am also awaiting a swap package from aspenwall of craftster. She liked hers, and I am very relieved. I loved crafting for her.

At present, I am mourning my departure from Hungary. This, too, shall pass.

<3 Rachel

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Off to Europe

This may be a very short and/or incoherent post, considering I am leaving for Hungary tomorrow and could hardly sleep 5 hours last night. Nevertheless I find myself here in good faith to my blog. I am very nervous. Only once was I in a foreign-speaking country, and even then were there many who spoke English to me. Here, I am to understand, very few people speak the language. What's worse is that I will be helping run an English camp. Just me and my partner in front of a class who don't speak a word of English. Literally. Needless to say, I am fairly terrified.

On top of this dilemna, I have not finished packing yet. I have a piano lesson that I did not practice for. And I have foolishly scheduled a day of frivolity with some friends, when I hardly have enough time to sleep. I do not know how I shall get it all done, and if I do, in what condition I shall be. I have already packed the essentials for my journey; Yarn, Jane Austen's "Mansfield Park", and some more yarn. It will be a pleasant trip so long as I hold onto those possessions.

Ok it's really funny how my whole style of writing has changed since I listened to "Northanger Abbey" by Jane Austen yesterday. It wasn't until I reread the beginning of this post that I noticed how British and odd my diction became. Very amusing.

I have no crafts to display, although I have been crafting fervently. have just finished the items for my swap on craftster and will be shipping tomorrow. Which is also when I will be leaving. I also ordered a set of Denise Knitting Needles. I can't wait.

Oh blog, hopefully I will be able to give you more attention when I return.

Much <3,

Thursday, June 28, 2007

a quick succession of busy nothings

"Life seems a quick succession of busy nothings." Yeah, it really does.

My "Strapping Young Lad Bag" is now featured on! I feel so honored. I've loved that website ever since I began knitting.

I finished a few more neat-o projects...

Like this crazy cool head band! On size 7 needles, cast on 8 sts with worsted weight yarn. Knit in seed stitch until it fits almost around your head. Sew on a button, and voila! Great for using scrap yarn.

I also designed another Treeparty Friend; French Worm!

The pattern can be purchased uber-cheap on my etsy shop.

In other crafty news, I joined a newbie swap on craftster! I am very excited to exchange crafts with my partner, aspenwall, who is very cool and compatible. I already made two small items, very cute items I might add, to exchange. I will post them at the end of the swap, which is about three weeks from now.

Concerning my life goals, I am making satisfactory progress. I started a sort-of kindof diet today. I hate the word "diet". I don't know. How about "healthy eating for life plan", because "diet" makes it seem like it's temporary, and only about losing weight. It's really just me trying to eat healthier permanently and not die before I turn 40. So I've been eating healthier. Green tea. Yum.
Also, I have been practicing flute 2 hours a day. It is so. Hard. I know it seems easy, just a couple hours with a metal tube, but sometimes I am so tired after practicing that I put my flute down and just collapse on the floor. And then I'm also practicing piano for 1/2 hour and a theory lesson here and there. (Today wasn't a here and there day.) Right now I am working on Bach Sonata IV and a few ridiculous Anderson etudes, and Chaminade's Concertino. All for next week. Maybe now you understand why 2 hours is necessary. Or maybe I'm just an amateur. Either way, I hope I am improving myself daily.
Today I finally got The History of Tom Jones; A Foundling soundtrack!

I couldn't find it anywhere, so I had to import it from the UK. It has the most beautiful love theme I've ever heard. After ripping open the package and shoving it in my computer, I almost cried listening to it. This week I have learned that the first step to loving another is loving oneself. The theme really spoke to me. It is absolutely gorgeous, interlacing strings and flute (of course.) Honestly, I am usually not biased toward my own instrument, but the Tom Jones love theme shows flute at it's best. Ok, I might as well go join Thoreau in the woods. I have no reason to love the movie, but I do. I am a bit crushed, though. Both of the main actors got old and wierd. I hate that. The characters are not the actors, nonetheless. I just hope I don't get wierder as I age.

I am making a summer mix and a love mix. They are going to be lovely. I will post the playlists when I'm done.

And here comes the end of my ramblings,

Thursday, June 21, 2007

slipping into summer

Now that it's summer I can actually focus on things I want to do. Like crafting and flute-ing. And just in general taking a vacation from stress. I started out the summer with high goals in mind, though; I wanted to be in shape for school, and I wanted to practice 3-4 hours a day on flute. It is so ridiculously hard. So, in essence, I haven't really conquered either of those goals. I have eaten healthier and exercised more, and I have been practicing every day, but only about 2 hours a day on average. It's soooo hard to practice for 3 hours. Gosh, it seemed like a do-able thing until I actually tried it. And ever since I was a kid I've loved to eat, so it's hard modifying those habits. I'm going to start fresh tomorrow. Yeah! MOTIVATION.

In other (crafty) news, I knit a GORGEOUS scarf. Oh man. It wasn't my skill, seeing that it was knit in all garter, but the yarn is simply delicious! Ironstone Yarns Colorchanges in beautiful hues of green and blue, mostly wool with acrylic so it's soft but still looks like noro kereyon. Apparently a splurge to me is to go to my lys and buy a $7 skein of yarn. But ohhhh. It's knitted vertically so that the colorways are easier to see. I knit it in a day. I love quick and satisfying knits! I just made up the pattern; On size 11 straights, loosely cast on 150 sts and knit until the knitting measures about 4 inches and LOOSELY bind off. Add tassles if you want, blah blah. A one-skein wonder! Seriously, stuff like this is the reason I love knitting. My family does NOT understand.

I also have been working on a line of "Treeparty Friends", or knit amigurumi animals, for my etsy shop. So far I have designed an owlet and a french worm. The worm really is a frenchy. He's got the curly mustachhhe to prove it! I am selling the
patterns, but I may end up selling the actual finished critters as well. Check out my shop! I love etsy.

As far as flute is going, I've been trying to practice a lot and it's gotten difficult. It was mostly because I was running out of stuff to play. You know, sick of playing the same mozart concertos or anderson etudes. But now I am really excited because I just had a lesson yesterday and got assigned some new stuff, including a sweet Bach sonata! I love J.S. Bach. I have officially mastered double tongueing. I am excessively proud of myself. And let me tell ya, If I could do it, all flutists can.

In conclusion, I am going to work to be a healthier, more hard-working individual. I will be updating every week from now on. I'll say on Thursdays. That way I can keep track of my successes or lack of them. Plus it's fun to document fun crafty expositions! Until next time,


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Timothy the Googly Alien

Here ya go, Faye! Sorry this took so long.

Timothy the Googly Alien

-1 skien (or a small amount of) green worsted weight cotton yarn
-4 size 8 double-pointed knitting needles
-White and black felt
-Sewing needle
-Black embroidery floss
-2 safety pins

CO 3 sts and join into round
Round 1 - Increase each stitch around – 6 sts
Round 2 - Repeat first round – 12 sts
Round 3 - Repeat first round again – 24 sts
Round 4 - Knit 1 stitch, K into front and back of stitch; around – 36 sts.
Knit every round until the piece measures about 4 inches long.
Next round – Knit 1 stitch, K2Tog; around – 24 sts

Now stuff the body with fiberfill, and divide the stitches into three equal sections of 8 each, and slip 2 sections on a safety pin to temporarily hold.

Tentacles (to be worked on each section of 8 stitches)
-Now, with the 8 stitches still on a needle, join into the round with the other needles and knit 12 rounds. Stuff the tube with fiberfill.
-Knit two together around (4 sts), cut yarn, weave it through the remaining sts and tie a knot.
-Repeat the previous steps on all three sections of 8 stitches, tying the yarn into the first stitch to start.

-Cut a circle out of white felt about 1.5 inches in diameter, and another circle out of black felt about .75 inches in diameter. Also, cut out a tiny white triangle.
-Stitch these pieces of the eyes into place as shown on the picture above.
-Stitch on a smile using black embroidery floss.

P.S. This pattern wasn't written down while actually making Timothy, but after studying the finished product I was able to resurrect his pattern, or something like it. It might not be exactly as Timothy is, but the pattern is as close as I could make it.

Have fun with your googly alien!

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Hell week is long past. I can ALMOST kindof coast through the rest of the year. I just need to get another paper done and handle finals. And today I finallllllyyyy got my permit. I am proud. I started dancing at the registration desk. Oh yeah. Do the get-busy!

All-state wind ensemble was asdf;kljasd;fkljasdkl;fasdl;fk absolutely amazing; one of the most inspiring experiences of my life. I love PMEA! Just the fact that we can participate in music festivals for free makes me love PMEA and...just America in general. I am usually not very patriotic, but wow. This made me realize that I definately want to go into music. Now I need to practice two hours a day. At least. I'm not sure how happy I am about that, but the end will justify the means, so they say oh so they say. Musicians are ridiculously attractive; there was a nice trend in tasteful sideburns and red hair. Mmm gotta love it.

Before states, I finished Mr. Verde the frog;

Here's a kindof sortof pattern...

Mr. Verde the Frog

- skien lion wool in a green color (any scrap worsted weight would work too)
-size 8 double-pointed needles
-black eye buttons or beads
-black fabric paint
-1 sheet yellow felt
-small amount of fiberfill
-tapestry needle
-sewing needle & matching thread

CO 3 sts and join into round
Increase each stitch around (6 sts)
Knit round
Repeat first round (12 sts)
Knit round
Repeat first round again (24 sts)
Now knit each round (so it forms stockinette) until piece measures 4 inches. Now stuff the body with fiberfill. Continue to stuff the body as you finish knitting it in the next few rounds.
K2tog across round (12 sts)
Knit round
K2tog across round (6 sts)
Knit round
K2tog across round (3 sts)
Cut yarn and thread through remaining sts; tie a knot.

Legs (make four)
Make an i-cord that is about 2 inches long.

Eyes - make two
CO 3 sts
Knit 1 st, increase middle st, and knit last st. (4 sts)
Knit row
Bind off.

Cut an oval the size of his belly out of the yellow felt and stitch into place. Cut 4 small feet out of the felt, and stitch to one end of each i-cord. Sew the i-cord legs in place, the knitted eye socket things on the top of his head, and then sew the black eye buttons in them. Finally, paint on a smile with the fabric paint and lay Mr. Verde down to dry. Here's a visual, because I know this wasn't a very good explanation;

Enjoy your froggy friend!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Anatomy of a Strapping Young Lad

"Strapping young lad." There is nothing like those three words. Indeed, any of these words without the other two are meaningless. The three must combine and blend to form the most perfect of males.

Here is Trevor Lewington and Brian Buchanan of Enter the haggis sporting their amiable qualities.

Note their adorable and slightly silly smiles. What you can't see are their pleasantly pleated kilts- a must have for strapping young lads of all ethnicities.

As you can see, the world would be at a loss without fine young men such as these. In their honor, I have designed a bag for all the strapping young lasses of the world. Or lads, if they so desire. But the lasses are equally important to the world and deserve a bag that matches their personality.

Strapping Young Lad Bag

2 skeins Paton's Shetland Chunky Tweed
Size 10.5 straight needles
Tapestry needle
A fat quarter of fabric for lining
2 leather buttons
2 snap closures
sewing needle and brown thread


-Cast on 36 stitches
-Work in seed stitch until piece measures 17.5 inches. (weird number, I know)
-Cast off.

-Pick up 30 stitches alongside one of the shorter sides of the body (i.e. the row you just cast off) Leave a three-stitch margin on either side, so that the stitches you are picking up are centered (your flap won’t be as wide as the body, obviously.)
-Work in seed stitch until the flap is 4 inches long.
-Knit 2 together, work rest of row in seed stitch until the last 2, and knit 2 together.
-Repeat this last step 3 more times. (22 stitches)
-Cast off, not too tightly.

-Cast on 10 stitches.
-Work in seed stitch until the piece measures about 30 inches. (You can make the strap as long or as short as you want.)
-Cast off.

Ok, this part is a little ambiguous. I lined the strap with another piece of knitting to make it sturdier. I think I cast on 10 stitches on size 6 needles (for a ridiculously tight gauge) and knit until it measured the length of the actual handle part (not including about 8 inches from each end of the piece that will serve as the sides of the bag). You can also just line it with fabric.

Now fold the body in half, and sew about 7 inches of strap along each open side to serve as the sides of the bag. (If you need more clarification on this, let me know haha.) Sew on the buttons (which are actually purely for decoration), and sew snaps underneath them (which actually serve a purpose). I did this because I wasn’t sure where exactly I wanted to put the buttons on until I was finished. I used metal snaps, but you can use magnetic, Velcro, whatever. I know you are creative. Line the bag and you’re done!

Let me know if you have any questions or comments because I know I’m not the best explainer in the world. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Soundtrack to my Life

Soundtrack to My Life

Comforted - Each Coming Night by Iron And Wine
Free - Mt. Wroclai by Beirut
Celebrating - One Last Drink by Enter the Haggis
Powerful - The Battle from the Chronicles of Narnia Soundtrack
Intellectual - Bach Cello Suite No. 1 played by Yo-Yo Ma
Soft - Your Own Tree by Blake Miller
Silly - I Was Born (A Unicorn) by the Unicorns
Relaxed - The Engine Driver by Belle & Sebastian
Summer - Shadow Stabbing by Cake
Dancing - Maggie's Pancake Mix by Enter the Haggis
Suburban - Soul Meets Body by Death Cab for Cutie
Angry - Bacchanale by Camille Saint-Saƫns
Glorious - Marvelous Light by Derek Webb
Slow-Motion - Good Morning, Hypocrite by Electric President
Beach - Hey, Hey by the Elms
Summer Band - Karn Evil 9 by Emerson, Lake, & Palmer
Good Morning - Sunburst by Enter the Haggis
Carefree - Arthur McBride by Enter the Haggis
Uplifted - Ballybrolly Jigs by Flook
Musikfest - Goodnight, Goodnight by Hot Hot Heat
Peaceful - Concerning Hobbits by Howard Shore
Overwhelmed - Can't Take it In by Imogen Heap
Daniel - Upside Down by Jack Johnson
Accomplished - Dawn from the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack
Deep - Liquid by Jars of Clay
Woebegone- Tea & Sympathy by Jars of Clay
Inspired - Mozart Concerto in D major by Jeanne Pierre Rampal
Simple - Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo
Patriotic - The Beau Ideal by John Philip Sousa
Lo-fi lovin- These Days by Kevin Long
Sedated - Cayman Islands by Kings of Convenience
Thankful - Sound of Melodies by Leeland
Moving Along - Blame the English by the Lovekevins
Retro - Toast of this Town - Math & Physics Club
Driving - White Daisy Passing by Rocky Votolato
Funky - Gonna Fly Now by Maynard Ferguson
Scottish - Sword Dance by the Black Watch
Youthful - Forward Motion by Relient K
Apathetic - Sleep by Riley Armstrong
Cuban Roots - Tamacun by Rodrigo y Gabriela
Excited - Pressed for Time by the Rogues
Post-Modern - The Art Teacher by Rufus Wainwright
Reflecting - New Slang by the Shins
Depressed - I am a Rock by Simon & Garfunkel
Solitary Walk - Casimir Pulaski Day by Sufjan Stevens
Roots - Rilleanna; Bonnie Ann... by Teada
Noble - Handel's Royal Fireworks Music
Mystical - Hedwig's Theme by John Williams

Saturday, February 3, 2007

New Piccolo!

Today I finally got the Sonare Piccolo. I am so excited. It's beautiful. No amount of marching band will let me become careless with this instrument, I assure you. Also, I got my flute re-corked, polished, straightened, and, most excitingly, undented! The horrid dash in my foot joint is evened out. Steve Malarskey of Malarsky Woodwinds has earned my utmost respect and admiration. Yay.

I have not been knitting much lately, but I have finished a few purses.

and a clutch for my friend's birthday;

The reason I haven't been knitting is because I have been trying to focus more on practicing flute, reading, and school work. I need to practice flute because district band is coming up, and I want to do well and try to make regionals. I want to read more to improve my ever dwindling vocabulary, and I need to focus on school work because...well, who doesn't? Knitting will always be there for me when I need it. What a faithful friend.

You should really check out...

Kings of Convenience!
This adorable duo from Norway combines soothing male voices "blended to perfection" with acoustic guitar- my favorite combination. They also add flashes of other instrumentation as well, such as cellos and trumpets. Their sound is the making of a good dinner party. They are sure to keep you satisfied, whether you feel like talking or dancing, but they will prefer dancing with you.

Kings of Convenience - Misread

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year

I am hoping that 2007 marks huge changes in my life.

Today I made a mix for my friend's birthday, called "The Color of Music." Basically, each song represents a different color.

Rocky Votolato - White Daisy Passing (white)
B-tribe - Nadie Entiende (deep red)
The Elms - Hey, Hey (orange)
The Lovekevins - Happy Happy (light orange)
Sambassadeur - Kate(yellow)
Conor Lamb - Wedding Reel Sweenys (lime green)
Erich Kunzel - Irish Party in the Third Class (clover green)
Greg Laswell - Do What I Can (teal)
Rocky Votalato - Portland is Leaving (blue)
Michael Buble - Moondance (Midnight blue)
Cat Stevens - Oh Very Young (purple)
Beirut - Bandenburg (deep violet)
Simon & Garfunkel - The Sound of Silence (black)

I'd like to highlight one new artist from this mix for his ability to make me, well, cry.

Rocky Votolato

His voice is smooth, young, and genuine, almost as if he is apologizing to the entire world and hoping for something good to come of it. Harmonica and acoustic guitar hint towards country roots, a sweetly sad combination that would bring anyone into sober terms with our sad world. After all, his past albums have been extremely depressing. Even if you hate country, give it a chance, because I thought I hated country too.

Rocky Votolato - White Daisy Passing

Hope your new year is wonderful and full of good music.