leap baby, leap

dear teena,

we haven't been as close as we are now for very long. but it feels like forever. because we get one another's weird idiosyncracies - especially those stemming from only child-dom. and we often have the very same same thoughts at the very same moment.   you also understand the difficulties that come along with having a terribly charming husband.

you have taught me so much - sewing being the least of it really. and you've been an incredible friend - listening to me freak out about gram, complain about work and shawn, seeing terrible movies with me,  introducing me the cheesy potato cakes, going to countless mardi gras parades even though you were sick and tired of it all...

so, on this, your non-birthday birthday, i say happy birthday. may this birthday be the start of your best year yet...



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throw me somethin', mister

fat tuesday started for shawn and phil at 5:00 a.m. they had generously offered to go save a spot for the zulu parade on st. charles, across from t & p's old apartment. so, up and out they went, at the asscrack of dawn after about 2 hours of sleep. this is what shawn looked like when we got there at about 7:00.


definitely not thrilled. but they were not the only ones out there by any stretch of the imagination. there were tons of people out with their camp chairs and bbqs and ladders. so, we people watched, ate popeyes,  and waited. and waited. t & p's old neighbors stopped by in costume. i unfortunately don't have a pic of mike. mainly because the pants he was wearing were borderline pornographic. mike is a man secure in the size of his package. so, we waited some more. eventually, a walking krewe approached.


and zulu began.


and i have to say, it was pretty great. a little long. but great. shawn got me a zulu coconut. teena got a zulu coconut, after hanging onto the side of a float in a way that could be compared to indiana jones being dragged by a tank or a truck. she came to get a zulu coconut, she wasn't leaving without a zulu coconut. (a note on zulu coconuts from wikipedia: "One of the most famous and the most sought after throws, is the Zulu
Coconut, also known as the Golden Nugget, and the Mardi Gras Coconut.
The coconut was mentioned as far back as 1910, where they were given in
a natural "hairy" state. The coconut is a cheap alternative, especially
in 1910 when the bead throws were made of glass. Before the Zulu Krewe
threw their famous coconuts, they threw walnuts that were painted gold.
This is where the name "Golden Nugget" originally came from. It is
thought that Zulu switched from walnuts to coconuts in the early 1920's
when Lloyd Lucus started to paint coconuts. Most of the coconuts have
two decorations. The first is painted gold with added glitter, and the
second is painted like the famous black Zulu faces. In 1988, the city
banned Zulu from throwing coconuts due to the risk of injury; they are
now handed to onlookers rather than thrown." we were talking with a woman who had been to the zulu parade 46 times. she had never caught a coconut. shawn didn't seem to get what a big deal catching a coconut was. until thursday afternoon in ponchatoula. we were in an antique store and the owner asked where we were from, were we down for mardi gras, did we see zulu and rex? "yes we did," i said, quite proudly, "and he caught a coconut." her jaw dropped and she said, in the sweetest southern accent imaginable, " you did?!")

after zulu was rex.


i have to say, as great as zulu was, rex was the opposite. it felt same old, same old after the mad chaos that was zulu. but we did it, we saw rex. the one and only. the king of mardi gras. oh, and rex beads - completely lame. and not a coconut in sight.

the truck parade started. pretty funny. but we'd been in one place long enough. teena was getting hungry. i wanted to take more pics. shawn and phil were amenable to just about anything. so, t & p left in search of food and shawn & i started to walk to the quarter. canal street was absolute madness.


crossing canal was a little like what i'd imagine falling down the rabbit hole would be like. we were on chartres between iberville & bienville and there were hundreds of superballs bouncing every which way. it stopped everyone who came upon them dead in their tracks. and there was a father and son standing on a balcony, with a bucket on the ground between them, laughing hysterically.

we then made our way to jackson square, where the scene intensified. there were protestors. what were they protesting? sin in all its forms.


and as you can see, the "sinners" were a plenty. the energy was absolutely explosive. there was a man dressed as god and a woman dressed like a gilder, topless mary. she was holding a sign that read, "don't let them fool you. the jesus freaks are here to see tits too." and there were still superballs following us.

and then there was this guy.

we stopped at the alpine for po' boys where we served by joe. joe is my waiter every time i go the alpine. and joe had been working since the wee small hours, pulling a double shift. and yet, service with a smile.

we then wandered some more, marveling at everything we were seeing. it seems we'd unwittingly crossed paths with the krewe of saint anne

we walked up to bourbon, meandered for a block, were grossed out and returned to chartres and royal. finally just popping a squat to people watch on someone's stoop.

there were some great musicians with great tattoos playing a few feet away.

by this time my battery had died in my camera. this is terribly unfortunate because as we were sitting there a man came out of the building next door. he appeared to be 70 or so. he was wearing a penguin costume. he waited a moment for what appeared to be his children and grandchildren to file out behind him. he took a few steps to the street and then began to waddle like a penguin. his wife who was the last out was also dressed as a penguin. he stopped in the street for a moment, she joined him, the held hands and waddled off together. seriously excellent.

that evening shawn & i found ourselves back in the french quarter - with a charged camera battery. bourbon street was still out of control disgusting. and the rest of the quarter had died down so we had a drink or two at molly's and then walked to the marigny.

oh. my. god.


there was music. there were people dancing in the street. it was nuts.
we went to dba for a few drinks and then returned to the street. for tacos and more people watching. there was a guy with a shopping cart he'd fashioned into a mobile dj booth. he had megaphone with lots of reverb. there were people everywhere. talking. laughing. dancing. everyone wishing everyone else a happy mardi gras.

it may sound ridiculous but after everything i've seen in new orleans and read or heard about new orleans since katrina - it felt great. to see people being raucously happy. not a care in the world. for one day.

you put on a costume. you take on a persona. you do ridiculous things. for one day.

i get it. and if its at all possible, it made me love new orleans even more.

at midnight, my inner carriage turned back into a pumpkin. we headed back to teena & phil's and i fell right to sleep. i dreamed of bouncing balls.

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on being a total dufus

so, i make this skirt last night.

and i looooove it. and its making me happy because it fits PERFECT. and it has happy dots. and minty plaid. i'm on a crafty girl roll. i decide, depite the lateness of the hour, to make a new bag to sell on etsy. i need some new bags to sell so i should do it now. i did after all make this really great skirt. silly, silly girl.

i was inspired by a bag in this book.

so, i had sketched it out. i had my fabric cut. a purple and white polka dot lining and this great hedgie cotton from superbuzzy. i had finished sewing the actual bag and was working on the handles. i had sewn two pieces of rbibon back to back with a bit of muslin for added strength. i had bought this ribbon for a dollar at hancock's and lurved it. serious lurve. for ONE dollar. i would have bought multiples but they only had the one. so,  i went to trim a piece of thread and my overtired brain cut right through the WHOLE HANDLE. and since i only had one spool, i was screwed. so, i did the best i could but could not, in good conscience sell it. new tote bag for me! too bad everytime i look at it i see the place where i stitched it back together and think about what a complete dufus i am.


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the daughter she never had

i was recently showing my mom how etsy works. she was interested in setting up a shop to sell her stained glass. and i was showing her how to navigate the wild world of etsy. i was showing her my favorites. i had marked a beautiful little crocheted dress for blythe as a favorite item. i asked mom if she could maybe crochet me up a little number like that for my blythe. after making me explain blythe to her (this was her first introduction to blythe) she said absolutely...

over the next week or so something inexplicable happened. my blythe ended up with 4 or 5 outfits, including a mardi gras dress and pet alligator, named oliver of course. she bought her own blythe doll and ordered it a few wigs. she decided that she really enjoyed making things for blythe and that maybe she should sell some dresses. she found a blythe fashion design contest where the winner gets an all expense  paid trip to japan, a limited edition blythe and your design on a limited edition blythe. she's determined. and she said she'd take me.

sunday i spent some time with mom, taking pics of blythe in her new wardrobe. i decided that she likes blythe so much because she can dress her up in a way i never would have put up with when i was younger. and she can make her wear a slip.

so, here is my mom's new shop. i'll be adding a bunch of new stuff over the next couple weeks so check back.

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you wanna see the zulu king?

i finally posted pics of my trip. i took over 700 pictures. i edited it down considerably. and i think this one is my absolute favorite.


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pixie roll props!

there are few things in the world that have made me do a happy dance like this. thanks knitty!

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sunday's random ten happy making things

  1. long days. i can't believe how late it got dark today. (although i'm sure tomorrow i'll be moaning about how dark it was at 7:00 a.m.)
  2. warm weather. spring. its coming. i can feel it. which means i will
    spend an entire month staring out my window at work and getting NOTHING
  3. erin mckeown. i heard her on all things considered and downloaded sing you sinners and am loving it.
  4. this monkey.
  5. the cute book.
  6. its old news because its been absolutely everywhere but this rocks.
  7. burnt butter brown sugar cupcakes from the nigella lawson domestic goddess cookbook.  i was skeptical but they were amazing.
  8. the ticket i received in southern illinois while driving down to nola has been dismissed. can i get a hell yeah?
  9. the pixie roll review in knitty. redundant, i know. but it made my week - without a doubt.
  10. the pixie rolls i just made.


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i occasionally check the stats of my blog. and as i've said here before i can see what people are googling that lands them here. "see-through nipples" being my favorite (this is the post that caused that craziness.)

this morning someone googled "not in love with husband anymore" and found their way here. which is a post in the category "i love my husband." which i do. a lot.

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because teena said so...

things i like: this american life, my lumix, baking (especially cupcakes), my new neighbors - liam, delia and kyle - and their yummy lasagna, wwoz online, these photos, paint chips, monkeys, haircuts, spring, bird nerd, this pattern, these pins, this shirt, WAWAYAs, jet li's fearlessnot buying clothing, middle eastern food, television, old country, and much much more.

things i dislike - a short list because i'm in a delightful mood:  this and the war. dumb.

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in the kitchen with shana & shawn

shawn & i are both quite good cooks. we both have our own strengths. he is gifted with meat. i have officially put a moratoreum on my cooking any meat that isn't a) ground or b) sausage. he is not allowed to bake. ever. i love baking. i make great salads. i am gifted with recipes that require a great deal of stirring (risotto, anything with a roux). i can make a mean veggie stir fry. his mashed potatoes rock  my world. and meat is really transformed in his hands. this works well for us. and we enjoy cooking. but for a long time we weren't doing much cooking.

one of my new year's resolutions was to cook more. i have to say we've barely been eating out. we've been trying new recipes left and right and i have to say, we've been eating better than we ever.

i've also been baking weekly. i think everyone in my life is starting to hate me for it because i won't keep more than one, maybe two servings of these baked goods in the house. so, they go to our neighbors, our offices, our families and friends. its fairly evil of me. especially since i know how much butter goes into everything.

so, i'm going to start writing more about our cooking adventures. for now, here's an incomplete list of desserts i've made since the beginning of the year:

  • baked hot chocolate - we loved this recipe so much we made it twice.
  • chocolate chip bundt cake - an old standby. its a weight watchers recipe that is actually amazing. i've never had a low fat dessert that was this good.
  • bananas foster - yummy boozy goodness.
  • peanut butter explosion - this recipe promised so much and delivered so little. although my guests that night seemed to enjoy it.
  • my brownies - i made a batch to bring to teena & phil. they are mmmm, mmmm good.
  • raspberry truffle bars - something was a little off with this recipe at first. and then something was REALLY off with the raspberries. i'd probably try again.
  • black bottom cupcakes - these were freakin' amazing. i was skeptical but damn!
  • burnt butter brown sugar cupcakes - new favorite recipe. seriously considering making them again this weekend for no good reason.
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i love lucy

yesterday when i went to visit my gram we were having a good ole time talking and laughing. she told me that she wished we knew one another when she was young because we would have have so much fun and would have been best friends. so sweet, right?

when i was leaving i called my mom to let her know how gram was doing. i relayed that conversation to my mom, who i knew would just love it. and my mom told me that yesterday morning she and gram were talking about my cousin's new baby. my mom told my gram that she was going to see the baby & jake that night and that i'd be stopping by to give her her evening pill. gram said, "oh that's nice. you know, i don't think babies are shana's bag."

i love her.

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