Thursday, March 30, 2006

a süperdüper double-play today.

it's all about brøklyn
fresh from the oven, new sans serif. listen to the show and feel inspired to make great things. fabulous new stuff in the station from brøklyn beats label, and the latest reason for loving canada is milosh. or should i say... me love?

decor galore
read my cyan-studded feature on magpie on ever-fabulous design blog decor8. davis square, how i love you. thanks to y'all for fostering such a great crafty community!

by the way, did i miss the memo that spring decided to come already? *cheep!*

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

some engrossingly gastronomic reviews:

cloisters on chocolate
reaffirming valrhona lovers worldwide. mmm.

nicecupofteaandsitdown on biscuits
no, not like this kind of biscuit. i'm talkin' about biscuits, like the british way of referring to cookies, you culturally-insensitive twit. ;) tea-drinking is ace!
[via notmartha]

traderjoefan on trader joe's
yes, confess. we all have our favourites, and will bend over backwards for them. for some, it's chocolate raspberry sticks ;) to be fair, i'm all about the near-instant indian meals in-a-pouch...

just enough to whet your palate. hee.

read and weep eat.


(a good lil' geeky acronym to get this party started.)

for those of you who are fortunate not to understand the above (and i'm not talking about the stuff that envelops your spanakopita), it stands for first-in last-out. which, in other words, means that i'll blog first about the stuff that happened last, and then move back in time. it's the whole push-pop principle. (nope, not that either.)


i attended a two-day retreat + sponsor event at cape cod on monday and tuesday, and have lots of photos and random anecdotes from the trip. however, as we were all gently reminded that all communications to sponsors and invited guests at sponsor meetings are considered confidential, i don't have that kind of dirt to share, though i can talk plenty about soapy pickles, tyvek kites, and clear-eyed cassiopeia. stay tuned.

though all the getting up early, talking with a lot of people, and listening to presentations all day can get kind of exhausting. i was quickly reminded that my grad student lifestyle could not be more removed from the corporate world. i returned to cambridge yesterday afternoon and went home to altogether decompress.

i have been planning an exciting experimental activity, in which i overdye my 500gr (ten balls' worth) of ebay-acquired debbie bliss cashmerino aran yarn from an ashy, dusty pink into a gorgeous deep berry hue. (i am convinced that all the debbie bliss shades are horrible for asian complexions.) it has been sitting in my stash for about a year now, and though i did contemplate using it for a niece-worthy sweater (or two, she's small), i believed i could wrong a right and improve upon this obviously under-potentialed yarn.

here is the before picture. cute, huh? i did my research, and thought this was going to be a piece of proverbial cake. i managed to get everything into neat hanks, tying them securely, and with a hopeful jar of jacquard acid dye in vermillon that i picked up from nearby pearl.

all i can say is that i followed the 'recommended' washing machine instructions (before you say anything i realise that this is probably the best option... FOR FABRIC!) on the delicate cycle, and the worst happened. nope, not felting; the high microfiber content keeps the MERINO and CASHMERE from fulling. le sigh. even more harrowing:

um. i caused that. yeah. feel free to call me names like yarn murderer and fibre monstre. plus, with all that trouble, the dye didn't really sink in at all! (the darker colour you see is most likely the fact that the yarn is wet.) so, however way you look at it, basically stinky all around.

so down in the dustbin in went. a shame, though i know full well not to mess with debbie bliss stuff anymore. the yarn is expensive, the colours are wack, and the quality's not that worth it. i'd much prefer rowan or artyarns for my money.

overdyeing, i wash my hands of you. :)

to make myself feel less destructive, i decided to be a little constructive...

i espied the unsweetened cocoa and slabs of chocolate in my pantry (downright staples) and knew i had to one-up my roommate's irresistible chocolate-chip cookies from last weekend with a one-two punch of a (chocolate * 2) challenger.

i followed the recipe from hersheys and 'customised' them with a healthy 12oz (approx. 2 cups) of hand-chopped (whose hands? my hands) bittersweet belgian pound plus chocolate from trader joe's. i also upped the yummy factor by using president unsalted beurre from france. they're so fancy that they distribute the butter in half-pound slabs rather than plebian quarter-pound sticks. it's like a king-size bed versus a twin-size one. the superior luxury is clear.

by the way, for the highly dramatic cookie execution i used my powerful new kitchen toy. for those who have been waiting in suspense (both of you), it's a 9-speed kitchenaid hand mixer. it has a completely unnecessary digital readout! it's super powerful, and actually was quite heavy to keep upright. maybe i have traded one effort (elbow grease) for another (weight training), though does a mixing spoon have a glowing red number indicating each of the nine speeds? no, i didn't think so.

i have now deemed this batch of cookies as chocolate whoa-verload.

(speaking of which... this in today...)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

by the way, has anyone gotten a glimpse of selvedge magazine?


it calls itself a publication for 'interior decorating + contemporary textile art', with articles such as:
  • Artextil's woven cloth has been gracing catwalks and celebrities for decades
  • Perfectly formed Italian designer Daniela Gregis creates unusual clothes of rare beauty
  • Seriously beautiful German designer Rundholz
a subscription for this jumps immediately on my wishlist.

some bliu ways to commence spring break:

gratifyingly greasy chinese eats.

last night, was so so so so so famished i could hardly function. anyone who's ever seen me in a starving state... well, i'm sorry. :) i get terribly irritated and short and one-track-minded on some sort of ingestible. it was a long evening of finishing up stuff for ars and dealing with an international faxing and social coordination. finally got out of lab and i had my sights set on chewy stirfry noodles at king fung garden. this place is perfect for those meals that are quirky, homey, and satisfying. kind of like a truckstop diner, chinese-style. the tiny tiny space houses about five faded-red vinyl booths and one friendly waitress for the whole place. i went with niknak and sam, and we snagged the last booth, with 10 minutes left before kitchen closing, sharing the restaurant with a gesticulating boi drama-dishing with fag hag, a row of cantonese regulars in the back, and about ten aryan pretty boys steadily cruising through cases of byoBeer. no matter. with blurred vision i hastily scanned the menu. i wanted anything, everything. between the three of us we got a plate of dumplings, two orders of scallion pancakes (sooo crispy and scalliony, some of the best around!), beef chow mein (chewy *thick* wheat noodles are my fav), chicken with hot peppers, and hong shao (red-stewed) lamb. yum. all i can say is that if you go, you must order either/all of scallion pancakes, any variation on chow mein (warning: fantastically greasy), and peking duck (their specialty). i was hoping to take photographs, but i was not wasting any time between myself and the chopsticks. it was a moment of desperation, so hope you understand.

we followed up the evening with bubble tea at the food court JUICE BAR. taro with pearl for me, please! with matching purple straw. went home so happy and SO FULL. ah.

from-scratch baking

woke up, um, pretty late. however, nothing to deter a girl from makin' muffins!

cinnamon streusel muffins, recipe from the betters homes + gardens cookbook that emerges from the cupboards ever once in a while.

mix 1 3/4 cup flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt. make a well in the middle. in a separate bowl mix 1 beaten egg, 3/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup oil. pour liquid mix all at once in the dry mix and stir until just altogether moistened (lumpy). put into 12 muffin liners. i put the streusel on top: mix 3 Tbsp flour, 3 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon together, and cut in 2 Tbsp butter. sprinkle on top. bake 400 degrees for 18-20 min.

these are super tidy muffins. a good mix of savory and sweet, so a good base for a pat of butter or clotted cream.

arrival of secret pal package

from my nashville-based sp7!

- 2 skeins charcoal lion brand wool-ease thick + quick
- hello kitty plush puppet
- hello kitty heart-shaped tin box
- 3 green votive candles and holder
- green apple candies (in knitting-girl casing)

thank you! the yarn will be great for last minute gifts o' warmth, and i can never get enough chartreuse in my day... :)

the day is still young, and the christine is still on-task. over and out, enjoy the weekend!

Friday, March 24, 2006

do you ever get the experience of 'cacheing' your thoughts in terms of blog postings? ever since tuesday i've been in the mode of 'yeah, there's something i really want to write about today' but then putting it off longer and longer until it's barely blog-worthy. :) but so it goes, and i naturally combat the circumstance by doing a spectacle well-known around here.

the blitzblog reigns anew!

congrats to aaron!

my labmate was accepted this week as a ph.d. candidate in smg. yay! a lot of other people also heard good news acceptances. the media lab will once again be crawling with fresh, new, brains...

the hopper collection at the huntington theatre.

the office of the arts at mit always has a ton of freebie tickets to students, especially for music concerts by the boston modern orchestra project and collage new music, and usually i dont attend many theatrical productions, but these tickets became available and thought it might be a fun tuesday evening diversion.

in my blitz i'll just say that the production was great, the theatre is most charming, and the seats go from empty to teeming in the span of an unbelievable 30 seconds before the start of the play. lots of older folks. i guess that's your target demographic when balcony seats (for a one-act play that's 90 minutes with a cast of a talented four) are ticketed at $41. eep! but the main actress in the play does the psychotic-philantropistwife-obsessive role quite well. plus, her wardrobe rocked. props to the costume designer... the dresses are very diane von furstenberg...

hair news

yesterday i got my bi-monthly usual at my main-stay, le gala hair group, 78 essex street, in boston chinatown, with stylist sam. i recommend this place to all my friends, asian or not. :) i've frequented this place for years, with many reasons, including (a) complimentary beverages (including hot tea!), (b) the double-wash (they shampoo your hair, cut, and then rinse your hair again to get all the loose bits out), (c) the proliferation of flat-screen LCD televisions broadcasting chinese pop music videos, (d) a comfy environment with italian furniture and track lights galore, and (e) the kicker: INSANE SCALP MASSAGES. i kid you not, and it's not a separate service. when you go in for a haircut, they take you to the shampooing area, where they do the normal sudsing up, but then proceed to rock out on your scalp with their fingers in a rhythmic, soothing, stimulating procedure that goes on seemingly forever until you're sad to feel it come to an end. it's an incredible nicety, one that brings me back loyally.

a couple things that weren't part of the usual yesterday. for one, i opted to get highlights in a violet-dark-red. the last time i got my hair coloured in the salon years ago, it was kind of a angry-at-bf-so-taking-it-out-on-my-hair kind of thing, which is a good occasion as any. but for this time, it was just a spontaneous splurge. also, i missed the c-pop music! all the sleek sexy televisions were tuned to cnn, and it reminded me once again how completely irritating mainstream television news coverage is. especially on a 24/7 network where they recycle the same stupid four sensationalistic stories round and round the clock ("the story: business meetings... in strip clubs? if you're out there watching, email us to tell us what you think!"). i thought it was unbelievable that the stylists wouldnt go absolutely batty, but then again, they probably can tune out english pretty well. (sam, who's from hongkong, attempted but couldn't comprehend when i asked jokingly, 'where did the pop music go?" he repeated lightly, 'pop. music. popmusic. sorry, i dont understand.' and then proceeded to work magic on my mop. hair is our universal language.)

so above you have the before and after photos. whats the verdict?

hot lys action

since i was already in downtown crossing area, i stopped by windsor button (i wrote a post on it earlier this week, per the dailycandy mention) to pick up stuff for the last package for my secret pal. i got her a bunch of plymouth dreambaby to make the hello kitty (in last post), some absolutely dreeeeaaamy misti cotton (pima cotton + silk) in her signature colour lavender, a fun assortment of buttons for all types of crafty projects, a bonne bell lipgloss in cookie dough flavour (even i was tempted to get one myself), and a cadbury creme caramel egg, because the creme can always use more caramel. hope she likes it!

and yes, here are some gratuitous pictures of the yarn at windsor button. this is only but a teensy tiny glimpse at the selection. love the malibrigo (though everytime i go it seems like it's being restocked constantly), and i also drool over (not pictured) the steadfast fibers "wonderful wool" and the interlacements handpaints. there was also some yarn near the front counter, a humongous $35 hank of 850 yds of colour-saturated handdyed superwash merino. i thought the label was called 'color and weave' but i think i'm mistaken since i cant find info about it anywhere. (like, thanks, google!) i'll have to double-check. anyone know what i'm talking about? the thing is hard to miss.

the creature from the handspun lagoon

homage to flickerminick.

yarn: stoneleafmoon, kitty colourway, about 60 yds
needles: 6
pattern: my own; the tentacles adapted from tendrils here
verdict: soft, cute, and creepy. just as i like 'em.

i have a choice of adding more tentacles, or making a teeny tiny cousin of this one. decisions, decisions.

thy name is alpaca

i received the skeins of domestic alpaca from my mommy (who is eating well in taiwan right now!) i am the proud owner of five 3oz paca pouches. the name's a little, um, strange but i can see the idea of these as perfect sizes for carry-along projects. pictures are pending, but they're all a light toasted brown colour (perfect au naturale or for more dyeing experiments), and roughly fingering weight. the ones i have spun by mini-mills in the US (though i've contacted the producers and seems as though they're looking into commercial mills right now).

now, what do i do with this awesome 1000+ yds of domestic alpaca that's fallen in my possession? any project ideas (which i can always ruminate for commencing in the future) would be most welcome! i'm always at a loss when it comes to finer-than-worsted yarn. :) a lace shawl seems the most natural consideration, but i'm not a shawl-y kind of person. i could probably bend the rules for ene's scarf from scarf style, and ever-cute eunny somehow transforms lacy shawls into something fashionable (or dare i say, modern!). it's kind of nuts, but she does. [i can hardly believe it coming from me, either.] doing socks are also a consideration, but i dont want to overdo it on the feet, and i'd have to worry about reinforcing the alpaca on cuffs, heels, and toes. making gloves would be a very practical project, because even though i currently have a cashmere pair that were a gift from scotland, they are inarguably too big. however, i haven't found a glove pattern that i've fallen in love with yet.

project of the moment

march 24 deadline for proposals to the [the next idea] prix at ars electronica. heehe, that's today! on the agenda: think, synethesize, develop, and propose within the next several hours. more details on this to come!

p.s. i got a mini-lesson on dialectics today, courtesy of hugo with a demonstration involving silkscreened t-shirts and a rolling office chair. good luck pumping out the thesis!

hey anna!

thought you might be tickled pink at the prospect of making...

and then i found this internet *gem*...

[click on the pix to get to the respective websites.]

hope you like your surprise :)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

check out mit's homepage today. w00t!

p.s. those gorgeous hands belong to no one else but niknak, rocking the rings. ;) he was very, very patient...

if i say so myself, a slew of awesome mixes last night.

around the world in 80 bpm.

spankin' new sans serif playlist and show.

[love the anoushka shankar.]

sitars meet synthesizers meet turntables. toss on your headphones and figure it out...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


today's dailycandy boston spotlights downtown crossing's fabled yarn and notions store windsor button, bastion of fondleable malabrigo, comprehensive ribbon selection, and the only place in town with brown sheep lamb's pride.

however, its writeup in dailycandy (a fashionista's guide to life through weblinks, essentially) is a little odd. i know they always try to stylize their posting to be as sassy as possible (the tongue-in-cheek glammy tone is part of their identity), but this just seems a wee bit stretched thin for my taste:
You wear cardigans, carry doctor bags, and have swapped anything higher than a kitten heel for flats. It’s a wonder strangers aren’t asking about your grandkids.

But in the fair age of microdermabrasion and hair glossing, you should be taking your granny get-ups to the next level.

Which is where Windsor Button comes in. The Downtown Crossing sewing and craft store has been around since before your real grandma and now offers lunchtime knitting and crocheting classes. (Yes, really. And if you don’t learn now, are you ever going to?)

Stop by for an hour of instruction on everything from baby blankets and hats to sweaters and, well, it’s up to you. (The teachers encourage maximum needle and hook creativity.)

You’ll be stitching adorable sweater sets in no time.

And wearing them to your favorite early-bird specials, no doubt.

um.... yep, that's it.

it raises a lot of questions. why does crafting (or cardigans, or doctor bags) have to always be associated with grandmas? it's incredibly cliché, especially now during the throes of post-modern craft artists.

by the way, i thought microdermabrasion was specifically marketed to older women. mmm, who's the obsolète now? :)

Monday, March 20, 2006

some bits and pieces, gleaned clean from today's bliu machine...

exhibit a.

i was shocked to find an unbelievably likable shrug pattern from tahki stacy charles in their latest newsletter. not only is it classy, modern, (and dare i say, in aran weight yay-for-green wool), the pattern is free on their website for an indeterminate amount of time. snag it soon before it gets bumped off the radar by some horrid cotton tape yarn with self-striping metallic glitz.

exhibit b.

i of all people know that there's nary a cat that isn't deemably cute (except you know who you are, butterball), but i felt a complete gravitation toward this pic at cute overload. honestly, i think it's the vintage wallpaper that wins me over. what is that thing hanging on the wall? it doesnt matter, it's shabby chic!

exhibit c.

for some reason, i had overlooked supermaggie in the realm of online coolycrafty. amazing felted scarves at supermaggie! featured at left is the hole scarf in mint. browsing the site almost tempts you to grab some roving and take a warm sloshy bath with it.

exhibit d.

doesn't it always strike you as wonderfully coincidental when diverse blog communities intersect, crossing unexpected paths? i remember feeling like that quite strongly when i first met shannon okey (shown at left on knitty gritty) and susan kaup at a most random boston blogger meetup in cambridge practically four years ago. i was pretty naïve during the whole thing. :) and now look how amazingly these gals and guys influence the blogosphere!

anyway, while doing research and playing around with phpFlickr, i meandered over to all things alceste, a blog with a few cute phpFlickr scripts. dan coulter... i see that name almost constantly on my subscription to yws-flickr yahoo groups. :) [*update* dan confusion! the alceste guy is 'dan steingart', oopsie.] then i click over to his girlfriend's blog, sally says. and wouldn't you know it, she's a knitcraftchick! and then, she references the sgt. pepper knit coat by anna bell, whose elfine socks are on my needles now. whoa. and i finally made a connection between anna bell, the sleek designs on magknits, and the next-door neighbor to dear glampyre on the hipknits pattern page.

anyway, it probably makes sense to no one but me, but with the above concessions, my mental representation of the blogosphere kind of imploded. it was a little messy.

despite the fact that it seems like there are a gazillion people out there typing their hearts out, i definitely get a sense of the social hubs, the existence of a finitely small, strong community that makes the system of knowledge truly work...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

a bright, quiet sunday afternoon. doing the job search thing, eating a chimichanga for lunch, having fun with the french press, and laundering my duvet covers (multiple, since i like soft, warm sleepies). my roommate went off to watch the st. patrick's parade in south boston, which i was tempted to attend, but the prospect of mini-agoraphobia amid lots of green-faced cityfolk didn't seem like the most ideal thing. at least not this morning. :)

more of a photo-journal for today, but a glimpse of yesterday's almond cookies cum almond snaps astral extravaganza and handpainted luxury.

by the way, the recipe for the baked goods is from four ingredient cooking. any guesses on what the four ingredients are? i think it's safe to say that almonds are involved somehow. but perhaps that could be a trick question...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

i just got a call from my mom, who is attending some alpaca festival or something in maryland. she got some yarn for me (yay thanks, mommy!), and to my delight they are handspun from some local alpaca breeders. the hanks are from millstone manor (i believe it's the white baby alpaca 2-ply sport weight), and from prairie lake alpacas. they're natural and probably too beautiful to dye with my rudimentary kool-aid skills, but we shall see.

i do know of this woolapalooza going on at drumlin farm in april. anyone planning on going?

p.s. more culinary episodic tales to come. i got a new toy for the kitchen! hint: it's unnecessarily digital.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

voilà. new sans serif for your emusicolabiohydrotopological pleasure.

fancy new stuff that steal liucubed's <3:

yea big, a.k.a. stefan robinson.

wonderfully crispy glitchy busted dancefloor with enough textures in there to keep things surprising. it's playful and bizarre and spotless and deconstructed all at once, and by the way, there's a robot on the cover. yes, admittedly, now that i think about it it's kinda prefuse 73 esque, but the seque of minitracks on the album are an addictive progression.
Stefen Robinson’s Yea Big project spews outglitch-damaged beats with little breathingroom, letting tracks and sounds spew together in one uncoordinated splurge. It’s decidedly hip-hop in it’s own way, but the closest The Wind That Blows The Robot’s Arms gets to beat street is through charging, straightforward drum breaks—though they are overlaid with enough static, chopped-up instrumentation and other assorted noisiness to drive less Prefuse-damaged listeners to the breaking points. --CMJ
naturally, there's a yea big myspace where you can listen to track samples. will i ever get over my annoyance about automatically-loading audio on the web? every time i have an occasion to visit myspace i'm brought back to the cringing nostalgia of MIDI background audio that blared upon loading a homepage blinding you with the retina-razing array of animated gifs. i know from experience.

alif tree. he's french and the cd is all about the poetics of food. i'll take the downtempo vocals and a side of fennel fois gras, please...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

article to take to heart: the pickle jar theory.

the only thing i'll add is that i probably add salt after the water, to make a nice saturated brine.

and luckily, i do like crunchy pickles. a whole jar of them.

p.s. the article has nothing to do with pickles. really. but it doesn't hurt that i am a supersour girl...

stale chocolate

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

stale chocolate
Originally uploaded by viciousg42.

i am fully aware that this blog is growing crusty by the second...

stay tuned as i get my life back on track.

[speaking of food going bad, i had a little tummy battle with last night's dinner. meat, apparently, is not impervious even when safely tucked into the freezer.]

by the way, contrary to what may be popular belief on my eating 'habits', i am proud to say that this is not my chocolate. first of all, the hersheys is a dead giveaway. also, any form of chocolate would simply never sit around the house that long without getting eaten. unless it was special icelandic unpronouncably tasty chocolate, but that in itself deserves its own separate story.

back soon.

Friday, March 10, 2006

something to brighten a midday friday. presenting... the odessas!

sometime in the last two weekends, between the oscars and whatnot, i managed to whip these cuties up. i think each just took a couple hours on a comfy evening. blame it on the aran weight yarn, heh heh. :) without further ado...

take a couple skeins of merino:

voila, they magically sprout faces!

so i made my roommate's first (the cream), and then mine. they're pretty much identical except for color.

yarn: laines du nord korall (from my sp7!)
needles: 9 (ribbing) / 10.5
beads: i tried to string some size 6/0 beads (the largest that beadworks carries), but on the aran weight yarn it was like trying to put a camel through the eye of the needle. anyway, camels are fuzzier.
amendments: i cast on 70 stitches; the rest is the same. i found that if i started decreasing at 5.5" (like in the pattern) it still worked out fine for my big head. plus i got some mileage from blocking, so all is superwell.
verdict: so cute and so satisfying!
plus the yarn is very soft and s p r o i n g y.

and if you were wondering,
roommate's meal: teriyaki chicken + rice.
(blue-striped bowl courtesy of the cambridge salvation army.)

see? even totoro approves.

[quasi x-posted on mit snb]