Monday, July 30, 2007

Cinematic Fire

I had a weekend filled with activity including the viewing of two very different films that both, oddly, worship the flame.


Friday night I bolted from the cube farm at 6:00 pm sharp with great anticipation for I knew that I was about to get immersed in the new Danny Boyle film, Sunshine. Now before I launch into my completely hackneyed review, I will tell you that I'm a bit biased when it comes to the genre in which this film finds its home. To put it bluntly, if there's a spaceship in it, I'm likely to watch it or read it with fervent glee whether the selection be good, bad, ugly or a combination thereof.

Moving right along...

Ahhh yes, Sunshine. Visually, the film is stunning. This fact alone was enough to keep my attention from straying. Okay, exterior of the the ship looked like a big skeletal phallus topped by a disco ball with a lobotomy, but what a shining glittery beauty it was nonetheless!


Okay, let's begin at the beginning shall we? Premise? Set in the future (obviously) where our sun happens to be dying. The human race, ever resourceful and apparently without plans for alternative real estate, decides to reignite our failing star. After a thwarted attempt at doing just that by a first mission on a ship called the Icarus I, a new multinational crew aboard a second ship, the Icarus II, attempt to achieve what the first crew and ship could not, shoot an enormous explosive (contained within the lobotomized disco ball) into the center of our sun in order to reignite the light.

C'mon, you all know that this plan is bound for failure...

What's sci fi without its tension-filled conundrums, fiery explosions, the vastness of space sucking little human forms through all of those vacuous broken airlocks?

Oh, but did I mention that the first mission was lost? Without a trace? Or so we were lead to believe??? Yeah well, this fact doesn't stop the sucking airlock action.


Alrighty then. So, the Icarus II is speeding its way toward the sun, introducing its crew members to the audience (check out Sunshine's website for detailed info about the cast) along the route, when a crew member, aptly the ship's communications officer, just so happens to hear a distress signal from none other than the Icarus I. A very brief discussion amongst the ship's inhabitants regarding the best way in which to handle this development results in a chorus of fingers pointing in the direction of the ship's physicist (read bomb babysitter) so that he may shoulder the final decision for the group. Sure, let the geeky dude be the fall guy. Anyway, bomb dude makes the painstaking decision to steer sequel ship in the direction of original recipe in order to, you know, search for any survivors (even though they probably haven't eaten for seven years) and more importantly ensure the success of his crew's mission by hitching bomb numero uno to their ship and taking it with 'em. Far-fetched? Hell yeah, but that's what makes this stuff GOOD!

Did I mention the film is pretty???

Okay, so this is point in the program where everyone in the film gets picked off one by one. Awesome. The captain dies by bursting into flame while trying to fix a malfunctioning shield panel. Cool. The navigation officer slits his wrists. Messy. The ship's shrink sacrifices himself in some rays aboard the Icarus I. Cool redux. The communications officer gets blasted out of the airlock sans groovy Metropolis-esque space garb, becoming an instant space-cicle. Ouch. The ship's engineer plays sequel to the communications dude, freezing in the vehicle's coolant pool while trying to jump-start ye olde Icarus II after Freddy Krueger made a mess of things. Ouch, ouch.

Wait a minute. How did Freddy Krueger get aboard the Icarus II?

Well, the man threw his dirty striped sweater to wind, opting for a new kinda crazy aboard the Icarus I. Seriously, who needs dreamscapes when you can torture peeps in the flesh?

Still confused. Well, let me clarify.

Icarus I's captain, Freddy for our purposes, after watching his shipmates torch themselves in some awesome rays aboard the observation deck of the ship, apparently became a bit loopy. Really, I don't know if his demeanor was due to the fact that he watched all of his shipmates bite the dust (literally) in a tremendous inferno, if he just got a little too much sun himself or if he's just cranky because he wants a burger. Whatever the reason for this psychotic break, he's super tan, definitely discontented and sneaky enough to board the sequel ship and blow the airlock to the original recipe enabling him to continue his malcontent low-cal ways. Low blood sugar can make one pretty darn cranky.

Back to the death blow by blow...

The ships biologist gets slasher-filmed by Freddy from behind. Ooops. The final three...the bomb dude, some emotional chick named Cassie and Freddy (finally getting his due) meet their blazing demise by rocketing into the center of the sun while contained in the lobotomized disco ball. The end.

Predictable as this film was in parts, it's still a good story. And did I mention it's pretty? Really. It's a visual treat, well, except for Freddy. He wasn't lookin' so good.

Journey to the Flames

Movie number two from this weekend last...

Website says:

"Join a group of friends as they head to one of the largest social experiments in the world. 30,000 people meet out in the desert to create a city out of empty desert. The rules are simple: no commerce; bring what you need to survive; leave no trace; participants only; no spectators. Take a journey into a world of art, music, sexuality and fire. Lots of fire."

Okay, so the hubs and I were invited to screen this documentary with two friends who happen to be Burning Man diehards. Needless to say, hubby and I are Burning Man nohards.

Ooooh, that sounds nasty.

Actually it sounds like we both suffer from ED, which is a distinct impossibility for moi. I digress...

Anyway, my friends invited us to the screening in an effort to enlighten us.

People, I went to art school.

For eight years!

Okay, it took me six years to finish my Bachelor's Degree. Stow yer judgments. I finished the MFA in the requisite two years. Jeesh.

Anyway, naked, fire, dancing, beat up cars with dirty Barbies glued to the hood, wigs, Yves Klein blue boobies? That was my coffee break in between classes while doing the art school thang. Okay, the desert would be a new twist on the aforementioned, but hey, I'm old and it's dusty there!

And hot.


Not going.

Although, I thought the film was a lot of fun. The group of friends that the filmmaker followed through eight consecutive years of the festival were completely engaging to watch and their passion for the experience was definitely palpable, but I'm still not going.

I did however come away from the screening with tons of ideas for my Mongolian expedition gear. A cape trimmed in EL Wire would make a phenomenal piece of travel garb amidst the backdrop of the Gobi Desert don't you think? Okay, maybe not a necessity. Work with me people!

Anyway, I love that my buds are Burning Man diehards. I love that they dragged me to this screening and editorialized each scene with their own specific BM reflections. I also love that there is a festival filled with thousands of peeps hell-bent on personal expression in the middle of the Nevada desert in the middle of August!

That. Takes. Devotion.

You go, you playa par-tay-ers you!

It's all about the fire baby.

Whew....I'm hawt.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bag Style

My next pattern, co-designed with my buddy Bri, to be available soon in Bag Style! Yay!!

Apparently there will be KAL associated with the book as well. How cool is that?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Snakes on a Plane

While traveling around these past few weeks I took the time to indulge in a little OPP (other people's patterns). Not only does this give me a break from my design on a dime schedule, but I get a chance to make some really cool stuff!

I thought it apropos to tackle this awesome scarf while sitting in a tube at 30,000 feet...

Yep, I knit a snake on a plane! It just doesn't get more smart-ass than that.

This quick knit was made using this here kit available from Morehouse Farm (one of my favorite yarn sites to visit). When I purchased the rattler kit I also purchased this kit. Can't wait to get started on the fire breathing neck wrap!

I love the internets.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Jackson Hole, WY

I'm back from trip no. 2 of week of travel no. 2.

I am spent.

Last week's travel was on behalf of the cube farm. The trip was meant to be a retreat so effectively half work/half fun stuff. Fortunately it ended up being just that.

My little band of global MD's flew into the absolutely stunning locale of Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Tuesday, bringing our retreat participant count to 10 dudes and moi. I have worked with this group for about 7 years now and I know each of them quite well, therefore being the only female in the gang was not an issue. The guys always treat me with respect and never fail make me feel included, which is good because I can make their individual working lives very unpleasant if I wanted to.

Fear factor, it's a good thing.

Anyhoo, everyone arrived at the resort around noon on day no. 1. We launched into a very a productive meeting accompanied by a nice lunch overlooking the ski slopes.

Our evening was spent dining on the resort's patio.

Day no. 2 included a short meeting in the a.m. followed by white water rafting on the Snake River. I wish that I had pics to share but I haven't had them developed yet. Anyway, here's a nice one of my river hair...

After getting cleaned up and having a final meeting in the bar of the resort, we all headed over to the Million Dollar Cowboy Steakhouse for dinner. Now, I haven't eaten red meat in a few months (part of my newly found health nuttiness), but I did indulge in a petite filet while at dinner. It was definitely tasty, but I'm happy to be back on my chicken and fish regimen now. After the conclusion of our meat-fest we walked over to the rodeo for some local color.

The group encountered this guy on the way...

This was my first time at the rodeo, but I settled in with an appropriate beverage and watched the show.

The sky that evening was magical...

Our little example of corporate culture really enjoyed the evening. Even our overseas participants (one hailing from Paris, the other from Tokyo) told me they loved it.

Our return to the resort saw most of the group retire for the evening. Some of us decided to proceed to the Mangy Moose Saloon for a nightcap where we were serenaded by this band...

Actually, I really liked them. So much so that I even bought their CD. Their style is rock infused with African rhythms. Definitely my type o' tunes.

Day no. 3 began on a series of small boats for a three hour fly-fishing excursion on the Snake River. This time I was able to take a few pics with my digital camera...

I didn't catch anything, but it was a great experience being on the river the entire morning nonetheless. Actually fishing has the same effect on my psyche as crocheting and knitting, without the hand pain that is. There could be a bit of fly-tying in my future...

Lastly, a few of us had the afternoon to kill before our flights out. We decided to ride the gondola up the mountain for a fantastic view of the landscape.

All in all, not a bad way to spend a work week!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Manchester: The Highlights

So, I'm back...for a day anyway. I hop another plane tomorrow. This time I'm bound for Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Expect posts from "rodeo country" the rest of the week.

Yeah, my life is just so jet set right now. Jet set with a suitcase full of dirty undies. I know, how glam!

Anyhoo, back to the goings on in New Hampshire...

Yarn, Hooks and Rock n' Roll

I have to say that last week as a whole is a blur. I took so many great classes and workshops that it makes my head spin to think back on the experience. Also, an aspect of this trip that I've only just touched on thus far, and definitely deserves more attention than I've given it, is the fact that I spent the entire week sharing this creative travel extravaganza with my mom and daughter. We three took many classes together, shared our daily meals and partook in a bit of collaborative geographic discovery. It just doesn't get much better than this!

Nonetheless, throughout the trip I would check-in with my two familial traveling companions because, let's face it, I was in the yarn zone, which is about as close to heaven on earth as I'm ever going get, and some people just don't zone out the way I tend to. So, I took regular "sound checks".

Everyone having fun?


Everyone excited about learning new stuff?


Everyone have room in their luggage to accommodate the amount of yarn we are purchasing?

You bet, it squishes down!

Okay, good. Just making sure that we're all on the same page...

We three yarnateers took some amazing classes together. There was of course Tunisian Crochet with Darla Fanton, Embellishments with Colleen Davis and Menopause Fairies with my extraordinarily talented friend, Noreen Crone-Findlay (Lena concentrated on making a PMS teen fairy for this class, which is pretty much the same thing sans hot flashes). In addition, when I was going solo and absorbing my various design workshops, Lena and Mom took a few crochet technique courses. They both told me that they enjoyed these classes together immensely.

Also of note this trip was the fact that my daughter was, I believe, one of the youngest, if not THE youngest, participants taking classes. Let me tell you all, Little Linoleum was unstoppable, picking up techniques faster than I could shake a hook at. In Colleen Davis' Embellishments class, which was primarily knitting-centric, Lena's level of creative exploration was neither quelled by the fact that knitting was the name of the game, nor did it have any effect on her ability to complete the class exercises. (Lena is primarily a crocheter you see.) While we worked, I quickly translated the various motif knitting instructions for her into crochet and she was off, whipping out beautiful leaves and flowers faster than most of the adults in the class could turn out. Her crab stitch edgings were perfection from the first stitch and she made piles of lovely flowers edged with picot. The kid is definitely a talent to stop and take notice of. Yes, I am very proud!

Meet n' Greets

So, days filled with yarn meant nights free to soak up the local color, so to speak. We had much fun exploring the area, having a chance to meet up with a few native artsy and craftsy bloggers native to this New England region. Boston with Deb and Maryse and Rochester with Susan!

What a treat!

You know when you meet people and the conversation just seems to flow? No awkward silences or looking at your watch? Yeah well this is how it is/was with these three amazing women!

You already heard about Boston so I'll spare you the replay, but I've yet to tell you about our visit with Susan! In a word? Lovely.

We three yarnateers were fortunate enough to be in New Hampshire for the opening of Summer Splendor at Artstream Studios. The show is beautiful as is the space in which it is installed. Oh, and the owner? Just awesome!

I don't know how Susan and I found one another on the world wide web, but it was definitely kismet. That's for sure. She's a wonderful painter, a really astute gallerist and just an all around amazing individual. Oh, and her husband and children are pretty darn sweet too. I'm so happy I was able to meet this woman!

And I agree Susan. We will need more time on our next visit!


Last week can only be characterized as a full slate. However, in addition to all of the above, I may have also opened up a dialog between a major publisher of craft books and Monster Crochet. Since meeting the Director of New Publications for said company on Friday and Saturday, we have since exchanged emails, a good sign.

Keep yer digits crossed...

Next stop, Wyoming!

Friday, July 13, 2007

I *Heart* Lily Chin

Day 3 in Manchester. It was beautiful this morning...

Today Mom, Lena and I had two classes a piece on the schedule. In the morning Lena and Mom took a woven crochet class while I took a design workshop with my girls, Mary Beth Temple and Amie Hirtes, given by the amazing Lily Chin.

As most of you already know your Lady of the Linoleum hails from Art World Central, far, far away from Downtown Design. So as a result, I am now trying to educate myself on the fundamentals of how to construct garments. This is why conferences such as the Knit and Crochet Show, offering a variety of classes for the design professional (no matter the level of expertise), are an attraction for me.

I was fortunate to register early enough to be able to get into Lily's class, Fine Shaping in Stitch Patterning. Basically, the premise of the class was to learn to use and modify pattern repeats according to the shaping and construction of a crocheted or knitted garment. Fascinating to say the least. Life-changing really.

First the brilliant Ms. Chin had us use our own measurements to create a personalized sweater template...

After creating the template and subsequent discussion, Lily gave us lots of amazing handouts from her book (which I already own, thank you very much) to aid us in our design efforts.

Lily then asked us to take out our homework assignments, which consisted of 8" x 8" pattern swatches along with photocopies of said swatches, so that the patterning portion of the program could get underway. We used the templates in the handouts to figure out how to modify a pattern repeat to accommodate a neckline...

and an armhole...

Pretty cool, eh?

Finally she showed us how to create interior garment shaping, using shell stitch as an example, by working up a swatch in class.

You can really see the shaping when the swatch is folded in half...

I have to say though that the best aspect of the entire class for me was how Lily described the act of decreasing ("popping a zit") and increasing ("growing a tumor"). Really. How much do you love that terminology?

After class I met up with Mom and Lena for lunch at the Red Arrow...

They make Twinkies from scratch at this dining establishment! I think that this is my new favorite restaurant.

Anyway, after finishing lunch we went back to the hotel for our second and last class. Mom, Lena and I took this one together, Tunisian Crochet with Darla Fanton. OMG, I love this technique! I cannot believe I didn't get my Tunisian hook on sooner! Lookie my little swatchie...

I think that Mom and Lena enjoyed the class too. Lena looks completely enthralled, no?

If you ever get a chance to take a class from Darla, we three Linoleum's highly recommend it. Darla is a wonderfully supportive teacher.

After class we made our way to the marketplace where Lena suckered me into buying her copious hanks of Koigu, Mom bought some hand-painted merino and I indulged in a small truck load of Habu fibers.

Stay tuned! More to come!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bean Town

I know.

I know!

I've been outta sight. Hopefully not out of mind though.

Uh yeah, no need to respond to that last statement.

Anyhow, Monday morn last (verwy, verwy early I might add) I hopped a flight with Mom and Offspring to Boston for we were on our way to the Knit and Crochet Show in Manchester, NH.

Totally uneventful flight (just the way I like 'em), followed by an equally effortless cab ride to our hotel in Back Bay, preceded a lovely dinner at Stephanie's on Newbury.

The meal began with a wonderful dish of batter dipped and fried calamari rings and banana peppers along with a pitcher of sangria. Don't worry. The Offspring didn't get liquored up. Anyway, following that aperitif/appetizer portion of the program, LenaLinoleum indulged in the pan roasted pressed half chicken, MamaLinoleum in the red beet and Vermont goat cheese salad topped with a whopping side of salmon and I savored a no-so-light and lobster pot pie (yeah, there goes the health nuttiness I've worked so diligently to garner these last few months). Finally, we rounded out the meal with a shared slice of amazing blueberry pie topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Heaven on a plate, to be sure. The entire meal was lovely and much anticipated by we three chickadees because let's face it, handfuls of trail mix on a coast to coast jaunt does not a happy tummy make.

We pretty much crashed after dinner. Too much food on too little sleep.


Yesterday began with a trip to Massachusetts General Hospital for moi. Not exactly sight-seeing for the rich and famous, but what I neglected to tell you all about Monday morn (verwy, verwy, verwy early) was that I awoke with a nasty UTI. Unfortunately, I was forced to make a decision: forgo my Knit and Crochet wonderland holiday or pop a bunch of Aleve, hope for an aisle seat on the plane and find a physician upon my arrival. I picked the latter.

By 11:00 am I had antibiotics in my satchel and voicemail message on my phone from Boston's kitchy craft chick who also happens to be one of my fave crafty personas, which meant things were 'bout to be looking up! Mom, Lena and I were set to spend an afternoon with Stitchy and THE Bag 'n' Trash babe. How awesome is that? Nothing like shopping for crafty crap with those in the know.

Wanna see my newly acquired stash???

C'mon, you know you wanna.

Oh, I need to delay your stashification view for one moment...Before embarking upon craftuscollectus we five foxes took in a little pizza pie at this establishment. It was fantabulous. I had a slice of Sicilian topped with spinach and garlic. Now, before you start with the wise-cracks about my holiday diet I will tell you that pizza is very good for you. It has all of the food groups. Tomato sauce? Fruit. Spinach? Veggie. Cheese? Dairy. Dough? Grains. I'm pretty much off pepperoni for the long haul. Nonetheless, rationalization is the spice of life my friends...

Anyway, back to the stash enhancement...

Our first stop on the crafty path was Windsor Button. They have a really wonderful selection of yarn; everything from Malabrigo to good ole Red Heart Super Saver. I purchased a large hank of Cherry Tree Hill in a lovely clown hair colorway...

And a hank of sparkly, orange-y, fushia-y Blue Heron...

Our second stop was Winmil Fabrics at which I purchased two fabulous yards of graffiti spandex...I'm thinking leggings. Or not.

Neato eh? And not too indulgent. I do show restraint every now and again.

Mucho thanks to my Bostonian girls for their yarn-pushing hospitality. Gotta love that.

I have so much more to tell, but I will save it for tomorrow. I will, however, leave you with a few of my travel pics thus far...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

We Make Big Fire

Thank you all for your thoughts, advice and collective wisdom regarding my last post. I read each and every comment more than once, to be sure. Basically, I have yet to decide the direction of my infant design endeavor, but I can assure you all that your responses to my self-imposed dilemma have really pushed me to reevaluate my motivations and goals. I just have to get through this period so that I can think clearly on the situation as a whole.

On a lighter note, I actually ventured outside the confines of ChezLinoleum a couple of times in past week for non-cube farm related activities AND I even left my project bag at home while attending the first of two festivities, giving my aching hands a much needed rest. I also knew that I would be imbibing at the first fete and I try to refrain from CUI (Crocheting Under the Influence) or KUI because well, I almost always have a mess to clean up afterwards. You know what I mean?

Festivity Numero Uno: Sound of Music Sing Along!

Those of you who've been reading my ramblings for a while know that I try to hit this bi-yearly event at one of my all-time favorite Los Angeles venues each and every time it occurs. This year was no exception.

I sat amongst 19 of my closest family and friends as we shared copious amounts of food, drink and Julie-induced revelry at this sold-out event.

There is just nothing like wetting one's whistle with a bit of wine and then busting out one's best yodels for the 16,000 person chorus of "The Lonely Goatherd".

Really though, this is a great event. If you've never been to the Bowl, this is a wonderful way to initiate yourselves into our Hollywood Hills landmark. If you're a Bowl vet, this event is one you're sure to love.

Festivity Numero Dos: Fireworks on the Fourth!

For past decade of Fourths, my family has been celebrating this annual summer fete with my art school cronies.

Remember the couple that I joined in holy matrimony last year? Yep, they play hosts with the mosts who, oh by the way, happen to live in a municipality where it is legal play with pyrotechnics and play we do.

Oh don't you worry. We try to keep the kids away from the butane torches and we always have boatloads of adults patrolling the street while toting large receptacles of H2O just in case.

The wee folk love it though...

As do the teen folk...

The offspring needled my mother into purchasing for her the father of all fire....Mighty Max. Max made big fire. No disappointment there.

I was able to enjoy both the fireworks and preceding barbecue in spite of the fact that I was crocheting the entire evening. I even contributed to the light show in my own special way! Hey, just looking at the bright side (pun intended).

Hope you all had a spectacular holiday too!

Next week I'll be posting from Boston and Manchester. I am sooo looking forward to that!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I have been working my fingers to the bone on three very involved (and large) projects for Crochet Today and Knitscene. Did I mention that each one of these designs is big? Yeah, I'm a bit stressed at the moment. Adding to this state of neurotica is the fact that the cube farm is nutso right now, I leave for two consecutive weeks of travel on Monday (one week for meself, one week for the farm) and I have several "homework" assignments to complete before the week for meself travel commences (Knit and Crochet Show in Manchester, NH), not to mention the fact that I will be attending to my cube farm calls and crackberry while traveling for meself. "Vacation" is a relative term when one's cube farm position is managerial.

Yes, I know. Big surprise. I've once again COMPLETELY OVEREXTENDED MYSELF. Really, I do not clean my home anymore. I do not prepare meals for anyone anymore (including myself). I do not leave the house on evenings or weekends. All I do is crochet and plow the wall to wall carpet at the cube farm. Hel-lo? Can we all agree that this is not good?

If you were me what would you do?
  1. Give up designing for publishers and design just for website/blog at a pace that is more "sane"?
  2. Give up designing completely and just show the crazy junk I dream up on my blog?
  3. Give the cube farm my notice, sell my house, sell my car and move my family and crafty crap into an apartment with access to the bus routes?
You see my dilemma?

I love my husband, but I'd toss him aside for a sugar daddy right about now.

Oooops, did I actually put that in print? I'm losing my yarn-encrusted mind!

Okay, let's put the notion of divorce aside for a moment shall we?

Really, I love designing, but my husband is an actor (read: unemployed...a lot), which means I am head of household, much of the time. Quitting my job is not an option, unless of course I can convince the hubs and daughter that living in a refrigerator carton adjacent to the surf in Santa Monica is a brilliant alternative to our current lifestyle.

Yeah, I don't think they'll go for it either.

So, do I give it up? Throw in the knitted/crocheted dishtowel? Cube farm in perpetuity?

I'm definitely at a crossroads. That's fer sure.