Wednesday, November 28, 2007

If I Only Had A Brain...

...A second brain that is.

Crocheted from cotton thread. About 3000 yards of bedspread weight cotton thread to be exact.

And teensy weensy little hook. A size 6 steel hook cradled in a hand carved wooden handle courtesy of the hook carver extraordinaire, Jimbo!

Jimbo, your hook enabled me to crochet for many, many hours virtually free of pain. Thank you so much!

And it took numerous hours to work through the filet mesh of this brainy beast of a shawl. A month and a half of evenings dedicated to the mesh, open and closed.

A lot of mesh...

Yeah, it's that big.

And it is done!

My brainical thready opus is finis!

Copyright 2007 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

As we launch into the holiday season I'd like to take a moment to thank you all for visiting me and your willingness to share your thoughts, anecdotes and life's melange with me. You're all amazingly creative and a source of endless inspiration for me.

Love you guys!

As for T-Day, I'm on stuffing and pie duty. This year I am churning out a large batch of my tried and true Pumpkin and Wild Mushroom stuffing, a new-to-me twist on traditional pumpkin pie, Pumpkin Mascarpone Pie (from November's issue of Bon Appetit), as well as a Linoleum family favorite, Cranberry Orange Pie...

Pretty and tasty!

Do yourself a favor and give this pie a try. It's tart and sweet and super easy!

Cranberry Orange Pie

Pie crust for two crust pie
3 1/2 c. fresh cranberries (about 1 pkg.)
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 tbs. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tbs. orange juice (depending upon what's available at the grocery store, try substituting blood orange or tangerine juice)
2 tbs. minced or grated orange zest
2 tbs. melted butter

1 egg, lightly beaten
1 egg, lightly beaten with 2 tbs. heavy cream for glazing
granulated sugar of sprinkling

Prepare pastry, roll out half to line a 9" pie pan. Partially bake crust in 400 degree oven 10 - 15 minutes until almost done, but not completely browned. Keep pricking crust with fork as it puffs up. (I used pie weights to avert any pre-bake pietastrophes.) Cool pie shell about 15 minutes before filling.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine cranberries, sugar, flour, salt, orange juice, zest and melted butter. Toss to combine. Pour into cooled pie shell.

Use beaten egg if making lattice design for top crust. Roll out dough 1/16" thick, cut into 1/2" strips, moisten crust with egg and make lattice pattern over cranberries. (I love to weave dough peeps!)

Brush top of pastry with egg glaze and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbly, about 45 minutes longer.


Have a wonderful long weekend everyone!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Spinnin' the Weekend Away

Well, they've finally done it. The internet firewall guards here at the Cube Farm are preventing employee access to the blogosphere. Oh yeah. They have shut the door, locked it up tightly and tossed the key over the nearest cliff.

No Blogger. No Typepad. No Wordpress. No nothing.

A fellow Farm Inmate has been sending me third party server addresses for the past couple of days, but those get sucked into the abyss that is our firewall within hours of first contact. To say that I am frustrated is an understatement. Really, I could go on and on, but I'll spare you all.

Let's move on, shall we? I'd rather talk about the uber-crafty weekend I just had after all. There was spinning, dying, crocheting, weaving, embroidery as well as a smattering of knitting! Actually, I feel that I have embarked upon a crafty renaissance of sorts. So much stuff to do with yarn (and thread) and so little time!

Anyway, my weekend began early as I took Friday off. So nice. I just sat around weaving and dying hanks of yarn all day. I needed the respite from the now evil and dreaded blog-blocking Cube Farm. I know. I just cannot let it go. Whatever.

Lookie how purty my yarn is though...

I do have a few weaving FOs, but I'm saving those for a post all their own.

Saturday I spent the day immersed in a 6 hour spinning workshop with John Pitblado at the Urban Craft Center. Oh my God, it was life changing. No really, it was!

First and foremost, I heart the Urban Craft Center. Angharad and Carolyn are awesome. The space is awesome. It's just blocks from my home, which...hel-lo? Is awesome. Love the UCC.

And I love John too! He's really a wonderful teacher, very patient and encouraging. Truly, the man is a gifted educator and coming from me, that's saying something because I used to teach teachers how to be teachers!

Anyhow, we began the workshop learning how to spin with a drop spindle. In the past, I tried to teach myself the art of the drop spindle using this book for reference. Each and every time I failed. In fact, I was beginning to believe I that I was suffering from a heinous ailment known as spindle-block, a very serious disease for a yarn devotee such as myself. However, it appears that I suffer no more for within a few hours I had accomplished this...

And it felt good.

Drop spindle conquered, it was time to move to THE WHEEL. I'd like to say I took to spinning on a wheel like a duck to water, but as is my way, I hit the curve, the learning curve that is, which for moi can be a bit steep. Fortunately, the curve flattened a bit within hours. So, by the time we reached the end of our session I had accomplished...

I made ya-arn.

I made ya-arn!

There is a spinning wheel in my future, of this you can be sure. There are also more UCC and John Pitblado workshops in my future too. Did I mention that I love them?

Sunday, though not as eventful as Saturday or as restful as Friday, was just as craft positive as the days preceding. I practiced a little sewing and embroidery in order to embellish this very special jacket, which belonged to my late father...

The man wasn't exactly an avid carnivore, but I think he would get a kick out of the felted meat appliques...

And utensil embroidery.

Dad was my biggest fan after all, cheering me on creation after creation.

Ahhh, fond memories of my father and my crafty weekend exploits almost quelled the blog-blocker frustration seizing my being. Almost.

Methinks I need to investigate mobile blogging...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tales from the Windy City

I’m back from Chicago!

I arrived last night after a very, very busy four days of work and play in the Windy City. Basically, I was exhausted from the trip and hit the sack immediately. I’m old now peeps! Two business trips in a month have wiped me out. So sad…

Anyway, my itinerary moved along as follows. I arrived at approximately 3:00 pm on Saturday. Waited around in baggage for what seemed an eternity. Yes, I am one of the few people who still checks her bag(s) as opposed to the rest of humanity, who attempt to bring as much cargo as possible on board the plane in order that they may shove said bags into as many overhead bins as possible. Really, it’s ridiculous how much crap people bring with them into the cabin of the aircraft.


Sure, there is a risk that my bag may get lost in transit if I check it, but hey, I fly A LOT and I ALWAYS check a bag. Knock on my keyboard, but I’ve not lost a bag yet. Anyway, yeah, I do have to wait for my suitcase in baggage claim upon arrival, but I’ve grown used to it. No biggie. At least I can proudly embrace my status as a light user of the overhead bins.

Rant concluded.

After claiming my luggage I hit the cool, crisp Chicago late afternoon air to wait for my car, which would transport me to the Peninsula Hotel. Not a bad place to spend a few days, that’s for sure. Hey, if my company is making me travel then they need to make sure that my arse is comfy.

All made up…

Note: This mugshot is purely to satisfy a friendly criticism that I (i) rarely show my mug on my blog and (ii) if I do happen to display a pic of self it is cropped just below my eyes. Satisfied Jenna?

I was set to meet up with my girlfriends Shannon and Megan at a faboo restaurant called Custom House, where there was much eating, drinking and making of merriment. Our satisfying meal was followed by more, um, drinking, AND making of merriment at The Green Door Tavern until the wee hours of the morning...

Having awakened myself before noon on Sunday I pulled myself together for a bit of shopping on Michigan Avenue. I spent the afternoon alone, strolling around the shops, taking in the sites and enjoying the day. I rather savor spending time by myself and what better way to explore my new surroundings than alone and unhampered?

That evening I recovered my social self while joining Shannon for a Blackhawks game. What fun! And check out our seats...

Blackhawks won, to Shannon's dismay. The girl's a Red Wings fan.

Next two days were all about work, work, work and more food, food, food! Really, it's a wonder I didn't gain a bazillion pounds. On Monday I had lunch with a few co-workers at N9NE Steak House. Dinner that night at Mike Ditka's where they serve steaks the size of my head. And my head? Yeah, not so small. There is a reason I usually only photograph myself from the eyeballs up. Third and final food fest, I mean lunch, took place at 312 before I had to board another plane. I really hated to leave so soon. Definitely planning to return...ah, for a vacation next time 'round. Chicago is a town I need to revisit.

In addition to stuffing my face, I did manage to do a bit of embroidery while away. Check these babies out...

Not bad for a beginner eh?

No yarn store visits though. Next time for sure!

Friday, November 09, 2007

FANtastic Kings Hat

On Monday, fellow cube farmer, Sunny, asked me if I'd be willing to crochet her a FANtastic hat that she could don at this Saturday's Kings game. She wanted to sport something that resembled our Los Angeles Kings' logo. Loving a challenge, I of course accepted.

Here's the logo (in case you're not familiar with it):

And here's my interpretation using some stash acrylic and wire:

Um, yeah. Sunny will definitely be sporting a conversation piece...

Not too bad for an evening's work eh?

Copyright 2007 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I have a bit of a round-up for you on this fine Tuesday...

First up, I'd like to thank those of you who left me comments/info regarding Chicago area yarn stores. Very helpful.

Second, to those of you who sent me emails regarding your interest in helping me with my design enterprise, I need to let you know that I am slowing this endeavor down for the time being. I have literally stopped submitting designs to magazines that I normally design for and I have, for the moment, decided to forego the pursuit of publishers who would be interested in publishing a book of my designs. Doesn't mean I am shutting down my little empire completely, I am just slowing things down until I finish what is becoming a long, drawn out court battle for custody of my 14 year old daughter. Needless to say, I have read all of your email submissions. I would love to involve several of you (or all of you for that matter) in what I am planning. I just cannot focus on this right now. My brain and nerves are pretty much shot. My humblest apologies for keeping you waiting.

Third, OPP's. Yes, that would be Other Peoples' Patterns...Knitting from books and mags has saved my cerebrum from exploding as of late for I excel at following directions! No documentation to worry about. No design dimensions to delineate. No obsessive foraging for the perfect yarn suited to proposed conception. Well, I still obsess a little bit...

Anyway, I finished this cover model about a month ago... this lovely pink hue...

The yarn happens to be Debbie Bliss SoHo, of which I bought copious amounts from Webs on closeout.

Fast knit as it is worked from sleeve to sleeve in garter stitch. Big knit because of the way it's constructed. Hot knit as the whole pile o' sweater sits in your lap while working. Yeah, just about smothered me when the temps were reaching their typical SoCal September heights.

Fourth, let's talk L-Aid.

Just so you know, I am currently spending $40 - $60 per week on Kool-Aid and God only knows how much on Knit Picks yarn. Needless to say, I've received some pretty interesting looks from various checkers in area markets near my humble abode when on a L-Aid run. Whatever. I'm having fun. I steep a pot of yarn on the stove nightly, I'm concocting color recipes with abandon and I now know that I need to take this to the next level. Oh yeah, Jacquard dyes are definitely in my future. It's a slippery slope peeps...

Fifth, I discovered a vintage treasure trove last Sunday with good friend and crafty maven, Bri. Now, the flea market fly that I am hangs head in shame at my level of ignorance of Sunday's vintage venue. How did I not know that the Pasadena City College Flea Market rocked so hard??? I mean, two outside parking lots combined with a multi-level parking structure FILLED with vendors??? Hel-looooo??? I will definitely be doing the Westside to Eastside run monthly to make this event.

Lookie what I went home with...

Yep, a new home for my knitting, crocheting and needle felting supplies. Yay!!

Sixth, the remainder of my week will be spent getting ready for the Windy City. Looking forward to it!

Friday, November 02, 2007


I plan to be in Chicago the week of November 12th. Never been. Really looking forward to it even though technically I'll be there on business. However, I am getting in the weekend before to account for a little fun time, which does include a Blackhawks v. Red Wings game. Yay!!

Chicagoans? Yarn stores?

My next trip occurs after Turkey Day. San Francisco happens to be my destination at that time. A little business with a few vacation days added in for good measure.

I definitely gotta hit Lacis. More suggestions are definitely welcome. Lisa Solomon, are you around???

We have rescheduled our family vacation for this year twice already. It's just been too crazy to travel. However, I believe we will be in Australia and New Zealand in December. I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed...

Just needed thank you all for being so supportive of my crazy creations. You guys are THE BEST! Happy weekend!!