Back to School

Here’s my new backpack (in real life it is more in focus). It was a gift from my mother-in-law and I got to pick it out myself. I absolutely needed a new backpack because I start school tomorrow (says the girl with more bags of all kinds than anyone could ever need, but whatevs).

One of the requirements I used to choose this pack was the availability of “open spaces” on which to sew the patches I’ve been collecting for years. I settled on the Quad Backpack from LL Bean. Only after I started sewing the patches did I realize this was a dorky sort of thing to do (says Gerald) but I am old enough now not to care about being dorky. Because I’m not that uncool, mostly.

Back to School

The most necessary tools for this project were my thimble, which is silver and does not fit on my large man fingers, and those good sharp needles. It is hard to 1) sew through thick backpack material and 2) maneuver such a cumbersome object as a backpack while 3) blanket stitching patches with thick glue backing meant to be ironed. I sewed on one or two patches each day, only poked myself badly once, and now she is completely dorkified.

Back to School

Confession. So, most of these patches I picked up at the places they depict. But, once I started sewing I realized I needed more patches to fill in more of the spaces and display things that are important to me (gosh that is SO dorky). So I went on ebay and cheated (says Gerald). The Buffalo patch was not purchased in Buffalo, even though I’m from there and take great pride in being a Buffalonian. It came from ebay. And the Bills and Giants patches? Also ebay.

Back to School

My favorite patch is the Blue Ridge Parkway one because it is the prettiest. It was also the hardest to sew, based on its location and thickness. But I love it.

Back to School

The Have a Nice Day patch is hidden under a flap, just in case I am not feeling friendly on a given day.

Back to School

Tomorrow is my first day at school, almost a year after I decided that this was something I wanted to do. Yeah, I went in the Spring for some of my general ed requirements, but tomorrow is the first time I’m taking the photography classes. I feel ready but nervous, not really knowing what to expect. It’s that freshman feeling all over again.

But at least in terms of carrying books and school supplies? I’ve got that covered.

Back to School

two families


Let me start by saying the photo shoot yesterday was awesome. Brandy and Beth Anne are both smart, gorgeous and fun women with great kids and amazing husbands. Really, I could go on but I don’t want it to sound fake with all the gushing. I was honored to spend time with both their families. They were so generous to give up a Sunday morning to let me “build my portfolio”.

I got some of my favorite shots ever in the history.

Brandy and her two hotties.

Beth Anne and her two hotties.

I’m really happy with a handful of the photos. But considering I took over 700, a handful isn’t that many. I glanced at most of them yesterday after I got home and as usual I get that dreaded feeling of I wish I could do better. I couldn’t even sleep last night thinking of all the shots I didn’t get or the shots I did get that were out of focus, or heads were cut off, etc. It didn’t help that the park we went to was lousy with families getting their pictures taken by actual professionals with big heavy equipment and assistants. I’ll say it, I was intimidated!

I’ve started reading a lot of photographer’s blogs lately and it’s actually encouraging. If you go back into deep archives of someone whose style you really admire, many times you can see the style emerging. Like, five years ago they were good, and now they’re great. So there’s that.

But then you come across the random blog post from someone you’ve been reading and admiring, and they say how stupid it is to go to school for photography. Here I am going to school for photography next year! I cannot linger on these things. I will not use blog space to rationalize why I should go to school (but I’ve done it plenty in my own head).

I don’t feel cocky or anything by saying that I think I’m actually good at taking pictures. After all I really love my handful from yesterday and I think the families will love them, too. That’s what matters.

Go ahead and judge for yourself! Just kidding, but you can see more of the pictures of Beth Anne’s family here, and Brandy’s family here.

Not My Knitting

Denise's Semi Circular Shawl

My friend Denise asked me to get some pictures of her recently finished projects. I was happy to oblige, mostly because it meant Maggie and I could get out of the house for the day and do something different. And ogling Denise’s wonderful knitting is pretty fun, too. Pictured above is her Storm Cloud Shawlette by Hanna Breetz.

I also love the shot of her Ulla’s Scarf by Nancy Bush. It’s very soft and delicate. The scarf, not the picture.

sweet scarf

It was really, really nice to take pictures of knitting, considering how infrequently I’ve done that of late! We are still working on the hallway and I hope to be closer to Finished tomorrow after a trip back to Ikea. Here’s what it looked like as of this morning (with obligatory “before” picture):

so close!

I will be so happy to get the shelves up and get things organized in there. SO HAPPY. Because right now? All the things that usually live in the hallway are mostly piled all over my bedroom and it is making me crazy! So crazy that I can barely knit. But! After many false starts, I finally nailed down the design for my swap mitten.


And I’m working on my potholders!

evidence of a potholder

Alas, not much to show for either of those projects, but getting started is half the battle, right?   Here’s some more pictures of Denise’s knitting. Because focusing on someone else’s FOs sounds like a good plan to me.

Yummy Mittens

Stripe Study Shawl

Wood Hollow Mittens

Noro Striped Scarf