28 August 2012

Update on Relaunch

I'm still here, and still have big plans for the relaunch, but there has been an unforeseen complication.

See, I moved this summer. Into a house I share with four of my friends. I have a brand new room to decorate, the house is a bit of a mess due to housing only college boys for several years before I moved in (so there are tons of home-improvement projects I wish to undertake), and the most exciting part of all of this is that I also now have space to sew again.

Progress, right?


However, somewhere along the line in the process of moving 25 years worth of stuff from my parent's house to my new abode, my darling camera decided to go AWOL.

Maybe the layers of dirt that come from a building housing only boys for several years scared it off. Or maybe the idea of no longer having our lovely animals around to photograph was simply too much for it to take... (Or maybe I'm just an idiot and lost it.)

WHATEVER the cause was, the reality of the situation is that I have lots of posts written and prepared to share, but no pictures to go with them. And since photography is kind of the butter to this blog's bread, there's really no going forward until I remedy this camera situation... and with a brand new rent bill to pay, that may take a couple weeks as I scrimp and save and penny pinch.

So stay tuned. This is still happening.


14 July 2012

Instagram Catch-up

Just a quick catch up care of Instagram for Android. I've got lots of exciting stuff to come as I begin to fully overhaul Lunaticraft, so stay tuned.

- l.c.

24 April 2012

Popping In...

Just popping in to give a quick update and let the blogosphere know I'm still around. School has been crazy crazy, and I've been swamped with grading for the past few weeks. This will be the fourth semester I'm doing this, but I still can't seem to find a way to grade term papers that does not take almost 45 minutes per paper. And with over 100 of them to get through, needless to say I've been busy.

I suppose it's my own fault for assigning it in the first place, though, so c'est la vie!

When I get too burned out from reading, I have been keeping my hands busy with a project... a ripple blanket.

It's just Red Heart yarn, since anything intended for blanket use needs to be super washable in my house. I'm about halfway through the "pattern" that I created with a stripe generator I found online (about 4 years ago now) and it's big enough to cover my legs and tuck under my feet while I'm working on it.

I am also still working on those improvements to the blog, including new features, book reviews, cleaning up the archives, and overall getting this thing to a more active place. Unfortunately though, the way things are going, it seems like those updates aren't going to be able to be put into action until summer hits. Planning and organizing and drafting are going at a snail's pace due to my eight thousand other commitments. But I haven't forgot about it!

For now, though, back to the grading marathon!


P.S. - I am so not a fan of the new blogger look/functionality.

22 March 2012

First Eggs!

The weekend of parade day, I also had the opportunity to spend a few days dogsitting for my aunt and uncle. They have three of the sweetest, most amiable puppers... probably on this planet.

They also happen to live next to my grandmother, and they share a fenced in back yard. So since we were blessed with a number of beautiful spring days that week, my grandmother and I spent a lot of time sitting on her covered porch, drinking tea and coffee, and watching the dogs run around and chase birds.

Well, the big dachshund doesn't really "run" persay. More like waddle. <3

But also during that time, we got some eggs done!

My grandmother started up making pysanky shortly after my mother and I dragged out the old supplies after a long break. But unlike our household, she's continued to do it every year since.

So she had all her dyes and supplies, and had already finished a dozen by the time I started dogsitting. So while we were porch sitting and dog-watching, we worked on a few.

I freehanded three eggs while I was there, all non-traditional, and all only two color due to time constraints. The purple one above, I simply am not a fan of, but I like the color. It took me a little bit to get the hang of being able to predict how the finished product will look... I kept connecting my wax where I probably shouldn't have, and as a result have WAY too much white.

However, the following two, I learned my lesson. Using the decoupaged eggs I found on Pinterest as inspiration, I did two navy and white eggs that in the end I really like.

I only have a preview photo for now... they're still sitting at my grandmother's house waiting to be varnished. But I'm pretty pleased with my first attempts for the year... Now I've just got to get around to buying new dyes for our house!


15 March 2012

Parade Day Passage

Another fabulous parade day has come and gone, as always hosted by a dear friend who's apartment is worthy of (and actually has been in the past) featured on the best kind of antique collector home and garden television show.

The spread and the decorations are always done up beyond anything imaginable. Orange, green, and white streamers interspersed with fascinating vintage trinkets and various collectibles that he has somehow unearthed over the years.

Even the turn of the century pedal organ was adorned with a green boa and Irish flags.

And of course, nothing says "Parade Day in Scranton done properly" quite like five bottles of Jameson on a silver platter.

As usual, it was a get together worthy of the ages. Everyone made it out safe and sound (if a little hungover), and none of those delightful antiques were injured in the process.

And as the party died down and we watched time tick by on that great art deco clock, we couldn't help but count ourselves among the most fortunate to have been able to party so hard, among such good friends, in such great surroundings.

Here's to another successful Scranton Parade Day!


05 March 2012

Resurrection of Musical Mondays

In my effort to post more often, I feel like it's about time I brought back an old weekly feature: Musical Mondays. My original intention with this feature was to share a little smattering of what I've been so privileged to come in contact with in my 20 or so years heavily involved in music, both little known and old favorites alike.

And with St. Patrick's Day on the horizon, I feel it's only appropriate to start off with some great Irish Folk music.

For those unfamiliar with Northeastern Pennsylvania, you may not be aware of exactly what a big deal it is. Particularly in Scranton, where I spend most of my time, St. Patty's day is the ultimate holiday. It's a multi-week long celebration, with it's pinnacle happening the Saturday before the 17th. We know it only as "Parade Day." We don't even need to specify which parade, it's that big a deal.

Parade Day is basically Christmas in Scranton. And there are few songs which are basically considered the "Parade Day Carols". So the next two Musical Mondays will share just a few of my favorites.

First up, is Whiskey in the Jar, this version performed by the Dubliners.

And here's another Parade Day favorite, The Mermaid.

And our last selection for this Musical Monday is the Wild Rover. Simply a great tune.

I'll be back next monday with a few more selections for the Post-Parade Day wind down, and depending what kind of shenanigans I get into, possibly a Parade Day recap!


25 February 2012

Easter's A-Comin'

I completely lost track of time. Lent totally snuck up on me. In fact, if it wasn't for the 105 students coming through my classes on Wednesday with ashes on their foreheads (our uni is heavily Catholic), I would have had no idea that Catholic lent had started, or that "my" lent (Russian Orthodox) was even near... until my grandmother asked me what I gave up probably two weeks in, that is.


BUT, now that I'm back in reality, and realizing that well, Easter is a'comin, I've got pysanky on the brain. For those who don't know, pysanky (singular = pysanka) are Ukrainian Easter eggs, and they're decorated using a wax-resist method similar to batik.

Basically you go from this...

To this...

To a finished egg! (This is an egg of mine from a few years ago.)

I did a short, visual, kind-of-sort-of "how to" on here a few years back when my mother and I first got back into the tradition after a long break.

Well, we didn't get to make any last year... my first year teaching was just WAY too crazy. But this year, I have plans, and have already been looking for inspiration. And of course, as usual when I'm looking for inspiration, Pinterest was the first place I turned to.

I was a little shocked at how few actual pysanky I found there. It seems to me that they would be the kind of thing that the Pinterest Community would eat up. But I did find some gems among the regular food-color methods, particularly non-traditional designs, which I have a particular soft spot for.

Source: flickr.com via Maggie on Pinterest

Like this one, from pysanky artist So Jeo which is inspired by Japanese chiyogami paper and has gold leaf details. Stunning, and combines my interest in Japanese culture/designs with my own tradition!

Source: etsy.com via Maggie on Pinterest

Or these, which are actually decoupaged wooden eggs from etsy seller CatnipStudioToo. Great inspiration for single-color eggs.

Source: etsy.com via Maggie on Pinterest

Or how about this stunner which I sadly cannot find a source for. The pin traces back to etsy, but the item does not seem to exist any longer. I love the Tiffany-style stained glass look. It looks like they may have even gone over the black lines with black beeswax after the whole thing was done and before it was varnished in order to get that raised stained glass texture.

Source: flickr.com via Maggie on Pinterest

Here's another Japanese inspired design, this time from LadyTetsu on Flickr. I will definitely be experimenting to try to get those kinds of pinks and purples this year.

And then there are these super adorable watercolor eggs by blogger Alisa Burke, whose blog I immediately added to my RRS reader. Some truly beautiful stuff, and great ideas there.

I'm pretty excited to start planning and get started on these this year. I'll be ordering my dyes as soon as I get my next paycheck, and I'll be continuing to catalog inspiration over at Pinterest.

I can't wait to get started!


16 February 2012

Views from the Workstation

Nothing too terribly exciting going on here at Lunaticraft. Lots of work, lots of studying, lots of rehearsal. You know, the same old same old and usually the reasons I drop off the face of the earth during the semesters.

But I'm making a point to at least post once a week this time. I've got a number of posts in the draft stage, and I've decided to diverge from my usual "this is what's happening to me" posts and start featuring things from outside my little bloggy world.

I know I've said this several times in the past, but this time I've actually gotten beyond the "all talk" stage. So I'm hopeful.

In the meantime, I figured I'd fall back on habit and share a little of what I've been up to. Photos of what I see basically every day care of my flickr phone app - my desk at work, and a little preview of my current "mindless" knitting project.

I'm using a pattern I found on Ravelry called the "Favorite Scarf Ever" (link to my project page). Easy peasy to memorize, and it's a great knit for at the end of the day when I simply can't think anymore. Perfect for a mid-semester project.

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day. I for one woke up to this cute little arrangement from my parents. They know me well. Boyfriend and I ended up stuck in rehearsal and class from early morning until about 10 at night on Tuesday, so we're actually going to celebrate later this afternoon with a dinner date after he gets out of class.

He dropped by the most stunning bouquet of flowers that night though. I haven't had light nice enough to photograph them yet, but as soon as I do I'll be sharing.


(And yes, my name is Maggie. It's about time I got over my internet paranoia and outed myself.)

05 February 2012

Cozy Cozy Kogarashi

An FO!

Wait... really?

YES! Shockingly enough, I've actually finished a project in less than two years.

I started off with two skeins of Noro Kogarashi and four skeins of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky (now discontinued) that I had picked out/been given for Christmas two years ago.

And I ended up with this!

It's just a basic Noro Striped Scarf a la Jared Flood. Quick, easy, non-complicated, but with yummy yummy results.

I was pretty shocked at how far the Kogarashi went - I only used one of the skeins of the Kogarashi (and about 2 1/2 of the Debbie bliss) and the scarf is over six feet long! I thought for sure I'd need both.

The scarf itself is super cozy and colorful, and its impossible for me to catch the full effect of it on camera due to how long it is. One of these days I'll commission the boyfriend to help me do a quick photo shoot with me wearing it.

In the meantime I'm faced with the question of... what to do with the left over yarn? I'm thinking matching headband or hat. Or mittens. Or... or... I'm not really all that sure.

Time to get my thinkin' cap on!


29 January 2012

Of Lincoln Center, Noodles, and Conservatories

Well, tomorrow marks the first day of spring semester. And of course that means back to the work-eat-work-eat-rehearsal-sleep craziness. It's a mixed blessing, of course. I don't handle not having any sort of structured schedule well. I get antsy, bored, and end up playing entirely too much Skyrim. However, the semester most often brings TOO much structure and rigidity, which is equally confining.

So to make the most out of the last few days of glorious freedom, my mom and I planned a trip to spend a day up in NYC and visit my brother.

It was particularly exciting for me, since this is the first time I actually got a chance to go up and see my brother's "new" school: The Julliard School. He's been there for two years now, and it just always ended up that when my parents would go up to see him, I always had some conflict with work so that tagging along was simply impossible.

My brother is by far the most dedicated and talented person I know, and all that dedication has certainly paid off. He gets to live quite literally AT Lincoln Center. Right across the street from the Metropolitan Opera (which of course we ALWAYS have to stop and get some photos of), City Ballet, and Avery Fisher Hall (where the NY Philharmonic Plays).

Not to mention (if you'll allow me to brag for a moment) attend what is basically THE BEST school for music in the country and certainly one of the best in the world. I mean, just check out this list of notable alumni and teachers. Like, holy crap.

So needless to say, he has been busting his tushy to get there basically since he first picked up at trumpet at age 10, and he did it. And as frustrating as the constant music making could be as we grew up in this tiny house together, I'm immensely proud of him, and everything he's accomplished. So I was crazy glad that I could finally go up and see his school, where he lives, what he does, and see him perform. And while I've seen him perform literally thousands of times over the past 11 years, I must admit it was pretty damn cool to see him on a Julliard stage.

Now of course, my mom and I made some time for girly bonding while we were there, and made our usual beauty stop - Sephora - where I picked up three nail polishes that our little JC Penny Sephora here doesn't carry, and a Hello Kitty compact for my purse. But the main attraction during girly time for me was LUSH.

They're a cosmetics store/brand/company that prides themselves on totally organic and handmade products, from skincare to bath bombs to soap, shampoo, and even hair dye. We don't have one here, and ever since I developed a nail polish problem I have desperately wanted to try their Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter - a product that basically all the nail bloggers I could find recommend hands down.

You can buy it online, but I couldn't justify paying not only $15 for a cuticle cream, but shipping too? I knew I'd get up there eventually, so I just waited. And I'm both glad and upset that I did. I'm upset because this stuff really is that amazing. I've only been using it for about 5 days now, but already I can see a difference in my cuticles (and I only use it at night too! It's a little greasy for daytime use IMHO... I'm really picky and weird about wearing lotions and touching things).

But I'm glad I waited ultimately because visiting the store itself was such a great experience. I'm just glad I'm good about sticking to my budget or else I would have walked out with one of everything.

For dinner we ate at an old stand-by: Ollie's Noodle Shop. We've eaten there countless times over the years, and because of the short time-frame my brother had to grab dinner with us, this seemed like the most logical choice since it's only a block down from Lincoln Center.

It's an easy choice, because there's something there that will satisfy all our assorted tastes. The Tofu Noodle Bowl and Sapporo were delicious, as always.

But the real highlight of the day for me was finally getting to see the school, and by golly, is it beautiful.

Lots of glass, so you have an amazing view of the city around you, and by far my favorite feature was this:

They just look like regular red curtains, right? But wait... upon closer inspection you find...

They're actually the full text of every single Shakespeare play painted on the wall outside the drama theatre. Crazy, right?

Overall, it was a delightful trip to round off winter break before the rush of the semester starts again. And now it's time to go from visiting one school back to the world of working at another!