month in review: october

Happy Halloween!

This month has gone so fast and I’ve been so busy that Halloween completely snuck up on me. I have no costume ideas and I only bought pumpkins for the first time this week–and they were mini pumpkins from the bottom of the barrel. But October has been great. It was full of loved ones visiting, or visits to loved ones. And I got deeper into the Sandman comic series this month, too. The top viewed posts from this month were:

Some snapshots from the month:

chicago#fatcatmeairplanesandman

Are you ready for November?! It’s almost the end of the year!

new outfit: fall colors

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Thanks to a 50% off sale at The Loft, I found some new pants. I love the color, and I think they will be excellent for some fall color blocking.

I’ve been struggling this fall to dress for the weather. We’ve had a few warmer than usual days and then a few pretty cold days and I get confused in the whirlwind. But today I was dressed in fall colors for fall weather and it worked out great.

Pants and jacket from The Loft, shoes from Target, top from Express.

baby blanket progress (11 inches)

baby blanket

At about 11 inches, I am a little more than a quarter done with the baby blanket I’m making for my niece (pattern from the Purl Bee). I feel like I really turned a corner once I started a new color.

baby blanket rae's days

It’s gotten a little bit chillier here in New York, and it’s nice to think about this blanket keeping a little baby warm. This stage in a knitting project is nice because you can start to really see what the final product will be. But it’s also hard to know there’s so far to go. I like that the blanket is striped because I don’t get bored with one color and it makes it really easy to mark progress. One stripe done, two stripes done, and on and on until you have several stripes in several colors.

baby blanket stripes

I think it’s coming out so lovely, and I can’t wait to keep going. Since colder nights are coming quickly, I am sure I can hunker down with a warm blanket and get more stripes done in no time. And I better hurry–the baby’s due date will be here before you know it!

You can see previous progress on the blanket at baby blanketbaby blanket progress (4 inches), and baby blanket progress (a note to baby girl).

project wish list

I’m a person who reads knitting patterns for fun. You know, like how people read recipes? I like to see the different stitches and try to figure out what works and what doesn’t. I like to look at complicated patterns and remember that everyone starts learning just one stitch before they can do all the rest. Reading a bunch of great projects, though, means I have a large backlog of things I’d like to make and patterns I’d like to get to.

My dream projects right now are from the Purl Bee, a blog I am totally in love with.

purl bee coasters

  1. I love these fun coasters. The colors are great–they’d be so cheery in my kitchen. These are pin loom coasters, and you can pick up the kit right here from Purl Soho.
  2. These coasters have a similar pattern to these dishtowels that I also love. Their examples are all in blue, but maybe I could do pink orange to match my new coasters. They have a kit to make these available, too.
  3. Once I’m done keeping my kitchen clean with my new coasters and dishtowels, I’ll settle in with this luxurious scarf. I daydream about this scarf. It’s that good. It would be a dream to wrap up in these bright colors to stay warm on a cold day. (Here’s the kit for this one)
  4. You all know I love handmade things for my apartment. I still think about these cool round crocheted rugs. I’d love to layer some of these under my desk area.
  5. And this pillow is so cute. It is handmade, crocheted, and incorporates my love for needlework in a fun new way. You could make it say anything you want!

purl bee pillow

I love all these projects. Even though I’m in the middle of several things, it’s nice to take a break and get inspired for the future.

out of town weekend snapshots

I spent the weekend in Chicago and it was the best. Unfortunately (or fortunately, perhaps) I was having so much fun I forgot to take pictures of most of the things we did.
We went to the aquarium, a college football game, saw friends, and ate really great food. We also stopped at a super cool comic book store and I picked up the fourth Sandman to read on the plane. Here are some pictures from the weekend–at least the few I did stop to shoot.

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new outfit: simple sweatshirt

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I had a very lazy weekend. My one success was catching up completely on Scandal. While I was holding down the couch, I dressed the opposite of Olivia Pope in crisis mode. Where she was elegant gloves and all white without a chipped nail in her entire life, I was in sweatshirts and blue jeans and loving it.

Every day I wore some variation of this outfit. The staple was my new favorite sweatshirt. This is the same sweatshirt I used to create my other favorite sweatshirt–my DIY superhero sweatshirt of awesome. It’s from the men’s section in Target and it is perfect, with or without comic book accessorizing.

Shoes and purse are from Target, too.

pulp fiction

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Any reading is good reading. Reading something stupid doesn’t make you stupid. And reading something you disagree with doesn’t mean you give up your beliefs.

As we said at book club, you need a balanced book diet. You can’t read nothing but Proust without burning out just like you can’t read nothing but dime-a-dozen mystery/romance/werewolf novels.

I heard at book club that pulp fiction takes it name because if they didn’t sell, publishers would pulp the books. They were so cheap that they’d just destroy them. So maybe it’s no wonder pulp fiction gets a bad name. It’s looked at as the literary novel’s trashy younger sister–you know, the one no one takes seriously and who you’d be embarrassed to take out on a date.

But good writing is an exception to the rule you get what you pay for. If it takes you somewhere new, if it’s entertaining, if you stretch your brain in a new way, well, that’s worth a lot. Even if it’s not serious, critically acclaimed, prize-winning writing.

But if it’s not award-winning, what is pulp fiction? Is it genre? Is it storytelling for a mass audience? How would you define it? Like the Supreme Court and pornography, I’ll know it when I see it. But it’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference.

Before Ender’s Game became a novel-turned-movie coming out soon it was just the first book in a new science fiction series. Before Harry Potter vanquished Voldemort he was the main character in a new fantasy book. Charles Dickens’ novels first came out in parts in magazines. Sherlock Holmes is the star of the mystery genre, and Frankenstein’s monster the king of horror. But why are those novels considered literary instead of pulp? Why are they studied in school instead of trashed after reading?

Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, and his books are often at the center of a literary versus pulp debate. His writing is clean and entertaining. His imagery and mood building are stunning. His characters and stories are human and lovely and scary and real. His books have symbolism and themes and other things lit classes love to analyze. But his work is prolific, easy to read, and sometimes contains monsters or twists in reality. So though he can write circles around most, he is often shoved into a less serious category.

It’s much more fun for me to read King than other “literary” works. I’ve never finished Pride and Prejudice (love the movie), but I couldn’t put down The Shining. Reading can be fun and easy and still worthwhile. So ease up, pulp-fiction haters.  Don’t you want to have some fun? Don’t you want to know how to tell a story that’s grabbed so many readers and held them at rapt attention?

That is a skill that few can do. So even if it’s not your favorite, you can learn from pulp. And you can stop looking down your nose at writers who have sold millions on millions of books.

So let’s cut this snobbiness out. My challenge to you is to pick a book in a genre you haven’t read before. Dive into a fantasy, a romance, a horror story, a mystery, and let’s meet back here and talk about it.