Cause for Commotion

Last week, I was asked if I perhaps had room in my house for an addition.  I didn’t have to think about it.  When you get asked if you can make room for a tiny, half-feral kitten, what would you say?

Meet Luna:


The name just fits.  She skitters through the house, sometimes playing but mostly hiding.  She is getting more and more comfortable, though, and pretty much the second you pick her up, she starts purring sweetly.

She is an adorable little furball.  Our biggest concern was integrating her with the queen of the house – Zoe.  The introduction was tense, but they seem to be fairly ok with each other, if not yet friends.  They can get nose to nose, and Zoe no longer hisses or chases the kitten.  She just sort of stalks and glares.

The kitten so far seems to be able to hold her own, and has taken in turn to stalking Zoe.  It’s very cute to witness.  I have no worries about the little one getting hurt, Zoe has not been vicious or hot tempered.  The two of them are re-establishing boundaries and territory and getting to know who the other is.

Time Travel

This past weekend, with the gorgeous weather, and the fleeting moments of freedom, we went to the coffee shop down the street.  It is the season of rummage sales, yard sales, moving sales, and whozit and whatnot sales.  On our walk home, we encountered no less than three of them, all with a wide range of items priced to go.  The largest, and most interesting, of these was a family prepping for a move to Colorado.  Tons of things were up for sale.  Dressers, old collectible toys, vases, board games, (a lifesize cardboard cutout of Rose Tyler) and a steamer trunk.


We had to have it.  There is severe rust and a musty odor, and the locks don’t quite work, but for the price and the novelty, we couldn’t resist.


What are we going to use it for?  Well, the thought of using it for it’s original purpose has crossed our minds.  We could fit everything we need for three in here without much trouble. But the thing is flipping heavy as it is.  I spent all day yesterday cleaning up the living room to make room for it, and then did some research on restoration.  That is my priority.

As you can see, the locks are all pretty rusted.  I have wiped them down since taking this picture, but they still need a good treatment.  I need to find out which locks work and which ones don’t – and whether or not it is worth replacing the ones that don’t.  I also need to get rid of the musty odor rising from it, but intend to pick up an anti-microbial spray to kill mold spores and then using a baking powder or natural remedy to remove any excess odor.

You can sort of see the staining in the drawer.  Most of the drawers have some staining.  Initially, I thought I could remove the fabric, clean the wood, and put in new fabric, but upon looking closer, there is no removable fabric.  It is as though the wood itself has been patterned.  I’m not sure how to take care of that.

This is the back of the trunk, where a crack in the leather leads to staining down the trunk.  I have been informed that most leather is treated with an anti-microbial wash (or some such), so I don’t have to worry about mold.  I still would like to know if anything can be done to remove the staining and big gouges.

I know that some of you who read this are interested in restoration, steam punk, antiques, etc.  Do you have any thoughts/advice?


Bed of Roses

I have three orders ahead of me.  One is for a felted mushroom purse, similar in style to the fairy houses I have been making.

One is for a rather patriotic tutu for a teenager, to be completed by July 6th.

And the last, and probably most pressing, is for dozens of rose headbands.  I am trying to make a good variety of colors, including black, green, and white.

It’s sort of relentless.  I am trying to make sure I have a good selection of colors, and enough of each that I don’t have to come back later and add more.

The roses are starting to speak to me.


I off to knit night for some sanity saving socialization.  I’m bringing a project along that is a selfish knit and I am working on it with a beer in hand.

Pixie’s Last Stand

As you know, this past weekend held the 41st annual Custer’s Last Stand Street Fair here in Evanston.  This was my second year as a vendor, and I was mentally fully prepared for my endeavor.  Rebecca of The Complete Fool also had a booth, not far from mine.  Since she was arriving from Madison, she stayed at our house for the weekend.  It was wonderful having her over.  The fair seemed to really enjoy having her there, too.

For two days straight,  I was outside with a line of little girls and boys waiting (remarkably patiently for the median age being 6) to have their faces painted.  My mantra was time is money, and I am in desperate need of funds lately.  Not only that, but I did not want to disappoint any of the kids by saying “And that’s it!  I can’t paint anymore.”  So, with a Gypsy as my minion to fetch water, lemon ginger beer (non-alcoholic and life changing), and manage the shop while I was covered in paint and glitter, we made it work.  Everyone had a great time.  Once again, I was not able to leave my space, though, so I can not tell you what else was at the fair.  I also left my camera at home on Saturday, so you get one days pictures instead of both (which is a shame because there were some really awesome paint jobs on Saturday).

This little girl wanted to be a unicorn.  The nose could use a little work, but otherwise I am very proud with how it turned out.  This was my first full-face unicorn.

Here is a snow leopard.  I am surprised at how many new things I was asked for this year.  Mostly, I get the same old story – butterfly, cat, fish, heart, etc.  But here we have a unicorn, a snow leopard.  I was asked to do a full face raccoon (that little girl made my Saturday, she was awesome), even a zombie!

I must say, however, that a lot of the girls that wanted cats were creative with it.  Pink, purple, and blue cats were all the rage.

Overall, I think tiger faces were the most asked for.  I’ve gotten really good at them and can work very quickly, so I don’t mind so much.

Sunday night, we all collapsed after showering and when Monday dawned, no one wanted to move.  It took all of my effort to roll out of bed and go about getting ready for work.  My mind started racing with all of the things I have to do now, and I had to mentally shut off the brain.  I do not want to think about laundry, cleaning, or paperwork.  I do not want to make anything because I have to, but because I want to.  At least for Monday – I have three orders to fill.

Instead,  I started crocheting a roily – that is, a doily that is significantly enlarged so as to be a rug.

I’m on a size K hook, using two strands of this nasty acrylic yarn held double.  Last night, I finished round 12 of 26.  Hopefully, I will be done by the end of the week.  I am really hoping the blocking forces it to lie flat.  If this works, I am going to get some cotton and make another one.

A Finished Item

Due to the mundane activities of molding, wrapping, painting, and tying that is happening here at chez pixie, I have decided to show you the finish Cecilia Chemise.  Believe you  me, the groans, wire cuts, fights with tulle, and spills of paint are not something you want to hear about until I have the sense enough to laugh at my own poor scheduling skills.  Instead, I bid look.  It’s pretty.

Many thanks to my darling daughter for obliging her dear mother with photography.

She said she’s proud of herself because she’s getting the hang of it.


She only caught a bad face once or twice.

The pattern: Cecilia Chemise  (cropped version) by Stitch Diva Studios

The yarn: Firefly by Classic Elite, color is Hyacinth.  This yarn is a beautiful linen viscose blend with fantastic drape.  It was a bit splitty and I often pulled out bits of grass and hay that had been spun in, but the yarn feels nice and has a wonderful sheen.

This was such a quick project.  The body is knit in a rectangle, pretty much, with simple bust shaping that really works.  I think the line of the cropped version is very slimming, but you can adjust the length to suit your needs.  the lacy edging and sleeves are a nice, feminine touch, and the lace is not at all complicated.

The one problem that did crop up for me was those blasted straps.  I made them too long, got them sewn in before realizing this, and had to rip them out and remove several repeats.  Started sewing them back in again, only to realize I had sewn them in on the wrong side.  Before ripping them out, realized again that they were still too long anyway.  Ripped them out, ripped out several repeats more, and sewed them back in.

I wore this in DC, and the straps continued to stretch, and are again about an inch too long.  *whimper* I do not want to rip them out again.  I am thinking of giving this a warm bath, and once it is dry and the stitches are tight again, weaving a pretty satin ribbon through the straight edge of the strap and sewing it in place.  This project will have to wait until next week, since I have the Custer Street Fair to look forward to this weekend (and pull my hair out over throughout the next two evenings.)


I last left you after two days of exploring the Washington DC area.  After that post, we toured the International Spy Museum, but they don’t allow photography in the museum.  You will just have to go there yourself.

We headed back to the house – exhausted, hot (the heat there seems to hover in the air and there is no breeze so the whole city is like a sauna), and sore, and relaxed for a while.  Odin and our host went out for a drive in his nice Mercedes something or other and Ellette and I cooled off and played with the birds.  Kitty, the Cockatoo (I realize I said cockateel the other day – I was incorrect), would not leave me alone and did not like the fact that I was on the computer and not paying attention to him.

After the boys returned, Bryan offered us a late night tour of the National Mall.

The cooler night air was refreshing, but we were all tired.  Poor Ellette was carried for most of the trip.

Despite being near midnight, there were still a number of people out visiting the monuments.  I am relieved we did not go during the day, because heat and crowds is not my thing.  The press of bodies and noise would have made me feel claustrophobic and irritable.

This was as far as we got.  Ellette, at this point, was practically sleeping like a monkey, clinging to Odin’s back as we made our way back to the car.  The driver was nearly falling asleep standing up, and my muscles were beginning to retaliate.

Sunday dawned as our last day of vacation, and there were several ideas of what we could do.  Ellette really wanted to go swimming, but the nearest swimming area was 3 hours in the opposite direction of home.  Odin tried to call his aunt in West Virginia, since it was near some swimming holes and sort of on our way home.  We couldn’t reach her, however.  The idea of finding something relatively along our route back to Chicago was appealing, however, and Odin kept looking for places while I perused tourist guides for the area.

That’s when we found Luray Caverns.  Words cannot even begin to describe what it was like.  When we arrived, there was a large tourist center set up, with a labyrinth and a museum next door.  The parking lot was packed.  We looked at each other with concerned glances – what did we get ourselves into?  How many people were here?  Was it worth it?

It was.  Hands down – best experience ever.

This was an 18″ pool that was reflecting the ceiling.  Simply breathtaking.

Stalactites form crystals on the inside which resonate when tapped.  This organ was hooked up to a series of wires and hammers that played a song on the stalactites.  Someone had gone through and methodically located over 50 tones in order to set this up.  It was pretty cool.  Unfortunately, there were a few people in our group who were disrespectful and talked through the whole thing (I don’t know if you know this about caverns – but they echo.  A lot).

We decided to try out the labyrinth, which was also a lot of fun.  There were four goals we had to find (spelled out ‘Discover a Secret Garden’ – I know, original), which sent us all over trying to find our way.  There was a fountain in the center that we had the hardest time locating.

Eventually we found it.

We made it back to Chicago on Monday and spent the evening relaxing and bathing.  The rest of my week is going to be taken over by prep work for the Custer Street Festival this weekend.  If you are in the area, you should come check it out.  It’s a pretty awesome festival.  And this year, my friend Rebecca with The Complete Fool has a booth, almost right next to mine.  It’s going to be fantastic.

Like Outer Space

It is difficult to sum up the past two days of exploration.  Right now, I have a cheeky bird sitting on my chest as I lounge on the sofa writing this, and it is rather distracting having said cockateel staring at you with those big, unblinking eyes.  But he is a cuddly bird, and occassionally nuzzles against my shoulder or chin, which I think I’m pretty ok with.  It’s the trying to french me or pick my nose that freaks me out.

So, yesterday.  We got up early and headed out to the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum.

There were German and Korean planes.

Early flying machines.

And modern ones.

And space age Discoveries:

The sheer magnitude of the museum was amazing.  We spent around 5 hours checking out everything and still did not get our fill.  Only tired legs and a cranky child pulled us away.  Combined, Ellette and I took hundreds of pictures, I have had trouble selecting only a few to show you.

After that we came back to the house, relaxed a bit, and then I looked up yarn stores in the area.  I went over to Fibre Space and collected some souvenir yarn.  I had a little accident involving a basket of tiny skeins of sock yarn in enticing colorways and my poor impulse control.

We spent some more time in Old Town Alexandria, falling in love and talking about whether or not we could see ourselves living here.  Everyone pretty much agrees that this is so much better than Chicago.

This morning, we hopped on the Metro into the city to visit Eastern Market, and swung by Peregrine Espresso on the way.

Eastern Market was pretty cool.  I love how alive and vibrant everything is.

Mustache photo courtesy of Fuzzy Ink.  And yes, that is the Cecilia Chemise I am wearing.  I don’t know what awaits us tomorrow.  Unfortunately, we will have to head back to the midwest soon.

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