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North Carolina

I know it’s been a very long while since I’ve posted last…naughty, naughty, I know. Well, it is hard to post and take pretty pictures when you live with five guys. Let’s just say there wasn’t a clean surface in sight. So, here I am finally! Daniel and I have moved out of the frat house and are currently visiting our parents in each of our home towns. Why? Because in about a week we are moving to the City of Light! Paris 🙂

If this seems incredibly sudden to you, you wouldn’t be imagining things. This has been in the talks for about a year, but only became official about 2 months ago (maybe even less!), so it’s been an incredible whirlwind of packing and planning. About a week ago Daniel and I packed all our belongings in a pickup and drove 12 hours (Jersey traffic is nuts!) to NC in one day! We are officially meeting up in Atlanta on the 13th of August to head to our future home, so in the meantime we are both spending time with our families, which for me has been one of the most amazing parts of this whole saga! DSC_0545DSC_0538DSC_0540DSC_0556DSC_0555DSC_0558It’s always wonderful to spend time at home. I love going in my mom’s garden with her to pick veggies and wiggle our toes in the dirt. I love seeing my loving and supportive extended family. I love talking about adulthood woes with my best friend. And I LOVE breathing that sweet Summer air of North Carolina. There’s nothing quite like it. I really ultimately hope to end up here one day when I have a family of my own. If you’ve spent any time with me then you know I have a very romantic connection to NC. It’s such a charming state with such a high quality of life. I mean how could you not love a place where you bring all your homegrown fruits and veggies to gatherings to trade amongst friends and family?!DSC_0596DSC_0698Daniel and I went blueberry picking in my grandma’s yard. Isn’t life sweet in the most subtle of ways?DSC_0574My grandma has an above ground pool in her backyard-AKA a redneck pool, and I got to go swimming in it for the first time a few days ago. IT WAS AWESOME! All my extended family was there and we just had a massive pool party. It was such a fun time. I also recommend that if you have one of these pools to gather as many folk as you can, have everyone run as fast as they can in the same direction, thus creating an impressive whirlpool, and then have everyone lift up their feet at the same time. Just. Do. It. Trust me. 😉DSC_0590IMG_0053IMG_0046DSC_0658DSC_0649DSC_0615DSC_0702IMG_0052IMG_0054DSC_0683DSC_0708While D and myself are in Paris we are going to try to really experience Parisian life to the fullest by slowing down and focusing on the small joys of daily life. It was so easy in New York to get overwhelmed and boggled down by such silly and trivial things. Expect to see lots of steaming cups of espresso, books, and travel coming up! In the meantime, NC isn’t such a bad place to slow down. I sure am enjoying life these days.

Until next time !

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I’m not sure if I told anyone on here or not, but I’m in Milan! I’m here for work for about a month, then onto Paris and London. I haven’t updated the blog in a REALLY long time (I’m ashamed), but to be truly honest I was so freaking busy and stressed out I just couldn’t make time. Not that I’m here though, I have time! The past two weeks have consisted of packing, cleaning, and I even went home to North Carolina for Mother’s Day weekend, which was THE BEST. /IMG_3834

I’ll start there. On Thursday I secretly took the train home (yes, 10 hours worth of train) to surprise my sweet mother for Mother’s Day weekend. And I just wanted to see her and my entire family and my home. The day before I left I realized I didn’t have a gift of any sorts for her. To be frank, I didn’t think I was going to get to go home. So I delved into my yarn stash to see what I could make within the ten hour train ride. I considered fingerless mitts, a coffee mug cozy, and some bunting, but finally set my heart on the Swan’s Island Sasha Cowl. I was given the amazing yarn through the NYC Yarn Crawl with the basket I won as well as the pattern. I had always thought it was cabling, but then realized it’s just lace (which i can actually do!) Here’s a very blurry picture of the train progress..it’s hard to take a picture in a moving train I’ve learnt.IMG_3774And my mom loved it! It was a very easy and fast knit. Turned out beautiful, possibly my favorite make to date. I knew I’d finish it pretty fast so as a treat to myself I bought a skein of Koigu in a  color way I’d been eyeing for a while. It’s so colorful, bright and happy! Who wouldn’t love it?!

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I love the fact that it looks like colorful spaghetti!!!

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Makes the most lovely hexipuffs, doesn’t it? I almost have 20 hexipuffs! YEAH ONLY A BILLION TO GO!

Okay so when I got home my sister picked me up from the train station and we surprised my mom in the parking lot of Chick-fila. Hahaha we had to do it somewhere! She was so happy and surprised and it just totally made the 10 hour train ride worth every second. I hadn’t seen any of my family since Christmas so it was just the most wonderful time being home. The next day my mom, and sister, and I spent the entire day together at a train station turned plant nursery and shopping at the mall.IMG_3852

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I just feel like this picture below is so standard for anyone who lives in the South. Everyone has several pictures where they are holding a styrofoam cup. Why? Because all the hotdog/burger joints use them. And they’re always filled with sweet tea, but I’m weird and don’t like ice tea..I know, I’m not Southern. HA!IMG_3860

Here I am watering my mom’s glorious garden! It’s so big and wonderful. I’m so jealous. I wish I could dig my hands in the dirt and have pretty flowers to take care of. It was so wonderful feeling wet dirts in between my toes and taking care of mother earth!!IMG_3874

My best friend and I also went strawberry picking!!! She’s the best person I know, seriously. Fun fact..we have the same first and middle name! How crazy is that? She’s the only person I know who I could sit in the middle of a strawberry patch with and just have a conversation about life.

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Before I had to go to the airport my whole family and I went to Waffle House and had breakfast..they’re so wonderful. It broke my heart to have to leave 😦

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I miss home and everyone who comes along with it. I miss driving and singing birds. I miss sleeping with the window open and fresh air. I miss spring flowers and friendly neighbors. I miss thunderstorms and watching science tv shows with my dad late at night.

 

I miss home every single day.

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Recently I have become slightly overwhelmed at all I need to do, but mostly what I haven’t done. I’m probably going to be traveling overseas sometime soon, and there’s just so much to do! My dresser broke about a week ago…I mean, it’s been broken for a while and I just kept nailing the drawers back together (the bottoms kept falling out) or gorilla glueing them together. It worked for a while but this time they just all broke at once. It’s time to get a new dresser. I need to sort and clean and straighten and this and that. You know how it goes.

One thing I have managed to get done is laundry. I love doing laundry. It’s so fulfilling. I had put off a month or two’s worth of laundry because laundry in New York will cost you an arm and a leg and I hate hauling a huge 30 lb bag of laundry down the street. But guess what?! I found out my building has laundry in the basement. I’ve done almost 6 loads of laundry since. YUS.

You know you’re an adult when you get excited over laundry.

Lately there has also been a huge knitting/crochet guilt laid upon me. I feel extremely guilty when I don’t make people things for birthdays/holidays/justbecause. I just don’t have time. I’m already slow and a huge procrastinator. But the things I do make for people are ALWAYS late. I’m frantically trying to finish up some WIP’s (fiber art lingo for ‘work in progress’) before I leave for Europe. I know I won’t get most of them done, and I’ll have to take them along or put them off for another couple months. Ugh. While sorting some yarn I did find one WIP that was easy enough to finish.

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I started this bag a few months before Christmas as a carry-all/grocery bag for my sister.I literally made the entire bag and finished about 20 rows short of finishing the handle. Why did I not finish this?! I have the WORST project jumping and I get bored way too easily. And don’t get me on started on the fact that I get into knitting funks where I think I’m terrible and the project will end up being terrible. I have a few of those. I honestly need to get a grip on my WIP’s. Let’s take a pictorial journey through a few:

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That last one was going to be a cat..I made half of the head and that’s it. HA! Any of these look familiar? Yeah, thought so.

One WIP I’m am very excited about is the Granny Stripe blanket. I’ve started working on it again, and I have to say it is looking very good.

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This picture reminded me of a childhood memory. My dad grew up in a very small town in North Carolina called Dunn. There’s a hotdog joint there called Norris’ Frozen Custard. Growing up, a visit to my grandparents normally meant we would eat lunch there, or if we were on the way to the beach. They had a large freezer full of different ice creams and these colors reminded me so much of them. Not like vanilla or chocolate, or sorbet, but the cotton candy ice-cream or mint chocolate chip, and particularly the bubblegum. I used to love just looking at them and imagining what they all tasted like. Unfortunately I haven’t been to Norris’ (pronounced NAR-ruses not NOR if you’re a local) in a few years, but I still crave their hotdogs and fries. The best in the world if you ask me.

One other project I’ve begun, but not too worried about is the Beekeeper’s Quilt by tinyowlknits. Basically, as a way to use up leftover sock yarn it’s an afghan comprised of hundreds upon hundreds of knitted honeycomb. These honeycomb have lovingly been monikered “hexipuffs” as they are stuffed with fluff. The hexipuffs take about 45 minutes each to make, so it’s not something you can crack out in a few weeks or even months. Many people make a few hexipuffs at a time during their spare time over several years.

DSC_0187So far my hexipuff count is up to five. HA! Patience.

I hope wherever you are in the world today, you are having a most lovely, sunny day. It’s raining and 46 degrees here…but it’s okay because I’m listening to Bill Withers 🙂

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I’m on instagram!!! @themenagerie

New York City has finally gotten into Spring mode. I mean, it was still rainy and cold as the Arctic Tundra yesterday, but today is nothing but sunshine and chirpy birds. I’ve created a little knitting nook in my room near the window, which I keep open as much as possible these days. Want to know one of my favorite smells in the entire Universe? The smell of sun. Sunshine definitely has a smell. You know during those warmer days when you open the window and “that” smell comes through the pane? The smell of fresh air, sunshine, and just general outsideness? THAT is one of my favorite smells. Though, it’s not as strong here in the city, sitting in my little nook i can still get a few wiffs. If I close my eyes it’s almost as if I’m home.

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Lately I’ve been missing North Carolina more and more. Probably due to the nice weather. I long for watching thunderstorms on the porch with my dad, sitting in the yard hearing a distant lawnmower, and driving with the windows down. North Carolina, how I miss you. I can’t wait to buy a little homestead in the middle of the country someday.

I’ve been feverishly knitting away on socks for birthdays, past christmases, just because..I’m definitely loving it, but getting a bit drained. I’m not great with deadlines..at all, so creating things in a certain amount of time just spells doom for me. Oh well, at least the people who know and love me expect this. HA!

Perusing at my near and dear yarn shop Downtown Yarns I found the most amazing, beautiful, colorful sock yarn. It’s Colinette, Jitterbug sock yarn in Red Parrot color way. I’m obsessed. The more I knit the more excited I am to see the colors come together. What color’s next? How will those two look next to each other? I love it! Knitting is very, “live on the edge” as you can see.

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My camera was out on loan for about a week, so these first photos were taken with my phone, as I couldn’t wait to capture the wonderfulness that is this yarn.Image

I mean look at that beautiful cuff!!!!! a;lkdja;fldfa;ldkfImage

I even got some knitting done in Central Park yesterday. I worked through the finger numbness!!!

And here is my day today in the nook:

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I made some chia pudding today! It’s dessert AND healthy. HELLLOOOOO I needed this in my life. It’s so tasty. I added 1/3 cup ofchia seeds to about a cup of almond milk, a couple squeezes of honey, and a dash of cinnamon. I love sweet cinnamon things.

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I’ve also been working on the green tweed socks for my friend Giorgia. LIke I’ve mentioned before these are my first “toe up, two circs” socks. I like the method, however, I think since I’m making them for a friend I need to just do them cuff down. It’s hard when the pattern says, “when the sock reaches the front of your ankle start your increases”. Well that ankle I need isn’t here right now and we don’t have the same size feet. So I think I will start over doing cuff down.

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This week was also baking-heavy. I made two pies: one original pecan, and the other coconut pecan. The original was for a friend, so I didn’t get to try it, but man, oh man, was that coconut pecan pie GEWD.

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I highly recommend adding coconut to your pecan pies, people! Image

I also got dreads at a shoot this week for Paper magazine. Just wanted to share because when the heck am I ever going to have dreads again?!!!! I think it’s a pretty good look for me, personally. My boyfriend wasn’t so convinced. HA! I’ve been working quite a lot lately. I’m going to Paris and maybe even Germany soon! I’m so excited. I’ll be sure to visit lots of oversea yarn shops. I can’t wait!!!!!!!! I haven’t traveled in a while. I’m going to LA for shoot next week also. It’ll be nice to be around some serious sun.

I hope everyone gets outside and enjoys the weather!!!

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Love and snuggles!

 

Join me on instagram for my yarn, bakey goodness!!! @themenagerie

 

2013 (and half of 2012..just going to lump them together) for me was a very transitional year. I moved two separate times to two different neighborhoods in New York (moving in NYC is the most horrific experience EVER), I made many new friends, I changed to a new modeling agency, I lived in Paris for a month, had my heart broken, and found new love and a new outlook on life. Oh and I also started this blog 🙂 I honestly feel as if I’m more confused on where my life is going then ever before, but I feel as though I’ve also gained a new insight into who I am.

One aspect of my job is that I always struggled with was the fact that I always felt as if who I am and what I’m all about was never good enough. I was or never have been “edgy enough”. I’m reserved, very observant, a bit of a homebody, and a crafter, but to the fashion industry they see it as “boring boring and more boring”. Sometimes it breaks my heart that nobody cheers on the model with a good head on her shoulders, who was raised to be kind, classy, and intelligent. I don’t do drugs or go clubbing on the regular. I don’t like going to parties to “hang” with celebrities and Rihanna’s not my best friend. But am I good at my job? You’re damn sure I am. I never show up to shoots late or hungover (which I’ve seen more times than I can count). I’m professional, but many times that doesn’t really matter. I’m not loud and obnoxious so sometimes I go unnoticed. So that brings me to my point, that a resolution I have for the upcoming year is to not get down on myself when the industry does. I am who I am, and that can not be changed, nor do I want it to! I think I’m super snazzy and anyone who doesn’t think so is free to never see me again 🙂

ME: Super snazzy, craft lover, puppy snuggler, forest trekker, thrifty hunter, treasure seeker, crocheter/knitter, pie enthusiast, book adorer, down home North Carolina girl.

ImageDue to all those times I moved I didn’t get very much crochet done this year, or at least as much as I would’ve like. I started WAYYY too many projects and never finished like..any of them. HA! I’m definitely going to try to crochet and knit more this year, and for sure finish all those wip’s!!!! I also want to learn to knit socks, tunisian crochet, and just more knitting techniques. I want to be more on top of holidays and occasions, so I can actually make people things on time! I can DO IT!

Alrighty now that that business is taken care of I’ll show you some pictures of the strawberry patch blanket strewn about. The progress on this thing is going slow as molasses. I don’t know how those ladies on instagram crank them out in like..a week. DO THEY NOT REST? DO THEIR HANDS NOT HURT? I mean seriously. Anywho, not to get discouraged..here it is 🙂

It looked so beautiful piled on my bed with the sunlight streaming in.

ImageI took it out in the yard to get a proper progress picture and I just hand to show a close up

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ImageIt doesn’t look big but it is. It’s gotten to the wonderful point of being able to be used as a blanket while I make it.

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ImageThe other night mom and I went to see my grandmother and while routing around in her attic I came across a bag of old wool yarn. We looked at a receipt in the bag and found that my GREAT grandmother bought all the wool. She was a crocheter much like myself :). Maw Maw (my g-ma) said I could have it so I merrily took all the old luscious wool home with me. I’ll probably leave it here in NC so I’ll have some yarn to play with while I’m here and also I’ve obtained so much through Christmas and my birthday I don’t know how I’ll ever get it all back to New York, nor where I would store it!!!

ImageThat lovely green wool on the bottom is my favorite. The color is just so beautiful.

OH and another treat, I’ve run across both my first ever piece of crochet and knitting! When I decided to delve into fiber arts about 2-3 years ago I started with knitting..I thought it’d be easier for some reason. I only got good enough to make one thing and knit stitch scarf..and here it is!!

ImageThere are many many dropped stitches and weird crossovers and mistakes but I love looking at it because now I can knit without dropping stitches left and right..AND it’s something I enjoy! Rewind, so I decided I hated knitting and decided to give crocheting a go. I sat on my bed and watched and rewatched and watched a video tutorial on how to make a granny square. I did not learn how to chain, I did not learn single crochets, and I didn’t not learn how to double crochet first. I literally started with a granny square.

ImageI remember I even brought it down to dinner with me. I stared and admired it the whole meal. Ever since then I’ve been hooked (pun intended) on crochet. Whenever I come home I like to look at this wonky granny square and reflect on how much I’ve improved and how different my life was when it was made.

I think 2014 will be a truly magnificent year!

I’m always very fascinated to hear the different traditions of families on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. Who’s house they go to on what day, what they eat, what they do. On Christmas Eve we always head up to my grandmother’s house for a nightly dinner of grazing on snacks and present opening.

ImageOne of my favorite Christmas treats are the homemade cheese straws my grandma makes. So good! She makes hers into flower shapes..so I suppose they’re more like cheese..flowers. Ha!

ImageLook at this divine tree my cousin decorated for my grandma! We all think she should be an interior decorator. I mean..helllooo this thing should be in Better Homes and Gardens. And she said she got most of the ornaments at the Dollar Store!

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ImageHere’s the whole family!

ImageDaniel after opening his stocking. I think I was more excited than he was. HA!

ImageAs you can see below my mom is one of those people who can wrap gifts in less than a minute and they still looking amazing.

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ImageHere’s everyone wearing their handmade gifts from me!!

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ImageI also made a Christmas Day cranberry pie. My sister gave me a pie bird and some pie weights, and my mom and dad gave me a new pie dish so I just HAD to use them right away! By the way a pie bird is used for pie with double crusts or a top and bottom crust. It helps the steam escape to prevent a soggy crust and a runny filling.

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ImageSooo yummy! I also tried a vodka pie crust for the first time. I’ve always made the traditional all butter crust. When looking up a recipe I could only find the one vodka pie crust from Cook’s Illustrated and it calls for shortening. Well..I didn’t have any so I just made my usual all butter crust and then substituted some of my water for vodka and it turned out just fine. Will be using this again!

Apparently I’m a messy baker…i.e. the evidence below. Hehehe :p

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From my family to yours, we hope you had a wonderful and merry Christmas!

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I hope everyone had a most festive, and family-filled Christmas! Boy, oh boy, I love Christmas. This year was especially wonderful because it was my lovely boyfriend’s first time celebrating. It just made the holiday that much more special with him here. I even made him his own stocking. Never having made a sock (knitted or crocheted) I was super out of my element. I also didn’t have an actual pattern either..I had one as a guideline, but all the stitches, numbers, and the gauge were totally different and well, though it did not turn out “perfect” the stocking is wonderfully nonperfect in my eyes.

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ImageThere it is in the middle..not the most attractive of stockings, but I love it and my boyfriend loved it too!!! And that’s what matters most. Harumph. The instep gave me the most trouble. It also got me very interested in sock making. I’ve been wanting to learn how to knit socks, but everytime I do delve into research I get incredibly intimidated by all the technicalities and terms. Also there are just so many different ways!! Toe up, after thought heel, cuff down, this and that!!! I was also quite impressed with myself that I was able to crank it out in less than 2 hours.

Onward. I made everyone a handmade gift this year. Whether it be crochet or knitted or what have you. Everyone got a knitted beanie, except my mom and grandmother. They got stocknitte scarves, which turned out amazingly. Honestly, I can’t believe I pulled off a handmade Christmas. There were some intense moments of panic for a while there. Nevertheless, I pulled it out. GO ME!

Thank goodness my parents agreed not to put the ornaments on the tree until I got home. I love decorating the tree 🙂 We are real tree folks allll the way, for those of you who were wondering. No plastic trees here!

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ImageA few of my favorite ornaments.. ((((:

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ImageMy mom made this ornament probably around the time my sister was born (around 33 years ago!!!). There’s no telling how many Christmas memories this ornament has seen.

ImageI even attempted to wrap all my presents in a cutesy manner. I’m absolutely dreadful at wrapping presents. I just do not seem to possess the patience for it. But I held strong and tried not to just rip all the paper up as I was going along. Grrrr…I envy those of you out there who can wrap!!!

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ImageOn a random note, I’ve been trying my hand at cross stitch lately. It’s an easy concept on paper, but the execution is just a bit harder. Here’s some of my mother’s needlepoint/cross stitch pillows in our house. The butterfly is my favorite 🙂

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Just had to share!

 

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