Birthday Cowl for My Mom

Moms cowl in progress

My mom’s birthday was last month, and I finally got around to photographing the finished product of her present.

The pattern is Jami Brynildson’s Fern Lace Cowl (Ravelry link), and I just love this pattern to bits. It’s interesting, but still easy enough to knit while watching TV that requires attention, and the finished product is just fantastic.

Finished Cowl

The finished product photos aren’t the best, since they were quickly snapped while visiting my parents (I was a bad blogger and forgot to model/photograph it before I gave it to her). The flat shot doesn’t really give you the best idea what it looks like on. As for the colors, the first photo is probably the most accurate – the close-up is a bit too yellow, and the full photo makes the purples look blue for whatever reason. The yarn is Plymouth Yarn’s Bazinga in colorway 01 – Lime Grape and I really loved working with it. It’s an acrylic blend too, so the cowl will be pretty easy care.

Overall I’m happy with it, and she loved it to pieces, so mission accomplished!

Finished Cowl Closeup

Getting Gutsy with Emerald Jeans

Yet another Playing with Polyvore Pop Jeans feature – this time with my Emerald Jeans. I bought these last year when Emerald was the Pantone color of the year, and just never really got around to wearing them. After playing around a bit on Polyvore, I feel really silly for neglecting them, because of all my color pop jeans, I feel like these work with color blocking the best! So many outfits I could have worn! I could have actually been on trend for the first time in my life!

Ah, C’est la vie… I guess I’ll just have to rock them this year instead. Better late than never I guess. Although, that may not be the smartest thing to say about fashion… fairly sure I’ll never wear that popcorn shirt again – 2002 can keep those forever as far as I’m concerned.

I’m starting to feel more confident about my sense of style as I put together more of these sets – I’m really hoping it starts showing in my actual wardrobe choices this year. As always, I stuck with pieces that are similar to things I have (yes, I have an emerald and blue purse – though mine’s tartan, not color blocked… what can I say: I have a pretty big purse and shoe problem). I think my favorite is a tie between the blue and green set, and the one with the rabbit sweater (which will be my gift to myself come next paycheck).

What’s your favorite?

The First Accurate Mani Monday

Mani Monday

Happy Monday everyone! It’s been a difficult few days here at Magpie Making Do – my grandmother had some surgery (it was minor and went well, but there’s always anxiety when she has to be put under and stay in the hospital now that she’s past 80 years of age) and one of my parents’ cats, Genghis Khan (who really been “my” cat since we got him as a kitten 13 years ago. I was in 8th grade and he immediately attached himself to me and hasn’t let go since – and neither have I for that matter) is not doing well at all. My mom and I had a heartbreaking discussion about it the other night, and it’s looking like it’s starting to near the end for my Genghis buddy. So when I was doing my nails last night I decided I needed some sparkle in my life to distract from the sadness and anxiety – so sparkle it is.

This is Maybelline Color Show – Gilded Rose, from the Brocades collection that came out last fall. The polish name is particularly appropriate because I’m in the middle of covering the Gilded Age in my lectures – an era so named for the sparkly patina of success and progress that, well… gilded the deeper, more sinister problems of the age.

Ah, history and nail polish… two things that almost always perk me up, at least a little on the surface!

(P.S. – sorry for the slight blur… that glitter and shine is hard to photograph!)

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Ideas


(Image from – clicking the image will take you to his site)

Just a quick link roundup for this snowy day before Valentines Day of things I’m loving for tomorrow!

This adorable framed felt art from How Does She.

These mini Red Velvet Cupcake Milkshakes from Pizzazzerie.

This Lip Print Wall Art from P.S. – I Made This…

and my absolute favorites every year:

Ben Kling’s Portrait Valentines

Happy Winter Olympics!

Mani close up

It’s no secret that I love the Olympics. So in honor of the Winter Olympics starting in Sochi last Friday, I gave myself an Olympic themed mani, in the colors of the teams I’m rooting for. The accent nails are a little obvious: the USA and the UK. Then the solid red nails are for Japan. So I’ve got my country of birth and residence, the two countries where my main research interests belong, and the accent nails also work for Russia – host country and where some of my ethnic heritage is. The only country that got left out is the Ukraine (the biggest chunk of my ethnic heritage) – I just couldn’t work the Yellow in there, and the blue is a little too navy for it to work. Maybe for week two!

Now, this was supposed to be the first post in a recurring feature for “Mani Mondays,” but I did the mani Sunday night and then forgot I had scheduled the purple jeans post for Monday morning already. So Mani Monday on a Wednesday it is!

Now, it won’t be every Monday – I’m not one of those people who has their nails painted impeccably all the time – I’m really rough on my hands and I just don’t have the patience to keep it maintained! You can probably tell by the state of my cuticles and my horrible dry skin in the second pic that caring for my hands is not high on my priority list. And to be completely honest about it, it’s kind of a miracle that these have lasted all the way from Sunday to Wednesday without chipping. But I do love nail polish, and when I find the time to play with it, I figure why not share – even if I’ll never quite measure up to the perfect nail blogger standard. But hey, here at Magpie Making Do, we’re all about doing and celebrating what you love even through failures, frustrations, imperfections, and everything else life throws at you (although I do hope my ability to photograph my nails will improve the more I do it!).

full hand

Attempting to Style Light Purple Jeans

Next up in my Playing with Polyvore series are a bunch of ideas for my light purple jeans. Again, I stuck with pieces that I own something similar to and as you can see, I got a little more daring with color this time by including some mint and emerald-green.

Purple has been my favorite color for almost as long as I can remember, so I’m a little more confident in terms of what other colors look good with it. But as you can see, I still stayed pretty neutral with most of the outfits. It became clear to me that I probably should have gone with a darker pair when I bought them last year – the lavenderish purple doesn’t seem to lend itself to decent color blocking the way darker purple jeans do. Neutrals just seem to work better (or maybe I’m just a scaredy cat with bold fashion). Out of all of them I think the grey/purple outfit in the lower right corner is my favorite.

What’s your favorite? Any tips for styling light purple jeans?

Wearing Coral Jeans

I’ve been getting a little better at using, and I’m finding it an excellent resource for experimenting with what to wear with what. Specifically, I have a number of color pop jeans that were gifted to me that sadly spend most of their time hanging in my closet. Not because I don’t love them, but because I have NO CLUE what to wear with them. I’ll pull them out in the morning, look desperately from them, to my closet then to the clock, and ultimately swap them out for my regular non-colorful jeans.

Now, I teach in jeans more often than not. Nice jeans, with nice shirts and nice shoes – but jeans nonetheless because my work day runs from 8 am to 10 pm most nights thanks to the multiple job thing. I’ve gotta be comfortable being in the same clothes for that long. Utilizing the color pop jeans more seems like a great way to mix up my look, dress a little more “my age,” and stay comfortable all at the same time.

I’ve started with my coral jeans. I tried to stick with things that I have similar items to in my closet (since it does me no good to use stuff I don’t have – I can’t buy ANYTHING right now). The one exception are those Hunter Wellies… I love them so much I think I’m going to sock away money for the next six months for them. Hopefully they’re still selling them when my $1 here $1 there saving can finally match the price (why, oh WHY do they have to be $195??)

I struggled a lot with what colors to pair with them, so as you can see I stayed pretty neutral. Do you guys have any advice for wearing coral jeans??