Lara’s World

Who are you not to be fabulous?

One of my favorite quotes ever. I was blown away by this back when I, like many, believed it was part of Nelson Mandela’s inauguration speech. In truth, the words were written by Marianne Williamson. Funny thing, when I went searching online to find the text, I found that the quote is from her book, A Return to Love, which is currently sitting by my pillow on my bed:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

So much there that resounds through my heart and my brain. I feel the truth of this every time I sing and allow truth and love to pour through my voice, with no editing or judgement on my part. The audience always, ALWAYS responds well to what I’m giving when I achieve that.

I generally spend time rehearsing a song technically, worry that its not going well, won’t sound right etc….get myself so upset that I finally just have to surrender, and it is not until I do that I remember what’s missing. The creative spirit! The divine feminine. The opposite of intellect…that which drives me to sing in the first place.


When we get the intellect and the intuition, the technical and the creative, working together as we need them to do, it all sort of handles itself. I’m over this habit of obsessing over how a song sounds. How my voice sounds. An audience doesn’t respond to a technically perfect performance the way they do to a performance full of your heart. I do forget sometimes. The ego is strong, and hey, we all wanna’ be loved. But I’ll tell you, my old fears about singing and performing have no place to take hold when I’m coming from the place that feels right to me.

I’ve learned to go back to the beginning. What drives me to sing (that urging in my heart), and my urge to sing the truth and to give of myself through my music. That’s what’s needed from any artist. That giving of your heart to your audience. That’s what they need from you on the deepest level. So when I go back there, and approach the song from that place of truth, practice it from a standpoint of honesty, love, openness and vulnerability, and practice the technical aspects as well…well, then when I go to sing I’m no longer wondering how it will be received.

I’m simply standing in a moment. Inside a song, pouring forth everything I have. And doing it that way is the only way that ever gives me any satisfaction any more as an artist….And doing it that way is the only way that touches an audience, gives them permission to feel, expressing things they might have been able to express without music. Ironically that is when audiences approach me and tell me how much they loved or were moved by what I’ve given them from the stage. And the beautiful thing is by then, I no longer need the affirmation the way I would have before…that these conversations can simply be moments of sharing and connection derived from a song that continues after it has ended.

Who are we not to be fabulous? I think we reach fabulous when we can immerse ourselves the way I’ve described above. And I have a new friend who sings his heart out and is amazing on stage. And it really irks me the way some people hate on him. They take the simplest little action on his part and reinterpret it to be an expression of arrogance or egoism. Do they ever ask themselves what it is that he could do that they would find acceptable? Sometimes we really set people up in a no win situation

“There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.” I hope he never does. I know that alot of the time I joke and play with people to make myself more accessible…so they won’t be intimidated by what I do. Jaysis! I think this is another type of the same cop out. I’m a loving and fun and joyful person, but it’s like sometimes that thought or intention is in my mind…let them see I’m not conceited…or whatever. Because, for example, I really do need that intense, focussed, artist time away from other cast members, or perhaps only near the ones who are working similarly to the way I do, and who understand that need. I’m gonna’ try doing without that idea that I need to shrink myself a little (the thought of shrinking myself makes me really see the light here with regard to making people laugh – it makes me really uncomfortable). I can still play and laugh with people, but what if I only do it when my spirit drives me to do so? I’d like to see who I become when I don’t need to entertain off the stage as well.

Fung Wah or Bus(t)
January 20, 2008, 4:25 pm
Filed under: Life | Tags: , , , , ,

So, I will be taking my life into my hands on Friday and hopping the early morning Fung Wah to Manhattan. I am so excited. And the fact that I’m taking the Fung Wah bus makes it all even more of an adventure.

I’m headed of to Manhattan for the day to audition for the Tisch School’s graduate acting program at NYU. I’ve been feeling so alive this week as I’ve really settled on and got to work on some monologues. I’ve been having one sided discussions with the auditors (read: with myself) about acting and why I’m there and how pleased I am to be auditioning and how I chose all new material for today.

I still need to write a personal statement and print out a resume and a headshot. Finalize my audition clothes and rehearse in them a few times. And meditate on how fabulous it all is and on receiving gladly these gifts from the universe. I also need a haircut and perhaps a manicure.

I’ve been walking around my house smiling, and every once in while I let out this high pitched “Nee!” sound. My neighbors probably think I’m hiding a dolphin in my bathtub. I’m not, not that I would be above this. I think “Nee!” indicates the overflowing of my heart with joy and gratitude. It’s accompanied by a blissful sensation where I feel like light shoots out of my heart through the top of my head, and I have to shake my head til the shivers subside. I feel alive and ready at these moments to try anything, like flying for the first time. Without a plane.

As my creative flow has increased this week, it’s been spreading into everything, knitting, cooking, whatever it is, I need to be creating. My instrument is ON. And I am ready to ride that Fung Wah like a wild stallion (a metaphor which may be quite apropos) into the sunset, or sunrise even, on Friday morning.

Merry Christmas Simon FO

Blogland, you will love this. I swear to God.

Last summer, I grabbed myself a job doing the lunch shift at a little pizza place. I needed something part time, and I had just read a couple of Terry Saltz mysteries. He was a carpenter who also worked for a pizza place, and I loved the generosity of spirit of both Terry and all who worked there. They were a team, and contributed to the best of their abilities to get the job done. So I figured, why not? On Craigslist one day I found a job posting asking for someone to do the counter and phones, etc. at lunch 5 days a week. I emailed the poster and said I was interested, had some experience, and left my contact info. Simon called my cell and left a voicemail giving me the rough details and also left a phone number to call him. A phone number I could not understand, though I listened probably 6 times. Basically, I had the name “Simon,” the town, and the fact that they made pizza. Nothing else. What did I do? I googled “Simon,” the town, and the word “pizza.” And up came an article that had been written about the shop two years before.

Fast forward to when I’ve been there a couple of weeks. During a quiet moment I decide to mess with Simon a bit and tell him how I couldn’t understand his vm and only found the restaurant because I was psychic. (No connection to any of my earlier posts – I was just playing around). I figured I could at least make him wonder how I found the place. So I tell him I’m psychic, and what does my new boss say? “I know – I read your blog.”

Can you say “I Feel Naked?” He’d read my blog? Apparently, he’d googled me too when I came to work there. Sheesh. I did ultimately explain how I really found his shop. But sheesh. There’s no going back once your boss has read your blog. And it gets better; from time to time he’d mention to my coworkers that I had a really nice blog and that they should check it out. I think I managed to distract them from doing this, but who knows? Maybe they all tune in. I hadn’t updated it for sometime actually, and only started up again recently. So maybe Simon has stopped tuning in himself. I guess we won’t know until he leaves a comment. And he will, if he reads this. Believe you me. For example: one day I laughingly told him to give a customer extra ketchup because the customer was cute. Simon, without batting an eye, turned around and told the customer why he was getting extra ketchup. Yes, this is who I work for, people.

So anyway, fast forwarding again, a couple of weeks before Christmas, a guy with a cute handmade hat walked into the store one day and confessed that yes, his gf had knit the hat for him. Simon thought that was pretty nice, and when I asked him what he’d want if I made him something for Christmas, he picked a scarf. And a color. Do you know how hard it is to find purple yarn that a man could wear? Simon did inform me that he was secure enough in his masculinity to wear any purple yarn that I wanted to use (cough), but after perusing a bit, I found a gor-gee-yous Rowan tweed, Harris Tweed Aran, to be specific, in a color called “Thistle.” It’s a deep, rich violet flecked with purple and red, 100% virgin wool from the hills and dales of Scotland…ahem. I set to work a couple of weeks before Christmas, and gave him the finished product today:

I was a little verklemt to give it up, actually. I’d put in a lot of time and energy, in the best possible sense. You see, I consider Simon a heart friend. He’s generous in a big way, and always seems to try to be the best person he can be. I’m sure he wouldn’t put it that way, but there it is. He’s a thinking man, and likes to debate. (In fact, debating is a HUGE pastime for most who work at this shop.) I’m grateful for him in my life and as my boss, so I put a lot of love into this scarf. Have you ever made a healing shawl?? Well that’s exactly what I did. I created it with the intention and request of the universe that it be a healing scarf, and that it remind Simon that he is loved whenever he wears it. I knit it with the intention that he and his wife and kids experience great peace, happiness, and joy. I find that healing shawls have a lot of power, and you know it when you’ve just placed one around your shoulders. This is what I wanted for the Sime-ster.

Now Simon is also like a big brother to me…which means many good things, and also means that sometimes we drive each other apesh*t. The holiday season was a bit stressful, and as I knit I reminded myself of all the wonderful things he’s done for me, and chose that to focus on, instead of being irritated. Hehheh. It does help,though. Seriously, read up on the Law of Attraction. At the end of the day, anything I could complain about with regard to him, he could make an identical complaint about me. Which is why I didn’t complain when he asked for 1/2 inch fringe on the ends of his scarf. If you promise not to tell him, I will confess to you that the fringe is actually about 1 inch long:

For you knitters, the scarf is about 56 inches long, and about 6 inches wide…unless you stretch it out until it measures about 10 inches wide. Why is one able to do this, you ask? Because it was knit in an aran design called a speckled rib from the Encyclopedia of Knit and Crochet Stitches. If you like what you see, grab an aran weight yarn and cast on 27 stitches with size 8 straights. Knit the speckled rib until the scarf is as long as you want it to be. I have to tell you, knitting with Harris Tweed (I think it’s now produced as Rowan Scottish Tweed) was a super treat. It’s not the kind of yarn I go for for myself…I tend to be the bargain girl, but have broken that habit I hope. It makes sense to buy the best you can afford of what you like the most…a piece will have a whole different energy about it. That’s why I chose this yarn for Simon’s scarf. In addition to the piece, your experience of creating it will have a whole different energy too…higher, more loving, more special, more magical.

Aside from verklemtness, it was also nice to hand it over today. Since Christmas I’ve been having pangs of guilt that it wasn’t done yet. Sheesh. Now, I’d recently made some real progress, so it was well underway. This past weekend I brought my new nephew and his parents up to the shop to introduce them all and buy dinner. I quietly told Simon I was not there for a discount (after he jokingly offered me one if I prepped some of the food), but that I simply wanted to introduce my blood family to my Bravo family, and to get the former some great food for supper. When we went to leave, Simon wouldn’t let me pay him. As in, ignored me (i.e., pretended I wasn’t speaking) when I tried to argue. We went home and feasted, believe you me. My brother had chosen the shop’s famous grilled chicken dinner, and once he managed to steal a few of my (also famous) steak tips, vowed to go back up there whenever he came to visit. Please. My whole family had already had nominated Simon for sainthood for generosity alone. And Simon and my brother got to talk politics and trade jokes about what a pain in the ass I am; I think they may get engaged, to be honest. Regardless, after all this, I said to my mother, “I think I better hurry up and finish this man’s scarf.” And actually, it wasn’t out of guilt at all. I felt a sincere gratitude in my heart, and channeled that energy to finish a purple tweed scarf for a kind friend.

So I finished it, and danged if it didn’t feel pretty good around my neck. But I tied a bow around it and gave it to its intended. Who seemed to like it pretty much.

Quant de Lara
January 12, 2008, 2:58 pm
Filed under: knitting, yarn | Tags: , , , , ,

Yes, you read right. I made a quant. I did entrelac. You can’t stop me! Took me a couple of weeks pre-Christmas, since I was rotating between projects at that time. Wanna’ see? You know you do!

Isn’t it gorgeous?? Yes I did say it. How can I not when Noro is so fun and amazing, colorifically. I used a skein of Noro Kureyon, Color 102. It’s looks like Fire and Ice sunsets, and is very similar to the yarn used by the designer, Star Athena. These colors were so satisfying to knit with, I go for the wild tropical sunsets I guess. Amazing vision bursting colors that exist in nature are heart boggling for me. Here is essentially the same picture with a slightly different angle:

I wear this a lot, esp. to work where I need to keep my hair back, but where ponytails are getting old. This way I give my hair a break (no pun intended), and get to sport some stuff that I hand-made for me. The other day, Charlie, a 6 foot plus burly young truck mechanic comes in to get his ham and American with light mustard only, and says, out of nowhere: “Oh, that’s nice, that head scarf. Did you crochet that yourself?” I was a little surprised (pleasantly!?) but managed to thank him and tell him that yes, I did. I’m gonna try a Marlena next, with a little CE Paintbox. Let’s see if he notices again!? Must have a mom or gramma that crochets? Lookit me, being all sexist. Maybe he’s an accomplished knitter or crocheter himself.

Skills I picked up on this puppy were Picking up stitches (both knitting and purling), and of course, Entrelac. I’m so impressed with myself. Happy yarning y’all.

Another (Pre)Felted Bag
January 12, 2008, 2:08 pm
Filed under: knitting, yarn | Tags: , , , , , ,

I love going to yarn shops, esp. the Fiber Loft in Harvard, MA, and buying up little bags of tiny wool balls, and the odd skein of wool that has no mates. Recently I got a large skein of a bulky navy wool, can’t remember if there was a tag or not. One restless evening soon after I grabbed the book One Skein Wonders, and cast on for the Squashy Bag on page 30. I do not like the name squashy bag by the way. This is a quick one, and I modified it a bit.

You may not realize this, but these pre-felted pics are a real event here at Lara’s World. I generally never get pics til the bag is shrunked. From base to top the pre-felted bag measures about 8 inches, instead of 6. I’m assuming that the bag will felt more drastically vertically than horizontally, and since it’s a small bag already, I wanted to make sure it would be a little bigger than it might have been. Width-wise, pre-felted measures 11.5 inches. The i-cord strap is also longer than the pattern; it’s 54 inches long. Some of these photos look on my screen, but the bag is a true dark blue.

I *really* get a kick out of patterns that let me pick up a new skill. For this bag I learned Kitchener Stitch and grafting (for a total of 8 stitches), and holding stitches on a holder for later use. This last isn’t brain surgery, but now I’ve done it with my own hand and eliminated the any mystery. If you’re interested, here’s its butt:

Now in my world, a little navy bag, even boiled wool, is a little boring, so stay tuned for the felted pics, which will eventually include little felted flowers on the front and who knows what else. The bag will be properly funkified.

Pattern of the Day!
January 6, 2008, 5:43 pm
Filed under: Crochet, knitting | Tags: , , ,

Wow. I just looked at my stats and out of no where I have over 2100 hits today, and a good portion of them were looking at my Cowl Scarf Pattern. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that my cowl scarf is the free pattern of the day over at Well shut my mouth! I’m kinda’ pleased, if you wanna’ know the truth. *blush*

Beaded Two Finger Bag Crochet: Free Pattern
December 27, 2007, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Crochet, free crochet patterns, knitting, yarn

Two Finger Bag

So, several months ago, I agreed to make two bags for my good friend’s BF to give to his Ma and G’Ma for Christmas. Last week I learned he wouldn’t need them until the Thursday after Christmas. Fabulous! I wouldn’t have to rush throughout the holiday. Fast forward to yesterday, i.e. the Wednesday after Christmas. During a phone conversation with my friend, she casually asks if the bags are ready, as BF was hoping she’d pick them up.

Me: “What? I thought he didn’t need them until the Thursday after Christmas.”
Her: “Um, that’s tomorrow.”

I gasped audibly in response, and made arrangements for BF to pick up the bags at my house on his way north, the next morning (i.e., today). Now, Ma’s purse was all set, but GMa’s purse was still an in image in my mind. I had a Burgundy yarn I was planning to use for a clutch, with some porcelain beads, and a notion about a pin or a flower that I’d stick somewhere on the front. And I also had about 3 hours, because I was not willing to lose any sleep for this. I’ve been know to strive for hours to perfect a tiny detail. Whatever.

Four hours later, after buying myself some new sneakers, I got home, ran upstairs and grabbed a skein of wine-colored RH Plush, and the beads in question. Earlier, after speaking to my friend, B, I had brushed nail polish on the end of the yarn, which gave me a stiff enough end with which to thread the beads onto this terrycloth textured yarn. This is a bead-loading technique I read somewhere on Crochetville, once.

Here’s what I ended up with, and took photos this morning with only seconds to spare before B’s BF picked the purses up:
Two Finger Bag

Good news: he loved it!

Two Finger Bag

Materials: MC:1 Skein of Red Heart Plush, a wine-y color, may be called Claret.
CC:1 Skein of Caron One Pound Acrylic in Taupe
9.0 MM Crochet Hook (mine was clear purple plastic – eat your heart out)
4 beads to use on front of bag

Skills: SC, HDC, Chainless SC, SS

Start: Thread beads onto one strand of Plush yarn. Push beads way down as you go (this will be difficult do due to yarn texture, hence, only 4 beads are used on bag instead of 12). You’ll pull them up when you need to use them.

*Hold two strands of Plush together throughout.
1. Using Chainless Single Crochet, sc 12 stitches. Turn, Chain 2.
2. HDC in each stitch across.
3. Repeat Row 2. Turn, Chain 1.
4. Sc in first four stitches, and then Chain 4. Skip four stitches on bag, and SC in last four stitches. Turn, Chain 1.
5. SC in each stitch across, including chain stitches, for a total of 12 stitches.
6. HDC in each stitch across.
7. SC 1, on stitch 2, pull up a loop leaving two loops on hook, pull up a bead as close to the hook as you can, and complete the SC stitch. Bead should be in front of yarn and plainly visible. SC across, repeating beading instructions on stitches 5, 8, and 11. 12 SC total.
8. HDC in each stitch across.
9. HDC in each stitch across.
10. If you are like me, about now you’ll be discovering that this project could be going a little faster. In fact, we double-stranded largely for that purpose in the first place. If you are like me, you’ll peer over the side of the couch and discover some Taupe colored Caron acrylic, left over from a healing shawl. And you will know instantly that this color will complement the Claret Plush, and will add a little something to the whole bag experience. You will continue on, triple stranding, two strands of Plush, and one strand of Caron.
11. HDC in each stitch across. OOH and AHH at the pretty new color combination.
12. Now it’s up to you for the next little while. Repeat Row 11 until the front of bag is as long as you want it to be. Not the width; don’t worry about the width right now. Just the length, ma’am.
13. When the bag front is as long as you want it to be, repeat Row 11 two more times. These two rows constitute your bottom. Your bag bottom! Sheesh.

Start the back now:

14. Repeat Row 11 until the back of your bag, from the bottom up, reaches the bottom of the handle-hole in the front of the bag (obviously you have folded the bag to see when this has happened).
15. Next row, sc in first 4 stitches, chain four, skip four stitches on bag, and sc in last four stitches.
16. SC across, 12 sc.
17. Do a few rows of SC and/or HDC, whatever is the best combination for your back to be equal in length to your front.
18. Starting at top front, sc around the of the entire purse in a long “U”. You may want to use 3 sc in each corner space to make the corners turn smoothly.
19. When you get back to the top again, slip stitch across the claret colored portion to meet the first border sc.
20. Fold bag so that the outside is on the outside. I.e., the front with beads is on the outside front, and the outside back is on the outside back.
21. Now starting with one held-together side, slip-stitch the front and back together, by stitching into the two inside stitch loops. Having trouble? Hold them together and take a pic to see what I mean. When you finish, fasten off leaving a 6 inch tail of all three strands.
22. Do the same to the other side.
23. Trim the tails on both sides so all 6 strands are equal in length.

24. You’re pretty much done!

1.Two Finger Bag is called such because the handle whole is a bit smaller than similar bags, and only requires two to three fingers for carrying. Think of the possibilities! You have multiple digits free for iPods and mobile phones, and god knows what else. Just keep it clean, people.

2. Two Finger Bag is super easy and super quick (as in a coupla hours). The pattern only has 90 million instructional lines because I tried to spell EVERYTHING out as plainly as possible.
Also,please note, I don’t have huge amounts of pattern writing experience, so please advise if something is not clear. BTW, the bag is hanging crooked on 2 nails, so it’s not actually as lopsided as it might look here.

3.Your triple strand stitches will be bigger than your double strand stitches, so the two holes may not match up completely. In fact, we hope they don’t, cause this non-alignment will highlight one of the bag’s design features. (Woohoo!) Look here:

Close Two Finger

What happens is, when the bag holder picks up the bag using the handle and a couple of fingers, some of the contrasting triple strands will be visible through the front hole, which is really pretty, wicked cool, and looks like I planned it that way from the start. Which I totally did. Really.

4. If chainless SC is frustrating and confusing you, skip it this time if you like, and simply chain 13, sc across for 12 SC total.

5. The amount of rows in each section really isn’t very important. In fact, you should eyeball each part so you get a bag that is the perfect size for your needs.

Copyright 2007

Back in Blogland

So let’s see…

I’ve done two more shows.

I have sung with life changing results and done drama with life changing results.

I put my dog down on Friday. Way to start a weekend. She was the canine love of my life.

I have finished an alpaca Clapotis. Me. This was the first thing I ever knitted that was bigger than….oh, I don’t know, a calorimetry.

I have cast on for a quant and have at least one third done in Kureyon.

There will be pictures of all this, but you’ll just have to wait.

I work in a fabulous little pizza joint that will no doubt inspire many stories. I can think of one right now. It’s really good. You’ll just have to wait.

If, after going for broke at a potluck today, I managed to have lost 1.6 pounds at my weigh-in tomorrow, I will have hit the 40 pounds lost mark. Yeah, big stuff, huh? I’m gearing up to wax poetic about it, so get ready.

I’m applying for grad school. Maybe I’ll post my essay here. Maybe not, though.

Other stuff…well, there’s been a lot of it. It might be more refreshing to just move forward, rather than catch up. What do you think?

Pattern: Pink Fluttery Cowl Scarf (crochet)
December 4, 2007, 5:05 pm
Filed under: Crochet, free crochet patterns

I made this scarf last winter, and figured the pattern was too easy to post…but you know what? You wouldn’t believe how frequently someone comes to my page via search terms like “crochet cowl scarf” or “cowl scarf pattern.” If you like this one and would like to make it, who am I to stop you??

It is wicked wicked soft (welcome to wicked Boston), and looks really great done. The yarn combination is one that just really works. And this I tell you as someone who doesn’t usually go for the fun fur. Well, I suppose this is more like an eyelash yarn, which ups its cool points somewhat. (Yes, it does!) Here’s what ya’ do:

1 Ball Lion Brand Moonlight Mohair “I think I used Coral Reef…”
1 Ball Red Heart Kiss in a pale pink
P Hook


Chain 19

1.Double Crochet in 4th Chain from hook, and in each chain across (16 DC across)

(*1st Chain 3 counts as one DC throughout)

2. Repeat row 1 until one or the other of your yarns runs out (my Moonlight Mohair lasted longer than my RH Kiss).

2b. Or consider a row of sc every once in a while if you like.

3.Pull remaining yarn through loop to finish (don’t cut).

4. Use remaining attached yarn to sew the ends together. Make sure rights sides are facing each other on the inside of the scarf before you sew.

5. Weave in ends and turn so right side is now on outside.

6. Put it on and realize that you won’t be giving it away for the Holidays after all.

Note: Experienced crocheters can have this gift done in 30 minutes or less. I would think most folks can get it done in under 2 hours – even beginners! And believe me, you will feel so/em> accomplished.

Enjoy everybody!

See closeup of scarf here.

Copyright 2006.

She was gone, but not dead.
November 28, 2007, 6:25 pm
Filed under: acting, awakening, blogging, conscious co-creation, Crochet, Gifts, intuition, knitting

So hi, I’m back and feel like I might have some stuff to write about again.
Much going on, transitions, internal and external, projects to post…
I dunno. But I’m feeling the figurative pen dip into the equally figurative ink, and I thought
I’d dip back into Blogland to see what y’all been up to.

Good to see you again.