Thursday, December 30, 2010

backwards down the number line...

happy, happy, oh my friend
making a best-of list once again
leave the presents all inside
take my hand and let's take a ride

backwards down the number line

(creative liberty taken with that second line, sorry trey)
alright, here's my top 10 things that made me happy in 2010:
10. new hello kitty sewing machine. i know it looks like it's for a 12 yr old, but who am i kidding, i'm very much still a 12 yr old at heart. it's turquoise and has a fair amt of nice settings on it, how could i go wrong! (thanks to mickey and michelle for the gift)

9. this killer banksy-inspired phish tank top! originally only offered as a silkscreen on men's style t-shirts, i begged Sanberdino (aka Josh, my favorite Montana mountain man and fellow phan) to print one up for me on something a little more girly and flattering. he even let me choose what color i wanted for the hand dying :)

8. little girl birthday parties. i love that my boys have friends who are sweet little girls and they get invited to pink parties. trying to figure out what to get for a 7 yr old is hard enough, but when i found out she loved piggies, it gave me the courage to try my hand at making a plushie. i wouldn't have had the confidence to make one otherwise.

7. Star Crossed Slouchy Beret pattern from Natalie Larson. it took me some fanangaling to get the gauge right for my little head but once i did, i went on to make this pattern in 3 different colors: red, violet, and lime green! i love this pattern, it compliments my personality and wardrobe perfectly!!!

6. John Butler Trio's Paleo Festival Nyon on Dailymotion. it has been the soundtrack to most of my summer and fall kitchen baking projects. huge thank you to AnEerieFeeling for sending me a link to not only this show, but also a few others and some albums too.

5. visiting Washington DC for Keegan's birthday. we invaded the capitol for a couple of days, exploring the Smithsonian and National Zoo and wandering through the city.

4. Hershey Park with the family. mike and i went to the Phish show on Sunday night (6/13/10) and monday was spent with the family riding rides, eating deep-fried food, and picnic-ing with mom, dave, kim, nathan, and almost all the nieces and nephews. running into old and new friends was just icing on the cake.

3. speaking of Phish shows.... i was very lucky to hit up 7 shows this summer, including taking Keegs to MPP for his very first show (well, that he can remember, anyway). the summer started with Blossom, then Hershey, MPP, Raleigh, Charlotte, and finally 2 nights at Jones Beach. it's always so much fun to go to shows and boogie all night, esp when you know that friends will be there too! even getting lost on the way there or home can make it fun :)

2. Piper's birthday weekend (10/15, 16, 17) in Charleston, SC. i was really dreading spending her birthday at home again this year, so when the opportunity presented itself for us to travel to carolina instead, we thought long and hard about it and in the end chose to go. it was a beautiful weekend, back in the beautiful city of chucktown. the beach was a little chilly but we braved the wind and cooler temps.

1. well, this is kinda a no-brainer... my boys, all of them, including mike, the cat tigger, and new puppy gryphin. i'm completely surrounded by males and although sometimes i wish for more female company, i fell very blessed to have each one of them in my life. (special thanks to all my female friends for keeping me sane) i'm lucky to be married to my best friend and we've had 12 wonderful years together, have 3 healthy, smart little boys, and i know he'll stick by me through the tough times (he's proven his worth many times over). what more could i really ask for?

they provide endless entertainment, making me laugh, dancing in the kitchen with me, helping me bake... they are the literal reason i get up in the morning, but also the metaphorical one too. i can't imagine how lonely and sad i would be without them and hope i never have to live in a world of which they aren't apart.

so, that's about it. my year of lovely things in review :

weaving in loose ends...

weaving in loose ends: (v) the act of reworking all the little bits and pieces of yarn from a project back into the main body of knitting so as to create a clean and seamless item

well, it looks as if 2010 is almost over and while i'm a little sad that another year has passed (and i'm a bit older), all in all, it was a pretty good year. there were good times like going to shows, swimming with the boys,
amusement parks, and our mini-getaway to charleston, sc in october but the year also ended sadly with the death of my beloved grammy 2 weeks ago.

ups and downs, mountains and valleys, whatever you want to call it, life is a series of events that can quickly take you from happiness t
o sorrow and then right back up again. i've learned new lessons this year and worked hard to remember who i truly am, even when feeling frustrated and sad, which is all i can ever really hope for.

so, tomorrow night, as we toast in the new year, i'm going to look back and say goodbye to 2010 with hope and love in my heart that 2011 brings my family and friends a wonderful year filled lots of highs and the occasional bump to remind us all how truly fortunate we are. there are always little loose
ends to weave in before moving on to the next project but if you find a good starting point and work your way out, then everything seems manageable again :)

Annie layed her head down in the roses
She had ribbons, ribbons, ribbons
in her long brown hair
I don't know, it must have been the roses
All I know is I could not leave her there

I don't know, it must have been the roses
The roses or the ribbons in her long brown hair
I don't know maybe it was the roses
All I know was I could not leave her there

Ten years the waves rolled the
ships home from the sea
Thinking well how it may blow
in all good company
if I tell another what
your own lips told to me
may I lay neath the roses
and my eyes no longer see

I don't know, it must have been the roses
The roses or the ribbons in her long brown hair
I don't know maybe it was the roses
All I know was I could not leave her there

One pane of glass in the window
No one is complaining though,
come in and shut the door
Faded is the crimson from the
ribbons that she wore
and it's strange how no one
comes round anymore

I don't know, it must have been the roses
The roses or the ribbons in her long brown hair
I don't know maybe it was the roses
All I know was I could not leave her there

Annie layed her head down in the roses
She had ribbons, ribbons, ribbons
in her long brown hair
I don't know, it must have been the roses
All I know was I could not leave her there

I don't know, it must have been the roses
The roses or the ribbons in her long brown hair
I don't know maybe it was the roses
All I know was I could not leave her there

*words and music by Robert Hunter

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

wishy-wish, wishy-woo, i wish my wish comes true!

so, as a mom, i end up watching my fair share of cartoons or rather 5 mins here, 10 mins there of cartoons. while i do enjoy watching them, i rarely have the time to sit down and relax for a full episode. we like to switch them up in our house too. the plethora of cartoon channels allows us the ability to continually tune in to new episodes of some old favorites but also to be turned on to some new ones.

yesterday i realized that there was a new channel available (who knows how long it's really been on, i just noticed it though) called HubBub. going through the satellite guide i saw Fraggle Rock listed, which was one of my favorite shows as a kid. how cool that all the vintage episodes are being
broadcast again! i love the characters and those little doozers are just too cute.

anyway, a little wh
ile later i notice the listing for another show that's on at 10:30 called Maryoku Yummy. having never heard of it, i was intrigued and made sure i turned the tv back on in time to check it out. it was love at first sight for me! ohhh, the colors, the simple little shaped characters, the little village that looks like a cross between the smurf's village and whoville... this cartoon is everything i love about animated shows!!!

of course, then i felt inspired and needed to express my creativity in the form of making some little wishes myself. sorting through all the fabric, i settled on the fleece, mostly because of the colors, but the softness of it see
med to fit in well with how i imagine a cuddly little wish would feel.

here's maryoku with some of the wishes in the forest:

my version of the wishes:

i cut out some more pattern pieces last evening after the kids went to bed and will hopefully find time this afternoon to sew them up and stuff them.

speaking of stuffing, after trying out a few different objects to help with the turning of the fabric and stuffing last evening, i've decided that my favorite tool is none other than the Lion Brand Kid's Knitting Needles. the points are not too pointy, slightly dull and the kittie end of them is awesome for pushing the stuffing in and getting it nice and even.i love when things can be re-purposed!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

mad rush to stock up

the big news here at the Quirky Forest is i've been accepted to be a part of CraftStar Bazaar!
wooo hoooooo!

now the mad rush to finish up existing projects and build up my stock of hand made goods for the show is in full swing. i spent most of the afternoon in my craft room making small zippered pouches/wallets. this evening will bring more knitting time and tomorrow i'm planning on venturing back into my little crafty oasis, away from the hustle and bustle of housework and kids, to hopefully get some serious sewing time logged.

so, save the dates and come explore the Roanoke Valley's first indie craft show:

Thanksgiving weekend
Friday, November 26th from 12:00 - 7:00
Saturday, November 27th from 10:00- 5:00
with a special showing of Handmade Nation on Saturday at 7:30

youtube trailer for the movie :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

looking for little elves...

... to fill these little hats.

so cute and whimsical, what a great project for small amounts of yarn, and best of all, quick and satisfying! that's what comes to mi
nd when i look at these tiny noggin toppers. easy to adjust the size to fit a range of child heads, i've made some small enough for preemies/newborns, others slightly larger.

Monday, November 1, 2010


like many parents, i think i get almost as excited for halloween as the kids do. nevermind that i feel the need to make costumes and usually end up not finishing them until the morning of trick or treat night, when i'm feeling frantic and scattered.

last year i thought i would take the easy way out and just buy costumes, not being confident in my ability to sew anakin skywalker and obi-wan kenobi outfits, but it left me feeling guilty so this year when the boys were trying to decide what they wanted to dress up as, i tried to sway them towards ide
as that i knew i could accomplish.

the older boys finally settled on mario and luigi and i set out in search of patterns and ideas. (this is where i insert the obligatory, "man, i love the internet!" comment.) i knew i wouldn't really need a pattern for the overalls, they're simple enough to cut from fleece and seam up, but i was a little worried abo
ut the hats. thought about buying them at the Spirit Halloween store, but at $17 per hat, my "i can make it so much cheaper than that" instinct kicked in.

luckily for me, AmberLee over at Giver's Log had an awesome pattern for the hats. so simple and cute, once i finished sewing them yesterday morning the boys popped them on their heads and never took them off all day, Keegan even slept in his and they decided to wear them to school today! mike said the boys got lots of compliments on their costumes when he walked them around our neighborhood last evening, while i stayed home to pass out candy.

Ash was able to go through the "rubbermaid tote of halloween's past" and picked out a monkey costume that Sky wore a few yrs ago. gotta love hand-me-downs :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Roses are Free bag

Take a piece of tinsel and put it on the tree
Cut a slab of melon and pretend that you still love me
Carve out a pumpkin and rely on your destiny
Get in your car and cruise the land of the brave and free

But don't forget to understand exactly what you put on the tree
Don't believe the florist when he tells you that the roses are free
Take a wrinkled raisin, and do with it what you will
Push it into third if you know you're gonna climb a hill
Eat plenty of lasagna 'til you know that you've had your fill
Resist all the urges that make you wanna go out and kill

But don't forget to understand exactly what you put on the tree
Don't believe the florist when he tells you that the roses are free

Throw that pumpkin at the tree
Unless you think that pumpkin holds your destiny
Cast it off into the sea
Bake that pie and eat it with me
Throw that pumpkin at the tree
Unless you think that pumpkin holds your destiny
Cast it off into the sea
Bake that pie and eat it with me

one of my favorite cover songs that Phish performs on a consistent basis, this song has the ability to make me smile even on the saddest of days. (yay to the guys from Ween for writing such an amazing song) to me, it's a song about wading through life, trying to make the right choices and if things don't work out then scrap it and try again. it symbolizes the fluidity of life and the paths we choose but remains optimistic that as long as you remember who you truly are, then you can remain authentic.

so, on this day, the 5th anniversary of the day my daughter died, i listen and smile through the tears, knowing life will continue and i'll have days filled with happiness, others filled with sorrow. i'll be confronted with serious decisions and required to make tough choices as to which path to follow, but that's kind of the whole point to life, isn't it?

finished this bag last night. it's a smaller version of my Stella Blue bag, measuring 11" tall by 10" wide with 2 straps (as opposed to the SB bag which has 1 long strap). 2 roomy interior pockets allow ample space for stashing your phone and other small items. the fabric used is from the Amy Butler Love line, with bliss bouquet used as the interior lining and straps

youtube showing the band practicing and playing Roses are Free

Sunday, October 24, 2010

it's a banner day

well, what do ya think?
yay or nay on the new design?

started out playing around with just the banner at the top, trying to figure out how to create my own. after some fiddling around i ended up downloading a free program called inkscape. played around with it all afternoon while watching football and finally feel as though i have a working knowledge of the software, although i'm certain that i have MUCH more to learn.

once the banner was done, it was time to decide on a new color scheme. after about a dozen different trials, i finally decided to go with this one. i like the fiery feeling it conveys and think it will be be a good fit for fall (and maybe beyond)!

mums picked from the front yard a few days ago...

Friday, October 22, 2010

it only took me 3 yrs!

ok, so maybe i shouldn't be as happy that it took 3 yrs, but in my defense, i did start a few months after my youngest son was born and perhaps it was a little bit more ambitious of a project than i originally thought.

this is how it started out:

i had made baby quilts for the other boys when they were little, generally finishing around their first birthdays, but these were fairly small quilts and i realized that by the time they were 3 that they had outgrown them. this played into my thinking when i started designing the quilt for Ashton. keeping this in mind, i decided to make his bigger, not quite a twin size, but something that he could cuddle up in into his childhood.

i love star motifs and piecing stars for quilts is a pretty easy thing to do, so i set to work cutting and assembling stars in 3 different sizes from fabric and some of his old baby outfits and came up with a way to arrange them into a rectangle. (graph paper is a wonderful thing)

piecing the quilt top actually went quickly and i was done with most of it in about a month, working on it bit by little bit when i could find the time in the evenings. (disclaimer: i'm a machine quilter, if i don't have to sew something by hand, i'm surely not going to)

found a cute backing fabric and made the quilt sandwich, then things became tricky. this monster was twice as big as anything else i had ever finished and discouragement set in. next thing i know, i'm folding it up and shoving it in the laundry room on the pile of unfinished projects.

rummaging through the forgotten pile, it jumped out at me 2 months ago. guiltily, i pulled it back into my craft room and assessed the situation. i needed to rip out some of the quilting and there were bunches of fabric but all in all, it wasn't too bad.

finished it up 2 weeks ago and while i'm not ecstatic with the color choices (it really needs some freaking red) at least i can say it's done and on his bed most nights.

(picture shows it on our queen size bed because the pattern of his sheets was wickedly competing with it)

baking mama kinda day

some days i feel like sewing
some days i feel like knitting
some days i feel doing nothing at all
most days though, i feel like BAKING!

there's something so magical about combining flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla (plus random other things) to create a cute and yummy treat. forget about being healthy, never mind saturated fat, who cares if real sugar isn't great for ya and simply ENJOY a little bit of sweetness. now i'm not talking about eating a half dozen cookies or half a cake yourself in one sitting, but i hate how baked goods get a bad reputation. maybe it's just because some of my earliest memories involve baking with my mom and grammy, but i find spending a few hours in my kitchen soothes my soul and makes me smile :)

so, for my friends out there going to the Phish show tonight and anybody else who appreciates a goodie, i hope you find something sweet to eat today.

Friday, October 8, 2010

ticker-tape parade

what are we celebrating?

how are we gonna celebrate?


having never actually been to a ticker-tape parade, i can only guess at how much fun it would be to watch the millions of little paper pieces floating down all around me as the crowd cheers. (of course, the mom in me thinks about how all that clean-up would not be oh so much fun, but that's beside the point)

capturing the feeling in a doll size quilt turned out to be almost as enjoyable and much easier to keep neat. i came across the pattern
for this project at Sew, Mama, Sew yesterday while drinking my morning coffee. had to wait until the afternoon to start going through my scraps pile and picking out fabric. about 3 hours later (not consecutive, still had to take breaks for kid stuff and dinner) i was clipping all the threads and sewing on the binding, just as the boys were getting ready for bed. finished hand-stitching the binding this afternoon after i returned home from oldest son's school walk-a-thon.

it was a beautiful day to go outside and take some photos, here's a few:

i'm a little anxious as to how all the little pieces are going to fray once it's washed, but that might just add to the charm!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

artsy ADD

ok, so that 5 day break from knitting gave me time to play around with some other projects last week. some were old favorites, like making quilted purses and others were new, like scrabble tile pendents.

but before i began any projects i decided to play with fabric:

i like to grab a bunch of fabric and lay it out all over the living room floor, making either a color circle or, in this case, a horseshoe. most of these were fat quarters, but a few were a full yard. deciding to go with 2 distinct colorways, i eliminated a bunch of the fabric and set to work cutting out first 3" strips, then slicing them to make 3" squares.

next i grab the flannel design board and start playing with the squares:

when i finally decide on a design i like, i start strip piecing the squares, first in groups of 2, then 4 to a row, and finally the rows together to make a large sewn section:

now i just need to decide what fabric i want to use for the lining and straps. shouldn't take me but a few hours before these 2 purses are done.

the 2nd project i worked on last week involved making scrabble tile pendents. i came across a picture of some while flitting around the webz a few weeks ago and decided that seemed like they would be fun and simple. i found making them to be very therapeutic. not only can i make a bunch of them at a time, they're also super cute!

first layer, glued on with medium matte gel
after that dries i go over the image and edges with mod podge:

next i put on a first layer of glass effects:

then comes another layer of glass effects. these ones are still drying:

once they're all completely dry, i will attach a bail on the back of each tile and thread it on a ribbon necklace.

i think these vastly different projects healed my funk of messed up knitting, reminding me that sometimes its important to let the creativity flow through a different medium. thank goodness for artsy ADD!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

excuse me, ma'am...

...would you please step away from the knitting needles?"

my inner voice has spoken with authority and i think i'm bound to listen to it. my week of knitting misadventures continues and at this point it would probably be in the best interest of my pride and self-respect if i took the rest of the week off... no more needles, no more yarn.

i was hoping that the 3rd time would be the charm with the Louisa Harding Fern pattern, but instead i struck out. swing and a miss! i realized yesterday after the kids came home from school that although i was doing fine with the actual pattern, i had once again managed to twist the stitches at the join, even though i thought i was being ohhhh soooo careful. but it may have been a blessing in disguise. when i took it off the circular needles it seemed rather large and after stepping inside the 8 rows i had managed to knit and bringing it up to my hips/thighs it was confirmed... too big!

now, i have come to accept the fact that my tension is usually off and most things i make are a little bit enlarged. generally i go down a size or two on needles to compensate and with a pattern like this i had decided to make the smallest size in the pattern, which was a dress size 6. i'm a petite woman (only 5' even) and not all that big weight wise, but i've given birth to 4 kids and i definitely have momma hips and curves, so i thought the 6 would be fine, apparently not.

so i ripped the whole thing out again and if i do decide to try my hand at it once more, i will adjust the number of cast on stitches, decreasing by at least a set, maybe two. i guess i should be thankful that i didn't end up finishing it only to find that it was gi-normous and wouldn't fit me anyway!

thinking that this is a week for sewing/crafting with other mediums. i have a bunch of other projects i would like to try but haven't gotten around to yet. at this point, even if they don't turn out perfect, at least i can chalk it up to the bad vibes this week and not take it personally.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

willy nilly knitting OR when blocking goes badly

alright, i'll admit it, i don't always have a well thought out plan when i decide to start a new project. ok, actually, i rarely have much of a plan at all. i like to knit and create things in a spontaneous manner, which sometimes leads to a great new piece and well, sometimes it doesn't. i think i'm having one of those weeks where things aren't as pretty as the ideas in my mind.

take for instance my first oops! moment of the week, the felted wool/ knitted fabric bag. while not a complete failure, after washing and fulling this mini project, i came to the realization that it doesn't look quite as nice as i had hoped. i mean, it's not ugly, but something about it doesn't quite flow. i'm thinking that i should still be able to rip back part of the fabric part and rework it but for now it's sitting in my laundry room. at some point, maybe i'll feel a creative urge to fix it, but right now i feel completely uninspired.

on to my second project of the week: an alpaca slouchy beret
this one i figured would be a piece of cake (mmmm, i love cake). i found this odd ball (the label is long gone) mixed in with the yarn stash towards the end of last week. at this point, i know i've had it for a while but can't actually remember where i bought the yarn or what i originally intended to use it for. in fact, i think i had knit another project with it and then frogged the whole thing because the ball was kinda wonky. anyways, i decided that there looked like enough yarn to make a simple little cabled beret and cast on what i figured would be the appropriate number of stitches.

all seemed to be going well as i started this project. did a little bit of 1x1 ribbing, increased the number of stitches to give me the beret kind of shape and began with the cables. decided that instead of a nice even cable i would try to make it unbalanced and less strict, which i succeeded in doing quite easily. sometimes i like things to look perfect, sometimes i admire the little variations and imperfections of handmade objects.

so, as i'm getting close to finishing this hat, i realize that i don't really have enough yarn to make it as slouchy as i wanted it to be... nutz! but i decided to just go ahead and finish it up anyway, hoping that the blocking will add some ease and make it ok after all.

pretty purple beret, before blocking:
(with intentionally wonky cables)

i quickly wove in the ends, grabbed the spritzy water bottle and let Ash help me spray it down and lightly stretch it. first i grabbed a dinner plate and let it mostly block wrapped around that, but then i realized that to get it more slouchy i was going to have to find something with a bit more height, so i grabbed a ceramic mixing bowl. did my best to stretch it over the bowl and let it dry that way last night.
this morning i tried it on and gasp! what have i done? stretched the stinking ribbing out so badly that it doesn't even act like ribbing anymore!!!!

needless to say, this was before i had even had coffee or packed the kids' lunches for school... not a good way to start the day.

i began another project last evening too, the Louisa Harding Fern strapless top. this will be the 3rd time i've started this project due to simple little mistakes when i wasn't being careful during the previous cast-ons and first few rows. i'm determined that i will succeed this time in knitting this project, although given how the week has started i'm a little worried. at least i have a pattern to follow though. if it turns out ok, it may save the week!

::crosses fingers::
::hopes for best::

Thursday, September 16, 2010


so i realized today that i had a couple of old blogs still floating around the interwebz and decided to delete them. sorry if this causes anyone confusion, but i figured it was silly to have 3 blogs when i really only plan on posting in this one in the future.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

purse of many colors

yay! finished the purse last night and thought i would share:

i'm thinking about adding some ribbon accents along the top and perhaps a felted applique to the center of the front. i'm also wondering if i could figure out a way to combine a felted wool base/bottom with a fabric top. hmmmmmm... it might be interesting or it could be completely awful.
who knows?!

Monday, September 13, 2010

knitting with fabric?

ok, so i was bored yesterday and decided that i should check out my pages since i hadn't been on that site in a while. i had forgotten how many cool projects and patterns were listed there, it truly is a knitter's wonderland. ended up looking through some of the groups i was a member of and came across the Fiber Knit and Crochet one. when i joined it was something that i thought looked pretty cool and out of the ordinary and figured at some point i would give it a whirl.
well, after looking at a few projects that others had made i decided there was no better time than the present to try it out. the next step involved going through my somewhat extensive stash of fabric. i finally decided to fore go using any of the fabric that i really loved and came across a duvet cover that i bought at a yard sale a few yrs ago. the colors were so bright and pretty and although i didn't think i would ever use it on a bed, it was such a good deal that i bought it anyway with the hope that one day a project could be discovered to best utilize the fabric.
after slicing the seams and ironing it, i began cutting 1" strips with the rotary cutter and mat.

after all the strips were cut, i began connecting them into one long strip using a technique that was shown on PBS's Knit and Crochet Now! which involved cutting a little hole in the ends of 2 pieces and then threading one strip through the other and pulling tight. (i'm horrible at explaining things like this, so if you're interested, check out their site for details.)

then i wound it up into a ball using an old mini-M&M tube. here you have it, a ball of fabric!

next came the hard part, trying to decide what to make! went back to my favorite easy project, the basic purse, knit from the bottom up, all in one piece. yay! no seams!
this is a very fast knit and i'm currently almost finished with it, just need to decide how tall to make it, pick out a pair of handles, and do the finishing touches. i hope to finish most of it tonight and then take some pix.
i'll let you know what the final results are like tomorrow afternoon. wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Stella Blue...

is one of my favorite Grateful Dead songs, so in honor of Jerry week (it's been 15 years since he died) i thought i would make myself a new bag and dress.

fabric shopping is such a blissful experience for me, especially when i only have 1 kid hiding amidst the multi-colored bolts and i knew as soon as i saw the Amy Butler "Love" bolts, i knew it was destiny. quickly snatching up a few yards of the "paradise garden" in periwinkle and a packet of fat quarters from the same line, my mind was already swimming with ideas on the drive home.

design wall:

piecing the fabric:

backside of

and the finished bag in all it's quintessential hippy glory!

interior of bag with 3 handy pockets:

i love this bag... the boldness of the fabric, the fantastic colors, the simplicity of a random 3" square pattern. it's roomie enough for all the little things i carry around and perfect for taking to shows. there's no way that this bag could get lost in a crowd of 15,000 people!