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The Awkward Subject Change

How NOT to Accept Compliments

It has been said many times that we ladies struggle to accept compliments.

Amy Schumer of Comedy Central created this YouTube video highlighting this struggle, and it went viral earlier this year. (Warning! The video contains graphic language.)

This video is certainly funny because it’s so close to true. I myself have taken some time to learn how to take a compliment. But rather than giving instructions on how to accept compliments graciously, I’ve decided to put this article into a list of things NOT to do. Why? Because (and this might be a topic for another article) for some reason we women respond to being told what not to do.

But that’s a whole other can of worms. For now, let’s look at 5 ways you should NOT accept a compliment.

1. The Ignore Tactic

Your colleague tells you she loves your dress, that she thinks it looks flattering on you. What do you do? You pretend you didn’t hear her.

This leaves the complimenter understandably confused. Perhaps she wonders if you heard her. Perhaps she wonders if you’re pretending not to hear because you don’t like her. Then that gets her thinking about that time you went out for drinks with the cute guys from the legal department and didn’t invite her. And she concludes that your ignoring her compliment is further proof that you hate her guts. And you’ve ruined her day. Well done.

Don’t do it! Don’t ignore compliments and make nice colleagues think you hate them!

2. The Awkward Subject Change

The Awkward Subject ChangeYou’re at a party and someone compliments you on that awesome article you wrote for the local newspaper. Suddenly, you find yourself discussing the nuances of this week’s weather forecast.

Why?? You’ve just accomplished something great! Don’t change the subject and talk about something else. By changing the subject, you make the complimenter think that you’re embarrassed about your accomplishments, or worse, ashamed.

3. The Humble Brag

A guy says something nice about you so you feel you have to downplay yourself. But really, you know what he’s said is true.

For example, you’ve just been told you have beautiful hair. You know you have beautiful hair. In fact, you’re rather vain about it. So in order to draw more attention to it, you downplay it by saying, “Oh man, thanks, but jeez it never holds the style I want it to,” thus prompting further compliments on your gorgeously styled hair.

That’s just obnoxious. Don’t do that.

4. The Outright Denial

How NOT to Accept Compliment

 

She was asking for that one.

5. The Accusation of Lying

“You’re just saying that,” is probably one of the most common responses to a compliment. And sometimes, it’s true! You do have people who give insincere compliments to just about everyone.

But a lot of the time, they’re just trying to say something nice to you. To say, “You don’t mean that,” is downright rude and offensive. One should always assume people say what they mean and mean what they say (unless they’ve proved otherwise).

Do them the honor of believing that they really think you’ve got great taste in accessories (for instance).

On What Constitutes a Compliment

Now let’s be clear: Some dude calling at you in the street that you have “nice stems” is not a compliment. That’s creepy.

But a friend, lover, parent, colleague, boss or new acquaintance saying something nice about you, what you do or how you look should be taken at face value and accepted politely, graciously and with a smile.

And this:

The Grinch Hates Noise

Oh the Marketing Noise, Noise, Noise, NOISE!

Sometimes, I feel like the Grinch from Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

The Grinch Hates Noise
“Oh the noise, noise, noise, NOISE!”

But in my case, I’m not griping about Whos in Whoville, but marketing noise in social media.

What Is Noise in Marketing?

“Noise” in marketing terms refers to material that distracts from an intended message.

“Good marketing,” according to one source, “engages and informs potential clients” with a “clear, compelling message.”

Bad marketing causes noise. And noise is obnoxious.

Boy, Tweeps Are Loud

As anyone who spends time online knows, advertising is becoming more and more pervasive in social media. You can’t scroll through your Facebook newsfeed or your Twitter feed without coming across an ad in the form of a promoted post or a promoted tweet.

Marketing Noise on Twitter
Pipe down!

Today, Josh Constine at TechCrunch.com wrote about decelerating Twitter user growth. The number of Twitter users is growing, but more slowly than historically. Constine partly attributes this to crowded and overwhelming Twitter feeds.

His article really rang true for me. Lately, I have found hanging out on Twitter more stressful than enjoyable. I follow 880 people and have never organized those people into lists.

The result is, my feed is full of clutter. But rarely do I see a promoted tweet. No, I am talking about individual marketing noise.

Shameless Self-Promoters

We all know them. They look something like this:

Okay, to be fair Jeff Bullas does write some pretty good content. But check out his tweets. They are ALL. THE. SAME. When your Twitter feed is full of variations of the above, it can start to get, well, BORING.

Twitter is full of people, far less credible than Jeff Bullas, who are trying (like me, admittedly) to position themselves as social media gurus (#8 is totally me).

But do you know what? There are only so many “6 tips for this” or “10 ways to do that” articles with which the internet can put up.

How to NOT Make Marketing Noise

“But Jane!” you say, “Didn’t you recently write an article with 7 tips for first-time bloggers?” Well, yes. Yes I did. In my defense, writing this blog has been a learning process. That, however, is no excuse.

The truth is, though, that I can’t promise not to write more articles of the same ilk. Why? Because people do read them.

That said, the way to avoid contributing to social media overkill (especially on Twitter) is to:

Avoid being noise by being yourself

Yup! Interact on Twitter! Post a lame joke! Don’t just shamelessly self-promote. Show that there’s a reason you’re a social media guru. It’s because you are awesomesauce.

Be Yourself in Social Media
Being my goofy self at the Social Media Success Summit 2013 get-together on Twitter

So, can we all agree to stop posting “8 tips” and “3 ways” and “5 reasons” articles over and over again on Google+ and Twitter? We self-proclaimed gurus need to work to make social media a less noisy and more fun place to hang out.

I’m Morphing into a Knitting Fiend

Since I learned to knit earlier in the summer and made my first knitting project ever, I have morphed into something of a knitting fiend.

The Slow Road to Addiction

Knitted pot covers
I improvised these fun little fellows to hide a couple of ugly pots

Thanks to the lovely and talented ladies at the Stitch n’ Bitch in Montreal, I have converted to a bit of a yarn snob.

This is a problem, friends. “Why,” you ask? Because yarn is EXPENSIVE! Well, I should qualify that statement: *good* yarn is expensive. Now, I crave the softest yarns in the richest colors.

I am ruined.

Whenever I have an idle moment, I pull out my latest project and knit a few stitches. It’s hard to sit and not have my hands busy with a knitting project.

It has, quite frankly, become an addiction. But where on earth did this come from? As I wrote in an early blog post, crocheting has been a way to express love for the people closest to me.

But since learning to knit, it has also been a process of discovery. A whole new world of hand crafts has opened up and I just want to make more and more and mooooore!

Building Momentum

With each project, my ambition grows, and before you know it I’ll be knitting cabled sweaters that your grandmother never dreamed of making!

My poor Chico will be so decked out in knits, he’ll break into a sweat outside in the dead of the Montreal winter.

(I feel especially bad for my Chico, because he’s such a sweetheart that he simply won’t have the heart to refuse to wear all the ugly things I’m going to knit him.)

Work in progress
Beginning yet another project. Any guesses?

On a Practical Note (for anyone who’s interested)

My favorite yarn store in Montreal is Espace Tricot, over on Monkland Avenue. Recently, though, La Maison Tricotée opened on Gildford (much closer to home) and it is both a yarn shop and a tearoom.

I may as well kiss half my salary good-bye already. The only problem with la Maison is that they only stock natural fiber, made-in-Canada yarns.

What does that mean? You guessed it: $$$$$$$.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Who knows when this phase will end. But I’ve decided to enjoy it while it lasts. This fiber arts kick has brought me together with some awesome ladies who have helped to make Montreal feel more and more like home. So I think I’ll stick with it for a while.

If you’re related to me, expect something knit for Christmas. (Or perhaps your birthday, since I can’t possibly knit something for all of you by then. Good Lord, you’re demanding.)

And if we’re not related? Well:

Grumpy Knits

A Day at the Botanical Gardens

We’re experiencing an Indian summer here in Montreal. Since it was such a beautiful day, I decided to spent it out of doors. And since I’m not watching the series ending of “Breaking Bad” tonight, I’m going to write about it!

I feel like I owe Montreal a bit of an apology after my last post. So, by way of saying I’m sorry, here is an ode to this gorgeous city on a beautiful, warm, sunny Sunday at the end of September.

Brunch

Montrealers LOVE their brunch. It’s as if as the churches emptied, the brunch spots filled up. It’s pretty much a religious institution on Sunday mornings. Hangover cure? Perhaps. In any case, delicious.

This morning, my dear friend Marjorie invited me to join her at the pub Le Pourvoyeur, right next to Jean Talon market. Their smoked trout bagel was scrumptious and came with a hearty side-serving of home-cut French fries and a salad that was, thankfully, not over dressed. Perfect.

Brunch was followed by a stroll through the market. It is probably one of my favorite places in Montreal to people watch.

Chillies & Garlic at Marché Jean Talon
Chillies & garlic hanging out at the Marché.

Botanical Gardens

After our brunch, my lovely friend Taija invited us to join her at the Montreal Botanical Gardens. Last year, Chico and I went to the butterfly show at the Montreal botanical gardens, but we never saw the actual gardens. So we went along with Taija to the international Mosaïcultures show.

This weekend was the last weekend of the show, so in case you missed it, here are some of my favorite highlights.

Wooden horse
A wooden mare and foal

Don’t be fooled by the lack of people in these photos. It’s only by some miracle that I managed to get any shots with all the crowds jostling by!

Easter Island
These guys looked like a tribute to Easter Island

Some topiaries were of modest size. Others, not so much:

Lady and Bird
This was an entire layout with the birds and the lady hugging one to her.

The displays got more spectacular as we walked on. This was a particular favorite:

Ent Topiary
Treebeard??

I loved this guy! He looks like an Ent from The Lord of the Rings! This whole section of the gardens was called the spirit of the woods, and this guy was pretty much the king.

But then, we came upon Gaia.

Mother Earth
The most splendid of them all.

It was so crowded and the sun was behind her, so it was hard to get a good shot. But Gaia, or Mother Earth, was composed of this head and two hand seemingly coming up from the ground. A giant eagle ate out of one hand and deer were running out of the other. A stream ran past her and giant horses were frozen in a gallop along it, while giant bison grazed across the path from her. It really was something.

Tree of Birds
The Tree of Birds.

The Tree of Birds was also something to be seen.

Lemurs in a line looking livid.
Lemurs in a line looking livid.

The giant petrified-looking lemurs were pretty hilarious.

Sadly, like I said this was the last weekend to get to the Mosaïcultures show. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It certainly beats what I had planned to do: stay at home and do laundry.

The day ended off with a relaxing evening at home and some delicious spiced carrot and red lentil soup (I recommend you switch coconut milk for regular milk–it makes it even richer and tastier).

***

With the Indian summer weather and activities like these going on, it’s no wonder that the city has felt alive all weekend. On Saturday night, well after midnight, Montreal was still wide awake with people coming and going here and there. I could hear laughter and singing under my window.

Drifting off to sleep with the sounds of merry-makers and a breeze ruffling the curtains reminded me of why, despite the bad and ugly parts of life in Montreal, I really do like it here.

Life in Montreal: The Ugly

This is the final installment in my three-part series about life in Montreal: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. You can read the Good here and the Bad here. Today, it’s the Ugly.

The Ugly

I’d like to preface this post with a positive note, as what follows will be my observations of the ugliest aspects of life in Montreal. Though I will be kvetching in this article, life in Montreal is and has been wonderful. Listening to CBC radio every morning has helped to feel like I know the city, and overall I really like living here.

Healthcare

Life in Montreal: The Ugly
An illustration of the enormous problems Quebec has with care for the elderly (see translation below).

Quebec, like all of Canada, has a public health care system. Basic medical needs are covered and most employers offer additional coverage through private insurance companies.

While the idea of public health care sounds great, it has its drawbacks.

One estimate in 2010 was that across the province there was a shortage of more than 1,100 GPs. Family doctors in Quebec earn less than specialists and less than their colleagues in other provinces. So, logically, most medical students choose to specialize in a particular field or to leave the province.

Finding a family doctor is not as simple as picking up the phone and making an appointment. You have to call Santé Québec and leave your information in a voicemail message. That launches the process, but it can still take months for you to be assigned a doctor and more to get an appointment.

And don’t be fooled: “family” doctor doesn’t mean that the entire family will be treated by one doctor. That’s just a common phrase here for a GP.

Hospital Waiting Room
This is what the waiting room looks like at Hôpital Notre-Dame.

The worst thing that can happen to you in Montreal is a minor emergency (like a sprained ankle or a urinary tract infection). Unless you’re lucky enough to have a family doctor whose clinic accepts emergency cases on a day-to-day basis, you are guaranteed a wait of over 8 hours at an emergency room.

It makes you stop and ask yourself, “Does this sprain really need a brace or can I suck it up?” Not comforting.

Xenophobia

It might seem a bit strong to call it that, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Last month, it was leaked that the Parti Québecois (currently in power in a minority government and lead by Pauline Marois) would be unveiling a proposed Charter of Quebec Values.

This charter of values would essentially ban the wearing of overt and ostentatious religious symbols by public sector employees. Remember, Quebec has public health and education systems, so that means any hospital or daycare, school or university employee.

Quebec is also a destination for many immigrants from north Africa, and Montreal especially has a large population of muslim Quebecers who hail from Lebanon, Morocco, Algeria and other places.

Protesters in Montreal
Source: CBC.ca

In the proposed Charter, which has been officially unveiled (HA you’ll get what I did there in a minute), the Parti Québecois outlines what counts as overt and ostentatious. Small crosses (like the one I wear around my neck), earrings and rings showing religious symbols are acceptable. However, large crosses, yarmulkes, the hijab and turbans would all be banned. (Get it? Unveiled? LOL!)

Basically, this is a not-so-veiled (there I go again with the puns) ban on visible minority religious symbols. The crucifix that hangs in the National Assembly would stay, because it is apparently not a religious symbol, but part of Quebec’s heritage.

Since the basic tenants of the Charter were revealed, incidents of racist and xenophobic behavior have seemed to increase, according to the CBC. Now I may disagree with the principle of wearing the hijab, but that doesn’t mean that I want to deny your right to cover your head if you feel so inclined. Apparently, Pauline Marois disagrees. People like this guy, are with her (note: that link is in French).

Conclusion

I am lucky enough to be in good health and to belong to a majority religion here in Montreal. For people who don’t, though, life in Montreal is, or could be about to get, ugly. I can see the beautiful, fun and good sides of this city, but I could easily understand someone who struggles to.

***

A translation of the text in the image above (thanks to Facebook friend Stéphanie who posted the pic):

Let’s put old people in prisons. They’ll get one shower a day, video surveillance in case of problems, three meals a day, access to a library, computers, TVs, a gym, cable, satellite TV…

Let’s put criminals in retirement homes. They’ll get cold meals and lights out at 8pm, one bath a week, they’ll live in a smaller room and they’ll pay $2,000 per month!!

This is injustice, this message must be shared!

First Knitting Project EVER!

I am SO excited! I have completed my first knitting project ever! It is a momentous occasion!

I taught myself to knit using a little book by Nomis Yarn Co. called Learn to Knit. What is great about this book is they give detailed drawings for both righties and lefties. They list common abbreviations and give a little guide to basic stitches, as well as some starter patterns. I chose the baby blanket.

First Knit 1
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn, Encore Knitting Worsted Weight, 75% acrylic, 25% wool. Color: 0678. Lot: 66848

The needles are US size 9, or 5.5mm. The yarn is machine washable, which is important when it’s going to a little baby!

Let’s not discuss how many times I had to pull it all out and start over again (okay, it was three times). In any case, it was an awesome learning experience and I’m excited to add knitting to my bag of tricks.

First Knit 2
Fancy artsy photo of the finished product

The pattern is a mix of knit and purl to create the patchwork look. The border is a simple garter stitch.

The finished blanket is wrapping up my friend Rosy’s baby and keeping him snuggly for the autumn days to come. I was pretty excited that my first ever knitting project turned out well enough to be able to give as a gift without being ashamed! The color, I suppose, is not very baby, but it was such a beautiful heather green that I couldn’t resist.

Finished blanket, being enjoyed by its adorable new owner, TK.
Finished blanket being enjoyed by its adorable new owner, TK.

After finishing this, I made another crochet chain link scarf in a vintage rose color. The yarn for that turned out not to be as soft as I expected, so stay tuned to learn how I managed to soften it!

***

Check me out on Ravelry.com for more knitting and crocheting fun!

Life in Montreal: The Bad

This is Part Two in my three-part series about life in Montreal: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.  You can read the Good here.  Today, it’s the Bad.

Life in Montreal: The Bad
The Bad

The Cold

Everything you’ve heard is true: Winter in Montreal is rough.

Though we had a very mild cold season our first year here, the second year more than made up for that.  The winter of 2012-2013 was characterized by a lot of snowfall (including a mega snowstorm on the 28th of December, which we thankfully missed).

Wintery HellStarting in November, the cold sets in and that brings along with it several downers.  For one, lots of apartments are heated with electricity.  That means your skin will dry out and shrivel.

Secondly, Canadians like to compensate for the cold outside by cranking up the heat indoors.  I thought I was going to have a perfect opportunity to display my collection of  winter woolens.  But if you wear wool under your GIGANTIC winter coat (which yes, you do need), as soon as you get indoors (metro, supermarket…) you will suffocate.  You’ve practically got to wear a bikini under your parka.

Thirdly, the wind.  Oh, the wind.  Horizontal, rough, cold and brutal, the wind was the worst part of this past winter.  That, and the ten days of about -30°C (-22°F) during daylight hours.  There were days when the thought of going outside was almost terrifying.  It’s days like that when you understand why grocery stores offer home delivery service.

I do feel the need to add a positive here: despite the cold, winter in Montreal does bring a lot of sunshine. People put on their snowshoes, ice skates and cross-country skis and get outdoors.

The Roads

Are abysmal. It’s partly because of the cold, and partly because of political corruption (to learn more, do a Google search of the Charbonneau commission).

Montreal Sinkhole
This really happened.

During winter, the city scatters lots of salt and gravel on the ground. Come spring, as the snow melts and goes from white to gray, brown then black, all that snow and gravel get into tiny little cracks in the roads and the cracks grow.

And grow.

And turn into potholes. And finally… SINKHOLES! Sinkholes open up and swallow construction vehicles.

Enough said.

The Homeless

This is the saddest part of Montreal. It was one of the first things that struck me when I got here. There are people on most street corners, and in all seasons.

People of all ages and both genders can be seen in the streets. According to recent estimates, there are between 10,000 and 30,000 homeless people in Montreal. One report shows that homeless people represent about 1% of Montreal’s population yet account for between 20 and 30% of tickets issued (in 2004 and 2005).

There aren’t enough shelters to house the homeless and people are turned away even in the harshest weather conditions.

One explanation for these numbers are the holes in Quebec’s healthcare system (more on that in “The Ugly” chapter of this series) that allow drug abusers and mentally ill patients to slip between the cracks. Whatever the cause, it is heartbreaking to see.

Organizations working to improve the situation include Dans la Rue. If this is a cause that speaks to you, I recommend you look them up.

***

This article may seem like a real downer, but you should read The Good part of this series and remember that every place has its flaws.

7 First-Time Blogger Tips

7 First-Time Blogger Tips

7 First-Time Blogger Tips

Several people have contacted me with requests for tips on starting their own blog.

First of all, this is *HUGELY* flattering!  Thanks guys!  Starting this blog has been a real learning process, and I’m happy to share some tips that I’ve learned along the way.

So, without further ado, here are 7 tips I’ve learned for first-time bloggers:

1. Own Your URL

I wanted a specific URL, so I bought my domain name from GoDaddy and used WordPress to build my blog.

If you want to use your blog to build a portfolio, see if you can own your name as your domain (I couldn’t, as apparently there are 5,000 realtors named Jane Kennedy).

2. Get a Site Hosting Service

You can easily create a blog on any number of platforms like Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress or Blogspot.  Originally, I went with GoDaddy for my hosting services.  I was disappointed with how slow it was, though.  Upon a colleague’s recommendation, I switched to SiteGround, which is more expensive but much faster.

If you’re a first-time blogger, though, and you have no idea about designing a website or web hosting (and you don’t have an awesome pair of brothers who know all about this stuff like I do–thanks bros…), I highly recommend WordPress.com.  It’s a great platform and you can choose some great templates for your design.

For examples of blogs that use WordPress.com for hosting, check out my friend Anna’s, and my friend Caroline’s blogs.  My friend Laure uses Blogspot for hers.

3. Design Your Blog

Once you’ve got your URL and your hosting service, it’s time to design your first blog.

There’s an important rule here: Keep it simple.

You want to make it easy for people to read your articles.  You also want to strike a balance of space for your text and room for some interactive content in the right-hand column (or however you set up your blog).

The rule for the right-hand column content is simple: Make it relevant, interesting, and useful.  Make it easy for people to browse through your blog history, and to find your articles by title, topic and date, and connect with you on social media.  Always provide a search bar.

4. Start Writing!

Here’s the first rule: Write about what interests you.

Don’t waste everyone’s time by trying to write about stuff that you think people *want* to read.  If you write well about what you love, people will enjoy it and come back for more.  For a great example of a blog that focuses on a specific interest, see my friend Ysa Belh‘s blog.

Second rule?  Write a lot.

Be prolific!  Establish a ground base of good content and write, write, write!  It’s good practice, and you’ll find your voice.  When you get started with WordPress, they provide lots of great advice about getting started.  One tip I particularly retained was to practice by doing.

5. Some Search Engine Optimization Basics

SEO is the internet buzz word and it’s how you get your blog noticed.

Basically, it means filling your articles with frequently searched-for terms and keywords.  It also means installing plugins that help make your blog easy to find for people who are searching for stuff you’re writing about.

You can use tools like Google Adwords Keywords Tool (apparently this will only be available to non-paying users for a little while longer, so hop on it while you can).  This tool allows you to put in your article topic and see what similar search terms people are googling.  That’ll give you ideas for other keywords to seamlessly integrate into your content.  You can also find terms by starting a regular Google search and seeing what phrases Google suggests for autocomplete.

Basically, the rule about writing about what interests you applies here.  There’ll be other people on the internet interested in the same things, that’s for sure.  Hey, it takes all kinds, right?

6. Share What You’ve Written

Once you publish an article, don’t just sit back and expect people to stumble upon it and find it.

Share in social media, and shamelessly plug your new endeavor to your nearest and dearest (I love you, Mom and Dad!).  Don’t be obnoxious about it, but share your articles in context (this is especially easy if you’re writing about current, trending events).

7. Get on Google+

If you want Google to help people find your blog, create a Google+ profile and link it to your blog.  You can download a Google+ Author Link plugin which allows you to connect your blog to your Google+ profile.

Add your blog to your profile, and whenever you write something, publish a link to the article on Google+.

But don’t leave it at that.  Actually use Google+!  I say this for two reasons: Google likes it (yes, we are all slaves to the Google), and it’s also growing into a great, dynamic, informative and fun platform.

***

I could go on, but this article is long enough.  Later I’ll write about my favorite WordPress plugins.  Some are visible on my homepage and some are behind-the-scenes whizzes that make thebraininjane.com the magical place it is.  Hee!

My brothers were instrumental in making this website happen.  Visit my brother Austin’s website over at PaperScenery.net.

Stitch Sampler Finished Product

Finished: My Stitch Sampler Masterpiece

Ladies and gentlemen, my stitch sampler masterpiece is DONE!  Though I finished the crocheting a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t block this beauty until tonight.  And so, here it is in photos:

Stitch Sampler Work in Progress
Modest beginnings…

Normally I would let you know what brand of yarn I used, colors, gauge, etc.  But the idea of this pattern (available on Ravelry) is that it’s a sampler; you use all kinds of leftover yarns.

Stitch Sampler Chilling on the Couch
Work in progress

I was lucky enough to have colors similar to those pictured in the book where I got the pattern: Afghans for All Seasons Book 1 by Leisure Arts.  I only had to buy three colors: the coral, the pink and the light brown.

This is a time-consuming project, and you have to pay special attention to the instructions at the beginning of every row.  But the end result is worth it!

Blocking the Stitch Sampler
Done!

One important note: This has been a real b**** to block.  Because the center starts out round and then goes to square, I had a lot of trouble with pooching in the middle.

I tried blocking part-way through, but that didn’t quite do it.  And now that it’s done I’ve tried two blocking techniques, hoping the second will work.  First, I shaped it and pinned it to the bed.  Then, with a damp towel fresh out of the washer, I placed the towel over it and ironed through the towel.  Once it got nice and warm I left it there for several hours.  Sadly, once unpinned it went pretty much back to its pooched shape.

Currently it lies pinned out on the guest bed, misted with water from a spray bottle.  The plan is to leave it there for over 24 hours and hope that does the trick.

If you have suggestions for blocking my beautiful masterpiece so that it looks as good as it should, please tell me in the comments!

Find TheBrainInJane on Ravelry, or look up your local Stitch n’ Bitch!