Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I had Chocolate and Zucchini's Lentil Apple Cumin salad for lunch today and it was so good. The recipe reccomends eating it cold or at room temperature but I mixed it up as soon as the lentils were done and ate it pretty soon after that. Loved it warm. I only had ground cumin so I just used one teaspoon and it didn't have that metallicy taste cumin can have, just really warm and earthy a little like chilli.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

How do you feel about doing this Create a thing a day project in February? I am intrigued, maybe quilt blocks? Small ones, like 6" x 6" or some such? You would end up with a pretty cool quilt and after Julie/Julia I am convinced of the transformative power of The Project.

Friday, January 26, 2007

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Here is a bag I made which seemed like such a great idea but now I'm not so sure how I feel about it. Actually, I am sure and I'm pretty sure I hate it. It was meant to be a purse for me but it turned out kind of funky due to a last minute decision to "decorate" the front with some scrap pieces of felt.
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Also the color is really blah and icky! I've been really into camel lately and when I bought this it seemed so cuddly and inviting but now it just seems pale and hairy. The lining is really nicely done though, if I do say so: it has my tag and a special magazine pocket. Next time I would like to use a heavier interfacing to give it even more body. I've been trying hard to think of what I could do to make this look like a bag I would actually want to use. What?!
Over vacation I read the Julie and Julia Project and, predictably, loved it. Also, rather predictably, it has left me with a feeling of "what does it all mean." Maybe I should find some bizarre project to throw myself into that could change my life? Does it work like that if you try to make it work like that? probably not . . . in the meantime, just reading about all that butter has started me on a veggie bender.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

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This is not the clearest picture in the world, but I wanted to show you the squashes I roasted for soup yesterday since I don't know what kind they are. I can't say the results were better than my standby butternut treatment but it is even healthier and I was getting really sick of that other one. This time I roasted the girls like normal (for an hour in a 400 oven with a little butter to caramelize like Alton Brown says), then I drowned the innards in a bunch of homemade chicken stock, tons of dried thyme (thanks Grandma!), and the juice of one lemon to brighten up the squash, plus salt and pepper. Once that was heated through I pureed it then tossed in a half cup of quinoa for protein and so it will stick to my tummy for lunches. I can't say this is the best soup I've ever made but it is quick, easy, nutritious, and actually really good at work the next day.
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Here's the knit hat I swatched for a couple of weeks ago. Once I swatched I didn't ever want to start this so there was quite a gap, but once I actually cast on for the hat this baby practically made itself. I don't suppose it hurt that I had a couple of hours of straight driving time while Thaddy (aka my lovely model) drove to Mendocino and back. I probably should've taken the pattern drafter's suggestion to try this on while knitting but I'm too lazy for that so it's a little big and comes down over my eyebrows when I put it on.
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Here's a closeup of the pompom which is maybe a little loose, but I did want it to be pretty big and goofy. This was my first time doing attached i-cord and making a pompom and I really enjoyed both techniques. The i-cord is a really nice professional looking finish, the kind of thing that you admire when you make it, thinking "I did that!"

Sunday, January 21, 2007

craft explosion

This is what my guest room/craft studio bed looks like right now. Many in-process crafts have exploded all over it. I anticipate many finished object in the next two weeks. In the meantime Thaddy and I are off to Mendocino for a romantic interlude enjoying the midweek, off season deals they have on right now. While I'm gone you should try out these two recipes both of which were resounding successes:

1. Brownie Points' homemade marshmallows, amaze your friends!
2. Smitten Kitchen's blondies, I added the jack daniels and some ghirardelli white chocolate chunks.

Monday, January 15, 2007

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Weekend recap:

1. Started a scarf using this pattern in Manos del Uruguay yarn in a beautiful purple shade. I would like to make the pattern in a variegated colorway also, but none of them out right now thrill me. The variegation really makes the pattern stand out beautifully.

2. Made my first loaf of whole wheat bread using the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book, a christmas gift from my mother-in-law. It turned out pretty good, which is saying a lot since:
a)it was my first try at whole wheat bread baking,
b)my first homemade loaf of bread that turned out remotely edible, and
c)I forgot to add the yeast! I kneaded it into the dough after I had already formed it with all of the other ingredients.

3. Cut out pieces to make myself a new purse and I even attached interfacing to the applicable parts. Should be able to finish construction this week.

4. Made world peace cookies. These were good but I think I'll keep looking for my personal perfect chocolate cookie recipe. Looking at the blog picture again though makes me think I may have over cooked mine. Also had a lot of trouble with the slice and bake aspect, they crumbled soo much for me. I got Alice Medrich's chocolate cookbook from my sister for my birthday a couple of years ago, I need to try her cookies out.

5. Watched Nanny McPhee which I really enjoyed. The set and costume design are gorgeous with vibrant fairy tale colors, not to mention Colin Firth alert!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Charr's silk pillow

I made this little pillow out of a beautiful handpainted silk scarf that Charr made. Love this thing! It finally found a home as the front of a pillow since I got a brand new fancy sewing machine for Christmas that lets me make fancy stitches including the blanket stitch I used to attach this scarf. Pretty cool, huh! This pillow is destined for my super secret project, but it looks nice on my futon in the meantime.

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I had the kind of weekend where I guess I learned a lot but I did not emerge with a feeling of completion. Here's what I learned:

1. Wool felt appliques wash nicely when attached to cotton knit fabric.

2. Three is too many lemons when making Le Poulet de Muriel, they will impart a little bitterness to the drippings (aka the best part). Next time control yourself and stick with one or two lemons at most.

3. Low water dying methods provide extremely hippyfied results. If the results you want are only slightly hippyfied, you should try a different technique.

4. Anything not cotton will not take cotton dye. This includes zippers that will always remain bright white.

Dye bucket

5. Some lounging after periods of intense activity can feel fantastic. If you continue to lounge beyond the recuperation stage, you can start to feel lazy and lethargic.

6. This yummy looking caramel cake is not for me. Two tries now following the meticulous directions meticulously and I am nowhere near the glorious crumb you see in the picture if you follow the link. I would suspect my baking powder but it's only a month or two old. Everything was room temperature! Bah!

7. Kitties are the best part of most weekends.


Friday, January 05, 2007

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This is a swatch for a hat I'm making using this hat pattern generator. This will be my Tahoe hat since I'm hoping to try to spend more time in Tahoe this winter and I do not have the ability to generate my own heat. I bought it at the farmer's market in Olympia, WA two years ago I think, from the person who dyed it. The tag says it's "wool superwash" but it feels crunchy like acrylic.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The new Blogger is fantastic, love it!!! I especially love the new categorization feature. The only problem is that I have had this blog since 2003, yes that's 4 years folks. Not sure if I will ever get all the posts categorized.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I predict big things for 2007 in my life as follows.

New Year's Resolutions:

1. Knit a sweater. I have tried to do this twice, perhaps more times, and have not been successful. This year I will triumph because I have a knitting buddy who I knit with about once a week. And a cute pattern.

2. Have a vegetable garden that recieves water all summer and includes padrone peppers.

3. Either move house, or commit to not moving.

4. Craft extensively. I would like to commit to finishing at least one big thing (something substantial like a quilt or complicated item of clothing, or complete series of smaller items) per month. Dying will also be a priority, I need to develop my own colors. There is something slightly quiet and rich about amateur dyed fabrics that I am drawn to.

5. Complete 50% of my super-secret project including all non-bathroom/plumbing/couch items.

6. Enjoy my life and stop getting so wound up about things that are not important. I have to be one of the luckiest people in the world, I need to appreciate that more. This will be the hardest one.

7. Grow nasturtiums and morning glories.

Motto for 2007: I love it already!