12/23/2006

Noel

I'm taking a small break for the holidays, not to say that I won't post at all but if I forget it might not get done until the 2nd. I wish everyone warm moments during whatever tradition they follow. Happy Holidays!

12/18/2006

Ostrich


Burying my head in the books this week, my last final is on Thurs! Didn't get much done on the weekend as we all mysteriously got some sort of food poisoning, all on different days. 8 loads of washing later, we're scrambling to finish up our christmas shopping - and me my christmas crafting. Hope to have some things to post soon!



random picture of Blu included to make the post less boring!

12/10/2006

Cute overload - Welsh Corgi

This may be the cutest thing ever

12/08/2006

Friday

It has been a very full week...


















The first of the Holiday cookies arrived and very quickly left. We had more banana bread, a little bit of Egg Nog and lots of pasta...
I bound off the first of the lime socks, but the second is on hold until I finish my holiday knitting.
I enjoyed looking at these and these... and learning about this.
There was happy news and sad news.
A little bit of crafting...and not enough studying, time at the park before todays storm spent learning to stand on our own.

And from here on out its just one giant snowball...
This weekend we have the dubious pleasure of braving holiday crowds in the rain to christmas shop downtown.
Next week there are deadlines, slightly eclipsed by the looming shadow of finals the following week. Then Christmas, 1 very special birthday and New Year's squished together.

Good thing I like being busy.

12/03/2006

The Smell of Lemons

December is the beginning of citrus season in the Bay Area. I had always figured that it started in February when my parent's Meyer lemon tree would bow over from the weight of its fruit. But not so...there are citrus everywhere, and many of them have invaded our house. My hands are stained with the scent of zest and are still a faint yellow.

Some have found their way into forthcoming Christmas gifts. Others made their way into this Lemon Lover's Tart from this book. A extremely lemony-custard tart thrown together with my favorite type of pie crust - the pat in the pan crust. Its wonderful because the ingredients are mixed roughly by hand and dumped into the center of the pan, and then pressed gently out into a rough shape before being pre-baked without weights. The easiest thing ever and it always comes out flawlessly.


















We also made swordfish with a Japanese citrus marinade, but this still leaves us with over 15 lemons left to use. I'm thinking to make Lemon pot de creme, and perhaps juicing and freezing some but would love to find a creative solution for the rest.

Peter and I met friends this morning for a deem sum lunch at Yank Sing this afternoon. The food was really good, but I always wonder if the deem sum that we have here is similar to the deem sum experience in China. I have often heard that the Chinese food that we have in America is incomparable to the food in China. This of course makes sense, but in America we are brought up to believe that all Chinese food is greasy and over salted, just like pizza is soft and doughy - there isn't really anything else available. You would think that if what we have isn't 'real' Chinese food, then someone would hit upon the hole in the restaurant market and fill it. Yank Sing does a good job of not being very hard on the stomach, but the overall experience is a little hectic. One sits in a big hall of very large tables, each equipped with a lazy Susan to pass food around. Waiters pushing carts laden with bite size dishes whiz around talking into their headsets. If you are a new table the carts come from all directions, and they bombard you with choices...pork buns, dumplings, fried crab, spare ribs...... Naturally since you're hungry you say yes to everything, eat it very quickly so you don't miss the next round, and then waddle out 45min. later feeling sick because you ate so fast you forgot to breathe. Much less carry on a conversation with your dining partners. This is what Deem Sum feels like to me, but again I've heard its different in China - that its like brunch, you chat, you drink tea, you eat normally. Maybe their waiters are slower.

On the way home we stopped in at Cookin' which is a store I have been driving past for 4 years now and always going, 'one day I have to go in there'. Well today was the day, and God I wish I had gone in sooner - well maybe not considering how small my kitchens have been. They bill themselves as a 'used gourmet kitchen appliance store'. But really its a floor to ceiling (and most of the floor space too!) treasure trove of cooking stuff. Somewhat dusty, somewhat worn around the edges, but in our 10 minute stay I saw more than a few things that I'm absolutely positive I must own - small copper double boiler, miniature spring form pan, gold lace rimmed 3 layer cake tray...- hopefully it doesn't take me another 4 years to get back!

12/01/2006

Thanksgiving














We are still recovering from the Turkey. It was a nice holiday though. Stayed with my family, dined with his, and than again with mine. Saw friends and family and shivered a buch, because it was very cold. Here is a quick (because its late) set of photos from the holiday.















Blu-chan, Mom and I took a break from the kitchen to take a walk, enjoying the fall color.














Many leaves were crunched underfoot...














I sat on a bench in the sun...
















..while Blu explored some rocks.














Later, Blu remembers her favorite part of visiting family - her cousin!

11/30/2006

Setbacks

I swear the universe works in mysterious, and infuriating ways. There must be some sort of cosmic rule that dictates whenever one comes close to finishing something really big, a catastrophe must occur at the very last moment. Icarus has had a catastrophe. It happened two days ago. I had finished it at last, well nearly- I had to bind off - and I had just run out of yarn. The last edging row was worked in the new yarn that the shop keeper at Noe Knit assured me was a perfect match/compliment and wouldn't at all be 'too much'. well, it was definitely much 'too much' it was hideous and bright, and after beginning the bind off I decided to take it out. At which point the new yarn clung desperately to the old, and refused to budge. More tugging resulted in a tangled knot that needed to be cut out. What I wanted to do most at that point was shove the whole thing into a corner and give up knitting entirely, but instead I have been painstakingly threading a guide thread through the 570+ lace stitches several rows back in advance of taking the shawl off its needles and cutting out the naughty new yarn. Stupid sticky mohair. Its taken me hours to do this, but I think that I'm nearly ready to put it back on its needles, hopefully with all stitches intact. I'm crossing my fingers that i will be able to finish this in truth as soon as the new ball gets here....I can't believe I have to order a ball of yarn for 1 row and a bind off. Somebody somewhere in the universe has something against Icarus.

11/21/2006

In Progress


















6 rows to go. I feel like this shawl is getting heavier every minute, and I'm bowed under its weight unable to cast on anything else until its finished. And I must finish because I desparately need to knit these fingerless gloves...and these socks..I'm still worried that I"m going to run out of yarn but we'll see how far I get tonight, if I don't finish I make a yarn run tomorrow.

I'm also making progress on my stripey socks. Here it is just before I turn the heel.


















Althougth the yarn isn't striping in clear cut stripes I like the diagonal striped effect that its turning into. Haven't decided yet what heel to use, generaly I go with a short-row heel but I would like to try something different. Any suggestions?

11/20/2006

Best Ever























Banana bread has the most heavanly smell. It warms up the whole house, and makes me salivate long before its ready to eat. I made this loaf the other day from a recipe found on epicurious - actually from a recipe found in the comments for a banana bread recipe on epicurious - and it really is the best banana bread ever. Banana bread isn't subject to the same sort of subjective tastes that other baked goods are. For instance, it would be difficult to say what the best brownie recipe ever is, because some people like cake-like brownies and others prefer fudge-like ones. But banana bread has an international standard I think - moist, but still firm with just a little bit of nuts - and this one was perfect!

Best Ever Banana Bread
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup crushed walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream butter and sugar together.
Beat eggs, and add with bananas to butter mixture.
Sift flour, salt and baking soda 3 times.
Blend into banana mixture.
Pour into greased 9x5 loaf pan and bake until a skewer poked into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
Place on rack to cool.

We ate this very fast, I think that I will have to make another loaft tomorrow.

I'm almost done with the Icarus shawl, only 9 more rows to go! Its a race though, the last ball of yarn is getting smaller and smaller very quickly and I'm worried that I'm going to run out before I'm through. Also on the needles is a nice stripey sock which I hope to have a picture of next time as well.

Until then, a gratuitous image of Miss Blu looking very chic in her beret!

11/17/2006

Kisetsu
















Every year with the passing of Halloween I start to feel the 'Holiday' season looming ahead. It always feels like one big rush from Thanksgiving to New Years, interspersed with Christmas, my father's birthday and now Blu-chans birthday as well. Aside from the usual expected consumer pressure, I often feel a sort of internal seasonal pressure as well - a drive to feel connected with the end of Autumn and the beginning of Winter. This time of year I constantly dream of soups and cider and pumpkin pie, and I get excited at the thought of brisk walks through leaves, wearing mittens and scarves and frost - which is amusing considering that I live in San Francisco, and it was 65 today and probably never frosts. But these are things that I remember from my childhood on the east coast.

I have been thinking about these types of remembered rituals lately, and how they connect to the Seasons. How sometime next week most of America will be eating Turkey, regardless of whether Turkeys are native or not to their state. Isn't that odd? And cranberry sauce? Cranberries have a pretty specific enviornment that they grow in, and it certainly isn't California. But I wouldn't dream of having Thanksgiving without these things (well ok, actually I do occasionally) because its tradition and just wouldn't 'feel' right. It amazes me how ingrained the rituals of the holidays are in me, and that no matter how far I go I'm sure that I will probably always look for pumpkin pie in Nov. because, in my understanding of the world, it is supposed to be there.

I have been trying to eat more 'in season' for awhile now. It ensures that your food travels less distance to your plate, and the local organic produce is generally better. This isn't that easy, because most of my cookbooks aren't written according to a season and if a recipe calls for tomatos they are certainly available from a hothouse at the grocery. To help my shopping I recently got a food wheel for the Bay Area, that shows which produce, fruit, fish and nuts are available in each month locally. and according to this wheel, in November instead of cranberries I should be eating - limes. which most likely do not go well with turkey.

The purchase this week of Martha Stewarts Holiday issue has also tipped off my Holiday craft lust. So many pretty things....so little time. I start to think that if I started now, this instant ,maybe I could knit socks for everybody I know and bake cookies by Christmas. This is truly delusional. I know that while making everyone on my list handmade gifts is a wonderful idea, I would never finish, and would end up buying stuff anyways. But I will make cookies.

10/31/2006

This is Halloween...













...Tra-la-la. The Nightmare before Christmas is the best. I hummed that song for most of the day.
I had hoped to have some wonderfully cute pictures of Blu-chan in her Halloween costume but.....it didn't happen. Blu had a fever most of the weekend so she wasn't feeling her best, I never got to making her costume, and then yesterday we had a scary accident. She reached up and pulled a newly made cup of tea onto herself. As you can imagine, it was horrible. Very luckily the tea missed her face, but the poor baba has some nasty 2nd degree burns on her shoulder. Peter and I were beside ourselves, it was a total accident but I think both of us just keep replaying the 'should haves' over and over. 'We should have known she'd reach that shelf', 'we should have pushed it back further', 'we should never drink tea...'.

So Blu is going to be out of school for a little while until the burn fuses over, and so am I. and possibly posting around here could be a little scarce as well. But her costume will still get made, and she will wear it proudly out when she feels better.

Happy Halloween!

10/23/2006

By the seat of our pants

It feels like we are wringing the last drops of Summer from the year. Late October and it's sunny. warm. 80's. Lovely. The weekend was spent outside, picnicing in Golden Gate Park, and then a early Sunday brunch in Dolores Park after a trip through the line at Tartine for bread pudding and gougere's.

The rest of the weekend was happily spent sewing a new pair of pants for Blu-chan. She's almost outgrown all of her others.


Fall Pants

















Reversible lined cotton pants in fall colors.
Pattern: New York kid's clothes; b 12month size
Fabric: 0.5 yd. Cotton from Purl
0.5 yd. Vintage cotton found at an antique show
Learned: Installing a lining. Making a casing, and inserting elastic.
Notes: This pattern was great, very visually oriented. I didn't have to break out my kanji dictionary at all. The inside-out-backwards piecing together took some thinking about, but that was just more my inexperience than anything else. Putting in the elastic though, wow that was tough. I think it took me 45 minutes of inch worming it along and then I had to rip the casing back when it got stuck. Need to find a better way to do that.
My only problem with the pattern was that it failed to tell you how to treat the second cuff, so I just hemmed it up, but now the cuffs on the reverse side don't really look identical. Which is fine, I'm not that picky. In all it was a really fast (1hr layout and cutting, 3hrs piecing and sewing), easy project and I really like the finished product. There will be more in the future, and Blu likes them too!

I put more photos of the pants and lining over at my flickr, check them out!

10/20/2006

New spaces and places


We have slowly been adjusting to the new space. All the boxes are gone, and its now just a matter of letting everything find its proper home. My office is undergoing a metamorphosis this weekend, Peter says that he is going to build me a desk. The picture above, is looking in to the office at an angle. I'm not going to show you the floor, its covered in piles - mostly books about cooking and craft.

I've had midterms this week, and now because they are over I feel like I'm on vacation. If I can keep myself from thinking of the things that are due on Tuesday, maybe that will even be true. I vacillate back and forth on whether going back to school with an infant was such a good idea or not. Somedays I think it was a crazy decision, other times I think it was a poor one. This week I thought the later, especially when it was 9 at night and Peter had to put Blu to bed while I was writing papers and studying (she did not like that at all!), or at 1am when I would crawl into bed. But now in hindsight it doesn't seem so bad, things are always better in hindsight though right? I have to remember this when finals roll around.


Blu and I have been exploring the new neighborhood in between tests. We have been looking for a playground, but have been unsuccessful so far. Really really unsuccessful. (Don't ask, long story). Its surprising that given Noe Valley's reputation for being Kid/Family friendly that there isn't more recreational areas available. There certainly are a lot of kids, they all walk up and down the main shopping street in their strollers, just like in our other neighborhood. In Pac heights though, most of the walkers were Ecuadorian nannies, not moms. There is one big park close by, but I can't really let Blu play in the play area there because it has a sand floor.

Blu + Sand = bad idea.

Don't get me wrong, she loves sand - loves to eat it anyway. But Dolores Park gets a lot of wierdos, and I don't want to follow along after my baby taking cigarette butts and needle caps out of her hands before it reaches her mouth.

People tell me that when they start to walk, they stop doing that. I hope so.
We are getting closer to that point, Blu now can stand on her own. But then she gets all excited that she's standing, and waves her arms and falls over. No balance. But she's getting better at it!

10/16/2006

Fall Finished Objects

This post is very late in coming but oh well. For my birthday last month, Peter very kindly contributed this to my growing craft obsession. I have been staring at it longingly in its case ever since, to busy to take it out. Over the weekend it made its debut, and the first thing I made was a little sleeve case for my camera to travel in.













Its made from a little bit of a fat quarter that I got at Purl this summer, lined with some vintage dots that I found here. This was my first time attempting to line something, its a little tricky to wrap your head around the first time isn't it? I'm glad I made this before I tried to line anything else! No pattern here, just some arithmatic. I really like it, but I think it should be about an inch longer than it is - so I'm going to make another one. What do you suppose I should do with this one?

I also finished the little baby shirt prototype:


















The sleeves were the hardest part on this one, it felt like I was wrestling them into place (very gently), but the actual sewing was very smooth. Its a good thing that I made a mock up, because I think that the seam allowance was off on the sleeves they just wouldn't matchup with the armholes. Hopefully I can fix that in the real version.

The new sewing machine works beautifully, so very smooth - and quiet!! I can now sew during nap time, yeah!

Next up? Halloween costumes....

10/14/2006

High class knitting

You know something has become truly mainstream when Tiffany's gets in on the action.




















ps: as you can see I found my camera cable, while I was looking for the netflicks (which I didn't find). ~ ;-)

10/11/2006

Still here

Really I am. Time is wizzing by, can you believe its Fall already?, and I haven't had much of a chance to post. Still adjusting to the new place I'm afraid (read: lots of boxes left to unpack), and while I've found the camera, I have yet to find the USB cable. D'oh! Also still adjusting to our new schedule with classes and daycare, which is working - sort of. Luckily there isn't much to report....lots of things on the horizon though...like walking babies and other more craftyish things which I'll talk about later. Hope to be back soon, please wait for me...

Laura

9/27/2006

Trading Spaces

And we are in! We are exhausted, sore, and swearing to ourselves that we are never moving again, but after a massive 2 day weekend pack-and-move we are in our new house. All due to Pete's incredible efforts I tell you, going from work to painting until midnight every night last week and moving and cleaning non stop on the weekend. The walls are painted, we are drowning in boxes, I can't find any spoons, and until recently the fridge only contained beer, baby food, and takeout but we are happy. It was a joy to drink a cup of coffee with sunlight streaming through the window, while gleefully watching the fog cover the other less fortunate parts of the city. I would show some pictures, but well, I can't yet find the camera either. Its here though, it all is. Somewhere.

Thank you to everyone that sent me birthday wishes!!! I had a delightful day with morning brunch (complete with mimosas), many wet baby 'kisses' and this which was my gift. Beautiful, no? It makes my palms sweat just looking at it.

9/18/2006

25

In honor of my birthday, here are 25 things about me :-)

1.my favorite fruit that's really a fruit: pomegranate
2.my favorite fruit that's really a vegetable: rhubarb
3.my favorite dessert: Panna Cotta
4.something I wish I eat everyday: Sushi
5.my least favorite color: Yellow
6.my favorite animal (currently): Nudibranches
7.my favorite animal that's not an animal: Slime molds
8.the best vacation I ever took: Japan, 1 month
9.the vacation that I will take someday: a Rainforest
10.first thing I do in the morning: make coffee (an absolute necessity!)
11.last thing I do at night: turn off my laptop
12.something that pisses me off: rude service/sales people (what's with that?)
13.something that makes me happy: colors
14.my
favorite pastime: reading
15.my
least favorite pastime: being on the phone
16.I
wish that I could stop: procrastinating
17.I
wish that I hadn't stopped: dancing
18-22.when
I grow up I want to:
at age 2: play
at age 7: play with animals
at age 17: study animals
at age 23: study cells
at age 25: play
23.something I learned this past year: to relax
24.something I learned in my life so far: tolerance
25.something I hope to learn from now: more patience

9/15/2006

Blu's Meme

Phoebe's daughter Zara has tagged Blu for a baby meme. How could we resist?

Blu's Baby Meme:
3 Things That Scare Me
The Ocean
Swimming Pools
Black Shirts

3 People Who Make Me Laugh
Daddy
Amelie
Other babies crying

3 Things I Love
Yoga with Mamma
Playing in the Park
when Dad tosses me into the air

3 Things I Hate
Sweet Potatoes
Getting my nose wiped
Long car trips

3 Things I Don't Understand
The word "no".
why I have to nap
that biting is not the same as kissing

3 Things on My Changing Table
Nothing...Its very Zen.

3 Things I'm doing Right Now
Dancing
'Reading' Books
Funny faces like this:


















3 Things I Can Do

Climb Stairs
Go on tip toe to reach the books on the shelf
Peekaboo!

3 Ways to Describe My Personality
Happy
Curious
Determined

3 Things I Can't Do (yet)

Walk
Sing
Use the phone

3 Absolute Favorite Foods
Pears
Yogurt
Noodles

3 Things I'd Like to Learn
How to use that cell phone!
Walking
How to open doors

3 Things I drink regularly
I'm a purist...I only drink Mom's milk

3 Shows I Watched as a Kid (that would be NOW)
Totoro
Howl's Moving Castle
Spirited Away

whose lace is it?



















In July I signed up for the Whose Lace is It Anyways? swap. Yesterday my swap package arrived...from Mona in Malaysia.


















3 skeins of beautiful yarn, A pattern for the Seascape Shawl, a pair of beautiful wood needles and a whimsical little stitch holder. I love swaps..

Thanks so much Mona!!!!

9/13/2006

4

Last weekend was our wedding anniversary: our 4th. Peter actually forgot until the day before so he bailed on getting me a gift, but that was alright because I was able to coerce him into doing what I wanted for the afternoon - he drove me to hear the Yarn Harlot talk in Los Altos.
































He took the baby and for 2 hours I sat in the sun and laughed really hard while knitting, as Stephanie spoke humorously about knitting.


















I never knew knitting was so funny!

















Or maybe that was just her. Anyways, it was fun and a welcome relief from the seemingly endless house search we had going on. If I was by myself I probably would have stuck around for the book signing and knitting festivities, but Peter and Blu were looking rather worn out so we went home and split a half bottle of champagne to celebrate.

Sunday we found our apartment! Its small but beautiful, rather costly but very centrally located in one of the cutest neighborhoods in SF. The cutest thing about it is that off of the living room there is this teeny tiny little room that was probably a little walk-in closet but could probably hold a shelf with a computer, or sewing machine, rather well if one squinted ones eyes. Its going to be my 'office'. I am very excited. We sign the lease this Friday, and we will probably get in there and start the painting on Saturday; the living room is currently this depressing color of Burgundy, ugh. So we will start packing up Saturday, but not on Sunday. Sunday is my birthday! I don't know what we are going to do for it, but there is no way I'm moving!


















Blu Agrees!

9/07/2006

In Class

Here is what I'm up to these days...
My classmates...very dutifully demonstrating serious student syndrome.














My lab partner, using my scope..as hers was on the fritz.



















My specimen...Tetrahymena thermophila....a single celled organism that has been very useful in genetic research. Although its kind of fuzzy because its difficult to aim a camera without a viewfinder down an ocular lens, you can see the cell pretty clearly (I've circled it in black). This particular slide is stained with a Feulgen stain, which is a stain for DNA. The DNA is pink, easy to see. Cool, huh?














Geeky yes...but wow, its great to be back in the lab!

9/03/2006

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming....

Eekk! I am a delinquent blogger, I know. Sorry for the lack of posts, I'm afraid that recently life has intervened with blogging. We are still looking for our apartment, and all of my computer time has been dedicated to the search. Not to mention that all of our weekend time has been dedicated to house showings...how depressing. Its one non-stop headache, house hunting is, all of the places around seem to be cramped, decrepit little caves in the fog zone - and all $500/ month more than they would have been 2 months ago. The rental market is simply robbery right now.

In other recent events: Blu and I have started school. I meant to take some photos on her first day at daycare, but well it was rather traumatic - so I didn't. The second day we fared better...so here is Blu looking every inch the baby schoolgirl:




















Blu is refusing to eat at daycare, but at least she is sleeping! 1 out of 2 isn't that bad. I figure that if she gets hungry enough she will eat, right? And given that I nurse her before I leave and during my lunch I hardly think that she is going to starve.




















Its pretty sad though, leaving a little baby there with strangers. I wish I didn't have to.. But when she's happy she seems to really like it, there are many more things to play with than at home. But when she's sad... you come back to this:
















Blu wouldn't budge from the hammock and fell asleep that way. Poor baby!

Last week was so hectic, absolutely no crafting was done. I hope that things settle down in the next couple of weeks so I can get back to posting more frequently...but no promises yet!

8/23/2006

Holding my breath


Thank you all for the nice comments about my apron! Can't say that I have yet remembered to wear it when cooking, but just wearing it about the house makes me feel very domestic.

I have an Icarus update for you...

*WARNING* If massive injuries to helpless knitting upset you, than come back later. Just sayin....


Chart one was nearly finished. 1 1/2 rows to go, I kid you not, and what did I discover 2 repeats from the end - a very very large mistake. 10 rows back. Somehow the eyelet column kind of 'jumped' 3 stitches to the left, and continued without my noticing. Unbelievable that one could continue knitting row after row with that kind of error I know, but well I did.
















The yellow shows the mistake (like you need a guide to see it!).

I wanted to scream, but what I actually did was put it down and walk away for awhile, just in case I was overcome with the urge to frog the darn'd thing then and there. Ripping it back and redoing it was not an option, it takes even longer to rip lace back than to knit it in the first place - and I'm just not that sort of patient. Remembering that the Harlot had discussed something similar last month on her blog, I looked in her archives and decided to attempt surgery.

The requirements for conducting the type of surgery on knitting as described by Yarn Harlot are these: pins, extra needles, good light and alchohol. So I poured myself a stiff drink and cut the shawl open.


















Very very carefully. It really feels like at any moment the whole thing is just going to unravel into a big lump. Luckily it didn't, although I'm not in a hurry to do this again anytime soon. As soon as I hit the lace section, those thread lifelines are going in!

Surprisingly after a lot of sighing and wrestling with stitches, it worked.


















Back on track, and ready to start the lace chart at last. I wish I knew of a way to even out those stitches, right now I'm just crossing my fingers that it will sort itself out when blocked. But if anybody knows a better way, please tell me!!

8/17/2006

In Stitches

Its surprising that given the amount of kitchen gadgets I have accumulated, I have never owned an apron. That is, until yesterday. This is my new apron:
















I'm rather proud of myself to tell you the truth, it turned out great. Aside from a few minor glitches - sewing the pocket on sideways, oops!- it came together pretty fast. Or would have had I known what I was doing, it took me the unexperienced most of the day.













Its made from a thrifted cotton sheet using a pattern from Amy Butler's wonderful new book.



















It was this pattern to be precise,




















well actually there wasn't really a pattern because it was just a bunch of rectangles - it was more like instructions. Following Anai's lead I bought this book a couple of weeks ago - kinokuniya had it even though its not supposed to be released until Sept 1st! Its really great - just what I needed: easy useful projects that don't look like they were styled in the 50's in Idaho.

Since Anai also bought a copy, I've got to return her sewing machine to her - she's more eager than I am to use this book! So, I'm going to *try* really really hard to finish all of the projects I've started on it in the next week before I give it back. Thanks for your patience Anai!!

Also recently purchased (this week), the new Issue of Donna Hay.




















Cupcakes anyone?

8/14/2006

Getting Faster

This is her favorite spot to climb. Underneath the dining table, it must be just the right height. She stands here ans does little dances back and forth.

Abunai - Don't Fall!

There hasn't been much sleep to be had around here. We seem to be entering yet another developmental stage, and Blu-chan feels the need to practice - usually at 3am. As you can see she is no longer just crawling, she climbs.

This new standing stage has me a little worried. Until now, we have been putting her down to sleep in our bed without any problems. When she started scooting around, I put big bolsters on the sides to pen her in if we weren't in there with her. But now that she is more upright, she climbs the pillows and I am worried that she will climb right over the edge before I ever know that she is awake. Add to that the midnight crawling practice, extra nursing to supplament all of the energy she's putting out and a new tooth or two and I feel like I haven't slept in weeks. Last night, I put her down to sleep on a mat in the Living Room where I didn't have to worry, and I was so tired that nearly left her there at the point that I went to bed. I sat in bed dozing nicely for a half an hour before my better sense prevailed and I went to get her, and of course as soon as I brought her in to bed I couldn't fall asleep for another hour at least. Sigh.



Blu has also gone on a food strike. Well that's what I call it anyways. She won't have anything to do with baby food these days. Doesn't matter what it is, or how I prepare it, if its pureed and/or on a spoon she doesn't want it. However, she will play contentedly with whole pieces of food for ages, this morning half of a peach kept her occupied all through my own breakfast. It doesn't really bother me I guess, its just a little aggravating. I was hoping to at least have her eating a little by the time she started daycare so I wouldn't have to provide as much milk. But I guess that will have to wait.

I'm reading all sorts of articles on Infant Nutrition and solid food, and talking to lots of people, and I have come to the conclusion that no one really knows for sure why babies do anything. I've been told that I should be feeding her this or that, it should be cooler or hotter or blander. Veggies. Fruit. Rice. That pureed is good. That pureed is bad. I don't know if she just didn't like what I was giving her, if it didn't agree with her, if it was too cold, too tart, too boring. We will just keep trying, we will play with our food. Sooner or later some of it will have to make it into her mouth, right?

8/12/2006

Without a title

Its too early in the morning to think of a title...
I'm running around keeping miss Blu out of things. Somehow once they can crawl, babies develop an unerring radar for the places that you would least like them to be. Blu always dashes towards the stereo (because its low to the ground) if I don't block it with a chair, and then second best is the potted plant next to it.

I have been busy, really I have. But not much of it is craft related so I don't have much to post. We have two weeks to buy a car, and find a new place to live before Blu and I start school so I've been focusing my 'online' time on those things. But here and there I've been able to do a few more fun things.

Like this:


I know it doesn't look like much. But I tell you it feels like a hell of an accomplishment. I am on the last repeat of chart 1 on the Icarus scarf. from 2 stitches to 343, a lot of repeats. I've been knitting on it every night while we watch movies, and its exciting to finally be at the end of a seemingly endless pattern.

I signed up for the Whose Lace Is It Anyways swap, and my partner is overseas. Its a secret swap so I can't tell you what I got her but I think that its kind of cool and hope that she likes it. I hope I get something neat too, then my next lace project will be picked out for me already.

Even though our fridge has been dangerously empty, we've managed to churn out some pretty ineresting things the last couple of days. I have come to the realization that I cook by inspiration. Not that genius type of inspiration where there are a bunch of random ingredients in front of me and I whip it up into something fabulous. I wish. No, my inspiration is usually in the form of a recipe I see or something that I eat that I feel inspired to try to recreate. Its easy to get inspired, the trick is the timing. I have to either write it down on the shopping list right away, or flip through cookbooks before going to the store; otherwise I will never remember what it was that I wanted to make when I'm actually in the store and we'll come home with a lot of macaroni and cheese and no vegetables. sigh. this happens alot.

Somehow, this week the timing worked in my favor. Donna Hay's Autumn issue (spring issue for me) of her magazine inspired me to make this:















Gorgonzola bread with Pears. This was my first go at making bread by myself, and using yeast. Turned out well considering the obsticles that I was working with. (read: my pathetic oven) So aside from having to bake it for twice the recommended time, and a slight doughiness at the bottom it was very tasty and really nice warm with butter.

From the same issue I also made Mussels with Chorizo sausage and basil garlic sauce.














Highly recommended. The chorizo added a spicy kick to the usual butter-white wine-garlic sauce thats paired with mussels, and made a fantastic dipping sauce for bread. We paired it with a simple salad and a nice Austrian Reisling, a great simple meal.















And third, from the same magazine - I really need to get a subscription don't I? - she had this fantastic looking pan fried whole trout that I was itching to try. But the market didn't have whole trout that day. No big deal, since they had some fantastic fresh sardines. I boned them, wrapped them in prociutto and pan fried them. On top the recipe had you make a wilted spinach pesto-ish sauce, with pinenuts and vinegar cooked in the juices from the fish. It was great - although next time it would be better to get more sardines, those little guys don't fill your stomach very far. No pictures of that one though, it went to fast!

8/06/2006

Gee's Bend



















The De Young Museum is hosting an exhibition of Quilts from Gee's Bend, Alabama until November. We went to today to see the exhibit and I was amazed at how unexpected and interesting they were, especially considering how little the women who made them had to work with. Until recently I had never heard of these quilts, but I've seen people refer to them on various blogs and Whipup recently mentioned the exhibit in SF - so I went. For others like me who had never heard of them, the quilts of Gee's Bend are the work of extremely poor African-American women in the early 20th Centery from Alabama who used what ever they had to piece together patchwork quilts in order to keep their families warm. These people were so poor, they covered their walls with old newspapers to trap in heat and the randomness of these papers provided inspiration for many of the quilts.



















The exhibit mentioned that while the basics of quilting were taught by the elders, most of the women were largely self taught. This is pretty obvious, the quilts themselves are not the polished type of cookie cutter product that we are used to today - there were no patterns, and pieces were added and sewn until the quilt was big enough and then they stopped.



















Also the women were limited to the materials on hand, salvaging worn out clothes and curtains. Several of the quilts are made entirely of denim from workman's clothes, and one can still see where the jeans had been sewn together originally,



















others were constructed entirely out of cordoroy.

It was a very interesting exhibit to see, strangely what these women were doing out of necessity seems to have become fashionable in crafting now - the vivid colors, unusual materials, the minimalist design. 'modern' quilting such as Denyse Schmidt's designs and those I've seen around on craft blogs have drawn alot from these quilts - deservedly so. I wish that the pictures I had did them justice but I was taking pictures of the postcards I bought. But you can see them here. If you've never seen them before (or even if you have), check them out!