Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What's cookin?



Marshmallows. Courtesy of Coconut and Lime.*

Did you know you can make your own marshmallows!?!?! I was pretty thrilled when I found out. How did I find out? Oh, Martha. You know, the magazine with the pig pattern had a recipe.**


Anyway, YUM. Go forth and make marshmallows. It's fun. They taste just like the real thing. And they're BIG (as big as you want them to be. why? cuz YOU made them, that's why!)


*Thank you Coconut and Lime, for making a recipe for marshmallows that did NOT require my going out and purchasing a candy thermometer. I don't need to own ANY more stuff.

** A recipe, mind you, that was WRONG. Not only did it completely confuse me (I was to add water twice, but there was only one measurement for water offered, and I ended up adding the gelatin water to the syrup mixture--she was calling the gelatin mixture "water" as well as the water "water" and, again, there were TWO waters in the written directions and only ONE water in the list of ingredients) but it had me use a thermometer--and I used the meat thermometer and ended up burning the syrup into a smoky, sticky mess.

(PS...meat thermometers and candy thermometers are NOT the same. who would have thought?)

Christmas Presents Round Two: Knitting



My sister made a request of Ms. Claus (apparently that's me): a hat for B. So, off to ravelry I went, in search of the perfect toddler hat pattern. Toddlers, who live in Alaska, I thought, might need ear flaps. And, I thought, ear flaps make lovely handles for strings! And strings tie...and tying keeps the hat on the toddler. Huzzah.

Off to the yarn store I went, and found this lovely washable wool (a must with a toddler...they can be a bit sticky...at times) in red and blue.



Off to the knitting I went. In fact, I loved this pattern so much, I knit it twice. Okay, not true. It was not for the love. It was, in fact, to get the gauge right (yes, I knit a swatch before I started, but it LIED to me, I tell you).

I finished the hat (first try) in Tampa (conference time) and ended up frogging the whole thing upon my return home. A little (okay a lot) of math, and I tried it again.

Perfection. 18" circumference, just what the mum ordered. I had lots of yarn left, so tiny tiny mittens were made to accompany. Huzzah!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Shopping List Saturday: SUPER hand made


Today's theme: super hand made.

As in: things that are lovingly handcrafted through painstaking handiwork: needlework, embroidery, hand felting--careful construction that comes from having held the object in your hands for sometimes hours to add tiny gorgeous details.

I love this stuff. I love wearing it and displaying it in my home. I love that it's an embodiment of the old version of the word "craft," the meaning that includes hours and hours of actual physical and psychic energy put into each object; the meaning that means, during construction, the crafter creates a relationship with the object and when you purchase that object (or receive it as a gift) you actually hold a piece of the crafter.

Row One: Queen anne’s lace cuff by waterrose; White walnut necklace by recycledrings; Dolores by youandyourbrother

Row Two: Snail scrap monster by hardyharhar; Leaf Wall Wear by neawear; Square number 3 by oddstitch;

Row Three: Frank the owl by cordiakitten; Jasmine, a pocket fairytale by lapommestories; Hand felted shapes by Alchemyfiberarts
As always, for more SLS, stop over at FancyPicnic

Friday, December 26, 2008

Donuts


Nothing like a day (Christmas, anyone?) at home in the kitchen to allow for the soft flow and sway of a recipe that includes three bread proofings plus time for frying, drying, and frosting. I love the rhythm inherant in bread making, love the ebb and flow of the work, love that it takes all day, gets your hands, your shirt, and your kitchen messy, and tastes (and smells) AMAZING when you're done.



Thanks to ReadyMade and Dynamo Donuts for the recipe: Pistachio Lemon Donuts. And yes, they taste as good as they look.


Number Six


Felted a sweet little argyle vest and made this dainty pig. Thanks to Martha Stewart for the recipe (in her latest holiday magazine...) which finally explained to me in words and pictures that I understood (I'm not the most spatially-oriented gal) how to craft and sew a belly/leg gusset that works.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas projects round one: ornaments


I can safely post these today as they have arrived to their respective hosts!

I'm of the opinion that each year you need to receive or purchase at least one ornament--hopefully with the year somewhere on said ornament, so as to bring memories to mind when you unwrap them the next year and for years to come.

If I get the urge, I like to provide those ornaments to my loved ones. And this year, I found this sweet little tutorial from pimpstitch and was pleased to find all the materials needed to make a set of these already in my possession! (I heart a stash-buster.) More houses from other people across our sweet globe can be found here.

I had so much fun with these. Picture me on my pillow-top mattress of luxury in my Marriott hotel in Tampa, Florida, after a long day of conference meetings, watching HBO and embroidering away. I added tiny beads in the center of the flowers and on the front doors, as well as on the bottom of each house with the year.



This last one (one of a kind) I made for my Secret Snowflake at work (Yes, Snowflake..it's gender neutral. It's holiday-neutral. And when I named it that, I thought it was funny--it's funny to be so PC as to make things ludicrous.) My snowflake loves a hummingbird, and I just happened to have a screenprint containing one! Huzzah! A few silkscreen passes, some cutting, stuffing, sewing, threading, and beading, and TADA--I give you hummingbird and bumble bee ornament.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Update on the not-normal-ness


the snow stopped falling so rapidly, but it's still snowing. accumulation thus far, above.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Shopping List Saturday: chickens!

My favorite things (in no particular order): 1) chickens, 2) cupcakes, 3) beards/mustaches, 4) animals with moving mouths.

Today: Chickens.



Row 1: chicken pocket by snappyshop; retro hen by rainsend; barred rock hen by rogee

Row 2: lucky sal by frostline; wool chicken by violastudio; screaming chicken by LicoriceTree

Row 3: bantam rooster by sugarsusan; they never knew what hit them by franticmeercat; mini tweet by loveartworks

As always, for more SLS, stop over at FancyPicnic

Thursday, December 18, 2008

this is not normal

...for seattle. Especially for south seattle.

Last year, when my colleagues in the northern suburbs were getting doused in snow, here in SS we'd just get a sprinkling of tiny, feeble flakes.

but not today: check out the time lapse photos. (note the rusty metal quail--from Carefree, AZ--who is/was our snow gauge.)
9:00 am. snow is quail-neck deep.

11:00 am. snow is quail-head-feather deep.

12:30 pm. where is the quail?

2 pm. what quail?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Much love for PDX

So I took the mister to the ace hotel for his birthday (a bit late, but you know, better late than...).
And during our PDX stay, we were witness to a number of astounding things, namely:

1. The coolest hotel in town (see Room 411, below)


2. Rick Huddle's awesome monologue performance, $pent (go see it if you're in PDX)

3. A freeze. Ever heard of a freeze?

Good times. You might just be at Pioneer Square hanging out watching Tuba Christmas set up (if only we had time to stay and watch Tuba Christmas...) when 2,000+ people walk into the Square, mill about, and then (upon the signal--several red helium-filled balloons let go around the square to float off into the chilly rain-filled air) freeze. In place. No movement. For five minutes. (See below--frozen roe sham boe) Then, as silently as before, red balloons are released...and the world returns to movement.


I got to tell you...if you can attend one of these, either to participate--or, as we did, to walk around and view, it's a pretty sweet thing. I'm telling you. These Internets are the bestest.

4. SantaCon (as in, a convention of Santas) Despite the frigid weather, a good hundred or so Santas turned out to walk the streets of Portland, spread Cheer and mirth, and play reindeer games by the waterfront. There may be nothing more wondrous (or surreal) as SantaCon.


Plus a few sets of photobooth shots. And some coffee from Stumptown. And hot toddys at the bar.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Shopping List Saturday: felt

Because I'm in love with etsy, and because there's so much talent there, and because I'm a huge fan of buying handmade goods, I'm going to start participating in Shopping List Saturday, a weekly roundup of awesome etsy finds. This week's theme: FELT. (I heart felt. I recently made up a bunch of stuff out of felt and will soon be felting thrifted sweaters. Huzzah.)


Top Row: Red velvet felt food cake slice by BeckyM; Kitty no. 76 by penguinandfish; Crocheted and Felted Mouse pattern by thebirdsandbees

Second Row: Gnomes by dreamchildstudio; Elegant capsule necklace by pirilamporiscado; Cone dog by pinkbabymouse

Third Row: Dotty Scarf by godottygo; PolkaDot Felt Bird by tokyobirds; Baby blanket by olofsdaughters

As always, for more SLS, stop over at FancyPicnic

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ode to the tree

I have always loved things that hang. There's something about suspension--is it the shadows? the sway?--that makes everything seem more magical.

So it should not surprise me that I love a Christmas tree. But I forget. We often go home (home...such a funny word for a place you left over 10 years ago) for the holidays and when we do, we don't bother with buying and trimming a tree.

But this year we put in an early reservation for a Seattle Chirstmas. Just the two of us. A stress-free, make-your-own-new-tradition holiday for our tiny family of two (plus two--very hairy dogs).

We rented a tree from IKEA on Saturday [one of my favorite marketing schemes ever--you go pick up a tree on a certain weekend in December (for $19.95) and then return it to IKEA on a certain weekend in January and receive a gift certificate for $10. All said and done and everyone wins: you get a tree for $10, you get an excuse to shop at IKEA, you know where to take your tree at the end of the holiday season, and IKEA turns the tree into wood mulch].

Since we went home last year, it has been two years since I'd laid eyes (and hands) on our collection of ornaments. And I had forgotten the pure joy that can be felt at unwrapping each ornament, one by one, that the mister and I have collected over the years together (and even before we were together)...each with its own story connected to it--a year, a giver, the curcumstances surrounding the time...

There are the handmade ornaments--the star embroidered by my grandmother, the solder and hand-beaded wire bent into a heart by a dear family friend, the tiny stuffed loon my third grade teacher (Ms. A) sewed by hand. And the collection of dogs and moons we painted two separate years with the Meissners and their jig saw and plenty of mulled wine.

The silver cupid we received the year we announced our engagement.

The sugar plum fairy my great grandmother bought me when I first saw the nutcracker, at something like age six.

The yearly Rothko ornaments (they're Polish, you know!): The champagne bottle for 2000. The peace dove with her red ribbon swirling around a glittered earth--the thickest part folded atop of New York--from 2001.

Even the silly orange balls--which we bought that first year in Anchorage at Fred Meyer because we didn't have enough ornaments to fill a tree.

So many tiny memories on tiny strings and hooks.

The tree seems like a lot of work when I think about it in October...the driving, the choosing, the tying it onto the car roof, the needles all over the floor, the watering, the having to reverse the whole process after the shine has been completely rubbed off the holiday...but let this be a reminder to me that once that tree is in my house--unleashing its evergreen musk--I love the tree. And its ornaments. And their stories.

ahh...facebook

thanks to NFAH for the shameless plug of gavron designs street wear and house wares on her blog. she was kind enough to purchase a few gavron products and then swoon about them upon receipt.

all because of the magic of facebook. so. say what you will about social networking. but it sure is an awesome way to reconnect with long, lost friends and acquaintances.

(Not to mention...ahem...a great place to play word games with them.)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gratitude*

1. the mister. who makes me laugh. and makes me love myself. and helps me see the world made brand new every day.

2. the yellow dog. who is so so hairy, but who follows me around and lays at my feet. my constant snoring companion.

3. the little dog. who is too skinny, but who snuggles in her old age. and you can't beat that.

4. the family. both blood and chosen. and those people we call friends but who are better than that.

5. my house. and home ownership. and living in the city. and my tiny back yard that takes only six minutes to tend but is the perfect place for a glass of prosecco after a day at work.

6. the job. that lets me work from home. in my studio. looking out at all the stray cats and crows.

7. the city. and its miraculous spaces and awesome artists and wonderous vibe. even with the five months of rain, I do love seattle.

8. the internets. from whom i have learned so much. and with whom i can share things like...links to pictures of the things i am greatful for, and also lists...with the people i love (see number 3)

*Thanks to Operation Nice, for the assignment.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Roxy's sweater

If you've been following along at home, you'll know that my little dog, Roxanne, is ill. It used to be Cushings disease (which makes for a very hungry, very thirsty, VERY FAT little dog). The Cushings is treated with a medication called lysodren, which acts like chemotherapy, killing off the adrenal gland (which is busy making too much cortisone). This is supposed to create a less hungry, less thirsty, less fat little dog.


However, Rox was prescribed too much lysodren, which pushed her to the other end of the adrenal gland disease-state spectrum, and she now has Addison's disease, where her adrenal no longer makes ENOUGH cortisone. (Now we have a very skinny--even skeletal--little dog.)



When we first got Rox, she was living with a bike shop stoner who was feeding her pizza crust and Cheerios. She was horribly malnourished and skinny. Wanting to skijor with her, we took her to Rae's (the mushing store in Anchorage--dog food by the ton, all the gear you need) and--because her hip bones stuck out so much--we had her fitted for a custom harness that had padding all the way to the tail so her fur wouldn't rub off in the joring.



A few months of high-protein, high-fat, high-cal food, and Rox was looking swell. (There were also a lot of (nosy) concerned neighbors who asked if we were feeding her every time we took her out for a walk. We were. She was even getting olive oil and chicken stock on her kibble. And canned salmon. Okay, she was eating better than we were.) But eating has never been Rox's strong suit.

She's always been a crazy eater. She lays down to eat, curled around her bowl, and she has a ritual of licking the inside rim of the bowl for a full count of 25 before letting her tongue glide down to the up-most layer of kibbles in order to pick up one kiblet to chew. She continues on in this way, running her tongue down the side of her bowl, grabbing one or two kibbles, and crunching them daintily. She never finishes all the kibbles; she simply creates a dent in the pile off kibble that was on the one side of the bowl where her tongue was--a mountain of kibble remains.



We have always bought tiny-kibbled dog food for this one. This dog also needs her treats broken up into tiny pieces. (She can, however, catch, kill, and field strip a rabbit. But that's neither here nor there...)

So. Getting Roxy to eat has been a challenge for the eight years she's been with us. And now that she has no appetite (as opposed to the voraciousness she experienced while a Cushinoid dog and as opposed to the pseudo-appetite she used to have) it's hard to get her to eat. We pump her full of cortisone and watch her carefully, and now she's even responding to the command "time to eat" where she'll come and at least lay down by her food. (You can lead a horse to water...)

It's winter, and Roxy's skinny. Now, winter in Seattle isn't like winter in Anchorage (and it's nothing like winter in Minnesota either), but to a little, sickly dog, it's pretty darn cold.

And thus the impetus for the sweater.* I recently joined ravelry (thanks Cara and Rachel) and was able to find a sweater for a greyhound (which is a bit like Rox) and, culling my stash, knit up this baby.

She wore it out today on a walk, and was quite pleased with it, I do believe. In fact, there may have been a new spring in her step.

*NOTE: I'm not the dog-sweater type. I believe that if a dog needs a sweater, the dog probably shouldn't live in your climate...or shouldn't have been bred that way. But a sick dog, now that's okay. Plus, I added stripes to the sweater, so that I could pass it off as ironic.

swedish saffron bread




Slowly making my way through this book. Trying all the recipes that look amazing. Made Turkish flat bread the other day, but never did photograph it. This recipe, however, was too beautiful to pass up a photography session.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

pumpkin bread




It's fall. We just passed halloween. (that, and the rain, and the leaves all over everything--those are the signs.)

So the sugar pumpkins are at the Farmer's market for something like 99 cents a pound. something totally reasonable. And I love pumpkin pie (and i always feel self-righteous when I make it with hand-roasted pumpkin...not from the can) but I wasn't too ready for pie yet. (though when the neighbor brought some over one night...I didn't say no. Oh no I did not.)

There's a recipe for a yeast bread with steamed pumpkin (and cranberries) in it...which I had to try. And try I did. YUM. The pumpkin makes the dough so moist (it's hard to work with) and wonderful to eat.

BUT. There were no cranberries--neither fresh nor frozen--to be found. STUPID. Apparently it's not quite time yet. So. I used cherries. Same same. (almost.)

I slashed harder, MO. Yes I did. But I still have slashing to learn.

Monday, November 3, 2008

and one more.


what can i say, the world is full of gestational babies!

(plus, hand-knit baby booties in fun colors make a better bow than any silly plasticized ribbon ever could!)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

whole wheat.





the whole part of the wheat. all of it. ground with stone. the old skool way.

I want to love it, right? I really do. But it's dense, and it's...well...wheaty. Most wheat bread recipes call for half all purpose flour and half whole wheat flour, but Laurel convinced me that 100% whole wheat was the answer.

(And, if the question was: "how do you make really healthy bread that heather doesn't actually want to eat?" She was right.)

I love white flour. I love cake flour (the tiniest, whitest, ground-up-iest flour there is) the most. But I'm trying. I lecture about food on this here blog, so I'm trying to put my bread where my mouth is. (hmm. that idiom may have worked too well.)

Also, I steamed this loaf, which, according to Laurel, best mimicks a wood-fired oven. It was a bit concerning (like how can the bread actually cook inside my stock pot in a puddle of water?) but it turned out great.

I do, however, need pre-bake bread slashing lessons. You'll see (from the second photo, above) that my slash is not so...well...slashy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blogger Action Day

This year's theme: poverty.

And today, I'd like to talk food. Remember food? If you're my age or younger, you might not. You might know mostly food-like products (Lucky Charms anyone? How about Velveeta?). I was a vegetarian for five years not because of the plight of the animals kept in nasty cages and treated terribly (though there's something wrong about that too) but because of how wasteful, ridiculous, and costly--both to our health and to our ecological well being--the western meat production system is.

However, there's a lovely tide coming--one where we eat locally grown food, we know our farmers, we eat things that were grown in season, using sustainable methodologies...etc. We take care of the soil and it takes care of us. We eat when we're hungry. We eat with others, sharing stories and savoring flavors. We stop when we're full. We spend a larger percentage of our income on food, as do the Italians, the Spanish, and the French.

Whole Foods and PCC used to be where the greasy hippies shop. Now it's where we all shop*. But I propose taking it one step further--go to your farmer's market. Talk to the guy who milks the cows on Saturday for market on Sunday. Meet the woman who bakes the bread. Talk to her about where she gets her flour. Ask her if she uses eggs from pastured chickens.

So. Here's my spin on Blog Action Day: let's not let ourselves live in poverty of nutrition. Did you know that for the first time in history, pediatricians are seeing obese children with major nutrition deficiencies? That's a serious, serious problem. We've created cheap food so that we all have plenty to eat...but we've stopped thinking about WHAT we're eating. Empty calories don't do anyone any good.

Let's get back to knowing what we're eating; participating in our own nutrition; cooking and sharing food with neighbors, friends, and family--and in the mean time, we'll all be richer. But I'm not talking about money, ya'll.

Check these out:

1. A book you have to read
2. A movie you have to watch
3. Where to get good food
4. Where we buy the best lamb, raw milk, and hairy pig in town
5. Why you want to buy local


*Okay, I admit, I'm living in Seattle, and though many of us wear suits, we're all pretty much greasy hippies on the inside.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

word cloud of cupcakery

created here simply by typing the url of this* blog.
note the prominence of the word "cupcakes." nuf said.
make your own. link back. have fun.

*(THIS one. the one you're reading.)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Kindred spirit


HEY YOU Minneapolites! Minneapolitians? Minneapolisians?

If you live in Minneapolis, it's time to read this blog. Why? Three reasons.


1. CUPCAKES.
2. CUPCAKES.
3. CUPCAKES.

Meet Sheela Namakkal. She and I went to the University of Minnesota at the same time. We both majored in Women's Studies (such a lucrative major...). And we both heart cupcakes. I heart eating them. She bakes them too. She caters here. And she brings cupcakes around town on the weekends. Go get some. Seriously.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Shameless self-promotion

Shameless self-promotion of gavron designs logo wear.


Modeled (action shots!) of my adorable nephew, Brendan.

Just look at him off-road in that shirt!

(photo credits go to his mum, Melissa, my lovely sister.)


AND

a picture of Piper wearing the adorable hat I made for her while she was still in utero, now that it fits!


(photo credit goes to the mister.)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Colorstrology

I'm Apple Butter.
PANTONE 18-1426
Hardworking Theorist Philosopher
What are you?