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.)