Archive for Ideas

Sporadic

Life doesn’t even seem to slow down and the weather can’t make up its mind- warm, cold, wet, dry, windy, humid.  Lots of new and exciting things are coming up for me, so here’s a quick look ahead:

*We have planned our garden and have some really solid landscaping ideas to make our house a little more interesting

* I’ll be working at the Austin SXSW musical extravaganza and I should be finding out any day now what shows I’ll be working at. I have a training this week!

*I’m taking a sewing class next weekend- watch out fabric stores!

*Three weeks until spring break!

So now to rewind. I haven’t updated in a few weeks, so I’m behind in telling you about my new recipe per week project.  Last week is was polenta with mushroom gravy. This week it was pita with goat cheese and roasted asparagus. Since the weather got nicer, I was feeling perky enough to try two new meals this week, so I also made tomato and spinach soup with gnocchi.

Crafting hasn’t really happened, unless you count planning the garden and landscaping, which I do, because it’s hands-on and creative.

I finished The Awakening but totally forgot about the book club.  I’m about a quarter of the way through Finn. I plan to finish most of it tomorrow (making that two books in two weeks, so I’m exceeding my resolution). I might tackle Lonesome Dove next. It’s long, but since I did two this week, I might be able to extend my expectations to 3 or 4 weeks, especially with vacation coming up.

I tried three new workouts this week- 2 new yoga classes and then I did a mix of stairclimber and elliptical this week. I’ve also been trying out new weight equipment at the gym. I joined the Self Challenge again this year, hoping to reinvigorate my interest in working out and eating right.  So far it’s working like a charm. Whenever I keep a food log I always reach for fruit, rather than candy, so I don’t have to write down 17 snickers minis in a public forum.

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Yarn Therapy

After a difficult week, I couldn’t bring myself to update last weekend, so I have lots to share with you today. This past week was much better- better patience, better focus, better breathing.

Yesterday was my last knitting class and I’ve become completely obsessed.  All other crafts have been put on hiatus while I’m working on a myriad of knitting projects. I finished my sampler scarf. It turned out beautiful and so soft once I washed it (Reality yarns).  Last week in class we started hats.  I finished mine yesterday. It’s a self-patterning yarn.  I chose the colors because they look cozy and wintry (I’m longing for fall in the 95 degree heat).

My knitting WIPs are the windy city scarf, which I’m making some progress on.  I’ve switched the new color, and have about 90 rows to go.  I began a new hat with beautiful Tonalita sunrise yarn.  This beanie will be ribbed all the way up. And yesterday in class we began a shawl.  It starts at the point and increases each row.  I’m not very far into it, but it goes pretty quickly. It’s a deep gray color from Comfort yarns.

My next two projects are a skinny scarf (white with silver sparkles), and leg warmers (pink, green, gray). I’ve also been working on two crochet projects, but not as often as I’d like. Crochet goes much fast than knitting so I’ve got to get working on those projects, they should be done soon.  You’ll see them after the holidays.

I’m about 3/4 of the way done listening to the Hound of the Baskervilles on librivox. I think I’ll listen to Little Women next. I finished Native Son and Devil Bones.  Now I’m reading Missing Mom by Joyce Carol Oates.  Its not great, but it’s an easy read.  It’s about a woman in her thirties, named Nikki, whose mother was murdered.  Nikki fancies herself a rebel with a short, punky hair cut.  It’s actually pretty obnoxious how often the author mentions the short, spiky, purple hair.  Anyway, the mother was a wonderful, giving, loving woman who was always helping people in the community and ends up being killed by someone she offered a ride to.  It seems that story is going in the direction of explaining how Nikki thought her mother was foolish and naive and through the grieving process learns that she wants to live like her mother (but I could be wrong). I’m about half done. I’ll probably finish it, though I don’t love it, just because when I commit to a book, I like to follow through.

I also began reading the Tao of teaching.  It takes Taoist principles and shows how they are applied by teachers.  It’s really inspiring and helps remind me of what kind of teacher I want to be.

I haven’t been to my book club in months, but now that I feel like I’m getting more comfortable with this year’s routine I’m planning on going to the November meeting.  I don’t know what the book is yet, but I’ll probably try to get back into it regardless of the book. 

I’ll leave you with my favorite new Japanese snack:

They’re little cookies with a chocolate “burger” and vanilla fudge “cheese” feeling The cookies are even coated in teeny sesame seeds.  So cute!

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To Do

With only about 6 weeks left of summer vacation, and one of those spent in Wisconsin and one spent at school for training and one spent here with my mom, my summer of crafting is slowly coming to an end.  Here’s what I’d like to get done, book and crochet-wise.

Books:

Finish Book Thief– Only 200 more pages.(Done! 7/28 )

Finish Uglies– Only 100 more pages (will read on the bus today)(Done! 7/25)

Finish Malinche– Just started, but only 190 page book (Done! 8/9)

Finish Omnivore’s Dilemma and What Einstein Told his Cook 2 (Done! 7/25).

Start and finish: Middlesex, Taxonomy of Barnacles (Done! 8/10 ), Native Son, and Julie and Julia (Done! 8/11). (And whatever the August book club selection is.)

Crochet:

Finish blue baby blanket

Finish student mesh scarf

Start and finish Galaxy Top t-shirt

Start and finish new tweed purse

Restart and finish bolero in my size

Start the top that’s in my head and possibly write the pattern as I go.

Other Crafts:

Try embroidery project- maybe just a cross stitch sampler. (Done! 8/08 )

Make cards with new templates

Make a necklace

Sew napkins and fix my pink halter top in WI with sewing machine.

I don’t have many cooking goals, since I cook to feed myself and my hubby and not to get fancy in the kitchen. I’m planning on making some peanut butter cookies next week- a treat for Chris since he’s had a rough week. I’d also like to make waffles.  We have a waffle iron, but I’ve never used it.  We also have one of those old school sandwich makers that makes the sandwiches into little stuffed pockets. I wouldn’t mind pulling that out for a few more tofurkey melts.

This was Tuesday night dinner- Tofu fillets with olive from Vegetarian Times. The trick is freezing the tofu (makes it meaty and chewy- it will turn brownish, but that’s normal). You slice a brick of firm tofu into rectangular pieces and freeze (I put them in for about 2 hours). In a pan, saute half a small onion and add pepper and salt.  Put onion on a paper-towel lined plate and put paprika and dried mustard on it. Then add a little oil to the pan and cook the tofu slices for 10 minutes, flipping once half way. Place them on the onion plate and put the onion back in the pan with chopped olives and dry cooking wine. It all cooks until the liquid evaporates and then you spread it over the tofu slices.  We had ours with the rest of the green salad from Monday.

 

Yesterday I went into school all day to finish setting up my classrooms and doing a little planning.  So I packed my pink bento box with food for the day- I had a Veggie dog in wheat bread, cracked pepper and olive oil Triscuits (delicious flavor!), a watermelon pluot (my new favorite fruit), some blackberries, pumpkin seeds, and a cheesecake square (which got me a marriage proposal when I shared the squares at work). It was a lot of food, but perfect for snacking throughout the day.

For dinner last night I roasted the rest of the potatoes from last week and made bird’s nests (another Vegetarian Times recipe- there’s even a picture-looks way better than mine, you know food stylists!).  Here you roll out bread, slice off the crust and put it in ramekins.  In a bowl you mix chopped mushrooms and green onions and I added some left over olives, with salt, pepper, and tarragon ( I used oregano). Fill in the nests with the mushroom mix. Crack an egg over each ramekin, sprinkle with cheese and paprika and salt and pepper. Cook on bottom rack at 325 for 30 minutes.

We’re definitely breakfast for dinner people.

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Inspired

Going to the nail salon and looking through all the different shades of nail polish inspires me to be crafty.  The blues and oranges, many hues of pinks, red, purples.  They all look so pretty together, it gets me thinking about colors and shapes.  Anyway, in an effort to improve my card-making, I started searching for card layout ideas.  I came across the Card Positioning Systems blog and it’s been an inspiration! The author and guest card designers publish a sketch per week and people make cards based on the sketch for a contest.  I’m not nearly ready to be competing against die hard paper crafters, but the resource is invaluable for those of us just starting out.  Under the current sketch being worked on is a link to the past sketches, so there’s a library of layout templates to get creative with. With the layout in mind, your creativity can run wild!

So here’s the sketch I chose:

 And this is what I did with it  (you’ll see the front, back, and the card with the envelope I made):

So, you can see I took some creative liberties, but isn’t that what layouts are all about? It’s kind of plain, so I can see why people who make cards also get really into stamping.  I just don’t think I’m there yet.  I’m still gluing everything together with Rubber Cement that I’ve had for 5 years, since I can’t be bothered with real adhesive. I’m sending the card to a friend that I’ve known since Kindergarten.  She and her husband just moved and I thought they’d like to get some friendly mail!

I read my embroidery book from Tuesday Morning last night.  I’m excited to get to work on a project.  I’m only working Monday and Tuesday this week, so I think on Wednesday I’ll take the bus to Joann’s and Michael’s and pick up some supplies.  

I bought a t-shirt today to make the galaxy top from Crochet Me.  I love love love this top and it doesn’t seem too complicated.  I picked a purple shirt, though, instead of white, because I don’t really wear white. And I think rather than matching the top with the shirt, I’ll do a contrasting color- maybe green?

Not making dinner tonight.  The hubby is in Redondo Beach for his comic artists meeting, so he’s bringing home a Special C (for those not in So Cal- it’s two delicious and gooey bean and cheese burritos and a drink from like 4 dollars) from El Burrito Jr.! Though for the week, I’m thinking stuffed eggplant, grilled cheese and tomato and artichokes, and maybe curry of some kind.  Or maybe just a salad-  I really need to look through my recipes and find some light summer fare.

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Ideas- a list

There are so many projects I want to work on. I get inspired all the time by past projects, by things I see in stores, by beautiful yarn and accessories. I’ve decided to start a list of upcoming projects, so I don’t forget what I want to do.

Today I bought wire- gold colored and coppery colored. I saw a cool necklace in a magazine- it was a granny square crocheted in wire. It’s fairly simple, though I’ve never crocheted jewelry, so that may open up a whole new bag of yarn (ba dum da)

I have a beautiful, soft dusky blue yarn that I want to make a shawl from. My grandma made me a purple poncho that I still wear, and can convert to a shawl. It’s neat, so I want to try to make some kind of wrap/shawl. (Completed June 2008)

I bought a neat tweed-like yarn, that I’d like to make a new scarf from. I also have a chunky grey and pink that I’m thinking would make a neat hooded scarf.

I have material for about 7 more baby blankets.

I promised one student a blue scarf, so I bought a variegated blue/navy blue/dark purple yarn for her (completed 5/24/08). Another student is getting a variegated cream,blue,purple, green scarf (Completed plus another one June 2008). Both are making me a scarf, in exchange for me making them one.

I bought 4 sets of purse handles today, so a few purses are on the horizon. I’m making myself a creamy purple one with u-shaped bamboo handles.

I’d like to try making multi-piece clothes- a little jacket or something. I think I’ll try baby clothes, first.

I’m eager to make amigurumi- the little Japanese character crochet. Check out this flickr site of adorable amigurumi!

And finally. I’m saving all my yarn odds and ends to make granny squares. I want to make a big granny square afghan for my future house!

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