Archive for paper

Back in the Saddle

On Friday we had crazy rain. I had intended to meet up with some gals for a crafting day on Saturday, so we went to the storage unit to retrieve my boxes and bins of yarn and needles. Instead of going out I stayed home and had my own crafting day.  I worked on my irises cross-stitch. I finished the main work and started doing the outline stitching. It’s looking pretty nice.

irisI picked up my gray shawl and once again started it over because it had so many dropped stitches.  After restarting 5 times, I gave up on it for now.  So I decided to teach myself to make cables. I’m starting with a simple scarf pattern. It’s really easy and the cable is looking great.

Cable1I’ll likely finish American Wife today (only 50 pages left), and I think I’ll start on Wally Lamb’s The Hour I First Believed. But in recounting what I read this summer, I forgot to mention Tana French’s In the Woods.  It was a thriller-type novel about a detective who, as a child disappeared with two friends and was the only one to be found.  He is assigned to the case of child murdered in the same woods where he was lost. Great story, quick read, though only a meh ending.

6a00d83451bcff69e201157213461c970b-300wiToday, to celebrate the start of football season I made a taco salad- sauteed veggie chicken in taco seasoning, kidney beans, jalepenos, tomatoes, avocado, on a bed of tortilla chips (and lettuce, though ours was no good, so we tossed it) topped with salsa and sour cream. So easy, so yummy!

NYOS4Parent conferences are half over. Tomorrow I have 6 more, then Thursday I have one in the afternoon, then I’m done! Only 2 weeks until fall break!

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Re

Happy New Year!

Sorry it’s taken me almost a month to update.  I spent the remainder of my vacation both getting ready to return to school, and doing nothing but reading and watching movies.  It was so relaxing.

I’ve been decidedly un-crafty since my last post.  I did manage to knit a scarf while watching the Cowboys get creamed by the Eagles. It’s my New Years scarf.  It’s a beautiful white and silver yarn by Lily Chin, done on big needles.

newyearscarf1jpgnewyearscarfcloseI worked a little on my mom’s afghan.  I added a golden yellow color, because I realized two skeins in that I didn’t have enough green.  I haven’t picked it up since I’ve been back to school; with conferences, mid-year assessments, and report cards coming up I’ve been stay at school late.

Yesterday I did get motivated to put together a card for Maggie’s birthday.  For X-Mas my mom sent me the much wished for Doodlecharms and Indie Art Cricut cartridges. I used the cupcake border to make Maggie’s card:

magsbdayI have been all about food, though.  Food is one area where I don’t slack!  A few weeks ago I made cabbage rolls, inspired by Kiki’s post.  My mom used to put cabbage rolls in the slow cooker and we’d come home from school to the best smelling house.  Chris has never had them, so I undertook the intensive preparation for him. I’ll let you get the recipe from Kiki, I pretty much followed that, except I used veggie beef.

cabbagerollsI also reintroduced myself to the Sunday Farmer’s Market. I LOVE citrus and ’tis the season, right?  I could wax poetic about Cara Cara oranges, Oro Blanco grapefruits, Satsuma mandarins, Meyer lemons.  Here’s my fruit basket from on excursion:

fruitbasketKalrabi, Cara Caras, Pink Lady apples, persimmons, bananas, avocados, oh yum!

All the yummy root veggies in season has made eating healthy at lunch really easy!  Just chop and dip in hummus!

bento6It’s carrots, cukes, and sliced turnip, with kalamata olive hummus, wheat pita, hard boiled egg, and left over lentils.  I’m attempting a “beefless stew” from The Cooking With PETA Cookbook tonight. I’ve never made stew, but anything that holds all my favorite roots and tubers is worth the work!

I finished the Lionel Shriver book I was reading.  Post-Birthday World was pretty entertaining, though mildly depressing and predictable. I did like the dichotomy of chapters where one was the cheating world and one was the faithful world and the writing was good.  

After that I read Truman Capote’s Breakfast At Tiffany’s which wasn’t what I expected.  Maybe as a child of the 80s, I’m jaded, and this book was shocking for its time, but I found Holly pretty annoying and the book was again, predictable.  The short stories at the end of this version of the story were far better than the classic itself!

0679745653Then I read Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I wouldn’t say it’s high on literary value, but the story is endearing and interesting and I like the juxtaposition of the various situations the characters are in.  I also liked that the couple who had a mixed race daughter talked openly about their family’s prejudices. I was left bawling at the end.

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Now I’m reading Killing Time by Caleb Carr.  I read both the Alienist and Angel Of Darkness in high school and college and like what Carr did with stories from the past.  This one is set in 2023 with a criminologist/historian trying to solve a friend’s murder and being taken in by the group that murdered him. It’s not something I’d usually read, but I thought if I liked what he did with he past, I’ll probably like what he does with the future.  It took me a few chapters to acclimate myself, but I’m enjoying it now despite it’s poor reviews on Amazon.

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Next time: Stew? Cross-Stitching? A new knitting project?

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Good Tidings

For the last 7 years, my husband and I celebrated the holiday season by buying gifts for kids whose names hung from the trees in the mall. We’d pick the older kids, because they tragically asked for necessity items, like underwear and socks.  Their wishes of survival seemed so much more immediate than the 4 year old who was asking for a Playstation. We did this because we couldn’t think of a better way to spend our money- we didn’t want a tree or decorations; and we spend all year giving to each other, so we never do presents.  

This year is different.  We’re saving for a house and money isn’t going as far as it used to after bills and groceries. So instead of buying stuff for others, we both spent time volunteering.  I went to the Los Angeles Food Bank to help sort donated food and Chris went to jail- a charity puts people in jail and has them call around to raise money for their “bail.”  We both had wonderful experiences.  Mine left me wondering why I don’t volunteer more outside of the holiday season. So I started researching different possibilities, but came upon the roadblock of many organizations are M-F 9-5. I’m considering going to the hospital that’s within walking distance of our apartment.  They ask for 40 hours, with at least 4 hour shifts.  During the weekend, that’s very doable for me, so that’s the most promising option I have.

So, in the spirit of counting my blessings this holiday season, and sharing with others what I have (this year, more time than money) here are the last of the holiday cards I’ve made for friends and family.cards1cards2cards3And some mystery gift images.  I’m hand-making gifts for my mom, sister, and father.  Here are two close-ups of what I’m working on.

mysterygift1mysterygift2I’ve also been baking up a storm, but I keep forgetting to take pictures.  Last weekend I made mint chocolate chip cookies and mom’s peanut butter cups.  The weekend before that I made sugar cookies.  Later today I’m making kiss cookies. I’ve gotten in the habit of baking for Chris’s employees, so I send most to work with him, bring some to work for my colleagues, and we keep some at home. Yum!

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Agradecida

I’m thankful for so many things. To try and begin a list would mean something would invariably be left off and that’s not what I want.  So instead, I’ll catch you up on my latest crafting and cooking accomplishments and let my mind and heart stay thankful for all I have.

I’ll start with Thanksgiving dinner, or in our case, lunch.  We eat our big meal around 1 every year, and then have pie at a normal dinner time.  It’s almost exactly the same meal every year: Tofurkey, corn, mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, and mushroom gravy.  We don’t make anything from scratch, except the gravy, and everything is done in 1 hour and 45 minutes.  It keeps up enjoying the holiday (the only one of the two days Chris and I have off together during this time of year), rather than getting wrapped up in making a perfect meal.  This year I made a pumpkin pie.  Pumpkin pie is not my favorite, but I made one, and I actually liked it (more so today, the day after, now that’s it been sitting in the fridge).

tofurkeypumpkinpieEarlier in the week I baked mini potatoes- red, yellow, and purple.  We topped them with cheese, chives, salsa, and sour cream and had them with a fake Italian sausage.

bakedpotatoesI’ve made 8 more holiday cards. I also came up with a logo for the back of my cards.  I’ll post it later once all the cards are finished.  I’ve got 6 more to make.  Then I’ll have to make envelopes and add inserts to write on.  I’m enlisting the husband to do the inside calligraphy.

xmas4xmas3xmas5xmas6I’m really pleased with all of the card so far.  It’s amazing what a girl can do with a little spray adhesive, a 4 dollar pad of paper, and a Cricut.

I’ve not been as diligent with my yarn crafts as I would like.  I’ve worked a little on my shawl.  My friend at work who has been letting me borrow her knitting mysteries brought me a pattern for a simple hat.  I think I’ll frog my ribbed beanie that I’ve started over three times and try it with this new pattern.  After I’m done updating here, I plan to spend some time on Ravelry, updating my finished projects, my WIPS, and my to-do list.  There’s a stack of books next to me, waiting to get cracked open and pursued so I can choose my next projects.  

Now all I have to do is finish the multitude of projects I’m already working on. . .

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Absent

It’s been an interesting school year so far.  I’m exhausted and feel like I’m on a roller coaster.  One day is amazing and the next is horrible.  I took Friday off to clear my head and rest my nerves.  I feel way better, so I thought I’d come here to to update.

I’m trying to get back into exercising more frequently.  When I do that I tend to cook more often, or rather plan meals to be cooked.  My husband and I have a sort of unspoken argeement that the person who gets home first makes dinner.  Recently, that has been him, because I’m up to my neck in meetings and paperwork.  When I’m trying a new recipe, though I’m eager to come home and cook. We’ve been eating go-to meals for a few weeks now, waiting for things to settle down- spaghetti, veggie burgers, etc.  This week we bought garlic naan at Trader Joe’s to make with those vacuum sealed Indian curries.  The next day my honey made veggie meatball subs on garlic naan.  The bread was chewy and yummy and delicious! I couldn’t resist taking a bite before getting the camera!

meatballnaanI’ve been yearning for autumn weather for a while now.  It’s hard to be thinking Thanksgiving when it’s mid-80s outside.  I’m not complaining, just wishing for a little cool down.  Since this weekend was forecasted to be cooler (mid 70s), I broke out the crock pot today and made potato soup from The Simple LIttle Vegan Slow Cooker cookbook. I stirred in some colby-jack cheese when I served it (so much for vegan) and had a veggie Italian sausage and green beans with it.

tatersoupFor lunches I’ve been having chickenless nuggets, apple slices and grapes, vegan chocolate chip cookies from Trader Joe’s, pita chips, a hard boiled egg, and string cheese. I don’t eat it all at once. It’s spread through the day- snack, lunch, after school snack.

nuggetbentoI’m still reading the Wind-Up Bird Chronicles.  I’m about half way through and I still love it.  I highly recommend it! I’m also still reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  I haven’t gotten too far in it, because I took a break to read a knitting mystery that I borrowed from a colleague.  That’s right, a knitting mystery. It was simple, and quick, and made me want to knit.  It was particularly interesting or well-written, but it’s the first in the series and I’ve already started the second one, so I guess I got suckered.

knit_160bI’ve also been spending a lot of time playing Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir on my Nintendo DS.  It’s a hidden picture game.  I’m totally addicted. I could play for hours at a time. My honey brought it home for me because I loved Professor Layton and the Curious Village so much.

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Today I worked on my holiday cards.  Since we’re looking at moving in a few months, my husband and I are sending homemade Christmas cards out as gifts, rather than getting anyone anything.  Just sending our love through time spent on crafting.  Here are the first four I came up with with a little help from scrapbooking paper, charms from the dollar store, and spray adhesive from the Japanese market.

xmas1xmas2I spent a good part of the morning updating my ravelry account.  I’m not even close to filling out all my projects, WIPS, ideas, and stashes, but I added a few things, including my finished Windy City Scarf! I love finishing knitting projects.  They just go so slow, it feels like a big deal to finish something!

windy1I’ve also made some progress on my shawl. It’s increasing pretty quickly. I’m not sure how long I’ll make it. I bought enough yarn to make it LARGE, maybe it’ll be more of a throw.

knitshawl2I’ve been doing a little crocheting this weekend, as well.  We’re currently obsessing over the TV show Jericho. We’ve had it on DVD for a long time and never watched it.  We started it a few days ago, after finishing Painkiller Jane. So I’ve been trying to crochet during the new box set, but it’s one of the few shows that I’ve seen recently that has kept my attention. 

I haven’t cross-stitched or embroidered in a while, but I never posted my most recent pics of the big cross-stitch project. It’s starting to look really nice, but I’m out of practice with counting my stitches and the last time I sat down to work on it, I made a ton of mistakes.

xstitchI’m still working on my ribbed knitted hat.  I started it over and made the rib smaller. But I think my focus for the next few weeks will be crocheting and making cards.

Next post will be after Thanksgiving, so have a happy holiday. I hope you get to spend time with family and friends and delicious food.

 

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Catch Up- Ketchup- Catsup

Hi!  I’m back from vacation with a few things to show you.  I didn’t get much crafting done, because I pretty much just sat around and ate cheese and drank beer and homemade wine. Tough life, huh?

I did want to post some pictures of cards I made before I left and an embroidery gift I finished the night before flying out.

This is the card I made for my mom’s birthday.  It’s my first counted cross-stitch project.  I bought the tri-fold card in Solvang when we went wine tasting. I colored the outside to look like a wooden frame (it didn’t really, but that was the idea).  I loved doing this project, I really enjoy cross-stitch.  When we were in Wisconsin I got to see a bunch of amazing projects my mother-in-law has done- teeny tiny canvases with elaborate angels and backgrounds.  SO cool. But here’s mine and maybe someday I’ll be as good as her.

I made this card for Maggie to celebrate her finding the Tiniest Studio Ever ™ in Berkeley and the Card Positioning Template that inspired it.

 


And this card for my friend Raina (sent with cookies and a book).

Also for Raina and her husband, who just bought a house, I’m making these embroidered place mats.  these two are finished with just small birds in the corners.  I’m planning two more with a larger lovebird scene in the middle.  The pattern is from the Sublime Sketch Pad that I mentioned in my last post.

For my birthday, my in-laws gave me two crochet sets.  I made this star pot holder in one evening while watching the Olympics.

They also bought me a set to make a star shaped baby blanket that has one color fading into another.  It’s a beautiful project- my mother-in-law got herself one and finished it while we were there.  It will take me months! I worked more on my blue baby blanket and it almost done! I also started another project, but I can’t show that until December.

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Sands Through an Hourglass

Summer is slowly slipping away from me. I know because rather than crafting, I’ve been planning for the start of school.  On Wednesday, Hubby and I fly to Wisconsin, where I thought I’d have copious amounts of crafting and reading hours. From recent talks with the in-laws, we’re learning about all kinds of plans that have been made for us. I’m sure I’ll fit in some crochet, cross-stitch and reading somewhere, though!

I’m up to 23 small circles for the Galaxy top, but I need more yarn to keep going.  I finished off the first skein for my blue baby blanket, so it’s about half way done.

I made a card for my dad’s birthday from a template from Card Positioning Systems.

This week we’ve had some yummy dinners, courtesy of various magazine recipes.  One was breakfast pizza from Family Circle. As you may know from reading this blog, we’re big fans of breakfast for dinner in my house. I used veggie sausage and added chopped onion and pepper from the farmer’s market. Otherwise, it’s reduced fat crescent roll dough, with shredded hash browns, 3 eggs scrambled and some cheese. It was tasty.

Also from Family Circle, I made corn fritters. I’ve never fried anything before in that much oil, except when I was a kid and my mom used the fry baby. But wow! Now I get why Americans are so obsessed with fried food! We served the fritters with a salad, as if that would off set the fried yumminess.

 

Then last night I made a Korean BBQ marinade from Vegetarian Times for some tofu.  The recipe called for 6 cloves of garlic. I put in 5, and the house still smells like garlic. It was tasty, though.  I used garlic and pepper flavored tofu because the store was out of extra firm. I sliced it and froze it and made the marinade.  When the marinade cooled I let the tofu sit in it for 30 minutes.  Then I seared it over high heat and we served itwith our left over salad. The tofu tuned out so delicious, I had two slices and Chris polished off the rest (yes, my meat and cheese husband ate 3/4 of a brick of tofu).

 

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