Monday, January 25, 2010

Can't Win Them All

Well, that didn't go very well.

I was feeling sort of badly about the fact that we use these disposable swiffer pads. In the past year we have all but eliminated paper towels from our home, we use reusable shopping bags all. the. time (seriously, i have gotten worlds better at remembering to bring them). But damn if we can find a way to make my best buddy the swiffer a little more kind to the environment.

Well guess what.

I thought i found it. I looked at a few tutorials, tried a few, winged it myself, and still- the right thing eludes me. It sucks, and i think it may also be because our floors desperately need to be refinished. Nonetheless, the only thing that makes mopping less fun is these towel swiffer pads. .

Fail, Fail, Fail, and more fail.

Have you made anything terrible and fail lately?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Good Things In Yellow

Today is a gross day. It's gray, it's cold, and it hasn't stopped raining all day. The dogs have gotten out of bed once today, and I am fighting so hard not to join them. When dumping my pics onto my hard drive today, i was happy to see lots of yellow around here- it cheers me up considerably.

Let's talk first about the second attempt at ravioli. MUCH better looking, no? It was butternut squash filling of my own devising, and i must say- delicious. Served with a pesto sauce, and it also froze beautifully. I am so so so pleased with this.

The flowers that the BF bought me are finally opening. And aren't they pretty! I am sort of not allowing much in the way of spending on stuff like this right now, but they were the last ones left, with no blooms open, and you could almost tell they would be yellow. So he was sweet and spent the $2 it required to get me these pretty flowers. I am so glad he did. He's good that way.
And finally, a pictorial that is proof, i think, of becoming an adult: a snack in my house. Yep, that's butternut squash and brussels sprouts. We are working hard at eating well, and it's starting to show around here. It would also seem that my dorkiness is starting to show (starting?!?!?) because i thought the color combo of the veggies in the blue bowl was so pretty I had to take a pic.
I hope your day is bright and shiny, and that you don't have to try as hard as I do to keep the gray away.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In The Strangest of Places If You Look At It Right

this was just too amazing and awesome not to share. Below are pics of the back of a shopping center in town. The front is average looking, even a bit depressing. But this is the back, done all in spray paint, by the one man who has been given permission to use this space. I wish I knew his name, because I would fully credit him here, but I don't. Click to enlarge the pics- and you will want to, because they are spectacular. Sorry for all the shadows from trees; it was just that time of day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Well Spent

Yesterday a big time was had by all at our house. BF came up with a fantastic idea: picnic at the beach! We are having strangely warm weather- mid-sixties- and chose to make the most of it. Such a fun day. After all the heavy heartedness of the last week, it was nice to be in the sunshine, laughing and running and stuffing our faces. Winter at the beach is the best time to be there, if you ask me.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Zen of Pasta

See that pic up there? since you can't tell just what it is I'm sure, I will tell you. It's ravioli. Portobello ravioli to be exact, and made by my own two little hands. Well, my two hands and a pasta machine that I got for Christmas.

It is really ugly looking, but I learned a lot about making pasta, one thing being that you really ought to roll it out much thinner than you think you should. i did not do this, and it was so thick that it sort of cooked up into a very bland, crumbly bread with yummy stuff in the middle. So here's a rundown on what I learned- possibly more for my benefit than yours.

:: ricotta is the glue that holds a good filling together.
:: roll the dough out much thinner than you think you need to
:: experimenting on loved ones is a good thing
:: the best way to go about the sealing and cutting is probably an egg wash, then a pizza cutter, then a fork. I will do this next time and likely save myself a lot of heartache.
:: pasta making is a great meditative process.

Loss touched our home this weekend, and I find the reactions to that sort of thing interesting. The way we cope, the way we process things. I tend to cook my feelings, like so many others. My heart was heavy and my brain was all over the place, and it felt good to put my hands to work. Over and over I cranked that dough through the machine, and kneaded, mixed, folded, cut, and it was good. My mind got to be elsewhere for a while, and think of good times, and ponder questions that have no answers. And then at the end of it all, it was good to sit down over a bowl of homemade pasta and talk about what we were feeling. BF said it was comforting. I thought it was grody, but the act itself was of greater comfort to me.

That is sort of what cooking is becoming to me. On a day to day basis, it's how we sustain ourselves, but special dishes, or taking the long way to get to a finished dish- we sustain ourselves differently with them. We eat them, but it's our souls that get fed. That's giving and comfort at their best, and I love being able to do that for the ones I love.

that's the sort of thing that I thought about yesterday while I worked on The World's Ugliest Ravioli. But i know that next time it will be better, and the time after that better still. That sort of knowledge is so comforting when things seem sort of dark.

and before I veer off totally into a strange new and very serious direction, let's have a look at two doggies from over the weekend who desperately wanted a crack at some ravioli. I like how Lilly's face looks so sinister when her eyes arent visible and all you see are her brown eyebrows. As for the little dog, would you be able to resist that face? It gets harder and harder.

Friday, January 8, 2010

I Wish I Knew How To Quit You


I was wrong. I got angry and hurt and I said something I shouldn't have said. I was wrong, and I'm sorry. Take me back, baby. Please. I love you.

Had I only known that sitting down with an episode (or two) of a trashy reality show ( I like to watch them while doing complicated knitting because my brain is still working through the charts, but the part of my brain that controls Disdain turns it towards the idiots on Jersey Shore rather than on the knitting. Smart, no?) and next thing you know- you have a lovely cuff for a lovely mitt. the cabled bits are a bit wonky, but they should straighten out with blocking.

I have yet to forget the pain that is realizing that you have spent hours doing something totally wrong with no one to blame but yourself. But, i have realized that this is actually a pretty fun pattern, and hey- I've Got The Time.

speaking of- I've Got The Time has sort of become my motto this week. Now that Holiday Mania is over, I wake up when BF wakes for work, and I face a day that seems to stretch on forever. But just like that, it's over and I feel great about what I have done. I got another timer, one that works this time, and I allot little chunks of my day to this and that, and it is really sort of rewarding in it's own way. I have worked outside the home continuously since I was 15 years old, and this new rhythm that I have found is so natural for right now. It's gray and cold outside, and inside I am watching movies, reading books, knitting, sewing, re-organizing, cleaning, cooking (last night I made a lamb curry TO DIE FOR), exercising, and scheming on the Next Big Thing. I am at home in my current life, my circumstance, and that is a feeling I haven't felt in a while.

I have to say, I have a few prospects that make me think that this wonderful little slowing down will be somewhat sort-lived, so I am just trying to embrace it, and enjoy it for what it is- all while being grateful that this time can be pleasant, and not coated in a Paralyzing Fear like layoffs have been for so many others. I have been giving some thought to a Word for the Year like so many others in blog land, but I can't seem to come up with just one. The best I have been able to do is identify a Concept that I want to strive for, and that's Acceptance. I need to take things, people (including myself), situations, and accept them. I always felt like to accept things was to be apathetic, compliant, boring, inert- but the truth is that struggling against the current is tiring. And realizing that the only reason I know what day it is comes from keeping up with the Group Fitness schedule at the gym makes me smile a little, every so secretly.

Wait, wasn't this supposed to be about knitting? Yes, yes- the mitts are going just fine.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I Hate Knitting

this is the last of the holiday knitting. This is also the project that made me decide that I hate knitting. why? Because it outsmarts me sometimes purely by highlighting how much i like to neglect actually reading and digesting instructions. It shines a big light on how much of a doofus I really am. I hate that. As such, I hate knitting.

This project is for a friend. The yarn is perfect. The pattern is perfect. If she could design knitwear for herself, this would be the pattern she would design. And that really sucks because that means that I have to finish this project, even though I got almost one whole mitt done before admitting to myself that something was off. WAY off.

Apparently you get gauge and THEN go down two needle sizes. I neglected to do that. What resulted is a mitt knitted to be a women's Medium- but the fit was more appropriate for Shrek, or some other monster with scary large hands. Ugh. I have to say though- I love my BF and his support of my crafting (although it's at odds with his love of my doing chores). He tried the mitt on, and as it was literally sagging off his hand, his big Man Hand, he said, "'s not so bad. I mean it's not THAT big. She does have big hands...right?" Bless his heart.

And so, it's back to the drawing board. Back to an 8 page pattern, with miles of charts, cables, bobbles, picking up stitches, and other things that do not lend themselves to mindless knitting. This time though, it's with the right size needles, and that's something.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hello, New Decade (and Old Blog)

Belated Happy New Year!

Despite a bevy of circumstance around here that aren't conducive to regular blogging, I have returned. It was a hectic, crazy, wild and sort of stressful holiday season, and frankly, I am glad to see it is over. Now we come to the good part- the part where I sit down with the formidable stack of books that I got for Christmas, and feel perplexed, inspired, delighted, moved- and almost transformed.

Isn't that just the most lovely stack of brand new paper from all over blogland? And if I do say so myself, they all compliment each other wonderfully.

Creative Time and Space is just the best book. It's not terribly lengthy, but I am only halfway through it. I like to read a bit, try some things out, then think on what I have read, and then when I feel duly inspired and ready, I sit down and read another chapter or so. It is truly changing the way that I think, and helping me get a leg up on that which confounds me so, especially in light of the changes in my life: Time, and Time For Art. I love it, although BF has threatened to take it away from me. He was not pleased when I announced that with the help of my (now broken, grrrr) pear shaped kitchen timer, I would only be doing an hour of house related things a day, so he better pick up after himself. He was further displeased when I told him where to shove his displeasure. And so it goes at the House of Stupid.

The printing books and the sewing books are sort of like great cross training, if one was to consider crafting a sport. I am very excited about them- I want to cover everything in patchwork, then dip it in bleach, then dye, then rub stamps all over it all, and possibly work a silk screen in there too. Inspiration and guidance are sort of the perfect mix there. I am all tingly.

As for the knitting book- I am sure you will hear more about that. There is a sweater coat inside it, The Winter Wonderland Coat for those of you on Ravelry that I simply must have. It's long, has many complicated charts, much sewing, and is likely way over my head. I can't wait to get started. One of my goals this year is to knit something grand, and huge and awe-inspiring. I figure if I start now, I will have it finished by October.

and finally- those food books. Wow, Well Preserved. I didn't think that I could get so excited about canning. But I think that it's the combo of canning with the delicious recipes for that which has been preserved that had me literally drooling on the pages. Seriously. I looked like Lilly- she gets these disgusting dangly Drool Strings sometimes when she watches people eat. It's very unbecoming, but like a big burp- it's a Complement To The Chef. As for a Homemade Life- do you guys read Orangette ever, and long for more frequent updates? Well, this book- oh it's so wonderful. It is the first time that a book with recipes has moved me to almost tears. The stories that go along with each recipe are so personal and wonderfully ordinary- featuring extraordinary people that I keep it on my nightstand and read one chapter before bed each night. I am trying to stretch it out so that I can enjoy it for longer. It's hard not to read it all in one day though.

So, that's what I am up to as of right now. I'd love to share more about my goals for the year and all that, but my allotted computer time is drawing to a close, and I have yet to check the bank balance. See? A New Leaf is turning over here, people. I'm very much looking forward to whatever this year will bring. And, I am also hoping to spend much more time in this space. (yeah yeah I know, but hey- New Leaf).