2.26.2010

regressing



Today I was all set to work on my quilt all day. I ironed the last of my blocks and started to lay it out, then... ugh. I need more blocks! I had 94 and I need 108. So I had to cut more fabric, and start the process all over again, and by the end of today I will have all the blocks I need done so I can start assembling. Also, I put a sweet potato in the oven for lunch, but totally spaced it, and then I cooked it for probably two hours until I remembered it, and it was all mush.

Sometimes I am so forgetful, when I get focused on something I totally space everything else out. My sister still teases me about seeing me walk the halls in high school or on campus and my face is totally glazed over, I'm thinking about something. Tyler will be talking to me and he can tell when I've gone to another planet.

But I am going to work the rest of the day on my quilt, and then satisfy my lunch-less tummy with some chipotle. And a much needed video chat with my twin so we can hold our dogs up to the screens and see if they will bark at each other. How is your friday?

2.25.2010

this book is not helping my baking cravings.

http://www.sfgirlbybay.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/homemade-life.jpg
photo from sfgirlbybay

So in the blogging world, I was probably the last person to read this book. I have read so many things about it, but for some reason never got around to reading it. It's by Molly of Orangette, and it was so good. Her writing style is a joy to read, and I loved how it was a book of great stories sandwiched with great recipes. I want to make dutch baby pancakes, yogurt cake , her chocolate cake, and so many others. So if you too were living under a rock like me, go check it out!

2.24.2010

coming along...


Here is my quilt update: 70 6 inch 9 patch blocks are done and ironed, with around 80 3 square blocks sewed and ironed ready to be assembled into 9 patch blocks. Whew! I had to cut some more fabric yesterday, all my prints and some of my solids are all vintage, so I cut up some vintage shirts of mine and tyler's to have enough at the end. I had wanted to have 88 blocks total, and I should get that and maybe a little more. I wanted this quilt to be big, enough for snuggling, but also can be thrown on a bed in a pinch. I want to just knock it out, hopefully I'll get the top pieced by the end of this weekend.

We made the monkey bread this weekend, it was amazing. Instead of a bunt pan, I made it in two loaf pans and we made one on two different nights. I was going to give one away but I just couldn't! I woke up monday with a splitting headache so I've sworn off sugar for a week. It was worth it, it was like eating the inside of a cinnamon roll over and over again. I couldn't even get a picture because it only lasted like 2 seconds!

Do you have any big projects you are trying to tackle? Next up for us: decorating our bedroom.

2.23.2010

trying to organize.



yes please, I need a separate divider for all my recipes that begin with "Mc."

Does your mom or grandma have a box of all her recipes, crammed in dividers and lovingly used? I do, and I want that! I think it's a great thing to have to pass down to your family.

Lately I have been finding a lot of new recipes, and I need to keep everything in an organized place so I can find a recipe, and most importantly not forget it. I write out a menu for the week and I am having a hard time remembering what things I liked, recipes that I really enjoy sometimes just get lost. My current system is writing a list of meals down in my notebook, sometimes I write out the recipe, or I just use a website. But it gets a little annoying finding a place for my laptop in the kitchen, and my notebook/sketchbook can get a little floury or oily from being referred to. I have acquired about a half dozen little note card boxes, and I thought I would write out all my recipes on note cards and file them in there. I just recently found a box with vintage dividers in it, which is perfect. I started to write out a couple recipes on large note cards, and it took forever. I just can't imagine writing everything out.

I have been thinking that I'll design a layout so I can type them out and print on cardstock/chipboard. There is a part of me that wanted to hand write all my recipes just because. I love the look of these cards. Maybe something like that would work, and I would just have to write out one recipe a day, for a couple months? :) Do you have any systems for your recipes?

2.22.2010

winner(s)!


Thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway, it was fun to read all your comments. The winner determined by random is: Anna! Congratulations, Gingie wishes you the best with your new set of magnets. Because it was just so easy to generate a few more random winners, I decided to have three runner-up winners. Surprise to: Nikki, Becka, and Angela H.
You all should have gotten an email, if not let me know.

2.19.2010

Food Friday

I saw this salad in Ellie Krieger's book, and I was all over it. I love salads with asian-style dressing, that combination of sweet and spicy. I made this last night, and I will have to say, I went a little crazy. When I eat a salad I want to EAT a salad you know? It's no light lunch, it's a meal. So I loaded up a serving bowl, and told myself how great I was for eating so much cabbage. I sat down with a (giant) bowl, put the olympics on, and I was in a happy place. It took like 5 minutes to wolf it all down, and probably 20 minutes to recover, I was so full! But it was delicious. When I finally took a second to breathe, I realized I was breathing fire. I may have made the dressing a little spicy, but I like it. I will probably add the chili sauce to taste next time.

Thanks for all your thoughtful comments on yesterday's post, it really made my day. I loved being able to read your blogs and see a little into your lives.

***Last day for the giveaway! I will randomly pick the winner tomorrow and post it on monday.

pps. I am so making this for sunday morning. Anyone else?

Savory Chinese Chicken Salad
from Ellie Krieger's The Food You Crave

1/4 C sliced almonds

For the chicken
1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

For the salad
6 cups thinly shredded napa cabbage (1/2 head)
2 cups thinly shredded red cabbage (I used up some leftover iceberg instead)
1 large carrot shredded (1 cup)
3 scallions thinly sliced
one 8 ounce can sliced water chestnuts (I omitted)
one 11 ounce can mandarin oranges drained (I used two cans, for me more is better!)

For the dressing
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons chili sauce, such as Sriracha
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger

Preheat the oven to 350. Toast the almonds in a dry skillet over med-high heat until fragrant, stirring frequently, 2-3 minutes, set aside.

To make the chicken, combine the soy sauce and sesame oil and brush over the chicken on both sides. Arranges in a baking dish and back until the juice run clear in the center, 13-15 minutes. Remove, let cool, and cut into 1/4 inch slices.

In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients and chicken. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing. Pour it over the salad and chicken. Toss to combine, add almonds on top. (for me, I always just make my salad individually and keep the dressing and lettuce separate so I can eat it over a couple days)

2.18.2010

my inspiration

Today is my day for the blog it forward post by sfgirlbybay. Have you been checking it out? It has tons of amazing new blogs to discover. Basically it is 300 bloggers who all are writing a post about what inspires them, and each blog is linked to someone who did it yesterday, and I pass it on to someone who will post tomorrow.

One of my biggest inspirations are japanese craft books. I remember first reading about them a few years ago, and soon after I was on a trip to NYC and went to Kinokuniya for the first time. I was there with my classmates, and I think they thought I was slightly crazy and I had to beg them for a little more time while I browsed through the enormous selection of absolutely amazing awesomeness. I knew that my professor thought I was nuts when he was looking at what we had all bought when we were out and I was giddy over my huge bag of fabric and yarn from purl and japanese craft books. He was disappointed.

my first ones I ever bought.

Come Home magazine is my favorite.

I can't stop!

The photography, the projects, the styling, everything in these books are perfect, just that I can't read them!

That year in school I was working on my BFA in graphic design, and I was starting to struggle. Redesigning packaging over and over, I love design but I was feeling completely uncreative and burned out. I would escape to my blogland, and thinking about all the things I would make with my hands rather than a computer screen. I applied to my dream internship, totally never going to happen, and just daydreamed.

A few months later, I went to live in NYC for the summer for my internship at Martha Stewart Living in the Editorial Craft department. That I could go on about forever, but I learned so much, living in the city, going everyday to be around artists and people who I respected and admired so much and who loved the same thing I did. I didn't feel so guilty anymore for falling out of love with graphic design 24/7. The sounds of the city, going to a million stores, buying supplies for shoots, making candles, gold leafing wood, spray painting flowers, glittering everything, late nights, photo shoots, martha, teal everywhere. I think I pinched myself everyday I was there. I never ever took it for granted. I wished it never ended.


It didn't help that our offices were in midtown, at Bryant Park, and Kinokuniya was right across the street. There were so many days when I would go there after work, and just read and read for a couple hours and then hop on the subway home. I think living in New York City reinvents you. I felt empowered, independent, and more inspired than I ever have in my whole life. I sacrificed a lot to go there, I lived apart from my husband for 4 months, but it was the greatest experience of my life.


That is one piece of what inspires me, I feel like I could go on forever. Right now I am inspired so much by the community of blogging. I had made some amazing friends (and hope to make many more), and it's nice to feel that I have people I can talk to, we support each other. It means a lot to me since moving to a new town. All my friends and family are hundreds and thousands of miles away.

Thanks for checking by, if you made it to the end of this long post. I am happy to have had Scoutie Girl on the chain before me, and I'm sending on over See Meg Shop for tomorrow! Hope you keep following along!

ps giveaway ends tomorrow!! Don't forget to enter!

2.17.2010

best carry all overall




For Christmas, I was hoping to get a new bag. Now for a little background, I'm not a purse girl. I don't buy a bag purely for it's color, or outfit matching ability. I don't switch bags, I don't match it with what I'm wearing, I need a bag that will be able to carry 10-20 lbs of stuff. All through college I lugged a bag from Target that I loved, but I loaded it up with my computer, books, notebooks, and I put it on my left shoulder, and trekked everywhere. While I was in NYC for a week visiting studios, I remember halfway during the week I strained my shoulder/neck muscle, and it was painful. I have broken many a cheap bag and I wear them until the straps break, or there are holes, it's pretty shameful.

No more! I have been longing for a moop bag for a long time, (they're famous!) always reading about them, what style I would pick, what color, daydreaming. I finally decided especially since I am buying handmade these days, that I would go for it. I had to wait a while because I ordered it during their busy season, but by MLK day it was finally here. At first I worried it was too big, but then I realized that it was absolutely perfect. The straps are at a perfect length, the pockets inside are a dream, and I can keep everything in there in somewhat an organized fashion i.e. I can actually find my keys within 3 seconds. It's totally durable, and I think it will hold up to my battering.

I got the Porter bag in blue gray, and they have other styles if you aren't for the "everything and the kitchen sink" gal that I am.

some asides:
giveaway ends on Friday!
on this week's episode of TAL Sarah Koenig told a story where Tyler's Phd mentor Dr. Karen Bierman has a teeny blurb. She moved to State College recently, which moves up my connection to Ira Glass significantly.

2.15.2010

treasures


I am not a jewelry person. I am very selective, and what few pieces I have, I cherish. This necklace from Amber of Mani Designs is one of my favorites! It's like a baby pinecone. She is practically the sweetest person on earth. I think her work really reflects her kind soul.

I love looking through all of her pieces, they are all so unique. She takes tiny plants, flowers, pods, and other things she finds and casts them in silver and gold. It captures every detail, every vein. They are breathtaking. Read all about her process. Each piece is delicate, but they have an amazing weight to them, it's so hard to describe until you hold one in your hand.

She just launched her website, and her winter collection. She even has started selling on etsy!
Abby also had some lovely things to say.

Also: I am happy to be included in the big blog it forward project! I love being able to find and read new blogs, there are so many great ones out there. My post will be this week!

2.14.2010

Happy Valentines Day!





oh, valentine's day. Tyler and I are not really big grand gesture people, and just wanted to celebrate low key. We decided not to get presents, but Tyler did get some running shoes he needed and I got an immersion blender that I've been needing. So that was that. We decided to go out to lunch yesterday to our favorite restaurant to beat the crowds, and it was really great. I did decide to make him a little surprise, I made some marshmallows, covered some with dark chocolate chocolate powder and some with some pink sugar. I put some in tins and wrapped them up. We made hot chocolate and got in our pjs and watched the olympics all afternoon. Was a good valentine's celebration if you ask me. Have any fun plans?

2.12.2010

food friday


I have been obsessed about new recipes lately, I have checked out a bunch from the library, and I'm trying a new recipe every week. Yesterday I tried a recipe from Ellie Krieger's book, The Food You Crave. It has some great recipes, I already have made the turkey meatballs which were great.

I made the Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo, which is thickened with egg, and has an unexpected lemon flavor. It is surprisingly hearty, and rich, really satisfying for these cold snowy days. Really easy, and simple. I heated it up today for lunch, it was a little thicker than last night, super good.

Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo

4 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into small chunks
pinch of salt, plus more to taste
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup orzo
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in soup pot over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with the salt, add it to the pot, and cook, stirring, a few times, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a dish and set aside.

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pot, add the onion, celery, carrot and thyme and cook, stirring, over med-high heat until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add 5 cups broth and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and let simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Turn the heat down to low to keep the soup hot but not boiling.

Warm the remaining 1 cup broth in a small saucepan until it is hot but not boiling. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Gradually whisk the lemon juice into the eggs. Then gradually add the hot broth to the egg-lemon mixture, whisking all the while. Add the mixture to the soup, stirring well until the soup is thickened. Do not let the soup come to a boil. Add the cooked chicken to the soup. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

I take hundreds of pictures....

Just so I can get one.

check out the rest of gingie's morning bath and blowdry session

2.11.2010

now listed

Added some more magnets to the shop. Finally got a day with good sun so I could take some pictures!

2.10.2010

pennsylvania dutch life



I found this tin in a thrift store here in PA, I was trying to find something to use as a trash can for my studio. I loved the folk art motif and when I took it home I realized what was actually pictured. The amish/mennonite lifestyle is so common in this area, it's a part of the culture. I have loved learning more about it (and maybe stalking them when I see them so I can take pictures).

2.09.2010

bulletin board is up!





It's been a few weeks, but we got my homosote board up, and it's great! I got to put up a lot of my vintage stuff that I've collected and just has been stored away. Tyler covered it in duckcloth for me and hung it up, because I am really bad at that stuff. It covers the light cords really well. You can buy homosote at home depot for about $20, and it's a 4' X 8' sheet that they can cut down for you.

2.08.2010

weekend happenings




I took a million pictures of gingie today. My ginger set is getting bigger and bigger! But I know my mom will appreciate it. Gingie just sits there and stares at me, so I can't help but take tons of pictures.

This weekend had some major things go down. First of all, we were included in "snotorious BIG" this weekend and got a huge amount of snow (around 18-24 inches) dumped on us friday/saturday. Not as much as farther east, but enough to have to dig our car out. We had a snow day on Saturday, and went sledding and exploring in the snow. The snow was all powder, and in some places it had drifted to be 3 feet deep. It still hasn't melted, and everyday I am tempted to throw gingie in the snow, but I feel too guilty about it. She has a tiny patch she can go out in the backyard, which is not that fun for her.

Speaking of the little ragamuffin, we finally officially adopted her yesterday. It's been about 4 months, but now she is all ours. The shelter we got her from is so great, all the workers know all the dogs by name, and they all remembered gingie (formerly coco). It's like a big family there. We are so happy that we have her, she makes our life so much better. She's an old dog, 11 years old, but we are happy to give her the best time for the rest of her life. She melts my heart!

2.05.2010

food friday


This week for our new recipe we wanted to try falafel. We were inspired after having it at a friends house. We used a box mix, and made our own tzatziki, which is the best condiment in the world. It was super easy, and they cooked really well. It was good, but the falafel mix was really spicy, which was a little unexpected. Next time I'll try another kind or see if it's worth it to make it from scratch.

Happy friday! We, like everyone else in the east, is gearing up for the big snow storm coming. We haven't gotten much snow so far, we'll see in the next 24 hours.

FOR TZATZIKI
1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and grated (3/4 cup)
1/2 cup plain yogurt, preferably whole milk yogurt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
1 small garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper

five senses friday



-currently my favorite treasure, an enamelware bowl from a vintage store in Buffalo
-my little daytime pal.

I love reading Abby's post for five senses fridays, it's a fun way to think about what's happened during the week.

Tasting:
Something other than apple juice and saltines after a long week of being sick.

Hearing:
Tyler singing (maybe me too) the theme song for Gilmore Girls.

Seeing:
gingie warble and twitch as she has a dream on her new favorite spot.

Feeling:
my feet constantly being cold.

Smelling:
lemons.

how was your week?

2.03.2010

scrap quilt


Been working little by little. Got 15 6-inch blocks done, got like a bazillion to go! It's fun to see the different fabrics come together.

2.02.2010

knitting


I started a new knitting project, a loop scarf I'm excited about. I'm using some gorgeous yarn, manos del uruguay silk/merino mix. It has a beautiful sheen, and it's really soft and luxurious. It's nice to get back to knitting, it's so relaxing for me. Also, we fixed the clock problem, we painted a cover to go over the cord, and we moved our desk in front. I don't know why I hadn't moved that desk before, it is my favorite piece of furniture, and where it was before you couldn't even see it. It looks so great now!

Thanks for all your kind words and congratulations, it means a lot to me. You have until the 19th to enter the giveaway!

2.01.2010

giveaway!



I was really happy to find out that Crochet Today wanted to feature my magnets in their magazine. It was really nice, and very flattering! It also gave me a panic, because I had taken down all my listings to redo the photographs, so I'm slowly getting more listed in my shop. To celebrate, why not have a giveaway? You can win the magnet set pictured above, just leave a note in the comments and I'll pick one at random on Friday, Feb. 19th. Happy Monday!

**update, I pushed the date back farther because the newest issue isn't on stands until the 9th :)
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