4.29.2011

lost it.

leaves
The leaves came this week. Which made me happy. Today though, I woke up pretty irritated. Mentally and physically, because my forearm sunburn is at the itchy stage. I only got a few hours of sleep thanks to our lame neighbors, when one was so plastered and he ran outside screaming "I don't care!" over and over at 4am. From what I could piece together he had lost his wallet or something, so he smashed a bottle. Logical. The others were trying to calm him down and have him be quiet, when he screamed "I don't care about the neighbors!"  and another one said, "our neighbors are stupid."

Yes, tiny infant child boys, we must be stupid for always asking nicely at 5am for you to be quiet so we can sleep. I have only called the cops once, and that was because at 6:45 am, sometimes your mind just breaks. We are a boring married couple with a dog.

At this point I was pretty annoyed so I yelled out our window "excuse me, could you please pipe down? Sorry to intrude but it is 4am on a Thursday." but then reverse everything I said with a few choice words sprinkled in. If they already think we're crazy, I'm totally going to own it.

4.27.2011

cool down.

zoku
zoku
My family always has a little bracket for the NCAA basketball tourney in March. This year, my parents decided to put up $50 for the winner. It came down to me and my sister for the win, and I ended up losing the tie-breaker. I had my money earmarked for something special: a zoku pop maker.

When I lost, I was bummed, but that meant I just saved it for my birthday. I love popsicles, especially living in a humid area and not having ac in our house means we make them a lot to cool down.

I just whizzed up a smoothie with what we had on hand, some oj, a banana and a handful frozen blueberries, and from start to finish I was eating a popsicle in 10 minutes. I had read that they were hard to get out sometimes, but I had no problems with it. It was nice to just make 2. I can't wait to start making our mango and coconut pops.

Anyone else have one of these or a favorite popsicle recipe?

4.26.2011

all before 9am this morning

scones
sunning
scone
sunning
sunning
breakfast
sunning
before 9am this morning I:

:: made some orange poppy seed scones to sweeten up tyler's thesis committee for a presentation he had this morning (I think it worked).

:: took a drive in the 80 degree weather with the windows down and exchanged my milk bottles at the dairy

:: made a delicious breakfast and ate it outside (I promised myself I would use my roof deck more)

:: gigi followed me around everywhere I went, finding a sunny spot to collapse in.

A good morning. It was so warm today gigi and I went to the park with a friend, it felt like the middle of July. I should probably switch to contacts for days like this. Glasses and humidity are bitter enemies. Cold come back! I miss you.

4.25.2011

for keeps.

weck
weck
This weekend I spent some time organizing our kitchen with another one of my birthday gifts: weck jars. I have pined over these jars for years. I got some for my birthday before for my button collection, and decided I needed some to help with storage. We have a small kitchen with very limited storage, so we got some shelves from ikea and started putting some pantry staples in pretty jars.

I like that Tyler and I can both geek out on putting things in jars. He loves them just as much as I do. I bought 3 sizes, large for grains and nuts, medium for um, medium stuff, and small for spices I use a lot and buy in bulk, like cinnamon and cumin (and poppy seeds because they look so nice). We can also use them for food storage in the fridge.

I would love to use them to can my next big batch of jam... we'll see.

Hope you had a great weekend, we had an easter BBQ with our new (charcoal) grill, and I didn't get my couch done but I'm close. Should be done by this weekend.

4.22.2011

WIP

WIP
WIP
Sorry so quiet around here yesterday, I've been in my studio, sewing away. Trying to get these box cushions done, maybe today? We'll see. Yesterday I made my first continuous bias strip, and I watched a whole movie just getting that figured out. I had to make a second one, and that went a lot quicker, but I still have a hard time matching up the lines for the last seam. I finally got through making 16 yards of piping, and now I'm more in the assembly phase. Wish me luck!

I started watching my so called life while I was sewing, gotta love some 90's sitcom. It has a strong Felicity feeling to it, with it's diffused lighting, dark shadows and slightly tribal background music. Which is always a good thing. Anyone have any favorite to watch right now? I watched Upstairs/Downstairs, but for some reason it left me feeling a bit depressed. There doesn't seem to be that perfect mix of humor and death (Cranford, Downton abbey) that usually comes with Masterpiece Classics. 

Hoping to have lots to show next week, weather providing we are hoping to start working on my container garden tomorrow.

4.20.2011

good as gold

gold
slow going
slow going
Thanks for all your kind birthday wishes yesterday, they meant so much to me! I had a great day. I couldn't wait to use my new polish, which went on like a dream. Taking pictures of my nails is so awkward. I just have to not look at the photos too much, it starts to be like when you look at a word too long, and it just looks wrong and totally alien.

I have huge hands. Seriously, I do. I could palm a men's basketball at the tender age of 14. In sixth grade when the band teacher consulted with us about what instrument we wanted to play, the only test to see if I could play the flute was if I could reach my pinky to the farthest key. Some people didn't pass. No problem for me. People always doubt this extreme until they do the whole hand-to-hand comparison, then I get the usual "whoa." or "holy crap." I think it is hard to notice because my hands are very proportionate, so at least I have that.

I am slowly working on the box cushions for my sofa. It is hard to cut a piece of fabric that is bigger than your ruler and cutting mat. So this is my progress so far. Not much to show, but you just wait! Hopefully. Trying to keep it from being a disaster. I'm using duck cloth in a really great stone gray.

4.19.2011

Happy Birthday!

birthday
birthday
birthday
I absolutely love sharing my birthday. I may not have always said that, but here I am. Talking to a friend, I realized that sharing a birthday is like our own special holiday. It's like Christmas, where it's fun to receive presents, but you are also giving too. I've shared a lot of things in my life with Malorie, but the most special would have to be the day that we arrived together. For 6 1/2 minutes I was alone in the world, while I waited for her.

I can only imagine what those 6 1/2 minutes were like for my dear mother and father, upon seeing me born at a wee 4 pounds, to have the doctor say, "um...excuse me, but you have another baby! you're going to have to push again." Surprise twins don't happen hardly at all anymore, and that must have been shock of a lifetime. I would give everything to just hover over that delivery room at that moment. I don't even know what my dad said when he heard that. We should be throwing my mom a party every year!

Happy birthday Malorie! I miss blowing out my candles in unison. Love you!

I was so excited to open my present from Mal, which was of course, a perfect assortment of crazy japanese candy (a dear love of mine), the best gold polish ever (the fully monty by Butter) and a precious heath ceramic bud vase. I am kinda missing that ketchup she tried to get me, she knows me all too well. Thanks Mal! You're the best.

4.18.2011

celebrating the last days of my quarterlife.

birthday flowers
shade
cake
bag

I have to work the night of my birthday, which isn't too bad, because then you just get to celebrate longer. We started it off this weekend, with some sunny weather, thrifting, 3 naps and wearing my clogs out for their first steps. And of course food, indian, pizza, thai, with the token cake and ice cream (that tyler convinced me not to make myself). 

I got some of my favorite flowers, which always remind me of a time where at a wedding, a strange woman came up to me with a confident air and said "I'll give you $100 dollars if you can tell me the name of those flowers." I looked at her and didn't hesitate to say "ranunculus." She muttered something about how she wasn't going to give me the money, and walked off, defeated. I was by myself but it took everything I could to not yell "sha-bang!" combined with some kind of gesture. Which now, writing it, sounds beyond lame, but you know the feeling.

I hope you had a relaxing weekend, I'm crossing my fingers for a break from the rain.

4.15.2011

reveals.

silk
house
Finally got around to wearing my silk thrift find, and I realized that ironing really wrinkly silk reveals many things. Like oil stains, and running threads. And maybe I transferred a bit of magenta crayon...(don't use your clothing iron for mixed use!). But it's good enough to layer with a sweater on this half springy day.

I was loving the morning sun on my ornament by my house party. I need to get a few more, it's pretty lonely by itself.

Happy Friday!

4.14.2011

testing.

hasbeens test run
So I finally committed and decided to keep the cognac hasbeens. I've had these for almost a month, but they've just been in limbo, I'm too scared to wear them! Now that I'm keeping these for sure, I realized that I can wear them. I almost decided to wear them out of the house today, but just couldn't do it. But wearing them around the house is nice too.

From what I read about other new hasbeens owners, this phobia of wearing them outside is very real. Baby steps! Trying to decide if I should treat the wood with olive oil to protect them. Anyone have any tips?

It's sunny and I'm going to thrifting today. It's a good thursday.

4.13.2011

victory!

new bags
produce
So I opened up one of my birthday presents early, which was a set of baggu bags and produce bags. I've been using reusable bags, but they are bulky and I forgot them more than I'd like to admit. Plus they were ugly.

Today I went to the store super excited to use my new ones. In my grocery store they have little machines all over to weigh and print labels to stick on the bags for produce and bulk items. For produce I just set the items on the scale, printed the label, and stuck all the labels on a scrap piece of paper so at checkout they just scanned them all at once and don't have to worry with weighing the items separately.

I wanted to eliminate all plastic bags. Getting produce bags makes it easier, but I always get bulk items too. For bulk items, I went over to the deli counter asked for some deli containers so I could put my bulk items in them rather than plastic bags. They gave me a bunch of whatever sizes I needed, and I can keep reusing them.

It gave me such an adrenaline rush. I walked out of the store to the gray rain, but I felt so happy! Such a dork. :)

4.12.2011

brain bender.

foam
Yesterday I went and got some upholstery foam for my sofa in my studio. Redoing the cushions have been on my project for a long time now, and I am tackling it.

Today I've been overwhelmed by sewing math. How big of pieces of fabric, how much I need for bias strips, and then how many yards I need total, it's just been making my brain ache. Making a box cushion is not a hard project, but when that includes making 530 inches of bias strips, it might be a long one.

I'll keep you up to date with my progress! Wish me sewing luck and patience.

4.11.2011

weekend bakes.

weekend baking
weekend baking
weekend baking
This weekend had me in the kitchen quite a bit, but not really for dinners. I baked more than I have in a long time. I made our favorite scones for Saturday morning, and then made a batch of cookie dough to make some huge chocolate chip cookies to accompany a hot pot dinner at a friend's house. I also made some biscuits but they were a bit so-so, I didn't do my research beforehand on recipes so I just did something on the fly. They were okay, but not earth-shattering. 

My dye experiment didn't exactly work with some of the fabric scraps I was testing on, I realized that the fabric probably has a finish on it, and didn't seem to take the dye well. I need to order some fabric and try again. 

Hope you had a great weekend. Looking forward to having it warm up a little today a nice break from all the rain.

4.08.2011

rainy day.

dye
Today is one of those dark and dreary pouring rain days, and sadly I had to run some errands in the middle of it. (I even hydroplaned! Totally freaky.) But I did pick up some supplies for a project that I'm going to try out, I always love doing something new! I'll let you know how it goes next week.

Hope you are staying cozy inside. Do you have any weekend projects?

4.07.2011

power bars with dark chocolate and sea salt

making powerbars
making powerbars
making powerbars
making powerbars
making powerbars
making powerbars
making powerbars
My mother-in-law makes these rice crispie treats that are so good. Made with peanut butter and corn syrup, topped with almost a half inch of melted milk chocolate and butterscotch chips. Right after Tyler and I were married we drove to his annual family reunion and I remember eating a ton of these. Then in the tent that night I woke up feeling awful. Junkitis! Tyler held my hair back as I puked several times and stayed up the whole night with me. He's a winner.

Even after that episode I still loved those treats. I haven't made them in a while, but when I read heidi's recipe for power bars, it made me think of them.

Of course I took her recipe and meddled. I always just can't leave it alone. I changed a bunch of things, and I wanted to have that same layer of chocolate, but grown up. I like how thin the chocolate layer is, and the sea salt on top really helps balance the sweetness. This is the first time I've used ground flax seed meal, so I just added what I thought was okay, I would probably add a little more next time. I always feel better when I can have a lot of fiber and chocolate at the same time.

Now my mother-in-law eats a vegan and gluten-free whole foods diet, so I think this would fit right in. These are really good, I love using recipes using brown rice syrup, it isn't too sweet and I like it much better than honey. This recipe is so easy to customize, just keep the volume of dry goods the same and use your favorite nuts, seed, dried fruit, spices or whatever.



Powerbars with dark chocolate and sea salt
adapted from 101 cookbooks


1 tablespoon coconut oil (or regular butter)
1 1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
2/3 cup (unsweetened) shredded coconut
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups unsweetened crisp brown rice cereal

1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons ground flax seed meal
1 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup natural cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


3/4 cup dark chocolate
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil (or regular butter)
coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking pan with the coconut oil. (next time I think I will just line it with parchment paper) If you like thick power bars, opt for an 8 by 8-inch pan; for thinner bars, use a 9 by 13-inch pan. (I used an 8 by 8 pan, but next time I'll probably use the larger size to make them smaller.)


On a rimmed baking sheet toast the pumpkin seeds, almonds, and coconut for about 7 minutes, or until the coconut is deeply golden. Toss once or twice along the way. Mix the oats, toasted nuts, coconut, cinnamon, flax seed meal, and the cereal, together in a large bowl and set aside.

Combine the rice syrup, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly as it comes to a boil and thickens just a bit, about 4 minutes. Pour the syrup over the oat mixture and stir until it is evenly incorporated.
Spread into the prepared pan, leveling the top. Melt the dark chocolate and remaining coconut oil and spread in a thin layer on top of the mixture. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and cool to room temperature before cutting into whatever size bars you desire. I let them set in the fridge and cut them while they were cold, but they are best eaten at room temperature so they are a bit softer.
Makes 16 to 24 bars.

4.06.2011

tiny signs of life.

what survived the winter
what survived the winter
what survived the winter
what survived the winter
roof deck before
roof deck before
gigi
The other day when I was watching gigi outside, I notice little bits of green in my garden, which if you weren't around here last year, it pretty much spiraled into death and brown by August.

I had planted onions and leeks last year, and they seemed to never grow and withered and I thought they had died. But I realized there were a few green shoots that have popped up, so I guess some hung on! It's still really cold, we got a little snow yesterday, and I know nothing about onions, so maybe I'll dig them up and see what is there. They even have grown through discarded chicken wire.

The only other perennial to survive our heat and groundhog massacre last year is the chives. For some reason the ones in my guarded garden died last year, were totally brown and dried up. But they have revived and look better than I've ever seen them. The lavender doesn't look like it's going to live to see another summer, but oh well.

Because of my garden failure last year, I am going to try something a little different this year. I want to use our roof deck (conveniently safe from groundhogs) and have a container garden. Something low-key, no pressure, and hopefully lots of flowers too. I have learned to not have high hopes (I honestly thought last year that I would become an urban farmer) and that every failure teaches something new. We didn't use our deck very often last year, and I have a goal to utilize this luxury as much as possible.

Anyone built a window box before (I want to make a bunch to hang over the railing for flowers and herbs), or have any good container garden tips?

4.05.2011

twinnerversarie.

twins
It's April. My birthday month, and my sister's birthday month. I realized that it has been one year since we found out that we are identical twins. Maybe it's a little obvious looking back, but my whole life we thought otherwise (doctors definitely do not know everything). It was a profound moment of self identity, even though it meant I was technically an exact copy of someone else.

I've talked about it before (also click though for more photos), but I recently re-read the book that changed my life as a twin, and I keep realizing things about our relationship, our relationship with our families, friends etc. It is so supremely complex, I could talk about it for hours (and have).

I keep this picture by my bed of us. I love how happy we are and how tightly we cling to each other. (I'm the one with the broken leg) It makes me emotional to think about how through challenges in teenage years and young adulthood, we didn't cling to each other as much as we should have. We took for granted the rare and unique bond only given to those who are clones of each other.

This year I celebrate feeling just like I did in that picture. Love you sis! I'm fiercely proud to be your twin.

oh and twin speak? we did that.

4.04.2011

phone food pics. it's all I got.

best meal ever
french meats
crepe
Montreal was great. It's a beautiful city to walk around, everyone was so friendly. Mostly though, we ate. Which is my favorite thing to do traveling. There were so many choices, it was fun to have something different everyday. Olive et Gourmando was my favorite by far. It was one of those perfect lunches where Tyler and I went off by ourselves (we ate the rest of the time with groups) and had the best meal of the trip.

We also loved Marché de la Villette, for it's authentic french flair and my delicious crepe. For the last night I had all you can eat sushi for the first time, and it was so fun. I really love sushi more than I thought (when it's good at least). I tried a few new things (eel), tyler tried more new things (octopus, raw!) but I really loved the salmon. On our way out we had bagels at Fairmont, and it was the best bagel I've ever had in my life. To watch them be made was just as much as a treat. 


It was relaxing and fun to walk around and spend time with lots of really nice people. I am always so interested when Tyler talks shop with his classmates (even though most of the time it goes way over my head), the research world is so fascinating! Makes up for all the times he listens to all my crafty bloggy talk with my friends.  


Thanks for all your help and suggestions! I couldn't have had such a great time without you.
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