29 January 2009

some valentine's goodies



...are up in the shop! Go have a look at some of the new cards I've got up there, as well as some other goodies that would be perfect for that sweet someone in your life, or just someone who's feeling the winter blues and needs a little pick me up (there's definitely a lot of people out there like that!).

I can send items directly as gifts, if you just put that information in the comments to seller.
I'm also continuing the special notecard promotion:: buy four cards and get one free, five cards for just $16! {you will receive this discount as a paypal refund}

I hope you find something you like!

27 January 2009

i made a pizza (or two)

LinkI still find it hard to believe that this is the first time (that I can remember at least) that I've made pizza. And I am seriously wondering why in the world I've never done it before. At the suggestion of Chelsea, I used this recipe for the dough. I have plenty of recipes, but they all required many many more hours of rising, and given how busy I've been, it worked pretty well to come home from work a wee bit early and have a pizza coming out of the oven by 7:30pm last night.

We topped it with some simple tomato sauce, mushrooms, green peppers, artichoke hearts, spinach, and just a touch of onion (we're not big onion people here). I used some deliciously fresh mozzarella on mine, and Jared's, of course was sans-cheese. I don't think I'll ever grow to like cheese-less pizza, but that's fine. It actually worked out perfectly to make two separate ones and they both fit on the baking stone that I have. I baked the pizzas for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees. I really liked the dough, it was the perfect thickness, but I think I'd like it if it was a little less dense. Maybe I'll have to try a longer rising dough recipe next time. In any case, I can tell that pizzas are about to become a regular meal here, I'd like to freeze some dough so I don't have to worry about rising and kneading, just defrosting. I'm also excited to do more pizzas over the summer when we have more fresh veggies and herbs from the garden (I know I had resolved to do that last summer, but it just never happened) What's your favorite kind of pizza?

26 January 2009

the days are just packed

Well hi there everyone. Didn't mean to just disappear like that (um, again). Apparently I've forgotten how busy the beginning of a new year can be. Last week, I had something to do after work every single day. I think I should add "be less busy" to my list of resolutions for this year (wait, didn't I resolve that last year?). Seriously, that is something I'm working on for this year, though. So any suggestions you all have on that would be much appreciated.

This weekend was no different. Friday was my work holiday party (a little late, I know) then meeting some friends for drinks and bluegrass music. On Saturday, Jared and I took Freddie to the dog park, popped into a sweet thrift shop and then hit up the roller derby for our friend's birthday. Can I just say, I love the roller derby! If you have one near you, I would highly recommend checking it out. Super fun. It was also super fun to learn that my dad is apparently a huuuge roller derby fan, something I have never heard him even mention. I'll have to take him the next time th
ey come to visit. I also baked this cake for the birthday girl (I realized that I hadn't baked it since her birthday last year, there must be something about the cold of January and craving a pound cake). It was just as delicious as I remember it, and it didn't sink this time!

Yesterday, I went to a huge fabric sale with a friend and came home with about 15 yards of fabric for about $12. I'm really excited to make some clothes again, it's been quite a while. I have a couple of patterns picked out, but I think I need to finish this sweater first (I'll show you some progress later this week) because I don't know if I can work on anything else until that's done. Also, I signed up for a sewing class in March. I'm super excited, but also a little nervous. I've never taken a sewing class and this one is focused on creating a pattern from an existing garment. It's the closest thing they have to pattern-drafting, which is what I really want to learn. Now I just have to decide which garment I want to copy...I'm thinking of a dress, but not sure which one. I'll have to spend some time in my closet.

Phew. I'm feeling a little bit scatterbrained, can you tell? I'm hoping to get a few little Valentine's Day cards into the shop by the end of this week (maybe even tomorrow), so I'll be sure to let you know about those. In the meantime, have you seen these sweet cards from hello handmade paperie? I love them! Be well, friends!

20 January 2009

a brand new day...


There are so many things I could say right now, but I'm actually at a loss for words. I think I'll let him do the talking. It's a new day, and I don't think I've ever been this proud to be American.


{Also, this says it all}

17 January 2009

i love saturday mornings

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I really do. Especially when they involve cornmeal raspberry pancakes. Yesterday at work, I thought I smelled pancakes (I have no idea why, the cook was making something entirely different) and decided that I needed to make pancakes for breakfast this morning. It was perfect. Of course I found a good recipe in what has seriously become my go-to cookbook, Veganomicon. I rarely make pancakes, Jared and I are definitely waffle people, but these were amazing. I didn't have any blueberries so instead I defrosted a bag of raspberries that I had picked during the backyard raspberry explosion of July 2008. So handy.

I hope you're all having a lovely Saturday. Aside from the pancakes, the rest of the day has been wonderful too. It's warmed up to a balmy twenty degrees (which is literally forty degrees warmer than it was yesterday morning when I took Freddie for a walk), and we just got back from a nice outing to to park. Now, I think I'm going to make some granola and work on my sweater while listening to some Nick Drake, a nice quiet evening while Jared is at work. Thank you all so much for the enthusiastic response to homesteading. Again, I am really excited to participate in this, though I'm still trying to find the balance of having two blogs, especially when the topics are overlapping. Anyways, happy weekend everyone!

Raspberry Corn Pancakes
(adapted from Veganomicon)
Note: These are not "cakey" pancakes, they are quite thin. I like them that way. The recipe called for only 3/4 cups of flour, but I found that the batter was way too thin that way so I increased to 1 cup. I think next time I would decrease the water a bit. Also- the recipe calls for blueberries, but I had raspberries--so use whatever fruit you have on hand. No matter what, they'll be tasty.

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbs. canola oil
1 1/4 cup oat milk (or soy or whatever you have)
1/3 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbs maple syrup
1 tsp lemon zest
1 cup raspberries (I used frozen, but fresh would be best, obviously)

Preheat a large nonstick pan on medium high heat. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients (minus the berries). Add wet mixture to the dry and mix until just combined. Fold in berries. It's okay if the batter is a bit lumpy. Spray the pan with cooking spray, or a bit of extra canola oil. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup, or a small scoop to pour batter into the pan. Cook pancakes until they're browned on the bottom and bubbles form on the top (about 4 minutes), then flip and cook another few minutes. Enjoy with some margarine and maple syrup, or whatever you like on your pancakes!

16 January 2009

homesteading



Boy did this week fly by. Between the ridiculously freezing temperatures, getting adjusted to the new puppy, and a busy week at work, things just got away from me a bit. It was one of those weeks that just wouldn't slow down, yet at the same time it felt like the weekend would never get here. You know what I mean? Well, I am just so happy that it's Friday, and I am sooo happy that it's a three-day weekend too.

Earlier this week, I mentioned that I had an exciting collaboration to tell you about. Well, here it is. Last week, the amazing Molly invited me to participate in a new collaborative blog that she's initiated called, homesteading. As the name might suggest, this blog is focused on the little and big ways that we can try to live more intentionally and mindfully. Besides Molly and myself, Chris and Angie (some friends of Molly's) are contributing as well. Molly intentionally kept this as a Minnesota-focused group so that we can share local resources and have some in-person get-togethers as well as maintaining our online conversations, but I think a lot of the ideas and resources will be applicable to non-Minnesotans as well.


So far, we've had posts on everything from how to build a root cellar in your basement to knitting washcloths to baking bread. I'm really excited to participate in this project and am definitely looking forward to sharing some of my knowledge and skills, but mostly to learning from these other ladies (and from you all!). We've also created a flickr group, so you all can share some of your homesteading ideas and creations as well as a booklist on goodreads that we'll be adding to periodically. We'd love to have as many of you join in on this venture as possible. So be sure to come on over and check us out at homesteading.

13 January 2009

*



Thank you all so much for the kind words about Freddie. We are indeed excited and we are all beginning to settle into this new little dynamic of our lives. I have realized that I will definitely be needing to make frequent trips to the dog park to get his energy out, because otherwise, well, I just won't get anything done around this house because it's just too hard to ignore his pleas to play with his little ball. Unfortunately, it's about -17 right now and we're aiming for a high of -5 today...

Anyways, just wanted to pop in here this morning to say thank you, your excitement and encouragement has definitely made me smile these past few days. Have a great day, and stay warm out there!

11 January 2009

Jumping for Joy

Introducing...

Freddie! Jared and I adopted a dog yesterday! I think if I didn't show any restraint, I would end every sentence in this post with an exclamation point. However, I realize how annoying that is, so I will indeed restrain myself. Yes, we now have a dog. He's about two and half (we think) and is seriously the sweetest thing ever. I'm so excited about this new little addition to our family.

In an effort to somewhat document this monumental occasion, here are some of the little details that I don't want to forget (I promise, this blog will not be overrun with dog photos). His name was originally Freckles, but we decided to change it. Right now, he's pacing around the apartment a lot (still getting used to it/us). He loves playing with a little plastic soccer ball squeaky toy that the rescue organization gave to us. He slept in his crate for the whole night last night. He loves going on walks, and we're working on not pulling. He doesn't even try to get on any of the furniture. He also loves hanging out in Jared's studio while he's working. Today, he spend a good amount of time curled up under the mixing board and also making a little bed on top of a pile of cables. He barks when a new person comes in, but then warms up to them after a bit and is super sweet.

After months of seriously looking for a dog, I knew he was going to be the one when I saw his picture online earlier last week. When we first met him in the Eagan Petsmart yesterday morning, he was freaking out. Totally nervous and distracted and, frankly, not very interested in us at all. But I still could tell he was going to be perfect for us. I had a minor freak-out just after signing the adoption papers, but I know we made the right decision. He's amazing. I'm especially looking forward to having an excuse to get outside, even on days when I'm feeling lazy. There's just something about fresh air that always makes me feel better. Needless to say, it's been an excellent weekend and I am just so excited to settle into this new phase of our lives.

Also- I'm participating in a very cool new collaboration that I'm excited to share with you all later this week. Stay tuned!

08 January 2009

winter lace



Link

I am really enjoying taking photos of the sky this winter. I think I could seriously take photos of bare tree branches against the winter sky all day long. That is, if my fingers didn't start freezing after just a couple. Jared and I were wondering how those National Geographic photographers do it when they're up in the arctic or down in Antarctica. Our fingers were freezing after about twenty minutes when I decided it would be a good idea for us to take a photo walk in zero degree weather on New Year's Eve day. But back to the sky...I think I'll curl up with some peppermint hot cocoa and look at these photos until it's time to go to my knitting group. Have a good evening!

06 January 2009

Piksi

Ever since I saw Erica's Piksi hat, I knew I needed to make one (also, have you seen her mittens?! They are amazing). I had two skeins of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran that I knew would be perfect. And with my new chocolate brown winter jacket, the light blue of the yarn would be a great match. So, as soon as I finished up Jared's hat, I cast on the Piksi.

I probably should have looked more closely at some of the photos of this hat being modeled. Because as soon as it was completed and I tried it on, it only came about halfway down my ears...not so practical for this cold cold winter we're having! I also probably should have thought about the name, which might have given away the style a little bit more. In any case, I ripped it out, made a few modifications to lengthen it (see below or here if you're on Ravelry), and got back to work. I haven't taken it off since. The ribbed brim makes it extra warm around my ears and most of my head--a definite plus. And this yarn is beyond soft. I'm contemplating re-doing the pompom and making a bigger one, but knowing myself, I'm probably not going to do that anytime soon. But seriously, I love this hat.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pattern
: Piksi Hat by Erica Knits
Yarn
: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in light blue (300202)
Needles: Size 7 circular and double pointed needles
Modifications: I made the ribbing at the bottom 24 rows and the first stockinette section 28 rows. I also made each ridge 10 rows.


See, I told you there were crafty posts on the way!

04 January 2009

winter scenes




Here's just a few shots from a little outing last week with Jared's family. I have two rolls of film to scan in and upload, so I'll be sharing a bunch of recent photos here, as well as some long-promised craftiness because there has definitely been a lot of that going on here. I'm headed back to work tomorrow after two very wonderful weeks of vacation, and I'm really not looking forward to that first day back (especially since I have a deadline on Tuesday, eep!). Oh well, I'm just grateful for this time off even if it does make going back tomorrow a little harder. Hope you all had a lovely weekend and have some nice plans for the week ahead!

ps: you may have noticed a little bit of a new look here- for you bloglines/google reader folks, there's a new banner (I know I always miss that when reading through google reader) and a few other small changes. I'll be doing a bit more tweaking soon, I'm starting to feel like things are a bit cluttered here (like my list of books/cds that I haven't updated in months!) and I'm trying to tidy up a little, you know, the new year and all...

03 January 2009

a fresh start




How much fresher can you get than a brand new year? It's like having a blank page just waiting to be filled up with brilliant ideas, jokes, stories, letters... Well that's just what I intend to do. This afternoon, on one of my favorite radio shows Weekend America (which is, so sadly, being discontinued this month), they interviewed people about their New Year's Resolutions. One that I really loved was a man who said he was not going to watch any tv for a year because he has 365 chances to do something amazing. I'm not a big tv watcher anyways so I don't feel like I need to resolve to not watch tv, but it was his reasoning that I loved. I have 365 chances to have a great day, to make someone's day, to change something about the world around me for the better, to help someone else, to do something nice for myself, to create something. I don't feel like I have to do something earth-shattering every day, but I do want to do my best to find something good in each and every day.

So, here are a few resolutions that I do have for the coming year...

:: Spend more time outside. Hopefully this will be even easier once we get a dog (which we're also working on right now).

:: Spend more time just hanging out. Not working, not sewing, not running from meeting to meeting or event to event. Just. Hanging. Out. With Jared, with friends, with myself, (with my future dog), whatever. Just relaxing.

:: Do a better job with my garden. I think this will mean not trying to start everything from seed by myself. Before, I thought that was cheating, but now I've come to accept that there are people who start plants for a living and, at least for now, I should leave that stage of the game to the experts.

:: Read more. I don't remember how many books I read last year, but it wasn't very many. I did get a subscription to The Sun, which I am seriously loving, so I know having an issue of that arrive in my mailbox every month will definitely keep me motivated.

:: Write more. I am so grateful for this blog because it has given me an excuse to write regularly (aside from work-related writing), but there are somethings that I want to write that don't necessarily belong here. I'm starting a new journal this year, and I'm excited about that. I also wrote a lot of letters and sent a lot of packages to friends last year and I'm excited to continue that. There's just nothing like receiving real mail and I hope to keep spreading that love.

:: See more live music. Minneapolis has such an incredible music scene and I saw some pretty good artists last year (including one of my recent favorites, twice), and I hope to continue seeing and discovering good music this year.

I think this is it for me for this year. Of course there must be some more things that I'll work on, but my overall goal is to just enjoy life even more and take things slow so that I can savor all the good moments, big and small. I also have a lot of crafty goals for the coming year, which I'll save for their own post.