Thursday, December 11, 2008
So we hung garland over the the doorway, wreaths on our front door and in another spot inside, and the stockings are hanging above the mantle.
The stockings were really easy to make. I bought a yard of blue and gray felt and a quarter of burgundy felt along with a spool of burgundy satin ribbon. I drew the pattern freehand on a big sheet of paper and then used my Olfa rotary cutter with a scalloped blade to cut out the pieces of fabric.
I cut the letters freehand and then stitched those onto the blue front panel first. Then I stitched the front and back panels together with a regular old top stitch - sandwiching a strip of ribbon folded in half between the two to make a little loop for hanging.
I finished it off by making a pompom from some variegated scrap yarn that happened to match perfectly!
Here they are, waiting to be filled:
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
These wooden hoops from Leviticus Jewelry:
I love them! They feel so light on your ears - I kept touching my earlobes all through the next day to be sure that they hadn't fallen out.
Now that I have these it's kinda piqued my interest in other wooden jewelry items. Check out some of these:
from etsy seller carpedraco
from etsy seller ZsBcreations
from etsy seller effiehandmade
Sunday, December 7, 2008
In Fenix's honor, here are some pics from the first days and a couple from the party:
a year old!:
Monday, December 1, 2008
The post featured photos of her beautiful town house and links back to an article on New York Social Diary about her. I'm not too jazzed about her points of view but I definitely see some value in a few of the things that she had to say.
One thing that really caught my attention was this photo of her children's beds:
I love the simple design of this bed! Your toddler can't fall out because of the high walls, the entire unit is very low to the ground and on casters so it can be easily moved. Upon further investigation I found that the bed is sold online at Generate. All for the low, low price of $1399.00.
Why does a little kid need a $1400 bed?! I'll never know. I asked J how much it would cost for him to make a replica and he said about $200. Ridiculous. Fenix is getting the homemade replica.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
After Fenix came we really got lazy and stopped putting any effort into making things look nicer around the house. It's terrible and it really shows.
So today we went out and did a bit of shopping. The primary goal of the trip was to purchase a gift for Fenix's first birthday. We got something very awesome for him but I'll post a picture of it when I write about his birthday party (next weekend!).
I also stopped at Anthropologie to see what goodies were on sale and I was definitely pleased with what I found.
Dishes marked down from $10 each to $1.95:
I also picked up some really beautiful tea towels to replace our generic, dingy ones and a ceramic citrus reamer because we broke our old one - all deeply discounted.
After Anthro we moved on to World Market where we picked up a loveseat (also a sleeper sofa!) for just $399. It matches the sofa that we already have and it will fill the void left by the large and uncomfortable leather chair that we recently sold on Craigslist.
I still have a bit of shopping to do - a few things to put in Fee's and J's stocking, presents for J and our friends and a few more items like new throw pillows and a less intrusive coffee table but that'll all have to wait til the next paycheck! Feel free to share your sale finds in the comments section. Happy shopping!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
So we brought the dogs down and they had a good time too though Noodle managed to o.d. on wild mushrooms and got violently ill in the house. That was disgusting, sad and funny all at the same time. On Friday we went down to the Pearl to do some shopping. I had high hopes to buy some cute clothes or housewares but everything I loved was too expensive (what a surprise :-/). We ended Friday night with drinks and several rounds of pool at a new lounge in Alberta called Soi Cowboy - the space is cute, the bartender is friendly and the food is very delicious.
That about sums up our holiday. I hope yours was full of good food and good times.
In parting I leave you with a pictorial review of the weekend:
noodle wearing rudi's wig:
on a nature walk:
fenix, ready to put away some turkey:
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
please do me a favor TODAY... go here and vote for David Cameron. he's one of the talented authors of the USSMariner blog, which has been a faithful companion of mine for many, many years. He's got the chance for a $10,000 scholarship and for a dude that's currently in school, that's a big deal.
please please please go here and vote for David Cameron today, before the voting closes. do it from work and again from home if you can!
Monday, November 17, 2008
So apparently handmade gifts are super trendy this year. I'm feeling kinda good about this because it's always been really important for us to put a personal touch on the gifts that we give to our loved ones.
My friends are very creative people and I feel lucky to have received handmade gifts from them. But the good news is that you don't have to be creative to make nice handmade gifts. They can be really easy and in most cases none of it requires a lot of work or money to execute.
Last year we gave away homemade vanilla extract, pregnant belly salve, lip balm, infused whiskey, rosemary limoncello, change purses made from upcycled leather, mulling spices (for wine or cider), and things knit by me
This year we plan to give away more whiskey and mulling spices to folks that didn't get any last year as well as more hand knit and home sewn items.
What are you making this year?
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Look at all of this awesome stuff:
This month features a two part giveaway the first of which has already been posted here.
I urge you to go check it out and follow the instructions to make an entry. Maybe you'll win! Oh and while you're at it, add Modish to your RSS reader.
To get you motivated I'll leave you with a photo of my sweet child hamming it up for the camera.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
So a lot has been happening over the last two weeks. I haven't talked about it much because frankly it was a lot to process and I've been pretty emotional about it.
The company where I was working laid off most of the people on my team. This came as a devastating surprise to some people while others were just happy to get severance pay and the time off to aggressively look for another job. I would have been cut too but as it turns out I gave my notice just one week prior so the layoffs afforded me a much needed week long break in between jobs. Oh yes I guess I didn't mention that on a positive note, I got a new job!
I'm really excited about my new job but I should also let you know that now I am a full time employee. This is the only downside really. That and the fact that my awesome friend no longer works there and I was REALLY looking forward to sharing a work environment with her - but that is a story for another day. Anyway, I've been having some real sadness about being away from Fenix for 5 days a week. I know a lot of parents do it - hell, J has been doing it since Fee was 2 weeks old! But I... I just always envisioned that I'd be a SAHM and now I'm not and frankly it sucks. I know with time I'll feel better about it. I know that Fenix is doing great with his daycare provider (she is WONDERFUL). And I know that financially this is really the right decision for us as far as planning for the future is concerned.
So with all of that said I will say that I am thankful for the time that I did spend with Fenix at home. This has been the best 11 months of my whole life.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
In spite of my obsession with eating high quality, non-processed foods, I really do not have any desire to ever be vegan. I have done it in the past and I was miserable. I thoroughly enjoy things made with eggs and dairy and can't see myself giving them up unless prompted to do so by circumstances beyond my control. The thought that I'd never have real cheese or yogurt again is too much for me to properly contemplate.
So anyway I know someone that works hard to be a good vegan and so I decided to bake some cookies for her. In the past I've had vegan cookies and they run the gamut from totally inedible to pretty damn delicious. The best vegan cookies that I've had were peanut butter cookies so I thought I'd go with a recipe for those since they have a reasonably high chance of turning out great.
And so I set out to find a good recipe - as it turns out 101 Cookbooks has a decent selection of vegan options so I went with the peanut butter cookie recipe that I found there.
The dough is pretty loose so I did refrigerate it as recommended in the recipe notes. I also experimented with using a variety of cookie cutters both large and small. I found that peanut butter cookies are pretty rich so it's best to keep the cookies on the small side.
I sprinkled some with sanding sugar before they went in the oven and that gave the finished cookies a nice crunch. The texture of the cookies is soft and dense but not at all crumbly or chewy. I froze half of the dough right away and am looking forward to spontaneously baking up a pan full to cure some future late night cookie jonesing.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
we checked out a new greek place recently (it was a hit), and gave fee a french fry to see what he'd do with it. first he said father, it's a potato deep fried to perfection - what could be better? then he nommed it.
best of the tubes from yesterday...
this is why you don’t steal
I like how this guy failed right out of his shoes
this makes me say ew! ew!!! while this makes me say huh?
this makes me ask: WTF is with all the blinking? while this makes me wonder: why so angry?!
this is the cartoon of the day
Thursday, October 16, 2008
we were at the park recently and... who knew that people strapped a harness on, tied themselves to a kite, and went boarding? wtf? there were a ton of people on the water doing this and on the beach prepping to go in or winding down after a spell. just watching it seemed to me incredibly more intensive than snowboarding, which can be a heckofa workout.
check out this one (you may need to click to enlarge)... check out the air!
and here's one last one for ya....
...aaaand here's my take on the best of the tubes from yesterday:
from the cooking department: cheezburger not ripe yet
from the "my wife would divorce me for that" department: http://tinyurl.com/4h5ym4
My favorite phrase is “tacitly inciting lunatics to violence”... see Keith Olbermann does it again.
trains are fun: don't you think?
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I'm working at a level below my competence at the job right now. thank goodness for music and headphones. here's my favorite links from the tubes yesterday:
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
recently I had occasion to be downtown near the stadiums... walking down Occidental there were a couple pictures that I just *had* to take, even though my camera phone... I'm not sure it can do the photo justice.
Monday, October 13, 2008
I love the fall. It carries with it the promise of soup cooked in crock pots and spiced apple cider. The inherent fun-ness of Halloween parties, where adults can recapture a few minutes of their childhood, simply by playing dress-up.
Two pictures for you today, both Halloween themed. Both pics are “from the cell phone” so forgive the picture quality. . . the first is my best pumpkin carving from last year. The second is a showcase of Reese’s mad sewing skillz and a preview of little Fenix’s Halloween 2008 costume.
Welcome to October, the best month of the year!
Sunday, September 28, 2008
It's that time of year again. Warm spiced cider, pumpkins, brightly colored leaves and apple pie.
If summer is my favorite season then fall is a very close second. It's a wistful time of year where you lament the things you didn't get done during the warmer days of summer.
But a warm slice of apple pie with melty vanilla ice cream makes it all better, no?
I use Martha Stewart's Old Fashioned Apple Pie recipe. Of course I modified it a bit, using a combo of Granny Smith and Gravenstein apples. I also added about 1/2 cup of caramel sauce to the filling (left over from a fresh apple cake that I had made a week earlier).
I encourage you to make the crust from scratch using the Pate Brisee recipe (linked on the same page as the pie recipe). It's really easy and tastes far superior to store bought crust.
Monday, September 22, 2008
I have been googling around looking for a knitting pattern for a gnome hat since Fee is going to be a garden gnome for halloween. In my searching I stumbled across the pattern for this hat which is actually more of a pixie or elf hat but it was really cute and the pattern was very simple so I threw it together over the weekend. It came out even cuter than I had imagined and I intend to make several more for Fenix and to give away as gifts. I actually used the pattern found here and then made the chin strap and crocheted neck band with a mod found here.
I used bulky weight Patons yarn instead of worsted weight as the pattern indicates, so I went down to size 6 needles.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
With his new found mobility we also have a heightened interest in the dogs, namely Luna, our greyhound. Our other dog Noodle doesn't hang around for very long if he sees Fee coming at him (can't say I blame him) so at this point it's really all about Luna.
This afternoon Fee had a great time crawling up to and "talking" to Luna. It was really sweet, I only wish that I had taken video of the encounter but I think that the pics convey how cool this moment really was.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Well the time came for us to start planning how we'd spend our anniversary. We elected to celebrate on the weekend since the actual anniversary fell on a weekday (today!). We also decided that it would be nice to just celebrate at home as a family. So we set out to make a really nice meal paired with a great bottle of wine and spend quality time with each other.
So it dawned on me that A16 meatballs would be the perfect thing to make for a special meal where we had lots of time to prepare.
Having said all that, I decided not to grind all of the meat myself, opting instead to purchase grass fed organic ground meat. The original recipe calls for prosciutto and chopped pork fat as well but I left that out too and subbed in bacon fat (something we already have plenty of). The original recipe also does not include the addition of garlic but I added it anyway because what is a meatball without garlic, kwim?
So I prepped the meatballs, taking time to fry up a test meatball to ensure adequate seasoning.
After I fried the test meatball (it was seasoned perfectly) I threw these bad boys into the oven to cook. When they were browned I removed them from the oven and drained off all of the fat that was in the bottom of the pan and removed the meatballs.
The recipe calls for a very simple sauce for braising - 1 can of crushed san marzano tomatoes. Well, I didn't want to go quite that simple so I put the roasting pan on the stove top, added back some of the fat rendered from the meatballs and heated it up. To this I added 1 clove of sliced garlic, cooked it til fragrant and then a splash of red wine to deglaze the pan and pick up all the lovely brown bits left by the meatballs. Then instead of one can of crushed tomatoes I added 2 because I wanted alot of sauce. Stirred the whole thing up, added the meatballs back in and set it all in the oven to braise for about and hour and a half.
When the whole thing was done I sprinkled it with torn fresh basil and served over linguine with a bit of grated cheese. The recipe calls for grana padano but I could not find that so parmagianno, it was.
Here are the finished gems:
Links to the original recipe and an easier version:
A16 Meatballs, the easy way
A16 Meatball Mod - McG style:
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
1 half loaf of day old italian bread torn into cubes and chopped into coarse crumbs in the food processor*
1 tablespoon of bacon fat
1 clove of minced garlic
1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried chile flakes
2/3 cup fresh ricotta, drained if necessary
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup whole milk
2 28-ounce cans San Marzano tomatoes with juices
1 clove of garlic sliced
3 tblspoons of red wine
Handful of fresh basil leaves
Block of grana padano or parmagianno reggiano for grating
Extra virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat two rimmed baking sheets with olive oil.
2. In a large bowl, combine the pork, beef, bread, bacon fat, parsley, 1 tablespoon of the salt, oregano, fennel seeds, and chile flakes and mix with your hands just until all of the ingredients are evenly distributed. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the ricotta, eggs, and milk just enough to break up any large curds of ricotta. Add the ricotta mixture to the ground meat mixture
a little at at time until the mixture should feels wet and tacky - you may not need to use all of the ricotta mixture. Pinch off a small nugget of the meatball mixture,
flatten into a disk, and cook it in a small sauté pan with a bit of olive oil. Taste it and adjust the seasoning of the mixture with salt if needed.
Form the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls each weighing about 2 ounces, and place on the prepared baking sheets. You should have about 30 meatballs.
4. Bake, rotating the sheets once from front to back, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are browned. Remove from the oven, place the meatballs in a bowl and drain the fat into a separate container. Lower the oven temperature to 300° F.
5. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and then pass the tomatoes and their juices through a food mill or chop in a food processor.
6. Place one of the roasting pans onto the stovetop and turn the heat up to medium. Add a couple of teaspoons of the meatball fat back to the roasting pan, cook the sliced garlic in the hot oil until it is fragrant and translucent.
7. Add the red wine to the pan and then the tomatoes. Stir to incorporate.
8. Pack the meatballs into the roasting pan with the sauce cover tightly with aluminum foil, and braise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the meatballs are tender and have absorbed some of the tomato sauce.
7. Pull the pan out of the oven and uncover. Distribute the basil leaves throughout the sauce.
8. For each serving, ladle meatballs with some of the sauce into a warmed bowl. Grate cheese over the top, drizzle with olive oil to finish, and serve immediately.
*I didn't have day old bread so I toasted the torn cubes in the oven for a few minutes before I threw them into the food processor
J and I were married 2 years ago today. It felt like a big party and we all had so much fun. This shot is of us jumping the broom and it is one of my favorites from that day. These last 2 years have been so awesome and I'm looking forward to the next 50!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
it takes a certain person, certain people, to pull off the old just-drive-until-you-get-there thing. apparently, we are those people. what with the tolerance for sitting in the car for that long, the monotony of long road trips, the disparity between the comforts of life and life on a road trip... i won't lie, it's not for everyone.
we'd be going 810 miles point to point. for comparison, Chicago is 790 miles from New York.
google told us it was a 12 hour 40 minute drive. link here. of course, that's just time on the road, it doesn't include stops for gas and food and stuff. I use "50-60 MPH" as a barometer for point-to-point driving with minimal stops over long distances... so by my time-math I was figuring 14-16 hours.
how in the world do you get an 8 month old to be a) strapped into a car seat for 13-16 hours and b) be chill about it?
right, you don't, so... so I guess we better drive through the night and hope he sleeps in? that or spend four days of our vacation driving to and from the destination. no thanks!
we tried to leave for around dinner. but of course first we had to:
> pack stuff for his majesty, pack stuff for us, pack stuff for the dogs
> mow the lawn, do a hundred loads of laundry, do the dishes, take out the trash, sweep and vacuum
> cram all the crap into the car in a way that it will fit and you can find it all later and still reach the baby stuff and the cooler bag and the adult stuff and make sure that the dogs are safe and and and . . . . . . . . .
so we didn't leave around dinner. we left around midnight. not exactly the start we were hoping for. there's nothing quite like knowing that you're going to be in the car for hours and starting off at the end of a long day.
on the other hand, on our first road trip reese and i went 1300 miles in 2 days, the foundation for our relationship in many ways was a road trip. our honeymoon was a road trip. so we both felt confident that we could do it, and elated to be on vacation and spending quality time with each other.
reese took the wheel, pointed us south, and we got rolling. our plan was that she'd drive as long as she could then hand the reins over to me and I'd drive the rest of the way. no big deal, right? woo!
i tried to nap, which was a challenge. there was lots of checking on fee, plus I couldn't recline the seat all the way because of all the crap in the back. it's hard to stay asleep when you get a stray blast of high-beams full in the face, you know? we'd been on the road for about 200 miles, we're south of portland, and reese woke me up to ask me if I'd packed the camera. a, yes I did. b, we're not going back for it if I didn't so why did you wake me up - gaah! at that point i gave up on the idea that I'd get more sleep but I did manage to snooze a bit after that.
after another hundred miles or so reese was contemplating falling asleep while driving and killing us all, which is the metric we use to know when it's time for the other person to take over. we just took the next exit and did the chinese fire drill thing in some parking lot. it always makes me nervous being in small towns in the middle of the night. too many towns are funded by ticketing the travelers, you know?
final tally for reese: almost 300 miles exactly with just 1 stop for gas.
I took over and did great for awhile, right up until that pre-dawn dusky dark lightness thing. do you know what I'm talking about? you know how, just before sunrise, it gets light? what i'm talking about is the half hour or so PRIOR to that pre-dawn light. . . . you know, it's still quite dark, but it's starting to light up.
so anyway, i'm driving and of course there's no street lights, nor many other cars on the road. when I can i use the high-beams but there's oncoming traffic so I can't do too much of that. just. fucking. concentrate. so i was just fucking concentrating which was really straining my eyes which was really amplifying my exhaustion which was really not helping the feeling tired thing.
i pulled into a gas station and picked up a few of those starbucks espresso beverages in a can. i immediately drank 2 of the beverages that supposedly contain two shots each. i say supposedly because they didn't do much for me. still tired, so tired.
of course, at this point reese is beyond tired. she's passed out. except if there was a bump in the road, or if it curved a bit faster than the last curve... then she'd wake up in a panic, thinking that i was killing us all. she'd wake up alarmed and ask are you all right? it got to the point that i'd see a curve coming, take the curve, and say I'm ok, thank you before she could ask.
with dawn, beautiful, beautiful dawn, I'm instantly awake. now it's only a matter of time. how long before Fee wakes up? how cranky will he be? how many hours do we have left to be in this stupid car?
a lot. we had a lot of hours to go.
Fee was good. due to his interrupted sleep the night before he actually slept in quite late, until 9 or 10. his standard crankification upon waking gave us an opportunity to get out and stretch our legs, change his diaper, give him breakfast, etc. the dogs also appreciated being able to eat... that was the longest car ride they've ever had (with us, anyway) and they did admirably - no real issues other than luna's breath-of-doom.
onward! couple hundred miles later we're getting close. everyone had to pee so we hit a rest stop, where we were descended upon by the bums with some made up story about an alternator. here's some money, leave me alone. then they came back, can we have more money. go away! you're creaping us out. so we bailed and took the next exit and did the diaper change at the gas station. the attendant pumps gas for you in oregon, same as in jersey, and that guy was cool, he gave us milk-bones for the mutts.
onward! damn it's hot. open the windows. we were hoping to get to oakland near 9am (HAHAHAHAHA). that was revised to noon then later revised to 2. the thing is, we're going out to the beer garden in SF tonight. it's not debatable, we're meeting like 10 people there or something. so! we gotta bust out butt to get there so we're not holding people up, you know?
so it was I-5 south for 717 miles, then 505 south for 33 miles, 80 west for 47 miles, and 580 east for 9 miles. about 716.5 miles into the trip i asked when our next turn was hey it's right here turn here! whew, made it.
33 miles on 80: no problem. first 40 miles on 580: no problem. I've gotta pee but we've only got 50 miles left to go. hold it! five miles later, with 45 miles to go... we stop. dead stop. I'm thinking that we've run into the famous bay area traffic nightmare. after 5 miles or so of 15 miles per hour we cleared a car accident and were on our way.
40 miles later and we pulled up in front of matt and haydee's. for reese it was the first time she met matt, for me it was the first time i met either of them. not to worry, tho, because they are both awesome.
sooo.... unload the car, setup the dogs, feed the baby, change a diaper, shower*, setup the car seat and stroller in matt & haydee's car, and drive to SF. on to zeitgeist!
but that, my friends, is another story for another time. . .
* I honestly can't remember if I showered. reese told me that I did, but I was so tired that I really have no clue. so, so tired. good thing we went out drinking!