Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No Need for No Knead

I had to give up my love affair with bread making. Like some other relationships I've had, it was no good for me. I am now on weight watchers trying to drop a daunting number of pounds. I realized that while everyone in the family loved the home baked bread, I think it did not love me. I just couldn't control myself around the delicious, yeasty goodness of all that bread.

So for now, my six quart rising container sits next to the mixer and the crockpot in the cupboard. The whole wheat flour, the dried milk powder, the mixed harvest grains -- sit bundled in layers of alumunimum foil and freezer bags in the chest freezer. Perhaps I'll bake some loaves and give them away. That sounds nice, while it's still in the forties around here.

Just talking about all this bread makes me crave some. The only bread in the house right now is some feather light weight watchers bread that's not even worth the trouble.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Go Ahead, Make my Day

Came home from school conferences today to find something in my mailbox with a French return address. What the heck did I order, I thought, imagining some kind of catalog or vacation information package. Dumbfounded, I opened it to discover this:

Fun! I had completely forgotten that I subscribed to this lovely magazine while Christmas shopping on Amazon this year (it's been on the wish list forever). It took so long to get here that I utterly forgot. A complete surprise and it's something I love -- what a great Christmas present!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Making Time

I haven't had time to craft lately, and it reminds my why I started knitting: it's portable. While I really enjoy sewing, it's a much more equipment-intensive business, and with a toddler around, very difficult to do. Also my sewing stuff is outside in our guest cottage which sounds great in theory, but it's tough to get motivated to go out there after everyone has gone to bed. Jack has also been getting up a bit more at night (again) so I ended up falling asleep at 9:30 every night. Well, this too shall pass. In a blink of an eye, he will be riding his bike up and down the street and watching Harry Potter movies like his big brothers.

I still have my Wednesday painting class (I'm painting a portrait of a Bonne Mama jar). I also signed up for a spring photography class at the local arts center. Making time. That's what I really wish I could make.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Boy in Green Cables

We're all Irish today, aren't we? Actually, I am part Irish (Northern Irish, by way of Scotland). Today was a day for green and a day for handknits. And of course, every handknit has a story (part of their charm).

Suddenly this morning I was possessed with the idea of finishing the only sweater I have ever finished. You see, it was ABB (All But Buttons). Yes, it took five minutes to finish something I started on a train about four years ago. I was knitting a sweater for a friend's new baby on the way from NY to Washington DC. I didn't know it, but I was pregnant at the time. I ended up giving the friend's baby something else because I didn't finish that sweater. And, it was a short pregnancy -- just nine weeks long. Fast forward to my pregnancy with my now two-year-old. While nesting during that pregnancy (oh the luxury of having my older two in school all day), I finished the sweater, well, A.B.B. It's a size two, so I didn't feel so rushed to put on the buttons.

Anyway, it sat in his closet looking lovely for two years. Today, in a feverish rush, I added the buttons. They are from one of my dad's old cardigans. Sniff. A great recycle. When Jack outgrows the sweater, I'll snip the buttons before handing it on. I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino yarn which is an absolutely gorgeous shade of green, a ridiculously soft yarn, but already pilling after a wearing. I love the colors of this yarn, but I knew it would pill from other projects.

The sweater debuted today. The sales guy in the sneaker store really liked it (though he did ask if someone made it -- is that a good thing? He was very crunchy, so I take it as a yes). He was the only adult besides me who saw it today.

We'll take the luck of the Irish, but we need to make our own luck too.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Uh, yeah, I'm still a Consumer

I wish I had loads of creative projects to post. My head spins with ideas, but I just have trouble finding the time to get out to my beloved grey cottage studio and play around. I did finish two more blocks for Project Improv, today, but I think I'll post them tomorrow, along with a technique that I like to think I made up (ha ha ha).

To file under the "no one cares but me" drawer, a shout out to:

My very favorite tea. Today, I finished the tin and it may be a while before I get back to the T Salon to get more. Sniff.

My new bag. You like? Target. Broke it out this weekend and it works, if you know what I mean.

My new wallet. Bought before the bag, yes I know they don't look like they go together, but I'm not such a matchy-matchy girl. Bought it from etsy, and I was a little unsure what to expect from the photos. But, it is better than I thought, both in style and in function. I had a red silk wallet a few years ago (that I bought at a pharmacy of all places), and that thing lasted for years. I guess I like cloth wallets. I think I'm in a minority here, but I can live with that.

Oh, good news, the jeans are fitting better too.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Spring is more than something in your step

Lately I've been feeling "fine," uttered through clenched teeth with my eyes a bit watery and my pants fitting too tightly for comfort.  I convinced myself that the depression I fell into when Max and Alex were two was largely circumstantial (and there were mighty big circumstances:  the sudden death of my father, an ectopic pregnancy that required emergency surgery after a month of blinding pain and a winter in an apartment with two needy, well, two-year-olds).  Yeah, it sucked.  

Now this winter, I have one needy just-two-year old and two, still needy in a different way eight-year olds. And the wounds from the other stuff have healed, though still left scars.   This winter, I never felt black, but I was feeling a little blue.  

 Anyway, I write this bleak post because today, I felt so good. You know how that goes, when you feel better, you realize that you did feel badly.  I let Jack plan our day a bit.  We started by stopping at Starbucks with my husband, who skipped his usual train to have a tea with us.  Then to our beloved library, where Jack fetched story after story for me to read to him (sometimes jumping off my lap before we finished to get the next one).  We then walked through the melting snow over to get some bagels. We sat in the window seat of the bagel store and he marveled at the trucks and waved to several of our friends in passing cars and pointed at the dogs.  As we walked back to the car, he wanted to look at the creek that runs behind the library.  Today, I slowed down and let him.  He threw handfuls of snow into the creek and laughed.  I could be with him.  Not so tied to a schedule.  Just present.

I spotted daffodil shoots outside of the bookstore (my first of the season) and noticed some buds on our forsythia.  The wind stopped raging today.  For a moment I got a little giddy just imagining the explosion of nature around the corner. For the first time today,  I could smell spring.  Deep breath.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

At Last

Heard Etta James on the radio last night.  Can't get her out of my head.

Anyway, I finally got some time in the grey cottage studio today.  Much joyful cutting, piecing, stitching ensued.  With the voice of Lea Ann Hansen in the background, I completed two blocks for the project improv over at Tall Grass Prairie Studio.  It was an easy and fun way to dip my toe into craftivisim without making a commitment larger than I could manage (either through my skills or with my time).  I had so much fun making these two random blocks, I think I may keep going and make a quilt for myself.  I can't wait to see how these quilts turn out.

I signed up for the red and aqua quilt, since I seem to have a lot of red fabrics and I like that combination.  I think mine is more of a red/light blue, but one man's light blue may be another man's aqua. Now, if we don't get those 10 inches of snow they're predicting (!!!), perhaps I can get these babies to the post office tomorrow.