Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hallway Crochet Love

Our hallway has one of those spots that used to house an old-fashioned phone. You know, the kind of phone that doesn't fit in your pocket. Since we don't have an old rotary phone that needs a place to hang out, I like to use our little phone shelf to create vignettes

This one is an ode to crochet and vintage things. Milk glass bowl, cotton threads, crocheted stone from Ms. Margie Oomen herself, pin cushion, Matryoshka doll, doily jewelry holder with vintage brooches, beeswax candle (smells so good!). 

Each time I pass through the hallway this collection makes me breathe a bit easier. It's calming. The light colors let my eyes rest. I've thought about switching things out for Christmas decorations, but I keep waiting. I'll keep these things out just a couple days more, I think. But I like them too much to tuck them away. 

Are your holiday decorations up? We've done a little decorating in the living room, the tree and some stockings. Can you believe it's almost December? I'm so excited for the holiday season!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Late Night Snack

This cinnamon-spiked hot cocoa and clementine helped me get through a paper-writing crunch tonight. I love the combination of chocolate and citrus. Plus, that monkey with a yo-yo cracks me up!

My mom has fond childhood memories of snacking on peanut butter and sweet pickle sandwiches washed down with a glass of chocolate milk before bed. 

What's your favorite late night snack? 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Belated thanks

Vintage goodies from The Jolly Bee

Happy Thanksgiving (one day late)! I had a wonderful time seeing my family and stuffing my face. I feel very grateful to be able to spend time with people I love. I'm already looking forward to Christmas when we get to do it all over again. Hanging out and eating are two of my favorite things. (You may also remember how much I enjoy red-wine-drinking and couch-sitting. I spend my time in quality ways.)

I also wanted to say thanks to a few fellow bloggers who have sent pretty things my way.

Jodi sent me some lovely things (above)--I can't wait to dive into that pile of vintage sheets and start crafting. There's a scrap with a blue butterfly that will be just perfect for sewing into a Christmas present for my grandma. The beautiful cream and brown threads are sitting with a crocheted stone in a milk glass bowl in my hallway. I'll have to get a photo sometime to show you. Thanks, Jodi!

I won this gorgeous fall tea towel (please forgive my lack of ironing!) from Claudia Pearson. Please check out her shop to see more of her work and much better photos. Thanks, Claudia!

I was also lucky enough to win a copy of Craft Hope: Handmade Crafts for a Cause from Ellie at petalplum.  There are lots of great projects in this book from a lot of great (and familiar) crafters. I'm looking forward to making some things over Christmas break. Ellie included one of her pretty fern zip bags in the package!Thanks so much, Ellie!

I hope everyone has a happy and relaxing weekend!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Productivity and Procrastination

I thought I'd write a quick post on this Monday morning to say: Hi. Hello. How are you? I am just fine. More than fine actually because although I may be stressed about papers and lacking sleep, I have been pretty productive. My procrastinating on school projects has led to: vacuuming the house, baking cranberry bread (via reading my tea leaves), really getting serious on those Christmas presents I need to finish, and washing the windows, inside and out. It's amazing how much I can get done when I have other things I need to be doing.

School break will start soon (ok, in a few weeks, but don't burst my bubble) and then I can spend oodles of time with yarn and hook in hand. Interweave Crochet Accessories has some patterns I want to try, and more and more I want to make patterns of my own. I've promised myself I'll try when I've got more time.

Until then I will keep busy with small crochet projects. These Grandma Hearts make my daily bus ride fly by. They are the perfect size for stashing in my coat pocket, ready to be worked on at a moment's notice. I'm a bit wary of becoming known as "the girl who crochets on street corners," but I think these cute hearts are worth the risk. Only one more to go until I can stitch them all together!

I hope you are having a lovely start to your week!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sittin' Pretty on a Snowy Day

I finally made my Christmas wishlist

It calls to mind a snowy day spent snug and warm at home. I'd wear hand-knitted socks, light candles, sip tea, and read a bit. The balsam pillow would be the perfect place to rest my head for a morning snooze. Midday I'd venture out into the crisp cold world, wearing my crimson skirt with thick tights, that gorgeous rosette headband, and carrying a ruched bag. Perhaps I'd head to the grocery to stock up on cocoa and red wine. Home again, I'd bake spice muffins and do a little sewing while watching old movies. 

I'm dreaming of this wonderful day...

What day are you dreaming of?

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Find the sources of the photos in this collection by clicking on the image above or the wishlist link.

Monday, November 15, 2010

weekend snippets: the last good weekend

Well, I think this might have been the last good weekend until the end of the semester. I'll have to savor these moments until then.

Red wine and couch sitting. Two of my favorite things. 
In addition to my pizza-eating challenge, I think I might challenge myself to try all of the Charles Smith Wines. I love a good excuse to indulge challenge.

I found this dinosaur on the table at work. My co-workers are fun people. They make the occasional Saturday at the office less of a drag.

K and I got all glammed up (ok, I got all glammed up, K looked suave) to go to the Moscow State Symphony. I finally wore my crocheted cardigan out in public! At first I was worried that maybe I just go to symphonies for the glitzy bags I get to carry...

But no. The Russians know how to bring it! The music was so intense and energetic. I had no problem keeping my mind on the music this time. Plus, the conductor was such a funny character. He had the musicians play three encores and then tiptoed off stage during the last one.

I spent a Sunday study break playing Forbidden Island with K, Mom, and Julie. What I like best is that it's a cooperative game, so everyone is on the same team. We're not a very competitive family.

* * * * * 

What moment are you savoring from the weekend? I hope you had a good one and that it won't be the last good one for you!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Simple Sweet Potato Soup

Last week I overheard Harley, one of my coworkers, telling some people about his lunch--sweet potato soup. He started giving the recipe and my ears perked up. I butted in, asking him to tell me, too. He was nice enough to start the recipe from the beginning again. Thanks, Harley.

The recipe is a good one. It's simple, easy to remember, and a cinch to adjust to the quantities you have on hand. That's because Harley didn't give any specific quantities for his recipe. It's a throw everything in the pot and let the magic happen kind of soup. I think you're really going to like it.

Sweet Potato Soup


onion, diced
garlic, minced
ginger, finely chopped
vegetable broth
sweet potatoes, baked or boiled. Cut half into large chunks. 
Mash the other half.
coconut milk
curry powder
a little vegetable oil

Heat the vegetable oil in a soup pot. Add the onions, cook until translucent. Then throw in the garlic and ginger for a minute or two. Pour in the vegetable broth. Add the mashed sweet potatoes and stir until smooth. Put in the rest of the sweet potatoes, coconut milk, and curry powder to taste. Heat until it's warm enough to make you happy. Tastes great on a cold day with homemade bread. Tastes even better if you can get someone else to make it for you (thanks, K!).

* * * * * 

Hope you all have been having a good week! Mine has been busy with school and dreaming up crochet projects. I've got a finished project to share with you soon (hopefully with my very first pattern).

*We ate this soup up before I thought to take a photo of it. Oops.

Monday, November 8, 2010

weekend snippets + giveaway winner

Monday, Monday. It comes too soon. I'm trying to get myself in gear for another busy week. It's that time in the semester when I'm in a near-constant tizzy of busy-ness. To get through the week, I'll be keeping these weekend moments in mind. These are the things I loved this weekend:

Kicking off "The Great Pizza Challenge." Sounds official, huh? The Great Pizza Challenge just means that K and I will be eating pizza from all (seven) of the local pizza places in our neighborhood and determining our favorite. One down, six to go.

Organizing recipes. Whew. This has been on the to-do list for a long time. Sitting down with a cup of tea in the sunlight made this chore quite enjoyable. I neatly sorted the recipes into categories and put them in a binder. Now we can easily flip through all of the recipes we've collected from blogs.

Baking Soft American-Style White Bread from this book. Yep, it tastes like white bread, except better. 

Having friends over for snacks, records, and games.

Finally buying new pillows. Now it feels like I'm sleeping on a cloud. It has been so hard to get out of bed ever since. 

* * * 

What did you love about this weekend?

* * * 

Oh yes, the giveaway winner. I didn't forget! The random number selected was 28, making Cnldesantis the winner of the Stone Blue Cable hat. Congrats, Cnldesantis! I've emailed you. Just send me your address, and I'll get the hat in the mail. You've got until Thursday to claim your prize. 

If I don't hear back from the winner by Thursday, I'll select another.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Apple Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Would you believe I had never eaten apple cake until last year?

Apple pie? I've made plenty of them. Apple dumplings? They're like my favorite dessert ever until somebody shows up with a chocolate cake. Apple crisp? I've only eaten one every year since I was born. But my apple dessert card had a spot left unpunched--apple cake--until I found a delicious recipe over on maya*made.

Now that autumn has rolled around again, I've been craving that sweet cake thickly layered with apple slices and pecans and dosed with a hefty sprinkling of cinnamon. The original recipe makes a simple, tasty cake, but if you want to make it a tad more special, you should try topping it with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. It makes an everyday cake feel decadent. And I don't know about you, but I could use a little decadence on these cold November nights. So go ahead...light a candle, grab a cup of tea, and sit down to a piece of this autumn cake.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

1 TBSP butter, softened
1 ounce cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Whip all the ingredients together until smooth and fluffy. Spread over the cake while it's still warm. The frosting will melt a bit, creating a glaze.

The frosting makes this cake a two-bowl project, but it's completely worth washing that extra dish.

Updated: You probably figured this out just by looking at the amounts this recipe calls for, but this make just a little bit of icing. It's definitely enough to melt over an apple cake. However, if you are a "mounds of frosting" kind of person, you'll want to at least double this recipe.

Monday, November 1, 2010

weekend snippets: halloween what?

fancy evening out (glitzy bag and new coat)

started this book. totally enthralled so far. (bonus: i finally finished middlemarch.)

played carcassonne. such a fun game. goes great with wine.

parmesan popcorn. my favorite kind of popcorn. 

baking prep. i've got a cake link and an icing recipe for you soon.

* * * 

On Friday I went to my first orchestra performance, where I realized that I have no idea how to listen to classical music. My grade school music classes consisted of singing along with tapes and occasionally tapping some sticks together. The song I most vividly remember learning to sing was "Walk Like an Egyptian." And that's the extent of my music education. So, yeah, the first half of the orchestra performance pretty much flew over my head. During intermission I quickly skimmed through the program, so I had in mind what to listen for, which helped me get more out of the second half. I still thought the most exciting part of the performance was when the violin soloist broke a string. Oh, the drama of the orchestra...

* * * 

What's something that made your weekend interesting?

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You've still got time to enter my hat giveaway!


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