Sadly, this blog is a bit sleepier than I'd like these days. Pop over here if you'd like to know why.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Embroidered Veggies

Inspired by my mom, embroidery was a major theme in the holiday gifts this year. For my dad's wife I embroidered a set of dish towels with vegetable motifs courtesy of Aunt Martha. After awhile it started to feel like a chore, but what else was I going to do while snowed in?

Garden Embroidery

Garden Embroidery

Garden Embroidery

Carrots...I couldn't really see this transfer, so it's a bit free hand.
Garden Embroidery

Garden Embroidery

Sunday, December 28, 2008


In addition to the granola, I embroidered my dad a set of hankies for Christmas. This is something I did when I was a little girl and one of my dad's favorite gifts to receive. I like to think my embroidery has improved over the years but I'm too hesitant to dig up the evidence to know for sure.


Friday, December 26, 2008


And the parade of Christmas gifts begins...with a recipe.


This granola is super yummy. I've given it as gifts to several different people on several different occasions. This year it was a special request from my dad followed by a hint. "I loved that granola you made for me before... the only problem is that my wife likes it too."

The only solution? His and Hers granola.


I'm mostly certain this recipe originally came from Vegan Meals for One or Two. This is the variation I like.

Your Own Granola
makes 4 cups

1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup Earth Balance
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup cashews
1/3 cup sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 375. In a small pan, heat syrup and Earth Balance on low, stirring until melted.
In a medium sized baking dish, combine remaining ingredients.
Drizzle syrup mixture over oat mixture evenly.

Bake in oven for approximately 25 minutes or until browned. I usually do 8 minute increments, stirring each time.

Store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I can't wait to post all the Christmas gifts I've made this year. Soon soon soon!

In the meantime, here are two of my favorite photos I've taken during the storm.


Arctic Blast

Monday, December 22, 2008

Calorimetry Headband

Back in November I mentioned having made a friend a headband that was too small... so I just had to keep it for myself. I did end up making her another one. And here she is... my headband twin.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Cookies

It's like one day you're fine and the next you're feeling a bit under the weather... and the weather is frightful, so where does that leave you?

Not so much in the mood to decorate cookies. I'd like to say I powered through... but mostly I was a wimp and whined to my dear Darby. However, I was pretty impressed by her cookie leadership skills and words of encouragement. Look at her snowflake:

Christmas Cookies

After a few headless snowmen we kicked around the idea of Christmas zombie cookies or Nightmare Before Christmas cookies to continue our theme... but instead we ended up with an "Independence Day in December" cookie. You know, get it, "Christmas in July!" ... but reversed.

Christmas Cookies

Not to mention this little guy who has a bit of an unintentional Flock of Seagulls hair-do.

Christmas Cookies

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Days and Holiday Cards

Do you know the song Christmas in the Northwest? If not, consider yourself lucky. It's probably my favorite Christmas song to make fun's super barf. Sample:

Christmas in the Northwest
Is a gift that we can share
Christmas in the Northwest
Is a child's answered prayer

Take away the presents
And they still will have a dream
For Christmas in the Northwest
Is a gift God wrapped in green

But that last line about Christmas being green here, that is actually pretty true. So imagine the flip out the newscasters had when Arctic Blast headed our way. And I know the storm was actually pretty bad in some places, but over this past week my house has only received about an inch of snow. On Wednesday my school district was the only district in the county (plus surrounding counties!) to stay open, only to announce midday we'd be closing early. Nightmare. The next day they closed school at 7:30am after everyone had already reported and the high schoolers arrived. So today in hopes of not irritating parents and employees, they decided to close school at 4:30am. That's an early phone call.

And all over this:

Dec. 19th

Snow on Tree

Now that I'm done grumbling about the snow. Let me show you the lovely custom greeting cards my Berlin-based friend, Sandra, designed for me this year. Most recipients should have received them already, so hopefully no spoiled surprises here.

Custom Christmas Cards

Way back in the fall Sandra and I made a little deal. She'd design me Christmas cards, and I'd knit her a little something to be revealed at a later date.

I was absolutely thrilled with the cards. This little one is my favorite.

Custom Christmas Cards

Thanks Sandra and Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Blessings in Disguise

Sometimes you might not know it... but when that really drunk guy was knocking into you and falling on the floor and you sorta pushed him down a little harder because you were irritated that he spilled nearly his entire beer all over you and your friend while all you were trying to do was enjoy the music... it was actually a good thing.

Not only did the beer soak my socks and my shirt, but also my beloved pair of mittenettes. Mittenettes that had been worn nearly every day for a full year and were starting to show it. What better excuse to knit a new pair than not wanting to deal with the combination of beer and wool?

I thought so.

I knew exactly what pattern I wanted to knit. Last January when I knit a pair of Diamond Handwarmers for a friend, I was in love with the thumbs. You don't have to pick up stitches... it's like the thumb magically appears, or something. Clearly I wanted to repeat this experience.

It was actually a slower process the second time around. I just made a series of dumb mistakes. Like starting to knit two lefts. What?

I'm very happy with the results. The cuff is much longer than on my mittenettes so I don't have as much of a gap when I wear sweaters with 3/4 lengths. This tends to reduce the amount of goosebumps while sitting at my desk at work. I like that.

Diamond Handwarmer

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tis the Season...

Walk and Knock 2008

...for the annual Walk and Knock Food Drive! This year is the 24th year... and more food is collected each time! Last year the drive collected 141 tons of food and $16,000 to buy more. It took us about 2 and a half hours to complete our route. Just as I'd start to get a little discouraged from house after house with no response, something amazing would happen... like the woman who filled four grocery sacks to the brim with really good food. I love people.

I'm so impressed with the coordination and dedication of all the volunteers... And thanks to the creators, Bud Pasmore and Doug Rae.

Here's to a few less hungry bellies!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Winter Masthead

So I'm house-sitting for two weeks and not really using the internet. I came home tonight to grab some fresh clothes and found this pretty little masthead sitting in my inbox. (Along with a bajillion other emails I probably shouldn't have neglected).

I love it. It makes me want Christmas and white lights on everything. Thanks Julia!

Friday, November 28, 2008


A photo I took this past September at the Hollywood Farmer's Market was selected to be in the Portland Schmap! Guide. That's a little bit cool. You can view the actual page here.


Click to view larger

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Here's my contribution to the Thanksgiving table today.

Bean Dip Provencale

Bean Dip Provencale
15 oz can of white kidney beans, drained with 1/3 liquid reserved
1 clove chopped garlic
1/3 cup fresh or 1 1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives

Put everything but the olives in the food processor and whiz.
Pour into a small bowl.
Stir in olives
Serve with breadsticks, crackers, anything you like

Originally from The Big Book of Vegetarian

And really, I can't mention Thanksgiving without bringing up the 40,000,000 animals that were slaughtered in honor of today. Someone else pointed out that's more than the human population of California. Eek! I wouldn't mind hugging a turkey today. They are really quite interesting creatures.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I discovered one of the easiest classroom management tools is to challenge students to guess what kind of pet I have. Guaranteed it will take them all day to come up with it, even with hints. Such as: "I have so many of them that I can't count them." Honestly, the next guess after that clue was, "Kangaroos!?" No.

Worms! Red wigglers. Composting with worms is absolutely fascinating... to me. I've found it takes a certain sort of conversation partner to really let me blabble on to my heart's content. Especially now that I've read this book, I have a whole new understanding of these creatures.

Since yesterday was a sunny day, I took advantage of the lighting and dumped out my worm bin. Although worms can't see the light, they can sense it and will scurry deeper down into the compost. All you have to do is scrape off the top at 10 minute intervals. Eventually you will have collected as much compost as you can get without harming the wigglers. Did you know... that a worm can die if left exposed to light and heat for as little as 3 minutes? Yikes!


I also discovered that my worms are going to have babies! There were tons of little worm pods getting ready to hatch. If anybody needs worms... my bin will soon be overcrowded.


While I waited for my worms to scurry down deeper, I planted crocuses and ranunculus around my front yard. I was really excited to finally get the bulbs I purchased in September into the ground. However, this morning I found that the squirrels were equally excited. Every single hole I dug for the flowers had been riffled through! Now, I like urban wildlife, but come on little squirrels... you've already ravaged my daffodils and tulips!

And something else exciting in front yard news... cosmos appeared in my yard out of nowhere this month. Since when do cosmos bloom in November?


Sunday, November 23, 2008

"It's okay to make mistakes!"

That was probably the most cherished mantra of my undergraduate studies. As well as something I'm getting more and more comfortable with as I grow. It's also probably a little overstated for this "mistake."

It's not really a mistake, but sorta-kinda a mistake.

My aim was to make the lovely Julia one of these in exchange for another new masthead. I went and bought the yarn. (Got a super deal which was bitter sweet considering the yarn shop was going out of business). Well, turns out I bought twice as much yarn as I needed. Then, I finished the knit... only to discover that my calculations were mistaken. The headband just barely fit around my head. I couldn't take the chance of sending it states away only to be too small for Julia's.


I just had to keep it for myself. So it ended up being a good thing I bought double the yarn. Now Julia and I can be headband twins.


Maybe that's all I really wanted in the first place?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Here Comes The Rain Again

At last, at last... the power to harness the PNW's most abundant natural resource, rain!

This little project has been in the works for sometime but finally came to be a few weekends ago. I was originally planning on making my own rain barrel with help from my dad. However, we heard word of a rain barrel workshop through our local extension unit. I'm so glad we opted to attend the workshop instead of making our own. Not only were all the supplies provided for us and the proper holes drilled, we were also provided with excellent information regarding rain barrels, water, and water use.

Rain Barrel

Here's how it works: (Ok maybe it's obvious but my neighbors thought I was using it to make

We turned my rain spot out of the way and used a flex tube to direct the water from the gutter to the barrel. At the entrance of the barrel is a grate to catch large pieces of debris as well as a tight net to catch fine debris and prevent mosquitoes from breeding. The water enters the barrel. The spigot can be attached to a hose for watering, or used to fill watering cans. The hose coming off the side is for the overflow. The higher up the barrel sits the more water pressure you'll get. It's all genius really.

Rain Barrel

One of my favorite aspects of the rain barrel is the barrel itself. It used to hold soy sauce! Now, that didn't smell so good in the car bringing it home... but what a way to recycle!

Of course, as soon as I set my rain barrel up... it stopped raining. The rain returned a few days ago and when I checked it this morning the barrel was already full!

For more rain barrel resources:
The Rain Barrel Man (saw him the other day on Alberta)
Rain Barrel Guide

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I knit something for myself, actually. I think the last item I knit but didn't gift or exchange away was this very happy hat. And even though I have plenty of projects lined up for others, I decided to jump queue with something for me. But it's ok because it was crazy easy and fast.

I thought a bright green cowl would look nice with my navy coat. Something different. After a quick search for patterns, I picked this little one.


The yarn is Misti Alpaca Chunky in Chartreuse Melange.

You can't really see the yarn overs (the holes) very well in my finished product. Not sure what happened there.


The happy ending is that I sewed the cowl up and promptly took it out for crepes.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Speaking of Food...

I ate a lot of deliciousness this weekend. Like, really. Having a friend come to visit is the perfect excuse to seek out new eateries. In addition, I picked up a copy of Edible Portland and I'm a little obsessed about all things food right now.

For example, wouldn't you just want to hug and squeeze Obama a little tighter if he planted a vegetable garden at the White House? These people certainly think so. The premise is that presidents have had gardens in the past... the new president should rally the nation to produce their own food and eat locally. Sign the petition to give Obama a nudge. And this video is too adorable.

And these people over here think we'd all be better off with a healthy food system. I think so too.
Here are the 12 main principles of the Food Declaration:

We believe that the following twelve principles should frame food and agriculture policy, to ensure that it will contribute to the health and wealth of the nation and the world. A healthy food and agriculture policy:
  1. Forms the foundation of secure and prosperous societies, healthy communities, and healthy people.

  2. Provides access to affordable, nutritious food to everyone.

  3. Prevents the exploitation of farmers, workers, and natural resources; the domination of genomes and markets; and the cruel treatment of animals, by any nation, corporation or individual.

  4. Upholds the dignity, safety, and quality of life for all who work to feed us.

  5. Commits resources to teach children the skills and knowledge essential to food production, preparation, nutrition, and enjoyment.

  6. Protects the finite resources of productive soils, fresh water, and biological diversity.

  7. Strives to remove fossil fuel from every link in the food chain and replace it with renewable resources and energy.

  8. Originates from a biological rather than an industrial framework.

  9. Fosters diversity in all its relevant forms: diversity of domestic and wild species; diversity of foods, flavors and traditions; diversity of ownership.

  10. Requires a national dialog concerning technologies used in production, and allows regions to adopt their own respective guidelines on such matters.

  11. Enforces transparency so that citizens know how their food is produced, where it comes from, and what it contains.

  12. Promotes economic structures and supports programs to nurture the development of just and sustainable regional farm and food networks.

If you agree, pop on over and sign this petition. Then tell your friend to tell a friend, you know.

I'll leave you with some photos of my food from the weekend.

Black Bean Cakes
Black Bean Cakes with Mango Salsa from Bread and Ink on Hawthorne. I need to learn how to make these.

Apple, Basil Pesto, and Jack Crepe from Tour de Crepes on Alberta. Unusual yet amazing flavor.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

How To Make Applesauce

Step One: Find a friend.


Step Two: Pick some apples.


Our apples came from Stoney Ridge Farm and a friend's family's orchard.

Applesauce soon.

Make sure you get a variety, at least three different kinds, to create an interesting flavor. We used jonagold, golden delicious, and melrose.

Step Three: Wash, peel, and slice the apples.



Step Four: Combine apples, apple cider, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a large pot. Simmer for about twenty minutes, until the apples are soft but not mushy. Smash it all up.


Step Five: Take it outside to cool. (We were under a time crunch).


Step Six: Invest time to make cute little labels.



Step Seven: Pour into jars.


Step Eight: Add the labels and enjoy a Farm Wife morning.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Trying To Be Greener / Shampoo Update

I came across an interesting new blog the other day. I got so excited I added it to my "Delights" list right away.

Trying To Be Greener
is dedicated to the pursuit of being eco-friendly... not at all what you expected from the name, right? (Nikki I think it will interest you, minus the baby/mommy references.) A few posts immediately caught my attention and seemed applicable to me and my pursuit of late- going shampoo free.

Here's the deal. There's a site out there, Skin Deep, that has done all the work classifying products and the chemicals that claim to make our lives easier but really just slowly kill us. You can enter products you use and see how safe they are considered on a 0-10 scale (10 is deadliest). It even breaks down the dangers for you into the following categories:


Developmental/reproductive toxicity

Violations, restrictions & warnings


Other concerns for ingredients used in this product:
Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Contamination concerns
What an awesome resource! Visit here to read a much more eloquent and informational lead in.

Products I Use:
Burts Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser - low hazard (2)
Burts Bees Moisturizing Cream - moderate hazard (4)
Tom's of Maine Spearmint Toothpaste - low hazard (1)

When Trying To Be Greener pointed out that one of the most hazardous shampoos was L’Oreal Kids 2 in 1 Shampoo, (Extra Gentle, Burst of Fruity Apricot)... I was even happier that I decided to drop that whole shampoo business. And here's how it's going:

It has been a full month of being shampoo free... and I still love the baking soda. My hair (almost always) dries very clean and natural feeling. There have been a few bad days but I think I've caught on to the problem. If the water I rinse with is too hot, my hair will feel a little stiff. Using the vinegar rinse makes it super soft. I plan on using it more frequently (I've only done it two or three times). My only complaint is that my hair is starting to carry a lot of static... and I kind of do miss the lather.

If you're wondering what I'm talking about, click here!

In short, drop in at Trying To Be Greener. I think you'll learn something.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Cherry On Top / Halloween Recap

I think dressing up and making costumes is fun! It always makes me sad to see people in little cheap (but actually expensive!) store bought costumes (or slutty costumes). I know not everyone has the time and energy to sink into an outfit for just one evening... but it's such a fun chance to be creative!

This year my costume idea came to me one night when I couldn't sleep. Just popped in my head. It took some time and effort, but it was well worth it to celebrate Halloween as an ice cream cone.


I used a red hat and pipe cleaner for the cherry, tulle for whip cream, puff paint for sprinkles, and an embroidery hoop with painted fabric for the cone.

The night was memorable involving friends, a few parties, rude bicyclists, jazz squares, Holman's, and a ferris wheel. A few shots:



Jenny and Kevin went as Publisher Clearing House's prize patrol (him) and the lucky winner (her). Sadly, I didn't get a photo of the giant check, and Kevin lost his official nametag!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Good Time Friendly Fall Weekend

After a few lousy weekends in a row, I was ready for the weekend that I now refer to as "Good Time Friendly Fall Weekend." There's a story behind the name, but it's not actually related to the weekend itself... so I'll spare you.

In short, last weekend I headed back up to Bellingham to visit my "roommate" Molly, celebrate Taune's birthday, and have a conversation with Annie. Of course, there were happy incidents and encounters in between all that.

Here are some highlights:

Barrel Bonanza



More photos here.