Sunday, August 14, 2011


Maybe if I close my eyes and hope, I'll wake up from this nightmare.


What if I pinch myself?


Still no. I may be forced to admit that this is reality:

I ran outta yarn two rows and a seam away from finishing my lace. I may have another ball hidden somewhere, but failing that I'll have to finish it in white.

On the plus side I made a washcloth.

The image in the background is the pattern sheet I picked up from Michael's. It gave me a break from all fine gauge lace I've been doing. This pattern is available from Michael's stores or you can get it here:

That is all

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Had a nice relaxing day today. My husband had the day off so we spent the day napping, relaxing, and fooling around. He made a new Magic: The Gathering deck, I got two crocheted motifs done on the lace I'm making. I felt very accomplished because I finally washed, sanitized, and oiled my wooden cutting boards. I usually wash them, and I put vinegar on them to sanitize them once or twice a week. But the vinegar needs to sit for at least 30 minutes, and then they need to dry before I can oil them. And usually by that time I need to start dinner, so they get dirty again. But not today. Today they were properly cleaned and oiled. It makes me feel good. And my husband unclogged the bathroom sink, which was draining slowly. The house is finally getting some semblance of order. More on this later.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

An Excellent Beginning

Some days just start off right. It's a great morning, you wake up on time, and everything comes easily. And as the day progresses the morning stays with you, making everything happy and relaxed. Those kinds of days should start with pie for breakfast.

Pie is a breakfast food. Totally. It's full of fruit, can be eaten hot or cold, and depending on the filling can be portable. Think of other things considered to be breakfast. Pie is way better for you than a jam-filled donut, and has more vitamins than a fast food sandwich. The only time I eat pie for dessert is the night I make it. After that, it's all breakfast from there.

The pie I made was a pull-together of fruit that needed to be used soon-ish. So it was cherry/peach/pluot pie. Besides, healthy foods are considered to be "bird food" and as my cockatoo Ali demonstrates, birds like pie.

Afterwards I went to my friends' house, where I ate blueberry pancakes. Then some grocery shopping, eating gelato out of the container with a tiny spoon, and Joy the Baker's fantastic Lavender and Toasted Walnut Scones with a cup of Earl Grey.

It was every bit as wonderful as it sounds. Also my mom sent me an Edible Arrangement. Once my husband gets off work it will be consumed.

Homemade Pie

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter
4 tbsp water

4 cups fruit
0.75 - 1 cup sugar
5 tbsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon

To make crust: Mix salt and flour together. Cut in half the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. Then cut in the rest of the butter until it resembles peas. Add the water one tablespoon at a time until you have a nice dough. Knead lightly, divide in half, and roll one half out as the bottom crust and reserve the other half in the refrigerator until ready.

To make filling: Pit and chop fruit and add other ingredients. Use less sugar depending on how sweet the fruit is. Mix until combined and pour into crust.

Top with rolled out upper crust, seal edges, cut slashes or design in top, bake at 425 degrees for 35 - 45 minutes.


Strawberry-Cherry Jam

2 cups sliced strawberries
2 cups pitted cherries
3 - 6 cups sugar
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 tsp butter
1 box or pouch of pectin

Slice up your strawberries and pit the cherries. You can slice the cherries as well, but since I used really juicy cherries I just crushed them with a spoon while they were in the pot. Put fruit and juice in pot and heat over medium. Add lemon juice. Slowly add sugar one cup at a time. If you are using a no-sugar pectin and/or have really sweet fruit, so should only need to add about 3 cups sugar for sufficient sweetness. If you are using regular pectin and want your jam to gel correctly, you're gonna need to add closer to 6 cups. Bring to a boil. Add pectin (and butter, if you like, to reduce foaming) and boil for one minute. Turn off heat and let it cool a bit. Pour into sterilized jars.
Makes 6 - 8 cups.

Lemon Curd 

4 tbsp lemon zest
0.5 cup lemon juice
1.5 cups sugar
6 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
3 eggs, lightly beaten

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine zest, juice, and sugar. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add butter and stir till melted. Turn off heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Add eggs to lemon mixture until blended. Return to heat and cook over medium-low, stirring constantly, for 10 to 15 minutes or until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Do NOT allow to boil or it may curdle. Let cool.
Makes about 2 cups.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Making Pretties

Been working on getting the house in order. I finally finished a pair of cross-stitched pillowcases I started over two years ago. I know, I'm bad at finishing my projects, but I'm hoping I can work on that. Now with the pillowcases done I'm crocheting a lace border to sew onto the edge. I found a free pattern online, and after fixing the errors I've been speeding through it.

I plan to chart it out, and once I do I'll post the pattern for anyone who wants it. I think it will definitely compliment the duvet cover I finished just about a week ago.

In order news, Monday was Lammas. Lammas celebrates the first harvest of the season, and specifically the grain harvest. Since the only thing I have planted right now is a pepper plant that hasn't started fruiting yet, I celebrated by making a cornsheaf loaf. The loaf is shaped like a bundle of grain, and mine turned out very well. I didn't follow the recipe exactly, which called for 5.5 cups of white flour. Instead I used 2 cups whole wheat, 1 cup spelt, 1 cup buckwheat, and 1.5 cups white flour. I used more oil and water to compensate, and the bread turned out as delicious as it looks.

Interestingly, I did a little research on spelt and buckwheat, since I knew very little, and it turns out buckwheat is currently being researched because it has a compound which may help treat Type 2 Diabetes and PCOS. That's right, soba noodles are magic.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Food and things

I disappeared for a while, life happened, and now I've returned. Spent the last few days cooking and cleaning, with some great results. My husband regularly requests certain baked goods from me, and most recently that means crumpets. I threw a English tea party last year and made crumpets for the first time, and he's been requesting them ever since. On a trip to Solvang with my mom, I bought a set of crumpet molds, so I figured I'd try my hand at them again.

So much easier when using proper molds! I tried using a cookie cutter before, and the batter would stick. Plus, it goes much faster when you do four at once.

And nothing goes better with crumpets than jam. My strawberry-cherry jam didn't fully set, probably because I used much less sugar. Most recipes call for so much sugar, and I usually start at half and add more until it's tasty. Next time I'll use low-sugar pectin for my jams. It's a little runny, but it makes up for it in delicious-ness.

Well, there is one thing that goes better with crumpets, and that's lemon curd. Mmm, lemon curd. That turned out perfectly, as usual.

That second image is the hardest part of making lemon curd: that last bit that's too little to put in a mason jar, so you just have to stand in the kitchen and eat it with a spoon. Torturous, really.

I plan to update when I can with images of all I've made. Recipes will follow soon. Peace!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I've decided that I should have a deadline for completing my flirty summer dress: the first day of Spring. That gives me almost two months, and I am already halfway done. Plus, there's a good chance that the weather will allow me to wear it on the first day of Spring. I figure I need to knit about two or three rows a day to finish it on time, and since I tend to knit on it when I'm walking, I can get about 12 rows in on a good day. Completely possible, and I should have enough yarn left over to make the underwear that everyone says I should make with the yarn.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Did a bit of pre-Spring cleaning today: vacuumed, did all the dishes, folded laundry, cleaned some of the frig, and scrubbed the floor. Then I just sat there, basking in the joy of a clean house, until Elliot got home and I had to mess it all up for dinner. I realized that the milk was still good, so I put it to use making dishes for Imbolc. I made my favorite, Swedish pancakes, but I also have skansk grot in the rice cooker for breakfast tomorrow. I was also going to bake bread, but we just ran out of propane. I'm trying to decide between a creative solution and just wanting until morning when I can get more propane. I should probably just wait. To be honest, I think Imbolc is my favorite holiday, it's optimistic and forward looking, it's about anticipation. Eat good, rich foods, give thanks for handling the winter thus far, and know that change is coming.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Yum, Bread

I made some homemade bread yesterday. I've heard it mentioned that the shape of the dough effects the taste of the final product. Now I finally understand. I shaped my dough into some little hoagie rolls for easier sandwiches later. However, they took longer to cook like that and the crust got quite dark. It is still good bread, but it's not what I was hoping for. However, I still don't know enough about shaping to make bread always turn out good, so I will need more delicious experiments.
I did get to try out the cherry-strawberry jam I made recently on the bread. Is very good jam, quite sweet and full of flavor. I did turn out a little runny though, I think I may have over-cooked it when I added the pectin. I think I may have to start purchasing the pectin for less sugar jams. I didn't add the recommended amount of sugar, and that may have been the cause of the runniness. I just start adding sugar, and when it tastes sweet and delicious I stop. I usually end up adding a few cups less of sugar than is called for, because most recipes want you to sweeten the hell outta jam. What I made would have been about 5.25 cups of sugar . . . to 3 cups of fruit! I made it 3 cups of sugar and decided that was enough. Why does there have to be more sugar than fruit? Tasting it now, I think I should've done only 2.5 cups of sugar. Maybe I'm losing my knack for sweetness.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Astrology: Where Liberal Studies Meet Math and Graphing

So I decided to sit down and recalculate my birth chart again. It doesn't change, but it helps me double check the math and refresh my memory. This time I didn't do any fancy shit. Just the ten "planets," and that's it. (Yes, planets have to be in quotations if the sun and moon are "planets.") I skipped drawing in the aspects and just charted them, since they tend to make the graph cluttered and hard to see. For the first time I noticed the pattern of my graph. Every "planet" but two are all to one side of the graph. I have eight "planets" in four signs, which is an unusual grouping. I also have what's called a stellum, which is three or more "planets" in one sign. Reading through the interpretations, I have a major contradiction in my personality. I would be an extrovert with many friends, charismatic and the life of the party, if I could get over my crippling shyness, fear of talking, and escapism. Ah yes, I have a fun chart.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


One of the cars, the Buick, has been slowly dying for a while now. It has gotten to the point where the law must be laid down. Elliot and I are now down to one car. The Honda was cleaned out, and once it has been been washed, vacuumed, and sprayed with Febreze it will be the only car we use. The Buick will be sold, and the money used to pay off debts. This means that until I learn to drive stick and take Elliot to work, I have no transportation except walking. Part of the money from the sale of the Buick will go to fixing my bike, to give me more mobility, but we will still be down to one vehicle.
I've recently been considering moving back to Sac for a semester to finish my B.A. Sac-town is an easy place to live, lots of public transit, and it would only be for a short while. The classes I need would be about 7 units, so I would take a couple of fitness or random classes to get me up to full time for loan deferment and financial aid. I could get everything ready and get it done this fall. I have the time to get ready and get it done.


Sat down and meditated today for the first time in a while. Oh, I'll slip into a trance while hiking, or while making bread. But I rarely go into my visualizations anymore. It was enlightening, but not pleasant. I've been trying to get deeper into my faith lately, and I have made some progress with understanding how I see religion. Thinking back to a conversation I had with Jesse, I may try doing a group feast for Imbolc. Most holidays center around gathering friends together, eating, and getting drunk. That may very well be the oldest human tradition when it comes to celebrating. And Imbolc is a good holiday. I have never been very open about religion, even when I followed a mainstream religion. Maybe that's a habit best broken.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

So Sore . . .

A few days ago I hiked/climbed to the top of the falls. It was a scramble, but it was fun, and it left me sore. The next day was spent walking around Ventura in heels; my legs did not feel any better. Yesterday I went for a hike through the Meadow Preserve, which was enlightening and fatigue inducing. Today was a another hike to the falls, but just the bottom one. A little fun climbing, and then my shoulder locked up. Luckily it loosened up soon after. When I got home I still felt that itch for physical exertion, so I started shoveling the pile of dirt that was put on the property to even out holes. Right now the soreness is manageable, though I am dreading tomorrow. On the bright side, if I keep this up I'll have amazing legs, arms, and butt. I haven't done this much exercise in a while, and it feels great.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Steady Movement

When Elliot and I moved out of Redding, we steady headed south. After a talk with a friend recently (I told you I would consider it, Sabrina), we are now considering heading north, to the Humboldt area. It would be a big jump, and we would both have to have new jobs, but it is a possibility. We found an ad for some property up by the California/Oregon border. It's in our price range (read: cheap), and it's decent sized. Just looking to the future.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Breakfast of Champions

I tried making hash browns for the first time this morning. At first I tried to make them in my big cast iron pan: fail. Any part that got crispy just got stuck to the pan, so no matter how long I cooked them, what I had was always soggy (and getting continually smaller). Once the turkey sausage finished in the non-stick pan I dumped the hash browns in. By now they were kinda greasy from the oil I had put in the cast iron pan to prevent sticking. Cooked them until they were as crispy as I could get them, and then pulled them out. They taste like homemade potato chips, sort of a hash brown/latke hybrid. Not bad, but definitely need some work.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Territory

A while ago I started knitting "Kat's Pretty Pink Dress" from Greetings from Knit Cafe by Suzan Mischer. I love the book, and had always wanted to make the dress, but the yarn was too expensive. A few months back I found the perfect yarn for it, in the clearance bins. Got the yarn, got the needles, and started out without a gauge swatch. (You can tell where this is going, right?) After about an inch I realized it was really small, measured my gauge, and found out I was knitting at 6 sts per inch instead of 4.5 sts per inch. Rip rip rip, recalculate stitch total, start again. I am used to reworking stitch totals to fit my gauge. I very rarely get gauge, and prefer to adjust the pattern to my gauge than to keep trying with different needles or yarns. However, I always just switch out stitch totals at any given measurement, ignore row gauge, and knit the pattern exact as written. I've had less than desirable outcomes. Not this time. I accounted for my new row gauge, recalculated decrease rates, and got a few inches into it when I realized that the waist measurement will be too small. I'm skinny, but not 30 inch waist skinny. So I did something I've never done before. I measured myself at bust and waist, added some ease (since I'll have to wear a slip under the dress), measured the length between the two points, and working with the total length as the same rewrote the pattern to fit my body. The dress is worked from the bottom up, so I won't be able to try it on until it's finished, but I changed the pattern from pieces to being worked in the round so it should be more obvious if there is a mistake. Hopefully I'll have end up with a beautiful dress and a new skill in my repertoire.

A Fresh Start

A new year which finds me job-less, of my own volition. I have options and possibilities, but nothing immediate, except minimum wage jobs like the one I left. Things seem to be coming together to give me more time, so I figured I would do what I can to help that along. I've been thinking of starting a blog for a while now, so I decided not to wait any longer. Maybe I'll make a little cash, or maybe I'll disappear into the void of the interwebs. Either way, it'll be a journey. This will recount my little successes, my doubts, my frustrations, and my revelations. It is my second return of Jupiter this year, and I can already feel my skin jumping in anticipation. So we'll see where this takes me, and I'll try to keep it interesting.