Monday, December 29, 2008
Emily Dickinson wrote, "There is no frigate like a book". I prefer to think of books as my favorite drug of choice. When the world gets to be too much (seen the news lately) or simply too mundane, I find I can get a nice sustained high with a book. It doesn't even have to be a good one, just something to capture my interest and set my mind wandering in a different direction.
When the holidays blues hit me smack dab in the middle of Christmas, I found myself craving just such a high... which is how I ended up "shooting up" with the Twilight series... The lovely loss of control I feel with these books is evidenced by the 1000+ pages I have poured through in the past two days. Two books down, two more to go and I am slowing down my pace ... so has to enjoy every last word. Are the books good.. they are "okay" The story on the other hand is hypnotic and engrossing... With every page, I keeping thinking and then what.. and then what...
The rumor is that the fourth book is a let down... "for the best I say"... I will read through until the bitter end... and if that end breaks the spell with terrible writing and a poorly thought out plot.. well then my detox will be that much easier....
Friday, December 26, 2008
I have been an admirer of Eartha Kitt, since I first saw her in old Batman episodes. As a child, I did not see many Black faces on TV and certainly not gorgeous woman who could hold there own. My mother introduced me to older movies with women such as Lena Horne and Eartha Kitt and I look to them as proof positive that Black women were beautiful. ( I should add the women in my family are stunning, but little old me would not believe anything unless I saw it on the screen).
Now as I watch these women "living the hell out of life", well into their 80's and beyond, I am reminded that true inspiration (for little black girls and 39 year old women) is found not on TV, but in the amazing lives of real women, like the amazing Eartha Kitt.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
I am giddy with excitement over all the things I want to do... Then of course there are a myriad of reasons to be excited about the coming year. In a word, OBAMA!!!! Logically, I know he is just a man and not the appointed savior of mankind, but I can't help but feel the warm glow of salvation when I think about him. I think today's New York Times hit on one of his cool factors with this article.. I think I need to add a visit to Hawaii to my New Year's list.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Merry Christmas!!!!! Truthfully, Christmas took me by total surprise. Logically I knew it was coming, I was just in denial. A punishing work schedule and being snowed in for 5 days has not helped my holiday preparations.
Today I wrapped presents and spent some time sewing. I still have a few things left to make, but thankfully, I have a few days off.
So, I hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday... see you in the New Year..
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I haven't used my Ebay account since last year, but on a whim, I decided to check for a dress form.. Bingo, I found one that would work just perfect and today it was mine!!!!! I'll be sewing a new cover for her.. and of course will have to pick a name. I think Hepburn in honor of my two favorite fashion icons, Audrey Hepburn and Katherine Hepburn.
She doesn't know it yet, but she will be my model for a whole slew of aprons, dresses, scarves and flower pins, I will be making for the holidays...
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
There are days we labor in the garden, barely getting anything done, in a futile attempt to beat back weeds and tame unruly beds... and then there are days like this past Monday. A slight crush on tropical plants, a few days off and a shopping trip at the nursery yielded an all day planting marathon. We finished mulching beds, planted trees and perennials and the best part, a 10 foot circular bed in the middle of the yard complete with banana, orange cannas and palm trees.
This weekend I am turning my attention to the edibles. I'll harvest the last of the beets from the vegetable garden and try my luck at overwintering potatoes, and a fig tree is going on the south side of the house.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
- The crop pants were just so damn comfortable and never needed hemming, than why not buy 5 pairs.
- If one white t-shirt is great than 10 must be awesome and really so what if they are stained you where shirts over them anyway...
- A summer vest professionalizes any outfit, even a stained white t-shirt and cropped pants
- Mixing patterns and textures is a sign of your refusal to conform and thus a good thing
- A boldly colored scarf is a whimsical nod to my heritage... even if it is 80's floral
(Not actual picture of the blogger, but pretty damn close!)
Solution... (Not admitting to actually watching Lifetime TV, but maybe absorbing over acted Coco Chanel Biopic as I cruised channels *being fair.. it was not so bad*) I have decide to look to Coco Chanel as my design inspiration... With a little modification... I will not be chain smoking until I can fit into a size 4, nor will I be wearing any clothing with gold chains or ostrich feathers... and double stranded pearls aren't my thing.... Really, imagine if Coco Chanel shopped at Target and Lands End and lived in Seattle ... yup that is the look... classy, stylish comfort (hold the Hobbit)..
So what would Coco do when faced with my closet? After vomiting, she would promptly throw most of it out (donating such fashion don't is cruel to people in need) and then she would click her way over to Land's End (who have rocked the basics with their Fall collection) and order these....
Saturday, September 6, 2008
If summer food is about simple and basic, such as the sweet and subtle acidity of a ripe tomato, than fall food is about complexity: layers of texture, flavor and smoky undertones. As a cook, in the Fall I feel like an artist, my paints are whatever ingredients I can get my hands on and my brushes are my Le Cruset pots and wooden spoons.
Every fall I pick a signature dish, I’ll cook it several times, tweaking it and making it my own before I release it on to family and friends. Last year, I settled on this chicken pot pie with lots of vegetables, dark meat chicken and a really creamy sauce; all covered with puffed pastry. It’s pretty damn good if I do say so myself. This year, I am toying with several ideas, so far I am thinking about these:
Sweet Potato Pie
I am in awe of the concept of vegetables in a pie. Sweet potato is my absolute favorite pie followed closely by pumpkin. Good sweet potato pie has a creaminess to it that I think would benefit from marshmallow and perhaps a little chocolate. hmmm?
Mashed potatoes make me swoon, particularly when they have other notes like horseradish, leeks and bleu cheese.
A Quebec comfort food consisting of French fries covered with gravy and cheese curds. I think I can make this slightly healthier with baked fries, and really light gravy.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Confession... for almost 18 months I have been wanting to start a blog devoted to crafting a better life. There are many different types of crafters out there, but I rarely saw the type of crafter I wanted to be.... You see, some call it delusion... I call it divine insight, but I believe that with patience persistence and a little information, you can make anything you want. So why not focus on making things that bring you joy and improve your life...
My goal was to launch on September 1st and I am happy to say that I met it head on... (This required a 5 hour marathon session with Word Press... apparently building with CSS is not like riding a bike) So it is up, it is live and it is in progress... check it out at http://livingwithscissors.com
My first post is about my struggles in relearning penmanship and features a free template for Handwriting Practice Cards (as if anyone would pay money for what is essentially the alphabet). Enjoy...
Monday, September 1, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Kenyon's Clam Cake and Fritter mix from Farm House Wares. I love my new hometown, but take every chance I can to celebrate the culinary joys of my New England childhood.. I love!!!!! Clam Cakes.. they are perfect on slightly chilly days... And the only place I have ever had them is the New England Area..
Monday, August 18, 2008
"Christmas is only 128 days away"
Mentioning this in August is like saying you hear voices at a Psychiatrist conference... People will take notice, but not in a good way. But nevertheless, Christmas is only 128 days from today... but really who's counting. ;-)
Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year... The gifts are great, the food is awesome and I love cold weather... But really for me it is all about suspending disbelieve. Christmas (from thanksgiving to C-Day) is generally 30 days, where the entire US population goes insane... and we celebrate it.
Mass insanity... trust me..
- We think it is a good idea to dress in sweaters with appliqué characters.
- Red and green suddenly become a conservative color combination
- We pretend to be nice to people we dislike... even buying gifts for them
- Maxing out the credit card for 10 minutes of Christmas morning joy seems like a good idea.
- Dressing up your cat as a reindeer is not considered cruel. ( my cat actually enjoys this, really)
- Making a 5 course dinner from scratch sounds fun
- Singing at work becomes mandatory
- and being a good parent means shoving some old lady out of the way at Walmart, so you can get the last Whatever Elmo doll...
So why am I thinking of it in August.... Well last year we made cards and a few select gifts. This year. I want to make cards and cookies and what gifts I do give ( I am cutting down-like I say every year) will be handmade... (exception, being books, and some tech stuff). But mostly this Christmas, I want to savor and enjoy a stress free 30 days of celebration... This means, starting a little early...
In September I will start compiling my list of things I want to make and for whom.... I love making gifts... I can make things I might otherwise not be able to afford and the feeling I get giving a lovingly handmade gift is better than any chocolate I have eaten thus far... A feeling you get to experience every time you think of the recipient or see them actually wearing/using your gift. September being only 12 days away... you can see why all the excitement and anticipation..
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
I am a huge fan of the Blue Angels and look forward each year to their Seafair visit to Seattle. I hate the thought of war and think the military spends money that should go for social programs, however as a Die Hard Science Geek, planes are cool. And... the Blue Angels are amazing. Generally I end up seeing them by myself... and last year, I went down to Boeing Field to watch them take off. AMAZING!!!!
This year, I didn't make the time to go enjoy them.... Except for a brief moment from the deck of a South Lake Union Office... As they zoomed by I snapped a shot...
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Yesterday, after more than 6 weeks of torture, I picked up my computer from the shop. I was so happy I almost cried in the parking lot and after months of sheer bitchiness (due only in small part to the computer), I have begun to feel pretty good.
Poor health, stress, job woes , lack of exercise, PMS and chocolate deficiencies have resulted in the worst funk I have experienced in years... In fact, I do not remember being this sick of myself since I was 25 (almost 15 years ago).
As I could barely stand to be around myself.. I am not sure how anyone else managed... Except to say.. my partner is a saint... and the dogs wanted treats... The cat has taken to just biting me randomly (cats are quite frank about their true feelings) and at the worst, I took to arguing with complete strangers in stores and public venues.
In short, I became that bitchy person we all dislike and pity...You know the one. She flies into a rage if something is mismarked in the store, she glares at strangers in the elevators, shakes her head with disgust at crying children, berates people at every turn, steps on daisies, kicks puppies, squashes lady bugs and eventually.. The horror... votes Republican because what does it matter anyway..
Luckily I am on the mend before I could do anything so heinous as the last few things described above.
I have immersed myself in the healing power of crafts... We'll mostly I am just stroking my beloved ribbons and organizing my pencils, but any day now I am going to make something and it is going to be GREAT.
I am taking a class. Intermediate Skirt Making at a local alternative sewing shop, Stitches. I think that the 40's and 50's were some of the best times for clothing, so I am going with a 50's style silver and Grey polka dot cocktail skirt, complete with Crinoline petticoat. (pictures are on the way).
I have started back to the gym on early mornings. This has been a challenge, but I must say, after only a few visits, I found that if I did not go, I missed it terribly.
I am wearing brighter colors, not sure when all the black crept back into my wardrobe.
and finally, I am embracing the fact.. that it is never too late to become the person you might have been.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
One need only take a look at my pictures to realize I am not a professional photographer. That said, I take a lot of pictures. I am a visual junkie. I find such happiness in the simplest of images and the fact, the I can seek out and actually make these images myself just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
I love to take photos of food, gardens, vegetables, plants, flowers, birds , my pets, my crafts and the wheels of vintage cars. A weird mix, but like I said it makes me all warm and fuzzy.
Last summer, I made a pilgrimage to several of the p-patch gardens in the city to take pictures. This summer, I am planning to do the same thing. My goal is 10 p-patches in 3 months. Here is the list of p-patches, I would love to eventually take photos at all of the.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
The last few days I have been diligently forcing myself to eat more fruits and vegetables. I had been doing so well for months and then suddenly I lost my taste for them. A week went by where I was eating maybe 1-2 servings a day. But I am happy to report I am back on the Vegetable Wagon. My saviors, sweet salads, savory soups and Greek yogurt. The sweet salads are great for my sweet tooth, but sweetness thanks to strawberries and balsamic vinegar. The savory soups have tons of vegetables and thanks to mashed white kidney beans, the soups have a creamy texture. And finally Greek Yogurt... if you have never had it, go to the store right now!!!! Flavored with honey, the texture is like a smooth pudding with a soft and soothing flavor. Add berries or fruit and you are in heaven..
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
I am a major fan of ribbon and always amazed at how easily a piece of ribbon can become something even more beautiful.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Last year I had a small and demure vegetable garden in raised wooden beds. Onions, lettuce, garlic, beets, peas, radishes and some of the saddest tomatoes I have even seen.
This year, bigger beds, made of brick not wood and tons of amended soil are the base of my new garden plans. Peas, carrots, fennel, beets, lettuces, onions, potatoes, chard, beans, artichokes and leeks will be joined by amazing tomatoes (thanks to recently learned "secret" tomato growing techniques). Needless to say, I have been busy!
Next to a pen and paper, my favorite tool for garden planning is Microsoft PowerPoint. I can create a scale plan and change it multiple times with just a few clicks. Here is my most recent plan.
My one goal this year, to take more pictures and document the progress of my little plot. Stay Tuned for "Before Photos".
Monday, February 11, 2008
I like fences for privacy, but there is something so amazing and full of kindness and sharing when it comes to making your garden visible to all.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
I love, I mean LOVE superheroes. Something about righting wrongs, good vs evil, fragile humanity encased in super human power and flashy costumes. I am a super hero groupie. I watch Smallville and Heroes, have a secret hoard of Marvel comics and seriously want to name my first child, Thor. In fact I made my first superhero cape for my nephew this Christmas and I am definitely making one for myself, as soon as my craft room is set up. (maybe it will be more like a Superhero apron.. )
But where did this seemingly harmless obsession begin..... Journey back with me to yesteryear... a small child huddled in front of the TV (for far too long) on Saturday mornings..
Watching: (Thanks to You Tube for providing these flash backs: Click on title for video intro)
This was my all time favorite. In fact, at one time I wanted to be an archaeologist, because I was sure if I discovered an enchanted relic, I too could be a Superhero. Plus I loved her outfit. oooh and the jewelry!
Almost made RVing seem cool. I really only watched this show, because sometimes they would have guest appearances with Isis. I remembering wondering just where were his parents and why did no one seem to object to the fact he never went to school.
Electra Woman and Dyna Girl
Second career aspiration, I would become a magazine writer(just like Electra Woman) and use it as my secret identity in my fight against crime. And I loved the outfits. This show also had the best theme song.
Bigfoot and Wild Boy
All I can say, the Pacific NW is a lot nicer than pictured in this show and 15 years in Seattle, I have yet to see Bigfoot.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Once upon a time a government paid farmers to grow cheap crops during the war and lean times. Let’s say this crop was corn. The farmers were actually paid money, call subsidies to stop growing other crops (mainly those for human consumption) and focus on corn. Eventually times changed but the corn kept coming. Those with influence (let’s call them lobbyist and corporations) persuaded the government that it was in everyone’s best interest to keep up the production of corn. The problem was none of the public really wanted it that much.
But then, someone came up with a brilliant terrible idea. What if we could somehow change the corn into something else, something that could be put in everything without anyone noticing and would save corporations money by making food impervious to spoilage and so sweet it was mildly addictive? They worked long and hard and came up with a substance made from corn that did everything they wanted.
Flash forward a decade or two and the new substance that everyone ate (let’s call it corn syrup) was suddenly causing people to be sick. Food was no longer helping people, but causing all kinds of disorders, such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and autism.
The people who created the problem were panicked for only a second and then someone came up with another brilliant terrible idea. What if we tell everyone it is not the food, but rather their need for medication. We can start companies to help cure all the disease and make trillions. So they did just that. The money rolled in and things were great.
Until one day people began to suspect there really was something wrong with the food. The people, who created the problem, didn’t even panic this time. Things had worked so well with the medicine; they just decided to play along. “Gosh they cried, you are right there is something wrong with the food, but not to worry we can help. See we can make the same food with no Trans fat (which by the way we invented and stuck in the food in the first place), we can call the food all natural (which means nothing because we own the FDA) and we can say the food is low fat and no sugar added (which is really just semantics, because we have added even more corn syrup).” Great the people cried and they bought even more of the poisoned food. Eventually, the people were still getting sick, so the people who created the problem told them “why you just need more medication”. Of course the people believed this until….
Want to know what happens? I don't!!!! Which is why I am eating not just healthy but smart. The easiest way to eat smart, is to use the rule of grandmothers... Which is...
I am working on making this more eloquent, but basically... An Italian grandmother might use fresh herbs, capers and olive oil, so you can too. A Chinese grandmother, might use ginger, lemon grass and pea vines... so you can too.. and so on and so on... If you can't imagine someone's grandmother cooking with it than don't use it.. This rules out most processed ingredients, such as Splenda, Corn Syrup, Malodextrin and grain alcohol. And means you are eating food that are healthier and better for you... Would love feedback on my idea, what do you think?
Sunday, February 3, 2008
At some point in your life, food will become your enemy. The things that once made you salivate and sigh will cause, upset stomach, weight gain and gastric distress. You will approach each meal with trepidation, not sure what is friend and what is foe. You will over eat unsatisfying bowls of tasteless goo, trying to quench some imaginary hunger; Finally hungry, malnourished and defeated you will give up, eating what you know to be bad simply because it stays down and taste vaguely satisfying.
There is a great quote from Batman Begins, which goes something like, “Why do we fall, so we can learn to pick ourselves up” and thus, it is the same with food. You spend a few days or maybe even weeks feeling sorry for yourself and eating poorly. Suddenly you remember that when one door closes another one opens. And then you discover… Balsamic Vinegar, Organic Frozen Peaches, Duck Fat, Fresh Fennel, Lemon Olive Oil, Green Beans, Quinoa, Wild Salmon, Fresh Parsley, Chicken apple sausage and so on…
When food becomes the enemy, whether it is from food allergies or medical conditions, the important thing to do is vary your routine.
- This week, I hit the Pike Place Market, our year round farmers market,
- I visited Chef Shop, a local gourmet food warehouse, where I purchased heavenly lemon olive oil and to die for balsamic vinegar,
- Purchased meat I generally ignore, in this case chicken sausage,
- Found some good cook books, Gluten Free Girl and Pure Flavor,
- And finally cooked for myself as if I were a guest…
The result food and I are on speaking terms once again.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
I purchased some discount frames at Ikea and have been thinking for weeks about how I was going to display them on the wall. I finally figured I would have to get out the level and pencil to measure and hang each one. And then somewhere out there in blog land, someone mentioned a similar project using duct tape.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Confession 1: My dog Macy has 100% control over me... as evidenced by that fact she gets multiple treats, every day, and sleeps under the covers by my feet. And when I do muster up the courage to say no to her... as in "No! you can not have a 10th cookie", "No you can not play with the cat's tail" and "No I will not rub your belly for an hour", this is the look she gives me...
Confession 2: I buy a lottery ticket once a week. Do I think I will actually win? I hope so , but realistically, my weekly lottery ticket is a week long license to dream without limits. As I sit in traffic, I think about what house I would buy, destinations I would travel to, good deeds I would perform and luxuries I would indulge in... My little fantasies change each week and leave me feeling indulgent and giddy at the end of my commute. A dollar well spent.
This week I would buy this house, surprise friends and family with this car and plan a weekend getaway to this destination. So here is the truly funny thing. For all my day dreaming the basic things I want always remain the same and even more startling, they really don't require Millions to achieve...
- I want a happy home and a welcoming garden.
- I want my friends and family to know how much I cherish them and to see them happy.
- I want a creative life filled with inspiration, creativity and joy.
- I want to give a little bit back to the world, that has given me so much...
does any of this require multi millions... certainly not and this realization is priceless...
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Out of boredom, spite or demonic possession, my cat has taken to ripping everything off my walls and knocking everything off my shelves.
Often he does it while I am at work. I leave and everything is neat and tidy(as tidy as they get for me), I return and it looks like a massacre of craft supplies. Ribbons lay sprawled and bloody next to molested balls of yarn... and buttons, battered and abused, quiver under masses of shredded postcards. I stifle my sobs and put it all back together but the next day, the massacre is even worse and then, there are the casualties. The scrap book of inspirations photos from my 20's, the quirky shaped box destined to be a future craft project, and the robin's egg blue rug that once glistened on the floor like a soft pool of furry lake water... ALL destroyed by the killer that is Cat pee.... WHY WHY WHY... I feed him, I love him, I clean his box, I even let him do unspeakable things to my arm (that frankly a neutered cat should not do!)
Tonight, he looked right at me as he flung objects off the shelf and at my head. Cat lovers out there, please advise!!!!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I love Air Streams and just today, I saw the new Air Stream Base Camp. POW!!!! I am hooked it is the cutest thing and how practical to carry your own little hotel with you as you travel... Okay maybe not, but I am still in love! I would want it towed of course by my trusty VW Bug- I am not sure this is practical... but ooooh so cute. How amazing would it be to road trip across the country in this cute little trailer... sigh xoxoxo
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
I am always astounded and impressed at the little tricks I use to delude myself in the name optimism. First and foremost, there are 5 seasons.
- Fall- the Hallmark commercial kind with Irish wool sweaters, walks on the beach, cake donuts and warm cider (Sept-Nov)
- Winter-the Christmas is wonderful, let's knit in front of the fire, drink cocoa and put antlers on the cat (Dec)
- Pre-Spring - the Winter is a state of mind let's ignore it, where I grow scented geraniums on my windowsill, peruse plant catalogs, fantasize about Wellies, wear pink and determine how many tomatoes to plant(Jan - Feb)
- Spring - the "this is why I live in the Pacific Northwest", where I hit every garden sale from Seattle to Tacoma, marvel at every little spec of nature, sing to myself and dance under my cherry tree as the blooms fall like snow (March-June)
- Summer - the let's leave work at 4:00pm everyday, competitive barbeque, set up the vegetable cam in my garden (so I can watch the plants grow from work), stare at the water and read in the sun (July-August)
So remember, Winter is over... this is Pre-Spring
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
So when did calling cards come back into fashion and why did I not get the memo? Easily remedied, this week's goal, order calling cards.
For free cards,
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Generally I start every year with a list of resolutions that I promptly break before the first week. The goal with this, is that if I break all my resolutions by the end of the first week, I will have plenty of time to spiral into loathing and self doubt before MLK Day. And if I am really on the ball, I can actually gain weight, grow to despise exercise and convince myself this is the worst year ever, just in time for Valentine's Day.
But this year, I am doing things different!!!!
Instead of the list of unobtainable goals, I am coming up with supportive Mantras and just seeing where they take me. Mantras have all sorts of definitions, but it is easiest to think of Mantras as words with power. Mantras are my new comfort food and I intend to use them heavily throughout the coming year.