Wednesday, August 27, 2008


since i do not take enough time in my life to be thankful, i am going to start myself a regular post feature, as if there are enough people who read this to be featuring something regularly. no matter. it's not really about that anyways, it's about refocusing myself, because i'm calling the regular feature "t3" - thursday three (things to be thankful for [and a specific reason why]). note the alliteration of the three t's, aren't i clever.

1. my husband. i slipped and fell on the stairs earlier this week and hurt my back. he was cranky and yelling about something, but when i told him i had slipped and fallen, he immediately forgot what he was upset about because he was worried that i was not okay. (i was.) his immediate concern was for me. in fact, he always puts me first. isn't he awesome? i have a great husband.

2. our beautiful home. at one (very brief) point in my life, i was facing the possibility of being homeless. that could be dramatic, i don't know, probably is, but that's what it felt like at the time. i was being forced out of one place and had no money and nowhere to go, and for a few days (until i found a place) i honestly believed i would have to live in my car. ever since then i have been immensely grateful for the roof over my head. that we have such a gorgeous roof (and walls, and carpet, and...) is just icing on the cake.

3. yummy summer foods like zucchini. i heart zucchini but brian does not so much. fortunately i picked this yummness up from my college roommates and brian will tolerate it. i delight in zucchini goo, and since most days [but not always] we make things that brian loves, sometimes we also have things that i love too. i am going to share that delight with you so you can be thankful too.

zucchini goo (serves 2)

1 zucchini
1 yellow crookneck squash or yellow zucchini (whichever is on sale, it doesn't matter)
2 roma tomatoes
chopped garlic
parmesan cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper

slice the zucchini and crookneck into thin rounds, about 1/8" thick. heat olive oil in a large skillet, then sauté the garlic a little. toss in the zucchini and sauté until softened some. slice the romas into 1/4" (or bigger) rounds and toss into the zucchinis with the salt and pepper and a couple handfuls of parmesan, however much seems right enough to you, and sauté everything until the tomatoes are warmed through (but not falling apart) and the cheese is starting to get melty but not gobby.

side note: this is not one of those precise recipes. if you are a Precise Recipe Person - i have compassion for you, because generally i am one of those people. i like measuring things and using the correct amount and it comforts me when things are done properly and there is not too much or too little. however, you can't really screw up zucchini goo, and isn't it nice to relax and let go of your PRP self every once in a while and throw things into a pot and have yummy deliciousness come out?


so sunday morning we broke out the white paint instead of going to church and finished painting the lines on the ping-pong table. i know, we're starting to resemble sweaty philistines and other heathens, but you only think that because you have not yet seen the awesome ping-pong table that we made ourselves out of irene's old kitchen table. God helps those who help themselves, you know. and there will be ping-pong tables in heaven, because even though it has been argued that frisbee is God's favorite sport, i think ping-pong is. or at least a very close second.

yes, that's my hubby, dishing up a balls of fury-esque serve. (oh, you haven't seen balls of fury yet? don't bother.) i insisted we play with the garage door open, hence the halo of light surrounding him as if he were an angel. this is so our neighbors will see us playing ping-pong, and they will all want to play, and then our house will become the fun hang-out house in the neighborhood, and everyone will call it the Super Ping-Pong House of Fun and Happiness.

some of the neighbor kids actually did watch longingly for a while, so i think it could happen.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

in my fridge

what belongs in my super-awesome fridge at all times:

1. milk (1% for me, skim for the b-man)
2. heavy cream
3. eggs (usually hard-boiled)
4. parmesan cheese
5. american cheese slices
6. dr pepper, v-8, gatorade
7. chopped garlic
8. apples
9. romaine
10. scallions
11. tomatoes
12. sun-dried tomatoes
13. yogurt
14. homemade italian dressing
15. ketchup
16. dijon mustard
17. butter
18. wasabi paste
19. coffee creamer
20. beer

(thanks to ranee for the idea)

Sunday, August 24, 2008


as i mentioned before, anything not related to home improvement fills me with guilt lately. it's hard to do anything else and/or relax, because there's still just so much to be done around here. fortunately there is a nice intersection between sewing/crafty things and home improvement: home dec!

i made a drape/curtain for the kitchen slider and immediately remembered why i detest said home dec projects. it was supposed to just be a simple pleated curtain that would attach to the vertical blinds (and therefore mask them). i hate vertical blinds but brian loves them so this was my compromise. we keep the convenience of the blinds but i don't have to look at them. six days, two raw knees, and much swearing later, it was finished and i hung it up, only to discover that there was not enough fabric (??? i could have sworn i measured properly) and that it's off-grain. not completely - the top and bottom are okay, but the middle of the pleats curves out. how does that happen? oh, forget it.

i also made a pocket/cover/organizer thingy for this bucket, to carry around my gardening things. i love this. if i did it again, i think i would make the outside pockets fuller and shallower, and i would put another tool loop or two on:

the nice thing about a great batch or two of soap is that you get to enjoy it for a good long time. here is the lavender chamomile and pumpkin pie bars i made last fall:

the downside of a great batch of soap is that everyone else wants to enjoy it too, and after your sister wheedles yet another bar out of you, you only have two left to enjoy yourself. guess i'll just have to go make more.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

the latest exploration

as you may have guessed by now, i'm kind of a hands-on, crafty gal, and i love a project. so when i read about making cheese, i had to try it. i've made yogurt cheese before (with dill, sooo delicious) but this was real cheese. like sold-in-stores cheese. it is called paneer (panir) and it's a very mild, middle eastern/indian cheese, and it was so insanely easy to make. i think it would be fun to make with kids (if i ever get around to getting one or two) because it's neat to watch the curds separate when you add the vinegar. here is the finished product:

i want to try this again with herbs mixed in, and possibly salted (which makes queso blanco!). and i want to try making chevre, which is also supposed to be easy but i don't have a recipe as yet. this afternoon i will be trying my hand at making ricotta, which is made with the leftover whey and is supposed to be insanely easy also. also insanely better than store-bought ricotta, which i have no doubts about, since imho homemade stuff in general and my homemade stuff in particular is insanely better than store-bought.

on a slightly different note, i received my [belated] birthday gift the other day from alice and isn't it spectacular?

it's venetian glass (she brought it back from her italy trip this summer) and i am so in love with all the colors in it. fabulous.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

heck yeah

i forgot how insanely fun bowling is, especially with a big group of fun people, especially with drinks and betting involved.

yep, that is a new lifetime high score for me. yep, i'm a crappy bowler. yep, i'm pretty damn proud of it.

Monday, August 18, 2008


i hate it when my life apps come back table rated [worse than standard rates due to health issues].

and i hate it when people get mad at me about it. why get mad at me? i don't make the underwriting decisions. and i'm not the one with the health issues. that's all you, baby.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

to paint or not to paint

from the moment our sectional was delivered, all i can think about is that the north wall of our family room needs to be painted. something bold but earthy, like a dark terra cotta or some kind of russet-y pumpkin-y brown. otherwise, it's just so beige and boring.

brian, however, is not as keen on the idea as i am, even when i point out to him that it's just paint and if it's awful, we can repaint it. (he did not even perk up when i suggested that we could shut the blinds and paint it naked. huh??) even when i showed him a photo of the family room that i had [badly] photoshopped, he was not convinced.

so for the three people who actually read this, please give me your opinion:


or after (even those un-photoshopped spots would be painted - you get the idea)?

(and for my sister, who wants to see the dining room table):

Thursday, August 7, 2008

my life in a nutshell

(thanks to kerry and gabe for turning me on to sam brown and exploding dog)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


and the smell of rain in the summer heat makes me think of you.

Monday, August 4, 2008

more [old] projects

all of my time and energy these days has been channeled into the house, so i haven’t been sewing hardly at all. which is not to say that i don’t want to – just that i feel guilty devoting time to such a hobby (unless it is house-related). so here are some old projects that i really enjoyed making and wearing:

this dress is the same see & sew pattern as this one, only i decided to face the armscyes and neckline. at the time, the idea was to preserve the stretch characteristic of the fabric, because i thought the dress would be more comfortable with a bit of extra give across the bust. i’m not sure where i was going with that, because it’s not an uncomfortable pattern by any stretch of the imagination. (the pattern calls for lining the bodice but not the skirt – the easter dress is fully lined, though.) next time i will trust the experts and my mother and just line the bodice even if i think it ought to be faced. it just makes a nicer garment and i hate facings anyways. i think this is a really fun print (world monuments like the coliseum, eiffel tower, leaning tower of pisa, et cetera, if you can’t tell - along with dapper men and stylish ladies walking poodles) and i like how the piping turned out:

this dress is an old butterick pattern (# 4042) that i tweaked ever so slightly. i just love shift dresses. they are so insanely comfortable and so easy to make. one view of this shift had a cute decorative little ribbon at the "waist," so I decided to put a little bit of elastic in to accent the narrowest part of my waist (thank you, stacy and clinton). however the pattern did not account for that and i neglected to alter the pattern, so the narrower "waist" created by the elastic made a bit of a pooch in the fabric, unflatteringly right where my tummy is. i think waist darts could alleviate this problem on a future dress, but at the moment i'm not sure how to put them in and keep the fullness at the bust without cutting the front piece into two and joining them at that waist seam. i still really really like this dress, and i love the gathered ribbon trim, and with the batiste lining it is nice and cool:

this is an old butterick pattern also, # 4393. it was supposed to zip down the front but i like buttons instead, and i thought the print was too summery for full-length sleeves. i also took off the nehru collar in favor of the gathered ribbon trim:

eventually there will also be a circle skirt in that antique rose print – i have it cut out and ready to go except for the lining. it’s part of the same butterick pattern as the jacket, which is also this fun tropical skirt. i love circle skirts – they’re universally flattering (imho) and super-easy to make. two seams, a zipper, and a waistband facing:

i love this bias skirt too (simplicity # 4881) which again i think is (almost) universally flattering. also super-easy – two seams and elastic at the waist. i was initially not sure about the plaid (i thought it was kind of an odd color combination) but it has really grown on me. it feels kind of retro to me:

here is one of my favorite dresses ever, vintage vogue # 2902. in the future i would take out some of the fullness in the skirt, because it is very full – a complete circle, i think, and maybe then some (in contrast to the circle skirt above which is only about ¾ of a circle):