Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Cooking Basics for Dummies! This book is great because it is really basic. If the recipe tells you to thinly slice an onion, you can turn to an illustrated page that shows you how to slice an onion. Really basic.
Last night I made a simple dinner of a salad and an entree using recipes from the book. It was one of the best meals I've cooked in recent memory. Nothing got burned and it wasn't too salty or oily. But it took a looooong time to make it.
I wanted to follow the recipe exactly because I have a tendency to miss important steps like adding essential ingredients or reducing the oven temperature. So I chopped and sliced at a snail's pace, reading and re-reading every word, without wandering off to watch television or play with the cats while my food cooked in the oven. At first I felt ridiculous taking so much time to make a simple meal and told myself repeatedly that I should be able to do it faster. But eventually I relaxed and let myself enjoy the process of cooking a careful meal for myself, and that might have contributed to it tasting so good.
Isn't it funny how we value speed? I'm beginning to think it's highly overrated. I am constantly trying to figure out how to knit more quickly, but maybe the trick is to learn to enjoy doing it slowly, to savor each stitch, each row, each little chunk of time dedicated to creating something with your hands. The instructor who taught my first sock class told us that whether we knit tight or loose, we should make adjustments to the pattern rather than trying to change the way we knit. I thought that was great advice for life in general. Acceptance. Not trying to change yourself. Being present to who you are and how you do things and not judging whether you should be faster or slower or tighter or looser.
Tonight I'm going to attempt to cook another meal, so I'll see if I can put that in to practice.
Friday, November 26, 2010
A small Thanksgiving joy that I rediscovered is fresh flowers on the table. I stopped bringing home bouquets several years ago when the cats came to live with me because I figured they'd eat them or knock them over, but it's been three days now and the flowers are still intact. If I make a new year resolution, it will be to have fresh flowers in my home more often.
Hope you enjoy your long Thanksgiving weekend. My sister Hil and I are headed for Santa Cruz to do a little holiday shopping. Normally I avoid Black Friday like the plague, but this year I have shopping fever.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
It's amazing how fast weekend days fly by. I planned to start crafting first thing this morning, but time slipped by (probably due to my spontaneous decision to cut my own hair, which is a story for another day) and I didn't get started on these Christmas tree ornaments until 1pm. Before I knew it, it was time for dinner.
The ornaments are from the book Pretty Little Felts and made with pages from antique books, felt, glitter, and vintage lace. For this first one I followed the instructions in the book fairly closely to get the hang of it and learn some new techniques. I spent a good part of Saturday knitting a sock, with about three inches of toe to show for it, so today I really wanted to make something I could actually finish in an afternoon.
On the second one I did my own thing with gold wire, buttons, and gems. I plan to use mine to decorate gifts instead of as ornaments, but they'd be great as garlands, too. Normally I'm glitter-challenged, but I recently started using Martha Stewart's glitter with good results (i.e. the cats, television, and carpet aren't covered with it).
Have a good week. For those of us in the states, it's a short one. Hurray!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
It was unusually warm in San Francisco last Sunday. We had a delicious lunch at Yank Sing. It was my first time trying dim sum and now I am a big fan. If you ever go to San Francisco, I must insist that you have lunch there. Dim sum is small individual portions of food that are extremely tasty, like pot stickers, dumplings, steamed buns, and spring rolls. Instead of ordering off a menu, you make selections off little carts that they wheel around. It's easy to go overboard.
Inside the building is a fountain that makes it seem like it is raining inside with the water staying inside this big round "puddle" so no one gets wet. That little face peeking out on the right is my sister Hil.
One of the wonderful things about San Francisco is that you never know what you are going to see. While walking down a busy street with office buildings and restaurants, we came across a tiny park with huge, whimsical monster sculptures.
These signs for the San Francisco Zoo were everywhere, and I was intrigued by the owl because that's not something you traditionally go to a zoo to see. I checked out their website and discovered they are having a twilight tour next week that is all about owls. Yay! I'm hoping to go if the tour hasn't filled up.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
The trees are still fairly green around here, so when you come across colors like these while out walking you really notice it. I've been giving thought to the metaphors associated with autumn like transformation, letting go, and accepting change, and for the first time in many years felt moved to write a poem.
Surrender to the inevitable.
With a gentle bow,
Red and gold offerings
Placed at your feet.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
The wet weather made for a perfect afternoon of knitting. I finished this Modern Cabled Baby Bib (Ravelry pattern) knit in a cable and seed stitch combination. The yarn is Jil Eaton Cotton Tail that I found at my local yarn shop. It is a deeper shade of green than I was able to capture in the photo. I liked the yarn so much I want to knit a few more bibs in different colors.
On a different subject, it was interesting reading about your experiences with bats. So many of you have had bats in your backyard and in your home that it really surprised me. As the weather is growing colder here the bats are getting more and more active in the evening. I can enjoy their presence since they aren't roosting in my attic or patio umbrella!
I hope you are enjoying your week. It's hard to believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
I ended up hanging in there and eventually it started to take shape. I used gel medium to attach small pieces of paper layered with dried leaves and flowers, and then added two flowers using the handmade paper I made at Cory's house in Grass Valley last summer. Before we exchanged our artwork I sent her an email explaining that I messed up her canvas so badly that it lost the original look. She was gracious about it, but I felt really bad.Cory assured me she likes it and posed for a picture on my patio. Check out her blog, Pink Dogwood Blossom, to see the gorgeous collage she made for me.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
These bats are going straight to the top of my knitting queue. The Boo Pattern is available from Mochimochi Land (and the picture is from there, too).
I've been wanting to show you this scarf I've been working on for a while now. It's challenging to photograph because it's so dark, so I decided to just model it for you. It's knit with Malabrigo kettle dyed pure merino wool. When I showed it to my sister she commented that it looks like something our grandmother would have made, so I'm calling the pattern "Grandma's Easiest Lace Scarf Ever."
To knit the scarf:
-Using size 15 needles, cast on 16 stitches.
-Row one: *K2, YO, slip one stitch purlwise, K1, pass slipped stitch over* Repeat to end of row.
That's it! Just do row one over and over until the scarf is the length you want. If you want to experiment with different types of yarn and needle size, just keep in mind the pattern is a four stitch repeat.
Enjoy your weekend! We are supposed to get rain, and I sure hope it happens.