Friday, April 29, 2011

Want to see what I'm knitting?

Right now I'm working on a little red cardigan for a friend's baby. I'm making it in a one-year size, even though the baby hasn't arrived yet. In the picture below, you can see the hood (the rectangle at the top) and one arm hole (we're looking at the side view here... the arm stitches are temporarily being held by orange yarn). I'm going to try a little pocket on this project, for collecting goodies or pacifiers or favorite toys.

I recently attended a day-long seminar that involved sitting in a chair for eight hours. I got several inches of this sweater done that day. The seminar was on global economics, so maybe when this baby grows up, she or he will be an economist!

Here's a knitting tip for all of you knitters out there. I keep my center-pull balls of yarn from falling apart by wrapping them in those nylon footies from shoe stores. Clean footies. Never used.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pins and Needles

Earlier this week, I went to a sewing program at a nearby library. Check out the fruit (or vegetable, as it may be) of my labor:

A plump little pincushion! I'm basically the world's worst seamstress, so this was a huge accomplishment for me. It was nice to be on the "audience" side of a library program for a change, too.

I'm in love. Expect many pincushions for future birthday and Christmas gifts!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spinach, please!

Over the weekend, I made palak paneer (Indian curried spinach) in the slow cooker using a recipe from this cookbook. It was amazing. Possibly the best food our kitchen has ever produced. Delicious, yes, but not cheap, because it called for two pounds of spinach. Organic spinach runs $7.00 a pound right now. But after one taste of the dish, I knew it was worth every penny. Because it was so so so delicious, and because I'm cheap, and because I like digging in dirt, I planted one of our garden boxes on Sunday.

There it is! It's a combination of spinach, lettuce, and three herbs. I'm mainly excited for the spinach so I can make palak paneer again.

The other garden box will be getting tomato plants and possibly some other surprises. I don't have much of a green thumb, so we're starting small and hoping for better results than last year.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pa rum pa pum pum

You might not know that I love drummerboy quarters. Every time I find one, I put it in a special box. Well, the box itself isn't that special; it's an old shoebox-sized plastic number that I probably got to hold toiletries in college or something. But now it collects my drummerboy quarters. I don't know why I like them; I just do. I don't name them or set up dioramas with them or stare at them for hours or have conversations with them. I just like to keep them when I find them, that's all. A few months back, something mildly tragic happened that reminded me to always check every single quarter (because clearly I'm not obsessive enough). I was at the car wash, and I had paid in cash. The cashier handed me my change in bills and coins, and I automatically put all of the coins into the tip box. The clear acrylic tip box. Of course I looked in too late and saw that one of the coins I had deposited was a drummerboy quarter! Lesson learned.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Oh actually I meant Etsy. I have it in my head to set up an Etsy shop. I've managed to accumulate approximately 57,000 totally awesome vintage books. And honestly, I don't need all of them... just maybe 570 of them. So I can get rid of 99 percent of my collection, right? Here are a couple of super-sweet examples that are going to be listed:

Seriously, how could you not want to read this? The drama... the leotards (or whatever she's wearing)... It just calls to me.

Recognize the pictures? If so, you may have been a fan of some of Barbara Bottner's other books as a child... like Myra, for example (my personal favorite).

How about this beaut?

It's even signed by the author! You can't see that in this picture, though, because, uh, I forgot to take a picture of the page with the signature on it... oops.

As long as I'm setting up a shop, I may as well throw in a few vintage toys. I scored these Playskool puzzles at a recent church rummage sale. I thought I needed them. But I don't have kids; I don't need them. Someone in etsyville does, though... I'm sure of it.

I'll let you know how shop set-up goes! I better take some more pictures and invest in some padded envelopes to mail all of the books I'm going to sell!

Note to family members: Please calm down. Everything going in my etsy shop is from book sales, yard sales, and thrift stores, not from Mom's house.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ten on Ten: April

Mimosa with brunch :: Toes make their escape :: Cookies for our neighbors, who are having a baby soon :: Starting a knitting project :: It's normal to paint little animals on your kitchen cupboard knobs, right? :: Hello, spring :: A special little something for a special little someone :: Arranging some pots from the pottery class I just took (my favorite is the green bowl on the left) :: Out of hibernation

For more on Ten on Ten, see here!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Five Years Ago Today...

I was getting dressed (as a Cuban tree frog) and cooking up a pot of Brazilian Black Bean Stew for my first date with Karl! He came over for dinner- he even brought flowers!- and we went to my friend Molly's Cuban-themed birthday party. I can't believe it's been five years. It seems like yesterday I was answering the door at my little apartment, wondering what this guy would be like. Turns out he's pretty great, for a lot of reasons. For example:
He thinks up the cutest surprises.

He didn't complain at all when our entire apartment was taken over by Newbery books.

He's a world-class shoveler.

He loves his family (that's his grandma Jeanette at an outdoor fish fry).

He likes my friends. Or at least he pretends to!

He's a great cook... especially over the campfire.

He puts up with my ridiculous hobbies (like making mattresses for Fisher Price Little People).

He picks berries with me in the fall.

He makes garage sale signs for me, even when he would rather be sleeping.

He appreciates my knitting projects.

I'm so glad we met!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Ready for photo overload? After our week of gelato-eating in Italy, Karl went home (he was on spring break) and I flew to Athens, where I met my friend Laura, who flew over from Madison, and my college friend Carrie, who is teaching math in Athens this year. Laura and I spent a few days in Athens, then we took a trip to Thessaloniki and Thassos, an island near the Bulgarian border where my Swedish friend Lena lives. Then we went back to Athens for a few more days of fun with Carrie before heading home. Many thanks to Laura for sharing her photos with me! I won't tell you which photos are whose; let's just say that if it's a well-composed picture, or if it includes a person's entire face, it's probably Laura's. I'll be honest. I didn't know if I was going to like Greece. But I loved it! It's so beautiful, and it's easy to get around. The water is clear and turquoise, and the fresh produce is unbeatable. Carrie gets hers at the neighborhood outdoor market, where you can also find olives, nuts, honey, and fish. On the ferry to Thassos: It was Greece's Independence Day while we were there! The kids were super cute in their traditional Greek outfits. The high school band played, and there was a parade featuring all of the children. Lena has an art workshop, and we made lots of crafts there. Laura taught us how to make fish out of plastic string. Mine is red and black, which were my high school colors. Don't tell anyone, but it's not a fish. It's a Sauk-Prairie High School graduate awareness ribbon. Class of 1995, you don't have to suffer in silence any longer! One day we went hiking in the mountains. There was a little village there. We parked the car in the village and roamed around the paths in the woods. In every flowering tree, you could hear bees buzzing, and across the mountain, you could hear the sound of goats' bells ringing. I wouldn't have known what the bell sound was if Lena hadn't told us. I really felt like we were in Europe at that moment. Here is the guest room, where Laura and I stayed at Lena and her husband Kenneth's. It was like summer camp! Only more fun because our hosts were Swedish. I love all things Swedish. Laura and I spent a few hours in Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece. We went to Greece's largest church: And saw the remains of an ancient market: Back in Athens, we took a bus down to Sounion, home of the Temple of Poseidon. The bus drove all along the coast, and we got to the temple around sunset, which was perfect. We also took a day trip to the Peloponnese. We stopped at a huge amphitheater, built around 300BC. Carrie and I climbed all the way to the top. The acoustics were amazing. A man stood in the center of the stage crumpling a piece of paper, and we could hear it clearly, even from our top-row seats! We climbed up 999 steps to a fortress. The views from the top were worth the climb! Peeking through a rock window at the top of the steps: See that little island in the photo above? This is what's on it: Laura and I had some time to explore Athens on our own. We visited the Acropolis and saw the Parthenon.

We could see the entire city of Athens below us.

We also found the grounds from the 2004 Olympics. We got off the subway and walked right in. There were no doors or anything! It was pretty much deserted, except for a few swimmers and tennis players.

We made ourselves right at home. This is the real athletes' locker room!

We're still not sure if we were really supposed to be there. In the end, we couldn't find the spot where we entered (the place is huge!), so we had to resort to escape art.

Many thanks to Laura, Carrie, and Lena for a fabulous week! It was Laura's first overseas adventure, and she was an awesome traveler!