Thursday, January 29, 2009

Life Goals- #1

Here's hoping that my co-workers never find this blog.

To my credit- I have asked people for things to do, and while I'm sure they are working on getting said things, there is nothing for me to do in the meantime. Seriously.

And so I sat at my desk, pondering my list of life goals.

This summer I took Nic on one of the best dates ever- a trip to the Oregon State Fair to see Garrison Keillor and a Prairie Home Companion Rhubarb Tour.

Being a naturalized Oregonian, one would think that I would have experienced the joys of the State Fair. One would be wrong. I was a regular at the Douglas County Fair for many years- hanging out with friends who did 4-H, eating cotton candy, going on vomit-inducing rides and gawking at the crafts that (presumably) old ladies spent their time creating.

The fair entry that fascinated me as a child and re-captured my attention at the State Fair is the art of Table Setting.

For those of you who are unaware of the age-old art of Table setting, let me enlighten you- well... it's actually pretty self-explanatory. You get points for setting a table in accordance to Emily Post, but the real exciting part is that you get style points for centerpiece and table cloth. To read about the rules and regulations of Oregon State Fair Table Setting, go here.

This summer 'Win a blue ribbon for my table setting entry at a county fair' went on my list of life goals. Truth be told, I'd really like to win at the state fair level, but don't want to set the bar too high.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Year of the ox

Seeing as how my company didn't give me the day off for MLK day, they certainly aren't about to let me run amok on Chinese New Year. Which is too bad. Chinese New Year festivities sound like fun. Lots of food, merriment, oranges and cleaning- these are all things that I enjoy.

I actually (sort-of) adhered to a Chinese New Year by deep-cleaning my bathroom this weekend. I'm not giving out any gross details- I'm just going to say that it was REALLY satisfying.

I've also been eating a fair amount of citrus lately.

Happy New Year (again!)!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Photographic Evidence.

I made several new years' resolutions- many of which are based upon the 'write more' resolution I had last year. I do enjoy words, but sometimes the speed at which my life moves prevents me from really appreciating them. And So. I'm once again going to attempt to be a regular blogger. My resolutions of 'cook one new thing a week' as well as 'document life in photographs' and 'knit' and 'sew' are all things that I can share on the blog- and may also help keep me accountable. I am a sucker for accountability.

And so, without further adieu, some photographic evidence of what I have been up to lately:
This is my baby quilt that I finished the night before I went down to my good friends baby shower. The G-mas at the baby shower were all very impressed with my hand quilting, which I did around each baby robot square (of which there were 20). Each square took me just over one episode of 24 to complete. So perhaps 1 per hour (as each 'hour' of 24 is really 40 minutes when you take commercials into account). The stitching together of the top pieces I busted out in a day. It was a long day, but I really couldn't stop myself. This was all due to my beautiful and amazing new sewing machine. A Husquavarna. It's not fussy, and it doesn't make me cry.

Moving on. I finished this last week also (last week was a good one for finishing projects).
This cowl from Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson was an easy knit. Using 16" size 3 (it called for size 5) needles knit stockinette except for one purled row on either end to keep the cowl from curling up on itself. Snuggly, cozy and perfect for the dreary winter days in Portland. It's also good for biking (Nic wants me to knit him one, as well as my father- but that's a different king of biking- think motorcycles).

At work on New Years Eve, my boss brought in 2 presumably totally decent bottles of Champagne and had everyone go around and share 3 resolutions for the new year. I had come up with several that I felt were unique and exciting like, 'taking a samba class' or 'actively seek out new music,' but when it came my turn to share, my mind went blank save for the ones that made me sound like Suzie Homemaker. I said, 'I'd like to knit myself a sweater, sew a quilt and cook or bake one new thing a week.' What I really should have said was, 'try to be as domestic as possible,' and share the unique things in an attempt to make my co-workers think that I am actually an interesting person (I have little to no personality at work... it's sad but true).

Aaaanyway, the recipe that I tried this week were Meyer Lemon Curd Tarts.
I went out and bought the adorable tartlet pans from Kitchen Kaboodle, a locally owned kitchen supply store. I lusted over many things in the store, springform pans, cookie sheets, colanders, teakettles. Sigh. Someday I will have a dream kitchen. But for now I can make mini tarts and quiches to my little heart's content.
Two things:
1. Don't these photos look like they were taken during daylight hours? Well, they weren't! While there is a dusky gray line on the horizon when I leave work now, it far from the sort of lighting that one can expect to still be around when one gets home. There's a setting on my camera that makes the lighting 'cool.' I usually avoid this setting, opting for the 'warm,' but in this case, it works like a charm. Or a dream. A charming dream.

2. The tart recipe I got from NPR- oh how we love NPR at our apartment. love love love. Below the luscious lemon curd that I found in The Fanny Farmer Cookbook is a layer of sweet marscarpone cream. I brought these to a dinner party we attended and they were a hit. This only works when the number of attendants is confirmed. Otherwise your brilliant plans will be botched.

That is the end of my project news to report. I shall leave you with several photos of 'Snowpocolypse 2008' in which I learned how to drive in snow and in which Portland was effectively paralyzed for about a week. The children were happy, the adults were supremely frustrated. Personally, the commute by public transit was long and it was pretty chilly, but it's absolutely charming how snow transforms familiar surroundings. Just. Magical.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Domestic Life

Oh dear, it has been a while, hasn't it?

Rest assured I've got some things cooking, as well as some things that have been cooked.

I have been crafting like a madwoman. To the extent that I recently described myself to my mother as 'a domestic goddess'. I know, right? To make matters worse, I made several purchases at an estate sale recently that are will only further enable my domestic tendencies- a set of vintage cake decoration frosting tips and two beautiful casserole dish's- one made in Finland of ceramic and the other a gorgeous cast iron from Belgium. I've already decorated a cake for my co-workers (that was filled with home-made Meyer Lemon curd), and have created an uber-comforting casserole that I like to think would make the Midwesterners proud (my boyfriend was very impressed, and I count him among those ranks).

Besides those purchases, I have finished my first quilt, and have gifted it to my good friend Randi, who is about to pop with her first baby.

Also (I know, there's more!) I finished knitting an alpaca cowl (aka, peacock neck warmer). It is currently being blocked, but I will be featuring it soon, on my neck and on this site.

It's a brief update, I know... As there is not internet worthy of posting these days from my apartment, I shall do my best to keep up with these things from work or an internet-friendly location.

I'll also try to post photos soon (of quilt, cowl, casseroles & cake decoration thing).