Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Snow day

I wonder how this snow will impact the Victoria Flower Count, which is scheduled to run from March 1-7?

P.S. This is the view from the same bathroom window last March.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Making a log cabin pillow (part 1)

This is a pretty big deal. I've finally started my log cabin pillow project. I've mentioned my modest quilting aspirations on this blog before, but they really go back to my very first blog post over at Tentative Plans in 2006. Five years ago!

It's not finished, but I've got the top done, and I really like how it turned out.

I used the incredibly simple Design Sponge instructions for a free-form patchwork pillow (part of the Sewing 101 series). I'm not sure if I want to finish the pillow with zipper, but I'll be sure to let you know what I decide.

Friday, February 18, 2011


I listened to my first audiobook over the last couple of weeks: An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin.

It was the perfect book for me at this point in time: light but engaging. I hear that the actual book included images of artwork, but I was happy to give those up in order to listen to Campbell Scott read me an entire book. Remember Campbell Scott? From Singles? It seems he has recorded quite a few audiobooks, including The Shining by Steven King.

I like the idea of audiobooks (Michael isn't interested in reading to me, so this is the next best thing), and this first experience was positive. What do you think about them? And more importantly, do you have any suggestions that would be suitable for, say, the five hour drive from Las Vegas to Palm Springs?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Making lemony lemonade

Simple Lovely featured the blog Make Grow Gather last week, and I've developed a little crush. I read her post about Meyer lemon simple syrup, and when I saw organic Meyer lemons at the market, I knew what I needed to do. I needed to make a cocktail.

Lemony Lemonade* (makes one drink)

1.5 oz Meyer lemon simple syrup
1.5 oz gin
4 oz tonic water
2 ice cubes

Put all of the ingredients in a glass and give them a stir. If it's warm enough to open the door for some fresh air, do that.

*This drink is named after the first craft blog I ever read. The one that inspired me to get off my butt and start a blog, but which no longer exists. I'll make you one without gin next time you're in Victoria, Zoe!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

New scarf

I bought a great scarf at a craft fair on Saturday, don't you think? It was made by Laura McMillan of Drop Spindle Times. I'm not really into wearing scarves indoors, but I haven't been able to take this one off all weekend.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Tentative Plans

I told you I have a few more tentative plans up my sleeve, but after I wrote about going to the sauna/gym, I realized that these others don't need as much explanation. I won't keep you waiting any longer.

I plan to print photos! And frame them! And hang them on the wall! Because we don't live near our family, it's important for us to have current photos of our families around, and we finally got around to hanging some photos before Christmas (after we organized our digital photos). We need more frames though. I plan to buy some from this Etsy store. I also plan to make some in this spirit. Then there's the challenge of acquiring photos of family members missing from the collection; I'll work on that too.

I plan to figure out how to take care of my kitchen knives. After Christmas, I bought this knife holder for our drawer. Before that we were just throwing knives in the drawer willy-nilly (this is not good practice, friends, especially when your roomie has a really fancy knife). Now I need to figure out how to sharpen my knives correctly, though I might take them to get sharpened professionally first, to start fresh. I'm also aware of the need to improve my knife skills, but we'll see if I take it that far.

I plan to start taking advantage of my benefits by getting a massage once a month. I really don't like making appointments for things (you too?), and I really don't like filing paperwork, so this is a big challenge. But the reward is worth it. Last year I had a 15-minute chair massage in my office building once a month, and I really miss it. Perhaps I need to look into setting up a standing appointment.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Making brownies

I've got three great brownie recipes in my repetoire. Cheesecake-marbled brownies from Smitten Kitchen, sea salt brownies from For Me, For You, and the (gluten-free!) recipe featured here in this post. It surprises me that none of these brownies feature icing, but they really don't need it. If you have a favorite brownie recipe, I'd like to hear it, friends. Maybe one with icing?

Almond flour brownies
Adapted from Bob's Red Mill

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup cocoa, unsweetened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
2 T corn starch
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t sea salt

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 9-inch pan. Combine the melted butter and cocoa. Add sugar, eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Mix it up. Spread into the baking pan and bake 30 minutes.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

You're cool

I like public messages that say nice things to strangers:

I took this photo on a bridge in Portland. Is there a name for this type of thing?

Design Sponge just posted about Paul Price's Signs of Affection project, which compliments people on their hair, for example:

Park Lane - Your Hair Looks Dashing

Let me know if you come across this sort of thing in your travels, please. I can't get enough.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

I love sauna

I've been going to the gym for the last month. I'm up to three days a week now, and it feels good. So good that I have tentative plans to keep going.

I actually started going to the gym a year and a half ago, when I hired a personal trainer to hold me accountable to a routine; I floss because my dentist holds me it, so I thought the same could be true for going to the gym.

It sort of worked. My trainer introduced me to a lot of new exercises and helped me feel more comfortable in the Y, which is best described as a zoo, but I didn't stick to the program.

It's different this time though. I now have the fancy gym membership that gives me a few perks. Most importantly, it gives me access to a sauna.

The promise of some quiet time in the sauna (I often have it to myself) has proven to be enough to lure me to the gym. It is my carrot. It's cool that I can do push-ups and all, but what I'm really into is the sauna.

Of course, when my commitment to the gym is flagging, a few inspirational words don't hurt either. Alice Bradley just wrote about what exercise has done for her, and it made me want to go to the gym every day too. Well, no. But her words did help me commit to three days a week. If you like it, you can also read her older, funnier posts about getting a trainer and getting stronger.