Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ze Duvet iz Done

I time-activated that duvet business this morning - and though it took much longer than I anticipated it would, I am in love with it!! (p.s. that stripey pillow is not even finished - it's just laying over top the pillow for effect, until I can time-activate that one too)

I made 3 panels for the front, and see how the little patterns match up so nicely? (this is why it took me 4 hours, instead of the anticipated 2)

I just used a white duvet cover I already had for the back. I extended it with a leftover strip from the front. (Yipes, those shams - no so goot with the duvet)

The stripe can go either way - so fancy. I intended it to go horizontally, but I think I prefer it vertically.


...onto more projects...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Veggie Delivery - Week 2

Forgot to tell you about week 1 I'm realizing...

Anyhow, Darren and I subscribed to Two Small Farms, a Community Supported Agriculture partnership. Each week, a big box of locally- and organically-grown produce is delivered to my neighborhood where I can pick it up. I can actually get there by foot, it's that convenient (ok, so it took 40 minutes and was 100% uphill getting there, but at least the loaded walk home was downhill - and I didn't use any gasoline). You can subscribe for flowers too, which would sweeten the deal.

This week: red leaf lettuce, strawberries, peppers (the kind pepperoncini are made of), onions, spinach, celery, cilantro, beets, collards, and parsley.

Last week: romaine, bianco di maggio onions, summer squash, yellow chantenay carrots, new potatoes, strawberries, green beans, basil, green peppers, and cabbage.

I made cole slaw, hash browns, green beans with almonds, and have been eating salads all week. The newsletter actually includes recipes that incorporate your week's veggies. It's quite inspiring to get this "gift" each week and make delicious meals with it. And it feels good to be doing good by the community, farmers, and environment.

Forgive Me, For I Have Sinned...

I was a very bad girl at the Stitchin' Post this weekend...Here's a preview of projects to come.

Emily & I bought matching quilt kits - we'll have to keep each other accountable for finishing:

This quilt, I have been coveting since my last visit. I "had" to buy this kit too (had used loosely):


I can't even explain how HARD this store rocks! I could spend DAYS in that store. If you're any sort of fabric whore, like me, this store is the ultimate. Go there.

Birthday Pillows

Check out the pillows I made my mom for her birthday. She needed something to go with her fabulous new red sofa.

Sisters in Sisters

I just spent the greatest weekend in Sisters, OR with my best, longest-time (since 3rd grade) friends, Emily, Elyse, and Abby. You might recall I stayed with Emily and Abby a couple months back (rancher fantasy camp ring a bell?). This time, Elyse was in town for a bit between 2 years teaching art in Kuwait (yes, Kuwait) and another 2 years in Hong Kong. She's such a globe-trotter.

We had a lovely time hanging around the ranch, cooking, eating, reminiscing, shopping, walking around town, attempting hikes (too windy), and doting on Cade.

Emily (blue shorts) & Elyse (green pants) "swam the horses" while Abby, Cade, and I sat on the sidelines:

Look at this barnyard hottie:

Elyse, donning the new school apron she made holding the cutest baby Cade:

Anyhow, upon landing, I realized it was the Sisters 32nd Annual Quilt Show - BONUS! I was a very bad girl... more on that later.

Being with these girls is like being with family (I pretend I'm the 4th sister). Each time we see each other, we just pick up where we left off. It's the greatest luxury. And the best part was, I got bumped off my flight until the next morning, so I "had" to spend one more night with my girls! Waking up at 4:10 in the AM to catch a flight, however, is another story.... ha!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Apricot Zeal

I love apricots.

My friend Jenelle (and her 4 year old son) taunt me in June and July about all the apricots on their tree, "oh, we're going to cut it down...oh, the limbs are breaking with all the fruit....oh we threw out so many apricots on the ground." That's it! I'm driving to San Jose to get me some apricots!

Upon arrival, the tree was OVERFLOWING with apricots...branches with strings of apricots down them. I probably picked 20 lbs of apricots and didn't even scratch the surface of what that tree held. It was one of my best days ever!

When I got home, I made 24 jars of jam! Yipes. (Act surprised, y'all when you get a jar for Christmas...or your birthday...or as a thank you...or...) I dehydrated about 6 dozen in my Snackmaster Junior Food Dehydrator (this thing RULES!)...

...I pureed a bunch for my new baby niece, for when she graduates to solids, and I still have about 5 lbs for eating.

And check out these awesome little squatties I found, for "contemporary" canners.

I think I may have fed my appetite for apricots... this year at least.

And did I mention this jam is RIDICULOUSLY delicious?? The best I've ever had. If you need the recipe, give a holler!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

"Poor Carol" Pickles

Inspired by my new book to embrace the local harvest, I bought some kirby cucumbers to make pickles with. From my Everyday Food Magazine, and found this recipe to have more instant (delicious) gratification than the one I used before, which produced a crisper pickle as a result of no-heat, but it just took too darn long to enjoy the results (2 weeks = 2 long for Sara to wait).

I'm calling these "Poor Carol" Pickles because (here's another one of my longish, unimportant stories)... there's this bar we go to in Oakland after particularly stressful nights at work. They make the BEST bloody marys, and they garnish them with pickled green beans and olives. My coworker, Carol, always asks for just a glass of green beans and olives, sans bloody mary.

So, I thought I would make these pickles, and experiment with green beans...for Carol. I brought a jar to work yesterday but Carol wasn't working.

"Whatcha got there?...Pickles?...I want to try one...These are good!...Can I try a green bean too?..." And before I knew it, the jar was empty! Poor Carol didn't get any :(

Instead of supplying the PICU with pickles forever, I gave them the recipe instead. And here it is for you:

4 to 6 Kirby cucumbers (about 1 pound), quartered lengthwise
1 cup white-wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar (I used only 1 Tablespoon)
3 tablespoons coarse salt (not iodized table salt)
1 teaspoon dill seed (I had/used dill sprigs instead)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

Quarter your cucumbers (don't use the waxy, dark green ones).

In a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, salt, dill seed, and garlic with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar and salt dissolve.

Pour over cucumbers.

Use a small plate to submerge cucumbers in liquid.

Refrigerate until cool, at least 2 hours. To store: Transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate up to 2 weeks. To serve, remove from liquid.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

I suppose we can look back to this tryng-not-to-buy things evolution as I had to pack up my belongings and move every couple years from East San Jose to West San Jose to Menlo Park to San Francisco. One takes inventory..."Do I really need all these books?!" So, that's when I stopped buying books (books, at least - let's not discuss fabric right now).

So in my attempts to go green, I've sort of failed. I put myself on the wait list for Barbara Kingsolver's new book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle at the library, but I was 138 of 145 holds. Too desperarate, I bought the book. But the book is ABOUT being green, so does that negate the fact that I bought the book? I promise to recycle it and loan it out.

I was going to summarize, but Powell's does a much better job reviewing. The message is: eat locally produced foodsources to cut down on oil consumption.

From the book: "If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week." That's crazy talk!!

I'm only 1/4 through the book, but I'm already making changes. Darren and I are joining Two Small Farms, a program where local, in-season produce is delivered to your neighborhood for pick-up. I'll keep you posted on all that goodness!