Sunday, December 30, 2012

Think Out of the Box This Upcoming Year

To be honest, I cannot eat one more Christmas cookie. The mere thought of one makes me sick as I have indulged like someone going to the chair. Seriously, as tasty as most of them were, I am so off dessert right now it is frightening. That will change though, have no fears. I love to bake and it is winter so I will be getting back on that soon enough. I cannot do without chocolate chip or ginger scones for long. Trust me. With tea, scones are a wonderful treat anytime during the day.

Most people at this time of year begin to plan what changes they will implement into their lives. Usually it is some sort of diet and I find that ridiculous. One can choose to change your lifestyle in regards to food and exercise at anytime. This is the time to choose something extraordinary. Want to learn to surf and have the means to do so? Go for it. Want to take a sculpture class? Go for it. Aiming to finish that novel in two months or less, gerunds be damned? Yes I am. Learn to sew, can jams, speak Mandarin, give yourself a challenge that is fun and exciting and not the same one every year. New Year's resolutions are like the season of Lent to me. Every single woman I know always gives up sweets or chocolates for Lent. Why not think out of the box? Anyone can give up chocolate but not everyone will think to donate time or skills they have for Lent. Why go the denial route with yourself when you can go the giving route? Anyway, let's get back to the topic at hand.

I think it is healthy to give yourself a new kind of challenge this year. See what you can accomplish without picking something you dread to have to do. If you hate to exercise in a gym , don't. But you can take walks and enjoy the outdoors. Add listening to a language tape or an audio book to your walk if you can. Don't berate yourself for not going to the gym seven days a week or not being able to rid yourself of those ten pounds. Go out and live and enjoy. Your brain was made for more than just the same old thing different day.

Read that novel you always wanted to or try building a birdhouse, again, it is not that it is done perfectly, it is the fact you attempted the task and completed it. That will enrich your life.

Now get out there and as Auntie Mame said:

Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Homemade Sausage Bread

Odd title for someone who is a pescetarian I know, but I wanted to share my mom's recipe for her wonderful sausage bread. Long story short, she passed away from renal cell carcinoma back in 1998 and I wanted to have at least one of her recipes on hand to pass down and around to others. She wrote it out for me one day and so I am going to post it exactly as she had written it to me. She suggests using aluminum throw away pans sprayed with PAM. I never do that, but it is an option if you like. On side note, I make it a version with canned artichokes and I will post my changes at the bottom. So without further fanfare here is the recipe.


For EACH loaf of sausage bread do the following. If you make more than one at a time, just double everything. I usually make 3-4 at once and freeze them.

Grease a loaf pan and preheat oven at 400 degrees.

1lb. sausage (Italian of course!) either hot or sweet
1 cup flour (not sifted)
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup real Italian grated cheese (I use Pecorino Romano)
1 cup chopped Italian parsley

Remove Sausage from casing and brown. Drain most of the fat. I usually save about one quarter cup to add to the mixture.
In a bog bowl mix flour, milk, eggs, cheese, parsley and sausage all together. The mix will be heavy which is what you want.
Pour into the greased pain and bake for about a half hour or until golden brown. Take out of over and once warm flip pan over to get bread.  This is really best served room temperature or cold. I wrap mine in foil to refrigerate or freeze. If you freeze it all you have to do is take it out and leave it to defrost at room temperature. You can also add cooked spinach to mixture of you like.

My vegetarian version:
Instead of sausage, I cook one can of quartered artichokes with garlic and olive oil. Just get it nice and warm then add to batter. I almost always serve it room temperature.
I have also used soy milk as well as egg beaters and have even left out cheese from time to time. I have added rosemary or oregano or even red pepper flakes when I had no parsley. If you use soy milk the recipes won't be as heavy, but the bread is still delicious just the same.

I also want to thank everyone for stopping by via Down To Earth, it is always a pleasure meeting people who share the same passion for cooking and knitting and all around simple living. :)


Monday, December 24, 2012

Gingerbread House and Happy Holidays!

I love when people live in unique style homes. That being said, I came across a wonderful page on Houzz showing details of gorgeous REAL LIFE GINGERBREAD HOUSES. They really are full of whimsy, but also a lot of warmth.

This fabulous house is in Bay Ridge Brooklyn.

 I am now off to do last minute errands. May you all have a Merry Christmas filled with love, laughter and of course, food :)


Thursday, December 20, 2012

But of course, more food

I envy those that have jars of delectable jams and jellies lining their pantrys. One of those reasons is that my husband is an out and out despiser of all things berries.  I know, I clutch my pearls at the idea of anyone not finding blueberries something to be adored and practically sung too, but hey, to each his own. Because of this, I do not can jams or anything remotely resembling a spread because let's face it, how much of it can I or my soon to be one year old son eat? Then I came across the Small Batch recipes on Food in Jars. Whoo hooo! This might encourage me to have a go at some spreads without guilt because one does not want to waste food right? And all those luscious berries should be honored by becoming something so wonderful to share with others. I had a friend once gift me with homemade lavender jam and to this day I still miss it.

Look at this superb Small Batch Blood Orange Marmalade.

This Rosemary Rhubarb Jam is not small batch but I can only imagine how lovely it would smell.

I really love cardamom so this Small Batch Seckel Pear Jam with Brown Sugar and Cardamom would go really well with a steaming hot scone or biscuit. Mmmmmmmmm.....

Out of curiosity I have been looking into Gluten Free recipes more and more and have been pleasantly surprised by what I find. Dare I say these Mini Pumpkin Pie Tarts from Against All Grain would be delightful with a nice cup of tea or Mexican hot chocolate? Oh yeah.

I made this Soy Chorizo Vegetarian Chili the other night and it was beyond delicious. I used chickpeas and black beans, added garlic and omitted the sugar. It was even better the next day. Thank you Cooking with Trader Joe's.

Let's continue the Blueberry theme with this gorgeous looking Blueberry Ricotta Coffee Cake from the blog Eating From The Ground Up. See, now this is something I can make and bring to a dinner and viola! I indulge in my blueberries. Keep in mind, there are blueberries in my house as our son loves them, but baking with them has not happened very often.

And on a completely different note, I cannot stop listening to the song, "Find You're Here" and "Find You're Gone" from Wolfsheim. I love to listen to it whenever I am writing. Be it my on-going novel or my blog or even reading. Funny how a specific song can motivate you or put you into the mind frame of your characters. I swear, when I finish this draft and if it gets published and they interview me, I am going to be honest and say how insane the process has been, but fulfilling. And then I would be all the blueberries I can :)

Here is the video:


Monday, December 17, 2012

The Swedes Rock!

This is a sandwich cake.

I have GOT to make one of these vegetarian/vegan style!!! Thank you Life Up North blog :)


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sweet Potato Goodness

I have a serious sweet potato fetish. It sounds so kinky I know, but I can pretty much eat them prepared every way possible EXCEPT 2 ways. With meat is a no no as I am a pesco-vegetarian. I am sure they are fabulous with bacon, so I can only read about the praise. The other way is with marshmallows. How can one insult the beauty that is a sweet potato with extra sweet stuff? So gross to me, but if you love them you can have at 'em and take my portions too.
I admit one of my absolute favorite ways to eat them is roasted and I just came across one of simplest ways possible to roast them. Just throw them in the over and that is it. I currently have 4 potatoes in the oven. Ohhh yeah, God Bless.

Thanks to The Good Soup for the unrecipe.

Instructables gave me this wonderful way to make Sweet Potato Fries. Like I said, right now it is all about the sweet potato and it is good.

These recipes look tasty too and I must try them at some point.

Tartelette's Acorn Squash and Sweet Potato soup.

The English Kitchen's Sweet Potato, Blue Cheese and Chipolte Chilli Soup

Well, I must dash as my 11 1/2 month old is displeased with being stuck in the house so off on a walk we shall go!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The No Name Post

Thanks for putting up with my little rant yesterday. Now, even though I am as busy as a bee can be, writing, knitting and setting up the little man's play room, I wanted to share some links for all of you to enjoy.

The Roasted Heirloom Cauliflower and Chestnut Soup from Roost looks so comforting and delicious.

My obsession with cowl patterns from Purl Soho continues. The Garter Gaiter is divine.

I just heard about this book, "The Testament of Mary" by Colm Toibin and am intrigued to no end. Will have to add to my 'must read" list.

And this little fabulous ditty out of the UK, Pretty Nostalgic. A magazine that celebrates the "vintage, traditional and sustainable ways of living." Right up my alley.

Toques From Underground and excellent and fascinating article about underground supperclubs in The New Yorker.

Here is a stunning Craftsman Renovated home for sale in Bellevue, WA via Hooked on Houses.

I don't knit gloves or mittens, but these Podster Gloves from Knitting to Stay Sane are just a fantastic gift idea.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Poor Kids

I don't like to get on my soapbox on this blog, but I will when something really bugs the heck out of me.

Frontline did an incredible segment on how poverty effects children called Poor Kids.

I teared up quite a few times.

Imagine not being able to pay your bills and having to move your family in to a motel?
There is something in this one school, probably all schools, called the "Nutrition Club" where they send the kids home with some food for the weekend. Quite frankly, yes it is nice, but the food is shit. Everything is sized like when you stay in hospital. Small Cheerios, beef stew in the can, applesauce, nothing truly nutritional and nothing to help teach people to eat better or cook. Not that you should give it to the kids, but when people go to Food Banks, out of the kindness of strangers and grocery stores, people get canned corn, carrots, cereals, Spam (I could vomit) and other things to hep them get through their life that has taken an awful turn. But from a nutritional value stand point, we all know it sucks. I wish some of these parents understood nutrition better and cooked from scratch instead of buying 5 frozen pizzas for $10. But I have no idea if WIC or Food Stamps or Welfare have the funding or time or inclination to offer food classes. I mean, their budgets are probably stretched to the limits as it.

Food Banks are struggling to help people. Running out of food as needs grow. This is very scary and I have a feeling this will last longer than most expect.

One little girl says she missed eating Chinese food. I have never wanted to buy a gift card to a restaurant so bad. I would make it good for a year so she can have it whenever she wants.

The kids in this show are amazingly in tune with what is going on and what has happened and how much they hare being poor. Sure some of the parents work, but at transient jobs or jobs that pay so little they cannot afford food if they pay bills. One set of kids are kept our of school because they keep moving so much. The kids understand education will help them from being in their situation and they fear not being able to go to school and get out of their situation.

America is an industrialized nation. A wealthy nation, with debt, but to fail children like this is disgraceful. These families are not the stereotypes of "welfare" families we are constantly fed. They are children born to parents who have fallen through the cracks of society. Lack of understanding of finance, self sufficiency, nutrition, education, is mind boggling. But at the same time, none of these parents want this life for their children, but don't know how to get out short of working at the Wal Mart. There seems to be an ignorance to using libraries for internet and books or learning how to shop wisely when in the supermarket or even doing without TV. But it is simple for me to say that as I sit in my comfortable little home streaming PBS and typing on my computer isn't it? I have learned how to do be self sufficient out of necessity, but in a world that is all about convenience and coveting thy neighbor's goods, we have done a disservice to many. Sure it is our own choices that give us the life we have to an extent and we are responsible for what we choose in the sense of, Do I need the Nike sneakers or can I live with the no name pair? Kids only know what is around them and what their parents teach them. I know there will always be poor people in this world, but it is still awful to see.

One shelter in San Francisco has a 6 month wait.

6 months. Good God, what is happening here???

And yes, I get the poor people in US have a lot more than poor people in other nations, but that point is irrelevant to me. Poor is poor, but to be poor in a wealthy nation? I can't even imagine what those people feel like. Well, I couldn't imagine, after watching Frontline, now I know.

Here is a preview of Poor Kids:


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Another Nice Day

The last two days have been in the 60's. And they say there is no Global Warming...ha!
What is really nice is about this weather is being able to open the windows and air out the house. I just painted our kitchen so being able to get the fresh air in has been a plus. I painted a color called Almond Oil by Valspar. It looked beige-y on the car d but it has an undertone of blush/pink depending on lighting. Honestly, it looks nice and it is not a painful neutral which is good. We chose to paint because it was a blah, poorly done pale green and we both hated the faux brick back splash. I will never understand certain trends, fake brick being one of them. The kitchen looks MUCH brighter now which is great. Of course when it gets professionally done that will be nice, but for now, we both like the result from the paint and can live with that without issue.

Google Drive and I are getting along better. I still have my issues with certain functions, but I am learning to work with it best I can. My writing is happening more at night, but I am getting some of it done when my son naps which is choice.

And now some random things.

I like this Basic Chic Hoodie from Chic Knits.

Indelible Ink Workshop has some lovely prints for sale in their Etsy shop. I found out about them through the website Small Town Living.

This tiny violet hand muff falls under something I would aspire to knit, but most likely never will. I do love it though.

This article on The Kitchn about 5 party appetizers that won't break the bank are great, but the commenters have wonderful suggestions as well. Currently the links are funky, but hopefully they fix that ASAP.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gifts of Yummy Goodness

Everybody loves gifts, but one thing I would like to extol is what I consider one of the best gifts, the gift of food. Any kind of food. Homemade, store bought, but all of us need to be mindful of the vegetarians/vegans/Diabetics/Celiac disease, etc. No one wants to get steak when they are vegan or loaves of bread that is not gluten free. I know it seems like a real hassle, but try to approach it as a unique way to show you care. Think of the fun you can have as you make a neat gift basket or a little gift bag of goodies that will be appreciated by the recipient. I have added some recipes that adhere to certain dietary issues. Most are homemade, so maybe my next post will be gifts to purchase :) Enjoy!

Fig & Olive Tapenade.  Yes please!

I would love to get fudge as a gift as it is something I would never make myself.

Apricot Rosemary Jam just sounds pretty and would be nice packaged with some muffins or scones.

Tea is always a welcome gift.

Rose Petal Granola sounds elegant and presented in a nice glass jar would make a lovely gift.

Chocolate Dipped Peppermint and Walnut Biscotti. Oh my!

Rainbow Bean Mix in a Quart jar with an attached recipe is a very thoughtful gift.

Sparkling Cranberries

Sweet and Hot Pepper Jelly from Bad Mama Genny and as she says, it is not for the bedroom ;-)

I have a lavender fetish. A friend made Lavender Jam once which was just delicious. I also grow lavender but have not harvested any. Maybe one day, but in the meantime, this recipe is just pure decadence to me.
Lavender and Espresso Truffles from Tartelette. She has quite a few Gluten Free recipes that look divine.

Spiced Mulling Syrup.

Cinnamon Tea Cake for the vegan in your life.

Gluten Free Thin Apple Tart.

Cranberry Nut Tea Cake from Diabetic Gourmet Magazine.

No Bake Double Chocolate Torte is a vegetarian, vegan, soy free and gluten free recipe.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Google Drive

I am now the owner of one of these new fangled Chromebooks and would like to share my experience with it so far.

My little netbook was on her last legs and so my hubby excitedly suggested I look into the Chromebook. So I did. I read all the reviews I could find about the pros and cons of the machine. Most people's issues were pretty low key and everyone praised how fast it powered up and how the keyboard is a regular keyboard size and the beauty of the Cloud, etc.

I must've missed the reviews that said if you are a writer stay away from this laptop because it will give you nothing but grief. Now, just to prepare you, what I find annoying you may see as minimal, but I figured it is important to point out the quirks anyway. What is going on is that instead of getting work done, I am constantly fighting with a system to work or recognize my work and not lose anything I have typed.

The computer itself works lovely and is lightweight. Yes it moves fast and the speakers work well. Just a little note here, you cannot stream Netflix, they are working on making it compatible for Google OS, but You Tube works just fine. Which it should. Now, when you buy a Chromebook, if you have a Google account, you have access to the whole suite of Google products. This is fine as I save all my work on Drive as a nice backup to my Dropbox and hard drive. There computer has no hard drive, which is fine, but then again, you are to use all the Google Suite. ONLY the Google Suite. So that means, for me, good luck getting Open Office. I had to use RollApps to get Open Office Writer, which looks like a 1995 version of Word by the way, and downloaded my work from Drive to that and needless to say, the counts and formatting are off so for now I am not using RollApps. I have no issues using new products or learning new formats, I have an iPad and that was a learning curve, but the issues with Drive are ridiculous.

My spellcheck in Drive does not work. That is, when I right click, since they removed the actual spell check button. So I have a bunch of underlined words that I need to manually fix every time.

Formatting goes off. Oh yeah, good times right there.

There is no delete button, just a backspace,. Getting used to this has been entertaining. I keep hitting the upper right button on my keyboard trying to delete and end up almost shutting computer off half the time.

One good thing is it saves automatically so you never have to worry about hitting Save or Ctrl-S. What does suck is it saves offline and online. Or it is supposed to, but my novel is only offline and has yet to synch with the Cloud. Why is this? Well, it seems that Drive is currently having issues running in Chrome. Yeah, I am not joking. Go read the forums and figure that one out.

The biggest issue that I am really pissed about is if I am working on page 125 out of 312 and I shut down for the night or for a few hours or whatever, when I go back it opens at Page One. I emailed their tech team to tell them about this and their answer was "But if you are co-sharing the document, how will it know where you last left off?" Okay, clearly we missed a coding class that day, so I asked if they could add a "Go to Page" or "Last View" feature. The response was the engineers will most likely not add those even if they are a good idea.

These are the great tech minds of Silicon Valley people.

Google's Forums are filled with all kinds of quirky and even serious issues people are having with Drive so no, I am not alone, but it seems like Google rushed to get something out that performed so beautifully, they forgot to consider true, practical applications. "It powers up quickly" Great, now can we stop reformatting my book? Thanks.

So, right now, I am charging up my old Acer and am going to try and salvage my novel from Drive. I emailed the whole document to myself and I am going to cut and paste it from there into Dropbox/Open Office. The only other thing I could do is have both computers open and go line by line to make changes in Dropbox to assure it is up to date. (Because every writer likes to waste and lose precious writing time to technological blunders.) I may need to write long hand or get a typewriter if this keeps up.

I have already considered sending the computer back and get a plain old netbook, but I am not so sure yet. It would be nice if Google took their customer's complaints seriously, they seem to with certain issues, and implemented these little things. To them it may seem trivial, but to those of us actually writing in the program, it holds up our productivity and that is not a good thing.


*UPDATE: My spell check is now working. Amen.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Yes it is Tuesday

And I am a tad overwhelmed. My son keeps climbing the stairs which I think is great, but he does need to learn to get down as well and there are 13 of them. At the top of the stairs, to the right in a cover, there is the cats litter box and littler tray. Needless to say the child wants to put his hand on the tray. When Mommy says "No" she is mean and unfair. So, we need to put the gate up at the top of the stairs. I would rather prevent a litter box mishap for now and let him keep learning to climb the stairs with me in tow. I also see it as a good work out for me so it is sort of a win-win here.

Middle east still fighting. I feel like that will go on for centuries and I want no part in it because quite frankly, who the hell am I to comment on an issue that has nothing to do with me let alone, I do not fully understand. I could say split Israel in two ad let the Israelis have their area and the Palestinians theirs, but that makes no one happy. Good thing I never pursued that career in Politics and International Relations.

This  squirrel nut cracker is really cute.

The novel is going well considering how sporadic my chances to write are. That's okay, I had to make peace with that and so I do my best to work as fast as I can when I get the chance. I find my writing improving, but I need to finish this so I can send it out and be done with the stories and characters. I have enjoyed them and love them, but they need to be released onto the unsuspecting public and let them be loved or hated. This is also why writing a series does not work for me. At some point it is best to say Good bye to what you have created and let exist in a good way and not dragged on for years just to make a buck. Yes, I am sure I just offended someone but too bad. Tom Clancy is not weeping in his cereal because of what I say.

My netbook is on its last legs which blows, BUT I have a Google Chromebook on its way to save the day. Nice rhyming there right? Why not a Mac you ask? Because we do not have a lot of cash, the Mac Book Air is $1100 bucks which slays me, and what I use my computer for is simple. Writing, email and internet stuff. No major graphics or film making. James Franco I am not.

This looks pretty and tasty!

I really want to decorate our front door and two front windows this year for the holidays. I would like to do garland around the frame or two boxwoods in planters flanking either side of the door, but I think I am too late. Things are way over priced now and I can't find much that makes me go "YES! YES! THAT IS IT!" I still would like to do something nice since it is the little man's first Christmas, so I am on a sort of quest to find decorations that will bring a little extra oomph of holiday spirit to our home.



Monday, November 12, 2012

Wood Stove

Not much to say on the topic except that I really, really want to have one of these in my home. Oil is obnoxiously expensive and we do not have natural gas lines in our neighborhood. We have propane, which is HALF the price of oil, but it is only for our generator. The next logical step is then to go the wood stove route. Pellet stoves sound solid as well, but I have not researched them enough to compare and decide which one is better than the other. This company, Rais, make some pretty cool looking wood stoves.

A neighbor has a Jotul stove and adores it so that is also a possibility. They have the old school square looking ones as well as this sleek modern looking one.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Lovely Ribbed Cowl

Things are busy with my ten month old getting into many things. One of those being the cat food bowl when I do not place it up high quick enough. There is nothing like pulling kibble out of a baby's mouth. I freaked a little because she is on prednisone and we mash the pill up in her bowl with her wet food. All I need is him getting a small chunk of that in his system. Ahhhhhhh the joys of parenting.

Once again I turn to Purl Soho for a gorgeous Ribbed Cowl

The one thing I hate is having to cast on 156stitches. Yeah, yeah, use stitch markers, but still, I will lose count. Especially if I am digging cat food out of my kids mouth. Forgetfulness is a big thing that happens when one has a kid. I used to think that was hogwash when I heard about it, but have found it to be true. Where the hell my short term memory has gone who knows? Alright, back to the pattern. It is gorgeous and I might make it for myself or a gift or file it away for a later date. But if you are not into merino wool, I am sure there is a lovely option to use int its place to make such a pretty accessory.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hello Again

I live in New Jersey. A rural/suburban area better known as Horse Country to some folks and I just got my internet connection back yesterday. We got power back on Saturday. Luckily we have a Generac generator that is hooked up to our electric panel and has a transfer switch and also runs on propane. I am beyond expression with just how grateful I am that we made that purchase.
Trees came down around our neighborhood, but no one got hit or hurt. We were very fortunate, but some people we know were not so lucky. A friend in Rockland County, NY had a tree go through their roof and destroy the guest room. They are all fine, but being displaced with three kids (who are all 2 years old) has been trying to say the least. Also dealing with insurance, tree removal and contractors has been no picnic.
Being without the Internet I had no idea just how awful the destruction was to the New Jersey and New York coasts. I had only seen the aftermath in my area and it looked like Armageddon with all the trees perched precariously on wires or downed on front lawns. The telephone poles snapped in half, dangling and ready to fall in the road because no one has been able to come out and cut them down yet.
Now it is snowing here and the wet snow and coastal flooding threatens our beleaguered state. I am happy we were prepared and still are. We had a propane deliver on Sunday which was wonderful because we were due to run out of gas on Monday. That would have sucked, but we could have handled it until they got here with our gas.
I am fortunate to know someone who practices emergency preparedness and we had gotten a good education and amount of info from her and so we were very ready. I worry now about those who aren't and never will be. But let's be honest, we can only do so much. Mother Nature is strong and no generator would have saved the houses in Union Beach or Mantoloking or Breezy Point. People have lost every single thing they owned. They have lost their communities, their neighborhoods, the lives they may have always known or were just starting. Ocean City, MD, Staten Island, NY, Point Pleasant, NJ, these are just some of the towns and areas that will never be the same. They will exist in a different way now or not at all. People of all socioeconomic backgrounds were hit by this storm so there should not be "Well, those million dollar home owners have money, so rebuilding should be easy." These were their homes, the place they loved to be. Whether it was a cottage, a stately mansion or year round or weekends is irrelevant. Sandy took all they had worked for and tossed it around like dust in the wind.

Here is a link to some pictures of the devastation.

Warm regards from the Garden State.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Cost of High End Knitting

I am sure most knitters would be appalled that I am going to have a little jab at what some yarns cost. I understand there are people out there in the knitting world that raise their own sheep, spin their own wool and dye it as well. God bless as I would be a horrible spinner, I think.
My pocket book allows me the low end of the yarn scale and they have all done the job, though there are a few I would never buy again. One of my absolutely favorite soft affordable yarn is Homespun by Lion Brand. I have made countless scarves and neckwarmers with that yarn and people have loved them. Other favorite yarns are alpacas and cashmere and yes, you can tell a difference between acrylic and alpaca. I would love to own alpacas but that is a whole other odd obsession we should not get into.
My big issue is when I find a project I adore, I hate having to find a more affordable yarn to replace the $36 skein (YOWZA!!).  Look at this Pixie Dust Yarn by Knit Collage. It is just GORGEOUS!!!

And this is the blanket you can knit with said yarn.

I would love to knit that beauty, curl up and just chill with some tea and scones and a movie or a book. But then I saw I needed 12 skeins. At $36.60 a skein, you need 12 to make the blanket. That makes the cost $439. I nearly fell off my office chair. (Actually, I think I cursed out loud. Let us hope my son is not destined to have his mother's potty mouth.)They do suggest a more "affordable" yarn, Magnum by Cascade, but again, at $22.60, $271 is still A LOT for a blanket. 
Now, I know someone will argue that you want good quality and you need to pay for it. Right on. But I have never in my life paid over $200 for a blanket and I am not going to start now. The same with sweaters. I have seen countless sweaters I want to knit, but the "suggested" yarn ended up adding to over $200. Uh, no, I am knitting so I don't have to spend a lot. When I look at beautiful high end knitting work I admire it, but it is also irritating that a knitting project should be out of my reach financially. It is weird to think "hey, great blanket, but can't afford the materials." Sort of a drag. I get that the specialty yarns that someone is creating is one of a kind and so they should charge more than they average retail store. That does not mean I will not get miffed that I can't buy the product to make something ordinary like a scarf look extraordinary. Here is a great example of handspun specialty yarn at The Yarn Wench. God I would love to make a shawl or something with that yarn. Lament, lament, lament...
 I want to know who are these knitters that can afford these pricey jewels because I have yet to meet anyone who knits that buys this type of yarn or has it in their stash. For me, my wool yarns are the highlight of my stash. I love them so that there are times I just look at them and imagine what they will be. Yes, this is the mind of a knitter. Embrace us because it will never change.
Maybe if I come into money one day I will treat myself to high end yarn and make something like this blanket, but in the meantime I will be satisfied with my array of wool yarns, alpaca yarns and even my acrylics, which I bought with a 40% off coupon. :)


Monday, October 22, 2012

Colorful Countertops

I am battling a cold. There is no fun in that when one is responsible for a very active, almost ten month old child who gets cheap thrills from licking radiator valves. I have no explanation to this and thank the Baby Jesus the radiators are not on due to the nice weather.

I have also had the fortune of finding ways to write, even when little man is up and moving about because he self entertains himself very well. This is after training mommy to remove all pet food bowls, especially the water filed ones, and to follow him from room to room with computer in hand. Our go pod and pack n play are wonderful tools and come in handy when I need to go to the bathroom or just need to sit for a minute.

Anyway, in regards to the title of this post. I think it was on,(Yes ANOTHER kitchen design site. I have a problem, I know it, I admit it and quite frankly, am not ashamed), where I came across a post about "Bold Colored Countertops". While I am not sure I would do this in my kitchen, I do think they would work great in a guest bathroom or a laundry room. For me, I would do the turquoise or green with white cabinets in the laundry room I do not have, but will one day.

Oh yes, yes I will.

Pretty isn't it?

While most people prefer the granite and all white themes, I think if you can add a shot of color somewhere,why not the laundry room? It is the one place you need a little boost of happiness and cheer right? Even the idea of doing it in a powder room or small guest bath appeals to me because it is a way to add some fun to a neutral palette without being overwhelming and expensive if you want to change it like you would if it was done in a kitchen. Of course, if you are Miss/Mister Moneypants they knock yourself out and do the kitchen, but for most folks, I think a small space would suit best.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Post From Another Blog

Rhonda at Down To Earth wrote a post that resounded with me and many others. She touched on how violent society seems to be today and I think a lot of us would agree that apathy has become more commonplace than empathy. I know I sometimes wonder how we have become so detached, so unfeeling and so desiring 15 minutes of fame without caring about the consequences of getting there. That of course is reality tv's fault, but still, we all have our own minds and it seems like a lot of folks no longer use their brains to think of anything but fame, fortune and power. I get scared because I am now a parent. I have been scared because I have watched the world, like many others, become more hostile, volatile and down right ugly at time over the simplest issues, not just the grandest ones. We must be the change we want in the world or we will not have anyone else to blame, but ourselves.


"Civility, respect and responsibility need to be a big part of what we teach our children, and more importantly, what we model for them. Grace seems to have disappeared from our lives and we need her to return."


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Shawl Collar Cowl

While I do love scarves, neck warmers and cowls are more my thing.

This Shawl Collar Cowl from The Purl Bee, which is the website of the lovely little Purl Soho and yes, I have been, is just exquisite. Of course, I will be making a less glamorous version because, quite frankly, I do not have $75 to spend on yarn to make a cowl right now. Maybe ever.

Just admire the beautiful ribbed exterior and how it is complimented by the stockinette interior. I am absolutely gaga over this.

So yes, the Shawl Collar Cowl is now on my "must be knit" list.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Vintage Clothing

I know I have posted about vintage clothes before, but you can never show fun and fabulous stuff too much!

I love this 1960's wool sheath and the raspberry color is just gorgeous! Bombshells and Babes

Couture Allure Vintage Fashion has some incredibly beautiful stuff. This dress is from the 50's

I do love me some good reproductions too. This halter dress at Jitterbuggin is awesome.

I am not a fan of fur at all, but I do love the style of this coat. I am sure I could find one without a mink collar.  Art Deco Dame

Here are links to a few other vintage blogs.

Esme and the Laneway
Twila Jean
Little Rascal


Monday, October 8, 2012

Mini Fairy Garden

This miniature table top garden on The Inspired Room is a very pretty idea for a porch or even patio area.

The whole blog is filled with terrific DIY projects so definitely take a gander!


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fundraising Part Deux and a Cool Idea

Chatting with a friend of mine, we discussed the barrage of fundraising going on in our area for the last month. He had just gotten hit up again at the local Shop Rite. These kids get no break. Every weekend, from Boy Scouts to Cheerleaders to Soccer players. It is full on bedlam here. I mentioned my prior post and he  empathized with my annoyance, but he also wondered if I came across as not liking donating at all and that is just not true. We have friends with kids and we are more than happy to buy what ever they sell. The only thing I do not buy are magazines since my hubby brings them home for free. What I really dislike are different groups of strangers asking me to buy the same thing every other week. Hello Boy Scouts, the $18-20 tin of popcorn is tasty but way too expensive for a lot of folks right now, so please, can you do something else?
It is one thing to have a fundraiser for a sick child or first aid squad, it is another for a local sports team to be hitting me up when I am food shopping. Again, this is just my opinion. I also wonder if schools realize it is a lot of pressure on the kids and their parents to all sell at the same time? What about the shy parent or child? It sucks to do sales when it is not in your nature to ask for money. Of course, this whole thing got me thinking further about fundraising and I wondered what other people do and came across an AWESOME idea from Canada.


Having a nephew that is special needs, I think this is a fantastic way to fund raise since it is not the same old thing AND it gets kids involved with helping other kids. Brava to the Holland Bloorview Foundation for this and I hope others see it and try to incorporate it into their fundraising plans. Maybe there is something similar in the states, just have not seen it, but I will have to do a search.

As for me asking my friends one day to purchase stuff, I feel weird about it. I know some people are in different financial situations and that really makes me hesitate. They all have their own kids to worry about and buy stuff for so I am not sure I could bring myself to ask them to buy something from my kid too. Not that it is rude if someone asks me, but by the time our kid goes to school, most of their kids will be in high school or out so they will not have to deal with this craziness anymore.
I guess that means I might be that check writing parent. :)


Car Blanket Pattern

Michael's has this cool pattern for a nice lap blanket and I may need to file it away for someday.



Saturday, October 6, 2012

Home Economics

I recently watched 1950 video from Iowa State College about Home Economics and I dare to say, if there was ever a need to bring something back from the "olden" days, this would be it.
The documentary shows 4 young women and their journey through college as they major in Home Economics and how it will apply to their careers and home life. An example would be how chemistry is used not just to do science experiments, but also for cooking. Quite honestly, I think it would be prudent to have high school students take Home Economics courses to graduate. You learn budgeting, clothing design, home decoration, quality of food and furniture, cooking and much, much more. More then I even thought was possible. There was something wonderful about seeing how these women chose specific careers, but were able to carry their knowledge into the home once they are married.
So to the overburdened public school system, I feel for you, but I think it is time to bring back Home Economics, along with Civics. These are beneficial areas of knowledge that can go a long, long way.

There is also a video called Why Study Home Economics? which breaks it down beautifully as well.


Friday, October 5, 2012

School/Sports/Scouts Fundraising

I hate it.

My kid is not even in school yet and when I pull up to a Shop Rite or Dunkin' Donuts and see the table displays, I dread getting out of my car. No, I do not want to buy over priced junk and that includes the God-awful Girl Scout cookies, magazines and $20 tins of popcorn. Seriously??? Twenty bucks for popcorn?When you ask me to fund a travelling a soccer team I say no thanks. You chose to put your kid in the league, you pay for it. Sounds mean, but too bad. I am all for kids doing extracurricular activities and I get the schools need "help", but please do not harass the general public. Can't parents write a check and call it a day? I would think a lot of them would prefer that route. Why don't school understand that some folks are ill-equipped to go around the neighborhood asking for money? Or even better, they just don't want to. If my child participated in a sport or scouts or whatever, I am happy to just write a check. I have no desire to harass my friends, family and any co-workers to buy things they do not need and as someone pointed out, give cash to a company that makes the crap these kids sell. Maybe some schools should host a craft fair of sorts where people buy tables and that money goes right to the school or sport and then the artisans get to keep whatever they make. Would be a lot more interesting then what happened to me once. I agreed to buy a pie my nephew was selling for ten dollars. When it arrived it was the size of a ramekin. Can you say "rip off"? Just how much money did his school get for that? a buck? That is not right, they need the cash and so I think that is unfair to the kids to try and raise cash and then not get much for it. If ALL proceeds go to the school, well then, yeah, here is my money and let's rock.

Beehive and Birdsnest has a post on this matter and she pretty much sums up how I feel about the whole fundraising gig.




Saturday, September 29, 2012

Bear Hat

Since I am on a knitting kick, I figured maybe I should make a goofy hat for my child. But nothing too goofy. Hence, I have found a fabulous pattern on Fiber Flux's site. Behold, the Bear Hat.

Pattern here.

Thanks to Michael's and their 40% coupons I hope to have the yarn and needles in hand by this afternoon.

I have been writing, albeit, not a lot, but my style has changed once again. I swear my novel is going to read like ten different people wrote it unless I get a handle on my voice here. I will. I know I will. It has matured and that is what is really fascinating to me. Weird to read what I wrote not too long ago, alter it and see that it is not a hundred times better and sounds more like the character in my head. Again, formal training probably really helps with this kind of stuff here kiddies so if you can do a writing program, DO IT!!

Have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Middlemarch- 1994 Masterpiece Theater

After yesterday's small twitch over Gone Girl, I wanted to share something I had recently watched that was way more enjoyable. I had the good fortune to flip through Netflix and watch Middlemarch, a fantastic mini-series done on Masterpiece Theater. This is a book I should read someday, but since I have not, I will just talk about the mini-series. I liked the topic, I liked the characters, even the awful Rosamond, but what I liked most of all is that it is a story about ordinary people who do not want to be ordinary. Something a lot of people can relate to. Dr. Lydgate wanted to be a world renowned researcher and instead just ends up a society doctor. I say 'just' because that is how he saw it. His wife wants to lead a society wife's life because she has no other idea how to live. Dorothea, I liked her idealism, but sometimes she was too naive, but it made her who she was. The choices these characters, and others make have repercussions and outcomes that are quite interesting. The cast in the show was excellent and if you ever have some time to sit back and relax on a rain/snow day even, watch it.

Middlemarch: A Study of Provinical Life


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I have finally read it.

Let me start off this review of sorts by saying Yes Virginia, there will be massive spoilers and there will be cursing.

Ms. Flynn is a good writer for her genre and I appreciate her desire to showcase the dark and very depressing side of life. I also like that she has no desire to wrap things up in bows and give us the Hollywood happy ending.

Now onto the book.

I hated these characters. I hated them because it was like watching two despicable teenagers try to beat each other for title of best text book malignant narcissistic sociopath. This was supposed to be a book about marriage and how people are not what they seem. This was more like the author took The Omen and gave him breasts. Meh.

Amy Elliot Dunne is one of the most disagreeable bitches ever written. Every word, every time she appeared all I wanted to do was punch her in the teeth. I do not enjoy reading a book where all I want to do is run over the main antagonist. I could care less that her parents had lost children before having "Amazing Amy". They ended up with a bad seed, and let's face it Max Anderson created the best one, and only made her worse by how they treated her. This monster feels superior to her dead siblings and will be whatever kind of girl you want or need in the moment. Whatever.
What pushed me into the mindset that this book is bullshit are two scenes that are supposed to be some sort of enlightenment into Amy's mind. Ready for this? She fakes a rape and she throws herself down a flight of stairs.
Let's start with the rape. The guy she was seeing, well, he figured out she was not  that cool and started to see someone else. So Amy comes back into his life all sweet as sugar, sleeps with him, jacks herself up and then reports him to the police. All evidence points at him She decides not to press charges but sends a typed note saying: "Maybe next time you'll think twice." How cute. How evil. How ridiculous.
But wait, there's more and this made me twitch so much I actually bellowed out to my husband, "You have to be kidding."
Seems Amy and great friend in high school and they had great times together. Then Amy's friend started to get more attention then Amy, "Amazing Amy" was intimidating after all. So our little special snowflake, Amy, concocted a plan where she had her little friend dye her hair the same color and they wore lots of the same outfits. Amy bitches about her parents all the time and gets this friend to participate in a ruse where she calls Amy's house and even surprises the mom one time saying she was the new Amy and ha ha ha. Then Amy become distant, cold, begins to spread rumors of this friend who clearly admired Amy so much that she dyed her hair like Amy and was calling her house pretending to be Amy, etc. The friend tell the husband that Amy wants people to believe she is perfect, but becoming close with people shows that she is not. She is a liar, a drama queen, OCD, filled with all sorts of flaws. When someone disappoints her and find out she is not perfect, not the "cool girl" she practically ruins their lives. You know, some of this seems familiar. A young girl morphing into her friend, everyone she comes into contact with seems to meet some sort of odd end. Wait a minute...Hello, Basic Instinct called and it wants its plot back.

Sharon Stone's character became obsessed with the Jeanne Tripplehorn's character in college and then frames her as a murderer. Every one Sharon Stone is related to or involved with seem to only be useful to her for a small amount of time and then she disposes of them. Michael Douglas' character name is Nick in Basic Instinct.


Before you yell, I know that no one is reinventing the wheel here, but come on. Good artists borrow, great artists steal was said by Picasso, but you need to put it in your own voice and not make it so damn obvious. I felt like she based Miss "Amazing Amy" on "Catherine Tramell" way too much. Maybe not even by choice, but hell, it is there and I got sick of it. As far as Nick, he was a wet noodle, cheating on his wife who did not want to be like his dad, but he was. Go away.

Bottom line is, yes this book is a quick read, an okay read, but you will want to shower and read something less oppressive and childish when done.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I am being incredible lazy, because I am incredibly busy, and linking to this post from blog Cape 27. These are awesome laundry and mudroom ideas. I especially like the one with the litter box behind a little door in the laundry room. Our cat's litter box is in our upstairs hall across from the bathroom at present and I get all grossed out walking on bits of litter. I sweep and vacuum constantly, but sometimes you have to be alright with not getting to it right away. Of course I need to wipe my feet before I get into bed so let me just say, cat littler boxes do need their own area where they can be a little messy and it does not up set your balance. Our basement is out of the question because there is no way for the cat to go back and forth unless we cut a hole in the door and that is not happening.
Anyhoo, here is the link and honestly, all of the ideas are just lovely.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Kitchen Progress Indeed

What we have here is a kitchen remodel done by the homeowners. I do not care if you hate IKEA or hate white kitchens, this is absolutely stunning and I applaud anyone who can do this kind of work. I admit I am jealous. If I knew how to do electrical or plumbing work our upstairs bathroom would be on its way.

Blog: Cape 27
Post: Kitchen Progress


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Martin Amis on NPR

Martin Amis was on the Leonard Lopate show yesterday to talk about his latest book, Lionel Asbo: State of  England. I have never read one of his books, but this particular one sounds like a good one to start with.
The real reason I am mentioning Martin Amis is that Leonard Lopate asked him how many drafts he goes through before finalizing and his reply was, "First it is in longhand, the second is typed and the third is the one that gets edited."



I wish I was able to longhand my novels. My brain goes to fast and then trying to edit all over the place with pen marks slicing through paragraph after paragraph would most likely make me feel like a failing lunatic. But then I thought maybe that is the best way. Write it out, you have to take you time, contemplate the dialogue, the direction your characters seem to be going. OR is it more like write it out and fall into "The Sound and The Fury" stream of consciousness? So now, when you go to type out everything your brain has just spewed, you will see the structure, the story, the mistakes are more obvious, the idea clearer. I don't know. I am not sure this is the time to try. When I get an idea for my current book and I write it down in the notebook designated for that specific book, I scribble so fast for fear of forgetting it. A snap of the finger and the idea to relieve the stagnation of my character gone because I could not move the pen faster than Superman can fly.
I respect the writer who does it the way all writing was done. Patience must run through their veins something fierce. I guess this is also where formal training is most helpful. Maybe my next book, after this one is done being edited and sent out, I can start writing out in an actual journal. But how do they handle if they misplace the journal they are using or if their house catches fire? This is more like my own WWWD? What Would Woody Do? Woody being Woody Allen who is notorious for typing everything on the same typewriter for like 40 years. God Bless.

Check out the interview here: Martin Amis on Leonard Lopate


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Franzen Would Be Proud

Excellent article on Business Insider about how Novelists Are Finding New Ways To Break Internet Addiction
Apparently there are products to help block the internet from your computer so you, as a writer, can focus on your work. I understand why these are necessary to a point, but shouldn't you be able to stop yourself from checking email or blogs or comment sections? I know how it is to get sucked in. I like to read comments on particular blogs to feel a connection to others which is sad in a sense, but you have to drum up the will to make yourself close the window and get back to work. How can you not say "Ok, I am done." Do we really need a program to prevent us from squandering our time? Perhaps I am being harsh. Maybe  Freedom © and SelfControl©   are very helpful and necessary in today's world. I will be the first to admit I can easily get sucked into Wikipedia or other research sites, especially now doing all my biblical research. Okay, so maybe those programs might be something I have to consider if I can no longer force myself to look away.
While the article does address how being a writer is isolating, they also leave out the part that people these days only share things via Facebook or Twitter. So if you want to know what is going on in your friend's lives you need to go on Facebook and lose an hour or two of your life. Social media is swell, but there are times an email would be nicer to receive about a major event then reading about it along with five hundred people. Privacy and personal contact have fallen away in many instances and it feels funny. And I do not mean in a good ha ha way.
What is most interesting in the article is the discussion about internet distractions and how it shortens your attention span and how it changes your brain. Clearly I need to get my hands on Nick Carr's book, The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way we Think, Read and Remember

Good luck fighting the urge to surf today everyone!



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Alex Clare - Too Close

Yeah, I am digging this tune big time.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Art of Description by Anne Marble

Like an writer starting out I get overwhelmed by certain aspects of the process. One of those is I over think when it comes to descriptions. I have read overwrought, mystical descriptions, One Hundred Years of Solitude anyone, that I could never write even if I tried. Nor do I think I would want to try. I have also read poorly done descriptions where the same adjective is used so much you never want to hear it again. That is how I feel about "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin. Don't. Want. To. Hear. Ever. Again.
When I write, I start to worry that I am using "walked" or "glanced" too much. Should I always use "said" like Elmore Leonard insists or can I say "growled"? He says no, but I need to write in my own voice, not his. It does make your head spin. I get so caught up writing some scenes that I never know if my descriptions are  enough or too much or too vague or too lame.
Since it is not currently feasible for me to take a writing class, I rely on the writing community's internet presence. A post that I came across on by Anne Marble has proven to be incredibly helpful. As I read the article I realized I am on the right track, barring a few necessary tweaks, which eased my mind a little. Good advice is always welcome here!

The Art of Description: Eight Tips to Help You Bring Your Settings to Life


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It is Wednesday Evening

And we had a fabulous day. 

Our little guy had his first outing to NYC. He rode his first subway, we stopped at Zabar's for goodies. We took him to the American Museum of Natural History then ended the day with a walk in Central Park. We sat down, ate and watched them film a music video for either an Indian or Bangladeshi band. Very cool.

We stumbled across a few vistas in the park we had never seen and they were breathtaking. Check them out.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Rules for Writing Fiction and a mini-rant

They do vary greatly from author to author. Of course, some make more sense then others. I got a kick out of number 8 under Margaret Atwood and Elmore Leonard's rules are legendary at this point. I disagree with Jonathan Franzen who seems to have an issue with writers who have access to the internet while working on a book. He claims you can't write good fiction if you have the internet. Dude, get off the self righteous horse and realize some of us use the internet for research. Sure I can haul ass to the library, but googling is much quicker. This guy must have serious issues if he believes someone can't write and find time to check out

The article is from 2010, but so worth a repost.

My mini-rant is simple. I am overwhelmed. I maybe get a page or two, if I am lucky, done A DAY. Not an hour, not every few hours, A DAY. Sometimes it is just a few lines.

This displeases me.

I have no choice. I have a baby to tend to, a house and all that entails, a handicapped dog and a cat on prednisone. A cat on steroids is not a pretty thing. She meows nonstop because she believes she is always hungry. Sort of like living with an addict and it sucks. At least she is not trying to sell my computer for more kibble, but if she could, I bet she would.
I considered postponing writing until my little guy was in preschool, but that would be three years from now. I also realized that was insane. I enjoy writing and I do not want to wait. This means I need to get really creative with my time. My big issue is that he naps a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours daily and so when he does nap I may do laundry, take out the dog, answer email (apologies Mr. Franzen) and the second I sit down and begin to write, BAM, he is awake. Sure I could give up hours at night meaning I would get less sleep. I sort of have already, but not to the point where I am functioning on 6 hours or less. That might get ugly and dangerous. People would say J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter as a single mom, writing when the baby slept. Well good for her. Clearly she is a better mother and a more ambitious writer. Her house may have smelled like poop and looked like it too, but dammit, she got the book done. I do not hate on J.K. I hate on the fact that everyone believes if one person can do it one way, then can't we all? Uh, no we cannot. Too add to my crabby demeanor it the fact that me not working out has made me feel like a tub of lard. I do walk with my little one twice a day which is great, but it does not make up for the fact that my deltoids, pectorals and biceps and triceps get no major workout from pushing the stroller up a slight incline. A miserable crabby writer is no fun to be around. Sure historically there were some, but they were published and drank like whiskey was going out of style.

I will figure it out. I hope. I have to or it will all be for naught. Okay, too dramatic. Or is it not dramatic enough? Lost in this overwhelming sea of unbalance I hope I can anchor myself soon. How Michael Chabon was that line folks? HAHAHAHAH! Gotta keep your humor or you will go mad.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Drop Dead Gorgeous

Completely Un-PC flick, mocking the beauty that is the Midwest accent and beauty pageants. One of the best underrated films I can watch again and again. I believe it has a cult following and if not, it must. It should. It has to because it is down right hysterical in some parts and has quite the up and coming all star cast. So without further brouhaha, here is a clip and yes, Will Sasso is truly the man.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Who needs Viking?

When you have the big bucks, you certainly do NOT want what others have got. This brings me to share one of the most incredible pieces of cooking equipment I have ever seen.

Officine Gullo

When you can own a "Cooking Machine" you have arrived my friends, yes you have.

What I would really like is to meet someone who actually has seen one, used one or has one. The refrigerators with built in wine cabinets are $41K. That is the price of a car or someone's salary. Booyah!

Seriously though, if you are wealthy, why go with Viking or Wolf? Sure they are high end, but they have also become commonplace in a sense. Might as well start running with the luxury products and blow people's mind along with some of your bank account. Hell, if I had unlimited income, I would want to invest in some serious kitchen machinery. Partly because I am sick to death of all the stainless/white/black options and partly because it is always way cool to have something no one else has. Rock on.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Vintage Hair

If I had more time and in some cases, the nerve, I would rock some of these vintage hairstyles pretty hard.

Bobby Pin Blog is all about these hairstyles as well as retro makeup.

A for Awesome!

Now if I could hone my sewing skills and work up a dress like this:

I would be all good to go out now wouldn't I?

I have been toying with cutting my hair. Currently it is down to the middle of my back, the longest I have ever had it, but it does lack some style. I do have some awesome curls though and a few that are natural banana curls. I have had short hair most of my life so I am not keen on going all Annie Lennox. Honestly, there are not many women that could carry that short cut besides her and my friend Filomena.

I do love certain bob hairstyles, but I have no desire to become a slave to my hair dryer either. I admit I am envious of those with straight hair that can pretty much do any hairstyle they want. I would bob myself like Louise Brooks in a heartbeat, but alas it would not work.

This does leave me without any idea of what to do, but I am sure at some point I will see something and go "That's it!" Rita Hayworth would be wonderful to emulate but let's face it, it ain't easy to be "Gilda".


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Knitting Hats

NJ has been having its lovey days of Africa hot weather. And during these lovely days I have been inspired to knit my son a winter hat. 

I must have heat stroke.

Of course, finding a pattern where it is not an animal or so cutesy for a baby/toddler is almost impossible. I finally found a pattern on Major Knitter. Basic Newborn Baby Hat. It was quick and easy, but mine did not come out quite like the picture. I am almost certain it is because I used a different yarn. I am one of those rebellious knitters who will sometimes choose not to follow the recipe. I call them recipes instead of patterns. Anyway, it still looks cute, I will have to upload a photo. The next pattern I am working on is called the George Hat and I am using a color combo of brown and green. This one is not knitted in the round, but flat and I am going to sew the top together unlike the author who left it open. There is a bear hat, on Fiber Flux just a brown hat with pompom type ears, but it is not overly cutesy. By that I mean it does not have a face on it, see?

This will be the project after I finish the George Hat. I am not sure I would do it in brown, maybe a fun blue or something.
I had stopped knitting for awhile so it is nice to get back into it. 

Writing still goes on at all odd and spare moments. Sometimes I am able to write even when my little man is playing right next to me which is a big plus. Of course, this is when he lets me write and does not try to work the computer. :)


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Please, Do Sit Down

I am a HUGE HUGE HUGE Anglophile and I offer no apologies. I am aware that the majority of the English are nothing like the characters portrayed in North & South or Upstairs, Downstairs. (Look, they are just like us!) Any romanticized versions I have had through my lifetime have dissipated as I have gotten older. Plus I have had the enormous pleasure of visiting London and if I could, I would live there in a heartbeat. I am eager to visit the Lake country and Bath, okay, wait, let's stay on track here.
Anyway, the BBC did a few reality shows that I have thoroughly enjoyed of late. As someone who is fascinated by the old way of life, but enjoys modern conveniences, I appreciate being able to lose myself in a show about Victorian/Edwardian/40's lifestyles.

1900 House

1940 House

Manor House

PBS aired these shows and I have been watching them on YouTube. (I am sure there is copyright infringement by those who uploaded these videos, but I am posting links anyway. Makes my guilty too I know.)

The 1940 House was very eye opening considering I did not know much about The Blitz in London during WW2. The rationing and air raids were astonishing and everyone was so on edge, understandably so.

1900 House was not surprising, but I could not wish to live then as a lower middle class person because you were just a slave to the upkeep of the home. It was interesting to see how they adapted to using the materials and tools of the day considering the family was from 1999. The team that configured the house to be a true Victorian house always had neat bit of trivia re: wallpaper and ranges, etc.

So far, Manor House, in Edwardian times, is my favorite. It is literally 'Upstairs, Downstairs' come to life. The amount of food people ate, it is amazing they did not drop dead.

Still writing and editing. I caught some 'movie' snafus in my book. Like, my character cannot come through the ceiling wielding a gun and roll and land perfectly. Damn you Hollywood! But thank the Baby Jesus there are some sites out there like TV Tropes, that have been very helpful. One of the best things about writing is the amount of things you are always, always learning. Not just about the topic you have chosen, but about yourself in regards to endurance, patience and sense of humor. A writer's mind is always creating. Not such bad thing at all.