Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Things I did this weekend instead of laundry...

Tried to turn Maddie into an agility dog using the box for my Christmas tree. Check out that form! I wonder what I have lying around the house that I could fashion into weave poles.

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Finished stringing the beads for the fringe on my pretty pink scarf. Now I just need to make it into fringe.

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Started playing with my running journal using all of the fun toys Emily sent me. I made these pages for Race for the Cure, which was our first 5K. I don't have any photos so I pieced together the Komen logo out of cardstock. I've decided that hidden tags are a good way to record the embarassing details (e.g. our finish time).

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At least, that was their logo. They recently changed the name and logo for the foundation (the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is now Susan G. Komen for the Cure), I don't know if the race logo will change as well. I hope not - that took forever to cut out.

This next page isn't all that exciting, it is just the page opposite the one above. I decided to make this an 8x8 album. Since I won't have many pictures, I thought it would be easier to fill the smaller pages. The flip side of that is that souvenirs like race numbers pretty much eat up a whole page. Que sera...

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I have a few more pages partially completed, but there's no sense posting them until they are done.

(ed. note: For the record, I managed to get all of my clothes washed and dried, but none of it is folded. I keep moving this colossal pile of clothes back and forth from my bed to my ironing board. Pathetic really)

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Can you handle the deliciousness?

mmmm....mini key lime goodness.

I'm a big fan of key lime pie - particularly this time of year when it reminds me of warmer places. Beyond that, any recipe that involves 3 ingredients is all right in my book.

Basically, if key limes are in the stores, I'm putting key lime pie on the dessert menu.

In the past, I've use mini phyllo shells that you can get from the freezer section at the grocery. They only hold about a tsp each, so you can have dessert for a large party using only about one pie's worth of filling. You'll have to buy about 6 boxes of mini phyllo shells, so it isn't necessarily more economical, just bite sized and little and cute. And bite sized is a good way to go when you only have 4 chairs so every party is a buffet.

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This weekend I went with individual graham cracker crusts. The graham crust tastes better than the mini phyllo - although it isn't quite as cute.

A bit of decoratively-piped whipped cream and a teeny slice of key lime could up the cute factor immensely. I'd show you a picture of that, but I prefer a touch more whipped cream.

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I'd have used more, but the can was empty.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A little Valentine's Day love...

How awesome is my sister? So awesome.

She sent me the cutest handmade Valentine:

mmmm...cupcakes. I love that she even has crinkly paper for the little paper cupcake cup.

And because she is the greatest sister ever, she also sent new scrapbooking toys for me to play with:

My friend and I have started running - er, trotting and wheezing, whatever, tomayto, tomahto - so Emily sent me all of these great papers and embellishments for a running journal. I'm not buying the whole running = fun thing yet. It still kicks my butt every time we go out, but playing with paper and scissors = fun. A little injection of craftiness can only help with my motivation.

(I'm a little nervous that she gave me a pack of "2008" rub-on dates. Does this mean I'll still have to run a year from now?)

On an unrelated note, but since red things seem appropriate for a Valentine's Day post, I found a use for the red cotton yarn I had leftover from my toddler vest:

Fetching! Still a fun pattern the second (third?) time around. This time I tried the picot bind off. Or, at least something resembling the picot bind off.

Magically, Lion Brand Wool-Ease, Rowan Calmer and mystery-brand mill end cotton (post washer and dryer) all gave me the correct gauge for this pattern on size 6 DPNs. Maybe some day I'll give this a go with the cashmerino that is recommended in the pattern.

We'll see. This pair is beagle-approved and off to Michigan. My aunt subtly hinted that she would like a pair, so hopefully she'll like these. And hopefully Michigan will get some fingerless gloves weather soon (a bit too chilly this week).

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Friday, February 09, 2007

6 Weird Things About Me

Alas...6 seems almost diminutive to my wackiness.

1. I have a perfectly round head. Seriously...like a basketball. This has been confirmed by precise measurements taken in the 5th grade as I desperately hoped a home perm would make all of the girls whose names end in "i" like me. If only I had been Emili...my whole life would have been different.

2. I HATE surprises. I attempted for weeks to weasel the photo below out of my sister. She only posted it for fear I self combused as it didn't arrive before 7am of my birthday. I truly fear a surprise party where I am the surprised. I hunt my whole house beginning in November for the Christmas presents, etc.

3. I wear ugly shoes. Sarah is like Imelda Marcos. She actually owns TWO pairs of hot pink shoes. One pair was not enough. I own four. Clearance rack tennis shoes. Brown and black walking shoes (think of your grandpa) and one pair of black "heels". They are rubber bottomed Mary Janes so I don't fall down the aisle as your bridesmaid.

4. I have fun paranoia. If I have an event, I spend the next day calling to make sure you had fun. I had to call home from a pay phone in Mexico on my honeymoon fearing no one had a nice time at my wedding. Hellloooooooooo open bar....but I am just irrationally fun paranoid.

5. I don't like strawberries. Hate them. Think they are gross.

6. I believe if I change my hair, I can change my life. I have been blond, permed, long, red, short. Whatever. I now keep it super short so I can be "transformed" every 4-6 weeks. It also minimizes the damage time of a poorly selected hair color.

Tag out.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

All About Sarah

So, I've been tagged. Which is to say that I've been asked to share 6 weird/unusual/quirky things about me. Sadly, I'm not all that weird, but we'll give it a shot anyway.

(1) I'm a world-class procrastinator. If you don't give me a deadline, it will never get done. And in many cases, even if I do have a deadline, it still won't get done in a timely manner. (case in point: today* is Emily's birthday. today is also the day I put her gift in the mail. oops)

Happy Birthday Emily!

(2) I'm a little shallow. I like having things that no one else has. It could be the crafter in me appreciating one-of-a-kind things. Or it could be the 6 year old in me who never learned to share (neener neener neener).

Either way, it means I am a huge fan of art fairs and boutiques and small business. In Louisville, we have this fantastic place called the Mellwood Arts Center where they have converted an old meat packing plant into artist studios, co-op galleries, shops and restaurants and stuff.

I bought Emily's birthday (late) present there (she knows about it so I can post a picture here). Sharon Major is a jewelry artist with Gallery Janjobe. She makes all of the links and beads for her pieces by hand, and she made this bracelet for Em:

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(3) I am cheap. No, seriously, I mean cheap. CHE-EAP. Which limits the extent to which I can purchase one-of-a-kind things. That may be why crafting appeals to me - I never want to buy anything that I could make. Unfortunately my cheapityness also prevents me from being willing to spend much money on craft supplies.

Dangerously, Archiver's has totally got my number on this. (If you've never been, Archiver's is a colossal scrapbooking mega-store and we recently had one open in Louisville) Once you get on their mailing list, they send you coupons about once a month. The "5 free pieces of cardstock" one is my weakness. This past week I went a bit coupon crazy, and came up with these:

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The mini-albums were on the clearance rack - apparently leftover from Christmas. Don't they realize that the pearlized white ones would be perfect for a baby or a wedding? And the little red books would be great for Valentine's Day.

The little word charms were from the Hot Spot (think bargain bins) and aquired with my "Free Hot Spot item" coupon. The blue cardstock was one of my free sheets. And the little metal guys were from my 30% off one item coupon. Final cost: I have no idea, but I'm pretty sure Archiver's lost money on the deal.

But back to me...

(4) I am a colossal dork. A few years ago, I would have characterized myself as a pop-culture junkie, but I haven't had cable for a few years, so my references are all embarasingly dated. If something sounds familiar in one of my posts, chances are it could be sourced back to a John Hughes movie or an episode of 90210. Sometimes I branch out, but seldom beyond the mid-90s.

(5) I am secretly obsessed with vegan recipes even though I think animals are delicious. My greatest fear is that someone would come over to my house and leave hungry. Well, maybe not my greatest fear. Lions are pretty scary, but hungry guests are right up there.

I think I come by this genetically - people come over, you feed them. One time my cousin and his friend spent a long weekend with my Grandma. The friend gained 7 pounds that weekend. Nobody goes hungry around here.

I like vegan recipes because anyone can usually eat them. One time I had a friend for dinner that I didn't realize was vegan (for the record, if you are vegan, that is the sort of thing you should tell people before they make you dinner). Fortunately, I had made a pumpkin stew for the vegetarians which was vegan by coincidence.

I should probably clarify, that I am obsessed with recipes that are vegan by coincidence. That is my preferred category for party food. Since I am not actually vegan myself, I don't want to eat soy cheese or any sort of susbstitute foods.

Presently, I'm obsessed with Pumpkin-Peanut Soup

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Emily and I had this once at a local restaurant and it was fantastic - I'm obsessed with recreating it. I made a batch last weekend using store brand peanut butter (see previous notes re: cheapity) and it wasn't that good. The picture is from a batch I made earlier this fall using brand name peanut butter that was delicious (it was just Skippy, but it made all the difference).

I highly recommend trying this - just don't cheap out on the peanut butter. It's even better if you make it in the fall when you can wow your friends with the uber-Martha touch of serving it from a pumpkin. Alternately, if you find yourself in downtown Louisville, check the specials at Artemesia. I don't think their version is vegan, but it is fantastic.

Not near Artemesia, here you go:

1 medium onion
3-4 ribs celery
4 cloves garlic
2 T butter (or margarine)
2 T flour
3 (14oz) cans vegetable stock or about 5 cups
1 cup creamy non-store brand peanut butter
1 (29oz) can pumpkin -or- cooked and pureed flesh from a 5-6 lb pumpkin
1/2 c cream (optional)
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 T coriander seeds -or- approx. 1 T coriander
1/2 tsp ginger
salt and pepper to taste

Toast and crush the coriander seeds. Chop the onion and celery into large pieces - they will be removed later. Finely mince garlic. Melt butter in stock pot and saute onion and celery for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 5 minutes more. Add the flour and stir until dissolved. Add the stock and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Strain out the onion and celery and return to heat. Add pumpkin, peanut butter, cream and spices. Whisk to create a smooth soup and simmer 15 minutes.

For vegan soup, skip the cream and use margarine or a bit of oil in place of the butter. Still good.

But back to me...

(6) I am a pretty lazy hostess. Don't get me wrong, if I am having people over, I will probably have spent the week beforehand making shopping lists and to-do lists. I'll have rethought the menu three or four times - to make sure there is something for the vegans. And probably something else in case someone is allergic to nuts and can't have peanut soup. This seems paranoid, but I actually find that part fun.

Like I said, nobody goes home hungry. But nobody gets a second beer if they don't get it out of the fridge themselves.

Hmmm...maybe those aren't the weirdest things about me, but look how nicely it tied in with the pictures I had to show you. I'm not going to tag anyone, since I think most people have already completed this particular questionnaire. But maybe Emily will tell you why she is weird anyway.

*note: Wednesday was Emily's birthday, but I procrastinated finishing this post until Thursday.