Thursday, December 16, 2010

Quick Knits

These are two projects I worked on in October/November. Since, I couldn't buy new yarn I used leftover yarn for simple projects.

The first is a scarf in garter stitch and the second is the child size, basic rolled-brim hat from Knitting for Peace.

Unfortunately, I can't share the names of the yarns because I lost (or threw away) the info that came with them. Although, I think the darker maroon on the scarf is Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick.

The hat actually fits a toddler because I purposely shrunk it down in the wash.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Green School

I think most of us are aware of how our public education system suffers daily. We're confronted with regular reports on how the curriculum has deteriorated into teaching for some inane standardized test and that school levies consistently fail. As a result, schools continue to be shut down and funding cut, leaving great teachers to struggle every day in order to safeguard the futures of America's children.

I saw this speech about a school in Bali, where the students seem to be thriving. It got me thinking about how our public school system might need a total reboot. We need to start thinking outside the box, creating a "local to global" approach.

I don't usually get political on this blog, so I'll just step off the soap box now. :o)

If for no other reason, check out the school for its amazing architecture.

Go here if you want to see a short documentary of this school.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Improv Cookies

Okay, so I know that I said I'd post the scone recipe from this summer. I haven't forgotten the promise. Time just got away from me. Forgive me?

Anyway, I will post it and soon. I just have to make them again to refresh my memory as I didn't actually write anything down at the time.

To tide you over until then, here is a recipe I made up yesterday while we were housebound.

You see, I haven't really been able to get into the holiday spirit due to the move. Yesterday, I was really looking forward to going to a co-op and getting ingredients to makes Christmas cookies. Alas, the roads were closed and I was bummed.

Then I decided to try and use what I had around the house and see if I could make anything edible. And I did!

Here it is:

Winter Sunrise Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 sticks of butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp orange flavor/extract
2 cups dried cranberries
Powdered Sugar (for dusting)

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl and whisk together. Set aside. Combine butter and sugar and beat until nice and fluffy. Continue beating, adding one egg at a time. Beat in orange extract. Slowly mix in flour. Once everything is combined, stir in dried cranberries.

Place teaspoonfuls of mixture on non-stick baking sheet (I cover the baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper). Bake for approx. 12 minutes (depending on oven). Remove from oven and dust with sifted powdered sugar. After a minute or two remove from baking sheet and cool on rack.

Then eat this yummy bit of sweet winter sunshine!

You could probably add your favorite nuts to the recipe as well. I just didn't have any and Jonathan doesn't like nuts anyway.

And one more thing...

Check out our frozen windows.

Our Kitchen Window.

Our Bedroom Window.

Baby, it's cold outside.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


While Jonathan and I searched for jobs, there was a song on the radio that always made us dance around. Whether we were at home or stuck in traffic on 94, the song filled us with hope and unrestrained happiness.

You've probably heard it too and hopefully you couldn't control yourself from shaking your bootie. :)

Here's a little sunshine to brighten up your day...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Crafty Rebel

I visited a craft store in N.E. Minneapolis yesterday and I am in love! It's called Crafty Planet. From Sublime Stitching to fabric patterned with everything from gnomes, Mexican sugar skulls or amazing abstracts, this is not your grandmother's craft store (unless you have one of those awesomely hip grandmothers). And there's yarn too. Lots and lots of yummy, soft yarn. I saw a yarn there called Mini-Mochi and I can't wait to try some.

I'm also seriously looking forward to taking sewing classes there some day. I've been wanting to learn for awhile now.

Hooray for Crafty Planet!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fairy Doors, I Miss Ya!

I like to visit the blog design*sponge whenever I get a chance. I always find great inspiration there. During my latest perusal I was happy to see my favorite city in Michigan (Ann Arbor) gettin' some love. It makes this chica a bit homesick!

Check the post out here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Spin Me Right 'Round, Baby

With the help of a generous, knowledgeable spinner (thanks, Malla), I spun yarn for the first time yesterday.

I used a drop spindle. I am eager to try the spinning wheel. This could get addicting once we have a steady income. :o)

Thursday, September 2, 2010


My mom recently sent me a magnet. I heart it mucho and, so, I thought I'd share it with you.

In a single, uncomplicated phrase this magnet make a deeply perceptive observation...

Zombies ARE crap at knitting.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mismatched Mittens

I know it's August. And with the way the humidity and the heat has cooked us lately, the last thing you want to think of is wool mittens.

I understand. I do. However, mittens just happen to be my latest completed knitting project. And I'm in love with them! I chose to make them mismatched for no other reason than I thought it would be fun. They're super soft and warm. I can't wait to wear them in the fall and winter.

For those of you who want to know--the pattern is from Holiday Knits by Sara Lucas and Allison Isaacs and the yarn is Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted in Periwinkle and Amethyst.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I Needed My Wellies

I woke up this morning at 5:45 a.m. and started making scones at 6. That's right! Today was the big day--The Irish Fair and baking contest in Saint Paul.

I've been working on two scone recipes the last couple weeks (read about them here and here). I decided to go ahead and enter both. We arrived around 10:00 a.m., walked to the pavilion in the park, left the scones to be judged and went out to enjoy the fair.

One of the best parts of the fair was being able to sit down and work a loom. After just a few moments passing the yarn through (I don't know the official term for that particular action) and helping to create a scarf, I was hooked. I see myself joining the Weavers Guild sometime in the future. :o)

We walked around (it was a bit muddy, hence the need for wellies), ate some fish 'n' chips and enjoyed the music. Eventually, we returned to pick up the scones and find out the results. And guess what?

First Place!

I couldn't believe it. Jonathan saw the ribbon before me and said, "Honey, you got first place."

To which I replied, "Shut up. Whatever."

I thought he was joking, turns out he wasn't.

I'm smiling. A lot.

The winning scone had apricots and crystallized ginger in it. I will post the recipe soon. I still haven't written it down or settled on all the measurements.

I kind of want to scream for joy! :o)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Another Super Scone Idea

I'm working on another scone recipe. The new recipe contains darker, richer flavors. I'm still tinkering with the summer fruit one as well. I'm thinking of entering two totally different recipes.

Along with the fruity one, I will post this new recipe soon. :o)

Before Baking . . .

After Baking . . .

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hug Your Local Farmer

It's a hopeful sight to see more and more farmers' markets and co-ops popping up and thriving. If you don't already, I encourage you to seek out one yourself. What will you get?

Fresher food.
Better Taste.
Maybe even a new friend.

And the knowledge that you're directly supporting those individuals who grow what sustains you.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Scones And Butterflies

In a couple weeks the Irish Fair of Minnesota will be taking place in Saint Paul.

Most people know that I've always had a soft spot for all things Irish. Someday, I want to actually travel to Ireland. Jonathan and I would probably rent a couple of bicycles and ride around looking for wool, faeries and pubs. Anyone want to put on their Wellies and go with us? All are welcome.

Naturally, we plan to attend the Fair! It looks like fun with lots of events and it's free, so how can you beat that?

One of the events is a baking contest. You either have to make scones or soda bread. With a wee bit of nudging from Jonathan, I decided it'd be fun to enter some scones. Last night, I started working on a recipe.

They're sweet scones instead of savory. I'm trying out some summer fruits as well as some other ingredients. The ones I made last night are close to what I want, but the recipe still needs to be tweaked. I'm also testing a sweet glaze for them (that's why they're so shiny).

When I finish working on the scones, I'll post the recipe here.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Now on to the the butterflies!

Actually it was just one butterfly.

One very cooperative butterfly.

Early this evening we went on a walk along the Mississippi (they have great walking and biking trails along the river). While we walked, I saw a butterfly sitting on a leaf. Now most butterflies can't be bothered with photo-ops and other such nonsense. They're far too busy collecting nectar and what not. This butterfly, however, seemed to have had his fill of the sugary liquid, because he simply laid there and let me take his photo.

He stuck around for a bit and then fluttered off, apparently bored with the photo shoot. *sigh* It really is difficult to find good talent these days. ;o)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Story Circles

This speech by Elif Shafak discusses, among other things, story as a form of stepping outside of our cultural comfort zones and seeking the unknown.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Enjoy your day.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Projects of Yesteryear

I finally finished the blanket and pair of socks I started last year. Both are quick knits, really. I swear. It's just I stuffed these projects away and didn't work on them for a very looooong time.

I won't go into too much detail since I did that in November. I'm just going to post some pictures of the finished projects for your enjoyment.

Here's the blanket...

I wish you could really see the sparkles, because they are my favorite part of the blanket.
Just use your imagination. :0)

And here are the socks...

I heart Noro!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Last week Jonathan and I explored Selby Avenue in St. Paul. We drank hot chocolate and espresso mochas at Nina's Coffee Cafe and then followed a set of stairs that led down to Common Good Books. While Jonathan walked around the store I sat down in a comfy chair in the children's book section and leafed through some picture books. And that's when I found this really funny and adorable book that I would highly recommend to anyone. It's called Miss Brooks Loves Books (And I Don't) by Barbara Bottner and illustrated by Michael Emberley. I found the illustrations endearing and immediately fell in love with the main character. Read it and enjoy the warts!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A New Zone

So, amongst all the the thoughts that fill a person's mind when moving into a new place and trying to start a new life lurks a very insistent voice in my head that really wants me to go outside and garden. I have the space to do it and the go-ahead from the landlord, but I can't bring myself to go out there and just dig. I keep telling myself that there are more important things to do right now and that I'm on a really tight budget and that gardening is not a priority. I'm trying really hard to ignore the voice, but I know there's a plot of land out there covered in weeds just wanting me to fill it up with lovely perennials.


I know that soon I'll be able to go out there and enjoy the dirt. Until then I can plot and plan and come up with all sorts of landscape ideas. I'm excited because I am in an entirely new gardening zone and I really want to add native plants to my own little garden.

However, until I have my new garden up and growing, here's a picture that I took before we left. It's some lady's mantle that I'd planted in my former garden. Enjoy the day!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Minnesota Or Bust

If you're interested in knowing more about our adventure in Minnesota, Jonathan and I created a new blog specifically geared toward that exact topic. Right now, we're calling it Minnesota or Bust. Just follow the link and you'll get there. We'll both be contributing to it, so enjoy. Oh, and I will still be posting to the popsquabble too. I have lots of ideas in my head for fun, artsy projects...I just need to finish unpacking.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Moving On

My husband and I moved on to...Minnesota.

It all started the last week of April, when Jonathan picked me up from my parents and told me he'd been downsized.

Shock. Anger. Sadness. Fear.

There were a lot of emotions. And then the questions. What should we do? Should we stay or leave? If we leave, how will we do it? Is it better to stay? What about our families?

After much thought and research we decided to move. We had talked about moving for years. But it's difficult to leave a steady job in a rough economy, so we stayed.

But suddenly we didn't have the "steady job" to stop us. We knew that if we wanted to pull up stakes and seek out something new...the time was now.

Thanks to help from friends and family, we packed up our stuff and headed west, landing ourselves in the Twin Cities.

We've been feeling everything from exuberant glee to heartbreaking sorrow.

We miss our friends and family very, very much. We are also excited about a new adventure.

So, here's to a new chapter in our lives...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Change In The Winds

There are many things afoot.

Major changes.

Holding on and letting go.

I will explain more later, but for now I'm just breathing in between the busy moments.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Morning Attempt

This morning I attempted to make the Parisian Macarons.


they're flat and bumpy.

The almonds are an issue. I have to grind them finer. Much finer. Only, I'm not sure how. The cuisinart didn't do it and the mortar and pestle didn't do it. The closest I could get was with the coffee grinder. So, I might try and do it again with that or go to the local bake shop and see what they recommend.

I think I over-cooked them too. I left them in the oven for the recommended time, but every oven is different.

I did make lovely stiff peaks of egg whites that I dyed green. But the green didn't seem to make it through the oven experience. More food coloring? I don't know.

They're definitely a delicate pastry, but I will not give up! I will prevail!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

An Inspiring Perspective

I'm used to seeing the world a certain way. My perspective. I think it's something everyone does most of the time. It's easier and doesn't require any extra attention. I see the world as I see it. Plain and simple.

I feel stuck sometimes. Stuck in my writing. Stuck in my art. Stuck in my daily patterns. That's when I say I need inspiration. I.N.S.P.I.R.A.T.I.O.N. And I sit back in my chair and think about exotic places and distant lands I could visit and, thus, replenish myself. Life, unfortunately, doesn't always allow for the much needed travel. But I still need inspiration.

I started thinking about inspiration and realized that a big part of it is really just about changing perspective. Traveling makes it easy. You're instantly thrust into a new culture with vistas you've never seen and flavors you've never tasted. If you immerse yourself in it, you'll probably emerge renewed.

Since I can't travel as much as I'd like, I've decided to try a change of perspective on the home front. Like looking at something or someone I see every day from a new angle. Even trying a new recipe (like Parisian Macaroons) or simply taking a different path to the grocery store. The change isn't quite as sudden as dropping down on a distant tropical island, but it counteracts the discouragement I feel when stagnancy sets in.

So, here's to making new discoveries in everyday life.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


It's a rainy day and I'm sitting here drinking some black tea called Ancient Forests. It's suppose to come from some really old tea plants. We're talking a couple thousand years. The tea is dark and sort of tastes like dirt, but in a good way. Does that make any sense at all?

So, I suddenly got an idea in my head. I don't know if it's a good idea or a bad one, but I want to try and bake Parisian Macaroons. The thing is, I AM AFRAID!. These little confectionary treats scare me. They seem delicate and daunting. But as the Bene Gesserit would say, "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. [...] I will face my fear. I will permit it to passover me and through me."

So, I will attempt them. And soon. If I fail, then I'll try again. The first three times I attempted making bread with yeast the loaves were as hard as a rock. But now I can make yummy, warm, soft bread. I just needed to figure out the whole sugar/yeast/warm water thing. So, when I try and make these Parisian Macaroons they might fall flat and look nothing like they're suppose to and I might cry and be frustrated, but I will persevere. I'm learning to do that more and more. Persevere. It's a good thing.

I'm also almost done with a draft of my novel. Of course, this is just one draft of many to follow. But I'm almost done!!! And it's a crucial point for me, because sometimes when I'm almost done with a project, I have a hard time finishing it. It's that fear again. Frakking fear! So, I joined a little March mini-NaNo, so that I can finish the draft this month. Here's to motivation and facing the fear!

Ooo, I think the sun just came out!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Scarf Of Scrap

I am continually inspired by Noro Kureyon. The boldness of color almost seems to glow with its own light. My latest use of Noro yarn came out of trying to figure out exactly what I should do with all the leftovers from other projects.

Eventually, I decided to create a scarf. Straightforward and uncomplicated. The pattern is a simple garter stitch that I lightly felted. I have to say that this scarf of remnants is my new favorite. I especially love it because it provides a bit of radiance on a cloudy winter day.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Airships And Zombies And Blight! Oh, My!

Earlier this week I mentioned the novel, Boneshaker. Well, I finished it and I have to say that it was a thrilling, page-turning experience. Read it! Of course, if you don't like zombies or dirigibles or mad scientists or steampunk or heart-pounding adventure or Seattle, then you probably won't like this book. Otherwise, I seriously recommend you read it because it's also a story about family (the family you make and the family that makes you) and all the remarkable and infuriating aspects of having relatives.

Now, I'm off to find some more reading material.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Snow enchants me when it glimmers blue in the moonlight and blankets the world so everything quiets down just a bit.

Snow enlivens me with promises of midnight sledding and snowball fights.

Snow comforts me with memories of winters past and childhood delights.

And when the snow falls it compels me to take notice and remember that life was meant more for the saunter than the sprint.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Snowy Excuse To Read

It's a new year and it's cold outside. Luckily, I like the cold and I especially like the snow which is currently covering the ground. More than snow, I also like the excuse to stay indoors and read.

Here's a bit of what I'm currently reading...

Book #1
I just started a novel entitled Boneshaker.

I was initially drawn to the book because of the cover art. I just love the image. Now that I'm reading it, I'm also thoroughly enjoying the story. I can't put it down! I had never heard of Cherie Priest (the author) before, but if Boneshaker continues being the inventive, gripping adventure it currently is, then I'm definitely going to check out her other books.

Book #2
I recently picked up the book Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts from the library (I love me the interlibrary loan system).

I've been thumbing through the book and it is filled with lots of great techniques to bring out creativity. I'm looking forward to trying some of the projects. Who knows, I might just have to buy it.

Book #3
I've been reading E.B. White's essays for awhile now.

I pick the book up sporadically and take in a couple essays at a time. I loved Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little when I was a kid. So, I was curious about what he wrote for the non-children. What amazes me the most about the essays is the relevance of the material even if the essay was written sixty years ago. His work is poignant and filled with humor. It's perceptive and uncomplicated. It fills me with emotion while making me ruminate on the actions of mankind. His writing is simply wonderful.

Book #4
The other book that I am currently dipping into is Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss.

It's an entertaining and sobering look at the state of grammar and all the mistakes we make as poor, imperfect human beings (if only we were pandas). I have the illustrated version and I appreciate the book more because of the drawings of pandas in various states of grammar. If there are any grammatical and/or mistakes in punctuation in this blog entry, I thoroughly apologize to Ms. Truss. I am only human. :o)

So, that's it. That is what I'm currently reading. Hope your book explorations are going well.