Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Spring Clean

It's spring cleaning time.

What have I been doing?
I have been doing the Yogi's Cleanse over at Golden Bridge.

What does that mean?
It means that for 9 days I am getting up at 5am and getting my buns over to the studio for 6:30am yoga. Yeah, really.

It's Day 5 of the cleanse. This is the first day I have been able to write. The last three days we did the liver flush. Try drinking this first thing after yoga class... Garlic, olive oil, parsley, lemon, tangerine, grapefruit, cayenne and ginger. It would make a great salad dressing but chugging an 8 ounce glass is a triumph in fortitude. Monday I was burping garlic all day and thought I was going to die. Carla cured me when she mentioned I should try some ginger. A cup of ginger tea did the trick. She's so smart.

Today we learned about our monkey glands. Monkey glands?! Yeah monkey glands. It was explained to me as tiny glands in the back of the throat that accumulate the gunky toxins when you sleep. To expel the monkey glands one should use the tongue scraper. Then dry brush the teeth and then take the tooth brush and gag yourself until the monkey glands expel one or two tiny pocketfuls of mucus. Have I lost you? Now you can brush your teeth with toothpaste. The good thing for me is I can easily gag myself with my tongue scraper, especially in the morning.

That's what I have been doing. Oh there is lots of herbs and teas and even giant teabags for the bathtub, plus master cleanse and fresh juices. Tomorrow we start the green days. No beans, grains or nuts. Thankfully no more liver flush. Woohoo!

I have also been sewing for the Bend the Rules Sewing Swap. I'll be posting pics soon!

Now if you google monkey glands a whole different and interesting story shows up plus a cocktail, but that would ruin my fresh and shiny liver.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The goodness of bread

The hubby has been learning how to make bread. It all started with making pizza dough. He has since turned into quite a pizzaiolo aka pizza maker. From pizza dough it was a short leap to bread making. For his birthday last year he got this book from my mom.

The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread by Peter Reinhart. This book has a James Beard Cookbook of the Year Award as well as the IACP Book of the Year Award. Peter Reinhart is the mover and shaker in the artisanal bread movement in America. My favorite baguette/pizza dough recipe comes from this book. It is all time! The hubby has also made wheat bread and whole grain bread. I am a happy little taster for all the bread endeavors.

Last week I bought him a new book
Book: Artisan Bread
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. In this book you make a 5 quart bucket full of dough that sits in the fridge for up to 14 days. When you want bread you take a grapefruit size ball from the mother dough and let it sit out for 20 minutes to rise and then bake. BAM-O and you have fresh baked bread.

Here is Monday night's bread.
Monday bread1

This was delicious with honey slathered all over it. It was also good the next day as a sandwich bread with grilled chicken breast (leftovers), arugula and gouda cheese.

Here is Today's bread

Today for lunch was black forest ham, swiss, and arugula.

The interesting thing about this dough is that the flavor ripens and develops the longer it is in the fridge. So you never really have the same loaf of bread. How great is that? The dough was really simple to make. The hubs didn't even bust out the KitchenAid mixer. Now he wants to take me to Paris so we can taste bread at famous boulangeries. Fresh bread and trips to boot. Now this is a good thing!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

This past Sunday I picked up a couple of more herbs at the Farmer's Market. The herbs are a dollar a piece! This is a bargain considering how expensive herbs are at the grocery store. The pots I bought for the herbs were on the larger size so a trio of herbs for each pot was in order.



Sage, Oregano, & Parsley

Parsley, Thyme, & Rosemary

These are happy herbs...

freed from their tiny, yet recyclable, plastic containers. The tomatoes got reigned in with tomato cages. They are growing and flowering and I am anxiously awaiting their bounty.

Here is the frontyard. I planted the euphorbia. Can you see it? I trimmed the Palo Verde and deheaded some of the flowers and pulled some weeds There are a bunch of baby ladybugs hanging out in the Jerusalem sage. So cute. They don't even have spots yet. The herb pots are on the steps and not to far from the front door for easy snipping at dinner time. I love playing in the dirt.

Here is my Earth Day knitting recommendation.
This is Soak. It is a "gently scented, biodegradable, phosphate-free, rinse free" wool wash. I recently purchased mine from Unwind. It works great. You just need one capful to one gallon of water. You soak the wool garment for 15 minutes. There is no need for rinsing. Just gently squeeze out the garment. It leaves a very subtle and fresh scent and the wool very soft and pliable. There is fragrance free for those with sensitivities. You can use it on your lingerie and your dogs too! Biodegradable and Phosphate-free mean it's good for the environment. Phosphates contribute to water pollution by encouraging the growth of algae which can kill fish and other aquatic life. To get the dirt on Phosphates go here.

Things to do today.
Plant a tree or hug a tree or contemplate a majestic tree or a small delicate flower. Plant some herbs or take a walk around the block. Get outside for a moment. Bask in the sunlight. Feel gratitude for the food you eat and the firm ground you walk upon.

Thank you Mother Earth for your good care. May we do the same for you.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Button, Button

Button sorting is good fun!
button sort


Really it is! I needed to find some red buttons for a project I am working on. While watching HGTV I sorted buttons for over an hour. It was lots of fun finding the treasures within the giant button jar that my friend Charissa gave me for my birthday. I had piles of brass buttons, buttons by color, strange buttons, debris, beads and even buckles. There is still more sorting to do and then the hardest part of all will be finding a place where I can see them all for inspiration and use. We are spatially challenged at our house. It was a simple yet rewarding task playing with my buttons.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Farmer's Market: 4/20/08

In today's grocery bag we find...

bloomsbury spinach
Bloomsbury spinach

japanese cucumbers
Japanese cucumbers





The spinach went into a frittata with onions, cherub tomatoes, and gouda cheese. Along side was a simple butter lettuce salad with french radishes and dressed with oil and vinegar. Today the hubby, the master baker in residence, made whole wheat bread. In my eagerness to eat the fresh bread I forgot to take pictures. The smell of freshly baked bread is a scent near to heaven. Darcy was in the neighborhood and helped us to break bread. Dinner was simple and delicious.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The wonder that is...

Ellen Bloom!
Ellen is one heck of a creative force. As the undisputed Red Heart Queen of Crochet she is a willing and ready teacher for hook and needle. Anyone who knows Ellen knows she is prolific in her creativity. She recently knit up a divine sweater for Mary Jo in 8 days! L.A. Ell didn't get her reputation and nom de plume for nothing. As a native Angelena she can recommend a neighborhood, restaurant, yarn store, or art gallery in any quadrant of Los Angeles. She always has her ears to the pavement and knows what is happening in this concrete jungle we call home. Her joy for life, generosity, and artistry make her a great friend.

She recently wrote about the Eye of the Partridge Stitch.
eye of the partridge 1

This is a stitch used in sock making for turning the heel.
I decided to give it a try and make a scarf. To create a border I knit in garter stitch for 4 rows and created a K3 border around the Eye of the Partridge stitch.
The yarn is Paton's Classic Wool in Forest and Rosewood.

classic yarn

CO on 31 sts.
Knit 4 rows.
Row 1: K3, * K1, bring yarn to the front, sl1 purlwise, bring yarn to the back * repeat until the last 3 sts, K3.
Row 2: K3, purl across to last 3 sts, K3.
Row 3: K3, *bring yarn to the front, sl1 purlwise, bring yarn to the back, K1 * repeat until the last 3 sts, K3.
Row 4: K3, purl to last 3 sts, K3.

The Eye of the Partridge (E.P.) Stitch requires an odd number of stitches.
It is important to bring the yarn to the front and the back, wrapping the slipped purlwise stitch. When I first tried the stitch I missed that little detail. Ellen really helped me out and showed me how to knit this stitch even faster. I hope I can explain it well. Here goes.

Let's break down the knit stitch with this learning rhyme.

In thru the front door,
Around the back,
Out thru the window,
And off jumps jack.

Well here is the fast tip while doing the E.P Stitch.

In thru the front door,
Around the back,
Out thru the window,
Around the back again,
And off jumps jack,
(the second "around the back" brings the yarn to the front)

Now to finish the E.P stitch

sl1 purlwise, but before you pull the yarn off the left needle, wrap the yarn around the front of both needles to the back (this means from left to right, this creates the wrap) and then slip the stitch off the left needle. Now the yarn is in the back and ready to knit.

eye of the partridge 2

Repeat to create the pattern. It just took a couple of rows to get a rhythm and it is a lot faster than continuously bringing the yarn forward and back after each stitch. This way the yarn moves forward and back while making the stitch. Genius a la Ellen! With this particular yarn the E.P. stitch has a fair isle look. The dashes in the the above sample are the wrapped stitches. It really is a fun stitch and with Ellen's quick knit tip it is knitting up really quickly. This tip doesn't just apply to the E.P. stitch. You can use it anytime you need to move the yarn to the front or back, like in a rib stitch. Mad Genius!

On the same day that Ellen taught me to speed up my knitting she gave me the gift of the cutest fabric. Check it out.
boy & girl fabric

boy & girl fabric close up
I have only started to dream up what creations to make for Cookie and Kiss with this fabulous fabric. Please, I will happily take suggestions for cute baby patterns. What do you imagine when you see this fabric?

tank knits
Tank likes to knit.

Here is Shannita's Boho Beret that I made with the same yarn. This is the pattern that was in the LA Times a while back. It is a great pattern.
boho beret 2
The Paton's Classic Wool is a fun and affordable yarn. Look how fab it knits up!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Simon & Garfunkel Moment




and Thyme

This weekend I did not go to the Scarborough Fair but to the Hollywood Farmer's Market. It is a treat to go on Sunday morning and see the bounty of vegetables and find something delicious to taste and eat. This week we picked up some herbs. Fresh herbs just add that bright bit of freshness to cooking.

This is a Euphorbia something or other. I have totally forgotten. It is a succulent from the Canary Islands. I am going to plant it in the front yard. It is supposed to grow up to 6' tall. It's only 2' now so I can't wait to see how it fairs and grows in the front yard.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Flowers & Busy Bees

Sunday was a day out with the girls to celebrate Darcy & Mary Jo's birthdays. We had lunch at Joselito's in Montrose. Try the banana margarita. De-lish.

After lunch we had a walk through Descanso Gardens.


The flowers were in the full bloom of spring-y-ness.







What are these fabulous flowers?

OH it's Ellen...hiding among the lilacs.

Yes the lilacs are in bloom! Descanso has an amazing lilac garden. We were absolutely intoxicated with the heady scents of all the lilacs. We were buzzing around and sniffing every bloom in the place. The scent really takes you somewhere else. It reminds me of my backyard as a kid in the Valley. We loved the few fragrant blooms that showed up every spring.




The best part about getting crafty friends together is that they all give and or make great gifts. Here are some of the fabulous gifts.

Ellen knit a great sweater for Mary Jo
and she made a felted granny square clutch for Darcy.


Lori found funny tiles at Cafe Press.
Carla sewed up the most adorable notebook for Darcy. Check out the pictures and info here.
You really have to check it out. Go on and click "here" You will not be disappointed. True fabulousness.

I made some stitch markers.
Green stars for Darcy

Butterflies for Mary Jo.

Here is the carnelian necklace I made for Mary Jo.

We really had a great day of sniffing flowers...
and celebrating special people in our lives.

Happy Birthday Darcy!

Happy Birthday Mary Jo!