Thursday, December 31, 2009

byebye '09

Yesterday I got to spend time with my boys, Tyler and Andre. Be still my heart...Andre wants to learn how to knit a beanie and that required a trip to the Stitch Cafe for yarn and needles. When we got home we all knitted up some swatches while practicing our stitches and listened to Bob Marley.

When Uncle Joe got home the boys played Axis & Allies.

While I made Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Taking over the world is serious business, so we interrupted the game for dinner at Cheebo. After dinner, the boys finished the game. Uncle Joe, playing Germany, won by taking Moscow. Then we all played all the Wii until after 11pm. It was a fun night hanging out at home.

Today we all went to China Town, where we picked up a bonsai tree for Tyler as part of his Christmas present. For lunch, we walked over to Phillipe's and ate everything in sight. Then we took a stroll to Union Station and were in awe over its grandeur. What a beautiful train station. Just being in the train station made me itch to hop on a train and get out of town. Now we are all sprawled out on the couch and watching Up. What a sweet movie.

Today was the just the most perfect way to end a pretty danged good year. Me and the boys walking in the sunshine and enjoying each other. Yep, pretty perfect.

I am off to join them on the couch.

I hope your year ends on a sweet note.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day Memories Thru an Old Lens

Yesterday, in the rush out of the door to get to the festivities, I forgot my camera. Instead of getting all bothered I downloaded a new app for my iphone called the Hipstamatic, whose tag line is digital photography never looked so analog. The results are nostalgic and slightly faded yet the events happened yesterday afternoon.

We all arrived at my Aunt & Uncle's house at the same time with arms full of food and boxes of presents.

The table centerpiece was very festive with fresh roses and vintage choir members.

The tree was trimmed in mostly red and white.

My Aunt has many vintage ornaments that don the tree. This little elf actually has a "made in Japan" sticker on his back.

After some appetizers, drinks, and socializing, we opened presents. There were nine of us all together, a pretty small group, so we took turns opening our presents to make it last as long as possible and enjoy all the gifts and the happy faces.

The sides: Peas & Asparagus, Yams with Apples

Au Gratin Potatoes and Honey Baked Ham
In my mind these two things go together like right and left feet. It's a classic combination that makes my taste buds sing.

Speaking of singing, after dessert we retired to the living room where Roy broke out the autoharp. We sang Christmas carols and it was the perfect way to end a perfect day.

Today, both the hubby and I have the sniffles. This morning has been spent watching Sherlock Holmes on TCM and snoozing on the couch. The prescription for the day is lots of rest and liquids and laying about.

I hope your yesterday was fun and lively and full of love and your today and tomorrow is full of peace.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Scenes of the morning

Merry Christmas to All!

Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tree trimmed

Here is a glimpse of the tree.

At our house the fireplace is outside. We hang the stockings by the TV with care.

A granny from Carla.

We put the old fashioned big lights on the tree this year instead of the twinklers. You know, the kind that will set your house on fire. They get hot!

Yesterday I discovered the the tree skirt soaked up the water from the tree stand. This year the tree will be skirtless. I know...scandalous.

Now to start the wrapping because Santa Claus is coming to town.

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Take me out to the ball game

Sunday morning at Downey High School watching the hubby play his championship baseball game. I did my own boot camp workout for an hour. Now I got new moves and it just seemed natural being outside and all to apply them and keep the sweet potato fried at bay.

The hubby just did a diving catch in the outfield. Awesome! (he thinks I don't pay attention).

He just got a hit. I think he's trying to impress me.

We got a Christmas tree last night. It finally feels like the holidays at our house. The last photo is what Christmas looks like in Hollywood.

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, December 18, 2009

Love & Goats

If you are not familiar with Pomplamoose, let me introduce you all to them. They got something special going on. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One more day

by Jonathan Gill

There is one more day of boot camp. After tomorrow I will have gone everyday for three weeks. 15 days of running, jumping, lunging, lifting weights, holding up my own body weight, crunches, sweating and hauling myself around the park in various ways, in rain and sunshine, in mud and on concrete, I have done it all. In general I am feeling good. The body has toned up. I have made a new friend. It has been a good experience. It's nice to be able to commit to something for the short term and while it has been challenging it was never something I couldn't really do. Maybe something a person in their right mind wouldn't sign up for but it was never something I wasn't capable of doing. This morning the hubby told me he was proud of me and definitely made it worth it.

There were a couple of things I didn't like about the experience, which mainly involved the teacher. She seems to have lost the passion for it (assuming she had it in the first place) and creating a group dynamic. However the best day was this past Monday when we had a relay race. Everyone was in a seated chair position against the wall, but sans the chair and just relying on your burning, quivering thighs to hold you in place. The first person had to run across the field and back before the next person could go and start running across the field and back. You get the picture. We had eight people lined up. The fifth girl to run, literally ran like the wind. She was super fast. I started whooping and hollering and cheering her on because being the seventh person against the wall my thighs were screaming and I appreciated her quickness. Then other people started cheering her on and something about the exercise changed. Most days I am the slowest runner but since this was a race I turned it up a notch and ran as fast as I could because there was one more person waiting to run. Finally we had some camaraderie as a group which had never happened in the previous days or since. It's kind of a shame.

The thing I love the most is being outside and exercising, even on the rainy days. It kind of makes me want to sign up again for the next session even though I am not in love with the teacher. Strange, right? I have a couple of weeks to figure that out, but for now there is light at the end of the tunnel. One more day of boot camp and I am done. Now to call and book an appointment for a massage. My body is screaming for some laying on of hands to relieve these stiff and sore muscles. Woohoo one more day!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Me Love Cookies!

This past weekend I baked up a batch of cookies for a tree trimming party. First I thought I would make straight up ginger cookies but I have a bunch of oatmeal that was screaming to be made into cookies and some cranberries as well. Instead of going one way or another I decided to combine them all into one cookie.

Ginger Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup of butter
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 cups brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups uncooked oatmeal
1 cup minced candied ginger
1 cup dried cranberries

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. In a smaller bowl, stir together 1 cup flour, baking soda, salt and ground ginger. Add mixture to the buttery mix. Add brown sugar, turbinado sugar, eggs, and vanilla to mix. Blend 1-2 minutes, or until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Stir in the oats and the remaining flour. Fold in the candied ginger and cranberries. Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Cool on rack. Makes about 48 cookies.

The cookies were delicious. They were chewy and oaty with gingery heat and a touch of tartness from the cranberries. Now if I make them again, I would definitely add some lemon zest. I think a citrus top note would really elevate all the flavors.

What your favorite cookie recipe? If you have a link to a recipe, please leave it for me. In some ways I consider myself a cookie monster. Me love cookies!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Deck the Door

The other day I picked up a pine wreath at Trader Joe's. It smelled so good I couldn't resist. Now it needed some decorations and crocheted snowflakes seemed to be the call. Attic24 had posted her snowflakes earlier and that's where I started. My first snowflake was made with Vanna's white yarn but the snowflake turned out thick and bulkier than I wanted. Then I remembered my fabulous Noro Silk Garden sock yarn in cream and thought this would do the trick for a slightly more vintage and delicate look. I love they way they turned out. While at Target some time back I had picked up some rustic owls and perched them among the branches. A little pop of red ~Noel~ was added and the wreath was done. Usually I lean more to the tinselly-side of Christmas but I really like the rustic simplicity of the wreath this year.

Now with a wreath at the door it is time to turn to the interior of the house. Hopefully we will be getting a tree today. It doesn't really feel like Christmas until there is a tree in the house and some decorations and of course presents! I have been shopping but I am behind in the making and the days are blowing by. I feel I am not alone in this predicament. Tally Ho!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

All About Camp

Camp Pluckyfluff lives up to its name. You need pluck and fluff and wheel and a weekend to get get buck wild with fiber and have one helluva good time.

On Saturday last we gathered at the Urban Craft Center for a two day extravaganza with fiber and our spinning wheels. The gang was assembled and ready to spin. We learned lots of techniques of which you can find in Lexi Boeger's book Intertwined: The Art of Handspun Yarn, Modern Patterns, and Creative Spinning. The hardest part for me was core spinning. This is where you wrap fiber around a core, sometimes thread and sometimes fiber that you are simultaneously spinning. This technique definitely will require more practice for me, but according to Lexi if you can master it you can make any type of yarn you dream up.

My favorite part was working on the drum carder and creating the different batts from all the available fluffiness. The picture shows a row of carders that we worked on. We put those carders to good use.

My favorite batt was made of mohair and was the lightest cloud of fibery goodness. It was fun to spin up too.

This was one of my favorite yarns of the day. It was thread-plied and depending on the angle in which you held the thread created all kinds of interesting waves and wiggles in the yarn.

This is the mohair in action. It was spun around a purpley pink mohair core, which shows up through the translucence of the mohair batt.

Mohair is not my favorite thing to knit with but it is a beautiful fiber to spin with and creates an amazing yarn.

The entire weekend was all about making yarn and it was so much fun. Lexi is a great teacher with an intuitively creative and curious mind. There is something about the playfulness and randomness in creating these art yarns that appeals to me. I believe it is finding a sense of freedom in and from what could be an exacting and precise pursuit, such as spinning. There is technique and foundation and upon that knowledge there is the pursuit of playful manipulation and pushing the boundaries of the medium in order to stretch yourself in mind and body and yarn. Personally this is where I find a bit of personal satisfaction. It is easy to become trapped by the pursuit of perfection but this workshop showed me that there is beauty in the playful imperfect perfections that I create. This is the stuff that gets me excited and taps into what I know is true for me but sometimes I forget. There is something very meditative about spinning and it is no surprise to me that all kinds of other thoughts and meanings and threads of half formed thoughts have been stirred by the creative endeavors of the weekend.

If you spin I highly recommend going to Camp Pluckyfluff. You will love it. It was actually stumbling upon Lexi's yarns early on in my knitting that made me even consider learning how to spin. I picked up her first self-published book in 2005. Her yarns were like nothing I had ever seen and that was my inspiration to learn how to spin. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to go to camp.

Now let's talk about the Urban Craft Center. Great place. If you live in LA and you haven't been to the Urban Craft Center, you should drop by or take a class. This was my first time to the new location and it is very nice. I had a Needle Felting Birthday Party at the old location and we all had a blast. The new space is light and airy and with plenty of space and equipment for projects. The retail space is great with fabulous fabrics and lots of other artsy crafty must haves on every shelf.

Tis the season to be crafty and I hope you are enjoying all your projects!