the end is here

It’s the 30th! That makes this my final NaBloPoMo post of 2015. I didn’t feel as pressured as past years, I think because I let myself miss days. Maybe I should care more about missing but who would be mad? Me? As usual, this exercise makes me wish I posted more often on my blog. I would say that after this I will try to do so but we both know that I would be lying because I am pretty sure if you looked at my posts from November 30th for ever NaBloPoMo, I have said the same thing.

I had so much fun the other day painting my winter scenes that I decided to play a bit with my water colors again today.

WatercolorsWatercolors
WatercolorsWatercolors

There was a pumpkin, a turnip, a little hedgehog and a robot with a balloon. The robot suffered from “I should have left it alone” disorder. I kept messing with his face and I am not happy with the end result. Oh well.

I enjoyed my November and I hope you did as well and I hope to be back soon with painting, coloring, food, or, you know, knitting to share with you!

unplugged, or not

It is almost the end of NaBloPoMo and I am running out of topics. Also, I had sort of a low key day without much blog fodder happening. I went to the farmer’s market and it was cold (well, California cold, bordering on actual cold). I went for a walk with a friend her dog. I knitted a little. Here’s a picture of that.

log cabin beginnings

I am making a log cabin baby blanket, sort of like the one in the drawing in that book, but with fewer stripes and simpler colors, I think. It’s for a friend’s daughter who is pregnant. The yarn is really soft and cozy and I have rainbow colors.

So, what I was going to write about was an answer to the Daily Post’s promptSometimes, we all need a break from these little glowing boxes. How do you know when it’s time to unplug? What do you do to make it happen?

This prompt has touched a nerve since I would say I am in fairly constant need of unplugging. A few times I have deactivated my Facebook account when I feel overwhelmed by either negativity there or I feel like I am comparing my insides to other people’s outsides too much but other than that I don’t unplug unless forced.

So now I think I should make a plan for unplugged time to happen regularly in my life. I try to put the iPad away a while before bedtime but I’m not always good at that either. I should probably start with a daily unplugging at a certain time of night and then expand to not checking my social media once a week or something. I don’t want to disconnect from my phone completely because I have several friends who are far away (or not that far away) that I reach out to for moral support on a fairly regular basis. Sometimes a digital connection is also a human connection but I do need to learn to disconnect from the mindless scrolling of Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, and online news sites.

Thanks for the prompt, Daily Post, it has given me something to think about.

honey cowl is finished!

My first finished project since September!

Finished Honey Cowl

I love it!

Finished Honey Cowl

Yes, really, even though I am not smiling at all. It took all day to dry and now it’s late and I’m tired.

This yarn came from a friend’s haul at Goodwill and I have three more skeins of it. I need to figure out what the rest of it will become. I do have my next project all picked out. It’s a log cabin baby blanket in a fuzzy, soft cotton yarn. I have high hopes for it.

and then someone ELSE barfed…

…and it was me. No post yesterday, I spent about 36 hours either in my bed or on the couch. I got through the last two episodes of Master of None, although I fell asleep in the middle of the last one. That is no reflection on the show, just that being sick was wearing me out. I enjoyed the whole season quite a bit. I hope he makes more.

This morning I wasn’t feeling that much better but I did have energy to start moving around again, and my energy slowly returned during the day. I enjoyed the leftovers from the Thanksgiving dinner that I had missed. My husband brought me home quite a spread. I ended up eating some of it for lunch and dinner. The rest might have to be breakfast because we are having second Thanksgiving tomorrow. Yum!

I got to work on our holiday card. I wanted to draw something for our card this year and peace has been on my mind recently, so I tried to make a peace zentangle.

Untitled

I am not sure the peace sign read well enough and I decided I didn’t like either the colors or patterns I had chosen, so I tried a more traditional winter scene route.

Untitled

I ended up feeling like there were too many trees (which my 13-year-old son thought was ridiculous). Also, I smudged one of the trees with my thumb. So I tried again.

Untitled

I was happy with this but not ecstatic. Then I had an idea to try something with one of my coloring pages.

Untitled

This is not my final piece but it is along the same lines as what I ended up using. I’m pretty happy with the one I chose for the card and I like this one, maybe for a holiday profile picture!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving (or Thursday, if you are not in the US) and that you weren’t too sick for the turkey, like I was. I finished a knitted item today, but I want to block it before taking a picture to show it off. Hopefully tomorrow!

and then someone barfed…

After my last post about my younger son barfing a friend commented that the title of her autobiography, or maybe it was her book on parenting, was going to be “And then someone barfed.” I suspect you can see where this is going. My husband started to feel unwell after dinner and went to bed early, I put the younger son to sleep and then stayed up too late watching TV with the older son. He went up to get ready for bed and I sat in the living room enjoying the sound of the rain when there was a sound of.. something else.

I had been expecting my husband to be the next one down for the count. He had even taken a bucket to have next to his side of the bed but it was my older son’s turn. I can’t remember the last time before this that someone threw up so apparently  my kids are unclear on how to do it in a way that minimizes clean up. Younger son barfed in the bathroom sink, older son all over the floor of the bathroom. So, at midnight I was washing the rug and cleaning the floor of the bathroom.

The good news is that both the older son and husband appear to be fine now. I spent a large portion of today washing the bath toys that were in the wrong place at the wrong time followed by making the soup I mentioned the other day. You guys, that soup, it took me three hours! I didn’t want to leave the seeds in (the recipe has you cooking the stringy bits and seeds in broth to impart more pumpkin flavor) so I could roast them so that too me longer than it would have otherwise but there were LOTS of steps. It smelled great when it was cooking so I have hopes that it will be delicious but it really better be!

Oh, amidst all of that I also baked a maple walnut pie which won’t win any beauty contests but will also hopefully be delicious. Fingers crossed!

short hair

I forgot to post yesterday. I feel like it was a bit of a frantic day but I am kind of blanking on what I did. I know I took a kid to the dentist but other than that I am drawing a blank. As my father says, it’s hell getting old.

I am not sure I have much to post about today either. I got a somewhat drastic haircut this morning, which was very exciting. I was considering getting an undercut, kind of like Rhianna. In case you don’t know, I don’t look anything like Rhianna but whenever I search Google images for short curly haircuts of any type, there is invariably a picture of her and that is the cut that I want. I do think we have similar amount of curl in our hair a lot of the time (but I think hers might be more manufactured curl because other times her hair is much curlier than mine). The morale of the story is: I want to look like Rhianna. Really, who wouldn’t? She’s gorgeous! I didn’t get the undercut (either in the picture or anything close to it) and instead left the back and sides a bit longer. Maybe I’ll be braver later and go for that.

I would share a picture of the haircut I actually got but I took one shot to share with a friend today and but it’s not my favorite. I did post it on Facebook so that my family would know what to expect when I reappeared but I’m not ready to share it here. My younger son was at school when all of this happened, so he didn’t see it and he was a bit shocked by my hair. This evening he introduced me to someone (someone I already knew, for the record) by saying, “my mom just got a haircut, she doesn’t usually look like that.” Hopefully he’ll get used to it!

And then I’ll go out and get the even more drastic undercut. But I’ll warn him first.

soup inventory

We have been invited to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving this year and her tradition is to have soup with the meal. I said that I would make the soup and set out to find a sufficiently Thanksgiving-y recipe. I settled on a Martha Stewart recipe for Harvest Pumpkin Soup. I had a couple of sugar pie pumpkins on hand from my CSA but set out to look for the other vegetables needed at the farmer’s market today. I was only partially successful.

Beginning of soup

I got the turnip and shallot (pictured above) but I couldn’t find any parsnips! I asked one of the vendors and he said that their winter vegetables are just starting to come into season. I picked one up at Safeway instead. I still need to get a few things plus ingredients to make the Moosewood’s Maple Walnut Pie. It is kind of like a pecan pie without corn syrup, so it’s less sticky. I have made it before and really like it.

I am gearing up for Thanksgiving and looking forward to the rest of the meal along with the good company of my friends and family!

busy busy busy day

It was a totally crazy day. We scouted for food with the Boy Scouts. Then was my younger son’s last soccer game followed by a party. My friend Katy made this incredible cake.

Katy's amazing cake.

It was also delicious. The bottom part was chocolate and the ball was sculpted out of rice krispie treats. She is a genius!

I made less beautiful but still tasty vanilla butter cupcakes with chocolate ganache.

My not as beautiful but still delicious cupcakes.

When we came home I decided it was high time that I actually tried out the book making idea.

First book

I got The Essential Guide to Making Handmade Books from the library and then stumbled upon a copy of it at the second hand bookstore. I followed the book’s instructions for a Single Section Pamphlet. I was glad to get some practice sewing the binding but I’m not totally excited with how it turned out. I think if I want to make more of these, I should cut the coloring page in half lengthwise first. I think it will make a better proportioned booklet.

In the process of making this book, however, I discovered that I don’t know where my exacto knife is. I tried to use my husband’s larger craft knife but the blade was too dull. I need to get a sharper blade or find my exacto knife before I can try again. It is good to have goals.

so much for the to do list

I talked about my to do list two days ago and the back-to-back schedule for the coming weekend. Then, last night, one of my kids barfed and that changed everything. I had to stay home with him today instead of running around doing all the things I had planned. A bunch of the things I had to do were in preparation for going out tonight, which we didn’t end up doing, also because he was sick.

And everything was fine.

We hung up out, I made chicken stock in the pressure cooker which became matzo ball soup at dinner. I made the cupcakes for tomorrow’s soccer party and had time to frost them which I thought I would have to do tomorrow.

It was a nice day.

Back to the crazy packed schedule tomorrow. And the to do list. Wish me luck!

pumpkin seeds and fabric collage

So, I am clearly a liar. I didn’t make anything yesterday! Well, I roasted pumpkin seeds.

Roasted pumpkin seeds

They were delicious, as usual. I have a roundabout, time-consuming recipe that I really think is worth it. I don’t remember where I got the recipe and I only have approximations and not exact amounts but what I generally do is (after scooping the seeds and separating them from the pumpkin guts):

  1. Dissolve some salt in some hot water.
  2. Soak seeds in salt water for several hours.
  3. Rinse soaked seeds and then spread out on a tea towel and allow to dry completely. Overnight is best.
  4. Toss soaked seeds with melted coconut oil and whatever seasoning you like (I am a purist and like just salt).
  5. Roast in a 350 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes, until golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes or so.
  6. Try not to eat them all at once.

I made them at the request of my younger son and I made the supreme sacrifice of leaving most of them for him.

Today was fabric collage day in Arts Focus. Sometimes the kids cut one shape and are done but this year we had a lot of intricate designs. I particularly liked these two.

fabric collage

fabric collage

The next three days are going to be very busy ones for me! I hope that I can find the time to post.