Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's the Great Pumpkin!

Aaaahhh, jack-o-lantern day has arrived! I finally took my littler guy in off the porch to be given his new persona....

I think he's spooky, but also a little odd and funny at the same time. I so enjoy carving pumpkins, it just sucks they're available only a short part of the year. It's the ultimate chance to carve out positive and negative space, but it's on such an un-intimidating canvas the goofiness is a natural side effect. It's so freakin' fun.

Here's last year's model....

A little bit of a friendly vampire look, right? That pumpkin was almost perfectly circular - so fun to fill in that face.

I'd better get to rinsing the pumpkin guts off the seeds, so that delicious toasting can happen tomorrow. Yum - salty crunchy goodness. In the meantime, my porch is ready for trick or treaters.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tee hee hee!

Yes, that is the sound of my geelful giggling. My loving boyfriend bought me surprise fabric last Friday! And didn't he do well?

I'd been telling him about the lovely fabric shop down the road, Sew to Speak, and how fabric from there would make a great Christmas present por moi.. Well, he just happened by it, stopped in and bought me a couple of 1/2 yards of delight! Both are by Amy Butler, and I cannot tell you why, but I feel oddly rich holding this fabrics in my lap. I'm not sure what they'll be made into, but I can't wait to find out myself.

In other news this weekend, after an eventful day bargain hunting groceries, panicky fall yard clean up work and recovering from attending the OSU/Penn state game the night before, T and I decided there was no better way to relax than make a complicated, rich desert. I bring you - the Sachertorte!

(I know, the pictures are a little stark, but the litghting in the kitchen does not make food look yummy.)

Travis found the recipe while leafing through The Kitchen Bible, by Brigitte Hafner. This oh-so- lovely new book has about a million pictures, which, as we all know, makes a cook book good! Every dish has a color picture, and the table of contents is simply a table of pictures arranged in handy ways, like level of diffculty, or hot or cold deserts. And it has a beautiful cover - check it out. We, simple people that we are, chose someting from the "Deserts to Impress" section.

After much chocolate chopping, egg seperating, beating of whites, folding, baking and glazing - there is was, our sachertort. Apparently it's called that because it was invented by a Mr. Franz Sacher, in 1832. Anyway - it's a dense, seriously chocolate cake, layered and coated with apricot preserves, then glazed with dark chocolate. And even though ours came out a teensy tiny bit dry (don't ask) it's still damn good cake.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Burning Bush, White pumpkin, Kale

I'm having a little love affair with the white pumpkin I got Sunday, and had a little photo shoot with it, around the yard and with some very fetching kale from the garden. I don't know what it is about white pumpkins, but dang, I think they're just about the prettiest things out there. I'm a sucker for any pumpkin in general. I grew a couple tiny ones successfully last year, had two that looked great this year, but something tragic happened and they rotted on the vine. (*sniff sniff*)

The book The Compleate Squash, by Amy Goldman, has such amazing pictures of the crazy and wonderful varieties out there. If only they weren't such touchy little things to grow, I think I might become way more obsessed with them.

Friday, October 17, 2008

New Bag, Blue Bag

Well, after figuring out that the handle piece sizes are misprinted in the book, and visiting a couple of errata pages, I figure out the Simple Tote from "Bend the Rules Sewing." Hmmm, not as simple as desired, in my opinion, but I just hate turning sewn pieces right side out and stitching closed the hole. Haaaate it. Okay, I'll stop complaining. This is one of those projects that takes a little mind bending to figure out, but once you do, it makes total sense. I've been wanting to use this Amy Butler fabric forever, but only had a little bit - this was the perfect thing for it. It's a bit wrinkly from use...

In the meantime, I'm hunting around all my fabric hiding places for some flannel (it's around here somewhere) to make a pieced scarf with. Again, inspired by Amy Butler - her book "Midwest Modern." I love looking at those books, but I also get wracked with jealousy because all those pictures of are a life I want to be living! Agh! Oh well, I guess human nature just tends to go that way. Back to my own life, where the dishwasher still needs emptied, the floors swept and the cat has probably yakked all over something. Again. Aah, the round of life!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

It's heeerrre!

Well, it looks like fall is officially here. Trees are turning, some more than others....

I love this tree across the street. This picture just doesn't capture how it seems to glow from inside out. Fall colors are so amazing, so saturated and alive. I love fall, but in a sentimental sort of way. It brings up school memories so intensely, and then I start to think about how winter is really just around the corner, and how summer feels like a long time ago all of a sudden. It makes a girl need a little something to pick her up, like a brightly colored bag!

This is my latest incarnation of the Simple Sewing "Simple Tote." I may have to break it off with that easy tart recipe and marry this pattern instead. It's so ridiculously easy and gratifying I'm finding myself making it again and again. I went a little tricky on this one, and added a small pocket on the inside, for keys or cell phone or lip gloss. When I carry my other version of this bag, I'm continually and frantically hunting for that ringing cell phone, and untangling my keys from the other junk that ends up in there - but no more!

I think I'm going to try a bag pattern from Bend the Rules Sewing, today. Hopefully it will be a breeze like this one!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Quilt Top

Inspired by quilts seen in Jane Brockett's The Gentle Art of Domesticity, I decided to piece together a simple quilt top on my vacation a couple of weeks ago. While I was hoping to purchase fabric with amazing, colorful patterns from the local fabric store Sew to Speak, once I realized the amount of fabric needed, and the cost per yard, I realized I was going to have to economize!

Luckily my mom has a huge fabric stash that she's very generous with. I decided to go with a monochromatic selection of creams, beiges and tans. I like how clean and soothing, and sort of old fashioned the colors are. Feminine without being frilly and pink. It'll be queen sized (in preperation for the day we can actually have that sized bed) once it's done. I'm kind of dreading laying it out and layering batting and backing and pinning. Ugh. No fun. Oh well, the result will be worth it, and it was so dang easy to sew together, I hate to complain.

I guess I'll have to save Sew to Speak for a smaller project - maybe something apron sized?

Friday, October 3, 2008


I'm always really excited when this book comes out every year. I don't pretend to know a lot about comics, either past or present - I just know I like them. What a cool medium - words and images together, but for grown-ups (hmmm, I wonder why this should appeal to a children's librarian).

There's something about the immediacy of the image coupled with the meaning of the words that creates, at times, a weird sort of third meaning. If you had either thing by itself, it would have a distinct meaning - but when you put them together, a totally different mix of the two occurs. I love it - I love these strange, unnerving, funny and beautiful comics. They appeal so much to the part of me that is drawn to process and multiplicity and "in-betweeness."