Thursday, May 27, 2010

More :: Vessels

The first round of vessel can be found here. I'm lucky enough to live in a Boston neighborhood overflowing with competing thrift and antique stores. This means that after a walk around the neighborhood, I usually come home with a few new treasures {mostly from the thrift stores, the the antique shops are a bit hard on the wallet, so they just provide eye candy!}
The big glass jar was purchased along with a lovely old projection screen {but that's not a vessel}. My plan was to immediately clean out the jar and fill it with dried beans or some other grain. As it sat on the counter, two things came to mind 1. maybe I don't need that many beans at one time, and 2. wouldn't this make a great terrarium? Whatever it becomes, I'll sure to keep you updated. The two smaller crocks were purchased on my walk about a week later. I'm not sure what to do with these yet, but I'm enjoying my growing vessel collection!

Next up, a lovely piece of pottery::
This fern is a new addition to our menagerie of houseplants. It was purchased in a cheap plastic pot, and I was on the lookout for a nicer alternative, and I think I found it! Now the fern's thriving in our bathroom ~ we put it on a windowsill inside the shower ~ it isn't hit directly with the water, but enjoys a full bathing in steam a couple of times a day. Plants in the bathroom : awesome.

Enjoy the long weekend, I'm sure I'll be taking another walk around the neighborhood looking for new treasures*

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Almost Frogged.

Procrastination is the perfect tool for bringing new life into old, tossed aside projects. This particular adventure involved a scarf I finished well over 3 years ago. The original pattern was for the multi-layered scarf from Alterknits. The basic scarf/shawl is a tube knit with kidsilk haze, and finished by sliding a piece of silk fabric up the middle of the tube (giving you the "layers"). I love the idea, but once it was finished I never wore it. Here's the tube, sans silk:: I pulled it out a couple of weeks ago and was determined to either take it apart and use the yarn for something else, or make it wearable...

So, with just a little bit of playing, I realized that the tube made a fantastic cowl! Even though the knitting itself is thin and without any shaping, the tube's so long that when you scrunch it together you get a cowl with a lot of structure.

So, a cowl it is! And when I want to control how it falls across my shoulders, my trusty nail* works really well:

*You may remember that I used the nail trick before for my pinwheel sweater.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

More :: Fun with Arugula

For the first arugula installment, click here. This next arugula dish is an updated version of my old stand-by ~ the couscous salad. During the summer months, I like to make a big couscous salad at the beginning of the week because it's great for packing quick and healthy lunches. The basic idea is simple : some couscous, greens, black beans, and then the rest just depends upon what's in my fridge (bell peppers, mushrooms, scallions, fresh herbs, feta cheese, etc).

For this one, I skipped the couscous and went for the quinoa. I've also been on an anchovy kick lately, so those were added, giving the salad a good, salty punch.

-1 cup quinoa - prepared according to the package directions
-1 veggie bullion cube - added to the quinoa water
-1 bag of arugula - you can add it all at once or every day as you make your salad.
-tomatoes! - chopped
-green onions - sliced
-1 can of black beans, rinsed
-olive oil
-balsamic vinegar
-1 can anchovies - chopped

After the quinoa cooks, I let it cool slightly, fluffing it with a fork. Then I like to add the veggies, oil and vinegar while the grains are still slightly warm ~ in my mind it helps to meld all of the flavors together, but I could be imagining things.

Finally ~ to keep things interesting, I'll add other ingredients throughout the week. This particular week involved avocados, blue cheese, fresh dill.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wednesday Soundtrack

Were you listening to NPR yesterday afternoon? Did you hear this new one by Elizabeth Cook?

I love a good story wrapped up into a song, and this one is outstanding. Click here for your weekly dose. And enjoy*

Monday, May 17, 2010

Preparing for the move back to the country.... or spilling the family secrets.

C likes to joke about my growing up in an "Appalachian hollow" which, isn't really a joke. We were in the Appalachians, and there was a hollow. What else? My mom owns, and makes use of the L.L. Bean Game Cookbook. There was once a dinner involving squirrel {no joke}, there were snakes in the basement, there was an outhouse {until it burned down}, .... what am I forgetting?
Anyway, once I heard about 'possum* yarn, I knew that eventually I would have to own some, particularly as we prepare for a move back into the Appalachians. There are a couple of possum blend yarns out there, I used Supreme Possum Merino {a 50% wool, 10% silk, and 40% possum blend}. I can't recommend this yarn enough! It's so soft, has a lovely halo, and is just all around awesome {more on that below}.

I didn't know of any Boston shops carrying it, so I ordered mine at

I used about a skein and a half for this project. It's the the Little Arrowhead Shawl ~ a free pattern from Interweave Knits. It's in the "Sweet Somethings" document at the bottom of this page. I made a slightly bigger shawl than the pattern suggests {it's an easy pattern to just keep repeating until you're satisfied}.

Now, back to the possums. The Common Bushtail Possum is native to Australia, but invasive to New Zealand. As with many invasive species, it was originally transported to New Zealand as a resource ~ for food and pelts. Most invasive species that cause ecological damage don't have predators in their new home and many native plant and animal species are defenseless against the predation of the alien species. In New Zealand the possums feed on both the native vegetation and bird populations. They also transmit bovine TB throughout the cattle populations, causing an economic hardship to the communities. SO ~ when you buy possum yarn, you're helping, in a small way, to remove possums from New Zealand... Of course, that means your purchase also requires the killing of possums, but that's what the L.L. Bean Game Cookbook's for, right!?

*I always felt like it was very "country" to say possum, but saying "o"possum. It appears that if you're referring to the North American varieties, then opossum it is, but if you're referring to Australian relatives, possum's the word.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fun with Arugula

The warm days and cool evenings of spring leave me craving both fresh veggies and rich comfort food, so I've come up with some fun combinations lately.

This is a dressed-up version of your classic cottage cheese and noodles, which, if you haven't had that ~ you may want to start there. so good!

Rather than using egg noodles or plain pasta, I substituted Trader Joe's Lemon Pepper Papperdelle Pasta. I put a handful+ of arugula in my bowl, then added the finished cottage cheese noodles, and mixed. Ta-da! A dressed-up classic, with the perfect combination of winter comfort and summer greens ~ just for spring.

ps Happy Birthday Soph!! I still remember the cows moo-ing outside the window three years ago ~ I think they knew something big was about to happen*

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

{spring nights}

Aren't spring evenings the best? We've had a string of excellent ones lately ~ warm and humid with clear skies. The trees were just beginning to leaf out.The moon was waning {or waxing}.
The streets were alive with fast cars.
And, of course, the Sox were playing.

Now a dose of music::

Fast Cars by Tracy Chapman. This song is a bit heavy for the light spring evenings, but there's something about the idea of hopping in a fast car and driving off into the night that made me want to post it. enjoy*