Friday, June 25, 2010

Thrifted



When you have a house full of boys and kitchen chairs that are used a lot- well like Goldilocks and the Three Bears- they sometimes fall apart at the joints. We were down two chairs from our table and borrowing uncomfortable ones from other places.  Then on an excursion to my favorite antique mall I came across these. I love their regal design and tall backs. Even the color speaks to me.

The mod seat fabric. Nice. A coat of paint and a light sanding and they should be perfect.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An exotic tale of mint and fried chicken dripping in fresh cream



Spicy dahl with meatballs, fresh tomato and cilantro. Mint chutney on the side.
 ( the meatballs have leftover basmati rice from Sundays meal).

Many years ago the sound of the ocean and the song of the Cascades drew my restless soul to the great Pacific Northwest. It was there that I met my husband and there that I learned an independence that I had never known before. I also discovered ethnic food. Okay I had tasted an enchilada and known the taste sensations of a Chinese buffet. What I had not ever tasted was fresh cilantro in a homemade salsa, or sautéed bokchoy in a stir fry created before my very eyes. Tai food was an exotic mystery and I never dreamed that vegetables in a simple Asian broth could bring such joy and satisfaction on a rainy winter day. Then there was that fresh salmon (need I say more) and mussels in a creamy sauce over angel hair pasta (who would have thought noodles could be so thin). Nor had I had the delicate and intricate flavors of Indian cuisine.

This is my favorite and most craved of all my discoveries. Now don’t get me wrong I wasn’t actually deprived of food as a child. I drank milk that came from a large jar with the cream floating on top and that same cream was served with fresh strawberries and homemade biscuits for desert or breakfast. Oh yes and it was heaven. I grew up on the comforts of things such as porcupine meatballs and beef stroganoff, not to be outdone by fried chicken and potato salad dripping with mayo. Snacking meant grabbing a mulberry or boysenberry right from the branch and lefsa and pickled herring are still my holiday favorites. And my mother makes the most delectable rhubarb and apple pies that I have ever had.


After several years and babies #3 and #4 on their way we decided that with our jobs and the cost of living we would be better to live in the Midwest where I was from, so we moved. Ten years ago. For the last 8 years we have resided in a tiny little town that boasts one store, two hometown restaurants and like all small towns one bar. The flavors of my past are tucked conveniently in my memory.

Mint Chutney first attempt.

Since the move my cooking has drastically changed, true I still prepare the occasional tater tot hot dish, but for the most part we eat fresh foods with lots of flavors. Over the years I have honed my Indian cooking skills and make a pretty great curry, dahl, korma and my naan rivals any restaurant. One thing I have yet to master is mint chutney. Actually this was my first attempt and while it was tasty it did not offer that ‘I need to have that on everything’ quality that I expect from my chutneys, relishes and salsas. Up until now I have occasionally traveled an hour to the Indian grocer to stock up on red and yellow lentils, seasoning and mint chutney but at $4 for a small bottle I must be able to make it myself. I have all of the ingredients fresh just steps from my kitchen.  I will keep working on the recipe and I promise to post if I hit it.

::Side note:: it was also in that beautiful country that I had my first espresso and then honed my aptitude toward being a complete and utter coffee snob. I was a barista in the 90's after all.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A lesson in value


 In October my niece, who also doubles as my God child, will be betrothed to her beau. I am most certain that she does not read this blog and if you happen to, LOOK AWAY until your nuptials. However this lovely niece of mine does read her and also happens to be sister of the bride, whom I am most certain can be trusted with my secret.

 

I was inspired, first by this, which led me to this - pure inspiration- and the tutorial that I have followed up to this point.  I have never done this type of quilt before and it required a little more patience of me so I did have to set aside my typical seat of your pants quilting style. The hardest part was deciding on what was light and what was dark. I must most certainly be, value blind or need value glasses because I had a heck of a time. Unless its darkness screamed at me (which at one point it did and I decided I need to go to bed when my fabric starts to talk to me). The next morning my blocks were quiet again. Thank goodness. Yet it it wasn't obvious I struggled with it's value.


This is a final gift -part of a wedding gift concept that I am working on and will discuss at a later date. The first pictures I took I realized that there was an issue with the pattern that I did not see just looking at it. In the photo it is much easier to spot where the blocks have gone a rye and where they are great. I need about 16 more blocks but I have been through my stash and do not want to duplicate anymore so I am at an impasse. Many of the fabrics I used were cut for the very first time.  I was not planning on buying anymore fabric until I burned through my overflowing collection. But ahem what to do.  Back to what I was saying about picture taking::: I used the picture taking technique when I made this quilt::


This is a pretty bad picture of it but I made it for my daughter's volleyball coach and each of the girls signed a block. The center is the center of this year's volleyball shirts that all the supporters wear and the girls themselves, it says..... peace love volleyball. Lilli was a senior this year and so this was her last high school season.

This is the back of the quilt and the back of the shirt is in the center. This quilt was my first foray into free motion quilting.

{sorry about the teeny pics they were hijacked from another site of mine}

Hopefully, the next time you see the value quilt it will be done or near done and won't have gone broke foolishly buying more fabric.

Edited to add: I guess I already blogged about the Volleyball quilt here- this is just how good my memory is- I had to be reminded by the little pictures that are automated after each post...sheesh.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Time just keeps moving


In the last two weeks we have:

::painted our living room, kitchen, bath, hallway, entryway and lower landing.
::Re papered the entry and updated the trim
::Hung new curtains
::Cleared out all living area clutter (notice I say living area, there is plenty more to go)
::Cleaned the garage
::Cleaned the house top to bottom

Most importantly we watched this beautiful child grace her way through another rite of passage....high school graduation.

Our final company pulled away from our house this morning on their way back to WA and the finality of it all is just setting in. Next we will be packing up and sending her off to college. You wouldn't believe all the panic that is attached to this process. I have these words on a constant reel in my head...."did I teach her how to....." and "did I prepare her for....".

Last month my focus was on getting through three classes, finishing up at work, doing my practicums and planning graduation. Each object of my attention ending in that order - classes, practicum, work and finally graduation. As soon as school was out it was full on graduation party mode with its painting and cleaning and preparing. It was odd as we stood and watched the last of our family leave our house. A strange sense of lost-ness came over me. Most of this day I just haven't quit known what to do with myself. I suppose this is a variation of what it feels like when the last of your children head off to college. The house will be empty and years of focus will have to be readjusted. The one positive is that in a teens senior year of school they are gone a lot, at work, games or with friends so that some adjustment is already happening. Yet somehow it doesn't seem any easier.


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