Archive for December, 2007
It’s been a whirlwind around here. Ryan’s birthday is the 22nd, so we spent the day together doing things he loves: eating Asian food, going to the board game store, chilling at home, and playing games. The next day, we began celebrating Christmas and spending time with family, which has taken up the rest of our free time. Being close to family during the holiday season (well all the time, really) is such a blessing. It’s nice to be off work, but all I’ve had time for the in craft room is mending and tailoring–not my ideal project, but necessary nonetheless. I didn’t have the time to do all the things I wanted to do this Christmas, as I’m working full-time. There was little baking, almost no handmade gifts, and little time for reflection. I’m feeling a little stifled and a little run down, in need of some personal time I think.
These are some pictures of our Christmas decor. I hate to take it down, but that’s a project for this weekend. I can hardly believe it’s almost 2008. Time just seems to speed up the older I get! Merry Christmas to all of you!
December 28th, 2007
Aren’t these cupcakes incredible? Apparently Vegan Yum Yum is a baking goddess. She’s kindly posted a marzipan tutorial on how to make these luscious treasures, and it doesn’t look ridiculously difficult. It might even be a fun project with grade-school girls. I found this quilt while searching around blogland. It’s gorgeous work. I don’t know how you do the free-form quilting on a machine without lots of puckering. Does anyone have any tips (aside from buying a $3,000 machine?). And if you haven’t seen Sew Mama Sew’s amazing list of tutorials, you should stop by. She’s been collecting several and posting them daily. If you’re still needing to make a gift or two, that’s is the place to start!
December 19th, 2007
Have we been sick around here. Icky yucky drippy coughy all-the-day-in-bed sick. I felt it coming on last Sunday and barely made my way through work until Thursday, when I couldn’t even finish drying my hair before collapsing into bed. But, we’re feeling much better around here, and elated that next week I don’t have to go into work once! A whole week!
Speaking of last Sunday, I drove down to the Tacoma Art Museum to see the last day of the exhibition Gee’s Bend: The Architecture of a Quilt. It was a stunning display of quilting. These women who live in an enclave, a bend, outside of Alabama society–the rural South–have passed down the tradition of quilting, like many women. Set apart, though, this tribe of plantation slave descendants make quilts that look like modern art. Women who have never been to museums, or finished high school, or have TVs. Quilts that are a hundred years old. Aren’t they gorgeous? Denyse Schmidt’s quilts, which I’ve admired since I first saw them in blogland, are strikingly similar–she must have garnered inspiration from the lovely ladies of Gee’s Bend. Has anyone heard her talk about this? I decided to buy the exhibition catalogue, which is oversized and full-color, because I want to pattern my quilting after theirs. It was just the inspiration I needed to start my next quilt.
December 18th, 2007
We had friends over for an enchilada dinner. The enchiladas turned out great–it”s a butternut squash and corn filling with tomatillo sauce on top–as delicious as it sounds. The recipe came from a friend who made these for us. The picture didn”t come out great. It”s hard to photograph food, I think. I”m incredibly impressed by those who do it well.
Squash Enchiladas With Tomatillo Sauce
2 small butternut squash (about 2 1/2 pounds total), halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup drained canned corn
12 6-inch-diameter corn tortillas
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (about 8 ounces)
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese (about 8 ounces)
1/3 cup chopped pitted black olives
Preheat oven to 400°F. Pour enough water into roasting pan to come 1/2 inch up sides of pan. Place squash halves, cut side up, in pan. Bake until tender, adding more water as necessary, about 1 hour 45 minutes. Cool squash completely. Remove seeds from squash; spoon squash into bowl. Discard squash skin.
Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Mix in squash and corn. Season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tortilla over direct flame until soft and heated through, turning with tongs, about 10 seconds per side. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
Place 1 heaping tablespoon squash mixture down center of each tortilla. Top with 1 tablespoon of each cheese. Roll up tortillas. Arrange seam side down in 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. (Can be prepared 6 hours ahead; cover and chill.)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spoon Tomatillo Sauce and remaining cheese over enchiladas. Bake until enchiladas are heated through, about 20 minutes. Place 2 enchiladas on each of 6 plates. Top with sour cream. Sprinkle with olives.
Note: You can make your own, but I just buy jarred tomatillo sauce and add in some fresh cilantro and mix with the sour cream, per the recipe above. It saves quite a bit of time and is usually less expensive.
1 1/4 pounds tomatillos, husked
2/3 cup vegetable stock
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2/3 cup chopped green onion tops
1 large jalapeño chili, sliced
Cook tomatillos in pot of boiling water until soft but still whole, about 4 minutes. Drain. Place tomatillos in processor. Add remaining ingredients; puree. Transfer to bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
December 11th, 2007
I’m finally posting pics of the advent calendar–the idea taken from SouleMama. I drove across the water to Michael’s, so I could find a store full of little boxes and crafting things, thinking option one would be the little drummer tree and option two would be the watchmaker tins wreath, but they had no such tiny containers. The smallest sizes they had were three inches wide. Just by placing 25 three-inch containers into the cart, I could tell it wasn’t going to work. I thought about driving to the Container Store, but it was supposed to snow (and look! it did.), so instead I bought felt and little, tiny glitter candy, snowflakes, and ribbon trims to decorate the stockings I made. It took me the whole day to make this, which was more fun than I thought it could be. I turned on a movie, drank hot apple cider, snacked on toffee, and Ryan made me lunch and served me dinner!
December 7th, 2007
This is a snapshot I took on Saturday . I headed out to get supplies for the advent calendar and when I got back in the car to drive home, large, wet flakes started falling from the sky. It was so beautiful and serene, and I managed to make it home before traffic or the roads got bad. I love how silent the snow makes everything. White is such a peaceful color to begin with, and then once everything is blanketed and the saturated earth becomes silent, it’s hard not to pause and cherish the moment. We got over four inches, but a few short hours after the snow poured down, it warmed up and rained for two days straight.
December 5th, 2007