I went up to Roanoke this past weekend for my best friend’s birthday. Her apartment is one of my favorites. She and her boyfriend went out one night and I stayed in, lit some candles, and read “Wise Blood.” Something about the scene reminded me of Posie Gets Cozy‘s lovely shots so I took a few photos. (Please ignore the blurriness due to low lighting.) The ever lovely Sarah also took a few photos at the party.
Where did I go the last couple weeks? No where, just not here apparently.
I don’t have any big finishes or anything quite yet but I wanted to share a few snippets of life around here lately.
Remember I set a goal to bake a loaf of bread every week this year? Well week two was pizza crust and may I say, it was amazing. The recipe I used, from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day, made enough for five 10″ pizzas so I used two and froze the rest. Mine, pictured above, had roasted garlic, olive oil, bacon, caramelized onions, and fresh basil, with mozzarella, sharp cheddar, and feta cheese. Yum!
I spent a gift card at Marshall’s and got, among lots of other kitchen things, a lovely green Le Creuset pan into which, I promptly made blondies. I added whiskey and instant espresso to the batter and seeing as they spread so thin, it’s possible I ate twice as much :)
This is quilt three of three for Catherine’s nieces. I finished sewing the binding on the front today and will complete it tonight in front of the tv (Castle and Parks & Rec have returned!) and then it will be in the wash for all three followed by a photo shoot with Cait in a couple weeks!
I got a sweet Groupon deal for a portable iPod speaker system that a friend of mine had recommended. My computer speakers just don’t get loud enough when cooking or washing dishes and this is a great solution! It came with a small bag and strap but I think I’ll definitely be needing a much prettier one!
I actually made this a couple months ago but never showed it. It’s only 8″ square (instead of 24″) but now I’m not sure what to do with it! I think I might streamline it a little and use some in a larger quilt. I like these as minis!
When I started rearranging my studio a few months ago (no, I’m still not done :-/ ), I took down a couple pieces of beloved artwork so I knew they needed to be hung elsewhere. So now they adorn the hallway and I’m able to see them multiple times a day, and a couple of them when I’m laying in bed. The three on the left are done by the lovely Laura Lashley, the middle and top right are by Liz Simmons, and the bottom right is by Molly Bolton.
Remember when I mentioned a tattoo I got being part of a larger art project? Well the show is up this month at the Electric Moustache gallery and Evan did such a fabulous job! He took photographs of all of us that participated and our tattoos and made a video loop of our horses in motion. You can see the video here. It’s based on a series of photographs by Eadweard Muybridge in 1877 who set out to prove whether or not when a horse runs, all it’s feet leave the ground at once. Through the photographs, he pioneered stop motion animation. I love the tattoo and the show and I’m so happy to be a part of this project!
I’ve been feeling the need to sew clothes lately. I’m on the search for an easy, versatile top that I could make a lot of. This is Simplicity 3835, a Built by Wendy pattern that I had a lot of hope for. I’ve made the shorter dress with the ties before and it fit super awkwardly but I hoped the shirt would be better. And it’s not really. This picture actually isn’t bad but I kind of just feel like I’m wearing a bag :( There are darts in the back but it doesn’t give it enough shape. I could either shirr the waist or I could easily take it in but then I’d have to put in a zipper… I plan to work with it and see if I can’t make it better.
I ordered myself a couple things! I love getting books in the mail. I got a red sketchbook because I’d like to start drawing/sketching again this year (I haven’t done it since 11th grade), Denyse Schmidt Quilts (I didn’t realize until looking through it recently how much I love almost all the quilts in it!), and Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts.
Speaking of which, I’m excited to tell you that my friend Cait and I are embarking on a challenge in 2012 to make a project a month from LMP+QG! We have designated 12 projects and will be blogging about them the last Thursday of each month. I very rarely buy quilting books because I feel like I have to be drawn to a majority of the projects, so this is a good prodding for me to try some things I might not, otherwise. After flipping through a few books that Cait owns, we settled on this one because it has a range of projects, and because of the iconic Color Wheel Quilt. (That’s when I also realized I was drawn to a lot of DS’s projects so I threw that in my shopping cart, too.) Can’t wait to show some things off!
This Christmas was pretty nice. It’s wasn’t as snowy and awesome as last year but it was a weekend filled with sleep and cooking and a couple new things.
Saturday night I made pretzel rolls
and used them for sandwiches with sauteed sausage and onions and they were delicious! The pretzel bread was so easy, I want to make them all the time.
Having started them the night before, I baked no-knead pumpkin rolls on Sunday morning that were so good. The recipe made 17 rolls; so what if I ate two for breakfast yesterday and today and one for dessert? There’s no time like the holidays to be a fat kid :)
For Christmas dinner I made garlic schmeared rosemary chicken, butternut squash risotto with sage and bacon, crispy parmesan asparagus sticks, Martha’s trusty baked macaroni & cheese, and garlic pull apart bread (based on this recipe).
The risotto didn’t really work, I think it just lacked seasoning and I wish the squash had been more finely cut. The asparagus wasn’t very good either. I didn’t get pre-seasoned Panko breadcrumbs, which might have made the difference. But all in all, the deliciousness of the chicken, bread, and pasta made up for it! And I was pretty proud of myself for making three yeast breads in 24 hours!
One of my goals for Christmas day was to learn how to crochet granny shapes (hexagons in this case). I pinned this photo on Pinterest months ago so following the tutorial, I made a couple and I love them!
I’m just using some Bamboo Ewe yarn I got with coupons at JoAnn’s and I thought I would stick with these same four colors the entire time but I might throw in a couple more along the way, keeping the grey outer ring a constant. Three down, only 78 more to go!
Remember the photo I posted of the wrapped books I received and were saving for Christmas morning? Well I eagerly opened them and spent a couple hours just flipping through the pages.
My dad so kindly got me The Break Baker’s Apprentice, Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, and The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt so I can join in on the quilt along next month! I’m so excited about all these things. I was really inspired by a sentiment Amanda talked about when we met at the Sewing Summit. She talked of her desire to live a handmade life and I absolutely want to do the same thing. Any small thing I can quilt to use around the house, making more of my own food, using my hands to knead bread and mend things; that sounds like such a rewarding life.
Oh and of course, how can I forget that I finally joined Instagram! I love seeing everyone’s photos from there but hate that you have to have particular Apple products to use it. I have a Mac but nothing else that would work, until Friday when Marcus brought home an iPad, a year end gift from his boss! I won’t be carrying it around with me so I’ll only be posting things around the house but I still get to “like” and comment on other people’s things. My name is @kaitcetera and you should follow me!
With new toys comes the creation of new things to use with them. I noticed the hunching problem when using it while sitting down so following Betty Crocker Ass’ tutorial, I made a handy iPad rest!
The fabric was one of the only home dec fabrics I have in my stash (Amy Butler Imperial Fans in forest from Nigella), and definitely the least “girly” one. Marcus and I have a bit of an argument about what’s manly :) I bought 5 or so yards of a wood grain fabric I fell in love with a few years ago and used it heavily in his quilt (and lots of other projects) but he insists it’s not actually manly at all. I want to make an iPad case but he said he wanted it to be black and purely functional. What’s the fun in that?
So instead, I finally made a lined drawstring bag from Jeni’s wonderful tutorial! It really was so simple and the fabric combinations are endless so I’m sure there are many more in my future. I used fabric from my stash: an unknown floral print, the aforementioned wood grain, a yellow DS Quilts print, and an off-white twill tape for the pulls.
If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you’ll know I had to finish three quilts in five days, starting this past Wednesday. I knew I could finish the task and having received a walking foot for my Featherweight early last week, I felt ready to take on the sewing world! :) So I completed the tops in two days…and pieced the girls’ names for the backs. However, I am left waiting for the friend who commissioned me to make these quilts to match each top with each of her nieces so I can finish the quilt backings and get basting and quilting! I was on a roll and excited to add three more finishes to my list but now I’m left waiting… So I don’t know that I’ll finish these by Monday but I will cross them off the list this year!
So instead of feeling aimless regarding quilts, I began to cook. I am waiting for the second rise of pretzel bread (highly recommended by Jeni) to make sandwiches with including sausage and grilled onions and I threw together Vanessa’s super simple 3-minute fudge (so easy it feels like cheating!). I will make the dough for pumpkin cinnamon rolls tonight so they can be baked first thing in the morning, to be followed by a delicious dinner that I’m excited to make. Check back in the next couple days to see all the yumminess.
I have read of so many people baking tons of cookies and it makes me wish I had thought to get some friends together and do that this year. Walking the dogs tonight I noticed all the neighbors that have been kind to me and deserve a little something. Not to mention the lovely customers that gave me a card with $20 in it at work this week. But, cookies or not, I am reminded of all the important people in my life.
I wish you the merriest of Christmases. Go watch this and it might just brighten the day a little more :)
I’m having one of those times where I feel like I have so much to write about that it’s overwhelming and I don’t know where to start. So, I’m just going to post some pictures I’ve taken over the last couple of weeks and write blurbs.
I picked up my friend Holly in Columbia South Carolina where we hung out with our friend Joe. We had breakfast at Immaculate Consumption (mediocre latte, good granola),
and went to the Riverview Zoo where we saw, among other things, penguins! (Did you know emperor penguins can be up to 4 feet tall and 100 pounds? That’s a pretty large penguin.)
Coming back to Winston we cooked some delicious caramelized leek and spaghetti squash polenta (which I didn’t photograph) and broccoli lentil soup from the Vegan Yum Yum cookbook,
We also went to a highly recommended vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Greensboro called Boba House where we had an unbelievable sampler platter of “calamari,” “chicken drumsticks,” and “crab” won tons. When I say unbelievable, I mean it, too. How can they possibly make vegan things exactly like the real thing? I’ll definitely be going back there.
Only a few days after Holly left for DC, I drove up to Roanoke to meet Catherine and head to Kentucky for, among other things, an early Thanksgiving with her family. Addie came along and as it turned out, was a really good dog all week.
We saw Beirut the first night we were there at the Kentucky Theater in Lexington, a show that was so good. The current trumpet player is from Lexington so the crowd was pretty wild about that. (Bad phone picture alert:)
We went to Louisville for a couple days and stayed with the family Cat used to nanny for. We took the kids, Lily and Aidan to the zoo where we saw an albino alligator named Louie,
We also ate at a really good restaurant called Ramsi’s where I had a seitan (vegan “meat” made of textured vegetable protein – much tastier than that sounds!) parmesan sandwich with vegan mozzarella.
Back in Lexington we had Thanksgiving dinner with Catherine’s family, since she won’t be able to go back there during the holidays. Her sister Caroline was just about to have a baby (she spent 12 hours at the hospital a couple days after we got there but she didn’t come out then) so I kinda commandeered the meal :)
I made apple and onion stuffing muffins as per Cat’s request,
mac and cheese (from Martha Stewart’s Cooking School), as per Shane’s request,
cranberry mousse (a little melty), because it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without that (recipe to come next week!),
Cat’s dad smoked the turkey and we had green beans, corn pudding, and rolls. It was pretty delicious! Some of us definitely vegged out afterwards :)
I had a really good time on the trip. It was nice to get away and have Addie with me. She was so happy to have a yard and to be able to go outside any time she wanted. I caught her lounging in the grass in the sun a few times :) I think she’s actually a little depressed to be back. But Louisville was awesome and Lexington was okay. The family was a bit much sometimes but I always had a room and my book (Dracula; so good!) to escape to. I love Catherine and it was great to spend some time together.
I had a couple of quite overripe bananas on my counter that had to be put to use and I thought some muffins might be good road trip food for my journey to Kentucky this morning. Pulling up Vegan Yum Yum’s trusty Brown sugar and peach muffins, I tweaked it a little to use what I had on hand. If you haven’t made any quick breads with spelt flour before, you should! They are the moistest muffin I’ve ever had.
Blueberry Banana Spelt muffins with Brown Sugar.
Makes 16 muffins
Adapted from VeganYumYum.com
2 Cups Spelt flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
2 mashed bananas (approx 2/3 cup)
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup Milk (VYY calls for soy, obviously, but I only had whole)
1 Tbs Lime Juice (or lemon would work)
1 tsp-ish Vanilla Extract (I never measure vanilla)
1/2 – 2/3 Cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Extra Brown Sugar, for sanding
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tins.
Mix all dry ingredients together in a small bowl. Mix together bananas, brown sugar, milk, lime juice, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Fold in blueberries (even more gently if they’re frozen). Fill muffin cups 2/3 full; I like to use an ice cream scoop for uniform filling. Dust with additional brown sugar.
Bake for 18-22 minutes; I baked mine for 20 and rotated the pans halfway through. Let cool on wire rack. Enjoy.
If you make these muffins, let me know! We are enjoying them thoroughly.
I wanted to post a quick recap about the last couple weeks, including the visit with my mom Kerrie and aunt Reen. They came to see me from California for almost a week and were so generous with their time (cleaning) and money; I’m glad they came!
We did a couple touristy things that I wouldn’t probably do by myself like go to the Reynolda House. It’s the historical home of RJ Reynolds (a very attractive man, as it turns out) that houses both the original furniture and history, as an art museum, currently showing Modern Masters from the Smithsonian. I really enjoyed the whole experience. There are also beautiful gardens near the home that while not in season, are still well manicured and lovely. The garden is surrounded in weeping cherry trees that are probably gorgeous in spring (future quilt photography site?); I’ll definitely be returning.
We drove up to Asheville for a day and it was a beautiful day with the perfect fall colors. I had never been to Asheville before and didn’t really know what to do with the few hours we had so we wandered around the arts district by the river a little bit, ate at the Early Girl, went into the Grove Arcade,
and lots of other little shops. There’s a lot of really interesting history there (not that I know it, I just know it’s there) and so much art and busking. At only two hours away, and a lovely drive at that, I’ll definitely go up there again.
We ate a lot of good food while they were here including 6th and Vine, Mellow Mushroom, Breakfast of Course, and First Street Draught House, while I made steak tacos, mini broccoli pesto lasagnas, and chili. Yum! They were really gracious and bought me so many great things I needed like a bath mat, a Swiffer-like cleaner, an immersion blender (even though it was 4 times more expensive than thought!), a nice little cat perch for the window, dishes, soap, chocolate, and a massage! They also mowed both yards, scrubbed my shower, mopped the whole upstairs, and did countless dishes. I wish they were around all the time! :)
While it was great to have them around, I didn’t realize how much time I usually have to myself. After I took them to the airport I spent the day laying around, doing pretty much nothing. I’m enjoying some alone time before Holly comes next week!
I finally finished a Swoon block!
Goodness gracious, this quilt is so labor intensive, especially when I’m trying to make two at one time and have sewn a few things wrong. The coloring of this picture is off but this quilt is both a gift and part of the Habitat challenge in the Modern Quilt Guild (and I am using three different neutrals). Unlike most people, from what I’ve gathered, I love this line and bought a half yard set and would like to get more. I can already tell I’m going to love this quilt.
The weather has been lovely and wonderfully autumnal but today it took a turn for the cold this weekend. (It was 74 yesterday and it’s more like 40 today.) I turned the heat on for the first time and am making Herbed White Bean and Sausage Stew for dinner.
Tomorrow is the big Halloween party at work. You have to dress up to get in, hundreds of people come, and all out friends play in amazing cover bands. Last yea the boyfriend and I only stayed for half of it but we saw the Zombies which were amazing. This year will be Weezer, Led Zeppelin, Dick Dale, the Buzzcocks, and Nirvana. I’m working it and I’m really looking forward to it. Pictures to come!
Tomorrow is also Marcus’s birthday! Whoo! I bought him a little something and I think we’ll go to dinner. Nothing fancy but he (we) isn’t too hard to please :)
Hopefully I’ll have more crafty photos to share soon!
Since I’m still not sure about reposting recipes straight up (without any adjustments), I won’t put it here but I linked to it above. Mine did not look as pretty as theirs (I fried my egg on both sides, the first time I’ve ever friend an egg in fact) and the market didn’t have frisée so I got a mix of greens, but it was damn good. If you haven’t gathered, the dressing has anchovy in it. I didn’t want to buy a tin so I bought the paste which is good until Oct 2012 which means I might just use it up eventually.