27 February 2010

let's change the oil.

friday was work day. ben keeps our cars in tip-top shape and the civic needed a tune-up.

i was shooting the pins from yesterday's post when he came inside.

and said with a grin, "you should blog about me changing the oil."

so we hung out in our freezing garage, complete with chair-i-may-scrap-for-its-fabric.

it was a good day.

26 February 2010

color inspo.

meals, food prep and sewing supplies have been providing much inspiration lately.

(above) perhaps for a home? perhaps for walls?

i usually don't go for primaries, but green onions, toms, an everyday food spread and rubberbands from the onions is a calming combination. and i'm a sucker for things in groups of two—they remind me of ben and me :).

these colors remind me of mastermind, a game i used to play in open door—the accelerated class for gifted students (bah-ha-ha! OK, stop laughing.). not sure yet what i'll use this palette for. but i will.

25 February 2010

glimpses of spring.

i was shooting icicles through our window when i spotted this little fella. a little red messenger, heralding spring's coming. come soon, come soon!

and another recipe first. with a nod to spring, or at least a tip-of-the-hat to the easter hare. i have never poached an egg. but the march issue of everyday food inspired me to try. the vortex trick failed. s it all in the wrist, or what? the whites basically got thrown in a tornado. ha. also, i skipped the vinegar the chowhounds seemed so keen on. i didn't want an egg salad. maybe i'm missing something. how do you poach an egg? i'd love to hear.

24 February 2010

happy birthday, lilly.

it's birthing season, methinks.

so many of our friends' kids have been celebrating milestones lately.

first birthdays

zero birthdays*

zero birthdays soon-to-come**

and fourth birthdays.

like lilly.

lilly is a gal whose curls look precious with a flower clip.

her mom, my friend, kim, always seems to find the cutest bows and flowers for lilly's hair.

so when we got her birthday invitation, i knew just what she—and her mom!—would like.

i got a great tutorial from anniescupboard for a fabric flower clip. it's super easy to follow.

'course my growing pile of scrap fabric didn't hurt anything, either.

*zero birthday = the day a baby is born. yes. just like your nerdy math book used to start at chapter zero, so do our lives.

**zero birthday soon-to-come = if a zero birthday is the day a baby is born, then a zero birthday soon-to-come is . . . yup.

for shots of the process, anniecupboards documents it well. i used a standard-sized coffee cup for my circle pattern.

i'll leave you with the end result. which, suffice to say, i was very, very tempted to keep. i forsee my own flower clips. perhaps created with a larger cup pattern. or i'll bust out the compass. yes. i do still have it from freshman high school geometry.

and my TI-89 calculator, if you're interested.

and here's the birthday girl.

23 February 2010

midweek party in your mouth.

oh, i just came from a rejuvenating night. i've had a hard week. stress and things can add up, can't they? my good friend mary called me today at work and offered to bring fellowship and food for dinner. how could i turn her down? 'specially when its *her* food and *eric's* espresso and *their* conversation and *charming* kids. (don't read sarcasm, ya punk. that's full-blown authenticity, right there.) mmm. mary brought a spaghetti casserole, breadsticks, fresh oranges, apples and i whipped out waffle-cut carrots from a bag and chocolate cake from a box. but this was a chocolate cake creation. visions of betty crocker microwave lava cake twinkled in my eye. so i tried something new.

all that's needed to produce this glory for friends and family is a trans-fatty boxed cake mix a la pillsbury and a jar of lactose-intolerant hot fudge topping a la hershey. in-depth and highly-detailed instructions follow:

*midweek party in your mouth*
step no. one - make cake mix according to box.
step no. two - before you put cake in oven, dot copious amounts of fudge onto batter.
step no. three - cook for however long the box says. yes, it will speak to you.

after careful consultation with learn-ed culinary friends (i.e. the mary and the eric) we determined the mid-bake placing of fudge would produce a hot fudge ribbon of the betty crocker microwave persuasion. so, halfway through bake time, plop the fudge, yah?

sans mid-bake-fudge-plopping, it still was good. we ate two-thirds. there were only four pretend grown-ups and two kids. mmm. did i mention my night was rejuvenating? it was just what i needed. now i feel i can conquer the world. and complete a painting.

and no. it wasn't the caffeine. 

s/he who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

18 February 2010

glorious meaning, spread.

i was so inspired by a post by my good friend, mary, that instead of penning a long comment on her blog, i decided to write it here.

ash wednesday came and went without much pomp for me. i didn't grow up catholic. but my mom did. and we always observed lent when we were little. we'd give up things like sweets, or junk food, or pop. it was really hard. sometimes, when lent came before valentine's day, we'd declare feb. 14 a free day. and eat all the chocolate and candies. but feb. 15 brought lent back.

in college, ben and i once went to a gorgeous catholic church on ash wednesday. my favorite art prof was in the choir there. ashes were put on our foreheads. it was very important moment. to be marked.

but the ashes washed away. and it's been five years since. i wished i'd have gone to ash wednesday service yesterday. but i didn't. i'm not sure why. since i wanted to. so much. and thought about it. so much. in the days leading up to the small print on my office calendar.

one time in college, in a xian theology class, we were supposed to turn to our neighbor and ask: what was the most memorable part of your faith journey? was it someone from church (a relationship, a mentor perhaps) that mattered more? or was it a ritual, a rite?

i think i was the only in class for ritual.

my baptism and one communion stick heavy and sweet in my mind.

i was only 9 when i was baptized. when i chose to be. asked to be.

the close communion was in high school. i will always do this in remembrance of you.

it's interesting, what can be attached to ritual and what ritual can push away. for some, repetitive acts carry nothing. this is not necessarily bad. but for me, rituals carry glorious meaning, spread. something good to hold on to when times are tough. reminders of faith bloomed, shown and—if growing tired—clung to.

in that beautiful church, glowing with stained glass and fumbling over unfamiliar traditions, ashes on forehead are something good. to hold to.

14 February 2010

mmm . . . love.

 in honor of valentine's day, i thought i'd pay tribute to my best friend. my husband. in one of the best ways i know how. photography.

we did a photo shoot in december. back when it was *barely* warm enough to be outside without a coat. yes, this is iowa for us. snow can be on the ground, yet it can still feel warm. if the winds-cold-enough-to-chill haven't started blowing. like they are today. ah, a blast from summer, right? these photos? mmm. love.

12 February 2010

and then i found these.

mike stimpson, can i shake your hand? stimpson (aka balakov, also here and here) crafts crazy, macro shots of lego people with humor and an amazing eye for detail. and composition. not to mention lighting. and humor. and his titles. did you read his titles. love love love! there's something about using ordinary found objects (toys!) to tell a story that really, really jives with me. when i first saw 'reconciliation' (left, green) via dbsw i laughed. loudly. and, not only does stimpson use the cast of all six 'star wars' in lego-form, he also references famous photographs and artworks using the tiny plastic figures. how many can you guess? no peeking.

you can also see how he sets up shots here.

so many. so good. i could post them all. but i'll leave you with a few for the season. patrol that snow! (snow patrol?) yah, and give a heart!

09 February 2010

the pressure of the first post.

first post. first split-pea soup. simple enough, right? this is very important. ben was craving this pretty green concoction so i attempted my first-ever batch with this. though altered. doubled the spices. added four-and-a-half cups of water. no barley. used quinoa. cooked for only two hours. served with freshly-ground pepper and toasted pitas. definitely a make-again. it better be. it made seventy-seven quarts.