Saturday, January 31, 2009

Frantic Etsy Love


I was just on Decor8, and she had a couple of Etsy artists showcased.  This piece from Dear Dodo is on there, and I LOVE IT SO MUCH.  

Also I love pretty much everything from Michele Maule.  Here's a few perfect examples of her perfection.





Decor8 also mentioned a design and development company,Treat, who produced a cute pink poster that could replace the Stay Calm and Carry On mantra for me.  I can't get the whole picture to copy here without cutting off half of it, so click here to view if you like.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Chicken Curry in a Hurry

Gather ingredients...

Beware: gross raw meat image.  Sprinkle hot curry powder (about 3 tablespoons depending on the kind of curry you have) and cinnamon (about 1 teaspoon) on cubed chicken.  Salt and pepper chicken and stir to coat.

Using the same pan, brown chicken on both sides in olive oil.  Don't cook--just get rid of the gross white chicken color.  

Return onion and zucchini to pan with chicken, and pour in chicken broth and whipping cream until it almost covers them.  The chicken will braise in the liquid and finish cooking here.  Stir it every once in awhile and let it thicken a little bit.
While the sauce is coming together, make your rice.  Brown rice is much better with curry than white.  If your rice is not fast cooking, you may want to cook it before you start the curry, and let it steam while you're getting everything together.  P.S.  Don't ever use instant rice.  It's disgusting.

Spoon rice in bowls and top with curry mixture.  Then garnish with cilantro (or basil) and cashews (or almonds or whatever you have).  Let your significant other admire your ethnic cooking skillz.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

80 degrees in January

I helped my dad build a frame for a swing yesterday.  He wants to build it for my little nephew to have at Mimi and Poppa's house.  They'll put a baby swing on it now that can be exchanged for a normal swing later when he gets a little older.  

Dad based his design on an old swing that Hub and I inherited from them when they moved from Palestine to Granbury (not Grandbury, which I might have written on all the return addresses for Sis's wedding invitations... oops).  This swing has lasted a long time and faithfully served its purpose well, so it seems to be a trustworthy design.

I just want to give a shout out (people can still say that) to my dad's spacial reasoning and general handiness.  He don't play when it comes to putting things together.  I basically just held things and picked up dropped screws when necessary.  My two valuable contributions were my drill and my flexible knees.

We measured, went to Lowe's, came back, and put it together like it was no thing... with maybe a chicken salad intermission.  I was struck by how similar my experience yesterday was with sewing.  It's same thing just using a different medium.  Measuring?  yes.  Cutting?  yes.  Piecing together?  yes.  Trial and error?  yes.  Gratification when it all works?  yes. 

I know it's hard to tell in this picture, but here is the unassembled swing in the back of Dad's truck ready to be hauled home.  The two "A" frame sides are underneath and the top support is laying on top of them.  I forgot to take a picture while it was still together.

Lastly, here's a pic of Pup, our supervising contractor.  I was lucky to get this shot.  She was sleeping in the sun for most of the afternoon.  It was a fun day for all.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Living Room Pics

A certain neighbor instructed me to put some pictures of my living room up for a friend to see.  Friend, if you're reading this, don't judge me too harshly.  I like bright things and lots of patterns--be warned.  I will say that if I could change anything, I would tone down the wall color about two shades.  It is just too much with everything else.  If it was muted a little, I think the room would look significantly better, but when I chose it, I was just excited to get married and wasn't thinking clearly.

This is obviously the couch and coffee table.  My apologies for for messy photography.  Can anyone spot a cute black and white doglet in this photo?

I got this chair at a garage sale for $50.  Hub thinks they should have paid me $50 for hauling it away for them, but I like it.  Also, you can't see in this picture, but it's best feature is that it's a big fat rocking chair, too.  Doesn't it make you want to hold babies?

Here's the TV and flanking gigantic speakers.  Hub hates the tiny TV and loves the oversized speakers.  Please ignore the tacky CD player wires behind the television.

This is my collection of vintage suitcases, topped with a tea set given as a gift from my sis this Christmas.

The orange chair to the left belonged to my grandmother many years ago before she passed,  and I took it to college with me.  Many angsty poems were written in this chair.  My sister inherited it for a bit while I was in Honduras or starting work at Everman.  I can't remember when exactly.  I got it in the end though.  Victory.
I got both of these at Goodwill for $15 each and recovered them with awesome/horrible fabric depending on your taste.  I love this square shape.

Shelves.  They're sinking a bit in the middle, eh?  The black book on the bottom shelf behind the "Z" was one of the first gifts Hub ever gave me.  It's a second edition copy of On the Road.  I think I married him solely for his gift giving ability.  He is a mind reader when it comes to stuff like this.

Will you please stop taking pictures?!  I'm trying to nap over here.  

Raspberries in Champagne Gelee

These are also known in many circles as Jello shots.  I have dressed them up and called them gelee.  I was going to make them for a friend to take to a baby shower when two complications arose:  first, moms-to-be probably shouldn't be gulping Jello shots, and second, they do not taste good.  at all.  Maybe it was b/ I bought the cheapest Champagne I could find.

(Does Champagne get capitalized when you're referring to the beverage rather than the region?  My gut says yes, but I really don't know.  How embarrassing.  I'm a failure at cooking and capitalizing.)

They look pretty though.  I think anyway.  See the cute little raspberries?  If I used fancy sparkling lemon/orange soda and added a little sugar...  maybe grated a little bit of lemon/orange zest in there, I think these could be winners.  Oh well.

Did anyone read the Madeline books growing up?  Don't these look like little French school girls all lined up, ready to follow their nun around Paris?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Nerd-like Leanings

I'm reading two good books right now. I haven't read two books at the same time since I was probably in middle school.
(I remember in my 6th or 7th grade math class hiding Little Women or The Secret Garden or a series about a ballerina behind my math book and tilting it so that the teacher couldn't see what I was doing, and I would just read whatever I wanted and didn't have to worry about bothering with that bland, pointless math junk. Um, who cares? I think, sitting here and reminiscing, that this moment established my nerdhood. My rebellious misbehavior was ... reading. How sad.)

Ironically, or maybe this is what got me thinking about this in the first place, a co-worker asked me last night if I was a nerd. (the same co-worker who told me my husband looks much younger than I do--ouch.) If someone asks that question (nerd, eh?), it's always affirmative. If someone is asking, it's yes. It just is. I told him with defensive pride that I like to read, that this is who I am and what I enjoy.

I'm not pretending to listen to Soulja Boy (Who is that? Why has he misspelled his name in such a ridiculous way?) or that I wear booties (They are ugly. Period.) Admittedly, I make some sacrifices to Trend, but underneath, I prefer solitary reading and writing to most everything else. Am I wearing my glasses right now? Yes, I am.

Anyway, back to the point, I'm reading In the Beauty of the Lilies by John Updike, and so far it's been about a Presbyterian minister who sort of unwillingly becomes an atheist and resigns from his position. I think it's going to shift narrators to his son soon. I really multiple perspective novels. I read David Foster Wallace's criticism of Updike, but I haven't read Updike before, and I expected to hate him, but I don't. Up to this point, I really like his imagery and exploration of faltering faith.

My second book is The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao. I cannot stop reading it. Everyone should read it. Read it! He withholds the identity of the narrator until about half way through, but he has a conversational voice like you've never read. There's lots of Spanish sprinkled in, and so it's been pretty helpful to be reading at Lanny's. The characters of Oscar and his mom are so well done. Speaking of nerds, Oscar is so funny and pitiful that you have to just just love and sympathize with him. His history, coming out of his mom and grandfather's past especially, is tragic and comic book mythic. Diaz loves his footnotes, a la David Foster Wallace coincidentally, and he inserts lots of Dominican history and legend in them. Read it!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Getting Fancy

So, of course, I've been mulling over what to wear.  Presently, I have four contenders in the running.  Pros for the first dress are as follows:  it has 3/4 length sleeves and a heavy satin fabric so I would be warmer, and it has a jazzy print.  Cons:  the jazzy print might be a little too wallpaper-ish, and I find a swing/babydoll cut dress suits casual day wear more than evening fete wear.  Plus, with my broad shoulders, sometimes it's not the most flatteringly feminine style for me. 

In contrast, dress #2 is probably the most flattering of the four options--it's black, close fitting but not too tight, and it's my favorite length.  Plus, it has pretty tucks and pleats along the neckline.  However, it's a little blah.  I mean, could I BE any more predictable?  LBD, anyone?

The third dress is navy with black lace, and I've, um, tailored it to make it work a little better.  I chopped off a couple of layers at the hem so that it doesn't hit right in the middle of my thick calves and make me look like a schoolmarm.  I didn't even have to hem it b/c the top layer covers where I cut it.  Just don't look inside.  I also took some of the leftover lace from the bottom and stitched it inside the V-neck.  Normally, I like a V-neck, but this one was just kinda funky.  Plus, I like that the scalloped edge hits right under the collarbone.  And I love black lace.

Last, and currently the leader, is a satin, eggplant bridesmaid dress from my sister's wedding last February.  It has black velvet straps and trim.  I really like the color, and it just looks like a party dress to me.   
I think I'll wear different shoes though.  Open toe fancy shoes?  (Please ignore the sideways picture.  Fixing it would have stressed me out.  Just tilt your head, and it's not a problem.  Right?)

Maybe different earrings, too.  I think something with more dangle with my short hair.  This kinda makes me miss long hair...

Here's Dad and Sis dancing outside...   Sara had a relatively small wedding at the Inn at Lake Granbury.  Mom and Dad live in Granbury, and we had the whole inn to ourselves, and it was so great.  The rehearsal and rehearsal dinner were both there Friday night.  When we woke up Saturday, we walked down to the square and messed around there for awhile.  Then Sis got ready in her room with everyone.  They had the ceremony outside in the courtyard area, and the reception was in  the meeting/ballroom. After everything, our family hung out in front of the fire until bedtime.  Everything right there.  It was so much less stress than mine...  Plus, since it was a small guest list, we really got to spend time and visit with family, and not as much nervousness standing up in front of all those people, ... and all the food was so good.  Bananas Foster french toast, mmm.  If I had known how much fun her wedding would be, I might have made some different choices.  Oh well.  Cest la vie.


Hub saw this yesterday while working out in Azle and decided that the poetry of the sentiment should be shared.  You may have to blow it up in order to read it, but don't you wish you had thought of it?  I mean, shouldn't all stop signs have "HAMMER TIME!" painted at the bottom?  I especially like that he/she included an exclamation mark.  This is an emphatic declaration...  well, command and then declaration.  You must stop first and then recognize what time it is.  Probably should have inserted an exclamation mark after the stop also.  Look! I've taken all the funny out of it.