November 30, 2007
November 27, 2007
November 26, 2007
Yesterday I was too exhausted to write, because I had my first official Nutcracker event. One of our huge annual fundraiser's is the "Nutcracker Tea Party" held at the super-gorgeous, fully restored Wentworth by the Sea. About a quarter of the cast had to be there to greet, chat and dance for a bunch of little kids and their families while they are served tea and sweets, get their picture taken with Clara and buy raffle tickets and toys from the boutique. I was dreading it, but it turned out to be kinda fun. There were so many little kids dressed to the nines - so cute! The tea cup above was a little souvenir that I got to take home as a thank you from the board member that coordinated the event.
I didn't get any pictures of myself in costume, but I had my hair elaborately braided and pinned up. When I took it out - in combination with heavier than normal eye-liner I thought I was a bit of a dead ringer for Samara, the creepy little girl in The Ring. So I took some silly pictures...
My cat, Hobbes, seemed amused!
November 25, 2007
November 23, 2007
With Thanksgiving over I relaxed with my mum, over coffee and biscottis, listening to my Bing Crosby Holiday Pandora Radio Station. I could barely wait to here my buddy Bing again, and Pandora is officially brilliant. But, music aside, I started on my brother in law's Christmas prezzy today. A new knitting adventure! Thrummed mittens:
For those not in the know, thrumming is the process of adding a looped and twisted piece of roving to your mitten every few knits, so that you get a poofy wonderful layer that keeps your hands warm. I've never done it before, but I happily found that it's a lot easier than it looks. I'm using a very friendly tutorial via Yarn Harlot's Thrum FAQ. Aside from the new knitting technique, these are the first mittens I've ever made as well - so we'll how it goes. So far, so good.
November 22, 2007
(From Amy's blog - I thought the sentiment was lovely and I would share it here as well)
Happy Thankgiving Everyone!
November 21, 2007
I just sent out - which I was already freaking out about - 13 days late people! And my partner lives in the UK! Will she get her swap before Dec 1st? Who knows? The rules of the swap were to send out 24 small gifts for each day of advent, a bigger one for Christmas, and I included an extra for the 26th because I'm sending so late. And the spending requirement was $60.
I really like to spoil my swap partners and this partner was so hard! She loves scrapbooking and Disney. Hey Disney is alright with me, but I don't need physical Disney objects in my house - and scrapbooking - do you know how expensive all that stuff is? Ahhhhhhh. I've figured out that if I sign up for a craft swap - or a music swap based on a theme, chances are it will be easy to create something for my partner, because we already have the same tastes. But gift swaps can be completely dependent on the person's profile. And this (I'm sure very nice) woman seems to be nothing like me!
Complaining aside I got a package together, that I was happy with, and this is what I sent:
1. Hello Kitty Christmas Cards
2. 1" Button
3. Maple Syrup
4. Pancake Mix
5. Chai Mix with Recipe
6. Mushroom Ornament
7. Hello Kitty Beads
10. Disney Scrapbooking Papers 3.50
11. Brag book photo album
12. Gel Pen
13. Pink Hat
14. Bing Crosby CD
15. Disney Princess Bottle Caps
16. Scrapbooking Word Stickers
17. Bitty Brooch
18. Hello Kitty Scrapbooking Papers
19. Bonnie Band
20. Blank Notecard
21. Tinkerbell Scrapbooking Decoration
22. Shortbread Recipe
23. Lip gloss
24. Shower Gel
25. Corn Cozy
26. Hershey's Kisses
So I pack it all up and go to look up her address on Swap-bot. Swap-bot does not load. After twenty minutes of cursing I started praying to St. Anthony (the Catholic patron saint of lost things - one of my religious heroes) to "find the internet connection." I was having heart palpitations with thoughts of trying to mail this massive box on Black Friday, standing in a line that went across the street! St. A pulled through immediately though and I addressed the box.
I lugged this thing to the post office where it weighed in at 13.5 lbs and the nice woman politely asked me for $45.75 to mail it to the UK.
That's where I almost vomited.
I picked up my swap box, which was about a 1/4 the size of the one that I sent (not that that matters)! Promptly took it home and opened a present. Yes, I'm cheating. And I'm considering opening every one as soon as I'm done this post. Maybe it'll be like a crafty valium...
November 20, 2007
It snowed! Most of it is melted and gone already, but it was so pretty!
I finished up the elusive fifth scarf - (sorry for the dark pictures - the lighting was so dim today!)
I'm working overtime on getting out a belated swap. I'm having mega guilt over this one! This little brooch is part of the swap.
I made amazing chicken stock today - which I'm just eating by itself right now for dinner. Yum yum.
November 19, 2007
November 17, 2007
-Two hanks of gorgeous dark brown wool, to make mittens for my brother in law for Christmas, and four pounds of ground lamb burger from Riverslea Farm.
-A bitty bottle of pure maple syrup going off to a special (belated) swap partner in England from Sugarmomma's Maple in Northwood, NH.
-*FAMILY CHRISTMAS SPOILER* 7 packages of popcorn on the cob as small Christmas presents for my family, plus yummy Tokyo turnips from Wake Robin Farm.
-Five pork chops from Lasting Legacy Farm
-Two bottles of mead, (one plain one spiced pumpkin), from Piscassic Winery
-More delicious white turnips, red turnips and shallots from Back River Farm in Dover, NH.
-Tally-ho with Peppercorn Cheese from Silvery Moon Creamery.
-Handmade ketchup and wasabi mustard scored off my brother Mike from the very nice guys at Appledore Cove.
So as you can see, I made out like a bandit! This, save the wool of course, will turn into many tasty meals over the coming weeks before the next Holiday Market - which, by the way is Saturday, December 22 from 9am-2pm at the McIntosh Atlantic Culinary Academy. I'm considering my calendar marked!
A few other highlights:
-My brother came with me to the market, and they had an ice sculpture demonstration outside. It was too cool for school! It was too chilly to stay and watch the whole thing, but I was amazed with what some people can do with a chainsaw and three hundred pounds of ice! Mike got pictures, so hopefully I can share them with you soon.
-I got to meet Sara Zoe who writes the Seacoast Eat Local Blog. I wanted to share with you her Tips for How to Shop Like a Pro at the Farmer's Market. She give some very sound advice that would make anyone's local food shopping experience as easy as pie. It was nice meeting you Sara!
For now I'm off to rehearsal, then off to Portland for a solo excursion. Until tomorrow, cheers!
November 16, 2007
I started my fifth circle scarf today. I didn't get any progress shots because my camera battery died earlier in the day. I'm so excited to do my Etsy update. Even if it's just five scarves! Those five little scarves feel like tangible steps towards...something! I don't know - maybe it's silly to feel that way, but I do!
Any-hoo, totally random post, tomorrow is the Seacoast Holiday Farmer's Market and I'm so stoked about going! There is going to be a local winery there selling mead and honey wines, mmmm yum! I'm also going to be heading up to Portland, ME in the evening to go see the latest show playing at my hubby's theatre. I think it will be nice to take a little road trip by myself. A little mindless drive will help clear my head I think.
November 15, 2007
November 14, 2007
I meant to write this post yesterday, but I got sidetracked with Buffy. Although not the most intelligent of pursuits, I love discovering television with my hubby. See, when I was in high school, I almost never watched tv, because I was always dancing. Now, we don't have cable, so no tv watching here. However, Matt always discovers that I'm completely ignorant about some tv show that the entire world watched except for me, and we'll get the DVDs and watch them all in rapid succession. So fun. We're only on season two and I'm completely hooked - and David Boreanaz...don't get me started. Drool.
That's not what this post was going to be about! In place of crafty or cooking productiveness I thought that good blog fodder for the day would be to discuss something else that I'm passionate about. Tea! And particularly - tea for one sets!
I have a mild obsession with tea for one sets. The Decole one pictured above is a favorite in my mini collection. The best are the kind with the infuser baskets inside for loose tea. Love those. I don't know what is so appealing about these to me. I love pulling them out for company, serving a friend tea in their own little special container. I think that there is something so ceremonious and lovely about tea consumption - and these little sets just make the whole experience even better!
I have many on my Wists for Christmas. These are a few that I'm ogling:
Last year I was jonesing for these nifty twelve days of Christmas dinner plates, but a) they were too expensive for me and b) I don't really have use for them because I don't formally entertain or anything like that. This year, they brought the pattern back and included a tea for one set. Same cute factor, more affordable, satisfies collecting addiction. Awesome.
Next we have a Shinzi Katoh Single Serving Tea Pot with a matching mug. A) I love apples. B) I love red and green. C) I love tea-for-one sets. D) Did I mention I love tea-for-one sets?
Next we have a stellar handmade tea set from Little Flower Designs. Due to the price tag - I doubt I will ever own this little slice of loveliness, but one can dream! Basically if I had the money I would buy the entire Little Flower Design site - take time to peruse it. It's chock full of ceramic goodness.
So that's a glimpse into my tea obsession. And that's only about tea pots! I haven't even started in on tea leaves! I'll save that post for another day. For now - ta-ta!
P.S. Did you know that you can watch French and Saunders clips on YouTube? Thanks, Nat, I'm in heaven!
November 13, 2007
November 12, 2007
Yeah. You know Citizen Kane's famous death rattle? That's kind of what I feel/sound like today. Needless to say I skipped work and stayed home.
Things that make me feel better:
* Jolly Ollie from Me and Ollie's Bakery
* Finished scarf four - one more before le mucho anticipated shop update!
* Carrot Ginger Soup
One large onion
A bunch of carrots - I used six
4 inch piece of ginger (I used A LOT, because I am sick. If you don't like your soup with a lot of ginger heat use an inch an a half long piece)
4 cups of chicken stock
In a large pot saute onion over medium heat. Add sliced carrots and ginger and cook until ginger is fragrant, about five minutes. Pour stock over mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until carrots are tender, about twenty minutes. Blend in batches. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche or yogurt if you like.
* The Music Mamas Blog makes me happy.
Okay, time for tea I think.
November 11, 2007
However, I've managed to be slightly crafty today:
I saw a Christmas wreath made out of felted sweater scraps and thought hmm...I don't have sweater scraps, but I've got plenty of fabric scraps...
My fave part about this is that the "leaves" are made out of Pixie Mate wrapper - which is foil on the back so I can kind of mold it.
And scarf #4 is almost done...
November 10, 2007
Last night ended up being good times. My throat hurts from all of the chatting and laughing! Am I the only person that this happens to? I'll find that after a good night out with friends I literally feel almost like I have a chest cold from laughing and talking so much. Maybe that's a sign that I need to shut up and listen more often, har har har.
Allison and I hit up Nahcotta - and as expected everything was beautiful but I couldn't afford anything. What a gorgeous gallery. We went to Celtic Crossings where I introduced Al to the Crunchie Bar - honeycomb toffee, yes please, those Brits have it right! The store owner also recommended that I try a Curly Wurly which is a thin yummy caramel drizzle covered in chocolate. I'm not one to turn down a chocolate recommendation, so I bought it and found it deeeeeelish. My only complaint is that I wish it were bigger!
We went to Bullmoose and I repurchased my fave Dane Cook CD/DVD. My nephew borrowed mine and lost it at a friend's house, and I've wanted to replace it for forever, so I was happy to buy it! Bullmoose definitely makes me lament not having money though, there are sooooo many albums that I want to buy!
We met up with Al's boyfriend, Jamie, and our friend Elise at the Brewery for a beer sampler (see photo above). I never knew that the Brewery had these, so I shared one with Al and it was awesome! I always get a little intimidated about going to places like the Brewery because I'm so picky about beer. It's so disappointing to read a nice description and then get a whole crappy pint that ends up getting warm because I can't down it. This is such a nice alternative! I figured out that I liked about 5 out of 10 of these, yum. Afterwards we headed to the Coat for irish coffees. So nice on a cold winter night.
I came home to find that Matt had brought the mail in and left it on the table. I received the new Christmas Martha Stewart Living and Winter Marie Claire Idees on the same day! Woohoo! The mail gods were obviously smiling down upon me.
I have rehearsal today - woo. Sense my joy. My horoscope from the bar last night pretty much sums it up:
Virgo...do one of three things: 1) raise a critique of a group or institution you've been an instrumental part of; 2) rebel against the faulty execution of an idea you support; 3) put your service to moral truth above blind loyatly.
I'm not usually much for horoscopes anymore, but those sound like wise plans of action in my sitch, *laughs*.
November 09, 2007
Finished a new scarf for the upcoming shop update. This one is my favorite so far. I started using this hand dyed embroidery floss, that is really chi-chi, but just so lovely to sew with...
Going to Nahcotta tonight. They're having a little RISD focused sale - RISD designers+me = love. I'm especially interested to check out Erin Eleanor's knits. I love her color combinations - especially on her felt cloche hats, ripple scarves and ripple hats. Sigh - unfortunately I doubt that I will buy anything tonight...little pricey for my league. I'm not going to let that get me down though! I'm dragging one of my best buds, Allison, so it should be great. A nice little, non-dance outing :)
Oh and it snowed today. YES!
November 08, 2007
This post is going to be about food, with no actual pictures of the food because it was so awesome, we ate it all.
We finished off the evening with cowgirl cookies from Beach Pea Bakery. Good thing that I bought two half dozen bags - because these two cookies were the only thing left this morning. And no Hobbes the cat did not get to eat them. Mmmmm it's good to be a chubby girl! (I keep telling myself this - apparently it is working).
Some non food related things - Second Annual Holiday Ornament Swap hosted by Cake and Pie and Freshly Blended is here. You have until tomorrow, Friday, midnight Eastern Standard Time to sign up. I did this last year and it was a blast. I received ornaments from all over the world. Both my mom and I are participating this year. Fun, fun, fun.
November 07, 2007
November 06, 2007
Today is rainy and nasty! I'm happy though, because "O" finally arrived in my mailbox yesterday. I don't know why I've put off buying this album for so long, because I LOVE IT. My old dance company Neo did dances to the tracks Amie, and Cold Water. I can't remember where, but I was reading someone's blog the other day, and they were talking about this album and they said "It's so beautiful, and yet you kinda want to slash your wrists when it's all said and done." No worries...I'll stick to the beauty over here at G+N! It's definitely good rainy day music.
In other musical news - I've been super obsessed with listening to classical music lately. I've always lamented that I didn't take any music history courses during my brief stint as a music major and I've been trying to make up for it lately. My station of choice has been WCRB out of Boston. An online stream is available if you'd like to listen wherever you are reading this from. Every morning there's a feature with hottie Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart and his pick of the day.
Not musically related - but definitely awesome, Jeffrey's brand, spanking new book Working for the Man is now available. Jeffrey has been so kind to give my Year of Outfits project a shout out, and I wanted to return the kindness. I can't wait to get my hands on this book!
November 05, 2007
First off, I have to preface this post by saying that I was so pissed that I missed a blogging day yesterday! Seriously, I thought I had it in me to stick to something for more than FOUR whole days!? And no fun prizes for me, boo hoo. Damn Buffy the Vampire Slayer! (Yes, this is why I missed posting, because I was having a gigantic nerd-fest with my husband).
Anyways, I'm not going to cry about it more than that. I'll still keep posting away for this month, and I've decided that today I want to talk about Etsy. Regular readers might be sensing my recent discontent with my job situation. I've been doing a lot of serious thinking/soul searching about this, and I've come to some decisions. I am unfortunately not in a position to leave my job, for financial reasons, and for the scarcity of appealing job openings in my area. I have always dreamt of starting my own dance school and restarting my company, and that is something that I have lost sight of lately. This is not something that I can afford, or feel ready to do quite yet, but I can take steps towards that goal. That's where my Etsy shop comes in.
I've never quite taken my shop very seriously, only as a side thing that I've done for fun, but now I'm going to use it as a tool to reach my dance goals. I'm going to be routing my PayPal account to a savings account that is not very easily accessible. Any profit that I make from the shop will only be used to purchase materials for new products, or it will sit there gathering interest. Initially I'll probably use the money to attend dance workshops/seminars to get a little more education under my belt. I've also been considering applying for a summer internship at Jacob's Pillow, which would require some savings to balance out loss of income for next summer. Ultimately I would like this money to become a nest egg to start another creative business - my dream dance studio.
I'm going to write this, in shorter form, on my site, my Etsy site, Flickr profiles, you name it - so as cheesy as it sounds my customers will know that by purchasing a handmade item from me, they are quite literally helping my dreams come true!
I don't know how often, or how large my shop updates will be, but I'm aiming for at least once a month - even if it's one item, so that I'm continually making progress, no matter how small. The scarves above are part of a small update that I am hoping to make within the next week or two - so that I can mail things out in time for the holidays.
So what do you guys think of my new business goals? Crazy? Overly hopeful? We'll see how it goes. For now...I've got some sewing to do.
November 03, 2007
1. Sarai's Wedding, 2. HELLO November, 3. feira das velharias, 4. studio shelves, 5. eggs galore, 6. Untitled, 7. No. 486 Tricycle Tyke, detail, 8. halloween, 9. pesky gnomes
Today is rainy and grey, so I will post other people's photos for inspiration! If you click through these, let me just say a couple of things: Sarai's wedding - look at her whole set. It makes me want to get married all over again! I'm loving house imagery lately. If I had it my way our house would be wallpapered in little house prints, not pictured in this mosaic, but check out Jen Judd-McGee's solo show set - totally amazing! My current obsession with local foods is represented - and of course matryoshkas and gnomes...how can you go wrong!?
Last night was so fun. I stayed up until almost five in the morning with good friends. Completely impromptu plans were made to attend a rock show, post work. I don't think I've done that since I was in college, in Virginia! I only slept for about five hours, but I woke up with a bit of red wine dry mouth, and I couldn't get back to sleep. I can't believe how awake I am right now.
Oh! Related...and completely nerdy...my friend Elise spilled red wine all over her white coat. I immediately remembered reading somewhere in Martha Stewart Living, that salt and boiling water will take a red wine stain out. I quickly double checked online, we dampened the stain a little bit, rubbed some salt in, then secured the area with the stain over a bowl with an elastic. I poured boiling water from a kettle over it - and wouldn't you know, it disappeared. The total process took about five minutes. I felt like a domestic superhero, hahaha!
Anyways - I'm off to shower, then head out for a late breakfast with my hubby and then Nutwacker, I mean, cracker rehearsal. Stay dry everyone!
November 02, 2007
This is a bastardized version of a recipe from The Great Big Vegetable Challenge Blog, and one that my bloggy friend Nat aka Marmite Breath sent to me. I needed lunch fast - so I improvised!
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Two medium sized apples, cubed (or in my case on big-ass one and a tiny one)
4 cups of chicken stock
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
4 cups of roasted pumpkin puree
Get a big pot, make a few generous swirls of olive oil in the bottom. Add the garlic and the apples and cook for about five minutes, stirring here and there. Add stock - rev up the heat to high if you're in a hurry (like me), stir in cinnamon and ginger. It's important to say here that my pumpkin puree was frozen - so I was trying to get my stock super hot to melt it fast. Add in puree (wait for it to melt - mashing it with a cooking implement helps). Put a majority of the chunky bits in the blender. Blend. Return to pot. Now you have a thick yummy soup. Garnish with a few plops of yogurt and some maple syrup. The real stuff - don't mess around with any of that Log Cabin crap.
Thoughts: This soup is good for a sweet tooth! My savory minded hubby didn't like it so much, (good, all the more for me). If I make this again, I would probably cut down on the cinnamon a bit, and add an onion to the start - to give it a little more somethin' somethin'. I'll definitely be tweaking this one in the future.
November 01, 2007
Christmas present for my sister-in-law, officially done.
Now I have a million more to make. It's going to be like Santa's workshop around here for the next few weeks!
P.S. - I'm participating in NaBloPoMo - so I'll be posting everyday in November. I want to strive towards being one of those blogs that you visit for little the little nuggets of fun narrative everyday. Yeah, we'll see how that works out for me...I just said nuggets! Har har har.
P.P.S. My next knitting adventure is going to be thrummed mittens. My super awesome brother-in-law requested them, and I am scared - they look tricky!