Monthly Archives: October 2014

Works in Progress: October 2014

It’s a works-in-progress month around here. And I sort of love it because when I hit a road block on one thing, there are eight more projects waiting in the wings.  But, to the detriment of this particular space, it means that I have no finished work to share.  (And my real camera is still being repaired, so I must make do with the phone camera and RadLab editing).  Are you ready for an assortment?

Paper to Petal

I began writing a review for Paper to Petal by Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell over a month ago. I had great success making some blossoms for a wedding, but felt that I needed more crepe paper.  So while I await some vintage Italian crepe paper, and continue to scour my go-to thrift stores for millinery supplies, here are some complete flowers.  I have a notion to make a giant Polish pajaki for Christmas with this paper flowers—big plans!  Pajakis are paper chandeliers that are a traditional Christmas decoration in Poland.

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Teeny Tiny Menagerie

This book by Niriko Komurata with “380 Whimsical & Wonderful Animal Embroidery Motifs” landed in my book bag, and I was instantly inspired to take up the hoop. Around here, we use cloth napkins every single day.  All but four newer ones have been in heavy rotation for twelve years.  They are tired.  So I had been thinking about whipping up a new set of matching napkins, 24 fresh ones to take us through the next twelve years.  I don’t want to embroider each napkin with the same thing, and I don’t want our initials on them—some of us are messier than others, and then there’d be evidence of it!  But Noriko Komurata’s book solves this challenge.  I plan to choose 24 (or so) animals and embroider them on the napkin corners.  This is a longer term project that I intend to realize over the winter.  Each of us has favorite animals, and family members and friends will be assigned accordingly.  In preparation, I borrowed a serger as I feel the serged napkin edge will allow me to make all the napkins now and press them into service, while embroidering them at will.

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Art Journaling

There is a band of self-proclaimed “crafty vixens” who create weekly art journal pages based on prompts. They have created a space for accountability and creativity, and I’m vicariously following along (#getmessyartjournal) until there is room for me to participate.  So, while I am just doing my own thing, I’m really inspired by their gang.  Here are links to their ring-leaders: Caylee and Lauren.

I found an old banco di roma calendar book at the SFPL BIG book sale. I extracted half the pages to allow room for my own add-ins.  And I cannot stop making pages. Love it.

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Scandinavian Memory Book

We took a trip. We took 3000 photos.  And before we forget (who’s kidding; we’ve already started to forget…), I want to capture as much as I can.

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Nutty Millet Breakfast Cookies

I just met Megan Gordon. (Not in real life, but in a book which is nearly as good). Especially because she gave me the recipe to her Nutty Millet Breakfast Cookies.  I am a creature of habit, and my breakfast each and every morning is nut granola with some berries or diced apple with almond milk.  Done.  Daily.  Except those mornings when we run out, and then I scramble to throw the mix together and bake it off.  When I spied these cookies, I thought they might just solve our whole entire morning.  The kids would gobble them, they are freeze-able, so we won’t run out.  They are easily portioned.  And they are chock full of good whole grains.  I did have to specially purchase barley flour, wheat bran, and millet.  I followed Megan’s recipe to the letter (though I used golden raisins instead of conventional).  These cookies are perfection for me, and not just for breakfast.  I am telling everyone about them.  (I’ll be honest though, my kiddos didn’t love them—for breakfast or otherwise).

Ingredients: 1 cup whole wheat flour 1/4 cup barley flour 3/4 cup rolled oats 1/4 cup millet 1/4 cup wheat bran 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon ginger 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup coconut oil, (melted) 1/2 cup maple syrup 1 large egg (beaten) 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/3 cup raisins (I used golden raisins) 1/4 cup roasted walnuts (chopped) 1/3 cup roasted pecans (chopped) To prepare: Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat. In a large bowl, add the flours, oats, millet, bran, baking powder, baking salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Mix until combined; set aside. In medium sized bowl add the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, egg and vanilla, mix; then add to flour mixture stirring ingredients together with a wooden spoon. Stir in raisins and nuts. Mixture will be very thick. Let sit 10 minutes. Using a large spoon scoop out dough and place on cookie sheet about 1-1/2 inches away from each other. Flatten dough to about 3/4 inch thick.

Bake until golden brown around the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet 10 minutes before moving to wire rack. Store in an airtight container. Freeze-able. Makes about 18 cookies. Recipe has been slightly adapted from the Whole Grain Mornings cookbook by Megan Gordon.

Next up, I’m going to make the Peach Breakfast Cobbler with Cornmeal Thyme Biscuits and the Blueberry Breakfast Bars.

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Thanks for jumping all over the place with me today.

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To Do Lists

Over a year ago, I purchased four linen chevron curtain panels from the Crate and Barrel outlet (meaning, once they are gone, they are gone forever). They sat in the bag in a corner of the living room.  Then I found the perfect wood and brass rods…which sat in their own corner for a few months.  Myquillyn Smith’s book was just the kick in the pants I needed to get out the drill, tape measure, and level, and go for it.  I have tall windows.  I thought I bought four 96-inch panels.  Alas, I did not.  Somehow, one 84-inch panel was in the bunch.  So now I have one high-water curtain with three that need a little hemming.  This needs to be said: I know that I have a beautiful home and I am grateful for our bright, safe shelter from the world and all its elements.  But there are neglected spots, odd cover plates missing, and a desperate patio.

Smith, Myquillyn.337904
The Nesting Place:
It Doesn’t have to be Perfect to be Beautiful.
Illustrated. 199pp. Zondervan, 2014, $19.99.
ISBN-10: 0310337909
ISBN-13: 978-0310337904

When I think of what needs to be finished, or rearranged, or painted….well, you know those people who magically get stuff done? Those people who Christmas shop in July?  Who actually professionally frame artwork?  Who commit to gorgeous wallpaper?  I’m not one of those people.  I second-guess.  I ruminate.  I consider my options in a very non-statistical, intuitive fashion.  Then, I get lost in a tangent of art journaling, crepe paper flowers, and snippet poetry only to be snapped to reality with a kitchen island that desperately needs paint, and kids who need help with their homework.  And the holidays are coming!  Which means I need–of all things–candles.  And that’s how my To Do list starts.  Each and every autumn, I decide to be WAY more organized about the holidays (which I love).  But I also adore autumn: cool sweater weather, rainy days, meat braising.  I soak up all the autumnal goodness, making Halloween costumes and carving pumpkins.  Don’t even get me started on my homage to apples…  The next thing I know it’s the Monday before Thanksgiving, and people are asking me what the kids might like for Christmas.  Ack!

Where was I? Oh yes, my To Do list.

Have you ever come across an anonymous Shopping or a To Do list? The scrawl of tasks and necessities.  The block-print of forgetfulness overcome.  The illegible short-hand.  Well, I have altogether stopped creating To Do lists for the house on account of feelings.  I am afraid to make mistakes.  And then, The Nesting Place landed in my book bag.  Myquillyn (also known as the Nester in home décor/DIY circles) is a champion for the “get it done, and live in it” style.  Her subtitle says it better: it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.  This isn’t solely a home décor book.  It’s not just a how-to book.  It’s more of a reminder that I need to enjoy the space I have, and quit these fears of making another mistake, and hem the darn curtains already!

I read Myquillyn’s book cover to cover and am absolutely motivated to write this review, but all I really want to do is declutter (or “quiet”) every room in our house, photograph the back patio and get some reader opinions on what might work in that space, buy some crisp mat board for two thrifted pieces of art, and dig out the stud finder to hang that mirror in the dining room. Basically, I want to make a list and get stuff done.   My living room looks like it belongs to someone else, and that needs to change NOW.

You can find Myquillyn creating amazing vignettes and spaces at her website, but plan accordingly because there is SO much goodness to read and view.  Also, she’s on Instagram.

Thank you, Myquillyn Smith, for writing a purposeful, old-soul book about making an authentic home that allows people to live and breathe and play and work in it.

 

PS: In the meantime, I leave you with a curiosity.  This is “old” news.  Back in March of 2014, an apartment in Paris that had been abandoned some 70 years earlier was unlocked:

http://www.boredlion.com/lost-parisian-apartment-is-an-unmatched-time-capsule-from-the-40s/

A thousand stories are coursing through my imagination on this discovery. French privacy laws protect the identity of the granddaughter, but these laws also allow me to linger in the mystery and build my own fiction as to why the owner never went back, yet kept paying the rent.  Fascinating!

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