A place to store and share the things I make.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ready to go, dress or not

A quick re-start of the ol' computer magically made my photo card reader work again, so now I can show you what I've been working on, as I finish up packing for the weekend.  A few weeks ago I had the thought, "I should make myself a dress for Seth & Molly's wedding."  The common-sense side of me said No, Mandi, that would be too much for you to do in the crazy month of May leading up to the big day.  Then, last Saturday--read five days ago--the thought came back and hit me hard.  So what did I do?  Started making a dress.  Have I ever made a dress before?  Nope.  Did I have a pattern?  Nope.  Did it work out?  Sort of...  I actually think it will work out ok in the end, but as the day was getting closer, I realized that the weather was not really feeling all summery and warm like I expected--and like would be necessary to flaunt my cute summery halter-style dress.  Basically, I got cold feet.  It needs some help with some finishing touches, but overall it was a good experience--though it did cause me to lose some sleep.  I even started on a second dress one morning when I felt like giving up on the original.  I'm bringing it to Bellingham, Shannon/Robyn/Kim/Rosie/Mom, so you can give me some advice on where to go with it.

The weather is drizzly, but the sun is doing its best to shine through.  I'm looking forward to taking my first ride on Amtrak, spending some time with Graham's mom on the way, and then getting some good family time while we're there.  Happy long weekend!

Toast with strawberry jam & smoked mozzarella
Leaving this!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Baby Shower

I'm supposed to be packing for Bellingham (!), but feel like blogging instead.  I always rehearse my blogs in my head, and when I realize I've been doing it for some time without getting anything down, I know it's time to write.  Except, now that I sit down to type, my photo card isn't reading, and someone just solicited at my doorbell, and I'm frump.  I am excited to share what I've been working on, but it just doesn't seem to do justice to talk about it without showing.  So...here I am.

We did have a fun baby shower for Megan a couple weekends ago.  Her bump just keeps bumping along each time we see her.  It was a good time to see old friends and new, including our friend Megan who is finishing midwifery school.  She may be the only woman I know who gets as excited as I do about talking about very personal things*...
Probably talking about lactation...

We each contributed to the Kimmelshue library
Supercute handmade headbands
My upcycled onesie
 *I specialize in women's health issues as a physical therapist, so discussing very personal things including vaginas, poop, and pee is part of my daily life.  And I so enjoy it!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I love our neighborhood.  It really has all that I need, for the most part, within walking distance.  Graham is out of town, so I've been hammering down on a to-do list today.  I started the day biking to New Cascadia to meet with some PT friends to scheme on how we are going to save the world through physical therapy.  Then I stopped at Goodwill to get some baby stuff to upcycle.  I made plans to have a lunch date in North Portland with my friend Crystal, but it started raining, so instead I dropped the car off at the auto place to fix the windshield wipers.  That's where my walk began.  Here's where I went:

1. New Seasons (to get lunch meat and cheese for lunch)
2. Sellwood-Moreland Library (to drop off my ballot, which is due at 8 pm tonight.  I'm early!)
3. Wallace Books (the best, most cluttered used book store ever)
4. Westmoreland Liquor (to get tequila for Margaritas with Katy & Joel before home community)
5. Silver Lining (to find a dress for Seth & Molly's wedding, no luck)
6. Home.  To eat lunch on the front steps, blog, and think about the paperwork for my annual review that I'm supposed to have filled out by tomorrow.  But c'mon, it's my day off.

Back to it. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Vegans and Artichokes

I am exhausted.  It has been a crazy week at work, and I'm just plum worn out.  After a pretty go-go-go day yesterday, I was driving home at 11pm from a co-ed soccer game, and the windshield wipers decided to stop working.  Which is not really an ok thing when you live in Oregon.  As I climbed into bed around midnight I whispered to Graham, who had been in bed since 9, that there might not be wipers for his drive to work at 4 am.  Then I spent the next hour worrying about how he would get to work if it was pouring rain and he couldn't see.  So I got up, checked my email and facebook, then read blog after blog (oh yeah, I did a quick search for what to do when your wipers don't work too).  I climbed into bed after 1, woke when Graham left, then woke an hour later when Gilda puked, then at 7 when Graham called.  I slept in till 9:45.  That's so unheard of for me.  But you know what, I feel pretty darn good now.  And I've got a long week ahead...

I realized a couple weeks ago, and admitted to myself, that I don't really like eggs.  I don't like them scrambled, and only sometimes fried.  So I decided I'm going to stop eating them.  (Ok I'll still bake with them, and hard boiled is ok too).  This morning I decided to find a good tofu scramble.  Graham brought home Veganomicon, "the ultimate vegan cookbook", from the library a couple months ago, and I was a little skeptical.  I like the concept of veganism, but I like cheese more.  After a few weeks of making some really solid recipes, I was a fan.  I looked for it this morning to find a good tofu scramble, and alas, the book is gone.  That's what happens I guess when you get cookbooks from the library.  I did find this recipe online from Kitchenist.  It made a long morning of finding blown fuses and digging under the hood of the car a little easier on Graham (and a late morning seem a little less wasted for me). Enjoy!
Pressing the tofu

Tasty Tofu Scramble  
(my modifications are italicized)
250g tofu (whatever type you like, I used firm)
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 a small yellow onion, coarsly chopped
artichoke hearts (I got them canned from Trader Joes.  Who has this on hand in the pantry?!?)
 1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbs. soy sauce (I skipped this)
1 Tbs. finely chopped parsley
sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Drain the tofu and wrap it in a tea towel for 10 minutes or so, while you get on with chopping the vegetables. Crumble roughly into a bowl and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat, and add the onion. After a minute or two, add the frozen peas, and continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes, until the veg are cooked but still have bite. Stir in the spices. Add the tofu and turn the heat up a little; scramble gently until everything is coated well in the spices. If you’re using it, add the soy sauce at this point. After 2-3 minutes, remove from the heat and add the parsley, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

The Guest of Honor

I just realized I had started a post a couple weeks ago, and all that was written was the photo caption "The Guest of Honor". Oops.  If there's one thing I've learned about blogging (and probably known about myself for a long time...), it's that I have to start and finish a post in one sitting.  Or it won't get done.  I'm getting over that notion right now.

Megan is pregnant.  With twins.  So we are making her a quilt--two quilts, actually.  The girls from my home community got together a few weeks ago to start putting it together.  Our family started a new tradition last year with the birth of great-grandkid #2 (Emma came along before we all realized our shared love of crafting I think...), where we get together (from states apart) and make a quilt together.  (See my post about my nephew's quilt).  Anyway, we're making one for Megan's little ones too, and we planned a big night of quilting together to work on it, but decided to invite the giftee to share in the festivities. 
 The Guest-of-honor 

It was most of the girls' first time cutting and piecing, which made it a fun teaching experience for me.  Everyone just brought 2 coordinating fat quarters, and I brought out my stash to mix and match.  After 3 hours (including drinks and snacks), most of the pieces were cut out, and some were sewn together.  We're having quilt night #2 this week.  I'll post more after that...

Kim's first square...and so much enthusiasm!

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I had kind of a shit morning today.  I went to bed in a grump and hoped to wake up without it.  I woke up ok, and set my intention to have a good day.  It started well enough; I got out of the house first thing, met with an Americano and oat muffin at Marsee baking.  I journaled, I prayed, I asked for Words.  For something from God to pull me out of the muck I felt stuck in, the muck I couldn’t even name. 

I came home and worked on some projects, finished a baby gift then started experimenting with the leather needle, heavy duty thread, and neoprene that is (hopefully) going to turn into a laptop case.  After several failed attempts with my Kenmore, I got my user manual out and proceeded to clean and oil the entire thing, thinking maybe that was the problem.  (I have never cleaned my machine before—and I’ve had it since I lived in Bozeman, so at least 7 years.  It was almost as if my feed dogs were actually shedding, there was so much lint in them).  That didn’t work, so I moved onto the Singer, hoping Betty could send some good vibes down to help.  After several attempts there (and I promised her, out loud, that I wouldn’t cuss.  Sorry, Betty), I finally shut down the operation and gave up. 

There are things I know will lead to a bad day: too much time by myself, too much sewing, too much computer; also too little exercise, fresh air, or sun.  Sun I can’t control.  Exercise I can.  The others had already pushed it on.  So I went to yoga

Now when yoga first came around in my life, I was cautioned to be wary of it, it being a spiritual practice of sorts.  I agree, there have been times I’ve been a little uncomfortable with some practices, but overall I find it such a rewarding practice.  Some days it is just a work out; some days it is a stress reliever.  Today it was a prayer.  Bill always starts his class with a harpsichord/accordion type instrument, with which we resound a collective “om”.  The first time he did this, I was wierded out.  Then he explained: it’s a collective sound, a unison of the different voices that have come together for one practice, regardless of what each individual came for or came with.  In that small room, on the same cork floor, we are all in it together.  Together.  At the end of the practice, we united for three more oms.  As I sat there cross-legged, hands on my knees, I raised my palms to the ceiling as if to receive a benediction.  And I did.  I heard “Peace.  Be at peace with yourself.”  God showed up.  The sun came out.  The day moves on.