Monday, February 28, 2011

Chocolate overload

Mmmm... dessert porn. This is the Chocolate Overload cake that we had at Ikea yesterday. Our trip was otherwise pretty much fruitless, but since neither of us have space for more furniture or any particular need for miscellaneous household goods, we were mostly just going to play house and eat the cafeteria food. So, success.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Felt friend

I want this! It's a felt kit for making a little felt kitty. Unfortunately, I don't think my felting skills are up to it yet (never mind that I wouldn't be able to read the Japanese-only instructions). I've only made one needle-felted project so far, which is my octopus friend:

My octopus friend is the product of the Octopus Friend kit that I got as a Christmas present. I had fun making him, although I underestimated how tedious making eight legs, each with three little suckers, would be. Still, I think my octopus friend will probably be getting another friend sometime, since I do have a lot of wool left over from the kit. And then I want to make a cute little cat... or maybe something like these cute little murloc tadpoles... as if I didn't have enough in my crafting queue already.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Outside inside

I really like seeing "outside" plants living inside, especially inside spaces that would otherwise be just sterile marble and glass. I love houseplants too, but a spider plant (no offense to my own) isn't as dramatic as a whole tree growing inside.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I enjoy cooking, but I don't think I will ever have a food blog. There are plenty of people already blogging who are more talented both as chefs and as photographers than I am. Besides, I don't have anything I can even pretend is a serving dish, so my food photos are never very pretty. And 75% of the recipes I love seem to come from smitten kitchen anyway.

But although I don't have a photo of it, or any insightful recipe variations, I really need to write about the clementine cake I made last weekend (yes, that's another smitten kitchen post). It was amazing. By which I mean it was delicious and moist and sweet, although it wasn't the best cake I've ever had. What amazed me is that yes, in fact, a cake that has five ingredients, none of which is flour and one of which is 5 boiled, pureed whole clementines, turned out so nicely.

I was also impressed with my experience because it was:
- the first time I used a springform pan (I went out to Crate & Barrel that morning to buy one!)
- the first time I baked anything flourless
- the first time I cooked anything whose main ingredient is boiled citrus, rinds and all.

The variation, using half lemons, mentioned on smitten kitchen sounds interesting. I might try that next time, and of course there will be a next time. Especially since I own a springform pan now.

(By the way, I do have a food micro-blog, @foodlings.)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bag preview!

I spent the afternoon sewing a mock-up of this six-pocket bag pattern from Better Homes and Gardens.

This was the stuff that made me hate sewing when I was younger: all the preliminary work, the measuring, the pressing and unfolding and re-pressing. Sewing is too mathematical and unforgiving for me, but every now and then I really want to make something. My mom, whose hobby of choice is sewing, taught me the basics and tried to get me to understand "measure twice, cut once." I hated that saying.

Now that I'm a little older and slightly wiser, I can admit that it's probably better to take your time and end up with something nice, than finish as fast as possible but be disappointed with what you made. It also helps that the fabric I'll be using was bought for me in Japan, so if I mess it up, there's no going to the store to buy more AND I'll be ruining something that was meant as a present!

I'm very proud of myself for getting through a complete mock-up. I'm not even sure this is the pattern I'll end up using - I will at least increase the size by about 10%, if I do - but I'm so excited that in three and a half hours of work (including a whole range of setbacks and confusion about everything from how to thread my sewing machine to OMG MY NEEDLE BROKE) I have this little proto-bag.

By the way, I know I made a mistake with the raw edges on the exterior pockets. It was an obvious mistake but, yes, it's another reason why it's good to make a mock-up first. Mom was right (as usual).

Friday, February 18, 2011

Spring preview

One of the nice things about living here is you can usually count on a day or two in January or February when the temperature gets up to the 70s and you can pretend spring is here already. I was lucky enough to have that day fall on my day off today, so I went out for a walk and had my traditional iced chai - something I always do on the first day it's warm enough to sit outside and drink something cool.

It is a little weird for it to be so warm and sunny outside when it still looks like winter, but I did find a few things starting to bloom or turn green. Unfortunately it will be back into the 30s next week, and I know most of the buds don't really start coming out until mid or late March. I kind of hope it will snow again between now and then. I'm getting sick of winter, but when it looks so bleak outside there might as well be some snow.