Tuesday, August 16, 2011

You cannot be sad...

when you have ice cream.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Make It: Canteloupe Two Ways

So Maggie has been begging to cook in the way that only six-year olds can beg. I remember doing the same thing to my mom, so it's kind of a proud moment. The only problem? She wants to make cakes or crepes or bread, and our old house tends to hold kitchen heat in the summer. My solution? Something frozen. And healthy. That doesn't require a ton of ingredients. Here's something that has just three ingredients (four if you want to get fancy) and can be mature or immature, depending on how you feel. (We did a bit of both.)

I give you...Canteloupe Granita & Popsicles.
(makes six popsicles and a few cups of granita)

1 medium canteloupe, cut in chunks
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup sugar (more or less, depending on the fruit and your preferences)
red seedless grapes, cut in half (that's the fancy part)

In a blender, puree the canteloupe, lemon juice and sugar until very smooth.

For the popsicles: Place a few grapes in the bottom of each popsicle mold, then carefully fill the molds with the pureed canteloupe, close the molds and freeze until solid. Warm the mold exteriors with your hands or run under warm water for a few seconds to make unmolding easy.

For the granita: Pour the remaining puree and grapes into a shallow dish and freeze. Mix with a fork every 30-45 minutes to keep the mixture relatively smooth (otherwise you end up with a big flat popsicle.)

That's it. So simple a six-year old can do it.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Things you can cook at 120f

Did you know that you can cook steaks to rare at 120f?
And smoke prime rib. And jerky. And tofurkey.

Eggs, duh.

Sous vide? You betcha. Roast cocoa nibs.

Fudge. You can make fudge. And jam. And cookies.

Dehydrated meals, too.

You can also get rid of bedbugs by heating them for one minute in your dryer to 120f. And you can proof yeast.

There's a book about torture where people are tied up in 120f heat. It's called HELL ON EARTH.

The upside? Tomorrow is supposed to be worse. (Also, it's only noon. This afternoon will also be worse. Worse. Worse.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cleaning up & moving on.

I've developed a worry. I worry that I'm something of a hoarder. Proof? You should see my yarn stash. Or the thousands of photo files on my hard drive. Or the decade of back issues of Martha Stewart and Print magazines.

While no one will get injured by falling piles while in my home, I do worry that I keep stuff that I just don't need. One of those things: blogs. So today, I've deleted two of my blogs, ChvChick and PunkRockGardenClub. It was a bittersweet decision, but here's my thinking...

If you're a Cheverly resident, you're aware that CheverlyExchange (the listserv) has grown into a big information/opinion hub. When we (Stella Scott, Liz O'Leary, Katie Troyner and I) started the blog, it was in response to the main Cheverly blog (ChvBlog) -- there was no Exchange, there wasn't really a way to pose different points of view (other than comments, but we wanted more.) It was fun for a while, then posts dropped off, then we thought about changing the direction, but it never really took. And now, with Stella and ChvBlog co-founder Dan moving away, it seems like the right time to put ChvChick to bed. It was a good run. We still have each other. I love you guys.

I also closed PunkRockGardenClub today, in favor of concentrating on things that are closer to my heart. Maybe someday I'll revive something like it, but it's not in the cards right now. I still love DIY (if you know me, you know that) and I'l always try to figure out a creative solution before buying, but I've felt guilty about not posting too much about this one.

So there. Some cleaning. Now, about that yarn stash...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July. July.

We had an amazing time in Massachusetts. Amazing. Our second year at Solid Sound was phenomenal (even drenched) and I've developed a deep love for Thurston Moore's solo work. Also, a deep love for Western Mass. Surprise, surprise, I took tons of photos of decay and rust and chickens and people, and came back ready to make stuff again (I was a little worn out.)

One of the things I love best about rural Massachusetts? People don't ask what you do. In the DC area, within the first five minutes, most conversations wind up at "Where do you work? What do you do?" There, I asked people twice, but no one ever asked me. Refreshing, especially since I always feel like a fish out of water. It's hard to explain what I do, beyond "I make stuff". I think that if you aren't constantly trying to validate your position, it's a lot easier to get on with actually doing. I aim to find out.

And I want to figure out how to cobble together some sort of career that I don't need to explain to anyone. That's my new goal. Also, I want a pony. Or a really big dog.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Where is all the time going?!

School is over. The pool is open. The Market is in full swing. My sister and her wonderful family have come and gone. We're a week away from Solid Sound. Summer camps are on the horizon. This summer is speeding by at breakneck speed.

I'm worried that I'm going to wake up and it'll be time for the new school year! We're all sleeping late, but I don't feel like we're really well rested. And my plans for plumbing the depths of a bourbon slushee have yet to be realized, though we have made it to Cantler's (Annapolis -- the best crabs!) twice in a week, so I suppose there is some sort of balance. One good thing about all this activity -- I have been completely distracted from the stupidity that's been going on in politics in the past few weeks. It's a good thing, because I think I'd be willing to read the riot act to a few people if I paid more attention.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I had fun at Handmade Mart! Now I'm a slug. With Cable.

I'm still sort of recovering from the flurry of activity of the past month. This past weekend was, in my head, the final big push of the spring -- the opening of Cheverly Community Market on Saturday, and Handmade Mart on Sunday. After all the excitement, I gave myself Monday to regroup (and sleep.) Now it's Thursday, and I still haven't done a whole lot this week (though I have caught up on all sorts of shows and movies, thanks to the cable teevee to which I finally gave in). I keep telling myself that this is much-needed rest. That summer is coming and I'll have wall-to-wall kids. That I deserve a break. The truth? It's hot. I'm tired. And needing a teeny little creative break. Ideas are just starting to flow again, so I'm thinking it's not all bad... Now, back to some cake show. There are a lot of them. They're hard to turn off.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I have to step away from the wax and paint fumes for a bit...

Getting ready for Handmade Mart and the opening day of Cheverly Community Market and I think I need either a nap or food. And probably a bath, since I seem to have coated a good part of my left hand and arm with silver wax.

And here's my big confession: I've never been in a craft show before. I'm a little (lot) nervous. Selling stuff through third parties (stores, etsy) is no problem, but the whole people interacting with me thing? That sends me right back to middle school, where I was painfully shy. Funny, since I blog in three places and take thousands of photos of everyone else. What can I say? It's a quirk.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Have I mentioned that I'm getting excited about Sunday and Handmade Mart? Look for my banner between 10am and 5pm on Ellsworth Drive in Silver Spring -- there are a ton of great artists who will be represented, and I can't wait to get a look at their work!

Cheverly Day. Amazing Place. Amazing Community. Amazing Day.

Definitely an Only in Cheverly kind of weekend...

We had a great time at ChvProm (that's our table!), though I have come to the conclusion -- perhaps a little late -- that I am old and full of bad decisions. My apologies to anyone who heard us singing Guns & Roses songs at 2am. That was champagne-fueled, as so many questionable ideas are. Come to think of it, I think we made plans to form a lounge act...I'm going to have to learn some Journey songs...and learn to do a beehive again, because I was definitely channeling early '80s-era Tama Janowitz with the 'do and the clothes.

Cheverly Day itself was a blast -- from the great parade in the morning to the rain-soaked fireworks at night. I've posted a lot of pictures -- a lot of pictures -- on flickr.

(These two photos are from the lovely Katie Troyner, who is full of awesome.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cheverly Day is this weekend! I was very lucky to be asked to create the program for the 80th anniversary. The book was mailed to every household in town, and contains many, many recollections from friends and neighbors about what makes this a great place to live. Click here to take a look!

We're also getting ready for a big ChvProm on Friday night. The table decoration contest is particularly fierce this year. Can't wait to post photos, but for now our theme is under wraps! All I can say is that many cans of spray paint have
been used.

Finally, I'm very excited to announce that I'm returning to work with Cheverly Community Market this season -- my fancy title is "Digital Outreach Manager"... there'll be a lot of new content on the blog and website coming soon, as well as some cool new stuff!

And...it's almost GROTTO SEASON!

Monday, May 2, 2011

I'm excited about a lot of things right now!

The next three weeks are crazy. Crazy I tell you! Spring break is over for the kids and there are only a five weeks left before summer, and I'm fairly certain that every minute is going to be a whirlwind...

* Cheverly Community Market kicks off an exciting new season with a potluck this Saturday night. Details here. You'll be hearing a fair amount about the Market from me this year...and I'm glad to be part of it again.

* ChvProm is next Friday! This is one event that makes Cheverly a magical place to live. Our group has big plans this year...big plans. I can say no more.

* Cheverly Day is next Saturday. If you've talked to me in the past month, you know I've been sort of preoccupied with getting the program ready -- it's a big one. I think that the very best thing about this program is that there are so many stories of people who live here, why they came here, why they stay. And a bunch of stories of families who have been part of Cheverly for multiple generations. Can't wait for everyone to see this!

* Cheverly Community Market opens the 2011 season on Saturday, May 21.

The thing I'm most excited about? I'll be in my very first craft fair on Sunday, May 22. Silver Spring's Handmade Mart is a juried fair of super cool vendors, and I'm thrilled to be part of it this year. Please come visit me there!

Monday, April 25, 2011

A plea...and hopefully I'm preaching to the choir.

This afternoon on the way home from the park and groceries, the kids and I nearly became a nasty statistic. We were in the left lane, northbound, on Route 202. There were cars on my right, two cars in the left turn lane, and two cars very close behind me. Evidently, the driver of the second car in the turn lane realized that the car in front of her was not going to move, because she swerved directly in front of me, and took the turn from my lane.

Did she signal? Nope.
Did she look before moving into my lane? Nope

What made it much, much more dangerous? The two cars behind mine, both way, way too close. They had to be going 60 in a 35 zone. And you know what? The guy right behind me was on his phone THE WHOLE TIME. And he stayed on his phone as long as we saw him...he may still be on it.

Thank goodness our brakes are good. Thank goodness I was paying attention. It was very much a prepare-for-impact moment. I was already trying to remember if I had our health insurance cards with us. We were seconds -- two or three at most -- from being sandwiched. Paul and Maggie are fine -- Paul did hit his head on the side of the car but he says he's okay. Mostly, we got a BIG scare.

So here's my plea to everyone: use your turn signals. Stop driving like you're playing a video game. Slow down. And most of all...STAY THE HELL OFF YOUR PHONE WHEN YOU'RE DRIVING!!!

- I wrote this on my iPad

Friday, April 22, 2011

I know, I know, Thing-A-Day came and went and I stopped blogging. The long, long winter got to me and I became sort of catatonic (I watched two -- two -- full series on Netflix: Ugly Betty and Larry Sanders, and I actually sat down to watch several episodes of Real Housewives of New Jersey.
I am not proud.) oh, and I severely sprained my knee. Call me grace. And then a bunch of other stuff happened, including an episode in bad judgment in which I took the cat in the car to pick up the kids from school. I am scarred. Literally. The cat, on the other hand, is just fine.

Mostly, I've been really busy putting together the Cheverly Day 2011 book. For the town's 80th anniversary, we did a 56-page program filled with thoughts from the locals about what makes Cheverly so great. Honestly, I didn't think so many people would respond! I'll post a link when it's time...
Next, I'm preparing for Handmade Mart in May (details soon) and some graphics projects that I'm looking forward to. I haven't been doing nearly enough cooking lately, and I picked up knitting needles for the first time in at least a month today...my hands ached!

Just thought you might wonder what's happened and whether I'd really fallen off the face of the earth. More soon. Promise. Really.

PS. I wrote this on my iPad but was forced to try to post from my phone. Oh, the humanity. And then had to try again from my iPad. Without photos, so you'll have to use your imagination. This doesn't feel very much like modern communications right now... Pretty soon, I'm going to hook up some yarn and two tin cans.

- Posted from the iPhone of Awesome

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

mom failure, sort of

So Maggie had her annual checkup yesterday...three months late, but we were kind of doctored out earlier this winter. She's the size of a 10-11 year old (if you know her, you know how tall she is -- it's hard to remember that she's only six). She may need glasses. And an orthopedist. Those cute little pigeon toes -- or duck legs as Maggie calls them -- aren't quite as cute as they were at four. She had four big shots, a very unsuccessful attempt at blood drawing (yay, we get to go to another specialist), and she even got to pee in a cup. It was a banner day, and I'm pretty sure her rosy opinion of doctors underwent a sea change.

The mom failure part? When the doctor asked her about what she eats:
Dr.: What do you usually eat for lunch?
Maggie: A sandwich.
Dr.: And for dinner?
Maggie: A sandwich.
Dr.: Okay. What kind of sandwiches to you eat?
Maggie: Um...cheese!

Here's what Maggie left out: she did have a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner. It was on multigrain bread and paired with apples and a small glass of low fat milk. Breakfast? A banana-orange juice-yogurt smoothie. Morning snack? Prunes. Lunch? Half an apple, strawberries, a small banana, grapes, and half of a peanut butter sandwich on multigrain bread.

How the hell does that translate into cheese sandwiches for every meal?! The doctor was talking to Maggie so I didn't feel like I could cut in without looking really defensive. As it was, I may as well have been feeding her marshmallow fluff sandwiches on white bread with a side of velveeta.

Awesome. And yes, I know there are no vegetables in that sample diet. She doesn't like them anymore since her classmates made fun of her repeatedly for bringing sugar snap peas, red peppers and broccoli in her lunch. As it is, both kids complain that they never get "good" stuff (chips, cookies) in their lunches, just dumb healthy stuff. Because I am the meanest mom. Ever.

- I wrote this on my iPad

Sunday, March 13, 2011

We live in a golden age.

The cat doesn't actually have anything to do with this post, but she's been staring me down, so...

On Friday, we visited the Apple store in Annapolis and came away with two shiny new iPads (1st generation...did you see the lines of people waiting for the new ones?!) I have to admit that, even as we were leaving the store, I wasn't totally sure why we needed yet more equipment. But I am oh so glad we did. I love love love my iPhone (and it seems to be attached to me at all times), but the iPad is really all about engaging with information visually in a way that the small-screened iPhone just can't. Don't get me wrong: I'll definitely use my iPhone for all sorts of things (especially the camera -- I can't imagine effectively using a camera on the iPad) -- but I feel like a new way of seeing the world has been unlocked. I've definitely drunk the kool-aid.

I can't wait lot see what they come up with next.

- from my iPad

Thursday, March 3, 2011

In the very merry month of March, aka Pathetic, aka I may or may not need an intervention

So. This has been an awesome week. Really. Truly. No, not really. It started out fine -- finished Thing-A-Day, started working on a new project... But Tuesday morning, I had to get out of the car at dropoff so I could embarrass Paul with big hugs and kisses in front of the 7th/8th grade security patrol kids. I had to. It's a thing I do. Unfortunately, once Paul and Maggie had escaped me, my left leg lost communication with my left foot and, well, I sprained my knee. Glamorous, eh? I. Know.

I've been on the couch for three days, thanks to a very helpful husband and several helpful friends. Well, three days of watching old movies and tv and I've become weird. And smelly, but that's neither here nor there. I realized tonight, as I told Charles the high points of my day, that I'm in trouble.

And what were those high points? I watched Antiques Roadshow and a long Masterpiece Theater series. Also, I shared a can of tuna with our cat.

That second one was got a reaction from Charles. He tried to play it cool, but I could tell by the look on his face that I'd forged ahead into uncharted territory.

** Also, I saw "Ghoulies" yesterday. I let the twitterverse know how disappointed I was that no one had let me know about this film earlier. I am lashing out.

- the iPhone of awesome

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Out of the frying pan...

...and into the fire. Did you know that March is National Craft Month? Well, it is!

Coming off of Thing-A-Day, I'll admit that I'm a little worn out on the craft front. But there are things I didn't get to in February that I really do want to do...especially screenprinting. And metalwork. I'm going to make a point of learning a few new tricks in March.

So...how about you? Will you be doing anything for National Craft Month?

Monday, February 28, 2011

My Thing-A-Day 2011 Map.

Now...what to do next? Hmmm....

I made it all the way through Thing A Day 5!

There were times when I really didn't think I would make it this year. For some reason, this February has been a creative void and I've really had to push myself to do anything. Except knit socks. Four completed pair and two well on the way...maybe February should be known as Sock-A-Day.

I'd planned to finally learn to silkscreen, do some embroidery and some metal work, and some sewing, but it was pretty much socks and photography and cooking this time. Maybe March can be New-Thing-A-Day.

I'll put together a map of everything I made this month, but in the meantime, click on any of the links to the right to see what I made this month.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cupid at ten.

Do you remember when you just started to discover the opposite sex? Did you get giggly? Kick people? Run from the room screaming? Practice your dance moves? Try out new (lower) voices? In our house, it's all of that. And more. And I assume it's going to get worse -- a lot worse -- before it gets better.

It seems that every boy in Paul's class has discovered girls at the same time. And every girl in Paul's class is completely uninterested. Trust me, I think this is a very good thing. But it is funny to watch the boys trying to play cool and acting so goofy. I was at the school at lunchtime a few weeks ago and asked one of the girls why they sit at a separate table from the boys. The answer: "Well, look at them." And you know what? The girls were totally right. The boys were doing every goofy thing in the 10-year old boy's arsenal of goofy things.

I guess what I'm trying to say is be yourself and enjoy a Happy Valentine's Day with the people who truly love you for being you. And don't hurry to be more mature. Especially you, Paul. Stay a young boy for as long as possible.

(Also, yay for Arcade Fire!)
I took a field trip last week...
Glenndale Hospital is an amazing abandoned site. I found this place about a year ago, and it keeps pulling me back.

There are tales of ghosts and people who are much braver than me who have actually gone inside. Anyhow, click here and here to see my photos...hopefully I'll build up some courage sometime soon and make it through the doors. Eee.....

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The best video you'll see today. Maybe even tomorrow.

I know, I know. I promised to post more often, and now it's all videos. But this is really good.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I'm a Artie girl

Netflix is killing me. I am catching up on all sorts of amazing shows that I never got to see when they came out (because we were down on the teevee, which, if you know me, is ridiculous.)

My latest teevee obsession is "The Larry Sanders Show", and while every character on it is amazing, Arthur is really above and beyond.

Rip Torn's Arthur is about the single most brilliant comedic character I've ever seen.
So brilliant, that I'm going to give you both parts of this...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thing-A-Day 2011...It's Alive!

Well, February 1st is here, and you know what that means...it's Thing-A-Day! I'll be posting links to my projects over there on the right, but you really should go to the main site and take a look at all the cool things that people are doing. It's definitely an inspiration.

Today, I was a little lazy -- just detail on the sweater I was already working on. Actually, I don't think "lazy" describes my state, so much as exhausted. I spent a few hours with Paul's fourth grade class today (Teacher Appreciation Day), and knitting a few inches is really all I have left in me. Honestly, I don't know how Miss Hall does it day in and day out.

Things I learned about 4th graders today:
1. The boys and the girls do not sit together at lunch. Duh.
2. The girls coordinate their tag day (out of uniform) outfits. It entails a lot of discussion.
3. No one wants to sing. Again, duh.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

If you had to get a report card...

Here's a question I ask myself frequently: if you, as an adult, were to get a report card, what would the the main comment on it?
My answer: Does not follow directions well, if at all. For example:

Pretty cute, huh? And three hours...what's not to like?

Here's what I'm doing instead:

It will have sleeves. And ruffles. Because I cannot for the life of me ever just follow the damn directions. And that three hours? Pfffttt.

I'm making my list of Thing-A-Day projects...I think the first one (for February 1) will be to finish this sweater.

- the iPhone of awesome

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow days!

DC finally got some decent snow -- and we've had two days off of school because of it. The Federal Government closed two hours early Wednesday, so you know it was quite a storm. There are many stories of commutes that normally took 15-20 minutes taking hours.

Paul and Maggie couldn't help themselves last night. At the height of thundersnow, they broke out of the house, determined to battle.

This is what we're left with today: icy, wet snow covering everything. Lovely to look at from the warmth of a cashmere blanket, a giant cappuccino and the couch.

- the iPhone of awesome

Monday, January 24, 2011


Today seems to be about annual events. That I'm really excited about.

Here's the second:

We had an amazing time last year (proof here). Three days of music and art and great food, for adults and kids. Cannot beat it. I even bring knitting.

It's almost February...and that means Thing-a-Day!

Brrr...it's so cold! And it's been cold for a long time...we've been below freezing for days in the DC area. You'd think we'd at least get some of that sweet, sweet snow, but no. I digress.

Whether you're burrowing under covers wearing multiple sweaters and socks (so sexy!) or enjoying t-shirt weather (I hear you, happy Californians), February is the time to make stuff. Thing-a-Day 5 is here to goad you into doing just that. For the fifth year, hundreds of artsy/craftsy types will pledge to make one thing every day and post about it online.

This is my third -- maybe fourth? -- year of Thing-a-Day. Twenty-eight days of creativity shouldn't be a challenge, but believe me, it is. Sure, you could just do the same sort of thing every day...you know I'd be tempted to knit every single day...but the fun is learning new skills and stretching your abilities. Having said that, I'm definitely going to knit. And bake. And paint. And make plates. And, and, and... You get the picture.

Here are a few postings from my other TaD projects -- I'll post the link to the posterous site on February 1!

I hope a few friends register this year. Hint. Hint. Hint.

Like my new socks? I'm on a kick...

Friday, January 21, 2011

New Etsy Treasuries

I've been making quite a few Etsy Treasuries lately -- I'm part of the TFTeam. Don't ask me what that means because I have no idea...

Click on the cool mask to see one of my latest.

The weather guy is saying it'll be 17-18 degrees (f) at 7am tomorrow morning. Crikey!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Holy moley, it's been a long time.

I decided to start the New Year -- and the resolutions that accompany it -- very late. Still, it is January, so I'm not totally out of the park.

Lots has happened since last I blogged...Paul's headaches are under control (thank you, modern medicine), my parents visited for three weeks at Christmas, we had a slew of birthdays, my iPhone screen shattered and Charles repaired it (because he's that fantastic), I finally learned to knit socks...lots of other stuff that I can't even remember right this minute. It's been a busy time.

So, my resolutions:
* Take care of my health. Make a doctor's appointment. For me. Keep it. Exercise. Lay off the chocolate.
* Take some creative risks. Stretch. Learn to do something new. Market what I do do more effectively.
* Garden. For real.
* Have fun and don't worry so much about every little thing. And try to be more patient.
* Jettison stuff that really doesn't matter.
* Blog better. Blog more often.

There you have it. Let's see if I can do it.