Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sneak Peeks: A Finished Object


Plus this....

Makes a surprise for my Cozy Domesticity swap partner!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Illustration Friday: Instinct

If you regularly read my blog, I bet you could have seen this coming if I told you the word "instinct." Of course I did a mother's instinct, because that is my life these days, and what a good one it is! I was thinking of a modern abstract sculpture my parents have of a mother and baby as I drew this. My dad gave it to my mom after the birth of my brother and I've always liked it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Smoothies and Scones

This was a baking weekend. There are few things I can actually do from start to finish these days in between baby feedings and cryings, but baking is one of them. On Friday I made the bread in the last post from the recipe in this book, and Saturday morning I made white whole wheat scones with oats and currants.

They turned out pretty well, but next time I plan to make some changes. In my favorite scone recipe, it calls for several tablespoons butter, a little milk, and one egg. In this recipe, there is no butter but it makes up for it with the richness of cream and two eggs. Unfortunately, the missing butter really seemed to make a difference, and they turned out pretty dense and dry. On the next go, I will use my recipe, and substitute the white whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour to make mine a little healthier.

In spite of all this bread-y and dough-y goodness, I'm back to severely limiting my sugars and starches. For about 8 months last year, I went completely sugar free. This includes all the obvious sweets and desserts, but also bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, sugary vegetables (carrots, beets) and many fruits. I never felt so good in my life; once I got pregnant though, my willpower died and I succumbed to the sugar monster. Now I'm back to limiting my sugars and starches, and these smoothies serve as my treats. I have a smoothie with my lunch and it is so tasty! If you're used to sweet smoothies, it takes a little while to appreciate this one, because its only sweetness comes from the lactose in the milk.

Simple Strawberry Smoothie
Pour one cup of milk into the blender. Add a handful of frozen strawberries. Blend until smooth. Serve in a tall glass with a straw!

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Making bread yesterday, I contemplated how much I am needed these days. My little one needs me for everything (a very beautiful and rewarding experience, albeit a little tiring at times), and DH needs me, not for his basic survival, but for other things. And the dog needs me (and chooses the most inopportune times to be demanding, like when I'm nursing!).

It made me think about the purpose of kneading bread: to develop the gluten in the loaf, which is what holds it together. Kneading also helps to create a loaf of bread that is light and flavorful.

Perhaps this is my role in our family; to hold everyone together by caring for them, and to make our home and family "flavorful," with love, variety, and beauty. Although the bread gets a bit of a workout with all this kneading, and can get a little tired at times, the end result is delicious and worth it all! Such are my hopes for our family.

(Am I pushing this analogy too far?)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Inaugural Illustration Friday

I always forget how much I love to draw. In an effort to keep producing some artwork during this busy time, I'm committing to Illustration Friday, so at least I'll be doing a drawing per week. Colored pencil will be my chosen medium; it is colorful, clean, and requires no set-up! This week's word was "Celebrate," and I started pretty simple.

Constructive criticism is welcome!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Flag Book Tutorial

Over the course of this year I hope to create more bookbinding and craft tutorials to share with you. Here's the first; a flag book! This book was made out of the pile above, using the greeting cards we received on the birth of Baby. You don't need any special materials for this project, just a ruler, utility knife, scissors, some glue, and your paper. If you enjoyed my tutorial, please let me know at Have fun!

Bookbinding - Flag Book Tutorial

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day, How I Love You

Ever since I was a child, my family has celebrated Valentine's Day together. My dad would cook dinner (veal saltimbocca), and we would exchange cards and gifts. One Valentine's morning as a little girl I awoke to my Samantha doll dressed in a new nightgown, fresh off the sewing machine of my mother. Another year, as a hopeful teenage artist, my dad gave me two Windsor and Newton watercolor brushes. I know this sounds like I'm all about the presents, but I look back on our family celebrations with great joy, and those memories have made all my Valentine's days happy, even ones when I was single.

So this year, with our new family, I wanted to start our tradition off right. With the newborn, my time is a little limited, but I did manage to cook one of DH's favorite meals, homemade pizza (I use the term "homemade" loosely: the pizza consisted of Trader Joe's dough and sauce:). And....

I cut the ham into heart shapes, because I want to be one of those cool moms that makes food look like something. We finished off with a lemon yogurt cake (which I tinted pink; I couldn't help myself). For his part, DH surprised me with beautiful deep red roses; he is the best.

All in all, it was a success. Next year, Baby and I will be doing some art projects for Daddy, but for this year, I needed to keep it simple.

How do you celebrate Valentine's with your loved ones?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Embroidered Art

This colorful craziness is a piece I did right before I graduated from college and got married. I used an intaglio print bird I had done, printed on fabric, and arranged in a three by three grid. It's quilt-like, but intended to be hung on the wall. Every other bird is either painted or embroidered, and then sewn onto additional squares of mixed print fabric, and bordered in a wonderful umbrella print from Kaffe Fassatt. The result is kind of weird, very non-traditional, brightly colorful; and I've never been quite sure what to make of it!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


This pincushion marks one of my first forays into embroidery. I was able to finish this project pre-Baby for the handmade pincushion swap on Ravelry, one of the best swaps ever! I hope my partner likes it. The side and bottom fabric is from a scrap I purchased, and looks so retro-flowery to me.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I am unraveling...not from lack of sleep or the demands of a new baby, but because what I thought was an inspired project is not turning out how I imagined it! After seeing Tess of the D'Urbervilles on PBS, and reading the Ravelry forum posts about her awesome knit wrap-around shawl, I wanted to design my own happy version. The one Tess wears in the movie is decidedly un-happy, made of a dark grey and companion to her in her many troubles. My version was going to be bright, striped, and cheerful. After slow starts and unsatisfactory progress though, I'm giving up, and unraveling the yarn to use in more promising projects.

I really loved how the teal/hot pink combination was working out though; the one redeeming part of the doomed shawl. If you have a wrap-around and tie shawl pattern that you love, will you pass it on to me?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Black Thumb

In case some of you are wondering, DH and I have decided not to post pictures of the Baby on the blog, for privacy's sake. He is doing great though, getting bigger everyday. I love to nurse and hold him, which leaves little time for much else!

In the few quiet moments, I've been reading Dorothy Whipple, an English novelist in the 1930's-50's. I finished The Priory after we got home from the hospital, and have started on The Great Mr. Knight. Jane Brocket in her book The Gentle Art of Domesticity suggests that these are domestic novels. I have to disagree with that interpretation in the case of The Priory,which chronicles a highly dysfunctional family, who are in economic hardships precisely because they have no turn for the domestic. I have yet to form an opinion about Mr. Knight. Some recent chapter was speaking of a housewife's plans for her garden, and that got me thinking about mine. "My garden" is just a very modest little plot outside in our backyard that I try my darndest to keep flowering through the spring and summer. My track record with plants is not good; we had pots of ivy on the tables at our wedding, and they were given to people as they left, and we took one for ourselves. Well, I have now killed our wedding ivy, plus 5 cuttings that have been given to us in the intervening 3 1/2 years. The only remaining ivy's that are flourishing reside with my mom, DH's mom, and family friends. So I guess they're all keeping our marriage alive!

Anybody with tips for growing houseplants, send them my direction, please.