I'm Back!

>> Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's been an extended blog break but I've had an excellent excuse - I was working two jobs and trying to get my first big batch of work in for my book. Now I no longer work for Random House (which means I'm no longer on the road every other week) and I get to go to Penland every day - and get paid for it! All the instructions for my book are written and, though I still need to tackle the big scary Basics chapter and introduction, I decided to take the weekend off and PLAY.

Alan has been off at a conference so it was just Jo and I this weekend. We hit the farmer's market first thing in the morning and brought lots of great stuff back.

This became Roasted Ratatouille - one of my favorite things. It's all the vegetables normally stewed up in ratatouille but roasted instead. Yum! There was no zucchini at the market this week so I added extra eggplant.

BTW - how about that snazzy purple colander? It's my new favorite thing in my kitchen. I got it at Taste - a great shop in Decatur - when we were there for the Decatur Book Festival and Dragon*Con.

This became The Best Tomato Sauce Ever Yep. The recipe is from Finny Knits and it really is the best tomato sauce ever. The first time I tried it I decided to add an onion to the mix - thinking, "What kind of tomato sauce doesn't have onion?" and it ended up really intensely oniony. Alan totally mocked me for messing with a recipe claiming to be perfect before even trying it - so this time I followed it to the letter and it was perfect. I made two batches - one with plum tomatoes and one with regular tomatoes - and both were delicious. I think I liked the regular tomatoes best but I'll have Alan test them out on his pizzas and let him choose. Then next year I'll plant a bajillion of whatever the winner is.

I also made (but didn't photograph) . . .

  • one batch of my favorite granola
  • one pot of split pea soup
  • one pan of brownies
  • two batches of waffles
  • two batches of pesto
Whew! That was a lot of cooking (and a lot of cleanup) but now the freezer and refrigerator are full and that always makes me happy.

As if that wasn't enough, we also went to the Bakersville Creek Walk Arts Festival. Very nice, but we didn't buy anything there. On the way back we hit the Crimson Laurel Gallery where I picked up this nice little dish by Courtney Murphy.

I'm loving the hand-drawn decoration on this. Look at how the art on the outside of the red blob is different from the art on the inside. Nice detail. I hope she does some bowls in this series the right size for cereal and soup - something with just the right curve to fit in my hand.

I've really been drawn to this kind of hand-drawn line art lately. Look at these lovely wildflower cutouts from Heather Moore at Skinny laMinx. I was trying to capture the same kind of charm with this embroidery on one of Jo's dresses.

I have to say - I've never done much embroidery before. But I loved the embroidery Aimee Ray did for a dress in my book and it's made me want to pull out the basket of threads and see what happens. I'm not done yet, but here's what's happened so far. This was SO MUCH FUN - so now I have to acquire Aimee's book - Doodle Stitching. I remembered reading a post on Heather Bailey's blog where she described embroidery as "coloring in slow motion" and I decided to try to make it doodling in slow motion - so I didn't sketch anything out in advance - I just sat down with needle and thread and an idea. I want to add a couple more flowers tonight and Jo has asked for some bees and maybe a butterfly.

And here's the other thing I made so far this weekend - a scarf made like my quilts. Right now I'm thinking - eh.

I wish I had chosen darker blues and I think I need to choose a heavier fabric for my lining. I used a light-weight silk for the back of this and it feels nice but didn't end up as drapey as I'd like. I'll need to play around with this some more.

That's all for now. I'll be posting more frequently now that I'm back in sane-world. I've got lots of fun crafting on my plate. . .


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