Friday, February 29, 2008

Project #2: Lemon somethingorother

I realized I was typing this ode to last weekend's project #2 right on the cusp of another weekend and that made feel like something of a slow ass, but the joy of a fresh new weekend is nearly upon me so I decided that I don't care. I think you'll agree this is the best way to go.

As for this project of Lemon Somethingorother, it was not a project I particularly enjoyed.

See, here's the thing, when we got married we got some really awesome cookbooks from people. One awesome one in particular was Luscious Lemon Desserts by Laurie Longbotham (just go ahead and laugh at her name, we always do because we're evils). Over the few years of our maritals, I have made a lot of the recipes from this book. Some more than others. Some at such regular and torturous intervals that I want to rip those recipes from the book and burn them so that I never have to make them again. Other recipes I love and adore so much that they are the first things I want to make when I'm carrying two giant grocery bags of lemons home from our friend's house.

I will let you guess which was on the docket for last weekend's Somethingorother.

The thing is this, we (Bubba and I - the creatures don't get to vote) all have our favorites around here and sadly our favorites aren't only contrary, they sometimes involve name-calling and threats of bodily harm.

I, for one, love very much the lemon meringue pie recipe and lemon shortbread while Bubba loves only the demonic Crisp Lemon Wafers. He turns a mean blind eye to all other recipes in this book.

He is a one cookie man.

And because I buy his love with food, any time I get set to bake I ask him what he wants. And then I wait for the horrible inevitable answer: Lemon Wafers.

It doesn't matter if I'm holding a pound of sirloin and pastry crust and making for the Boulevard cookbook - he wants Lemon Wafers.

At one point in his life he ate 11 dozen lemon wafers (ELEVEN DOZEN - That is 132 cookies) on a long snowy drive to Reno because he didn't want to stop the car and find other food.

If I hadn't pledged to spend my whole life loving this man till death do us part, I'd probably have brained him with the cookbook by now, but I did make that pledge and I do love this man and so even though I hate making these cookies SO FUCKING MUCH, I took to the kitchen with four lemons from the new collection and went to work.

About a hundred tedious years later, I emerged from the kitchen with a plate stacked high with Crisp Lemon Wafers. And Bubba was a happy cookie man.

Now, I am sure you can understand how a person could hate one cookie recipe so much that it would inspire fits of online swearing and rage because obviously all people have irrational emotions like this, but I'll explain for those of you well-balanced people with normal lives who don't do bizarre things like ban recipes from your kitchen and hide crucial ingredients so as to make recipes "impossible because I am out of lemon oil, sorry!".

I am a fan of drop cookies. Those cookies that get their batter mixed up in the KitchenAid and then spooned haphazardly onto sheets and slammed in the oven for 8-10 minutes. These cookies are fast, fabulous and easy.

I am not a fan of cookies that have any of the following attributes included in their preparation:
  • the food processor
  • rolling of dough
  • chilling of dough
  • thin slicing of dough
  • rechilling of dough
  • re-thin slicing of dough
and so on.

And wouldn't you know that these Crisp Lemon Shitheads have all of the above.

They take forever, are totally touchy and I don't have a cutting apparatus thin enough or magic enough to slice them properly (read: to my satisfaction) so that I'm able to bake the whole batch at once. This means I get to rechill all the dough and bake the rest later.



Anyway, I'm sure you can now see why these inspire spitting hatred on my part. However, I do try to set aside my attitude long enough to enjoy how happy Bubba gets when they're out of the oven and free for munching.

And this time it took him two whole days to go through the batch.

Much like other painful recurring events in life, the joy comes when you've finally completed the terrible task and are farthest from having to repeat it. Like going to the gyno or paying taxes, it's that "Phew! Now I'm off the hook for a while and can stop trying to inadvertently drive my car off the road!" feeling that makes it all worth it.

Plus he looks so happy covered in little yellow crumbs and I get to go do something else like pull all the weeds in the backyard.

My life is so glam.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Weekend Project #1: Amy Butler's Lotus Tunic Thingee

So, I have a lot of opinions about this pattern, most of which I'll go into shortly, but first I would like to say YAY I MADE MY FIRST DRESS WOO!

Even though this is technically from the "Tunic" pattern rather than the "Dress" pattern, but whatever because that brings me to Opinion #1:

How the F am I supposed to know the difference between The Tunic and The Dress when this looks long enough to be a dress and there aren't any pictures of The Dress on the package to which I could compare The Tunic photo and then conclude onceandforall which is which and which I want.

I'd like to see photos of every possible combination of the pattern. So, for those taking note, I would like a photo of each of the following:

Sleeveless Cami (check)
Cami with Sleeves
Sleeveless Tunic
Tunic with Sleeves (check)
Sleeveless Dress
Dress with Sleeves
+ all of the above shown with The Mystery Belt and corresponding Surprise Belt Loops

Don't get cheap on me pattern making people - photos, take a lot of damn photos and show me every possible combo of your F'n pattern so that I can decide which one will win my undivided attentions. And also show The Mystery Belt which is so named due to the fact that my first interaction with it was when I was cutting out the pattern pieces and there was a WHOOPIE DOO belt and belt loops to cut out SURPRISE and WHAT IS THIS because I didn't see it featured in any of the package photos.

My thought is only this: It can't be easy making a modular pattern, so get the most bang for your buck and photograph all of the combinations of patterns over which you so mightily slaved. Also it makes it easy for me to keep the lid on my crazy when I realize there are inexplicable extra pieces to cut out and sew.

Speaking of bucks...

Opinion #2: Spending $70 on fabric to make this tunic is really unacceptable.

Yes, there is other fabric in the store and yes I can buy something other than organic cotton muslin for the liner BUT is there a good reason why Amy Butler fabric has to be $16.99/yard? I'm not sure.

I was able to justify buying fabric to make this tunic rather than spending $70 on a beautiful and already made item of clothing because:

A. This garment is unique and can't be found at Santana Row.
B. It provided nearly a full day's worth of sewing entertainment.
C. You don't get bragging rights about SEWING YOUR FIRST DRESS WOO when you buy it at Banana and your coworker has the same one OOPS.

Opinion #3

If you're going to go to the trouble of making a hundred combinations for this pattern (which I appreciate really despite my ranting to the contrary) please also print some nice options for placing The Mystery Belt and Surprise Belt Loops so that I don't have to suffer the indignity of myself wearing a belt at natural waist height after a long day of sew slaving, k?

As you can see, the belt and corresponding loops are right at natural waist height.


No one likes this.

It only looks good on, like, 1% of the population. And plus, A-line looks better on 100% of the population and having the option to place the belt at A-Line or Empire waist height would be just oh so much better.

And then you might see me modeling The Mystery Belt and Surprise Belt Loops instead of, you know, not modeling them and instead covering the loops with my hands until I can make it back to the machine to either remove them or move them up to a more flattering spot. Kinda sucks since the belt is cute and I want to wear it, but just not like that right in the middle so I'll look like a fatty right here on the Internets.

Opinion #4: NO HAND SEWING

I will say this again, for at least the third official time on this blog, for the love of all that's holy, FIND A WAY TO MACHINE SEW THE DAMN ZIPPER ALREADY.

I can't tell you what a heartbreaking annoyance it is to be *soclose* to done and then have to stop, dig out a hand sewing needle and tediously sew the fucking liner to the zipper because there's no way to hide the seam otherwise.

I contend that there *must* be a way. And it's clearly getting to the point where I'm going to have to figure out what way that is because every time I have to hand sew in a zipper or whatever, it makes me want to jam the needle in my eye and go running to the liquor cabinet.

Now you know why I sew at the dining room table. It is because of its vicinity to our liquor cabinet. So, yes, now you know what kind of boozing seamstress I really am so there.

And just so I don't make a big ironical ass of myself, I will show you a lot of photos of my FO Lotus Tunic dress with Cap Sleeves:

If I manage to get back to the machine with this beast I hope to either adjust the belt loops or destroy them in a ritualistic way, reverse the hem lining (which I OF COURSE hemmed wrong side up and made extra noticeable with the contrast stitching that I thought was *so cute*) and take in the waist so that it fits me a little snugger.

While I appreciate fitting into a smaller category measurement-wize (wuv you, Size Small), I always have to make for the larger size to accommodate the, ahem, bust. This leaves me with tops, dresses and Tunics that need waist cinching so that I don't go frolicking a la potato sack. It is OK though. I'm willing to cinch shit in as long as the bust agrees to stay where it is and no go making for my knees and what have you.

Either way...


Monday, February 25, 2008

Holy crop

I am so relieved that you people seem excited about my Big Stupid Idea (TM) and didn't shun me from your Readers like I kinda suspected you might.

I mean, who'd really expect to get that kind of enthusiasm about choosing a vegetable crop? Ok, unless you're me because I obviously live for that shit.

But man! You guys really came to the table.

That is cool. It makes me feel like not a too big loser since it would appear that there are other people out there that want to see things grow. Vegetable things!

And I feel like I am accepted, or at least tolerated, and that when I post things like, "OMG look at the first bloom on my tomato plant!" or "Why are the leaves turning this color because it doesn't look right TELL ME NOW IF YOU KNOW CUZIAMFREAKINGOUT!" you won't all look away and go read more interesting things and pretend like you never knew me.

That is a relief. And PHEW.


Y'all are so crazy also! There are 100+ (as in, 101) votes for Adopt a Crop! Holy shit. That's a lot of voting.

Whether the votes were all unique, I can't say. And I'll just leave it at that because I can't be responsible for validating votes when there's people desperate enough to forgo a lunch hour for a few moments of clandestine voting from coworkers unattended laptops.

Not that this really happened or anything, but I'm just saying that if it did I'm not in the business of deciding who is crazy and who is not because I am clearly not a credible judge in this matter.


Anyways, when all was said and done (meaning my seeds showed up and we crested 100 votes and I had to stop the madness), the proud adoptee with 25% of the votes was...

Pickling Cucumbers
Ta dah!

Ok, it sounded more impressive and dramatic in my head, but you know what I mean. Imagine horns and drums and confetti falling from the sky and Bubba getting out the hot dog buns because I'm going to try to sow, cultivate, grow, harvest and pickle cucumbers for the #1 time in my life.


*The Pressure*

But now is the golden time in gardening, people. The time when The Summer Garden and Its Bounty is a grand untarnished vision of perfection without any heartbreaking beetle discoveries or wilty this or dropping blooms that.

This is the time when I can often be found (drinking) with my empty beds, staring into the soil, fondling seed packets and imagining when I'll be standing over these same beds being wickedly sunburned as I try to pick *every last tomato* even though the basket is totally overloaded and I have nowhere to put them and it's WAY too hot to be canning anything since we don't have AC and Bubba has moved into a hotel with the dog.

Yes, I think about these things. A lot. Because I'm obviously a nutter with an unhealthy connection to my vegetable beds and spend a lot of time fantasizing about things in a way that normal people might describe as "obsessive".

Those people don't get to (*hoping*) pickle cucumbers this year though and I do (again *hoping*) so take that SUCKAH.

For those of you who voted for the beloved Pickling Cucumbers, congrats - your nominee has been chosen and will now be cultivated to the best of my abilities.

For those of you who voted for one of the other candidates, do not fear, I may opt to grow a Dream Ticket of sorts by choosing another veg for the Soon to Be Built fourth bed.

For all, I will stop drawing political parallels between my vegetable growing and this year's presidential race because no one wants to hear about Butternut Squash's health care reform plan or how the Salsa Jalapenos could bring much needed change to the garden or whatever.

No, I will just spend the week thinking salacious thoughts about how I am SO going to the nursery on Saturday to get peat pots to start my tomato plants in the breakfast nook ASAP since you know that Saturday is March 1 which is our last frost day WOO!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Funky again

Ya'll, I'm feeling funky again.

Like in that, football-is-over-and-baseball-is-a-ways-off-and-the-garden-isn't-growing-yet kind of way.

It's annoying and predictable and makes me all biggigity.

Which means that I must obviously need a project to keep my mind distracted from things like how come there's no good sports on TV and I wish I had vegetables growing in the garden to fondle.

And since I'm extra ADD - I am thinking I need at least two projects - and if some supplies arrive today from my friends at etsy, three projects, because my mind can't be funky AND do three projects at once as it turns out.

Salvation in chaos, I say.

Project #1: Amy Butler's Lotus Cami Tunic thingee

Kell sent this to me not too long ago and I want to make it and wear it just like this. Maybe over the jeans I just ordered from my favorite catalog of all time because WHOOPSY I think I just ordered a few things to ease the rainy day doldrums.

Well, these things happen.

So, tomorrow I plan to trot off to Eddie's and get some fabric and probably also some notions to put this baby together. With any luck it I will eye-fuck the measurements just right and it won't look retarded. I feel confident (probably unjustly so) since my last few items of Clothing I Made Myself from Amy's patterns came out decent and wearable and didn't look like *I made them myself* - which is an extreme bonus.

Project #2: Bake some lemon somethingorother

We picked sacks full of lemons and oranges from a friend's trees last weekend and now I'm getting the eye from Bubba which means I better get to baking some lemon somethingsorother pretty soon. Also, no one likes it when the lemons turn to dust in the fruit colander, which I found out the hard way will totally happen thanks to last year's debacle with six bags of lemons that didn't get used all the way. Ew.

Project #3: This is a dorky one that involves magnets, marbles and a dorkyDORKY collection I've been cultivating (also hiding) for a lot of years.

Once my stuff gets here I will get to dorking out for your viewing pleasure. Stay tuned and then don't judge me, ok?

AND (I couldn't stop at three projects - what is my problem?) I *might* take a stab at rounding out the Anatomy of a Sweater project, too. See, there's just the one big piece left and it just needs a few seams to become something other than discarded ugly sweater meat, so I should just get it over with and declare victory which is what I was after to begin with.

One last thing: if you're keeping score (which, I'll admit, would be a little strange but OK) in the Adopt a Crop race, our friends the Pickling Cucumbers have taken a surprise lead and are now ahead with 24% of the vote.

I'm not going to say outright that I am suspicious of subversive shenanigans, but I'm not ruling it out is all.

Either way, once the rest of my seeds arrive (AND I'VE RECEIVED A SHIPMENT CONFIRMATION WOO!) I will call off the voting and declare a winner, so go vote if you care to see posts other than those accompanied by suggestive and inappropriate photographs, but this time with cucumbers.

If you like that sort of thing then I guess you can just sit there and be pervy because it looks like the world is working out in your weird way without you having to even turn off the Cinemax or anything. Lucky you, cucumber lovers!

Also, hey!, I'm still running for those of you wondering if I've flaked, but I'll give an update on that later.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Science

One day a year I set aside all of the school age promises I made to myself and I do some science.

Why would I do such a traumatizing thing that is so certain to bring about swearing and the inevitable and also verboten activity known as EVIL math?

Because having a bountiful garden is *that* crucial to my existence.

If only my chem and bio teachers had known this in high school, perhaps they would have included some lessons on how to analyze soil and calculate amendments for optimum tomato harvests instead of making me slice up a McDonald's hamburger and test it for nutrients (of which it contained "too few for a reliable sample").

Alas, they did not. We tested french fries, too, and I believe also the giant soda in a Combo Meal, none of which got me any closer to understanding the true nutrients in a normal diet OR the right amount of phosphate to add to soil which showed "Somewhat depleted" on its test indicator.


This just all meant that when I became The Crazy Garden Lady, I was going to have to learn the hard way about what happens when you plant tomatoes in the same bed two seasons in a row without doing squat to the soil.

In a phrase, Soul Crushing Disappointment is what.

And so that I never have to stare teary-eyed at another shriveled and unproductive tomato plant again, I do The Science. And then begrudgingly, I do The Math.

Although, I do keep it real by at least doing Finny's Fuzzy Math which includes a lot of eye-fucking of the measurements and rounding around of numbers and such. Also - Big Love to Google Calculator for doing most of The Math for me so that I don't have to kill myself with the rake. Woo! Pounds to ounces, ounces to cups - DO IT ALL muhuhahahahaha - and I'll take all the credit for not accidentally adding 40x the amount of potassium to the soil as I was supposed to whoops.

And because I'm extra crazy semi-organized in a fuzzy sort of way, I even had last year's measurements in the same notepad that I took out to do this year's measurements. Whoa.

Anyway, the analyzing and measuring and wandering of the amendment aisle at the nursery with a dog who would really just like to roll naked in a big bag of bat poop is over and the beds are ready for their seeds. Which I hope will show up soon. Because hello I ordered them over a week ago and would like to touch them and talk to them and tell them that they are going to have the raddest home ever as soon as it rains and finishes "cooking" the soil.

Please all start to send fast-moving thoughts to the seed people and ask them nicely (but sternly) to get tuh shipping so I can stop staring at our mailbox in that annoying stalker way.

While we wait though, why don't you just keep voting on which crop you would adopt for the empty space in Bed #3 and I'll take the pooch to the park so she can sniff some dog butt and hopefully get the guano out of her nostrils. Then, when the seeds get here, I'll call off the voting and announce the big winner of Empty Slot in Bed #3 and we can all be on our way.

For those of you keeping score, Butternut Squash is still in the lead, but as of right now there is a three way tie for 2nd place between Beets, Sweet Peppers and Salsa Peppers. Poor Pickling Cucumbers are trailing - but only by 1 point. So, if you want to read posts where I make lewd and suggestive comments about phallic vegetables and also try my very hardest to make pickles, you better get to voting otherwise it's going to be all Butternut Squash this or Salsa Pepper that despite your deep down wishes.

And, really, wouldn't that just be a shame.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Have you Adopted a Crop?

Perhaps I've been affected by legal minutia at work lately because I'm feeling inexplicably inclined to remind you to go vote on your Adopt a Crop of choice before I go slamming shut the voting and run off to the yard to plant things against everyone's supreme wishes.

Usually I'd just be like, "You had your chance now shuddup and leave me to my dirt", but I'm trying out a little patience and kindness here which you well realize is a departure from my typical self.

I will admit to not liking it a bunch, so don't expect a lot more of these kind of niceties. Plus, don't you like me better with my sassy rude pants on anyway?

See, me too.

So, go vote for the veg you'd like to watch grow up in my yard (*fingers crossed* it doesn't meet an untimely dog pee death or something), especially if you aren't a fan of Butternut Squash because that is what's currently leading the pack with 33% of the votes.

Also, right on that so many varying votes came in. While Bubba was all about the pickling cukes and why are you even asking for opinions just plant the damn cucumbers I like, I was excited in a dorky way to get y'all into the spirit of my garden so that I could have at least a small audience of interested eyeballs for my weirdo posts on tiny sprouts and LOOK AT THIS FIRST FRUIT and what not.

Now, don't go being a big fucking whiner if *your* veg isn't the big winner, k? Because you just never know if someone got overly anxious to get their seed order in and actually just hedged their bets and ordered all the vegs on the list. And you also don't know if someone makes a habit of planting at least a few more things than originally planned because the seeds are right there and what will it hurt, right?


So, whatever. Just something to keep in mind. But still, no promises. And don't look at me like that. You knew what you were getting into with me. I speedskate in the living room for godssake. Clearly I'm a little off my nut.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Adopt a Crop

Hello, people.

I am home from riding a lot of powder and enjoying what I heard someone call, "Winter". Of course, here in NorCal it looks a lot like spring, what with the blooming flowers and all, but in places like CO, they're still calling it winter because of the snowing and single digit temps. Crazy.

But since things here are green, sunny and getting close to The Last Frost Date, my mind has begun to shift to other things like gardening.

And really, if you think I wasn't gardening while I was snowboarding, you would be wrong.

Even if my hands aren't elbow deep in an overgrown tomato plant reaching for that big beast that I could almost reach if only my arms were thismuch longer I'm still gardening in some way.

Right now that way is cross-legged on my office couch surrounded by seed catalogs, my Great Gardening Companions book, my notes from years past, my sketchbook and the creatures who wish I'd just get off their couch and take them for a walk instead of weighing the benefits of pickling versus lemon cucumbers.

For some reason this bores them?

I'm not sure how they could possibly be bored since Bubba just agreed to put in a fourth (!!!) vegetable bed for me. When we moved in it was two, then three and now (because I whine maybe) it's going to be four.

Four vegetable beds inside which I can plant WHATEVER I WANT WOO!

See, are you bored? Impossible.

Funny thing though, I now have extra space for all those plants that get passed up at the nursery or left as seeds in their pouches in the garage and I can't decide which to plant! And woe is me, what is a Finny to do?

Um, put it out to y'all to decide, of course. Outsourcing!

How to play Adopt a Crop:

Choose from the list of vegs below and then I do all the work to make your choice turn into food.


And almost totally unlike "adopting". In fact, you don't have to do anything, but if I end up bringing The Crop to fruition and it can be prepared in a way that facilitates shipping, I might just send it for a visit. And then you don't have to return it or anything. Just eat it and pretend that's what you do when you adopt something.

Think of the fun...You get the glory of having the veg of your choice found, sown, cultivated, harvested and prepared without any of the loud swearing, soul sucking sweating or endless worrying that comes with actually putting hand to soil.

Plus, it'll all be chronicled for you right here at a safe distance from the scorching sun with photos, mind-numbing recounts of sprouting dates and all the minutia that goes along with bringing a crop to fruition.

Oh, and when I say, "crop", I mean, "vegetable plant that fits in 3'x6' raised bed" - in case you were wondering while picturing a hillside of cornrows or something.

I have my finger on the trigger (ie. the "Buy" button at and am all ready to order up the winner. Just make your choice from the list below and let the adopting begin!

Which crop would you adopt?
Butternut Squash
Pickling Cucumbers
Salsa Jalapenos
Sweet Bell Peppers
Free polls from

And then I will ask that you join me in finger-crossing for a Last Frost Date that does not run contrary to the Farmers Almanac (3/1).


Friday, February 01, 2008

Gone Riding

Be back in a week with bruises in weird places and updates about old road games and the current powder conditions in Steamboat Springs, CO. Meanwhile, I'll be throwing new photos into this slideshow throughout the week because I can't leave the damn computer alone. So, enjoy.