Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Extreme Sabbath Mode - Decommissioned

It would be 100% impossible for my Sears Repair(ahem)man to have done a worse job "repairing" my oven and micro. And it would be wholly unfathomable to imagine a way that Sears' repair service, in general, could be more ineffective without actually burning my house down and handing me the bill.

There, I said it and it's out there. I no longer maintain the blind loyalty to Sears built from childhood memories of fully functioning Kenmore appliances that I did until this situation presented itself. I just don't.

I will say, however, that my oven and microwave have now been restored to their normal, nearly new, functioning state -which is a thing of great beauty since I've spent the last three weeks braving the ever-snapping jaws of the handle-free oven door so that Bubba and I could eat a few decent baked meals.

But to get back to my cathartic ranting, and to entertain you with the jackassery that is Sears in "repair" mode, allow me to recount for you some of the highlights of my early morning (since when does an 8-12N window show up at 8am on the dot?) appliance repair:
  1. The oven handle was "repaired" initially by installing it upside down. Yes, even though the warming drawer immediately below the oven door has the exact same handle which was obviously installed with the right side up and right there for reference.

    When he got all excited and called me away from my laptop to inspect his work I had to let him down easy by pointing to the handle and asking him patiently to, "...please go ahead and reinstall this properly as demonstrated by the handle on the warming drawer? ThanksIwillbeintheofficewhenyouaredonefuckingaround."

  2. I was informed, with much puppy dog-like excitement, that the microwave light bulbs that the previous technician ordered for me were, in fact, the incorrect wattage and that he, Mr. Great Sears Repairman To The Rescue, had gone ahead and ordered the correct bulbs that would be shipped to me At No Extra Charge, as though that were some great favor or reassurance.

    It was at this moment that I realized he was referring to the exterior light bulb (shines down on the oven below) rather than the interior light bulb (lights up my popcorn to make sure it doesn't blow up) which was the bulb which was actually broken and which the previous Not As Retarded As This Maniac Was Making Him Out To Be repairman had ordered.

    So, yes, today's repairman was informing me that my light bulbs were wrong when, in fact, it was he who was wrong and trying to jam a the wrong sized bulb into the wrong socket. This was another tender moment which I handled by barely rolling my eyes and just saying, "No, the exterior light is fine. It works. See...," *turning light on and off for effect*, "it is the light INSIDE the oven that needs a new bulb. See..." *opening and closing door for effect*.

    "OH!" Indeed.

    And before you get all, "Why didn't you just put in the new light bulb yourself, lazy ass." I will tell you that I considered it, but chose to act on pure principle because of my Inner Rage and Contempt for Sears.

    But, can we all just go ahead and say it together, for fun; dude wasn't the brightest bulb in the box.

  3. Also, finally, he scuffed the ever loving HELL out of my floors with his black rubber soled retard boots. That's it. I just thought it was stupid that they don't have a rule about appliance repair people wearing non-marking soled shoes since they spend all day long traipsing in and out of people's houses where there might be a floor made of a surface other than sparkly garage floor epoxy. My house is not a fucking auto shop, folks - we can stop acting like it is.

    And, no, he didn't notice this or offer to clean it up. So I got to spend ten minutes on my hands and knees thanking the good lord for inventing the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser so that I didn't have to spend the rest of my day hunting this bastard down with a crossbow and a floor mop that I do not own.
Anyway, I thought I'd update you all on the mind-numbing minutia of My Life with Sears and also tell you that I have a whole new fun thing to talk about and get your thoughts on which will be in a future post where I promise not to bitch about my oven or threaten bodily harm on any repairmen.

Unless, of course, another appliance breaks and I'm forced to activate another Sears warranty. In which case, I will resume my ranting with equal or greater enthusiasm.

Happy Baking!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Anatomy of a Sweater: Projects 2 & 3

I really thought the remaining projects from my sweater were going to be easy like Sunday morning and all, which is why I put myself out there to make them.

I mean, obviously.

If I thought that finding projects for all the remnant pieces of this sweater was going to be time consuming or, like, a big time sucking challenge I would have saved myself the hassle and gone for the seventh and final trip to the Goodwill bag with this sweater I'm learning to hate.

Now, I'm not ready to call this a time sucking failure yet - it hasn't come to that. But I did imagine that these two projects were going to just fly out of my hands and be all perfect and "Wow! I can do something useful with an old ugly sweater" which I guess they kinda did, but perhaps I didn't start out with a lot of patience which is how they ended up seeming more time intensive than I'd originally imagined.

Because, yes, while I made this whole project out to be one based on whimsical premises like Reuse and Simplicity and Usefulness, in my head these projects also needed to be FAST and then PERFECT.

I apparently have very high standards for products made from the loins of a $20 Old Navy sweater. I'm silly.

Project #2: Fingerless Gloves

Y'all know what a big fat whore I am for fingerless gloves. I must have about 10 pair now. And I buy/knit/sew them constantly because I guess I think I live in Antarctica and that I can't leave the house with my knuckles showing lest they freeze clean off my hands and leave me with finger nubs. Meanwhile I wear flip-flops all year long and my toes don't thaw until the temps go above 80 degrees. Perhaps I need more fingerless gloves for my feet? Who can say.

Anyway, this project is so easy I doubt I need to explain in mind-numbing detail the teensy seams or where I sliced the fabric, but for consistency's sake, I'll say a few things.
  1. If you like longer gloves, leave the sleeves long when you cut them free of the sweater. I chose to make these short because I've been having a difficult time lately (because I'm a retard) getting my long gloves shoved up my coat sleeves because I tend to forget my gloves until after I've put on my coat and then where does that leave me? I can't be taking my coat back off just to put on gloves. No, that's what sane people do.
  2. You might be tempted to run a zigzag stitch along the bottom raw edge here. I was. And it turned out terribly. Now, this may just be an indication of how lame I am with the machine, but I decided after much poking of the gloves and personal contemplation that the raw edge was kind a neato and rustic and I was going to leave it for now until I had a premonition on how to improve upon it. Perhaps a sewn on cuff that folds over would look good? I dunno. You try!
  3. The thumb hole was my only real triumph with this project. I simply used my handy razor blade to slice open JUST the thread that was sewing the seam together on the inside edge of the cuff to a size just wider than my thumb. Then I seamed and backtacked on the top and bottom edge to make sure there wouldn't be any mid-wear unraveling happening.
If you ever get the wild hair to slice up a sweater and make these, I'd love to see how you doctor this recipe. I'm sure y'all are much more inventive than I. However, I have a new pair of fingerless gloves now and will be enjoying them in the snow where my knuckles might have a chance of coming in contact with freezing air and so I must bar them from such interaction with wooly gloves cut from old sweaters. No, this is not ghetto at all.

Project #3: Mug Sweater

At first I was calling this a Mug Cozy, but I have a thing with the word and concept of "cozies" mostly because it makes me think of toilet paper and also useless crocheted items from the 70s that lived in houses of family members who will remain unnamed.

However, this is a useful device for me because, unlike toilet paper, the temperature of my mug is something of relative importance to me and when there is a method by which I can maintain the proper temperature of my mug, I will use it.

Again, the makings of this item from the scraps of the sweater's waistband was pretty simple, so I'll just recap quickly the few tips I gathered in my short session:

To make these, just cut the waistband off a ribbed sweater, measure the fabric for your mug by eyefucking it to get the desired width, cut, fold in half with right sides facing and sew two short seams on top and bottom of the fold leaving enough open space to accommodate the handle of your favorite mug.

  1. Don't measure the fabric width by laying your mug on it and then folding your fabric in half. This is too much to ask of the very technical "eyefucking it" method. You probably know that wouldn't work, but you know that I did it and then ended up with a supah snug sweater for my mug that didn't work out. So, instead, I suggest using the aforementioned method and adding a third the total width of the fabric before cutting.

  2. Using a zigzag stitch worked fine. Especially after I realized that my seams only needed to be about 1/2 - 1 inch on top and bottom to accommodate the mug handle.
That's about it. Clearly, not the most earth shattering of patterns/ideas/blog posts, but I think you'll agree that at least the ribbing from the sweater's waistband looks sorta smart on my favorite blue mug. And, hell, it took me all of 10 minutes to go from nekkid mug to sweatered mug which is a lot less time than it would take if I knitted one of these thingees like I keep seeing people doing.

I will now be making tea so that I can ogle my Temperature Maintenance Innovation of the 21st century while also probably wearing my new Fingerless Gloves. Because I'm that way. And also cold.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

We can't learn + Eggplant Stacks

I'm not sure if I'm actually cooking more now since the oven handle broke THE HELL OFF or whether it just seems that way because I'm made poignantly aware of its brokenness every time I have to pry the scorching door open with oven mitts on both hands. But either way, I've been cooking stuff while I wait for Sears (there, I said it) to get off their dead asses and actually fix my oven rather than just stare blankly at it while fingering their earholes.

The fact that the oven has no handle and the glass front is leaning against the back wall in the kitchen means very little to me. Bubba did a fine job securing the remnants of the door with a couple washers and drywall anchors, and that means to me that all systems are Go if I want to bake something.

Which I do. Seemingly more so now that the oven is something of a novelty item of doom. So it won't hold its temp, takes one hundred years to preheat and tries to remove my fingers by snapping shut at inopportune moments? Not going to stop me from inventing Eggplant Stacks for Mahjong night.


Anyhoo, last Saturday was Mahjong night. A night which is typically spent catching up with a couple close friends over drinks, dinner and the recounting of the game's instructions because Bubba and I haven't been able to retain any knowledge about the game despite the fact that this is probably our sixth Mahjong night and our friends are quite skilled at explaining the game in great patient detail to drunk people (us).

Not that we even appear to remember the rules DURING play since, at one point, both Bubba and I had winning hands (hands? I'm not sure if this is even the right term for The Tiles Which One Possesses on Their Person During Play) but were both too retarded to know how to actually go about winning. No, we just sat on our "hands" and illegally tried to win by declaring our victories at inappropriate times and with unacceptable methods to the great suppressed eye-rolling of our gracious friends.

You probably now realize how crucial it is that I serve these friends of ours a decent meal beforehand so that they don't stone us to death with the tiles before the night's end. I figured if we were going to tempt fate and invite these nice friends of ours over, again for the sixth time, for a night of "Wait - can I take that tile for an out of turn run?" and "Is it Pong or Ping?", I'd better make something real good that they could reflect on while deciding whether to knife us under the table the next time we declare victory with nothing but a hand full of bullcrap and a smile. Obviously I needed to put The Best Tomato Sauce Ever. Yep. on something.

Thus my inspiration for the meal:

Eggplant Stacks with The Best Tomato Sauce Ever. Yep.

2 eggplants, sliced to 1" rounds (feel free to slice edges to make them fit in your dish, as seen below. Ahem)
1 bunch of fresh basil leaves
1 8 oz. ball buffalo mozzarella packed in water or whey, sliced to 1/2" rounds
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling (hate this word so much)
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

See sauce recipe here

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a 9x9 glass baking dish, drizzle (UGH) some olive oil in the bottom and sprinkle with salt. Begin by laying four rounds (or squares if you have to cut it that way) on the oiled dish and drizzling with a bit more oil and a tiny pinch of salt. Next stack the mozzarella slices and top with a large basil leaf. Repeat the layering once more and finish with a basil leaf atop a slice of oiled eggplant.

Like so:

Cover each stack with The Best Tomato Sauce Ever. Yep. and slam in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the eggplant is soft.

Like so:

Allow to cool for a few minutes before plating.

Suggestion: Use this time to unsober your guests so that they will be less mad when they see how little you remember about the game rules.


Another suggestion: When you've been sitting there for 10 minutes, draining your fourth glass of wine, wondering WHOSE TURN IS IT DAMN IT I DON'T HAVE ALL NIGHT FOR YOU SLOW POKES. It is your turn and you should go before the aforementioned knifing begins.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Button Scarf + Anatomy of a Sweater

I knew when I chose the Button Scarf as our first project that people would probably be hating on it from the get go. Because of the faux furriness of it and everything.

I mean, my first reaction to seeing it in the book was, "Really? Faux fur? Is it 1983? Ew."

But almost right away my mind started churning to the tune of what if I knitted the front panel or what if I used fleece or what about corduroy or what about OMG WHAT ABOUT IF I USED THAT OLD WOOL SWEATER THAT GOT FELTED AND THEN LEFT IN THE SCRAP BIN TO BE FORGOTTEN UNTIL NOW?

Yes. And then I went to the scrap bin to exhume the sweater and decided that, indeedio, I would be making my Button Scarf from this old ass Old Navy sweater which had gone in and out of the Goodwill bag about six times before getting felted and thrown in with the other fabric cast-offs. You know, for futures.

And, TEE DAH, the future was here. My $20 sweater of yore was going to become a Button Scarf and...well, one minute, let's first talk Button Scarf.

So, the Button Scarf went like this:
  1. Wait until the 11th hour (in my mind) so that you have to race to the fabric store with only a half hour to choose a coordinating fabric before the early game comes on
  2. Go to the fabric store without the sweater so that you have to coordinate fabrics on the fly which is always a terrible idea
  3. Look desperately for wide wale corduroy and fail because you are shopping in a quilting store which obviously doesn't carry apparel fabric
  4. Decide on a sweet Asian-y/organic-y fabric in orange because you like the fabric so much and WANT IT NOW
  5. Riffle randomly through the button bin with a four year old and let her pick out buttons that she thinks look good with your fabric
  6. Check out, race home, watch two football games and eat a mountain of nachos with Bubba. Forget all about the fabric, project, etc
  7. Wake up the next morning and begin making your way toward the inevitable doom that awaits any project that requires the use of the buttonhole feature on the sewing machine
  8. End up hand-sewing the buttonhole to avoid Total Devastation
  9. Take a lot of photos to prove that, despite Buttonholing Gone Awry, you are still pleased with the outcome AND are now inspired to take the $20 sweater to its fullest potential (keep reading)
So, in a nutshell, I'm considering my Button Scarf a success, if only because I like the fabrics and the buttons individually (if not necessarily all sewn together), the scarf fits and is warm and PLUS I recycled an old forgotten piece of clothing instead of giving up, throwing it in with the Goodwill and buying new fabric.

Sweet ass. Button Scarf can be hot if not necessarily made with Faux Fur. I like this.

So, what else was I talking about back when I said, "My $20 sweater of yore was going to become a Button Scarf and..." and , "now inspired to take the $20 sweater to its fullest potential...?"

I was talking about my new endeavour, people: Anatomy of a Sweater.

I decided that I'm going to go all native on this bit of $20 felted wool that used to be in the shape of a boring Old Navy v-neck sweater by using all of its parts and pieces in Projects to Be Named.

Like, I'm going to not just slay a sweater for the sake of its best meaty parts, OH NO. I'm going to go on to use every last hoof and tooth in other projects in order to produce many wonderful things from only one original thing and also produce ZERO waste.

Then I'll come on here and show you what I made so that maybe when you're cleaning out your closet next and come across a heinous old woolen thing and think to yourself, "I should really *do* something with this wool...", you'll have some ideas. Or maybe you'll see my projects and think, "Whatever. I could make cooler things from Old Navy sweaters. She is a retard." and then you will and I will like that a lot because your ideas are usually better than mine anyway.

I feel like this is rad.

So, for Project 1 in Anatomy of a Sweater, I present to you the Button Scarf. And soon, I hope to present to you at least three other projects and no evidence of waste of any variety. I am about to make a six+ year-old Old Navy sweater as cool as I can possibly imagine.

Prepare yourself accordingly.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Extreme Sabbath Mode vs The Pork Chop

I set out to make pork chops the other night on Bubba's request but without the proper know-how seeing as I grew up in a house that didn't have pork chops because we were trying to be not-all-the-way-bad Jews. We didn't follow most of the rules, but I think frying up the uncleanest of all beasts in chop form on the stove was too much even for my progressive folks.

Meanwhile, my future husband was growing up in the midwest, far away from the pork fearful and in a household very much in support of Pork Chop Night, of which I have heard much legend. Legends about "cornflake crust", applesauce on the side OR NOT and the merits of pan-frying vs oven-baking. And just for the record, I never heard the words, "Shake and Bake" mentioned in reference to the Almighty Pork Chop until I said it out loud and had to suffer Bubba's evilest evil eye. Scary.

No Shake and Bake. Got it.

Thankfully the All Knowing Cook's Illustrated provided a fabulous and authoritative recipe by which one, even one of Jew-y background, can construct Ultracrunchy Baked Pork Chops.

Bubba was very excited to revisit Pork Chop Night and I was very afraid of this untamed cut of meat.

Why is it so pale? What's the story with this big bone? How do you know when it's done when it's buried under all that seasoning? What about that big word that stands for the scary germ that lives in pork? Trich-ta-somethin-somethin...?

All very scary and bizarre. Plus I was afraid that it would taste like ass and I would have to chew and smile and be all, "Yes, my love, this is very good and worthy of your childhood memories", when I might really just want to hack it up in the trash and pretend it all didn't happen. But I went forward, somewhat bravely, into the dark scary forest of the pork unknown armed with my issue of CI and some chops that Bubba brought home from the store, all despite my Jewy inner fear of The Pork.

And then my oven rebelled by falling apart.

Yes. It fell apart. In the truest and most sincere sense of the term. I went to open the oven to begin the pork baking and upon grasping its one big handle, SNAP, it ripped off clean in my hand.

The handle. It broke the fuck off. Just right there for all the world to see.

And then the stainless steel sprung forward allowing the heat proof glass to come sliding onto my kitchen floor.


"What the hell was that??"

"Hehehe hahahaha heeeeeeeee hahaaaa"

"Baby? Are you ok?"

"Um....hehehe hahaha hehe"

"What are you holding? What was that crashing sound?"

"Oh. You know. My BRAND NEW OVEN just fell totally apart and apparently I think it is pretty damn funny."

And it kinda was. In the sense that I was standing in my kitchen, holding the big handle for the oven, which was in no way connected to the oven itself, while standing over a very large piece of glass watching the stainless steel available-at-an-extra-charge sproing to and fro, having been freed of its enclosure. Holding in my other hand, a rimmed and racked baking sheet with two perfectly coated pork chops ready for baking.

It was at this moment I realized the actual purpose of the Sabbath setting.

"Sabbath Mode: Beyond the automatic shut-off feature of this particular model, this ingenious and militant option keeps your oven free of any filthy unkosher items. When set, the oven will go to all lengths to maintain the sanctity of its observant interior, resorting to self-destruction if any attempt is made to force unclean flesh into its depths with the intent of cooking or otherwise."

As it turns out, my oven is something of a self-righteous Jew. Who knew this?

Anyway, my oven fell totally apart and I'm blaming it on my made-up oven feature for which I previously had no explanation (come on, did YOU know what Sabbath mode was for? See, no.) and the shoddy craftsmanship of some appliance manufacturer which will remain unnamed. Sadly, most of my appliances are from this particular manufacturer, so everything in my kitchen is getting the wary eye at this point, especially those with inexplicable features like Pots and Pans Cycle, Filtered Water Dispenser and Permanent Press. WHO KNOWS WHAT THIS ALL MEANS, REALLY?

It could be anything.

However, I think you might be happy to know that despite the Extreme Sabbath Mode setting under which my oven was previously operating and the fact that the door handle BROKE THE HELL OFF, I still managed to bring to life the ever-cherished Pork Chop Night in our humble yet combative home.

Bubba assured me that they were indeed quite good and definitely didn't seem like they'd been made under duress or anything, so I felt better knowing that at least his dining dream was coming true.

Meanwhile I stewed about the time I was going to have to spend escorting the retards from that service center which will remain unnamed until I have had my issue satisfactorily resolved around my kitchen so that they could fix these things that should have never broken, and certainly not so soon after I purchased them. Ahem.

Good news - I didn't have to spit anything out in the trash.

Pork Chop Night 1 - Oven 0.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sometimes I'm considerate of others and I'll thank you not to act so surprised.

I don't know what finally made me pull the trigger and randomly start pulling fabric out from the closet, but The Project Which Has Languished in My Mind managed to become a mail organizing reality this weekend.

See, our office is not so big. Even with all the recent reorganizing, shopping, throwing away and sneaking out to the garage (what?) of all the not-nailed-down stuff. Even then there's not a LOT of room in there. Even less so on our desk. I sorta downsized our desk to a shallower version of our previous double-wide model in the remaking of the office and that left us with a limited amount of open space to, say, put down a pen without it being immediately swept onto the floor.

Yes, the desk does hold two computers (must have both PC and Mac) and the obligatory molding cup of coffee, but with the Evil Mail Sorting Thingee taking up most of the remainder of space, our desk sort of ceased being a Desk and started being The Big Pile of Crap Where You Can't Set Down a Pen or Even Maybe Another Cup of Coffee.

This was an obvious issue for Bubba, seeing as he must simultaneously compute and caffeinate without compromise lest the universe burst forth from its balanced state and go hurtling through the Great Unknown on a path toward certain hell, but for me, I am indifferent. Mostly because my home computing is limited to doing our finances and checking on the poisonous status of foraged nuts and also because I am not a coffee gal and am happy to drink my tea from the couch where I have a nice blurry view of from over the shoulder of my beloved.

So, you can see why finding an alternative means for sorting mail, therefore freeing space on the desktop for more cups of old coffee, became something of a mild obsession for me. I mean, how can I sit and sip tea from my comfy spot on the couch while The Mister is left to surf the headlines without nary a spot to rest his morning brew?

See, sometimes I think about other people.

So with the cherished remains of my favorite fabric, the pile of sturdy and partially slain canvas and a pair of very groovy and huge wooden knitting needles, I set out to organize our mail in a vertical fashion so as to leave as much acreage on the desktop as possible. You know, for the coffees.

It was a random act of sewing, as I was actually on my way to refill my cup for another round of couch-sitting with tea, but happened to glance at Bubba and see him staring down the towering Evil Mail Sorting Thingee and decided it was time. I must fix this. Before the doom becomes imminent and I'm being forced out the front door with bus fare, Rocket and the Evil Mail Sorting Thingee wedged in my ass.

After a few short (long) minutes of disagreeing with my machine about which way the spool winds and how a broken needle wedged in the presser foot does not make for a smooth stitch, I made good time. I actually managed to rip this baby off before NFL Sunday Countdown was over and the playoffs began. Not that I was all hopped up to watch Eli disgrace the Manning name (I know, they won, but still - he's no you-know-who) or anything, but I do like my uninterrupted time to stare at the NFL in HD and having one project under my belt when I make my way to the couch for the hobby known as All Day Sitting is just a lovely bonus.

As I was making my way to the couch for the aforementioned Distance Sitting, I was blessed with some of the most beautiful words a Bubba can say.

Specifically, "You're done? Well, don't you want me to come appreciate your hard work? Let's go see!"

Followed by Bubba scampering (in a manly way) off to the office to see what had become of the Evil Mail Sorting Thingee and to behold the glory of a square foot of open space on the desk, onto which he immediately situated a big cup of soon to be old coffee.

Just kidding. He didn't. But I am sure he has plans for it.

Either way, he made the obligatory Ooh and Ahh noises and adequately explored the capacity of his allocated pocket on the new Hanging Mail Sorter, so I was satisfied.

Maybe now I'll sit at the desk with my tea from time to time. You know, since there's room and all.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Finny and Donk's Sewing Adventure

Dear Donk and Sewalongers,

I'm back from my *gallivanting* as someone so kindly put it, and ready to deal the dish on the 2008 sewalong so that y'all can get your machines back out and put your energies to good use.

I have, by the way, appreciated your gentle coaxing to get the hell off my dead ass and come up with The New Book for 2008 OH MY GOD WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM HELLO, so thank you. Sometimes I need a swift kick to get moving.

Business, let's get down to business...

First things first, to close off 2007, go check out Donk's post for the Nov/Dec Dealer's Choice winner. I'm very impressed with you all for not snagging the simplest patterns from the book and going easy. Because that is really what I usually do, and frankly it makes me a little ashamed of myself when I see how ambitious and fabulous you all are.

Second thing, with regard to InStitches, Amy Butler and all of your awesomeness - Craftzine's blog (which, by the way, if you haven't looked through an issue of CRAFT: magazine yet - go now, it's tits) is hosting an Amy Butler Sew Inspired contest for those who have created a bag inspired by Amy and her designs. You can read all about it here, but we thought it would be some great extra mileage for those of you who made really hot bags (hello, quilted patchwork bag heroes) and want to flaunt them and perhaps win some more Amy stuff. We know you are all very talented and we want you to win. So go check it out, yes? You have till 2/29.

Okokok, for 2008...

After careful consideration via a very long email string (thank you Gmail for stacking my emails so neatly, wuv you) the Donk and I chose Simple Gifts to Stitch for our 2008 sew along. (Check comments for a deal through - thanks Katie!)

There were a few considerations here, specifically a lot of you all voted for it (yay democracy), we thought a good portion of the patterns looked promising and then there also wasn't a hundred Flickr pools already dedicated to fawning over it, unlike most of the other choices. Plus, it doesn't involved quite as much quilting and patchworking as *some other* books, which I enjoy.

You recall my bouts with these techniques and their horrifying results. I'm sorry, I'm just not ready to go back into the water with the patchwork measuring yet. I'm just not.

SO - we hope you're excited to venture into uncharted territory with this book and don't get all "what about the book *I* voted for??" and what not because we think this book looks pretty rad. And, hey, if it turns out to suck ass, we should be the ones to decide right here. And then you can all yell at me and I can be punished with a hundred quilting projects. Seems fair, right?

As for the first project, we're going to put a two month time limit on this one so you have time to curse my name and then go get the book (I hope, yes?) and then do the project. So, the deadline will be 2/28 and the project is the Button Scarf. And, as always, be as creative or as MUST DO IT EXACTLY AS THE PATTERN SAYS (me) as you like and then go post your photos to our new 2008 Flickr pool.

Oh, and you'll notice that "Finny and Donk's Sewing Adventure" keeps cropping up, and that is with good reason because we are renaming our sewalong for longevity. As we realized, InStitches ~Along wasn't going to work what with our non-InStitches book and all, so we've given ourselves a new name and face (that thing at the top of the post, yes) so that maybe MAYBE we can keep this up for a while in the event that 2008 goes well and y'all don't hate us for picking The Unknown Book and still want to keep going in *gasp* 2009 or something.

Anyhoo, just so you know, the Finny in Finny and Donk's Sewing Adventure is me and Donk is Kelli and the adventure will come when we're trying to pin-tuck linen for a table runner (hint) and we run out of swears. Ok, so maybe this only happens to me, but still *adventurous*.

If you're interested, we also have a new badge to declare our Sewing Adventureness (refer to top of post), and you're welcome to grab it and display it on your blogs for all to see. If you want a higher resolution copy for tattooing purposes, just shoot me an email and I'll be happy to oblige.

One last piece of business - the Rad Surprise that I boasted about last year that was supposed to be [RIGHT HERE] is a bit delayed, so forgive me please. As soon as its radness is present, I will put it up and let you know and then sit back in awe (hopefully).

Ok, phew, I think that's it. I have a burning desire to summarize everything with a bulleted list, but I'm trying to surpres my urges to do anal retentive things that make other people go, "OMG, really? I think she's crazy.", so I'm not going to. I will have to rely on my strategic bolding techniques and hope that y'all are careful readers.

Looking forward to another year of inventing proprietary sewing swears with all of you.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Home, and still full

I'll just put this out there: I ate a lot in Italy.

There, I said it.

Wile not as lewd and unsavory as being a sexual tourist, being a food tourist might have its own seedy side. Especially when all the drooling and staring is taken into consideration. And the gluttony. And the greed. OK, so Rome might be one of the seven deadly sins, I don't know.

But I did enjoy myself and surprisingly, managed to wear my previously too tight Sevens and Joe's throughout the trip. Even while eating pizza every day and wine with every meal. And then some gelato. And what about digestivi? And do I want to go out for hot chocolate?

It's a minefield of delicious things, people. And I don't handle temptation well. Especially Temptation con Mozzarella di Bufula.

But now I'm home and dealing with that stretched out stomach thing that you get after Thanksgiving. Where you get hungrier than usual because you stuffed yourself on Thanksgiving and now your stomach has, like, 12 extra acres to fill. I'm currently dealing with a pizza sized empty spot that won't shuddup or be tamed by a handful of Triscuits.


Anyway, allow me to briefly list some of the beauties you see above, if only for my own S&M pleasure because now I can't have them for a really long time and I just ate some regrettable macaroni and cheese and WOE is me...

From left:
  • Housemade egg noodles with locally grown organic mushrooms and truffle sauce. OMG.
  • Again, OMG.
  • Some wine from Abruzzo. That's where we were at the time.
  • This was called chocolate flan but it did not resemble the boogeriness of flan at all.
  • Genziana. This digestivi tasted like a horses ass, but was able to cure the feeling that my stomach was splitting in two.
  • The crust of my Pizza Imperiale. Yes. That is a stuffed crust. Yes. It was truly awesome. If this pizza were a man, I might have an illicit affair with it.
  • Pecorino and salumi. Locally made and vurrrry good.
  • Pecorino. It was a staple of our diet for New Year's.
  • Smoked salmon on toast. Jews, Italians - we have so much in common.
  • Prosciutto. A sea of it.
  • Wine.
  • Homemade fresh sausage. Really. The best sausage I've ever had. Roasted on an open fire. Um, yes, please.
  • Arrostacini: roasted lamb skewers. While not a big lamb fan, I managed to put down half a dozen of these skewers. That means they were out of this world. Plus, there were a hundred of them for 11 people.
  • Genziana and Torrone. Booze and chocolate, that is an excellent combo.
  • Torrone: Like the inside of a candy bar, but bigger. RAD.
  • New Year's lentils with sausage. For you lentil people, adding sausage makes this much better. If you are a vegetarian, I am sorry because your life sucks.
  • Misto frito: fried olives, zucchini flowers and suppli.
  • Pizza misto funghi. I could have handled more mushrooms, but I'll take it.
  • Garden pizza. No idea what was on this. It looked good.
  • The gelato course. I think we had a chili chocolate, pistachio, nutella and something else.
I'm probably still in a food coma right now. I feel sleepy.