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Archive for November, 2009

Okay, forget what I said about not doing anything creative until I’m done my PhD application. Never mind. Besides, I’m going to try to work on some stuff and see if it might somehow maybe look nice enough to give away as Christmas presents. (But I’m not holding my breath.)

So, yesterday I had some fun at Dressew (a fabulous discount fabric & notions store here in Vancouver). Can I just say how much I love their ribbon selection? I kinda felt like a Project Runway contestant, though, because by the time I took the bus there I only had about 30 minutes to shop before Josh and Keaton came to pick me up to head out to my mum’s house. (I decided to go to Dressew sans bebe since it’s not very stroller friendly in there!). So, I raced around and managed to get quite a fun cornucopia of stuff, including grabbing a few random things that I don’t even really know how to use yet, like a bias tape maker and a quilting square. Tee hee.

Tonight I felt like kicking back and watching a good ol’ comfort movie, so I cross-stitched my “Reading is Sexy” pillow that I patched last week, and also attempted to do some embroidery while watching When Harry Met Sally. I might be getting a little ahead of myself, but I’m hoping to embroider some tea towels, aprons and pillowcases as gifts for some of the ladies in my life.

Fun With Needlework to be continued…

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…but doing my Christmas cards doesn’t really count as something creative, right? Okay, so I’m semi-making them. Whatever. (I guess you caught me red-handed, Heather! Tee hee!)

But oh, I do love paper crafts. I am such a print girl – one of my favourite things to do at my job is ordering commercial printing. I love looking at paper samples, choosing the poundage, deciding if it should be matte, gloss, semi-gloss, then checking the proofs… (I also used to be a major paper eater as a kid. Foolscap paper tasted the best. Who am I kidding – I’m still a paper eater. Except that now I’m all about the copy paper. Yum.)

Zippo progress on the PhD application, in case you were wondering.

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So, I’m being very strict and not allowing myself to do any fun things like crafting or creative writing until my #%& PhD application is done and sent off in the mail. Hopefully that will kick me in the butt. It seems that with motherhood I have lost the ability to write academically. I just really want to get the effing thing done, as I’m itching to get to some of the craft projects that are piled up in the dining room: Christmas cards, a stocking for Keaton, napkins out of an old bedsheet, and some embroidery gifts for Christmas. (Not that I know how to embroider, but I’m sure I can figure it out.)

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I read once – maybe it was in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain – that we tend to draw at the same age level at which we stopped drawing regularly. Which probably explains why I still draw like I’m ten. If that is true, then do we still craft at the same age level at which we stopped crafting (if we did stop at one point?). Well, I still craft like I’m about fifteen, so maybe that’s saying something. Last night after Keaton went to bed, Joshua and I watched Adventureland, which I really enjoyed – it gave me that wonderful feeling of sparkly promise that I really remember from my late teens/early 20s (amongst all the angst, of course). I found myself inspired to do some late-night crafting after the movie, and stayed up until about 3am having myself a little Teenage Craft Night filled with safety pins, glue and cut-up pictures (it was also a chance to use up some supplies and do some projects I’ve been meaning to do for a long, long time). I also ate quite a few Twizzelators in the process. As you’ll see in these photos, here’s what I did:

– glued a cut-out patch from my “Reading is Sexy” t-shirt onto a pillowcase (the dyes bled all over each other when I washed it – I’ve been meaning to do something with this for about seven years). I’m going to ad some decorative cross-stitching around the border of the patch.

– framed a cut-out picture from an old “Fabulous Fifties” calendar in an Ikea frame I’ve had kicking around for a while (not really a craft, but I’ve been meaning to do it forever)

– sewed the Heidi Headband project from Bend-the-Rules Sewing, using some linen scraps, black elastic and some cute French poodle ribbon that I got at Dressew a long time ago. I actually made two (I’m going to give the other one to my sister Chay), since they’re good practice in terms of trying different seams, stitches, etc. Also, I got the almost-instant gratification of finishing not one, but two things in a night, since they’re so small and quite easy to make! They’re a little crooked, and the seams aren’t exactly straight, but I was still pretty pleased with myself.

– And for the piece de resistance, and the Ultimate in Teenage Crafting, I put another old t-shirt patch – this one cut from a waaaayyyy-too-tight t-shirt that I got in Camden Market, London about nine years ago… it has Darth Vader spinning and says “May the Funk Be With You” on the bottom (I know, effin’ awesome, right?) – onto my jean jacket with the artful use of safety pins. I even used a black Sharpie to colour over the shiny metal of the safety pins showing through on the patch. Classic move.

Gad, what fun. Totally took me back in time. Maybe next Teenage Craft Night (because I really should make this a regular thing) I’ll listen to the Cure and the Smiths while bedazzling a pair of jeans or deconstructing a t-shirt and really make a night of it. Come to think of it, I did just pick up a copy of Generation T from the library….

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I ask you: how is a girl supposed to concentrate on re-learning how to knit with nails like these in the way? Wow. Are those press-ons, or the real thing? (I got this DVD from the library – “Learn to Knit” by Tracie Wunderlich… she’s actually a very good teacher.)

For me, knitting is kind of like the game of cribbage: I don’t get it. I’ve tried to learn many times, and in many different ways, but I just seem to have a mental block. Crocheting I get (but that doesn’t mean I’m necessarily any good at it). Maybe Tracie and her wundernails can help me out…

Currently reading: Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes (satisfying my current Brit chick lit kick)

Listening to: Islands; Stevie Nicks; Wolf Parade

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Today’s Creations

Late this afternoon I finally decided to brave the wind and rain and, with Keaton bundled up in the stroller (with the rain poncho thingy on it – still can’t quite figure out that thing) and me in my raincoat, headed out to buy some ingredients for dinner. I was hankering for some good, chunky hippie food, and so I decided to cook up a dish that I like to call Quinoa Delight (pictured above, recipe below) – it’s inspired by a similar dish at one of my favourite Vancouver restaurants, The Foundation.

And then I whipped up (well, not exactly whipped up, it took about 2 hours to get it into the oven, as delightful little Keats kept interrupting me) an Upside-Down Apple Pie, which Joshua and I enjoyed with aplomb after putting Keaton to bed. I’d seen a link to the recipe on a friend’s Facebook page, and just had to try it. Note: it says to bake it for 1 & 1/4 hours, but I’d suggest only baking it for one hour – the carmelized bottom was a little burnt and therefore bitter. We ate the pie (with ice cream of course) and drank decaf to the sweet sounds of Keats cooing and gurgling away in the baby monitor.

Quinoa Delight

4 cups quinoa, cooked
1 nice bunch of spinach, washed and trimmed
1 package firm tofu, lightly fried in olive oil and sesame oil
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Tahini Sauce:
2 small onions, chopped
6 tbsp olive oil
2 cups water
2 cups tahini
6 tbsp tamari soy sauce
5 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tbsp maple syrup (honey works, too)
1 tsp salt
dashes of cayenne and nutmeg

Saute the onion in hot olive oil under tender. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and the fried tofu, and simmer everything on low heat for about 15 minutes. Serve on nice big beds of spinach topped with one cup of the cooked quinoa per serving. Garnish with a generous sprinkling of sesame seeds.

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Percolation

When I say I suck at arts & crafts, I shouldn’t undersell myself too much. Sometimes I have good concepts – like hanging my postcard collection (as a rotating gallery of postcards) from old cutlery that I got from an antique market in Vienna, or attaching a tiny pair of pants (they were on a keychain) to a purse from the Daiso ($2 Japanese store). I’ve got the concepts, I just want to get better at the execution.

Speaking of conceptualizing, I’m a big believer in percolation. Before I can sit down to write, or sew, or do any other act of creation for that matter, I have to daydream about it, brainstorm, and generally gear myself up. In fact, I may percolate to a fault – I think that throughout my life thus far I’ve done more percolation and daydreaming than actual creation. I could use the “I’m busy” excuse, but maybe part of the reason that I haven’t actually sat down at my sewing machine to make those dinner napkins out of the old bedsheet is because I’m percolating. I’m reading books about how to sew, rather than actually sewing. Who am I kidding, it’s probably my old fear of failure coming back to haunt me.

Time for bed. Sweet dreams.

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