A map quilt

29 03 2011

I’ve been a busy girl the last week(+), working on a secret present for one of my readers: a baby quilt made to look like a map of Gilroy, the home town of both awesome, soon-to-be parents Stephanie and Adam. This was a ridiculous undertaking but it turned out pretty decent:

The following is the story of creation with semi dark and blurry pictures because most of the work, and therefore pictures, happened after work when it was dark outside.

First! Come up with the idea and think self genius. Buy fabric:

Plan out quilt (this took me months, primarily spent staring at blank graph paper, mostly because I was super freaked out by how silly I was in coming up with this project) and cut out squares. Mine were 2.5 inches each for a quilt at 30×34 with 1/4 inch seam allowances:

Lay all the squares out:

Make little piles of each row so that you can sew a bunch at once:

Iron seams. No really: iron them.

Then, one at a time, pin each row to the one below at exactly the seam line, with the pin on the left hand side of the seam so that when you sew it you are less likely to have the sewing machine foot fold your seam back to the pre-ironed position:

Once you have the whole thing together:

Draw on your roads with a washable marker and stitch with embroidery thread (I might not recommend yellow for the highway…):

Then (and here’s where the pics got way to blurry to even post), cut out your backing to match your finished top, a lovely garlic pattern for this baby, pin it to the top with cotton batting in between, making a few ties at key places if you aren’t actually “quilting” the quilt, (which means this one is technically a comforter but I say whatever to that), and then make your binding and hand stitch it on, watching lots of bad tv like the Hugh Hefner documentary on Netflix:

Wash, to remove your pen lines and so that it’s ready for baby, and BAM! You made a quilt!

Oh – back at the hand stitching stage, I put stars where the grandparents live…

Looking forward to your little monster, Stephanie and Adam!!

This post powered by taco truck tacos, patience, Midol, and dark & stormies.


Spring time!

23 03 2011

Our CSA box had chives in it today. And a big bunch of leeks which I promptly sauteed and made into a delicious frittata. Other bits in the box: a giant red cabbage, oranges, eggs, apples, lemons, celery, stir fry mix, green garlic, and carrots. There was also a red Russian kale in there but I swapped it for more leeks.

But that’s not how I know it’s spring. I know because when I was walking home today, in our urban neighborhood, I saw that one of our neighbors has a bunny rabbit in their front yard:

Is it horrible that I wonder how long he’ll last?

The point of gardening

19 03 2011

In addition to the stress relieving activities of weeding, digging, planting, and watering, and sometimes getting some food out of the deal, one of the best fruits of a gardener’s labor are flowers:

Tulips and freesias are two of my favorite flowers. The daffodils and purple crocuses look great together in the yard.  And of course I love the calas too.

Our fall planting is doing relatively well. Being new at this, I figure if we get to eat half of what we plant it’s worth it. The beets are refusing to grow, even after 2 rounds of planting. I blame the slugs and snails. But the kohlrabi and arugula are doing fantastic:

At least…I think the kohlrabi is doing fantastic…I don’t really know, not having grown it before. It certainly looks happy in the foreground of the above picture.

The arugula has been incorporated into many a meal at this point (and I’m still at war with the neighborhood cat that will not stop digging up the carrots planted right behind):

How long does a cabbage take to grow? I have no idea but this one looks promising:

And we’ve had a few unexpected additions, thanks to the rain and a rotting stump hanging out in the border:

Now if only we could get our mud patch of a yard to be grass again…


18 03 2011

I am a strong believer in having different brands of booze for different applications. Want a martini with a twist? I recommend Hendricks. But a gin and tonic must be made with Tanqueray (and not that sweet Tanqueray 10 business). How about a Manhattan? I absolutely must have Vya vermouth and Luxardo cherries if I am even going to bother. I mean…others will do…in a bar setting or whathaveyou. But if I’m making it at home? The bar must be stocked.

One of my new favorite gins is perfect in any citrusy based cocktail. An Aviation, or even the delicious Salty Dog, which I’ve been enjoying quite a bit lately:

Cut up a lime and rub a wedge around the rim of your highball glass. Roll the edge of the glass in a coarse salt (I use sea salt). Add 2 oz Quintessential gin (only recently made available to the common consumer like you and me), top off with fresh grapefruit juice, and squeeze the rest of your lime wedge in to the drink.


Our ginger pup

17 03 2011

On March 17th, while other people are celebrating with Guinness, green, pinches, and shamrocks, we celebrate the anniversary of the day that Carmella joined our lives. It’s been 4 amazing years since she ditched the dirty hippie kids at CellSpace and joined our little family.

Carm likes lots of things. She likes the park:

She likes to snuggle:

She likes her walrus:

She likes reading magazines at friends’ houses:

She likes playing with friends in the yard:

And she likes napping, especially with mom, and especially in the sunshine:

She also likes wearing outfits, having parties, playing, making an obstacle course of the backyard (around the tree, under the table and benches, through the screen door, around the coffee table, and loop, at full tilt), and hiking and other outdoor adventures.

She hates having her picture taken:

Happy Birthday Carm!!


Did I mention naps?


By any other name

16 03 2011

The hubby and I were watching some show on Discovery or Nat Geo (really? Nat Geo? National Geographic is too long? America has the attention span of a 3 year old?) or whatever and were both shocked to see them talking about a fossilized brontosaurus in a museum.

AHEM! That is an apatosaurus (which spell check doesn’t recognize!!).

Cake for dinner

13 03 2011

That’s right. We had cake for dinner! A delicious and moist lemon cake from this month’s Everyday Food:

It’s dark, but oh so good.

Recipe found and highlighted by that handsome man in the picture.