Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Self Portraits (Geocaching Edition)

A little angular cache

A flyaway hair cache

A coffee in hand cache

Saturday, March 30, 2013

New Square Block Curtains

We have a little window in our bedroom that has first been blocked off by a shirt then later a scarf and now finally...a custom sewed curtain!

Close up of curtain

Curtain in context of room

I had some leftover squares from this project (finally down to only two squares left!) so I decided to use them for the curtain. The squares are linen so it will still let in some light, which I'm happy with. I was a little short on squares so I used some other fabric that I had leftover from this project to add a little more length. I'm so happy with how my curtain turned out!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Delicious Rotisserie-Flavored Chicken

Here is a tasty and easy recipe. Almost as easy as buying a rotisserie chicken from the store! my case I had all of the ingredients at home so it was much easier than having to bike to the store to pick up a rotisserie chicken...

1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 boneless chicken breasts

All you need to do is mix it all together, rub onto the chicken breasts, and roast for 45 minutes at 325 degrees.

Easy and delicious!  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

DIY Tee to Tank

Time: 1/2 hour
Listening to: Murder She Wrote

I've been seeing these t-shirt to tank tutorials around a lot recently and decided it was time to make one of my own!  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Two More Pottery Pieces

I am so thrilled about this bowl. It is the perfect candy bowl--not too big and not too small. Plus, the colors are amazing!

Oh and this one is ok, too.  I love the colors but it is small and a bit lopsided. One day I'll get the hang of the pottery wheel...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stumbled On Favorites

A few of the favorite things I've stumbled on recently.

We went bird watching the other day--spotted three bald eagles! Can you find one sitting in its nest?

The Art of Clean Up...such a fun book. Can't wait to get my hands on it.

92 Year Old Tap Dancer...such a cool video about an inspiring woman.

These embroidered bunnies are impressive.  And adorable.

I love this screaming flower girl.

Scientists brings crazy frog back to life after 30 years! Wow.

Lego Dance Animation...So cool.

I really like Yelena Bryksenkova's artwork.

A prosthetic hand that can tie shoelaces. Hard to even fathom!

Grain silo in Iowa turned into an ice climbing wall. Looks a bit...scary.

Monday, March 25, 2013

DIY Farmers' Market Embroidered Tote Bag

Brace yourself for the cutest little tote bag ever...

I mean, that is too cute to handle, right? I may never even use this because it is so darn cute. You too can make your own adorable bag...inspiration and instructions are from here.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

DIY Entryway Shoe Organization!

I've been reorganizing some things in our house recently...and one space that was in desperate need of some help was our entryway. Or should I say our lack of an entryway.

Here is what we had before:

Pretty impressive, huh? I had two of these bins in our house that contained an assortment of shoes, gloves, and rain pants. In order to find anything, you had to dump out all the things piled on top. I decided enough was enough! I purchased two more crates and painted them a gold and a blue (because that was the only paint I had on hand!). I then arranged them nicely by our coat rack and even put a little rug by the space.

It really feels like it is an entryway now! I absolutely love more shoe piles!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pottery Pieces by Yours Truly

I picked up some more pottery pieces today and am really happy with how they turned out! I've been waiting ever so patiently for my Hello! tray to come out of the kiln...and now I finally have it safely at home! I also like my little slouchy mini vase. I think it looks pretty cute set on the tray.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Apple Muffins

We've already made these twice because they are so tasty! Once for breakfast and once for dessert! 

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup egg substitute
1/3 cup applesauce
1 cup apple, peeled and chopped

Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, stir together four, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon. Make a well in the center. In a separate bowl, stir together milk, egg substitute, applesauce, and apple. Add all at once to dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened. Spoon into greased muffin pan. Mix a little bit of cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle on top. Bake for 20 minutes.

Makes 12 servings.

*From 500 Low Cholesterol Recipes

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Quiche Nibblers

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup egg substitute
2 tablespoons skim milk
2 ounces low fat cheddar cheese, shredded
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425. In a small saucepan, heat olive oil over moderate heat. Add red bell pepper and onions; saute for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool slightly. In a medium bowl, combine egg substitute, milk, cheese, and pepper. Stir in the bell pepper mixture. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the mixture into each muffin cup. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the centers are set. Let cool for 1 minute. Using a knife, loosen the quiches around the edges and remove.

*From 500 Low Cholesterol Recipes

Monday, March 18, 2013

My new cookbook

So I pretty much only use this cookbook now. See how much I love it?


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Amazing Herbed Fish

I have never cooked fish before but I figured I might as well figure it out since my low cholesterol cookbook told me to eat it twice a week. I like tuna usually and also really like perch so I figured I'd start with some lighter fish.

While grocery shopping, my hubby actually listened to one of the over the speaker announcements and heard that fresh cod was on sale so we figured now was our chance! I found a easy recipe and gave it a try. And oh my gosh, it was SO good. I swear this recipe is my new favorite. It is just the perfect blend of flavors.  I only wish that it looked more appealing so I could share a picture!

Delicious Herbed Fish

2 pounds perch or other firm white fish (we used cod)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup white wine

Preheat oven to 350. Wash fish, pat dry, and place in a 9x13 inch dish. Combine oil with garlic salt, marjoram, thyme, and pepper.   Drizzle over fish. Top with onion. Pour wine over all. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

For dessert, we had Swedish Fish which we figured was appropriate for the evening theme. If only we had played Go Fish afterwards...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Even More Little Pottery Pieces

I took home a few more pieces of pottery the other day and finally got around to taking some photos of them!

a wacky edge bowl with a double layer of glaze
the underside of a wacky edge bowl with a double layer of glaze
a trio of tea light stars

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Breakfast Quesadilla

I made a delicious and easy dinner favorite kind of cooking! I've never used egg substitute before. Have I been living under a rock? It is so much healthier for from now on I'm using it as often as I can!

You need:

1 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup low fat cheddar cheese, shredded
8 tortillas

Scramble the egg substitute and stir in the salsa and cheese when it is almost set. Divide egg mixture among the tortillas. Grill the quesadillas for 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Cut into quarters.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Vegetable Stuffed Green Peppers

I've shared with you my recent health woes and now I will share with you one of my new healthy recipes! This recipe is based off of one I found in my new low cholesterol cookbook.

 You need:

2 green bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup onion, chopped
6 ounces frozen corn, thawed
2 cups canned no-salt-added tomatoes, drained
6 ounces black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I just used a slice of toast)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut out the inner center of bell peppers and discard the tops & seeds. Heat enough water in a saucepan to cover the peppers and boil for 4 minutes. Drain. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and cook onion until soft, but not brown. Stir in corn, tomatoes, beans, garlic powder, basil. Mix well. Place peppers in a 8x8 pan and fill peppers with veggie mixture. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top.

My hubby has been working like crazy to wrap up this trimester of grad school so I made dinner and met him for a picnic! Stuffed green peppers is not the most picnic friendly meal but it was still fun..and tasty!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Stumbled on Favorites

A few of the favorite things I've stumbled on recently.

A beautiful sky in Eugene this week!

Data on one of my favorite books...My Ideal Bookshelf

This tiny house is incredible!

3-D Printed Brain Implant? Wow!

Paris in Motion--cool. I need to start doing this with my vacation pictures, ha!

The complicated nature of meeting people. Closer. Love it.

Can't stop listening to Boy.

Love Wes Anderson.

I'm liking this Pinterest board...Woman Who Inspire

I can't wait to make one of these birthday candle hat.

A great little short story...The Diver

Oh, here is a good one. When I Grow Up

Friday, March 8, 2013

2013 Reading Goal: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

My latest book on my 2013 reading challenge is The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers.

Rating: 5 Stars

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Carson McCullers wrote an amazing story that is dark, lonely, sad, and filled with beautifully flawed, complex characters.  The book is very political--deals with fascism, socialism, religion, and the plight of the African Americans in the South. And to top it all off, McCullers was only 23 years old at the time!

The book is centered around Mr. Singer, a deaf-mute, and the misfits that gravitate to him. The intriguing part to me, though, is how McCullers plays with the idea of talking and listening. I wish I had counted how many times she used the word talk. She had people talking at each other, people talking with each other,  people who needed to talk, people who wrote letters to talk, people who wanted to talk to start a movement, people who talked because they were nervous, etc. And to have it all centered around a man who couldn't talk and couldn't hear! The main characters of the book all had something they obsessed about privately. They were alone with their inner thoughts until they met Mr. Singer. Immediately they all sensed that he was the kindred spirit they were looking for. He had the face and the eyes that made him their confidant. They followed him, visited him, and talked at him. They always attributed to him whatever traits they wanted or needed him to have. For example, Mick needed someone who understood music like she she believed that Mr. Singer could even though he couldn't hear music.

The sad point is when you suddenly get a glimpse inside Mr. Singer's head and he doesn't understand what they are all always talking about. He is not their soul mate. He doesn't even consider them friends. He only has one friend...another deaf mute who was taken away to a mental hospital. Mr. Singer begins to do exactly what the other characters in the book are doing...projecting his needs and wants onto his silent friend. Whenever Mr. Singer would visit him at the hospital, he would unleash his hands from his pockets and talk/sign feverishly. Yet, his friend wasn't the person who he wanted him to be. In one instance, while Mr. Singer signed passionately, his friend stuck his finger out and poked him in the belly. That is all that Mr. Singer got in response. Yet, he wanted to believe that he was his one true friend so badly that he was willing to overlook it.

Its like the part of the story where Mick is trying to make violin out of discarded pieces that she finds around town. For so long she really believed that she could do it. When she nears the end of the construction, she tries to strum it and is shocked into the realization that it would never be like the violin she dreamt it would be. McCullers writes, "But how could she have been so sure the idea would work? So dumb? Maybe when people longed for a thing that bad the longing made them trust in anything that might give it to them."

When the characters finally had a chance to communicate and have others understand them, they often couldn't. When Mr. Singer stumbled upon three deaf mutes, he couldn't think of anything to say. When Dr. Copeland finally connects with Jake (they both love Karl Marx and want desperately to start a movement), they have a moment of understanding. McCullers writes, "The Doctor's agitation and his mild and husky question made Jake's eyes brim suddenly with tears. A quick, swollen rush of love caused him to grasp the black, bony hand on the counterpane and hold it fast." Not even a page later, they misunderstand each other and refuse to listen to what the other person is saying. They become furious...violently furious...and never communicate in the book again.

Do we miss out on the true connections that could be had because we don't know how to listen and to understand? And how do we begin to find those people who are ready to listen and who can communicate back to us? Or do we even want someone to communicate back with us? The bartender, Biff, is often given the same attributes as Mr. Singer. He is a listener and is always trying to figure people out. He tries to connect with the same people who are so drawn to the silent Mr. Singer. But they never reach out back to Biff.  Is it because he has a voice himself? Do we really want to connect with people...even if it is messy and hard? Or is it easier to just talk one sided and listen only to our own ideas?

And how does a man like Hitler woo an entire nation with words? To have written this book in 1940, McCullers clearly is disturbed about this. Even as an author, she uses words to tell a story. She understands the power of words...and this book almost seems like her warning to us about what words can and cannot do.
As I mentioned in my 2013 goal, I’m reading mostly women lit that focuses on women authors or complicated, strong female characters this year. Here is the list of my previous book reviews that I've done on this journey:

First: Madame Bovary
Second: Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress
Third: Patron Saint of Liars 
Fourth: Bird by Bird

Fifth: Frida Kahlo
Sixth: Women Seeing Women  

Seventh: Bridget Jones's Diary 
Eighth: Dorothy Parker's Complete Short Stories

Thursday, March 7, 2013

More Little Pottery Pieces

I shared my first round of pottery pieces so I thought I'd share the second batch, too! These were the first two that I've ever done on the wheel!