Posts Tagged 'gifts'

Bad at Finishing

This has been a slow year for me, creatively, with lots of stalled projects and unfinished business. Today, though, I am showing off two things just completed, and only with the help of others!

One year ago I saw my Aunt Lois, who came to Salt Lake City for my dad’s memorial service. I don’t get to see Lois very often, but when I do, I am always impressed by the way her engineering mind interprets and deconstructs art. She has taught me many new skills over the years.

Lois, like many women in our family, cannot bear to have idle hands, so she brought with her the ingredients and tools for assembling these soft, 3D fabric magic cubes. I flipped for them, and marveled at how she figured it out. I later looked up a model, so that I could understand it more fully. Instructions for building one made from wooden blocks can be found here. She gave me an assembled cube with bright fabrics pinned to the foam blocks, and all I had to do was stitch up the seams.  I am embarrassed at how long it took me to finish, but my kid and all visitors are delighted with the finished product! Thanks Aunt Lois!

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Two years ago, I went into a tiny yarn shop in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. It was near closing time and I rushed to choose the best yarn in the place. I bought an expensive skein of Tilli Thomas Flurries named Chocolate Cherry, a supersoft deep brown merino with bright cherry red beads, with the intention of making a purse. I visited a fabric shop in Panama City Beach and purchased a red-on-crimson koi print for lining and a chocolate brown zipper. I knitted a rectangle, coaxed all the beads to the knit side, watched a youtube video on making lined wallets, sewed the zipper to the lining (incorrectly), and …. stopped. There is sat, in the quilt shop plastic bag for two years. My mind could not fathom what I’d done wrong or how to fix it.

A few days ago I showed it to my new friend Daniela, who knew how to fix it, and was willing to pick out the stitches for me. I took the dog for a walk, had an epiphany about how it should have been sewn, and came home to a completed purse!

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Finally, here is a new embroidered purse my mom made for me! Perfectly timed, too, since I just wore out my everyday purse while camping. It’s still unfinished; my mom only secured one end of the strap, so that I could adjust it to my size and sew it in. I’ll finish in the next day or two, because I need it!

Flamingo Mittens

I flipped for this pattern and just HAD to make these flamingo mittens! But for whom?

My mom, of course, because even though she lives so far away, her hands are about the same size as mine, so I could just make them to fit me and know that they would probably fit her!

Every stitch of these was fun, thanks to this mottled, hand-painted pink yarn that I bought on Etsy. The black is super-soft Capretta from KnitPicks and the pattern is from SpillyJane.

I have been working on these for weeks, but they arrived just in time to cheer her up after a fall that broke her shoulder a few days ago. I hope she feels good enough to be out for walks again before the weather gets too warm to wear these.

I love my mom!

Sugar Skulls and Homesickness

My son received the most wonderful package in the mail yesterday! Three homemade sugar skulls made by his Auntie Noemi in Salt Lake City, along with lots of tubes of brightly colored frosting and foil strips.

(Mosca thought this package smelled delicious). The Boogedy could barely wait for his dad to get home from running an errand to work on “frostume” his sugar skulls! We set out some paper on the kitchen floor.

He frosted the top, added feathers and foil, then some glue for good measure, then more foil and feathers, then more “frostume”.

Then, he turned the whole thing over and started squeezing frosting into the bowl of the skull! Zach and I were a little more reserved.

I almost cried with homesickness, as I remembered doing this activity each year with Zach’s brothers and sisters and their kids (many of whom are teenagers now). I imagined how much fun the Boogedy would be having with his cousins, running up and down the stairs and scaring the crap out of me that he’d fall off the parts with no railings. And there would be Mexican hot chocolate, too!

Thank you so much, Noemi…I miss my family! I can’t imagine a better October present.

Minty Booties

Minty Booties (Small)

I made these for a co-worker who is expecting her baby boy, like, yesterday already!!

I followed this pattern by Saartje.

I used Koigu and size 2 or 3 needles. I made some silly mistakes.

Indian Feast!

Last night we had our lovely friends Cindy and Xander over and I made (from scratch!) a spread of yummy Indian dishes.

Friends:

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I used all nice bowls and glasses and even my serving dishes came out of the china hutch!

Napkin Rings:

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Biryani:

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The biryani recipe comes from my co-worker, who is from Hyderabad.

Naan and Coriander Chicken:

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The meat dish features crushed coriander seeds as well as pureed fresh coriander leaves (cilantro), along with other spices and yogurt. I made fresh naan dough, but ended up shallow-frying in butter because I couldn’t bear heating the oven to 500 degrees on a hot July night. The texture was lovely! Both of these recipes come from the VahChef, Sanjay Thumma, my favorite¬† chef at YouTube. I’ve made so many of his recipes, and they are always delicious!

Potato Masala with Panch Phoron and Coconut:

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This potato masala recipe was inspired by a recipe for garlic mashed potatoes, from Modern Spice by Monica Bhide. All her recipes sound good!

Condiments served alongside:

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I also put out hot chili paste and yogurt. The tamarind dip is also from the VahChef.

Afterward, there was fragrant espresso brewed fresh by Cindy and Xander, various teas, and a small dish of fennel seeds. Featuring a new teaset that I got for my birthday last week:

feast-tea (Small)

Cindy brought yummy eclairs from the Beau Brummel bakery, which were gobbled up before I remembered to take a photo.

Cindy also opened a little present from me, a new mug that called my name and whispered “for Cindy!” in my ear.

feast-mug wrapped (Small)

feast-mug (Small)

The last shot of the evening was this pic of the Boogedy, pouring his own herbal tea and cream back and forth from pitcher to cup. This happened over and over! He drank 5 mini cups of Sleepytime Tea and still took 45 minutes to get to sleep after the excitement of visitors.

feast-tea-boogedy (Small)

I’ve found that you can control the beautiful place setting all you want, but your kid will invariably smear potato masala all over his face and after you download your photos, you’ll realize he was wearing a dopey tie-dyed shirt and no pants.

Hoorary for friends who appreciate your cooking!

Medusa’s Locks

Two weeks ago I reinjured my back (after throwing it out horribly in December and thinking I was fully recovered). Last weekend, Zach piled of huge stack of laundry on our bed to get it out of the construction zone downstairs. The idea of folding laundry, or even pushing it off the bed to lay down, was excruciating…it hurt just to climb into bed. I burst into tears when my sister Jeaka called to see how I was feeling. She picked me up and took me and the Boogedy to my mom’s to take a nap, then she came back to my house and folded and put away all the clothes.

She deserved a little present.

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Mini Medusa tosses her head as if to say “No, I can’t go out tonight, I have to wash my snakes .”

This petite gorgon (mabye 2 inches high) is from Creepy Cute Crochet, a book that Jeaka had checked out from the library, and then loaned me with the intent that I might take a hint! The patterns in the book were super simple, and I learned a few new techniques! I used Koigu, of course. I love that yarn, I would have every color, if I could. And I’d never get sick of it.

Tea Wallets–Condom carriers?

I made a personalized tea wallet for several loyal readers, tea drinkers all. Now that I know all have been received, I can post pictures here.

For Kristin: Marbelized fabric that reminds me of book endpaper. With a super cool tortoise-shell-esque button.

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For Maria: The cupcake queen, with a button that has Sprinkles.

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For Sonya: A little something bold and retro. The big button should get itself caught on everything in her purse.

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For Jen: Why, FISH, of course!! Swimming against the current.

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For my mama: Cherries. I always think of my mom when I see cherry fabrics. She used to live in a little town in Florida called Cherry Lake, and I know so many childhood stories that happened to her and her band of sisters there.

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I found this amazingly simple pattern by way of Whip Up, from a tutorial by Christy’s Creations. SO EASY and fun.


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