30 September 2013

Embracing the Beetroot

We all know beets are good for us, right? They are. And I also really like them, except not so much pickled. In New Zealand, they have totally embraced the beetroot. In the week I have been here, these are the ways I have experienced beetroot.

As a risotto - only mine had a really lovely piece of grouper on top...Pan Fried Market Fish with a basil crust, beetroot & lemon risotto at the Dockside Restaurant.

As an incredibly lovely salad: Wood Roasted Beetroots with Walnuts and a Blue Cheese Sauce at Zibbibo

As an alternative to the tomato on a lamb burger at Mac's Brewbar.

Sorry about the terrible photo of the nearly all eaten Ghetu Masala. It was amazing. Roasted lamb in a tandoori masala sauce with pumpkin and - that's right - beetroot  - at Great India.

I can live like this.

27 September 2013

World of WearableArt - Wellington, NZ

My iPhone photos won't do justice to this incredible display of creativity, artistry and skill, but I had to share it. 

World of WearableArt is an annual event. Artists submit their designs, and they are displayed in a show, judged and awarded. They are not meant to be couture so much as designs made from an amazing range of textiles - the human body as the canvas. 

I looked up tickets. Everything is sold out, with the exception of the VIP table tomorrow night. $4370 NZ. Not really in my budget. So, I went to the museum display at Te Papa. It was mesmerizing. You can watch the trailer from the website if you want to get a feel for the show. Otherwise, please enjoy my poor photos.

 From a series celebrating New Zealand, made completely from shells found on the NZ coast

Yes folks, that's a bra. Looks comfy, doesn't it? It's made from dyed zip ties.

 This blurry image (sorry) is a knitted and felted piece meant to look like a famous statue of Artemis.

What do you think?

100 % zippers. Totally cool.

Finally, a representation of New Zealand's giant carnivorous snail - 
made entirely from woven pine needles.

Hope you enjoyed the tour!

26 September 2013

Some Amazing Things

Ferns - 200 species - 40% of which are unique to New Zealand. Some grow as tall as 10 meters. That's over 30 feet.

 Saw one of these on a walk the other day. The sounds are crazy. They sound like three different birds. Tui are considered to be very intelligent, much like parrots. They also resemble parrots in their ability to clearly imitate human speech, and were trained by Māori to replicate complex speech. Tui are also known for their noisy, unusual call, different for each individual, that combine bellbird-like notes with clicks, cackles, timber-like creaks and groans, and wheezing sounds (Thank you Wikipedia).

We've been traveling a lot by bus. There is a great bus system in Wellington. The best thing? Everyone, and I do mean Everyone, says thank you to the driver when they get off the bus.

25 September 2013

Wellington City - I've Got My Priorities

One of the most amazing library buildings I have ever seen - and the inside - 3 floors just packed with books. I could spend days here - and I feel invited.

We are experiencing all the weather as promised. Rainy and a howling wind today. So glad I brought a coat and my boots! So glad they made it here yesterday, just in time.

24 September 2013

The Perils of International Travel

Pretty much everyone knows that when you are traveling overseas you should plan on your checked luggage going missing. There are various reasons why this happens, but in my case it was due to a delayed flight. My flight from Portland to Los Angeles was supposed to leave at 5:55 pm. It left about 7:30 pm. This is, of course, why I carry knitting and a book wherever I go, and why I packed a change of clothes and my toiletries in my carry-on luggage. Here's the deal though. Every airline has different rules for carry-on luggage. Sometimes the airline changes planes too. My carry-on was too large for the bins on the teensy plane that trundled me from Portland to LAX. Fortunately, the plane wasn't full and my suitcase was allowed to sit on the seat next to me, safely strapped in.

When I arrived at LAX, it transpired that I had 25 minutes until my flight to Auckland (you all figured out where I was going, right?) departed. Naturally, I was 2 miles from the terminal where I needed to be. We ran all the way, and when we hit security we were picked up by a representative of the airline who helped us jump the line and get through very quickly. Thinking we were home free at this point, we arrived at the gate only to have them call for a scale to weigh our carry-on luggage. Nooooo! And indeed, our carry-on luggage was over the weight limit and had to be checked at the gate. Well, at least I had my knitting. Why was my suitcase over the limit? I will blame the 4 lb. bag of Jolly Ranchers I brought for the Wellington Ward seminary teacher.

On arrival in Auckland, it was no surprise to discover that my suitcase hadn't made the flight. We did the paperwork and ran to our connecting flight to Wellington. And here we are. It is what it is. I have 1 change of clothing and my toiletry kit, my knitting and a book, and my laptop. Riches. That said, I think next time I will pack 2 changes of clothing. Just saying.

Wellington is beautiful. We were picked up at the airport and taken on a pocket tour of the city. We hiked to the top of a hill overlooking the city and the bay and it was just breathtaking. The clouds are low over the hills and moving fast. The whole city is bright and clean in the sunshine. The wind is blowing and it's about 60 F. Perfect. I'll figure out the C temperature thing eventually.

I just got the phone call that my luggage will be reunited with me at about 1 pm today (that's Tuesday for me). As they say here, "relax, no worries." And it's true.

21 September 2013

Is Anyone Still Reading This Blog?

If I have any readers left out there - Hey! How's it going?

I am saying hello from Oregon, our current, but temporary, home. I want to talk about what's been going on, but I can't go into much detail for a couple more weeks. After that, I will have tons to say. Mostly about life-changing moments - or years - as it were. 

That's all I've got right now folks. The photo albums are well and truly packed...
Completely over-shadowed by the selling of our home and moving, etc. is the fact that my husband and I celebrated our 20th anniversary this summer. Well, we haven't technically celebrated yet, but we're about to. Guess where?

We leave tomorrow. I can't wait to tell you all about it!

28 July 2013

One Crazy Month, Part 2


Rockies game - rescheduled from May due to snow - to the hottest day of the year.
Fortunately we were in the shade most of the time.

Turns out you can learn to drive in the driveway.
A huge thank you to my brother for helping us get the driveway done!

And faster than you can believe, it's sold and we are on our way to a new adventure.
Where, you ask? Stay tuned.

03 July 2013

One Crazy Month

Miss me?

Here's what's been going on around my place:

Granite counter tops on the kitchen and what every girl wants...

A new driveway. Still in the works. My brother is coming this weekend to help us finish. 

I am hoping that in a week or so things settle back down to a dull roar and I can get back to sewing fun things and sharing them with you. 

Meanwhile, go sit by a pool for me. :)

26 June 2013

Little Fashionista Rocks the Sundress - but it's not my favorite

This lovely sample is made from a really nice stretch cotton jersey knit I bought from Fabric.com.I loved the fabric. It was really easy to work with and has a great feel and drape to it. I really, really did not like the pattern.

It looks cute, right? I made version F, but shorter. As is usual with a pattern I haven't made before, I measured my daughter and the pattern. Based on that, I chose a size 10. It was ENORMOUS. I had to take in the bodice back almost 4 inches to make it work. I also chose to do cross-over straps to pull things in a bit more. The instructions were a little cryptic in important areas. Most especially the part where it explains the bodice lining and stitching. I was able to figure it out, but I wouldn't recommend this pattern to a beginning sewist.

Another thing I would do differently (see back view in photo above) is cut the back bodice piece on the fold. I don't like the seam showing at the top. It's totally my fault because I decided after cutting the pattern out that I didn't want to put a zipper in a knit dress. It is plenty loose for getting in and out of, and I thought a zipper was going to be unnecessary effort. I still think so, but wish I'd thought to design it that way in the first place. I do like the crossover on the front of the bodice and the waistband detail. I also like the length we chose. Long enough to not need leggings, but short enough that she can wear it and ride her bicycle.


And she's all done modeling.

21 June 2013

Pizza Bread

Pizza Bread
Adapted from Family Fun Magazine

1 1/4 cups hand-hot water (about 110 degrees)
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. olive oil 
2 tsp. Kosher salt
3 to 3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Pour hot water into Kitchen Aid mixing  bowl. Sprinkle yeast over the top and add the teaspoon of sugar. Let sit for about 10 min. or until yeast and water mixture is nice and foamy. Add olive oil, salt and 2 cups of flour and mix well using the dough hook. Gradually add remaining flour, mixing each addition in until dough is firm. Knead in mixer for a few more minutes. Remove bowl from mixer and scrape the dough off the dough hook. Cover the bowl of dough and leave in a warm, draft-free place to rise until double (45 min. to 1 hour).

When dough has doubled, punch down the dough several times with your fist. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for 1 minute. Cover the dough lightly with oiled plastic wrap and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Dust a large baking sheet with corn meal (keeps dough from sticking). Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12- by 14-inch rectangle. Lightly brush dough with water and add toppings.
dry basil
mozzarella cheese 
Your choice! We have used pepperoni with and without olives, Canadian bacon and pineapple, veggies, sausage and mushroom, etc.
pizza sauce or marinara for dipping

1. Sprinkle dough with dry basil. 
2. Lay out toppings generously - for example the pepperoni slices should touch each other
3. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese

Roll the dough and toppings like a cinnamon roll, from the long edge, being sure to tuck the toppings in as you go. Press the edges of the dough together to seal, and tuck the ends under the roll. You can change to a new pan, or you can use the working pan, depending on how messy you got. Cover dough and let rest while you heat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove plastic and bake for about 35 minutes, until loaf is lightly browned and crusty. 
Remove the pizza bread from the oven and let cool for about 20 minutes. Slice into generous slices and serve with a bowl of pizza sauce or marinara for dipping.

19 June 2013

Little Fashionista Rocks the Go To Shift Dress

I loved sewing this dress. In fact, I'm going to make another one. I got the pattern over at Go To Patterns, which I highly recommend. 

The pattern is pdf, which just takes some getting used to. If you haven't used one before, just be aware that you will have to print out the pattern and tape it together. After taping it all together, I traced the specific size I wanted onto pattern paper.

I really like working with the pattern paper. Often I make changes to a pattern, and making the notes on a traced pattern is really helpful for the next time I make the same pattern.

One of my favorite things about this pattern is the bias finished neck and arm holes. I wasn't sure I would like it, but it gives a really nice finished look without having to line the dress.

Serendipitously, my mother in law had just sent my daughter a belt - it had been given to her but it wasn't really her - and I was able to cut it down to fit. Doesn't it look fabulous with the dress? 

Has anyone else made this shift dress? If you have I'd love to know about it.

18 June 2013

A Little Company

I have a couple of sewing and knitting projects to show you pretty soon. A couple of installments in my daughter's summer wardrobe and a cool scarf made out of stash yarn.

Meanwhile, I took the week off last week to enjoy a visit from my sister-in-law and her little boy. We had a very relaxing time. Every morning, she did school with the kids while I did things I needed to do. So nice! Then the kids just played and played. The boys enjoyed wearing matching shirts.

We took a little field trip to the Colorado Railroad Museum. What a great place! There was so much to look at, and the kids especially loved being able to climb onto the trains and explore.

How's your summer so far?

07 June 2013

Chicken Salad

I had some leftover rotisserie chicken the other day, and I was craving something a little different. This yummy chicken salad is what I came up with. FYI - There is no Mayonnaise in this recipe.

Slightly Spicy Chicken Salad

2 cups rotisserie chicken, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Good sandwich bread OR
Chopped Romaine lettuce

Dressing (two ways - lazy and not)

I poured the remains of a bottle of Brianna's Poppy Seed dressing over this, but alternatively...

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp. chipotle chile powder
a squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup of chicken salad over a bowl of chopped Romaine lettuce made a delicious and filling meal.

06 June 2013

Spring Cleaning - Outside

Spring came slowly this year. My front yard tree is still a little shy about showing her leaves. My tulips and daffodils were stunned by the weekly snow in April and even May. The last Saturday in May, we decided it was time to take a serious look at our yard. We had a dead tree and at least 3 dead bushes. We have a big old patch of dead grass where the run-off from the neighbor's behind us ponds. We had some overgrown plants that needed serious trimming. The grass has grown into the rock border further than I'd like to admit.

So, two Saturdays and one Memorial Day of 9 hour days in the yard later, we are feeling like we're 90% of the way there. Not only did we do some major clean-up, we also painted the fence,

installed a drip system to our garden 

and a railroad tie border between the grass and rock

All we have left to do is put the rock back and new bark mulch,  

and we're done. Oh, and a trip to the dump... 

Now for the inside of the house...

30 May 2013

School is OUT!

I know it's not something to be proud of, and I probably should just keep it as a deep, dark little secret, but I am the mom who doesn't cry when my kids go off to school in the fall. I am the one crying as they come home for the summer. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids. LOVE them. However, one of my character flaws - one they are helping me work on - is that I LOVE being by myself. It's true.

When the kids are around all day, it can be tricky to find the quiet, peaceful meditative time that I need. Not to mention time to work. Additionally, there is the challenge of managing the activities of a teenage boy, 9 year old girl and 6 year old boy.

Here are some of the ways we are going to attempt to find balance and fun this summer:

We're going to make sure everyone gets something they want on this list - 
within reason. 
My teenager's fantasy trip to Dubai will have to wait...

A paper route for the teenager. Work is good. Work is GREAT!

A technology ticket system. Still working out the details, but I like the idea of a certain amount for the week. I may include the option to earn more time with extra jobs, etc. 

I am finishing up these summer reading journals I found over at eighteen25. 
Got to keep the kids reading all summer. Maybe I'll make on for myself...

I have a bunch of other ideas pinned HERE. What are you doing to keep summer fun?