i haven't posted for the past coupla days, but it's not because i'm lazy! oh no, i've been busy(ish) getting ready for my new years eve! making shots for a hundred people, looking in three counties for a vintage, small, white button up oxford (the bf is obsessive and a perfectionist), and trying not to dwell on the fact that i spent the last 365 not doing what i should have been doing. sigh. however, we grow not older with years, but newer ever day. with this in mind i will leave you with my best and warmest wishes for a fun and safe new year; and give you the hopes that this year will be your favorite year yet. going up! xoxo
a few weeks ago i found a super cozy and adorable sweater at the thrift store nearest my house. it was in the children's section and the sleeves were a bit short, but i decided to spend money i didn't have and get it anyway. i chopped the sleeves off and made a cute sweater vest, but i was left with two sleeves of fabulous sweater that i could do nothing with. until...i saw all of the neck warmers on etsy and decided to upcycle my dismembered sweater into something a little more useful that a cat pillow, which is what zed had been using it for. i cannot sew, or knit, or do much in the way of fabricy or yarny things, so when i say this was super easy, i mean it. i hand stitched it all, and it only took about an hour or so. it's a little snug (though not uncomfortable), but i have a fat neck. (plump? rubenesque?) perhaps if i get the urge to hack away at an adult's sweater the result would be a little roomier.
first, i cut the upper arm part into a straight line (as in the first picture), then flipped the edge in just a little bit and sewed it shut, with just a little bit of a cinch so it wouldn't be huge compared to the cuff. then i grabbed two buttons and sewed them to the edge of the shoulder. cut two holes in the cuff (i did this lengthwise along the ribs) where your buttons will go and do a quick stitch around them. i would show pictures of this, but my needlework really is embarrassing. if you do want to see some pictures i can easily take some more though! and that's it, easy as pie. a warm neck wrap and a smart little sweater vest to match. i'm now ready for winter, though it seems that winter may just skip over the south this year. i was driving around with my windows down today and enjoying every weird moment of it.
i have quite the allergy problem. at the worst points of the year my sleeves will be covered in snot and i will have some, if not all, of the following on my person: mucinex, benadryl, zycam nasal swabs, eye drops, my flonase spray, and another inhaler of sorts. beside the bed there is usually a large bottle of water and box of kleenex with an ugly design on it. that was, until i found these gems at the thrift store! for 25 cents! ugly! kleenex! box! covers! i am beside myself.
the kinks wrote a song about allergies called "hay fever". it's not very good, so i don't recommend listening to it, but the lyrics work. it's off the album misfits (1978) if you're interested though. enjoy.
Sitting by my stereo all alone My baby calls me on the telephone She says, Baby take me out for a dance I tell my baby I feel so bad I can't go out and it's making me sad But when you see me, I know you will understand
I got hay fever, blocking up my head Hay fever, I ought to be in bed How can I dance when I can hardly breathe Wish I could cure this infernal allergy I got, hay fever blocking up my brain Hay fever, feel the sinus pains And all the pills and the powders are in vain Thought I was cured but here it comes again It goes ooh-ah
The pollen count's getting higher and higher My eyes are sore and my nose is on fire My throat's dry now and I'm starting to perspire My stuffed up head's killing all of my desire I got hay fever, you wicked allergy, Hay fever, you put the curse on me and I've inhaled every know remedy
I can't stay cool 'cos I'm starting to sneeze I can't make love when I can't hardly breathe We start to dance and my nose starts to bleed There must be a cure for this hay fever Is there a pill or a powder I can take I must get a cure, for my romance is at stake
Hey fever, you tore my image down Hey fever, I must look like a clown I must have used every tissue in town I'm running round sniffin' like a hound It goes ooh-ah
I wanna kiss but I'm sneezin' instead I can't make love when my head feels like lead How can I pose when my nose is all red We should be home, should be tucked up in bed But I got hay fever Hay Fever
i have recently discovered the beauty of beets, thanks to one of my favorite food blogs, www.noteatingnoutinny.com. they are vitamin and fiber packed and stain your hands (and anything else porous) the most brilliant shade of magenta. i've taken to roasting them, but when i saw the pre-chopped parsnips at the grocery store the other day i instantly began craving a Pretty Hot And Tempting bowl of borscht. which in turn always flips the swedish chef switch in my head and i want to sing jovial mock swedish nonsense as loud as the boys in the house will let me, but change the ending to borscht! borscht! borscht! moving on...
i ran into a few roadblocks along the way but since i don't really use recipes improvisation isn't really a problem. when i went back to the store they had thrown away all the parsnips (!), their excuse being that since they were closed for christmas they had gone bad. i was tempted to ask if they could go back and fish the plastic tub out of the garbage and just give them to me, as i was going to use them within the hour, but i refrained from looking like the desperate parsnip lady. i spied the rutabagas on sale for 99 cents and decided a substitution could be made. i grabbed a baking potato and some carrots and was out the door, remembering halfway home that i had forgotten to buy dill. despite my love of lists, i rarely make them and often forget what i'm doing, where i'm going, and what i need.
at home, my roommate is still asleep as i begin to quietly chop, bang, and mash my way to purple nirvana. as i said, i don't use recipes, so all of these measurements are estimated, but i think all food should be made to suit the people eating it. if you don't like cabbage, leave it out. lots of borscht recipes call for diced tomatoes or tomato paste, but i skipped it. my favorite part of being in the kitchen is not having to listen to anyone tell me what to do, i'm a bit anti-authority. but in case you like a little direction, here is a vague description of what happened in my teeny kitchen between 8 and 11 this morning.
whatchoo need: (this makes enough for around 4 generous servings.) 2 medium beets, scrubbed and the greens chopped. (save the greens!) 1 baking potato, cubed. 2 large carrots, chopped. rutabaga, peeled and cubed. (i matched the amount of potato i had.) chicken stock, homemade if you have it. (veggie stock would work just as well). allspice. 3 cloves garlic, finely diced. yellow onion, diced. (i used about 2 slices.) 1 cup red cabbage, chopped or diced. beet greens, stemmed and chopped. olive oil. sour cream. DILL! it makes a difference, i promise.
whatchoo do: -wrap the beets in tin foil and toss in the oven at about 350 for an hour or until soft. -after you take the beets out of the oven, ope up the tin foil and let them cool while you boil/saute the potato, carrots, and 'baga in about a cup of chicken stock until they are soft enough to mash. (i like my borscht chunky, but if you prefer the smooth kind then you can skip the mashing and just toss them in a blender.) -once the beets have cooled a bit, the peel should be easy to rub off. chop the top and bottom off, dice them up and toss them into the pot with the other veggies. then mash, mash, mash! (or blend! blend! blend!) until it resembles cranberry sauce, or perhaps the manic panic color "deadly nightshade"; silly, yet accurate. -in a saucepan, saute the onions, and garlic until they are translucent. if you want to save dishes then you can skip the sauteeing and just throw them in the pot, but i think the flavor is much better when you make them sweat a bit (much like a first date). -add the onions, garlic, cabbage, beet greens, and enough chicken stock to get the consistency you prefer. the allspice is up to you, i used just a pinch and wouldn't really recommend much more. i added tons of black pepper, because i like it that way. -let it sit on medium-low, covered, for about 45 minutes,or whichever temp keeps it at a slow boil or simmer. -serve with a little sour cream dill and you're done. bork bork bork.
the men in the house tend to live off of indian food and cheeseburgers, and shun anything from the ground unless it's covered in curry. as i was having my sample bowl of borscht before i put it in the fridge for dinner (and lunch and another possible dinner tomorrow), my boyfriend stepped out of bed in his robe and described it as looking like "what they used for guts in zombie movies before they got the color right". so if it looks like technicolor innards and tastes like heaven, you've done well.
unlike cat hair, i have a problem sticking to things. i blame attention deficit disorder. my boyfriend sweetly described it as an addiction to learning all i can from something and moving on. though that does not explain why this is the third (perhaps fourth) time i have started and abandoned this blogging endeavor. one of my many new year's resolutions is to finally keep up with my tyrannosaurus mess. usually i like making things difficult for myself (i may have just discovered why i have trouble being faithful to my hobbies). this year, i thought it may help to have a way to make things a bit easier on myself. i love schedules, lists, and the idea of being organized, so i decided to have a weekly schedule to help my writing along. mondays are for craft entries, tuesdays will be reserved for rants and raves, thursdays will hold lovely musing on current or ancient literature and music. fridays are for kitchen triumphs and disasters; and saturdays are a wild card, which means i get to assail your eyes with whatever i want, or you may get a break if i had too much wine the night before. sundays will relate to one of my other resolutions, which is to write a letter to someone every week. it could be a story about the person i'm writing the letter to, or a history of the stamp, or a copy of a note someone wrote me in 6th grade (yes, i still have some of them). i'm hoping that this will push me to be more mindful of how i spend my time, and less likely to abruptly end this project. wish me luck, help me out, disagree, roll your eyes and hi-five me. in 6 days my world is yours. (the above painting is by gabe lanza, a talented and very sweet chicago artist.)