28 October 2011

A Fun Event You Can't Attend

I've lived in my current town for nearly 3 months, and I still have no Facebook friends who also live here.  This strikes as very weird, but it seems people here just aren't big on the internet.  I think they might be busy doing other things like hiking, gardening, and eating good food.  Weirdos.  (Please note the sarcasm.)

So it is with a slightly wistful sigh that I post the following, knowing that none of you reading this could possibly act on this information.

Our (Lutheran) church is having a Harvest Festival on Saturday!  It's like a Halloween carnival, minus the costumes, plus a severely authentic Oktoberfest meal.  Seriously -- they have already been marinating the sauerbraten for 5 days at the time of this writing.  There will be carnival games, a giant cardboard maze in the gym, a quilt raffle, a silent auction, live music, the German food (and beer), and craft booths! 

[Someone else's marinating sauerbraten]

Craft booths is plural there, but I'm not actually sure if anyone will have one besides me.  I think the church ladies were doing a collective one or something.  I kind of assume the crowd will be small and not so spendy, so I'm not planning on raking in the cash or anything, but it's still very exciting and a little nerve-wracking.  These people don't know me very well, and they certainly don't know about the seriousness nor the sheer quantity of my crafting.  But they will very soon.  Yikes!  Just kind of exposing, ya know?

In other news, the Bible study I attend got together to make a basket for the silent auction.  We had so much stuff it turned into two baskets.  And by "turned into", I mean that I kind of just took over and decided what would go where and what it would look like and how it should be.  First-born.  Although I usually find that people are happy to delegate.

 ["Family Fun Night"]

["Quiet Night at Home"]

That's right, I named them and may or may not have typed up and printed out a list of the contents of each basket on nice cardstock with a fancy font.  Ahem.

25 October 2011

The Yearly Halloween Conundrum

Nope, not whether or not to celebrate. Not whether or not to going trick-or-treating. No, as a confirmed real food hippie, my yearly Halloween conundrum is -- what do I hand out??

[Spoiler alert: It's these!]

Last year I was really on top of things, and I bought glow stick bracelets super-cheap on eBay to hand out instead of candy.  This year I pretty much forgot about it until.... yesterday.  At which point I was at the grocery store and figured it would be a good time to decide what to give out.  (Because I think it's important to give out something good and thoughtful, because Halloween is a very Christian holiday in practice.)

But, but -- high fructose corn syrup? Hydrogenated oils? Food dye? I can't do it.  I can't just hand that out to small children.  Also, whatever is left over will be sitting around our house, and at least one of us will probably eat it.

So I was wandering around the Safeway thinking, thinking, trying to think outside of the box while still staying within some sort of reasonable budget (it doesn't help that there are 5 shopping days this month instead of 4).  Little bags of chips?  Little bags of cookies?  Granola bars?  All too expensive.  Boxes of raisins?  Yes, if I want everyone to hate me.  Thinking, thinking....

And then I was saved by the bulk food section!

They sell these little sesame seed candies (individually wrapped!) in the bulk section with the lentils and the chocolate-covered malt balls.  Only 4 ingredients (3 of which are forms of sugar, but it is candy, after all), and $3.19 per pound.  Perfect!

[In a record bowl, of course!]

Oh, and get ready! Family costume photos to come next week!

21 October 2011

When Hoarding Pays Off

Before we moved across country, I got rid of a lot of fabric.  Most of my collections of denim and felt went, as did a bunch of my cotton fabric, fleece, and flannel.  But I refused to get rid of a single swatch of my corduroy.  I kept all of it.  There is a lot.  Right now it's all stuffed into three under-the-bed containers.

A good deal of the more interesting stuff came from a garage sale in Minnesota (I lived there for a summer once -- long story).  I've got some really awesome vintage prints.  I used them to make this and this and this

And now these!

I bought Lucy a bunch of pants at a school rummage sale, but I didn't realize that the knees of the khaki corduroys were nearly worn through! 

So now they're girly but not too girly, which is my favorite way for girls' clothes to be!

And that's why we keep even the tiniest scraps of awesome vintage printed corduroy.

(PS - If you want to patch pants without iron-on stickiness, you're gonna want to use a stitch like #1 here.  It's super sturdy!)

18 October 2011

Jack-o-Lantern Quesadillas for Halloween!

There's something you should probably know about me: I like to get things done.  It's not just that I like to be able to check things off my to-do list (although I do really like doing that), it's that while I'm trying to get something done, I'm focused solely on getting it done as quickly as possible.  No dawdling.  I do this even with things I like doing.  I just want to get it done and move on.  (This is also why I seem to always forget to take photos of things I wanted to share here on the blog.)

For this reason, I really stink at making mealtime fun.  Pretty much every time Norman fixes lunch for Lucy, he makes a funny face out of the food.  I never do, unless she asks me to.

[Like this. Actually I can't remember if this was me or Norman.]

So, it's a small miracle, and in all actuality, a coincidence, that I decided to make these for dinner the other night.

The coincidence part: I was already planning on making quesadillas for dinner.  Bean and veggie.  Sooo good.  I had called my mom the day before to wish her and my dad a happy wedding anniversary.  While we were chatting, she mentioned that she has read this book called Snacktivities, about making fun food for kids to eat.  She mentioned that one of the things was turning a tortilla into a snowflake with scissors, the way you do with round pieces of paper in the winter.  Which reminded me of this, in which "Recipe Laura" makes quesadillas by doing exactly that.  The next day when it came time for me to make my quesadillas, in a flash, I thought, "Jack-o'-lanterns!"  The orangeness of the cheddar cheese, the snowflakes, October -- it all came together.


I have absolutely no artistic ability when it comes to 2-dimensional renderings (i.e., drawing).  None.  So these faces are... basic, shall we say.  But it was still fun! 

Method: I took a sharp knife to a tortilla on my cutting board.  Total freehanding (obviously).  I happen to have made these tortillas from scratch, but whatever.  (Oh, but if you want to make whole wheat tortillas, you have got to get yourself some King Arthur Unbleached White Whole Wheat flour. It is light and fine. It has revolutionized my baking.)  I mixed cooked beans, frozen corn (defrosted under running water in a strainer), chopped onion, bell pepper, some fresh parsley I had on hand, salt, cumin, and paprika in a bowl.  I shredded some cheese.  Then I just layered it all up in a hot skillet.

Now, as you can see, if you put the cheese on top, it makes the faces hard to see.  But if you put the cheese on the bottom, all the beans and things fall out easier.  I recommend putting cheese, then filling, then cheese in between the tortillas, just to glue everything together, even though it obscures the face somewhat. 

Lucy was very tired (it was a no-nap day), but she still enjoyed them. I think.

[It's a face!]

Sooo... Are you someone who stops to smell the roses, or do you just want to get it done already?  (As a child I was in the first category. I really don't know what happened.)

14 October 2011

The Thrift Store Fates Were Smiling...

'Twas a good day for thrifting.  Lucy and I went on/in the bike/trailer, so it was very exciting getting everything we bought to fit.  Luckily, our bike trailer has a trunk, if you can believe it.  (Still the best $90 I've ever spent.)  The recycling center has a thrift store (which is awesome, because I had a dream about that once...).  Mostly they carry tools and building materials, so I went there looking for a certain tool we need, which they didn't have.  But to make up for it, first of all, everything was half off.  Secondly, there was a great selection of vintage craft supplies today. (Yes, please!)  Like these:

[Popsicle sticks because I am now obsessed with being able to do this.]

And these scarves:

And this (which, of course, they don't make anything like anymore):

[New in the box!]

Thirdly, I FOUND THIS:

On sale, remember. It was $1.25. I would have gladly given them upwards of $20 on the spot. Hooray, consumer surplus!!  I have been really wanting some breastfeeding art for some time now. This is perfect.  (Loosely translated, it says, "Breast is best" in Spanish.)  Love, love, love!

And then I went to another thrift store and bought some more cool stuff, and it somehow still all fit in the trailer (and Lucy didn't even have to walk!).

Said cool stuff:

[Completed and non-completed crewel embroidery. I can't say no.]

[Multi-colored film reel spools. Will probably end up in the supply shop.]

["Checkers": A checker board and some poker chips. Lucy saw people playing checkers on Sesame Street a week or two ago and has been obsessed.]

[Aaaand, jaunty embroidered cap for me!]

I spent about $15 all together. Yep.

OK, so what's the best thing you've ever found second-hand?  Do you feel, like I do, that it was waiting just for you?  I'm curious!