I have this plan -- I want to create an iPhone app. Something craft related most likely. Basically I want to get familiar with programming on a Mac -- using Objective-C and their iPhone SDK. Trouble is, I don't have a Mac.
So, I'm wondering... do you have a Mac? Do you love it? Hate it? Please give me your thoughts.
Well, the day has arrive. I'm 40. And while I generally like my birthday, this one has been tough for me. I suppose it's because I expect a lot of changes to happen in my 40's -- possibly going back to school, going back to work (doing what, I still have no idea) and watching Maddie grow up and leave the nest (I know she's only 9, but where did those last 9 years go?)
So while I could do a "40 things about me" post, or "40 things I want to do" post. I think I'll just go have a margarita, some delicious tacos from Twisted Lizard and try not to think about all the things I need to figure out in the next decade.
I guess I would have to call this my Olympic knitting project as 90% of it has been knit while watching the Olympics. I have noticed there is a lot of lull to the games, and I have plenty of time between the moments of action to get in a few rows here and there.
Neither of these photos shows off the color of this beautiful yarn -- Rowan's Kidsilk Haze in shade 596, Marmalade. It has a nice pumpkin-y warmth in person and thus the name -- the Pumpkin Ridge Scarf. The yarn has so much personality on it's own that I decided on a simple k2p2 ribbing rather than some fancy lace pattern. Besides, when it comes to clothing, my style is very simple (although colorful) and I figured this scarf would get more use than something fancy and lacy. If you have a couple of spare balls of Kidsilk Haze laying about, I highly recommend that you make one for yourself:
Pumpkin Ridge Scarf
2 skeins Rowan Kidsilk Haze
Size 6US Knitting Needles
Cast on 56 stitches.
For every row, k2p2 to end.
Bind off (using a tubular bind-off if you are feeling fancy).
I just purchased the Dessert Cloths pattern from Kris Knits. Maybe everyone already knows about her, but I just discovered her a few weeks ago, so I thought I'd share. She also has KAL's, and while I haven't done one yet, they do look fun. Maddie loves handknit washcloths, and now I should be able to keep her well stocked with all these fun patterns.
Every time I bake bread, I wonder why I don't do it more often. It's really not difficult and takes very little actual working time. Over the weekend I made dinner rolls using the recipe in one of my favorite baking books -- Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking -- which I can't recommend highly enough. I also received their new baking book for Christmas and have made several recipes from it -- all good!
In other news, this is what happened to Pete when he fell asleep on the couch last night, Maddie piled her Ugly Dolls on top of him and started snapping photos. Heh.
Our kitchen has some major issues -- 1940's metal cabinets, badly tiled over 1970's counter tops, weird appliance issues, etc. When we redo it for keeps, we are going to have to tear it down to the studs and rip out the floor -- can you say pricey? So we have been redoing the rest of the house and saving this room for last (you know, after we win the lottery or whatever.)
The first two photos are of the northern wall. Perhaps you can see the gas range and the electric cooktop side by side here. Yeah. I do have 8 burners, but that wasn't the plan. (I'll get to the reason for that later.) There is pretty much no usable counter space on this wall, but I'm not sure I can do much about that.
Moving clockwise around the room, we are now facing east. There is a nice big window, but the desk cuts into the available counterspace (and mostly collects junk and piles of bills.) I'd like to tidy this space and make it more organized. Especially the "beverage center":
This is the espresso machine and tea area. Right now it's neatened up a bit, but things tend to expand out of control. More storage to contain the mess would be a good idea.
Facing south we see the biggest expanse of countertop, which is where I end up doing most of my food prep, baking, etc. The sink and dishwasher jut out into the room at an odd angle because there is a radiator back behind them. In this photo you can also see the odd cave-like structure in the room...
This is the reason I have a cooktop and a range. When we moved in, there was an *ancient* wall oven in this space, we went to the appliance shop and purchased the smallest possible oven, but when they came to install it, it didn't fit. I purchased a piece of MDF and cut it to fit (the bottom was originally open to the drawer below) but that's as far as I got. Something must be done with this junk collecting space.
Facing west, you see a bank of cabinets -- probably installed in the 70's. They are metal and wood and have seen better days. I want to remove the trim and paint these.
One small project will be to replace the old leaky faucet with the broken hot water handle. We already purchased a new faucet and I just have to phone the plumber to have it installed.
And the old laundry chute door needs two tiles replaced and a new hinge. Pete is on the job and thinks he can get this done this weekend.
So, what can I do with this space? Well, I don't want to do too much because our plan is to rip it out and replace *everything* in the next five years. A little paint, some organization and perhaps a new microwave are on the agenda. Any suggestions on what I can do with the oven cave?
I just want to say thank you to each and every person who buys something at Amazon through my links, and to everyone who purchases one of my knitting patterns, and to everyone who stops by BoogaJ (especially everyone who leaves comments, so I know I'm not writing out in the void).
Being a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom is not always easy.
I finished up Neil Gaiman's Stardust shortly after I posted that I had begun reading it. This fairy tale for grown-ups was a delightful read and I highly recommend it.
Last year we lost a giant in the world of sci-fi -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke. You may know him from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, but I fell in love with his Rama books ages ago. The first, Rendezvous with Rama, which was written back in the early 70's, is a classic. And while it was left quite open ended, it looked like there would be no more Rama books. When he began writing more in the late 80's, I read each and every one eagerly and have re-read them several time.
I finished up the first book, reading my old 1973 copy which I purchased used at some point in time:
Okay, this photo of the cover is from wikipedia and I had to show it to you, because it is so psychedelically awesome, is it not?
I've started the second book -- Rama II -- and it is quite different from the first book. Why? Well this book was written with Gentry Lee whose style tends more toward that of Kim Stanley Robinson (who wrote the awesome Mars books), and while it might not be as good as the first book on some levels, his ability to involve you with the characters satisfies. Definitely worth a read if you are a sci-fi fan!
I make homemade pizza all the time, but it's always thin crust cooked at high heat on the pizza stone. I'd been wanting to try a homemade (non-greasy, more healthy) version of Chicago style pizza for ages, but with a family of 3, and most recipes making a HUGE pizza, I hesitated. Then last week I happened upon this recipe at Annie's Eats which calls for using a 9in. cake pan for a pizza that was just the right size.
The recipe was simple and while it does take a long time to make, most of the time is spent waiting for dough to rise. I used less cheese than called for and added less oil to the sauce, so this was definitely not greasy. If I make it again, I think I'll try to sub semolina for the cornmeal in the crust as I found it didn't hydrate completely and was slightly gritty.
One thing I loved was the rise on the crust -- light and flavorful, not at all dense and heavy (like I've had on some deep dish pizza). The dough was even with the edge of the pan before baking and you can see how much it rose during baking.
Everyone loved the pizza and I can see making this in the summer when our tomatoes ripen. A real winner!
This might not look all that different from the before picture, but I'm very happy with the results of our efforts.
Things we did accomplish:
New paint color -- This was by far the most daunting task, especially in the winter when you can't open up the house for ventilation. The VOC free paint was excellent and the new color is exactly what I wanted. I'm happy every time I walk into the room and see it.
Baker's rack gone, bookshelf added -- My cookbooks have a happy new home and are so much more organized and easy to access. I love the Expedit from IKEA and will probably be purchasing more of them in the future.
Dimmer switch fixed -- This was fixed, then broken, then fixed again. Duct tape was used, and for now it works.
The new, low shelving means that a large piece of artwork is needed on the south wall of the room. And I didn't get curtains purchased or the chairs recovered, but all things considered, I'm happy with what we were able to do in a month, especially since one weekend was taken up with packing away holiday decorations. I may actually put the dining room back into the rotation so that I can finish the things I still want to do. Maybe in the second half of the year.
Up next is the kitchen, which is by far the most unfinished room in our house. No, we won't be doing a remodel, but I think fixing up the little annoying things might make it work for the next few years until we save up for that task.
Don't forget to leave me links to your "after" photos of your January room and "before" photos of your February room. I can't wait to see them!