I made a stamp.

I did a little bit of lino block carving/printing way back when I ran my etsy shop, but I definitely wouldn’t put myself into the “super experienced” category. But with the itch to craft comes the itch to destash, and finding an old speedball block was all I needed to make this dear horse.

dala stamp

On the very left is the template. I drew it in pencil and then flipped it onto the block. I used my thumbnail to transfer the pencil to the block and then carved it with an old lino carving set that I have. I wasn’t really happy with the block I used, because it was crumbly and didn’t carve as nicely as I remember linoleum working. But after some test prints and a lot of trimming, I’m very happy with the final stamp image!

I think i’ll use this to print Christmas wrapping paper this year, and I might make myself a set of prints for my kitchen or entry way. DALA HORSES EVERYWHERE!!!!

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On a scale of 1 to grad school, I’d give it a 7. (Or, I ran a 50k this weekend and lived to tell the tale.)

I started running about 14-15 years ago, the summer after my freshman year in college. I began by running 5-10 seconds at a time with frequent 1-2 minute-long walk walk breaks. I still vividly remember one of the last runs of that summer, where I completed 2 miles and even ran most of that. It wasn’t a spectacular feeling, but it was an accomplishment that I am still proud of even now.

Last weekend, I completed my first 50k, and boy-oh-boy am I proud of that. And I promise I was much happier than i looked in this crossing-the-finish-line photo….

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Of course the race was difficult. I wanted to quit more than once (especially at mile 19-ish, where I became somewhat especially ill and then again somewhere around 4 miles from the end, where the hills were getting especially difficult to climb). The aid stations were hard to leave, and I learned important lessons about proper fueling and the importance of adding more hills to my training. I was inspired by everyone who was running, and even more inspired by everyone who walked up the hills.

And OF COURSE I want to do it again, but I think I’m really ok with taking a little bit of time to recover.

CheHoDoBoWaffFreChoast

Che-Ho-Do-Bo-Aff-Fre-Choast

Apparently, just about everything can be cooked in a waffle iron (hash browns are my favorite), which was part of the the inspiration for my weekend brunch (the other part being the 48 hot dog buns I have left over from a party last week). I have dubbed this masterpiece Cheater Hot Dog Bun Waffle-style French Toast, or see the name of this post for a handy rolls-off-the-tongue nickname. Yes folks, that beautiful waffle up there is actually a HOT DOG BUN.

And because I am usually annoyed by recipe blog posts that require 30 minutes of scrolling through (usually beautiful) pictures of the dish from multiple angles and a lot of editorializing about things that usually have nothing to do with the recipe itself (and yes, I do usually read all of it, even though I am annoyed. I have a problem, people), here we go RIGHT AWAY with a DETAILED PHOTO RECIPE.

Step 1: Gather your ingredients. And then mix everything (except the buns, of course) together.
– 2 hot dog buns, 2 eggs, a splash of vanilla, a dash of sugar, and something around 1/4-1/2 cup milk.

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Step 2: Soak the bun in the egg mixture. It will get very soggy, and that’s the point. Then flip it over and soak the other side. (I did use up almost ALL Of the 2-egg mixture for the two buns pictured in the ingredients image, in case you were wondering about that dodgy proportionality.)

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Step 3: Messily transfer the soaked, nearly-falling-apart-it’s-so-soggy bun to your pre-heated and well-oiled waffle iron. Cook until brown. (more brown than this. Also, be sure to really oil that waffle iron or the whole thing will rip apart.)

Che-Ho-Do-Bo-Aff-Fre-Choast

Step 4: EAT EAT EAT and marvel at the fact that you’re eating a hot dog bun that tastes like heaven.

Sometimes I think that I need to investigate eating less like a person who just left home and has no clue of how to cook for herself and more like the adult homeowner with a doctorate in neuroscience (we scientists are generally pretty good at following protocols and recipes, and that goes for food recipes too) that actually knows how to make more than just spaghetti with butter that I am.

And then I have brainstorms like the CheHoDoBoWaffFreChoast experiment, and I like to think that I’m not doing so badly after all….

(Full disclosure: I clearly recognize that all I have done here is just make french toast in a waffle iron, which, considering everything that I’ve seen on pinterest, is not all that interesting or clever. But I used a HOT DOG BUN, so that makes it novel. I’m sticking with my elation.)

Remembering that I do love knitting

And now we get crafty.

Pine Bough Cowl (update 1)

After a long and painful and soul-crushing (knitting-wise) fall, winter, and spring knitting miles of stockinette on the same gray fingering-weight yarn for the 4th sweater of its life (a lot of fit/style/gauge issues for all 4 products), it’s time for a change.

Pine Bough Cowl (detail 01)

This is the Pine Bough Cowl by Diana Walla. It’s perfect for this time of year, when I’m itching for something that requires some focus (but not too much) and is really satisfying to watch come off the needles. The chart is easy to memorize and really boils down to just 2 pattern rows that are offset to make the boughs. It’s been great fun to remember how to hold yarn for fair isle.

Pine Bough Cowl (inside)

I love how the wrong side of fair isle looks, and I’m really loving how squishy this is getting. But most of all I love that I love to knit it.

Kenzie yarn

I stepped out on a limb and FOR ONCE bought THE ACTUAL YARN THAT THE PATTERN WAS WRITTEN FOR (gasp!), but I went for different colors. This yarn is lovely to knit with, though I wish more of the lime green flecks in the blue showed in the product. The fun thing is that there are 4 repeats of the pattern (and then it’s grafted into an infinity scarf) and my first ball of 4 of gray yarn ran out right at the end of the double solid rows (i.e. 1/4 of the way into the project). I have high hopes for a project with less than 10 yards of gray yarn left at the end. Wouldn’t that be exciting?!

Picking it up again, but slowly.

It’s been just over 2 years since my last post here. As is the situation in life for all of us, a lot happened in those two years, but I’m really not planning on playing catch-up. Let’s just start with today and see where that takes us, shall we?

The end of another jam-packed academic year puts me in a creative and crafty mood. After months of shoving down the urge to bust out the sewing machine at every turn, I’m itching to make some new clothes. I have a finished quilt top that needs to be sandwiched. I got a serger for my birthday a year ago that really should get a lot more use. My new house needs some personalization. I just bought a sweater’s worth of madeline tosh yarn. I want to take steps towards restoring my sanity by making all of the things on pinterest.

It’s been an amazing year in this new place in my life. Professionally and personally, it’s been 2 years of intense growth and a lot of revision and editing. I’m happy with where things are now, and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next*.

my best party idea yet.

too true, too true.

*spoiler alert: it’s probably going to be something crafty.

Inspiration and expectations, managed.

I woke up to the weather person on MPR saying that today is going to be looked at as when spring began in MN in 2013. What welcome news, because this winter was a DOOZY. I thought it would have been reasonable to expect all the winter-storm-warning-stuff to be done before the end of April (or the middle… or the beginning….), but this year, winter just kept hitting us.

And while I’ve been managing my expectations for this spring, I haven’t completely given up!

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These plant babies are really helping me along, even though I know better than to get far too excited about putting them in the ground prior to the end of May (the last chance for frost around these parts). I am planning a major overhaul of the gardens this year. I’ve had two summers of raised bed vegetable gardens now, and I’ve learned things. The most important thing is that one of them does not get enough sun for anything other than lettuces (and cucumbers that hang over the end and really reach for the sun). And while the idea of a 4×8′ lettuce bed is really intriguing, it’s probably not the best use of space, time, seeds, and compost. So it’s gotta move. I’m also pretty interested in doing something more than 15 tomato plants that take up almost all of the space in the front garden that DOES get enough sun (ok, so it was only 8 last year. but you get my point).

I’ve been getting pretty excited about this garden re-do lately. I even borrowed my parents’ wheelbarrow so that I can move the 1.5 tons of dirt and compost from the back garden to the front gardens. And then this weekend, while I was visiting my parents, we were offered some barrels to use to make our own rain barrels. I’ve been looking at rain barrels a lot over these past two years, but they’re expensive! I’m really looking forward to these MUCH CHEAPER barrels, and now I feel as if it is time to get the roof redone on the garage and put some gutters up.

But here’s where I have the biggest problems with all of this. I am SO SUPER INSPIRED by thinking of spring and my gardens and TOMATOES and grilling. But I can’t do it all, so I can’t really expect to get it all done. So what is important here? I get to have rain barrels and I will have a better planned garden this year. What might not happen? the roof of the garage and new gutters. That’s ok, though. They might get done later this summer, but it’ll not be happening before the beginning of the shortish growing season here.

Inspiration and expectations for the garage: Managed. (next: get a grip …. again…. on my knitting and sewing expectations. that’ll be a little more emotionally complex….)

Saturday comes and goes

I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather this week. It’s funny how sometimes you don’t realize how crummy you’re feeling until you’re not feeling crummy anymore. And while I’m not at 100% yet, the graph is trending up and up and that is good. And I get to spend this weekend with my parents, at one of my favorite places on earth, celebrating my dad’s birthday. So that’s pretty great.

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I’ve been working on some new classes for my gig at the local yarn store. One is for a Brooklyn Tweed square shawl that I am in love with, and the second is an argyle sock class. I made my dad a pair of argyle socks for his Christmas socks, and I was super-happy with them. So I’m writing up a pattern/tutorial for the class. Because everyone should be able to have some argyle socks in their sock drawer.

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My office continues to pull itself together. I’m particularly happy with this little corner, right as I walk in the door. Yes, this is home, and yes, I’m happy to be home.

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And then there’s this gem. I finally got around to really re-covering (not just fake slipcovering) my office chair. Some old and very awesome (and very found-it-in-the-bins-of-fabric-in-the-shed-at-my-parents’-house) upholstery fabric. I wanted a couch covered in this, but I only had about 3/4 of a yard. Perfect for the office chair, and such a day-brightener

So that’s it for today. More fun awesome to come, folks. More fun awesome to come.