Friday, December 31, 2010


"Carrot Nose" from Ewe & Eye & Friends
Stitched on 32 ct. linen, DMC floss

Whee! Just made it! I managed to get one last project finished in 2010. Not that I started it in 2010. But whatever.

I've been busy crafting this month. It was a tremendous feeling to make gifts, rather than buy them. I barely entered a store all month. One of my favorite pieces of handiwork was for a woman I work with whose name begins with F. I found this pattern on Flickr and couldn't resist.

For everyone else, I wanted to make an ornament. Something small and simple. Something I could work on while watching Netflix... So I flipped through a new book I picked up: A Rainbow of Stitches. I love everything in this book. Each chapter focuses on a color (green, pink, red, blue). It's mostly straightforward cross stitch, with some other types of embroidery thrown in. The pictures are great, and it has a modern and French feel to it. Yummy book.

I settled on a mitten in the red chapter. And I started stitching...and stitching...

About 20 in all. A perfect thing to work on with morning tea, or while watching TV.

Then I needed to figure out what to do with them. My first thought was to do something with felted wool.

But it wasn't a pretty sight, and I'm not the most precise crafter. Using that many pins per mitten didn't sound like a hot idea. And I'm sure whatever I was doing here I was probably doing incorrectly.

So I went through my fabric stash and looked for the tiniest print possible. I think this green is perfect. Next, I set up an assembly line of stitching, sewing, pressing, and assembling. It took a few tries to figure out how to work the thread in to create the hoop to hang the ornament. But once I got it, the project came together in no time.

All my little soldiers!

It was one of the most genuine gifts I've given. And I think this is something I will try to do each year.

Happy New Year, everyone. Hope 2011 brings brilliant surprises for us all. xo

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Where I prove two things

1) I can't let go of things and 2) I'm correct.

So I'm reading Joyce Carol Oates' The Faith of a Writer. It's highly . . . academic. A little stuffy, but with some gems. One of them goes like this:

One thinks too of William Faulkner's composition of this greatest novel, The Sound and the Fury, which began as a troubling and inexplicable image--the vision of an unknown little girl with muddy underpants climbing a tree outside a window--and slowly expanded into a long story that required another story or section to amplify it, which in turn required another, which in turn required another, until finally Faulkner had four sections of a novel, published in 1929 as The Sound and the Fury. It was not until two decades later when Malcolm Cowley edited The Portable Faulkner that Faulkner added the Appendix that is now always published as an integral part of the novel.

"I am doing a novel which I have never grasped . . . . There I am at p. 145, and I've no notion what it's about. I hate it. Frieda says it's very good. But it's like a novel in a foreign language I don't know very well--I can only just make out what it is about." (89)


I hear the sweet bells of victory and righteousness ringing. They sound nice.

While I enjoy analyzing a book as much as the next person, that can be exactly the problem. The reader always reads into the piece more than the writer intends. And while a writer's voice is a hallway into his or her psyche, it's only a hallway. And it doesn't always open doors that lie in the shadows. As I write, I think more about my duty to the reader, to making the words sound true. I'm not always sure where the story is going, and sometimes there is no story. But I reread and rewrite out of respect for the reader. Not because I need to make grand statements about life or relationships or the universe. I'm only opening the front door to my hallway.

Monday, December 6, 2010


This weekend, I fell into rapture with this blog: Awesome photography, high regard for nature and the outdoors, and some seriously awesome crafting. While there, I came across her recipe for West African peanut soup. And holy shit--who can say no to a soup that requires six cloves of garlic and a jar of peanut butter? Not this girl. I quickly got to work.

First, the band of characters... EVOO, peanuts, natural peanut butter, broth, chopped tomatoes, brown rice, red pepper flakes, green bell pepper, onion, garlic. You can get the actual recipe here. Note: I did not use as much liquid as she lists; my Creuset can't handle that much. And I prefer a thicker soup.

Saute onions, peppers, garlic, red pepper flakes in olive oil...

While that's all cooking down, open all the cans and chop the peanuts...
After a while, you get a goulash-y soup going. I was worried that I should have put more rice in or used less liquid...
But then I added the jar of PB and the chopped nuts. As the soup cooled a little, it got gooey. Like, well, melted peanut butter. Mmmm
My favorite part has been sopping it up with crusty bread. It's seriously filling, and I have been eating half-mug-fulls at a time. It freezes really well, and it will be awesome to heat up on nights like these when the Canadian winds are sweeping in and bringing the first serious snowfalls and I just want to put on wool socks and pull the quilt closer around me.