Thursday, April 29, 2010


I'll be gone for the weekend. Shipoopi and I are going camping at Lava Beds National Monument. Have a nice weekend!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Look Back on my Earliest Crochet

I am 21 and I've been crocheting since I was about 11. The first few years I crocheted I wasn't really involved in the online crochet/craft community. I didn't know such a thing existed. I didn't see all the wonderful amazing things people did with crochet. All I saw was a striped double crochet baby blanket my mom made for a friend and potholders my grandma won in a charity bingo. It was a creative famine in my world of crochet. I learned how to crochet before I knew what I would do with it. I've always been drawn to weaving, crocheting and knitting. It was something I wanted to do just for the sake of doing it. Every time I saw something crocheted, it was new and exciting.

Of course learning was a bull-headed process. My mom tried showing me how to crochet and mostly the process just frustrated me to no end, but out of pure stubbornness I figured out the very basics and went from there.

I think in a way I was lucky. I got to do creative things that I hadn't seen anyone else do before. When I made my checkered scarf, I figured out how to do the color change without cutting any yarn. I had no idea other people knew that "technique." I just loved checkers, loved crochet and hated cutting yarn.

I didn't have patterns in the early days. In fact I've almost never used patterns. I think you learn so much more if you figure out things on your own.

This was my first scarf. Before I knew that there was more than one type of stitch. I didn't know I was doing a back loop single crochet. I just though I was crocheting. I thought it'd be cool to add a pocket. I didn't know how to do a button-hole, so I just figured it out.

This was my second or third scarf. I figured out how to do chevrons and wanted to something with it. I ended up with this weird number.

I've come a long way and now I'm spoiled by inspiration on a handful of sites for people interested in crocheting and crafts. But I'll probably always have the most pride in the first things I made.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

White Cheese with Basil

I made queso blanco from some milk I needed to use up before it went bad. It's a great way to use milk up. How to is on The Homestead Hearth forums, here.

I've only made it twice but I think it's easy as pie, despite screwing up one of the very few steps. I even did my own little spin of basil mixed in. Easy as pie. Now if I only had some fruit for pie...

12 Steps to Keep Your Home Clean

I have a sleep deprived confession to make to you, my loyal blog readers. All 2 of you need to know something about me, something dark and shameful and too horrible to imagine: I am a messy slob.

Yes, it's true. I won't deny it any longer. My whole life I have been one. When I was 14 months old, I left wet towels on the floor. When I As a child, cleaning my room usually meant finding creative out of site places to move my messes to. Usually the crawl space of our apartment. As a teenager, piles of books, papers and yarn were the mosaic of crap that protected the carpet from sun bleaching in my shared bedroom. Now as a young adult, I haven't come very far. I ate a gobstopper out of my desk that had been rattling around in there for at least six months. I always wait until laundry piles (Yes... more than one pile) are waist deep before doing them.... that following weekend. More than I care to admit there is a forest of some kind of mold on the pile of dishes I have yet to hand wash.

My therapist, Dr. Baldar says "You have deep issues of suppressed teenage rebellion that you express by being slob-like. Not unlike those with bulemia, you hurl your dirty clothes, old reciepts and scraps of fabric all about your human living space in order to gain a sense of control over your life."
To which I reply "You're a cat! You don't have the cognitive capacities to earn a doctorate."

The first step is deciding you have a problem.

The second step is running to the interwebs for advice. Lately I've reading a lot of articles from women's magazines with titles like 32 Ways to Use Baking Soda to Scrub Away that Empty Feeling in Your Life, Miss Petunia's Tips for Spending More Time in the Kitchen Cleaning, The Huffer's Complete Guide to Bleach presents: 101 Excuses to Clean with Bleach and Why Martha Stewart is Better than You at Everything in Every way.

The secret to streak free windows isn't vinegar, it's the blue tears of the Na'vi.

The third step is to realize none of step two will help you. The only thing more dysfunctional than how much of a slob I am is the people who need to have their home that perfectly clean. I have been working on being a tidier person, with some success so far. I used to let messes build up until I couldn't stand them another second and I would spend 7 hours straight doing nothing but cleaning. Then I let the cycle of filth to binge cleaning repeat. Lately I've been keeping the living room fairly neat and I've been doing dishes everyday. As time goes by I keep relearning the same thing on new levels: Baby turtle steps towards becoming better. Also the hare loses the race. Or something like that.

Part 2 soon to come.

Friday, April 23, 2010

My First Salad

I harvested some of the lettuce from my balcony and made a salad to go with dinner Wednesday evening.

This is the first thing I've grown and then consumed. A first step towards sustainably growing my own food.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth day! I thought I'd celebrate earth day on my blog with some of my favorite photos of my limited travels on Earth so far.

Lava Beds Nation Monument, Ca Fall 2007.

Lava Beds Nation Monument, Ca Fall 2007.

White Mountains, Ca Fall 2008. A bristlecone pine.

Bristlecone Pine, the oldest living trees on the planet. It takes a year to grown this pine cone.

Mono Lake, Ca 2008.

Point Reyes June 2008. Taken by my mom!

Point Reyes June 2008. Doesn't this photo look like a painting?

Point Reyes, June 2008. I love this photo because you see where the layers of rock folded over on themselves. California has such a rich geological history.

Yosemite, Ca April 2008

Yosemite, Ca April 2008

Death Valley, CA. Spring Break 2009

Death Valley, CA. Spring Break 2009

Owens Valley, Spring Break 2009. Climbing into small spaces is one of my hobbies. I'd say I'm a weirdo, but I've seen quite a few other people do it too on all the trips I've gone on.

How are you celebrating Earth Day?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Balcony Garden

An update on my balcony garden: After over a month, it's going great! I have gourmet lettuce mixture, arugula, kale and peas planted. It's going really well, despite the problem with the assholes at my apartments taking out the gutters in rainy march and all my plants and soil in box #1 being washed away. Frustrating at the time, but spring is a forgiving time of year!

Planter box#1: kale, lettuce mix, arugula, peas.


Planter box #2: Peas, big lettuce plants, little lettuce plants.

Another view of box #2.

The peas even have a little flower starting to grow!

Here is the Sacramento area, we've been having unusual weather for the time of year. Usually by April, we've seen all the rain we'll see until fall. But this year it's been intermittent rain. Yesterday we even had hail! Hail is a rare event in this region of the country. I've lived here almost my entire life and I can only remember it hailing maybe 2 or 3 times. The good news is, this weather makes my late start to my garden plots not actually late! And hopefully I'll be able to get the next crop of lettuce before heat makes it bolt. After that, I'll have to look into what plants to replace the lettuce.