11–20 of 25 entries from the month of: November 2006


November 17th


I’m home. It was a fantastic trip and I promise to write a bit about it next week.

Just a quick reminder: tomorrow is Team Rex’s big debut! I hope you can make it. The Tempe YMCA Turkey Trot starts at 8 am, registration at 7 am. The Y is located on Rural between Baseline and Elliot in Tempe. Cost of the race is $25. Seeing Rex beat cancer, priceless.

See you there,

Posted in
Journal, Photography, Travel
Comments (10)

Later, Gators

November 13th

I’m breaking my nanoblogmo or whatever it’s called for a few days. I’m off to Washington DC to learn how to lobby Congress. And no, I’m not stopping off at the bank first to stuff my pockets. I’m attending a nutrition conference and learning about national food security, with a dash of congressional wooing in the schedule too. Plus, I get to see a bunch of friends who live on the East Coast and experience this thing you all call “Fall.” I’m pulling out my sweaters and thinking of all the photos I’m going to take at the Lincoln Memorial.


Posted in
Journal, Uncategorized
Comments (21)

Bagel, toasted. Hold the pandering.

November 13th

carrot cake with cream cheese frosting


My morning routine on a good day includes 20 minutes at the bagel shop, where I sit at a long family-style table and listen to half a dozen men play poker, talk politics and bicker. I usually join in mid-bagel with the political talk and by the time I’ve finished a cup of coffee, I am either annoyed and ready to flee, or wishing I had 20 more minutes to really make my point.
These guys are great. Their interests, political and otherwise, vary wildly, but together they enjoy a certain camaraderie that’s priceless. Strangely, I really feel part of a community when I sit down with them, knowing full well these are neighbors I would have otherwise never met.
All that said, today one of the gang (to remain nameless), started talking about how 2007 will be the “year of the woman.” Gah! Simply because one woman reaches new ground politically does not mean 2007 is the “year of the woman.” I think the expression is exceptionally degrading and pandering. The truth is, there are more women in college then men, more women studying the in sciences than ever before, and more women excelling at the tight-rope walk of successful families and careers than ever before to boot. So don’t put 50 years of progress in this country on top of one woman’s shoulders and tell me that it is “year of the woman.” That is total crap. If anything, it makes me think that we aren’t viewed as equal or gender wouldn’t be an issue.
I learned my fierce independence from two grandmothers, who as single women in the 1950s fought off the social stigmas of being divorced to create careers and raise their children. My Grandma Max took a postal route in rural Pennsylvania because she could be outside and get back in time to pick up her boys from school. My Grandma Sheila became an accountant and used her math skills to run several businesses for decades, all while raising two kids of her own. So don’t throw Nancy Pelosi’s accomplishment at me as though my gender is finally getting our acts together. It is insulting.


*Plus, I can bake a mean cupcake! These are carrot cake with homemade cream cheese frosting. They were delish, although I used a bit too much butter in the frosting and swear I could hear my arteries coughing.

Posted in
Journal, Uncategorized
Comments (12)

November 12th

bunting with window

Susan of Persimmon&Pink sent me this lovely bunting this week. Isn’t it fun? I think it adds a great splash of color to my otherwise drab curtains.

Ah Sunday morning, my favorite time of the week. You have such potential. I could lounge in my pajamas all day and no one would be the wiser. I could hop on my bike and ride until my legs burn with agony. I could sit behind my sewing machine for hours while listening to NPR. I could drive to the bagel shop with a new book and a mug to refill with hot, yummy coffee. Hmmm…
Happy day indeed!


Posted in
Comments (7)

Oh, I’ll have you in stitches alright

November 11th

An In Stitches sew-along is in the works. I’m staying tight lipped until after the holidays so we can stay focused creatively until then. And by “we” I mostly mean “me.” Stay tuned!

Posted in
Domestic Art, Journal
Comments (8)

In Stitches Sew-Along?

November 10th

I sewed my first In Stitches pattern yesterday. It was fairly simple and gave me the idea of perhaps sewing each of the patterns in this book and blogging the results. Anyone interested in doing this with me? Or even reading about it? It would be a challenge, but Amy Butler really does have some lovely ideas included in these pages.

Project #1: Placemats and napkins for my friend John

placemats Amy Butler style

The book’s example…

napkins and placemats

and my interpretation. His favorite color is “pool” and he loved these. I was happy with the way they came out. They are reversible too, so if he gets sick of the paisleys, there are stripes on the back in coordinating colors.

And to celebrate his birthday, he received double chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting. The boy loves chocolate cake. {Here is a photo of his cake from last year.}

double chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting

Double Chocolate Cupcakes
1 box of Devil’s Food chocolate cake mix (Lazy, I know.)
3 eggs
1 dash of cooking oil
1 dash of water
1 bag of dark chocolate chips
1 cup or more of sour cream

Mix thoroughly. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Let cool in pan at least 10 minutes.

cupcake delight

Buttercream frosting:
1 stick of butter at room temperature
Dash of vanilla
Dash of cardamom
1 cup of powdered sugar

Mix with handmixer. Frost cupcakes after they are cool to the touch. Voila — heaven in a cupcake liner.


Posted in
Domestic Art, Recipes
Comments (20)

Extreme Makeover Indeed

November 9th

If I were judge in the KFed/Britney divorce court and that idiot asked me to give him custody of their two children, I’d first ask him to tell me each of his children’s full names and birthdates. Then I’d run a drug test. I’m guessing with fair certainty he’d fail at all of the above.
Let’s face it KFed, you hit the lottery once and you were too stoned and too stupid to keep her happy. And no offense, but I’d guess it wouldn’t take much to keep Brit happy. You wooed her with burping contests, for Pete’s sake.
Britney’s looking hotter than ever now that she’s shed that ugly 200 pound mass.

{Tangent: I’m at the library writing this. Bonus points for the nanoblogmo thing. My Internet (or Internets as Pres. Bush would say) is down at home and I’m about to pull my hair out with the lack of connectivity. AY!}


Posted in
Comments (19)

From the Vandercamp Kitchen, With Love

November 8th

I got most of my baking and sewing done last night before frisbee. We lost, but we had lots of fun. I am truly enjoying this team, even though I haven’t been this bad at something since I played the viola in my elementary school’s orchestra. The sole difference being, I actually want to play frisbee.

I had a conversation with some girlfriends the other day about which Desperate Housewife we would be if we were on the show. Silly? Yes. Fun? Absolutely. But their resounding answer that I would be Bree Vandercamp and not the sex pot Gabriella made me a bit sad. Just because I own more cardigans and pearls than all of my girlfriends put together doesn’t necessarily make me Bree. Although I suppose my Type A housekeeping and tendency to send a thank you note for even the smallest favor does make me a wee bit Vandercampish. Regardless, I’m working on my inner Gabriella. Just after I pull these cookies from the oven…

Two easy recipes for those interested:

oatmeal raisin cranberry cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cranberry Cookies

1 package of store-bought oatmeal cookie mix (or your favorite old school oatmeal cookie recipe)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup cranberries (I like the orange-flavored Craisins)
1 egg
dash of canola oil
dash of water

Mix all ingredients together. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to either wire rack or the lazy option — a plate and then your mouth. Makes 2 dozen.

lemontime cookies

Lemontime Cookies

1 package of store-bought sugar cookie mix (or your favorite old school sugar cookie recipe)
1 package of sugar-free instant lemon pudding
1 egg
1 small lemon, zested and then squeezed for its juice
Dash of canola oil
Dash of water

Mix all ingredients. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes and also let cool on cookie sheet. Be sure to add the egg, or your cookies will fall flat like these babies. Usually, the pudding and egg make them fluffy and cake-like. Regardless, they were enjoyed.

See? Bree would never use a cookie mix! Although, I’d guess Gabriella would have asked her maid to run down to the bakery…. I may not be winning this argument.


Posted in
Domestic Art, Recipes
Comments (20)

Bibbidi Boppidi Bo!

November 7th

Ready to be photo copied

When I watched Cinderella as a girl, I was entranced by her ability to cook, clean, make nice with the animals and put up with her evil family. She could sew beautiful clothing from scraps, get a palace shiny in no time and seemingly do so with a great attitude. The girl deserved a prince, although I have my doubts on whether he was so deserving.
I’m having a Cinderella kind of week. I’ve got lots of cleaning, sorting and repurposing taking place, with an emphasis on this week. Next week I’m traveling for work and the week after my family arrives for Thanksgiving. I’m — twitch, twitch— feeling a bit of pressure to meet all my self-imposed deadlines.
After running Sunday, I napped on the couch but couldn’t do so without feeling this early holiday pressure sitting on my chest. Alas, I had no energy to sew or clean. Sorting on the other hand takes little to no effort whatsoever.
I hauled out several years’ worth of magazines I’d been saving and pulled out the sticky notes. After a couple of hours of scanning through recipes, craft ideas and gardening tips, my domestic mojo was flowing. (The heavily caffeinated tea I was sipping may have added to this rush.)

the after pile

I turned a giant pile of magazines I loved into a small handful of pages for my domestic bliss folder. I gave the rest of the magazines away to a local women’s project and cleared off some serious shelf space in my studio. I also sorted through the books on the shelves and began recirculating them yesterday.


This week’s goals include:
~oatmeal cranberry raisin cookies (feed the frisbee team)
~lemontime cookies (feed the bagel shop men, who are now making requests!)
~chocolate birthday cupcakes with buttercream frosting (for my fabulous friend John)

cookies of the month

~finishing up my Christmas project. I’ve got 10 sewn and 3 cut and waiting for me on my craft table.
~cutting out patterns from In Stitches for a birthday gift to go with those cupcakes

tomato pincushions

~Clearing out the current state of chaos on my patio.
~watering and preparing for weekend planting. I’m thinking lettuce, rosemary, and perhaps even a wee lemon tree.

clip art

~Closets, linens and kitchen this week. Must keep the mojo flowing. Twitch. Twitch.

Fairy godmother? Are you there?

Posted in
Domestic Art, Journal, Reduce
Comments (23)

This Ad Has Been Approved by Africankelli

November 6th

Yanks, please vote tomorrow. If you are in Arizona, I double my plea. We’ve got lots of interesting things (and people) on the ballot. Do your civic duty and don’t give me any grief about not voting as a form of patriotism. I don’t want to hear it. Read more about what we’re voting on here.


Friday’s mail was fabulous. I was spoiled by both Melissa and Finny. Melissa and I agreed to a bag swap. She sent me a lovely Fall bag lined with the prettiest orange and yellow print. It hasn’t left my side since I unwrapped it. Of course the box was also stuffed with fantastic ribbons, fabrics and notions. A very indulgent and successful swap indeed.

my new fall bag
tiny happy bag
great loot from melissa

And you may have read Finny’s recent chronicles about visiting our friend Shelley in Rome. I was super envious of her trip. Finny, the generous soul that she is, thought I’d lose my green-tinge faster if she showered me with gifts. It’s working.

My new lemony apron
Goodies from Finny

And a treat for those who are still reading. This is the first of the Africankelli Fall Rummage Sale posts. Any interest in either of the items below? Let me know and it is yours. First commenter interested may have either or both. More crafty goods to come.

Kaffee Fassett up for grabs
Patchwork crochet up for grabs


Posted in
Journal, Recycle, Reduce, Reuse, Swap
Comments (9)