11–20 of 25 entries from the month of: February 2007

Driving Miss Cupcake

February 17th

I am not the most patient driver. This is one of many things I’m working on. I have the tendency to tailgate and to drive way too fast. I am constantly reminded that this is a foolish way to drive and I need to change my ways. Yesterday was the perfect example.

100 cupcakes

I’m cruising down the freeway, trying to get to a surprise birthday party for my friend Ann before she walked in the door. I’d baked for the masses and had two platters full of iced cupcakes in my car — one on the front seat, one on the back.
Can you see where this story is going? I took an off ramp on to another highway, only to be dropped down into a huge mess of unexpected traffic. I hit my brakes and the cupcakes went flying. I have bits of chocolate frosting, coconut and cream cheese all over my car — a sweet reminder to slow down! Thankfully, they weren’t ruined and I got to the party in time to make the surprise, with most of the baked goods in tow.

swing bag

I thought Ann should have a rockin’ 30th birthday bag too. She isn’t really the “pursey” type, but I think she’ll dig the simplicity of this fabric and design.

matching wristlet, key chain

Again, it is an Amy Butler swing bag. I used fabric from Ikea that I just love and lined it with a bright red cotton. I got the idea for the key chain from Autum. Great tutorial!

Driving a bit slower,

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Signs the Codeman has Landed

February 16th

Cody was here2
cody was here1

My brother Cody is in town for the weekend. We spent much of yesterday together catching up. This boy can make me laugh like no one else on earth. His stories have me crying. Yesterday we went for dinner and when I hesitated to order an appetizer (after he told me “No hummus. I’m not paying $7 for herbs on toasted bread.”) he said, “I buy whatever I want. Big screen TVs, laptops. Get whatever you want. I’m a baller.” Lord. He peppers all of his language with this sort of street talk that I simply do not understand. I kept asking him what he meant and he kept shaking his head at me. In a nutshell, he is a mogul in the making.

Kelli, Cody

Nothing makes me happier than having family close.

Wishing you a lovely weekend,

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February 15th

Eat, Pray, Love

I went to a book signing last night to hear Liz Gilbert speak. Gilbert wrote my favorite book of 2006 — “Eat, Pray, Love.” I crammed into folding chairs with 50 other women (and two token men) at Changing Hands bookstore to catch a glimpse of the woman who transported me to Italy, India and Indonesia. She was as funny, charming and beautiful as you’d imagine.
I wanted to put her in my pocket and take her home with me. She gave solid advice on spiritual journeys (how to go on your own, not try to copy hers), love, yoga, writing, meditation, and enjoying life. Before introducing Gilbert, a bookstore clerk mentioned the next author to speak at the store was a nutritionist whose specialty is cooking without sugar or flour. And “get your tickets now!!” Gilbert took the mic, smiled and said dryly, “Or, you could just stay home and eat your Kleenex box. I mean, seriously — why bother cooking?” We all laughed and then she went on to read a section of her book when she is traveling through Italy and on her “no carbs left behind” campaign.
If you haven’t read “Eat, Pray, Love” it is so worth your time. Gilbert has the great talent of writing her experiences in a way that she seems to be speaking to you personally. She had a gaggle of fans last night who wanted to share their divorce, faith and life stories. Everyone wanted a piece of her. I could imagine this would be highly annoying night after night on a book tour (although Universe, please burden me with this problem), but she handled it all with grace and gave fantastic advice.
Thank you Liz. You are adored.


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Cooking Up Some Love

February 14th

napkin aprons for Valentine's day

I whipped up a few cloth napkin aprons this weekend and gave them out today as Valentine’s gifts.

putting a doily to good use

A friend gave me this embroidered heart last week. She made it on some fancy sewing machine and had attached a ribbon so it could be used as a bookmark. I said adios to the ribbon and used it for a bit of embellishment.

apron tags

My mom included these metal “hand made” tags in my stocking this year. I found them in my sewing tackle box and thought they’d be perfect on the back of the aprons. Voila — a sweetheart apron for cooking up a yummy meal loved ones on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine's sewn

Wishing you Xs and Os,

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The Secret of Success

February 13th

swing bag, key chain

Last week I watched an episode of Oprah about “The Secret.” Did you catch this? In a nutshell, it is a self-help mantra affirming you can do absolutely anything in life you set your mind to. Ask, believe, receive and watch the world fall to your feet for the taking. The show was convincing and I didn’t need much persuading. One of my greatest blessings has been being told from an early age to shoot for the moon. We were nurtured in a “can do” home. My mom has always been my “biggest cheerleader” — as she puts it. And so it should be!

swing bag, matching key chain

Is there anything keeping you from happiness? I have a short list of asks, although I am a happy, goofy girl as is. That said, I’m never content with the status quo. I always want to learn more, run faster, be better. Now the task is to take steps toward making my “asks” come true and believing with every inch that they will.

For example — I’m wearing a fabulous pair of jeans, my first pair of Manolos and a huge grin. My parents are nervously sitting in the front row. My brother is sitting next to them texting on his cell phone. The Ya Yas are in the row behind them, tearing up and taking photos. Oprah reaches over and shakes my hand and congratulates me on being the next author selected for her book club. I nod, in awe that this dream is unfolding. The audience has read my book. Not everyone loves it, but everyone has read it. They want to talk about it. They ask questions. The characters come to life. I feel a wave of butterflies as I take it all in and devour the conversation. Giddyup.

swing bag, open

A new bag and key chain (my first) for a friend at the bagel shop. She’s moving on from bagels to the business world and I figured, “Who doesn’t want a new purse on the first day of a new job?”

I’m asking and believing. What are you asking for?


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A Recipe for Weekend Happiness

February 12th

I can’t believe it is Monday. I feel like I just left this desk, just got in my car, just took my first sip of Friday Happy Hour cider. When the weather is this great, the time seems to slip away so quickly. My perfect weekend included large doses of cooking, knitting, sewing, cycling and movies.

Lessons learned:

mini film festival

Renting foreign films to watch while knitting sounds like a good idea, until you realize you have to watch every. single. scene. Without paying much attention I rented five movies, only two of which were in English. Next weekend? Babel and Little Miss Sunshine.

hat and scarf ready for auction

I can cable! The hat wasn’t just a rare fluke. I finished the scarf this weekend while squinting at subtitles. The pair are off to auction.

spokes on the knees

It is always smart to take a cell phone when cycling. I took a long ride yesterday out to Fountain Hills and got a flat on my way home. I’d never had a flat before and wasn’t sure how to fix it, even though I have a repair kit under my seat. I called a friend’s husband to come and pick me up, but before he could get there another cyclist stopped and helped me. It was a beautiful example of pay it forward. Not only did he squirm when I tried to thank him (including giving me a spare tube because my kit’s spare had a broken valve) but he wouldn’t let me even buy him something to drink. He just said, “Now you know how to fix these. You stop for the next guy.” Deal. The grease on my legs is still there and I’m wearing a skirt today to flaunt the fact that, “Hey! I fixed a tire yesterday on my bike and finished the ride!”

eggplant tacos

Final lesson — grilled eggplant and squash with a bit of cilantro and cheese wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla = veggie taco heaven. Sweet reward to a weekend well spent.


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Domestic Art, Journal, Recipes, Triathlon
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The Good, Bad and Bloody

February 9th

chicken pot pie1
pastry star

Good: I made a beautiful pastry crust last night. I finally figured out the right consistency, temperature and the such to roll out a beautiful crust. I used my grandma’s recipe, a good bit of patience and a star cookie cutter to create two chicken pot pies for sick coworkers. Nothing says “get better soon and stop coughing all over the office” like one of these.


As in bad-ass. Check out what I snapped driving down the road. Oh I wish I was an Oscar Mayer wiener… Really, I don’t. But the idea of stealing this car for a joyride gave me the giggles.

why you should always run with socks
bloody shoes

Next time I go out for a long trail run and forget my socks, kick me if I decide to run anyway. It is going to take at least a week for my feet to heal from this stupid move and I’ve got a big race in two weeks. Lovely. On the bright side, this gave me the motivation to go buy new running shoes, which I happily broke in this morning.

And this post effectively sums up the random nature of my life. Yummy cooking, love for all things kitschy and odd and the journey of training for a triathlon.


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Where Art Thou Gun-Wielding Juliet?

February 8th


I’ve got a bit of an obsession with LOST. In part, it is because I cannot seem to catch up or understand 99% of the show. I have seen pretty much every episode, yet last night’s pre-episode primer taught me more than a thing or two about all these characters, plots and subplots. {Did you know you can watch the episode and the primer free online?} I’m thinking JJ Abrams confuses himself every now and then. The one thing that’s remained consistent in Abrams’ style is if you work on the show and get arrested in real life, you can say adios to la isla bonita. Take that Ana Lucia!
Last night’s episode was a great jolt back to the world of the Dharma Initiative. I am so pleased they are finally giving a few details on who “the Others” are, why people are on the island, and how Ben (aka Henry Gale) is able to control all his minions. I think if I was a TV star, LOST would be my cup of tea. When they got to the beach and saw it was 2 miles away? Kate and Sawyer went looking for a boat. I would have stripped down and dived in, happily swimming away and leaving all that craziness in my wake. Then again — they eventually paddled furiously back to the island on which they were initially stranded. It isn’t like life got easier on Island A. Without Jack and Sawyer, who became the new Lord of the Flies?

P.S. How is it that Juliet’s hair looks so great on the island? Hello? Is this a humid-free island paradise, because someone didn’t tell Kate. Even Sun has extra body — and I’m not talking about the pregnancy.

P.P.S. I think I may need this.

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Sewing 101: A Wristlet, Zipper Tutorial

February 7th

I never thought the day would come when I felt comfortable enough to share my wee sewing knowledge with others, but here we go. One of the most common Google searches bringing people to my site is “wristlet tutorial.” Until today, they were misled.

A few things before we begin:
~ A wristlet is a small zippered pouch with a ribbon bracelet so it can be worn around the wrist.

~ My sewing is very much like Rachael Ray’s cooking — not at all precise, but a lot of fun.

~ If I can sew a zipper, a monkey can sew a zipper.

What you’ll need:
Scraps of fabric to create:
2 exterior squares, 8″ x 8″
2 interior rectangles, 8″ x 7″
1 7″ zipper
1 label — if it’s your fancy

Pick your scraps

1. Sort through your fabric scraps and figure out what you’d like to use. I was going with red themes for this wristlet.

Cut your scraps to fit your desired size

2. Trim your scraps to fit the aforementioned sizes. I like to make the exterior a bit bigger than the interior lining because it is easier to turn and finish.

pin pieces right sides together, sew

3. Once you’ve cut your scraps to the dimensions, place them right sides together, pin and sew. The seam allowance is up to you. I typically keep my seams at 1/8″, but like I said — I’m not terribly precise.

viola -- your lining pieces (top) and your exterior pieces (bottom) are ready to be zipped

4. Line up your sewn pieces. Here I have the inside lining pieces on top and the exterior pieces on the bottom. {If you would rather try this tutorial without sewing together scraps, this is where you’d jump in.}

place your zipper wrong side up on the top edge of the front of your wristlet

5. Take your front exterior piece and place your zipper on top of it. Match the top edge of the zipper with the top edge of the right side of the lining. Place the zipper with the right side DOWN. (Also it is a good idea to make sure the zipper works before sewing it into place.)

zipper sandwich -- exterior right side up, zipper right side down, lining right side down on top.

6. Now place your first lining right side down on top of the zipper. You’ve just made a sandwich: front exterior right side up, zipper right side down, lining right side down.

zipper sandwich pinned

7. Pin into place.

first zipper foot use -- sewing exterior, zipper and liner together

8. Use your zipper foot and ever so carefully sew these layers together.

9. Iron these pieces flat.

label sewn

10. Sew your label into your other lining piece.

11. Place your second lining piece (with your label) right side up. On top of this, place the portion of the wristlet you’ve already sewn, right side up. At this point, your layers should be: second lining, first lining (sewn to zipper), exterior fabric (sewn to zipper). On top of this, place your second exterior fabric right side down. Match all edges to the top edge of the zipper. Pin. Sew.

front side of wristlet after zipper is done

The front of your wristlet should now look like this.

back side of wristlet after zipper is done

The back should look like this.

be sure to open the zipper

12. Iron all four pieces flat, and tug at the seams with the zipper, making sure to everything as pressed as possible. Now be sure to open the zipper.

add your wristlet ribbon at an angle
pin front and back together, and lining together

13. Cut a piece of ribbon or bias tape and fold in two. Take both exterior pieces and pin them right sides together, with the ribbon in between the pieces. The ends can hang out — you’ll trim them later. Pin the lining pieces right sides together too.

stitched around all edges, leaving 2 inch gap, clipped corners
very carefully use your zipper foot to place zipper

14. Get rid of your zipper foot (we’re done with the zipper! Wahoo!) and replace it with your regular sewing foot. Sew an 1/2″ seam (or so) around the entire edge of the exterior and lining — leaving a 2 inch gap in the lining. When you get to the zippers, hold your seams together and slowly sew the layers together. Be careful not to sew over a metal zipper or you’ll break your needle.

wristlet right side out, lining out
hole in the lining we use to turn the wristlet right side out

15. Clip the corners and trim off any extra ribbon and fabric that may get in the way. Now, turn your wristlet right side out through that 2 inch hole you left in the bottom of the lining.

Lining sewn shut

16. I like to iron this baby flat again at this point. You should have your exterior right side out and your lining right side out. Sew the two inch hole in the lining closed. I like to sew the entire bottom seam of the lining for consistency.

Finished wristlet

17. Push the lining down into the exterior. Pull your zipper closed. Iron. Photograph. Pat yourself on the back. Voila — a zippered wristlet!

finished front of wristlet

{Questions? Email me!}

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Cable Me This

February 6th

My Grammie J is British. I think I’ve mentioned that a time or two. She loves tea and knitting and all things English — although she’s lived in the US so long she doesn’t even maintain the accent. (Although she does proudly maintain her UK citizenship — and who can blame her in these times?)
Grammie J was particularly proud when I decided to learn to knit. You can imagine how happy I was to call her this weekend to report: I can officially knit cables! She was almost emotional, in her decidedly English way. {If there was one way I wish I was more British, it would be this talent of controlling one’s emotions. Although I have broken her down into telling me she loves me with every single phone call. Ha! Score one for American influence.}


This hat is the asymmetrical beanie from One Skein. If you are interested in learning how to knit cables, but feel a wee bit skeptical of your abilities, try this pattern. If you know how to rib, you’ll be just fine. The pattern teaches you not only how to cable, but also how to follow one of those wonky knitting dot/dash graphs. You can’t tell by this photo (seriously, need a tripod already) but the hat has three sizes of cables.
I picked up this earthy green yarn on Knit Picks and even have an extra skein. I followed Min’s lead on the hat and am going to follow Finny’s lead on a cabled scarf to finish up the yarn. The matching pair were intended as a gift, but alas — the curse is true. Instead, they’ll be donated to one of my favorite charities for an upcoming silent auction.

What are you itching to learn? Next on my plate: beading.

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