11–20 of 22 entries from the month of: March 2007

De Nudu

March 16th

Remember this hat my friend Jerry at the bagel shop wanted?
Well, two skeins of wool and two months later, I finished it last night.

African Nudu cap complete

Without a pattern, but with lots of advice from knitters, I set out to tackle this project. It doesn’t look exactly like Billy Gibbons’, but it isn’t a bad imitation.

nudu cap, pre-felting

First I knit a huge beanie, with lots of yarn overs to create a steady pattern of holes in the hat. It reminded me of honeycomb before it was felted.

nudu cap, showing yarn over holes

After felting, the hat shrunk to a much more appropriate size and I started knitting a three-stitch icord. One skein (and hours upon hours of felting later) I had enough nubs to sew on the nudu cap.

Nudu cap and first icord, felted

One by one I sewed these babies to the hat, over the holes. Voila — an African nudu cap, ala Africankelli.

One by one
Smiling African Jerry

Jerry was tickled with the result. Even though it is a mighty warm 90 degrees here today, he put the wool cap on and walked out into the sun to face the day. Sweaty, but happy!

Dork with her mask

This is one of my favorite masks from Cameroon — home of the original nudu cap. I bought this from a vendor in Foumban — an artist colony. It is made of clay and I just love it. A happy memory of my brief time in that country.


P.S. If your comments aren’t showing up — the spam catcher is a bit crazy. Sorry about that! It is now fixed.

Posted in
Africa, CAOK, Domestic Art, Journal
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Our Daily Bread

March 15th

Each morning, I get up before the sun, run or swim for an hour, and then race off to the bagel shop for breakfast before work. I live in the suburbs and commute downtown. The stress of city traffic is less brutal when my stomach is happily digesting a generous dose of carbs. Plus, I can’t wave my arms angrily at cars cutting me off when I’m holding a warm cup of coffee – not to mention what a kinder person I am when caffeine is generously pumping through my system. Some friends regularly comment that my bagel habit is a waste of money. I look at it as an investment in my daily happiness.

This morning I sat in the sun enjoying my breakfast and sipping coffee, with my dog-eared copy of White Oleander cracked open on the table, when I thought how my bagel selection each morning reflects my mood.

Cinnamon raisin, toasted with peanut butter: I’m cranky. I need sweet and salt to start the day and if that peanut butter is crunchy – even better. I’m licking my fingers by the end, enjoying each raisin and feeling more prepared for the tasks at hand.

Sesame, toasted with hummus: I’m pensive. Something is bothering me and I need a bit of time to figure it out. As I eat my bagel and think of the day ahead, I pinch the fallen sesame seeds from the table, carefully returning them to my plate while carefully crafting my plan for the day.

Black olive rosemary with cheese and vegetables: I’m optimistic. I’m hungry for the day and happy with what I have. I love the bright colors and varied textures in this sandwich.

Everything, toasted with egg: I’m carefree. With each savory bite, I enjoy the salt and garlic, without a worry in mind. The sun on my back, a good book in my lap, a cup of steaming coffee in hand.
Life is good.

How do you celebrate the start of a new day?

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With Arms Outstretched

March 13th


Spring is in the air in Phoenix. The entire city smells of orange blossoms. Walking downtown at lunch, you are likely to see a gaggle of Spring break high schoolers in bright tank tops and coordinating flip flops stumble past a gaggle of office workers, mumbling under their breath and waving half-empty coffee cups, green with envy. Afternoon meetings are bumped to 2 pm and left early to make it home in time for long runs, time by the pool, grilled burgers on the bbq. The snow birds are packing their things and slowly returning to the Midwest. Freckles begin to emerge on softly tanned shoulders.

This is the time of year to celebrate being a Phoenician.

I feel a bit like this tree. Green, healthy, happy, stretching my arms to the sun and thanking nature for lovely weather and the promise of new beginnings.


Posted in
Flora and Fauna, Journal
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A Rosey View

March 12th

I didn’t get much cycling in this weekend, or swimming for that matter. I did, however, spend an hour or two at my favorite brewery, wash dishes at a soup kitchen, have lunch with girlfriends, enjoy 100 pages in a new novel I’m reading, and enjoy an ice cream cone in the sun after shopping the afternoon away with Alma. My bike may be dusty, but I’m not. It was a fantastically social weekend, with a few projects wrapped up in between outings.

Bedside organizer

February’s In Stitches project — check. I learned how to create pleats from this project, among other things. I split these in two and will be stuffing them with goodies and giving them away this month.

embroidery gift

A CAOK gift for an embroidery enthusiast I admire. Janet’s site is incredible. If you are an embroidery novice, you’ll truly appreciate her blog. She has a “stitch of the week” and I’ve learned quite a bit thanks to her patient tutorials.

scissors tied in

For example, this is my first time using blanket stitch. I used it around the little edges of this needle kit. I’m hoping my tension will get better with practice.

pink zebra pouch

A zebra bag for another girlfriend. Something about spring is making me love pink. I was never a “pink” girl growing up, but I am certainly celebrating all things rose these days. Pink. Pearls. Knitting. Sewing.
Good Lord. I’m becoming June Cleaver.


Posted in
CAOK, Domestic Art, In Stitches Sew Along, Journal
Comments (39)

Nightmare on Lemon Street

March 9th

Everything doesn’t always come up tulips around here. I intended to bake to my heart’s content yesterday — trying two new recipes. The bagel shop boys are now placing orders and wanted something lemon. I also wanted to try hot cross buns, a lenten staple, for my coworkers.
The lemon cake recipe I used called for placing the cake batter in a large cake pan, and then pouring an additional sauce over the batter before it went in the oven. I thought I could replicate this in cupcake and loaf pan form. The cupcakes were okay, while perhaps slightly undercooked. The yet the sauce bubbled up all over the pan and the oven. I shouldn’t have filled the cups so high. The loaf pan? Oy. Burnt on the top, gooey on the bottom, cooked in the middle. Now that takes some baking prowess, right?

nightmare on lemon street


lemon cake gone very wrong


burnt, undercooked and gooey

Ha! Cooked in the middle. What in the world?

It isn’t often I have to throw out an entire project and start from scratch, but yesterday was the day. I returned to a lemon recipe I know well — lemontime cookies. They came out great and were enjoyed this morning by the gang.

lemontime cookies

The hot cross buns came out great and were very much worth the effort. I had to start the recipe again after I realized the yeast I was using was best used “before 2004.” Obviously I don’t bake bread very often. {And with my bagel shop routine, my jeans wouldn’t fit if I added another ounce of bread to my diet.}

hot cross buns,
cu, cranberry
hot cross buns

What is it about warm bread that makes me so happy?

Posted in
Domestic Art, Recipes
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I Forgive You

March 8th

Okay LOST fans, tell me the Iraqi woman’s performance in this week’s episode wasn’t some of the best television you’ve ever watched? Plus, isn’t she gorgeous? That skin!
LOST, even without a single moment of Jack, you are still my favorite hour of television, without fail.


Posted in
Journal, Media
Comments (12)

Delicious Details

March 7th

green chile corn bread

The more I craft, the more I love the details — in packaging, tiny stitches, finding just the right button. My art is slowly but certainly changing from the “make lots of stuff quickly no matter how shoddy the results” to “make a few things and give each one 100%.” This shift comes from watching others tend to the details so, so well.
This bunny I received from Nicole during Backtack is a regular reminder to slow down, enjoy the process and take the extra time to make the project at hand just right. A few others who seem to work this way inherently are Colleen, Meg, and June. {I stare at their projects in Flickr — sometimes for hours — taking notes.}

soup bottled and ready to go

So when presented with the opportunity to make some “get well soon” soup for a girlfriend yesterday, I didn’t just rush off to the store to pick up a few supplies. I went through a dozen cookbooks to find a recipe I thought she would love. Then, I took a swing through the dollar store for the right containers. The dollar store and Big Lots are great places to find a pretty plate, bowl, jar, spool of ribbon, tissue paper, and other supplies on the cheap. I scooped up four of these lovely turquoise jars and a green plate. I love these shades together and thought the colors went nicely with the menu: white chicken chili and green chile cornbread.

white chili

White Chicken Chili:
6 (15 oz.) cans of great white northern beans
6 cups of cooked chicken, diced or shredded
2 tsp. cumin
5 cups chicken broth
2 medium onions, diced
2 (4 oz.) cans chopped green chilies
1 1/2 tsp. ground oregano
1/2 tsp. red or cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. pepper
24 oz. sour cream

{Yield: 10-12 servings}
Fill a large sauce pan with 6 cups of water. Place raw chicken in water and boil for 15-20 minutes. Take chicken out of water and place in a glass dish. Allow to cool and then dice/shred. To remaining water, add chicken bouillon (or if you like, throw this out and put in your 5 cups of chicken broth). Add diced onion. Boil in broth for 15 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients to pot, except sour cream; simmer one hour. Fold in sour cream before serving.

plate of bread

Green Chili Cornbread:
Easy! Buy a couple Jiffy cornbread boxes, add necessary ingredients and 2 (4 oz) cans of green chiles and follow directions on box. Voila — yummy, spicy bread.

soup with tag

While the bread was baking and the soup simmering, I took a few minutes to stamp some labels for the jars. It was a great way to spend a late afternoon.


Posted in
CAOK, Domestic Art, Journal, Recipes
Comments (31)


March 6th

Finny’s nickname for me — Donk — is a shortened version of Donkey. In 8th grade, my last name was misprinted as “Donky” in the school year book. {The idiots couldn’t even spell donkey right.} If I had been a bit more spunky, I would have adopted the new nickname in stride and laughed it off. I would have tailored my student council campaigns with the donkey motto and worn a top hat to show my allegiance to Abe Lincoln.
Instead, for the next five years of public schooling, I was taunted by classmates and embarrassed beyond belief. Not a day went by in junior high when some ever-so-creative classmate saw me in the hall and didn’t bray like an ass. Truly.
When I got to college and met Finny, and her husband Bubba, I made the silly mistake of revealing this nickname only to have my new college friends adopt it. However, when they said it, it didn’t bother me. Suddenly “Donk” became something I loved.

I’ll let Finny tell you the roots of her nickname.

rock buns

These are another platter of “catnip for men” as I’ve coined them — Jane’s rock buns. One of my favorite recipes to bake. These signal spring to me in many ways. The sweet fruit, the bright zesty flavor from the lemon, the salty crunch. I took this platter of goodies to the kitchen staff who worked on my fundraiser last week. They stretched food to cover an additional 200 people and did so with a smile. I was overwhelmingly impressed.


Posted in
Domestic Art, Journal, Recipes
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In Stitches: March

March 5th

Dear Finny,
I was thinking we’d rock the Amy Butler clutch for the March assignment. What do you think?


With or without the cute flower pin, I like this bag. Plus, it will totally work when I am on my way to work, but don’t want to haul my Timbukt2 bag into the bagel shop. Voila! I little clutch hidden within the work bag that I can easily grab to pay for my morning carb/coffee addiction. Yes, that would be a bag within a bag. Yes, I do have an obvious handbag addiction too.

March In Stitches Project

Theme: make it your own. Perhaps you don’t like to carry your pocketbook. You want a bag. Add a strap! Change up this pattern to meet your needs and add a little spring to your step with a sweet new bag for the warming weather. (Or for you southern hemisphere folks, the cooling weather.)
I’m thinking pink. I’m in a very pink mood. What is that all about?
Glad to hear your hooves are feeling better Finny. Soon enough we’ll be running together on vacay. Woo hoo!


P.S. Do you think we should explain the Finny/Donk nicknames at some point?

P.P.S. We’ve got to pick our random winner for February and mail her some goodies. Don’t forget to drop your project photos in the Flickr pool. Did you see how many awesome projects have been submitted? WOW!

Posted in
Domestic Art, In Stitches Sew Along, Journal, Uncategorized
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I’m No Ruler Magician Either

March 5th

Dear Fin,
Man, what were we thinking when we decided to organize this monthly In Stitches sewing project? I suppose I was thinking no month should have just 28 days, that’s what. I make procrastination look good, and in February’s 30th day (or March 2), I managed to finish the easy part — the eye mask.

CAOK for Judy

This is for my friend Judy, who similar to Rex, is also kicking cancer’s ass. She is finishing up with chemo this week and we are all rooting for quick recovery. I’m telling you, if anyone could ever make chemo look glamorous, it’s Judy. She wears beautiful silk pajamas and head scarves in the hospital. Has her room decorated with origami cranes. Reads with leisure and sips coffee while counting down the seconds until she gets to go home. To make the process a bit more bearable, I made her the eye mask. She also wanted a velcro pouch for her cell phone and keys. Viola.

velcro key and cell phone pouch

You’ll notice I took the same kindergarten-macaroni approach you did and threw on some buttons to meet my embellishment theme for the month. I actually love these little purple buttons and I think they add the appropriate amount of flare. The quilting was a bit tricky, but once I decided I didn’t care if the lines were exactly 1 inch apart, it came together nicely.

What didn’t come together at all was the bedside organizer. First off, how is it that I didn’t realize this pattern intended to make an organizer on both sides of the bed? HELLO! I do not need my sewing reminding me of the fact that no one has slept on the other side of the bed in quite some time. My grandparents? Yes. My boss? Yes. The men at the bagel shop who ask if I am ever getting married? Yes. My sewing projects — NO. So, I am in the process of cutting this project in two. I figure I’ll keep half and send half to my grandmother in Pennsylvania who also loves being single.

Where I got lost on the bedside organizer

Now, back to the project. See here in step 6 where it says line up the raw edges of the sides and bottom of the random pockets? I swear I cut these out to the right sizes, but obviously the sides don’t match up. Can anyone help me with this?

random pockets don't line up

I’ll post the March project today! Thank you for your patience and the fact that I am late, late, late with these lame results.


Posted in
Domestic Art, In Stitches Sew Along, Journal
Comments (21)