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

Give me a B! E! A! R!

October 17th

A phone conversation I had with my brother this week:

Cody: “I am totally stoked. I am going with a bunch of friends hunting and we got elk and bear tags.”

Me: “Bear tags? Like dog tags?”

Cody: “No, like we can kill a bear if we see one.”

Me: “Why, why?! Would you want to kill a bear?”

Cody: “Why not?”

Me: “Don’t give me the typical pro-hunting schtick. What could possibly make you want to kill a bear? And don’t say the meat either because no one wants to eat bear meat.”

Cody: “Because, you know. It will be a challenge. It will be cool.”

Me: “I’m rooting for the bear.”

Cody: “WHAT?! You can’t root for the bear! Do you want me to get eaten?”

Me: “Nope. But I don’t want the bear to get eaten either.”

Cody: “I can’t believe you are rooting for the bear.”

Me: “Go bears! It’s your birthday. We’re gonna party like it’s your birthday. Go bears!”

Cody: Click.

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Simple Baking

October 17th

pumpkin fall cake
pumpkin bundt edge
cinnamon glaze
pretty orange

Pumpkin bundt cake:
1 yellow cake mix (I like the new Splenda mixes with half the calories.)
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 cup water
1 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

Mix for 3-5 minutes, getting lots of air into the batter and stirring the pumpkin in throughly. Grease your bundt pan — I like the Pam baking spray. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour in pan and shake sides so the batter spreads evenly. Bake on the top rack of the oven for 35-40 minutes. Cake should be brown on top when removed and should remain in pan for five minutes to continue cooking. This cake will be moist (hate that word), and delicious –a yummy combo of pumpkin pie and spice cake. I added a cinnamon/powdered sugar glaze that was easy and added a kick of spice.


Posted in
Domestic Art, June Cleaver, Recipes
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Baby Shower Forecast: Raining Zebras

October 16th

packet of onesies

With baby shower invites in hand, purchase packages of onesies. These can be pre-printed onesies on clearance (ahem), or good old Gerber onesies.

supplies for onesie project

Print your favorite image on your laser printer on transfer canvas. Trim, seal color with a hot iron, prep onesie with a bit of T-shirt stabilizer.

zebra, pre-ribbon

Pin image over stabilizer on onesie. Carefully stitch around image with a new, brilliantly sharp needle.

African onesies, Zebra, wrapped and ready

Press again. Find coordinating ribbon. Tie and gift.

African onesies ready to be wrapped

Voila — African children’s wear and a creative, inexpensive shower gift idea.

Posted in
Africa, Domestic Art, June Cleaver, Tutorial
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Taking Action

October 15th

Enviro tools of the trade

Today is Blog Action Day where bloggers around the world are encouraged to post about the environment — one of my favorite topics to discuss. There are many ways I’ve modified my behavior in the last few years to be more green — like bringing my own grocery sacks to the store and my own cup to the coffee shop — and a few other changes I’ve only recently noticed that could be considered environmental.
Yesterday I met some friends for breakfast at a bagel shop 20 miles from my house. By riding my bike, I saved a gallon of gas round trip. I washed my car yesterday at the $.25 coin operated spot and literally ran like mad to make it happen within the initial 4-minute $1.25 time slot. I am also trying to consume and eat less, recognizing every little bit adds up.
Ultimately, what I think we need to remember is that we cannot shop ourselves green with new light bulbs or hybrid cars. We cannot eat ourselves thin with 100-calorie packs of crackers. We cannot pull ourselves out of financial ruin by shopping sales that “save.” Nice marketing ploys! If we make these choices because they fit in our budgeting, nutrition, environmental plans — that is another story. Simply, I think we can focus on using less and walking more — those two things alone will make us all healthier.
Crafting, the do-it-yourself movement, cooking at home and gardening are forms of domestic sustainability that work toward these two goals. One day, I will grow much of my own food, live on solar power, trade my car in for a mountain bike and live with the seasons.


Posted in
Good to Great, Journal, Recycle, Reduce, Reuse
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In Stitches Sept/Oct: Complete

October 12th

quilted end, pull tab

Mi querida Finny,
I am so glad we took two months to complete the September-October project for our In Stitches sew-along. Let’s be honest — this bag wasn’t easy. Thankfully so, because its complexity made me slow down, read the instructions more than once and learn new techniques.
I have never before followed Amy’s instructions with such precision. I bought masking tape, used a seam guide to make sure my 1/4 inch here and 1/2 inch there were in the right place and I even pressed the darn seams. I learned to quilt batting and how to make those cute little pull tabs for the zipper.
As I mentioned, I’d saved these fabrics for a handbag just for me. Rarely do I keep what I make because just like most other joys in my life, it isn’t so much about the end result as it is the journey. I truly loved sewing this bag. I found myself sneaking in 10 minutes here and 20 minutes there to work on it.

pink and brown inside too

That said, imagine my surprise when I decided to give it away. I am sending it off to a girlfriend today because I know she’d like it and use it. I won’t. I’m not sure why — I even like the odd shape. But I simply know it would be added to a growing stack of cloth handbags in my closet and what a waste that would be.

Sept-October project complete

So, it’s been wrapped up and shipped off to a girlfriend who I know also enjoys all things pink and has a penchant for purses.

On to other more pressing topics, while I have your ear. How is the shin meat? Are you ready for your big race this weekend? I hope you are sitting on your couch eating a bowl of mashed potatoes for breakfast and giving your hammies a much needed rest.
Fin, like I am certain the sky is blue and chocolate is worthy of the calories, I know you are going to rock this race. I only wish I was there to cheer for you in person. Good luck, my friend!


Posted in
CAOK, Domestic Art, In Stitches Sew Along
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Bootstrap Kinda Week

October 9th

Ever have one of those weeks where you know you just have to dig in, shut up and get to work? Last week of tri training and I’m getting tired and honestly, a little bored. Work stress has my skin looking like I’m in high school, and this morning I found myself staring at a clump of hair that had fallen out in the shower. Fabulous.

Never a fan of wallowing, I realize it’s time to tie a ribbon in my pony tail, slap on some lip gloss and grab a cup of espresso. Life is too short to spend even one day sitting around feeling sorry for myself. I refuse.

Today, I’m celebrating:

~ Cooling temperatures and long sleeve shirts on morning bike rides
~ Pumpkin everything. Pumpkin bagels, lattes and my new favorite dessert: non-fat vanilla yogurt mixed with a 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree with a dash of cinnamon. Giddyup.
~ Having time to knit and challenging myself to learn new techniques. This week — intarsia. Any suggestions?
~ New music, namely Imogen Heap, Modest Mouse and Jay-Z Unplugged. My hips shake even when I’m sitting at my desk — although I don’t recommend listening to Jay at work. More than once I’ve been red faced when a coworker has come into my office just as my rap music begins describing women crassly.
~ Friends with lots of ambition who inspire me to be better every day
~ Seeing a cute new boy in the pool and then proceeding to kick his butt in the workout. I’m competitive to a fault.

Here’s hoping all of us who are struggling at the moment take a second to remember that we are in control of our happiness and life is just a matter of attitude. Ain’t nobody going to get me down… oh no, I’ve got to keep on movin’.


P.S. Sounds like many of you either avoided your reunion or attended and also had an odd experience. I guess it was such a strange night because I loved high school. I was a dork, but I loved studying, being involved, etc. I knew lots of people at the reunion and was expecting we’d all just pick up where we left off. Instead, each conversation seemed to entail shoveling through superficial baloney for 10 minutes before I got to what they were really doing and how they were feeling. Then I found myself uncharacteristically shy about what I was doing. It was a bit taxing and I’m sure would have been more tolerable if I’d been drinking. Alas, the Margarita Maven is on the wagon until I cross the tri finish line.

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Reunion Remix

October 8th

the zebra shoes

The reunion was fun and strange. What an odd mix of emotions I wasn’t expecting! Needless to say, the new shoes made it worth attending.
Running this morning felt entirely different too. I didn’t have that little superficial voice in the back of my head growling, “Faster! You have reunion pants to fit into!” They fit fine, temporarily quieting my internal critic. Otherwise, I’m rather happy I’m not booking another trip down memory lane for 10 years.

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Patchwork Progress

October 5th

planning it all out
in stitches planning
my patchwork

Project: In Stitches September/October — assignment patchwork purse.
Tools required: a stack of pink and brown fat quarters, a sharp rotary cutter and a large dose of patience.
Result: Soon enough, a new Fall bag.


Posted in
Domestic Art, In Stitches Sew Along, June Cleaver
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Giddyup in Your Skinny Pants

October 4th


You know that pair of pants that haven’t fit for a while, but you can’t bring yourself to throw them away? They are your skinny pants, the ones you’ve been thinking about getting back into, and on some over-confident days, you pull them out of the closet and consider wrangling them up over your hips?
On super confident days, you pull them on, suck in your gut and measure your improvement in the dietary department. Well, today I have a pair of those pants on. They don’t fit perfectly and are a bit tight in the thigh region, but they fit around my waist and by golly, I’m pleased.
Chalk one up to all that darn tri training! Yippee. Training is going very well, I am happy to report. No recent bike crashes, and I managed to change a flat last night all by myself. This is a huge accomplishment because my instinct in the past has been to throw the suspect wheel in the trunk and drive to the local bike shop for a $14 fix. The tube only costs $3, so it is much smarter financially (not to mention the fact I’ll have to change it on my own should something happen during the race) to suck it up and do the chore myself. Thankfully this weekend my friend JT walked me through changing tires. The timing was perfect.
I’ve got two more weeks of hard training, plus a lengthy ride this weekend, and then a week of rest before the big race. I was talking to my mom this morning about the pleasure of surprising yourself with newfound strength. I’m no dummy — I figured I’d get stronger through all the biking, swimming, running, weights, pilates, blah blah blah. Yet all the same, one day recently I woke up and realized — dude! I’m in shape. I can do this. I’m consistently cycling 60-plus miles, running 20-plus miles and swimming 3-plus miles every week. Thursdays are my brick workouts — where these all get stacked. I figured out over breakfast and essentially I finished a sprint triathlon this morning before the sun came up. Yep, I’m officially wacky.
I am going to rock 70.3 miles. I can’t wait.
Thank you for all the sweet emails and cheering you’ve done along the way. This is going to be a ton of fun and I can’t wait to pick out the next race (and potentially, and upgraded bike. Don’t tell Ruby. The moody bitch will more than likely pitch me again if she finds out.)

Later gators!

Posted in
Good to Great, Journal, Triathlon
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Nudu, by Order

October 2nd

Remember that crazy African nudu cap I made for my friend Jerry? Yep, the replica of the hat worn by Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top fame. That hat.
Well, would you guess that hundreds of people each month stop by this site looking for a nudu cap of their own? So say my stats, anyway. I know, it is hard to believe.
That said, I had a fancy movie director in New York City (get a rope) ask me to make him a hat a couple months ago. At first, I balked. I haven’t ever done work by order before and I remember how long this hat took.
Then he said he’d pay me $250. Sold.

Nudu nubs

If you’re stopping by to see a Nudu cap and how you can have one — shoot me an email and we’ll talk. The going price is $200 and the wait is 2 months. It is entirely hand knit and sewn and it takes that long. africankelli at gmail dot com

P.S. This little project just bought my reunion jeans and shoes!

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Domestic Art
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