Hippie Leafy Button Scarf

why do you look so bummed, faux fur girl

Why do you look so bummed out, faux fur girl? Is that because you are wrapped in scratchy fake animal skin?

book for fin and donk sewing adventure

You should cheer up. You are the first model featured in this fabulous sewing book — you know, the book we’ve selected for our 2008 Finny and Donk Sewing Adventure.

Project #1

That’s right! The button scarf is our first project. Good thing too, because I cannot for the life of me get my buttonhole maker to work on my machine and this gives me the perfect opportunity to learn how to do it by hand.

embroidered leaf

When I was searching this weekend for a pretty set of fabrics for this fun project, I came upon a giant bolt of silk with this gorgeous green leaf pattern. I wasn’t sure it would work, but when paired with chocolate brown corduroy, I fell head over heels.

wood toggle button

I embroidered one of the leaves, added a toggle button and pulled out my new labels. R. Draper Label company in Australia is so fantastic. I placed an order with them in November, which arrived promptly.

New fabulous labels

Then two weeks ago I received another order. I contacted them about this and told them there had been a mistake — I received another set of labels without paying for them. I liked them and was willing to send the cash. They said there had been a mistake made when they created the first set and they didn’t want to throw these away. They were a gift. Love you R. Draper. Thank you!

leafy wrap

Voila — button scarf completed. I made two and have great plans for them.

casual saturday afternoon

One is off to a charity auction, the other is being sent to a hippie friend who had a birthday quickly approaching. And yes, faux fur girl, I’d be bummed too if I was was wrapped in synthetics when I could have had leafy silk.


Not Another Place Mat, Please

My new domestic dream: sewing clothes.

It was bound to happen, but I’m bored with my sewing. All the latest sewing books seem to rely so heavily on pillows, place mats, handbags, aprons and throws. Okay — I get it. They are simple and fun, but jeepers. How many pillow cases does one girl need? {How about one?}

So, my domestic resolution for 2008 is to learn the tricks and trade of clothing sewing. I know it is a different beast all together than the myriads of purses I’ve slapped together over the years. I’ve only ever sewn one garment, my Barcelona skirt, and it is two sizes too big even after I eat a heavy-carb breakfast. In other words, darts? No so sure how to do those.

Minus the hat, I love that dress

You seamstresses out there — are there any books you recommend that cover the basics of clothing sewing? I am going to tackle the lovely Anna Tunic first with a cheapy cotton print from JoAnn’s, but I have dreams of wearing one of these lovely prints for Easter.

I’d love any advice you’ve got.

Le Sac

KatyRenee tagged me for “Inside your bag.” During the week I carry a work bag, no purse. Not so interesting, eh? On the weekends, I carry a bag large enough just for the essentials: camera, wallet, phone, lip gloss.
Since we are mid-week — the work bag, which as usual, is not handmade because I’ll be darned if I can make one strong enough for the weekday beating:

what's in your bag?

This week’s work horse, an Isaac Mizrahi Tarjay special from a few years ago.

what's in your bag?

Moleskin, agenda with mail shooting out, check book, address book, tiny recycled Prada pouch for lip gloss and sweets, wallet I’ve been using for 10 years, Blackberry, iPod.

what's in your bag?

Nalgene and ample reading material: Arizona Highways to plan weekend hikes; NYT Sunday Magazine, because it is my very favorite thing to read each week; latest novel.

In turn, I’d like to see inside the purses of TasterSpoon, Rhonda and Ellen. Tag!

Heads and Tails


I’m cleaning up my email and desk and have a few loose ends to tie up:

1. My Mom’s Mexican Meatloaf Recipe

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 beef bullion cubes
15 ounces of ground turkey
4 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chopped bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon chili pepper
Dash of pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a 9″ skillet, heat oil over medium heat, add onions, peppers, garlic and bullion cubes. Saute until onions are translucent. Mix in turkey, veggies and all remaining ingredients (minus tomato sauce). Transfer to a large bowl and shape into a loaf. Top with tomato sauce. Cook in a 8″ square pan for 45 minutes, or a loaf pan for 12 minutes. Enjoy!

Notes: I browned the turkey first to cook off the fat and then boiled the meat in beer for 10 minutes. It gave the entire dish a kick and used up some left-over beer from bread baking that would have otherwise gone down the drain.

giraffe pattern

2. Dude. I had a letter to the editor published in the Sunday New York Times. Schweet! It was in response to this Op/Ed piece.

full zebra,

3. Faux fur for the January/February Finn and Donk Sewing Adventure project? Oy vey. Tell me someone else is not using faux fur. I’m thinking a chunky knit. Yes, that means I’ll be knitting a sewing project, but I just can’t imagine fake or real fur, for that matter, in Arizona.

zebra pattern, close up

Kinda glad I didn’t wear these shoes when I was photographing this sweet striped beauty. And don’t ask me to explain why these are okay and faux fur isn’t.

4. Do you have a Foreman grill, or something comparable? I’m considering splurging on the Griddler, but would love some recommendations. What do you use? I can’t use an outside bbq.


God Bless Crazy Wealthy People

Ready for her first ride

Sunday afternoon I took my friend Caitlin for her first horseback ride. I’d given her a gift certificate for her sixth birthday in November and planned on giving her photos of the outing (and maybe a printed t-shirt) for Christmas. Rainy weather kept us from cashing in the gift until today — and I’m pretty sure I had more fun than she did.

Caitlin and her first horseback ride

Why? Because half-way through her lesson, I noticed two African beauties on the other side of the property. Apparently there is some crazy wealth in Chandler because I spent the rest of the afternoon making googly eyes and these beauties.

What else is there on the horse property?
Yep, me and a giraffe. In Arizona. I love crazy wealthy people.
She wouldn't fit in my pocket
Sweetest creature on earth
Pretty sure she's a Kate Spade fan

One day, I want to have crazy, silly money and look at my husband and say, “Christmas? I want giraffe. And zebra. And donkeys and camels.” I’m pretty sure that’s what went down at this house recently and Noah showed up with an arc and delivered. Seriously, where does one even go to buy a giraffe? I didn’t know this was an option. And they may need a restraining order because I’m pretty sure I’m going to start showing up regularly with food and more photo equipment for my new African friends.


12~12: January

Yesterday, in 12 photos:

January 2007 025

Blurry morning

January 2007 027

Catch up with podcasts on a much needed canal run

January 2007 031

Off to breakfast, ready for the day

January 2007 032

Steel cut oatmeal, cottage cheese, ice tea

January 2007 034

Home to bake for the day’s parties

January 2007 036

Working, blogging, writing, waiting on the oven

January 2007 040

A sunny cake for a solar panel party (I love that my friends celebrate being green, even when it costs $30,000 to make such a move. Ouch.)

January 2007 041

Cream cheese cupcakes for a Packers’ party (They won. Maybe I’m on to something here?)

January 2007 047

Parties celebrated, off to Teakwoods for a drink and nachos before bowling league

January 2007 058

Adam’s new Homie ball

January 2007 048

Lanes of humiliation — I regularly bowl 60 or so. D’oh!

January 2007 052

Three games and too many gutter balls later, we beat the other team and called it a night.


Afghans, and I’m Not Talking Crochet

Live in Phoenix? Like great ethnic food? May I recommend one of my new favorite finds: The Kabab Palace. It is the only Afghan restaurant in Phoenix and the food is excellent. I expected to walk into a fast food pita place and instead sat down to linens and ate a $10 lunch buffet on China. It was surprisingly luxurious and the staff was very attentive. I normally don’t eat a huge lunch or rave about buffets, but this place is worthy of all the praise I can give it. There was grilled chicken, lamb and beef, many types of stewed and curried vegetables. There was sweet rice or seasoned long-grain rice. We had baby pumpkin served in a yogurt sauce for dessert. Fabulous. I can’t wait to come up for another reason to go!
Afterward, I saw Kite Runner, to complete the Afghani-themed day. Excellent movie and they honored the author’s voice well. Four out of five stars, absoloodle.


Look Ma!

Community Dinner #1

Last night’s community dinner was fun, and inspired by my mama. I used her recipes and the new kitchen tools she gave me for Christmas. We had my mom’s Mexican Meatloaf (which I doubled, and oops — only used 1/2 the amount of breadcrumbs I should have. It was more like Mexican Soupy Meatloaf.), fresh baked bread, salad and crispy oatmeal cookies. The cookies and the bread recipes are in the January/February issue of Cooks Illustrated. Both great recipes, although I will cook the bread a bit longer and add cinnamon and raisins to the cookies next time.

Mom's Mexican Meatloaf

Mexican Meatloaf is yummy. The trick is to add a dash of cayenne. I also cooked the ground turkey (healthier) in beer beforehand to give it a bit of a kick. I think my spice register is off because everyone said this was a bit too hot.

Loving my new dutch oven

I put my pretty turquoise Marty Dutch oven to use baking No Knead Bread 2.0.

warm, fresh out of the oven

This time I added sesame, poppy and flax seeds to the top to give it a bit more.

No knead, 2.0

Next time, I want to try the walnut and cranberry version.

playing with my new kitchen toys -- scoop!

I had a chance to use another new kitchen toy last night too — this scoop. It really does make baking cookies much easier. They are all the same size, so voila — they cook equally.

crispy oatmeal cookies

I’d love to have a photo of the finished product, but they were either eaten or packaged up for the road before I had a chance. Next time!

If I haven’t mentioned it this week, Cooks Illustrated is my new favorite reading material. I love this magazine. My friend John bought me a subscription to Bon Appetite for Christmas and I have two pretty new issues waiting to be read this weekend too. I am going to use these weekly community dinners to try new recipes and techniques. Worst case scenario, there is a great pizza place on the corner.