Breaker, Breaker: Over and Out!


The pantry is officially reorganized and clutter free. (Before photo here.) I love my new canisters and the red and white gingham liner paper. I also love the baking basket I put together with the things I use most often:Baking Basket

Pantry, AFTER

I filled the picnic basket with cookbooks I rarely use, got rid of jars that needed recycling and reorganized my canning supplies for early summer jam. My CRAFT along 09′ April project is officially complete.

What’s not complete? I have a pot of potatoes on the stove, a bundt pan full of cake batter in the fridge and a raw casserole full of some concoction I am supposed to bring to church tomorrow for brunch after service. Apparently, just as I decided to start cooking this afternoon, one of my breakers went on vacation. Could be because of recent rain, could be just bad luck. Either way, I’m without hot water, have a dryer full of wet clothes that will have to be re-laundered eventually and a fridge full of food I’m hoping won’t spoil before I can hire an electrician Monday morning (coincidentally the same morning I have the largest grant of the year due).

In a not-so-brilliant moment, I went outside in Nancy Drew mode to find and fix this problem myself. I stepped into a puddle, in the dark, and tried to dry off the breaker when I felt a jolt travel up my arm and make my fingers (and heart) jump. The emergency electrician wanted $350 (before parts) to help tonight. I opted for a cold shower and candlelight instead. Maybe just maybe I will wiggle my way into church an hour early and bake away in the kitchen unnoticed. I’ll certainly need resourcefulness and a dash of favor to pull this Easter off with any grace and not arrive empty-handed for a full-dance card’s day worth of celebrations.

Hoping your Easter weekend is passing a bit more gracefully,


Laughing through the Chaos

If the world was invaded by martians, I’d be the one laughing hysterically. Apparently having too much to do gives me the giggles. Today when work email was threatening to get up and walk off,  looking for more attention from another owner, I sat back and laughed. And with my current voice — think emphysema meets pollen — I sounded a bit like a hoarse blues singer with a case of lunacy.

There are some things I can manage and others I cannot.  Being kind to my neighbor vs. world peace, for example. The pantry? Oh, I can completely master this. As part of the CRAFT 09 along, this baby will be reorganized.  I’m thinking message/grocery board, new canisters, purging cookbooks and getting rid of all those dang jars. Here is the disturbing before photo:

Pantry -- BEFORE

How was I able to take such a shot from such a tiny room? Sitting on the dryer of course:

Sitting on the dryer

Hope your week is going well!



Best Bunny

I’d like to say I accomplished even 1/4 of my list this weekend. Instead, I found myself curled up with Benadryl and a mug of tea, cursing the rain of golden pollen falling from the spring sky. Just last week I thought, “How charming! The palo verde flowers gather in the gutters like little pots of gold.” In truth — the desert is never more beautiful than the spring. The saguaro blossoms will soon burst with silky white flowers. The prickly pear and other cactus are in full celebration of the season, with fuchsia buds dripping from olive green limbs. The mesquite are afire in sprays of orange.

I’d be happier if my body wasn’t fighting this change of season, but what can you do? I caught up with Netflix, my mail and read gobs of magazines this weekend.  In the meantime, the roommate worked in the garden for me — planting basil, tomatillos, lavender and squash. We’ve got quite the little hippie plot growing these days. (It is nice to have someone remember to water when I get home from work and want instead to crash on the couch with chardonnay. Perhaps we should be growing grapes?)

I did get a bit of sewing done; I’d planned to make these Best Bunnies for a bunch of wee ones in my life, but after conquering just one — that’s enough. I’ve got to return to a healthy balance of work/play/rest. This week, rest is winning.


CRAFT 2009: March Showers Bring April Flowers



Dear Finberg,

It could just be that I love food or am hungry this morning, but these are our winners of the March CRAFT along. Brava to Ms. Beauty School Dropout for her lovely coasters. And of course, Ms. Snappy worked the pizza. How good does that look right now? Oh man, I should have had pizza for breakfast.

Ladies –I’ll be sending you a small prize this week. Congrats! Fin, are you so proud of the projects coming out of this craft-along? I have been looking at the photo pool and am in awe of the creativity. Such fun!

Keeping that in mind, I’ve got a bit of a twist for the April project. My pantry is an organized mess, if that makes any sense. I know where everything is, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t use some serious attention. Also, I could really use more space and some shelf lining. So, when I saw this craft post about pantry organization I knew what our April project would be. Take a before and after pic of your pantry and explain how the improvements you’ve made make your space more useful. Paint? Add fabric? Label jars? Go wild! It is up to you. I know I have to sort through the cookbooks and Cooks Illustrated first and pare down the number of jars hanging around from the Jars of Renewal project. Oy, my pantry looks like a hippie recycling center most days.

What do you think Finny? Are you up for the challenge? Goodness knows you are always cooking up something delicious and it seems the garden is going to providing even more motivation for kitchen time. And for those interested in a bit of crafty stuff too, a couple secondary/seasonal projects for those of us prepping Easter baskets:

Best Bunnies

and Felt Pouches. (While these are cupcake-themed, I’m thinking tulips instead.)

I do love putting together themed gifts…

Hope you don’t think I’m going too overboard with projects this month, Fin. I’ve got lots I want to do and have been so consumed with work lately, it will be great to make the time for these!


CRAFT-Along: Best Pizza Ever

Dear Fin,

Guess who returned Friday? The Malawian/Aussie golfer roomie — Matt. He’s back to make another go of the professional golfing world in Arizona and now I have someone to cook for on a regular basis. {His family took care of me on the tea estate in Malawi last summer. They are some of the nicest people I’ve met. It is a pleasure to return the favor by hosting their son.}

Imagine my delight when I made our March CRAFT-Along pizza crust project last night and he said, “This is some of the best pizza ever.” Giddyup!

Whole Wheat Chicken & Veggie Pizza

Whole Wheat Chicken & Veggie Pizza

Whole Wheat Chicken & Veggie Pizza

I did modify the recipe a bit by making the dough whole wheat. I’d never made pizza dough before, so we also had to take a quick trip through Target to get a pizza tray. With some rosemary from a friend’s garden, chicken and heaps of veggies — we ate like kings. This recipe is just too easy and I’m certain I’ll be making it again this week. I’m thinking artichokes, mushrooms, black olives and spicy red peppers.

Whole Wheat Chicken & Veggie Pizza

Whole Wheat Chicken & Veggie Pizza

Whole Wheat Chicken & Veggie Pizza

Whole Wheat Chicken & Veggie Pizza

Whole Wheat Chicken & Veggie Pizza

Great choice Fin! (Although I still need to learn how to throw a pizza crust. Any suggestions?)


February CRAFT-Along {aka: Extension please!}

Dear Finny,

I am writing with some embarrassment. Due to unforeseen circumstances (me being busy with other things– tomatoes, namely), I didn’t get both projects done for February. I did manage last night to finish my wall-pocket experiment:

Wall Pocket

This was created for Baby Eloise’s nursery. She is to be born any day now and her French nursery is very red/white/black. I thought this would be a handy way to store diaper supplies next to the changing table. While the original February Craft idea came from lovely London Purple’s project, I used a modified version I found in Seams to Me.

Seams to Me Wall Pocket

For Eloise

Wall Pockets

And then I started cranking on the basket project. Just as you envisioned, I love it! The use of scraps, the coiling, the beautiful results within minutes of starting. However, I wish I’d paid more attention when buying the clothesline because I ended up with 1/4″ line, which means this is going to take a very long time. The result, I hope, will be beautiful. But I’m not reaching the finish line anytime soon with this baby bee basket. And so, I ask for wee bit more time…

Will be a basket

Sewing and coiling and sewing

Bzzzzz basket

Any ideas what you’ve got up your sleeve for the March CRAFT Along projects?