Monday, May 30, 2011

Wedding time approaches

Yall, I am a bad blogger.... I feel like I'm making this apology a lot lately, but I think this year I really did bite off more than I could chew.... When last we spoke, I was up to my eyeballs in Christmas and fixing coats for perfect strangers... oh, and planning a completely DIY wedding.... minor undertaking, right?
Well the coat eventually did get finished and Christmas came and went. And as I write this my wedding is... wait for it.... less than two weeks away!!! Anyone have a paper bag I can breath into??
Oh yeah, also in there, a few of my friends have gotten pregnant and I've committed myself to knitting some cuteness for the babies....
But first, a wedding update. The dress is finished (thank god for small favors)! I'm pretty well into the decorations and my mom will be here Thursday to rescue me from the pile of tulle and ribbon I'll probably be buried under by then.
A few projects have already been given the heave-ho (that adorable guestbook quilt idea? yeah, not happening....) And at this point, I'm somehow developing a zen outlook of "if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen," to the point where I'm even OK with it if the hubs-to-be and I can't manage to pick a song for our first dance. (BTW, we're still open to suggestions on that one.)
Anyway, This is my solemn promise that as soon as this wedding madness is over, you'll have my full, mostly undivided attention back. We can spend the summer discussing recipes, knitting (I'll still be working on the cuteness!), gardening, or whatever your little hearts desire, I promise!
Of course, that's all after some gratuitous wedding photos :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The saga of the coat....

A few months ago, I saw an ad on craigs list... someone in my area was looking to hire a seamstress to replace the lining on her coat.... I thought this was a great idea.... I figured it was an easy way to make a little extra money. I mean, I've replaced coat linings before. It's not hard.... you take out the old one, use it as your pattern, make the new one.... done...
This is not that type of project. For starters, this is a vintage coat where the lining started to deteriorate last winter, so the owner of the coat cut out the old liner and proceeded to wear the coat unlined. Which means there is no original liner to use as a template. Which means I'm working from measurements. No biggy... might take me a little longer, but not impossible... I told her to go buy some fabric and I'd do it. So she did. But she bought not one, but two types of fabric.... because she liked both. And could I somehow incorporate them both into the design? I'm trying... really I am... It's been interesting so far. But waaaaaaaaay more work than I anticipated.... add to that that the temperatures here are already plunging into the teens on a daily basis and I feel rushed to get this poor girl her coat back, and I'm feeling the stress. So I'm off to work on it.... again.
I'll post pictures, if I can ever get it finished....

Friday, December 3, 2010

Wedding cookies

So, I know that at this time of year, when people are thinking about cookies, they generally have Christmas in mind. But, I don't have time to think about Christmas cookies. Sadly, I looked at the calendar the other day and realized, holy crap! The wedding is in like, six months!!! Cue major freak out.
But anyway, the dessert issue was a big one for us. We struggled hard as far as what to serve, because neither one of us is very into cake... and really, I didn't see the need for spending hundreds of dollars on a cake neither of us wants. I'd been wanting to somehow contribute to the food but I don't really know how to bake a wedding cake....
We tossed around a few other ideas, but they all seemed too expensive/impractical, etc.... So. Then it hit us. We both love cookies. Cookies can be baked a few days ahead of time. So we're having a cookie table. We'll bake several different kinds, I can have a few friends help and we'll put them on a bunch of different platters and done. That's all.
So now I'm trying to decide what kind of cookies to make. Here's what I've come up with so far:
-My future mother-in-law has offered to make her mother's gingersnap recipe
-I'll be making Josh's favorite, peanut butter blossoms (those peanut butter cookies with a hershey kiss in the middle)
-I'll also be making my signature trail mix cookies (I posted the recipe for those a little over a year ago on here)
-Also, traditional chocolate chip cookies
-I have a really good sugar cookie recipe I'll probably make

So that's where I'm at so far... any other suggestions? The one thing I'm stuck on is that all of these are basic drop cookies.... and I was thinking it'd be nice to have some sort of cookie cutter cookie, maybe in the shape of wedding bells or something... but is that too cutesy and traditional wedding-y for what has basically been dubbed the un-wedding?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Green Christmas

First things first, the title of today's entry has absolutely nothing to do with a lack of snow on Christmas. On Friday, when so many people were breaking down the doors at Target and Walmart to get the best deals, I took my dog on a hike. That morning, I was checking my Twitter feed and I noticed posts from a couple of my favorite eco-friendly folks, @Treehugger and @Teecycle_org . Both were encouraging people to turn Black Friday into Buy Nothing Day. And I thought it was a great idea. I decided, why stop at Black Friday. I wanted to turn this into a greener Christmas, but making gifts for my family and friends instead of buying them.
Now, I'm not so unrealistic to think I can actually buy nothing all Christmas season... obviously I'd at least need to buy some supplies. And I did yesterday. But I'm hoping to use as many recycled objects as possible and buy as little as I possibly can this season. My biggest challenge, I think, is going to be my nieces and nephews. Not quite old enough to understand my decision, all they'll know is that Aunt Katie Didn't buy them the video game they asked for... so I'm racking my brain, trying to make sure the gift I choose to create is the best it can possibly be, so they won't even care. I'm still making plans, and still coming up with ideas... but I've got a few so far that will have me sewing for quite a while... But I'm really excited about the idea.... and any craft project ideas are welcome!
Anyone else crafting gifts this season? What are you making???

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cooking Adventures: Caprese Mac

So, the other night I had a brainstorm... and it led to what may be one of the best culinary inventions I've had so far... I took my favorite thing in the world, macaroni and cheese... and combined it with my favorite salad, caprese, and now I feel brilliant. Because, well, yum. Anyway, it's not really an exact recipe, but here's what I did... and you'll get the idea.

For starters, I made a roux in a saucepan by melting two tablespoons of butter and combining it with two tablespoons of flour. Then I added 1/2 a cup of milk and wisked until the roux dissolved into the milk. Then I added the cheese. You can add whatever you want, but i did about a 1/4 cup of mozzarella and then a few tablespoons of parmegiano reggiano and romano. The mozzarella is kind of non-negotiable because that's a key ingredient of caprese, but beyond that you can basically do what you want. I also seasoned with a pinch of salt. If you don't add the parmegiano reggiano, you'll probably need more salt. Then I added about four tablespoons of pesto. Jarred is fine, I guess. But I used the stuff I preserved over the summer. When I make pesto, I usually freeze it in ice cube trays and then put the cubes in a zipper bag in the freezer. It's perfect because each cube is about two tablespoons.
You should turn off the heat while you add the pesto. Too much heat can turn basil black and it looks a little gross. Toss the sauce with some cooked pasta. I used elbows, but just because I already had some cooked in the fridge. I think twisty pasta works well though, because it holds the sauce better.
The final touch is to chop up a seeded tomato and add that. I used the last of the fresh tomatoes from my garden. Just make sure to remove the seeds or the whole thing will end up too soupy. If tomatoes are not in season, you could always add a can of diced tomatoes, just make sure to drain off the juices first.
I don't have any pictures because, well, I ate it too fast. But trust me, this creates a delicious bowl of gooey goodness. The sauce has a creamy pale green color and a nice pop of brightness form the tomatoes. Soooo good.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The wedding boycott

So. Yesterday was a meltdown. I'm not going to deny it. But, sometimes meltdowns are needed in order to fix what's wrong and make things better.
Which is what happened yesterday.
I've been struggling hardcore with the expectations of what a wedding "should be" vs. what Josh and I want our wedding to be. People telling me I can't do certain things because it's not how things are done. And it was pissing me off. Like, acting like a five-year-old, digging in my heels, fine then we'll just elope kind of pissing me off.
And I don't wanna be pissed off like that. I don't want to elope. I want to celebrate with my family and friends. And Josh REALLY wants to celebrate with our family and friends. And I REALLY want Josh to have the wedding he deserves.
So. The meltdown. It was a good thing. Because after I came on here and had my little meltdown, I had a really good conversation with my future mother-in-law. She seems to really get what we're trying to accomplish with our wedding planning. And she said something that made me look at her like "wow, are you always this brilliant??"
She said we need to stop planning a "wedding" and instead, throw a party at which we'll get married. Brilliant, right? Because the word wedding has so many expectations that it's like, well if you're having a wedding, you need to do X, Y, and Z. But if you're throwing a party, you can pretty much do anything you want.
And cue weight lifting from my shoulders.
So we're boycotting weddings. We're throwing a party. And it's going to be amazing and fun and everything that our friends and family would expect from a party thrown by me and Josh.
And I'm breathing again.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I have ADD

Lately I can't focus on anything for very long. I've been going from project to project and can't settle my mind on anything. I started a painting. It's half finished. I knitted a pair of socks. These socks.

These are awesome socks. They're made from handpainted merino wool. And they feel amazing on your feet. And I intended to write a blog post about why I'll never buy socks again because of these socks. And then I got sidetracked. Again. I started a scarf. It's not done yet. I made a batch of homemade chicken soup.
I started dying curtains. I started dying fabric for various sewing projects. They're currently nothing more than scraps of fabric. I printed out tons of recipes and bought ingredients, which sat untouched for days. Finally, yesterday I baked a loaf of bread. I was so proud of myself, because if was the first time I've baked a loaf of bread not using my breadmaker. It's delicious. I used this recipe that I found on a blog from my local co-op. And it's probably going to be my go-to bread recipe from now on. It's soft enough to be sandwich bread. Honestly, I don't know how else to say it except yum. I mean, look at it. Just look.
I'm afraid this post won't be very useful to anyone. But I decided that to get beyond this stuckness, I just need to force myself to write. Every day. So I'm going to. I can't promise it'll always be entertaining. But I'll try. And we'll see where it goes.
On the wedding front, I'm basically boycotting. I did finish the sample version of the dress pattern. And I love it! (Sorry, no pictures yet.)
But in every other aspect, I'm boycotting everything and even rebelling against every decision that's been made so far. I thought about growing my own flowers. Except that in Wisconsin, that means I'd have to grow them indoors and it turns out that unless I can find someone to give me grow lights for free, buying them will cost me more than it would to buy the flowers wholesale.
It also turns out my bridal party is incomplete. A long story, but a huge blowup with one of my bridesmaids means there are now six groomsmen and only five bridesmaids.
We had settled months ago on the caterers we would hire, after I was talked out of cooking the food myself. But now I'm getting pissed off at that decision too. Why can't I cook the food myself? I mean really, I love to cook. What's wrong with cooking the food myself??? Honestly, I'm still hoping for eloping. But I know Josh really wants the party, and I don't want to take that away from him. But in the mean time, I feel like I'm not finalizing anything because I'm hoping I ultimately won't have to.
And I know I'm wasting time. Last week, my mom sent me a column she cut out of her local paper. Apparently one of the paper's columnists is getting married and she's documenting the planning process in her column. The one my mom sent was about how she just realized she only has eight months left and hasn't planned anything. I looked at the calendar, that clipping arrived right around the eight-month mark for my wedding. She's trying to tell me something. But I still can't commit. Like I said. ADD and stuckness. Sigh.