Punch Pizza is promoting the heck out of their new location in Stadium Village. I have gotten two free pizzas from them this month as part of their promos. Go, Punch! It doesn't hurt that they make tasty pizzas that are in and out of that 800 degree wood burning oven superfast.
Crafternoon today was full of lots of knitting, a fair amount of crocheting and a wee bit of quilting. Jill has been taken by the Lacy Baktus fever. Meg and Cyrus have been captured in the land of crocheted amigurumi with Cyrus crocheting a little poo and Meg a snail. Missy was upping her knitting skills while working on a wrapped stitch scarf. Jamie sewing on the last stretch of the binding on a quilt her mom sewed for Sylvia. My mom is nearing the end of her skein of oceanic looking ribbon yarn for her scarf, which she only works on during Crafternoons. Casey was sitting too far away for me to see what she was working on! What were you working on today, Casey? And, I was plugging away at my Bit by Bit Blanket. We were a very industrious bunch. I think this may have been the first Crafternoon where I actually made notable progress on my project. As people get more familiar with my house, I can start cutting down on my hostessing and increasing my time spent on crafting. It was also probably helpful that Tchazo spent the first part of Crafternoon at the dog park with Paul.
There is a giant flour mill in my neighborhood complete with the milling building, train tracks and cars and sets of giant grain silos. I've overheard out-of-towners talking about how ugly that stretch of Minneapolis is, but I think the mills are very picturesque. I like that some of them are still functioning and I like that they represent a significant part of the history of Minneapolis. Without flour milling this city would not be what it is today. I am grateful to have these larger than life towers as part of my every day landscape.
Way back in the day (7 years ago), before I had a digital camera, I did a little project for my own amusement. I had noticed that I was frequently seeing church signs that said the most ridiculous things on them. So, I took it upon myself to start photographing them. When we moved from the Midwest to the Boston area, this project went kaput. Church signs in New England take themselves very seriously. At that point I had gathered enough photos that we were able to make a display of them. We salvaged some old 6 paned windows. I sanded them down a bit. We hung a different print of a church sign in each pane and hung the whole thing on the wall. It made us laugh and it usually gave our observant guests a chuckle, too.
Fast forward to now. We have been amused by the photos for a number of years and are now ready for a change of pace. Last night we took the church sign photos off. We are working on some new plans for the windows, but until we actualize those plans, the windows are hanging on the wall as is.
Also, we ate pizza for dinner. Paul made it from scratch. He used the Olive Oil Dough recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. It was delicious. I love that bread book. Those were all very succinct sentences.
Happy Free Cone Day! Missy and I got our tasty freebies after work. We ate our cones while taking the long walk to the train. I have a feeling that this new path home is going to be a popular one during the nice weather months. It doesn't hurt that the route affords an easy detour to Depth of Field Yarns, which Missy and I took advantage of this evening.
Despite the cold morning on Saturday, Paul and I rode our bikes to the gardening expo in our neighborhood. That little bit of bikeriding made me feel greedy for more. I am looking forward to biking on some of the many trails that go through my area of Minneapolis: along the Mississippi River, along Minnehaha Creek, over Minnehaha Falls and many other ones that I have yet to discover. I didn't get to do much biking last year, so this year I plan to prioritize it a bit higher.
Today was all about working towards being the most responsible, sustainable homeowners we can be. The day started out with a visit to the Longfellow Sustainable Yards event. While we were there we got good information on gardening with native plants, minimizing water runoff on our property, tips for planting our boulevard, instructions on how to build our own rain barrel, ordered additional recycling bins, talked to a master gardener about our dirt patches/lawn and ate some cookies from the Seward Coop. I guess the cookies weren't so much for the house, but they were tasty!
After we got home we went to work on planning our vegetable garden spaces. We have big, big dreams this year. Our plans include a 24' x 11' in-ground garden, 4 garden boxes, various potted herbs, and two raised bed gardens. Phew! We are greedy and may be getting in over our heads for our first year of gardening in our home. I figure we are justified in dreaming big on this, the day of the spring equinox. There is a whole growing season stretched out ahead of us.
After that we had our home visit with our two energy specialists from the Center for Energy and Environment. The visit was arranged through the workshop that we attended last weekend. We learned more about how our home functions (hello furnace dampers!) and we received a lot of energy saving installations. One of our water heater pipes was insulated, we replaced our low-flow shower head with a lower-flow shower head, we replaced our recessed light bulbs with CFL bulbs and ...drum roll... we finally got a programmable thermostat! I have really been looking forward to that part. It is hard to remember to manually turn the heat up and down but it seems senseless to heat the house to the same temperature when we are not home or sleeping. The only drawback is that the new thermostat was installed in the one room of the house that we already painted. It is smaller than the old one and has left us with this unsightly exposed block of cream. There will be some paint touch-ups in the very near future.
This weekend marked the end of 3 weekends spent at homeowner workshops. We have learned a lot about our house and our community in the last few weeks. I am definitely feeling grateful for the community we live in and the accessible, relevant and plentiful learning opportunities provided by community members, organizations and businesses. I am also feeling totally saturated with new information! Plumbing, electrical, insulation, air sealing, water heating, condensation, soil pH, growing zones, pervious pavers...there is so much to know!
When I left work on Wednesday, I saw the bus pull away as I was stuck across the street from the stop. At the same time, it dawned on me how beautiful the weather was and how I was just starting my spring break weekend. All of those events combined prompted me to forego my usual bus-train-walk commute in favor of what turned out to be a 1.5 mile walk to the train, then taking the train a few stops and walking another .8 miles home. The walk felt really good, there were lots of people out celebrating St. Partick's Day and the weather was invigorating. I saw a lot of interesting sights along the way. Above is a view of downtown Minneapolis with the Weisman Museum in the left foreground and the Washington Ave bridge in the right foreground.
The shiny, shiny Weisman building from the pedestrian bridge.
Some appropriately green graffiti.
And, after the long walk home, we cracked open this bottle of wine and squeezed in a little lime. I sipped my wine and knitted on the porch while Paul made an inspired dinner including vegetarian meatballs, my dad's homemade BBQ sauce, peppers, onion and garlic all atop a frozen pizza.
Everything about today was awesome. I treated myself to a vacation day today and when I pair that with the spring break day my work gives tomorrow, I have a 4-day spring break weekend! The day started off with a hog pile in the bed. After everyone soaked up their snuggles, I was left to read my book for an hour or so before getting up to make breakfast.
Mother Nature was quite cooperative and provided me with an awesome day for being outdoors. Paul and I got a lot done including some yard work, prepping the bikes for the season, getting the grill up and running, organizing the garage, talking about our vegetable garden plans and setting out lawn furniture.
As long as the furniture was out, why not sit in it and enjoy a beer? I sat in the chair knitting for long enough that I think I may have gotten a little bit of a sunburn! In March! Amazing.
And, as long as the grill was ready, why not use it? Paul grilled an awesome dinner of steak (for him), portobella burger (for me), grilled veggies and garlic mashed potatoes.
All in all, it was an excellent use of a vacation day. And, I still have 3 more days off! Vacations and sun are both very good for the soul.
Gotta love free beer until somebody pees. Sign spotted on my long, meandering walk home. By the time I came upon it, somebody had already peed. Apparently the guy who peed got plastic cups thrown at him.
Once again it is becoming warm enough to knit while waiting for the train or bus. Hooray! The ability to knit while being outdoors helps me minimize the reduction of knitting productivity that I tend to experience in the summer. It is hard to sit still when the weather beckons me outside to walk, to garden and to soak in the sights, sounds and smells of a new season.
Today was absolutely beautiful, with a record high of 64 degrees! Jack and I took advantage of the day with a long walk to Minnehaha Falls. The falls were a popular destination and rightfully so. They were in a beautiful state between thawed and frozen.
The long walk really tired my old dog out. While we were on our walk, Paul and Tchazo were at the dog park. Everyone got their dose of fresh air and exercise today.
Fanny's dose of fresh air came from sitting in the open windows on our porch. She got her exercise jumping up and down and running from window to window, taking all of the sights and sounds of the outside in.
In addition to the time I spent outdoors today, I also fit in some baking and knitting time. I baked a peach, blackberry brown betty and worked on my Placed Cables sweater.
Aaaahhh. Despite the one hour time change, we still fit in lots and lots of things we enjoy doing this weekend.
Yesterday was a busy day. I went to an energy workshop in the morning, came home for a meal with Doug, ran errands, and then went to Missy's house for a party in the evening. I enjoyed every bit of the day, including the part where Doug made us a Japanese version of a breakfast burrito. I don't think he calls it a breakfast burrito but that is what it resembles in my mind. It consisted of the followings layers: brown rice, eggs with onions and garlic, steamed spinach, Bragg's, toasted sesame seeds and, if you are feeling daring, you can add sriracha sauce. All of the layers are rolled in a sheet of Nori. Tasty!
Most of the winter my neck is completely covered in scarves, cowls and turtlenecks. So, when the weather starts to warm up and some skin starts to be exposed, it is to the necklaces, bracelets and earrings I go. Last weekend I made this very bright, colorful and slightly clownish necklace and pair of earrings. With this color combination, I know better than to wear the necklace and earrings as a set, but man those colors make me happy!
As much as I enjoy my lunch dates during the week, sometimes it is nice to have a lunch date with myself and my knitting. Today I worked on my toe-up socks knit out of Blue Moon sock yarn in the color Loch Ness and listened to RadioLab podcast. It hit the spot.
My sister Jessy has recently been making mixed media art out of found objects. I went over to her place tonight to see her things in person. We had a critique session and a yummy dinner. Her art will be for sale soon, so I'll keep you posted. :)
Doug arrived back home from Japan tonight and is staying with us for a week or two while he is looking for a place of his own. We welcomed him back to Minneapolis with dinner and a bottle of wine. Let's just forget about the part where we neglected to pick him up from the airport. The huge time difference between the US and Japan makes for a confusing airline itinerary! The result was that we thought he wasn't getting in until Tuesday, but we were wrong. Oops! So, boo on us for leaving him at the airport, but props to him for time traveling.
Paul went outside and for some reason it required the full attention of all of the pets. Other than Paul going outside, many other things happened this weekend. Here is a short recounting of some important items from my to-do list that I accomplished this weekend:
My mother in law Joanne gave me a gift card to Needlework Unlimited for Christmas. I finally made my way across town and spent it today. After much browsing, deliberating, yarn fondling, phone calculator using and pondering, I settled on this skein of Noro Kureyon Sock, a black Knit Kit and the Winter/Spring 2010 issue of KnitScene.
Tonight was opening night of the Rowan 30th Anniversary Handknitting Exhibit at the Textile Center of Minnesota. Nancy Kleiber, of Westminster Fibers, was there to give a presentation. There were many garments on display and publications scattered around for perusal.
In addition to the garments that were part of with the exhibit, there were also Rowan sweaters being proudly worn by many of the knitters in attendance.
One interesting tidbit I learned from the presentation was that Kate Moss modeled for one of the Rowan magazines when she was 16! Apparently that issue is worth a pretty penny.
I'd call myself a maker. More specifically: a knitter, an urban gardener, a food preserver, a cook, a baker, a reader, an aspiring photographer, a budding sewist and an all-around dabbler.
I enjoy using this space to record the things I see, make, eat, and do. My aim is to capture and share with you much of what floats my boat. Chances are you are here because it floats your boat, too!
My husband and co-conspirator on the much linked to Mega Man hat. He is the house expert when it comes to all things with electrical cords/chargers and/or anything that requires configuring. When I first met Paul he was a smoker and a vegetarian. Now he is a non-smoker who enjoys making smoked meat in his BBQ. Paul recently dove headfirst into brewing beer and is quickly acquiring mad brewing skills. If you are really lucky, he will invite you to one of his Meat Meet Supper Club dinners or Beer Release parties.
Cast of Characters: Tchazo
Tchazo, our Weimaraner, was born 3 days before Paul and I had our first date. During our second date, Paul and I egged each other on about getting dogs. Eight weeks later, Tchazo became a part of our lives! At first I thought he was kind of a jerk because he kept punching me in the face (Tchazo, not Paul!) when I tried to be alpha dog. It turns he is a wonderful dog and puppies in general are cute jerks. Tchazo loves life, especially the parts that include eating, smelling, sunbathing, playing and cuddling on the bed. Also, he is smart and, if you come over, he will likely trick you into scratching his butt.
Cast of Characters: Fanny
Fanny is the most recent addition to our family, joining us in 2008. When we met Fanny at a shelter in Boston, we thought she was a small, adult cat. We were wrong. She must have been less than a year old, because when we brought her home and fed her, she kept getting bigger and bigger and fluffier and fluffier. The shelter named her Faneuil after Faneuil Hall, but we changed her name to Fanny. We think it makes for a lot of entertaining variations. I imagine some searchers who end up at my blog are not getting what they hoped for, given what “fanny” is slang for in a few countries. Our Fanny is a polydactyl cat with a fused or “super” claw. She has taught me that it is possible for cats to cackle, which you would be likely to hear if she spots a squirrel while you are here!
Cast of Characters: Jack
I adopted Jack at about the same time Paul bought Tchazo (see previous note about egging each other on), but since Tchazo was young and needed to stay with his mom for a few more weeks, Jack came into our house first. For a while, he HATED Tchazo but they eventually became 24-7 buddies. After nearly 11 years together, we had to put Jack down in May of 2013. Jack was a little crazy in the head, but we learned how to live with it. His favorite things included licking the floor, lying under the couch and gazing at me longingly. Jack was physically incapable of wagging his tail whilst being petted. I like to think it is because he was soaking up the love so intensely that it required his full concentration.