on the needles

Not exactly, at least not yet.  What I do have, however, are two skeins of yummy Manos de Uruguay yarn in Adobe already wound and ready to go. 

This yarn is simply gorgeous.  The silk and merino blend is so soft to the touch.  It's going to make for a warm and pretty Eleanor cowl from the Knitty Deep Fall 2010 issue for my sweet mom.  She and my dad are coming for their second visit this year (mostly to raid my persimmon tree).  Soon.  Like in a couple of weeks.  And that means I have a quick deadline.  I told you my November was going to be crazy!

Did I mention that this yarn is just gorgeous?  I'm almost tempted to keep it for myself when I'm done.  Of course I would never do that.  I'll just have to knit one for myself in another colorway, perhaps Moss.

I'm hoping to cast on before the end of the week and post and update this time next week!


hello november

Was that a bullet train or October just speeding by?  I'm through the roof excited that it's November.  So much good stuff coming up this month.  Napa, Tahoe, parents visiting, Thanksgiving. It's going to be a good kind of crazy.

And I'm finally going to do a challenge I've been meaning to do for a couple of months now: 30 for 30.   I read about it here.  The concept is to choose 30 pieces of clothing (including shoes) then mix and match those pieces for 30 days.  Love.  This.  Idea.  And to make it more challenging: absolutely NO SHOPPING!

Part of the reason I'm doing this is to help me simplify my life.  I get caught up in the material things of life instead of focusing on what's real. 

Want to join me in this challenge?


on the menu

Happy Halloween! This year I gave up giving out candy because with commuting we just don't get home early enough.  By the time we normally get home it's just the teenagers who scare the living you know what out of me.  The upside: no candy!

No, this is not our lunch for the week (although this would more than make up for not having any Halloween candy!).  It was supposed to be for a potluck at Jay's work, but he conveniently "forgot".  This is my go to dessert because it easy and simple.

Rum Cake
1 cup chopped pecans
1 package Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
1 package French Vanilla instant pudding
4 eggs
1/2 C dark rum
1/2 C oil
1/2 C water

1/4 C butter
1 C sugar
1/4 C water
1/2 C dark rum

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter and flour bundt pan.  Sprinkle nuts in bottom of pan.  Mix remaining ingredient will.  Pour into pan over nuts.  Bake for one hour.  Cool inverted onto serving plate. 

For glaze, melt butter on low, then stir in sugar and water.  Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in rum.  Cool the glaze slightly then drizzle evenly over top and sides.


friday faves | a little bit of this, a little bit of that

TGIF!  It's been a good week except for this cold I seem to have developed.  Oodles of awesome stuff this week, from paper crafting to knitting, and everything in between.

Who doesn't love a garland (or two)?  Especially with the holiday season creeping up on us.  A Beautiful Mess features several fun ideas.

This DIY tutorial for a bag using u-shaped handles was too cute to not share.

Perfect for fall and winter, this cowl will be keep you very cozy.

It's still fall so I'm still obsessed with pumpkin, but only if it is paired with chocolate.  Here, instead of chocolate chips, it's a chocolate pumpkin cupcake.  Yum!

And my sweet tooth just can't let this one go, just too divine.

Looking forward to the weekend and crossing my fingers I won't spend it in bed sick.  Have a great weekend!


a to z

I've feeling a bit under the weather today.  I woke up with a sore throat and I haven't quite shaken it off.  I'm hoping it's nothing and that it will run it's course quickly.  (Of course, I had planned on getting my flu shot over the weekend, looks like it may be a no go.)  So I'm sitting here resting with the pups and my honey and calamansi tea.

I've been seeing this meme around lately and it seemed like a lot of fun.  So here goes.

A.  Age: 38

B.  Bed size: King

C.  Chore that you hate: toss up between vacuuming and everything related to laundry

D.  Dogs: 2 chihuahuas, Max & Sparky

E.  Essential start to your day: whole wheat toast & peanut butter or steel cut oats and a cup of coffee

F.  Favorite color: changes with the season, right now it is eggplant

G.  Gold or Silver: both

I.  Instruments you play: ukulele (at least I'm trying to) and piano

J.  Job title: Peon

K.  Kids: do my dogs count?

L.  Live: San Francisco Bay Area

M.  Mother’s name: Premia

N.  Nicknames: Char

O.  Overnight hospital stays: 1

P.  Pet peeves: people talking on their cell phones in public

Q.  Quote from a movie: (crickets)

R.  Right or left handed: righty

S.  Siblings: only child (and no, I'm not spoiled!)

U.  Underwear: of course! (shudder)

V.  Vegetable you hate: I'm an equal opportunity vegetable eater

W.  What makes you run late: snoozing and little doggie accidents

X.  X-Rays you’ve had: way to many to count

Y.  Yummy food that you make: linguine & clam, garlic fries, rum cake

Z.  Zoo animal: um, IDK, giraffe?  lol

What's your A to Z?



Evidence that my scrapping mojo has so graciously made an appearance.  And I'm so deliriously happy.  (Please excuse the state of my scrap table.)

The past couple weeks or so I've been happily making some headway (finally) on the mini book of my niece, Ms. H.  I've been working with an older Cocoa Daisy kit that contained lots of pinks and blues. Fun mix of stuff for a little girl.  I pre-made the first five of so pages, but I ran into a bit of a problem: 4 x 6 photos are not ideal for an 5 x 7 mini book. I've made adjustments and it's coming along really well.  You can see a couple of the pages in the picture. I am hoping to order a couple more pictures before the weekend.


one the menu

Since my weekends are consumed with cooking our lunches and dinners for the week I thought it would be fun to share my weekly cooking endeavours both good and bad.  That and I'm still suffering from a bad case of unabletowriteintellibly syndrome.

While Jay and I have our own tried and true favorite recipes, I also like to try out new recipes.  I was inspired by a conversation with a friend about Fall and crock pot cooking, about how Fall inspires stews, soups, and gumbo.  I found a crock pot recipe for gumbo here, but after reading through the comments I knew I had to make a few changes.  One substitution I made was using fresh tomatoes instead tomato juice; however I also added 2 cups of water.  Big mistake.

Overall I liked how it turned out, but I agree that it is not real gumbo. The test though is if Jay liked it and he did so I'm happy. I will definitely try this again this fall and winter with more tweaking of course.

I paired the gumbo soup with saffron rice as suggested by one of the commentators.  I used this recipe here.  Overall it was good, but I would not substitute the broth the recipe calls for with water. And don't skimp on the saffron, be sure to get nice "big" pinch.

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 (16-ounce) package frozen okra, thawed
4 links andouille sausage, sliced
1 onion, chopped 
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 bay leaves
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon tablespoon creole seasoning

1/2 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to your taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
5-6 tomatoes, diced 

In a slow-cooker, combine all remaining ingredients except the frozen okra. Mix well to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours. Add frozen okra three hours before end. Serve with rice.



12 by 2012

With the holidays approaching I have a long list of crafty to-do's waiting for me to work my magic. Unfortunately last time I checked I don't have any magical powers that will get them done in a snap of a finger. To keep on track and honest Danni at ohhellofriend has an awesome idea 12 by 2012.

My list of 12 by 2012

1.  Sew pillowcase for Sparky's bed

2.  Damson hat (for me)

3.  Meditate twice a week.

4.  Eleanor cowl (for gift)

5.  Shale scarf (for gift)

6.  Christmas cards

7.  Minibook of my niece

8.  December Daily (from 2009)

9.  Read 6 books

10.  Autumn wreath

11.  Bake a cake with everything

12.  Transfer recipes to index cards.

I love a list and I hope I can most, if not all, of the things on this list done before I ring in the New Year!

What do you say? Is there anything you want to get done by 2012?


friday faves (saturday edition)

I wish I could claim that these beauties are from my garden, but they are not. Thankfully my in-lays have green thumbs, and they've had a very bountiful year. I decided I wanted to make pasta sauce from scratch with these lovelies. I've already made three pots of homemade tomato sauce which I've frozen for future use.

And yes, it's Saturday, but I'm still not quite up to speed. I'm a bit rusty in the writing department, but I wanted to share some of my favorites from this past week.

I fell in love with the cool colors of this beautiful throw

Check out the fun collection of products for a December journal kit.

Looking forward to trying to make this and that in my kitchen really soon!
It's never too early to start thinking about the holidays.  This is a cute idea for office mates.

And I'm hoping that my in-laws still have tomatoes because I need to make this awesome tomato soup.

Have a great Saturday!


hello october

It's definitely fall, but winter is currently threatening a hostile takeover.  Winter storm warnings and snow in the Sierra at this time of year is, well, unusual.  Strange as it may sound, I am reveling in the cold and overcast skies. 

This kind of cold calls for comfort food.  My favorite comfort food is a bowl of hot soup like the split pea soup I made over the weekend.  Absolutely fulfilling, absolutely serendipitous!  I think this winter is going to be all about soups, chilis, and stews, especially if I can make it in my crock pot.  (And I found a new crockpot cookbook that I can't wait to use.)

 What's your favorite comfort food?


happy labor day

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  I absolutely did!  I did a whole lot of NOTHING!  Except for maybe eating. 

There was also a pan of fudgy brownies that I baked this morning, but forgot to take pictures.  Oy!  I guess it wouldn't be a holiday if there was no overeating involved!

Starting tomorrow it's back to a healthy diet and working out.  (Need to get ready for snow season!).  Working out regularly was difficult last month with my work schedule and combined with lack of sleep resulted in a noticeable difference in my mood.  Hoping to turn that around this month, pronto!

It's a short week, so we're at least one day closer to another weekend!  Have good one!


hello again. . .

Just a quick drive-by photo post today.  From our date night at Morton's to celebrate our anniversary.

Work has been kicking my butt these past couple weeks and at the end of the day all I want to do is relax.  But I'm hoping for some fun time tomorrow night since it's my birthday! 


happy anniversay

to my best friend, love of my life, my rock, and partner in crime!  Looking forward to many more years by your side. 

I would marry you again in a heartbeat over and over.


did you miss me?

After my crazy first week of August, I needed a little time (like a whole week) to recover. So I unplugged from cyberworld for another week.  But I'm back!  I failed miserably on the 30 day photo challenge this month, as you can well see. Maybe I'll try again next month since it looks like life will be somewhat quiet again.

Despite needing a break, I'm really loving August. Jay and I finally kicked off my birthday month over the weekend with a trip to Red Robin for my birthday burger.  Guacamole. Bacon. Burger.

Yum, yum, YUM!  Thank goodness we only do this but twice a year because the calorie count is obscene!  (And it doesn't include bottomless fries and beer.)  Totally and completely WORTH IT!

Otherwise, the weekend was a sea of calm and serenity.  Just the way I like it.  And I finally gave myself a  pedicure on Sunday afternoon while watching a mini marathon of Torchwood episodes.  Have a great weekend!



I've never been so happy that it's finally FRIDAY!

This week has been super crazy at work.  After 12+ hours days for the past four days, I am ready for the weekend especially sleeping in.  Tonight has been the first night that I've been able to sit and relax, so Friday Faves is on a hiatus for today.  Enjoying some wine and a little surfing for the night.

Looking forward to lunch with the family, lunch with friends (finally meeting their twins!) and somewhere in between some crafting.

What are your plans for the weekend?


aloha august

I've been meaning to post, but I have been working overtime the last two nights and was just plain exhausted when I got home to hop on the computer!  I LOVE August!  Looking forward to all the wonderful things this month brings!

Since the end of Week in the Life, I've really missed taking picture everyday, but found this fun challenge on Amy Tangerine's site via Oh so Lovely that will keep me camera happy for at least a month!

I'm a couple days late, but as usual I plan to play catch up.  Check in tomorrow for the day's picture.  And hope you join in too!


week in the life | saturday + sunday

Saturday  8:30 am wake-up.  Morning view from upstairs.  The pups. Steak + roasted cauliflower dinner.  Chilling after dinner.

Sunday  8:30 am wake-up.  Sunday morning coffee.  Pizza dinner.

I'm really going to miss taking pictures everyday.  This was a really great experience!  Can't wait to do it again!


week in the life | thursday + friday

Thursday  5:45 am wake-up.  Always have the bed made on weekdays.  Take the dogs out.  Quick breakfast of toast.  Waiting for the train.  Best salad EVER.

Friday  For whatever reason Friday was an absolute FAIL!  I took no pictures until late in the evening.  And this was it.


week in the life | wednesday

My morning lupus affirmation.  Views from my office.  Getting dinner ready, or at least part of it.


week in the life | tuesday

Packing lunches in the morning.  Afternoon tea.  Waiting for the train home. Waiting for my running partner.  Well deserved dinner after a great run.


week in the life | monday

I'll admit that I didn't do so well on the first day of a Week in the Life.  I was only able to take a few pictures.  Here are some of my favorites

Getting ready. First cup of coffee. Mid-morning snack of yogurt. Evening workout with Jay. Max getting his chew on.

I am realizing that Week in the Life does require a lot of commitment especially for someone like me who works.  But I'm completely up for the challenge!


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