Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hot Rice Bags

Awhile back I came across this post by Lyanda Lynn Haupt on her blog, The Tangled Nest. In her post, she shares instructions for making a simple sewn rice bag.

I have two rice bags, although they aren't as cute as the one in her post. Mine are made from re-purposed hand towels. They don't have covers, yet. One of my next sewing projects is going to be making fleece or flannel (I haven't decided yet) slip on covers using her tutorial.

I'm posting about this because every night I find myself saying to my husband, "I need to heat up my rice." Each time I say that I smile at how ridiculous it must sound. While we've had a very mild winter here in the Pacific Northwest, it's still nice to be able to turn the heat down, saving money and feeling more environmentally conscious. With an extra blanket or two, and a hot rice bag (mine takes exactly 4 minutes in the microwave to reach optimal temperature) I can sleep cozily without having the heat on all night.

Does anyone else use a rice bag to stay cozy in the winter?

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Yesterday, while driving home, I heard a story on NPR that really caught my attention. I always listen to NPR (or PRI, or BBC World News, or whatever is on KUOW when I'm in the car), but I don't always really listen. Sometimes my focus drifts in and out as I become more or less interested in the particular story or news item. Yesterday my focus was yanked back into attention when I realized the story was about knitting.

The story I'm talking about deals with a project called Reknit. A simple equation explains how Reknit works:

your old sweater + $30 = new knitted thing

Each month she makes something different. One month it was scarves. This month it's fingerless gloves. Very cool idea. Here's a link to the story.

I am a bit concerned with the money part of the deal. I mean, $30 to unravel and then knit something new is not even close to minimum wage. It's a shame not only that (a) people do not value re-purposing enough to pay the true cost and (b) it's often cheaper to just buy something new. Even still, I think it's a very neat idea.

What is your take on the Reknit project?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Painting - Part 1

Joe and I acquired four large canvases at our old apartment by chance. A neighbor, whom we did not know, was throwing them away, because of some minor defects (all fixable). Being the hippies that we are, we just couldn't see them go to waste. So we held on to them. For months. When we moved in December I made Joe a deal: we would transport the canvases to the new apartment, as long as they actually turned into art. So Joe and I started planning, and we now have plans for three of the four canvases.

We started painting the big one. Joe had already designed the picture on his computer, transferred it to the canvas (a complicated process that I will not go into right now), so all that was left was the paint.

The picture is a combination of the Eye of Jupiter (from Battlestar Galactica), and the zodiac signs. In the BSG series, the Eye of Jupiter is a star that goes supernova. The image appears as a painting, and then as a mandala carved into a pillar, before the star actually explodes. Joe and I have been drawn to the image, so it seemed fitting.

We'll do at least one more coat on the Eye, and then move on to the zodiac signs.

In our new apartment there is large blank wall that will be perfect for our first painting.

Along with making donuts, and taking the car to Toyota to get the accelerator pedal fixed (my poor car has been part of two recalls!), we worked on this painting on Valentine's Day. A perfect way to spend the holiday, if you ask me.


Today Joe and I made donuts, following Pioneer Woman's recipe.

First I have to show you my new deep fry thermometer. I didn't have one, and Pioneer Woman was very specific about the oil temperature, so I went down to City People's and found this one.

When I opened the package I realized that it has an adjustable clip that hooks onto your pot so the thermometer stays upright. Brilliant!

Okay, here's what you really want to see. Glorious donuts. And they are yummy!

We have three of those containers full, but not for long. I think I ate five or six throughout the deep-fry process.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Saturday walk

Saturday in Seattle was just as Spring-like as Friday, so Joe and I headed out for an early afternoon walk down to City People's.

On our walk I saw and heard many birds, but couldn't manage to get one to stay still for long enough to take a picture, until I came across this crow. Ever since reading Lyanda Lynn Haupt's Crow Planet, I've looked at crows in a different light. I've always been fascinated with their shiny plumage, amazing intelligence, and prominence in myths (particularly Huginn and Muninn, since I often see crows in pairs). But now I think of them more as members of my community.

While looking for birds to photograph, Joe pointed out to me how the sunlight catches on the fuzzy parts of this tree's branches, causing it to look like it glows.

Happy weekend everyone.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Magnuson Park

Friday I arrived home from work at 4pm, about an hour earlier than usual. It felt like Spring outside - sunny and warm - so Joe and I decided to take a walk. We live next door to Magnuson Park in Northeastern Seattle. We've only been to the park twice before, so we headed out to explore some more. This time we checked out the human-made ponds, a childrens' garden, and the P-Patch community garden. Along the way we saw some amazing things.

We saw a beautiful blue sky.

We saw mirrors made of still water, perfectly reflecting the sky above.

We saw a man walking his golden retriever.

We saw Canada Geese.

We saw a mosaic on the path.

It looked like a maritime compass.

We saw a whale sculpture built into a little hill.

This is his eye.

And this is his tail.

We saw a little altar at the top of a spiral mound.

We saw an amphitheater.

It was a beautiful walk.

Monday, February 1, 2010

cat napping 101

Like most housecats, my kitties prefer to nap on our laps. Sometimes they choose ridiculous positions that can only be comfortable for felines.

When there's not a good human lap around, they prefer to snooze on the couch. They will sometimes even share a couch.

Sometimes one of them will hide. That way they can pretend they are not sharing.

And then there are the rare (although becoming less rare, I have to admit) times that they both try to invade our laps, at the same time. That's always slightly terrifying to watch, because sometimes it ends with hisses and punches. And that's not something you want a front row seat for.

Now, isn't that adorable?