I’m back!

So, as you may have guessed, my web site went down and we had some trouble fixing it. The host changed servers and then provided pretty much no help when our sites went down. So we are changing hosts and trying to put all the pieces back together.

I have a bunch of recipes and random posts to put up, but I’m bogged down with orders right now, so I will get them up as soon as I can!

Remembering my Nana

Last weekend my nana, Helene Hall, passed away. Her health had been declining for a while, but I did not realize that our visit with her over Christmas would be our last. I’m grateful for that visit, and for the last few phone calls we were able to have.

Nana was the kind of person that did exactly what she wanted to do with her life, all the way up until the end. I never imagined someone could be so at peace with their own death. But she simply wanted to be with her husband (we called him Poppie), who died when I was 12.


Apparently I had a thing for combing Poppie’s hair when I was little.

I think because I was the first grandchild on that side of my family I had a special bond with Nana. I remember she kept a makeup kit for me at her house and I would spend hours smearing it all over my face and admiring my handiwork in one of those vanity mirrors. Nana was a true woman of the Mad Men era. You never saw her without her hair perfectly coiffed and her nails freshly painted. One of my friends called her ‘sparkly grandma’ because she always wore a glittering jacket at the holidays.

I was lucky to get 31 years of memories with her, and I’ll treasure those always.

Exciting news

A while back I submitted two patterns to my friend Amy, who was putting together a book of lovely crochet projects. Now the book — So Pretty! Crochet — is all finished (published by SF-based Chronicle, no less) and I just received my copy yesterday.

It is so cool to see the final product in print. I guess you don’t really believe it’s real until you see it with your own eyes. Congratulations to Amy for putting together such a great book!

I actually can’t wait to try some of the projects. They’re all modern takes on fairly traditional methods of crochet. If you want a copy of the book, you can pre-order it (for a great price) on Amazon. It will be officially for sale there May 2 and elsewhere in June.

Coffee snobbery

We finally got one of these individual ceramic drippers for coffee. All the cool kids use them here.

If you’re really cool, you can get a little kettle to go with it.

Personally, I still like our Cuisinart coffee maker. But it’s fun to indulge in a little coffee snobbery.

I bet people would be really impressed if I busted out my ’40s vacuum coffee pot!

The week in photos

First off, how cute is this tiny cupcake? I got it from the girl who cut my hair this morning, who baked them herself. I decided that since I’m trying to limit desserts now, an itty bitty cupcake was just the kind of dessert I could endorse.

This is how the haircut turned out. I’m so happy to have some shape to my hair again. Also, now that I have lost 20+ pounds, I think I deserve a pampering. (Holy sticker shock, though. I can’t believe how expensive salons are here).

It’s been really cold and rainy here this week. They’ve even talked about us possibly getting a dusting of snow or an overnight freeze. I know that sounds like nothing, but it’s a pretty big deal in a place that doesn’t get snow.

And now for the gratuitous dog snuggling photos.

Sometimes Sadie comes into the bedroom while I’m working and curls up on the pillows. Such a diva.

I didn’t really want to do this, but since I’m home during the day and get all kinds of random door knockers, I decided to try to find a tasteful ‘no solicitors’ sign. I ordered this removable stick-on from Etsy, and I think it works.

Speaking of Etsy, the shop has been hopping since the weather has been bad. I made this extra special pouf for a customer who wanted a higher-end wool yarn. I definitely wanted to keep it.

And here’s a sneak peek at what else I’ve been working on. I’ll give you a hint — it’s huge!

In the kitchen I’ve been finding ways to use Meyer lemons in my recipes. I don’t know that I love them as much as I initially thought, but it’s fun to incorporate new ingredients now and then.

Plus, citrus fruit is crazy cheap here.

I realized the other day that I still had this sugar shaker sitting out on my counter. That’s just what I need – the ability to shake sugar on my food whenever I want. So I dumped out the sugar and saved the jar for another use.

My new favorite item is my reusable plastic cup. It’s nice to have a see-through portable cup that doesn’t risk splashing water in my face accidentally (a la a Sigg or Nalgene).  This cup works much better, especially if I have a juice breakfast and need to go out and run an errand.

Well, I’m off to get under a blanket with the dogs. Enjoy your weekend!

Christmas morning

No white Christmas this year (other than repeated viewings of the Bing Crosby movie), but we do finally have a mantel to hang our stockings on. The fireplace doesn’t work, so we used it as a Christmas tree cove instead. Fortunately, Santa came!

There was some ornament overflow since we only have a tiny tree this year, but that’s OK.

The big to-do came when we had to overturn the bubble bread and see if it came out all right. It puffed up nicely overnight.

Baked for 30 minutes.

And then the moment of truth…

Perfection.

Making it in the bundt pan gives you more doughy pieces since some of them get squished during the rise. But overall it’s just ooey gooey and wonderful.

Hope everyone had a merry Christmas!

Movin’

Things have been pretty crazy around here since we got back from California, as you can imagine. We decided to go with a PODS container to ship our stuff to CA, so they came pretty early to pick it up.

Mike got the job of trying to fit the last bunch of stuff in the back of the container at around 11 p.m. when we found out they were picking it up a day earlier than we thought.

The dogs are a bit weirded out by what’s going on, but as long as they have an inflatable bed to sleep on, they’re OK.

Sadie made sure the dog food bin was completely clean before we packed it up.

Then both the dogs snoozed in perfect alignment on the empty carpet.

It’s kind of weird to be camping in your own house. I would say it’s kind of fun, but all we have left to do is scrub everything clean. Not fun!

At least we got a little break for Thanksgiving. We went to Kansas and overstuffed ourselves for three days straight. And since we knew we wouldn’t be home for our Christmas morning tradition, we went ahead and made that too.

Bubble bread! I know most people call it monkey bread, but I think my name is more fitting.

And before I left I made Charlotte model for some photos with my poufs.

She’s such a good model. And she only wants to be paid in dog biscuits.

A few of my favorite things

My goodness, I am feeling spoiled.

Little gifts kept appearing on my desk yesterday. Mike gave me these earrings from Zoko’s Etsy shop, that I had been eyeing (they sell them at the yoga studio where I teach).

I also got Snow & Graham’s 2011 calendar from my dad. It’s gorgeous!

My sister sent a copy of Paper + Craft, a fun book with lots of crafty paper projects.

And Brianne gave me this amazing book, full of home-y projects.

I am already dying to make this crocheted rope rug.

Sarah, who’s sister designed the graphic on that cute card, gave me one of her adorable sweater owls.

And I gifted myself some new soft wool yarn.

The potluck was a huge success, too. I think everyone went home with a full belly. And I was glad to know it’s pretty easy to make my tart recipe in miniature.

I’d say 30 is pretty awesome so far!

Turning 30

So today is my 30th birthday. Even though I really think my 30s will be my best years yet, I still kind of expected to have some kind of anxiety attack on the actual day. So far it hasn’t happened. I think I have been way too distracted by everything else going on in my life to worry about it.

Instead we are having friends over, and I’m cramming to get work done before I leave for my first California visit in a few days.

When I reflect on my life, this is not at all what I thought I would be doing at 30. I guess I thought I would be more “settled,” but instead I am still doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that, trying to figure out what I like best. And now we have this huge new adventure in front of us, and I just have no idea what will happen next. I have a really good feeling about it, though.

How about you – did you (or do you) have anxiety about the big 3-0?