Not Martha

I’m knitting another sweater: The End! Sort of!

the sweater: Ribby Cardi
the yarn: Cotton Ease in Stone
the previous entries: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

I’m finally, finally finished.

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· comments [28] · 01-31-2008 · categories:knitting ·

links: food

How do you know when sourdough starter goes bad? at Ask Metafilter

“The progressive wine list” organizes bottles from lightest to heaviest at Chow. The page mentions Napa Seasoning Vignon which looks interesting.

Coffee-Braised Brisket with Cream and Sugar at Hogwash

pasta with broccoli rabe at Shelteriffic, I’ve linked to this before (and this a re-post of theirs) but I wanted to note that I still like it, and if you like me cannot ever find broccoli rabe, kale works nicely

Fettuccine with Brown Butter and Sage at Splatgirl Creates

Which Whisk is Which? at the NY Times, via Chow

tofu tastings at GirlHacker

Pizza stone kits tested at Baking Bites

Homemade Girl Scout Cookies: Samoas at Baking Bites (added: !!!)

Help me make a tall cheesecake. at Ask Metafilter

how to make a quesadilla at Roots and Grubs, and Mexican Casserole at Gluten-Free Girl

Were produce and meat really better in the old days? How can we be sure? at Ask Metafilter

The Coveted Ice Cream Maker at Chow

Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree at Smitten Kitchen

· comments [11] · 01-30-2008 · categories:food · recipes ·

up to

L’Oreal High Intensity Pigments Cream Eyeliner
I have never had luck with pencil eyeliners, and was considering getting some MAC Fluidline when I stumbled across this in a store. It comes with a small brush but I prefer my fine Sonia Kashuk eyeliner brush. It’s a very dark and true black and I find it easier to apply than liquid or pencil eyeliner.

Cover Girl Lash Blast
This comes with one of those new types of brushes, and a few coats makes decent lashes for daytime. Cover Girl mascaras are the only drug store brand I’ve found so far that don’t run on me, and it comes off cleanly when I wash with my usual Cetaphil. I like it but I’m not overwhelmed with joy that it exists.

Rosebud Salve
I’ve been rubbing this on a rough spot on my ankle before I got to bed and I like the gentle scent.

Hollywood Fashion Tape
I used this on my low cut dress and was expecting to have to figure out a way to get the adhesive off the fabric at the end of the night. But, happily, it held securely and came of cleanly. I got the Red Carpet Assortment that comes with five different shapes. You can find it in Joann stores as well as at Amazon.

finding useful:
Post-it lined 4×6 pads
I, um, borrowed one of these from Scott and find myself using it for all those lists I like to keep all over the house.

· comments [25] · 01-29-2008 · categories:up to ·

I’m knitting another sweater: overly detailed finishing

the sweater: Ribby Cardi
the yarn: Cotton Ease in Stone
the previous entries: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Here is how I finished this sweater, with apologies for the very! bright! orange, my camera has hissy fits over the magenta to orange scale when it’s forced to take pictures indoors at night. I like to wrap the edges of the zipper tape in soft twill, and finish the top of the zipper with the twill — this makes it nicer against the skin on my neck and creates a stop for the top of the zipper at the same time. I sew the zipper in by hand in a pathetically fastidious manner, you can also find excellent directions for sewing a zipper into a sweater over at Chicknits.

Step One: Wash and dry sweater to shrink it about as much as possible.

Step Two: Wash and dry twill tape to shrink as much as possible. This orange twill is hand dyed from Glamscience (also at Etsy) and is fantastically saturated with color. When I washed it I knotted the ends to keep them from fraying and stuck it in a mesh bag with some white socks. The socks were to determine if there would be any bleeding from the dye. The socks emerged completely unscathed. Viva Glamscience! The twill is nice and soft and makes all the difference where the zipper hits the skin on my neck, the sweater is far more wearable for it. Iron the twill when it comes out of the dryer.

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· comments [8] · 01-28-2008 · categories:knitting ·

it’s fancy dress party time

This evening brought to you by:

– Ribbon Clutch from which is large enough to hold everything I need and shaped just perfectly to tuck under an arm.
– My favorite cardigan from the petites section of Nordstrom, I keep hoping they’ll bring it back in more colors. Oh please.
Foot Petals for holding me up in the heels.

– Victoria’s Secret for comfortably supporting me through the plunging neckline.
Hollywood Fashion Tape for making sure there is no peeking. By the way, you can find it at Joann stores now.
Spanx for the smoothing out the silouette. Spanx also makes the Assets line sold at Target.

My toenails are painted, let’s party!

· comments [15] · 01-26-2008 · categories:beauty · shopping ·

on cooking stuff to freeze

In my annual effort to eat food made at home more often, I’ve started making large batches and freezing it into portions. I’ve learned a few new things, including that I need a larger pot.

So far I’ve made bolognese and Susie’s Green Curry with chicken (which have both become standards here), and I’ve frozen them into flat zip top freezer bags, a tip from the Jan/Feb 2008 Everyday Food magazine. I also heard this tip ages ago on The Splendid Table by, I think, regular guest Sally Schneider. Last year I froze things into disposable continers, or sauce in individual muffin cups, but that still took a while to unfreeze (we are microwave-less). The flat bags store pretty efficiently in the freezer, and to thaw enough to get them back out of the bag you run them under a hot tap.

The other week I was listening to The Splendid Table and she gave a caller this tip: cook rice the way you would cook pasta. Apparently it comes out just as well, and cooks a bit faster. Last night I made a whopping amount of green curry but forgot about the rice, Lundberg Brown Basmati, so I boiled it. It turned out pretty well. I have a history of rice making trouble. Anyhow ever heard of boiling rice like pasta? What little Googling I did turned up a few suggestions, and one that finished by putting the still wet rice back into the pot and letting it steam for a few minutes before serving.

My favorite pasta to put the bolognese on remains the chiocciole (snail) from Bionaturae, they are nice and big. And I’m glad to know I can buy these on Amazon since I suspect they are going to disappear from my small local market at any moment now.

They look freaked out, don’t they?

· comments [44] · 01-25-2008 · categories:food · recipes ·

the Bloggies

Oh you guys, thanks! Not Martha has been nominated for Best Art or Craft Weblog and I couldn’t be more flattered! Especially since I feel like all I’ve been doing lately is putting up links. I’m with fantastic company – Posie Gets Cozy, Angry Chicken, Post Secret and Apartment Therapy. Seriously, I’m blushing right now.

I’m surprised to find I’m familiar with a lot more sites in all the categories this year than I have been in previous years. Here are my picks which I post in the hopes that you will vote for them as well.

Best Web Application: WordPress, because I use it and it’s nifty.

Best European Weblog: Chocolate & Zucchini, because I’ve been reading it since it started and Clotilde is a really great gal, and I love her book.

Best Photography of a Weblog: equal split for Dooce, Smitten Kitchen and 101 Cookbooks. I don’t find it surprising that two food blogs made the list, food photography = porn for this Catholic raised girl from the midwest.

Best Food Weblog: Gluten-Free Girl and Orangette! Because they are both fantastic, both live here in Seattle, and (having met both of them) are as nice as could be.

Best Fashion Weblog: I’ve been peeking at Jezebel and Go Fug Yourself a lot lately.

Best Entertainment Weblog: Television Without Pity, because they’ve always been there for me in times when a freaking helicopter falls on my favorite cranky doctor on ER and I cannot believe it either. And because their writers work so hard to give entertaining, detailed recaps.

Best Writing of a Weblog: Dooce and Waiter Rant have both been keeping me entertained for years while giving me insight into how people work.

Best-Designed Weblog: Dooce or Design*Sponge, both had great redesigns last year.

Lifetime Achievement: Mighty Girl or Heather B. Armstrong (Dooce)! Both are amazing women who make me laugh.

· comments [20] · 01-24-2008 · categories:mumbling ·

links: beauty and shopping

vacuum roundup at Apartment Therapy, and a review of the DC-24 (a smaller ball) at Wired. The smaller Dyson is calling to me, our vacuum is just too dark large for our current home.

I’m looking for examples of insanely overbuilt, reasonably-priced consumer goods, at Ask Metafilter

the gus card case, via a lost source. Scott carries something small like this.

Bookshelves of Doom: Books I’ll be watching for this year.

What’s so special about the hot sand that opticians use? at Ask Metafilter. I finally get what this stuff is!

Sally Hershberger has a new line of products! They are sold at Walgreens! at Chez Shoes.

Nerd Man of the Month: Alton Brown, amen. At The Park Bench.

Col. Ichabod Conk Shaving Soap, TSA-safe. At Cool Tools.

The ultimate guide to finding your perfect bra, at StyleBakery

How bad are water bottls for us? at Tiny Choices

I enjoy watching What Not to Wear and find myself analyzing real people on the street through the lens’ of Stacy and Clinton. Help me find a kindred website! at Ask Metafilter

Are crunches and cardio three times a week going to get rid of undesired excess fat? And how soon can I expect results? at Ask Metafilter

· comments [3] · 01-23-2008 · categories:beauty · shopping ·

I’m knitting another sweater: nearly there, no really

the sweater: Ribby Cardi
the yarn: Cotton Ease in Stone
the previous entries: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Look! All that I have to do is wash and shrink it and put in the zipper. Which means I’m officially done with the knitting part of the sweater. Yay. [Read more →]

· comments [8] · 01-22-2008 · categories:knitting ·

links: food

Whole-Grain Flapjacks at Hogwash

edible bowls and plates! at Chow

Chicken Chili with Black Beans at Hooked on Heat

Darlene Bakes from Jessica Seinfeld’s New Book at The Kitchen

rainy night chili and real recipeless chili at Metroblogging Seattle

corn and bacon pie at Splatgirl

How to cook beans? at Ask Metafilter

seeking apple desserts at Ask Metafilter

the Pizzeria is a ceramic mini-oven at Popgadget

Make cotton candy from hard candies at Popgadget

make your own udon, these look lucious, at Cook & Eat

no-knead chocolate breat at Su Good Sweets, via The Food Section

The Hydrox Cookie Is Dead, and Fans Won’t Get Over It at the Wall Street Journal, via The Morning News

homemade bacon vodka (bacon! vodka!) at Brownie Points

I did a little research on baking stones recently since somebody wrote to ask about them. We agreed we’re too ashamed to pay for one from a kitchen store after all the “just buy a brick from Home Depot” advice we get. But, how do you not buy a toxic brick?! I bookmarked these: cheaper baking stone option, baking stone recommendations at Chowhound, pizza stone alternative at Techguy forums, and create a pizza oven for $5 at Curbly.

· comments [10] · 01-22-2008 · categories:food · recipes ·

up to

KitchenAid 750 food processor
This is the model that was recommended by Cook’s Illustrated magazine. This photo was taken shortly before I used it for the first time and it will never look this shiny or clean again, I’m sure. Verdict: it rocks. Homemade hummus here I come.

Subversive Seamster
I love what they are doing with pin tucks in this book. Like the first book, there are great instructions on how to alter thrifted clothing or turn it into something else completely.

Apex mechanical pencil
This is my favorite mechanical pencil which I stumbled upon after buying a few brands in a frenzy of new mechanical pencil neediness. It’s also been given the stamp of a-ok-ness by Cool Tools. I found some of these on sale the other day so I have a stash of them in silver and black, they come in 0.7 lead as well.

Scott and I have been recommending books to each other and he keeps asking if I’ve finished this yet so we can talk about it. I’m only a few chapters in but the earth has nearly ended once so I suspect there will be a lot to discuss.

a dress for a party
Besides fighting the post-holiday let down, a good thing about a fancy party after the holidays is shopping for a dress during all the sales. This dress is very flattering and was 70% off, yay!

· comments [13] · 01-21-2008 · categories:up to ·

Creative Fitness Door Gym

Continuing the theme of home fitness equipment that doesn’t suck from yesterday‘s post about the Schwinn 430 Elliptical Trainer, I’m going to tell you about Scott‘s chin up bar. I’d call it mine as well if I could manage to do more than one at a time (working on it).

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· comments [12] · 01-18-2008 · categories:shopping · the home ·

Schwinn 430 Elliptical Trainer

update: Jan. 8th, 2009 — I just wanted to make a note that it has been a year and we both still use this machine on a regular basis. I still love it and it hasn’t developed any problems. My new years resolution is to get in more calorie burning exercise time and I’m actually looking forward to using the elliptical to watch tv, I mean, do more cardio.

I know two things for sure: I need to exercise more often and I’m not a people person. Gyms are a strong demotivating factor for me. I’m also not a jog in the rain person, or a get up early to jog so I don’t have to do it in the post-4 pm complete darkness person. Or, let’s face it, a leave the house to exercise type of person. And that’s why last year we got an elliptical trainer, which, shocking to everybody, we continue to use on an almost regular basis. I love it, no seriously I do. And I’ve never once been tempted to use it to hang wet laundry on to dry.

We did a little research, got advice from friends who had done a lot of research, made special trips to sporting goods stores to try out certain models and decided to buy the Schwinn 430 even though we hadn’t found one to try out in person. We would have liked to buy it from a store but none anywhere near us had it, so we bought it from Amazon, and it’s a happy ending.

Before I go into more details, here is the one thing I love about the 430 that I had not found mentioned anywhere else: the foot pads on the Schwinn 430 are slightly closer together than other Schwinn models (and other ellipticals we tested) and it feels like a much more natural stance for me. I’m a few inches over five feet and have short legs. A friend with a similar height has mentioned that she has some trouble with her ellipticals foot pads being just slightly too wide apart. Scott is of a normal height and the footpads are situated just fine for him as well.

[update: I found a Schwinn 431 in a sporting goods store and the foot pads are the same as on my 430, which is to say they are also comfortably close together.]

We decided on an elliptical because it was low-impact, after we moved our exercise space became part of a room with concrete floors and general aerobics started to remind me I was old via pain in my knees (lovely). Below are some points about how we chose the Schwinn 430.

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· comments [31] · 01-17-2008 · categories:seattle · shopping ·

links: food

meat lasagna at Baking Bites

unlock the salad code at Miss Ginsu

Bake-In-Pie spatula at Baking Bites, I love these but had only seen them for the pricey Emile Henry pie plates before

My Bottled BFF, Cortas Pomegranate Molasses, at Chow

Chocolate Wafer Icebox Cupcakes at Smitten Kitchen, via The Kitchen

How does Heston Blumenthal create drinks that are hot on one side and cold on the other? at Ask Metafilter

Peanut-Free Peanut Sauce! at Domicile

Chestnuts ‘Wokking’ Over an Open Fire at Serious Eats

The Onion’s A.V. Club has Patton Oswald taste test the KFC Famous Bowl, beautiful

Jeff Hertzberg’s Simple Crusty Bread at The Wednesday Chef, compares it to the no-knead bread

Orzo Salad with Rosemary Almonds and Sun-Dried Tomatoes at The Kitchen

“Firm tofu has a pleasant texture, but firm tofu that’s been frozen, then thawed, then rolled in sesame seeds and seasoned flour, then pan-fried with a bit of sesame oil, has a SPECTACULAR texture.” at Plate Tectonics

The Best Peanut Butter In The World, at Davenetics

adorable mini-donuts from that Williams-Sonoma donut maker, at JustJENN. If only I could justify making tiny donuts about once a week.

drop dead gorgeous caramel topping at Bake and Shake

Cereal Treat Wars at Cakespy

One Hundred Percent EDIBLE Googly Eyes! EEeee! at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

· comments [4] · 01-17-2008 · categories:food ·

links: beauty, shopping, miscellaneous

Librivox recommendations? at Ask Metafilter

SOLE Ultra SOFTEC Insoles at Cool Tools

Where are the best flannel sheets? at Ask Metafilter

Pleece Scarf, I like this, at Better Living Through Design

Jay Is Games on The Chzo Mythos, games I like because they kindasorta like ye old King’s Quest 3, but a murder mystery.

Great Web games you don’t have to pay for, at Slate

Hangover Cures at The Morning News

I am looking for a pillow that stays cold all the time that does not require water. at Ask Metafilter

What films have the best prologues? at Ask Metafilter

How do I wash this sweater? at Ask Metafilter

Help me understand my pants – Short waisted? Long waisted? How do you find out? at Ask Metafilter

I’d like to make a little pocket money off selling books on What should I know? at Ask Metafilter

Warning Label Generator via this question at Ask Metafilter

What is the difference between a $75 pedicure at a fancy spa and a sub-$25 pedicure at some hole-in-the-wall storefront? at Ask Metafilter

Curse my gigantic head! at Ask Metafilter. Another person suffering from a head that is unfashionably wide while shopping for eyeglasses.

Seeking women’s clothing online. Please help me get out of my Target / Old Navy rut. at Ask Metafilter, great list to keep around.

Monsterhoodies, at Kottke

Let’s say I want to go to Dental School. At age 38. With no medical or dental background at all. Is this foolish? at Ask Metafilter. This thread turns up something I’ve found do, lots of dentists and eyedoctors are ex-teachers.

What significant items have been irretrievably lost? at Ask Metafilter

We Bought A New Car, Part I and Part II, at Jejune.

Anyone here familiar with the polar opposite of SAD disorder? at Ask Metafilter – sunny days in California did this to me… so it was every day.

I don’t like the way my dry-cleaned shirts feel, will they ever be soft again? at Ask Metafilter

· comments [11] · 01-16-2008 · categories:beauty · shopping ·