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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Odds and ends, food on the run (& swim!)

We're not particularly big breakfast people. Of course, everyone enjoys a nice big plate filled with biscuits and gravy, home-made hash browns, generous strips of full-fat bacon and lots of REAL from-the-tree maple syrup. But... that's hardly our daily fare. We're lucky if we heat up a bowl of oatmeal and manage a bitter cup of coffee from our little french press before we dash out the door. More often, we just leave the house empty handed and wait until lunch or break time.

However! (yes, there's a however to that bleak little introduction) toaster pancakes and waffles are a quick option that rival that bowl of hot oatmeal when we have them on hand. Instead of buying them, I use up the odds and ends of fruit that are on their last legs to make flavored pancakes; bananas and apples that are a little bit bruised and squishy make some awesome toaster pancakes.

This morning found me with a couple of scoops of pancake mix and some gnarly looking bananas. So, you guessed it! banana pancake time. Once I cooked them up, I let them cool on wire racks and then placed them on cookie sheets lined with wax paper in the freezer. Once they're frozen I'll stack them up and put them in a ziplock bag. BAM! ready made food on the run.

Speaking of freezing on cookie sheets, Jonathan went deep sea fishing with his father and brother to celebrate their dad's birthday this weekend. They caught 30 fish (various types of cod) and we now have quite a few fillets on our hands. I did the same freezing maneuver with the fillets that I did with the pancakes and now I have two gallon ziplocks full of individually frozen cod fillets ready to cook one of these nights. I've never had cod before, so I'm on the look out for some delicious sounding recipes. We'll let you know how it turns out.

Dinner tonight: Bubble Pizza a sure crowd pleaser.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cuttin up the rug

I found the book Handmade Rugs from Practically Anything at the public library a few weeks ago. It has some really bangarang ideas for rug making such as crocheting a rug from strips of plastic bags... I definitely recommend this book for some awesome inspiration. I chose to weave a denim rug for our back door as my first rug-making project.

As luck would have it, I had just scored a sweet wooden fruit crate from OSH a few days prior. I didn't really know what I was going to do with it until I decided on my rug project. So I ran off to the hardware store and bought some nails, which I spaced about half an inch apart along the two short edges of the crate. I warped my "loom" with kite string and wove strips of old blue jeans (from Freecycle) to make the rug.

The rug turned out pretty well, but next time I'll:

1) Sew the strips together as I go The strips were just long enough to span the width of the rug, so the edges of the rug had to be reinforced with the sewing machine to keep the rug from completely unraveling. The strips that *were* longer left off in the middle of the rug and now they kind of stick up unattractively.

2) Use a heavier string or strips of fabric for the warp The kite string had some elasticity, so my warp felt like it was being stretched as I went and thereby loosened. I had to wrap the string around the nails as I went to keep it taut.

3) Add a binding to protect the edge

4) Try this technique rather than the simple "over under"

The denim worked out really well. It's so nice and sturdy that it makes a good thick, hearty rug for the back slider where we kick off our shoes after trekking through the poultry yard. Also, the right and wrong sides of the denim lend a nice variegated effect.

I'm still not quite sure why the middle of the rug narrows... I always had this same problem when I was weaving with yarn on little looms as a kid. Since my strips were not continuous in this project, I'm not altogether inclined to believe that it's a result of pulling the weft too tautly. I think it might be a result of my loose warp strands. Does anybody know how to avoid that?

In the works: a queen-size black-and-tan four square wedding quilt, a diagonal alpaca scarf, a moss-stitch wool scarf

On the docket: a rug for the kitchen.

Stay tuned!