Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Friday Wrap-Up

Filed under: Cooking - Folkcat in the Kitchen,Daily Life,Gryphon,Knitting,Sewing — folkcat at 1:58 pm on Friday, May 18, 2007

Yesterday, Gryphon finished up his first week of working at the new part-time job in addition to his full-time job. He’s really liking the new position, and they seem to like him as well. We also seem to be managing the household chores and his sleep so that this is doable, at least so far.

Gryphon’s spirits have been much improved by this, too, and that’s always a good thing. He and I tend to feed off of each other’s emotions – when one of us is down, we’re both down. If you believe in biorhythms, our emotional cycles in our biorhythm charts are almost exact matches. One of us is a day ahead of the other (I forget which). Talk about closely tuned! It makes things good when they’re good, but when they’re bad, it can get really bad if we’re not careful.

Fortunately, right now things are good, and outside forces like having enough income and being able to catch up on the bills are helping to keep them that way.

Cooking

I’ve been eating a little better. At least, occasionally. Not long ago, I saw a repeat of an Iron Chef America (ICA) episode where the secret ingredient was tofu. I watched in fascination as the two chefs created a huge variety of different dishes with bean curd. Every one seemed quite easy to do.

I’ve eaten tofu before, and actually like it. It’s one of those things that fell off my radar a number of years ago, though. All my desire to do home cooking vanished when I had my own store to run, and by the time we closed the store, Gryphon was working a second shift job, and there was never a meal we ate together other than breakfast. Dinner these days is mostly eaten by myself while he works.

Inspired by the tofu episode of ICA, though, I picked up a brick of tofu, a little broccoli, and some water chestnuts, and improvised a stir-fry dish. We already had soy sauce, seasoned rice vinegar, minced garlic, and toasted sesame oil in the house as standard condiments. I made a pot of rice (we love our little rice cooker!), and had a delicious meal.

It was successful enough that I’ve repeated the idea a couple of times already, refining the sauce ingredients, varying them some. I even got adventurous enough to get the peanut butter out and make a peanut sauce! Clearly, I’ve retained enough memories of how Chinese cuisine goes together to be able to create simple recipes on the fly. This has been another morale boost for me, and certainly, I’m eating better than I have in a long time.

Weekends are the one opportunity for Gryphon and I to have dinner together. I’m going to make us a stir-fry dinner this weekend. I’m thinking we’ll pick up a nice little piece of beef, and I’ll improvise a Beef and Broccoli with Oyster Sauce (another cupboard condiment). Yum!

Quilting

As for crafting, with my improved mood I have been working on some projects other than the Weavette Squares and the Embroidered Rock. Wednesday was Quilting Day, and I made the next four squares in my Bento Box wallhanging:

QIP - Blocks 5 through 8

I don’t think this fabric pairing is as successful as I’d like – both fabrics are a little busy. It was darned hard to find good light/dark pairings in the oriental prints, and this project calls for six pairs altogether. Still, the fabrics do complement each other – they share some common colors, and both have similar styles and shapes of flowers.

Besides, in the final assembly they won’t be all in the same block like the photo above. They’ll be mixed in with other fabric pairings, and almost certainly there won’t be more than one of them in any given four-block.

Here’s what they look like with a couple of the squares from last week. Already, you can see how the busy-ness of the pink fabrics is toned down when they’re side-by-side with the other squares.

QIP - How the Two Fabric Combinations Work Together

Knitting

In knitting, I’ve taken on a new project. I cut my hair a couple of weeks ago – not any sort of shocking change, I just do it now and then when I get annoyed with pulling it back in a ponytail. When it’s short, I like to wear a hairband to keep it out of my eyes. But the hairbands you can find in the stores are A) usually pretty ugly, and B) mostly made for a slightly smaller head than mine, making them too tight.

I had a Duh! moment this week when I realized I had all these odds and ends of yarn in the house, plenty of needles, and two clever hands – why not knit my own hairbands? I poked at a couple of patterns on the web, and decided I could do just as well making my own.

Here’s a completed hairband (top) and one in progress (bottom):

WIP & FO - Knitted Hairbands

I’m using any DK, sport-, fingering- or baby-weight yarn that appeals to me. The stitch pattern is a modified Shaker or Fisherman’s Rib done across 8 stitches. This lends a good stretch to even the most non-elastic of the yarns I’ve used (Sockotta, for instance). From the results I’m getting, I think I could even use Perle Cotton or butcher’s twine and get a nice, elastic hairband.

Oh, and here’s a terrible, took-it-myself-in-the-bathroom-mirror, picture of a hairband in use.

FO - Pink & White Knitted Hairband

I’m wishing I’d thought of this ages ago. The knitted hairbands are more comfortable than anything I ever found readymade in the stores. They may not be the greatest stashbuster, because they use so little yarn, but then we all seem to have those tiny quantities of one yarn or another that we just can’t bring ourselves to throw out. This project is perfect for those.

I’ll try to write up the official, oh-so-complicated, pattern sometime soon. It’s just different enough from other hairbands out there (at least the ones I found) to be worth making available, I think.

I suspect these will be my “big” project of the weekend, as I aim towards creating a full wardrobe of hairbands to choose from. I look forward to finally tossing the old, tattered ones I’ve bought over the years. Hooray!

Here’s hoping you have a satisfying, crafty weekend!

7 Comments

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Comment by Lynne

May 18, 2007 @ 2:06 pm

not a terrible picture – you just needed to smile 🙂 but knitted hairbands what a great idea!

816

Comment by Elspeth

May 18, 2007 @ 4:19 pm

I’m glad to hear Gryphon’s job is going well. Great hairband!

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Comment by sarebear

May 18, 2007 @ 11:40 pm

I’ve been wanting to make a knitted hairband for awhile now, but the pattern I found that I like, I’d need to buy Barbar Walker’s first pattern treasure for the stitch pattern she used. a hairband isn’t worth that expense right now.

I like your pattern too, so I’ll be looking forward to it! I agree on the store hairbands, ugh.

I never told you which quilt pattern I decided on, did I?

I have $900 coming to me in August, with which I MIGHT buy a used sewing machine and the fabric, or all sorts of other things (that’s the bad part about like lots of crafts) as well as some necessities for around here. Or just might buy a new washer.

Anyway, I’ve got my quilt pattern (which I won’t reveal yet!), and even found a few blogs where people show what they did with it (one of ’em also did the Bento Box one, I can send you the link if you like to take a peek!)

I’m glad the new job is working out, so far, and adjustments to it and such.

OYSTER sauce! I recently tried that, well, for me recent is in the last 6 months. I thought it’d be overpowering but it adds a taste I’m familiar with from restuarant oriental food (which might not be authentic, but it’s yummy anyway), and I really liked what it brought to the stir fry.

Yum, peanut sauce. I’ve made a stir fry that has pb in it too, it is soo delish. You are making me hungry (hee hee).

A couple years ago, I asked for a rice cooker for my birthday. I’m perfectly capable of cooking a nice pot of rice on the stove, but it sure is nice to free up a burner (especially on thanksgiving), plus my husband can now cook rice, lol! Some conveniences are definitely worth it.

I like your quilt colors and fabrics. Plus the pink one is less busy than the other, which helps too.

After reading your post about the fish, I had a dream last night that I was commiserating w/you about rainfall/flooding because it was all of a sudden happening here (well, in 1983 it was so bad that State Street was a river, they sandbagged the edges of it to keep the “river” contained.) Sometimes deserts flood.

Anyway, nice update, nice hairbands, nice everything!

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Comment by Claudia

May 22, 2007 @ 9:56 am

Love the hairband idea, but the Bento Box pattern is great! I haven’t done any traditional quilting in years, and I’m intrigued by the pattern. I think the pinks and yellows look good together. I you want to increase the contrast, consider adding a dark, perhaps a hunter green?

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Comment by AlisonH

May 31, 2007 @ 3:29 am

I never thought of that! If it weren’t later than I should be up, I’d go cast one on right now. Thank you for (you know I have to say it) the heads-up!

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Comment by Angela Lee

August 1, 2009 @ 7:08 am

I have been making tasty chinese dishes for years. Love them not the americanized type but actual chinese dishes made in China. I had a Chinese mother in law who taught me some interesting dishes. I made some up from the things she taught me. And I do have a lot of Asian cook books too. So I do lots of Asian cooking. Mostly the vegetarian dishes but a meat dish from time to time. I made dumplings recently with pork and veggies. My daughter wanted them. I made the dumpling wrappers myself. It takes a whole day to do it but it is worth it. I used some of them for egg rolls. She wanted them too. But I made spring rolls that aren’t fried too but I didn’t make the spring roll wrappers. The Thai ones that aren’t fried and have shrimp and noodles and cilantro in them with spices.

Take Care

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Comment by Angela Lee

August 9, 2009 @ 8:29 am

Hi,

My kids love fried rice but I made it too much because they loved it so much, and still do. I don’t make it often now. I too have a rice cooker. I have had many of them over the years. I love using it for various rice and vegetable dishes.

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