The Amazing Adventures of Tom and Bel

Monday, June 30, 2008

Good News & Bad News

Good News: The baby has learned to initiate play! She's figured out the hiding part of peek-a-boo.

Bad News: She decided to show off this new skill at 2 am.

We're very proud. Exhausted, but proud.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Froglegs and Prunes

"Mmm... froggie is delicious..."

"...but I really enjoy dried plums."


Monday, June 16, 2008


Perfectly happy little boy, right? Don't be fooled by his brave exterior:

We started summer camp today and already, there's been a serious sports injury:

Let us all take a moment of silence to acknowledge the dangers of mixing kickball and giddy little boys.
Alas, poor Superman pants. I knew them well.
(This knowledge may have something to do with the number of times I washed these puppies. The disintegration may also have something to do with that number. They were favorite pants and in heavy rotation.)


In knitting news, I'm still working on unbloggable stuff, but I'm so excited that these arrived today:

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this masterwork, this is Maria Erlbacher's awesome series of twisted stitch dictionaries (Traditional Knitting Patterns from the Styrian Enns River Valley):

While I do not speak or read a lick of German, the book is full of beautifully clear charts that should be easy enough to work. If I can get mon petit monstre to sleep tonight, I hope to find a few minutes to play with these.

If you're interested, I ordered these from the kind folk at DAW. Again, I don't speak any German, but the transaction was speedy and painless, despite my communication handicap.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008


It's a glorious day here in PDX (Finally. I was beginning to wonder if this weather would ever come.)
Sunny, warm and perfect for playing music in the backyard -- and of course, for a turn at the grill.
Oddly, barbecue is the one area of cooking where I tend to be a little sexist. Though my mom and many other ladies I know are awesome grill mistresses, at our house, the little green machine is exclusively Boy-O's domain. Creating the flavorings is my contribution.

Inspired by the saucy, folksy, vaguely Middle Eastern music Boy-O and the big kids were playing, I've come up with the following. I like it so much, I think this'll be the new standard burger recipe 'round here. I do my ingredients to taste, but this is a rough approximation. I've included substitutes for spices you might not have handy:

Cher's Spicy Summer Burgers
1# ground lamb
1# ground beef

1.5 t. grains of paradise (sub: mixed peppercorns)
2 t. coriander
1.5 t. garlic powder
1.5 t. cumin
0.5 t. Aleppo pepper (sub: 1/4 t. red pepper flakes and 1/4 t. chipotle powder)
1 T. kosher salt

Yogurt cheese (plain yogurt is fine, too)
Mint leaves, chiffonaded
Slices of grilled onion

In a large bowl, combine the lamb and beef. Using your hands, mix them together thoroughly for at least five minutes. Set aside.

Combine all spices in a mortar; grind with the pestle. If you have a dedicated spice grinder or clean coffee grinder, feel free to use that instead. (I like the coarseness of hand grinding.)
Sprinkle approximately half the spice mixture onto the meat; mix in by hand for about 1 minute.
Fold the remaining spice mixture into the meat.

Grill to desired doneness. (I like mine just shy of medium, with a tiny dose of pink.)

Top with a dollop of yogurt cheese, a little mint chiffonade, and some grilled onion.
Somehow, we never have hamburger buns handy, so we serve ours on bagels.

Baby Z, of course, did not have a burger, but instead enjoyed some delicious applesauce courtesy of Earth's Best.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Summery Goodness

I'm loving the Shetland Shorty in the summer Knitty. And Helena. And Thira. And Seascape.
So. Cute. I need more hands ...


Monday, June 09, 2008

Getting closer...

I have to squee a little bit: the editor who is publishing the design I worked on this past winter just wrote and asked how I'd like my name to appear in the mag. Whee! It's that much closer to becoming a Real Pattern.
(I know, it's totally dorky, but I am so happy.)

Working on still more proposals; I'm having a blast with all the swatching. It's like doing an audition -- for that moment, at least, it's totally my part. Similarly, while I'm swatching, it's like I've created the most brilliant design ever -- of course they'll love and want it. (Hee.)
After this last batch, it's on to a project for the baby, I think. I need something cute and quick!


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Hilarity is... big kids, playing out back, speaking FakeSpanish() to one another. Heh. One word out of ten may actually be legit.

...insane baby giggles while Miss N dances for her amusement.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Over Hill, Over Dale, Over Dye

These days, when I'm not swatching for things I can't show you, I'm dyeing. I am absolutely entranced by the process, and am thrilled to discover what I can do with drink mix and food coloring.
I would love to explore acid dyes in a serious way, but since I'm doing it all in my kitchen, at the moment, I need everything to be food safe. Someday I think I will -- perhaps when we are child free.
But there is much to learn, and surprisingly sophisticated effects can be had with these materials, so I've no cause for complaint. It does mean, however, that no skein is safe in my clutches.

Ably assisted by my sidekick:

I took this:

And did this:

While my assistant enjoyed the fruits of her labors:

Mmmm. Tasty, tasty paper. Much more fun than winding yarn into skeins, I'm sure.

Later, I also did this:

Which didn't have the result I wanted. I'd added a good deal of black to the recipe, in order to deepen the color. Black dyes, I've learned, tend to 'break' - separate into their component colors and it did, but the results weren't quite what I was going for.
So I went back to the dyepot:

Overdyed my overdye, and came up with this:

I'm pretty pleased.