The owl. Is back.

Remember the crazy owl quilt I made? Visual:

A few months ago my boss happened to see this photo and told me she wanted me to make her a wall hanging based on the quilt. So naturally I pretended like I didn’t hear her. I mean I had a wedding to plan you guys. About a week later she brought me a frame from Ikea followed by, “no pressure”. Sure. No pressure. Your boss says jump, right? Well last weekend I finally sat down and busted it out. Thankfully it turned out to be easier than I expected once I figured out what I was going to do. First I printed the above photo so the owl was the size I wanted (about 13″ high x 8″ wide). Then I cut it into pieces and added seam allowances to create the pattern. Visual:

Yes, those are the pattern pieces. Somewhere out there my former pattern making instructor just got a migraine.

I didn't think about how creepy the pins in his head would look. Sorry.

I put scissors in the photo to give a size perspective.

If someone asked me to make the quilt again, I’d laugh manically. But if someone asked me to make the wall hanging again, I’d totally do it. I’d charge more money than they’ll want to pay (because for some reason “hand made” translates to “cheaper cost” to a lot of people), but I would do it for sure. Someone else at work wants me to make an elephant. Stay tuned for that adventure.

quackquackquack

If you’ve ever been to Seattle you’ve probably seen a Ride the Ducks tour roaming around the city. What you might not know is that the land-water hybrid trucks were originally used by the United States Army during World War II. Yes, that’s right – they can go on land and in water. Did I just blow your mind? Here’s a visual courtesy of their website:

Believe it or not, I had never been on one of these contraptions until Sunday when my friend Julie and I rode around Seattle on the holiday lights tour. It was land only, short and sweet, but a whole lot of fun. Here are a few of the photos I took of this magical city I call home.

The star on Macy's and the big Christmas tree at Westlake Center.

The last time I saw this area across the street there were tons of Occupy Wall Street protesters, but now it appears as if there's some sort of mini theme park.

My free quacker.

One of the Macy's windows.

Occidental Park and their trunk warmers.

Pike Place Market.

Weeeee're soooo faaaaaast.

Macy's

The main perk of not being in Rockefeller Center to view a giant Christmas tree? Way less people.

 

Crafty Wonderland

Along with about 15,000 other people, I spent last weekend at Crafty Wonderland in Portland. It was pretty intense. I made the mistake of wearing a long sleeve shirt and a wool sweater the first day and got real sweaty. But in the end the whole thing was definitely worth it. I had a lot of fun helping my brother out, and even got a few Christmas gifts while I was at it. Plus I always appreciate an excuse to spend some time in Portland.

We learned a ton about having a booth at one of these things. Most of them are specific to Derek and what he was selling (for example, he got an easel on Sunday morning to properly display the full ABC set), but the number one thing I learned was to eat a big breakfast. My energy was at zero by about 12pm. And finding a piece of wire in my chicken teriyaki didn’t really help things. Grrr. 

This photo doesn’t do the chaos justice, but people were lined up at 7am (doors didn’t open until 11am). Yikes.

Book Club: #19

You may have noticed that it’s been a few weeks since I’ve written a post about a book. This is due to a combination of things – only reading magazines for a while, then reading a bad book, then being lazy. So I have a few to share, I’ve just been too caught up in “House Hunters”, or “A Fiance For Christmas” to do anything about it. Love the Hallmark channel by the way. Best worst movies ever made I tell ya.

The book I chose to chat about tonight in my one person book club is “Half Broke Horses” by Jeannette Walls. I seriously did not put this book down. I ate with it I walked with it I slept with it. Okay, not really. But it was really good. It’s a novel based on the life of the author’s grandmother. And boy did she lead an interesting one. It was fascinating to me to read about a woman who traveled for 28 days on horseback just to get to her first teaching job at the age of 15. Or how at the age of 5 she helped her dad to train (or break) horses and then rode into town to sell eggs. What was I doing at the age of 5? Naming my stuffed animals and hiding my most prized possessions from my brothers. WOW. Awesome, Becky.

What was also fun for me with this book is that there are photos of the author’s family members dispersed throughout, so I had an actual visual for these people and not just someone I made up or the face of the actor who played him or her in the movie adaptation.

Also noteworthy is Jeannette Walls’ other book “The Glass Castle“. It’s a very good read as well.

Game night

Last week I made the best vegetarian lasagna I’ve ever had. Seriously delicious.

Steve and I followed that up with some shortbread. I’ve never made shortbread before, and it definitely turned out too crumbly. Thankfully it tasted really good though. Phew. Disclaimer: I actually don’t remember which shortbread recipe I used. I know it came out of one of our cookbooks, but I’m just not sure. For now, you should try this one and let me know how it turns out.

And what’s a Saturday night without a rip-roaring game of Yahtzee? (I won by the way. All of them.)

Seattle’s Little Italy

A few weeks ago Steve and I finally used one of his birthday gifts – a cooking class at Al Boccalino in downtown Seattle. To give you an idea of how long it took us to actually get in to take the class, Steve’s birthday was in April and when I called to make a reservation for a Saturday our options were down to one day in November and one day in December. But luckily we were able to go, and had a great time. The owner, Luigi DeNunzio, is what one might call a “character”. He was pretty funny and we learned quite a bit. For example, when the pasta was in the boiling water he added about a cup of salt. Not a pinch or a dash, but a cup.

We headed downtown early, and had just enough time to wander around a bit and grab a beer at Fado.

 

TIP: I’m not sure if the room is set up the same every time, but I would recommend sitting at the front table if you can – you’ll be able to hear and see better.

Thanksgiving Dinner for 2

Steve and I had a Thanksgiving dinner for two the Sunday before Thanksgiving. We wanted to make our first Thanksgiving as a married couple special, but mostly I wanted an excuse to make mini apple pies. I was apprehensive to use a standard pie recipe because I didn’t know how long to bake the little guys. But I used this recipe and I would definitely recommend it. Sauteing the apples in butter and spices before putting them in the pie? Yes please.

We also had brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, turkey and mulled wine using these spices from Williams-Sonoma.

Vancouver, B.C. in pictures

A few weeks ago Steve and I spent a lovely rainy weekend in Canada with my brother Kyle and his special lady friend Ellie. Here are a few of the photos from our trip.

On Saturday we had lunch at Meat & Bread. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Meat and Bread. And pure deliciousness.

Below is their Bacon Maple Ice Cream sandwich. Mmmmmm…

After lunch we hit up a farmer’s market and got all the fixings for a homemade pork chop dinner. This sold on Ebay for $1,000. Not really. Rrraaaaaaarrrrrrr.

 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are pretty darn delicious. The recipe was given to me along with a binder where I can organize all the recipes I get from other people and the ones I print off the ol’ internets. Since I’ve gotten a ton of recipes in the last few months, the binder has really come in handy.

I would whole-heartidly recommend cutting the recipe in half. There was so much dough it barely fit in the mixing bowl, and it was really hard to not only stir such a dense dough, but to also try and keep it contained. I sort of wanted to scream into a pillow by the time I was done. Once I ate one the effort was totally worth it though. I mean how could I hold a grudge against tiny little chocolaty bites of cookie crack?

As you can see below, I made the cookies for part of a thank you gift to someone. We left them on her front doorstep because she wasn’t home and found out later that she didn’t see the jar for a full 24 hours. This makes total sense when you consider that we forgot to tell her it was there. So I’m sure they were hard as a rock and completely inedible…but it’s the thought that counts, right?