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Category: Discussion


11 things

I was tagged by Sara of Nik Naks and Noms to do the 11 things quiz that’s been circulating around. I didn’t realize how long this one is! Took me a couple of days to finish it, but here it goes…


1. Post these rules.
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions the person who tagged you set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.
6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you’re reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people.

Random Things:

  1. I’m on week 2 of Jamie Eason’s LiveFit program and loving it. So soorrreee…
  2. Favorite chore: unloading the dishwasher. It’s like putting together a puzzle where all the pieces are dishes.
  3. In the third grade, I lost a spelling bee on the word “squirrel.”
  4. On the topic of squirrels, we have one that lives in a tree outside our kitchen and he can be heard banging pecans against our kitchen door ALL DAY in an effort to break them open. I don’t think he realizes that this opening feature is a property of any hard surface and not just a property of our door.
  5. I once hosted a Scrabble tournament among friends with a cash prize, came in second.
  6. I shave my arms. The hair on my arms is not pretty light peach fuzz and it doesn’t all grow in one direction. I’m very self-conscious about it so I just shave it off.
  7. When I was a kid, I had the tip of my left pointer finger chopped off in a car door. I had to have it sown back on and I wore a silly huge bandage over it that looked like something out of a cartoon. Still have a small scar there.
  8. Love sweets. I try to keep only one dessert in the house at a time because I can’t trust myself to say no to sugar. This is also why I only bake for special occasions though I love baking.
  9. Cat Facts: Liam has only one working lung and he sounds like a coffee percolator when he breathes. Lucas used to play fetch with us when he was a baby but now he’s too fat and lazy.
  10. Our wedding anniversary is my maternal grandmother’s birthday. I used to say when I was a little girl that I wanted to get married on her birthday, so I thought it’d be fun and special to see that through.
  11. I’m making at least one more wedding cake this year and I’m really excited about it!

Questions from my tagger:

1. Where is your dream destination? – Right now I’m lusting after Thailand.

2. If you could do anything, job wise, for the rest of your life, what would it be? – I’m not career-oriented at all. I really wish I could spend all of my days traveling, learning, and creating things, so for me a job is merely a means to those ends. If I had to wake up and do the same thing 5 times a week for the rest of my life though, I’d probably want to be a travel photographer.

3. Are you a dressy type or a jeans and t-shirt type? – I wish I could be a dressy type but those kinds of clothes are just not practical for my lifestyle right now. I’ve been making an effort to buy more girly things though.

4. Do you buy any snacks at the movie theater? If so, which ones? – Nope. I see a movie in the theater about once a year as it is. I don’t bring snacks either, just watch the movie.

5. Do you have any hidden talents? What are they? – Uh, not really. I can name all the presidents in the order that they served and all the states alphabetically, but that’s just my uncanny memory, not really a talent.

6. Would you ever sleep outside, on the ground, without a tent? – Sure, but I wouldn’t enjoy it. I used to be so outdoorsy when I was a kid too, but now nature and I don’t mesh so well.

7. What’s you’re favorite song at the moment? – Blue Ridge Mountains by Fleet Foxes, or pretty much anything by Fleet Foxes.

8. Are you a night owl or a morning person? -Neither? I’m getting too old to be able to stay out late anymore but I still have a hard time getting up early.

9. How many states have you been to and which one was your favorite? – I’ve been to 11 states and undoubtedly my favorite was Washington. Seattle was a really cool city.

10. What’s your favorite pizza topping(s)? – Mushrooms! The more the merrier.

11. Do you have any phobias? – Needles. I completely lose it when I have to get a shot or get blood taken. I know it won’t hurt, but I have these awful fantasies of the needle getting bumped accidentally and getting lodged in my arm or something awful like that.


11 questions from me:

  1. Favorite household chore?
  2. What country could you see yourself living in for a year or more?
  3. What was your first car?
  4. What is your favorite song to bliss out and relax to?
  5. What was the hardest job you’ve ever had?
  6. How long does it take you to get to sleep?
  7. Favorite breakfast food?
  8. Are you handy with tools or home improvement stuff?
  9. What is your favorite bar or restaurant?
  10. Do you have any nervous habits?
  11. Can you hula hoop?


I know I’m not supposed to just say whoever wants to do this is tagged, but I’ve seen so many people do this quiz that I don’t know who hasn’t done it yet. So instead, answer one or more of the questions from me in the comments section!


Getting my art on

I have been saying for literally years that I’ve wanted to start making art for myself again. Since high school, I’ve only made a handful of pieces, and most of them have been gifts for other people. I’m not sure why it’s been such a struggle for me to make art, though I think it may have something to do with the fact that as I’ve grown I’ve gotten better at expressing myself more directly, so I no longer need to get my emotions and ideas out on canvas when I’m actually voicing them.

So, I’ve started my first art piece this year, hopefully one of many to come. I thought I’d share the process of creating this piece on the blog mostly just for fun but also so that if anyone wants to create something similar, the steps will be right here for you to follow!

Maybe you’ve seen some of the string and spirograph inspired art that’s been really popular lately…

I wanted to create something similar but with a colored background and bright eye-popping string. First though, I had to build a canvas. I’ve had the materials for a while now but just got around to putting them together yesterday.

I bought a pre-cut piece of poplar and 4 poplar slats for the sides. I positioned the slats on the wood canvas and marked off where I needed to cut them to fit.

Measuring wood slats

I used a tiny handsaw from our toolkit to cut through each slat one at a time, with a sheet of paper on the floor to catch the sawdust.

Sawing off excess wood

Safety first!

Safety first

When the canvas was assembled, I put some heavy books on top of it to weigh it down and let it sit for a few hours to dry. Then I ran a bead of wood glue around the inside edge and smoothed it out with my finger to add further stability.

Assembled canvas drying
Bead of glue on the inside

Next step, fixing imperfections. I took the sawdust that fell onto the paper and mixed it with wood glue to make a sand-able paste.

Paste of wood glue and sawdust

Then I spackled it into any cracks, dents, rough edges, or low spots. It doesn’t have to be perfect since it’ll get sanded.

Applied sawdust paste

After drying, I applied one more coat of the sawdust spackle. Now it’s drying until tomorrow when I’ll sand it down and add the first coat of paint.

Completed canvas drying

And that is how I made a wood canvas! I’ve been wanting to experiment with painting on wood because it’s so much smoother than canvas. I don’t like all the cloth texture that a fabric canvas has. Anyway, I’ll update as I work on it some more.

Have you ever recreated a craft project from one you saw online or on tv?



Shooting a book

I am a total slave to the light right now. Everything I do these days is planned around the weather forecast. Sunny days are spent at home shooting book photos, and if it’s dreary or rainy out I go run errands. It’s not fun to spend the pretty days indoors doing work and the gloomy ones out slogging around in the elements.

One perk of writing a cookbook though…you get to eat your props!

Eaten biscuits and shiitake gravy

I shot some biscuits with miso shiitake gravy yesterday morning and had them for lunch as soon as I was sure I got the shot I needed, along with some green tea that was also in the photo. This isn’t the shot I’ve chosen for the book, but you can see how delicious all this hard work can be!

Biscuits with shiitake gravy

Yeah, it can’t all be bad when there’s biscuits and gravy afterwards. 😉

It is hard to get any work done when there are nosy cats around though. Liam loves to sniff at my recipes, like this green tea and pistachio frozen yogurt before I put it in the freezer to set up.

Liam sniffs a semifreddo

He likes to swarm me while I’m setting up shots too, knocking things over with his tail and just generally being in the way.

Photo table setup

Almost all of the book shots are being taken at this little table next to a window, with my light box being used as a light bounce and various props used to change the look of the table surface and with different colored backdrops taped up behind it all. I am so proud of the photos I’ve been taking and I can’t wait for you all to see them. You’d never know they were taken on a tiny Ikea table propped up with some old mail on an uneven floor.

Today is a gloomy-ish day so I’m out of the house shopping for ingredients for more book photos to take as soon as the sun comes out. It seems like a never ending cycle, I seriously won’t know what to do with myself when this book is done. In fact, I’m already planning another one!

It will be nice when I can spend a sunny day outdoors again though, so that’s what I’m working towards. Gotta get it done in time for spring!