Friday, November 28, 2008

Drawing Tutorial for Pre-Schoolers

In this video, my son will teach you how to draw Peep.

These days, his creative side is blossoming. It's most evident through imaginative play, and story-telling, but he's finally showing interest in drawing as well. Kids--they're ahead in some areas, behind in others, and it all evens out in the long haul.

Considering how long it took to upload this video, I don't anticipate sharing others!

On a completely different note, I made soup with leftover turkey, some carrots and such tonight. (Food photography is exceedingly difficult--why do my dishes never look appetizing on film?) I only make noodles from scratch a couple of times a year, but I love love love them!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Essential Book Meme

This idea comes from PaperMenagerie, by way of the High Desert Diva:

List the following:
(a) Fiction book
(b) Autobiography
(c) Non-fiction book
(d) A fourth book of your choice from any genre

Explain why the books are essential reads in no more than 30 words per book.

This is an agonizing task for any bibliophile! Choosing favorites is tough, if not impossible, for me. I'm having difficulty refraining from listing runners-up in each category!
A. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffeneger

It's contemporary, original, well-written, complex example of magical realism. The emotional context and content are so strong I feel like I live the story rather than read it.

B. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Newer memoirs and autobiographies are affecting, but not nearly so much as (all versions) of this well-known slave narrative.

C. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Barbara Kingsolver's fiction is superb, but this account of her family's endeavor to be locavores for a year is informative, entertaining, and a text-book for changing unhealthy habits.

D. Tramps Like Us, by Barbara Morgenroth

It has long been out of print, but I own two copies. Though an avid reader, this was the one book I could fully relate to as an adolescent. I ended up living out my own version of this bildungsroman.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Breakfast

I'm not usually a pancake fan, but this recipe is scrumptious and filling. I make it year-round, but the oatmeal and brown sugar flavor is especially good in the winter.

The (modified) recipe is originally from the November, 2004 edition of American Baby magazine.

Oatmeal Pancakes

1 cup milk
2/3 cup quick-rolled oats
2/3 cup flour
2 T brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. oil
1/4 tsp. vanilla

Heat milk in a small saucepan. Stir in oats, remove from heat, cover and let stand for five minutes.
Stir flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center for the liquid ingredients.
In a small bowl, stir egg, oil, and vanilla. Add egg mixture to oats, then pour into dry ingredients. Stir to combine.
For eight pancakes, pour 1/4 cup portions of batter on skillet. Turn when bubbles are plentiful, and cook a minute longer.

Nutrition facts:
184 calories
7g total fat
1.5g saturated fat
25g carbs
2g fiber

I eat a couple, then save the rest to eat throughout the week. Great with syrup, apple butter, or even on their own.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thrift Shopping

Thrifting has emerged as a point of pride for many shoppers. It used to be that the stock rotated slowly, and gems could be had for a quarter. Over the past couple of decades, prices for used goods have risen along with the overall quality of goods offered second-hand. Lately, when I drive past any of my favorite shopping haunts for used merchandise, the parking lots are full and cars are illegally parked nearby.

While this is a welcome sight for the sore eyes of an environmentalist, it brings with it some proprietary sorrow. I'm not used to competing for a place to park at establishments like Goodwill. Instead of reacting to this sight with camaraderie, I mainly stay away, leaving the bargains for those who need them more.

Today, however, I treated myself to a five dollar spurge at a lesser-known store called the Treasure Shop and picked out some brand new office supplies, as well as three suit jackets to embelish/upcycle. The prices were reminiscent of 1991, and for bringing my own shopping bag, the kind lady at the register knocked $1.50 off my total!
I am inspired to design some great appliques for these sport coats. Since discovering what a popular item this jacket was at the Strange Folk Festival, I've been collecting used, brand-name women's jackets to re-make, and will also experiment with a few menswear items for next fall.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

White, Silver. Gray.

After procrastinating a few cycles of routine dye jobs, I reached a decision. A few weeks ago I declared to all who would listen that I have stopped dying my hair.

Now, I'm eager for the transformation. I find my eyes drawn to long gray hair with a sort of lust. One day, I will proudly sport a long, silvery braid. Pictured below is seven or eight weeks of growth on my crown. It's going to be a long wait for that braid! Tonight I did some image and advice searches online. My twofold purpose was to find tips on gracefully growing out the dyed locks and to seek shorter hair cut ideas for the journey. What I discovered surprised me: Gray is chic.
There are sites devoted to the evolution to gray, with glamorous (rather than earthy) photos of celebs such as Glenn Close, Emmy Lou Harris, and Jamie Lee Curtis. Evidently, an Oprah episode was dedicated to proud silver manes. is fueling a (r)evolution. Flickr photos celebrate natural hair. (I dare not share these photos here for fear of infringement, but click to view them.)

Newspaper reporters like William Loeffler have observed, "This is not your grandmother's gray. No longer is it compressed into a schoolmarmish bun or crinkled into a blue rinse. It's seen in clubs and art galleries, coffee houses and fashion runways. It's worn long and straight, cut into a punk-style buzz or crimped into flirty curls" (Philidelphia Times).

Books have recently been written about women's avoidance of gray, as well as an emerging spirit of acceptance. (Hyperlinks are to books.)

It seems my decision has coincided with a movement of sorts. I'm okay with that. After all, white, silver, or gray hair symbolizes peace.

Gray Haired Scorpio, signing off.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween was a fun time. G was asked if he was a Roman soldier or a gladiator, but he was adamant about his knighthood. Too bad his mama made such a pitiful duct tape lance!