Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Kitchen Quilting

My mother is a quilter, as was her mother before her. I have done one or two very small fabric quilting projects, but I don't really think it's for me. Sometimes I am a perfectionist. Other times, I really don't give a rat's patooty. Either way, I end up frustrated.

I've learned the best quilts tell stories. My grandmother made the one on my daughter's bed for me when I was her age. One on my son's bed, from my mom, tells the story of little monkeys jumping on the bed. A table runner in my dining room is a wooded scene with bears from my Aunt Candy. I have another table throw made from feed bag fabrics, t-shirt quilts that document my life from high school to marriage, wall hangings of mountains and horses and bears (oh my)! The list goes on and on. Quilts made from scraps and special fabrics bought, given, gifted, traded, from here or there, modern to antique. Each one has a story. I try to keep them all in my head, but heaven help me if I should ever be quizzed.

I realized, as I rummaged through my kitchen scavenging for lunch today that, even though I don't use fabric and thread, I sometimes throw together my own quilting projects... in my kitchen. 

I like to cook when I have time to think about what I'm doing. Cooking doesn't bug me as other crafts sometimes do. Maybe it is the convenience of so many pizza joints if plans go awry, but I don't mind getting experimental in the kitchen. I can strive for perfection or be careless with my ingredients, and there's not much harm. Especially during weekday lunch time when I'm mostly cooking just for me.

Like quilts, the meals I stitch together sometimes also tell their own stories. Today's lunch: Grilled Chicken and Onions on Toasted Sourdough.

Hubby decided last October that he wanted to create his own pet sourdough starter. We named her Minerva. Once or twice a week, he harvests some of Minerva's yeast-iness and bakes a loaf of sourdough. A couple of toasted slices seemed like a good place to start for a sandwich. I dressed it with a teaspoon of light sour cream for a touch of smoothness.

I made my chicken noodle bowl recipe for dinner last night. I had one and a half thin-sliced marinated chicken breasts left over. I chopped one up and sauteed it with two sliced Cippolini onions. I had never even heard of Cippolini onions until I started sharing a winter vegetable share from a local farm with my friend Kat. CSA veggie delivery day is like Christmas! Maybe a little muddier.

Sauteed onions and marinated chicken had to be topped with cheese. I had made the boy cub a tortilla cheese roll-up for lunch and had some extra shredded Colby Jack. Turns out I could salvage some spinach from an old box of lettuce I had in the fridge, so I tossed that on top too. With a little fruit on the side, lunch was complete.

My kitchen scraps threw together a really beautiful little treat! All stitched together, it was my own little wholesome quilting project. It sure didn't last as long as most of the other quilting projects I keep in my home, but it sure was delicious!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Browsing the children's books in Costco this weekend, I stumbled on a really cute little 2-pack of books that seemed to teach some basic preschool skills to kids ages 2 and up. I am not sure what appealed to me about the books. The cute cover characters perhaps. Or maybe it was the smug little face drawn in the 'o' on the brand logo. Whatever it was, we ultimately decided to purchase a pack for the boy child as a Valentine's gift. Yes, evil mom gives workbooks as presents... he will learn that fun IS work. He will enjoy being pressed into early studies, dammit! Toys are for the weak!

Well, the truth of it is, my slave driving plots backfired. I couldn't tear the boy away from his workbooks this morning! For two and a half hours, he stuck stickers and cut lines and pasted together a host of items from boats and rockets to frogs and birthday cakes. He didn't want to stop. With each item we completed, he insisted we carry on. He was a little irritated with me when I made him play his video games so I could have a 5 minute break to get a drink of water and use the bathroom.

... and how his skills did develop! His cutting precision improved. He used a glue stick for the first time. He counted the snips his scissors made, and felt pride in properly placing eyes, a nose, and mouth on the face of a panda. We had such a great time!

While I don't often generate a strong opinion on consumer products, I have to say I found these small workbooks to be easy to use, visually riveting for my little guy, and well worth the money. For $7.99 we couldn't have even enjoyed a movie together for two and a half hours.

We purchased the Kumon books for Stickers & Paste, and Cutting Paper, and I don't know how long I can wait before returning to Costco to see what other books the Kumon company has for us. The Sticker & Paste book was thoroughly defeated in its singular day of use. It has nothing more to offer us. The book on paper cutting might take us through tomorrow, but it is a long shot. I have a feeling there will be disappointment at reaching the final pages.

It was exciting. This little guy is so enthusiastic about so many things, he himself is a gift. I suppose I expected him to get a kick out of learning and practicing some of these early skills, but I didn't expect it to hold his attention for quite so long. Not when competing with Lego Batman on the PS3, after all.

Good heavens. Less than a year and a half until Kindergarten. We are striking up that flaming hunger for learning! May it burn and burn in him for the rest of both of our days.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

mis-placed hearts

I received the most beautiful love letter today:






Wait, who thinks I love him? J-Boy?

Sadly, I don't know any J-Boy who loves all my ways and finds me to be his most beautiful dream wife.
I then notice that the note is written to T-Girl.
Sigh. I am not T-Girl.
I am saddened that lucky T-Girl will never receive her sweetly composed love note.

But, hey, listen... T-Girl, if you're out there... you hold onto that J-Boy! He's a sweetheart to leave you notes on what he thinks to be your windshield while you do your food shopping.

... and J-Boy, while I should probably say you're a lovestruck moron for missing the clear indications that my CRV was not your T-Girlmobile (the plates, the telltale car seats in the backseat, the massive juggling bag cluttering the trunk), anytime you ,or any of your buddies, want to leave a love note on my windshield telling me I am most beautiful... bring it, baby. I am going to be smiling the rest of my day pretending you are remembering the lips and eyes of this jobless, witless, goal-less, middle-aged mother of two.

Ahhh... vicariously T-Girl.