Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hey Jo, whattaya know?

"Hey Jo, whattaya know?" has been shouted at me many, many times over the years. And the expected answer is "My flowers won't grow!".

It's been the truth. I have a bit of a thumb of death. Most herbs and more delicate plants I have attempted to nurture have died a horrible wilting death in the Southern California sun.

Recently, however I was given a pair of wonderfully comfortable patio chairs (Thanks Boss!), and guess what? I have a patio to put them on! Which got me to thinking of native plants that  can survive the heat and don't need a lot of TLC.

Enter my new obsession: succulents.

I love these guys! They are green and brightly colored. They come in all kinds of crazy graphically interesting shapes. And it's even recommended that I avoid watering some of them. (YES!)

This gives me time to have a lovely little garden and focus my remaining gardening time on my three herb plants. This brings me to the topic of aphids. These little jerk-faces are feeding on the new growth of my mint plants! After trying to wash them away with a home remedy, I have resorted to buying a hoard of carnivorous lady bugs to feast upon their flesh.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

June Gloom who?

I was in Knit Culture last week and Lorna's Laces Honor yarn called out to me in a bright sunny soothing voice. But 70% Baby Alpaca/30% Silk isn't exactly cool yarn. It's has more of a cuddly nature right?

Ah Ha! June gloom is soon upon us here in the Southland, so what could be better than a bright lacy layer to combat the rainy gray weather?

What will it be? Wait and see. The swatches have been knit and computations have been made.

Tally ho!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Macro Madness

Macro photography. Not at all what I thought it was.

Those amazing photos of a fly, bee, or flower where everything is in focus? They are focus stacked. Meaning several (up to 20 or more) photos are taken, each focusing on a different part of the object. Then using software (Photoshop) they are stacked one on top of each other to create one completely in focus photograph.

To my amazement I didn't take enough photos in my example of Bougainvillea shown here. The B&W version above is focus stacked and is flawed enough that I can't make a decent print of it yet. If I had overlapped the focus better, everything would have been in focus.  As it stands, I still have a lot of Photoshopping to go. (Blargh.)

A single shot is below just to show off the pretty color. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

A New Sweet Spot

There is a little food empire cropping up in the south west corner of The Farmer's Market. I often rail against the latest food craze by chef celebrities, but Amy Pressman and Nancy Silverton have created quite a trifecta of deliciousness it has been hard to ignore. The branding alone was enough to lure me in.

If you pass by the corner of 3rd and Fairfax you have probably noticed Short Order, the latest addition to The Farmer's Market at The Grove. I went there a day or two after it opened. It is a tasty, trendy, and of course expensive burger joint. (watch out for those $8 truffle fries, they'll get ya.)

What you don't see from the street is Short Cake which lies inside the market. You can immediately tell that this cafe is exactly what comes from experience and good investors. I'm a little jealous.  Every detail from the menus, to the coffee cups, to the custom espresso machine were carefully thought out. Even the waiters all wear hipster denim vests.

Single Origin (SO) coffee is served at Short Cake and is the third branch of the company. As you have probably guessed, they pride themselves on coffee that is from a single origin. (Duh.) I'm not always sold on the whole "special" coffee is better thing, but there coffee is veeerrrry nice and doesn't taste like acid (*cough* Intelligentsia *cough*)

I've made Short Cake a weekly stop. The cafe is a nice addition to the market and you don't have to wander too far into the market maze to get to it. Check it out. Get some coffee, take some instagrams of your treats,  and enjoy some prime people watching. Tourists are hilarious.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Scarf for Mom

It was supposed to be for her birthday last year....then it turned into a fall surprise...then finally a Christmas present. I consider myself a fairly fast knitter, but this scarf took foreeeeever. 

I chose a wave cable because it reminded me of my mom's hair when she got married. Loooong, wavy, and gorgeous. The cable itself is one of the easier ones, you alternate directions every 6 rows. This also cable doesn't numb your mind with too much counting and you shouldn't need markers.

Mom loved her scarf. I used a lama silk yarn so she would be nice and warm but not itchy. (very important.) Unfortunately, Indiana has been having one of the warmest winters on record thanks to the La Nina weather pattern. I don't think she's gotten to use it much. Maybe next year.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

BBB (Better Banana Bread)

Mmmmm. Banana Bread is one of the few breads I like. I've been collecting overripe bananas in my freezer for awhile now and can I just say that thawed overripe bananas are super gross. I'm glad the end product is so tasty because sometimes I have a hard time getting past the initial squish factor.

I used a bundt pan this time.  I find a giant slab of BB to be a bit daunting at times. The bundt pan allow for more manageable slices to be cut. The bread also bakes faster, 30-40 mins instead of the usual 55-75. (less wait time = YAY!)

I really like adding fresh banana slices sprinkled with sugar on top before going into the oven. The slices caramelize while baking and add some extra banana-y goodness. Not to mention it looks pretty. I got this idea from Cooks Illustrated. (Their BB recipe is amazing as well. Check out the video:

I wish we had smell-o-net. You'll just have to imagine how good my apartment smells at the moment I guess. Tee-hee.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Signs of Christmas

Ahh yes. It's October. 
Time for the Christmas knitting to begin. 

Here is a little taste of the holiday season, thanks to Arne&Carlos and their new book 55 Christmas Balls to Knit.

The book full updated Nordic motifs and old world Christmas charm. As a bonus, there is an empty chart in the back of the book so you can make your own designs.

The only con was there is a very small, easy to look over paragraph about how they do their colorwork.(pg.22) They suggest the stranding method, and I thought it was odd that there were instruction and illustrations for all the other technical aspects of the project except this. I found that stranding the yarn on such a small project worked in the round really lent itself to bunching. Once stuffed they look fine...but there was a lot of tugging involved.

There is a Scandinavian technique called tv√•√§ndsstickning that I'm going to try. Don't ask me to pronounce that word, in the states it is also called Twined Knitting.  Hopefully it will work a little better. I'll keep you updated.

Lots of Norwegian Christmas fun will be had over the next few months. Oh, and watch out for Der Krampus, don't let him cramp your holiday spirit. (Pun totally intended.)