Monday, June 21, 2010

The Long Overdue Post: Bee Pattern and Botanical Pictures


Here is a pattern that I have been putting off posting for ages, but finally have done! I wanted to make a cute round bumble bee, but didn't find anything to suit my fancy, so I decided to adapt another pattern, and I made so many little changes that I think it is quite my own now.  So here it is!


Bumblebee Pattern

R1: Ch 2 in yellow.
R2: 6 sc in first ch.
R3: 2 sc in each sc – 12 sts.
R4: *2 sc in next st, sc in next st, rep from * around - 18 sts.
R5: *2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 2 sts, rep from * around – 24 sts.
R6: *2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 3 sts, rep from * around – 30 sts.
R7: *2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 4 sts, rep from * around – 36 sts.
R8: Switch to black or brown. Sc around, 36 sts. Repeat through R11
R12: Switch to yellow. Sc around, 36 sts, repeat through R15
R16: Switch to black or brown. Sc around, 36 sts. Repeat through R19
Rnd 20: Switch to yellow. *Sc2tog, sc in each of next 4 sts, rep from * around – 30 sts. (Somewhere around here is generally a good idea to sew on the wings, put in the eyes, and begin stuffing.)
Rnd 21: *Sc2tog, sc in each of next 3 sts, rep from * around – 24 sts.
Rnd 22: *Sc2tog, sc in each of next 2 sts, rep from * around – 18 sts.
Rnd 23: *Sc2tog, sc in next st, rep from * around – 12 sts.
Rnd 24: *Sc2tog, rep from * around – 6 sts. Fasten off.

R1: Ch 2 in white or cream.
R2: 6 sc in first ch.
R3: 2 sc in each sc – 12 sts.
R4: *2 sc in next st, sc in next st, rep from * around - 18 sts.
R5: *2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 2 sts, rep from * around – 24 sts.
R6: *2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 3 sts, rep from * around – 30 sts. Finish off. Sew to body using white or cream.

R1: With black, ch 2.
R2: 4 sc in first ch.
R3: *2 sc in next st, sc in next st, rep from * around - 6 sts.
R4: *2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 2 sts, rep from * around – 8 sts. Finish off. Sew to bee with black yarn.


I made this dahling little bee as a present for my friend and dormie E, who actually kept bees in high school and missed them at college. Bees are amazing creatures, but recently they have been disappearing from hives all around the country, causing huge problems for farmers both commercial and home growers. Click here to learn more about this phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder.
 How is this for some color? These are the leftover pictures from Memorial day weekend when we went to my university's botanical garden. My cousin and I felt pretty cool when we got in for free by showing our student IDs. And then we were like, oh wait, our parents are paying thousands of dollars for our tickets, really. Haha. ha. err. Anyway!
This is my favorite one. ^

So that's all for now, at least until I finish my other owl sachet pattern. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Saturday in San Francisco


This past week has been a lot of studying as usual. But the weekend finally rolled around and I got to go to SF yesterday with some friends from my Japanese class, and some acquaintances of theirs from the International Dorm. They were all really cool, and we had a lot of fun. I forgot my camera, so all of these pictures were taken by my friend L! Thanks for letting me use them!
This is the Palace of Fine Arts! It really was gorgeous, and there were really cute ducks in the pond. And a bunch of not as cute super vicious seagulls and pigeons. But with some careful aiming of bagel pieces you could make sure you only fed the ducks.
This pigeon seemed to be very fond of me. Which was odd, because I kept trying to kick it. It was fascinated with my shoes, I think.
A female duck came over to where we were and was chasing and biting some of the male ducks. We wondered why until we started walking towards the Exploratorium (which was our original goal anyway except we all got very distracted by the ducks). Then we saw that there were a bunch of DUCKLINGS!!! But our cooing was interrupted when another mother duck who had slightly older ducklings started attacking the smaller one, and it all escalated to a big duck fight. Fortunately none of the ducklings were injured.
Inside of the Exploratorium there was an exhibit on what determined cuteness and they had some of these Mitrushka doll decals on the wall.
SF was really cold and windy so I resourcefully made my scarf into a head covering to protect my ears and hair from the howling and mussing up of the wind. Unfortunately it made me look kind of like Baba Yaga. I guess its just the nose... sigh. I was warm though, which was all I cared about.

Our last stop was Japan Town, where we ate dinner at this cute restaurant called "On the Bridge", stopped by Ichiban Kan, and the Nijiya Market. I was kind of practical at Ichiban Kan and only got a couple of baskets for steaming vegetables and some steel wool, but made up for it at the grocery store and got shoyu (soy sauce) dango and some mochi you can make in the microwave and some Kirin milk tea! Yummm

Anyway, my 24 hours of frolic are done and now I must hit the books once again.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Eagle Has Landed!

This was what I meant to title the post a few days ago when I once again felt the urge to blog about what was going on here in my delightful apartment. My bed has finally arrived! On Tuesday, my dear Da came and helped me take the horrible metal Ikea death trap back to the evil place from whence it came, set up my new AWESOME golden pine "Liberty Loft" as it is called by the company that makes it, and took me on a massive grocery shopping trip. Ikea isn't really evil, just the bed I guess, and now we have some store credit which is kind of fun! Finally finally finally I have managed to get settled in, and my first week of summer school is over. This afternoon, I reorganized the kitchen and did some final clean up, and took pictures of the finished product! Hurrah for Bag End!

 So this is the living room, and my beloved comfy couch! Above the couch I have a super gorgeous Monet print. The cushion and carpet mach the couch awesomely considering they were things my flat mate S's mom just happened to have! The lamp is from Target, I think, and the table and chairs were a consignment store purchase once again by S's mother. Thank you so much! The napkins on the couch are some super cute things I picked up at Ikea in the "As Is" department, which is where all of the real bargains are!

 SO CUTE! I think I want to make them into a bag of some sort, but I'm not quite sure yet. Anyhow, on with the tour!
I ended up totally reorganizing the kitchen yesterday, finally. The blue bins on top of the fridge are breakfast food and bread, and the brown one on top of the cabinet is baking supplies such as flour, sugar, baking powder, chocolate chips, etc. In the slow cooker on the stove, which I am learning to love love love is cranberry barbeque chicken breast that turned out ABSOLUTELY DELISH! I also made a simple beef stew earlier in the week, essentially tomato soup, carrots, potatoes, and stew beef. I am excited to experiement with it, maybe put in some celery and peas next time. The gorgeous little red and white china pot that holds spatulas, whisks, etc. is another thing picked up from my favorite thrift store, and then salvaged from mummy's garden (sorry mum!). I just installed the magnetic rack thingy above the stove and I must say I really like it already for convenience and storage of metal kitchen items that I want handy.
Now, these two bins may not be much to look at artistically, but I am so excited about them, because they have all of my new spices and necessary cooking supplies! I must say, I am really surprised at how much I adore cooking. I guess it falls in line with my crafty creative self, but I always just assumed I would be rubbish at it ( as did my parents, friends, and boyfriend). Having cooked yummy food three times in a row now, I am gaining confidence and really learning to love making good food. To paraphrase one of my fave web comics (Questionable Content) "Cooking is wonderful! It's like science for hungry people!"

This is the first thing I cooked and it was SO GOOD!! The recipe is from Church Suppers: 722 Favorite Recipes From Our Church Communities, a cookbook my mom gave me for Christmas last year. I reproduce the recipe here with the disclaimer that its not mine, I am not doing it for profit, and it was originally someone's home recipe so sharing it is hopefully not illegal or offensive. Anyway, its a christian recipe book so I figure sharing is par for the course!


BBQ Roasted Salmon
Courtesy of Cathy Jobe, Northbrook United Methodist Church, Roswell, Georgia

1/2 Cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 (6 ounce) salmon filets
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Cooking spray
Lemon wedges, for garnish

Combine the first three ingredients in a zip lock bag; seal and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, turning occasionally. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the fish from the bag and discard the marinade. Combine the sugar and the next five ingredients in a bowl. Rub the mixture over the fish. Place the fish in an 11x7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake for 12 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily. Serve with lemon wedges. Makes 4 servings.


When I made this, I actually forgot to put the cooking spray on the baking dish, and I only marinated the salmon for an hour, but it was honestly one of the most delicious salmon dishes I have ever eaten, high end restaurants and living in a coast side town notwithstanding. We ate it with broccoli and lemon, fried rice leftovers, and sourdough bread. Yum! My parents were absolutely ::shocked:: that I had cooked something for myself other than instant mac and cheese.

Anyway, moving on from the kitchen area and my newfound cooking obsession, here is the rest of the house!
Bookshelf in the living room, Ikea. Another Monet print!
My beloved walk in closet. The mirror was a steal from my ever favorite thrift store, $10!!! I finally have everything unpacked and hung up. Sorry about the picture quality, there is no natural light in here and the non flash pictures came out super fuzzy.
This is my darling roomie A's side of the room. She is not in residence, sadly, but for now my childhood bed, now her bed, is acting as a sofa/futon relaxing kindle-reading area. The picture above the bed is my mother's water color! Isn't it just b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l. ? I can't believe she let me have it!!
This is my desk/sewing area under my bunk! The hanging pictures are, from left to right, a print of my mom's favorite painting, a tulip painting from the thrift store, and an Alfonse Maria Mucha print on wood that I got from a local street vendor. The first picture is more in focus, but the second is much more true to life as far as the light in the room, so I decided to post them both and maybe you can kind of just merge them together in your mind?
Finally, here is my pride and joy! It is so sturdy and pretty. I really like the natural wood color and it never shakes or wobbles when I am climbing up and down. I have always wanted to have a loft bed, since my brother had bunk beds to himself. It could be a pirate ship or the swiss family robinson or a castle fort, all with a few blankets and some imagination! Now I finally have my own awesome loft. It is a lot different form being on the top bunk in a dorm too, now that I don't have to deal with a person under me who talks in their sleep... you know who you are <3 but I still love you E! I also really like the desk/bed setup. The ceilings are higher here than in the dorm, so I the space under the bed is comfortable enough that I don't have to watch my head every time that I stand up, but I also have enough room to sit up in bed with no worries! It is just a dream. I am so in love with my whole apartment that I can forgive it its shortcomings, which is does have. Where you may ask?
This is my bathroom, whose ceiling has been leaking on and off since we leased the place. It has been kind of a hassle, but I really actually like my repair guy, David. My landlord insisted on calling in a plumber as well, thus the hole in the ceiling, but I really agree with David that the whole thing could have been solved with some well placed caulking in just one visit if the idiots upstairs didn't insist on ignoring his instructions not to shower for 24 hours. As annoying as the experience has been, I am now on good terms with the repair guy for my building, which can only be a blessing as he is also coaching me about how to convert two prong outlets into three, tightening my locks, replacing my kitchen and bathroom light fixtures, and telling me where not to hang pictures because water pipes run through the walls. (Apparently S's room used to be a kitchen) Anyway, the whole thing is moving towards resolution. I was happy my mom didn't say I told you so after her warnings that no apartment was perfect and I insisted that this one was the exception to the rule.

So, that's essentially the place! I am so glad I finally had some time to sit down and write this post what with laundry, organizing, moving in, and 3 hours of Japanese class plus 5-6 hours of studying per day. Its really hard but I hope I will eventually gain some semblance of fluency. Anyway, I am off now maybe to collage, maybe do some altered booking, or maybe just nap and read Nero Wolfe mysteries on my trusty kindle. Have an awesome weekend!


Saturday, June 5, 2010

All in the Golden Afternoon


Well, after my three week vacation at home I am back at school again. I wonder why it is that I feel more like doing constructive creative things when I have other things to do rather than when I can watch three seasons of a new TV show in two days. Well.

I have spent the most wondrous memorial day weekend with my father's clan! First our traditional brunch at a ridiculous restaurant where they have a multitude of treasures on the wall, then our also traditional visit to a lovely garden. Despite my dear brother's disparaging remarks about "people who take pictures of flowers with their bad point and shoot cameras and think that they are photographers", I really loved the flowers there and this is the best way I can think of to share their beauty. Enjoi!

I have to say, this doorway really reminded me of Alice's trip into wonderland
And I fear that I am quite obsessed with these oversized poppies. They ranged from orange, to a light pink, to white, and orange yellow. Scrumptious!
Of course, the rose garden was even more lovely. I took a gazillion pictures, but most of them were blurry and out of focus because I was running around so ecstatically, snapping away heedlessly.
This might be my favorite picture of the day.
Isn't it such a fantastically charming wonderland?

The day was so sunny and hot, quite a change from the recent weather in my hometown (windy, foggy, and generally miserable.) I didn't quite dress for the weather and ended up being quite warm, but it was nice to be really truly warm for once, so overall the day was fantastic! Also had lots of fun with the relations, and this was only the beginning of our flowery art-y totally awesome weekend.

More pictures to come of botanical gardens and awesome impressionist and Japan town-y greatness. Also a few tutorials for some adorable crocheted animals are in the works... just as soon as I find where I wrote down my pattern. I really did write it down somewhere!!

Until next post...