The Life and Projects of An Avid Hobbyist

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter 2011

Happy Easter to all who believe.

Easter is my favorite Christian holiday, because it is a time of reflection, renewal and resurrection/rebirth.  I love the hopefulness of Easter (it helps that it is slightly less commercialized than Christmas).  

And while I will not be celebrating Easter in the usual fashion (bonnets, church and egg hunts), I'll be spending the day with my family, eating and laughing (hopefully).  The dinner menu includes homemade mac and cheese and peach cobbler...I'll never lose any weight at this rate.  Sunday evening, my sister and I are going to a comedy show.  Unconventional, but so am I. ~ksp

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. All who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die".

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Incomparable Nina Simone

The incomparable...
When my parents married, and before they ever had kids, they picked out two first names: Corey for a boy and Kelli for a girl. Middle names were up for grabs. For me, my father chose Simone.

Simone in French means (s)he who hears in Hebrew it means loud.  Ironically for me, both are true.  I am simultaneously capable of being loud and rambunctious and a good listener...go figure.

I was not given this name for any of these attributes; instead I was named after one of my father's favorite singers at the time, Nina Simone...and today was her birthday.

Who knew, that as my personality developed, she and I would have so much in common. I've always felt a strong kindred for her music and her political positions.  Nina was a proud woman of African American descent who was not afraid to discuss unpopular topics.  These attributes are also true of me.

Second, she had a STRONG personality.  She is believed to have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder which, in part could explain her aggressive mood swings some of which were evident while performing.  My father often recounts that if you went to one of her concerts, it was wise to expect her to walk off stage in the middle of a set.  She was largely known as "moody"...

Yeah, I can be what?

She was sand loud and hard.  Check out these tunes:
  • The Other Woman - the mistress soulful.

    Young Gifted and Black...this song is self-explanatory...skip to 2:40 to skip the intro
  • Feeling Good - Jennifer Hudson recently did a cover of this song for Weight Watchers...Nina's version is SO much better.  It's hard to touch the original.
So, in honor of Nina and her vast repertoire of jazz infused melodies, I want to make a quilt that heavily uses the color black.  I found this fabric on the sale rack at Olde City Quilts.  It is from the Arabella line by Pat Sloan (manufactured by P&B Textiles).

On sale here.
Like Nina's music, this fabric spoke to me (and the price couldn't be beat).  I plan to use it (with some blacks and reds from the stash) as the basis for a quilt.  I envision this as a long-term project so I don't have a clue about the pattern or layout. ~ksp

Monday, April 18, 2011

Contestants, Start Your Engines...

I have been composting kitchen and yard materials for a few years now.  Some may remember that I had an outdoor open bin constructed at my parent's house to enable me to take my big kitchen scraps to a large container.

While I love to garden, I am afraid of earthworms and other wormlike creatures.  This list includes:
redworms, grubs, tomato hornworms, caterpillars, get the idea.  In preparing this post, I couldn't even look at the wikipedia photos without getting the willies. 

So, I put on my big girl panties and got out into the bins to begin sorting materials. I didn't have time to cover the pile before the winter snow so there was less decomp over the winter than I would have liked.

Bin's full
Fall 2010 leaves still in the bin.
After the first sort, here is the accumulation of "black gold". It's hard to see with the photo, but this is more than 3' of compost.  After a second shirt to remove the remaining large items, it will be ready to be spread into the garden and exciting.

Worm Poo
Black Gold

Now, I just need to put together the plating schematic, clean and scour the pots, prep the soil, I'm getting tired listing it all.

Tomato Corner

So far, we are looking at our usual heirloom tomatoes (Mortgage Lifters and Granny Smith among them), string beans and peppers.  This year, mesclin mix, lettuce, and spinich will be added along with organic fingerling potatoes.  Bring on the planting weather!! ~ksp

September's Bounty
I love spring, like Cubs fans, I am eternally hopeful.

Friday, April 15, 2011

There's Something Sweet in Denmark

My best friend (also known as my surrogate sister) and her husband (last name: Denmark) are expecting and I am so happy for them.  As soon to be auntie, I find it necessary to pull out all of the craft stops to shower my new niece with gift.  Afterall, I will be the Spinster* Aunt so I MUST be the favorite auntie.

While on a recent trip to the City Quilter to cash in a gift certificate that was burning a whole in my pocket, I picked up a small fat quarter bundle of Moda's Breakfast at Tiffany's line. The colors are somewhat muted and classic.  Because I love all things scrappy, I added a few other fabrics to break up the similarities and beef up the yardage.  I usually don't like as many florals as this colorway offers, but by combining the damasks and the polka dots, I love it.

After mulling over several patterns, I dusted off the Irish Chain Quilt pattern I used last winter and committed to the triple.

Strips on the Line
2.5" strips hanging on the rack awaiting their turn.
The triple lay out produces 14"finished blocks so twelve few blocks go a long way, especially since I am making a slightly larger crib size.

Six out of twelve blocks completed.
I'll need to figure out how I will frame the squares.  I like the idea of using browns.  The nursery is sage green so I thinking (hope) these colors will "pop" in the room and wear well through the abuse. 

I love stripes and polka dots together.
I love this green tonal stripe that I picked up. I am not yet sure if I will use it for the borders or the binding.  I tend to inadvertently twist binding which may make a horizontal stripe a bad idea....any suggestions?

There are several other projects in the works for Baby Denmark including a Christening blanket and a series of bonnets/hats.  I bought these books to further inspire me.

I do not have ANY baby friendly and machine washable yarns* in the I must go shopping.
While I do not personally care for acrylic blends and superwash yarns, I refuse to saddle a new mom that also works outside of the home with a bunch on hand wash/soak only items.  The baby hats in this book are so cute that the stylish spinster aunt will not settle for anything else/less.  ~ksp

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Where in the World?

I am due for a vacation and I lack inspiration for where to go.  Below are some photos of my previous trips around the world.  Any recommendations for a place to go? ~ksp

Old San Juan,  Puerto Rico
Asian Market in London
habana catedral
Cathedral in Habana, Cuba
Ghana, West Africa

Saturday, April 9, 2011

New Amsterdam Market

I love to buy and eat as local as is reasonably possible and I love shellfish.  None more than oysters.  So when I got an invitation to support the New Amsterdam Market, I jumped at the opportunity.

This market's mission is to promote economic development and build a new market district
in lower Manhattan.


For fifty bucks, the bill of fare will feature oysters from six regions of the Chesapeake and one from the  Delaware Bay as follows:

  • Easter Shore, Upper Bay
  • Easter Shore, Lower Bay
  • Western Shore, Upper Bay
  • Western Shore, Middle Bay
  • Western Shore, Lower Bay
  • Tidewater
 Delaware Bay
  • Cape May Salts
If you are in the New York area and love shellfish, please come out tonight and check it out.  I am getting together with a group of friends and I'm gonna get full. ~ksp

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Host/Hostess Gift

Here is a fun project that I completed as a gift to my cousins this past fall season. If you would like to make your own, choose other colors for a more neutral or seasonal palette.

I was inspired by a post on the Purl Bee.  Ever smitten, I ordered one of their Spectrum Bundles.


I paired them with some handkerchief linen that I got at my local fabric store (Halsey Fabric) and followed the purl tutorial here.  Handkerchief linen can be very wiley and slippery if you aren't paying close attention, which made this a bit tedious.


With the leftover scraps, I made a scrappy log cabin table centerpiece.  I used Insul Bright batting and a cross-hatch quilting pattern.  The batting makes it heat resistant and lessens the likelihood of a hardwood table being ruined by the evening's casserole.


Tedium aside, but I had a blast making them.  ~ksp


Saturday, April 2, 2011


Picture heavy post!

In earlier blog posts, I showed some silk cocoons I bought on etsy here. They sat in a vase on my desk at work for some time as decoration while I researched (via the internet) the proper way to process them.


Since that purchase, I've watched multiple videos and read lots of articles on how to process them.  This is where the wonder world of the web-based learning and reality collide with disastrous results.

I got out my frame and added a peg to stretch the cocoons across.



****Disaster Alert***
It seems I cooked the cocoons on too high heat for too long....or something like that because the next thing I knew all of my bright vibrant colors were gone and everything was a muddled gray.

There were little specks of bug innards that I wasn't able to get out.


All was not lost.  By the time I rised everything stretched on the frame and it dried the silk was nice enough.  If I am going to use it for any purpose I have a lot more prep work to do including dyeing at some point...

 So what's the lesson here boys and girls?

just because you study something on the internet, you are NOT necessarily an expert. ~ksp