Joy of Missing Out

If you know me at all, you know I am happiest at home. But even a self-proclaimed homebody can get a little squirrelly when home becomes both work place and sanctuary for an indefinite amount of time.

I have always been good at entertaining myself, and these days I’ve been happily starting new knitting projects, cooking, and hope to get my vegetable garden ready for transplants.

When this is all over and we all return to at least a bit of normalcy, I hope to report that my garden has been started, I’m halfway finished with the shawl I just started, and I’ve finally finished the plaid shawl that’s been on my loom for a year. Yes, a year. Maybe longer. Definitely longer.

It will come as no surprise that I’m spending a fair amount of time knitting. I’m knitting up all these sock yarn ends into a mash up of a Find Your Fade and the semi circle shawl recipe on this PDF.

I am loving the comforting garter stitch of this simple 4 row pattern. I love watching a project grow from 3-4 stitches and become massive wraps. It’s so satisfying.

Here are a couple ideas for keeping your hands busy and your spirit light these days.

Watch (or Rewatch) Lighthearted TV

Rewatching all three seasons of The Detectorists last week was just the sweet, slow moving non-action I needed at the end of each day while I knit.

Learn to Fold a Fitted Sheet

I’ve always just balled them up and stuffed them in the linen closet, and felt it must be some sort of witchery that gave people the power to fold these nicely. This video makes it seem so simple.

Learn to Knit

I seriously don’t know why everyone does not knit. Aside from all the lovely hats, shawls, sweaters, and blankets, it is meditative and calming. Even for those that are nearby.

I love having a project with me when waiting for an oil change, an appointment, or a flight, or just need a break from staring at my computer screen. Ask any knitter how much they love airport and in flight knitting. It’s the best.

Don’t wait, knit.

I taught myself to knit with the modern knitter’s bible Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook before there were thousands of YouTube how to videos. Search there for help or sign up for a free two week trial of Bluprint, and learn from one of their many classes.

Learn Anything

I’ve been a longtime fan of Skillshare. I’ve taken classes on everything from email marketing to hand lettering.

Fifteen Years & Counting

I cannot believe I started this blog 15 years ago today.

Bean & Noodle started as a Typepad blog in 2005 and is now a blog + online shop for my letterpress cards and silverware.

There are many reasons people blog. Some people blog in hopes of landing a fat book deal. Others blog about specific subjects and somehow become regarded as experts in the field. Some may actually have the expertise to back it, some just have experiences to share and a voice that makes people listen. Artists, designers and stylists blog because it’s a super user friendly way to show their work instead of a website.

Why did I start blogging? 

Mine is a more personal reason. I started blogging to share my life with the women in my family… most importantly, at that time, my mother who I met in 2004. My sister and I were reunited with our mother who had given us up for adoption in the 1970s. We had spent the three years prior to adoption with an amazing foster family, with whom we have always remained in contact. We had not seen my mother since I was almost 5, and my sister was almost 2. When my sister found her, we traveled to New Jersey to visit her for a week. We knew she’d been a musician and artist (my parents were folk musicians in the 1960s… I was born in ’65, my sister in ’67). We discovered that she had been a weaver.

This struck a chord with me as I had always been drawn to textiles and had no idea why. My sister shares our mother’s love and talent for photography. I taught myself to knit when I returned home and have been knitting almost daily since. I feel I am tapping into some genetic memory every time I pick up my needles and yarn to knit.

I won’t go into much more detail, because this story belongs to my sister as much as it belongs to me. I mention it only to shed a little light on why it was so important for me to embark on, what seemed to me the ultimate narcissistic endeavour. I mean who really gives a shit if I finally finished my alpaca shawl and that after a long, crappy day only the comfort of a simple roast chicken and mashed potatoes would feel like a hug?

I can count on one hand the number of people who do.

Facebook and Instagram lured me away from here for a while, but this past year I have found I like sharing here more than ever. I’m no writer, but I like to write and share things that I find funny, beautiful, or helpful. It’s also fun to look back at older posts. If you follow the link at the end of this post to my first ever blog posts…. you’ll find I still blog about knitting, cooking, and digging in the dirt.

Today I realize the real reason I started blogging was to show Toni that I have a good life. I am happy, have a wonderful husband, dogs and cats, that I am creating stuff all the time. That her decision did not destroy our lives.

And I pray every day that it did not destroy hers.

P.S. Check out my first ever post here

Grow + Share

Holy guacamole! How is my garden still producing so many peppers and cherry tomatoes! There has been so much rain this summer that I’ve hardly watered and fully expected my garden to shrivel up by now. What’s a girl to do with such an embarrassment of riches? Well, it’s Tuesday, so I know one of our community food banks is open so I picked what I could, washed my bounty, bagged it, and dropped it off with volunteers at the Elgin Community Cupboard.

Did you know that most local food pantries can accept home-grown produce? Contact them first, but many of your local organizations will gladly accept washed, home-grown produce to offer their clients. Ample Harvest  has a Find a Pantry link in the Gardeners Donate Food header in the main menu to help you find a local food bank or soup kitchen that would love to accept your produce and backyard eggs.

Links:
Ample Harvest
Elgin Community Cupboard

Homegrown Tomatoes, How do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

Caprese Salad with homegrown heirloom tomatoes and Fredericksburg peaches.

1 In a Caprese Salad. This is my favorite lunch (and dinner) all Summer, every Summer. What tastes like Summer more than sun-warmed homegrown tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil drizzled with sweet balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil? Nothing. IMHO. Summer in every bite.

Pro tip: Peaches, or any stone fruit, are the perfect addition to this salad. I’ve tried peaches, plums, nectarines, and apricots. A – m – a – z – i – n – g.

With Apologies to William Styron & Guy Clark

Would you sacrifice your summer squash to allow heirloom tomatoes to live long and ripen? I encountered this ‘Sophie’s Choice’ dilemma this weekend. Tomatoes won. For obvious reasons.

It’s simply much easier to find a nice zucchini or yellow squash than an heirloom tomato at the HEB.

I am leaving this post here mostly as a note to myself for next year when I want to plant squash. While I love butternut, spaghetti, and acorn, I feel kinda ‘meh’ about summer squash. I mean I like it, just not as much as it thinks I like it.

I know these are fighting words in the Lone Star state, but I don’t love this song, but can get behind it’s ode to one of life’s simple plaeasures.

In the legendary words of Guy Clark;

“Wha’d life be without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things money can’t buy
That’s true love and homegrown tomatoes”

A Box of Rain, Please & Thank You

Not only is my garden happy for the rain this weekend, but the damp earth and newly blooming honeysuckle made for the best start to my day ever. What is it about the smell of a downpour before, during, and after that makes us all just want to breathe it all in?

There are few smells as lovely as the scent of that moment just before it rains. Though my cat’s tummy and tomato leaves are way high on my list. While petrichor may not sound lovely, this lush and earthy olfactory pleasure makes life worth living, and evidently is as pleasing to animals as it is to humans.

Read this interesting article about the science behind this shared experience…

https://qz.com/1344089/the-science-of-bottling-the-scent-of-rain/

Friday Favorites: Pie, Pie & More Pie

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset
This year our Pi(e) Day Social was a great success. Lovely pies and reasonably good people. Image courtesy of @dchav_

File_000(2)
And speaking of pie…I found myself needing a super quick piecrust because my frozen pie disk had taken a bad turn during a power outage. Though conventional wisdom tells me it’s unwise to try something new when entertaining, I decided to give this quick pie crust a try. I scoffed at the claim that this piecrust is revolutionary… but am now a convert. The crust is kind of shortbready, buttery, flaky, and so easy. Perfect for single crust pies. You can buy The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook here.

File_001
I find it hard to find sprouts in the small amount I need, so felt it economical to try sprouting my own. I found these on Amazon. I believe these are radish, lentil and some other guys.

quince-co-raven-melissa-labarre-knitting-pattern-sparrow-5-sq_1024x1024
I am just about to bind off this lovely poncho in Rowan Felted Tweed and am itching to start something with Euroflax Linen, maybe this tunic or another wrap.

Untitled-2
Sharing your bounty. While planning your spring garden, plan to plant just a little bit more to share with your local community food bank. Contact them first, but many of your local organizations will gladly accept washed, home grown produce to offer their clients. Ample Harvest has a Find a Pantry button on the top of their site to help you find a local food bank or soup kitchen that would love to accept your produce and eggs. If you live in Elgin you can donate food here.

Five Fab for Friday—Fist City, Granny Squares and More

loretta
1. This morning, while eating a Jethro Bodine size bowl of cereal, I had the pleasure of hearing this interview on NPR. This poster available here.

grannys
2. Granny squares just might be the reason I learned to crochet. What’s not to love?

wes-anderson-palettes
3. My friend Martha knows how much I love Wes Anderson movies, and sent me a link to this Tumblr. I can’t decide what I love most about this blog… the lovely palette combinations or that it even exists!

crisp

4. One of my recipes was included in this book by my very talented friend Jessica Dupuy.
Yup, Detroit born girl gets a recipe in a Texas cookbook. Still trying to replicate the peach pecan crisp my grandmother used to make.

5. This weekend, which promises to be quiet, sunny and warm.