Breath puffs ahead of me, envelops my face,
fogs my lenses and my brain.
Clarity finds me in the chill of a February morning
as I look up, down, ahead.
My shadow stretches across the glitter
of the frosted grass, music in my ear,
the sky dressed in its best blue.
Perfect, and happy.
Breath puffs ahead of me, envelops my face,
Well, we got through Christmas for another year. Hooray! And relatively unscathed, too. These are a some labels that I spent an hour whipping up for a couple of jars of gifted preserves.
We spent Christmas Eve hanging out at my aunt and uncle’s country place, hot tubbing, learning to play dice, and watching the horses. I want to photograph them every time I’m there, they’re critters that I don’t get to be around that often, and they’re gorgeous and huge and full of personality. I went out in the morning with the last of a roll of Impossible Project Color Shade First Flush polaroid film. It took a full 24 hours for it to develop enough to make out the horses, and even so, it’s incredibly smokey and different from what I’d expected. But that’s the thrill of it. These shots feel so wintry, too. I wonder if they will develop even more over the next day or two?
I almost forgot to make a Christmas card this year, but was threatened with buying a box of them to get them out, and I just couldn’t be okay with that, so I managed this. I’m satisfied. Hopefully the recipients were as well.
This has really been an incredible year, full of opportunities and big changes. I’ve been looking back quite a bit over the last few weeks at what I’ve learned and created, and I’m so excited to see what the next year has to offer. Merry everything, ya’ll.
We decided to throw a tiny little New Year’s party this year, so I threw together this little logo/invitation for it. The version on the right is the result of a happy accident I discovered when I previewed the native file, which shows all the layers, even the hidden ones. I love when stuff like that happens.
I also just photographed samples of a very exciting project that I worked on this summer, which has been in the wild for a while now, but I haven’t had a chance to tell you. Look for that soon!
This week has been a struggle for me. I think I may need to lock myself in a room for a day and just make art that doesn’t need to communicate something other than the noise that’s in my head, and doesn’t need to satisfy anyone but me. H’anyways, in an effort to try to regain a sense of enjoyment of anything in time for me to appreciate good food and company tonight at Friendsgiving 2011, here are some things.
First, here’s a lovely little film made as a personal project by director Tom Jenkins, made with stop motion and Google Maps Street View. I think this is an interesting concept, and I got completely invested in this when I watched it the first time. Although, I also have a personal attachment to travel and road trips. So there’s that, too. Nevertheless, watch it, it’s beautiful.
Really digging this album, Exurbs, its awesomeness has been on repeat and is shepherding me through this week.
It’s been crazy warm here—warm, but still gray and winter—and I think my brain is on some kind of hiatus, and not really in the place to be talking much, or taking pictures. I need to somehow get back on track to the above message, which I made for the masthead of the website I’m in the process of building for Prickly Pear Creative, but have since replaced with something else, because usually the first go at a design doesn’t work. That’s why it’s a process, I suppose.
But I’ve been cooking!
I am a huge fan of Top Chef, and when Fabio made chicken cacciatore with polenta in a recent episode, it totally inspired me. I found a couple of promising recipes online, and ended up combining them into a pretty awesome chicken dish, that paired so well with some cheesy, creamy polenta. The last time I made polenta, it wasn’t my favorite thing, but I’m glad I tried again, and I think this is the way to go from now on.
6-8 chicken thighs
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 cup all purpose flour, for dredging
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 roasted red peppers, sliced lengthwise
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup red wine
2 pints canned tomatoes with juice
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons drained capers
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in some flour. Heat olive oil in a large pot, saute chicken for a few minutes on each side to brown. Remove from pan and place on a plate to hold. Add onion, red pepper and garlic to pan and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add wine and reduce by about half. Add tomatoes, chicken stock, capers, and oregano, and nestle chicken pieces into sauce. Simmer on medium 30-45 minutes, until sauce is reduced and chicken is cooked and tender. Serve with cheesy polenta or rice.
1 cup medium or coarse grind cornmeal
3 cups chicken stock, plus extra water
1 tsp (or more) kosher salt
1/2 c-3/4 c grated cheese*
Heat chicken stock in a pan until simmering, with salt. Add cornmeal slowly, whisking while adding to prevent clumps from forming. Cook polenta over low heat, stirring often, for 30-45 minutes, until there are no longer any crunchy bits. If it gets too dry or stiff, add a bit of water periodically and continue cooking.
Remove from heat and stir in grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
*I used a hunk of havarti, some pecorino and some parmesan. I’d say use whatever you have in your fridge. This would probably be great with some goat cheese, or any italian cheese, or even cheddar.
So I still had a bit more than a skein of that huge pink yarn laying around after I made that sweater, and I was thinking maybe a bulky earflap hat with pointy ears and pom poms would be fun. I did a bunch of searching for earflap hats, and found quite a few pointy ones, but only with one elfin point. Which, I’d like one of those someday, too, but I was really hoping for two pointy “ears.” Not sure if I’d have to wing it, on page 20ish I came across Haka, which was just exactly what I was going for. It had a chin strap and a button, which was totally cute, but I opted to modify it with icord tassels terminating in pompoms. Because, go big or go home, right?
I love it, and was finished in only a few hours, and able to wear it with pride to Grilln’ for Peace last weekend, which, incidentally, has sort of turned into a fun hat party. I even got my picture taken by the Wisconsin State Journal!
Although who knows if they published it, because I can’t find anything about it on their website. Oh well.
(Thanks to Jodi for sending me this!, and to Nate for taking these pictures.)
It’s a snow day! Well, I don’t have a job right now, so I stay home every day anyway, but my husband’s company notified the employees of their closure last night due to the impending blizzard, so he has a snow day. And I’m choosing not to do much work today, too. Instead we spent two hours shoveling. For which we are rewarding ourselves with hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps. And I think we might wander about the neighborhood later, and maybe even go sledding. Our porch was encased in snow this morning, and the drifts were a couple of feet high.
It’s also Knitcircus release day! I’ve been banging the keys and clicking the mouse incessantly for a few weeks on the Spring issue, and I feel like it’s the best yet. I’m so, SO proud of it. Plus, I shot all of the photography for it as well. And made the macarons. Each issue that goes by, I feel more and more connected to this thing. I get deeper and deeper into it every day. And I kind of can’t stop thinking about learning to crochet better so I can make Trellis. I shot it many weeks ago, and liked it, but every time I look at it now it digs itself deeper into my list of things I’d like to make.
I hope you like this issue as much as I do, and that it gets you in the mood for spring. Maybe it’ll offset the blizzard a bit. At least it’s still great weather for knitting!
I hate this time of year, and yet I love it at the same time. It’s cold, and the light is gray and blue, it seems as though winter will still go on forever, there’s the hullabaloo and stress of the holidays. It’s just always rough on me, and I always wish I could run away to Italy or the Carribean and live there.
But then I remember to go back and look through the year in pictures in my flickr stream, and I remember how much good there was, and how much good there is sure to be in the next year, too. Because it’s a year. Anything could happen. I forgot about a lot of those things in the most immediate part of my memory, but I took their picture, and I’m so glad for that. It feels so good to remember. And to feel those accomplishments again, the travel, the friends and family, the pets, the ocean, the finished projects. It just feels good.
Happy New Year, ya’ll. I hope 2011 is full of surprises and awe for all of you. Thanks so much for visiting here, and commenting, and hanging with me. Here’s to looking forward. And here’s to champagne.
It feels a little bit like Christmas has already passed, since we had Nate’s family at our house for the holiday last weekend. I was out driving today and felt overwhelmingly as though it were New Years. But I’m pretty excited to head to my aunt and uncles for Christmas eve in a few days, hang out in the country, with some horses and a fireplace and take pictures. Hopefully it’ll be like vacation from my vacation-like-yet-uncomfortable life.
I always seem to get an idea for my Christmas card 2 months ahead of the holiday, and then get completely sick of it by the time I get around to actually making it. I abandoned my first idea for this middle-of-the-night idea of knit swatches and yarn balls composed into a tree. And what’s more, it turned out exactly as it looked in my head, which hardly ever happens, so I am totally psyched about that.
I miss having them printed elsewhere, though, mostly for the finishing. Trimming and scoring all those cards… sigh. Next year I think I’m going to make round labels for the envelopes so that I at least don’t have to write out my address 80 times.
Merry Christmas, if that’s what you celebrate, or Happy Holidays! I’m off to go for a run in the snow.
Last week was fall polaroid week. And for this round of Words To Shoot By, the theme is polaroid, of course. I’ve been trying out some of the new color shade film from The Impossible Project. And I’m super excited about the next kind of color film that just came out!
I’m also super excited to announce that the 2011 calendar is done and will be in the shop this week! I wanted for it to be today, but with the winter issue of Knitcircus hitting the interwebs this week as well, I’ve been hammering away at that. But I’m shooting for Thursday night for a shop update. There will be postcards as well, and possibly some gift tags and maybe a print or two. The calendar has a nice mix of digital, film and polaroid shots from the past year, and I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. I hope you will be, too.
Would you like one? Well, I’m giving one away! Leave a comment here and let me know what your favorite thing of 2010 was, up until now. Or, something you’re looking forward to in 2011. I’ll draw a name before the shop update with a winner.