30 August 2010

in season

You might not guess by looking out your window right now, but take my word for it: Knitting season has begun.  The days have gotten shorter, the mornings--at least some of them--a little crisper.  While the back-to-school season might have some people thinking of apples and woodsmoke, I am mostly dreaming of sweaters.  It is time to knit.

To be honest, I never really stop knitting.  Even in the midst of this summer's wedding madness, I was meandering through a few projects.  I haven't done anything all that exciting, though, and now it's time to gear up for the challenges and deadlines that have come to define my holiday season.

I'm warming up with a few baby projects.  I love knitting for babies because everything is small and works up very quickly. Also, babies are adorable and I've been spending a lot of time thinking about them lately...

I finished a pair of thumbless "infant mittens" in about a day.  They're cute and super-soft, but kind of boring to look at, without the curves and complicatedness of socks or "real" mittens.  Also, I don't know how practical they are.  They seem inclined to just slip off a tiny hand and fall in a mud puddle.  Maybe I should add little loops so they can be buttoned on to a sleeve...

Now I've moved on to something that, if not trickier, is certainly more time consuming: The "Organic Heirloom Blanket" from Hadley Fierlinger's Vintage Knits for Modern Babies.  I'm already one skein in, and it doesn't show signs of ending anytime soon.

It's slow going, but it will be darling when it's finished.  Then I'll have to go through the somewhat painful process of deciding whether to keep it or give it away to some deserving little baby.  I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

And once knitting season starts, it's time to host a knitting night.  I always say I'm going to be good about  having regular meetings, but this year, I'm sticking to it.  If you're in the Seattle area and would like to knit with friendly folks, let me know.  We'll invite you, too!

Happy knitting season, everyone!  Hopefully, there will be plenty of projects to share with you in the weeks to come...

27 August 2010

yard sale

We're having a yard sale this weekend.  I've been looking forward to this for awhile, and if the weather holds, I fully intend to have a good time.  In my opinion, a good yard sale, from a distance, looks a little bit like a cross between a picnic and circus.  There will definitely be big colorful signs.  Balloons may be necessary.

Along with all the wedding books and magazines and various other nuptial-leftovers, we also have piles and piles of stuff that we just couldn't pass up on our last five or six years' worth of Goodwill trips.  Hopefully, we'll have lots of bargain-hunters tomorrow.  If not, there will be several boxes of free stuff on the curb afterwards, because I'm determined not to bring any of the merchandise back into the house.

Either way, we'll get to spend a day sitting together, chatting with our neighbors and sharing a few bottles of lemonade leftover from that crazy party a few weekends ago.

Maybe you're in the yard sale mood, too.  On the other hand, if lugging boxes around and tacking up cardboard signs doesn't sound like a ton of fun, here's a to-do list for the last precious days of summer.

Eat popsicles.
Make your own sidewalk chalk.
Find fresh food.
Create a camp.
Bake with berries.
Capture the moment.
Dine al fresco.
Host an outdoor movie.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

23 August 2010


We've been cleaning the kitchen, and it feels good.  Washing down the walls, replacing the shelf liners, and rearranging the contents of the cabinets kind of makes it seem like we've acquired a brand-new kitchen.  We even moved the refrigerator.

This was all incredibly over-due.  My man generally does a pretty good job of taking care of the daily kitchen cleaning--see how I'm not even pretending to take care of business?--but sometimes you just need to make a fresh start.  This is my favorite kind of cleaning.  Not washing a dish--washing all of the dishes.  Not mopping up a spill--mopping the entire floor.  I won't lie; I have to be in the mood to get into a project like this, but once I'm there, don't try to stop me...

When I first moved to Seattle, I lived in a co-op--a group house where all eight housemates contributed to running the household.  Twice each year, we scheduled a day for everyone to pitch in and clean the house, top to bottom.  It might sound funny, but I really looked forward to Fall Clean and Spring Clean.  Maybe it was because we'd order takeout for dinner and sit around chatting when all the cleaning was done, but at least part of it was the cleansing--and cathartic--process of putting each room in order.

Now that it's just the two of us, cleaning the house is less like a big, messy party, but I still like it.  It gives me the--temporary--illusion that my life is neat and organized.  It makes me feel like I'm in control of the chaos.  And, in a way, it makes me feel like a successful homemaker.

Which, by the way, I'm not.  Lately, I've kind of turned into a slob.  I've blamed it on the stressful nature of my job and the crazy months of the wedding year, but now that I don't have those excuses anymore, I'm going to have to get my act into gear.  If I don't start pitching in, this marriage might turn out to be an incredibly short one.

I have good intentions.  I can spend hours flipping through the pages of Martha's Homekeeping Handbook.  (I don't have a hanging pot rack, but if I ever do, I'll know the proper way to clean it...)  I understand what a clean house looks like.  I just need to make a commitment and then stick to it.  

Sooner or later, I'll get around to straightening up my craft mess and organizing the closets, but for now, my commitment is to the kitchen.

Wish me luck.

20 August 2010


My in-laws have chickens in their backyard, and while I continue to yearn for birds of my own, we have enjoyed the occasional--and incredibly exciting--gift of fresh eggs.  I'm going through the latest delivery  rather quickly this afternoon as I attempt to fulfill my nephew's birthday wish for "a layer of brownie topped with a layer of chocolate cake topped with a layer of chocolate frosting."  The brownie layer is in the oven right now...

I've been enjoying some extra time in the kitchen this week.  I'm pulling stuff out of cabinets, making piles of things to contribute to the yard sale that must--must--happen soon.  I'm cleaning, decluttering, and rearranging. 

And I am making food.  Mostly, I've been tossing together last-minute suppers, but I've got plans to try some new things in the next few weeks.  If you're looking for some fun in the kitchen this weekend, I hope this to-do list will be an inspiration:

Make your own yogurt.
Ditch your paper towels.
Dream of a fresh kitchen.
Nerd out on noodles.
Label your food.
Get crafty with coffee filters.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

16 August 2010


I'll admit, there have been times when I wasn't sure we'd ever get to this point, but we made it after all.  The wedding is over, the second reception is over, and unless that belated honeymoon actually happens this winter, we're probably not going to be referred to as "the newlyweds" again.  I might be okay with that; I haven't decided yet.

Now it's really time to pack things up, ditch the piles of wedding magazines, and start organizing the photo albums.  That part I am ready for.  My craft piles--along with all of my other piles--have been much too messy for much too long.  It's time for a fresh start.  And maybe a really big garage sale.

Some things I'm not as anxious to pack up and put away.  My wedding dress, for one.  I wore it again last weekend and was reminded of just how much I love it.  And honestly, just enough people asked me whether or not it was my wedding dress that I think I might be able to pass it off as a really, really great party dress sometime soon.

And while we are packing some things up and moving other ones out, there are also some new things in the house to make room for.  And plenty of thank you notes to write.  Fortunately, my man has us covered there, with sweet little notecards that complement our invites and all the other fantastic paper goods he's cooked up over the course of the past year.

I'm excited for all of this.  The housecleaning.  The pageturning.  I'm looking forward to taking the time to sit down and thank all of the family and friends that have played a part in our Summer of Love.  And I want to thank you, too, once again, for sticking with us through all of the fun.  I don't know about you all, but with the wedding and all of its trappings officially behind us, I can't wait to see what happens next...

11 August 2010

one hundred

I'm happy to report that this is the one hundredth post on The Stubborn Sparrow!  It might not sound all that impressive to you, but I just can't quite believe that we've hit such a milestone.  It seems like just a few weeks ago that I sat down to create this blog in the first place, looking for a place to document the work I was doing for the Salvage Bride workshop.  Then it turned into a place to talk about our own wedding planning.

And now?  I feel safe in saying that the Sparrow will continue to grow and change.  With the wedding behind us, I'll continue to write about my favorite aspect of our celebration: the making and doing.  I'll be talking about food, gardening, and, of course, all manner of crafting.  No, it won't be a straight-up wedding blog, but yes, I do reserve to right to share wedding-ish things with you if they strike me as being especially clever and/or adorable.

I'm going to change up my posting schedules a little bit, too.  I'll be posting twice a week, on Monday and Friday.  Hopefully, this will allow me to focus a bit more on quality, rather than quantity.  On Fridays, I'll be sharing a list of links to other fun places on the Internet, just to get everyone warmed up for the weekend.

As we go along, I'd love to hear from you about all these changes.  Of course, I wouldn't be writing here if you all weren't reading.  I hope you'll help me by weighing in with your thoughts and sharing the Sparrow with your friends.

I'll be taking this Friday off to put the final touches on this weekend's celebration.  I'll be back on Monday to share a little bit about The Big Day II.  Until then, thank you, dear readers, for reading, and here's to another hundred posts...

P.S.-- I absolutely have to share this with you.

09 August 2010


Nothing glamourous to share today, but I do feel the need to gloat about a fairly productive afternoon.  In the course of just a few hours, we managed to:

-finalize our shopping list for Saturday's big party
-arrange for the use of a vehicle (other than a Metro bus) to lug things around that day
-borrow coolers from our fantastic neighbors
-locate and purchase compostable cups and plates
-acquire sixty-some thrift store forks
-accomplish various other small things

The event is going to be a potluck.  While that might sound kind of--um--cheap, I really like potlucks because they're always such a great combination of community and food.  I love seeing everyone show up with potato salads and cake carriers.  It reminds me of the church suppers and family holidays of my childhood.

And besides, we've already done our share of cooking for dozens and dozens of people this summer.  It went well in June, but I'm not really inclined to tempt fate by trying it a second time.  We are providing sandwiches for everyone, along with drinks and at least one dessert.  (I absolutely have to bake a cake so I can share our little cake toppers with our Washington crowd...)

I'm trying to dress the sandwiches up a little bit.  We'll have Mama Lil's, of course.  And maybe some roasted veggies, if I can get my act together.

I'm also thinking of mixing up some fancy condiments, like this Mojito Mayonnaise, from Jean Kelley's cookbook, Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes.

Mojito Mayo

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Mix everything together and put it on a sandwich.  Preferably one with pig on it.  Preferably at a festive, sunshiny potluck at a beautiful waterfront park on a fine August day in the Pacific Northwest.*

I've managed to make myself incredibly hungry just now, thinking about fictional pork sandwiches.  It might be time for me to take a dinner break...

I'll be back on Wednesday, though, to celebrate the--gasp!--100th post on The Stubborn Sparrow.  See you then!

*The ingredients are Kelley's, but I did adapt the recipe, just a bit...

06 August 2010


So, down to party planning.  My approach to Wedding Reception II has two overarching themes.  

The first: Do all those things we wanted to do at the wedding but couldn't pull together at the last minute.  For instance, we will be having balloons at WR II.  Red balloons.  Round, not normal-balloon-shaped.

The second theme: Reuse the best of what we had at the wedding.  My man's pennants, for instance.  And all those lovely family photos.  And the beautiful, hand-cut paper banners that my man's parents made for our sweet rehearsal dinner.  I love birds and I love cut paper.  Before these get tucked away forever in a scrapbook or a cedar chest, I want the world to have one last chance to enjoy them.

Granted, there are still quite a few big things that we need to figure out, like--say--the food.  But I feel much better knowing that we have things nailed down in the decoration department.

With all this planning and plotting to do, we're in for a big weekend.  I'll be back on Monday to bring you all up to date...

04 August 2010

more slacking

No real post today, friends.  I'm headed out for dinner and fun with a friend.  I'm hoping there will be alcohol.  And maybe some giggling.  Mostly, I just want to hang out.

Things around here are about to getting pretty interesting, though.  Remember that circus of a wedding we had a month or so ago?  We'd also planned to have a Washington state reception, too, for the friends and family that didn't feel like traveling two thousand miles to party with us.  Thing is, we've been a little distracted by the fun and fireworks of married life, and we haven't done much planning for the follow-up event, which is less than two weeks away now.

We have some work to do and I have all intentions of dragging the rest of you along with me.  Here's some  festivity and celebration, just to get you in the mood...

See you on Friday!

02 August 2010


I had a day off today, which initially sounded very exciting and full of potential, but by ten o' clock or so this morning, it had already become clear that things just weren't going to live up to my expectations.

So I spent the day alternately bickering with my man and moping by myself.  It was all kind of dumb.

In these last few hours, I've been trying to salvage things a little bit.  Usually, this tactic involves food, and tonight has been no exception.

First, I made granola.  Or, to be accurate, am making granola.  It's in the oven right now.  In a few minutes, I'll go stir it and then let it bake for another ten or twelve minutes.  I like making granola, partially because it's the one baking recipe that I have entirely memorized.  I've been making it for years, and at this point, I can just kind of fake my way through with whatever ingredients are around.  It's a good granola.  Maybe I'll pass along the recipe sometime.

I was going to pull a double-header and reuse the mixing bowl for a batch of cookies, but now, due to a local butter shortage--a crisis which seems to be limited to our small household--I'm going to have to put that on the proverbial backburner.

It's too bad.  We had dinner at Delancey last night, and somehow, I let my partner-in-crime talk me out of capping our tasty pizza dinner with a bittersweet chocolate and sea salt cookie.  I've been thinking about that cookie for about twenty-four hours now.  I've even got Molly's recipe all cued up and ready to go.  Maybe tomorrow night, I guess...

I don't know why I've been so excited about food lately.  Maybe it's a nesting thing.  Or maybe I just have a little bit of extra time that didn't seem to exist in our pre-wedding life.  Whatever the reason, I've been drooling over back issues of Bon Appetit and plotting entire menus of things to serve on the fancy dishes we got as wedding gifts.

For tonight, though, I'm just going to have to be satisfied with a batch of granola and some heated up leftovers.  I'm not sure it'll be enough for me.  If it's not enough for you, either, take a peek at this--yet another food blog that's got me making grocery lists on tiny scraps of paper...