Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Whirlwind of Domesticity

Pretty much as soon as I got back from Taiwan, I started cooking up a storm. This is partly because GPG was out of town for Memorial Day weekend, so I had as much time to putter around in the kitchen as I wanted. It's also partly because I hoped to cook up a couple big dishes to create some leftovers for meals later on this week.

With GPG, it's hard to make anything that really creates leftovers, just because he's 6'4" and has a big appetite. Something that would last an entire week for me lasts just a couple of days for him. So I made lasagna on Sunday and enchiladas on Monday, in the hopes that we'd get a few extra meals for my pains.

I didn't take a picture of the enchiladas, since those got scarfed down pretty quickly (and they're none too photogenic, anyway), but I did get a picture of the lasagna, all cut up and ready to go into plastic containers:

The recipe, as always, is from the fine folks at Cook's Illustrated. I especially like this lasagna recipe since it comes from The Best Light Recipe and is therefore fairly healthy, while still delicious. I also found the recipe particularly handy when I made it this time because it uses no-boil lasagna noodles, which I managed to find at the grocery store for the first time. Those no-boil noodles are the best! I was afraid they wouldn't cook through all the way, but they turned out perfectly and really made the assembly process a lot easier than the noodles you have to boil. I really recommend them if you're ever in the mood to make your own lasagna.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Start of a New Stash

Happy Memorial Day to everyone!

I'm still recovering a bit from jetlag and sorting through the pictures I took on my trip. I also just started Barbri, the prep course for the bar exam, this afternoon. As a result, I haven't had much opportunity to prepare pictures for posts.

But, I did manage to take two very important pictures in the small window of sunlight we had this morning: the start of the new stash! The fabric stash, that is.

I was very good in Japan and Taiwan and bought no new yarn. I didn't even go back to the Nishijin textile center in Japan, because I knew I'd be sorely tempted to buy some. Instead, I went to Nomura Tailor, which a reputable source tells me is one of the most famous Kyoto fabric retailers. Inspired by knitters sewing up a storm, I went in to take a look and ended up buying a large haul of fabric.

Above are the thinner fabrics I picked out. The left-most fabric is orange and yellow strawberries, which I thought was cute, and the second from the left is little umbrellas with teeny-tiny droplets of rain. I got a meter of everything except for the umbrellas, which are a half-meter (because I was running out of money!).

Although I spent practically all the money I had, the prices were actually quite reasonable, in my opinion. I've seen fabrics for anywhere from $9-$16 per yard at places like Purl and Repro Depot, so I was pleased that I didn't pay more than 980 yen (a little over $8) per meter.

Above are the thicker fabrics I got. They're not super-thick--they're thinner than denim, at least--but I think they'll be good for bags and anything else than needs to be sturdy. I didn't intend to buy a bunch of blue fabric, but I do naturally gravitate to blue. (For a long time my wardrobe was primarily blue.) Once I had picked out a few blue things I liked, I decided to go with mostly blue in case I wanted to piece things together for something quilt-ish, rather than buy some other random fabric that might not go with anything.

I'm really pleased with the haul, and can't wait to start sewing. I hope to practice a little this coming weekend--or, at least, do some research and find a good local quilting/sewing shop that I can visit for tips and support, and perhaps get some cheap practice fabric to make mistakes on before tackling the nice stuff.

Hope everyone has a good week!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Eye Candy Friday: Yarn Edition

It's nice to come home after a trip and have yarn waiting for you!

Yes, I know, I'm supposed to be knitting from the stash . . . but I am making an exception (or two) for some specific gifts. Since I know I'll get pretty busy pretty soon studying for the bar exam, I ordered some yarn before I left for Taiwan so I can get started on these gifts right away, even though the gifts aren't "due" until several months from now.

I was so excited about the yarn that I took some nice Eye Candy Friday pictures first thing this morning. GPG's glass kitchen table makes a very nice backdrop.

First, some wedding present yarn:

My friend Gardenia is getting married this fall, and I am planning on knitting socks for her and her fiance. She requested turquoise blue yarn for herself, so in comes Lorna's Laces to do the job. Luckily for me, Yarn 4 Socks had Lorna's "Island Blue" colorway on sale a while back. Lorna's also has a proper turquoise colorway, but I thought that the Island Blue colorway was brighter, cheerier, and more appropriate for my friend.

She requested dark green socks for her fiance, and I'm still hunting around for a good yarn. Lorna's does have a dark green colorway called "Pine," but I may look for something a little more interesting.

Yarn 4 Socks conveniently had a nice price for Fleece Artist merino sock yarn, too. Although I don't usually buy pink, I picked out this "Raspberry" colorway primarily with my budding miter blanket in mind.

I thought that the blanket could use a little pink.

And, to round out the order, I picked out another Fleece Artist yarn for my Sockapalooza pal. My pal doesn't like really bright colors, so I thought the "Mahogany" colorway would do the trick:

Here it is in the skein so you can see all the different colors. Isn't it beautiful?

I can't wait to get started knitting with these fabulous yarns. I'm planning on some nice Retro Ribs with the turquoise Lorna's Laces, and something from the new Favorite Socks book for my Sockapalooza Pal. Unfortunately, I appear to have misplaced my US2 circular needles during my move from Austin to Houston. I'll have to look for them before I can cast on for the Retro Ribs.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

3L Finals Socks

Hello again from Japan! I'm enjoying a leisurely night at the Chairpeople's house before I head off to the airport tomorrow morning. I'll be back in Houston by tomorrow night, and I plan on catching up on comments and posting over Memorial Day weekend. Sorry to all those who have kindly commented, but haven't received responses--I've read everything and will write back ASAP!

Meanwhile, one last catch-up post. When the finals crunch time rolled around, I put aside the Koigu that had been frustrating me through attempts at stockinette, Hedera, Monkey, etc., and opted for something less stressful: a garter rib sock.

The photo doesn't show the colors properly, but this is what remains of "Koralle im Meer" yarn that I used to make ankle socks for the Anesthesiologist's Christmas present (go me! Yay for stashbusting!). It's a really vibrant mix of orange, teal greeny-blue, and royal blue (GPG would say "Subaru" blue, since he used to drive one of those bright blue WRXs).

I actually finished the socks on the flight to Taiwan a week and a half ago, and they are now packed in my luggage, ready to go back to Houston. Originally I intended to make the socks as gifts, but in the end I decided to make them to fit myself, so I'll always remember them as the socks I was knitting when I finished law school. This weekend I will have to post a catch-up to the catch-up and show the finished pair!

In a novel departure, I made these socks with a short-row heel. I told Caitlyn a while back that I preferred cuff-down, heel-flap socks (as opposed to toe-up socks or short-row heel socks), but . . . I think I may be changing my mind. (Sorry, Caitlyn!) As I've been knitting socks lately, I've kept in mind that soon I will have to knit socks for an unknown recipient, my Sockapalooza pal. Although I have measurements for this person's feet, knitting for someone I don't know won't be quite the same as knitting for someone like, say, the Aspiring Ecologist, who I know can wear socks that fit my feet in circumference, but which are slightly longer in length.

I've also been a little disappointed with the way my recent heel-flap socks have fit my ankles, which are fairly narrow. (My ankles at their narrowest point are actually narrower than my feet around the ball, when for most people the two measurements are the same.) I decided to try Gleek's suggestion of working the short-row heel over more than half the total number of stitches to see if that made for a better fit.

The verdict? I'm quite pleased. So pleased, in fact, that I'm knitting short-row heels on the next pair of socks I'm working on, some toe-up knee-highs. I think the short-row heel is more forgiving, more able to suit a variety of different heels and ankles than a heel flap.

But, never fear: I still prefer cuff-down socks to toe-up socks. I'm only knitting these knee-highs from the toe up so that I can maximize the use of the yarn I have! I'll post pictures of my progress when I get back. I've turned the heel of the first sock, but we'll see how much I actually get done on the flight tomorrow--I have no gauge check, and I only did some hasty measurements of my leg dimensions before I left on my trip, so I have to wing the calf-shaping!

More from Houston this weekend!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Books, and the start of a new obsession?

Greetings from Japan! Yesterday I took the short flight from Taipei to Osaka and then the train from Osaka to Kyoto. Wednesday is the Chairwoman's birthday, so since I was in the neighborhood (so to speak), I thought it'd be nice to bring her a gift in person.

But I still have some things to catch up on from before I got embroiled in finals. One of them is all the lovely books I have acquired recently!

The top book in the picture is a graduation gift from a friend in Austin. She knows I'll be heading out to California eventually, and she knows like cooking, so she wanted to get me something foodie- and California-themed. There are some delicious-looking recipes in this book, plus beautiful photographs. I'm planning on trying out some recipes once I get back!

The two bottom books are ones I got courtesy of my Lexis Nexis points. (For non-law people: Lexis Nexis is one of two popular legal databases that provide frequent-user points to law students. The points are meant to get students hooked on using the particular database so that when the students turn into lawyers, they'll choose to use that database when it actually costs money. (The databases are provided free of charge to law schools.)) I never accrued many points, but I got enough to get $50 worth of gift cards to Barnes & Noble. So I bought Favorite Socks and Amy Butler's In Stitches.

I am especially excited about In Stitches. I would really like to start sewing more this summer, if I can find the time; I never had time in law school, and my grandmother's sewing machine just gathered dust in a corner of my apartment. But the projects in this book are absolutely beautiful--just right to inspire me to get sewing.

I also treated myself to a pre-graduation present and bought Denyse Schmidt's Quilts and the Modern Quilt Workshop. (I'll put in links and pictures later, when I have more time! I didn't manage to get pictures of these books before I left.) Those are even more inspiring! I am rapidlybecoming obsessed with quilts. I'm sure my first few attempts will be a disaster, but I really like the idea of slowly putting together something as big as a blanket. As knitters well know, producing a knit blanket takes forEVER. Quilting holds out the (probably illusory) promise of more instant gratification.

Anyway, maybe this blog will expand to include quilting in the near future. We'll see!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Catching up: The Knitterly Letter Swap!

Greetings from Taiwan! I've sweltered in the heat, visited my grandfather, seen the Taroko Gorge, swallowed down fish eggs, and viewed beautiful Chinese embroidery at the National History Museum. Needless to say, it's been a jam-packed week!

I won't be back in the States until next week, but I do have a few things to catch up on while I'm out of the country. The first thing is . . . The Knitterly Letter Swap!

I actually don't know who my original letter swap pal is. (If you're out there--I didn't get your letter, unfortunately! Please let me know if you're still waiting on a letter and I will get on it as soon as I get back in town!) Luckily for me, though, Melissa swept in to save the day. She sent me a great letter on Winnie the Pooh stationery, complete with STICKERS!, with a postcard from her hometown and a bunch of recipes from her company's cookbook!

The KLS was a great idea, because it was so exciting to get fun things in the mail! Usually all I get is bills and advertisements. As I wrote to Melissa, it was really nice to make a connection with another knitter, especially since in law school knitting was a pretty solitary sport for me (not much time to go to knitting groups or anything like that).

My own pal was the fabulous Maritza! She wrote back on some beautiful stationery and sent recipes, yarn samples, and some scraps of fabric that she's used for some of her beautiful projects--go check out her blog if you haven't already!

I can't wait to try out the recipes once I get back in the States. I had to hold off while school was wrapping up because I was trying to depopulate my kitchen pantry, not restock it! Now that I'm moved, I'm excited to try out some new recipes. Maritza sent some great muffin recipes and I've had my eye on Melissa's banana pudding.

Thank you to both my pals! I hope to write back once I get home next week.

More to come soon! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Monday, May 14, 2007

There's something else I've been hiding from you

Yes, I've kept a fairly big piece of information to myself for about the past month: I'm returning to Japan!

Actually, I'm returning to Japan for a few days via Taiwan. My grandfather has been in and out of the hospital, and was actually admitted to the hospital only yesterday, so I thought that now is as good a time as any (really, the best time, what with the bar exam and starting work for the Judge in the fall) to visit him and my extended family in Taiwan, whom I haven't seen since 2001. I'll spend 6 days in Taiwan, then hop over to Japan to visit the Chairpeople for a couple of days before returning home. The Japan leg of the trip only cost an extra $25 dollars, so I figured it was worth it to catch the Chairwoman's birthday.

I have a couple of posts queued up, so I won't be entirely absent, but generally the blog and I will be on another hiatus (another! I'm sorry!) for the next ten days. I'll be back with a vengeance (at least for a while) after I get back.

Until then, enjoy spring/the beginning of summer!

Friday, May 11, 2007

I've been hiding something from you . . .

I've been hiding a variety of things from you, actually. I guess that's what happens over a blogging hiatus. I'll reveal everything gradually, but first, a confession.

I may have jumped on the miter wandbagon(just scroll down on that last link--if you don't already read that blog, that is!):

But not just any miters. Heathen Housewife miters.

I cottoned on to the amazing blanket that Shelly is making after the Yarn Harlot showed Shelly's progress in a write-up of her visit to Chicago. I was quite enamored with the blanket, and thought to myself, "I have sock remnants! I'd like a blanket! Let's start mitering!" (I'm sorry, but I wasn't able to figure out the direct link to an actual picture of the blanket. You'll have to scroll around on Shelly's website--she has lots of progress pictures everywhere.)

The good news is that the miters are nice little projects. I can usually finish one in a day. I used the tutorial that Shelly posted on the right-hand side of her blog, and I'm using US3 needles with a cast-on of 31 sts.

The bad news is that I definitely don't have enough sock yarn. I'm proud to look through my yarn remnants, remembering the socks I made with each yarn and realizing that I've knit my fair share of socks, but I have nowhere near enough to make an actual blanket. Shelly got the Yarn Harlot to ask for sock yarn donations. I won't reach to such great lengths, but my lack of sock yarn means that the blanket will probably be a very long-term, back-burner project.

But I'll stick with it because I love the idea of a multi-color blanket made of bits of the socks I knit for other people. It's even making me consider knitting with other colors that I wouldn't usually use, just so the blanket is more balanced in color. It's also lighting a fire under me to knit through my sock stash, just to create new remnants to make new miters from!

There are only eleven, but I love them, anyway. Each one represents a special sock!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Stick a fork in me and . . . you know the rest.

Done! Done! I am officially DONE with law school! YAAAAAAAY!

I was much more excited about it than I thought I actually would be. I think this is the case because my last exam was an 8-hour take-home exam for Federal Courts, which for most law students is a bear of a course. So after I printed that sucker out, I ran through the school to turn it in to the professor's secretary. Conveniently, I ran into some friends on the way and gave them high-fives, so it felt extra celebratory. But, inconveniently, the secretary had stepped away from her desk for ten minutes, so I had to cool my jets outside her office until she came back. That made the actual turning in of the last final somewhat anticlimactic.

But I'm done, and feeling very happy about it. I'm not so happy about sorting through all the stuff in my apartment to get ready to move on Saturday, but I am VERY glad that I will never have to take another law school exam in my life (unless I want to. And the bar exam is not a law school exam.).

And just because it can't be said enough: YAAAAAAAAY!

Saturday, May 05, 2007


Hi, folks, I'm just surfacing from a moment to put the blog on hiatus for about a week. Finals are upon me, and although I'm halfway through (two down! two to go!), I don't expect to be able to post anything interesting until at least next Thursday. Have a good weekend!