In Defense of the Impractical

There are times in life when everything you do seems geared toward a general, even sensical, purpose. Other times, you find yourself engaging in those wonderfully unnecessary, but fun, endeavors; the kinds of things that add  a bit of pizzazz to your life, however silly they may seem.

For instance, in one of those inexplicable moments of sudden inspiration, I decided to make patchwork covers for my salt and pepper shakers. They were simply too dull without them. It took me a little while to figure out how exactly I was going to go about doing this, but I did succeed. Basically, I made  little patchwork bags, into which I inserted a yarn drawstring closure, accented by beads. This was, overall, an easy process, but working with such small bits of fabric can be tricky. You really have to respect those ¼” seam allowances. So I took it slowly and managed to get through nearly hiccup-free.

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In another random moment of inspiration, I also added buttons to the black cube side table that we inherited from the Eccles furniture stash. A hot glue gun, my button collection, and about half an hour later…

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I also took a break from home décor sewing to make… I have a confession… a scarf. I retract my earlier statement that I have enough scarves. Turns out, there’s just no such thing. Scarves are the ultimate accessory; they add so much to a simple (or not-so-simple outfit), they’re comfortable, and perfect for cutting that slight chill out of these early fall days. They come in all shapes and sizes. I will never, ever stop making scarves. My latest is more out of the ordinary for me; first of all, I’ve never sewn (rather than knit) a scarf. I used leftover corduroy  from an old pair of pants, and more scraps from my dad’s fabulous silk tie collection:

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Notice the cigar pattern. I’m no smoker, but that’s got to be my favorite–it’s just hilarious.

Between the soft corduroy and silky ties, this is one comfortable scarf. It’s also a little lighter than my patchwork and domino scarf-blankets. The silk makes it nice enough to wear out in the evening, which I did indeed do this weekend in NYC. I also wore it all day long while walking throughout the city, or taking a break on the steps of the MET:

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I love the city. I mean, I’m a total Bostonian at heart, but NYC is this exciting whirlwind metropolis that’s fun to escape to every now and then. So, naturally, this week I made a Big Apple Nine Patch:

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I’m not sure why, but these fabrics speak NYC to me; the vibrant color and joyful pattern, that Big Apple red. I also made another nine patch earlier in the week. The inspiration for it is sort of vague, but for some reasons the week (pre-NYC) felt very steady and calm; one of those routine, delightfully uneventful weeks. So I tried to make some very steady, calm fabric choices:

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Though I had a weekend of indulgent eating out in the city, I did manage to get in some kitchen time of my own before leaving. Firstly, I took my second stab at whole wheat anadama bread, following a recipe in the Laurel Kitchen whole grain bread book.

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This one was much more successful. It called for whole wheat bread flour which, for the record, is not easy to find. I finally tracked it down in the bulk section at Whole Foods after the helpful but misguided employee insisted that no such flour existed. The bread had a lovely flavor, but still wasn’t quite fluffy enough for my taste. I’m sure there will be a stab three.

 I also planned ahead, and realized that returning to Boston late on a Sunday night would leave me little time to grocery shop/cook, so I made big bowls of (you guessed it) pasta and fool to tide me over. I’m always so delighted by how well these two foods save. I swear they often get even better as the flavors all stew together.

The pasta is a combination of some of my favorite staple foods; sweet potato, broccoli, raisins, and chicken, accompanied by a light cream sauce.

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The raisins and sweet potatoes add a lovely, sweet undertone–and a creaminess–which is balanced out by the salty-savory chicken and broccoli. This one is definitelya new favorite.

As for my fool, I made use of some very end-of-season peaches and a couple cartons of blackberries.

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After a long, busy weekend, it was such a relief to come home to a delicious, wholesome meal that I didn’t have to buy, or slave away at.

However, just to point out that I do actually make more than pasta and fool (I evencooked kangaroo last weekend, believe it or not), I’m going to briefly mention some other recent cooking adventures. In honor of Kyle’s Southern (Floridian) roots, I made a Sunday dinner of chili, corn bread (yeast-free and hence a whole lot easier than most of the breads I’ve been making), and fried green tomatoes (fresh from my mother’s garden):

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I added in a medley of colorful potatoes (also from my mother’s garden) which were so fresh, they tasted divine just simply roasted with a bit of thyme and rosemary:

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Since NYC was one of those blow-the-budget weekends, I see lots of eating in in my future—and I’m completely looking forward to it. Dining out is a wonderful treat, but nothing beats home cooking. Fall is settling in more and more every day, and those cozy indoor evenings are becoming increasingly appealing.

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Filed under accessories, clothing, cooking

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