I have to share this one.

I saw this on Geninne's blog and I thought that more people need to see it.  It helps that it has a song from one of my favorite movies of all time.  :)

powerlinerflyers from wes johnson on Vimeo.

Super Late Holiday Crafts: Part 1

Whew!  I can finally reveal photos of some cool holiday crafting that I did back in November and December.  I did a gift swap with my knitter mom friends and then we had a quiz to guess who gave and got what.  These are some internet savvy gals, so I had to be all secretive until now.  Not that it helped.  Everyone managed to guess my gift anyway :)

So, first I'll show you the cloth book that I made from the pattern in Stitch Magazine.  I made 3 of these, one for Henry, one for swap and one for a friend's daughter.

And here is the pie taker also from Stitch Magazine.  Have I mentioned here how much I love that magazine?  It costs as much as some craft books but I've made 3 patterns with 6 finished items from it and I still have big plans for the rest of the magazine.  I really really like it.  Anyway, one of these was for swap and one for my mom's birthday (I don't have pictures of hers) and I'd like to make a few more.

The picture to the left is with an empty pie plate inside, but it stores flat and looks pretty nifty, too.

I did more zipper bag sewing also. 

And, lastly, there was a little knitting.  This is the Aston hat (rav link) and was a swap gift.

So, even if I'm a little quiet with crafty posts, I'm still busy as a bee over here :)  For instance, I've got 2 projects on the needles and 2 sewing projects in the works and another 14 on the bulletin board. 

Neighborhood Gossip

(For the context for this post, I recommend you head over to Melissa's blog to see that we are not the only people naming backyard woodpeckers.)

Ben:  I think the woodpeckers at our feeder this year are named Marcus and Ester.
Me:  I thought their names were Clara and Digger.
Ben:  Yeah, Clara and Digger were here last year but they've moved off to the floodplain.
         The other woodpecker that had the hots for Clara was named Armando.
Me:  Armando?
        Why didn't Clara and Digger come back?
Ben:  They found a nice quiet tree.  Living in the city was exciting for awhile when they were young,
         but now they've moved off to a quiet neighborhood by the creek.
Me:  Oh, okay.
        Is Armando back this year?
Ben:  Whereabouts unknown.

How about you?  Do you name your backyard birds or animals?  Are there any soap operas in your garden?

(Maybe another time I'll tell you about our neighbor's cat, Tippy, and the mischief she gets up to.)

Trixie the Mixie

My mom used to make and decorate wedding cakes when I was a kid.  She'd make the ones with all kinds of layers and columns and tiny figures and stairs and fountains.  She'd also make gorgeous flowers out of sugared frosting and she'd win cake decorating competitions with cakes covered in those flowers.  About six years ago, she went back to school to become a chef, but that was just a formality to us.  I still get teased by Tina for frequently saying, "My mom makes the best ____(fill in the blank)_____."  So, all of this is to say first, that I was spoiled by good cooking and lots of leftover frosting growing up, and second, that the sound of the KitchenAid mixer is the rhythm of home to me.

Well, this year my mom and dad and Ben (and some of our household budget) all went together to get me this for Christmas:

Her name is Trixie the Mixie and I adore her.  She is sweet and hardworking and a pleasure to have around.

And we've been busy in the kitchen.  First we made Great Grandma's bun recipe for Christmas dinner.
(my dad said that he'd seen everything once he saw me take this picture)

Then I finally got around to baking Christmas cookies on December 27th.

And then we whipped up homemade marshmallows...

...and Tina and I made the cocoa blocks to go with them.

And then Trixie and I made homemade graham crackers for...

...homemade marshmallow smore's in the fireplace as part of the early New Year's celebration.

The other night we mixed a batch of triple ginger gingersnaps, but I don't have a picture of those.

Trixie has inspired me to keep the kitchen cleaner and more organized, which is quite a feat some days.  And even though my kitchen is tiny with very little counter space, I just can't put her away.

I'm thinking of sewing us matching aprons.

Be forewarned, there may be more cooking posts in the near future.

favorite things

favorite things, originally uploaded by quirky granola girl.

Here are some of Henry's favorite things about our trip: music, splashing, grandparents, birdies, more splashing and cousins.

California Adventures: Part Two

Ben and Henry and I had a grand adventure in downtown L.A. a week ago and we did all of my favorite things.
First stop was Little Tokyo for sushi at the Frying Fish with a moving conveyor belt filled with little plates of sushi. Even the ginger and wasabi are on the conveyor and you have to snatch it up, dish out some and put it back on for others to use. Inside the U-shaped sushi bar are two chefs making more to put out and any special orders (my favorite are the eel rolls).

After some shopping in Little Tokyo we went on to the Getty Museum.  We saw some wonderful photography exhibits including the one from Irving Penn.  His black and whites were taken in New York, London and Paris in the early 50's and feature studio portraits of workers and the tools of their trade.  The pride and personality that shone through in these photos was breathtaking.  Henry wasn't a fan of the indoor parts of the Getty, but we did sneak up to the gallery of paintings.  Museum security was so distracted by the cute baby and we swear that someone could have made it halfway out of the place with a painting and it would be all Henry's fault.

 The family room of the museum had some interesting photo opportunities.

Of course, since his introduction to the ocean, Henry's favorite part of the Getty was all of the fountains.  He tested five of them with his toes.  Those "trees" below are made with rebar and are that gorgeous in person, too. 


Henry definitely enjoyed the outside architecture and plants and sculptures more than the boring art inside. 

This is one of the prettiest (and least smoggy) views of L.A. that I've ever seen.


So, after our Getty adventure, we needed to eat before the long drive back to Whittier.  Ben drove through Beverly Hills and found a great Italian place called Al Gelato.  The portions of pasta were huge and they offered about 24 flavors of gelatto and sorbetto, but the eye-opening part of the stop was this:

These pictures don't even do justice to the true size of the pies.
Now imagine that the bottom crust is 14 inches in diameter and the sides are about 8 inches high.  That was the biggest pie I'd ever seen, until...

...I saw this one.  The bottom was still 14 inches across, but the top of the meringue was over a foot tall.  I don't know how everyone in Beverly Hills is rumored to be so skinny.  I didn't even have room for all of my gelato, so I couldn't have fit a whole piece of pie in.  Maybe next time.

Does anyone have any idea where you find a pie plate big enough or a recipe big enough for one of these?  I'm very curious.

So, to recap: sushi, sightseeing, art, architecture, gardens, baby playing in fountains, views, gnocchi, gelato and seeing the biggest pie ever.  That's a pretty amazing day.

What would you include in your amazing day in L.A.  Did I miss any place that you love?

California Adventures: Part One

We spent a good amount of our time in California chillin' at Grandma and Baba's house.  Henry played in the kitchen, ate lots of new foods in the high chair and learned how to bang on the piano.

But, we also had some grand adventures.  First are some pictures of floats the day after the Rose Parade.  The crowds were wicked, but seeing the artistry of those floats up close was pretty amazing. 

Then came our trip to the ocean at Seal Beach.Henry was so fascinated with looking down at his feet in the ocean that I had to bring the camera down to him.

And, lastly, Ben and I had an adventure of our own.  Henry hung out with his grandparents while we went out for a movie and a lunch date!  We saw the Fantastic Mr. Fox and ate fusion food.   
Can you see how giddy Ben looks in this picture?  We kind of looked like that the whole time.


Here are a few kooky snapshots from our trip.

If you don't have a pirate and a creepy Santa passing out gifts on January 6th in your family, I highly recommend it.

California Teaser

We are all having a fine time here in sunny CA.  Here are a few pictures of the things that Henry is enjoying most:


The orange tree in the backyard with fruit low enough to be explored by a baby, and grandparents that are happy to help him explore what California has to offer.

The ocean.  Water to splash in, sand between toes, seagulls to laugh at, and more water to splash in.  He was very reluctant to stop the splashing.   (My heart almost broke to see him smiling that big.  Have you ever been so happy that your heart ached really, really bad?  It was like that.)

Green grass to pull on.  The last time we had green grass and weather warm enough to sit and play with it, he couldn't just sit and play.  (In fact, he'd fold over face down in it and I didn't want him to eat too much dirt this early.)  This was very near the beach and he could have played here for hours.  That was until he discovered his water splashing tricks.  Have I mentioned how fun that is?

I hope everyone else is enjoying the new year.  I'll be back this weekend with more pictures of obnoxiously lovely weather and a cute baby.