six photos, six songs: tranquil

A few days ago I went to the library, perused the photography section, and made scans to keep on file for inspiration-- here's a few of them. I guess I was in the mood for these calm and light-filled images. Ever since I've started working with my Pacific Northwest theme for my textiles classes I've been highly drawn to shades of grey-blue and sandy beige.

Tree By The River - Iron and Wine
Knight of Wands - Au Revoir Simone
So Far Away - Carole King
Acid Tongue - Jenny Lewis (I saw her perform this live back in the fall-- it was incredible)
More Than This - Roxy Music
Blue Skies - Noah and the Whale


false creek

I'm taking a machine knitting studio class right now for school, and our first larger assignment was to design and make a striped fabric inspired by a landscape. Since I'm working with the theme of the Pacific Northwest, specifically Vancouver, I decided to make a scarf-stripe that referenced False Creek, a place where I had fond memories growing up.


Here's a colour chart I made myself to help me pick yarns--I used this photo by Craig Macintosh as a reference. You might see that I tweaked the proportions of colours slightly in the final knit, but it was a good starting point. I was also inspired by the kiddie-coloured Aquabus ferrying through the Creek, because I knew I wanted to play with the bright primary colours against the more muted hues of the natural landscape (and the not-natural skyscrapers, I guess).

Vancouver, False Creek - Aquabus


because I'm super grandma


This little knitting hobby that I picked up nearly a year and a half ago blossomed into a full-blown obsession this past fall and winter. It was the first year that I was dedicated (and fast) enough to knit Christmas presents to go around-- precisely, a baby sweater vest, a baby hat, three adult hats, two cowls, and a set of armwarmers.

At the beginning of 2011 I was itching to get going on something new and potentially scary, and after seeing Jenny Gordy's delightful sock knitting posts on Wikstenmade, I became determined to knit my own wool socks. There's something ridiculously archaic yet wonderfully exciting about spending hours laboring with tiny yarn and needles to make what really is such a utilitarian and basic part of our wardrobe.

So far I have one and a half pairs, as evident above. I'm still working out the kinks of gusset and toe shaping (turning heels ended up being much easier than I'd imagined!), but I'm pretty proud of what I've got so far. As you can see, I decided to dive right into knee-highs, which is slightly insane when you're not used to working with size 2 needles. I felt that it was necessary to do justice to the space-dyed wools I chose (when the green yarn came in the mail, I died of joy).


Just in case the first part of this post didn't highlight my penchant for domesticity, I'll share my latest cooking venture: using tomatillos for the first time. I'm sure I've eaten them in salsa verde at some point, but I've never bought them before, so I decided to try them out-- in this case, sauteed with corn and spinach, topped with a fried egg and served with corn tortillas and green tomato relish. The overall dish was good, but I'm pretty neutral on the tomatillos themselves-- they didn't really wow me in any way, though I'm sure there are more interesting ways to cook them.

After a week of being cooped up in studio doing homework and skipping meals in lieu of snacks, I've come to realize that I really miss cooking homemade food, even simple things. Yeah, yeah, I should probably just go ahead and become an octogenarian already.


after the quake


Five straight days she spent in front of the television, staring at crumbled banks and hospitals, whole blocks of stores in flames, severed rail lines and expressways.

Thus opens Haruki Murakami's story collection After the Quake, which I checked out of the library on Thursday. I'd been curious to read Murakami's work after a friend's recommendation, and Quake was the only title left in the library the day I happened by.

The next day, I heard the news about the 8.9 earthquake in Japan (apparently now rated 9.0), and my selection of the book seemed eerily prescient. The stories revolve around the months following the 1995 Kobe earthquake, and though I haven't read through all of them yet, they're intriguing, poignant, and melancholy. There's an interesting relationship in how Murakami places these intimate, character-driven stories against the backdrop of a massive natural disaster, and I can only wonder about the people in Japan right now-- not just in terms of numbers and statistics, but as people leading everyday lives amid staggering circumstances.


okra + eggplant


I've been told by fellow college kids that I eat ridiculously fancy food. I guess if you compare the types of things that I cook for weekday dinners with say, a cup of instant ramen or Easy Mac or slices of takeout pizza, I am practically gourmet. But really, it's all pretty simple. While I do love reading gorgeous food blogs (like these), I'm not much of a recipe follower-- I'm more of a throw-all-the-stuff-in-the-fridge-together type of person. Cooking is essentially my dorkily domestic method of procrastination.


This brings me to the meal that I whipped up last night. Okra and eggplant are two vegetables that I hated as a youngster and have now magically become some of my favourites. The change of heart might have had a little bit to do with maturity and a lot to do with at a kickass sambal rendition at Malaysian restaurant back home in Vancouver.


Admittedly, my kitchen is a fledgling one, and I sadly lack the dried red chiles, tamarind, lemongrass, and candlenuts needed for that Malaysian authenticity. I do, however, have a package of dried shrimp that travelled cross-continentally with me in my suitcase, and it makes a world of difference in flavour when you've got sparse pantry shelves.


And after soaking them, I sauteed them with yellow onions, garlic, and ginger... which produces a decidedly heavenly aroma. Throw in some Thai fish sauce and it's a pretty damn good attempt for a college apartment kitchen.


From what I've seen and read, some people like to chop up their okra into diagonal slices. I prefer them whole (though with the tips and caps trimmed), so that they keep their crunch and all their slime intact. Whatever floats your boat.



So there are probably reasons why I abandoned this blog, and why I'm (hopefully) back at it, but isn't it more fun to talk about food? I have ideas for some other things going forward... right now, I'm starting fresh.