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Archive for September, 2008

Proposition 8

I’m going to take a stand here, and set aside pretty pictures for a second in favor of something heavier and more serious.

I want to encourage all of you, everyone who reads this, to get educated about Proposition 8 if you live in California. If you know someone who lives in California, talk to them about it.

The fact of the matter is that Proposition 8 is crafted specifically to bar non-heteronormative couples from entering into a marriage. The entire text reads:

“Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California.”

I find this idea atrocious. While I understand that marriage is a complicated issue that involves the State, religion, and family structures, I think it is unbelievable that our state could potentially limit a person’s access to a legitimate social contract because of their sexual orientation. The Proposition is downright unconstitutional and discriminatory. We live in a time where most people would balk at this kind of legislature on the grounds of gender, race, or socio-economic class; why then is it acceptable when it comes to sexual orientation?

Any governing body should not be discriminatory against a class of people. Plain and simple. And I’ll argue from an emotional point, too: this Proposition would deny one of my best friends, as well as a close family member, the option to marry the person they love and are committed to. The inability to decide to enter into a marriage brings with it a loss of legal rights and legitimacy. I can’t believe we live in a time where this is acceptable.

Google’s providing a little light for me right now, in taking a stand against this Proposition.

Please. Please. If you live in California (or another state where a similar Prop is on the ballot), make sure you can vote and vote against discrimination. Talk to family and friends about resisting those who function out of fear and hatred. Vote for love — love for everyone.

ETA: Looks like Levi’s and PG&E are also getting in on the act! I’m so glad to see major companies taking a stand out of the understanding that this is an equality, not a morality, issue.

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I finished another tea towel yesterday, and I’m really, really excited about it:

I’ve been wanting to put this idea into stitches ever since I bought Sublime Stitching’s Forest Friends pattern. Two hedgehogs. In love. A reference to me and my boy: I love purple and he loves blue (and was once Sonic for Halloween). I’m not sure it gets cuter or mushier than that.

Taking the time to make this has also been an act of home-making, in the most complete sense of the word, for me: settling down and deciding I live here, making a new space my own.

Speaking of making things for the home, some pictures of my Log Cabin blanket (a Mason Dixon must-knit).

This blanket began very much as a comfort item for me. I was living in an unfamiliar place, with few friends and a lot of time to feel lonely. I started knitting a log cabin blanket on a whim, out of all the cool- and neutral-colored Cascade 220 I could muster. It’s become a long-term project that I’ve carried with me through all my moves.

The blanket’s a good lap size right now, and I’d like to make it big enough for two people to snuggle under. The rows keep getting longer and longer… and yet I still enjoy knitting it.

That’s the funny thing about knitting. What can seem really tedious when you’re looking forward to part of a garment will seem soothing in another piece. For instance: right now I’m working on a February Lady Sweater, and I’m so happy to have moved past the garter yoke. Yet every time I pick up my log cabin blanket to knit, I’m ready for nothing but garter stitch.

I think the explanation lies in the comfort of coming back to something familiar, letting a piece of knitting provide a sense of home for me when I’m not quite sure where I’m going next (and have had at least five spaces I called home over the past year). It’s this feeling of “I’m here and I’m going to make something pretty happen” as I knit knit knit away. The repetitive motion of just knitting, stitch after stitch, allows me to breathe and relax, reminding me that I really can take things only one step at a time… whether or not I know what my next step will be.

I guess it’s all about creating a home wherever you land: making your mark with something handmade, curling up with someone you love, coming back to what’s familiar, noticing the beauty of simple details.

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o hai.
Isn’t it funny how the Internets go quiet over the weekend? Anyway, snippets of what’s shaking over here:

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while — embroider something featuring two hedgehogs in love. Here it is, in the process of being realized on a tea towel. I love how crisp the stitches came out in this shot. I do not love how dry my hands look. Moisturize, girl!

And something else that’s been making me happy lately:

Not mine, but boy is this cat friendly! I’m lucky to live in a town that is EXCELLENT for cats. My most recent kitten friend is this little one, who has a sibling who looks almost exactly the same. Welcome to the ranks of my kitten friends, little brown cat!

Upcoming on Knits With Carrots: kale, how to embroider tea towels, February Lady Sweater knitting, Mason Dixon log cabin blanket, making and canning tomato sauce, freezing peaches…

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Today’s blog post is brought to you by the color burgundy.

These are some cranberry shelling beans I bought at the farmers’ market. Check out the pods! I think they were referred to as “tongues of fire” beans, and I couldn’t resist. The beans have beautiful cranberry speckles when shelled. Unfortunately, the speckles disappear when cooked.

Pretty pretty. I cooked these for 20-30 minutes in boiling water. I mixed them with some cooked green beans, lemon juice, parmesan, and salt and pepper.

We had a fabulous vegetarian dinner last night, totally veggielicious:

Sorry for the picture quality! The beans are in the lower left-hand corner there. In the lower right is some spaghetti squash and yellow squash, with a little bit of Parmesan. The upper right-hand is the tomato salad I love to make, and the upper left is some red fruit: Flavor King pluots, raspberries, and strawberries. Nothing added!

Seems like burgundy is a serious color theme in my life lately. I made some “sun-dried” tomatoes in my oven — sliced up about 1/2″ thick, on aluminum foil, for 8+ hours. I’m looking forward to using them in the winter:

And hey! I’ve started knitting a February Lady Sweater, just like everyone else it seems. I was inspired by brainylady’s post about it, and could no longer resist. I’m not one for knitting sweaters usually, but I think this one might just turn out super cute! I was really drawn to the shape of it, which seems incredibly flattering, and the prospect of picking out really cute wood buttons for it. I’m using Cascade 220 wool:

I guess Autumn truly is here. I can’t wait for leaf-crunching season to really set in.

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In the vein of talking about tomatoes a LOT, I offer you a new and innovative way to enjoy tomatoes!

After a few weeks of making soup out of tomatoes, eating tomatoes on bagels, making pie out of tomatoes, putting tomatoes on pasta, drying tomatoes (more later), I’m still not over them. Although I’m investing a lot of energy in preserving the Early Girls for the off season, I want to savor some of them as unadulterated as possible. I’m not yet part of the camp that eats tomatoes like apples, probably because I’m still recovering from eating many a mediocre tomato in my day. That having been said, these tomatoes are GOOD, and I want to really taste them.

So! A simple recipe for using up some tomatoes. Y’all should know that I feel more masterful in the kitchen when working without a recipe — responding to the ingredients that I have rather than blindly throwing “three tomatoes” into a bowl. The recipes that I put out there end up being a reflection of that. Check out what you have, inspect your feelings on correct tomato-to-lettuce ratio, and go from there.

And, of course, the better ingredients you can obtain — organic, locally farmed — the better this will taste.

For a generous one-person salad, you will need:
One slice of bread, toasted — I used Russian Rye, which yielded great results.
Two-ish tomatoes
Lettuce — I used baby greens because I don’t like ribs. Choose something green, not iceberg.
Onion
Mayo (can use Vegenaise to make vegan, or plain yogurt if you don’t like mayo)
Balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar if you prefer)
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

1. While toasting the bread, cut tomatoes into quarters or eighths. Leave seeds and squishy stuff in.
2. Tomatoes, lettuce, onion (cut into thin rounds, amount per your onion preference) all go into a bowl.
3. Take toasty bread and cut into pieces roughly 1″ square. Add to salad mixture.
4. Add dollop or two of mayo — maybe 2 tbsp, depending on how much you like or are grossed out by mayo.
5. Add splash of balsamic and drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

And the most important step:

6. Toss and let sit for a few minutes. The bread will get a little squishy and really really tasty.

Basil would go well in this salad, also. I’d recommend against adding other veggies, in the interest of highlighting the simple tomato + tangy flavors.

This recipe inspired by a recipe in my UCSC CSA cookbook.

Enjoy! A fabulous way to savor the last fruits of summer…

P.S. Yes that IS Animal Vegetable Miracle that I’m reading, and I’m on the tomato chapter! Talk about good timing. I highly recommend the book to, well, anyone, and will talk more about it when I’m finished.

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My mission for this past week has been to embroider some tea towels. More specifically, my mission was to embroider tomatoes onto a tea towel.

Success. I took the towel with me this weekend and we used it, instead of paper towels, to wipe off our cutting board. The towel was a little stained by the end of the day, so it did its job well! Last week we had a bunch of semi-used paper towels in our trash; this week, just tomatoes too squished to sell.

The tomato design is from Sublime Stitching. If you haven’t checked out this site, please do so. They offer a lot of really cute designs, from cowgirls to hedgehogs, at reasonable prices; when you purchase a pattern, you get a bunch of iron-on designs that can be used multiple times on whatever your little stitching heart desires. Plus, their site has a bunch of tutorials that can get even the most needle-clueless stitching away. If you’ll notice, all of my stitches are split stitch, which is explained on the site. Easy peasy!

This will be the first of many embroidered tea towels I’ll be making. I’ve realized how quickly I jump for paper towels if there’s a spill in the kitchen, or to dry off veggies I’ve washed. Embroidering tea towels to use for cleaning up and drying off is functional, but it’s also economical. I know in the past I bought paper towels as regularly as I would buy toilet paper, and feel the same sense of panic if I ran out of either. With reusable towels, I’m saving money over the long haul – a set of three tea towels cost a little under $9 from a local kitchen supply store – and I’ll save myself the time of running to buy more paper towels.

I know one perceived drawback to the towels lies in having to wash them, because of the inconvenience and possible threat to your handiwork. I’ve washed other embroidered garments multiple times to no ill effect, and getting them clean is as easy as tossing them in with any old load. (I guess I just revealed that I commit the sin of not separating my laundry.)

Added bonus of embroidered kitchen paraphernalia? Way cuter than paper towels. If there aren’t designs out there you like, you can draw your own design on to the towel with pencil. Alternately (or even additionally), you could just add a fun border to the towel, if you’re more of a minimalist in the kitchen. Check out Purl Bee‘s great stitch tutorial.

Give it a shot! Embroidering your own tea towels takes almost no time, costs almost nothing, and is a real way you can take steps towards reducing your consumption. Get your green on. Make your kitchen cuter in the process. Game, set, match.

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Alarm clock goes off. 6 AM on a Saturday. Gross. I flop out of bed and manage to grab a hoodie and my keys through the fog of slumber. There are a few cats meandering the streets, but that’s about it. It’s early. It’s dark. I’m tired.

But I’m happy. Or I will be. Early Saturday morning can only mean one thing: I’m working the farmers’ market again!

This is a real tea towel that we had around, so we hung it up today. Love it. I feel almost as happy as they look. After some coffee and an apple.

Today was a great day at the farmers’ market. We had insanely sweet Gala apples, lots of our organic dry farmed Early Girl tomatoes (our main focus), giant Walla Walla onions easily six inches in diameter, and some beautiful purple bell peppers and Anaheim peppers:

Will someone get on it and make me some sock yarn in those colors? I love all the purple we ended up having today at the stand; between the bell peppers, our cabbage, the red Italian Torpedo onions, and our purple flowers, I’m in color heaven.

So, as I was saying, it was a great day to be selling at the farmers’ market. The sun came out about 7:30, and there were a lot of happy people walking around, looking for the last remnants of summer’s stone fruit, getting serious about beets (so many beautiful beet greens!), buying up summer squash and zucchini flowers… the vendor two stalls down brought his mandolin, so we even had lovely tunes intermittently throughout the day.

One of the best parts about the market is the kids. One kid came up to the stand with his mom, who was buying tomatoes. He told me and my co-worker we “looked funny with our aprons on.” “Oh?” I asked, “And what do we look like?” He thought a bit, and responded, “Tomatoheads!”

You know, there are worse things to be.

Check out these conjoined tomatoes! We usually snag the funny-looking tomatoes and put them on display near our scale. I thought these were just too cute, being joined at the stem and all.

I’m always impressed by how red our tomatoes are. And part of the reason they taste SO GOOD (and why any fresh tomato will taste way better than conventional tomatoes) is because they’re allowed to ripen on the plant. According to my hero Alton Brown of Good Eats (from whom I get much of my food knowledge), industrial tomatoes — those sold in big grocery stores, even if they are organic — are picked when they’re just starting to blush. They’re then put in a room with chemicals that make them redden. Now, they may get red… but their ripening, or sugar development, stops the moment they’re picked. They may get prettier, but they’ll never get tastier.

And that’s why tomatoes from your garden or local farmer are downright yummier — because they’re actually ripe. I thought I didn’t like tomatoes until this summer. What I realized was I do like tomatoes. Real tomatoes.

Speaking of tomatoes… and tea towels:

I’m not going to get into details right now, but I will tell you that the stains are from tomatoes, and that this probably saved us half a roll of paper towels today! Stay tuned for total crafty and veggie dorkiness.

P.S. Obtained new Mason-Dixon book. Overcome with sudden urge to add to my kitchen cotton yarn stash. Predict I will not be able to resist the appeal of more knit objects in my kitchen.

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