Monthly Archives: January 2014

My Etsy Shop has been REVAMPED. Yay!

My Etsy Shop has been REVAMPED. Yay!

Now accepting credit cards, Etsy gift cards, and requests for custom orders!

I’m currently prepping some more alphabet colouring pages, and have some other items I hope to be adding soon. I hope you’ll check it out! You can also like my shop’s Facebook page for updates as I list things.

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Jaunt to Eugene. Keystone Café + Vanilla Jill’s

Today my friend and I went to Eugene, FINALLY.

I mean, we’ve been talking about it ever since we went to EVEN’s (Eugene Veg Education Network) little vegan fair in… August. Yeah, kind of a while ago. But I won a gift card for $10 for Keystone Café in a drawing! That was kind of awesome. So ever since then we’ve intended to go back to Eugene to check out this Keystone Café and hit the Goodwill. We’re so exciting, right???

Today at last our schedules and other things coincided and we went. I took Lou Who. GooGoo stayed at home with Daddy and M’s kids were all in school, so it was a peaceful mommy day out. 🙂

First we went to Goodwill, where I did not find shoes for GooGoo as I had hoped, but I did find other things, like a shirt that’s way too big but it has a blue brontosaurus and “vegetarian” on it. I couldn’t resist. And a 3-in-1 Thomas Kinkade puzzle for 99 cents and a glass punch bowl with 12 cups for $4, and a couple other things. Like a 99 cent little husky dog for Lou Who who is really, really into cuddling stuffed animals and dolls. She clung happily to that thing from the moment it got into her hands until we got home, barring the time we were eating.

After Goodwill, we made a run to Walmart because I forgot to bring diapers for Lou Who and she was starting to get Damp Pants. After Walmart it was off to the Keystone Café.

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The place is small with tables pretty close together. We got treated to a lot of fascinating conversations around us while not being able to have much of one of our own.

Eating her complimentary fruit cup. Her mouth was full of grape and her arm full of stuffed Husky.

Eating her complimentary fruit cup. Her mouth was full of grape and her arm full of stuffed Husky.

Unsuspecting M is unsuspecting.

Unsuspecting M is unsuspecting. She thought I was taking a selfie.

DOUBLE SELFIE

DOUBLE SELFIE

The waitress was very friendly and got us our food quickly. We had 11 specifically vegan items we could order, which were handily grouped together on the menu, and both decided to get the Vegan Tofu Skillet+extra homefries.

Here’s their description of the dish:

Grilled Tofu Scrambled with Homefries, Spinach, Zucchini, Green and Red Bell Peppers, Onions, and Mole Sauce. Topped with Cabbage, Salsa & Cilantro. Served with Corn Bread Topped with Enchilada Sauce & Nutritional Yeast Gravy.

And here’s a picture:

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And here’s our rundown. The nooch gravy: excellent. Like, really good. I’m not great at gravy making, and I would love to be able to make that good of gravy at home. The spinach was perfectly steamed, which was great. The homefries were very good. I mean, I can make comparable ones at home, but they were good.

All in all, though, there was just flat-out too much going on with this dish. You have the cornbread topped with TWO sauces. Both were good, but just the gravy would have been better. The tofu had obviously been frozen, and not all the water was cooked out. There was also absolutely no detectable flavour to it. It looked like it had a rub, but I’m positive there was no marinade or anything to pep it up, and it really didn’t look or taste grilled. I added a bunch of salt trying to make it edible. Then there was some crazy spicy sauce mixed in with the veggies that made the veggies pretty much inedible. I don’t mind spicy but it just didn’t… mesh with the dish. It’s hard to describe. Seriously, three sauces in one dish?

M had the exact same reaction I did. In retrospect we wished we had ordered different things just to see if everything was mediocre or if we just didn’t pick a good dish. My suspicion, though, is that vegan isn’t their specialty – it appears to just be an option they offer to cater to the Eugene population. Next time, I plan to go to the Cornbread Café instead, where the entire point of the restaurant is to make amazing vegan food that you can’t easily recreate at home. I haven’t been to the CC, but M has, as well as another friend, and they all rave about it. CC’s Facebook page is a constant stream of delicious food photos that make me want to just go there almost daily.

So, we left there feeling a little blah and decided to go to Vanilla Jill’s.

I approve of these hours.

I approve of these hours.

Kombucha on tap! I... didn't take advantage of the option.

Kombucha on tap! I… didn’t take advantage of this option.

We almost didn’t go, but we were SO glad we did. We ordered the cocoanut lime creme flavour from the vegan options, mine topped with chocolate chips, and it was SO good it completely made up for the Keystone meal. Now that is something I couldn’t make at home. SO GOOD. Did I mention it was good? We kicked ourselves a little when we saw “VEGAN SANDWICHES” advertised on the whiteboard. They were probably pretty fab vegan sandwiches.

Seriously, so good.

Seriously, so good.

Then we drove back to the place where I had left my car and sat in the parking lot and talked for a long time before she left to pick up her kidlets and I went home.

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Categories: dessert, Lou Who, lunch, Mrs Pine Nut, restaurants | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Invasion of the CeramiCats

Some years ago, I bought a shirt from the clearance rack of Christopher & Banks. It had cats on it.

It was awesome. I’d take a picture, but mine is so shabby and stained and faded it’s embarrassing to even show you guys. So, I googled it instead, and there’s a sleeveless version on eBay! It’s orange rather than the more golden tones of my shirt, but the print is the same, so I nabbed this screen shot so you can see it:

Seriously, how adorable is that?

Seriously, how adorable is that?

There was a place called Hands On Art in Yakima, Washington, where you chose a ceramic something-or-other and painted it and they’d fire it for you. One day my sister and I went there. Or maybe it was my brother. I don’t even remember any more, but whichever one it was did a two-tone ice cream cone of awesome.

I chose a tile. I thought, I’ll make a trivet. Trivets are useful. I chose my four paint colours: sage green, rose, grey-ish brown, tan. But I couldn’t decide what to put on it. So I sat there with my pencil in hand for a while and then I looked at my shirt and I thought, “I will make a cat.” And this is what my finished trivet looks like:

I incorporated the "meow meow" part of the print by scraping writing into the paint in the corner.

I incorporated the “meow meow” part of the print by scraping into the paint in the corner.

I was very pleased with this little guy and used him whenever we had company to put under my Large Pots of Hot Stuff. I never particularly thought of ever doing any more cats.

Then last December (2012) my church’s women’s ministry had an event at Surefire in Albany. (At the end of this post I’ll talk more about them.) I was broke, surprise surprise, and trying to decide what to choose to paint when a lady came along and told me to choose whatever I wanted and she’d pay for it. That was really sweet. (And no, I didn’t pick the most expensive thing in the place! ;-)) I decided I wanted to do a cake plate. Somehow it ended up with a cat on it – again. I wasn’t wearing the shirt that day, so I had to go from memory on what cat I would do.

You’ve seen the rim of the plate before in my post about Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka’s cake. But here it is in all its feline glory:

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This year finds me a co-head of our church’s women’s ministry and we decided to do the Surefire event again. I’ve been thinking about how nice a spoonrest for my stovetop would be, so that’s what I made.

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It was a nice way to get the fish from the shirt incorporated! (This time I brought along the shirt, but I didn’t wear it. I might have been mistaken for a hobo.)

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I love my cat ceramics. I think I’ve kind of started a Frankenstein. I have a little thought rattling in the back of my head now that a toothpick holder and a utensil holder are the next two things I’d like to do. There are so many elements on the shirt I still have to work with! The mouse! The yarn! Moar cats!

The funniest thing is that I never started out to do my kitchen in rose and sage and cat. But it happened anyway. Of course, one could argue I don’t even have a kitchen yet… which is partially true… but I already have known for a while that I wanted to move away from the red, white, and black theme I had going when I first moved out on my own.

***

More about Surefire:

*Unlike Hands-On Art, Surefire has no limit to the amount of colours you can choose for your project (although I personally still like to stick with 5 or less just for the challenge of it!) They also offer things like puff paint to add dimension to your project and have quite a collection of ideas and inspiration.

*They will get stuff in for you if you want it. (I overheard the manager saying this to someone else.) So, I have no doubt I could ask them to get in a toothpick holder for me even if it’s not something they always have.

*It’s not particularly cheap – you can pick from the clearance shelf that has $2-5, or get coaster-size tiles for $5 each) but it’s a lot of fun. Tiles like my trivet are $10. The spoonrest was $16. I don’t remember how much the cake plate was but I’m guessing it was probably around $20.

*Really my only true complaint is the selection of brushes there. They are brushes that have seen better days. They are very used and abused and some barely even have bristles left at all. Next time I go in, I’d like to bring my own brushes, because it’s next to impossible to do fine detail (like writing or outlining) with their brushes. You’ll notice that the lack of definite outlines is one of the biggest stylistic differences between the trivet (where I had access to good brushes) and the two pieces I did at Surefire.

*If you think you can’t paint, well, think again. I had never painted anything worth anything prior to the trivet. I’m a pencil girl, not a painter. I surprised myself with how well it came out. You can do something awesome too! Even if you just do a kaleidoscopic wash of colours on a tile, it’ll look sweet once it’s fired.

So, on the whole, I highly recommend them. The staff is very friendly and the atmosphere very relaxed and plenty of kids come along to paint as well – it’s definitely not just for grownups!

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Categories: crafty crafts | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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