Posts Tagged With: Kitchen

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.

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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

Vegan MoFo #3: A Tour of My Kitchen

I’m not posting about a recipe specifically today, even though I did work on one. 🙂 You’ll read about it later. Today was a catch-up-on-chores and do-ALL-the-things kind of day and it’s now 5pm and the first chance I’ve had to even consider doing a post at all.

I saw someone else post about what they considered essential in a vegan kitchen, so I decided to take pictures of mine and share them with you as my contribution today. I talked about my kitchen a little bit in a past post, but this time I’m going to show you inside my cupboards. Bear in mind that this is a 29′ trailer and so I’ve used every inch of space as efficiently as I can, if not in the most TIDY fashion.

This is my staples area. On the top shelf are a variety of containers with screwtops. Left to right we have barley, nooch, sugar, black beans, mixed rolled grains, pinto beans, bandaids, and a flour sifter. (Bandaids there because GooGoo can’t reach them.) On the bottom shelf there are garbanzo beans, white flour, wheat flour, rolled oats, granola, and a crockpot. These are all the staple foods we use the most.

Next over we have brown rice, cocoa powder, bag of cocoanut, instant clear jel, and bread pans on the top shelf, and a mishmash of Pyrex lids, cooling racks, muffin tins, and baking sheets on the bottom. And a bonus pennywhistle, because Mr Pine Nut sometimes plays during or after mealtimes.

Top shelf: gluten flour, box of matzo, half the popcorn popper, tapioca pearls, popcorn, and an empty space where the pressure cooker is kept when not in use. Bottom shelf: pie pans, Pyrex cake/casserole pans, electric skillet, small saucepan and skillet. The electric skillet is an amazing thing to have in this tiny kitchen.

Under the staples cupboard (the first picture), we have a toaster, food processor, olive oil, and blender. And a drying ziploc bag. Because yes, we’re the crazy cheapskates who wash and reuse them until they shred or break open at the seams. 🙂

This is the cupboard over the sink. Big spice containers of cinnamon, onion powder, basil, and parsley up here; baking soda/powder, cornstarch, Ener-G egg replacer, oil, salt, soy milk powder, peanut butter, liquid sweeteners…

Cookbooks! Tomato powder! The other half of the popcorn popper! And random cans of beans, olives, and jarred salsa!

This is the (currently rather paltry) fridge door. All I have in here at the moment is tahini, Nucoa, yeast, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and hot sauce. I think those are peanuts in the bag.

Again, this is rather a paltry example of in-fridge supply. Usually I have loads of Pyrex full of cooked rice and beans and leftovers. Loads means “more than the four in this picture”. Those are tomatoes and cabbage from our garden and that’s hickory-smoked applesauce on the top shelf. *

And finally, the crowning glory of my kitchen: the spice drawer!!!1! This is the top layer.

And this is the bottom layer. It’s like a puzzle that has to go in just so, or the drawer won’t close. I LOVE MY SPICE DRAWER.

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*Actually, it just burned in the pan, but rather than throw away a Rather Large Batch of Applesauce, we’ve been eating it bravely for some time now and alternating it with Non-Hickory-Smoked Applesauce.

Categories: around the kitchen, challenges, recipes, vegan mofo, vegan mofo 2012 | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

Life With the Pine Nuts

So, I’ve been sick for several weeks (or has it been months?) now. My immune system is basically worthless, it seems. I’ve always dealt with sickness dragging on for way longer than most people, but in the last few months I’ve had one thing after another with no reprieve. I think I’m on the mend now… fingers crossed. Pregnancy may be partly the culprit; I’m getting some bloodwork done to find out if there’s any other issues that may need to be addressed to strengthen my immune system.

I’m not going to share a recipe today. I’m going to invite you into my kitchen and give you a peek at how I live, because I assume I’m not the only nosy person out there who likes to know how other people live.

First of all, let me explain that since about June of last year I’ve been living in a 29-foot travel trailer with my husband, my toddler-human-child, and an adult-cat-child. We’re in the process of building a house, but it’s taking a while. My kitchen space is very cramped and working there is a challenge, but I’ve been able to make it work.

Dishes pile up. They are fruitful and multiply behind my back. All I have to do is make peanut butter toast and the kitchen looks cluttered. It’s ridiculous and frustrating. What you see here is typical morning kitchen: last night’s dishes plus this morning’s dishes.

But when it’s cleaned up, it looks quite presentable (outside of the stupid tile counters with deep grout lines – what WERE they thinking?)

As you can see, I have an AMAZING quantity of counter space. :-X

What appliances do I have? The trailer came with a pretty decent-sized fridge/freezer unit. I have a propane stovetop and oven. I have an electric skillet. I had a convection oven that my toddler ripped the door off. My father-in-law fixed it and then I baked some scones in it at 450 and apparently that was too hot for the adhesive and the door fell off when I opened it. So I am back to my propane oven, which doesn’t bake very well. Something tells me we’ll be eating flat bread for a while rather than loaf bread.

I meet the counter space challenge a couple of different ways. The sink came with two cutting boards that nest perfectly inside, so I can create a little bit more space to set tubs of flour, large bowls, or cooling racks. There is also a slide-out cutting board and the stove has a cover, which I put down to stack my washed dishes on to dry. I also use that stove cover to set my electric skillet on when I’m cooking a meal just in that. Our dining table is extendable as well, so I often use that area for my cooling racks if I’m doing a large batch of baked goods.

We do have a fairly reasonable amount of cupboard space, though, and that has been really nice. While I did have to pack away the majority of my stuff, we have enough dishes and silverware to get by, and room for the toaster, the blender, some pots and pans, and lots and lots of foody stuff.

My spice drawer is pretty much a puzzle that needs to be put back together just right to get the drawer shut, because when I was trying to choose what spices to bring along, I ended up bringing all but maybe one or two. I simply could not get by without my turmeric, curry powder, cayenne, chili powder, taco seasoning, chicken seasoning… and all the others.

It’s not always easy, but I manage. I adapt. I try not to think too much about the big kitchen that’s waiting for me in our new house, because then I’d have to deal with massive discontent.

Do you have any challenges in your kitchen? How do you meet them?

Categories: around the kitchen, Mrs Pine Nut | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

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