5/365 – Read the Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings

The Descendants

Our Project365 continues with something mellow today: reading The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings. This book has been on my to-read list for quite some time, but I’ve only recently had time to sit down and enjoy a book. I’m glad Hemming’s work was my reintroduction back into pleasure reading.

I whizzed through “The Descendants” in three sittings.  Not a light read by any means, but still pretty quick.

After finishing the book, I decided to watch the movie and see how it compared.  Overall, I think the movie was well cast and I understood the reasoning behind most of the changes made in the movie.  There were a few changes, however, that I found quite interesting. Protagonist Matt King’s youngest daughter, Scottie, is more foul mouthed in the book than in the movie. She still has that same spunk that Hemmings described, but her movie character was packaged a bit more neatly. Speaking of which, I think Matt King’s character comes across as more likable in the movie than in the book. I remember reading a discussion about the book online and someone commented about how she couldn’t understand why these characters would do and say such terrible things to each other. That point resonated with me and it was something that I also considered, although I guess there could be many explanations of why Hemmings wrote her characters the way she did. Perhaps to make the characters more complex and three dimensional or maybe their behavior is symptomatic of the emotional chaos they’re all living in?  I don’t know, now I’m rambling. I would be terrible in book club. My comments would most likely make everyone tune out and start doing mental grocery lists in their head.

What books are you folks reading? Any books you’d recommend?

The Descendants

4/365 – Sew a Zipper Pouch

Zipper Pouch

For the next week or so, I will be continuing the Project365 on my own as Kimi is back home right now visiting family. First off my list, I re-attempted to sew a zipper pouch.  Let me preface this entry by saying, I don’t know how to sew. I’ve always wanted to learn so I could hem my own jeans and avoid bringing 23230940238 pairs of jeans for my mom to hem every time I see her, but alas,  my sewing experience is pretty limited. I once made a pillow (which I feel like is one of the first projects you tackle when learning how to sew) and it was really hideous and lopsided.

Every time I’m on Etsy now, I get craft envy. People are so insanely talented and I always feel inspired to make my own things after seeing their amazing work. Instead of mastering the pillow like a smart person, however, I decided to jump ahead and sew a zipper pouch to hold my laptop cables when traveling. That was probably not the smartest idea, given the fact that I didn’t even know how to use a sewing machine.  I was surprised that I figured out how to thread the bobbin, insert it in the machine, thread the machine, and kind of use the machine, but my first zipper pouch came out hideous and lopsided (just like that pillow I once sewed)! I decided that I probably wasn’t ready for a project like that and I spent my time since then trying to figure out where the hell I went wrong.

Well, with Kimi’s trip home this week, I thought it would be a great opportunity to re-attempt my zipper pouch project so she could use it to carry her own electronics’ cables.  She already had picked out her fabric months ago when I made my pouch, so the rest was on me to complete.

I found that these tutorials from Design Mom and Niesz Vintage Home helped me figure out in which order to piece together the lining and outside fabric. It’s important to piece together the fabric in the right order and right side up or else you’ll be pissed off later.

Things I learned: Even with that stupid pizza rotary cutter (pictured below),  I still couldn’t cut my fabric exactly straight (I think I need to get a ruler to help guide me). Also,  make sure to add interfacing to lighter fabrics like cotton so that the pouch looks neatly pressed and has shape, and finally,  your zipper doesn’t have to be exactly sized to the fabric–if your zipper is longer you can trim it and sew over it and it’ll work just fine.

Things I still can’t figure out: WHY DOES THREAD KEEP BUNCHING UP IN THE STUPID BOBBIN! I read somewhere it might have to do with the tension being used, but UGH. How do people sew straight? Seriously. I don’t think my machine has a guide so I was eyeballing it and let me tell you, I’m cross-eyed or something because I did not sew in a straight line. One more thing, there must be a nicer (less visible) stitch to use to close the pouch at the end than a regular back stitch, right?

If you’re at all familiar with sewing or other crafty things, sound off in the comments. I need all the help I can get!

Zipper Pouch

Kimi picked her fabric a while back. The rotary cutter and measuring board were great investments.

Buster
After cutting the fabric, I was forced to take a break.

Buster
She was very persuasive.

Singer Sewing Machine
It took me a good 20 minutes to properly set up my stupid bobbin and thread the machine. I wanted to kick the machine.

Zipper Pouch
The finished product! I hate you, zipper!

 

3/365 – Eat a Blood Orange, Make Blood Orange Lemonade

Orange, Bloody Orange

This may seem like an random addition to our list, but Kimi really wanted to try a blood orange so we were in search of one when we went to the Studio City farmers’ market a few weeks ago. I think she got the idea from Pitfire Pizza’s delicious Blood Orange Lemonade and I was really excited when she suggested we try and make our own too.

So the verdict: Blood oranges look just like how you’d expect…bloody. It’s kind of crazy how dark they are on the inside. Totally wasn’t expecting that, but they tasted like regular good ol’ oranges to me.

For those interested, here’s the recipe we used for our blood orange lemonade:

Ingredients:

-8 cups water

-1 cup orange blossom honey (you can also use sugar instead, if you prefer)

-juice from 4 small/medium sized meyer lemons

-juice from 2-3 small/medium sized blood oranges

 

Directions:

1. In a pitcher, blend water and honey until honey is completed dissolved.

2. Add blood orange juice and lemon juice. Stir.

3. Add ice to pitcher or let chill for 30 minutes.

Lemon and Oranges

Fresh lemons and blood oranges from the farmers’ market.  The lemonades were kind of puny, so we ended up using like four lemons instead of two.

Equipment

Got a pitcher and juicer! Flex those muscles.

Orange Blossom Honey

Bought orange blossom honey at the farmers’ market. We used it to sweeten the lemonade instead of using sugar.

Pouring the honey

Get ready to stir that honey in!

The Finished Product! Blood Orange Lemonade

Ta-Da!

2/365 – Dye Easter Eggs

Happy Easter!

Happy belated Easter, friends! As part of our Project 365, Kimi and I decided we’d relive our childhoods and dye eggs together. We went to Target and bought a few cheap egg dyeing kits, one dozen eggs, and some completely necessary Easter candy for our festivities. By the way, did you know they have all kinds of fancy kits these days? Tie dye, pastel, glitter–you name it. When I was a kid, I feel like egg dye came in four colors and you had to use your own crayons if you wanted your eggs  to look fancy. I remember my sister and cousins all being very talented in the egg dyeing department, while my creations all looked…well…not like the egg you wanted to find hiding in the yard.

After a nice brunch on Easter morning, Kimi boiled a dozen eggs for us to decorate. We didn’t buy more eggs because I actually don’t like eggs (I think they taste like the smell of a fart), so Kimi had to buy the number of eggs she could eat. Surprisingly, we did not think ahead for this activity and had to cut up Trader Joe’s paper bags to cover the table (since we don’t have spare newspapers lying around). We also didn’t have those fancy egg dyeing cups that I remember using as a kid, but Kimi bought paper bowls instead. And you know that crappy wire ladle thing use to hold the egg while you dip it in the bowl of dye? Yeah, that thing STILL sucks even after all these years.

Anyway, egg dyeing was just as fun as we had remembered and were actually bummed when we ran outta blank eggs to color (at which point, Kimi decided to dunk poor Buster’s tail in pink dye).  By the way, how do other people make their eggs so fancy and intricately designed?  My eggs looked like they were decorated by a toddler.

Chompers wants to dye eggs!

Chompers was very interested in dyeing eggs too!  And by interested, I mean she was grumpy and all she wanted to do was walk across the table and block our way.

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Project 365 – And So it Begins

noho farmers market

Remember how I said I was going to make an effort to blog regularly? Well, I meant it! I really did! 2012 went by way too fast and in the end, I kind of felt like I didn’t do enough. I didn’t learn enough. I didn’t better myself enough.

I have vowed that 2013 will be about bettering myself, enriching my life, and doings things I’ve always wanted to do. In that spirit, I decided to start a Project 365 for life.  I told Kimi about this idea  and what kind of vehicle it could be for our own personal growth.  I told her this is a great opportunity for us to do 365 things we’ve always wanted, but never got around to do.

We had been going back and forth on the idea for a few weeks (because frankly, the idea of doing 365 things seemed overwhelming at first), but after a strange coincidence of watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s (while I was sick and loopy),  I was reminded of the day Holly and Paul spent together doing new things. They each took turns picking the activity and I realized this Project 365 might be a cool way to be proactive in our own goals this year and document our lives. Of course these aren’t all lofty or expensive goals (some goals are simply to watch certain movies we’ve never seen before, but think we should), but just things we’ve wanted to do for ourselves and together.

Just putting together the list itself has not been an easy task. In fact, it’s taken Kimi and I weeks to even compile a somewhat complete list and I’m sure we’ll make changes to it as the year progresses. I know there will be some days where we’ll be able to cross off many goals in a day and other days where we won’t be able to cross off anything (like this past week since I was out sick with a really nasty cold), but the overall goal is to keep moving forward and have fun doing it.

Last week (before I was slammed with the cold from hell) we crossed off the first item on our list: go to a farmers’ market. Believe it or not, I have actually never been to one before and they’re like Starbucks here in LA–it feels like at every street corner. Kimi went to one while her family was visiting at the beginning of the year, so we made sure to choose a farmers’ market she’s never been to before. There’s one right around the corner from her salon, so we decided to check it out.

Farmers’ markets boast fresh locally grown fruits and produce, but honestly I was excited about the delicious homemade goodies that vendors sometimes sell. In fact, there was a nice woman who sold bundt cakes. We ended up buying three small individual cakes and stuffing our faces over the course of the weekend. Don’t. Regret. A. Thing.

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