Review: Something to Food About

somethingtofoodabout

Something to Food About: Exploring Creativity with Innovative Chefs by Questlove

Anyone who’s watched some episodes of Jimmy Fallon’s show will be familiar with Questlove, drummer and band leader of the Roots, and chances are you may have seen one of his food-related segments. In this book, Questlove has conversations with ten chefs about food, geography, music, and plenty of other topics. The photographs are beautiful – many feel like fine modern art museum pieces – and feature much more than just food. The book concludes with a modernist cuisine meal, including Questlove’s thoughts and descriptions as well as photos of the 13 dishes. Even the way this book is designed and bound feels like an art book more than a food book – it’s beautifully curated and feels good in one’s hands. The thing that gets me, though, is that all but one of these chefs are white men. I feel like someone with Questlove’s wherewithal ought to be able to do better than that.

full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Blogging for Books

milkweed

The milkweed that was here when we moved in has survived! It’s been mistreated – nearly dug up and/or run over while the walkways were being put in, not to mention the jostling it got when we pulled out the wisteria last year.

Milkweed

I’ve got three good-sized plants of it growing, and they’re even flowering this year!

Milkweed

The blossoms are looking pretty droopy here due to the extremely high temperatures we’ve been experiencing.

Milkweed

I haven’t seen any monarchs or eggs yet, but hopefully they will come eventually!

jawin’ about garden beds

We braved the heat this weekend (sort of) and did some garden work each morning before it got too horrible outside. We made it an hour or two each morning, which felt like a real accomplishment considering the temperatures and the complete lack of any breeze whatsoever. We did completely remove grass from two areas, and while that wasn’t as much as I’d hoped to get done, it was fine.

Garage garden bed

One area is on the right side of the garage. There is already this Spirea here and a bunch of daylilies, but I want to extend the garden to fill this space.

Garage garden bed

The second area is connected and runs around the side of the garage. This area was a little easier to work with because we had just seeded it last year after removing the decrepit shed that used to sit up against this side of the garage, so the grass wasn’t as well established. In addition to grass, though, we found some other things!

Jaw bones from the garden #FireflyCottage

Three separate pieces of jaw bone! We are guessing that they’re from an opossum (or more than one?). Maybe it crawled under the shed and died at some point? Maybe it was living under the shed and was killed with poison? Who knows! If anyone can confirm that these bones are from an opossum, I’d love to know for sure.

After digging up the grass, I transplanted some hostas from their temporary home on the other side of the house (gifts from my mom when she was dividing her hostas last year – thanks, Mom!). I plan to let them spread out and form a sort of hosta hedge here, and add some taller perennial flowering plants as well (maybe some milkweed, which we already have on the other side of the garage). I also seeded the blank spaces all around here with a mixture of annual seeds that I picked up last year when Dollar General was clearance-ing out their seeds. Who knows what will grow, but hopefully we’ll have a mix of Candytuft, Moss Rose, and Alyssum. Hopefully next weekend will be less wretched and I can get the grass cleared out of the other side.

Spirea Spreading

This Spirea next to the garage has gotten too big for its britches!

Firefly Cottage - Spirea

It needs to be moved or divided – I’m wondering if I could just split off some bits from around the edge to start as new plantings elsewhere, so I wouldn’t have to dig the entire thing up? I’m guessing that I should wait until fall when it’s done blooming before I do anything to it. Anyone have suggestions or advice to share?

gadgets guarded

K’s birthday was last week (while I was gone – sob!) so I made him a couple of Gadget Guards for his devices – useful and fun!

Gadget Guard for Karl's lappy

First we have one for his laptop. It’s Zelda-themed, with two different fun Zelda fabrics for the main fabric and the lining.

Gadget Guard for Karl's lappy

Then for his tablet, I used two Doctor Who fabrics:

Gadget Guard for Karl's tablet

Gadget Guard for Karl's tablet

Nothing like using fun fabrics to make a project extra enjoyable! And, as ever, credit goes to Dog Under My Desk for making this excellent, easy to use pattern.

walkways complete!

I’m back from a week away at a conference in Bozeman, and while I was gone the walkway project was completed – at least this portion of the work. As you’ll see, there’s still some things that need to be done (grass! gardens!).

Firefly Cottage

Out front, we have a lovely red stamped concrete pathway that goes all the way from the street to the front door.

Firefly Cottage

It leads right up to the front steps and the patio area up here is now slightly larger than it was with the pavers.

Firefly Cottage

On the side of the house, we went with a regular concrete (less spendy!), had the pathway moved out farther from the house and widened, and added a horseshoe-ish path going on either side of the garage to the existing slabs.

Firefly Cottage

We also had all the downspouts buried (in the yard [dirt] you can see the green pop-ups where they’ll drain when it’s raining) while we were at it.

Firefly Cottage

This horseshoe-ish shape means that when we have folks over, they can park on the slab in front of the garage and have a walkway to get to the house instead of having to traverse the alley (which is dirt) or the grass. The areas between the garage and the horseshoe will be gardens rather than grass.

Firefly Cottage

We also have a much better walkway to the back gate. The gate was moved over along with the walkway, so it’s all farther away from the side of the house – before it was so close you felt like you were going to run into the house with your elbow if you weren’t careful. And the window well back here was a huge hazard! No longer!

Firefly Cottage

That window well is now well back from the pathway, hooray! I’ll also be planting in this area between the walkway and the house. I need to decide what to plant there. I don’t want anything that will climb up the house (remember all the horrible tenacious vines that we cleared off the house? Remnants of the roots are still clinging to the brick!) or be too bushy – but I do want perennials that pretty much take care of themselves once established. Any suggestions?

Firefly Cottage

Great news! Despite being dug up/disturbed over the winter when we had the basement/exterior drainage system installed, and being disturbed again during this project, the roses are thriving! I had expected them to die, but they’re looking amazing. I’m so pleased!

Firefly Cottage

Review: I Draw on Cats

I Draw on Cats: A Connect-the-Dots Activity Book by A.R. Coffelt

I Draw on Cats

If you love cats, pictures of cats, connect-the-dots of cats, cats who look like they’re a gangster/vampire/doctor/fill-in-your-character-of-choice-here, or instagrams that have been turned into books, this book will not disappoint! It consists of 48 pages of cat photos with dots ready for you to connect, as well as some lines already drawn in for you. It’s a cat-filled book for those who love cats!

Full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Blogging for Books

sofa-ntastic

Our sofa arrived! After so much searching for The One and waiting for it to be made and delivered, we are so happy to have it!

Sofa

I can’t overstate how much better a fit this sofa is than the one we’ve been using. It’s taller and firmer and all around much more comfortable. Our old sofa worked hard for us, and I definitely value its service, but it was time for it to move on. Godspeed, old sofa!

Sofa

I’m so pleased with how it goes in our living room (even though we still have the former owners’ paint on the walls). Huzzah! Next up is finding some not-on-casters side tables. This is something I’d really, really like to find vintage – another excuse to haunt the garage sales this summer!

B is for Bunny

Who doesn’t like a cute bunny?

Bunny Sweater for Blythe

This sweater is a cute little light-weight short-sleeved top for Blythe. I was inspired by spring – can you tell? I haven’t done a ton of intarsia, so I’ve been challenging myself to do it more often, and I’m getting more and more comfortable with it with each project! This one is designed so that it’s not too intimidating – there aren’t too many colors of yarn working at the same time and it’s such a small and quick project that pretty much everything is in the knitter’s favor.

Bunny Sweater for Blythe

Hop on over to Ravelry, Craftsy, LoveKnitting, and Etsy to find this pattern.