Jul 5, 2009

surprise! sunday

uuuuugh moving. in ten-nearly-nine days, i am going to pack up my car & start making my way from virginia to austin. i think i'm going to stop in memphis & dallas along the way. i can't imagine that anyone really loves moving, but i hate it. i get all stressed & panicky, i usually get a little bit sick to my stomach, & i always feel like it will never end. considering that the vast majority of my stuff is already boxed up & ready to go, nine more working days should be more than enough. i hope so anyway, because, as usual, i have made the moving process more difficult than it really needs to be. i am living at my parents' house right now, so i am trying to get my old room totally cleaned up so that they can use it as a nice guestroom, but with all of my important stuff nicely preserved and stowed away. the trouble is that most of my important stuff is in the garage & my room is full of stuff that i really should have taken to goodwill before i went to college. my little brother is going to be in town while i'm trying to get all of this together, &, since i rarely see him, it would be nice not to spend the entire visit packing. i also want to make sure i say a proper (read as "not crazy & sick") goodbye to my friends here. one of my best friends is here for school, & it's tough knowing that i may not see him again until thanksgiving, especially since it's not certain that i would see him then. after that? who knows...

don't get me wrong; i am really excited to be living in austin & starting my teaching career, but right now it feels like there is so. much. stuff. standing in the way. also, it's a little bittersweet. i will miss my friends in virginia (& on the east coast in general) & i've never lived this far away from home before. what can i say? it will be an adventure.

sigh. wish me luck.

Jul 4, 2009

good food, bad guts saturday

fancy cakes
Originally uploaded by kellymagelli
happy independence day!

i celebrated by getting organized to pack up & move to austin later this month. i also ate the non-traditional dinner pictured to the right. i know i probably should have been eating turkey sausage hot dogs & other tummy-friendly variations on the all-american food i generally can't eat, but i had all the ingredients to make these pancakes already...

they are super-delicious. there is tofutti "sour cream" & cornmeal in the cakes, & i whipped up a lemon maple syrup with chopped dried apricots & cranberries to go with it. plus, i like the cute silver dollar size. i'm a sucker for anything mini. & so tasty! another winner from heather van vorous.

in other food news, i got some mango slices at the local food co-op that are somewhere between dried & crystallized, & they are just about the most delicious thing ever. i'm going to have to go back & get some more, because i ate them up way too fast.

tasty food with freedom from intestinal resistance. not a bad way to spend the 4th. here's hoping your holiday was a great one!

p.s. this is my 50th blog post. yay me!

Jul 2, 2009

house of (questionable) style thursday

the pieces:

  • belted safari cashmere cardigan,
  • marc by marc jacobs blouse
  • A.P.C. wide-leg trousers
  • element bag
  • uglydoll school planner
  • clarks shoes
  • modcloth bangle

no posting so far this week not out of the usual combination of laziness & forgetfulness, but out of excitement & forgetfulness. on tuesday, i got a job! i'm going to be teaching high school science in the austin area. in honor of that, i put together an "if money was no object" first day of school outfit.

Jun 28, 2009

surprise! sunday

beth's market bag
Originally uploaded by kellymagelli
today i went to my friend B's bridal shower. the theme for the shower was "household around the clock," & each guest was given a time of day (mine was 5 PM) around which to pick a present. my favorite thing to do around 5 PM on an average day is head to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for dinner & then drink a glass of wine (back when i could drink) & listen to NPR while making dinner. with this in mind, i decided that the best "5 PM" gift would be a handmade market bag, a set of colorful wine glasses, a corkscrew, & a CD of "this american life" and "dinner party download" podcasts. the bag is my own design; i will hopefully get a pattern together to post here & on ravelry.

i almost forgot that most gifts, & shower gifts in particular, kind of demand a card. i really didn't want to go out & buy one, so i made one. a handmade card is my preference anyway. i never see commercial cards that i like that aren't inappropriate or gross in some way. i'm pretty into classic tattoo lettering & graph paper right now. they don't necessarily have to be joining forces to win my affection, but i think they paired beautifully for this project.

Jun 25, 2009

house of (questionable) style thursday

this is what i wish i look running around town. maybe it's not that far off... i do wear "day dresses" from time to time, especially when it's hot & a dress is the coolest (& cutest) thing to throw on. i love how when i wear a dress all i have to do is choose a dress & pick out an accessory & shoes, & that's it! done!

the pieces:

  • apc dress
  • element clutch
  • topshop bangle
  • smith's rosebud salve
  • marc by marc jacobs flats
  • miss dior cherie l'eau

Jun 21, 2009

surprise! sunday

i went to the taubman museum of art today with my friend, N. they have a couple of new exhibitions, including a set of flat screen TVs showing films from sam easterson. he takes tiny cameras, puts them on helmets, puts the helmets on animals or occasionally plants, & compiles the videos into a series of vignettes grouped by biome. i think my favorite was the armadillo or maybe i really mean the baby chick. the baby chick might win, because that video included peeping sounds. (sidebar: i think i might be incapable of referring to a baby bird as anything other than a "baby chick." i don't like being redundant, but that's how it always comes out.) i really like this quote from mr. easterson regarding his work: "i just can't resist trying to empathize with animals & plants. i think that in the process of attempting to learn what it's like to be an animal or plant, i learn more about what it means to be human." that might sum up his work, but i think it might also sum up why i had a brief flirtation with animal behavior research.

please enjoy this sam easterson video (click on the camera icon by the "animal-cams" title) of some male mallards and this still of a baby chick. i mean chick. you'll have to fill in the peeping yourself.

Jun 20, 2009

good food, bad guts saturday

i haven't been feeling very well for the last week or so. none of my usual tricks seem to be working to get me out of it, so i decided to do a week-long fast/detox. i'm only eating foods high in soluble fiber, as suggested by heather van vorous. today is day 2, so i can't report how successful it is overall, but i'm not exactly feeling better yet. i'm eating mostly white bread & corn cereal, but i do have a couple "whip-up" recipes to share for when you have an upset stomach:

super-easy, super-tasty jasmine rice
cook however much jasmine rice you want in your rice cooker or according to package directions. add in vanilla soy milk to taste & approximately 1 tablespoon honey, then sprinkle with cinnamon & nutmeg. heat up or leave it cold, & that's it! you're done! now enjoy!

comfort food root veggies
bring approximately 8 cups of veggie or chicken broth to boil. add a dash of hot sauce if you like & are feeling brave. chop carrots, turnips, zucchini, & any other root veggies you have on hand. add carrots, turnips, & any other slow-cooking veggies to the boiling broth. let cook while broth continues to boil for 15 to 20 minutes, 20 minutes if you like you're veggies more mushy than crispy. add zucchini & any other quick-cooking veggies. let cook 5 to 10 minutes more. remove veggies from broth, & serve by themselves or over rice.

Apr 8, 2009

april has been a month for completed secret birthday present projects. the one that took the longest to complete & was the first to be delivered to its recipient is this pair of lace gloves that i made for my mom. i used two strands of a lace-weight cashmere/silk blend (filatura di crosa superior) held together on size 2 double-pointed needles, & i used a vintage pattern that i found on ravelry.

i'm really pleased with how they turned out. they are possibly the most complex project that i've undertaken to date, but really all i had to do was follow the directions carefully. the lace pattern was really easy & very simple to memorize. i finished all the fingers of the second glove during a day of substitute teaching at one of the local high schools. knitting is ideal for subbing once you get to the point where you don't have to stare at your work, because you can work on your project & watch the kids at the same time. it scares them when they think you aren't paying attention & you tell them to stop texting & start working ;) several students commented on the gloves & asked me about them, which wasn't too surprising, but two boys asked me about them & then told me that they crochet. i had no idea that there's a group of teenage male crocheters running around out there!

i think that's the best part about knitting in public; you never know who is going to talk to you & share a knitting or crocheting story. while i was working on the first glove, a girl came up to me in a coffee shop & asked me to show her what i was doing. she's a knitter herself, & has wanted to try making some gloves for awhile, but hasn't quite mustered up the courage to do so. i showed her how to use the double-pointed needles & explained how to work the fingers, & she left my table to excited tell her boyfriend all about what i had taught her. hopefully she will make some gloves herself & inspire another knitter to do the same.

Mar 31, 2009

i haven't been feeling so hot lately, so i'm going on a crusade to get healthy. every year i think about doing the self challenge, but i hate exercising for the sake of exercising, & i especially hate doing intervals. (why does every cardio workout in every health magazine have to involve intervals? i know they tone you up faster & melt lots of fat, but what if you don't really want to shed pounds? what if you just want to sleep better & be less wheezy when you hike? i know, i know... wanting to maintain my current weight is a problem kind of like having too much money.)

i feel like i need some sort of guidelines if i'm going to actually do anything about my health, so i think i'm going to loosely follow body + soul's 5 week challenge. the first week is a detox, & then the following weeks focus on eating right, exercising, reducing stress, & increasing your energy. maybe i've just drunk the life coach-meditation-journaling kool-aid, but i like that the focus of the challenge is more on feeling better than on looking hot in bikini. i'm just looking for a way out of the bad IBS spiral i'm currently in since my usual tactics aren't really working. i think the challenge is supposed to start on a monday, but i think i'm going to go ahead and start this thursday. i'm going to be housesitting, and that seems like a perfect time to do my super-specific food detox.

i'm also planning to do a detox of stuff, though i won't be starting on that while i'm housesitting. i read in the current issue of b + s (teehee) about the positive changes brought about by getting rid of the things that no longer fit into your life. i've gone through my clothes & given away a lot of things that no longer fit, but there's still a lot of baggage lurking in my closet & drawers. now is the perfect time to let go: i will be starting a new career in a new city pretty soon, so reassessing my stuff makes sense. i don't want to lug a bunch of stuff halfway across the country so it can clutter up my apartment. i have perhaps not a lot, but enough, things that i bought because i thought i should have them, like teacher clothes that don't really suit me & books that i think i should read as a scientist/intelligent/cool/worldly person. that stuff just weighs me down, literally (if it's in a box that i'm loading into my car) & figuratively. it is the physical manifestation of emotional baggage. there's something tiring about looking in your closet or on your bookshelf & seeing things that technically belong to you, but really belong to the made-up person that you think you should be. when i was first diagnosed with IBS, i slowly started cutting out the things (food, people, academia, etc.) that trigger flares. the stress that comes from emotional baggage (not to mention the stress that comes from tripping over stuff) is definitely something that i can let go.

Mar 27, 2009

this is a tale of six sweaters. several weeks ago, i did a little spring cleaning of my wardrobe. i pulled everything out of my closet & drawers, & i purged all of the things that i never wear. as part of this process, i went through all of the sweaters that i have made, not to get rid of them, but just to look over my handiwork. much to my surprise, i discovered that i have knit six (six!) blue sweaters. blue is not my favorite color; i have a long-standing obsession with green. i chose blue yarn for at least one of these sweaters as an attempt to avoid drawers full of green sweaters. some of the others are blue because, for some reason, cheaper yarns tend to come in really pretty blues or really unfortunate greens. i'm not going to knit anything that will make me look ill. so here they are, the seven sweaters in all their glory:

from left to right: currer cardigan from 'norah gaughan collection vol. 2', cobalt deep v-neck vest from martin storey's 'summer delights' collection for rowan, prepster jacket from 'stitch 'n' bitch: the happy hooker'. for more details, ask or check 'em out on ravelry.

from left to right: belle cardigan by wenlan chia from interweave knits, elaine blouse from interweave knits winter 2009, seaberry shell by wenlan chia from interweave knits. more details on ravelry.

crafting resolution: no more blue sweaters! i have to stop the madness.

Mar 10, 2009

more sad stuff.

i didn't get a job that i really wanted. texas teaching fellows is missing out. either that, or their program is not a good fit for me for some unknown reason, so it's best that we parted ways when we did. still sucks though. it's going to make it a bit harder to achieve my goal of moving to austin this year.

my great-grandmother died last week. she hadn't really been herself for years, so it's not a loss like the loss of my grandfather, but it is sad nonetheless. my grandma has lost both her husband & her mother in just a few weeks. i like to think i'm pretty good at putting myself in other people's shoes, but it's hard for to comprehend how she must be feeling. myself, i felt a little bit numb to everything at the funeral; i feel like i've reached a point where i just can't be upset anymore. this probably means that i will be disproportionately upset over something small and random in the future. excellent. that's pretty much my fave. (can you feel the facetiousness?)

dealing with all of these sad things while starting new jobs as a substitute teacher & math (eek!) tutor has left plenty of time for crafting, but not much time for taking pictures & posting. the things promised in my 'coming soon' post are coming soon, just not as soon as i had anticipated.


Feb 28, 2009

coming soon...

i am very excited to announce that i am working on the following projects. they should be trickling in to this space in the weeks to come:

  • FO round-up
  • a knitting pattern designed by me and inspired by a cupcake
  • new recipes and recipe reviews
  • 'blow it out your ass': a zine for people with IBS
  • all the details on my etsy shop update
  • more posting and more pictures in general

the fewer substitute teaching jobs i get, the faster this will all be up. that is the silver lining to not making any $$.

Feb 17, 2009

a couple weeks ago, my grandfather died unexpectedly. yesterday i found out that my cat may die soon of kidney failure. i had such high hopes for 2009, &, in some ways, it really isn't going well. i feel like i'm just starting to heal a little bit from my grandpa's death, & now i have this new sad thing to deal with.

i have two cats: kate & bob. they are sisters. we thought that bob was a boy when we first got them way back when they were tiny kittens, & the name stuck even after we found out that she's a girl. she's receiving treatment for a urinary tract infection at the vet right now. if that's successful, it may relieve some of the pressure on her kidneys & it may buy her some time. if it's not successful, she may die by the end of the week.

when we got the cats, we decided that kate would be my cat and bob would be my brother's cat. however, the cats apparently did not agree to this arrangement, & bob chose me to be her person and kate chose greg. so while i still have a cat, i'm losing my kitty. it's just so hard to think that soon we might have to have her put to sleep. i can't decide if i want to be there or not. i guess it would be good closure; i can cry my eyes out & get it all out of my system at the vet instead of having it leak out in little crying jags at random times. some people might say 'it's just a cat,' but our cats are part of our family. because i am currently unemployed, i spend most of the day hanging out at home while my parents are at work. one of the hardest things has been listening to kate walk around the house crying & looking for bob. i hope we aren't headed for a 'where the red fern grows' situation wherein kate follows shortly behind her sister in death out of loneliness & heartbreak. i really hope that was just put into the book for dramatic effect. anyway, we won't know anything all that definite about bob until her treatment is complete in a couple days. hopefully she will get to come home & have a little more time before we have to let go.


Feb 13, 2009

if you're into valentine's day,
happy valentine's day!

if you aren't into valentine's day,
happy saturday!

whether you're single, in a relationship, married, or whatever, i wish you all the best of the holiday: may you remember what valentine's day should be about (love for your family, friends, & partners) & forget what hallmark wants you to think it's all about (equating stuff with love). this year, i plan to show the people i love that i care with a botched-but-hopefully-tasty maple pie. i got my recipe from the IBS cookbook, but here's another version for those of you with less touchy tummies. the only major difference between the two is that i made a graham cracker crust.


Jan 21, 2009

i started reading 'diy: the rise of lo-fi culture' by amy spencer today, & i barely cracked the spine before i became totally inspired to create an IBS zine. i'm thinking about drawing the whole thing, scanning it, & then posting it all to this space rather than making hard copies. if i do decide to sell any, i will definitely be donating some or all of the proceeds to iffgd. i think it will be very therapeutic for me to create a zine about this, & it might help someone who's just starting down the IBS road. i'm not that far into my own 'recovery,' so i'm sure that i will learn much more about managing my own particular brand of the disorder, & i will have lots to write/draw about for some time to come.

i don't have any samples of what i've drawn so far because i need to charge my camera's batteries & the scanner is having issues, but i hope to have something up here soon. the working title for the zine is 'blow it out your ass: kellymagelli's guide to D-dominant IBS.' i think it's a funny title, & it suggests a little bit of my attitude towards certain aspects of living with the disorder. specifically, i try to take this kind of attitude when someone makes me feel guilty or defective because i happen to have IBS. i'm a pathological people-pleaser. if i don't remind myself that having IBS is not the result of some sort of failure on my part & that taking care of myself has to be my top priority, i can let others bring me down pretty quickly. i do not actually tell people to blow it our their asses. if i could communicate something to others with IBS, it would be along the lines of this: it is not your fault. sometimes it's going to be frustrating and hard, but make sure you take care of yourself. no one is going to do it for you.

i haven't had a good drawing project in awhile, & i drew so much today that the tip of my index finger is actually sore from pressing down on a pencil. it feels really good though. it's good to have something to take my mind off of my busted nose (slipped & fell straight on my nose while hiking) & a substantial project to work on while i wait to get all the substitute teaching paperwork sorted out. (background checks take a long time! who knew?)

Jan 17, 2009

barack attack!
Originally uploaded by kellymagelli
after the election, i ran across a pattern for a barack obama finger puppet from lion brand yarn on ravelry. i was/am so, so excited that obama won the election that i knew i had to start cranking out some puppets for myself & fellow obama supporters. playing around with one of the puppets one night, i discovered that they look really cute/funny if you flap the arms around like he's really, really excited. this discovery clearly lead to a need for a video. thus, i took 20 seconds of crappy video of an obama puppet flapping his arms around & then another 5 or so of him waving. a little imovie magic, & now that baby is up on youtube.

did you see the video? do you want your own obama finger puppet? you have two options:

1. go the lion brand website, search for "barack obama" & make yourself a puppet. (you have to be a member to access the free patterns, so you may have to sign up for the free membership to do this.)

2. leave me a comment here, &, if you ask super, super nicely, i might make you one. if you know me personally, then you could just IM or email or whatever.

there is a possibility of a third option, though it is not yet a reality. because i have altered the obama pattern slightly to suit my own tastes, i may put some obamas in my etsy shop. if that happens, i will announce it here & possibly on the youtube site.

enjoy the inauguration, & get ready for a new, hopeful chapter in american history!

Jan 11, 2009

dudes! i totally forgot to post one of my favorite things that i made last week: super-tasty jewish chicken noodle soup!

i got the recipe from an old issue of bust, but it's really simple to just describe here. here's the low-down:

  • bring chicken broth to a boil.
  • add cooked chicken breast, sliced carrots, & sauteed onions. you could also add celery if you want to, but i didn't because i don't like celery.
  • season liberally with salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, & dill. the recipe i used also calls for guilt, but i left that out since i'm not jewish. plus, guilt is pretty fattening, right? i don't think it's safe-for-IBS.
  • let the whole thing simmer until the carrots are cooked, which will probably take about 20 minutes.
  • if you want noodles in your chicken noodle soup, boil some pasta separately, & then add it into the soup before you serve it.
  • enjoy!

so, so good. a word of caution concerning leftovers: if you like high broth:other soup contents in your bowl, you will want to reserve some broth separately from the rest of the soup to add in to each time you fix a fresh bowl. i don't really have a lot of use for broth, so i allow my pasta to do its thing & soak it all up in the fridge.

Jan 10, 2009

if i believed in new year's resolutions, i would resolve to dress like an adult every day. the picture is of jenny, the designer of wiksten. i heart her designs & how she puts things together. i would love to look a little more like the picture. i have relied on a uniform of jeans & a t-shirt for years, occasionally spicing it up with a hoodie or sweater if it is cold. with my baby face, this makes me look about 16 years old. this is possibly because this is how i dressed at 16. it is not unusual for someone to ask me if i'm old enough to drive, why i'm not in school in the middle of a weekday, or where my mother is. this is super-annoying, mostly because it's rude. i don't comment on how old people look, asking them if they're nearing retirement or considering botox, so i would like to be treated with the same respect.

usually i just brush that sort of thing off or maybe vent about it to a friend & then forget it. however, it is a little bit of a concern for me right now because i am embarking on a new career as a high school biology teacher. i definitely want to look older than my students so i look like i'm supposed to be in charge. high school kids are maybe not the easiest to deal with. they think they're so grown up, but most aren't really capable of functioning at an adult level with any consistency (though is anyone, really?). i lost weight over the summer & had to buy new clothes for my teaching gig at RC, so i have a lot of 'grown-up' clothes, but i don't really know how to wear them in ways that are cute & young & hip. i've been scouring blogs & magazines for ideas, & i even made an inspiration board. i also watch 'what not to wear' like it's a religion. this is probably not for the best, though i did catch the tail-end of an episode the other day in which they made over a young 8th grade teacher whose 'before' was a lot like my 'now.' full disclosure: i totally cried at the end. i have no idea about this woman's teaching style, but she was so happy & full of life that i felt like she's probably a great teacher which is sorely lacking in america. i was also really excited because she's on a personal mission to improve education, much like i am on a personal mission to improve education. i also like it when good things happen to good people. plus, she looked super-cute at the end, & super-grown-up. this is basically a recipe for happy tears.

hopefully the wardrobe issues won't be overly significant since i plan on being a kick-ass teacher. i've been reading about the public education crisis & other things like teaching philosophies & edupunk. (sidebar: the term 'edupunk' was coined by jim groom of the university of mary washington--my alma mater!) i'm really, really excited about it... granted i only have my former college teaching jobs to go on, but thinking about having my own classroom fills my little heart with joy. i had a crap time in high school & took a very uninspiring biology class there, so i'm very excited to make biology fun & hopefully make high school a little less painful for some (all!) of my students.

because of bad memories, i really hadn't considered teaching high school, but my decision to do so was what my friend N. termed a 'light-bulb moment.' in the february issue of glamour, the following quote from condoleeza rice was part of an article about last year's women of the year awards: 'the most important thing that you can do in life is to find a passion. when you find your passion, you'll realize that you didn't find it--it found you.' my bad feelings about the bush administration aside, rice's quote really resonates with me. this may be a bit premature to say, but that is how i feel about teaching. i feel like it snuck up on me, & it's given me a renewed sense of purpose. it was difficult to decide to leave academia & this decision has not been met with overwhelming support, but i feel like i am absolutely doing the right thing for me. the idea of spending my career cranking out research & pubs makes me almost physically ill, & the only reason to stay would be because it's the easier thing to do. the work itself isn't easy, but in academia your career trajectory is outlined for you: doctorate, post-doc, tenure-track faculty position. when you decide to leave, there's no blueprint. it's a little scary, but i'm really excited & i think i can make a difference. wish me luck!

Jan 9, 2009

i had the house to myself for a few days, so i did a lot of cooking. my parents are fairly open-minded about trying new foods, but i think sometimes they mainly like the things i cook because they don't have to spend any time thinking about what to eat if there's something already on the table. there are a lot of things that i can't eat, & i have to keep everything really low fat, so i can understand why the things i make for myself might not be at the top of the list for someone who can eat anything.

anyway, i don't have any pictures, but here's a line-up of what i made:

moroccan stewed chicken with couscous
i used a recipe similar to this, except i used chicken breasts instead of thighs since dark meat is a little too fatty for me to eat. i got this recipe from women's health magazine, & it had fresh cilantro instead of coriander & cayenne instead of paprika. i will definitely make it again, but without or with less cayenne.

this is the closest recipe i've seen to what i used. i used apple cider in place of the veggie oil, & rather than cooking the carrots on the stove, i poured the apple cider broth over the carrots & baked them for an hour. i wish i had done this instead. i don't really mind waiting so long, but my carrots weren't even that soft after 1 hour in the oven & i had no intention of waiting for them to get softer. all in all, i liked the dish & will make it again.

ginger pear preserves
this was my first foray into canning. i'm kind of intrigued by canning because it's a southern tradition & canned foods are generally foods that i can eat. i also like the idea of preserving things at their freshest and avoiding those bpa-laced cans. the canning process itself was very successful, but i'm not sure how much i'm into the actual recipe. i only made one jar and am now eating the contents rather than storing them. i think if i go the pear route again, i'm going to step it up & use a recipe from an article in bust magazine on putting up, a book which i intend to buy eventually. it organizes the recipes by month, which i love, so i can have canning projects going all through the year.

grapefruit tea
i loooooove grapefruits & their juice, so i was pretty excited to see this recipe in my inbox this afternoon from the lovely martha and the folks at body + soul. i hardcore heart martha's clear glass teapot and teacups. i used my mom's vintage electric juicer to juice my grapefruits, and the whole thing was ready in about 10 minutes. i'm really, really into it, though i may add some water to the juice on the next go-round to lighten it up a little bit. it reminded me more of a mulled cider than the types of tea that i'm used to drinking, but it was still very delicious. in fact, i drank the whole pot while writing this post :)