Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday Art & I Want That


Sunday Art

Photo by Jenny James © All Rights Reserved
Sunday is as good as any day to talk about art. One of my favorite artistic media is photography and one of my favorite photographers of late is Jenny James. I'm a big fan, but then I am also a bit biased, as I have fond memories of days when her lovely family and mine spent some good times together many years ago. It doesn't change the fact that she's incredibly talented. Jenny obviously loves what she does; it shows in her work. Her compositions are fun and funky and her portraits exude personality. She knows how to make the most of natural light and shadow and can turn plain and ordinary into beautiful and artistic. Her recent photos from a trip to Uganda are wonderful examples of this. Go check them out at Jenny James Photography. I just wish she lived closer to me so I could call her up whenever I wanted to capture some part of my life in such beautiful ways as she does.

I Want That...

Photo from © All Rights Reserved

"I Want That" for today is related to my Sunday Artist. Jenny has published her first book M is for Mountains and I want it badly. It's an incredibly fun presentation of some of her photographs put together as an alphabet book. This will likely be my go-to gift in the future for friends having children, although it's a gift anyone can appreciate and I will put mine on my coffee table.

You can flip through the entire book virtually and buy a copy at Blurb. She's giving away a copy on her blog for one lucky person who spreads the word about M is for Mountains in some online arena. While I, of course, would love to be the recipient, I will be purchasing my own copy no matter what.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Winter Blah Blah Blah...

I have now accepted that I have the winter blues or Seasonal Depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder or whatever you like to call it. I call it the blahs. It just describes perfectly how I feel.

I love the snow and watching the kiddos playing in it having a gay old time, but I've had enough of the cold and wet of winter and am looking forward to the sun on my face and some time in the grass. I need to hear birds chirping happily instead of crows cawing forlornly because they can't find anything to eat. I need to hear bees buzzing about and see flowers in bloom. I need to get warm again.

But enough complaining. There are things to distract me from the winter blahs. I can knit after all and that gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling, so who really needs sunshine and green grass and birds chirping? Give me two sticks and some string and I'm a happy girl. Even happier if I can curl up in the warm grass with my sticks and string, but I'll take what I can get.

So I didn't get all of my Christmas gifts finished by my Christmas deadline. In fact, I'm still working on some of them of course. I had a few obstacles block my way temporarily, but I'm back at it now and making headway. I'll have my niece's swing cardigan finished except for blocking. My nephew's sweatshirt just needs a neckline and then it's just seaming and blocking. My other niece's poncho is proving a challenge, but it will be finished eventually.

I made this Republic Hat for my niece recently and it got raves from my sister's friends, so I've got some baby hat commissions that need to be done for her. This is a really quick knit so that won't take long, and then back to the profoundly belated Christmas gifts.

Then after seeing the lace wrap I made for one of my sisters, her twin decided she wanted one as well, so I've got one waiting in the queue.

There's always something to knit and I just love that. I just wish I could spend all my time knitting away. Now that would be a dream job.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas is Coming...

After completing my last few FO's (finished objects - with pictures to follow soon) about a month ago my poor, empty knitting needles were screaming for some attention so I started casting on Christmas projects. Ahhh, procrastination. All that means is that I'll be busy knitting during every moment of my spare time. Wait, what is that? I guess I'll have to make some spare time out of thin air since I don't have much of it these days what with a new job, my other (though very important and fulfilling) full time job as Mom, holiday planning.... Well it's not so bad really. I've got one kiddo sweater finished already - well off the needles at least - it just needs to be blocked.

Kiddo sweater number two has been cast on & the poncho I have planned for a third little one is soon to be started as well. I think I might actually make it to the finish line before next week, but we'll see.

I've been keeping busy with other things as mentioned, specifically "decking the halls" and creating Christmas-y feelings all over our house. I got my Christmas village up which was a chore since I keep adding pieces each year so it's gotten bigger than I intended, but it looks cool so I'm all right with the entire day of work it took to put it together.

Plus the little princess is completely enthralled with it, especially the train, so that makes it all worth it. Being that she's three now, Christmas is quickly becoming much more interesting around here - and fun :).

She has informed me that we must get to Santa before Christmas so that she can tell him that she wants a Princess bike. I think she might actually be willing to forgo her usual fear of people she doesn't know in order to sit on some big bearded guy's lap if it means she will get that oh so coveted bike.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Warming Up

I think I'll warm up my new blog with a comfy soup recipe to warm your insides. I know that in Southwest Ohio it is not yet blustery or even very cold, but Fall and winter constitute soup season for me. As the temperatures drop I don't mind the chill and I actually secretly like snow (as long as I am not driving in it) because I know there are magic things that can chase the cold like roaring fires, cozy blankets, steaming cups of tea and most importantly copious bowls of soup that warm from the inside out.

So here's the recipe for my White Bean, Sausage and Kale Soup that I adapted from an America's Test Kitchen recipe. It's on my list of favorites for fall and is hearty enough to serve for dinner with a generous shaving of parmesan cheese and a big hunk of crusty bread, or if serving a crowd you could add a salad.

Bean Soup
*Just a side note... even if you think you don't like icky green things like kale, you'll probably still like it in this soup. I typically have to force myself to choke down dark, leafy greens but I love the kale in this soup because it really mellows so it's not bitter, yet it stands up to long cooking time and gets really tender. Try it because you might like it. If it really turns you off though, the soup is still very good without it if I do say so myself.

White Bean, Sausage & Kale Soup

1/2 lb Cannellini beans, dried*
1 T Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 lb Turkey smoked sausage, sliced into half moons**
2 Carrots, large diced
1 Celery rib, chopped
3/4 c Onion (about 1/2 large onion), chopped
4 Garlic cloves, minced
1 or 2 splashes of white wine (optional)
4 c Chicken broth
2 c Water
1 Bay leaf
1 pc Parmesan cheese rind
6-8 Kale leaves trimmed from stem, roughly chopped
1 lb New potatoes, large diced (optional)
1 14.5 oz can Tomatoes, diced
Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Soak beans according to package directions. Drain and rinse well.
2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil and sausage in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer sausage to paper towel-lined plate and place in refrigerator. Add onion, celery, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in wine (if using,) broth, water, bay leaf, and beans. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook until beans are almost tender (very center of beans will still be firm), 45 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Remove pot from oven and stir in greens, sausage, potatoes, Parmesan rind (if using) and tomatoes. Return pot to oven and continue to cook until beans and greens are fully tender, 30 to 45 minutes longer.
4. Remove pot from oven and submerge oregano sprig in stew. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves, oregano sprig and Parmesan rind and season stew with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, use back of spoon to press some beans against side of pot to thicken stew. Drizzle with olive oil and shaved Parmesan cheese to finish, if desired.

*When cooking dried beans I learned that hard water makes them really tough. I found that using distilled water solves the problem. I much prefer using dried beans to canned so now I keep a gallon of distilled water in my pantry. Note that filtered water isn't good enough.

**You could also use pork or beef smoked sausage or kielbasa.


About This Blog

Ebenezer Anne is a nickname given me by my grandfather when I was very small. He gave each of his granddaughters a funny little nickname comprised of a boys first name followed by a girl's middle name. Don't ask my why. Weird though they were, these names stuck and became terms of endearment.

My name in particular evokes memories of my homesteading grandparents and their farm, which I was always very fond of, and my grandfather's eccentric sense of humor. It's childhood and whimsy and innocence and nostalgia. These are the feelings I try to capture in my knitting and my cooking and hopefully they carry over into the rest of my life.

About ebenezer anne handknits

Knitting is my passion, and occasionally my therapy when I need such things. I love the idea that I can create a useful and aesthetically pleasing object from a lifeless piece of string just by using two sticks and my own two hands.

ebenezer anne handknits is my way of sharing my craft with other people, but it's more than that. A handknit item is made with love and care. It can be something warm and inviting or something funky and fun. Handknits carry meaning for some people, evoking a culture or a memory or a beloved grandmother or aunt. I love knowing that something I've made with my own hands can have an impact like that. That is why I do what I do. So let me know if there is something I can make for you.

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