Meat & Potatoes #15

More seasonally-appropriate fun and excitement...  I shared the recipes for Pinwheels and Moose Milk, and played the Fraggles scene from A Muppet Family Christmas (the whole special can be found on YouTube, starting with Part 1 here).  I also read one of my favourite Christmas stories, Apple Tree Christmas by Tinka Hakes Noble.  The musical selections were not so Christmassy, but still awesome:

  1. Spoon--I Turn My Camera On
  2. The Very Best--Warm Heart of Africa
  3. Yo La Tengo--Periodically Double or Triple
  4. Of Montreal--Hydra Fancies
  5. Fleet Foxes--Sun It Rises
  6. Megafaun--The Longest Day
  7. Great Lake Swimmers--Your Rocky Spine
  8. The Books feat. Jose Gonzales--Cello Song
  9. Deep Cotton--Self!
  10. Janelle Monae--Tightrope
  11. Sharon Jones--How Long Do I Have To Wait For You
  12. Al Green--Take Me To the River
  13. Marvin Gaye--Got To Give It Up
  14. Dave Rawlings Machine--To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)
  15. The Be Good Tanyas--The Littlest Birds
  16. Josh Ritter--Good Man
  17. Robin and Kermit with the Fraggles--Pass It On
  18. Florence + The Machine--Addicted to Love
  19. The Like--You Belong to Me
  20. Belle and Sebastian--Funny Little Frog
  21. John Paul Young--Love Is in the Air
  22. The O-Jays--Love Train
  23. TV on the Radio--Make Love All Night Long
  24. Sufjan Stevens--The Henney Buggy Band
  25. G. Love and Special Sauce--I-76
  26. David Garza--Slave
  27. Yeasayer--Tightrope


Stay Tuned...

Tonight I'm making one of my mom's classic Christmas treats, and will be sharing the recipe during the show on Sunday (and then later a few days later on the web, of course).
I have tons of killer stuff planned for Meat & Potatoes #15.

Meat & Potatoes #14

This week I read from Richard Mabey's piece, "From The Barley Bird: Notes on the Suffolk Nightingale", in the latest edition of Brick, and shared a recipe for the Swedish Saffron Bread that I make every December.  I also played lots of good music:

  1. Fleet Foxes--White Winter Hymnal
  2. Hank Williams--Move It On Over
  3. Hank Williams, Jr--A Country Boy Can Survive
  4. Hank Williams III--You're the Reason
  5. Leona Williams--It's Tearing This Old Heart Out of Me
  6. Heather Myles-- Playing Every Honky Tonk in Town
  7. Actuality Recording--Nightingales and Bombers 1942
  8. The Beatles--The Ballad of John and Yoko
  9. Fleetwood Mac--You Make Lovin' Fun
  10. David Bowie--Young Americans
  11. Basia Bulat--In the Night
  12. Angus & Julia Stone--Mango Tree
  13. Sea Wolf--Middle Distance Runner
  14. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings--Inspriation Information
  15. Adele--Right as Rain
  16. Jean Knight--Mr Big Stuff
  17. Bruce Springsteen--The Price You Pay
  18. Tom Waits--Old 55
  19. Cat Power--Willie
  20. Melanie--Brand New Key
  21. The Staple Singers--I'll Take You There
  22. Arcade Fire--Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
  23. Yma Sumac--Tumpa
  24. Chubby Checker--Let's Twist Again
Thanks to Andrew, Lynn, Graham, Emmy and Dawson Bear for your requests--I was happy to play them!  And thanks to the SOVA students for the nice telephone call.  I hope your exams went well, and I'll see you at your open house this Friday.


Fighting Off the Cold

My winter gear is a motley collection of old ski stuff and handknits, and most of it is pretty inadequate when the temperature really drops like it did last week.  My feet are consistently and comfortably warm--but that's because last winter I shelled out and bought a proper pair of winter boots, which are rated to -40.  I am determined to keep upgrading, and to that end I bought an absolutely hilarious but totally wonderful pair of mittens.  They are huge:
They fit overtop of the handknit-mitt-and-store-bought-liner combo that I usually rock:
They definitely reduce my hands to flippers--I have no dexterity whatsoever and can barely open doors while wearing them--but they are oh so warm.  They aren't quite the $350 hand-beaded fur beauties I saw at the TH Christmas bazaar over the weekend, but for $25 the synthetic shearling is working just fine.  Now I just need to survive another three weeks until I can go shopping outside and get myself a parka.  I really like the looks of this one...


Meat & Potatoes #13

When I first started doing a radio show three months ago, I used to imagine that I was talking to myself.  Somehow it just made it easier.  It took me a while to tell my family and friends outside of Dawson about the show, but I'm so glad I finally did.  This week I had all sorts of people tuning in from all over the place, and the telephone calls and Facebook shout-outs were so much fun.  One of my close highschool friends, Tamara, was listening in Korea!  I also thought I had a listener in Australia, but it turns out that my dear university chum Graham was listening from his hometown of Edmonton--definitely a less exotic location, but still awesome.  Other listeners were in Ottawa and on Salt Spring Island, as well as here in Dawson.

All these lucky folks got to listen to:

1. Beirut--Scenic World
2. Paul Simon--Graceland
3. Wilco--The Late Greats
4. Valery Gore--Strange Way
5. The Tragically Hip--Fireworks
6. Modest Mouse--People as Places as People
7. Angela McCluskey--It's Been Done
8. Jefferson Airplane--Today
9. Bobbie Gentry--Ode to Bille Joe
10. J.J. Cale--Cocaine
11. Cat Power--The Devil's Daughter
12. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy--Wolf Among Wolves
13. Calexico--All Systems Red
14. The White Stripes--Do
15. TV on the Radio--Poppy
16. The Hold Steady--Atlantic City
17. Final Fantasy--The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead
18. Sufjans Stevens--Casimir Pulaski Day
19. The Beta Band--Alleged
20. Human Highway--What World
21. Cake--Love You Madly
22. Scissor Sisters--Lights
23. The Juan Maclean--Dance With Me
24. The Jackson 5--ABC (Salaam Remy Krunk-a-Delic Party Mix)
25. Sister Carol East--Dread Natty Congo
26. Tom Waits--Heigh Ho

I also decided to set the record straight about shortbread.  Forget adding Skor bits.  Forget adding Earl Grey tea leaves.  And please (please for the love of all that is good in this world) no maple, and certainly no bacon.  While the shortbread shennanigans of my fellow radio hosts Ben and Brendan, the Kings of Dawson City, have been quite amusing to taste, there really isn't a shortbread recipe out there that can beat my Mom's utterly classic version.  Shortbread is merely butter and sugar held together by a bit of flour--a melt-in-your-mouth delight that needs nothing else.

Here are my mother's rather terse directions:

1 cup butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar
Add flour gradually
Knead 2 minutes
Roll to 1/2 inch
Bake 300 – 325 until light brown

My guess is that in between the rolling and baking, you're going to want to cut your shortbread out into pretty shapes, and using parchment paper on your cookie sheet would help prevent sticking.  In retrospect, I'm wishing that I had pressed Mom for a few more details.  Considering that she has made these (in great quantities) every Christmas for my entire life, the process has surely become a matter of instinct.

Happy baking and happy listening!


Chill Day

It's really winter up here now--yesterday and today temperatures have been around the -40 mark.  Thursday is usually laundry, but my normally infalliable 1988 Toyota Tercel station wagon, the Inconvenience, ain't goin' nowheres today.  The car was plugged in for about two and a half hours, and still no luck--just lots of noises that didn't sound like they were doing anyone any good.  I'm quite surprised; last winter I never had any trouble with the Inconvenience.  Although last winter using the car was much more optional, as I was living in a room in the hotel where I worked, and everything I could possibly need with the exception of groceries was right down the hall.  Now that I am in an adorable little cabin, I am forced out of the house much more often.  The laundromat--and my boyfriend's house--are both about ten minutes out of town, so the car is getting pressed into use much more often.  I am already planning to walk out to my boyfriend's house more often (about 45 minutes on a packed-down but not plowed trail along the highway) and suspect that I should begin being prepared to hike out to the laundromat with my big packsack instead of driving.  It looks like the boyfriend will be coming to my rescue this week.  He got his car started and, provided the transmission wants to go, I'll be able to use his old beast to run out to the laundromat and back.  As much as I hate driving his car, there is no way I can survive without laundry.  My work clothes are a mess.

This morning I met with friends for breakfast and ran some errands (well-bundled up, I assure you), and meant to head out to take care of the laundry and visit Ben in the early afternoon.  When the lack of ignition derailed those plans, I got sucked into the vortex of the couch and started internetting.  Ignoring, of course, all the chores I could do around the house.  In the process of my lookin' and clickin', I found a couple of blogs I like.  Aesthetic OutburstDoor Sixteen and The Vintage Cabin have been great eye-candy on a bleak day.  They've actually almost guilted me into working on all the things around my place that need doing--but only almost.  I am still basking in the glory of a finished project:
It's not exciting to look at but hopefully will help keep the heating bill down.  I covered the back door (currently unused), as well as the bedroom and bathroom windows with sheets of pink styrofoam insulation (which is, yes, almost the same colour as my towels; they used to be a lovely smoky purple when I bought them almost ten years ago, but in the interval have faded and I doubt I will replace them until they are worn to shreds).  The door definitely needed to be covered, and as the curtains on the windows were never so much as shifted out of the way, covering the windows as well just seemed logical.  I may cut a peep-hole into the bedroom window if it gets claustrophobic-feeling, but for now I don't mind.  There is this consolation, at least:
The Magical Mystery Plant has put out new blooms (again!), and is a welcome touch of life and colour.  I have no idea what this plant is, but it seems to be thriving under my lacksadaisical care.


Meat & Potatoes #12

No recipe this week, but I did read the opening 'Fog' passage from Charles Dickens' Bleak House, and played a few tunes:

  1. TV on the Radio--Wear You Out
  2. Ghostkeeper--Mr. No Show
  3. Valery Gore--Worried Head
  4. Modest Mouse--Paper Thin Walls
  5. Belle and Sebastian--Act of the Apostle, Pt. 2
  6. Arcade Fire--Wasted Hours
  7. Maximum Balloon & David Byrne--Apartment Wrestling
  8. Joe Cocker--Bird on the Wire
  9. Roy Orbison--Life Fades Away
  10. Luke Doucet--Take You Home
  11. Howlin' Wolf--Sittin' On Top of the World
  12. Joe Simon--Drowning in the Sea of Love
  13. Otis Redding--(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay
  14. Otis Rush--All Your Love (I Miss Loving)
  15. Sunparlour Players--Bless This City
  16. Joel Plasket--Natural Disaster
  17. Carolyn Mark--Fireworks
  18. Paul Simon--Learn How to Fall
  19. Dave Rawlings Machine--It's Too Easy
  20. Wilco--Was I in Your Dreams?
  21. Royal Wood--Juliet
  22. Iron & Wine--House By the Sea
  23. Belle Orchestre--Dark Lights
  24. Devendra Banhart--Body Breaks
  25. Orillia Opry--Lucky Wind
  26. Talking Heads--Home (Naive Melody)


Meat & Potatoes #11

This week's music selection was a little more well-loved often-played desert-island type music...

  1. TV on the Radio--Heroes
  2. Iron & Wine--Resurrection Fern
  3. Sufjan Stevens--Vitto's Ordination Song
  4. Joanna Newsom--Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie
  5. DeVotchKa--Til the End of Time
  6. Angus & Julia Stone--Paper Aeroplane
  7. Jenn Grant--Dreamer
  8. Feist--Mushaboom
  9. Bright Eyes--Another Travelin' Song
  10. Dave Matthews Band--Two Step
  11. Belle and Sebastian--The Blues are Still Blue
  12. Hefner--I Love Only You
  13. Melissa McClelland--A Girl Can Dream
  14. Jeff Buckley--Hallelujah
  15. Maria McKee--If Love Is A Red Dress (Hang Me In Rags)
  16. Justin Rutledge--This Is War
  17. Cowboy Junkies--Sweet Jane
  18. Neko Case--At Last
  19. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy--Take However Long You Want
  20. G. Love and Special Sauce--I-76
  21. Beck--Go It Alone
  22. Scissor Sisters--Don't Feel Like Dancing
  23. David Bowie--Heroes
I also shared a great recipe for carrot cupcakes that I found over at Epicurious.com.  I did make two small changes when I made mine.  I decided to add a 100 gram package of pecan pieces to the cupcakes (carrot cake doesn't seem like carrot cake to me unless it has nuts in it).  And I skipped the orange frosting and went for a classic cream cheese icing instead:

1 pkg brick-style cream cheese
2 tbsp buttter
splash of vanilla
2 cups icing sugar

This made a lot of icing--I have leftovers in the freezer for next time!


Finished Object--Laminaria

I finished knitting my Laminaria (Ravelry link) a couple of weeks ago, and finally got around to blocking it last week.

I knit a shawl that was somewhere in between the two sizes listed in the pattern.  I used a three-stitch garter edge as for the larger shawl, but did only four repeats of the Star Chart and then (if I remember correctly) seven repeats of the Blossom Chart.  I pretty much just worked each chart until I got bored with it, and then moved on to the next one.  I like the size I ended up with--it wraps around my neck just perfectly without being too dangly or too short.

The pattern itself isn't perfect; there are a few places that show a certain lack of attention to detail.  The biggie is that, as written, the Star Chart isn't symmetrical on either side of the centre stitch.  I thought it looked awful, so I frogged and then worked the stars as SSSK before the centre stich, and then K3tog after.  But overall I did like the pattern, and the result has already garnered many compliments.

Between this project and my Percy,  I am totally won over to small triangular shawls for warmth and ease of wear.  I used to be a big fan of huge blanket-like shawls, and while I do love the drama and total coziness of them, they can be a bit of a pain to wear.  These little triangles are just so uncomplicated.  They stay in place and keep me warm without getting in the way of anything.  Despite the number of other projects I have on the go, I'd love to cast on for another shawl in this style...

Meat & Potatoes #10

Definitely a weird mix this week...
  1. Bryan Adams--It's Only Love
  2. Abba--Waterloo
  3. Tavares--Heaven Must Be Missing and Angel
  4. Thelma Houston--Don't Leave Me This Way
  5. Muddy Waters--Mannish Boy
  6. John Lee Hooker--Boom Boom Boom
  7. Ray Charles--Hit the Road, Jack
  8. Etta James--Dance With Me Henry
  9. Otis Redding--These Arms of Mine
  10. Eartha Kitt--Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
  11. Barry White--You're The First, The Last, My Everything
  12. Little Richard--Tutti Frutti
  13. West Side Story Soundtrack--I Feel Pretty
  14. tUnE-yArDs--News
  15. Arling & Cameron--Herrmann
  16. Solex--The Burglars Are Coming!
  17. Florence + the Machine--My Boy Builds Coffins
  18. Broken Social Scene--7/4 (Shoreline)
  19. Beirut--Postcards from Italy
  20. Justin Rutledge--I'm Gonna Die (One Sunny Day)
  21. Royal City--O You With Your Skirt
  22. Jill Barber--For All Time
  23. Rae Spoon--Lord Send an Angel
  24. Bob Dylan--Sara
  25. Leonard Cohen--Chelsea Hotel No. 2
  26. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts--She's Lost You
  27. Live--All Over You
  28. Gomez--Detroit Swing 66
  29. Barenaked Ladies--New Kid (On The Block)


Meat & Potatoes #9

This week I was knitting with cashmere during the sets, and it was hard to put the needles down to deal with my laptop and the board.  I played:
  1. Betty Carter--Open the Door
  2. Crooked Still--Come On In My Kitchen
  3. Billy Bragg & Wilco--One By One
  4. Hayden--All In One Move
  5. Creedence Clearwater Revial--Walking on the Water
  6. John Prine--Crazy As a Loon
  7. Old Crow Medicine Show--Caroline
  8. Judy Henske--Till The Real Thing Comes Along
  9. Hamilton Camp--A Satisfied Mind
  10. Tim Buckley-- Hallucinations
  11. Joanna Newsom--Sawdust & Diamonds
  12. Efterklang--The Dream In Which I Flee
  13. Patrick Watson--Big Bird in a Small Cage
  14. Andrew Bird--The Giant of Illinois
  15. Jenn Grant--In a Brown House
  16. Calexico--Quattro (World Drifts In)
  17. Jeff Buckley & Gary Lucas--She Is Free
  18. Laura Barrett--Deception Island Optimists Club
  19. The Temper Trap--Sweet Disposition
  20. Hot Chip--One Life Stand
  21. Hollyweerd--Have You Ever Made Love to a Weirdo?
  22. Scissor Sisters--Music Is the Victim
  23. Of Montreal--Our Riotous Defects (feat. Janelle Monae)
  24. Kid Koala--Bjork Scratch
  25. G. Love--Back of the Bus


Adventures in Chicken Fried Steak

My boyfriend requested chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and carrots for his birthday, and despite feeling like I was really giving him a heart attack as a present, I whipped up the Southern dinner he wanted.  It turns out that chicken fried steak doesn't involve any chicken at all--it simply means steak cooked in the style of chicken.  I used the recipe in the Fannie Farmer Cookbook for the most part; my comments are in square brackets.

1 1/2 lbs top round steak [I used two New York strip steaks]
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening [I did use shortening, but the nutitrional info is appalling; a cook friend recommended vegetable oil instead]
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups milk [this made a lot of gravy for two people; this recipe is supposed to serve four to six.  But who's going to complain about too much gravy?]

Cut the steak into 4 to 6 serving pieces [or trim the icky bits off of your NY strips like I did].  Pound 1/4 cup flour into the steaks using a meat pounder or the rim of a sturdy plate [I rocked it Yukon-style and used the butt-end of my hatchett, and it worked like a charm].  Pound in as much flour as you can until the steaks are saturated and quite thin.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Heat the shortening in a large skillet over high heat.  Cook the steaks very quickly, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.  Remove to a platter and keep warm [a plate overturned on top of another plate on the back of the stove worked great for me].  Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat.  Add the onion and sautee, over medium heat, for about two minutes, or until soft.  Stir the remaining flour into the onion, continuing to stir, and let it cook for 2 or 3 minutes.  Slowly add the milk, constantly stirring, and cook until the gravy is thickened.  Serve with mashed potatoes and pass the gravy.

Meat & Potatoes #8

A rather more successful show than last week.  I didn't prep my playlist in advance, and flying by the seat of my pants worked out better than expected.  I also described how to make chicken fried steak; find the recipe here.

  1. Sufjan Stevens--All Delighted People
  2. Jeff Buckley--Ulalume
  3. Florence + the Machine--Girl With One Eye (Bayou Percussion Version)
  4. The XX--Hot Like Fire
  5. No Kids--For Halloween
  6. OK Go--It's Tough to Have a Crush
  7. Cat Power--Breathless
  8. Okkervil River--A Stone
  9. Neko Case--Lion's Jaws
  10. Jenn Grant--Britt 'n Kipp
  11. Rocky Horror Picture Show--There's a Light
  12. Rocky Horror Picture Show--Hot Patootie Bless My Soul
  13. Rocky Horror Picture Show--Eddie
  14. The Like--You Belong to Me
  15. Belle and Sebastian--Funny Little Frog
  16. Metric--The Police and the Private
  17. Hayden--Dynamite Walls
  18. The Consecos--Beyond the River
  19. Angus and Julia Stone--Mango Tree
  20. Bob Dylan--Jolene
  21. Hamilton Camp--Pride of Man
  22. Tim Buckley--I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain
  23. Dave Rawlings Machine--Monkey and the Engineer
  24. The Little Willies--I'll Never Get Out of this World Alive
  25. Of Montreal--Hydra Fancies

Meat & Potatoes #7

I branched out this week and instead of just playing mp3s off of my laptop, I skimmed through the record collection at the station and played a few vinyl cuts (sort of--once I forgot to hit the cue button again and played about two minutes dead air by accident [I almost cried]).  Here's the playlist, with the vinyl tracks marked with an asterisk:

  1. Hefner--Trouble Kid
  2. Marvin Gaye--Stubborn Kind of Fellow
  3. Aretha Franklin--Do Right Woman, Do Right Man
  4. The O'Jays--Love Train
  5. Willie Bobo--Fried Neckbones and Some Home Fries (Dan the Automator Remix)
  6. Tim Buckley--Move With Me*
  7. Roberta Flack--Compared to What*
  8. Billie Holiday--Crazy He Calls Me*
  9. Etta James--You Can Keep Your Hat On
  10. Gladys Knight & the Pips--I Heard It Through the Grapevine (Sympathy for the Grapes Mix by The Randy Watson Experience)
  11. Bill Withers--Use Me
  12. The Band--Long Black Veil*
  13. Crosby & Nash--Cowboy of Dreams*
  14. Del Wood--Where the Blue of Night Meets the Gold of Day*
  15. Ohio Players--Love Rollercoaster
  16. Young Rascals--In the Midnight Hour
  17. Deep Cotton--Self!
  18. Me'Shell Ndegeocello--If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)
  19. Spoon--I Turn My Camera On
  20. Scissor Sisters--Do the Strand
  21. TV on the Radio--Golden Age
  22. George 2.0--Turn Off the TV
  23. The Rapture--Whoo!  Alright Yeah...Uh Huh
  24. Roberta Flack--Angelitos Negros


Meat & Potatoes #6

Round two of the sort-of-kind-of-a-bit-countryish show:
  1. Jefferson Airplane--The Farm
  2. Constantines & Feist--Islands in the Stream
  3. Dave Rawlins Machine--Sweet Tooth
  4. Neil Young--Unknown Legend
  5. Conor Oberst--I Don't Want to Die in the Hospital
  6. Jimmy Buffet--Margaritaville
  7. Buckwheat Zydeco--Hey Good Lookin'
  8. John Fogerty--Jambalaya
  9. Robert Wilkins--That's No Way to Get Along
  10. Emmylou Harris--Boulder to Birmingham
  11. Norah Jones & Willie Nelson--I Don't Want to Get Over You
  12. Lynrd Skynrd--What's Your Name
  13. Dwight Yokam--Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  14. Rae Spoon--Your Trailer Door
  15. Joni Mitchell--You Turn Me On I'm a Radio
  16. Billy Bragg & Wilco--Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key
  17. Vern Williams Band--Oh Susannah
  18. Petunia & the Loons--Cold Heart Breaker
  19. The Little Willies--Lou Reed
  20. The .357 String Band--High Lonesome Blues
  21. Sufjan Stevens--Decatur
  22. Elvis Perkins--Shampoo
  23. Paul Simon--Graceland
  24. Justin Rutledge--The Suffering of Pepe O'Malley, Pt IV
  25. Grateful Dead--When Push Comes to Shove
  26. Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir--Buried Them in Water
  27. Alison Krauss--Every Time You Say Goodbye
  28. Great Lake Swimmers--Catcher Song
  29. Joey Allcorn--Son of a Ramblin' Man
  30. Melissa McClelland--Glenrio
  31. Johnny Cash--Ring of Fire
  32. George Jones--I'm Gonna Burn Your Playhouse Down
  33. June Carter Cash--Will The Circle Be Unbroken
  34. Those Poor Bastards--In the Pines
  35. John Denver--Thank God I'm a Country Boy


Meat & Potatoes #5

A little belated, but here's the playlist from last weekend's kinda-sorta-countryish-show.

  1. Blues Brothers--Rawhide Theme
  2. The Be Good Tanyas--The Littlest Birds
  3. Devendra Banhart--I Feel Like A Child
  4. Dave Rawlings Machine--To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)
  5. Wilco--Forget the Flowers
  6. Honky Tonk Hustlas--Hallways of the Always
  7. Luther Wright and the Wrongs--Comfortably Numb
  8. Jypsi--Shame on Me
  9. Luke Doucet & the White Falcon--Long Haul Driver
  10. Calexico--Stray
  11. Monsters of Folk--Goodway
  12. Gram Parsons--Still Feeling Blue
  13. Cat Power--Rambling (Wo)man
  14. Hank Williams III--The Grand Ole Opry (Ain't So Gran)
  15. Hank Williams, Jr.--Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound
  16. Hank Williams--Hey Good Lookin'
  17. The Band--The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
  18. Gillian Welch--Look at Miss Ohio
  19. Iron & Wine--Flightless Bird, American Mouth
  20. Dolly Parton & Kenny Roger--Islands in the Stream
  21. Helen Reddy--Delta Dawn
  22. Patsy Cline--Walkin' After Midnight
  23. Maria McKee--Drinkin' in my Sunday Dress
  24. Elvis Presley--Hound Dog
  25. Burl Ives--Froggy Went A-Courtin'
  26. Michael J. Sheehy--Twisted Little Man
  27. k.d. lang & The Reclines--Rose Garden
  28. Dave Matthews Band--If I Had a Boat
  29. The Sadies--1000 Cities Falling, Pt. 1
  30. Josh Ritter--Lillian, Egypt
  31. Neko Case--Stinging Velvet
  32. The Whites--Keep On the Sunny Side
Hank Williams III at Layla's, December '09


Happy Birthday to Me

Last week, shortly after my birthday, I received two great packages in the mail.  My purchases from Purl Soho arrived (finally).  Mail always takes a long time to get to Dawson, and things from the States can be quite bad.  I was quite impatient for this bundle of joy by the time it arrived.
That's my two skeins of Cascade Alpaca Lace, the contents of my Lovely Liberty Coin Purse Kit and the spare purse clasp.  The colour of the photo isn't great--everything is much prettier in real life.  The yarn is particularly lovely.  It's not a heathered or variegated yarn, but the alpaca fibres haven't absorbed the dye entirely evenly, which gives the blue-green colour a particular depth and interest.

I am using the yarn for a Laminaria shawl (Ravelry link).  I had mixed feelings about the pattern at first--as written, the Star chart isn't symmetrical on either side of the centre stitch, and while it was easy to fix this problem, the fact that it wasn't addressed in the pattern felt like a red flag for me.  It seems to me to be a fairly significant lack of attention to detail, and I worried that I would run into more trouble later on.  But having worked 4 repeats of the Star chart and moved onto the Blossom chart, I am much happier with the pattern.

The coin purse is on hold--not for any particular reason, except that maybe that work these days has left me unenthusiastic for much beyond sleeping.  Even my Laminaria is tough going sometimes, just because I'm too tired to remember the repeats properly.

The other package that arrived last week was my birthday present from my parents--the first exception ever to the usual long wait for mail.  Somehow a normal letter can take two weeks to get here from Salt Spring but a giant box (so big I could sit in it once it was empty [yes, I did]) takes only four business days.  My theory is that it was so big they sent it on quickly just to get it out of the way.  The real gift part of it was new sheets, with chocolates to go on the pillows.
Not terribly exciting to look at, but so comfy to sleep on.  They're hand made on Salt Spring and have a wonderful texture.

The sheets didn't need such a big box as my parents sent, but they just bought a new washer and dryer and since they had such good sturdy boxes, they decided to "fill the corners."  They did cut down the dryer box, to about ten inches high, but it was still massive and full of awesome things that I have been storing in the barn for a few years.
There's my muffin tins, old sheets for more rag rugs, my iron, and a chair cushion from the days when I decorated in purples--all tucked into my giant basket, which I will use to house works-in-progress.  Most of this stuff I had requested, but the basket was a great surprise.  I had wished for it but didn't think it could get sent because it's so big.  Now I just need to get around to sitting down to sew and make more rugs and whip up some muffins...


Meat & Potatoes #4

I worked on a theme this week--a trip down memory lane in honour of my recent birthday--and played music by bands that I have seen live (Fred Penner, at the 2010 DCMF, is pictured above [in case you didn't recognize that silver fox]):

From two shows last winter here in Dawson:
1.  Rich Aucoin--At War With the Cynics

From Layla's Bluegrass and Country Inn in Nashville, TN:
2.  Hank Williams III--Six Pack of Beer
3.  Jypsi--House of the Rising Sun

From shows at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, BC:
4.  TV on the Radio--Ambulance
5.  Medeski, Martin and Wood--Bubble House
6.  Bullfrog--Slow Down

From other shows in Vancouver:
7.  Cat Power--Metal Heart (version from Jukebox)
8.  Primus--Southbound Pachyderm
9.  Lyrics Born--Do That There

From the Dawson City Music Festival in 2005:
10.  Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir--Stop and Listen
11.  Joel Plasket Emergency--Make a Little Noise
12.  Rae Spoon--Living a Country Song

From my time in Australia:
13.  Kid Koala--Emperor's Main Course
14.  Amon Tobin--(yikes--can't figure out what this one's called)
15.  Simply Red--If You Don't Know Me By Now

From DCMF 08 (Saturday evening Palace Grand show):
16.  Justin Rutledge--I'm Your Man, You're My Radio
17.  Bell Orchestre--Stripes
18.  Basia Bulat--In the Night

From DCMF 09:
19.  Luke Doucet--Beacon on the Southpaw
20.  Mother Mother--Body of Years
21.  Chad VanGaalen--Willow Tree

And from DCMF 2010:
22.  Fred Penner--The Cat Came Back
23.  The Burning Hell--The Berlin Conference
24.  JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound--I am Trying to Break Your Heart

From the very first show I ever went to back in grade 11:
25.  Wide Mouth Mason--This Mourning

And as per my brother Colin's request*:
26.  The Rheostatics--Saskatchewan

*I haven't actually seen the Rheostatics live, but have met Dave Bidini, so it sort of counts (and I wanted to give a shout-out to Colin--he actually opened for Wide Mouth Mason at that show a million years ago).


Meat & Potatoes #3

Wasn't in a talkative mood this week, so didn't say much about anything.  Just played lots of good tunes:
  1. Florence + The Machine--Addicted to Love
  2. Maximum Balloon with Karen O--Communion
  3. Rain Machine--Leave the Lights On
  4. Tunde Adebimpe--Unknown Legend
  5. TV on the Radio--Don't Love You
  6. Tegan and Sara--Where Does the Good Go
  7. Neko Case--Outro with Bees
  8. Sea Wolf--Middle Distance Runner
  9. Big Joe Turner--Little Bittie Gal's Blues
  10. Melissa McClelland--Cry On My Shoulder
  11. Iron & Wine with Calexico--Burn that Broken Bed
  12. Sufjan Stevens--Heirloom
  13. Talking Heads--Sax and Violins
  14. Paul Simon--One Man's Ceiling is Another Man's Floor
  15. Al Green--Take Me to the River
  16. Janelle Monae--Cold War (Wondamix)
  17. Marvin Gaye--What's Going On
  18. The Juan Maclean--Love is in the Air
  19. DJ Shadow--Midnight in a Perfect World
  20. Eyedea and Abilities--Paradise
  21. Arab Strap--Cherubs
  22. Broken Social Scene--Stars and Sons
  23. Jason Collett--Love Song to Canada
  24. Elliot BROOD--Oh, Alberta
  25. Devendra Banhart--Now that I Know
  26. Monsters of Folk--Man Named Truth
  27. Harry Nilsson--Put the Lime in the Coconut


A Lick of Paint (and Then Some)

When I moved into my cabin a couple of weeks ago, my land lady casually mentioned that if I wanted to repaint, she would pay for the supplies.  I couldn't get the idea out of my head (actually, I have mentally renovated the kitchen over and over again) and came up with all sorts of reasons why I shouldn't, but then went and did it anyway.

Here's a before shot of the kitchen area:
The dirt-coloured paint did a good job of hiding the dirt, but it was rather dull to look at, and I expect would be rather depressing when we get only a few hours of daylight in mid-winter.  Other walls in the cabin are painted white, and are scuffed, full of old nail holes and draped with cobwebs.

The worst part (or, one of the worst parts) has been getting things clean enough to paint.  This is what it looked like behind the stove and refrigerator:
Another difficult part is dealing with the poor job that the previous painter did when she put up the dirt-grey:
Hiding all the poor edging is taking a lot of work because one coat of white isn't fixing things.  And unfortunately I am not the kind of person who can let it go.  I have been crawling into the cupboards wearing my headlamp in order to do a good job of even the least-visible corners.  It's not that I'm a perfectionist--I just have high standards (and a sore right shoulder--good thing my yoga classes started up again this week).

Here's what it looked like after one coat of the new colour, Nasturtium:
The colour is absolutely gorgeous--very much worth the absolute chaos that has reined in the cabin since I started this project.  Everything that was in the cupboards is now on the table and even simple meals have been a challenge.  I have also been painting the pony-wall that separates the kitchen/living area from the bed"room" (the cabin is pretty much a one-room deal), which made a mess of my closet space, too (and by closet space I mean a dowel hung from the ceiling by two chains and a large plastic bin).

Yesterday I put on the second coat of Nasturtium, and was able to move the fridge and stove back into place.  Today I painted the cupboards and trim on the pony wall--fortunately it is just a matter of a single coat--and now am just going to wait a couple of days for the paint to cure before I restore the kitchen.  And then it's on to the rest of the space.  I started with the hard parts, and am hoping that the remaining three walls will be a little easier, at least in terms of stuff in the room--less to move will be good.  I will also be repainting the bathroom, but as I start working full-time as of tomorrow, the repainting may be a longer term sort of project.



I didn't mean for this to happen, but somehow it did.

I bought a sewing machine.

Yesterday morning, I got up  bright and early to go to a garage sale.  Last weekend I had good luck at a sale, and found cute green and white curtains for my cabin, as well as a very pretty green, red and yellow bull's-eye plate--all for the low, low price of $4.50.  I went to yesterday's sale hoping for the same sort of luck: to find a few small, inexpensive and useful but attractive things for the home.  Major furniture was not part of the plan.

But when I spotted the sewing machine past the old skis, behind the tables of unappealing junk, perched on its own little hinge-top table, my heart skipped a beat and I just knew.  I had been thinking of getting a sewing machine--some plasticky new thing with a cover that could tuck away under the bed when not in use--but was reluctant to invest in another activity, when I've already got so much yarn and knitting projects on the go (not to mention this new rag rug thing, although I think rugging will be an infrequent venture).  I certainly didn't intend to buy a vintage sewing machine with its very own attached table.

Part of the appeal was definitely the retro look of the machine.  The model is very similar to the machine my mom has (I used to use it when I was in highschool to make pajama pants) and the table itself is just so pretty.  It didn't take me long to decide that the ugly, rickety set of shelves next to the door in the cabin was going to get moved outside to the shed, and that the sewing machine would easily take its place.

It just tucks into the corner underneath the coat hooks, behind the heater and without an inch to spare by the door.  For the most part it will stay burried under piles of books from the library, heaps of shawls, outgoing mail and materials for my radio show.

I will have to pull it out into the middle of the room in order to use it--adding wheels to the legs might be a good idea.  It did come with its original manual, and all sorts of different attachments, like a button-hole thingy and a few extra feet.

I even have a sewing project winging its way towards me.  Last weekend I ordered a birthday present for myself from Purl Soho (because if there is anything I know how to do, it is indulge): two skeins of Cascade Baby Alpaca in Pacific, and one of their adorable Lovely Liberty Coin Purse Kits in Amber, with an extra purse frame in Jade.  The coin purse looked small enough to hand-stitch without too much agony, and will now be a total breeze on my new machine.  Shipping from New York to the Yukon will probably take forever, but I think I have enough on the go at the moment!


Meat & Potatoes #2

This week I played:

  1. Electric Light Orchestra--Mr. Blue Sky
  2. TV on the Radio--Staring at the Sun
  3. Arcade Fire--Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
  4. Cake--Never There
  5. Maria McKee--The Way Young Lovers Do
  6. Wilco--Someday Soon
  7. Jill Barber--When I'm Makin' Love To You
  8. Jenn Grant--In A Brown House
  9. Pedro the Lion--I Am Always the One Who Calls
  10. Jeff Buckley--Lover, You Should Have Come Over
  11. Emmylou Harris--Bottle Let Me Down
  12. The Tragically Hip--Bobcaygen
  13. Valery Gore--Consolation
  14. The Chantays--Move It
  15. Joni Mitchell--Carey
  16. JJ Cale--Call Me the Breeze
  17. Beirut--Brandenburg
  18. Sufjan Stevens--To The Workers of The Rock River Valley Region, I Have an Idea Concerning Your Predicament
  19. The Decemberists--The Crane Wife 3
  20. Creedence Clearwater Revival--Fortunate Son
  21. Eric Clapton--Motherless Child
  22. Smog--Held
  23. Human Highway--The Sound
  24. Deniece Williams--Let's Hear It For the Boy

And I talked about:
  • the Little House on the Prairie books
  • Galore by Michael Crummey
  • The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket
  • and the importance of cleaning behind your refrigerator

And shared Fanny Farmer's recipe for Welsh Rarebit:

1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, in small dice
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Cayenne pepper to taste (or Rooster Sauce!)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup beer
4 slices toast
Combine the cheese, butter, mustard and cayenne pepper in a heavy-bottomed pan, a chafing dish or the top of a double boiler.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the cheese has melted.  Beat a little of the hot cheese mixture into the egg, and then return the egg-cheese mixture to the pan.  Add salt to taste.  Add the beer and cook 1-2 minutes more, until very hot but not boiling.  Spoon over toast.

Finished Object--Percy

Sometimes I am colossally stupid.

The other day, I got to thinking about Percy (Ravelry link).  I knew I had knit one last winter, but realized that I never found it in amongst my other scarves and shawls when I moved recently.  So where was Percy?  Had I lost it?  I was pretty sure it was finished, but couldn't remember wearing it anywhere.

Last night when I needed a break from rug making and flipping through The Gentle Art of Domesticty, I went on a Percy hunt and dug through my bags and bins of knitting stuff.  I found my Percy squished into  a ziplock bag with unrelated yarn from two other projects at the bottom of one of my plastic bins.  It was finished--except for the finishing.  All I needed to do was weave in the ends and block it.  So why, oh why, didn't I do that six months ago?

Of course I pulled out my yarn needle immediately (that, at least, I could find quickly), but kept stopping to admire my Percy.  It's fabulously gorgeous--knit out of the Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace that I bought in New York last December, in a silvery purple shade called Pewter--and somehow I can't believe that I really made it.

I do remember working the nupps.  Nupps are sort of unforgettable, even though one may wish to forget them.

I did the ends last night, and pinned it out on my bed to block this morning.

Hopefully it will be dry by tonight, or I'll be sleeping on the futon in the living room.


The Rugs Beneath Her Feet

The floor in my cabin is painted plywood--painted grey, with bits of the weird flesh-tone it was previously painted showing through on the worn parts.  I don't mind the rough, mottled look, but it's chilly on the feet, even with socks or moccasins on, and even though it isn't even properly cold out yet.  The cheap and easy (if time consuming) solution is to make some rag rugs.

On Tuesday I hit up the thrift store and the free store at the dump, and brought home some old sheets to use for the project.  I did some googling and settled on the "toothbrush" or "Amish knot" method, mostly using these videos for instruction, with some reading from an assortment of random websites to add some theory.  I opted for a toothbrush rag rug versus a braided one because I didn't want to have to do any sewing, although really the toothbrush method is sewing--it's a buttonhole stitch repeated over and over again--using the rag strips as your thread.

I have completed one small rug already.  One bedsheet (queen or double, I am not sure which) yielded a round rug with a 20 inch diameter (roughly), to which I added a border using strips from a bedskirt.  It turned out a little wonky: it doesn't sit exactly flat.  I made two mistakes: I didn't do enough increases (or increase evenly), and then switched the material I was using for the inner "cord" when I got to the border.

Attempt two is going much better.  I am using two sheets for this one.  I am using this funky jungle print sheet to make the inner cord and the occasional accent stripe:

While this pretty floral sheet will form the main pattern of the rug:

It's going well so far.  I increased really agressively in the first few rounds, and made sure to do so evenly all around, so it is very even, flat and regular-looking.

It's not quite like getting to go to Ikea, but it is rather more satisfying. 

Currently out from the library...

Top to bottom:

Little House on the Prairie--Laura Ingall Wilder
By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept--Elizabeth Smart
White Teeth--Zadie Smith
Difficult Loves--Italo Calvino
The Happy Isles of Oceania--Paul Theroux
A Dead Hand--Paul Theroux
The Age of Wire and String--Ben Marcus
The Gentle Art of Domesticity--Jane Brocket


Meat & Potatoes #1

This week's playlist:

  1. Joe Cocker--Feelin' Alright
  2. Neko Case--Runnin' Out of Fools
  3. Iron and Wine with Calexico--History of Lovers
  4. Conor Oberst--Sausalito
  5. Slow Club--Giving Up on Love
  6. The Postal Service--We Will Become Silhouettes
  7. Sufjan Stevens--The Henney Buggy Band
  8. Jay Malinowski--There's a Light
  9. Bonnie "Prince" Billy--May It Always Be
  10. Joanna Newsom--Good Intentions Paving Co.
  11. k.d. lang--Lock, Stock and Teardrops
  12. Justin Rutledge--Come Summertime
  13. David Allan Coe--You Never Even Called Me By My Name
  14. The Rolling Stones--Under My Thumb
  15. Bruce Springsteen--I'm On Fire
  16. The Band--Ophelia
  17. John Paul Young--Love Is In The Air
  18. David Garza--Slave
  19. Fiona Apple--Extraordinary Machine
  20. Josh Ritter--Good Man
  21. Death Cab for Cutie--The Face That Launched 1000 Shits
  22. Modest Mouse--The World At Large
  23. Devendra Banhart--This Is the Way
  24. Great Lake Swimmers--Your Rocky Spine
  25. The Arcade Fire--Rebellion (Lies)
  26. David Lee Roth--Just Like Paradise

Just bragging...

Almost finished, but still lovely with shortened stems.