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Clothing Swap Finds

Some of the girls in the building had a potluck and clothing swap today. I hauled in a plastic box full of tanks and pants (mostly capris that I never wore this summer) that I didn't want anymore.

My contribution to lunch was a yummy squash hotdish that turned out great. It was a bit like pumpkin pudding and everyone wanted the recipe! It was really easy, I put it together last night and baked it this morning while I was getting ready.

I picked up some cute things from the piles of campaign tee shirts and glittered tanks. A pretty paisley dress, a gray skirt, a black skirt, a green collar shirt and a brand new pair of Jess's favorite black glitter shoes!

Grandma Albrecht's Christmas Present (in progress)

    A tea towel with all of the things that make me think of her.
  • Poppyseed stuffed coffeecake that she makes everyday.
  • Potato dumplings for her annual Dumpling Sunday.
  • Jars and jars of sweet hot and dill pickles.
  • Rosaries that she uses and makes for foreign countries (not shown yet).
  • Deer for deer hunting because she hosts all kinds of needy men, getting up before the crack of dawn to make them breakfast having lunch and dinner for them when they come in and just mothering them for two weeks (also not shown).
I don't know about the colors yet. But I really love how the jars of pickles turned out, right down to the "Ball" across the front.
Weekend domesticity
I bought more squash at the grocery store so I could make a squash and onion galette. I hadn't heard of one of those before last week either. But I was reading about one on Smitten Kitchen the other day and it just looked so good.
I added apples to mine and I think a little too much sage, cause it smelled better than it tasted. (I keep thinking I should be eating turkey or stuffing and then it's squash and my tongue is confused.)

The crust had a crazy recipe that included lemon juice, sour cream and freezing the flour for an hour before you started. I did better on rolling it out this time too, although there was a lot of room for error, since it didn't necessarily have to fill a 9-inch pie pan and you didn't need a top crust. And what I wouldn't do for a pastry cutter. Fork + frozen butter = not fun.

Also, I took a break from working on Christmas presents to add a little more to my cowgirl pillowcases. I put some flowers to tone down the pistols and gave the girl something to say. I like them better now, they seem less like they're floating in space.

Polka and beer
Andrew and I went dancing at Gastoff's on Friday night. We had a great time and I met his supercute friend, Jon (bottom, right). Swoon.

I'm ready for all this Halloween nonsense to be over already.

I don't like any of my costume ideas and still haven't finished the one I decided on. I bought candy on Friday and apparently even that was too early, cause it's in danger of being gone before Wednesday. I have no self control. I had to move the bowl across the room away from me.

Also, I want it to be okay for me to listen to Sufjan Stevens and Mariah Carey Christmas music. I keep having to stop myself from picking it on my iTunes.

By they way, have you seen the December Blueprint? (I gave in and started subscribing.) I can't stop drooling over the pink tree and the gold dress.
All day I dream about cashmere

Or at least head-to-toe wool. After sitting on the couch or at the table for any amount of time in our house, I start fantasizing about coving myself in cashmere or down. These cashmere pants would make excellent pajamas.

Is it wrong to spend the money we "save" on keeping the temperature low at home on cashmere pajamas? Is it defeating the purpose? Maybe, some rich benefactor will give them to me for Christmas.

How bout these robes?

Remembering 2002

Jess and I last year on this day. Remembering why we were doing this was a good boost at the end of the campaign.

It's so wonderful to have found a friend who loves squash as much as me.
On Friday, Jess and I went on an adventure to South Minneapolis to find the Patina Warehouse sale. I must say, it was a little disappointing - not what I had imagined in my head. But Jess gave me a sweet potato squash (baked it on Saturday night, so good) from her Mom's garden and it made up for Patina's lack.
Crafty Girl
I went on a craft-finding mission on Saturday. I know that someone makes a pen that you can draw with and then iron on to fabric, but I'm having problems finding anything for embroidery besides floss. All of the helpful employees at my local craft stores knew what I was talking about, but didn't carry it.
I also looked all over town for some blank tea/floursack towels to embroider. It seems they are not for sale anywhere in the area. What? I have no problem finding them in Bemidji. What is wrong here? I went to JoAnn Fabrics (they have them on their website, but not in store), Hancock Fabrics has them, but were out-of-stock and I know there aren't any at Treadle Yard Goods or Michael's. Hancock assured me they should have more by Tuesday. Ugh, another trip to the suburbs. Maybe Crafty Planet has some? I'm going to give them a call. (Update: Success! They have 2-packs for $5.75 each or individual towels for $2.25 each. This seems high to me, but I'm used to $1 Crazy Daze price at Ben Franklin in Bemidji.)

Even better would be some pretty colors like these from Amazon, but I think I could order some white in bulk and dye my own for cheap.

I sat down at my sewing machine on Sunday to try again and see if I could figure out what is wrong with it and fix it. After an hour of wasting thread, I can tell that for some reason the thread is getting caught on every spin of the bobbin and causing everything to jam. I guess I do have to bring it in. Makes me want to buy a $50 machine at Target (but that wouldn't have nearly the same charm).

I'm considering hosting a craft night at my house, that could possibly turn into something recurring. It'd be like a stitch-n-bitch and everyone could bring their own craft to work on (scrapbook, knit, etc.) and I'd provide food. Or should it be more Martha Show style, where you just come and I provide the crafty part. Anyone interested?
A big delicious mess

Yesterday, I had a craving for some squash soup like I used to love from Wild Hare in Bemidji. Since I had a butternut squash just waiting to be used, I decided I could venture to make this (seeming to me very difficult) dish.

I used a really great and easy recipe from Allrecipes.com. I baked the squash while I ran across the street to the grocery store for an onion and cream cheese.

I had to puree the squash and the cream cheese together and I added my chicken broth to the mixture too. This caused my cheap-cheap blender to leak, ugh, all over the counter. A big delicious mess.

Never the less, it turned out really yummy and spicy (lots of cayenne pepper) and just like I remembered. Butter and cream cheese and squash - great for a rainy, cold, Fall night.

Every Little Bit

The opening prayer for our bible study about sin was this song by Patty Griffin. It tells the story of the morning after a one night stand and dealing with the guilt and regret. It details some of the ways that I run away to try and deal with my shortcomings. I couldn't have picked a better church to join. Italics some of the insights we discussed.

Patty Griffin - "Every Little Bit"

It's funny how a morning turns a love to shame
Disguised and disfigured and you thought I tasted like rain
There`s nothing here but a shadow nothing here
Now you know
There's nothing here but the shadow, and now you know

I spit, I spit in the eye
I tear, I tear out my heart
and I scatter the bits
I stay unseen by the light (Adam and Eve hiding their nakedness from God.)
I stay untold by the truth
I'm sold by a lie (Eve)
By this I am able in all of my travels
To make these memories quit (I'm always trying to make my memories quit. Cain tried to run away from his sin.)
But tonight I clearly recall every little bit

I can chew like a cannibal
I can yell like a cat
I even had you believing that I really really like it like that
But there was never a moment
Not a moment
Now you know
You never got within a hundred million miles of my soul

I spit, I spit in the eye
I tear, I tear out my heart
And I scatter the bits

You left open the window till the morning
And the winter walked in
Reality fired her wooden bullet
Splintered under our skin
They say I'm walking on freedom
This is freedom (Free will, freedom of choice to sin or not.)
Now I know
I still don't blame you for leaving,baby
It's cold living with ghosts

via azlyrics.com

I still seem to be emotionally surprised to tears by things at Good Shepherd. So many moments make me want to cry when I am there (things that are not sad). Things that wouldn't affect me nearly as much if I was anywhere else. It's as though walking through the doors allows me to shed a wall that I've built around me to deal with life.

I had a few theories as to the root of this issue of crying at church: 1. Missing a community that was in love with me like at BUMC. 2. The amplification of my singledom at church where I'm surrounded by young families and lots of babies. 3. Missing my Mom. 4. My cycle (this was disproved when it would happen EVERY week). I thought I had remedied this with joining, getting involved and people actually recognizing me after attending for a few months. And last week it wasn't that bad. But then tonight at bible study, this song just made me want to cry. I miss Kari.
What am I going to be for Halloween?
I've been invited to a Halloween party so, I have to figure out a costume. I'm thinking maybe a girl scout? I think my mom still has my sash somewhere (she's not sure where). But is that too boring?

Then there is always my cowgirl fall back. But, really that's not much of a stretch and I need to get a hat.

I used to boycott Halloween, back when I thought it was the devil incarnate. And honestly, I really don't feel comfortable dressing up as someone whom I'm not. I know it's supposed to be fun, but I'd rather be me.
This lady makes me want to scrapbook

Not only do I want to buy a whole bunch of her tags for Christmas gifts, but she makes me want to get out my prints and glue. Her designs remind me more of high school collages than the traditional perfect suburban mom stuff.

I keep buying clearance supplies, thinking that some day I'll actually sit down and start doing it. But, when I do, it doesn't live up to my expectations. I think I need to approach it more like website design and then I would be happier with the result.
Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Banana Muffins 002, originally uploaded by juliemaealbrecht.

I used up some of the many RIPE bananas we have in our freezer on Saturday morning to make these delicious chocolate chip banana muffins.

They used cocoa powder and were great. I was a little worried that the bananas were too ripe and that I'd give myself e.coli, but I guess baking them takes care of that. How do you know when a banana is too far gone?

I had lots of plans for my Saturday and got plenty done until about 1:00 when I went shopping and lost steam. I did hold myself back at Michael's and did NOT buy the glitter bones. They turned out to be kind of expensive cause the glitter comes separate. I do think I might go back and buy some black glitter, that would be usable for multiple holidays. Now I just need to decide what to glitter-fy.

I did pick up some fabulous clearance fabric from Treadle though (sorry no photo). One is a brown and white cotton damask that could possibly be curtains for the living room. But it may be too much brown for in there.

And the chocolate chip pumpkin cookies turned out more like a cross between cookies and scones. I assume it was because I used pie batter with lots of eggs and had to add a lot of flour to dry it out a bit. They were spongy and a bit bread-like. Still good, just not cookies.

I want a table full of red carnations like this:

Put on List: Red Carnations.
I really want to make these glitter bones from Martha Stewart

Jessica says I need to hold myself back. But they're SO cool. And I don't even like Halloween decorations.
Pie not from a can

Please ignore the crumbs.

After waiting for everyone to finish cooking in the kitchen last evening, I dropped my cooked pumpkin (see previous day's posts) into the blender for a little pureeing. And then mixed in all the ingredients from my internet recipe including (according to the comments) an extra cup of sugar. It made a TON. I had enough for two pies plus extra so I made up some chocolate chip pumpkin cookie dough and put in the fridge for another day.

I really suck at making crust. So, of course it cracked and caused me a lot of heartache trying to get it rolled out and into the pie pan. I did learn to add more flour beneath it every 30 seconds though. I had a big mess going last night.

Then it spilled in the oven and made more mess. For some reason I thought I would have time to bake the cookies too. So, as I was removing the cookie sheets from the broiler pan, something fell behind the drawer and wouldn't allow it to shut anymore. Thus, I had to leave it open for the rest of the baking, cause I wasn't going to reach my hand past the flame to retrieve it. Oy.

This morning I brought it in to work and meekly had my coworkers try it. It's good! I feel like it is amazing that a pumpkin that I bought on Sunday is now two made pies. Mission Accomplished.

Recent work.

Punkin Pie 001, originally uploaded by juliemaealbrecht.

Some Sublime Stitching Krazy Kitchen embroidery on a tea towel for someone's Christmas present. One down, lots to go.

I want to make pie not from a can

I baked my smaller pumpkin last night so I can use it for pie tonight. When I took it out I watched the closer one implode. Ack!

Now all the cooked insides are waiting in the fridge for me when I get home tonight. Mom recommended that I puree it in the blender to make it smoother.

While it baked I made crust from Mom's recipe in the Bemidji UMC cookbook. It's also in the fridge waiting for me when I get home. It says it makes four crusts. Should I roll out the crusts before I freeze the extra or leave it in a ball? Seems like I should roll it out first.

On the stove are the seeds that I scooped out and baked. I'm not a real big fan, but I brought them in to work today and Sandi traded me for some pumpkin cake - what a deal!
Trip to the Pumpkin Patch!
I brought home a nice small pumpkin for pie making (no canned pumpkin for me), a good size for a jack-o-latern, some white squash and an assortment of white gourds. I love the way they looked on the cover of Domino this month and used that as my inspiration. Also, enough honey crisp apples for the week - fresh from the orchard.

After two and half hours of driving and getting lost and Andrew sadly getting a ticket for avoiding a car and (not really) passing on the right, we finally arrived and took our time on our hayride and walking through the corn maze.

We found two of the hidden "treasures" and made it out safely!

Some pictures on the wall

I never posted how my pictures on the wall turned out, so here they are. Pretty similar to what I had before I painted, but it works. This wall has all my black and silver frames together to match the black posy decal. It's a mix of Green Cheese, and photos taken/purchased on trips. The window wall has my Jen Oaks "Pink Tights" print and my original painting from Laura Albertson.

On the bed is the "My Dress" print by angeldamico I ordered from Etsy that arrived on Saturday! Now I need to find a place for it too.

The other side of the room is mostly brown frames, my Klimt print and another original Laura Albertson painting. Also, I'm using my photo board as a place to display all my political buttons and hang necklaces. I still need to replace my wall sconces. If only Target had the same lighting selection in the store as they do online. And then that it would go on clearance 75% off. That would be beautiful.
Girltalk Date with Jessica

Jessica is fluffing the spaghetti squash after it came out of the oven.

We ate it out of the shell with tomato sauce, asparagus, potatoes and jalepeno cheese bread from the bakery. It was a feast!

Then we took our full stomachs to First Ave. for the 10:30 door opening (SO late). We finally made it in (with an extra scalped ticket for Jessica's friend, Mike) at 11:30. There were plenty of hipster kids and particularly a bunch of drunk annoying ones in line in front of us. They didn't get in (mostly cause I don't think they were 18). And who did I see at Girltalk, but Gerry Cardinal, Lane Lilliquist and Hart Thorson. Of course. It wouldn't be a Minnesota night out if I didn't see someone from Bemidji.

We took spots on the balcony with our beers and waited impatiently for the sub-par openers to finish. Here's a view of the crammed floor of dancers with the lights up:

Finally, Girltalk came out at 1:00 AM (I am used to 1:00 AM closing time so this was a little much) and rocked out with fans on stage and him pretty much hovering over his laptop the whole time. Jessica was convinced that it was all pre-recorded. Really, we'd never know if it was. Nevertheless, Girltalk made us forget all about the horrible openers and left us with lovely mixes playing in our heads on the way home.


DSC_4067, originally uploaded by vittands.

I've begun the steps to become a judge for high school dance team competitions. I'm excited, mostly I just want an excuse to go to the competitions again.

I love watching the synchronization, the costumes, the smiles and putting it all together just so with interesting music, to create a rise in the audience. Just seeing all that work makes me want to be part of it again. And I've been away from it long enough to forget the catty, dramatics of it high school.

Image via flickr

My coworker just picked-up my pay stub for me and relayed this message. When asked who else was in his office that he could pick-up for he said my name and one of the ladies in Fiscal said, "You should call her Julie Hottie, cause she's so cute."

Whoa, what? Totally, makes coming to work (and obsessing over what to wear) this morning worth it. Now, if only the boys here would think that too:)
The Dairy Queen on Snelling has happy hour this month.
Does anyone else think that is just wrong?

I made myself a proper dinner last night: pasta and cheese sauce, turkey ring bologna and asparagus and acorn squash. Mmm. This gives me hope that someday I will be a cook who is just as good as Mom.

It ended up making four meals worth. This is a very frustrating issue when cooking for one - you have leftovers for days.

As with many things that I've recently tried (painting, sewing), I've found that cooking is really pretty easy. It's just that I had this big anxiety about doing it for the first time. Once I'm past that first hurdle, I can generally do whatever I aspire to. How liberating is that?

Dinner tonight is slated to be just as fun. Jessica and I are going to have our (I think we should make it annual - it was a glorious treat to have a home cooked meal last year during the campaign) spaghetti squash bowls with tomato sauce. Mmm.

We had an IM conversation earlier this week that went something like this:

sparkle at the capitol: I bought a bunch of squash at the grocery store do you want to eat it on Friday before the concert?
neat!: i was just going to say that my mom gave me one too and that I should wait to eat it with you.
sparkle at the capitol: We are turning into the same people!
neat!: what else do you want with dinner?
sparkle at the capitol: Well, I was thinking I'd stop at the bakery by my house and get some bread and I have some good red potatoes that I could bring too.
neat!: bread and potatoes? We are the same people!
neat!: i think i need a bumper sticker that reads: I heart carbs!
sparkle at the capitol: Totally
neat!: i've been listening to country radio on the internet when i study
sparkle at the capitol: Wha?
neat!: what's happening to me?
sparkle at the capitol: We ARE turning into the same people.

The beautiful monogram designs at Monogram Inc. are inspiring me to design a really pretty elaborate design for myself or friends. I've been dreaming about monogramming my work shirts for a while now (with a small discrete design), and I should get to it already.

via Oh Happy Day and Love Made Visible
Have they been paying attention? He's the one who can make a special session happen so that we can get the bridge fixed. He's the one who appointed a "small government" commissioner to head a huge-ass agency.

He's the one who vetoed the tax bill with increases in Local Government Aid. Which caused your property taxes to increase. He's the one who wants to fund everything on a CREDIT CARD. A credit card - does that sound like good fiscal policy? I didn't think so.

He's the one who is so unceasingly stubborn in negotiations that it's his way or nothing at all.
So true

Which Office Character Are You?

You are Pam. You are sweet and likable, but your shyness makes it hard for you to express yourself sometimes. Regardless, you are always there for your friends and will usually come out of your shell to help anyone.
Find Your Character @ BrainFall.com

Sex and the City Movie Spoiler Pics!

via Perfect Bound
The Design*Sponge website redesign is gorgeous!

It's eclectic and beautiful without being cluttered. It's what I'd like my design to be, but haven't quite hit it yet. Really inspiring. Go see it.

I'm in love with movie and especially the soundtrack of Once. Mom and I went to see it at the Highland while she was in town on Friday. All I had known about it was that it was a love story and Mom would probably like that better than the other shoot-em-up movies that were playing.

What we saw was a wonderfully indie, modern "musical". Musical in the way that it actually feels like this couple would really sit down and sing like this in real life. The songs are filled with emotion and harmony and they made me want to sing along (really not that hard).

I, of course, promptly downloaded the soundtrack from iTunes and it now stands to bump out Lori McKenna as my new CD that I will listen to constantly for the next month.
Rainy weekend domesticity, minus cleaning

I baked cookies yesterday. Also potato salad and stir fry. My foods tend to not match, because I make what I feel like eating with what I have. And yesterday I had potatoes, eggs, cookie supplies, noodles, soy sauce and peppers.

I also rationalized buying some crochet thread at Michael's when I was there getting more embroidery floss. Here is my first attempt at crocheting an edging for a pillowcase. Not too bad.

Young House Love
Anna Maria Horner
Apartment Therapy
Kellie DyKast's Scraplog
Oh Happy Day
Feeling Stitchy
Desire to Inspire
Modern in MN
This is Glamorous
The Martha Blog
Perfect Bound
Love Forever
2000 Dollar Budget Wedding
a $10,000 wedding
Style Me Pretty
Snippet & Ink
Little Green Notebook Don't Call Me Becky
Sublime Stitching
St. Paul Craft Mafia
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