My Commonplace Blog

Bits of info in bytes


February 2016

To Make or Not to Make

sheep pillow - Purl Soho

Either way, this sheep pillow is too fun.

Here’s the big question: Will a project’s humor/joy/fun be everlasting enough to be commensurate to the effort? You never know at the beginning. For me, it depends on what’s in the stash; there’s an inexplicable joy in putting previously undesignated yarn to use. And if the project has a home before it’s started, well, that pretty much seals the deal. Like the year I knit 36 little pieces of coal for holiday gifts. Great response – only two people didn’t get it, and I realized those friendships were too lopsided to salvage. I think they did too. A little galvanizing moment worth the effort.


A link to this YouTube channel was posted on — pretty fascinating:

Primitive Technology

Having a sense of involvement in the things that make up life is a thing of mine. I appreciate the work/effort/advances in civilization that allow me a comfortable life.

This, however, might be a little too involved. But watching these videos certainly elevates the appreciation of life’s conveniences.

Absurdity is another personal favorite: Part of me is enjoying the mental image of a person filming this, a super-juxtaposition of ancient and modern.

Panko Nugget Mania

Good people, I submit to you Exhibit A:

chicken nuggets

Of all the ‘junk’ foods I have readily, guiltily, repeatedly consumed, chicken nuggets have not been one. Until Super Bowl Sunday. A bag of Panko Chicken Nuggets, conveniently on sale at Costco this month, found its way into our cart and thus into the freezer.

Panko bread crumbs don’t trip my taste trigger, and enough chicken is served in other manners in this household. The hubs, however, likes Panko bread crumbs to the tune of two big bags (yes, Costco again) in the house, sprinkled to heavy accumulation on spaghetti and lasagna. On chicken nuggets, even better.

Exhibit A was first opened on Super Bowl Sunday. Then for an evening snack. Then actually for dinner one evening, a new low. Being a Costco bag, there’s still a few servings left. Do I like them? Not sure I but I can’t stop eating them. They’re a perfect carrier for my favorite condiment: a blend of catsup and hot sauce.

All fine and good, you might well think. Here’s the kicker: The sale ends today and I’m thinking of getting another bag. The apocalypse might be coming. . .

Beauty Advice from a Veterinarian

Our dear old dog is wonderful but with two challenges: She’s almost blind and she’s got awful nails/claws. For the past two weeks she’s been bothering her back left paw, even after a nail trim. So off to the vet. He recommended vitamin E; she already gets a daily dose. Gelatin? Chicken-stock Jello wigglers every day.

He said no one has ever tried the last recommendation: soy milk. I vaguely recall something about that, so out to the interwebs. Sure enough, it is a thing.

My nails have never been good, occasionally  bordering on downright crappy. So Liza and I will be drinking soy milk for the next six months to see if our nails improve. Cross your fingers for us!

Semi Rustic

tile  (2)

With the undercabinet lighting installed (that string of reflections on the shiny countertop), ’tis time to tackle the backsplash.

Simple white subway tile? Seems nothing is ever simple with us. In our stash of home-improvement bits was an almost full box of subway tiles. New tiles wouldn’t match exactly so we had to carefully develop a ‘random’ mix of new and old. That’s the chart by the mastic. A nice slightly rustic look which fits in well with the overall Midwest Scandinavian look I’m after. Yes, I made that term up and am a little too proud of myself about it.

All those cuts. This will not be done in a day but it will be lovely.

If Finnish is Godzilla, what creature is English?

My grandmother was from Finland and she never, ever encouraged me to learn her native language. She spoke four or five languages– so according to this graphic it appears she had good reason to steer me away from Finnish!


Source: If Finnish is Godzilla, what creature is English?

My New Best Friends

We’ve never met. In fact, I just stumbled upon them on the interwebs but still I am very, very sure these gents are my new best friends.

Arne and Carlos have a few knitting videos and some great knitting ideas on their site. I was but a wee thing (well 10 which isn’t really wee but let’s not get technical) when I learned to knit, and since then I’ve pretty much stuck to the basics.

Arne and Carlos from

These find needle-wielding artists do some fine color work. And since my skill set falls far short in this area, I shall be looking to them for advice, instruction, and inspiration.

three women on a boat

Round and Round Our Stories Go by Johnathan Carroll on Coffeelicious.

OK – I had this very thought rolling around in my head most of the week. Only I wasn’t near as eloquent or clear or clever. Marbles in a dryer. Excellent.

Happy sailing.

Image from same.


Tomato Sauce II

Tomato sauce

Winter remains, as expected, here in the Midwest. Mid-day temps mostly in the teens all week. Turning the oven on for a couple of hours to make the Pasta alla Vecchia Bettolana seemed an absolutely splendid idea.

Also absolutely splendid is this sauce! I anticipated a flavorful outcome, and using Italian plum tomatoes (rather than plain ol’ supermarket variety) no doubt added to the flavor. Still super rich even after cutting the cream by a quarter.

Now I’m trying to figure out why/if the oven cooking vs. simmering on the stove makes a difference. A good friend with oodles of cooking experience (former food editor for a major magazine) wasn’t convinced method significantly affected outcome in this case. My guess was the sauce perhaps steams rather than simmers. She shrugged – not a big diff.

Need to do a little investigating – and with at least an hour and a half of cooking time, maybe that’s time smartly spent researching.

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