My Commonplace Blog

Bits of info in bytes


March 2016

The best way to knit is the way you knit best, with thanks to Ancient Arts Yarn.

Rising Before the Sun

I have determined to make rye bread. A post on Facebook inspired and terrified me, so it’s off to crazy foodville once again.

The FB post’s claim is demystification — sort of like sitting in an astrophysics class demystifies the universe: Not really, but the explanation was presented to you.

A more personal analogy is knitting/sewing/almost any kind of handwork — the most recent attempt being tatting. See interesting, intriguing, complicated pattern. Glance through it and realize I can either already do or have a reasonable expectation of being able to do all required steps. Then dive in and hope for success.

Oh, and I accidentally bought caraway seed twice (see International House of Cabbage, fermentation) and have to use it up. And the hubs really likes rye bread. There’s a starter to make and lots of rising to happen; that often means an early morning rise for me. Here’s to another kitchen adventure!

Optimist, Pessimist — or Is the Garage Door Half Open or Half Closed?

First came the sound – clicka, clicka, clicka, grrrrr, creeeeeeak. Then closing was a cross-your-fingers moment. Time to have the garage door opener checked.

Yesterday the fine fellow said he’d arrive between 10 a.m. and noon. By 11:30, well, we were crazy hungry. We got an early wake-up cold-nose from the big dog, so breakfast had been consumed ahead of the usual schedule. Surely we could get in a quick lunch before the service guy arrived. . .

black bean burgers

The black bean burgers (yes, those again) were nicely defrosted and warmed when the doorbell rang. Of course.

Sigh. The hubs frowned because lunch would be delayed and cold. Seems he had a touch of the hangries. I smiled because just a few microwave seconds and lunch would be toasty again. Had the doorbell chimed two minutes later, the sandwiches would have been assembled (see International House of Cabbage, Asian slaw) and gotten soggy before we got to them.

It’s all in how you look at things.

Happy Spring, Happy Thanksgiving, and the Fate of Two Birds

An uncomfortable rite of spring happened last Saturday. A wayward bird ended up in the firebox of the woodburning stove. Citrus, the big orange tabby, alerted us with his rapt attention to the stove’s glass door. The well-practiced sequence of events: Close all interior doors (pets safely away from the action), draw all the blinds, prop open the back door, and, after a little cool air has flowed in, open the stove door.

Blessedly, thankfully, this little peep popped out, bounced around the floor for a minute, then, catching the breeze, turned to the bright opening and quietly flew out.

We’ve learned to let this almost-annual event unfold on its own. No attempting to grab the bird, no shooing the little peep to the door. Just stand back and let the bird find freedom.

Kind of a reminder from the universe to lay the best path, and then let events play out. Sometimes the best thing is to take it in and look for the small joys.

The other bird? Part of tight-budget living is taking advantage of sales. In November, that’s turkey, so an extra bird or two goes in the freezer. A few months later, a turkey dinner again sounds delicious, and moving the large frozen bird(s) to get anything out of the freezer becomes tedious to the point of aggravation.

So the other bird in this story became a holiday meal. And I took a moment to be grateful for the experiences, enjoying the unfolding of my life.


This is almost painful to watch – the precision, the time involved, and the prospect of fudging something and having to throw it out. I wrote about all aspects of home decor/design for years and transferware usually got a bum rap.The hand-painted crowd turned their noses skyward at the mention of it.

Although much has been automated in modern manufacturing, this video gives me a new respect for the art form–and the fact that there’s a YouTube channel devoted to the topic:

Spode Blue & White Transferware demo

Whew –

That requires a humorous intermezzo:

Batman Lego movie trailer

International House of Cabbage

Let’s celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! The week after! Because cabbage was $.29/lb – perfect for our rice-and-beans budget! And now I have to do something with it! *

How about Asian slaw?!
Asian slaw prep

It’s easy and quick!
Asian slaw

See! Yum! We can eat it on Mexican black bean burgers! Healthy!

And sauerkraut! Because I bought that Kickstarter KrautSource home fermentation thingie!
sauerkraut prep

This takes a week, maybe 10 days!

And we can watch it ferment!

*  I promise not to use exclamation points in the next three posts. Just trying to get myself as excited about making stuff with cabbage as I was about buying it at a low price.

Mmmm — Better Than A Watson Dish

In the relatively recent past, IBM’s uber-computer Watson devised recipes, churning out food combinations with the potential for finding interesting flavor mixes. Cognitive cooking is the term.

Where’s the joy of discovery in that? Making the best use of ingredients for wise resource allocation, I’m in. But adding another layer between person and dinner doesn’t ring true to me.

That’s why this dinner is a special delight. The hubs amalgamated a bunch of leftovers into a casserole. Here’s the result:

casserole (2)

And here’s the unlikely recipe: Half a fennel bulb, a few potatoes, some fresh mozzarella, half a pound of Italian sausage (cooked and crumbled), and an onion. Cut/slice as desired. Layer in an oven-proof dish. Cover and bake at 375F for 30 minutes. Then 30 minutes more. Then uncovered to brown for a final 10 minutes. Would never have thought of it. May I be so bold as to say Lynn Rossetto Kasper would approve. Splendid indeed.

Years ago I got in the habit of spending part of Friday afternoon trying to find something new on the Interwebs. More precisely, something intelligent and new to me to end the week a bit smarter and a tad delighted.

Here are this week’s selections – Enjoy!

The early history of knitting


About the glassware choices for cocktails.

Thanks to Vogue Knitting and for these little gems.

Daily Illusion

Look at the stripe across the trail, a little above center in this pic:

That’s water flowing from the hill across the trail. From this vantage point, it looks like the water runs to the left. That’s the illusion: It runs to the right as it should since that’s downhill.

At a similar distance from the opposite direction, the water flow looks normal. For some reason, this drives me a little crazy. I keep trying to compensate for it.

The other morning I had a totally woo-woo silly moment: I’m making my life harder because I’m mentally trying to push water uphill when in reality the water is flowing easily downhill.

Doesn’t change a darn thing in my life, but does make me laugh. Years of yoga and this is what I get! Oooooommmmm.

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