Category Archives: Crafts

Posts about crafting including how-to’s and some show-and-tell.

Dosas 26/60

I’ve been putting off writing about this. It wasn’t a fail, but it wasn’t a roaring success either. But it was new and I did it, together with Rem.

A dosa is a type of savory pancake made with a fermented batter of ground rice and lentils.

We watched a video that took us through the steps. It didn’t actually have a recipe though.  So we put it off for awhile. I found more videos and read a bunch of recipes

The recipe calls for soaking uncooked rice and lentils separately in water, draining, reserving the soaking liquid, then grinding the soaked rice and beans, in a blender or food processor, to make a smooth batter, adding back some of the water as needed. Next, the batter is fermented. Finally, it is cooked on a hot griddle or pan into a thin crepe-like dosa. It is filled, then folded or rolled and eaten.

On our first try, we used some old rice from the cupboard that never fermented. Not one bubble. We bought new rice and decided bottled water, which Rem uses for his sourdough starter, was probably a good idea.

In the soaking step, black beans were inadvertantly soaked rather then lentils but we decided to proceed anyway. We were also a little uncertain about the texture of the ground rice and lentils. I don’t think our Cuisinart did the best job.

I’d had some delicious dosas a few times at a restaurant in Larkspur that is now closed, but otherwise this was very new for both of us. We had to make decisions about how long to soak and how long to ferment.

The next thing we realized, was thst we needed something to put inside our dosas.

We made a chickpea salad with fresh herbs, lemon and yogurt.

Also a saag paneer (spinach and cheese) that was a real winner. And a chicken and cauliflower dish with coconut milk that quite honestly I barely remember. Sorry, they don’t photograph well.

I also picked up a sweet-hot red chili sauce at the Farmer’s Market.

Our dosas were kind of grainy in texture. They stuck to the pan. But the various fillings were tasty, the saag paneer and chilli sauce together was a wonderful combo.

Would I try making them again? Probably not. Possible but doubtful.

Thank you for stopping by.

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Scallion Pancakes 25/60

Thanks for the visit!

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New Car!  24/60

Some new things are bigger than others. This is pretty big! It’s my new car, a dark blue, 2017, Toyota Camry Hybrid.  I think I’m going to call her Olivia.

Here I am at the dealership. I think this was in the first hour and I hadn’t wilted yet. Is every car buying experience a slow and kind of exhuasting ordeal? I don’t buy cars very often, but this seemed to take forever.

One slowdown was that the title for my old Camry, Winslow, was in my maiden name but my license is in my married name. Still, four hours seems excessive.

My first selfie in the car.

I was slow to start driving. I had my younger sister secretly teach me how to drive when I think I was 21. Re-teach I guess, because I had taken driver’s training in high school and barely passed. I needed more practise. Our cars at home were a little funky, I recall having to pump the gas on one while stopped, with the other foot firmly planted on the brake, or it would die at every stop sign. And driving with my dad was nerve wracking.  I’m sure it was for him too…but he was not a very good passenger.

I wish I had pictures of my previous cars. My first one I bought for $50,  drove for 10 years, and sold for $100. It was a turquoise blue, 1963, Plymouth Valiant station wagon with pushbutton transmission. I regret never naming that car.

After that I drove a red Ford Escort. I don’t recall the model year. I  named her Sydney after Sydney Biddle Barrows, who was nicknamed the Mayflower Madam, and owned an escort service.

The car before Winslow, my kind of solid but boring silver-grey Camry, was Carlos. Oh, Carlos! He had sexy tinted windows and a moon roof.  He was white, like a flash of bright teeth in a seductive smile, and I liked to say I was going for a drive with Carlos.

Tragically, Carlos was totalled when we were rear-ended at a stoplight, pushed into a pickup truck, ran up the side of the double wheels, and flipped over. I was almost unscathed which is why I chose another Camry 16 years ago,and now for my latest car.

Olivia comes from olive, and the olive branch is a symbol of peace. Maybe that is what I like: the idea of calm, peacefulness and safety. I hope to drive her for many years. We have miles to go.

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Palpitations 23/60

I like to think that I take reasonable precautions with my health. I wear a seatbelt. I wear sunscreen. I wear a mask.

Friday morning, just after waking up, I noticed my heart was pounding. I was just sitting up in bed but it was as if I’d jogged up two flights of stairs. Interesting. It kind of ebbed and flowed. I read some Facebook. A few times I coughed a little from the feeling of my heart, like it jumped a bit.

I had the day off. Rem and I were planning on a drive up the Sonoma coast, and after a few hot days I was looking forward to it. I got up and mentioned my palpable heart beat. We ate breakfast. I finally decided, after over an hour and a half, to call the Advice Nurse at Kaiser.

Though it seemed strange, I didnt otherwise feel unwell. I just didn’t want to ignore something that could be serious. My Grandpa Cooper died at the age of 62, after a massive heart attack.

As I expected, they wanted to check me out. My sister Sarah dropped me off at the Emergency Department. No visitors in these Covid times. Before 9.00 a.m. I was hooked up to a heart monitor, had been given an EKG, and had blood drawn for tests.

That is a thumbs up I sent Rem.

It was a quiet morning. I texted Rem and my mom. I played Two Word and colored some pictures on Happy Color. I read about heart attacks in women and how the symptoms are often more subtle than men’s. My rascally heart was calm and quiet, much like when you take your car to the garage because of a funny noise.

Eventually a doctor came in and told me all my test results were normal. She validated my decision to call and check things out. She said palpitations can be a symptom of a thyroid problem or kidney disease, which they had tested for and I had neither. We had a nice conversation about the shelter in place and the challenges around that. She told me another patient had come in with similar symptoms but that patient was in serious condition. The doctor said in my case it could simply have been that I was dehydrated.

The test results will be be forwarded to my general doctor and I was released to enjoy the rest of my day.

The view from the deck at Cafe Aquatica in Jenner, at the mouth of the Russian River, is much better than my view in the morning. Do I regret my hours spent waiting in the ED in the morning? No. I’m just grateful I could walk out and wait in the sunshine for my sister Kathleen to give me a ride home.

Thanks for the visit.

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Jump Rope -Fail 16/60

When I was a kid, I loved jumping rope. I remember the little rhymes we chanted as we jumped. I liked to skip solo, sometimes traveling around the playground. I liked spinning the rope faster and faster for red hots. I liked doing it with two friends turning a long rope, and jumping in.

So when I decided to do my 60 New Things Project, jumping rope was one of the things I looked forward to. I procrastinated about ordering one. By now we were on lockdown so I couldn’t go to a sporting goods store and compare ropes.

My sister loaned me one. It was kind of long but I figured out a way to fold the stiff material and hold it. I started jumping. Oof! My head remembered my childhood joy but my body wasn’t cooperating.

I knew I would need to practice. I watched some jump rope basics videos. I tried some more. My lower back hurt. I read about the importance of having the right length rope. My sister suggested trying on the Astro Turf surface by the batting cage at the middle school, as it was more forgiving. My neighbor suggested getting a thin mat to jump on.

I gave my sister back her rope. Maybe I will try jump rope again. Maybe if I can order a rope that is the right length and get a better surface. I will be sure and let you know. In the meantime, I ordered a hula hoop.

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Create a Board Game 14/60

This goes back to Valentine’s Day. Rem and I make Valentine projects for each other every year and this year he gave me a board game. But it was kind of a starter game – he had an idea, and he’d found some sweet dice with hearts for the spots or pips. He got a little wooden box, painted the lid, put in a photo from our honeymoon, and added a smaller plastic box that fit inside to hold the dice. He added some old coins for playing pieces and wrote up a few rules.

His idea was we would play it using a board from another game. He called it the Lovely Game because we’ve used the numbers 1 4 3 to signify “I love you” (the numbers correspond with the number of letters in each word) and to win the game, you had to roll those three number: 1, 4, 3. Otherwise, we just took turns moving one space at a time until one of us advanced to the finish line or rolled those three lucky numbers.

I was charmed by his Valentine gift to me but after playing the Lovely Game, I asked if I could work on a new board with a few more rules and more variety. He readily agreed and this is the result.

We have only played this game with each other but I’m sure it could be adapted to a less smoochy, more family-friendly version that could be played with more players. Creating the board was a great crafty project on it’s own. But we truly enjoy playing it (and played it before we were housebound due to the pandemic).

Here’s the basics from our game: it has 47 heart-shaped spaces. They kind of spiral around the board and I added little arrows to help keep track of the direction of play. There is a “Start” heart and a “Winner!” heart. We each have three dice.

To start play we each choose one of the colored buttons that became our playing pieces, and we each roll a single die. Highest number goes first.

We have two hearts marked with B/P, which stands for our nicknames, Boo and Peaches. If you land on a B/P, before you roll on your next turn, the other player (or if more players, it could be the player to your right) asks you a question. For our game, the questions is something from our years together, kind of a Boo and Peaches trivia question. They’re always easy questions. If you get it right, you get to go. If you miss it, you have to skip one turn. For a family game, these could be signified with a big question mark. You could even write questions on cards as long as the questions are ones that everyone would be able to answer.

Three of the hearts are marked with a big X which stands for “kiss.” When either player lands on the X, the players kiss. Maybe you could do high fives, hand shakes, or in the spirit of social distancing these days, elbow bumps, foot taps, clapping, winks or other positive expressions of greeting or affection.

One tricky heart says “Odd: Even” and if you land on this heart you roll the three dice as usual. If the resulting number is odd, you move back the number of the highest die. If it is even, you move forward the number of the highest die. An additional rule has been added that if you land on this heart 3 times in one game, you can treat it as any other heart and move forward normally.

Bad news if you land on “Lose a turn” but good news if you land on “Bonus 1 Die Roll!” You do not need to roll the exact number at the end to win, and if anyone rolls 1 4 3 (in any combination, it still counts if it is 4 1 3, or 3 1 4…you get the idea) you WIN!!

Here are the other rules:

  • Roll three different numbers: move lowest die.
  • Roll double: move forward one of the double numbers.
  • Roll triple: move forward total of all three dice.
  • Roll three sixes: START OVER!!

We wrote the rules on the board to help us remember as we play. Sometimes one of us will roll the winning combo of 1 4 3 and not notice, so a new rule we’ve added is if you roll 1 4 3 but don’t notice, and you move forward and the other (or next) player rolls the dice, it is too late and play continues. But we like to see the other person win and take a victory lap around the board, so we try and help each other.

Our game was created on a piece of cardboard that was the back of an old calendar, using paint pens, punched paper hearts and a washi tape border.

Maybe you could create your own version of the Lovely Game. The numbers 1 4 3 could mean “I Like You,” and perhaps with some searching you can find some dice. Now just might be the time for you to tackle this project. If you do, be sure and send me a picture!

Thanks for the visit.

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Howling for Healthcare Workers 11/60

This is a new time we are living in. It is a very trying time for me, and my stresses and worries are quite small compared to those of many people. I am employed and working safely from home, I don’t have kids so I’m not trying to run a home-schooling program and though one niece is recovering from the virus, her symptoms were relatively mild and she is well on the mend.

I’m grateful for all those out working hard ever day to care for others. When I heard about making noise to salute healthcare workers, from applause, to banging pots and pans, to howling, I knew I would participate.

I’ve now done it two evenings in a row (8:00 p.m.) and it is a great stress-reliever. I breathe deeply before letting out a great “Owooooo!” I hear others in my neighborhood yipping and howling and I feel part of something bigger than myself.

I don’t know if any nurses, doctors, lab techs, or any other healthcare workers can hear us but our message is being sent and maybe that is enough.

Turn up the volume to hear others howling.

Thank you for your visit.

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Sushi Newbie 9/60

A few weeks ago, in the innocent days before the virus, I  enjoyed a relaxing visit to Kabuki Spa with my niece, Leah. After our luxurious soak and steaming session, Leah introduced me to sushi.
Yes, I  admit I have tried sushi before. But as a person who thought all sushi was sashimi, or raw fish, (except for the grocery store California rolls). I needed someone to guide me. Leah was up to the task.This little shop in Japantown has a conveyor belt circling the counter, with the sushi makers working in the center.The plates are priced by the color, so you grab what looks good.  Your bill is tallied by the stack of plates  when you are done.
As a guide, Leah did an excellent job of informing (who knew you could  have salmon and cream cheese sushi?!) and challenging me without pushing.
My sushi horizons have been expanded and I look forward to trying more delicious and beautiful little plates of sushi in the future.
I hope you and yours are staying healthy.

Thank you for the visit.

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Kabuki Spa Communal Bathing 8/60

I’ve known about Kabuki Springs and Spa for years but finally enjoyed the relaxing experience. I invited my niece Leah, a Kabuki regular, to be my guide. They offer a full menu of body treatments but we were there for the Japanese style communal bathing.

The spa is beautifully designed with rich colors, soft lighting, lots of natural surfaces and elegant sculptures tucked in various corners and niches.

We hadn’t been able to get a reservation but Leah suggested we plan on putting our names on the waiting list. Since the spa is at one end of Japantown, once you leave your phone number at the front desk, you can go strolling through shops until they text you. We spent a very pleasurable half hour at a stationary shop before returning to Kabuki.

The facilities include bathing areas, showers, a hot pool, cold plunge, sauna, and steam room. We were there for one of the women-only, swimsuits-optional days. Various-sized towels, body polishing sea salts, tea, and aromatic drinking water are all complementary.

The spa offers a wide variety of their massage oils, shampoos, soaps and other potions for sale and I was tempted by the cucumber body lotion but since Rem hates cucumbers I decided to skip it.

Signs encouraging us to disconnect from our devices and to use only whispered conversation where easy to follow. The hushed atmosphere added to our relaxation, and our biggest decision was between cucumber and lemon water, and whether to take a sauna before or after the steam room.

We were both deeply relaxed by the end of our communal bathing experience.

And we were leaving, Leah pointed out this collection of small polished stones set out for us to choose one to remind us how we felt when we departed. We both chose a rock, and I think I’ll be back.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Painting Frida


This didn’t start as a painting of Frida Kahlo. I started by making a collage background using mostly ephemera collected on our trip to Italy, such as maps, postage stamps and pages from a little book.

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Then I painted an angel that, in my mind, was Italian. I was thinking of my friend (and sister-out-law, now that she’s not my sister-in-law), Victoria, and the Italian woman in her past.  Side note here: Victoria loves Frida Kahlo.

This is the original version:


I struggled with her face and ended up collaging an oval piece of paper over the first several tries and taking another go at it – you can see the edge of the paper. But I was happy with the final painting….or as happy as I usually am.  I get a little tired of them when I’m working on them. I spend some time on them and sometimes need a little break when I’m done.

The yellow bird and big pink flower both ended up staying on her head – I was trying to decide which one and I decided to go with both. Permission granted.


When I put the painting up on a shelf in my office, several people commented that it looked like “that artist,” or “Oh, it’s Frida!”  I disagreed, but thanked them. I mean, they both had dark hair in a bun with a big flower (or a few) in it. But after the third person said it looked like Frida, I decided to give my Italian angel a makeover.

I think she went from sweet to strong.

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It took some work to make the changes I thought she needed, but it was worth it and now I love the painting, and so does Victoria.

Thank you for stopping by.







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