Cooking Is My Art

I started to wonder where all my creative energy was going, since it wasn’t going to writing.

Then I remembered what I’ve been doing lately.

Making pomanders for Christmas presents:

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Putting together homemade cards for birthdays and occasions throughout the year:

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Knitting on the cardigan:

019But more importantly, cooking. Like, all the time. Compulsively. (It’s like I need to eat, or something.)

Three-Squash Soup (Butternut, Acorn and mystery squash–my own random recipe):

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Butternut Squash Lasagna (original recipe here–I subbed pumpkin for the butternut):

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Pumpkin Custard with Brulee Topping (best food ever):

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My own random Sun-Dried Tomato, Olive, and Cauliflower pasta (with the addition of garlic, parsley and kale this time):

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White Bean Stew:

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Tofu Chocolate Mousse:

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Spicy Gingerbread Cake:

018I think that cooking has taken over, first out of necessity and then out of creativity, as my current art form. Being a vegan means I have to be a lot more proactive about my food than an omnivore would–vegan convenience food, when available, is usually a lot more expensive and less tasty.

So right now, cooking is the art I practice. I practice it faithfully. I have to. Many days I don’t want to. Sometimes my art is more like peanut butter and jelly than Quinoa and Black Bean Stuffed Peppers with homemade Enchilada Sauce. My art is a lot less visible and a lot less permanent than I’d like it to be.

But the day will come when I can invest in that kind of art, too. And maybe spending time in something transient and overlooked will have given me some kind of skill I can use.

Until then, I’m going to fiddle with that Spicy Gingerbread Cake recipe. Because I’m just not a fan of the peanut oil, and I think I want to add some powdered ginger with the fresh stuff, and my friend and I agree that a maybe a vegan whipped cream would be nice on top…

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Knitting the Perfectionist Way

A few years ago, I was given some amazingly beautiful yarn from my aunt. This yarn was so incredible, so deeply color-saturated, so soft, just the perfect amount of fuzzy (but not too fuzzy) that it required the PERFECT pattern.

After a fruitless search (because I had determined that this yarn wanted to a zippered hoodie), I decided to make my own pattern. It couldn’t be too hard, could it?

038It was too hard. I got about ten glorious inches into the thing before admitting that it just wasn’t right. And with a yarn this amazing, it had to be done right.

So I put it aside for a while.

And then I tried searching for a pattern again.

I searched Ravelry. I searched Knitty. I tried Twist Collective and Knit Picks. I even branched out to Vogue Knitting and did google searches.

Nowhere was there a pattern I liked.

Apparently a shaped (not boxy), zip, hoodie, in about 6 SPI gauge, was too much to ask.
I tried again this fall.

043That was when I determined that the yarn was not going to show itself off well unless it was stockinette. I loved the way the seed stitch looked on the model sweater, but mine was not so well-favoured. I had to return a gorgeous pattern book when I discovered the one I wanted to make had more purl stitches than I expected.

When I came across Hollywell Cardigan on Ravelry, I was willing to give up the zipper part of my preferences for buttons since this pattern has all of my other required elements. I’m not doing the stripes, but that’s my only change. I could probably swap out the button bands for a zipper but at this point I’m considering that maybe my love of zippers has waned.

So this is my current project, so very many false starts in the making. I have hope that it’ll be finished before hot weather sets in. Or, you know, before next fall’s chill comes along.

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Do you have a craft project you’re working on right now? Or a project that’s waiting for the perfect Something before you can start?

How To…Add Something Nonsensical to Your To-Do List

Another completely random project: homemade vanilla extract. The dishes aren’t done, laundry is piling up–but at least I made something I could have run out to the store to buy, right?

002I followed (mostly) the directions here. I neglected to check on the origin of my vanilla beans when I was at the store, so I’ll do that next time.

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And after one week it looks like this:

001(I’m actually supposed to cover the vanilla beans with vodka, but I ran out and haven’t replaced it yet. So when I do, I’ll fill the jar up the rest of the way. ‘Til then I’m making sure to shake it often and stare the beans down as if that’ll stuff them below the surface.)