Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Mug Flair - Adorable


This is very likely the cutest way on the whole flippin' planet to serve gingerbread. Would it be insane to attempt to make like 40 of these things for Christmas? Yes. Probably. But they are SO CUTE! Really "not martha" you are so very martha. Don't even try to deny it with your clever little blog name. You are totally martha.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jose Cuervo Christmas Cookies

I have been in search of a delicious Christmas cookie recipe for this year's cookie exchange at work. Last year I made some lame sugar cookies that I was not very proud of. After experiencing the deliciousness of my coworkers unbelievable baking skills, I realized that I had to step up my game. I've got nothing though.

Just mentioning family cookie recipes to my Mom bring up stories of tears and defeat - My two-year old self consoling my her while she bawls on the floor hunched over a dressbox full of shattered Krumkake, while I stood by confused repeating the phrases, "Mommy cwy? Cwookies bweak?" True story. Sad, I know - don't worry, this post gets better.

Anywho, I was looking for a redeeming recipe to knock peoples socks off and I found this gem. I'll might have to give it a whirl. It seems fairly simple...
1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup or brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup nuts
2 cups of dried fruit
1 bottle Jose Cuervo Tequila

Sample the Cuervo to check quality.
Take a large bowl, Check the Cuervoagain, to be sure it is of the highest quality, Pour one level cup and drink.
Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter In a large fluffy bowl.
Add one peastoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point it’s best to make sure the Cuervo is still ok, try another Cup just in case.
Turn off the mixerer thingy.

Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup Of dried fruit.
Pick the frigging fruit off the floor.
Mix on the turner.
If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaters just pry It loose with a drewscriver.
Sample the Cuervo to check for tonsisticity.
Next, sift two cups of salt, or something. Who geeves A sheet.
Check the Jose Cuervo. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
Add one table.
Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can Find.
Greash the oven. 
Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall Over.Don’t forget to beat off the turner. 
Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the Cose Juervo and make sure to put the stove in the wishdasher.

Cherry Mistmas!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Just Keep Pedaling


“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream.”
-Paulo Coelho

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'll have S'More, please!

Over the weekend, we had some friends over for a night of chili, s'mores and Pictionary. As I write this, I feel compelled to assure you that it was probably ten times more awesome than it sounds. My favorite part of the evening was when we all gathered around the table to roast s'mores - that's right, s'mores. Indoors, sans the campfire, minus the freezing cold temps, and with a sink just feet away to immediately wash the sticky gunk from your hands. Don't get me wrong, I love camping and campfires and roasting s'mores while snuggled under a sleeping bag, but being able to eat delicious roasted mallows without having to plan a trip, or build a fire outside during the middle of November, was pretty darn awesome. I would even go as far as saying that they actually tasted just as good as the outdoor version. I would highly recommend trying it out. Here's how it goes...

* Gather the standard grahams, chocolate bars and marshmallows. Easy.

* Buy a can of sterno from the party store. This only cost me $1.49. Cooking food over a flaming-strange-goopy-blue chemical sounds slightly hazardous, you say? I thought the same thing, but I did a tiny bit of research, and it's basically alcohol in a gel form. As long as you don't ingest the actual goo and you don't spread the highly-flammable stuff all over yourself, you should be just fine. Be aware that you cannot just blow this stuff out. You have to save the lid so you can snuff it out. Be careful. They are very real, very hot flames ;)

* Get some little sticks or use a fondue set, like I did! Make sure that the sterno is on a heat-resistant surface, light it and roast your heart out! Enjoy the fact that you are enjoying s'mores and yet your clothes will not stink like smoke for the next two weeks.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Just smile dammit!

me: "Oh wow, the light is perfect right now! I'm going to take your picture - smile!"
Jake: "Uuuuuughhghghghbbbllfffffrrrgghhhh..."
me: "Come on, just smile."
Jake: "Durrr..."
me: "Come on now, just do one real smile and I will be done!"
Jake: "I hate this."
me: "Just look normal for two seconds, pretty please!!!"
Jake: "Gufahahaha!?!"
Jake: "Are you done yet?"
me: "AAARRRRGGGGGHHHH! Yes. My battery just died. Grrrrrr..."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Not your average sushi rolls

It has been years since I last consumed anything from a Hostess box, which is probably a good thing. Judging by how long those suckers stay "fresh" I would predict that those indestructible chemicals consumed in my youth are probably still being stored inside me. I think I just may have break my streak to willingly partake in some trans-fat deliciousness, however, and plan a sushi party just so I can make these!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

YES!!! to yes and yes

 Suddenly, yes doesn't seem like a real word anymore. Does that ever happen to you when you write a word too many times? It starts to look funny.

Really I am just posting to tell you about my new favorite blog Yes and Yes.  Sarah Von delivers funny, creative, uplifting, motivating and interesting posts. I just love it.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Just discovered this hilarious site called "Regretsy". They feature ridiculous items that have been posted on Etsy. So entertaining :)


Here's a wordle of my blog labels. Apparently I like doing projects... I also like doing Wordles.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Probably sold in the "Beyond" section...

Would I enjoy stepping onto my own little personal mossy-glade bathmat everytime I hop out of the shower? Ch-yea!
Unfortunately, I actually have a very poor record when it comes to moss gardening. You think I'm kidding - ha! Who knows though - maybe my after-shower-drippies would fulfill the watering requirements!?!

Monday, October 19, 2009

My new tattoo - don't worry Mom, this one is temporary...

Jacob and I went to a Diwali celebration last Saturday in an attempt to have a cultural experience. Instead of immersing ourselves in Indian culture, however, we just found ourselves in the downtown schwanky scene surrounded by girls in little black dresses sipping martinis and greased-up older men on the prowl. I may or may not have also been wearing a little black dress, but regardless, it was not the scene we were hoping for. I DID however, stay long enough to get a free henna tattoo on my hand. The woman was incredible and finished the design in, I want to say, less than two minutes. Simply amazing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Potential first sewing project?

I really love this refashioned men's shirt - skirt. It's just a large men's shirt transformed into a skirt! How cute and simple! I am going to have to make a trip to Savers and see if I can find any corduroy men's shirts, since it's already getting so cold. Here's the tutorial from label free.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Best Mac and Cheese Ever...

Made this on Friday night and it was sooooo incredibly good! Perfect comfort food for cold snowy fall days... or any day for that matter!

1 box (one pound) penne rigate
3/4 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 lb Gruyere cheese, shredded
1/2 cup shredded Asiago or Parmesean cheese
3 TBS unsalted butter
3 TBS all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Heat oven to 350*. Coat a 2-quart broiler safe oval baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a large pot of water to boiling.  

Once water boils, add penne. Cook for about 6 minutes and drain. In a large bowl, toss together all three cheeses, set aside.

Meanwhile, melt butter in medium size saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smoth and slightly bubbly. In a thin stream, whisk in milk. Stir in onion powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer three minutes. 
Remove from heat; whisk in 2 1/2 cups cheese mixture - Not all of it! Just about half...
In pasta pot, stir together the pasta and cheese sauce. Pour half into prepared dish. Sprinkle with one cup of cheese. Spoon remaining penne into dish and top with remaining cheese. (layering the cheese.)
Bake at 350* for 20 minutes. Increase oven temp to a broil and cook three minutes until top is lightly browned. (I really like the crispy top, so I might let it brown for even longer next time.) 
Cool slightly before serving and ENJOY!!!

Food, presents, friends, and fun

I am happy to report that I had a fantastic birthday weekend, even if it did end in snow, which, by the way, is STILL falling... sigh. Pretty sure the leaves will be going from green to dead this year. Very disappointing, but I'm just not going to think about that right now...

We went to Muffaletta's for dinner in Saint Paul on Thursday night and it was soooo delicious and cozy and great. In addition to a wonderful dinner, Jacob also gave me a sewing machine! Woot! Like a real "modern" sewing machine that he found in a store, and not on the side of the road. I am sew excited (hehe) to start letting out hems in my too-short pants and attempting to create some new things without the fear of electrocution or severe frustration! If it weren't for the loads of homework I had over the weekend, I would have spent all my birthday money on patterns and fabric. Probably a good thing I didn't do that. I also got an awesome tripod from my brother, photoshop elements from my Mom and Dad and new shocks! Yes! Now I can be super creative AND maintain contact with the snowy roads while driving! AWESOME! I can't even begin to express to you how difficult it is to sit and do homework with all of these new toys in my apartment. Let me tell you - graduate studies are TIME CONSUMING. Anyway, Friday included another delicious dinner (ala Jake and Kate this time), and fun with good friends, and on Saturday we went to Prairie Home Companion and the Fitzgerald. Neko Case and The Steele Sisters were guests. So good.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Happy Birthday to ME!

This morning, when I woke up, this comic strip was taped to the bathroom mirror. Hahahaha!!!

\Kate's Berf-Day\

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hello cute!

Probably going to have to make some of these this weekend because I love them.
Found them on One Pretty Thing today.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fall things and lost children

I had the pleasure of spending my Saturday afternoon at Gilbertson Farm in Scandia, MN with my good friend Carol Gilbertson. Despite the cool cloudiness, I really had a great time. There, were lots of animals to see, crazy hair and face painting, rubber duck races, caramel apple sundaes, a GIANT corn maze, and the Teddy Bear Band was there to pay for an enthusiastic crowd of crazy kids. It was very cute. Carol and I braved the corn maze with a group of five little kids and, not surprisingly, ended up losing one. It turns out that trying to wrangle five small children in a giant corn maze, is pretty much impossible. Carol didn't seem too worried and, thankfully, he found another family in the maze and "helped show them the way." He was a very confident and self-reliant four-year-old... thank God.

I brought home a perfect pumpkin from the patch and am in the process of deciding how to carve it. These are some of may favorite pumpkin ideas that I've found so far...


Friday, October 2, 2009

How many days until my birthday?

Six days until my birthday. Same number of days as the number of rings around Saturn. This is an actual inage of Saturn taken by the Hubble telescope. I am kinda starting to dig this astronomy stuff...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I am obsessed with this song  by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. It's called "Home"  and it's quickly making its way onto my very non-willy-nilly all-time-favorites list.
 Love it.

Moats & boats & waterfalls, alley ways & pay phone calls
I’ve been everywhere with you

That’s true

We laugh until we think we’ll die, barefoot on a summer night
Nothin’ new is sweeter than with you


The rap song about me and ski team memories...

Kanye West is now famous for his bad hair and prowess in ruining the moment, but whenever I hear his music, I think about driving up Parley's Canyon and Ali cranking up the music to wake us all up as we prepared for a day of training on the awesome Olympic runs at Park City. Definitely something you needed to be awake for. It was a wet-your-pants, cheek flapping, heart pumping, snot-in-your-hair amazing good time.

I also remember that this particualr training trip was when I discovered that Kanye was singing about me, Kate Westby, in his Touch the Sky song. I kid you not. Let the video load, turn it up, and then start played it at 1:58 and listen for "Kate Westby!"

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fake sewing

I don't really know how to sew.
I try, but I usually end up breaking things. Jacob found this amazing old sewing machine on the side of the road this summer. He brought it in and had it "fixed" up. I finally worked up the courage to try and create something. I was so motivated. I decorated a shirt and was super happy with it, so I went out and bought a bunch of supplies to make a half-a-dozen more. Then I broke it.
So, thankfully the machine is pretty sweet looking, because that's all I am going to do with it ever again... just look at it. I also get to look at the pile of stuff I bought that's sitting next to it.  It's not my fault. I'm shopping for something more user-friendly. Suggestions are welcome. Here's the one thing I made...

Happy Birthday Grandma!!!

Today is my Grandma's 91st birthday! We are headed for dinner tonight to celebrate another happy year for Irma Lundquist. She is a sweet, spunky, amazing lady and I am so grateful to be a part of the same gene pool. So, here's to you grandma, and another year full of love, laughter, and sticking out our tongues in joy while squeezing each other as hard as we can :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall Roundup

Often times, when I am attempting to study, I find the intense urge to complete tasks that are completely unnecessary at the time. For instance, when there is a big assignment on the horizon, my apartment suddenly becomes very, very clean. I had a big astronomy test yesterday, therefore, I spent much of my study time on Sunday collecting items for a fall "roundup." I love "roundups" and thanks to Monday's test, I finally made my own.

I am also happy to report that I also aced the test :)

Owl mug on Etsy - perfect for chai tea lattes
Orange Ginger hand lotion - a warm, clean scent - perfect for fall
Chili! One of my all-time favorite meals...yum :)
Feather earrings from Etsy - the guy who makes these also ties and sells lures for fly fishing
Scarves - sort of like an adult security blankets for your neck, plus it's fashionable
Freya Art print - to me, fall is fresh and full of adventure
Sweater shrug on Etsy - mmmmmmm...sweaters...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

True Confessions of an Ole Alum

This is a video that a friend shared on Facebook recently. It's a slide show of images accompanied my music from the St. Olaf choir and orchestra. Watching it puts a huge lump in my throat. I miss it deeply. There is something about St. Olaf and my experiences there that have forever changed me and will always stay with me. I probably get more homesick for that small community on "the Hill" than I get for the home I grew up in. Walking across the gorgeous campus and through it's castle-like buildings is just as fairytale-like as they look in photographs. The beautifully wise old trees have quietly witnessed the stories of generations of Oles. Every limestone brick holds a dozen secrets of the past. The knowledge and rich experiences on the Hill are densely saturated and endless, but you only get four years to gather and absorb as much has you possibly can. The people there are some of the highest quality people I have ever met, and as I continue to encounter Oles in my life, there is some inexplicable connection that seems to bond people all members of the St. Olaf community. Even inhaling is comforting, as the Malt O' Meal factory down the road fills the air with scents of cocoa and cinnamon. There is just no other place like it.

... I don't know, maybe I drank too much of the Kool-aid in the caf. I find it difficult to admit such a deep connection to something. I am always fearful of falling too hard for anything, but I'm not going to lie - I am an Ole, and I love it.

Um Ya Ya :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dharma Pears

There is a very healthy pear tree growing behind our apartment building. I love how it conveniently covers my bedroom and bathroom windows, love how the leaves rustle in the breeze, love that I'm lucky enough to have a beautiful fruit tree growing outside of my apartment in the city, love the blossoms in the spring, love watching the squirrels get drunk on the rotten pears in the fall, love hearing the sober squirrels drop pears onto the cars below (That's not a parking spot... kharma!)

I also love these Buddha-shaped pear molds, and my desire to have one is really killing my chances at Nirvana...

But how cool would that be!?!?!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Six steps to another scarf/necklace hybrid

Step One: Go to the thrift store/a garage sale/your grandma's closet/ragstock. Pick out your favorite scarf (Thin fabric with smaller patterns with lots o' color work best.)

Step Two: Go to the craft store/grandma's costume jewelry box and pick up some large round beads. Beads are easy to find, but in all honesty, bouncy balls, marbles, jaw breakers... these would all work (actually, jawbreakers might get a bit sticky- especially if you are a sweaty person.)

Step Three: Cut a strip from one corner to the opposite corner about three inches thick.

Step Four: Tie a knot about 6 inches down and wrap a bead in the scarf, twist around a bit and tie another knot right after it to secure. Not as hard as it sounds. You can use a touch of glue stick to seal the seam if you are concerned about it.

Step Five: Continue step four until you are satisfied with your necklace.

Step Six: Wear your necklace proudly.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Window of Opportunity

Remember when I said that went into a crazy craft mania last weekend? Well, the dresser and frames were not the only things created in those three unbelievably productive days. Amazing what an extra day off will do for my motivation! Pretty sure it's not a condition. After the mania, I do not go into a depressed state. More like a time-to-hit-the-books-again state. Which can be kind of depressing... but it's nothing serious... just in case you were concerned... which I know you're not... but I'm saying it anyway... alrighty then...

This is a flea market window that I picked up earlier this summer. I wanted to make it into a frame or a white board (clear board?), so I sort of ended up doing both. It's right by the back door, so I can write myself notes, hang up my keys, and collect photos and do-dads. That's right do-dads. I collect a lot of them.

Here's the "before" shot....
The glass is actually really old. You can kind of see the waves in it. I love that.

I got to use the drill my Dad gave me for Christmas to install the hardware. After putting these loops on, I stretched and tacked a old coffee bag on the bag on the back. Then I got to use the drill AGAIN when I attached the birdy hook thing.
Thanks Dad :)

This is the birdy hook thing. I hope you understand my very technical terminology. I got this from my grandma when she moved a long time ago. I really love it but never could find a good spot for it.

It's a white board (transparent board?), key holder, picture/do-dad holder all in one!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

WWF Advertisements

These ads strike me as ironic. They are not selling a product, but rather an initiative to protect the world. Promoting Earth because we've become so wrapped up in ourselves that we've forgotten that we actually share this planet. How depressing is it that we have to advertise responsibility? And should it really be a "responsibility?" How about just an expectation. Am I "responsible" because I avoid ingesting toxic chemicals in lethal doses on a regular basis? No, people - that's just good old common sense. So, when exactly did convenience take priority over common sense?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor of Love

This Labor Day weekend was really wonderful. I accomplished so much AND did a fair share of relaxing and having fun. I spent Friday working on repainting my dresser and went to the Herk to hang out with some Oles. Saturday I finished the dresser, rearranged the living room wall, went to the beach, rode my bike around the lakes and ended the day "rolling" with friends at Bryant Lake. We had a Westby family reunion on Sunday, and Monday included some much needed cleaning, an amazing picnic, ice cream and more bicycling adventures. Whew! So satisfying :)

Since I have recently become a manic project fiend, I have lots of creative work to share. I have a before and after of my dresser makeover and just the after of my living room wall with it's new arrangement of mismatched frames.

Before Dresser: Old dresser from my parent's basement. It used to contain costumes. Yes, that's right - we had that many costumes.

After: The new lighter color makes my room seem bigger. I sanded the edges and rubbed a brown glaze over the off-white paint to make it look old and distressed. It turned out really well. The knobs are all mismatched and from Anthropologie. I call it my "gypsy" dresser, although, a friend of mine told me that the word gypsy is very un-p.c. Whatever.

Close up of the knobs. I love the bee. I could have done all bees, but I liked the idea of having them all be different.

Q. What do you do with a bunch of mismatched frames?
A. Buy a few more at the thrift store, paint them, and clutter them all on one wall!

This is an image of both sides of the wall close up and mashed together. Kinda looks like the corner of a wall, but it's not.
That's a mirror in the middle... not a picture of a window...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My plight to become a poor science teacher

Last night, I went to my second night of astronomy. I was really excited about this course at first, but so far, I have been less than impressed. The class is a mix of adult learners (some seeking prereqs for master's programs, like myself), high school PSEO students, and your garden variety community college student. I have noticed a lot of army decals and veteran's plates in the parking lot too. You would think that with such a variety of learners, the prof might put a little effort into engaging her audience. Nope. Not only is she terribly dry, but she totally lacks time management skills, so we are already a whole chapter behind...and it's only week 2. In addition to the challenge of staying awake, I am finding it somewhat difficult to learn about these very large, very 3-dimensional concepts using only my very 2-dimensional textbook. Did you know that a first quarter moon in MN (which looks like a "D"), looks like a third-quarter moon (which looks like a backwards "D") in the southern hemisphere!?! My professor actually told us that she has no idea what the astronomy textbooks look like in the southern hemisphere, because everything must be opposite. Tricky stuff. Wish I could get my brain to engage. It's kind of hard to get myself to learn physics from a dull prof, on a Monday night, after being at work for nine hours. If I was good at physics, I would have majored in physics, instead of biology. Darn you, Minnesota State Board of Teaching!

So, this morning, I awoke feeling a bit discouraged about the year ahead. A year of pre-requisite courses from various community colleges. A year of the LSU "Distance-Learning" program. A whole year of forking out more money for undergraduate courses, just so I can continue to work toward my masters. A year of three separate physics courses - barf. I looked in the mirror and thought about what I was doing. Did I really want to become a science teacher? Is this really what I'm supposed to be doing?

...and then a tiny little fruit fly buzzed by my face and landed on the mirror. I looked at it and immediately identified it as being a wild type Drosophila melanogaster. The red eyes were a dead giveaway. I thought about how the entire genome for that little bug had been mapped out and studied by millions. I then I realized that I had just answered my own question. Yep, brush your teeth Kate. It's time to go to work so you can pay for all those classes. And tonight when you get home, it's time for geology. Get after it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ode to the chai tea latte

When the summmer begins to fade
I crave a chai tea latte.
Warm, spicy, cozy, sweet
I like them a latte.
A festive mint mocha
is my favorite winter treat.
A fruit smoothie refreshes
during the summer's oppresive heat.
I don't really know
what I drink in spring
But, it's the end of the summer now
so, I only want one thing.
Give me my chai tea latte
Mr. barista hook me up.
Life just seems so much better
with chai tea latte in my cup.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Up-cycled is the new black

Double click to enlarge...

I've decided to host a clothing swap. I recently re-learned how to use the sewing machine and I am feeling very inspired by the option of alteration. Plus, I've read some good things about these clothing swap parties. So thrifty. This is the dawning of the age of DIY, Etsy and up-cycling. Actually, it's not even the dawn. I'm pretty sure we've already entered the metaphorical mid-day of this cultural phenomenon. Either way - I will take any excuse to have a party/see friends/drink wine/eat delicious food/get stuff for free/start a new project...